Science Ninjas Valence Review

Science Ninjas Valence is a game by Nathan Schreiber. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will be taking or the role of scientists as they use different elements to form Molecules in order to gain points. The player that can best channel their inner scientist and gain ten points first will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Molecule cards are arranged in the middle of the play area in a specific order and layout as noted in the rulebook. This layout will form the Molecule Bank. The Element cards are shuffled together. Each player is then dealt 6 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down near the Molecule Bank. The top card is drawn and placed face up in the discard pile beside the deck. Players check their Element cards and the player with the highest atomic number will be the first player. Play now begins.

On a player’s turn if they didn’t react with another player on their last turn, they will start by drawing an Element card. If they have only one card in their hand, they will draw two cards. If they have no cards, they will draw three. If a player is drawing only one card they may choose instead to draw the top card from the discard pile. The player may also choose to discard their entire hand and draw three new cards instead of drawing cards. If the player reacted with another player on their last turn, then they will skip drawing cards on their turn.

The player may then perform 3 actions; build molecules, react and trade up. Building molecules is done by finding a combination of Element cards whose Valence numbers add up to zero. The Valence number is the large number at the top of the card with a plus or minus beside them. The player will then take the Molecule from the Molecule Bank that matches the colors of the Element square on the Element card. The player may check the back of the Molecule card to make sure that they built the Molecule correctly. The player will then place the Molecule card face up in front of themself. This becomes the player’s Molecule Stash. The Element cards used are placed in the discard pile. The player is allowed to build as many Molecules as they are able to from the cards in their hand.

Another action the player may take is to react. Acid and Water Molecules are Reactors and they can react with certain white bordered Molecules. Reacting is done using an opponent’s Molecule. The player takes one of their Reactors and chooses an opponents Molecule that it is able to react with. The bottom of the Reactor cards tells exactly which cards they will react with. An Acid reacts with a Base and with Metal Oxide. Water reacts with Deadly Carbonyl. The player will then return the Reactor to the Molecule Bank and take a random Element card from the player’s hand. If the opponent has no cards then the player will draw an Element from the Element deck. The opponent will then replace the white bordered Molecule that was in their Molecule Bank with the products of the reaction. A Base or Metal Oxide are replaced with a Salt and a Water Molecule. A Deadly Carbonyl is replaced with a Carbon Dioxide and an Acid. The opponent will then skip the draw phase of their next turn. Reacting may be done by a player as many times as they are able to on their turn.

The last action that a player may perform is to trade up. Trading up is done by returning a Salt to the Molecule Bank. The player will then draw two cards from the Element deck. This particular action may only be done once per turn, unlike the other actions.

Once a player has completed all their actions by building molecules, reacting and/or trading up, they will then finish their turn by checking the cards in their hand. If the player has 7 or more Element cards, they must discard down to 6. Play then passes to the next player in turn order. The game continues until one player collects ten points worth of Molecules in their Molecule Stash. The first player to do that is the winner.

One thing should be noted, Helium is a special Element card. If it is drawn into a player’s starting hand, it is returned to the bottom of the Element deck and replaced with another card. If it is drawn later, then the player may add it to their Molecule Stash directly from their hand as if they were building a complete Molecule.

COMPONENTS
The game consists of two decks of cards; a deck of Molecule cards and a deck of Element cards. These cards look absolutely great. They have an almost linen finish to them that looks and feels really nice. The artwork on them is whimsical and fun. I really like how each element has it’s own look and it’s own ninja to represent it. I also like how that the Molecule cards have all the game info on one side but on the back of the card there’s the different formulas, names and how to make each of the different molecules. There’s also more educational information on the back including, on some of the cards, a sample reaction. Honestly I think the cards look great and they do a great job of educating as well as entertaining. Needless to say, I really like the components for this card game.

9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for the game is very compact, fitting nicely inside the box. It’s full color with a glossy finish to it that looks very professional. There are lots of pictures throughout the book and even some examples of gameplay. The first several pages cover the components and the actual rules of the game. The rest of the book is pretty much devoted to each of the different Element ninjas and their element. This is such a nice edition. It’s educational in the way that it explains each element and it’s fun by giving backstories to each of the ninjas. The book also includes some tips and tricks for playing the game, as well as some alternative rules for playing a few different ways. One page even explains what Valence is. I’ll be honest, before reading this explanation and looking at the pictures, I had no idea what this even was. Guess even us old guys can be taught something. Let me just say, I’m very impressed with the overall work that was put into the rulebook. It took a lot to put everything together like this and to even go so far as creating stories for the ninjas. When I first opened the box and looked through all the cards, I thought the ninjas were cool, but after reading the backstories and learning more about each one, I found them to be awesome. I know in the grand scheme of things that it’s not necessary for all that info and stuff but I think it was a nice touch to add all that and really give kids and parents something more with the game. Needless to say, I’m thoroughly impressed.

9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
When I first got this game, I thought it would be like so many of those other educational games that seem fun for the first play through and then you get tired of it afterwards. That was not the case with this one. This game is not only educational but fun to boot. It has elements of trick taking and take that and it doesn’t wear out it’s welcome. The idea is of course to get 10 points worth of molecules but you’ll need to not only form your own but mess up your opponents molecules to stay ahead. So many times you’ll get close to winning before one of your opponents will create a reaction that takes that high point molecule and reduces it to nothing but water and salt or acid and carbon dioxide. It’s a bit frustrating but a lot of fun too, especially if you’re the one doing the reaction. I have to say, I really like this one. The quick play time makes sure that you don’t get bored of it. Too many of these card games wind up like playing Monopoly for 3 or 4 hours straight…BORING. This one, however, is not boring. I would even say it’s probably one of the best pure card games that I’ve played. It’s a great game that’s not only educational but family friendly. It’s not overly complex either and can easily be played by players 8 years old and up. It’s extremely fun and definitely a game that I would highly recommend. Homeschoolers will love having this for their science curriculum as it will definitely help get across some of those chemistry concepts. Needless to say, this one won’t be leaving my collection any time soon.

9 out of 10

OVERALL
Science Ninjas Valence is an educational card game that teaches chemistry concepts though the use of ninjas in a massively fun way. The game doesn’t take long to play at all. Most game sessions last around 15-20 minutes. The cards are very high quality and I love the artwork and design of everything. I especially like the extra educational info on the back of the Molecule cards. The rulebook is very well designed and looks amazing. I especially enjoy all the thought and hard work that was put into the extra pages for each of the element ninjas and their elements. The game itself is lots of fun. As a matter of fact, you could easily forget that it is an educational game. That’s just how well designed the game is. It’s very simple to play and is family friendly so that everyone from the 8 year olds to the 80 year olds can play it. It has a lot of great mechanics that die hard gamers will recognize. For homeschoolers, the game is wonderful as it helps teach some chemistry concepts while playing the game. Needless to say, this is a great game for everyone and it’s definitely a game that I highly recommend. I can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t enjoy playing this one. I can’t wait to play it again. The world of science ninjas call me.

9 out of 10

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

https://www.scienceninjas.com/

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Mad Libs The Game Review

Mad Libs The Game is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 3-8 players. In this game, players will be doing their best to make an award winning sentence using the word cards in their hand. The player that can best manage this and prove themself a masterful linguist, will be declared the winner.

To begin, the deck of Word cards is shuffled together. Each player is then dealt 7 cards, the remaining cards are placed face down in the middle of the play area. The deck of Sentence cards is then shuffled and placed in the middle of the play area along with the Word card deck. Once this has been done and players are ready, play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round consists of 5 steps. In the first step a new Sentence is revealed. This is done by flipping over the top card of the Sentence deck and reading the sentence aloud. Next players will choose words. What that means is that each player will choose a selection of cards from their hand to fill all the blanks on the current Sentence card, placing their chosen cards face down in front of themself. It should be noted that players must have a word type that is appropriate for each blank that they correspond to and they must have one Word card for each blank space. Once all players have chosen their cards, they may move on to the next step and read their sentence. In no specific order, players will then take a turn reading the sentence with their set of chosen words to fill in the blank of the Sentence card. As they read, it’s suggested to choose the best version possible of the base word to grammatically fit into the specific blank. Each time the player reads one of their words, they will reveal the matching word card. Once all players have read their sentence, they will all vote for the sentence they liked the best by pointing at the player that read it. Players may not choose their own sentence. Once players are ready to vote, everyone will raise their hand with 1 finger pointing up. At the count of 3, everyone will then point at their chosen winner. The player that gets the most votes will then win a point and be awarded the Sentence card which is placed face down to indicate their score. Once this is completed, the round is over. Once the round ends, all used Word cards are discarded and each player will draw back up to 7 cards to fill their hand. Before redrawing, players may discard any unused cards from their hand as they wish.

The game continues with players reading their sentences and voting for their favorite sentence. The game ends once a player gets 3 points. The first player to do this is the winner.

COMPONENTS
The game comes with 2 decks of cards. There’s a set of large Sentence cards and a large set of Word cards. There aren’t any pictures or anything like that on any of the cards, just words and sentences. The word cards have all the different types of the particular word, each one color coded to match with the words on the sentence cards. The sentence cards have a sentence with a couple of words left out, filled in with bright colored bubbles with what kind of word it is, such as an adverb, adjective or noun. This helps younger players to be able to match up the words with the colors. It also helps them to learn about the words themselves. The cards are good quality and while not being overly thick they are around the same quality as that of Apples to Apples or other games of this nature. While there’s nothing overly amazing about the cards, that’s not the purpose of them. What the cards do is easily replicate the old Mad Libs pads but in a better and more colorful way. Overall I’m completely comfortable with the components and have nothing to complain about here.

