Archive for December, 2013

Review: Amerigo

Posted by James (admin) on 18th December 2013

Amerigo Game - BoardAmerigo is a game by Stefan Feld – a designer who has created some great game such as Bora BoraRialto, TrajanStrasbourg, Die Speicherstadt to name just some that I’ve reviewed.

THE GAME
Like two other Queen Games (Shogun and Wallenstein), Amerigo uses a cube tower – a card tower with couple of card sections inside (like floors in a building) which have various holes in them.  When cubes are dropped into the tower, some come out at the bottom and some are retained inside the tower on the card layers (which may fall out when more cubes are dropped  into the tower later).

Made up of multiple tile sections, the board show grids of land and water spaces and, together, form islands.  During the game, players explore and colonise islands by moving their ships, setting up trading posts and building villages.  Players score Victory Points (VPs) for building villages, gathering goods (and increasing the value of their goods), developments, etc.  The game lasts 5 rounds (each divided into 7 phases) and the player with most VPs at the end of the game wins.

So far, it sounds fairly standard but the core game mechanic – the action system – driving Amerigo is nicely different.  There are 7 different actions that a player can take and each corresponds to a specific colour of cubes: Sail and place trading posts (Blue), Gain cannon (Black), Buy building tiles (Red), Development (Brown), Place building tiles (Green), Improve trade good values (Yellow), and Special (White). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Amerigo, Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 13, Spiel 2013 | 2 Comments »

Review: Om Nom Nom

Posted by James (admin) on 13th December 2013

Om Nom Nom game

Om Nom Nom is a very quick and light game of predicting what other players will do.  On the table are 3 boards showing a different set of animals/food in predatory order: Wolf/Rabbit/Carrots, Cat/Mouse/Cheese and Hedgehog/Frog/Fly.  So, at the top is the main predator, below it is the predator’s food, and below that is the predator’s food’s food.

At the start of a round, 15 dice are rolled which have the 6 foods on them (rabbit, carrot, mouse, cheese, frog, fly) and these are placed on the relevant board areas.  Each player starts each round with 6 cards – one for each animal (wolf, rabbit, cat, mouse, hedgehog, frog) and each card can only be played once during a round.  There are 6 turns in a round and, each turn, all players play 1 of their cards by revealing them simultaneously.  Players playing an animal which has food below it share the food evenly (discarding any that can not be shared evenly) – rabbits, mice and frogs are each worth 1 point; whereas, carrots, cheese and flies are each worth 2 points.  (Note that rabbit, mice and frog cards that players play also count as food so can be eaten too.)

However, there’s a catch: The eating gets resolved from top to bottom on each board.  This means a predator at the top of a board may eat the animal below it before that lower animal gets a chance to eat the food below them.  In the photo above, if player A played a hedgehog and player B played a frog, then player A would eat player B’s frog along with the 2 frogs on the dice and this would happen before player B’s frog gets a chance to eat the  flies.  You score 1 point for each of your own animal cards that didn’t get eaten when played.  Most points after 3 rounds wins.

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Review: Mauna Kea

Posted by James (admin) on 12th December 2013

Mauna Kea gameMauna Kea is a game about explorers fleeing from an erupting volcano.  This is not a co-operative game so players will be stepping over each other to take the boats along with as many artifacts as they can with them.

THE GAME
The board starts with many blank areas and the landscape will get filled in during the game.  Landscape tiles (which get drawn from a bag) display 4 smaller squares which can each be of a different terrain type, plus each tile shows a number of movement points too.

Each turn, a player draws tiles from the bag until they have a total of 5 or more movement points.  On their turn, players must use their tiles either for movement points to move their explorers, or for placing on blank areas of the board to reveal the landscape.  Tiles with lava don’t count towards the player’s tiles and are immediately added to the matching lava flow (there are 4 different flows from the central volcano) and an arrow shows the direction too.  Sometimes the lava flows split too.

Moving through water spaces costs more movement points than moving through jungle areas, and spaces containing mountains and lava block movement.

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Review: Citrus

Posted by James (admin) on 10th December 2013

Citrus gameCitrus is a eurogame by Jeffrey D Allers who has created some great games such as Alea Iacta Est and Sahne (Piece o’Cake).

THE GAME
During the game, players buy and place different fruit plantations (coloured tiles) in order to build groups of plantation tiles.  The main board shows farming land (grid) with several fincas (buildings) and locations where fincas will be built later.  Each turn, a player can either Build or Harvest.

