Castle Panic Review

castle1

Castle Panic is a game by Justin De Witt, published by Fireside Games. It is for 1-6 players. In this game, players will be trying to defend their castle from a forest full of monsters such as goblins, orcs and even trolls. They’ll have to work together if they hope to withstand the onslaught. Of course their compatriots will be trying to garner the most points as they destroy wave after wave of vicious monsters. The player that can rack up the most points while keeping at least 1 castle tower standing will be declared the winner.

This game can be played in several different ways. However for this review, I will be referring to the standard method of play. For the rules and overview of all the other modes of play, please check the rulebook.

To begin, the board should be placed in the middle of the play area. All of the walls and towers should be placed on a plastic stand. Towers should be placed on each of the light colored spaces in the castle ring of the board, while walls should be placed on the lines between the Castle ring and the Swordsman ring on the board. 3 Goblin, 2 Orc and 1 Troll token are placed on the board in the Archer ring. These are placed one per arc with the highest number on the token pointed toward the Castle. Tokens are placed randomly or as chosen by the players. The remaining monster tokens are placed face down on the table and mixed up into a pile near the board. The Order of Play cards are removed from the other Castle cards and each player is given 1 of these. Any remaining Order of Play cards are returned to the box. The Castle cards are shuffled together. Each player is then dealt a number of cards based on the number of players. The remaining Castle cards are placed face down near the board. The Tar and Fortify tokens are placed near the board as well. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns. Each player’s turn is broken up into 6 phases; draw up, discard and draw 1 card, trade cards, play cards, move monsters and draw 2 new monsters. The first phase is to draw up. What this means is that the player will draw back up to a full hand of cards. That number is set at the beginning of the game based on the number of players.

The next phase is to discard and draw 1 card. In this phase the player is allowed to discard a single card if they wish to and draw a new card to replace it with. Of course this is optional and the player doesn’t have to do it if they don’t want to.

Next is the trade cards phase. This phase is also optional. In this phase the player is allowed to trade a number cards with another player. That number is dependant on the number of players in the game.

The fourth phase is to play cards. In this phase the player can play as many cards from their hand as they’d like. Cards like the Archer, Knight and Swordsman can be used to attack monsters in the corresponding ring. Each time a monster is hit it takes a point of damage which is shown by rotating the monster token clockwise to the next lowest number pointing towards the castle. If the monster loses it’s last hit point, it’s slain. The player that hit it last takes the monster token as a trophy. The Barbarian card can slay a monster in any space on the board. Likewise a warrior that hits a monster can be enhanced with the Nice Shot card to slay the hit monster. Cards like Tar, Fortify Wall, Drive Him Back and Missing can be used to slow the monsters down. Tar places a tar token on the monster which forces it to not be able to move on the move monsters phase or during the draw 2 new monsters phase either. Fortify Wall places a fortify token on a wall making it stronger. If a wall is hit the monster takes a damage point but normally would remove the wall. If a fortify token is placed, the token is removed instead of the wall making the monster have to hit it again before the wall is removed. Players can play a Brick and Mortar card to rebuild a destroyed wall. Drive Him Back moves the monster back to the forest. Missing allows the player to skip the draw 2 new monsters phase. The player can also play cards like draw 2 cards or scavenge to get more cards into their hand. Draw 2 cards does just that. It allows the player to draw 2 new cards from the deck and add them to their hand to be used during their current turn. Scavenge allows the player to search through the discard pile and add a card from the pile to their hand to be used during their current turn also. Once a player has played all the cards they would like, play moves to the fifth phase.

The fifth phase is the move monsters phase. In this phase any remaining monsters that were not destroyed during the previous phase are moved 1 space closer to the castle. If the monster moves from the Swordsman ring to the Castle ring and there’s a wall present, the monster takes a point of damage and the wall is removed. If there is no wall, the monster simply moves into the Castle ring. If a tower is present, it is destroyed and removed while the monster takes a point of damage. The monster then takes the place where the tower was previously. Each consecutive move monsters phase will then move the monster clockwise inside the Castle ring, destroying towers till either all the towers have been destroyed or the monster is slain. Only cards with a castle symbol on them are able to affect monsters inside the Castle ring. Towers can not be rebuilt and if the last tower is destroyed, the players lose the game.

The last phase is to draw 2 new monsters. In this phase the player draws 2 new tokens from the pile and flips them over face up one at a time. A goblin, orc or troll is placed in the forest by rolling the die and placing the token in the ring that matches the number rolled. The token is placed with the highest number facing the castle. Special monster tokens like the boss monsters or monster effect tokens have their own set of rules for each. For more information on these, please check the rule book. Once the player has resolved the 2 monster tokens, play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until one of two things happen. If the last tower is destroyed by the monsters, the game ends and all the players have lost. If all the monster tokens have been played and all the monsters slain, the players win. Players then add up the number of victory points from the trophies they’ve won for slaying monsters. The player that has the most points is the winner and receives the title of Master Slayer.

cp1

cp2

COMPONENTS
This is a really great looking game. There’s a really great fantasy theme integrated into the game. Each pieces really fits that theme extremely well. There are lots of cardboard tokens from the walls, towers and fortification tokens to the tar and monster tokens. I love the look once the walls and towers are put into place. You really get that epic tower defense feel. The cards are equally good quality and the artwork on these is really great too. Even the board fulfills the theme as well with this forest like castle look and feel. The game even comes with some handy dandy order of play cards for reference. I absolutely love how great this game looks. There’s lots to like with this game. About the only thing that might be missing is a bag to hold all the monster tokens. Really think it’d be easier to deal with the monster tokens if a bag were included to hold them all with instead of having to shuffle things around face down on the table. Not a major deal and definitely not one that I’m complaining about, just the only thing I can think of that could make the game even better. Overall, the game is thematically brilliant and looks fantastic.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is equally great. There’s lots of really great looking pictures throughout the book. Everything is explained really well including step by step instructions on the Order of Play. There’s a great section where more details are given about the various phases. Also included are some great examples of play including pictures for reference. Awesome! The book also has rules for the other 2 modes of play, co-op and overlord, as well as various optional rules to add more or less panic to the game. There’s even instructions to play the game solo and for a scenario entitled giant boulder. The back page of the book has a great summary of various items including the order of play as well as cards, monsters and monster effects. Overall the book looks great. It’s easy to read through and understand. Nothing to complain about here.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is an absolute joy to play. I love the tower defense feel that this game provides. It’s kinda like playing Plants vs Zombies on my tablet. You really have to think where you can best take out the monsters as they approach. Of course you’ll probably lose a wall here and there and even a tower or two, but you just have to prioritize what’s important. The game can be a bit difficult for the solo player but I really like the challenge that the game provides. It’s like a giant puzzle and finding the best fit. Playing with more players make things a bit easier but the game still provides a great challenge. I don’t exactly care for the Master Slayer aspect of the game. My thought is that if you all win, you all win. If you lose, you all lose. Period. No need for an alpha gamer situation to arise. In any event, the game is really easy to teach. My kids really enjoyed playing this one. It teaches cooperation which is something that we all need to learn a little more of. Fans of any of the other Panic style games should really enjoy this one, especially if they like the fantasy genre. Solo gamers will like this one a lot as well. It’s definitely one that should be in their collection. Overall the game works well in so many different ways. It’s a lot of fun for me as well as the family. I highly recommend this one.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Castle Panic is a light tower defense style game. It doesn’t take a really long time to play. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes. The game scales well from 1 to several players. I especially like the game solo. The artwork is very much rooted in the fantasy genre. The look and feel is great and conveys the theme perfectly. Fans of the Panic series of games should love this one. Tower defense game fans like those players of Plants vs Zombies should enjoy this one as well. It’s really easy to teach and one that works great with families. Solo gamers should definitely include this one into their collection. This game is lots of fun and one that I enjoy in many different ways. I highly recommend this game. It’s a sheer joy. Now get back out to the wall and protect this castle.
9 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

 

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

http://www.firesidegames.com/

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wonky: The Unstable Adult Party Game Review

wonky

Wonky: The Unstable Adult Party Game is a game published by USAopoly. It is for 2 or more players. In this party style game, players take on the role of a hazmat team that’s tasked on restabilizing some radioactive elements that have been disturbed. They’ll need a steady hand since when the tower of elements topples over, they’ll suffer the consequences. The player that is best able to stack the elements or that can complete all their protocols first will be declared the winner.

Before I begin with this review, let me state that this game is intended to be played with adults. The reason being is that it’s basically a drinking game. However I don’t drink so those penalties and situations will not actually be discussed or covered in this review. Instead I’ll simply refer to the drinking penalties as penalties. Just know that for the purpose of my review, these penalties were not enforced. Instead, the player was forced to skip their turn.

To begin, all of the element cubes should be placed within reach of all players. The Protocol deck should be shuffled together. Each player is then dealt 7 cards each. The remaining deck is placed face down on the table. The Side Effect deck is then shuffled and placed face down on the table near the Protocol deck. Play now begins.

