Author Archives: Mawihtec-C-H

Dice Town

DICE TOWN

From

Matagot

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-5 Players
  • 45 minutes
  • 10+

What is Dice Town?

Back in the days of the old west, Poker was the game. Bankers, Sheriffs, Landowners, Prospectors and crooks all played. Fortunes and land could be won and lost on the turn of a card. Matagot have taken that concept and changed the cards to dice. Can you use the luck of the dice, a hint of a bluff and clever tactics to become the wealthiest citizen?

What is in my Box?

Dice Town’s box is illustrated in beautiful imagery that helps to conjure up the western theme. When you open up the box you will find,

  • Rulebook,
  • Gold Nuggets,
  • Dollar Bills
  • General Store, Property and Elixir cards,
  • Sheriff badge first player card,
  • Dice and Dice cups,
  • Game-board.

Quality?

The dice provided in the box are standard poker dice. These will allow you to form hands using the 9,10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace faces. The dice cups are a nice sized plastic moulded shape with a sheriffs star logo. I found them reminiscent of bullet heads in their shape. The ‘gold’ Nuggets look like you might have just dug them from your claim. Money in Dice town is of the paper variety. Where Matagot have been clever is they have given the money a plasticised type finish this will help ensure the life of the notes despite regular handling. All the cards in Dice Town are of a nice durable quality so will stand up to repeated handling. Game-boards in dice based games can be a hit or miss affair. With this version of Dice Town the board looks nice with spaces marked out for where the cards need to go. If you were playing with a group of players who knew the game very well you would not need the board. The art however is nice enough to make you want to put it onto the table.

How does it work?

Playing Dice Town is a simultaneous affair for most of the game. Each player shakes the dice in their cups and up-ends them onto the table, being careful to keep them hidden from all other players. You will all secretly look at your dice you will choose one* to keep and clasp the rest in your hand to hide all the information from other players. Once everyone has selected their die to keep, you all reveal your die then repeat the process until you have built a ‘hand’ of five dice. Depending on which dice have been kept players will be allowed to claim Nuggets, Money, Bonus cards or Land. You might even decided to focus on stealing a card or becoming the sheriff (you decide the winner in ties). If you find yourself outwitted in dice selection you will be able to claim Doc Badluck’s Elixir cards to help you.

*normally you may only keep one die but if you are willing to pay you can choose to keep extra. This does however let others see more of your hand sooner allowing them to play accordingly.

What about the Dice?

One of the nice things about Dice Town is the ease of understanding. When you reveal your 5 dice the decision of the winner in each Location. Whoever has the most 9’s will get nuggets, the most 10’s allows you to rob the bank, with Jacks you get a card from the general store (you get the idea). This works for all the Locations until you reach the Town Hall to claim Land you will need the best overall poker hand. Do not expect a simple pair to win. Three of a kind or four, a straight. All are achievable. Helpfully the Land cards have the ranking of the hands on their backs. This allows you to easily decide who is going to gain Land. Why is Land important? Each Land card is worth bonus points for the end of the game. Winning Dice Town is as simple as having the most points once all the Land cards or Nuggets have been claimed.

Strategy?

Dice Town is not a heavy strategy title by any measure. This is not to say there is none. The decision to focus on trying to gain a land card could cost you dear especially in the higher player counts. You can easily find yourself shut out. Paying attention to the other players revealed dice and adjusting your choices accordingly is something you will be doing every round. But not to such an extent as to melt your brain. This is light fun with some thinking involved.

Who is it for?

For the most part I would recommend Dice Town for meet-ups and as a filler for game nights. This is because it plays up to 5 players with ease and is definitely better at 3, 4 or 5 players. It does play nicely for family game nights if you are happy with children playing a dice representation of poker (I did not have an issue with this but feel it worth mentioning).

My thoughts.

I like Dice Town…….. A bit. ……….Oh you were expecting more?

OK then. Dice Town is a light gentle fun experience in a fast food type of way. To clarify this weird statement. It is quick and easy to consume. It will satisfy that boardgame hunger but is not ultimately filling in the long term. I enjoyed it while I was playing but was left wanting more. It does what it sets out to. Which is provide a light 5 player experience for those times when heavy is not an option due to time scale.

  • Add to my shelf No
  • Play if asked Yes
  • Recommend to a friend Maybe

I received a review copy of “Dice Town” through the Board Game Exposure group to review. This game will now be forwarded onto another reviewer. I have tried not to let this influence my review.

Auztralia

Auztralia

A Game by

Martin Wallace

&

ShilMil Games

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-4 Players
  • 90 minutes

What is Auztralia?

Auztralia is a strange beast to nail down. It is a semi co-op exploration, mining, farming, resource collection & exchange, Fighting Zombies, Cthulhu and all sorts of crazies game. Set in the South Eastern corner of Australia. There that makes it so much clearer doesn’t it?

