It is cool to see the site grow, and change, and become more and more user friendly. I, myself, have not yet masterd it, but I am learning to navigate it more and more.
So thanks dudes!!!
What. Have. I. Done?
As a thank you to everyone who helped me hit 1,000 subs I am doing a giveaway of one of my favorite games! The video tells you how to to enter.
I launched a new segment today! I talk about the games that hit my table the most last month and what I am pumped to try this month.
I wanna know which games are hitting your table most!
Before I begin, I was sent a prototype of the game and may receive a production copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid preview. If you want to check out the video preview you can check it out below. Get your own copy here.
Long term planning, travel, organization, and logistics. What do all of these things have in common? They are things that I do not particularly enjoy, however, they are things that my wife does enjoy. So it was with this in mind-well this and the fact that my wife has been pretty much my only game test buddy for the past year-that I agreed to preview Connecting Flights, from the solo and coop angle.
Now this does not mean that I have not looked at the competitive mode, nor does it mean that I am not taking it into any account in this review, but it does mean that I have only played the game solo, and coop.
In the non-competitive variant of the game you are attempting to build up your air empire to the point where you are able to clear the board of all remaining stranded passengers. That is, you are creating flights that will get them from whatever city they have started in, back to their home continent. Do this before 10 turns is up, and you have won.
To do this you will be managing your money (which starts at 100, and will grow by 45 each turn) to purchase planes, fuel, airports, passengers, and the right to land at certain airports. Once you have made your purchses you will string your airports, planes, and passengers together to create routes which will start moving passengers around the board.
This all sounds simple enough, but the problem is that passengers will keep popping up on the map, in places that are extremely difficult for you to get them out of, and/or they want to go somewhere that you may not have an airport for, or somewhere that you may not have enough fuel to send them. Heck, they might just be so posh that they are not willing to fly with you unless you can guarantee them a first class ticket.
When playing the competitive game, things get a bit more complicated, there is an auction phase, which makes purchasing things slightly more complex, there are also events that mix things up, varied income for each player depending on who you have flown where, and there all important sabotages that you can level at other players.
So what do I think?
It is very satisfying to build a flight, the way it looks on the table is nice, and seeing those meeples leave the board is extremely satisfying. Along with that the puzzle of figuring out just what it is that you need to buy now to use now, and what you should invest in for a later purchase is just a delight. Along with that playing coop, though harder, is a very cool puzzle, as you find yourself flying passengers from, say, Bogota to Nairobi to Mombai; only to pass them off to the other player who can fly them from Mombai to London to New York (which is where they wanted to go in the first place) is a truly delightful puzzle...if not a horrible travel plan.
This is an extremely thinky game, with a very challenging puzzle for the solo and coop game. I also think that the additional elements that you have in the competitive game should really make for a fun, if not highly aggressive and cutthroat, multiplayer experience, as the core of the flight building is still there, and that is the best part of the game in my opinion.
The art is good, and the brightly colored board easy to read. As of now there are only three different types of passengers (art styles) in the game, but I hope that as the game is fulfilled that there will be many more. This game has a wonderful opportunity to show cultures from all over the world and I hope they take it.
It is a shame that there is no way to play the coop mode with more than two players, and it is also a shame that the game is simply harder when played coop vs true solo. I would love to see more development to expand the solo/coop experience. There is also the possibility that the solo/coop mode is "solvable". While there is some randomness to where the passengers show up, and when cards hit the market, I am not sure that there is not a strategy that will win most games, once you master it. I know that they are looking at a stretch goal to add scenarios to the solo/coop game which could rectify this.
Bringing it all together
Connecting Flights is a brain melting style puzzle as a solo and coop game. The mechanics are tight, and relatively simple to master. The board has a good look to it, though the prototype has not taken the opportunity to highlight people from a huge range of cultures that this game screams for. The coop experience unfortunately tops out at two players, and without the potential KS stretch goal scenario cards could be "solveable". The competitive variant has greater complexity and potential to be both fun, and extremely cutthroat.
Can't read now! Flight to catch!
* Brain melting puzzle
* Very satisfying mechanics for creating flights
* Good looking components, hope to see the final version capitalize on the great diversity potential
* Non-competitive mode tops out at two players
* Non-competitive modes feels solvable without KS stretch scenarios
* Competitive mode is more complex with great potential
* Competitive mode looks to be very cutthroat
Before I begin, I was sent a prototype of the game, and may receive a production copy in exchange for an honest preview. This is not a paid preview. If you would prefer to watch a video of this review you can find it below. Get your own copy here.
It is no secret that I am a big fan of fantasy themed games. Considering I have a podcast called Boards & Brews, it is also no secret I enjoy an occasional beer. Sooooo when a company creates a game about fantasy races competing to create the dominant brewing company of the land I am immediately interested. I was even more excited when a friend promised me that if I enjoyed Theurgy I would like this as well.
