Posts Tagged ‘Board Game’

Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

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

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

October – November 2018

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

January – April
Hotel

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

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

400 N High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

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

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

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

Badge Registration

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

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

May

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

Ribbons

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

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

Event Tickets

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

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

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

Generic Tokens

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

June – Leading Up To Origins

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

Preventing Con Crud

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

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

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

Demo/Purchase Wish Lists

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

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

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

Buy Supplies and Make A Checklist

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

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

Travel Food and Vehicle Prep

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

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

Weather Forecast

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

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

Plotting the Course

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

June – Convention Time!
Road Trip Time!

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

Pit-Stops and Safety

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

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

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

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

Arrival!

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

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

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

Origins Game Fair

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

Quiet Time

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

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

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

Charging Stations

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

Wednesday – At Origins

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

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

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

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

Thursday to Sunday – At Origins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clothes

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

Wash Your Hands

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

Cart or Bag?

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

rolling carts

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Board out, game on!

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Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

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

Bloodsuckers on Board Game Geek – here.

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

Bloodsuckers

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

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

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

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

Rules

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

Components and Game Play

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

Buy or Bye?
Buy

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

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

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

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

Village Crone on Board Game Geek – here.

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

Village Crone

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

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

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

Rules

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

Components and Game Play

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

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

Summary

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

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

What the Players Said

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

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

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

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

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

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

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

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

Tower of London on Board Game Geek – here.

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

Tower-of-London3

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

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

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

Rules

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

Components and Game Play

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

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

Summary

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

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

What the Players Said

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

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

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

Buy or Bye?
BYE

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

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

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

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

Ticket to Ride on Board Game Geek – here.

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

Ticket to Ride

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

The longer the routes, the more points they earn.

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

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

Rules

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

Components and Game Play

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

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

Summary

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

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

What the Players Said

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

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

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

Buy or Bye?
Buy

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

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

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our featured game for the weeks of August 2 and August 9 was a super cute gateway game from Studio Bombyx, Takenoko and Takenoko: Chibis.

Takenoko on Board Game Geek – here.
Takenoko: Chibis 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.

Takenoko

A long time ago, the Emperor of China offered Japanese Emperor a Giant Panda as symbol of peace.

Your delicate mission is to take care of the animal by growing a bamboo plantation.

But be careful with the sacred animal and its unhealthy appetite for the crispy shoots..

The Takenoko Chibis expansion offers you even more of tenderness!

You’ve been taking care of the imperial panda and the emperor is very satisfied! He hands over a second animal’s care: a female! You will need to try twice as hard to take care of the couple… and their babies!

This a light competitive game that can appeal to players of all ages. You’re trying to complete goals by placing tiles and moving the Panda and the Farmer with only two actions each turn, plus a bonus from a die roll.

Rules

The rules are easy to understand and fairly straight forward. I like rule books that aren’t convoluted and are simple enough to understand in a single read through.

Components and Game Play

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

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

Summary

This is another game that’s high on my list of favorites for several reasons. It’s simple enough for young children to play, but there is strategy to keep adults engaged. The components are cute and well made. There’s something charming about wooden game components as opposed to plastic ones. The tiles are large and brightly colored. And the reminders on the player card are simple enough for children that haven’t learned to read yet. My locals enjoy playing this game as well.

The base game is great game, but the Chibi expansion makes this an amazing game. We played the base game for a long time before the Chibi expansion and we loved it. Once the Chibi expansion came out, it fixed some of the slower areas of the game and added more cute pieces to an already cute game. I would recommend that folks try the base game a few times before adding the Chibis. The Chibi expansion adds a few things but it doesn’t change the overall game play.

What the Players Said

Katie R. – I freaking love this game and pandas! I love how the tiles have unique art and all the game pieces so cute. It’s all so cute and it’s a great way to get family and friends to play board games because it’s so easy to learn and play, and it’s lots of fun!

J. North – I love pandas! Takenoko is fun and a great game. It’s also a great gateway game.

Olivia W. – This game is very cute and easy to learn and play. I love playing this game.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

I loved this game so much that I bought the expansion as soon as it released. If you haven’t tried this game yet, put it on your list to try!

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

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

Our next featured game for the weeks of July 19 and July 26 was a semi-cooperative game from Upper Deck Entertainment, Shark Island.

Shark Island 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.

Shark Islnad

Shark Island™ – A cooperative game for 2-5 players that pits up to 4 Shark Hunter Players against a monstrous Great White Shark Player working to terrorize the island. The Hunters must work together and search the surrounding waters to find and kill the Shark in a rapid form of card combat. The Shark must outsmart the Hunters and accumulate enough terror to win the game.

 

Co-op games are usually a favorite with my locals. This game is actually semi-cooperative. One person is the Shark and the rest of the players are the Hunters that are trying to kill the Shark.

Rules

The rulebook looks overwhelming, but a majority of the pages are filled with large pictures and unnecessary over explaining. I struggled through the rulebook because of that and was relieved when I had finished reading it. I didn’t fully understand how to play most of the game after reading it the rulebook. There are even some weird rules that seem to contradict the player aid on the shark’s screen… and I can’t figure out why there are two Shark Tokens.

