Archive for the ‘Board Games’ Category

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

The featured game for this article and video review is a game from Fireside Games, Remnants.

Remnants on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

remnants

The world ended some time ago. Our days are dust and sand. We build what we need to survive from the remnants of the old world . . .

Remnants takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Each player builds a compound and fights to survive Raiders and mutant creatures. Send Survivors into the Badlands to roll dice in a real-time race for Resources, and then take turns spending those Resources to buy weapon, defense, and special development cards. When threats attack, roll dice and use abilities from cards you purchased to stay alive and fend off the assault. Designed by Matthew O’Malley, Ben Rosset, and our own Justin De Witt.

Remnants takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Each  player builds a compound and fights to survive Raiders and mutant creatures. The game is played in 5 phases: Scavenge, Build, Fight, Heal, and Cleanup. In the Scavenge phase, you send Survivors into the Badlands to roll dice in a real-time race for Resources. In the Build phase, you take turns spending those Resources to buy weapon, defense, and special development cards that enhance your compound. When threats attack, you’ll roll dice and use abilities followed by a Level 2 threat, and then finally face down the Raider Boss. After the final attack, the game ends and the player with the most Victory points is the winner.

If you like Mad Max, you should definitely be looking into this game!

Rules

I can’t think of any rule book from Fireside that’s given me serious trouble. Fireside is great about explaining things in detail and so their rule books tend to be thick and intimidating when you first pick them up. The rule book is detailed and covers just about every aspect of the game. We haven’t had a single question about Remnants that wasn’t covered in the rule book.

As a general tip, I recommend that you give yourself time to sit and read the rule book in its entirety. Then sit down with a friend or two that doesn’t mind trying to learn a new game so you can work out the ins and outs of the game. I’d do all of this before introducing it to a larger group. If your group likes learning new games together, then board out and game on!

Fireside has a link to the rule book, here.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

Remnants is not a difficult game to learn or play. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes to teach to a group. The complexity of the game comes in with the various RNG that’s in the game. You’re trying to accomplish whatever purchasing goal you have with the randomness of the Badlands cards and the dice. The development cards are different with each setup too, which I definitely like. You can bet that no two games will ever be the same. I also like that you don’t have to focus on defeating attackers in order to win. There are other ways to get the Flavor Pack VPs. I know they’re called “Flavor Packs”, but they totally look like Ketchup Packs. I almost want to buy a box of Ketchup Packs from somewhere just to use for this game. One of my favorite descriptive things from Remnants is this:“Victory Points are flavor packets because in the future, flavor is the most valuable commodity.”

Fireside is always good about putting player aids on the board, on cards to hand out, or somewhere in the game components. Once again, Fireside has not let me down! Your player board has a detailed turn order, which is really all you need once you’ve got the basics down.

I also enjoy the randomness of the attacking Raiders and the various ways you can set up the boss, like not revealing their Power Up card until the boss is actually attacking. It adds some suspense to the boss and I love it! We typically wait until we’re done with the Dread turn before flipping the Raider/Boss – which makes it that much more fun!

This game is loads of fun and it plays relatively quickly. If you like Mad Max or something similar (I LOVE Mad Max), you might like the feel of this game. It’s definitely got that Mad Max feel – you’re fighting against other players for resources and the opportunity to development your compound, while fighting for your life against the attacking Dread!

I would like to see additional Dread cards, either as an expansion/upgrade, or as an addition to a deluxe/collector’s edition of the game. I could also see miniatures and plastic tokens added as an upgrade pack or for a deluxe/collector’s edition and I would totally buy it!

The only complaint I have, has nothing to do with game play or anything really important. I wish there was a base piece or punch out spot on the player board for the turn player flag. I would love to see flag ‘flying’ over the turn player’s compound.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!!!

I hope to see expansions or upgrades in the future! This game deserves upgraded tokens! Even if you don’t dig the theme, give this game a try!

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

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Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

I know it’s only January right now, and Origins Game Fair isn’t until June – but if you’re planning a full week trip to Origins, you should probably start thinking about it now. I get asked a lot of questions about Origins and how to get ready for it. I want to share planning methods and tips for the convention that Mr. DDK and I have. We may not be the most seasoned when it comes to Origins (been a few times), but we’ve traveled a lot and we’ve definitely learned a lot!

Most of this article is written for travelers that are driving or taking other modes of ground transportation. I don’t have much advice for anyone flying because I’m not familiar with flying protocols.

October – November 2018

Hotel blocks and badge registration opened in October and November, respectively. We don’t usually book hotel rooms or buy badges that early. A lot of people do though. If you’ve got the money to spend, we would definitely recommend getting a room from one of the Hotel Blocks listed on Origins’ site – especially the connected hotels or one super close. By now, most of them are already booked. If you want to get a room at one of the connected hotels, you would have to be ready to book the moment the blocks open up. The hotel block registration for Origins 2019 opened on October 15, 2018. If you’re planning for next year (2020), be watching for the block announcement on their Facebook page or in their newsletter.

January – April
Hotel

These are the months when we scout hotels and decide which one to book. I’m not the best at stalking about the internet for the absolute cheapest rooms, so we probably end up paying more for a room than the expert scouts. There are tons of websites out there that can teach you how to take advantage of the discounts and sales and find the cheapest possible room.

When we look for a room, we try to find one within a mile of the convention center. The address for the Greater Columbus Convention Center is:

400 N High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

If the room is within a mile, that means we won’t have to drive and pay parking fees, and it’ll be roughly a 20-25 minute walk. Parking fees aren’t terrible for one day, but once you’re paying them for five days or more, it becomes a huge chunk of what could have been spending money.