8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for the game is a long folded sheet of double sided glossy paper. Once folded, it’s about the same size as one of the sentence cards. The front of the sheet has all the rules on it, which as you’ve seen, isn’t a lot to read over. The back of the rules sheet has some notes on ties, word type shortage, expanding word usage and non player voting. All of which can be used or can simply be ignored. Of course there’s nothing wrong with using your own house rules if you’re not completely crazy about any of these. So far, I’ve not encountered any situations where I had to actually use any of the information from the notes section. Also on the back of the sheet are pictures of the actual contents of the games. These are the only pictures anywhere on the rules sheet. Overall the rules don’t take long to look over and read and they’re very simple. That means that it only takes a couple of minutes before you can actually get right in to actually playing the game. For me, that’s a plus. Needless to say, like the components, there’s nothing to complain about here either.

8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
As a kid, one of my most favorite things to do was to break out one of those old Mad Libs pads and get my friends, parents or whomever was around to help me create these silly stories with the most off the wall sentences. As we read these, we’d always laugh and just enjoy the silliness of it all. With this game, I’m able to do all that again but with my wife and kids. The stories aren’t as long but it still gets the overall silliness that I used to enjoy growing up. The best part is that I’m not having to stop and write down all the different words, I can just lay down a bunch of cards and read the words off of them instead. In a lot of ways, I feel like the game takes some of the ideas behind games like Apples to Apples and mixes it with the Mad Libs pads. What’s created is this game. I enjoy the sheer silliness that ensues after each player reads their sentence. I have noticed a few times that some players will have trouble trying to read the sentence and insert the correct word, even with the colored bubbles helping them out. I think in those cases, for those players, it’s best to let them hold onto the sentence card and lay their words out in front of them as they read them. Kinda helps to keep everything in order and from getting too confused. One thing that I think I would have liked to have had would have been some longer sentences. A lot of the cards only have a couple of words so there’s not a whole lot of room to add the silliness into it. While that’s fine, it can make for a short game with only 3 or 4 players. I think the first couple of times we played as a family it only took like 10 minutes a game. That’s great if you’re just looking for something to spend a few minutes together as a family with. However if you’re looking for something longer, then you might have to up the number of points to win the game or something like that. As I mentioned earlier, this definitely has some Apples to Apples vibes, so if that’s a game that you and your family enjoy than you’ll definitely enjoy this one too. I think the game can also be used in homeschooling as a fun way of learning the different parts of speech, like adverbs, adjectives…etc. I feel like if you’re kid doesn’t enjoy English then here’s a fun way to help them with at least that aspect of the class. Overall my family and I enjoyed playing this one and will no doubt be playing it more in the days to come. It’s definitely a fun family friendly game that can be played in a short time, which is great for families on the run. I would definitely recommend this one.

8 out of 10

OVERALL
Mad Libs The Game is very light weight party game that takes the fun of the old Mad Libs pads and turns it into a card game for up to 8 players. The game doesn’t take a long time, unless you’re playing with lots of players. For a normal 4 player game, it can be played in around 10 minutes time. The components are just a couple of decks of cards but they replicate the old Mad Libs pads in a much more fun way, adding some bright colors into the mix. The rules are very simply and easy to read making it possible to get started in just a couple of minutes. The game itself is silly and fun and make me think of the old Mad Libs pads mixed a little bit with the card game Apples to Apples. The game is family friendly and can even be used in homeschooling as an educational game but one that’s actually fun. For fans of Apples to Apples or other party style games of this nature, players will find a lot to enjoy. My family has had a lot of fun with the game and we had a lot of laughs while playing it. For us, this is one that I would definitely recommend. If you add this to your family game night, be ready to laugh.

8 out of 10

For more information about Mad Libs The Game and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.

https://store.looneylabs.com/

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National Geographic Rock & Mineral Game Set Review

National Geographic Rock & Mineral Game Set is a game designed and published by National Geographic and Blue Marble. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players have several different games that may play with the contents of the game. They’re able to play everthing from bingo to memory and tic-tac-toe.

This game provides several different games that players may play with the materials in the box. There is Rock Bingo, Mineral Memory and Gem-Tac-Toe, as well as being able to play any regular card games using a normal deck of playing cards. I won’t go into a ton of detail on how to setup most of these as this is pretty basic knowledge to anyone that’s ever played any of these games. I will give a brief setup for Rock Bingo though, as these materials provide 2 different ways to set up the game which should be explained.

To begin Rock Bingo, each player is given a Bingo game board. Either the deck of cards or the black bag of rock specimens is used. The smaller bag of pebbles is used to mark the player’s boards with. When using the deck of cards, the red and black suits are separated and the rock specimen card is removed. One of the suits is then used to call out the specimens with. The players take one of the colored decks and shuffles the cards together. One player is chosen to be the caller and play now begins.

The caller will now begin the game by drawing one of the cards from the deck and calling out the specimen on the card. If the players have a match on their bingo board, they will then mark it with one of the pebbles from the bag. This continues until one player matches 4 rocks in a row on their board. They will then yell out “BINGO” and that player wins the game.

In the bag or rock specimens method, the 25 rock specimens are placed in the bag and gently shaken together. The caller pulls out a rock and shows it to the group, calling out the name if they can identify it. If not, they may use the flash cards to help identify it with. The same process of placing a pebble on the player boards and matching 4 in a row to win applies to this version as well.

Mineral Memory is played with the deck of cards, shuffled and placed in rows face down. In this game one or more players flip over cards and try to match 2 of the same mineral type , placing the cards in front of themself in a pile. The winner is the player with the most matches.

Gem-Tac-Toe is played by 2 players with the back side of one of the bingo boards. Players choose pebbles of 2 different colors, one color for each player and play a 4×4 game of tic-tac-toe. The winner is the player that gets 4 of their color in either a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row. They can also win if they get 4 of their color in a square on the board.

The playing/flash cards can be used to play any number of regular card games with as they are a fully functional deck of 52 playing cards of clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with some very interesting pieces. First off there are the bingo boards. These are good quality and feel like some very heavy card stock or something like that. They seem to be quite sturdy. On one side there is everything for a game of bingo, with a selection of 15 different minerals and a free space on them. The other side has a 4 by 4 tic-tac-toe board on it. The rock bingo side is very bright and colorful with the different mineral pictures on it. Unfortunately some of the pictures are a little difficult to match up with the mineral in my bag. Speaking of the mineral bag, it’s made of a canvas like material and contains 25 different mineral and rock specimens. These rocks and mineral are really interesting and fun to look at, but some of them are difficult to match up with the pictures. I think some of my rocks broke some pieces off as well, as there appeared to be some smaller pieces in the bag from some of the weaker looking rocks. The game also comes with a nice set of playing cards that not only function as a normal set of cards, but also contain pictures of the different rock and minerals, as well as a short description of each. These aren’t quite as good as a normal set of cards in terms of quality but they’re pretty good. I love the pictures and descriptions. They look really good and the finish is nice, however the cards are a bit thin compared to a normal deck. The final pieces in the box is the bag of pebbles. These are used to play tic-tac-toe and bingo with. To be honest, I like the pebbles a little more so then the big rocks in the black specimen bag. These appear to be a little better quality and the don’t seem to be breaking apart. These look a little more like the actual cards too. For the most part though, I like what the game provides. It’s got a lot of interesting and great looking pieces that are fully functioning game pieces. While some people may not be happy with the assortment that they get in their box, I was completely fine with mine. I have read a lot of negative reviews online on the components and what comes in the box but I think some people didn’t know what they were looking at to begin with. I will say that I do wish some of the pieces were a little easier to distinguish from the others, but that’s simply a minor complaint. Overall for an educational game, I thought that it looks good. The different pieces and cards can be used to help children learn more about geology and earth science. As a homeschooler

7 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this set is a simply small sheet of double sided paper. There are no pictures or any examples of gameplay anywhere on it. Of course, the games that are laid out on the sheet, are pretty basic games that everyone should know the basics of, except for maybe the 4×4 tic-tac-toe game. As I mentioned earlier, there are rules for Rock Bingo, Mineral Memory and Gem-Tac-Toe. Normally I prefer my rulebooks to look more inviting and less like an instruction manual. However, there’s not a lot that needs to be understood and so being able to quickly read over the rules and put them away in a minute or two makes all the fluff and bling of a normal game rulebook seem unimportant in this case. The thing is that the rules are concise and easy to understand, which to me is the important thing here. There was nothing difficult and it was easy to read over. Overall, I’m not going to complain about anything here. It’s short and sweet and gets the job done.

7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
So this set includes several different games that can be played with the materials that are presented inside the box. You’ve got a truly unique bingo game that teaches children and adults alike a little bit about geology and the different minerals that are presented. There’s the 4×4 tic-tac-toe game that makes a normal game of tic-tac-toe seem extremely childish. This way makes you have to think a little more and really strategize out where you’re going to put your piece at. I didn’t think that tic-tac-toe could be fun again, but this made me want to play this childhood favorite again. The memory game is educational and fun. The different facts on each card can be read out to help children learn about the different types of minerals as they play. Finally there’s the card games which use those same cards. As I’m sitting there playing a game of Go Fish or even Solitaire, I find myself reading those same descriptions and I learn as much as my kids do. I like that. As a homeschooler, I found that the different pieces and cards can be used to help children learn more about geology and earth science in a fun way. While the games that are presented aren’t overly complex, they’re still fun especially when used in a homeschool curriculum or just as a way of presenting something a little different than Monopoly or Sorry. There’s plenty of things to learn here and the deck of cards gives you a whole other set of games that you can play. It might even help the adults learn a thing or two if they get a wild hair and choose to play a little game of poker, using the pebbles as betting chips. The possibilities are endless. This is one that a lot of die hard gamers will probably want to pass on, but for us homeschoolers, this is really good. There aren’t any complex games here, but what is here will entertain any child and educate them at the same time. Just be sure to keep the little ones away from the rocks and pebbles as they could easily be choking hazards. In any event, this is one that I would recommend for parents looking to introduce some geology into their children’s vocabulary. It’s especially great for homeschoolers. Needles to say, this is a fun and educational game for the whole family.

