DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 6 – Birds of Prey Expansion Review

DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 6 – Birds of Prey 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 Birds of Prey Super heroes to play with, 8 new Super-Villains to fight 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.

Now, with a basic understanding of how the game works, what all does this expansion add as far as content? First off let’s look at the all new Super Hero cards. These are the oversized cards that each player will choose one at the beginning of the game to use as their starting hero. The heroes in this expansion are all female and will be easily recognizable to any fans of the Birds of Prey comic series. Heroes such as Black Canary, Oracle and Catwoman, as well as Katana, Huntress and Batwoman. The expansion also includes 8 new Super Villains for the heroes to battle, including Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy to name a few. There’s also 23 new cards for the main deck including new equipment, super power, heroes and villains.

The setup for using this expansion is pretty straight forward. Each player chooses one of the Birds of Prey Super Heroes to use. They then should choose one of the big box sets for the game and shuffle the main deck from it. I would personally recommend the Teen Titans set. Once the cards are shuffled the deck should be split in half. Players choose one of the 2 halves to use and shuffle the new Birds of Prey cards into it. This stack is then placed on top of the other half of the main deck. This makes sure that there are more of the Birds of Prey cards available for the lineup. Next, the Super Villains should be arranged in cost order from 8 to 15. The card with the blue back should be placed on the bottom of this stack. Everything else about the game remains the same.

In this expansion there is a brand new concept that hasn’t been seen in any of the other big box sets or expansions. That is the idea of rotated cards. What this means is that some cards and hero abilities will allow a player to rotate their cards to gain positive effects and combos. The effect is gained by rotating the card 90 degrees. These rotated cards still function as normal, even though they’re rotated. It should be noted that cards can only be rotated if an effect tells the player that they can do it and that a player’s Super Hero card can not be rotated. Once the card has been rotated, the effect is resolved. Some effects will grant huge bonuses for when the card rotates upright. What this means is that the card has usually been rotated 4 times to return to the upright position that all cards enter play in. Ongoing cards such as Locations and several of the new cards introduced in this expansion are the best cards to use the new rotation effect on.

COMPONENTS
This expansion has lots of new content. As I mentioned earlier, there are 6 new oversized Super Heroes, 8 new Super Villains and 23 new main deck cards. I absolutely love the artwork on these. Each one has some amazing look designs and feature heroes and villains from throughout the DC universe. I’ll be honest, I was amazed that in the entire expansion, there’s only 1 card for a male character. I won’t say who that particular character is, it might ruin the surprise. It was just nice to see that almost this entire expansion is dedicated to female heroes and villains. Well done, well done! I will mention however that there will be some familiar faces especially for anyone familiar with any of the DC shows on the CW. Characters such as Roulette, Cupid and Vixen make an appearance. I was really happy to see a lot of great looking cards. I really feel that the new cards work well together and thematically they fit. Overall, I’m very pleased with the look and feel of the entire expansion.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion consists of a simple rules card. It is the size of one of the oversized super hero cards. This card covers all the rules for adding this expansion to any of the boxed sets. It also covers the new new rotated cards concept, explaining it thoroughly. It also includes a couple of pictures showing this concept. There are also some clarifications on several of the cards included in the set. I think that the card does a great job of explaining everything. It’s easy to read and understand. It’s also good for separating the sets inside one of the big boxes. Overall I feel it covers everything quite well.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
It’s no secret that I love deck building games and that the DC Deck Building Game is absolutely one of my most favorite ones. I’m also a big fan of DC comics and love all the many characters and stories. It should come as no surprise then that I would enjoy this expansion as much as I do. I’ve always enjoyed the Birds of Prey, especially Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle. It’s nice seeing these as playable characters, even though Black Canary had already been a part of a previous big box set. I’m also very happy about seeing Catwoman as a playable character. Honestly, it’s about time. I think she fits in well with the others and really rounds out the line up. Of course let’s not forget Katana and Batwoman. These 2 are also quite cool and are a lot of fun to play. As for the actual gameplay, the new concept for this expansion is the rotated cards that I’ve explained pretty thoroughly in other parts of this review. The idea of rotating the cards is actually a pretty cool concept for many of the ongoing cards like locations and such. Each time a card is rotated it may provide a bonus from another card which can help out quite a bit. Thematically it’s a little unusual until you play a card like the villain Roulette and you suddenly get it. I have to say that a ton of praise should be heaped on the designers for having the courage to make an expansion where there’s only 1 male character card in the whole package. I think it’s pretty brave and makes sense in this expansion that’s clearly centered around the Birds of Prey. I like this set a lot. It’s a lot of fun to play. Fans of the DC Deck Building Game will love this expansion and all the new material that it brings to the game. Fans of the Birds of Prey comics and even the DC TV shows should enjoy this one as well. I would highly recommend this expansion. It’s a definite must have for me.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 6 – Birds of Prey is an expansion for The DC Deck Building Game. It adds 6 new playable Super Heroes, 8 new Super Villains to battle and 23 new cards for the main deck that are centered around the Birds of Prey and several of the female characters of the DC Universe. The expansion doesn’t really add much more time to the actual game play. It’s fairly negligible. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes, depending on the number of players. The cards are beautiful. Each one captures the look and feel of the comics in a great way. I relly love the look of the designs and art on each one of these. The expansion also adds a new concept to the game, the rotated cards. I think it works quite well with the cards in the expansion as well as those in the Teen Titans set. I’m very happy with everything that the expansion has to offer and look forward to playing it a lot more. Fans of the DC Deck Building Game and the Birds of Prey comic series will be happy to add this to their collection. I highly recommend it. It’s a must have.
9 out of 10

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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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Windup War Review

Windup War is a game by Katie Khau and Jess Chu, published by Bellwether Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will command a wind up toy army as they seek to destroy their opponents. They’ll need to plan attacks, prepare their defenses and charge the battlefield if they hope to become the last one standing. Of course if they can score enough points first, they will be declared the winner.

