As I type up this post ahead of its actual publication time, when you read this, I’ll be hip-deep in my new D&D game. At least, that’s the hope. Session 0 starts at noon, so I gotta finish this up and then head out. But I know how much you all desperately desire these reviews, so let’s get right to it.
Also, it’s apparently “Short Game Title Week” here in the RR.
This week we have: Unbroken, Imperius, Arena: The Contest, Cytosis, Samara, Sakura, Tammany, HEXplore It, King of the Dice, Topito, and Majesty: For the Realm.
Board Game Quest:
Cytosis is a worker placement game, with the board being a cell and the action spaces taking the form of various cell structures. On a turn, each player places a flask token on a cell structure, then takes the action associated with that cell structure, which parallels the function of the structure in the actual cell (i.e. the mitochondria action gives you ATP, the nucleus gives mRNA, etc.).
Action spaces allow you to acquire and convert resources, gain an extra action per turn, gain energy, engage in protein synthesis (see below) and pick new cell component cards. In the game, resources you are working with are the macromolecules that are used in cells (lipids, proteins, mRNA, and carbohydrates) and the energy needed to perform those processes (ATP).
In Samara, each player is a foreman in this small settlement. Players are competing to see who can build the best buildings in the town. At the start, you will only be able to build primitive buildings, but over time you will collect tools and more workers to help you complete more complex structures.
The object of Sakura is to be the closest player to the emperor pawn without running into or passing it. Players that run into the Emperor lose a point and are pushed back three spaces. Pawns closest without running into the Emperor are awarded points when it stops at one of the three sakura (cherry blossom tree) spaces.
Tammany is, at its core, an auction game. Starting with five action cards in hand and $10,000, players will be bidding to gain control of Crony cards: businesses, unions, and the mob. The main goal is to earn enough votes provided by unions, but along the way, businesses and the mob can be useful in gaining money for auctions or strong-arming opponents. The end of the game comes when one player has a certain total of votes.
I finally got my hands on “HEXplore It“, this is the latest tabletop game to come from Kickstarter, it was backed ridiculously fast and already has the 2nd expansion on Kickstarter as we speak.
Players exchange dice for their royal scepters in King of the Dice and roll for the best citizens to enhance their kingdoms. Really fortunate rulers might also increase their tracts of land. Those unfortunate sovereigns could just as easily wind up with village idiots or ravaging dragons!
To collect citizens, players roll six dice every turn hoping to match numerical or color combinations and sequences on citizen cards. There are always five of these available on your turn, each beneath a unique stack of color-coded village cards. You can attempt to lure whichever citizen you wish and must roll a sequence – pairs, sets, runs, values, color combinations, etc. – matching that as required by the card. In traditional Yahtzee style, you are allowed up to two rerolls.
Topito is a logic and dexterity game for two to four players. Players are trying to arrange the circus performers on the correct podiums to perform the stunts shown on their cards. The first player to match seven of their stunts wins.
In Majesty: For the Realm players compete to build the wealthiest fiefdoms in order to secure the empty throne. Of course you’re of noble birth, and so the thought of working the land yourself has naturally never crossed your mind. Instead you’ll thrive on the backs of little people, like any royal worth their crown jewels, luring subjects to do their voodoo (literally, in one case) for you.
Majesty is a bare-bones card-drafting and engine building design. In fact, it doesn’t fall very far from the other few apples of Marc André’s creative tree (Splendor, Barony, Sail Away). It is simple, accessible and gives players one action per turn. But because you have only the single option, that decision deceptively influences your progress as other choices impact it like compound interest ruined Louis XIV. While Barony offers a small menu of actions from which to choose, Splendor and Majesty: For the Realm are more restricted. Specifically with this design your entire turn consists of taking a card. And you don’t even get to decide where to put it.