Monthly Archives: July 2017

Pepper & Carrot

PEPPER & CARROT

by

Loyalist Games

A Review

by

MAWIHTEC

1-4 Players (5 & 6 with Kickstarter add-ons)

20+ minutes

8+ Age

NB This review is based on a print-on-demand copy and does not include the unlocked stretch goals or add-ons. Also, the components are not produced to the final production quality post-Kickstarter.

Who? What? Where?

David Revoy has created a magical open source world inhabited by witches, dragons and fantastical magic.

Wait!

What!

You do not know of it?

Well lets sort that out right now!

Visit Pepper & Carrot Web-comic. Go on do it now. We will wait for you to get back………………

Aha there you are and I can tell by your smile you enjoyed it. Then let us carry on.

Loyalist Games have taken the magical and gorgeous world created by David Revoy and turned it into a game. To be honest a very clever game at that. Pepper & Carrot – The Game, is based on The Potion Contest and is at first glance a simple pattern matching game. But read on and you will be enchanted by this little gem.

Currently live on Kickstarter. Already funded and pushing through the stretch goals. At the time of writing it has only 8 days left to run. This is one game that is worth a look if you like to think while you are playing games.

What’s in the Box?

Before you even open the box you will be in love with the artwork which is extremely faithful to the original work by Revoy. There is a gentle and fun brightness to the box art. When you open the box you are greeted by the Rulebook, Punch boards, Order cards, Player boards and Recipe board. On every one of these things the art continues in the same beautiful style. There is a clever use of original and new artwork throughout.

For the Apprentice pledge level you will get

Player Boards

Recipe Board

Recipe Tokens

Ingredient Tiles

Recipe Tiles

Main Order Cards

Personal Order Cards

Rulebook

(Also available at higher pledge levels/ add-ons are extra player boards, artwork, bonus game boards and an absolutely adorable limited edition numbered handmade Carrot Plushie!)

How do I play it?

The gameplay in Pepper and Carrot is deceptively simple.

All players have their player boards randomly set up with the Ingredient Tiles. The main recipe board is then set up with the Recipe Tiles in a random order. This sets out the three recipes that you and your fellow witches are working towards.

Then you need to deal out the first three main order cards. Everyone can then perform the first action. This will be one of three actions (more have been unlocked on the Kickstarter)

Rotate: Turn one tile through 90 degrees.

Trade: Swap two adjacent tiles. Without rotating either of them.

Push: Slide and entire row or column one space along with the tile that leaves the board moving to the other end. Again without rotating it.

Once everyone has completed the first action that card is discarded and the cards move along one space allowing another card to be revealed. This allows players to see the next two upcoming actions and hopefully plan accordingly.

If however you do not want to take the action from the Main Order card you do have two alternatives. One is you can Pass, an action which will occasionally prove preferable or necessary. The other option available is to use one of your Personal Order Cards. These allow you to decide to take a different action from the current Main Order. This can be a very good option at times but it does come at a cost. You only get to use each Personal Order card once per game. Making them very valuable actions that you wont use lightly.

HUH! Is that it?

OK so I have my ingredients in the right order do I win? Well not necessarily. First off you need to make sure the paths that connect the ingredients all connect up correctly and then you need to make sure they do not connect to any extra ingredients (because we all know too many mushrooms makes the spells turn bad). If after checking you find your recipe is complete. Only then do you get to take the coveted Recipe Token. Trust me this is a lot harder than it sounds as the tiles have been cleverly designed to make it trickier then just 1,2,3 go. Complete all three recipes first to win the game. See I told you it was easy, right?

How good is it then?

I will be perfectly honest with you here. The artwork is beautiful. It is bright but not garish. Beautifully drawn and coloured images abound on the Player Boards, Main Boards and Backs of the Order Cards. The gameplay is scalable in its difficulty to allow for different ages and experience to play on an even footing and the Stretch Goals being reached will allow you to mess with the other players plans. Overall this is a very clever implementation of the pattern making style of game using a great and suitable theme that has a ton of replay-ability.

However no game is perfect and Pepper & Carrot is no exception. In my opinion the ingredient tiles and recipe tiles icons feel like they just miss the theme in their art style. That is not to say they are bad far from it. They are just not 100% right. Also the icons on the Order Cards while being accurate and functional could possibly have had a little more graphical work on them. They are clear though and that is the most important part of their function. The amount of player interaction, or should I say lack of. Will be a huge turn off for some. Personally I do not want a lot of player meddling. Especially on such a thinking strategic puzzle. Others will not be so keen.

