Here we are back on Saturday. Hard to believe it’s as late as it is already. Day just seems to be flying by. If there’s any day of the week that I usually hope “drags on,” it’s Saturday. But not so today. I’ve been up since 3:15am (that’s just what time my brain decided to be awake this morning), and can’t believe how late it already is. But, one of the last things I really need to get done is get you those reviews you so desperately desire.
This week, we have: HEXploreit: The Forest of Adrimon, The First Steps of Calais, Vinyl, Mobster Metropolis, Rise of Moloch, Lotus iOS, Manhattan, Empires, Stuffed Fables, Hellapagos, Bunny Kingdom, The Fox in the Forest, and Burning Suns.
theMCGuiRE review takes a look at The World of Smog: Rise of Moloch board game, which is brand new and just delivered through kickstarter! This hit retail in April 2018 and believe me you are going to want this title for its streamlined 1 vs all mechanics and fun story / game play. I am a huge fan of this game and that does say a lot as I’m generally not for 1 vs all games. This one really nailed it for me with the cycling of ether from hero player to nemesis player. I found this simple mechanic a way to engage the two parties more than what you generally find in games like this. It leads to decisions between the players that have real outcome as the more powerful the players actions – the more powerful the nemesis can be on their turn. Good form factor, awesome miniatures, KILLER THEME – love that theme! So put on your top hat and join the Gentlemen and Ladies of the Unicorn Club for 60-90 mins of campaign goodness!
Board Game Quest:
If you haven’t played Lotus before (you can read our full review here), it’s an easy to learn card game about controlling flowers in a garden. Each player starts with a hand of petal cards, and on a turn, can either play petals into a communal tableau, add one of their elder guardians to an existing flower (for more control), or discard cards and draw new ones.
The goal is to have the majority of control on a flower when it’s completed with the required number of petals. The player who completes the flower scores one point per petal, while the player who had the most control over it gets to choose from a set of four rewards. Three of the rewards are ability upgrades, with the 4th option being 5 points.
Play of Manhattan is simple, almost elementary. Each round of the game, players will select 6 building pieces after looking at their cards in hand. The cards show which placement locations on six different 3×3 grid zones where players are allowed to play pieces.
In Empires each player begins the game drafting a country card which has unique special abilities and starting resources. The basic rules of Empires require that resources are combined whenever possible to create what amounts to mini-resource-converters. The general conversions are bonds + gold = banks, meeples + goods = luxuries, and meeples + territories = industries. These converters must be satisfied in this order whenever possible.
Players will take on the role of stuffies—stuffed animals belonging to a young little girl. Your job is to protect her from the minions that will try to disturb her during her sleep through the game’s various chapters.
On your turn you will draw dice from a bag and use those dice to take actions. Each die color is associated to a particular action. Red for melee attacks, yellow for searching, blue for defense, etc. You must choose what you are using your dice for prior to rolling them, and then roll to see if you succeed. Dice of the same color can be rolled simultaneously to make it more likely you will pass the check.
After becoming shipwrecked, a group of castaways are trapped on a deserted island. While the view is picturesque, water and food are scarce and one heck of a storm seems to be brewing in the distance. The consensus is that they need to get off the island by building a large raft before the storm hits.
Bunny Kingdom is a combination of card drafting and area control with a few secret objectives thrown in. You’re taking the role of a rabbit clan that is trying to impress the Bunny King by developing new lands. You’ll build fiefs and then enlarge them and build cities to hold more bunnies. Bigger fiefs are stronger fiefs! You’ll also want to add farms to increase your resources and wealth. Your goal, being a rabbit who wants to impress, is to score the most carrots by building strong and wealthy fiefs. (Carrots are really points, but earning carrots sounds better from the rabbit perspective.)
The Fox in the Forest is a trick taking game made for two players. The deck of cards consists of 3 different suits with values ranging from 1 to 11. Each player is dealt a hand of 13 cards and the remaining cards are set aside to make the draw deck. The top card of the draw deck is turned face up and establishes the trump suit.
The starting player leads the trick and the other player must play a card of the same suit. If they have no cards in their hand of the same suit, they may play any card in their hand. Whoever played the highest valued card in the lead suit wins the trick, unless a card in the trump suit was played. The winner of the trick leads the next and play continues until all 13 cards are depleted from the players’ hands. The number of tricks you won that hand determines the number of points you earn. Multiple hands are played until one player reaches 21 points which signals the last hand of the game. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game is, strangely enough, declared the winner.
Burning Suns is a massive 4x space game in which your unique empire (made up of parts – ideology, race, framework) is racing to control the Antimatter sources in the universe. Each empire has a number of unique elements, such as as the abilities provided by your ideology that increase as you gain antimatter, a set of powerful Race cards you can use for one-time effects, and the stats and costs of your ships.
The board is made up of unique circular tiles (and some diamond-shaped tiles) you can arrange any way you so choose, with several suggested layouts for different player counts. Circlular tiles contain planets, which provide Crystals (currency), bonus abilities, and Antimatter.