Samurai Gardener Review

Samurai Gardener is a game by Hisashi Hayashi, published by Osprey Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of gardener for a feudal lord during the time of the Samurai. Players will be trying to build the most impressive garden to bring honour to their lord and themself. The player that is able to arrange the best garden will be declared the winner.

To begin, the board is placed in the middle of the play area. Each player chooses a colored score marker and places it at the 0 position. Players are given a set of feature cards which are placed face up in front of them. The garden cards are shuffled together. One card is drawn and placed face up in front of each player. The remaining deck is placed face down near the board. The player that shuffled the cards is the starting player. Play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round the starting player will draw one card from the deck per player and place it face up in the middle of the play area. Players will then place their hands palms down on their lap. The starting player then calls out, “Ei, Ei!” The remaining players will then shout, “Oh!” and try to place their hand on the card they want as quickly as possible. The first player to place their hand on a card receives that card. If a card has already been taken, the player must quickly choose another one to place their hand on. Once all players have a card, they must then place it into their garden following a set of guidelines. Those guidelines are as follows. First, garden cards must be played vertically and must be placed beside or partially over a card already in the player’s garden. If it is placed beside a previous card, at least one square on the card must be adjacent to a square on a previously placed card. If it is overlapping, then at least one square must be on top of another square on a previously placed card. When placing an overlapping card, the player is not allowed to place it so that it covers any part of a row or column of 3 or more squares of the same type. Once the card has been placed, the player is able to score points if they were able to create a new row of 3 or more squares of the same type. Every time that a player scores a row, they must flip the matching feature card face down. However, the player is only able to score a row if their matching feature card is face up. Feature cards will only flip face up once all four of them have been turned face down. This happens immediately after the last one is flipped face down. Once players have scored their points, moving their score marker on the board, the next player in turn order becomes the starting player for the round. A new round then begins.

The game continues until one of two things happens. If a player scores over 25 points, the game ends and that player is the winner. If there aren’t enough cards in the deck left to start a new round, the game ends. In this case, the player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has some fairly nice looking pieces to it. There’s a nice thick score board that is really sturdy and has a nice linen finish to it. Unfortunately there’s not any art or picture on the board. It’s just a bunch of numbers in rows. It looks nice but could have used a little flair to it. The scoring markers are colorful plastic cubes that are larger than the normal wooden cubes in most euro games. These actually bring a nice splash of color to an otherwise fairly bland board. Finally, there are the cards. These include the 4 scoring aid cards that are nice references to have. Each card has a smooth finish which makes them a little difficult to shuffle and separate from each other as they have a tendency to cling together. I would really have preferred a nice linen finish to make them easier to shuffle and separate. There are 2 types of cards, feature cards and garden cards. The feature cards have nice big pictures of the different features that they represent. The art is pretty representative of what each feature is. The garden cards have 6 squares on them with various configurations of the 4 different features. Sometimes these images will be a little more elaborate than the picture on the feature cards. Such as a path that has a dog on it, or a tatami with a mat. These look pretty nice. I will say that I’m not completely sold on the design, but it’s not bad either. Overall I think that the components get the job done, but could have really used a bit more thought to make them really note worthy. As it is, they’re good.
7 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is rather nice. It has plenty of pictures and examples throughout. Each step of the game is explained in very good detail, usually with plenty of pictures and examples to help the player understand the concept. The book isn’t very thick so it doesn’t take much time to read through and nothing is difficult to understand either. The book has a small section with some optional rules for playing with younger players which I was very happy about. Overall I think the book looks good and it covers everything in plenty of detail. There’s nothing here to dislike.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is an interesting mix of several things. For one, the dexterity aspect of grabbing a card or slapping your hand down on a card reminds me of the snatch and grab part of games like Kitty Paw or Loonacy. I’m not a fan of dexterity games and so this rush for the card that you want isn’t fun for me. Playing with my daughter, I usually have to be a little lenient on how quickly I grab a card or she gets upset that I picked the one she wanted. Not that I’m going to always let her grab any card she wants, but I will slow my grab sometimes to let her get a bit of a one up on old Dad. The second part is the tile laying, or in this case card laying. This also makes me think of Kitty Paw, as well as Carcassonne and Kingdomino. Once again, I’m not a fan of most tile laying games. However I don’t really mind that aspect in this game. It does make you think a bit more ahead as you try to figure out which tile you want to get to add to your tableau. It’s not as annoying as I found most tile laying games. For me, it fits more in line with Kingdomino, a game that I actually like playing. My daughter liked building up her garden with the different features, much like Kingdomino. So for her, she liked it too. This isn’t a game that everyone will enjoy. By all rights, it doesn’t feature mechanics and elements of gameplay that I normally would enjoy. However, I don’t mind this game. It’s actually not bad. It’s not my favorite, but it’s one that I won’t mind playing again. Fans of tile laying games like Carcassonne or Kingdomino should like this one. For those players, I would recommend this game. For everyone else I’d say give it a try, you might like it.
7 out of 10

OVERALL
Samurai Gardener is a light weight tile laying game. It’s not a very long game. Most game sessions last around 15-20 minutes. The components are all ok but could have used a little more thought. The cards look nice but would have been better with a linen finish. The scoring markers are really nice and look quite cool, but the board is lacking a bit. The game itself is a mix of dexterity and tile laying, both of which I’m not normally a fan of. That said, the game isn’t bad, even for me. I do find the tile laying aspect of the game to be rather good and is something that I don’t mind playing. It’s a good family game and is one that everyone can play with relative ease. It’s not a difficult game so even the kids can enjoy it. Fans of tile laying games like Kingdomino or Carcassonne should like this one. I would recommend this for those players, but would suggest everyone else to give it a try. It won’t be for everyone but I found it to be worth playing again. You never know, it might just be a hidden gem for you.
7 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

https://ospreypublishing.com/store/osprey-games/

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

DC Deck Building Game: Confrontations Review

DC Deck Building Game: Confrontations is a standalone game as well as an expansion for the DC Deck Building Game by Matt Hyra and Nathaniel Yamaguchi, published by Crytozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-4 players. This expansion adds 4 hero and 4 villain characters to play as, as well as new main deck cards and new enhanced strength cards. It also has new artwork and designs for starting cards and weaknesses.

For more information on the DC Deck Building game and how to play it, as well as all the different sets that this product can be used with, please check out the link at the bottom of the review.

