The Dragon Tray by Dog Might Games Product Review

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Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a new product from Dog Might Games. That product was the truly amazing looking Dragon Tray. Here are my thoughts and opinions on the product. Enjoy!

First off let me explain exactly what the product is and give you some more details about it. To begin with, The Dragon Tray comes in many different designs, not just the dragon design. As a matter of fact, the design I was sent was the Celtic Double design. As you can see in the pictures below. It is designed to act as a rolling surface for your dice when playing RPGs or any other game requiring dice to be rolled. It keeps your dice from going all over the table and getting lost in a very fashionable way. The version I received was made of White Ash wood with brown Dragon Hide lining. I’m not exactly sure what the Dragon Hide is actually but it’s pretty cool looking. The intricate designs and hand craftsmanship reek of high quality. As I said, there are tons of different designs each with their own unique set of dice to compliment whatever you choose. Needless to say, whatever you’re looking for in terms of design and necessity, you’ll be able to find something that will more than work for you.

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Now what I’ll do is show you several different angles on this particular dice tray so that you can get a good idea of exactly what to expect with your order. It should be noted however that mine did not come with the corresponding dice, so I used my son’s random set of role playing dice instead.

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Here’s a look at the back side of the tray. As you can see there are some rubber bumpers that keep it from sliding around on the table, as well as a sawtooth picture hanger for being able to hang it up on your wall.

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MATERIALS
As you can tell from all the pictures, the tray is well designed and expertly crafted. The wood is really strong and sturdy. The finish is really nice and smooth. I love how beautiful it is and how nicely designed it is. The craftsmanship is excellent. I’ve seen many other dice trays over the years but nothing else compares to the quality of this one. Rolling dice is easy but normally carries with it quite a loud noise when the dice hit the table. This doesn’t completely silence it but it does make it a lot quieter and gives a nice healthy wooden sound that I rather like. Overall, the materials are outstanding.
10 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
No instructions needed, as everything is already assembled and ready to go.
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CONSTRUCTION
As I mentioned earlier, these are expertly made. The added benefits of the rubber pads on the bottom keep the tray from sliding around on the table and also from scratching up the table if that bothers you. The hanger on the back makes it possible to hang it on the wall as an artistic or conversation piece in your game room. Didn’t think a dice tray could also be a piece of art. I really like how pretty the tray is and how well it works. My 16 year old son took it out to his friend’s house where they were playing a local game of 4th Edition D&D. Everyone was impressed with the look and design and really enjoyed using it. It was a big hit with everyone involved. Not only does it work for RPGs but it also can be used with any type of board game. I think it’ll help my daughter keep her dice from going all over the place when she rolls. That’s an added bonus in my book. Basically if you play board games or RPGs like D&D, Pathfinder, Shadowrun or anything else, you will enjoy having one of these to play with. With the many different designs, there’s sure to be one to fit your mood or game type. It’s really beautiful to look at and does an excellent job. I’m thoroughly impressed with it.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
The Dragon Tray is a high quality gaming accessory for RPG and board game players alike. The tray is beautiful and is made of sturdy wood with a gorgeous finish applied to it. I really love the overall look and design of it. Speaking of designs, this is simply one of many different designs that are available to choose from. There’s guaranteed to be a design that fits your game or play style. The tray is not only great to play with, it also makes a pretty neat decoration to hang on your wall. I highly recommend this product, as does my son and all his friends. As a board and RPG gamer, I can tell you that you’ve never seen something this high quality in a dice tray. It’s a great addition to any game night. You’ll be happy to have this and you’ll be the envy of your gaming group. Super well done!
10 out of 10

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

http://www.dogmight.com/

You can also check out the Kickstarter campaign and get your own custom tray below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dogmight

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Preview Review of Get Off My Land!

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

Get Off My Land! is a game by Gordon Oscar, Liam Smith and Stephanie Kwok, published by First Fish Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of feuding farmers that are in a competition to see who can have the most profitable farm. They’ll have to purchase crops and livestock to expand their farms. Of course they’ll have to watch out as their rivals might be using their opponents corn crops to feed their pigs with. They’ll have to be ready to defend their property by any means necessary. In the end, the farmer that can earn the largest fortune over the period of a year, will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player chooses a color and is given an action reference/scoring card, 15 fence pieces and a farmer meeple of their chosen color. They also receive $8 worth of money. The remaining money is separated into individual piles and set to the side of the play area. The farmhouse tiles are shuffled together and each player is dealt 2, of which they choose 1 to keep. The other tile is returned to the stack which is then returned to the box. Each player places their tile face down in their starting area. The land tiles are then setup according to the diagram in the rulebook for the number of players. Players should start with 2 logged tiles beside their farmhouse. One of these tiles should be fully fenced, using the wooden fence pieces of the player’s color. The player’s farmhouse should also be fully fenced. It should be noted that the tiles that are not logged or farmhouses should be randomly setup based on charts that are listed in the rulebook for each number of players. For instance, in a 2 player game the tiles used are 1 of fertile land, oil strike, extra wood and extra sales, along with 2 blank tiles. Players should place their farmer meeple on top of their farmhouse tile. The market and market cards should be placed near the tiles. The cards should be separated based on the number of players. Only certain cards are used, unless playing with 4 players. Consult the rulebook for more information on this. The cards not used are returned to the box. The cards are then separated into 3 piles based on the letter on the bottom right corner of the card. Each lettered pile is then shuffled separately and placed in a stack beginning with the C pile, followed by the B and then ending with the A cards on top. The top 5 cards are then drawn and placed in order in the market track slots beginning with the $2 slot. The fence cards are then separated based on the number of players following the guide lines laid out in the rulebook. The cards that are to be used are shuffled together while the remaining ones are returned to the box. Each player is then dealt 2 cards. The remaining deck is then placed face down next to the play area. The month track is placed beside the play area with the month marker placed on the May slot. The first player is chosen and is given the 1st player marker. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of 12 months or 1 year. Each month consists of 3 phases; income phase, player phase and end of month phase. The first phase is the income phase. At the beginning of each month players will collect income based on the income for all their mature crops and livestock. The amount of income is based on the number on each card in front of them. Players earn that amount of money to be used later in that month.

