Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Podcast #4 - Spiel De Jahres

Hi all, we wanted to post this a lot earlier but had some technical difficulties.

I now know the pain of having laptop issues and corrupt audio files when creating a podcast.

In this podcast we run through the games nominated for the Spiel De Jahres and pick our favourite.

Coming up in the next podcast our top 10 games of 2015. We hope to get this up early Jan 2016.

Happy Christmas from Board Know More.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Cadaver

Time to play: 30 minutes.
Players: 2-3 Players (second deck allows 2-6)
Suggested age: 13+
Price: £10 approx. – On Kickstarter (23/11/15)

This is a review of a promotional copy kindly sent to us by Triple Ace Games.
Diolch yn fawr.

Mike: In Cadaver you are playing as a necromancer attempting to reanimate a series of cadavers. You do this by using arcane resources with the help of the diabolical accomplices.

The game supports 2-3 players but this can be increased to 6 with an additional deck.


At the start of the game you will remove 2 of each resource card from the deck and place them in the centre of the table. The deck is then shuffled and each player is given 5 cards.

The player who is closest to death starts first. That has to be one of the darker ways to decide first player I have seen. I do love these creative ways on deciding a first player.

On your turn you have three phases laying, drawing and trading. You can lay up to two cards from your hand or discard. The cards you can lay are Corpses, resources, accomplices, ghouls, coffin lids and coffin keys.


Corpses are what you need to win and how you score points. When you lay a corpse on the table it will have three resource symbols on it. You need to also lay resources on the corpse to score it. So it is impossible to play and score a corpse on the same turn.

Resources – there are brains, potions and scrolls. These resources are needed to raise the corpses.

Accomplices – During the drawing phase you can draw a resource from the resource pile instead of drawing from the deck. You can draw a resource that matches the one the accomplice is holding.

Ghouls are nasty. When you lay a Ghoul you can take an accomplice or a corpse from your opponent and place it in front of you. These cards can quickly change the direction of a game and really spice things up.

Coffin lids are used to block opponents. For example you can see your opponent needing potions to score his corpse. You can block it by placing a coffin lid on the potion resource pile. The only way this can now be used is if it is unlocked by using a coffin key.

David: Also there is only two of each accomplice so this means in a three player game you might not be able to get the accomplice you need. The coffin lids can also be nasty as you can really cause some problems. Sometimes you lock a resource and then need it yourself a bit later on.

The Ghoul cards are great to play if your opponent has 2 resources on a corpse. You can steal it and score it in one turn if you have the last resource required. This can be a great way of getting a few sneaky points.

Mike: It’s so frustrating when that happens. Good point about the accomplices. We noticed there were only 2 accomplices when we played a 3 player game. We decided to make the same rule in a 2 player game and removed 1 of each of the accomplices to make it a bit harder. This increased the difficulty and made you think about how you use the Ghoul cards.




So back to the turn phases. Once you have finished laying cards you draw back up to five cards from the deck or resource pile if you have the right accomplice.

At the end of the drawing phase is the trading phase. You can trade with another player as long as they agree. This doesn’t happen much if at all in 2 player games but can be crucial phase of the game with more players where resources may be a bit scarcer.

Play continues with each player taking a turn until the final card is drawn from the deck. Players then have one turn each remaining. After this players organise there corpses into sets for scoring.

David: You can only use a card once in each set.
A set of three different corpses is worth 7 points.
A set of three of the same is worth 5.
The abomination corpse is worth 3 and a single corpse is worth 1.

It is very simple to score and makes it easier to teach others how to play. I would feel comfortable teaching my friends this in school.

Mike: Another great little filler game from Triple Ace Games. Their games are light and as David has already mentioned easy to teach. They have quickly become our go to games to take out and about.
It easy to see why. Cadaver is simply a pack of cards, no counters or board. This makes it a great choice to take out for example to play whilst waiting at a restaurant.

I mentioned the same with Halfling feast but I believe the suggested age higher than what I would suggest. I know there is a theme of necromancy and corpses here but if your child is into books and films like Harry Potter they will love this. I would suggest 8/9+.

David: The artwork is not gory or scary so is fine for younger players. I really like the art style and its nice not having any text on the cards so you can see the full picture. Not having the text on the cards makes it easier for younger players to pick up and play.

Mike: We had great fun playing this its another hit in our house. We wish Triple Ace Games all the best on their Kickstarter campaign with another great family game.

You can back it from 23rd November.