The Good, The Bad and the Score-me!

The Good.

Beautiful artwork.

Deceptively deep strategy.

Great variability over the difficulty.

Almost limitless replay-ability.

Scales well from 1 player up.

Good for all ages.

Different abilities can play simultaneously as difficulty can be scaled independently.

The Bad.

Tile and card iconography a bit simplistic.

Little to none player interaction.

Engagement 5/5

This requires oodles of concentration.

Replay-ability 5/5

Different tile layout every time.

Component Quality 3.5/5

This was a print on demand review copy I fully expect the

actual release quality to be much higher.

Player Interaction 1/5

Stretch Goals will remedy some of this but this is not a take

that style of game.

  Overall 80% Definitely worth backing

My thoughts

Pepper and Carrot is a game I will happily have on my shelf as it will play well with all ages. It has already got the thumbs up from my 9yr old son and other family members. Not really a games meet-up type of game but will get lots of play at home.

Oh My Dies

THE COMPLETE SAGA OF

OH MY DIES!

An affectionate look at UKGE 2017 and boardgames in general

By

MAWIHTEC

The UKGE at Birmingham’s NEC is without doubt the UK’s premier Board and Tabletop gaming convention. In actual fact it is one of the top 3 in the world following this years attendances that came to in excess of 30,000 over the three days. It was also the largest UK Expo yet with 1 hall entirely for tournament play, various rooms for press and events like there wytherns lair (think dragons den for boardgames), Viking encampment outside the NEC, A food street, catering outside the Hilton hotel, Open gaming areas with space for in the region of 1000 people, 7-8 rooms for RPG play, A Starship Bridge simulator and all of this before you even get into the main trade hall (Hall 1) with its event stage, Cosplay area, Bring and buy, Family gaming, Prototype play section, Board games Library, Coffee stops and literally hundreds of retailers, designers, developers, publishers and manufacturers. If it is boardgames related the chances are you will find it there.

To give you a sense of scale for the main hall. Virtually in the centre was the Wotan Games’ Double Decker Bus (yes really a full sized double decker). What makes that so special I hear you ask? Well from entering the hall until you are about 20meters away, you cannot actually see it is there. Of the 30,000+ that attended the 3 days 16,000 were unique individuals indicating that a lot of people returned over 2 or 3 days. There is so much to see and do that in 1 day you would not even get to properly see 50% of the main hall.

Overall attendance was up by 44% on 2016 which gives you some idea of the rate of growth of not only the EXPO but the boardgames market as a whole. Long gone are the days when boardgames were the domain of spotty, sweaty, unwashed oddballs (some still exist). Or a game of scrabble, cluedo or monopoly with aunty Mabel at Christmas. Nowadays Boardgames are enjoyed by young and old, male and female, high-flying business executives, Celebrities or just your average Chris or Christine from next door.

All come together to enjoy and discover the wondrous array of delights that are appearing in this golden resurgence of boardgames. Even some of the “newer” games (I use this loosely as some are over 20 years old already) like Catan and Carcassonne are considered “old men” of gaming so fast is the pace of innovation. With some people having game collections in excess of 1000 games. But realistically the average size seem to be between 50-100. It has to be said that one of the biggest reasons for this is accessibility. With the rise of crowd funding sites like Kickstarter allowing the small indie game designer the opportunity to create games that the big publishers of the older style game would not risk funding. This is not because they are not good games, in fact some are absolutely outstanding. Add to all of this word of mouth via the rise in social media like Facebook and this once very niche hobby is growing exponentially with these “new style” games appearing more often in mainstream retail outlets.

Last year (2016), I attended my first ever EXPO along with my son (7) We went for the 3 days but were only staying for ½ day on Sunday. We spent far too much money on games, bought loads of geeky fun gear including an exact replica of the 12th Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver courtesy of It’s an ASHTON. We played demos of lots of different games at the same time meeting some of the designers and developers of those games, They were universally friendly and totally enthusiastic about not only their own games but the hobby as a whole. Every single person we met was friendly polite and willing to offer advice, join us for a game or just chat about the hobby in general. We had such a good time that when we had to leave on the Sunday lunchtime, my son did not want to go. The reason we had to go? was to take him to his own birthday party!

