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We review the legacy city building game My City.
We review the photosynthesis expansion, Under the Moonlight
I picked up Sentient in a trade a couple of months back, and at that time I played two-handed against myself just to learn the rules, but I finally got to play it with another person over the weekend.
I'll admit that initially drew me to the game was the aesthetics. The dice are so great, and the art on the cards is pretty cool. What kept me interested after that initial hook was the interesting puzzle-like gameplay that the game seemed to offer. A short summary of the theme is that you are playing rival corporations attempting to program the best sentient robots, and attracting investors from different economic sectors. After plugging them into your network, they will affect your system, so you'll need to anticipate those effects.
In terms of gameplay, it's (roughly) equal parts card drafting, dice manipulation, and set collection. Yeah, the gameplay is pretty abstracted from the theme, but I think it works. I haven't spent much time thinking about it, but I don't know of a theme that would be more applicable.
I won't spend a lot of words on how the game is actually played; you all can look up rules or videos if you'd like. The short version is that the main thing you'll be doing on your turn is drafting a "robot" from those that are available, and "plugging it in to your network" (placing it below your player board), and then adjusting the dice based on the card. The decision of which card to take is based on how many points it will give you for fulfilling its conditions (which are related to the state of the dice on either side of the card), and whether or not you think you can fulfill those conditions, and to what degree. The set collection element comes in the form of different "suits" of cards, which are multiplied by the number of matching investor tokens you have collected by the end of the game. So that's the other part of the decision you're making when you take a card - which suit is it, and which investors am I courting by taking this one?
Overall, the decisions are interesting, in my opinion. This game is a puzzle. You can't do much to mess with your opponent, other than mess with the cards that are available and the investors you're both chasing. I'll give you an example. In the final round, there was a card available that would give 7 points (a pretty good amount) if BOTH dice on either side of it were 5s. One of my dice was at 6, and the other was at 1, but this card would decrease each die face by 1 - changing them from 6 -> 5, and 1 -> 6 (numbers wrap). I took it as a gamble - would I be able to a) keep the 5 that I just set, and b) would I be able to decrease the 6 another time with a subsequent card, while also fulfilling that card's requirements? Well, it worked out, and I won by 2 points: 79-77.
I like this game. It's puzzley, but not too brain-burning. It's kind of relaxing. There's not so much going on that you feel like you're juggling knives, but there's a decent amount of "turn angst" around whether or not you'll be able to fulfill a card's requirement, and whether to take a card for the explicit points it gives you, or for the investor influence it gives you. It's a bit abstract, and I think because of that it takes a slight knock in terms of accessibility, but I don't have any worry about teaching it to my wife or anyone who's reasonably familiar with modern games. I like it, and I look forward to future plays.
Here's a cool pic of it I swiped from BGG user jipipu:
I got an opportunity yesterday to play my first game of #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). I have wanted this game for a long time, and I quickly backed the reprint when it came back to Kickstarter. I finally got my copy on Wednesday, but, a few days of travel, and being behind on work meant that I couldn't play it until Sunday afternoon. Now I have played it, and, I decided to write a Brian's Battery review on it.
Firstly, I do have a few disclaimers:
- These are my first impressions. I have played the game a grand total of ONCE. And, as such, I may have gotten some rules wrong that would change the game.
- This is a Kickstarter game I have waited for since I backed it early this year, and, I had wanted it for months before that. So, that may influence how positively I view the game today.
- I love historical themes, so, I will be more positively biased towards this sort of game anyways.
In Pax Pamir 2E you are set in in Afghanistan directly after the fall of the Durrani Empire. This is the time of history known as the Great Game. This is the time in history where European powers used central Asia as a the theater to play out their imperial ambitions. During this period, Afghanistan was a place where Russia and Great Britain wrestled for control. There was also a local nationalistic movement that tried to gain control of the region. PP2E puts you into this "Great Game," but not as one of the main players. Rather, you are a lowly Afghan chieften/warlord. You don't know who will win, and to a certain extant you don't care. What you are trying to do is to make sure whatever faction wins, you are loyal to them, so that you will be able to live a softer life, or at least to continue to live. Your loyalties are very pragmatic, and you can and will switch loyalties whenever it seems convient to you. You will be placing spies, accepting British, Afghan, or Russian patriots into your court. You will be inviting armies from the powers to set up in you area, or to place roads in your area. You will be offering gifts and bribes to make sure that if the coalition you back wins, they will remember you.
