Archive for July, 2013

Review: Aztlán

Posted by James (admin) on 19th July 2013

Aztlan gameAztlán is an area-control game which looks innocent on the surface but, underneath, there’s the constant lure to sabotage your opponents which can be devastating – which is one aspect that attracted me to the game.  Plus, it’s by Leo Colovini and I find I like his games (Atlantis, Masons, Clans, Carolus Magnus).

Each player is an Aztec tribe and the board shows a land divided into territories and each territory has a terrain type (jungle, mountains, etc.)  The game lasts 5 rounds (Ages) during which players take turns, and the player with the most victory points (VPs) at the end of the game wins.  On their turn, a player must place 1 of their people figures into the board, plus the player can optionally move 1 of their figures on the board to an adjacent region.  Figures can be placed in, and moved to, any region even if  opponents’ figures are there.  Not many figures get placed each round (in a 4-player game, each player places 7 in the first Age and then one fewer each round after that so only 3 figures in round 5).

So far, the game may sound very ordinary; however, there are two game mechanics which define the game and make it entertainingly different: Power Cards, and the choice whether to Battle or Coexist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Drako

Posted by James (admin) on 16th July 2013

Drako - GameDrako is a 2-player, card-driven game by the designer who created K2 and The Cave.  In Drako, 3 dwarves are pitted against one dragon with players taking turns drawing and playing cards from their hand.

The two sides play very differently as each has their own specific deck of cards, plus the dragon is a single powerful figure which can fly around the board, use fiery breath and attack using powerful claws, whereas the 3 dwarf figures attack with their axes as well as each having their own special ability such as a crossbow or net.  The game board shows a small hex-based grid which is the arena where the fight will take place.

Each turn, a player gets to perform 2 actions: Draw 2 cards or play 1 card.  (Players have a hand limit of 6 cards.)  Some cards display more than 1 option but a player can only 1 of the card’s options when played.  For example, dwarf options include move 1 dwarf, move 2 dwarves, attack with 1 dwarf, attack with 2 dwarves, defend, use crossbow, and use net.   Each move and attack icon has a value next to it which determines the amount of movement or power of the attack.  When dwarves attack, they need to be adjacent to the dragon which is dangerous because the dragon could strike on its turn.  Each dwarf has a special ability – one can use the crossbow, one can throw a net (which stops the dragon from moving until they spend a full turn escaping it), and one can give the dwarf player 3 actions during a turn once per game. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Qin

Posted by James (admin) on 15th July 2013

Qin - Game

Note: The right-hand village should be owned by the white pagoda player as there are 3 white pagodas connected to it compared to 2 black pagodas.

Qin is a tile-laying game with a Chinese theme by Reiner Knizia.  The winner is the first player to place all of their pagodas and players place pagodas on coloured territories they have created, so the game is about area control.

Players take turns placing 1 of the 3 tiles in their hand on the board next to any of the existing tiles.  Each tile has 2 squares on it and each square can be red, yellow or blue.  If a player creates a new contiguous territory of any single colour that consists of 2 squares or more, then they can claim that territory and place one of their pagodas on it.  If a territory reaches 5 or more squares in size, then the owner adds a second pagoda to it.

If a tile joins two or more territories of the same colour together, then owner of the new large territory is the player who owned the most of the squares being combined.  Territories of 5+ in size can never be merged.

Also on the board are some fixed black squares which are villages and these can be owned too.  All the pagodas on territories that directly touch a village are added together – the player with the highest number places one of their pagodas on the village too.  The pagoda on a village can change if the neighbouring territories change in a way to alter the totals and new clear winner emerges. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Lady Alice

Posted by James (admin) on 14th July 2013

Lady Alice - GameIn Lady Alice, players are the kids on Baker Street who are trying to solve the kidnapping of explorer Stanley with Sherlock Holmes’s guidance.  With that said, you’ll be unsurprised that Lady Alice is a deduction game.

A crime has been committed and there are 4 pieces of information (categories) to work out: Where, Who, When and What.  There are 8 different possibilities (clues) in each of the 4 categories (and there’s a card for each of the 32 clues).  In the middle of the table is a board which shows Sherlock Holmes’s desk where all of the clues are displayed.  (I’ll describe how the game plays with 4 players as it’s the most straightforward.)

At the start of the game, one card from each of the 4 categories is randomly drawn face-down – these 4 cards are the solution to the crime which are shuffled up and each player is dealt one at random.  So, each player holds one of the 4 pieces of evidence and players don’t even know which category each of the other players holds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: City Tycoon

Posted by James (admin) on 11th July 2013

City Tycoon Game

In City Tycoon, players are building different building tiles in the same city.  The player with the most victory points (VPs) when the game ends after 4 rounds is the winner.  The city starts with several fixed tiles in the middle including a small power and small water plant which are neutral.

Each of the 4 rounds is split into 3 main phases: Selecting tiles, Building/Selling tiles, and Activating tiles.  The tile selecting phase starts with each player being dealt 6 building tiles – players look at them, keep 1 tile and pass the rest to the player on their left.  This process happens 6 times with each player picking 1 tile from those they were passed, so each player ends with 6 tiles, as well as knowledge of what other tiles other players will have this round.

During the building/selling tiles phase, players take turns using 1 building tile from their hand in one of 3 ways:

  • Build: The player pays the cost of the tile, places the tile in the city (next to any existing tile) and places a marker on it to show they own it.  (Some buildings even generate cash, VPs, etc. when they are built too.)
  • Sell: The player discards the tile and receives $5.
  • Plant: The player discards the tile and can build the next available power or water generating plant tile (paying the cost marked on the plant tile and placing a marker on it to show they own it).

Finally, players take turns activating one of the building tiles they own to gain the benefit shown on the tile.   Read the rest of this entry »

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