Kingdom of Aer: Kingmaker Review

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Kingdom of Aer: Kingmaker is a game by Allan Chesher, published by Centennial Games. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of nobles that are all vying for the newly vacated crown. They’ll be trying to eliminate their competition through treachery and even murder. In the end the player that can prove they’re the most worthy will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player chooses a color and takes the corresponding deck of that color’s cards, becoming that noble house. The players then place their 3 royalty cards face down in front of themself, while the remaining cards are placed in their hand. Once this is done, play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round player’s will simultaneously choose a card from their hand and place it face down in front of themselves. Players are allowed to change their mind, picking up their card and replacing it with a different card, as long as there is still a player that hasn’t placed a card face down. Once all player’s have placed a card, the cards are “locked in” and can’t be changed. Players will now simultaneously flip over their chosen card and resolve the cards based on which cards are now revealed. This follows the 7 step order of resolution. First the Jester cards join the court, becoming an additional member of royalty that can be killed off instead of a royal. Next the Count attacks. That means that players check to see which house has the majority of attack nominations against it. If there is a tie, tied players are both hit. In the third step, the Seer removes attacks. This means that if the player that played the Seer has the most attack nominations, it can not be hit this round and instead the player with the next highest majority is hit instead. For the fourth step, the attacks now hit the appropriate player(s). In the fifth step, the Marshalls counter the hit. This means that if the Marshalls were played by the player being hit, the Marshalls will block the hit and counter attack with new hits being sent to all the players that played attack nominations against them. Once these steps are resolved, then the sixth step resolves. In this step the thief steals and the gold buys. What that means is that as long as there is at least 1 gold card played, then the thief is able to steal all the gold, discarding it and allowing the player to buy back one of their own character cards from the discard pile. If there are no thieves played, the players that played a gold card are allowed to buy back a character card from the discard pile. This does not mean that a royalty card that has been killed can be bought back. Those are special cards and not character cards. The final step is to add banners and the fanatic burns. This means that any player that played a banner is now able to add it to the top of their court of royals face up. This banner now allows attack nominations to count for 2 votes instead of just 1. If a player played the fanatic it burns all the banners that are on the table including the player that played it’s banner.

It should be noted that attack nomination cards are returned to the player’s hand at the end of the round. Also, if a player contributed to killing the last royal of a player’s house, they earn a trophy. This means that the player places the attack nomination card for that house that they played under one of their own royals. This makes that particular royal worth more points at the end of the game.

The game continues until there are only 2 houses remaining. That is to say that all but 2 player’s court of royals has been eliminated. The remaining 2 players now count up their points based on the cards they have on the table and in their hand. The player that has the most points is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
This game consists of 5 separate decks of cards representing the 5 different houses, as well as a couple of character reference cards. The cards are very nicely done and look really great. They’re pretty good quality and the artwork is really good. I really like the design and feel of the cards. The cards come packaged inside a small little box of cards that could fairly easily be tucked inside a pocket for ease of travel. About the only thing that I could ask for would be a divider inside the box to keep the stacks separate as they tend to get a bit mixed up. Thankfully it’s really easy to separate the decks thanks to the brightly colored backs of the cards. The reference cards are quite nice and they help remind players of not only what each character does but on the reverse side there’s a reminder of the order of resolution steps. Overall, I’m pleased with the cards and think everything looks very nice.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a tri-folded piece of cardstock. It’s colored and there are actually quite a lot of pictures on the rulebook. There’s pictures for setting up the game as well as how attack voting should look. On the back there’s a really good breakdown of each of the cards detailing how each one works. For a simple game I’d say that the rulebook does a decent job of explaining the rules. I do wish that things were a bit better explained especially when it comes to the order of resolution. Also I feel like it would be nice if there were rules for playing with only 2 players as well. Apart from that, I think that the rules aren’t that bad, especially since there are so many pictures and they’re all in color to boot. Overall it’s a pretty decent job.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a pretty interesting little card game. I like the look and feel of the game. I like the simplicity of it as well. I even like the idea behind it, however the presentation is a bit lacking. The way the rules are set up causes the game to follow the path of player elimination until there are only 2 players left. Once there are only 2 players, then those players score their points and determine the winner based on point totals. For me I’d like it better if it was a set number of rounds of play and then points were totaled for everyone remaining, OR a straight up player elimination. Either of these would have been fine. The mixture of both makes the game feel a bit odd. Not that this makes the game bad in any way. I mean for a fairly simple card game, it has just enough meat to be enjoyable. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I do wish there were rules for playing the game with only 2 players. That would make things better for me. The rules state that the game is a 5 player game. However I’ve seen it noted as a 3-5 player game on the BGG and find that the rules work fine with less than 5. The game does tend takes a bit longer with more players, however it seems to add a bit more chaos and fun to it as well. Overall I’d be more inclined to recommend it for 4 or 5 players. 3 tends to end a bit too quickly. This is a game that fans of player elimination or take that style card games should enjoy. It’s a pretty nice game that I’d recommend giving a try especially if you like a simple and fast card game.
7 out of 10

OVERALL
Kingdom of Aer: Kingmaker is a light weight player elimination style card game with a take that feel. The game is fairly short with most game sessions lasting around 15 minutes or so. The cards are really nicely done. I especially like the great looking artwork on them. The rulebook is also quite nice as well. However I do wish that the order of resolution were a bit more detailed in the rules. I also would have liked rules for playing with 2 players but that would probably change the dynamics of the game and make it feel completely different. As it is, the game plays best for me with 4 or 5 players, even though the BGG lists it as being playable with 2 or 3 as well. I feel like it plays too short with fewer than 4 players. Therefore I recommend this game for 4 or more players. I will say that the mixture of player elimination and point scoring does feel a bit odd but it still kind of works. I would have liked it better as straight player elimination or point gathering style game but it is what it is. Fans of player elimination or possibly take that card games should enjoy this one. Overall, it’s a quick and simple card game that I’d recommend giving a try. You don’t even have to be royalty to enjoy it.
7 out of 10

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For more information about this game, please keep an eye out for the upcoming Kickstarter.  You can also check out the website for the game below.

http://kingdomofaer.com/

 

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The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport Review

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The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport is a game by Nate Heiss, Sam Waller and Jeff Morrow, published by Slugfest Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of one of the famous adventurers from Red Dragon Inn fame. They’ll be tasked with defending the city from a bunch of rampaging monsters of every shape, size and color, as well as some extremely nasty bosses. They’ll have to work together if they hope to defeat the onslaught of creatures. In the end, they’ll either win together or suffer crushing defeat as the monsters destroy the city. If all the monsters and the boss are defeated, the heroes will be declared the winners.