Fast forward 12 months to 2017. I was determined to experience even more of the EXPO phenomenon now that I was starting to review and play-test boardgames as well as offer advice on ways in which to improve Kickstarter page layouts. I then volunteered to assist ITB (Inside the Box) games, Creators of the successful award winning games Statecraft and Sub Terra, On both the Thursday build day and the Friday to demo Statecraft. This allowed me to experience the behind the scenes build up and the fun of the EXPO from both sides. Cue Thursday lunchtime and about 15 of us descended onto the bare framed stand and floor space, where we began laying carpet, putting up posters, setting up tables, creating two special “experience“areas and set up of the sales area. After 5½ hours of us behaving like a swarm of locusts in reverse,. We were ready! Well as ready as we could be. So began the final cribbing of the amended rule sets and demo play techniques. This was to allow the members of the public to enjoy the game and their time playing it as much as possible. There is a surprising amount of skill involved in playing a game well enough to not win but still only lose by 1 or 2 points!

Friday morning dawned. Walking into the main trade hall before the general public was a little like walking into wonderland before Alice arrived. It was abundantly clear that every single one of the hundreds of other stands had done exactly the same process as we had. There was a gentle buzz of anticipation and a tangible almost electric feeling similar to that one you get just before a large thunderstorm breaks overhead. We final pep talked, checked play table set-ups and straightened out branded T-Shirts. Every other stall was going through exactly the same ritual of primping and preening getting them selves readier than they were already. Suddenly the buzz of excitement seemed to lift up a couple of notches and the tannoy exploded into life “5…4…3…2…1. Welcome to UK Games Expo 2017” a cheer rose up from outside the hall as the crowds surged forward. My mouth was suddenly dry, too late to back out now! Volume steadily rising. For a moment you can’t even remember the name of the game in front of you let alone how to play it. Then, a chair scrapes, your smile appears “Hello!” and so it begins…..

3 Hours later you realise your smile is probably now a permanent muscle spasm, Your voice sounds like used up sandpaper. A quick drink and a bite to eat, you cannot wait to dive back in. The next time reality returns is when the tannoy announces 10 mins to closing, Your feet and legs ache, You can hardly talk, you are completely exhausted but you have had so much fun. This is where your expo begins. You go back to the hotel have a quick shower, throw on some clean clothes, grab a bite to eat from one of the food stalls outside the hotel (I recommend the beef burritos they are something else) and head into the Hilton to try and find a game to play. You see someone you recognise from earlier in the day. Thankfully they have a spare seat in the already crowded gaming halls. You sit down and start to play. This is for me one of the highlights of the EXPO. Hundreds upon hundreds of people enjoying a mutual love of board-gaming. Where every person regardless of age, race, creed, nationality or ability is welcomed with open arms and treated as an absolute equal and friend. You love games, they love games that is all that matters. It is like an immense family gathering without all the bickering. Next thing your aware of is it is well past midnight and you can hardly keep your eyes open. You return to your room, lie down on your bed.

Morning happens suddenly and without warning. After a relaxing start you grab a hearty breakfast. With so much to see and do you do not want to go hungry. Head over to the NEC and join the hundreds of people waiting patiently to enter the halls when it opens. Mentally you have a list of games you are looking to buy and a steely determination to not go “critical” like last year buying everything you could. Finally the doors open, the crowd now numbering in the thousand instead of hundreds surge forward. You pass security and “OOH Shiny” your list is gone, your carefully crafted route forgotten. Around mid afternoon you realise your starting to feel hungry. So you sit down to eat and survey your joyous acquisitions. You very quickly realise your purchases only contain 1 or 2 games from your mental list and your budget is long since destroyed. You spend the remainder of the day playing demos. Determined to stay strong and not buy any more games. Heroically you manage until the 10 minutes to closing announcement and it happens. There on a shelf you spot a game all on its own. It looks lonely lost and forlorn. You have never heard of it and the internet is not brilliant. It could be complete rubbish…. But it is only £10. At that price how bad could it be. So with one final box tucked safely under your arm you return to the hotel. Your feet and legs have that familiar ache from yesterday. You carefully stack all the games onto the bed and take a picture of your “haul” posting it to Facebook (yes that is a thing).

