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Showing posts from November, 2018

Board Game Review: Spy Club

This year at GenCon, my husband Chris was in charge of scouting out potentially excellent games to play in the demo hall. He signed us up for a session of Spy Club and explained it to me like this: “Remember how awesome Encyclopedia Brown books were when we were kids?" This game is like that and you get to be the kid detective!” . It sounded intriguing so one afternoon we found ourselves sitting at a table in the demo hall with the designer of Spy Club, Randy Hoyt. He ran through the game rules with us and then we played a few games. We had signed up to play a full campaign (five individual games, chained together, unraveling a bit of storyline with each play) but I actually stopped the play halfway through because I was so enamored with the game that I wanted to avoid any potential spoilers and save the experience to be savored with our kids (daughter 13, and twin sons, 9). I came away from the demo with the game in hand, excited to play once we got home. Spy Club is a cooperati…

Board Game Review: Cabaret

Know Chance Games is a publisher with just two games in their catalog as of this writing – an atrocious card game called Stealing Mona Lisa that I covered in my review here and Cabaret!, a trick taking card game that turns trick taking card games upside down with the twist that you may not follow suit. Cabaret! is a lovely game. I thought I might do better at it then I do when playing other trick taking card games since it behaves contrary to what experienced trick takers are used to, but I still couldn’t pull off a win. There is something about the logical thought patterns required to succeed at these types of games that runs counter to my thought patterns. Still, I enjoyed the game play. It’s relaxing and a bit thinky all at once. My 13 year old daughter proved to be the best at the game over the course of our plays with her, her father, and I. She really enjoyed it also and picked up strategy quickly. The artwork is well illustrated with a vintage feel and emphasizes the storyline …

Board Game Review: Stealing Mona Lisa

Note: This might be my most overdue review. A few GenCons ago, I crossed paths with the team from Know Chance Games and picked up a copy Stealing Mona Lisa. I brought it home and I’m embarrassed to write it but it got lost in the shuffle of a million new upheavals in my life – a divorce, a remarriage and instant stepmotherhood to three kids, and a cross country move. But this is my year of playing all the games. 800+ games in our library now and we are slowly making our way through all of them, old and new alike. We’re doing a quick brown fox challenge to play every game in our collection, letter by letter, going in the order of the famous pangram “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. In addition, we play games sent to us by publishers for review as soon as we are able – usually within a week of receiving them. Within this flurry of activity, I thought it best to finally address Stealing Mona Lisa.Stealing Mona Lisa is a quick to play and easy to learn card game for three to se…

Board Game Review: Mini DiverCity

This year at GenCon I had the pleasure of meeting the team from Sphere Games as they were providing demonstrations of Mini DiverCity. In this cooperative game, players assume the role of divers attempting to save the diverse ecosystem of a coral reef (DiverCity is a wordplay on diversity) as exploitative corporations attempt to destroy it through actions that either move animals toward extinction or construct hotels that destroy undeveloped island habitat. I came away from the booth with a review copy of the game and the intention to introduce it to my kids (daughter 13, and twin boys both 9). The husband and I finally had the chance to sit down and play a few games of Mini DiverCity this week with the children. They all had fun with it and the boys are head over heels in love with it. “It’s superfun!”, Max and Locke said. They really loved the idea of saving animals and they liked that you have to turn your hand of cards facing outward so that other players can see them while you can…

Board Game Review: Robit Riddle

A few months ago, the good folks at Baba Geek Games sent me a review copy of their cooperative storytelling game Robit Riddle. Our kids (we have a 13 year old daughter and two 9 year old twin boys) love the storytelling game Legacy of Dragonholt, so I had high hopes that they would similarly enjoy this game. Robit Riddle offers three different storybooks in the base package, allowing players to immerse themselves in a colorfully illustrated fantasy world wherein they are robots searching for their missing pets (called robits) that have gone missing under suspicious circumstances. Players begin the game by choosing a robot character and taking turns telling the rest of the team about their character. We had a lot of fun with this aspect of the game, each of us employing special voices to distinguish our characters from other robots. The story begins by opening the storybook to the first page. Players are presented with multiple paths forward in a choose-your-own-adventure manner at imp…

