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Board Game Review: Betrayal Legacy

Let me start by saying I’ve never played Betrayal at House on the Hill.  Despite that, when Betrayal Legacy was released, I jumped on it. Horror themed legacy game designed by Rob Daviau? YES PLEASE. As soon as we got the game, we rounded up a team of friends to play through the 13 game campaign with us. Two of them had played Betrayal at House on the Hill  before and the other three of us had not. Having at least one player familiar with the standard game is helpful, as they can help explain the nuances of the gameplay, but don’t take that as some sort of requirement to play or enjoy Betrayal Legacy.  This is a narrative driven game. Each time you sit down to play with your team, the story picks up with a return to the same setting (the haunted house) and you might be reprising the same character you played in the last game, or one of their descendants. The story is tracked in the back pages of the Traitor’s Tome booklet – you’ll need a volunteer to journal of events. Excerpt from ou…
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Board Game Review: The Island of Doctor Lucky

One evening a few months ago, we pulled out The Island of Doctor Lucky  from Cheapass Games to play with our friends as a warm up to a heavier Euro game. We set the main board up, gave each player their own character, passed out starting hands of cards to all players, and got things moving. In The Island of Doctor Lucky, players spend their time chasing Doctor Lucky around the board, trying to corner him alone to kill him. At the same time, they're also trying to thwart other players' attempts to off the doctor. Each player’s turn begins with a move of their pawn, or a move of the cat (Doctor Lucky’s panther Ragu; she prevents player pawns from seeing into neighboring spaces), or by playing a hazard (on the doctor or another player). Then the turn is finished with a draw from the deck or an attempt to kill the doctor (the player’s pawn must be alone in the space with the doctor’s to have a chance of success). If  a player decides to attempt murder, their opponents can play lu…

Considering an RPG: A Board Gamer’s Review of the Red Star Rising Campaign From GooeyCube

So there we were, my husband and I, perusing the aisles of the GenCon Exhibit Hall when suddenly this distinguished gentleman called out to us, inviting us over to his booth. He introduced himself as Alphinius Goo. He was animated and gregarious and he wanted to draw our interest to his pride and joy – the Red Star Rising  RPG campaign. Other gamers gathered around the GooeyCube booth as well, as Alphinius began to walk us through the world of Zyathé, where the campaign is set. As he explained the campaign and the materials that come packaged in the GooeyCube bundles (there’s so much stuff!), I started to feel that this was something my husband Chris and I could actually manage.  Up until then, the closest I’d come to playing an RPG was a year long campaign working through the Pathfinder Skull and Shackles Adventure Card Game  (which is often billed as the board game for RPG players). Role playing games always sounded interesting to me – I’ve several friends who are active RPG players…

Board Game Review: Disney Villainous

My husband Chris and I played another game of Disney Villainous last night.It’s another mass market game release from Ravensburger. Refresher: mass market games are those that are typically published by a major toy company (vs a dedicated board gaming publisher),  have a lower price point, cheaper components, uncredited or corporate designers and artists, weak narrative, and are light to medium weight in complexity.In Villainous, players take on the role of Disney Villains who are competing against each other to be the first to complete their character specific objectives. These objectives align neatly with the narratives of the Disney movies from which the characters have been borrowed. For example, Ursula must find the Trident and the Crown and place them in her lair. And she gets rid of her enemies by using binding contracts! There are six villains included in the base game (more are available through the expansions) and turn sequence for each villain is pretty simple. There are 4…

Board Game Review: Horrified

I have been playing board games since I was a kid. Chinese Checkers, Chess, Monopoly, Clue, Skipbo, Taboo, and Pictionary  were in regular rotation on our table when my parents and I or my friends and I sat down to play. Into my adulthood, and over the years since, I have continued to enjoy these games. And then, about ten years ago, I was introduced to "serious" board gaming. I began to play board games from small publishers where the designer and artist are a topic of discussion, as are game mechanisms (e.g. worker placement, area control, etc.), weight of the board game, replayability, and other concerns. I started with Settlers of Catan and then fell for PowerGrid, Puerto Rico, and Robinson Crusoe. Then I joined a few board game meetup groups in my community and my passion for the hobby really bloomed. 900+ games in my collection later, I've come to understand there's a bit of snobbery in board gaming circles. The games I knew and loved as a child are lumped int…

Board Game Review–Cities: Skylines –The Board Game

We got Cities: Skylines – The Board Game  a couple of months ago and I really didn't know what to expect before my first play. Sometimes there is a game on the horizon that's all the buzz in my circles and I'm super excited to order it, get it home, and get it on the table. Other times, it's my husband who catches the fever for a game and brings it into our house. And every now and then, a publisher asks me to review a game I've never heard of and haven't built up any anticipatory excitement for yet. Such was the case with Cities: Skylines – The Board Game. The team at Kosmos sent this cooperative game my way and asked me to give it a try. It’s designed by Rustan Hakansson (other works of his I am familiar with include HexRoller and Tribes: Dawn of Humanity) and based on a video game of the same name that’s popular across multiple platforms (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, & Nintendo Switch).  I remember opening the box for the first time and setting everythin…

Board Game Review–Exit: The Game–The Catacombs of Horror (spoiler free)

Let's take a moment to talk about the series Exit: The Game, which debuted in the United States in 2016. Designed by Inka and Marcus Brand and published by Thames and Kosmos, the games are advertised as an Escape Room in a box. In an escape room, you and a group a friends are placed into a room (you may literally be locked in, depending on the fire code of the city where you book the room). Then,  a timer is set, a story is told to you to provide context and atmosphere for your puzzling adventure, and you attempt to solve a series of puzzles, the answers to which will eventually lead you to a key or combination to escape the room - hopefully before time runs out. These rooms typically book for $30+ per person, so the promise of replicating the escape room experience out of a tiny little box for a fraction of the cost is very appealing. But does Exit: The Game live up to its promise? It does. It absolutely does, with one caveat - some of the games have you puzzling to solve a mys…