Setting up and playing this game is a little different than either the DC Comics Deck Building Game or the expansion/standalone product Rivals- Batman vs The Joker. Although there are some familiar aspects in the latter of the two. With that in mind, I’ll give you a brief explanation of how to set up and play this version. Before I start though, let me mention that this review will mainly cover the 4 player rules. There are variant rules for playing with 2 or 3 players that I will briefly touch on in the gameplay section below. All that said, let’s begin.

To begin, players choose a teammate and then choose a character to play. It should be noted that partners should sit beside each other so that they can compare their cards and discuss strategies. Each player will then place their 3 oversized character cards on top of each other with the 9 on top, the 12 in the middle and the 15 on the bottom. Each player then takes 7 Punches and 3 Vulnerability cards to create their starting deck. The Main Deck is shuffled together and placed face down in the middle of the play area. The top 5 cards of the deck are then placed side by side in a row beside the Main Deck called the Line Up . The Enhanced Strength and Weakness cards are placed in separate stacks at the end of the Line Up. The first player is chosen. That player will then take the number 1 token. Their opponent across from them will take the number 2 token. The first player’s partner takes the number 3 token and the number 4 token goes to the last player. These tokens are placed beside each player’s character card. Players shuffle their deck and draw the top 5 cards to create their starting hand. Play now begins.

On a player’s turn, the player will resolve any start of turn effects. They are then able to choose to announce a Confrontation with the lowest cost opposing Character or they may simply play as many cards from their hand as they would like in order to gain Power and purchase other cards. I’ll discuss Confrontations in a bit more detail a little bit later, for now just understand that this is an option. Each time a card is played, it’s text is resolved immediately. The player will then gain Power which can be used to purchase cards from the Line Up or Enhanced Strength stack. These cards will help make the player’s deck stronger. Any bought or gained cards are placed face up in the player’s discard pile. Once a player has finished playing cards and making purchases, they will announce the end of their turn. Any remaining cards in the player’s hand are placed into their discard pile. Any end of turn effects are resolved at this time. Any cards that were played are now placed into the player’s discard pile. Any unspent Power is lost at this time. Five cards are then drawn from the player’s deck. If there aren’t enough cards to draw five, the player’s discard pile is shuffled to create a new face down deck. The remaining cards are then drawn. Play then passes to the next player in turn order.

Play continues until one of the following two conditions is met. If an opponent’s last character card has been defeated, then the game ends and that player’s team wins. If there aren’t enough cards left in the Main Deck to refill all five slots in the Line Up, then the game ends. In this last case, all of the Location cards, cards in the player’s hand and discard pile are returned to the player’s deck. Each player will then total up the Victory Points on the cards in their deck. Weakness cards will subtract points from the player’s total. The team with the most combined points is the winner.

Earlier I mentioned Confrontations, these are the only way that an opponent can be defeated. When a player chooses to Confront an opponent, they are not allowed to later purchase cards on their turn. The player will play cards from their hand to gain Power which they will use to try and defeat their opponent’s lowest character. The player must play all the cards that they wish to play at this time. Their teammate may also play assist cards that will help them gain Power. Once both players have finished playing cards, they must announce to their opponents that they have finished. The opponents are then allowed to play block cards in order to increase the character’s Confrontation cost. If the players are still able to have as much or more Power than the opponent’s character Confrontation cost, then they defeat that version of their opponent’s character. That card is then removed from the player’s character card stack and placed near the attacking player’s side of the table. Once a player’s last character card is defeated, that team loses.

COMPONENTS
So as you can see, there’s a lot going on here, but what does this add to the base game of the DC Deck Building Game? Well for starters, there’s a really cool thick plastic card that is used as a divider making it possible to add the contents of this game to the Multiverse box. There’s also a randomizer card to be used with that game’s content and rules. There are 24 oversized character cards, 3 for each character. There are cards for Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Zatanna, Lex Luthor, Circe, Ocean Master and Felix Faust. These are very much like the cards for Batman and the Joker in the Rivals expansion. There are the new Enhanced Strength cards which take the place of the Kick cards in previous versions. There are Punch, Vulnerability and Weakness cards, all with new artwork. Finally there’s the Main Deck with cards appropriate for each of the characters. Just like previous versions, the artwork on each card is amazing. I like that there are Punch and Vulnerabilty cards with artwork for both the heroes and the villains. I’m really happy with the overall look and feel of the many different cards and types. Overall, there’s a lot to like here, especially for fans of the Rivals – Batman vs. The Joker game. Extremely well done.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is very similar is style, setup and size to those in previous versions. There are lots of great pictures and examples throughout the book, including how the game should look when setup. Everything is explained really well and there’s nothing difficult to understand. All of the new card types are explained in great detail. There’s even a section for several cards that clarify how each one works. The book also has instructions for using this with Rivals. There’s also a section that explains how to play with only 2 or 3 players. Mainly this involves how the Assist cards work. The back cover has a really great reference guide with turn sequence and what happens at the end of a turn. Overall I feel like this does a good job at explaining everything and it looks good in the process.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Anyone familiar with the Rivals- Batman vs The Joker expansion/standalone game for the DC Comics Deck Building Game should find lots of familiar things here. Personally, I really enjoyed playing that version. That should come as no surprise as I’ve really enjoyed the entire DC Deck Building Game collection. This is no exception. I had hoped for more characters to be able to play against each other like Batman and the Joker. I have to be honest though, I had hoped for the Flash or possibly Green Lantern instead of Zatanna and Aquaman. Look I have nothing against either of those characters, they’re both great in their own ways. I just tend to like Flash and GL better. Call it a personal preference. Still, now there are more options to choose from and a more dynamic gameplay. It’s also possible to play with more than just 2 players which I like a lot. It makes it feel more like an actual team up like those old issues of the Brave and the Bold comics. Honestly, that’s the way to play this game. I do like playing 2 players, but 4 is the real way to go. That way the Assist keyword actually comes into play and works correctly. Not that you’re not able to use them in a 2 player game, it just plays differently. Instead of your teammate helping you out, you’re placing an Assist card on your own character card to be used in a later turn. It works, but it feels a bit odd at times. The confrontations make me think of Munchkin in a way. The attacking player is playing all these cards from their hand in order to try and beat, in this case, the opponent’s character. It has a bit of that same feel but looks a lot better doing it. I think fans of the DC Deck Building Game will really enjoy this version, especially if they liked Rivals. I would definitely recommend it. In my opinion, it’s a must have expansion.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
DC Deck Building Game: Confrontations is an expansion/standalone game for the DC Deck Building Game that provides a new way of playing team battles. It adds lots of new material that plays a lot like Rivals – Batman vs. the Joker, except on a larger scale. It provides the players with 8 characters to play as including Wonder Woman, Superman, Zatanna, Aquaman, Lex Luthor, Circe, Ocean Master and Felix Faust. The game doesn’t take that long to play. Most game sessions last around 30-40 minutes. The cards look amazing. I really love the artwork especially on the new character cards. There’s a lot of new artwork on the regular cards as well as lots of new locations, villains, heroes, super powers and equipment. Each new card fits in with one of the hero or villain’s worlds. The game play is a lot like Rivals except with a bit of a twist and it allows for 4 players to play in teams of 2. In every way, this game just works for me. Fans of Rivals or any of the DC Deck Building Games should love this. I highly recommend it. It’s a must have in my book. Now if you’ll excuse me, Lex Luthor and Ocean Master are trying to take over the world again. Up, Up and Away!
9 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/