To begin, players should choose a scenario from the many different scenario cards. For first time players it’s recommended to use The Interrupted Party scenario. The scenario card is set aside along with the corresponding encounter cards, locations, monster decks and boss monster as noted on the scenario card. Players now choose a character and are given the character’s 9 card starting deck, 3 player hero cards and deck divider which has a round order chart on the back. Players shuffle their starting deck and draw 5 cards from it. They then add their level 1 player hero card to their hand. The level 2 and 3 player hero cards are set aside to be used later in the game. Players are given 10 hit point tokens unless the scenario card states otherwise. The hero deck is shuffled and the top 4 cards are revealed and placed in a face up row beside the deck. If any gold cost cards are revealed, they are set aside and a new card is revealed to take it’s place. Once there are 4 non gold cards in the row, any revealed gold cards are then shuffled back into the deck. The same thing is then done for the item deck with 4 non gold cards needing to be revealed. The starting player is chosen and is given the round marker with the “Taunt” side face up. Next the Encounter is setup.

For the Encounter setup, the appropriate encounter card is placed in the center of the table along with the corresponding location card which is placed beside it. The players use the setup column on the encounter card that matches the amount of players. The players shuffles the monster deck that matches the encounter card into the current monster deck. At the beginning of the game there is no current monster deck so there should only be one set of monster cards used. The location card is then given the matching amount of hit points as noted on the encounter card. A number of monster cards are then revealed next to the location until the accumulated threat levels of the monsters meet or exceed the number indicated on the encounter card. Beginning with the starting player, monsters are then revealed for each player in much the same way as the location until the threat level meets or exceeds the number on the encounter card. Players then check the encounter card’s setup and follow any special setup procedures listed there. If there is a boss monster listed, the boss card that matches the one listed is placed on the table along with the matching boss HP token. Each player is then given a certain number of recruitment coins as listed on the encounter card. Players then check the monsters in front of themselves and resolve any ambush effects in the order of their choosing. The location card is then placed on top of the encounter card with only the penalty showing at the bottom of the card. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round the starting player with the round marker is known as the defending player. The monsters in front of that player are the active monster group. Each player is able to play cards to help save the defending player and the location. Each round players are allowed to take a series of actions in any order. They can play 1 hero card, they can play 1 item card onto a matching hero, they can fight an active monster and they can use the round marker to taunt a monster if they are the defending player. Playing a hero card is done by simple placing the card face up on the table. Item cards when played are placed on top of a chosen hero so that it partially overlaps. Any card that has a downward arrow icon resolves the effect before taking any further actions. Cards with a right arrow pointing to a line can choose to use that ability once that round. Crossed sword icons on a card indicate that the action resolves when the hero fights a monster.

Speaking of fighting monsters, when a player choose to fight a monster they will first turn the hero sideways to show that it has been used that round. Next an active monster is chosen to fight. If there are no active monsters a location monster may be fought instead. Any dice that must be rolled due to card abilities are then rolled. The attack then does the accumulated damage of card numbers, dice rolls or both. Damage markers are then placed on the monster. If it takes more damage than it’s health, it’s defeated and the card is discarded. If all the monsters in play are defeated, play proceeds to the encounter cleanup. We’ll discuss that in a moment. It should be noted that some cards and the round marker have the taunt ability. What this means is that when this ability is used the player is allowed to take a monster that is not in their monster group and move it to their monster group. That monster can be from the location or another player’s monster group. If the round marker’s taunt ability is used, the marker is flipped over to indicate that it’s been used that round. The round marker is only usable by the defending player. Taunting is a great way to save the location, especially if it’s running low on hit points. As soon as there are no more monsters on the location, either due to them being taunted away or being defeated, players gain the location reward. However that’s only if the location is still active because it has 1 or more hit points remaining.

Once the players either can not or choose not to take any more actions, there are a series of 6 steps that must be taken in order to end the round. First there’s monster damage. In this step any active monsters and the location monsters deal damage, beginning with the defending player. If that player’s hit point level is reduced to 0 or below, the players lose the game. As long as the player still has hit points, damage is then allocated to the location from the location monster group. If it is reduced to 0 or lower hit points, it’s destroyed and the players suffer the penalty at the bottom of the encounter card. If there are any bosses on the location, they then move to the active monster group. Players then take turns taking one of the monsters from the location group and adding it to their monster group. The location card is then discarded. The next step is cleanup. In this step, any player that played a card with the cleanup icon on it, now resolves the cleanup effect. Players then discard any and all cards that they played during the round as well as any unused shield tokens. The next step is the recruit step. In this step, the defending player must spend a recruitment coin to recruit a card from the reinforcement decks, if they have any coins. Recruited cards are placed in the player’s hand not in their discard pile. The purchased card is then replaced from the appropriate deck. The fourth step is the discard step. In this step, the defending player sets aside their player hero and then discards down to their hand size. They may choose to discard any additional cards that they would like to. The next step is the refill step. In this step, the defending player now draws back up to their hand size and returns their player hero to their hand. The final step is to pass the round marker. In this step, the defending player passes the round marker to the player on their left. That player then places it with the “Taunt” side face up in front of them. Any monsters that have the ferocious ability are then moved to the new defending player’s monster group.

Earlier I mentioned the encounter cleanup. This happens when all the monsters in play are defeated. At this point, there is an immediate cleanup step which is the same as the clean up step described above. Next players, in order, must spend all of their remaining recruitment coins to recruit cards from the reinforcement decks. Once this has been completed, all players follow the discard and refill steps described above. After this has been completed, play proceed to the encounter setup for the next encounter as described earlier.