To begin, players are each given a faction box. They will then empty the box and assemble their army from the cards of their faction. Each player will place their Life card in front of them vertically with the card pointed towards the center of the table. They must then select 3 of their Unit cards to be in their army during this particular game. The remaining units are placed back inside the faction box. Players must then select the order in which each card will be activated. The first unit is placed on the player’s Life card vertically so that it covers up all the hearts except for those equal to the number of hearts allowed by the unit card. The player’s second and third unit are placed in order horizontally below their active unit. The Win Tally card should then be placed back into the player’s faction box, but will be used later to record wins. The remaining set of Action cards are place into the player’s hand. Play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round is divided into 2 phases; the Windup and the War. The first phase is the Windup phase. In this phase players will place any 5 of their Action cards into a face down row to the right of their active unit card. The cards should be placed so that the first action the player would like to use is closest to the active unit card and the last action is farthest away.

The second phase is the War phase. This phase begins once all players have placed their 5 Action cards. Players will then announce, “Ready…Aim…Card 1”. Each player will then simultaneously flip over their first Action card. Each Action card is then resolved as if the actions happened simultaneously. Once the first Action card has been resolved by all players, they will then announce, “Ready…Aim…Card 2”. This continues until all 5 of a player’s Action cards have been resolved. Once this happens, the round is concluded with each player moving all the Action cards they used earlier to their discard pile on the left of their active unit. A new round begins with each player selecting 5 new actions.

There are a few things that should be mentioned about the game. First off, Action cards when played will affect other players based on where they’re sitting in relation to the player that played them. For this reason, players should be sitting where it’s easy to determine who is on the player’s right and left. Next, Action cards come in 6 different colors. Units can only take actions that are the same color as the ribbons on their unit card. However, any unit can perform black actions. If a player happens to have played an Action card that their active unit can not take, this is an illegal action. If the player was attacked at the same time as the illegal action, then the illegal action counts as a Block All Attacks card. If the player was not attacked, then the illegal action breaks and must be turned 180 degrees and placed under the player’s Heart card with the bouncing gear side facing the center of the table. If a player has 3 or more of these broken cards beneath their Heart card, they must forfeit the game. Next, there are the Charge cards. These cards are how players score points. When a player plays a Charge card, they must first check to see if any other players played a Charge card at the same time as they did. As long as there were no other Charge cards played, then the Charge is successful. If they did, then the Charge cards cancel each other out. If not, then the player may immediately move one card from their discard pile into the center of the table face down to count as a point for that player’s faction. Finally as the game is played, a player’s active unit will wing up taking damage at some point. When this happens the player must move their active unit card so that it covers up one additional heart for each damage taken. When all of a unit’s hearts have been lost, the unit is destroyed. Before the next Action card is revealed, the player should removed the destroyed unit card and place it out of the way. The next unit in combat order should then be placed vertically onto the life card in the same way as the first unit was during setup. Once a player’s third unit is destroyed, they are eliminated from the game.

The game continues until either all but one player have forfeited or have been eliminated by losing all 3 of their units. The remaining player left standing is the winner. Likewise the game can end if a player scores their third point. In this case, that players is the winner. In a 2 or 3 player game, the number of points is 4.

 

COMPONENTS
This game consists of a bunch of small thin cards. Not to say that the cards aren’t thick, what I mean is that the width of the cards is thin. Just take a look at the picture above. The game comes with 6 different factions that can be played. Each one comes in it’s own little box with a life card and a win tally card. The quality of the cards is really good. It has like a linen or satin finish on them. The artwork is rather cute and fun with a cartoonish style to it. The box that everything comes in has a magnetic closure on it with plenty of room in case the designers decide to create some expansions. I like the artwork and box. Both of these are really well done. The thing that kind of feels odd is how small the cards are. They are almost Euro sized except that the width is just a little wider than my thumb. I’ve never played a game with cards this shape and size before. I will say that it’s kind of cool that you can just grab a couple of faction boxes and slip them into your pocket like you would a pack of gum. The game is highly portable this way. Overall I think the design is rather unique and it seems to work for this game. I’m pleased with the look and feel.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is rather small as well and fits nicely inside the game box. There are plenty of pictures and examples. There’s a very good example of game play at the end of the book. Every step of the game is explained rather well. There should be nothing that is difficult to read or understand. I especially like that all the action cards are explained in detail. This is really helpful as a reference in case any questions arise. Overall I think the book does a good job explaining everything and it looks nice as well. I didn’t really see anything to complain about.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a quick and fun little card game. I really like it as a 2 player game. It’s very quick and easy to play this way. Of course if you like a little more chaos, then playing with more than 2 is the way to go. In this way, as you’re playing and players start getting eliminated then your target moves and while you thought you were going to be attacking one player, all of a sudden you’re attacking a different one, or even yourself. This level of unpredictability makes the game rather interesting. As I said, it’s rather quick even with more players, however there’s still plenty of strategy to the game. Knowing which moves to make and when to make them is key. It’s also important to know when to use an illegal action to be able to block a suspected attack as well as when to charge to get those points. In some ways this game reminds me of an amped up version of War with some Uno mixed in. I rather like the mixture and think it tends to work quite well. Overall, this is a light game that can be played with the whole family. I would recommend giving this one a try.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Windup War is a light weight card game of battling wind up toys. The game is fairly quick. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes or so. The artwork is light and fun with a cartoonish feel to it. The cards are an unusual size that feels a bit odd, however the quality and finish on each one is very nice. The faction boxes are the same size as a pack of gun making the game highly portable. The game is fun with a mixed feeling of War and Uno combined. It’s fairly simple to play and easy enough for even younger players to enjoy. There is a bit of strategy but it’s not very heavy. Fans of light weight battling card games should enjoy this one. I’d recommend giving this one a try. It’s unpredictable and fun for the whole family.
8 out of 10

