IRONCLAD

IRONCLAD

by

Alcyon Creative

A review by

MAWIHTEC

1-3 Players

Space.

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

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

Aliens.

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

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

Adventure.

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

Spaceships.

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

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

She canna’ take much more.

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

Super Nova.

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

Warp Speed.

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

Star-dock.

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

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

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

MoonQuake Escape

MoonQuake Escape

from

Breaking Games

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

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

Alien.

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

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

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

Zippp.

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

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

Bippp.

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

Boppp.

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

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

Eeep.

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

Ooop.

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

Summary.

+

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

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

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

Food Truck Champion

Food Truck

Champion

by

Daily Magic Games

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-5 Players
  • 8+ Age
  • <60 Minutes

Burgers.

You have always fancied working for yourself. You wanted the freedom to work where and when you wanted. You wanted to be your own boss. Well now you can. On offer is a chance to have fun and be your own boss. Go where you want with a mobile food truck. Sell the food you want to eat. Great food and great service. Hire staff and show yourself to be the one and only true. Food Truck Champion.

Fries.

Food Truck Champion comes in a small form box. The artwork is fun and light. Inside you will find,

  • Rulebook,
  • First player card,
  • 6 Critique tokens,
  • 24 Popularity tokens,
  • 95 Game cards,
  • 5 Starting order cards,
  • 5 Owner cards,
  • 5 Food Truck boards,
  • 1 Active player truck token.

Hot Dogs.

The component quality in Food Truck Champion is very nice. The cards feel a nice quality card stock. The active player marker is a nice 3D wooden food truck and the Popularity and Critique Tokens were nice wooden discs. All of these were screen printed. Food Truck (player) boards were nice size with large iconography that is quite easy to understand. I would have liked them to be a little thicker but that is a very minor point.

Coffee.

When I first read the rules of Food Truck Champion I was completely confused. They made no sense. Then I realised it was my fault. The rules are laid out with the card anatomy between set-up and how to play. Because the iconography is so clear I skipped this bit ‘Facepalm moment’. The card anatomy also contains explanations of what the different parts of the card do as well as describing the icons. Cue second read and ‘These rules are simple’. Seriously they are straight forward and easy to understand when you read it properly.

Cold Cans.

The main concept of Food Truck Champion is set collection. You are trying to collect ingredients to complete orders. Completed orders earn you popularity. Most popularity wins. Along the way you will Hire staff, Take orders, Purchase ingredients and upgrade your truck. All of these functions can be achieved with the same set of cards using the clever 3 part card. On one end of the card is listed and ingredient. On the other end you will have a staff member while the middle contains the food order with the required ingredients. How do you use these? Read on to find out more.

Dough-Nuts.

Each player in a game of Food Truck Champion starts off with their owner card and a hand of 4 cards. The remaining cards are set as a draw deck in the centre along with some face up cards. On a players turn they are able to do 1 of 3 basic actions,

  • Market Research→ This action allows you to draw 2 cards from the deck into your hand.
  • Take Charge→ You will be able to pick up your Owner card from your player board.
  • Lead a Staff Action→ Use a member of staff from you hand to take a “Staff Action”.

Staff Action.

As you no doubt will have realised the “Staff Action” forms the main part of a game of Food Truck Champion. This action triggers a secondary action phase where starting with the next player. You in turn can choose to copy the Staff Action (play the same staff card). If you choose not to you can Market Research (draw two) or Take Charge (pick up your owner card). Different staff will allow you to do various actions and the strategy is in deciding who to use when.

  • Driver→ Will allow you to collect ingredients from the centre.
  • Cashiers→ enable you let you take orders.
  • Manager→ Hire Staff to take bonus actions.
  • Cook or Chef→ Use ingredients to complete orders.

The more ingredients in an Order the more points it will be worth. Completed Order tickets also count towards bonus point collection targets for end game scoring.

Chocolate.

