Category Archives: Boardgame reviews

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game for 1-5 players, by Upper Deck (2014)

I have been doing a lot of Alien posts the past few weeks. I have to admit it is in part because of the release of Alien Covenant, but also because I simply love this franchise. Most people have at least heard of the movies in one form or another, but there is an entire universe build around these films that people may not even be familiair with. For starters there is the comic book series that expands the story beyond the movies, but there are also a lot of novels that are just as good. In 2014 Upperdeck, the publisher of the highly succesful Marvel Legendary cardgame, released Legendary Encounters. This time you would not be playing with your favorite superheroes, but instead take on the roles of the beloved characters from the Alien movies including Ellen Ripley. Is the game any good though? How about I tell you it is one of my alltime favorite games? Let’s dive right in, and see what makes this game so much fun to play.

Components

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The intimidating black box, complete with an Alien Egg as a cover.

When you open this monstrous box of goodness the first thing you will notice is the beautifully crafted “mousepad” playing mat. Why call it a mousepad? Well because it really is a mousepad, only one that covers pretty much your entire table. This being a cardgame it will come as no surprise that the rest of the contents of this game are cards. And quite a lot of them, 600 in total to be exact. All of the cards are beautifully illustrated depicting the many characters, Xenomorphs, and other situations that can  crop up in this game. But more on that down below. Last, but not least there is ofcourse a rulebook that is pretty easy to understand, and does an okay job in teaching you the game. If you still find it hard to learn the game there are some excellent playthrough videos for this game that you can find on YouTube.

Game overview

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The “mousepad” gameboard.

This game allows you to play through all four of the original Alien movies. Yes you read that correctly, you actually get to replay the four classic films. Here is how that works. When setting up the game, you pick the scenario for the film you wish to play. Each movie has three corresponding mini decks of cards, that contain different objectives that the player needs to accomplish. But these decks also include the many enemies, and events that can seriously mess up a player’s well laid out plans. This game isn’t called a deckbuilding game for nothing. When the game starts a player has his own personal deck of standard cards. These cards can be used for two things.  The first thing you can do is purchase stronger cards. In every game the player’s can select cards from the HQ that contains new characters that, once purchased are added to a player’s deck to make it stronger. And with these new cards you are able to buy cards that are even more stronger. Hence the name deckbuilding game.

The second thing you can do is attack enemies with these cards before they are able to hurt you, as well as complete objectives in order to progress through the scenario of the film. For instance when you choose to replay the movie Aliens, you need to kill three colonists from Hadley’s Hope, set up Sentry Guns, and finally defeat the Alien Queen. All of this should feel very familiar if you love the movies, and this game certainly oozes atmosphere. Each player get’s an avatar that represents the player, and that has a certain amount of lifepoints. As with most games you are dead if your lifepoints total ever reaches zero. But this being a cooperative game it is still possible to win if the other players manage to complete the objectives. As a fun sidenote,you can also make life miserable for your fellow players by becoming an alien yourself.

Difficulty

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A closer look at how the gameboard looks after set-up.

This game is very easy to learn. The best way to learn this game is by letting someone who already knows the game teach it to you while playing it. It will take you under 10 minutes to get to know the basics of the game, and from there it is an easy road to get to the game’s finer points. Winning the game however is less easy. There are some scenarios that are pretty tough to win, and will require all of a player’s skills to overcome. You can almost hear Hudson crying “Game over man, game over” way too many times. But a win is definitely not impossible. As the game is so much fun to play, it will not bother you at all if, even through all your best efforts, the game ends up in a loss.

The verdict

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Some of the cards that you are able to buy during the game, all of them characters from the first Alien film.

If it wasn’t already clear to you, I absolutely love this game. Being a huge fan of the Aliens franchise in general, this game seriously manages to recreate the atmosphere of the original films in the best way possible. Because of the sheer number of cards, and situations that can arise during the game, no two playthroughs are ever quite the same. I have played this game primarily solo, and it works exceptionally well. It is one of the best solo games in my collection, and it is one of those games that I keep very close at hand. What might interest you to know is that there is also a Legendary Encounters: Predator version of this game. That game is just as much fun, and let’s you play through the two original Predator movies. You can even combine the two games and let Ripley face the Predator, which is awesome. Last but not least an expansion for the Aliens game was released that adds more characters, a hardmode for all four movies (as if the game was not hard enough already), but also allows a player to play as the Alien Queen herself!