The game continues with players fighting monsters, recruiting heroes and purchasing items to fight with. Each encounter has a specific win and lose condition. Most of the time this will entail defeating the boss and not letting any of the heroes die. If the players are able to complete the win condition, they will be the winners.

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COMPONENTS
This game has some amazing looking pieces to it. Anyone familiar with the Red Dragon Inn series of games will recognize many of the player heroes. The same type and style of artwork is present on every card and every token that comes with the game. There’s a ton of different cards that are packed inside the box, over 350 cards. There are monster cards of 6 different subgroups. There are monster token cards for bringing in some extra little nasties, much like the token cards in Magic the Gathering. There are hero and item cards that make up the 2 reinforcement decks. Each starting hero has their own personal starting deck of cards. There are also curse cards which I didn’t mention in the overview but that simply clog up your deck. If that’s not enough there are also the oversized cards like the 5 different player hero cards, including the new Time Mage, Chronos. Speaking of Chronos, the game also comes with an entire ally pack for him including promo drink card, character deck, gold and platinum coins, alcohol content marker, fortitude marker, player mat and deck divider for use with the Red Dragon Inn series of games. Back to the oversized cards, there are the different location cards as well as scenario, encounters and boss monsters. There are several different colored dice included as well as a whole bunch of tokens. There are tokens for damage, hit points, recruitment coins, shield tokens, boss monster hit points and the round marker. The game also comes with some cardboard dividers to keep everything separated inside the box and for ease of setup. On the backs of these are are quick reminder of a player’s actions. Kind of a little cheat sheet player reference. Like I said, there’s a lot of stuff inside this box. The thing is that the artwork and designs are beautiful. I absolutely love the look and feel. There’s absolutely nothing that I’d change component wise. If you’re not a fan of Red Dragon Inn, then you might not like this one. For me though, I love it.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is excellent. There are plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book. The book starts with some great overviews of the different card types and what each part of the card is and what it does. This includes the larger cards like the locations and boss monster cards as well. From there it explains the different tokens before moving into describing how to setup the game using the scenario cards. A couple of pages later and there’s a great full color page of what the game should look like setup. Next the book explains all the basics of playing the game with plenty of details. Afterwards the abilities of the different monster and heroes are explained in detail along with some card specific notes. The last couple of pages include several variants to change up how the game is played. Finally on the back cover is a check list for achievements that lists all the different scenarios and allows you to check off in order when you beat them. Overall I like the look and feel of the book. Everything is laid out really well and includes all the pertinent information along with some great details for clarification. I’m thrilled with the book and think that it gets the job done in excellent fashion.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me say straight up. This game can be very hard to play. I’ve played through the introductory scenario several times and found it to be quite difficult. The next scenario isn’t quite as bad. Not sure why the intro one was setup to be so difficult. Maybe it’s that you start off with less health than in other scenarios. That’s my thought on it anyway. In any event, it’s no surprise that I love deck builders. However, this one doesn’t have a lot of the normal deck building aspects that you’d expect. When I think of a deck building game, I think of Ascension or Dominion. In those games you play cards and buy new ones to add to your deck. Plain and simple. In this game, you’re playing hero cards and then playing items on them to help you attack or move monsters around the play area. It’s not until the the round is ended that you can actually acquire new cards and then it’s only the defending player that can do that. Not only that but usually you add up the coins or currency of some sort and can purchase stronger cards. With this one, if you only have a bunch of copper coins, too bad about buying that gold cost item or hero. I’m not a big fan of that aspect of the game. To me there should be a currency exchange rate or something. Maybe if 3 copper make a silver and 2 silver make a gold. I’m just spitballing ideas at this point. Apart from that and the painfully difficult gameplay, I actually like the game. I like how that saving the locations can actually provide you with special benefits that can really help you out. I also like that the game comes with 7 scenarios. I’ve played the game several times and have yet to make it to the harder difficulty ones. I can only imagine that things are gonna be nigh impossible. Fans of the Red Dragon Inn series will most likely like this one, especially since it adds a new character to be used in those games. Fans of deck building games might enjoy a new challenge and a new style of playing. For me, I would recommend giving it a try. It might not be for everyone as the difficulty of the introductory scenario might scare players off. I think if you go into it with an open mind and keep at it, you just might like it like I do.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport is a cooperative deck building game set in the Red Dragon Inn universe. The game is fairly average in play time. Most game sessions last around an hour to an hour and a half. The game looks great. There are lots of great looking cards with a very similar style artwork to that in the Red Dragon Inn series of games. I really like the look and feel of the game as well as the durability of the cards. The rulebook is also great and has lots of great information that is easy to find what you’re looking for. I especially like that there are achievements as well as variants included in the rules. The game itself is on the more difficult end of game play and doesn’t exactly fit the normal style of most deck builders. I’m not exactly crazy about how new cards are purchased and added to the players hands but it’s not a major deal either. I also wish that there were a few easier scenarios included to help new players get a better feel for the game without feeling so overwhelmed that they might not want to play it again. Fans of deck building games that are looking for a new take on the mechanic and don’t mind a bit of difficulty should enjoy this one. I’d also recommend this game to fans of the Red Dragon Inn series of games. Overall the few minor squabbles that I have with the game don’t detract enough from the overall fun factor for me. I’m sure some people might not like it but I do. For me, the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Give it a try. I recommend it. Just know that there are no drinks allowed on the battle field.
9 out of 10

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

http://slugfestgames.com/

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Danger Suit Review

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Danger Suit is a game by Matt Peterson, published by The Make Believe World Games and available from The Gamecrafter LLC. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of villain or hero in a 1 vs. up to 5 game of strategy. The players were once all scientists working together for the betterment of mankind until the villain went rogue and ran off with some high tech gadgetry. He’ll be trying to power up his death ray to destroy the city. Meanwhile, the heroes are tasked with trying to stop him as they must construct an improvised Danger Suit from whatever spare parts they can find in their lab. In the end, it’s all about energy. If the heroes can collect enough energy before the villain destroys the city, they’ll be declared the winners. If not, they’ll watch as the city burns and the villain reigns victorious.

