Monthly Archives: November 2017

Asking for Trobils

asking for

Trobils

by

Breaking Games

A review by

Mawihtec

  • 2-7 Players
  • 60-90 Minutes
  • 12+ Age

Introducing.

Asking for Trobils was originally released in 2015 by Kraken Games following a successful Kickstarter funding campaign. It was quite well received in the game community. With some notable reviewers speaking well of it. Now we fast forward to 2017 and Breaking Games in association with Kraken Games is releasing a second edition. So what has changed and how well does it play two years on (a veritable lifetime in board-gaming)?

Bits.

When you first hold the game box the first thing that will strike you is ORANGE! Lots and lots of orange. The artwork has definitely been tangoed (google tango ads if you don’t understand that reference). There is Orange writing, orange monsters, orange spaceships, orange…well you get the idea. Open the box and the contents are (apart from orange there is lots of that).

  • Circular Game Board,
  • 32 Riff-Raff Cards,
  • 20 Trobil Cards,
  • 8 City Cards,
  • 12 Riff-Raff Standees,
  • 48 Connection Cards,
  • 7 Ship Cards,
  • 22 Mega Traps tokens,
  • 46 Space Slugs tokens,
  • 46 Space Carrot tokens,
  • 46 Trap tokens,
  • 44 Credit tokens (1 & 5 value),
  • 10 Resource tokens,
  • 28 Ship Miniatures,
  • 40 Acrylic Ore,
  • 40 Acrylic Crystals.

Quick note for those with the original first edition. Here is a quick rundown of the changes in the second edition.

  • Art→ Some tweaking and refining.
  • Components→ Wood cubes and discs now full art punchouts.
  • MSRP→ reduced.
  • Riff-Raff cards→ More Orangified, some wording tweaks and some re-balancing to reduce overpowered cards.
  • Ships→ NO change.

Play.

OK so how do you play Trobils? Asking for Trobils is at heart a worker placement game. Add on touches of pick up and deliver, resource management and very mild take that.

The titular Trobils are a space vermin (think weird orange space rats with lots of eyes and teeth). No one knows where they have come from. They have started to appear on the planet Paradise. You and your competing Trobil Hunters have been tasked with eradicating the infestation. You will need to use all your talents to acquire space carrots, space slugs, traps, mega traps, ore and crystals to ensnare the Trobils. If you cast them into the sun (the only known way to destroy these pests) you will be rewarded. Ship upgrades and mercenaries will help and hinder you and your competitors. Who will prove the most successful once the infestation is cleared?

Details.

Each player starts with 1 or 2 ships (depending on player count), a few credits and a ship card. On your turn you can place a ship on any of the locations on the board to take the relevant action. This will range from collecting Carrots, Gems or Ore. Just for visiting the location, to spending some resources or money to get better resources or even ships. You will need to do this to allow yourself to have the amount of resources required to visit Paradise and capture one of the Trobils. Each Trobil card shows the amount and type of resource required to capture it. You can only capture one Trobil at a time so repeated visits will be needed. If you visit the sun in the centre of the board you can cast the captured Trobils into the sun gaining a number of credits based on how difficult they were to catch. At the end of the game all Trobils count towards your final points tally regardless of if you have cast them into the sun or not.

As the game progresses you will capture Trobils and eventually reveal City Cards. These signify the clearing of the planet of its infestation and blocks Trobils from re-entering in those spaces. Once all spaces are blocked the game ends and you calculate the points to find the winning Trobil Hunter.

Extra notes.

All very simple and straightforward so far. Now we move onto a few actions that makes Asking for Trobils stand out.

The first of these is You can upgrade your ships. These upgrades apply to all of your ships only and is cleverly implemented. When you visit the Space Station you can for 2 credits purchase a Connection (upgrade) you place this upgrade adjacent to any side of your ship card. You ship card is six sided and has an icon matching 6 of the game locations. From that point on every time one of your ships visits that location you receive the extra resource depicted on your connection upgrade. Want to get more than one bonus per visit? No problem simply attach extra connection upgrades at an increased cost and you are good to go.

Next we look at the Riff-Raff cards. Think of these as hired guns or mercenaries when you visit the “Broken Planet” space you can receive 2 credits and a Riff-Raff card which is used immediately. They can earn you resources or credits or even protect you from other players Riff-Raff. Some of them are instant reward others will have a standee placed on the board and provide some form of benefit over time.

The final quirk in Asking for Trobils, and for me the most interesting. Is the “bumping” mechanic. Normally when you play worker placement games, once a space has been used. That is the space blocked for the rest of the round. Here things are a little different. Even if the space you want to use is occupied you can still use it. But, it comes at a cost. When you place your spaceship on the occupied space you need to hand the opponents ship back to them. This in effect gives them a free extra turn. The question you are left with, is the use of the space worth enough to you to allow an opponent an extra turn? In fact in a 7 player game this can cause a cascade effect. With several players getting an extra turn one after the other. Making for some interesting decision choices.

Final thoughts.

Here we have a game that is greater than the sum of its parts. One the one hand it is a simple light family weight gateway worker placement game. While on the other hand there are some clever game mechanics in play that encourage deeper thinking. Without going to heavy. The Art work is appealing to probably most people (except those that hate orange). Iconography make the game simple to learn and also teach. My 9yr old son really enjoyed playing as did my wife and a couple of people from gaming circles. No it is not heavy but it is gentle and warm. Recommended for the shelf and at the lower 2nd edition price point will not burn a hole in your pocket. At time of writing $45 (approx £35) on Breaking Games website.