All in all I cannot recommend this game enough to everyone who is a fan of the Alien films. Just remember: in space no one can hear you scream! As a final note I want to say that this review is written especially for Madame Vintage, who loves the Alien franchise just as a much as I do, and has been a great friend and supporter of my blog the past few months. If you haven’t already, check out her awesome blog of movie reviews and subscribe. You won’t be disappointed! Finally ofcourse the score for this game, which should not be too much of a surprise.

I give Legendary Encounters: an Alien Deckbuilding game a 10 out of 10 score.

 

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Labyrinth the Boardgame, a boardgame for 1-4 players by River Horse games (2016)

One of my favorite alltime childhood movies was Labyrinth. This fantasy movie from 1986 featured David Bowie as the evil Goblin King, and a young Jennifer Connelly as Sarah. Made by Jim Henson, this wonderful feelgood film had a young girl facing challenges in a magical labyrinth in order to save her baby brother from the clutches of the wicked Goblin King. This film has gained quite a cult following, and it recently was announced that a sequel to the movie is now in the works. Sadly ofcourse without David Bowie who unfortunately died last year. In 2016 the movie celebrated it’s 30th anniversary, and because of that a lot of new merchandise was released, most notably the boardgame I am about to review. If you are interested in reading more about some of my favorite childhood films, you can find them here. But now onwards with the review.

Components

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As a huge fan of this movie I was delighted to see it represented in such a lovely way. The components for this game are of a very high quality and look amazing. Contained within the box are five miniatures that represent the most important characters from the movie, including Ludo, Sarah, Sir Didymus, Hoggle and ofcourse the Goblin King himself. The board itself is a representation of the Labyrinth from the movie and looks okay, but could have been designed a little bit better. Also included are six special dice, 4 character sheets, various cards and stand-up figures and a bunch of tokens. Rounding out the game is the rulebook that explains the rules in a very clear and precise manner, as well as containing some lovely photographs from the movie.

Game overview

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In a game of Labyrinth each player takes on the role of one of the characters from the movie. The Goblin King is controlled by the game itself. Labyrinth is a cooperative game, meaning that either everyone wins, or everybody loses. Just like in the movie players are on a race against time to rescue Toby, before the clock strikes midnight and Toby becomes a goblin forever. Each character has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. For example the loveable Ludo has enormous strength, but is a bit slow in the brains department. These traits are represented by a corresponding die.

Labyrinth is played in a series of turns. During each turn a player moves his or her character across the board. The object of the game is to find the entrancecard to the Goblin city and by doing so, face a few final challenges and defeat the Goblin King. By moving across the board, players get to reveal cards. These cards almost always involve taking some kind of test by rolling a die. Failing at a test usually has a nasty side effect, but also takes up precious time. After each player has taken it’s turn the Goblin clock advances by one hour. When the clock is back in it’s original position the players lose the game.

This really means that players are under constant pressure in order to find the card that represents the entrance to the city. When the entrance is finally found, the action moves to the Goblin King’s castle, where the players have to defeat a couple of enemies in order to have Sarah face her final challenge.

Difficulty

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From a rules point of view this game is very easy to learn. The rulebook explains things very well, and pretty much everyone can learn this game in about five minutes. The game itself depends a lot on luck in order to win it. The game relies heavily on the results of the dice that are being rolled, and if you are unlucky in that department, the game can be lost very easily. That being said, there is a little bit of strategy involved in this game as well. By having players work together, it becomes easier to complete certain tests. All in all though this is a very simple game, and it does not pretend to be anything else either. Honestly from time to time, it is nice to have a game that doesn’t have you look up every single rule each time that you play it.

The Verdict

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Whether or not you will like this game will probably come down to if you are a fan of the film or not. For me, it was a wonderful experience, and it was really nice to see a lot of scenes from the movie being brought back into life this way. It’s hard not to smile when you have to repeat a certain quote from the movie in order to pass a test.  On the other hand, this game can at times be quite repetitive. The game really is not much more than having your characters race across the board, and rolling dice to complete tests. But this game is simply put, made for fans of the movie. It manages to really recreate the spirit of the film, and that’s one of the most important things for a game that is based on a movie. The score you find below my review is given as a fan. If however you have never seen the film, or hate it with a vengeance (Shame on you! Kidding ofcourse), you might want to deduct one or two points from it, depending on whether or not you like games that depend heavily on luck.