HUH?

This latest release from Martin Wallace released by ShilMil Games is set in the period following ‘A Study in Emerald’ and while not a sequel as such it is inspired by that game. Sherlock Holmes has led the victorious uprising against the Great Old Ones. Mankind has thrown of the shackles and is now starting to venture forth into the world (something previously banned). A new world is discovered and you as one of up to four players lead the race to explore and harness the valuable resources available. But you have stumbled upon the last retreat of the Old Ones on this plane. They along with their minions and loyal followers are not going to be happy when they find out your there.

What is in my Box?

The copy I originally received was an earlier prototype and as such all components were upgraded following the successful Kickstarter. Inside you will find,

  • Game board (now double sided with western Australia map as well),
  • Player boards, Cubes, Disks, Farm and Railway tiles, Character cards,
  • Survey tiles, Old One tiles, Military units, Personalities,
  • Old One cards (for movement and combat), Event cards,
  • Solo and Two player Variant cards, Realistic Resources,
  • Old One sanity, VP, damage and time markers (all purple)

How does it work?

Players start a game of Auztralia by setting up their ports. Laying out survey tiles which allocate the resources and Old Ones to the board. As there are more survey tiles than required you have a large variety of set up possibilities giving lots of potential for replayability. For each action a player wishes to take it will cost them ‘Time’ from laying track to mining to recruiting military units all of it takes varying amounts of ‘Time’ this is measured using an outer ‘Time’ track on the board. The player at the back always goes next. This means it is entirely possible to find yourself taking two or three turns in a row. Once all players have passed a certain point on the Time track the Old Ones awake and start to take actions as well. This is done through the use of Dual-purpose cards and an events deck. As you vie with the other players for resources and gold. You will all need to work together to stop the advance of the Old Ones.

Ha-ha sounds simple?

At first glance Auztralia might feel very complex. But once you have played 3-4 rounds you and your fellow players will have it all down pat. Do not be fooled into thinking you can just load your port with military units and hope to win though. Should one player lose their port the game ends immediately and you all lose. Should you and the board all reach the end point of 53 on the Time track The unrevealed Old Ones will score double points. It will also score for each blighted farm and several other ways (do not want to spoil all your fun now) making it very difficult to beat. This effectively forces you to move forward and to face the Old Ones in an attempt to not only claim Victory points for beating them but also to stop them from gaining points.

Strategy?

There is a lot of scope for strategic play within Auztralia. From the placement of your port to the direction of your laying tracks, building farms, which resources to collect and which military to build. Each military unit is better suited against different types of Old One being strong against some and weaker against others. Balancing the use of your Time is also important. Will you use two or three cheaper actions in a row or will you use a larger action using all your Time? There is a constant juggle over which action to take.

Who is it for?

I think Auztralia sits firmly into the Game Group category. I feel the complexity is a little too high for general family play. While the play length is potentially on the long side for a meetup evening. Definitely suited for those that enjoy having to think about their actions a little more but could be prone to those susceptible to AP. With the Dual purpose cards being used for combat in place of dice rolling, those who dislike luck based battle outcomes might be put off. That being said battles are not always fought to the end and the option to retreat and attack again later is always there.

My thoughts.

I really liked Auztralia a lot. I say this even with the fact that I had an earlier prototype copy of the game. I enjoyed the complexity but felt it was still easy enough to learn and teach. The Solo option in the prototype was refreshingly brutal (no hand holding there). All of the Kickstarter improvements and design tweaks that were made after I received my copy have only served to make the game even better. This is no easy win game you need to be prepared to lose hard on your first few plays. This is only going to serve you well as you try different strategies to beat the game (and each other). Trust me when I say the first time you beat the game you will just be glad of that even if you do not personally win overall.

  • For my Shelf YES
  • Recommend a friend YES
  • Play again YES

I Was provided a copy of Auztralia for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game has now been passed on to other reviewers. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible.

Seikatsu Review

Seikatsu

From

IDW Games

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-4 Players
  • 30 Minutes
  • 10+ Ages

Sei-what-su?

Every so often you want to put away the dice. The cards do not need shuffling. The miniatures need rest and the desire to send the meeples out to work has passed. You want to sit, relax, watch the birds and smell the flowers. The sun is shining and life feels good. Enter Seikatsu which is a word that means Life in Japanese. You and up to three friends have a garden to tend and birds to watch. Waxwing.

Inside the gorgeous art on the box of Seikatsu you will find,

  • Rulebook,
  • Cloth bag,
  • Garden board,
  • Score pawns,
  • Garden tiles,
  • Koi Pond tiles.

Tulip.

To call the Garden and Koi pieces is to do them a disservice. They are in fact similar in size to poker chips. But they do look a lot nicer. All the components in Seikatsu look spectacular. The only thing that you could create a grumble about is the score trackers. While they are wooden and flower shaped they are a little on the small side. Another 2 or 3mm diameter would have made them perfect (I am having to be very picky here). The insert holds all the components well but to be fair like a lot of boxes is on the big side. It could have been half the depth and still held everything with room to spare.