We like rooms with a refrigerator so we have a place to keep food or drinks. We also try to get a microwave in the room or in the lobby, at the very least. We like to try to get a room with two beds or one bed with a pull out couch, just in case we have folks that decide to go with us.

Once we know what we want in a room, I will usually browse Kayak for rooms that have a free cancellation policy and a pay at the hotel feature. Once I’ve found a room that we like, I’ll book it, but I’ll keep looking at rooms all the way up to the last day that I can cancel my booking. I do that in case I find a room that’s cheaper, closer, or better than the one I booked. In all the years we’ve traveled, we have never cancelled one room for another, but it doesn’t hurt to keep looking. If we can save a few hundred dollars on a room, then why not? If the room is cheaper by less than a hundred dollars, I won’t bother cancelling our current room.

Badge Registration

Badge Registration for 2019 opened in November of 2018. We don’t typically buy badges until March, just because that’s when we have extra income. Work in your badge purchase when it best suits your finances. But don’t wait too late to register! Early bird prices have a cut off date and if you miss it, you’ll have to pay more for your badge.

There are a variety of different types of badges that grant you access to the convention for one day or all five days. We always go for the full show badges, but you should get the one that suits your plans.

May

This is the month that purchasing opens for Ribbons, Event Tickets, and Generic Tokens for the various happenings at Origins Game Fair.

Ribbons

I’ve never purchased a Ribbon at Origins, but I’m seriously considering it this year. You can find the info for Ribbons at the bottom of the Registration page. Ribbons have a super sticky part across the front top of the ribbon. When you get your Ribbon, you stick it to the back of your badge, so the front of the Ribbon hangs just below your badge. I’ve seen folks with a stack of Ribbons, stretching almost all the way to the floor. Some Ribbons are earned by accomplishing various tasks, like turning in a coupon and getting your free spin on a prize wheel. Wearing the Ribbon shows you’ve done it, almost like a badge of honor.

I’ve heard lots of great things about Origins After Dark and the Board Room and that they are worth buying. I’m looking at getting the Upper Deck Ribbon because they make the VS System 2PCG: The Alien Battles and I love Alien. I wanted to learn to play it last year, but it was extremely difficult to get in without a ticket or ribbon – and I couldn’t schedule it easily last year either.

Event Tickets

Event Tickets are special tickets that you can purchase which guarantee you entry to a particular event at a specific time. You can buy tickets for practically anything at various times. You can download the 2018 Event Grid (last year’s) from the current event page, here. That’ll give you an example of the events. Last year, I bought a Giant King of Tokyo ticket and Star Trek Five Year Mission event ticket. Buying tickets in advance for events that you know you’ll want to play is a great idea. Doing it early will guarantee that you save yourself a seat! I plan on purchasing Giant King of Tokyo and some painting sessions this year. If there’s another Five Year Mission game, I’ll be getting in on that too! Mr. DDK loaded up on Dungeons and Dragons gaming sessions with Baldman Games.

We’re always careful not to buy too many tickets in advance. I’m not good at micro managing and you almost have to be to manage a stack of event tickets. We’re also careful when buying tickets for game sessions that are too close in time to each other. Origins is huge and if we buy an event ticket for an event that starts right after one ends, it’s not likely we’ll make it on time and lose our seat. Mr. DDK didn’t have to worry about running between events last year because all of his were in the same room, just at a different table.

If this is your first time at Origins, only buy a few event tickets so you can get a feel for the flow and ebb at Origins. Event tickets are usually available at Origins too, not just in advance. Some events sell out rather quickly, like the D&D events. Last year, Mr. DDK bought D&D event tickets in advance for what he could, and then picked up generic tokens when we got there. Sometimes, folks don’t make it to a scheduled event that they purchased a ticket for, or the event has extra spots open up. If that happens, folks with generic tokens have a chance to get in on that event. That’s not always the case though, so if you’re specifically looking at the D&D events, I would suggest buying them as soon as possible.

Generic Tokens

Generics are tokens that are similar in appearance to small plastic poker chips. They’re decorated with the Origins logo and each is worth $2.00 towards the entry into an event that accepts generics. Most events that I inquired about last year accepted generics, so long as all the ticket holders were seated first. If you don’t use all your generic tokens, you can turn them in by a specific day and time for a refund. It’s good to have several generics on hand, and I recommend picking them up before you start exploring the convention.

June – Leading Up To Origins

Origins month! Now it’s time to get ready for the trip!

Preventing Con Crud

Con crud is catch-all name for the germs that folks get when they spend a lot of time at a convention and don’t take care of themselves before, during, and after the convention. I should really be taking a daily vitamin all year long, but I typically start taking a daily vitamin around the first of June. Taking a daily vitamin is a good way to boost the immune system and help prevent the onset of con crud.

We also buy several travel sized bottles of hand sanitizer. We like the ones that attach to the outside of a bag so we have quick and easy access to them. We like to keep healthy snacks and plenty of water on us while at the convention. Eating well also helps to prevent the crud.

Washing your hands often while at the convention is probably the best prevention practice, which I talk about more below.

Demo/Purchase Wish Lists

It’s around this time that I start checking up on the companies that are attending and what products they may be bringing. This helps me make a list of games that I want to demo and games I want to purchase. When I make a list of games that I want to purchase, I usually keep it short. This leaves room for the possible addition of something I didn’t realize was going to be available, or in the event I demo something that I really want to buy afterwards.

My list of games to demo is usually pretty long. I like to experience as much as I can and meet as many folks as I can! I recommend making a demo list that’s larger than your purchase list. I don’t like having a large purchase wish list because then I feel like I need to go buy those things on my list and I’ll put off buying something else that’s not on the list.

I usually don’t plan on buying anything until after I’ve had a chance to demo a lot of the games on my demo list, unless it’s a game that looks like it might sell out. I would definitely recommend prioritizing the games on your lists in case some of them are hot sellers.

