Archive for the 'Essen Spiel 13' Category

Review: Quantum

Posted by James (admin) on 14th April 2014

Quantum game

Quantum is a light, space-themed game.  Players have ships which are represented by dice 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 are slow moving but powerful in combat, and vice versa.  (In fact, the dice value is how many spaces they can move which makes things simple.)  Each type of ship has a special power too, such as transporting another ship, swapping places, changing a ship’s value and this makes each quite different.

On their turn, a player can take 3 actions.  An action can be used to activate a ship (move/attack), re-roll a ship, bring a ship on from the scrap yard, or carry out research.  A player can use 2 actions to place a cube on a planet if they have ships next to the planet that add up to the planet’s number and if there is still room to place a cube there.  (A player can also place a cube if they win enough combats.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Rampage

Posted by James (admin) on 11th April 2014

Rampage game Rampage is a brilliant concept for a dexterity game.  It’s like a Godzilla-style movie with tall buildings to destroy and people to eat.  The board is divided into several coloured areas called neighbourhoods, and the player with the most Victory Points (VPs) at game end wins.

Rampage may sound kind of normal so far for a board game but it is anything but that as the gameplay is actually based on physically destroying the city.  Each turn, your monster get 2 actions.  To move your monster, you flick the feet disc.  To attack buildings, take your monster piece and drop it onto a building (if you’re near enough).  To use your breathe attack, place your chin on your monster piece and blow.  To throw a vehicle, place the vehicle piece on top of your monster and flick it.  Monsters can attack anything including each other and a successful attack removes one of their teeth.  After their actions, your monster eats meeple out in the open in their current neighbourhood but no more than the number of teeth they have.

Buildings consist of layers of card floors separated by meeple of random colours.  You want to knock these buildings down so you can (potentially) eat the meeple but you also take any floor sections which have nothing on them as these are worth VPs too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Legacy

Posted by James (admin) on 10th April 2014

The Legacy - Game

Legacy (or Legacy: Testament of Duke de Crecy to give it its full name) is a very innovative game where players try to create the most successful 18th century family starting with a single family member.  Each round, players use their actions so that the current generation can get married, have children, buy mansions, start business ventures, arrange marriages for their children, etc.  After a fixed number of rounds, the children grow up, any arranged marriages take place, and they become the current generation.  Players then use actions for this new generation to get married, have children, etc.  After the 3rd generation’s actions, the game ends and the player with the most points (Honour) wins.

Each player has an income track which earns cash each round, and a prestige track which earns Honour each generation.  Players also earn Honour for having children, fulfilling objectives on their Patron card, fulfilling missions, as well as from friends marrying into the family, acquiring titles, etc.  Plus, players must constantly manage their cash and friends – Friends are cards in a player’s hand each showing their sex, nationality, occupation, benefit when married into your family, and marriage cost (some generate cash as they come with a dowry).  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Essen Spiel 13, Legacy, Spiel 2013 | 4 Comments »

Review: 1911 Amundsen vs Scott

Posted by James (admin) on 9th April 2014

1911 Armundsen vs Scott game1911 Amundsen vs Scott is a simple, quick-moving, 2-player race to the South Pole which is full of small decisions.  The game is based on the real events where Amundsen beat Scott to the Pole and Scott didn’t return.

Players each have their own path of coloured spaces to move along and the first player to reach the South Pole wins.  On their turn, a player draws 1-3 cards and can then play cards.  When taking cards, you must draw the right-most (oldest) 1, 2 or 3 cards by discarding 0, 1 or 3 cards from your hand respectively.  This can make for some interesting decisions because if you see cards you really want (or ones you don’t to deny your opponent) then you must decide whether it’s worth discarding cards you have to gain the new ones.

Almost all cards show one of 4 colours and many cards show one of the various special actions too (occurring when drawn, played or discarded).  To move, you must play cards that match the colours of the next spaces along your path – 1 card for your next space, 2 cards for each space after that.  This adds lots of fast card-management decisions to your game as you’re constantly trying to collect the mix of cards that will advance you and hinder your opponent.  Many cards are both a colour and a type which adds some extra decisions to work out whether to use a card for its colour or its type (special effect).  This is made slightly more tricky because you have a hand limit of 7 cards (and sometimes even fewer), plus the mix of cards you want changes rapidly as you and your opponent move. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Artifact

Posted by James (admin) on 7th February 2014

Artifact gameArtifact is a worker placement game with a difference as players place a common set of action markers which are limited in number and the cost of using them varies.

Players are archaeologists digging up artifacts, shipping them home and putting on exhibitions (after all, as Indy taught us, ‘they belong in a museum’).  Players primarily score victory points (VPs) at game end by gaining museum exhibition tiles and having cash.  The final round is triggered by one of 4 different events such as finishing the 8th round, when one deck of artifact cards runs out, etc.

During a round, players take turns performing either 1 or 2 actions.  If a player passes, they can not perform any more normal actions that round (although they can perform a special action on their turn).  All players start each round with 6 wooden action markers and there are 6 different types of these: ships, museums and 4 different colours of workers (one for each continent).  The board has a track for each type of action marker and each space on these tracks shows a cost (going from from 5 down 1). Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Triassic Terror

Posted by James (admin) on 30th January 2014

Triassic Terror gameTriassic Terror is a dinosaur-themed, area control game by Peter Hawes – designer of Francis Drake (I will be reviewing this soon), Wars of the Roses and Heads of State.