Primrose.

How is a game of Seikatsu played? Each player starts with two tiles in their hand. On their turn they draw a third tile from the communal bag. They then choose one of those tiles to lay onto the board following some basic rules.

  • Tile must be placed adjacent to a previously placed tile onto an empty space.
  • That’s it.

Seriously I told you the rules were simple.

Bluebell.

Where Seikatsu is interesting is how you score your points and the placement of those tiles becomes critical. This is because the Garden tiles each have flowers and a bird on them.

When you place a tile you instantly score for matching with adjacent birds creating Flocks. So far so easy, You also have Some Koi ponds ‘wild tile’ that when played allow you to call them as one type of bird. Still sounds too easy doesn’t it.

However it is the end game scoring where you will have been thinking towards for the entire game. Once all the tiles have been placed you will score for the flowers. Even though all players score using the same Flowers, what makes it different is you score based on your view of the garden. Each straight line from your garden viewpoint scores exponentially more points based on the largest group of Flowers. Thus what might be a group of 4 for your view will only be individual flowers for all other players.

Scarlet Tanager.

And the strategy becomes clearer. Will you place a tile to score birds now or flowers later? Which is the optimal move for points? Does that tile you just placed score an opponent 11 points at the end of the game? Is a Bird in the hand worth two in a bush?

Summary.

Seikatsu is a game of contemplative reflection. It is a gentle easy to learn and easy to play game. Light on rules, with a hidden depth that is joy to uncover. Great for families and meet-ups and worth bringing out at game groups. One point to note is this a good with solo play a nice puzzle. 2 and 3 players really shine. 4 Player does feel a little “tacked on” but do not let that put you off. Seek this game out then sit back and relax.

I was provided with a copy of Seikatsu to review as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Warriors of JOGU

Warriors of

JOGU

From

Monsoon Publishing

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2 Players
  • 30 Minutes
  • 14+ Ages

Mibits.

Conflict has erupted across the land of Jogu. Various warring factions vie for control. Not so much of the kingdom itself, rather for access to the liquid Saiur. An energy generating liquid which has the ability to transform the economies of the various factions and their followers. You will be called upon to master both war and deception in your efforts to emerge as the victor and claim the spoils you and your followers so richly deserve.

Engineer.

The gorgeous art box contains all you need to play. At the time of writing The Kickstarter relaunch campaign is due to happen in March 2018. Because of this the final component count could potentially change due to any stretch goals reached dependant on the campaigns success. The preview copy I received for preview had inside,

  • Location board,
  • Scoring track board,
  • End game and round markers,
  • Victory point and moral markers,
  • Location cards,
  • Faction cards (currently 200 in 5×40 card faction decks),
  • Stay tokens,
  • Start player token,
  • Rules.

Kelion.

The basic core concept in Warriors of Jogu has players trying to out manoeuvrer each other. Each round you will send troops to various locations to battle for supremacy. There is however a catch (isn’t there always). You only know one of the two initial battle locations in each round. Your opponent knows the other. Can you work out where your opponent is focussing their battle forces while deceiving them about the location of yours? Misdirect by sending troops to dummy locations. But watch out, your rival will be doing the same. Just to complicate things a little further there is a restriction on the total value of all cards that can be placed at a single location (cue some rule breaking abilities if you please).

Wu.

Warriors of Jogu is normally played over seven rounds. I say normally as this can possibly change due to special abilities on some of the cards that might become available each round. All rounds in a typical game are broken down into a series of five phases. These phases are,

  • Reinforcement→ A discard and draw phase to replenish your hand to seven cards.
  • Scout→ Each player draws a battle location card from their location deck.
  • Deployment→ Taking turns players will either place a card onto one of the location spaces on the board or pass (if you pass that is it no more actions this round).
  • Resolution→ Reveal battle locations. Calculate battle location strength (highest wins). Place your VP marker onto track. Reduce losing players moral based on their cards used. If moral track reaches zero, that’s it you lose.
  • Clean-up→ all used faction and location cards are discarded, round marker moves and start player rotates.

Games ends either when round tracker and end game tracker are on same spot at which point most VP wins. Or if a players moral drops to zero game ends immediately and opponent wins.

Agents.

Hold on a minute. Didn’t you say something about special abilities?” Yes I did. This is where Warriors of Jogu steps up its game if you will pardon the pun. What would otherwise have been a box standard number crunching card game. Manages to throw you a bit of a curve ball with the use of interesting special abilities. Some examples of these are,

  • Playing restriction→ Might only allow you to play a card to a certain location or only if another card is already in play on that location.
  • Instant→ Effect triggers when card is played might include play card upside down or play a card from your discard pile.
  • Timing→ Effect triggers at a certain point in the round for example move a card if opponent plays card to this location.
  • Resolution→ Effect triggers during this phase example could be gain moral or opponent loses moral.
  • Protection→ Immunity to abilities and effects from other cards.