This is all driven by a fairly simple tablaeu builder. You have limited very few actions automatically available per turn. But there are a lot of actions on the cards in your tablaeu (court) that you may or may not be able to play depending on the political enviroment. You really do feel like you are not the main player in the Great Game, but rather a cash strapped political wannabe, which is a cool feeling to have.
So, without further ado..... A Brian's Battery breakdown of my first impressions of #Pax Pamir (Second Edition).
Components ++ What can I say about the components that cannot be said before? The whole package is a wonderful marriage of form and function. The art is wonderful, and evocotive, but the symbology is still clear and easy to read. The coalition blocks are super simple and don't "look" like armies or roads, but they are fun to handle, beautiful to look at, and are still wonderfully evocotive. I will make two specific comments in regards to the components.
- The included cardboard coins are really nice, when considered in a vacuum. But, they pale in comparison to the optional metal coins. If you are interested in this game, and have an option to get the metal coins... They are well worth it.
- The cards are not linen finish. I am ok with that. Cole Wehrle, the designer, said that they chose not to go with linen finish, because it messed up some of the fine lines on the artwork on the cards. In this case, I would prefer the artwork to the linen finish. But, it is something to note.
Rules complexity vs. Depth ++ To be very clear, these are first impressions... But, ruleswise it not that heavy, but it looks like there is a LOT of depth. Of course, I could be wrong... But, those are my first impressions.
AI opponent +- I am going to break this down into several components.
- Ease of management + I do think this is a fairly easy AI manage, certainly for one that can feel so effective.
- Does the AI make intelligent decisions? +- Sometimes. I did feel like generally the AI did make very intelligent decisions. But there was one or two really headscratching decisions that ended up loseing her the game, but, there were specific decisions she made that lost her the game.
- Does the AI feel like a human component = I haven't played with a human opponent, but I doubt that the Wakhan will feel like a human opponent. Even if she does, she was designed to stimulate the feeling of two human opponents. and so, as such, she will grow her court, and put out coalition blocks, faster than you can.
Thematic + I felt this game really comunicated the theme well. But, if I had not done as much research into the game before I don't know how thematic it would have felt if I hadn't dug into it beforehand.
Rulebook + I think that the rulebook was well written, the aids were well presented and written. I think I could have learned it easily enough from the rulebook, but I did watch a bunch of how to play videos before I even got the game in order to speed up how soon I could play the game.
Gameplay + The gameplay was wonderful. It was engrossing. It was engaging. It captured my attention, and held me thrall. The turns The AI weren't onnerous to manage. I am in awe at this master of game design. We will see how more experience changes it for or for worse...But, I think this will probably end up in my top 3 games of on time. This is a game with great potential. And, I am looking forward to playing this more. Of course, with more time and experience my opinion on it might go down.
Do I recomend this to you? This is a game where you will get screwed over, this is a game that does not need you to be interested in history, but it will feed your interest in history. This is a game that has a game state that is very clear to read, and very opaque at the same time. This is a game that has a lot of input randomness in terms of what cards come on the market. Some people will really bounce off of that. None of these are problems for me. If they are not problems for you, I highly recomend you check this one out.
I had posted last week that I was really enjoying #Maracaibo solo and @cbrady748 asked if I was going to do a little write up on it. I've never really done something like that before but I figured it might be something I could try.
I've played Maracaibo 5 times solo and once multiplayer so I'm nowhere near an expert but I can do some contrast between solo play and the multiplayer play.
I will be assuming you generally know how to play the game as I'm just focuing on the solo aspects in this write up.
So let's get started.
Setting up the game for solo isn't too tricky. There are few extra steps outside of the usual rules.
The official solo rules allows for one additional player using the flip side of one of the player boards:
Here you see the upgrade disks, a spot for the solo players quests, a spot for the solo players combat tokens, and the rules around their scoring during and at the end of the game.
I found a variant for the game that easily allows for multiplayer automa players as well which I prefer but I thought I'd keep this reviiew strictly textbook.
You also need to pick the automa difficulty by shuffling different action cards together to make the automa deck. The A level cards are more basic with lower rewards while B and C get progressively better for the automa. I found Very Easy to be too easy and Medium could go either way so I'd say they are calibrated pretty well.