Food Truck Champion was an interesting game to review. I say this because on the surface it looked and felt quite lightweight. Once you got under the surface there was some nice decision making to be had. Which card do you take when? And do you want it as Staff, Ingredient or Order. The artwork from Clare Donaldson is perfect for the theme. Overall I found Food Truck Champion to be fun and enjoyable. There is a good amount of game in the box and it is one I will be seriously considering for my shelf. It will play well with families, meet-ups and boardgame groups. Easy to teach but enough to keep you coming back for more.

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

Quirk Legends

QUIRK LEGENDS

by

Emmerse Studios

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-6 Players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 5+ Age

What is Quirk Legends?

Back in 2017 I was sent a game for review. It was called Quirk and to be 100% honest I loved it. In fact I loved it so much that my family and I played it every day on holiday. You can read my original review here “Quirk Review”. Fast forward to January 2018 and Emmerse Studios have released their follow up, Quirk Legends. How does it compare? Find out now.

What is in my Box?

Inside the Box you will find 56 cards which include,

  • 39 Character cards (13 Sets of 3),
  • 7 Tactic cards,
  • 7 Skip cards,
  • 3 Defence cards,
  • Rules leaflet.

Summary?

Yes I am putting my summary here before you get to the review itself.

Why you ask?

To put it simply because I want to save you some time. Buy this game. It is as simple as that and you can also get the original game of Quirk at the same time. Just visit the following link QUIRK LEGENDS” to back for a May 2018 delivery. You can get Quirk legends for £10 or both games for £20. There is even an option to get a Quirky T-shirt as well.

Why should I buy?

  • I have the original game why should I get this one?
  • That is a very good question. As an owner of the original We played the original so much that we almost “overdosed” on it and we also discovered an optimum play style. The designers have taken all the feedback from players and reviewers like myself. They have gone away and improved the rules. Not just that they have also created 13 new characters with new traits “Good”, “Evil” and “Neutral”. All of this works as a standalone version of the Quirk style of play. Where the big sell comes into play is the fact that as well as a standalone game. You can also combine both sets to make a MEGA-Quirk. This would allow you to even exceed the 6 player recommended limit. Family gatherings anyone?

Sell it to me.

If you have never heard or played Quirk. You are in for a treat. At first Quirk Legends appears to be a very simple game. The real love for this game comes from how you play. You start with a hand of cards and need to collect sets of 3. The process of doing this will have you laughing hard. Where most games want you to pick and pass or blind draw (yawn). Here you have to act out the card you want (sound effects are encouraged). How would you pretend to be a wizard? Cue much imaginary wand waving and spell casting. Or would you prefer to be a superhero (puffed chest hands on hips). Add in the relevant sound effects and if your not laughing everyone else around the table will be.

Once you have a set of 3 matching charactera to form “A Quirk” you place them in front of you. Your aim is to get more Quirks than any one else. Getting them is easy it is the holding onto them that is harder. There are Tactic cards that will allow you steal Quirks from other players. You might be lucky to have a Defence card. To, well defend yourself of course. There are also some Skip cards to force people to miss a turn (mwahahaha..Sorry went all Evil Villain there).

Strategy.

Quirk Legends is not a heavy strategy game. To be honest it is in actual fact a very light strategy game. Deciding when to use a Tactic or Skip Card is as tactical as it gets. Instead Quirk Legends like its older sibling Quirk, is all about having some fun and being a bit silly. This is something it achieves with great ease and aplomb. 5 year olds, 40 Year olds or even 80 Year olds will all have fun. They will also all have the same chance of winning. There is a lot of luck involved in what cards you draw when you have been Quirked or when picking who to ask for a Quirk. Be prepared to laugh maniacally at someone without success looking for super villains. Only for the next player to laugh back at you and steal yours. But that is OK Quirk Legends is a fast fun game to play and you can quickly get one game after another played.

Who is it for.

Quirk Legends is squarely aimed at the family market with one hand held affectionately out towards the younger players. Everyone under the age of 12 I have shown it to has loved it instantly. That is not its only appeal. If you are have some friends over and the wine is flowing? Then break out Quirk Legends once everyone is relaxed (he-he). It will get you all screaming with laughter. As for gaming groups? I can see the appeal for some but I do not really see this being a regular in our gaming group (they are busy being cowboys or terraforming Mars).

