Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge Review

Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge is a game by James Ernest and Mark MacKinnon, published by Dyskami Publishing Company. It is for 2-8 players. In this game, players will take on the role of one of the many characters from the Sailor Moon TV show, either hero or villain. They will use these characters to battle against their opponents with. Players will be using various types of dice to try and capture their opponent’s dice with, earning themselves points in the process. In the end, the first player to win three rounds of combat will be declared the winner.

In this review, I will mainly be discussing the Standard rules for 2 players. I will discuss the various multiplayer options a bit later, in the Gameplay section.

To begin, each player chooses one of the character cards and places it in front of themself. They will then gather together a set of Starting dice and a set of Reserve dice, based on the dice shown on their character card. This will normally mean having a mixture of different colored dice, as the game comes with only 4 colored sets of 6 dice. The player’s Reserve dice should be placed near their character card for later use. Once players have their character card and dice, play now begins.

The game is played in a series of rounds. Starting off, each player will roll all of their character’s Starting dice as their Starting roll. Players should then arrange their dice in a row so that each number is easily read. The player with the lowest number rolled is the first player. On a player’s turn, they will perform an attack on their opponent, if they’re able. The player may choose to make either a Power Attack or a Skill Attack. To perform a Power Attack, the player will use one of their dice to capture one of the other opponent’s dice. This is done by using one of their own dice that shows a number greater than or equal to one of their opponent’s dice. The opponent’s captured die is then set aside near the attacking player in their victory pile. The attacking player will then reroll the die that they used in the attack. To perform a Skill Attack, the player will use two or more dice to capture a single die from their opponent. The numbers on the attacker’s dice must add up to exactly the number of the die that the player wishes to capture from their opponent. Once again, the captured die is set aside near the attacking player in their victory pile. The attacking player will then reroll the dice they used to in the attack. If a player is unable to make either a Power Attack or a Skill Attack, they must pass. A player is not allowed to pass or forfeit their turn unless they can not make a legal attack. Once a player has finished with their attack, their turn is over and play passes to their opponent.

The game continues until a player captures their opponent’s last die. When this happens, the round is over. Each player will then score points for each die that they captured, based on the number of sides on the die. They also earn points for each of their own dice that was not captured, earning half the number of sides on the die. Players will then add up their points. The player with the most points wins the round and is given a victory token. For the player that lost the round, they are able to move one of their character’s Reserve dice into their Starting Dice group. Of course, this move is optional. Once this move is completed, a new round begins.

The game keeps going with players capturing dice from their opponents and winning victory tokens for each round won. The first player to win three rounds wins the game.

One last thing of note, each character has a special ability that can be used at various times during the game. When using these powers during play, it’s recommended for the player to take a number of tokens that match the special ability and place them beside their character card. The number of tokens is equal to the number beside the ability icon on the card. For those abilities with no number beside it, this power functions continuously. Each time a player chooses to use an ability, they must set aside one of the tokens to indicate it having been used. There are 11 different abilities. There are abilities that grant an extra turn, allow a reroll of the dice before attacking or even recover a lost die. Some abilities will allow a player to bring in 2 reserve dice or even remove one of a player’s current starting dice. For more information on abilities and how each one works, please check out the rulebook.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with some great looking components. To start off, their are 4 sets of polyhedral dice consisting of a 4 sided, a 6 sided, an 8 sided, a 10 sided, a 12 sided and a 20 sided die. Each set is a different color, there are green, orange, blue and red sets. Each set of dice has large white numbers on it and the finish is marbilized. These are some really great looking dice. They are very bright and colorful. The game also comes with a good sized stack of character cards, 24 characters to be exact. Each of these is normal playing card sized and has a large picture of the character, along with their Starting dice, Reserve dice and special ability icon. The cards are a very good thickness and have a nice finish on them. The iconography is easy to understand. The special ability even notes what the power is in smaller and condensed text beneath the icon. Also included with the cards are 6 bonus showcase challenge cards that a player may place inside one of the plastic card holders that are attached to the custom Sailor Moon Crystal lanyards. These have a chibi style Sailor Moon character on them with a cute little word balloon for challenging other players at conventions with. These are super cute and have some silly challenges written on them. I especially like Tuxedo Mask’s challenge. The lanyard is super adorable and has a string of chibi style characters on it as well. I love how cool these look. My daughter couldn’t wait to put one of these on while playing the game, even though we were just sitting at the house playing it. The final pieces to the game is a large sheet of tokens. These consist of special ability, coins and victory tokens. Each token is made of thick cardboard. The special abilities match with the icons on the character cards, while the victory tokens are rectangular and have the words Victory Token written on them, surrounded by flowers. The coins come in 2 denominations of 1 and 2. To be honest, I have no clue what they’re used for. I have looked over the rules several times and haven’t seen anywhere they may be used, unless they’re meant for Tournaments. In any event, they look cool, even if they’re not used for anything. Overall, I really like how great everything looks. If there were one thing to complain about, it would be that I wish there were twice as many of each colored set of dice. While there are enough for 2 players to play with, you’ll need more dice to play with more players. Other than that, I love the cute and coolness of this game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really well designed. All the information is laid out in a very easy to read and understand format. There are plenty of great pictures including a layout of all the many different character cards. There’s a great example of gameplay with detailed round by round details. Reading through this will help players to easily understand the basics of gameplay. There are several pages where all of the special abilities are explained in great detail as well. Each ability also has a picture of the icon that represents it. This icon is also found on the cards that use the particular ability. The rulebook also includes several different variants for playing the game. There are rules for Single Combat Teams, Tag Team Combat and Dice Challenge Tournaments. I’ll discuss this a bit more in just a moment. Overall the book isn’t that long but contains all of the vital information needed to play the game in various different ways. I’m pleased with the design and find it very helpful and easy to navigate.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
For many players, this game will seem very familiar. In fact, anyone familiar with the game Button Men will already have a good grasp on how this one is played. The reason being is that this game is based on Button Men. There are a few differences in the rules, but not many. For one thing, each character has a special ability that may be used at different times. With Button Men, some characters didn’t have any type of ability. Those that did, were only gifted with one of three different abilities. In this game, there are 11 different abilities. For those counting along at home, that’s 8 more than Button Men has. Each round of gameplay is also a bit different. Instead of a round lasting until each player passes, the round lasts until all of a player’s dice are captured with this game. This makes the rounds a little bit longer but gives more opportunities for come backs from almost defeated players. Of course that’s not all. As I mentioned earlier, the rules include several new ways to play the game. In Single Combat Teams, up to 4 players can play. This can be played in two teams with players controlling between 1 and 4 characters each. Each team should have the same amount of characters on each side. Winning is determined by a best of series of rounds. Tag Team Combat is played with 4, 6 or 8 players equally divided into 2 teams. In this version of the game, players tag in and out until one team is ultimately defeated. Players are even allowed to use the special abilities of their teammate’s characters as well as that of their own character. Like with the standard game, the first team to claim 3 victory tokens wins. Finally there is the Dice Challenge Tournaments. This is played with an unlimited amount of players. In this version, players compete in 1 on 1 matches while keeping track of their victories using some sort of token. Each player will start off with a number of special tokens which they must give the winner of their 1 on 1 match if they lose. If a player loses all their tokens, they’re out of the tournament. After the end of a specified play time, the player with the most special tournament tokens is the winner. As mentioned earlier, this game only comes with enough dice for really 2 players to play. More dice and special tournament tokens will be needed if players wish to play any of these special variants. Needless to say, there’s plenty of different ways to play the game. Of course for me, I prefer the original way. This game is a great filler game that looks really cute. I’m sure that this game could even be combined with the original Button Men or Button Men: Beat People Up if so desired. Fans of either of these original games should really enjoy this one, especially if they’re a fan of anime shows like Sailor Moon. I really like how easily this game can be carried. All of the components can be placed into a small bag and carried very easily. Like the originals, this game has a very small footprint making it possible to play almost anywhere. Fans of dice rolling games should love this one. My daughter loves the characters and really enjoys the fast and simple fun of this game. This is a game that I would highly recommend.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge is a dice game of combat in the Sailor Moon universe. The game doesn’t take long to play. Most game sessions last around 5 – 10 minutes. The dice and cards are all very good quality and the artwork is cute and fun, like the Sailor Moon show. I especially like the added lanyards. They are so awesome. The rulebook is very good as well and covers everything wonderfully. I especially like the special ability break downs and the extra variants to play with. The game itself is fast, simple and fun. It does involve a good bit of luck, like any dice game. The game is small enough and has such a small footprint, that it’s easy to carry along with you wherever you go. Of course you’ll need to put it in something to carry, as the main box is quite large. Fans of Button Men should be very familiar with this game, as it borrows heavily from the rules of play in that game. Fans of dice rolling games and especially Button Men, should really enjoy this game. Players looking for a quick and easy game that works great as a filler, should look no further. Fans of Sailor Moon should enjoy this one as well. Overall it’s a great little dice game that should appeal to a lot of players. This is one that I would highly recommend. In the name of the Moon, it’s fun.
8 out of 10

