Brief Board Game Reviews Part…5ish?

Board in the City opens in two weeks’ time so I’m working my way through all the games we’re going to have in our library. This week I played fifteen, so there’s a lot to get through, although I won’t talk about them all. These are only first impressions. There are so many to get through that I haven’t had a chance to play any of them in depth,  but hopefully once we open I’ll be able to re-visit them and explore the games more. So let’s go!

Dead 0f Winter –

I had been wanting to play this one for ages. This is a semi-cooperative game in which players take control of survivors who have banded together with others to form a colony to try and make it through winter in the zombie apocalypse. There’s a lot to this game but it flows well. The group as a whole has a main objective to win, but each player has a secret objective too, so you’re all working together but you have your own agendas. There’s also the chance that someone is a betrayer, but that didn’t happen in our first game. We actually did win, which I was surprised at because I heard it was a very difficult game, but I’m assuming that we got fortunate with our card draws etc. Even so I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to playing it more.

WWE Superstar Showdown –

I used to love wrestling when I was younger but I haven’t followed it for many years, so of the six wrestlers included in the box I only know of three of them, and not that well. But the game is actually pretty cool. There’s a board upon which you place your wrestler, and then each round players play three cards from their hand, and compare each of them in turn. The game revolves around a rock, paper, scissors mechanic, and if you win the card comparison then you get to take the actions on the card, which could be an attack or a move, so you’re trying to get your wrestler into a position where he can pin your opponent. It’s a fun game and there are variations on the rules so you can have a tag team match, but I haven’t played any of them yet. My first thought though was that it’s a game that could really use expansions, personally I’d love to see some of the classic wrestlers in the game.

Captain’s Wager –

This is a small card game in which players are going on adventures and betting treasure, trying to get the highest card in each round to then win the pool of treasure. It’s okay, this is one of those that seemed more complicated than it needed to be. One of my friends hated it but I didn’t mind it. There are some interesting things because you don’t have many cards in your hand so you’re trying to figure out which cards the other players are going to play, and then make sure that you don’t waste your high-powered cards.

Draco-Magi –

This is a two-player game in which you are playing cards onto battlefields to try and win the jewels that they have. The artwork is cool, and if you like dragons you’ll be in heaven. The gameplay itself is similar to something like Smash Up, and I liked how the cards were used for ranged and melee attacks. It is a quick game though, and I think that if a player gets an early lead there’s not much the other person can do about it.

Tokaido –

A game about a leisurely stroll through Japan, which turns out to be quite tense and even a little cutthroat. There’s a great turn mechanic in which the player furthest behind on the track goes first, so you can leap ahead to a space you really want, but it means that the other players may be able to visit three or four different spaces. I got absolutely trounced in this as everyone kept going where I wanted to go! But it’s fun, and it’s not mean-spirited at all, it’s kind of like that annoyance in worker placement games where you’re planning to go somewhere then someone else takes the spot. It’s also really quick, we knocked out a three player game in about twenty minutes.

Zombicide –

A big box from Cool Mini or Not. We love Arcadia Quest, and Zombicide seems to be fun. We played one scenario and for a while it seemed like we were not going to do well, until we managed to get a molotov cocktail. It’s a co-op game, and unfortunately in the one we played there was only one player who was really able to do anything, the other two of us were basically just there as back up until he could throw the molotov cocktail into the zombie mass. But it has the potential to be very fun, although I think I still prefer Arcadia Quest.

Boss Monster –

Inspired by classic video games, you take on the role of a boss and in the game you build a dungeon, trying to lure heroes in with the promise of treasure and then steal their souls. I like the artwork, but the gameplay is horrible. It’s basically down to the luck of the cards. My opponent was able to get a powerful dungeon, so all the heroes were going to him, leaving me with no chance. I didn’t like it because it seems like a game where you can strategize and build the perfect dungeon, but it comes down to luck.

Kittens in a Blender –

Don’t worry, the artwork is cutesy rather than graphic. On the table there’s a blender and a box. You’re trying to get your opponent’s kittens blended while you want yours saved in the box. During the game you’ll play cards that allow you to move kittens or blend them, or place them down. It’s a really quick game and one that I think will be better with more players. I didn’t think I’d like this one but I did, because sometimes you have to work out whether it’s beneficial to sacrifice some of your own kittens to save more, and it’s really quick.

Conquest of Speros –

This is another card game in which you are competing for control of locations in the middle of the board, by placing meeples on them until you have the majority. This game has potential and I’d like to play it more. My main complaint is that a lot of the cards have abilities that aren’t useful early on, so often we found that we were playing cards and not bothering to use the ability. But there are some interesting decisions as you have to make sure that your hand size doesn’t drop too low, but if you draw cards that means you’re probably going to miss out on placing a meeple. There are some hidden objectives as well, and I always love that.

Carcassonne: Star Wars –

I have a confession to make. I really didn’t like the app version of this. But the physical version is better. And I find the Star Wars setting more interesting than the French land. There’s also the chance to battle in this version. It only happened twice in the game I played so I don’t think it’s completely turning the game on its head, but it adds something different and that’s welcome. The only annoying thing was that I had to put on a load of stickers on the meeples.

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends –

This game is really cool. The board is an arena with grids, and you’re placing counters trying to make patterns, which will summon beings that have powerful abilities. Once again there are objectives you’re trying to complete (thematically you’re trying to please the crowd). It’s quite strategic in that you’re trying to think a few moves ahead so you can pull off a good combo, and it’s one of those that I think will only get better the more I play it. Really looking forward to playing this one again and exploring the different factions to see how differently they play.

7 Wonders Duel –

This is a two player version of the popular drafting game. Now, I’ve only played 7 Wonders once and it was a bad teaching experience but this two player version is so much fun. The cards of each age are placed in the middle of the table, some face up and some face down. On your turn you take a card (one that has been flipped up), then either construct it, use it to build a wonder, or discard it for gold. As you build your city you’ll be building towards other things, but there’s also a military track, which, if the marker reaches your side of the track, you’ll have been invaded and lose. If anyone gains six different science symbols they will automatically win as well, otherwise it is whoever has the most points at the end of the game. So you’re still looking at what your opponent is doing with their city and I like the tug of war aspect. Really involved and a lot of fun to play.

 

 

 

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