Unearth Review

Unearth is a game by Jason Harner and Matthew Ransom, published by Brotherwise Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of leader of a small tribe of Delvers. They will be trying to reclaim lost Ruins and gather Stones so that they can build amazing Wonders. In the end, the player that can collect the most points will be declared the winner and will return their tribe to it’s former glory.

To begin, all of the Stones tiles should be placed into the bag. The Delver deck is shuffled and each player is dealt 2 cards. The deck is then placed in the middle of the play area face down. The Ruins deck is shuffled next. Each player is then dealt 1 card face down. The top 5 cards of the Ruin deck are removed from the game and placed back into the box. The End of Age deck is shuffled. One card is randomly selected from the deck and placed on the bottom of the Ruins deck. The remaining End of Age cards are returned to the box. The top 5 cards from the Ruin deck are placed face up in a row in the middle of the play area. The deck is placed face down at the end of the row. Stones are randomly drawn from the bag and placed on each Ruin, equal to the number on the bottom of each card. The Named Wonders deck is shuffled and a number of cards are drawn from it equal to the number of players plus 2. These are placed in a row with their corresponding tokens on top of them. The remaining cards and tokens are returned to the box. The Lesser Wonder and Greater Wonder tokens are shuffled and placed face down on top of their corresponding card. Players choose a color and receive a corresponding set of colored dice. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played with each player taking a turn consisting of 2 phases. Those phases are the Delver phase and the Excavation phase. The first phase is the Delver phase. This phase is optional. In this phase, the player is allowed to play as many Delver cards from their hand as they would like. Each card is resolved immediately and in the order they were played. They are then discarded.

The second phase is the Excavation phase. In this phase, the player must roll one of the dice in their pool and place it on a Ruins card. It should be noted that the player must declare which die they will roll and which Ruin they will be rolling for, before they actually roll the die. After the die has been rolled and placed on the card, the player should then check to see if any Claims have been resolved. This also happens if a die is rerolled or a card is played as well. Resolving a Claim means that the player checks to see if the total of all the dice on a Ruins card is equal to or greater than it’s claim value. If it is, then the Ruin is claimed by the player with the highest individual die result on the card. They will then place the Ruins card face up in front of them. Any players that had dice on the card and did not claim the Ruin will then draw cards from the Delver deck equal to the number of dice that they had on the Ruin. The dice are then returned to their respective owners. Any Stones remaining on the card are returned to the bag. A new card is then drawn from the Ruins deck and placed face up in the empty spot. Stones are drawn from the bag equal to the value on the bottom of the card and placed on it. It should also be noted that when a player rolls a 1, 2 or 3 during either this phase or during the Delver phase, they immediately take a Stone of their choice from the Ruin that they were rolling for. The Stone is then added to their tableau in front of them. If there are no Stones on the Ruin, then the player randomly draws one from the bag. These Stones must be connected together in hexagonal rings with an empty space in the middle. This is how Wonders are built. If the Stones in the ring are all the same color, then the player will fill the empty space with a random Greater Wonder token. The token is placed with the point value face down. If the ring contains more than one color of Stones, then the space is filled with a random Lesser Wonder. Named Wonders require a specific selection of Stones for them to be built. The player must meet these requirement to be allowed to add this Wonder to their tableau. The player that builds one of these will add the matching card to their play area where it’s effects are then activated. Stones may be arranged in any order that the player wishes, however once placed it may not be moved unless a card or game effect says otherwise. Once a player has completed their Excavation phase, play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues with players taking turns until the End of Age card is revealed. If the card is a Ruin card, then Stones are placed on it like normal. If it is an Event, the instructions on the card are followed. The game continues until all the Ruins on the table have been claimed. When that happens, the game ends and scoring occurs. Players score points for having sets of of the same colored Ruin cards. They also earn points for having 1 of each of the 5 color of Ruin cards. They score points for Lesser, Greater and some Named Wonders, as well as for building 3 or more Wonders. Players add up all their points and the player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of great looking pieces. For starters, there are 4 sets of dice in 4 different colors. These have a marble like quality to them that looks great. There are 3 sizes of cards included in this game. There are the large tarot sized cards that are used for the Ruins and End of Age decks. The artwork on these is great. They have an amazing look that makes me think of Ryan Laukat’s artistic style. Then there’s the regular playing card size cards that are used for the Wonders and the Reference cards. The Wonders match up with the Wonder tokens. Once again, similar style artwork and great look. Those reference cards are especially helpful and are great to have. They have a turn order summary on one side and a scoring summary on the other. Finally there’s the small euro size cards that are used for the Delver deck. These show off the little Delvers that represent your tribe. They kind of remind me of the characters from the Patapon video game. Of course there’s more than just cards with the game. There’s lots of thick cardboard tokens for the Lesser, Greater and Named Wonders, as well as the Stone tokens in 4 different colors. There’s also a great looking cloth bag to hold all the Stone tokens in. Like I said, the game has some amazing looking pieces and the artistic style flows through each one. Each piece is really great quality and thematic. Overall, I love the art style and feel of the components.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game looks great. There are lots of pictures and examples throughout the book. It starts off by giving you a kind of history/overview of the game with references on where to find each aspect of the game with page numbers. The setup and phases of a player’s turn are all laid out in great detail. There’s even a special setup for playing with only 2 players. Most of the next pages are all about how the game works such as resolving claims, determining who wins in a tie and building Wonders. The last couple of pages contain a frequently asked questions section. It even goes back into more detail on explaining how the Named Wonders formulas on the cards work. Overall, the book does a great job explaining everything and looks good doing it. Many of the pictures are quite large and look great. Everything is easy to read through and understand. There was a typo or 2 that I noticed but nothing that will trip you up. I’m very pleased with the rules for this one. A definite job well done.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I first discovered Brotherwise Games several years ago when my son and I were introduced to Boss Monster at a local International Tabletop Day event. He and I both loved that game and all the expansions for it and Boss Monster 2. Looking back on those games, I approached this one with the hope that it would be as much fun for us as those were. This one has a combination of dice placement and set collection mechanics, as well as a little bit of tableau building. I like how all these mechanics work together to make a really great game. It has plenty of strategy with figuring out which die to roll at which Ruin to place it on. Do you roll your 8 sided in order to try and take control of a Ruin or do you roll something smaller like the 4 sided which has a 75% chance that you’ll get a Stone. That’s what I like about this game. Unlike many other games, this one rewards you if you roll low. That ends up being quite good for me as dice usually hate me. Of course you’ll also want to be building some Wonders. Trust me, your opponents will be rushing to try and make that happen as often as possible. Figuring out how to lay those Stones to best maximize their usefulness in creating Wonders is a must. Another thing to consider is when to play your Delver cards. These can be extremely helpful when used at the proper time. For me, this game just hits lots of things that I like. In regards to my earlier hopes, I have to say that while this game bears no similarities at all to Boss Monster, it’s still very fun to play. It definitely exceeded my expectations. Fans of dice placement and set collection games should enjoy this one. I would definitely recommend it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Unearth is a dice placement game with aspects of set collection and tableau building thrown in for good measure. It’s a fairly short game. Most games last around 30 minutes, making this a great filler game. The artwork for this game is really great. It makes me think of the art style of Ryan Laukat, designer of Above and Below and City of Iron. The components are great and are very good quality. I especially like all the card designs. The game isn’t hard and can be easily taught, even to younger players making this a great family game. Even though it’s simple to play, it still has plenty of decisions to be made which I think will appeal to even those strategy game fans. Fans of dice placement and set collection games should really enjoy this one. It’s light and fun and one that I enjoy quite a bit. I would definitely recommend this game. Gather your Delvers and Unearth a winner.
9 out of 10

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

http://brotherwisegames.com/

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Heart of Crown Review

Heart of Crown is a game by gingko, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will take on the role of dignitary of the great Empire. They will be trying to back one of the princesses in line to claim the recently vacated throne while gaining support from across the nation. If they can do this, they will bring peace and tranquility back to the kingdom and thus be declared the winner.

