Math Dice Review

Math Dice is a game by Sam Ritchie, published by ThinkFun. It is for 1 or more players. In this game, players will be rolling dice, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing their way to victory. The player that can do this the best and the fastest will be declared the winner.

To begin, get out the 12 sided dice and the 6 sided dice and place them on the table. That’s all there is to it. Play now begins.

One player starts off by rolling the two 12 sided Target dice. The 2 numbers rolled are then multiplied together. This is the Target number that players will be trying to acheive. The three 6 sided Scoring dice are then rolled. These are the numbers that the players will be using to calculate the closest number possible to the Target number by creating an equation using the 3 scoring numbers. It should be noted that each scoring number is only able to be used once in each equation. The players are able to use any combination of mathmatical operations to create the number. They can use addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, powers and roots. Once a player has an answer, they can simply call it out. The first person to call out an answer, claims that number. As long as the Target number has not been reached, the other players have 15 seconds to respond with a new answer that is closer to the Target number. This continues with players calling out answers and then having 15 seconds to respond with a closer number until one player hits the Target number exactly or the time limit of 15 seconds has been reached without a response. If the Target number is hit, the player that hit the number wins the point. If the time limit is reached, then the player that came up with the closest number must state their equation that gave them the number. If they are correct, then they win the point. If they are wrong, then the next closest answer is allowed to state their equation. If they are correct, then they win the point instead. The game continues until a player wins 4 points. The first player to do this is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with a handful of dice, a rulebook and a small bag to hold it all in. First off there are the two 12 sided Target dice. These are your normal white polyhedron dice with engraved numbers. The 3 six sided Scoring dice are blue instead of white and they have pips instead of numbers on them, like most regular six sided dice do. The rulebook I’ll cover in the next section. The bag is small, like the size of a shirt pocket, but it has a really cool looking logo on the front and a nice plastic spring clasp drawstring cord lock. It appears to be made of neoprene or some type of nylon like material. Everything fits neatly inside the bag without any problems. For what it is, I think it looks pretty darn cool. I really like the bag. As a matter of fact, I wish I had a bunch more of these for some of my other games. I think the bag is just the right size to hold tokens or other small gaming materials, instead of the normal ziplock style bags that they usually include in the box. Anyway, the game is small enough that it can be placed in your pocket inside the little bag and carried anywhere. Overall, it’s not bad at all.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is rather small and fits easily inside the drawstring bag that is included with the game. It’s 20 pages long and all in black and white, no color anywhere to be seen. There are only 2 or 3 pictures in the book, which is a bit disappointing. However, it’s not like the game really needs a ton of pictures to explain it with. The rules are simple and easy enough to follow. There’s nothing here that should give anyone any problems. The rulebook includes a few variants to make the game a bit simpler, for younger players. Such as only using one 12 sided Target die instead of two, or using both 12 sided dice but adding the numbers instead of multiplying them. There are also rules that allow for cooperation instead of competition, such as allowing a pencil and paper or a calculator, dropping the 15 second time resrictions, or awarding everyone that can match the best answer for that turn a point. Another addition to the rulebook is a set of 8 Practice Tables to help players discover different patterns and equations through various ways. These are a big help and are kind of fun to see all the different things that the numbers can do. They are a great help and should encourage some creative thought after looking over them. Overall, the rules are explained quite well. I think that the book isn’t bad, even though I would have preferred a little color and a few more pictures inside it.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I don’t know many kids that like math, including mine. My kids absolutely hate it. My son hates it more than my daughter does. She’s 8 though and hasn’t gotten to the more complexities of algebra and geometry like my son has. Still, it’s not her favorite subject either. As for me, I hated math when I was in school too. Just looking at a math problem filled me with dread. It wasn’t till I got into college that I started appreciating all that math could do for me. Needless to say, I’d never have realized that I’d be working with math on a daily basis in my accounting job. As a home schooling family, I’m usually the one that deals with all the math related problems for the kid’s school work. I spend a good part of my evening going over problems and equations, helping my son learn all the complexities of Algebra and Geometry. Mrs. Gravitt would be so proud of me. You may be asking yourself, what does all that have to do with Math Dice? Well if you could find a way to make math fun for your kids, wouldn’t you use it? That’s what Math Dice is. It’s a neat, simple and fun game that can be played with your kids to help them with their math skills. It only takes about 10 minutes to play, so it doesn’t take up a lot of time. As I mentioned earlier, the game is small and light weight, fitting easily inside your pocket so that it can be taken anywhere. You’re on a field trip, waiting on your lunch order. Break out the Math Dice and play a round or two while you wait. The kids are tired of going over their multiplication tables. Break out the Math Dice and see what they’ve learned in a fun way. The possibilities are endless. The game can even be practiced solo, by simply rolling the dice and see how quickly you can come up with the Target number. I realize that as an educational game, it’s not going to appeal to everyone. For teachers and home school parents, this is a big help and a great addition to your teaching materials. The kids like it and it helps them to learn. What better to learn then math? It’s something that you will use every day. This game sharpens those math skills and makes it kind of fun too. I highly recommend this as a teaching resource, especially for home schoolers.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Math Dice is an educational game to help improve math skills. It’s really fast and simple. Most game sessions last around 10 minutes. It’s a small, light weight and portable game that can be easily carried around in your pocket. It can easily be adapted to every players mathematical abilities making it fun for everyone. This is one that the whole family can play, from the kids to the grandparents. The variants allow the game to be played with even younger players that might not have the math skills that adults or older kids should have. It’s fast and fun and a great resource for teachers and home schoolers. This is one that I would highly recommend for helping to improve your kid’s math skills. You should definitely pick up a copy.
8 out of 10

 

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

http://thinkfun.com

 

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The Butterfly Garden Review

The Butterfly Garden is a game by Steve Finn, published by Doctor Finn’s Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of lepidopterists, or butterfly collectors. They will be trying to capture the most highly desired butterflies in their jars so that they can deliver them to their own personal butterfly gardens. Of course they’ll have to be careful, as their fellow collectors may try to sabotage their jars, releasing their butterflies back into the wild. In the end, the player that can create the best garden of butterflies, earning them the most victory points, will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player receives a jar tile and a garden tile, placing them in front of themself. The butterfly cards are shuffled together and each player is dealt 3 cards each. The remaining cards are placed face down in the middle of the play area to form a draw pile. One card for each player is drawn from the butterfly deck and placed face up in a row beside the draw pile. This area is called, “The Field”. The delivery cards are shuffled next and are placed face down to the side of the play area. A certain number of cards are drawn from the delivery deck and placed face up in a row beside the deck. That number is equal to the number of players minus 1. However with only 2 players, 2 delivery cards are drawn and placed on either side of the delivery deck. One more delivery card is then flipped face up and placed back on top of the deck. This card is not available but will become available later. The score cards are set aside for the moment. Play now begins.

