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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…
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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…

Board Game Review: Machi Koro Legacy

Machi Koro  was one of the first games my husband Chris and I played together. It was released in 2012 and when we started gaming together in 2013, it was still a popular game on reviewer blogs and videos as we sought guidance in what to play and what to buy. Once Machi Koro  was in our collection, I spent every game trying my best to outthink Chris and acquire the best combination of establishment types to ensure victory. As we were enticed by other new games coming out and were drawn deeper into heavy Euros, we left Machi Koro on the shelf more frequently, with an occasional wistful comment about how we should play again.At GenCon earlier this year, Machi Koro Legacy  was the talk of the town. Designed by Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt, and Masao Suganuma (Masao is the original designer of Machi Koro), it promised to breathe new life into Machi Koro through a campaign style series of ten games, revealing new aspects of gameplay in each session at the table. We love legacy games, so we wer…

Board Game Review: Kemet

I love a good area control game. I'm crazy about Islebound, Scythe, SpiritIsland, Blood Rage, Forbidden Stars, Vindication, Fate of the Elder Gods, and Twlight Imperium IV (my FAVORITE game outside of Brass Birmingham).  So I had high hopes for Kemet. It’s an older game (released in 2012), designed by Jacques Bariot and Guillaume Montiage and it’s been on my wishlist since I started playing board games at a neighborhood gaming store about a year after its release. My best friend and I would be at the store playing whatever new game we’d bought that month, and I’d admire the Kemet cover art from where I sat. It just looks absolutely thrilling. Because we were heavily into the cult of the new at that time, we never prioritized adding an older game like Kemet to our collection. This was finally rectified when Matagot sent me a review copy.  I was so excited to open the box, especially when I discovered the artwork on the inside was just as well illustrated as the box cover I’d admire…