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

http://www.dyskami.ca/

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Wallet Review

Wallet is a game by Wilfried and Marie Fort, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-7 players. In this game, players take on the role of a birthday party goer for a huge mafia boss. Unfortunately the cops have decided to raid the party causing the big boss to escape on his private helicopter. Seems in the rush, he dropped his walled and players have a few moments to fumble through the wallet for something to save them from arrest. Of course if they’re able to grab a bit of money and jewelry at the same time, that’s all good too. In the end, the player that can secure their innocence and snag the most loot will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Hourglass cards are placed in the center of the table with the hourglass side face up. A Victory Point token of value 1 is given to each player. The remaining Victory Point tokens are placed in the interior zipped pocket of the wallet. The pocket is then zipped closed. The Special cards are shuffled together. Two cards are dealt face down to each player. The remaining cards are set aside not to be used in this round. Each player looks at their Special cards and places them face down in front of themself. The 5 Extra ID cards are placed in the front compartment of the wallet. If playing with only 2 players, the cards with the number 2 in the bottom left corner are the only ones used. For all other player counts, all the cards are used. It should be noted that if players wish to play a more balanced game, then they may choose to use the cards with the numbers on them that are equal and less than the number of players. Any extra cards are set aside. Once the Playing cards are chosen, they are shuffled together. Each player is then dealt 5 cards face down. The rest of the Playing cards are placed into the wallet. A number of coins equal to the number of players is placed onto the table face down. Each player randomly picks a coin. Once each player has chosen a coin, the coins are revealed. The player with the coin of the lowest value is the first player. These coins remain face up on the table in front of the players. Play now begins.

The game is played over 3 rounds. During a round, each player in turn order will take a turn. On a player’s turn, they may perform one action from a list of four. First, they may take 1 card from the wallet without looking at it and add it to their hand. Second, they may place a card from their hand into the wallet. Third, they may buy an ID by paying 300 CU (currency units) or more in any combination of currencies and/or jewelry, placing them face up on the table. The player will then take the extra ID cards from the separate compartment and pick one without showing it to any of the other players. The new ID card is then added to their hand, while the remaining ID cards are returned to the compartment they were taken from. Finally, they may flip over one of the Hourglass cards in the middle of the table. It should be noted that when the Playing cards are placed into the wallet, they should all be facing the same direction. Anytime a card is placed into the wallet, it should face the same direction. When taking cards from or placing cards into the wallet, players should do this without looking. When placing a card into the wallet, the player is allowed to place the card anywhere in the deck. Once each player has completed a turn, the first player must then flip over one of the Hourglass cards before taking their next turn. One last thing of note, Special cards grant a player a special benefit that allows them to different things, like perform 2 regular actions, force all players to pass a card in their hand to the player next to them or even exchange cards with another player of their choice. These cards have instructions on them that tell when they may be used, either at the beginning of the player’s turn or at the end of the round. Each card’s text should be followed as written.

Once the last Hourglass card has been flipped over, the round ends. As noted above, some Special cards may take place at this time. Once they have been resolved, any Police Officers on duty reveal themselves. A Police Officer is considered on duty if the player has the Police Officer ID, no more than 500 CU and no more than 2 types of currencies on hand. He may not have any other IDs and must also have the Police Badge. The Police Officer will then inspect a player by looking at their ID and prop cards. All players will then reveal their cards. Players will either be found innocent or guilty. Players are found innocent if they have only one ID, no more than 500 CU and no more than two types of currencies on hand. It should be noted however that Jewelry is not considered a currency. Players are found guilty if they don’t meet the requirements mentioned above. It should be noted that some IDs and prop cards will change what a player may or may not have at the end of a round to be considered innocent or guilty. For more information on this, please check out the rulebook. Any player found guilty must lose 1 Victory Point token of their choice, placing it in the interior zippered pocket of the wallet. Innocent players will then count their money. Innocent players will then draw a number of Victory Point tokens from the wallet depending on the number of players, starting with the wealthiest player. It should be noted that not every innocent player will receive Victory Point tokens. Victory Point tokens are kept face down in front of the player. Once all this has been completed a new round begins. Setting up a new round is much like before. For more information on this, please check out the rulebook.

The game continues until three rounds have been fully completed. At this point, players add up their Victory Points and the player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game consists of mostly a bunch of cards and some tokens. However it does have one really unique component that I’ve never seen used in a board game before, a large wallet. The wallet is a bit larger than most wallets would be. It appears to be made of the same type of material as those kids wallets we used to have back in the 80’s. The logo for the game is printed on the front of it, along with the board game companies. The wallet has one zippered pocket and one regular pocket. The back part of the wallet, where one would normally keep their cash, has a zipper on either side. It’s actually quite weird, not only because of the zippers but also because the wallet doesn’t open all the way up like a normal wallet would. The material that the 2 pockets are on is smaller than the length of the full wallet. Still, it’s a very unique and unusual game prop. The tokens for the game are made of thick cardboard. These are used for the Victory Points and the coins. The coins have a special design on them, while the VP tokens are just numbers. These are pretty good quality. The rest of the game is comprised of the various types of cards. There are the hourglass cards which depict a giant hourglass on them. These are used to keep track of time during the game. The special cards are played at different times and have several different images on them, some that are in keeping with the games theme and some that are more about actual game mechanics. The Playing cards contain IDs, props, jewelry and currency notes. There are also 5 extra ID cards. The ID cards have large illustrated images of the specific character type that they represent. The jewelry and props are all large images of what they represent, such as a credit card, badge or ring. The currency cards are brightly colored almost like Monopoly money, just in card form. The game also has some reference cards to help during the game. Needless to say, the game looks really interesting. I like the artwork for the cards especially the different character designs. Each piece fits in well with the theme and helps you to really get into the game. I like that cards were chosen for the money instead of going with paper money or something like that, although that would have been a bit more thematic. I think all the different elements work well together and make for a unique party style game.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is rather small. By that I mean that it is literally about the size of a normal playing card. It’s also not a very thick book either. Even with the book being small, it’s still got plenty of great pictures and some examples as well. The actual rules take up about 2 pages, plus an extra page for setting up the game. There are 6 pages of nothing but ID, prop and special cards. Each card is explained in great detail with an actual picture of the card. This is really great and is extremely helpful, especially when learning the game. Everything is really easy to read and understand. It doesn’t take long to read either. I will say that it does take a little bit of reading to completely understand how the game is played. For instance, you’ll have to read the section for the different cards to understand how they work instead of everything just being lumped together in the general rules. It’s a little bit annoying but with the book being so small, it’s not too bad. There is a bit of page flipping that you’ll have to do to completely get everything, so just be aware. Overall, the rulebook is pretty good. I think I would have preferred a bit bigger book, but this one gets the job done.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
On the box, this game calls itself a party game that only takes 15 to 30 minutes to play. While I get where they’re coming from, I don’t exactly get the reasoning behind that decision. I guess it’s due to the fact that games with a similar feel, such as Werewolf or other social games of that nature, are labeled as party games. Whatever the case may be, this is definitely one of the most unusual party games that I’ve ever played. It definitely has aspects of social deduction, as players will be trying to figure out which ID the other players may have. However unlike in games like werewolf, it’s not as big a deal unless you’re guilty and someone else has the policeman with a badge. That’s about the only real time that you’ll worry about it. The other IDs just place different restrictions on how you win. Of course the main idea is to get exactly what you need from the wallet and then to flip over those hourglass cards as quickly as possible so that you win. Of course the fact that each player is dealt out 2 special cards that can really mess you over is something that you have to watch out for. You may have to do a bit of bluffing or rearranging some cards into or out of your hand to get things lined up just the right way. The main thing is to keep a watch on the hourglass cards and make sure that you only have the cards that you need to be innocent. Even if you have to accept less CUs, it’s better to not be greedy and push your luck. I found that every time I felt like I could sneak just a little more money into my hand, that’s when I’d mess up. Overall this is a fairly easy game to play and it doesn’t take a lot of time either. It’s a quick party game that the whole family can enjoy. It’s easy enough that even some younger players can enjoy it as well. Fans of games like Werewolf or any of the other social deduction style games should enjoy this one as well. This is one that I’d recommend giving a try. It’s definitely a different way of playing and it gives more options and choices for players to make. I found it to be a fast, fun filler style game that will work at family gatherings or with just a group of friends.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Wallet is a party game that utilizes a very unique prop, an actual wallet. The game doesn’t take very long to play. Most game sessions last around 15 to 30 minutes. The components are great and completely unique for a party style game. The wallet is a little weird in how that the zippers are placed which makes it not want to completely open. The artwork on all the cards is top notch and the tokens are all good and thick. The rulebook is very nice looking, albeit a bit small. There are some great card references in it with plenty of pictures. The rules do tend to skip about a bit making things a bit frustrating as you have to flip back and forth through the pages. The game itself is a neat take on social deduction and bluffing especially for a party game. I feel that it’s a bit unusual for a party game but thematically things fit together quite nicely. I like that the game is short and doesn’t really overstay it’s welcome. I think fans of games like Werewolf or one of the many other games of that type should enjoy the way this one plays too. Players looking for a new twist on social deduction or for something different in a party game, should look no further than this one. This is a family friendly game that everyone can participate in and enjoy. While I’m not necessarily crazy about party games or even social deduction games, I think that this one is quite entertaining. This is a game that I would recommend giving a try. Who took my wallet?
8 out of 10