The game is played in a series of turns. Each player’s turn consists of 2 steps; play a protocol card and add a cube to the tower. The first step is to play a protocol card. To do this the player simply chooses one of the card’s in their hand and places it face up in the discard pile. The player then follows the instructions on the card. There are 3 types of cards that a player can play; cube stacking cards, action cards and combo cards. Cube stacking cards, when played, make the player add a cube that matches the one on the card to the top of the tower. If there are no towers already started, then the cube is is placed in the center of the play area, beginning a new tower. Action cards, when played, allow the player to take a special action like skipping another player’s turn or reversing the direction of play. Combo cards, when played, make the player add a cube of any type to the top of the tower. If they succeed and the tower doesn’t fall, then they are able to perform the special action listed on the card. This action could be to make the next player draw a protocol card from the deck and add it to their hand or to reverse the direction of play.

The next step of a player’s turn is to add to the tower. If a player played a cube stacking or combo card in the previous step, then they will have to add a cube to the tower that matches the card that they played. The players then count to 3. If the tower remains standing, they are successful and play passes to the next player. If the player successfully adds a cube that’s larger than the cube below it, they are able to pick another player to have a penalty enforced on them. It should be noted that if any cubes in the tower should fall at any time during the player’s turn, they will have a penalty enforced on them. They will also be forced to draw 3 more cards from the Protocol deck and they must also draw a side effect card to be put into play. The player must then play a new protocol card to begin a new tower before ending their turn. It should also be noted that side effect cards once drawn go into effect immediately. The rules must be followed by all players. If a player is caught breaking the rule, they will be forced to take a penalty. There may only be 3 side effects active at any time. If a fourth side effect is drawn, the card that has been active the longest is placed in the discard pile and the new card put into play.

The game continues until one of two events happen. If a player has no cards in their hand at the end of their turn, they win. However the player is not allowed to play an action card as their last card. They must successfully add a cube to the tower to win. The other way the game can end is if a player adds the ninth cube to the tower. If this happens the player wins, regardless of how many cards they have in their hand.

wonky2

COMPONENTS
There aren’t a whole lot of pieces to this game. First off there are 9 element cubes that are brightly colored and made of wood. The quality of these is really good as they’re actually quite sturdy. There is a small, medium and large block in 3 different colors; blue, yellow and green. They’re actually pretty cool. The other thing included with the game is a deck of cards. There is a stack of protocol cards and a smaller one of side effect cards. 69 cards in total. The cards are actually really good quality as well. The artwork and design is really fun and easy to read. I really like the look and feel of them. If I had something to complain about with the components, I think it would be the box/container that everything comes packaged in. It’s a long tube, not a square or rectangular box like most games come in. That makes it extremely difficult to stack on your game shelf with your other games. I really don’t like the tube design and wish that it’d been thought out a bit better. Of course this one probably would just be placed with your party games or other such items instead of putting it with your more serious game collection anyway. Of course I’ll discuss those aspects a bit later. In any event, the game looks nice, apart from the tube.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is actually quite small and compact. The rules are well written and everything is laid out quite nicely. There are lots of pictures included in the book. The book even contains a run down of all the side effects and how each one works. I didn’t see anything that was difficult to understand at all. Everything is pretty simple and straight forward. Overall the rules look good, nothing to complain about.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game actually falls into 2 categories for me; interesting and useless. The concept behind the game is actually quite interesting. I do like the idea of stacking the different cubes up in a Jenga type fashion and trying not to knock everything off. I like the card playing aspect as well. It has a UNO type feel to it with the pass and reverse action cards, while the side effect cards give it a really unique feel. Of course the side effect cards are where the useless category comes into play for me. I realize that this game is intended for adults. The tube even has a label on it that says as much. The thing is that I’m not a drinker so the “must take a drink” penalties that are incurred while playing the game are pretty much useless to me. That’s why I tried to implement the “skip your turn” house rule instead. Of course, it made the game quite annoying. Nobody wanted to play it again. It doesn’t help that I’m not really big on party games either. That said, I’m sure with the right group of drinking age adults, the game might actually be fun. It does look like it should be fun. We just couldn’t figure out a way to make it work for us. Adult players that like UNO and Jenga might like this one. Family and younger gamers will most likely not. I can’t really recommend this one. As it is, this is a huge pass for me.
5 out of 10

OVERALL
Wonky: The Unstable Adult Party Game is a party game for adult players that involves drinking as a consequence. The game is relatively short, as most party games are. Most game sessions should last around 10 minutes. The cards are designed well and the blocks are bright and colorful. The game looks really nice. Unfortunately the game is intended for mature gamers that are of drinking age. As I do a lot of family and children’s style games, this one just didn’t work for me. It looks like it would be really fun if there was a way around the drinking aspect of the game. However I was unable to actually find a way to play it that wasn’t completely annoying. If you’re of drinking age and don’t mind the drinking aspect of this game, then this might be a game that you actually enjoy. It does have some Jenga and UNO style mechanics that are ok for party gamers. For me however, I’m not all that keen on either of those games. For me the game is a huge pass and not one that I can recommend.
5 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://www.usaopoly.com/

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zimby Mojo Review

zimby1

Written by Guest Reviewer – Michael Guigliano

I have the honor of reviewing Zimby Mojo, by Devious Weasel Games, with game design by Jim Felli. These are my thoughts and opinions. Enjoy!

zimby2

Zimby Mojo, is a “Co-Opportunistic Game of Cannibalistic Mayhem.” 1-8 players take on the role of Shaman in a tribe of zimbies. Your goal is to send these dedicated servants on a quest for the King’s Crown, called the Cannibal Crown. Once it is in your zimbies’ possession, and returned to your tribal board, you win. The problem, however, is that all the other tribes are trying to get the Cannibal Crown to their tribal board, as well. On top of that, the King’s thugs are going to do everything they can to protect the King and his Crown. Throughout the game, you will most likely need the help of some of the other tribes in order to defeat the King and his thugs. Since there can be only one King, a betrayal is inevitable when playing with 2 or more players. Be careful, as the Cannibal Crown instills a heavy burden onto those that carry it. As the tribe’s Shaman, you must deal with other tribes of cannibalistic zimbies, zombies, and thugs to grab the crown from the King. Let’s take a better look at the game.

zimby3

zimby4

Setup:
To set up the game, there are a few preliminary items that need to be arranged. After laying out the board, place the Blood Thickets and the Blood Vines in their correct spaces. Next, the Elemental Seals and Elemental Wards are placed. These wards can be placed in their spaces in any order. The seals, however, are randomized and placed face down in their corresponding spaces. To continue, shuffle the 8 Ritual Markers and place 1 in each of the 4 corners of the King’s Sanctum. You’ll notice the matching sword symbols. Make sure these tokens are placed in the corners, and not on the Ritual Tile. In the center of the King’s Sanctum is the Blood Mist. The King is placed on this square to start. His thugs are placed adjacent to the Elemental Seals that were placed earlier. At this point, the board is set up (see above image). Now the players get their material.

Each player takes a tribal board. These have one entrance that leads onto the main board. Players may place them at any Entry Point tile that they would like. For reasons that will become clear a little later, placing your tribal board at the second Entry Point located on the Outer Patrol Route is suggested. If you look on the board you’ll see red and black footprints on some of the squares. These represent to routes that the King’s thugs will take during the game. The red route is used when the King is still alive. The black route is taken after the King is killed. Since the second Entry Point on this black route takes longer to get to, it is recommended to place your tribal board at this tile. Each player then gets 4 mojo tokens, and a selected amount of active zimby tokens. The rules suggest 4 for new players, and 8 for the more seasoned Shamans. In addition, players receive a selected amount of Scroll cards, as well. After shuffling the Scroll cards into one deck, the rules suggest dealing 3 to each player, for the new players, and 6 for the vets. After deciding on the start player, you are finally ready to start your hunt for the Cannibal Crown.

Solitaire Rules:
If you’re looking to play this solo, the rules have a few alterations for you. First, you will remove the Scroll cards that have a red dot in the mojo symbol. Shuffle the remaining cards and deal, face down, 17 cards to make up the Scroll deck. These 17 will be the only cards in this game. In addition to the 4 mojo tokens, you will be able to use 8 active zimby tokens. Draw 6 cards from the Scroll deck to represent your starting hand. The next few adjustments will make more sense after the basics of the game are understood. For now, just know that when activating an elemental seal, which usually requires some cooperation, in a solo game a zimby must be sacrificed. Because of this, there must be at least 2 zimbies in a column when at the shrine. The blood of the sacrificed is used to break the seal, and the zimby then goes to the Far Shore (which is a term used for the place where zimbies wait for activation). The King’s Crown gives a witchery (type of scroll card) benefit of 50%. Some of these benefits target the tile that the King is on, as well as ones that target the King himself. There’s also an adjustment to the King’s rituals and when thugs re-enter the board after being killed. Instead of rolling a d4 to determine randomness, you will roll a d6, using a roll of 1-4 as normal, but assigning a roll of 5-6 to a quadrant or portal tile connected or nearest to the player’s tribal board. The thugs will change their behavior in a solo game once the King dies. When this happens the thugs move at a pace of 2d6 along the red Inner Patrol route until they reach the Outer Patrol route that is connected to the player’s tribal board. They will then follow this outer route, at 2d6, until they reach the tribal board entrance. Here, the first two thugs to reach the entry tile will flank the entry tile and hold their positions; the first thug stopping on the first tile before the entrance, with the second thug stopping at the first tile after the entrance. The remaining thugs will continue to patrol the outer route as normal, at 2d6. If a thug manages to defeat a zimby column that is carrying the Cannibal Crown, and can get it back to the Blood Mist tile, located in the center of the King’s chamber, they are then crowned the new Cannibal King, and you lose the game. You will also lose the game if you are unable to draw a card from the Scroll deck during the refresh step. To win the game, simply kill the King and get Cannibal Crown back to your tribal board. If this is accomplished, your score is equal to the number of cards remaining in the Scroll Deck. Easy, right? Ha! Good luck.

