Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Taking Authority...IN SPACE (Star Realms)

It's kinda big, but you wouldn't know that with how limited we can travel.  The Trade Federation continues to grow and prosper, but not without its problems.  The Star Empire and Machine Cult continues to garnish support against the TF, and the Blobs assault us at every turn.  Where is the brave hero who can help us in these Star Realms?

Really, that's my line?

BACKGROUND:  Star Realms is a deck builder for 2 players and published by White Wizard Games.  Players buy cards that represent ships and bases, and attack their opponent.

GAMEPLAY:  The bottom number in yellow on certain cards represent "Trade", which can be used to buy cards from the middle Trade row, the prices being located at the top right.  Numbers in red represent Attack, and can be used to reduce your opponents Authority and .  Numbers in green shield increase your Authority.  At the end of the turn, each player discards any remaining cards in hand and all non base cards, and draw 5 new cards.

ABILITY:  Bases remain on the board in front of the player, giving their ability at the start of the turn.  A card with an ally symbol in the ability box may allow a player to use that effect.  Some cards will give additional abilities if 2 more cards of the same Faction is played in a turn, located in the top left.  Players may also Scrap, or remove from the game, cards with a trash can on them to gain a once per game ability.

WINNING:  When a players Authority reaches 0, the opposing player wins.  A player must also destroy any bases with a black shield by meeting or beating the number in the bottom left in one turn.

CONCLUSION:  Star Realms is another easy to learn, but hard to master game.  It contains a lot of strategy and long term thought.  One issue I do have is that because it's initially limited to 2 players, this is a game you'd play with some in place of Chess.  It's not a bad alternative either.  In terms of mechanics, this game is a bit different than most Deck builders, as instead of trying to score the most points, you have a base life total that you try to avoid losing.  It's a cool idea that has a lot of love and support behind it, with an expansion that can make it 4 players, and a pretty solid digital version on Steam.  This is a flight to the stars you should check out.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Game of Zen (Tsuro)

Since the beginning, humanity has struggled to achieve a state of mind where one could accept all, and stress would no longer affect them.  Some have called this Zen, others meditation.  And although the name changes, the path still remains as elusive and unfocused as the path one walks on in Tsuro.

BACKGROUND:  Tsuro is a tile based board game. It was published in 2004 for 2 to 8 players by Calliope Games.  Players create paths to further their own pieces and eliminate opponents. 

GAMEPLAY:  Each player has a hand of three tiles.  On a players turn, they place a tile in front of their pawn, and follow the path of white until it stops, with other players moving if they have a path in front of them, then play passes to the next player.  Players may not deliberately cause themselves to be eliminated unless their only action is to do so.

WINNING:  When a player goes off the board, they are eliminated from the game.  If a pawn runs into another players pawn, both players are eliminated.  Shuffle any eliminated players hand back into the deck.  The last player standing wins.

CONCLUSION:  Tsuro is a very relaxing game, but that doesn't mean it isn't cutthroat or strategic.  Due to the simplicity, there is an ease of understanding the game for all audiences, and yet there's a layer of strategy not found in games even kids could play.  At the end of the day, games take so little time that you don't have to worry about losing, as you'll generally be able to play again in 10 or 15 minutes.  Tsuro is a game that all people should at least attempt, and that most would be able to enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Superheroes Ltd (Sentinels of the Multiverse)


Are you an up and coming hero with a special set of powers?  Do you want to do more with your life besides catching bank robbers and purse snatchers?  Do you want a sweet uniform that doesn't look like you robbed an old ladies clothesline?  Then you should apply for the Sentinels of the Multiverse, the team that rights wrongs, battles giant monsters and inter-dimensional threats, and looks good while doing it.  Positions are open today!

BACKGROUND:  Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative card game published by Greater Than Games for 2 to 5 players in 2011.  Players take the role of various super heroes and team up to battle powerful enemies.

GAMEPLAY:  Each player takes a Hero card, and appropriate deck, and choose a Villain character and rules card, and matching deck to battle against, and a Environment deck to determine where you fight.  Gameplay consists of the Villain turn, the Hero turn, and the Environment turn.  Villain and Environment turns consist of effects that trigger at the beginning, an action to reveal a card, and an end phase to trigger end of turn effects

VILLAIN:  Villain character cards have various abilities, and generally have two sides, which flip when certain conditions are met, and have varying abilities depending on the side shown.  Each turn, players reveals the top card of the deck, and any others according to the card chosen.

HEROES:  Once the Hero turn starts, a player is chosen to go first.  A typical turn starts by playing one card from their hand.  One Shots will apply once and be discarded, while Equipment and Ongoing stay in front of the player.  Cards with Limited mean you can only have one of that kind of card out.  Then the player may activate a Power on either the Hero character card or a card in front of them.  The turn is ended by drawing a card.  Players may get to draw or play more cards if they have a card which allows them to.  Alternatively, if a player feels they cannot make an effective turn, they may skip their turn to draw 2 cards.

WINNING:  All Hero and Villain character cards, as well as some Environment and Villain cards have Life totals either in the top left below the Sentinels logo, or the top right.  If a Heroes ever drops to 0, They flip their card, and can now only choose 1 of the 3 actions on that card during their turn.  If all Heroes drop to 0, the Heroes lose.  If the Villain drops to 0, the Heroes win.

CONCLUSION:  Sentinels is designed to be a difficult game, but it isn't nearly as hard as most co-operative games can be.  The world built in here is obviously crafted with care and love, and with more forethought than I can give some comic books.  Mechanically, it seems like a fairly simple game, but there's a lot of complexity going on.  It can be a bit frustrating to remember and deal with some of the Villains, as they play a lot of cards and effects that are all over the place, but if you can get around that, then Sentinels of the Multiverse has a good amount of replayability, especially with the various expansions of new Villains and Heroes to play.