TGN Saturday Edition: Review Roundup
It’s Saturday. That means reviews. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Today’s subjects include: Armello, Castle Panic: The Dark Titan Expansion, Spearpoint 1943 Eastern Front, Clash of Nebulas Battle Mat, Fog & Friction, Heroes, Takenoko Chibis, Mafia de Cuba, Volt: Robot Battle Arena, The King’s Armory, Magic the gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers, and Malifaux.
Play Board Games:
Armello is a digital board game set in a lush world with a dying king. You must battle the other players and triumphantly claim the throne before he dies.
The Dark Titan is the second expansion for Castle Panic. It adds Agnorak (the Dark Titan), elite monsters, support tokens, the cavalier and more.
First off, this is my first review and I hope that I can do some kind of justice here for the game. I am new to the Spearpoint 1943 line of games, however I have found it to be a very fun yet simple design. The gameplay is very smooth and can be fast paced leading to quick games, which is basically what the game is about.
Understanding the basic game mechanics is fairly simple and can be picked up quite fast. There are going to be times where you may find yourself in a position of not quite understanding/interpreting a game card (whether it’s a Command card, or a Damage Card)… if this happens, you can rest assured that Byron (the game designer/publisher) or other experienced players will be available here at BGG to help you out.
Welcome to our review of the 6×3 Clash of Nebulas battle mat, a gaming surface suitable for use with space combat games such as Star Wars X-Wing, Armada, and Star Trek: Attack Wing. Artistic Impressions produce a wide range of these gaming mats, we’ve previously reviewed their Urban Commando and Battleground Gaming Mats which are great for wargames like Warhammer 40k.
I should probably start this review by stating that I am not a World War 2 nut, I really couldn’t tell you the difference between a Sherman and a Tiger and put a Spitfire and a Hurricane in front of me and I couldn’t tell you which one is which. However, there are people in this world who are, and I can tell you that Fog and Friction has been designed for those people. The reason I know this is because I played Fog and Friction with one of these WWII aficionados and he was very pleased with the historical accuracy. I’m now going to ruin that sentiment by saying that Fog & Friction plays a lot like Warhammer 40,000 Conquest.
I’m a sucker for great artwork on a board game. The saying goes you should ‘never judge a book by its cover’ and the same goes for board games. Just because the publishers had sense to hire a decent artist it doesn’t mean they employed a decent game designer. It was the artwork that first hooked me into Heroes, by Lion Games, when it was shown off on Boardgamegeek’s 2014 Essen Preview. Heroes proved to me not once, but twice that you shouldn’t judge a board game by its box art.
Heroes instigated the full excitement of the delivery of a new board game; the hurried ripping up of the cardboard packaging, the thoughtful look over the box to behold all its beauty, the weighing up of the game and its contents, carefully releasing it from its cellophane prison, teasing the box open and then feasting on the un-punched cardboard treasures, unsealing the decks and playfully rolling the dice and a quick flick through the rules.
It was then that dread hit me.
Heroes is a lane based card game, or so I thought.
The Emperor of China, in a gesture of peace and goodwill, gave you a male panda to raise in Takenoko. You did such a fine job that now you’re being offered a second panda, and this time you’re getting a female. Your male panda will now have company and lots of it because, well, where there’s a male panda and a female panda, there tend to be some baby pandas. Nine, to be exact, which defies the reproductive odds of panda-kind given that most pandas have only a single offspring at any given time. But hey, this is a board game, not reality, so bring on the babies!
It seems like every other week these days we’re blessed with the release of a new social deduction game in a small box. Whether you’re trying to prevent the president from getting exploded, confusing a hidden spy with double-entendre’d communiques, or rooting out the werewolves in one night, short hidden role games for big groups are in.
But have you ever thought to yourself, “I do sure love these hidden-role games, but I think I would prefer to choose which role I get to play”? Well, Mafia de Cuba might just be the game for you.
Board to Death TV:
Description from box cover and rulebook:
In 1994, the first national robot competition took place in San Francisco. Competitors from across the country brought their radio-controlled creations made out of spare parts. Several years later, the first televised robot combat competition was aired, which introduced the general public to the budding sport of robotic combat.
Decades have passed since those early competitions. The robots have become more technologically advanced. The base of spectators and fans grew at an unprecedented rate. Large technology firms took notice and injected significant sponsorship capital into the sport. Prize pools for robot battles grew to dwarf those of other televised competitions. Professional robot operators gained celebrity status as their matches became the most watched sporting events in the world.
The stakes are higher than ever. Do you have what it takes to step into the robot battle arena?
VOLT: Robot Battle Arena is a tactical game of robotic combat. Be the first player to score five victory points. Players earn victory points by having their robot on the active control point at the end of the round or by destroying opposing robots. You must use your wits to out-think and out-maneuver your opponents to win!
The King’s Armory is a co-op tower defense game for 1-7 players that remains true to the online genre of tower defense; in addition, it allows new players to drop in or drop out of the game without destroying the game balance!
In Traders of Osaka, players are merchants who are attempting to ship four different types of goods from Alexandria to Carthage. Players affect how quickly or slowly the ships move and can trigger pirate raids that may cost their opponents their goods. (Traders of Osaka moves the gameplay to a new continent and era, with players now trying to deliver cargo from Osaka to Edo, but otherwise gameplay remains the same.)
Shut Up & Sit Down:
I’ll start with a confession. Every month, as I sit down to write this column, I feel a dilemma. Miniatures games are, of course, games. Part of the goal of these columns is to expose you to clever or innovative gaming ideas being developed in the miniatures world. Thanks to limits on space and the amount of time I’m comfortable demanding, I end up exploring the gamishness of the game and have little space for anything else.
Yet miniatures games are also more than simple games, and none exemplify this better than Malifaux, our pick for this month. They are, in a real sense, about style. You don’t spend outrageous amounts of time and money on little models just for the act of gaming – you could use cardboard tokens and cereal boxes with their rules. You buy and assemble and paint the models and build the terrain and read the lore for the same reason I own aviators and a (fake) leather jacket – because you want to feel cool. You want some panache and style with your dice rolls and movement decisions.