Ark of Animals Review

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Ark of Animals is a game by Adam Kwapinski, published by Historical Games Factory. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be filling up Noah’s ark with animals. They will be trying to put as many different types of animals as they can but also maintaining balance between the predators and herbivores. The player that can best accomplish this will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player takes a player board that depicts the ark and places it in front of them. The animal tiles are placed face down in the middle of the play area and are mixed up. The hourglass is placed where everyone can reach it. Play now begins.

The game is played over 3 rounds with scoring at the end of each round. There are 5 different levels of play to this game from novice to grand master. In this review I will mainly be discussing the second level which is the normal level of play. One player says go or you can use the sand timer to tell you all when to go. Players play simultaneously as they pick up an animal token as fast as they can and either place it on the leftmost column of their ark or they can leave it face up on the table. The tokens that are placed on the player’s board must be placed face down. Players then continue taking tokens either those that are face up from other players or from the face down ones on the table. They can not start filling the next column until they have completed filling up the leftmost one. They can then move on to the next column and so on and so on until one player has completely filled up their entire ark. That player announces that they have finished and turns the hourglass over. This allows the remaining players 30 seconds to finish filling their ark. When the sand runs out the round is over. Players may place an animal that was in their hand on the board but no more animals may be added after that. Scoring then takes place.

Once the round is over, players turn over all the animals on their ark face up. In the normal level, players check to see if there are any predators adjacent to herbivores of equal or lesser size. If so, the herbivores are eaten and removed from the ark. Players also remove any animals that there are doubles of. Players then receive 1 point for every animal left. Bonus points are then given out. The first person to fill up their ark receives 2 points. The player with the most mammals gets 2 points. Players receive 2 points for each complete set of amphibians, reptiles or birds. The points are tallied up and a new round of play begins. After 3 rounds of play, the player with the most points is the winner.
On higher levels of play, players can lose points as well as gain them. If a player has a herbivore next to a grain marker, they can lose points. They can also lose points for having an unbalanced ark. That is to say that one side is heavier than the other. Once again, after the points are added up for 3 rounds of play, the winner is the player with the most points.

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COMPONENTS
The game has some really nice looking pieces. The player boards are nice and thick and have some really nice artwork of the ark on them. The spaces are big enough to place the circular animal tokens on. The animal tokens are thick cardboard. They have some really beautiful looking animal designs on them. They have a really nice satin finish on them. There are some green cubes that are used as grain markers. These are made of wood and are painted bright green. The hourglass is made of plastic and works really well. There’s also a scoring pad for keeping track of the different points scored for each round. Everything looks really nice. I really like the player boards and animal tiles. They look really pretty and my daughter really enjoys them. I also like the score pad. It’s a nice addition so that I don’t have to chase down a piece of paper to keep track of everything with. All in all, I really like the components of this game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook isn’t that large. It’s only 4 pages long. The front cover is nothing but a picture and the back cover only has examples of play on it. The rules only take up 1 actual page, but the remaining page explains how to raise or lower the difficulty level. There’s a couple of nice pieces of artwork in the book along with a few pictures alongside the examples. I really like the book and feel like everything is covered really well. There’s nothing difficult to understand at all. It looks really nice and is super simple to read. I like the addition of the examples, just in case you need to see exactly how the higher levels play. All in all, it’s really well put together and looks nice in full color.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The game is actually quite fun. My daughter really likes it. We played the novice level together and she immediately wanted to play it again…and again…and again. She enjoyed placing the different animals but certain ones she simply would not place on her ark. Can you guess which ones? If you said the snakes or alligators, you guessed right. Of course, she wanted to find the bunny and the dove every time. She really enjoyed the game as did I. It was fairly easy, once she had the basic concept down, to step her up to the next level. We never got to the grand master level but I think she could learn how to play it with a little bit more practice. The game is really simple as you can tell and it plays fairly quickly. Most games are usually done in about 30 minutes. It has some really nice strategy in the more difficult levels but it is simple enough at the lower levels for younger kids to learn. It’s very simple to teach, as you can tell. We really enjoyed this one.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Ark of Animals is a light to medium weight game of animal collecting that has many different levels of play. It’s really simple and easy to teach and play. It is great for any age from younger players to older more strategic minded ones. It plays relatively quickly with most games lasting no more than 30 minutes. The artwork is really nice especially on the player boards and animal tokens. The theme isn’t really that much a part of the game. Even so, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment that we had playing it. Fans of set collecting games or fast paced games should really enjoy this one. My daughter and I both really enjoy playing it. It’s really great. You don’t want to miss the boat on this one.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other games, please check out Historical Games Factory at their site.

