Bargain Quest Review

Bargain Quest is a game by Jonathan Ying, published by Renegade Game Studios. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of an Items shop owner in a fantasy realm. Each player will need to supply the bravest of heroes with weapons and equipment to face off against some of the most dangerous monsters. Of course whether the heroes win or get eaten alive is of no consequence. What really matters is who makes the most money and who’s shop is the most famous. In the end, the player that can make the best deals and gain the most money and fame will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player chooses an Item Shop board, unfolds it and places it in front of themself. They will also receive a 5 coin from the supply. The first player is chosen and receives the Quest token. The Item deck is shuffled and placed in the middle of the play area within reach of all players. The Monster cards are separated into 3 stacks, one for each of the 3 ranks. Each pile is shuffled separately and then 1 card is taken from each stack and placed facedown in order with the rank I card on the top, rank II in the middle and rank III on the bottom. The remaining Monster cards are returned to the box. The 3 card Monster deck is placed facedown in the middle of the play area. The Adventure deck is shuffled and placed next to the Monster deck. The Upgrade cards are sorted into decks, one for Display Upgrades and one for Storage Upgrades. The side with the cost should be placed face up. Both decks are placed in the middle of the play area. The Employee deck is shuffled and placed facedown next to the 2 Upgrade decks. The Hero deck is shuffled and placed facedown next to the Item Deck. A number of Hero cards equal to the number of players are then drawn and placed faceup in a line. Coins equal to the purse value of the cards are placed on each of the Hero cards. The remaining coins, star tokens and wound tokens are sorted into separate piles and placed within reach of all players. Once this is done, play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round consists of 6 steps. The first step is the Supply step. In this step, the top card of the Monster deck is flipped face up, if it is face down. Players are then dealt 4 item cards each. Each player will then choose 1 of the cards in their hand and draft that card, placing it face down on their shop board. Once each player has done this, the remaining cards in the player’s hand are passed to the player on their left. Players repeat the same process of drafting a card and passing cards until all the cards have been drafted. Once this happens, play moves to the next step.

The second step is the Display step. For this step, each player will take all the cards that they drafted from their Item board into their hand. They will then choose 1 card to place on Display by placing it face down in the display area of their board. Once all players have completed this task, the cards on display are all flipped face up. This takes us to the third step.

The third step is the Shopping step. In this step, players check the number of hearts on the item card on display in their shop. The player with the most hearts will choose first and will take 1 of the heroes from the line of heroes in the middle of the play area, placing it beside their shop board. The player with the next most hearts chooses and completes the same process. This continues until each player has a hero in their shop. It should be noted, when choosing heroes, the player must choose a hero that has at least 1 class icon that matches the item they have on display in their shop. If a player cannot choose a hero with a matching class icon, then they must wait until all the other players have chosen their heroes. They will then choose one of the remaining heroes to enter their shop. If there are more than one player unable to choose a matching class icon hero, then the player with the most hearts will choose first and so on. The player that chooses the last hero will also take the Quest token. Players are then able to sell item cards from their hand to the hero in their shop. To do this, the player must make sure that any item they sell matches the class icon of the hero. To sell an item, the player takes a specific number of coins from the hero’s card equal to the price of the item card, placing the item under the hero card so that the item’s bonuses and abilities are able to be seen. Once this has been done, the item is considered equipped to the hero. Players can continue to sell items, as long as the hero has the money to purchase them and they match at least one of the class icons. It should be noted that the item on display in a player’s shop, can not be sold. Any unspent coins are left on the hero’s card. Once players have finished selling and equipping items, the equipped hero is placed in front of the player’s shop board, representing their shop during the next step. Once this is done, the item cards in each player’s display is returned to the player’s hand.

The fourth step is the Adventure step. In this step, the heroes will face off against the monster. First each hero is randomly dealt a card from the adventure deck. This card may affect the hero’s attack or defense values by applying modifiers to them. It can also apply special effects which are resolved as written in the text. Next starting with the player with the Quest token and continuing in clockwise order, each player will resolve 2 steps. First if the hero’s total attack value combined from items and/or adventure cards meets or exceeds the monster’s toughness value, then the hero has successfully wounded the monster and may place a wound token on the monster card. They will then gain 1 star token. Second, if the player’s total defense value combined from items and/or adventure cards meets or exceeds the monster’s total strength value, then the hero survives the encounter and the player will gain 1 star token. If their defense is lower than the monster’s strength value, then the hero is defeated and the hero card is discarded, along with all the items equipped to that hero and any coins remaining on the card. It should be noted that if none of the heroes are able to wound the monster, then a wound token is placed on the monster anyway. This is to signify that together the heroes were at least able to cause a tiny bit of damage to the monster. Once all the heroes have completed their attacks and defenses, if the monster has a number of wound tokens on it’s card equal to or greater than the total number of players, then it is defeated and discarded. Each hero that survived gains coins equal to the value in treasure chest icon on the bottom of the monster’s card. All the Adventure cards are then shuffled back into the Adventure deck. If there are no more monsters remaining in the deck, then the game ends and players move into scoring. If the monster was not defeated, then each hero that survived will gain coins equal to the value in the coin icon on the bottom of the monster card. All items and adventure cards on the surviving heroes are then discarded and the hero cards are returned to the middle of the play area along with any coins placed on their card from adventures or unspent from shopping. It should be noted that if there were any heroes defeated during this step, a new hero card is drawn from the deck and placed in the middle of the play area with the others in the line. Coins are placed on the new hero cards equal to the card’s purse value.

The fifth step is the Upgrade step. For this step, the top two cards from the Employee deck are placed face up near the Upgrade cards. Starting with the player with the Quest token and continuing in clockwise order, each player may choose to purchase either an Upgrade card or an available Employee card, paying the cards cost in coins to the supply. The purchased card is placed face up next to the player’s shop board. There are 2 types of Upgrade cards; Display and Storage Upgrades. Display Upgrades allow the player to place additional item cards on Display. Storage Upgrades allow the player to place additional cards into storage to be saved for later rounds. It should be noted that each player’s shop may not have more than 1 of each Upgrade card type. Employee cards have special abilities that may optionally be used to help during a particular step of play. Once an Employee card is purchased, a new card is drawn to replace it from the top of the Employee deck. It should be noted that a player’s shop may not have more than 1 Employee card with the same name. Once players have had a chance to purchase an upgrade or employee, the remaining available Employee cards are shuffled back into the Employee deck.

The sixth and final step is the Storage step. In this step, each player must choose one item card from their hand to place in storage, by placing it facedown on their shop board. Any cards remaining in the player’s hand that are not placed on the shop board are then discarded. Once all players have completed this step, the round is over and a new round begins.

