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Review Roundup

It's Saturday. Usually, that would mean gaming. But Friday meant gaming for me, as a friend came over after work and we played some Guild Ball, Bunny Kingdom, and Apotheca. Great way to spend a Friday. So, what am I up to Saturday? Well, I'm in the CMON Offices, helping pack orders for the holiday sale. Yeah, seems people loved those deep cuts. And since I feel partially responsible (as the one they tasked with actually changing the prices on all those things), I felt it only right to help pack everything up. But while I get orders together, I know you're here for a heaping helping of reviews. Heaping helping because we didn't have a Roundup last week, due to the holiday.

So, this week we've got: Near and Far, Queendomino, The Oregon Trail: Hunt for Food, Dog Might Games Traveler Dice Tower, Campy Creatures, Camel Up, A Game of Thrones Card Game, Colt Express, Truth Bombs, Ex Libris, Star Trek: 5-Year Mission, Slide Blast, Happy Salmon, DownForce, Smash Up iOS, Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time, Ink Monsters, The Quest for El Dorado, Reef Route, Crabs, Werewords, Fog of Love, Museum Heist, Crosstalk, Potato Pirates, Tulip bubble, The Chameleon, Ulm, Asset Drop Subscription Box, Tortuga 1667, Dwar7s Fall, The Expanse, Tokyo Highway, and Ulock!

Toucan Play That Game:

Near and Far Review

In this video you can find out my thoughts on Near and Far by Red Raven Games.

Queendomino Review

In this video you can find out my thoughts on Queendomino by Blue Orange Games.

theMCGuiRE review:

The Oregon Trail: Hunt for Food review

theMCGuiRE review takes a look at The Oregon Trail Hunt for Food the card game. This is an expansion based off The Oregon Trail card game released last year and overly popular Target store purchase. Both of these are exclusive to Target and I do recommend picking them up (if you can find them). Each game has a different feel and that is what I like best about this expansion. It offers another type of experience that can be enjoyed as a stand alone or add-in to the original.

Dog Might Games Traveler Dice Tower Review

theMCGuiRE review takes a look at the new DOG MIGHT Traveler Dice Tower. This thing is pretty cool and hold up to 20 dice while allowing for 7 dive to be rolled all at once. It offers a back carving in the wood and a lazer engraved image in the front. You can choose from up to 20 different different woods/finishes and its on kickstarter doing very well right now! It has super small form factor for a dice tower and is a great add on to the Component Collector if you already have that.

Learn to Play:

Viral Review

In this video I will teach you how to play including: Setup, the different phases of the game and how they work, player turns, and final scoring. I will also give you my thoughts and opinions on the game, and would love to hear yours.


Campy Creatures Review

Campy Creatures is a love letter to the 1950’s monster movies played out as a deduction card game. You’ll be playing as a mad scientist on his devilish mission to collect mere mortals for your zany experiments. Of course, you’re not going to put yourself in danger, so you'll instead send one of nine different monsters to capture innocent engineers, teenagers and archaeologists.

Camel Up Review

Camel Up is a fun, fast paced racing game for the whole family. It has won numerous awards since it’s release in 2014; blending simple to understand gameplay with the perfect mix of strategy and luck, all rolled into the unique theme of camel racing.

Players control a set of camels racing around a track in the desert with coloured dice, betting on the camels as they go. Each camel has its own dice of the same colour that controls how many spaces forward it moves each time it is rolled. There are rewards for predicting the winner of each leg and the overall winner and loser of the entire race, with the person who has collected the most prize money at the end of the race becoming the winner.

A Game of Thrones Board Game Review

A Game of Thrones is an advanced strategy game for 3-6 players designed by Christian T Peterson, the creator of the legendary Twilight Imperium and founder of Fantasy Flight Games.

The game is set on the island of Westeros, where each player takes on the role of one of the six Great Houses who inhabit the island at the start of the story. Over the course of ten game rounds, each player will attempt to gain control of the most castles and strongholds to cement their claim as holder of The Iron Throne, and subsequently ruler of Westeros.

Colt Express Review

Hold on to yer’ hats and climb aboard the Colt Express for a rootin’ tootin’ robbery ride and the chance to bag some serious loot. Colt Express is a turn-based family board game that puts you in the shoes of a Wild West Bandit looking to rob a train. Using cards from your hand, you take it in turns perform actions that will help you pilfer the most loot before your rival bandits get there first.

The game is designed for 2-6 players and features not only one of the best “boards” I have played on but also some of the most genuinely fun moments in my board-gaming career. The game table is comprised of a locomotive at the front of the train and then train carriages equal to the number of the players in the game, plus one.

Truth Bombs Review

A great party game for me involves learning some embarrassing truths about my friends and being able to taunt them for it, in a friendly well-meaning way of course. I got my hands on Big Potato games’ new party game ‘Truth Bombs’ and assembled the Playopolis team for a few games this week.