8 out of 10

OVERALL

National Geographic Rock & Mineral Game Set is a fun and eductional game that help players learn about geology. The box contains several different games that can be played with the components. Each game can be played in a very short amount of time. Most game sessions last anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on what you’re playing and how many players you have. The components are quite unique and I really like the rocks and minerals that come with the game. No two sets will have the exact same mixture of rocks and minerals so just be aware. The rulebook is short and to the point and can be read in a few minutes. The games themselves are a mixture of many basic games that most people should know the basics of how to play. The one exception would be the 4×4 tic-tac-toe, but that’s easy to learn. I think that this game is a great set for parents wanting to help their children learn a little more about geology and it’s especially good for homeschoolers. For this group of folks, I would recommend it. Hardcore gamers and the like may want to give this one a pass as it most likely will not scratch any itches for them. In any event, this is one that takes games we learned as kids and puts a nice way of playing some of these classic games. Overall I’d say it’s a fun kit.

7 out of 10

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

https://thinkbluemarble.com/

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Target Review

Target is a game designed and published by Elevate Prep. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be creating math equations with the cards in their hands, the first player that can make 5 equations will be declared the winner.

To begin, players decide on a difficulty level between beginner, intermediate and advanced. The level determines how many white cards must be used for each equation. The white cards are shuffled together. Each player is then dealt 5 cards. The remaining white cards are placed face down in the middle of the play area to create the draw pile. The black cards are then shuffled together and placed face down near the white cards in the middle of the play area. Once this is done the game is ready and play now begins.

The game is played in a series of rounds. Each round a black card is flipped over from the stack. Each player will then look at the cards in their hand and try to form an equation that equals the number on the black card. The player is allowed to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and parentheses to do this. Each player is only allowed to use each white card in their hand once in their equation. However they may use as many addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and/or parentheses as they would like. Once a player has formed their equation they will then shout, “TARGET!” causing the game to be paused. The player must then explain their equation and the other players will check to see if their equation is correct. If it is, they will win the black card on the table. They will then discard their white cards that they used to create the equation with and draw new cards from the draw pile to replace them with. If they are incorrect, the round continues but the incorrect player must wait 15 seconds before making another attempt at an equation. If all players are unable to create an equation then the black card is placed on the bottom of the pile and a new black card is placed face up.

Once an equation is proven correct, then a new round begins by drawing a new black card. The game continues until a player collects 5 black cards. The first player to do this is the winner.

COMPONENTS
The game consists of two decks of cards; one large stack of white cards and a smaller stack of black cards. The cards are very good quality and are easy to shuffle. They have a really nice feel to them thanks to the nice finish on each one. The white cards have large numbers on them written in red with a white background, as well as smaller numbers in opposing corners. The black cards are pretty much the same way except they have a black background and the numbers are in white. The number in the middle is also surrounded by 3 circles, almost like a bullseye from a target, hence the name of the game. The cards are very nice and I do like the way they look and feel. The one thing that I wish I had that wasn’t provided would be some tokens for the different symbols that are used to create the equations; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, equal and parentheses symbols. I think this would have helped players to better visualize the actual equations a bit better. Maybe if each player had a small set of these, that would have been big improvement. As it is, the players have to explain the step by step process of their particular equation which slows things down a bit. Otherwise, I think the components are very good.

8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for the game is a large double sided sheet of folded paper. The rules are very easy to understand and only take a couple of minutes to read over. The rules contain a few pictures of the components. On the back side of the sheet, there are several pictures that show how the game is played by providing examples of different equations. The rules also contain two other ways to play the game; target blitz and target learn, more on these in the gameplay section. Overall I think the rulebook is well designed and looks good for what it is.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
While this is an education game at it’s core, it’s still a pretty fun game. Each round players try to quickly make equations from the cards in their hand that equal the face up black card. First one to do that gets the card. Pretty simple, but without any symbols to lay down as a visual aid, it can be a bit daunting for younger players. All that math has to be played out in their heads. The rulebooks suggests using a piece of paper and a pencil or pen to help. That’s fine, but then things seem a bit too much like homework for my kids. I suggest making your own cutouts for the different symbols and either giving each player a set or throwing them all in piles for the players to grab what they need. That’s one of the minor drawbacks from the game that I didn’t like, as noted in the components section of this review. I did like that there were a couple of other ways to play the game besides just the classic version of the game. There is target blitz and target learn. With target blitz, 9 black cards are laid out in a 3 x 3 grid. Players are able to make equations that equal any of the cards. The round ends once there are no more black cards remaining face up. Players can play as many rounds this way as they like, with the player holding the most black cards winning the game. With target learn, players do not compete to create an equation. Instead each player takes a turn trying to create an equation. If they are unable to create an equation, then the black card is placed on the bottom of the pile and a new card is drawn for the next player to try and create an equation with. The player with the most black cards after 3 rounds is the winner. It is suggested to set a time limit for players to be able to create an equation with in this version of the game. Target blitz is a lot of fun as players try to rush to get their equations faster than each other. I think this is my favorite way to play as it creates a lot of player interaction. Target learn is great for helping those younger players to not only learn the game but also learn math in a fun way. All 3 versions have their good points. Honestly I like this one. It’s simple to learn and easy to play. This is one that is a great teaching tool, especially for us homeschoolers. It’s great at teaching those simple mathematical equations in a fun way. I would highly recommend this one for anyone looking to help their kids that might be struggling with their math skills or for those parents like us that are homeschooling their kids and are looking to add a little more fun to their lessons.

8 out of 10

OVERALL
Target is a simple card game of mathematical equations that is great as a teaching tool and is a fun game as well. It doesn’t take a long time to play. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes or so based on the number of players and the version of the game being played. The components are just a couple decks of cards but the cards are great quality. I would have liked some punch out tokens or something of that nature for the different math symbols that weren’t included with the game. I think it would have made things a little easier, especially for the younger players. The rulebook is well done and looks great. It’s easy to read and doesn’t take long either. The game itself is fun. I like the various versions that are included with the game, especially the blitz version which can be highly competitive, especially as you get down to those last couple of cards. Each version has it’s own benefits and the game is great as a teaching tool and as a way of honing those math skills that might need a little touching up. It’s a great game for homeschoolers and anyone looking to help their kids become better at math. For these people, I would highly recommend the game. Overall this is one that we’ve enjoyed and will definitely be incorporating into our homeschooling curriculum.

8 out of 10

For more information about this game, please check out Elevate Prep at their site below.

https://www.elevateprep.com/target

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Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game Review

Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game is a game by Pat Marino, published by The Op. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players will take on the role of characters from the Cuphead video game as they try to make their way through each level. Players will need to work together and roll their dice as fast as possible if they hope to beat the timer and knockout the bosses. In the end, if the players are able to defeat the bosses and score a lot of points, they will be declared the winners and will earn the top score.

To begin, each player chooses one of the 4 characters and takes the corresponding player board, 5 regular Action dice and 1 EX Action die along with 3 health tokens. The player board is placed in front of the player and the health tokens are placed on their appropriate spaces on the player board. The Parry, Time and Coin tokens are placed in separate piles next to the Boss board which is placed in the middle of the play area. The Wallop cards are shuffled together and placed face down below the board under the Wallop space. The Boss deck is chosen and the materials removed from it’s corresponding box. It is recommended that players start with Box #1 on their first time playing the game. The deck of cards from the box is placed with on the table with the cover card face up. The cover card is then removed and reviewed for any additional rules or rules changes that may be introduced at this time. The Boss character card is then placed on the standee base and placed in the notch at the top of the Boss board. The health of the Boss is set on the Boss Health Dial based on the number of players. This number is located on the Boss card at the top. The Boss Health Dial is then placed in the notch below the Boss board. The “Phase I” Attack cards are removed from the deck up to where the King Dice card is that says, “Stop! Do not go any further.” The remaining cards are set off to the side for now. The “Phase I” Attack cards are then shuffled together to create a draw pile which is placed next to the Boss board on the left side beside the Draw space. Players will then decide how much of a challenge they want to make the game. They will choose a 10, 15 or 20 second timer by using the Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game timer and scoring companion app on their phone. This app is free to download on both the App store and Google Play. Once players are ready, play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round players will be playing simultaneously using the following 5 steps. First they will reveal the Attack cards. This is done by taking the top 3 Attack cards from the top of the Boss deck and placing them onto the empty spaces on the Boss board in the order drawn. If at least one of these cards shows a “Wallop”, then a fourth card is drawn and placed on the board. It should be noted that each of the Boss cards has 1 or 2 action icons on them that players must roll and assign to their player boards to avoid being hit, more on this in a bit.

The second step is to set and start the round timer. Players can use the app or a timer of their choosing, if they choose not to download the app, to set the timer for 10, 15 or 20 seconds. The same timer length must be used for the entire Boss deck. Once players are ready, the timer is started and the next step begins.

The third step is to roll and assign dice. Once the timer has begun, players will start rolling their dice. The player may reroll their dice as often and as quickly as they’d like. When rerolling, players must roll all the dice that are not assigned to their player boards. They may assign as many or as few dice as they’d like to their player board. Each pair of spaces on the player board corresponds to the Attack cards in play. If only 3 Attack cards are used then the fourth pair of spaces are not used. Players must assign their dice from left to right in Attack card order. Once a die is assigned to the player’s board, it may not be removed or changed in any way. Once the player has begun to assign dice to the next card, they can not go back and assign more dice to a previous card. If an Attack card requires two dice actions, then the player may assign two dice from the same roll or from separate rolls just as long as they’re assigned before moving to the next card. Players have the option of skipping difficult cards in order and moving to the next set of spaces to save themselves from being hit by all 3 cards. By assigning the corresponding dice, players are able to dodge the attacks from the Boss. If they wish to attack the Boss they must assign an extra die showing the “shoot” icon. Players can only assign these attacks to Attack cards that have only 1 required action. These attacks are only effective if the Attack card was successfully dodged before the timer goes off. It should be noted that some Attack cards require a “shoot” action. This does not damage the Boss. It only means that the attack was dodged. An additional “shoot” die must be assigned to cause damage. EX Attacks are special attacks that can be triggered with the EX die. These abilities are described on the player board and on various weapon cards. Wallops allow a player to assign the diamond icon to this space to draw a Wallop card once the Attack is resolved. They may also assign an optional shoot icon to attack the Boss. Some attack cards will provide an opportunity for the player to gain a Parry token. If the player is able to dodge these attacks they gain a Parry token once the Attack is resolved. A player may spend 1 of these to revive another player that has lost all of their health. They may also be used for certain abilities as indicated on certain cards.