Things change up even further with the fact that many cards have multiple abilities that can all trigger.

Victory?

Does it all come together into a neat little package in Warriors of Jogu? Well almost. I did enjoy playing the game and found some of the card abilities interesting. I do think the variety in each of the faction decks could have been greater. An example of this is that the Guards of Keion faction 40 card deck only has 6 different cards. Eleven (11) of which were the one card and eight (8) were another. That equates to almost half of your deck of 40 cards being comprised of just those 2. Do all cards really need abilities? Some cards with no abilities would have allowed for greater variety and made for some interesting decisions. This does not mean that Warriors of Jogu is a bad game, far from it. I do however think some more work on card variety would have helped.

Now onto a big bug in my ointment. Box Size! Here we have a game that comes in a box 30×22×7cm when it could easily have been almost 1/3 of that size. I do understand arguments about shelf presence but do we really need so much empty space on a Kickstarter game? Surely a smaller box could have saved on shipping cost while still having plenty of room to allow the sleeving of cards. A larger collector style box could have easily been introduced for expansions.

Summary.

A light 2 player deck battler game that plays well and deserves some of your time to experience. Some nice ideas well implemented. Just let down with a lack of variety. One to watch going forward I think.

I was provided with a copy of Warriors of JOGU to review as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Dice Throne

Dice Throne

From

Mind Bottling Games

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-6 Players
  • 20-40 Minutes
  • 8+ Ages

Barbarian.

The mad king has offered his Throne to a worthy Champion. He has been making this offer for a thousand years. Yet to this day none have proved worthy. Heroes come from all over the kingdom and from all different backgrounds and disciplines. All with their own reasons for seeking power. Will you prove your worth to the king and succeed where others have fallen? Can you defeat all comers to claim the ultimate prize? The Dice Throne awaits a Champion.

Moon Elf.

The core box of Dice Throne Season one(Season two expansion is currently live on Kickstarter until 9th March 2018) Contains all you need to play up to 6 players. Inside your box you will find,

  • Dice, 5 individual per character, (30)
  • Combat Point tracker wheel per character, (6)
  • Life counter per character, (6)
  • 32 Cards per character comprising upgrades and abilities, (192)
  • Turn order reference cards one per character, (6)
  • Hero boards and leaflets one per character. (12).

Monk.

The gameplay in Dice Throne is very reminiscent to Yahtzee in so much as you Roll five dice. You then keep some of the dice and then re-roll up to twice more trying to achieve certain combinations. While on the surface this might not sound like it gives much scope for player interaction or battling. Dice Throne is so much more than first meets the eye.

Pyromancer.

Each player will equip with a different character. Each character comes with their own player board, deck of cards, ability leaflet tokens, combat tracker, life tracker and a character specific set of 5 dice. Play is carried out over a series of Phases.

  • Upkeep→ Applicable status effects are resolved.
  • Income→ Gain combat points and draw a card.
  • Main phase 1→ Play Action cards, Upgrade abilities and sell cards to gain CP.
  • Offensive Roll→ Roll your 5 dice up to 3 times to try to activate one of the abilities from your player board.
  • Targetting→ This only occurs in games of more than 2 players and designates applicable targets.
  • Defensive→ Target player rolls a designated number of dice once to activate various defensive abilities.
  • Main phase 2→ This phase repeats Main phase 1.
  • Discard phase→ discard down to your hand limit.

Paladin.

So what is all this talk of abilities then? Obtain 3, 4 or 5 of a specific symbol to deal direct damage. Small or large straight will activate more advanced abilities for example the Pyromancer might gain some Fire Mastery to allow them to deal damage undefended by dice rolls. The Barbarian might Stun an opponent allowing a second immediate attack for free. Or will you prefer the Monk’s ability of gaining Chi which can be spent to reduce damage later on. Each character also possesses an Ultimate ability for 5 of a kind. These attacks can deal a larger amount of damage and multiple special abilities simultaneously. An added bonus is that these attacks cannot be defended by defensive dice rolls only card abilities can reduce the damage received. These abilities and much more will be at your disposal as you attempt to reduce your opponents to Zero life points and Claim the Throne.

Shadow Thief.

Dice Throne is a lot of fun to play. While the re-roll mechanic allows you a chance to minimise the ‘luck of the roll’ and the ability cards can allow you to even alter some of the results further. You are still reliant on a lot of luck. Accept this and you will enjoy yourself. Games do not take too long to play especially at 2 or 3 players. Also having to roll for targetting is at one and the same time both refreshing and annoying. On the one hand it is good because it can stop the ‘ganging up’ that can occasionally occur in these style of games. However if and opponent is only on 2 Life points, not being able to target them for the “kill” can also be frustrating. This is a game that I really enjoyed playing and can heartily recommend. Dice Throne is very suited for Family play and meet-up evenings and refreshingly also suitable for game night play scaling well from 2 all the way to 6 and allowing for some fun rivalry and banter. If you can enjoy a game even with ‘Luck of the roll’ (or lack of in some games) Then I can strongly suggest you look to pick this up at retail or even consider both this and the expansion on Kickstarter.