That's really the big differences for setup.
The player always goes first and plays as usual.
For the automa you flip over one card from their action decks
The top row of their action cards determines how many moves the automa will make. However, they only care about city and quest spaces! This means that depending on the board state the automa can move around the board in 3 turns sometimes.
Then if they stopped on a quest space they pick it up and their turn is done or if is a city they will either place a disc down on it (taken from the automa board) or take a card from the offering. After that they take the action below regardless of what space they are on. (The sample cards I have here show get one influence, move the explorer 2 spaces, and take a combat action.)
When a boat reaches the scoring section the automa scores the victory point shown on their last uncovered spot on the disc track, and one victory point for each card they have acquired.
At the end of the game they score 5 victory points for each quest they received and also score the influence track as normal. It also scores extra points if it gets ahead of you on the upgrades or the explorer track.
The automa does work with the story mode. You'll need to be careful to read the rules around how it interacts with some of the legacy mode tiles though. It ignores some of them but not all. It does always pick up story quests which can be handy. I did feel it is a bit fiddly on the story tile aspect and I am pretty sure I have run it incorrectly once or twice.
Difficulty of Running the Automa
Actually running the automa during the game isn't super difficult. It doesn't worry about money or cards so it keeps it quite simple.
I did find myself looking up things quite a bit initally and it was especially unclear to me how things worked when it hit the stop spaces at the end of the route. I definitely think the rule book could have been a bit more clear.
However, after my first game, a bit of rules looking up online and then my second game I now feel just fine with how it operates. That initial hump to overcome was maybe a bit steeper than it could have been but it wasn't too bad.
Overall Solo Impression
Overall I enjoy the solo mode with a couple of caveats:
1) The automa really whips around the board. It is more than possible for the automa to reach the end of the run in 3 turns. This is especially true if you are working with the starting board state. Now this does mean the games go faster but for me it also feels that I am missing out on being able to build up a good set of cards and tactics. (I can get a game in in an hour and a half including setup using the 2 automa variant no problem.)
2) The penalties for not keeping up with the automa on the explorer or upgrade track feel high to me. You really can't afford to focus on one area and neglect either of those two areas unless you can find a way to get a LOT of points in it. The good news is that, at least at the difficulty I am using, it's not too hard to keep up but I could see it feeling constraining.
The one multiplayer game I played definitely felt better as I had a bit of room to breath and really enjoy the possibilities of the game. (I had to actually try to unlearn some of my solo habits as paying attention to the other players tableaus and strategies was important and I had time to build up a good tableau of my own.)
However, I am not a big solo gamer and I have already played it 5 times in just over a week. I think the big reason for that is the story mode. Sure, the story isn't the best but it introduces new quest locations and tiles that create interesting tweaks to the board. I could really see just randomizing the tiles for a regular game even as some of them add a lot of variety to the board and just freshen it up a bit.
Recommendation as a Solo Game Purchase
While I definitely prefer this as a multiplayer game and highly rate it for multiplayer I do recommend this as a solo game purchase. Doubly so if you like a tight game that will really force you to eek out every little bit of value in your turns. Triply so if the thought of making small adjustments to the board between games makes you excited to give it another go to see what difference it makes in the next game!
Be sure to get in with a chance to win this game with the 3MBG/Board Game Atlas partnered giveaway ending on 3 September 2020. Find that here
Hello and welcome to my Brian’s battery review for Star Wars: Outer Tim!
For those unfamiliar, Outer Rim is a game in which 1-4 players compete to see who can get to 10 fame points first. The game is set in the titular Outer Rim of the Star Wars galaxy and players travel around hunting down bounties, completing jobs, and delivering cargo. Every task you complete earns you money, fame, or both. Credits are used to pay for a myriad of things: gear or ship upgrades, to hire crew, or even to bribe Imperial patrols! The first player to 10 fame is the winner of the game and the most famous in the Outer Rim!
I’ve had the pleasure of playing this one both solo and with a group so I’ll be able to address both aspects this time around.
(+) This game is from FFG, so you know that the components will be stellar. And this game is no exception. The card quality is off the charts. The player boards are really cool and look very thematic. The actual board itself is modular and really cool to look at. The custom dice are unique and interesting. The art is Star Wars and it’s awesome.