The second phase is the player phase. This is where the majority of the action occurs. In this phase, beginning with the first player and continuing in turn order, each player will take their turn to perform 2 actions. Players have 5 options to choose from; logging, playing a fence card for actions, playing a fence card for fences, go to market or harvest. Logging allows the player to flip over a forest tile, revealing the logged side. The player then draws 2 fence cards and if there are any bonuses revealed once the tile is flipped, the player also gains the bonus as well. That bonus could be an extra card or extra money. It should be noted that a player can not log a tile that is fully fenced by another player. Another action that can be taken is to play a fence card for actions. This allows the player to play one of their fence cards face up in front of them and perform the action listed on the card. There are a variety of different actions that these cards allow including performing 2 harvest actions or purchasing any market card for only $2. Of course it should be noted that there are some card options that can wreak havoc on another player, such as breaking 1 of their fence pieces or moving their farmer off one of your land tiles. Once the fence card has been used, it’s it’s sent to the discard pile. Another thing that can be done with fence cards is playing them for fences. This action is only allowed to be used once per turn. This action allows the player to move or place as many fence pieces as there are listed on the card being played. Fence pieces must be placed connected to the player’s farmhouse or to another fence piece that they already have in play. Once a tile is completely surrounded by the player’s fences, it’s considered to be controlled by that particular player. If there are any incomplete fences of another players remaining on the player’s controlled tile, they are removed at the end of the player’s turn. It should be noted that a tile can be fully fenced and not controlled. Fully fenced means that there are fences completely surrounding the tile. This could even include a different player’s fences. However to be controlled, all 4 fences surround the tile must be from the same player. Also of note is that when a player places fences on a tile that contains another player’s fences, the other player is allowed to defend themselves. We’ll discuss this a bit later. Another action for a player to take is to go to market. With this action, the player is allowed to buy a market card from the market track by paying the corresponding cost shown. To be able to purchase a card, the player must be able to place it on a fully fenced and logged land tile that they control. It is then immediately placed on the chosen tile with it’s immature side face up. Equipment cards, however, are placed with their active side face up. Once a card has been purchased, all the remaining cards are slid to the left on the market track, filling in any holes. A new card is then drawn from the top of the deck to fill in the new hole. It should be noted that players are also able to use this action to purchase lumber instead of buying a market card. Buying lumber costs $3 and allows the player to place or move 1 fence piece and draw 2 fence cards. The market card in the $2 slot is then removed from the game. Like before, cards slide to the left to fill in the spot and a new card is drawn to fill the spot. The final option a player can take is the harvest action. This action allows the player to flip a mature crop or livestock card to it’s immature side and collect money equal to the harvest value on the card.

The final phase is the end of month phase. Once all players have finished their turn for the current month, this phase begins. In this phase the month marker is moved to the next month on the month track. If any special event icons are passed, the events noted take place. There are growth, winter and first player events. Growth events can be for livestock, crops or equipment. This means that the corresponding cards are flipped to their mature side if they’re livestock or crops, or to the active side if they’re equipment cards. The Winter event removes all the crop cards from the board, except for a certain few that are noted. However these cards won’t mature as there is no growth icon for crops. The first player event simply means that the first player marker is passed to the next player to the left.

Earlier I mentioned that players can defend themselves when another player places fences on a tile they have a fence on. Players can also defend themselves from any card or action that targets or affects their property, including fences, market cards and land tiles that they control. This is done with the bullet holes on the fence cards. When a player is attacked they are allowed to play fences cards that total up to 3 bullet holes to cancel the attack. The cards used are discarded after defending. It should be noted that when the player defends, they defend against the entire card. That means that everything that the card attacks is defended against.

The game continues until the end of April. At this point, players collect money for their farmhouse bonuses and equipment cards that they control. Bonuses for controlled oil strike land tiles are also collected. Players then add up the total of their money. The player with the most money is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
With this being a prototype, I won’t be too critical of the components at this time. That said, it’s not like I needed to be negative about anything anyway. For a prototype, I’m pretty darn pleased with how everything looks. There are lots of great wooden pieces in several different colors. There are fence pieces and farmer meeples in 4 different colors. I’m really hoping that there is a stretch goal for the kickstarter that upgrades the farmer meeples. I really think the game is just begging for that. Then there’s all the cards and tiles. These all look great and are very thematic. The farmhouse and land tiles are a bit thin at the moment, but here’s hoping they get upgraded to thicker cardboard later on. However even as cards, they’re still great. The fence cards have some really great looking artwork that makes me think of some old feuding hillbillies deep up in the woods. There’s also the market cards and reference cards. On top of all that, the money is also in card form. I really like that. The money even has these really fun and silly looking designs on them. The last pieces are printed wood in the prototype but I’m assuming will end up being thick cardboard in the finished game. Those are the first player marker, month marker, market track and month track. I only have 3 words to say…thematic, thematic, thematic. The first player marker is a 1st place pumpkin like you’d find in a county fair. The month marker is a rooster weather vane. The month track is a giant saw. The market track looks like the canvas tops of a farmer’s market. I’m telling you, this game is dripping with theme and this is just a prototype. I can’t wait to see how much better things get once this game gets finalized. I’m thrilled already.
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RULEBOOK
The rulebook that came with the game is also a prototype. That said, I’m pretty darn impressed with what already comes in the box. The rules are on high color glossy pages with lots of beautiful pictures throughout. There are several great double page layouts in the book. There’s one for the components that come with the game and one for setting it up. All the different aspects and phases of the game are laid out in a really great way with plenty of detail. Everything is explained really well and looks great. There are even sections that detail all the different fence cards and what they do, as well as one for the many different farmhouse tiles. I honestly didn’t see anything that was difficult to understand or read. Overall I’m already happy with what’s here and look forward to a fully polished and perfected rulebook.
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GAMEPLAY
This is a game that I could sit around and play every day of my life. It’s that much fun. There are aspects of area control and take that, along with some tile laying. Just looking at the game, I get a feeling of Among the Stars or Fields of Green. Of course this game doesn’t have card drafting but you’ll get kind of that feeling when you see it laid out. Throughout the game you’ll be trying to do what you can to make sure that you get a steady flow of money coming into your farm. You’ll want to make sure that your maximizing your cash flow based on the items in the market and what’s available on the board. You’ll also want to keep in mind the specific bonuses on your farmhouse tile, which should point you in a specific direction for your play style. This is one little aspect of the game that I absolutely love. Honestly all these tiles could have been exactly the same and every player would have wound up playing the same way. However the fact that each one of these rewards bonuses for different achievements is brilliant. You also have the randomness of the land tiles. You will never know which tiles gonna have oil beneath it and which one is just a blank tile. These aspects lead to a ton of replayability with this game. I also like that players can defend themselves from the actions of other players at the cost of a card or two. You might really want to hang onto that one or two cards you have in your hand but is it worth allowing another player to destroy your fence or some other aspect of your farm? As Kenny Rogers said, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em.” Fans of area control games like Kingdom Builder or Rococo might enjoy this one. I’d even say fans of games like Among the Stars would like this one too. The theme and feel of the game is great and is one that I look forward to playing many more times.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Get Off My Land! is an area control style game with aspects of take that and tile laying. The game doesn’t take too long. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes to an hour. Even though this is a prototype, the game looks and feels great. The theme is awesome and is intertwined throughout the whole game. The artwork and components look great, even in prototype form. The rulebook is also pretty great. Of course I expect that things will continue to get even better once the game is actually produced. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the game really gives me a feel of a Among the Stars or Fields of Green but with area control and take that included. I really like the ease of play and how well this one scales for different numbers of players. The only things that I’d do to improve or add to the game would be to maybe add rules for solo play and upgrade those farmer meeples with either some preprinted designs on them or change the shape to more farmer looking, for example Scoville’s meeples. Overall this is a game that I really enjoy and think will become an absolute hit. I can’t wait to see where this game goes and what the finished product looks like. I highly recommend backing this one on Kickstarter. It’s well worth getting a copy of. Feuding over a copy is optional.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this great game, please check out First Fish Games at their site.

http://www.firstfishgames.com/

You can also back the game on Kickstarter right now and get your own copy.  Simply follow the link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1812622835/get-off-my-land

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Little Circuses Review

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Little Circuses is a game by Kevin Wilson, published by IDW Games. It is for 1-7 players. In this game, players take on the role of one of the circus owner’s children who have been tasked with running a portion of the Little Circus. They’ll have to prove their worth by making their portion more famous than that of their siblings. They’ll have to hire and build new attractions to attract spectators from the various towns that the show stops off in. In the end, the player that can get the most fame will not only be declared the winner but will inherit the entire show.

