Wednesday, December 7, 2016

First floor: Haberdashery, Shoes, and Poodles (Vanished!)

Up and down, down and up.  The elevator moves, as do the people.  Watch closely and wait for the next guest.  Will it be the Beautiful Lady, with curly locks of gold?  Or maybe it's the maid, carrying her vacuum?  Or maybe the Socialite, with his charming smile and random guest he talks to.  Here one moment, gone the next, the Paternoster vanished, and came right back.

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GAME DESCRIPTION: Vanished! is a tile game published by BePuzzled, now known as University Games.  Players attempt to match characters in their hand with the characters on the elevator, or Paternoster.

SET-UP:  Players begin by taking a whole set of Character cards, identified by their teal background, and place them in their hand.  The Elevator cards, which are smaller and on cardboard, are shuffled and placed face down into 2 rows, leaving 1 middle spot open on the right.  The Pawn is placed next to the empty space.

MOVEMENT:  The first player rolls the die, and moves the pawn clockwise around the pile.  Each player then places the character card they believe matches the Elevator card face-down from either their hand, or their discard pile.  Once every player has chosen a card, flip over the cards and the Elevator card.  Any matching cards are discarded, and all non-matching cards are placed back in the players hand, including previously discarded cards.  Finally, flip the Elevator card face-down, and place it in the empty spot not next to the Pawn.  The game ends when 1 player has discarded all of their cards.

TEMPO:  If a player matches a tile with a card from their discard pile, they gain a Tempo Chip.  If a player spends a Tempo Chip, they may move the pawn 1 space either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Tempo Chips may only be played after the die has been rolled, and a player may spend as many Tempo Chips as they have to keep moving the pawn.

CONCLUSION:  This is probably one of the hardest games to master, even though it is one of the simplest games to learn.  This game is all about memorization, predicting, and planning.  This isn't the easiest game to get a group of friends into, but if your group enjoys puzzles, then Vanished might just be the game for you.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  So, not long after I started this, I found that Vanished is no longer in print.  However, there is an updated version called Paternoster, which apparently plays the exact same.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Three of a Kind (Tribond)

A baby, a tire, and an Eagle.  3 seemingly innocent items.  No connection between them, no alibi.  Their story checks out, but the puzzle eludes me.  What could such radically different objects have in common?  I twist them in my mind, scramble them like so many eggs.  That's when it hits me, the connection they all have:  They're all bald.  That's the bond I was looking for.

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GAME DESCRIPTION: TriBond is a board game for 2 or more players or teams, and was designed by Ed Muccini, Tim Walsh, and Dave Yearick in 1989.  Players attempt to get all three of their pieces to the end by finding a common link between 3 objects, people, or terms given.

SET-UP:  The board has 3 small tracks, and each player places their pawns in all 3 starting positions, 1 per smaller board.

MOVEMENT:  During their turn, the player rolls the two dice.  The numbered die is used to determine how far the player will move if they answer correctly, and the Category die, with various shapes printed on it, determines whether the category for the clue is:

  • Entertainment: Popular Culture
  • Academics: Education & Literature
  • Wordplay: Puns, Homonyms, etc.
  • Sports:  Terms, Teams, and Names in Sports
  • Loose Connections: Connected in weird, unusual ways

CHALLENGES:  If a player manages to land on a Green space, they are allowed to Challenge any player in front of them that is not in the Home space.  These are printed on the side of the card, and have no category.  If the challenger guesses correctly first, their piece switches places with the other piece.  If the challenged guesses correctly first, the challenger's turn ends.

Image result for TribondImage result for Tribond

WINNING:  A player or team wins when all their pieces move into their respective Home squares.  This may be accomplished with either an exact or inexact roll, as long as the clues are guessed correctly.

CONCLUSION:  This is a classic in my home.  While we tended to skip the Sports questions, as most in my family have no real knowledge of that category, we still had a lot of fun.  I grew up playing it, seeing how things with no seemingly real connection could have not just a tie, but a strong one.  It's simple in concept, but first learning it tends to take time to get the idea down.  The simplicity of the rules also allows for more flexibility in house rules, allowing a more balanced play between everyone. This is a definite play for those who love words or trivia games.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Answers are There (Oddly Obvious)

The clue: Musical leg.  Your eyes scan the card, trying to make sense of it, match anything to it, even in the most ridiculous fashion.  Then, the person to your right answers Drumstick, and they get the point.  You can't believe you missed it, it was Oddly Obvious.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Oddly Obvious is a party game published by Endless Games for 3 to 10 players.  The object is to guess the most correct answers off the cards from the word-play and puns given.

SET-UP: 1 person places a card into the clip so that the questions, classified as Side A and Side B are hidden, but the large printed words are facing everyone else.

PLAYING: The person reads the first clue of side A or B, and everyone has 1 chance to guess the correct answer.  The first person to guess correctly gets 1 point, depicted in the form of a colored token.  The catch is that the answer will always be one of the large print words displayed on the front.

WINNING:  The winner of the round is determined by which person has the most tokens once all clues one 1 side have been read and resolved.  In the case of a tie, the tied people attempt to solve 1 more clue read on the other side. In either case, the person who wins gets the card, and a new card is set-up.  Once 1 person gets 5 cards, they win.  If you feel obliged, the winner then reads the cards for the next game.

CONCLUSION:  This is a simple game, quick and easy to understand.  First off, this game is entirely about reading, so anyone with dyslexia or that just has a hard reading English should be given notice.  Next, this is a loud game, with no turns and no real control of volume, so the current person reading the card should be listening carefully, as many games tend to have 2 people answer in near unison.  But, despite all that, I would definitely check this game out.  It's quick, the rules are malleable enough to allow for shorter or longer games, and it gave me a new appreciation for word play.  Since this game in no longer being published, it may be a little harder to obtain a copy.  But, if you can get it online or at a thrift store, it's definitely worth it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What kind of Cheese are you? (Imaginiff)

If you were a bridge, which bridge would you be?  Maybe London Bridge, where it's always falling down.  Or perhaps you're The Golden Gate, sturdy despite all the earthquakes.  You might even be Sydney bridge, noted for the culture you bring as you lead people to the Opera House.  What about your closest friend, or the friend you last spoke to?  And what would they say?  Just Imagine If...

GAME DESCRIPTION: Imaginiff is a board game for 3 to 8 players, and was published by Buffalo Games Inc.  Players are asked what kind of silly, specific thing one of their friends are.  For this review, I'll be talking about the 10th anniversary edition.