(+) The rulebooks are great. This game follows a trend of having two separate books - one to learn to play and one rules reference. I personally really like this system because it allows the Learn to Play guide to focus on teaching the game while the reference can cover all the special cases and minutiae.
(+) This game is pure Star Wars. If you’ve ever wanted to play as Boba Fett and disintegrate your targets, here is your chance. If you ever want to drop your cargo at the first sign of Imperial trouble, here’s your game. The game is wonderfully thematic and all of the mechanisms tie together to make it a fantastic open world adventure. When playing you really do feel like you are in the world.
(+) The game utilizes a clever “databank” system to handle encounters or provide story information as the game progresses. Not only is this clever but it seems relatively expandable.
(+) Multiple paths to victory abound in this game. Want to play to the strengths of Lando and smuggle illegal cargo? Go ahead. Or do you want to take Lando and turn him into a bounty hunting machine? Go ahead and hire a crew and get it done! Or do a combination of everything as opportunities present themselves.
(++) As a huge Star Wars nerd I really appreciate how much thought went into this game. You can encounter some of my most favorite characters - like Grand Admiral Thrawn or the mighty Chewbacca - and complete missions for them or use them as crew members.
(+) All of the different player characters have different player powers and personal quests that really tie into who their character is in other media. Jyn Erso is driven to get revenge on the Empire while Lando just wants to deliver illegal cargo.
(+) The game plays well both multiplayer and solo. The solo mode features an AI opponent that realistically simulates a real opponent. Having played both modes, I can tell that a lot of thought went into the AI to make it a good facsimile of the multiplayer experience.
(+/-) I haven’t played at 4 player but I can imagine the game getting a little long at that high of a player count. At 3 players it was a decently long game, but solo it was relatively quick.
(+/-) I can see how long-term replay ability might suffer with this game as the databank is a set number of cards. It will take lots of plays to experience all the content but eventually you will see every card in the databank. Random setup certainly helps to mitigate this, but after you discover a job or character you might begin to remember what they want you to do. Good thing this is a FFG product so hopefully there will be at least one expansion.
Overall Outer Tim is an amazing open-world game that sets players loose in a thematic Star Wars sandbox. Players are free to pursue their own strategies with the end goal of acquiring 10 fame. I would consider this game a must own for Star Wars fans and a highly recommended product even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan.
I finally had a day off today (I worked the past 8 days in a row!) and I was able to get Everdell to the table for two quick solo plays. Here are my initial thoughts on the game:
(+) The game is absolutely stunning. The art is beautiful. The components are excellent (Those berries are just the right amount of squishy!). The Evertree is definitely a show stopper.
(+) The quality of the cards is top notch. For a game that is predominantly card-driven this is very important.
(+) The gameplay is quick but with tons of depth. The length of the game feels perfect.
(+) I love the progression of the game - you start with very little but by the end you have a forest of options.
(+) I don’t know exactly how to describe this game but there are definitely some engine building pieces and it’s quite fun to build up your city and build upon your previous card plays.
(+) The rules are pretty easy to grasp! I can definitely see my 8-year old learning this one soon.
(+) The forest critter Meeples are so gosh darn cute. I love the little squirrels the best!
(-) The Evertree is beautiful but superfluous. Definitely a symptom of Kickstarter.
(+/-) The AI for solo mode is OK. He progressively blocks more and more actions and puts up a good fight. He beat me on medium but I stomped him on easy.
Overall I’m super happy with this game! Definitely a nice change of pace for this afternoon since I’ve been playing tons of Gloomhaven recently. Also the theme was a nice break from our 7+ inches of snow and blizzard conditions outside.
Finally got to play with my wife and brother-in-law. The rules took about 20 minutes to walk through with questions and clarifications. It's easy to miss a few things while playing since many actions involve two or three things happening. Took us about 2 hours and 20 minutes to finish but much of that was fumbling through the first several rounds so I'd put this at about a 90 minute game with everyone knowing the rules and no one over thinking their turn.
I'd say while this is a clear worker placement game the unique use of different workers and significant variety of actions makes it unique within the genre. It hints at Anachrony but has more worker types and more actions. It is easy to drown amid the number of options you have available on a given turn.
The king's orders provide some direction while playing narrowing the reasonable options somewhat though deciding between building your engine and pursuing king's orders can be challenging.