The game continues until one of two things happens. If during the Adventure step, there are no more monsters remaining, the game ends and scoring commences. The other way the game can end is if the hero deck is empty when a new hero is to be drawn. In this case the game ends immediately and all the players lose the game. To score, each player will add up their final score by gaining 1 point for each star token they have collected and 1 point for every 10 coins that they have (rounded down). Players compare scores and the one with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of really cool and amazing looking pieces. There are so many different sizes and types of cards. There are the regular sized item, hero, employee and upgrade cards, then there are the smaller euro sized adventure cards as well as the larger tarot sized monster cards. Each different card has a really nice finish to it and the artwork on each is really awesome looking. I especially love the different character portraits found on the hero and employee cards. Each card draws you into the fantasy world of the game and is really rich in theme. The iconography for each card is quite easy to understand and shouldn’t take long to remember what each one means. Another really thematic element that this game excels with is the individual player’s item shop boards. These completely blew me away. Each one has unique artwork that is custom for each board. There are no two boards alike. The thing that really got me about these is that not only does the board have that thematic element of looking like the inside of a fantasy item shop once the board is unfolded and laid out in front of you, but when it’s folded up there’s artwork on the back that looks like the outside of that shop. For me this was over and above what I expected and it really amazed me. Just like each item shop is different, each player board both outside and inside is different. Thematically it’s perfect. The last few pieces included with the game are the quest, coin, star, and wound tokens. These are all thick shiny cardboard and look quite nice. The quest token is a large square token with the initials and artwork of the game’s name found on the box cover. Nothing spectacular but it’s easy to spot on the table. The star tokens and wound tokens are small circles with specific designs for what they stand for. Star tokens have numbered stars and wound tokens have a skull. These get the job done rather nicely. The coins are a bit bigger and come in 3 denominations. Each fits in with the theme of the game and looks nice. I do think however that I may end up upgrading these to metal coins and possibly even upgrading the quest and wound tokens with something a bit more appropriate and thematic than just cardboard. One more thing I’d like to point out about the components that I found quite cool. When I first opened the box and saw this stack of cardboard sheets, I notice that in one corner of the sheet there’s a nice little notch just big enough to get your finger down in so that you could easily pull out the sheets to get to the pieces beneath. Over the years I’ve played tons of different games and not once have I seen such a simple and easy fix to get the punchboards out of the game box. Why hasn’t someone thought of this before. Needless to say, this game really impressed me with the theme, the look and the feel of each and every piece. I can truly say that it’s one of my most favorite games in terms of components.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really well designed. Virtually every page is full of great looking pictures and plenty of examples. There’s an excellent section that explains each of the different card types in great detail. The book also has a step by step guide to each of the different steps of the game. Each one well written and easily explained. The rules are very stream lined and flow easily from one thought to the next. The book also includes a few variants like an advanced 2 player varian and a reliable heroes variant that does away with the adventure deck and any cards that reference it. There are also some additional rules for playing with more than 4 players. On the back cover, there’s an excellent overview of each step of a round of play. This is an excellent reference, especially when you’re first learning the game. Everything is extremely easy to read and understand. This is one of the best looking and easiest to understand rulebooks that I’ve ever come across. There wasn’t a single concept or rule that I didn’t easily get. I’ve extremely pleased with the overall look and feel of the rulebook. It’s well done.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This has got to be one of the most fun games that I’ve come across in a long time, and it’s an easy game to learn and play on top of that. Over the years I’ve played many different fantasy rpg video games. I always loved stopping in to the local item shop and seeing what kind of loot I could equip my characters with. With this game, I get to feel what it’s like to be on the opposite side of the counter and sell all this cool swag to the would be heroes. I love the card drafting that starts each round. I love looking through my hand and seeing what kinds of cool items I could possibly use. Of course determining what’s going to help the lineup of heroes the most is the key. From there it’s all about finding a way to draw your chosen hero to your store. After that it’s raking in the coinage and equipping the sucker….I mean hero. Once your hero is equipped it’s off to face certain doom against one of a selection of nasty and despicable monsters. If you’re hero can withstand the monsters attack, then they’ll stick around and possibly be back to buy more stuff. If not, well there’s always the next naive hero. Another key to this game is upgrading your shop with upgrades and employees. In many cases these can be the key to making sure you have what you need when you need it to lure that hero and make his coin purse lighter. Needless to say, this is a game that I really, really enjoy. About the only thing that could make it better would be some solo rules or an expansion that lets you play solo. Other than that, there’s not a thing I’d change about the gameplay. As I stated earlier, I love the card drafting. Fans of games like 7 Wonders, Sea of Clouds and Fairy Tale may enjoy the card drafting in this game as well. Fantasy game fans may also enjoy working the other side of the counter like I did in this game. Either way, this is a game that I highly recommend. It’s most definitely made it’s way into my top 10 games. I’m sure most of you will find something to love about it too.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Bargain Quest is a light weight card drafting game where players become item shop owners in a fantasy realm. The game isn’t a very long one. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes, give or take. The components are absolutely amazing. I love the artwork and the player boards are to die for. The rulebook is great too. It’s well written and super easy to understand. The game itself is a whole lot of fun. I love the card drafting and the theme carries over really well too. I think fans of card drafting games like 7 Wonders, Sea of Clouds or Fairy Tale will really enjoy this game. Fantasy game fans should also like the theme and fun in this one as well. The only thing that can improve this game is the addition of some solo rules or an expansion that has a solo variant with it. Either way, this is a game that I highly recommend. It’s one of my top 10 favorite games and is one that I’ll be playing for a long time. Now, can I interest you in a bag of holding or possibly a cat familiar. It’s only had one owner and it’s the purrrfect price.
9 out of 10

 

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

https://www.renegadegamestudios.com/

 

 

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ArtSee Review

ArtSee is a game by J. Alex Kevern, published by Renegade Game Studios. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of curator of their own art gallery. They will be adding new exhibits to their galleries in an attempt to attract visitors and earn prestige. The more prestige that they earn, the more likely that a famous masterpiece will be added to their gallery. In the end, the player with the most prestigious art gallery will be declared the winner.