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

http://bellwethergames.com/

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Alicematic Review

Alicematic is a game by Kuro, published by Japanime Games. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players will take control of one of the Kingdoms of Wonderland as they try to take over different cities and territories. They will need to summon the help of various incarnations of Alice if they hope to be able to unite the entire Kingdom under their control. In the end, the player that can control the most territories and summon the most powerful versions of Alice will be declared the winner.

To begin, the map tiles are shuffled together. The tiles are then set up randomly face down in a 9 – 13 tile pattern depending on the number of players. Once the pattern has been made, the tiles are flipped face up. Players choose a kingdom and receive the matching kingdom cards and territory markers. Players will then place their kindom cards in a row in front of them as shown in the rulebook. Their territory markers should be placed close by. The Alice cards are shuffled together and each player is then dealt 5 cards each. Players are able to then look at their cards and discard any that they like, redrawing back up to 5 cards. However they’re only able to do this once. The point tokens and resource tokens are placed in separate piles nearby. The first player is chosen. Beginning with the first player and continuing in turn order, each player picks an edge tile and places one of their territory markers with the captured side up, onto the city territory of that tile. Once this has been done, the process is repeated except that the last player starts first and continues in reverse turn order to the first player. Players are allowed to place a marker on a city that another player has already placed a marker on. It should be noted however that each city has a limit to the number of territory markers that may be placed there. Once this has been completed, play now begins.

The game is played over 14 rounds. Each round players will take turns completing two phases; politics phase and invasion phase. The first phase of a player’s turn is the politics phase. In this phase the player is able to play a card to one of their 5 card slots on top of their Kingdom cards. It can either be played face up as an Alice or face down as a commoner. If the player has no cards to play they will draw a card from the deck instead, skipping the rest of their turn. It should be noted that a card slot can not have more than 4 cards at a time. When playing an Alice, the player must first have Dream Power equal to the strength of the chosen Alice card. Dream Power is equal to the number of cards in the player’s yellow card slot. If the player doesn’t have enough power they can use resources to finish paying the cost of the card in a 1 to 1 ratio. It should be noted that Alice cards can not be placed into a card slot of a different color. The card colors must match. Once an Alice card is played, it’s power takes effect immediately. This is known as an Alice’s Megalomania. The card’s timing is noted in it’s text. It should be noted that Megalomanias do not combine, therefore if there are several identical Alices in the same Kingdom, they are only applied once. Commoners can be played instead of playing an Alice. These cards cost no Dream Power. Once played, the player draws a card. These commoners can be any color and so they can be played on any card slot.

The second phase of a player’s turn is the invasion phase. In this phase, the player is able to invade other territories and gain a invasion bonus. They can invade empty territories or cities as long as they still have spaces open. They can also invade any territory that is under attack by another player. These territories are those that a player can’t completely capture on their turn. To place it under attack, the player places their territory marker face down with the under attack side showing. On a future turn, they can capture it without having the full power to be able to take it. They can also invade territories controlled by another player as long as it doesn’t connect to a city that is controlled by that player. In this case, the player only receives half of the invasion bonus. Capturing a territory requires military power and food. Military power is equal to the number of cards in the player’s red Military card slot. It should be noted that the player is also able to use military resources to add 1 to their military power. Food is needed to capture territories on another tile. The amount needed is equal to the distance between the territory and the player’s closest controlled city. Passing through another player’s territory costs an additional food. A player’s food is equal to the number of cards in their green food card slot. They can also use food resources to make up for any shortages. If the player has both the food and military power to capture the territory, they can place their territory marker there and gain the invasion bonus. Different territory types give different bonuses. For more information on these, please check the rulebook.

Mystic forests are a little bit different. Usually a player can not pass through or invade one of these territories. However, if the forest is completely surrounded by player controlled territories, it may be invaded or passed through. However, only the strongest player can invade it, that is to say the player with the most territories around that particular forest. The forest’s invasion difficulty is equal to the number of territories surrounding it. Once taken, the player gains points equal to the same number.