“So, now that I have the game set up to play…how do I play?”

In order to kill the King, claim the Crown, and get it back to your tribe, you will need to use your mojo and active zimbies to play Scroll cards, break through the seals protecting the King, and engage in combat. Let me say that the game, at its core, is easy to pick up. You will get the basics to the game pretty quickly. However, there are a lot of moving parts. The rule book is essential, especially for your first few plays. I will not cover every facet of the game in this review. This review is intended to whet your appetite…just a little bit. To completely understand the game, I would recommend running through it a few times on your own, just to get all the rules and terms down, before you really play it or teach it to anyone. Otherwise, you will be searching the rule book for all the different instances of movement, columns, combat, etc. Again, it’s not difficult to learn how to play Zimby Mojo, but getting to know it before you really play it would be a good thing.

zimby5

How to play:
Each turn, starting from the beginning of round 2, will start with a Refresh. All used mojo and zimby tokens are turned back over to their active sides. Any obstacles that can be turned to their “B” sides are flipped. If a token is already on the “B” side, then it is removed from the board. Next, each Shaman draws a Scroll Card. After the Refresh Event, the King gets his action. If the King is in the Blood Mist, he will move to a random Ritual Tile. Use a d4 and split the board into quadrants to determine onto which Ritual tile the King moves. There are 8 possible Rituals of which 4 are chosen for each game. The Rituals range from filling up the King’s Sanctum with the Blood Mist, dealing damage to the zimbies, to draining mojo from the Shamans, and even sending cannibalistic madness to each Shaman, forcing them to eat their own zimbies! If the King is already on a Ritual tile, then the King moves back into the Blood Mist. After the King, it is each Shaman’s turn. Only during the next three events may a Shaman use such effects as cannibalize, extract mojo, use mojo, and use scrolls. On the Shaman’s turn they may, in any order, spawn new zimbies, move creatures, attack, or make zombies. I’ll explain movement, attacking, spawning, and columns in a moment. For now, those actions make up the Shaman’s turn. After they take the actions that they wish to take, it’s time for the active thugs to take their turns. Thugs are able to move or attack. Movement for them was briefly mentioned earlier. They will either move 1d6, if the King is alive and they are on the red Inner route, or they will move 2d6 if the King is dead, following the rules for movement toward the column that holds the Crown, or toward the Crown’s owner’s tribal board, as discussed before. Attacking, again, will be discussed in a bit. Once the thugs have completed their turn, any zombies on the board will shamble toward the closest living creature, as long as the zombie isn’t soothed (this will make more sense in the explanation below). Next, it’s on to the Wrap-Up Event. First, obstacles that can cause wounds will cause wounds. Then, all Shamans will discard down to 6 cards (player’s choice). Finally, players will determine who the start player for the following round will be. The first player will be the Shaman with the most active, non-chanting zimbies on their tribal board. Ties for this are broken by rolling a die. During the game, the first mover takes the Bag O’ Fate. They will be in charge of all draws from the Bag O’ Fate, will make all die rolls for the thugs and the King, and will take the first turn during the next Shaman’s Turn. Play then cycles from the Refresh step to the Wrap-Up step until someone gets the Cannibal Crown back to their Tribal Board.

Note:
If you happen to purchase Zimby Mojo directly from the publisher’s website, the game comes with an “Order of Events” card, to help you through each of the steps. This is also available for download from the files page on the Zimby Mojo page on BGG.

Movement:
The King’s movement is very specific. Either it moves to a random Ritual Tile, if it is already in the Blood Mist, or moves to the Blood Mist, if it is already on a Ritual Tile. Thug movement follows either the Inner or Outer Patrol routes, depending on if the King is alive or dead. If the thugs are patrolling the Outer routes, only one thug will patrol each quadrant. This is different in the solo game, however (as explained above). Thugs will only move in the direction of the foot icon printed on the board for their specific route. If a thug has been Expelled, which means it was killed and placed on a Barracks Tile, then the thug will return to a random portal, dismissing any creature already on that portal. If during their movement a thug encounters an opponent, it will initiate combat during its Attack phase, which happens after all thugs have moved. During movement, thugs can pass through other thugs, unless that thug is engaged in combat. In this situation, the thugs will join in the fight. After all thugs have moved, they will begin their attack phase. After combat is resolved, surviving thugs continue along their routes. Thugs that are killed are Expelled. Zimby movement depends on how many zimbies are in a column. A column of 1-2 Zimbies may move up to 4 tiles for each 1 mojo spent. A column of 3-4 may move 2 tiles per mojo, and a column of 5-6 Zimbies may move 1 tiles for each mojo. If the column has 7-8 Zimbies that column may only move 1 tile for every 2 mojo spent. Any column of 9 or more Zimbies may only move 1 tile for every 4 mojo spent.

zimby6

Columns:
Creatures may be stacked into columns. These columns are considered to be one creature, and may be one of two types of columns: Thugs or Zimbies. Thugs may only stack on other thugs, and zimbies on other zimbies. So, a zimby may never join with a thug, and vice versa. In a solo game, you are only one tribe, so your column will only be one color. When playing with 2 or more players, there may come a time where you want to join forces in order to take down the King, or eliminate some thugs, or even break a seal to the King’s Sanctum. In order to join zimbies into one, multicolored column, the player seeking to join the column must get permission to join from the Shamans that have zimbies in the existing column. During a Shaman’s turn these columns are controlled if the active Shaman has a zimby of their color in the column, or are considered uncontrolled if they do not. Columns have a limit of no more than 3 zimbies of the same color. If, for some reason, the number exceeds 3, then expel any zimbies over 3. Each column also has a Brutality level. When attacking, this is determined by the number of the column’s controller’s zimbies in the column, +1 for each other tribe represented in the column. When defending, the column’s Brutality level is determined by the number of the largest tribe represented in the column, +1 for each other tribe in the column. Although you can attack other tribes in Zimby Mojo, you cannot attack Allied columns. Columns are said to be Allied if they share a common tribe. However, Scroll cards can still legally target zimbies in allied columns.

Thug columns are formed only when they are returning the Cannibal Crown to the Blood Mist, or if they happen to land on top of each other as they are patrolling. They have no size limit, and have a Brutality level of 1, +2 per thug in the column. If the thug column is in combat, they will not separate until the combat is over, and if carrying the Crown, will only separate after returning the Crown to the Blood Mist, or loses the Crown. If the column is not involved in combat and does not have the Crown, then they will separate naturally during the patrol movement phase.

zimby7

Scroll Cards:
There are 3 types of Scroll Cards: Rituals, Incantations, and Witcheries. Rituals have a target or effect, which happens immediately, and then the card is discarded. Incantations target a Shaman, and have a lasting effect. When using an incantation, a Shaman must first pay its mojo cost, then place an active zimby face up on the incantation symbol on the card, which is placed next to a target Shaman. This chanting zimby is still considered to be part of the Tribal Board. Shamans may never have more than 8 Zimbies on their Tribal Board. Any excess zimbies are sent to the Far Shore (waiting area for zimbies). Witcheries are channeled through a Shama’s zimby on the main board or their Tribal Board. Although Witcheries can target an array of creatures and/or tiles on the board, they are restricted by 3 rules: The casting Shaman must designate an active zimby to the Witchery. The target of the Witchery must be on the main board, and no more than 3 tiles away from the channeling zimby. The channeling Zimby must also have line of sight through a straight line to its target, with no other creature, Darkness, or Blood Mist in the way. This line of sight may not turn or bend, or be diagonal.

