SnapGammon Review

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SnapGammon is a game by Jeremy Lennert and William Fisher, published by Victory Point Games. It is for 2 players. In this game, players will take the role of two rival cowboys racing to load their cows onto the train. The player that can get all of their cows on board first will be declared the winner.

To begin, the board is laid out flat between the players. 15 red and 15 blue cow tokens are set up on the board as designated by the rules. The remaining tokens are set aside and will be used for the cards. The yellow doubling cube is placed with the “1” side facing up and is placed between the players. The cards are shuffled together. 3 cards are then dealt to each player with the remaining cards set aside, not to be used during the game. Players decide who goes first and play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they will roll the dice to see how far they can move. The dice will be used separately to each move one cow token or to move one cow token twice. The tokens are moved in a horseshoe direction, going down one side, over and then up toward the player’s train color. The only restriction is that cow tokens can now move to a space that already contains 2 or more of the opponents cows on it. If a player rolls doubles on the dice, they will play each die twice, giving them a total of 4 moves. If at any time a player moves to a space that contains exactly one of their opponents cow tokens, that token is removed from the board and placed in the player’s cowpen. Those tokens will start one space off the board and have to move all the way around to be placed on the train. Any cows inside the cowpen must be moved out before moving any other cow tokens. If the other player is blocking the space that the dice rolls would let you move to, that player forfeits the rest of their moves. Players can not board their cow tokens onto the train until all of their cows are in the player’s home station, which is the 6 spaces closest to their colored train. Once this happens, cows can be moved by using a rolled die with the exact distance on it. The cow token that is the furthest out can board the train by using a higher number than the remaining distance.

At any time during a player’s turn, they can play one of their cards from their hand. To do this, they will play the card face up and choose one of the two effects listed on it. Once used, the card is discarded. Only one card may be played on a player’s turn.

If players are playing multiple games, the doubling cube can really come into play. If on a player’s turn they feel like they are going to win and before they roll the dice, they can rotate the doubling cube to display the next highest number and then hand it to their opponent. The opponent has the option of resigning the game immediately. The doubling is nullified but the player that doubled wins the game. If the opponent does not resign, then the player that wins will now win twice as many points at the end of the game. The player can choose to double on their next turn as well, which then passes the cube back to the other player.

All of this continues until one player boards all of their cow tokens onto their colored train. That player is the winner. If playing multiple games, scoring then occurs based on whether the opponent has boarded any cows and if they have any cows left in the winners home station or in the cowpen. When playing multiple games, players add up their points and the player with the most overall points is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
The game comes packaged inside a sleeved box, much like Columbia Games does with their games. There is a nice looking board that is made of very thin cardboard, much like the maps for Columbia Games war games. It looks very much like a brightly colored Backgammon board. There are some really unique looking cards that have some really nice looking artwork on them. I really like the cartoon like cow designs on them as well as on the tokens. Speaking of the tokens, there are quite a few cardboard tokens to punch out. They look really fun and silly. There are a couple of blank six sided dice with stickers that have to be placed on them. Good thing is there are instructions as well as extras in case you mess up. There are also some regular dice that are just your average every day six sided dice. Lastly, there is something that looked out of place inside the box, a white paper napkin. I thought, “What’s this doing here?” Then I read the writing on it. It said that this is used to wipe off any printing residue on the tokens. I thought, “Ok, sure.” That’s when I used it to wipe off the tokens only to find some really nasty looking black residue on the napkin. I guess that they knew what they were talking about. Anyway, the components are all really nice and the theme of rounding up cattle into your train is very much a part of each piece.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is really well done and looks really nice. It’s in full color which is a plus. Everything is put together really well and is easy to read and understand. There are lots of pictures throughout the book. There are even some great variants for changing up the game once you’re tired of playing it the normal way. There is a 4 page appendix that explains every card and how they work with pictures. I really like that this part was added as it helps if you get confused with the cards. Attention was definitely paid to every detail in this rulebook. I really like every aspect of it and think that it was really well done.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is inspired by Backgammon and takes a lot of it’s strategy from there. However the added variants and theme make it feel like a completely different game. I’ll be honest, I don’t ever see me actually playing Backgammon. I really had no desire to even attempt the game. That’s one thing that’s really great about this game. You won’t realize that you’re playing Backgammon, especially when you add all the crazy variants. This is a really fun game and it’s easy to play. That’s why I really enjoy it. I always thought that Backgammon would be extremely difficult, even more so then Chess. For the record, I love Chess. This game opened my eyes to a classic game by placing a really cool looking wrapper and theme on it. It’s really fun and is something that you can easily play with the kids. I really enjoy it and find the theme lots of fun.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
SnapGammon is a great reimplementation of the classic game of Backgammon. It’s doesn’t take that long to play through a game. Most games average around 15 to 20 minutes. If you decide to go with multiple games for a match, of course that time frame is going to go a bit longer. The theme and artwork is very light and fun. The kids will enjoy it for sure. The game is very easy to learn but has tons of strategy, much like the classic game of Backgammon. This is a game that fans of Backgammon will enjoy as will new players. It’s one that Grandpa can play with the grandkids and both of them enjoy it. This is a really fun game and one that I definitely enjoy. I highly recommend it. It’s a great new classic.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.victorypointgames.com/