SET-UP: Each player takes a  colored piece, and places it on the space in the outer ring of the inner swirled circle. Players also get the 6 numbered cards matching their color.  The object of the game is to reach the inside of the circle. The outer ring contains the numbers 1 through 8.  First, write in all players names in the outer ring, so each name gets its own number.  Then, write in any mutual friends or acquaintances you may have in any remaining spots.  Place the grey question mark pawn on the outer ring at 1.

TURNS:  Each player rolls the die, and moves the grey pawn either direction equal to the number rolled.  Then, the player draws a card and says "Imagine if" and the persons name the pawn landed on, and proceeds to read the rest of the card, and it is placed where every player can see it.  Then, every player will pick a number from their cards that correspondences to what they believe is the most accurate choice, and lay it face down.

CHALLENGE: Sometimes Challenge cards may come up in the deck.  In this case, the player does not roll, but just reads the card.  This card instead applies to all people in the outer ring, and players pick the number that matches the person written down that most closely fits the card.

MOVEMENT:  Once each player has made a decision, flip the cards face-up.  All players who have picked the most popular answer(s) move 1 space, with the player who read the question this turn moving 2 spaces if they chose the popular answer.  If a player

CONCLUSION: Imaginiff is kinda like Buzzfeed quiz: the game.  This game is a lot of fun, and can make for a pretty good icebreaker.  I would suggest either playing with all 8 players, or actually have all players know all people written down who aren't there.  Still, this game can be hilarious if played with the right group, and makes for a nice casual game for a game night, or for a longer game between sessions of large box games.  It's also pretty great for days you might spend with your extended family, and see just how well you know them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Magicka Explod'um! (Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards)

You say you're ready for a Resolution?!  Prove it!  Dodge the flaming boulders of death, party with the Devil and the Djinn, and claim the ultimate power at Mt. Skullzfyre, the most metal, mystic, maniac mountain in the universe!  All you have to do is beat the other wizards to it.  Do I hear the start of some Epic Spell Wars?

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GAME DESCRIPTION:  Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards is a card game published by Cryptozoic for 2-6 players.  Each turn, players attempt to eliminate other players by creating Spells by combing cards in their hand.  The goal is to always be the last wizards standing.

SET-UP:  Each player is given a Wizard card and a Skull Token to mark Health.  Each Wizard starts with 20 life, but has a maximum life of 25.  Each player starts with 8 Spell Cards, and draws up to 8 at the start of each turn.

SPELLS:  Each Spell Card are either a (S) Source, (Q) Quality, or (D) Delivery, located on the bottom right of each card. Each spell may contain 1, 2, or 3 cards, and any combination of Source, Quality, or Delivery.  However, Source cards must come before Quality and Delivery cards, Delivery must come after Source and Quality cards, and Quality cards come after Source and before Delivery.  In any "illegal" spells, or spells that break this rule, discard cards from the spell until it's legal.

INITIATIVE:  Players may play the spell from their hand or reveal them face-down, for simplicity and honesty.  Then, players declare their Initiative, located on the Delivery card on the right.  If a player has Impatient as a Quality, then they go before all players.  If a player has no Delivery, or a Wild Magic, then they have an Initiative of 0.  In the case of a tie, roll to determine who casts first.

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CASTING:  Once Initiative is determined, the spells are cast.  First, all Wild Magic is resolved by drawing from the deck until you gain a card that fits the card that replaces it (in 1 or 2 spell cards, name what it is replacing before you draw). Apply the effects left to right, or Source, Quality, and Delivery.

POWER ROLLS:  Some cards require you to roll and match a specific number, called Power Rolls. Roll the amount of dice as Glyphs that match the card required, which are located in the bottom left.

TREASURE:  Treasures are special cards that are only gained through specific Spell Cards.  Apply their effect accordingly. At the end of the round, once all but 1 wizard or all wizards are dead , discard all Treasures.

LAST WIZARD STANDING:  If a players HP goes to 0, discard all your cards, and draw a Dead Wizard card, and apply the effect at the end of the turn (if it states to apply it at the start of the next game, apply it then).  At the start of each turn, each dead wizard draw a new card.  Once all but 1 wizard dies, the round is over, and they gain a Last Wizard Standing token.  Once a player gets 2 Last Wizard Standing tokens, they win the game.

CONCLUSION:  Epic Spell Wars is Metal, Chaotic, and Awesome!  It fully embraces the random nature of card games and ridiculousness of modern magic and spells.  This is not, however, a game for the whole family, at least in my eyes. The language and swearing involved might make one uncomfortable if playing with children.  Still, this is a game with solid mechanics, a powerfully consistent theme, and over the top names and powers.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cards or Dice? Why Choose? (Combo King)

1, 2, 3, it's winner take all!  Energy is high, the risk is low, and the dice run wild here in our little casino.  Yahtzee has nothing on this!  So take the dice, play the cards, and see who has the right to claim the crown tonight and become the Combo King!

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GAME DESCRIPTION:  Combo King is a game for 2-4 players published by Gamewright.  The object is to play a card, and roll the dice to match the requirement on the card.

SET-UP:  Each player is given 1 chip, and is dealt of hand of Combo cards.  Each player then rolls 1 die, with the first player being the player that rolled highest.

TURNS:  Each turn, a player plays a Combo card from their hand.  The top and bottom squares on the green felt background determine the rules to be played.  The bottom left shows a hand, with various fingers held up, or a "U".  This determines how many rolls you get to attempt to fulfill the card, with the "U" indicating the player or players roll until the card is completed.  The bottom right contains either a red, green, or black circle.  A green circle indicates that you can "save" dice, or put the off to the side during your next roll for the card.  Red and black indicate you cannot.  The top left determines how many players are involved, with 1 being only the player who played the card.

CHIPS:  At either the beginning or end of your turn, you may pay chips to apply an effect, located on the Chip Chart cards:

  • 1 Chip: Take another roll.  This can be used as long as you pay.
  • 3 Chips: Take another turn.  You can attempt the card you just played, or attempt a new one.
  • 5 Chips: You can either force your opponent to draw a card, or trade an opponent a card with one of their choice.
  • 7 Chips: Trade a card from your hand with one from the discard pile.
  • 9 Chips: Discard any card from your hand
SUCCESS:  If you succeed in fulfilling the cards requirements, you discard the card.  Then, you are given an amount of chips indicated at the top of the card.  However, if you fail a card twice, then on the next turn you can discard it and draw a new card as your turn.  The winner is any player who manages to discard their entire hand.