The fourth step is to resolve boss attack cards. Once the timer ends, players may then assign their dice from their final roll, following placement rules. The Boss attack cards are then resolved from left to right. Each card is resolved for all players before moving to the next card. If the player assigned the correct dice to their player board to dodge an attack, then they do not take any damage. If they didn’t or they assigned the wrong dice, then they will take 1 damage for that card, removing a health token from their player board. If an additional shoot die was assigned to the attack card, then the Boss takes 1 damage which is tracked via the Boss Health Dial. Other types of attacks may increase the amount of damage dealt.

The final step is to clear attack cards. At this time, players will check to see if the Boss has any remaining health. If so, then the current Attack cards are discarded and another turn is played starting from step 1. If the Boss still has health but their deck of Attack cards have been depleted, then these cards are reshuffled and a Time token is taken by the players, affecting their final score. If the Boss has been reduced to 0 health, then the Boss card is set aside, along with all of that phase’s Attack cards. This happens immediately after resolving the Attack card that defeated the Boss. The next phase is the begun by removing the King Dice “Stop” card. The Boss card for the next phase is placed in the standee base. The Boss Health Dial is reset to the appropriate starting number. The new phase’s Boss Attack cards are taken from the deck and shuffled together. The top 3 cards are then revealed and the attack continues. Health is not refilled for players at this time, but any Parry tokens or Wallop cards earned are kept. If the Knockout card is revealed by removing the King Dice card, then the players have successfully defeated the Boss. This card indicates how may coins each player will earn for victory. Coins are used between battles to upgrade their equipment.

It should be noted that if a player loses all of their health, then they must discard any remaining Parry tokens that they have. A partner may spend a Parry token to revive that player. The returning player is then revived with 1 health and rejoins the battle at the start of the next round. If another player has no Parry tokens to revive them with, then the game is over and the players have lost. All Wallop cards and Parry tokens are discarded and the players must start over at the beginning of Phase 1 of the Boss battle. Players return to full health at this time.

The game continues until the Boss has been knocked out. Once this is done, the players must determine the grade for their performance by using the scoring tool in the app or using the chart on the back of the rulebook. Once the total score has been determined, players will use the results on the back of the rulebook to determine their final grade, based on player count. Players can then move on to the next numbered Boss or may replay any previously beaten Boss decks using any upgraded equipment that they’ve earned to try and improve their score. All of the player’s progress may be saved on the pad of Save sheets, provided in the box.

COMPONENTS
This is a cute and fun looking game that’s full of tons of bits and pieces. There are lots of cardboard pieces, dice and cards. The game comes with 4 different player boards, each based on a different character from the Cuphead universe. These are nice and sturdy and the artwork is big, bold and fun. The Boss board is a thick cardboard piece for you to place the battle cards as you play the game. It’s also quite thick and sturdy. There are health tokens, parry tokens, coin tokens and time tokens which are also made of cardboard. The health tokens are square with the letters HP on them. The parry tokens look like a hand moving, while the coins look like golden coins. The time tokens are hourglasses with arms and legs which fit in with the design of the game, as do all of the different token types. The game also comes with a boss health dial that are two cardboard pieces that are already assembled to be able to rotate to keep up with the health of the current boss. This piece reminds me of the dials for games like Lord of the Rings the card game and Star Wars the card game. There are also a lot of dice that are included with the game. There are 20 action dice that are in 4 different colors which match up with the character’s player board color. There are also 4 black EX action dice that also correspond with the color of the player boards. These have various icons which take a bit of getting used to. However once you’ve played the game a time or two you’ll remember what each icon means. The game comes with a pad of save sheets for keeping up with your score for each of the different bosses, as well as a plastic stand to place the boss character card in. Speaking of cards, there are lots of different card types in each of the different Boss boxes, as well as a selection of Wallop cards. There are 8 tuck boxes for the different levels/bosses. Each tuck box comes with cover cards, character cards, attack cards, stop cards featuring King Dice, knockout cards and Porkrind’s emporium cards for upgrade your character. The artwork and style of these fit in with the art style of the rest of the game and really pull off the feel of the video game. I absolutely love the artwork of this game. Finally there are 4 larger super art envelopes that contain super art cards. Each of these can be opened once a specific situation arises, such as earning an A+ on an aeroplane level or completing a level with full health. There are a few other components but I’ll leave those for you to uncover yourself, as they don’t appear until later boss boxes are opened. I can completely say that I love the way this game looks and feels, as well as how it makes me feel. It definitely reminds me of those old cartoons from way back in the day that I would sometimes catch on those cable channels early in the morning. The quality of the components are top notch and I was very pleased with how well everything was designed. Overall I’m overjoyed with the components.

9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is well written and is laid out in a very easy to read and understand way. There are plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book, which is very helpful in learning the game. The setup process is explained in a step by step process, as is the gameplay itself. The book even has rules for playing the game solo. There are some extra sections included in the book that more thoroughly explain the Wallop cards and the Super Arts and Charms envelopes, that I didn’t go into during the overview. There’s also a section for resetting a Boss deck. The back cover has step by step look at this as well, with pictures. There’s also the results section with letter grades from A+ to F for grading your performance. Overall I think the book does a very good job of explaining everything. It looks great and doesn’t take a long time to read over either. I’m very pleased with the look and feel of it.

9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The game itself is a bit of a toss up for me. While I love the look and feel of the game, I’m not particularly crazy about the real time aspect of it at all. Originally I thought this would be one that would have players going back and forth taking turns rolling their dice in a Yahtzee way. That is to say, three rolls and you’re done. You can keep any dice you like and reroll the rest until you take that final roll. Instead this game goes down the quickly roll and make a split second decision on what you’ll keep and what you won’t path. Of course if you want to have a few extra seconds, you’re able to do that but you won’t get any bonuses if you go for the 20 second timer. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea and the concept but I don’t like the real time dice rolling. I get that it’s supposed to be mirroring the same idea and gameplay as the video game and that’s fine. For me and my family, it just doesn’t work. We love dice rolling games like King of Tokyo, Elder Sign and CV. The Yahtzee style mechanics of those hit that sweet spot for us. This real time mechanic was one reason that I got rid of Steam Park. Granted this one has ways to upgrade your character and lots of fun unlockables that I enjoy, like in the Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle game. This is one thing I definitely enjoyed. I like working your way up against more bosses and unlocking more boxes. That’s a pretty cool idea. I guess that’s why I say it’s a toss up for me. There are things that I really liked and enjoy and others that I don’t. Honestly I guess it’s up to the specific player to make the call for this one. If you like fast rolling real time dice games, then you’ll most likely enjoy this one. It does have a lot to enjoy. If you don’t like that and prefer turn based dice rolling, then this might not be the game for you. I have seen some house rules where players are able to us a specific number of rolls for each difficulty level. I think that’s not a bad idea and it definitely helps me enjoy the game a bit more. Overall I think that this is one that I’m okay with. It’s a good game and has a lot of potential for the right players. We just couldn’t get past the fast rolling dice, so we’ve turned to the house rules instead. This is one that I’d say try it out or watch some videos of the gameplay. If it looks like something you’d enjoy then I say go for it.

8 out of 10

OVERALL
Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game is a real time dice rolling game based on the Cuphead video game. The game doesn’t take very long. Most game sessions last around 20-30 minutes. The components of the game are great quality and lots of fun to look at and play with. I love the art style and find the retro style to be very nostalgic. The rulebook is also well designed. It explains everything in a very thorough way and even comes with rules for solo play, which I’m a big fan of. The game itself was a little less thrilling for me. I didn’t really like the real time dice rolling aspect of the game. I personally would have preferred something more mechanically like Yahtzee. While it does give you that fast paced quick decision feel that is synonymous with the video game, it just felt too tense to me and my family. That’s not to say that it’s not a good game though. I do see the merits of this type of game and how well it could work for the right players. Thankfully the house rules that I found online helped out a good bit making it a bit more enjoyable for us. Playing it by the rules, you’ll find that It’s definitely a fast rolling dice game in every meaning of the words. It’s fast, tense and can be frustrating. Fans of these types of games might find this one to be right up their alley. Overall this is one that I’d recommend trying first to see if you like it. If you do, there’s plenty of bosses and boxes to uncover and explore. Check it out, you might enjoy it.

8 out of 10

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

https://theop.games/

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Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion Review

Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is a Coded Chronicles game by Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim, published by The Op. It is for 1 or more players. In this game, players will be taking on the role of the characters from Mystery Inc.; Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby. They will need to work together to figure out the many different puzzles as they search for a way out of the haunted mansion. They’ll have to be careful though as Lady Fairmont’s ghost is looking to scare them silly. In the end, the players that can solve the mystery and escape the Haunted Mansion will be declared the winners and will have a fitting end to their adventure.

Before I start, let me state that I will do my best in this review to make sure and keep the spoilers of the game to a very bare minimum. That means that I will only reveal things on a need to know basis and only those things that will be discovered in the first few moments of playing. Everything else will be left to discover on your own.

To begin, all of the character narrative books are equally distributed between all the different players. If playing with younger children, it’s advised for parents to do the majority of the reading. The stack of Map tiles should be placed face down near the middle of the play area in numerical order. The deck of Clue cards should also be placed face down next to the Map tiles in numerical order. The character standees and Secret Envelopes should be placed where all players may easily access them. Players may look at the outside of the Secret Envelopes but should not open them until instructed to do so while playing the game. When players are ready, Fred’s narrative book may be opened and Entry 5000 may be read aloud. Play now begins.