The game is played in a series of rounds. Each round is divided into 3 different phases. Those phases are Establish Turn Order, Take Turns and Prepare for Next Round. The first phase is to Establish Turn Order. In this step players will pick a butterfly card from their hands simultaneously and then place it face down. Once everyone has completed this, all players will turn over their chosen cards at the same time. The numbers on each player’s card will establish the turn order beginning with the lowest number and going to the highest.

The next phase is to Take Turns. In turn order, each player will take a series of steps in the corresponding order; Capture a Butterfly, Perform a Special Action, Add a Butterfly to the Jar and Deliver Butterflies to the Garden. To Capture a Butterfly, the player will choose a butterfly card from the field and add it to their hand. Once this has been done, they will Perform a Special Action, if they have any to perform. That is to say, if the butterfly card that they played in the first phase has a special action icon on it, the player now has the option of performing the corresponding action. This action could be to draw a butterfly card, to place a butterfly card from their hand into their jar, replacing it with a butterfly card from their jar. to deliver the butterfly card straight to their garden and score victory points for it or to draw the top butterfly card from the deck and add it to their jar. When they’ve completed the action, they will now Add a Butterfly to their Jar. They will do this by taking the butterfly card that they played in the first phase and moving it to their jar. They will turn the card sideways and tuck it under the side of the jar tile so that the types and amounts can easily be seen. It should be noted that a player’s jar can only hold 8 butterflies. If a jar ever has more than this amount, the player must immediately discard a butterfly card of their choice until 8 or less butterflies remain in the jar. Finally, the last step is to Deliver Butterflies to the Garden. To do this, the player discards butterfly cards from their jar that show the same butterflies that correspond with one of the delivery cards. It should be noted that the player is able to pay more butterflies than is needed to fulfill the delivery card. The fulfilled delivery card is then tucked under the player’s garden tile so that the victory point totals of each one can easily be seen.

The final phase is to Prepare for the Next Round. In this phase a butterfly card is drawn from the deck and placed in the field. Delivery cards are drawn to replace those taken earlier in the round. The top card of the Delivery deck is then flipped over and placed on top, just like during setup. Unless the Delivery deck has been exhausted, a new round begins.

The game continues until one of the game ending events happens. If the Delivery deck has been exhausted, the game ends. If a player reaches or passes the victory point goal, then the current round is completed. That goal depends on the number of players. Either way, players add up their victory points and the one with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
There aren’t a lot of pieces when it comes to this game. There are the Garden and Jar tiles that are given to each player, and then there are all the cards. The tiles are thick cardboard and have a really nice linen finish to them. The same is true of the cards. Needless to say, I’m a fan of the finish. I like the texture and how nice it looks on whatever it’s used on. The artwork on the tiles isn’t all that dramatic. The Garden tile has a few flowers at the bottom and a blue sky above, while the Jar tile has what looks like a Mason jar in a field of grass. The artwork looks hand painted and is quite nice. Most of the tile is covered with the phases of a player’s turn on the Garden tile and a list of special actions on the Jar tile. These are great references and serve double purposes which is also nice. The one bad thing about the tiles is that while it’s nice to have the references, the text covers about 3/4 of the tile and thus the really beautiful artwork is reduced to a smaller size. Fortunately, the cards don’t suffer the same fate. The artwork really shines on these and has plenty of room to fly free. Get it…butterfly…fly free. I’ll see myself out. Once again the hand painted look appears once more in all it’s beauty. Each card look beautiful. Even the backs of the cards have a nice design that doesn’t distract from the imagery. Thematically, the look and the feel are all there. Everything looks like it fits together quite nicely. Having played a prototype copy of this early one, I’m very happy with the way this all turned out. It far exceeded what I expected.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is small but concise. It looks really nice and has lots of great pictures and examples. The book shows how setup should look and also includes an advanced setup that involves less luck. Each phase of the game is explained in great detail in a step by step process. The book is really simple to read through and is easy to understand. The best part is that it doesn’t take very long to read through. I think that the book does a great job at covering everything. I’m very pleased with the overall look and feel of the book. It gets the job done with style. It’s a definite improvement to the original rules.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game features a lot of different mechanics rolled up into one. It takes things like action selection and combines it with some hand management. It even has a nice pick up and deliver feel to it, even without actually using the mechanic. The game has a great theme that works quite well with the mechanics. Starting off the game has a bit of a luck based feel to it, however that has been mitigated with the advanced rules for setup. The game focuses on scoring points by collecting the right types of butterflies to fulfill the different delivery cards with. Of course you can overpay but you don’t want to waste any butterflies so that’s where the hand management part comes in. With several options available to deliver butterflies, you’ll be filling deliveries and scoring points fairly rapidly. Which means that you’ll be needing more butterflies to add to your jar. I like that certain butterfly cards have special abilities that can help you in various ways. I also like how nice that the game looks on the table. It’s a fun light weight card game that is family friendly. No need to worry about offending the grandparents or upsetting the kids with this one. It’s just a beautiful little filler style game that plays quickly and will delight players of all ages. It’s not a high strategy game so fans of those types of games may find this one a bit lacking. However for everyone else, I think it’s good to go. This is one that could be easily placed into a small drawstring bag and carried virtually anywhere. With it only being a deck of cards and a few cardboard tiles, it’s very portable. Of course, you’d have to remove it from the box to do that. This is one that I feel works for just about anyone. With a short play time, it makes a great filler and could be played with your co-workers on your lunch break. The look and feel of the game should even appeal to the ladies in your office. Overall, I find this to be a great little game that I highly recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The Butterfly Garden is a card game about collecting the most beautiful butterflies for your garden. The game doesn’t take too long. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes or so. The artwork is really beautiful and looks great on the table. I do wish that the tiles had more artwork and less text on them, but that’s just a personal preference. The rulebook looks great and covers all the rules quite nicely. The game itself is a lot of fun and makes a great filler that can be played virtually anywhere. The fast game time and family friendly look makes it one that should appeal to almost anyone. It can be played with both old and young, as well as both males and females. It has a good bit of luck but that can be changed with a slight modification supplied in the rulebook. Fans of high strategy games might be left a little cold with this one, but everyone else should really enjoy it. This is a game that I love to play and look forward to playing it many more times. I highly recommend this game. See if you can catch yourself a copy while it’s still available.
9 out of 10

 

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Doctor Finn’s Games at his site.

http://www.doctorfinns.com/

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The Little Flower Shop Review

The Little Flower Shop is a game by Steve Finn, published by Doctor Finn’s Games. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of florists tasked with making the most beautiful window display for their own personal flower shops.