Buy Supplies and Make A Checklist

I always start my travel checklist around the first of June too. Making a checklist helps prevent me from forgetting anything. My travel checklists are detailed all the way down to which t-shirts I’m taking for each day. I know that might sound silly to some, but being organized helps keep my stress levels to a minimum. I write down everything, even if it seems like something obvious – like a phone charger.

Making a travel list also helps me see what I need to buy for the trip. For example, if I write shampoo down on the list, it’s not completely practical to take an entire bottle of shampoo. Buying travel sized toiletries will help save a little bit of luggage room. Saving a little room everywhere you can means you have more room to bring more things home. Do you realize how many sets of RPG dice you can fit in the space difference between the size of a normal bottle of shampoo and a travel size bottle?

Travel Food and Vehicle Prep

Chocolate, super sweet candy, and sodas are not good travel snacks. I would recommend beef jerky, trail mix, crackers, peanuts, and water or some other beverage like lemonade or Gatorade. I don’t bring anything that will melt or go bad in a hot vehicle. We make the trip by car and it takes us the better part of eight hours to get to Columbus, Ohio from Dyersburg, Tennessee. Having wholesome snacks also helps keep the number of stops to a minimum. It also helps to have good snacks for the hotel room too, so I always make sure to pack plenty of snacks.

We also make sure our vehicle has had its regular maintenance like an oil change and a tire inspection. We also check to be sure we’ve got a spare tire, jumper cables, plenty of gas in the tank, a map, and a GPS. I will sometimes check our route ahead of time and see where the long stretches are between gas stations and make a note to check the tank before reaching those points. Jumper cables should be in your vehicle at all times, regardless of the vehicle’s age. Spare tires are also important and we like to make sure we’ve got some funds set aside in case we need to buy another tire on the trip. Folks sometimes laugh at me for having an atlas in the car, but there could be times where you lose signal on your GPS or phone and you need to know where to go. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Weather Forecast

June is warm, but heads up – the convention halls can get chilly! We bring a light coat or a light weight long sleeved shirt with us to the convention.

We keep an eye on what the weather is supposed to be doing for the entire duration of the convention. We plan to walk to and from the convention, so we’ll need to know if rain is in the forecast. It didn’t rain at all while we were there last year, at least not when we were going to and from the convention. We took an Uber back and forth between the hotel and the convention last year. We also pay close attention to what the weather forecast is for the road trip.

Plotting the Course

We always check the suggested routes for which one appeals to us the most. Sometimes, we prefer the more scenic routes, and other times we prefer traveling through more populated areas. We cross check them with the weather and then select the one we think is best.

June – Convention Time!
Road Trip Time!

When departure day arrives, we make sure everything on our checklist is checked off and we put our selected route into the GPS app, and we head out! Depending on which day we leave, usually determines what time we leave. If we leave on Tuesday, we leave later in the morning, putting our arrival around dinner time. If we leave on Wednesday, we leave as early as possible (usually 7:00 or 8:00 am) which puts our arrival around 3:00 or 4:00 pm.

Pit-Stops and Safety

We stop as few times as possible, because that not only saves time, but also saves us a little on gas.

When we stop for a meal, we make sure it’s not super greasy fast food. Eating healthier on the road helps us stay alert on the trip. I know this all sounds cheesy, no pun intended there, but it’s the honest truth! I used to eat nothing but Cheetos and drink Mountain Dew while traveling and since I changed my diet, I’ve noticed a world of difference. When we stop for a meal, we make it worthwhile.

We also check the area around our potential stop for red flags. We never stop at a location that looks like it belongs in a horror movie – because I don’t want to be in a real-life horror movie scenario. We make sure the places we stop are well lit and clean on the outside. If there are storage buildings or trees close by, we don’t ever park near them. If there are a lot of folks hanging around outside a place, regardless of how they look, we will pass it by. We also look at the buildings in the area around where we’re thinking of stopping. If the area looks run down and unkempt, even if the place we’re wanting stop at looks okay, we will pass it up. It doesn’t take much effort to stay safe, just some common sense.

We also lock our vehicle at every stop, even if we’re only running in for a second, and we never leave the vehicle running. That’s just asking for someone to steal it. We like to cover our luggage with a solid colored sheet of cloth too, so anyone peering in won’t see what’s in the back of the vehicle. We hide anything that looks valuable, either under the seats or under the cloth in the back of the vehicle. And we also clean the change out of the cup holders. You would be surprised what folks will break into a car for.

Arrival!

When we arrive in Columbus, we like to check into our hotel room first if possible, just to be sure everything is in order. We haven’t really had any issues during an Origins trip (yet), but we’ve had issues with hotels in the past.

If we arrive on Tuesday, we usually take that time to relax and look over the website, making notes or changing wish lists. There isn’t much to do on Tuesday, besides visit the comic store and meet up with friends in the food court.

If we arrive on Wednesday, then we go directly to the convention center upon arrival in Columbus. Origins opens the on-site registration and badge pick up on Wednesday, as well as the gaming halls. The Exhibit Hall (Vendor Hall) is not typically open on Wednesday. We will oftentimes sit in the food court and browse the Origins event book and coupon book you get at registration.

Origins Game Fair

Everyone goes to Origins not only for gaming but to socialize with fellow gamers, the creators of their favorite games, and the companies that produce games. Origins is a very relaxed experience for how many folks attend. You wouldn’t think of 18,000 folks milling around as a relaxed experience, except the folks organizing this convention know what they’re doing. The GAMA organization does a wonderful job of it every year.