To begin, the 6 Princess cards should be placed face up on the table in a row. A number of Curse cards are set in a pile equal to 4 times the number of players. Each player is given a starting deck of 7 Farming Villages and 3 Apprentice Maids. Their deck is shuffled and placed face down in front of themselves. The Basic Market is set up near the Princess cards with each card type placed into a separate pile. The Basic Market consists of City, Large City, Royal Maid, Senator and Duke cards. The Supply pile is then set up using a selection of 10 of the Common Card types included in the game. This can either be done randomly or by choosing one of the recommended card sets. If this is the first time playing, it’s recommended to use the Scout, Wishing Well, Post Horse, Trading Ship, Government Contractor, Supply Unit, Library, City Development, Adventurer and Alchemist. The Common Cards, along with the 2 Rare Cards (Imperial Capital and Imperial Crown) are shuffled together and placed face down near the Basic Market. Cards are drawn from the Supply Deck until there are 8 different card types face up on the table. Any duplicate copies are stacked on top of each other. This is known as the Random Market. Each player will now draw the top 5 cards from their deck. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round players will take a turn consisting of 5 phases. The phases of a player’s turn are Main phase, Second phase, Cleanup phase, Draw phase and Market Refresh phase. The first phase is the Main phase. In this phase, the player may play an Action or Territory card face up into the Field. Once the effects on the card are resolved, the player’s main phase is finished. That is unless the card that they played had a link symbol on either the right or bottom of the card. In this case, the player may play another card. If the card has both symbols, they player may play 2 extra cards. This may continue as long as the player plays cards with link symbols on them. Once the player runs out of linkable cards, cards in their hand or chooses not to play any more cards, the phase is over. It should be noted that once a player has backed a princess in their Domain, they have two extra actions that may be taken during the Main phase. They may take an Action card from their hand and place it on top of a Territory card in their Domain, thereby keeping the card for future use. However the card that is being kept may not have a greater cost than the Territory card that it’s being placed on. More on all this in just a bit. The player may also recall a card, returning it from their kept Territory cards and placing it back into their hand.

The second phase is oddly enough, the Second phase. In this phase, the player is allowed to perform 1 of 3 different actions. They may buy cards from the Market, back a Princess or play Succession cards into their Domain. To buy cards from the Market, the player simply chooses a card or cards from the Market and pays the cost in coins using any coins that they gained during the Main phase. Any cards bought are placed in the player’s discard pile. To back a Princess, the player must pay 6 coins to place one of the Princess cards of their choice into their Domain. The player must then take 3 Territory cards that they played during their turn with the highest cost and move them beside their Princess into their Domain. It should be noted that a player is only allowed to back 1, and only 1, Princess during the game. If they already have a princess in their Domain, they may not choose another. To play a Succession card in their Domain, the player must first have a princess in their Domain. They may then choose to play as many Succession cards as they would like from their hand, into their Domain. These will not be discarded and will count towards their point total.

The third phase is the Cleanup phase. In this phase, the player moves any cards that they played during their turn, as well as any cards remaining in their hand, into their discard pile. Cards placed in the player’s Domain, do not get discarded. Any unused coins gained during the turn are also discarded.

The next phase is the Draw phase. In this phase, the player will draw 5 new cards from their draw pile to start their next hand. If their draw pile runs out, they will shuffle their discard pile to create a new draw pile.

The final phase is the Market Refresh phase. In this phase, the player checks to see if the Random Market has 8 different types of cards. If it doesn’t then they will draw a card from the Supply pile to fill the empty spot. If it’s a different card it’s placed in the Random Market, if it’s not, then it’s placed on top of the stack that is already there and a new card is drawn, just like was done during setup. If at any point, the Supply pile runs out, then the game continues without any new cards added to the Random Market. Once this has been completed the player’s turn is over. Play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until on a player’s turn, they have a total of 20 Succession points in their Domain. When this happens, the player can declare a coronation ceremony. All the other players are able to take their turn as normal. If no other players are able to declare a coronation ceremony, then the player wins. If other players were able to get the 20 Succession points on their turn to declare a coronation ceremony, then the game goes into sudden death overtime. Any players not able to declare coronation ceremonies are out of the game. The remaining players will continue the game until one of them is able to reach 30 Succession points. The player that does this is able to place their Princess on the throne and is the winner. Another way the game can end is if there are no more Duke, Senator and Royal Maid cards left in the Basic Market. When this happens, the game ends immediately. The player with the most Succession points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with a pretty large stack of cards. Each one has a beautiful anime style image on it. I especially like the full images on the various territory cards like the Farming Village. These look like an opening scene from an anime movie. The princess cards and several of the others, like the Apprentice Maids, have some great looking character designs on them. My daughter is a big fan of the Princess cards, as I expected her to be. The game also comes with randomizer cards and thick cardboard dividers, as well as some foam to keep everything from moving around too much inside the box. There are also a bag full of various counters to be used during the game. Some of these are for the expansions but were included with the main box anyway. These are really thick and have a nice looking design. The box itself has plenty of room for all the cards from this and both expansions. It will even fit all the cards if you choose to sleeve them. There’s not a lot of iconography on the cards so there’s nothing difficult to remember when playing the game. I love the look and design of everything including the box for this one. Overall it’s well designed and looks amazing.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a bit unlike any of the previous deck builders from Japanime games. For starters, everything is in color. There are lots of pictures throughout the book, as well as a bunch of examples of gameplay. There are a couple of pages devoted to explaining the different types of cards and what each item on them is and does. Each type is completely detailed. There’s a section for the few symbols in the game, as well as many of the terms used in the game. There’s a great setup section with beautiful pictures included, as well as a step by step explanation of a player’s turn. The book also has sections for several other rules that may come up while playing the game and a place for frequently asked questions. In the FAQs, they’re broken down by card type and name for ease of reference. There’s also a section of variant rules for 2 player games, Hand Elimination and the Guardians variant. The book even has a section of recommended card sets for setting up the game for first time players to intermediate, as well as several themed sets. Overall the book does an amazing job at covering everything you need to know and providing lots more bonus stuff. This is a great improvement to those previous deck building game designs. I’m very happy with this one.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
If you’ve ever played a deck building game like Dominion or especially one of those from Japanime Games like Dynamite Nurse, then you’re pretty familiar with the basic ideas and concepts of how this game works. There are, of course, a few minor differences but the basics are all pretty much the same. Where this game differs is the links on the cards. You’re only allowed to play 1 card on your turn, but if it has a link on it then you can play another. If that card has a link, you get to repeat the process. If it has 2 then you can play 2 extra cards. The idea is that far removed from Dominion. With this game you’re trying to build up your Domain with plenty of Succession points. If you’re able to get 20 of them before your opponents then you win. Simple as that. Of course, there is a bit more to it than just that. I mean, you’ll be playing some attack cards which the opponent can defend if they have a defense card. This is one aspect that I didn’t cover in the overview, but it’s pretty simple stuff actually. If you’ve got a defense card then you can defend against an attack, if not, then oh well you just get stuck with it. I like how the cards work together and if you get your deck running just right you can make magic happen. Of course my daughter loves the princesses. She loves building her Domain. Of course the main problem for her is choosing exactly which princess to back, cause they’re all beautiful to her. Needless to say, we really enjoy this one. Fans of deck building games, especially those with an anime style like Dynamite Nurse or Tanto Cuore, will really enjoy this one. I’d say that Dominion fans will feel right at home with this one and will like it as well. I would highly recommend it. It’s definitely one of the best deck builders I’ve played.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Heart of Crown is a deck building game of royal succession with an anime style theme. It’s not a very long game. Most game sessions last around 40-45 minutes, give or take. The artwork on all the cards have an anime style that looks gorgeous. Each design is really beautiful. My daughter loves the princess and I like the territory cards. The game is fairly simple to play and is one that the whole family can enjoy. There’s not a lot of iconography or other stuff to make things difficult like in so many of these style games. Players familiar with Dominion or Tanto Cuore should find this one easy to learn. Fans of those or other deck builders should really enjoy this one too. Anime fans will like the look and theme of the game. My daughter and I enjoy getting our princess to the throne in this one. It’s a great deck builder and one of the best ones that I’ve played. I highly recommend it. Let the coronation begin!
9 out of 10

