Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Five Dice, One Winner (Dice City)

Hear ye, hear ye, to the plight of the city!  Queen Statsia, of the Kingdom of Rolldovia, has decreed that there shall now be a new capital, to rival the old one.  Rumors of the old capital being pillaged and desecrated are greatly exaggerated, and as such, should be disregarded. Those who believe their city is the best of the land shall compete in a contest to see who deserves to be the new capital of Rolldovia!



GAME DESCRIPTION:  Dice City is a dice game for 1-4 players created by Vangelis Bagiartakis and published by Artipia Games.  Players roll, move, attack, and gather points to see whose city should become capital.

SET-UP:  Each player takes 1 Player Board, and 1 set of different colored dice (Red, Blue, Black, Yellow, White).  Split the Lumber Mill, Quarry, Mine, and Regular Army cards into 4 separate stacks face-up.  Shuffle the rest of the Location Cards and place them face-down. Next, draw 8 cards and place them together face-up, as the Display.  Place the Bandits Cards and Trade Ships in three separate piles, with each pile being indicated by the number in the bottom right.  Each Bandit pile will only have a number of cards equal to the total number of players, plus 2.

START:  All players roll their dice, and put them in the appropriate number (located on the top of the Player Board) and color (located on the side) location.  The player to have played a game most recently with dice rolling starts.  During their turn, each player has 4 steps to follow in order: Use Dice, Attack, Building & Trading, and End of Turn.



USE DICE:  During the first step, you may use an action by "spending" a die by moving it from the board.  These actions are:

  • Use the location beneath the die and resolve its ability.
  • Move another die to an adjacent space on that die’s row.
  • Reactivate a Deactivated location anywhere in your city.
  • Once per turn, discard four of the Location cards in the display that are available to build and reveal four new ones.
  • Once per turn, pass and gain a Pass Token.
  • Instead of a die, you may spend two Pass Tokens to gain one Resource of your choice, increase your army strength by 1 for the turn, or force all other players to re-roll one die of your choice.
     
Once all Dice are spent, the turn moves to the Attack step.

ATTACK:  During this turn, any Attack units used (indicated by a sword) increases your Army strength.  You may attack either Bandits, Locations, or Stock.  For Bandit and Location cards, you must spend a strength higher than the cards defense.  Note that not all Locations have a Defense, making them unable to be attacked.  For Bandits, you gain that Bandit card and place it off to the side, until all those Bandits are gone.  For Locations, place a Deactivation Token on the location.  That player cannot use that Locations ability without Reactivating it.  To gain Resources from another player, you must spend 2 times the Resource(s) you want to steal.  Your Army then returns to 0 at the end of the turn.  

BUILDING/TRADING:  Every other non-Bandit card has a cost of Resources, usually located in the top right, or the bottom for Trade Ships. During this step, you may spend your collected Resources to gain one of these cards.  Trade Ships will go off to the side.  Any Lumber Mill, Quarry, Mine, and Location card bought from the Display will go on the Player board.  These cards can be placed anywhere on the board, but will replace the effect underneath it.


END OF TURN:  If you have any Resources remaining, you may keep one of each kind, with the rest returned to their stock.  All Pass tokens collected remain with the player, however.  The player re-rolls all of the dice and places them back on their Player board.  Then the turn ends, and play passes to the next player.

VP:  Almost every card has a number in a star in the bottom right.  These are Victory Points.  You gain Victory Points from gaining that card, or from a Location's effect.  When you do, you gain VP token(s) equal to the points gained, and place them face-down.  When you attack and Deactivate a Location, gain VP token(s) equal to the deactivated card.

WINNING:  The game ends in one of 3 ways:  Either all three of the bandits piles or two or more of the trade ship piles have run out of cards, the location deck runs out of cards, or any player calls the game over when they have two or more rows on their board filled with built locations, none of which have Deactivation tokens.  The game continues until every player has had the same number of turns.  The player with the most Victory Points wins.

CONCLUSION:  This has always been a hard game for me to review.  There's a little too much down time in a four player game to end as quickly as it does.  I do like that while there is a lot of luck involved, it is aware and does a little to help mitigate it, but not in a way that feels forced.  Also, the single player mode helps to build strategy and see what play styles work for you.  Being able to adjust the difficulty also helps make the game more enjoyable as you see what works and what doesn't.  I would recommend this if you enjoy games like Dominion.  To everyone else, it may be a hard sell, but I would say if you do want to play this, either start with Single Player or limit to three players, as the down time is lessened.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  A quick thanks to Slumpymaster for helping me with the single player part of this review.  You can check his stuff out over on the right.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mini-post: Updates & Patreon

Hey all,

It's time for me to address where this blog is going, and what I'm doing with it.  As many of you may know, there have been ads on the side bar for awhile, along with my social media, and various other people who have supported me.  Well, I've also recently included my Patreon.  This is just another way to help me update and streamline my page, continue to work on my blog, and work on more things.

What kind of things?  Well, I am in production (by production, I mean struggling to figure out how anything works) on at least 1 weekly YouTube series, and another less frequent series.  Also, I am working out some kinks with a fellow gamer on a Podcast on cross topics of board and video games.  And finally, I'm attempting various board game Live Streams via Twitch, YouTube, or some other service.  Now, I can't guarantee any of this will pan out, but here's to trying.

Now that you know, I'm going to address my Patreon.  Right now, as I have basically nothing but this blog, my Patreon is merely $1 for all Patreon access.  If I can offer something more substantial, then I may add more tiers or another way to get those bonuses.  But, if you want to help keep my blog going, and support me to help push these projects, please consider becoming a Patreon for only $1 a month.