Footnote:- The review copy we received came with a punchboard error. Even though it was “just a review copy” Breaking Games were horrified and did their best to rectify this issue as quickly as possible. If only all publishers were this quick and efficient.

Pro.

  • Bright.
  • Easy to learn.
  • Easy to teach.
  • Some interesting mechanics.
  • Suitable for wide age range.
  • Family friendly.
  • Fun artwork.
  • Not too heavy.

Con.

  • Possibly too light for some.
  • ORANGE.
  • Artwork a little too childlike for some.

I was provided a copy of “asking for Trobils” for review through the Board Game Exposure group. This game has now been forwarded on to another member for review. this does not affect my review or my final thoughts on the game.

49

The Game of

49

by Breaking Games

A review by Mawihtec

  • 2-5 Players
  • 30 Minutes
  • 10+ Age

Introducing.

Imagine just for a moment.

What would the love child of Bingo & Connect4, conceived in an auction house look like?

Good, good, you have just visualised The Game of 49.

The aim of the game is to successfully get four of your counters in a row before any or your opponents. But instead of just placing the counters anywhere you need to win the space at auction. And all spaces are drawn randomly.

7 X 7.

When you open your game box. You will find,

  • 60 Cards,
  • Player tokens,
  • Auction space marker token,
  • First player marker token,
  • Money in 1, 5, 10, 20 denominations,
  • Game board,
  • Card tray,
  • Money tray,
  • 2 Player rules reference card,
  • Rules booklet.

Now it needs to be mentioned that the box art immediately gives you a feeling of mass market style game….

Come back here!

Did I say that was a bad thing? No it does mean that it could potentially have a much broader appeal than niche or hobby games. When we look at the contents it is clear that the “mainstream” feel is still in evidence. Both paper money and Tiddlywinks style tokens are there. I know this does not make it a bad game. You do need to be aware that component quality is not high end.

Speaking of the players tokens leads me to the biggest problem. Colour! With the five sets of tokens all being translucent obviously colours are muted. That being said there is NO excuse these days for not thinking about colour blindness and accessibility in games. It literally costs nothing to ensure most people with a colour sight deficiency can tell which token is which. The worst offenders in this case are the Red and Orange tokens. Grab a handful and even with 20/20 vision it take effort to separate them properly.

42 + 7.

The play style of. The game of 49 is deceptively simple. On a players turn a card is turned over. Players then take it in turn order to pass or bid on the card. If you pass you cannot bid again. Highest bid wins the card and places their token on that number. Get 4 in a row (3 in a row in 5 player) and you win.

50 – 1.

If that sounds too simple? It is because it is. There are a couple of wrinkles to the basic premise which start to take The Game of 49, up a level or two. In the first instance as you all start with a set amount of money, it is all too easy to bid too high and find yourself not able to win the number you need. At the same time you need to bid enough on the other numbers to stop other players completing their row of 4. There are several “payoff-wild” cards. When these appear they allow you to bid in the same way as single number cards. Only in this case. If you win you get to place your token on one of a range of numbers, 1-24, 25-40, 41-48. this starts to bring in some tactical positioning of tokens. Can you block an opponent while giving yourself an advantage?

Further to this, once a token is placed its position is final. Except for the 49 centre square. There are several 49’s in the deck these allow for a little bit of smart thinking. The winner of the 49 card places their token on the central space. If however they already have a token there? They are then allowed to place the token on any empty space on the board. If another players token is on the 49 space then it can be knocked off and returned to the player.

The “pay-off” part of these bonus cards is that after tokens have been placed, all players collect 7 money for each token they have on the board up to 49 total.

6 X 8 + 1.

So how does this all pan out then? If you take “The Game of 49” for a family fun type game you will likely not be disappointed. There is no highbrow mental brain burning here. I can see this being played at family gatherings. A perfect example is Christmas. Simple to learn and teach. Nothing to scare those who are only used to monopoly and cluedo type games. In fact I can easily see myself sat there feeling pretty smug. Knowing that I am almost certain of winning because no-one can afford to bid high on the number I need when BAM!!! Auntie Mabel bids everything she has just to stop you (all because you forgot her birthday two years ago geez, get over it Mabel I said sorry). If that made you smile then you are the target audience for this game.

I struggle to see this being seen at meet-ups or game nights.

Player count? Is I have to say a touchy subject. I personally think at 2 player this is much more “solitaire” depending on numbers drawn. 5 Player is too chaotic especially with the aforementioned red-orange colour issues. 3 player is OK. 4 player is the sweet spot there is enough take that style blocking without it becoming un-wieldy.

56 – 7.

Not a “bad” game. Just not a great game. OK for family fun more than serious gaming. Components functional at best. Card tray awkward to use. Money tray is OK. I would be happy to play with my son and wife but would get bored after a few plays. For me not a long term game. But OK for occasional family fun with non gamers.

Pro.

  • Simple to learn.
  • Simple to teach.
  • Accessible to all ages equally.
  • Won’t scare off non-gamers.
  • Not too think-y.

Con.

  • Components.
  • One trick pony.
  • Very luck based.
  • Too simplistic for some.

I was provided a copy of “The Game of 49” for review through the Board Game Exposure group. This game has now been forwarded on to another member for review. this does not affect my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Dawn of the Peacemakers

DAWN

of the

Peacemakers

Preview

by

Mawihtec

Currently live on kickstarter

Dawn.