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

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Nemo’s War (Second Edition) Review

Nemo’s War (Second Edition) is a game by Christopher Taylor and Alan Emrich, published by Victory Point Games. It is a solo game for 1 player, but can also be played with up to 4 players. In this game, the player will take on the role of Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo as he commands his ship the Nautilus through the oceans of 1870. Through the game, the player will combat all kinds of hazards and creatures as well as fighting vessels of all nations. The player will search for hidden treasures while chronicling all the amazing undersea wonders in their quest for knowledge. In the end, will the hazards be too great leaving the player to waste away beneath the oceans waves or will he be triumphant and master the seas to be declared the winner.

In this review, I will only be covering the solo rules using the normal officer mode of play. For more information on how to play the game with 2 or more players or with higher or lower difficulties, please check the rule book.

To begin, the board should be placed in the middle of the table, leaving room beneath it for the player’s tableau. The player should then choose a Nemo motive tile, placing it face up in the Motives area of the board. It is recommended for first time players to use the Explore motive. The Draw pile and the Adventure deck should be prepared next using Finale cards, event cards, intermission cards and the prologue card. I won’t go into the lengthy detail of how to set this up. For more information, check the rulebook. Once these decks are completed, the Draw pile should be placed in the Draw Pile box on the top left of the board and the Adventure deck should be placed to the right of the Notoriety track with a Treasure Available gemstone placed on top of it. The player should then fine the Upgrade card that corresponds with Nemo’s motive which may be purchased if the player so desires using a number of ship resources, placing it into their tableau. If they chose not to purchase it at this time, it’s placed face up in one of the available upgrade slots on the board. The rest of the upgrade cards are shuffled together. A number of cards are then dealt face up to fill up 4 upgrade slots. The remaining cards are set aside for now. The ship tokens are sorted by background color. The white and light yellow tokens are placed in a cup as the initial ship draw pool. The black, dark yellow, orange and red tokens are placed face up on their corresponding spaces on the board above the Tonnage track. The blue and green tokens are placed on their boxes of the Notoriety track. The Nautilus miniature should be set aside for the moment. A Hidden Ship marker is placed in each designated outlined starting space on the map portion of the board for a total of 12 on the board. The remaining markers are set aside in a pool. The Treasure tokens are placed in a cup as the treasure draw pool. The Notoriety marker is placed on the 0 box of the Notoriety track. A Treasure Available gemstone is placed in each Major Ocean, while the remaining gemstones are set aside in a pool. The Nemo, Crew and Hull ship resource markers are placed on the leftmost space of the corresponding tracks. Don’t forget to pay the cost if the starting upgrade card was purchased. The Character Resource tiles should be placed in the player’s tableau with the character side face up. The Action Points marker is placed on th 1 space of the Action Point track. The Cannonball, Arabian Tunnel, Torpedo and Treasure Fleet markers are set aside. One white die, one black die and the 2 silver Uprising cubes should also be set aside for the time being. The Attack marker should be kept close by. The wooden Uprising cubes should be placed in their corresponding box on the board. A black die should be placed on space 44 of the Notoriety track. Two white dice should be kept close by. Once all this has been done, the top card of the Adventure Deck is revealed and the player should follow the instructions of the Prologue. Play now begins.

On the player’s turn, they will follow 3 phases; Event phase, Placement phase and Action phase. The first phase is the Event phase. This phase begins by turning over the top card of the draw pile and following any events, tests or other instructions listed on the card. Play event cards and Test cards must be resolved immediately. Other event cards may be placed in the player’s tableau to be used later. Act cards will show the player what dice they will need to use during the Action phase. Once resolved, the Act card is placed face up in it’s own discard pile as a reminder of which dice to be used. The next card is then drawn and resolved following an Act card. Play event cards once resolved will instruct the player where to discard them to, either the Pass or Fail pile where it’s placed face up. Keep event cards can be used once the requirements to play them have been met. Again, once resolved they are placed in the corresponding Pass or Fail pile. Test event cards require the player to perform a test by rolling 2 six sided dice and adding the results together, applying any appropriate modifiers. The result is then compared to the test value. If the player’s result equaled or was greater than the test value, the pass instructions are followed. If not, then the fail instructions are followed instead. The player is allowed to exert certain ship resources to provide more favorable dice roll modifiers. Each test card will indicate which resources may be exerted. If the player passes the test, they may reclaim the exerted ship resource. However if they fail, they lose an amount of each ship resource type that was wagered, in addition to any failed test penalties. If at any time one of the ship resources moves to the final rightmost space on the track, the player immediately loses.

The next phase is the Placement phase. This phase begins by rolling the dice indicated by the current Act card. After rolling the dice, the player compares the results of the 2 white dice, or chooses 2 dice if more than 2 were rolled. The difference between the 2 dice will determine how many Action points the player receives for that turn. If both dice are the same, the player has a Lull Turn. This means that they must place a ship token for each white die rolled and then a series of Lull Turn activities will be applied that turn. For more information on a Lull Turn, please check the rulebook. Finally once all this has been completed, the player must then conduct ship placement for each dice rolled, including all white and black dice. When the player must perform multiple placements, they must be done in order from lowest to highest. Each placement consists of the player taking one of the Hidden Ship makers and placing it in an available ocean space that corresponds with the dice’s result. If there are no open Ocean spaces left in that Major Ocean, then the player must resolve the first possible action from a list of 4. They can place a ship in an adjacent ocean. They can replace a Hidden Ship marker with a revealed ship. They can flip over a white non warship to it’s gray warship side. They can also draw a ship token from the ship pool and place it on the appropriate side as directed by the rules.

