Ghostbusters: The Board Game II Review

Ghostbusters: The Board Game II is a game by Mataio Wilson and Vincent Pritchard, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of the famous Ghostbusters as they battle spooktacular ghosts of every kind including piles of bubbling negatively charged slime using their proton packs and slime blowers. Of course they’ll need to seal gates if they hope to contain the darkness and ultimately save the world. In the end, if the team is able to complete the scenario by using teamwork they will be declared the winners. Otherwise, the ghosts will destroy the world as we know it.

To begin, players should choose one of the scenarios. If playing a campaign, the scenarios are linked together and should be played in order. Each scenario has a map setup on one side and the objective and other scenario specific details on the other. Each scenario will have different success and failure conditions. These should be noted before playing. It should also be noted that if playing a campaign scenario as a standalone, the scenario’s number in the campaign sequence should match the team’s recommended starting experience level. The map on the scenario card shows the different tiles that make up the board and should be placed on the table in the correct position and orientation. It also notes the starting positions of all the different elements of the game including, gates, goo piles and ghosts. These different pieces should be placed in the corresponding locations on the board. Gates should be placed on either the open or closed side, depending on the scenario’s instructions. Goo piles are placed face up on the corresponding location of the scenario map. The Spirit World tile should be placed near the board. The bottom of the scenario card tells what ghosts start in the spirit world. The corresponding entity cards should be placed near the board for future reference when dealing with each entity. The scenario card gives instructions on the Goo Pile cards that are put together to form the Goo Pile deck. These cards are shuffled together and then placed face down next to the board. In some cases, cards may be removed and other specific cards added before shuffling again. The scenario card should be followed in each specific case. The Ecto-Tank tile is placed beside the spirit world tile. Timer/Plazm counters are placed in an easily accessible pile, as they will be used for many different purposes, including keeping track of the total deposited Plazms that have been placed inside the Ecto-Tank. The PKE Meter tile is placed near the board and once placed should not change it’s orientation at any time during the game. The Ecto-1A vehicle is placed on the board in any 2 of the 4 spaces of the start zone on the scenario card. The Ecto-1A tile is placed near the board. If the scenario calls for the Lady Liberty figure, she is placed in the 4 spaces of the start zone instead of the Ecto-1A. Each player will choose a Ghostbuster character. They will receive the character card, proton pack and slime blower miniatures that match their character, along with the corresponding colored base and proton stream/mood slime tokens that match the color. They will also receive a combat die and an XP tracker that is placed on their character card on the 0 space. If playing a single campaign scenario, the XP level will start higher based on the scenario’s number. Each player will place their colored bases onto the bottom of both of their miniatures. They will need to choose which pack to start with, either the proton pack or the slime blower. The chosen figure is then placed on the Ecto-1A tile, while the remaining figure is placed near their character card. Each player should take the Class-S equipment cards that correspond to their character and shuffle them together. They will then choose 1 card randomly, placing it face up next to their character card. It should be noted that if playing with less than 4 players, it’s recommended for one or more players to play with multiple characters. The first player is chosen randomly and play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Before the first player begins each round, players can decide if their team will activate an Ecto-Tank ability. These abilities are on the player’s character card and can only be activated if the character is at the correct level and there is enough Plazm counters in the Ecto-Tank to activate the ability. When activated, the ability will affect all Ghostbusters on the board. Once this is finished, the round begins. Each round each Ghostbuster will take a turn. On that turn, the player may perform 3 actions. Each action may be performed more than once per turn. The actions are move, drive, deposit, remove slime, switch out the pack and combat. The move action consists of the player moving their figure 1 or 2 spaces in any direction. It should be noted that a figure can not move across red, dashed red, orange or dashed orange lines on the board. The figure also can not move off the map. It also can not be moved into or through spaces with entities, open gates or open goo piles. The figure may move through another Ghostbuster if there is enough movement points left over to move out of their space. The figure can also move into the Ecto-1A through the side if the movement ends the figure on the space that the Ecto-1A is on. In this instance, the figure is then placed on the Ecto-1A tile beside the board.

Another action is the drive action. If a figure is inside the Ecto-1A, the player may then drive it up to 6 spaces, either vertically or horizontally. It may not be moved diagonally. To move it, the player chooses either the front or back end of the vehicle and counts out the number of spaces to be moved. The vehicle is then placed with one end in the destination space and the other end in the previously counted space. If there are other characters inside the vehicle when it is moved, they travel with it. The vehicle may be driven through a Ghostbuster as long as it has enough spaces to move out of it’s space. It may not be entered or exited while driving and it can not drive off the board. It also can not move across red, dashed red, orange or dashed orange lines, neither can it move through spaces with entities or open gates. If an entity shares space with the Ecto-1A, it can not be driven and no trapped ghosts or plazm counters may be deposited.

Speaking of depositing, this is another action that the player may take. This action allows the player to send any number of trapped ghosts on their character card back to the spirit world and to add any plazm counters on their character card to the Ecto-1A’s Ecto-Tank. The player’s figure must be inside the Ecto-1A or adjacent to it to perform this action. Ghosts are placed back on the spirit world board, while plazm counters allow the counter on the Ecto-Tank to be moved up 1 for each plazm deposited.

Another action that a player may take is to remove slime from an adjacent Ghostbuster; more on how slime happens and what it does in a moment. This is done by simply choosing a type of slime that has been placed on the player’s character card and removing it. It should be noted that this action does not allow the player to take slime of their own character, only from adjacent characters. Slime can not be removed from a Ghostbuster while they are inside the Ecto-1A either. So where does slime come from and what does it do? Well, sometimes an entity will move through a Ghostbuster which will cause them to be slimed. That character will then gain a slime token of the type indicated on the entity’s card. That character can be slimed more than once but can only have up to 3 slime tokens on them at a time. If they would gain a fourth one, then one of the slime tokens on the character is exchanged for a caustic slime of the player’s choice. These slime tokens cannot be removed by normal means and if a character gains 3 of them, the team loses the scenario. These slime tokens can cause the player to lose 1 on their combat rolls, lose 1 space on their line of sight, lose a space of movement, lose a maneuver point or even lose an action. It’s for these reasons why this action is available.

Another similar style action is to switch out the pack of an adjacent Ghostbuster. Much like removing slime, switching out one’s pack must be done by an adjacent Ghostbuster. When this action is taken, the player that’s switching packs will take their figure off the board and replace it with the other figure of the same Ghostbuster. Doing this allows the character to use different forms of attack during combat. It should be noted however, that like removing slime, packs can not be switched out inside the Ecto-1A.

This brings us to combat. Combat is an action that may be taken by a player to fire a proton stream or mood slime against a target, depending on the Ghostbuster’s pack. The player rolls their combat die. If their roll is higher or equal to the entity’s “To Hit” value, then the player scores a hit against that entity. It should be noted that ghosts must be fought with proton streams and plazms must be fought with mood slime. Ghosts are not affected by mood slime and plazms are not affected by proton streams. When a ghost is hit with a proton stream, the player will place one of their proton stream tokens on the figure. When a plazm is hit with mood slime, the player will place one of their mood slime tokens on the figure. Ghosts have a “To Trap” value which requires a certain number of proton streams on it before it can be trapped. Plazms have a “To Extract” value which requires a certain number of mood slimes before it can be extracted. Each entity has certain instructions on it’s card that determine what it does when hit or when missed. If the player was able to place the final hit needed to trap or extract an entity, it’s “When Hit” ability does not resolve like normal. The player is then able to place the trapped ghost on their character card or remove the plazm from the board and the player gains a certain number of plazm counters as described on the entity’s card. Each player receives 1 XP for each stream that they had on an entity when it was trapped or extracted. The tokens are then returned to the respective players. It should be noted that Haunted Humans are a bit different. Some of these require both proton streams and mood slime, while others may allow either. They may be trapped like ghosts but they also reward the player with plazm counters when trapped. Another thing to note is that if the player changes targets or they switch out the pack on their character, they must remove their tokens on the original target. The same is true if line of sight is broken by the entity moving out of range or if it’s broken by another entity, gate or terrain line. Besides entities, the players will need to attack gates to be able to close them. They may be closed by either proton streams or mood slimes. Just like entities, the gate will have a “To Hit” value which must be rolled equal to or higher on a combat roll. The player that hits places the appropriate token on it and follows any additional effects that may be caused from the scenario card. Just like entities, some gates may require multiple streams or slimes be placed on them. This is determined by the scenario’s “To Close” value on the card. Once the appropriate number of tokens has been placed on the gate, it is flipped over to the closed side and each player receives 1XP fore each of their tokens on the gate. If the player misses the gate on their combat roll, then the player checks the scenario card for the results. If the last open gate is closed, all of the ghosts on the map are sucked back into the spirit world, excluding mini boss and boss ghosts. Plazms also are unaffected and stay where they are.

One final action that’s not listed above is to pass. This simply means the player chooses to take no more actions. If a player does this before taking any actions they are able to remove slime from their character or switch out their own pack. If either of these options are taken, the player is still able to perform maneuvers and use character abilities.