http://wydawnictwofgh.pl/en/

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Control-Alt-Hack Review

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Control-Alt-Hack is a game by Tamara Denning, Tadayoshi Kohno and Adam Shostack, published by RGB Hats, LLC. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of white hat hackers. Using their hacking skills, they will try to complete various missions to gain hacker cred. If they gain enough cred, they will become the CEO of their own security company. The player that accomplishes this will be declared the winner.

To begin, separate the cards into the 4 main decks, one for hacker, mission, entropy and attendance. Shuffle each deck except for the attendance one. Each player is then dealt 3 hacker cards and 3 entropy cards. They are given an attending and a not attending card from the attendance deck along with 6 hacker cred. Player then pick one of the 3 hacker characters they were dealt to represent them in the game. The remaining 2 cards from each player are placed back in the hacker deck and shuffled. Play now begins.

The game is played in rounds. Each round is divided into 7 phases. Those phases are distribute money and draw entropy cards, draw mission cards, staff video conference, missions, hacker cred bonus/penalty, discard entropy cards and check hacker cred. The first phase is the distribute money and draw entropy cards. In this phase players are given $2K each. The player with the highest hacker cred score gets an extra $1K. Players then draw an entropy card.

The next phase is to draw mission cards. Each player draws a mission card. Players then decide whether they want to join the staff meeting or not by playing one of their attendance cards face down onto the table. Player will gain advantages and disadvantages based on which they chose to do.

The third phase is the staff video conference. In this phase, players flip over their attendance card. Those players that chose to join the conference then reveal their mission cards. They then get to draw another entropy card. Players are then able to trade missions. A player with higher hacker cred scores can trade a less paying job, known as a newb job, onto the player with the lowest score as long as they don’t already have a newb job. Those players that choose not to attend do not have to reveal their mission card. They do not receive an extra entropy card but they do get a free re-roll on any one failed roll during that mission.

The next phase is the missions phase. In this phase, players reveal their mission and try to perform it, starting with the player with the highest hacker cred score. Players must complete the tasks on the card in order. They will roll 3 dice to determine if they succeed or not. Any dice rolls that are less than or equal to the players current level in that skill will succeed. If any tasks are failed, the mission is a failure as well. Players gain rewards for completed missions and suffer penalties for failed ones.

The fifth phase is the hacker cred bonus/penalty one. Once players have either succeeded or failed their missions, hacker cred points are awarded. If only one player succeeded they get an extra hacker cred point. Likewise if only one player failed, they lose a point. If no players failed, everyone gets an extra hacker cred point.

The sixth phase is to discard entropy cards. Players can either use or discard their entropy cards. Players must have 5 or fewer entropy cards after this phase.

The final phase is to check hacker cred. If the player with the highest hacker cred score has 5 more points than the next closest rival, the game is over and that player wins. If a player has a score of 0, there character is fired and they lose all their cards and money. They must then start over with a new character, 3 new entropy cards and 6 hacker cred points. Another way that players can win is if the combined hacker cred scores of all the players rises or drops below a specific number based on the number of players. The player with the highest score at this point becomes the new CEO and wins the game.