Dawn of the Peacemakers is created by Sami Laakso. If the name sounds familiar? It should. He is the same creator and artist behind the brilliant Dale of Merchants & Dale of Merchants 2. Right off the bat you can tell Dawn of the Peacemakers is set in the same universe as the DoM games with the anthropomorphic characters of birds, lizards, foxes etc. Unlike those previous games where profit wins the day. Here the only way to win is by stopping a war.

WAR !?!

Where Dawn of the Peacemakers tries to be different is that instead of stopping a war before it begins. Conflict has already started, your role as a group of adventurers is to turn the hostilities in such a way that both sides are ready to call a truce and withdraw. Yes this is a co-op, campaign, skirmish game with legacy style elements.

Wait what?

Yes you did just ready that right. Dawn of the Peacemakers is a co-operative board-game where as the game progresses through the campaign you will unlock different abilities and environmental attributes (Not all are guaranteed to assist you) to turn the tide of hostility. Be careful though as fail to achieve the balance can leading to escalation and ultimately loss for all involved.

You are also gaining a skirmish style game as well where you can control one of the armies each and go head to head with an opponent in battle. You will be able to utilise the unlocks from the campaign mode missions to assist you. So the skirmish battle after 10 missions will be hugely different to the one you have out of the box at the start.

Supplies

The copy of Dawn of the Peacemakers that was sent to BGE reviewers was not the final production copy. So component quality was not comment-able. If however the standard of the preview copy is anything to go by, then it is showing a lot of promise. During the Kickstarter campaign upgrades and enhancements will become available. Also the copy received did not have the miniatures but standees. The following list is the planned set for the game before stretch goals are added.

  • 420 Cards,
  • 1 Double sided game board,
  • 2 Double sided boards
  • 30 Miniatures,
  • 30 Custom miniature bases,
  • 30 Double sided terrain tiles,
  • Custom Die,
  • Various tokens (damage fortification etc.),
  • Campaign rulebook,
  • Skirmish rulebook,
  • Index rulebook,
  • Undisclosed unlock-able components.

Noon.

You and your fellow adventurers have been called upon to stop the brewing war between the Ocelots and the Macaws. So how do you achieve this? You are on the battlefield stood between the two hostile armies and feeling decidedly vulnerable. You will each in turn use cards from your hands to allow you to move, fortify, heal, damage or a myriad of other things. While you will not come under direct fire yourself. You must work together to ensure that no one side becomes dominant. If that happens then the stronger side will win and war will ravage the land (you lose). An army that loses its leader will lose the will to fight and surrender (you lose). An army whose motivation to fight drops to low (you lose). You see the pattern? The only way to succeed is not to stop the fighting but control the losses on either side, ensuring both sides lose the will to fight on at the same time (at least in the beginning). Over the course of the campaign you will encounter many scenarios. You do not need to win every one (it would help though). Instead you need to focus on the bigger picture of stopping all out war.

Theme.

The story weaved through the game (as experienced so far). Is one that has depth and engagement. You will start to care about your characters and how they achieve their goals. Your allies in this adventure will work with you assisting you along the way. The rules were well explained if a little complex initially due to the new terminology encountered. The Index book is a good addition allowing you to look up a particular term for a clear explanation.

Evening

Overall I really enjoyed Dawn of the Peacemakers. I do think it has the feel of a gateway to legacy/co-op style games due to the friendly artwork which hides some of the depth to come. The first intro campaign explains the base rules well. A problem I did encounter was with the enemy order decks. Which while a great idea, due to a bad draw of them lead to my first play of the intro campaign taking much longer than was needed. This was because we had managed to get to a point where we just needed one soldier to die and we would win the scenario. It took 8 more rounds for this to occur with nothing much happening in the meantime. NOTE this was not repeated on the second play as it flowed much better and the unlocks allow for much more flow reducing the possibility of this happening. But it does need mentioning. I could see this working well in a family setting as well as a regular game group. It is a game that demands the investment of time to play the campaign so is less suited for the ad-hoc game night. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product on sale.

This pre-production copy of Dawn of the Peacemakers was sent to Board Game Exposure for preview. No money changed hands and no obligation for review content was inferred with the supply of the game.

Scythe

SCYTHE

From

Stonemaier Games

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-5 Players (7 with expansion)
  • 90-115 minutes.
  • 14+

Introducing.

Scythe is set in the alternate history 1920’s region known as Europa. The great war leaves scars on the memories of all who survived. The War was fuelled by the mysterious city-state known as “The Factory”. It supplied huge heavily armoured mechs to all of the surrounding faction states. Now it has closed its doors leaving the land uncontrolled and resource rich. You have been given the task of asserting your factions dominance in the region. A word to the wise however. The native farmers while peaceful will not support you if you try to be tyrannical. Show them a better way and they will follow you happily to victory.

Constituents.

To start with you will discover a beautiful box. Seriously stop and take a little while to admires the scene your faced with. Quite simply sumptuous artwork from Jakub Rozalski . Lifting the lid of this heavy box (yes it is heavy) you will discover.

  • 1 Game board.
  • 20 Custom “wood” tokens.
  • 20 Custom “oil” tokens.
  • 20 Custom “metal” tokens.
  • 20 Custom “food” tokens.
  • 42 Combat cards.
  • 28 Encounter cards.
  • 23 Objective cards.
  • 12 Factory cards.
  • 5 “Riverwalk” reference cards (1 per player).
  • 5 “Quick-start” cards (1 per player).
  • 23 “Solo-play” automa cards.
  • 2 Rulebooks (1 normal and 1 solo play version).
  • 1 Quick reference guide.
  • 1 Achievement sheet.
  • 2 Power dials.
  • 80 Cardboard coins.
  • 8 Resource multiplier tokens.
  • 11 Encounter tokens.
  • 6 Structure Bonus tiles
  • Plastic bags and plastic containers.
  • Insert for the miniatures.

