Archive for October, 2013

On the Radar: City of Zombies (Kickstarter)

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd October 2013

City of Zombies game City of Zombies is a co-operative, dice-allocating game where players are trying to stop wave after wave of zombies from attacking the city.

This is a Kickstarter project that is live at the moment.  The game was designed by Matt Tidbury to help his daughter with her arithmetic and, since then, Matt has had a great deal of excellent and positive feedback from the many schools where he has tested it with kids, as well as adult education centres and even a prison too.

Whilst the game is intended to help kids with their number skills, it offers a fun game challenge too.  Players take turns rolling 3 dice and they can then allocate them to zombies which each have a target number on them in order to destroy them.  The tricky part is that to kill a zombie, a player must use the values of the dice to match the target number on each zombie AND no dice can be left unused.  So, if you roll a 2, 4 and 5, you could add these all together to make 11 and kill one zombie with value 11, or multiply the 2 and 4 to make 8 and kill one zombie with value 8 and another zombie with value 5, etc.  Remember, every dice must be used in some way or no zombies can be removed by that player.  After each player has had a turn, the zombies advance towards the city and more zombies arrive at the top of the board.

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Spiel 2013: Other Games on my Spiel List

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd October 2013

SpielSpiel in Essen is almost here.  Like previous years, I will be tweeting about the games I get to play so tune in to @Metagames for that.

In the run up to Spiel this year, I have read the rules to 70 games (!) and posted 40 previews.  However, there are still many games being released which I didn’t have time to preview.  So, here are some of the other highlights on my list in no particular order:

  • Amerigo (Queen) – Excellent looking game by Stefan Feld
  • 1775 Rebellion (Academy Games) – Looks like a good strategy game without being too complex
  • Yunnan (Argentum Verlag) – Excellent looking eurogame with quite a lot going on
  • Archon (Artipia) – Worker placement game with interesting method using multiple workers (or big ones) for increased benefits
  • Damage Report (Break From Reality) – Real-time sci-fi co-op
  • Kings and Assassins (Galakta) – Asymetric 2-player game of assassins trying to kill king before he can reach destination
  • Nauticus (Kosmos) – Another Kramer and Kiesling game with ship-building theme
  • Nations (Lautapelit) – A civilised civilisation game with worker placement
  • A Study in Emerald (Treefrog) – Great looking Martin Wallace game with strong theme and secret identities
  • Karnickel (Lookout Games) – Push-your-luck game with rabbits collecting carrots and trying not to get hit by the train
  • Pelican Bay (Three Hares in Evening the Sun) – Charming-looking tile placement game
  • Cheaty Mages (AEG) – A card game with few cards by the same designer as R and Love Letter
  • Malacca (Loris Games) – Players are ship captains in this short group game
  • Concordia (PD-Verlag) – Mac Gedts’ new game
  • Longhorn (Blue Orange) – Short and simple Bruno Cathala game
  • Bankraub (Spieltrieb) – Players jostle until one of them launches a bank robbery, then all other player try and stop it
  • Space Cadets: Dice Duel (Stronghold) – Looks smaller and quicker than Space Cadets with interesting game mechanics
  • Corto (Matagot) – Game of token placement based on French comic strip with very strong artwork style
  • Twin Tin Bots (Flatlined Games) – Cute looking game that has a lot in common with RoboRally but faster.

As I seem to say more and more these days: “So many games, so little time.”



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Spiel 2013 Preview: Carnival Zombie

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd October 2013

Carnival Zombie gameCarnival Zombie is a co-operative survival horror game where players are trying to flee Venice to escape the Leviathan, a dark evil creature lurking in the lagoon, whilst its minions of the infected walk the streets at night.

In Carnival Zombie, 1-6 players have the choice of defeating the Leviathan or, doing the slightly more sane and less heroic thing, of fleeing Venice completely.  Neither option looks easy though.  The game is split into day and night phases.  During the day, the players move through the city using the map in the corner of the board showing the network of streets between the different locations.  Some routes are harder than others (taking more time) and some locations become sunken during the game (players lose if situated there at night).  Various specific locations, which are far from the start of course, are where the different finales can take place.  So, players need to decide where they want to head to as each finale has its own set of rules.

When night falls, the players must defend the  location they are at which means being surrounded by hordes of different minions of the infected, as well as some boss monsters too, working their way towards their makeshift defences.  If they survive until dawn, they get to move through the city again and repeat this until they win or fail.

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Leelawadee

Posted by James (admin) on 21st October 2013

Leelawadee game

Leelawadee is a very cute looking game of butterflies and flowers; however, whilst it’s a simple game I think there is some interesting gameplay decisions within.  Players take turns taking flowers from the random selection available for that round and placing them on their garden.  Players pick 1 flower going clockwise and then pick another going in reverse order.

If a player’s garden has a particular mix of flowers, they attract the relevant butterfly; for example, single colour butterflies are attracted to any garden which as the most (or equal-most) contiguous group of flowers that match their colour.  There are two-colour butterflies that are like single-colour but are attracted to groups of flowers comprised of both of their colour.  The five-colour butterfly goes to the connected area of flowers that have the most variety of colours.

At the end of a round, players score points for any butterflies they have at their garden (though they get fewer if the butterfly was there the round before).  Players lose quite a lot of points for every colour that is not present in their garden at the end of the game. Read the rest of this entry »

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WIN Quantum – The competition has started

Posted by James (admin) on 20th October 2013

Quantum boxAs promised, this year’s 5th Annual Game Giveaway is a competition where you could win a copy of Funforge’s new game Quantum and it has now started!