 

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

http://www.cryptozoic.com/

 

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Go Nuts For Donuts! Review

Go Nuts For Donuts! is a game by Zachary Eagle, published by Gamewright Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be trying to score the tastiest and best looking donuts from the bakery. However they’ll have to be careful as other players might be after the same donuts as they are, meaning no one gets to eat it. In the end, the player that can choose their donuts the best will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player is given a set of selection cards in numerical order that is equal to the number of players plus 1. For example, in a four player game the player would receive a set of cards with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Any remaining selection cards are returned to the box. The donut deck is created by adding or removing cards based on the number of players. Each card has a colored background and dot around the outside of the description box to help players determine which cards to use. For a four player game, the teal, pink and purple background cards are used while the blue cards are only used with 5 players or more. The donut deck is shuffled and placed face down near the middle of the play area. A row of cards is then placed to the right of the donut deck equal to the number of players plus one. This area is known as the donut row. A donut row number indicator is then placed above each card in numerical order, starting with the number 1 nearest to the deck and moving to the right. Once this has been taken care of, play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. At the beginning of each round, players will secretly choose which of the available cards they want by taking the selection card that matches the card’s number from their hand and placing it face down in front of them. Once all players have chosen a card, everyone reveals their face down card. Starting with the lowest number and going up, players will look to see if they are able to take their chosen card. If only one player chose the card number, then they are able to take it from the donut row and place it face up in front of them. If two or more players chose the same card, then no one gets it. The card is then immediately discarded to the discard pile. If a player was able to take a card and it has a star in the corner of it’s description border, then that player is then able to activate it’s special power when they take it from the donut row. It should be noted that this power is only able to be activated if the card was taken from the donut row. No powers are activated if the card was taken from another player, drawn from the deck or taken from the discard pile.

Once all of the cards that were selected by players has been taken and any special powers resolved, the donut row is refilled. That means that any empty spaces in the donut row are filled by drawing a new card from the deck and placing it into the vacated spot, starting with the lowest number and moving upward. Players place the selection card that they used during the round back into their hand. A new round will then begin in exactly the same way as above.

The game continues until there aren’t enough cards in the donut deck to completely refill the donut row. When this happens, each player will then look at each of the cards in front of themself and count up the points received for each one, being sure to include any points earned from any special powers noted in the text of each one. The player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
These have got to be some of the cutest looking cards and pieces that I’ve seen since Sushi Go Party. The game consists of mainly two decks of cards. There are the small euro sized cards that are the selection cards. These have a number shaped donut on them. The other card deck is the actual donut cards. These are normal sized cards that have the different donuts on them that players will be trying to acquire through the game. The artwork on each of these cards is really cute and fun. The donut designs all have a silly and cute little face, much like the different types of sushi in Sushi Go. The back side of the cards make me think of the old Dunkin Donuts shops from the 80’s. Each card has a really nice textured satin finish on them that makes them very easy to shuffle. The special abilities on the cards are easy to figure out and the text is large enough to read without any trouble. The other pieces that come with the game are the donut row indicators. These are made of thick cardboard and also have the same numbered donut designs as those on the donut selection cards, except with wints or vents. I’m not sure what the design is actually supposed to be. I’m saying wings. Each of these is double sided and have a shiny finish to them. I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with the overall designs of everything inside the box, including the insert, which fits everything in a nicely designed slot specific to each piece. Overall I think that the game is simply too cute for words and that it looks great. Kids will definitely love the designs and will be quite happy to see each new card type come out onto the table. I’m very happy with how this game looks.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is actually quite good. There are plenty of pictures and examples of gameplay in the pages of this book. Everything is explained really well and is quick and easy to read. The rules of the game are very straight forward and simple. The book also includes a donut guide that includes detailed explanations of each card along with a picture of each donut type. The guide even separates the donuts by the background colors of the cards so that you can easily find what you’re looking for. I’m really thankful for this, even though most of the cards are pretty much self explanatory. I didn’t see anything in this rulebook that was difficult to understand at all. This is a very well thought out and well designed rulebook. I’m very pleased with the overall look and design.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is so cute and so fun. When I first saw it, I immediately thought of Sushi Go. Each of the cute little faces on each one reminded me a lot of the different sushi images. In some ways these games are similar but also very different. In Sushi Go, you’re drafting cards from different hands of cards that rotate till they’re all gone. In this game, you’re selecting cards as well, except that you’re not always guaranteed a card each round. Sometimes you’ll pick the same card that another player chose which means that neither one of you get a card that time. You really have to think about what the other player already has and what they might be going for. Are they wanting that donut with the high point value or do they want to be able to draw another card from the deck giving them 2 cards this round. Do they want to add to their set of donut holes or do they want to give you a negative card. These are the kinds of things you have to think about. While this is a fast paced game, it does have a little bit of strategy to it, not that you’re going to be spending 10-15 minutes trying to decide what move you’re going to make, like in some of those strategy and war games. Still with more players, you do have to make some tough decisions. With fewer players, the negative cards and those that interact more with the other players, don’t really enter into the game. It’s in those higher player counts that things can get a bit crazy and chaotic. I like that I can play a simple game with just my daughter or I can get the whole family together and really go at it with everyone. This is a great family card game that the kids will especially love. It’s also a great filler game as well. The short play time makes it easy to bring to the table during a night of longer games quite easily. Fans of games like Sushi Go should love it for sure. Even though there are some similarities, this one is different enough that you can own both without any real overlap in gameplay. Needless to say, my daughter absolutely adores this game and so do I. This is one that I would highly recommend. What more is there to say? I love this game.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Go Nuts For Donuts! is a fast paced card game full of donut goodness. It’s quick and easy to play. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes or so. The cards are great quality and have some of the most adorable looking artwork that I’ve seen. Many players will find the look very similar to that of Sushi Go. The rulebook is excellent and has a very helpful donut guide inside with pictures and explanations of each of the different cards. The game itself is a lot of fun. It reminds me of Sushi Go, but is different enough that players can own both without there being any overlap in gameplay. The game is family friendly and is fun for everyone from the kids to the adults. It also works as a great filler for a longer night of gaming. This is one that my daughter and I love. The more players that play, the more interaction there is between players and the more chaos there is. With fewer players, the game focuses more on gaining points and collecting sets of donuts. This is one that I can easily play with my daughter just to have fun, or I can play it with the whole family and we can get crazy. The varied styles of gameplay are an amazing part of this game. Fans of games like Sushi Go should love this one. I highly recommend this game. It’s great for families, even those with younger kids. It’s definitely got mine and my daughter’s seal of approval. We love it a lot. One thing though, don’t be surprised if you’re craving donuts after playing it. I am.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.gamewright.com

 

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Rick and Morty: The Ricks Must Be Crazy Multiverse Game Review