The game continues until the end of the 14th round. Final scoring then occurs. Players gain points for controlling territories on each map tile, with the most territories controlled gaining the most points. They also receive points for having the most Alices in a card slot, as well as for any Megalomania effects. The players compare points and the one with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
The game comes with some great looking pieces. The artwork is really fun and light hearted. I especially like the look and designs of each of the different Alice cards. They’re so CUTE! Speaking of cards, each kingdom has it’s own set of cards for a player to stack their Alices and commoners on. I love the large designs on each one of these. Thematically they’re quite nice. The map tiles, territory markers, resource tokens and point tokens are all thick cardboard and are very sturdy. The territory markers carry over the same image as those on the kingdom cards. I do think that the iconography for the resource tokens is a little off putting however. While I can kind of tell what they’re supposed to represent, I think it could have been designed a little better and a lot clearer looking. The map tiles I wish were bigger so that we could get a better look at the really beautiful looking designs of the different territories. Other than that though, I think everything looks amazing. There’s a lot to like about this game. It’s simply adorable.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is quite large, but it only has 10 pages in it. There is a lot of great looking pictures and examples throughout the book. The first couple of pages gives you quick overview of the game in chibi manga form. There’s a beautiful large image of lots of Alices fighting with the story of the game beneath it, that I just love. The setup and phases of a player’s turn are all explained in great detail. The final page of the book covers several of the megalomania powers of the Alices. Overall I think the book does a great job of explaining everything. You shouldn’t have any problems reading through it and understanding.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
My favorite Disney movie of all times would have to be Alice in Wonderland. In college, I was a part of the Drama club where we preformed Alice in Wonderland. Over the years, I’ve collected several different versions of the movie in both live action as well as animated. I’ve also collected lots of memorabilia and even dressed up as the Mad Hatter for Halloween a couple of times. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of everything Wonderland. This game fits in nicely. It has a great Wonderland theme to it, but adds an area control, war game like atmosphere to the whole thing. It’s really quite unusual. I like how that there are so many different forms of Alice that help you in a different way. The game is quite simple to teach and is a lot of fun. You can quickly look at another player’s military power and tell if you can take a spot from them or not. I like how that you gain power by playing Alice cards as either Alice or a commoner on the flip side. It’s also good that you don’t lose your dream power each time you summon an Alice. I think that would have ended up being rather annoying. I think the scoring aspect of the game is quite good. I like that a player can still gain points even though they don’t have the most territories on a tile. It does have a bit of strategy but not so much that it’ll burn your brain or leave you in a state of AP. I think fans of area control games that like the manga style artwork will really enjoy this one. Overall, I like it and think it’ll fit nicely in the Wonderland collection.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Alicematic is an area control style game mixed with a war game based in a chibi manga version of wonderland. The game is average in terms of length of play. Most game sessions last around an hour, give or take. The artwork is great on everything, especially the cards. I love the manga style look of all the different Alice cards. Of course, original Alice is still my favorite. My only real gripe about the components would be that the iconography on the resource tokens is a little odd and could have been simplified. The game is quite fun and mixes mechanics quite well. Along with area control, there’s also a bit of hand management thrown in for flavor in this war game. I think thematically it’s pretty good and you do have at least a good feeling as you vie for control of the different cities and territories of Wonderland. I think that fans of Alice in Wonderland and the manga style should enjoy the artwork and design of the game, while players that enjoy a good area control game should like the mechanics. This is one that I would recommend trying out. I think it’s quite good. Now only one question remains, why IS a raven like a writing desk?
8 out of 10

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

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Guns & Steel Review

Guns & Steel is a game by Jessie Li, published by Tasty Minstrel Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be competing through the ages to build the greatest empire the world has ever known. They will need to use resources to create new developments and technologies if they hope to have a thriving civilization. In the end, the player that can build the best civilization and score the most points will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Civilization cards are separated by Age. If playing with 2 players, the cards with “2P remove” on them are removed from the game, not to be used. Each Age is then shuffled individually. A tech pyramid is then built with the Space Age cards on the top, followed by Earth, Oil, Gunpowder and finally Horse cards below. The Wonder cards are sorted into separate Ages. Wonder cards from the same Age are then compared by checking the indicator icons in the top right corner of the card. The card that is the leftmost card in each row will determine which Wonder card is used in the game. Each corresponding Wonder card is then placed to the left of the corresponding row. The remaining Wonder cards are returned to the box. Each player is given a set of 5 starting civilization cards; Reinforcement, Agriculture, Barter Trade, Mining and Warrior. The starting player is determined. If playing with more than 2 players, the third player in turn order will then place a card of their choice from their hand resource side up in front of themself. If playing with 4, the fourth player will then place a card of their choice in front of themself as well.

The game is played with each player taking a turn consisting of 4 phases. Each phase will be performed in order. The 4 phases are resource phase, development phase, purchase phase and end of turn phase. The first phase is the resource phase. In this phase, the player must play a card from their hand face down as a resource.

The next phase is the development phase. In this phase the player must play a Development card from their hand face up, activating it’s effect. There are 3 different types of Development cards that can be played; Civil cards, Tactic cards and Attack cards. Civil cards aid in resource production. Tactic cards activate other attack cards in the player’s hand or in front of them. Attack cards allow the player to attack all players using the total military strength of the cards in front of them. Players compare the strength of each opponent separately. The player wins if they have a higher military strength than their opponent. The defeated player must then suffer the listed penalty effects. It should be noted however, that a player that is being attacked can respond to the attack by playing any amount of cards with the response icon from their hand. They may also choose to deplete and flip over any of their attack or tactics cards that had been placed face down as a resource card. It should also be noted that the attacking player does not suffer any penalties if they lose.