To begin, the board should be placed in the center of the play area. The Ringmaster meeple is placed on the “Welcome to Starterton” space on the board. Each player chooses a color and receives the matching score marker and player order marker in their color. Each player also receives a Bleacher sheet, Circus board, Spotlight marker and an audience member meeple as well as a $3 coin and 2 $1 coins. The Bleacher board is placed in front of the player with the audience member meeple placed on the 2 space. The Circus board is also placed in front of the player with plenty of room around it for expanding. The player’s Spotlight marker and coins are placed to the side for the time being. The Player Order markers are randomly chosen and placed on the Player Order spaces on the board starting with the leftmost space and moving to the right with each new marker. Players then place their Scoring markers on the board based on the number of Fame points shown beneath their Player Order space. The remaining coins, used markers, audience member meeples and 50/100 fame tokens are placed near the board within reach of all players. The starter attraction tiles are placed face down in the middle of the play area next to the board. They are then shuffled together. Each player now draws 5 tiles at random from the pile, placing them face up in front of themselves. The advanced attraction tiles and Star Attraction cards are set aside for now. Each player now places their Spotlight marker on one of the 4 attractions on their Circus board and resolves the associated action. Play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds which are controlled by the location of the Ringmaster meeple. Each round the Ringmaster will move 1 space forward on the board, following the line. Every time he enters into a new space, players resolve the action(s) that the space allows in turn order. Once all the players have resolved the action, a new round begins with the Ringmaster moving to the next space down the line. There are 5 different spaces that the Ringmaster can move to, indicated by a specific icon. Those spaces are Full Day, Half Day, New Acts Arrive, Star Attractions and New Town. Most spaces on the board are Full Day spaces. A Full Day is divided into 2 steps; Building and Perform Action. The first step is the Building step. In this step the player is allowed to chose one of 3 options. They can Raise Funds which allows them to gain $2. They can Hire Help which allows them to draw an attraction tile. They can Construct which allows them to place an attraction tile from their hand adjacent to or on top of an attraction already in their circus. To place the tile, they must pay the cost indicated in the upper right of the tile. Once all players have completed the Building step, play moves to the Perform Action step. In this step, players will move their Spotlight marker from it’s current location to an adjacent attraction. It should be noted that players are not allowed to move their Spotlight marker diagonally. Once the marker is moved, the player then places a used marker on the attraction that the marker just left. Players then resolve the action icons of the attraction highlighted by the Spotlight marker from left to right, unless the attraction has a used marker on it. In this case, the action icons are ignored.

There are 7 different action icons that I will briefly touch on here. For more information you can check out the rule book. The big top icon allows the player to draw a tile from the pool. The clown icon allows the player to move an audience member one space to the right on their bleacher board. The elephant icon allows the player to remove an audience member from the bleacher board and gain an equal amount of points. The coin icon allows the player to gain $1. The ticket icon allows the player to place an audience member on the 2 space of their bleacher board. The money icon allows the player to remove an audience member from their bleacher board and gain an equal amount of money. The star icon allows the player to gain 1 point of Fame. Both the clown and money icons are optional. Players do not have to remove an audience member from their bleacher board if they don’t want to.

Another space that the Ringmaster can move to is the Half Day space. For this space players chose to perform one of the 2 steps of the Full Day space. They can either chose the Building step or the Perform Action step. However they may only choose 1 step and do not complete the other step.

Another space for the Ringmaster to move to is the New Acts Arrive space. The first thing that is done for this space is to return any remaining undrawn starter attraction tiles to the box. Next the advanced attraction tiles are placed face down in the middle of the play area next to the board. The tiles are then shuffled and 4 randomly chosen tiles are placed face up next to the board in a row. Each player in turn order then draws 2 tiles and adds them to their hand. It should be noted that only the player that has chosen Madam Adam as their Star Attraction will be able to chose one of the face up tiles beside the board when performing the Hire Help option or resolving the big top action icon.

Yet another space that the Ringmaster can move to is the Star Attractions space. For this space, the Star Attraction cards are placed face up in the middle of the play area. If any were chosen by a player during a previous week, they are also placed with the others. Players now choose a card beginning with the player whose player order marker is on the left most Player Order space. Each player performs any appropriate actions once they’ve chosen a card. They then place the card next to their circus. Any card remaining after all players have chosen one are now set aside till needed again. Players now rearrange their Player Order markers based on the numbers printed on the Star Attraction cards. The lowest number places their Player Order marker in the left most space. Players continue placing their markers to the right of the previous marker based on the number of their card until all player markers have been moved to their correct space. It should be noted that players should use the side of the cards with the blue numbers if they want fewer player interactions or are playing their first game. This side is also recommended for 2 player games.

The final space that the Ringmaster can move to is a New Town space. When this space is moved onto, each player removes all of the used markers from their circus making it possible to return to any previously used attractions and gain those actions again. The player’s Spotlight marker is not moved.

