Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Greetings Fellow Clix Fans!

 

The newest five figure booster set for HeroClix is going to be the DC Batman The Animated Series set, due out July 18, 2018. You can pre-order this set at your FLGS and I definitely recommend you check it out! This set will also include a Starter with a new type of map, and a Dice and Token Pack! Make sure you check those out as well.

I try to cover the awesome Traits and special powers in this article and not focus so much on the standard abilities printed on the dial. If you need to see what a particular power does, you should totally check out the Power and Ability card on WizKids site (if you don’t have one already). You can find it, here.

Preview #1 – Zatanna (Super Rare)

Zatanna is lacigam and citsyM!

061 Zatana

I can’t wait to see this sculpt in person! She’s going to look amazing! The first thing I noticed was her point values and how many clicks she has. I thought it was a little expensive, until I read her powers and then it all made sense. Her trait is great for Justice League theme teams, and there seem to be more players trying out theme teams lately. Her trait says: At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6. [SIX]: Remove an action token from another friendly character with the Justice League keyword that’s 100 points or less. Seems good to me! The character doesn’t need to be adjacent to Zatanna for her to be able to remove a token from them. She can’t remove the token from herself, because her trait specifies ‘another friendly character’ and not just ‘a friendly character’. It doesn’t cost you an action either to use this trait.

She has a special attack power that says: Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Telekinesis. FREE: Generate a Bat bystander [MAX 2]. Now, Penetrating/ Psychic Blast and Telekinesis are great powers and she has them both at the same time. If that wasn’t good enough, she can also generate Bats that have Sidestep, Enhancement, and Shape Change. You can only have two of them at one time, but that’s still awesome! They’re also Tiny, so Zatanna could pick one up and carry it with her when she moved. Enhancement makes Zatanna’s damage go up and makes her more offensive. But she has more!

Her special damage power gives her access to both Perplex and Probability Control. Having both of those at the same time is so convenient, and makes her worth playing at 75 points.

But if you could only fit her at 50 points, she’s still great. She won’t get her Bat bystanders at 50 points, but she does have her Perplex and Probability Control. Zatanna is a piece I will definitely be trying to track down!

Preview #2 – Inque (Super Rare)

Inque is full of surprises!

062 Inque

Inque is a cool looking piece and she’s from the Batman Beyond series. She cost 75 points and has six clicks on her dial. She also has a trait that says: FREE: Choose one: Stealth, Shape Change, [TINY], -or- Giant Reach: 2. Inque can use the chosen power or ability until your next turn. I think this trait is really awesome! It’s not like a special power that could potentially be lost, and she has options that can’t be Outwitted. Every turn, you have the option of one of the several cool powers/abilities and you can change them on your turn based on the game state. You could hide her in hindering terrain and choose Stealth. If you knew she could be the target of an attack on your opponent’s turn, you could pick Shape Change. You can choose [TINY] so other regular sized characters can carry her around. And Giant Reach: 2 makes it very easy for her to make close combat attacks and not have to worry so much about getting hit back.

Inque also has a special movement power on her first four clicks that says: Hypersonic Speed, Sidestep. If Inque occupies water terrain, she modifies her combat values -1 and she can’t use Hypersonic Speed or Sidestep. She’s able to use Sidestep and Hypersonic Speed on the same clicks, which is so awesome! You only need to keep her out of water.

Her special defense power allows her access to Super Senses and Energy Shield/Deflection on her first three clicks. Inque also has Improved Movement for elevated terrain.

I like this character a lot for her trait and I think she’s going to be a lot of fun to play with!

Preview #3 – Wonder Woman (Chase)

Wonder Woman! Don’t think I need to say anything else, because it’s Wonder Woman!

067 Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has a really awesome looking sculpt and I can’t wait to see this piece! She has six clicks for 70 points and three clicks for 30 points. She also has two traits, but one of them only applies if you put her on your Sideline. Her first trait says: SIDELINE ACTIVE – Friendly characters have “FREE: If this character critical missed this turn or made the third attack this turn to miss all opposing targets, place a character from your Sideline that can use a Troubalert trait adjacent on its blue starting line.” // At the beginning of your turn, if Wonder Woman started the game due to the Troubalert trait, roll a d6. [FOUR] – [SIX]: Deal Wonder Woman 1 unavoidable damage. This trait is a great way to get an extra character on the map without having to use an ID card. There is a drawback, of course. There is a 50% chance of Wonder Woman being dealt one unavoidable damage at the beginning of each of your turns, but for a free character, that’s worth the risk of giving your opponent 30 points.

Her other trait is a conditional one, depending on what pieces your opponent has on the map. Her second trait says: Characters that can use Telekinesis modify attack +2 when attacking only Wonder Woman. Characters that can use Telekinesis modify defense +2 when Wonder Woman attacks them. There are a few really good Telekinesis pieces out there and as long as you avoid attacking them and don’t get in range of their attacks. This trait is most likely there for balance, but you can still work around it so it’s not a huge drawback.

Wonder Woman has a special movement power, but you have to play her at 70 points to access it because it’s only on her first click. Her special movement power says: Hypersonic Speed, [FLIGHT], [PASSENGER]: 2. Wonder Woman may carry one same size with [SWIM] in addition to any other carried characters. This power’s name made me snicker when I read it. “Giving the Super Friends a ride in the Invisible Jet… even Aquaman.” This power essentially lets her carry three characters, so long as the third one has the Swim icon on their movement.

Wonder Woman has one more special power and it’s on her attack. She has the special attack power on click 1, 2, and 4. Her special attack power says: FREE: Choose an opposing character within 5 squares and line of fire that has a character adjacent to it. Roll a d6 for that character and each character adjacent to it. [FOUR] – [SIX]: Give the character you rolled for an action token. This is like a free, and buffed up Incapacitate! I like Incapacitate, but only if it’s included in another power. Incapacitate printed on the dial is not the way I like using it. Wonder Woman’s power is actually really great to use with a character that can use Telekinesis. The TK piece can move the opposing pices into position and Wonder Woman can use her free power to try and put an action token on them. And because that power is FREE, she can still be given an action token to attack or move!

Wonder Woman has some fun possibilities and I look forward to seeing how folks decide to utilize her.

Preview #4 – Hawkgirl (Chase)

Swooping in to save the day, with Average Birds at her side!

073 Hawkgirl

Hawkgirl looks really pretty and she’s a little cheaper than Wonder Woman on her first dial. Her points are 50 points for six clicks and 30 points for three clicks. She also has two traits. Her first trait says: SIDELINE ACTIVE – Friendly characters have “FREE: If this character critical missed this turn or made the third attack this turn to miss all opposing targets, place a character from your Sideline that can use a Troubalert trait adjacent on its blue starting line.” // At the beginning of your turn, if Hawkgirl started the game due to the Troubalert trait, roll a d6. [FOUR] – [SIX]: Deal Hawkgirl 1 unavoidable damage. This trait is just like the Troubalert trait on Wonder Woman. If you have multiple Troubalert characters and the FREE ability is triggered, you can choose any of those characters to pull in. Wonder Woman and Hawgirl are both close combat characters, so you’d want to pull them in close enough that they could charge in and attack. She also has the condition that Wonder Woman does where you have to roll a the beginning of turn to see if she takes one unavoidable damage.

Hawgirl’s second trait says: Unless Hawgirl’s attack is the first during your turn, characters modify defense +2 when she attacks them. Characters modify attack +2 when attacking Hawkgirl if it is the first attack of their turn. This is another conditional drawback that can be worked around. You have to make sure you attack with her first or you’re going to be giving an opposing character a defensive advantage against Hawgirl. If an opposing character wants to take advantage of the attack bonus, they will have to attack her before your opponent attacks anything else. If your opponent has a particular character that needs to attack first in order to buff their team, you can tempt them into not using that character by sending Hawkgirl after a different opposing character. Your opponent would then need to decide if the +2 to attack Hawkgirl is worth losing whatever bonus they may be getting from their other character.

Hawkgirl has one other special power and it’s on her attack on clicks 1, 2, and 4. Her special attack power says: POWER: Generate an Average Bird bystander. If no other friendly characters are within 4 squares, generate two instead. I like gimmicky powers and abilities, especially ones that let me generate extra characters, regardless of whether or not they’re super powerful. The Average Bird bystanders have an speed of nine and can use Flurry. They only have a nine on their attack, so they won’t be hitting much of anything. And since they’re tiny, you only need a to roll a three to break away from them, so they aren’t great for tying up characters. They can be a huge nuisance though if they roll critical hits against dudes without damage reducers or if they’re adjacent to an opposing character that’s having trouble rolling higher than a one or two for a break away roll.

Final Thoughts

The Batman The Animated Series is shaping up to be a pretty awesome set! I don’t think there’s any particular figure that I don’t like, so far. They all have their own play style that will appeal to players of all different types. Zatanna is definitely my favorite so far, but also like Wonder Woman too. I like the Troubalert ability because it doesn’t cost any points to add those characters to your Sideline and you might be able to get a free character on the map if you happen to be having a bad time with your dice. So far, these two are close combat type characters, but I bet there’s a range centered Troubalert character out there too. I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t.

I also noticed that none of these characters are Indomitable and only Inque has Willpower (and only on two clicks). It’s unlikely you’ll want to push any of these pieces because they will damage for it. Zatanna is the only piece with a Team Ability and it’s one of my favorites – Mystics: Each time this character takes damage from an opposing character’s attack, after resolutions deal the attacker 1 penetrating damage. Uncopyable. Mystics is a nuisance for any piece that doesn’t have Invincible, because Invincible is the only damage reducing power that can reduce penetrating damage.

I can’t wait to see what other pieces are in this set and I can’t wait to see what pieces I pull in our pre-release that’s coming up on July 14! Be sure to check with your local venue to see if they’re hosting a pre-release! And don’t forget – the set releases on July 18, 2018!

Which figure are you most looking forward to?
What do you think of the abilities on these figures?
Let me know in a comment here or on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!

Thanks again to WizKids! And thank you, to all of you who are reading and sharing this article. I appreciate it very much and would also be very grateful if you remember to like, follow, and subscribe to my pages.

     LLAP
Live long, and Prob it!

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Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our next featured game for the weeks of May 24 and May 31 is a great family co-op game from Fireside Games, Castle Panic.

Castle Panic 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.

Castle Panic Box Art

Castle Panic is a cooperative tower defense board game for 1 to 6 players. The co-op element makes Castle Panic a great family game, and the perfect kick-off for your weekly game night.

You must work together to defend your Castle, in the center of the board, from Monsters that attack out of the forest, at the edges of the board. Trade cards, hit and slay Monsters, and plan strategies together to keep your Castle towers intact.

Win or lose as a team, but only the player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer. Players must balance the survival of the group with their own desire to win.

This game is all about cooperation in order to protect the towers of the castle. While you can rebuild walls and fortify them, you aren’t going to be so lucky with the towers. Once a tower is gone, it’s gone for good, and you have to defeat all the monsters before your last tower is destroyed.