Monday, 9 November 2015

Cromlech

Time to play: 20-30 minutes per player.
Players: 2-4 Players
Suggested age: 14+
Price: TBC – Kickstarter.

This is a review of a prototype copy kindly sent to us by Rattlebox Games.
Diolch yn fawr.


Mike: In Cromlech 2-4 players fight for their faction’s glory as druids. The druids build stone circles (Cromlech’s) and use elemental powers to defend these circles and attack the other druids.
The game is played over 3 rounds (years) that comprise of 4 turns (seasons).
At the end of these 12 turns the player who has done the most damage to their opponent wins.
In year one you build up the inner ring of stones using a drafting mechanic. Players take it in turns to choose from a selection of 2 stones in the middle of the table.
This continues until there is a circle created like the one in the picture below.


You then select a druid from a choice of four.
Each druid specialises in one element (Fire,Air,Earth,Water). It is important you choose a druid that complements the strategy you wish to play.




David: Well the first thing that caught my eye was the theme. I like games that have a medieval theme. The game is a dice building game and has quite a bit of strategy. In the beginning I was rolling earth and fire which give you a higher chance of attack. I should have been rolling water and air which will give defensive bonuses for later on in the game.



Mike: Yeah duelling druids is a new one for me I don’t think we have a game like this in our collection.
I wouldn’t put this in the class of an entry level game there is quite a bit to learn and it took us a few games to get comfortable with the rules.
For example you have to take into account what druid your opponent has when attacking as you can only damage an opposing element. Fire and Air oppose earth and water. So a fire attack will not hurt a Fire/Air druid.
Also when you are attacking your opponent’s stones there is a table of what elements you need to combine.



This does mean it might be a bit tricky for younger players to pick up. I guess it largely depends on their gaming experience.




David: The re rolling and attacking using dice reminds me of King of Tokyo. With the lintels giving you additional dice powers like the power ups you can buy in the game.

It’s more strategic than King of Tokyo though and feels a bit like Dice Masters in the way you have to pick your dice to play with. I really enjoyed our games and would like to play a few more times to improve my strategy. I can’t wait to see what the final game looks like.


Mike: It certainly plays well we had some very close games. Something that shows the mark of a well-balanced game. I really like the Celtic theme and the fine balance of luck and strategy. It has been a pleasure to play and we can’t wait to see how the final product will turn out.

As we write this Cromlech still has just under a week left on its Kickstarter Campaign.
We wish it well and hope it funds as it’s a great game with a lot of depth.
Da Iawn Rattlebox. Keep up the good work.

Also to see it in action check out this play through by Rattlebox games.




Monday, 26 October 2015

Podcast #3 - Pandemic Legacy

Our 3rd podcast is a mini review of Pandemic Legacy.

No Spoilers – we talk only about what is in the box, setup and rules of the game.

We have been careful not to mention any hidden surprises or game changing events.


That being said we would like to hear from anyone that has played the game so far. We are just about to start the month of April. 

Enjoy.



iTunes


RSS


                      

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Ghostel - First impressions

Time to play: 45 minutes
Players: 2-4 Players
Suggested age: 12+
Price: TBC - upcoming Kickstarter.

Mike: So you may have heard us mention once or twice the upcoming game from Tinkerbot Games Ghostel.

Ghostel is set in Creepstone Manor which has been empty for a hundred years. However it has now been reopened as a hotel much to the annoyance of the resident ghost Spookie.

Here’s where you come in. In Ghostel you are one of Spookie’s Minions vying for the position of top ghost by scaring away visitors to Creepstone Manor.


 


The game has 2 phases day and night. 

In the night phase the ghosts come out to play and do their level best to scare away the patrons. 
In the day phase new visitors will show up and existing ones calm down to prepare themselves for another night of bumps and frights. It is also during this day phase that the ghosts prepare for the night by gaining Spookie favours, learning phobias and purchasing boo dice.




I have had the pleasure of playing this twice now and David played it for his first time at Dragondaze.

So David what did you think?

David: Firstly I liked how easy it was to set up and teach. Bevan explained the rules to us and I got it straight away. In the version we played there were 3D printed ghosts which have to be my new favourite game token. They looked awesome and fit in with the look and feel of the game.
I like it in games when there are hidden jokes. The guest’s names in Ghostel are all from famous ghost programmes like Ghostbusters and Scooby Doo. I can’t wait to find out what they will call the ghosts.