To begin, players choose one of the character mats. One player must choose the villain mat. The heroes receive the corresponding colored hero token. The villain player is then given their fortress tile. If only 1 hero is playing, all the event cards are removed from the Danger Suit deck. If there are fewer than 4 players, all the event cards with the Channel 4 Heroes logo on them are removed. The Danger Suit deck is then shuffled. The Mutations are shuffled in a separate deck. Both decks are then placed on the table face down. Five energy cubes are set aside for each hero player. These cubes are then placed on the Energy Pool card which is placed on the table. The remaining cubes are returned to the box. The city is then built beginning with the City Center tile. The other city tiles are all mixed together in a face up pile. The villain player starts by choosing one of the tiles and placing it next to the City Center tile. The heroes then choose a tile and place it next to one of the already built tiles. The roads on the tile must connect to the other roads without making any dead ends. Tiles are placed alternating back and forth between villain and hero, each placing 1 tile per team until all the tiles have been placed. Heroes will then place their token onto any unoccupied city tile beginning with the player to the villain’s left. Once all the heroes have placed their token, the villain places their Fortress tile adjacent to any city tile they chose. He then places his villain token onto the Fortress tile. The villain draws 3 cards from the mutations deck, placing them in the corresponding mutation areas on their villain mat. Play now begins.

Beginning with the player to the Villain player’s left, each hero will take a turn consisting of 2 Action Points(AP). Once all the heroes have taken their turns, the villain player takes his turn. On a player’s turn, either hero or villain, they may use their 2 AP to perform different actions. Heroes may move to an adjacent tile, attack the villain or move onto a lab or power station. Moving to an adjacent tile costs 1 AP. The heroes do not have to follow the roads but can not move onto or across the Fortress tile. Attacking the villain takes all the heroes remaining AP. No more actions are allowed after attacking however. This means that if the attack is taken first, it will cost 2 AP. However if a move is taken prior to the attack, it only costs 1 AP. We’ll discuss combat in just a bit. Moving onto a lab or power station is the exact same way. If the move is taken first, it costs 2 AP. However if an adjacent move is performed prior to the move onto a lab or power station, it only costs 1 AP.

Labs and Power Stations provide special effects for the hero that moves onto the tile. Labs allow the player to draw 3 Danger Suit cards. They are then allowed to play or discard each card as it’s drawn. Event and CDF cards must be played immediately. I’ll discuss these in a moment. It should be noted that each Danger Suit card may be placed on the appropriate spot on the player’s mat. These cards may provide a bevy of different combat dice or increase the player’s battery capacity. Power stations allow the player to place energy cubes onto their player mat equal to their battery capacity. Each player may only hold up to 5 energy cubes, regardless.

Once the hero players have taken their turn, it’s the Villain’s turn. For the Villain, he may move, attack or destroy a city tile with his 2 AP. The Villain can move to any adjacent tile without following the roads and can walk on the Fortress tile for 1 AP. Attacking a hero is the same as with the heroes, it cost all the villain’s remaining AP of can only cost 1 AP if a move action is taken first. Destroying a city tile cost 2 AP and allows the villain to destroy a tile, even if there’s a hero on it. However the City Center and Villain’s Fortress tile can not be destroyed. When a tile is destroyed, it is flipped over and the written effect on the bottom of the tile takes effect. The villain then draws 3 mutation cards and plays them as drawn. Mutation cards are a lot like Danger Suit cards and are played on the appropriate spot of the Villain’s player mat. These cards can provide both attack and defense as well as providing minions to be used in battle.

Speaking of battle, let me explain how combat works. Combat follows 5 steps. First the battling hero and villain choose a Danger Suit piece/Mutation secretly. This will be what they will use during combat. They also add any CDF and Minions available. Players then place the attack tile with the matching card icon face up in front of them once both players are ready. Both players then reveal their chosen parts by revealing their attack tile. The hero then rolls the die/dice that match their chosen Danger Suit card, adding in any special abilities. Removing any die/dice that the villain’s mutation blocks. Finally the winner of the combat is determined. Players check the total of the die/dice roll. If the total is higher than the villain’s defense, the hero wins. If it’s less, the villain wins. If it’s equal to the defense, the battle is a draw. The loser of the battle then gives the winner 1 energy cube from their collection. If they have no energy cube to give, they are defeated and must discard their entire Danger Suit/Mutations. Minions and CDF cards are not discarded.

The game continues until one of two things happens. If the heroes collect all the energy cubes before the Villain destroys the city, the heroes win. If the villain is able to collect 5 energy cubes and return to their fortress with a fully charged death ray or if he can destroy all 6 of 2 specific city tile types, the villain wins.

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COMPONENTS
This game has some really great looking pieces to it. First off there are the different hero and villain mats. These are double sided and have a nice finish to them. They’re a little thin but they appear to be pretty durable thanks to the materials they’re made from. There are lots of different cards both for the heroes as well as the villain. These are smaller, more like the Euro sized cards. They look really great as well with a great finish to them also. The artwork for both the cards and mats are really great and work well with each other, especially since you’ll be playing the different pieces and mutations to these mats. The city tiles and attack tiles aren’t quite as nice artistically as the cards and mats but are still great quality. The city tiles look more like something from a crayola colored blueprint. They’re not bad looking, they just don’t capture the same feel that the mats and cards do. The game also comes with several different colored wooden meeples to represent the heroes and villain. These are pretty much your standard meeples. Nothing elaborate about them. Again, not bad but I think some plastic pieces with stickers or even some little cardboard standees would have looked better. This isn’t a major thing but simply a minor gripe. The game has some plastic cubes as well as some colored dice. These are your standard cubes and dice that you can find in many different games or RPG player’s dice bag. Overall, I like the art style on most of the pieces but think that a little more work needs to be done to make the game feel more cohesive. For now, it’s good but could become great fairly easily.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK

The rulebook for this game is pretty good. It’s only 10 pages long and has lots of pictures throughout the book. All the different card types, tiles and mats are explained fairly well. That said, the book is a bit haphazard. Thankfully it’s not that big so looking things up while playing isn’t that big of a deal. It just might take a minute or two to find what you’re looking for. There is some bold text and red lettering here and there but I don’t feel as if it was used well enough to distinguish between some concepts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. It’s just a little bit difficult to use as a reference. Reading through you get a pretty good feel for the game and shouldn’t have a lot of difficulty with the actual gameplay. Overall, it gets the job done.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a fairly unique and interesting game. It’s definitely different than most of the games that I’ve played. In some ways it reminds me of the old Japanese team robot animes from back when. For the heroes the game is all about building up your suit to be able to take on the villain and denying him those precious energy cubes. The villain player on the other hand has 2 ways of achieving victory and can turn his attention to what suits his play style the best or whichever path seems to be easier at the moment. I really like how the game really allows the players to customize their character to make them the best they can possibly be. I like how the different components allow the players to amp up their abilities throughout the game. I also really like the variability of the board setup. Each time you play you’ll end up with a completely different board based on the choices that the players make when placing tiles. I also like that each hero player board has special abilities that are unique to just them so that it matters which hero you choose. Normally all the player mats would be the same without any changes. I like that the designer decided to change that and put a bit of flavor to each one. I really think this one works well at what it tried to achieve. Fans of anime or shows like the Power Rangers or other such should enjoy the battling and customizing aspects of this game. This is one that I’d recommend checking out. Overall, I’m really intrigued by the game and enjoy it rather well.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Danger Suit is a 1 versus many game of action selection and battling with a superhero style theme. The game isn’t very long. Most game sessions can be played in around 45 minutes to an hour. Of course with more players it might take a bit longer. The game looks really great. I especially like the artwork on the cards and mats. I feel that these aspects work really great together. The tiles and other pieces feel a bit disconnected however and leave me wanting a bit more cohesion. The rulebook is also a bit rough and could use a bit more polish. Those few minor squabbles aside, the game is quite enjoyable. I like that players will be able to customize their characters throughout the game to become a lean mean fighting machine. I enjoy the 1 versus many aspect of the game but really wish there was a way to make this cooperative against a non player villain as well. In any event, I think the game works quite well in accomplishing what the designer set out to achieve. It has a great feel to it and is one that I will enjoy coming back to many more times. Fans of anime or stylized fighting shows like the Power Rangers should really enjoy this one. I would definitely recommend checking this one out. No fancy one piece suit or Zords needed.
8 out of 10

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For more information about this game, please check out The Make Believe World Games at their site, or you can purchase the game from The Gamecrafter LLC.

http://thembwgames.com/

http://www.thegamecrafter.com/

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An Interview with Pat Lee about Crossroads of Heroes

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Over the past month or so I’ve had the opportunity to have several conversations with Patrick Lee from Pat Piper Games in Hong Kong about his upcoming new game Crossroads of Heroes. The game will be coming to Kickstarter around February next year. Here’s the interview with the designer himself. Enjoy!

Jonathan:
Pat, thanks for taking the time to talk with me about your upcoming new game, Crossroads of Heroes.  Please tell us all a little bit about the game and how it’s played.

Pat:
“Crossroads of Heroes is a Wuxia themed board game for 2-5 players. Game time is between 45 and 90 minutes.

In the game, you play as a Chinese hero hailing from one of the five major martial arts sects of ancient China. Your goal is to gain renown to become the next Grand Master of Wulin.

(Sorry for all the transliterations. I hope words like Wuxia and Wulin don’t get western board gamers scratching their heads in confusion.)

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In the game, you will have to train in special fighting techniques, fight duels, explore the Jianghu and employ Wuxia inspired stratagems such as ” Vow Revenge” or “Forgiveness”.

You must also eat the right kind of food to replenish your health, and find items that will help you in your quest. However, if things aren’t going the way you had wish while playing as a good guy, you can choose to take on a dark path and employ malicious methods to help you eliminate your opponents!

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Jonathan:
In a way, it sounds like the game has some similarities to Naruto, a martial arts style manga/anime. Are you afraid that players might make that same comparison?

Pat:
Not at all. It’s only natural for gamers to draw comparisons from what they already know and if that can help them to get a better understanding of “Crossroads of Heroes”, then that works for me!

Now, I have no knowledge of Naruto prior to this interview, but from what I saw on Youtube, I will say that it is a very different game. While both games involve fighting characters and doing battles with martial arts, the similarities end there.

Naruto is a deck building card game that focuses heavily on combat, whereas Crossroads is a strategic board game that feels more like an individual journey for each player and their chosen character. In Crossroads, there are many more ways to win than fighting. In fact, it is even possible to win the game by taking a completely passive approach and not having to fight anyone. It may be difficult, but not entirely impossible.
For example, if you play as Huai Xun, a Shaolin monk, you are able to gain renown simply from meditating and giving up material possessions. It may sound a bit odd, but when playing the game, if you consider the different philosophy behind each character and their respective sects where they studied from, it will make more sense.

And for some of us, that may be a more gratifying way to win than just fighting.

So again, aside from the occasional duel, it’s a completely different experience.

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Jonathan:
It sounds like there’s a lot of exploration and adventure to the game.  What about customization?  I love being able to make the characters that I play my own. Are you able to customize your characters through leveling up or through the choices you take through the game?

Pat:
For the basic core game, I’ve chosen to keep the exploration part (where you encounter special characters and events) to a minimum, since there is already a lot to grasp in terms of characters and their abilities.

As for customization, I think you can definitely get a sense of that from having to make various decisions during every phase of your turn. Often times, these will be somewhat moral choices like: would you rather spend your turn cultivating your character or would you rather divert your energies towards impeding your opponents’ progress?

Furthermore, when you’ve completed your sect training, there are still more ways to build up your character by defeating the Wulin masters and acquiring their powers.

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Jonathan:
Pat, I’ve looked over your website and found some beautiful illustrations.  I’m guessing that you plan on using these in the actual game. Who is the artist?

Pat:
I am the artist for the game. However, it was my wife, Jan, who wrote all the beautiful Chinese calligraphy!

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Jonathan:
Well you and your wife have really done an excellent job.  I’m really impressed.  I take it that the game will not be produced by one of the major companies out there.  I assume that you and your wife will take on the production duties yourself?