My thoughts.

I love Quirk Legends for family play. It is a lot of fun. It is a very quick game that does not outstay its welcome. There is almost zero downtime. My family loved the original so much that they took to responding to the Quirk requests in character which really adds to the fun. I can see this happening already with Quirk Legends.

The Good

  • Cards are nice quality.
  • Portable, small size.
  • Fun by the bucket load.
  • Standalone or mix in with original.
  • 100% Family Friendly.
  • Tactics and Skip cards stop runaway leader.
  • Nice artwork.
  • Clear icons.
  • New characters add challenge.

The Bad

  • Could be too light for some.
  • You have to be silly.
  • Won’t be out till May.

I was provided with a copy of QUIRK LEGENDS to review. I have tried to ensure it has little bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Warpgate

WARPGATE

by

Wolfdesigna

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

2-4 Players

All images are from the prototype copy and do not reflect finished game quality

Space Me.

Disclaimer: The copy of Warpgate I received was an early prototype. As such components are not finalised. Some of the content was also not finalised and the Rulebook was still a work in progress. The designers plan to improve upgrade and enhance all the content shown in the images in this article. This will include miniature ships, more cards, improved card stock, text and rules change and upgrade. Even allowing for this I am pleased to say that what I have been able to experience gave me a good overview of the game and allowed me to form a valid and honest opinion of the preview..

Warp Me.

Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate. Warpgate is what I would call a 4X lite. But that does not mean there is no depth. The modular board is set-up based on the number of players. This is to allow growth but not give you too much space.

Players select from one of 4 Alien races (colours) they are also given a random player board which is double sided. Each side has a different player power (special ability) and a combat and action deck.

The number of Planet and Technology cards are scaled to reflect the number of players. This allows a nice balance to maintained. All players will start at their “warpgate” You are now ready to explore.

Adventure Me.

So what is the premise in Warpgate? You have discovered some ancient technology, created by some mysterious alien race left derelict in space. As you approach the derelict artifact activates. It is in fact the titular Warpgate which leads to uncharted space. So begins the competitive race for galactic conquest. Lead your race to victory by having, control of trade routes, researching technologies, completing missions and claiming glory in battle.

Action Me.

The way actions are taken in Warpgate is a clever mechanic in that each player draws a hand of action cards. All of the action cards have two actions to choose from. This in effect gives 8 potential actions to choose from. Once a player has selected their card they place it onto their player board. This is where things start to get strategic. Each of the 4 spaces on the player board have a multiplier ranging from X1 through to X4 for turn four. This means that the longer you leave it to take a particular action the more times you can take that action. A simple example could be “Draw X cards” turn one you draw 1 card but wait till turn four and hey presto 4 cards. Deciding when to take an action will possibly be tension inducing.

Move Me.

Movement in Warpgate is selected by use of the action cards. You must always finish your movement on a planet space. So a bit of forward planning is needed. As well as movement of your ships other actions you can select from the cards are,

  • Control→ Establish an outpost on a planet.
  • Research→ Acquire new technology.
  • Draw→ Yep draw cards.
  • Trade→ Claim trade routes.
  • Attack→ beat up some ships.

Fight Me.

OK so you have been exploring and expanding. You have set up trade routes. All is going well, until. You bump into a rival. How dare they try to muscle in on your territory. You need to show them who is boss. Good but how. Thankfully it is a very simple affair. Each player draws some combat cards and chooses 1 in secret. When both players have chosen, cards are revealed. Each card has multiplier that works with number of ships in a fleet. This determines the outcome of the battle. After resolution of battle the card effect text is resolved.

Warp Me.

  • OK how do I win Warpgate?
  • You will collect Victory points from Completing missions, Claiming trade routes, Researching technology, Combat.
  • Once the Technology deck or Planet deck is exhausted the player with the most VP wins.