Combat:
Creatures may only make valid attacks within their Combat Zone. Zimbies and thugs have a Combat Zone equal to their movement. The King’s Combat Zone includes all tiles that surround him. Zimbies can decide whether to attack another creature or not. Thugs, however, must attack if there is a creature in its Combat Zone. Zombies are also required to attack other living creatures within their Combat Zone. Only active creatures may initiate an attack on their controller’s turn, and only once per turn. When there is a multi-tribe column of zimbies, the active Shaman may make one attack with that creature. If that column of zimbies happens to leave combat, it may make another attack on its next controller’s turn. A creature is considered in Combat Lock once they, or their opponent, initiate combat. They are locked until they either die or have no opponent in their attack zone. Creatures stay on their tiles until the Combat Roll is resolved. The Combat Roll of the creature is equal to its Brutality, + any effects from Scroll Cards/Cannibalism, + 1d6. After any Scroll Cards are used to alter the attack roll, the Combat is resolved. If the attacker wins, they must move onto the tile where their opponent died. If the defender is the winner, they do not move from their tile. Wounds inflicted by damage are not accumulated. Therefore, in order to kill a creature, a single source must do enough damage equal or greater to the creature’s vitality to kill it on one turn. Zimbies have 1 vitality. Thugs have 2 vitality. Zombies have 3 vitality. But the toughest opponent is the King, with 4 vitality. When wounds are dealt to a multi-tribe creature, the Bag O’ Fate is used. First, set aside all items held by the zimbies in the column. Next, place all zimbies in the column into the Bag O’ Fate. The first mover then randomly pulls out one zimbie for each wound that was dealt to the column during the attack. These zimbies are killed, and placed on the Far Shore. After all the wounds are decided, the first mover will begin drawing one zimbie from the bag for each item that was set aside. These zimbies are now holding those items. Creatures will always defend an attack, even if they did not start the attack.

Spawning:
As a tribe’s population diminishes, a Shaman may decide to spawn new zimbies into the tribe on their turn. Zimbies are spawned from the Far Shore to the Shaman’s Tribal Board, at a cost of 3 mojo per zimby. There must be a zimby present at the Far Shore for the Shaman to spawn a new zimby. These fresh zimbies are placed on the Tribal Board face down, or depleted. A Shaman may only spawn up to 2 new zimbies per turn. However, Scroll effects may break this rule. Remember, a Tribal Board may never contain more than 8 zimbies, and this includes zimbies on Incantation cards, as well.

Cannibalism:
Yes. After all, this is a game of “Cannibalistic Mayhem”, isn’t it? Cannibalism may be used by Shamans or zimbies. This will provide a short-term gain. No more than twice per round, a Shaman may decide to eat an active zimby from their own Tribal Board. Each zimby eaten will give the Shaman either 2 mojo or the ability to draw a card from the Scroll deck. Zimbies consumed in this manner are sent…you guessed it…to the Far Shore. On your turn, if you decide to have a zimby participate in Cannabilism, they must follow a few rules. First, the zimbies must be in a single-tribe column. You can’t eat another tribe’s zimby. Zimbies in a single-tribe column may eat up to 2 tribesmen. For each one eaten, the Shaman can give the eater either +4 Brutality for its next Combat Roll, double range for its next Witchery channeled, or double effect for its next Witchery channeled. Combat effects to Brutality are additive, meaning each zimby eaten will add +4 (+8 for two zimbies). The doubling for Witchery effects are multiplicative, meaning the first zimby eaten doubles the effect (either towards range or effect of the Witchery) and the second zimby eaten will double the effect again (quadrupling the effect). Cannibalism must immediately precede the action that it is enhancing. No holding on to a zimby’s leg to help out at a later time!

Zombies:
“A Zombie is the shambling, unliving remnant of a Zimby – a brainless, animated meat puppet. They are very powerful, very slow, and very stupid.” One of my favorite lines in the rule book. They are strong, and they are stupid. They could potentially attack, and kill, members of their previous tribe, as well. These “meat puppets” are spawned at a limit of 1 per turn, and no more than 2 per Shaman, and can only be spawned by moving 2 active zimbies from their Tribal Board to the Far shore, then replacing a zimby that is active and alone on a tile on the main board with an active zombie token. This zimby is also sent to the Far Shore. Zombies can be controlled on their creator’s turn, with a movement of 2 tiles per mojo spent, and they have the same combat zone as zimbies. They are unable to pick up items, cannot be joined into any columns, and cannot be used to channel mojo or Witcheries. On the bright side, they cannot pass through blood thickets and will suffer wounds from the Blood Mist, Blood Vines, and Deadly Vines. On the other hand, zombies are unaffected by death curses and pass through the Patches O’ Darkness and Entangling Vines without any damage. During the Wrap-Up phase of the round, all zombies are considered uncontrolled, and all zombies that are not locked in combat will Shamble toward the closest living creature at a movement of 1d6. This is measured through the number of adjacent tiles between the zombie and the creature. If the zombie comes across a creature in its active combat zone it will stop and initiate combat. A zombie’s controller has the option of paying 1 mojo per zombie to prevent it from Shambling. Otherwise, an uncontrolled zombie cannot be affected.

The Cannibal Crown:
This is what you have been after from the start. Now, just get it back to your Tribal Board. But wait! There are a few things you should know about this powerful Crown. With the power comes the burden. If the King was killed in combat by a single-tribe column, it’s now yours. Run! However, if the killing blow came from a multi-tribe column, use the Bag O’ Fate to determine the Crown’s controller. If the King happened to fall due to the effects of a Witchery, then the Crown falls on the tile where the King died. Again…Run! As mentioned, there are powers that come with carrying the Cannibal Crown. The Crown will grant the carrier a 50% immunity to Witcheries and Obstacles. This immunity is determined with 1d6. On a roll of 3 or less (50%), the carrier will be unaffected by obstacles and Witcheries for that turn. Witcheries are still considered to be cast, but have no effect. However, if the Witchery targets the tile on which the Crown carrier is standing, the Crown does not stop those effects. The Crown also grants the ability to use the King’s Rituals, found in the King’s Sanctum. By moving onto a Ritual Tile in the Sanctum, the zimby carrying the Crown can channel 4 mojo to perform the Ritual. If the Ritual affects a random quadrant or portal, the controller may choose one, instead of it being random. Remember, with great power comes…great burden! The Carrier of the Crown will feel the weight of its power through the heavy movement burden. It will, however, decrease in heaviness after the first and second Refresh phases. During the turn in which the King met his death, the Carrier of the Crown moves as if there are +8 zimbies in the column. After the first Refresh, the Carrier will now move as if there are +4 zimbies in the column. After the second Refresh the Carrier will now move as if there are +2 zimbies in the column, for the remainder of the game. As an example from the rule book, if the carrier moves as though there are +4 zimbies in the column, and the column has 3 zimbies in it, it’s as if it is moving with a column of 7 zimbies! From here there are still the Shrines, Wards, and Obstacles, however, these are pretty simple to understand from the descriptions in the rule book. So much for just an appetizer! It may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. Once you set it up and start going through a full turn or two, it will all start coming together.

zimby8

Components
The components are great. The stickers on the wooden tokens, representing the different creatures, are simplistic, and well done. Each tribe had a distinct color, and 5 of the 8 tribes have a specific marking over the eyes, that adds just a little bit more in making the tribes different from each other. The wooden bits are of good, chunky quality. The cardboard tokens are also solid. I really like the way the board is set up, with the Inner and Outer Routes, and the easy to find foot prints for each route. The variety in the cards, the randomness of the Seals, and the use of 4 out of 8 possible Ritual tokens gives this game great replay value. I do wish more of the art found throughout the rulebook was used more in the game. The faces on the wooden tokens are fantastic, and the backdrop to the main board is well done, however it would have been nice to see some of the drawings found in the rule book on some of the cards, perhaps. The box cover, done by Naomi Robinson, and the sketches, done by Tani Pettit, are amazing!
Rating: 8/10

Rulebook
There is a lot in this rule book. There has to be, though. This game, although simple at it’s core, has a lot to figure out as you play. The stack, the columns, the Brutality and Vitality levels, the randomness to the quadrants, the movement of the thugs, and the multi-zimby creatures, and the zombies… The rule book gives you everything you need to know, and everything you’ll need to refer to in order to get your answers. What I found odd is the game setup is on page 13. The rule book goes through turn order, the different Events and phases, combat, movement, killing the King, the Burden of the Crown, and a bunch of other things before it even gets you to unfold the board and place it on the table. And honestly, it helped out tremendously! Although I can’t remember a rule book that did the same thing, I felt I knew more about the game after reading through the specifics of the game before I dealt out player pieces, or constructed the Scroll Library. I’m not sure this would work with all games, but with the different layers of Zimby Mojo to learn, I think this was a very smart idea. It also gives you a sample round as a reference, with illustrations to help you understand movement and such.
Rating: 8/10

Gameplay
The player count helps change the dynamic of this game quite a bit. I played it as a solo game a few times, in order to understand the game before I introduced it to my friends. The solo game is good, but doesn’t compare to a multi-player game. The decisions on joining, betraying, and standing to fight changes dramatically with the increasing player count. I haven’t been lucky enough to play it as a 6+, but would jump at the chance, as I am curious to the chaos that would happen when 8 tribes are trying to get one crown back to their tribe. It’s fun and challenging as a solo, with a strict limit of rounds to accomplish your goal, but the multiplayer game is where it’s at. If you’re not a fan of too much randomness, I would go into this game knowing that there is a ton of randomness: Randomness for the quadrants, the portals, the Rituals, the Seals, the 3 types of Scrolls that you may or may not draw from the deck, the randomness in the movement by dice rolling…you get the idea. However, I didn’t mind it at all. Of course, every time I needed a thug to move 4 or less tiles, the die result would almost always be a 5 or 6. I felt it added to the game, instead of taking anything away from it. We are talking about cannibalistic tribes!
Rating: 9/10

Overall
Zimby Mojo is a fun, chaotic game of Zombies and Zimbies…and Cannibalism! It’s a bit strategy, with a lot of luck, good for 1-8 players. It received mixed reviews from those that I had the chance of playing it with, mostly iffy from those who didn’t like the randomness and wanted a little bit more control over certain things in the game. Although, those that liked it, including myself, really liked it. We enjoyed the chaos. We enjoyed figuring out how many, or when, to stack the columns, when to back-stab a helping tribesman, and when to get in and kill the King. Overall, if you like luck and randomness in games, I would suggest getting this one to the table!
Rating: 9/10

To find out more about Zimby Mojo, visit: http://deviousweasel.com/
Copyright 2016 by Devious Weasel Games

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go7Gaming Millennium Blades Storage Solution Product Review

139

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a product from Go7Gaming. That product was the Millennium Blades Storage Solution. I received it in a flat rate shipping package. Inside I found a bundle of wooden sheets wrapped together in a large ziplock bag with some full color instructions explaining how to put everything together. After removing the sheets from the packaging and reading through the instructions, it was ready to assemble.

