Archive for October, 2012

Review: Tokaido

Posted by James (admin) on 26th October 2012

In Tokaido, players are travelling along a road visiting villages, seeing great vistas, visiting temples, staying at inns,etc. in order to earn victory points (VPs).  The player with the most VPs at the end of the game wins.

Players move along the road from left to right.  On their turn, they can go to any empty space ahead of them (up to the next inn where they must wait for any other travelers to catch-up).  Spaces at each location are limited (usually one or two spaces) so a player may not be able to visit a location if it is currently full of other travelers.  This is very important because a player can never move backwards along the road.

So, you can rush ahead to ensure you land at a location you want to, but at the cost of never being able to visit any of the skipped locations on your way there.  However, moving slowly means opponents may move into the locations you will want to so they could be full when it is your turn and you have to pass them by. The player who is furthest back is the player who moves next – so it’s not wise to move too far ahead of this last player as it will allow them to land on every location between themselves and the next player. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 12, Tokaido | 3 Comments »

Review: Tzolk’in

Posted by James (admin) on 25th October 2012

Tzolk’in is a worker placement game with a difference.  In this Mayan-themed game, players have around 26 turns in which to impress the gods the most, i.e. earn the most victory points (VPs).

Each turn, players either place any amount of their workers or remove any amount of their workers.  Players spend corn to place their workers on the cog(s) they desire taking the cheapest available slot (and the more workers you place in one turn, the more extra corn you must pay too). The unique part of this game is that workers are placed on small cogs which are located around a large central cog.  Each turn, the large cog is turned and this turns all the small cogs which moves all of the workers on them along one step.  When a player removes a worker, they get the benefit that the worker is next to and the longer a worker remains on a cog, the better the benefit when they are removed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 12, Tzolk'in | 5 Comments »

Spiel 2012: Games Played and Still to Play

Posted by James (admin) on 24th October 2012

Well, Spiel is over for yet another year.  I managed to play 23 games this year over the 3 days I was there.  Usually, I expect to play some games that don’t live up to expectations but this year it was great that there were only a couple that didn’t tick the boxes for me.

I’m always pleased to see how games still find ways to deliver new ideas and innovative designs and these were in evidence this year as usual.  This year also continued to prove that, no matter your research beforehand, there are always games you will discover that are pleasant surprises.  Kolejka was definitely the most pleasant surprise out of the games I played, and cheap too.

Below is a list of the games played (in chronological order) as well as those yet to play.  This year, I was unable to purchase a lot of the Euro games I would usually have done (such as Venise du Nord, Il Vecchio, Taschkent, Castles of Carrara, Spectaculum, etc.) but I hope to get to play these some time soon too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 12 | 3 Comments »

Spiel 2012: Vote on Which Games Get Reviewed

Posted by James (admin) on 23rd October 2012

With so many games to review from Spiel, I have added a poll on the right-hand side where you can vote for which review you would like to see first – the list is a sub-set of the 23 games I played.  I will do my best to review the most popular first and I will update the options with more games when I add reviews.  If there are other games not listed you would like reviewed with greater priority, please add them in the comments for this post.


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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 12 | 2 Comments »

And the winner of the Ginkgopolis competition is…

Posted by James (admin) on 23rd October 2012

I am very pleased to announce that the winner of 4th annual game giveaway is: Suzan from the Netherlands!  Congratulations to Suzan who will soon receive the copy of Xavier Georges’ Ginkgopolis by Z-Man Games.

If you want to see the answers to the quiz, these are now on the competition page.  Commiserations to all the other entrants who did not win.

The competition may have finished, but I have some exciting news of a new competition coming in the next week or two, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, reviews of the latest Spiel releases will begin in the next day or two.


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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 12, Ginkgopolis | No Comments »

It’s Spiel Time… Again

Posted by James (admin) on 16th October 2012

Spiel starts in just a few days.  You’d think it would feel less special each time but this is my seventh year and it’s always exciting stuff.

Like last year, I shall be tweeting with some images about what I am playing and see at Spiel.  I won’t be trying to review games via Twitter as 140 characters is just not enough in which to do a game justice.  So, I will be sharing my general impressions about games, which ones have impressed me, etc.  Of course, I shall review games in full once I return from Spiel.

If you’re not following the Metagames twitter, please join the 800 others and follow it now.


Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 12 | No Comments »

On The Radar: La Loire

Posted by James (admin) on 15th October 2012

Emanuele Ornella has designed some great games over the last few years (Il PrincipeCharon IncAssyria).  La Loire is his new game this year which looks like a solid euro game.   The game is set along the River Loire and players aim to earn as many VPs as possible.  Each player has a merchant and a messenger which they move along the roads on both sides of the river – once they start in a direction, they can not go back in the other direction until they reach one of the two cities.

On each turn, the players move their merchant and messenger (in either order) and can take an action at the location each lands on.  Players move the number of spaces equal to the number of horses that the piece being moved is on top of (plus 1).  The number of horses can change as a player can leave behind any horses they want (any players can use them) or can add one if there are any horses on the space they start from.  This sounds like a very interesting game mechanic as you’ll want to help yourself but also hinder others in the taking and leaving of horses.