Mike: 3D GHOST MEEPLES!!!! I thought nothing could beat the animeeples in my Agricola set but these little ghost dudes are fantastic.

Totally agree with the set up and rules. Both times I have played this the group picked it up very quickly with little or no rule checks required. This is a good sign that some thorough play testing has occurred. It’s also a solid worker placement game with a little bit of luck needed. If you have played and enjoyed waggle dance you will be at home here.

Each turn you will roll your dice and place these on the visitors as you move around the board. In order to scare away a visitor you need to break that visitor’s boo score. So for example if a visitors boo score is 10 you will need the help of the other ghosts to break it.

For those that have played Smash Up it’s a similar mechanic in how the bases are broken and scored. Again for me it’s that familiarity of mechanics with the addition of a few new ideas that makes it fresh, entertaining and easy to play.

David:  I quite like worker placement games. Sometimes though they can be a bit complicated and have too many options. This is why I enjoyed Ghostel as much as I did. It can be played with new comers to games but also is challenging enough for experienced gamers. I would like to play this with my sister when she is older I think it would make a great family game. I look forward to the next time I can play this.

Mike: It’s nice to find a spooky themed game you can play with the family. We have followed the journey of this game very closely and even early on in its prototype phase it has captured our attention. A few months ago they held a completion to get your face in Ghostel. Here are the lucky three winners.

 


As you can see for yourself the artwork is beautifully done. Seeing these cards now I cannot wait to get my hands on the game.

Ghostel ticks all the boxes for a game we would not only purchase but get to the table regularly.
For that reason we cannot recommend it highly enough and wish Tinkerbot Games all the best with the upcoming Kickstarter Campaign. 

P.S We interviewed Gino at Dragondaze where he talks about Ghostel for our 2nd podcast. You can download it on iTunes or our RSS feed.


iTunes link




Thursday, 1 October 2015

Halfling Feast

Time to play: 20-30 minutes
Players: 2-4 Players
Suggested age: 10+
Price: £15 approx.

Mike: When David and I heard the pitch for Halfling Feast we both laughed out loud. It’s not often you get to play a game where the goal is to eat and fart your way to victory.

In Halfling Feast each player represents a champion Halfling eater. Your goal is to eat as many dishes as possible by the end of the feast. Each Dish has a points value which is not only important for the scoring points but it also tells you how much it fills your belly.

David: Every time you eat a dish your belly spaces (which starts at 0) raises by the number of points that card is worth. You cannot go above 10 (unless you have played an action card that increases your belly rating).

Mike: So how do you make space in your belly? Well this is where David and I really fell in love with this game. There are action cards like “Mighty Fart” and “Off to the outhouse” that help reduce your belly spaces by 8 or 10 points.
If you don’t have one of these cards to play you can release 2 belly spaces as one of the actions on your turn.

David: Yes some of the cards are very funny my favourite card is “little trump” the Halfling on the picture looks like he has a bad belly.

Mike: Ha yes that’s a good one.

David: There are a few options each turn. You can eat a dish or release belly spaces. You can also take an action card, play an action card or use your Halflings special skill.





Mike: These options make you think and for a small filler game it has a nice amount of depth to keep players engaged.

David: It’s such an easy game to play. Even though you have a few choices you never get stuck. Our games have been very close. I also prefer the plastic dials we got with the game as it makes it easier to track score.

Mike: Yes those were special belly space trackers we picked up at Dragondaze. I don’t think they will be with the final game.

One thing we noticed and have slightly changed to keep it interesting. Play continues in the game till all of the dishes are eaten. The sum of the dishes cards are 108. So if David scores 55 I know my score is 53. So when we play we know first past 54 points wins the game and this can dull the climax of the game a little.

To combat this a small house rule we have added was to randomly take 2 cards out and not reveal their points value. This just helped add a bit more tension when scoring at the end.

In summary we have had great fun with this game it’s nice and light. The recommended age is 10+ and this is due to the cards having a bit of text that would make it a bit difficult for younger players. With a bit of help though there is no reason this could be a great game for ages 7+.

We really enjoyed Triple Ace Games other game Leagues of Adventure Rocket Race. So we were excited to see Halfling Feast at Dragondaze. It hasn’t disappointed and gets a thumbs up from us.

You can back it now on kickstarter.


Check it out here.


Monday, 28 September 2015

Board Know More @ Dragondaze - Podcast #02

As promised our second podcast is up and in this episode we cover our day at Dragondaze.