To begin, the exhibit cards are separated into 2 decks, one for the starting exhibit cards and one for the main exhibit cards. Each deck is then shuffled separately. Each player is then dealt 2 cards from the starting exhibit deck to create their starting gallery. These cards are placed face up and side by side in front of the player. Players are then dealt 3 cards from the same deck to form their starting hand. These cards should remain hidden from the other players until played. Any remaining cards in this deck are then returned to the box. A certain number of cards are then removed from the main exhibit deck, based on the number of players. These removed cards are also returned to the box. The remaining cards in the main exhibit deck are then shuffled together and then split into 2 face down draw piles, which are placed in the middle of the play area. The masterpiece tokens are separated by category and are also placed in the middle of the play area in 4 separate rows, each row designated for a specific category and arranged in numerical order. The prestige tokens are placed near the play area to form the supply. Each player chooses a color and is given a number of visitor pawns in their color based on the number of players. The remaining visitor pawns are returned to the box. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played in a series of turns with each player taking a turn, beginning with the first player. On a player’s turn, they will follow a series of 5 steps. The first step is to play a card. To do this, the player takes an exhibit card from their hand and places it in their gallery face up. They may either add the card to an existing column, or start a new column. If the player chooses to add the card to an existing column, they will place the new card on top of one of the existing columns of cards, making sure that the art pieces from each card in the column are visible. If the player chooses to start a new column, they will place the card either to the left or right of any existing columns. This creates a new column to be able to be added to on later turns. On the second step, the player will welcome visitors. In this step, each of the active player’s opponents will check their galleries to see if they have any columns where the exhibit card on the front of their columns match any of the same categories for the card that the active player just played. Basically this means just looking at the played card and see if any of the colored boxes match any of the colored boxes for the top card of each of their columns. If any of these match, in color not specific art pieces, the opponent may choose to place a visitor from their supply onto their matching exhibit card. For step three, the player may earn prestige. This can be done in two different ways. One way is by checking to see how many visitors are on the exhibit card that was covered up by the exhibit card that was just played. The player will gain 1 prestige for each visitor on that card, removing and returning the visitors to their supply. The other way that prestige can be earned is by checking the direction of the arrow on the exhibit card that was just played. The player then checks the column of cards in that direction and counts the number of art pieces that match the featured category from the played card. The player then gains 1 prestige point for each art piece that matches. Basically this means you look at which way the arrow points and look at the stack of cards in that direction. If the card played was on either end, then the player will look at their opponents closest stack of cards in that direction. They’ll then match up the colored painting block at the bottom of the card with the row of that same color in that stack, earning a point per piece of art. In the fourth step, the player may claim a masterpiece. To do this, the player adds up the prestige that they earned this turn from visitors and matching art pieces. As long as the total is equal to or greater than the requirements to claim the token, then they may take that token from the supply. It should be noted that the player may only claim a masterpiece token that matches the featured category of the exhibit card that they played this turn. Once the token is claimed, it is placed in an empty slot, either between two columns or on either end of the player’s gallery. Basically this means that the player will be placing the token at the top and between two stacks of exhibit cards in their gallery or on one end at the top. One more thing of note, these masterpiece tokens count as an art piece for that category. This means that when an exhibit card is placed in a column next to the masterpiece token and the arrow on that card points towards the token, the player gains an additional prestige if it matches the featured category. For the fifth and final step, the player will draw a card. To do this, the player simply draws a card from either of the two face down draw piles and adds it to their hand. One thing of note, if one of the draw piles becomes empty, the top card of the remaining pile is moved over to the empty pile to make sure that there are always two piles if possible. Once a player completes this final step, play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues with players taking turns until the end of a player’s turn where both draw piles are empty and all player hands are empty. When this happens, the game is over. Final scoring will then take place. To score, each player will earn prestige equal to the prestige values of each of the masterpiece tokens in their gallery. They also gain bonus prestige based on how many masterpiece tokens that they have of different categories in their gallery. Players total these points and the player with the most prestige is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This games consists of 4 things; exhibit cards, masterpiece tokens, visitor pawns and prestige tokens. The cards have different pieces of art along the top. Each piece of art starts a new column of that color or adds to that color’s column. Along the bottom of the card, there is a person walking through a gallery, a featured category of art and an arrow that points either left or right. The cards have this really unique look to them. The paintings along the top have some really great renditions of real world paintings, with a touch of whimsy. The bottom of the cards have a more surreal look to them. The designs of the people are more shadowed and implied, as opposed to being more life like and real looking. I like the art pieces but the bottom of the cards I found a bit lacking and less interesting to me. The backs of these cards are colored like one of the 4 categories of art, just like the featured category at the bottom of the card on front. This helps the player know which category is featured on the front of the card while choosing a card to draw. The masterpiece tokens are cardboard pieces and also have some of the same whimsical takes on real works of art as the cards. These I like a great deal. Another piece that’s done in cardboard are all the prestige tokens. These come in 5 different denominations, sizes and colors. Each of these is quite nice and is brightly colored to boot. The final pieces for the game are the wooden visitor pawns. These come in 5 different colors that almost match the colors of the prestige tokens, if only those white 1 prestige tokens were black like the visitor pawns or vice versa. Each visitor has a unique color and shape that’s exclusive to that player’s color. These aren’t just normal meeples. They’re a bit smaller and look like an art lover’s head and shoulders. For instance, the black pawns look like a woman with a french beret on. These are really fun and cool looking. Overall I think the game looks really fun and interesting, especially for art lovers. I’m really intrigued by the designs and think that it’s really well done.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really well designed. Everything from setup to the steps of a player’s turn are all explained in great detail. There’s a really nice section devoted to explaining the different parts of the cards, which is quite helpful. The book has lots of great pictures and a few examples along the way to help make sense of things a bit better. I’ll be honest, a lot of this stuff didn’t make sense to me the first time I read it. Some of the terminology wasn’t exactly spelled out so that you knew just what was being said. After about the second or third time I read through it, it clicked. All this about categories and columns was a bit confusing. Hopefully as I explained the rules, it made a little more sense than what I read did to me the first time. I think if the terms: card stacks or piles had been used instead of columns, it might have made more sense to me. As it is, I do get it now. I just didn’t get it then. The back of the rulebook contains a gameplay reference that includes each step of a player’s turn, the categories of art and the bonus scoring chart for masterpieces. This is a nice reference and after playing a couple of times, it’s a nice thing to have. The first time or two, it didn’t make a lot of sense because it didn’t give a quick explanation of the steps. It just gives a two or three word reference. While I get it now and everything is very clear to me, I’m afraid that new players may find things a bit confusing and hard to understand. As I said, I think some of the terminology should have been changed to more easily explain each step and rule. Overall I don’t think the rules are bad. As I said, I completely understand them now. I just think they could have been a bit better. The look and feel is great. It’s quite short with only 9 pages of rules. That makes it fairly quick to read. For me I think it gets the job done, even if it takes reading two or three times to understand.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me be completely honest up front, this is not a game that I thought I would like at all. While I do like looking at paintings and art, this didn’t look like my kind of game. I’m proud to say that I was wrong though. This is my type of game after all. Each turn you’ll be playing cards to earn as much prestige as you can, almost in an engine building mechanic kind of way. As you go further along in the game, you’ll start being able to earn enough prestige to start grabbing those masterpiece tokens. This is basically how you score. Of course you’ll earn more points for having having different categories of masterpiece tokens, so you’ll need to diversify. Basically that’s the game. I know the rules make it sound like it’s a lot harder to figure out than that, but it’s not. You will have to determine which way will earn you more prestige once you’ve played a card. Do you take the prestige that the visitor pawns would provide or do you go for the line of paintings in the adjacent stack of cards that match the featured category. Knowing where and when to place the cards is the key, as well as determining which way will earn the most prestige. Once you get the rules down, it’s not all that hard to remember. There is a bit of luck involved but knowing which category will be featured on the card you draw, based on the color on the back of it, is a great help. While the game isn’t one that’s extremely difficult, it does have plenty of strategy involved. The game looks really great and is fun to play. This is one that I think fans of art galleries and even mild strategy fans will enjoy. I also think set collection fans will enjoy this one as well. Overall this is a game that I would recommend giving a try. I’m glad that I gave it a try, otherwise I would have missed the fun that I’ve had playing it. It wound up being better than I thought it would be.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
ArtSee is a game of set collection and strategy in the world of art museums. The game is rather short and only takes about 30 minutes to play. The artwork is really nice, especially the various paintings on the exhibit cards and the masterpiece tokens. The visitor pawns are really unique and fun and bring a bit more of the art world theme to the game. The rulebook is a bit difficult to understand due to some of the terminology and may require an additional read through or two. However once it clicks, you’ll find you don’t need it for much more than the initial setup and scoring. The game itself is quite fun and while I don’t exactly feel like I’m creating an art museum, I still enjoy the fun of playing cards and earning points. This is a very family friendly game and is one that the kids can enjoy as well. Fans of set collection, mild strategy and even beautiful artwork will most likely enjoy this one. This is one that I would recommend giving a try. It definitely exceeded my expectations, much like the Hippie Mona Lisa did. Love that.
8 out of 10

 

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

https://www.renegadegamestudios.com/

 

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DC Deck Building Game: Rebirth Review (Spoiler Free)

DC Deck Building Game: Rebirth is a game by Matt Hyra and Nathaniel Yamaguchi, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of super heroes from the DC universe as they attempt to complete a series of linked scenarios. They’ll need to move around the city and gain power to defeat the dastardly villains before time runs out. If they’re able to complete the scenarios in time, they’ll be declared the winners.