Rules

I found the rulebook easy to read and follow. It’s easy to find what you need to know while playing and just about everything you could think of is covered in the rules. There are great player aid cards included in the game as well as reminder text on the board for Boss Monster abilities.

Components

The board is well made and sturdy with bright colors and easy to see markings and text. As many times as this game has been played, it’s in excellent shape. I use my copy for conventions and various events at my FLGS, so it’s seen its fair share of play. I don’t have any major damage anywhere on the board.

Board

I absolutely love the reminders on the board. They’re in opposite corners of the board and each reminder box explains the special tokens and the boss tokens. This is invaluable while playing – we never need to pull the rulebook out! There are Order of Play reminders in the other two corners, but with the player aid cards, these aren’t needed. They do add a visual balance to the board though.

Player Aid on Board

The castle towers and walls are standard punch board material and they each fit into a small plastic stand. The stands are not too tight so they don’t cause pealing and don’t leave any dents on the castle pieces, but the pieces don’t fall out of the stands either. This prolongs the life of the pieces.

Towers and Walls

The monster tokens have taken a beating over the years, but they’re holding strong! They’re made of standard punch board material with thematic art on the front and back. The special tokens are easy to understand and the boss monster tokens are easy to pick out from the basic monster tokens while on the board.

Monster Tokens

I haven’t looked into sleeves for Castle Panic, but as soon as I do, I’ll update this article with the information. The cards are easy to read and have great thematic art with bright colors. While the cards say what color and what ring you can target, I wish they had made the colored gems different shapes. Color blind players don’t have the benefit of glancing across the table at your cards’ colors. They usually have to ask because the text is too small to read from across the table.

The player aid card has the turn order listed on it, which is such a great tool to have. Even though I’ve played this game a bazillion times, I still need a reminder for the turn order until we get a few turns in. I can’t express enough gratitude to Fireside for this detail.

Deck and Player Aid

The die isn’t anything fancy or special – just a white, plastic D6 with black numbers. I’m glad it has numbers and not pips, since the board displays numbers for the pie sections. The tar token and Fortify tokens are standard punch board and have held up better than expected over time. The Fortify tokens look great and fit perfectly on the wall sections.

Dice and Tokens

Setup & Clean Up

Castle Panic is easy to set up, and it only takes a few minutes. Clean up doesn’t take long because it’s just gathering cards and monster tokens from other players and putting all the pieces in their bags. It’s easier to set up and clean up if the other players help.

Game Play

Game play is very simple. Hand size and trading capabilities depend on the number of players. That’s the one thing I would have asked that they added to the board in place of the turn order – the player chart. Checking that is literally the only reason I pull out the rulebook.

The turn order is very strict and once you proceed beyond an optional step, you can’t back up! Each player takes their turn individually in a clockwise order, following the turn order.

1. Draw Up – Each player begins their turn by drawing cards until they have reached their hand size. Again, the hand size depends on the number of players you have. The more players, the smaller the hand size.

2. Discard and Draw 1 Card (Optional) – Once the turn player has drawn up to their hand size, they then have the option to discard one card in order to draw a new card. This is a once per your turn type of thing. It’s handy if you have a blue card and there aren’t any monsters in either blue arc. You can discard it to draw a new card in hopes of something more useful.

3. Trade Cards (Optional) – Once the turn player has used or passed their option to Discard and Draw, they now have an opportunity to trade one card with another player. This is also a once per your turn thing, but you can make a second trade in a six player game. The other players don’t have to trade with the turn player if they don’t want to. You also can’t give cards to other players – you literally have to trade.

4. Play Cards – Once the turn player has completed their trade(s), they get to play those cards in their hand! Each card tells you which color and ring they can be used it. There are plenty of special cards, like Tar and Missing, and they’re card text is pretty easy to understand. You can reference the back of rulebook for any specifics you might need to know.

5. Move Monsters – Once the turn player is done playing cards, all the monsters that are currently on board will advance one space forward, or one space clockwise in the castle ring. If a monster hits a wall, they take one damage and remain in the Swordsman ring if they didn’t die. If a monster moves into the castle and takes out a tower doing so, it moves into that space where the tower was – after taking a point of damage.

6. Draw 2 New Monsters – After the monsters on the board move, the turn player gets to add more chaos and panic to the game by drawing two new tokens from what we call, “The Bag ‘O’ Death”. The turn player draws the first token and if it’s a monster or boulder, they roll the die and place the monster in the forest ring or advance the boulder through the arc (killing all monsters and the first wall, tower, or fortify it hits). Boulders are nasty in arcs that don’t have a wall or tower because they advance into the arc directly across from the one it started in. All the other tokens trigger effects like plagues or forced movement for monsters on the board. There are even tokens that increase the number of tokens you draw for the turn! This is why the token bag is called “The Bag ‘O’ Death” by me and my locals.

After the new monsters are drawn and resolved, the next player begins their turn. This continues until either the players win or the game wins. Players win when all the monster tokens are removed from the board AND the bag is empty. The game wins when the last tower has fallen to the monsters… or a boulder.

Summary

This has been a favorite alongside King of Tokyo during both years of the Dyersburg Comic and Pop Culture Convention. I’ve taught several groups of new and experienced players how to play Castle Panic and I’ve never heard a player say they didn’t like the game. I’ve heard more family groups have gotten the greatest benefit from the game because it’s a co-op game, meaning those siblings that like to compete with each other have to work together now! It cultivates a different gaming atmosphere when you play a co-op vs competitive game. Castle Panic still has its ‘competitive’ side with each player collecting their slain monsters, but it also creates a dilemma of sorts. “Do I trade this card and let them kill the Troll that gives them three points, or keep the card and hope we don’t lose.”

This is a great game with a small learning curve. Younger players can play this game, even if they aren’t reading age yet. They only need to remember the pictures and what those pictures mean the card does. I’ve seen kids as young as seven play this game with no trouble, but the age limit is 10, so please inspect the game to be sure you’re okay with your younglings playing it.

There is one glaring problem, or at least with older copies – can’t speak for newer prints, and that’s the lack of a bag for the tokens. I had to purchase a dice bag for us to use for the monster tokens. I’m not sure why they didn’t include this in the base game. Check the box contents and see if it includes a bag before you purchase it. At least then you’ll know if you need to pick one up before heading home.

What the Players Said

Wednesday – 90% panic, 5% castle, and 5% “Why’d you draw all the wrong tokens?!” – but 100% family fun game. I love the co-op mechanic to this game.

John H. – I like everything about this game.

Sean – I like that it’s simple to play and that it has player aid cards and reminders on the board too for the monster token abilities. A game is always great when you don’t have to pull the rulebook out while playing. I also like how everything can go wrong or seem to be going bad, but you still have a chance to turn the game around and win.

Olivia – I like that there is panic and how a real struggle can ensue but in the end, regardless of whether you lose or win, everyone is still friends.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

This game is probably the second most played game in my collection. It’s easy to learn and easy to play, making it a favorite among my fellow board gamers and also a favorite for gaming tables at conventions.

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 Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our next featured game for the weeks of May 10 and May 17 is a betting and wagering game from IDW Games, Jungle Joust.

Jungle Joust 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.

Box Art

Jungle Joust takes players through the roller coaster world of underground gambling. Designers Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews have teamed up again to bring to life the fantasy world of Rhino Riding Jousting. 2-6 Players will place bets on different aspects of the two competing Jousters. Players will play cards to move either Jouster and grant special boosts that may help or hurt competing Jousters. Control the market and bet wisely and you may walk away the richest in all the land.

This is a unique and fun game with a style that might not fit every group.

Rules

I have yet to read an IDW Games rule book that was reader friendly. I read this rule book five or six times before playing the game and none of the scoring made any sense to me or the other players until we played our first game. The rule book isn’t wrong or misleading – it just doesn’t make sense until you play the game. Rule books from IDW are the only ones I’ve ever had this issue with.

The rule book is accurate, but confusing until you do a play through or a mock up game. I highly suggest doing a mock up game with your self before breaking this game out for your group. The confusion could lead to lots of frustration and give players a distaste for the game before you ever play.

Components

The board seems to be your average quality card board game board. The colors are bright and images are clear, for the most part. The bonus favors that are marked on the board are easy to forget or accidentally skip over because of the artwork on the board around them.

board.jpeg

The jousters and the fence are the same quality as any other card board punch out. Over time, these pieces could see lots of wear and tear from being assembled and disassembled multiple times. There is no way to prevent this other than being gentle with the pieces. I noticed that one of the riders has his arm printed backward on the inside of his shield. It doesn’t affect the game at all, just thought it was funny. The design is cool and the colors are bright and vibrant, making these pieces the highlight of the game.

Riders with Fence

The game includes a deck of cards with special symbols on the bottom of the card. This is how you determine certain scores for the wagering aspects of the game. The symbols are easy to read and the colors are bold and bright. The artwork is cool, but doesn’t affect game play at all. The cards use standard size sleeves and you don’t need to see the back of the card for any relevant game play, so solid color backs would be fine on your sleeves.

Deck

There are sixteen favor tokens, eight red and eight black. These are wooden tokens painted to match the two riders. These get handled quite a bit during the game and I’m glad they’re wood and not card board.

Favor Tokens

There are six allegiance tokens made from standard quality punch out card board. They are double sided and the designs are crisp and the colors are bold. These get handled more than the favor tokens so they could see some wear and tear over time.

Allegiance Token

The betting chits are standard punch out card board pieces that can send your gaming group into a frenzy of puns. When enunciating the word ‘chit’, you may want to be sure you do it clearly – especially in a family friendly environment. If you don’t, the chit could hit the fan! (Thanks to John H. for letting me steal that one.)

The symbols on each chit represent one of the many aspects you can bet on for each rider. Each symbol and color is easy to distinguish as are the payouts in the top corner. Luckily, if you lose the bet with one of the chits, you only lose one coin and not two or three coins.

Betting Chits

The coins and debt tokens are also standard quality punch out card board. The coin denominations are all easily distinguishable from one another because they’re all different in size and color scheme, aside from having the number printed on them as well. The debt tokens are neat and thematic to the game. If you don’t have any coins, you acquire debt tokens if you would have to pay due to losing money.

Setup & Clean Up

Setup takes some time, and so does clean up. There’s no way around it that I am aware of. The other players can assist in setup and clean up to help decrease the time, but it’s still going to take several minutes. All the components fit nicely into the game’s insert, unless the cards have sleeves on them. I still think game inserts should accommodate for sleeved cards.

Game Play

Game play really isn’t very difficult, it’s the intimidating scoring at the end that’s a bugger for some folks. I seem to have a knack for picking these type of games.

The game is played in three rounds. A round begins with the first player and continues until the riders clash, meaning their little burst symbols on the front of their bases are in the same row. Each player gets to do a few things on their turn. The first thing they MUST do is play at least one card to a rider’s tilt. After they’ve done that, they can then take one betting chit or place a bet on a rider. After they’ve chosen none, one, or both of those actions, the player then draws one card from the Tableau or two cards from the deck.