Star Me.

My Views.

  • Warpgate is a light space 4X style game that does not take all day to play (looking at you TI3).
  • I found Warpgate easy to learn and did not find I had many questions over gameplay.
  • While gentle and easy to access there is still a chance for strategic depth.
  • Gamers looking for heavyweight depth might find themselves a little disappointed. Everyone else should find a nice way to pass an hour or so.

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

Wibbell++

WIBBELL++

by

BEZ

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1+ Players
  • 5 Minutes+
  • 8+ Age

What-bel.

Normally when I review a game or an expansion it will boil down to a simple. Like or Dislike, Good or Bad. Wibbell++ (yes the ++ is part of the name) is not a game it is a number of games limited only by your imagination. So Like, Dislike, Good or Bad is all down to you. What you have in actual fact is, A game system. Let me explain.

Hum-bel.

Wibbell++ is a set of 48 cards. Each of these cards has two large letters on it in the centre. On the bottom of each card is a number. On the top are the two letters repeated. There is around the edge of each card a patterned border. These borders come in six different patterns. Thus creating a large amount of variation. Each of the letter combinations is based on top letter is a more common used while the bottom is a less frequently used letter. What is nice to see is that every part of the card is clear and easy to read. There is no ambiguity over the designs, numbers or letters. Making this one of the most accessible game systems around. Colours are a straight white card with black text. So very totally colour blind friendly.

Bum-bel.

Thankfully you do not have to try to invent games straight out of the box. That would be just ridiculously daunting and off-putting to many. When you open the box you will find yourself presented with five games and some variants. Along with this there is also an online resource of games created by both Bez and other players all using the Wibbell++ system. This is updated quite frequently so the resource of games is growing. Even before you venture online you will be playing the included games and those are.

  • Faybell. A storytelling game using the centre letter combinations.
  • Alphabetickell. Creating an alphabetical, sequential row of letters longer than your opponent.
  • Grabbell. Letter and Pattern matching game using the centre letters and border patterns.
  • Phrasell. Using centre letters to create themed phrases.
  • Wibbell. Competitive word making using letters from two different cards.

Crum-bel.

All of the included games are quick to play and easy to learn. You will be making your own variations up within minutes. This is actively encouraged. You will also be surprised at the variation of online games playable with the Wibbell++ game system. You ultimately love or hate Wibbell++ based on how involved you want to get with it. Spend some time and you will be making up several new games.

Hum-bel.

Yes I did come up with a game myself in the short time I had Wibbell++ for review.

  • Tribbell. A drafting word making game. 2-8 players. Deal all cards. Each player selects a card and places it in front of them face up. Pass remaining cards to the right. Repeat process using following rules. You may pass on a selection on your turn.
  • If pattern matches you must include it with the previous matched patterns in one word. Different patterns can be used to create different words until you have up to 6 different words. Keep passing and playing until all cards are selected or all players pass.
  • Score based on number of cards included in a word using 1/3/5/7/10/15. highest score wins.

I was provided with a review copy of Wibbell++ through the BGE network. This is now being forwarded on to another reviewer. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Argonauts

ARGONAUTS

by Alcyon creative

A review by Mawihtec

  • 1-4 Players
  • 60 minutes
  • 10+ Age

Atalanta

Join Jason and the Argonauts on their search for the Golden Fleece. If that does not whet your whistle, STOP go away and watch some of the classic 1963 film (Not the remake). Pelias tells Jason to travel to Colchis to find the Golden Fleece. Jason follows his advice and assembles a sailing crew of the finest men in Greece, including Hercules. They are under the protection of Hera, queen of the gods. Their voyage is replete with battles against harpies, a giant bronze Talos, a hydra, and an animated skeleton army. OK your back, yes yes calm down. You will control at least two heroes. Dependant on number of players up to 8 in a solo game. You will steer the Argo across the known ancient world. Encounter mythical foes, trade, hunt and pray to the gods for help in finding the Golden Fleece.

The Argo.