Phew quite a haul. But wait we are not finished yet we now come to the components for the players themselves.

  • 20 Mech miniatures (4 per player).
  • 5 Character miniatures (1 per player).
  • 5 Wood action tokens (1 per player).
  • 30 Wood stars (6 per player).
  • 40 Custom wood Meeples (8 per player).
  • 5 wood popularity hearts (1 per player).
  • 5 Wood power tokens (1 per player).
  • 20 Custom wood structures (4 per player).
  • 20 Wood recruit tokens (4 per player).
  • 30 Wood tech cubes (4 per player).
  • 5 Player mats (1 per player).
  • 5 Faction mats (1 per player).

Now you can see why the box is so flipping heavy. What is nice to note is that where some designers might have chosen to just use cubes, hexes and circles for their player pieces. Here we have Popularity tokens shaped as hearts and Buildings that look like buildings. The players worker meeples are each faction specific styled as well as different colours. The players characters are each beautifully realised with their companion animal and the factions mechs are each differently designed to give that sense of ownership.

Note. There are special, premium and collector editions of Scythe where some of the components have been upgraded even further. Metal coins, more cards, more containers and realistic resources are all available.

Play style.

When you first look at the artwork from Scythe you are presented with an interesting contrast. On the one hand you have farmers toiling in the fields for the harvest. Meanwhile soldiers ride into battle on horseback foot and inside huge steam powered battle machines. So is it a game of conflict? Well yes it can be. But that is not the only way to play. You can just as easily play with zero conflict and win comfortably. Here we have an Engine building, strategy game with many different elements and many paths to victory. If you want all out war and conflict I suggest you look elsewhere.

Play.

In a game of Scythe you will take on the role of one of five factions each with a unique leader and his/her own special backstory and a faction specific set of abilities. You will start of in your “home” territory and only a couple of workers to assist you (very reminiscent of the old school civilisation builders). You will need to produce resources allowing you to develop and grow. This will in turn allow you to produce your mechs these will allow you to cross water to the central land. Gaining access to more resources and eventually reaching the gates of “The Factory”. Along the way you will achieve milestones which will grant you stars. These can be awarded for winning battles, completing objectives, building, upgrading, recruiting, employing all the workers, becoming super popular (18 points) or super powerful (16 points). These last two are harder than you might think. As soon as a player has received their sixth star the game ends. No “finish the round” here. But getting your sixth star will not guarantee you the win. The aim of the game is money! Richest power wins. It is quite possible to be in control of over half the board with mechs and buildings everywhere. Only to find that Humble Howard in the corner is so popular he is showered with bonuses by his adoring people and you are confined to a footnote on the page of history as a tyrannical upstart with ideas above your station.

Let the dust settle.

So how does this all come together as a whole? Surprisingly well actually. Each turn you have a set of four options available. Well except you don’t you have three. This is because the option you used in the previous round is unavailable for the current round. You also have a series of secondary options available as well (more in a moment). Your main options consist of Moving units from one territory to another. Increase Power or number of combat cards. Production of resources or workers and increasing popularity or trading of resources with the central supply. When selecting a main action you also have access to the four secondary actions (these are set out in a different order on each players board). These secondary actions will give you the chance to build structures, Enlist recruits, upgrade abilities and deploy your mechs. You are allowed to do both the main and secondary action or you can choose to do one and not the other. The differing layout of these boards when combined with each factions different base ability adds a lot of replay-ability to a game of Scythe. Once you start to deploy your mechs you will then activate further abilities to assist you in your strategy be that by using riverwalk (you can cross a river to a certain land type), more movement, extra combat ability or special movement/turn rules. It is how you choose to utilise these abilities that will make the difference between first and last.

You will have noticed that several times I have mentioned combat, but I have not waxed lyrical about huge armoured machines grinding into each other with machine guns blazing send hot molten death in all directions. There is a good reason for that. It is because combat is well a sort of non-combat really. If you move into a territory controlled by an opponents units combat happens. If it is just their workers they run home and tell the world how nasty you are and your popularity drops. “Boo hiss you big meany”. If however you encounter the mechs or character of an opponent you need to make some serious decisions. How much power will you spend to try to win the battle? Remembering of course that if you max out your power you get to play a valuable star, so every unit of power spent is an extra one you need to regain. You can supplement your combat with the use of a single (normally) combat card to assist you. Once both players have secretly chosen their totals you both reveal and highest number wins. Loser goes home Winner gets access tot he resources on the space and if it is the first or second battle they have won they get to place a star as well. Yes honestly it is as simple as that no random dice roll no massive stats charts needed.

In summary then.

Scythe is a multilayered game. When it was first released there was quite a lot of people disappointed because they were expecting big mech battle warfare with resource management to fund it. That is just not what Scythe is. If you want big battles look somewhere else. What Scythe is however, is a beautiful theme heavy area control, engine building, resource management, game and to be honest when you look at the style of games that Stonemaier Games normally produce you get more of that but bigger better and more beautifully realised. The mechs are fantastically detailed as are the characters. Each of them have their own backstory which is well worth reading. The rulebook is one of the easiest to understand I have come across. I really like the designer’s notes that they have thoughtfully included in the main rulebook. This gives us an insight on the philosophy of the game design and the reason certain design choices were made. It would be nice to see more developers do this. Jamey Stegmaier and his team have been very clever with the way victory is decided. It is almost impossible to keep track of how each player is doing during the game. You can even get penalised for trying to do so. Timing when to make your dash to place that sixth star to try and give you the win is such a knife edged balance. It is only when the dust settles and the money is counted that you will know if you picked rightly or wrongly. Warning though this is a big game you will need to use the dinner table if you want to appreciate the beauty on offer with this feast. I for one like to bring my appetite when playing.

