Sushi Roll Review

Sushi Roll is a game by Phil Walker-Harding, published by Gamewright Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will be rolling dice and adding them to their personal trays as they try to score as many points as possible. Of course their opponents will also be trying to do the same thing, removing dice from the conveyor belts. In the end, the player that collects the most points by taking the cutest and most fun sushi dice will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player takes a tray or player board and places it face up in front of them. All of the different tokens are separated by type and placed into individual piles in the middle of the play area. Each player takes 2 chopsticks and 3 menu tokens, placing them beside their tray. A number of conveyor belts are selected equal to the number of players, this will include the red bordered conveyor belt. These are then shuffled together and dealt out randomly one to a player. Each player will then flip the tiles face up and whoever has the red bordered tile is the first player. Any unused conveyor belts or trays should be returned to the box. All of the dice are placed into the dice bag. The bag is then shaken to mix the dice together. Each player in turn order will then draw a number of dice from the bag as noted in the rulebook. For a 2 player game, 8 dice are drawn where in a 5 player game, only 5 dice are drawn from the bag. Players will place their drawn dice onto their conveyor belts. Once everyone is ready, play now begins.

The game is played over 3 rounds. Each round begins with all of the players picking up all their dice and rolling them. Once rolled, the player places their dice back onto their conveyor belt without changing the faces on the dice. Each player will now take turns starting with the first player and continuing in turn order. On a player’s turn, they will follow 2 steps. First they may use as many menu or chopstick tokens as they would like. This step is optional. A menu token will allow the player to reroll any number of dice from their conveyor belt by returning 1 of these tokens to the supply. A chopstick token will allow the player to choose 1 die from an opponent’s conveyor belt and swap it with 1 die from their own conveyor belt without changing the face of the die by returning 1 of these tokens to the supply. Once they used as many tokens as they would like to, the player moves to the next step which is to choose a die to keep. To do this, the player will simply move 1 die from their own conveyor belt to their tray without changing the face of the die. If the player chooses a die that shows either a menu or chopstick icon, that player will immediately take the corresponding token(s). Some die faces have more than 1 icon of these types showing. In that case the player will take tokens equal to the number of icons. The same thing is also true for the pudding die face. If this die is taken, the player takes pudding tokens equal to the number of icons on that particular die. If a player chooses a nigiri die and they already have a die with wasabi showing on it, then the player must place the nigiri die on top of the wasabi die. Once each player has completed these steps for their turn, play moves to the next part of the round.

For this next part, all players will need to slide and roll. That is to say that they must now slide their conveyor belts to the player on their left, rerolling all the dice on the conveyor belt that was just passed to them. The player with the red bordered conveyor belt in the new starting player and play continues like above with each player taking a turn, using tokens and choosing a die. This keeps going until all the dice on the conveyor belts has been used. When that happens, the round ends and scoring commences.

At the end of each round, players will score the dice that they have collected on their trays. They will then earn scoring tokens equal to the points that they scored at this time. Players earn points for having the most maki rolls, for each type of nigiri that they have including a bonus for nigiri on top of a wasabi die. They can also earn points for appetizers, scoring points for based on how many of each type they have. Once scoring is completed, all the dice are returned to the bag, which is shaken up. The same number of dice are then drawn from the bag for each player. Players will then place their dice onto their conveyor belts and a new round begins.

The game continues until the end of the third round. When that happens, final scoring occurs. At this time, players compare the number of pudding tokens that they have collected. The player with the most will score 6 points and the fewest will lose 6 points. Players will also gain points for unused menu and chopstick tokens. Players will then add up all their scoring tokens and the player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has some really cute and fun looking pieces to it. There are a lot of cardboard pieces including the scoring tokens, pudding tokens, menu tokens, chopstick tokens, trays and conveyor belts. All of the tokens come in 2 punchboards. These are a good thickness and apart from the scoring tokens, all have artwork that matches the die faces. The pudding tokens have cute little puddings on them. The menu tokens have a cheery little menu on them. The chopstick tokens have a pair of normal chopsticks on them. Each of these is really cute and fits the artwork of the game quite nicely. The scoring tokens are a little different. They have this bright sunburst type background with bright red numbers on them. They kind of make me think of poker chips, just in cardboard form. The trays and conveyor belts are a good bit thicker but are also made of cardboard. The trays have a reference for all the different types of dice, while the conveyor belts look like little grey sectioned off conveyor belts. One of the conveyor belts has a red border around it which signifies that player is the first player. I like that each tray has references to help you understand how each die scores. It also helps you understand both how many tokens to start the game with and how many points these tokens score at the end of the game. These are both really nice and quite durable. Finally there are all the dice in the cloth bag. The game comes with 30 dice which includes 10 appetizer dice, 6 maki roll dice, 5 nigiri dice, 5 special dice and 4 pudding dice. Each die type is a different color. For instance, the pudding dice are all pink just like the pudding token’s background. The faces of each die are super cute. Many of the images are taken straight from the sushi go card game. I absolutely love the bright colors and the fun images, so does my daughter. She thinks they’re very kawaii. The dice bag is pretty nice too. It has the name of the game screen printed on it, along with the game company’s logo. It’s big enough to hold all the dice without any problem. Overall, I really like the look and feel of the game. The images are in keeping with the original game and carry over a lot of that same cuteness that made it so popular. I think fans of the original game will really like these components as well.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
If you thought that the rulebook would be any less cute than the game, you’d be wrong. This book is bright and colorful and full of fun too. There are lots of bright colors and plenty of pictures in what’s essentially 2 pages, front and back. The book also has plenty of examples and even some cute little jokes and pieces of artwork inside. Every step of the game from setting it up to final scoring is covered in great detail. It doesn’t take long to read and is easy to understand. I’m very impressed with the book. It’s well written and well designed. Nothing else needs to be said.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I love Sushi Go. It is a really cute and fun game. This game takes everything that I loved about Sushi Go and turns it into a dice game. I love rolling dice. I especially love rolling specialized dice, like the ones included in this game. This game takes everything that I enjoyed about Sushi Go and made it even better by adding dice. Each round you’re choosing a die from in front of you and adding it to your tray. Then you’ll swap dice with the player to your left. You keep doing that each turn until you’ve taken all the dice off the belt. That’s when you’ll score all the dice you collected that round. Do that 3 times and the game’s over. Simple and easy. While that doesn’t sound all that interesting, I’m sure people thought the same about Sushi Go. Those people were wrong then and they’d be wrong now. This is a quick and simple game that’s actually a lot of fun. I love the drafting aspect of the game. The added benefits from the various tokens can really help mitigate the luck of the roll making things a bit more strategic. Of course knowing exactly when or if you decide to use them is where that strategy comes in. This is one that my daughter and I have really enjoyed playing. We loved the original Sushi Go, so it’s no wonder that we would love this one too. I think fans of Sushi Go or Sushi Go Party will really enjoy this one too, especially if they like rolling dice. Overall this is a great family game that doesn’t take a long time to play. I highly recommend it. It’s a lot of fun.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Sushi Roll is a cute and fun game of dice drafting to score the most points. The game doesn’t take long. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes. That’s a few minutes longer than Sushi Go but it’s still a fairly quick game. The components are top notch. I really love the special dice and find the cuteness of each piece is over the top. The rulebook is short and sweet and covers everything really well. The game itself is family friendly and makes for a great filler game or for a fun night of dice rolling cuteness. This is one the whole family can enjoy without being overly strategic. Even so, there’s enough strategy that veteran gamers can enjoy it as well. Fans of Sushi Go and Sushi Go Party will love this version as well, especially if they like rolling dice. This is probably my daughter’s favorite new game. The cuteness and fun of this one hits on every point for her, as well as for me too. I highly recommend this game. It’s a great game that should be in every gamer’s collection.
9 out of 10