To begin, each player chooses a color and takes the corresponding shop window board, as well as the 3 starting vase cards of their chosen color. Each players places their shop window board in front of them. They then place their starting vase cards on their shop window. Each player is then given a register card which is placed next to their shop window. The money cards are sorted by denomination and placed within reach of all players. The shop cards are shuffled together and then placed face down within reach of all players as well. Play now begins.

The game is played over 3 rounds. Each round players will be dealt a hand of 7 shop cards. Players will then simultaneously choose a card from their hand and then place that card face down in their keep area, below their board. The remaining cards in their hand are then placed face down in the player’s pass area at the top of the board. For the first and third rounds, the player will place these cards to the left side, while the cards are placed to the right side in the second round.

Once all players have chosen a card, each player will then reveal their card and use it. If the card is a vase card, it is placed in 1 of the 8 vase spots in the player’s window. If there are already 8 vases, the excess vase is placed in storage, which is to the left of the player’s board. Flower cards are tucked under the topside of a vase card that matches it with the flower still showing. If the flower does not match an open vase, it must be placed in storage. It should be noted that each vase may only hold 1 flower card. Salary cards are tucked under the player’s register card so that the amount on the card is visible to all players. Basket cards are placed in storage. Once a player chooses, they may take a basket card from storage and hang it in one of the 3 spots at the top of the shop window by spending money equal to the basket’s cost from their register. If all 3 spots are already taken, the excess basket is placed in storage. Order cards are also placed in storage. They are taken out once a player decides to fulfill an order. To fulfill an order the player discards a flower card along with their order card to collect a certain amount of money from the bank. The player will collect $3 for a 1 flower card, $4 for a 2 flower card and $5 for a 3 flower card. They may also choose to sell a vase card instead, collecting $2 for the vase. If a player’s flower and vase cards match, then the player is allowed to sell both, collecting the money for each. Any money cards received are then placed under the player’s register with the amounts visible for all player to see. It should be noted that a player is able to sell cards in storage or in the shop window, however they are not allowed to sell any in their trash. The trash area is on the right side of the player’s board.

Once all players have used their card, each player will then pass the cards in their pass area to the player on either their left or right, depending on which round it is. Once more, the process of choosing a card and using it is repeated. This continues until there is only 1 final card in the round. At this time, the player may choose to accept this card as their chosen card or they may spend $2 to discard it and draw a random card from the top of the deck. This drawn card is then kept and used accordingly. It should be noted that anytime during the game, a player is allowed to reorganize their cards in their shop window and their storage. Cards in a players trash are not allowed to be reorganized. However the player is allowed to trach any card they wish from either their storage or their shop window. It should also be noted that a player is only allowed to have 4 cards in their storage. Any excess cards must be moved to their trash. However if a player’s storage is already full, they may reorganize and/or use cards in their storage or their shop window to fulfill an order before trashing. The player is also allowed to trash a card in their storage to make room for a card just taken.

The game continues until 3 rounds have been completed. After the third round, players must move any empty vase cards in their shop window to their trash, as well as any cards in their storage. Players will then score Flower Power based on the flower petals at the bottom of a filled vase card, as well as for each hung basket and for every $5 in their register. They must subtract power for every 2 cards in their trash. Players then add up their points and the player with the most Flower Power is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This is a really pretty looking game, as you might expect. However, there aren’t a lot of different pieces to this game. The game includes 4 player boards or Shop Windows. Each one is a different color and depicts 2 hanging shelves and one long shelf along the bottom with ivy running up the side of the board. These are quite nice looking. It’s about what you may think of when you think of a floral shop’s display window. One other thing of note about these is that the backs of each player board have a beautiful flower print in the player color. This was completely unneeded but adds an extra bit of beauty to the boards instead of just being a simple black backing. The other component for this game is a huge stack of cards. These cards are all the smaller euro sized cards and are not your normal playing card size. They have a textured linen style finish on them so that they are easy to shuffle. There are a couple of different types of cards. There are Shop cards which consist of flower cards, basket cards, vase cards, salary cards, order cards. These all have a bunch of flowers on the back side of them and then the different designs for each type on the front. The flower cards have from 1 to 3 long stemmed flowers. The basket cards have an arrangement of flowers in a hanging basket. The vase cards have a vase with a flower design on it, depicting 1 to 3 flowers. The salary cards show a denomination of money on them. The order cards depict the lady from the front of the box holding a bunch of flowers along with the value for each order. I have to say that these all look quite nice. I especially like the designs on the back and the different arrangements on each card. All of the icons on the cards are very easy to understand. The other cards that come with the game are the player cards which consist of 3 starting vase cards in 4 different player colors and the register cards, as well as the money cards. The starting vases match the colors of the player boards with there being 3 vases for each player color. The register card is a black card with a cash register design on it. The money cards depict different denominations of $1, $2 $3 and $5. Each one is a different color so that they are easily identified, simply by color. Overall I have to say that I really like the different designs. Once the cards start filling up the player boards, the overall look is quite lovely. I’m thrilled with the look and feel of this game. Doctor Finn’s artist has really outdone themself.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is quite pretty as well. It has plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book. The rules are explained really well, everything from setup to a step by step overview of how to play the game. There are also detailed explanations of each of the components and how each one works, along with an explanation of the different areas on the player’s Shop Window. There are also several different variations that may be added or used in place of the original rules. There is the additional Filler Scoring, which adds extra points at the end of the game for 1 of the 3 different types of flower fillers; baby’s breath, hypericum and ferns. There are also variant rules for playing with 2 players, 3 players and even solo. I like all the different options but I’m especially pleased that a solo option was made available. Also included in the game box was a thick card stock insert that shows the distribution of the different shop cards in the game with color pictures of each. On the back of this page are a bunch of frequently asked questions. While I think that many of the questions are pretty easy to figure out, thanks to the detailed rulebook, it’s still nice to have a bit of clarification just in case. Overall I think that the rulebook is just as nice looking as the game and that it compliments it quite well. I’m very pleased with it as well.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Card drafting is an interesting mechanic. Games like 7 Wonders, Fairy Tale and Sushi Go have all used it quite well. Even collectible card games like Magic the Gathering have used it, albeit in a tournament style setting but still. So what makes the mechanic so interesting? I mean after all, you’re simply picking the best card from your hand of cards to keep and passing the rest of your hand to the player beside you. It’s like taking a multiple choice quiz that you don’t know the answers to, you pick the answer that makes the most sense. The same is with drafting games. You don’t know what will be available in another player’s hand. Sure you can hope and pray that you get certain things, but in the end, you get what you get. I think it’s that unknown variable that makes these types of games so interesting, at least that’s my thought. So what does that mean for The Little Flower Shop? Well, it holds true to the pick and pass idea of card drafting. Where it stands out for me is that you have the ability to hold onto certain cards that you might not be able to do anything with at the moment and store them. Once you get another card that allows you to use that card, you can then pull it out of storage and use it however you see fit. I like that this game has a bit of a pickup and delivery aspect as well. This comes in when you get a order card and are able to deliver either a bouquet of flowers, vase or both. You’re then able to get money to pay for those hanging baskets that will earn you some serious Flower Power. Of course you can always snag a few dollars in salary cards while drafting if you so choose. With so much variety, there are lots of options to choose from. To top it off, the game is really pretty. With all that said, I’m pretty sure that you can tell that I like the game quite a bit. It’s a lot of fun and it’s different enough from many of the other drafting games that you won’t get burnt out on the mechanic. Fans of card drafting games like those mentioned earlier, should really enjoy this one as well. It’s a bit lighter than some like 7 Wonders which makes it a bit more accessible and easier for players new to the mechanic or to gaming in general. I think it makes a great family game that is great for players of all ages. It’s also a great filler game to lighten the load of some heavier gaming sessions. Overall I enjoyed this one and think that it will appeal to a wide variety of players. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
The Little Flower Shop is a card drafting game of floral design. The game doesn’t take a long time to play. Most sessions last around 20 minutes or so. The components look really nice. I especially like the beautiful artwork on the various card types. There are lots of little unexpected subtle touches that really look great. The rulebook is great at covering everything that you need to know to play the game, while looking good at the same time. The game itself is a lot of fun and is quite simple to play. Fans of card drafting games like 7 Wonders or Fairy Tale should have no problem with this one and should thoroughly enjoy it. It’s a great family style game and it also works as a filler between heavier games. This is one that I would highly recommend. I enjoy it a lot and think that it will appeal ot a wide range of players. Give it a try. You’ll have a bloomin’ good time!
9 out of 10