In closing I want to dedicate this review to Ludija, who is a huge fan of this movie. Hope you enjoyed reading this, and as promised we will play this game soon 😊

I give Labyrinth the boardgame a 8 out of 10 score.

Eldritch Horror, a boardgame for 1-8 players by Fantasy Flight Games (2013)

Now, this review is long overdue. I have had this game for quite a while now, but because of a lot reasons it has taken me a while to finally make this post. Before I get started I want to say that I dedicate this review to Kurt aka the Vitruvian Gamer. If you like boardgames, and also enjoy seeing them in action, I highly recommend to check out the boardgame channel of the Vitruvian Gamer. Not only is this one of the best boardgame channels out there, Kurt is a really kind person who always takes the time to answer any comments you post on his videos. And all of his videos are a lot of fun to see, and really help you to learn the rules of a certain game. I have included a Link to a playthrough series of his of this game, so you can watch the game in action, and ofcourse subscribe to his channel. (Which is pretty much a no-brainer). And now on with the review of this great game, which really has become on of my alltime favorite boardgames.

Components

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This being a Fantasy Flight game, the components are absolutely top notch. Contained within the box is a lot of awesome stuff. The gameboard looks simply amazing, and depicts a map of the world across which you are going to be travelling in order to stop an ancient evil from rising. Also included are an enormous amount of cards that are used in a lot of different situations that will arise throughout the game. We get cards for spells, artifacts, assets, and encounters to name but a few. In total there over 200 cards that can be used in the game. Ofcourse there are also a lot of tokens included, that will be placed on the board in a variety of situations. Rounding out the game are 12 investigator sheets with matching tokens and plastic stands, which are the roles that the players will take upon themselves, and 4 standard dice. Last but not least we get two rules booklets, one to help you quickly get started, and the other a reference guide to be used when the more difficult situations creep up during a game. The rulebook is well written, and because of this system with the usage of a reference guide, it will not take you very long to set up the board and start your first game.

Game overview

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In a game of Eldritch Horror players take on the roles of investigators, who are in a race against time to stop a being of immense power. This so called Ancient One is intent on bringing about an age of darkness, and possibly even end the entire world. Eldritch Horror is played in a series of gamerounds. Each round has three phases, that are resolved in the same order every time.

First off the players will spent some time to take actions. These range from moving across the board, gain assets that might help them during the game, or even rest in order to regain some strength. Next up is the heart of the game, the encounter phase. During this phase pretty much anything can happen. Players might get attacked, become cursed, gain clues which might help them to stop the Ancient One, or any other number of exciting things. This phase is really a lot of fun, and because of the number of cards that are included within the box, you never quite know what might happen. Finally the Ancient One takes it’s action, which is resolved by drawing a card and play out what happens. This usually means something bad, that will hamper the investigators, and sometimes turns the entire game upside down.

As this game is a cooperative game, either everyone wins, or everyone loses. To win the game, players need to find enough clues to resolve a number of mystery cards that put an end to the rise of the Ancient One. If they can’t do that before the Ancient One awakens (depicted on the board by a timer called the doom track), this usually means the players lose immediately or it becomes incredibly hard to win. Sometimes certain cards can also bring about the end of the game. This creates a tense atmosphere with players racing across the world to put a stop to the rise of the Ancient One.

Difficulty

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Now one would expect that a game with this many cards and tokens to keep track of, will be quite hard to learn. Honestly, you might be really surprised by this when I say that is not the case. Reading the rulebook takes you about half an hour, and after that it will be not much longer and you are off to playing your very first game. The great thing is that when a certain situation arises throughout the game, you take out the reference guide and will quickly find the rule you are looking for. This works extremely  well, and because of that it will really not take you very long to learn the game.

Winning the game is a whole different matter though. Because of the sheer amount of situations that can arise in Eldritch Horror, no game is ever the same. There are a lot of ways you can lose though, and this does depend a lot of times on luck as well, I will not lie to you there. Sometimes getting a bad dice result on a very important test might cost you the game. I have so far only played this one solo (and really this is one of the best sologames out there), and have not yet managed to win. That said, this game is so much fun, that quite frankly I have not even cared about losing the game.