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COMPONENTS
The game comes with some really great looking pieces. The cards are really well designed. I love the cell shaded character cards especially. All the cards are easily separated by color. They have a great feel as well. The theme is very much a part of the design. The hacker creds and money tokens are all made of thick cardboard. They are different colors as well to help distinguish the different values. The game also comes with 3 dice. These are your normal standard issue dice. Everything looks really great and works together really well. Definitely a good quality product.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rules are in full glossy color with lots of great pictures throughout the book. Everything is explained really well. It’s simple to read and learn. There are detailed explanations about the different hacker skills that the characters have as well as rules for special conditions. There’s even a section about what to do in the event of a tie called a hacker showdown. I had no trouble with the rules and I really liked how well designed and put together the rulebook is.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is a reimplementation of the Steve Jackson game, Ninja Burger. It’s really simple to learn and play. It’s lots of fun. I love the whole computer hacker theme to this game. The missions are really fun. Sometimes you’ll have no problems completing missions, then others the dice will turn on you. There’s definitely a bit of luck to this game. However, the different hacker abilities tends to make that very minimal. It basically comes down to your character and what they’re good at doing then trying to make sure that the missions you attempt require those skills. The game time for this is about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how things go and the number of players. It’s fairly light but really pulls you into the hacker world. I really enjoyed playing this.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Control-Alt-Hack is a light weight card game of hacking. It has an average play time with most games lasting no longer than an hour. The cell shading artwork of the character cards along with the card designs are really cool and smooth. The theme really draws you in and puts you into the world of hackers. Fans of the original Ninja Burger game as well as those fans of take that style card games should really enjoy this one. It’s really easy to learn and play. I really enjoy the missions as well as how each character feels different through the various abilities. I highly recommend this game. It’s lots of fun. You won’t want to delete this game any time soon.
9 out of 10

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For more information, please check out the game at it’s site.

http://www.controlalthack.com/index.php

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Hammer of the Scots Review

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Hammer of the Scots is a game by Tom Dalgliesh and Jerry Taylor, published by Columbia Games. It is for 2 players. In this game, players will be controlling the forces of the Scots and the English. They will be trying to control a majority of nobles before the end of the game. There are 2 scenarios and a campaign mode included with the game. If a player controls all the nobles in play and can eliminate either the Scottish King or Edward III, depending on which side they’re playing, they will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player chooses a side. The English player takes the red blocks and the Scottish player takes the blue ones. The map is placed between the players. Players then choose one of the scenarios or can play the campaign mode. Both players deploy their starting units on the map as determined by the scenario rules. All the cards are shuffled and placed face down in a stack. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of years as determined by the scenario rules. Each year of play has 1-5 game turns, those turns have three phases each. The phases are played in order. They are the Card Phase, Move Phase and Battle Phase. To begin a new year, each player is dealt 5 cards. In the card phase, both players play a card face down. The cards are then revealed and the higher card’s player is the first player. The cards are either move cards that allow the player to move their units or are event cards that give special actions as noted on the card itself.

The next phase is the move phase. In this phase each player uses any move cards that they played in the previous phase to move some or all of their units. They can also choose to do nothing, if so desired. Units can be moved in groups or singly during the movement phase. They must follow border limits as well as group movement rules. Once the first player has made all of their movements, the other player can then move their units.

The next phase is the battle phase. When enemy units are located in the same area, battles occur. These are resolved in a one by one basis. Battles are fought over a maximum of 3 rounds. Afterwards any attackers left must retreat if there are any defenders left. In combat, units may fire, retreat or pass depending on the combat rating. Units battle in alphabetical order. Combat is then resolved by rolling dice equal to the units current strength. Any rolls equal to or lower than the opposing units combat rating scores a hit. Hits are applied to the strongest enemy unit. Once the battle is over, the winner may regroup to any adjacent friendly or neutral area. If a noble is eliminated in combat it is immediately switched over to the enemy’s side at a strength of 1 and placed in that player’s reserve.