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Jaipur Review

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Jaipur is a game by Sebastien Pauchon, published by GameWorks. It is for 2 players. In this game, players will be working to become the Maharaja’s personal trader. They will do this by collecting, exchanging and selling goods. They will collect bonuses for selling 3 or more of a particular good. The player that can trade the best and win 2 Seals of Excellence will be declared the winner.

To begin, 3 camel cards are placed face up in a line between the players. The rest of the cards are shuffled together. 5 cards are then dealt to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down on the table. The first 2 cards from the deck are placed beside the camel cards face up. Players look at their hand of cards and remove any camel cards, placing them in a face up stack in front of them. The goods tokens are sorted by type and place within a pile for each good in descending order. These tokens are spread out so that players can see the different values of each. The bonus tokens are sorted by type and shuffled separately to form 3 piles. The camel token is placed next to he bonus tokens as are the 3 seals of excellence. Play now begins.

The game is played in a series of rounds. On a player’s turn, they may either take cards or sell cards. Taking cards allows a player one of 3 options. They can take several goods through exchange, they can take a single good, or they can take all the camels. To exchange, the player takes the goods cards that they want and replace the cards taken from the market with the same amount from their hand. In other words, if they take 3 cards from the market, they must replace those 3 cards with 3 from their hand. Exchanging involves at least 2 cards for 2 cards never just 1 for 1. A player can take any single good card from the market and then replace it with the top card from the deck. A player can also take all the camels from the market adding them to their faceup stack of camels, replacing them with cards from the deck. The only restrictions a player has for taking cards is that they must take either goods or camels but can not take both. Also, if a player chooses camels, they must take all of them. Players can not have more than 7 cards in their hand at the end of their turn. Camels do not count against a player’s hand limit.

The other option that a player has is to sell cards. To sell cards, a player place as many cards of the same type as they want onto the discard pile. They will then take the same amount of tokens that correspond to that type of good from the pile, starting with the highest value. If 3 or more goods of a type are sold, then the player takes the corresponding bonus token. The only restriction to selling is that if a player decides to sell either diamonds, gold or silver, they must sell at least 2 cards of this good. Other goods have no such restriction so a player may sell only one good if they so choose.