Maneuvers do not require one of a player’s 3 actions. These may be taken in addition to those. Each player may perform up to 2 maneuvers at any time. It should also be noted that a player may convert a regular action into a maneuver. This allows a player that has no maneuvers due to slime to be able to perform a maneuver. There are 4 different maneuvers that may be taken. The first maneuver is to transfer trapped ghosts and plazm counters. This allows a player to move any number of trapped ghosts and plazm counters from their character card to another player’s character card, or vice versa. However the character must have line of sight to the other character. Trapped ghosts and plazm counters may also be transfered from a character adjacent to the Ecto-1A to a character inside the vehicle and vice versa. Another maneuver that may be taken is to transfer equipment to or from an adjacent Ghostbuster. This maneuver is very similar to the previous one except that instead of ghost and plasms being transferred, in this case it’s equipment cards. The same rules as for the previous maneuver apply. The only thing to note is that Class-S equipment can not be transferred. The next manuever available is to enter or exit the Ecto-1A. For this manuever the character may be moved from either inside the vehicle to the outside or from outside the vehicle to the inside. If the character is inside and exits, then the figure is placed on an unoccupied space adjacent to the Ecto-1A along the 4 side spaces. If the character decides to enter the vehicle, then the figure must be on one of the 4 side spaces adjacent to it. The figure is then placed on the Ecto-1A tile. The last maneuver is to investigate a goo pile. To do this, the character must be adjacent to the goo pile and have line of sight to it. The player will then flip over the goo pile token and gain 1 XP. They must then draw the top card from the Goo Pile deck. This card can be anything from a key item to complete the scenario, a piece of equipment or an event. If it’s an event or equipment, then a card is drawn from the appropriate deck and placed beside the board or the player’s character card respectively. It should be noted that if an entity is sharing the same space as the goo pile, then it may not be investigated.

Once each player has completed their actions and maneuvers, the end of round effects take place. First off players check the entity cards, event cards and scenario card for any “at the end of the round” effects that may occur. These are then resolved. Afterwards, the Goo Timer is moved down 1 on the scenario card. Once this is done, the event die is rolled. Players check to see if the side of the die that was rolled matches any of the gate symbols. The players then check to see if the matching gate is open or closed following the instructions on the scenario card for what to do. If the chaos symbol is rolled, it causes every entity in line of sight of a Ghostbuster to go into a frenzy. This means that it reacts as if it was missed in combat. Players should then check the specific entity’s card for instructions. Many times the event die will cause new ghosts to appear on the board. When this happens, the player must roll the movement die and then use the PKE meter to determine where the entity exits the gate to. Likewise if an entity must move, the player rolls the movement die and consults the PKE meter to determine the direction it moves. Once the event die has been rolled and resolved, a new round begins.

The game continues until one of the scenarios success or failure conditions has been met. If the players complete the success result, then they win. If not, they will have to try again, especially if playing a campaign.

One last thing of note, just like the Ghostbuster figures, entities can also have colored figure bases place on them. There are 5 different colored bases that may be used and each one affects the entity in a different way. There’s the brown Hive base that causes all other entities that share a name with that entity to react as if they were hit or missed by the same Ghostbuster that attacked the one with the base on it. The black Caustic base changes the entity’s slime type to caustic slime, which can not be removed until the end of the scenario. If a Ghostbuster receives 3 caustic slime tokens, the team loses the scenario. The light green Amplify base causes the entity to have it’s “To Hit” and “To Trap/Extract” number increased by 1. The light blue Shadow base allows an entity to move 2 spaces towards the nearest Ghostbuster at the end of each round. The magenta Marked base is used when an event, equipment or ability requires an entity to be marked. The specific equipment, event or ability will determine how to react to these entities. It should also be noted that entities can have multiple bases applied to them. Each one’s effect stacks with the other abilities applied by the other bases on it.

COMPONENTS
Before I get into detailing the different components included with this game, let me state that my copy is the Deluxe edition with all the Kickstarter extras. The base game in retail will not come with everything that mine does. While there are several things that are not included, there’s still PLENTY of good stuff in the retail edition to make you happy. Oops, spoilers. With that said, I’ll start with the base game’s contents. There are 12 large thick cardboard map tiles. These make up what I commonly refer to as the board in this review. These remind me a lot of the city tiles in Zombicide. The quality is very similar and the artwork is great. You really get a great feeling of the atmosphere that the game is trying to convey. There’s also a spirit world tile where all the different entities are held before coming onto the board. There’s a PKE meter tile for moving entities with, an Ecto-1A tile for holding Ghostbuster figures when they’re inside the vehicle and an Ecto-Tank tile for keeping up with all of the plazm counters that have been stored. There are all kinds of tokens, from the many different types of slime tokens to goo pile and gate tokens. There are also trap tokens for the variant and pack tokens to show which pack your character is wearing. The game also comes with the various colored proton stream/mood slime tokens that conveniently can be placed around on the different ghosts and other entities due to the hole in the middle of them. When you’re punching these out, you’ll find the timer/plazm counters which are little circular 1 and 2 tokens. The game has several dice from the 8 sided movement die, to the 4 combat dice as well as the event die. The combat die is particularly cool as it has a ghostbuster symbol where the 6 should be. There are a bunch of cards included with the game. There are goo pile cards for when you inspect a goo pile. Equipment cards that add different abilities, including the special Class-S equipment cards. There are event cards which cause different things to happen. There are all the larger cards which include the scenario cards for playing the actual game. These include set up and all the special instructions for playing each one. There are the entity cards which describe the different entities and explain how each one works. Then there are the Ghostbuster character cards. I really like the artwork on all of these cards. They feel like something from a comic book and look great. However there are several problems with the entity and scenario cards in general. See the rulebook section below for more on these issues. The game has lots of little snap on bases in different colors for placing on the Ghostbuster characters and for the specific special abilities of some entities. There are also some little plastic arrow clips that fit on the character cards to keep up with XP. These are a lot like the ones in Zombicide. Finally there are all of the many different miniatures. There are ghostbuster character minis in 2 different varieties, slime pack and proton pack. There’s also a Vigo mini, Ecto-1A mini and a larger Lady Liberty figure. These are all gray and look great. I especially love the Lady Liberty and Ecto-1A figures. They are amazingly detailed, as are all of the miniatures and figures. Speaking of which there are lots of different entity minis, some purple and some pink. The purple ones are your normal ghost entities while the pink ones are the plazms. Some of the minis are smaller and some like the Washington Square Ghost are huge. Each one of these plastic minis is amazingly detailed and looks completely awesome. I will say that the quality seems a lot higher on these, as they seem a lot stronger than those in the first game. These don’t seem to break as easily which is a huge plus. If you just get the basic retail edition of the game, this is what all you’ll be getting. That’s a huge amount of stuff that looks great and really conveys the theme of the game. The only problem is those issues that are mentioned below about some of the larger cards.

For those with the deluxe Kickstarter edition, you get even more cool stuff. There’s a cool Litho print of the cover of the rulebook that’s suitable for framing or whatever. There are ecto dice which are supposed to be glow in the dark. However I haven’t tried to see if they are or not. They just look cool anyway. There are several new Ghostbuster characters included which are those from the animated Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon series. Unfortunately I don’t remember anything about them, as I can’t say I ever saw the show. In any event, I’m happy to have more characters to enjoy playing with. There are also several new ghost and plazm minis that add even more for the Ghostbusters to deal with. There are some new map tiles which work with the new scenarios included. There are new entity cards for all the new ghosts. There are new equipment and event cards as well. All of these new cards will fit inside the Roylance Guide box, much like the Tobin’s Spirit Guide box from the first game. If that wasn’t enough, the Deluxe edition also contains the Tully expansion with two miniatures for him, some new ghosts and a giant Giga Plazm. There are also entity cards and a group of new scenarios that works with it. Once again, there’s a ton of extra stuff in this version. The Tully expansion came inside the Deluxe box, while all the other extra content came in a brown cardboard box. Not exactly sure how I’m going to fit everything together in one box. For now, I’m keeping it all in the original boxes. It’s a bit of work getting certain things ready to play but so far it’s not been too bad. Needless to say, there’s so much cool looking stuff. As I’m sure you’ve already figured out from the different pictures that I’ve included in this review. Oh and did I mention the extremely cool looking deluxe edition box cover. Where the first game’s Deluxe edition was all black, this one is all white. It’s very cool. So what I’m saying is that everything looks great and this is definitely one of the best looking games that I’ve seen this year. If it weren’t for the mishaps on the core game cards, it would get a higher rating. In any event, for what all comes included, you get a bunch of great pieces that any fan of the movies or cartoons would be glad to have.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is pretty much standard across the different versions. First let me discuss the good things about the book. There is a really nice story in 3 parts that is spaced out throughout the rule book. I really love that this was included and I enjoyed the story. There are lots of great looking pictures throughout the book as well. There are pictures of components, cartoon like illustrations and plenty of examples. That’s another good part about the book. There are plenty of great examples with pictures to explain how things work all over the book. Each of the different game elements are explained in good detail with breakdowns of scenario cards, character cards, entity cards and more. There’s also optional rules included for playing with ghost traps that I didn’t cover in the overview. Just looking at the book, it looks great. For the most part, it appears that everything you need is there and it looks really great. Now for the bad parts. There are a few rules missing in the book such as how that investigating a goo pile causes the goo timer on the scenario card to move up by 1. This I didn’t realize until I was looking through the game forums on BGG. I saw that there has been a updated rulebook posted and an appendix of all the things that were misprinted or left out of the rulebook and on the different cards. I couldn’t beleive how much there actually was. Ok, so that’s bad. The rulebook also tends to jump around and not really give you a real idea of here’s how the game is setup and here’s how you play and here’s how you win. While the book looks amazing, it definitely needed some work. Granted, I own and have played the first game so I already have a bit of knowledge on some of the content of this book. However for first time players, reading this might overload their senses. I mean, it’s over 30 pages long. While I appreciate the attention to detail and the extra content and beautiful design to the book, it could have been laid out better from start to finish. I would have liked to have seen the contents move into setting up the game, followed by how to play and ending with winning the game and the variant rules. I really feel like if it had been done like that, things would have been a lot clearer and could have cut down a good chunk of pages too. So while it looks great, it’s not really all that functional. You will definitely find yourself look all over the book for that rule you forgot. That is something I didn’t like. Overall, it’s good but it’s bad too. I’ll give it a fairly average grade but seriously consider downloading the appendix and updated rulebook.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
First off, I really enjoyed playing the first Ghostbusters game. My family and I have played several of the scenarios and even the youngest could enjoy playing it. Sure it was a bit random and silly at times, but we all loved it. For me, I thought of it as a more family friendly version of Zombicide, especially since my daughter is a bit frightened of the zombies. I’m not sure why the ghosts don’t bother her though. So what does that mean for this version? Well it’s a bit of a conundrum wrapped in an enigma, if that makes any sense. There are some things that I like and some things that I don’t. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the rulebook is a bit messy and doesn’t really explain everything in the way that I wish it did. There are also rules left out, not to mention the errors. I wasn’t really aware of this when we were playing the game. It wasn’t until later when looking through the forum threads on BGG that I noticed some of the problems. I’ll be honest, I thought I was doing something wrong. I’m glad to know that it wasn’t me. The second scenario was so difficult, due to the errors on the card, that after a couple of times playing it, we simply moved on. It just seemed impossible to beat and the kids were getting annoyed with it. Some things like the goo timer are a pain. Sure if you’re playing with hard core gamers then you may be good with the sense of doom breathing down your neck every single round. For my family, it wasn’t as much fun. It definitely amps your anxiety as you know that the game is about to utterly destroy your group. The game also has a lot of luck to it, much like the first game. Nothing wrong with that as long as you’re good with it and realize it up front. Sometimes the dice won’t go your way. Sometimes the card that you really need to accomplish a task is at the bottom of the deck. Sometimes you’re just going to lose. Well that stinks, but it happens. The thing is if you realize that things could go that way ahead of time, it makes it not as hard to deal with when it happens to you. Another thing that I didn’t like was the lack of good character abilities. While the first game had actual directions for each character to go in, this one many times gives you an equipment card and calls it good. Where are the awesome and cool abilities of the Ghostbusters? While each one of those options in itself isn’t TOO bad, combined together it makes for a frustrating and at times very difficult game to play. If you don’t realize that something’s wrong you can’t fix it and do it right. Thankfully I see from the appendix that several of the things were wrong from the get go and should make for a bit smoother game. While I haven’t had a chance to replay it with the updated information, I have the utmost hope that things will go better this time around. I don’t want you to think that this review is negative. In all honestly, it’s not. The thing is that you need to be aware of the errors and be prepared to address them prior to playing the game. That way you’ll have a much better experience than we first did.

