Wednesday, March 21, 2018

They're Rolling the Hobbit to Isengard (Lord of the Rings: Journey to Mordor)

1 ring to rule them all
1 ring to find them.
4 Hobbits to battle them all
and 5 dice to blind them.

BACKGROUND:  Journey to Mordor is a dice game published by Devir and Fantasy Flight Games for 2 to 4 players.  Players take control of one of the 4 Hobbits to destroy the One Ring

GAMEPLAY:  Each player takes a color, and rolls the 5 dice on their turn.  They must keep at least 1 die per roll, and cannot keep two of the same on the same roll.

RESULTS:  Once they have finished the player marks off a location on their map for each Ring showing.  However, if more Orcs are shown than Fellowship swords, the player does not advance.  Nazgul cause the player who own the color on the die (or the roller if the die was black or that color isn't being played) to advance on their map below their route, while Gandalf makes it so 2 Nazgul must advance on any empty location.  Finally, the White Tree ends the players roll, but a player may ignore any symbols other than Nazgul.

ADVANCED:  In the advanced mode, there are additional rules for all locations save Bag End or Mordor.  For example, in Helm's Deep, All Orc results are doubled.  In Gondor, Nazgul only affect other players.

WINNING:  Once a player has crossed off the last location on the Nazgul path in Mordor, hethey are eliminated.  The player to make it to Mordor on their path wins.

CONCLUSION:  I do not enjoy playing this game.  There is no real choice or strategy made here, and what little strategy is there is made simply by not taking bad things.  The theme fares little better, as the point of the Fellowship was to band together to help each other, and all 4 Hobbits are fighting each other in this game.  The one compliment I can give this game is that the maps and dice are nice looking.  This is the game that you play with younger relatives or children in order to teach them the concept of strategy and pattern recognition, but don't expect to actually enjoy playing it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Come play, me Lord (Dominion)

Hear Ye, Hear ye, it has just been discovered that the King has perished in his library not moments ago!  The funeral procession will be in one week, and Prince Flip will be in ruling our fair Dominion!  LONG LIVE THE KING!

BACKGROUND:  Dominion is a card game published by Rio Grande Games for 2-4 players.  Players buy cards to improve their decks for their kingdom.

GAMEPLAY:  Each player begins with a deck of 10 cards.  Each player starts with 5 cards in hand.  A turn consists of first playing up to 1 Action card in the action stage, buying up to 1 card in the Buy phase, discarding the rest and then drawing back up to 5 cards.

CARDS:  The market consists of 10 cards chosen either randomly or by players.  Players may also buy Victory Points or money.  Various Action cards may increase the amount of Buys or Action cards you may do that turn.  Keep in mind that you don't ever have to buy anything, even if you have Buys left

WINNING:  Once players have bought the last green province card in a stack, or there are 3 stacks bought, the game is over.  Players calculate all Victory Points in their hand and deck, and the player with the most wins.

CONCLUSION:  There's a reason that Dominion is known among board gamers as the grandfather of deck builders.  This game may not necessarily be the first deck builder, as the genre was inspired by TCG's, but it does know how to make a solid game with easy to understand rules and a strong system.  The biggest criticism I could make is that there is no real theme here to speak of, just an excuse plot of ruling a kingdom.  That being said, if any game has proven that you can make a game work by slapping a theme on, it's Dominion.  With over 10 expansions, Dominion has proven it has staying power.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  I am aware that there is a free online version, but I would make the recommendation to use that as a test for determining if you would enjoy it, and support your local game store.  Besides, it's more fun with friends.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Exterminate! Exterminate! (Dalek Dice)

The Doctor steps out of the TARDIS, a smile on his face.  "This, my little friends," he says, holding up an ordinary looking teapot.  "is a teapot.  BUT!  This is a teapot from tomorrow, taken from this place, and this cup is from yesterday."  The Daleks lights start flickering, realizing what this means.  The Doctor has stopped them in the past, present and future.   The Doctor pans to the camera, "And this is Dalek Dice."

BACKGROUND:  Dalek Dice was published in 2016 by Cubicle 7 Entertainment for 2 or more players.  You and your friends are Daleks, wanting to exterminate the humans before the Doctor shows up.

GAMEPLAY:  Each turn, a player rolls all the dice.  They must take 1 and only 1 TARDIS and EXTERMINATE (indicated by the lack of number), and at least 1 Human or Dalek die.  Each of the numbered die represents that many units.  Then players roll until they wish to stop or cannot roll anymore.

SPECIAL:  If 3 TARDIS' or are rolled, the player ends their turn and scores 0 for the round.  If a player rolls 3 EXTERMINATES, they will not roll anymore, and double their score on counted humans.  If a player would not be able to roll next turn, they will still score 5 points.  If there would be dice they could roll, they cannot score.

SCORING:  If a player manages to get more Daleks then Humans, the player counts up the collected amounts of humans and scores that many points.  A player may also score 5 bonus points if they would not be able to roll any longer.  If a player rolls more Humans than Daleks, they score 0 points.

WINNING:  The first player who hits 60 points at the end of their round wins.

CONCLUSION:  This feels like a Steve Jackson dice game.  Simple, easy, and to the point.  As long as you can count and roll, you can play.  Obviously, this is going to drive off people who dislike games of chance.  However, this is a light in-between game for other games or during your Doctor Who watch party.  For non-fans, I would consider sticking with Zombie Dice.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Luck Be a Lady Tonight (Rollers)

We see the players coming here, a piece of paradise.  Welcome, everyone to the years championship as we play down from 4, to a champion.  Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Rollers.

BACKGROUND:  Rollers is a dice game published by USAoploy for 2 to 5 players.  Rollers exclusive to Target.  Players attempt to make combinations of rolls to score points.

GAMEPLAY:  Each player is given a board and and 5 white and purple coins.  During a players turn, they roll all dice up to three times, and may not roll any dice they wish to keep.  If a player rolls a lightning bolt, they cannot keep any dice rolled, but all dice previously kept are set.  Any stars rolled are wild.

BOARD:  Each board has an Open and Closed section in the middle and bottom, respectively.  Once a matching combination is made, they may put a marker in the board  In order to "close", or put a marker in a closed slot, there must be a marker placed in the open slot.  If at any point a player has a section closed, they get coins equal to those numbers from all players who do not have that number closed.

WINNING:  Once a player closes all sections on their board, the round has ended.  The player who closed gets 2 points, with points indicated on the top of the board.  The player with the most coins gets 1 point.  Players reset the bottom and middle of the boards, and start again.  The player to hit 5 points first wins.  If multiple players hit 5 points, the player with the highest coin value wins.

CONCLUSION:  Rollers is a game of mostly chance, just like most dice game.  There is a small bit of strategy of when to keep and when to roll, but it tends to be a push your luck game.  It would find a home for people who love Yahtzee style games.