Once the entry for the story has been read, the actual game begins. The game starts you out by placing the first map tile which has you trapped in a room with only a few things around you and one character to use. From there, other cards and map tiles will be introduced into the game, along with the other characters, as you find them. As you play, you’ll be instructed where to place these in relation to other tiles and such. It should be noted that whenever a decision must be made, players should agree on the course of action before preceding.
As you play you’ll need to use the special abilities of each of the characters to better explore the mansion and each of the rooms and items inside. Velma can research, meaning she can dig deeper or figure out more of what’s going on. Shaggy can eat, meaning he can choose to eat something that he finds. Daphne can use, which allows her to manipulate certain objects or activate them to be able to make them work. Scooby-Doo can smell, so that he can get the scent of something to follow or even determine what something has in it. Fred can investigate, which means he can take a closer look at something or possibly even build a trap from it. For any of the characters to use their abilities, the players simply take that character’s standee and places it next to the beginning of the number on the map tile or clue card that they want to use the ability on. Each character has a number on their standee which is added to the 3 digit number to create a 4 digit code that the player can then look up in that character’s corresponding book. That particular Narrative book’s entry is then read aloud by the player with that character’s book. Sometimes there will only be a 1 or 2 digit number on the map tile or clue card. In these cases, players will need to find more digits to be added to these smaller numbers to create a 3 digit number. Any character that has access to that location can then add their character number to the beginning of these 3 digits to create the required 4 digit code. The character’s number must always be first, however the 1 and 2 digit numbers may be arranged either way. The 1 digit can precede the 2 digit or vice versa.

As the game is played players will find clue cards with a blue border on them. These cards are item cards that may be carried with the characters throughout the adventure, until they’re told to discard them. When reading through the narrative books, they may also be instructed to eat a Scooby Snack. This will affect the player’s score at the end of the game. Usually this will only happen if a player tries to solve a puzzle incorrectly. When this happens, the player simply marks a Scooby Snack off on the back of the rulebook, or marks it down on a blank sheet of paper if they choose not to write on the rulebook.

The game continues until the end of chapter 1 or until players have completed the game. The game provides instructions on how to pack up the game for completing the game later. Once the game is completed, players will check the Scooby Snack tracker on the back of the rulebook. Depending on how many Scooby Snacks they had to eat, marking them off on the tracker, will determine the player’s end game score. Players must also escape the Haunted Mansion to get a better score, although there are short lines of text to complete the adventure for both based on the player’s score.

One last thing should be noted, the last page of the rulebook has a list of hints that may be used during the game. The hints are based on the character’s location. The first two hints are free to use but should only be used if player’s are stuck. Any further hints will spoil future puzzles and will cause the players to eat a Scooby Snack. All of these hints are read from their corresponding narrative book.

COMPONENTS
While I won’t be covering every component of the game, due to spoilers, I will do my best to give you some idea of what you can expect. First off what I’ll tell you is all that you’ll uncover once you open the box. The game comes with 5 Narrative Books. Each one of these is bright and colorful and has the character’s name and picture on the cover, along with their character number and the range of entries in their book. The character’s number is also found on the character’s standee. The books are easy to look through and find the specific entry that you’re looking for to read. There are 13 map tiles for the game which are large square cards. These should not be looked at or flipped over until told to do so, to save on spoiling the mystery. The game also has a deck of tarot sized Clue cards. These also should not be looked at or flipped over until told to reveal a specific card. These map and clue cards have numbers on them. The narrative books will instruct you on when to flip one of these over. The tiles and cards have thematic artwork that fits in well with the cartoon look and feel of the game. Sometimes there will be puzzles that will need to be solved from these tiles or cards and the artwork does a great job of giving you that mystery type feel. Further into the box, players will discover the 8 Secret Envelopes. These are large square envelopes with instructions on the front that players are not to open until instructed to do so. Each one has a specific number on it and is sealed with a sticker. Each envelope has some various items inside including cards or other puzzle related items. Needless to say, there’s a lot to discover on your own so I’ll leave it at that. Finally there are the character standees. These have the iconic characters on them along with their character number and name of their ability. These are made of thick paper and are made to be folded at the bottom so that they can stand up. I kind of wish that these had been done like the character tokens from the Goonies Coded Chronicles game. Those were made of thick cardboard, more like a token. These just felt flimsy and hopefully they won’t get messed up from moving around on the table. I get that this game came out prior to the Goonies one so I’m assuming that those tokens were made as an improvement on these. To be honest, if I’d played this one first I’d probably not have thought a whole lot about it. Since I played Goonies first, it sort of stands out to me. In any event, the pieces and parts of this game work really well together. Everything really feels like it’s part of this whole elaborate mystery adventure. Overall I am very pleased with the look and feel of everything. Each piece makes you feel like you stepped into a Scooby-Doo mystery, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. Needless to say, I’m pretty doggone happy.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
Like my review, the rulebook gives only the bare minimum of instructions needed to understand how to play the game. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even call itself a rulebook, instead it is the Mystery Manual. The manual doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the game, which is completely fine since a lot of the rules you’ll be learning as you play. What the manual does do is give you the basic framework of how players will be using the tiles, cards, characters and narrative books. It also tells you how to use items to make other things work, like keys with doors. The book has plenty of pictures and examples to help players understand how this all works. One thing that I liked was that these examples were done in such a way that there were no spoilers given. As noted above, the back cover of the manual contains a list of hints for when players get stuck in a location. I think it’s a great thing to have for those players that need it. A few times I thought about using one but looked back at what was available and figured out what to do. On the back of the book there’s also the Scooby Snack Tracker which is a row of Scooby Snacks that can be marked to show how many times the players may have done something wrong or solved a puzzle incorrectly. What this does is it affects the End Game Score, which is a box on the last page of the book that has numbers for the amount of Scooby Snacks remaining. It also has two columns, one for if you escaped the Mansion and for for if you didn’t. Needless to say, if you didn’t escape, you’re not going to get as good of an ending. The same is true if you ended up eating too many Scooby Snacks. In other words, you’ll want to escape and eat as few snacks as possible. Overall I think that everything is laid out in a quick and concise way. It’s easy to read through and understand. In fact, it only takes a few minutes to read through making it that much quicker to be able to start playing. I like that there aren’t any spoilers in the manual so that everything is uncovered as you play. I have to say that I’m quite pleased.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
My family and I love Scooby-Doo. We’ve watched the shows, the movies and we even have Scooby-Doo related merch in our home. Needless to say, this game fit our family perfectly. The combination of the theme and the mystery solving all worked it’s magic on my whole family. We all love puzzle solving and have played several different escape room style games, which weren’t as much fun as this one was. This one just hit a sweet spot for us. While there are lots of puzzles to solve, nothing felt so difficult that my daughter couldn’t figure it out, with a little help. I found the game to have a bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure feel to it as well, from the entries in the narrative books. Every time you read something, it instructed you on something new to be revealed. You’d then take that and find something there to check out and then read another entry in one of the books. This kept the whole adventure constantly changing. In certain areas of the game, characters will be popping in and others popping out. I thought this was a neat way to keep things fresh and to not overwhelm players with too many characters to keep up with. As you make your way through the mansion, you’ll start to find other rooms with new puzzles to solve and new items to use. Using the right character’s ability on the right item or location seems to be key to solving the mystery. I like that this game can be played solo or with others. Just to familiarize myself with how this one worked, I played through a few rooms. This helped me later to be able to point my family in the right direction when they started to struggle in certain locations. Honestly this was one game that my family really enjoyed playing. We liked that it wasn’t super long and that we could easily work through the game all at one time, or break it up into 2 separate acts. It’s family friendly and one that even younger players could play with a little bit of help from Mom or Dad. Fans of Mystery Inc. will really enjoy jumping into a Scooby-Doo mystery and solving it themselves. Escape room gamers should also enjoy the puzzle aspects of the game. I’m a little bit afraid that due to having played the game, that it won’t be replayable. I guess we’ll have to try it again in a couple of months to see if we still remember the solutions to all of the puzzles or if it still feels like a challenge. I think that’s one thing to be aware of when purchasing this one. In any event, my family enjoyed this one a great deal as did I. This is one that I would highly recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is an escape room style game that can be played in the comfort of your own home. It is one of the Coded Chronicles styles games available from The Op. The game doesn’t take a huge amount of time unless you’re looking to completely finish the whole thing. Most play sessions last around an hour or so for each Act. The components are really well done and very thematic. Each one makes you feel like you stepped into a Scooby-Doo cartoon. The rulebook is really well done and gives you the instructions you need to play the game without including anything to spoil the game. The game itself is a lot of fun and will really draw you into the mystery. My family and I really enjoyed this one, as we love everything Scooby-Doo related. The puzzles could be a bit challenging but weren’t so difficult that you couldn’t figure them out if you really took your time and thought about them. For Scooby-Doo fans like us, this one is sure to entertain you. Even escape room players should enjoy the unique puzzles inside this one. The game is family friendly and can even be played with younger players, if you give them a bit of a helping hand here and there. Overall we really enjoyed this one and hope to see many more adventures in the Coded Chronicles world. This is one that I highly recommend and hope that it will be as much fun to replay a couple of months down the road. Jinkies!
9 out of 10

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

https://theop.games/

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The Goonies: Escape With One-Eyed Willy’s Rich Stuff Review

The Goonies: Escape With One-Eyed Willy’s Rich Stuff is a Coded Chronicles game by Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim, published by The Op. It is for 1 or more players. In this game, players will be taking on the role of the beloved characters from the 1985 film, “The Goonies“. They will need to work together to figure out the many different puzzles and explore the caves on their way to finding One-Eyed Willy’s treasure. They’ll have to be careful though, as those dastardly Fratelli’s will be hot on their heels. In the end, the players that can uncover the secrets and solve the puzzles the best, while avoiding the Fratelli’s, will be declared the winners and will have an awesome ending to their story.