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

Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis: Animation Annihilation Review

Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis: Animation Annihilation is a standalone game as well as an expansion for Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis by Matt Dunn, published by Crytozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-4 players. This expansion adds new Nemesis, Event and Main Deck cards, as well as all new Oversized Character cards to play as.

For more information on the original Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis game, please check out the link at the bottom of the review.

Before I get into all of the new cards that this expansion adds to the game, I’d like to take a few moments to go over how to set up and play the game. As I said, this expansion can be played both with the original game and by itself. I will discuss adding both this expansion and the main game in the gameplay section below. For now, I’ll simply cover setting up and playing this expansion by itself. To begin, each player may be dealt a random Oversized Character card, dealt two random cards or they may simply choose their favorite character to play. As long as each player has a single Oversized Character card, it’s fine. The card is placed face up in front of the player. Each player is then given 7 Punchies and 3 Pratfall cards. These cards are shuffled together and make up each player’s starting deck. The Event cards are added to the Main Deck which is then shuffled together. The Main Deck is then placed face down in the middle of the play area. The Kanker Sisters Nemesis card is set aside for the moment. The remaining Nemesis cards are then shuffled together before being placed face down across from the Main Deck in the middle of the play area. The Kanker Sisters card is then placed on top of the face down stack. The top 5 cards from the Main Deck are placed side by side beside the deck in a row called the Line Up. The Inside Joke and Weakness cards are placed in separate stacks above and below the Nemesis cards stack. It should be noted that if there is more than 1 Event card face up in the Line Up, the additional Event cards should be removed from the game and replaced with cards from the Main Deck until there’s only 1 Event card face up. Each player will now draw 5 cards from their deck. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they will be able to play as many cards from their hand as they would like. It should be noted that Weakness cards must be played first before any other cards. Each time a card is played, it’s text is resolved immediately. Many times the player will gain Power which is then used to purchase cards from the Line Up, Nemesis stack or Inside Joke stack. Any bought or gained cards are placed face up in the player’s discard pile. Once a player has finished playing cards and making purchases, they will announce the end of their turn. Any remaining cards in the player’s hand are placed into their discard pile. Any end of turn effects are resolved at this time. Any cards that were played are now placed into the player’s discard pile. Any unspent Power is lost at this time. Five cards are then drawn from the player’s deck. If there aren’t enough cards to draw five, the player’s discard pile is shuffled to create a new face down deck. The remaining cards are then drawn. If the top card of the Nemesis stack is face down, it is now flipped face up. The card’s Group Attack is read aloud and resolved. Play then passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until one of two conditions is met. If there are no more Nemesis cards left to flip up new card, then the game ends. If there aren’t enough cards to refill the Line Up back to 5 cards, then the game ends. All of the Location cards, cards in the player’s hand and discard pile are returned to the player’s deck. Each player will then total up the Victory Points on the cards in their deck. The player with the most points is the winner.

Now with a good grasp of the rules, what all does this expansion add to the game. Well to begin with there are 6 new playable characters, including the Powerpuff Girls, Uncle Grandpa, Cow and Chicken, Billy & Mandy, Fionna & Cake and Ed, Edd n Eddy. There are also new Weakness cards, Event cards, Main Deck cards and Nemesis cards. All of these feature characters, locations and other things associated with the shows from Cartoon Network that feature the previously mentioned characters. Gone is the keyword of Rock, Paper, Scissors…enter the new keyword Wonder. Wonder simply means that the player reveals cards from the top of the main deck until they reveal a non-Event, non-Location card. The player then plays that card, gaining any benefits from it, before placing it into the Line Up. Any other revealed cards are placed on the bottom of the main deck.

