Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My Summer Vacation in Japan (Tokaido)

After stepping off the plane, the traveler shoulders his deep blue duffel bag.  He flips the brown cap with a white star sewn onto it, and it lands onto his head.  His sunglasses reflect and distort the world around him, keeping the world guessing about his intentions.  But he only has one intention this time.  He will travel the Eastern Road, and sample what Japan has to offer.  He'll find only the best art and souvenirs, and he will see exactly what she saw.  This is the path of the traveler, as he heads along Tokaido.

BACKGROUND:  Tokaido is a game for 2-5 players and published by Passport Game Studios.  Travel along the East Sea Road to meet interesting people and places, find some wonderfully crafted items, and taste what Japan has to offe

GAMEPLAY:  Each player starts at the far left in 1 of the 5 squares in a vertical line.  The starting player is indicated by whomever at the bottom, as they are "farthest behind".  Each player chooses a character from 2 randomly available choices, and collect the coins indicated at the top right. 

MOVEMENT:  The player farthest behind will be the turn player.  Each player may move forward anywhere along the track on the small circular spaces, up to and including the next Inn space, which is indicated by the red line of squares.  Players may never share a space, but if is a branching point that is split while playing with 4 or more players, players may move their token to that space, and they are behind the player on the main road.

SCORING:  Each space has its own effect.  Villages allow you to buy Souvenirs and score points.  Farms give you 3 coins.  Hot Springs gives you points.  Panoramas are like paintings, and give you points and cards to build your image.  Temples trade up to 3 coins for points.  Encounters give you a card from the Encounter deck and the effect applies.  Points are kept track of on the number tracker on the top of the board.  Player cards also have an effect they may use when landing on an appropriate space.

INNS:  Inns are a special case.  Once a player hits an Inn, they cannot move until all players meet up at the Inn.  Once a player hits the Inn, they are given a selection of Meals.  They may buy a meal to score 6 points, with the last player only able to buy whatever meal is left.  Once all players have met up, the farthest player, or the one who was last to the inn, starts their turn.

WINNING:  The game ends once the last player hits the last Inn and buys or refuses a Meal, if any are left.  At the end of the game, any end of game points such as Achievements for most of a certain kind of card, and how much money donated, are tallied and scored, with the player who scored the most points winning.

CONCLUSION:  Tokaido is one of those games that is complex to understand when you first hear it,
easy to play once you start understanding it, then goes back to complex once you realize how many ways there are a bevy of ways to approach it to winning.  The biggest complaint I may have to put is that it isn't hard to have a player go through three turns in one go, and that can feel irritating.  Still, even with that thought out there, I still say this is one road you should travel, and don't forget to treat yourself.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Sky Rockets In Flight (Hanabi) -- Guest Post

It's my first day as a fireworks operator, I don't want to mess this up! Everyone is counting on me to make the best display ever! Well, here we go...

BACKGROUND: Hanabi is a cooperative card game published by Asmodée Éditions for 2 to 5 people.

GAMEPLAY:  This game requires players to work together. The deck contains numbers 1-5 in five different colors. There are also information tokens and fuse tokens. To start the game, players are dealt a hand containing five cards (four for 4 or 5 players). Players can not see their own hands, but they can see other players' hands. Each player must play an action on their turn: give information, discard a card, or play a card.

GIVE INFORMATION: The player can information to another player about the cards they are holding, but it has to be complete and correct. An example would be "these 3 cards are your only red cards" or "this card is your only 3 card." It costs one information token in order to do this.

DISCARD A CARD: The player can discard a card of their choosing (without looking at the cards), and draw another card (without looking at the card they drew). The discarded card is out of the game, and it uses one information token.

PLAY A CARD: The player can choose to play a card. This is successful if it is either a 1 of any color that hasn't already been played, or it is the next number sequentially in a color that has been played. If it is a card that has already been played or is not sequential (for example, a card played is a red 2 but the player played a red 4), that card is discarded and a fuse token is used. The player then draws a new card whether or not the play was successful.

LOSING: Since this is a cooperative card game, the game is over and all players lose if the fuse tokens have been used up.

WINNING: The game is over and everyone wins when they successfully make the 5 fireworks before the cards run out.  Every player is then awarded 25 points.
Another way to end the game is if the last player takes the last card from the pile.  Each player plays one more time, including the player who drew the last card.  There are no more cards to pick up.  When everyone has played, the game ends and the players add up their score of the largest value card for each of the 6 fireworks.

CONCLUSION: This is a great game to play during the 4th of July to celebrate fireworks and blowing things up.  A good rule of thumb is make sure you don't play with people who are too competitive, because this game is all about working together, you all want to win.  It's a great family game, and one that you can play over and over again.  If you love cooperative games, I highly recommend Hanabi!!

