Review: Kingdoms (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 12th December 2010

Kingdoms is a tile-placement game by Reiner Knizia which has some similarities to his game Robot Master.  In Kingdoms, players place tiles and their own castles in order to sc0re victory points (VPs).  The player with the most VPs after 3 rounds wins.

Next to the board, there’s a stack of land tiles too which each have values from -6 up to +6, as well as a few special tiles.  Each player starts the game with a set of castle tiles (value 1 to 4) and 1 land tile.

Players take turns placing tiles onto a 6 x 5 grid and a player can either place one of their castle tiles or a land tile.  When placing a land tile from the stack, players commit to drawing it before they see what it is. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Viva Il Re (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 18th November 2010

I get the impression that Viva Il Re isn’t that well-known, although it got a Spiel des Jahres recommendation in 2004 and it’s recent re-release as King Me is sure to have increased awareness more recently.

Viva Il Re is about selecting a new king and having your candidates in the best positions when one is chosen.  The board is split into numbered levels (from the bottom upwards: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 10).  The candidates to be king are placed on the different levels. Each player ‘owns’ several candidates but, apart from their own, players do not know which opponents own which candidates.  Multiple players can own the same candidate too.

Players take turns moving any one candidate (not just their own) to the next level up so long as no more than 4 candidates occupy any one level.  The top level is slightly different – when a candidate is moved there, the players simultaneously vote using their vote cards showing Yes or No.  If at least one No vote is cast, the candidate is executed and the game continues.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Ra (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 16th November 2010

Ra is one of Reiner Knizia’s classic games.  In this case, it’s an Egyptian themed auction game.  Players take turns either adding a random tile to those to be auctioned, or they can start an auction for the already drawn tiles.  If a Ra tile is drawn an auction is automatically initiated.  Three times during the game, the players score points (depending upon the type of tiles) for the tiles they have won, but the heart of the game is the clever, yet simple, bidding system.

During an auction, players get one opportunity each (going clockwise) to outbid any previous bid using one of their sun stones which each have unique values between 1 to 16.  Players start the game with a pre-defined group of 3 sun stones (4 in a 2-player game) ensuring each player has a fair mixture, plus 1 sun stone is placed in the centre of the table. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Ingenious (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 8th October 2010

Ingenious goes by several names (such as Genial and Mensa Connections).  Ingenious is a good name for an English version as pulling out a game called Mensa makes most players wince at the idea and they have to be convinced to ignore the name and discover a really good game.  Fortunately, I think it was only called Mensa in the UK.

Ingenious is an abstract game where players place tiles with coloured shapes on in order to score points.  The tiles are made of two hexes and each hex shows one of 6 different colours (shapes).  Players take turns placing one tile from their hand of 6 tiles.

When a tile is placed, both colours on the tile are scored – you score 1 point for each matching colour that can be traced in every direction from the tile in an unbroken line (neither of the colours on the tile itself count).  It’s really simple and I’ll give an example using the screenshot on the right:  A tile is placed in the right-most column just below the two red stars already present with a red star is at the top and yellow circle at the bottom.  This would score 3 red points and 1 yellow point.  If a player reaches 18 points in any one colour, they immediately take another turn. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Carcassonne (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 5th October 2010

Many serious gamers may feel Carcassonne is too simple for them as it’s a great gateway game; however, I recommend they don’t dismiss Carcassonne on iPhone as it has a lot to offer.

In Carcassonne, players place tiles which show parts of roads, cities and monasteries and place them together to build an entire countryside.  On their turn, a player takes and places one tile so that it fits next to any already placed tiles ensuring features like roads continue onto newly placed tiles.  After placing a tile, the player has the opportunity to place one of their 7 meeple (mini people) onto the just-placed tile.  Placing meeple is the way to score points and a meeple can be placed on a road, in a town, in a field or on a monastery. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review Wabash Cannonball (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 2nd October 2010

Like me, you may know Wabash Cannonball as Chicago Express as that’s the name under which it was released by Queen Games.  For this review, I’ll refer to the game as Wabash Cannonball as that’s the name of the iPhone app and the original game, but the games are (as far as I’m aware) the same.

During the game, the players develop railroad networks in America.  Different to many games, players don’t own a single railroad company but, instead, can buy shares in any of the railroads and earn money from dividends. Going clockwise, players take an action to either start an auction for a share in a railroad, extend a railroad (in which they own shares) by 3 pieces of track, or develop a space.  Each round, there are 3 auction, 4 development and 5 lay track actions available.  When two of these three action types have all been used, the round ends and dividends are paid to railroad shareholders.  The dividend paid per share is the railroad’s value (based on the spaces it runs through) divided by the current number of shares owned. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Zooloretto (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 28th September 2010

After many years of having Windows-based smartphones, I decided to change to an iPhone because (a) I didn’t like the look of the new Windows phones, and (b) I saw various board games being released on iPhone.  Zooloretto was the first major conversion and was the first one I bought when I got my iPhone.

Zooloretto is a light board game that won the coveted Spiel des Jahres award.  Players are all zoo keepers with their own zoos and they try to fill their enclosures with different animals.  However, there are some difficult decisions to be made.  On their turn, a player can either draw a tile from the bag and place it on one of the delivery lorries (which have space for 3 tiles each) or they can take a lorry and keep all the tiles on it.  The tiles are either an animal, a coin or a concession stand (i.e. popcorn).

So, do you take a lorry so you get just 2 tiles but ones that you want, or do you want or risk someone else takes it before you get a chance next turn so it will have more tiles on?  Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Samurai (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 27th September 2010

Samurai is a game of tile placement where players try to surround towns and cities with their different strength tiles in order to capture as many of the three different types of tokens as possible.  The winner is the player who owns two majorities of the tokens (or has one majority and more other tokens than their opponent).  For a description of the game, please read my full review of Samurai the board game as the gameplay of the iPhone game is exactly the same (as you would hope). Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Neuroshima Hex (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 26th September 2010

I was interested in Neuroshima Hex when it was released at Spiel a few years ago.  However, I didn’t get a chance to play it then, or since, so I was pleased to see it released on iPhone so I could finally give it a go.

Neuroshima Hex is a 2-4 player combat game using hex tiles on a relatively small hex grid.  Each turn, players draw 3 random tiles, discards 1 and play the other 2 tiles.  Some tiles have immediate effects, like grenades and push-backs, so aren’t placed on the board; however, the majority are units which do get placed on the board.  Some units can attack enemies (ranged and melee) and icons on the tiles edges show in which directions they will attack – the player chooses which direction they face when placing them.  Some other units boost the performance of some neighbouring units. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Kingsburg (iPhone)

Posted by James (admin) on 25th September 2010

Kingsburg is a dice-rolling, resource managing and building game.  Players roll 3 dice and then take turns allocating combinations of their dice in order to gain the benefits of the 18 different advisors.  For example, allocate two 4’s (or a 5 and 3, or 6 and a 2) and you can use the number 8 advisor (Treasurer) who gives the player 2 gold.  Players use their resources (gold, stone and wood) to build buildings which give players victory points as well as a wide variety of abilities like re-rolling a dice, added strength in battle, bonus VPs, extra resources and so on.  The 20 different buildings are split into 5 groups and each group has a level 1, 2,3 and 4 building.  The buildings within the groups must be built in order, so a player can only build a level 2 building if they have built the level 1 building in the same group, and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

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