Before I start, let me state that I will do my best in this review to make sure and keep the spoilers of the game to a very bare minimum. That means that I will only reveal things on a need to know basis and only those things that will be discovered in the first few moments of playing. Everything else will be left to discover on your own.

To begin, all of the Journals except for the ones for Chunk and Sloth are equally distributed between all the different players. The Chunk and Sloth ones are not used until Act 2 and may be left in the box until this time. It should be noted that Mikey’s Journal requires the most reading in Act 1, while Chunk’s Journal requires the most in Act 2. The stack of Map tiles should be placed face down near the middle of the play area. The deck of Clue cards should also be placed face down next to the Map tiles. The Doubloon, Treasure Map and Secret Envelopes should be placed where all players may easily access them. Players may look at the outside of the Secret Envelopes but should not open them until instructed to do so while playing the game. The Intermission envelope can remain in the box until needed, as can the Dry Erase pen. When players are ready, the Mikey Journal may be opened and Entry 1000 may be read aloud. Play now begins.

Once the game begins and the story entry is read the game begins to give you puzzles to figure out. The first puzzle involves the Secret Envelopes and the Doubloon. From there, map tiles and other cards will begin to be placed out on the table. Each one will explain where to place them in regards to any previously placed tiles or cards. As you progress you will also be instructed on where to place the characters which will come into the game once you open the first envelope. The Fratellis will also come into the game upon opening the envelope, more on them in a bit. It should be noted whenever a decision must be reached, players should agree on the course of action before preceding.

As you play, you’ll need to use the special abilities of each of the characters to better solve the puzzles that are presented. Mikey can explore, finding new things and hidden secrets. Brand can pick up, meaning that he can grab something that’s laying around. Mouth can decipher, which is very helpful since there will be puzzles to figure out. Andy can use, which means she can take one item and use it on something else, more on this ability in a bit. Stef can explain, which allows her to give players more information to make better and more informed choices. Chunk can explore and pick up, while Sloth can use. Data has all kinds of gadgets that have their own rules and ways to use them. The instructions for these will be presented once Data’s deck of gadget cards makes it’s self available during play. For any of the characters to use their abilities, the players simply take that character’s token and place it next to the begging of the number on the map tile or clue card that they want to use the ability on. Each character has a number on their token which is added to the 3 digit number to create a 4 digit code that the player can then look up in that character’s corresponding Journal. That Journal entry is then read aloud by the player with that character’s Journal. As I mentioned a moment ago, Andy and Sloth’s use ability is a bit different. These characters can not use a pre-existing 3 digit number. Instead they must combine two items together. One will have a 1 digit code and the other must have a 2 digit code. The character’s Journal entry number is created by that character’s number, the 1 digit number and then the 2 digit number. This gives the 4 digit code for the entry.

As you have the characters interact with different elements of the game, there will be times when the players are told to move the Fratelli token forward. Most times this happens only when solving a puzzle. Any time that the Fratelli token moves into a room that a character is standing in and that character can not move forward into another room, then the characters are caught. This does not mean it’s the end of the game. Instead, the players mark a box on the “Caught By The Fratellis Tracker” on the back of the rulebook, or a blank sheet of paper if you choose not to mark on the rulebook. This will affect the players’ score at the end of the game. Once this has been marked, the Fratelli token is moved back to the first space in the previous room, giving the players a little bit of breathing room.

The game continues until the end of one of the 3 Acts or until players have completed the game. The Intermission envelope gives instructions on how to pause and return to the game later. Once the game is completed, players will check the chart on the back of the rulebook. Depending on how many times they were caught by the Fratellis will determine the player’s achievement level, which has a short line of text to complete the adventure.

One last thing should be noted, the last page of the rulebook has a list of hints that may be used during the game. The first hint is free to use but should only be used if player’s are stuck. The second hint will spoil future puzzles and will cause the Fratelli token to move one space forward. All of these hints are read from their corresponding Journal.+

COMPONENTS
While I won’t be covering every component of the game, due to spoilers, I will do my best to give you some idea of what you can expect. First off what I’ll do is tell you what all you’ll uncover once you open the box. The game comes with 8 Journals. Each one is very colorful and has the character’s name on the front along with their number which is also found on the character token, which players will uncover later. Each Journal is appropriately fitting for the character from the movie and has a thematic look to it. There are 7 map tiles for the game which are large square cards. These should not be explored until told to do so, to save on spoiling the game. The game also has a deck of tarot sized Clue cards. These also should not be explored and should be kept face down until told to reveal a specific card. Each map tile has a letter and each Clue card has a number on it. The Journals and other cards/items will tell you when to uncover a map tile or Clue card by giving the appropriate letter or number. Both the tiles and cards are really well done and have a great look and feel to them. Also inside the box, players will discover 8 Secret Envelopes. These are large parchment style envelopes with sketches of the areas that they represent, along with a 4 digit code. Each one is sealed and contains various items inside. In some cases there are tokens like the character tokens and Fratelli token which are mentioned below. There are various smaller cards and other items that will be useful while playing the game. Needless to say, there’s a lot to uncover so I’ll leave those envelopes for you to discover on your own. Just like in the movie, there’s a large golden pirate doubloon. Of course, this version is only thick cardboard, but it’s still really cool looking. Finally there is the large map, which is dry erase and the dry erase marker for drawing on the map. Most of the time when I’ve gotten these markers inside a game, the marker was useless because it wouldn’t work. It was completely dry. With this one, surprisingly it actually worked. I was very happy about that, especially since it’s needed to play the game. The map is very thematic and looks amazing. I was really happy with how cool it looked. One last thing inside the box is the Intermission envelope. This is used for saving the game between each of the 3 different Acts, in case you want to stop and come back to the game later. Overall, I’m thrilled beyond measure with the look and feel of every piece of this game. Everything looks great and so very thematic. It really helped draw me into the movie and the adventure. Needless to say, I give the components an A+.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
Like my review, the rulebook gives only the bare minimum of instructions needed to understand how to play the game. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even call itself a rulebook, instead it is an Adventure Guide. The guide doesn’t go into a lot of detail, which is fine since so much of the game’s rules are learned as you play from the various cards and tiles that are uncovered later. Basically what the guide does is give you the framework for using the tiles, cards, characters and their Journals. It also explains how the Fratelli token works. There are plenty of great pictures in the book with lots of examples. The best thing is that these examples are shown in such a way that there’s no spoilers given. As noted earlier, the last page contains a list of hints for when players get stuck while playing the game. For some players I think it’s great to have that added to the book but I don’t actually remember any time that we needed to use them. That could be due to the numerous times that my wife and I have watched the movie throughout our lives. The back page of the book has the, “Caught By The Fratellis Tracker”, which is just a series of bubbles that can be marked to show how many times players were too slow or incorrectly solved a puzzle. What this translates to is the End Game Score, which is a box on the back of the book with a list of numbers of times you were caught and an achievement level for each. Needless to say, if you get caught 6 or more times, you’re not going to get a happy ending. The less your caught, the better your ending. Overall I think that the material that’s presented here is done in an exceedingly amazing way. I like that there aren’t spoilers, unless you want to really pay attention to those hints. I think that the rules that are given are explained in such a way that anyone can easily understand how to play the game. The guide doesn’t take that long to read which means that players can get to playing the game fairly quickly. Overall, I really enjoy the way that this was done and I think everything here looks great.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Oh my, what can I say? I have played several different escape room style games from several different companies. For the most part, these have been fairly mind numbing and boring. About the only thing that I liked was opening the envelopes and finding new materials to manipulate. Needless to say, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the gameplay of them. This game, however, was the absolute complete opposite of all of those. Maybe it was my love for the source material or simply the way that everything was presented, but I absolutely enjoyed myself with it. While it did have that puzzly escape room feel, it also felt like a Choose Your Own Adventure game had been merged with it. Maybe it was the story and all the reading that this game presented, I’m not sure. What I did like was that each individual character had it’s own voice, it’s own story and it’s own unique feel, just like in the movie. It simply felt like I was right there bumping around in those caves with those character myself. I absolutely got drawn into this game. It felt like I was living the movie. Every new puzzle was a way of moving forward and staying a step ahead of the Fratellis. As you progress through the game, new rooms will be discovered, as will new items and puzzles to solve. Figuring out the best character to deal with each one is key. I will say that there were a few times that I found myself scratching my head, trying to determine who to use, what to do and how to do it. It can be a little bit of a brain burner at times, but having several players working together to figure these things out can be a big help. I like that this is a game that can be played solo or with other players. I played through a little bit of the game by myself, just to get a feel for it, before unleashing it on my family. That helped me to better instruct them and for all of us to work our way through the adventure together. Of course I kept my prior knowledge of what worked and what didn’t work to myself. Needless to say, we had a great time with this game. It has been a true adventure. The likes of which I haven’t enjoyed in a long time. This one is family friendly but it’s aimed at pre-teens and higher. I think the complexity of the puzzles and the amount of reading that is needed makes that age group feel about right. Fans of the movie will absolutely love this game, as they’re able to play as their favorite characters. Escape room gamers will also find the puzzles and adventure of this one to be top notch. About the only thing that concerns me is that having played the game already, I’m afraid that there will be no replayabilty for it, as we’ll already know how to solve all the puzzles. Might have to give it a couple of months and then revisit it to see if that still holds true. I guess for now, it’s something to be aware of. In any event, this is one that I highly recommend. For a non-escape room gamer, I loved it as did my family.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The Goonies: Escape With One-Eyed Willy’s Rich Stuff is an escape room style game that can be played in the comfort of your own home. It is one of Coded Chronicles styles games available from The Op. The game can take a bit of time depending on how long you want to play and how many Acts that you want to explore. Most play sessions last around an hour to an hour and a half for each Act. The components look amazing and are very thematic. Each piece really helps draw you into the story of the game. The rulebook is quite well designed and gives you just what you need to know to play the game without any spoilers. The game itself is an amazing experience that will draw you right into the movie. I have had so much fun playing this. There are lots of puzzles to solve and clues to uncover. For fans of the movie, there is definitely a lot to love. I think them and escape room gamers will really enjoy this one. It is family friendly but a little too complex for some younger players. Overall my family and I enjoyed our time with this one. It’s sure to keep you talking about what worked and what could have possibly worked better. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. I just hope that it will be as much fun when I try to replay it in the future. Till then, I can’t wait.
9 out of 10

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

https://theop.games/

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Munchkin Critical Role Review

Munchkin Critical Role is a game based on Steve Jackson’s Munchkin, published by the Op. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of their favorite character from the Mighty Nein in the world of Wildemount as they battle Munchkin style to reach level 10 first. Along the way they will be battling monsters and meeting up with Guest Stars while they try to avoid curses as well as their opponents. The first player to reach level 10 by battling a monster will be declared the winner.