The core of the game is that the merchant earns the money so that the player can buy messages for the messenger to deliver (or buy boat movement).  The merchant’s actions are primarily about buying goods (wood, grain, cheese, wine, beer) and buying buildings.  The village location determines what good is available to buy there.  Some villages will have farms, monasteries, or castles on them – these are built by the players during the game – and these give discounts (plus beer is only available from monasteries). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 12, La Loire, On the Radar | No Comments »

WIN GINKGOPOLIS in the 4th Annual Game Giveaway!

Posted by James (admin) on 14th October 2012

I am very pleased to announce that I am holding my 4th annual game giveaway where I give away one of the new releases from Spiel 2012 which starts in just 5 days time.

This year you can win a copy of Ginkgopolis by Xavier Georges (Carson City, Royal Palace, Troyes and Tournay) kindly provided by Z-Man Games.

Visit the competition page for more details on how to enter, and good luck.




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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 12, Ginkgopolis | No Comments »

On The Radar: Ginkgopolis

Posted by James (admin) on 14th October 2012

Xavier Georges is one of the designers I really like and it’s good to see he has a new game this year called Ginkgopolis.  Carson City, Royal Palace, Troyes and Tournay.

Ginkgopolis is a game of futuristic city building.  On their turn, players simultaneously select a card from the 4 cards in their hand.  At the end of each round, they will then pass the remaining 3 cards to their neighbour who adds one new card to make a total of 4, and they will select from those on their next turn.  That sounds like an interesting card mechanic – sort of like 7 Wonders but continual.

After choosing cards, players resolve their card (which are red, yellow or blue and numbered so each card matches a building).  There are three possibilities:

  1. Gain Resources/Tiles/VPs
    Playing a card on its own gains the player resources (their own markers), tiles or VPs (determined by their colour).  The amount is based on the height of the matching building (plus bonuses based on items you already gained).
  2. Build New Building
    If the player plays a building tile with their card, they place the new tile where the matching letter is (moving the letter outwards) plus gain any bonuses based on items already gained too.  The player places one of their resources (markers) on the building to show their ownership (but this can change during the game).  The card matching the new building is added to the draw deck too.
  3. Develop Existing Building
    If the player plays a building tile with their card, they can add the tile to the top of the building shown on the card.  The player takes control of the building so they place their marker on it and return any current owner’s markers (for which they get 1VP each) Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Games, Essen Spiel 12, Ginkgopolis, On the Radar | No Comments »

On The Radar: New Games at Essen 2012: Part 7

Posted by James (admin) on 12th October 2012

Shadows Over Camelot Card Game (Days of Wonder)
The original Shadows Over Camelot was an excellent semi co-op game that you could get fairly light gamers to play.  The new card game version sounds intriguing as it has many of the same elements but a different core game mechanic.  Similar to the board game, it’s co-operative but there may be a traitor.  Each turn a player can turn over a card from the deck – many are rumours about the different quests (with icons showing the strength of the rumour) and there are other cards that affect gameplay like players not being allowed to communicate.  These cards get added to the ‘threat’ pile.  Instead of drawing a new card, a player can choose one of the quest icons on the previously drawn card and go on that quest.  This means they sort out the threat pile into the separate quests and activate any Merlin and Morgana cards which can help or hinder the questing player.  If the total number of rumour icons for the chosen quest  is 11, 12 or 13 then the player succeeds and one of the 7 white swords required to win is gained (otherwise, they gain one of the 7 black swords which will lose the game).  However, the rumour icons on the other quests  are also added up too and can result in black swords if there are 14+ of their rumour icons.  So, it’s a sort of push-your-luck game (with players trying to remember how many icons of each quest have gone past and what other cards are in there too).  Like the original game, players can also accuse each other of being a traitor too.
Check out the details and rules at Days of Wonder’s web site:

Asgard (What’s Your Game)
What’s Your Game have published some great games in the past (like Vinhos and one of my favourite worker placement games Vasco de Gama).  After releasing no new games last year, it’s great to see they have two this year.  Asgard is a viking-themed, worker placement game where players place workers (influence) on different locations (gods) with lots of options and interesting decisions. The worker placement is interesting as players secretly select on which gods they will place workers, then take turns revealing one location and placing a worker (which sets the specific action for that god), and then take turns using each worker (and some get benefits for being the first one used on that god).  There’s a lot more to it too.  For more detailed info, check out my full On The Radar: Asgard piece for more info.  Sounds really interesting.

Oddville (What’s Your Game)
Oddville looks like it will contain an interesting mix of tile laying to build a city and using cards to gain resources.  Each card can only be used for one of its three uses – cash, resources or buildings – I always like multi-use cards in a game.  When players build a building, they place it to expand the city and gain bonuses including gaining characters which give special abilities.  At the end of the game, VPs are scored for the buildings each player built (they all score in different ways), characters  and remaining resources.

There are some other nice sounding game mechanics too like the way the players pay for resources by putting their worker on one of the limited market prices which determines how much it costs and shows they have that resource until they spend it to build a building.  Also, when obtaining a building, the card shows which of the buildings on display are free and which will cost money.  So, it sounds like a very interesting and clever eurogame.  For more detailed info, check out my full On The Radar: Oddville piece for more info.



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Posted in Asgard, Board Games, Essen Spiel 12, Oddville, On the Radar, Shadows Over Camelot Card Game | No Comments »