Ex Libris Review

Ex Libris is a game about being a librarian, which at first may seem a bit monotonous, but given your library is set in a fictional town, where gnomes, goblins and mummies reside it is anything but dull. Add in one of the most anal library inspectors you will ever meet and hundreds of different books, and you have something a bit special.

As a self-confessed bookaholic I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Ex Libris to play and review. Published by Renegade Game Studios and designed by Adam P. McIver, Ex Libris was first debuted at the 2017 GenCon and generated a great deal of hype.

Star Trek: 5-Year Mission Review

Games that are attached to a well know Intellectual Properties can be a bit hit and miss. What you tend to find is that many of these games rely heavily on the IP to drive sales (I’m looking at you, every TV/film version of monopoly) because the core gameplay isn’t all that great or different. Occasionally though, a games mechanics and its theme go together like bread and butter, with each element complimenting the other and providing a greater experience for players as a result. Is Star Trek: 5-Year Mission a shameless money grab or can it boldly go where no man has gone before?

Board Game Quest:

Slide Blast, Happy Salmon, & DownForce Review

After a little bit of time off, we are back with another edition of Parental Guidance. If you haven’t read any of our past articles, the goal of this series is to help you find games to play with your family and friends outside of the usual gateway games (which you are already probably sick of). Once again we are going to take a look at three board games I chose to play with my parents during our latest gaming session. For these reviews, I’ll provide a quick summary of the game, followed by why I thought it would be a good choice for my non-gamer parents. My mother will then comment on what she thought of the game.

Near and Far Review

On one side of the coin, Near and Far is a game about equipping an adventuring party by visiting various buildings in town. On the other side, players make choices about which locations outside of town to visit and, possibly, have adventures requiring heroic choices. The results of these and the placement of camps deliver journey points, the victory currency of the game.

Smash Up iOS Review

The gameplay contained in Smash Up relies on a multitude of half-decks of cards, each with a theme (pirates, aliens, zombies, wizards, etc…).Each player makes a deck of cards from two different themes. The goal is for a player to take control of bases, which are worth a varying number of points, and the player with the most strength at the base when the threshold is reached, wins it. On a turn, a player can play 1 minion card to a base and 1 action card. Usually, players are trying to play cards with abilities to give them higher strength, play more minions, or disrupt other players. Once a player manages to get 15 points from winning bases, the game is over and highest points wins.

Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time Review

The goal in Professor Evil is to rescue 4 treasures before the Professor can lock enough away. Each player will get to control a unique character, each of which specializes in a specific area of the game (movement, locks, etc…). Once the board is seeded with switches and treasures, you are ready to begin.

Ink Monsters Review

Ink Monsters is played over a series of rounds. Each round, a 12-card circular layout of monster cards is placed on the table with the pen card above one of the monsters. Every player also has a hand of 3 action cards.

Every turn, players may play an action card to manipulate the movement of the pen card and draw a replacement. Then, they MUST take the card located under the pen. Once they do this, the pen moves to the next monster.

The Quest for El Dorado Review

One of the most common ways people sum up a game (and indeed the same way Board Game Quest does it) is to mention the primary mechanisms in a game. For example, a press-your-luck, dice rolling game might immediately conjure visions of Yahtzee and other derivative games. Unfortunately, this can also have the effect of turning noses in the air when a particular mechanism is mentioned.

This deserves mentioning because the game reviewed here has two of the mechanisms some gamers love to hate. The Quest for El Dorado is a deck building race game set in the wilds of a South American jungle. Two to four players will be acquiring cards representing useful resources or personalities and use them to navigate the various terrain types.

Reef Route Review

There are some games that kids somehow become familiar with by the time they are about three years old. Tag, and all of its varieties, is one of those. At my son’s preschool they play a somewhat modified game of tag called Sharks & Minnows, which is basically tag where you try to be the last minnow standing.

Reef Route might as well be Sharks & Minnows: The Board Game. It plays 2-4 players, aged 5 and up, in about 15 minutes.


Crabs Review

Crabs is a hand management card game for three to five players. Players are catching, raising, and binding crabs to fulfill contracts and get valuable crabs. The player with the most points after the points threshold is met wins.

Werewords Review

Werewords is a social deduction guessing game for four to ten players. Players are members of a village on either the villager team or the werewolf team, trying to either guess the magic word or prevent it from being guessed, respectively. The team that reaches their goal without being discovered by the other team is the winner.

To begin, mix together the mayor card, a werewolf card, and the seer card, plus villager cards to equal the number of players +1, then deal one card to each player, placing one card face-down in the center of the table. The player who receives the mayor card receives the Yes/No, Maybe, So Close, and Correct tokens, takes the face-down role from the center of the table, and starts the app.