Now I realize that I’ve been kind of harsh so far, so now let me give some highlights to the game. I like that this is a game my family can play together. It is one that everyone enjoys. We love the theme and enjoy the look and feel of the game. It’s definitely a bit tougher and more involved than the first game was, but it’s still one that even the youngest can play with a bit of help. I will say that sometimes I had to remind everyone that they had 3 actions and 2 maneuvers. Sometimes you won’t be using the manuevers as there won’t really be anything you can do at that time anyway. The thing is that I like that some of these simple things don’t cost an action. I like that there are more entities to face than what the first game had. I also like that there are 2 different types so you have to actually be a bit more strategic than in the first game. For it you could simply run around and do what you needed to do shooting everything in your path. With this one, you have to discuss what the best course of action for each player is. It’s definitely a game that inspires teamwork. I like the different slime types for ghosts and how this can affect how their attacks work against you. It gives me a bit more thrill when I catch that ghost that’s been causing my team such headaches for the past several rounds. While the difficulty is amped up a good bit more in this game, I like it and find that it’s a natural progression for players that are ready to take a step up from the first game. With all the different scenarios that are available to play, it makes the game very replayable. Not to mention the fact that you can design your own scenarios with all the content that’s available inside the game. Overall, I think that fans of the first game should enjoy this one. I think that families will enjoy it if they’re aware of the increased difficulty level. Errors and luck abound in this one, but there’s still things to enjoy about it too. I’m sure that there will be some players that find ways to make house rules to deal with a few of the issues, making the game better. As it is, it’s good. I wanted it to be better but it’s still good enough that I will want to play it more. Needless to say, the pros definitely outweight the cons. I like it and I would recommend giving it a try.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Ghostbusters: the Board Game II is a miniature heavy co-op game that is based on the Ghostbusters II movie, as well as the Ghostbusters cartoon series. The play time on this game can vary depending on the scenario and how lucky or unlucky you are. Game time can range from 20- 30 minutes up to a couple of hours. There are a lot of great looking pieces to this game. The miniatures are amazing and the artwork is fantastic. However there are some errors on some of the entity and scenario cards which cause some issues with the gameplay. The rulebook also has some problems with errors, as well as a lack of direction in covering the rules in a more linear way. The game is fun despite the many issues that have plagued it, especially with the appendix and updated rulebook that players can download. Even with the many problems, I still like the game. It looks amazing and can be quite fun if you can move past the errors. It’s definitely a bit more gamer oriented than the first game was. Families and younger players should enjoy it, however it does ramp up the difficulty just a bit more. For us, we all enjoyed it even though it kicked our butts repeatedly. Personally I feel that if you loved the first game and you love the theme, then you’ll most likely find something to like about this one. I would recommend giving this one a try. For me, I like it and plan on keeping it in my collection. It’s got things that are both good and bad about it but the good definitely outweighs the bad. Now, who you gonna’ call?
8 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://www.cryptozoic.com/

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Go7Gaming LEG-002 insert for Marvel Legendary Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a product from Go7Gaming’s line of Heritage Inserts. That product was the LEG-002 Insert for Marvel Legendary. I received it in a flat rate shipping box with a big bundle of wooden sheets inside a large ziplock bag. After removing the sheets from the packaging, it was ready to assemble.

I would like to state that for some reason there were no instructions included with the insert. Of course this wasn’t a major problem as I was able to go online using my phone to the Go7Gaming website to read over the Build Instructions that were on the product page. I will also mention that with only a few pieces to assemble, it would have been fairly easy to figure out even without the online instructions.

Now then, let me explain exactly what this product is and what it does. First off, this is an insert for Marvel Legendary. It will not work with Villains or any of the other Legendary line of games. Once assembly is complete, the insert makes it possible to keep your game organized and in one box. There’s a whole lot of room so it’s possible to add a lot of smaller and large box expansions. For me, I’ve included the following large box expansions; Dark City, Civil War, X-men and Secret Wars Volume 1 and Volume 2. I’ve also included the following small box expansions; Fantastic Four, Paint the Town Red and Guardians of the Galaxy. As you’ll see from the pictures below, there are a lot of cards inside the box. There’s still a little bit of room which will hopefully be able to hold at least 1 more small box expansion. In any event, let’s get into the assembly process.

To start with you’ll want to separate out all of the different wooden sheets. The pieces are all cut so that they separate fairly easily from the boards. I’d like to mention that when assembling, it’s normally a good idea to dry fit the pieces together first so that you have an idea of where each one goes. It’s also a good idea to use either glue or tape to hold everything together. Glue is stronger and more resilient but tape works fairly good too. Throughout this review I will not be pointing out when to use glue. Just be aware that if there are 2 pieces being connected together, it’s probably a good idea to use glue on both. With that said, let’s get to it.

This insert contains only 1 large insert for the main box with 4 channels for cards so it’s fairly easy to figure out. The first thing you’ll want to do is take the base of the insert and make sure that it fits inside the bottom of your box. If it does, then you’ve got the right insert and can continue. Next you’ll want to take the 3 inner walls with the slots in the top and attach them to the base. You’ll also want to fit the 2 outer walls onto the base making sure to fit the tabs into the slots of the outer walls. Once these are in place things should be fairly stable and should look something like this.

The next step is to attach the final 2 slotted outer walls, connecting them to the base and the other outer walls. When you’re finished it should look like this. Now that you’re finished, you can set it aside to let the glue dry.

Once everything is dry, you can place the insert into the box, like so.

Now you’re free to add your cards and dividers to the box in what ever manner you choose. Here are a few pictures where I’ve added my cards to the box. As you can tell, I have a few things that I’ve yet to remove the plastic from. I’ve also left a space in the front right corner for the tokens from Guardians of the Galaxy. The last picture shows where I’ve placed the board on top.

 