The game year ends if both players play an event card at the same time or once all 5 cards have been played. Once the year ends, the special Winter turn occurs. The Winter Turn is when some units can disband and players then prepare for the next year. It’s used to move units to their winter quarters. Once the Winter Turn is over, the year advances. Players receive Replacement Points for any friendly areas equal to it’s castle limit. Players can draw units from their pool or even build a step onto an existing unit. All the cards are then reshuffled and placed back in the deck. A new hands of 5 cards is then dealt to each player and a new year begins. Once a player controls all the nobles in play at the end of a game turn and either the Scottish King or Edward III is eliminated in battle, the game is over. The player who eliminated the ruler is the winner. Alternatively if no winner has been decided before the end of the last year of play, the player with the majority of nobles at the end of the chosen scenario is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
There are lots of great pieces to this game. There are lots of really brightly colored wooden blocks. Each block represents one of your units. There’s a sheet of stickers that must be applied to the blocks before you can play the game. This takes a little bit of time but I rather enjoy it. The artwork for the units is comprised mostly of family crests and shields. It’s very much historically accurate. The maps are made of thin cardboard but they lay flat on the table so there are no problems with your units sliding off. I wish that the maps were thicker but it’s really not that big of a deal as the artwork for the maps looks really great. The dice are your basic standard issue dice. They look and roll just like dice. The cards are really pretty. The artwork is that of some beautiful renaissance paintings. I love how great that the cards look. They are really sturdy and are shuffled very easily. All in all, I really like what’s included with this game and think you get some great components here.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really nice. It’s put together really well. It has a lot of historical information all along the right side of the book detailing the history of the war. There are a few pictures scattered throughout the rulebook. Everything is really easy to read and understand. There are examples of the blocks with how to read them. There’s quite a bit of stuff to read but it’s not really that daunting a task as it’s all been laid out really well. If you’re familiar with these types of games, this will be a cinch to read over and learn. If not, it’s still relatively simple. I really like that you can either go with one of the two scenarios or can play an actual campaign. Each one is a little bit different. There are even rules for tournament play included. All in all, it’s done really well.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I really like this game a lot. The block mechanic is something that I really enjoy. It’s really simple to learn and play. Like many war games it looks a little bit intimidating at first but isn’t really that difficult at all. It has a lot of historic references in the game. It has a long play time but it keeps you involved throughout the game. It’s very thematic playing through the different scenarios. The historic conflict plays out quite well in this game. It’s definitely a game worth playing. I really like it a lot. After playing it, you might find yourself with a desire to watch Braveheart. I did.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Hammer of the Scots is a medium to light heavy weight war game that depicts a very historic war. The artwork is really great and the look really nice. There’s quite a bit of strategy involved in this game. The theme and history is very accurate and is prevalent through the whole game. It is a great game for fans of war games especially those with a historic background. I would definitely recommend it for those types of players. It’s fairly easy to learn with a little bit of help. Anyone that has played one of these types of games should have no problems at all. The play time is a bit long but compared to other war games, it’s normal. If you enjoy block war games or anything based on historic events, then this is definitely the game for you. I definitely recommend it. “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out Columbia Games at their site.

http://columbiagames.com

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Munchkin Panic Review

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Munchkin Panic is a game by Anne-Marie De Witt, published by Fireside Games. It is for 1-6 players. In this game, players will be working together to defend their castle from a horde of rampaging Munchkin Monsters. However they’ll have to be careful as their teammates will also be conspiring against them to try and rack up the highest point value in Monster Trophies. The player that is best able to do that and survive the onslaught with at least 1 tower standing will be declared the winner.

For this review, I will mainly be describing how to play the standard game. To begin, place the board on the table. Place all the walls and towers on plastic stands. You’ll then place the towers in each of the light colored spaces in the Castle ring of the board and the walls on the lines between the Castle and Swordsman rings. There should be 1 of each for each area. Place all the monster tokens into the bag and then randomly draw out 4 tokens. These are then placed in the archer ring by rolling the die to determine which location to put each token in. The tokens are placed with the highest number pointed toward the castle. Curses that are drawn at this time are placed back in the bag and redrawn. The treasure cards and castle cards are separated and shuffled separately. Cards are then dealt to each player in a number determined by the amount of players, from 6 castle cards and 1 treasure card for 2 players to 5 castle cards and no treasure cards for 6 players. The decks are placed near the board face down as well as the other tokens. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they will follow the order of play. There are 6 phases. The first phase is discard 1 card (optional) and then draw up. A player can optionally discard 1 Castle card and then draw up to a full hand of those cards. The number drawn is based on the amount of players.