During the game, players try to dominate the landscape by growing their dinosaur herds and moving them from area to area.  The board is split into 4 different terrains which are each split into 3 areas.  There are 3 positions within each area – the largest herd in an area takes the best position, second largest takes the next one, and third largest takes the last one.  If there’s a fourth herd in an area, it immediately dies – welcome to the harsh brutality of Triassic Terror.

The game lasts several rounds and Victory Points (VPs) are scored after each era (a group of rounds).   VPs are scored based the on position a herd occupies in an area – each area scores slightly differently but the most VPs are always for the better positions (occupied by the biggest herd in the area).  One side of the board is for 2-4 players, the other for 5-6 players – the difference being that the numbers of VPs scored are slightly different and all 3 positions in each area score in the 5-6 player game (rather than just the top two). Read the rest of this entry »

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Played: Byzantio and Coal Baron

Posted by James (admin) on 25th January 2014

As writing full reviews takes some time and I often play more games than I have time to review.  As a result, there are many games that I play that don’t get reviewed for while, if at all.  Therefore, this is the first of a new type of post where I will post a few quick thoughts about the games I have played.  If there’s a game I mention that you’d specifically like a full review of, add a comment to let me know.

Byzantio gamePlayed: Byzantio
Byzantio is an area control game with a difference as each player only has a specific number of each of the different actions to use during the whole game so you need to ration them carefully.  Players select their own objective cities.

I enjoyed this game, although it felt lighter because there was a bit more randomness than I expected, with the dice deciding several of the action types adding most of that.  I don’t mind some randomness in a game, so it’ll be good to have that in mind when playing it again, and I hope it’s not too big a factor for my preferences.  There are a few things I’d do to add more clarity to the board, but these are polish rather than fundamental.

Still, working out how to use your actions and how to try and disguise your intentions added some good gameplay.

Played with 3.

Coal BaronPlayed: Coal Baron
Coal Baron is by the great team of Kramer and Kiesling (also called Glück Auf) which I previewed before Spiel in Essen.  This in an excellent eurogame – plenty of elements to balance but plays in a short time too.

It felt like a lean and well-oiled game design made up of only the most necessary and important elements.  There’s nothing revolutionary in the game design (although there is a nice small twist added to worker placement), but it impressed me with it’s elegance and how it delivered a tense, thoughtful game from such simple game mechanics.

Light enough for newer players, and enough decisions for experienced gamers wanting a short game.  Very impressed.

Played with 4.


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Review: Spyrium

Posted by James (admin) on 23rd January 2014

Spyrium gridSpyrium is a eurogame with an interesting worker placement game mechanic.  It is designed by the creator of Caylus and Caylus Magna Carta (the latter being one of my favourite games) so I was keen to try it out.

The game has a steampunk-ish setting and players are each head of an industrial conglomerate in Victorian England and spyrium is a mineral high in energy.  The player who scores the most victory points (VPs) by the end of the game wins.

Each round 9 cards are drawn from the deck and laid out in a 3×3 grid – I’ll call this ‘the grid’ from now on.  Players take turns either placing a worker or activating a worker; however, once a player starts activating their workers, they can’t return to placing workers during the current round.  As a result, you have to choose carefully when to switch from placing to activating.

The cards in the 3×3 grid are either characters (one-off benefits that all players can use), buildings (which can be bought to give special actions), and patented techniques (which can be bought to give on-going abilities plus they score VPs at the end of the game too).  When a building or technique is bought, it is removed from the grid and placed in front of its owner. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Theseus

Posted by James (admin) on 20th January 2014

Theseus game

Theseus is a sci-fi game set on a space station where the different factions (soldiers, scientists, aliens and greys) are trying to take control.  The setting and photos may give the impression it’s a complicated game, but it’s actually a eurogame that is relatively quick and contains some good tactical play.

Players take turns moving their units around different locations (sectors) on the space station.  Each sector is a separate board piece and these are arranged in a circle: one sector for each player’s faction, plus one each for the Corridors, Control Room and Tech Bay.  Each sector has 4 rooms (in the circular area) as well as several spaces for action cards (the oblong areas) which players will place during the game.  Each player has their own unique deck of action cards.  These first enter the game by being placed next to sectors (called ‘pending’ cards) which may get to be placed (‘installed’) on a sector later.

On their turn, a player must move one of their 3 units a number of sectors clockwise equal to the number of units currently on the unit’s starting sector, i.e. if there are 2 units on a sector, then a unit moved from there moves 2 sectors clockwise.  A moved unit is placed in one of the 4 rooms (arranged in a 2 x 2 grid) on the sector they move to.  Some rooms have walls between them which block combat.  If all 4 rooms are full, the arriving player ejects one of the units there into space and takes their position.  If a unit’s move means all the rooms in the sector are now full, all units belonging to the player whose turn it is attack other units in that sector.  (Only soldiers start with combat ability; whereas, other factions’ units need upgrading first.) Read the rest of this entry »

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

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.

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 »