And hey, thanks for reading this page, it's meant a lot for me to grow from a school project to something worthwhile.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Words Man Dare Not Spell (Unspeakable Words)

A is for Azathoth, Ruler of the Gods
B is for Byakhee, Hastur sends them abroad
C is for Cthulhu, you know him well
D is for Dagon, you're under their spell
And while these are only some Unspeakable Words
If you say these to anyone, they'll think you absurd.



GAME DESCRIPTION:  Unspeakable Words is a word-based card game published by Playroom.  Players attempt to gather points by spelling words without going insane.

SET-UP:  Each player takes 5 C'thulhu Pawns, and is dealt 7 Letter Cards.  The player who rolls the highest on the 20 sided die, or D20, plays first.

WORDS:  Each turn, a player may spell a word with 3 or more letters.  No player may form acronyms, proper nouns, names, abbreviations, or contractions.  Players may not play a word that was also played, but playing a different tense, or the plural instead of the singular counts (EX:  Pants cannot be played twice, regardless of tense, but Froze can be played if Freeze was, and Cards can be played if Card was).

POINTS:  Score points equal to the amount of points on the card (points are given based on the number of angles on the letter).  Then, the player rolls the D20 for their Sanity Roll, and if they roll less than the points scored, they give up 1 C'thulhu Pawn.  If they rolled equal or higher, they are safe.  A 20 is an automatic success.  The player draws back up to 7 and the turn passes to the left.



WINNING:  Like most C'thulhu based games, there are many ways to lose.  If a player runs out of C'thulhu Pawns, they discard their hand and are eliminated for the rest of the game.  If only 1 player has C'thulhu Pawns left, they win.  If a player manages to score 100 or more points, but fails their Sanity Roll, then they instead score 0 points, in addition to their lost sanity.  But, if they manage to succeed in their Sanity Roll, they win.

CONCLUSION:  This is a very enjoyable game for those who like challenging word games, but play with at least some of the optional rules. The ability to make your own words with only one sanity is fun, and being able to recover sanity helps even out some of the terrible dice rolls you're bound to get one game.  By itself, Unspeakble Words is a cool idea with a decent change of pace from most card based word games (yes, there's a few), but it's really not complete without the added rules.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  This game is no longer in print, but there is a Kickstarter for a deluxe version.  It is also available via Print 'n Play (http://www.playroomentertainment.com/Unspeakable_Words_PDF.html) and in Tabletop Simulator.

This week's Patreon support comes from Lizzy-thelizzard Gaming

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You just saw three monkeys go by on a motorcycle, didn't you? (Jumanji)

Running from monkeys, rhinos, and other beasts
are just one of your many feats.
Play the game and become free,
and call out "Jumanji!"
But do not start unless you intend
to see the game through to the end.



GAME DESCRIPTION:  Jumanji was Published by Hasbro in 1995 for up to 4 players as a tie-in for the movie.  Players attempt to land in the circle while various disasters affect them.

SET-UP:  Everyone takes a pawn and places it at the appropriate start at the corner of the board.  Place the Danger cards and the Rhino on their locations, and everyone takes a Rescue die, placing the stickers on as needed.  Whoever suggested the game starts.

MOVEMENT:  During your turn, roll the numbered die, and move along the colored path that matches your pawn.  Whenever you land on a space during your turn, follow the instructions, then the turn goes to the next player on the left:
  • WAIT FOR 5 OR 8:  The player to the left rolls the die.  If it's not 5 or 8, move back one space and the next player rolls.  If you go back to the start, you start your next turn their, and both the rolls and your turn ends.  If any of the rolls are 5 or 8, both the rolls and your turn end.
  • RHINO:  You may place the Rhino token in front of any player.  They cannot move, and instead roll the die during their turn.  If it's even, place the Rhino back in its spot.  If it's odd, the Rhino stays and follow the instructions of your space.
  • BLANK:  Draw a Danger card and place it in the middle, and read it out loud.  Flip over the timer, and all other players roll their Rescue die.  If everyone rolls the symbol in the top left of the card, or rolls the Wild symbol (Hourglass) before time is up, then you are safe.  Every other player moves ahead the number in the top right, and the card is discarded.  If any amount of players fail to roll the symbol or Wild once time is up, then the player who landed on the Blank space moves back the number in the top right.  Place the Danger card in the Doomsday Grid, and the turn is now over.
  • JUNGLE:  Draw a Danger card and place it in the middle, and read it out loud.  Flip over the timer, and every player rolls their Rescue die.  If everyone rolls the symbol in the top left of the card, or rolls the Wild symbol (Hourglass) before time is up, every player moves ahead the number in the top right.  If any amount of players fail to roll the symbol or Wild, then place the card in the next Doomsday spot, and reveal a new card.  Continue until a Danger card is successfully completed. 


ENDINGS:  There are 2 ways to finish the game.  If a player manages to roll or move with a Danger card the exact number into the middle, they win.  If a player is at the middle, and rolls or wins a Danger card higher than needed, they do not move.  If the Doomsday board is filled with 10 Danger cards, then the game ends, and is restarted from the beginning.

CONCLUSION:  As is the unfortunate case for many tie-in games, this one does not have any real depth to it.  The board looks amazing, accurate, and is very on theme.  The problem is that the theme is only aesthetically deep.  By committing so much to the games look, there wasn't much they could do to make the game mechanically interesting.  Luckily, it doesn't outstay its welcome too long, taking at most an hour to play.  This is fun for a nostalgia trip or for kids who have just watched the movie, but don't expect to play it much outside of that.