CONCLUSION:  Combo King is a dice and card game, pure and simple.  The game is focused on luck and RNG.  Still, it's a great game for all involved.  Kids can learn counting, math skills, and logic just by playing without the chips, and adults can learn simple strategy by learning when to spend chips, and when to bail on a card.  It's simple, quick, and enjoyable for those looking for a low-stress game, or as a wind down for game nights.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tick Tick Boom (Exploding Kittens)

Can you hear that hissing?  Can you smell the sulfer and litter mix?  It's getting closer.  Closer and closer until your loss, closer and closer until your dead.  The hissing, it sounds like a bomb, but it's more.  Oh, my dear friend, it is much more.  But that won't matter soon.  The last thing you'll worry about is that kitten, blowing up and ending your life. Watch out for the EXPLODING KITTENS!!!

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GAME DESCRIPTION:  Exploding Kittens is a card game for 2-5 players.  Each turn players must draw cards and avoid getting an Exploding Kitten.

SET-UP:  Before the game begins, remove all Exploding Kitten and Defuse cards, then shuffle the rest of the deck.  Each player begins with 1 Defuse card and 4 randomly dealt cards.  Shuffle all Defuse cards into the deck, as well as Exploding Kitten cards equal to 1 less than the total number of players.  If there are only 2 players, shuffle 2 Defuse cards into the deck.  Any cards left are removed for this game.

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CARDS:  Each turn, a player may play any cards during their turn, or end the turn.  Once a card's effect is resolved, you may continue to play cards, or end the turn.  Each player ends their turn by drawing a card.
  • Exploding Kitten:  These black border cards, when drawn, mean an immediate loss unless a Defuse card is played, and discard all cards as well as this card.
  • Defuse:  If a player draws an Exploding Kitten card, they may play a Defuse card.  The player discards the defuse and places the Exploding Kitten card anywhere in the deck they wish.
  • Nope:  If a player plays a card, any other player may cancel it by playing a Nope card, and discard both cards.
  • Attack:  The player who plays an Attack card does not draw, and the next player takes 2 turns in a row.
  • Skip:  The player ends their turn immediately without drawing a card.
  • Favor:  Forces another player to give up a card of their choosing to the player of the Favor card.
  • Shuffle;  Shuffle the deck.
  • See the Future:  Look at the top 3 cards of the deck, and place them back in the same order.
  • Kitten Cards:  These cards have only images on them, and must be played as a matching combo of 2 or 3 of a kind.

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COMBOS:  Combo's are advanced rules which, when played correctly, ignore the text on the card and are instead applied accordingly.
  • 2 of a Kind:  If 2 matching icons (located at the top left) are played, randomly take 1 card from any opponent.
  • 3 of a Kind:  If 3 matching icons are played, name a card from a specific opponent.  If they have it, it's now yours.  If not, nothing happens.
  • 5 Different:  If 5 different icons of any card are played, you may take any 1 card from the discard pile and add it to your hand.
WINNING:  When an Exploding Kitten is drawn, and the player does not or cannot play a Diffuse card, they are eliminated for that game.  The game ends when there is only one player left.  They are now the winner.

CONCLUSION:  Exploding Kittens is a card version of Russian roulette, plain and simple.  The randomness nature of the game will definitely put off more than a few people, but the simplicity of the rules combined with the fact that the game is random gives most players a chance to win, even if they play 'badly'.  It makes for a great intermission game for longer gaming sessions and wind downs on game nights.  It's a fun, enjoyable little game that both younger and newer players can pick up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

That Rabbit's Dynamite (Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot)

Round and Round the Bunnies go,
Shot at and Burned and Turned into dough,
magical carrots are sought from afar
while Bunnies are Drowned in pits of tar,
all while we Watch
and Laugh.

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GAME DESCRIPTION:  Killer Bunnies is a card game developed by Playroom Entertainment for up to 8 players.  Each player attempts to find the Magic Carrot card that determines the winner.  Each player also attempts to gather Bunnies and keep them alive, while eliminating and killing other players Bunnies.

SET-UP:  The main deck and Carrot cards are placed in the center, next to the Starter Card: "Kaballa's Market".  Each player starts with 7 cards in their hand, and will always have 7 cards in their hand, minimum.  Place the small green Cabbage and blue Water cards in the middle, and place the small orange Carrot cards off to the side.  Then, each player places two cards horizontally in front of them, in a single column.  This is your run, and you should always have 2 cards in the run at the end of your turn.

RUN:  At the start of the turn, each player flips the top Run card over, and moves the bottom Run card to the top.  If it is a Bunny, it is played in front of that player, to the side of any other Bunnies (think of playing the Bunnies in one big circle).  Some cards cannot be played without Bunnies.

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IMMEDIATE:  If you get a Play Immediately card, it is played and resolved right away, regardless of turn order.  If you get a Kaballa Dolla, it is placed in face-up front of you.  Kabala Dolla's are spent before you reveal your top Run card at the Market.  Then, draw back up to 7 cards.

DEATH:  Most Play Immediately, as well as any successful Weapon cards and other various cards will Kill or Eliminate a Bunny.  Killed Bunnies go to the discard pile, and all other Eliminated Bunnies (such as Abduction) are placed where the card's effect states.  All cards have a small pink or white rectangle on their left side.  If a player has no Bunnies when any card with a pink rectangle is revealed from the Run, that card cannot be used, and is discarded as play continues.

SPECIAL:  Some cards have Special or Very Special at the top instead of Run.  Special cards may be played before you play your top Run card as well as in your Run.  Very Special cards can be played at any time from your hand, or in your Run.  Any Special or Very Special card in your run may be played off to the side to be played at any time.

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DICE:  There are various colored dice used in Killer Bunnies.  On the right side is a column of boxes, sometimes no colors, one color, or a bunch of colors.  The colors indicate which colored die or dice you roll.

TRIPLETS:  If a player has 3 Bunnies of the same color or name, they then play the 2nd card in their run at the time of the reveal.  Then, both cards in their Run are revealed during their turn, and place both cards in their Run instead of just 1.

WINNING:  Once the last player has bought or chosen the last Carrot card, the game is over.  If any player does not have a Bunny in play, they must give all their Carrot cards to the player with any Bunny and the most Kaballa Dolla left. A player then takes the small Carrot cards and reveals them one at a time.  Each time a small Carrot is revealed, the large corresponding Carrot card  is eliminated and turned face-down.  The last Carrot revealed determines the winner.