To begin, the cards are divided into Door and Treasure decks. Each deck is shuffled. Each player is dealt 4 cards from each deck. The decks are then placed face down on the table in the middle of the play area. The 20 sided and 6 sided dice are placed in the middle of the play area along with the decks. Players are each dealt one random character card which is placed face up in front of them. However, we like to let each player choose their character as long as there are no conflicts of interest. Each character card is double sided so players may choose whichever side they wish to use. Players will also receive a plastic tracker to keep track of their character’s level. This tracker is placed on level 1 on the character card. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns, with each player taking turns. Before taking their first turn, each player may create their character by looking over their starting hand of cards. If they have any Role or Drive cards, they may play one of each of these face up in front of themself. They may also place any useable items or Guest Stars in front of themself as well. However a player may only have 1 Guest Star at a time and items must follow the rules outlined in the rulebook, more on this in a minute. Once finished, the player performs 3 phases. The first phase is to Kick Open the Door. To do this, the player flips the top card of the Door deck over. If it is a monster, the player must fight it. Combat it done through comparing combat strength. The player’s combat strength is determined from their level along with any bonus obtained through other cards like Role abilities, Drives, items, Guest Stars and curses. The monster’s combat strength is equal to it’s level plus or minus any modifiers from cards played on it. If the player’s level is higher, they will kill the monster and go up a level. They also receive treasure as shown on the monster card. Treasure can be items or armor. However player’s may only equip one headgear, one armor, one foot gear and either one 2 handed item or up to 2 one handed items. Of course there are cards that will allow that to change like some Guest Stars or Cheat cards. If a player is unable to beat the monster, they must attempt to run away. To do this they roll the 6 sided die. They are successful if they roll 5 or higher. If they lose the roll, the monster does whatever bad stuff that the monster card describes to the player. Sometimes the player will flip over a curse card instead of a monster. When this happens the curse affects the player that drew it in whatever way that the card describes. There are also other types of cards like Role, Drive or monster enhancers that can be flipped over and then added to the player’s hand to be used later. It should be noted that if a player’s character dies, they don’t have to run away from any remaining monsters. They are allowed to keep their Roles, Drives and level, along with any Curses on them. The player must then lay out their hand of cards, allowing the other players to loot the body. Beginning with the player with the highest level, each player may take 1 card. The remaining cards are discarded to the discard pile. At the beginning of that player’s next turn, they may draw four face down cards from each deck and take their turn normally.

The second phase is the Look for Trouble or Loot the Room phase. This is done if there was no monster in the first phase. Looking for Trouble is done by playing a monster card from the player’s hand and then continuing with combat as described above. Looting the room is done by the player drawing a second card from the Door deck and adding it to their hand to be used later. This is important as during combat players can affect the monster or player by using these cards to mess with them. Players can also help out when a player can’t beat a monster by themself by adding their combat strength to the player’s strength that is fighting the monster. Of course, some bribing may have to be done to get other players to help out.

The last phase is the charity phase. Once the above phases are complete, the player must discard down to only 5 cards. Any extras cards are given to the player with the lowest level. Play then passes to the next player.

This game continues with each player performing the three phases of their turn until one of the players reaches level 10, which is only reachable by defeating a monster or playing a card that specifically allows them to win. The first player to do this is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with some really great looking cards. The artwork on each of these is absoutely beautiful. I will say however that some of the pictures are a bit dark, so it’s hard to see some of the details. Still, the cards are great quality and fit well with the game. There are 172 of these that form 2 decks of cards; the Door deck and Treasure deck. Each deck has lots of different types of cards, as noted in the overview above. The cards have a great look and feel to them and they’re very easy to hold and shuffle. The game also comes with 7 larger oversized character cards that are double sided. Each one has the same stats and abilities on both sides. The only real difference is the artwork for the character is a bit different. Players can play using either side with no real difference. There are also 2 dice; a 6 sided and a 20 sided. The 20 sided isn’t used in the regular game, but can be used with the optional rules. I’ll discuss this a bit more in the rulebook section. Both the dice are good quality and are black with white numbers or pips. There are also some plastic trackers for keeping track of each player’s level. These are sort of a greenish translucent color. They look nice on the character card. Thankfully they don’t seem to slide around too easily so there’s not too much trouble with bumping a character card and forgetting what your level was. I would like to note, that I honestly had no idea the theme for this game. I simply knew that it was some form of sword and sorcery RPG with great looking artwork. I’m sure some of the cards and characters will be familiar to players that are fans of the IP. Even with no knowledge of it, I’m impressed with the overall look of everything in the game. I really love how cool it looks. Great looking game of Munchkin.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game feels a bit long for such an easy to play game. It also looks like a rulebook, but is actually more of a multi-folded rules sheet. As a matter of fact, 2 of the pages are simply small folds of the paper. I thought that was a bit odd, but kind of interesting too. That said, I think the rulebook is well written and organized. It’s really good looking. There are plenty of pictures and examples of gameplay throughout the whole thing. Each concept and rule is explained in great detail so there should be no confusion with anything. As I noted above, the rules come with several optional rules. Each of these are highlighted in the rules with a gray box with grey bricks surrounding them. These can include the active player rolling the 20 sided die. If they roll a 1, bad stuff happens. If they roll a 20 they automatically beat the monster. If they roll anything else, this number is added to their combat strength. However, the monster gets to roll as well, usually done by the next player in turn order. This is just one of the optional rules. There are more for playing the game faster or for combining other sets of Munchkin with this one. The only thing missing would be some solo rules, but not really sure how that would work so I digress. Overall I think the rules do a great job and the whole thing looks great. The main thing is that it is easy to understand. With that in mind, I’m very pleased with the rulebook.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I know that Muchkin is a very divisive game. Some people love it and some people love to hate it. I tend to be one of the first kind. I think Munchkin is a game that has it’s place if you’re looking for some mindless fun and it’s one that I normally enjoy. I’ve played many different versions but this one has some of the best looking artwork that I’ve seen. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not familiar with the IP but it looked like something from one of the worlds of Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons. Honestly, I still don’t know what it’s from but what I do know is the theme works well with Munchkin. It has all the staples of the original game but kicks them up a notch, much like the Adventure Time version did. I enjoy seeing all the different races and classes of sword and sorcery highlighted here. I also like the special abilities of each particular character which makes each one feel a bit different. I also liked the double sided cards, so that you can pick your favorite artwork. There might be other reasons behind the different pictures that I’m not aware of but for me, it just looked cool. I do enjoy the look and feel of this version and really found the theme to be a more flavorful version of the original game. Just like other versions, this one is fun and chaotic and lends itself to much joy and laughter. This is one that I think fans of Critical Role may very well enjoy. I know that fans of Munchkin will love this one as it just a better version of the game. This is one that I definitely recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Munchkin Critical Role is a light weight card game of chaotic fun with a sword and sorcery theme, based on the characters and settings from Critical Role. It does seem to run a bit long for this type of game. Most play sessions last around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how many players there are and how much they like to mess with the other players. The components are excellent. I really like the artwork and all the different pieces included in the box. The rulebook is well written and organized with plenty of information and variations that can make the game even more interesting. The game itself is quite fun. Not being familiar with the IP, I’m not sure how well it translated over to the game. I’m sure fans of Critical Role and especially the Mighty Nein will enjoy this one. Munchkin fans will have a lot to enjoy with this one as well. Overall It’s one that I definitely recommend.
9 out of 10

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

https://theop.games/

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Mickey and Friends: Food Fight Review

Mickey and Friends: Food Fight is a game published by the Op. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of Mickey or one of his friends; Minnie, Daisy, Donald or Goofy. They’ll be rolling dice in order to fling various types of food onto their opponent’s trays in order to empty their own. In the end, the player that can best manage the mess and clean off their tray first will be declared the winner.

To begin the red serving tray is placed in the middle of the play area. Each player chooses a character and takes their food tray, placing it with the tray side up in front of themself. Each player is given 3 dice, one of each type, and a random assortment of food tokens based on the number of players. These food tokens are placed on top of the player’s food tray. One player is chosen to start the game and play now begins.

The game is played simultaneously once the chosen player says, “1, 2, 3, Food Fight!” Each player will then begin to roll their dice. Each die rolled will indicate a type of food to fling, which direction to fling it and the number of food items to be flung, removing them from your tray. The food die shows which food it to be removed; hamburger, shake, ice cream, french fries, hot dog or the player’s choice. The direction die shows which direction to move the food tokens to; left, right, to the serving tray or the player’s choice. The quantity die shows a maximum of food tokens that may be moved; 1, 2 or 3. It does not have to be exact. For instance, a 3 can be rolled but if the player only has 2 tokens then they can just move those 2. Once a player has rolled their dice, they will move food tokens onto the corresponding tray. They can then roll all 3 of their dice again and carry out the same process of moving food tokens.

The game continues until a player empties their tray. Once they’ve done this, they player will shout, “DONE!”. The first player to do this will be awarded a Mickey Medal. A new round begins and the same process of rolling dice and flinging food begins anew. The game ends once a player collects 3 Mickey Medals. The first player to do this is the winner.