MATERIALS
For this section I’ll go over the packaging and materials of the insert. The materials all came inside a flat rate shipping box. Inside the box was a large ziplock style bag with the large boards and a smaller ziplock bag with the dividers. These 2 were shrink wrapped together. I removed the shrink wrap before taking the first picture. The wooden sheets were all thick and sturdy. Everything seemed to be of good quality. The pieces appeared to have been laser cut. Each one was fairly easy to punch out from the board. There was just the wooden pieces without any glue or tape to hold everything together with. You will need to supply those yourself. I didn’t really have any trouble putting everything together. It was pretty simple and straight forward. When I was finished, it looked great and held a ton of cards. Overall I’m quite pleased with the look and feel of the product.
9 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
For this insert there were no instructions. I’m not sure if this was a mistake or if there actually are no instructions. In any event, I went to the website and read over the instructions online. Of course the insert is so simple to assemble, I could have figured it out even without any help from the website. The online instructions were fairly easy to understand. Like I said, I’m pretty sure that I could have done it myself. Needless to say, since there were no instructions with my insert, I won’t give a rating to that aspect of this review.
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CONSTRUCTION
The construction of this insert was fairly simple and pretty quick to put together. I honestly think it took more time to look up the instructions online with my phone than the actual assembly process. With only the 1 large insert to put together, it only took a few minutes. As you can tell from the pictures, it was easy. I was able to put all of the cards that I have for the game inside this one box now. That’s 5 big box expansions, 3 small box expansions and the core game all inside the main box. Before I’d had to use one of the big box expansion boxes to hold a good chunk of the cards. That took up more of my precious shelf space that could have been used for other games. With this insert inside the box now, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. The only problem that I could find about the insert was that when I placed the rulebooks and the board on top of the insert, it was not flush with the bottom of the box. That meant that when I placed the box lid on, it didn’t go all the way down. Much like I’ve found with some other inserts, the box lid raises up a bit which could cause some damage. In this case, the board could be damaged. I might need to consider getting one of those mats that roll up. I think that for people that don’t have quite as many cards, they might be able to place one of those mats inside one of the card channels of the insert. In any event, it was a bit disheartening that the lid didn’t go down snug. Still, I’ve removed an extra box from my shelf and can now add something else to my game wall. Let me tell you though, with the insert inside and the box full, there’s quite a bit of weight to this box now. I weighed it and it was a little over 15 pounds. I handed it to my wife and she almost dropped it because she wasn’t expecting it to be that heavy. I will say that the dividers are nice and help to separate things a bit, but I’m not sure exactly how I’ll keep them. I’ll most likely need some cardboard dividers with the names of the characters on them so that I can find things easier. Of course that’s not the insert’s fault, so I’m not blaming it. Overall, I’m pleased with the final results and the look of this insert.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The LEG-002 Insert for Marvel Legendary is a great way to store a ton of cards for the game. It has a lot of room to keep a lot of cards. I was able to store the core game, 5 big box expansions and 3 small box expansions inside the main box. I don’t think that I’ll be able to add much more but I look forward to trying. The assembly process was pretty easy, even without an instruction sheet. I’m still unsure if that was intended or a mistake. The insert is very strong and holds plenty of cards. The one negative that I can say is that the box lid doesn’t go all the way down flush with the box. When placing the game board on top of the insert it causes the lid to raise up just a bit. That was a little disheartening for me, but being able to place as much material inside the main box as I was able to made me pretty happy. Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the look and functionality of the insert. I would definitely recommend it if you have anything more than just the core game and possibly an expansion or two. It’s a good quality product made by good quality people. I think that you’ll be happy with it, as well as the great customer service that you’ll get from the people at Go7Gaming. Guaranteed.
8 out of 10

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

http://go7gaming.com/

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Go7Gaming KOTNY-001 Storage Solution for King of Tokyo or King of New York Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a product from Go7Gaming’s Value Line of inserts. That product was the KOTNY-001 Storage Solution for either King of Tokyo or King of New York. I received it in a flat rate shipping box with a big 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 either version of the game King of Tokyo, the original one or the newer version made in 2016. It will also work with King of New York, which is incidentally what this review will be based around. Once it’s been assembled, the insert makes it possible to keep all of the different monster boards, monster standees, dice, tokens and cards together in one organized place. There’s even a lot more room for extra monsters, dice and cards. For me, I added in a few extra monsters from some of the Monster Packs, as well as the Power Up expansions. There’s even some extra dice from the Halloween expansion thrown in to boot. Of course you’ll see what I mean in the pictures below.

With all of that said, let’s go ahead and get right into the assembly. The first thing to do is separate out all the different wooden sheets. Every piece is cut so that they’re fairly easy to punch out from the board. You need to know that when putting one of these inserts together, it’s best to dry fit everything first so that you know how it’s going to go and then break out the glue and fit each glued piece together. You can also use tape if you’d prefer, but glue will last longer and be more resilient. In the course of this review, I won’t be pointing out each time you should use glue. Just be aware that if 2 pieces are being connected, you probably want to put some glue on them to hold them together. This insert consists of 3 different sections; the main insert, the token tray and the tile tray. We’ll start with the main insert. You’ll start off by taking the inner wall and connecting it to the 2 smaller inner divider walls, making sure to note the direction of the angled slots on the top. You’ll also want to connect the open wall and connect it to the other side of the inner wall. What you should end up with is something like this.

Next you’ll connect the outer wall to the small inner divider wall. What you’ll have is something that looks like this. I’ve rotated the assembled pieces so that you can see the Go7Gaming logo on the inner portion of the outer wall.

Next you’ll connect the 2 outer walls to the inner wall and the previously connected outer wall. This is what it should look like.

Finally you’ll connect the last outer wall to the rest of the assembly. It should look like this when finished.

The next step is to glue in the small tray supports into the walls of the insert. There are 2 sizes so make sure that you put the right ones in the right place. If you’re building for King of Tokyo, this first set of supports are the only ones that you need to use. These are placed in the upper right corner of the insert. Seen below.

Since I’m assembling this insert for King of New York, I needed to also place this extra set of supports into the lower left section of the insert. Seen below.

Now that the main insert is assembled, we’ll move on to the token tray. To assemble this you’ll start with the base of the tray. Next you’ll take the 2 divider walls and connect these to the 2 longer outer walls. What you’ll get is something like this. If you’re going to use this for King of Tokyo, then the inner wall on the right of the picture would not be connected. You’d only need the one inner wall.

After you’ve got those together, you’ll place the assembled piece onto the base and then connect the 2 shorter end walls. This is what it should look like when you’re done.

The tile tray is only used for King of New York, so if you’re planning on using this insert with King of Tokyo, you’re pretty much done. For those of us King of New Yorkers, let’s continue. You’ll start off with the base for this tray. Next we’ll attach one of the long walls to the base, along with the 2 short end walls. You’ll finish it up by adding the other long wall to complete the tile tray. When it’s done it should look something like this.

With everything completed, simply set them aside and let the glue dry overnight.

Once it has you can place the main insert into the box and put the dividers into place. You’ll then be able to start adding all of the different components of the game into the insert. As you can see below, I’ve added a few more monsters, cards and dice that are not included with the base game. Here are some pictures of the finished product.

Here I removed the tile tray and token tray so that you can see the areas beneath these. Under the energy cubes and round tokens is room for the dice from both this set and the Halloween expansion. Beneath the tiles is a little bit of space for some of the larger monster standees to stretch out.

Here are the token and tile trays completely filled up.

With everything put back into the box, there’s just enough room for the board to fit in nicely. I was surprised that even with King of New York’s larger folded board, there’s still enough space so that it fits flush with the sides of the box. With the lid closed, there’s no bulges or raised lid.

MATERIALS
Normally I would cover all the different pieces and component of the game. What I’ll do in this case is describe the packaging and the insert itself. Everything came packed inside a flat rate shipping box. The pieces were placed inside a large zip lock style bag and shrink wrapped together. The wooden sheets are fairly thick and sturdy. Each piece appears to be laser cut and is easy to punch out from the boards. Everything looked good and solid so there was nothing to complain about here. Of course there was no glue or tape included, you’ll have to supply that yourself. Assembling the insert and trays was fairly simple. I really had no problems with it. Overall I’m very pleased with the start and finish of this project as well as the look and feel of the insert.
9 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
Instead of a rulebook for a game, this insert comes with a folded sheet of instructions. Everything was easily explained making it easy to assemble. The assembly process was walked through step by step so that there was nothing difficult about putting it all together. There were even some nice pictures showing how everything should look and where each piece should go. Thanks to the great instructions, I had no troubles at all. Overall I’m very pleased with the instructions. They are clear, concise and helpful.
9 out of 10

CONSTRUCTION
Normally I would explaing my thoughts on the game along with the basic principles of how it’s played. Instead of doing that, I’ll give my thoughts on the assembly process and the functionality of the insert. Thankfully this insert didn’t take a long time. There were only the 2 smaller trays and the one larger insert for the box. As you can probably tell from the pictures, it wasn’t that difficult either. Everything was fairly simple to put together. I will say that I needed to go onto the website to determine exactly what pieces went where, as there was nothing in the instructions about that. As I mentioned earlier, I was able to add some extra content from some of the smaller expansions to the box. Even afterwards there’s still some room left over. Unfortunately adding the Cthulhu monster pack, I didn’t have enough room for all the smaller square tiles so I had to sit some of them inside the bigger space where the monster standees go. You can see that in the pictures. I will say that I fully expected there to be a problem with the board, but that wasn’t the case. The folded board fit perfectly on top of the insert allowing the box lid to go all the way down. The board sit’s flush with the bottom of the box. That really surprised me. The box has a little more weight to it now, but it’s a lot stronger too. I’m not sure what else I’ll be able to add to the box, but I can’t wait to find out. Hopefully there will be plenty of new products to fill out my box to the rim. The trays are great. They make setting up the game a lot quicker and easier. Overall, I’m very pleased with the finished product.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The KOTNY-001 Storage Solution for either King of Tokyo or King of New York is a great organizer that works for either game. It’s got plenty of room for keeping the core game along with several smaller expansions as well. The assembly process was very easy and didn’t take a lot of time either. The instructions are very thorough and easy to follow. As I’ve already stated, there’s lots of extra room which I look forward to filling. Overall I’m very pleased with the look and functionality of the insert. I would highly recommend it. It’s a marvel of craftsmanship. You’ll be happy with the insert and the great customer service that you’ll get from the people at Go7Gaming. Guaranteed.
9 out of 10

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

http://go7gaming.com/

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Dynamite Nurse Review

Dynamite Nurse is a game by Atsuo Yoshizawa, published by Japanime Games. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of nurses in a temple of healing set in a fantasy world. In other words, they’re doctors in a hospital. Their main mission is to heal adventurers that have been stabbed, bludgeoned, shot, petrified, infected, poisoned, level drained or suffered any other number of horrible injuries while out adventuring. Of course their opponents may try to sabotage them along the way. If too many patients die, the player will wind up getting the infamous Dynamite Nurse moniker and be feared by all. However if they perform well, they’ll become a respected doctor and cement their reputation as a great healer. In the end, the doctor…I mean player, that earns the most victory points will be declared the winner.