Quiet Time

This is an important topic for me and many other gamers as well. If you don’t already know this about me, you may be surprised to learn that I have some pretty severe anxiety issues. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I have panic attacks when strangers get too close to me. If I feel safe and comfortable, my anxiety isn’t an issue. A convention like Origins feels like home to me and I feel safe, so my anxiety isn’t an issue here.

I like how they have the convention set up. It never feels cramped in the gaming halls since the doors to them stay open most of the time. The only major ‘rush’ is when the Exhibit Hall first opens everyday. But once those folks filter in and disperse, which is actually quite fast, the Exhibit Hall doesn’t feel cramped either. The more popular booths will always have a crowd, but even those crowds are easy to maneuver while in the booth. The later in the day it is, the less crowded the booths are.

If you start to feel overwhelmed, there are lots of quiet areas all over the convention center to sit in. Most of the areas aren’t even designated as quiet spots, but they work great for folks like me that need a few minutes to rest. The Origins volunteers are helpful and understanding for anyone in need and can guide you to a quiet area or direct you to someone that can help.

Charging Stations

Last year, I thought I’d have to sit in the floor by an outlet in order to charge my video camera and my phone, but I didn’t! The Greater Columbus Convention Center has charging stations all over the place! They’re at tables, in the food court at a charging bar, in lounge areas, practically everywhere. It’s a convenience that I greatly thank them for.

Wednesday – At Origins

Unless they change something, Wednesday is the day we’ll be picking up our badges. The gaming halls are usually open and some events could be up and running. Wednesday is the day we use to scout out the locations for events we purchased tickets for and to visit the comic store, Heroes and Games, in the convention center. The staff at this store is always so nice and helpful and it’s a must visit place while at the convention.

We also look around the food court and see if there’s anything on the menus that we just have to try and make a note of it for later. There are a lot of great options for breakfast and lunch. The food court is spacious and bright, but they have dimmer areas too if you prefer it, and it’s a great place to sit with friends to get away from the bustle of the convention.

We try to hit the food court last so we can grab lunch and look over our booklets. When you register and get your badge, you also get a couple of Origins booklets, plus a coupon book. We’ll sit and go through the coupon book and select the coupons we’re most interested in and also browse the convention map and the event booklet for anything we might have missed.

If it’s not too late by the time we’re done with that, we’ll make our way back to the gaming halls to see if any of the booths are open and get in some early demos. If not, we’ll find some folks to play some games with!

Thursday to Sunday – At Origins

Thursday is probably the biggest day since that’s the first day the Exhibit Hall is open. Folks are trying to get in for the early show deals and trying to get any freebies they might have from the coupon book. Events are in full swing and folks are bustling around with bags full of games. The excitement is almost palpable in the air. There are vendors offering demos, supply vendors displaying their goods, artists and writers talking about their works, and folks from all walks of life coming together to enjoy the atmosphere and join in the excitement of playing old favorites and newly discovered favorites alike.

These four days are all similar in that we’re participating in various events, browsing products, and having fun! Sunday is the only day that’s different for us because that’s the day we check out of our hotel room and head home after we’re done at Origins. Many folks stay the night and leave on Monday, but we’re usually ready to head home by Sunday. It’s a whirlwind of excitement and fun for us everyday and the experience is well worth the trip!

Origins Game Fair Tips
3-2-1 Health and Hygiene Rule

I’m sure many of you have heard of the convention hygiene rule in one form or another. I’ve always heard it called the 3-2-1 Rule, but in recent years I’ve seen variations pop up. It’s basically this:

  • 3 – Get at least three hours of sleep each night of the convention.
  • 2 – Eat two proper meals each day of the convention.
  • 1 – Take at least one shower each day of the convention.

Sleep – Some variations say you need five or six hours of sleep each night of the convention. Every person is different. Some of us can function just fine off of three hours of sleep. Others need eight hours, or more. I’m somewhere around a six hour person and if I don’t get enough rest, I look terrible and I’m very grumpy. Don’t sacrifice sleep for more game time because you might regret it as the convention continues on.

Eat – Everyone needs at least two proper meals everyday of the convention. Mr. DDK and I get our three meals in, plus snacks. I love gaming, but I love food too. I won’t sacrifice food for more gaming. There is a time and place for each one and when it’s time to eat, then I go eat! Pretzels or other con-foods are not a substitute for a meal. There is an entire food court in the convention center with a variety of reasonably priced food and drink. Eating regular and proper meals is important for energy levels too. If you’re not eating properly, you are not on top of your game!

Shower – This is not just a courtesy for those around you, it’s a health thing too. You’re going to be in and around all kinds of folks. Some of those folks might have a germ or two and not know it, or they could have germs and not care. If you get those germs on your clothes, you’re transporting them around and spreading them. You need to shower every day to get those germs off. Don’t contribute to the spread of con crud, shower it off.

As a side note to go along with showering – do not shower in aftershave, cologne, or perfume – use soap and water, please. Use scented things in moderation. We’re not really in tight quarters in the gaming halls, but there are lots of people with sensory issues and a strong scent could trigger a negative response. Only in recent years, as my anxiety has worsened, have I learned just how debilitating a sensory problem can be. My sensory issue is texture and sound related, but I totally understand what folks go through when their sensory issue is triggered. Be kind to those around you and don’t drown yourself in scented things.

Clothes

Bring enough sets of clothes that you can wear different clothes everyday – pants included. If you can’t do this, or just don’t want to, have your clothes laundered. Wearing the same pair of pants for two days could contribute to the spread of con crud. I have a set of clothes for every day of the convention, plus backups. When we get back to the hotel, I toss my dirty clothes in their own bag so they don’t potentially contaminate my clean clothes. And that’s usually the first thing I do after we unload the car from the trip – I wash the clothes! Just because you’re not at the convention anymore doesn’t mean you didn’t bring the crud home with you.