Rick and Morty: The Ricks Must Be Crazy Multiverse Game is a game by Matt Hyra and Cory Jones, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of one of the characters from the TV show, Rick and Morty. They will be building contraptions and power supplies to earn victory points. Of course they’ll have to watch out for their opponents who will also be trying to snatch up that power for themselves. In the end, the player that can earn the most VPs will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player chooses a character and takes the character’s oversized card, pawn, VP tracking token and Build/Control tokens. Each player places the oversized character card in front of them. It is recommended for the first game, to have the full art side face up. After a few games, players can choose to use the flip side. The Power/VP track is placed near the middle of the play area. Each player places their character’s VP tracking token on the 0 space of the VP track with their character’s face side up. When playing with the special abilities, each player should read aloud their special ability for all players to hear. The oversized ‘Verse cards are placed in the middle of the play area in a row. The cards are placed in this order from top to bottom; Rickverse, Microverse, Miniverse, Teenyverse. Space for cards to be placed should be left between each of the ‘Verse cards. Each of the ‘Verse card’s special text is read aloud for everyone to hear. Each player places their character’s pawn on the Teenyverse card. The cards are shuffled together and placed face down near the middle of the play area. Each player is dealt 5 cards each. This is their starting hand. The first player is chosen and is given the First Player token along with the 5 Action tokens. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round consists of two phases; the Action Phase and the Power Up Phase. At the start of each round, each player will draw 1 card from the deck. If a player is playing as Morty and using the special abilities side of the card, they will draw 2 cards instead of just 1. In the Action phase, each player will take a turn. At the start of each player’s turn, they will take Action tokens equal to the Action icon value on the ‘Verse card that their character’s pawn is located on. In the player’s Action phase, they will be able to take actions from a list of 6 different actions. Each action costs 1 Action token to perform. The player may use an Action token to place a Contraption card. This is done by placing the chosen Contraption card below the ‘Verse card that your character’s pawn is on. The player will then place 1 of their Build tokens on it with the hammer and wrench side face up. They may use an Action token to place a Power Supply card. This may be placed below the ‘Verse that the player’s character pawn occupies or it may be placed 1 ‘Verse lower. When placed on the same ‘Verse as their character pawn, the player places a Build token on the card with the hammer and wrench side up. If the player chose to place it 1 ‘Verse lower, then the player must have enough Action tokens to complete it. However the cost to complete it is much lower and uses the lower Action cost on the card, more on this in a moment. Another action that may be taken for 1 Action token is to attach an Ability. The Ability card is placed beside the player’s character card and just like Contraptions and Power Supply cards, a Build token is placed on it with the hammer and wrench side up. With Contraptions, Power Supplies and Abilities partially built, another action the player can take is to add a Build token to one of these for the cost of 1 Action token. Once the number of Build tokens matches the Action cost of the card, the player removes all of the Build tokens from the card. The card is then considered built. If a Contraption was built, the player flips one of their Build tokens to the other side to the face side and places it on the card to show who controls it. Power Supplies do not have owners but the player that completes it gains the reward listed on the card instead. Ability cards provide an ability that may be used once per round by paying the specific cost to activate it. If a player is running low of Action tokens, it should be noted that they have the option to discard a card to gain an action. Yet another available action for players to take is to move their pawn to an adjacent ‘Verse card. This costs an action token just like the other actions. The final action is to discard a card to draw a card for the cost of one action. Once a player runs out of actions or chooses to pass, play passes to the next player in turn order. Once each player has completed a turn, play moves to the next phase.

The next phase is the Power Up Phase. In this phase, each ‘Verse wil be resolved starting with the Teenyverse and moving up to the Rickverse. At the beginning of the game, the Power Level is set to 0 by placing the Power Tracking Token on 0 space of the Power/VP track. For each ‘Verse, players will complete 3 steps before resolving the next ‘Verse. First, the players must check for any completed Power Supplies in that particular ‘Verse. If there are any, then the amount of power listed on the card is added to the Power track. Next, each player in turn order may play only one One Shot card and activate any number of their abilities once, as long as their character pawn is present on this ‘Verse. One shot cards cost a specific amount of power that the player must pay by moving the Power Tracking token down on the track. For the final step, players in turn order will activate completed Contraptions that they control in the particular ‘Verse. It should be noted that in the Rickverse, players may activate partially built Contraptions as well. Also of note is that players do not have to their character’s pawn present on the particular ‘Verse to be able to activate a Contraption. Once all Contraptions have been activated, or all of the power has been used up, any remaining power is saved and is available for the next ‘Verse up. This process is then repeated for the next ‘Verse up and so on until the Rickverse has been resolved.

Once the Power Up phase for the Rickverse has been completed, the round ends. Any remaining power is lost and the Power Track is set back onto 0. Players will then check to see if anyone was able to hit the required Victory Points number to end the game. If they reached that number at any time during the round, then the game ends. If not, then play and the First Player marker passes to the next player in turn order. A new round will then begin. If a player did hit the required number, even if they lost points placing them below the required number, the game ends at the end of that round. Players check the VP track and the player with the most VPs is the winner.

 

COMPONENTS
This game comes with some great quality pieces. First off there is the Power and Victory Point track. This is thick cardboard is has the show’s logo at the top of it. As the numbers get higher, the color goes from green to red. It’s pretty cool looking. Some other cardboard pieces are the different character pawns. There are four of these that showcase a particular character. The background color of these matches with the plastic base that the pawn is placed into. The color also matches on the character’s VP Tracking token, Build/Control tokens and Character card. The tokens have the character’s face on one side. The other side has a hammer and wrench for the Build/Control tokens and +30 on the back of the VP Tracker. The Power Tracking token is the same size as the player’s VP Tracking tokens, but it has the power design that is present on the One Shot cards and at the bottom of the Power Supply cards. This design is also present on one side of the 5 Action tokens. The other side of these has a gear design that is the same as the Action cost on the different cards. The ‘Verse cards are also thick cardboard pieces. These have a piece of art that looks like it was taken from the show. These cardboard pieces are really nice and sturdy. The Build/Control tokens feel a bit small but it’s nothing major. This brings me to the cards of the game. There are the oversized character cards and the regular sized game cards. The character cards remind me a lot of the character cards for the DC Comics Deck Building Game. They seem very close to the same size, even the design is similar. On one side is a full art picture with the character’s name. The other side looks more like the DC character cards with the character’s name, picture and ability down below. I really like how these are set up and I like the artwork. Then there are the game cards. Each of these looks like it has an image from the show on it. The card quality is good, although the cards are a bit slick. The iconography on the cards is pretty simple to understand and the text is easy to read. This brings me to the few minor issues that I have with the components. First, there’s the First Player token. This large cardboard piece depicts the main 2 characters with outstretched arms and raised middle fingers. In other words, they’re flippin’ the bird. Was this image seriously necessary? This same type of crude and brash humor is also found in the images of a couple of the cards, such as the Egan Cinema and Peace Among Worlds. Some of the card names are a bit rough as well. Those I won’t list here, just be aware that they’re there. Look I get that the game is based on an adult cartoon from Adult Swim. However there’s really no need for images and words like that in a board game. I’m a bit disappointed. For the most part the game looks good, however those few blemishes on an otherwise nice looking game will affect my rating.
6 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is pretty good. There are a few pictures and some examples of gameplay in the book. However there can always be more. The explanation of how to set up the game is great, as is the picture that accompanies it. Each of the different icons, tokens and card types are explained in great detail, which I really appreciate. The problem I found was in the explanation of the rules. It seems like to get the full concept of how to play the game, you need to bounce from one page to the next. The phases and steps are laid out, but are then explained in greater detail on a different page. You’ll also need to flip ahead to understand different parts not spelled out in this section, as well as flipping back for more information on how the cards work. It’s a bit annoying and rather frustrating. The rules for the game are not that difficult, but to fully understand them requires way too much trouble. Thankfully, once you have learned the rules, the back page has a nice reference on how a round works. This is one more part of the book that I’m thankful for. No need to start flipping and hunting again. All that said, I think the book is ok but could have been designed a lot better. Once more, I’m disappointed in the results.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
So far, this game has had some very mediocre ratings from me. Thankfully though, the game plays better than the sum of it’s parts. First I’ll admit, I’ve only watched 1 episode of Rick and Morty. So I know very little about the show or it’s characters. They look like a spoof of Doc Brown and Marty McFly from Back to the Future, which I’m sure is the basis for the characters. The one episode that I watched seemed rather disgusting and nothing like what I expected it to be. That said, I was only mildly interested in this game when I first saw it. Obviously some of the humor of the game is lost on me, having only watched 1 episode. Still I found the game quite interesting and kind of fun. It has a few similarities to the DC Deck Building Game with a bit of worker placement feel to it. The idea is to get the most Victory Points by building different Contraptions and Power Supplies. You’ll power up your character using abilities and be better able to perform certain tasks by using your special ability. I like as the power levels build in each ‘Verse, you’re able to use that power to do more things. That is as long as you’re able to be one of the first players to use it. The idea that players higher in the turn order can use up all the power before another player lower in turn order can adds a little bit of take that to the game. Of course you’ll need to move around to be able to build and activate more Contraptions. The more you build and control, the better off you’ll be and the more you’ll be able to do. The one problem is that as you move further from the starting ‘Verse, you’ll lose more and more actions. The closer you come to the starting ‘Verse, you’ll start gaining those actions back. Of course you won’t get them until the next turn. I do like how that the game seems to always be changing. Things get built and power gets added to the pool. This allows you to do more things and gives you more choices to make. I like having plenty of choices to make. It means that there’s no one path to victory. That’s true with this game. I think that fans of the show may enjoy this one, especially if they like any of the Cryptozoic Deck Building games or they like games with a worker placement feel to them. Thematically, I can’t say that it fits or doesn’t, as I’m unfamiliar with the show. As I mentioned earlier, the only real problem that I found with this game is the crude humor and images on some of the cards and the first player token. I saw no real need for any of it. Those few images and words could have been replaced with something different and it wouldn’t have affected the gameplay. If anything it would have improved the look of the game. As it is, this is one that is not family friendly. That is unless you don’t mind your kids seeing the images and words. This may work with older teens and adults. I’m guessing that’s why it has ages 17 and up written on the box. That makes sense. Otherwise the game is good. I enjoy playing it. With the right group, it works. This is one that I would only recommend for the age limit on the box. For families and those with younger kids, this would be a pass. The main thing is to know what you’re getting into before playing it. Overall, it’s a fun game with an image problem.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Rick and Morty: The Ricks Must Be Crazy Multiverse Game is a game that combines aspects of worker placement with a bit of take that. It’s centered on the characters from the Rick and Morty show on Adult Swim. The game doesn’t take too long. Most game sessions last around 40 minutes. The components look great and are remind me of those found in the Cryptozoic Deck Building games. However there are a few things like the First Player token and some of the cards that have some rather crude humor and images on them that I found unnecessary. The rulebook looks good but requires a lot of page flipping to fully understand the rules. This was yet another aspect of the game that I found disappointing. The game itself makes up for some of the failures of the components and rulebook, as it’s actually a fun game. I enjoy that there are aspects of several mechanics in work here. I enjoyed playing this one and find that even despite the minor issues that I had with this one, it somewhat redeemed itself. Unfortunately I know very little about the show so I’m sure most of the humor of the game has escaped me. This is one that is not family friendly. Families and players with small children should probably look somewhere else. Those players 17 and above may find plenty of things to like, especially if they enjoy the show. This is one game that I could only recommend for the ages listed on the box, 17 and above. As it is, it’s not a bad game if you know what you’re getting into first.
7 out of 10