Now then, let me explain exactly what this product is and what it does. First off, this is an insert for the game Millennium Blades. Once it’s assembled, the insert will make it possible to keep all the many parts and pieces of the Millennium Blades game organized as well as all the different types of cards. There will even be room for expansions and promos, as you’ll be able to see in just a little bit. The insert looks amazing and really fits well inside the box. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s get right to it. Let’s take a look at everything you get and the basic assembly of the insert. We’ll start off with separating out all the different wooden sheets. As you can tell, there are quite a few of them. Each piece is cut so that you can easily punch them out from the main sheet that they’re attached to.

So from the first thing that you’re gonna want to do is get some glue. No joke, get some. You’ll need it. The first insert that I tried putting together without glue didn’t go so well. It became quickly apparent at that time that glue is a necessity. In this review I’m not going to lay it out there when to glue a piece. Just understand that if you’re putting 2 pieces together, you’re gonna want to glue them both. Simple rule of thumb. Got it? Good. Moving on. So the first thing that you’ll want to do is build the small card storage stray. The instructions will show you what pieces that you’ll need and which sheet they’re located on. Once you’ve got the right ones, simply put the 2 long sides and 2 short sides together with the base. Oh and make sure that you put the slots running in the same direction. I almost messed this up when I was doing it. When you’re finished, it’ll look like this.

140

Set it aside and let’s move to the cash caddy/storage tray. This part will hold all of your monopoly looking money that the game comes with. So first you’re gonna need the base plate. Make sure that you have the side with the 1, 5 and 10 logos on it face up. Check the instructions for the proper pieces that you need and then start by putting the 2 center sections in. You’ll then place the back wall on, followed by the 2 sides. When you’re finished, you’ll have something that looks like this.

141

Set this part aside and move on to the shallow storage tray. This tray holds the scorepad and the oversized location cards. Once again, you’ll need to start off with the base plate. Make sure that the side with the writing on it is face up. Make sure that you have the correct wall pieces and then attach them around the base. When you’re finished, it’ll look like this.

142

147

Set it aside and we’ll move on to the shallow token storage tray. This tray holds the skill markers and wooden cubes. Once more you’ll need the correct base plate. Place it with the writing side face up. You’ll then need to attach the middle divider piece. From there you’ll attach the end walls followed by the two longer side walls. The tabs will actually insert into the end pieces. You also need to make sure that the 4 small notches on the underside of the tray have no glue present as you’ll be stacking this tray with one of the other trays inside the box. When you’re done, you’ll have something that looks like this.

143

148

Set aside the tray and let’s move to the next tray to assemble, the deep token storage tray. This tray holds the star rating tokens. One more time, you’ll need the correct base plate. Place it with the star side face up. You’ll attache one of the long side walls, followed by the two end pieces. Finally you’ll connect the other long side wall. Once more, make sure that there is no glue present in the 4 small notches on the underside of the tray. This one will be connected with the skill marker tray. When you’re finished, it should look like this.

144

149

Set aside the tray and we now move to the final two trays, the 2 large card storage trays. Like with the small card storage tray, make sure that as you’re assembling these that the slots are going in the same direction. You’ll need a base for each of the 2 trays. Starting with the long side wall, attach the two end pieces. From there you’ll attach the other long side wall. Like I said, check the slots are in the right direction. You’ll then repeat these steps a second time to make the other tray. Once you’re done, you should have 2 trays that look like this.

145

Now then, let all the trays dry overnight and clean up any excess glue or spillage. You do not want anything sticking to your components or cards. Once everything is dry, you can start placing all your stuff inside the trays and into the box. Start by placing one of the large card storage trays inside, followed by the tray for the money along with the small card storage tray. You can then place the other large card storage tray on the other side. The thinner storage tray for the wooden cubes should be stacked on top of the tray for the star rating tokens. This assembly will then slide between the small card storage tray and the money tray with the small tray facing the small card tray. It just fits better that way. Oh by the way, make sure that you place the lid on the top of the wooden cube tray, or else everything will dump out in the box making a mess. That’s what that lid with the Millennium Blades logo on it is for. Finally you’ll add the tray for the locations and score pad on the top of the money tray. You can access the money by pulling the tray out using the conveniently provided hole. The final thing to do is add all the mats, boards and rules on the top and put the box lid on. You’re done! Here’s what the finished product should end up looking like.

146

150

151

MATERIALS
In this section I normally describe all the different pieces of the game. Instead, I will describe the packaging and item itself. As I mentioned earlier, everything came in a flat rate shipping package. I’m pleased with how it arrived. Everything was packaged really well with nothing out of place. The cut out pieces were easy to remove. I had no problems taking the pieces free from each sheet of wood. It was really easy to figure out which piece went with which tray as the instruction sheet was really good at showing you where each piece went. Of course you do need to provide your own glue to put it together, maybe even a bit of tape to hold it all together while it dries. In any event, everything went together pretty easily. The glue however is pretty much a necessity otherwise everything falls apart. I highly recommend using glue. Overall the basic materials are excellent. I especially like the imprinted designs on the different tray bases. Grade A.
9 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
In this section I normally cover the rulebook of the game. Instead I’ll go over the instructions. Included with the materials were 2 pages of instructions in full color. Very nicely done! Everything was written out in a step by step process with pictures included. Everything was laid out really well. I was very happy with the overall lay out and design of the instructions. The different sheets were shown with reference letters for the pieces and then the instructions referenced the letters for ease of assembly. Overall it was pretty easy to figure out what was what. Thanks to the easy instructions, it didn’t take long to put everything together. I’m really pleased and appreciate having instructions that were this good.
9 out of 10

CONSTRUCTION
In this section I normally give my thoughts on how the game is played. Instead I’ll explain the process of assembling the organizer. Pretty much the assembly process was a piece of cake. Everything went together extremely easily. With most inserts and organizers the bases and side pieces fit together really tightly and a lot of the time you have to do some struggling with them to get everything together. That’s not the case with this organizer. The pieces fit together rather loosely and if you just try to put the trays together without glue, they’ll fall apart. This is why I highly recommend using glue. Once you get everything assembled, you’ll find that there’s plenty of room for expansions and promos. At this moment all I have is the base game from retail so all the parts and cards fit inside very easily. I really like the removable trays as they work out really well for just pulling out and putting on the table. No need to sort stuff out or anything. The organizer doesn’t add much weight to the box thankfully as the game itself is large and heavy already. I really like that the lid fit on with no significant bulges or anything. It does seem like when you place the mats and boards in that they’re really close to the top of the box which makes me worry that they might get bent but so far there’s been no issues. Hopefully everything will stay that way. The quality of the wood that the insert is made from is awesome. It’s a little bit thicker than most of the other inserts that I’ve assembled and it appears to be a lot more sturdy as well. There were more card dividers included in the package than I’ll most likely ever need as you can tell from the pictures. However, I’d rather have too many than not enough. I’m sure I’ll find a way to use them eventually. In any event, I’m really pleased with the overall look and functionality of everything. I love the imprinted designs and ease of assembly. It definitely looks and works better than the original cardboard insert. Everything fits great together and looks even better. Overall this is a really great product that Millennium Blade owners most definitely need, whether they know it or not. Excellent!
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The Go7Gaming Millennium Blades Storage Solution is a piece of sheer craftsmanship. It fits everything you have or will think about purchasing for the Millennium Blades game extremely well. The assembly process was very smooth and easy. Everything went together really well and it all fit the inside the box without any problems. There’s a ton of extra room and card dividers to keep everything organized and in it’s place. I’m pretty sure that this organizer has plenty of room for everything included with the base game as well as the promos and expansion coming out soon too. The instructions were super easy to read and understand. I was able to knock this little project out fairly quickly. Of course you have to let the glue dry but that’s no biggie. Overall the product is really well built and designed. I would highly recommend get yourself one. I’ve said this before and I mean it. If Go7Gaming has an insert for a game that you own, it’s worth your time and money to buy it. You will NOT be disappointed with your purchase. You won’t find better people or products than those at Go7Gaming. Guaranteed. I’m super happy with the product and the experience dealing with the team at Go7Gaming. Grade A!
9 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://go7gaming.com/

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tanto Cuore: Oktoberfest Review

tantook1

Tanto Cuore: Oktoberfest is a game by Masayuki Kudoh, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this sequel to Tanto Cuore, players move from the mansion to the Beer Fest. It can be played either by itself or combined with the original Tanto Cuore or any of the other expansions. This sequel adds new cards and new card types.

