Archive for October, 2010

On The Radar: Mord Im Arosa

Posted by James (admin) on 15th October 2010

Boardgame News posted a piece about ‘Mord Im Arosa’, a new game from Zoch.  Players are trying to be the least suspected person during a murder in a hotel.  However, the gameplay is rather zany and different to anything I’ve seen before.  During the game, players drop cubes into a 8-storey card hotel and listen to where they come to rest.   Two of the cubes show on which floors the murders took place and the rest are evidence of the player’s locations when the murders occurred.

The players predict which cubes they will find on a specific level, lift up the storeys above it and look to see which cubes are actually at that level.  If they are right, matching cubes get placed on the evidence board (which are now fixed) and then drop the cubes into the tower again.  If you guess wring then you have to add more of your cubes into the tower.  When the game ends, the closer the player’s cubes are to the murder locations, the more points they score and it is the player with the fewest points (because they’re the least connected to the murder) who wins.

It sounds totally fresh, completely mad and I’m really hoping it’s the fun, light and crazy game it sounds and not just random weirdness.

James.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, Mord Im Arosa, On the Radar | No Comments »

Thoughts On: Puerto Rico

Posted by James (admin) on 12th October 2010

Puerto Rico – one of the best rated games on BoardGameGeek, multiple award-winner and a classic.  I bought Puerto Rico many years ago (probably around 8 years ago) and it never made it to the table despite me really wanting to play such a revered game.  The problem was that it was a bit too long for my lighter gaming group and didn’t seat enough players for my experienced gaming group which usually has 6 players.  So, it sat on the shelf until earlier this year.

I had played San Juan – Puerto Rico the card game – and I really enjoyed it.  I the role selection plus I liked how the cards served as resources, currency and buildings.  Very neat and the role selection system has been used in many other games since. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Puerto Rico, Thoughts On | 2 Comments »

Thoughts On: Mystery Express

Posted by James (admin) on 12th October 2010

I liked the idea of an Orient Express themed deduction game. so was very open to trying Mystery Express.  I’m not a fan of Clue/Cluedo as it’s too dry and massively dependent on dice rolls.  The preview information released about Mystery Express indicated it was very different and had a lot more logic to it.

During the game, you are trying to work out the 5 facts about the crime – where, who, what, why and when.  Each turn, you have a fixed amount of time to spend on actions (based on which part of the journey you’re on, i.e. which turn) and each action is located in a different carriage of the train.  Once you’ve been in a carriage, you can’t return to it during the same turn.

Most of the deduction of the crime’s facts is a process of elimination.  Players hold cards of the various possible facts – there are 2 identical cards of each apart from the actual facts of the crime of which there is only 1 copy of each (because 1 has randomly been removed at the start of the game).  I actually felt this was still very much like Clue/Cluedo.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Mystery Express, Thoughts On | No Comments »

Thoughts On: Fresco

Posted by James (admin) on 11th October 2010

(With Spiel in Essen only just over one week away, there are so many games I’ve played this year that I have still yet to review.  Always so many reviews, so little time.  Rather than let my thoughts gather dust during the on-coming mass of reviews of new games, I’m going to post some ‘Thoughts On’ articles over the next few days.  First up, Fresco.)

In Fresco, players buy and mix paint colours so they can paint the cathedral ceiling to earn points.   The main game mechanic is a worker placement game but there are some clever twists.  At the start of a turn, each player places one of their workers to determine turn order by saying when their workers will get up to start work.  Going (getting up) early is good because you get the first pick of the paints to buy and have first chance to paint sections of the cathedral which makes them unavailable to other players.  However, going (getting up) early is bad because the paints at the market cost a lot more, plus the workers become less happy (which can mean one may go on strike next turn).  This is an excellent balance and I find it’s the most fun decision-making part of the game as you (and the other players) struggle to decide which position in the turn order would be best. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Fresco, Thoughts On | No Comments »

On The Radar: Castelli

Posted by James (admin) on 11th October 2010

Queen Games have released a lot of games I enjoy with great components so I’m always interested in any of their new games.  Fresco was good but, recently, their releases have included quite a lot of slightly updated versions of their existing games with a small tweak or addition here and there but not enough to make it a new game.

So, it’s great to see a new game hinted at on their web site called Castelli.  Until recently, there was only the cover art on their site but they have just added a picture of the game itself which looks very intriguing.  With less than 10 days to Spiel, Queen Games are leaving it quite late to release info on it if it’ll be released at the show, but I shall definitely check it out if it’s there.