Fog of Love Review

Fog of Love is a card-based “storytelling” game that attempts to replicate the experience of falling in (and sometimes out of) love with a partner. There are the usual butterflies of excitement at first, followed by the drama later. (Dealing with the in-laws, anyone?) I’m not going to try to explain every rule and phase of the game. It’s best understood as more of a story. The mechanics support the story, but it’s easier to wrap your head around it if you see what the game is trying to achieve.

Your goal is to satisfy your character’s destiny. You begin the game with the same number and type of destinies in hand as your partner. During the game you will gradually secretly discard destinies until you have only one left. This will be the one you must achieve at the finale in order to win. (More on that in a minute.)

Museum Heist Review

The goal of Museum Heist is to claim 3 artifacts. Each round, a group of 7 thieves pursues 1 piece of artwork, but only one player will be able to claim it.

At the start of a round, each player secretly chooses one of the 7 thieves, placing a corresponding card facedown in front of them. No one knows who you chose, and you don’t know who others chose, and it’s entirely possible two or more players chose the same thief.

Board to Death TV:

Crosstalk Review

CrossTalk is the party game of subtle conversation in which two teams race to guess secret keywords. Each round, teams select a clue-giver, and those clue-givers are given knowledge of the same secret keyword. The goal of the clue-givers is to help their teammates guess this keyword before the other team.

Potato Pirates Review

Roast, mash, or fry your opponents and send them down to Davy Jones’ locker — but before you can reign terror on the high seas, you have to first master the art of potato war. Use programming concepts such as functions, loops, and conditionals to fortify your attacks. If that’s not enough, you could just loot and hijack your way to victory by saving Potato King from the deadlock of doom.

When in need, summon the Kraken to your aid and deny everything…

Tulip Bubble Review

In 1637, the tulip craze fuelled one of the first speculative investment bubbles. Coveted tulip varieties led to skyrocketing prices with tulip bulbs costing more than houses in Amsterdam. Then just as suddenly as it started, the bubble burst when investors could no longer afford even the cheapest bulbs, leaving economic turmoil.

In Tulip Bubble, players buy and sell on a fluctuating market, trying to earn the most guilders. The game flow includes a preparation phase, buying phase, and selling phase, with these phases recurring until the bubble collapses or someone manages to outwit the markets by purchasing a black tulip for 120 guilders before that collapse occurs.

The Chameleon Review

A bluffing deduction game for everyone.

Each round involves two missions, depending on whether you’re the Chameleon or not.

Mission 1: You are the Chameleon. No one knows your identity except you. Your mission is the blend in, not get caught and to work out the Secret Word.

Mission 2: You are not the Chameleon. Try to work out who the Chameleon is without giving away the Secret Word.

Ulm Review

Ulm is at its heyday. The construction of the Ulm cathedral has not yet been completed, but the city is already wealthy and prestigious. In Ulm, players try to expand their spheres of influence and to make optimal use of the hustle and bustle on the marketplace around the cathedral.

Meeples & Miniatures:

Asset Drop Subscription Box Review

I recently ran a news item about a brand new subscription box service – Asset Drop. Andy from Asset Drop very kindly offered me the November box to review – here are my thoughts…

Polyhedron Collider:

Tortuga 1667 Review

I must admit, I did rather enjoy The Curse of the Black Pearl – Captain Jack running around the Caribbean drunk and sunburned was an entertaining film that refreshed the way we looked at pirates. Even if it was responsible for a million poor attempts at dreadlocks from Hallowe’en partygoers from then on.

I say refreshed – we’ve always loved pirates and it seems that Façade Games agrees as their most recent game, Tortuga 1667, is centred around the loveable, survy-ridden rogues as they plunder a galleon for more booty than a Beyonce music video.

The initial reaction to Tortuga 1667 is that it is gorgeous. Even down to the fake book that it’s stored in and the roll out map you play on. It’s such a lovely looking game that you can’t help but like it right from the off.

Dwar7s Fall Review

I think I must secretly be a Dwarf. At 175 cm tall, it’s hard to justify that statement, but I have a beard, I don’t mind being underground, I like large stone structures, I enjoy drinking ale and I listen to loud music. So, I’m going with it. This kinship I’ve just made up is going to be used to thinly explain why I find Dwarfs’ Fall from Vesuvius Media so appealing, at least the idea of it anyway.

Actually, there’s a few reasons why I backed Dwarfs’ Fall on Kickstarter and it wasn’t entirely based on my affinity for rock. The artwork is very whimsical and I love its cartoon style. It’s cute and serious at the same time. There is the other hefty reason that it is in fact a worker placement, so of course I gave it a looksee being the Euro-lover here are Collider Towers.

Drive Thru Review:

The Expanse Board Game Review

Intro (00:00); game overview (01:43); final thoughts and review (15:34)

Tokyo Highway Review

Intro (00:00); game overview (01:26); final thoughts and review (07:20)

Unlock! Review

Intro (00:00); game overview (02:03); final thoughts and review (09:42)