Everyone enjoyed it including my wife who generally hates learning games but loves playing them once they are learned. She ended up winning as the attributes are the valuable for points and the rest of us spent a turn too long trying to engine build.
Great game in a small box for the price. Not a gateway game but when taking the jump from entry level games to the next level this might be on the heavy side of a good choice.
Hello all! I'm back after a lengthy hiatus with another of my Brian's Battery reviews, this time for my most recent Giveaway Win -#The City of Kings.
CoK is a huge Kickstarter game that I snagged on Amazon after a difficult selection process that had me picking between many different great games. Am I happy with what I picked? Let's find out!
I'll start by describing how#The City of Kings plays before delving into the actual review.
CoK is a tile based adventure game where 1-4 players control heroes and workers in order to battle enemy groups, collect resources, purchase new equipment, build and upgrade structures, and accomplish the goals of the scenario. Along the way players will level up their heroes, unlocking new abilities and making their stats stronger. CoK can be played as one of 12 standalone scenarios or as part of a story campaign.
The rules of the scenario or story govern the world setup. Each setup card tells which map tiles will be needed which are then shuffled and arranged in a pattern shown on the setup card. The setup card also instructs what level the heroes start at, as well as the morale of the heroes and the hope of the City.
Gameplay predominantly involves an action selection mechanic. Each turn a player uses 4-5 actions to move, explore, attack, or interact with the game world. Actions can also be used for your workers instead of your heroes.
When exploring tiles containing enemy creature groups can be revealed. Creature generation is one of the most unique aspects of CoK. Creatures in this game have random abilities and stats.
Their stats are determined by using tiles that are paired with each revealed creature. These tiles are numbered from 1-30 and increase in difficulty as the numbers increase. The scenario setup will tell you which creature tile to start with at the beginning of the scenario.
Abilities, on the other hand, are randomly drawn for each creature from 3 different groups - Easy, Medium, and Hard. The number and types of abilities drawn are determined by scenario or quest rules, the stat tile, and the newly revealed creature tile. For example, creature stat tile one shows 1 easy ability and the revealed creature tile shows no additional abilities so this creature will be created with one easy ability. Stronger creatures can have any number of hard, medium, and easy abilities.
Play for the game proceeds in rounds. Each player activates in turn order. If a player has revealed a creature that is "their" creature and it will activate before their own actions can be taken. After all players (and any creatures) have taken their turn, time advances and the next round begins. If time advances to midnight without the players completing the scenario goals, the City loses hope. If the City ever runs out of hope the players lose the game.
Players also lose the game if the heroes morale runs out.
Players win if they complete the story or scenario goals.
So that's a little bit about how the game works. Let's get into the review portion:
(+) Rulebooks in this game are solid. This game uses the increasing popular two rule book system where one book is the "Learn to Play" book and the second is the reference rule book that is used during gameplay if needed. The books are well-written and have good examples. Not the absolute best I've ever seen but very useful and solidly produced.
(++) Component quality in this game is fantastic. It's a Kickstarter game and you can tell. The tiles, cards, and bits are fantastic quality. The included drawstring bags for the Easy, Medium, and Hard ability tokens are wonderful. I especially enjoy shaking the bags to mix the tokens before drawing out the different abilities.
And check out these ginormous character sheets:
(+) The art in this game is evocative and well done. I think there is a nice use of color throughout and it mostly avoids the "generic fantasy" tropes common to games in this genre. The graphic design of the cards and the character sheets is well thought out.
(++) Gameplay is really really tight. Almost puzzle like at times. The decisions you have to make with your limited actions are agonizing. Maximizing each and every turn is critical. Each decision about what stats to increase when you level up and what skills to go for is also wonderfully tough.
(+) The lack of dice for combat is refreshing. (Although if you still want dice combat you can increase your luck skill).
(-) The use of dice for the "gather" skill is frustrating and probably my least favorite part of the game. It feels really really bad to use one of your precious actions and get nothing but a "notice" token added to the board. Of course it feels great when your single worker pulls 3 resources out of the hat too. But... yeah. Not my favorite part.
(++) There is a LOT of variety in this game. The monster ability mix and max is really cool. It's always creating new challenges for you to face. The randomized board layout is awesome. I've barely scratched the surface of this game and I can't wait to dig further in.
