It’s been a while since I’ve done a board game review. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of Point of Order articles come up and go in that time because I can buy games, but I can’t play all that many of them. But one …
Tag: Roll and Write
So it’s that time of year again when everything goes on sale for Black Friday. This year, though, that looks different because with Covid, you don’t want hundreds of people rushing madly into your store, standing in long lines next to others and breathing the …
When buying gifts, sometimes I do that to try and improve someone’s collection of games, and by that, I mean to move beyond the likes of the Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland that most househoulds have had, and take those people who like games, but give them some more options to play. I’m going to be skipping Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, and Carcassone for this list, because those are the most obvious options, and I highly recommend them all. But what are some other games that offer some interesting play?
Escape Room Games
With this, I’m mainly talking about Unlock and Exit, because I’ve played both of those series, and I really highly recommend Unlock. In fact, Unlock has a new Star Wars box that is out, so a theme that will even standout. These games are basically little escape rooms in a box. Now, that doesn’t mean that they are easier than an escape room since they are smaller, they can be really tricky with hidden clues and figuring out how to use the information that you’ve found together. But this is a great family activity sort of a game. You can only play each of them once, but they work really well for casual groups and are really engaging throughout. Unlock is nice because you could play it in your group and then pass it to another group because you don’t destroy anything. Exit you do often destroy part of the game to figure out a puzzle or two or three. I also like Unlock because while both of them are time based for how well you do, Unlock has an app with a count down timer that just makes it smoother, versus Exit where the time is counting up.
I’ve talked about a lot of roll and writes, and this actually isn’t one, but it has a bit of that feel to it. In this game, you are drafting a dinosaur meeple from a handful of them that you have, and then based on how a die is rolled placing it on the board into a pen. Some pens want all different dinosaurs, some want all of one type or pairs of dinosaurs. It’s a fast little game that works really well for drafting and is pretty easy to keep track of because everyone will end up with the same number of dinosaurs on their board. There are other drafting games out there that are solid as well. I always recommend Sushi Go Party! as well, but that one can, at times get muddled because if people don’t draft at the same speed someone can end up ahead or behind and it’s harder to count it out. Draftosaurus doesn’t offer the variety, but it is a very simple game that can be played with a wide variety of ages.
I was torn on this one between Splendor and Homebrewers, I actually prefer Homebrewers by a fair amount, but it’s just a bit more complex and the theme won’t be for everyone. In Splendor, you are renaissance jewelers who are going out and getting the best jewels. You start out by taking one time use jewels, and then you can buy a jewel card for a cost of your one time use jewels. Those jewel cards then give you a permanent jewel of that color that you can use to buy more jewels. And your goal is to get the jewel cards that score points and be the first to fifteen. The game is simple and it works well. Generally, there isn’t anything that stands out as making this game amazing, but there is also nothing to knock about it. Something on par with it would be the city building game of Machi Koro that would work as well. If the people you know already have those games (or one of them) and might be looking for a step up, Homebrewers is great, or Century: Golem Edition, of the brewing theme doesn’t work.
King of Tokyo
Sometimes you just want some dice chucking fun, and King of Tokyo is that. In this game you take on being a Kaiju who is battle other Kaiju. Think Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Here, you are trying to be the king of Tokyo by either knocking out the rest of the monsters or by winning via victory points. While I have seen people win via victory points, most of the time, it’s smashing. If you are outside of Tokyo you can only hit the monster in Tokyo, if you’re in Tokyo you can hit everyone else. But the downside to being in Tokyo is that you can’t heal, so as you are getting hit by everyone, you need to know when to drop out and let someone else go into Tokyo so you don’t die. It’s a fun push your luck dice chucking game. You can also buy upgrades that allow you to do more damage, or a one time boost to victory points or something like that, so you have a lot of different strategies depending on what cards show up. They also have some expansions that add more monsters and more things to do in the game.