This post was written by Lizzy-theLizzard.  Go check out her blog at

FTT REVIEW:  This is a game I had a hard time reviewing positively solely due to the fact that it is so counter intuitive.  The idea of not being able to see your own hand is interesting, but I found it to be frustrating and to go against the feel of the game.  In addition, with it being a cooperative game, you're bound to lose more often than you win.  If both reviews sound fun, this is a cheap game that is for you, but for me, it's a game that just blew up in my face.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Load Bearing Bosses (5 Minute Dungeon)

You strap your shield to your wrist, while your friends to your side ready their gear, prepare magic, or stretch to loosen themselves up.  You and your band of heroes have been sent to deal with the menace in this location, but they knew you were coming.  The walls crumble, the floor is filled with pot-holes, and of course, the monsters.  You have a very limited amount of time to slay the master of this place and save the world.  It's time to venture into the 5 Minute Dungeon (the title never seemed to make sense until now).

BACKGROUND:  5 Minute Dungeon is a co-operative card published by KOSMOS for 2-5 players.  Cards are played in rapid succession in order to travel

GAMEPLAY:  Each player begins with a unique character and matching deck.  Then players decide which boss they'll be fighting, and shuffle a number of Door cards together indicated by the bottom of the Boss Mat, and a number of Challenge cards equal to players.  Flip the first card and start the timer.

DUNGEON:  Each Door card has a number of resources on the bottom.  All players attempt to match those resources from their hand until all symbols on the Door card have been matched.  Once they have, the Door card and all cards assigned to it are removed from the game, and draw a new Door card.  Resources can always be assigned to Door cards, even without matching.  Other ways to defeat Door cards are with a Hero's Ability or Action cards.  Any time you are under your hand limit, draw back up.

WINNING:  Once players have gotten through all Door and Challenge cards, they must fight the Boss. Like always, assign Resources to the Boss card to defeat it, but non matching cards cannot be assigned.  If the players manage to defeat the Boss before time runs out, they win.  However, players lose if they run out of time, cards, or cannot defeat something with their cards or abilites.

CONCLUSION:  5 Minute Dungeon is a crazy, ridiculous, hilariously fun game with admittedly some weird, clunky mechanics.  The fact that you don't discard your cards when you use them hinders your progress, especially with heroes that focus on discards.  The resource is a nice and simple idea when you're timed, but that means it's not as hard as you'd think to lose to a small encounter.  However, the end results is that the timer would not work without the game being simple, and vice versa.  This is a game that had an idea, and ran with it in a really cool way.  The positives outweigh the negatives by a pretty significant amount.  This is a dungeon you should definitely explore.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  If you do consider picking up this game, I would also recommend you play with the free timer app available on Android, iPhone, and Windows Store.  It is a nice timer with some wonderful voices to add some flavor to the game.  My favorite is the Epic voice.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Geekist Link (Geek Out)

5 come in, only one comes out.  Will you be the one that survives?  Will you leave your friends in the dust and come out the superior mind?  Only time will tell, ladies and gentlemen!  This is GEEK OUT!

BACKGROUND:  Geek out is a party game for 2+ players, publisehd by Playroom Entertainment.  The goal is the be the smartest one in the group, able to name more things from various categories then your opponents.

GAMEPLAY:  The turn player or team rolls the die, and draws a card from the deck and read the prompt on the card.  If they like, they may increase the number on the card.  For example, if the prompt is to name two named fictional weapons, they may take the minimum two, or increase the amount.  The next player/team may pass, or raise the bid.  This action keeps going until all players/teams have passed, save the last bidding team

SCORING:  The team then lists off answers to the prompt equal to the amount they have bid.  If they are correct, they score the card and 1 point, but failing causes them to take a -2 point token.  If the bid was at the minimum, no penalty is given.

WINNING:  A player or team wins when they have collected 5 points.

CONCLUSION:  This is a game generally for geeks and nerds, as if the title couldn't tell you that.  However, as long as you can consider yourself learned enough with your friends, it can be as balanced or unbalanced.  However, it's a party game, and that means tabletop gamers aren't going to be getting a ton of intrigue out of this game.  It is meant to be played with no real seriousness attached to it.  The problem is that it should be played as an in-between, brain refresher, but the clues attached to it are a little stronger than most of those types of games.  Yet it doesn't have the complexity a larger game with engaging mechanics has.  If you want to play it to prove your the geek of your friends, that's fine.  If you have a bunch of nerdy friends that can cause this to be relaxing, this should be fun.  Otherwise, you may end up with it stuck in your closet.