COMPONENTS
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of new cards included with this expansion to add to the orginal game. There are the 6 new characters that come with the game. I love having Cow and Chicken as well as Ed, Edd and Eddy. Of course my daughter really loves Fiona and Cake and the Powerpuff Girls. No surprise there. The new Weakness cards introduce a lot of new surprises as do the Event cards. There’s also plenty of new artwork for the regular cards like the Pratfalls, Punchies and Inside Jokes. As I mentioned before, each of the highlighted cartoon worlds are represented in the different Nemesis cards, Locations, Hero cards, Villains, Super Powers and Equipment cards. There does seem to be fewer cards in this as opposed to the base game. Of course there’s still plenty of cards to play with without even needing the base game. However for us, we love being able to add all the new material with the main game for a massive royal rumble of epic proportions. The artwork is really great and has plenty of screen captures from the various shows that each one represents. I think that overall everything looks good and that it provides plenty of stuff to make the kids happy. That makes me happy.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is the same size as the large rulebook included with the base game. That’s pretty much the same as those of all the large box Cerberus Engine card games too. There’s plenty of great looking pictures and examples throughout the book. Everything is explained really well and it’s easy to read and understand. There are break downs of each of the main card types with explanations of what they are and what they do. There’s a great section that explains the different keywords that this game introduces as well as discussing the ones that had also been a part of the first game. There’s also a section describing how to combine this expansion with the base game. That’s the part that I’m most happy with. The book also clarifies several different cards, as well as providing a nice section for frequently asked questions. Overall I find that the rulebook follows a set pattern that has been seen in both the previous rulebook as well as those of all the Cerberus Engine games. That pattern seems to work, so why stop using it. I think everything here looks great.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I’ve really enjoyed all of the different cartoons on Cartoon Network over the years. I’ve been especially fond of shows like Ed, Edd n Eddy and Cow and Chicken. My son especially liked those as he was growing up. We’ve also enjoyed Courage the Cowardly Dog and Adventure Time, but that’s a different story. Now as my daughter has been starting to watch some of these older shows as well as some of the newer stuff like Uncle Grandpa and Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake, she’s started enjoying some of the same shows that my son and I did. Enter this expansion. We’ve already enjoyed the first game but other than Dee Dee, my daughter didn’t really have a wealth of characters that she felt comfortable playing. Of course she liked finding the different Crystal Gems from Steven Universe in the first game, but that’s a different review. This game gave us Fiona & Cake and the Powerpuff Girls. Not to mention the combos of Billy & Mandy and Cow and Chicken. Both of which include girl characters. In case you were wondering. You can’t believe the excitement my daughter had when she was able to play as these new characters in a game system that she already enjoyed. We’ve played the DC Deck Building game several times, but she seems a bit disconnected some times with that one. With this game, it features characters that are right up her alley. Characters from shows that she watches regularly and truly enjoys. It adds lots of new material to an already great game system in the Cerberus engine. Needless to say, we like this one a lot. The new characters are great and the new keywords are fun to use. Have to say, I got sick of the rock, paper, scissors from the first one. This one is a bit more fun in my opinion. Of course the best part is that if you already own the base game, you can combine it with this expansion to create an awesome fusion. Kind of like when all the lions come together to form Voltron. When combining the games you can use characters from both games. However you’ll only be using 15 of the Event cards with the combined Main Decks though. You’ll also use 7 or less Nemesis cards along with either the Kanker Sisters of the Ice King from the first game. The exact number will be dependent on the number of players. Other than that, everything plays pretty much the same. Fans of the original Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis will love this expansion. Deck Building fans with young kids will definitely enjoy this either by itself or with the first game. Needless to say, my daughter and I really enjoy it. I would definitely recommend it as a family game or for playing with the kids. It’s a lot of fun.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis: Animation Annihilation is an expansion for the Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis game, as well as being a stand alone game. It adds 6 new characters, new Events, new Weaknesses, new Main Deck cards and new Nemesis cards. It focuses on characters and things from the featured shows of the Powerpuff Girls, Uncle Grandpa, Cow and Chicken, Billy & Mandy, Ed, Edd n Eddy and Adventure Time with Fiona & Cake. Play time remains pretty much the same with most games lasting around 30 minutes or so. The cards are great and my daughter and I both love the artwork on them. The game works great both as a stand alone game or combined with the original game. I like that the rock, paper, scissors keyword has been replaced with the new Wonder keyword. Fans of the featured shows will really enjoy this game, as will fans of the original Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis. This is a great game to be played with kids or families. It provides plenty of player interaction and will make you laugh. We’ve really enjoyed it and look forward to playing it a lot more. Stop Wondering, it’s good fun.
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/

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

Valeria: Card Kingdoms Review

Valeria: Card Kingdoms is a game by Isaias Vallejo, published by Daily Magic Games. It is for 1-5 players. In this game, players will take on the role of Duke or Duchess of a fantasy kingdom. They will be slaying monsters, recruiting citizens an expanding their kingdom’s domain. By doing these things, they will gain influence in the form of victory points. In the end, the player that can best rule their kingdom and gain the most victory points will be declared the winner.

To begin, all of the cards with the 5 player icon on them should be removed from the game. All of the cards should be sorted into their initial stacks. The play area consists of a 5 by 4 grid of cards. The Monster cards should be sorted into stacks using the area icon at the top of each one. Each stack should then be arranged face up with the lowest strength card on the top and the highest strength on the bottom. The Monster stacks should be placed in the top row of the play area with the lowest strength stack on the left and the highest strength stack on the right. It is suggested that for the first game, a certain set of cards should be used in each stack and the others returned to the box. For more information on the exact cards used, please consult the rulebook. The second and third rows in the play area consists of the Citizen cards. These cards are sorted into separate stacks by name. One type per activation number should be chosen and placed in ascending order. The remaining cards are returned to the box. For the first game, it is suggested to use certain citizen types. For more information on the exact cards used, please consult the rulebook. The bottom row in the play area consists of the Domain cards. These cards should be shuffled together. Two cards are dealt face down to each place in the bottom row. One card is then dealt face up to each stack. The remaining Domain cards are returned to the box. Two Exhausted cards per player are placed in a stack above the Monster row. The remaining Exhausted cards are returned to the box. Each player is then given a Starter Peasant and Starter Knight card. They also receive a reference card, 2 Gold tokens and a Magic token. All of the remaining tokens and multiplier tokens are placed into separate piles within reach of all players. The Duke cards are shuffled together and each player is dealt 2 cards. Each player will then select 1 of the cards to keep and return the other along with the remaining Duke cards to the box. Players should keep their Duke card secret from the other players. The first player is chosen and is given the First Player token and the dice. Play now begins.

The game is played through a series of turns. Each turn is divided into 4 phases; roll phase, harvest phase, action phase and end phase. The first phase is the roll phase. In this phase the active player will roll both dice. The number on each die will activate matching Citizens in a player’s tableau during the Harvest phase. During this phase, players may use the power of any of their Domain cards. This may include changing a die. Once all players have finished, the active player announces the results of the roll, ending the phase.

The next phase is the harvest phase. In this phase players check their Citizen cards to see if they match the number on either of the dice rolled. If they do, then the player will activate one of the powers on the bottom of the card. If they are the active player, then they activate the power on the left side. If they are not the active player, then the activate the power on the right side. If a player receives or pays tokens during this phase, then they are taken from or paid to the supply unless otherwise noted on the card. It should be noted that the Thief is the only Citizen card that takes from another player. This Citizen card always acts first before any other Citizens activate. If a player has no Citizens that activated during this phase, then they may take any one resource from the supply. Once all players have finished, the phase ends.