CONCLUSION:  The best way to describe this game is Rabbit Russian Roulette: The Card Game.  It is incredibly easy to lose your Bunny right before the game ends, or not get a Bunny for most of the game.  Still, the luck factor makes it so that even if you only get 1 Carrot the whole game, you can still end up winning, making it possible for even beginners and first timers to come out winning.  There are very few games where newer players have a chance to come out ahead, making this a rather strong recommendation.  Plus, the wacky build-up and planning ahead don't feel gimmicky, and the cultural references are all over the place, from puns like the Holy Angle, to the more obscure Red Dwarf reference in the Holographic Bunny.  This game is silly, luck-driven, and a whole lot of fun for the whole family.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  One of the difficulties reviewing this game is the Expansions.  With the edition I played having one built in, and a dozen expansions, the gameplay has altered from one version to the next.  Still, with the extra cards and rules I've played with, the game changes a fair amount, allowing the game to have more life just from including or excluding a version of it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Flying Through Udder Space (Cosmic Cows)

Log entry 5978:  The Earth creatures known to the locals as "cow" simply fascinates us.  They seem so unaware and accepting of their fate when we abduct them.  So, while waiting for our Commander, we have decided to play a game, seeing who can capture the most.  Sub-Commander Draub wants to call it Space Cow Chess, but that's stupid.  We've agreed on "Cosmic Cows" until a better name can be chosen.  So for, I'm winning.

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GAME DESCRIPTION:  Cosmic Cows is a 2 player dice game published by Playroom Entertainment, and created by designed by Maureen Hiron.  The object is to move Cows from the center of the board to your "Win Zone".

SET-UP:  Set the board between both players.  Place the 9 Cows in the middle of the board, on the green "grassy" area. Each player is given a set of 5 matching dice.

MOVEMENT:  Each turn, players roll their set of dice up to three times.  Between rolls, they may set aside/re-roll any amount of their dice, and roll again, or stay with their current roll.  Cows move closer to the player who rolled according to a specific roll (similar to Yahtzee):

  • Pair:  Move the cow on the board in the column that matches the number you rolled 2 spaces towards you.
  • 3 of a Kind: Like the Pair, but move 3 spaces instead of 2.
  • 4 of a Kind: Like the Pair, but move 4 spaces instead of 2.
  • Two Pairs:  Move the two cows in the columns that match the number you rolled 2 spaces each.
  • Full House:  Move the cow in the column that matches the number of the pair you rolled 2 spaces, and the other cow that matches the number of the other dice you rolled 3 spaces.
  • 5 of a Kind:  Move the cow in the Super Beam Column closest to you.
  • Small Straight:  Move the cow in the Straight Column 3 spaces
  • Large Straight:  Move the cow in the Straight Column 4 spaces
  • Chance:  If no other conditions can be fufilled, or the player wishes to move this cow, add up the total number rolled.  If the total equals 10-12 or 23-25, move the cow in the Chance Column 3 spaces.  If the total equals 5-9 or 26-30, move 4 spaces.
WIN ZONE:  Each player has a Win Zone, indicated by the red spaces on the board.  When any player gets 3 cows in their Win Zone, they win the game.

CONCLUSION:  Cosmic Cows is like Space Yahtzee, in a way.  It can be fun to play through once, but due to it's reliance on luck and basic rules, it's hard to recommend after a couple playthroughs.  The fact that this game is for only 2 players makes it limited in where and with whom you can play this. This game would work great for kids who want something with a little more visual feedback than something Yahtzee or Farkle can provide.  It's a good choice to play a round if you're looking for something a little more intimate with someone close to you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Anyone for Furry Smoothies? (Kittens in a Blender)

October marks the start of Theme Month, where each review will revolve around a single theme or concept.  This year, the theme is "animals".  The month will begin with a nice glass of blood, fur, and cat spirits, as we blend up our first game: Kittens in a Blender.  Just, watch out for any dogs wandering in.

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GAME DESCRIPTION:  Kittens is a Card Game designed by the Brothers Knudson for 2 to 4 players.  The object is to amass a furry pile of cats in the Box, while killing off your opponents with the Blender.

SET-UP:  The over-sized Blender card is placed face-up in the box top, and set in the middle of the table.   The base of the box is placed next to it.  These will be the Blender and the Box, respectively.  The space in between is the Counter. Each player then selects of a color, designated by the background of the Cat cards.  Then, each player is dealt 6 cards.

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PLAYING:  Turns consist of playing 2 cards, applying their effects, and drawing back up to 6 cards. If the deck ever runs out, play continues without drawing:

  • Kittens:  A kitten may be played in the Box, the Blender, or on the Counter.
  • Blend!:  When this is played, all Kittens in the Blender are removed for the game, all Kittens in the Box are saved, and all Kittens on the Counter are moved to the Blender.  Saved Kittens count towards your total point value at the end.
  • Blend Pulse:  Similar to Blend, with the addition of cancelling a Blend card.  Blend and Blend Pulse cards stay in front of you.
  • Kittens on the Move:  Move a specified amount of Kittens the specified amount of spaces (if it says 1 space, you can move the Kittens from the Box or the Blender to the Counter, or vice versa, but you cannot move the Kittens from the Box to the Blender, as that is considered 2 spaces.)
  • Dogs in the Kitchen:  Every players hand is rotated to the appropriate player.
  • Kittens in the Blender/Box/Counter:  All Kittens move to the place the card specifies.
  • These Cats in the Blender:  Move all Kittens of a specified color to the Blender.

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SCORING:  The game ends when all 16 Blend and Blend Pulse cards have been played.  All saved Kittens are worth 2 points, and Blended Kittens are worth -1.  In the case of a tie, a winner is decided by whomever has the most Blend and Blend Pulse cards in front of them.

CONCLUSION:  Kittens in a Blender sounds like one of those twisted games that can't help but get a laugh from how messed up the concept is.  Yet, the game plays simply, fairly quickly, and gets a laugh in a good way.  The art is so cute and appealing, and really gets what it was going for.  This game does require you to be okay with having vast amounts of luck and RNG be against and with you.  The games time requirements makes it easy to play multiple rounds if you just keep losing.  Kittens in a Blender can make for a great, silly time with some close friends.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Viva Revolution! (The Resistance)

You're meant to meet the mark in an hour, but you can't stand the waiting.  Everyone is in their place, slowly waiting. You look up, and see the glint of the gun.  There, off to the left, is your backup, making sure the mark doesn't run. Then, you hear the klaxon of alarms, and guards start rushing your location?  As you bolt down the sewer, you wonder: Who tipped them off?  This is a grave threat to The Resistance.

Image result for The Resistance game

GAME DESCRIPTION:  The Resistance is a social bluffing game designed for 5 to 10 players.  At the start of the game, each player is either a Spy or a Resistance Member.  The Spies job is to have at least three missions to fail, whereas The Resistance must have three succeed.  Above all, discussions and accusations are primary and encouraged, as long as it's possible for everyone to hear.

SET-UP:  Each player is dealt 1 Character card, with a mixture of blue Resistance and red Spy cards according to the number of players.  Then, each player is given a vote Approved and Rejected card, and a Mission Pass and Fail card. The progress board is placed in the center of the table for all to see.  Spies then discover all other spy players, usually by having all Resistance players close their eyes.  Then, the Leader card is given to the first player.

