The order of days has progressed as it always does and we once more find ourselves deposited in Saturday. It’s certainly my favorite day of the week. As this gets posted, I’m working on putting minis together. That activity is my favorite part of the entire gaming hobby. As such, I’m having a really good day. Hopefully you are, too.
But to the business at hand: reviews of games.
Today’s batch includes reviews/previews of: Splendor App, Ticket to Ride: Alvin and Dexter, Rhino Hero, Word on the Street, Awkward Family Photos, Traders of Osaka, Blood Rage, and Dawn of the Zeds 3rd edition.
Play Board Games:
The Splendor App is a digital representation of the board game. It has solo challenges as well as a pass and play mode.
The basic theme of Ticket to Ride is that five old friends have made a million-dollar bet to see who can travel by rail to the most cities within seven days in turn of the century America (or other destinations, if you buy the various expansions/map packs). Note that nowhere in that description is there any mention of aliens, dinosaurs, or science fiction of any kind. But that’s exactly what Alvin and Dexter introduces to Ticket to Ride. Aliens and dinosaurs are taking over the cities you’re trying to reach and, in the process, seriously complicating your efforts to build your rail network. It’s a very weird thematic addition and the question is: Do monsters make everything better, or do they just cause a train wreck?
Poor Rhino Hero. He just wants to save the day. Yet while he is able to scale buildings with ease, his enormous girth is often more of a liability than an aid to the lawful citizens he is trying to protect. With Rhino Hero around, the building is safe from burglars–but will it be safe from toppling?
When we here at iSlaytheDragon put together our gift guide last Christmas, I chose Word on the Street as my recommendation for best social game. After I picked it, I realized that we’d never properly reviewed it. Whoops. It took a while, but Word on the Street is finally getting the review it deserves… Just in time for “Christmas in July.”
When I was a teenager everyone at my school was into Oasis, I wasn’t I was into Metallica. This may seem to be an odd way to start a review but this how I feel about Summoner Wars, because everyone seems to rave about how good Summoner Wars is, and I really can’t stand the game.
On paper Summoner Wars sounds like my kind of game, you take a deck of cards to represent your faction of fantasy creatures and then play out combat over a strategic grid. The aim of the game is to kill the opposing summoner and you do this by summoning units to the battlefield, casting spells and careful manoeuvring. In short, Summoner Wars is a cross between Magic the Gathering and Warmachine, which sounds awesome.
Unfortunately I really don’t like Summoner Wars, I’ve tried but the whole thing just leaves me cold, so let’s see if we can work out why.
Board to Death TV:
The board game Awkward Family Photos, based on the website of the same name that features photographs that should have stayed tucked away in the family album, invites players to ponder the inner lives of the sad specimens depicted on the cards in order to score and win.
On a turn, the active player rolls the die, then moves a pawn around the perimeter of the game board to determine which question to ask about the photo revealed from the top of the deck. Samples questions include “Which celebrity would fit into this shot?” and “What was the last thing someone in this picture said before the photo was taken?” Each other player secretly submits an answer, then the active player reads them aloud and chooses her favorite answer. This player places a token on this photo image on the game board. With four or more players, the active player then guesses who submitted which answers; if correct, she places a token on the game board, too.
The first player to place all five of her tokens on the game board – or to place three tokens in a row – wins!
Board Game Quest:
I’ve always been a fan of games with a Japanese theme. From the old Avalon Hill game Shogun (renamed Samurai Swords and then renamed again to Ikusa) to the more “euroy” Ninjato to the family friendly panda game Takenoko, the far east as a theme is always high on my list of favorites.
Today, we are going to be setting aside our ninja hats (do ninja’s wear hats?) for that of a merchant. Welcome to Traders of Osaka (a reprinted and rethemed version of Traders of Carthage), where players enter into a fierce competition to deliver goods from Osaka to Edo. Will this game of commodity speculation and dangerous travel have you coming back for more or will it be consumed by the Black Tide. Let’s find out!
Traders of Osaka is an economic set collection and hand management game for 2-4 players that takes about 30 minutes to play. Traders of Osaka plays best with 2 players.
Before playing Dawn of the Zeds: Third Edition, I pretty much avowed myself away from having any interest in playing or owning a Zombie-themed game. I had played Dawn of the Zeds 2.0 long ago, but that game experience did not stick to my ribs as I would have hoped. When I was offered the chance to preview this version of Dawn of the Zeds, I was hesitant, but said to myself “It’s time to test the waters again”. Let’s see if I sank or swam.
Dawn of the Zeds: Third Edition in currently on Kickstarter and is a game for 1-4 players that takes around 90 minutes to play. Obviously, additional time will be needed for “learning” games. This game handles all player counts since no matter how many players are playing, 4 hero characters are selected to take on the Zeds. This game inherently supports solo play.
The Dice Tower:
Tom Vasel, Sam Healey, and Zee Garcia take a look at this new board game about Vikings from Eric Lang