The third phase is the action phase. In this phase, the active player will take 2 actions from a list of 4. Those actions are slay a monster, recruit a citizen, gain a resource and build a domain. To slay a monster, the player takes a Monster card on top of one of the stacks and pays the strength and resources equal to the cost on the card. The Monster card is then placed face up in the players Victory stack, collecting any bonuses provided on the bottom of the card. To recruit a citizen, the player takes a Citizen card on top of one of the stacks and pays the resources equal to the Gold cost on the Citizen card plus 1 additional Gold for each duplicate Citizen card the player already has in their tableau. The player then places the Citizen card face up in their tableau to be activated on future rolls. It should be noted that when slaying a monster or recruiting a citizen, magic tokens may be used in place of all but one of the resources required for the card. To gain a resource, the player simply takes one of the resource tokens from the supply, adding it to their pool. That resource can be either gold, strength or a magic token. To build a domain, the player takes a Domain card from the top of a stack and adds it face up to their tableau. That is as long as the player has Citizens in their tableau that have the corresponding Citizen Role icons on them. If there are mutiple Citizen Role icons on the Domain card, then the player must have an equal number of matching Citizens in their tableau. The player must also pay the gold cost on the Domain card. It should be noted that player are also allowed to use Magic tokens in place of all but 1 of the gold tokens. Once the Domain is added, the player gains any bonuses provided by the card. The player then reveals the next Domain card in the stack by flipping it over. Once the active player has taken 2 actions, the phase ends. It should be noted that the active player is allowed to take the same action twice if they choose. Also, if a stack ever runs out of cards, the player must add an Exhausted card to the empty space.

The last phase is the end phase. In this phase, the players check to see if any of the end game conditions have been met. If one of them has been, then play continues until all players have had an equal number of turns. This is noted by the turn order returning to the player with the first player token. If the end game conditions have not been met, then the active player passes the dice to the next player in turn order and a new turn begins.

The game continues until the end game conditions have been met as noted above. Once this happens and all players have had an equal number of turns, the game ends. The game can end if all of the monsters have been slain, if all of the domains have been built or if the number of exhausted stacks is equal to two times the number of players. Once the game ends, players add up their victory points from slain monsters, built domains, victory point tokens and from the player’s Duke. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of great looking pieces to it. To begin with there are these 2 huge six sided dice that have a great looking marble style finish to them. They are almost the same size as the die in King of Tokyo. There are also several brightly colored wooden tokens for strength, gold, magic and victory points. These are really nice and look cool. I do wish they had a bit of a design on them instead of simply being plain, but wooden pieces are better than cardboard so I’m not complaining. The game also has some thick card board multiplier tokens to use with the wooden tokens. These make it where you don’t have to use as many of the wooden pieces to count tokens. There’s also a first player and resting token in cardboard as well. The game comes with some nice dividers to place all the cards into the very spacious and awesome looking insert. Yes, the game has a truly great looking insert inside the box. There’s plenty of room for expansions and everything fits in great. The cards are gorgeous. I love how cool the artwork is on each one. There are several different types of cards including some reference cards to help while playing the game. Needless to say, I love how cool everything looks in this game. The fantasy theme is very much a part of the look and feel. It’s truly a great looking game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this one is really quite nice. There are lots of great looking pictures and examples throughout the book. There are pictures of the different components and a great setup picture as well. All of the different phases of the game are explained really well. The different card types are also explained in great detail with pictures too. The rule book also includes a 5 player rule variant as well as an amazing solo variant. The rules also have a mixed citizen variant where all the citizen cards of the same activation number are shuffled together into stacks so that you never know what the next Citizen card might be. The book also has a section devoted to the clarification of several of the cards as well as a section for recommended starting setups that focus on different aspects of the game. The back cover has a quick play reference that’s very handy. It also has a section of important concepts and how to end the game. All in all, the book is very well designed. Everything looks good and is quite easy to read. I didn’t see anything that looked difficult to understand at all.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me go right ahead and get the obvious out of the way. In a lot of ways, this plays like Machi Koro but with a fantasy theme. That said, this game really improves and adds a lot more depth to the actual game play than what is included with Machi Koro. Yes, you will be rolling dice on your turn and activating different cards. However this game you’ll have citizens that activate on the dice rolls and domains that will give you abilities that can change up the roll or do other things. You have monsters that you can kill off to gain victory points and bonuses. You have a Duke card that will help you focus your style of gameplay into certain areas to better gain more points. This game is just so much deeper and richer and I love it. I like the variations to the rules, especially the solo rules. I will say that the solo is a little bit random but is still quite a lot of fun. It has the same type of feel playing against the Dark Lord as when I play Ascension solo. That’s not a bad thing, as I like playing Ascension solo a lot. I like that as you play the monsters get harder. I also like that as you build up what I commonly refer to as your village, you get more able to do more things and fight those stronger monsters. This is not a difficult game at all and it’s one that even the kids can enjoy. The iconography does take a little bit of getting used to but after a couple of plays you’ll get it. This isn’t an overly strategic game but I think some strategy gamers will still enjoy it, especially if they like the fantasy style theme. Fans of games like Machi Koro or even deck builders like Ascension should enjoy this one, especially since the game has some similarities to Machi Koro. Overall this is a really great game that has overtaken Machi Koro in my heart. I would highly recommend it.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
Valeria: Card Kingdoms is a light weight fantasy themed tableau building game. It’s not a very long game. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes or so. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous. I love the look and feel of the cards and the wooden pieces that are included with the game. The game itself is really fun and has a lot of similarities with the game Machi Koro. There are several variations that allow the game to be played with as many as 5 players or few as 1. As a solo game, it has a bit of randomness much like playing Ascension solo, but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s family friendly and simple enough that everyone can play. It combines aspects of card drafting and tableau building in a fantasy realm to create a truly enjoyable game that the whole family will love. Fans of games like Machi Koro and Ascension should really enjoy this one. This is a game that I would highly recommend. Move over Machi Koro, Dad has a brand new love.
9 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

https://www.dailymagicgames.com/

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

Preview Review of Shadow Strike Melee

Recently I was given the opportunity to preview an upcoming new game that is currently available to back on Kickstarter. I received a preview copy of the game and rules. These are my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!

Shadow Strike Melee is a game by Johannes Benjamin III, James Muckell and Josh Buel, published by Pure Fun Games. It is for 3-9 players. In this game, players take on the role of a ninja student trying to complete their final test to become a full fledged ninja warrior. That test comes in the form of an all out brawl with the other students. If they are able to knock out all of the other players and become the last ninja standing, they will be declared the winner.

