Archive for August, 2013

Spiel 2013 Preview: Relic Runners

Posted by James (admin) on 29th August 2013

Relic Runners boxRelic Runners looks like a nice light game of jungle/temple exploration.  It’s a race to grab as many victory points (VPs) as possible.  During the game, players place markers along jungle paths.  When a player moves, they can move along one continuous stretch of their own colour pathways (any distance), plus one section that is not their own as the first or last section of their move.  When a player reaches the end of their move, they can spend a ration to explore their location which means they can pick up a ruin tile or temple tile.

Most jungle paths have a marker next to them.  When a player passes any path markers that are face-up during their move, they turn them face-down and can advance their toolbox markers on their player board  These toolbox markers can be used at any time for the power/ability on which they are located – there are three separate columns they can advance up and the higher up the column, the better the power/ability.  Players can have multiple toolboxes on the same columns, and even the same spaces, if they want.

I like the sound of the toolbox markers as players can build up the different powers they want (a bit like a simple tech tree).  Also, I like the movement logic and the rush to grab the different tiles too.  Relic Runners sounds like a relatively light and fun game (I expect along the lines of Ticket To Ride). Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Days of Honor

Posted by James (admin) on 28th August 2013

Days of Honour gameDays of Honor (Czas Honoru) is an asymmetric,  2-player card game set in WWII.  Players are the Polish and Germans who are trying to recover pieces of V2 rockets that have been tested.  This is based on real historical events when the Polish managed to find pieces and send them to Britain which gave them valuable information about this new weapon.

The game is played over 4 rounds.  At the start of each round, players draw 5 more cards and they then continue to take turns until both players pass in succession.  The player with the most rocket fragments at the end is the winner (unless one player has a unit in the enemy’s home zone and there is no opposing unit there – which means they win regardless of rocket fragments).

On a player’s turn, they get to either play a card from their hand into their Home zone, or they can activate a card already on the table (usually exhausting it for the current round), or they can play an action card.  Some cards are units which can move around the 3 zones as well as attack and perform other actions; and other cards are special actions and events.  As well as their action each turn, players can also play some cards with immediate effects too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Expedition: Northwest Passage

Posted by James (admin) on 28th August 2013

ENWPExpedition: Northwest Passage looks like a very interesting game.  Players each have a ship, a sled and some crew and are trying to explore the unknown, find the Northwest Passage and return back to Greenland (from where they start).  Players score victory points (VPs) for finding the Northwest Passage, returning to Greenland, and for finding evidence of the (real-life) expedition that disappeared in a previous attempt.

Two key things make this task tricky.  First, the landscape of land and sea is only revealed by the players placing tiles as they cross into the unknown territory.  Second, and more unusually, the position of the sun (which moves predictably each round) makes a massive difference because any tiles that are north of the sun’s position are frozen – this means ship’s on frozen tiles can not move across the frozen sea, but sleds can.  Of course, you need to be careful not to trap your sled on the frozen sea when it melts too or it will be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: The Outcast Heroes

Posted by James (admin) on 27th August 2013

The Outcast Heroes gameI really like the game Kolejka which is about queuing in 1980’s Poland – in fact, it’s one of my favourite games as it’s a superb game, plus it has a great theme and is actually educational about the real situation that occurred in Poland too.  Like Kolejka, The Outcast Heroes is a game with the backing of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance; however, it is by a different designer and publisher.

The Outcast Heroes is a semi co-op card game about the soldiers that continued to fight Soviet influence after WWII.  Players send their soldiers on missions – placing soldiers in different roles of the mission give different benefits/abilities.  The missions are assessed based on the soldiers sent and the order cards assigned to them.  One or two players may be working for the Government (so are traitors) and will have their own objectives and want the mission to fail.  The player who is the commander decides whether to assess a mission each round, or wait until later so that adds some uncertainty/tension.  It seems the main gameplay is about jostling for position so you can achieve your objectives – especially as some positions in the mission can only be occupied by one soldier at any one time.  You also need to manage your hand, allocate your soldiers, and get good cards.

For more info, you can read the rules of the game which are on the game’s BGG page.


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Spiel 2013 Preview: Lost Legacy

Posted by James (admin) on 27th August 2013

Lost Legacy gameR was an interesting game as it consisted of just 16 cards (and still came with 26 rules variations).  It was mainly a game of double-guessing what card your opponent would play.  It was simple but impressive, and the designer created a kind-of new version of it that became Love Letter (another very good game).