Tomorrow will be different you swear to yourself. You pull a sheet of hotel paper towards you and carefully list out those “must have” games. Using the internet you check out the best prices online, working out your maximum spend. Ooh it is 7:30pm already. Do you go to the restaurant? No the street stalls were good value for money. You might even play a game or two. But you will not stay as late tonight. 1am your head hits the pillow what a great day you have had.

Sunday dawns. This is your chance the hall opens ½hour before trading begins. Plenty enough time to find what you want from your list making sure it is the best price possible. Get in-BUY-Get out! With a spring in your step you set off. This is where you discover, Every single person attending has had exactly the same thought as you….

Fast forward….”The UK Games Expo 2017, is now closed, Thank you for coming” blares the tannoy. A huge cheer goes up from exhibitors and attendees alike. Another great weekend draws to a close…..Well except for one little thing. Your list. You sit down outside the hall, pull out your phone, go to that certain website and click on BUY. They will arrive tomorrow.

Next year will be different you promise yourself as you load up the car and head home for some sleep

SEE YOU JUNE 2018

Awful Fantasy

AWFUL FANTASY

A Review

by

MAWIHTEC

2-6 Players

15-30 minutes

14+ (Author note) Appropriate due to some stronger language used on 1 or 2 of the cards

Fantasy?

There you are a group of fantasy authors. Sat around the table talking about stories. Each one of you is desperate for the inspiration for your next story. So much so that you are willing to steal your friends-competitors ideas and try to sabotage their trains of thought. Will you be the first to tie down the three most important story components? Make no mistake each author is desperate to be the first to secure the “Plot” along with the “Protagonist” and “Antagonist” and get the use of the bestseller typewriter (win the game).

Write? I don’t write!

Do not panic you don’t need to actually write anything (phew). To achives success in Awful Fantasy you will draw cards from the “Fantasy” card deck. All the while hoping to collect the three cards needed to complete your story and secure your victory. Meanwhile you will be using cards gained from the “Awful” card deck to either help you or hinder your rivals.

What’s in the box?

1 Rulesheet

60 “Awful” deck cards

40 “fantasy” deck cards

28 “Author” cards

Fantasy Anatomy?

Each player will start the game with an Author card. This is one area in which this game shines it’s brightest light. Each Author within this game is a lovingly satarised version of real world Authors. Will you choose to be?…

Thumbless Adams with his infinite improbability drive?

Anne Lice with her immortality?

J.R.R Tokin and his one peek to rule them all?

J/K Rofling and her Handicus Changus Upicus?

Or maybe you would prefer

George R U Fartin and his Stark Brutality?

In fact all 28 Authors contained in this game have a unique special ability. Which it has to be said is cleverly named in a thematic style true to that real world counterparts writings.

Then we move onto the antagonists *baddies*. Which true to all fantasy tropes include characters like

The demonic Hellhound

The wizardly Novelmancer

and the ominous Dark Lord.

But “Who will be our hero?” I hear you scream. Your protagonists will be drawn from the eclectic mix of heroes you will find in any good pulp fantasy novel.

Will “Etcher Gumfoot” (detective) Solve the case?

Can the wise “Father Darol” foil the evil plans?

Or will the country woodcutter step up and become “The Chosen One”?

Your choice of plots would have pride of place in any airport bookshop’s

pulp fantasy section.

Can the hero “Solve a Murder”?

Avenge your Family”?

Or even “Time Travel”?

All of which come with a suitably tongue in cheek flavour text…

The time travelor fired, missing his target. His only chance to save the future lost! Luckily he had a time machine, So he went back and did it again”

How do I do it?

On your turn you have a few options available to you. You can

Complete a story to win the game.

Or

Play an Awful Card.

Or

Draw an Awful Card.

There are also some cards labelled “Interrupt” and they do exactly that. You can use them outside of your turn to hinder your opponents chances of completing their story.

HUH! Is that it?

So how does this all come together? The mechanics of this game are very basic. draw or play a card to try to complete a set of three cards. With a very small amount of “take that” sprinkled on top to mitigate to a degree the pure “luck of the draw” aspect to this game. “Does not sound like much of a game” you are saying right now! Normally I would be front and centre saying the same thing. EXCEPT for one overiding thing, The Theme.

The cards have plenty of flavour text cleverly written. The artwork has lots of very nice touches. (The Dark Lord is pictured sat on the toilet complete with evil helmet and pants down. Human skin toilet paper dangling near by) The creators have not stopped with the clever touches on the cards. Just scan the QR code on the back of the box for another. Awful Fantasy is one of those games that has two lives. On the one hand you have the very basic draw cards to complete a set with a large amount of luck involved. While on the other you have a very clever theme on top which if you are a lover of fantasy style fiction will feel familiar and fun in a gentle way.