COMPONENTS
The game comes with some very cute and fun components. There are 5 different player serving trays, one for each character, and a main serving tray. These are super thick and each player tray has artwork that corresponds with the character. For instance, Donald’s tray has some white duck feathers, Donald’s signature cap and red bowtie on the front and a picture of my main duck himself along with his name on the back. The main serving tray is red and has some messy food drippings on it. I’m very impressed with the sturdiness of these and the great looking artwork. That same artwork continues on the different food tokens. There are 5 different food types; hamburgers, shakes, french fries, ice cream and hot dogs. Each food type has 12 tokens and the tokens are almost as thick as the trays. The game also includes 13 Mickey Medals which are tokens like the food items. These are gold medals with Mickey ears on them and red ribbons on the bottom. All the tokens are superb and fit in well with the theme and the other components. Finally we come to the dice. These are a little smaller than your standard six sided dice. Each one is screen printed with the specific type of icons for the die it is. The food dice have food pictures on them. The direction dice have directions or red mouse ears to represent the serving tray. The quantity dice have numbers from 1 to 3 on them. While the images are good, I’m a bit concerned that the screen printing may eventually rub off after repeated gameplay. So far though, I’ve not noticed any considerable wear on them so here’s hoping they last for a good long time. There are enough dice sets for 5 players to have 1 of each of the 3 different types. In my opinion, the dice are probably the low point for the components. Everything else is excellent. I do wish they were a bit larger and possibly engraved instead of screen printing. However I’m sure that the screen printing helped make this a cheaper to produce game and thus be able to carry a lower price tag, so there’s that. Overall I’m quite pleased with most everything in the game box. I find the components to be well produced.

8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game isn’t very big. It’s only a few pages but packs a lot inside. The regular rules are very quick and simple to read over. There are pictures of the different components, along with how to set up the game. There are even pictures of each of the different die faces. The rules also include several different variations on the game that can add even more fun and challenges. I’ll go into more detail on each of these in the gameplay section. About the only thing left out would be some rules for solo play, but the mechanics of this game might make it one that solo rules simply wouldn’t work with it. That’s fine. To be honest, there’s really not a lot to discuss about the rulebook which means there’s not really anything to complain about. That’s because everything in it is simple and straight forward. I really like that. That makes it a lot easier to get into playing the game and less time reading the rules. For that, I’m very pleased. That’s why I’m more than happy to approve the rulebook.

8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a fairly simple and easy to play game. The basic rules are easy enough that even young players can understand how to play. Simply roll the dice and start moving food onto other trays to be able to clean off your tray first. That’s pretty much all there is to it. However if you’re looking for more challenges, then you can try out one of the variants that are included in the rule book. There’s the Food Feast Competition which instead of throwing food, each player is trying to collect the most sets of food. Each complete set is worth worth a Mickey Medal. The first to 3 Mickey Medals wins. There’s also the Silly Potluck Picnic which is much like the regular food fight game except when a 3 is rolled along with either a R or L. When this happens, the player shouts out the direction and all players must pass their food trays in that direction. Normal win conditions of emptying your tray and getting 3 Mickey Medals first are still the same. There’s also an option for playing with kids that allows them to start with 2 less food items on their food tray. They can also use just the number and direction dice, allowing them to choose any type of food from their tray. Regardless of which way you choose to play, the game is fun. It’s silly and a bit chaotic at times, but hits the right chord for me and my family. This is a great family game and one that all ages can play with ease. Fans of party games would really enjoy the silliness of this one, especially if they like Mickey and the gang. Needless to say, this is a game that I recommend. It has plenty of ways to play and lots of ways to enjoy it. We like it.

8 out of 10

OVERALL
Mickey and Friends: Food Fight is a light weight game of food flinging fun. The game isn’t long. Most play sessions last around 15 minutes. The components are all very nice and sturdy. I will say though that I wish the dice were a bit larger and not screen printed. The rulebook is well designed. I’m especially happy with all the variants and the options for playing with younger children. These will help keep the game entertaining for a long time. The game itself is a lot of fun albeit a bit chaotic. Things can get a bit wild with all the food tokens and dice flying around the table but it’s all in good fun. I found that the game will keep you laughing and smiling as you play. It’s a great family friendly game that plays well with any number of players, up to 5. Fans of Mickey and the gang will find something to enjoy here, as will parents looking for a great game for family fun night with the kids. This is one that I recommend. It’s sure to feed your hunger for a good food fight.

8 out of 10

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

https://theop.games/

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Emoji Bible Stories Card Game Review

Emoji Bible Stories Card Game is a game by Bible Games Central. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players can choose from 4 different ways to play. From telling a Bible story to matching pictures, each one will help players learn about the different stories from the Bible. Each of the 4 games have different win conditions.

To begin let’s look at each of the 4 different games. These are Tell an Emoji Bible Story, Guess the Bible Story, Match and Guess and Snap and Redeem. I’m not going to go into the step by step process of playing each of these different games. For more information on this, please check out the rulebook. Instead I’ll give a brief overview of each of the 4 games. First there is Tell an Emoji Bible Story. In this game, players will take turns drawing 2 cards and then trying to use 3 of the cards in their hand to tell the Bible Story on one of their Story cards. They will play these 4 cards in front of themself and briefly tell the story. If most of the other players agree that the emoji cards used are appropriate for the story, then the player gets a point. If not, then the player takes back all their cards and play passes to the next player. The first player to score 3 points wins.

The next game is Guess the Bible Story. In this game, players are given 6 Emoji cards and a Story card. On a player’s turn they will either play one of their Emoji cards in front of themself that they feel matches with their Story card, discard Emoji cards from their hand and draw back up to 6 or discard their Story card and draw a new one. They will then have a chance to guess one of the Bible stories in front of one of the other players. If they guess correctly, both players get a point. The first player to score 5 points wins.

The next game is Match and Guess. In this game, players are given a Story card. They will then take turns drawing from a stack of Emoji cards. If the drawn card matches an Emoji on their Story card, then they place it face up in front of themself. If not, it’s placed in the discard pile. If another player’s Story card matches the discarded card, they may call out the Emoji and claim the card, placing it in front of themself. The player is then allowed to try to guess one of the Bible stories in front of one of the other players. If they guess correctly, both players get a point. The first player to score 5 points wins.

The final game is Snap and Redeem. All of the Emoji cards are dealt out evenly to the players which is used to form a draw pile in front of them. On a player’s turn they will flip over the top card of their draw pile and try to match one of the Story cards on the table. Any player can then point at the Emoji on the Story card and shout it out if it matches one of them. The first player to do this gets the Emoji card. The first player to match 3 Emoji cards can then use them to redeem that Story card. The first player to redeem 3 Story cards wins.

COMPONENTS
The game comes with a huge stack of cards. There’s a total of 192 cards in all. That includes 120 Emoji cards, 24 Green Story cards, 24 Purple Story cards and 24 Bible Story Summary cards. Each of the different card types has unique things about them. The cards themselves are all very good quality with a nice finish to them. The Emoji cards have a really large picture of an emoji on them. The purple Story cards have the name of a story from the Bible, along with the scriptures and several emojis that represent it. The green Story cards have the name of the Bible story along with the scriptures. With these cards there are no icons or emojis. The Bible Story cards have a quick overview of the Bible story along with the scriptures on the back. The front side has the Bible story along with the scripture and a summary of the actual story. It also has a small row of the emoji icons on it. These are great to help understand all the different stories that are presented in the game. One thing I can say, the game has a really nice set of cards in it.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a large foldout sheet of paper that is double sided. The paper is thick like cardstock and is full color with a nice finish to it. The front of the rules explains the components and gives a quick overview of each of the different games in the box. It also has the rules for the first game; Tell an Emoji Bible Story. The back side of the paper lays out the rules for the remaining 3 games, giving setup and win conditions for each. The paper has plenty of pictures and examples of gameplay for each of the 4 different games. The rules are very easy to read and understand. On top of that, it didn’t take but a couple of minutes to read over them. Overall I found the rulebook to be handled very well and I think it’s very helpful. I’m pleased with it.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I’m never been much of an emoji kind of person. I’ve always been more into gifs. Something about an emoji always felt like computer clip art from the 90’s. I wasn’t a big fan of using them on my cell phone either. So it was with a little bit of bias and angst that I approached this card game. I will say however that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. It was fairly entertaining. Each of the different games gave a different style of playing and basically telling a story through pictures. Some your telling the story yourself with emojis, while others you’re trying to collect emojis to match your story. Each one has it’s own strategies and goals while still allowing player to have fun. I like that the games don’t last that long. I think if it’d been more than 5 points for any of the games, it may have been too long. This one, like so many of the games from this publisher, would work well in a Sunday School class, Children’s Church or even homeschool classroom. I think it’s one that younger children can play with ease and it helps teach them the different stories from the Bible in a fun way. It’s definitely a family friendly game and one that can be played by pretty much all age groups. I think if you’ve enjoyed any of the other games from this publisher, than this one would be right up your alley too. This is one that I would definitely recommend checking out. It ended up being more enjoyable for me and my family that I would have imagined. I actually like it.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Emoji Bible Stories Card Game is a box of 4 light weight card games with a religious theme. Each game is fairly quick and can be played in around 15 minutes. The cards are very nice and of good quality. The artwork isn’t overly busy but is fun and playful. The rulebook is well designed and is very easy to read and understand. The game itself is entertaining and has plenty of different ways to play. Each one has it’s own perks. This is one that would be put to good use in a Sunday School class, Children’s Church or homeschool class setting. It’s family friendly and one that all ages can play with relative ease. It’s very good at helping children learn the different stories from the Bible. Overall this is one that I would recommend checking out. I think it’s one that many families will enjoy. For me and mine, we liked it.
8 out of 10

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

https://biblegamescentral.com/shop/

You can also find lots of lively and fun FREE games for Holiday parties and Christmas family gatherings at the link below.

https://biblegamescentral.com/christmas-games/

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