The lovingly art styled small form box contains all you need for this historical saga,

  • Game board,
  • Hero cards,
  • Legendary encounters,
  • Merchant tiles,
  • Exploration cards,
  • Argo Event cards,
  • Port City cards,
  • Squad tokens,
  • Equipment tokens,
  • Relic tokens,
  • D12 die,
  • Wooden ship,
  • Golden fleece tokens,
  • Resource, Favour, Crew and Damage tokens.

Jason.

Argonauts is a co-operative game. What makes it different is that there are simultaneous actions and point to point movement. You start off with the Argo (your ship) on Iolkos and each player is dealt four random heroes for their squad. Each turn you will move the Argo consuming rations as you go. On each space their will be either, an Argo Event. This could range from stormy seas to dead calm. Attacking monsters through to more success collecting fish. You might instead find a port which will allow you several actions. Trading with merchants, repairing your ship, seeking favors from gods, hold a meeting with the city lord or explore. Not all of these options will be available in every port. Add to this the fact you will only have up to two actions in the port, you will be constantly juggling your options.

Hercules.

Right you want to know what you do with the heroes? Most activities in Argonauts will require you to use hero cards. Your heroes have various skills that could be in areas such as combat, diplomacy, stealth or sailing (there are more to discover). Not all heroes have access to all skills a sailor might not be a good hunter or diplomat for example. The available skills will have different values depending on your characters proficiency. Each player will choose the hero that they think will provide the best chance of success. Once you have all chosen you compare the skills against the target skills required. Exceed the number to achieve a success. You might on occasion need to roll the die to see if your actions have pleased or angered the gods. Each hero has two gods listed on their card, one that favors them and one that is less keen. These will modify your results to possibly have an effect on your result.

Laertes.

All of this makes it seem very simple doesn’t it? Of course things are never as easy as they seem. When you select a hero you exhaust them and they will not be available for at least the next two rounds. You place the selected hero on the exhausted side of your squad board. Hero-ing is a very tiring business after all. They will remain there unavailable until you use another hero for an activity (exhausting) this will cause the first hero to move to the resting side of your squad board. This leaves you with only two heroes to choose from for the next round. Once you exhaust the next hero this will cause the resting one to be moved back to your hand ready for selection.

Argos.

At various points you will experience Legendary encounters. These will consist of famous mythical enemies like Harpies, Talos, Dragons and more. You will have to make a choice between rushing headlong with combat or trying a more stealth approach. This will involve meeting or exceeding one or more skill targets. Win the encounter and be rewarded with relics. Fail however and you might lose Argonauts or suffer damage to your ship. Warning if at any point your number of Argonauts drop to zero or your ship reaches four damage and it is game over, you lose, your all dead.

Orpheus.

Your ultimate aim is to find the Golden Fleece and return to your home port. This is not as easy as it seems. In four run through’s I was able to achieve this only once and that was with a very fortunate one Argonaut and 3 damage to my ship. Not exactly the heroes return I envisaged.

Calais.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the balanced level of difficulty provided here. Even though winning is hard and failure is easy. At no point did I think it was “too” difficult I always felt like I could have done better. The gameplay flows in a very simple manner which makes it fluid and easy to follow. Set-up is simple and quick and no excessive “bits of card”

Echion.

Gameplay at one player is just as easy as at four players. I do have one hesitant note. Apart from the selection of heroes for each challenge, I question the need for four players. With one player going through the four squads each round can be a bit tiresome. Where this game shined for me was at two players with each player running two squads each. There was plenty to discuss and decide throughout. Overall another solid game from Alcyon Creative following up from Deus Ex Machina. Look out for their next outing, a space Co-op IRONCLAD

Let the dust settle.

  • Expansion is included in the box.
  • Best with two players.
  • Gorgeous artwork.
  • Balanced challenge.

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

Word Slam

WORD SLAM

From KOSMOS

A review by Mawihtec

  • 3-99 Players
  • 45 Minutes
  • 12+ Age

Movie?