The game continues until the Ringmaster reaches Endsville. The game then ends immediately. Players now score extra points for several different awards. The Variety award gives players points for each complete set of 5 different colored attractions that they built in their circus. It should be noted that only uncovered attractions count toward this bonus. The Money award gives players points for each $3 that remains unspent. The Act award gives players points for each attraction tile left in their hand. The Audience award gives players points for audience members remaining on their bleacher board. Players now add up their points and the player with the most Fame is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of really nice looking pieces inside the box. The board is really fun and light hearted. You get a really nice circus type feel with the images on it as well as the icons. The attraction tiles and circus boards also convey that same feel with more of the same style of fun artwork. All of these are fairly thick and have a nice finish to them. The bleacher boards also have that same finish but are a bit thinner. I’d have liked them to have been the same thickness as the tiles but they seem to be ok for now. The coins, used markers and fame tokens are also thick cardboard but are a little touchy when punching them out. Sometimes they want to snag or tear the wrong way. It’s not a major deal, just something to be aware of when you’re taking them out of the punchboards. The Star Attraction cards are really nice. I especially love the art on these. They’re really light hearted and fun designs. The audience member and ringmaster meeples, as well as the player markers are all wooden and look really nice. I especially like the bright color and design of the ringmaster. There’s also the spotlight markers which are thin yellow discs that are see through. For me the best part is the board and ringmaster meeple. They really give me that circus feel. The Star Attractions are also nice and I like that they are double sided for more or less player interactions. Overall the components are really great and work really well with the theme. I’m very pleased with the look and feel of each piece.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rule book for this game looks really nice. There are lots of great pictures and examples throughout the book. The pages have a nice glossy style finish to them. The rules are all laid out really well and overall the book is well designed. That said, let me address the elephant in the room, no pun intended. There are lots of issues with typos and mislabeled icons, as well as some very poorly worded references. Part of me feels like the rules were written for a different version of the game then the one that was actually produced. For instance, 1 reference notes that players receive a bleacher sheet in their color. All the bleacher sheets are the exact same color. It also references that players resolve the action icons on that attraction as described on the bleacher sheet. Just to be clear, there are no descriptions of the action icons on the bleacher sheets. Another references the score marker but refers to it later as the Fame marker. Not a major deal, but still a little bit confusing. Yet another states that the player whose Player Order marker is on the RIGHT most player order space chooses one of the Star Attraction cards. This should have said the LEFT most player order space. Of course the biggest issue is for the Action Icon reference on the back of the book. The clown and elephant icons are wrong and should actually be swapped. Most of these issues I had to actually discover from the forums page for the game on BGG. Thankfully the designer has been very proactive on clearing up these issues with some handy errata. I will say that I do like that there’s also rules for a solo variant included which simply compares your performance against a set value of points. Overall, despite the minor inconsistencies and issues plaguing the rules, it’s not that bad. It does cover everything rather well, it’s just those minor bumps that make it a bit less than what it could have been.
6 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is actually a rather cute and fun game. It has a really nice engine building mechanic that I rather like. Each attraction that you build onto your circus makes it possible to do more actions like adding audience members to your bleachers or simply giving you more money to build more attractions with. As you continue playing you’ll have to be careful not to back yourself into a corner with your spotlight marker. You do have to think about which way you want to move during your perform action as you build new attractions. That way you get the most out of each attraction. I like how that as you use an attraction it becomes unavailable for future turns. That way someone can’t just keep using an attraction that provides lots of fame to rack up on points by consistently spamming the attraction. I will say that the first time I played the game I had a bit of a time trying to get elephant icons to move my audience member higher on my bleacher board. It wasn’t until later that I found the errata in the BGG forums that said I should have been using the clown icon to move my audience members. That explained a lot. There were plenty of clown icons during my first run through. It was those elephants that were hard to find. Now it all makes sense. My daughter really enjoyed this one especially building new attractions to her circus. We both liked the whimsical art style all over the game as well as the simplicity of it. I also got a chance to try out the solo variant. It’s not bad if you don’t mind trying to beat a high score. I usually prefer my solo games to have some kind of antagonist mechanic that either comes at me or tries to keep me from doing what I want to do. That said, I prefer playing against another player with this one. It can be played solo, and that’s nice. However I’ll wait to play it with others instead. In any event, this one seems to be a pretty good family or gateway game. Fans of family games or simple engine building games should enjoy this one. I’d definitely recommend it. My kids enjoy it as do I, even more so now that we understand the actual rules to the game. Overall, this one gets a passing rating.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Little Circuses is a light weight family game of engine building with a circus theme. The game doesn’t take a very long time to play. Most game sessions last around 30-40 minutes. The game looks really nice and I really like the components. My daughter and I really like the cute artwork style and bright colors, especially the ringmaster meeple. It should be noted however that you do have to be careful of the tokens tendency to snag and tear when punching them out of the cardboard sheets. The rulebook looks nice but has several issues inside including some inconsistent terminology and messed up iconography. The designer has taken to the BGG forums to clarify those mistakes and issue some errata for the problems which helps quite a bit. It’s just sad that the rulebook made it this far with those issues still inside. That said, the game is actually quite fun and one that my daughter and I both enjoyed playing. We really like building our own circus and all the different options that are available. The solo game isn’t as much fun as playing with at least 1 other player as you simply compare your score against another score. It works but I prefer my solo games to have more meat to them. As it is, fans of family or simple engine building games should really enjoy this one, minor flaws aside. It has a really nice circus feel to it that we really like. I would definitely recommend giving this one a try. The next ringmaster of the circus could be you.
8 out of 10

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

http://idwgames.com/

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Go7Gaming LGC-005 Insert Product Review

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Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a new product from Go7Gaming. That product was the LGC-005 Insert for the Fantasy Flight line of Living Card Games. Some of the games this works with include Android Netrunner, Lord of the Rings the Card Game and Warhammer Invasion. This particular insert works for most of the games that were produced prior to 2013. For those produced after that, you should look into the LGC-006 Insert. In any event, for this review I used Android Netrunner. The insert came in a flat rate shipping package. Inside there were several laser cut wooden sheets wrapped together in a large ziplock bag with some full color instructions explaining how everything should be put together. After taking out the the sheets from the package, I read through the instructions and was then ready to assemble the product.

Before I get started, let me explain a little about the product and what it does. First as I mentioned earlier, this is an insert for the Fantasy Flight line of Living Card Games. These games consist of a whole bunch of cards and not much else, unless you’re looking at the Call of Cthulhu, but I won’t be touching that one here. For this insert, I plan to use the Android Netrunner game. Once assembled, the insert will keep all of the many different cards and card types separated and organized. There is a lot of extra room inside the box for plenty of expansions, making this a great way of keeping everything together inside one box. The insert is really strong and sturdy and it looks great once everything is placed inside the box. We’ll a bit deeper into look and functionality in a bit, but for now let’s move into the actual build. First off, we need to look at what comes with the product and how it’s assembled. We’ll do this by separating the sheets of wood for ease of reference. As you can tell, there aren’t as many sheets of wood for this one as there are in many of the other inserts that I’ve reviewed. In any event, each piece is laser cut and easily punched out from the sheet.

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For those of you that have read any of my previous reviews of products for Go7Gaming, you’ll know what I’m about to say. That is this, “GET SOME GLUE!” No kidding around, you will absolutely want to have some to keep everything together. I’ve read on the Go7Gaming website that you could use tape as well, however glue tends to work better and last longer. I will say that I don’t think it’s quite as big a deal with this product as it is with some of the others as nothing really moves out of the box like it does with other inserts. In either case, you can make your own decision. Either way, for this review I will pretty much assume that you’re aware of how to glue two pieces together and that regardless of whether you’re using glue or tape, you won’t need to be told to glue or tape them together. Now then, let’s move on.

To build the insert, we’ll start by taking the slotted inner wall and connecting the two supports to it. See below.

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Next, we’ll attach the other slotted inner wall to the supports so that they create an inner core to the insert. See below.

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After you’ve got that done, you can attach the inner wall structure to the outer wall. See below.

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Now you’ll attach the other outer wall to the inner structure. See below.

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With that done, you’ll need to attach the supports to both sides of the inner structure as shown below.

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From there we’ll add the slotted outer wall to one side. See below.

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Then we’ll add the other slotted outer wall to the ends and support, completing the insert. See below.

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Once all that’s been completed and the insert has had time for the glue to dry, you can place it carefully inside the box. It should go in fairly easily, however mine was a bit of a tight squeeze. See below.

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Afterwards you can place the card dividers as you see fit or however is necessary. See below.

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All that’s left is to add the cards and tokens to the box and you’re done. Your completed insert should look something like this.