The last phase is the Action phase. In this phase the player is able to spend their action points to take actions. If their turn is a Lull Turn, they won’t be able to take any actions unless they saved an action point during their previous turn. In this case, all actions cost only 1 point even those that normally would cost 2. The player may only have a total of 5 action points. Any in excess of this are lost. There are 8 different actions that a player can take; adventure, attack, incite, move, rest, repair, refit and search. Adventure cost 2 points and allows the player to draw the top card from the Adventure deck. Attack costs 1 point and the player chooses the type of attack to make, either bold or stalk attack. They then will perform the combat sequence. I’ll explain this in just a bit. For more information on the different types of attacks, please check the rulebook. Incite costs 1 point and allows the player to perform an Incite test to place an Uprising cube if there are any Uprising cubes in the holding box. Move costs 1 point and allows the player to move the Nautilus marker to and adjacent connected ocean. Rest costs 2 points and allows the player to perform a Rest test in an effort to gain Crew resource. Repair costs 2 points and allows the player to perform a Repair test in an effort to gain Hull resource. Refit costs 2 points and allows the player to perform a Refit test in an effort to gain an available Nautilus Upgrade card. Search costs 1 point and allows the player to perform a Search test in an effort to gain a Treasure token.

A moment ago, I mentioned attacking and how that it uses the combat sequence. This sequence only has 2 steps. If the ship token is a warship, it attacks the Nautilus first. If it’s a non warship or after the warship attacks, then the Nautilus attacks. Warships attack by rolling 2 dice and comparing the modified result against the attack strength of the warship. If the result is less than the attack strength, the Nautilus takes a number of hits equal to the lowest die result. If the result is greater than or equal to the attack strength, then nothing happens. A roll of 2 is a disaster and inflicts a six sided die roll of damage. Once this is all resolved, it’s the Nautilus’ turn. Two six sided dice are rolled and compared to the ship token’s defense strength along with any modifiers. If the attack is greater than or equal to it’s defense, the ship is sunk. If it’s less than the defense strength, the ship is unaffected and the player gains a Notoriety. They also lose a ship resource of the type exerted. In the case of a roll of 2, again it’s a disaster. The ship is unaffected and the player gains 2 Notoriety and loses 2 ship resources. Sunken ships can either be used to gain victory points as tonnage or they can be taken as salvage to be used for upgrading the Nautilus. It should be noted that Character tiles may be sacrificed in order to provide emergency help. Each character provides a different resource. Some will provide action points, while characters like the Conseil will allow the player to reroll both of their dice, such as after a bad roll in combat.

The game continues until one of the following things occur. If the Nemo, Crew or Hull reach the last space on their corresponding track, the game ends. If the player’s Notoriety reaches the threshold shown on the Notoriety track as noted by Nemo’s Final Motive, then the game ends. If every Ocean is completely full of ships and a warship needs to be placed, then the game ends. If the Finale card has been completed, then the game ends. In every case, apart from the last one, the Defeat paragraph in the Epilogue book must be read. Otherwise, the player checks their score to determine how they did. The player adds up their victory points and compares it to the level of victory table in the rulebook. The player then consults the Epilogue book and reads the conclusion of their story.

COMPONENTS
Before I start let me just say, there’s a lot of stuff inside this box. If you’ve played Robinson Crusoe before, you’ll get struck with that feeling you had when you first opened the box to it. It’s a sense of awe and wonder. There’s the game board that makes you feel as if Nemo just took a picture of his desk with all the different papers and charts on it. It feels very thematic. Next there are the cards that are beautiful to look at. There’s more thematic goodness on these as they give you more story on each one. I’m guessing that there is some text from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on these. The artwork on them looks like illustrations from the book. I love, love, love the rich thematic elements of them all. Then you have all the different cardboard tokens and markers, as well as the character resource tiles and Nemo Motive tiles. Included in those tokens are the ship markers as well. It’s noted in the rulebook that the images of the different ships were taken from the real life counterparts whenever possible and illustrated to resemble them. Again, more rich and thematic elements that simply pull you straight into the game. Then there are the plastic gemstones and Nautlius token. While a cube or cardboard token could have been used for these, instead they went more thematic and made the game look amazing. Finally there are the dice and wooden uprising cubes. Nothing out of the way extraordinary about these, just simple dice and cubes. Needless to say, if you can’t already tell. The game looks fantastic. Each piece lends itself beautifully to the look and feel of the game. This is one of the best looking games that I’ve played in awhile. It’s just great in every way.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is actually quite thick. It’s 31 pages and full of information. So much so, that I didn’t have the room to be able to cover everything. There are so many pictures and examples throughout the book. Everything is explained beautifully and in such a way that there should be no problems understanding how to play the game. There’s even variants included in the book for playing with 2 to 4 players as well. There’s rules for cooperative, as well as semi-cooperative. That’s not all. The game comes with an Epilogue book as well. This book is story driven and gives you different story endings that are very thematic. This book has pictures as well. Overall, these 2 books are amazing and are very good. There’s nothing I can think of that I’d change for either one.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I remember when I was growing up, my dad would read me bedtime stories of adventure and fantasy from Richard Chase’s Jack Tales to Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was those stories that fueled my imagination and thrilled me with excitement. In a lot of ways, this game reminds me of that childhood excitement and wonder that I had. It has a lot of aspects of adventure and excitement rolled in to a strategic solo game. In some ways it makes me think of Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. The level of complexity is somewhere along those lines. It’s not a difficult game to learn how to play, but mastering it will take some time. There’s a fine balancing act that you’ll have to work out as you be shooting down those ships, upgrading your ship and searching for treasure. You’ll find that there’s more that you’ll want to do than what you’ll be able to do. Of course you’ll have to be careful as many of those warship pack a punch which can seriously sink your ship and the adventure. You will have to find lots of ways to gain victory points as it’ll take at least 250 points to be successful. Even on the easier difficulty, that’s a pretty challenging task. I really like how that Nemo’s motives will change how you play the game. I also like that the story comes to life in a rich and fully detailed world as you read off the different cards that come into play. Combat isn’t a difficult chore that you might expect but is pretty well streamlined and simple to figure out. I think that fans of strategy or war games might enjoy this game pretty well, especially if they’re looking for a game that can be played solo. Fans of Robinson Crusoe should enjoy the stories that the game provide in this one as well. Overall, this is a great game that I thoroughly enjoy. I would highly recommend it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Nemo’s War (Second Edition) is a solo game of adventure and excitement set in the world of Jule’s Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. It’s a fairly long game with most game sessions lasting around 2 hours. Even with a long play time, it’s still in keeping with other games of this same style. The components for the game are quite amazing. It’s very strong thematically. You really feel what it’s like to be Nemo. I especially love the different cards with flavor text ripped from the novel itself, along with images that fit the story perfectly. The rulebook does a great job of explaining the game and how to play it. It even gives ways to make this a co-op game for more than just solo play. The game itself is fully emersive and will plunge you deep into Nemo’s world. In a lot of ways the game reminded me of the adventures I had while playing Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. I think fans of that game will truly love this one as well. Solo gamers and those that enjoy a good strategic game should enjoy this one too. Overall the game is full of lots of different challenges and obstacles that weave into an amazing story. You’ll find yourself wanting to come back to this one again and again. I enjoy it a lot and I highly recommend it. It’s an amazing adventure.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.victorypointgames.com/

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DC Deck Building Game: Multiverse Box Expansion Review

DC Deck Building Game: Multiverse Box is an expansion for The DC Deck Building Game by Matt Hyra and Nathaniel Yamaguchi, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-5 players. This expansion adds several new cards to be added to the main deck, as well as 3 new Super Villains, 7 oversized multiverse locations and 11 event cards. There are also randomizer cards, dividers and enough room to store everything available for the DC Deck Building Game.