Lost Legacy is by the same designer who created R and Love Letter.  It too features few cards (16 for the main game plus 16 for an alternate version).  During the game, players draw a card to add to the one they hold and then play one of their cards.  Each card has a special effect that can be used.  When all the cards have been drawn, players must guess which card is the Lost Legacy card.  Guess correctly and you win.  For just a few euros, this is an easy purchase decision.

AEG will be publishing Lost Legacy but you can read the rules on Japanese publisher One Draw’s web site:


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Spiel 2013 Preview: Lewis & Clark

Posted by James (admin) on 26th August 2013

Lewis and Clark boxLewis & Clark is a race to be the first player whose camp reaches the Pacific Ocean.  Players have cards, indians and resources and each player has a board showing several boats in which they store their resources and indians, and which boat these are placed in also makes a difference too.

Cards are dual use (double-sided) – they can be used for their action, or for their strength.  When a card is played to perform an action, it must be accompanied with either another card and/or indians to set its strength which determines how many times the action can be performed.  Actions allow players to move their scout forwards, gather other resources, improve their expedition, etc.  Quite often the number of resources gained is based on the card you and your neighbouring payers have in front of them.

Players can also send indians from their exploration party to the village to perform actions there instead.  During the game, the player advances their scout across the country and, at times, they will move their camp forwards.  Players who use/allocate most of their resources and indians before they move their camp will advance the most. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Packet Row

Posted by James (admin) on 25th August 2013

Packet Row gameOne of my favourite games ever is Oregon (which was the game the designers of Rattus made before Rattus).  So, this year, I’m very excited that the Bergs have created a new, original game called Packet Row, which contains a very promising game mechanic.

During a round, one player is the lead player (the harbour master) and they select an area of the board.  Players take turns choosing to either take one of the cards from this area or pass.  The harbour master is the last player to choose – they can either choose a card (which ends the round) or they can choose a new area and all players who did not take a card this round have the same choice again.  This cycle ends as soon as the harbour master takes a card – at which point the round is over and any players that did not take a card yet (hoping/expecting the harbour master would move to another area before selecting a card) get nothing.  I really like the sound of the psychological play here. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Quantum

Posted by James (admin) on 24th August 2013

Quantum gameI always have time for Funforge’s games as they’re always really nicely produced.  This year, they are releasing a light, space-themed game called Quantum.  Players have dice (which are ships) that travel between the planets trying to colonise them (place cubes on them).  The first player to place all their cubes wins.

The ships (dice) are rolled to determine what type of ship they are – a low number means they can not move far but are powerful in combat, and vice versa.  In fact, the dice number is how many spaces they can move.  However, each type of ship has a special power too, such as transporting another ship, swapping places, changing a ship’s value.

On their turn, a player can take 3 actions.  An action can be to move/attack with a ship, re-roll a ship, bring a ship on from the scrap yard, carry out research, or use 2 actions to construct a quantum cube on a planet which still has space for one.  A player can place a cube if they have ships next to the planet that add up to the planet’s number, or if they win enough combats. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel is on the Horizon

Posted by James (admin) on 24th August 2013

SpielYes, that magical time of the year when good (grown-up) children get new toys is almost upon us.  No, not Christmas but Spiel – the biggest annual games fair held in Essen in Germany.  I shall be going as usual this year – making it my 9th year running.

With 61 days to go, I have started my usual preparations by going through all the new games that will be released.  There are still many to be revealed yet but plenty have been announced, so it’s the time of year when I find most of my reading is reading through board game rules.

Last year, I had a separate page where I mentioned forthcoming Spiel games that caught my attention.  This year, I’m going to do it a bit differently and will post about each game separately as that makes it easier for those of you that read this blog via RSS.  I’ll use a common tag so you’ll be able to filter just the Spiel 2013 entries, plus there will be a link to them at the top of the right-hand column.


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Review: Copycat

Posted by James (admin) on 21st August 2013

Copycat gameFriedmann Friese’s game of Copycat has the players trying to win votes in an election and which knowingly uses game mechanics from Dominion, Through the Ages and Agricola (with permission from their respective designers too).  I’m always interested in Friese’s designs as there’s usually some unusual game mechanic or twist within them – they don’t always work for me but they’re much more often hits than misses.

Essentially, Copycat game is a mix of worker placement and deck building.  The player that gains the most votes (VPs) by the end of the game wins and the game ends after 10 rounds or when specific final cards have been bought.  Each player has their own deck of cards (identical at the start) and each round players draw 5 cards from their decks.  Each card has a number on it and, the first action of each round, is to simultaneously discard one card using the number on it to determine turn order.  More powerful cards have higher numbers, so you have to balance using a good card to go first against using a card for its more powerful effect. Read the rest of this entry »

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