To begin, each player is dealt 2 random oversized Super Hero cards from which they must choose 1 to keep or players may alternatively choose to play as a specific hero instead. Each player will also take the corresponding standee of their chosen Super Hero, placing it on their Super Hero card, which is placed in front of them. Each player will also take 6 Punch cards, 1 Helping Hand card and 3 Run cards. The Threat Track is placed in the middle of the play area on the appropriate side; either Cooperative or Competitive based on which type of game players have agreed upon. The Threat Track token is placed on the 0 space. The appropriate Scenario Pack is now opened. For the first game, this would be Scenario #1. Players then consult the Scenario card from the pack for any modifications that may be needed to the Threat Track. The Scenario card will also provide the details of which Locations will be used during the game, as well as which side is used. The 5 Location tiles are mixed up and randomly placed in a circle in clockwise order, leaving room for a card to be placed between each tile. It should be noted that when placing the tiles, make sure that the correct side is face up. A Destination Token is placed on each tile, beginning with a 1 at the top of the circle and continuing in numerical order in clockwise fashion. The corresponding stack of Basic cards are placed on each of the Side B Location tiles. Once this is done, the Main Deck and Lineup is created. This is done by combining all the Hero, Villain, Equipment and Super Power cards together. The Super Villain cards are not added until later. The cards are shuffled together and then dealt out into 5 separate face down stacks. The Scenario card is followed for any modifications or additions to the stacks. The Super Villains are then shuffled together and 2 of these cards are added to stacks 2 – 5. Each stack is not shuffled separately before being combined into one stack by stacking stack 5 on the bottom all the way to stack 1 on the top. This completes the creation of the deck. The first 5 cards from the deck are dealt out face up into the lineup, which is between each of the Locations, starting to the right of Location 1 and continuing by placing cards in clockwise order around to the left of Location 1. The remaining cards from the Main Deck are placed near the play area, as are the Weakness cards. For later games, the Campaign Log is checked for any damage to Locations, which are then noted by having Damage or Destroyed tokens on them. Players will now shuffle their decks and draw 5 cards each. Players choose the first player and play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns with players going back and forth taking turns until either the game is won or lost cooperatively. On a player’s turn they will follow 6 steps. On the first turn of the game, steps 2 – 4 are skipped. Before taking their turn, the player will place their Hero standee on one of the 5 Locations or on one of the 5 Line Up cards. For the first step, the player will perform any start of turn effects, following the instructions. For the second step, if a villain or villains share the same space as the active player’s character standee, then they will attack the active player. The effects are all resolved in order of the player’s choosing. The player may use a card with a Defense ability to avoid the attack . Once used, the player follows any text at the end of the Defense text of the card and gains the bonus for avoiding the attack. A discarded Defense card is placed into the player’s discard pile, while a revealed Defense card is kept in the player’s hand. If the player fails to defend against the attack, they must then perform the action on the Villain’s card, such as discarding a certain type of card. Next for step 3, any Villains not sharing a space with a character will move 1 space towards their destination using the shortest route possible. The villain’s destination is shown in the bottom right hand corner of the card’s artwork. It should be noted that if a villain shares a a space with a character then the villain is unable to move. For Step 4, the player will add the top card of the main deck to the Line Up. Placing it in the slot that has the fewest cards. If there’s a tie, the lower slot number is used. Next in Step 5, the player will play cards from their hand. In the first turn of the game, this step takes place following step 1. The player may play cards in any order that they choose, resolving the text from each card as it’s played. Most played cards will either provide Power or Move. In step 6, these are totaled up and used by the player. Power is the currency of the game and allows the player to buy cards in the space that their character standee is located. Bought cards are then placed in the player’s discard pile. Move is used to maneuver the character from their initial space using 1 Move point for each space moved. The player may combine both Move and Power to move around and buy more cards. It should be noted however that a player may only buy 1 Basic card from each stack during their turn. Players also have the ability to defeat a villain by using Power to pay the villain’s cost, just as if they were buying a card. When a villain is defeated, the player gains any rewards listed on the villain’s card. Defeated villains are destroyed and the card is not placed in a player’s discard pile. Once a player has played all the cards that they wish to play from their hand and finished any movements, attacks or purchases, they will then end their turn.

This brings us to the end of a player’s turn. At this time, the player will announce that they are ending their turn. They will then place any remaining cards in their hand into their discard pile. If there are any end of turn effects, these will happen now. The player then places any cards that they played into their discard pile as well. They will then draw 5 new cards from their deck. If there are no cards in their deck or are not enough to draw 5, their discard pile is shuffled together to create a new draw deck. Play then passes to the next player.

A few things should be noted, as new cards enter the line up from the main deck, villains and super villains will appear. Each time a super villain enters the line up, the threat token is moved up by 1 level on the threat track. This causes the text at this new level to be in effect. Super villains that enter the line up will also make an attack against each player, following the Attack text on their card. Regular villains do not cause the threat level to increase and only make their attacks when in the same space as a player’s hero. Also, some cards contain the Assist keyword on them. What this means is that the player may play this type of card during another player’s turn to give them the benefit from their card. Another keyword of note is Range. These cards will list a number beside the Range keyword. This indicates how far away the card can effect. Each line up slot and location tile is a space. The space that the character’s hero occupies is range 0. Each adjacent space is considered 1 space or range 1. That means that if a player’s hero is on a location tile, the next location tile is range 2 from them. This counts the card in the lineup between the 2 tiles and the next tile, each for 1 space.

The game continues with players moving, playing cards and fighting villains. This continues until either the heroes have completed the scenario, thus winning the game or having lost the game due to the threat track reaching level 5 and not being able to move any further due to there being no more spaces. If either of these happens, the game ends. The players then record any damage on any locations in the game on the campaign log. They will also remove make sure that any cards removed from the campaign are not used in future scenarios. If the player’s won, they will continue with the next scenario. If they lost, they must replay the scenario that they just lost. In this case, any cards removed from the campaign during the lost scenario are returned for replay. If the players win on their first attempt, they will mark the 1 box on the corresponding scenario of the campaign log. If they won on their second attempt, they will mark the 2 box. If they fail both attempts, they must mark the failed box and move on to the next scenario.

COMPONENTS
Like with most deck builders, this game contains a lot of cards. There are a variety of starter cards as well as cards for the main deck that consist of heroes, villains, super powers and equipment cards. It also contains the larger Super Hero cards as well as some basic cards, weakness cards and signature cards. The game also includes standees and bases for each of the 8 super heroes that comes with the game. There are large double sided location tiles, a threat track and threat tiles to be used during the different scenarios. There’s also various tokens that are included with the game. Everything from numbered destination tokens to damage and contained tokens. Each card contains artwork from the DC universe that looks really amazing. The cardboard pieces and boards are all really thick and great quality. The various scenario packs are resealable and contains some very cool surprises and fun stories to discover and play through. As a fan of the DC Deck Building Game, these cards and components have done nothing but reinforce my love for the game. It’s definitely nice to see a more physical form of your character running around the city defeating villains. Needless to say, I really enjoy the look and feel of each piece that comes with this game. It’s a definite step in the right direction if you ask me. One final thing of note, players should be aware that the first edition prints of this game had a minor snafu. When opening the sealed scenario packs, you should be sure that the large number on the pack is facing you. You should pull out the cards slowly and if you don’t see the Rebirth logo you should slide them back in and flip the pack over before removing the cards. That way you don’t spoil any of the surprises. Of course you can always do like I did after realizing there was a mistake. I simply opened the packages under the table and flipped the cards over and reinserted them back into the packs. That way everything would be correct when I opened them. Just something to be aware of.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is very similar to those of the other DC Deck Building Game products. For one, the rules do tend to jump around a bit and aren’t quite as stream lined and easy to find what you’re looking for as I’d like. Some things you almost need a basic understanding of the game if you want to know just how to play this version. The one thing about these games is that each large box is a great jumping on place for new players to give it a go. If the rules are a bit muddled, it can be quite annoying and difficult to really get a feel for the thing. I myself found several times where I would be flipping back and forth in the book, searching for what something meant. For instance, when I was setting up the first game, I didn’t know where to place the threat tile that was to be added to the Threat Track. Did I place it on top of the Threat Track or out to the side and add the restrictions to those on the Threat Track? Ultimately I decided on the latter, but nothing was really clear or explained in the rule book. The thing is, new players may have trouble figuring this one out. To me, that makes the rulebook a bit of a negative blemish to the game. I will say as an avid player of the game, I am thankful for the added variants for solo play and for a competitive mode. It also mentions how to combine this game with the other DC Deck Building games, especially for the Multiverse box set. For me, the rules were only a mild annoyance but for new players it could be a huge obstacle to overcome. Just something to be aware of.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me go ahead and say this from the start, I absolutely love playing this game. I thought that I liked the DC Deck Building Game before, but this version absolutely takes the cake. Everything that I loved about the original game is there, buying cards, defeating bad guys and building up my deck. The thing that makes this version even better is that for once, I feel like the purchases I make and the villains I beat actually matter. On top of that, I felt more like an actual hero as my character is moving around the city from location to location trying to either defeat or at least delay the villains long enough to get some help from an ally. I like that each hero has their own signature cards to make them a bit more unique from the other heroes. I also like how that so many things carry over from scenario to scenario. If a location is damaged or even destroyed, it can cause some major repercussions in the next scenario. I also like that now I’m able to see my hero as they move around the city. Before the game was merely about creating an efficient deck to help you wipe out the villains and score the most points. Now it’s more about stopping the villains to beat the scenario. For me this game has just taken a major leap forward in terms of improvements. Fans of any of the DC Deck Building Games will absolutely love this version, especially those players that like playing solo or enjoy more legacy style games. I personally have enjoyed this one a great deal. Let me tell you, it can be quite difficult at times, so don’t expect a cake walk. It will really challenge you and your ability to plan strategically. For this reason, fans of strategy games will enjoy the challenges that this one provides. Overall this is a great game. It is one that I would highly recommend. I love it and can’t wait to give it another go with some new characters.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The DC Deck Building Game: Rebirth is a scenario driven game that capitalizes on the Cerberus game system found in several games and expansions from Cryptozoic Entertainment. It provides several ways to play and can also be combined with other products in the DC Deck Building Game universe. The game has an average play time with most game sessions lasting around an hour for most of the scenarios. Some scenarios will take a little longer. The cards and components are really great. As always, I love the artwork and all the pieces to this one. Miniatures or Mighty Meeples would have been nice, but I don’t mind the standees. The rulebook is a bit difficult especially for new players. Even us veteran players can have a bit of trouble understanding certain elements of the game. Just something to be aware of. The game itself leans towards the new hotness on the market, legacy games. While this isn’t exactly a legacy game, it does incorporate elements of the legacy game into the results of each scenario. Each scenario brings in new elements and gameplay that will truly enhance your love for the game. It did for me. This is one that fans of any of the DC Deck Building games should absolutely love. The strategy of moving characters around and trying to defeat the villains in the most efficient way will appeal to strategy fans. For me, this is more than just another entry into the Cerberus system, it’s a whole new way to play. This is a game that I would highly recommend. It is definitely one of my favorite new games of this year. It’s Super!
9 out of 10