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MATERIALS
In this section of the review, I normally take the time to describe the different components and pieces that comes packaged inside the game. With this being a review for an insert, instead I’ll describe the packaging and item. As I stated earlier, the insert came packed in a flat rate shipping package. I’m quite happy with the packaging and receipt of the item. The wood sheets were very sturdy and thick. The individual pieces were easy to remove from the sheets. I had no difficulties with any aspect of the removal process or with determining what piece was what. I was easily able to figure things out with the help of the included instructions which I’ll go into more detail about in a moment. As I’ve mentioned, the one thing not included would be either glue or tape depending on your personal preference. Of course both can be used for extra support. Assembly as you can tell was quite simple and quick. Overall, I’m extremely happy with the look, feel and functionality of the insert. It’s well designed and made strong. A+
9 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
For this part of the review, I normally would go over the rules included in the rulebook of the game. However in this case, I’ll detail the instructions instead. The instructions included with the package were in color and folded together nicely into a little book with everything laid out extremely well. The step by step process was easy to follow thanks in part to the great pictures and references. I had no trouble whatsoever and I’m sure you won’t either. As you can tell from the overview above, there’s not much to putting it together anyway. Still, the instructions made it extremely easy. I’m very pleased and found the instructions to be well written and thorough. Great job as usual.
9 out of 10

CONSTRUCTION
About this time, I go through my thoughts and feelings on how the game is played and what I think. However, I’ll explain how the insert was assembled and my thoughts in general instead. As usual, assembling the insert was no big task and was easily accomplished. I think it took around 10 – 15 minutes to complete. Of course that’s thanks to the great instructions and the few pieces to assemble. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews and in this one as well, you’ll need either some glue or tape to hold things together due to how loosely the pieces fit together. Just something to be aware of while assembling. Once you get everything together and dried, if you chose to use glue, you’ll find that there’s a lot of space inside the box with the insert now placed inside. There’s a ton of room for expansion and other odds and ends that you’ll no doubt want to pick up and add to your game. The weight that the insert adds to the box is very minor. However the stability and structural integrity is greatly increased thanks to it. I found no issues with bulges when closing the lid. Everything fit nicely inside for both the base game as well as lots of expansions. For me, I’m extremely pleased with the overall look and functionality of the product. I just need to find something better to hold my tokens with instead of the plastic bags included with the game. I think other such inserts had small token boxes but they caused bulging issues. Personally I prefer no bulges and finding my own containers. That would probably be my only complaint though for a stellar product. In any event, I’d highly recommend this for anyone that has one of the many Fantasy Flight LCG games. It’s definitely a great way to keep the game organized.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The Go7Gaming LGC-005 Insert for the Fantasy Flight line of Living Card Games is a great way to organize your game. It looks great and provides lots of stability and structural integrity to your box. It also has lots of room to add expansions. It doesn’t take a long time to put together, usually around 15 minutes tops. The assembly process was super easy thanks to great instructions. One last time I’ll mention that you will need either glue or tape to hold the pieces together while assembling. Of course you probably already know that by now. In any event, I highly recommend this product for owners of any of the Living Card Games from Fantasy Flight. It’s superbly made and looks great when completed. You’ll be thrilled to be able to keep things better organized inside your game box. I am. You should definitely check out this or any of the other line of inserts designed by Go7Gaming. You’ll be happy you did. You won’t be able to find nicer people or better products. Guaranteed.
9 out of 10

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

http://go7gaming.com/

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Kingdom of Aer: Kingmaker Review

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Kingdom of Aer: Kingmaker is a game by Allan Chesher, published by Centennial Games. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of nobles that are all vying for the newly vacated crown. They’ll be trying to eliminate their competition through treachery and even murder. In the end the player that can prove they’re the most worthy will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player chooses a color and takes the corresponding deck of that color’s cards, becoming that noble house. The players then place their 3 royalty cards face down in front of themself, while the remaining cards are placed in their hand. Once this is done, play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round player’s will simultaneously choose a card from their hand and place it face down in front of themselves. Players are allowed to change their mind, picking up their card and replacing it with a different card, as long as there is still a player that hasn’t placed a card face down. Once all player’s have placed a card, the cards are “locked in” and can’t be changed. Players will now simultaneously flip over their chosen card and resolve the cards based on which cards are now revealed. This follows the 7 step order of resolution. First the Jester cards join the court, becoming an additional member of royalty that can be killed off instead of a royal. Next the Count attacks. That means that players check to see which house has the majority of attack nominations against it. If there is a tie, tied players are both hit. In the third step, the Seer removes attacks. This means that if the player that played the Seer has the most attack nominations, it can not be hit this round and instead the player with the next highest majority is hit instead. For the fourth step, the attacks now hit the appropriate player(s). In the fifth step, the Marshalls counter the hit. This means that if the Marshalls were played by the player being hit, the Marshalls will block the hit and counter attack with new hits being sent to all the players that played attack nominations against them. Once these steps are resolved, then the sixth step resolves. In this step the thief steals and the gold buys. What that means is that as long as there is at least 1 gold card played, then the thief is able to steal all the gold, discarding it and allowing the player to buy back one of their own character cards from the discard pile. If there are no thieves played, the players that played a gold card are allowed to buy back a character card from the discard pile. This does not mean that a royalty card that has been killed can be bought back. Those are special cards and not character cards. The final step is to add banners and the fanatic burns. This means that any player that played a banner is now able to add it to the top of their court of royals face up. This banner now allows attack nominations to count for 2 votes instead of just 1. If a player played the fanatic it burns all the banners that are on the table including the player that played it’s banner.

It should be noted that attack nomination cards are returned to the player’s hand at the end of the round. Also, if a player contributed to killing the last royal of a player’s house, they earn a trophy. This means that the player places the attack nomination card for that house that they played under one of their own royals. This makes that particular royal worth more points at the end of the game.

The game continues until there are only 2 houses remaining. That is to say that all but 2 player’s court of royals has been eliminated. The remaining 2 players now count up their points based on the cards they have on the table and in their hand. The player that has the most points is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
This game consists of 5 separate decks of cards representing the 5 different houses, as well as a couple of character reference cards. The cards are very nicely done and look really great. They’re pretty good quality and the artwork is really good. I really like the design and feel of the cards. The cards come packaged inside a small little box of cards that could fairly easily be tucked inside a pocket for ease of travel. About the only thing that I could ask for would be a divider inside the box to keep the stacks separate as they tend to get a bit mixed up. Thankfully it’s really easy to separate the decks thanks to the brightly colored backs of the cards. The reference cards are quite nice and they help remind players of not only what each character does but on the reverse side there’s a reminder of the order of resolution steps. Overall, I’m pleased with the cards and think everything looks very nice.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a tri-folded piece of cardstock. It’s colored and there are actually quite a lot of pictures on the rulebook. There’s pictures for setting up the game as well as how attack voting should look. On the back there’s a really good breakdown of each of the cards detailing how each one works. For a simple game I’d say that the rulebook does a decent job of explaining the rules. I do wish that things were a bit better explained especially when it comes to the order of resolution. Also I feel like it would be nice if there were rules for playing with only 2 players as well. Apart from that, I think that the rules aren’t that bad, especially since there are so many pictures and they’re all in color to boot. Overall it’s a pretty decent job.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a pretty interesting little card game. I like the look and feel of the game. I like the simplicity of it as well. I even like the idea behind it, however the presentation is a bit lacking. The way the rules are set up causes the game to follow the path of player elimination until there are only 2 players left. Once there are only 2 players, then those players score their points and determine the winner based on point totals. For me I’d like it better if it was a set number of rounds of play and then points were totaled for everyone remaining, OR a straight up player elimination. Either of these would have been fine. The mixture of both makes the game feel a bit odd. Not that this makes the game bad in any way. I mean for a fairly simple card game, it has just enough meat to be enjoyable. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I do wish there were rules for playing the game with only 2 players. That would make things better for me. The rules state that the game is a 5 player game. However I’ve seen it noted as a 3-5 player game on the BGG and find that the rules work fine with less than 5. The game does tend takes a bit longer with more players, however it seems to add a bit more chaos and fun to it as well. Overall I’d be more inclined to recommend it for 4 or 5 players. 3 tends to end a bit too quickly. This is a game that fans of player elimination or take that style card games should enjoy. It’s a pretty nice game that I’d recommend giving a try especially if you like a simple and fast card game.
7 out of 10