For more information on the many different box sets that this product can be used with, please check out the link below.

If you’re unfamiliar with the DC Deck Building game, you can check out one of my previous expansion reviews for more information.

Using the Multiverse box is a little different than anything that we’ve seen so far with the DC Deck Building Game, starting with the setup. To begin, players should set aside any of the randomizer cards for sets that they don’t currently own. They will then choose one of the base sets to use the main deck from and remove the corresponding randomizer card from the stack. The main deck of the chosen box set is then shuffled and split into 2 equal stacks. The new main deck cards from the Multiverse set should then be shuffled into one of the stacks. Once shuffled, this stack should be set on top of the other stack and placed face down in the middle of the play area. The top 5 cards should be placed in a row face up to create the main deck line up. The kicks and weaknesses from the corresponding main deck set should be placed in a row of separate stacks on the table. The Convergence card should be set aside and the remaining event cards should be shuffled together. They are then placed face down at the end of the row of card stacks placed earlier. The Convergence card is then placed face up on top of the event deck. The randomizer cards are shuffled and a random card is drawn from them. 5 random cards from the corresponding set should be placed in a row beside the event card to create the event line up. There should now be 2 rows, a main deck line up and a event line up. Each player will now either choose or be given a random Multiverse location which should be placed face up in front of them. All of the oversized super hero and super villain cards the player owns should then be shuffled together, except for any Crisis heroes or villains. Each player is then dealt 3 cards. Players will now choose one and place the other 2 face down out of play, revealing their chosen card simultaneously. Next, all of the super villains, as well as any super heroes from Forever Evil and the Rogues expansion, should be separated into stacks by cost. Players will choose either to play a standard, short or impossible mode game and then receive 1 random super villain for each cost as listed in the rulebook. These are a player’s Champions. They will now place these face down in a stack from lowest to highest beside their Multiverse location. The lowest card should be on top and flipped face up. The 3 multiverse villains should be placed next to the stacks of cards with Brainiac on top, followed by Telos and Deimos. Players should receive a starting deck of 7 punch cards and 3 vulnerabilities from the corresponding main set, which they should then shuffle together. Each player will then draw the top 5 cards for their starting hand. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

As you can see, there’s quite a lot to using this expansion. At this point, I’d like to explain how the game is played using the Multiverse box. For the most part, the player on their turn will play cards to gain power, which will be used to buy cards or defeat villains. However there are a few minor changes. First, you will be using the card sets that you’ve got stored inside the Multiverse box. As a matter of fact, every time a card tells you to gain a card from the Multiverse, you’ll be choosing one of the sets in the box and taking a random card from it, adding it to your discard pile. Some times, the player will need to use the randomizer cards to choose the set. When a randomizer is used, it’s placed in the randomizer discard pile regardless. Another thing that uses these different sets is the Events. These cards will normally effect the game in a certain way as long as the card remains in play. As mentioned earlier, the event line up starts off with 5 cards in it. However unlike the normal main deck lineup, these are not refilled when a card is bought from it. Once the last card in the event line up is bought, gained or removed, the current event card is discarded and a new event card is drawn to replace it. The card is read aloud and then a randomizer card is drawn. 5 random cards are then taken from the corresponding set on the randomizer card to create a new event lineup. When a new event is drawn, the randomizer card is also discarded into it’s discard pile. It should be noted however that not all events allow for a new event line up to be created. They will instruct the players to draw a new even after it’s resolved though. Speaking of line ups, when a card refers to a card in the line up, the player is able to choose which line up is affected.

Earlier I mentioned that each player has a set of 3 Champions. These Champions may be battled just like the 3 main super villains. When this happens, it’s known as a confrontation, much like those in the Batman and Joker Rivals game. However, these confrontations are a bit different. First off a player can only attack the nearest player to their left. The player can not skip over the player on their left unless they have no Champions remaining. Before a Confrontation may be made, the player’s hand must be empty. The player may then choose whether they wish to confront or not. After confronting another player, they are able to use any remaining power left over to buy cards from the line ups. If the player fails in the Confrontation due to an event, or the other player playing a block card, then they lose any remaining power and their turn ends. Once a player’s Champion has been defeated, each player must resolve the defeated Champion’s Attack and First Appearance Attack against themselves. The attacking player then takes the defeated Champion and places it into their discard pile. The player whose Champion was defeated now flips over their next Champion. If they have no more Champions, they must flip their Multiverse location face down. It should be noted that a player may only defeat one Champion per turn.

COMPONENTS
This expansion has some interesting new content. There are all the new cards for the main deck, as well as Event cards and 3 new Super Villains. There’s also the new Multiverse Locations. These all work with the new Multiverse game rules mentioned earlier. The artwork on all these is great and is in line with the art style that we’ve seen on previous card sets. Next there are the Randomizer cards. These are also used with the Multiverse rules but can be used for when you just don’t know which version to play by itself. Each of these has a picture of the set or expansion that it represents. The same is also true of the dividers. However the dividers are thick and sturdy plastic, much like what you’d see in the Big Geeky Box for Smash Up. Speaking of Smash Up, the size of this box is very similar to that one and has really thick cardboard dividers inside and out that make this a very sturdy box. It has 3 lanes for cards to be placed inside. There’s also some thick foam dividers to keep everything snug inside. Whether you choose to sleeve or not sleeve, there’s still plenty of room left over inside the box for future expansions. The one thing that I found a bit odd is that I had to turn my oversized Super Hero and Super Villains long ways to get them in the box. When I do that, some of the cards tend to slip past the divider so they don’t really stay in place very well. I almost wish that a portion of the box has been divided off to make room for just these to be placed so that they wouldn’t slide around and possibly get damaged. Overall though, I do like the box and I think it’s really tough and should be able to handle a lot of use.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is a bit smaller than those in any of the previous big boxes. There are only 3 pictures in the entire book and no real examples of gameplay. I think a few more pictures and some examples would have helped out a lot. The rules themself seem to jump around a bit and everything isn’t completely explained. I understand that if you bought this than you’re most likely pretty invested in the series and that you probably have most, if not all, the material for the game. That said, you pretty much have a working knowledge of how to setup and play the normal game. This rulebook acts as if you have this information already ingrained into your brain. However, it would have still been nice for everything to be completely laid out from start to finish so that you don’t miss anything or overlook something. Mainly the book covers the rules that differ from the previous box sets and that’s about it. There are some notes and card clarifications included in the rules but that’s about it. I guess I’m a bit spoiled from the previous box sets so I expected a bit more. While you may have to reread it a time or two to get the complete feel for everything, still it gets the job done.
7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I love deck building games, especially the DC Deck Building Game. This expansion does 2 things for me. First it makes it possible to keep everything together in one single themed box. No more using that Trains Rising Sun box to hold everything. This box is really sturdy and holds all the cards quite nicely. Plus the dividers are really great at keeping everything separated. I used to have to find where one set started and another ended. I like that there’s still a lot more room for adding more expansions which I can’t wait to see down the road. The other thing this box does is that it makes it possible to use every set that I have in one gigantic game of chaotic fun. Believe me, it’s quite a bit chaotic but every bit of fun. I really like how the Events and Multiverse Locations will really affect the game. I especially like that every time a new event shows up, there are now cards from a different set available to purchase. I will say that sometimes the cards don’t always work well together. That’s why I try to make sure that I’ve got some cards in my deck that allow me to trash a card every now and then. I like that the super villain deck is a lot smaller, however the villains in this deck are a lot more powerful, especially Telos and Deimos. Those guys are seriously tough. It takes a lot to beat them. It’s actually possible that the main deck will run out before you’re able to beat Deimos. It’s happened at least once to me. Noone could seem to muster up the strength to beat him. Our decks just got too full of garbage. Hand and deck management is a must for this game. Thematically this expansion makes sense with the whole Multiverse idea. I actually like it a lot. I think fans of the DC universe, as well as the Deck Building Game will really like this. I would recommend it, if for no other reason than to have a better storage solution for your game. However if you like the idea of playing lots of expansions together at the same time, then that’s a plus too. For me, I like the chaotic goodness that it brings to the table.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
DC Deck Building Game: Multiverse Box is an expansion for the DC Deck Building game that provides a great storage solution, as well as a way to play all your expansions together. It adds 19 new cards to be added to the main deck, as well as 3 new Super Villains, 7 oversized Multiverse Locations and 11 Event cards. There are also randomizer cards, dividers and enough room to store everything available for the DC Deck Building Game. When using the new rules it does tend to take a bit longer to play. Most game sessions last a bit longer than an hour. Setup and break down take a bit longer as well, since everything has to be separated back into their correct sets. The cards all look great and I love the artwork. The dividers are great and I love the sturdiness of them. The box is also very sturdy and can hold a lot of cards. The rules are a little bit hard to follow and it may take you rereading it a time or two to fully comprehend everything. Gameplay is a bit chaotic when using all the different sets together but I like being able to play everything together finally. Overall I like what the box brings to the table and I’m happy to be able to have everything together in one themed box. I think fans of the series and of the DC universe will find lots of reasons to enjoy this. I would definitely recommend it. Now excuse me, I have to try and beat Deimos again.
8 out of 10

