Archive for December, 2010

Holiday Message

Posted by James (admin) on 23rd December 2010

Wow, where did the year go?  As the end of the year draws near, I want to take this opportunity to thank you very much for following my blog this year.  I really appreciate your support and I hope you will join me next year for more game reviews.  Plus, I’m really excited that I will be launching a new service for the board gaming community in January too.  For now though, I shall be taking a break over the Christmas period so there may not be any new reviews over the next week or so.

What will I be playing this Christmas?  With the family: Gambit 7, Klondike, A La Carte and For $ale.  With gaming friends: Labyrinth: War on Terror and Merchants & Marauders.

Looking back, it has certainly been a packed year.  As well as dozens of new board game reviews plus the addition of iPhone game reviews to the blog, two of my company’s projects went live earlier this year with excellent results.  For those interested: One was a Flash-based game called 56 Sage Street for Barclays Bank aimed at 14-16 year olds to teach them about money matters like direct debits, debit cards, etc.  Also, I created different rounds for the J2O pub quiz (a quiz but a bit mixed-up) which launched in thousands of pubs across the UK supported by a TV campaign too.

Have a great holiday season and I hope 2011 is a special year for you,


Posted in Board Games | 4 Comments »

Review: Loch Ness

Posted by James (admin) on 21st December 2010

Two games about Loch Ness were released at this year’s Spiel in Essen.  This one is by Ronald Wettering, who designed Lifeboats – a great game where players vote each other’s people out of sinking life boats.  With such a great (and humourously vindictive game) in his repertoire, I was automatically interested in Loch Ness.

Players have 3 photographers (numbered 3, 4 & 7) who are trying to take photos of the Loch Ness monster (Nessie).  The better the position when Nessie appears, the more victory points (VPs) you will score. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Review: Grand Cru

Posted by James (admin) on 20th December 2010

Grand Cru is one of several wine-making themed games released at Essen this year.  Each player owns a vineyard (board) where they will place the wine they make and any tiles they buy – each tile shows either one type of vine or a special action.  There are 5 types of wine each represented by a different colour (which represents a type of grape/vine).  Players take out loans during the game (each worth 7 cash) but must pay interest each round.  Each round players take turns performing just 1 action each.

Developing a Vineyard
As an action, a player can choose one of the newly drawn, face-up tiles and start an auction for it by placing one of their markers on their bid price (1-6).  On their turn, any other player can use an action to raise a bid (max price 6).  If a player is still the highest bidder, they can use an action to buy that tile.  Also, a player can use an action to immediately buy any face-up tile (whether being auctioned or not) for 7 cash. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Asara

Posted by James (admin) on 17th December 2010

Asara piqued my interest because it’s by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling – the designing partnership that created games like Tikal, Torres and the more recent Tikal II.  Over 4 rounds, players build towers to score victory points (VPs) based on their colours, height and quantity and most VPs wins.  Now this all sounds like standard stuff but Asara has some clever game mechanics that makes it very entertaining.

Each round players receive 20 cash and some worker cards (which come in 5 different colours).  Then, players take turns performing one action each until all players have used all of their cards.  To take an action, a player must place 1 of their worker cards face-up onto one of the limited set of spaces for worker cards next to the selected action.  However, if a worker card has already been placed on that action’s spaces then any new cards for that action must be of the same colour as the card already played.  If a player can not (or doesn’t want to) play a matching colour card, they can place any 2 cards face-down instead. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: The Boss

Posted by James (admin) on 16th December 2010

Prior to Essen, The Boss caught my attention when I read the rules so I pre-ordered a copy and I’m glad that I did.  The Boss is a simple but very clever game of deduction, bluffing and risk-taking with a gangster-theme.  The game lasts 3-5 rounds and the winner is the player with the most cash.

In the centre of the table is a row of cards each showing a different city (the number of cities depends on the number of players).  Each city has its own specific set of cards – each showing either an amount of money or something bad.  One card of each city is placed face-down next to that city – this is what the player who controls that city at the end of the round will win.  The remaining city cards are shuffled together and then dealt out to the players which gives them 5 each.  As each set of city cards has a different colour card back, players can see which cities their opponents have cards for but not their values. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 10, The Boss | 1 Comment »

Review: Era of Inventions

Posted by James (admin) on 14th December 2010

Era of Inventions has a potentially dull sounding theme – patenting inventions and manufacturing patented items.  However, do not be fooled, Era of Inventions is a great placement and resource management game.

Over 8-10 rounds, players gather resources (materials, money and development cogs) so that they can build factories, invent devices, take out patents, and build inventions.  Doing this scores victory points and the player with the most VPs at the end of the game wins.

Each round, players take turns placing their 2 or 3 action markers on any the 6 different actions they wish to perform that round.  There are only 2 spaces for action markers next to each action so players must try to secure the actions they want before opponents fill up the spaces.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Era of Inventions, Essen Spiel 10 | No Comments »

Review: Luna

Posted by James (admin) on 13th December 2010

When I first read about Luna before Essen, it sounded a bit odd as it focused more on priests travelling around islands than the game play.  However, it’s a game by Stefan Feld (Macao, Roma) so I was interested to see what it was like and, fortunately, I got the chance to play it at a recent games night.

The game lasts 6 rounds and the goal is to score the most victory points (VPs).  Each player starts with some novices and a shrine which are spread across 6 islands and it is here where most of the gameplay takes place. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Kingdoms (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 12th December 2010

Kingdoms is a tile-placement game by Reiner Knizia which has some similarities to his game Robot Master.  In Kingdoms, players place tiles and their own castles in order to sc0re victory points (VPs).  The player with the most VPs after 3 rounds wins.

Next to the board, there’s a stack of land tiles too which each have values from -6 up to +6, as well as a few special tiles.  Each player starts the game with a set of castle tiles (value 1 to 4) and 1 land tile.

Players take turns placing tiles onto a 6 x 5 grid and a player can either place one of their castle tiles or a land tile.  When placing a land tile from the stack, players commit to drawing it before they see what it is. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Review: 20th Century

Posted by James (admin) on 11th December 2010

In 20th Century, players try to make the largest and best nation by the end of the century to score the most victory points (VPs).  The game lasts 6 rounds and uses 2 main currencies: money and science.

Each round starts with the players bidding for landscape tiles which each show a number of cities and railway lines.  Each city has icons showing what they produce (money, science, VPs and recycling) but cities will only produce these resources if they are populated.  Regardless of how many cities are on a tile, a player only receives 1 population marker for each tile they buy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in 20th Century, Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 10 | 2 Comments »

Review: Travel Blog

Posted by James (admin) on 10th December 2010

Travel Blog challenges players to travel around the USA or Europe and be the one to have the most money remaining at the end.  The game primarily consists of two decks of location cards (US states and European countries) and a board which has 7 spaces for location cards.

In each round, 7 location cards are dealt out onto the 7 board spaces and players place their marker(s) next to location cards.  In round 1, a location card is placed in the middle of the board and players must place one of their two markers next to one of the 7 location cards (or next to the space marked ’40’).  Players place their markers simultaneously and there’s a small penalty for picking the same location after another player. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Travel Blog | No Comments »