I was provided with a copy of Dice Throne to review as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Hack Trick Review

Hack Trick:

It’s hacking time!

From

Mind Fitness Games

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2 Players
  • 15 minutes
  • 10+ Age

What is Hack Trick?

You are two hackers. You need to complete hacks for money and reputation. Your mission, infect a critical combination of global servers or destroy one with a concerted attack. You need to achieve this before your fellow hacker. You need to prove your ability as the greatest hacker alive.

What is in my Box?

Hack Trick packs a surprising amount of fun into a few components. Inside you will find,

  • 1 Rule-sheet,
  • 18 Cards,
  • 20 Virus cubes,
  • 6 Bitcoin markers,
  • 3 Map tiles.

So a card game then?

Sort of. Hack Trick: It’s hacking time is a card based 3 in a row style game in a similar vein to tic-tac-toe. Originally released in 2015 Mind Fitness Games have re-implemented and improved the gameplay with the introduction of a global map. Instead of just putting ‘O’s & ‘X’s onto a board in turns. Where you can place your Virus cubes are restricted through the use of cards and your Hack can also be intercepted with you Virus being intercepted and quarantined.

How does it work?

Each player has a set of Virus cubes. The aim is to place three Virus cubes in a straight line either Horizontally, Vertically or Diagonally. This signifies a successful critical virus attack winning the game (sound familiar?) The other way to win is to succeed in placing three Virus cubes onto a single server. This signifies you destroying the server. 

What about the cards?

Where you target your Virus cubes is not just a free for all. You start the game with a hand of three cards from a deck of 18 numbered and a communal face card in the centre of the play area. On your turn you place a card onto the central area, using the sum of the top card and your played card will allocate your target. You might choose a card to allow you to try to get the eponymous 3 in-a-row. Or will you try to get 3 onto one target. Another option could be to deliberately target an opponents hack This will capture their virus and remove it from their game. You are not usually forced to play (see below) You can opt to draw a card instead. This will strengthen your hand and give you more options going forward.

Strategy.

You might be saying to yourself “this does not seem to have a lot of strategy?”. You are about to be pleasantly surprised. As well as capturing opponent cubes they are not only removed from the opponents pool but can also be turned against them. At the start of your turn you can remove the captured cube from the game to force your opposition to reveal the sum of their cards. This can provide you with valuable information. After placing your cube you could decide to remove on of yours from the game to force the opponent to play a card or to protect you from the same retaliation. So lots of opportunity to mess with their plans.

Who is it for.

Hack Trick is a very light weight quick playing game. Perfect for travel given the small amount of ‘bits’ involved. Even with the designated 10+ age recommendation. This is a game that is easily played by younger players. Not really game group or meet-up use as only for 2 players. But that being said you could play it on the train or in the car while travelling to or from somewhere or even while waiting for food to be served when out and about.

My thoughts.

Light, Fun, non-heavy. Easy to access for all players. Perfect travel or waiting play game with enough strategy to actually need you to concentrate. Not a ‘must have’ more of a ‘nice option to have’ and it only takes a small space on the shelf. The 6”x4”x1½” box is still too big so you can really compact this down further into a cloth bag and shove it into your pocket.

I received a review copy of “Hack Trick: It’s hacking time” through the Board Game Exposure group to review. This game will now be forwarded onto another reviewer. I have tried not to let this influence my review.

Darkness a preview

Darkness

by

Taylor Hayward

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

 

  • 2-5 Players
  • 20-30 Minutes

Henge.

During the Dark Ages in Europe, There were many Mystics. They tried to control Nature via the use of powerful stone artifacts. Using energy from animals with matching affinity they would “energise” these artifacts. This energising of the artifacts granted them great power. Those who were less prepared however risked releasing dark spirits into the real world to create havoc unless they were contained. Do you have the power and abilities to utilise these artifacts? Can you stop the dark spirits from breaking into our world? Will you become the most powerful of all the mystics? Ring.

Your battle for mystical supremacy will take place using

  • Animal Spirit Cards,
  • Relic Cards,
  • Artifact Cards,
  • Darkness Cards.

Note: The copy of Darkness I received to preview was a prototype copy. As such quality and quantity of components are liable to alter as stretch goals are achieved. Also note art work and minor rules changes are likely.

Shaman.