At its core Rise of the Gnomes is a worker placement game with a healthy dose of area control. Each round you will place your brewers onto one of the communal spots (6 of these are always the same, and 8 change slightly each round), these spots will either activate immediately, or activate at the end of the round in a specific order allowing for some programming and push your luck elements as well.
Sounds simple enough right? WRONG! You see in this fantasy world the bulk of the labor has always been done by the gnomes. Those tiny, cute, pointy hatted, vicious little underwear stealing monsters. They have risen up, unionized, and formed their own brewery. Now they are out for a suds-y revenge. Every turn they will be converting your customers to theirs, buying out your breweries and rebranding them their own, oh yeah and bribing the dragon to make a mess of things…did I forget to mention the dragon? Yeah there is a dragon. It roams the land burning down breweries and eating customers if you do not bribe him with cold hard cash.
After 5 rounds the game ends and if you are playing solo/coop if everyone has a higher score than the gnomes you win, in a competitive game the player with the highest score wins…though you do still have to defeat the gnomes.
So what do I think?
I adore the theme on this one. There is something just delightful about taking the usual area control war theme, and turning it in to one about making the best brews. I also appreciate the 3rd party that you have to battle against, it keeps the game moving and keeps the tension high.
However, the best part about the game is the combination of area control/worker placement/programming. This game manages to combine these mechanics into a delightful combination that works quite well. What works particularly well is the way some of the worker placement locations change their order of activation.
I like the solo mode quite a bit, but it is PUNISHINGLY HARD. If you are not playing on the two easiest levels (there are 5 or so) it is brutal. Because of this the game is most fun, as a solo player, when playing with more than one faction vs the gnomes. This may or may not be your jam.
While I like the art on the box, and the ally/judge cards, I wish that the faction boards had more art on them, currently they all look exactly the same, just with different abilities to them.
Competitive play promises to be EXTREMELY cut throat.
There are so many bits and pieces to this game. Set up takes a long time, and during game play it is quite fiddly to manage your player board as you take cubes on and off. There is going to be the option to purchase an overlay to help keep things in place, and I pretty strongly feel it is a must purchase to make the game play smoothly.
Bringing it all together
Rise of the Gnomes is a fun game that has a fresh theme, and combines worker placement with area control mechanics, with just a sprinkle of programming. The mechanics mesh together very well, and the AI for the gnomes creates a tense game every time. The variety of factions makes the game feel different every time you play. I am a particular fan of the coop mode, though solo is punishingly hard. The biggest drawback is it takes a very long time to set up, and to truly get the most enjoyment out of the game you will probably need to purchase the player board overlays to help keep the 35 bazillion pieces in their respective places.
Keep it short…like a gnome.
* Clever combo of area control, worker placement, and programming mechanics
* Fun theme
* Good faction variety
* Fun art, but wish it showed up on the player boards
* Coop/solo is delightfully tense, though solo is punishingly challenging
* Tons of pieces in this game, which makes set up quite lengthy
* You will likely need to purchase the player board overlays
* Competitive will most certainly be brutally cut throat
Before I begin, I was sent a prototype of the game, and will receive a copy of the game should it fund. This is not a paid preview. You can check out a video of this preview below. You can get your own copy here.
There is something delightful about a game that knows what it is about, and does it well. It would seem that it should not be particularly hard to find games like this, but it takes a truly subtle touch of designer/developer to make it happen. As it so happens, I have found all of the Steve Finn games I have played in past have attempted to do just that, usually successfully.
I, relatively, recently covered Herbaceous: Pocket Edition, and enjoyed it, with its set collection, push your luck style game play. It is quick, clever, and enjoyable…though I am not sure it is something that needs to be expanded on, which I assumed based on title is what Floriferous was going to do.
As it turns out…I was wrong-shocking, I know. Floriferous has nothing to do with Herbaceous, other than the “aceous-ness” of it. Well that and you are set collecting. In Floriferous you select cards from a series of 5 columns. Whoever selects the card closest to the top of the column will get to act first the next turn. You will play through 3 rounds of 5 selections, then total up your points.
As you play through the rounds you will collect the larger cards, which are either flowers, with or without bugs on them, point scoring flower arrangements, or garden structures. However, at the bottom you also have a variety of scoring cards you can collect. These cards will get you points based on the types of flowers, and bugs you have collected. Of course, if you collect one of these, you are not collecting a larger flower card, and you will go last in the following round.
So what do I think?
The artwork is gorgeous. It is probably my favorite of all the art in the Pencil First Games catalogue…the only exception possibly being Skulk Hollow, but that is completely different. I can just stare at the cards for quite some time, it is just stunning.
The mechanics of the game are very tight, there are not wasted moments. However, at the same time, the game has a very large decision space. There are so many choices that you have each round, it really makes the game take on a much more strategic mindset than you might initially think.
The solo mode works and is enjoyable, though this game definitely plays better with another person. I will also just note that this is a streamlined, and simple game. If you are expecting great depth and long gameplay…then you have very clearly wandered into the wrong article.