The third phase is the purchase phase. In this phase, the player is allowed to buy one civilization card from the supply. To do this, the player must deplete the corresponding resource cards to pay the required cost. This is done by flipping the resource card back over to it’s development side. The player may also convert resources into another type by using the resource conversion chart. The player may purchase any card in the pyramid. If the card is at the bottom of the pyramid with no cards below it, it only costs the listed price. However if there are cards beneath it, the card costs 1 extra resource of any kind for every card connected under it. Once purchased, the card is placed in front of the player, adding the military strength to their total. However, the effect of the card is not activated.

The final phase is the end of turn phase. In this phase if the player has only 1 card or less in their hand, they must first check to see if they have satisfied the requirements for any of the Wonder cards. If so, they must choose and take one, placing it in front of themself. The player then returns all their face up Development cards to their hand. They may also choose to return any number of their face down resource cards as well. If the player has 2 or more cards in their hand, none of this happens. Play simply passes to the next player.

The game continues until either a player gains the last Wonder card or buys the last Space Age Civilization card. At this point, the game ends immediately. Players will now add up all the points they’ve gained from their Wonder cards and Civilization cards. The player with the most points wins.

COMPONENTS
This game consists of only a deck of cards. However, these cards are absolutely breathtaking. You would be hard pressed to find better looking cards anywhere else. Each one is linen finished and is fairly thick and quite sturdy. The iconography is not difficult to understand at all. I love how amazing each card looks. They each convey the era that they come from rather nicely. I especially like how that each of the Wonder cards are double sided and when you gain one of these, you have this beautiful looking art piece when you place it in front of you. Thematically it really brings everything together in my opinion. Besides the Development/Resource cards and the Wonder cards, the game also comes with several reference cards as well. One card has how to setup the game and how to attack on it, while the others has an overview of a player’s turn as well as how the game ends and a nice resource conversion chart. The conversion chart is especially helpful for each player to have their own. Overall, I love the look and feel of the cards and think that they are designed beautifully. I’m thrilled.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a multi-folded double-sided sheet of paper. The different card types and descriptions are each explained in detail. There are plenty of great looking pictures and examples all over the rules. Details on attacking and purchasing are also covered in great detail, as is the different phases of a player’s turn. Also included in the rules is another resource conversion chart, this time explained, as well as a nice set of 5 frequently asked questions. I’ll be honest, the first time I read the rules, they made no sense to me. I kind of understood it, but kind of didn’t. So I gave it a couple of days and tried it again. This time, things clicked with me. I’m not saying that the rules are bad, or that you will have difficulty understanding them. I simply think that I was trying to overthink everything with what is obviously a fairly simple game to understand. I think if you read this, or someone else’s explanation of how the game is played before you read the rules, it’ll help. Overall I won’t fault the rules for what most likely is my own fault. Looking back at them now, I think they do a good job of covering everything in such a small space. I’m completely pleased with the result.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me just say, I really enjoy 7 Wonders. I love building and creating my civilization to be the perfect one for my play style. I enjoy how my civilization interacts with other players. I love everything about the game. That’s why it’s one of my all time favorite games. So what does that have to do with Guns & Steel? Well both are civilization games that allow you to build and create a civilization while interacting with other players. Sound familiar? The thing is that unlike 7 Wonders, this game is a lot more functional as a 2 player game, plus it’s like half the size and still just as much fun. The bonus is that the game comes in a fairly small box so it’s easily transported. Of course there’s 7 Wonders Duel if you’re looking for a 2 player game of 7 Wonders, however I’ve yet to have a chance to play it. The thing is that after playing this one, I don’t really see as I need to. Both games seem to use the same pyramid solitaire style of tech tree. Just as an outsider, they seem rather similar. This one though seems a lot more thematic and streamlined than the other. That may not be the actual case, but from what I can tell it looks that way. The iconography on the cards in this game are extremely simple to understand. I like the tech tree in this game. I like that you can go for something cheap and less powerful as you continue to build up your civilization, or you can spend all your resources to go for something higher up on the pyramid to get some more powerful abilities. It’s a delicate balancing act. Just like with 7 Wonders, you have to be aware of what the other players are doing, especially with their military. It stinks when you get hit with a penalty because another player attacks you with a more powerful force. The game has a lot of strategy to it. Each time you’ll want to play the right card at the right time, especially since you can’t pick up any cards until you have 1 or less cards in your hand. It’s for this reason that every decision you make is crucial. Of course you really want to gain wonders, so you’ll be focused on doing everything you can to accomplish these goals. If you couldn’t tell, I like the game. I like it a lot. Fans of 7 Wonders or any of the other civilization games out there should really enjoy this one. It’s one that I would highly recommend. Overall, it’s a great card game and an even better civ game.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Guns & Steel is a civilization style card game. It’s not a very long game but it does tend to be a bit longer than 7 Wonders. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes or so. The artwork for this game is really nice. I absolutely adore the double-sided wonder cards. The cards have a nice finish and are pretty durable. My first read through the rulebook was a little muddled but I finally got it the second time around. Not sure if it was me or the rulebook. Just something to possibly be aware of. The game itself is an amazing civ game, much like 7 Wonders but a lot more playable with only 2 players. I like the tech tree style pyramid and the strategy involved with this game. It really allows players to customize their play style and grow their civilization in a way that works best for them. I think fans of 7 Wonders and 7 Wonders Duel will really enjoy this one. Overall it’s a game that I wasn’t sure I would like but I found that I really enjoy it. I would highly recommend this game. It just might surprise you too.
9 out of 10

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

 http://playtmg.com

 

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The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy’s Mask- Empty Graves Adventure Deck Review

The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy’s Mask- Empty Graves Adventure Deck is published by Paizo Publishing. It adds new locations, villains, monsters, scourges, traders, spells and loot. It also adds 5 new scenarios that make up the Empty Graves adventure path. This is based on the Pathfinder RPG adventure of the same name. The main idea behind this set is that there is an evil necromancer that has gained control of a powerful artifact known as the Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoh. With it, he has begun creating an undead army. If the player’s are successful, they will be able to return the dead back to their graves and keep the city of Wati from becoming a city of the dead.