There are a couple of things that can happen during a player’s turn that can affect the game state. If a player plays a card to a rider’s tilt and there are three consecutive symbols (same color and type), they activate the favor for that symbol. When a player plays a card to a rider’s tilt, if it causes a clash, then the round is over immediately and the game advances to the scoring portion.

After the riders clash, players proceed to the scoring portion of the round. I’m not going to go into the details of scoring, because it doesn’t make a lot of sense until you do it, but I’ll touch on it a little. First you have to determine the victor. It’s not always the rider that crosses the middle line! It all comes down to the amount of favors a rider has and what tilt the favors are on. After determining the victor, there are three scoring phases: Allegiances, Betting Chits, and Card Bets. After scoring is complete, everything is collected and redistributed for the new round, except for the coins. The player with the most coins after three rounds is the winner.

Summary

I do like the game, but because of the group I play with, it’s a game that won’t see much play. I don’t mind the scoring so much, as it’s not really any more complicated than 7 Wonders. What I really don’t like is the lack of a player aid card. I had to leave the rule book out so everyone could see what order they were supposed to do things in and what all they could do on their turn. The back of the rule book has a scoring cheat sheet. But if I’m going to break out the rule book, then I’ll look in the book itself and not at the cheat sheet on the back. A small reference card or scoring aid card would be perfect.

The game is well made and plays well, so I don’t really have any complaints other than the rule book and lack of aid cards. Seriously – accurate player aid cards make a huge difference.

What the Players Said

Paul – All of the components are cool and the game play is fun. I don’t like how over complicated the scoring is.

John H. – I like the design and how simple and fun the game play is. I don’t think the scoring needs to be so complex for the game to work.

Katie R. – The pieces are cool and the 3D board is great. I like that the symbols on the cards are easy to distinguish and that the game is easy to learn and play. It feels like it’s missing something, but I can’t put my finger on it.

J. North – It’s a good game but it’s not really for me. I’d play it if the group wants to play it, but it’s not a game I’d pick to play. I do like the jousting part, but I’m not very good at betting and wagering.

Buy or Bye?
Buy – Eventually

I would most likely buy this game with every intention of playing it, but I don’t think it would get much table time. It’s still one I’d like to have for my collection, but it’s not high on the priority list at the moment.

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 Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our next featured game for these two weeks (April 26 and May 3) is a party game from Repos Production, When I Dream.

When I Dream 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.

Box Art

The night has fallen and your mind is floating in the magical world of dreams. But the Dream Spirits want to have some fun tonight! They are giving their best and the dreams become strange and surreal. Become the dreamer, put on your sleeping mask and try to figure out your dream and which spirits are the Naughty ones. Become a good spirit and help the Dreamer by giving him clues about the dream before the naughty spirits mess it up. Close your eyes and dive in!

At the beginning of each round of When I Dream one player takes the role of the Dreamer and “falls asleep”, wearing a cloth mask. The other players are secretly dealt their role cards determining what kind of spirits they are “good” or “naughty” or if they are just “tricksters” changing sides as the game goes by.

The whole round lasts 120 seconds in which the spirits are drawing “Dream” cards depicting a specific element of the dream, trying to describe them to the dreamer using one word each. The dreamer can guess what the element of the Dream is at any time, placing the card to the good spirits team side if the guess was correct and in the naughty spirits pile if it was not.
At the end of the round the Dreamer and the good spirits get a point for every card in the good spirits pile, when the naughty spirits get one point for every card in the naughty spirits pile. The tricksters get points according to how well balanced the two teams were at the end of the round, gaining extra points if they managed to equally balance the two piles.

At the end of the round, the dreamer must use the words he guessed and story-tell his dream for extra points before he opens his eyes.

You can learn how to play in a few minutes and have a great laugh right from the start. Each role is challenging and entertaining giving the game more depth according to the player’s imagination, providing a wonderful experience with a unique dream every round.

 

This game has many working parts, but it’s still simple to play. The complexity comes with the spirit roles the players take on. The Boogeyman wants all wrong answers, the Fairy wants them all correct, and the Sandman wants a balance between wrong answers and correct answers. The catch is, nobody knows who anyone else is, including the Dreamer. The Dreamer wants to get as much correct as they can, and then recall as many elements as they can from their dream – in hopes of recalling all of the correct answers.

Rules

The rulebook is short and to the point. My only issue is that there aren’t any examples of what they consider to be correct clues and incorrect clues for the word on the card. We spent a good 30 minutes trying to understand what the rules meant by ‘no derivatives’ of the word elements. It wasn’t until we looked through the cards and found Pajamas as one of the elements and then it clicked – PJs would be a derivative. Just like Paci and Binky for Pacifier. But Doctor for Surgeon would be fine, because a surgeon is a type of doctor, but it doesn’t give away what they word is. Doctor could easily relate to nurse or medicine just as easily as it could surgeon.

But other than that bit of confusion, it was fairly easy to follow and understand and we were playing shortly after we figured out what they meant by ‘derivative’.

Components

There is an hourglass timer included with the game. It’s a plastic two minute timer with yellow sand and a blue top and bottom. It’s good that it’s not made of glass, but I don’t think we’ll use the hourglass much in future games. We would forget to watch the timer and end up running over the two minutes, or get distracted watching the timer and not hear what clues others had given. I think it would be more efficient for us to use an electronic timer on our phones, but I’m glad they included the hourglass for those that don’t allow electronics at their table.

Hourglass

The ‘dreamer’ or the player that’s trying to guess what the the clues mean, has a dream mask that they can wear. We would turn around in our chair instead of using the mask if we didn’t want to wear it or couldn’t wear it. The mask is definitely big enough for an adult, but a small child might have trouble keeping it in place. While I wouldn’t suggest using this as an actual sleep mask, it appears durable enough to hold up over many years of game play.

Dream Mask

There is a small deck of 11 cards with three different types of cards in it, called the Spirit deck. These cards are shuffled and dealt out randomly to each player, except for the dreamer. These cards represent the role that each player will play for that round. These cards are shuffled and dealt out between each round and only a particular number of each card is used based on the number of players. The cards are standard quality and even though there aren’t many in the deck, I would still advise sleeving them to help prevent marks or damage.

Role Cards

The dream deck has 110 oversized, double sided cards that have words on the top and bottom of both sides. The artwork is amazingly gorgeous and is truly that of dreams and nightmares. It reminds me a lot of the artwork for Dixit with it’s whimsical nature. The cards are standard quality, but they don’t require near as much shuffling and handling as a regular deck of cards. I can’t recommend sleeving these because they won’t fit in the 3D Bed card holder.

Dream Cards

The 3D Bed card holder is made of plastic and appears to be very durable. The headboard is used to cover the additional word on the card so players don’t get confused over which word is the target word. The bed isn’t a necessary piece for game play, but it keeps the cards from sliding everywhere and it’s a pleasing aesthetic for the theme of the game. If you really wanted to sleeve the dream deck, you could, but they will not fit in the bed so you wouldn’t be able to use this piece. If anyone finds a solution for this problem, feel free to leave a comment!

Bed Complete

The bedroom board is a thick piece of cardboard with very pretty imagery on it. There isn’t a lot of interaction with the board itself, other than placing passed or wrong guesses on the Boogeyman side and correct guesses on the Fairy side. There are scoring reminders on the board as well, which is nice to have.

Bedroom Complete

The scoring tokens are super cute! They’re punch out tokens that are made out of cardboard. I love that each point value has a different type of token. It makes for quick and easy totaling and sorting at the end of the game. The game does not include a bag for the tokens, but I used some small bead bags that I picked up from the store and put each different token type into it’s own bag.

Point tokens

Setup & Clean Up

Setup is very easy, but takes a few minutes. You shuffle the dream deck, flipping and rotating the cards as you shuffle. Then place the deck in the bed. Then you decide who will be the first dreamer and give them the mask. After that, you shuffle the selected cards for the Spirit deck and deal one to each player. You should have one left over, which gets set aside until the next round. Then you remove the top card of the dream deck and place it on the bottom of the deck. Once you begin the game, you flip the hourglass timer and rapid fire clues to the dreamer.

Clean up isn’t too much trouble either. Everything has its own place in the insert. The hardest part of clean up is sorting the point tokens and that’s not difficult at all.

Game Play

Game play is very simple. The players look at the word on the card that’s in the bed. Each player takes turns giving one word clues to the dreamer or passing if they can’t think of something. The dreamer can interrupt at any time to take a guess. If the guess is correct, the card is quickly removed and placed on the Fairy side of the bedroom. If the dreamer passes or is incorrect, the card is quickly removed and placed on the Boogeyman side of the bedroom. Players should never tell the dreamer if they guessed correctly or not. Once the two minute timer is up, the dreamer has a chance to recall their dream. They want to describe their dream based off of the words they said. For example, if they said Heart, Lumberjack, and Dress, they will make up a ‘dream’ they had with those words. “In my dream I saw a Lumberjack in a Dress that was cutting down a tree shaped like a Heart.” If the Lumberjack and Heart cards were on the Fairy side and the card they thought was a Dress and a card with the word Roof were on the Boogeyman side, the dreamer would score four points total. They score one for each of the two correct cards and two because they recalled all the correct words from their dream.

The Spirit deck is what gives the game some complexity and depth. The Fairy will always want as many correct answers as possible. The Fairy will always try to give clues that are easy to understand and relate well to the current card’s word. The Boogeyman is will always want the dreamer to guess wrong, so the Boogeyman will try to the lead the dreamer astray with vague or misleading clues. The Sandman will always strive for balance between correct answers and wrong answers. Sandman will score points almost every time, but will not score well or at all, if the balance is off too much.

After the dreamer has recalled their dream, points are calculated for each player and the game is reset for the next dreamer. The next dreamer is selected and given the mask. All the Spirit cards are collected, shuffled, and dealt out to all the players except for the dreamer again. The top card of the dream deck is removed and placed on the bottom of the deck and the timer is restarted again. Players rapid fire clues to the new dreamer just like before.

This pattern of play repeats until all players have been the dreamer one time. Once all the players have been the dreamer, the points are totaled one last time and the player with the most points is the winner.

Players can be penalized for giving clues that break the rules. Each mistake could cost them a point off their total at the end of the game.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed playing, but I believe who you play with is very important. If you’re playing with young children, it could become frustrating because they sometimes are not as fast as adults with the rapid fire type games. They also have a smaller vocabulary and may not know what some of the words are, like a Grotto. We used the clues Wet, Dark, Cave, Stalactite, Stalagmite, and Water and the dreamer was not able to get it and had to pass because time was wasting away.