Yes you read that right. 99 player games are not only possible, I actively encourage them (more if you can). OK just to rewind a moment. I do not enjoy party games. I have never found one I enjoyed. I would have gone as far as saying it was never going to happen. Then Word Slam hit my desk. Here is a game that hit me over the head with the fun stick. Word guessing from 3 players up, but do not panic. You do not need to have a scrabble dictionary in your pocket. Here you will find “storytellers” who have a deck of cards with “story” words on them. Using only these cards and not speaking at all they will try to get “their team” to guess the correct answer words

Many?

Inside a box that looks like it has run through a paint factory you will find,

  • 4 Card Holders,
  • 1 Die,
  • 1 90 Second Timer,
  • 200 Answer Cards,
  • 210 Story Cards (105 per team),
  • Rule book.

Fictitious?

Rulebook is probably stretching the definition. 4 sides of A4 gives you all the information you could ever need. Including variants and clear picture examples. This is a very easy game to learn.

To start, split into two teams of roughly even numbers. Each team will have their own deck of 105 story cards and 2 card holders. Each team also elects a storyteller. The two storytellers secretly look at the top answer card and roll the die. Each card has 6 answers on it the die result tells the storytellers what this rounds word is.

Once everyone is ready the timer is set and the fun begins. Storytellers must go through their deck looking for words to lead their team to the correct answer. As they find words that could help their team they place them onto the holders. Remember they are not allowed to speak or communicate other than through the cards. As cards appear the team will start to shout out answers. There is not limit to guesses so non stop calling out will ensue. Once a team gets the correct answer or the time runs out. Correct answers get the winning team a card. Unsolved cards are removed from the game.

Small?

Now this might not sound like a lot of fun. On the surface of it you would be right. Where the fun actually starts is with the story cards. The section headers in this review are actual words from the story cards. Can you work out the answer? Now think of a group of people of different ages all yelling out random answers. Add onto this, the opposing team will also be calling out their answers. Will they help you? OR will you shout out a few random off-putting answers to confuse them. While your thinking of the answer to the section header story. Hear is another example for you.

EAT, YELLOW, CIRCLE?

Hmm pancakes? Pineapple rings?

Wait another card,

DIVIDED

so something you eat that is yellow that is a divided circle?

BANANA!

Blue?

Word Slam is a difficult game to write a review for. This is only because the fun is only going to really come out as you play. Conveying teams of people calling out random words as fun is a tough ask.

I can only say BUY THIS GAME.

It is suitable for family groups, good for larger game groups, good for conventions, team size is truly irrelevant as long as you can see the cards you can play. In fact I could easily see myself involved in a mega game at a convention or large meet-up where the teams are fluid as people drop in and out or even swap teams. This is one of those games where “winning” is secondary (at least at the start). You will instead be more concerned with thinking “how the hell where we supposed to guess H.G. Wells from LITERARY WATER CONTAINER?

Another nice touch is that the creator has scaled the difficulties of the answer cards from beginner through easy and experienced all the way to expert. A challenge for any age. This is also a game that is suitable for a kids party. Or a drinks party (after a few drinks).

I was wrong

A party game can be fun to play.

You just need the right game.

This is the right game.

Funny?

Long story short.

  • More fun with more players. Good for all ages. Good in many different settings. Worth having in the collection- Yes.

I received a preview copy of “Word Slam” through BGE to preview. This game will now been forwarded onto another reviewer. I have tried not to let this influence my review.

The correct answer was:- The Smurfs

Donning the Purple

Donning the Purple

From Tompet Games

A preview by Mawihtec

2-3 Players

update 20th February 2018: Donning the Purple is now live on Kickstarter.

Et-Tu.

193AD The might of Caesar is long gone. The madness of Caligula has subsided. The Roman empire is no longer the mighty force it once was. Well past its heyday. The cut and thrust of politics is more often discussed at the pointy end of a knife. You find a power vacuum, the previous Emperor has been assassinated by his own praetorian guard. You and two other families have decided to take this chance to seize the day and the power while your at it. Do you have what it takes to not only grab the throne but also hold onto it? All the while opposing forces are attacking the empire, famine is widespread and you associates are helping you while holding a knife at your back.