The end of a round is signified by one of two things. The round can end if 3 types of goods tokens have been depleted from the piles. The round can also end if there are no more cards left in the draw pile to fill the market with. At this point, scoring occurs. The player with the most camels in their herd receives the camel token that awards them 5 extra rupees. Player now flip over all of their goods tokens and add them up. The player that has the most money is the winner of the round and receives a Seal of Excellence. Once a player collects their second Seal of Excellence, the game is over and that player is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
For a simple card game, this game looks great. The cards are beautiful and are super nice. I love the artwork and design of them. They are very high quality and are very easy to shuffle. I really like them. The goods tokens are really nice as well. They are made of thick cardboard and are brightly colored to match the goods cards. The numbers are easy to read and the design is really nice. I really love the insert as well. Yes, it’s pink but it holds everything so nicely inside the box that it has to be mentioned. This has got to be one of the best looking and highest quality card game that I’ve ever had the joy of playing. I really love the look and feel of every aspect.
10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is well designed with everything laid out perfectly. It’s in full color with lots of pictures and and examples. It has only a few pages with the first page being a picture and the last one being credits and picture. I love the beauty and design of the rules. Everything is super easy to read and understand. It doesn’t take very long to read over at all. You will have no troubles with the rules or the game. I really like how nicely everything is broken down and laid out. Really an excellent job.
10 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I absolutely love this game. The mechanics of either buying or selling is very well done and is extremely simple. However there is a lot of strategy to this game. Yes it’s a simple game but you will find yourself agonizing over what to do. Should I sell these 2 cards to get the better money tokens or should I wait to see if I can get at least 1 more card to get the extra bonus token? That’s just one of the myriad of possibilities that you’ll find yourself mulling over. That’s the beauty of this game. Strategic minded players can enjoy it just as much as new players. It’s not a game that will take a long time to play either. Most games are usually played in under 30 minutes. This is a great introductory game as well as a great filler. I really enjoy playing this one.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Jaipur is a light weight card game of buying and trading. It’s a fairly short game to play with an average play time of less than 30 minutes. The artwork on the cards as well as the tokens is very beautiful and the quality is top of the line. The gameplay is very simple but will give you lots of strategic choices to make. It’s a game that works well for veterans as well as new players. Anyone that enjoys playing card games will truly adore this game. It’s easy to teach and easy to learn. I highly recommend it. It’s definitely one of my most favorite card games on the market. I’m sure once you play it, it will be one of your favorites too.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.gameworks.ch/2010/index.php

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Bigfootses, the Card Game Review

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Bigfootses, the Card Game is a game by Wilbur Massie, published by Bigfootses Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be taking on the role of hunters trying to catch Bigfoot, or should I Bigfootses, plural. They will be trying to capture the the most and the most valuable ones at that. The player that can best hunt these elusive creatures will be declared the winner.

To begin, the cards should be separated into two decks, the Thingies and Woods. Each deck should then be shuffled separately and placed face down in the middle of the play area. The over sized Profession cards are shuffled and each player draws one. Players are then dealt 5 Thingies cards and take one of the dice. Players should then reveal their Profession and place it face up in front of them. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

On a player’s turn they can perform one of four different actions; range, work, rummage, restock or retrain. The first action that is available is to range. There is where the majority of the action takes place. To begin, the player will draw a Woods card and place it face up on the table then depending on what type of creature is revealed the player will resolve the encounter. If it’s a bigfoot, the player adds the number of bigfootses in their corral, giving one point for each one there, along with any equipment bonuses they have. This number is subtracted from the evasiveness of the bigfoot to give the number that is needed to be rolled on the die. Other players can then play cards to make the bigfoot harder or easier to catch. Once the other players have finished playing cards, the hunter player rolls the die. A roll of one is always a failure. If the number rolled is equal to or greater than the number needed to capture the bigfoot, it is captured and placed in the players corral. The player must then announce their current victory point total. Players that have fewer points can then draw a Thingies card. If the roll is failed, the bigfoot card is discarded.

Sometimes other creatures will appear. These creatures must be captured in the same way as above except that the bigfootses in the player’s corral do not aid in battle. If a player loses a battle with one of these creatures, it breaks one of the player’s pieces of equipment. If the player wins, they will take the creatures treasure. Bigfeatures are treated the same way as other creatures, except that they will count as victory points if they are caught. Witches are the only creatures that remain in play. Once they are drawn, the stay face up until another witch is drawn, even their ability stays in effect.

The next action that can be taken is to go to work. Players can use there character’s ability on their card once per turn. However, they can’t perform this action if they have 7 or more victory points.