Sys-op.

It is not farming nor is it war or area control or resource management it is all of those things and more deceptively simple yet deep and nuanced

Pro.

  • Beautiful Artwork.
  • Deceptively simple but challenging gameplay.
  • Many paths to victory.
  • Brilliant miniatures.
  • Challenging Solo mode.
  • Easy rules but with hidden depth.
  • Theme everywhere.

Con.

  • NOT a wargame despite the mechs.
  • Strategy lovers are the real target here.

I received a copy of Scythe to review through BGE. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Folded Space Boardgame Inserts and Organisers

Folded Space

Board Game Inserts and Organisers

From

Folded Space

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

Introduction.

Normally I review and preview board and card games. Today is different. Boardgames are not cheap these days they often come in between £50-£100 or even more. So not insignificant amounts and as a board-gamer I have often despaired at the standard inserts and trays that come in modern board games. Yes they may look pretty but unless the game is staying flat on the shelf and only ever being moved back to the table. They tend to be as much use as a chocolate fireguard (calm down at the back there yes I know some are good). If you have a number of games then a common practice is to store them sideways on, book like on shelves. This lead to the contents moving and potentially getting damaged.

Alternatives.

Once you have been in the hobby for a while you will start to encounter various solutions to this. Realistically there are 4 mainstream options currently available all of which have their negative points.

  • Use zip-lock/resealable bags (baggies) to hold the contents in a sorted if somewhat untidy fashion. Whiles this is a very cheap solution. Bags still move around in the box and the potential for damage is still present,
  • Use foam-core art and craft board to fashion an organiser that fits the box better and holds everything in place. Cheap to use. Can be very time consuming, messy and frustrating trying to create a suitable solution.
  • Purchase a wooden after-market organiser. While they are usually very good designs with a lot of thought into layout. They are usually very expensive often costing almost as much as the original cost of the game again.
  • 3D printed storage. A newer entry to the market as hobby 3D printing becomes more popular. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford a 3D printer the actual production of an insert is not that expensive (the printers are not cheap though). So unless you already own a printer you are relying on purchasing someone else’s design. This is normally a slightly expensive route as you are also paying them for their time on-top of the materials required

So as you can see, while all these options do provide a possible solution to the problem of improved storage and protection of your games. They also have their negatives be that in cost, Time, protection offered or skill required to construct. If only there was a way to incorporate the best of all worlds……..

TA-DA!

Enter Folded Space. Currently live on Kickstarter. Here is a company that is just entering the field of inserts and organisers with a new approach. What they have attempted to offer is a Precut designed insert die cut (a similar process as the punch-boards for in-game tokens) for accuracy (whereas the wooden inserts are usually laser plot/cut which is a much more expensive machine process). Using EVA foam board coated for strength This is different to the normal foam-core craft material. It has more similarities to the foam in yoga mats so is more forgiving of knocks and bumps. At a much reduced cost (enter bags and 3D printing). That requires the minimal amount of effort to construct and only has a need for a little PVA (craft/wood) glue. How have they faired/ Well lets find out. Folded Space were kind enough to send me a prototype copy of their Voyages of Marco Polo insert to evaluate and preview.

Inside Space.

So what we have in essence is a foam-core style board that is in sheet form and die cut for accuracy. What they have not done I am please to say is just make random boxes. They have looked at each game from a selection that they currently offer (see list below). And designed the insert specifically for that game. Looking at storage and gameplay suitability. They wanted to create an insert you can pretty much just lift out of the box and then play the game. Making set-up and tear-down a doddle.

Details dammit details.

The package I received was four sheets with all the component pieces pre-cut. Also included was an assembly instruction sheet. Looking at the instruction sheet I immediately was reminded of a cross between Lego and Ikea style of instruction. Language independence has been a consideration here with clear and easy to understand graphical images. Here is where my one (yes it is my only one) issue was Trying to decide which sheet was which when there were several similar shaped pieces was a bit of a pain. A simple A/B/C/D or 1/2/3/4 identification for the sheets would have been a perfect solution.

Assembly.

On separating the relevant pieces from the sheet they came away cleanly. These previews were not die-cut but still machine cut so straight and clean. The finished products will be cut to a higher standard than the sample I received so this just bodes well overall. After separating several of the pieces I started to “test” assemble. All the pieces fitted together cleanly and more importantly straight. The fit of the connections was smooth and clean but not too loose or tight. I found that they held together reasonably well even without glue (you will need to glue them for game use) I was genuinely impressed at the quality I saw especially as a preview piece. Once glued and fully assembled I think these inserts will last quite well to the use they are intended for.

Range Offered.

Currently on offer on the Kickstarter are the following game inserts.

  • Agricola.
  • Agricola Family Edition.
  • Caverna.
  • Concordia.
  • Dead of Winter.
  • Eclipse.
  • Eclipse Expansions.
  • Eldritch Horror.
  • Forbidden Stars.
  • Gloomhaven.
  • Istanbul.
  • King of Tokyo.
  • Living Card Game (LCG) generic design.
  • Orleans.
  • Russian Railroads.
  • Terraforming Mars.
  • Voyages of Marco Polo.
  • Tzolkin.
  • Folded Space Dice Tower.