I like all the components with the game, but I think players should think about tweaking the rules to better fit their play group. We were thinking of allowing two minutes per card for six cards. We haven’t tested this yet, so not sure how well it’ll work. We also thought about extending the time to five minutes instead of two. It may be more difficult to recall all the words, but it gives players longer to think about the clues.

Regardless, it’s still really fun to play and if your players don’t know what a word is, you can always set that card to the side.

What the Players Said

Paul – No comment this time. (Paul is a really nice guy and doesn’t like to say negative things. I could tell he wasn’t having much fun with this game.)

Katie – It’s a really fun game and I the card art and all the game components. The mask feels a little unnecessary because you can turn around in your chair. I think it needs to be adjustable or something too, but it’s still cute.

OliviaIt was really cute, but I wish they could’ve made the mask adjustable because it’s difficult to put on for people with lots of hair. I still like using the mask because it’s very thematic to the game.

North – I love the game and it’s a great party game for teens and adults. I think younger children (8-10, and maybe even up to 12) may have some trouble with some of the words. They can still play it, just some of the words might be above their vocabulary. The Sandman role is much more difficult to play than the Fairy or Boogeyman.

Buy or Bye?
Buy

I like this game and it’s a great party game for teens and adults. It’s not a game that I would rush out to buy, but it’s one I’ll eventually get around to purchasing. Different play groups will have different experiences, so gauge your decision on your play group!

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 Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

Our next featured game for these two weeks (April 12 and 19) is a game from one of my favorite publishers. We played King of Tokyo from IELLO. We played both the original version and the 2016 version. This review features the images from the 2016 edition.

King of Tokyo 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.

1 Box Art

Play mutant monsters, gigantic robots and other monstrous creatures, rampaging the city and vying for position as the one and only King of Tokyo!

Combine your dice to gather energy, heal your monster or just slap the other monsters down! Spend your energy to trigger permanent or one-shot special powers: a second head, body armor, nova death ray…

Stop at nothing to become the King of Tokyo… but that’s when the real trouble begins for you!

This is a great family game for two to six players. The game plays well with two players as well as six players. The recommended age is 8+ but we’ve had players younger than eight play the game with little trouble. There is some reading involved with the text on the cards, but younger players that can’t read can still play as long as someone helps them with the cards.

The play time for the game is around 30 minutes. Some games are over in as few as ten minutes, and some games can last up to 45 minutes. It depends on the types of cards that come up and how the dice roll!

Rules

The rulebook is probably a little more complicated than it needs to be, but this is another Richard Garfield game, so I’m not surprised. Don’t be intimidated by the wall of text you come across. The game is much simpler than the rulebook makes it seem.

Components

The board is sturdy and holds up well over time. The colors are bright and the art is really cool looking. Tokyo Bay confuses some players, even though it has a 5-6 player label on it. That’s more of a player fault than a design fault, just wanted to mention it because it happens a lot. There are also a few other reminders reminders on the baord for victory points and the ‘no healing off of dice’ rule for being in Tokyo. This is handy to have there because I forget about the victory points ALL the time.

Board

The dice are much larger than a standard size D6. They are opaque black with neon green accents. Younger players or folks with small hands will likely have trouble rolling all of them at one time. Players can roll however many they are comfortable with at one time, just be sure you keep track of what’s being rolled and what’s already rolled. All six of the dice are identical, with six different sides: 1, 2, 3, Energy (bolt symbol), Smash or Punchy as we like to call it (the clawed hand symbol), and Heal (heart symbol). The opaque green dice with the black accents is for an upgrade card that gives the player an extra die to roll. We usually leave the green dice in the box until a player buys that upgrade card, because these dice are used for anything else.

Dice

Each monster figure is very different in type and theme. The figures are all made from sturdy cardboard, and there are plastic bases for each monster as well. As long as you are not super rough with the monsters, they shouldn’t take too much wear and tear from being put together and taken apart a lot. Each monster comes with a matching monster board. The  boards have two spinning trackers on them, one for tracking health and the other for tracking victory points. The trackers are two different colors and labeled differently for easy identification. The art on each monster board is really cool and matches the monster figure.

3 All Characters

The energy cubes are cute, and look like tiny translucent green plastic Jello cubes. These can be easily lost and I’m sure I’m missing some, but I haven’t counted them. Many players substitute these for after-market energy tokens.

Energy

The cards are standard size cards, and I highly recommend sleeving them. Mine have never been sleeved and they need it. The newer copies of the game have different card backs than previous version (and corresponding expansions) and the promo cards. It’s never been a serious issue before, but I would prefer my cards be sleeved. The cards feel thin and flimsy, but they’ve actually held up very well over hundreds of shuffles. The edges are looking a little grimy and that’s the biggest reason I want to sleeve them. The cards will not fit into their spot in the insert if you sleeve them, so you’ll need or want an after-market insert or a deck box. That seems to be a common issue with board games that have cards as components.

Cards

There are a few different cards that produce different tokens. The tokens are standard cardboard punch out tokens and you’re not likely going to see them in play in every game of King of Tokyo that you play. We don’t even pull them out of the box until someone buys the upgrade card that needs the tokens.

Tokens

Setup & Clean Up

Setup is super easy. Each player picks a monster and the matching board. You place the Tokyo board in the middle of the table and the energy cubes next to it. Shuffle the deck, placing it next to the board and then reveal the top three cards. Place those cards near the board so all players can see them. These are the current upgrades that players are able to buy with their energy. As soon as one is purchased, it’s replaced with the next card from the deck.

Clean up isn’t difficult and doesn’t take too long if the players help by putting their upgrade cards with the deck and energy cubes back in the pile. From there, it’s just putting stuff back in the box. The most difficult thing is putting the monster figures and monster boards back in the box so they fit right. We’ve found that they fit best with all the monster figures on the bottom and the monster boards on the top.

Game Play

Game play is not complicated at all. You need to remember certain things, which is harder to do if you’ve never played the game before. For instance, players often forget to gain a victory point when they go into Tokyo or they forget to gain two victory points if they start their turn in Tokyo. That’s probably the most forgotten thing in the game with my play group. The board has player reminders on it, which are definitely useful. Players also forget that they can reset the three available upgrade cards by paying two energy.

Each player begins their turn by rolling the six dice. They can reroll any dice they want in an effort to get different results. If they still don’t like what they have, they can reroll any of their dice again, but this is the last time. In total, players get three rolls to try and get the results they want.

After they finish rolling, players activate the dice in the order they choose. Each side does something different:

  • The Bolt gives a player one energy cube for each Bolt face showing.
  • The numbers give players victory points, but only if they have three of more of the same number.
  • The Heal allows players to regain one health for each Heart face showing.
  • The Smash (or Punchy) punches opposing monsters based on where the active player’s monster is located. Monsters inside Tokyo punch monsters outside of Tokyo and monsters outside of Tokyo punch monsters inside of Tokyo.

Players can use their energy on their turn to buy any upgrade cards that are face up on the table, so long as they have the amount of energy required. The card goes next to their monster board if it’s a KEEP card or it gets discarded if it’s a DISCARD card (after they activate the ability on it).

If a player was dealt damage from a Smash (Punchy) while inside Tokyo, they can yield Tokyo and the active player (the one that punched them) will take their place in Tokyo at the end of their turn.

The complexity of the game increases when you get more and more upgrades on monsters. Some upgrades can make interactions very complicated, but most players have no trouble figuring it out.

Conclusion

My copy of King of Tokyo is about two years old and has been played probably 100 times or more. It was played an average of six to ten times each weekend for weeks on end, so this copy has seen plenty of table time. One of my friends has been called the Queen of Tokyo, because she’s just so good at the game!

The simplicity of the game play combined the complexity that the upgrades can add and the randomness of the dice rolls, makes for a rocking good time with friends and family. King of Tokyo is my most played board game that I own and I even own a copy of Cards Against Humanity and Munchkin. I never get tired of playing King of Tokyo. The expansions add different cards and monsters that enhance play even more. I wouldn’t suggest playing with the expansions until you feel you’ve got the core game down. Power Up cards are a new feature all together that are in the Power Up expansion. They have a set of rules that applies only to them. The Halloween expansion adds some new upgrades called Costumes, and those have a set of rules all to themselves. The Halloween expansion also comes with Power Up cards for the two monsters in that expansion.

I have both versions of the game, but I like the revised edition more, because I love Space Penguin and Cyber Kitty. Those two characters replaced Kraken and Cyber Bunny, respectively. I haven’t seen Space Penguin and Cyber Kitty’s Power Up cards in the revised Power Up expansion, so I’m not sure how different they are from Kraken and Cyber Bunny’s Power Up cards.

If you like King of Tokyo, I would suggest checking out King of New York as well. I own a copy of it as well, but it’s only been played about five times. King of New York has more complex game play, which is fun, but it’s no King of Tokyo!

What the Players Said

Paul – I like the base game a lot, but I love the game when you add in the expansions.

Katie – I love playing this game. I could do without the expansions, but they’re still fun.

Michelle – The game plays best with three or more players, and is a lot of fun. It’s still fun with two players, but feels a little limited.

Buy or Bye?
Definitely a Buy!

My game collection would be seriously lacking without King of Tokyo. It’s a great game that’s easy to learn and easy to teach.

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 Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Clix Fans!

 

The newest set for HeroClix is going to be the Avengers Infinity set, due out May 16, 2018. You can pre-order this set at your FLGS and I definitely recommend you check it out!

WizKids sent me some spoilers to preview and share. Thank you, WizKids! You are super awesome for allowing me to share these powerful and cute new pieces with the Clix community!

I try to cover the awesome Traits and special powers in this article and not focus so much on the standard abilities printed on the dial. If you need to see what a particular power does, you should totally check out the Power and Ability card on WizKids site (if you don’t have one already). You can find it, here.

Preview #1 – Devil Dinosaur & Moon Boy (Rare)

This is a rare opportunity for me to spoil a colossal dude!

G016 Devil Dinosaur & Moon Boy

So, this Colossal piece has three different starting lines, and I like all of them! There aren’t that many differences between them except that his defense powers are appropriately diminished with each starting line and so are his stat numbers. He has an Improved Movement that allows him to move around and through opposing pieces. His Trait, Moon Boy, gives you a FREE range attack, which is also nice to have. Since it’s a FREE action, you can move his speed to get within at least four squares of an opposing piece and then make that range attack against them! I absolutely love his special movement power, Thunder Lizard, because it grants him Charge and Sidestep for the last three clicks all three dial sets. I’m a huge fan of move and attack abilities like Charge.  But that’s not all Thunder Lizard does. Along with Charge and Sidestep, when Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy damage one or more opposing characters with a close attack, you remove an action token from him! That happens after actions resolve, which means you could remove the action token he just got! That’s crazy good, especially since he has Quake at the same time as Thunder Lizard! And because he has Colossal Stamina, you can reach opposing pieces from three squares away, without having to get right next to them where they can punch you back! This guy has lots of standard powers on his dial that make him a great piece to play in sealed or constructed formats!

Preview #2 – Cosmo (Super Rare)

Cosmo is super cute!