 

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

http://www.gamewright.com

 

 

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Bloom Review

Bloom is a game by Wouter van Strien, published by Gamewright Games. It is for 1-5 players. In this game, players take on the roll of flower shop owner. They’ll be trying to make the best bouquets for their customers by collecting similar flowers and placing them together. Of course great planning is key. Too many bad choices can spoil the bunch costing them points. In the end, the best floral arranger will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player is given a random sheet from the pad of game sheets along with a pen or pencil. Each sheet is marked with a letter in the bottom right corner from A to E. Each player should have a different letter. The 6 dice are placed in the middle of the play area. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round is divided into 3 steps. The first step is to roll the 6 dice. The first player takes all 6 of the dice and rolls them to create a shared pool of customer dice.

For the second step, the players will take turns choosing customers and making bouquets. To do this, the players will take turns choosing 1 of the customer dice from the pool, starting with the first player and continuing in turn order. Once a player has chosen a die, they will remove it from the pool and then circle the exact number of flowers equal to the value of their chosen die. It should be noted, players are allowed to only circle flowers that are horizontally or vertically adjacent to each other. They may also circle flowers in adjacent garden beds. They are also able to circle fewer flowers than the value of their die, but this will result in unhappy customers, more on them in a bit. Instead of using one of the colored dice, the player has the option of using the clear die, which is the wild die. When choosing this die, the player choose the color of the customer that they wish to use and then circles that many flowers of that color. Players may notice that some sheets have white flowers on them. These may be used as any color and can be combined with flowers of any color. Earlier I mentioned unhappy customers, customers become unhappy when the player circles flowers in a different color than the chosen die or when there are less flowers circled than the number on the die. A tick mark is added to the unhappy customer section of the player’s sheet fore each unwanted or missing flower. At the end of the game, these tick marks subtract 1 point from the player’s score. If a player is ever able to circle all the flowers of the same color, they can shout, “Bouquet!” This allows them to circle the highest available number in the scoring section for that particular color. The other players must then cross this number off their sheet. Earlier I mentioned garden beds, these are the 6 sections of flowers that are divided off on a player’s sheet. If a player is able to circle all 12 flowers in a garden bed, they may then circle the first available number in the “garden beds” section of their sheet. One last thing should be noted, once per game players have the option to re-roll all the remaining dice that are available to them on their turn. Once this power has been used, the players must cross off the re-roll icon on their sheet. If their re-roll is not used, it gives them 1 point at the end of the game.

The third and final step is the end of a round. Once all players have taken a die and circled flowers, the round ends. The 6 dice are collected and then given to the next player in turn order. That player becomes the new first player and a new round begins.

The game continues until either one player has circled 3 numbers in their color section or one player has circled the fourth number in their garden bed section of their sheet. If either of these happens, the round should be finished so that every player has had the same number of turns. Final scoring will then occur. Players score points for all the circled numbers in their color section, for all the circled numbers in their garden bed section, for not using their re-roll ability. Points are subtracted for each tick mark in the unhappy customer section. Players add up all their points and the player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
There’s not really a lot to this game as far as components go. There are 6 brightly colored dice. Each of these is almost a pastel color, except for the clear one which is more frosted than actually clear. The corners of these dice are rounded and they are very high quality. The other thing that comes with the game is the pad of score sheets. This is a pretty thick pad of colored paper. Each sheet is double sided and there are 5 different sheet types from A to E, noted in the bottom right corner. I will note that several of my sheets were already coming off the pad and some had started rolling up on the end. Not the greatest thing in the world but it’s thin paper so what’re you gonna do? The box that the game comes in is one of those magnetic close lid boxes. It’s a little larger than your hand, unless you’re Andre the Giant. In that case, it’s pocket sized. The one thing that I’m not really understanding is that there’s nothing to write with in the box. You have to provide your own writing utensils. There could have at least been a little golf pencil or two in there. There would have been plenty of room in the box, even with the rules. That I don’t get, but maybe that’s just how these types of games are done. I’ll be honest, I had never played a roll and write game before this one, so I don’t know what to expect from other games like this. I will say that I like the dice but honestly the box and the sheets are a little meh for me. I’m really not that impressed overall. However, I will say that it’s a small little game that can be carried anywhere so there’s that. Maybe I’m just too spoiled with large box miniature games with wooden components and metal coins. That’s probably true. In any event, the simplicity of this is one that I’m sure roll and write gamers will like. For me, it’s just ok.
7 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rules for this game come on a double sided glossy sheet of folded paper. The paper is fairly thick and durable. There are lots of pictures and examples on the sheet and everything is super simple to read through and understand. Each step of the game is explained in great detail. The rules even come with instructions for playing the game solo. I’m very appreciative of that. To be honest, there’s not really much that I can complain about as far as the rules go. After reading over everything in just a couple of minutes, you’re pretty much ready to go. I don’t really remember having to look back at any of the rules while playing the game so apparently the rules are easy to remember too. At least this part of the game, I’m impressed with. Very well done.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Over the years I’ve played a lot of different games and learned a lot of different mechanics. This game was my first foray into Roll and Write games. I can’t say that I’d ever been interested in this particular mechanic before. Of course that was before I gave this game a go. The simplicity and ease of play of this little game is quite nice. It’s pretty fun and isn’t all that hard to play. That said, there’s still plenty of challenge to the game. Lots of choices from picking your customer die to how to use that die on your own sheet. The fact that there are several different sheet types so that no 2 players will have the same layout is pretty smart. The game is really quick and simple and is one that even the younger players can join in on, making it a great little family game. I’ve played this one several times with my daughter and she really enjoyed choosing dice and picking flowers. I think the bright colors really helped hold her attention a little longer than normal. Thankfully the game is so quick that we were finished each time before she started getting tired of playing. Another thing that I found helpful was that she could draw on her own sheet. Most games are simply move here, do this, play this card, etc… but with this one she felt like she was actually a part of the game. Granted the graphics and the production value aren’t over the top, this is still a great little filler game that the whole family can enjoy. I think fans of roll and write games will enjoy this one. As a complete newbie to the mechanic, I can say that I really enjoyed playing this one. This is one that I would recommend.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Bloom is a light weight filler roll and write style dice game that has players collecting bouquets of flowers to earn points. The game is simple and doesn’t take long at all. Most game sessions are done in around 20 minutes or so. The components are bright and colorful but aren’t over the top in terms of quality. They’re pretty simplistic but functional. The rulebook is very well written and is easy to understand. A few minutes reading over everything and you’ll be ready to go with no trouble. The game itself is fairly simply and easy to play while being enjoyable at the same time. This is one that the whole family can enjoy, even the younger kids. The size of the box makes this one easy to carry around. The small table presence makes it possible to be played virtually anywhere. The game is cute and fun without too much complex strategy involved. Fans of roll and write games should enjoy this one, as well as players that are looking for a quick and easy filler game. This is one that I would recommend. If you don’t think that you’ll like this one, try it….it’ll grow on you.
8 out of 10

 

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

http://www.gamewright.com

 

 

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Harbour: High Tide Expansion Review

Harbour: High Tide is an expansion for Harbour by Scott Almes, published by Tasty Minstrel Games. It is for 1-4 players. This expansion adds 30 new cards including new building and a new type of card.

