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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…
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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…

Board Game Review: Sentient

At Gamicon , I was introduced to Sentient, from Renegade Game Studios. My friend Katie was manning the session and teaching interested attendees how to play, so with her encouragement, my husband Chris and I sat down and gave it a try.It was love at first play for me. That probably sounds a bit odd to those who know the game and who know me well because I often emphasize that theming is really important for me and Sentient’s theme is wholly unremarkable. Something about acquiring and programming bots …blah blah blah… but the theme quickly fades from memory as I begin to play and am pulled into the logic puzzle that is at the core of the game. Do you remember those logic puzzles wherein a group of friends go to a movie and a few facts are laid out about each person and where they sat and you have to figure out the precise order of their seating across the row of seats in the theatre? Sentient  feels a lot like that, but with beautiful pastel colors and striking custom dice and it taugh…

Board Game Review: The Rise of Queensdale

Because I love a good story and groove on rich immersive themes, legacy games really appeal to me. The chance to be part of an unfolding narrative is wonderful. It provides a structure for friends to commit to an investment of their time together on a regular basis. It holds everyone's interest over time (when the story is well written and executed). Especially valuable for me is that it lessens the bitter taste of a loss; I get so interested in the plot that I don't care as much about winning. I'm trying to tamp down my competitiveness and narrative driven games help. Finally, I’m a huge fan of Inka and Markus Brand (we have a number of their games in our library already, including all of the Exit  games, Encore, and Raja of Ganges). For all of these reasons, I was really excited when Ravensburger sent me a copy of Inka and Markus’s newest legacy game, Rise of Queensdale, to review. I actually received my review copy early in 2019, but our RoQ group consists of parents wi…

Board Game Review > Middara: Unintentional Malum Act 1

I don't keep my finger on the pulse of all the independent Kickstarter campaigns running at any given time. There's just too much unique content being produced month after month for me to sift through everything. I leave that to those who write previews and reviews for a living (I am an IT Consultant for a living; I write reviews as a hobby because I'm passionate about board gaming). The only way an independent Kickstarter campaign is going to be on my radar is if the designer/publisher reaches out to me to let me know the campaign is running or if it's created a bit of buzz already in the key circles that I frequent. I definitely wasn't closely monitoring Kickstarter campaigns four years ago when the original edition of Middara  was initially funded. It was an adventurous dungeon crawl that promised to be so much more than an ordinary dungeon crawl. With options to run in campaign mode for an ongoing narrative or crawl mode for one off gameplay, it could work as a…