039 Cosmo

Cosmo is soooo cute! I love his Origin: Before the Guardians trait! If he’s on a Guardians of the Galaxy theme team, he’s protected from Outwit, and if he’s not, his attack and defense get modified by +1 for the entire game! That’s really good, especially since he already has a 10 attack and 18 defense on his top click. But I love playing theme teams and having a piece that’s protected from Outwit is nice to have. But at least I know I can play him with other teams and he still gets a boost. His special movement, I Am Cosmo. I Am In Brain., is absolutely bananas! He can use Mind Control, and when he targets more than one character with it, his attack gets modified by +1. He can target two characters with a range of six, and he has Improved Targeting, allowing him to see through hindering terrain. He has his I Am Cosmo. I Am In Brain. power on four of his five clicks, which is just awesome! His special damage power, You Have Loud Brain, is even more awesome! It’s a FREE action to use it and you choose an opposing character that’s within range (doesn’t have to be in Cosmo’s line of fire!) and they can’t be given POWER actions until your next turn! That means the chosen piece wouldn’t be able to use anything that requires a POWER action to use, like: Charge, Hypersonic Speed, Running Shot, and lots of other really good abilities that you don’t want used against you! Cosmo has lots of other great abilities right on the dial, but these special powers are just awesome and they’re on more than one of his clicks!

Preview #3 – Tigra (Chase)

I’d chase after this unique Tigra. She’s a Cosmic beauty!

047 Tigra

First off, that Cosmic Entity Trait is awesome. There are lots of abilities that target more than one character for an attack. One of the favorites at my FLGS is Quake. Cosmic Entity would prevent her from being targeted by that type of attack, so long as they were targeting more than one character. And if that wasn’t good enough, her other Trait is even more amazing! The 3rd Virtue of Life: Tenacity grants her Flurry as well as an additional ability. Once per turn, when her attack roll has a three on one die face, friendly characters can use Charge and Blades/Claws/Fangs for that turn. Tigra is a character you want to attack with first, in hopes of getting a three on one of the die faces during one of her Flurry attacks. If you do, after her attacks are finished, your friendly characters can use Charge and Blades/Claws/Fangs! You can activate Blades/Claws/Fangs after you Charge and hit an opposing character, which is one reason I absolutely love this ability! Powers that let a character move and attack are among my favorite kinds of powers, and this power gives you a chance to do massive damage with Blades/Claws/Fangs. On her last click, she has a special Defense power called, Life’s Last Hope. This is what’s called a STOP click. A STOP click will stop the character from taking any remaining damage from a single attack. For example, if Tigra is on click three and is hit for four damage from an attack, she will only take one click of damage because her STOP click is revealed. This special ability also grants her Mastermind. This helps her survive another attack by letting an adjacent friendly character take the hit for her, so long as they aren’t already a target and they’re less points than her or share a keyword with her. Tigra has other great abilities on her dial that enhance her playability. She’s out of this world!

Final Thoughts

The first thing I noticed about these card previews, was how bright the dial colors are on the cards. I like that many of the colors appear to be more distinguishable now. I hope the colors turn out in print as pretty as they are in the files.

I also noticed that all of these pieces have the Animal keyword. I know there have been decent Animal pieces in the past, and I’m hoping these pieces will increase the amount of Animal theme teams. Animal theme teams won’t give you Theme Team Probability Control because it’s a generic keyword, but it could help you get map choice. Being able to choose your battlefield is a huge advantage! Cosmo and Tigra both have the generic keyword, Cosmic. There are definitely lots of great Cosmic pieces for that generic theme team and these pieces could be added to the list.

I had to zoom in on Tigra’s picture, and I’m not really sure if I’m seeing this right or not, but it looks like you can see her tail through her ‘cosmic’ leg. If the sparkly/starry parts are actually semi-translucent, any piece with this treatment is going to be absolutely gorgeous!

Tigra Zoom In.png

As a casual player, I typically only play certain pieces because I’m familiar with the characters or I really like their abilities. But I’ve suddenly fallen for all three of these pieces! I love Mind Control and Cosmo is adorable, so I need him. Tigra is a character I don’t know much about, but now want to research her because she looks like a great character, with or without her cosmic treatment. Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy is a really awesome colossal dude that I just want to have because his abilities are really cool. I can’t wait for May to get here so I can try to get my hands on some of these awesome new figures!

Which figure are you most looking forward to?
What do you think of the abilities on these figures?
Let me know in a comment here or on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty!

Thanks again to WizKids! And thank you, to all of you who are reading and sharing this article. I appreciate it very much and would also be very grateful if you remember to like, follow, and subscribe to my pages.

     LLAP
Live long, and Prob it!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

The featured game for the last two weeks is a game from one of my favorite publishers. We played Bunny Kingdom from IELLO.

Bunny Kingdom 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.

Box Art.png

Play as Rabbit Lords conquering a new world on behalf of the Bunny King.

Take control of vast Territories across the New World, build Cities, and farm Resources to make your Fiefs prosper and harvest precious Golden Carrots. Don’t forget to satisfy the King by accomplishing missions on behalf of his Majesty.

Each choice can bring you closer to victory, but only one of you will be named “Big Ears” by the Bunny King…

Will you be worthy?

This game is for two to four players, but plays differently for two players than it does for three or four players. We did not play this with two players. We played with three and four players.

Rules

The rulebook is very intimidating. The first time I opened it, I thought I was looking at a technical manual of some kind. I had to set up the game and play against myself in order to work through how to play the game, and even then, I still had things wrong. We were constructing things after drafting our two cards and the construction part of the round happens after all the drafting for the round is complete. I only just now realized this. We also played the Trading Post incorrectly. We were counting it as all three resources instead of just one. If the rulebook was put together in a more ‘user-friendly’ fashion, I may not have made those errors. The rulebook could definitely be simplified and organized a bit better.

Components

Aside from this being a drafting game (which I’m a huge fan of), the components are probably the biggest draw for me.

I love when a game has a decent insert built into the box. The cards in the picture are not sleeved, but you can fit all the cards in the box – with sleeves. There is plenty of space to put the components in the box without them being crammed in or packed in too tightly.

Insert.png

The board is very colorful and also sturdy. I definitely don’t like having a flimsy board for my board games. I love the land layout and all the artwork on it. What I dislike is that the score tracker is attached to the game part of the board. I would much rather these be two separate pieces. Having the score tracker separated would cut down on accidental bumps of the score bunnies and also make it easier for players on the tracker’s side of the table to see the actual board.

Board

The deck is HUGE! I think the actual number of cards is 182 if I read the contents list right… I didn’t count them. This game has enough math involved. The artwork is super cute and each card is easy to read. The coordinates and any pertinent information is in the top left corner, making it very easy to see what you have in your hand at a glance. I also like that each different type of land is color coded on the coordinates of the cards, making it much easier to locate that particular plot on the map while in the midst of drafting. I do not like how flimsy the cards feel. I’m constantly scared I’m going to bend them. The cards are standard size, so you can use any standard size sleeve, but be sure you use all of the same color sleeves or clear sleeves.

Deck.png

The player aid cards are… okay. They should have put a turn reference on them too. We never used the multiplication table on the back, because we always forgot about it. Not really handy when you forget it’s there.

Player Aid Cards.png

The tokens are the perfect size for the corner of a map square. They have a concave to accommodate a bunny on the same square or the corner of a city. They’re also very thick, which makes them much easier to spot on the map during clean up. Being easier to spot means they’ll be less likely to be forgotten or left behind when you’ve packed up the game. Thin tokens or thin cardboard coins are usually lost very easily.

The cities are made of plastic and they’re actually very detailed. Their towers are shaped like carrots, so that makes them super cute too. They feel sturdy, but I’m paranoid that I’m going to break a tower off at some point. If you like to paint your components, these would be absolutely adorable all painted up.

City Tokens

I saved the bunnies for last. These are so cute and adorable, but they are vicious as well! Don’t let those ears fool you – they’re sturdier than you think. I was leaning over the table to help a group of players with their game of Bunny Kingdom, and I was repositioning my hands when I put my hand down onto a cluster of these devils (all standing upright and ears at the ready!). Let me tell you… The words that I didn’t say are a testament to my willpower. I didn’t break a single ear either, but I probably would have been bleeding if I’d have stepped on them instead landing a hand. I’ve stepped on Lego blocks and even D4’s… but these adorable evil bunnies with their needle-ears… Don’t leave them laying about! You could end up with one sticking out of your foot!

Bunny Tokens

Bunny vs Foot

Setup & Clean Up

Setting up the board isn’t super complicated. You need to put a single tower city on each of the squares that has the picture of a city in it. Each player chooses one of the bunny colors and takes one from their stash, placing it on the giant score tracker. Then you shuffle the enormous deck of cards (which is even more difficult to shuffle if it’s sleeved), and deal each player the correct amount of cards, based on the number of players. That’s about all there is to setup, it just takes a little time to shuffle the massive deck.

Clean up is not as quick. There are buildings, bunnies, and tokens – everywhere… It’s best to have the players help with the clean up to make it go quicker. It’s not difficult, it just takes some time.

Game Play

The game play is not overly complicated. You have your hand of cards and you pick two of them, then pass the remaining cards to the player next to you. You reveal the two cards you selected and place your bunnies on the coordinates and collect your tokens and cities. Then you take the hand that the player sitting next to you passes to you, and you draft two more cards, reveal them, place bunnies and collect your tokens and cities. The direction you pass your hand is determined by the round. Round 1 and 3 are passed to the left and round 2 and 4 are passed to the right.

After all the cards are drafted, you get to build your cities and place your tokens on the map. There isn’t an initiative except for Camps, which causes a little bit of chaos during the game and even leads to some bumped score tracking bunnies. I would advise play groups to form an initiative of some sort, just for the construction part (that doesn’t apply to Camps since they have their own, of course), to help keep the chaos at a minimum.

After players have constructed what they want to build, you score the round – called Harvesting. I will not go into detail about that here. If you need help with scoring, you can email me or message me on Facebook and I’ll help the best I can.

After the round has been scored, you move into the next round and do exactly what you did in the previous round. The only real differences between the rounds are the direction the hands are passed during drafting, the presence each player has on the board, and how many points you score. You should be scoring more points each round if you’re drafting cards that will benefit your fiefs. You will never see a set of coordinates more than once, so if you see coordinates you need, better take them!

At the end of the fourth round, you harvest as normal, but instead of going into a fifth round, you score all Parchment cards you collected. Again, I won’t go into detail about how to score those here. The basics are, you score the number of points the Treasure cards give you and you see if you completed any of the other Parchment cards to score their Golden Carrots (points).

When all the crazy math calculations are completed and score bunnies are adjusted, the player with the most Golden Carrots is the winner.