For more information on the base game and how to play it, please follow the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/pathfinder-adventure-card-game-mummys-mask-review/

COMPONENTS
This expansion adds 110 new cards to the base game. Just like the original game, the artwork on these cards is all great looking. I’m assuming that a lot of the images were taken straight from the Pathfinder adventure of the same name. There’s really quite a lot of new material included with this one. There are new locations like the Shiny Bauble which allows the player to examine the top card of the blessings deck and if it’s a blessing, they are allowed to encounter it. There are nasty new henchmen like the crawling hands which are immune to both mental and poison traits. Of course that’s just a few of the cards. There are lots more of every type. For me, I like the look and feel of this expansion. It adds more of the undead to the mix in a really cool way.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
There is no rulebook included with this expansion. Everything needed to use the cards in this deck are included in the main game.
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GAMEPLAY
As I’ve mentioned before in previous reviews, I really like all things Egyptian. Of course this expansion is no different. The cards in this one add a lot of new material and challenges of the undead variety. There are lots of new monsters and henchmen as well as a few new villains that will give you a run for your money. There’s also plenty of new allies and items to help you wade through the hordes of the undead. If that weren’t enough the expansion also throws a few powerful spells in the mix to bump up those magic users. Overall this expansion furthers the story line from the first adventure deck and adds plenty of new stuff to customize your characters with. I quite like the direction that this adventure takes you. I would recommend getting it to further your path with. It’s pretty darn good.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The Mummy’s Mask – Empty Graves Adventure Deck 2 is a great addition to the Mummy’s Mask set. It adds lots of new cards of every type that look lovely. Thematically this expansion fits right in and looks good doing it. Fans of the Mummy’s Mask set for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, will most definitely want to add this to their game. Not only does it further the story, but it helps customize your characters even more. Overall, this is a lot of fun and one that I would definitely recommend.
9 out of 10

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

http://paizo.com

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Steam Park: Robots Expansion Review

Steam Park: Robots is an expansion for Steam Park by Lorenzo Silva, published by IELLO. It is for 2-5 players. This expansion allows players to replace the wooden meeples in the base game and the Play Dirty expansion with molded plastic robots. It also introduces a new type of robot, the V.I.R.

For more information on the base game, please check out the link below. You can also see more on how to play the game by checking out my review of the Play Dirty expansion by following this link.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/steam-park-play-dirty-expansion-review/

Aside from the new replacement robot visitors, this expansion adds yet another new type of visitor, the V.I.R. These visitors are placed in the visitor pool but are not added to the bag during setup. These visitors are considered wild visitors and may be placed on any ride regardless of it’s color. To be able to attract a V.I.R. and place them in the bag, requires the player to spend only 1 attract visitor action die. This allows them to place a regular visitor and a V.I.R. into the bag. The player then draws 2 visitors from the bag instead of the normal 1. Other than that, they pretty much act just like normal visitor. However, during the Income phase, the player gains 3 denari for each V.I.R. in their park, as well as 1 dirt.

 

COMPONENTS
As I mentioned above, this expansion adds new custom molded plastic robots to use as the many different types of visitors, including the Stingy Visitors seen in the Play Dirty expansion as well as the new V.I.R. visitors. The plastic visitors are really cute and are brightly colored. The expansion also adds a new custom bag to hold them all in. The bag has a really nice looking embroidered logo on it. Thematically the robots look great inside each player’s park. I love how nice they fit in with the overall look and design of the game. These are a really great component upgrade. I really like them.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is quite small. There are rules in 8 different languages. Each one consists of only a single page, front and back for each one. There are no pictures in the rules, but they aren’t really needed either. The rules explain the new V.I.R. visitors as well as covering the Stingy visitors from the Play Dirty expansion which also have been upgraded in this expansion. The rules are easy to read and It only takes a minute or two to read over everything. Just like previous rulebooks, that quirky sense of humor is still present. Overall, I’m good with the rulebook and I think it covers everything quite well.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
One thing I’ve really found enjoying is to upgrade and bling out my favorite games. This expansion does that in a great way. Not only do you get little plastic robit miniatures, but also a sweet looking bag to hold them all in as well. I like that even though the designer didn’t have to, he covered the rules for the Stingy visitors in the rulebook. I’m thrilled with the overall look of the robots. They really give that wow factor to the game. As for the actual new gameplay of the V.I.R.s, I like having yet another new type of wild visitor to add to the game. They add yet another dimension to the game to help you make a little more money with. I enjoy the expansion and feel like it’s a must have expansion. Fans of the original game and the Play Dirty expansion will most definitely want to add this to their game. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Steam Park: Robots is an expansion for Steam Park that upgrades the visitor meeples included in both the base game and Play Dirty expansion. This expansion does not add any additional play time to the base game. The plastic robots and embroidered bag look amazing. They really add a more thematic look to the game. The quirky humor is still there in the rulebook, even though it’s quite small. The expansions adds another modular style of play with the V.I.R. visitors that’s a lot of fun. Fans of the base game and expansion, will most definitely want to add this to their game. It’s a great component upgrade and one that I feel is a must have. I love the overall look and design. I highly recommend it. It’s bling-tastic!
9 out of 10