Carpe noctem.

Component quality in Donning the Purple is looking promising. The art currently on show in the preview prototype is looking attractive and thematic, especially the game board. The quality of the final game components will all depend on what the final funding achieved is and which Stretch goals are reached.

You will encounter Forum cards, Event Cards, Hidden agenda cards, plot cards, a game board, Enemy troops, Roman Troops, Buildings, Aqueducts and Dice of different types. With possibly more to come.

Carpe diem.

OK so you fancy Donning the Purple of the Emperor. What is involved? A game is played over 4 years (rounds) each year is split into 8 phases. Your goal is a simple one. Get as many VP as you can. The other players will be doing their best to ruin your chances. All the while you will be forced to work together. Because if the invading forces ever gain control of your regional capitals or manage to place all their forces. It is game over you all lose.

Ad portas.

8 Phases! I hear you exclaim. While this might initially sound daunting. It is nowhere near as bad as you might think and all of the phases follow a natural progression.

1: Enemies appear and move. Each turn two enemy forces appear in each region. A die is used to determine which province (area). Once placed all enemies move following a set pattern. If they encounter a weaker Roman force they destroy it.

2: Harvest. Each round a region is allocated as a famine spot so produces no food. All the other regions grain goes to the Emperor to allow him to feed the people. Enemy forces stop production.

3: Card Draw. Event cards are drawn and resolved in order. Usually 5 but certain cards can change this. This is followed by a Forum card. This is essentially a new action space for the next round.

4: Action round. This involves players spending precious stamina to build monuments, estates, move on the map or even assassinate the Emperor.

Imperium in imperio.

Half way through the year. Onwards to phase,

5: Place buildings. Where you place buildings (you did not see that coming) this is dependent on their location on a build track.

6: Feed Rome. It is time for the Emperor to feed the people. If he manages to feed all the provinces everyone is happy and all is well. If not happiness drops. Let it drop too far and it is curtains for the Emperor.

7: Tax. Money money money. You collect money from your estates. While the Emperor will collect extra for each province without any enemies.

8: End of year. This is essentially the clean up section of the year.

Felix culpa.

So how does it all feel. Given the number of phases in a round it is surprisingly fluid. Once you have played 1 round you will be pretty much au-fait with the rules. The mix of co-op and Vs mode seems to blend in well with the theme of this game. You will constantly be thinking, “hmm If I do this it will help me but it helps the Emperor as well?”. “OK I wont do it I will try to kill the Emperor instead”. While as the Emperor you really are walking a knife edge. You can do more each turn and you can earn more. But the players your relying on can’t be trusted as they plot against you. In my plays I found the balance seemed to flow nicely with some good decision making. The use of hidden agenda and plot cards to throw spanners into the works is a nice addition. While enemy movement is predictable and can be planned for (but not always managed due to back stabbing plotting senators).

Cui bono?

In short. A very interesting game with lots of potential. Only being 2-3 player might hurt it. A fourth player as the enemy option might have been a nice addition but logistically a more difficult proposition. I will be interested to see this on Kickstarter and suggest it as a definite one to watch at the start of 2018.

For those who’s Latin might be a little rusty.

  • Et-tu – And you
  • Carpe noctem – Seize the night.
  • Carpe diem.– Seize the day.
  • Ad portas – At the gates..
  • Imperium in imperio – Empire within the empire..
  • Felix culpa – Happy fault.
  • Cui bono? – Who benefits?

I received a preview copy of “Donning the Purple” through BGE to preview. This game will now been forwarded onto another reviewer. I have tried not to let this influence my review.

Spirits of the Forest

Spirits of the Forest

From Thundergryph Games

A preview by Mawihtec

  • 1-4 Players
  • 20 Minutes
  • 14+ Age

Flowers.