TEAM BUILDING:  The Leader chooses a select number of players to go on the mission, determined by the number of players and mission number, by using the Gun tiles.  Then, players place either the Approved or Rejected card face-down.  When all players have chosen, all cards are flipped face-up.  If the majority are passes, the mission continues.  If the majority are rejected, the next player becomes leader, but the Mission number remains the same.

Image result for The Resistance game

MISSIONS:  At this point, only the players chosen may vote.  All players place a Fail or Pass in the center face-down, and hand the rest to the dealer.  The cards are shuffled and revealed.  Resistance players may only play Pass cards.  If all the cards are Pass cards, the Mission is a success, and you place a success/blue Score Marker on the progress board in the appropriate spot.  If there is at least 1 fail, your cover is blown and the mission fails.  A red Score Marker is placed on the progress board.  Then, the leader card is passed to the next player.

VICTORY:  Once there are 3 markers of a single color, the game ends.  If there are 3 Red Markers, the Resistance crumbles, and the Spies have won.  If there are 3 Blue Markers, then the Resistance has become victorious.

CONCLUSION:  This is one of the first games I've played where the concept of something like Are You The Traitor? is done properly.  The structured turns, obvious goal, and focus on getting people to talk rather than say nothing help make this a very solid game.  This definitely creates a more at ease feel, like a gathering than a game.  If I had a criticism, it's that it's perhaps a bit too generic, no real theme with something like Secret Hitler or Sheriff of Nottingham. Still, this is a solid game for a solid group.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Friendship First (Carcassonne)

Ah, the city of Carcasonne.  With it's winding roads, beautiful landscapes, peaceful monasteries, and sprawling river, it's like a bit of paradise on earth.  Well, except for the highwaymen, broken roads, and cities that seem to just end into nowhere.  This wondrous and prosperous city holds an unfortunate secret sprawling back from its creation.  Do you wish to uncover that secret for yourself?  Then lets go back to the founding and building of Carcasonne.

Image result for carcassonne game

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Carcasonne is a tile based game set for 2 to 5 players, originally created in German.  Each turn, players attempt to build and control the countryside using Tiles and 'meeples'.  Points are determined via a scoring board, and the one in the lead at the games end wins.

BACKGROUND:  The term Meeple is one generally used in tabletop games.  Originating from Carcassone and the words 'my people', it usually refers to the tokens seen in this game, vaguely human shaped and generally 1 solid color.

SET-UP:  Each player chooses 1 of 5 colors, and gets all the Meeples of that color in front of them.  The larger Meeple is placed on the scoring board at the start, or at 0 points.  The starting tile is then placed, noted for it's dark coloring on the back.  All the other Tiles are shuffled and placed face-down.

TURN:  The first player then draws a tile, and connects it to the current face-up Tiles in an appropriate manner (roads, buildings and grass connect only to roads, buildings, and grass respectively).  That player may then place a Meeple (if they have any) on tile they just placed, with a Meeple on a road as a highwayman, a city as a Knight, or a Monastery as a Monk.  However, if a Meeple is already on a connecting tile (such as in the city, or on the same road), then you are not allowed to place a Meeple on that tile.

SCORING:  At the end of a players turn, players will score.  If a road is closed by a city, village, or loops back on itself, it has ended, and any Meeple on any point of that road gets 1 point per tile with that road, and is then moved off the tile back to the owner, allowing the player to place that Meeple on a later turn.  Any city that is closed off also returns to the owner(s), and each connecting city tile is worth 2 points, with any Coat of Arms also worth 2 points.  A Meeple on a monastery that is surrounded by Tiles in all 8 directions also returns to the player, and that player gets 1 point per tile, or 9 points.

CONTESTED LOCATION:  If a city or road was not originally connected, but became so later with more than 1 Meeple on said location, then it becomes contested.  If there is an even amount of more than one color, those players gain the total amount of points.  However, if there is more of one color than any other, that player gets all the points.  All Meeples are still returned to the owners.

GAME END:  Once the final tile is placed, the game ends.  All Meeples still in play are still given points.  All Highwaymen are given 1 per road tile.  All Knights are given 1 point per connecting city, and 1 point per Coat of Arms.  Each Monestary is worth 1 point, and 1 per surrounding tile.

CONCLUSION:  I have learned to enjoy Carcassonne, but it took me a little time.  The game seems intimidating to a new player, and rightly so.  The complex strategies of when to place Meeples and where to place Tiles really does change up the game drastically.  It's a fun game, but don't expect a new player to love it on their first try.  Still, if you are looking for a solid game with highly complex strategies, there's a reason why players keep coming back to Carcassonne.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  Now, these are merely the beginning rules.  I have decided not to include the "Supplementary Rules", which introduces Farmers, River Tiles, and Abbots and Garden Tiles.  This blog is meant as an overview for newer players of both the game, and tabletop games in general.  The rules claim that it is better to introduce these to new players later.  I tend to agree, having played this with most of the Supplementary Rules already introduced to me on my first play-through.  Now, this may be why I had such a hard time enjoying the game, but I have grown to love it.  I would just caution others to introduce these rules to newer players later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This is the 90's, fo' Shizzle (Quelf)

It's 8:00 on a Saturday evening.  You're chilling with your friends, shooting the breeze.  Then, out of nowhere, someone suggests that they play a game.  You pounce on the opportunity to  Everyone looks over at you.  They know that the night is going to be filled with awkward moments, neverending lists, and great memories.  Welcome to Quelf.

Image result for quelf

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Quelf is a board game designed for 3-8 players.  The object is to be the first to finish and succeed in various tasks, and get to the center of the board first.

SET-UP:  Each player takes 1 character token, ranging from a bean pole farmer to a platypus.  Each turn, 1 players rolls the die, and moves that many spaces.

CARDS:  The player who rolled draws the same colored card as the space they landed on, and follows the rules accordingly:

  • Blue (Roolz):  If you draw a Global Roolz, all players must follow that rule, or pay the penatly by moving back that many spaces (located in the top right).  Action Roolz and Talking Roolz affect that player, and if they are caught breaking that rule, they must pay the penalty.  Note that all Roolz card are permenant until replaced by a new card.
  • Green (Quizzle):  These are generally Trivia questions, asked by another player.  Some cards feature an Extra Credit question which allows the player to move additional spaces (but they will not draw another card until they roll again.)
  • Blue/Yellow (Stuntz/Showbiz):  These are more physical activities.  Some cards may have you not say anything, or "Tell the Other Player to Guess", which the other players must guess the underlined word.  If you are unable to perform that card, or cannot safely do it, you can always redraw.
  • Red (Scatterbrainz):  The player chooses a topic, and players must go around the group, each submitting an answer until either a player uses more that 10 seconds to guess, repeats an answer, or gives an incorrect answer.  That player pays the penalty (top right), and play continues.
FINAL CATEGORY:  If a player lands in the center, then a Scatterbrainz card is drawn and played, but the player who landed in the center must now give 2 answers each turn instead of 1.  If they fail, they take the penalty, but if another player fails, then the game is over, and the player in the center wins.