 

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

http://www.cryptozoic.com/

 

 

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Go7Gaming ZBP-001 Storage Solution for Zombicide: Green Horde Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a new product from Go7Gaming. That product was the ZBP -001 Storage Solution for Zombicide: Green Horde or for Zombicide: Black Plague from CMON. In this case, I used it for Zombicide: Green Horde. 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.

Now then, let me explain exactly what this product is and what it does. First off, this is an insert for Zombicide: Green Horde but it can alternatively be used with Zombicide: Black Plague. The organizer will hold all of the contents of whichever of the core boxes that you use it with. It will also hold some extra content as well. Once it’s been assembled, the insert makes it possible to keep all of the miniatures, cards and tokens that come included in the box separate. The insert looks great once it’s finished. It even comes with some tags so that you can label each of the different sections to show what’s inside. You’ll be able to see more on this a bit later. At this time, let’s go ahead and cover what all comes in the package and the basic instructions of how to assemble the insert. We’ll start off by separating out all the different wooden sheets. As you can see, there’s a lot of sheets of wood to be assembled. Each piece is cut so that you can easily punch them out from the main sheet that they’re attached to.

If you’ve read any of my reviews for Go7Gaming inserts, you already know that glue is pretty much a staple for building these things. It’s not an absolute necessity as you can use other things like tape, but it’s definitely the best option. With this review I won’t be telling you each time when to add glue to your pieces. Just be aware that if there are 2 pieces being put together, you’ll want to apply glue between them both. With that said, let’s begin the assembling process starting with the tray for the player dashboards.

To assemble the tray, we start by placing the base down on the work space. The long outer wall is attached to the base, followed by the two shorter end walls. Once these are all connected you’ll add the other long outer wall. When you’re finished, you should have something that looks like this.

Once everything has been assembled, you can place the tray lid on top like so.

With the player dashboard tray assembled, you can then start on the tile storage tray. This tray also has room for several minis as well. As before, you’ll start by placing the base down on the work space. You will then connect the L end wall and the short side wall together to the base. You’ll then need to place the short wall and the inner wall, attaching these to the base as well. After these are attached to the base, you can attach the opposite short wall and the long side wall. At this point, you should have something that looks like this.

You can then attach the short wall to the short wall that you just attached to the long side wall. You’ll follow that up by connecting the long end wall to the two short walls and the base. Complete this section by closing off the left side by attaching the short side wall. Finally you’ll attach the short end wall at the bottom and this tray is complete. What you’ll have should look like this.

You’ll then be able to add dividers to the top sections, ending up with something like this. Once everything is dry, you’ll be able to add components to the tray.

The next thing to assemble is the token tray. You’ll start by placing the base on the work area. You’ll then need to attach the inner wall to the base. Next you’ll connect both of the long side wall to the base and the inner wall. Finally you will attach the two end walls to the already constructed pieces. You should end up with something like this.

Once everything is dry, you’ll be able to add dividers to the tray, like so.

Our next tray to assemble is actually two trays. These are the small card storage trays. The construction of these is exactly the same, so just repeat this process to create the second tray. You’ll start by placing the base on the work area. You’ll then need to attach the outer wall with the side wall. You’ll then need to do this again, by attaching the other outer wall and side wall, connecting everything to the base. Please make sure and notice the placement of the walls, placing slotted sides opposite from each other. When finished, you’ll have something that looks like this.

You can then place dividers as you see fit, once everything is dry, and add cards to the trays. Don’t forget to repeat this process for the second tray.

Next up, we’ll assemble the 2 small minis storage trays. Just like with the small card storage trays, you’ll have to put 2 of these together by repeating the assembly process. You’ll start off by placing the base on your work area. You will then connect the long side wall with the holes in the top to the base, along with the two end walls with the single slot in them. You’ll then need to attach the other long side wall with the holes to the base and the end walls. Once you’re finished with that, it should look something like this. Please note the holes and slots in the walls.

Once the trays are dry, you can then add in a divider by itself or connect two with a cross divider, as seen below. You’ll then be able to add minis to the trays.

The final piece to this assembly puzzle is the big minis storage tray. This tray will hold large quantities of similar minis like the zombies and orcs. We’ll start off by placing the base on the work area. Next we’ll connect the long side wall to the base, followed by attaching the two end walls with the 2 holes on each end. Please note the long side wall is the one with the slotted tabs at the top. Finally, you’ll attach the other long side wall with slotted tabs to the structure. Once done, it should look something like this.

After it’s dry, you can add some dividers to the tray, like so.

At this point, you’ll be able to assemble everything into the game box and attach name tabs where appropriate. This completes the assembly process.

  

MATERIALS
At this point, I would normally explain how the different components of the game look. However since this is an organizer and not a game, I’ll describe the packing and insert instead. Everything came prepackaged in a flat rate shipping box. Since I received the bundle of all 4 organizers for Zombicide Green Horde, my shipping box was splitting open mostly due to the weight. Inside the box, everything was for this insert was placed inside a large zip lock style bag with all the wooden pieces shrink wrapped together. Everything looked very nice and there were no problems with anything. The wooden sheets are nice and thick and are very easy to punch out the different pieces. If you decided to use glue or tape, you’ll need to supply your own as the organizer does not come with any included. Assembling the product was fairly simple, and didn’t take that long to finish. Overall the materials look great and everything is strong and durable. I’m very pleased with every aspect of the materials.
9 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
At this time, I would normally be explaining the rulebook of the game. Instead, I’ll cover the instructions that came with the insert. The instructions came on two sheets of double sided paper. There was a detailed process that walks you through each step of assembling the insert. There are plenty of pictures to help you see exactly what piece goes where when assembling. Everything is explained very well and I didn’t find it difficult to figure out at all. Everything is well written and looks good. One thing however that was unclear was just exactly where each piece was supposed to go. I did turn to the website to get some ideas and basically waited till I had everything put together to see where I’d need to put each and every component. Of course there is still a little bit of room left to add more cards and possibly even some miniatures. It just really depends on what all you’re trying to store inside the box, apart from the core game. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the instructions.
8 out of 10

