Board Game Reviews

Board Game Reviews

Board Game Reviews

A quick review of the games we have played, how they work, ease of learning and any key points you should be aware of.

May contain spoilers.....

I will also note the date we played them so you can view actual play reports.

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Dungeon Command

StrategyPosted by Sir Keith Wed, August 01, 2012 17:55:51

Wizards of the Coast - Ages 12+ - 2-4 players

Heart of Cormyr includes: human ranger, halfling sneak, dragon knight, dwarven defenders, and copper dragon. Sting of Lolth includes: drow assassin, priestess, wizard, spiders, and umber hulk.

Dungeon Command features themed miniature factions designed to play as unified war bands, in a game eliminating luck-driven mechanics in favour of player-driven skill, creativity, and quick thinking.

Each Dungeon Command faction contains twelve plastic miniatures (plus the cards, tiles and rules for the game). In addition to their use in Dungeon Command, these miniatures can be used in the D&D RPG, with their cards further usable with D&D Adventure System board games (Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, and The Legend of Drizzt).

OK here is a quick quiz.... What game am I describing?

You get cards dealt with monsters on them which you can play in front of you. You then attack your opponents monsters by tapping your cards. You can also play other cards from your hand to damage or affect your opponent. If one of your creatures is killed you put them into your graveyard.

Sound familiar? Yes.... WOTC have finally managed to get D&D and MTG to combine and what a glorious baby they have produced! The kits have nice figures, some of the better sculpts from old minature ranges and also some new sculpts have been used. The floor tiles are double sided so you can play in a dungeon or in the wilderness. The rules seem very straightforward and simple. The main gripe has to be that you need to buy two kits to play the game. Yes you can play a very limited 2 player game with one kit but the rules are clear that two kits are needed. Just waiting for the second kit to arrive and I will give you an actual play report.

Oh and there are no dice! Nope the d20 is gone!! However the fact that there are cards to enable you to incorporate the creatures directly into WOTCs Adventure system is a nice touch. The box itself have great little inserts to store your components, in the vein of Lords of Waterdeep. So a thumbs up so far.... Just want to play the bloody thing!!

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Mage Knight

StrategyPosted by Sir Keith Sat, June 09, 2012 12:14:38

WizKids/NECA - For 1-4 players, ages 14+

The Mage Knight Board Game comes complete with 240 cards, eight intricately painted miniatures, 196 tokens, 20 map tiles, 54 mana crystals, seven mana dice, two game mats, and two rulebooks.

Designed by Vlaada Chvatil, designer of Dungeon Lords, Through the Ages, and Galaxy Trucker, the Mage Knight Board Game throws you and up to three other Mage Knights into the sprawling and ever-changing world of the Atlantean Empire, a land that is but a distant memory since your transformation into a mysterious Mage Knight. Build your armies, defeat bands of marauding enemies, and eventually conquer cities in the name of the mysterious Void Council. As a Mage Knight you must control your reputation and walk the line - or embrace the role of benevolent leader or brutal dictator. Accumulate Fame and experience to acquire powerful Spells and abilities, then use your power to influence units to join your ranks. Featuring a variety of campaign options allowing you to play both competitively or cooperatively.

This is a great little game, along the line of Runebound. You play a hero that explores, conquers and controls a far distant land. The play is done via cards and the use of coloured mana (like MTG) to power the stronger abliltlies. The components are ver well made and the knights are well apinted. Each knight has it's own deck and abilites they gain as the level up. There are many points on the baord to gain allies or to encounter so the game is pacy with a lot too do each round. In fact there may be too many choices as the threat of Analysis Parlysis is never too far away. The rule book is quite complex so having the owner playing the solo varient before bringing it to the table is highly recommended. There are good reference cards and these can be referred to during other player turns, to keep the flow of the game going. 14+ is a good guide due the complexity of the rule book. This is one I highly recommend and I can see why it was out of print so quickly after it was first released.

Play Report - 7th June 2012

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The Great Dalmuti

CardPosted by Sir Keith Fri, June 01, 2012 19:35:08

Card Game, 4-8 Players by Wizards of the Coast

Players take their places in the pecking order, from Greater Peon to Greater Dalmuti, and try to ditch the cards in their hands. From this simple concept comes an ingenious game by Richard Garfield (designer of Magic: the Gathering and RoboRally).