To begin, the fight cards and the item cards are separated by their backings into decks. Each deck is then shuffled to create 2 different face down draw piles. Each player is dealt 3 fight cards and 3 item cards. The fight cards are held so that the numbered sides are towards the other players, while the item cards are held normally with the numbered sides facing the player. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they will choose an opponent to fight. The player will then play one of their fight cards face up to the table. The opponent will then play one of their own fight cards in response. Certain item cards may be played to help out either before or during the fight. The player with the lower fight card loses the fight and must turn one of their fight cards in their hand so that the hit icon faces towards their opponents. Both players will then replace the card they played by drawing a card for each played card from the appropriate draw pile. Face out cards that were played should be replaced face out after drawing, while face in cards should be replaced face in. Item cards are only drawn when the player has no more item cards in their hand. Three new item cards are drawn at that time. Fight cards and item cards that were used are discarded face up next to their appropriate decks. Play then passes to the next player.

The game continues until a player has all 3 of their fight cards turned face in to show 3 hits. At this time, the player is KO’d and must discard all of their cards to the appropriate piles. The game continues until only one player is left standing and all the other players have been KO’d. At this time, the final player is the winner.

COMPONENTS
Since this is a preview copy, I won’t go into a whole lot of detail here. I will say that the game comes with 2 decks of cards. There is an item deck and a fight deck. The artwork on both decks is very cute and funny. I love the very humorous artwork. The iconography isn’t difficult to understand either. There’s plenty of explanations on the cards so it’s pretty simple. The cards themselves are very good quality, with a good finish and a nice thickness too. There’s plenty of color and humor on each one. There are also several colored team cards for playing team games with. More on that in the gameplay section. All total, everything appears to be really good quality and the artwork is great. I really like everything at this point.
—-

RULEBOOK
Since this is a preview copy, I won’t go into a lot of detail on the rulebook for this one. I will say that the book looks rather nice. There are plenty of great looking pictures throughout. Everything is explained in good detail. There’s a nice section devoted to the different item cards, explaining each one and how they work. There are also some tips on playing the game as well as the rules for playing a team game. The back page has reference for the different icons in the game that’s rather helpful. The book is rather small and doesn’t have a lot of pages to it, so it’s quick and simple to read. Overall I think the book does a good job of conveying the rules in a rather nice looking fashion. I’m pleased with the look so far.
—-

GAMEPLAY
This is a nice fun filler game that is very simple and easy to play. It’s great for playing with a bunch of people. You can play the normal game with 3 or more players or you can play team games with 4 or more. As a matter of fact, team games are recommended for 7 or more players. The only real difference in the team game and the regular game is that players get color coded ninja cards to help players remember which team that each one is on. On top of that, they also don’t take hits when they get into a fight that involves their teammates. In team games, the team wins if they are the last team with at least 1 player standing. As I said, the game is rather quick and it’s full of fast playing fun. I have to say that the backwards cards in your hand made me think of Hanabi, just without the co-op play. There’s actually a fair amount of randomness as you don’t really know what’s gonna happen when you play that fight card. Of course the luck aspect can be mitigated a bit through the use of the item cards. I would say that if you’re looking for a more strategic style game, then this probably isn’t the game for you. However if you like a bit of crazy chaos, in the same vein as say, Munchkin, then you might like this one to. I think that as a filler game it works rather well. It can add a bit of craziness to the mix of more hardcore strategy style games. The kids seem to enjoy the humorous artwork and the silly fun, making it good for families too. Overall, I think the game works pretty well for what it sets out to be.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Shadow Strike Melee is a light weight card game of ninja fighting fun for the whole family. It’s very quick and simple to play. Most game sessions last around 5 to 10 minutes. The artwork is silly and fun while the quality of the cards is really great. My kids like the cuteness of the ninjas and enjoy the chaotic fun of the game. This is a nice filler game that is good for families and especially for large groups. I like that the game can be played with teams or with everyone for themselves. Fans of games like Munchkin should really enjoy the silly fun of this one as well. I think for those people, this game will work well. More strategy minded players will probably want to give this one a pass. Taking it for what it is, I would recommend giving it a try. It’s simple enough for the kids, yet fun enough for the adults. Overall a nice game.
8 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

https://www.pfungames.com/

Keep a look out for the  Kickstarter campaign page, coming very soon.

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

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion Review

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion is an expansion for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, published by USAopoly. It is for 2-4 players. This expansion adds 4 new boxes of content to expand the game with, including a new playable character, Luna Lovegood.

For more information on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and how to play the game, please follow the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/harry-potter-hogwarts-battle-review/

So what all does this expansion add to the game? Well without spoiling anything, there are 4 new boxes worth of content. These include new Locations, Dark Arts, Hogwarts and Hero cards. There are also new additions in the Encounters, Detention and Creatures and Villain Creature cards. As I mentioned above, there’s also a new playable character, Luna Lovegood. She comes with her own starting hero deck of cards. Of course it’s suggested that before using any of the contents of this expansion, it’s best to have finished Game 7 of the original game. Now let me explain how setup works with these new additions.

To begin with, box 1 should be opened up and all the contents separated. 12 influence tokens and 1 harp token should be kept near the board. The locations found in box 1 should be stacked face up in order. The new Dark Arts cards should be shuffled together with the original Dark Arts cards. The Encounters are are stacked in order face up in the center of board. The Creatures and Villain Creatures are shuffled together with 5 random Villain cards from the original set. The Game 5 Lord Voldemort card is placed face up on the bottom of the stack. The top 3 cards are then placed face up below on the board. The Hogwarts cards from the expansion are shuffled together with the original Hogwarts cards. The Detention cards are placed in a separate stack near the board. Players choose a Hero card and take the corresponding Hero card and 1 Game 6 Proficiency card. These are placed above the player board. The rest of the setup remains the same.

The game plays much like it did with the original game, except with a few minor changes. Each player’s turn consists of 4 steps. First they will reveal and resolve Dark Arts events and the Encounter. The Dark Arts event is resolved first, followed by the Encounter. Each Encounter has an effect that normally triggers when certain conditions are met. Next the player resolves the villains and creature abilities by following each card’s text. In some cases, there will be certain Encounters that will be triggered during this step. Next the player will play Hogwarts cards and take Hero actions. Like with most deck builders, the player will play the cards from their hand to gain resources and generate effects. Some cards will allow a player to banish a card. This is a new effect that allows the player to remove a card from their deck for the rest of the game, placing it in the discard pile. Banished Detention cards are returned to the Detention stack. Once resources have been gained, they may be used to attack villains with and buy Hogwarts cards with. It should be noted that some creature cards require Influence to defeat them. This is a new mechanic that is introduced in this expansion. However unlike attack tokens, only one Influence token may be placed on a Creature each turn. Finally, the player ends their turn. In some cases, Encounters will trigger certain effects during this final step. Before any of the cards may be replaced at the end of the turn, the player should check to see if the Encounter has been completed. If so, then the player claims the card and may use the reward on a later turn. Play then passes to the next player.