CONSTRUCTION
For this section, I normally would be explaining how the game played and my thoughts and feelings on it. However since this is a product review, I’ll give my thoughts on the assembly process as well as anything that I feel is important to note. It didn’t take a long time to put everything together here. I would like to say that figuring out where everything went wasn’t as challenging as it was in any of the other organizers for this game or it’s expansions. A good bit of this was pretty well cut and dry. Of course I did use the website to make sure that I had at least a place to start with some of the pieces. Just like with all Go7Gaming inserts, this one is a bit loose around the joints and connections so be you’ll need to be aware of this and make sure that you have some glue or something to hold it all together. Once I got everything together I realized that I still had a bit more room for cards and other bits. I’m not quite sure what I’ll place in these areas, but it’s nice to know I have the room for adding more things if necessary. For the moment though, there are a few empty space in the box. If all you have is the core Green Horde game or the core Black Plague game, then having this insert is a huge benefit. Once assembled and placed in the box, the strength and weight of the game is quite considerable. Overall, this is one that I fee is really well designed and it holds everything together very nicely. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that owns the Green Horde game. It’s amazing.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The Go7Gaming ZBP-001 Storage Solution for the Zombicide: Green Horde or for Zombicide: Black Plague is a great way to get your game organized. It even includes a little bit of extra room for other pieces like those from the Kickstarter. The organizer has plenty of room for everything that came in the core box but also has a bit of extra room for other bits and pieces as well. The materials are all very good and they hold everything in a completely compact and organized way. The only problem that I found was trying to figuring out where everything went after the organizer was assembled. For that information you can look no further than the website. It’s actually quite helpful with that aspect. Of course, you can place a lot of things wherever you see fit. The instructions are very well written and very easy to follow. Once assembled, this thing looks awesome and it holds everything inside the box really well. I would definitely recommend this for owners of the Green Horde or the original Black Plague core box. This makes things a lot quicker for setting up and taking down the game. Overall I’m very pleased with the organizer.
8 out of 10

 

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

http://go7gaming.com/

 

 

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Go7Gaming ZGH-OO2 Storage Solution for Zombicide: Green Horde – Horde Box Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a new product from Go7Gaming. That product was the ZGH -002 Storage Solution for the Zombicide: Green Horde – Horde Box from CMON. 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.

Now then, let me explain exactly what this product is and what it does. First off, this is an insert for the Horde Box for Zombicide: Green Horde that will hold all of the Kickstarter extras but it will also hold lots of extra materials as well. Once it’s been assembled, the insert makes it possible to keep all of the different miniatures, cards and tokens that come included in the box separate. The insert looks really great when it’s finished. It even comes with some tags so that you can label each section for what’s inside. Of course you’ll be able to see a bit more about that a little later. At this time, let’s go ahead and cover what all you get and the basic instruction on how to assemble this insert. We’ll start off by separating out all the different wooden sheets. As you can see, there’s a lot of sheets of wood to be assembled. Each piece is cut so that you can easily punch them out from the main sheet that they’re attached to.

If you’ve read any of my reviews for Go7Gaming inserts, you already know that glue is pretty much a staple for building these things. It’s not an absolute necessity as you can use other things like tape, but it’s definitely the best option. With this review I won’t be telling you each time when to add glue to your pieces. Just be aware that if there are 2 pieces being put together, you’ll want to apply glue between them both. With that said, let’s begin the assembling process starting with the Small Minis Tray.

To assemble this tray, we’ll start by placing the base down on your work space. We’ll then attach the long outer wall to the base. Follow that up by connecting the 2 shorter outer walls, attaching to the first outer wall and the base. Finally we’ll connect the long outer wall on the other side to finish the box. What you’ll end up with should look something like this.

After you’ve let everything dry, you’ll be able to place the long inner walls and short splitters to separate the different sections so that you can fit individual miniatures inside. When finished you should have something that looks like this.

Once the small minis tray is completed, you can move on to the ID card tray. Begin assembling this tray by placing the base down on your work space. You’ll then need to connect the slotted outer wall to the base, following that up by attaching the 2 outer walls with the dips in them. Finally you’ll need to attach and connect the other slotted outer wall for the other side. Once you’ve got all that together, you should have something that looks like this.

After it dries, you can then place some dividers in the tray, like so.

Moving on, the next thing to assemble is the small card tray. Once again, place your base down on the work area. Attach the long outer wall with the slots. Next you’ll need to attach both of the smaller outer walls with the dips in them, making sure to attach these all to the base. Finally you’ll attach and connect the long slotted outer wall on the other side. When finished, you should have something that looks like this.

After it dries, you can then place some dividers in the tray, like so.

The last piece to this organizational puzzle is the large base insert. Just like with the trays, you’ll start by placing the base on the work space. You’ll attach the 4 inner divider walls to the inner wall, as well as connecting the 3 inner dividers to the other side of the inner wall. Once these are together you can attach them all to the base. Once it’s all together, you’ll have something that looks like this. Please note the orientation of the different slots on the inner divider walls and the dip in the inner wall in the picture.

From there, you’ll connect and attach the long outer wall, like so.

You’ll then connect the larger outer wall on the opposite side with the cut in it, like so.

Next you connect the rectangular outer wall at the bottom, like so.

You’ll then need to connect the outer wall at the top, like so.

You’ll need to make sure that everything connects together and is fully attached. Once that’s done you can connect the inner splitters to the different areas as shown below.

Next you’ll attach the support to the support wall and attach it to the outer wall, like so.

You will then need to connect the Werezombie tag to the outer wall and attach the rail to the right of it, like so.

Once that’s done, you can decide where each piece fits and place the appropriate name tabs as you see fit. This completes the assembly process for this organizer.

MATERIALS
At this point, I would normally explain how the different components of the game look. However since this is an organizer and not a game, I’ll describe the packing and insert instead. Everything came prepackaged in a flat rate shipping box. Since I received the bundle of all 4 organizers for Zombicide Green Horde, my shipping box was splitting open mostly due to the weight. Inside the box, everything was for this insert was placed inside a large zip lock style bag with all the wooden pieces shrink wrapped together. Everything looked very nice and there were no problems with anything. The wooden sheets are nice and thick and are very easy to punch out the different pieces. If you decided to use glue or tape, you’ll need to supply your own as the organizer does not come with any included. Assembling the product was fairly simple, and didn’t take that long to finish. Overall the materials look great and everything is strong and durable. I’m very pleased with every aspect of the materials.
9 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
At this time, I would normally be explaining the rulebook of the game. Instead, I’ll cover the instructions that came with the insert. The instructions came on two sheets of double sided paper. There was a detailed process that walks you through each step of assembling the insert. There are plenty of pictures to help you see exactly what piece goes where when assembling. Everything is explained very well and I didn’t find it difficult to figure out at all. Everything is well written and looks good. One thing that was unclear was just what all I should place inside this organizer. I did turn to the website to get some ideas and basically waited till I had everything put together and stored to see where I’d need to put the extra miniatures and cards that were left over. Of course there’s still plenty of room to add other cards and pieces. It just depends on what you have and what you need to store. Overall, I’m pleased with the instructions.
8 out of 10

CONSTRUCTION
For this section, I normally would be explaining how the game played and my thoughts and feelings on it. However since this is a product review, I’ll give my thoughts on the assembly process as well as anything that I feel is important to note. It didn’t take a long time to put everything together here. The most involved piece was the base insert. Everything else was just a quick assembling process. Seeing as the other pieces were just trays, it was easy. Figuring out where everything went was a bit of a challenge though. Thankfully I was able to go to the website to some ideas of what to place where. Just like with all Go7Gaming inserts, this one also is a bit loose around the joints and connections so be aware that you’ll need some glue or something to hold it all together. Once I got everything together I realized that I still had room for more cards and extras. At this point, I’m not exactly sure what else I may use the room for but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. For now, there’s some empty space in my pictures, so don’t be surprised. If all you have is the core game and the Horde Box, then having this insert and the one for the core box are extremely helpful. Once assembled, the box is a lot stronger and sturdier, but is also a bit heavier too. Overall, I think this one is really well designed and it holds everything together quite well. I would recommend this to anyone that owns the Horde Box from the Kickstarter and the base game. You’ll definitely be able to hold a lot of stuff with this organizer.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The Go7Gaming ZGH-002 Storage Solution for the Zombicide: Green Horde – Horde Box is a great way to get your game organized, especially if you have any extra pieces from the Kickstarter. It has plenty of room for everything that came with the Kickstarter Horde Box but also has extra room for other bits and pieces as well. The materials are very good and hold everything in a well designed and organized way. The one problem that I found was figuring out where to everything went after assembling it. I can definitely say that the website was quite helpful with that aspect. Of course, you can use your own ideas on where to put any extra bits. The instructions are very well written and easy to follow. The insert even has some extra room for add ons. The look and feel are awesome and it fits everything inside the box really well. I would definitely recommend this for owners of the Horde Box, especially if you already have the organizer for the core game. This just adds more organization for quicker setup and takedowns. Overall I’m very pleased with the organizer.
8 out of 10

 

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

http://go7gaming.com/

 

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Preview Review of Materia Prima

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game that will be available on Kickstarter very soon. I received a prototype of the game with everything needed to play. These are my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!