Wash Your Hands

It’s very important that you wash your hands regularly, not just after using the facilities. And hand sanitizer is great if you can’t make it to the restroom right away, but it’s not a substitute for washing your hands. I make frequent trips to the restroom to wash my hands, especially after handling demo products or shaking hands with folks. Germs spread rapidly at conventions and the best way to stifle them is wash your hands and use sanitizer.

Cart or Bag?

Should you tote your purchases around in a shopping bag, a rolling basket or cart, a wheeled suitcase, or by some other method? Well, only you can answer that question! Last year, I used a wheeled suitcase and I’m leaning that way again. I wanted a wired basket or wheeled tote, like the ones shown below, but after lugging that suitcase around last year I think the basket might be too much of a hassle.

rolling carts

The suitcase worked fine and it was fully enclosed. While I feel safe at Origins, I am not that trusting that I would leave my belongings out in the open. The major benefit the baskets have over the suitcase is that they’re collapsible and the extra suitcase isn’t. The baskets are also larger, which could be good or bad depending on the situation.

There are plenty of folks that make purchases and carry their goodies using shopping bags, which works fine for them. But if you’re planning on making lots of purchases and you can’t easily make a drop off in your hotel room or car, then you might want to think about a cart or suitcase. Just be sure to keep your possessions out of aisles so folks don’t trip over them.

Conclusion

Origins Game Fair is lots of fun and a great experience. There is so much to do and there’s something for everyone who loves gaming. There are diverse gaming experiences for all kinds of folks, from board games and role playing games to live action role playing and video gaming. It’s an event that I recommend everyone try to attend at least one time, even if it’s just for one day. It’s an affordable convention in a beautiful venue and it’s located in a wonderful city.

I hope that sharing my planning steps and convention tips helps folks plan their trip according to their needs. If you’re attending Origins in 2019, I’ll hopefully see you there!

Feel free to share your tips in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Board out, game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

The featured game for this article and video review is a game from Gamelyn Games, Tiny Epic Galaxies (base game).

Tiny Epic Galaxies on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

teg

In Tiny Epic Galaxies each player controls a galactic empire, aiming to expand their influence by acquiring highly contested planets and increasing their cosmic armada. The game revolves around an innovative dice-rolling combo mechanic. The number of dice you roll is determined by the strength of your galaxy. Each die is engraved with symbols representing the various actions you can take, such as moving a spaceship, increasing your culture or energy resources, or advancing your political or economic influence over newly discovered planets.

Through careful planning, you must make the most out of your turn, taking the available actions in whichever order you consider most beneficial. But be careful, as each of your opponents can choose to follow each action you take by expending valuable resources. This means that it can always be your turn, even when it is someone else’s turn!

Players will colonize new planets throughout the game, thereby earning victory points and accumulating special abilities which they can activate for their galactic empire. Careful spending of resources will ensure the fastest growth of your empire, while allowing you to receive the biggest possible pay‐off from the actions you take.

Will your influence be enough to control the most powerful planets in the galaxy? Will you be able to meet your secret objective along the way? Will your empire stand victorious?

There are loads of nods to great Sci-Fi classics that are cleverly placed throughout this game! That’s one of the many things I love and adore about this game.

Rules

The rule book is a quick and easy read. I didn’t have any trouble finding answers to game play questions while we played our first game. Once you get an understanding of how the game works, you may not need to pull out the rule book. We’ve played this game too many times to count since June of 2016, and we haven’t pulled the rule book out since then. There is a reminder chart on the Activation Bay that gives a brief description of what each die symbol does.

Gamelyn has a link to the rule book as well as How to Play videos up on their site, here.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

I love Tiny Epic games. Why? There are many reasons! One reason is because they’re all in glove-box-sized boxes but they expand into a full table game. I wish more games were like this! This makes transporting and storage so much easier. Another reason is because the games are all unique in their play style and they have various different themes. There are a couple of fantasy themed ones, but they feel different from each other because of how they play. Of all the Tiny Epics, Galaxies is my favorite because of the game play and the theme.

You upgrade your Empire to gain more dice and ships. You fly your ships around the galaxy, landing in a planet’s orbit or on the surface. You might have to race against other players across a planet’s orbit track to conquer the planet before they do. There are ways to ‘follow’ or copy an ability on a die that was just activated by another player, potentially giving you an advantage or setting you up for glorious victories on your turn. Each player also has a different Secret Mission that only they know. If you’re close enough in points to the lead player and you complete it, it could give you enough points to win the game.

There is so much fun in such a tiny box and it’s epic!

Buy or Bye?
Buy!!!

This game is a favorite among my fellow board gamers. We play it often, with and without the expansions and bonus content. I highly recommend this game for folks that love space themed games and dice games!

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Dice and Clix Fans

 

It is with some sadness that I officially announce the retirement of my Dice Masters Confusing Card of the Week articles as well as almost all Dice Masters and HeroClix content. If Dice Masters has anything related to the Star Trek IP pop up, I’ll definitely cover it. HeroClix is still planning some Star Trek sets, and I’ll be unboxing those and talking about them, but I won’t be filming matches or writing any other general content articles for those two WizKids games.

That’s the short version. Here’s the rest…

Normally when I leave a gaming community, nobody notices and it’s likely that will be the case here too. But I know there are a few folks who actually read my articles and do genuinely care. I wanted to be sure I gave them a chance to hear my reasoning and some of what’s been going on behind the scenes.

When my dear friends from Double Burst announced the retirement of their Dice Masters podcast, I felt that it was time to say what I’d been feeling for a long time. I don’t get excited about Dice Masters anymore. I don’t get excited about HeroClix either, but my presence in that community was minimal.