OVERALL
Kingdom of Aer: Kingmaker is a light weight player elimination style card game with a take that feel. The game is fairly short with most game sessions lasting around 15 minutes or so. The cards are really nicely done. I especially like the great looking artwork on them. The rulebook is also quite nice as well. However I do wish that the order of resolution were a bit more detailed in the rules. I also would have liked rules for playing with 2 players but that would probably change the dynamics of the game and make it feel completely different. As it is, the game plays best for me with 4 or 5 players, even though the BGG lists it as being playable with 2 or 3 as well. I feel like it plays too short with fewer than 4 players. Therefore I recommend this game for 4 or more players. I will say that the mixture of player elimination and point scoring does feel a bit odd but it still kind of works. I would have liked it better as straight player elimination or point gathering style game but it is what it is. Fans of player elimination or possibly take that card games should enjoy this one. Overall, it’s a quick and simple card game that I’d recommend giving a try. You don’t even have to be royalty to enjoy it.
7 out of 10

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For more information about this game and to get a copy for yourself, you can check out the Kickstarter campaign that’s going on right now.  Simply follow the link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheshmonkey/kingdom-of-aer-kingmaker

You can also check out the website for the game below.

http://kingdomofaer.com/

 

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The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport Review

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The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport is a game by Nate Heiss, Sam Waller and Jeff Morrow, published by Slugfest Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of one of the famous adventurers from Red Dragon Inn fame. They’ll be tasked with defending the city from a bunch of rampaging monsters of every shape, size and color, as well as some extremely nasty bosses. They’ll have to work together if they hope to defeat the onslaught of creatures. In the end, they’ll either win together or suffer crushing defeat as the monsters destroy the city. If all the monsters and the boss are defeated, the heroes will be declared the winners.

To begin, players should choose a scenario from the many different scenario cards. For first time players it’s recommended to use The Interrupted Party scenario. The scenario card is set aside along with the corresponding encounter cards, locations, monster decks and boss monster as noted on the scenario card. Players now choose a character and are given the character’s 9 card starting deck, 3 player hero cards and deck divider which has a round order chart on the back. Players shuffle their starting deck and draw 5 cards from it. They then add their level 1 player hero card to their hand. The level 2 and 3 player hero cards are set aside to be used later in the game. Players are given 10 hit point tokens unless the scenario card states otherwise. The hero deck is shuffled and the top 4 cards are revealed and placed in a face up row beside the deck. If any gold cost cards are revealed, they are set aside and a new card is revealed to take it’s place. Once there are 4 non gold cards in the row, any revealed gold cards are then shuffled back into the deck. The same thing is then done for the item deck with 4 non gold cards needing to be revealed. The starting player is chosen and is given the round marker with the “Taunt” side face up. Next the Encounter is setup.

For the Encounter setup, the appropriate encounter card is placed in the center of the table along with the corresponding location card which is placed beside it. The players use the setup column on the encounter card that matches the amount of players. The players shuffles the monster deck that matches the encounter card into the current monster deck. At the beginning of the game there is no current monster deck so there should only be one set of monster cards used. The location card is then given the matching amount of hit points as noted on the encounter card. A number of monster cards are then revealed next to the location until the accumulated threat levels of the monsters meet or exceed the number indicated on the encounter card. Beginning with the starting player, monsters are then revealed for each player in much the same way as the location until the threat level meets or exceeds the number on the encounter card. Players then check the encounter card’s setup and follow any special setup procedures listed there. If there is a boss monster listed, the boss card that matches the one listed is placed on the table along with the matching boss HP token. Each player is then given a certain number of recruitment coins as listed on the encounter card. Players then check the monsters in front of themselves and resolve any ambush effects in the order of their choosing. The location card is then placed on top of the encounter card with only the penalty showing at the bottom of the card. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round the starting player with the round marker is known as the defending player. The monsters in front of that player are the active monster group. Each player is able to play cards to help save the defending player and the location. Each round players are allowed to take a series of actions in any order. They can play 1 hero card, they can play 1 item card onto a matching hero, they can fight an active monster and they can use the round marker to taunt a monster if they are the defending player. Playing a hero card is done by simple placing the card face up on the table. Item cards when played are placed on top of a chosen hero so that it partially overlaps. Any card that has a downward arrow icon resolves the effect before taking any further actions. Cards with a right arrow pointing to a line can choose to use that ability once that round. Crossed sword icons on a card indicate that the action resolves when the hero fights a monster.

Speaking of fighting monsters, when a player choose to fight a monster they will first turn the hero sideways to show that it has been used that round. Next an active monster is chosen to fight. If there are no active monsters a location monster may be fought instead. Any dice that must be rolled due to card abilities are then rolled. The attack then does the accumulated damage of card numbers, dice rolls or both. Damage markers are then placed on the monster. If it takes more damage than it’s health, it’s defeated and the card is discarded. If all the monsters in play are defeated, play proceeds to the encounter cleanup. We’ll discuss that in a moment. It should be noted that some cards and the round marker have the taunt ability. What this means is that when this ability is used the player is allowed to take a monster that is not in their monster group and move it to their monster group. That monster can be from the location or another player’s monster group. If the round marker’s taunt ability is used, the marker is flipped over to indicate that it’s been used that round. The round marker is only usable by the defending player. Taunting is a great way to save the location, especially if it’s running low on hit points. As soon as there are no more monsters on the location, either due to them being taunted away or being defeated, players gain the location reward. However that’s only if the location is still active because it has 1 or more hit points remaining.

Once the players either can not or choose not to take any more actions, there are a series of 6 steps that must be taken in order to end the round. First there’s monster damage. In this step any active monsters and the location monsters deal damage, beginning with the defending player. If that player’s hit point level is reduced to 0 or below, the players lose the game. As long as the player still has hit points, damage is then allocated to the location from the location monster group. If it is reduced to 0 or lower hit points, it’s destroyed and the players suffer the penalty at the bottom of the encounter card. If there are any bosses on the location, they then move to the active monster group. Players then take turns taking one of the monsters from the location group and adding it to their monster group. The location card is then discarded. The next step is cleanup. In this step, any player that played a card with the cleanup icon on it, now resolves the cleanup effect. Players then discard any and all cards that they played during the round as well as any unused shield tokens. The next step is the recruit step. In this step, the defending player must spend a recruitment coin to recruit a card from the reinforcement decks, if they have any coins. Recruited cards are placed in the player’s hand not in their discard pile. The purchased card is then replaced from the appropriate deck. The fourth step is the discard step. In this step, the defending player sets aside their player hero and then discards down to their hand size. They may choose to discard any additional cards that they would like to. The next step is the refill step. In this step, the defending player now draws back up to their hand size and returns their player hero to their hand. The final step is to pass the round marker. In this step, the defending player passes the round marker to the player on their left. That player then places it with the “Taunt” side face up in front of them. Any monsters that have the ferocious ability are then moved to the new defending player’s monster group.

Earlier I mentioned the encounter cleanup. This happens when all the monsters in play are defeated. At this point, there is an immediate cleanup step which is the same as the clean up step described above. Next players, in order, must spend all of their remaining recruitment coins to recruit cards from the reinforcement decks. Once this has been completed, all players follow the discard and refill steps described above. After this has been completed, play proceed to the encounter setup for the next encounter as described earlier.