What are you telling me?

If you are not a fantasy literature fan. Then this game will not generally engage you and you will probably not choose to buy due to the simplistic gameplay.

Children, will find the gameplay easy to engage with but will struggle with a lot of the theme as the fantasy leanings are most definitely aimed at the older player.

If however (like me) You love the fantasy genre and have a group that do so as well I can see this being a little bit of fun If you are able to immerse in the theme embellishing the stories as you go.

The Short Short version!

Gameplay- very simplistic set collection. Theme- love or hate. A game to enjoy after a dinner party with a couple of bottles of wine

Secret Weapons of the Third Reich

SECRET WEAPONS

of the

THIRD REICH

A REVIEW

by

MAWIHTEC

HISTORY?

Secret Weapons of the Third Reich is a game simulating the race for military might during World War II from the German perspective. Central Europe is falling into Nazi hands and all the best European scientists will soon compete under the aegis of Heinrich Himmler, for whom no scheme is too wild or too improbable. Secret submarine bases, the mysterious Base 211, V-1 buzz bombs and V-2 rockets, flying saucers or could the German scientists finally produce an atomic bomb to be dropped a flying saucer or with the warhead of a futuristic intercontinental V-3? Would it even be possible to build a huge solar satellite gun to strike America? All this and more will be answered when players work together in this semi co-operative look at alternative history based on weapons the Third Reich actually researched.

WAR WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Secret Weapons is at heart a worker placement game. Where players will try to develop the technology to advance their own personal weapons agenda. All the while working in a semi co-operative way with other players as you try to complete enough weapons to win the war (game). Each player controls one or more research groups working on a secret weapons project. Each research group has a leading researcher which provides you with an initial bonus when the project is assigned to them. A player tries to get their projects approved, then completed. Certain requirements must be met and costs paid in order to reach the completion of the project. Approved projects will generate specific amounts of resources funding. Completed projects also award victory points and in most cases produce weaponry. Weapons also counting towards the cooperative goal for all players. The number of weapons required for victory vary based on the number of players. If the required target is not met by the end of the game everyone loses.

HOW WHAT WHEN?

You start the game in 1938, one year before the outbreak of world war. At the start, players can only work towards their approved projects in the portion of the map representing Germany and Austria. After 1939, the expansion of Nazi Germany will allow you to deploy plants in occupied European territories. Some areas allow only research and development, others only weapon production, and still others only research and development for U-Boat projects. All the time though you are working in a “state of war”. What this effectively means is that as time goes on there are more and more enemy bombardments that can cause a great loss of resources and technologies. In addition, from 1943 Allied and Soviet advances on Berlin make the map gradually smaller, you will start to face logistical issues as space becomes restricted.

If a weapon is captured by the Allies, you lose not only victory points but also the overall weapons target recedes as well! You are forced into a certain amount of co-operation. Each player must balance his personal interests with the common need to share technologies complete the weapons produced goal. Cleverly through events one player may secretly become a traitor, working to help the enemy, and winning the game if all players lose.

HOW MANY?

Player Count is 1-4 players

Game time 2-3hr+

Ages: 12+

BITS?

80 Resources cubes

8 Player Cubes

40 Scientist cylinders

13 Control Chips

24 Project Plant Chips

86 Cards

4 Player Aids

12 Small White weapon Disc

1 Large White Weapon Disc

3 Large Black Cubes

1 D6

1 Game Board

CUBES, CHIPS CYLINDERS?

Being a medium weight worker placement game, immediately you are confronted by lots of cubes, cylinders and bits. At first it all seems very confusing. Unfortunately this is not helped by the rulebook. Which In this reviewers opinion is one of the most confusing I have read in a long time. There are several passages which for the first two or three read through s seem unfathomable. This could possibly be due to the fact that it is translated into English. But it could seriously benefit from a large revision. That to one side though. Once you start to get a grip on what you can and can’t do on your turn. It all starts to fall into place.

This is where I must share some honesty. When Jesus of 4dados first sent me a copy to review I found the rules to be so difficult to understand I put the game to one side for quite a while. Then after playing some Phil Eklund games I realised there was a lot of similarities and gave it another go. I am glad I did.