I’ve been around the gaming industry for a very long time, well over 20 years now, and I’ve played a wide variety of collectible games that have been released since MtG. I’ve been in and around those games when the doors closed on each one. I’ve seen the mistakes of more than a dozen gaming companies and I can say that I feel like WizKids has changed Dice Masters in a way that wasn’t for the best. WizKids has made way too many errors in judgement, regarding Dice Masters, for me to keep investing my time and money into it. I won’t go into the list, because it’s quite extensive. I’m also not bashing them or hating on them for their choices with the game, I’m just saying that I don’t like how they’ve handled Dice Masters and I’m done.

Dice Masters Players

Another reason I feel my time is being wasted in Dice Masters, has to do with certain members of the community. The community as a whole isn’t bad and there are communities that are far worse. I was going to detail some of what transpired, without disclosing the individuals, but I’ve decided not to. It’s a bunch of negativity happened through private messages, so there is no point to spread it or give those individuals any satisfaction of detailing their bad deeds.

I will miss some things, like getting together and rolling dice with friends. But the bitterness I have associated with Dice Masters is not something I want to experience anymore. I likely won’t play the game any longer unless it’s with a particular IP, like the TMNT sets or a Star Trek one if they ever make one. I will miss meeting folks through the game. I’ve met so many amazing people and I’ve had so much fun over the years. I will miss the feeling of family when I see everyone at a WKO or Origins. Board games are great and you can meet friends through board games, but there’s something about the collectible competitive scene that feels different. “We’re friends, family, and comrades, but we’re also competitors. I’ll help you train, but when we face off in a tournament, it’s for real.” That’s what I will miss – that competitive feeling.

Thank you, to all of you that were nice to me. Thank you, to all of you that helped me along the way. Thank you, to all of you that read my articles. Thank you, to all of you that were my friends, my family, and my comrades. If you’re in board games or anything Star Trek related, then this is not a ‘goodbye’, but a ‘see you soon’. If you’re only a Dice Masters player, then this is goodbye and I hope you have positive experiences to remember me by.

Special thanks to the Double Burst crew, Chris and Andy (MOD), and the Dice Coalition (Michaela especially). I know I’ll probably see most of you folks at Origins or other conventions. Roll on, my dice family.

HeroClix Players

My existence in the Clix community was short lived. All I can really say is that once my spoilers stopped coming from WizKids, nobody was interested in my other articles. I have no reason to believe that this would change now. That makes me feel like my opinion on anything related to Clix isn’t worth the time or effort, that the majority of the community only wanted to see the spoilers.

This shouldn’t be a surprise if you read my last HeroClix Figure Spotlight. I announced the end of those articles in that final one.

Thank you, Daniel, Jason, and David. You guys are always awesome. Thanks you, Sam. You were one of the few girls that I could easily get along with in a highly competitive game and I love you to pieces. I still want to play with all of you, but you know me and what I like – Battle Royales or something crazy like my Shirtless Squad!

I’ll still post unboxings for any Star Trek Clix that WizKids puts out, but that’ll be the extent of it. I’ll post Instagram pictures of my teams too, when I play. Live long, and Prob it!

Conclusion

I’m sorry that I couldn’t find the energy and the love for Dice Masters to stick with it until the official end. But for me, the game has died completely – mainly because there is no more collectible competitive scene. If they ever return it to the collectible format, I may come back and revive my articles.

Fear not! Dice Dice Kitty is not going away! My future is full of Star Trek Adventures RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, board games and Star Trek themed games, miniature painting, comic book articles, and many other exciting things! I’m happy to close the book on this chapter of my gaming life and move on. I only wish I’d done it sooner. Spend your time on what you love and what makes you happy, otherwise, it’s being wasted. I hope there is still something of interest for you to read on my site or watch on my channel. If not, then thanks for your support up until now. If you’re still here with me, the adventure will continue!

Qapla’!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our featured game for the weeks of October 25 and November 1 is a game from Fireside Games, Bloodsuckers.

Bloodsuckers on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Bloodsuckers

The once quiet small town of Blackwood has become a battleground. A coven of vampires has crept in under the cover of darkness to drain the very life from its helpless citizens. As powerful as these creatures of legend are, they do not prowl the streets unchallenged. A team of skilled vampire hunters with an arsenal of modern weapons has tracked these bloodsuckers down and the battle for the soul of Blackwood is about to begin.

Play as either vampire or hunter, using Attack cards to battle for the citizens of Blackwood, Impact cards to enhance your powers, and deadly Strike cards to destroy your opponent. Unleash powerful combos and use Blood or Adrenaline as you fight, alone or with a teammate, through both night and day. Win battles to recruit the innocent bystanders at the Nightclub, Church, Graveyard, Police Station, and Hospital. Claim the most locations to win control of the town.

Save the town of Blackwood, or drain it dry.
The choice is yours.

This is a fighting card game where you play as either a vampire or a vampire hunter. It’s a thematic game with horror elements.

Rules

The rule book is very detailed and it will take some time to read over it. This isn’t a game that you can crack open and read along as you play. You really should have a good understanding of the rules before playing. There are lots of abilities that you need a reference for, and thankfully, Fireside has the foresight to include player aids with those references and a turn order.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

The game is easy enough to understand once you’ve read through the rule book a time or two. It can seem overwhelming at first, with all the different abilities on the bystanders, but you don’t have to memorize them. You can find a summary list on the back of your player aid card. So don’t let that discourage you. You don’t really need to memorize the turn order either since it’s on your player aid card too. Everything is pretty straight forward, there’s just a lot to it.

This is not a game for everyone. I like the game well enough, but I used to play competitive collectible card games too. Most of my play group had avoided those type of games. I feel like this game would be good for bringing collectible gaming folks into the board game world.