Where possible they have tried to design the inserts to accommodate game expansions as well. Example of this being Istanbul which will accommodate the base game and the “Mocha & Baksheesh” and “Letters and Seals” expansions.

Opinion.

So My opinion on Folded Space inserts is that they are a worthy and affordable option to the board-game insert and organisation after market. I strongly suggest that you give their Kickstarter page a look and see what you think of their range. After all anything that protects my games but still leaves me extra money to buy more is onto a winner in my book.

DISCLAIMER.

I am a backer of this Kickstarter project, having backed for the Istanbul insert. The insert received for preview was for Voyages for Marco Polo. I have now passed this insert to another member of BGE for their appraisal of it. None of these factors have any bearing on my opinions. They are stated here for openness and clarity.

Arena the Contest

Arena

the Contest

From

Dragori Games

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-8 Players in Player Vs Player
  • 1-4 Players in Player Vs Environment (Co-op)
  • 45-90 minutes.

Introducing.

Arena the Contest is aiming at the lofty heights of success by being a turn based tactical combat game. But at the same time being a full blooded co-op dungeon fight style game. Normally any game that sets out to achieve this usually ends up failing miserably at one or both of these endeavours. So how does Arena the Contest fare? Lets find out.

Artefacts

First up a disclaimer. The copy of Arena the Contest I received was a prototype version. As such, none of the components were production quality. The creators are planning to have some very nice looking miniatures, the renders of which can be found at their website for the game http://arenathecontest.com/

Play.

Games within Arena the Contest take place on a grid board. What immediately grabbed me about this system was instead of limiting the experience. It was in-fact focused much more. There is an almost limitless amount of variety in the set-up options for the PvP game. The rulebook will contain preset configurations. Or the two teams each consisting of up to four players can each will be able to randomly select 4 pieces of scenery each and take turns to place them how they like. This can lead to some nice “bottleneck” areas on the board or some tactical “cover” situations. Play is alternate between the teams one character at a time based on the order of placement.

In the PvE arm of the game you will be able to select from Epic Quest or Boss battle in a quest guide. These will have layouts assigned for each of these games. Where things get interesting in PvE though is instead of the usual “turn order” you normally see in this style of game using things like initiative, speed or just some random number the creator assigned. Dragori games have been quite clever in offering a more tactical approach. At the start of the round the players can choose the turn order of both heroes and villains. And they can even change it during the turn just as long as each character (good or bad) only gets one turn. This can allow for a situation where “Bob the Bard tries to kill a vampire. But due to a cursed die misses with his garlic laced mandolin. So Satsuma the samurai who was about to blow a door open changes his mind and thanks to his enchanted die cleanly slices the vampires head off as it was about to bite Bob” (yes I made it up so shoot me). As you would expect some characters are more proficient than others in differing fields. Healer, Hero, Ranged fighter and close up meat shield. Yes these and others are all evident here.

This is not all though Arena the Contest has another trick up its sleeve. It will also have a campaign mode. This will allow players to gain experience points which they will be able to spend on “Level Up” cards, Scrolls and Artefacts to boost a hero.

Let the dust settle.

Despite not having the finished quality components and only one PvP setting to test. I found Arena the Contest to be engaging and enjoyable to play. The combat experience appears to be well balanced with some nice options available to the player. I was not able to try out campaign mode but some of the text work evident was well written and shows promise for the rest of the mode. Overall I would say that Arena the Contest will be one to look out for as it shows quite a bit of promise in not just one or two but all three modes. Is it different enough to stand out from the crowd and rise head and shoulders above the rest? It is too early to tell. There is a lot here that will feel comfortably familiar to dungeon crawl aficionados, possibly too comfortable? Time will tell.

I received a prototype copy of Arena the Contest to preview. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Heroes of History

Heroes of History

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

Once upon a time

Heroes of History is a 2 player combat game using decks of cards constructed from historical eras. The two decks I received to preview were “Groovy Greeks” and “Vicious Vikings” which are from the “Iron Phalanx and Dragon-boat Raiders“ a stand-alone expansion set. The original base game was the US history edition “Midnight Riders” Vs “Echoes of the Plains”. You do not need the original set to play but it has been designed to allow you to combine the sets to construct your own deck in a CCG (collectable card game) format of deck construction.

Historical Artefacts

The base set pledge available on Kickstarter will provide you with 2 decks allowing for head to head gaming when you open the box. Inside the box you will find.

  • 2 Game Mats.
  • 50 card Iron Phalanx (Greek) deck
  • 50 card Dragon-boat raiders (Viking) deck
  • 1 Rule book
  • Score tokens

Play.

Fortunately both decks will come pre-balanced with

  • 20 Combatant cards,
  • 7 Weapon cards,
  • 4 Battlefield cards,
  • 19 Supply Cards.

If you have ever played a CCG type game you will be immediately familiar with the concept. Call into play various historical figures like Thor, Leonidas or legendary figures like Bellerophon or Hippolyta (Queen of the Amazons). Enhance their abilities with Weapons like Xiphos (Greek short sword). Give your self an advantage with supply cards like Ambrosia or Coin of Charon. Then attack your opponent with the aim of reducing their “State Points” (think life, mana, power, energy) to zero. Be the first to do this and go down in history, Fail and be forgotten forever.