Yes the rules are poor and the components are not very thematic. BUT look past that and you will find a medium weight game with a surprisingly high level of turn complexity

After getting an understanding of the rules I think the solo variant while interesting is not really that challenging and definitely feel that this is a game that is best served by the full 4 player count. Then you will truly see the potential of this game. Yes you will need to put some serious effort into learning it Yes it is a very dry play. No it most certainly will not be for everyone. All that aside If you enjoy the Eklund “style” of game this should most definitely be on your radar to try

FINAL THOUGHTS?

I would love to see this game have a second edition print, with a (large) rulebook overhaul, an improvement production quality and visuals. With a little more development work, Secret Weapons of the Third Reich could find a larger audience beyond the more adventurous and accommodating game players willing to look past the rough edges.

SO

worth a try? YES

for everyone? NO

ZOMBIE BABIES

ZOMBIE BABIES

A Review

by

MAWIHTEC

This is a review of an early copy and therefore the artwork was not finalised fully. This in no way reflects on my review of this game.

2-4 Players

30-45 minutes

14+ (authors note) The only reason for this rating is CE testing. This game is more than suitable for children as young as 7/8

Zombie What?

Just a normal day. Mummy drops you at your nursery and says goodbye. Later your taken for a nap. There are screams! Your grown up drops you into the cot and runs to the door. She screams “They are ALL dead!!”

You hear thumping on the stairs…then nothing. Gugling and giggling makes you hide. You see one of the babies covered in blood green skin and yellow eyes a ZOMBIE!

The nursery is overrun with Zombie Babies. You need to act now. If mummy comes they will eat her as well.ou must Kill the Zombie Babies to save your mummy!

Lock and Load!

Your mission is to clear the nursery of Zombie Babies earning experience along the way in this head to head battle for survival and your mummy. Most experience at the end wins the game and saves their mum from a fate worse than death.

What’s in the box?

1 Rulebook

6 Dice

25 Special cards

14 Item cards

25 Quest cards

5 Boss cards

4 Hero cards

4 Player Star Chart cards

4 Player XP Tracker tokens

4 Reference cards

42 Health/Energy tokens

All components are likely to be added to or improved dependent on the level of success of the Kickstarter campaign.

Rules who need Rules?

Each player starts with 2 special action cards, a Hero, 3 Energy and 3 Health.

A random boss is placed at the bottom of the Quest deck (the remaining bosses are not used in the game).

Reveal a number of quest cards based on the number of players.

On your turn you can

Draw Special cards back up to 2.

Choose a quest to attempt. If you succeed quest goes under your Hero possibly increasing your stats, Giving you items and some valuable experience. But if you fail you face losing energy or health or worse.

OR

You can go for a sleep (hey all babies need nap time).

This will allow you to regain either 1 energy or 1 health.

Discard special action cards and redraw.

Discard some or all of the current revealed quests to redraw new ones.

N.B If the boss is in play you cannot nap tough!

When the Boss card is revealed all other quests are discarded and it is a fight to the death to save your mummy and everyone else.

Cards Shmards.

Hero cards have quite a bit of information on them. Which although daunting at first glance is actually very intuitive and easy to follow.

Along the bottom you have a space for your 3 stats used in Zombie Babies.

Intelligence (lightbulb),

Bravery(lion roaring),

Strength (clenched fist).

Each stat will have a number of images these indicate your initial number of dice to roll. This can change with the completion of quests, addition of items or even the use of the Special action cards (your opponants can use those cards against you so watch out!)

Down one side are your experience level achievements. When you reach certain amounts of experience you might get an extra re-roll or more health or energy.

Item cards. Will give you extra dice to roll or more re-rolls some will give you more than one bonus. But be careful you can only carry two items. So if you collect another you will need to discard.

Quest cards. These are either Zombie babies for you to defeat or activities for your hero to attempt. Examples include, Searching through the nappy bin or climbing the bookshelf. All of these will have items, re-rolls or stat bonuses for success as well as experience. With penalties of health or energy loss for failure some will even cause you to lose stats!

Boss cards. These are essentially tough versions of the Zombies you face in the quest cards. They provide you with a lot more experience as a reward for defeating them. Which can turn the course of a game in your favour.

Right in the Feels.