Pat:
Thank you for the kind words, Jonathan.

Foremost, I would like to establish Pat Piper as my personal brand and hopefully, “Crossroads of Heroes” will become the first of many more games and products to come!

As for production, it is still a bit early to say how we want to approach this even though we know where our hearts lie.

What we are certain is that we really want to have the highest quality that we can afford with manufacturing and we also cherish the close relationship we can have with fans while operating as a small indie company.

During the course of making “Crossroads of Heroes”, I’ve also come to realize that I’ve created not only a board game but also a story and world that I wish to expand on and through it, share my philosophical views with fellow gamers. In fact, I’ve already written the first chapter of the comic. The first few panels, while unedited, have already been illustrated and are available on the website.

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Jonathan:
You just mentioned a web comic. Does this mean that the game has inspired a comic as well?

Pat:
Yes, I’ve always had these mini stories formed in my head as I come up with these characters for the game. As I slowly weave them into a bigger story, I thought: “Why, this is becoming quite interesting, and it will surely help western players understand many of the Chinese Wuxia elements of the game and enhance their game experience so much more!”

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Jonathan:
Well needless to say, I’m looking forward to the game.  When can we expect to be able to get our hands on a copy?

Pat:
I aim to put it on Kickstarter early next year. (I cannot give an exact date until I have everything set in place and that it is ready to go into production.) Once we have that, we will post the news on our website and our facebook page immediately.

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Jonathan:
Pat, thanks for all your time. It’s been a real pleasure talking to you.  As for Crossroads of Heroes, I can’t wait to play it.  Is there anything else that you’d like the readers to know about either the game, yourself or the company?

Pat:
Yes, I wish to thank everyone who got involved in our little journey. From the day I came up with the game to our show at Essen, we’ve met many good people and have received a lot of help and love from family and friends.

Yes, we are currently a small company, (if you can even call it that), with only me and my wife. However, we are determined to give everything we’ve got to make sure that every person who likes our game gets the best product that we can make. We will not rest until that happens.

The pleasure is all mine, Jonathan. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

Jonathan:
Thanks again. I wish you the best of luck with the game.

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Crossroads of Heroes will be available for backing on Kickstarter next year. Please keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, you can find more information on the game, as well as videos and the previously mentioned web comic by checking out the link below.

http://crossroadsofheroes.com/

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Go7Gaming 51st State Master Set Storage Solution Product Review

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Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a new product from Go7Gaming. That product was the 51ST-001 Storage Solution for 51st State Master Set. I received it in a flat rate shipping box. Inside I found a bundle of wooden sheets wrapped together in a large ziplock bag with some full color instructions explaining how to put everything together. After removing the sheets from the packaging and reading through the instructions, it was ready to assemble.

Now then, let me explain exactly what this product is and what it does. First off, this is an insert for the game 51st State Master Set. Once it’s assembled, the insert will make it possible to keep all of the many components and cards of the game organized. There is even plenty of extra room inside the box for other things. The insert looks great and everything fits really well inside the box. More on that later, for now let’s get into the thick of things. First off, let’s take a look at everything you get and the basic assembly of the insert. We’ll start off with separating out all the different wooden sheets. As you can tell, there are quite a few of them. Each piece is cut so that you can easily punch them out from the main sheet that they’re attached to.

Of course if you’ve ready any of my product reviews for Go7Gaming, you’ll already be aware of this. However for those new to the reviews, let me state this. You will absolutely want to have some glue to put the pieces together with. It’s an absolute necessity. In this review I won’t tell you when to glue pieces together. That’s pretty much redundant. Just know that if 2 pieces are being joined together, you’ll want to apply glue between them both. There, done. Moving on. Now that you’re informed, let’s start by assembling the main insert.

To build the main insert, you’ll start off by taking the short notched divider wall and connecting it between the to notched inner walls. Like so.

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Next you’ll need to attach the inner tray wall. Like so.

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Once you’ve got that done, you’ll attach the outer wall with the notches in it. Like so.

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Next you’ll need to insert the tray support tabs into the 2 outer divider walls that are notched. In the picture below, you’ll see the tabs I refer to in the top part of those walls. Once you’ve got them in you can place the outer walls together with the other pieces. Make sure that the notches are in the right place, like so.

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Finally, you’ll place the rear tray wall. You’re done with this section for now. Set it aside.

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The next thing that you’ll build is the tray for the start player token. What you’ll do here is take the base and attach the long side walls to the base along with the side tabs. Once you’ve got it together, it’ll look like this.

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Now you’ll need to assemble the two faction storage trays. Take the base and attach the long side wall to it. Next attach the two end tabs to the base and then the other long side wall. You’ll then attach the inner divider wall with the cut in the top. Once it’s in place you’ll attach the other inner divider wall. It should make room for 4 compartments in the tray. Like so.

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The next thing you’ll need to assemble is the cardboard token storage tray. You’ll take the base with the correct names on it and attach the end wall. You’ll then need to attach the 2 long walls to the base. Next you’ll attach the other end wall.

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Once that’s all in place, you’ll attach the two special dividers and the short divider that seperates the 2 sections. Make sure that you put these in the right place. You’ll then place the rest of the dividers. It should look like this when you’re done.

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The last thing you’ll need to build is the wood token storage tray. Once again you’ll need the correct base with the token names on it. The end wall is connected to the base followed by the two side walls. You’ll then finish up with the other end wall. That’ll look like this.

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You’ll then attach the 4 dividers giving you something that looks like this.

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Now it’s just a matter of waiting for everything to dry and then putting it all together inside the box. The faction boards go in the top section followed by the cardboard and wooden token trays. You’ll place the two long token trays on top of each other above the faction boards. The two faction trays go in the middle followed by the start player tray. In this instance, I’ve placed it at the bottom so that you can better see the faction trays. You’ll also place your card dividers as you see fit. What you’ll end up with will be something kind of like this.