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

http://www.cryptozoic.com/

 

 

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Mountains of Madness Review

Mountains of Madness is a game by Rob Daviau, published by IELLO. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of scientists on a daring expedition to Antarctica where they have discovered an ancient city behind a chain of nearly impassible mountains. They will have to work together to not only survive the harsh weather and rugged terrain of the mountain but also the attacks on their very sanity. Communication is the key as they try to discover one of a kind relics in this hidden city. In the end, if the expedition is able to recover more relics without suffering too many injuries, then the players will be declared the winners. However if their injuries prove to great, the mountain will have claimed them and all hope of discovery is lost.

To begin, the mountain board is placed in the middle of the play area. Each player choose a player board and places it in front of them on whichever side they choose. The Encounter Tiles are sorted by type and a set number of each are placed face down randomly on the matching spaces on the board. The Injury Card deck is placed face up on the board in it’s space, as is the Arcane Equipment Card deck and the Relic Card deck. The Equipment Cards are shuffled and placed faced down on their space on the board. A number of Injury Cards are drawn from the deck equal to the number of players and placed in the Equipment discard stack. The Madness Cards are sorted by level and placed into face down stacks that are shuffled separately. These are then placed on their spot on the board. Each player is then dealt a number of equipment cards determined by the number of players. These may not be shown to any other players. The Sand Timer is put on it’s space on the board, while the Penalty Die and Relic Tokens are placed near the board. The first player is chosen and assumes the role of Leader for the first turn. The Airplane and Sled Board are given to the first player, who will then place these in front of themself. The 6 Leadership Tokens are then placed on the corresponding space on the Sled Board. Finally, the Leader will deal out a number of Madness cards based on the number of players. Once this is done, play now begins.

The game is played over several turns. Each turn is divided into 5 phases; Movement, Encounter, Resolution, Draw and Rest. The first phase is the Movement phase. In this phase, the Leader will decide which direction to move the expedition, starting from the Coast and eventually moving onto the mountain, through the city and into the Edge of Madness before escaping through the sky. The players are able to discuss which path they think is best but ultimately the decision rests with the Leader. On the first turn, the Leader will take one of the Coast tiles and place it in front of them, placing the airplane onto the empty space. In later turns, the Leader must choose an adjacent space to move the airplane to. This may be be to a uncovered tile or into an empty space that had previously been taken. It should be noted however that the players may not stay on the same space. They must move. Also of note, when the players reach the Edge of Madness tile, they are no longer allowed to descend. They must try to escape by moving onto the next Escape tile for each of the next 3 turns. At the end of the turn where they moved onto the third escape tile, the players have escaped and the game ends. One last thing, in this phase the Leader can elect to discard one or more Leadership tokens to allow a player chosen by them, to ignore their Madness card for the rest of the turn. More on Madness Cards in a bit. The discarded Leadership tokens are moved from the Sled Board to the Leadership Token discard area on the board.

The next phase is the Encounter phase. In this phase, the players deal with the Encounter tile until the Sand Timer runs out. First the Leader will turn over the Encounter Tile if it’s not already face up in front of them. They will then turn over the Sand Timer. At this point, any player that has a Madness card is forced to apply the effects of the card and must play accordingly. Madness cards affect a player’s ability to communicate by changing the way they behave, talk or move. Once the sand timer is no longer running, players are free to act normally, but must act as if they don’t remember their strange behaviors. Players are not able to discuss their Madness and may not show anyone else their Madness card. Once the sand timer is running, the players must use this time to gather any equipment needed to overcome the challenge as noted on the Encounter tile. Each tile will show 2 or 3 challenges along with the accompanying symbol for the type of equipment needed, as well as a number or range of numbers required to complete the challenge. Players are allowed to discuss which equipment they have in their hand at this time. Once players are ready they may play Equipment and/or injury cards by placing them face down onto the Sled board. This may be done at any time during this phase. As soon as a player places a card on the Sled board, any and all communication must stop immediately. Players are then able to play cards from their hand face down onto the Sled board until the sand timer runs out. If a player speaks or tries to communicate in any way, the Leader is forced to discard a Leadership token. Once the sand timer runs out, players must remain silent for a few more seconds as the Leader decides if they want to use a Leadership token or not. If they choose to use one, it is discarded from the Sled board and placed in the Leadership token discard area of the board. The Encounter phase is then restarted. The sand timer is flipped over allowing the players to once again talk and discuss. This can be done as many times as the Leader feels necessary. Once the Leader decides not to use any more Leadership tokens and the sand timer has run out, play continues on to the next phase.

The third phase is the Resolution Phase. In this phase, players determine if they were successful in overcoming the challenge from the previous phase and seeing if they gained any rewards or suffered any failures. At this time, the Leader reveals all of the cards placed on the Sled board, comparing them to the Challenge tile and the values for each type of equipment needed. If the total value of each required equipment type equals or falls within the given range of numbers, then the challenge was a success. If the total value is higher or lower than the required number of range of numbers, then it was a failure. If the players succeed in at least one of the challenges on the tile, they gain the reward shown on the tile. Rewards can be one of several different things. It can be a Relic card that forces a player to also draw a Madness card or a piece of Arcane equipment. It can also allow the Leader to turn over a tile for a few seconds to scope out a particular section. It can heal an injury on the Sled board, returning it to the deck or even place Leadership tokens back onto the Sled board. Of course if the players failed at any of the challenges, they must also suffer any failures. For each challenge that the team failed to overcome, the Leader must choose a consequence. The Leader can choose for one player to take a Madness card or roll the Penalty die. If all players already have a level 3 Madness card, then this option is not available. If a player already has a Madness card, they must draw a card from the next level up. If all players have a level 3 Madness card and a card must be drawn, the Leader must discard a Leadership token from the Sled board. If there are no more tokens on the Sled board, then the Leader places one of the Leadership tokens from the discard area on the board, back into the box. If the last Leadership token is ever returned to the box, then the players immediately lose the game. If the Leader rolls the Penalty die, they must apply the effect indicated by the symbol. This may be an accident that causes the Leader to draw 2 Injury cards and add them to the Equipment card discard pile. If an Injury card must be drawn and there are no Injury cards left in the deck, the players immediately lose the game. The die result can also lead to confusion which forces the Leader to discard as many cards from the Equipment deck as the difference between the total value of cards played of the required type and the failed challenge value. The Penalty die can also create a loss of confidence that requires the Leader to discard 2 Leadership tokens from the Sled board. It should be noted however that the Leader can choose to discard a Leadership token to be able to ignore the rolled result and then reroll the Penalty die. This can be done as often as the Leader would like, by discarding a Leadership token for each reroll. Once the failures have been taken care of, all the cards that were played during the Encounter phase are discarded. The Encounter tile is set aside not to be used during the rest of the game. Play then continues to the next phase.