The second phase is to give charity. In this phase, players can only keep a certain number of treasure cards from 3-4 cards depending on the number of players. They must give away any treasure cards over that limit to the player with the lowest count of trophy points. This number is found by adding up the highest number on each monster that was killed by a player.

The third phase is to play cards, negotiate and get trophies. In this phase, a player can play any number of cards from their hand to help them attack monsters by using hit cards to boost attacks or even providing multiple attacks. They can also negatively affect their opponents with curse cards or even give themselves special abilities through the use of special cards. Treasure cards can also help out. Weapons can also be used along with hit cards to boost attacks. Potions can be used on monsters to affect them. Special cards are for lack of a better term, special. They help in unique ways. Once a player hits a monster, the monster is rotated clockwise to indicate damage. Once a monster has been killed, it is added to the player’s trophy pile. Treasure cards are then drawn and placed under that monster equal to the number of gold dots on it. Players can also negotiate with other players for help defeating monsters. However the player may only choose 1 player to take 1 card from for help.

The fourth phase is to add treasure to your hand. Any negotiations that were done in the previous phase are dealt with and resolved. Any treasure cards that were placed under monsters during the last phase are added to the player’s hand.

The fifth phase is to move the monsters. Each monster that remains on the board is moved 1 space closer to the castle. If it hits a wall or tower it takes a point of damage and that wall or tower is destroyed. Of course this is not something that you want to let happen very often.

The final phase is to place new monsters. This is done by drawing new monsters from the bag and placing them in the forest area by rolling the die for each one drawn. If a curse is drawn, it is resolved and another monster is drawn to replace it. The number of monsters drawn is determined by the number of players. Once this phase is finished, play passes to the next player.

The game can end in one of two ways. If all the towers are destroyed by monsters, the game ends and the players lose. Alternatively, if all the monsters have been killed, the players win. Players then add up their trophy points and the player with the highest point count is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of really great looking pieces. The Munchkin theme is very much a part of the look and design of everything from the towers and cards to the dice. The cards have that same style art and feel to them that I really enjoy. I really like the silliness and love the art. The towers, walls, glue and fortify tokens as well as the monster tokens are all thick cardboard and are really great looking. They have a great Munchkin feel to them. I love the warped look of the towers and walls. The die, as well as the monster bag have been branded with the Munchkin look as well. They are truly great looking. The board has a really good castle/forest look and feel. There’s even reference cards to help with playing the game. If that’s not enough, the game even comes with the More Munchkin Mini-Expansion included. This adds some more different cards to the mix. Seriously!!! I was blown away with the level of quality and the look and feel of all the pieces. Truly a work of art.
10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is really great. It has lots of great artwork throughout the book. Lots of examples on how to set up the game as well as a couple of pages of a sample game. There are several pages dedicated to cards and monsters and describing what each one does and how they work. There’s a page and a half on variations on game play, including how to add in the More Munchkin Mini-Expansion. All in all, I’m over joyed with how nice everything looks. It’s easy to read and understand. There’s nothing difficult at all. I really like what they’ve provided.
10 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a really fun game. It brings the best of Munchkin and Castle Panic together. I really love the whole tower defense mechanic. It’s fun trying to come up with the best way to get rid of the monsters that are always approaching your towers and trying to keep your walls and towers standing. In the solo game this can be quite difficult as you have only your own cards to take the monsters out with. The multi-player game is a little bit easier but then you have to worry about getting harassed by your opponent/partner. It’s a real interesting concept. I really enjoy the way it all works together. The thing is that you’re going to lose walls and towers, you just have to prioritize which ones are the most important. This is a really easy game to teach. I really like that the phases of the game are written on each corner of the board so that you can refer back to them as needed. It’s about a 45 minute game which works out pretty well. I really enjoy it and look forward to playing it again.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Munchkin Panic is a light game of tower defense that mashes up the best parts of Munchkin with Castle Panic. It’s a game that plays in an average amount of time. Most games usually lasting around 45 minutes or so. The artwork is really silly and fun just like in Munchkin. The game play is really great and can give you some tough choices on which monsters to attack. It plays great with others but also works as a solo game. This is a game that fans of both Munchkin and Castle Panic will love. It’s easy to teach and learn and is something that even younger players should be able to play with a little help. I highly recommend it. It’s really fun and something that I feel works great with family or friends. You’ll love it.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out Fireside Games at their site.