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MATERIALS
Normally I would describe the different components and pieces that comes in the game. Since this is an insert/organizer, I’ll describe the packaging and item instead. As I mentioned earlier, everything came in a flat rate shipping box. I’m very pleased with the packaging and how it arrived. Everything was packed very nicely with out any issues. The sheets of wood were nice and thick and removing the pieces was very easy. It wasn’t very difficult figuring out which pieces went together to form the different trays and insert. The instruction sheet was very good at laying everything out so you could tell what went together. You do need to have your own glue to put everything together and some tape wouldn’t hurt either. Just to hold things together while the glue dries. Regardless, assembly was not difficult. Overall the basic materials for this insert/organizer are great. I especially like how several of the bases have imprinted tags on them telling you which components belong inside the tray. I’m very happy with it. It’s excellent.
9 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
This section of the review is where I’d normally go over the rules and rulebook of the game. Since this is an organizer/insert, I’ll cover the instructions that came with the product instead. The instructions came on a couple of sheets of paper that were included inside the box with the materials. There was a step by step process that was easy to follow and understand. There were plenty of pictures and references to the different pieces so that you could easily determine what pieces went to which tray. I didn’t find anything difficult and with such good instructions, I was able to complete the assembly fairly quickly. Overall I’m pleased with the instructions and found them very helpful and easy to work with.
9 out of 10

CONSTRUCTION
This section is used to explain how the game is played and give my thoughts on the game play. Instead of doing that, I’ll explain how the insert/organizer was assembled along with my thoughts on everything. Pretty much, the assembly was fairly simple and easy. It didn’t take long and with great instructions, it wasn’t difficult at all. The pieces are a little looser than what you’d normally find in most organizers or inserts of this nature from other companies. For this reason, I highly recommend using glue to attach everything together with. After you’ve got everything together, you’ll see that there’s plenty of room for expansions and such. I have the preorder edition of the game and there’s was STILL room left over to place more stuff. The only thing that I didn’t have a place or room for was the extra story book that was included. Not a major deal as I can put it in my bookshelf. However I normally like to keep everything together that came together. The trays are great as they make setup so much quicker and easier. There is a bit of added weight to the box but nothing so significant that it’s gonna cause a problem with. The wood that the insert is made from is a bit thicker and sturdier than most products of this type from other companies. I really like that. I also like how that the box lid closes completely with no bulging or other issues. Seeing as there is at least one expansion already planned for the game, it looks like I’ll be using some of the extra space and card dividers pretty soon. Overall I’m extremely pleased with the overall look and functionality of the insert. Everything has a place and fits nicely together inside the box. I would highly recommend this to anyone that has either the preorder or regular version of the 51st State Master Set. It’s a definite improvement.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The Go7Gaming 51ST-001 Storage Solution for 51st State Master Set is a wonderfully designed insert/organizer for the game. It has plenty of room to fit all the pieces of either the retail or preorder versions of the game. There’s even lots of extra room for expansions, which are on the way soon. The assembly process was very simple and easy. I had no significant issues or problems while putting everything together. The instructions were crystal clear and easy to follow. Again, I had no issues with them either. As I’ve said in this and other reviews for Go7Gaming, you need to use glue to assembly this project. It’s a definite must. It won’t take long to assemble but allowing the glue to dry is a over night thing. I highly recommend this product to anyone that owns either version of 51st State Master Set, but it’s especially awesome for the preorder version. Overall I’m extremely thrilled with the product, just like all the products from Go7Gaming. I highly recommend you check out their products. You will not find nicer people or better products. Guaranteed. I’d give them an A+.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great products, please check out Go7Gaming at their site.

http://go7gaming.com/

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Castle Panic: Engines of War Expansion Review

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Castle Panic: Engines of War is an expansion for Castle Panic by Justin De Witt, published by Fireside Games. It is for 1-6 players. This expansion adds several new pieces of equipment that can be used by both players as well as monsters. The expansion also introduces new monsters to threaten the players with, as well as encampments that change up how monsters enter the battle.

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

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/castle-panic-review/

To begin with, it should be noted that the objective of the game remains the same. All the monsters must be defeated and the castle must have at least 1 tower standing for the game to be won. The expansion can be played with Castle Panic by itself or with the base game and any of the other expansions. In this review, I’ll only be discussing how to play the expansion with the base game, without any of the other expansions. For more information on how to setup and play with them, please check the rule book.

Setup is a bit different. Let me explain how to setup using the expansion and base game. First, place the board in the middle of the play area. The walls and towers should be set up on the board just like for Castle Panic. The Keep token is placed in the center of the castle. The Engineer and Task tiles are placed beside the board, separated from each other. The many different equipment tokens are placed near the board for ease of play. The brick and mortar cards are removed from the original deck and replaced with the new cards from the expansion. The resource deck is created by shuffling together the new brick, mortar, rope and wood cards together. This deck is then placed face down near the board. Six orc tokens are removed from the monster tokens and placed near the other tokens. The following tokens are also removed from the base game and returned to the box: 3 goblins, 2 trolls, 2 giant boulders, 1 red monsters move, 1 green monsters move and 1 blue monsters move. 3 Goblin, 2 orcs and 1 troll are placed on the board in the archer ring the same way as in the original game. The new monster tokens from the expansion are added with the remaining tokens and placed into a face down draw pile. The Castle cards are shuffled together and each player is then dealt a number of cards based on the number of players. The remaining Castle cards are placed near the board. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The order of play for the game remains unchanged. However there are a few minute details that should be pointed out. During the draw up phase, players are able to draw from either the castle deck or the resource deck. In the discard and draw phase, they are able to discard any of the card types; castle, resource or wizard (included in a different expansion) and draw from any deck. Players are then able during the trade phase, to exchange any cards in their hand for any cards in another player’s hand, regardless of the type. In the play cards phase, players can play any card type they wish. Of course this expansion includes new monsters and effect tokens so those will have their own way of resolving based on the rules included in the rulebook.

