Archive for November, 2010

Review: Tikal II

Posted by James (admin) on 29th November 2010

The original Tikal is a classic game of archaeological discover where players spend action points to send their explorers into the jungle to excavate temples and collect treasure.  Tikal II has a similar premise but this time the players explore a single temple revealing its rooms and grab treasures using coloured keys and secret passages.

Each turn, a player moves their boat around the temple and picks up one of the remaining action tiles.  The action tiles dictate what a player does that turn – adding a new room to the temple, gaining a coloured key, gaining treasure (to sell later), taking a card (special abilities or end of game points), secret passages (to use later), and so on.  Each time a player’s boat starts a new lap of the temple, they must discard a key (or lose points).  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, Tikal II | 3 Comments »

Review: Mord im Arosa

Posted by James (admin) on 26th November 2010

Mord im Arosa is a very unusual game.  If you like pure tactics with zero luck then I doubt this is a game for you; however, if you just want a fun game that anyone can play then this will be of interest.  Two murders have occurred in the Hotel Arosa and the player with the least evidence against them will win the game.

During the game, players drop wooden cubes (evidence) into the pyramid of card boxes that make up the hotel.  There is a hole in each floor so the cubes may end up on any floor and players need to listen to them as they fall as they will need to predict which colour cubes are on which floors.  At the start of the game, two  red cubes get discovered showing the floors where the murders took place.  These are placed on the board (showing the hotel’s floors) which will also be used to record where any evidence is found.

On a player’s turn, a player can try to incriminate other players by announcing which colours they think are on a specific floor.  When revealed, any players guessed correctly place cubes from their supply equal to those revealed onto the corresponding floor of the board.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, Mord Im Arosa | No Comments »

Replay: Merchants & Marauders

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd November 2010

I played Merchants and Marauders again yesterday and, once again, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  As I mentioned in my review, it contains all the cool pirate actions you could want as well as lots of variety.  The naval vessels and non-player pirate ships (NPCs) moved a lot more than our last game which also added more variety and action, especially for me as I had bounties on my head so I spent time avoiding the stronger ships.

Merchants & Marauders really is a first-class game and one I’m really pleased I bought.  I know we will play it a lot more too.  Below are some further thoughts:

Battles at Sea
The players were still quite pleasant to each other so there were very few player-versus-player combats.  I tried but just couldn’t succeed at my scouting roll when it mattered so my “easy prey” human opponent managed to slip by me; however, we did have a couple of fights.  First, one player totally destroyed my already very badly damaged ship as I’d just completed a couple of merchant raids.  Their seamanship skill of 3 versus my 1 made it an easy win (I couldn’t use my seamanship of 2 because they had a bounty on them).  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, Merchants & Marauders, Replay | No Comments »

Review: Viva Il Re (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 18th November 2010

I get the impression that Viva Il Re isn’t that well-known, although it got a Spiel des Jahres recommendation in 2004 and it’s recent re-release as King Me is sure to have increased awareness more recently.

Viva Il Re is about selecting a new king and having your candidates in the best positions when one is chosen.  The board is split into numbered levels (from the bottom upwards: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 10).  The candidates to be king are placed on the different levels. Each player ‘owns’ several candidates but, apart from their own, players do not know which opponents own which candidates.  Multiple players can own the same candidate too.

Players take turns moving any one candidate (not just their own) to the next level up so long as no more than 4 candidates occupy any one level.  The top level is slightly different – when a candidate is moved there, the players simultaneously vote using their vote cards showing Yes or No.  If at least one No vote is cast, the candidate is executed and the game continues.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, iPhone, iPhone Review, Viva Il Re | No Comments »

Review: Ra (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 16th November 2010

Ra is one of Reiner Knizia’s classic games.  In this case, it’s an Egyptian themed auction game.  Players take turns either adding a random tile to those to be auctioned, or they can start an auction for the already drawn tiles.  If a Ra tile is drawn an auction is automatically initiated.  Three times during the game, the players score points (depending upon the type of tiles) for the tiles they have won, but the heart of the game is the clever, yet simple, bidding system.