The game continues with players fighting monsters, recruiting heroes and purchasing items to fight with. Each encounter has a specific win and lose condition. Most of the time this will entail defeating the boss and not letting any of the heroes die. If the players are able to complete the win condition, they will be the winners.

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COMPONENTS
This game has some amazing looking pieces to it. Anyone familiar with the Red Dragon Inn series of games will recognize many of the player heroes. The same type and style of artwork is present on every card and every token that comes with the game. There’s a ton of different cards that are packed inside the box, over 350 cards. There are monster cards of 6 different subgroups. There are monster token cards for bringing in some extra little nasties, much like the token cards in Magic the Gathering. There are hero and item cards that make up the 2 reinforcement decks. Each starting hero has their own personal starting deck of cards. There are also curse cards which I didn’t mention in the overview but that simply clog up your deck. If that’s not enough there are also the oversized cards like the 5 different player hero cards, including the new Time Mage, Chronos. Speaking of Chronos, the game also comes with an entire ally pack for him including promo drink card, character deck, gold and platinum coins, alcohol content marker, fortitude marker, player mat and deck divider for use with the Red Dragon Inn series of games. Back to the oversized cards, there are the different location cards as well as scenario, encounters and boss monsters. There are several different colored dice included as well as a whole bunch of tokens. There are tokens for damage, hit points, recruitment coins, shield tokens, boss monster hit points and the round marker. The game also comes with some cardboard dividers to keep everything separated inside the box and for ease of setup. On the backs of these are are quick reminder of a player’s actions. Kind of a little cheat sheet player reference. Like I said, there’s a lot of stuff inside this box. The thing is that the artwork and designs are beautiful. I absolutely love the look and feel. There’s absolutely nothing that I’d change component wise. If you’re not a fan of Red Dragon Inn, then you might not like this one. For me though, I love it.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is excellent. There are plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book. The book starts with some great overviews of the different card types and what each part of the card is and what it does. This includes the larger cards like the locations and boss monster cards as well. From there it explains the different tokens before moving into describing how to setup the game using the scenario cards. A couple of pages later and there’s a great full color page of what the game should look like setup. Next the book explains all the basics of playing the game with plenty of details. Afterwards the abilities of the different monster and heroes are explained in detail along with some card specific notes. The last couple of pages include several variants to change up how the game is played. Finally on the back cover is a check list for achievements that lists all the different scenarios and allows you to check off in order when you beat them. Overall I like the look and feel of the book. Everything is laid out really well and includes all the pertinent information along with some great details for clarification. I’m thrilled with the book and think that it gets the job done in excellent fashion.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me say straight up. This game can be very hard to play. I’ve played through the introductory scenario several times and found it to be quite difficult. The next scenario isn’t quite as bad. Not sure why the intro one was setup to be so difficult. Maybe it’s that you start off with less health than in other scenarios. That’s my thought on it anyway. In any event, it’s no surprise that I love deck builders. However, this one doesn’t have a lot of the normal deck building aspects that you’d expect. When I think of a deck building game, I think of Ascension or Dominion. In those games you play cards and buy new ones to add to your deck. Plain and simple. In this game, you’re playing hero cards and then playing items on them to help you attack or move monsters around the play area. It’s not until the the round is ended that you can actually acquire new cards and then it’s only the defending player that can do that. Not only that but usually you add up the coins or currency of some sort and can purchase stronger cards. With this one, if you only have a bunch of copper coins, too bad about buying that gold cost item or hero. I’m not a big fan of that aspect of the game. To me there should be a currency exchange rate or something. Maybe if 3 copper make a silver and 2 silver make a gold. I’m just spitballing ideas at this point. Apart from that and the painfully difficult gameplay, I actually like the game. I like how that saving the locations can actually provide you with special benefits that can really help you out. I also like that the game comes with 7 scenarios. I’ve played the game several times and have yet to make it to the harder difficulty ones. I can only imagine that things are gonna be nigh impossible. Fans of the Red Dragon Inn series will most likely like this one, especially since it adds a new character to be used in those games. Fans of deck building games might enjoy a new challenge and a new style of playing. For me, I would recommend giving it a try. It might not be for everyone as the difficulty of the introductory scenario might scare players off. I think if you go into it with an open mind and keep at it, you just might like it like I do.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport is a cooperative deck building game set in the Red Dragon Inn universe. The game is fairly average in play time. Most game sessions last around an hour to an hour and a half. The game looks great. There are lots of great looking cards with a very similar style artwork to that in the Red Dragon Inn series of games. I really like the look and feel of the game as well as the durability of the cards. The rulebook is also great and has lots of great information that is easy to find what you’re looking for. I especially like that there are achievements as well as variants included in the rules. The game itself is on the more difficult end of game play and doesn’t exactly fit the normal style of most deck builders. I’m not exactly crazy about how new cards are purchased and added to the players hands but it’s not a major deal either. I also wish that there were a few easier scenarios included to help new players get a better feel for the game without feeling so overwhelmed that they might not want to play it again. Fans of deck building games that are looking for a new take on the mechanic and don’t mind a bit of difficulty should enjoy this one. I’d also recommend this game to fans of the Red Dragon Inn series of games. Overall the few minor squabbles that I have with the game don’t detract enough from the overall fun factor for me. I’m sure some people might not like it but I do. For me, the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Give it a try. I recommend it. Just know that there are no drinks allowed on the battle field.
9 out of 10

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

http://slugfestgames.com/

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Danger Suit Review

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Danger Suit is a game by Matt Peterson, published by The Make Believe World Games and available from The Gamecrafter LLC. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of villain or hero in a 1 vs. up to 5 game of strategy. The players were once all scientists working together for the betterment of mankind until the villain went rogue and ran off with some high tech gadgetry. He’ll be trying to power up his death ray to destroy the city. Meanwhile, the heroes are tasked with trying to stop him as they must construct an improvised Danger Suit from whatever spare parts they can find in their lab. In the end, it’s all about energy. If the heroes can collect enough energy before the villain destroys the city, they’ll be declared the winners. If not, they’ll watch as the city burns and the villain reigns victorious.

To begin, players choose one of the character mats. One player must choose the villain mat. The heroes receive the corresponding colored hero token. The villain player is then given their fortress tile. If only 1 hero is playing, all the event cards are removed from the Danger Suit deck. If there are fewer than 4 players, all the event cards with the Channel 4 Heroes logo on them are removed. The Danger Suit deck is then shuffled. The Mutations are shuffled in a separate deck. Both decks are then placed on the table face down. Five energy cubes are set aside for each hero player. These cubes are then placed on the Energy Pool card which is placed on the table. The remaining cubes are returned to the box. The city is then built beginning with the City Center tile. The other city tiles are all mixed together in a face up pile. The villain player starts by choosing one of the tiles and placing it next to the City Center tile. The heroes then choose a tile and place it next to one of the already built tiles. The roads on the tile must connect to the other roads without making any dead ends. Tiles are placed alternating back and forth between villain and hero, each placing 1 tile per team until all the tiles have been placed. Heroes will then place their token onto any unoccupied city tile beginning with the player to the villain’s left. Once all the heroes have placed their token, the villain places their Fortress tile adjacent to any city tile they chose. He then places his villain token onto the Fortress tile. The villain draws 3 cards from the mutations deck, placing them in the corresponding mutation areas on their villain mat. Play now begins.