For more information about Harbour and how to play the game, please check out the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/harbour-review/

The setup for this game is a little bit different. First off, all the new building cards included with this expansion are shuffled into the main Building deck. Next, the Board cards are shuffled together and a number of these are dealt face up to the middle of the play area. The number of Boat cards dealt out is equal to the number of players plus 1. Any remaining Boat cards are returned to the box. The rest of the setup is exactly the same as with the core game itself. It should be noted that when playing with this expansion, players should not use the Inland Traders side of the Market Board.

Along with the changes in setting up the game, there are also a few gameplay changes as well. The Building cards are all placed in a line. This is because the order of Building and the adjacency of each one, both in the line and in front of players, matters now. When a new card is dealt to the line in the middle of the play area, it is dealt to the end of the line and everything else moves down to fill in any empty slots. These cards should not be rearranged. When players acquire new buildings, these should be added to the left of the player’s Player Board. Each additional card acquired will then be added to the left of that card and so on.

Another new feature of this game are 2 new Building symbols; Small Businesses, Bonus Actions and Variable Point Buildings. Small Business is a small shack like symbol inside a green circle. When a building with this symbol is purchased, the player may choose to pay $2 less for it. If this happens, then the building is placed above a building already owned by that player, making it a second story of that building. Buildings placed liked this do not count as a separate building and are still considered separate from the building it’s placed on. That means that the player may not perform both actions when visiting either the second story building or the base building. It should also be noted that these second story buildings are considered to be to the left or right of the buildings on either side of it in the line, but not the building below it. Another new symbol is the Bonus Action. This is a gold arrow inside a pink circle. When a building is purchased that has this symbol on it, the player may immediately move their pawn to a different, unoccupied building or boat. They may then perform the action that the card provides as a bonus action. Finally there are the Variable Point Buildings. These are noted as a asterisk next to the point value of a building card. This means that the value of the building varies, as indicated by the text of the card’s ability.

The last new aspect of the game are the Boat cards. As noted above, these are laid out in the middle of the play area. Players may place their pawn onto one of these as their move for the turn. Once this happens, the player must then pay the resources shown on the Boat card. They will then move the Boat in front of them. The Boat is now considered hired by that player and can not be hired by another player until it is returned to the middle of the play area. When that player chooses to take a “Buy a Building” action, they may choose to return any number of Boats that they’ve hired, back to the middle of the play area. The player will then gain the dollar value of that boat for that single purchase only. That means that a player may pay for some or all of a building’s cost by returning Boats. For instance, say a player want’s to purchase the new building, “Petting Zoo”. If they had the Knotilus in front of themself, they could return this Boat and acquire the building for free. Let’s say that the player had the Gertrude instead of the Knotilus. The Gertrude provides $6 instead of $5. If the player chose to send the Gertrude back for the $5 cost of the Petting Zoo, they would acquire the new building but gain no change for the overpayment. One last example, let’s say that the player wanted to purchase the Yoga Studio which has a cost of $8 instead. The $5 of the Knotilus or the $6 of the Gertrude would not be enough. The player would either have to ship some goods along with sending one of these Boats back or they could simply overpay by sending both Boats back, overpaying by $3.

Just like with the base game, once a player finishes their fourth building, the game ends. The other players get one last turn before scoring takes place. Victory points are totaled and the player with the most Victory Points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
As I mentioned above, this expansion comes with 30 new cards. All of the cards are packed inside a small tuck box along with a folded rules sheet. Each card is really well designed. The quality is the same as that of the base game. The artwork on each card is very similar in style as that of the base game as well. The same silliness and fun carries over into this expansion. A lot of the same style of humor can be found in each of these cards as well. For instance, there’s the Pet Store which shows a rat man selling what appears to be Gizmo from Gremlins to what could only be Frye from Futurama with a fist full of money. These subtle little references to silly and fun things are what I really enjoy looking at each time a new card is flipped over. I should also mention once more about the new type of card that’s introduced in this expansion, the Boats. Each of these has a different backing from the regular Building cards. Instead of a seagull on a dock, the Boat cards have the silhouette of a boat out in the water and a large white question mark over the silhouette. As far as the quality of the cards, they’re great. I like the way they look. I love the fun images and I like the feel that these new card types bring to the game.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is a simple multi-folded double-sided sheet. For such a small rules sheet, there are plenty of pictures and an example or two. The new rules for including the expansion are all laid out quite simply and easily. Everything is easy to understand and can be read in just a few minutes. The rules include notes on a few new building cards that help explain how they work a bit better. Honestly there’s not a whole lot to say as the sheet is rather straight forward and to the point. Overall the rulebook is well done.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Harbour is a fun light weight game that I rather enjoy. So of course I was excited about there being an expansion for the game. As far as content goes, there’s not a whole lot of stuff. In fact there’s only 30 cards that are added to the game. However what those 30 cards adds, changes the way the game plays in a pretty cool new way. With the addition of the boats, a player can have new ways to pay for all of or at least part of a new building. This gives the player some extra options and make things a bit easier when paying for those really expensive buildings. I also like how the new rules about building a second story onto existing buildings can also give a player more options and give them a break on price. The new building cards also have a lot of new options, some of which give bonuses based on controlling other cards. There are even a few that deal with the new boat cards making them even more interesting options. Basically the expansion adds lots of new choices to help the players and it provides a lot of new fun in the process. Overall, I really enjoy this expansion. It adds a new dimension to the gameplay and a lot of humor to an already great game. Fans of Harbour will be happy to add this expansion to their game. Those not familiar with Harbour, should really check it out along with this expansion. I’m not sure that I would ever go back to playing with just the base game. That’s just how much fun the expansion adds. Needless to say, this is one that I would highly recommend. For such a small package, it adds a whole lot of fun.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Harbour: High Tide is a small expansion for Harbour that adds 30 new cards to the game. The expansion doesn’t add much length to gameplay. Most game sessions last around 30 to 45 minutes. The cards are really great and have lots of fun images full of humor. The rules are very simple to understand and can be read over in just a few minutes. The expansion itself adds a lot of new choices to the gameplay with new card types like the Boats and lots of new building types like the Small Businesses. Fans of the original Harbour will absolutely love this and will enjoy all the new options that are presented in this expansion. Those unfamiliar with the game should definitely check it out along with this expansion. This is one that I would highly recommend. In my opinion, it’s a definite must buy for Harbour owners.
9 out of 10

 

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

 http://playtmg.com

 

 

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Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth Or Bluff Review

Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff is a game published by Dyskami Publishing Company and inspired by Jacques Zeimet’s Cockroach Poker and other passing/bluffing games. It is for 3-8 players. In this game, players will be playing tiles and trying to score success tokens. Of course they’ll have to be careful as the other players may be bluffing about which character tile they laid down. In the end, the player that makes the most accurate choices and gathers the most points on their success tokens will be declared the winner.