To begin, the cards are separated by type and then set out into face up piles. The Patient cards are shuffled and placed with their critical condition side face up. Each player receives one of the starting nurse cards with a red star by their name. Any remaining starting nurse cards are returned to the box. The other nurse cards are shuffled together and placed face down. The event cards are removed from the action cards and are shuffled together and placed face up in a pile. The regular action cards are separated into face up piles, giving each named type of card it’s own pile. The piles are then grouped together by color. Each player is given the duty markers that match their starting nurse’s color, which are placed in front of the player. Any remaining duty markers are returned to the box. Each player is also given 5 Examination cards and 3 Simple Surgery cards. These cards along with the player’s starting nurse card are shuffled together into the player’s starting deck. The deck is placed face down in front of them. Any remaining Examination or Simple Surgery cards are returned to the box. It should be noted that the middle of the play area where all the shared cards is located is known as the “Town”, while the area in front of the player where they place their own cards is known as their “Hospital”. The piles of cards are set up in the Town as diagrammed in the rulebook. The patient cards are turned over with the critical condition side facing down. The kill mark cards are placed in order with the 15 card on top and the 1 card on the bottom. The 13, 14 and 15 cards are returned to the box if only 3 players are playing. Each player will now draw 4 cards from their deck to form their starting hand. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played with each player taking a turn. On a player’s turn they will follow 4 phases; main phase, transportation phase, admission phase and cleanup phase. The first phase is the main phase. In this phase, the player can take one action and they may play cards from their hand one at a time, as many as they would like. These can be done in any order. When a card is played, the text box takes effect immediately. Both action cards and nurse cards may be played. Action cards provide bonus points in the form of treatment points or gold. Treatment points allow the player to treat one patient. This may be through operations or care. Operations are performed by the player paying the amount of treatment points equal to the large severity icon’s value on the card. Once healed the patient is healed and discharged. It should be noted that a patient must first be admitted to a player’s hospital with a duty marker on it. Once the patient is discharged, the player removes their duty marker and places the patient in their victory point stack to be scored at the end of the game. They also take a card of their choice from the nurse pile, placing it face down in their discard pile. Providing care is when the player pays the smaller severity icon on the patient card. In this case, the patient is not discharged but is flipped face up taking them out of critical condition. The other action that may be taken instead of treating a patient is using gold to buy an action card from the Town. This is done by paying the amount of gold on the chosen card and then placing it in the player’s discard pile. It should also be noted that a player may chose to buy an event card. They may either chose the top card or the card beneath it. However they aren’t allowed to look at it before buying it. Even if the player is not able to pay for the second card, this still counts as a purchase action.

The next phase is the transportation phase. In this phase the player will transport a patient and assign duties. To transport a patient the player takes a patient card from the top of the Dungeon and moves them to an ambulance. Any patients already there are moved down away from the Dungeon and are arranged in a row. The patient farthest from the Dungeon is the lead patient while the one closest to the Dungeon is the trailing patient. It should be noted that if the Dungeon runs out of cards, the game ends immediately. Once transportation is completed, the player will then select a player, including themself, to take charge of that patient. Once selected, the player places their duty marker on top of the patient card. It should also be noted that their is a limit to the number of patient cards that may go into an ambulance. That limit is equal to the number of players. If the number of patient cards in the ambulance reaches that limit, then transportation is not completed and one of the patients in the ambulance enters into critical condition. Starting with the leading patient, the chooses a patient that is not already in critical condition and flips the card over to it’s critical condition side.

This takes us to the third phase, which is the admission phase. In this phase the player can select one or more patient cards in the ambulance that have their duty markers on them and move them to their hospital. This is an optional action. If the player chooses to do this, they will move the card into their hospital, moving up any cards after it closer to the Dungeon. After a player has completed admitting a patient, even if they chose not to, thy must now check to see if any of their patients wind up in critical condition. Each player’s hospital only has 2 beds or spaces. If a player has more patients than they have beds or spaces, then a number of patients will enter into critical condition. That number is equal to the amount that exceeds their hospital’s number of beds. The player may choose which patients are affected but may not choose the same patient to be affected more than once. It should be noted that sometimes a patient card that is in critical condition will be forced to go into critical condition again. When this happens, the patient dies, moving the card to the Town’s graveyard. Any duty markers on the card are returned to their owner. That player will then receive a kill mark card, placing it in their hospital. If the last kill mark card is taken, the game ends immediately. When a player has more kill marks than any other player, that player receives the Dynamite Nurse card

The last phase is the cleanup phase. In this phase the player will discard all the cards that they played, as well as any cards remaining in their hand. However the player is allowed to keep one card from their hand if they choose. The discarded cards are placed into the player’s discard pile. The player will then draw 4 card from their deck to refill their hand. Even if they choose to keep a card, they will still draw 4 cards. Play then passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until one of the two game end conditions is met. If the pile of kill mark cards runs out or if the dungeon runs out of patient cards, the game ends immediately. Once the game is over, players add up their victory points from patient cards that they have acquired, for patient cards that have been admitted to their hospital and from play cards and nurse cards the player owns. They will lose victory points based on how many kill mark cards they have. The player that has the most victory points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with a fairly large stack of cards. There are several different types of cards some of which have duplicates of to be used in the Town. The artwork on these is designed with an anime/manga style look to them. In many cases there is a good bit of fan service in regards to the designs, some of which players may find a bit over the top. I would say that if the players are comfortable with games such as Tanto Cuore or Kemomimi Panic then these cards won’t bother them either. For the most part, it’s just something to be aware of, especially for those with younger players. The cards themselves are well designed and I especially like the look and feel of the cards. There’s a bit of iconography that takes a little getting used to, but nothing that’s too difficult. The game also comes with some cardboard duty markers in several different player colors. These are brightly colored and pretty thick. I really like the quality of them. There are also some dividers included in the box to keep everything separated and easier to find what you’re looking for. There’s plenty of room for more stuff including expansions in the box. Overall I like the look and feel of the game. Just be aware of the excessive nature of some of the cards.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is very reminiscent of the ones that you’ll find in games like Tanto Cuore. They’re all in black and white and are about the size and width of the box. There are plenty of great looking pictures yet the black and white quality leaves you wanting more. The book has a few examples and some really great details on each of the different card types and how they work. The rules are detailed out quite nicely so that everything is fairly easy to understand. The book also has a section devoted to different game terms, as well as a great section of frequently asked questions about the different cards. Overall the rulebook is pretty good. It covers everything quite well and looks pretty good too. I simply wish that there were some color to these pages as it just looks so drab an uninteresting.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
As I mentioned in my preview review of this game, this one takes an interesting spin on the deck building mechanic. It uses some of the same ideas on game play as are found in games like Dominion or Tanto Cuore. The game starts off with lots of different card types that are available for purchase, including patients to cure. It’s what you choose to do with what you draw that determines what options you have available to you. If you only draw a hand of Consultation cards, you’ll only be able to buy cards. No need worrying about treating a patient this turn. Of course the balance of treating patients and adding cards to your deck is key. You also have to keep an eye on the patients in your hospital and those in the ambulance. Too many dead patients and you’ll wind up with the infamous Dynamite Nurse card, which you really don’t want to keep, especially at the end of the game. I think that that game has a really fun and humorous style to it. I think that most people that enjoy deck builders like Dominion and especially Tanto Cuore, will get a lot of enjoyment out of this one too. I have to say that I do like treating the patients, especially since this is where you get the majority of your victory points. However it’s a bit more than that. I like that it kind of gives you a feeling of accomplishment. It’s a really neat aspect that makes this game different. I still wish there was a 2 player option for the game, maybe even a solo version for the ever alone players out there. As it is, I don’t know of any work on either of those variants but would love to see it happen. As I said, I think deck building fans will really enjoy this one. I know that I do. I also think this one will appeal to anime and manga fans as well. This is a game that I would highly recommend. It’s a lot of fun and appeals to my inner otaku.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Dynamite Nurse is a deck building game that is based in an anime/manga style hospital. The game isn’t too long. Most game sessions last around an hour. The game is really well designed and the cards are great. The artwork in some cases is a bit over the top and may not be suited for younger players. Just something to be aware of. However if Tanto Cuore and/or Kemomimi Panic don’t offend you then the artwork for this game shouldn’t either. The rulebook could use a bit of color but overall is pretty well thought out and covers everything nicely. The game itself is quite fun. I like the unique take on deck building while still incorporating some of the same styles as Dominion and Tanto Cuore. Fans of these games should enjoy this one as well, especially if they like anime or manga. I still am hoping for an eventual 2 player or solo variant for the game, but nothing yet. I think this game was just what I thought it would be…great. I highly recommend it. It’ll cure what ails you.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

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Kemomimi Panic Review

Kemomimi Panic is a game by Masayuki Kudo, published by Japanime Games. It is for 4-8 players. In this game, players take on the role of beast-eared citizens of the town of Mokemoke. They will be trying to keep their valuables safe from the infamous thief known as Crescent Moon. They will need to uncover the identity of the scoundrel before their treasures are taken, forcing them out of the town forever. In the end, if the citizens are able to master their powers of deduction and find the culprit before all of them are eliminated, they will all be declared the winners. If not, the criminal Crescent Moon will sneak back into the darkness to steal more treasures from unsuspecting citizens.