You can absolutely hamstring yourself in this game. The choices, are real, and they are challenging. If you are not thoughtful about what you are doing, you will find yourself getting obliterated. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but I was surprised to discover that this is a game that does not hold you hand, and does not particularly care about your feelings!
Bringing it all together
Floriferous is yet another example of why Steve Finn, and Pencil First Games should keep working together. The game is perfectly streamlined, portable, and fast; yet it has a deceptively high level of decision space in every game. The art is STUNNING. Enough said. This is a game that, even though it appears kind and sweet, will laugh at you as you stumble to a 30 point loss to your opponent if you are not careful.
Flowers don’t read good
* Amazing art
* Super streamlined gameplay
* For a game with very few mechanics it has an impressively big decision space
* This is a very light game, do not go into it expecting huge depth
* The game can leave you far behind when it comes to end game scoring, there is no handholding
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Michael Walker of So Very Wrong About Games joins the Hungry Gamer to discuss Court of Miracles, a whole bunch of KS, and Bad RulebooksCheck out the podcast ......
Before I begin, I was sent a prototype of the game, and will receive a production copy of the game should it fund. This is not a paid preview. If you would rather watch a video of this review you can check it out below. Learn how to get your own copy here.
You know what I almost never play? Civ games. You know why? I am not good at them…border line horrible. However, I do have a couple of friends that dig them, and because of that I have played my fair share of them, and just like with 4X games, I have grown to have a real respect for them, particularly if they can keep the game moving, because like with 4X games I find that it is not hard for them to go on and on.
In Monuments you take control of an ancient civilization striving for dominance. Like in most civ games, you will be collecting the resources you need to build…things. Of course these things will let you create other things. Use these things to rule the world! Literally! What? Not enough details? OK. You will be ruling land, which will give you access to resources, these resources will be used to build towns, and bridges, and boats, and armies, and aircraft, and, of course the titular monuments. To do all of this you will either play a card, or pick up all your discarded cards each turn. These cards will allow you to build, make baby workers, attack, gain resources, build buildings, move, upgrade cards, or build your monument.
Now, let’s talk about these beasts! As you play the game you will be building levels of your monument. As you build a part of the monument you will literally get to build it up on the board, with the interlocking plastic pieces. The building of the monument represents time passing, as these wonders of the world were clearly created over generations. As you build them higher and higher you unlock new techs, and get new rewards.
Now what would a civ game be without combat? Lame. So to keep things from becoming lame you can, of course attack those maggots across the table…lovely people sharing a game day with you. Combat is managed through dice, and each unit has its own number of dice that come with it. When you engage in combat you create dice pools for each side and roll the dice. Whomever loses, has units damaged or destroyed according to how much they lost the combat by. The game will end after one player builds the final level of their monument, and all players have had equal turns. The player with the most points at the end of the game, as determined by a variety of scoring categories, will be crowned the winner.
So what do I think?
I really appreciate that the game does move along a pretty good clip. Turns are quick, as options are fairly limited by the cards still in your hand. However, what is delightful about it is that within the relatively limited choices, there is a large decision space. This is especially delightful when it comes to the decision of when to pick the cards up vs leave them sitting on the table.
And of course. The monuments themselves are delightful to play with. It is certainly satisfying to build these bad boys up on the table in front of you. Great toy factor.
The board looks nice on the table, and it is clear, but it does not pop. If you look closely at the hexes you will see it looks pretty darn good, but you have to go looking for it. I also wish the player boards were more exciting, and specific to the factions. Perhaps they will be in the final version.
I spent a lot of time with the solo AI, and it works. I think it is something that with a bit more development will work quite well, though when I played it the AI was a little “dumber” than I would have liked, and left me making more choices than I usually like. It is simple, and relatively quick, but could be refined a bit more.
The biggest issue I have with the game is the rules are not fully clear, yet. Let me be clear though. The rules are still in an early version, but I had a harder time than I would have liked to learn how the game works, and found myself having to go back to the rules, and view some other videos to really make sure I knew what I was doing. This is imminently fixable, but make sure you take a look at the rules yourself.
I also think that while the solo mode, and low player count works, I think that, like many vic games, this is a game that will work best at higher player counts.
Bringing it all together
Monuments is a game that will feel familiar to civ game fans. While it does not reinvent the genre, it is one that is easy to learn at its core, relatively streamlined and plays quickly…for a civ game due to its limited card play options you are faced with each turn. The solo mode has promise, but is not quite there yet, nor are the rules quite there yet in their early form. This is a game that works at low player counts, but that will likely work better at max player count. Certainly a game for civ game fans to check out.
People who write long articles get sent to the mines!
* Quick civ game, with relatively simple mechanics
* Strong decision space within limited options
* Monuments are fun to play with
* Rules will need a few more drafts before they are ready for primetime
* Solo mode has promise, but needs a little more refinement
* Game will play better at higher player counts
* A game to check out for a civ fan