To begin, all the Success tokens are placed into the small cloth bag. Each player is given a plastic tile holder, which they will place in front of themself. The Ending tile that reads, “The game ends when one player needs to play a tile and has none in their tile holder,” is placed in the middle of the table. Another Ending tile is chosen, either randomly or by consensus from the group, and placed beside the first tile. The remaining Ending tiles are set aside and not used in this game. A number of Character tile sets and Villain tiles are placed into the large cloth bag. The number of tiles is determined by the number of players. The specific tiles that are used are based on the number printed on the left side of the tile. This number indicates the minimum number of players needed to add those particular tiles. The rulebook includes a chart which tells when to use the White Character tiles, how many Character sets are used, how many are not used and the number of Villain tiles added as well. For more information, please check the rulebook. Once the correct type and amount of tiles have been added to the large draw bag, players will randomly draw out 12 tiles each and place them standing up into their plastic tile holder. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round the starting player will remove a tile from their plastic tile holder and place it face down on the table in front of them. They will then slide the tile across the table to any opponent of their choice. The player then states the identity of the character on the tile. This statement can be either true or false, as determined by the player. The player that receives the tile then has two choices. They can either Initiate a Challenge or Look and Pass. The first choice is to Initiate a Challenge. To do this, the player will either declare truth, if they think the tile is exactly who their opponent declared earlier, or they will declare bluff, if they think that their opponent was not truthful of the tile’s identity. Once this is done, the player will then flip the tile over. If the player was correct on their response, then the passing player will collect the tile and place it face up in front of themself in their play area. If they were incorrect in their assumption, then the receiving player collects the tile and places it face up in front of themself in their play area. The player that won the challenge and did not collect a tile will then draw a random Success Token from the small bag. The token is placed face down near them. It should be noted that the player may look at the token but must keep it secret from their opponents.

The other choice that the receiving player may make is to Look and Pass. To do this, the player will look at the tile to confirm it’s identity. They will then perform the same actions as the player that passed it to them, except that they can’t pass the tile to the starting player or to another player that has already passed the same tile. Once the tile is passed, the player declares the identity on the tile, either true or false. If the tile has been passed to every player except the final one, then they may only choose to Initiate a Challenge. The player that collected the tile and placed it face up in their play area now becomes the starting player for the next round. A new round will then begin. One thing of note, Villain tiles may be played instead of normal Character tiles. In this case, the passing player must choose one of the other identities to declare when passing it. If the receiving player chooses to Look and Pass, then they must also do the same thing. If the receiving player chooses to Initiate a Challenge instead, then the only correct answer would be bluff. If bluff was declared, then the receiving player collects the Villain tile. If truth was declared, then the passing player collects the tile. The player that collects the tile will then immediately perform the bonus action indicated on the tile, if possible. That player will then start a new round by selecting and passing a tile.

The game continues until one or both of the Ending tiles conditions have been met. Whenever this happens, the game end is triggered. Whichever player triggered the game’s end is defeated and can not win the game. The remaining players will add up the values of their Success tokens. The player that has the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has some really cute and fun components. First there are all the different tiles. There are Character tiles, Villain tiles and Ending tiles. The Character tiles have a picture of one of the heroic characters from the Sailor Moon universe in chibi form. For those that don’t know what chibi is, well that is a Japanese style of art where the character has a large head and small body. There are 8 different characters in 12 sets. One of the sets of Character tiles is composed of white Character tiles. These tiles are special and may cause a end game condition. However they function normally when declaring the tile’s identity. There are also Villain tiles which are more normal anime style artwork. These look more like the actual villains from the show. The Ending tiles have a clouded background and text on them. These tell the players when to end the game. I have to say, I really like the artwork on the Character and Villain tiles. They are really cute and fun. My daughter especially liked the chibi style designs of the various heroes. Each of these tiles is made of thick cardboard and are really good quality. Also made of thick cardboard are the Success tokens. These come in values of 1, 2 and 3. Each of these has a number and a piece of art on them. The 1 has a bow with a broach. The 2 has a picture of a Moon Stick. The 3 value has a picture of the Legendary Silver Crystal. I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I watched the show, so I’m not sure exactly what all these images are. Regardless, the tokens look really cool and fit in with the theme of the game nicely. Next there are the plastic tile holders. The game comes with 8 of these to hold each player’s tiles with. These are actually pretty cool and work quite well. The final pieces are the 2 cloth draw bags. There’s a larger bag for the Character tiles and a smaller one for the Success tokens. These bags are very good quality. The larger one is sort of pink with little moons and what appears to be bunny heads on it. The smaller one is black and has the game’s logo in white on it. Both of them have draw string closures. Needless to say, I’m very impressed with the bags, as well as the rest of the components. This game has a lot of the same feel and look of their other Sailor Moon games, but just a little cuter. Overall the components get a thumbs up from both my daughter and me.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook isn’t all that big and doesn’t really have a lot to cover. The rules themself are fairly straight forward so there’s not a whole lot of explaining that needs to be done. The book does have a few small pictures of some of the tiles and tokens. It also provides several examples of gameplay to help clarify the rules a bit. The book includes charts for choosing tiles based on the number of players, as well as one to explain the bonus actions of each Villain tile. There’s also a section devoted to the Ending tiles that contains pictures of each, along with an explanation. The rules are fairly straight forward and are very easy to read through and understand, especially with examples interspersed here and there. The back cover of the book has a picture of all 8 Character tiles which is really cute. Overall I feel that the rulebook does a good job of covering everything with minimal time spent reading. I will say that I think it would have been nice if there had been a few variants thrown in to change up the gameplay, but overall the book gets a passing grade from me.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The rulebook states that this game is inspired by the game, Cockroach Poker and other similar card passing/bluffing games. I’ve never played Cockroach Poker, so I can’t say how similar the two games are. What I can tell you is that this game is rather fun for a large group of players. I have yet to play it with a full compliment of 8 players, but would love to give it a try. The first time I played this, I immediately thought of the game, Shinobi. There are a few subtle differences, but the main premise is the same. Each round your passing off a tile or card and telling that player what it is. They then have to determine if you’re telling the truth or lying about it. If they get it right, they get something special, in this case a Success token. Get enough Success tokens or enough of the ones with the higher values and you’ll win. Simple as that. This game is fairly light and easy to play. There’s nothing overtly difficult about it. It can be taught in just a few minutes and is one that the whole family can easily enjoy. The theme might not suit everyone, but is still fun even for those on the fence. I like that the game isn’t very long. As such, it’s one that can be a great filler game. My daughter rather enjoyed this one, collecting tokens and playing tiles. The theme and artwork were right up her alley. Even though it wasn’t something she was overly familiar with, it bore enough of a similarity to the Glitter Force on Netflix, that she was able to enjoy it. Fans of Sailor Moon or bluffing games like Cockroach Poker or Shinobi should enjoy this game. This is a game that I can recommend, especially for those parents that enjoy playing games with their daughters.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff is a fast game of bluffing with a Sailor Moon theme. The game doesn’t take that long. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes. The components are cute and fun. I especially like the chibi style tiles and the high quality bags to draw them from. The rulebook is also quite good. It’s fairly straight forward and easy to read through. The game itself is quite simple and easy to play. It’s fairly light and family friendly. It’s even simple enough for younger players. The game was inspired by Cockroach Poker and other bluffing style games, but it reminds me of Shinobi. I think fans of any of those style games should enjoy this one as well, especially if they like Sailor Moon. This is a game that I would recommend. Even Queen Beryl can’t resist the charm and fun of this one.
8 out of 10