For more information on the original Tanto Cuore and how to play it, please follow the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/tanto-cuore-review/

It should be noted that in this game the Private Maid cards have been removed. In their place are buildings and beer cards.

To begin, the maid chiefs, “Anja” and “Matilde” should be removed from the deck and placed in separate piles in the Town (space in the middle of the table where all the cards are located). The 3 types of love cards should be placed in separate piles in the Town. 10 of the 18 general maids are chosen, either randomly or by choice and placed in separate piles in the Town. It’s suggested for the first game to use the recommended selection of maid cards. The remaining maids are returned to the box. The Oktoberfest card should be removed from the beer cards which are then shuffled and placed face down beside the “Matilde” pile. The Oktoberfest card is now placed beside the Beer pile face up. The three types of event cards should be sorted out and placed in separate piles in the Town. Each player is then given 7 of the “1 Love” cards and 3 “Matilde” cards. The player shuffles these cards together to form their deck. They will then draw the top 5 cards into their hand. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

tantook3

Just like the original game, this one follows the same 4 phases of a player’s turn. For more information on the step by step process of a player’s turn, please check out the link above. Now then, there are a few changes and additions which I’ll cover here. First off there are beer cards. These cards are gained through the use of a bar maid or beer stand. They can also be gained from an opponent playing a “Get Drunk” or “Let Me Drink” card. When a bar maid is played the player pays the requirement and can then gain a beer card. When a beer stand is gained, all player may gain a beer card during their employ phase if they’re willing to pay the cost. When gaining a beer card, the player is able to choose to take either the card from the top of the beer pile or one of the face up beer cards beside the beer pile. Once a beer card is gained, it is read aloud and then placed face down into the player’s private quarters. If the card has an effect it, this will now take place. The player shows their opponents the card and then resolves the effect. If the face up card is taken, the player must replace it by flipping over the top card of the beer pile face up. If a “Beer Stand” or “Get Drunk” is revealed, the effect must be immediately resolved and the player must then refill one more beer card. Another aspect of beer cards is the alcohol value. If a “Get Drunk” card is revealed or the “Ute Krombach” maid card is played, the player may have to count up their alcohol value. To do this, the player adds up the alcohol value of each card in their private quarters. Once this is finished, the beer cards are returned to the player’s private quarters face down.

Also included in this game are events and building cards. Event cards are treated the same way as they were in the original game. Once bought, these cards can go to any player’s private quarters as decided by the player. Certain event cards are placed onto a maid or a building card directly. They will remain there till another effect would remove it, then it’s returned to the Town. Building cards are placed in a player’s private quarters once they’re bought. They’ll stay there until another card effect removes it.

Like with the original, the game continues until two of the maid piles in Town have run out. However, the game can also end if the beer pile runs out. The game then ends once the current player finishes their turn. Scoring is pretty much the same with one exception, beer cards must have their victory points added in with the other cards to get the player’s total score. In the end, the player with the most points is declared the winner and crowned the “Perfect Master”.

tantook2

COMPONENTS
Like the original Tanto Cuore, this game only comes with a large set of cards. The cards are really nice looking and have some great looking artwork. The anime and manga style art is very prevalent on each card. Like in the original title, there are a few cards where the artwork is a little bit much, but not anything that teens or adults should really have a problem with. As for the younger players, this might not be the best for them. Of course, everything is up to the player’s discretion. Just be aware of it either way. Fans of anime and manga should really enjoy the art designs. The iconography is fairly easy to understand and shouldn’t be a problem to learn for new players. Those players that already have some experience with any of the other Tanto Cuore games should find this just as easy. Overall, I like the designs and artwork. Everything looks really good.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
Much like the original Tanto Cuore, the rulebook for this game is also in black and white. However the design is a little better. The original was larger and had to be folded to fit into the game box. This version is designed like the rulebooks for games like Random Encounter. The pages are actually the width of the box instead of being twice that size. That’s a definite improvement. This makes the book a little thicker but I’d rather have a thicker book than one with a crease or fold running through the middle of each page. There are plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book, but of course the pictures are only black and white. All of the terminology used in the game is explained so that the original intent is very clear. Each of the different card types are explained in great detail as are the different phases of game play. There are also some optional rules for playing with 2 players as well as for combining this game with any or all of the other Tanto Cuore games. The book also contains a visual reference of each card included with the game and explanations of how each one works in detail. I find this to be a great reference, especially if you’re just learning the game and need to figure out a particular card’s icons or for rules clarification. Overall, the book is well designed and looks really nice. However I really wish there had been some color pictures instead of the black and white. Still it’s not too bad.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
As I’ve stated numerous times, I like deck builders. This one is no different. I like it. It does tend to have that same Dominion feel to it that is prevalent in the original Tanto Cuore. If you’re familiar with that game then you’ll not have a lot of problems with this one either. This one does leave out the Private Maids that were included with the original game. That means that if you want to play with them, you’ll have to have one of the other games to add with this one. What it does new is the beer deck. I’m not a drinker but I kind of like what this brings to the table. It’s a pretty cool addition and it’s quite fun, in a silly kind of way. I do wish that there were more maid cards that add beer cards seeing as there are only 2 that do this. I’d have thought that with this being the main addition that you’d at least see a hand full of maid cards that used the mechanic. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Thematically it’s fun and gets the feel just right. Fans of anime and manga style artwork should love this game. Deck building fans will enjoy the Dominion like mechanics. I really like the blend of styles and the overall look and feel of the game. While I wish there was a bit more to it, this one still does a pretty good job of changing up the flavor of the original game. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the game.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Tanto Cuore: Oktoberfest is an self contained expansion to the original Tanto Cuore game. It is an anime and manga style game that doesn’t take a very long time to play. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes or so. The cards are designed really nice and the artwork is really fun. I really like the manga and anime style so these cards look great. I will say that a few cards are a bit over the top but nothing so bad that should bother anyone except for possibly younger players. The game isn’t difficult to understand or to play. Any players that are familiar with Dominion should have no problems here. I really like the additions to the game with the beer deck and beer maids, however I wish there’d been a few more beer maids. Something else to be aware of is the lack of private maids in this expansion. If you want to be able to play with them, you’ll need to add them from a different expansion or the main game. It would have been nice to have them included, but not a necessity. Fans of anime and manga should enjoy the game as well as Dominion or other deck building fans. I highly recommend this game, especially if you have any of the previous games. It’s a really fun deck builder that works well by itself but is even better when added with the main game. Overall it’s a really solid expansion.
8 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game Review

bxb_box_whitebackground

Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game is a game by Rocket Lee and Tim Simons, published by Out of Order Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be joining a popular rebellion that is struggling to liberate an ever changing city. Players will control a faction of revolutionaries as they fight against the State. They will be working together either fully or semi-cooperatively to take back their city before the military arrives to shut it all down. In the end, winning is determined by the type of game played.

Before I begin, this review will mainly focus on the beginner game for 4 players. For more information on the various types of gameplay and more advanced rules, check the rule book or website.

To begin, the beginning city is built by shuffling the manifestation cards and placing them one by one face down into a 5 x 5 grid. The beginning district tiles are placed on top of these with the “Liberated” side face down as per the set up instructions in the rule book. The remaining unused manifestation cards and district tiles are returned to the box. The countdown panel is placed next to the city with the countdown marker placed on the 6 nights left space. The loot cards are shuffled and placed face down next to the countdown panel. The loot tokens and barricades are placed in separate piles within reach of all players. The action dice and reaction die are placed near the city. A riot van is placed in the Stadium district along with 3 riot cops. A riot van and 3 riot cops are also placed on each State district with a white circle on them. The police morale panel is placed next to the city along with any remaining riot vans and riot cops. These are placed in the staging area of the police morale panel. The police morale marker is placed under Timid on the morale track. 2 Paramilitary Operations cards are removed from the police ops cards which are then shuffled and placed face down next to the police morale board. The 2 removed cards are returned to the box. Players are randomly assigned a faction and receive the matching faction mat as well as 5 occupations and 10 blocs that correspond with their mat. Players are also given a cheat sheet and are dealt 2 loot cards face down. Players will be playing fully cooperative in a beginning game so no agenda cards will be needed. These can be returned to the box. Players now choose one of their own districts as their starting location. They will then place their start occupation in their chosen district’s occupation circle. One of their blocs is then placed next to their start occupation. The first player is chosen and they receive the first faction marker. Play now begins.

bxb_lootcards_layout_white

In the beginning game, the game is made up of 6 rounds. Each round consists of 1 night which is divided into 2 phases; the sunset phase and the sunrise phase. The first phase is the sunset phase. In this phase each faction will take a turn. This turn is made up of 3 steps; roll action dice, faction actions and police ops. The first step is to roll action dice. The player first places a bloc from their faction mat onto their start occupation. They will then roll a number of dice from 3-5 depending on the number of blocs they now have in the city. The dice rolled are then able to be used in the next step to take actions with. Each die rolled is an action.

