Archive for November, 2012

On The Radar: Stone Age (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 30th November 2012

The Stone Age game app for iPhone has been submitted to Apple and should be released in December.  It’s been developed by Campfire Creations and, from the screen shots so far, it looks very promising.  Stone Age is one of my favourite games (definitely top 10) so I’m looking forwards to seeing how it plays.

Their press release says, “Stone Age: The Board Game will include Pass-n-Play multi-player, three AI opponents, and asynchronous or synchronous online multi-player through Game Center” which sounds great.

The press release also says, “The app will also feature a ranked League Play option for the truly competitive Stone Age players. Campfire is already developing new language support, additional AI opponents, iPhone 5 support, a universal iPad upgrade, and a variety of other features and enhancements.”

Below are some screenshots. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Goblins Inc

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd November 2012

In Goblins Inc, players are goblins creating giant war robots that will fight each other.  First, players are placed in random teams – these teams will change after the first fight and new robots are built by these new teams for the second (final) fight.  The players who build a robot that wins a fight score victory points (VPs), plus players get individual VPs for their own hidden agenda cards.  Before any building takes place, players draw 7 cards from their hidden agenda deck – just before the fight, players will choose just 4 of their 7 cards which will score them VPs once the fight is over.  Hidden agenda cards award VPs based on (a) destroying specific types of tiles on the opponent’s robot, or (b) specific types of tiles not being blown off of your own robot), or (c) predicting which side will win.  (Yes, you can predict the opponent to win and help it happen too).  The player with the most VPs after two fights is the winner.

For each robot fight, players first need to build their robot by adding 20 tiles to their 5×5 grid – the centre space is always the cockpit and 4 spaces (determined by a card each fight) must remain empty.  Tiles show engines, weapons, decorations and armour, plus they also show the underlying bodywork too.  When building, you can place tiles on any empty grid space; however, if any tile is not contiguously connected by bodywork before the fight starts then it will fall off. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Desperados

Posted by James (admin) on 20th November 2012

In Desperados, one player is the marshal trying to protect the Wild West from the other players who are all outlaws working together to rob banks, fix poker games and hold-up stage coaches.  If the outlaws can gather a total of $4,000 for each outlaw player after 5 rounds, the outlaws win.

The gameplay uses an interesting hidden-movement game mechanic as the outlaws try to move to where the sheriffs and marshal are not located so they can steal money and avoid being arrested.  (I’ll explain the game mechanic in a bit of detail as it’s the core of the game – it’s actually simple but requires careful explanation.)

The board shows various towns and cities connected by roads – towns have poker game tiles (worth $300-$600), cities have bank tiles (worth $500-$3,200), and stagecoaches move to towns and cities along pre-determined routes (worth $800-$1,200 when robbed).  Note that the tiles are random and values hidden so outlaws don’t know exactly what they’re worth.

Wooden figures on the board (meeple) show the locations of each outlaw, the marshal and the sheriffs (1 sheriff per outlaw player).  Each outlaw and marshal player has a deck of cards: 1 card showing each town/city plus 1 saloon card.  Each of the 5 rounds is split into a planning phase followed by an evaluation phase. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Clash of Cultures

Posted by James (admin) on 16th November 2012

A player board can be seen at the bottom of the picture. Notice the cubes in the square holes marking the advances gained.

Clash of Cultures is a civilisation building game by the designer of Merchants and Marauders and this sole fact meant it was on my ‘must play’ list as Merchants & Marauders was a superb game.  In Clash of Cultures, players start as rival tribes in corners of the realm with no technology.  Over 6 rounds, the players explore the land, generate resources, build cities, create technologies, trade, potentially fight each other, and do whatever they can to be the most successful.  At the end of the game, victory points (VPs) are scored for building cities (1VP per piece), advances in technology (1/2VP each), completing objective cards (2VP each) and building wonders (5VP each) – the player with the most VPs wins.

The board/map is made of tiles (each showing 4 hexes) of various types: water, mountains, barren, grassland, forest.  Unexplored regions remain face-down until entered when a player turns the tile over and sometimes gets a choice on its orientation.

Players all start the same with 1 settler, the Farming and Mining advances and 1 basic city.  During the game, cities can be improved by adding a port, academy, temple and/or fortress.  The size of a city is equal to the total number of pieces – the bigger the size, the more resources it collects and influence it has; however, city size is limited by the number of cities you own so you can’t just have one super-city.  A city that is happy functions like a city of 1 larger size; whereas, an angry city functions like a city of size 1. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Ginkgopolis

Posted by James (admin) on 13th November 2012

Ginkgopolis is by one of the designers I really like – Xavier Georges (Carson City, Royal Palace, Troyes and Tournay).  Ginkgopolis is a game with the theme of futuristic, city building.  As with many of Georges’ games, the game mechanic is a bit unusual (it’s actually relatively simple, although it may not seem so at first).  As a result, I felt it important to explain the gameplay quite clearly (so please excuse the length of this review) because a brief outline would offer little insight.

At the start of the game, there are 9 building tiles in a 3×3 grid – 3 red, 3 yellow and 3 blue buildings with values 1, 2 and 3 – surrounded by lettered discs A-L.  The initial card deck contains cards for each letter and each of the 9 starting buildings.  P
layers start with some resources (cubes) of their own colour and some building tiles.  During the game, the players will add building tiles to the 3×3 grid (on the outside as well as laying new tiles on top of existing ones).  Players score victory points (VPs) when placing some tiles, and at game end for controlling areas plus bonus VPs based on cards they own. The player with the most VPs at the end of the game wins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Kolejka (Queue)

Posted by James (admin) on 6th November 2012

When someone suggests a game about queuing and shortages in Poland in the 1980’s, your first thought is probably to avoid eye contact and back away.  However, Kolejka (which is Polish for ‘Queue’ and pronounced col-aay-ka) is actually a gem of a game which I hope gets the attention it deserves as it actually contains a great Eurogame as well as an interesting and fitting theme.

Players are each trying to obtain 10 goods listed on their objective cards – for example,  4 luxury goods, 3 pieces of clothing, 2 food and 1 electrical.  The first player to collect all of their items wins, or the player that collects the most of their items by the end of the game.

Each round a few goods will arrive at some of the 5 stores.  First, before knowing what will arrive where, players take turns adding any of their people (meeple) who are not in queues to the queues.  Then, goods cards are revealed which determine how many goods arrive at which stores, e.g. 2 electrical items at the electrical store, 3 foods at the food store, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Robinson Crusoe

Posted by James (admin) on 2nd November 2012

‘Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island’ is a co-operative game where players are on a desert island and must fight for their survival whilst trying to achieve a goal (depending upon the scenario being played).

Good co-operative games need two very important  components.  First, the players need to be given interesting/difficult choices so they feel they have input and are playing the game, not merely a passenger.  Second, the game must create some  random elements (like events) which aren’t too random that they don’t make sense or are overpowered, but also aren’t too predictable or small that they don’t make any difference.  Back in the 80’s, Games Workshop released a solo-play game called Chainsaw Warrior which I always hold up as an example of how a game where you play against the game can be done badly.  A card deck determined random events but you had little choice and was so random that you could just look through the deck  and see if the card order meant you’s almost certainly win or lose. Read the rest of this entry »

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