 

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

http://www.dyskami.ca/

 

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Embark Review

Embark is a game by Philip duBarry, published by Tasty Minstrel Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will be loading boats full of voyagers to explore, colonize and mine newly discovered and uninhabited islands. They’ll be unlocking mysteries, collecting ore and cultivating farms in order to reap all the benefits the islands have to offer. Of course, they’ll have to be careful as warriors from their opponent’s ships will try to take their place on the island and thus reap the benefits themselves. In the end, the player that can accrue the most victory points will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Island boards are shuffled and placed in the middle of the play area on either side. There should only be as many Island boards as there are players and each board is placed in alphabetical order. The Victory Point tokens are placed in a pile near the middle of the play area. The Farm tiles are set aside for the time being. One Key token is placed on each spot marked with a key on the Exploration tracks of each Island board. The Boat cards are shuffled together. A Boat card is then dealt out to each lettered slot below the Island boards. The remaining deck is placed face down nearby. A number of Ore tokens are stacked on each ore space on the island boards. The number of tokens is based on the number on the space. Each player chooses a color and is given a Player board and Player Screen in their player color which will be set up in front of them. Each player is also given 30 Voyager cubes that matches their player color. The first player is chosen and is given the First Player token. The Talent cards are shuffled together and a number of them are revealed to all players. That number is equal to the number of players plus 2. The remaining cards are returned to the box. Beginning with the player to the right of the first player and continuing in reverse turn order, each player will take turns choosing a Talent card to use in the game. Any left over cards are also returned to the box. Once this is done, play now begins.

The game is played over 6 rounds. Each round is divided into 4 stages; Allocation stage, Boarding stage, Landing stage and Island stage. The first stage is the Allocation stage. In this stage, each player will take 5 of their Voyager cubes, along with any cubes in their pub, and place them on their player board, assigning them to the various boats that are available. These cubes can be placed to the same boat or to any combination of boats. Once each player has completed this task, everyone will remove their player screen and move their voyagers to the area beneath each corresponding boat card. This would mean, for example, any cubes on the A space of a player’s board would then go beneath the boat card below the A space on the Island board. It should be noted, if a player placed a cube on the wrong lettered space, that is to say one of the lettered spaces not being used in this game, those cubes are placed in the player’s pub.

The next stage is the Boarding stage. In this stage, players will take turns moving a Voyager from below a boat into an open job space on the boat. This is done in turn order beginning with the first player. Once a boat is filled, any remaining Voyagers below that boat are placed in the respective player’s pub. It should be noted that some Talent cards will grant the ability to move a Voyager to another boat. Once all the Voyagers have been loaded or returned to the player’s pub, play moves to the next stage.

The third stage is the Landing stage. In this stage, completely filled boats will set sail to the island and get unloaded. Filled boats are unloaded from A to K, in alphabetical order. Each boat is unloaded from front to back. Voyagers are moved to the island according to their job. Voyagers can have 1 of 5 jobs. Those jobs are Colonist, Explorer, Miner, Captain and Warrior. Colonists are placed in the farming area in the center of the island. Explorers are placed on the first available space of the Exploration track in the Exploration area. Miners are placed in the Mining area of the island in an empty mining space of the player’s choice. Captains can be placed in either an empty space for a Colonist, Explorer or Miner space. Warriors can remove a previously placed Voyager from their spot, sending them to that player’s pub. It should be noted though that a Warrior can not remove a Colonist that has already built a farm. Once all the Voyagers on a boat have been unloaded, the Boat card is placed at the bottom of the deck. Once all Landings have been completed, any empty boat spaces are refilled with a card from the top of the deck.

The last stage is the Island stage. In this stage, players will use their Voyagers to Explore, Farm and Mine. The player will score 1 victory point for each Explorer they have on each island. For each group of 4 Colonists that a player has on an island, they are able to place a farm tile on top of it and score 15 victory points. These Colonists are then unable to be moved and become immune to Warriors for the rest of the game. The player will collect 1 Ore token from the ore space adjacent to each of their Miners. If the mine is empty, the Miner does nothing. Once Exploration, Farming and Mining are complete, the stage ends. The first player token is passed to the next player in turn order. If this isn’t the end of the 6th round, a new round begins starting with the Allocation Stage. If this is the end of the 6th round, the game ends.