Conclusion

This game was a blast to play, until the Parchment card scoring at the end of the game. Once we hit that particular portion of the game, I saw Richard Garfield’s style in all its complicated glory. Even though I shouldn’t have been surprised (since he is one of the creators of Magic: The Gathering), I guess I expected the game to be a game and not a multiplication teaching tool for pre-teens and adults. My players got up from the table and left me alone to calculate the totals on all the players’ Parchment cards. That’s NOT fun at all. We tried to take the non-Treasure Parchment cards out and deal out two less cards to the players, and that worked great. But it felt like we needed a few extra cards. We tried to select a few Parchment cards that were not super crazy to deal with, and it didn’t work as well. We filled up every single plot on the board. If I were to ever play this again, I would take out all the non-Treasure Parchment cards and deal two less cards to each player – and I would never feel guilty for doing it. I’d rather go score a dozen games of Fantasy Realms, alone in the dark, than score a regular game of Bunny Kingdom – ever – again.

But aside from the atrocious scoring, it was a fun drafting game with a very cute theme. This game is most definitely not for younger gamers, which is appropriately displayed on the box (14+). Even though it’s simple enough to play, the multiplying is overwhelming for anyone under 14 or anyone with a short attention span.

And the play time on the box is a lie, just like the cake. This game is not a minimum or average of 45 minutes. We played our shortest game at about an hour and fifteen minutes, which was the same game where we took the non-Treasure Parchment cards out of the deck. The rest of the games were roughly an hour and a half.

What the Players Said

Paul – I don’t like the Parchment cards, but I do like the bunnies. They are really cute.

Katie – I love the board, and the art, and all the pieces – especially the pokey bunnies. The game is really fun and really cute. It’s really easy to play too, until you get to the end of the game and have to score the Parchment cards.

John H. – Drafting is a lot of fun. There’s too much math, but it’s an acceptable game.

Olivia W. – The math wasn’t a huge problem for me, but the Parchment cards are definitely overwhelming. The Treasure Parchment cards are fine though. The art is awesome all over the game!

Buy or Bye?
Bye – Maybe?

So, I don’t think I’d actually buy this game for myself unless it was super discounted or if someone gifted it to me, I would totally take it. I would make my own house rules for it and adjust it to play better for my local players.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
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Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

The featured game for the last two weeks is a super cute game with lots of cute components. We played Korrigans from Ilopeli and Asmodee.

Korrigans 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.

Box Art

The legends of Brittany claim that a cauldron full of gold appears at the foot of each rainbow, and tries of Korrigans compete to find it first. Lead your own tribe in Korrigans, a board game of fun and mischief for two to five players! Each turn, you’ll move one of your Korrigans to a new field with the help of your animal Companions. Once you arrive, you can claim one of the tokens there, either giving you more gold or a new animal Companion who can help you move differently. Sooner or later, the cauldron of gold appears at the foot of the rainbow, and at that point, it’s an all-out race to get your Korrigans to the cauldron. Enter a fairy-tale world, and make your tribe of Korrigans richer than any other.

This is an adorable game of area movement and item collection for practically the whole family! This game is for two to five players. Korrigans are supposed to be fairies or sprites, despite how much they resemble leprechauns in the game.

Rules

The rules sheet is short, but to the point. It explains everything as plain as possible, but because some of the aspects are so unique, it took playing it out to fully understand them. Most of the game play and mechanics are simple enough. It was drawing the Rainbow pawns and the cauldron appearance that had me confused until I set it up and played it out on my own. But once you’ve played it out once or twice, it becomes much easier to understand.

My one complaint about the rules sheet are the typos. I understand that the game is translated to English, but there is a whole section of example text on the English rules sheet that’s not in English. The minor grammatical typos aren’t a huge issue, but for the price of the game and how short the rules are, I would expect them to be free of errors.

Components

This game has a lot of unique components and they all serve a purpose. I’ve played several games of Korrigans and there have been games where none of the side components were used, and other games where almost all of them came into play.

The board has two sides. Both sides are almost identical, except that one side has companion reminders on it as well as marked starting places, and the other side doesn’t. The reminders are there to help players with which companion can be used at a particular location. The side without the reminders also lets you place your Korrigans different at the beginning of the game. Instead of having to place your Korrigan in a particular numbered field, you can place them in any field. This changes things up a little and a player can even nab a Menhir before the game really starts. The board itself is very sturdy and we are still having trouble flattening it out. There were a few cracks in the bends of the board that were there when we first took it out of the box. They don’t affect game play at all, but I don’t like when something is damaged (even somewhat superficially) right out of the box. This could be because the copy we have is a older copy. The production quality of a newer copy is not something I can comment on, because we don’t have a newer copy for comparison.

Map 1Map 2

The player screens come in five different colors with different artwork on the front of each screen. The backs on the screens are all the same artwork, just different colors to match the color on the front of the screen. These are made of regular card stock and the images are bright and clear. There are bend guides on both sides to show where the screens need to be bent so that they stand up on their own. They flatten back out without too much trouble and bending them multiple times, for multiple games, hasn’t caused any unnecessary wear on them.

Screens

Each player gets two Korrigans of their chosen color. Something that I think is really awesome about all the Korrigan pieces is that each Korrigan is different. None of them are the same, even if they’re the same color. I like that each player gets two unique Korrigans that are different from all the other players’ Korrigans too. This small detail makes the game more desirable for me. There’s nothing wrong with Meeples, but sometimes, I want special pieces. The pot of gold, or cauldron, is really cute and I’m happy that it’s an actual plastic cauldron piece and not just another cardboard token.

Korrigans and Cauldron

The clover tokens are standard cardboard punch out tokens. There are a variety of companions and coins that are randomly placed in the fields at the beginning of the game. The tokens with the yellow ring are only used if there are four or five players. It was brought to my attention by a player, that the companions have something in their image that corresponds to how they help your Korrigan move. The hare lets you hop from field to field, the Squirrel has a gate in the background, the frog is near a dock, the mouse has a bridge in the background, and the mole is in a molehill. The bird is not as clear, but that’s probably because it lets you fly from one field to another field of the same color, and that’s difficult to illustrate. The bird is not on the reminder side of the board either, but it’s easy to remember what it does.

Clover Tokens

Each field, aside from the town square, will get a pointy rock thing. These are called Menhirs and each one has a symbol or a sticker on the bottom. When you collect one, you reveal it and gain the bonus or ability showing on the bottom. There are two of each different symbol.

Menhir

In the picture below, the troll token, which is the one with the stand, is brought into play or moved when you find the Menhir with his symbol on it. The giant hare and squirrel companion tokens are backup companions for players that need one of those companions because they can’t move with the companions they have. You have to discard a token to get one and you can only have one. You also have to choose which side you want and can’t change it later, so you either get a hare or a squirrel – not both. The cute little leprechaun with the pot of gold is the first player token, which never leaves the player chosen as the first player throughout the entire game.

The green tokens that go on the base of a Korrigan are Elves, which are found on the bottom of a Menhir. When you find the Elf, you place the token on your Korrigan and the Elf will give you two coins at the end of the game. You can lose this token if someone enters the field you’re in! The Goblin is the red one and works similar to the Elf. You can only get rid of the Goblin by moving your Korrigan into a field with a different Korrigan. The Goblin steals two of your coins at the end of the game, so you don’t want to keep him!

Misc Tokens 0

To make the cauldron appear and trigger the end of the game, you must have a rainbow! Every round, before the first player’s turn, whoever has the bag will draw a rainbow pawn. New colors are placed on the Sun markers on the board, and duplicate colors are placed on the Cloud markers. The rainbow pawns are made of wood an painted in seven different colors. My only complaint about the rainbow pawns is that the shade of the yellow and orange are too close in color. The orange needs to be a little darker. The picture actually makes the orange look darker than it is in person. This picture makes the blue and violet look too similar in shade, but in person, they’re definitely different. The bag is made from a thin black cotton like material, but it’s definitely big enough for folks with larger hands to reach in and draw a rainbow pawn easily. It has a one sided drawstring on it to keep the rainbow pawns from falling out.

Rainbow Pawns

Setup & Clean Up

The setup for Korrigans will take a little time, but it’s simple enough. Each player picks a color and takes the player screen and the two matching Korrigans.

Each field is marked with a four leaf clover and a number which tells you how many clover tokens to place in that field. Each field also gets a Menhir, except for the Town Square. The Town Square does get clover tokens, though. If you’re playing with four or five people, each field gets one extra clover token from the ones with the yellow rings around their pictures. This helps to ensure that players find enough companions and coins and so one player doesn’t get an unfair advantage over another.

After the fields are set up, each player places one of their Korrigans in the field that matches their player number. For example, the first player puts one of their Korrigans in one of the two fields marked with a number one. Then that player looks at all the tokens and chooses one to keep. They place that token behind their screen and put the remainder of the tokens back in the field, face down. The next player, to the left of player one, is player two. They place of their Korrigans in a field labeled with a number two and does the same thing, choosing one of the clover tokens. This continues until all players have placed their first Korrigan. Then it starts over with player one, who places their second Korrigan in the remaining field marked with a number one and chooses a clover token from that field. The same steps are repeated until all players have placed their second Korrigan. It’s good to grab at least one companion from a field during this setup.

If you’re using the side without the companion reminders or the field numbers, you can place your Korrigans in any field. There aren’t any field numbers on the side without the companion reminders. You can even put your Korrigan in the same field as another Korrigan. This is an easy way to grab a Menhir before the game actually starts, though I wouldn’t advise doing this. This limits the chances of finding a companion token which means you’ll have to discard a clover token for a back up companion.

All the Menhir tokens (Elves, Goblins, Troll) and the backup companions are placed to the side of the board with the cauldron.

After all Korrigans are placed, the first player draws a rainbow pawn and places on one of the Sun markers of their choosing. Any row or column marked with a rainbow pawn will potentially eliminate that field from being selected as one for the cauldron appearance. Since most of the fields are present in more than one grid section, you’d need to eliminate several rows or columns to prevent the cauldron from being placed in a particular field.

Game Play

Game play is not difficult and moves fairly smooth throughout the game. Each player, on their turn, moves one of their Korrigans and collects a clover token from the field they moved into. If it’s the last clover token, they get to collect the Menhir too. If a player picks up a Menhir, they reveal what it is on the bottom and get to do whatever the Menhir says. If it’s gold on the bottom of the Menhir, the player places it behind their screen after revealing it.

The only way to move your Korrigans are with the companion tokens. If you don’t have a companion token, or you don’t have the one you need to move, you must discard a clover token from behind your player screen and choose either the hare or squirrel backup companion. You can only have one, so choose wisely! The bird companion is the only one that’s not on the reminder side of the board. That’s because the bird can fly your Korrigan from its current field, to another field of that same color. That’s not easy to add in without causing a huge mess, but it’s definitely easy enough to remember.

Before the first player takes their turn each round, the player that has the bag of rainbow pawns will draw one and place it on either a Sun or Cloud marker of their choice, depending on the color drawn. If the color drawn was a new color, it has to be placed on a Sun marker. If the color was a color already on a Sun marker, it must be placed on a Cloud marker.