So how does this all come together? Well this is a very light and tongue in cheek look at the Zombie genre which will definitely appeal to the younger audience. The creators have been clever in their choice of artwork. Presenting you with gentle images which even the most nervous disposition would not find upsetting. When I first picked up Zombie Babies to review I did wonder how the theme would be handeled. I say this because it would be very easy for it to come across in a tasteless and cheap way. I was quickly reassured by a quick read of the cards. All the flavour text was written in a child friendly manner. That being said whilst playing with my 9 year old son. I did get a little too into character while reading some of the flavour text and he said it was a little scary but in an exciting way.

The iconography is very easy to understand with only a quick read of the rules required to ensure set-up was done correctly.

This is a game which can come to the table and be played without worrying about AP (action paralysis) as the options available to you are very straightforward. Unfortunately it is this simplicity which can actually become an issue. Everything is based on Dice rolling and if you have had bad luck with your dice rolls you can quickly fall behind on experience. The special action cards do give you a chance to mitigate this. But only having 2 available means your options are limited especially in a two player game. So much so that in five 2 player games we had runaway leader situation happen 3 times. With higher player counts this is much less of a problem as the amount of “take that” that goes on increases exponentially.

What are you telling me?

Zombie Babies is best played with 3 or 4 players.

I cannot really recommend it for 2 players, because it is a game that does rely a lot on the luck of the roll. Zombie Babies needs the extra player counts for the take that to really impact.

It is a light gentle filler game that is very suited for the family game session as something to play in between the bigger box games.

It is definitely a nice into gateway game for the younger audience with some nice touches and some nice artwork.

I think that the average game group would possibly find it to be a little light on depth for meet-up play (but amongst the right group it could work well).

I hope the creators look at getting the CE testing done as being able to put 7+ on the game box will make the game much more appealing to the right audience.

I look forward to seeing this do well on Kickstarter in July-August It will be interesting to see what some of the stretch goals the creators have up their sleeves.

Check out their Boardgamegeek listing for artwork and information

Zombie Babies

Back them from the 6th July on Kickstarter

Zombie Babies Kickstarter

DAIMYO’S FALL

DAIMYO’S FALL

A REVIEW BY

MAWIHTEC

Back story time

The Daimyo (a feudal lord in ancient Japan), has died in mysterious circumstances (cue dramatic music). Some unknown sorcery has caused the disappearance of all the males in the entire kingdom. The palace is full of incredible treasure. Called by the spirit of the Daimyo the remaining women along with some noblemen from other lands compete for the treasure and the right to claim the title of Daimyo before the kingdom is lost forever.

What is it then

Daimyo’s Fall is a competitive deck builder for 2-5 players. Players collect treasures before the last petal token is removed. Whoever has the most points at the end claims the title of Daimyo, and wins. At heart this is a deck-crafting game you can play a game in 60 minutes. Of course, familiarity with the game will make the game play faster. Do not be put off by the 14+ either this game is very accessible to those aged 9 or 10+. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter in just 28 hours and went on to almost treble it’s funding target by the time the Kickstarter finished. You can (at the time of writing) still late pledge for this game just visit https://tinyurl.com/y9kl4ohw and I urge you to do so.

My interest in it

I first came across Daimyo’s Fall on Facebook and the art work really stood out. So I contacted Francesco of Axis Mundi to get a closer look at this game. The version I played was an early play-test version with some early art and some art incomplete. That being said the art on show in the version I played an the art that has further been revealed on their Kickstarter page.

Is beautifully drawn and very evocative of the Japanese Anime cartoon style. This will appeal hugely to fans of this genre. The art work really fits the theme and despite the obvious temptations given the backstory. The artist has been very careful not to over sexualise the images while still retaining the Japanese flavour. Deck-builders are common place amongst gamers now with most collections having at least one. But this really does stand out with its much more in depth approach. I for one would be happy to have this on my shelf and on my table.

I won’t go in to too much detail in this review over what you can do on your turn because the number of options could make it seem overly complicated. This is very far from the truth with it only taking a few rounds to get most of the rules and card interactions understood.

Suffice to say this game really is a lot more in depth than most deck builders I have played.

If you check out Board Game Geek there is a current rule book on there (non final). Boardgame geek

Game-ify me

The basic gameplay run through follows a pattern that would be very familiar to anyone who has played a deck-building style game in the past.

Set-Up

Each player starts the game with the identical decks of cards.

All the heroes are shuffled into a deck and one is randomly disbursed to each player.