To begin, it is recommended that for a group of player’s first game, a certain set of character cards and role cards should be used based on the number of players. For more information on this, please check the rulebook. For later games, the rulebook notes other character options that work well together that may be used. Once character cards and role cards have been chosen, a Facilitator is chosen. They will be overseeing everything to make sure the game runs smoothly. The Facilitator will then take the selected character cards and shuffle them together. Each player is then dealt one card each. Each player then looks at their card and then shows it to the rest of the players. The card is then placed face up in front of them. The Crescent Moon role card is removed from the deck and replaced with a Citizen card from the box. The deck is then shuffled. A random role card is then removed and placed back in the box. The Crescent Moon card is then placed back in the deck and the cards are shuffled again. The Facilitator will then deal a role card to each player including themself. Players take a look at their role card and place it face down in front of themself. Each player is then given a Decoy card by the Facilitator, which is placed face up on top of their role card. The Facilitator will then give the Moon card to the player to the left of the Detective Shamrock player. They place this card face up in front of themself with the Crescent Moon side up. The Target card is then placed in the middle of the play area. Play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds which are divided into a Day and Night phase. Before this though there is a Game Starting phase. In this phase, the Detective Shamrock player chooses another player. Everyone but that player and the Detective Shamrock player will now put their head down and close their eyes. The chosen player must now honestly take one of two poses. If they are a citizen, they must make the OK sign with their fingers. If they are a thief or informant, they must cross their arms to make an X. Once this is done, the Detective Shamrock player will tell everyone to raise their heads and open their eyes. The player with the Moon card becomes the leader for the first day. This actually starts the game and begins the Day phase. In the Day phase, the players will talk amongst themselves, discussing who they think the Thief is. It’s suggested that this should take around 3 minutes and that the Facilitator should keep track of this. After the time ends, the leader will now choose a player, naming them as the Suspect. This is done by the leader saying, “You’re the suspect!” and then point the arrow on the Target card toward them. A vote is then held with players saying “Aye” if they believe the suspect is the Thief. If more than half the players vote Aye, then the suspect is confirmed. That player will now lose their Decoy card if they still have it. If not, they must turn over their role card. This eliminates them from the game. It should be noted that each character has a special ability and that the timing for this ability should be taken into consideration. If the eliminated player is the Thief, the game ends. If not then the game continues into the Night phase. Also if less than half of the players vote Aye, then nothing happens and the game continues into the Night phase as well.

The Night phase is the second phase of the game. In this phase, the Thief will attempt a burglary of one of the other players. This only happens if the Moon card is on the Crescent Moon side. If it’s on the Full Moon side, then nothing happens. For the Thief to burgle, first the Target card is placed in the middle of the play area. All of the players will now place their right hands over the Target card in the middle of the play area without touching it. The Facilitator will then have everyone to shut their eyes, including themself. The Facilitator then goes through a small script, telling everyone that it’s night time and dark outside. That everyone is asleep and that the great thief is awake. The Thief is then told to open their eyes. They open their eyes and are told that they have 10 seconds to sneak into someone’s house. The Facilitator will then begin to count. The Thief player will move their hand just enough to turn the Target card toward the player that they wish to target. Once the Facilitator counts down to 0, they announce that morning has come and for all the players to open their eyes. All of the players will now open their eyes and move their hands from the center of the table. The player that has the arrow pointing toward them was burgled during the night. If they have a Decoy card in front of them, it is now lost. If not, they are eliminated from the game and must flip their role card over. If their was an effect that takes place at this time due to their role card, it activates. Once this is completed, the day is over. The leader will now flip the Moon card over to the other side and pass it to the player on their left. That player now becomes the new leader. A new day now starts with a new day phase.

The game continues until one of two things happens. If the Thief player is eliminated, the game ends. If this happens all the Citizens are winners, including those that were eliminated. If there are only 2 players left, either because of voting or burglaries, the game ends. In this case, players must now check the role cards of the final 2 players. If they are a Thief and a Citizen, then the Thief wins. If the 2 roles are a Thief and an Informant, then the Informant wins.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with a deck of cards packaged inside a tuck box which is packed into an insert with 2 spaces for tuck boxes. I have to say that I like the idea. It keeps everything from sliding around inside the larger box. It also makes room for an expansion that could be placed into the other tuck box slot, if one is made. The cards themself have a really nice finish and are easy to shuffle. The artwork is designed with an anime/manga style that I really like. Most of the cards have a very cute, sweet and innocent look to them. However there are a couple of cards that go WAY over the top and get a bit too revealing. For the most part the cards have these sweet little beast eared girls that look so sweet and cute. Some get a bit revealing and show a little whisp of underwear, which is completely fine. It’s those few cards that really reveal too much and move well past the minor fan service that is acceptable. For adults, the cards are completely fine. If you have kids, especially youger ones, those few cards are going to be a bit too much for them. Even for my older son, I feel that those cards are a bit too provocative. If you choose to play without those cards, the game is completely fine. I’d also say that if those types of things don’t bother you, then those few cards won’t either. In any event, it’s something that needs to be noted and that parents should be aware of before playing the game. Overall, I’m mostly fine with the cards. I do wish that the art style had stayed more in the line of cute and fun, instead of too revealing.
7 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game, while small, it is fairly thick. Most of this is due to the very detailed section that explains each card in the box. This section alone consists of 10 pages. Mostly what this does is repeats the same information that is printed on each card. There are also 2 pages of character options, one of which is for first time players and the other is simply a bunch of different options based on player count. The rules themselves are fairly simple and are easy to read through. However each step and phase is explained in great detail so that the game is very easily understood. There aren’t really any examples of game play and the only pictures consist of the 10 pages of card explanations. Overall I think the book does a good job of explaining the rules and it looks pretty good too. I’m pretty pleased with the overall presentation.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The first thing that most players will think of after reading through the rules for this one is how it compares to the game Werewolf. Yes, there are a lot of similarities between the 2 games. For one thing, both games are centered around the social deduction mechanics of gameplay. For those unfamiliar with the term, social deduction games are those where the goal is dependent on figuring out information that isn’t readily apparent and that involved discussion among players as one of the mechanics. Thank You Ted Alspach for explaining the definition so beautifully. The thing is that this game has a lot more about it then most games of the genre. For one, the original Werewolf is fairly simple and at times can be a bit boring and lackluster. This game provides a lot more depth than just simply voting someone out, as if they were a castaway on a liferaft. Each character has a special ability that provides a bit more life to the character. It’s these aspects of the characters that I really enjoy. There are even different types of Citizen cards, so that if a citizen is eliminated they may have a special ability that kicks in at that time. All of these different elements help to add a bit more to the game and provide a lot more life to it. I really like how it all melds together and makes for a pretty interesting and fun game. Of course, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the cards are a bit hard to overlook at times and this tends to affect the game a bit. Still, if you can get past the artwork the game itself is pretty solid. I also have to say that I like the idea of the decoy cards. I like how that you don’t automatically get kicked out if you lose a vote or are the target of the thief. It takes 2 times, giving you an opportunity to play a bit longer. Fans of social deduction games like Werewolf should really enjoy this one. I like it and would recommend it. However the recommendation comes with the caveat that you’re ok with the card art and don’t mind a few half naked women on your cards. For me, we might have to do some artistic improvements with a sharpie.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Kemomimi Panic is a Japanese anime/manga style game of social deduction that involves lots of cute and sometimes underdressed beast eared girls. The game isn’t very long. Most game sessions last around 30-45 minutes, that is unless you let people talk and discuss the voting part of the game for too long. The cards have an anime/manga style artwork to them that I like. However some of the designs are a bit too provocative and show too much skin, especially for younger players. Parents should take note of this when deciding on if this game is acceptable at your table or not. For more mature players, this will most likely not be a problem. It’s just something to be aware of. The game itself improves on the social deduction mechanic and adds lots of cool powers that keep the game replayable. I like this a lot more than games like Werewolf. Fans of Werewolf will most likely enjoy this one a great deal. The game is pretty simple and easy to play. This is a game that I recommend, however only for those comfortable with the artwork. I can’t recommend this for younger players or families, not without removing or fixing a couple of cards. Overall the game mechanics are great but the game may not be suitable for everyone. Use your own judgement on this one. With the right group, it’s really good. I like it.
8 out of 10

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

 

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Preview Review of Stadium

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game that will be available on Kickstarter very soon. I received a prototype of the game with everything needed to play. These are my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!

Stadium is a game by Mark Hanny, published by Joe Magic Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of owners of a multi-million dollar professional football team. They will be making lots of executive decisions like which players to draft, who to hire and what to build for their stadium. Each decision will be carried out by their Vice Presidents in an attempt to earn victory points. In the end, the player with the most victory points will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player is given 3 million dollar tokens. They will then choose a color and are given the 7 blocks of that color, as well as the 2 corresponding vice presidents. The Action board is placed in the middle of the play area. The Stadium Building board is assembled and placed in the middle of the play area. A white bonus chip is placed on the spaces with the arrow symbols on them. The blue employee cards and green player cards are separated into 2 separate decks. Each deck is then shuffled and placed face down next to the boards. The tokens with victory points on them are placed next to the board along with two $5 million tokens in the draft area. The first player is chosen and is given the Commissioner pawn. Play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round consists of 5 steps. In the first step, players will take turns placing one of their vice presidents on the action board, beginning with the commissioner. This continues until each player has placed all of their vice presidents. When a player places one of their vice presidents, they will place them on one of the colored spaces of the board, not in the center white spaces. If there is a bonus token on the space, the player gets a bonus. There are several different spaces that a player can place their vice presidents. The money symbol will give the player a million dollar token. The card symbol will allow the player to draw an employee card from the deck and place it face down in front of themself. They will then draw another card and place it face up next to the board in the draft area. The star symbol allows the player to activate a hired employee. Any spaces that show one of the types of tokens gives the player one of those tokens. Spaces with red tokens or stacked tokens receive added benefits that are noted in the rulebook.

In the second step, players will place, turn over or stack turn tokens. What this means is that for any completely empty spaces where there no vice presidents and no turn tokens, that space receives a white side up turn token. For spaces that have no vice presidents and a white turn token, the player will flip the token over to the red side. For spaces with a red token and no vice presidents, another red token is stacked onto that space. For spaces with a vice president on them, the turn token is removed regardless of which color is on the space. It should be noted that players will be penalized for spaces with stacked tokens remaining on them. This penalty is based on which spaces have stacked tokens on them.