During an auction, players get one opportunity each (going clockwise) to outbid any previous bid using one of their sun stones which each have unique values between 1 to 16.  Players start the game with a pre-defined group of 3 sun stones (4 in a 2-player game) ensuring each player has a fair mixture, plus 1 sun stone is placed in the centre of the table. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, iPhone, iPhone Review, Priests of Ra, Ra | No Comments »

Review: Dakota

Posted by James (admin) on 14th November 2010

Dakota is an area-control game of settlers and natives in the Wild West.  The game mechanics are simple but their combination creates a very clever game which forces players to co-operate with their opponents in uneasy alliances.  At the start of the game, each player secretly chooses if they will play as a settler or as a native.  Any combination is acceptable so long as all players aren’t on the same side.  Each player starts with 3 pawns (representing their natives or settlers).  Depending upon the number of players on each side, some neutral native and settler pawns are also placed each round ensuring there are equal total numbers of native and settler pawns.  There are always at least 4 neutral pawns of each side.

During the game, players will gain resources and they can use these resources to gain extra or stronger pawns, plus they can be used to build buildings/totem poles and gain equipment which give the player extra abilities as well as score victory points (VPs).  Resources can also be sold for cash which can buy VPs too.  The game ends after a fixed number of rounds and the player with most VPs wins.  This may all sound fairly straight-forwards; however, it’s the area control part of the game which gives Dakota its identity and great gameplay. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Dakota, Essen Spiel 10 | No Comments »

Review: Cadwallon – City of Thieves

Posted by James (admin) on 10th November 2010

In Cadwallon: City of Thieves, each player has a team of 4 thieves and they attempt to steal as much treasure as possible from around the city and from each other.  The board shows the corridors and rooms of an area of the city – a treasure tile is placed on each room, the players place their thieves on the board edges and 2 militiamen are placed on the board too.  Before the game begins, one of the 8 adventure boards is selected which sets special rules.  Players take turns comprised of moving a militia man, drawing an arcana card and spend 7 action points (APs) to move/use their thieves.

The militiamen are neutral city guards who block player movement and can attack other player’s thieves.  The current player rolls a dice to see how far the militiaman they choose moves.  The loser of a fight with a militiaman is moved (by the winner) 3 spaces and pays 2 ducats (cash) to the bank too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Cadwallon: City of Thieves, Essen Spiel 10 | 4 Comments »

Review: Basilica

Posted by James (admin) on 7th November 2010

Basilica is a fast, relatively simple and tight 2-player only game where players are building a cathedral and trying to score the most points. It may start out as a nice amiable building game but, don’t be deceived, soon you’ll be obstructing your opponent as much as assisting your own building.

The main game components are the double-sided game tiles – coloured vault floor on one side and an order (special action) on the other.  Each player has 5 builders (cubes) as well as one coin.  On the game board are 2 rows of 3 tiles – the bottom row are vault side up and the top row are order side up.  The game board also shows the current scores and the king’s progress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Basilica, Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 10 | No Comments »

Review: Black Friday

Posted by James (admin) on 6th November 2010

Black Market is a stock market game so, as you would expect, players buy and sell the 5 different colour shares to make as much money as possible. However, the way the prices change is the key game mechanic that makes this game fun.

At the end of the game, the player who has bought the most silver bars wins.  Why not just base the winner on cash?  Well, the silver bar price increases throughout the game.  The ever rising silver bar price also works as the game’s timer – as soon as it hits 100 (per bar), the game ends.

Player Actions
On their turn, a player can either: buy shares, sell shares, or buy silver bars.  A marker for each of the 5 shares on the price grid shows the price at which shares of the matching colour can be bought or sold.  Shares are represented by little wooden, coloured briefcases.  The shares available for purchase (the ‘market’) are represented by a pile of briefcases next to the board.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Black Friday, Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 10 | 2 Comments »

Review: Water Lily

Posted by James (admin) on 3rd November 2010

Water Lily is a very simple game and short enough be a filler but there’s a lot more fun to this than you may expect due to the clever scoring system.

The goal is to move your colour frogs so they score the most victory points (VPs).  There are 4 frogs in each of the 5 colours and each player is secretly allocated a colour so they don’t know which colours the other players are.

Players take turns moving the top-most frog on a space (there can be up to 4 on any space) in a straight line.  The frog can be moved a number of spaces equal to or less than the number of the frogs on the space it moves from.  So, if there are 3 frogs on a space, you can move the top-most frog up to 3 spaces. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, Water Lily | No Comments »