Components and Game Play

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

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

Summary

I was overly excited to play a game that I thought was going to be a throwback to ‘Jaws’, but instead, we got a pile of confusion and a casino game.

This game has lots of ‘phases’ and some things, like the dice symbols, work one way in one phase and differently in another phase. The confusion this causes is a little discouraging for both the Shark and the group of Hunters. The lack of player aids for the Hunters is another major negative for me. I don’t like that the Shark is the only player with an easily accessible Turn Order Guide.

I also feel like the game is slightly unbalanced because every game I’ve played, the Shark has won. The Hunters would do minimal damage (like… 1 or 2), or no damage at all. It also felt like the Shark would win combat too easily. The Shark would get two Shark cards in almost every single combat.

It feels like there is way too much going on in this game and it could have been a fun game if not for all the over complicated rules and phases and tokens for every little thing. I know lots of players prefer complex games, but if I wanted to play a game this complicated, I’d play Ascendancy or Firefly and have lots more fun. If you like games like this, give Shark Island a try. I know it appeals to some players out there!

What the Players Said

The players didn’t have much to say about the featured game. The ones that chose to play, didn’t want to play more than once.

Buy or Bye?
Bye, Bye, Bye

Like an NSYNC song… This is not a game for me or the majority of my play group. I’ll opt out of this game if someone suggests it. I just don’t have the patience for such a tedious game.

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

Board out and game on!

Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

… will come to those that wait!
In the Board Game area of articles…

So, I’m a little behind on posting my Pandemic and Shark Island reviews for the board game review articles. I’m working on making some changes to my articles formats for those type of reviews. Please hang in there! I can’t wait to get this new style of review article going and I hope it’s more fun for the readers/viewers. I don’t want to give any of the details away, not yet. I just wanted everyone to know that they’re coming, just a little behind.

In the HeroClix area of articles…

Nothing much is changing here, just a few formatting things. I write a monthly article series called HeroClix Figure Spotlight and it showcases my favorite casual pieces. This series is most likely not going to appeal to the strictly competitive player, but I’m not a competitive player. I prefer to judge and play casually. That means this article series is fine the way it is, but because of the ridiculously busy July schedule for Clix, I’m a little behind on this month’s article. Don’t worry – it’s on the way!

In the Dice Masters area of articles…

This bit makes me a little sad. I have several issues with WizKids right now, and this isn’t the time or place to vent them, but I will tell you all this much – At Origins this year, the HeroClix folks had pleasant experiences with some of the folks higher in the WizKids food chain. I on the other hand, did not. I was treated as a nuisance and given the brush off. That experience left me a little sour towards the upper management of WizKids. The people I was told to speak with, were amazing though. Jimmy, Scott, Kenny, Gene, Chris, Jeremiah, Jay, and the guy running the booth in the gaming hall (sorry! I forgot your name! I feel awful!) – all super great folks. They answered any questions I had, that they could answer. Thank you guys, for being awesome!

But, back to the topic at hand. WizKids has delayed Dice Masters product for so long, I haven’t really had much to write about except my Confusing Card of the Week series… and even that’s getting to the point that it’s difficult to find card abilities that haven’t been covered already. I’m seriously displeased with WizKids’s mishandling of Dice Masters, and I’m afraid the situation won’t get any better. We’re about to have a flood of fixed product on August 1, 2018 (next Wednesday), and I’ll be writing my review articles and doing unboxing videos for those items.

But…

With the decrease in product releases, and the product all being fixed now, I can’t keep writing weekly CCW articles. I’ll run out of cards to cover unless I do heavy repetition of abilities or abilities that are too similar. I am forced to change the release of my articles to monthly articles instead of weekly. You can all thank WizKids for this. I won’t be changing the name of my CCW articles and I will continue with the same numbering. I hope that WizKids gets their rear in gear, but I highly doubt it. If and when the end of life occurs for Dice Masters, I will inevitably discontinue my Dice Masters content. Until that day comes, I will still be here to answer your Dice Masters questions and continue my unboxings, reviews, and CCW articles for this most amazing game that I love dearly.

My CCW articles will be published on the last Wednesday of every month.

In the area of new articles…

I had already expanded into HeroClix and Board Games long before I thought I’d have to decrease the frequency of my CCW articles. But, I’ve had ideas for other articles that I haven’t had the time to work on. Now that I don’t have to focus so much on CCW articles, I can expand my content coverage into these other areas. We have homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaigns that are currently running, and a Star Trek Adventures campaign in the works that I would like to write about. I’m also considering Star Trek: Attack Wing articles – even though WizKids treats that game as terribly as it does Dice Masters. I still love that game as well, but I never considered content for it because there were already so many sites out there. Now, many of those sites have either gone completely quiet or have been forced to decrease their content for one reason or another. But with my first love being Star Trek, it seems an obvious move in the right direction.

Of course, none of these articles are set in stone yet. I have to see how I want to handle the articles and when I can slate time for them. We’re also thinking about a potential podcast, possibly in the next year or so. The topics will be primarily gaming and Star Trek, with some other random topics thrown in.