I love how thematic the game is. You’re literally fighting as a vampire to control the town or as a vampire hunter to save the town. Each game element is thematic for the side you choose, from the different decks to the Blood and Adrenaline Tokens.

Buy or Bye?
Buy

This is a game I wouldn’t mind having in my collection. It likely won’t see much play in my local group though, only because it’s a fighting card game. Most of our locals steer away from card games, but I’ll still play Bloodsuckers with anyone that wants to play!

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our featured game for the weeks of October 11 and October 18 is a game from Fireside Games, Village Crone.

Village Crone on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Village Crone

You and your fellow players are medieval witches who have stumbled upon Wickersby, a village without a crone in this worker placement, resource management game with spellcasting!

Wickersby is built from 6 modular boards, with different locations holding the ingredients flour, fire, silver, and soil. Send your familiars out to harvest these ingredients and use them to cast spells in order to complete Witch’s Scheme cards. Each of the cards is worth 1, 2, or 3 points, which also indicates how difficult the scheme is to complete. Make villagers fall in love, turn them into frogs, or teleport them to different locations as you work to complete your Witch’s Schemes. Every scheme you complete brings you closer to the 13 points needed to win and be declared The Village Crone!

This is a resource gathering and worker placement type of game, with a little bit of sabotage sprinkled on top!

Rules

The rule book is a easy to follow and it doesn’t take long to find a rule if you need to reference the rule book during play.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

This game is just really cool with how it’s set up and how it plays. You could easily re-skin this game for other IP’s, just like Castle Panic was (hint-hint, Fireside! We need a Star Trek version!). I love the separate board pieces and how you can rearrange the board for loads of different game set ups. I like the mechanics of the game, and I like how the turn order works. The turn order keeps players engaged in what the other players are doing, and the game seems to flow smoothly because of it.

We had lots of fun with this game, not just trying to complete schemes, but also trying mess each other over. I saw that there wasn’t a very good rating for this game on Board Game Geek, and I don’t think it deserves such a low rating. There are games that I’ve played that are terrible and have a very high rating on BGG. I get that everyone is different and has games they prefer over others, but I think Village Crone got the short end of the broomstick. Guess it goes to show, you can’t always trust BGG ratings! You should always demo a game several times before making your own judgement on it. I was definitely surprised as how much fun this game was!

What the Players Said

Wednesday – The game has a good balance between strategy and fun. I like the replay-ability you get with being able to rearrange the board tiles. It’s also easy enough for newer board game players, but still fun and engaging for experienced board game players.

Brian – I think it’s a good game and I really like it. It has intricate details, but it’s not confusing. It’s overall a fun game, and it’s really fun to mess with other players too.

Olivia – I like the game story, like how we’re all witches and we’re messing with a town and the other witches around the town. It’s a really easy game to learn and fun to play!

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

This game just moved high up on my priority list. It’s fun with any number of players and can be played as a solo game. If I spend $50 or more on a game, that’s something I want an option for – solo play.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

Our featured game for the weeks of September 27 and October 4 is a game from WizKids, Tower of London.

Tower of London on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Tower-of-London3

In Tower of London, players fight for control of the tower using their influence to occupy different buildings and gather ravens. Each turn players play two cards: the first card determines which building their Beefeater (guard) goes into, and the second card has a special power that triggers from the perspective of the Beefeater just placed.

At the end of a round, certain areas of the tower are scored based on who controls the majority of buildings, by having the most Beefeaters in each. The game ends at the end of three rounds or when a player collects 7 ravens, in which case the game ends immediately.

This game is about positioning your Beefeaters so you control more buildings than the other players in a particular color section, while trying to avoid having your Beefeaters taken out.

Rules

The rule book is a little confusing, but it’s a quick read. There are more than just a few typos in the rule book and while it doesn’t impact the game, it’s sad to see so many errors from a company that likes to boast so often about their board games.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

Oh boy. So, there are lots of things I don’t like and two things that I do like. I like the Raven tokens and I like the art for the Ravens on the cards. I don’t like the poor wording on the Event cards and player cards. I don’t like how the quadrants are off centered from the creases in the game board because it makes for an overly confusing time trying to visually interpret the quadrants. I don’t like that folks who are color blind could have a difficult time trying to play this game. There isn’t a clear way to tell the colored tokens apart, like different shapes or whatnot, and the player cards are not marked with a symbol or anything either. I don’t like that there aren’t any tokens or markers for ‘destroyed’ buildings. I don’t like the overall game play – it’s kind of boring actually. It’s also easy for someone to get ganged up on too and by the end of round two, they might as well not be playing anymore because they have zero chance of winning. I don’t like the convoluted turn order either. You’ve got Rounds, then Phases, then Steps within a Phase, then Turns – it’s all way to complicated for what we thought was going to be a light to medium game.

I also don’t like that game components were missing from the box and also that several of the Raven tokens have chips in them.

What the Players Said

Wednesday – I don’t like the poorly worded abilities on the cards. The most fun thing in the game was messing with opponents’ Beefeaters.

Olivia – The art is pretty and the flavor text on the Events is kinda humorous. I wish the quadrants lined up with the creases in the game board.

Sol – There is a major optical problem with the board creases and the quadrant lines. They don’t line up and they probably should. Don’t play if you’re color blind. The cards have awkward sizes too. It takes several times playing the game to get used to it, but it’s kind of fun if you can get past those things.

Buy or Bye?
BYE

There should not be that many typos in the rule book and the wording on the cards shouldn’t be so confusing. The game doesn’t look like it was playtested much but I’m not really surprised by this, #BecauseWizKids. This is not a game I’ll ever buy, even at a seriously discounted price.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

Our featured game for the weeks of September 13 and September 20 is a light tactical, bidding, and set building game from IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games, Starfall.

