Call to Adventure: The Name of the Wind Expansion Review

Call to Adventure: The Name of the Wind is an expansion for Call to Adventure by Patrick Rothfuss, published by Brotherwise Games. It is for 1-4 players. In this expansion, based on Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle series of novels, players will tell the story of their lives by developing their character and following different paths in the world of Kvothe, Denna, Auri and Chandrian. Along the way, they will be able to learn Naming magic that will help them on their journey. In the end, the player with the most Destiny points will be declared the winner.

For more information about Call to Adventure and how the game is played, please check out the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/call-to-adventure-review/

Setting up the game with this expansion does require quite a bit of change. There is a huge list of cards that must be removed from the core game from the Destiny, Adversary Qeusts and all three Acts. For more information on exactly which cards are removed, please check page 2 of the rulebook. The cards in this expansion will be used to replace those taken out of the core game. There is one more thing that is added by this expansion. That’s the Naming Rules board and Name Tokens. These should be placed out on the table within sight and reach of all the players. The rest of setup is done exactly as explained in the core game rulebook.

So what exactly does this expansion add to the game? The answer is 3 things; a new story icon, Naming and new cards and adventures. First there’s the new story icon. This would be the Music icon. When playing with this expansion, the Nature story icon is not available. Just like in the core game, having more than one copy of a story icon will earn you extra Destiny points at the end of the game.

The next new thing is Naming. In this expansion, a player can learn the name of the Wind, Fire and Iron. Players can attempt to learn a name once per turn after they fail a challenge. First they check to see if they have any bonuses to aid them in the attempt. The Naming Rules board lists the 2 ability icons for each name that give the player a +1 to their attempt. Players can also gain an additional +1 to their attempt for each corresponding Name icon already in their story. Players may also apply the Bind With Iron, Command the Flame and Call the Wing cards to their attempt. These come from the Hero/Antihero cards. Once the player has finished determining their bonuses, they cast the core runes. It should be noted that the player may not add Dark runes or Ability runes to their attempt. They also are not allowed to draw a Hero or Antihero card if that rune surfaces in their results. The player will now check the runes and if their attempt is 4 or higher, then they learn that Name. Learning a Name provides the player with 3 points at the end of the game. It also allows them to automatically succeed without casting a rune for a challenge of the same type as the Name. Each Name may only be learned once.

The final thing that this expansion adds are new cards and adventures. With 83 new cards there’s a lot of new adventure to be found here. The game gives you 9 new character cards, 53 new story cards for all 3 acts, 16 new hero and antihero cards and 5 new adversary quests. Each one follows The Kingkiller Chronicle story and adds lots of new content.

Of course winning the game is the same as for the base game. At the end of the game, the player with the highest Destiny score is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This expansion adds a lot of new content to an already great game. As noted above there are 83 new cards. There are both tarot sized cards and regular sized cards. The tarot cards include the 9 Character cards and the 53 Story cards. Within the Character cards are 3 Origins, 1 Motivation and 5 Destiny cards. The Story cards contain 12 cards for Act I, 20 for Act II and 21 for Act III. The regular sized cards include 8 Hero and 8 Antihero cards, as well as 5 Adversary Quest cards. Each card is very thematic and the artwork is really amazing. Unfortunately I’m not familiar with the actual stories that the expansion is based on, so I can’t comment on how well the theme fits with the novels. That said, it does intrigue me enough so that I may have to look into reading the novels to more understand the expansion. Even so, the artwork of this fits in perfectly with the base game so it doesn’t feel disconnected regardless of your familiarity with the novels. Along with the cards there is a small punchboard of Name tokens and a Naming Rules board. These tokens have the same symbol as the different names on the Naming Rules board. All of these are thick cardboard and the symbols also match up with those on various cards from the expansion. The board, even though the rulebook calls it a card, is a nice addition and helps players remember the rules for each of the different Names. The tokens are just visual reminders of which Names a player has earned throughout their adventure. Overall I really like the look and feel of the expansion. It fits in perfectly with the game without adding too many complex rules to keep up with. I am very pleased with everything included in the box.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion isn’t very thick. All total it’s only 6 pages long. It only has a few pictures in it which mainly consists of a view at the different components and then some icon examples and a card example. Inside the front cover is also a nice thematic picture that looks really nice. The rules aren’t complex, as it mainly describes how to incorporate the expansion into the base game. A few odd and end rules for the new Names and Naming Rules are also included. The last 2 pages are a series of frequently asked questions. The game also comes with a reference sheet which includes some errata to the base game’s rulebook. This is nice to clarify some small details that were wrong in the orginal book and to look at for reference while playing. Honestly there’s not a whole lot here, but that’s fine as there’s not much that changes either. The book is really quick and simple to read through and the new rules are very easy to learn. Overall I think that the book and reference sheet are really good and they get the job done nicely.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
If you’re familiar with the base game, then this expansion won’t add much that you’re unfamiliar with. However for players attracted to this based on the source material, then it might be a whole other story. As mentioned earlier, the expansion adds the new Naming rules which make it possible to try to earn something even if you didn’t succeed in completing a challenge. If you earn a Name, then you’re more able to earn certain types of cards for your story a bit easier. This is definitely one concept that I liked a lot. While playing the core game, several times I’d lose at a challenge and be unable to add that card to my story. With this new addition to the rules, I still am able to do something even though I failed. It’s like a consolation prize for losing. The new story icon doesn’t really change much so there’s not a lot to discuss there. The main thing that this expansion does though is add new adventures, challanges and stories to the game. If the core game was getting a bit stale and you’d played it so much that you’d seen pretty much everything, then this expansion will feel like a breath of fresh air. Each of the different card decks gets some additional material and is apparently linked to the source material of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle. Honestly I wouldn’t know how accurate that is though, as I’ve never read any of the books. I am familiar with the author and knew that the books were out there based on a review I did for the game Tak, a game that’s based on a game inside the novels. Apart from that, this was all new to me. As I mentioned earlier though, it has gotten me pretty intrigued at what the actual stories are all about. From what I’ve seen just playing the expansion with my limited knowledge, there’s a lot of fun and excitement here. For me, I really enjoyed all of the new content. I think fans of the source material may really enjoy this one. I know that fans of the base game, like me, will enjoy it. While it’s not something that I think is an absolute must have, as there’s plenty to enjoy with the base game. It’s one that fans of The Kingkiller Chronicle will most likely have to have. Overall the new content and additional rules provided here are enough to keep me going for a good bit longer with this game. It’s one that I would definitely recommend.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Call to Adventure: The Name of the Wind is an expansion for Call to Adventure based on The Kingkiller Chronicle from Patrick Rothfuss. The expansion adds a lot of new cards and a new mechanic to an already great game. However it does add any additional play time. Most game sessions are still around 45 minutes to an hour. The components are really well done and of course the artwork is stellar, just like the base game. The rulebook isn’t that big but it covers what changes in the game quite well. The rules also included frequently asked questions and a rulebook errata sheet for the core game. The expansion itself is really good. It provides players with a few more options if they’re unable to complete a challenge. It adds plenty of new cards with lots of new options for players to choose from. Unfortunately I’m not familiar enough with the theme to say just how spot on the theme is, but it’s still a fun adventure in my book. Fans of Call to Adventure should really enjoy this one, especially if they’re a fan of The Kingkiller Chronicle set of novels from Patrick Rothfuss. There’s a lot to like with this one. It’s definitely one that I would recommend. That said, I don’t feel that it’s a must have unless you’re starting to get tired of the same material from the base game or really love the theme. As it is, this is one that I enjoy a lot and look forward to even more adventures in the Four Corners.
8 out of 10

 

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

http://brotherwisegames.com/

 

 

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Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid Review

Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a game by Jonathan Ying, published by Renegade Game Studios. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the roles of the Power Rangers as they battle Rita Repulsa and her army of monsters. Players will need to work together as they defend Angel Grove from the neverending swarm of Rita’s Putties. Of course their powerful Zords will be there to help turn the tide and form the mighty Megazord. In the end, if the players are able to withstand Rita and her onslaught, the world will once again be safe and they will be declared the winners

To begin, each player chooses one of the Rangers to play as and receives the corresponding Ranger miniature, character card and character combat cards. Each player is also given 2 action tokens and 1 energy token. Players shuffle their combat cards to form their combat deck, placing it face down in front of themself. Players will now draw as many cards from their deck as they wish, up to their hand size of 5 cards. The Command Center board is placed in the middle of the play area. Each player places their Ranger miniature on the Command center and 3 energy tiles are placed alongside the figures. The 4 location boards are placed randomly around the Command Center board. The combat dice, hit tokens, panic tokens and energy tokens are all placed in separate piles near the main boards to form the supply, along with the lead Ranger token and all the enemy figures. The power board is placed near the main boards with the power marker placed on the 0 space on the bottom of the board. The Megazord token is placed near the board. The regular Zord cards are shuffled together to form the Zord deck. The Megazord card is placed on the bottom of the shuffled deck. The deck is then placed face down onto the power board. The foot soldier deployment cards are shuffled and divided into 4 face down piles of 5 cards each. Two monster deployment cards are chosen randomly without looking at them. One of the two cards is shuffled into the 2nd stack and one into the third stack of cards. The boss deployment card is shuffled into the 4th stack. The stacks are then placed on top of each other to form the deployment deck with the first stack on top of the second, then the third and finally the fourth with the boss card in it. The enemy decks for the different types of foot soldiers are shuffled separately and placed face down nearby, along with the enemy decks. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round consists of 2 phases; Deployment phase and Action phase. The first phase is the Deployment phase. In the Deployment phase, there are 5 enemy deployments. This is done by revealing the top card of the deployment deck. The revealed card determines the number and type of foot soldiers that are taken from the supply. the back of the next card determines which location the figures are placed. Once a deployment is resolved, the revealed card is placed face up in a discard pile next to the deployment deck. If at any time a location contains a number of enemy figures equal to it’s figure limit, it becomes panicked. This is shown by placing a panic token on the location. It should be noted that if a monster or boss deployment card is the next card in the deployment deck when revealing the top card, then it is also revealed and placed along with the previously revealed foot soldier. The location these figures are placed is determined by the next card in the deployment deck. When this happens, it only counts as 1 deployment. The boss or monster’s enemy deck is shuffled and placed face down near the other enemy decks. The monster or boss card is then removed from the game. Also of note, when a boss or monster figure is placed on a location, the location automatically becomes panicked. A panic token is then placed on the location. However, if a monster or boss figure is to be placed on a location that is already panicked, the monster or boss figure is instead placed in the next clockwise location that is not panicked. One last thing of note, if enemy figures are to be placed in a location that is already panicked, the additional figures are deployed to the next location clockwise that is not panicked. Once all 5 enemy deployments have been resolved, the foot soldier cards from the discard pile are shuffled together and placed on the bottom of the deployment deck face down.