In the third step, players will perform actions based on which spaces their vice presidents occupy. Beginning with the top left of the Action board and moving down to the bottom right, each player that has a vice president on that particular board space will be able to take the action based on the symbol in the middle of the space. There are 9 different spaces. There is a space for Upgrading Equipment that allows the player to gain 2 equipment tokens. There is a space for Player Training that allows the player to trade 2 equipment tokens for 1 win token. There is a space for Hiring Staff that allows the player to either hire a new vice president for 6 million dollar tokens or they may hire as many employees as they would like and can afford that are face down. The hired employee is then placed face up in front of the player. It should be noted that employeed with star effects on them allow the player to use the effect when they play a vice president on a star bonus space. There is a space for the Playbook that allows the player to either take a win token or if they have the correct amount of win tokens, they may place a block on the playoffs, championship, finals or bowl game. There is a space for Building or Gaining Materials that allows the player to either gain a construction token for each money token spent or place a block from their supply onto the stadium building board. The player must then pay the building cost for this latter action. It should be noted that a player is only allowed to place 1 block on the stadium board per turn and that they may have only 1 block on a particular building. It should also be noted that the player must have 1 block on the 1st level before building on level 2. They must have 2 blocks on level 2 before building on level 3. There is a space for Ticket Sales that gives the player one million dollar token for each win they have, up to a maximum of 5. If a player has 10 wins, they receive six million dollar tokens. Skyboxes and new stadiums give ticket bonuses. There is a space for Drafting and Trading that allows the player to pay the signing bonus of an available player and place them face up in front of them. Players can gain win tokens and possibly entertainment tokens during the Game Time step. Trading is done by taking a player from their team and swapping it with a player in the draft area. No signing bonuses are required for trades. It should be noted that the player is only allowed to draft or trade one player per vice president on the space per turn. The player is also allowed to trade a player for a victory point token or a five million dollar token in the draft area. There is a space for Sponsorship Sales that rewards the player with 2 million dollar tokens. There is a space for Merchandising that rewards the player with 2 entertainment tokens and one million dollar token.

In the fourth step, players will resolve Game Time effects and loss effects for stacked turn tokens. First off for each space on card or building that shows a football, the player gains the token shown. Next, the players must each pay salaries to the supply for their players and employees. They also must pay one million for each vice president. If a player can not pay all the salaries, they will lose any players or employees that they do not pay for. The cards go into a discard pile. If a vice president’s salary isn’t paid, then the player can not use them on the next turn to place them on an Action space. Finally the players must calculate their loss. For each space on the action board that has stacked tokens, each player loses a token, employee or player depending on the action space. For more information on the loss for each space, please check out the rulebook.

For the fifth and final step, the player with the Commissioner pawn passes it to the next player in turn order. A new round will then begin.

The game continues until either one owner has used all of their blocks to buy buildings and/or win playoff and championship games. When this happens, the player’s complete the current turn before ending the game. Players will then add up their victory points from cards, buildings and entertainment tokens, as well as bonus tiles and victory point trade tokens. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has some cool looking pieces. There’s the Action board which is a little bit difficult to understand to begin with, but with a bit of help from the rulebook it makes more sense. The graphics and thickness of the board is pretty good. The other board is the multi-tiered Stadium Building board. This is actually one of the coolest parts of the game. I can’t recall having seen three boards assembled together like a football stadium. It’s definitely unique and looks awesome when put together. Again, the iconography is a bit rough to begin with but easier to understand after several plays. There are lots of small and large round tokens. There are tokens for building, equipment, win, million, entertainment, bonuses, victory points and the like. Yes, there’s lots of cardboard tokens with this game. Many of the graphics on these match the iconography on the boards. I do say that for the most part, they all look cool. Next there are the plastic pieces; the vice presidents and the player’s colored blocks. The latter are all brightly colored cubes, while the former are custom plastic meeples. I will say that these VP meeples are quite unique and are fun to play with. Of course the best looking piece is the Commissioner pawn that’s shaped like a football trophy. I really love the design for it. Finally, the last pieces of the game are the cards. There are 2 types of cards, the player cards and the employee cards. The same iconography that is found on other components can be found on these cards as well. Each card has a nice shiny finish and is really easy to shuffle. The card has a silhouette of either the player or employee that it represents with their cost and salary on each one. I have to say that I kind of like how these look. If you want to pretend you’re drafting that all star player from your favorite university, you can. There are no distinguishing pictures or anything to keep you from doing that. That’s another aspect of the components that I really like. Overall, I think that the game looks very nice and has some unique pieces that I’ve never seen before. I’m pretty happy with the overall design.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is pretty much like those of previous Joe Magic games. It has the same type of layouts and design as those. There are several pictures and an example or two in the fairly thin 4 page booklet. Like in the game, Other World, this rulebook tends to jump around a bit and makes things a bit difficult to understand at first. Thankfully the book isn’t that large so it doesn’t cause too much of an actual problem. I will say that I wish that there were more pictures and examples as well as more attention to spacing and details. In many ways, the rules are like a giant run on sentance that can be a bit difficult to read through. I feel like there could have been a better outline of each of the different steps and how the game is won. You basically have to read through the whole thing before you will get it. I also would have like a handy reference on the back of the book to be able to look back at without searching through previous pages. I will say though that there are a few highlighted sections, like the action board and game time. Why were these emphasized and printed in bold bright colors? I have no idea. In any event, the book is a bit of a mess but it gets the job done. While I’m not thrilled with the look or design, it did help me understand how to play the game and isn’t that what a rulebook is supposed to do? I’m hoping that the rulebook for the actual game will be much better.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a fun game that take the game of football into a different direction. I’ve played games like Blood Bowl and 1st & Goal and have enjoyed them. However this game approaches football in a different way. Where the other games go into the actual game of football, this one goes about the day to day of owning and running a football team. From drafting players to hiring staff. Each round you’ll be doing your best to get your team the best options money can buy. You’ll also be building up your stadium with sky boxes, half time shows, food courts and VIP restaurants. You’ll also be trying to motivate your team into the playoffs, the championship and the bowl game. All this will be in an effort to gain victory points. You’ll be doing all this in a worker placement style way, as you place your Vice Presidents on the board to collect different resources. I have to say that I like the mechanics of the game and how everything starts coming together in those later rounds. It’s actually a pretty well rounded game. While it’s not what you’d expect from a game about football, it’s still pretty good. The iconography can take a bit of getting used to, as I think I’ve mentioned earlier, but with a couple of plays you start getting used to it. Fans of euro style worker placement games may enjoy this one. I also think that if you’re looking to experience what it’s like behind an owner’s desk, than you will most likely enjoy this game. If you’re more interested in mixing it up on the gridiron, then you may be a bit disappointed. As it is, I like the game for what it is and find myself enjoying it. I would recommend giving this one a try.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Stadium is a worker placement game where players get to feel what it’s like to be an owner of a pro football team. The play time is pretty average. Most game sessions last a little over an hour. The componets are pretty unique and I like a lot of the different designs. However the iconography takes a couple of play throughs to completely understand. The game itself is quite fun. I like how everything comes together. I especially like the design of the game. It’s definitely a unique take on the football genre. It definitely gives you the feel of being an owner and having to make lots of executive decisions for your team. Fans of worker placement games should enjoy this one, especially if they like football. Players that are more interested in the actual game of football and less on the day to day basics of running a team might find this one a bit off for them. As it is, I rather enjoy the game. There are a few things that are a bit rough around the edges for the game but overall it’s pretty solid. I would recommend giving it a try. No need to keep a trainer handy when playing this game.
8 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://www.joemagicgames.com/

Keep an eye out for the Kickstarter link coming soon.

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Cover Me Review

 

Cover Me is a game by Bram Verbiest, published by Jumping Turtle Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of chief editor of a trendy fashion magazine. They will be trying to influence the upcoming fashion trends by placing the trendiest models from their portfolio onto the cover of their magazine. This will earn the magazine prestige which will help them beat out their competition. In the end, the chief editor that is able to raise the most prestige for their magazine will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Catwalk is placed in the center of the play area along with the Mirror board. The 3 fashion markers for the background patterns are placed on the 0 space of the Catwalk. The 6 fashion markers for the clothes colors are placed near the Catwalk. The 3 fashion markers for the hair length are placed on the 0 space on the first mirror of the Mirror board. The 3 fashion markers for hair color are placed on 0 space of the second mirror of the Mirror board. The year marker is placed on year one of the Mirror board and the season marker is placed on the winter snowflake space of the Mirror board. Players choose a Magazine and take the 2 corresponding cards, placing one in front of themself and the other in a column beneath the Catwalk. Space should be left to the right of this column for rows of 3 cards, as well as above these columns and beneath the Mirror board for the influence row. This row will never have cards more than the number of players. All of the Model cards with red, yellow or blue clothes are shuffled together to form a stack which is placed face down beneath the columns. Cards are drawn from the stack sorting them by hair color until there is at least one of each type placed in a row. If a card matches a color that has already been revealed, then the card is placed on top of the previous card. This keeps going until there are 3 stacks of different hair colors. The green clothes Model cards are shuffled together and placed face down in a stack near the row of Model cards. The black clothes Model cards are shuffled together and placed in a face down stack above the Mirror board. The same thing is done with the white clothes Model cards, shuffling them and placing the stack face down beside the black clothes Model cards. The starting player is chosen and is given the starting player marker. Two cards are drawn from the draw pile and placed into the influence row. The fashion tracks are adjusted based on the Models in this row. Each player is dealt 6 cards each. Beginning with the first player each player will then take either a card from the open draw piles or the face down stack. This continues until each player has 9 cards in their hand. It should be noted that if one of the three draw piles is emptied, then a new card is drawn from the stack and sorted based on hair color until there are 3 draw piles again. This method is the same as mentioned above. Once this is taken care of, play now begins.