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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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DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 6 – Birds of Prey Expansion Review

DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 6 – Birds of Prey is an expansion for The DC Deck Building Game by Matt Hyra and Nathaniel Yamaguchi, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-5 players. This expansion adds 6 new Birds of Prey Super heroes to play with, 8 new Super-Villains to fight and a stack of new cards to add to the main deck.

For more information on the many different box sets that this product can be used with, please check out the link below.

For those unfamiliar with the DC Deck Building game, let me give you a quick overview of how it’s played. Player will begin with a starting deck of 10 cards that include 7 punch cards and 3 vulnerabilities. They’ll also choose a starting Super Hero to begin the game with. They will place their Super Hero in front of themself and shuffle their starting deck of cards. Once shuffled they will draw 5 cards to create their starting hand. On a player’s turn, they will play the cards from their hand in any order they choose, making it possible to buy a card or cards from the lineup using the power generated by their cards. They can also use their power to defeat the current super villain. Each time they gain cards they will be beefing up their deck and making it more powerful so that they can create more power and earn more points to be able to defeat even more powerful villains and buy even stronger cards. Of course, their Super Hero card will also provide them with a special ability that will help them during their turn. The game will continue until one the very last Super Villain in the Super Villain deck is defeated. Once that happens, players will add up their victory points and the one with the most points is the winner.

Now, with a basic understanding of how the game works, what all does this expansion add as far as content? First off let’s look at the all new Super Hero cards. These are the oversized cards that each player will choose one at the beginning of the game to use as their starting hero. The heroes in this expansion are all female and will be easily recognizable to any fans of the Birds of Prey comic series. Heroes such as Black Canary, Oracle and Catwoman, as well as Katana, Huntress and Batwoman. The expansion also includes 8 new Super Villains for the heroes to battle, including Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy to name a few. There’s also 23 new cards for the main deck including new equipment, super power, heroes and villains.

The setup for using this expansion is pretty straight forward. Each player chooses one of the Birds of Prey Super Heroes to use. They then should choose one of the big box sets for the game and shuffle the main deck from it. I would personally recommend the Teen Titans set. Once the cards are shuffled the deck should be split in half. Players choose one of the 2 halves to use and shuffle the new Birds of Prey cards into it. This stack is then placed on top of the other half of the main deck. This makes sure that there are more of the Birds of Prey cards available for the lineup. Next, the Super Villains should be arranged in cost order from 8 to 15. The card with the blue back should be placed on the bottom of this stack. Everything else about the game remains the same.

In this expansion there is a brand new concept that hasn’t been seen in any of the other big box sets or expansions. That is the idea of rotated cards. What this means is that some cards and hero abilities will allow a player to rotate their cards to gain positive effects and combos. The effect is gained by rotating the card 90 degrees. These rotated cards still function as normal, even though they’re rotated. It should be noted that cards can only be rotated if an effect tells the player that they can do it and that a player’s Super Hero card can not be rotated. Once the card has been rotated, the effect is resolved. Some effects will grant huge bonuses for when the card rotates upright. What this means is that the card has usually been rotated 4 times to return to the upright position that all cards enter play in. Ongoing cards such as Locations and several of the new cards introduced in this expansion are the best cards to use the new rotation effect on.

COMPONENTS
This expansion has lots of new content. As I mentioned earlier, there are 6 new oversized Super Heroes, 8 new Super Villains and 23 new main deck cards. I absolutely love the artwork on these. Each one has some amazing look designs and feature heroes and villains from throughout the DC universe. I’ll be honest, I was amazed that in the entire expansion, there’s only 1 card for a male character. I won’t say who that particular character is, it might ruin the surprise. It was just nice to see that almost this entire expansion is dedicated to female heroes and villains. Well done, well done! I will mention however that there will be some familiar faces especially for anyone familiar with any of the DC shows on the CW. Characters such as Roulette, Cupid and Vixen make an appearance. I was really happy to see a lot of great looking cards. I really feel that the new cards work well together and thematically they fit. Overall, I’m very pleased with the look and feel of the entire expansion.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion consists of a simple rules card. It is the size of one of the oversized super hero cards. This card covers all the rules for adding this expansion to any of the boxed sets. It also covers the new new rotated cards concept, explaining it thoroughly. It also includes a couple of pictures showing this concept. There are also some clarifications on several of the cards included in the set. I think that the card does a great job of explaining everything. It’s easy to read and understand. It’s also good for separating the sets inside one of the big boxes. Overall I feel it covers everything quite well.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
It’s no secret that I love deck building games and that the DC Deck Building Game is absolutely one of my most favorite ones. I’m also a big fan of DC comics and love all the many characters and stories. It should come as no surprise then that I would enjoy this expansion as much as I do. I’ve always enjoyed the Birds of Prey, especially Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle. It’s nice seeing these as playable characters, even though Black Canary had already been a part of a previous big box set. I’m also very happy about seeing Catwoman as a playable character. Honestly, it’s about time. I think she fits in well with the others and really rounds out the line up. Of course let’s not forget Katana and Batwoman. These 2 are also quite cool and are a lot of fun to play. As for the actual gameplay, the new concept for this expansion is the rotated cards that I’ve explained pretty thoroughly in other parts of this review. The idea of rotating the cards is actually a pretty cool concept for many of the ongoing cards like locations and such. Each time a card is rotated it may provide a bonus from another card which can help out quite a bit. Thematically it’s a little unusual until you play a card like the villain Roulette and you suddenly get it. I have to say that a ton of praise should be heaped on the designers for having the courage to make an expansion where there’s only 1 male character card in the whole package. I think it’s pretty brave and makes sense in this expansion that’s clearly centered around the Birds of Prey. I like this set a lot. It’s a lot of fun to play. Fans of the DC Deck Building Game will love this expansion and all the new material that it brings to the game. Fans of the Birds of Prey comics and even the DC TV shows should enjoy this one as well. I would highly recommend this expansion. It’s a definite must have for me.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
DC Deck Building Game: Crossover Pack 6 – Birds of Prey is an expansion for The DC Deck Building Game. It adds 6 new playable Super Heroes, 8 new Super Villains to battle and 23 new cards for the main deck that are centered around the Birds of Prey and several of the female characters of the DC Universe. The expansion doesn’t really add much more time to the actual game play. It’s fairly negligible. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes, depending on the number of players. The cards are beautiful. Each one captures the look and feel of the comics in a great way. I relly love the look of the designs and art on each one of these. The expansion also adds a new concept to the game, the rotated cards. I think it works quite well with the cards in the expansion as well as those in the Teen Titans set. I’m very happy with everything that the expansion has to offer and look forward to playing it a lot more. Fans of the DC Deck Building Game and the Birds of Prey comic series will be happy to add this to their collection. I highly recommend it. It’s a must have.
9 out of 10