Building
When a player builds, they buy plantation tiles from the market board, which is an odd-shaped grid, and pay 1 coin per tile.  However, the player must (a) buy all the tiles in a single row on the market grid and (b) must be able to place all the tiles they buy (as players can’t hold onto tiles in between turns).  As soon as the market is left with 3 or fewer tiles on it, it is re-filled and a new finca is added.  (The player that triggered this chooses on which of the 4 building sites the new finca is placed and a new building site is added to the remaining ones).

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Review: Concordia

Posted by James (admin) on 5th December 2013

Concordia game

Concordia is a Roman-themed game by Mac Gerdts, known for his rondel game mechanic games such as Navegador and Imperium. However, Concordia doesn’t use the rondel mechanic (Gerdts has made a non-rondel game before too); instead, it uses cards for both actions and scoring.

The main board shows Europe (3-5 players) or Italy (2-4 players) which is divided into provinces and each province contains several cities.  The type of good that each city produces (bricks, food, tools, wine, cloth) is determined at the start of the game which adds some variety in replay.

Players have land and sea colonists which they can move around the board via the land or sea routes that connect the cities.  Players take turns playing one of their cards from their hand and carrying out the specific action on it.

  • Architect: Move colonists then spend resources and cash to build houses at cities at end of any route their colonists occupy
  • Prefect: Generate resources in a region or cash
  • Colonist: Generate cash, or spend resources to place new colonists
  • Mercator: Receive cash and then buy/sell 2 types of goods
  • Senator: Spend resources to purchase up to 2 of the 7 cards on display
  • Consul: Spend resources to purchase 1 of the 7 cards on display (usually cheaper than using a Senator)
  • Specialists: Generate one type of resource
  • Diplomat: Do the action that is another player’s most recently played card
  • Tribune: All played cards return to your hand (gain 1 cash for each card minus 3) and can spend resources to place 1 new colonist.

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Review: Madeira

Posted by James (admin) on 4th December 2013

Madeira game

This is the main game board. There is also a small board (the Guild Board) too.

What’s Your Game have released some excellent games like Vasco de Gama and last year’s superb (and undeservedly less-known) Oddville.  This year’s game, Madeira, is a very meaty eurogame –  none of the game mechanics are complicated, but there are lots of them and they are quite interwoven.

THE GAME
Each round, players select a set of action dice which they place to use on the character’s actions, and potentially the building’s actions too.  As well as cash and various resources, players have workers and ships which can be moved to various areas of the board.  When triggered, workers on fields harvest that field’s resource, workers in colonies generate resources each round, and workers in cities can generate cash, food or bread.  (Workers can also be in the city watch area.)  Ships moved to markets and colonies can exchange resources for cash and special abilities respectively.

The board shows 5 buildings and some islands areas (located in 3 regions) and each building has a character on it too.  The characters move during the game so are not always paired with the same buildings each round.

The game is played over 5 rounds.  At the start of each round, each player selects a row on the Guild Board and takes the 3 dice next to it (which have already been rolled – values are 1, 2 or 3).  Plus, the player selects one of the remaining Crown Request tiles in the same row – these earn points at the end of some rounds.  The row selected also determines turn order for the next phase, plus it allows the player to reactivate some guild favours (special abilities) if they have any that match the row’s colour.

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 13, Madiera, Spiel 2013 | 1 Comment »

Review: Russian Railroads

Posted by James (admin) on 2nd December 2013

Russian Railroads - Main Board

The main game board at game end. The large pale yellow oblong spaces are where the engineers are located during the game.

Russian Railroads is a meaty, worker-placement eurogame.  As you may expect from the title, players compete to construct the best railroads across Russia.

THE GAME
Unlike many railway-building games, there is no map to build across; however, this isn’t a hindrance and actually makes the game different to other games.  There is a central game board where players place their workers to take actions, plus each player has their own player boards to track their progress.

Each round, players take turns allocating their workers (cool-looking meeple with Russian hats) to various actions on the main game board.   For example, players can lay track which advances the relevant matching colour rail marker(s) along any of the 3 routes on their player boards.  There are 5 colours of track marker in the game (each route requiring a different mixture of track marker colours) but these colour markers are not allowed to pass one another or occupy the same space, so this means you need to consider the order in which you advance the track markers too. Read the rest of this entry »

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