The next phase is the Action phase. In the Action phase, each Ranger will spend their action tokens to perform actions. Each time an action is performed, the player flips over one of their action tokens. There are 3 types of actions that a player may take; move, battle and recover. The first action is to move. When the move action is chosen, the player may move their Ranger figure to any other location, regardless of distance. They may even move back to the Command Center to power up. To power up, the player shuffles all the cards from their hand and their discard pile back into their deck. They will then draw a new hand of up to 5 cards. They will then take 1 energy token from the supply, if they don’t already have one. It should be noted that powering up does not count as an action. It is a free action.

The next type of action is to battle. When performing the battle action, the player initiates a battle between the Rangers and any enemies in the player’s current location. The player that initiates the battle, will take the lead Ranger token. They will then follow 4 steps to resolve the conflict. First, the rangers must prepare. Players start by adding 2 energy tokens to the power board to create the shared energy pool. If a player has less than 5 cards in their hand, they are then able to draw as many cards as they would like, up to a hand size of 5. Players do this 1 card at a time and may stop when they wish or continue to draw more.

Next, the enemy prepares. This is done by counting the number of foot soldiers in the current location, then for each foot soldier, an enemy card is drawn from the matching enemy deck. As the cards are drawn, they are placed in a face up row from left to right. This is known as the combat sequence. If a card with the keyword “FAST” is drawn, it is placed at the left end of the row. It should be noted that during battle, there can never be more than 4 foot soldiers in a battle. If there are more than 4 foot soldiers in a location, then the lead Ranger chooses which 4 to battle and draws an enemy card for each one. If the location has a boss or monster figure on it, then the player must draw 4 cards from it’s exclusive deck. As these cards are drawn they are placed in a face up row as well from left to right, above the previous row in the combat sequence.

Once this is done, it’s time for the Rangers and enemies to take their turns. Combat will alternate back and forth between the Rangers and the enemies, with the Rangers normally taking the first turn. However, if at least 1 enemy card as the “FAST” keyword on it, then the enemies will take the first turn instead. On the Ranger’s turn, players choose one Ranger to be the active Ranger. That player will then play a combat card from their hand, spending energy tokens from the shared energy pool equal to the card’s cost. The card is then resolved and the player places the card into their own discard pile.

There are 3 different types of cards. They are attacks, maneuvers and reactions. Attacks are played against an enemy and the player chooses an enemy card as the target of the attack. If an attack roll is required, then the player will roll the number of dice shown on the card. Hits are dealt to the enemy based on the number of hits rolled and any special attacks or abilities from the card. Any hits dealt are represented by placing hit tokens on that enemies card equal to the amount of damage dealt. If an enemy has hit tokens on it equal to or greater than it’s health, then the enemy card is defeated and flipped face down in the combat sequence. When a foot soldier is defeated, one of the matching foot soldier figures is removed from the current location and placed on the experience track of the power board. Monsters and Bosses are a bit different. To defeat a monster, 4 of that monster’s cards must be defeated. At the end of a battle, if there are 4 or more cards in the monster’s discard pile, it is defeated. The monster and any remaining foot soldiers on the current location are returned to the supply. To defeat a boss, 6 of the boss’s cards must be defeated. At the end of battle, if there are 6 or more cards in the boss’s discard pile, it is defeated and the Power Rangers win. Maneuvers, when played, will normally provide energy or special ways to manipulate cards in the player’s hand, deck or discard pile. If a player gains energy, they will take the indicated number of energy tokens from the supply and places them into the shared energy pool. It should be noted, Rangers that participate in a battle may add their own stored energy tokens to the shared pool at any time. They may also spend any unused actions to gain energy by adding 2 energy tokens for each stored action token flipped. Reactions may be played out of turn in response to a certain event or circumstance.

On an Enemy’s turn, the cards in the combat sequence will be resolved, starting with the leftmost and topmost card in the combat sequence that has not been resolved yet. To resolved an enemy card, all the effects listed on the card are carried out. The card is then rotated 90 degrees to indicate it has been resolved. It should be noted, if a card has already been defeated and is turned face down, then no effects occur when it is resolved. Enemy cards have 3 different keywords that should be noted. They are FAST, GUARD and PASSIVE. FAST, as noted earlier, places the card at the beginning of the row of enemy cards and it allows the enemies to take the first turn in battle. GUARD protects any cards adjacent to it horizontally or vertically in the combat sequence. This means that Rangers may not attack those adjacent cards until the card with this keyword has been defeated first. PASSIVE contains an ongoing effect that is active until the card is defeated.

When an enemy card deals damage, the players must choose a Ranger participating in the battle to suffer the damage dealt by the card, unless otherwise specified. When a Ranger suffers damage, they must reveal the top card of their deck for defense. They will then compare the shields along the bottom of the card to the damage dealt by the enemy card. If the number of shields is greater than the amount of damage, then the card revealed is placed back on the bottom of the player’s deck face down. If the number of shields is equal to the amount of damage, then the revealed card is discarded. If the number of shields is less than the amount of damage, then that much damage is absorbed by the shields and the revealed card is discarded. The Ranger must then reveal the deck card from their deck and compare it’s shields to the remaining damage that wasn’t absorbed. This continues until the number of shields is greater or equal to the remaining damage. It should be noted, that if a Ranger’s combat deck is ever empty, then the Ranger is defeated. The player must then remove an energy token from the Command Center. If there are no energy tokens remaining in the Command Center at this time, then the Power Rangers lose. Otherwise, the player will then place their figure back at the Command Center. The player will then shuffle all their cards from their hand and discard pile together. They will then draw a new hand of up to 5 cards. They will also take an energy token from the supply, if they don’t already have one. If the player defeated was the lead Ranger, then the lead Ranger tokens is passed to another Ranger that is still in the battle. If all the Rangers in a battle are defeated, then players proceed to the battle cleanup step of the battle. Also of note, some enemy cards may drain energy. To do this, the number of energy tokens indicated on the card are removed from the shared energy pool and discarded back to the supply. If there aren’t enough energy tokens in the shared energy pool to equal the number drained, then stored energy tokens from Rangers participating in the battle must be used to make up the difference. If there aren’t enough there, then for each remaining energy that would be drained, a Ranger participating in the battle must discard a card from their hand.

One last thing of note, when Rangers defeat enemy foot soldiers they are placed on the experience track. Each time the experience track fills up with defeated foot soldiers or a monster is defeated, then the Rangers may summon a Zord. To do this, the players will reveal the top card of the Zord deck and advance the power marker one space forward on the power track. If the Zord was summoned due to the experience track filling up with foot soldiers, then those soldiers are returned to the supply. When a Zord card is summoned, the card is placed in front of the corresponding Ranger. The Ranger may then use the Zord’s ability by exhausting the card, rotating it by 90 degrees. At the end of each round, all exhausted Zords are readied, rotating them back upright. The Megazord is always the last card in the Zord deck. When the power marker reaches 6 on the power track, the Megazord is summoned. At this time, the Megazord card is revealed and placed near the power board. Any Ranger may then use the Megazord’s ability. When it’s ability is used, the Megazord token is placed on the the location affected. Once the Megazord is revealed, no other Zords may be summoned. Defeated foot soldiers are no longer added to the experience track.

Rangers and Enemies will continue going back and forth taking turns until the last enemy card in the combat sequence has been resolved. Once this happens, the Rangers get 1 final turn, then the battle ends. The battle can also end if all the enemy cards are defeated. This will then takes us to the final step of battle, the battle cleanup step. At this time, if there are any remaining energy tokens in the shared pool, then the Rangers that participated in the battle may split them up evenly among themselves. It should be noted that a Ranger may only store 1 energy token at a time. Any excess tokens not able to be taken by Rangers are discarded. All of the foot soldier, undefeated monster and boss enemy cards are removed from the combat sequence and shuffled back into their respective decks. Defeated monster and boss enemy cards are placed in face up discard piles next to their respective enemy decks. If the current location was panicked, but there are no more enemy figures in the current location after the battle, then the location is no longer panicked. The panic token is then removed from the location.

This takes us to the third type of action, recover. When performing the recover action, the player will choose cards from their discard pile with a total of up to 6 shields on the bottom right corner of the cards. These cards are then shuffled back into the player’s deck. They will then take an energy token from the supply, if they don’t already have one.

Once all players have taken all their actions, the round is over. Players will then flip their action tokens face up and ready any exhausted Zord cards. A new round will then begin.

The game continues until one of three different things happens. If all 4 of the locations around the Command Center are panicked at the same time, the game ends and the Power Rangers lose. If a Ranger is defeated when there are no more energy tokens at the Command Center, then the Power Rangers lose. If the Rangers are able to defeat the boss in battle and survive until the end of that battle, then the Power Rangers win.

COMPONENTS
The components for this game are Morphenomenal! Let’s just start with the parts that everyone wants to play with…the miniatures. These things are absolutely huge compared to other miniature games. While the sculpting on them isn’t the most detailed in the world, each one is super easy to tell apart from the others. The Rangers figures are all color coded. That means the Red Ranger is red and the Yellow Ranger is yellow. How cool is that? The putties, monsters and Rita figures are all a light shade of gray and each one looks ready to be painted. Oh yes, these bad boys want to be painted. As a matter of fact, this may end up being the game that gets me back into painting miniatures again. I was never great at it, but I was good enough to get the job done. Back to the minis, each one of them looks like it was ripped right from the show and is ready to battle it out on your table top. Next there are all the different cards. There are character cards, enemy cards and deployment cards for bosses, monsters and foot soldiers. There are also combat cards and zord cards. The artwork on these is absolutely amazing. If you’re familiar with the more recent version of the comics from artist Dan Mora, then you’ll recognize the art style here. Each piece of art on each card and throughout the game and rulebook looks like it came from the comics. I absolutely love the art style and have enjoyed reading the comics, so for me this is a huge win. The game also comes with several boards and tokens made of thick cardboard. There’s the power board, the command center and the location boards. Once again, these contain artwork with the same artistic style. Then there are the tokens, there are energy tokens, action tokens, panic tokens, hit tokens, the Megazord token, lead Ranger token and power marker. The Megazord token has a nice art piece of the Megazord, while the lead Ranger token has the lightning bolt design representative of the show. The hit tokens, action tokens and panic tokens are simple designs of blasts, arrows and exclamation points, while the power marker looks like the outline of a power morpher from the show. Finally there are the dice. These are really nice quality but a little bland looking with their sort of white see through look. Thankfully there are some nice replacements available to purchase that give you 2 of each of the main colors, including green and white. These 2 work with the green and white ranger that were available in the Kickstarter but should be available in retail eventually as well. In any case, I’m completely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of coolness that comes in this box. If that wasn’t enough, there’s lots of extra expansions and bits like the dice that can be purchased and added to the game to give it even more to love. Needless to say, this is one that absolutely love everything about. Two thumbs way up!
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is actually quite good. That starts with a 2 page spread of how to set up the game with some great looking pictures. Speaking of pictures, the rulebook has plenty of pictures and examples throughout it. In fact, the examples are really good at explaining some of the more difficult rules to understand. Not that the rules are hard, just that some things might be a bit more unclear without the examples to help out. The gameplay is explained in very good detail. However, I wish that the rules had been a bit more streamlined. As it is, the rules will introduce a concept and then a page or more later it will explain that concept, which will then introduce another new concept. You get the idea right? By the time you understand what was first discussed, you have to flip back several pages to get to where you were to begin with. The main example of this is in explaining the battle action. The action is introduced on page 8 which directs you to the next page which then begins to explain battling until page 10 where you’re directed to page 12 for more info on ranger and enemy turns. I think all this could have been as easy as 1, 2, 3, instead of forcing you to jump through the book. That said, the rules are quite clear and easy to understand and the jumping around is simply a minor inconvenience. When I need to look up a particular rule for clarification, it’s been pretty easy to find. The rulebook also includes special rules for playing with less than a full compliment of 5 players. There are rules for anywhere from 2 -4 players included near the back of the rulebook. The rules also include information on the location effects, which I didn’t mention in the overview. This involves the B side of the location boards and are for more advanced players with a higher level of difficulty. Also included in the rulebook are rules for adding in any of the expansion content found in stores or from Kickstarter. The back page of the rulebook has a great gameplay reference sheet that quickly explains various aspects of the game like the round structure and ranger actions. It also references the different icons found on the cards for both rangers and enemies. Overall the rulebook does a good job at providing all the pertinent information to play the game with very little fuss. I’m quite pleased.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me simply start off by saying, this is an insanely fun game. I have really enjoyed playing it. In a lot of ways, you feel like a power ranger fighting Rita and her army of putties and monsters. However in a game sense, it’s feel more like a tower defense game…kind of. I mean, like a tower defense game, you’re trying to keep the bad guys out of your castle. In this game, you’re trying to keep the putties and monsters from panicking too many locations. In both cases, you lose if the bad guys get into where they’re trying to get to. So the idea is to not let this happen, of course you have to make sure that you have the right cards when you need them. That relies heavily on hand management. You have to know when to draw another card and when is the right moment to use that card in your hand. Some times your actions will pretty much be decided for you ahead of time. Such as when a location gets panicked, you’ll want to clear out that area or at least keep any other areas from getting panicked in the meantime. I have to say that using the character’s combat cards as their life is an ingenious way of dealing with health points. I don’t think a card with a couple of tokens thrown on them to indicate hit points would have had the same effect that this does. Every time you use a card, you have to be thinking about how that’s gonna affect your character down the road. Is it really worth losing a card from your deck and thus a bit of your life force simply to take down this single putty patroller? These are the struggles that you’ll discover when playing this game. It really forces you to weigh your options heavily and it can be stressful, but in a good way. I like that this game really makes things tense, especially when Rita comes out and you’re then fighting for your life. Needless to say, this has become one of my favorite games to come out this year. I always loved watching the power rangers back when I was younger and with the advent of Netflix, I’ve been able to share the show with my daughter. Guess what, she loves it too! As a matter of fact, last Halloween she dressed up as the Pink Ranger. Imagine my surprise! As for the game, she has really enjoyed playing this one with me. However it seems that shes become more taken with the Yellow Ranger now, go figure. In any event, this is a great game and it’s one that can bring father and daughter together in a love for giant monsters and super powered monster fighters. Fans of tower defense games like Castle Panic should enjoy the feel that this game gives players. This is also a game that Power Ranger fanatics like myself will absolutely love. This is a game that I highly recommend. It’s great for families and it’s great fun.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a cooperative game of super charged martial arts fun where players get to take on the forces of Rita Repulsa and her army of baddies. The game isn’t too long. Most game sessions last around an hour or so, however the first couple of times you play may take a bit longer. The game looks amazing with some really huge miniatures and awesome looking artwork on every card. The cards and boards have some truly amazing looking artwork that I absolutely love. The rulebook, while it does jump around a bit, is pretty easy to find what you’re looking for and it does a great job of giving you all the required information to play the game. I especially like that the rules provide for playing with any number of players, changing up the gameplay a little bit each time. The game itself is a whole lot of fun. In some ways it makes me think of a tower defense game with a bit of hand management thrown in. The tension that this game provides is intense. Many times I found myself struggling with my next move as I was afraid of letting down the team, much like any good Power Ranger would. For me, this game truly makes you feel like a Power Ranger and each character plays different than the others making for lots of replayability. I love this game and so does my daughter. She loved playing it and likes that we work together instead of playing against each other. This is a game that fans of the Power Rangers will absolutely love, as I did. I also think that fans of games like Castle Panic or any other tower defense style games will also enjoy this one. This is a game that I highly recommend. It’s definitely one that I look forward to playing again and adding in some of the expansion materials, once I get my hands on them. Needless to say, this is a great game and it is a family friendly one to boot. I can’t wait to play it again. So as the Power Rangers say, “It’s Morphin’ Time!”
9 out of 10

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

https://www.renegadegamestudios.com/

 

 

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The Aquicorn Cove Board Game Review

The Aquicorn Cove Board Game is a game by Ben Eisner, Tim Eisner, Tyler Tinsley and Steve Ellis, published by Renegade Game Studios. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of one of the members of a small fishing village, as they try to feed and grow the village while maintaining a healthy balance with the ocean and all it’s sea life. Of course they’ll have to be careful as winter brings harsh storms that can destroy all that they worked for. In the end, if the village is able to find that balance between growing itself and maintaining a healthy ecosystem, there story will be a winner.

To begin, the board is placed in the middle of the play area. Three food tokens are placed in the Village supply. The rest of the food tokens are placed next to the board. Four spaces in the boat are covered with the four boat tiles. The North and South Village Building tiles are placed on their starting locations on the board with the damaged side face up. In a 2-3 player game, the North Village is flipped over to it’s intact side. The Building tiles are shuffled together and placed in a stack next to the board. The top three tiles are drawn and placed in a row beside the stack to form the market. All the Fish tiles, Empty Net tiles and one Aquicorn tile are placed into the Fishing Bag. The remaining Aquicorn tiles are placed in the bay. The Pollution tiles are placed next to the board. A number of these tiles are placed into the Fishing Bag based on the desired difficulty level that players choose to play. For an easy game, 1 tile is placed into the bag. For the hardest difficulty level, 3 tiles are placed into the bag. An Aquicorn meeple is placed on each of the start positions for the Season, Reef Health and Village Prosperity tracks. The Event cards are shuffled and placed next to the board. The The Aquicorn deck and the Villager deck are also shuffled and placed next to the board. Players choose a character and take the corresponding Player Aid card and Starting deck. Each player shuffles their deck and draws the top three cards. In a 2 player game, any unused Starting decks are shuffled together to create a Helper deck. The first player is chosen and is given the Fishing Bag and the Boat, making them the Head Fisher. Play now begins.

The game is played over two years and an Epilogue. Each year consists of 3 rounds of play that represent Spring, Summer and Fall, followed by a Winter Storm. Each round consists of 7 phases. In the first phase, players will reveal the Event and play Character cards. To do these actions, first the top card of the Event deck is drawn. If the card has any Pollution numbers in the top right corner, then that many Pollution tiles are placed into the bag. The Event card is then placed on the Action track at the bottom of the board, in the phase that is shown on the card. Players will then choose a card from their hand to play. Some cards will provide more than one action to take. Players must decide which one to choose. It should be noted that players are allowed to discuss their options before making a decision. Once everyone has chosen a card, players in turn order will place their card on the Action track starting with the Head Fisher. When placing the card, it is placed on the phase matching the option they chose. Once all players have placed their chosen card, play moves to the next phase.

The second phase is the Village Fishing phase. In this phase, the Head Fisher will draw Ocean tiles from the Fishing Bag until they choose to stop or all of the empty spaces on the Fishing Boat have been filled. Fish tiles will be converted to food at the end of the phase. However there are more than just fish tiles. Players can draw empty nets that take up a space in the boat, pollution that lowers the Reef Health by 1 and is placed in an empty space in the bay or Aquicorns that are also placed in the bay. When a Pollution tile is placed in the bay, if either of the columns are full then that whole column of Pollution tiles are placed into the bag. When an Aquicorn tile is drawn, then an Aquicorn card i drawn and placed on the Action Track. Once the Head Fisher is done with fishing, the Village gains food equal to the total value of each fish in the boat. The fish are then returned to the bag. However if there are multiple fish of the same type, then only 1 fish of that type is returned to the bag and the other of the same type are removed from the game due to overfishing. Once all this has been completed, play moves to the next phase.

The third phase is the Gather and Clean phase. In this phase, players can gain food from the supply to feed the village and remove a Pollution tile from the bay, returning it to the Pollution supply. If at the end of this phase there are not Pollution tiles in the bay, then the Reef Health is increased by 1 and 1 Aquicorn is returned to the bag.

The fourth phase is the Farming phase. In this phase, players can plant a food from the supply to an empty farm space. If at least one player plants food in the farm, then the Village will plant bonus food equal to the season bonus located beneath the current location on the Season track.

The fifth phase is the Village phase. In this phase, food is harvested from the farm and the Village must be fed. During the Fall and in the Epilogue, the players take food from the Farm and place it into the Village supply. Next the Village is fed by checking the current position on the Prosperity track, the amount required to feed the Village is equal to the number of this position. If the Village can’t be fully fed, then what food is available is spent and the Aquicorn meeple is moved down one space on the track.

The sixth phase is the Building phase. In this phase, players help the Village to recover by repairing buildings and building new ones. Players can repair a building, flipping it over to it’s intact side. They can also choose to build new buildings by choosing one of the available buildings and paying it’s cost in food or building supplies. The new building is then placed in the Village on the intact side. Players are also able to gain building supplies during this phase. When a new building is placed, it must be placed to the right of an intact building or next to the shore. It should be noted that when placing a new building, the left fence on the bottom left corner of the tile must connect to a fence of the same color on the right of either the shore or the intact building tile already placed. Once a building is placed, a new tile is drawn from the stack and added to the market and the Aquicorn meeple is moved up on the Prosperity track one space. If the meeple moves onto a space showing the shell icon, then each player draws a card from the Villager deck and places it on top of their Character deck without looking at it. It should also be noted that if all 4 tiles can not be legally placed, then they are removed from the market and placed on the bottom of the stack. Four new tiles are then drawn to replace them.

The last phase is the End of Round phase. In this phase, players will collect Building income, store food and prepare for the next round. For each intact building that has a special income icon on the left side of the tile, the player will gain food, building supplies or income of any type. They might also be able to remove a Pollution tile or remove a Boat tile from the Fishing Boat. Next the Village is allowed to store up to 4 food for the next round, but any food over that must be returned to the supply. Finally the players will prepare for the next round by discarding all cards from the Action Track and advancing the Round Marker on the Seasons Track. The Head Fisher will then pass the Fishing Bag and the Board to the next player in turn order. Each player will then draw a card from their deck.

At the end of each year, there is a Winter storm. At this time, the Head Fisher must roll dice equal to the number above the Aquicorn meeple on the Reef track. Once each die is rolled, the player must find the row with the yellow warning sign that matches the symbol on the die. The die is then placed in that row, on the tile or space closest to the shore that does not already have a die on it. Once all the dice have been rolled for the storm, the storm effects are resolved for each die. If the die is on a space with no building, then it is simply removed with no effect. If the die is on an intact building, then it is flipped over to it’s damaged side. If the die was on a building tile that was already damaged, then 2 Pollution tiles are added to the bay. Once all the storm dice are resolved, the Season tracker is advanced to the next Season.

After the second year’s Winter storm, there is an Epilogue that allows players to rebuild the Village. During this special final round of play, the 7 phases are followed with a bonus. In this special round, there is a Farming bonus of +2 for planting food. The players are allowed to harvest just like they would in Fall and there is no storm to further cause damage. Once the Epilogue ends, the game ends.

Once the game has ended, players must determine their final Prosperity and Reef Health. To find the final Prosperity, players must reduce the Prosperity by one for every 2 damaged buildings, rounded up. Next for the Reef Health, this score is reduced by one for every 3 Pollution in the bag, rounded up. It’s further reduced by one for every 2 overfished Fish tiles, rounded up. Players will then take their final scores for both the Prosperity track and the Reef Health track and compare then to the charts in the back of the rulebook. The ending that matches the score for each is then read aloud from this chart. This tells the players how their story ends.

COMPONENTS
This is a very fun and beautiful looking game. There are so many adorable pieces and parts to this one that overloads the senses on cuteness. Let’s start with the board, it’s brightly colored with short explanations of each of the different phases at the bottom of the board. Some of the artwork on the board makes me think of the buildings in Machi Koro, another game that I really like the artwork for. The building tiles are thick cardboard and also carry this same style of look and feel as the main board does.

Next there is the fishing boat, this board is thick cardboard and is shaped like an old wooden rowboat with artwork to match. There are outlined spaces on the boat for the different tiles that are drawn from the bag. Each of these draw tiles have a name on one side and an illustration on the other. The fish tiles have the type of fish on one side and a number and picture of the fish on the other. The Aquicorn has a picture of the mystic animal on one side along with a reminder to draw an Aquicorn card from the deck. Empty net tiles look simply like an empty net with the words on the back. Pollution is the same way, pollution art on one side words on the back. The remaining cardboard pieces are the food tokens and the building supply tokens. These are both round and come in smaller and larger sizes. The smaller food tokens are for 1 food and show a pumpkin and a 1 on them, while the small building supply token is just a 1 on a golden coin. The larger food tokens show a stack of fish and a 3 on them, while the large building supply token is the number 3 on a golden coin. I will say, if the game was going to call them building supply tokens, then they should have looked like wood or some other building material, not just a gold coin. Of course that’s just a minor nitpick from me. The bad part about these tokens is that most of the design for the big ones is not centered. As you’ll be able to see in the picture above. I will probably replace these with metal coins or more thematic resource tokens.

Now comes all the really fun looking pieces, like the Aquicorn meeples. These are SO cute. They look like a dragon and a seahorse mixed together. My daughter melted from the cuteness of these meeples. Next there’s the velvety soft fishing bag that has an embroidered Aquicorn and the words, Aquicorn Cove on it. This is a very high quality bag that looks amazing. I really like this piece. The game also comes with 4 engraved storm dice. These are almost a marbleized black with white symbols for the different storms that they represent. These icons match the yellow signs on the building spaces of the board. These are really great quality and look great on the board. Finally there are the cards. If you ever seen one of Katie O’Neill’s graphic novels or webcomics, or if you’ve ever played the Tea Dragon Society Card Game, then you’ll recognize the beautiful and fun art style that is present on these. Each one contains some really amazing looking pieces of art that bring the game and the story to life. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the overall look and feel of everything here. My daughter and I both love the fun and beauty that each piece contains. This is definitely one of the best looking games that I’ve seen.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a bright and colorful piece of beauty as well. Each page contains some great pictures of the game or the components. There are tons of great examples throughout the book as well that really help players understand the different aspects of the game. Each phase and each component, from cards to tiles, are explained in great detail. The last page of the book contains the prosperity and reef health endings that help players to understand how well they did. The back cover of the rulebook has a handy reference guide to the different icons and phases of the game, as well as how storms work. This is a really nice addition that is very helpful. With this being a cooperative game, I’m sure that the game could easily be played solo, but some solo rules would have been nice as well. As it is, the rulebook looks great and does a great job of explaining everything in an easy to understand and concise way. I’m very pleased with it all.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
So if you’ve read through the overview, then you’ve already realized one thing. There is no winners or losers with this game. It’s all about finding a balance between growing the village and keeping the reef clean and healthy. If you’re able to do those things, then you’ll get a more positive ending. If not, then your ending will be less desirable. That’s not to say that you can’t play a kind of beat your high score with this game. You can easily do that. What this game does though is really tell the story of this village beside the ocean. Ok, so some players will not be thrilled with this way of playing. I can’t say that I blame you. I’m not one to go for this particular style of gameplay either. I like a definitive winner or loser type scenario. That’s one thing that I don’t like about a lot of solo style games is that they’re a beat your high score type of play. Normally I find that to be quite boring and a bit of a let down after an hour or so of playing a game. The thing that I found different about this game is that you find yourself caring about what happens to the village and the reef. Each time you put an Aquicorn back into the bag, it’s like you’ve just released an endangered species back into the wild. Every time you rebuild a damaged building, it’s like you’re working with Habitat for Humanity. It’s these types of decisions and choices that you make that feel like everything you do matters. For my daughter, she really cared about taking care of the village and the ocean. She cared about the Aquicorns. Her eyes simply lit up every time she drew one from the bag. It’s so amazing to see a board game bring out that childlike wonder in her that you don’t get to see very often these days. This game does that. It makes you care. This game is family friendly and is a great game to play with the kids. They’ll love it. This is one that I think fans of the Tea Dragon Society card game or any of Katie O’Neill’s books will enjoy. Is this a game for everyone, I doubt it. However for me and my family, this was a sweet and fun game that we really enjoyed a lot. This is one that I would definitely recommend for families or players that like working together to make a better world.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The Aquicorn Cove Board game is a fun and gorgeous looking game about a village that’s struggling to survive beside the ocean. The game isn’t an overly long one. Most game sessions are only about an hour long. The components for this game are adorably cute and fun. The artwork is truly amazing and it really draws you into the world created by Katie O’Neill. However, there is a small centering issue for the artwork on the large building supply tokens that needs to be fixed. The rulebook is very well designed and is very detailed on how each piece and part works. About the only thing it could use would be some solo rules. The game itself is very thematic and fun and is great for families. My daughter absolutely loved this game. It has a great table presence and looks amazing to boot. I enjoy the mechanics of the game and how easy it is to learn. This is one that everyone can enjoy. That said, there is one negative that I wasn’t fond of. That would be the way the game ends. There’s no real winning or losing with this one. It’s more like a beat your own score type of ending. The one redeeming quality about the way this happens is that the better you do, the better your story ending is. For most gamers, that might not be enough, but for families it’s a great game and one that can help teach our kids to be better citizens of our own planet and communities. Fans of The Tea Dragon Society Card Game or any of Katie O’Neill’s comics should really enjoy this one. This is one that I would definitely recommend for families. It’s a sweet and fun game that gets a thumbs up from me. While it’s not a gamer’s game, it’s still fun to play.
8 out of 10

 

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

https://www.renegadegamestudios.com/

 

 

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The Zorro Dice Game Review

The Zorro Dice Game is a game by Brian Henk and Clayton Skancke, published by Pull the Pin Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of heroes attempting to become the next Zorro. They will have to perform feats of heroic proportions if they hope to acquire the skills and equipment they need to defeat the Scoundrels and Villains that persecute the citizens of the town. In the end, the player that can show that they have what it takes, will be declared the winner and will become the next Zorro.

To begin, each player is given a colored pawn or hero token. The Scoundrels and Villains cards are placed to one side of the table in two rows with the Scoundrel card on top of the same colored Villain card. The Hero dice matching the card’s location is placed on top of each card. The Premium Equipment cards are shuffled together and placed face down in a deck below the Scoundrels and Villains. The Standard Equipment cards are shuffled together. The top 4 cards of this deck are placed face up in a row in the middle of the play area. The remaining Standard Equipment cards are placed in a face down deck beside this row. The Heroic Feats cards are shuffled together. One card from this deck is placed face up on top of each of the 4 Standard Equipment cards in the face up row. The remaining cards are placed in a face down deck beside this row. The first player is chosen and is given the 5 black Zorro dice. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns. Each player, on their turn, will follow 3 steps; Travel, Attempt and Collect. The first step is the Travel step. For this step, the player will choose one of the face up Heroic Feat cards to try and accomplish. They will then place their Hero token on top of their chosen card. If there are 4 or more players, then they may choose another player to join them.

The next step is the Attempt step. For this step, the player will roll the 6 black Zorro dice and any Hero dice that they may have acquired previously, more on this in a bit. The player will be trying to match up the symbols from the dice to the card. After rolling, they may choose to save any dice that they wish and reroll. The player call roll the dice up to 3 times to accomplish the feat. When another player joins the active player, then the active player may use any of that player’s Equipment along with their own during their rolls. They are also granted a fourth and final roll, which they may add any Hero dice that they have collected. It should be noted that the player may also use Equipment cards they may have gained to meet the requirements of the Heroic Feat card. There are 2 types of Equipment cards; Common and Premium. A player may have up to 1 Premium Equipment and up to 3 Equipment total of both Premium and Common Equipment. Common Equipment cards will either provide a specific die symbol for free or will allow the player to reroll any Zorro dice that show a particular symbol. Premium Equipment are special and they provide abilities that other players will not be able to do, such as setting a die to a particular value before rolling or providing an extra roll. Once a player has completed their rolls, they will move to the next step.

The final step is the Collect step. In this step, the player checks to see if they have met the requirements of their chosen Heroic Feat card. If they have not met the requirements, then their turn is over and play passes to the next player. If the player did meet the requirements, then they will take the Heroic Feat card and place it face up in front of themself. If it matches a Heroic Feat that they already own, then they will take a die from the matching colored location and trigger either a Scoundrel or a Villain, more on this in just a bit. This permanently gives the player a Hero dice that matches that colored location. If the player acquires a third Heroic Feat from the same location, then they will permanently acquire a second Hero dice matching that location’s color. Next the player will take the Equipment card that was beneath the Heroic Feat that they just succeed in doing. If they do not wish to take this card, they may draw a different one from the deck. If another player was helping them, then they may choose to take the card or draw another one as well. If the card was not chosen, then it is discarded to the bottom of the Common Equipment deck. A new Heroic Feat and Common Equipment card is drawn to replace the ones taken, placing the Heroic Feat on top of the Equipment card. Hero Tokens are then returned to their owners and play passes to the next player in turn order, who is given the Zorro dice.

Earlier I mentioned how Scoundrels or Villains can be triggered. If the first Hero die for a location is acquired, the Scoundrel for that location will emerge causing the next player in turn order to immediately have to fight them. Fighting a Scoundrel is done the same way as attempting a Heroic Feat. However Scoundrels will have special abilties that will make them more difficult. If a player defeats the Scoundrel, they will gain a Premium Equipment card from the deck, instead of a Common one. If a player fails to beat the Scoundrel, nothing happens. Win or lose, each player in turn order will be given an opportunity to defeat the Scoundrel. Once each player has had an attempt, the Scoundrel card is returned to the box and play resumes, completing the player’s third step of a player’s turn.

If players collect both Hero Dice from a location, then the Villain matching that location emerges. A Villain will also emerge if the last Heroic Feat card has been drawn from the deck. In this case, the Villain matching that Heroic Feat’s location will emerge. Once the Villain emerges, the Final Battle will take place. In turn order, each player will get only 1 attempt to fight the Villain, starting with the player that triggered the Villain. Players will attempt to match symbols exactly the same way as fighting a Scoundrel, except they will not draw an Equipment card if they win. If a player is able to defeat the Villain, their Hero token is placed in the middle of the play area. If a player does not defeat the Villain, then their Hero token is knocked over to show they have been defeated. Once each player has fought the Villain, players check to see whose Hero tokens remain standing. If only 1 player defeated the Villain, then they win and become the next Zorro. If more than 1 player defeated the Villain, then those players will duel each other to see who wins. If no players defeated the Villain, then they will all duel to see who wins. To duel, each player will take a turn consisting of 3 rolls. They are allowed to use their Equipment and Hero dice as well, in an attempt to get as many sword results as possible. If a player ends up with less swords on their attempt than another player, then that player is eliminated. If there is a tie, players continue with another round. This continues until only 1 player remains. The player that remains is the winner and becomes the next Zorro.

COMPONENTS
This game has some really nice pieces. The game comes with a handful of brightly colored custom engraved dice. The iconography on each one matches the icons on the different cards. The dice are actually quite nice. However it should be noted that they are a bit smaller than your normal dice. In fact, these are about 12 mm in size which is smaller than I’ve seen in other games. While bigger dice would have been nicer, these still look nice and get the job done. The hero tokens are a set of brightly colored pawns like you’d find in an old board game from years ago. This is one piece that I’m a bit disappointed with. Some miniatures, standees or even just some colored meeples would have been better than this. Hopefully, this will be something that is improved before hitting retail. Finally there are the cards, these are the absolute best looking parts of the whole game. There aren’t a lot of them, but what is included with the game looks great. The different Heroic Feats show Zorro performing some kind of heroic action that looks like a scene from an animated movie. The Equipment cards look ready to be used on the different Scoundrels and Villains that are just waiting to be taken down. Speaking of the bad guys, each Scoundrel card consists of a bunch of nasty looking ruffians just begging for Zorro to give them what for. The Villain cards are all unique and showcase a truly despicable individual, set to terrorize the village. Needless to say, I’m very excited about how amazing the artwork is for this game. One last thing that I feel I need to touch on is the gimmicky box. You pull the plastic shelf hanger at the top of the box and it the box comes out of the sleeve with a huge “BOOM” logo on the magnetic lid. While I get the idea behind the gimmick, I’m not a big fan of box sleeves. That said, I’m not impressed. I mean it’s cute and silly but I’d rather just be able to open the box without all the pizzazz. In any event, I do find that the few negatives are completely overshadowed by the good pieces of this game. As it is, it’s still a great looking game.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is quite small and is a double fold sheet of paper that has 6 pages of information. There are pictures on every page, although they’re rather small. It’s especially hard to see just how the Scoundrels and Villains are set up in the example. Which wouldn’t be a problem, except the rules say to set these up as shown. Thankfully after a bit of squinting and straining my eyes, I figured it out. I think some bigger pictures would have been a lot more helpful. Hopefully this will get fixed before the game hits retail. There’s not really a lot to the rules, which are quite easy to read through and understand. Everything is pretty much explained so that you’ll know what to do on your turn and when playing the game. Nothing really difficult there. I will say that the rules lacked any kind of examples of gameplay, which I normally find annoying. However, with the rules being as simple as they are, there’s not any real need for examples. If I could add one thing to this rulebook that I think is missing, that would be some dedicated solo rules. It seems to me that this game is just screaming for solo rules. As it is, the rules did an adequate job of conveying the needed information in a short and concise way. For this reason, I’m happy.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
If you’ve ever played Yahtzee before, then the dice rolling mechanic of this game will seem quite similar. That’s because it’s basically the same thing. Roll some dice, try to get the symbols that you need, rinse and repeat. That’s not to say that I don’t like the mechanic. I’m actually quite fond of the Yahtzee mechanic in games like King of Tokyo, Elder Sign and Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks, all of which I highly recommend. So then what makes this game different than any of the others. Well for starters, there are the Scoundrels and Villains, which only come out once a player has 2 or 3 Heroic Feats that match a location’s color. Once a player gets those 2 or 3 feats, they also gain a Hero dice that they can then use on future turns. The game also has equipment cards that can help a player to gain the needed icons to perform a specific feat or beat a particular bad guy. Finally, this game has one of the best ways to break a tie that I’ve ever seen, players get to duel each other. Each player that defeated the villain gets to roll the dice and add the swords from any equipment that they have to try and beat the other players. That’s actually quite simple and brilliant at the same time. Needless to say, I rather like this game. It scratches my dice rolling itch and my need to whomp on the bad guys. I will say, as I stated earlier in the rulebook section, this game needs solo rules. Everything is there for this game to be played solo, it just needs an official update to make it happen. With solo rules, it would definitely bump up my appreciation for the game. As it is, this is a fun game that’s quick and easy to play. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to play and is one that can be played with the entire family. I love a good family friendly game that’s fast. Fans of Yahtzee or other dice rolling games like King of Tokyo, Elder Sign or Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks, should enjoy this one as well. This is a simple and fun little game that I recommend. It definitely checks off plenty of boxes for me.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The Zorro Dice Game is a fast and fun dice rolling game where players can try and become the next Zorro. It’s a really fast and easy game to play. Most game sessions last around 15 minutes or so. The dice are a bit small and the pawns should be replaced with some meeples or standees. However, these miniscule issues are overshadowed by the brilliant artwork on the cards, which I absolutely love. The rules are well written and easy to learn, but the pictures are a bit too small to adequately help you set up the game. I also think some solo rules would be a very welcome addition. The game itself is a lot of fun. It’s easy to pick up and play and it scratches my dice rolling itch quite nicely. This is one that I think fans of the Yahtzee mechanic found in games like King of Tokyo, Elder Sign or Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks should really enjoy. My main hope is that the few issues that are simple fixes are dealt with prior to release. As it is, this is a game that I recommend. Zorro would be proud.
8 out of 10

 

For more information about this great game, please check out Pull the Pin Games at their site.

https://pull-the-pin-games.com/

You can also check out the Kickstarter campaign for the game and back your copy today!  Just click the link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/overworldgames/the-zorro-dice-game

 

 

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Circadians: First Light Review

Circadians: First Light is a game by S J Macdonald, published by Renegade Game Studios. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of field leader of a team of researchers based on a newly discovered planet. Players will be farming, constructing, researching and even trading to gain the resources that they need to be successful. In the end, the player that is best able to efficiently manage their crew to gain the most points will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Planet board is placed in the middle of the play area, on either side. The Gem Cache tiles are shuffled together before being randomly placed into the cut out sections on the edge of the Planet board. The red side with the points on it shoud be placed face down and not revealed to any of the players at this time. Gem and Water tokens are placed on certain spaces of the Planet board as indicated by the small icons at the top of these spaces. Each player will now choose a player color and will receive the Harvester in their chosen color, which is then placed in the center of the Planet board. The Negotiation board is placed beside the Planet board on the side that corresponds with the number of players. The 3 Clan boards are placed along the top of the Negotiation board on either side, with the green clan on the left, the yellow in the middle and the red one on the right. The Negotiation tokens are placed into the holes along the bottom of the Negotiation board. The Depository/Headquarters board is placed near the Planet Board on the side that corresponds with the number of players. It should be noted that when playing with less than 3 players, the column on the far left with the 3 player icons in the spaces will not be used. The “End of an Era” Event card is placed facedown on the Depository/Headquarters board in the space provided. This will form the Event Draw Pile. The rest of the Event cards are shuffled together and 7 cards are randomly placed on top of the Event Draw Pile. The remaining cards are returned to the box. The Location boards are placed below the other boards on the side that corresponds to the number of players. It is recommended to place the Control board close to the Planet board for ease of play. The Farm tiles are shuffled together and separated into 3 stacks of 5 tiles each. Each stack is placed faceup on one of the 3 spaces at the bottom of the Laboratory board. The Upgrade tiles are shuffled together and then separated into 3 stacks of 6 tiles each. Each stack is placed faceup on one of the 3 spaces at the bottom of the Foundry board. Ten dice of each player’s chosen color are placed near the Academy Board. Each player is then given a Research Base board, a Player Screen, 3 dice in their chosen color, 10 water tokens, 2 Algae tokens and 2 Power tokens. The Character boards are shuffled together and each player is dealt 2 of these facedown. The player will then choose 1 to keep and return the other one to the box. The kept Character board is placed beside their Research Base. It should be noted that if all players agree, each player may instead choose their own character from those available. The Item cards are shuffled together and then placed facedown into a pile above the Depository/Headquarters board. This forms the Item Card Draw Pile. Each player is then dealt 4 cards from the Item Card Draw Pile. They will each choose 1 card to keep, placing it facedown in front of themself. Each player will then pass the remaining cards to the player on their left. Players will then choose 1 card to keep, placing it facedown with their other Item card. Once more, they will pass the remaining cards to their left. They will choose 1 last Item card, placing it facedown with the other Item cards in front of themself. The remaining card in their hand is then placed facedown at the bottom of the Item Card Draw Pile. Players may then look at their cards but should keep them hidden from other players. The Water, Algae, Power and Gem tokens should be separated and placed into a supply near the play area, along with the 6 Multiplier cards. The first player is randomly chosen and is given the Start Player Marker which they will place near their Research Base. Once all this has been completed, play now begins.

The game is played over a series of 8 rounds. Each round is made up of 4 phases; Plan, Execute, Harvest and Rest phases. The first phase is the Plan phase. To start the Plan phase, the top card of the Event Draw Pile is revealed and placed faceup to the right of the deck. The text on the card is read aloud and the effects of the card, which affect all players, are then resolved. Some effects will be resolved later in the round, as noted on the Event card. Once this has been taken care of, all players will roll all of their available dice at the same time, behind their player screen. It should be noted that when rolling dice, players must follow 3 rules. First, no player may have more than 5 dice during the Plan phase. This includes both the Headquarters and the Research Base. Second, if a player has no available dice at this time, including in the Headquarters, they may gain 1 die immediately from the supply. Finally, once rolled, a player may not change the rolled value of the die until the Execute phase. After rolling the dice, each player will then need to assign each of their rolled dice to the various spaces on their Research Base. There are 2 types of locations that players may choose from; Garages and Farms. Garages are used to take actions on the various other boards during the Execute phase. When placing dice on these spaces, players must always fill from left to right. It should be noted that some spaces have an Algae cost that will need to be paid during the Execute phase to perform an action. Also of note, the first Garage space contains an upgraded vehicle that will allow the player to increase or decrease the die value assigned there by 1 during the Execute phase. Farms are used to gain resources. When placing dice on these spaces, players may freely place their dice and will not need to fill from left to right. Dice assigned to these spaces are activated during the Harvest phase. It should be noted that the first farm space does not produce any resources, instead it allows a player to increase the value of all other farm dice on their Research Base by up to 3. With the second and third farms the player must choose 1 of the 2 resources shown on the space to produce. The amount of the resource produced is determined by the value of the die placed there, as noted on the table at the bottom left of the Research Base. Once each player has finished assigning their dice, play moves to the next phase.

The second phase is the Execute phase. In this phase, players begin by removing their Player Screen and revealing their Research Board with their assigned dice. Before actioning the dice on each player’s Research Board, all the dice at the Headquarters are actioned first, beginning with the die that is farthest to the left and then moving right. It should be noted that dice that are actioned from the Headquarters can not be placed back onto the Headquarters. Also of note, the first die in the Headquarters may be flipped to it’s opposite side when being actioned, of course this is optional. Once all the dice have been actioned from the Headquarters, then players will begin to action the dice assigned to the Garages on their Research Base. This is done in turn order beginning with the first player and continuing in turn order. When these dice are actioned, there are 3 things should be noted. First players must always action their left most die on their turn. That’s because the order that each die is actioned is important. It should be noted that the first die that is farthest to the left is free to action. However the remaining Garages require 1-3 Algae to be used. If a player can not or chooses not to pay the Algae cost, then that die and all the dice to the right of it are placed in the player’s Cantina space. Each die placed there gives the player 2 Water from the supply immediately. Finally, some Upgrade tiles may be used to influence the cost or die value of certain Garages when their dice are being actioned. These specific details are explained on the back of the rulebook, but should be noted for future reference.

When actioning a die during the Execute Phase, the player may choose from 6 different Location boards as well as the Negotiation board and the Depository/Headquarters board. The Negotiation board allows players to score points but they have to spend resources to use these spaces. It should also be noted that placing a die below a particular clan allows the player to gain a unique ability. Also the first die placed with a unique value allows the player to gain an advancement. However, once the dice values of a specific clan reach a certain level, it may trigger a setback which will cost the player. The Depository is another place where players can gain points. This section of the board allows a player to play an Item card from their hand by paying the required resources. They will also gain a reward based on where the die was placed. The Headquarters allows a player to action dice first in the next round, as well as their choice between 2 Item cards or 5 Water. The Mining Camp is 1 of the 6 Location boards. This board allows players to harvest Gems by paying a certain number of Water based on which space they choose. The Laboratory allows players to purchase new Farms by placing 2 dice of the same value and paying either 3 Algae or 10 Water. The Foundry allows players to purchase Upgrades for their Garages by paying 2 Power or 10 Water. The Control Room allows players to move their Harvester to an adjacent space on the Planet board by paying 2 Power or 10 Water. The direction the Harvester moves is based on the value of the die placed. Once moved, the player gains any resources printed on the space. The Market allows players to make a number of trades for resources with the supply based the number of the die placed. The Academy allows players to gain new dice to action with for the next round by paying a number of resources. Once all dice assinged to the Headquarters and Garages have been actioned and resolved, play moves to the next phase.

The third phase is the Harvest phase. In this phase, players will harvest their resources at the same time. Players will gain resources from the Planet and their Farms, taking the gained resources from the supply. On the Planet, the player will gain a number of resources based on the space occupied by their Harvester. On a player’s Farms, some farms will produce resources while others require a die to activate it. For those farms requiring dice, the amount of resources produced is determined by the value of the die and the table at the bottom left corner of the Research Base. Once players have harvested all their resources, play moves to the fourth phase.

The final phase is the Rest phase. In this phase, players will return all of their used dice from the Location boards, Farms and Cantina to their supply. Dice on the Depository/Headquarters and Negotiation boards should not be returned. They stay where they are placed. Once this is done, the first player from the current round will pass the Start Player Marker to the next player in turn order, making them the first player for the next round. Players will then need to check and make sure that they don’t have any more than 5 dice and 8 item cards. If they do, the extras are discarded to the supply or discard pile respectively. As long as it’s not the eighth round, a new round begins and play continues with a new Plan phase.

The game continues until the end of the Rest phase of the eighth round. At this time, the game ends immediately. Players will then score points in 5 areas. They will gain points from their dice on the Negotiation board. They will gain points from Items that they have acquired, both from the printed value and the bonus scoring abilities. They will gain points from their Harvester’s position on the Planet Board, if they’ve reached a Gem Cache. They will gain points from their Upgrades and Farms on their Research Board, as well as the printed values on their left most empty garage and farm spaces. They will also gain points for any remaining Gems in their supply. Players will then add up their points and the player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has some great looking artwork and some very nice pieces to it. To begin with, there are wooden resources, gems and negotiation tokens. Each of the resources is shaped to represent a particular resources, for example the water token is blue and shaped like a drop of water. There are lots of dice in 4 different player colors. These dice are brightly colored and see through but are on the small size. I would have preferred the dice be more of a normal game size. Even so, I do like the colors and look of them, even though I don’t like the size. The Harvesters are also in the bright player colors and are 6 sided plastic rings that look nice when placed on the Planet Board. Speaking of boards, there are lots of boards for this game. There’s the circular Planet Board with cut outs for the Gem Cache tiles. This board is a bit drab and kind of lifeless, but it does it’s job quite effectively through the use of different icons for the resources that each space provides. I would have liked a little more flash and pizzaz but it may have been too distracting, thus the more drab look of the board. There are 2 larger boards and 6 smaller Location boards. The larger boards are the Negotiation Board and the Depository/Headquarters board. The Negotiation board has cut outs for the different Clans and holes for the Negotiation tokens that provide advancements and setbacks. There’s not much in the way of artwork on this one. The Depository/Headquarters board, on the other hand, looks like a space warehouse with a guy standing in front of some monitors. This same style of character artwork is present on all of the Location boards. The Mining Camp has a red alien with some kind of jackhammer/drill. The Market has a green alien selling some unusual wares at her stall. The Laboratory, Foundry, Control Room and Academy look like something out of Star Trek but with armored suits instead of colored ones. Even the Player Screens get a heavy dose of artwork, with each one displaying an array of aliens and humans from the game. The Character Boards and Clan Boards also display different characters and aliens alike. As far as the artwork goes, it’s over the top with thematic and gorgeous designs. Some of that artwork also makes it’s way onto the cards, especially on the Item cards. There are several different types of cards and each one is really great quality. The game also comes with some cardboard tiles for the Farm and Garages, as well as the Gem Cache, and AI progress. Yes, I said AI. That’s because on the back of the Research Bases that each player uses, there’s 1 of 4 different AI Opponent boards. Each AI has this really awesome looking droid like alien that you’re supposed to be playing against. Like I said, the artwork is gorgeous. Needless to say, once you crack this one open, you’ll find a lot of great artwork and great designs on some very good quality components. If all that’s not enough for you, the game comes with an insert that holds everything perfectly. Of course there is a little extra room once those punchboards are removed but such is life. In any event, this is very thematic and great looking game. I think players will find a lot to love in the way this one looks.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
I’ll admit, the rulebook for this game was a little bit intimidating. There was so much information and it looked like it was going to be a lot to keep up with and try to learn. To be honest, I put off playing it for awhile simply because of the rulebook. Of course once I started reading through it, everything made sense. I realized then that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was pretty straight forward. Every step of the game from setup to scoring was explained in great detail in a very simple to understand way. The rules have plenty of examples and lots of great pictures to help players understand things. The last couple of pages of the book even include an idex of the item cards, along with clarifications on the character boards and advancements and setbacks. The back of the book covers the different farm and upgrade tiles with great pictures to highlight each one. If that weren’t enough, the book also includes a solo variant with 4 pages worth of information for playing by yourself. I’m very pleased with the overall look and feel of the book and I see now that there was nothing to be so concerned about. As it is, the book is really well written and it is very easy to read. Overall an excellent job.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me be completely honest. When I first looked at this game, I thought, “Man, this is gonna be pretty boring. The box looks cool, but the rulebook looks so complicated. I think this is gonna be a definite get rid of game.” Well let me tell you, I was WRONG! I know, I don’t say those words that often, but it’s true. I’ve actually been on the lookout for a really good dice placement game, that’s basically a worker placement game with dice. I had played a few that didn’t really work out for me. This one on the other hand, is very good. It takes this space colonization kind of theme and gives you lots of options for placing your dice. Having so many options to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to place each of your dice. Which, like the rulebook, can be a bit overwhelming. The thing is, the game isn’t overwhelming. After you get going for a round or two, you get it and everything just starts to move right along. Of course, you do have to worry about the luck aspect of dice rolling, but there’s plenty of things to offset those rolls, so it’s not too big of a concern. As you play the game you always have to be thinking ahead of where you want to place your dice and what you want to do. However you need to have back up plans as each board is tight and it’s very easy to get blocked out of going where you had first planned to go. I’d like to mention that each character that you play feels completely different and will help push you in a certain direction for making choices that will help that specific character play best. Now, not only is this a good game for multiple players, but it’s got a great solo mode too. In fact, you can even use the AI for the solo mode as an extra player for playing with multiple players, just to tighten up the boards even more so. If that’s something that you feel like doing. Personally, I love simply playing this one solo. The game comes with 4 levels of AI from Easy to Insane. I’ve yet to tackle the Insane AI, but I’m sure it’s pretty rough. The Hard AI was tough enough to whomp me pretty savagely. The way that the AI plays is through a series of Scheme cards that tells you exactly what the AI does on it’s turn. Mainly blocking you from using certain spaces and gaining resources or gems to be able to gain enough points to destroy you with. Needless to say, I’ve had a great time winning and yes…losing to the AI. Fans of dice placement or worker placement games should really enjoy this one, especially if the theme is appealing to you. This is one that I highly recommend for multiple and solo players. I can say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this game and look forward to playing more of it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Circadians: First Light is a dice placement style game with a space theme. The game is a little over average length, with most games taking around an hour and a half. The components are absolutely gorgeous. The artwork is great and the quality of each piece is very high. I love the character and alien designs that this one has. The rulebook is well designed and even includes rules for solo play, which I love. The game itself is a lot of fun for both multiple players as well as for playing solo. There are a huge amount of choices that are available for players to make and lots of paths to victory. This is one that multiple players and solo players can easily enjoy. This is one that fans of dice or worker placement games should enjoy. It’s one that I highly recommend. Now if you’ll excuse me, the droids need more algae.
9 out of 10

 

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

https://www.renegadegamestudios.com/

 

 

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Jumanji Fluxx Review

Jumanji Fluxx is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be playing cards from their hand in an attempt to fulfill the ever changing goal of the game which is to ultimately win Jumanji. Of course the rules will also be changing so they’ll need to be aware of this. To make matters worse, there are constant dangers that will try to eliminate the players from the game. Good thing that like any good video game, they have extra lives. That is until the Meta rule makes it impossible to return. In the end, the player that is able to best negotiate the ever changing rules and complete the current goal to escape Jumanji, will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Basic Rules card is placed in the middle of the play area. The rest of the cards are shuffled together to form the draw deck. Each player is then dealt 3 cards. Afterwards, the deck is placed face down beside the Basic Rules card. The “No More Lives” Meta Rule card is placed at the bottom of the deck and the “Jumanji” Meta Rule card is placed beside the Basic Rules card. The first player is then chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns. Each player will take a turn consisting of 2 steps. At the beginning of the game, those 2 steps will be to draw a card and to play a card. As the game progresses, New Rule cards will be played which will change the way the game is played. This might mean drawing 2, 3 or even more cards per turn. It also might mean playing more than 1 card per turn. These New Rule cards will take effect as soon as they are played. Sometimes these cards will make it where the player has to discard cards at the end of their turn to comply with a hand restriction rule. Besides the New Rule cards, there are also 3 other types of cards that a player can play on their turn. There are Keeper cards, which are played face up in front of the player and remain there until another card removes them. These cards are used to win the game by fulfilling the Goal card. Goal cards are placed face up into the middle of the play area and set the win condition of the game. If there is already a Goal card in this area, it is discarded and replaced with the new Goal card. Each Goal card provides players with exactly which Keepers that they need to have in front of themself in order to win the game. Next there are Action cards. These are cards are one time use cards that when played must be followed and then discarded.

This game also contains 2 other types of cards that can be played. There are the Meta Rule cards and the Danger cards. The game comes with 2 Meta Rule cards; Jumanji and No More Extra Lives. The first adds the rule that the player that achieves the Goal or is the last player remaining, must raise their arms and call out “JUMANJI” to win. The latter makes it where elimination becomes permanent, so that new players may not join the game and eliminated players may not rejoin. Of course during setup, it’s placed at the bottom of the draw pile and is only played when the draw deck is depleted and requires shuffling. The Danger cards can cause one or more players to be eliminated from the game. This usually entails having a certain Keeper or type of Keeper in front of yourself. When eliminated, the player must discard their entire hand and all of their Keepers. As long as 2 or more players remain, the eliminated player may jump back into the game, once all the other players have completed a turn. When jumping in, the player draws 3 new cards and observes the current Draw rule. Players are allowed to reenter the game as often as they wish, until the No More Extra Lives Meta Rule goes into effect.

Once a player completes their turn by drawing the appropriate number of cards, playing the appropriate number of cards and then discarding back down to the appropriate hand limit, as dictated by New Rule cards, then the player’s turn is over. Play then passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues with players following the steps of their turn until someone is able to fulfill the conditions of the current Goal card, or all but one player has been eliminated from the game. The first player able to do either of these is the winner, regardless of whose turn it is.

COMPONENTS
This game contains 100 different cards and a collectible coin. Some copies will include a bonus pack of 7 cards, depending on where your copy was purchased from. The cards for this game are excellent. The finish on each one is very good. This makes it easy to shuffle the deck. The Keepers, Goals and Danger cards have some very nice looking artwork that fits the theme quite well. The characters and items on the Keepers come from both the older movie with Robin Williams and the newer one with the Rock. I really thought that was a nice touch as it added flavor for fans of both. On the New Rule cards, there are some large icons along with some rules text that tells you how these work. These are also very nice and are quite easy to understand. The Action cards have no artwork on them and are just a bunch of text for players to follow. I think a little bit of artwork on these would have made them look a little nicer, but with them being played and immediately discarded, it’s not too big of a deal. The collectible coin that comes with the game like a clay poker chip and less like a coin. I really like the quality of this piece. It’s very sturdy and thick. On one side is a foil picture of Van Pelt from the first movie. On the back are several animal and hunter designs from the game in the movie. In the middle of these designs is a box of text that reads, “It’s My Turn!” It fits well with the theme and is a great looking design. The box comes with a great looking insert that holds all the cards and the coin quite securely. Overall I like the quality of the game and think that the components are well designed and the artwork is great. My younger self is very happy with the care and love that this game gives to the theme. It look and feels great!
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game consists of a large double sided sheet of paper that is folded several times so that it will fit comfortably inside the box. When unfolded, the sheet is quite big. The sheet contains a couple of pictures and also includes a sample of an in progress game. There’s also a very nice picture of the wooden Jumanji game box on the back of the sheet. The rules include a few examples to help you as you understand the game. The sheet explains what each different type of card does, including the Meta Rules and Danger cards. It also has a few notes on things that may occur while playing the game, such as when to reshuffle the draw pile and how to jump in to a game already in progress. There are also some notes on the different types of special icons in the game. The rules are really quite simple to understand and very quick to read through. Overall I think the rules explain everything quite well and in a concise and easy to learn way. I couldn’t ask for much more than that.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Fluxx has always been a great light weight card game that’s fast and fun. This version is no exception. I remember the first time that I saw the original Jumanji movie, I thought it was a great concept for a movie. Just recently I was able to watch the new version of Jumanji with my kids. I thought it was still a great concept, but some of the luster had been worn off due to some crude humor in the film. Thankfully all the things that I liked about the movie have made their way into this game without adding any of the innuendos that I wasn’t too keen on. So apart from the standard rules from basically any version of Fluxx, this one adds in a few rules that make it stand out. One of those rules is the addition of the Danger cards. I like how that this changes the idea of putting out every Keeper you can find out in front of you, because if you have the wrong one when a Danger card is played, you’re eliminated from the game. Of course, having the ability to jump back in after a round is pretty cool too. However I like that you can save those Danger cards till the right moment to knock out everyone, leaving you the sole survivor for the win. This is one extra card type that I thoroughly enjoy having as it adds a bit more depth to the game play, in my opinion. There’s also the Meta Rules that add a bit more theme to the game. The one where you have to yell out “Jumanji” is actually quite thematic. Then there’s the other card that makes it where players are no longer able to jump back into the game, much like in the most recent movie. Once your lives are gone, you’re done. I have to say that I really like the mixture of the old and the new on this one as it really appeals to fans of both movies. Honestly I think this is a superb version in the Fluxx family. As a matter of fact, it’s become my most favorite way to play, even without the Creepers that I love so much. Overall this is a great game and one that fans of Fluxx or Jumanji will love. Players looking for a quick and fun card game won’t find much better than this one. This is one game that I highly recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Jumanji Fluxx is a light weight card game of ever changing rules in the world of Jumanji. It’s a fast and easy game that can be played quite quickly. Most game sessions last around 15 minutes or so. The cards are excellent and have some really fun artwork on them. I really like that this game mixes both the old and new movies together. The rulebook is well designed and is really quick and easy to read through. The game itself is a lot of fun, especially for fans of the movies. This is a great family friendly game that even the younger players can join in on quite easily. It’s simple enough and fast enough that it will keep their attention. Fans of either of the Jumanji movies or players looking for a quick and light weight card game should enjoy this one. Players already familiar with Fluxx or one of it’s many incarnations, should find this one different enough to add to their collection. This is one that I highly recommend. Just watch out for those charging rhinos, Dr. Bravestone.
9 out of 10

 

For more information about Fluxx and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.

http://looneylabs.com

 

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Marvel Fluxx Review

Marvel Fluxx is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be playing Marvel comics themed cards which will constantly be changing the rules and victory conditions. They’ll be trying to collect different heroes and villains to their play area as they try to fulfill the current goal. Of course with everything changing, that goal may not be there for long. In the end, the player that can best negotiate all the changing rules to complete the current goal will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Basic Rules card is placed in the middle of the play area. The rest of the cards are shuffled together to form the deck. Each player is then dealt 3 cards. The deck is then placed face down next to the Basic Rules card, in the middle of the play area. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns. Each player will take a turn consisting of 2 steps. At the beginning of the game, those 2 steps will be to draw a card and to play a card. As the game goes on, New Rule cards will be played which will change the way the game is played. This could mean drawing more than 1 card per turn or playing more than 1 card per turn. These New Rule cards will take effect as soon as they are played. Sometimes these cards will even enforce a hand limit, meaning that the player may have to discard cards at the end of their turn to comply with this Rule Card. Besides the New Rule cards, there are also 3 other types of cards that player can play on their turn. There are Keeper cards. These are played face up in front of the player and remain there unless another card removes them. These are used to win the game by fulfilling the Goal card. Goal cards, when played, are placed face up into the middle of the play area. If there’s already a Goal card in this area, it is discarded and replaced with the new Goal card. The Goal card will tell players exactly which Keepers that they need to have in front of themself in order to win the game. Finally there are Action cards. These are one time use cards that when played must be followed and then discarded. Once the player has drawn the appropriate number of cards, played the appropriate number of cards and discarded down to the appropriate hand limit, as dictated by New Rule cards, then the player’s turn is over. Play will then pass to the next player in turn order.

The game continues with players following the steps of their turn until someone is able to fulfill the conditions of the current Goal card. The first player able to do this is the winner. Players are even able to win if they’re able to meet the current Goal on another player’s turn.

COMPONENTS
The game contains 100 cards and a collectible coin. Some copies will include a bonus pack of 7 cards, depending on where you purchase your copy from. The cards for the game are really great quality. The finish is very good which makes them easy to shuffle. The artwork on the Keepers and Goal cards appear to be ripped right from the comics themselves. Each one shows off one or more of the different characters from the Marvel Universe. I will say that pretty much the artistic style is very modernized. That is to say that the characters on the cards look more in line with the movies and more modern designs from the comics, as opposed to the original designs from my childhood that I’m more familiar with. Still the artwork is great and it works together quite well. On the New Rule cards, there are these large icons along with some text telling you how these rules work. These are a little nicer looking and easier to understand than some of the Fluxx games that I’ve played in the past. The Action cards have no artwork and are just a bunch of text for players to follow. I think some artwork would have made these a little nicer, but with them only being played and immediately discarded, it’s not a bit deal. The collectible coin that comes with the game looks more like a clay poker chip than a coin. I have to say, I like the design of this piece quite a lot. On one side there’s a picture of Cap’s shield. On the other side there’s a bunch of symbols that represent different characters in the Marvel Universe. Between all these icons is a box of text that reads, ” It’s My Turn!” The coin is actually a high quality piece that I really like. It looks great! The box comes with a handy dandy little insert that holds all the cards and the coin quite nicely. Overall I think the quality is very good and the components are well designed. I’ve very pleased with the look and feel of this game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a large double sided sheet of paper that is folded several times in order to fit nicely inside the box. When unfolded, the sheet is rather large but folding it up, it fits nicely inside the box. There are a couple of pictures on the sheet including a sample of a game in progress. There’s also a very nice picture of several of the Marvel characters on the back of the sheet. The rules include only a few examples to help you understand the game, but that’s fine as the rules are quite simple anyway. The sheet has a few notes on things that may occur while playing the game, such as what to do if the deck runs out of cards. The sheet also includes a few frequently asked questions that delves into some of the history of the characters. I thought these answers were a nice touch. The rules are very simple to read through and understand. Overall I think the rules do a good job of explaining everything in a concise and easy to learn way. I’m quite happy with them.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Over the years, my kids and I have really enjoyed playing Fluxx. It was actually one of the first games that I bought for our family to play together over 10 years ago. Even now, we still enjoy playing Fluxx. Sometimes the themes haven’t exactly fit everyone in my family but with our love for the Marvel universe, this one may have hit the proverbial sweet spot. Every member of the family, from my youngest to myself, loves super heroes. We each have our favorites but you can bet that the Marvel characters always rank highest. It’s no surprise then that we enjoyed combining our love for all things super hero with our love for Fluxx. It was like peanut butter and jelly. Needless to say, we really like this one. For those that have played any version of Fluxx before, you’re pretty much up to speed. There’s nothing really new about this version other than the Keepers and Goals. A few other cards have been added or changed but it’s pretty much the same as any other version of Fluxx. For me and my family, that’s great! I’ve always heard it said that if you like fast and fun card games, then find the themed version of Fluxx that best fits your likes and your good to go. For us, this is that version. Marvel Fluxx hits every one of our like buttons. It includes characters from the movies like Captain America, Starlord and Thanos. It also has newer characters from the comics and cartoons like Spider Gwen and if you can find a copy with the extra cards, Miles Morales. Basically, there’s something here for every budding super hero fan from young to old. Fans of Fluxx or the Marvel universe will really enjoy this fast moving and fun card game. This is one that I highly recommend. If you love super heroes like me and my bunch do, then this is one that you’ll love to have.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Marvel Fluxx is a family friendly card game of constant change with a Marvel comics theme. It can be played rather quickly. Most game sessions last around 15 to 10 minutes. The cards are really great quality and the artwork on them is super cool. I quite like the mix of characters that was chosen for the game. The rulebook is well designed and easy to follow. The game itself is lots of fun for the entire family. This is one that even younger players can enjoy. Fans of the Marvel universe or of any of the other versions of Fluxx should really enjoy this one as well. This is one that I highly recommend. As my family and I really enjoy super heroes, this one is perfect for us. Make mine Marvel, Excelsior!
9 out of 10

 

For more information about Fluxx and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.

http://looneylabs.com

 

 

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