It’s Saturday. I’m hanging out in the bear’s den here. LGS has a huge tourney going on, so I’m just gonna hang out here. So it’s me, John Mulaney, and typing up the Review Roundup. Literally Netflix and chill (no innuendo). Everyone needs just some relaxed days occasionally. Anyway, as for the reviews…
Today we have: Deep-Cut Studios Print-O-Mat Service, Monster Lands, Clans of Caledonia, Hoyuk, Renown, AssassinCon, Azul, Charterstone, Great Scott!, Escape from 100 Million B.C., Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization iOS, Epic Monster Tea Party, Mortals, The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire, and Valley of the Alchemists.
Meeples & Miniatures:
Over the last couple of year, game mats have become have become a common accessory for players of all sorts of tabletop games, be it Miniatures Games, Boardgames, Card Games or Role Playing Games, with neoprene backed mats (mousepad material) seen as the premium product choice.
Up until now, these mats have primarily been available as an out-of-the-box product with a fixed format – whether it be a terrain mat for wargaming, marked out pitch for a tabletop sports game or a cool picture for your card mat. Custom printed gaming mats were also seen as premium add-ons for many miniature-related kickstarter projects.
Deep Cut Studio have just launched a new service for printing custom gaming mats – Print-O-Mat.
Monster Lands is a bit of a tease. Its cartoon artwork and cutesy graphic design are nothing but a honey trap, luring you in with the promise of a cute game for all the family but you will soon come to realise that Monster Lands is a meaty grown up game of resource placement and second guessing your opponent. However, even that veneer is misleading because behind Monster Land’s euro game appearance is a game where the roll of a die can change everything.
In Monster Lands you must hire a group of mighty warriors to defeat fearsome monsters and conquer lands in the quest for glory and reputation. I’m not going to try and explain every rule and mechanic for Monster Lands, because believe me when I say there is a lot going on in this board game.
Clans of Caledonia is a Euro in the purest form. There’s no dice, little randomness and it’s all strategy. Your task is straightforward – sell your clan’s goods overseas for money and imported goods in order to score points to win the game. Of course, Clans isn’t that simple and there’s a myriad of other aspects to the game to earn its classification of medium euro. It’s certainly nowhere near as hefty as Ave Roma, but there’s more to it than Cavern Tavern. But Clans isn’t a worker placement – it’s actually an economic game with a couple of other elements chucked in.
Hoyuk is a tile placement area majority game for two to five players. Players are leaders of ancient clans trying to be the most remembered tribe. The player with the most points wins.
Renown: The Game hopes to revive one such treasure. It is a reskin of Schnapsen, a once ubiquitous, primarily 2-player game in Austria that has fallen from its glory days. Renown: The Game implements a small tweak that ends up making a big difference, adds some play options reminiscent of contracts found in many other trick-taking titles and modernizes the classic with action cards.
At its core, Renown: The Game is a point trick-taking game with trumps. The main difference in play between it and its inspiration is that Schnapsen does not require players to follow suit until the stock (draw deck) closes or is empty. In Renown: The Game you must follow the lead card’s suit or play trump if otherwise unable to. If you have neither, then you may discard any card to the trick. The highest trump, or the highest card of the led suit, wins the trick and the winner leads to the next.
Board Game Quest:
At the beginning of each round, players will get a random colored deck filled with A, B, and C movement cards and will determine which color assassin they will be playing this round. Players will then pass their target cards to the person on their right or left, and the round can begin.
Each turn of the game will have three phases that players will complete simultaneously. First, players will select a card from their deck for their movement that turn. If you are playing with any dummy players, add a card from their deck as well. The movement cards for this round will be shuffled to hide players’ identities. Players will resolve all movement for the six assassins on the board and then move to the elimination phase.
Azul is played over 5 or more rounds. Players will alternate turns taking tiles from one of the available factories or from the center pile. The number of factories scales with the number of players and each factory is populated with four azulejos tiles at the beginning of the round.
As this is a legacy style game, I’m only going to give you a brief overview of the rules for the first game (You can download a PDF here if you want more info). Any additional rules will be up to you to discover. The rulebook has space for 29 rule boxes, but you only begin with about half of those in play.
Charterstone is a worker placement game where the goal is to earn the most points each game, with a campaign winner being declared after the 12th game. Each player takes charge of one 6-plot charter in a shared village.
The goal of Great Scott! is to amass the most points at the end of 3 rounds.
Each player will start with 6 Commendation cards. Players will then setup the 3 Concept Decks and split the Asset Deck into 2 piles. Players will select 2 cards from each Concept and Asset Deck, starting with 10 total cards.
Escape from 100 Million B.C. is a cooperative thematic adventure game for 1-4 players. It plays best with 3 players and for that player count it takes about 90 minutes.
Through the Ages is a civilization-building game where players develop resources and technology, starting in Antiquity and going right up through the modern age. You can send your population to work, helping increase your production in food, resources, science and culture. While you do this, you must keep your happiness up to not incite a revolt. You must also maintain a strong enough military to combat other players.
theMCGuiRE review takes a look at Epic Monster Tea Party a brand new game from Playco Games and currently on Kickstarter. In this game you play 1 of the 4 included monsters and drink hero’s in your cup of tea or smash them and take advantage of their unique abilities. So be careful to drink your hero’s when best positioned to or loose them in a spill!
theMCGuiRE review takes a look at Mortals Decent of the gods a new game coming to kickstarter from Partial Arc, pretty much now! This is a fun simple title that has great character design, funny real world items, doom clock, big bad guy at the end and all the minions and monsters along the way! You are trying to close all the seals before the round counter runs out or you will have to fight an ultimate evil. What I like about this title is the tactical decisions you have to make each turn and you really have to think it out or you will get overrun. It scales nicely with the board management aspect and battles are not as easy as they may look sometimes. Its also difficult sometimes to keep everyone alive until that final battle (unless you can close all the seals)!
Toucan Play That Game:
In this video you can find out my thoughts on The Godfather Corleone’s Empire by CMON.
In this video you can find out my thoughts on The Valley of the Alchemists by CreativeMaker LLC.