James.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Castelli, On the Radar | No Comments »

Review: Dragonheart

Posted by James (admin) on 8th October 2010

FantasyFlight Games has released 2-player game Dragonheart.  This is an English version of Drachenherz which I’ve already reviewed on this blog.

So, anyone looking for a review of Dragonheart should click here to read the review.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Drachenherz, Dragonheart | No Comments »

Review: Ingenious (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 8th October 2010

Ingenious goes by several names (such as Genial and Mensa Connections).  Ingenious is a good name for an English version as pulling out a game called Mensa makes most players wince at the idea and they have to be convinced to ignore the name and discover a really good game.  Fortunately, I think it was only called Mensa in the UK.

THE GAME
Ingenious is an abstract game where players place tiles with coloured shapes on in order to score points.  The tiles are made of two hexes and each hex shows one of 6 different colours (shapes).  Players take turns placing one tile from their hand of 6 tiles.

When a tile is placed, both colours on the tile are scored – you score 1 point for each matching colour that can be traced in every direction from the tile in an unbroken line (neither of the colours on the tile itself count).  It’s really simple and I’ll give an example using the screenshot on the right:  A tile is placed in the right-most column just below the two red stars already present with a red star is at the top and yellow circle at the bottom.  This would score 3 red points and 1 yellow point.  If a player reaches 18 points in any one colour, they immediately take another turn. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Ingenious, iPhone, iPhone Review | No Comments »

Review: Carcassonne (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 5th October 2010

Many serious gamers may feel Carcassonne is too simple for them as it’s a great gateway game; however, I recommend they don’t dismiss Carcassonne on iPhone as it has a lot to offer.

THE GAME
In Carcassonne, players place tiles which show parts of roads, cities and monasteries and place them together to build an entire countryside.  On their turn, a player takes and places one tile so that it fits next to any already placed tiles ensuring features like roads continue onto newly placed tiles.  After placing a tile, the player has the opportunity to place one of their 7 meeple (mini people) onto the just-placed tile.  Placing meeple is the way to score points and a meeple can be placed on a road, in a town, in a field or on a monastery. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Carcassonne, iPhone, iPhone Review | 1 Comment »

On The Radar: Crows

Posted by James (admin) on 5th October 2010

Valley Games usually has one or two games that intrigue me each Spiel (Container, Municpium, Master Builder) and this year it’s Crows.  Crows is a tile placement game where you try to entice as many crows to the tile which has has your shiny object on it.  Players know how the Crows will move at the end of each round, as they follow a set of rules, so placing the tiles and your shiny object strategically is they key to scoring points.  It seems like attracting crows away from opponents’ shiny objects will be half the battle (and fun).  Plus, there are a few special actions that can be earned and used too.  The games sounds cute and a little bit different plus, for some reason, I like the idea of the crow meeple pieces.  I’m not expecting too much from it and hope it will be one of the lighter games I enjoy from Spiel this year.

With so many new games coming out each year at Spiel, we often give them nicknames to make it easier to remember which one is which.  The game Powerboats is like Formula De but with boats, so got nicknamed as ‘Formula Boat’.  Battlestar Galactica is co-operative with a potential traitor like Shadows Over Camelot so gets called ‘Cylons Over Camelot’.  And Claustrophobia got called Dungeon Hulk (as it’s Space Hulk in a Dungeon).  As there is tile-placement in Crows I’m already calling it ‘Crowcassonne’.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Board Games, Crows, Essen Spiel 10, On the Radar | No Comments »

Review: Ys

Posted by James (admin) on 4th October 2010

Ys is an area control game where players gain gems and points by placing their pieces in different areas of the city.  It’s a fairly simple game but with some clever subtleties and interwoven game mechanics that make it stand out.  I usually split out the game description from my opinion but  I’ll look at each one as I explain them on this occasion

Hidden Value Piece Placement
Each player has a set of wooden cylinders in their colour which have a value on one end from between 0 to 4.  During the game, players take turns placing two of their pieces into any of the 3 areas in any of the city’s 4 neighbourhoods, or onto the market grid.  An interesting game mechanic is that one of the two placed pieces is placed with the number showing (numbered end face-up) and the other piece is placed with the number hidden (numbered end face-down).  This means that players have some knowledge of what the competition in each area might be but not exact knowledge.  I found this created really interesting gameplay as it allows for a bit of bluffing as well as posturing. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Ys | No Comments »