When the seventh color of the rainbow is drawn for the Sun markers, the rainbow pawn isn’t placed. Instead, the player takes the cauldron and finds all the available intersections under the Sun and Cloud markers that do not have a rainbow pawn and chooses a field. The chosen field can’t have one of that player’s Korrigans in it (if possible). Once the field is chosen, that player places the cauldron in that field and the end of the game begins. The exception to this is if the fifth color is drawn and placed on a the Cloud markers. Game play is paused and the bag is passed to the next player who will draw a rainbow pawn and place it. This continues until the seventh color is drawn, and when that happens, players move on to the cauldron appearance.

Once the conditions are favorable and the rainbow has triggered the cauldron’s appearance, the game will continue for one final round. Players will use their companions in an effort to reach the field with the cauldron. There is a special condition with the companions during this last round. You can only use each companion token one time. It’s a good idea to collect more than one of some companions, that way you can increase your chances of reaching the cauldron. Players that have one Korrigan in the cauldron’s field will receive ten coins, and players that have both Korrigans in the field will receive fifteen coins at the end of the game.

Once each player has taken their final turn and tried to reach the cauldron, all players count up the coins behind their screens, including coins on Menhirs that they may have collected, and then they add in their cauldron bonus if they have one. The player with the richest Korrigan clan is the winner!

Conclusion

This game is so much fun! It’s a great family game and it’s great for children because there isn’t any reading involved. Younger children sometimes lose interest quickly if there are too many components that require a lot of reading, like card based games. But don’t let the cute exterior fool you. This game actually has a lot of strategy to it, which surprised me!

I love the movement mechanic, and how it changes slightly when the cauldron appears. I also like that you can have a rough start, but still come back and do well or even win. I also really like the way that the cauldron appearance works. You never know who is gonna trigger the appearance or where they may put the cauldron. If you’ve got lots of rainbow pawns out, it’s easier to maneuver your Korrigans based on the companions you have. But, if the cauldron is triggered before lots of Cloud markers are covered, there are lots of places the cauldron could end up!

It really is a fun game and the game can be over in as quick as 20 minutes or as long as an hour or more. The random mechanics are what dictates the length of the game, for the most part, and it’s easy to get several games done in one evening.

What the Players Said

Paul – This game is really fun and I like it overall. I can’t think of anything that I don’t like about it.

Katie – I love it! It’s so, so cute and so easy to learn. I love all the cute little pieces. The player screens kind of feel pointless.

Sam J. – It was fun and my favorite things are the rocks and the randomness in the game.

John H. – I really liked it. It’s easy to play and learn and there isn’t anything I dislike about it.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

This is a very cute game that was fun for my diverse group of players. Each of my fellow players seemed to really like the game and they stayed engaged during the other players’ turns. It’s a game that I definitely need to add to my collection, and soon!

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 Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

The featured game for this week is easily one of my favorite games. We played 7 Wonders from Repos Production and Asmodee.

7 Wonders 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.

7 Wonders Stock Photo

I have seen the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Helios, the great man-made mountains of the lofty Pyramids, and the gigantic tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade.
–Antipater of Sidon, 140 BC

Two millennia ago, great cities were vying to dominate the eastern Mediterranean. Just outside of Cairo lay massive, enduring feats of engineering: the Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza. At Halikarnassós a Persian king erected his own palatial tomb, the Mausoleum, and deep in the Persian Empire’s deserts flourished the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Soon Greece began to construct giant temples and statues in cities from Éphesos to Olympía to Alexandria, where the Ptolemies built a towering lighthouse that shone out across the sea.

In 7 Wonders, a card game for two to seven players, you guide an ancient city from its first foundations to its greatest achievements. Your goal is to surpass your neighbors by developing better technologies, creating a richer culture, conquering in war, and constructing magnificent architectural marvels. Across three Ages you will expand and advance your city, and at the end of each Age you will take up arms against your opponents. The player with the most victory points wins.

Designed by Antoine Bauza, 7 Wonders is one of the most award-winning board games of all time. It has received the 2011 Kennerspiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spielpreis, the Dice Tower awards for 2010 Best Game of the Year and Best Game Artwork, and the 2011 Golden Geek Award from Board Game Geek, among numerous others.

7 Wonders is a drafting game, where you try to draft cards that help give your civilization the edge over your opponents. Some players try to balance their structures between the different types while others might attempt to become a military powerhouse or a scientific hub. Others just try to acquire massive amounts of money by drafting as many resources as possible, so their neighbors are forced to buy any materials they need from them.

At the end of the day, it’s all about having the most victory points, regardless of the method you use to acquire them. This game is for two to seven people, but it plays best with three or more. The two player version is not covered in this review because it plays a little different.

Rules

The rulebook is very thorough and covers everything you need to know. I can’t think of anything that needs to be added or changed in the rulebook. I would definitely recommend that you read over it before you begin a game. Familiarize yourself with everything that’s in the rulebook because it will help the game flow smoother. You will likely need to refer back to the rules for your first few games.

There is a key on the back of the rulebook that helps explain the various symbols on the cards. There is also an additional insert that has a key. The keys are invaluable and usually get passed around the table throughout the game.

Components

There are several different components to 7 Wonders. One of the big ones, in size and relevance, is your Wonder!

WondersWonder Cards

In 7 Wonders, the goal is achieve more victory points than anyone else. Wonders can help you do that, depending on the Wonder you get. Wonders are supposed to be randomized at the beginning of the game with the corresponding Wonders cards. You shuffle the seven cards and deal one to each person and that’s the Wonder they get for the game. Each Wonder has two sides, Side A and Side B. Side A is simpler and each Wonder has victory points on this side. Side B has more complex abilities and not all the Wonders have victory points on this side. The rules recommend starting on Side A, but players can generally choose their starting side. The Wonders are made of thick cardboard and will likely hold up well over time with standard use.

Decks

Next, you’ve got three decks with various types of cards. Each deck represent a different ‘Age’ of development. Each deck has a different color back with the Age in Roman numerals as well as a directional reminder for which way each deck should be passed during the draft. There are ten Guild cards that can be added to the Age III deck. You won’t have all ten at once though. The number of players will determine how many Guilds you add to the Age III deck. The Guild cards are randomly selected and kept secret so you won’t know what Guilds are in the Age III deck until you get to that Age. This adds another level of variety to game play and makes each game a little different than the last.

7 Wonders Sleeves

This game is a card game that requires lots of shuffling and handling of the cards. I would absolutely recommend using sleeves to protect the cards. That was the first thing I did before playing my copy – sleeved all the cards! The cards are not standard size, which means the sleeves from the previous articles are not going to fit the cards in 7 Wonder. Fear not! I can direct you to the correct size! Ultra Pro makes sleeves that fit nicely, and you can find them, HERE. The dimensions are 65 mm x 100 mm. You’ll need a minimum of 148 sleeves for all three of the decks. If you want to sleeve the Wonder cards, you’ll need seven more, which would come out to four of those Ultra Pro packs. That leaves you with plenty of extras to replace any sleeves that get damaged or start to show wear. But if you don’t sleeve the Wonder cards, you’ll only need three packs of sleeves.

Conflict Tokens

Conflict tokens are given to players at the end of each Age, depending on how their resolution of military conflicts went. Losing to a neighboring city will give you a -1 token in any Age. If you’re the victor in Age I, you get the token with one victory point for each neighbor you defeat. In Age II, the victor gets the token with three victory points for each defeated neighbor. In Age III, the victor gets the token with five victory points for each defeated neighbor. In a single game, if you defeat both neighbors at the end of each Age, you would end up with 18 victory points: two points from Age I, six points from Age II, and ten points from Age III.

Coins

What game would be complete without small cardboard coins? I’ve been wanting to upgrade to metal coins, but the cardboard ones have actually held up rather well for how much they’ve been used. Same goes for the conflict tokens, but those are handled much less than the coins.

Score Sheet

You also get a small score pad, which I go into detail more below. Each column is for a single player and all the sections that can earn points are in their own row. It’s easiest to score each row first because you can have each player count up their score for that particular row and you only need to record it and then tally the total at the end. There are lots of sheets on the score pad, but if you play enough, you will run out. There are apps available for tablets and smart phones which can replace the score pad.

Setup & Clean Up

Setup can take a little time depending on how many people are playing. Each deck has certain cards that need to be removed or added, which is indicated by a tiny #+ at the bottom of the card. So a card with 4+ means you should add those cards to their respective decks for games with four or more players, and remove them for games with three players.

After you’ve got your decks ready, you randomly assign a Wonder to each player. The corresponding Wonders deck helps with this. Each player also gets three single coins to start with.

You then shuffle the first deck and deal seven cards to each player. This is repeated for each age, but only after you finish an age.

Clean up can take some time as well as you collect all the coins, conflict tokens, sort cards by age, and remove or add cards to the Age decks.

Game Play

The overall game play isn’t complicated. The complexity comes in when you start drafting and you have to be sure you aren’t drafting a duplicate of a card you’ve already built, or that you have enough materials or money to buy materials, or that you don’t have a previous Age structure that lets you build something for free, and so on. The game itself is easy enough to understand, it’s the choices of cards in your hands and the cards on the table that make it more difficult to play. That’s definitely not a bad thing! It makes for an engaging game.

You start with seven cards in your hand for each Age. The cards should correspond with the current Age, so you won’t be drafting Age I cards in Age II. You only have one material that you can use from your Wonder and two neighbors to buy other materials from at the start of Age I.

In Age I, you want to draft cards that help you gain access to various types of materials so you can build structures in the other Ages without using up all your money. When you begin the draft in Age I, you will select a single card from your hand to build, then pass the remaining cards to the player on your left. The player on your right will be passing their remaining cards to you after they have made their selection. Everyone reveals the structure they’re constructing and allocates the appropriate about of money, if necessary, to neighbors or the bank. Then each player picks up the new hand of cards they were passed, which should be six cards total from the player on their right. Each player selects a new card to build, then passes the remaining five cards to the player on their left, just like before. Everyone reveals their new card and allocates the appropriate amount of money, if necessary, to neighbors or the bank. This cycle continues until each player has two cards in their hand. When the players have only two cards left, they will select one as their draft pick, and then discard the last card. Everyone reveals their structure like before, but now there are no more Age I cards to pass. This is the end of the Age and also where military conflicts happen.

At the end of each Age, you go into military conflicts with both of your neighbors. Each player counts the number of shield symbols they have on their red cards (if any) and/or on their Wonder. Mostly, players will only have shields on their red cards if they built those type of structures. You need more shield symbols than a neighbor to defeat them and gain victory points. If you tie for shield symbols, nothing happens. If you have less shield symbols, then you get a negative conflict token which causes you the lose victory points. You can only get two -1 conflict tokens in a single Age, because you only have two neighbors. If you decide to be a peaceful civilization, you won’t be penalized that much. But your military neighbors could rack up some points off of you!