The Verdict

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I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect game. Every game has it’s own flaws, but this one most certainly comes very close. Ever since I have bought this game, I have been enjoying it more and more with every session. Having recently bought a few expansions for it, it has become an even better game. The fun thing about this one, is the enormous amount of situations that can arise. One moment you are in a city being chased by evil cultists, and then you might find yourself in a icy cave tracking down an ancient artifact. One might argue that the amount of encounter cards for the cities in the basegame, should have been more. But that really is a minor note, to an otherwise splendid game. If you like adventure movies with a small touch of horror, this game is most definitely for you. I highly recommend it, and if you don’t always have friends to play a game with, this game provides a very satisfying solo experience as well.

I give Eldritch Horror a 10 out of 10 score.

 

 

 

 

Attack on Titan Deckbuilding Game, A cardgame for 1-5 players, by Cryptozoic Entertainment (2016)

Most of you probably know by now that I really enjoy watching anime. Another thing that I like doing just as much is playing sci-fi and fantasy boardgames. I have been looking for a decent anime boardgame for quite a while now. There are a few of them out there, but most of these either aren’t any good, or are not based on an existing anime series. However things have finally changed with the arrival of a new cardgame, by publisher Cryptozoic Entertainment. What is even more awesome, is that it is based on one of my alltime favorite anime series: Attack on Titan. Now all we have left to do, is to find out if it is actually any fun to play, and if it manages to capture the atmosphere of the series.

Components

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Now, this being a cardgame it will probably be not much of a surprise that the key components for this game are cards. Included within the box are 188 normal size gamecards, depicting various characters, Titans, locations and equipment from the show. Each player takes on the role of one of the main characters from the anime, and these are represented by 7 oversized cards (and if you are lucky enough to get the first printing of the game you get Hange as an extra bonus card). Also included are five cardboard tiles representing the walls, 7 (or 8) Hero standees, and a bunch of small tokens representing lifepoints for the Titans. Now these lastnamed tokens are very small, and I dare say a bit too small. As such you have to be careful not to misplace them, as they are definitely very easy to lose. This is a minor gripe though as the rest of the components really look very cool. The cards contain very clear imagery straight from the anime. Rounding out the set is a rulebook, that teaches the game in a very straightforward, but easy to understand way.

Game overview

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The object of this game is to destroy four Arch-Titans that are picked randomly at the start of the game. The playing field is made up out of five walls that represent five different districts. Each player starts with a set of basic cards that allow you to buy new (and more powerful) cards to strengthen your deck, and cards that allow you to move through the different districts. And here is where things get interesting. Each district has an inside portion of the wall, where cards are placed that you can buy for your deck. These can be new weapons, powerful allies, or even new locations that allow you to do a lot of cool stuff. With each round and new card you buy, you will get a more powerful deck of cards, hence the name deckbuilding game.

And you are definitely going to be needing these cards, as there is also an outside portion of each wall. Three guesses as to which friendly beings might appear down there? Yes, ofcourse the Titans. Every time a new card gets drawn from the main deck of cards, this might be one of those monstrosities. A Titan has only one objective, to destroy the wall of a district, and make things even more difficult for you. Every time a  wall gets destroyed you lose a district, and all the cards that were still there for you to purchase. And trust me, these walls can come down pretty fast. The really big Titans can, if you are particularly unlucky, destroy a wall in one round. When all five walls are destroyed, you lose the game. (And one could argue humanity as well).

Gameplay can become very tense like this. You will continually have to make very difficult decisions. Do you take a risk and buy a new and powerful card that might come in handy, but by doing so leave a wall defenseless? Or do you play it safe, and patrol the outside portion of the wall, and defend against a new Titan that might appear. The normal Titans can go down fairly easy. But the four big Arch-Titans are an entirely different story, and require a lot of good cards to take them down and win the game.

Difficulty

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This game is not very difficult to learn. Players who are already familiar with these sort of games, will find a lot of the mechanics similar to other deckbuilding games. That said, there also a lot of things that set this game apart from all those other deckbuilders out there. The travelling between districts for instance, is something that I found to be very unique, and really captured the spirit of the Anime show. When a new Titan appears, and your character races to the outside portion of the district to defend the wall, I could almost see the anime series in my mind. Great stuff! Even players who are not familiar with these type of games, will find no real difficulty in learning this game. Winning however, is an entirely different matter. So far I have only played this one solo, but this game can go downhill pretty fast. Especially when the first Arch-Titan makes an appearance, you will have to think quick and act fast in order to save the walls. Honestly though, I like a challenge, and I really enjoy games  that make it tough to win.