The game continues until one of two things happen. If the players have completed all the Encounters and all the creatures and villains have been defeated, then the players win. They are then able to move on to the next box. If the villains and creatures control all the locations, then the players lose and must reset the game and try again.

It should be noted that there are more surprises inside the remaining 3 boxes, but I won’t go into that. I’ll leave that for you to discover and be surprised with. Just know that there are several new card types that will be introduced as well as some new tokens and a few other items of interest.

COMPONENTS
As with the original game, this expansion brings a lot of new stuff that looks absolutely amazing. The quality is again, top notch. This expansion adds 4 new boxes worth of cards, tokens and other items that are very interesting. All of the cards have that same photo quality that was used in the original game. All of the cardboard tokens are very thick and sturdy and look very cool. I really like there are new character cards to be used with this game including the new playable character, Luna Lovegood. Speaking of which, if she’s used as a player character, her ally card is removed from the Hogwarts deck. Back to the components, so not only does the expansion have new material, there’s also some sorting cards that work with the original 7 games boxes in the first game. These make it possible to store all of the components of both this expansion and the base game together in the main box. Basically all the items are placed in the area that the original 7 game boxes were. Needless to say, with all the great pieces and components included with this, fans of Harry Potter will love the look and designs of this expansion. Each card, token and item is very thematic and fits in great with the overall look of the game. I’m very impressed with everything here. Overall, this looks fantastic.
10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
Much like the original rulebook, this rulebook evolves as you play the game. The back cover of the book is a bit thicker and has specialized slots for the smaller rulebooks that come in the boxes 2 through 4. These little rulebooks are small folded up sheets that show you which components to use and explain the new cards, tokens or other items that are introduced upon opening the box. Every set of rules from the main book to the smaller rulebooks has some great pictures and examples that show how the game is played. I really liked this design with the original game and love that it was carried over into the expansion as well. It definitely keeps certain things hidden until you need it. Overall, I like the look and feel of everything here and think that this just adds to the joy of the game.
10 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me say first off, this expansion is hard. I mean very hard. If you thought that the original game was easy, then you’ll be excited for the challenge of this one. For those of us that may have struggled a bit with the original, then you’ll really have some moments of frustration with this one. That’s not to say that the expansion is bad. It’s not! In fact, I love the challenge that the expansion provides. You just need to be aware that you’ll most likely not win every time. I’ve played several times and lost several times too. I like how the new cards work with the game. It definitely adds several new dimensions to the game. I like that the expansion has ways of playing the game, even after the last box has been opened and defeated. There are new difficulties including creating an epic level game. I haven’t tried this yet, but look forward to the challenge. I will say that the difficulty of this expansion may not be for everyone, especially the kids. That is, unless they don’t mind losing often. For me, this expansion is more of a gamer’s expansion and less of an add on to a great co-op family game. Families up to the challenge or those that absolutely love the world of Harry Potter should really enjoy this expansion. For those folks, this is a must have expansion. For everyone else, the difficulty may be a bit too much. Still this is a great expansion and one that I adore. I highly recommend this expansion. It’s well worth the price of admission.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion is an expansion for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle that adds 4 boxes worth of new content including a new playable character. The expansion doesn’t really add any additional play time to the game. Most game sessions still last around an hour. Like with the original game, the artwork and theme of the game are fully integrated and look great. The artwork is almost all photo quality images. The few items and pieces that aren’t photo quality still fit well with the theme and don’t distract. The expansion adds quite a good bit of content and ups the difficulty a fairly good bit. Players that struggled through the base game, might have a hard time making it through the different boxes of this one. Those players that felt the main game was too easy, will definitely find the challenge they were looking for in this expansion. Fans of the Harry Potter universe will definitely enjoy being able to play as Luna Lovegood. I still think Ginny Weaseley would have been nice to have as a playable character, but maybe she’ll be available in the next expansion. Here’s hoping that happens. Not everyone will find this a must buy, but for fans of the original game and those looking for a challenge, it will be. I highly recommend this expansion. I am thoroughly enjoying it and look forward to many more games in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. No Nargles were harmed during the writing of this review.
10 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://www.usaopoly.com/

 

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

Dragon Pets Review

Dragon Pets is a game by Paolo Cecchetto and Christian Giove, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of Dragon Breeders during the 1783rd annual dragon breeding competition. They will be sending their Dragon Seekers off in search of more dragons to be able to form mating pairs with. Each time they do this, they’ll earn gold coins. Of course they’ll have to be careful that they don’t wind up with any unbred dragons or they’ll lose gold coins. In the end, the player that can earn the most gold coins will be declared the winner and Supreme Dragon Breeder.

To begin, the starting Dragon cards are separated from the rest of the deck. These cards are then shuffled together. Each player is then dealt 2 cards from them. If a player is dealt 2 dragons of the same color, then they must choose one to keep and one to return to the deck, drawing another. Any leftover starting cards are set aside. Each player will then choose a color and take the 3 Dragon Seeker meeples and the matching player reference card of their chosen color. They are also given 8 gold coins. The remaining coins are placed within reach of all players to form a bank. The draw deck is then formed by adding a certain number of Egg cards to the rest of the Dragon cards. The number of Egg cards is determined by the number of players. The deck is then shuffled together and placed face down near the middle of the play area. The top 16 cards of the deck are then used to create the forest, which is a 4 x 4 grid in the middle of the play area. The wooden tokens are separated into sets with each set containing a token of each color. These tokens are then placed beside the forest cards where that there are no tokens of the exact same color directly across from each other. The first player is randomly chosen and play now begins.