About now most people familiar with CCG style games will be saying “ooh lots of money needed for booster packs”. Well guess what there is not a single booster pack insight. You have everything you need all in the one box. If you do want more cards you can buy the original game from your friendly Amazonian retailer. Then build the decks mixing the cards together as you wish. No buying boxes of boosters. No hunting for that super rare “Chained lightning fireball of ultimate doom-a-tron” (yes I made that one up can you tell?). The very fact that you can choose to buy extra sets to build becks qualifies it as a CCG in my opinion.

Each of the combatant cards comes in various flavours be they Soldier Hero or General with varying attack and defence stats. Weapon cards will alter these stats improving your chosen fighter supply cards will allow you to spend/regain State Points or in some way alter the effects of battle for example stopping a fighter that your opponent has just supercharged from attacking.

Learn.

OK so what makes Heroes of History different from most other CCG style games then? The first thing I noticed was that every single cards has some historical “flavour” text which immediately makes the game educational as well as entertaining to play. On Cadmus’ Hero card you find out “Founder and first king of Thebes. Killed a dragon but got upstaged by Heracles” You will notice the developers have been careful not to be too heavy with the text keeping it light and accessible with some humour making you want to read it.

Then we look at the art. Each artist is credited on the card they created the art for and there is some really stunning art on show. However, some of the art is less than stellar add in that some of the styles are clearly different and you can be left feeling slightly disjointed by it. None of it is bad I will hasten to add just some is better than others. Overall While being a nice game I am not sure if there is enough “new” to temp players of other CCG’s. If you are new to the genre this is a good place to wet you toes because there is no massive outlay required to “be competitive” 

Pros

  • Educational.
  • Familiar play style.
  • No need to buy lots of booster sets.
  • Stand alone design.
  • Historical setting.

Cons

  • Art can be hit or miss.
  • New gamers might find rules confusing.
  • Very similar game to what’s already available.

I received a pre-production copy of Heroes of History to preview. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Game of Things.

Game of Things

by

Quinn & Sherry inc

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 4+ Players (as many as you can get)
  • 12+ Age

Game?

Game of Things is a social party style game. The concept is a central “question” is asked and each player writes their response down. All responses are handed to the question reader who reads them out and you all take turns trying to guess who wrote what. If your response is correctly identified you are out. Last one standing wins the points. Most points wins

Things?

Inside your game of Things box you will find.

  • 1 Response Pad.
  • 1 Score Pad.
  • 8 Pencils.
  • 300 Topic Cards.

Play?

Each player has a response sheet and a pencil. Then the first player reads out a Topic question. These follow the lines of. “Things you wish grew on trees?”, “Something you would not do for a million dollars?” or even “This game would be better with?” Then every player will write their response down in secret and pass the paper to the first player. When all have done this All the responses are read out at random. Next player tries to guess who wrote one of the responses. If correct they score a point and the person guessed is out. They get another go. If wrong the next player gets to guess a response to a player. Last player standing scores 2 points. After set number of rounds most points wins.

Laughter?

The front of the rules sheet for Game of Things announces. “Humour in a box” and “The true object of the game is laughter.” Both of these are laudable aims to have. Unfortunately unless you have a particular group playing you are unlikely to have either. This might seem harsh, but in all fairness if you are playing with a family group. Chances are you will have a pretty good idea who is likely to say what either being serious or silly. I also do not know of any occasion where a room full of strangers would respond well to “Hey everyone, you don’t know me but. I Want to play a Game…of things”. It is only when you do not know people very well that you could conceivably enjoy “guessing” their answer.

Let the dust settle.

Game of Things is not a game I can recommend. I found it completely missed the mark. Either that or I missed it. I say this because I am not the intended audience. If you visit their website www.thegameofthings.com you can watch a clip from the Ellen Show in the US. This clip includes Miley Cyrus and Snoop Dog. See how much fun they have playing it….

There is a market out there for this game?

Pros

Free pencils.

Cons

Everything Else.

  • Replay-ability 1 / 5 (only because there are 300 topics)
  • Player Interaction 2 / 5
  • Engagement 1/ 5
  • Component Quality 1/ 5

Overall Score 10%

I received a copy of Game of Things to review. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.

City Park

  City Park

by

Just Because Games

a preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-6 Players
  • 5-30 minutes
  • 8+ Age

City.

Every so often you come across a small box game that “just feels good” to play. Just Because Games tries to achieve that with their new game City Park. You will get to build a city park but you are all working on the same park and trying to make your design the best scoring. All the while trying to make life difficult for your opponents.

Playground.

Inside the preview copy of City Park I received there was.

  • 1 Game board.
  • 1 Rulebook.
  • 6 Score tracker cubes (1 per player colour).
  • 27 City Park cards.

Pond.

City Parks play is deceptively simple. Each player has a hand of cards. On your turn you can place one of those cards onto the 4×4 play board. You will score various points based on what and where you laid the card. Cover up some bare earth, connecting to or finishing paths, connecting to gates or finishing the park. This makes City Park sound simple. On the surface yes it is.

However it is the restrictions on placement that really add some zing into the swing. When placing cards you must cover an empty space or alter an existing path. No dead ends allowed and if the card has a person on it you cant cover it either. There are some wildcards if you get stuck though which allow you avoid creating dead ends and finish paths. These are Playgrounds, statues and Fountains.

Fountain

It is these subtle placement rules, that make you think a lot more than you would otherwise think was necessary. While there is an element of “luck” around the card draws, you won’t mind because the games are of the short and light, filler type while waiting for the main course game to arrive.

Home time.