You and up to four opponents will compete to gather mystical artifacts and valuable relics on your journey to victory. Over the course of six rounds you will gain points from the collection of these with the ultimate aim of having the most mystical score and being crowned as the head of all mystics. You all start with an identical set of 15 animal spirits and each round you will use the power of some of these spirits to try to claim artifacts or relics. The more you collect the more valuable they will become at the end of the game.

Mystic.

OK so about now your itching to know how to claim these artifacts and become the all powerful mystic leader. Well I will tell you.

Your starting set of animal spirit cards are colour based in sets of 3 (five different colours) Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue. Now first off for those that have colour sight issues. You will be pleased to note that all of the cards have vastly different artwork to enable you to differentiate them. The icons used are replicated throughout the game whenever that colour is used.

Initially a series of artifact cards are revealed. Each of these have a primary and secondary animal spirit aligned with them. At the end of each round the mystic that has used the most of the primary animal spirit will claim the artifact if there is a tie then the secondary will be counted.

Spirit.

You will also be aiming to claim powerful relics. These can give you big point boosts or special abilities. These are claimed at the end of a round by a player who has managed to play five animal spirits that match those required for the relic.

Regardless of weather you target the relics or the artifacts. The round is played in three phases. In each phase you secretly select a diminishing number of spirit animal cards from your hand. When all players have selected you reveal your chosen cards. Once the third phase is complete you will have six face up cards in front of you. These are what you will use to claim artifacts and/or relics. All players then return the animal spirit cards to their hands. The central tableau of artifact and relic cards is then replenished ready for the next round

Colour.

Be warned though, all this mystical activity will call forth the dark spirits. When these appear they need to be dispelled to avoid terrible havoc. To dispel these dark spirits at the end of a round, one player must have used a matching number of animal spirits. If this happens the dark spirit is cast out and order is returned. Fail to remove however and they enter “the veil” if at any point there are 3 dark spirits in “the veil” all players discard artifacts down to the fewest number held.

Artifact.

After you have completed six rounds points are awarded based on the number of artifacts in each set you possess. From 1 point for one card through 16 points for 6 cards up to 67 for a set of twelve.

Summary.

Darkness is an interesting little game. It falls neatly into the filler category and plays well at various numbers. That being said I did find it a little ‘dry’ at 2 player but 3-5 is much more interesting. Play is easy to learn and also to teach. It feels very familiar in its structure. At its heart Darkness is a set collecting game but one which tries to add something a little different into the mix. It is due to launch onto Kickstarter on 6th March 2018. and could well be classed as a nice little shelf filler for family play or occasional filler at meet-ups. It is a little too lightweight for game groups. The artwork is nice and distinctive.

I was provided with a copy of Darkness to preview as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Dead & Breakfast Preview

Dead & Breakfast

From

Brain Crack Games

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-4 Players.
  • <30 Minutes.
  • T.B.C. Ages

Ghouls.

Dead & Breakfast is the upcoming release from Brain Crack Games. Yes, it is from the same people who brought you Downsize, Mined Out and most recently Farsight. Well following on from that eclectic mix, they are back. This time they want you to build an Hotel. But no ordinary Hotel oh-no that would be no fun at all. You are tasked with building, the most horrifyingly scary hotel possible. Things are never that simple. Because not only are you going up against other entrepreneurs, who are set on making their hotel the best. You also discover that the local builders who are working on all of your properties have become home to a spectral nuisance out to make your lives even trickier. Do you have what it takes to make your hotel bloom and the guests scream? Ghosts.

Inside the box you will find,

  • Window tiles,
  • Wall tiles,
  • Door tiles,
  • Guest tiles,
  • Bonus scoring tiles and a Ghost.

Please note, the copy I received is an early prototype print and as such while the rules themselves are almost finalised. The components are going to improve dramatically and the artwork may undergo some changes. These should only serve to make the game much more attractive to all players.

Spiders.

In a game of Dead & Breakfast. Each player will start with their Hotel lobby (front door) this, in keeping with all the best hotels in the world (and quite a few of the worst) is in the middle of the ground floor. You as players will be selecting window tiles to try and complete floors in a 5×5 grid.

This process is made slightly more complicated by the ghost haunting the builders yard (the window tiles tableau). This ghost will restrict your selection of tiles to just three each turn. Each of these will consist of either 2 windows side by side or vertically. Still sounds easy hey? Not so fast there. Each window tile also has vines growing on it and flowers blooming. These flowers have the power to give you points. But only if the vine they are growing from can be connected to the Door tile. And only then if the flowers are matching in colour to those shown above the door. I thought that would make you stop and think.

Witches.

I thought you said scary hotel? Flowers are not scary”. Well yes I did. Most of the windows have a monster or scary creature inside them. They might be Spiders, Voodoo dolls, Ghosts or even worse (now you start to understand the section headings). These creatures of fear are important to your success. This is because as you complete a floor you attract a Guest to the hotel. Each Guest is afraid of something this is shown by their image. When placing the Guests you will be trying to align them with their fears, either Horizontally or Vertically based on their card icons. You will be scoring points at the end of the game based on your success at lining them up and this is harder than it first seems.