CONCLUSION:  You want a crazy game?  Here you go.  Quelf is designed to be loud, rowdy, and high energy.  It takes cues from games like Curses, and makes them their own.  It can be a lot of fun to play, but also exhausting.  This is one of those games I'd recommend to a group of High School and College students, but not to a group who's more interested in strategy games.  Also, never play with a group of gaming nerds.  When "Titles of Video Games" is chosen in Scatterbrainz, the round will Never. Ever. End.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Company Loves Misery (Gloom)

Jack and Jill went up to the hill, to fetch a pail of water.  They both fell down back the hill and were immediately accosted by a parade of ducks.  Jack was turned into an ugly beast, found the love of his life, and he lived happily ever after.  Jill fell in the swamp, and drowned.  She was never to be seen again, lost forever in the Gloom of life.

Image result for gloom card game

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Gloom is card game designed for two to four players.  Each player takes a "family". and during their turn, writes out their life using their cards.  The catch is that the player wants to get as few points as possible, and have as many negative points as they can get.

SET-UP:  Each player begins with a family of 4-5 members, depending on the amount of players.  Each player begins with a hand of 5 cards, and play begins with either the owner of the game, or the player who had the most miserable day.

PLAYS:  Each player has two Plays per turn.  Each player may play or discard 1 card from their hand during each Play, or pass.  Each card generally has a title.  The title determines what happened to your family, but the fun is telling a short 2 to 4 sentence story that explains how that happened.

MODIFIER CARDS:  These generally have numbers on the left side, and a description or effect on the bottom.  These are played directly on a family member.  When played, the numbers seen count toward or against you, with any number covered up not applied.  Any effects are applied to the family member either once (Immediate), or for the rest of the game (Continuous).

EFFECTS:  These generally have a red text, and have various effects.  Generally played on that players turn, they can also be used on another players turn if the card says "as it is played."  Event Cards that move Modifier cards don't count as playing the card, so immediate effects don't go off.  Continuous effects, however, are now applied to that player

UNTIMELY DEATH:  Death cards are played for two reasons.  First is that all Modifier cards, and most Event cards, can NOT be played on a dead character.  Second, any players who have not died at the end of the game will not count towards a players total score.  You cannot play a Death on any player on your second Play.

SCORING:  Once all of any players family members have died, the game immediately ends.  The player with the lowest score wins.

CONCLUSION:  This is one of those games that you need to be careful with whom you play.  The definite story-telling and slight improv elements make it hard for certain people to grasp. The dark, grim tone is also a warning to be sensible in choosing to play with younger audiences.  Still, the art is wonderful, a very Edward Gorey-ian style (if you haven't read The Gashlycrumb Tinies, it has great dark humor).  The game creates some wonderfully ghoulish, grim stories, and definite humorous situations.  And there is still a sense of competitiveness for those players who want to win.  It is actually pretty funny to see people get mad because something good happened to them.  A great game for a night of creepy and grim.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Circles, Stars, and Diamonds (Qwirkle)

Shapes have rained down upon the board, and connections come and go as easily as the tide.  You move this way and that, hoping to find a connection that other have missed, that will give you the points to take the lead.  That is what you find, that buried in the board is just what you hoped to find: A Qwirkle.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Qwirkle is a tile based game for 2 to 4 players.  The object of the game is to match similar tiles of color and shape and have the most points at the end of the game.

SET-UP:  Each player begins with a hand of 6 tiles that are kept secret from the other players.  All other tiles are kept hidden either face down or placed into a bag as the 'deck'.  Turn order is decided by whomever has the longest set of tiles of either matching color of all different shapes, or matching shapes with all different colors.  No tiles matching the exact shape and color may be counted.  The first player begins by playing their longest set face-up in a row or column.  The player turn ends, and is given 1 point per tile.  All players must draw from the 'deck' so their hand is back up to 6 tiles.

Image result for qwirkle

PLAYING:  The next player may play any amount of tiles that share either a color or shape to the current tiles on the board in any 1 direction.  No tile may repeat in color and shape in any line, and plays must be played only in 1 direction.  Points are then given to the player, with 1 point per tile played, as well as 1 point per tile from the connected line.

EXCHANGE:  If a player cannot or does not wish to play, they may instead trade any non-zero amount of tiles into the 'deck'.  This action ends their turn.

QWIRKLE:  If any player manages to make a line of 6 tiles on their turn, they get a Qwirkle, and a 6 point bonus on top of their current points.

ENDING:  Play ends when a player successfully plays all their tiles when the 'deck' is empty, preventing the players from refilling their hands.  The first player to do so will gain a 6 point 'Finish First' bonus.  All points are then tallied, and the winner is the player with the most

CONCLUSION:  Qwirkle is a simple game that can be played by most people.  Kids can play it because it isn't limited by reading, just colors and shapes.  Most adults can play it because it is incredibly simple, if restrictive to certain types of color blindness.  The barrier of entry is pretty low, making it a great game to introduce to people who don't play a lot of tabletop games outside of stuff like Dominoes, Monopoly, and Scrabble.  I can definitely recommend this game for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

But I Didn't Bribe the Deputy (Sheriff of Nottingham)

It says here you have 4 loads of cheese coming in.  Yet, I could swear there's a certain smell of Paprika and Basil coming from your cart!  Yes, that is certainly Basil I smell.  Why are you sweating so much, what else do you have to hide?!  You cannot hide anything from me, I am the Sheriff of Nottingham!

Image result for sheriff of nottingham game

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Sheriff of Nottingham is a social bluffing game designed for 3 to 5 players.  The objective is to successfully get various goods, both legal and illegal, past the Sheriff and rack up more total money than every other player to win.

SET-UP:  Each player begins with 6 Goods cards and 50 gold.  Two discard piles are created in sets of 5, and 1 player begins as the Sheriff.  Rules are altered slightly with 3 players, with all cards with "4+" taken out.

MARKET:  Each turn begins on Phase 1, the Market Phase.  Each player places up to 5 cards in their hand in their colored bag.  Players then draw back up to 6 cards.  Players may draw from either the deck or the top of the discard pile.

