Archive for December, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Posted by James (admin) on 19th December 2009

During the Christmas break, I’ll be making the occasional post (I hope to post one on Cuba tonight or tomorrow) but it will will be a lot less than the usual review every day (and depends upon the connectivity where I’ll be).

Thanks to everyone who has read and/or commented on my blog.  I am looking forwards to continuing as usual in the New Year, as well as adding some new items, features and surprises.

Have a great holiday break wherever you may be.


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Review: Ingenious – The Tile Game

Posted by James (admin) on 18th December 2009

People seem to have been very interested in Keltis the tile game (Way of the Stones) so I thought I’d review another tile version of a Renier Knizia game.  This time Ingenious gets the tile treatment.

The original Ingenious game is a superb abstract game where players place double-ended tiles (like dominoes consisting of 2 hexagons with coloured symbols on each end) on a board.  When you lay a tile, you score points for the rows of matching symbols created.  It’s incredibly simple, very tactical (almost cut-throat at times when blocking others) and plays well with 2, 3 or 4 players.  Also, the scoring system is very neat – players score points for each of the 6 symbol types separately and a player’s final score is equal to their single lowest score.  So, it’s important to develop all of your scores equally plus delivers tactical play as players try to score symbols they are weak in (or block their opponents). Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Keltis – The Tile Game

Posted by James (admin) on 18th December 2009

Keltis won the Spiel des Jahres 2008 but it seems to have had a luke warm response.  So, it would be easy to dismiss “Keltis: Der Weg der Steine” (Way of the Stones); however, this smaller, simple but different Keltis game is actually a really good filler game and should not be dismissed just because of its larger and older relative.

Keltis: Way of the Stones purely comprises of 55 tiles which are stones with numbers from 0 to 10 in 5 different colours on their fronts.  In addition to the colour and number, a few stones have a celtic symbol, a few have bonus points, and a few have wish stones on them too.  At the start, all the stones are placed face-down and mixed together.  Players then take turns when they can either (a) reveal a stone and keep it, (b) reveal a stone and leave it face-up where it is, or (c) take a face-up stone that was already revealed but not taken.  If a player takes a tile with a celtic symbol on it, they immediately take another turn. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Keltis: The Tile Game | No Comments »

Top 10 Games: Very Portable 2-player

Posted by James (admin) on 16th December 2009

Taking lots of games away whether on holiday or business trips  can often be a problem due the size and weight of games; yet, many small games don’t deliver enough punch to warrant being carried.  Over the years I have assembled a bag of excellent 2-player games which has been updated as new games have appeared.  I usually have 5  or 6 of the following games fitted neatly into a single cloth bag.

Note that these portable (easy to transport) games aren’t to be confused with travel games (easy to play on-the-move/whilst travelling.  (Check out my Top Games for a Family Christmas too.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Top Games | 4 Comments »

Review: Vasco Da Gama

Posted by James (admin) on 15th December 2009

In Vasco Da Gama, players are each preparing ships and setting sail for the New World to earn victory points.  In essence, Vasco Da Gama is a worker placement game played over 5 rounds.  Each round players place their 4 (sometimes 5) action disks on one of the 4 areas so they can perform the relevant actions, and then they resolve these actions.  However, the system that determines the order in which the actions actually occur is very clever and is the central and unique feature of Vasco Da Gama.

I recommend reading the rules for the full details but I’ll give an outline of the game.  There are 4 main actions to take: Recruiting crew and captains, Attaining projects, Setting sail, and using the special characters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 09, Vasco Da Gama | 4 Comments »

Review: Bunny Bunny Moose Moose

Posted by James (admin) on 13th December 2009

In Bunny Bunny Moose Moose, players use their hands to make deer antler or bunny ear shapes to score points.  Each turn, one player takes the role of the hunter who reads out a poem and reveals a card at the end of each line.  Only 6 cards are in play at any one time, so the 7th card replaces the 1st card, and so on.  All the other players sit in a row facing the hunter so they can see the cards.  On the table there is a score track and each player has a moose and bunny piece.

The cards show either a moose or a bunny: a moose card can show a mixture of antlers up or down, wide or narrow, and on the left or right or both; a bunny card can show ears straight or floppy, at the side or on top of their heads, and on the left or right or both.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Bunny Bunny Moose Moose, Essen Spiel 09 | No Comments »

Review: Krysis

Posted by James (admin) on 11th December 2009

The setting for Krysis is a mix of sci-fi, post-apocalypse and fantasy where players play companies attempting to collect gems and relics from a mine.  Players use cards representing their agents who are either fighters or transporters for not only do you need to collect items but you need to protect them (or steal them) too.

The board shows a mine with 6 levels.  Players start on level 1 and each turn they enter the next level down, so the game lasts for 5 rounds.  Each player has a screen – items placed in front are in their campsite, and items placed behind it are safely at their company’s base.  Each player has two decks of agent cards – fighters and transporters.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 09, Krysis | 1 Comment »

Review: Burgen Land

Posted by James (admin) on 11th December 2009

During Spiel 08, I noticed Schmidt publishing a range of games for 2 players, ‘Easyplay for 2’.  As you may have read in my previous articles, I’m always looking out for good two-player games, so this range was definitely of interest.  Burgen Land is one of these games in this range.

During the game you will develop a red, a blue and a yellow castle by adding castle sections which each display the number of points they are worth.  One the board is a circular track called a rondel (if you’re familiar with games like Imperial, Hamburgum, or Finca, you’ll recognise this game mechanic).  The rondel is split into 24 segments – 8 blue, 8 yellow and 8 red – and each segment displays an icon – wall, large tower, small tower, house or crown.  On your turn, you roll your dice and move a crown piece that many segments clockwise around the rondel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Burgenland, Essen Spiel 09 | No Comments »

Replay: Nostra City

Posted by James (admin) on 9th December 2009

Nostra City originally grabbed my interest because it’s by the designers of Cold War (CIA v KGB).  The theme was great, the rules sounded good and I enjoyed it when I played it at Spiel (initial review here).  I’ve played it a few times since then and I still really like it for several reasons.  (If you don’t know how the game is played, I suggest reading my initial review before this article.)

First of all, each game feels quite different.  The cards that come up for auctions can really alter the shape of the game depending upon their mix.  If there are lots of wiseguys early on, players may be more likely to cheat each other out of income because it will be scarce.  If there’re lots of more racket/turf cards early on, income will be high and players may bid differently and have more options when making the boss more innocent or guilty. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 09, Nostra City, Replay | No Comments »

Review: Opera

Posted by James (admin) on 8th December 2009

When I first heard of Opera, the theme didn’t instantly grab me.  However, it looked nice and it was getting good reports so I was looking forwards to playing it.

The players’ goal is to score points by performing Operas in different European cities and this takes money, opera houses and music.  The game is played over 9 rounds and players earn income (ducats) after every round.  Some points can be earned during the rounds, but the most points are scored at the end of every third round.

The game mechanics in Opera are quite unusual and took the new players (including me) a round or two before we started to understand the relationship between the different elements.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 09, Opera | No Comments »