Archive for September, 2010

Review: Jamaica

Posted by James (admin) on 29th September 2010

Recently I’ve referred to Jamaica a couple of times (in previews of Sobek and Tikal II) because of its visual design.  So, I thought I’d give it a proper review as it’s a really good, light game.

In Jamaica, players are pirate captains who are having a race – the first pirate ship around the island ends the game and ship with the most points wins.  Each player has their own deck of actions cards and holds a hand of 3 cards.  Each card shows two icons – the left one shows the day-time action and the right one shows the night-time action.  The actions are: move forwards, move backwards, take gold, take food, take cannons and each card has a different mix of these action icons.

Each turn, the first player rolls two six-sided dice and allocates one to the day-time and the other to the night-time.  These are now fixed for this round and all players will use those results. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Jamaica | 6 Comments »

On The Radar: Tikal II

Posted by James (admin) on 28th September 2010

The original Tikal is a classic game of archaeological discover where players send their explorers into the jungle to find tombs and collect treasure.  Each player had an amount of action points each round that they could spend on a variety of activities, and the board consisted of hex tiles that would be revealed and placed by the players.

The news that Tikal II was being released was quite unusual as there are few direct board games sequels and Tikal is some years old (winning the Spiel des Jahres in 1999).  The images of Tikal II that were released looked very nice indeed.  Cool looking little flags and this time the action is set in a single temple.  Until now, the gameplay was a mystery but the rules have just been released.

In Tikal II, players reveal the insides of a temple by placing rooms (hex tiles).  Each room has a few doors on some of its sides (all of the same colour) and a player can move their explorer through these doors if they have the matching colour key.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, On the Radar, Tikal II | No Comments »

Review: Zooloretto (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 28th September 2010

After many years of having Windows-based smartphones, I decided to change to an iPhone because (a) I didn’t like the look of the new Windows phones, and (b) I saw various board games being released on iPhone.  Zooloretto was the first major conversion and was the first one I bought when I got my iPhone.

THE GAME
Zooloretto is a light board game that won the coveted Spiel des Jahres award.  Players are all zoo keepers with their own zoos and they try to fill their enclosures with different animals.  However, there are some difficult decisions to be made.  On their turn, a player can either draw a tile from the bag and place it on one of the delivery lorries (which have space for 3 tiles each) or they can take a lorry and keep all the tiles on it.  The tiles are either an animal, a coin or a concession stand (i.e. popcorn).

So, do you take a lorry so you get just 2 tiles but ones that you want, or do you want or risk someone else takes it before you get a chance next turn so it will have more tiles on?  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in iPhone, iPhone Review, Zooloretto | No Comments »

Review: Samurai (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 27th September 2010

THE GAME
Samurai is a game of tile placement where players try to surround towns and cities with their different strength tiles in order to capture as many of the three different types of tokens as possible.  The winner is the player who owns two majorities of the tokens (or has one majority and more other tokens than their opponent).  For a description of the game, please read my full review of Samurai the board game as the gameplay of the iPhone game is exactly the same (as you would hope). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, iPhone, iPhone Review, Samurai | No Comments »

On The Radar: Sobek

Posted by James (admin) on 27th September 2010

Sobek is a small 2-4 player, Egyptian-themed game where players take cards and lay down sets of 3 in order to score points over 3 rounds.  During the rounds, 3 cards of the same type can be laid down as a set (wheat, cattle ivory, etc.) and you can increase a set already laid down by adding another set of 3 cards of the same type.

It might sound relatively ordinary but there are two game mechanics that caught my attention.  First, cards are taken from a row of 9 – only one of the first 4 cards can be taken by a player but if they take any card other than the first card they must put the others before it into their corruption deck.  The player with the most cards in their corruption deck at the end of a round will lose some points.  Second, the score for your cards is  the number of cards multiplied by the total number of scarabs on each (some have no scarabs) which sounds like a good system.  Plus, there are more scarabs on the less commonly occurring cards (like ivory) whereas the more common cards (like wheat) have fewer scarabs on them – the mathematical part of my mind likes the balance of that. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, On the Radar, Sobek | No Comments »

Review: Neuroshima Hex (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 26th September 2010

I was interested in Neuroshima Hex when it was released at Spiel a few years ago.  However, I didn’t get a chance to play it then, or since, so I was pleased to see it released on iPhone so I could finally give it a go.