I will admit I was surprised about City Park. When it first arrived and I opened the box, on seeing the amount of components I thought “Oh is that it”. Even after reading the rule booklet I was not certain how much of a game there was. Then I played it and played it again and again. It drew me in. I found I was enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I was genuinely surprised at the thinking I was having to do. Then there is the artwork which is in such a gentle style that it was refreshing. With a nice top down appearance. Well worth checking this one out.

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Filler.
  • Plays 6.
  • Short playtime even at full play count.

Cons

  • Possibly too light for some.
  • Art might not appeal to all.

Replay-ability 4/5

Player Interaction 3/5

Engagement 3/5

Component Quality preview copy

No overall Score as preview copy

I received a copy of City Park to preview. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.

D-Day Dice

D-Day Dice

by

Word Forge Games

an early preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-4 Players
  • 45 minutes approx
  • 14+ Age

June 4th 1944.

T-minus 2. D-Day Dice was originally released in 2012 as a print ‘n’ play game which then gained a following and was released as a commercial venture. Fast forward to 2017 and we are going to be treated to a second edition with new art, missions, tiles and dice.

D-Day Dice is set in Normandy, June 6th, 1944 – as you land on the well-defended beaches, a German machine gun nest is killing your comrades like flies. You must do something!

In D-Day Dice, players are Allied soldiers trying to organize improvised units for an attack against the machine gun nest. Each player starts the game with a unit of a few soldiers and nothing else. As the game progresses, he will collect resources and advance on the beach, sector by sector, as his unit grows stronger and deadlier. He will succeed…or die trying.

A multi-player co-op game with simultaneous play. Only one way to win and lots (and lots) of ways to lose. The allied forces will need to be…well allied actually. Work together to survive, share resources and protect your fellow soldier.

June 5th 1944.

T-minus 1. On this date we need to check our equipment. I will not be doing this because the copy received was labelled as “pre-beta” and as such does not have the finished components. The developer of the 2nd edition has assured that in the commercially available edition will be much improved. The card stock used was not to the standard of the final product. There was only one map whereas in the final production there is intended to be 12. Also a campaign mode is set to be produced to accompany these maps. This will allow you to go from before the initial landing at Omaha on through the invasion and beyond.

One item that was included was a Die which was representative of the special marked dice that this game will include. This is marked with reinforcements, tools, courage, specialist stars and the dreaded skull which will cancel the ability of another dice.

I will however say that given the quality of the components I received I do have high hopes for the production standard of the finished game.

June 6th 1944.

D-Day. As the landing craft drives onwards through the waves, I can feel the shaking of the hull as it is rocked by the explosions near by. All of a sudden there is a huge fireball just to the right and the sound of screaming. I do not need to look, the frightened expressions of the young men all around me tell the tale. Another craft has not been so lucky. Would we be next? Would we feel the heat as the ammo supply exploded? Suddenly we are rocked as the ship lurches against the beach. The ramp drops and we rush forward. All around are bodies of young men who did not make it out of the water. We rush forward trying to find cover where ever we can. At the top of the beach is an enemy machine gun bunker. Its hot leaden death spitting back and forth across the beach. We need to silence that gun before we all die.

So you are now faced with D-Day Dice’s Omaha beach landing scenario. All players will need to roll dice up to 3 times. Trying to optimise the number of troops, tools, Specialist stars and most of all courage. They will need to advance up the beach. Unlike the Hollywood heroic dashes, they need to work together. Share resources to support each other going forward. Recruiting specialists to avoid landmines, Medics to heal the injured and Heroes to soak up gunfire. Failure to work together will involve one team being wiped out and everyone loses. Need to advance but don’t have the courage or specialist required? Everyone loses. Get caught in the open with a nasty machine gun attack with no healing? Everyone loses. It is only IF you can all make it to the target zone and wipe out the enemy will you claim this hard fought win. Victory is only temporary thought as the next target is just ahead.

June 7th 1944.

The next day. The machine gun nests are silenced finally and the wounded are treated.

D-Day Dice 2nd edition is remaining faithful to its roots and as such it manages to achieve some nice targets.

On the one hand it is an easily accessible gateway level game. With clear rules and a familiar theme that is known by most people (the D-Day Landings of World War II).

On the other hand there is a focus on tight co-op play with good tactical decision making, resource management, dice rolling and manipulation.

It does both of these things to a good level and has a lot of promise as an introduction to deeper mechanics and possibly even war games themselves. You do not need to be a war game fan though for this game to make you think a bit more deeply about what it might have been like back in June of 1944. If however you cannot enjoy the theme of this game you might not get the same level of enjoyment from it.

Because I only got to experience one map from D-Day Dice I cannot fully comment on the other proposed maps. Or the campaign mode itself which is where the meat of this game will lie. What I did find though was that after several plays in quick succession on the same map. We did start to use a particular set of tactics whereby each player focused on a set aim with the dice rolling. Then we could share out the resources amongst the players. It was only once we were forced to split up that we had to rely on our stocked resources. Even with this tactic though D-Day dice was not and easy game to win.

The developer behind the 2nd edition has already announced that they are looking at creating expansions for the base game to extend the replay-ability going forward

Armistice.

D-Day Dice is showing a lot of promise. If the component upgrades are done well and the campaign mode implemented in a sensible way there is a potential for a lot of life in this 2nd edition.

Pros

  • Gateway accessibility.
  • Good tactical depth.
  • Theme.

Cons

  • Theme.
  • Unknown quantity of other maps/campaign mode.

Replay-ability -preview copy-

Player Interaction -preview copy-

Engagement -preview copy-

Component Quality -preview copy-

I received a pre-beta copy of D-Day Dice to preview. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.