Author Archives: Mawihtec-C-H

Fire in the Library


in the



Weird Giraffe Games

A preview by


  • 1-6 Players
  • 30 Minutes
  • 8+ Ages


FIRE! The Library is on fire! Quick. Save the books. You and your fellow Librarians are rushing to save as many books as possible before the building burns down. Push your luck and retrieve the most books. Books are worth saving and the Librarian who saves the most books will no doubt be made the Head Librarian once the Library is rebuilt.


The box art for Fire in the Library is set out to give the impression of being a hardback book. Very much in keeping the theme of the game. While the lettering is designed to give a burning fire impression. It manages to pull this off without appearing ‘tacky’ or ‘cheap’. Upon opening this Tome… sorry I mean box. You are greeted with,

  • Book tokens,
  • Fire tokens,
  • Library bag,
  • Score track,
  • Library figures,
  • Library, Tool, Reference and Turn order cards.

Important Note. This is a preview copy of the game and as such components, rules, presentation and quality are all subject to improvement as the game runs its course on Kickstarter and achieves stretch goals.


OK so Fire in the Library is based around saving books from a burning Library. You and your fellow Librarians try to gain the most Knowledge by saving books. Get to the books before your competitors and earn yourself Bravery points as well. A game of Fire in the Library is played Over a series of variable turn order rounds. During these rounds books will be destroyed by the fire. As this happens the remaining books in that subject will become more valuable. But because the fire rages on the chances of saving those books becomes harder to achieve. Once any section of the library completely burns down the game will end and the Librarian with the greatest amount of combined Knowledge and Bravery will claim the win.


A game begins by sorting the Library cards by both book section (colour) and Value (lowest to highest). You will all then claim a Librarian token and a colour coded reference card (I could find no reason for the colour coding as all were identical). Book and Fire tokens are put into the draw bag. Players are dealt Tool cards. Turn order is randomly allocated and your ready to begin, in following rounds you will choose your turn order with lowest score choosing first.

  • On your turn you have a few options to choose from based on what has happened to you earlier in the round.
  • Save a Book- Draw a token from the bag placing it onto your turn order track.
  • Play a Tool- Play one of your Tool cards. (these may allow you to score a card twice, continue your turn or steal books).
  • Score Knowledge- Stop saving books and gain Knowledge.

You need to be careful though because as you try to draw books to save them you risk causing the fire to spread. The more books players save the more the chance of a spreading fire happening. When this happens the player tries to use Tools to stop the fire spreading, if they cannot do this they lose the books they have collected. The Sections of the library connected with each of those book’s colours are destroyed as well. This will increase the value of that section of the Library but also mean that there are less parts of that section left. They score no Knowledge, return their tokens to the bag. Adding extra fire tokens as indicated and drawing a new tool card. Play then passes to the next player.


Scoring within the game is based on the current value of that section of the library (Knowledge) and on how much risk you took on your turn order card (Bravery). After all players have had a turn a section of the library burns. As soon as the last card from any section is burned the game ends and scores are tallied.


Here we have a game which is unashamedly luck reliant on what you draw. BUT and yes it is a big but the potential rewards and options for clever play choices. Do you try for that extra book? Do you have a Tool to help stop the fire spreading and gain you an extra decision? If you are behind you get to choose earlier for the next rounds turn order Gaining a possible scoring advantage in the next round. All these decisions will affect your chance of claiming victory. So clever thinking over the risk over reward level is the key to victory.


So final thoughts time. Fire in the Library is a nice little game that plays quickly. It feels well balanced with the Tool card powers. I enjoyed the solo variant and there was a nice AI option built in to add an extra challenge. If you can allow for the heavy luck element and take it for what it is as a lightweight quick filler you will find it a bit of fun. Suitable for family play and meet-up play. Game group play occasional as a quick snack between meatier products. Like a lot of push your luck games. If a player has a couple of really good draws it can force you to push your luck more than you would do otherwise in an effort to try to catch up. I say this as getting off to a flying start first round and then going a little more conservative in the following rounds. Or maybe even drawing to try to force a spread of the fire to try ending the game quickly are sound tactics. This can be combated by good turn order choices going forward.