Another action that can be taken is to rummage. This is done by drawing a set amount of cards based on the number of victory points that you already have. These cards are then placed in the players hand. A player can play one equipment card during their turn before or after their action. Players can only have 3 equipment cards face up in play at any time. However any of them can be discarded to add another equipment card to replace it. Players may also only have one weapon at a time. Items and shenanigans can be played at any time.

The next action that is available is to restock. This is done by discarding as many cards from your hand as you wish and then drawing that many Thingies cards to replace them with.

The final action is to retrain. To do this, the player discards their current profession and draws a new random profession card. Players can discard bigfootses card from their corral to allow them to choose whichever profession they would like instead of choosing randomly.

Once a player has completed their action and played their allotment of cards, they must discard down to a hand limit of 5 Thingies cards. Once a player meets the victory point limit determined by the number of players, they will win the game.

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COMPONENTS
This game has lots of really great looking pieces. The cards have some really great looking artwork on them. I love the look of them. They feel very cartoonish and fun. The cards are a bit thin however and the gloss finish on them tends to make them stick together a lot. It took awhile working with them to get them to where I could see each individual card without trouble. That’s a rather minor problem though. The dice are really unique and fun. The different colors are beautiful and I really like the bigfootses heads etched into each one. These are really great looking. I like the insert as well, as it fits everything into separate compartments really nicely. This is a really fun looking and unique card game.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is only 4 pages long. It is in full color. It has a few pictures mainly of setup and one example of gameplay. Everything is explained really well. The only problem was that you had to flip ahead to see the specifics of how to perform certain actions. Once again, this is a rather minor problem especially when the book is only 4 pages long. I didn’t really have much trouble with the rules and it only took a few minutes to read through. In any case, it’s not bad.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is really light and fun to play. It’s a game that won’t take very long to play, usually about 30 minutes. It’s something that even the kids enjoy playing. There’s definitely a lot of luck in what cards you draw as well as how the die rolls for you. Some of that can be combated with better equipment from the Thingies deck. The game feels a little bit like Munchkin in a sense as you are drawing from the Woods deck and then deal with whatever monster or creature appears. There are even ways to really stick it to your opponents just like in Munchkin. The thing is, I like the theme and gameplay of this game better than Munchkin. That will probably illicit some hate mail from the avid Munchkin players, but it’s the truth. In any case, the game is really fun and I like it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Bigfootses, the Card Game is a light card game of hunting for Sasquatches. It has a rather short play time with games lasting around 30 minutes. I really love the artwork throughout the game and the theme is very much a part of it. The art feels like something from the Simpsons. Fans of take that games like Munchkin should really enjoy this one. It’s really easy to learn and play. My kids really like the art and humor of the cards. I really like the dice. This is one that will definitely get lots of play around our house. I really enjoy the take that aspect of the game. It can be a bit random at times but some of that can be avoided through the equipment cards. All in all, this is a great little light filler game that everyone should pick up. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.bigfootses.com/

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Leagues of Adventure: Rocket Race Review

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Leagues of Adventure: Rocket Race is a game by Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Williams and Robin Elliott, published by Triple Ace Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players are part of a league of gentlemen adventurers from the British Empire in 1898. They will be trying to construct and launch a Moon rocket before the other players. The player that can best assemble their league’s rocket will be declared the winner.

There are two different types of rules for this game, standard and advanced. The advanced plays 2-4 players while the standard plays 3-6. In this review I will mainly be discussing the standard rules.

To begin the standard game, you will set aside the four league, four workshop, three workshop upgrade and four turn sequence cards. These will not be used during this game. The remaining cards are shuffled together and then placed face down in the center of the play area. Players will take ten resource tokens and place them in front of themself. This is their resource pool. The first player is chosen and game play now begins.

The game consists of a lot of bidding. To start the game, the first player flips over the top card and bids on it using the tokens in their resource pool. The bidding then continues around the table with players either bidding higher or passing. Once a player passes they can not bid again on that particular card. If all players pass and no one bids on a card, it is discarded and a new card is drawn. The player that bids the highest bid wins the card and places it in front of them. They must then place the amount of tokens that they bid on the card. This signifies that the card is in Development. All players are then able to remove a token from any cards in Development that have tokens on them. Those tokens are returned to the player’s resource pool. Once the last token on a card in Development is removed, it is complete and ready to be used. The same is done with any events that are in Development. Once this is completed, the bidding round is over. The player that won the card becomes the first player and flips over the next card of the deck, beginning a new round of bidding.