http://www.firesidegames.com/

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Crusader Rex Review

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Crusader Rex is a game by Tom Dalgliesh and Jerry Taylor, published by Columbia Games. It is for 2 players. In this game, players will be taking control of the Franks and the Saracens during the Third Crusade in 1187. They will be trying to control a majority of the 7 Victory Cities. The player that can either control these 7 cities or that controls the most after 6 years in game time, will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player chooses a side. The Frank player takes the orange blocks and the Saracen players takes the green ones. The black assassin block is placed in Masyaf. It is used once the Assassin event card is played. The map is placed between the players. Both players deploy their starting units on the map at either their named seat or at an alternate one. 12 remaining blocks on each side are placed face down as a draw pool for their respective players. All the cards are shuffled and placed face down in a stack. Play now begins.

The game is played over 6 years. Each year of play has 6 game turns, those turns have four phases each. The phases are played in order. They are the Card Phase, Move Phase, Battle Phase and Draw Phase. To begin a new year, each player is dealt 6 cards. In the card phase, both players play a card face down. The cards are then revealed and the higher card’s player is the first player. The cards are either move cards that allow the player to move their units or are event cards that give special actions.

The next phase is the move phase. In this phase each player uses any move cards that they played in the previous phase to move some or all of their units. Units can only be moved once during each movement phase. They also must adhere to road limits as well as group movement rules. Once the first player has made all of their movements, the other player makes their movements.

The next phase is the battle phase. When enemy units are located in the same town, battles occur. These are resolved in a one by one basis. Before battle begins, the defender decides where they would like to deploy any units. Battles are fought over a maximum of 3 rounds. Afterwards any attackers left must retreat if there are any defenders left. Combat is resolved by rolling dice equal to the units current strength. Any rolls equal to or lower than the opposing units combat rating scores a hit. Hits are applied to the strongest enemy unit. There are also special rules for charging, harrying and reinforcement.

There’s a very detailed explanation about siege combat that I won’t get into detail about here. The main thing to note about sieges is that it can last longer than 3 combat rounds.

Once combat is over, the draw phase occurs. In this phase, each player draws a block from their pool. This doesn’t occur on the first year of play or during the Winter Turn. The Winter Turn is when the final card for that year is played. It’s used to move units to their winter quarters. Once the Winter Turn is over, the year advances. Any units face up in the draw pool are turned back over. All the cards are reshuffled and placed back in the deck. New hands of 6 cards are dealt to each player and the new year starts. Once a player controls all 7 victory cities the game is over and that player is the winner. Alternatively if no winner has been decided before the end of the sixth year, the player with the majority of the victory cities at this point is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of really great pieces to it. There are lots of really bright colored wooden blocks. These are your different units and each one must be stickered. This takes awhile to do but is kinda fun. I don’t know why. The artwork is comprised mostly of shields and crests. It’s very much historically accurate. The maps are rather thin and made of cardboard but they lay flat on the table really well. I’d really have liked there to be thicker maps but it would have made things a pain to deal with. The dice are your standard set of dice. Nothing out of the ordinary here. The cards are very beautiful and look as if they were pulled straight from a stain glass window. I really love the beauty of these cards and think they’re really great looking. The cards are really sturdy and are shuffled really easily. All in all, I like everything that’s included and think that you definitely get a quality product.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is really nice. It has a lot of historical references all along the right side of the book. There are a few pictures through it. Everything is really easy to read and understand. There’s quite a bit of information to take in but it isn’t that bad. Everything is explained really well including how to read the blocks. All in all, the rules are well made and look really great.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a really great game. It takes awhile to play but is full of great historical battles. The block mechanic is really well done in this game just like in all the other Columbia Games products. The siege combat is a little bit intimidating at first but is easily navigated with the use of the rules. There’s definitely quite a bit to keep up with. The theme of the Crusades is prevalent throughout the game. It’s definitely a very historic game. This game has a rather long play time but don’t let that deter you from what is a really magnificent game. You really have to keep an eye on where the other player is moving their units and try your best to keep them out of those victory cities. I really like playing this and will definitely be playing it again.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Crusader Rex is a medium to light heavy weight war game of historic conflict. The components are really great and the artwork is really amazing looking. There’s a lot to soak in for this game. The theme is very accurate and is prevalent through the whole game. This is a great game for fans of historical games or war games. I highly recommend this for those players. It’s a little bit intimidating to learn but with a little patience it can be understood. It’s a bit long but as far as war games go, it’s pretty much the norm. New players may want to ease their way into this game by trying out one of the easier accessible games first like Julius Caesar. Veterans should have no problems at all though. If block war games interest you, this will definitely get your blood pumping. Give it a try.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out Columbia Games at their site.