 

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Doctor Finn’s Games at his site.

http://www.doctorfinns.com/

 

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Preview Review of Trailhead: The Wilderness Survival Game

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

Trailhead is a game by Mike McDearmon, published by Two Moles Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of hikers lost in the Superstition Mountains. They’ll being trying to stay alive while being the first to make it to the trailhead. They’ll need to collect trail markers if they want to move forward. Of course they’ll need to be careful as their water supply is running low and each turn they’ll lose more. In the end, the player that can reach the trailhead first or that survives the longest, will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player is recommended to go outside and find a game piece to represent themself wih. This could be an acorn, pebble or some other such item. The Trailhead tile is placed at one end of the play area. The Map tiles are shuffled together. A trail is built to the left of the Trailhead tile by placing a number of tiles face down in a row beside it. For a short game, 6 map tiles are used including the Trailhead tile, for a longer game 8 tiles are used. The tile farthest from the Trailhead is flipped over and is the starting point for the players. Each player will then place their game piece on this tile. Each player is given 8 water drops, while the rest of them are placed in a pile within reach of all players. Players are also given a counter card with 2 slider clips for either side of the card. Each player should position their sliders to the 0 space. The green and gold survival cards are shuffled separately and placed facedown in 2 separate stacks. The top 2 cards from the green deck are drawn and placed face up beside the deck. The top card from the gold deck is also placed face up beside it’s deck as well. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played in a series of turns. Each player will take a turn consisting of 3 steps. These steps must be followed in order. They are roll the dice, take any number of actions and pay water from your supply. The first step is to roll the dice. The player starts by rolling the 3 dice. After rolling, the player is allowed to keep any dice they like and reroll the rest. The player is allowed to roll up to 3 times. Once the 3 rolls have been taken or the player is happy with their results, their roll is finished. The player then adds the items on the dice to their supply, adding water drops from the pool or moving the sliders on their counter card.

The next step is to take actions. There are 3 actions that a player may take; moving between map tiles, buying survival cards and using survival cards. The player is allowed to take as many actions as they want in any order they want. Moving between map tiles is an action that can be taken. It costs 3 trail markers for the player to move 1 map tile. If a player has more than 5 trail markers, they’ll be forced to move. Buying survival cards is another action that can be taken. These can be bought from either the green or the gold decks. The cost to buy a survival card is located on the top left of each of these cards and costs a certain number of compasses. There are always 2 green and 1 gold card available to buy. If the player doesn’t like any of the available cards, they can pay a compass to replace either the gold card or both green cards with new cards from their respective decks. It should be noted that a player is only allowed to have 2 green cards and 1 gold card maximum at the end of their turn. The final action available to a player is to use a survival card. To do this, the player simply plays the card and follows the instructions on it. Once used, green cards are discarded. Gold cards are more permanent and work on every turn. These are only discarded if a player chooses to replace it with another gold card.

The final step is to pay water from your supply. Each of the map tiles shows a number of water drops at the top of the card. Whichever map tile that the player ends their turn on, this is how many water drops from the player’s supply must be paid at this time. If a player runs out of water, they are eliminated. Once a player has paid their water drops, play passes to the next player. It should be noted that at this time a player must check to make sure that they don’t have more than their maximum supply limits in survival cards, trail markers, compasses and water drops. The survival cards were mentioned earlier. A player may only have the maximum of 5 trail markers, 6 compasses and 12 water drops at the end of their turn.

The game continues until one player reaches the trailhead first or all but one player has been eliminated. The player that still remains or that was able to reach the trailhead first is the winner.