Materia Prima is a game by Florian Pfab, published by Peacock Tabletops. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of an Alchemist seeking to create the purest form of Alchemy, a Philosopher’s Stone. They will need to search through libraries and bookshops across the realm to find recipes for not only the Stone but also to create powerful Homunculi and handy equipment to aid them. They’ll have to be careful though, as their rival Alchemists are seeking to master the discipline as well and they may have to fight if they hope to complete their goal. Of course, each Alchemist will also have a secret quest that they must fulfill to prove their worth. In the end, the player that can earn the most wisdom from their journey will be declared the winner.

To begin, the 7 game tiles are laid out as players see fit to create the board. The Town cards are placed next to the board. The Tower extension markers are shuffled face down and a marker is placed face up on each Town card. Players choose a Alchemist and Tower and receive the corresponding standees and cards. Each player will place their Alchemist card in front of them, placing their Tower card beside it on the right. Players will also receive a Soul Stone token, which they will place on their Alchemist card. Quest cards that are suitable for the number of players, as noted at the top right of the card, are shuffled together and each player is dealt one each. The Recipe cards are separated by their backs into 3 separate stacks (Homunculi, Equipment and Philosopher’s Stone). Cards with a Wisdom Value of I are taken out of each stack, shuffled together and dealt 1 to each player, so that they have 1 random card from each of the 3 decks. The remaining Value I Wisdom cards are shuffled back into their corresponding decks and placed in stacks beside the board. The first player is chosen. Players will then place their Tower and Alchemist standees on one of the hexes of the board, starting with the first player and continuing in turn order. Players may not place these on an Element hex, Town or on a hex that with an opponent’s Tower on it. Once all players have done this, play now begins.

The game is played with player’s taking turns beginning with the first player. On a player’s turn, they may take 3 actions from a list of four basic actions. Those actions are move, mine, discard elements and fight. The first action is to move. To do this, the player simply moves their Alchemist or Homunculus to an adjacent hex. It should be noted however that a player may not move either their Alchemist or Homunculus onto a hex or across a hex that contains another Alchemist or Homunculus. They are also forbidden from moving onto another player’s Tower hex. An Alchemist is allowed to share a hex with their own Homunculus.

The next action is to mine. To do this, the player must first have either their Alchemist or Homuculus on a hex that shows an element icon on it. The player may then take this action to take a element marker that matches the element icon on the hex and place it on either their Alchemist card or on their Homunculus card, depending on which one was performing the mine action. Of course, there are some restrictions as both have a load capacity on their card that shows how many elements that they may carry. As long as the number of elements being carried at that time does not exceed this limit, they may add the new element marker.

The third action a player may take is to discard elements. With this action the player is able to discard as many elements as they are carrying onto the hex where their Alchemist or Homunculus is standing. These elements will remain where they are until a player performs a mine action to pick them up. If an Alchemist or Homunculus is at their tower, then they can discard or pick up as many elements as they’d like. Elements discarded at a tower are placed on the Tower card. A few quick notes about Towers while we’re on the subject. Towers can be improved with Tower extensions which are bought in towns. These can help during transmutation or can provide a free element per turn. Players are allowed to have more than one extension but may only have 1 active per turn. At an Alchemist’s Tower, they may convert a combination of elements into other elements by following the Element Conversion chart at the cost of an action for each conversion. They may also Transmute elements into equipment, a Homunculus or a Philosopher’s Stone at the cost of an action. The cost for the transmutation is listed on the specific card. Once an Alchemist performs either a conversion or transmutation, they can move as many elements as they’d like between their Alchemist card and their Tower card as a free action. It should be noted that an Alchemist may only have 3 Homunculi at a time. As for equipment, an Alchemist may only carry a maximum of 2 items. As for a Philosopher’s Stone, we’ll discuss this a little bit later.

The final action is to fight. With this action, the player is able to attack another Alchemist or their Homunculus in an adjacent hex. This may be done with a player’s Alchemist or their Homunculus. To perform the attack, the player follows 3 steps. First, the player determines their attack value by checking the number on the attacking character’s card and adding any pluses from equipment. The player then takes that many attack dice and rolls them. The number of fists shown on the dice is the strength of the attack. Next the defending player does the same thing except using the defense value from their character’s card instead of the attack value and rolls that many defense dice. The number of shields rolled is the strength of the defense. If the strength of the defense is higher or equal to the strength of the attack, the attack is blocked and nothing happens. If the strength of the defense is lower than the strength of the attack then the opponent’s figure is defeated. A defeated Homunculus is removed from the board and all it’s elements become the property of the attacker. A defeated Alchemist is placed back onto their Tower hex and one of their soul stones becomes the property of the attacker. Based on the attacker’s load capacity, the attacker can decide which elements he keeps and which ones are dropped onto the hex where the character was defeated. It should be noted that an Alchemist must always choose to pick up the soul stone, but a Homunculus will never choose it and must let it fall. Also of note, if an Alchemist loses his last soul stone, his status values change. They must now use the stats below the skull on the right side of their character card. This makes the Alchemist stronger but will not allow them to win the game without a soul stone. Once a player has taken all 3 of their actions, play passes to the next player in turn order.

There are a few other things that should be pointed out. In addition to normal hexes and element hexes on the board, there are also some tiles that have town hexes. In these towns, players may buy tower extensions as noted above. They may also research recipes. Both of these actions cost an action and are additional actions that a player may choose to do in addition to the 4 basic actions. Researching recipes may only be done by an Alchemist. To perform this action, the player draws a card from the corresponding deck. It should be noted that a player may only have 3 recipes in their hand at a time. This includes recipes for equipment, a Philosopher’s Stone or a Homunculus. Once a player gains a fourth card, they must discard a card of their choice. Earlier I mentioned Philosopher’s Stones and how that they must be transmuted at an Alchemist’s tower. To be able to do this, the Alchemist must find 3 partial recipes by researching recipes in a town. The recipes required must be from wisdom value 1 to wisdom value 3. Each Alchemist can only transmute one of the three partial recipes. As soon as a partial recipe has been transmuted, the card is placed in the corresponding area of the Tower card. Once an Alchemist has transmuted all 3 recipes, they will receive a Philosopher’s Stone marker to place on their Alchemist card. These can not be taken during a fight action.