BAGS:  Phase 2 has all players who are not the Sheriff place 1 to 5 cards into their bag.  Phase 3 has all players than announce the exact amount of cards in their bag.  They then announce only 1 type of legal card, which are highlighted in green.  However, any card may be placed into the bag, regardless of matching the players announcement or type of card, as long as the amount is accurate to the players number.

SHERIFF:  Phase 4 is the Inspection phase.  In this phase, the current Sheriff can investigate any amount of players bags. Players may also offer coins, cards from their Merchant Stand, or future promises in exchange to avoid looking in their bag or to look in another players bag.  Cards in a players hand cannot be traded.

THE REVEAL:  If the Sheriff has ignored or returned a players bag, they reveal all legal goods and place them under their Merchant Stand board in the appropriate places.  If the Sheriff has looked into a players bag, and they were telling the truth, the Sheriff must pay equal to the Penalty of all cards, located on the bottom right.  If, however, the player was lying, then that player must pay the Sheriff the total penalty, and all goods not declared are placed into either discard pile.  Then, any goods that were truthfully declared are placed under the players Merchant Stand.

GAME END:  The role of Sheriff is then passed to the next player, and the Market Phase begins again.  Once all players have been Sheriff twice, the game ends.  Players then add up all points on their cards in their Market Stand, located in the top right, with their coin total.  Players with the most amount and second most amount of a legal good also get a bonus, located on their Merchant Stand board.  The player with the most points wins.

CONCLUSION:  Sheriff of Nottingham is a great bluffing game.  It has a solid framework and relies heavily on bluffing, long term strategy, and reading people.  It starts out a little overwhelming at first, but once you can get into the groove, you can start learning about people.  My only problem with it is that it takes so much thought process that I end up feeling exhausted afterwards, so it's a once a week game for me.  With so many bluffing games being created recently, this is one I can say that will keep me coming back again and again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

They Come to Play, but They'll Never Last (Pokemon: Master Trainer 2005)

So, you think you've become a Pokemon master?  You've collected all 16 badges, and managed to defeat two versions of the Elite Four?  You've managed to capture all 256 from both the Kanto and Johto regions?  Well, my friend, there's a whole new world for you to explore, with a brand new group of Legendaries and new ways to battle.  Now, let's see how you do in the Hoenn region, and see if you are truly a Master Trainer.

BACKGROUND:  In 1996, a set of Japanese RPG video games, titled Pokemon Red and Blue. were released and later translated to English.  It instantly became a huge success, and spawned a cartoon series, a Trading Card Game, a few various spin-off games, as well as various direct sequels to the game.  In time, the cartoon itself grew and had the main character travel to the new locations from the games.  Pokemon Master Trainer is set within the Advanced generation of the cartoon series, which focuses on the Hoenn region

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Pokemon Master Trainer was developed in 2005 for 2 to 4 players.  The object is to move along the board, collecting various cards and Pokemon Chips.

SET-UP:  Each player is represented by a trainer token, with characters from the cartoon.  Then, each player begins with 3 Pokemon cards and 3 items cards.  Finally, each player is given Pokemon Chips, or PC's.  The object of the game is to collect the most amount of PC.

MOVEMENT:  Each player spins the spinner and moves that many spaces, then applies the space they landed on. However, if you spin a 0, you do not move nor do you get the effect of the space you landed on.  Spaces can gain or lose CP, encounter Pokemon or events, draw item cards, and battle various players.

ITEMS:  Item cards are used to enhance your Pokemon's BP, or Battle Points, or increase your spinners number for movement or capturing Pokemon.  You cannot use Pokeballs when you directly battle another player or a Gym Leader. Also, you are only allowed the use of 1 item per turn.

CAPTURE:  In certain spaces and events, you can encounter and capture various Pokemon from the past 3 generations, from Bulbasaur to Salamence.  You select a Pokemon from your team, and have it battle a random Pokemon from the deck, or one from the discard pile.  Then, after playing a card, you and the player to your left spin.  You add your number to your Pokemon, the opposing player adds it to the one your attempting to capture.  In the case of ties, both players spin and compare.  If your number is higher, or you spin a 10, it is yours.  If it's lower, or you spin a 0, it is placed face up in the discard pile.

BATTLE:  Battling other trainers have similar rules to Capturing Pokemon.  Both players choose 1 of their Pokemon, then they play an item.  Afterwards, both players spin.  Any 10 is an instant win for that player, and 0 an instant loss. Compare the total numbers to see who wins.  The player who won gets to take the opposing players Pokemon they battled.  If they only have 1, the player then gives up 20 PC.

GYM BATTLE:  There are also Battle Gym Leader Spaces.  Again, battling is similar to Capturing a Pokemon, with the challenging player choosing a Pokemon, and may play an item.  Both players spin and see who wins.  10 is an automatic win, 0 an automatic loss.  If you win, gain 2 Pokemon cards, and the gym leader goes out of play.  If you lose, you give up 20 PC to the bank, and the Gym Leader is put at the bottom of the deck.

LEGENDARY:  If you draw or land on a Ruins, you then draw a Pokemon from the Rare Pokemon Pile.  These are usually the Legendary Pokemon from the games, such as Mewtwo, Suicune, or Rayquaza.  In this case, you do not battle with one of your Pokemon, and you cannot use items.  You spin, and if you land on a 6 or 10, you capture that Pokemon. If you spin any other number, the Pokemon goes back into the deck and is shuffled.

CP & GOAL:  If you ever run out of CP, you must draw a Smile Loan card.  This gives you 100 CP, but you lose 120 CP once you reach the goal.  Each player ends up with a set amount of bonus CP depending on when they reached the goal.

CONCLUSION: Regardless of the seemingly complex and intricate detail of the rules, this plays rather simply.  But, is it any fun?  Well, if you want a simple, quick Pokemon themed game, then this game works.  It plays a bit like Game of Life, but with enough differences to make the game stand out, and be it's own thing rather than feel like a re-skin.  It works thematically because it tries to add more than just a different board with different words but the same effects.  The Capturing and Battling system is different, and they work.  Now, is it compelling?  Not really.  The reason why the first Master Trainer works so well is that it feels like you're traveling around and collecting Pokemon to build a strong team and fight the Elite Four.  Sure, it needs some slight polishing, but the length just adds to the experience.  This one just feels like they cut out too much to make it streamlined.  It's not bad, but it lacks in depth the previous one had.  Still, it's nice to pull this one out for a quicker Pokemon themed experience, and this is a must have for every up and coming Pokemon Master.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  One final thought before I wrap this up is the name.  If you've read this blog before, you'll notice that I reviewed Pokemon: Master Trainer already, but that was a different game.  This version is actually the 3rd of Pokemon: Master Trainer named games.  Now, this is a problem, as that makes it difficult to actually find both this version of the game, as well as the previous version.  This may sound like common knowledge, but DO NOT NAME YOUR GAMES THE SAME THING!  This could have easily been solved with subtitles, such as "Master Trainer: Hoenn Version" or "Master Trainer Advanced".  Imagine if all versions of Munchkin were just called Munchkin.  Yeah, not a good idea.  Even if you only sold a half dozen copies of your game because it was an awful game, you should still title the name slightly different, so this doesn't happen.  It's silly, it's dumb, and it's rude.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

R.I.P. Trevor (The Oregon Trail Card Game)

Dear Diary,
We've been out here for 1 month, but it seems like years since we left Missouri.  Jane seems to have come down with Cholera, and I just know that William will end up pushing our oxen too hard.  We already don't have enough grass for them out here as it is, they'll surely die.  But I have faith we'll make it Willamette Valley, and all of our suffering will be worth it on The Oregon Trail.