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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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Windup War Review

Windup War is a game by Katie Khau and Jess Chu, published by Bellwether Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will command a wind up toy army as they seek to destroy their opponents. They’ll need to plan attacks, prepare their defenses and charge the battlefield if they hope to become the last one standing. Of course if they can score enough points first, they will be declared the winner.

To begin, players are each given a faction box. They will then empty the box and assemble their army from the cards of their faction. Each player will place their Life card in front of them vertically with the card pointed towards the center of the table. They must then select 3 of their Unit cards to be in their army during this particular game. The remaining units are placed back inside the faction box. Players must then select the order in which each card will be activated. The first unit is placed on the player’s Life card vertically so that it covers up all the hearts except for those equal to the number of hearts allowed by the unit card. The player’s second and third unit are placed in order horizontally below their active unit. The Win Tally card should then be placed back into the player’s faction box, but will be used later to record wins. The remaining set of Action cards are place into the player’s hand. Play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round is divided into 2 phases; the Windup and the War. The first phase is the Windup phase. In this phase players will place any 5 of their Action cards into a face down row to the right of their active unit card. The cards should be placed so that the first action the player would like to use is closest to the active unit card and the last action is farthest away.

The second phase is the War phase. This phase begins once all players have placed their 5 Action cards. Players will then announce, “Ready…Aim…Card 1”. Each player will then simultaneously flip over their first Action card. Each Action card is then resolved as if the actions happened simultaneously. Once the first Action card has been resolved by all players, they will then announce, “Ready…Aim…Card 2”. This continues until all 5 of a player’s Action cards have been resolved. Once this happens, the round is concluded with each player moving all the Action cards they used earlier to their discard pile on the left of their active unit. A new round begins with each player selecting 5 new actions.

There are a few things that should be mentioned about the game. First off, Action cards when played will affect other players based on where they’re sitting in relation to the player that played them. For this reason, players should be sitting where it’s easy to determine who is on the player’s right and left. Next, Action cards come in 6 different colors. Units can only take actions that are the same color as the ribbons on their unit card. However, any unit can perform black actions. If a player happens to have played an Action card that their active unit can not take, this is an illegal action. If the player was attacked at the same time as the illegal action, then the illegal action counts as a Block All Attacks card. If the player was not attacked, then the illegal action breaks and must be turned 180 degrees and placed under the player’s Heart card with the bouncing gear side facing the center of the table. If a player has 3 or more of these broken cards beneath their Heart card, they must forfeit the game. Next, there are the Charge cards. These cards are how players score points. When a player plays a Charge card, they must first check to see if any other players played a Charge card at the same time as they did. As long as there were no other Charge cards played, then the Charge is successful. If they did, then the Charge cards cancel each other out. If not, then the player may immediately move one card from their discard pile into the center of the table face down to count as a point for that player’s faction. Finally as the game is played, a player’s active unit will wing up taking damage at some point. When this happens the player must move their active unit card so that it covers up one additional heart for each damage taken. When all of a unit’s hearts have been lost, the unit is destroyed. Before the next Action card is revealed, the player should removed the destroyed unit card and place it out of the way. The next unit in combat order should then be placed vertically onto the life card in the same way as the first unit was during setup. Once a player’s third unit is destroyed, they are eliminated from the game.

The game continues until either all but one player have forfeited or have been eliminated by losing all 3 of their units. The remaining player left standing is the winner. Likewise the game can end if a player scores their third point. In this case, that players is the winner. In a 2 or 3 player game, the number of points is 4.

 

COMPONENTS
This game consists of a bunch of small thin cards. Not to say that the cards aren’t thick, what I mean is that the width of the cards is thin. Just take a look at the picture above. The game comes with 6 different factions that can be played. Each one comes in it’s own little box with a life card and a win tally card. The quality of the cards is really good. It has like a linen or satin finish on them. The artwork is rather cute and fun with a cartoonish style to it. The box that everything comes in has a magnetic closure on it with plenty of room in case the designers decide to create some expansions. I like the artwork and box. Both of these are really well done. The thing that kind of feels odd is how small the cards are. They are almost Euro sized except that the width is just a little wider than my thumb. I’ve never played a game with cards this shape and size before. I will say that it’s kind of cool that you can just grab a couple of faction boxes and slip them into your pocket like you would a pack of gum. The game is highly portable this way. Overall I think the design is rather unique and it seems to work for this game. I’m pleased with the look and feel.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is rather small as well and fits nicely inside the game box. There are plenty of pictures and examples. There’s a very good example of game play at the end of the book. Every step of the game is explained rather well. There should be nothing that is difficult to read or understand. I especially like that all the action cards are explained in detail. This is really helpful as a reference in case any questions arise. Overall I think the book does a good job explaining everything and it looks nice as well. I didn’t really see anything to complain about.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a quick and fun little card game. I really like it as a 2 player game. It’s very quick and easy to play this way. Of course if you like a little more chaos, then playing with more than 2 is the way to go. In this way, as you’re playing and players start getting eliminated then your target moves and while you thought you were going to be attacking one player, all of a sudden you’re attacking a different one, or even yourself. This level of unpredictability makes the game rather interesting. As I said, it’s rather quick even with more players, however there’s still plenty of strategy to the game. Knowing which moves to make and when to make them is key. It’s also important to know when to use an illegal action to be able to block a suspected attack as well as when to charge to get those points. In some ways this game reminds me of an amped up version of War with some Uno mixed in. I rather like the mixture and think it tends to work quite well. Overall, this is a light game that can be played with the whole family. I would recommend giving this one a try.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Windup War is a light weight card game of battling wind up toys. The game is fairly quick. Most game sessions last around 20 minutes or so. The artwork is light and fun with a cartoonish feel to it. The cards are an unusual size that feels a bit odd, however the quality and finish on each one is very nice. The faction boxes are the same size as a pack of gun making the game highly portable. The game is fun with a mixed feeling of War and Uno combined. It’s fairly simple to play and easy enough for even younger players to enjoy. There is a bit of strategy but it’s not very heavy. Fans of light weight battling card games should enjoy this one. I’d recommend giving this one a try. It’s unpredictable and fun for the whole family.
8 out of 10

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

http://bellwethergames.com/

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Alicematic Review

Alicematic is a game by Kuro, published by Japanime Games. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players will take control of one of the Kingdoms of Wonderland as they try to take over different cities and territories. They will need to summon the help of various incarnations of Alice if they hope to be able to unite the entire Kingdom under their control. In the end, the player that can control the most territories and summon the most powerful versions of Alice will be declared the winner.