The fourth phase is the Draw phase. In this phase the Leader deals Equipment cards out to each player, including themself. Cards are dealt out until either the player’s hand limit is reached or the deck runs out of cards. The hand limit is determined by the number of players. If there are not enough cards left in the deck for each player to refill their hand, the Leader choose who gets cards. The Leader can also discard a Leadership token from the Sled board to increase a player’s hand size by 1 card until the next Draw phase. Once cards have been dealt out, play passes to the final phase.

The last phase is the Rest phase. This phase is optional. For this phase, the Leader can choose for the expedition to take a rest, following 3 steps in order. First, 1 Leadership token is is taken from either the Sled board or the discard area and is placed back into the box. Next any remaining Leadeship tokens in the discard pile are returned to the Sled board. Finally, the Equipment card discard pile is shuffled with the Equipment card deck to make a new Equipment card deck. The deck is then returned to it’s place on the board face down. It should be noted, that if the team has only 1 Leadership token remaining on either the Sled board or in the discard pile, they may not use the Rest option. Regardless of whether the Leader chooses to use the Rest option or not, the players check to see if the Airplane is on the third Escape tile. If it is, the expedition has escaped the mountain. If not, then the Sled board is passed to the next player in turn order and a new turn begins.

The game continues until one of the end game actions occurs, as noted earlier. If the Leader is forced to return the last Leadership token to the box, the players lose. If the Leader must draw an Injury card and the Injury deck is empty, the players lose. If the airplane is on the third Escape tile at the end of a turn, the players have escaped the mountain and must then check to see if they were successful or if they failed. If the expedition collected less Relic cards than there are Injury cards in the Equipment deck, Equipment discard pile and all the player’s hands combined, then the players lose. If they gathered an equal amount or more Relic cards than Injury cards in the Equipment deck, Equipment discard pile and all the player’s hands combined, then the team wins. The amount of Relic cards over the number of Injury cards will determine just how successful the expedition actually was. This number is checked against the chart in the rulebook.

COMPONENTS
This game has some truly great looking pieces. The board is amazing. It looks like something painted for the cover of a H. P. Lovecraft book. The artwork really conveys the isolation and chill of the frozen mountain. The player boards are double sided and have a great looking photo of the character that it represents. Each of these has an overview of the different phases of a turn on it, which makes a great reference. These are made of really thick cardboard making them quite sturdy. The airplane figure is like a miniature model. It kind of reminds me of the models for the X-Wing Miniatures game or Star Trek Attack Wing. The detail on this really great. I especially like the call sign for the plane printed on the underside of the wing. It’s a neat little detail. The Sand Timer is a large wooden piece with red sand inside a glass tube. This thing is really nicely detailed and looks amazing. It’s very high quality and could have easily been substituted with a cheap plastic model instead. However IELLO chose to go with a much better quality version that I really love. The Sled Board and Relic Tokens are all thick cardboard, much like the player boards. I like the artistic design for the sled and how well it fits in with the theme and designs of the rest of the game. The Relic tokens are confusing and cover up portions of the player’s player board determined by the Relic card. It adds another thematic element to the game that really fits in with the madness aspect. The Leadership tokens are thick plastic pieces that have what appears to be a screen printed design on them. They are double sided and have the same image on each side. The Penalty die is red and has white icons engraved into it. There are 3 confusion icons, 2 injury and 1 loss of confidence on the six sided die. The images are quite large compared to the die which is quite nice. The Encounter tiles are also thick cardboard and have this nice looking icon on the back of each that fits in with the symbols on the board. The Escape tiles are a little smaller than the others. On the front side of the tiles is an amazing piece of artwork that showcases one of the different encounters that must be dealt with. The symbols are easy to understand and does not dominate or distract too much from the art. The cards are really great quality as well as the rest of the game. There’s not a whole lot of artwork on these but what little bit is there looks nice and fits in with the feel and theme of the game. Most of the artwork on these are found on the backs of each one. However the equipment cards do have a small pencil drawing of whatever piece of equipment it represents. I kind of wish there had been a bit more art on each of these, even though it does feel right already. One last thing of note is the insert. This game has a really remarkable insert that fits each of the pieces inside in it’s own place. Everything is sorted beautifully and looks great inside the box. Overall I’m really overcome with how nice each of the different pieces looks. It’s an amazing looking game that you have to see to believe. It’s definitely one of the most artistic and thematic looking games that I’ve seen so far this year.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really great. It has so many great looking pictures and tons of examples throughout the text of the book. Each of the different elements of the game are explained in great detail with some nice pictures to go with them. There’s a amazing looking picture of how the game looks set up along with the detailed instructions on how to set it up. Each phase of the game is explained in great detail, along with several examples with pictures on each phase. Throughout the book are these neat little pictures and pages that look like they were torn from a weathered journal. Each one feels like it tells a little piece of the story and adds a bit of theme to the book. The rulebook also includes an added expert variant, in case the game feels to easy. Overall I think the book fits in with the game’s theme really well. I didn’t see anything that was particularly difficult to understand. Everything is laid out rather well and is fairly easy to read through. All in all, I’m pleased with the overall look and feel of the rulebook.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I love reading H. P. Lovecraft. His stories are so imaginative and creative. They really paint such an amazing world throughout each one. This game takes the idea behind just one of his stories, At the Mountains of Madness, and turns it into a sort of social deduction game. In some ways the game makes me think of Dead of Winter, The Thing Infection at Outpost 31 and Werewolf, just without the traitor aspects. In this game you’ll be trying to figure out the best route to take, minimizing the hazards as best as possible. You’ll also be trying to discuss the different pieces of equipment needed to succeed at the encounters. The problem is that you might not have all the pieces that you need to be able to do what needs to be done. On top of that, if a player has a Madness card, there’s no telling what they might say or do as you’re trying to get the right pieces in place. Even worse is that you only have 30 seconds to figure it all out. Those discussions and the planning remind me of the discussions in Werewolf as you try to determine who to exile. Have a character or two start collecting relics and when it’s there turn as the Leader, they aren’t able to do certain things. Of course you have those Leadership tokens to help you through the game. Thing is that you’d be surprised at how quickly you’ll be discarding them, especially if you have some inexperienced players. This is definitely one that you’ll want to play with older players as the tenseness and role playing aspects of the game may be too much for younger players. Even so, the game isn’t as deep and difficult as something like Eldritch Horror. This is definitely a game with a bit lighter feel. Thematically the game fits in perfectly with the story. I like the tenseness and desperation you can feel while playing. I like how each player will experience their own madness in unique and unusual ways. I also like how that everyone is working towards the same goal, collecting relics and escaping from the mountain. That said, the game almost feels like a Cthulhu themed party game, which is a bit odd. Not that it’s a bad game, it just isn’t exactly what I thought it would be. This one will work with groups of 3 -5 players but isn’t exactly family friendly. Not that there’s anything here that would be scary or inappropriate for younger players. It’s just that they may not understand exactly how to play or what is actually going on with this one. Overall I feel that fans of games like Elder Sign, Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror that are looking for something a bit lighter, may enjoy this one. It’s definitely one that I would recommend giving a try, especially if you like Lovecraft’s stories.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Mountains of Madness is a game of completing challenges and escape that is centered around H. P. Lovecraft’s story, At the Mountains of Madness. It’s a game of average length that is much shorter than most Lovecraft themed games. Most game sessions last around an hour. The components for this game are really great. I especially like the artwork on the board and the details of the airplane miniature. The rulebook is very thorough and covers everything quite well. It even has some artwork that fits in with the theme of the game. The theme is a major part of the game and can be felt in everything from the gameplay to the components. The game itself throws different challenges at the players that they will have to overcome together while role playing whatever quirks that the madness cards throw at them. In some ways the game feels like one of those social deduction games like Werewolf, but it also has some of the same tenseness and feeling of games like Dead of Winter or The Thing Infection at Outpost 31. Fans of Lovecraft’s stories and games like Elder Sign, Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror may enjoy this one. This is one that I feel works better with teens to adults, as younger players may have some difficulties grasping this one. This is one that I would recommend giving a try. I think with the right group it can be a good game that players will enjoy. As for me, I feel like it didn’t exactly meet my expectations as far as gameplay goes. I like it, just not as much as I wanted to. Maybe that’s how my Madness card affected me.
8 out of 10

 

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

www.iellogames.com

 

 

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Trash Pandas Review

Trash Pandas is a game by Lisa J. Eskue and Michael E. Eskue, published by Gamewright Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of some rowdy raccoons, as they tip over trash cans in their hunt for the best morsels and shiniest objects. Of course they’ll have to be careful as their opponents may try to steal their uncovered goodies. On top of that, if they get too greedy, they may walk away with virtually nothing to show for it. In the end, the player that can gather up the most goodies and thus the most points, will be declared the winner.