The next step is the faction actions. In this step the player can take actions using the previously rolled dice, however they are only allowed to take actions in districts where they have blocs located. It’s possible for the player to take the same action multiple times. Actions are also allowed to be taken in any order. There are 3 types of actions; basic, advanced and attack actions. Basic and advanced actions may not be taken with blocs that are in a clash, while attack actions may only be taken by blocs in a clash. A clash is when a bloc is in the same district with a riot van or riot cops. The first type of actions are basic actions. These are movement and barricade. Movement allows the player to use an action die of any value to move a single bloc or several blocs that are in the same district to another district. There are a few regulations blocking movement including not being able to move through a district that contains police. For more information on these rules, check the rulebook. The other basic action is to barricade. This is done by using a die of any value as well. The player chooses a district where they have 2 or more blocs located that are not in a clash. They then may place a barricade between the district and any adjacent district. Let’s move on to advanced actions.

There are 3 types of advanced actions; loot, build occupation and swap occupation. It should be noted that during the player’s turn, they are allowed to gift or trade loot cards with any other faction that has blocs in the same district as their blocs. This is a free action that does not require a die. Advanced actions require an action die that is equal to or greater than the difficulty of the district that the action is being taken in. A reaction roll is then taken after each advanced action. A reaction roll is done by rolling the reaction die. This shows if the police respond. The higher the roll the better for the player. For more information on reaction rolls, check the rule book. The first advanced action is loot. To loot, the player chooses a district that has a shopping center along with 1 or more of their own blocs that are not in a clash. The player then draws a loot card, places the loot token and makes a reaction roll. Shopping centers may be looted twice before they are burnt and unable to be used again. The next advanced action is build occupation. To do this, the player chooses a district that has an occupation circle and one or more of their blocs that are not in a clash. The player then chooses an occupation from their faction mat and places it in that district’s occupation circle and then makes a reaction roll. This gives the player an ongoing ability that can be used each turn. The last advanced action is swap occupation. To do this, the player chooses one of their faction districts, a public district or a state district that has an occupation built in it and also contains one or more of the player’s blocs in it that are not in a clash. The player then removes the current occupation in the district and replaces it with one of their choice from their player mat. A reaction roll is then performed. The removed occupation is returned to it’s owner’s faction mat. It should be noted that a faction that has the most blocs in a district may stop other factions from taking advanced actions in that district. Let’s move on to attack actions.

There are 3 types of attack actions; defeat a riot cop, kick out 2 riot cops and attack a riot van. Attack actions, like advanced actions, require the player to use an action die equal to or greater than the difficulty of the district that the action is being taken in. A reaction roll is then made. It should be noted that only 1 reaction roll has to be made after all consecutive attack actions in the same clash. Also, each bloc can only attack one time each night. To defeat 1 riot cop, the player uses an attack action to defeat 1 riot cop and send it back to the staging area. To kick out 2 riot cops, the player uses an attack action to kick out 2 riot cops, moving them into an adjacent district. If they are kicked out through a barricade, the barricade is dismantled. To attack a riot van, the player uses an attack action to damage the riot van. This is shown by turning it on it’s side. The second attack on a riot van flips it upside down and the third attack destroys it, returning it to the game box.

The third step of the sunset phase is the police ops. This step is taken after each player has taken their turn. To start off, the player must draw a number of cards based on where the police morale marker is at on the police morale track. This can be from 1 to 3 cards. Each card is read aloud one at a time and resolved. In many cases, these cards will move riot cops and riot vans into adjacent areas. For more information on riot cop movement, check the rule book. It should be noted though that barricades can stop riot cops from moving. 1 barricade will stop 1 riot cop. 2 barricades will stop half of the riot cops rounded down. 3 barricades will stop all riot cops. Once this step has been completed, play moves into the sunrise phase.

The sunrise phase begins once all factions have taken their turns. This phase is made up of 3 steps; police repression, district liberation and next night?. The first step is police repression. This step follows 3 steps in order. First off any riot vans that were damaged are repaired and reset to their upright position. Next riot vans go on the offensive and attack. They defeat all blocs and evict occupations built in their current district. Blocs and occupations are returned to the player’s faction mat. Finally riot cops attack, performing one attack for each bloc. They start off by attacking blocs first and then occupations. When a bloc is attacked, it’s returned to the player’s faction mat defeated. If there are no blocs in the district, the riot cop will evict an occupation if it’s present, sending it back to the player’s faction mat. Once this has been completed, district liberation begins.

The second step of the sunrise phase is district liberation. It should be noted that there are several advantages to liberating a district. It reduces the district difficult by 1, It gives the occupation in the district it’s liberated ability, It allows the factions to draw the manifestation card beneath it and it reduces police morale. For more information on each faction’s occupation abilities, check the rule book. Liberation happens if 2 conditions are met. First, the district must have an occupation built in it. Second, the combined total number of blocs from all factions in that district must be equal to or greater than double the district’s difficulty number. If both these are present, the district is liberated. From there 4 steps are followed. First all loot tokens are removed and placed back in the pile. Blocs and occupations are set aside, not returned to the player’s faction mat. Next the manifestation card is drawn from beneath the district tile without changing the orientation of the tile. Third, the district tile is flipped over in the direction shown on the tile onto it’s “Liberated” side. The blocs and occupation are now returned to the tile. Finally the manifestation card is read aloud and resolved before returning the card to the game box.

The final step of the sunrise phase is the next night? step. In this step, the players check to see if any endgame conditions have been met. If so, the game ends immediately. If not, the first faction marker is passed to the next player in turn order. The countdown marker is then moved forward and the next night begins. If no nights remain to move the marker on to, the game ends and the time runs out.

The game can end in several different ways. In the beginning game, there are only two endings, success and failure. For the players to succeed in their insurrection, all state districts must have occupations built in them. If this happens, the players win. The players fail if any faction has no more blocs in the city or if the state districts have not been occupied before time runs out. In either case, the players lose.

bxb_photo_setup_small

COMPONENTS
There’s absolutely a lot to like about the components in this game. First off there’s a ton of cardboard and wooden goodies packed inside the box. There are faction mats, a countdown panel and a police morale panel. These look absolutely great. I especially like the designs for the coundown and police morale panels. There are double sided district tiles, double sided loot tokens and a first faction marker. These are really durable. The loot tokens are especially cool looking with fire on one side and some grafitti on the other. I also really like how great the district tiles look and how cohesive they look when they’re all put together on the table, kind of like a city planning map or something. Next you’ve got wooden pieces for the riot vans, riot cops, barridaces, police morale marker, countdown marker and faction blocs. These are really sturdy and are brightly colored, especially the faction blocs. There’s also black action dice and a white reaction die. These are pretty much your normal average dice. Nothing spectacular but still good quality. Finally you have all the different cards. There are loot cards, police ops cards, agenda cards and manifestation cards. The artwork is great on these and looks awesome. I really love the way the game looks and feels. I love the design and theme. I’m thrilled with the game especially for one that didn’t come from one of the major publishers. You absolutely can not go wrong with the components in this one.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is great as well. It’s got a really nice glossy finish to it that makes it pretty durable. The book is in full color, which I LOVE! There are rules for all player counts as well as for fully cooperative and semi-cooperatively. There are even rules for the beginner game which were covered in this review. There are tons of great pictures and examples throughout the book. I especially like the full page setup picture. This helps you get everything like it needs to be. There’s a really nice quick start section that runs you quickly through how to play. Also included in the rules are a guide for the districts, street, highways and metros as well as a random city generator for keeping the game fresh. Each step and phase of the game is laid out in great detail with tons of information and pictures. There’s a nice section dedicated to each faction’s occupation abilities which is a great addition. Finally the last 2 pages of the book go over the 10 scenario mini expansion that’s included with the game. Oh that’s right, I didn’t mention that earlier did I. Yea, the game has a mini expansion inside. Congratulations! You’re welcome! I’ve not had an opportunity to fully check all this out yet, just know…it looks cool. These ramp up the difficulty from intermediate to expert levels. Each scenario has rules and special setup instructions for how to play each one. If that wasn’t enough, the game comes with several cheatsheets that will help you play the game. These are really helpful and I’m glad they were included. Finally while we’re discussing books, there’s also a special little magazine included in the box. This gives some insights into the history of the game and where it drew it’s influences from. Look, I can’t find anything to complain about here. Overall, it’s a great looking rule book full of great information as well as some nice printed materials. I’m happy with the end results.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The game is great. I really enjoy it. What else is there to say, that I haven’t already said before. Yes, the game is large. It takes up a ton of room on your table. You definitely want to be prepared for it. No little card table is gonna cut it here. I really like that the designers kept the original semi-cooperative aspect of the game but then added in a fully cooperative game style as well. You’ll explore all the different ways to play if you go through the different scenarios in the mini expansion. Not just that but there are ways to make the game easier as well as more difficult. Those rules are included in the rulebook and add a lot of replayability to the game. Not like the game wasn’t highly replayable anyway with the mini expansion and the variability in the way the board is set up. Yes it’s true that the agenda cards give a great sense of the traitor aspect that’s common in games like Dead of Winter. I really like how that works and the tension that you feel when playing semi-cooperative like that. Another thing that I’ve noted before was the length of the game. It’s definitely on the long side. You’re not gonna be able to just sit down and burn through a game in an hour. You need to be able to at least commit 2+ hours to this one. I realize that this will probably turn away some players. If I hadn’t already played this one before, it probably would have deterred me. However, don’t let it scare you. If you’ve played Eldritch Horror or something of that sort, it will emerse you into the game in the same way. Just be aware that the game is long but is completely worth the time spent. I really feel that war gamers will enjoy this one as well as fans of the traitor mechanic in games like Dead of Winter. The game is really unique and one that I feel will appeal to a wide range of players. I highly recommend that you give this one a try. It’s a truly amazing game that I enjoy a lot.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game is a rebellious game of area control that can be played cooperatively as well as semi-cooperatively. The game is quite lengthy with most game sessions lasting in excess of 2 hours. Some games will go as long as 3. I really like the look and feel of the game. The prototype was improved on quite a bit and everything turned out really amazing looking. I’m especially happy with the rule book and the included mini expansion. The game is a bit of a table hog so players with smaller tables beware. I really like the many different game play styles that were added to the final product to make a game that was already highly replayable, even better. War gamers as well as cooperative game fans should really enjoy this one. I also feel that fans of the traitor mechanic will like this one as well. This is a game that I highly recommend. Having been able to play the original prototype, I can say that this one outdid itself. The game is even better than before. It’s one that you will definitely be happy to have in your collection. Overall it’s a game that I enjoy and look forward to bringing out to the table as often as possible.
9 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