The game is played over 3 years. Each year is divided into 4 seasons; winter, spring, summer and fall. Each season is divided into 4 steps or phases. In the first step, players will play Model card from their hand. For each season, 3 months or rounds are played. Each month players will place a Model card face down in the middle of the table next to their magazine card. Once each player has done this, the cards are flipped over and the fashion tracks are adjusted by moving the fashion markers. Each season there are three active fashion traits; hair color, hair length and background pattern or clothes color, which are dependent on the season. It should be noted that during the fall and winter the background pattern is used, while during the spring and summer the color of the clothes is used. Each active trait on the Model card will move the fashion marker that corresponds with that trait one space forward on the track. It should also be noted that the Model cards in the influence row will also count towards tracking each trend and will move the trackers forward as well. The dominant characteristic will become the trend. Once 3 cards have been played for each player and the trackers moved, play moves to the next step.

The second step or phase is to select the most trendy model for each magazine. In this step the players determine the trend value for each of their cover models on the table. The trend value is equal to the number of characteristics that match the season’s overall trends on the fashion tracks. This value can range from 0-3. Each player will determine which of their models is the most trendy. That model will be the one with the highest trend value. That model will be placed in the season special and they remain on the table. The remaining Model cards are returned to the player’s hand. It should be noted that if a player has two models with the same highest trend value, then the player will choose which one will be returned to their hand and which one will stay. If a player has all 3 models with a trend value of 0, then all 3 remain on the table. Once this is completed, play moves to the next step.

The third step or phase is to evaluate the season special and replenish the player’s hand. To start this step, all the cards in the influence row are discarded. Players then check their model(s) still on the table. If their model has a trend value of 3, the card is placed face down beneath their player card and they will score prestige. If their model has a trend value of 1 or 2, the card is placed in the influence row. If their models all have a trend value of 0, then all of them are placed beneath their player card scoring them prestige. Once this has been done, each player will then take turns taking a new card beginning with the starting player until they have 9 cards in their hand again. If the player scored prestige, they are able to take a card from either the open draw piles or the face down stack. If all 3 of their card scored, then they may take all 3 cards one after another. If the player didn’t score prestige, they will take the top 2 cards from the next draw pile, which is beside the open draw piles, and keep 1 card and place the other on the bottom of the next draw pile. Lastly, the season on the season track is adjusted and the starting player marker is passed to the next player in turn order. The fashion tracks are reset back to 0, before adjusting them based on the cover models in the influence row. Play starts back over with the first step, unless the fall season has just completed. In this case, a new year begins.

Starting a new year is the fourth step or phase and only happens after playing through the winter, spring, summer and fall seasons. First off, the year marker is moved to the next year. The next draw pile beside the open draw pile is placed face down on top of the draw stack. The 3 open draw piles are placed into the discard pile. Cards from the new face down draw pile are revealed to form 3 new open draw piles based on hair color. The deck with the next clothes color is moved from above the Mirror board to beside the open draw piles to become the new next draw pile. Starting with the starting player each player in turn order is able to place one of their cards into the discard pile and choose a card from one of the open draw piles or from the face down draw stack. If one of the open draw piles is emptied, then cards are revealed until there are 3 open draw piles again. Play then starts over with the first step or phase.

The game continues until after the fall season of the third year has been played. At this time, the game ends and scoring occurs. Players take all of the cards that they scored beneath their player card and place them face up in front of themself. Each colored card has a specific value. Yellow, red and blue each score 3 points. Green scores 3. Black scores 4 and white score 5. Each player will count up the point values of all their cards. The player with the most prestige points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game is very thematic and beautiful. Let’s start off with the biggest piece, the Catwalk. This is a really large custom cardboard piece that has to be assembled before playing. Once it’s completed, it really brings out the theme of the game. The artwork on it is really great and looks like the back stage of a fashion show with designers and hair and makeup personnel running about in a frenzy. This could have been a simple board or track to keep up with the trends, but the designer went the extra mile and really made this something that stands out. On top of that, when flipped over and placed inside the game box, it doubles as a organizer. There are places to keep the cards and other pieces from moving around. It’s really quite cool. Next there is the Mirror board. This is pretty thick cardboard with some great looking artwork on it too. It too is quite thematic with the look of 2 models looking in a mirror while the track is made up of the light bulbs and makeup around the mirror. Granted, it’s the same model picture only flipped to the other side, it’s still very cool looking and fits in well with the theme. There are several tokens and markers that are included with this game as well. There are hair length markers, hair color markers, a calendar marker and a season marker. These are all thick cardboard. The calendar and season markers are a little larger than the others. The hair length markers show the 3 different lengths of hair on a woman. The hair color has yellow(blonde), orange (red/brown) and black for the different hair colors of the models. I like these pretty well, especially the hair length markers. However I think maybe some wooden pieces like a cloud for the season and maybe just some colored cubes would have worked just as well. It may have even upped the overall look. As it is, these are still cool though. The next things are the background pattern markers, the fashion markers for the clothes colors and the starting player marker. These are little double sided cardboard standees. Mostly they are all just silhouettes with either a colored dress or a different background behind them. I like these and they look pretty good overall. I think that the acrylic pieces that were part of the Kickstarter look a little better than these cardboard pieces though. I sort of wish that there had been some wooden themed meeples, but I understand that this would probably have upped the price of the game too much. Still, these markers look thematic and bring the game to life. The final components of this game are the cards. There are 10 player cards for the player’s magazine, 2 of 5 different designs. Each one represents a different fictional magazine. I like these and how different each one is. Of course the best part of the game is the Model cards. There are a whole bunch of these. These have designs of different women and each card is simply amazing. The artwork on them is great. I like how it seems that the artist took a picture and painted each one. The designs really bring the game to life and are the absolute highlight of it. The iconography on these cards is very simple and doesn’t take long to learn. Needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of great looking games over the past year, but this has to be one of the best of 2017. I’m amazed at the detail and love that was put into the look and theme of this game. It’s jaw dropping amazing.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
This game came with 2 rulebooks included, one in English and one in German. These are very well designed. There are plenty of great looking pictures and examples throughout the books. There are 3 pages of pictures that include the details of each card, a listing of components and a detailed setup. The book isn’t that long and is very easy to read through and understand. There are even tips for playing the game included. The last page of the book contains rule adjustments for playing with only 2 players. The back cover contains several variants for longer games, shorter games and for having all cards have the same value. There’s even an advanced variant for 2 players included which gives a bigger challenge and lowers the luck factor of the game. About the only thing missing is a reference guide on the back cover. Even without that, the book looks really great as a whole. I feel that it is well designed and I’m pretty much happy with the whole thing.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Upon first looking at this one, I thought of the game Pret-a-Porter. That’s probably due to the theme of the game which is fashion. I’m sure that there are plenty of guys out there that are probably thinking, “why would I want to play a game about fashion?”. The answer is because it’s fun. While you are dealing with fashion in a way, the game is actually more about manipulating the system to make the cards you play become worth more points. In this way, it feels a bit more like an economic game. Each time you play a card, you’re having to think about what the current trend is and how that you can adjust those tracks with the cards in your hand so that you can score the most points. Of course if you’re trying to score all 3 cards by matching none of the trends, that’s the most difficult thing to do. I will say that I like that this rule is included, but so far I have yet been able to accomplish the task. There is a bit of luck involved, especially if you’re playing a 2 player game without the advanced rules variant. That said, there is still a fairly good bit of strategy involved too. As I said, making the right decisions on which models to play is the key. I really like that the game is so thematic, even the components are smothered in theme. There is one thing that I didn’t mention in the components section about the cards that I’d like to bring up. That is that the models are very diverse. It’s not like they only chose skinny girls or girls of a particular race. There is every race and size there. The models are not objectified and are not wearing clothing that is too revealing or anything of that nature. I really feel that because of this, players are able to play the game without getting into an uncomfortable discussion about ethics or morals. One thing that I really love about this game is that, as a father of a young daughter, I can play this game with her and feel comfortable with it. This allows her to see that there are women of all shapes, sizes and races and that you don’t have to be a particular one to be beautiful. Ok, I realize I’m getting off the subject a bit, but I felt that I needed to say that. Anyway as for the game, I really feel that this is a great game that can be adjusted to your own game play styles. If it feels a bit too long, there are ways to shorten it. If you’re wanting more, than you can make it longer. My daughter and I really enjoy this one. I think that fans of games like Pret-a-Porter or Rococo should enjoy the fashion aspect of this game. I also think that this is a good family game, especially for those of us with daughters. Even male players can enjoy the game if they like a game with an economic feel to it. Overall, I enjoy it. This is one that I would recommend. It might not be for everyone, but I really think you should give it a try anyway. You might find that you like it more than you thought you would.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Cover Me is a thematic game about running a fashion magazine that is fairly simple to learn and play. The length of the game can be adjusted to fit your play needs. However most game sessions last around 45 minutes to an hour. The components are great. They are very thematic and look amazing. I especially like the cards with the diversity of models, as well as the beautiful designs. The Catwalk, while a bit overproduced, is quite cool and makes a great organizer for inside the game box. The Kickstarter version adds a bit more pizzazz to the game that the regular version is lacking. I would have liked some wooden meeples and pieces to make the game even more thematic. The game itself is quite enjoyable and has a bit of an economic feel while incorporating a fairly underused theme. With ways of shortening or lengthening the game as well as special rules for 2 player games, this should appeal to a wide variety of players. As a family game, it’s very good especially for families with daughters. While the game does have a fair amount of luck, especially in the 2 player game, it can be fairly strategic as well. Some of that luck can be adjusted with the variant rules when playing with only 2. Fans of fashion games like Rococo and Pret-a-Porter should enjoy this one. Overall I enjoy this game immensely. While the theme may turn some gamers away, this is one that should definitely be tried. This is a game that I would definitely recommend. No tickets to Paris or Milan are required.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.jumpingturtlegames.be/en/

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