(++) I love the character development in this game. You have so many choices and possibilities and options. Add to that the equipment and skill cards you add. You'll never have the same character twice. So cool.
(+) I quite like that this game has standees instead of miniatures. The standees look really nice and I imagine helped to keep costs reasonable during the campaign. I am aware that you can purchase an upgrade pack with the minis and I think this a great way to give people an option if they want to spend more money.
Overall I really enjoy this game and I am very happy to have it in my collection. After I pulled the trigger I was concerned that it would occupy a space too similar to Mage Knight. Fortunately I can confirm that this is not the case. The two games might seem similar on the surface but they play radically different and scratch totally different itches. CoK definitely has a puzzle-type aspect to it as you sit and plan each turn and try to accomplish everything every turn.
I know some reviewers have offered criticism about the randomly generated enemies and how they don't really add any theme to the game. I think on one hand that's an accurate criticism - it's very thematic to fight skeletons or orcs or whatnot - but on the other the random aspect is interesting and allows you to build and expand your own stories each game.
I didn't actually comment too much on how this game feels as a solo game. I definitely think you get the full experience with this one as a solo player. The main game is cooperative so all you are missing by playing solo is other people getting in your way and slowing down your experience. All joking aside, it's definitely a great solo game.
I am very happy I picked this game and am looking forward to many more enjoyable play sessions with this one. Thanks for reading!
A review of the card drafting and tableau-building game villagers.
Oh My Goods!
Me and Steely @nealkfrank at it again. He has been a true friend, helping me destroy the shelf of shame one game at a time.
Oh My Goods! is a card game that comes in a very small box, yet feels like a mid-weight worker placement, engine builder that can compete with other larger box games. Don’t get me wrong, this is no Agricola, but you can definitely scratch the itch for a bigger meatier game for half the time and less than half the price.
In this game you are settlers constructing various types of buildings in your new town. These buildings produce goods and are worth points at the end of the game. Your buildings may not be utilized by other players. In order to produce goods on your building you must place your worker on the desired building and then also have the resources required to make that good. These resources either come from “the market” in the middle of the table or from your hand.
The market is laid out in two phases, and in between the two phases you are able to choose where you would like to work and what you would like to build. I personally think this aspect of the game is very interesting, fun, and suspenseful as you are having choose where you would like to build and produce based on only half of the information available.
Once the 2nd phase of the market is complete (the rest of the resources are laid out for use in production) production and building take place. If you met the resource requirement for the building you chose, you produce goods! PLUS, each building has a production chain power. If you have the resource that building needs, you can funnel an unlimited amount of that resource to then produce more goods on that building.
The game ends when a player has built their 8th building. Your score is tallied up from the points displayed on each building, and the total cost of all your goods divided by 5.
- I enjoyed the artwork, it reminded me of Argicola that I actually like lol
- I LOVE multiuse cards
- A large variety of cards
- Satisfying engine building
- Each turn plays very quick and most of it is simultaneous, you never feel as if youre just sitting there waiting
- Risky worker placement was a fun twist on a classic mechanic, a failed attempt also does not completely destroy you
- I think it took me reading the rulebook like 5 times to know what was going on
- Multiuse card games in general are not the most accessible
- The game almost seemed a little short, I think I would have enjoyed using my engine 1 or 2 more time
I REALLY like this game. It was quick and easy once you understood the base concepts of the game. It was smooth and not at all clunky. It almost felt like my first experience playing Race for the Galaxy, a seemingly overwhelming learn/teach that ended up being a very easy yet deep game.
Last night at game night (after playing a wild 4-player game of #Rurik: Dawn of Kiev), we played #Nova Luna, a relatively new gamee (2019) from Stronghold Games. I hadn't really heard much about the game, so I was interested to learn more.
It felt similar to #Patchwork in that the player further back on the track plays their turn. You're trying to get rid of advil-looking tablets/discs; the first player to do so wins. You do so by collecting tiles and connecting them to other tiles, following the requirements on the tiles. Vague? You bet it is. It took me a little bit to actually understand placement rules, but once I did, it was like, "duh."
When you take a tile (one of the first three from where the moon marker is on the track), you move your marker as many spaces as the number on the tile shows. Then, you place it in your personal tableau, trying to connect a certain number of colored tiles to it (and others). For example, the Red tile with the number 5 still needs to be connected to two blue tiles. Once that happens, I can place an advil...er, disc on the circle that shows two blue dots.