There are 5 roles to play in the game: The King (or Queen), the Princess (or Prince), the merchant, the upper peon or lower peon. The more players there are, the more merchants appear. The upper peon keeps the score and the lower peon has to shuffle, deal out the cards and clear the table after every hand! Also the upper peon has to pass his best card to the pronce and the lower peon has to give his best two cards to the king. The prince and king reciprocate by passing the same number of cards back to the peons but these can be of whatever value or typt they wish.

The lead player plays a set of number of cards (there are two 2's, three 3's etc). The aim of the game is to empty your hand of cards as quickly as possible. The lead player lays down a set then it follows in clockwork order with others laying down the same number of cards but of a lesser number value. The lowest person then leads off the next hand. The first person oput becomes king for the next hand and scores the maximum points; the next out the prince etc until the lower peon is found. People then get up and sit wherever their new social status places them. Get both Jesters and then a revolution takes place and the peons become king/prince and vice versa.

What is really great about this simple card game is the social aspect of the game. To get a real feel for this, the minimum this should be played with is 5 players. Players move up and down the social ladder and getting the two best cards from a peon is great fun. So is the amount of stick you can give a peon, but be prepared to take it as well, as luck can turn at any time!!

Actual play report - 31st May 2012

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Blood Bowl Team Manager

CardPosted by Sir Keith Wed, May 23, 2012 07:00:11

Card drafting game for 2-4 players, ages 14+, from Fantasy Flight Games.

Blood Bowl: Team Manager—The Card Game is based on an old Games Workshop property. It’s a standalone game of frenzied deck-building action that takes 2-4 players through the cutthroat excitement of an entire Blood Bowl season in just about one-to two hours of playing time. Some players rely on speed, others on size. Some will mercilessly injure their opponents, while others cheat like crazy to score touchdowns. The object is to build a formidable team and win the Blood Bowl championship. Players take on the role of the coach of one of six factions from the Blood Bowl world Humans, Dwarfs, Wood Elves, Orcs, Skaven, or Chaos, and attempt to formulate the right style of play to fit the characteristics of their teams as they customize their decks in frenzied fits of deck-building in order to fight their way to the championship.

I remember when the original game was released from Games Workshop (yep I am that old!!) I had a Dark Elf team that would race up against teams of chaos, dwarves, orcs, skaven etc. We all had a team we used, so this game does bring back the memories! In itself, this is a very clever little game. It oozes flavour, the cards have some great llittle captions at the bottom (especially the orcs!). The star players and special moves are true to the original game and as it is played over a season, the game is well balanced. Star Players are a must at the start and the only moan is they there are a couple of cards that add points at the end of the game that seem a bit over powered. The game itself is easy to learn, the cards are clear and self-explanatory so older children will soon pick them up. A bit violent for younger children but the box is clearly marked as 14+ and that is a good guide. So a good game, especially if you remember the original!!

Play report - 8th December 2011, 15th December 2011, 8th March 2012

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Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards

CardPosted by Sir Keith Wed, May 23, 2012 06:52:29

Card Game for 2-6 Players, ages 15+, from Cryptozoic Entertainment

Contents: 40 Spell Source cards 40 Spell Quality cards 40 Spell Delivery cards 25 Dead Wizard cards 25 Treasure cards 8 oversized Hero cards 8 Wild Magic cards 7 Last Wizard Standing chips 6 Skull life counter chips 4 Six-sided dice 1 Rulebook

Did you know that magical wizards are battling to the death ... and beyond ... right now!? “Why battle?“ you might ask. “What have I got to prove, magic man?“ Only who's the most awesomely powerful battle wizard in the entire realm, that's what! As a Battle Wizard, you'll put together up to three spell components to craft millions* of spell combos. Your spells might kick ass, or they could totally blow -- it's up to you to master the magic. You will unleash massive damage on the faces of your wizard rivals in a no-holds-barred, all-out burn-down to be the last Battle Wizard standing. And it doesn't stop there! Powerful magic items bring on a whole new level of bloody carnage as you and your mighty wizard opponents tear each other limb from limb in an orgy of killing! Do you have what it takes to use epic spells in a war at Mt. Skullzfyre? Will YOU be the Ultimate Battle Wizard!?!