To begin, the map tiles are shuffled together. The tiles are then set up randomly face down in a 9 – 13 tile pattern depending on the number of players. Once the pattern has been made, the tiles are flipped face up. Players choose a kingdom and receive the matching kingdom cards and territory markers. Players will then place their kindom cards in a row in front of them as shown in the rulebook. Their territory markers should be placed close by. The Alice cards are shuffled together and each player is then dealt 5 cards each. Players are able to then look at their cards and discard any that they like, redrawing back up to 5 cards. However they’re only able to do this once. The point tokens and resource tokens are placed in separate piles nearby. The first player is chosen. Beginning with the first player and continuing in turn order, each player picks an edge tile and places one of their territory markers with the captured side up, onto the city territory of that tile. Once this has been done, the process is repeated except that the last player starts first and continues in reverse turn order to the first player. Players are allowed to place a marker on a city that another player has already placed a marker on. It should be noted however that each city has a limit to the number of territory markers that may be placed there. Once this has been completed, play now begins.

The game is played over 14 rounds. Each round players will take turns completing two phases; politics phase and invasion phase. The first phase of a player’s turn is the politics phase. In this phase the player is able to play a card to one of their 5 card slots on top of their Kingdom cards. It can either be played face up as an Alice or face down as a commoner. If the player has no cards to play they will draw a card from the deck instead, skipping the rest of their turn. It should be noted that a card slot can not have more than 4 cards at a time. When playing an Alice, the player must first have Dream Power equal to the strength of the chosen Alice card. Dream Power is equal to the number of cards in the player’s yellow card slot. If the player doesn’t have enough power they can use resources to finish paying the cost of the card in a 1 to 1 ratio. It should be noted that Alice cards can not be placed into a card slot of a different color. The card colors must match. Once an Alice card is played, it’s power takes effect immediately. This is known as an Alice’s Megalomania. The card’s timing is noted in it’s text. It should be noted that Megalomanias do not combine, therefore if there are several identical Alices in the same Kingdom, they are only applied once. Commoners can be played instead of playing an Alice. These cards cost no Dream Power. Once played, the player draws a card. These commoners can be any color and so they can be played on any card slot.

The second phase of a player’s turn is the invasion phase. In this phase, the player is able to invade other territories and gain a invasion bonus. They can invade empty territories or cities as long as they still have spaces open. They can also invade any territory that is under attack by another player. These territories are those that a player can’t completely capture on their turn. To place it under attack, the player places their territory marker face down with the under attack side showing. On a future turn, they can capture it without having the full power to be able to take it. They can also invade territories controlled by another player as long as it doesn’t connect to a city that is controlled by that player. In this case, the player only receives half of the invasion bonus. Capturing a territory requires military power and food. Military power is equal to the number of cards in the player’s red Military card slot. It should be noted that the player is also able to use military resources to add 1 to their military power. Food is needed to capture territories on another tile. The amount needed is equal to the distance between the territory and the player’s closest controlled city. Passing through another player’s territory costs an additional food. A player’s food is equal to the number of cards in their green food card slot. They can also use food resources to make up for any shortages. If the player has both the food and military power to capture the territory, they can place their territory marker there and gain the invasion bonus. Different territory types give different bonuses. For more information on these, please check the rulebook.

Mystic forests are a little bit different. Usually a player can not pass through or invade one of these territories. However, if the forest is completely surrounded by player controlled territories, it may be invaded or passed through. However, only the strongest player can invade it, that is to say the player with the most territories around that particular forest. The forest’s invasion difficulty is equal to the number of territories surrounding it. Once taken, the player gains points equal to the same number.

The game continues until the end of the 14th round. Final scoring then occurs. Players gain points for controlling territories on each map tile, with the most territories controlled gaining the most points. They also receive points for having the most Alices in a card slot, as well as for any Megalomania effects. The players compare points and the one with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
The game comes with some great looking pieces. The artwork is really fun and light hearted. I especially like the look and designs of each of the different Alice cards. They’re so CUTE! Speaking of cards, each kingdom has it’s own set of cards for a player to stack their Alices and commoners on. I love the large designs on each one of these. Thematically they’re quite nice. The map tiles, territory markers, resource tokens and point tokens are all thick cardboard and are very sturdy. The territory markers carry over the same image as those on the kingdom cards. I do think that the iconography for the resource tokens is a little off putting however. While I can kind of tell what they’re supposed to represent, I think it could have been designed a little better and a lot clearer looking. The map tiles I wish were bigger so that we could get a better look at the really beautiful looking designs of the different territories. Other than that though, I think everything looks amazing. There’s a lot to like about this game. It’s simply adorable.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is quite large, but it only has 10 pages in it. There is a lot of great looking pictures and examples throughout the book. The first couple of pages gives you quick overview of the game in chibi manga form. There’s a beautiful large image of lots of Alices fighting with the story of the game beneath it, that I just love. The setup and phases of a player’s turn are all explained in great detail. The final page of the book covers several of the megalomania powers of the Alices. Overall I think the book does a great job of explaining everything. You shouldn’t have any problems reading through it and understanding.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
My favorite Disney movie of all times would have to be Alice in Wonderland. In college, I was a part of the Drama club where we preformed Alice in Wonderland. Over the years, I’ve collected several different versions of the movie in both live action as well as animated. I’ve also collected lots of memorabilia and even dressed up as the Mad Hatter for Halloween a couple of times. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of everything Wonderland. This game fits in nicely. It has a great Wonderland theme to it, but adds an area control, war game like atmosphere to the whole thing. It’s really quite unusual. I like how that there are so many different forms of Alice that help you in a different way. The game is quite simple to teach and is a lot of fun. You can quickly look at another player’s military power and tell if you can take a spot from them or not. I like how that you gain power by playing Alice cards as either Alice or a commoner on the flip side. It’s also good that you don’t lose your dream power each time you summon an Alice. I think that would have ended up being rather annoying. I think the scoring aspect of the game is quite good. I like that a player can still gain points even though they don’t have the most territories on a tile. It does have a bit of strategy but not so much that it’ll burn your brain or leave you in a state of AP. I think fans of area control games that like the manga style artwork will really enjoy this one. Overall, I like it and think it’ll fit nicely in the Wonderland collection.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Alicematic is an area control style game mixed with a war game based in a chibi manga version of wonderland. The game is average in terms of length of play. Most game sessions last around an hour, give or take. The artwork is great on everything, especially the cards. I love the manga style look of all the different Alice cards. Of course, original Alice is still my favorite. My only real gripe about the components would be that the iconography on the resource tokens is a little odd and could have been simplified. The game is quite fun and mixes mechanics quite well. Along with area control, there’s also a bit of hand management thrown in for flavor in this war game. I think thematically it’s pretty good and you do have at least a good feeling as you vie for control of the different cities and territories of Wonderland. I think that fans of Alice in Wonderland and the manga style should enjoy the artwork and design of the game, while players that enjoy a good area control game should like the mechanics. This is one that I would recommend trying out. I think it’s quite good. Now only one question remains, why IS a raven like a writing desk?
8 out of 10

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

http://www.japanimegames.com/

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