Starfall on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Starfall

The night is still, cloudless and dark. An oasis of interstellar magic lies beyond the stratosphere: countless stars, burning comets, planets, ivory moons, nebulae, and perhaps even a beastly black hole or two. It’s all up there for the finding. At the Royal Hinterland Observatory, endless elaborate sky formations are within reach of discovery — but you have to lay claim before your fellow astronomers nab the glory for themselves. StarFall is a clever game of wits, bidding, and quick thinking in which the aim is to obtain the most impressive portfolio of cosmic curiosities.

This game has a light tactical aspect with some bidding. Players try to collect sets of items for more points or to block an opponent from scoring more points.

Rules

The rule book is a quick read and the learning curve is very small. The game can be easily explained in a matter of minutes. The scoring can get slightly confusing if not explained properly, and you’ll likely need pen and paper to add up your scores.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

I like games that make me think ahead. This is definitely one of them. If you don’t have access to the entire pool of tiles, you have to think about the odds of not getting a second Black Hole, or if it’s worth it to try and collect Nebula tiles. You also have to think about potentially spending tiles with stars on them instead of your stardust. I love playing this game and it’s simple enough to learn. The complexity comes with tactics and strategy and calculating odds.

Turns go quickly and players need to pay attention to what everyone else is doing. This is not a game for everyone, but it’s a game that everyone can play.

What the Players Said

Wednesday – It’s unique and has pretty art, but I thought it was boring to play.

Olivia – It’s a pretty game with pretty pieces and it’s fun and easy to play.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

This game is one that’s got mixed reviews among my locals, so it doesn’t get played as much as I’d like to play. I absolutely love this game and play it anytime I have a chance.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our featured game for the weeks of August 30 and September 6 is a party game from Devir Games, Dragons & Chickens.

Dragons & Chickens on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Dragons and Chickens.png

In this game by Josep Maria Allue and Dani Gomez, illustrated by Siscu Belliso, the winning player is the first to leave the dungeon with the most treasure. Keep a keen eye, because beyond collecting treasure, players must hide from a terrible dragon, catch chickens…and of course, steal from their companions.

This a fun party game for all kinds of players!

Rules

The rule book is a quick read and the learning curve is very small. The game can be easily explained in a matter of minutes.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

I’ve played plenty of party games and this one is definitely a hoot. It’s way more fun than I thought it would be, and it’s not as much about dexterity as other games that incorporate dexterity. The main focus of the game of recognition – you need to be able to recognize shapes and items easily and then be able to determine if there are more of those than the others. The only time dexterity comes into play is if the Dragon shows up and then you have to race for the shield. The good part about that is you don’t have to be first, just don’t be last! The other times it comes into play is if there are items tied for the most or if there is an unlit torch. But dexterity is only a real factor for those that notice the visual queues.

I like that this game plays quickly. I think the setup is what seems to be the slowest part because you have to divide the cards evenly among the players. I do like that you don’t have to be the fastest person to win this game. So long as you don’ get caught by the dragon, you won’t lose treasure. And if you happen to get caught, if you have a Chicken card, you can avoid the Dragon by giving it to him.

This is a game I’d definitely play with kids or at a family get together. It’s fun and easy to understand and doesn’t require long explanations. I’m not sure it would be a good gateway game, but it’s definitely one that you can play with folks that aren’t serious board gamers and everyone can have a good time.

What the Players Said

Brian – Always look for matches and don’t worry so much about the Dragon. It’s a really fun party game.

North – Don’t let the title fool you! This is a game worth playing. It’s a great family game with a super easy learning curve.

Wednesday – I love the fast paced panic and how very violent it can feel for being short game, but it’s very fun! It’s surprisingly fun, but I don’t like touching other people, so I don’t like that part.

Katie – I love the chickens! It’d be really great as a gateway family game. Super easy and would be great for kids. I love the treasure chest and shield components. I love the art and how the Dragon is hidden and not always easy to spot right away.

Buy or Bye?
Buy

This is a game I need to keep with me wherever I go. It’s a great game for various occasions.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our featured game for the weeks of August 16 and August 23 is a unique game from Days of Wonder, Ticket to Ride.

Ticket to Ride on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America.

The longer the routes, the more points they earn.

Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway.

This a lightly competitive game that lots of players can enjoy. There is some light reading on the ticket cards, which could make it difficult for younger players that can’t read yet to complete the Tickets. You’re trying to complete Tickets while completing additional routes for more points.

Rules

The rule book is a quick read and the game is very easy to learn. The difficulty comes in the tactics and the randomness of the cards. It’s not hard to play at all, but your strategy and tactics will not be the same, based on your draws or the selection from the face up cards.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

I’ve played the USA and Europe version of Ticket to Ride and I thoroughly enjoyed both. The Europe version is slightly different, but both play similar. I haven’t played any of the other versions. The USA version of the game is the one we will be playing on August 16 and 23 (2018). Ticket to Ride is such a wonderful family game and it’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely easy enough for folks that aren’t frequent board game players. It’s also a great gateway game to get those folks into more advanced board games as well.

I like how the strategy and tactics can change in the blink of an eye, depending on what face up cards are available and what cards you draw. I also like that you can get additional Ticket cards and that there is a drawback for not completing them, which prevents players from hoarding too many.

What the Players Said

Katie – The pieces are cute and fun. The game feels almost too easy to play, but it’s a lot harder to play when the board is upside down.

North – The states could use a different color treatment or lighter shading or something to make the cities easier to locate. I still love it and it’s a staple for my collection. “Tickets, please!”

Wednesday – I like the steampunk look but I hated playing it. It feels clunky and I don’t like the game play or strategy.

Buy or Bye?
Buy

I need to add this game to my collection. It’s fun, strategic, and engaging.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!