Dragondaze is a board game convention based in Newport. It is in its second year and raises money for Barnardos Young Carers.


www.dragondaze.com




David and I had a great time playing games and getting to try out some new games coming to kickstarter very soon.

A big thanks to the following for taking the time to speak to us.
Creature College is now available to back on kickstarter.

Check it out here.

We have backed it and look forward to playing it again.

Halfling feast is available as I type this from 9pm (GMT) September 28th  on kickstarter.

Check it out here.

We picked up a copy at Dragondaze and love it. It is a great filler game with some humorous cards.

Our question this podcast is:


If your gaming collection was on fire and you could save one game and one game only what would it be?

iTunes link

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Our First Podcast

Finally we made it our first podcast is now live. It has taken us a lot longer than we thought but we got there eventually.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/board-know-more/id1030573465

EDIT: Whoops forgot to include this - here is the RSS feed if you don’t use iTunes 


We found it difficult to decide on what to present as topics for our first podcast. In the end we had a few points we wanted to talk about. I let David decide on the format and we took it from there. It took us 16 minutes to record the very first line as David was in fits of giggles.

Oh and Thanks to Craig Hodges as well for our cool new logo.




In this episode we talk about

- The gaming community in South Wales.
- Kickstarter games we are excited about.
- Gen Con and Gen Cant
- What we have been playing recently.
- What we want to play next.
- TableTop Gaming Magazine.

We round off with a question.

What is your favourite small game to take out and about?

Episode Links:

Craig Hodges (did the artwork for our podcast logo)


Geeks in Wales by Jamie Gibbs. A great blog for geeky goings on in South Wales.


Tinkerbot games. Check out Tinkerbot Tactics a great little free game on their site.



We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Where are we and what are we up to ?

Hi all, sorry it’s been a while since we posted a review we have had a few busy weeks. 

We are continually looking at ways to make our reviews better and add content to the site. Something David has been asking me to do since we were interviewed by Tinkerbot games was to create a podcast.

So we have been working on that over the last few weeks and realised it’s just a much work as running a blog! However we are having fun messing with the script and look forward to posting it very soon.

Please get in touch if you would like to be involved or can share any tips as we are brand new to this, always keen to learn and above all have some fun.

Cheers


Mike & David

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Age Of War



Time to play: 15-30 minutes
Players: 2-6 Players
Suggested age: 14+
Price: £10 approx.

Mike: I’ll be honest I picked this game up from our FLGS purely on the box cover and that it was a cheap dice filler game.
In Age of War you will be assuming the role of daimyos conquering castles and uniting warring clans.

If you have ever played a game called Risk Express (a travel version of Risk by Hasbro) then this is essentially the same game that has been given a Japanese reskin.

During the game you will be fighting for 14 castles in the centre of the board. 



David: To conquer a castle you need to roll 7 dice. These dice have 6 different symbols. Archery, Cavalry, Daimyo, 1 infantry, 2 infantry and 3 infantry. I really like the dice they look like troop banners going into battle. Using these dice you will attempt to fill battle lines on the card. You can only fill one per roll



Mike: So in the example below you would need to roll 1 Daimyo, 1 Archer and 1 Cavalry.
You would only need a second Daimyo for the top left corner if you were attempting to conquer this castle from your opponent’s side. Conquering this castle will get you 1 point as indicated by the white number on the card.



Something to keep in mind is your castles are not safe they can be attacked at any time from your opponents. Whilst it’s trickier to do it can be worthwhile to stop your opponent conquering a clan.

David: Some of the clans can be tricky to complete as they have a lot of cards. It can be really frustrating when you are one away and your opponent steals a castle from you.

Mike: Essentially this is going to be your main goal of the game. A clan is conquered when you have all castles of a particular colour. Once you have achieved this you can flip them over and score the value on the back. These are now banked and cannot be taken from you. So as you can see conquering clans is the way to secure points and win the game.



Age of War is a pure luck based game there is very little strategy involved. For me there is something lacking here and there are other fillers I would prefer to play.
That being said it is meant to be a filler dice game and wouldn’t be a bad way to introduce gamers to other dice games like Elder Sign or Alien Frontiers.

Do we recommend it – well myself no I think there are other games around the same price point that are better to play in 15-30 mins. I personally would rather play Star Realms.