Now then let me explain a little bit about each new addition that this expansion adds to the game. There’s the resource deck which includes rope, wood, brick and mortar cards. These are used by the Engineer to built equipment. For him to craft equipment, the players have to commit resource cards of the correct amount. His abilities are used during the play cards phase. First the player(s) chose which equipment he’ll be building. This can change as long as no cards have been assigned to the task. The task tile is fitted into the notch of the Engineer board showing what he’ll be building. Once the correct amount of resources has been committed, the equipment is built. The engineer is able to build both field equipment and castle equipment. Field equipment includes barricades, pits and spring traps. Castle equipment includes ballista, catapult, keep and walls. Barricades are like walls, however they also block flying monsters. Pits damage monsters that move into them but not flying monsters. Spring traps acts like the card, “Drive Him Back”, moving a monster back to the forest ring. These don’t affect flying monsters either. The Ballista and Catapult damage monsters. The Ballista deal damage to a targeted monster and then it also damages every monster in the same arc behind it. The catapult does 3 points of damage to a single space but those points may be distributed between monsters in that space. Both the ballista and catapult damage flying monsters. The keep is where the ballista and catapult are placed. If it’s destroyed, so too are any catapults or ballistas that were placed on it. Walls are simply the same as walls in the original game.

It should be noted that the monsters also have equipment that they can use. These powerful siege engines included the siege tower, war wagon and battering ram. These siege engines are equipped with 2 orc tokens that were set aside during setup and are moved together as one unit. The engine protects the orcs beneath it from most damage. The siege tower is used to breach walls and prevents new walls from being built. The war wagon is an armored transport that protects it’s crew while it moves towards the castle. It moves a bit differently from other monsters or equipment. It moves 1 space forward and then 1 space clockwise or counter clockwise based on a die roll. The battering ram destroys walls and towers easily. There are also some monster encampment tokens that change up how monsters enter the board. There are barracks and forward camps. Barracks allow new monsters to enter the board in the same forest space that the barracks is located. The forward camp is placed on the intersection of 2 arcs of the same color. Forward camps allow monsters to move immediately into the archer ring when placed in either arc of the same color. The forward camp can even stack with the barrack to really cause chaos.

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COMPONENTS
This expansion has some really great looking pieces to it. There are lots of cool looking tokens, tiles and cards. There are tokens for the Keep, the Engineer and the tasks that he will be working on. Thee are tokens for spring traps, pits, barricades, catapults and ballistas. There are new monster tokens with siege weapons and new and more dangerous monsters. There’s a new deck of resource cards. There are reference cards for helping you remember what to do. All of these are packed into this small little expansion box. The artwork on each piece models the art from the base game and looks great with it. Several of the new pieces like the catapult will slide onto other pieces and give a 3 dimensional aspect to the game, like the walls and towers did with the base game. This is another great thing about the expansion that I like. I like that you get drawn into this castle’s dilemma through the various pieces. The new pieces really give that fantasy world depth. I love it. Needless to say, the components are grade A. You will not be unhappy with them.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this one is a bit long, as in both size and length. Size wise it’s dimensionally long like the rule book for games like the Machi Koro expansion or Diamonsters. Length wise it’s also a bit longer than I would have expected for a simple expansion. However once you delve into it’s depths, you realize that there’s actually a lot to this expansion. There’s a page front and back that explains all the different ways to set up the expansion with the base game and/or any of the other expansions for Castle Panic. From there all the different aspects of the game, from the resource deck and the Engineer to the different types of equipment and new monsters and their siege weapons are discussed. Overall the book is 16 pages long. Not really large, but like I said, bigger than what I expected. Still, there’s lots of great information as well as tons of awesome pictures and examples of gameplay. The book has even been folded in half so that it fits inside the handy little box the expansion comes in. It fits nicely inside the insert for the base game. Overall, I’m happy with the book and find it helpful and well done.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a really great expansion to an already great game. It amps up the tension that the original gives you quite a bit. The new equipment is really cool. I like having the new ways to attack monsters, especially the ballista. That thing is just deadly. I also really like how the resource deck is done now. It makes it where you don’t have to worry about those cards unless you just absolutely want to build something. Also makes it a bit easier if you’re trying to rebuild a wall or create a new piece of equipment. I really like the Engineer and how that other players can contribute to the equipment you’re trying to build as well. That’s one thing that I found difficult in the original game. Seemed that you sometimes had to just wait and hope for the best or try to trade to get the other piece you needed to build a wall. So glad that they’ve updated this aspect of the game. On the monster side, you have to worry about their new equipment as well. I find that the encampments are especially difficult. If they manage to double up on you, you’ve pretty much had it. Those new siege weapons are nasty and can really mess up your day. The new monsters aren’t too bad, except for the shaman, his ability to heal monsters every turn is frustrating. I recommend you take him out as soon as possible. As you can see, the game has a lot more options and things to consider than in the base game. Fans of the original Castle Panic will really enjoy this expansion, especially if they’re looking for a new challenge. It’s not a must have expansion but it’s still one that as a fan of the game, I’m happy to have. I really enjoy it and find it to be even more challenging. I highly recommend this one.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Castle Panic: Engines of War is an expansion for the already great game, Castle Panic. It adds lots of new equipment for both the players and monsters, as well as introducing new monsters, the engineer and the resource deck. As far as play time, the expansion doesn’t add a whole lot more time. Most game sessions are still around the 45 minute mark, maybe an hour. The components are very much in tandem with the ones from the original game. The artwork is very similar so you won’t have anything standing out and looking out of place. I really like the new equipment and think that it really adds a new depth to the game. Fans of the original game should really enjoy this one, especially if they’re looking for a new challenge. I wouldn’t call this a must have but it’s definitely one that I’d highly recommend. I really enjoy it and think it’s a lot of fun. But seriously, watch out for that shaman.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.firesidegames.com/

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Feudum on Kickstarter!

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Today I wanted to share with you guys an all new game that is currently available to back on Kickstarter.  The game is Feudum. The game is for 2-5 players and includes action programming, area influence, hand management and a unique economic ecosystem.  It’s already surpassed it’s funding goal and reached over $200,000 already.  Here’s a great video about the game.

 

With only 35 hours left to go in the campaign, now’s the time to back it.  For more information about the game and to back it, check out the Kickstarter link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/464687699/feudum-a-nuanced-game-of-hand-and-resource-managem

I hope you enjoy the video and information and that you’ll think about backing the game. As always, thanks for your support and Game On!

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