COMPONENTS
The pieces for this game are actually pretty cool. To start with, the game comes in this nifty little silver tin with a cardboard band around it. I have to say, I’m not normally a fan of games in tins instead of boxes, but I kind of like this one. That’s probably because it’s small and portable. Next there are the wooden water drops. These are dark blue and very sturdy. These are probably my favorite part of the game. There are also several of the counter cards that use the little plastic slider clips on the side to keep track of the player’s trail markers and compasses. These are more like the thickness of a card except they have a nice satin like finish on them. On the back of these cards there is a reference of the player’s carrying capacity and how much of each a player can have at the end of their turn. The artwork is a bit drab here and I wish that there had been a bit more emphasis on the trail marker and compass side. The map tiles are much like the counter cards instead of actual tiles. The same thickness and finish is also on these. The artwork isn’t extremely elaborate and is very modest. However I kind of like the actual style here and think that it really works for the game. There is a little less artwork on the green and gold survival cards. These are more of an old school clipart logo than actual artwork. However the minimalistic designs actually keep from distracting from the actual game. While some really beautiful artistic drawings or paintings would have been nice on these cards and on the map tiles, I have to say that I kind of like the look anyway. I’m assuming that once this makes it to Kickstarter that this will probably be addressed. I’m also hoping that the dice will also be addressed. These are the only little blemish on the components. While I can really appreciate the effort to laser etch the dice, it appears that whatever the black stuff that was used for each design has rubbed off onto the dice themselves. I’ve tried to wipe the flakes and smears off them but it won’t come off. It’s not that the dice look gross or disgusting, far from it. It’s just that it looks a little unprofessional. Like I said, I appreciate the effort. I just wish these were a little better done. I’m sure this little problem will be addressed before the professional copies make their way out of the gate. In any event, I’m still pleased with the overall look and feel. For a prototype game, it’s quite nice.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a small little glossy color book that fits neatly into the tin. It’s got plenty of nice pictures and examples. There’s even a step by step example leading the reader through each step of a player’s turn. Everything is laid out really well and is explained in great detail. There’s even a rule cheatsheet that references the 3 steps of a player’s turn, along with the maximum supply limits. Also included is a quick reference for the different actions that a player can take. While I appreciate having these here, it probably would have been better if this had been on the back of the book or on a reference card. In any event, it’s not like it’s hard to remember the rules of the game so it’s mostly unnecessary anyway. On the back of the book is a nice little back story of how the game came about and some thank yous to some of the designer’s influences. Overall, I think the book gets the job done and looks pretty good to boot. I’m sure that as the game progresses through the productions phases of the Kickstarter, that it will only improve.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
As a kid, I played Yahtzee many, many times. Even as an adult, I’ve still enjoyed playing it. It’s easy, it’s simple and it’s fun. I guess that’s why so many dice rolling games borrow the mechanics from it when it comes to creating a new game. You roll a set number of dice, keeping the ones that you want. You roll again, repeating the process from earlier and then you repeat all that one more time. Three rolls, locking in dice as you’d like. Like I said, simple. With a handful of dice, you have a fairly good chance of getting what you’re looking for. With only 3 dice, it’s not quite as easy. Every time I rolled these dice I’d wind up getting 2 of the same thing, which is great if I’m going for water drops. The problem would come when I’d try to get enough trail markers to move forward. Thankfully that’s mitigated by the fact that even if you only roll 1 trail marker or 1 compass, you’re able to store them in your inventory, which of course is shown on your counter card. So even if the dice hate you, like they do me a lot of times, you can still store the goods you need to continue. Unlike Yahtzee, where you’re simply stuck with whatever that last roll gives you. The same is true with games like King of Tokyo, which is a family favorite at my house. I like that as you’re rolling the dice, you’re kind of having to plan out how fast you’re going to move and what you’re going to try to accomplish. There are these survival cards that everyone can see laying on the table. Do you try to save up and get the compasses you need for a particular card that you think will help you, before your opponents snatch it up, or do you worry about moving as quickly and efficiently as you can across the map tiles. Of course you really have to keep up with your water consumption too, use up too much or don’t watch it and you’re out, not only of water but also of the game. Like I mentioned, those survival cards can be a real benefit at times, but they can also be a hindrance to the other players too. Some of them have what’s called Aggro effects. That means that they’re aggressive towards the other players. Like the Raw Deal card that takes a compass, trail marker or water drop from any player in exchange for one of yours. Thankfully there are cards like the Self Defense that protects you from other player’s Aggro cards. These cards give the game a bit more depth to it and also add a bit of Take That feel to it. For this reason, the game makes me think of the games from Smirk & Dagger with their Take That mechanics. Overall I really like the theme and feel of this game. It’s actually quite fun and simple to play. The survival theme fits really well with the design of the game. I like how well it all fits together. I think fans of dice rolling games like Yahtzee and King of Tokyo, might enjoy this one too. Take That game fans should enjoy the survival cards that make this game more than just dice rolling. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out. I think the designer has a really good design and idea here. I look forward to seeing the final form that this one takes. I definitely like what was presented to me.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Trailhead is a dice rolling game of survival with a Take That feel to it. The game doesn’t take too long. Most game sessions last around 25-35 minutes. As a prototype, the game looks quite nice. The wooden water drops are a really nice touch. I also like the minimalistic designs on the cards and especially the map tiles. Of course, I’m sure that the pieces will all get upgrades to even better quality and designs once it hits production. Hopefully that will include a bit more life to some of the designs and a bit more professional look to the dice. Still for what it is at this point, it looks quite good. The game itself takes the Yahtzee mechanics of rolling dice up to 3 times and mixes in a bit of Take That to make a rather unique take on survival. I have to say that I quite enjoyed the game and look forward to playing it even more. Fans of dice rolling games like Yahtzee and King of Tokyo might enjoy this one, especially if they like the survival theme. Take That fans should enjoy it as well. Overall, this is a game that I would definitely recommend checking out. It’s a really good game that will leave you thirsty for more.
8 out of 10

For more information about this game and how to purchase a copy, please check out the game’s official website below.

http://www.trailheadgame.com

You can also keep an eye out on this page for the Kickstarter link, coming soon!

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Eminent Domain: Oblivion Expansion Review

Eminent Domain: Oblivion is an expansion for Eminent Domain by Seth Jaffee, published by Tasty Minstrel Games. It is for 2-5 players. This expansion adds a new Politics Role and Global Agendas that affect all players. It also adds new Technology cards, new Planets as well as a promo pack for combining this expansion with previous expansions.

For more information on the base game and how to play it, please check out the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/eminent-domain-review/

Setting up this expansion with the base game is pretty much the same. However the new Central Card Display board should be used in place of the original one. Once normal setup has been finished, each player is given a Political Influence card. The new Planet cards are shuffled into the Planet deck and all the new Technology cards are sorted by type and placed into 4 face up piles near the original Technology cards. The number of Role cards to be used are based on the number or players and determined by a chart inside the rulebook. Each player creates their starting deck and gets 2 Politics cards instead of 1 in their deck. The Agenda cards are shuffled and dealt out face up into each of the Upcoming Agenda slots on the top of the board. Players shuffle their starting decks and draw 5 cards each. Play now begins.

Many of the rules for playing the game haven’t changed. However there are a few new concepts introduced in this expansion that changes things just a bit. For instance, in the Replenish phase, any empty Replenishing slots in a player’s Empire are replenished at the start of the player’s turn. If a particular card contains more than one Replenishing Slot then each empty slot will refresh even if the other slots are full. In the Action phase, players are allowed to take one action from a card in their hand, from their Political Influence tile or from any of their face up Planets or Technology cards in their Empire. Of course this phase is still completely optional. Cards played during the Action phase are set aside and will have no effect during the Role phase. Actions on Planets and Technology cards are limited to once per Action. The Role phase is conducted the same as with the base game. Cards played to boost or follow a role are set aside and have no effect during any subsequent Role phases. Role symbols on Planets and Technology cards may be used only once per Role. The Cleanup phase also works the same, except with one minor adjustment. At the beginning of this phase and before the player reconciles their hand, all cards that were set aside during the player’s Action and Role phases are placed into the Discard pile. Any players that followed during the player’s Role phase will also place any cards set aside into their Discard pile.