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

www.iellogames.com

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Steam Park: Play Dirty Expansion Review

Steam Park: Play Dirty is an expansion for Steam Park by Lorenzo Silva and Federico Latini, published by IELLO. It is for 2-5 players. This is a modular expansion that allows players to not only add a 5th player to the game, but it also allows them to add lots of new game mechanics. These mechanics can be added a little at a time or all at once. It’s up to the players.

For more information on the base game, please check out the link below.

Before going into what this new expansion adds in forms of game play, let me give you a quick overview of how the original game is played. Each player starts off with some land for their park to begin building on along with some dice to roll. Players will simultaneously begin rolling dice. Players set aside any dice they want to keep on their pig board. As soon as they have all 6 dice on their pig board, they can grab the best turn order card available. For the slowest player, they get a penalty of adding dirt to their park. Players will then take dirt tokens for each dirt symbol rolled on their dice as well as for any visitors they have in their park. Once players have collected their dirt, they’re able to build rides, build stands, clean dirt, expand the park, play bonus cards and attract visitors. Each ride or stand cost a die with the corresponding symbol. The bigger rides cost more dice with the correct symbol. Stands give special abilities that can be used throughout the game. A broom symbol allows the player to remove 2 dirt from their park. Any symbol can be used to increase the size of the player’s park. Bonus cards can be played for 1 die each with the correct symbol, while visitors are a bit different. A die with a visitor on it, allows the player to place their choice of visitor color into the bag, shuffle it all up and then draw a visitor from it. If there’s a corresponding ride in the player’s park that has room on it, they can place the visitor on the ride. If not, the visitor returns to the pool of visitors. Once each player has resolved each of their dice, they will then receive money for each visitor they have on their rides. Players draw up to their hand size in bonus cards and replace the turn order tokens. A new round will then begin. The game continues until the end of the 6th turn. Players count up the dirt tokens in their park and check the dirt track to see how much money they lose. Players then add up their remaining money and the player with the most money is the winner.

Now with all that in mind, let’s dive into this expansion. First off, there are now enough parts to be able to play with 5 players. This expansion includes a set of 5 white dice, pig board and starting ground tile. Players should also add the 4th player turn order token from this expansion with the ones from the base game. It should be noted that when playing with 5 players, there are only 5 turns, not 6 like in the base game.

On top of the 5th player, the game also provides several new mechanics. First off there are the Stingy Visitors. These are wild visitors that are placed in the visitor’s pool and can only be added to the bag if at least one of the starting color of visitors is no longer available. When one of these visitors is drawn from the bag, they’re placed on any ride, regardless of color. When earning money these visitors only provide 2 Denari instead of the normal 3. However, they don’t gain dirt tokens either. It should be noted that although these visitors can be placed on any color ride, they are their own color and will not count towards any bonus card effects.

Next there are new Ride Extensions. These are a lot like the rides themself and cost 1 hammer and wrench die for each space they have. However these can not be built by themselves. They must be attached to an existing ride. Rides can only have 1 extension attached to it. Any color visitor can be placed on an extension when attracting visitors. During the income phase, any visitors that don’t correspond with the color of the ride extension are placed back into the pool. When an extension is filled with visitors that are the same color as the ride it is attached to and/or wild visitors, the players suffers a penalty. Golden extensions cause the player to lose 2 danari for each space of the extension. Rusty extensions cause the player to gain 2 dirt tokens for each space of the extension. It should be noted that while these extensions are attached to a ride, they are a part of the ride, but still maintain their own color, not that of the ride. They will not count towards any bonus card effects.

Another new mechanic is the park directors. One of these can be chosen or randomly decided upon at the beginning of the game. Each one has a unique ability that changes some of the basic rules throughout the entire game. The sweeper allows a player to discard half their dirt tokens for each 2 broom symbols they spend, yet a single broom has no effect. The gambler allows a player to place a bonus card face down beneath the tile when they play a bonus card. They will then gain denari equal to the round of the game. At the end of the game the player that can best fulfill each card gains the denari for it. The barker allows the player to place a visitor of the wrong color onto the tile. When attracting visitors, the player can take visitors from the barker tile instead of pulling from the bag. However they gain a dirt token for each visitor taken this way. The planner allows the player to only roll 1 time. They must then place their dice one at a time onto their pig board, changing it to whatever side they wish. The architect allows the player to build rides and stands adjacent to rides and stands of any color. The player also gains 2 dirt token whenever they buy a new ground tile. The tycoon allows the players to each start with 10 denari. However during the roll phase, players secretly bet an amount of denari. They must then reveal their bets and the player that bet the highest, discards the money they bet and steals a die from the player that bet the least. The player that bet the least is allowed to keep their money, however the other players have to discard half their bet.