Players must have one capsule, one propulsion and one steering component to make a rocket. They may also add up to three accessories of their choice. These accessories can help the players chance of succeeding when trying to launch their rocket. A player can not launch a rocket until all of their components are no longer in Development.

To launch a rocket and thus win the game, a player has to announce that they are ready to launch at the end of a bidding round. The player must set aside the components that they plan to use so that the other players know which pieces are being used and to be able to add up the reliability scores to get a total. The player then rolls two dice and adds them together. If they roll equal to or lower, they have succeeded and are the winner. If they roll higher, they must take the pieces that they used and shuffle them together. The player to their left chooses one of the cards at random and discard it. That piece suffered a catastrophic failure and is destroyed. A roll of 12 is always a failure and a roll of 2 is always a success. If more than one player launches a rocket at the same time, the player that rolls lowest for a successful launch by rolling equal to or lower than their reliability rating wins.

The advanced games plays a lot like the standard game except with a few variations. The main difference is that cards must be bought much like in a deck builder. There is no bidding. Players can either launch, perform scientific research to raise their level in a certain area of research or acquire events to sabotage their opponents. Components can then be added to form the rocket. Just like the standard game, the first player to successfully launch their rocket and land on the Moon wins.

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COMPONENTS
This game looks nice. To start with it comes inside a sleeved wooden box. The cards all have a very steampunk feel to them and they look and feel really nice. They are a good thickness and shuffle really well. I really like the artwork. The card design isn’t bad either. All the information is easily distinguished so that you can find what you’re looking for rather easily on them. The dice are really nice as well. The counters are thin plastic and come with a sheet of stickers that must be placed on them. The stickers are little gears or cogs. I’m not usually a big fan of sticking stickers on stuff. I’d really have preferred the counters to be thick cardboard with the image printed on them or even some form of die cut counter that looked like a gear. All in all, it isn’t bad but it could have been done a little better.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is small and fits nicely inside the box. It’s completely done in black and white. Everything is laid out rather well with regards to both the standard and advanced rules. There’s a nice picture on how to set up the advanced game. The last few pages show examples of the different types of cards. Other than that, there really are no pictures to speak of. There is one example that explains a little about the scientific research but that’s it. The rules are easy to read and understand. As good as it is, I really would have preferred there to be more pictures and examples. I especially would have preferred color to the book. The saving grace for this is that it is set up so well.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The game is quite fun. I enjoy both the standard and advanced rules. The betting mechanic in the standard version is lots of fun. This version captures the feel of an actual race. It’s neat to only be needing one more piece to send your rocket into space just to lose it in a bidding war. It’s frustrating and fun at the same time. I really enjoy the interaction between players. The other version feels a bit more like a deck builder to me. Granted, you’re not building your deck but buying events to sabotage your opponents and buying pieces to add to your ship through research. It’s really fun as a 2 player game much like some of my favorite deck builders. Both versions are fun and I think most players will be able to find at least one version of the game that they will like.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Leagues of Adventure: Rocket Race is a light card game of rocket building fun. The game at it’s longest play time is around 30 minutes. That’s for the advanced version. The standard is a little bit less. It’s fairly simple to learn and play. It’s one that almost any player will be able to find a version that they enjoy. I feel that deck building fans as well as bidding game players will enjoy this. The artwork is really nice on the cards and has a definite steampunk feel to them. I wish that the counters had been designed better and that the rules had more content and were in color. The game lives up to it’s name as it definitely feels like a race. Even with the few problems, the game play is solid. I really enjoyed playing it. I recommend that you give it a try. You might just enjoy it as much as we did.
8 out of 10

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

http://www.tripleacegames.com/

You can also back the game right now over on Kickstarter.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1588759266/rocket-race-a-steampunk-rocket-building-card-game?ref=nav_search

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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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