See the competition page for details.  Competition ends at 5.00pm on Monday 28th October (UK time).

Good luck,


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Spiel 2013 Preview: Blueprints

Posted by James (admin) on 20th October 2013

Blueprints boxBlueprints is an intriguing abstract game where players build buildings out of dice that follow the blueprint plans they have in front of them.

Each player starts with a blueprint which shows where the dice must be placed (floorplan and how high each stack should be).  The blueprint shows a plan view (where players physically place their dice as they ‘build’ their building, as well as a 3-D view so it’s nice and clear.

On their turn, a player can pick one of the dice from the pool of already rolled dice, and a new dice is added after each player’s turn to replace the used one.  To place a dice on top of another dice, the dice on top must be of the same or great value than the one below it.  As well as their values, the colour of the dice makes a difference to the players too as each material is scored differently.

The game is made more interesting because the player’s blueprint are placed behind their player screen, so other players know what they took but have no idea what shape it is taking.

After drawing 6 dice each, players reveal and score how their buildings compare to their blueprint.  Orange (wood) dice each score 2 points for each dice adjacent (faces touching) to them; Green (recycled) dice score points based on the total green dice in the building; Grey (stone) dice each score based on their height within the building; and, Clear (glass) dice each score based on the value on their top face.

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Strajk (Strike)

Posted by James (admin) on 20th October 2013

Strajk boxStrike is a game about Lech Wałęsa – a Polish electrician who became a trade-union activist, co-founded Solidarity (the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union) and even became President of Poland.  The game focuses on the Polish strikes of 1980 and the agreement reached between the workers and the government.

The game is by the designer of Kolejka (Queue) which is one of my favourite games and which also has a historical Polish theme.  The game itself has a deck-building game mechanic at its centre but the game has a difference.

On their turn, a player uses their cards to move Lech Wałęsa around the board and gain better cards by using cards in their hand.  The first player to gain 2 agreement cards wins (in the real events, 21 demands were made of the government by the workers and these cards represent agreement to these demands).

The reason this seems a bit different is because there is only one Lech Wałęsa on the board and each player continues moving them from wherever they have been left by the previous player.

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Vikings: Warriors of the North

Posted by James (admin) on 20th October 2013

Vikings Warriors of the North box

Vikings: Warriors of the North is a game of looting and pillaging as, from the name along, you would hope it would be.  Each turn players play cards to move their ship around the various islands and carry out actions, etc.  The first player to end their turn with 3 daughters of other thanes at their war camp wins.

At the start of their turn, a player draws 2 cards and has the opportunity to play add 1 hero card to their longship’s crew (maximum 3) which each add an on-going special ability.  Then, the player can use 1 of the 5 standard actions and play as many cards as they wish.

Wind cards allow players to move their ship (the cards specify the movement’s direction); and, Event cards carry out special actions which can also be used as wind cards instead.  The standard actions include attacking other players, attacking the sea monster, looting villages (taking thanes’ daughters), and sacrificing pairs of cards to draw new ones.

However, when a player plays an action card (on themself or another player) or uses a standard action, all players have the opportunity in turn order to play a card in response and these create a stack of cards.  When every player has passed in succession, the stack of cards is resolved from top to bottom.

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Kampen om Norge

Posted by James (admin) on 20th October 2013

Kampen on Norge gameKampen om Norge is a military game recreating the Norwegian defense against the Germans during WWII.  The Norwegians and Allies are handled separately so playing with 3 players is straightforwards, and one player plays both Norwegians and Allies individually in a 2-player games.

Players take turns moving any of their units, resolving any combat where opposing units are in the same space, adding reinforcements, and then gaining new cards.  The goal for the Germans is to control all the cities before the game ends when their card deck runs out (although destroying all enemy units will work as well).

Combat is resolved by both sides rolling 1 dice for each unit involved and comparing the totals.  However, unlike what you may expect, the loser must withdraw and it is only natural results of 6 on a dice that destroy enemy units.  This seems like an interesting system as it makes area control the focus of the game which fits with the invasion setting, plus it makes weight of numbers a key factor.

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Triassic Terror

Posted by James (admin) on 20th October 2013

Triassic terror game

Triassic Terror is by the designer of Francis Drake as well as the very good War of the Roses.  It is an area control game with some interesting game mechanics.

During the game, players place dinosaurs (meeple) of their colour in different areas on the board.  A group of dinos of one colour is called a ‘herd’.  Players with the largest (and second largest) herds in each of the 12 areas during the 2 or 3 scoring rounds score points, and the player with the most points at the end of a fixed number of rounds wins.

Each area contains 3 spaces called ‘habitats’.  The biggest herd in an area occupies the primary habitat (scoring the most points), the next largest herd occupies the secondary habitat (scoring fewer points than the primary), and the next largest herd occupies the tertiary habitat (which scores no points but, hey, it’s better than being any smaller as herds not in the 3 largest instantly die).  Whenever herds grow or shrink, the habitats are re-assessed; for example, if there’s a herd of 3 blue dinosaurs in the primary habitat and a herd of 2 red in the secondary habitat grows to 4, then the red herd would move into the primary habitat and the blue herd would move down to the secondary. Read the rest of this entry »

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