*Not actually millions of combos ... but like thousands or more, maybe.

Combine spell cards into three-piece combos, creating hundreds of unique and devastating attacks. The chaos is limited only by your thirst for destruction! Super mind-blowing fun for 2-6 wizards! Dozens of Arcane Artifacts modify your spells and bring the ultimate pain to your wizard opponents! Dead Wizard card innovation keeps players in the game, even when they suck and die before winning! Simple to learn with endless replayability -- you'll be locked in deadly Wizard Combat till you've got a long, gross, goat-like beard! Amazing art with over 100 unique images, the world of epic spell battles comes to righteously hilarious life!

Hmmm - not that hilarious!! Nope, don't remember wiping tears from eyes. What I do remember is a game that seemed a bit elongated as you have to play rounds to win, not just one game. One round (as a filler) was fine but after that it seemed the play was elongated to justify the cost. The cards are nice, the idea of combining different parts of spells to get different effects were fine (though there were no devastating blowback from what i saw). However the downtime of dying early was an issue that they tried to address, but I felt the solution of getting advantage cards for the next game just unbalanced everything! The game is simple enough, combine your different spell parts (front, middle, end) and choose a victim. Special cards add more effect and make them more devastating but it is not a brain boiler! I am a bit confused by the minimum age of 15+ as there is not that much in here that children don't see in cartoons. Overall, buy it if you like games such as Munchkin, but if you do then buy Munchkin!!

Play report - 15th March 2012

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Sentinels of the Multiverse

Co-operativePosted by Sir Keith Sun, May 20, 2012 12:12:39

Card game for 2-5 players, ages 8+ from Greater Than Games.

A mad scientist holds the world hostage with his terrifying inventions. An alien warlord from a far away galaxy brings his limitless army of bizarre minions to conquer the planet. A giant rampaging robot cuts a swath of destruction across the coast, destroying major population centers. And who will stand in their way? A team of heroes, all with impressive powers and abilities stand between the world and the forces of evil. Will you help them? Answer the call to protect the multiverse! Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative, fixed-deck card game with a comic book flavor.

Each player plays as one of 10 heroes, against one of 4 villains, and the battle takes place in one of 4 different dynamic environments. Each player, after selecting one of the heroes, plays a deck of 40 cards against the villain and environment decks, which 'play themselves', requiring the players to put the top card of the appropriate deck into play on the villain and environment turns. On each player's turn, they may play a card from their hand, use a power printed on one of their cards in play, and draw a card from their deck. Each round starts with the villain turn, continues clockwise around the table, then concludes with the environment turn. Each villain has various advantages, such as starting with certain cards in play, as specified by the villain character card. Play continues until the heroes reduce the villain to 0 or fewer HP, or until the villain defeats the heroes, either via a win condition or by reducing all the heroes to 0 or fewer HP.

I really like this one. I thought it worth mentioning straight off as it does colour my review. The artwork is comic related (as can be seen above). The character powers seem well thought through (though the blizzard character is a bit strange). I do really like that even if you are reduced to 0 points you can still help the group to win by taking one, limited action on your turn. There are some blalnce issues with some of the teams you can end up with and some of the villains you then face, but finding a strategy for that adds to the gmae. Of course having an egyptian god as a superhero does add a lot of weight for me (see the play reports!!).

The rulebook is well laid out and the cards are very clear on what they do. The timings are well handled, though where a hero is sitting round the table can be an issue. There is a level of complexity thst i think 8 year olds will struggle with, but a co-op game allows for that extra level of support that is not appropriate in other games. However it is important they make the final decision and the adult does not take over their game for them!!

Actual Play: 12th January 2012, 22nd March 2012

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Alien Frontiers

Resource ManagementPosted by Sir Keith Sun, May 20, 2012 11:56:19

Board game. 2-4 players, ages 13+. Publisher: Clever Mojo Games.