At the end of the 6th round, each player will return all the Voyagers on boats that did not land in the final round to their pub. Players are then awarded end game bonuses for any unlocked Island bonuses and mining bonuses for their ore tokens. Players are also awarded exploration bonuses for the furthest flag reached for each island. The player with the most Colonists on the island scores the 1st place exploration bonus, while the 2nd and 3rd place bonuses go to the next 2 players with the most Colonists. Once all bonuses are awarded, players add up all their victory points and the one with the most is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This is a really light hearted and fun looking game that’s full of cardboard pieces. There are victory point tokens that are numbered red flags. There are farm tiles that look like rows of corn and tomatoes. There are key/unlock tokens that have a key on one side and an open lock on the other. There are ore tokens that look like gold and coal. There’s the first player token that looks like the wooden helm of a ship. There are player screens that when assembled have what looks like wooden sides on them. The side facing the other players is the player’s color with the game’s logo, while the side facing the player has an end game scoring reference. All these pieces are pretty good quality and quite thick cardboard. I think as far as cardboard pieces go, they’re pretty cool looking. I especially like the first player marker and the player screens. Speaking of player colors, there are wooden cubes in 5 player colors, enough for each player to have 30 cubes. That’s 150 cubes total. I will say that I wish these had been meeples instead of cubes. I just think it would have been more fun to place meeples instead of cubes. Finally there are the cards and the island boards. There are 2 types of cards, Boat cards and Talent cards. The Boat cards are just that, boats with spaces for cubes to be placed. Each colored space indicates a job type. The Talent cards are more reminiscent of Harbour and have the same type of look and feel as the artwork in that game. I really like the Talent cards artwork, especially since I really enjoy the art from Harbour. The island boards are pretty cool too. They have different section on them for each type of voyager. I do wish these were a little more sturdy but as they don’t get moved around too much, they get the job done. All in all, this is a pretty cool looking game. The box is a bit bigger than the one for Harbour but it’s not so large that it’s going to take up a ton of room on the shelf. That said, I feel I do need to mention a couple of negatives. Since the box isn’t all that big, it’s a bit of a pain to put everything back into the box. Basically you have to assemble the player screens to play the game and then disassemble them to put them back in the box. I realize that you’d have had to have a huge box to not need to do this, so I get it. Still it’s a bit of a pain. Of course the biggest pain is that the game came with nothing to keep all those tokens in. A couple of ziplock baggies of some kind would have been nice. Instead I had to supply my own to keep everything from going all over the place and getting mixed together. Before you ask, yes I was one of those kids that couldn’t have my food touching on the plate. Who wants bean juice in their mashed potatoes? Nobody! Ok, rant over. Overall the game looks good. Harbour fans will enjoy the artistic designs here.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is pretty good as well. There are plenty of pictures throughout the book. However there really weren’t any gameplay examples anywhere to be found. Not that the game is difficult to understand, because it’s not. I just like to see an example or two in every rulebook just to be clear on a possible misunderstood rule or two. The book isn’t that big so it’s not like it takes a whole lot of time to read through. Everything seemed fairly easy to understand, so I didn’t see any problems there. Everything seemed fairly streamlined and step by step, apart from maybe the setup. That was a bit of a jumble but nothing that couldn’t be figured out. I will say that I’m glad that the player screens have a scoring reference on them. It makes things a lot easier for the end of the game and help players understand what they need to be shooting for to get the most points. Overall I think the book does a good job of conveying the rules in precise and concise way. I’m fairly pleased with it.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a really fun game full of adventure and exploration. As a fan of the designer’s previous game Harbour, I went into this one with high hopes. I liked the hidden action selection of the Allocation stage. Trying to determine what your opponents will choose versus what you think they will think you chose, all while trying to get the best options for yourself can be quite enjoyable. Many times I found myself overthinking things and realized that some players simply go for what they think they can get. Of course others will simply try to take every option away from you so that you don’t have a really good choice. Once you’ve got your cubes out there, you’re moving into the actual selection process. If you made some good choices, then you have plenty of spaces to put your voyager cubes in order to get lots of points. If not, you may have to choose what you think will garner you the most points on the boat that you’re loading up. Choosing the right job can be crucial. Speaking of jobs, I found that I was overly fond of the warrior role. In 2 player games, it simply feels like you’re going back and forth. One minute I’m taking your spot on the board, the next minute you’re taking mine. The back and forth with this player count wasn’t all that fun. Of course you add another player or two and that changes. With our games, we found ourselves making alliances and cutting deals so that we could minimize the damage to ourselves from those warriors. Ideally, that’s the way to play if you ask me. The more players, the more fun this game is. I will say that I’ve never played anything quite like this before, although it does remind me of a game I saw on Kickstarter that I really wanted to try. The same mechanic of hidden action selection is present in it as well. That game is Guild Master. I think players that enjoy the mechanics of that one, may enjoy this one as well. This is a game that I would recommend, as long as you’re not looking to play it simply as a 2 player game. That’s where it falls flat in my opinion. Otherwise is a good solid game that you can negotiate and bargain while exploring, farming and mining on uncharted islands. It’s a good game that’s family friendly and is easy to learn. I can say that I like this one rather well.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Embark is a game of exploration, farming, mining and take that in the same world as the game, Harbour. The game doesn’t take too long. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes to an hour. The components are really good. I love the artwork for the cards and all the tokens. I do wish there had been some baggies or someway to store the pieces better inside the box. I also wish that the player screens didn’t have to be taken apart after every game. The rulebook is also quite good. Everything is stream lined and easy to read and understand. I do wish there had been a few examples of gameplay however. The game itself is fun, as long as you’re not planning on playing with only 2 players. The back and forth take that aspect of the warriors is a bit annoying. With 3 or more players though, the game takes on a whole new life. The negotiations, alliances and down right begging make for a very fun dynamic for using the warriors. This is a fun family friendly game that is enjoyed best with more players. Fans of hidden action selection games like Guild Master or others of that nature may enjoy this one as well. This is a game that I would recommend for playing with more than 2 players. Set sail on a game full of fun.
8 out of 10

 

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

 http://playtmg.com

 

 

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Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge – Season III Expansion Review

Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge – Season III is an expansion for Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge by James Ernest, Mark MacKinnon and Robert McLarney, published by Dyskami Publishing Company. It is for 2-8 players. This expansion adds 12 new character cards and 4 new challenge cards, along with lots of dice and tokens.

For more information on Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge and how to play the game, please check out the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2018/07/20/sailor-moon-crystal-dice-challenge-review/

Setting up the game with this expansion, is exactly the same. All that needs to be done is to follow the same basic setup rules from the main game’s rulebook.

So what does this new expansion bring to the table as far as content goes? Well, as I mentioned earlier, there are 12 new playable characters. Those characters are Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Pluto, Sailor Saturn and Luna P. There’s also Kaolinite, Eudial, Mimete, Viluy, Tellu, Cyprine & Ptilol and Mistress 9. These new characters have special abilities, some of which are shared by certain characters. For instance, Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto all share the Talisman Power which allows them to lock one of their opponent’s dice through their next turn after rolling or rerolling their dice for an attack. Another new special ability is shared by Eudial, Mimete, Viluy and Tellu. It’s called Summon Daimon. This ability allows them to summon a powerful Daimon to aid them in battle. This ability can only be used if the player has at least two or more dice in play. Before attacking the player converts their die with the highest value showing into a Reserve die. This die is then placed in the player’s pile of Reserve dice. Any remaining combat dice are temporarily set aside and one of the large Daimon tokens is placed in front of them from the supply, along with it’s 3 combat dice. The player then rolls it’s combat dice as if it were a normal character under their control. As a matter of fact, this Daimon will now battle just like a normal character in place of their character. Once the Daimon is defeated, the player returns their character and the exact same dice and values as when the Daimon was summoned to the battle. However if the Daimon captures the opponent’s final die, the round is over. For more information on how scoring works with the Daimon, please check the rulebook. There are several other new special abilities, all of which are explained in more detail in the rulebook as well. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot of new material that this expansion introduces to the basic game.

COMPONENTS
The game comes with plenty of great looking pieces. To begin with, there are 3 new sets of beautiful looking dice. The colors are bright and fun. There’s a pink, a purple and a dark gray set. I’m partial to the gray and purple dice. Each die has large numbers on it and the finish is marbleized. As I mentioned earlier, there are also 12 new character cards. These are the same size and quality as those of the core game. Each card has a large picture of the character along with all the pertinent information to be able to play them. The artwork on these is really cool and looks like it was taken right from the show. The game also comes with a punchboard full of various tokens. There are tokens for each of the new special abilities, a couple of coins and 2 large summoned Daimon tokens. These are rather creepy looking. Each token is made of thick cardboard and contains all the pertinent iconography. The Daimon tokens have a bit of a rules explanation on how they are used on the back of them, which I found to be quite useful. Finally the last pieces are the challenge cards and the lanyard. The challenge cards have a chibi style character on them with a cute word balloon for challenging other players at conventions with. These are really cute and kind of fun. The lanyard has all the new hero characters introduced in this game on it, once again in chibi style. The lanyard has a plastic card holder that you can place one of those challenge cards in, which I thought was pretty neat. Needless to say, my daughter liked the look of each piece in this game quite a lot, except for those summoned Daimon tokens. Overall, I like how everything looks and feels. It fits in really well with the look and feel of the original game. Once complaint that I’d had with the base game was that there weren’t enough dice, thankfully this expansion rectifies that. Good job!
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game isn’t all that long. It only consists of 4 pages. Three of those pages explain the new special abilities and how each one works. Of course the Summon Daimon ability takes up a whole page by itself. The back page of the book is an example of play with a picture of 2 of the character cards. That’s the only example and the only pictures in the whole 4 pages worth of rules. There is no mention of the original rules or anything of that nature. It’s assumed that the players of this expansion have a copy of the main game. As a matter of fact, the box even states that it requires the base game to play this. Personally, I’m a little put off by the rulebook for this one. Almost no pictures, only one example and no rules reference. While I realize that this is intended for use with the base game, I personally feel that it could be used by itself to play with 2 players. That may not have been the intended way to use this expansion, but I feel it could have increased the appeal of it overall by simply adding another page or two of rules. As it is, I’m a bit disappointed with the rulebook. Opportunity missed.
6 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Just like the base game, the expansion is all about rolling dice and battling each other. All of the normal and special rules and variants can be used with this expansion without any problems. As I mentioned earlier, this expansion comes with a host of new characters that players can choose from, each with a new ability. Granted, some characters share the same ability but the fact that each character uses different dice makes each one feel unique. The new abilities are really cool. However I do feel like the Summon Daimon ability is a bit overpowered. Being able to basically throw another character into the mix to keep your main character safe can be a bit daunting for your opponents. Still I do like the ability, even though it’s tough to play against. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot new that this introduces to the game. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with that, having new characters to play with new abilities is always fun. However I will say, it would have been nice to maybe add a few new variants, possibly even a solo one to play around with. That’s just my thoughts anyway. As it is, fans of the original Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge should really enjoy this expansion. I would dare say that fans of any of the Button Men games would enjoy it too, as the whole game’s concept is taken from them. This is one that I would recommend, especially if you already have the base game or enjoy dice rolling games.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge – Season III is an expansion for Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge. The expansion doesn’t really add much in the way of extra play time. Most game sessions last around 10-15 minutes. The cards and dice are really great looking. The rulebook could have used some more pictures, examples and at least a brief summary of the rules. The expansion is pretty nice and adds plenty of new characters and some fun new Daimons to challenge the heroes with. It’s pretty fun and is a nice addition to the basic game. Fans of the original Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge should enjoy this one. I also think players that enjoy dice games would like this as well. Just be aware that you’d need the base game or at least some rules from the basic game to be able to play. This is one that I’d recommend, especially if you have the base game.
8 out of 10

 

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

http://www.dyskami.ca/

 

 

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Call To Adventure Review

Call To Adventure is a game by Chris and Johnny O’Neal, published by Brotherwise Games. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players will be creating an epic fantasy character in true story telling fashion. Players will need to overcome challenges, acquire traits and face off against their most dangerous adversaries to obtain Destiny points. In the end, the player that scores the most Destiny points will be declared the winner.

To begin, all of the different card types should be separated by the card back. Each individual deck should then be shuffled thoroughly. Each player is then dealt 6 Character cards; 2 from the Origins deck, 2 from the Motivation deck and 2 from the Destinies deck. Players choose 1 of each to keep. The remaining cards are returned to the box. Each player is also dealt a Hero card and is given 3 Experience tokens. Players should keep their Hero card a secret from their opponents. Players are given a player board and a Hero marker. The player board is placed in front of the player and the Hero marker is placed on the third level from the top of the Corruption track. Players will now place their chosen cards on their player board. Their Origin card is placed face up on the left space. The Motivation card is placed in the middle face up and the Destiny card is placed on the right space face down. It should be noted that the player may look at their face down card at any time. The Story decks are set up in the middle of the play area as follows. In a column from top to bottom should be placed the Act III, Act II and Act I decks. Beside each deck a number of cards are laid out in a face down row. The number of cards is determined by the number of players. For introductory games, a few cards are removed from each deck. The specific cards removed and the number of cards for each row are explained in more detail in the rulebook. The Hero and Antihero decks are placed at the end of the Story deck rows. The Rune tray with all the Core Runes, Ability Runes and Dark Runes are placed within reach of all players. Once everyone is ready, the Act I cards are flipped face up. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over several turns through 3 Acts. Each turn a player may take a number of actions. These actions are Gain a Trait, Attempt a Challenge and Other Actions. First the player may Gain a Trait. To do this, the player must simply meet the requirements listed on the card. Once gained, the player will place the card under their current Storyline card. It should be noted that Act I cards are placed under the Origins card, Act II cards are placed under the Motivation card and Act III cards are placed under the Destiny card. When placed, the top of the Trait card should be visible.

Another action that may be taken is to Attempt a Challenge. To do this, first the player must assess the difficulty of the Challenge by taking a look at the number on the side of the card. The player will then declare which path they choose to take, either the one on the top of the card or the one on the bottom. It should be noted, in some cases a +1 icon will be present, indicating that the difficulty is increased by 1. The player then takes the three core runes and adds 1 matching Ability rune for each relevant Ability icon that they have in their story. These runes are listed on the side of the card under it’s Challenge difficulty number. The player also has the option of adding Dark runes by spending 1 Experience token. This may be done up to 3 times per turn before attempting a challenge. The player then applies any card effects that may be in effect from playing Hero or Antihero cards. Once all that’s been done, the player will cast the runes. That means that they will throw the runes onto the table and see which sides land face up. Runes will give different results based on the rune type. Core runes can give the player a point toward the challenge or provide the player with a Hero or Antihero card. Dark runes can add 1 or 2 points toward the challenge, but can also corrupt the player. Too much Corruption can cause the player to be unable to play Hero cards or even spend Experience tokens to cast Dark runes. Ability runes can provide either 1 or 2 ability points towards a challenge. If the player reaches 3 of a specific ability type, then they gain the use of the Special rune that can allow the player to draw either a Hero or Antihero card or even gain an Experience token. If the result equals or exceeds the difficulty of the Challenge, the player succeeds and will then place the gained card under their current Character card with the top or bottom of the card showing, based on which path they chose. If the player fails the challenge, the cards is discarded from the game. A new card is then drawn from the corresponding Act deck and placed in the empty spot. The player then receives an Experience token. It should be noted, if a player has no valid options in the current Act wither to gain a Trait or attempt a Challenge, such as having cards with prerequisites that they do not meet, then the player may discard and replace 1 visible card without paying it’s Journey cost.