The first player to place all of their discs is the winner.
First impressions? I really liked it. A lot thinkier than Patchwork (for me, at least), although it has similar mechanics. And it's not too difficult to learn (despite my personal attempts to make it so). My wife really likes Patchwork, and I think she'd like this one even more.
Because it's from Stronghold games, the production quality isn't fabulous, but it's not bad. The game is probably a bit more expensive that it would be from another publisher with the same quality. But, that's neither here nor there. The discs were a bit small for stacking (which happens when markers end up on the same space), but that was honestly the biggest issue we had.
While it's not a game I'm anxious to go out and purchase (regardless of price), I'd be more than happy to play it again. And, it plays well at 2 (or so I'm told), which is a huge plus.
Blue Lagoon by Reiner Knizia is a colorful game for 2 to 4 players that plays in about 45 minutes. Players are on an expedition to claim and then settle the islands of a recently discovered archipelago. You won't be able to travel everywhere, so you must balance visiting many islands with creating majorities on an island, and completing sets of resources with having multiples of one type.
Opening the Box
Opening the box for the first time, there is an instruction booklet on top of a sheet of discs. Looking closely at the top right corner, we see a cutout to make it easy to get the sheets out of the box.
Both sheets of cardboard components have this cutout. A very thoughtful touch.
Under the sheets of player discs, there is a nicely illustrated map, folded and held in place by the custom insert.
Beneath the map we see the rest of the insert, with a drawstring bag, wooden components, and a score pad. The four cylindrical spaces are just the right size for the cardboard discs.
Unpacking the wooden components, we find six each of the resources (coconuts, bamboo, water, and precious stones), eight statuettes, plus five villages in each of the four player colors.
The wooden villages even have tiny little door details.
The cardboard discs are punched, and kept separated by player color. When playing with two players, all villages and settlers in each of the two chosen colors are used. When playing with three or four players, some of the settlers are removed from the game.
The resources and statuettes are put into the bag and mixed. One by one they are randomly placed onto the game board where there is a circle of stones.
Just leave the score pad nearby for players to reference, and that's it! You're ready to play.
Playing Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is played in two phases, the Exploration Phase and the Settlement Phase.
Each turn players add one settler or village to the game board. To add a piece the board, it must be next to a previously placed piece, unless it is a boat placed into water.
When you place a piece onto a hex that contains a resource or statuette, you take the item into your supply.
The game will be reset before the second half, and any villages on spaces with the circle of stones, plus all settlers, will be removed. In order to keep a foothold for the Settlement Phase, place villages onto island spaces without a circle of stones.
The Exploration Phase ends when all of the resources have been collected or when all players have placed all of their settlers and villages onto the board.
Players score for having pieces on 7 or 8 islands, linking islands, having the majority on an island, having 2-4 matching resources, having all four resource types, and having statuettes.
After recording the scores from the Exploration Phase, all settlers, resources, and statuettes are removed from the board, along with any villages on a space with a stone circle.
Resources and statuettes are mixed in the bag and distributed onto stone circle spaces just like at the beginning of the game. Settlers are returned to the players, and any villages not on the board are returned to the game box.
In the Settlement Phase, unlike the Exploration Phase, players may not place a settler in a boat without it being next to one of their pieces already on the board. Strategic placement of Villages during the Exploration Phase is important.
The Settlement Phase ends when all of the resources have been collected or when all players have placed all of their settlers onto the board. Scores are tallied like before, and the points are added to each player's score from the Exploration Phase.
Blue Lagoon is a very approachable game that won't scare away casual gamers, but offers plenty of strategy for hobby gamers. It's the sort of game you can play with your parents after a family dinner, or as a game that's quick to set up and teach at a game night. Knizia fans will likely see some similarities to Through the Desert.
Because there is only one action per turn, the game moves quickly with minimal downtime. If I could add one thing to the game, it would be player reference cards to remind everyone what will be scored.
The box is a standard square that fits easily on shelves, and it has a very reasonable price point, especially considering its pedigree and custom wood components.
If you like your network building with a dash of set collection and area majority, and you want it in under an hour, take a look at Blue Lagoon.
Had a chance to play the solo mode of #Paladins of the West Kingdom over the weekend and wanted to share my initial thoughts about the game.