To begin, take the Token Actions card and place it within view of all players. The first player is chosen. The cards are all shuffled together. A number of cards are then dealt out face down based on each player’s turn order. The first player will receive 3 cards. Player 2 gets 4. Player 3 gets 5 and Player 4 gets 6. The rest of the cards are then placed face down in the middle of the play area to form what’s known as the Trash Can. The 6 wooden tokens are placed in the middle of the play area near the deck. The first player is given the die and play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns, with each player taking a turn consisting of 2 steps; Roll the Die and Resolve Tokens. First off the player must roll the die. Afterwards they will then take the token that matches the die result from the middle of the play area and place it in front of themself. They can then decide to stop or continue rolling. If they choose to stop, then they move on to the next step, resolving tokens. If they choose to continue, then they will roll the die again. Once more they will take the token that matches the die result and place it in front of themself. However if the die result matches a token that they already have, then the player busts and must skip the Resolve Tokens step. They must then place any tokens that they collected back into the center of the play area, passing the die to the next player in turn order. It should be noted that even though the player must now skip the next step, they are allowed to draw 1 card from the Trash Can as a consolation prize. As long as the die result doesn’t match any tokens that they have already collected, they may roll again and continue collecting tokens. If the player manages to collect all 6 tokens, they immediately move to the Resolve Tokens step but are also awarded a bonus turn. On their bonus turn, they may only collect up to 3 tokens.

The next step is to resolve tokens. Once a player decides to stop rolling the die or if they’ve collected all 6 tokens, they must then resolve each of the tokens that they collected. The player is allowed to resolve each token in any order that they choose. Once a token has been resolved, it is placed back into the middle of the play area. There are 6 different tokens. Each one provides a different action that the player may take. There is the token with 2 trash cans. This allows the player to draw up to 2 cards from the Trash Can into their hand. The 2 trees token allows the player to stash up to 2 cards from their hand by placing them face down in front of themself. The token with a trash can and a tree allows the player to choose between drawing a card from the trash can or stashing a card from their hand. The token with the hand and bag on it allow the player to steal a random card from another player’s hand. The mask token allows the player to draw the top card from the Trash Can and reveal it to the other players. It is then added to their hand. The other players may then stash 1 card from their hand that matches the revealed card. However it must be stashed face up. The player that used the token is then allowed to draw 1 card from the Trash Can adding it to their hand for each card that an opponent stashed in this way. The recycle token allows the player to exchange it for a token that was not previously taken by the player. However if all 6 tokens were collected, this token has no effect. It should be noted that once a player decides to start resolving tokens, they may not use any cards that were gained during that turn. They also may not start resolving tokens until they decide to stop rolling without busting.

There are several different types of cards. Each one provides an action that may be used during the player’s turn. Some will provide points for having the majority of that particular card while others will thwart a steal attempt or even steal a card from the would be thief themself. For more information on each of the different card types, I will briefly touch on these in the gameplay section or you can check them out in the rulebook.

The game continues until the last Trash Can card is drawn. Once this happens, the current player will finish their turn. Afterwards, the game ends. Each player must then discard any cards that remain in their hands, reveal their stashed cards and then sort them by type. Each player will then add up the total number of each card type and compare them with their opponents totals. Players will then score points based on who scored the most, second most and third most based on the numbers in the top left corner of each card. Players will also score 1 point for each Blammo! card that they stashed. Players will then add up their points and the one with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
Back several years ago, I was big into print and play board games. I really enjoyed printing out all these games that had never been made yet and being able to play them. After a while I came upon an artist that had been not only doing artwork for several lesser known games but had also been creating their own redesigns of some others as well. The designs were really fun and unique looking. Many were even better than the original designs for the games. I started following the artist and keeping an eye out for anything that he created, especially when it came to board games. So who was that artist? Well it was none other than the artist of this game, Kwanchai Moriya. Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying his artwork ever since. As a fan, it has been a joy to find his artwork present in this game. Trash Pandas has that unique artwork and style of Kwanchai Moriya that has made him famous. The cards are silly and fun to look at. Some of the words on the cards are spelled more phonetically than acurately which adds to the silliness. The idea that you’re a bunch of racoons digging through a trash can makes sense thematically with the spelling and the cards designs. I have to say that I really like the look of each piece of art and the look of each card. Speaking of the cards, they each have a really nice finish that is easy to shuffle. They’re definitely high quality. Next there are the tokens which are double sided and wooden. These appears to have either a screen printed or painted design on the white background. These same printed icons are also present on the etched die. The die is a little bit bigger than a normal die but shouldn’t be a problem even for small hands as players will only be rolling the 1 die. I have to say that both the tokens and the die are just as good in quality as the cards are. On top of everything else, the game even comes with a card that explains what each token action is and what it does referencing the iconography of the tokens. This is a nice added addition to the game. Overall this is a great looking little game and the artwork may make you a fan of Kwanchai Moriya like me. I can’t tell you how much that I love the overall look of it all. Great, great looking game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a double sided piece of thick paper that folds up nicely to fit inside the game box. It’s full color and has plenty of great looking pictures on it. On one side there are all the rules with a step by step explanation of how to play the game. There’s also an explanation of the icons on the cards and how they work. There’s even a chart with all the different icons found on the die and what each of them mean. Simply put, it’s quite simple to read through and learn how to play. On the reverse side of the rulebook is a full color guide to each of the 8 different cards in the game. Each one is explained thoroughly and has a large picture of the card as reference. I have to say that I really like this side of the paper. To me, most of the cards are pretty self explanatory but it’s nice to have a more detailed explanation in case any questions arise while playing the game. Honestly I think the rulebook looks quite great. It doesn’t take long to read and is easy to understand. In my book, that’s a win right there.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is such a fun little game. It takes the mechanics of set collection and press your luck and then sprinkles in a little bit of hand management and take that for good measure. The press your luck comes in as each player rolls that die on their turn. They’ll start collecting tokens but then they have to decide, “do I want to take what I’ve already got, or do I want to try for some more tokens to do more stuff with.” Ultimately, that little devil on your shoulder will convince you that greed is the way to go and you won’t roll one of those tokens that you already collected. Of course, greed can sometimes lead to your downfall, which means busting and winding up with only 1 card from the deck. Don’t worry though, as your opponents are going through the exact same internal struggle themselves. The set collection part of the game shows up as you use those tokens that start allowing you to stash cards where your opponents can’t touch them. The more you get of a certain card, the more likely that you’ll be able to have the majority and thus gain the most points possible. Thankfully each card shows exactly how many of that particular card type are in the game, so with some close attention and maybe a little bit of card counting, you can possibly figure out just how far ahead or behind you may be. The hand management comes into the picture when simply dealing with the cards. Figuring out when to use a card and when to stash it for the points is the major point. Sometimes using those cards will be a big help. Sometimes you’ll want to keep them for points. It’s a major balancing act. The take that aspect kicks in when using the token that allows you to steal from an opponent. Sometimes things work out great and you’ll luck up, then sometimes they happen to have one of those defense cards that will block your attempt, or even worse turn your thievery against you. That’s when the take that gives it right back to you. Needless to say, you can see that there’s a lot of fun to be had with this game. It’s one that will garner some laughs and even a few groans of agony as a player busts while rolling the die. This is a great family friendly game that kids and adults can enjoy together. My daughter and I really like this game a lot. I think most players will enjoy this game, especially those with kids. I would highly recommend it. It’s a great little card game with some really fun looking artwork and designs.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Trash Pandas is a fun card game about digging through the trash that combines the set collection and press your luck mechanics. It’s not a very long game. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes or so. The components are all extremely well done. The artwork of Kwanchai Moriya is really fun and light in this one and I really enjoy it. The rulebook does an excellent job on explaining the rules as well as telling how each card works in detail. The game itself is light and fun. Player interaction is fairly moderate with most of the interaction coming from using the thieving tokens. There is a bit of strategy when it comes to figuring out when to use a card for it’s ability and when to simply stash it for points. There’s also some great decision making when it comes to knowing when to keep rolling and when not to push your luck. This works as both a great filler card game and an awesome family game. Kids will enjoy this one and adults will like it as well. My daughter and I really like this one a lot. This is a game that I would highly recommend. It’s the one time that your Mom will say it’s ok to play in the trash can.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.gamewright.com

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DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 7 – New Gods Expansion Review

DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 7 – New Gods is an expansion for The DC Deck Building Game by Matt Hyra and Nathaniel Yamaguchi, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-5 players. This expansion adds 6 new New Gods characters – 3 Heroes and 3 Villains to play with, 6 Homeworlds and a stack of new cards to add to the main deck.

For more information on the many different box sets that this product can be used with, please check out the link below.