The game continues until one of the end game triggers occurs. This can be either a number of influence tokens or role stacks have been depleted. When this occurs, the current round is completed like normal and then one additional full round is played. Just like with the base game, players will then add up their influence from the various different sources in their Empire. The player with the most points is the winner.

As I noted earlier, there are lots of new components and mechanics included in this expansion. I’d like to take a few moments to discuss some of the new things that this expansion introduces. I’ll start with the Clout tokens. These are double sided tokens that have the Politics symbol on one side and one of the various Role symbols on the other. They are drawn when following a Politics role, using the action on the Political Influence tile or through some other action from a Planet or Technology card. These are kept face down in the player’s Empire and may be used to boost or follow a relevant Role. Once used they are discarded into a pile beside the bag. Next there’s the Political Influence tile. Each player will start with one of these that can be upgraded later into an Improved Political Influence tile. The tile allows a player to draw a Clout token or trade a resource for another, different resource instead of playing a card from their hand. Once upgraded, the improved tile provides a permanent Politics symbol and improves on both of the previously mentioned actions. Instead of just 1 Clout token, the player can now draw 2 and then discard 1 from their Empire. They can also trade more resources than before. Instead of just 1, they can now trade up to 2 for 2 different resources. The tile also gives each of the player’s planets an Annex cost of 7 Politics, allowing the player to Annex any planet in the game.

On top of these new tiles and tokens, the game also adds lot of new terminology, planets and prestige planets. I won’t go into all the details, just be aware that there will be some new mechanics to understand. For more information on these, check out the rulebook. Speaking of new mechanics, the biggest change that this expansion brings to the table are the Agendas and how they work with the Politics role. Agendas start off at the top of the board in the Upcoming Agendas space. Each one has a cost ranging from the most expensive on the left and the least expensive on the right. The cost to activate these are the number of Politics icons that must be paid. These Agendas affect all players equally but also provide a bonus to the player activating them. This brings me to the Politics role. Like any of the other roles, the Politics role follows a specific order. First the player declares a proposal this can be either to activate an Agenda, dismiss an Agenda or Annexing a Planet. Activating an Agenda if successful is done by paying the cost in Politics. It’s then moved to the leftmost Active slot at the bottom of the board, moving any other Agendas to the right 1 space. If an Agenda moves off the board, it’s returned to the bottom of the Agenda deck. The Active Agendas will now act like a permanent Technology in all of the player’s Empires. Dismissing an Agenda is also paid for with Politics, if successful. However when this is chosen, the chosen Agenda card is removed and then moved to the bottom of the Agenda deck. When removed this way, the effects of the Agenda are no longer active. Annexing a Planet, if successful, is done by flipping the Planet over and paying the Annex cost in Politics. Once the proposal step is completed, the players moves on to boosting the role by using Politics symbols from cards in their hand and permanent Politics symbols already in play. Next the player solicits support, this means that the other players have the option to follow the player’s chosen role by playing Politics cards from their hand or using Politics symbols in their Empire. Of course the players have the options of dissenting as well, drawing a card from their deck. Next the Politics symbols that were played by all players are spent. As long as the chosen proposal has enough Politics symbols, then that proposal must be done. The player must spend Clout tokens if necessary. However, if there are not enough for the declared proposal then the player is allowed to do any 1 of the 3 of their choice, as long as they can afford it. If there are any leftover Politics symbols, then the player may do a different proposal of their choice by paying for it. Finally, all of the player’s opponents are now able to draw a Clout token for each Politics symbol that they contributed to the proposal. Any cards they played are discarded, as are any Clout tokens used. Once the Politics role has been completed, if there’s an Agenda in the rightmost Upcoming slot, it is returned to the bottom of the deck. The remaining Upcoming Agendas are moved as far as they can go to the right. The leftmost slot is then filled by drawing a card from the top of the deck to fill it.

COMPONENTS
This expansion has a lot of great looking pieces. If you’re already familiar with the base game, then you already know what I’m talking about. The artwork is great on each piece and carrys over the same styles and theme from previous expansions and the base game. The expansion has a new board that represents the changes to the cards and includes the new agenda spaces. There are 2 new starting planet tiles and a handful of new political influence tiles. These are all thick cardboard and are quite sturdy. The same can be said of the clout tokens. These come on a large punchboard and have the Politics symbol on one side and one of the other roles on the other. These all fit nicely in the large cloth bag that was included. I have to say that I like that the bag is so large that you can fit your hand into it quite easily. It’s large enough that even those with really big hands will have no troubles. Also included are the new smaller sized Agenda cards. These are about the size of Euro cards. These don’t have a lot as far as artwork goes, mostly it’s just symbols and text on these. There are plenty of new planet and technology cards. These are the real beauties of this set. The artwork is really great on these and the new technologies really fit in well with the theme of this expansion. There is also a good sized stack of new Politics role cards that upgrade the old ones that didn’t do much. If that weren’t enough, the expansion also includes a promo pack or cards and tiles for combining this expansion with other expansions in the Eminent Domain universe. The rulebook explains how to use these with each one. Overall, I’m very pleased with the look and feel of the expansion. The quality is out of this world.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is very similar to those from previous ones. It’s full color and has lots of great looking pictures and examples throughout. Each of the new features, items and mechanics are all covered in great detail. Everything from setup to playing the game is covered. There are several pages devoted to each of the Technology cards with pictures and explanations of each. The same is done with the agenda cards. Even the agenda and technology cards from the promo park are shown in pictures with explanations. The book itself is easy to read and understand. Players familiar with the game should have no troubles understanding any of the concepts presented in this rulebook. Overall the rulebook is much like the components, high quality.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I have to say, I like Eminent Domain quite a lot. In fact, it’s one of my favorite deck building style games. This expansion adds yet another layer of depth to an already great game. The Agendas and Political role cards are a lot of fun. I like having these global effects that can be added to the board to help you out but that can be removed when they start becoming more help for your opponents instead of you. I like that the Politics role actually has more emphasis put on it in this expansion. Previously I had little use for it, but the new mechanics for this role have made it more interesting to take and use now. The new technology cards really emphasize this too. With this new expansion, the game has been opened up to even more ways to win. Many times I found that warfare was the fast track to victory, however that’s not the case anymore. While a good fleet of ships is useful, there’s still a lot that the new Political role can do too. Needless to say, there are new strategies that will be found and lots of great fun to be had with this expansion. Fans of the original Eminent Domain and it’s expansions will most definitely want to add this one to their collection. I highly recommend it. It’s a great addition to an already amazing game. You can’t go wrong with this one.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Eminent Domain: Oblivion is an expansion for Eminent Domain that really adds lots of new layers and choices for players of the original game. This expansion adds about 15 more minutes to the base game, making gameplay right at about an hour. The artwork and quality of the components are absolutely great just like previous expansions and the base game. The expansion adds a lot more depth to an already great game. I especially like the new Politics roles and the Agenda cards. I feel that these new mechanics and ideas round out the game making it even better than it was before. There are new paths to victory and this expansion really capitalizes on the new Politics role especially through the Technology cards. Fans of the original game and it’s expansion will most definitely want to pick up a copy of this to add to their collection. I highly recommend it. For me, it’s a must have. If you like space themed deck building games, then you will love this game and this new expansion. It’s Far Out!
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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Nut So Fast Review