(+) The art style is incredible. The art is evocative without being terribly stereotypical, something which is important considering the theme.
(+) The component quality is amazing. The cards feel great with a nice linen finish. The player boards and main boards are durable and glossy. The wooden meeples are great.
(+/-) The rulebook is serviceable. It’s mostly good but there were a few sections that I had to read a couple of times, and one rule that I couldn’t figure out until I watched a gameplay video.
(-) The Box size is too small. There is a lot of game and it just fits in the box. Why not make it a little bit bigger?
(+) There is a LOT of game here, with a lot of interlocking and codependent mechanics.
(+) The solo mode is easy to run and simulates playing against a real person. This is not a “beat your high score” type of AI. Multiple times the AI foiled my plan by placing first a worker where I was going to go, and then by taking a space on the main board that was essential to my plan.
(+) The Engine Building aspects are phenomenal. Once you get something going it’s so fun to watch the engine churn along. It can be difficult to get something going though.
(+) Resources can be tight which makes for really interesting decisions- especially with the suspicion/criminal mechanic. Do you take a criminal on your team and hope to get rewarded with some extra coin? But will that trigger an inquisition by the King... which could land you a debt and negative VPs (unless you can pay that debt)?
(+) The Paladin selection are the beginning of each round is a brilliant idea. You draw 3, pick 1 to use, then send 1 to the top of the deck and 1 to the bottom of the deck. Correctly picking your Paladin is a huge part of this game.
(+/-) There is a lot to wrap your head around in this game. The systems are all connected and amazing and interesting but it can be overwhelming at first. I actually first set this up on Saturday but found I had not prepared enough to play the game. I needed to go back and watch some more videos and learn more about what I was doing. So I put it all away and tried again on Sunday. After additional preparation I was ready to go.
A Quick Rundown about what the game is actually about:
Your primary goal is to earn VPs. You can earn VPs by advancing your 3 tracks - Faith, Influence, and Combat. The higher your score on these tracks the more points you earn at the end of the game.
You advance those tracks by completing various actions on your player board. Actions make sense thematically as well.
Commissioning Monks to send out to convert the population requires a certain level of faith and increases your influence in the kingdom.
Fortifying towns across the West Kingdom requires a level of influence and increases your combat strength.
Sending garrisons out to protect the West Kingdom requires combat strength and increases the people’s faith.
There are 3 more major actions but you can start to see how the interlocking systems play off each other.
You can also recruit townspeople to your squad for long term bonuses or send them on a quest for a one time bonus. And you can attack outsiders for a one time bonus or convert them for a long term bonus.
There is a LOT going on in this game.
This game is great. It was very overwhelming at first but by the end of my first game I was really into it. It’s definitely more thematic than I gave it credit for initially. I’m not sure where I’d rank it right now (I’ve only played it 1.25 times) but I really enjoyed my first play of it.
As many of you know, Everything Board Games was bought out. Now, the new owner is looking to bring in more reviewers. If you've ever wanted to join a team or board game reviewers, this is your chance! I don't know how many he plans on bringing in, but we're looking for some that can contribute consistently.
It's unpaid (we are reviewers, after all...), but you do get to keep the games sent to you.
We are looking for both video and textual reviewers. To apply, all we need is a review from you (video if you plan on doing video reviews or text if you plan on doing blog-based reviews). I recommend reading some of the most recent reviews on EBG and using that as a template. If you are interested, shoot me a DM here and I'll give you the email address to send it to.
- Choose a review you can have fun with. Don't go overboard, but it's definitely OK to have fun writing it. Dad jokes and puns are also acceptable.
- Proof your review. It's OK if the grammar and punctuation isn't 100% correct (that's what I'm there for, as an editor), but when there are blatant typos, it's not a good look.
- The game can be recently released or even an older title. Just pick one you love.
- Details! Don't just say something is good; tell us why it's good. Likewise, if you didn't care for something, let us know! But also let us know why you didn't care for it. Expound. You don't have to write an essay, but do provide some meat to the details.
Again, let me know if you're interested. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments here so others can see them and the answers. I'm not sure how long the window is open for this, so if you're interested, I suggest getting started. Also, if you find it difficult at first, just know that you'll be way faster at the review process after you've done a few.
I've been impressed with the quality of posts on here, so I have full faith and confidence that any of you can bust out a quality review. Let me know if you have any questions!