It’s not just Saturday. It’s a 3-day weekend Saturday! The best kind of Saturday! (well, except for 4-day weekend Saturdays, or week-off Saturdays, but let’s not get pedantic here) I’m just kinda chillin’ today. Why go and run yourself ragged? Instead, I’ll just hang out and pass along some reviews for you to check out. Though I did almost relax my way through posting time. Whoops. 😉
Today we have: Escape Room: The Game, Schotten Totten, The Climbers, Techno Bowl, Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents, ROBiTs, Caverna: Cave vs. Cave, Cosmic Encounters: Cosmic Eons, Table Tantrums, Hipster Teenage Wasteland, Burn the Heretic, Drinking Quest: Journey into Draught, Wild Fun West, London, and NMBR9.
Board Game Quest:
If you’ve played an escape room before, you know the basics. The goal is to solve the mission (or escape the room) in 60 minutes. Each mission of Escape Room: The Game has three parts, and to finish each part, you need to insert 4 keys into the “Chrono Decoder”. The large device comes with the game (batteries not included) that acts as the timer, puzzle decoder, and also checks your key solution.
After setting up the row of border stones, players draw a hand of cards. With each turn, a player lays a card as part of a set next to each border stone and draws a replacement. The goal is to have the higher valued set of cards on their side of the stone. Set value is revealed by a reference card and compared poker style. For example, a colored run of cards beats three of a kind and three of a kind beats a flush.
The premise is very simple, you are attempting to reach higher on the mountain than any of the other players. Each block has six different colored sides, one in each of the player colors and one neutral gray side. There are four different sized blocks in the game. I do have a small concern with the production quality on the blocks. Quite a few of them have small amounts of paint rubbing off already. It isn’t a huge problem considering the game is a box of heavy wooden blocks, it may be unavoidable.
There are actually a few rulesets for Techno Bowl with increasing levels of complexity. I’m going to give you a brief overview of how the game is played here, but you can download a full version of the rulebook here if you want all the nuts and bolts.
Each player gets to choose one of 32 NFL inspired parody teams. The basic game of Techno Bowl is a 7 on 7 affair. However, once players feel comfortable with the game, they can easily take things up a notch with player skills (more on that later).
At the beginning of Tesla vs. Edison (TvE), each player starts by selecting a primary inventor who comes with stock shares in their respective companies, possessing varied ratings in invention, manufacturing, finance, and propaganda, and a variable gameplay power. These inventors are the eponymous Tesla and Edison, as well as other notable inventors.
The game spans six turns, which are divided into three phases of two turns each. Luminaries, historical figures and scientists of the time, are auctioned off at the beginning of each phase. Each luminary has ratings and powers similar to the inventors, and comes with a random share of stock and auctions are held until each player purchases a luminary.
You don’t start the game with much besides the gown on your back, your starting stats, and mental instability to help you through. Heath and terror are your main two stat lines in the game and they determine your strength and dexterity (health) and focus (terror) levels during the game. Whenever you need to do a main action in the game, you will need to roll dice and hit the required number of successful results to take that action. One interesting wrinkle to the dice rolls that if you roll a 4, you not only reroll that die but also a new die. This gives you the chance to hit the required successes even if you don’t start with rolling enough dice.
ROBiTs parts are represented by cards. There are seventy-five body parts – heads, torsos, legs and arms – in five colored suits of various quantity. There are also sixteen special cards representing Sparkeez, Junk and an action called Overclock. These are all shuffled and a number of rows per player, each with seven cards, are dealt to the table. The first row is face up while ascending rows are face down.
Caverna: Cave vs. Cave is a resource conversion action selection game for two players. Players are dwarves who are furnishing their caverns and competing to be the best. The player with the most victory points is the winner.
These people are notorious for the tagline “Fair isn’t fun,” so you can expect that these aliens are wild and off the charts with some exciting stuff.
Let’s assume that you’re at least familiar with the gameplay of Cosmic Encounter. In short: you’re trying to conquer 5 alien colonies by sending your ships to invade (or negotiate), and everyone has a unique power that breaks the game in some way, ranging from basic to ridiculous.
There are a lot of board games out there and, unfortunately, not all of them are good. While we here at Polyhedron Collider try and write well-balanced reviews based on multiple play-throughs and with different groups, there are those game were doing is so torturous we end up alienating our friends and family. So we present the second part of our Review Roundup series, a set of short punchy reviews for games we are never going to play again.
Drive Thru Review:
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:31); final thoughts and review (14:54)
Toucan Play That Game:
In this video you can find out my thoughts on NMBR 9 by Z-Man Games.