The game continues until a player with a Soul Stone and a Philosopher’s Stone completes their secret quest. When this happens, the game ends immediately. Scoring then begins. Players gain points for having level 3 elements, as well as for each Homunculus, equipment and Philosopher’s Stone. They also gain bonus points for having a set of Philosopher’s Stones, a Soul Stone, Tower extension and for completing their secret quest. Each player adds up their points and the one with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This is a very artistic game. Each piece melds in seamlessly with the look and feel of the game. Included in this game are a lot of different pieces, from cards and tiles to standees, tokens and dice. Even though this is a prototype game, most of the components are pretty close to production quality. Probably the one thing that was off would be the dice. Instead of the colorful engraved or printed dice, my copy contains black dice with silver and black dots on them. That was a bit weird, as having 2 separate colors for attacking and defending would have been a little easier to keep track of. The game comes with some larger character cards for the different Alchemist that the players can choose from. There are also Tower cards that are also the same size. The artwork on these corresponds with the artwork on the standees for each. Of course there are some colored plastic stands for each of the different standees to be able to sit them on the board. There are also standees for the Homunculi that correspond with the smaller euro sized cards that represent them. The game also includes several different markers for the different element types, Philosopher’s Stones and Tower Extensions. Each token is thick and sturdy and can stand a good bit of wear. The white outlines I think help each from showing wear too quickly, unlike other games with black borders that quickly show wear. The element markers are brightly colored and have different symbols for each element. The Philosopher’s Stones are shaped just like the artwork on the euro sized cards that represent them. The Tower Extensions are a bit thinner and are rectangular to fit on the Town cards. The board tiles are really large and super thick. Each one has hexagonal spaces outlined on them to denote the separate spaces for players to move across. One thing I liked is that there was no hindering or obstructing terrain like you might find in some miniature games. There are also euro sized equipment cards that I didn’t mention earlier. These help players in many different ways, from providing stronger attacks or even better defenses. Finally there are the Town cards and Quest cards. These aren’t as large as the character cards but not as small as the euro cards. They’re somewhere in between, close to playing card size except wider. Honestly, I’m impressed with the level of artwork that each piece in this game has on it. It feels very light hearted and fantastical but never childish like you might expect to find in a kids game like some other publishers might make. The pieces are all very good quality even for a prototype. About the only thing that I could hope for would be a quality insert to keep everything organized. As for everything else, the game looks amazing. I really love the look and feel of the game. Thematically it works on every level for me.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is rather well written. Everything from setting up the game to playing the game is explained really well and in an easy to follow design. The book starts off with a interesting section detailing the back story of the game which sets the tone nicely. Every action and components is explained in detail so that you’ll easily be able to understand just exactly how to play the game. The book even explains the different secret quests in great detail. The back of the rulebook is full of useful information, including a list of actions and icons, as well as as detailed element conversion chart. This is very helpful to have on the table when playing the game. The book has some really great pictures and examples throughout. There were a few minor glitches with spelling or wording that I had to figure out, but overall it wasn’t anything that was too difficult. I’m sure once the game hits the market, everything will be fixed and be even better. Overall, I think the book does a good job of conveying the rules without too much flipping back and forth looking for answers. I think the designer has done a good job with it.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I quite enjoy watching anime. One particular show that stood out in my mind while playing the game was Full Metal Alchemist. The idea of being an alchemist in search of the materials and recipes for making a Philosopher’s Stone is a key element of the show, as well as being the main goal of this game. I’m sure you can see where I might get the correlations. In Full Metal Alchemist, the brothers are traveling across the country side getting into trouble and always searching for a way to create the Stone. The same is true of this game. Players are traveling across the country, going from town to town, collecting elements to take back to their personal towers to hopefully be able to craft their very own Philosopher’s Stone. Of course you have to be careful that you don’t lose your Soul Stone in a fight along the way, as you can’t win without one. You also have a secret quest that they have to fulfill to end the game. Such as discarding 3 level 3 Elements in front of the tower that’s farthest from your own, or transmuting 3 homunculi and placing them in 3 different towns. Of course doing these things will only give you big chunks of points, which can really help you out, but it doesn’t guarantee a win. So far, while playing the game I haven’t had anyone win that didn’t also end the game, but a couple of times, it’s been close. I could easily see how it could happen. Honestly, this is a game that I enjoyed even more than I thought that I would. It’s actually quite fun. Players can play aggressively and go around fighting other players at every opportunity, or they can have a live and let live mentality and just work on their own agendas. I don’t think either way is bad, it just depends on which playstyle you prefer. That’s another thing that I like about the game. You can have as much or as little player interaction as you’d like. It can be more of a Euro style game or a confrontation game. It’s really up to the players. As I mentioned earlier, this game makes me think of Full Metal Alchemist. I think fans of that show might really find something to like about this game as well. I can even see some more talented players than me modding the game with some cards and standees based on those characters. This game also has some pick up and deliver mechanics which remind me of games like Firefly and A Dog’s Life. Both of which I enjoy quite a lot. I think pick up and deliver fans would also enjoy this one. If I had one wish for this game, it would be to have a solo mode. I think a solo mode with an automa would kick it out of the park as far as gameplay goes. Needless to say, this is one that I would highly recommend checking out.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Materia Prima is a pick up and delivery game where alchemists try to create a Philosopher’s Stone and fulfill their secret quest. The game does take a good bit of time to play, unless you’re only playing with 2 players. For 3 or 4 players, the game usually takes about an hour and a half, give or take. The artwork for this game is truly amazing and feels very much like you’ve been dropped into some kind of fantasy world. The components are full of this amazing artwork that really caught my eye. The rulebook is rather good, although I did find the need to flip back and forth a bit while playing the game, just to make sure that we were playing the rules correctly. The game itself is very fun and makes me think of the anime, Full Metal Alchemist. It’s not overly difficult but has a lot of fun decisions to make. Fans of pickup and deliver games like Firefly or A Dog’s Life should really enjoy this one too. With the ability for players to play this one more like a euro game or to take it to their opponents making it more confrontational, this one should appeal to a wide variety of players. My only hope is for a solo mode to be created for the game. With that, everyone would win. Overall, I like this game a good bit and look forward to seeing the finalized game. My copy had a few extra bits and pieces that I’m told are to be included on Kickstarter as Stretch Goals. I’m positive that anyone interested in this game will love the additions to come. It’s going to be a lot of fun, like turning straw into gold. Oh wait, that’s a different type of alchemy. Game On!
8 out of 10

 

For more information about this great game, please check out Peacock Tabletops at their site.

http://www.materiaprimaboardgame.com/

Be sure and keep an eye out for the Kickstarter campaign link.  Coming Soon!

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Company of Heroes Kickstarter: Ending Soon!

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone that there’s less than 24 Hours to back Company of Heroes on Kickstarter.  With so many stretch goals and extras already unlocked, this game is shaping up to be amazing.  For those that have never heard of the game before, below are some details.

This World War II board game captures the drama and excitement of the beloved Company of Heroes video games. The video games, originally inspired by the memoirs of veterans as well as the Band of Brothers HBO series were developed by Relic Entertainment and published by SEGA.

The project is a dream come true for Bad Crow Games, who developed the board game. Spearheaded by Colonel Bryan Green (retired, 2018) the team is comprised entirely of US Army veterans. As long-time fans of the Company of Heroes series and World War 2 strategy games, they have faithfully adapted their favorite mechanics and experiences into this beautifully crafted board game.

Game highlights from the development team:

 

“Our goal was to streamline the tactics, choices and moments of the video games into an accessible board game that could be played by anyone, even those new to the wargame genre. Like the video games, we wanted players to experience a relationship with their units, starting when they are initially purchased, and growing as they are given better equipment and accomplish tasks, eventually becoming veterans as they see combat.” Colonel Bryan Green

“It is different from our favorite tactical skirmish games because it focuses so heavily on seizing objectives to capture resources and increase supply production. Supply is spent on constructing new buildings, new units and upgrading their equipment; just like in the video games, but on your kitchen table.” – Staff Sergeant Brian Gabrielson

“A big aspect of the Company of Heroes board game is operating on teams. Similar to the video games, each player will need to focus on their aspect of the battlefield but also support their team-mate to achieve the overall strategy. It really creates a memorable camaraderie when you come to the defense of your partner, or you combine tactics to pin and flank your enemies.”

– Captain Aaron Gabrielson

The Core Set, available for $99 on KickStarter, includes US, British, Soviet and German armies. It can be played with 2 to 4 players but an optional add-on pack provides solo and cooperative components and missions. It includes a beginner, standard and hard-core mode to adapt to the players’ preferred complexity level.

 

For more information about the game, you can check out the primary community on Facebook below.

https://www.facebook.com/Companyofheroesboardgame/

You can also check out a draft of the rulebook as well.

https://issuu.com/badcrowgames/docs/company_of_heroes_board_game_rulebo

If you like what you see, you can back the game on Kickstarter by following the link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/223137030/company-of-heroes-board-game?ref=discovery_category_newest

As always, Game On!

 

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