Age II begins just like Age I, with each player looking over their hand of seven cards from the Age II deck. Each player chooses a card, passing the remain cards to their neighbor. This time, instead of passing cards to the left, you pass them to the right. There are directional reminders on the back of the cards to help players remember which way they should pass cards. Aside from that one difference, game play is the same in Age II as Age I. There are a few differences within the cards, like fewer resources and more structures, but the concept is similar – draft cards that further your goals! There will likely be more commerce happening in this Age than in Age I, because players will end up realizing that they need more materials than before. The game continues just like in Age I, until there are only two cards in each player’s hand. Players will draft one of those cards and discard the remaining card, just like before. After the drafting for Age II is complete, there is another military conflict, which happens just like the one in Age I. The only difference is that victors of conflicts in Age II earn a higher point victory token, worth three points instead of one point.

After the Age II military conflicts are resolved, Age III begins – just like the previous Ages. Each player starts with their seven cards, and drafts one card. Just like in Age I, players pass the remaining cards to the left. In Age III, players will notice that there are a serious lack of resource cards. In this Age, you’re polishing your civilization with grand structures and Guilds. The start up days are done and if you didn’t draft enough resource cards in Age I or Age II, you’re going to have a difficult time building anything in Age III. Sure, you can buy all your materials, if you have the money for it. If not, you’ll be discarding cards for three coins each turn. Be sure to prepare your civilization for Age III by drafting plenty of resources and other inexpensive structures that will allow you to build other structures for free. Age III ends the same way Age I and Age II did, with a military conflict. The victors of these conflicts will get a conflict token worth five points, but those that fall beneath their military might will still only receive a single -1 token. Military can rack up some points for you, but it won’t devastate those that don’t go for the military cards.

Once the military conflicts are resolved for Age III, the point tallying begins! I used to be intimidated by this final stage of the game, but after playing so many times, it’s almost second nature now. I want to mention that there are companion apps out there that help with this stage and if you play with five or more folks on a regular basis, it’s worth having.

Score Sheet

I start by announcing what I want everyone to add up first, which is military. It’s easy enough for each player to count their conflict tokens, but some players get confused and think they’re supposed to add the shields. Make sure everyone understands that these points are only on the conflict tokens and that some players could have zero or even negative points here.

Military is the only score section that I’ve seen a negative number in. Many of the other sections could have zero if the player doesn’t have a card that grants them victory points in that color. For example, many yellow cards give you benefits during the game, but they don’t grant you victory points at the end.

After the military points, I have everyone add up their points for their coins. For every three coins, a player will earn one victory point. It’s easiest for players if they exchange their singles for the coins with the three on them, then count how many of those they have.

After scoring the coins, I tell each player to check their Wonder for victory points. They only receive victory points if they built their Wonder into stages that grant victory points. You don’t get victory points for your Wonder unless it says you do on the Wonder.

After the Wonder, I tell everyone to look at their Civilian cards, which are the blue cards. These cards grant lots of victory points and it’s no uncommon to see 30 or more victory points from one player if they drafted lots of these.

After Civilian structures, we move onto the Commercial structures, which are yellow. Not all of these structures grant victory points. Most of them only grant bonuses or abilities during the game and not during the scoring part. There are some though that grant victory points, so always double check when adding these up.

After Commercial structures are the Guilds, which are purple. These are somewhat more complex at times because many of them look at what your neighbors have and not what you have. For example, the Strategists Guild looks at the individual -1 conflict tokens that your neighbors have and grants you one victory point for each one. If you’re not a military powerhouse, this is not going to benefit you at all. The only benefit to drafting and building this structure is to keep your military neighbor from drafting it and building it.

After the Guild scoring, comes the Scientific structures. This is the most confusing part of the entire scoring process, and the sole reason I suggest getting the app. The Scientific structures grant you additional bonuses for drafting multiples of each symbol, as well as a bonus for having a set of all three symbols – or two sets if you’re that fortunate. The easiest way to remember the scoring calculations is that each group of the same symbols will net you that many points, squared. For example, if I have three of the cog symbols, I get nine victory points. If I have four of them, I get sixteen victory points. But don’t forget to add victory points in for each set of three different symbols! If you have a full set of the three different scientific symbols, that’s seven points in addition to the points for multiple symbols. Page 6 of the rulebook has plenty of examples and explanation.

Once you’ve finished writing down all the scores for each section, you add each column up for that player’s total points. The player with the most points is the winner!

Conclusion

This is a fantastic game and a great way to introduce players to the concept of drafting. I play collectible games that have draft formats and this game is a great way to introduce newer players to drafts. Aside from that, I love how different the game plays each time you play. Sure, there are similarities, but I’ve never ended a game with the same card combination. I like games that have a high amount of replay. The different Wonders add variety as well. I love to draft military, but if I have the Babylon Wonder, I’m going to change my strategy to Science. And while the Science cards can be confusing to some folks, the rulebook thoroughly explains how to score it. *Science!*

I recommend using the random method outlined in the rulebook to determine which Wonder each player gets. If you let players choose their own, it could lead to some bickering over particular Wonders. It also forces players to change up their strategy and try something new. If we play multiple games in a night, I try to make sure each player gets a different Wonder each game.

What the Players Said

Paul – I like the drafting play style and I really like the game overall. I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it.

Katie – I’ve only played twice and I was really confused at first because the first time you play, there is a really steep learning curve. There is a lot to remember, but it looks like a lot of fun the more you play it. I absolutely love the art on the cards.

Ryan – If you’re a regular board gamer, this game needs to be in your inventory. The only drawback is the math at the end, unless you use an app. Get the app.

John H. – Eh.
(I couldn’t get anything else out of him.)

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

My game collection would be seriously lacking without this game. While it takes some setup and explanation, once players get an idea of what’s going on, it’s lots of fun and has a high amount of replay. I try to warn new players that there is definitely a steep learning curve and you’re not likely to do very well on your first play through. Play the game several times to give it a fair shake!

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 Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

This week, we had two featured games. The first one was Lotus by Renegade Game Studios (here) and the second was Love Letter: Batman from Cryptozoic and Alderac Entertainment Group.

Love Letter: Batman 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.

Stock

Stock Photo from Cryptozoic

Take back the streets of Gotham City!

The most notorious villains in Gotham City have escaped Arkham Asylum and it’s up to the Dark Knight to round them up and return them to their padded cells. Love Letter: Batman Edition is a game of risk, deduction, and luck. Earn Batman Tokens by eliminating opponents and by winning each round for a new spin on the classic Love Letter!

Love Letter: Batman Edition is a joint release from Cryptozoic Entertainment and Alderac Entertainment Group!

Rules

The rulebook is much thicker than what one would expect for such a simple game. They not only cover the basics, but they added a FAQ for specific card interactions. For example, what happens if a player uses Bane and the two players are tied? Nothing! Kudos to them for the detailed FAQ.

Love Letter: Batman is designed for two to four players, but we rarely play with four or less. The game changes drastically from a strategic game to a game of luck when you play with more than the recommended number of players.

Components

The components for this game are extremely minimal, which is perfect for a game that’s supposed to play super fast!

Bag Tokens Card Lists

I love the bag, but I wish it was just a little bigger so sleeved cards wouldn’t fit so tightly in it. The Batman tokens are cute and a fun way of tracking points from round to round. The card list is extremely handy so you don’t have to memorize how many of each card are in the deck. It’s also a great quick reference for card abilities.

Cards

The art is very pretty on all the cards and each character is represented appropriately. However, the quality of the cards is not the best, but they aren’t the worst either. They’re fairly mediocre and can be damaged easily if not handled with care. I put sleeves on mine after only a few plays because I noticed they had a little wear on them in that short of a time frame.

With the Batman version, I also noticed some of the cards were slightly misprinted or miss-cut. This gives other players an unfair advantage if they notice a particular error on the backs of certain cards that are not on others. In this set, the Joker is super easy to pick out and that’s way unfair! I believe this is an error on Cryptozoic’s end and not AEG. I’ve got other games, like the Naruto Deckbuilding Game from Cryptozoic that has a similar error on the card backs. The error is only visible on the back and not on the fronts of the cards, so sleeves with a solid color back will easily solve this issue.

Standard Size Double Sided Clear

Because this game is solely a card game, I would highly recommend using sleeves to protect the cards. You could use any standard size sleeves with any kind of backing, or clear ones like the ones in the picture above if you like looking at the card backs.

Setup & Clean Up

Setup doesn’t get much easier than this. You shuffle the deck, remove the top card and place it in the pouch, then deal one card to each player.

Clean up is super fast too. You collect the Batman tokens and the cards and return them to the pouch.

Everything needed to play is contained in a small pouch that has the Batman logo embroidered on it. You can fit this game in the pocket of a backpack, in your pants pocket, a purse, a glove box or center console, or even above the sun visor in your car!

Game Play

Game play is very simple. Each player has a card in their hand. They draw a card, giving them two cards. They pick a card (or the game leaves them with only one optimal choice in some cases), then they use the card or discard it if instructed to do so. If they played the card, they follow the instructions on the card. Play then goes to the next player and they do the same, draw and play. This continues until there is one person left or the deck has been depleted. If the deck has been depleted, the remaining players compare their final cards and the one with the highest number wins for that round.

The game is played in multiple rounds until someone has collected seven Batman tokens. You can also get a Batman token if you use the Batman card and correctly guess the target’s card, unless it was a Robin. You can’t get a Batman token for taking Robin out!

Conclusion

Our group plays this game so much, and we’ve made our own variants of how we determine winners. For example, we might play until someone collects three Batman tokens or we may decide on five tokens. We’ve even ignored the Batman tokens and just played round after round until we decided to stop. We’ve even picked the random card in random ways, like from middle after dealing cards, or from the top before dealing cards. We also don’t stick to the player limit. We’ve had a game with seven players at one time and it was a totally different game!

This game is great for small spaces like hotel rooms on road trips, or when you’re sitting in a restaurant waiting on food!

On the Cryptozoic photo that I have featured above, it says ‘5 Minute Fun’ on it. That’s not a lie! Rounds of Love Letter go very fast, sometimes ending before a player can get a turn!

What the Players Said

Paul – I really like it.

Wednesday – It’s hectic and crazy, kinda like real life!

Katie – It’s really easy to learn and it’s a great game for people who are new to board gaming. It gets better the more you play it.

Jessica – I fell in love with Love Letter! You can too!

Ryan – I like Batman Love Letter more than the original, because it’s awesome!

North – It’s a simple game with easy to learn gameplay, quick rounds, and it’s very portable. It’s also a great gateway game for a new player.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

A friend gave me my copy of Love Letter: Batman, which I am eternally grateful for. I’ve played the regular version of Love Letter and I enjoyed it very much. I’m a comic book fan, so this version appealed to me more than the regular version. There is even a Munchkin Loot Letter version! Pick your favorite or add them all to your collection!

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 Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!