Nut So Fast is a game by Jeff Lai, published by Smirk & Laughter Games. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players will be flipping over cards and watching for special triggered events. Once they see the correct trigger they will need to race to grab the correct nut from the table or strike the correct pose. Of course the slowest player will be forced to suffer the consequences. They will have to be fast if they hope to win and score the least amount of points. In the end, the player with the lowest score will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Almond and Pistachio are placed in the middle of the play area, within reach of all players. A number of Cashews are placed around these 2 equal to the number of players minus 1. The same is done with the Walnuts. Each player is given 1 blue Base card with the words, “Score the Round” on it. The red NUTS! cards are shuffled together and dealt out face down to the players as equally as possible. Players are not allowed to look at the cards and must place their stack of cards in front of them at the edge of the table. They must also place the blue Base card at the bottom of their stack. The double sided number cards are placed in order to one side of the play area within view of all players. The Nutty Pose cards are shuffled together and 1 card is placed beside each number. Players will then go over the poses, performing each one and saying the number aloud. The first player is chosen as the active player and play now begins.

The game is played over 3 rounds. During a round, each player will flip over a pair of cards from their deck in front of them, starting with the active player and continuing in turn order. When flipping each card, the player must flip the card away from them so as not to give an unfair advantage to the player flipping the card. Each card flipped will cover any flipped cards from previous turns. When a card is flipped, players will be looking for one of the triggers that will cause them to react quickly. There are 4 different triggers. If there are exactly 4 matching nuts, then players must grab the corresponding nut from the middle of the play area. If there are 7 of the same matching nut, then the players must try and grab the Almond. The same thing happens if there are two sets of four matching nuts or 8 of a single type of nut. In either case, the players must race to grab the Almond. If a number card is flipped, players must ignore the nuts and strike the correct pose from the corresponding number on the side of the play area. Once the trigger has happened, the slowest player to react must take a consequence. If the player was too slow at grabbing a Cashew, then all the face up cards in front of the active player are placed underneath the slow player’s base card to be used as points against them. The same penalty happens if they were too slow at grabbing a Walnut. With the Pistachio, only the fastest player will be able to grab it. In this case, the player will take all the face up cards in front of the active player and choose a player to place the cards underneath their base card as points against them. Just like the Pistachio, the Almond will only be grabbed by the fastest player. For this player, they will not touch the active player’s cards. Instead they will be able to take all the cards underneath their base card and place them on top of their deck, cancelling out any points against them. If the player was too slow at striking the correct pose from the number card, this player must take all the face up cards in front of the active player and place them beneath their base card as points against them. It should be noted, that any time a player grabs the wrong nut by mistake, they must place 2 cards from the top of their deck underneath their base card as points against them. Once the consequences of a trigger have been resolved, or no trigger occurred, then play passes to the next player in turn order who then becomes the active player.

The round continues until a player’s blue Base card is exposed on top of their deck. The active player finishes their turn, with players completing any triggered events. Scoring occurs at this point. To score the round, each player counts up the number of nut cards below their Base card. The number for each player is written on a separate piece of paper. Once completed, a new round is set up the same as during set up. The Nutty Poses cards are discarded and replaced with 3 new cards from the deck. The player that ended the round becomes the new first player. Play resumes in the same way as previously described. It should be noted that if a “?” is revealed as one of the Nutty Poses, then the first player decides what the pose will be.

The game continues until 3 rounds have been played and scored. After the third round has been scored, players add up their total points and the player with the lowest total score is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with some really great quality pieces. First off there are the giant wooden nuts. These are really big and chunky pieces that are painted white and have a particular nut printed on one side. There are 5 walnuts, 5 cashews, a pistachio and an almond. These are really nice and I like the heft and feel of them. The designs are all silly and fun. The other component in the game is a huge stack of cards. There are 4 different types of cards. There are the 3 double sided number cards for placing a Nutty Pose beside. These are numbered 1 to 3. Next there are the Nutty Pose cards. These have a special pose on one side that the players may have to try and pose like if a number card is revealed from the Nuts! cards. There are also 6 blue base cards with the words, “Time to Score!” on them. This lets players know when the round is over. Finally there are the Nuts! cards. These have different images on them, usually containing one or more of the nuts. Sometimes, there will be a number instead of a nut. As mentioned earlier, these will cause the players to strike the corresponding numbered pose. There are also some reference cards that help each player know when to grab one of the nuts from the middle of the table. Each of the different card types are completely square and are not the normal playing card size and shape. However the finish is very similar to that on most playing cards. I really like the designs and look of the different pieces, especially the wooden nuts. They are really silly looking. Overall the components of this game are very good. I really like what you get with this one.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is fairly small and very simple to read. There are plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book. Everything from setup to explaining the different triggers is covered in great detail. The back of the book even has a trigger reference chart which is a bit larger than the reference cards included with the game. This is really great for some of the older players or anyone with vision problems that might need a bit larger print. This is one book that most likely won’t need to be read through more than once, as the rules are pretty simple. The only thing that might need referenced would be the scoring rules for each of the different nuts and possibly the triggers. Other than that, I think it’s pretty easy to understand. Overall I think the designer did a great job with the layout and explanation of the rules. There’s nothing that should be difficult to understand. I’m very pleased with the look and feel of the rulebook.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is one wild and silly party game that I really enjoy. Let’s face it, most party games are rather boring, at least to me they are. This one doesn’t have you trying to draw a picture or match up some cards to make a silly combination. It’s all about being the fastest person to grab a big silly looking wooden nut or striking a humorous pose when the trigger occurs. That’s pretty much the game right there. I know that sounds pretty simple, but what is not mentioned in those few sentences is that the laughter and fun that you’ll have playing this one far exceeds your daily dose of recommended hilariousness. Just looking at the wooden pieces makes me chuckle. Add in the silly poses and the franticness of players trying to either be the first to grab one of the special nuts from the table or to not be the slowest player to do so. The game only lasts about 15 minutes but the laughter will last far longer than that. I will say that you really have to be paying attention to the card that each player flips over and be thinking of what you’re going to need to do. There are already 2 walnuts on one of the cards, if the next card flipped over has 2 more, you have to grab one of the walnuts quickly. Wait! That first walnut card also has 2 cashews. What if the next card flipped over has 2 more walnuts but also has 2 more cashews. You’ll need to grab that almond first if you want to remove all those negative points that you’ve already accumulated from being too slow previously. But what if instead of there being nuts on the card, there’s a number instead? Are you prepared to do you best impression of a fashion model and strike a pose? My kids love this one. The silly poses and high speed hilariousness makes all of us laugh. This is a game that we really enjoy. Normally I’m not that big of a fan of party games or dexterity games, but this one strikes the right balance between the two which simply works for me. Fans of party games or games full of laughter will most definitely enjoy this one, especially if they don’t mind a bit of high speed dexterity thrown in. Overall this is a game that I would highly recommend, especially for families. The kids will love it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Nut so Fast is a silly game of dexterity where players will have to quickly grab one of the wooden nuts from the table or strike the proper pose. The game is very quick and can be played in about 15 minutes. The wooden pieces are quite large and silly looking. I really like the designs on each one. The cards are great quality as well. I especially like the nutty poses. This game reminds me of a party game but doesn’t bore me like most party games do. There’s plenty of silliness and fun wrapped up in this game. This is one that will make you laugh and keep you laughing. It’s family friendly and great fun with the kids. Fans of party and dexterity games will most likely enjoy this one. This is one that I highly recommend. It’s full of nutty goodness.
9 out of 10