http://columbiagames.com

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Fluxx Review

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Fluxx- Version 5.0 is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2-6 players. Over the years there have been many different variations from pirates to Cthulhu. This is the 5th version of the basic game and is one of the two newest Fluxx games available. For more information about all the different versions available, please check out the link at the bottom of this review. In Fluxx, players will be playing cards in an attempt to put themselves in a favorable position to be able to fulfill the current goal. Of course things are always changing so what might have been the current requirements for winning the game may have changed as well. Nothing ever stays the same for long, thus the name of the game Fluxx. The player that is best able to get their cards to the table and fulfill the current goal will be declared the winner.

To begin, simply take all the cards in the box, apart from the basic rules card, and shuffle them all together. Then you deal out 3 card to each player. Once that’s done, place the deck face down in the center of the table and you’re ready to go.

On a player’s turn, they will start off by drawing one card and then playing one card. Of course the longer that the game goes, the more things will change, thus the name of the game, Fluxx. The main objective of the game is to place keepers on the table so that you can fulfill a goal. The first player that is able to get their keepers to match the current goal is the winner.

During the course of play, you’ll see several different types of cards. There are rules, goals, keepers, and action cards. Rules cards are the cards that once played will alter the basic rules of play, such as a Draw 2 or a Play 3 card. Goal cards are the conditional cards that if you’re able to meet all the requirements, you win the game. Keepers are the cards that you will play face up in front of you. Having the right ones of these for the current goal will allow you to win the game. Action cards are used once and then discarded. These cards allow you to do different things like draw cards or look through the discard pile for a card. Each action card is different. Once a player is able to fulfill the current goal, they win.

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COMPONENTS
The game is a very attractive set of 100 cards in a sleek looking box. The artwork is very reminiscent of previous versions but a little slicker looking. The cards are made of excellent quality just like in previous versions. Everything is really nice and portable. I really like the new darker looking box redesign. It just sets itself aside from every other variant out there. All in all, I really like the new design.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rule book for this game is a large oversized sheet that folds up to fit nicely inside the box. Everything is explained really well and is simple to read. There are a few pictures included, mostly of how to set up the game. All of this information is contained on the front side of the paper. On the back side, there’s a huge list of frequently asked questions. If something comes up that you’re unsure about, you will almost assuredly find it in that section. All in all, it’s really quick to read and you’ll be up in playing in a matter of minutes.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a really great game. As a huge fan of Fluxx, I really enjoy all the different versions available. This version has a few minor changes that change up the way that you play the game though. Unlike in previous versions, there are no Creeper cards. I really enjoy the Creepers and will forever lament their passing. Still as an entry point for new players, this game really works well. It’s super simple and doesn’t make things too difficult. This version also has several new cards and some cards that have been completely changed. Nothing major to worry about if your a fan of previous versions of the standard game. The game plays really quickly and is incredibly light. Most games take no more than 15 minutes at most. I really enjoy playing the game and think it’s a great new version.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Fluxx- Version 5.0 is a light and fun card game of ever changing situations. It’s a really fun game. This version is a great entry point for new players unfamiliar to Fluxx. It’s a really quick game that can usually be played in under 15 minutes. It is great for family and friends alike. It’s very simple and easy for everyone from the kids to the grandparents. I miss the creepers but enjoy playing this version even without them present. I’d definitely recommend this version to new players as well as veterans. It’s great fun for everyone. This is definitely a great game.
9 out of 10

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For more information about Fluxx and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.

http://looneylabs.com

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Preview Review of Monkeys with Knives and Guns

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Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game. I received a play test copy of the game along with rules for play. This is my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!