The player also has other Actions that they may take in addition to Gaining a Trait or Facing a Challenge. They may Journey. To do this, the player may spend an Experience token to discard a card on the table and replace it with another one from the same deck. This may be done once per turn. If a challenge with an Ally under it is discarded, the Ally is discarded as well. The player may use another card’s effect, following the instructions on the card. They may also choose to play a Hero or Antihero card. These types of cards are gained when a certain icon is gained; light icons allow the player to draw a Hero card while dark icons allow them to draw Antihero cards. A player’s position on the Corruption track tell them which type of cards they’re able to play. Once these are played, the player places it face up beside their player board. Triumph and Tragedy values of these are added to a player’s score at the end of the game. All of these other Actions may be taken as many times as they’re able to. Once a player is out of actions to take, play passes to the next player in turn order. At this point, any effects from Hero cards, Antihero cards or any other cards are ended. New cards are drawn to replace any that were claimed from the rows during that turn.

The game continues until a player has place 3 trait or challenge cards under their current Act. When this is completed, the player must then end that Act and may no longer gain traits or face challenges from that Act. On their next turn, they will reveal the next row of cards for the next Act, if they’re the first player to have completed the previous Act. They will now gain or face cards from this new Act. Once a player has gained 3 cards under their Destiny card, their game is over. The remaining players may take one final turn before the game ends. After the game has ended, each player will reveal their Destiny card. Players will then add up their Destiny points under their Character cards, adding any Triumph and Tragedy points together. Points are also gained from Story icons and unspent Experience tokens, as well as for each each Hero and Antihero card played. Players will also gain points for their position on the Corruption track, as well as for their Destiny card, based on it’s particular requirements. Players compare their score and the one with the highest Destiny score is the winner. Players may then tell their character’s story by fitting all the story cards together into a tale of epic proportions.

COMPONENTS
This is a really gorgeous looking game. Every piece fits together to form a beautiful fantasy world. First there are the player boards. These are thick cardboard and look like any basic starting adventure style board. Nothing really remarkable about them but they do have a lot of references to help players with during the game. There are places on these to place your different cards and each space is marked with the backing of the beginning card type. The experience tokens are these thick red see through plastic pieces. They are diamond shaped and make me think of an rpg video game, how that you might be awarded with experience for fighting a monster and these little gems might pop up on screen. Another set of plastic pieces are the runes. These are quite thick and feel really good in your hands. I really enjoy throwing these things around. They are really great quality and it’s very easy to determine which rune is which, based on the symbols. Speaking of the symbols, these take a bit of time to learn what each one means. With a few plays under your belt, it becomes second nature. There are also some plastic hero markers that are used on the player boards to help players remember how dark or light their character is. Finally there are the cards, there are 2 sizes of cards in this game. There are the larger tarot sized cards that make up the character and story cards and then there are the hero and antihero cards that are regular sized playing cards. The artwork on each of these is simply amazing. I really love how cool they look. Each one of these really help draw me into the story for this character that I’m creating, their successes and their failures. As a matter of fact, it was the artwork of this game that drew me to it. The finish on the cards is somewhat like that on a Magic the Gathering card. It’s a bit glossy but not shiny. The only thing that would have made these better would have been some linen finishing on them. Needless to say, I love the look and feel of this game and find the theme fits perfectly with each piece. Coming from a background of years of playing and DMing D&D, the fantasy elements of this game are great. Any fantasy game lover should enjoy the components of this game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is great as well. There are lots of pictures and plenty of examples of gameplay throughout the book. The rules are laid out very well and each piece and part is explained thoroughly. Everything is easy to read and easy to find whatever you’re looking for. There’s a nice section that explains all the different runes and what each symbol means, along with pictures of each. The book also contains sections on how to expand the game using allies and adversaries. There’s also some variant rules for playing the game as a co-op or solo. These are really cool. I love a good solo game and was very happy to find these in the rulebook. The book even has a chart that explains rune probabilities. Basically it gives you a minimum, average and maximum that you should probably expect on throwing certain sets of runes. That was a rather neat addition that I found interesting. The last 2 pages of the book contain frequently asked questions to help clarify any rules questions that might come up during gameplay. Once again, really great addition. Finally on the back cover is a quick start guide that explains how to setup, and play the game. Overall, this is a great rulebook that is designed extremely well. It’s actually one of the most streamlined and easiest to understand set of rules that I’ve read. I’m very happy with the look of the book and the clear instructions on how to play the game. Excellent job!
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I’ve always enjoyed a good story. I guess that’s why I’ve enjoyed playing RPGs like D&D over the years. Of course the best part of any good story is a good character. My favorite part of playing D&D was creating new characters. I loved making up an elaborate back story for each one with all the twists and turns that I knew would be idea generators for the DM. This game takes that part of D&D that I loved so much and makes it into a game in itself. The idea of creating this fully realized character with the interaction of some truly gorgeous looking cards really appeals to the fantasy gamer in me. I would like to note that the mechanics of creating a fantasy style character is not new. In fact, Roll Player took that idea and created a really fun dice game with that same concept. By the way, I love that game. But what about this game and how it plays? I will admit, when I first saw the runes I didn’t think they’d work all that great. I had never seen a game use runes instead of dice to simulate luck before. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. The novelty of throwing the bones, so to speak, was actually quite fun. It kind of made me feel like a shaman or medicine man from one of those old adventure movies. Needless to say, I really enjoy the runes and I’d love to see more games use them as well. As for the story aspect of the game, I love how you’re gaining traits and attempting challenges to better your character, much like you would in a normal RPG game. The hero and antihero cards can help you refine which path you want to pursue. Speaking of antiheroes, I like that this game allows you to pursue a more evil route as well as going the tried and truth path to purity. For me this game is just full of imagination and fun. For us, we like to tell a short story about our character after we finish playing. You wouldn’t believe some of the amazing stories that I’ve heard. In any event, that’s just the multiplayer game. The game also has rules for a solo or co-op game that is a lot of fun too. As I mentioned earlier, I love creating characters. The idea of facing the adversary on an epic quest, while strengthening and empowering my character to be the best that he/she can be is pretty darn cool. I also like that I can team up with other players to face off against a common foe. It just adds another level of gameplay to me. I think fans of character building games like Roll Player or even fantasy RPG players should really enjoy this one. Solo gamers or those looking for a unique co-op game should also enjoy this one. This is a game that I highly recommend. I really enjoy everything about this game and am hoping to see some expansions for it very soon.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Call to Adventure is a game about character building and story telling in a fantasy realm. It doesn’t take very long to play. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes to an hour. The components are fantastic. The artwork on the cards is truly gorgeous and it really draws me into this fantasy realm that my character lives in. Even without linen finish on the cards, each one is still fun to look at. The rulebook is well written and streamlined for ease of reading. I like that there are ways to increase the difficulty as well as to play the game solo and cooperatively included in the rules. The game itself is a lot of fun. Creating characters and facing epic challenges is what this one is all about. I love the stories that come from each player’s character and how you can let your imagination run wild with this one. Fans of character creation games like Roll Player and RPG games like D&D should enjoy this one a lot. Solo and co-op players should also find something to love with this one as well. This is a game that I highly recommend. The only thing left to do for this one, is add some expansions. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!
9 out of 10

 

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

http://brotherwisegames.com/

 

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