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Paper Tales: Beyond The Gates

I received a copy of Paper Tales  from Stronghold Games in December and our family has really enjoyed playing the game. You can read my full review of Paper Tales here. Because we had so much fun with the base game, we were eager to dig into the expansion,  Paper Tales : Beyond The Gates, which Stronghold Games began shipping late last year in 2018. Beyond The Gates provides 20 new unit cards (13 different cards, some with multiple copies), 30 new building cards (6 different buildings, 5 copies each), 7 building tiles that allow for the randomization of building selection during game setup, components for a 6th and 7th player, and components for solo play. All components and artwork are of the same high quality as in the base game.Let’s walk through all of this game goodness, starting with a roundup of the new unit cards.  The most expensive of the new cards is the Princess, which single handedly brought my husband back from his trailing position in our last game. Coupled with a power…
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Board Game Review: Paper Tales

I received a copy of Paper Tales from Stronghold Games in December. My husband had expressed interest in the game, so I put it on my play list, knowing nothing about it, but trusting his judgement. When the game arrived, I was delighted with the clever artwork featured on the cover, which features a collage of illustrated figures set against a white background for contrast. It really stands out and is a striking example of paper craft.  The cards inside the box carry the same style of illustrations and are also intended to be reminiscent of paper craft, specifically, paper layering. It reminds me a bit of the style employed in the video game The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker. Fun fact: I actually took the time to look up the details on the CGI used in Zelda and I found out the designers used cel shading to give the artwork “a characteristic paper-like texture.” It’s pretty amazing when an artist can employ a technique that so perfectly evokes a style as intended that even those who aren’…

The Shipwreck Arcana: Stars Below

Christopher: Guest reviewer here! I’m Jenni’s husband, Chris. It fell to me to review The Shipwreck Arcana: Stars Below mini-expansion for two reasons. First, I was the impetus for getting the game originally . Second, Jenni thought the base game was just ok, while I thought it was a really good and beautiful cooperative logic puzzle. Her original review is here; if you have not played the base game you’ll want to pause here, read the original review, and return to this page as I will be using game terms and concepts with the assumption they are familiar to you. So, what does the mini-expansion contain? At first glance, it might seem relatively small with just five Arcana cards, but since the base game has 20 Arcana cards, that’s a 25% increase, which isn’t small at all. Each Arcana card in the base game has beautiful artwork, very much like an alternative universe deck of Tarot cards. The five new cards in this expansion maintain that style of artwork, so if you were a fan, you’ll b…

Board Game Review: Battle Ravens

I don’t play too many battlefield war games. We have a handful in our collection, but most of them are unopened and gathering dust. They are daunting multi-hour campaigns focused on traditional historic battles that my husband purchased on a whim but hasn’t found the time to play yet and I feel a bit intimidated by them so in shrink-wrap they sit and wait. Also, my tastes tend to gravitate toward fantasy themes so when I’m choosing games with combat to bring to the table, anything with historic characters is likely to be passed over in favor of elves or wizards. I suspect this description fits not only myself but a lot of my review readers, especially the female cohort. But it’s a new year and time to break out of my comfort zone. I’ve decided to give at least 5 battlefield war games a try this year and I’m starting with Battle Ravens. It’s a lightweight war game designed by Dan Mersey and published by Plastic Soldier Company. PSC funded the game on Kickstarter in November 2018 but yo…

Board Game Review: Brass Lancashire

A few months ago, I fell in love with Brass Birmingham (you can read that review HERE). I fell hard. It was an all time top 10 best games ever kind of love and so when Roxley Game Laboratory offered to send me Brass Lancashire to play and share my thoughts, I was a bit hesitant.  Is there even a chance I could enjoy it as much as Birmingham? Lancashire was the original game designed by Martin Wallace, and while it’s been updated for the most recent release, I was concerned it might prove to be an older, tired version that couldn’t compete with Birmingham.

My concerns were unfounded. Brass Lancashire is fantastic. Playing Lancashire after playing Birmingham is a bit like dating someone and then dating their sibling. Sure, there’s a resemblance, but the kissing feels different.
The artwork for Brass Lancashire is beautiful, radiating a classic style evocative of the theme (industrial era production). The artists have shown great attention to detail such as the raised gold lettering on …

Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road

Last month I added Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road (designed by Gerhard Hecht and published by Grail Games) to my board game library. This deck building game originally debuted in 2013 to much acclaim, winning the 2014 Fairplay a la carte award, but an English language version only became available in 2018.In Kashgar, players take on the role of spice dealers traveling the Silk Road with caravans, seeking to enlarge their caravans, build up supplies of gold, spices, and mules, and fulfill orders for their trade partners in Kashgar (a city in China). Each player begins with 3 caravans (decks) splayed face up before them in a tableau. Each caravan starts with 2 member cards: a Patriarch card (of course!) laid down first, and a random starting card, slipped behind and under the Patriarch card. Each turn, a player selects one card to activate, choosing from a pool made up of the front card closest to the player in each caravan. On the first turn, that’s any of the Patriarch cards. Car…

Board Game Review: The Shipwreck Arcana

We hosted a lot of small gatherings in December and they presented the perfect opportunity to bring some games to the table that we hadn’t yet played. The Shipwreck Arcana was one of these games. My husband Christopher talked me into acquiring it, promising it would be something I’d enjoy. I was skeptical because he described it as a logical/mathematical pattern building puzzle game (BoardGameGeek.com classifies it in the Math category among others) and I don’t tend to enjoy those as much as other types of games. We played several games, usually with the full count of five players. The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the game was how pretty the Arcana cards are. The artwork is is unique in style and reminds me a bit of a tarot deck. It’s a pleasure to lay out the cards for display on the table. Components include the Hours card, the Arcana cards, fate tokens, score and doom trackers, number line tokens, and a velvet grab bag. All of the components are sturdy enough to hold up to…