Yet another new mechanic is the espionage dice. This mechanic gives the player 4 denari and an espionage dice at the beginning of the game. Players roll this new dice along with their regular dice just like normal. Dice can still be placed onto the pig board to lock in the abilities just like normal. The same is true with the espionage dice. However it can’t be influenced by the effects of stands and it can’t be counted towards objectives on a bonus card. For it to be able to be used during the action phase, the player has to pay for it by discarding 4 denari at the end of the roll phase. However the player is able to pay 1 less denari for each white die with the same action on it on the pig board of the player to their right. Players can choose not to pay for the die if it has a dirt symbol on it. However they won’t be able to use it’s action then. Players are still only allowed to perform each action only once per turn. The espionage die may be used in conjunction with the regular white dice.

The final mechanic that this expansion provides is the new stands. There are 5 new stand types included. Players can either choose or randomly draw 5 stands from the 10 stand types by using the reference tiles included in this expansion. The remaining stands are returned to the box. The 5 new stands are the fountain, hall of mirrors, office, shooting gallery and incinerator. The fountain allows a player to spend 2 denari to discard 2 dirt tokens at the end of their action phase. The hall of mirrors can be built adjacent to another stand, allowing it to copy that stands ability. However only 1 hall of mirrors may be attached to each kind of stand. The office increases the number of bonus cards the player is allowed to hold in their hand by 1. It also counts a die face of 1 shovel as 2 shovels instead, allowing them to play more bonus cards. The shooting gallery allows the player to reroll 1 die on their pig board during their action phase. For each reroll, the player gains 1 denari. However if they roll a blank face, they gain 2 denari instead. It should be noted though that if the symbol rolled is for an action that the player has already performed that turn, they may not perform it again. The incinerator awards a player with 2 denari if they have the most dirt during the income phase. Of course, just like with the original game, these abilities are increased if the player has more of the same type of stand.

COMPONENTS
Just like with the original game, this expansion is full of quirky and fun looking pieces. Each one captures the theme and look of the original game quite well. The different ride extensions are very similarly designed apart from the actual artwork on the sides. The extra components for the 5th player are pretty much the same exact pieces as are included with the base game. The same is true of the extra bank notes that are included. The new stingy visitors are dark grey but are the same wooden shape as the original visitors. The espionage dice are similar to the original dice except that they are black instead of white. The stands are similarly designed with new artwork for the new stand types. What’s completely new looking is the park director tiles and the stand reference tiles. The park directors are all nice and big and look absolutely great. I love the art on each of these. They really sell the theme of the game in a big way for me. Each one also references the special ability that they have on the tile. These are awesome and are my favorite pieces of the expansion. The stand reference tiles are great for randomly choosing which stands to use during the game. They can be shuffled just like cards and can then be placed out on the table to be used as a reference for the abilities of each stand in play. Let’s be honest, I love the original game and all it’s quirky and fun theme. This expansion fall right in line with that look and gives you even more of that goodness. I love the new designs and all the new pieces.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion look really nice. It has a lot of the same humor and style as that of the original rulebook. There’s plenty of great looking pictures throughout the book. The rules are all laid out quite well and in such a way that players can pick and choose which modules that they’d like to use when they play. It’s very simple to read and understand. It’s actually one of the most fun rulebooks to read. I love the quirky humor throughout the book. Each new piece is covered in great detail so that there should be no problems when playing. Overall I love the look and the design of the rulebook. It’s really great fun to read and it does a nice job of covering the rules too.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I have always enjoyed theme parks. I loved playing Roller Coaster Tycoon on the computer and building my own park. It’s no surprise then that I really enjoy Steam Park. It’s a lot of fun building rides and expanding your park. It reminds me a lot of those days of playing Roller Coaster Tycoon. This expansion adds even more thrills and excitement to the original game. It’s nice to have the added components to be able to play with 5 players. Normally I don’t have that many players but it’s still nice to have them anyway. The new stingy visitors are fun, however they don’t show up near as often as I’d like them to. It takes a complete run on a color before they can even start to be pulled from the bag. The ride extensions are great. They add a lot of freedom when drawing visitors from the bag, as you don’t have to worry about matching everything up completely. The park directors are my absolute favorite part of the expansion. I love how each one changes the gameplay up simply by changing the director for that game. The espionage dice take a little more work to use them efficiently, which can be a bit of a problem for the younger players. They’re still great to use with the game and I like how they change things up a bit. The new stands, like the park directors, are also great. I especially like the reference tiles. They add a lot more depth when combined into the game. Overall I like the new additions. It does tend to make things a bit more gamer oriented and a little less family but there’s still plenty of things that can be used with the family for them to enjoy as well. I would highly recommend this expansion, especially if you’re looking for a bit more challenge to the regular game.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Steam Park: Play Dirty is an expansion for Steam Park that adds a lot of new content that may be added a little at a time or all at once. The expansion doesn’t really add any additional play time. Most game sessions still last around an hour. The artwork and components all share the same stylized look and feel of the original game. I love the look and humor of the rulebook. It’s rare when the rules for a game can make you laugh. All the different modules add different levels of gameplay which can make things more challenging and a bit more gamer and a little less family oriented. I will say that a few of the modules are simple enough and don’t get too out there to still be enjoyed with the family though. My favorite parts are the park directors and new stands. Fans of Steam Park will want to add this to their game, especially if they’re looking for a bit more of a challenge. I think this is a must have addition. I really enjoy it. I would highly recommend the expansion. Just like a roller coaster, this one is exciting.
9 out of 10

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

www.iellogames.com

 

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