THE GAME
Neuroshima Hex is a 2-4 player combat game using hex tiles on a relatively small hex grid.  Each turn, players draw 3 random tiles, discards 1 and play the other 2 tiles.  Some tiles have immediate effects, like grenades and push-backs, so aren’t placed on the board; however, the majority are units which do get placed on the board.  Some units can attack enemies (ranged and melee) and icons on the tiles edges show in which directions they will attack – the player chooses which direction they face when placing them.  Some other units boost the performance of some neighbouring units. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in iPhone, iPhone Review, Neuroshima Hex | No Comments »

Review: Kingsburg (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 25th September 2010

THE GAME
Kingsburg is a dice-rolling, resource managing and building game.  Players roll 3 dice and then take turns allocating combinations of their dice in order to gain the benefits of the 18 different advisors.  For example, allocate two 4’s (or a 5 and 3, or 6 and a 2) and you can use the number 8 advisor (Treasurer) who gives the player 2 gold.  Players use their resources (gold, stone and wood) to build buildings which give players victory points as well as a wide variety of abilities like re-rolling a dice, added strength in battle, bonus VPs, extra resources and so on.  The 20 different buildings are split into 5 groups and each group has a level 1, 2,3 and 4 building.  The buildings within the groups must be built in order, so a player can only build a level 2 building if they have built the level 1 building in the same group, and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Roll Through the Ages (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 25th September 2010

THE GAME
Roll Through the Ages is a bit like Yahtzee meets Civilization.  Players roll dice and they can keep the results or re-roll as they wish.  After 3 rolls, or if earlier if desired, the player uses their results to hire workers, feed workers, gather goods, build monuments, and develop their civilisation. The goal is to score as many points as possible.

Players start with just 3 dice and hiring extra workers can give them up to 7 dice to roll each turn; however, workers can not be fired and must be fed each turn, so lots of dice means lots of mouths to feed too or you lose points.  Points are primarily scored by creating monuments which takes workers and you only score when you complete a monument – so sometimes it’s better to start building a smaller monument that you think you can finish rather than risk not completing a larger one.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, iPhone, iPhone Review, Roll Through the Ages | No Comments »

On The Radar: Isla Dorada

Posted by James (admin) on 25th September 2010

In Isla Dorada, the players are a group who have crash landed in Columbia in 1934 in a strange and hostile land.  The group must travel together each collecting treasure and gold along the way as well as trying to fulfil their destiny (well, secret destiny card).

The core gameplay is that the players bid to decide which way to go from each location.  When a player makes a bid, they say which route they will take the group if they win.  The winner of the bidding must pay their bid in cards that match the route (Kamel cards to travel along sand paths, Yak cards to travel along mountain paths, etc.and some other cards such as wild cards) so each player’s cards will limit what they can bid on different routes.  There are a few other items like Bigfoot and the Leviathan that can block routes, rivers that are one-way routes and so on too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, Isla Dorada, On the Radar | 1 Comment »

Review: Medici (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 24th September 2010

THE GAME
In Medici, players are merchants bidding over goods at the dockside so they can load their ships.  There are 5 different types of goods and each good tile has a value from 0 to 5 on it too.  On their turn, a player draws 1 to 3 goods one at a time and then auctions the good(s) off as a single lot with the current player bidding last.  Players get just one chance to bid and can only ever buy a total of 5 goods in a round.  If no-one bids on a lot they are thrown into the sea.  A round ends when the goods run out or all players have their full 5 goods each.

At the end of a round, players potentially gain florins for their ships and their goods.  Ship’s Score: Players each total the values written on their goods tiles – the player with the highest total number gains 30 florins and the next highest amounts gains florins too – the exact amount of florins and the positions that score are based on the number of players playing.  Goods Sore: Each good tile (regardless of the value written on it) moves its owner’s marker one step along the relevant goods track (i.e. two cloth tiles would move the  player’s marker 2 steps along the cloth track). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in iPhone, iPhone Review, Medici | 1 Comment »