I started my weekend off with some D&D, and that's actually what I'm doing again now (through the miracle of future-scheduling posts). But no matter what you're doing, I know you're here to check out some reviews. So, while my Bard is hopefully not getting stabbed to death, let's see what we've got this week.
We have: Starship Samurai, Tofu Kingdom, Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, My First Stone Age, Fae, Duhr: The Lesser Houses, HOPE, Dwarves with Swords, and Hero Master.
Board Game Quest:
On paper, Starship Samurai seems like a game I’m just going to love. It combines a great sci-fi theme (who doesn’t love sci-fi) and mashes it up with a Japanese theme (which I always enjoy). In Starship Samurai, you control a space faring clan warring for honor and the support of lesser clans. Awesome right? Especially because you get giant samurai mechs!
The theme is there, but is it fun? Time to find out! Starship Samurai is an area control war game for 2-4 players that takes about 60 minutes to play. Starship Samurai plays best at 3-4 players.
Prince Mochi has traveled from Mochi Kingdom to propose to his beloved Princess Tofu. But the evil Queen Tofu has disguised Princess Tofu in an effort to thwart their alliance. The Prince may ask questions of the castle’s denizens to find his true love’s identity, but many are not there to help him! Will the Prince find his true love and return to Mochi Kingdom? Will he be forced to marry Queen Tofu? Who is Pudding Spy? And what does the Tofu Cook actually cook? High drama and intrigue await in Tofu Kingdom.
Tofu Kingdom is a bluffing and deduction game for three to eight players that takes about 20 minutes to play. Tofu Kingdom plays best with 7-8 people.
Detective comes with 5 cases in the box, each of which is linked together over the course of a campaign (note: this is not a legacy game). Learning to play is fairly straightforward. Each player controls a character with a skill token and a special ability. For lower player counts, consultants are used that only provide 2 skill tokens.
My First Stone Age: The Card Game relies only on a deck of resource cards, hut cards, and a giant wooden mammoth named Martin. To begin the game, 9 resource cards are placed face down in a circle, and Martin starts on a random card. Players will receive a hut card that requires three of the five different resources to build.
Each turn, a player can move Martin up to four spaces clockwise. Whenever they choose the end Martin’s movement, they reveal that resource card to all players. They keep that good if it is one that is required to finish the hut card they have and replace it with the resource that is currently displayed face up on the resource draw stack—otherwise they flip it back face down.
In Fae, players are the eponymous mystical spirits collectively toying with and moving druids to various gatherings of ritualistic worship. Identified by color, your goal is to score more points by luring corresponding druids of your identity to the most worthy congregations. But mischievous as you are, everyone’s true nature is a secret!
The city of Dȗhr is a happening place. It’s the center of culture, commerce, and politics. It’s the place where dreams come true. It’s also the place where dreams get crushed. As the leader of a one the lesser houses, your ears perk up when the king has announced that there is now room for a lesser house to be elevated to a great house. Good news! If you are chosen. But you are not alone in coveting the honor. It will take cunning and intrigue to prove your house worthy of this great privilege.
HOPE is a semi-cooperative game in which players are tasked with terraforming enough planets before Regression eats up too much of the universe. Whoever saves the most planets is the ultimate winner, but if Regression reaches the end of the track before players fill it with pioneers, everyone loses.
Each player controls a single starship, and the board is made up of hexagonal tiles divided into 3 dimensions. The trick is, you can only move through and effect one dimension at a time.
So, yes, it’s exactly as it sounds. You are dwarves. With swords. Specifically, you lead cohorts of dwarves (who have swords) in a knock-down, drag-out brawl against other vertically-challenged legions (who have swords of their own) to claim your place as King under the mountain.
The design is an interesting one in that the real game begins before the game starts – that is, in building your armies. You form two such formations to direct on the battlefield, placing all of your hopes and fortunes, as well as tactics, upon them. Each of your two armies move and fight separately as one entity.
Jamie Noble Frier, designer of Hero Master: An Epic Game of Epic Fails, has specifically asked me to avoid referencing Munchkin in my review of his game. And who can blame him? Munchkin is a stodgy mess that takes far too long and is far too chaotic, its no surprise that our resident fan of all things bad, Mr Jon Cage, rather likes it. But its difficult to talk about Hero Master without mentioning Munchkin, as on the surface the games are so very much alike.Both games involve a party of bumbling heroes going on adventures, both games put their humour front and centre-with humorous card names and silly flavour text-and both games teach us that victory is best achieved by playing the most erect of dick-moves. I could go on, but while Hero Master may cover the same broad strokes of theme and style, it is a vastly superior game as it provides a tight and strategic experience that still manages to be chaotic and downright silly.