David: I really like this and do recommend it though. It’s quick to play and not complicated. Sometimes I like to play a game that is easy and doesn’t have too many rules especially if we don’t have a lot of time. One thing I noticed is this game is for 14+. We are not sure why it is. There is no reason why this couldn’t be played from 8+. It is not a complicated game.

Mike: So there you go this one has a split decision.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Terror In Meeple City (Rampage)

Time to play: 30 minutes
Players: 2-4 Players
Suggested age: 8+
Price: £45 approx.

Mike: This game was originally released under the name Rampage but due to a licencing issue was later changed to Terror in Meeple City. Rampage was a popular arcade game in the 80’s. A simple game that lets you control one of three monsters with the simple premise of tearing a city apart.
I spent many hours playing this with my sister on the good old Sega Master System. So I was delighted to hear when a board game was released based on this old school classic.

Terror in Meeple City is a dexterity game for 2-4 players. You are playing a famished scaly skinned monster that is tearing through Meeple City looking for food. Yes you guessed it the food are the little meeple residents. 




One thing about the components before we start. Our copy was missing a floor tile and apparently this was common in the early print runs (we have the Rampage named version). However I must praise Repos’ customer service here as 4 days after I emailed them I had a replacement part sent. I couldn’t ask for better so many thanks Repos.

Set up takes a bit of time but it’s going to be worth it. You will be constructing Meeple City with card tiles and meeples to support the floors.



David: Yes it does take a while to set the game up so it’s not a game we can play if we don’t have a lot of time. I do like setting it up though and putting the bat symbol on top of one of the buildings.

Mike:  Oh yes the artwork on the board is vibrant and so detailed. It gives it a cartoony feel and has lots of little hidden Easter eggs to find.

Once the board is set up each player is given a monster screen to hide your eaten meeples behind, 4 teeth, a character card, a power card and a secret super power card.

The character card will give you a condition to meet to gain extra victory points at the end. This could be you will gain 10 victory points if you have eaten the most red meeples for example.

The power cards give you special abilities you can use in the game.



David: These cards add a bit of extra strategy to the game. It makes each game a bit different. Star dance power is my favourite as it lets you use 2 flicks rather than one on a move. This can be very useful getting close to the buildings to demolish.

Mike: I keep forgetting to use my powers I really must remember this next time. After your powers have been set it’s onto the game. Each turn you will be allowed to carry out 2 of 4 different actions and you can repeat the same action twice if you choose.

Your choices are move, demolish, toss a vehicle and breathe.

To move you flick the small monster disc and your monster moves to that new location. Be careful as if you flick it off the board you will lose a tooth.

Demolish will let you pick up your monster if it is touching the pavement of a building stack and drop it on the building stack. Any floors that are clear of meeples after you have done this can be placed behind your screen to score a victory point.

Toss a vehicle lets you pick up a wooden vehicle that is in your area and place it on top of your monsters head. You then flick it off and aim for a building or another monster. If at any time in the game you knock another monster over you take one of their teeth to score at the end of the game.

Breathe - this is the funniest one as you place your chin on top of your monster breathe in and blow. You can try to blow another monster over or topple some buildings. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.

David: I like to demolish as it is the most destructive. If you’re lucky you can demolish twice in a round and send meeples everywhere ready to eat. When you have finished your actions you can eat the meeples that are in your area. This is why it’s good not to lose teeth as you can eat as many meeples as you have teeth. In the last game I played I won by knocking over the other monsters and taking their teeth off them.

Mike: Demolish is fun but you have to do it with style. One thing we haven’t mentioned is runaway meeples. If a meeple leaves the board it is added to the runaway track. This is the penalty system in the game and can make demolishing near the edges risky business. If on your turn you cause a meeple to flee and it fills the track you will get a penalty.



David: This is so frustrating it can really stop you when you think you are doing well but the punishments can sometimes help other players get back into the game.  

Mike: The game continues until all the tower blocks are demolished. Then scoring is worked out. You will get 10 points for each complete set of meeples you have eaten. You need to be thinking about this when you play as you need one of each colour to score. 1 point is given for each floor and 2 points for each tooth taken from another monster. You then add any bonus victory points from your character card to determine the winner.



This game is light, simple and pure fun. As such it’s a great game for all generations. It requires very little strategy and is easy to teach. The power cards might be a bit complicated for younger players but this element could be easily left out of the game. Children will love it and I’m sure with relaxing the rules this could be played with younger children than the suggested 8+ as it’s all about smashing the buildings.

David: Yes and my baby sister has already chosen her favourite monster and is ready to go.