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.

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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.