Voodoo.

Oh dear I do not want or cannot take one of the available window tiles. Well never fear (save that for the guests). If you find yourself stuck you do have an option to build 2 blank walls. While this will mean you miss out on some windows scoring opportunities. It is not all bad because the wall tiles have lots of vines to help you connect other flowering tiles together.

Once all players have completed their hotel construction you calculate points based on flowers correctly connected and guests aligned with their monsters. There are also some optional Bonus score tiles that can be used at the start of a game and these will allow extra points for things like ‘number of different monsters on a floor or pairs of monsters in a column’. The highest total points is the winner.

Bellboy!

When I first received Dead & Breakfast. My first thought was, “Oh look another tile laying grid game”. However once I started to read the rules I was very pleasantly surprised. It very quickly became clear that there was much more to this game than many other tile games. The amount of thinking over which window tile to select was surprisingly high given the variety of creatures and the orientation of the tile. The scoring of the guest in conjunction with monster location added a lot more forward planning in what at first appearances is a cutesy art game. Once you start connecting the flowers to the door as well, you are suddenly putting even more thought in. This is not to say this is a heavy game, It is a light filler. but once you get under the hood there is a fair bit of thinking required. There is even some room for a touch of ‘take-that-esque’ play as you might decide to take a sub-optimal window tile because the next player is then left with a choice of tiles they cannot use or are worthless to them.

Summary.

Simple mechanics, Surprisingly thinky, Quick playing, Easy to teach, Easy to learn and Suitable for family, meet-up play,

Put this firmly on your radar for the upcoming Kickstarter.

I know I will be. You can sign up for their Newsletter here.

I was provided with a copy of Dead & Breakfast to preview. I will be passing this copy on to another reviewer in the BGE group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

IRONCLAD

IRONCLAD

by

Alcyon Creative

A review by

MAWIHTEC

1-3 Players

Space.

Firefly, Dark Matter, Killjoys and Star Trek. What do they all have in common? You and your crew are piloting a spaceship on an adventure. Every week is a new adventure while there is an overarching story running throughout the series. Space battles, Heroes, Villains, loss, Love and Friendship. Now welcome to the new kid on the block and in cardboard form at that. Ironclad. Take on missions and Take Sides. Your decision in one game affects the later decision making and of the overall campaign.

Big claims. But does it live up to the trailer?

Aliens.

As this was a preview prototype copy components were not final. You will have modular space hex cluster which will be used in a variety of layouts for the campaign. Lots of chits, Hero cards, Intel tokens, upgrade modules. Dice, Ship cards Damage trackers and exhaustion tokens to name just a few. The artwork that is on show is beautiful and very thematic.

NB. All images are of prototype components and subject to change

Adventure.

Even though the rulebook was an early copy I was impressed at the clarity and ease of access. Where many games have a simple set up image and you need to work it out from there. Here we have not only a comprehensive set up guide but also a step by step tutorial to learn how to play. When I say step by step I mean it. The tutorial even had the die roll results needed for the information to be clear. Not only that, you have not one but two tutorials. The first gives you a basic understanding of the core rules. The second tutorial goes into more depth dealing with combat etc. It is titled “Mutiny” Also included are reference guides, Quick play guides, Intel guide sheets. In fact all the info you could need, nicely laid out. Yes there are some minor errors here and there but that is to be expected in a preview copy and will not be evident in the full release copy. There will also be a full campaign book as well containing progressive storylines. The decision you make in one mission will affect options and available actions in later missions. I only had access to the first 3 of these and they showed a huge amount of promise. This really does have the potential to create a boardgame that emulates the feel of the aforementioned sci-fi epics.

Spaceships.

Enough of the excitement hows the play? You start by setting up the space map according to the current scenario. Each player is assigned System Orders for the weapons, bridge or hanger. Players set up the Ship Status board, Intel tokens and any other required information is placed onto the space map. Heroes are assigned to the various ship systems. In a two player game the extra system will be controlled by either or both players (it is a Co-Op after all). Your Ship miniature is placed onto the starting sector and your ready to go. The available actions each turn is based on the available heroes and crew morale. Your options each turn will be chosen from the following,

  • Recon: Reveal an Intel token from an adjacent sector.
  • Move: Move to an adjacent sector. You will then have to resolve the Intel token and also deal with any environmental actions depending on the sector (hint most are not good see below).
  • Rest: Rest up to 2 heroes to remove exhaustion tokens.
  • If you manage to add the correct upgrade modules you will also have access to.
  • Heal: Heal wounded Heroes.
  • Repair: Use Salvage to repair ship damage.

She canna’ take much more.