This could be Silver Amulet, Bullet, Coin, or Dagger, you can take your pick. If you have a bigger group of people you can play with, Dagger would be very good, if you’d mainly just be playing with with two, I like Amulet and Bullet better for that. This game is a push your luck type and take that type of game, so it might not be for everyone. Everyone starts with a village of five cards face down in front of them. They can look at two of them, and the goal is to go down in the number of cards and have the fewest cards when a vote is called for. To do that, you will either draw a card or take a card from the discard pile on the turn. If you draw it and it has a flip ability, cards 5 through 12 have them in every game, you can either add it to your village or use that ability. Cards 0 through 4 have a flipped up ability, so if they are in your village facing up, you can use their ability. But how do you get down in cards, you can trade in two of the same number for another number. So you do try and rush that, if you can figure out you have decent cards so you can call for the vote before other people can change up their village too much. It’s a fun game, plays fast and all of them can be mixed and matched together, so get two and you have a ton of different combinations that you can play.
Now, there are a lot more games. I realized that I could have easily mentioned games like Marvel United, which I mentioned before by a list, Dominion or Ascension for a deck building game, Small World, Deception Murder in Hong Kong, a whole slew of roll and write games and more. There are plenty of really good options that can help encourage and engage new gamers to maybe look beyond the standard games that were a part of a lot of our youths, and that aren’t too intimidating.
We’re getting down to it, getting close to the Top 10 games, only a few more of these lists. It’s been a blast as always putting these out and I’m glad that people are enjoying them. I’d be very curious to know what your top …
Make a map of the lands in this flip and write game based off in the Roll Player world by Thunderworks Games.
- Established company
- Established Game
- Good Price and Great Shipping (to US)
- No Stretch Goals
- No Stretch Goals
- Pseudo Kickstarter Exclusive Content
This is a well laid out Kickstarter. Thunderworks Games has done a lot of them before with their various games in the Roll Player line and universe. So it’s expected of them.
Also expected is that there won’t be any stretch goals, which is something that is interesting. Now, I don’t think that stretch goals are needed on a campaign, and in fact sometimes Stretch Goals don’t work well, such as when they are an additional buy that is unlocked at some point in time or along those lines. But I find it a little bit interesting that they don’t do any. Again, they never do, so it’s not a surprise, this game just feels like it would be easy enough to add in a few simple ones, like alternate art monsters or heroes that wouldn’t affect timeline but would be a kickstarter bonus. But I’d prefer no stretch goals to lots of them that inflate the cost.
Overall, though, well laid out page, they explain what the new things are, they do a solid job of telling you what you get in the different levels and they lay out what shipping is.
I already know that I like the game, or at least I like the original, Cartographers. So what I’m really looking at is additional content for this game and what this adds.
It is adding heroes, which are interesting because they are defeat monsters. Normally there was only one way to deal with monsters, just building around them, so now it’ll be interesting to see how the heroes interact, it’s a simple addition though, and they work very similar to monsters in how they are added into the game, so it doesn’t make the complexity go up massively.
The other thing is additional maps. Each of them adds an additional element to the game. One adds in volcanos that will destroy spots you can fill in or possibly have filled in. One has islands, so you can’t create as big groups potentially and will change scoring that way. The final one has an undercity, so you have normal rules for above ground, but underground, everything has to branch/tunnel out instead of being able to be put anywhere. These seem like nice little variations on the game.
Back or Brick
This is an easy back for me, after seeing what was going to be “exclusive” to the Kickstarter. If nothing had been exclusive, I would have been less likely to back. And even that, I put quotes around stuff, because Thunderworks themselves will be selling some of it, while supplies last. So, for me it made a lot of sense to back. Especially with the big box that will store everything. That’ll be nice because it’ll take up less space on the Kallax for me. I also know the track record of the company with their other games, which I’ve played Roll Player and Cartographers as well as Roll Player Adventure playtesting at GenCon, and I like them all.
How about for you, is this game a Back or a Brick?
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It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, mainly because what I’ve grabbed has been immediate from my FLGS the last few times and mainly been expansions for Marvel Champions. Though, I did pick up Yggdrasil Chronicles when I was there, as …