The game is played through a series of turns. To begin the game, the starting player will roll all of the dice. The dice are then placed on the corresponding colored tokens in front of them, with the white die being placed beside them. On a player’s turn, they will then be able to take a number of actions that must be taken in a particular order. Each action is only able to be taken once per turn. There are 4 different actions that may be taken; catch dragons, refill the forest, reroll the dice and place one dragon seeker. The first action is to catch dragons. This action is optional and costs 1 coin. To perfom this action, the player must have a Dragon Seeker on a Dragon card in the Forest. When it’s taken, all players will take all of their Dragon Seekers and the Dragon cards beneath them, adding the Dragons to their collection. The next action is to refill the forest. This is also an optional action that costs 1 coin. To take this action, there must be an empty space in the Forest. When it’s taken, the player turns over cards from the draw deck and places them face up in the empty spaces of the Forest. If the draw deck runs out when this action is taken, the game immediately ends. Another optional action is for the player to reroll the dice. This action costs 1 coin and when taken allows the player to reroll all of the dice, placing them on the wooden tokens in front of themself. It should be noted that if there are no dice in play due to the previous player using all of them, or there are only useless dice that will not allow the player to place a Dragon Seeker, then the player is allowed a free reroll of the dice. The final action is to place a Dragon Seeker. This is the only action that is required for players to take. However, it doesn’t cost anything for them to take it. This action requires the player to place one of their Dragon Seekers on a Dragon card in the Forest. To do this, they must first choose a colored die that was placed on one of their colored tokens. They will then count up a number of cards in that color’s column that is equal to the number shown on the die. The Dragon Seeker is then placed on that particular Dragon card. The die used is then taken off the colored token and set aside, making it unavailable to be used again until the reroll dice action is taken. It should be noted that the white die is used to modify the value of one of the colored dice by either adding or subtracting it’s value from that of the chosen colored die. Once it’s used, it’s also set aside just like the colored die is. If a player places their Dragon Seeker on a Dragon that already contains another player’s Dragon Seeker, that player must take their Dragon Seeker back and they receive a coin from the player that removed them. It should also be noted that if a player is not able to place a Dragon Seeker on their turn, they must pay a penalty of 5 coins to the bank. Once a player has completed this final action, they will end their turn. They will then place any unused dice onto the next player’s colored tokens. Any dice that were set aside from being used are not passed.

During the game players will be collecting Dragon cards. Every time they have two Dragon cards of the same breed and opposite genders, they will form a breeding pair. When this happens, the player receives gold coins equal to the highest value of the two cards. The mated cards are then stacked together and placed face down in front of the player. It should be noted that sometimes players will discover Dragon Eggs. These do not have to be paired and will automatically reward the player with 2 coins. The card is then placed face down with the mated pairs.

The game continues with players taking turns until the draw deck runs out of cards during a refill the forest action. When this happens, the game ends immediately. The rest of the turn is not finished. Players will then take any Dragon cards marked with their Dragon Seekers without paying to take the action. Mating pairs are then made following the rules above. Final scoring then occurs. Players add up their gold coins, subtracting any dragons that were unbred. They will also gain a 5 gold coin bonus if they were able to breed at least 1 pair of all 5 dragon breeds. It should be noted that a pair of egg cards can be counted as a wild for this diversity bonus. Players compare their totals and the one with the most gold coins is the winner.

COMPONENTS
There are some really cute components in this game. First off there are the Dragon Seekers. These are brightly colored meeples made of wood. There are 4 different colored sets of 3. These are good and sturdy, yet I somehow wish that these had been made a little more thematic. Like maybe shaped a little different or had some nice little stickers of the Dragon Seekers to be applied. There are also sets of large wooden discs in 4 colors that match with the 4 colored wooden dice. These are also brightly colored and sturdy. They’re large enough to be able to set a die on top of. As I just mentioned, there are 4 colored wooden dice and a there’s also a white wooden die. The colored dice have pips while the white one has numbers on it. It looks as if the pips and the numbers were painted on the dice. Hopefully there won’t be a problem with fading later after repeated plays. The game also comes with a punchboard full of coins in 1s, 5s and 10s. These are good and thick cardboard. I like the design on these. However it appears that there is a slight misprint on the back as the designs don’t exactly line up like they should. Finally there are the cards. There are lots of Dragon cards, some egg cards and some player aid cards. These cards are completely square and have a nice finish and thickness to them. The artwork on these is really great. I love the cute and fun look of each dragon and egg. There are a few surprise designs that are pretty cool. The player reference cards are very helpful. Overall I really like the pieces of the game. I think that a few things could have been done better, but for the most part they’re really good. I think that kids will love the fun designs and colorful pieces of this one. Mine did.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is quite nice. There are plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book. Every action is explained in good detail. There’s a great explanation of the Dragon cards that contains pictures of the 2 genders. I think the design is nice and the rules are easy to read and understand. I didn’t see anthing difficult at all. It doesn’t take a long time to read either, as the book is only like 7 pages of instructions. Overall I like how quickly that I was able to read the book and how easy it was to understand. I’m pleased with the look and design.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game is actually quite fun but simple. In some ways it has a bit of a worker placement feel to it, as you are trying to place your Dragon Seekers onto the right dragons to be able to make mating pairs with. I will say that there is a good bit of luck involved with this one though. As you’re rolling the dice, the only thing that keeps it from being a complete luck fest is the white die. Using that 1 die, you’re able to change one of the other dice either negatively or positively. For instance, if you roll a 4 on the purple die but you really wish that you’d rolled a 2 to be able to get that red female dragon you need to mate with your male red dragon. Oh look at that, you have a 2 on the white die. That means if you subtract that 2 from the 4 of the purple die you can now place a Dragon Seeker on that red female and collect her a bit later. Win! For us home schoolers, that is a great way to teach a little simple addition and subtraction without the kids realizing it. Win-Win! I really like the simplicity and fun that this game brings to the table. The kids love matching up the dragons. In some ways the game kind of reminds me of Grave Business, a game about making zombies by matching up parts in a 4 x 4 grid. The game play is very similar in that aspect. However I do like the theme and implementation a bit better in this one. Fans of Grave Business or simple worker placement games should really enjoy this one, especially if they like the cute and fun art style. Overall this is a game that I would definitely recommend, especially as a family game to play with the kids. It’s good fun for everyone.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Dragon Pets is a great family game with cute and fun artwork. It’s quite simple and doesn’t take a long time to play either. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes. The artwork is really fun and the kids love it. I will say that I wish the Dragon Seeker meeples had been a little more thematic in either design or with stickers to place on them. I also worry a bit about the wear on the painted pips and numbers on the wooden dice. Apart from that, the game looks great and is one that the family really enjoy. I like the simplistic game play. It kind of reminds me of Grave Business and it’s 4 x 4 card style of game play. I think fans of that game should enjoy this one even more, especially if they like the dragon theme or are playing with kids. I think as a family game, it’s great. The kids love it and I do too. I would definitely recommend this one for families. Now get out there and bring me some dragons.
9 out of 10

funagain-associates-sm-1

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

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