Beginning with the player to the Villain player’s left, each hero will take a turn consisting of 2 Action Points(AP). Once all the heroes have taken their turns, the villain player takes his turn. On a player’s turn, either hero or villain, they may use their 2 AP to perform different actions. Heroes may move to an adjacent tile, attack the villain or move onto a lab or power station. Moving to an adjacent tile costs 1 AP. The heroes do not have to follow the roads but can not move onto or across the Fortress tile. Attacking the villain takes all the heroes remaining AP. No more actions are allowed after attacking however. This means that if the attack is taken first, it will cost 2 AP. However if a move is taken prior to the attack, it only costs 1 AP. We’ll discuss combat in just a bit. Moving onto a lab or power station is the exact same way. If the move is taken first, it costs 2 AP. However if an adjacent move is performed prior to the move onto a lab or power station, it only costs 1 AP.

Labs and Power Stations provide special effects for the hero that moves onto the tile. Labs allow the player to draw 3 Danger Suit cards. They are then allowed to play or discard each card as it’s drawn. Event and CDF cards must be played immediately. I’ll discuss these in a moment. It should be noted that each Danger Suit card may be placed on the appropriate spot on the player’s mat. These cards may provide a bevy of different combat dice or increase the player’s battery capacity. Power stations allow the player to place energy cubes onto their player mat equal to their battery capacity. Each player may only hold up to 5 energy cubes, regardless.

Once the hero players have taken their turn, it’s the Villain’s turn. For the Villain, he may move, attack or destroy a city tile with his 2 AP. The Villain can move to any adjacent tile without following the roads and can walk on the Fortress tile for 1 AP. Attacking a hero is the same as with the heroes, it cost all the villain’s remaining AP of can only cost 1 AP if a move action is taken first. Destroying a city tile cost 2 AP and allows the villain to destroy a tile, even if there’s a hero on it. However the City Center and Villain’s Fortress tile can not be destroyed. When a tile is destroyed, it is flipped over and the written effect on the bottom of the tile takes effect. The villain then draws 3 mutation cards and plays them as drawn. Mutation cards are a lot like Danger Suit cards and are played on the appropriate spot of the Villain’s player mat. These cards can provide both attack and defense as well as providing minions to be used in battle.

Speaking of battle, let me explain how combat works. Combat follows 5 steps. First the battling hero and villain choose a Danger Suit piece/Mutation secretly. This will be what they will use during combat. They also add any CDF and Minions available. Players then place the attack tile with the matching card icon face up in front of them once both players are ready. Both players then reveal their chosen parts by revealing their attack tile. The hero then rolls the die/dice that match their chosen Danger Suit card, adding in any special abilities. Removing any die/dice that the villain’s mutation blocks. Finally the winner of the combat is determined. Players check the total of the die/dice roll. If the total is higher than the villain’s defense, the hero wins. If it’s less, the villain wins. If it’s equal to the defense, the battle is a draw. The loser of the battle then gives the winner 1 energy cube from their collection. If they have no energy cube to give, they are defeated and must discard their entire Danger Suit/Mutations. Minions and CDF cards are not discarded.

The game continues until one of two things happens. If the heroes collect all the energy cubes before the Villain destroys the city, the heroes win. If the villain is able to collect 5 energy cubes and return to their fortress with a fully charged death ray or if he can destroy all 6 of 2 specific city tile types, the villain wins.

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COMPONENTS
This game has some really great looking pieces to it. First off there are the different hero and villain mats. These are double sided and have a nice finish to them. They’re a little thin but they appear to be pretty durable thanks to the materials they’re made from. There are lots of different cards both for the heroes as well as the villain. These are smaller, more like the Euro sized cards. They look really great as well with a great finish to them also. The artwork for both the cards and mats are really great and work well with each other, especially since you’ll be playing the different pieces and mutations to these mats. The city tiles and attack tiles aren’t quite as nice artistically as the cards and mats but are still great quality. The city tiles look more like something from a crayola colored blueprint. They’re not bad looking, they just don’t capture the same feel that the mats and cards do. The game also comes with several different colored wooden meeples to represent the heroes and villain. These are pretty much your standard meeples. Nothing elaborate about them. Again, not bad but I think some plastic pieces with stickers or even some little cardboard standees would have looked better. This isn’t a major thing but simply a minor gripe. The game has some plastic cubes as well as some colored dice. These are your standard cubes and dice that you can find in many different games or RPG player’s dice bag. Overall, I like the art style on most of the pieces but think that a little more work needs to be done to make the game feel more cohesive. For now, it’s good but could become great fairly easily.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK

The rulebook for this game is pretty good. It’s only 10 pages long and has lots of pictures throughout the book. All the different card types, tiles and mats are explained fairly well. That said, the book is a bit haphazard. Thankfully it’s not that big so looking things up while playing isn’t that big of a deal. It just might take a minute or two to find what you’re looking for. There is some bold text and red lettering here and there but I don’t feel as if it was used well enough to distinguish between some concepts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. It’s just a little bit difficult to use as a reference. Reading through you get a pretty good feel for the game and shouldn’t have a lot of difficulty with the actual gameplay. Overall, it gets the job done.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a fairly unique and interesting game. It’s definitely different than most of the games that I’ve played. In some ways it reminds me of the old Japanese team robot animes from back when. For the heroes the game is all about building up your suit to be able to take on the villain and denying him those precious energy cubes. The villain player on the other hand has 2 ways of achieving victory and can turn his attention to what suits his play style the best or whichever path seems to be easier at the moment. I really like how the game really allows the players to customize their character to make them the best they can possibly be. I like how the different components allow the players to amp up their abilities throughout the game. I also really like the variability of the board setup. Each time you play you’ll end up with a completely different board based on the choices that the players make when placing tiles. I also like that each hero player board has special abilities that are unique to just them so that it matters which hero you choose. Normally all the player mats would be the same without any changes. I like that the designer decided to change that and put a bit of flavor to each one. I really think this one works well at what it tried to achieve. Fans of anime or shows like the Power Rangers or other such should enjoy the battling and customizing aspects of this game. This is one that I’d recommend checking out. Overall, I’m really intrigued by the game and enjoy it rather well.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Danger Suit is a 1 versus many game of action selection and battling with a superhero style theme. The game isn’t very long. Most game sessions can be played in around 45 minutes to an hour. Of course with more players it might take a bit longer. The game looks really great. I especially like the artwork on the cards and mats. I feel that these aspects work really great together. The tiles and other pieces feel a bit disconnected however and leave me wanting a bit more cohesion. The rulebook is also a bit rough and could use a bit more polish. Those few minor squabbles aside, the game is quite enjoyable. I like that players will be able to customize their characters throughout the game to become a lean mean fighting machine. I enjoy the 1 versus many aspect of the game but really wish there was a way to make this cooperative against a non player villain as well. In any event, I think the game works quite well in accomplishing what the designer set out to achieve. It has a great feel to it and is one that I will enjoy coming back to many more times. Fans of anime or stylized fighting shows like the Power Rangers should really enjoy this one. I would definitely recommend checking this one out. No fancy one piece suit or Zords needed.
8 out of 10

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For more information about this game, please check out The Make Believe World Games at their site, or you can purchase the game from The Gamecrafter LLC.

http://thembwgames.com/

http://www.thegamecrafter.com/

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