You can purchase more heroes, but you cannot have more than three heroes. As in normal deck-builders, you shuffle your starting deck and place your hero card in front of you. It is never shuffled into your deck.

The Domain

Is the play area of Daimyo’s Fall and represents the palace of the deceased Daimyo, the treasure, and the lotus tree at the top of the castle. Once all petals fall from the lotus tree, the power of the Daimyo is lost. The loss of petals in Daimyo’s Fall represents a limit to the length of the game. Treasure cards, when played, release petals from the tree, so pay attention to the loss of petals throughout the game. depending on the number of players there will be either 40 or 50 petals.

Then there are six face-down decks in the domain. You have a shuffled ninja reinforcement deck as well as a shuffled samurai reinforcements deck with face-up cards available to purchase. In addition to these, you will have a face-down hero deck, a ninja treasure deck, a samurai treasure deck, and a regalia deck. Finally one hero card is drawn and placed face-up. This hero card forces a loss of petals based on the petal loss number displayed. The domain is now set-up ready for play.

Game Play

The game is played in a series of rounds. And an important note here is when choosing reinforcement or treasure cards. Only samurai can use samurai based cards and the same is true for ninja reinforcements and treasures. If you have an active samurai hero, be sure to build a deck with a lot of samurai reinforcement cards.

During the Main Phase.

Players can take as many of the following actions as they wish, a player can:

  • Deploy reinforcements or treasure. i.e. play a card and gain the bonuses immediately.

  • Purchase reinforcements or heroes.

  • Sell one or more reinforcement cards from your hand to gain Mon (the currency). Money gained this way can’t be saved or banked so make sure to spend it. Heroes can also be sold, but you must always have one hero.

  • Use a Heroes’ skill. Skills are usually activated by paying a cost.

  • Inactive heroes can use skills, but exhausted heroes cannot.

  • Return or Discard a reinforcement card from your hand. Some cards have bonuses when you discard or return a card to its specific deck.

  • Spend trade points. Trade points are gained through reinforcements and are special currency.

  • Loot- When the actions match the active hero’s loot condition,

players can chain card effects to increase effectiveness of the actions they have.

End Game

The end of the game occurs when the last petal token is removed.

At this point, players count their victory points from reinforcements,

Treasure and hero cards. Ties are broken by the person who has the most treasure cards.

Extra interest

Although the game follows the traditional deck building rules, there are some fun interactions.

There are times you can trade out treasures by using loot points.

By spending up to 3 loot points, you can have three different “trade’ effects,

depending what you want to do. You can trade the same class of treasure for another,

trade a class of treasure for a different class of treasure,

or trade out treasure for a single Regalia card.

Regalia are powerful treasures and it can often be useful to trade for those cards.

Another interesting interaction is duelling. Active heroes can duel other heroes.

The attack and defence value of the heroes are based on their purchase and sell costs, respectively.

Simply compare the attack value (purchase) value against the defender’s sell value, and the higher number wins.

However, you can boost your value by discarding cards in your hand. So,

you may discard cards and use the purchase cost as a boost to your attack or defence.

Doing so means you may not have many cards in hand, but it may guarantee a win.

Heroes will have a duel condition if they win or they may gain other bonuses.

A hero that loses a duel must become exhausted.

Complicated?

At first, there may seem to be large amounts of information on some of the cards.

However, you don’t need all the information at once and you’ll learn what the icons mean rather quickly. Text that matches a specific class is colour-coded pink or purple for easy identification. In addition, words in bold print call out loot conditions. So you always have a clear understanding of what must be done to gain those treasure cards.

The rulebook identifies some confusing interactions with cards and clarifies rules in a clear and interesting way. The examples are well thought out and identified in the rules. In addition, there is a summary of the gameplay, index of terms, a list of symbols and their meanings, and some clarifications.

In Short

If you like anime inspired games as well as deck building games,

Daimyo’s Fall gives enough unique qualities that it’s a no brainer to late pledge and support.

Will you choose samurai or ninja to claim the great Daimyo’s treasure before the last petal on the lotus tree falls?

Summary

I really liked Daimyo’s Fall. It brings some welcome new twists to the Deck-building / Crafting genre while still retaining the accessibility of familiarity. There is extra depth and interaction available across the whole game. The artwork is very bright and spot on for a game illustrated in the Japanese anime style. I strongly urge you to visit the Kickstarter page and look into Late pledge or visit their website or Facebook page