When humans first landed on the new world they knew it would be rough going. Building up fuel and ore reserves and constructing colony domes is hard work. But then the first alien artifact was discovered, and the secret tunnels, and the abandoned city. Now it's a race to colonize and control this Alien Frontier. Alien Frontiers is a game of resource management, worker placement, and area control set in a retro-future scifi universe. The dice you receive at the start of the game represent the spaceships in your fleet. Docking your ships at the orbital facilities will earn resources, expand your fleet, raid your opponents, discover alien technology, trade commodities, and build colony domes to land on the planet. Winning will require careful consideration as you assign your fleet, integrate the alien technology and territory bonuses into your expansion plans, and block the other players from building colonies of their own.

This is the game that really made everyone sit up and take notice of Kickstarter! Clever Mojo game of resource management, using dice is a simple yet clever idea. There is a lot of luck involved inrolling the right numbers but even then there are enough choices to keep you interested. The main thing is to try to add more dice (ships) to your pool and to get down onto the planet so you can grab the bonuses first. One great part is the clarity of the scoring. One bad thing is that it is difficult to overtake once someone gets a lead! However, this is a good game and the expansion has been on kickstarter so should be out soon.... Easy to learn (however be careful that you do not remove all the dice after a round of play as we did in the first game of this!). Only the active player removes their dice and then rolls them. This is not clear in the rules. Not one for children but gaming groups and older children will enjoy it!

Play report - 29th March 2012

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Survive - Escape from Atlantis

StrategyPosted by Sir Keith Sun, May 20, 2012 11:53:02

Boardgame for 2-4 Players, ages 8+, from Stronghold Games

Survive: Escape From Atlantis!™ includes: • 1 Game Board • 40 cardboard Land Tiles • 40 wood People tokens • 5 wood Sea Serpents • 5 wood Whales • 6 wood Sharks • 4 wood Dolphins • 12 wood Boats • 3 custom Dice • 1 cloth Drawstring Bag • Rulebook

An underwater volcano has erupted and the island of Atlantis is sinking into the sea! Unless the people of Atlantis escape in time, all the inhabitants are doomed! In Survive: Escape From Atlantis!™, you try to lead your people from the sinking central island of Atlantis to the safety of one of four islands nearby. Your people can get there quickly by boat (if they find one) or more slowly by swimming. But it will be a perilous journey as they must avoid Sea Serpents, Whales, and Sharks! When the volcano on Atlantis explodes, the game is over. The player with the most survivor points wins. Survive: Escape From Atlantis!™ has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide in its previous versions, but has since been out of print for over 10 years. To illustrate the legacy of this great game, optional \'Challenge Rules\' and additional components (the cute little Dolphins, and the treacherous \'Dive Dice\') have been added. All of the components have been upgraded to the highest-quality levels, including slotted wood boats to carry the wood People tokens, as well as Land Tiles of 3 different thicknesses to give Atlantis a 3-D look. The Beach tiles are 2mm thick, the Forest Tiles are 4mm thick, and the Mountain tiles are 6mm thick (first ever that thick in a board game)!

Giant Squid: Add even more peril by adding giant squids to the mix! They can replace or play along with the whale tokens for even more mayhem!

5 - 6 Player Mini-Expansion: Play with up to 6 players for a bigger and even more fun game of “Survive: Escape From Atlantis!” This “5-6 Player Mini-Expansion” includes: 60 Plastic People Tokens (10 People Tokens in 6 different colors) 1 Sticker Sheet Rules sheet 5 Mountain Tiles (to be used as replacements for tiles in the base game, if needed) This is a fun game that relly put Stonghold on the map! The contents scream quality, with thick card counters and wooden tokens. However be aware that the numbers on some of the original meoples are not clear and the stickers on the exapnsion to counter do not stick very well. However this is a minor moan for a game that is very pretty to see, has lots of counters but is easy to learn and play! To use the expansions however mean that you end up with a lot of minor booklets to refer to but the play is so simple i would recommend one play of the base game to get the flavour and then straight into the madness of everything in!!! Yes this game is fun for all ages so perfect for family play. There is also enough here for a game group to enjoy.

Play report - 5th April 2012

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