Mythic winds lift the veil. The Spirit world and ours connect. Seraphs who are whimsical by nature. Find themselves drawn to the life force of an ancient forest. They descend through the clouds. Eager to resume their games from time immemorial. You are one of these spiritual Seraphs you posses great power but also great curiosity. You find yourself fascinated by the life force of this ancient forest and eagerly collect Plant, Animal and Sprite. Driven to add them to your mystical menagerie. But you are not alone you must compete with other spirits to collect the best specimens.

Vines.

The box art of Spirits of the Forest is beautiful and has an almost ethereal look to it. Inside you will find,

  • 1 Single player Favor card,
  • 12 Gemstones,
  • 14 Favor markers,
  • 48 Spirit tiles,
  • 1 Rulebook.

Moss.

A game of Spirits of the Forest begins with the layout of all 48 spirit tiles in 4 equal rows. These tiles each depict 1 or 2 spirit icons, with some of them also showing one of three “Power” icons (Sun, Moon or Fire). Straight away you see all the information. No hidden luck of the draw which is a nice surprise from a small box game. Each player takes a number of gems based on player count. The Favor are shuffled and 8 are randomly placed face down on tiles. The remaining ones are put back in the box. You are then ready to begin.

Leaves.

Your aim is to collect as many of each type of spirit and power icon as you possibly can. With points being awarded based on the number collected but hefty penalties for missing some out. You can use your gems to “reserve” certain tiles to help you out. You get these gems back when you collect the tile. However if you want to take a tile with an opponent gem on it, You can. At a cost, they get their gem back while yours is removed from the game. So use it wisely. Collecting the “Favor” tokens will give you extra spirit or power icons, You might even get the special token to retrieve a discarded gem.

Mushrooms.

OK so just how to collect these spirits? Well it is surprisingly easy to play, But what was pleasantly surprising was the amount of thinking that could be involved. On your turn you can choose tiles from either end of the rows only. You are allowed to take 1 or 2 tiles only and they must match and have no more than 2 spirits between them. e.g. 1 tile with 2 spirits or 2 tiles with 1 spirit. These will open up the next tiles in those rows for selection. So when faced with multiple choices of tile. It can be very worthwhile making note of what each players situation is. Also judicial use of your gems can force others to make decisions that will help you later on. At the end of the game each player totals up individual colours with only the highest total scoring of each colour. Failure to collect any of a particular type is -3points to you which is a tough amount to lose..

Fruits.

KickStarter:

  • The base game is going to be approx 10euros which is a great price if I am honest.
  • The next level will have a magnetic box and Player stones not gems making a huge improvement to look and feel.
  • There will also be a collectors edition with colouring books signed posters table cloths and limited edition extra stones to name a few upgrades.

Right then that is the basic bones. But the big question is just how does Spirits of the Forest come together as a whole?

Well lets start with component quality. The copy I played was a preview copy and as such was not retail quality. That being said there was evidence that it was being seriously considered.

What about play itself? This is a very gentle game to play. It is very light with only a few choices available each turn. The chance to play strategically is there but not in a heavy Analysis Paralysis way. Nobody is going to melt their brain on this one. This game is listed as 14+ I think this is purely for a CE testing sake as it can very easily be played by much younger 9+ would be my rating.

What about group suitability? Family play is a definite winner here with no heavy take that or overly cerebral decision making. It is not a long play game either so attention span suitable, for the younger family members. Game group as a filler is a possibility but I do think given its lightness other options would be more likely. Meet-up is another possibly good call not a big table hog short quick play suitable for occasional but not regular appearance.

Theme is very stuck on. Change the spirits to armies or weapons and you have a game about military might.

The creators have included a solo play mode which is very much a solitaire feel beat the deck to gain the most points but most cards are hidden making completion a lot more luck based. Nice to have not missed if not there.

In short

  • Nice light easy to play.
  • Can sit happily on most shelves.
  • Worth a look on kickstarter? one to watch.


I received a preview copy of “spirits of the Forest through BGE to review. This game will now been forwarded onto another reviewer. I have tried not to let this influence my review.