As you would expect being in a metal can in the violent vacuum of space can be a bit dangerous what with Solar Flares, Super Nova, Black Holes and Geomagnetic Storms to name just a few. Then you need to factor in the basic homicidal nature of just about every race of aliens. Space Combat and Space Pirates. If you manage to survive all this you might just dock at a friendly Spaceport to spend your hard earned credits.

Super Nova.

Undertake missions for the Cartel or the Federation, side missions from the corporation. Decisions you make will gain or lose you reputation until you reach a point where you are forced to choose a side Who will you work and fight for?

Warp Speed.

All of this on its own is enough for me to recommend you seriously looking at Ironclad when it becomes available to buy. But if none of that has convinced you yet, There is more. Yes even more than a twelve part space opera with side missions and decisions causing long lasting consequences. Having looked at the various component options already included. Your story does not stop there. Just like the best Sci-fi series you can have a season 2. This with just individual missions you can make up yourself. Want to run some smuggling operation, Bounty Hunter or Gun for Hire? If you can think up a premise for a mission you can build it in Ironclad. The possibility for invention is very promising indeed.

Star-dock.

Space exploration, Heroic actions, decisions that count, Continuing Story Arc, Campaign and potential for inventive play. All of this makes me say Look out for this and get ready to buy it. The only negative is that it is only for 3 players.

IRONCLAD successfully funded on Kickstarter November 2017. It should be available for pre-order soon

I was provided with a copy of IRONCLAD to preview as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

MoonQuake Escape

MoonQuake Escape

from

Breaking Games

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-6 Players
  • 45-60 minutes
  • 10+ age

Alien.

You naughty naughty naughty alien! You have broken some space laws and did not say you were sorry. Off to prison with you.

You find yourself locked up and abandoned on the prison planet of Zartaclaton. Where you will have time (lots and lots of time) to ponder your poor life choices. Like getting caught for one. Suddenly the ground starts to shake violently. It is a moonquake. Who thought building a prison on a planet with an unstable core and a moon with an erratic orbit was a good idea? As the buildings start to collapse under the stress of the quake you find yourself FREE!
Zappp.

Unfortunately your only free of the prison the planet is being torn apart by the quakes. Your only hope is to reach the escape rocket. There is however a small problem. Well several of them to be accurate. There are several other prisoners who are out of their cells, A homicidal prison guard intent on stopping you, Permanently! and the escape rocket only has room for 1 and all the other prisoners know it. Use whatever means necessary to stop the other inmates and get to the rocket first while avoiding the guard. Make sure you have enough energy to blast off before it is too late!

Zippp.

Inside Breaking Game’s distinct orange heavy box art of MoonQuake Escape you will find,

  • Rulebook,
  • Standees + Stands,
  • Status cards with sliders,
  • Moon orbit token and spinner,
  • Die,
  • Phase marker,
  • 3D board,
  • Cards.

Bippp.

First thing to say about the components in MoonQuake escape is that they are fun. As is signature to Breaking Games releases expect lots of Orange in the colour scheme. With plenty of delightful artwork to look at it is very “kid-safe” but not childish. Everything looks and feels nice but not over the top. The board is a 3D revolving affair with folding corners to allow for safe storage. It has a novel orbiting Moon which acts as an energy supply spinner and player marker. All of this serves to make MoonQuake Escape visually accessible to non hobby gamers which is something that can only be considered a positive.

Boppp.

Playing MoonQuake Escape follows an easy to learn and teach, turns broken into phases system. There are 4 phases to a turn or round,

  • MoonQuake→ Resolve orbit cards from previous round. This also acts as turn order decider (clockwise or anticlockwise), Moon moves and spins to allocate charges and planet rings are revolved.
  • Escape→ Alien movement and draw phase.
  • Action→ Take actions based on your locations bonus ability spending energy to do so. This phase allows you to shoot other players, move, spy, steal and use or ready equipment.
  • Guard→ Guard moves or shoots.

Eeep.

Initially when you look at MoonQuake you will think kids game. Do not let it fool you it hides a level of light strategy and gentle take that. All of which will allow young Timmy to stick it to grandad with a Grenade Launcher. While still offering a fair level of play for a board game meet-up evening.

Ooop.

I am not sure how much table time this would get with a regular games group, who would probably be looking at heavier weight games. I have enjoyed playing MoonQuake Escape to review. I would consider it to be a nice gateway or family rainy afternoon game. Would I give it a space on my “Games to play with the kids” shelf? Not sure is the honest answer. As another Breaking games title “Asking for Trobils” currently has that spot on the shelf. One small niggle I did have is that the connector of the planet rings to the board is mostly cardboard. This brings in an element of durability question to the frame.

Summary.

+

  • Great for kids and families.
  • Meet-up suitable.
  • Light weight and Gateway.
  • Great fun art. Orange.

  • Durability.
  • Too light for some.
  • No minis.

I was provided with a copy of MoonQuake Escape to preview as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.