Monkeys with Knives and Guns is a game by Matthew Hope and Duncan Huffman, published by Blackball Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be taking control of a band of armed monkeys as they try to collect the most bananas. The player that can fend off their opponents monkeys and collect the set amount of bananas first will be declared the winner.

To begin, you will divide up the dice as determined by the number of players. For a 2 player game, each player is given 8 dice while in a 4 player game they receive 4 dice each. Play now begins.

A player’s turn is divided up into 5 different phases. The first phase is the roll phase. In this phase, everyone will roll their dice at the same time. The next phase is the line-up phase. This is where the players sort their dice by the type of monkey rolled. The third phase is the D’oh! phase. This is where players remove any stupid monkey dice beginning with the first player. These are the monkeys that are pointing the gun at themself. The next phase is the Fight! phase. In this phase any stabby or shooty monkeys resolve their effects beginning with the first player. Players will target their opponents monkeys and remove them and their monkeys that targeted them from play. After the first player has resolved all of their fighting monkeys, the next player resolves their fighting monkeys. Stabby monkeys are the ones with a knife, these will take out any monkeys except shooty monkeys. Shooty monkeys are the ones with a gun. These take out any monkeys including other shooty monkeys. The final phase is the Take! phase. In this phase, hungry and sneaky monkeys will collect bananas beginning with the first player. There are two types of hungry monkeys, one with a banana and one with two bananas. Each one receives one or two bananas respectively. The sneaky monkey is the one that has a banana and is running away. These monkeys steal a banana from an opponent’s banana pile. Once the first player has claimed all their bananas by resolving their monkeys, the next player claims theirs. The first player to reach the winning score as determined by the number of players wins.

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COMPONENTS
This game comes inside a large tube and contains 16 HUGE yellow dice as well as some cardboard banana tokens. The dice have the different monkey designs on them in a very cartoon like feel. The banana tokens are made of thin cardboard. I really like the look and design of the dice, however they are a bit too big for my 4 year old to put in her hands to roll. I usually have to let her roll 4 and then roll the rest. She really likes the monkey designs as well as the banana tokens. All in all, not bad quality at all.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is a thin piece of double sided cardboard that was slid down inside the game tube. It’s got some nice pictures of the different die faces with explanations of how each one works. The game is really simple so the rules aren’t that large. I do like the shadowed jungle image that the rules were printed over the top of. It really gave a nice feel to it. Everything is really simple to read and learn. It won’t take but a minute or two and you’ll be ready to play.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The game is fun. It’ s mostly just rolling dice and comparing the results. There’s nothing really that deep or strategic to the game, yet it’s still quite enjoyable. Of course my daughter loves rolling the big yellow dice and collecting the bananas. It doesn’t take that long to play either. Most games usually last about 5-10 minutes depending on the number of players. It’s super light and really easy. You simply roll the dice, compare the results, collect the bananas, rinse and repeat. That’s pretty much it. Simple but still fun.
7 out of 10

OVERALL
Monkeys with Knives and Guns is a very light game of dice rolling and banana collecting. It’s super simple and very easy to play. If you can roll dice, you can play this game. The artwork is really cute and fun. The dice are huge and may be a problem for younger players or those with small hands. It plays really quick and works great as a filler game. It’s a neat little game but those that are looking for a meatier game need not apply here. I think this will appeal to some fans of dice rolling and take that style games. It’s such a simple concept that it leaves me wanting more. If this sounds like a game you might like, then by all means check it out. For me, it’s a little bit too light and simple and not enough strategy.
7 out of 10

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For more information about this game, please check out Black Ball Games at their site.

http://www.blackballgames.com/

Unfortunately the Kickstarter for this game has been cancelled, but you can check the site above for updates.  I will also update this page when the campaign gets re-launched.

 

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