For those unfamiliar with the DC Deck Building game, let me give you a quick overview of how it’s played. Player will begin with a starting deck of 10 cards that include 7 punch cards and 3 vulnerabilities. They’ll also choose a starting Super Hero to begin the game with. They will place their Super Hero in front of themself and shuffle their starting deck of cards. Once shuffled they will draw 5 cards to create their starting hand. On a player’s turn, they will play the cards from their hand in any order they choose, making it possible to buy a card or cards from the lineup using the power generated by their cards. They can also use their power to defeat the current super villain. Each time they gain cards they will be beefing up their deck and making it more powerful so that they can create more power and earn more points to be able to defeat even more powerful villains and buy even stronger cards. Of course, their Super Hero card will also provide them with a special ability that will help them during their turn. The game will continue until one the very last Super Villain in the Super Villain deck is defeated. Once that happens, players will add up their victory points and the one with the most points is the winner. Of course some box sets will change things up just a bit, especially the Forever Evil set, as it uses Villains as the main characters and heroes as the antagonists.

So, now that you at least have a basic understanding of how the game works, what does this expansion add as far as content goes? First off let’s look at the new oversized Super Hero cards. Anyone familiar with DC comics may recognize the names of Orion, Mister Miracle and Big Barda. These are the character cards that player will choose if they plan to go the hero route. Of course that’s not all, unlike previous Crossover Packs, this one also contains Super Villain character cards. There’s Granny Goodness, Kalibak and Darkseid. When setting up the game, you’ll choose one of these to play as. Of course the rules suggest a 50/50 split between heroes and villains. There are also 26 new cards for shuffling into the main deck of one of the main games, as well as an updated replacement card for the Birds of Prey expansion card, Roulette. The rules say that you’re supposed to choose a DC set, I suggest the Confrontations boxed set, and shuffle it’s main deck. You then split the deck in half and shuffle the main deck cards from this expansion into one of the piles. That shuffled stack is then placed on top of the other one. The rest of the setup is pretty much the same.

Of course, character cards and main deck cards aren’t all that is new. What’s really new are the Homeworld cards, and some new keywords that appear on the cards in this pack. Homeworlds take the place of the Super Villains or Super Heroes stack of cards that players must try and defeat. Instead these Homeworlds take the place of them. Heroes will try to conquer Apokolips while the Villains will try and conquer New Genesis. Here’s how they work. First off, they’re placed into 2 stacks; one for New Genesis and one for Apokolips. Each stack is placed in order with the level 1 on the top and level 3 on the bottom. The instructions for each are card are read carefully before playing. In terms of conquering one of these, they are treated the same as a Super Villain or Super Hero. The player uses the Power that they collected on their turn to pay it’s cost. However when beaten, the card is placed nearby instead of going into the conquering player’s deck. These will be added to their deck at the end of the game for some major victory points. As soon as either of the level 3 Homeworlds have been conquered, the game ends. Players will then count up their Victory Points to see who is the winner.

There are also 2 new Keywords on the cards in this pack; Protector and Retaliation. First let’s discuss the Protector keyword. These are used when a player attempts to conquer a Homeworld. Once the player makes the attempt, other players are then allowed to reveal cards from their hand with this keyword, in a clockwise order from the attacking player. Each revealed card reduces the Power of the conqueror’s attempt by the number listed after the Protector keyword. If the player no longer has the Power to conquer the Homeworld, they are then able to use their remaining Power to spend on other things, but may not make another attempt to conquer a Homeworld on that turn.

The other new Keyword is Retaliation. In many ways, this keyword functions a lot like a Last Appearance Attack. When a player conquers a Homeworld, a Retaliation is made immediately afterwards, against both the player and each player in their faction. Thus if a player’s character is a Super Hero, then all the players that are using a Super Hero as their character will be Retaliated against. This Retaliation may be defended against like any other normal attack. At the end of the player’s turn, the next level Homeworld card on that particular stack is then revealed.

COMPONENTS
This expansion contains plenty of new cards to be added to any of the DC Deck Building Game boxed sets. As I mentioned earlier, there are 6 new oversized playable characters. There are 3 new Super Heroes and 3 new Super Villains. There are 26 new main deck cards to be added to the game. All of these are based on the heroes and villains of the New Gods comics from the DC comics universe. I honestly wasn’t expecting to see Darkseid as a playable character, but I’m glad that he’s there. Of course the artwork on each of these, as well as on every card in this set, is truly fantastic. It looks like it’s been ripped right from the pages of a DC comic. The expansion also includes the new Homeworld cards that change up how the game is played into a totally new direction. Finally there is a replacement card for Roulette from the Birds of Prey expansion pack, as well a randomizer card to be used with the Multiverse set. There’s also a plastic divider with the same image as the one that’s on the box. This fits in well with the others found in the Multiverse box. The look and feel is very similar to that found in many of the other sets and packs. Thematically it feels like it fits more with the Confrontations boxed set than any of the others. Mainly because of the equal number of playable villain characters. Overall I really love the look and feel of this expansion. I think thematically the cards all work together quite well and they look great in the process. I’m really pleased with the overall designs of each one.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion pack consists of a simple double sided card that is about the same size as the oversized character cards. The card covers how to use the new cards with any of the boxed sets and also contains the rules for the new concepts and keywords that make a first appearance in this pack. The card also contains a list of clarifications for several of the cards included in the pack. Overall there’s not a lot of content as far as rules or gameplay. Most of that is expected to be found in the main boxed sets that a player must have at least one of to even be able to use this product. There’s also no pictures or examples on the card as there just isn’t room to include anything of that nature. Even so, I think the card does a great job of explaining all the new material. As it is, I think it does what it’s inteneded purpose is, to update the player with any new rules and adjustments to how the game is played at this point. For that reason, I’m pleased with it.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I’ve enjoyed playing the DC Deck Building Game and all it’s many expansions for quite some time now. I’ve had a lot of fun with each new expansion pack and every new boxed set that has come out so far. Honestly, I never thought that the New Gods and that section of the DC Universe would ever make it into this game or any other for that matter. Boy was I wrong! It’s great to see actual playable characters of Darkseid, Granny Goodness and Kalibak. Yea and I guess it’s nice to see the heroes too, although I really prefer the villains. I mean, who wouldn’t? They’re just so much cooler. Of course you need the heroes to balance things out too and Mister Miracle and Big Barda are pretty cool in their own right. Too bad I’m not much a fan of Orion though. Anyway, so this expansion changes up some gameplay mechanics by using the new Homeworld cards in the place of using the stack of heroes or villains to battle against. In the same way that you saved up your power to beat these characters, you’ll also be generating enough power to conquer a Homeworld. The thing is that your opponents can lessen your power by using cards with the new Protector keyword on them. Which I guess that makes sense as you’re trying to keep the other side from destroying your home planet while you try to take over theirs. Thematically it makes sense. Of course once you conquer a level on a Homeworld, then you have to deal with the Retaliation attack, which affects every other player that shares the same type of character that you do. For instance if I’m playing Darkseid and I conquer New Genesis, then if one of my opponents is playing Granny Goodness they’d also suffer the Retaliation along with me. However the player using Big Barda wouldn’t as she’s not a super villain, so she doesn’t share the same faction. Once again, thematically it makes sense. I have to say that I like this new way of playing quite a lot. It keeps certain players from gaining lots of powerful cards from beating the main baddies while you struggle to get any good cards at all. This way it puts players on a much more even playing field. It also helps give them a bit of incentive to work together as well. Needless to say, I really enjoy this new expansion. I think fans of the DC Deck Building Game will really enjoy this new way to play. I also think that fans of the New Gods will be thrilled with all the new cards in this pack. I would highly recommend this expansion. It’s a must have.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 7 – New Gods is an expansion for the DC Deck Building Game. It adds 6 new playable characters to the game; 3 Super Heroes and 3 Super Villains. It also adds 26 new cards that are added to the Main Deck, centered around the New Gods comics. It also adds a new way of playing by introducing Homeworlds, which are used in the place of Super Villains and/or Super Heroes to battle against. The game length is pretty much the same as before, with most game sessions lasting around 40 minutes or so. The cards is this pack are outrageously awesome looking. I really like Darkseid and the baddies from Apokolips so it’s nice to see them make their appearance in the game. Each image and design looks like it was ripped from the pages of the comics. The new mechanics that this expansion introduces create a new way of playing that I really enjoy. It fosters even more player interaction, in my opinion, and adds a lot of fun. Thematically everything fits together quite nicely and makes sense. I’m extremely happy with this expansion and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for the game. Fans of the DC Deck Building Game, as well as the New Gods comics, should really enjoy this pack. I highly recommend it. Just beware of those Omega Beams.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.cryptozoic.com/

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