BACKGROUND:  The Oregon Trail was a computer game published in 1971 by Broderbund and The Learning Company. The idea was to teach children about the misery and suffering the pioneers went through when traveling west.  The game ended up being a smash hit, spawning four direct sequels, and several remakes.  The objective was to get a small party across the U.S. to Oregon, and in some later games, continue on to Salt Lake.

GAME DESCRIPTION:  The Oregon Trail Card Game is designed for 2-6 players, and published in August of 2016 by Pressman Toy Corp as a Target-exclusive purchase.  Players work together to avoid Calamities and progress to Oregon before every player dies.

SET-UP:  Players may place the starting and ending cards of "Independence, MI" and "Willamette Valley, OR" any distance away to determine game length, with the recommended distance being about 3 feet apart.  All players begin with 5 Trail Cards, and a set of Supply Cards.

TRAIL:  Trail cards are black with green pathways that can lead down the middle, or on the left or right.  Each turn, a player must attempt to play either a card that matches an existing trail, a Town or Fort, or an appropriate Supply card. Trail cards can be played upside down or right side up, but the pathways must line up.  A Town or Fort card can be played along any path, and any path may also be played after a Town or Fort.  There are 3 types of Trail cards: blank, River, and Press Space to Continue (draw a Calamity card).

RIVER:  River cards are a special form of Trail Cards.  When a River card is played, the player rolls the die once, then will follow the cards text.  Any even rolls will allow you to ford the river.  An odd roll will, in most cases, cost you a supply card.  If you roll a 1 on certain cards, you die.

CALAMITY:  Calamity Cards are special cards that are drawn on certain Trail Cards.  These can have varying effects, such as instant death, catching a sickness, having your wagon break down, or go hunting.

SUPPLIES:  Supply cards are used in response to Calamities.  Certain Calamity cards require you to immediately discard or reveal a certain card in your hand to avoid that Calamity.  Other players may also have a chance to discard a Supply card for their turn to help that player out.

PROGRESSION AND DEATH:  When a set of 5 Trail cards are played, stack the cards together with the first Trail card played on top.  This signifies you have completed that part of the trek.  Play continues with the next player, until enough stacks of 5 have reached the end of the trail.  However, if any player dies, their name is placed on a tombstone, and play skips them from now on.  If at least 1 player makes it to the Oregon, then the players win.

CONCLUSION:  This is a brand new game, coming out just a couple weeks ago from when this blog was written.  When looking at a game like this, a few things should be considered.  First, was it thematically strong?  Well, having grown up on these games, I can say that it got the theme down pat.  The cards and rules fit the original game, with unfairness and random chance abounding.  Next, does the game play well, and are the rules written clearly?  Ehh, this could use some improving, especially with the river cards upon first play.  It plays alright, but again, it's REALLY heavy on chance.  Third, was it enjoyable?  I can say, without a doubt, yes.  This is a simple game that ruthlessly plays against you.  There's more strategy then something like Zombie Dice or Loonacy, but that means little when strategy can be thrown out the window for pure luck.  It's a game that, going in, you should expect to lose.  It's a game for the nostalgic that plays pretty well for the asking price, but can frustrate and anger a lot of players.  But, it was definitely enjoyable.  This is a simple party game that is meant to make you laugh at its ridiculousness.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mercy Never Changes (It Came To Pass)

And so it was written that there would be a game.  A game to bring family together.  A game that would involve counting, indeed, counting!  And this game would need to have strategy, to teach the little children, and train the minds of the people.  And one more thing was needed: This game would require quick reflexes, to train the body of the people.  And so...It Came To Pass.

It Came to Pass

GAME DESCRIPTION:  It Came To Pass is a fast paced card game for 2 to 8 players.  The object of the game is to get the total amount of points in your hand as close to 0.  All points in a players hand are counted against them.  The player with the least amount of points is declared the winner.  The game starts with every player having 6 cards in hand, and flipping 1 card over to start the discard.

PLAYING:  Each turn begins by drawing one card from the deck or top of the discard pile to start the turn, and discarding one.  Each Numerical card in your hand is worth that many points.  Charity cards are worth 0 points.  All cards that match the color of any Charity in your hand are worth 0 points. Desolation cards are worth 25 points, and can only be discarded if the last card is a matching color, or played on a Mercy.

OPTION CARDS:  Every other card is called an Option Card, and can be added in or left out.  Each have their own point value and effect
  • Repentance (20 points):  Reverses the direction of play.
  • Unbelief (20 points):  Skips the next player.
  • Pride Cycle (20 points):  Each player passes 1 card to the next player.
  • Secret Combination (20 points):  The player compares hands with the next player, sets aside one of them, and they now play as a team.  This has no effect if there are only two teams of players or two players.
  • Justice (20 points):  The next player must either play another Justice, a Mercy, or draw cards equal to the amount written on all Justice cards played.
  • Mercy (50 points):  Players race to be the first to play any card, and play continues to the next player of the that player.

THE END:  A round can end in 2 ways; either a player gets their hand down to 0 points, which ends the round instantly, or if a player says "Pass".  If a player Passes, they end their turn, cannot alter it in any way, and play continues until play reaches the player who passed.  If the player who passed has the lowest value, they subtract 20 from their current score.  If another player has the lowest score, the player who passed gains 10 points plus that players score.

CONCLUSION:  Upon first glance, this seems to be a Mormon themed Uno, but don't discount it.  The unique take on "forcing" teams and rushing to play on a Mercy adds a quickness that I found lacking in regular Uno.  The game plays well, even if a bit rough with the Mercy that, let's face it, adds a mechanic that can easily be seen unfair to slower players.  The game still plays quick outside of that, and flows in a way a lot of mainstream card games never really seemed to grasp.  For a fast action Game Night, a Family Home Evening, or just having some quick fun with a group of like minded fellows, It Came To Pass is worth trying out.