 

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

http://www.smirkanddagger.com/

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Get the MacGuffin Review

Get the MacGuffin is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2-11 players. In this game, players will be trying to acquire the ever elusive MacGuffin and eliminate everyone else in their way. Of course holding onto something so elusive isn’t easy, as the other players will be trying to do the same thing. In the end, the last player that remains will be declared the winner.

To begin, the cards are shuffled together. The cards are then dealt out to each player, with no player receiving more than 5 cards. Players must have the same number of cards as everyone else, so once there aren’t enough cards to deal out a complete round, the dealer must stop. The extra cards are set aside without anyone looking at what they are. The player to the left of the dealer is the first player. Play now begins.

The game is played in a series of turns. Each player takes their turn and play passes to the next player in turn order. On a player’s turn, they must perform 1 of 4 actions. The first action is to play an action card. To do this, the player simply plays the card and performs the action on the card. It is then discarded to the discard pile. Another action the player can take is to play an object card. To do this, the player simply places the object card face up in front of themself. Yet another action is to use an object. To do this the player must first have an object card face up in front of them, before the start of their turn. The player may use the power or the card if it’s power may be applied. This may cause the player to discard the object card in some cases. The last action is to discard an object. To do this the player simply discards the object card in front of them to the discard pile. Of course the player must have had the card in play prior to the start of their turn. Once the player has chosen and performed one of these 4 tasks, play passes to the next player in turn order. It should be noted however, if a player has no cards in their hand or in front of them, they are eliminated from the game.

The game continues until only one player remains in the game. The rest of the players having been eliminated due to them having no cards in their hand or on the table in front of them. This final player is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with a small pack of tarot sized cards. The quality of each one is really good. They have a good thickness and finish on them. They’re easy to shuffle, even with them being larger than your average playing card. The artwork is very interesting. It’s bright and colorful and lends itself quite well to the theme. In some ways, the artwork makes me think of artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The colors and style are very fun and playful. There are few familiar faces and some iconic themes present on the cards that you’ll find yourself grinning at. Overall, the cards are very nice and I like the look and feel of this game a lot. If you like the theme, I think you’ll enjoy the cards.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a large oversized sheet that folds up nice and neat to fit perfectly inside the pocket sized box. One side of the sheet is nothing but descriptions with full color pictures of each of the 23 cards included in the game. Each card is explained in great detail. The front side of the rule sheet has the actual rules outlined inside a blue box. The remaining sections include definitions, frequently asked questions and tips on playing the game without a table. The rules are actually quite simple and very quick to pickup and learn. A couple of minutes of reading, and you’ll be ready to play. With such simple rules, the sheet could have been quite a bit smaller. However I’m actually quite glad that the back side of the sheet has all the different cards explained. It’s a nice reference to be able to see what might be out there from what’s already been played while actually playing the game. Overall, I’m very pleased with the look and feel of the rules. A very excellent job overall.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a very quick and simple game to play. It works well with just a few players, or a lot making it a great game to start an evening of gaming or a great filler for between games. It’s also a great portable game. With it being able to fit inside your pocket, along with the tips on playing without a table, you can pretty much play it anywhere. The game itself is a lot of fun. It’s very easy to learn. The small deck of cards reminds me of games like Love Letter, another small deck card game that plays quite fast. I enjoy that it can be played with as few as 2 players or with a larger group. The mechanics of the game make me think of games like Werewolf, where you’re eliminating other characters and using your best detective skills to figure out what card to play and when. There is a little bit of strategy involved in the game, but not so much that you’ll wind up giving yourself a headache from having too many decisions to make. I enjoy the quickness of play. I like that you can blow through the game several times in a row and still have plenty of time to play other games too. The game’s theme reminds me of movies like Pulp Fiction, Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon. The idea of trying to collect this particular object and be the last one holding it is played out quite well in this game. I think that fans of any of these particular movies should enjoy the theme and gameplay of this one. Overall this is a really great little card game that I would highly recommend picking up.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Get the MacGuffin is a fun and fast card game that centers around trying to be the last one left holding the most coveted item. The game is very quick and can be played, usually in less than 10 minutes each time. The small deck of cards is very reminiscent of games like Love Letter. The artwork on them has a very pop art style that makes me think of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The style is very bright and fun. I like it quite a bit. The game itself is very simple to play and is one that most anyone can learn to play. It works great with just a few players up and goes all the way up to 11. It’s a fun fast game that can be played with the whole family, a group of friends or even while standing in line. It’s highly portable and fits inside your pocket. There are even rules for playing without a table. The game works great as a filler or as a prelude to a more meaty session of gaming. Fans of movies like Pulp Fiction, Citizen Kane or The Maltese Falcon should enjoy the theme of this game. This is one that I would highly recommend picking up a copy of. It’s a great game that doesn’t cost a lot and is a lot of fun. Now if I can just find where I put that briefcase…
9 out of 10

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

http://looneylabs.com

 

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