For more information about this great game, please check out Out of Order Games at their site.

http://outofordergames.com/

 

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tanto Cuore Review

tanto1

Tanto Cuore is a game by Masayuki Kudoh, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of “masters of the house”. They will be trying to fill their house with maids of many types. These maids will also be serving them to give the players lots of different abilities. Players will have to be careful though as their maids can become sick or even worse, learn some bad habits. In the end the player that can collect the best maids and become the perfect master will be declared the winner.

To begin, the maid chiefs, “Marianne” and “Colette” should be removed from the deck and placed in separate piles in the middle of the play area. The “Illness” and “Bad Habit” event cards should also be removed and placed in separate piles on the table. The “1 Love”, “2 Love” and “3 Love” cards should be placed in separate piles in the center of the play area as well. The 10 private maids should be shuffled together and placed in a single pile face down in the middle of the play area. The top 2 cards are then drawn and placed beside the stack. Finally, 10 of the 16 different general maids are chosen, either by choice or randomly. It is suggested for new players to use a prechosen selection of maids. The chosen maids are placed in 10 separate stacks in 2 rows containing the same card. Any unused cards are returned to the box, not to be used during the game. Each player is now given 7 of the “1 Love” cards and 3 “Colette” cards. The player shuffles them together and draws the top 5 cards into their hand. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

Before going into the actual review, I should note that this game refers to many things a bit different than most deck builders. I will try to be as general with my terms and will not be using the terminology that the game uses. Instead I will mention those terms here. The cards that are placed in the middle of the table is referred to as the Town. The place where a player plays all their cards in front of them is known as the player’s House. The player’s draw pile is known as the Waiting Room. Their discard pile is the Kitchen Entrance. The place where players set aside cards to be scored is known as the player’s Private Quarters.

tanto2

The game is played over several rounds with each player taking a turn. A player’s turn consists of 4 phases; starting phase, serving phase, employ phase and dismiss phase. The first phase is the starting phase. In this phase certain private maids and event cards activate. The timing for these effects are noted in the cards text. Illness cards will prevent a maid’s effect from activating. However during this phase, the player is allowed to remove the illness card from a maid if they return a “3 Love” card from their hand to the stack. The maid is then allowed to activate her effect.

The next phase is the serving phase. In this phase the player will play maid cards to gain their effects. Each player may only be served by 1 maid unless they play other maids that allow them to gain more servings. Once a maid card is played the player receives any bonuses from the symbols on the card first. This includes drawing more cards, servings which allow more maid cards to be played, employments allow more cards to be bought during the employ phase, and love gives more love to be used to buy cards during the employment phase. Next any text on the maid card is resolved. It should be noted that some maids may become chambermaids instead of serving the player. This is done by placing the card aside into the player’s private quarters. This may only be done with maid cards that have the title chambermaid or chambermaid chief. Their bonus and effects will not activate. This usually costs 2 servings to be done. Cards in the player’s private quarters are not discarded at the end of the player’s turn. This phase ends whenever the players wants it to end or when they have no more servings left to play maids with.

The third phase is the employ phase. In this phase the player will play love cards from their hand adding the love generated by the card(s) to the love that may have been created from the bonus symbols of maid cards played during the previous phase. This love is then used to employ or buy new cards from the town. The player is allowed only 1 employment during this phase unless maid cards in the previous turn allowed the player to have more during this phase. The player is then allowed to place the new card into their discard pile. Any general maids or love cards, once used, are sent to the player’s discard pile. If a player chooses to employ/purchase a private maid, these cards are placed into the player’s private quarters. This will allow the private maid once a turn to generate her effect. Some private maids are sent to another player’s private quarters. These usually generate negative effects. These private maids can not be discarded or removed, unless a new private maid is employed. When this happens the new private maid is placed on top of the old one, cancelling out her effects. A player is only allowed to have 1 private maid at a time. It should also be noted that events can also be bought and placed into another player’s private quarters, onto a private maid or chambermaid. These can also be put on the player’s own private quarters. These events are always give negative effects. This phase ends whenever the player runs out of employment or love, or whenever they choose to end it.

The final phase is the dismiss phase. In this phase the player will discard any cards that were played by the player as well as any still remaining in their hand into the discard pile. The player then draws 5 new cards from their deck. Any love, servings or employments that were not used are lost and are not carried over to the player’s next turn. Play now passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until two of the maid piles in the town have run out. The game ends once the current player finishes their turn. Players then count up the victory points on all of their cards, including the ones in their private quarters. Maids that have an illness on them do not add their victory points to the player’s total. Bad habits subtract from the player’s victory point total. Once the players have all totaled their victory points, the one with the most points is declared the winner and crowned King of Maids.

tanto3

COMPONENTS
The only components that come with this game is a huge deck of cards. The cards are really great quality and the artwork is really pretty. Fans of anime and manga will absolutely love the look and feel of the cards. There are a few that are a bit over the top with the provocative nature, but nothing that teens or adults haven’t seen before in comics. It might be a bit much for the younger audience but that’s really up to the player’s discretion. Just something to be aware of either way. The iconography is pretty easy to understand after a single play through and shouldn’t be a problem at all. Overall I like the artistic design and the look of the cards. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is black and white, with no color anywhere to be found. There are plenty of great pictures throughout the book, however the lack of color leaves you filling a bit on the bland side. There are a lot of great examples throughout the book including a really nice example of play. The terminology used in the game is explained really well so that you can understand the original intent of the game. Each card type is thoroughly explained as are the different phases of play. The book also details out each particular card in detail. This is a great reference for any players that don’t quite understand the wording or iconography of a card. Overall the book is designed quite well. I simply wish there were a bit of color added in there as the book looks really quite bland and makes me want more.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
As a fan of deck building games, I can say that I’ve tried many different types and styles in the genre. That said, it’s not often that you see a deck builder do something that’s not already been done before. That’s pretty much the case here. If you’ve ever played Dominion, then many of the techniques and mechanics will be very familiar to you. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t have a few things that are bit different. For one thing, there is the private area where the player can keep private maids that help them each turn. This reminds me of the location cards in the DC comics deck builder. The only difference is that you can only have 1 private maid at a time. The town in this game is pretty much like the lay out for Dominion. You choose 10 different cards and have at it. Like I said, it’s not a whole lot of new stuff here. However, I really like how the game blends everything together and kind of makes it work. It does feel just a bit deeper than the original Dominion game and you can kind of feel the theme that the designer was going for, just a bit. Fans of anime or manga will enjoy the stylized artwork. Deck builder fans will enjoy the game play mechanics, especially if they like Dominion. Overall I’m pleased with the outcome.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Tanto Cuore is an anime and manga style deck building card game. The game is fairly short and doesn’t take that long to play. Most game sessions last around 30-45, minutes. The cards looks really nice and has a lot of really pretty manga and anime style art to them. There are a few cards that are a bit over the top but nothing too major. Just something to be aware of. The game is really simple to play, especially for players familiar with Dominion or some of the other similar style deck builders. I really enjoy this one and like the way it plays. Fans of Dominion or any of the other deck building games should really enjoy this one. Anime and manga fans should enjoy it as well. I highly recommend this one. It’s a bit thematic but only just a little. I like that unlike Dynamite Nurse, this one can be played with only 2. It’s a really great deck building game that will be happy to scratch any itch for you. Just ask.
8 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment