Sticky Chameleons Review

Sticky Chameleons is a game by Théo Rivière, published by IELLO. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will take on the role of a hungry chameleon. They will be competing to fill their empty bellies with the tastiest and juiciest bugs that happen by. Of course they’ll have to be careful that they don’t get stung by a wasp or get their tongue tangled up with another chameleons. In the end, the player that can collect 5 Yummy tokens first will not only have a full belly, but also be declared the winner.

To begin, all the insect and wasp tokens should be randomly placed all over the table without overlapping each other. The Yummy tokens should be placed separate from the insects, but where every player can reach them. Each player is given a sticky tongue. The first player is chosen and is given the Insect and Color dice. Play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round is made up of 2 phases; observation and meal. The first phase is the observation phase. In this phase, the player with the dice rolls them on the table. The Insect die will show which insect the players should try and catch, while the Color die shows which color of insect to catch. For example, a purple praying mantis or a green catterpillar. Once this is determined the next phase begins.

The next phase is the meal phase. In this phase, players will simultaneously try to catch the insect, that was determined to be the yummiest one, with their sticky tongue. It should be noted that players can not use anything except their sticky tongue to catch an insect with. Once an insect is caught, the player can remove it with their hand, returning it back to the table. Any other insects or wasps that a player happens to get stuck to their sticky tongue can not be touched until the end of the round. However the player is allowed to shake their tongue to make them fall off. Also of note, other players may still try to take the yummiest insect as long as it’s not been returned to the table. This includes using their sticky tongue to try to snatch it from off of another player’s sticky tongue. Once a player places the yummiest insect token back onto the table, the round ends. The player then collects a Yummy token and takes control of the dice. However If the player had a wasp on their sticky tongue at any time, they do not gain a Yummy token. Players will then return any insects or wasps that they caught back to the table. A new round will then begin.

The game continues with players trying to catch the yummiest insect so that they can collect Yummy tokens. Once a player gains their fifth Yummy token, the game ends. That player is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with some very cute and silly looking pieces. The sticky tongues are some kind of sticky rubbery substance and will stick to anything. It kind of reminds me of the same substance those wall walkers and spiders were made out of. You could throw those things on the wall and they’d stick. It was the weirdest thing. I think this is the same stuff. The game also comes with several tokens. There are the yummy tokens which are fairly thick cardboard. These have chameleon head with a crown on it. They’re pretty darn cute. The insect and wasp tokens are all quite a bit thinner but are still made of cardboard. These look cute and silly. I especially like the silly face that the caterpillar makes. I’m guessing that these are thinner so that they won’t be too heavy to stick to the tongues. Finally there are 2 dice. Both dice are white. One has different colors on it and the other has shadow images of the different bugs to be eaten. Everything in the box is super cute and silly looking. I quite like the different pieces, especially the insects. Even my daughter enjoys the silliness of the insects. She does think the sticky tongues are kind of gross though. She said it’s like slime. Slime or not, it’s definitely sticky. Overall the pieces are good quality and are fun.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this one isn’t all that long and is pretty well straight forward and simple. There’s nothing difficult in it to understand at all. It’s very easy to read. There are lots of pictures and examples of gameplay throughout the book. There’s a great picture of how to set up the game that I really like. Everything detail is covered. The book looks good and doesn’t take long to read. Overall there’s nothing to complain about. It’s well designed and gets the job done.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This isn’t a hard game but it does require a bit of aim and some good reflexes. Both of which I don’t have. Even though some of the pieces are quite large, I still have trouble getting my aim just right. I’ve tried flicking the thing like a sling shot and even throwing it like a rope. Seems the easiest thing is to just lower it down from above. Of course by that time, my daughter has already Wonder Womaned the thing and snatched it up before I can get to it. Needless to say I don’t win very often. I will say though that the game is rather silly and fun. I can’t tell you at the times that we’ve laughed while playing the game. This is a nice family game that gets everyone up from the table and makes them actually work for the win. I’m not usually a big fan of dexterity games. Mainly because I’m not all that good with them. I’m not good with this one either but I do find the humor and laughter that this game brings to be a breath of fresh air. This is one that the entire family can play. You might even be able to get Grandma and Grandpa to give it a try. Nothing better than watching the little ones completely own their elders. This game will definitely make you laugh. It kind of reminds me of the frantic fun that you have while playing Hungry Hungry Hippos, just not as loud. I think families with younger kids will definitely enjoy this one. I would recommend giving it a try. It’s silly fun.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Sticky Chameleons is a light weight family friendly dexterity game that everyone can enjoy. It’s a very fast game to play. Most game sessions last around 10-15 minutes. The artwork and pieces included with the game are very good. I especially like the silly look of the different insects, as does my daughter. It does take a little bit of skill and patience to be able to use the sticky tongues. That shouldn’t deter those of us with bad reflexes though as a lot of fun and laughter can be had very easily with this one. Fans of dexterity games, especially families with younger kids, will definitely enjoy this one. This is a great family friendly game that everyone can enjoy. I would definitely recommend giving it a try. Stick with me, it’s a lot of fun.
8 out of 10

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

www.iellogames.com

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Heart of Crown: Northern Enchantress Expansion Review

Heart of Crown: Northern Enchantress is an expansion for Heart of Crown by ginkgo, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. This expansion adds a new princess and 13 new types of cards to be used with the base game. It also comes with randomizer cards and dividers so that it can be placed in the box along with the other cards.

For more information on the original Heart of Crowns game, please check out the link below.

For those unfamiliar with Heart of Crown, let me give you a quick overview of the game. The game is played over several round with each player starting the game with 7 Farming Villages and 3 Apprentice Maids in their deck. A Basic Market and Random Market are set up with various card types. The Basic Market contains City, Large City, Royal Maid, Senator and Duke cards, while the Random Market contains 10 different common card types shuffled together into a deck. 8 different card types are then set around the deck. The players draw 5 cards for their starting hand. On the player’s turn, they will follow 5 phases. In these phases, they will be able to play an Action or Territory card. If it has link symbols on it, they can play more. They can then buy card from the market, back a Princess or play Succession card to their Domain in front of themself. Of course that’s after they chosen a Princess to back. Once a player backs a Princess, they’ll be able to do more stuff like placing cards on top of Territory cards in their Domain to keep them available for later. Once they’ve done all that they want or are able to do, they clean up everything they’ve played that’s not in their Domain and draw 5 new cards. The Market refreshes any empty slots that were emptied during the player’s turn and play passes to the next player. All this continues until one player ends up with 20 Succession points in their Domain. As long as there’s no other players able to do that on their turns, that player wins. Otherwise the tied players continue to 30 Succession points.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the game and how it works, what does this expansion add as far as content? Well, to begin with there’s a new Princess to be thrown into the mix. She’s added in with all the other Princesses at the beginning of the game, putting the count now up to 14 Princess cards, if you choose to use the one from the Far East Territory expansion as well. There are also 13 new types of Common cards that are used in the usual manner in the Supply. These are mixed in either small or large doses with these market cards to add new choices and combos for the players to make. The expansion contains a list of recommended card sets for customizing the game by using certain Common cards from this set along with the core set by itself, or by adding in cards from the Far East Territory set as well. These cards add a touch of magic, as well as adding some non human races to the game. There are elves, dwarves and even cait sith. I’ll go into a little bit more detail in the gameplay section below.

COMPONENTS
The only real components that this expansion provides is a deck of cards and a few dividers so that the cards can be placed into the main game box. That said, what it actually adds is more than that. There’s the new Princess card that adds a touch of magic to the mix. There’s also 13 new types of Common Cards. These add lots of new actions, some magic and even a new way way to gain some Succession points. The artwork and designs fit in well with the other cards of the main game and other expansion. I really like the overall look and feel of everything. Once again, the quality of the cards is quite high. I’m very pleased with everything that comes with this expansion. Of course, it fits in the main box with the other expansion with plenty of room to spare. Great job.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is a rather small, card size booklet. There are no pictures other than the one on the cover. There’s a brief story about the Northern Limit Territory included in the book, which I feel is a nice addition. The rulebook itself doesn’t contain a lot of rules. Instead it explains how to add this expansion to the main game and the other expansion, as well as give you several clarifications for most of the cards. There’s a fairly large section devoted to frequently asked questions arranged by card name. Each FAQ gives a bit more insight into how each particular card works. It also includes 9 different lists of recommended card sets for playing the game with. There are sets for using this with just the base game, as well as for the base game and the Far East Territory set. Each recommended set provides a different way of playing the game. Just like with the Far East Territory expansion, I really would have liked more pictures and examples of gameplay in the rulebook, but sometimes smaller is better. I get it. Overall, the book is good, despite the lack of pictures and examples.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I like this expansion a good bit more than the previous one. Perhaps that’s because we have elves in this expansion, or it could be that there’s even more cards in this one. However it’s more likely because there are lots of ways to draw cards and spend coins in this one. I’m all about drawing more cards to my hand, and this expansion does just that. This one adds a new territory in the Industrial City. It allows you to gain 2 coins and draw a card. Unfortunately it only has one link on it, but that’s ok. Combine it with the Port City from the last expansion and they pay for each other. Like I said earlier, there are lots of actions in this expansion. There’s the Famed Horse that allows you to discard a card to draw 2 cards and the Lucky Piece that lets you choose between gaining a coin, drawing a card or banishing a curse card from your hand. That’s pretty good as this expansion adds a new curse card to the mix; the Cursed Doll. Unfortunately she can’t be banished so the Lucky Piece isn’t so great against her. Instead when the player buys the doll, it goes into the player to their left’s hand instead. Basically this cards clogs up your deck unless when she’s in your hand you’re willing to pay 2 coins to pass her to the player on your left. It’s quite a nuisance. As I said before, this one also adds a new Succession card; the Noble Heiress. This one gives you 5 Succession points. However she can’t be bought if you played a Farming Village during your turn and she can’t be acquired through a card effect. You either buy her or you don’t get her. Of course, there’s plenty of ways to get extra coins as you’ve already seen. Overall, I really like the way the game plays with these new additions. I think fans of the original game will like that about his expansion too and will want to add this to their collection. In my opinion it’s even more of a must buy then the previous expansion. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Heart of Crown: Northern Enchantress is an expansion for Heart of Crown. It adds a new Princess and 65 new Common Cards in 13 different types to be used with the supply. These cards focus on magic and non human races like elves, dwarves and cait sith. The expansion doesn’t add any more to the play time of the game. Most game sessions still last around 45 minutes or so. The cards are really great. My daughter and I enjoy the anime style on these a bit more than we did the ones from the Far East Territory. I especially like the Elven Sniper. My daughter, of course, likes the new princess and the Noble Heiress. This expansion adds a lot more to an already great game making it even more replayable than before. It works great with just the main game, as well as adding in the Far East Territory expansion too. Fans of Heart of Crown will love this, even more than the first expansion. For me and other Heart of Crown owners, it’s a must have. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

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Tem-Purr-A Review

Tem-Purr-A is a game by Kuraki Mura, published by IELLO. It is for 3-7 players. In this game, players take on the role of a cute fuzzy kitten that is competing in a eating contest. They will be trying to eat as much as possible without suffering from a bad case of indigestion. Of course their opponents will be trying to push them well past the limits that their stomach can hold by passing dishes in their direction. In the end, the player that can stave off the effects of indigestion the longest will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Indigestion and Play Direction tokens are placed in the middle of the play area. The Indigestion cards are placed near the Indigestion tokens. The Dish and Special cards are shuffled together to make the main deck. Five cards are dealt to each player. An Indigestion card is then added to the deck, which is shuffled again and then placed in the middle of the play area face down. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round begins with the first player playing a Dish card from their hand face up in the middle of the play area to begin the stack. The next player in turn order then is able to take 1 of 4 actions. They may serve a dish, eat a mouthful, play an action card or skip a dish. To serve a dish, the player must simply play a card from their hand that matches the top card of the Dish stack onto the stack. To eat a mouthful, the player must draw as many cards as the sum of the Dish cards in play and then reveal them. If a player reveals an Indigestion card, the round ends. The player will then place any cards that are not Indigestion cards into their hand and discard the current stack. If they did not draw an Indigestion card they will place a card from their hand to begin a new stack. To play an action card, the player simply places the card on top of any Dish card on the stack. The +1 card causes the player to add 1 dish to the total of dishes to be eaten. The direction card causes the players to flip the Play Direction token over and reverse the direction of play. The skip card causes the player to be skipped and the next player in turn order continues play in that direction. Finally to skip a dish, the player must play 2 identical Dish cards. This allows them to place one on the stack and then discard it. The other card is then placed in the center of the play area to begin a new stack. Once the player has finished their action, play passes to the next player in turn order. It should be noted that player should check the Play Direction token for which way play passes. Also of note, if a player has no cards in their hand on their turn, they must draw 3 cards and then play their turn as normal. That is as long as they don’t draw an Indigestion card. If that happens, their turn ends just like normal and play passes to the next player.

The round continues until a player draws an Indigestion card. Once that happens, the player takes an Indigestion token and places it in front of themself. The current stack of cards is then discarded. The discard pile, deck and any revealed Indigestion cards are then shuffled together to form a new deck. The player that just received an Indigestion token can decide if they would like to add another Indigestion card to the deck or not. That same player will then choose a Dish card from their hand to start a new stack. The Play Direction token is reset back to clockwise play and a new round begins.

The game continues until a player receives their third Indigestion token. When that happens the game ends. Players check to see who has the fewest Indigestion tokens. That player is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This is absolutely one of the cutest games I’ve ever seen. The artwork on these cards is great. The different cat designs are just so adorable. My daughter simply adores these cards. When she first saw them she literally squealed in delight. I especially like the little chef cat on the different action cards and the Indigestion cards. The cards are really great quality and have a nice finish to them. The game also comes with some nice thick tokens as well. You have ones for Indigestion and the Play Direction token. These are good quality thickness and look good too. That’s pretty much everything that comes in the box. This is a fairly small box but it could have been even smaller as the deck isn’t that large and there aren’t that many tokens to keep up with. It could have almost came in something the size of a regular deck box, which would have made it a bit more portable. As it is, the game is still pretty small and can be carried around fairly easily. It won’t fit in your pocket but it’s still a good size. Overall, the cards and tokens are great. I think you will love the cuteness of it all.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this one is fairly small, not just in size but in length too. It’s only got 8 pages, including front and back. There are several really cute pictures of cats throughout the book, as well as a great picture of the components and one of the game setup for play. There are also plenty of gameplay examples included as well. It’s really quick and simple to read through. There’s absolutely nothing difficult or hard to understand. I like the look and the feel of the book. It does a great job of covering everything in a very nice and simple way. Overall, a great job.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Oh my goodness, what a cute game! That’s all that needs to be said. This is such a cute looking game and it’s fun too. My daughter was so excited when I showed her the box. She didn’t even want to wait for me to read the rules before we played it. That’s how excited she was about this one. Thankfully, she had a really great time playing it too. We both really like the take that aspect of the game. It’s like a suped up version of UNO with better cards and an actual way to end the game other than just saying, “I think I’m done playing.” The game can give you some tough decisions. Do you press your luck and go for more food to add cards to your hand or do you think that you might be getting to close to the Indigestion card, so you need to stop. It can be a bit tense flipping over those cards cause you’re just waiting for that Inidgestion card to show up and ruin your day. Thankfully the game has the whole 3 strikes and you’re out mentaility so you get to keep playing, at least till you get that third token. In any event, we both enjoy this one a lot. The game plays really fast and doesn’t take very long at all. The only bad thing that I’ve found is that there’s no 2 player version of the game. Many times my daughter and I like to play with just us, everyone else is usually too busy. So if I had a gripe, that would be it. Still, when you can get more players together it’s one that the whole family will enjoy, even Mom. Fans of take that card games like Nevermore or Munchkin will most likely enjoy this one too, especially if they like cute cats. Overall, this is a great game that I would definitely recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Tem-Purr-A is a fast playing take that style card game of push your luck with some of the cutest cat cards ever. The game doesn’t take long at all. Most game sessions last around 15 minutes. The artwork is very cute on the cards and the tokens. I especially like the chef cat on all the special cards. Of course my daughter like the 4 card with what she calls, “The Princess Kittie” on it. The game is a lot of fun and is one that the entire family can enjoy. I do wish that there had been a 2 player variant as well, but that would be my only gripe on an otherwise great game. Fans of take that and push your luck card games like Munchkin or Nevermore should really enjoy this one too. This is a game that I would definitely recommend. The kids will love it. It’s Purr-fect!
9 out of 10

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

www.iellogames.com

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Heart of Crown: Far East Territory Expansion Review

Heart of Crown: Far East Territory is an expansion for Heart of Crown by ginkgo, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. This expansion adds a new princess and 12 new types of cards to be used with the base game. It also comes with randomizer cards and dividers so that it can be placed in the box along with the other cards.

For more information on the original Heart of Crowns game, please check out the link below.

For those unfamiliar with Heart of Crown, let me give you a quick overview of the game. The game is played over several round with each player starting the game with 7 Farming Villages and 3 Apprentice Maids in their deck. A Basic Market and Random Market are set up with various card types. The Basic Market contains City, Large City, Royal Maid, Senator and Duke cards, while the Random Market contains 10 different common card types shuffled together into a deck. 8 different card types are then set around the deck. The players draw 5 cards for their starting hand. On the player’s turn, they will follow 5 phases. In these phases, they will be able to play an Action or Territory card. If it has link symbols on it, they can play more. They can then buy card from the market, back a Princess or play Succession card to their Domain in front of themself. Of course that’s after they chosen a Princess to back. Once a player backs a Princess, they’ll be able to do more stuff like placing cards on top of Territory cards in their Domain to keep them available for later. Once they’ve done all that they want or are able to do, they clean up everything they’ve played that’s not in their Domain and draw 5 new cards. The Market refreshes any empty slots that were emptied during the player’s turn and play passes to the next player. All this continues until one player ends up with 20 Succession points in their Domain. As long as there’s no other players able to do that on their turns, that player wins. Otherwise the tied players continue to 30 Succession points.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the game and how it works, what does this expansion add as far as content? Well, to begin with there’s a new Princess to be thrown into the mix. She’s added in with all the other Princesses at the beginning of the game, putting the count up to 13 Princess cards. There are also 12 new types of Common cards that are used in the usual manner in the Supply. These are mixed in either small or large doses with these market cards to add new choices and combos for the players to make. The expansion contains a list of recommended card sets for customizing the game by using certain Common cards from this set with the core set. Each one adds a bit of the east-west trade theme to the game. I’ll go into a little bit more detail in the gameplay section below.

COMPONENTS
While this expansion only contains a deck of cards, there’s actually quite a good bit of content included. As I mentioned earlier, the expansion comes with a new Princess card and 60 Common cards in 12 different types. It also includes Randomizer cards and dividers for keeping everything separated in the main game box. Just like with the original game, I really like the artwork and designs on these cards. They continue with the same look and feel that was presented in it. I think the theme comes through quite well. Of course, my daughter loves the new princess, as expected. Overall, we both really like the look and quality of the cards with this one.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is a rather small, card size booklet. There are no pictures other than the one on the cover. There’s a brief story about the Far East Territory included in the book, which I felt is a nice touch. The rulebook itself doesn’t contain a lot as far as actual rules. Basically it tells you how to include this expansion with the main game. Which as you’ve already seen in the overview above, isn’t all that difficult. Most of the booklet is dedicated to frequently asked questions arranged by card name. Each FAQ gives a bit more insight into how each particular card works. Finally there are 10 different lists of recommended card sets for playing the game with. Everything from the first time playing with the set to using almost all the different common cards from this expansion. Each one provides a different way of playing the game which will change how players play as well. I really would have liked more visuals and examples of gameplay in the rulebook, but I understand the desire for minimalizing everything as well. Overall, the book is pretty good. If you’ve played the base game, you don’t have much need for more rules anyway.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This expansion is pretty great. There are plenty of new cards that increase the fun of the base game and take it into a new direction. Of course trade is the main theme of the expansion so it capitalizes on drawing cards and discarding, then returning cards from the discard pile. It’s actually a pretty cool concept. You can simply throw out the garbage in your hand and pick up that awesome card you played on your last turn. It adds new territories like the Port City that have 2 links on them allowing you to keep playing cards. It also provides 2 coins which is very helpful at buying those more expensive cards. You start chaining some of these together and you’re in pretty good shape. There are some attack cards like the archers that force opponents to reveal the top card of their deck and if it’s a Common card, they have to discard it. It also provides a coin to the player for every attack card they play as long as the archers are in the player’s play area. There is also a defense card that allows the player to place it face up on the player’s draw pile as a defense effect. There’s a card that deals with the curse cards, as well as one that will either place coins in your play area or allowing you to remove 2 counters and copy another kind. Unfortunately there are no Succession cards but you can simply continue using the ones from the main game. Overall I like the direction that this expansion take the main game. I like the feel that the expansion gives you. It definitely adds more strategy to the game. Fans of the original game will most definitely want to add this to their collection. It’s a must buy in my opinion. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Heart of Crown: Far East Territory is an expansion for Heart of Crown. It adds a new Princess and 60 Common Cards in 12 new types to be used in the supply. These cards are centered around the East-West trade. The expansion doesn’t add any more time to the actual game play. Most game sessions still last around 45 minutes. The cards look great and add more of that anime style that my daughter and I really enjoy. There’s lots of new ways to play using the different card types that make this highly replayable. I think fans of Heart of Crown or any of the other Japanime Games deck builders should really enjoy this one. For Heart of Crown owners it’s a must have. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

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Cover Me on Kickstarter!

Today I wanted to share with you guys an all new game that is currently available to back on Kickstarter.  The game is Cover Me by Jumping Turtle Games.  This is a game in which every player is the chief editor of a trendy magazine. The players try to influence the upcoming fashion trends with the models they put on the cover of their magazines.  Every player has a portfolio of cover models at his disposal from which he’s able to choose one to put on that month’s cover. Every season the cover models are compared to the current trends. For each magazine the most trendy cover model is chosen, which will receive a spot in the season special. If the model represents all three fashion trends (the model is completely trendy) or none at all (alternative model) she will raise the magazine’s prestige.  Each year models with a new color will be available, which can raise the magazine’s prestige even more in the future. The game is played over 3 years or 12 seasons (rounds). The chief editor who was able to raise the most prestige at the end of the game is the winner.

The game will contain:

• 162 cover model cards*, each card has a unique combination of the following fashion traits:
• Hair color: blonde, red/brown, dark
• Hair length: short, semi-long, long
• Background pattern (fall-winter color): squared (red), diamond (brown), striped (blue)
• Clothes color (spring-summer color): yellow, blue, red, green, black, white
• 1 catwalk with fashion track
• 1 double mirror with fashion tracks, season track and year counter
• 10 player cards (2 for each of the 5 players)
• 15 fashion markers
• 10 standees
• 2 markers for the season track and the year counter.
• 1 starting player marker

 

Currently it’s near the halfway mark of it’s close to $9000 goal.  With only 11 days left in the campaign, the publishers really need your help to make the game a reality.

For more information about the game and to back it, check out the Kickstarter link below.

www.kickstarter.com/projects/549587749/cover-me-1

 

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A Dog’s Life Review

A Dog’s Life is a game by Christophe Boelinger, published by Beton Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of a dog living on the streets. They’ll be searching through trash cans, begging for scraps from the local restaurants and delivering newspapers in hopes of scoring some tasty bones. Of course they’ll have to be careful as their opponents will be trying to steal their hard earned bones. If that wasn’t bad enough they’ll need to keep a watch out for the dog catcher who’ll catch them and put them in the local shelter. In the end, the player that can best channel their inner dog and collect their bones first will be declared the winner.

To begin, the board should be placed on the table. The bone and trash tokens should be placed in separate piles near the board. The newspaper tokens also should be placed in a pile, however they should be placed with the numbers on them facing down and should be mixed up pretty well. The dog catcher car should be placed on the street next to the dog shelter on the space marked with the black paw. Players should be randomly dealt a dog card and a den card, placing both of these face up in front of themselves. They should now take the corresponding dog figure and place it in the den that corresponds with the card they were given. Players should now be given a hunger counter in their color as well as the piddle counters and the 12 action cards with their dog’s picture on them. The hunger counter should be placed on the 4 space of their dog board and 1 piddle counter should be placed on a bladder space. The action cards should be shuffled together and placed face down next to the player’s dog board. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played with each player taking a turn consisting of 3 phases. Those 3 phases are food, dog stuff and dog catcher. The first phase is the food phase. In this phase the player must move their hunger counter one space to the left. If the dog’s hunger counter is already in the 0 space, then the dog falls asleep and is placed on the first step of the dog shelter. More on the dog shelter in just a bit. Any bones or newspapers in it’s mouth are left in the square that it was at the beginning of the player’s turn. In this case, the player’s turn ends immediately afterwards and play passes to the next player in turn order. The other phases are skipped.

The next phase is the dog stuff phase. In this phase, the player is allowed to move and perfom any of a number of actions. Each player’s dog card tells the number of action points that they have. Every action or movement costs 1 point. So if a player decides to move their dog 3 spaces, it will cost them 3 points. The dog can only move to squares that are adjacent to the one that it’s on. The direction the dog is pointed doesn’t matter. The dog can move in any direction. A dog can also move through a square that is occupied by another dog or the dog catcher, however it can not end it’s movement in the same square. Moving into a restaurant, newstand or delivery address must be done only through the entrance marked with the paw print and costs one action to move into the building. If a dog moves into a space with another player’s piddle token, they must immediately stop and will lose any remaining action points due to their dog sniffing the lamp post.

Other than movement, there are several actions that can be taken. The dog can search a trash can if they’re in a space with an unsearched trash can. The player simply flips over their top action card and looks at the trash can section of the card to see what they found. They could find a bone, food for between 1-3 days or nothing. They then place a trash can marker on the trash can space. If a player marks the last trash can with a marker, then the “Big Cleaning” occurs. That means that any and all piddle and trash can markers are removed from the board except for the one that was just placed. The dog can also beg in a restaurant earning them a bone, food or nothing just like with the trash cans. The same process of flipping an action card is done. This time checking the restaurant section. It should be noted however that the dog can not beg at the same restaurant more than once per turn. The dog can take a newspaper from the newstand. When this is done, the player takes a newpaper token and looks at the number on the back. The token is then placed face down on the dog’s mouth space of the dog board. The number on the token indicates where the paper is to be delivered. When the dog reaches the corresponding location, the player must then show the others that the number matches with the address number. The newspaper token is then returned to the pool and the tokens shuffled. The player then flips over their top action card and checks the delivery section for a bone, food or nothing. The dog can stop and have a drink from a fountain to add a piddle token to the bladder section of their dog board. As long as the dog has a piddle token, they may mark a lamp post by placing the token in that square. This was discussed a bit earlier. It should be noted that the player may use an action at the beginning of their next turn to place a piddle token of their own which will return the previous piddle token to it’s owner. The dog can also fight another dog in an adjacent section. The dogs must be in the street though and can not be in building or den. Both attacker and defender must flip over a action card and check the fight section. The player that has the most paws on their card wins the fight. The loser drops any items in it’s mouth, including bones and newspapers. The dog must then move 1 space away from the winner. If this would place it in the same space as the dog catcher or another dog, then it moves an additional space in the same direction. If the attacker loses, then their turn is over and the next player’s turn begins skipping the next phase. If both players have the same amount of paws on their card then nothing happens, the fight is a draw. Any dropped items may be picked up as an action. It should also be noted that a dog can drop items from it’s mouth to free a space for a different item for an action as well. However, bones and newspapers may not be dropped inside a building. Once a dog is inside their den with a bone, they may bury it for an action. This keeps the bone safe as no dogs may dig it up.

The last phase is the dog catcher phase. In this phase, the player must roll the die and move the dog catcher car as many squares as shown on the die. The car must move straight ahead, left or right and can not reverse or move backwards. Of course it can’t move inside buildings or dens. Once the dog catcher car stops in a square with a dog, it immediately places the dog into the dog shelter. The dog is forced to drop any bones or newspapers that it held in it’s mouth on the spot where it was caught. The dog is placed on the first space of the dog shelter. More about the shelter in just a second. If the car stop in a space adjacent to a dog, the dog tries to hide. The player must flip over an action card and check the dog catcher section to see if the dog is caught and sent to the shelter or if it escapes. Once in the shelter the dog doesn’t get hungry so it skips the first phase and can not perform any standard movements or actions. They must try to escape. To do this the player turns over their top action card and checks the escape section to see if they manage to escape or not. If they somehow escape, the dog leaves the shelter with a piddle counter and it’s hunger counter at level 4. The dog is placed on the space with the black paw on it. It will then begin it’s movement from here. If the dog was unable to escape, it’s moved to the second space of the shelter. The beginning of the player’s next turn, they will flip over 2 cards. If either of them show an escape, then the dog is able to move to the black paw square. Otherwise it’s moved to the third space of the shelter. On the player’s next turn, the dog will be placed on the black paw square without having to turn over any cards. Once the player completes this last phase of their turn, play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until a dog buries their third bone in their den. Once this happens the game ends and that player is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This is absolutely one of the cutest looking games that I’ve seen. My daughter and I love everything about this one. The board has a really nice look and feel to it with lots of room for the various dogs to move around on. The game originally comes with 6 painted dog miniatures. These are all so adorable. Each one has a very distinct look and personality to them. Personally I’m a fan of the Fox Terrier. My daughter loves the fancy French Poodle. Each one of these dogs is made of what appears to be vinyl or resin. I’m not sure, but they’re very good quality. The same is true of the dog catcher car. Oh and did I mention they are all hand painted. That’s right, they’re already painted and look great too. The game also comes with a whole bunch of cardboard tokens. There are tokens for hunger, trash cans, bones, newspapers and piddle. Yes, there are urine counters. Ok, it’s a bit gross but it makes sense in the game. I like that the hunger counters are fully dog bowls. That’s pretty cool to me. There’s also a die and a bunch of cards too. Each dog has their very own deck of action cards with their picture on the back. No need to worry about losing your cards. Just check the back and you know which ones are yours. There are also card for each of the different dens for assigning a player’s starting location. Finally there are the dog boards. I love these. Each one has a different dog design that, like the miniatures, shows off the dog’s personality. Everything about this game is high quality. The artwork is really cool and looks amazing. My daughter and I both love love love these components. It’s definitely her favorite game as far as components go.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is well designed. Every rule is covered in great detail as are all the different phases and actions. There are lots and lots of pictures and examples of gameplay. The action cards are explained quite well and how they pertain to each of the different actions that use them. The rules also have a great section full of game variations for extending the game, experienced players and even 2 variants for using more than 1 dog. There’s a great page that give a little story of the different dogs in their own words. Once again, this shows off the dog’s personality. The rules include game tips as well as a section that explains things about an actual dog’s life. Things like why dogs bury bones and explains about dog shelters. Everything is very easy to read through and understand. There’s nothing that I found that should give players any kind of trouble. The book is well written and looks great too. Overall a great job.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a really cute and fun game. Even though I’ve yet to win a game, I enjoy it. That’s right, my daughter has won every time we’ve played. Either through luck or skill, I don’t know. She’s magical like that. In any case, the game has a lot to like about it. It’s not a roll and move game like Candyland or some other kid’s game and it’s not a matching game like Memory. What it does it gives you several actions that you can take and then gives you the ability to do pretty much whatever you want to do. Kind of like a real dog. Hmm…I’m wondering if that was the plan here. Anyway, you’ll be moving your little dog around the board, knocking over trash cans, begging on the steps of those fancy restaurants and delivering newspapers. All in hopes of bringing home those tasty bones. You’ll have to be careful as your opponents are going to turn that dog catcher car right in your direction, so you have to make sure that you keep a good safe distance from that thing. Don’t want to end up in the slammer. Even though it’s kind of gross when you think about it, I like that you can piddle on the lamp posts to keep other dogs from moving ahead too far or for covering your tail. If you have a bone in your mouth, you don’t want to end up having to fight to keep it. Yes, this game has a good deal of luck and sometimes you can end up with a runaway winner. That’s happened several times with us. My daughter would get 3 bones before I was even able to bury 1. My wife even enjoyed playing the game and she’s doesn’t like very many games. It’s simple enough that kids can play, yet fun enough to keep the adults entertained too. It’s a great family game that everyone can enjoy, from the little kids to even grandma and grandpa. Thematically it’s pretty solid. You get that feeling that you’re a dog, roaming around the city doing what dogs do best. It’s not a strategic game and it’s not going to melt your brain with too many decisions to make. It will entertain you and your kids. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it felt like to be a dog, then I think you’ll enjoy this game. Kids will love it. I highly recommend it for families with kids, especially young kids. My daughter and I love this one and can’t help but want to play it more and more.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
A Dog’s Life is a family friendly game about what it feels like to be a dog for a day. It’s not a really long game to play. Most games take about 30 minutes or so to play. The components are very high quality and the artwork is amazing. My daughter and I love everything about the game from the dog miniatures to the dog boards and the cards. Everything is very thematic and gives you plenty of choices to make. You also have the freedom to do whatever you feel. If you want to try your hand at delivering newspapers, have at it. If you think knocking over trash cans is the way to go, then do that. There is no wrong answer. The game is very easy to teach and is great for playing with the kids and family. My family loves this one. It’s a game that the kids will enjoy and that the adults will have fun with too. I highly recommend this one for families with young kids. It’s a great game that we love to play. I’d say that the designer dug up a winner with this game. No bones about it.
9 out of 10

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For more information, you can check out the game’s site below.

http://adogslifegame.com/

A Dog’s Life is available right now for backing on Kickstarter.   Just follow the link below and you can get your own copy.

www.kickstarter.com/projects/2138121641/a-dogs-life-game-be-a-canine-hero

 

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Zoo Ball Review

Zoo Ball is a game by Duncan Molloy, published by Osprey Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will take control of a team of animal atheletes as they compete to be the pride of their city in what has been called the King of Sports. They will be positioning their blockers as they go for the goal. In the end the player that can scores a certain amount of points first will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player will take 3 blocker pieces and 1 scorer piece of the same color. The play mat should be placed on the table and laid as flat as possible, making sure that there are no bumps in it. The first player is chosen. Based on the number of players, either 2 or 3-4, players will place their pieces in a formation on the mat. In a 2 player game, the first player places their pieces anywhere on their side of the halfway line, in any type of formation. The second player then places theirs in response on their side. In a 3 or 4 player game, players will simultaneously place their pieces inside the semi circle of their chosen color’s goal in any formation. Pieces may be over the line, as long as the piece is still touching the line. Play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they will have the choice of either moving their scorer or all 3 of their blockers. Of course, they don’t have to move all 3 blockers. They have the option of not moving as many as they would like. Moving a piece is done by either flicking or nudging the piece with only 1 finger. If the piece happens to go into the side line, it is moved directly back into the playing area as close to where it went out as possible. In a 2 player game, if it goes out on the opposite side of the mat, it is placed on the player’s side of the field in line with where it went out. It’s a bit different for a 3 or 4 player game. In these games since the player’s scoring goal is at the opposite corner of the mat, if the piece goes out on either of those 2 sides closest to that goal, it is placed at the equivalent point on the opposite side.

The object of the game is to get your scorer piece fully inside the opposite goal. In a 2 player game, the first player to score 3 points is the winner. In a 3 or 4 player game, the first player to score is the winner.

COMPONENTS
There’s not a whole lot to this game. To begin with, there’s the large fold out play mat. It seems to be made of felt and has a soccer style layout printed on it. It’s actually quite large. The game also comes with some good size wooden discs in 4 different team colors. There are 4 of each team color. Also included is a sheet of stickers to be placed on the discs. These are somewhat themed and there are plenty of animals to choose from. As a matter of fact, there are 2 extra team’s worth of stickers. I like that you have somewhat similar animals that you can use for a team. For instance, there’s a chicken scorer with a pig, cow and sheep blockers. My twisted brain had already come up with a name for this team; the Barnyard Brawlers. Ok, I’m trademarking that so don’t steal my idea. Anyway, the pieces all look good. My kids like the different animal designs and have fun picking out a team. I like the overall look and feel of them. Really well done.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game isn’t all that complex. It’s only a couple of pages. However, it’s thematically cool. It’s like there are a couple of animal sports commentators explaining the rules and giving their thoughts on things. It’s actually quite fun and silly. There’s some really nice looking art and pictures on these pages. There are even a few examples to help you understand the game. Everything is easy to read and easy to understand. You should have absolutely no problems whatsoever with this book. Overall, the book does a great job explaining how to play both the 2 player head to head game and the 4 player rumble. I think they did a great job here.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
When I was in high school, we used to fold up pieces of notebook paper to make a paper football. We would sit there and play with that football during recess, at lunch and while waiting for the teacher to start class. I have a lot of fond memories of those times. That brings me to the game. This game takes me back to those days of paper football games but in a much nicer and cooler looking format. Granted, the game is actually more like soccer than football, but the premise is still pretty much there. Knock the football, or in this case your scorer, into the scoring zone. It’s as simple as that. However this game allows you to throw out some blockers to keep your opponent from scoring and it allows the opponent to have their own blockers and scorer. This allows for a bit more strategy than the old paper football we played. If you play with 3 or 4 players, there’s even more chaos on the field with even more blockers and scorers. Pieces are flying all over the place and it can be a bit daunting. No wonder you only play till someone scores. Overall, the game is quite quick and simple to play. It’s easy to teach and is one that even the kids can enjoy. Fans of dexterity games like the old paper football, should really enjoy this one. I would recommend giving this one a try. My kids and I enjoyed playing it.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Zoo Ball is a dexterity style game of soccer. It’s a fairly quick game to play. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes. The art style and components are all really nice. My kids and I enjoy the many different animal designs. The game isn’t hard and can easily be taught. There is a little bit of strategy especially when playing with more players. That makes this a great game to play with your kids and family. It reminds me of the old paper football game we used to play growing up. Fans of dexterity style games should enjoy this one a great deal. I would recommend giving it a try. You just might score a winner.
8 out of 10

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

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

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