Board Game Review: Guild Ball

Strolling through the aisles at GenCon, my eyes were drawn in by an assembly of striking miniatures arranged in face offs on a demo table, with pools of beautiful dice and other color coordinated accessories nearby. I made my way over to the publisher’s booth to get more details on the game, which revealed itself to be Guild Ball. The good folks at Steamforged Games spent a lot of time going over the game play, explaining the ins and outs of movement, measurements, initiative, conditions, and more. It all seemed very complicated but I was sure a lot of that had to do with the background noise at the convention making it difficult to concentrate. While I don’t have any experience with minis-facing-off-on-measured-terrain games like Warhammer or similar,  I’ve played many heavy Euro board games and have no problem following the rules, so I reasoned that Guild Ball couldn’t be that difficult to master. The team provided me a generous review copy package including all components needed fo…

Board Game Review: My Little Scythe

In the beginning of September I had the chance to play Scythe (another release from Stonemaier Games) with a group of friends for the first time and fell head over heels for it. My husband and I play board games together at least a few times a week and we also get together with our friends for regular game nights as well, so finding a challenging and engrossing game such as Scythe to add to our collection is wonderful. But we also have three children (a daughter 13, and twin boys, 9) and we love to play games with them too, so we were especially happy to discover that a father-daughter team (Hoby and Vienna Chou) had taken the mechanisms behind Scythe and translated them into a more kid-friendly version called My Little Scythe. I thought it would probably be a great fit for our family. A few weeks ago a new box arrived to our home and inside was My Little Scythe. We gathered the boys around our gaming table one Saturday afternoon shortly thereafter and sat down to play (our daughter w…

Trip Pictorial: Butchart Gardens

A few years ago I had the pleasure of touring Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. (Canada) during the autumn season. These are some of my favorite pictures taken on the trip.

Board Game Review: Railroad Rivals

A few months ago at GenCon I had the pleasure of speaking with the team from Forbidden Games about their recent release of Railroad Rivals. After taking a cursory look at the game, I came away with a copy of it and a bit of excitement about getting on the table. There are two different editions of Railroad Rivals available on the Forbidden Games website – the standard edition (which is what I brought home) and the platinum edition. The latter features upgraded wooden tiles and components which are lovely to hold in hand, but even in the standard edition, the component quality overall is very high. I found some minor issues with my copy (a locomotive or two was not sized the same as the rest in the supply and one of the railroad stock counter tokens was missing) but the publisher took care of the problem quickly after I contacted customer service. The sturdiness and beauty of the components in the game is a reflection of the improvements in craftsmanship among board game manufacturers …

Board Game Review: Fate of the Elder Gods: Beasts From Beyond

A few months ago, I shared my thoughts on Fate of the Elder Gods in a lengthy review. The team at Greater Than Games has released an expansion, Beasts From Beyond, and I picked up a copy at GenCon earlier this year. This expansion adds fifteen new spell cards (2 of which can be used with the base game even if you don’t use any of the other expansion components), four new Elder Gods that cults may serve, and eight monsters who enjoy tampering with the cultists that can be called by the new spells or through Elder God powers. As with the base game, the artwork featured in the expansion is beyond extraordinary, given the retail price point. The monster minis are rich in detail. The only improvement possible would be for GtG to offer a release with pre-painted minis for those of us with no painting skills. The new figures are not only beautiful but also sturdy. They should endure game after game with little wear or tear. Each new monster provides strategic advantages to the summoning cult…

Board Game Review: All Manor of Evil

I received a preview copy of All Manor of Evil from Kolossal Games a couple of weeks ago just in time for the Kickstarter launch. FYI, Kickstarter campaign page is HERE.If you’ve already backed the game, then the information I’m going to give you will help you to better understand the details of gameplay so you’ll be prepped to play. If All Manor of Evil (AMOE) isn’t on your radar yet or you’re still on the fence about backing the game, the information will help you decide if AMOE is a good fit for your game library.While the artwork is still in development, everything printed in the preview copy is beautiful. Kolossal has high production standards and I’m certain the finished copy of AMOE will delight. Let’s dig into the game play. As with many games set in the Lovecraft universe, in AMOE, we try to minimize the steps toward insanity our characters take as they go about their activities. Under the baseline rules, the player who accumulates the most madness is devoured and eliminated …