I’ve got lots of plans and need time to restructure and fit things in. I will continue current content and add things in as I get them how I want them.

Current Regular Content
Articles

~ HeroClix Figure Spotlight – Monthly; Second Wednesday
~ Dice Masters Confusing Card of the Week – Monthly; Last Wednesday
~ Board Game Reviews – Every other week

Weekly Videos

Comic Unboxing – Every Tuesday

Possible Future Content

Remember, this is only possible future content. These topics are being considered and not definite yet.

~ Star Trek RPG related articles
~ Dungeons and Dragons RPG related articles
~ Star Trek Attack Wing content (articles and/or videos)
~ Varying content about Star Trek related topics
~ Comic Book related content (primarily about my current subscriptions)

Is there something you’d like to see more of?
Have a board game suggestion?
Be sure to leave me a comment here or on Facebook at Dice Dice Kitty, and thanks for reading!

Board out, game on!

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our next featured game for the weeks of June 21 and June 28 was a fun economy and city building card game from IDW Games, Machi Koro (with Harbor and Millionaire’s Row expansions).

Machi Koro 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

You CAN build Rome in a day.

Machi Koro is a fast-paced, dice-rolling city builder. in the game, players compete to be the first person to build up their simple village into a sprawling metropolis. Originally designed and released in Japan, Machi Koro has developed a dedicated fan-base around the world. Excited fans have been eagerly anticipating an English translation, and the game has already garnered a “seal of excellence” from The Dice Tower among many other accolades.

Armed only with your trusty die and a dream, you must grow Machi Koro into the largest city in the region. You will need to collect income from developments and build public works, and steal from your neighbors coffers. Just make sure they aren’t doing the same to you! Machi Koro is a fast-paced light-hearted game for you and up to 3 friends. They say you can’t build Rome in a day, but Machi Koro will can be built in under 30 minutes!

I like city building computer/video games, like Sim City, and this beings a city builder to the table. It also brings in the randomness that having other players adds as opposed to the AI of a computer game.

Please keep in mind that this review is covering the base game and two of the expansions.

Rulebooks

Rules

The rules are actually really well written and easy enough to follow. The only confusion I’ve encountered is when we added the expansions and had to differentiate between ‘constructed landmarks’ and ‘landmarks’. The constructed landmarks are the properties that you build in order to win the game. The purple cards and City Hall are landmarks but not constructed landmarks. All the red, blue, and green cards are establishments.

Components

There aren’t many components to this game, but what there is, is plenty! You have a large deck of cards and they’re standard quality card stock. My copy has held up well over time without card sleeves. Sleeves for this game are not easy to track down, so if someone knows what size fits Machi Koro, please feel free to share that in the comments.

There are two plastic dice that are basic plastic board game dice. I got a green and blue one in my game, and I’ve yet to figure out why they included two different colors. The color of dice has no bearing on game play that I know of.

Dice

The coins are standard punch board coins, and over time, they will wear down a little. Several of mine are showing definite wear and tear. If you can, substitute plastic or acrylic coins which is a great solution for worn coins.

Coins

The ‘Renovation’ tokens are standard punch board tokens and probably won’t see a ton of wear and tear because there is only a few cards that use them.

Renovation Tokens

Setup & Clean Up

We played with two expansions and the rules (including set up) are somewhat different when you add in multiple expansions. Set up isn’t too difficult for one person to handle. You shuffle the deck and reveal ten different cards (stacking duplicates). Each player takes a set of starter cards and three coins. Set all the Renovation tokens to the side. Randomly select a first player and begin play!

Game Play

Game play is super simple. You roll one die (or maybe two if you have your Train Station built) and check for cards with that number and follow the instructions on the cards. The cards trigger in a particular order: RedBlue & GreenPurple. Then you build a structure or construct one of your landmarks.

Turn Order
1. Roll Dice
2. Check Red Cards
3. Check Blue and Green Cards
4. Check Purple Cards
5. Build
6. Pass Dice

Super simple, super easy – but there is chaos that can ensue when there are a bazillion different cards on the board. You want to build establishments that help you earn coins to construct landmarks. Once someone has constructed all their landmarks, they win!

Summary

This game was heavily played when I first bought it, but after a while, we did get a little bored with it. It’s only because the game play is very simple and playing this game once a week is still a little too often. But – That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own it! We play Machi Koro at least once every few months on average and everyone has fun. We just limit how often we play it to avoid burnout.

Overall, it’s a fun and entertaining game, just don’t make it your only game.

What the Players Said

Wednesday – Love the game. It’s a business simulator that’s easy on the brain.

Allie H. – I like that it’s challenging to win sometimes, but not how it can be stressful. I do enjoy playing it though.

Olivia – I like how you need strategy and a variety of cards to win and you can’t just buy all of one card to win.

Buy or Bye?
Buy

This is a game that I’d recommend folks have in their collection, but as I mentioned before, be careful and don’t over play it!

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 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.

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Board out and game on!