So in short, Quick, Lightweight, Luck heavy, Fun. With some luck mitigation possible.

  • For my Shelf—Maybe.
  • Play Again—Yes.
  • Recommend a Friend—Maybe

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

Kitty Cataclysm


Game by


A Preview by


  • 2-5 Players
  • 10-15 minutes
  • 7+ Ages

What is Kitty-Cataclysm?

You and your fellow felines are a bunch of temperamental squabbling cats. You are keen to gain the most ‘Meowny’. You will strut your stuff scratching and biting your way to the top. You won’t think twice about stepping on the shoulders of others to get there (or their tails, heads or any other bits actually). Will you have what it takes to claim your rightful place as the Top-cat?

What is in my Litter Tray?

Inside the box of Kitty-Cataclysm you will find, A deck of cards and a rules sheet. Yes that’s it. No you do not need anything else. Well apart from other players, but they never come in the box. Although as it is all about being cats you might find one of them trying to sit in the box.


At the time of writing Kitty-Cataclysm has just successfully funded on Kickstarter. Bez has now gone to work on refining the artwork (well to be honest Bez is now starting the art). The preview copy I received was full of hand drawn sketches which if I a, honest I really liked and if they had been given a touch of colour I would have said they were good to go. Sometimes simple is best.

How does it work?

When playing a game of Kitty-Cataclysm you need to be ready to mess with your opponents at every opportunity. Take no prisoners and show no mercy. You start a game with five cards. The starting player plays a card in front of them into a personal ‘Kitty’ then completes the action on the card. Play passes to the next player and so on. If on their turn a player cannot play a card due to having none in their hand. Or a draw from the central stack cannot be completed due to too few cards, the game ends. Count up the ‘Meowny in your ‘Kitty’ and your hand, highest total wins.

Sounds simple?

On the surface Kitty-Cataclysm is a very simple game. To be honest, under the fur Kitty-Cataclysm is a very simple game. But the action on the cards do lead to some surprisingly deep thinky moments. Will you choose to steal 2 cards from another player or try to offload some of your less helpful cards by choosing a card with ‘Donate X’ on it? Some cards are worth negative ‘Meowny’ as well. Do not fall into the trap of hoarding cards though as should a ‘Cat-aclysm’ or ‘Cat-astrophy’ card be played you will lose all your cards over a certain number.


Kitty-Catalysm is very strategy-light. Choosing which card to play when and who to target with an action is in reality the sum depth. This is more a game of Chaotic pun filled dickery or the highest order.

Who is it for?

Here is a quick lightweight game that is suitable for everybody. Yes even those who dislike or are allergic to cats. 7 year olds can easily play this independently. It is safe for Family play, quick meet-up fun and also suitable for a game group when your waiting on a player to turn up or a quick ‘snack’ in between meatier games. In a direct quote from the Kickstarter page

This game is chaotic.

You can be a dick to your friends and family.
There are many cat puns.
You need to think about what card to play.

That is pretty much the entire game.”

My thoughts.

I really like Kitty-Cataclysm. It is a bit of fun that can fit in your pocket, Only takes minutes to play, Suitable for everyone even cat-hating non gamers down the pub. Full of Cat puns of the highest order. Sometimes it is good to just lose the Cat-titude and take a mewment to have a litter Claw-some fun. Do yourself a favour. Contact BEZ and by this game when it is released on BEZ-Day in August 2018.

  • For my shelf – YES
  • Play again – YES
  • Recommend a friend – YES

I Was provided a copy of Kitty-Catalysm for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.

Dice Town




A review by


  • 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.


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.


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.



A Game by

Martin Wallace


ShilMil Games

A Preview by


  • 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?


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.


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



IDW Games

A review by


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


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.


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.


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.


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?


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



Monsoon Publishing

A review by


  • 2 Players
  • 30 Minutes
  • 14+ Ages


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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


Mind Bottling Games

A review by


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


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).


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.


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.


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!


Mind Fitness Games

A review by


  • 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.


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



Taylor Hayward

A preview by



  • 2-5 Players
  • 20-30 Minutes


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


Brain Crack Games

A preview by


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.