The Verdict

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If you are a fan of Attack on Titan, you are going to love this game. One of the things this game does right, is capture the atmosphere of the anime series. The travelling between districts and defending the walls, is a very clever mechanic, and really captures the feel of this great show. I already love deckbuilding games, owning quite a lot of them, and this one really tries to set itself apart. In my opinion it succeeds in this mission. There are just enough different cards contained within this baseset to keep things interesting for now. In the future though, this game will definitely need some expansions, to add more variety to the game. Still for now, this game contains enough value for your money, and I highly recommend this one to Attack on Titan and deckbuilding fans alike.

I give the Attack on Titan deckbuilding game a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Samurai Spirit, a Boardgame for 1-7 players,by Fun Forge (2014)

I absolutely love Asian culture. I have the highest respect for it, and I always love finding out more about it, both on modern day culture as well as ancient history. When delving in the Asian past, one of the stories that has always fascinated me was that of the samurai. That ancient warrior caste, with all of it’s customs and legends has been the source of many great movies as well. One of the most famous samurai movies ever made is “Shichinin no Samurai” (Seven Samurai), by legendary director Akira Kurosawa. And that brings me to the game I am about to review, Samurai Spirit, which was inspired by this classic film.

Components

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Even though this isn’t a huge gamebox, there are still plenty of components contained within. First up is the gameboard which features the town that the samurai have been entrusted with to protect. The board is small, which is honestly somewhat refreshing, as a lot of games these days take up so much space, that you almost need a second house to lay it all out. Also included are 7 cardboards that feature the 7 samurai whose roles the players will assume. These playing boards are double sided, one side featuring the human form, the other depicting the animal form that the samurai can change into. The raiders that will try to overcome the samurai and destroy the village are shown on 66 playing cards. Rounding out the set are a couple of wooden meeples, some tokens for houses,barricades,villagers and wounds, and ofcourse the rulebook. The components are of a sturdy quality, and the rulebook is written clearly, with a lot of examples to explain the rules.

Game Overview

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The objective of Samurai Spirit is to protect a small village from being destroyed by a bunch of bloodthirsty raiders. The players will have to hold out for three rounds of increasing difficulty in order to win the game. The players assume the role(s)of samurai who have special powers to fight and defend against these raiders. Each round is divided into a number of turns in which a player can choose one of three different actions. A player can either choose to fight, use a special power as support or pass. The fight action is the thing you will do the most. As mentioned above the raiders are depicted on a bunch of cards, showing a picture of the attacking raider, and a number ranging from 1-6. The higher the number, the more dangerous the opponent. The samurai fighting the raider either can say he is defending or confronting this enemy.

And this is where the tactical aspect of the game comes into play. Each samurai has a track called the combatline. When confronting enemies you must try not to go over the highest number of your combatline, also known as your Kiai value. When confronting enemies the cards are played to the right side of the track. If the the total value of the raiders goes over your limit, you have to pass and are effectively out of the round. But if you manage to get a value that is equal to your Kiai value, you may activate the special power of your samurai. This power is different for each samurai and range from removing raider cards, to restoring barricades to protect the village.

When a samurai chooses to defend, he can place a raider to the left side of his character board. He can only do this for a maximum of three times, and only to raiders that have special symbols on them. Samurai can also receive wounds, and after getting wounded a second time, it changes the samurai to it’s animal form. This makes him more powerful, but the game also get’s more dangerous for that particular samurai. A round ends after the players have overcome all the raiders. After checking if the village has not been destroyed a new round will be started, but more powerful raiders are added to the deck. If all samurai have passed, one of them is killed, or the village has been destroyed, the game ends, resulting in a loss. But if the players manage to hold out for three rounds, the players are victorious, and ofcourse that is what everybody wants, right?

Difficulty

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This game doesn’t take long to learn. As mentioned earlier, the rulebook has been well written and contains enough examples to explain the more difficult rules. However, mastering the game is a whole different matter. I love how this game has a great balance between luck and tactics. Knowing when to attack, and when to defend is definitely key to winning the game. What’s also nice is that the game contains four levels of difficulty. On the higher levels, players get penalties for losing villagers and buildings, making the game a lot tougher. In this way you have a nice learning curve, and when you feel comfortable you can increase the difficulty in order to make the game more of a challenge.

The Verdict

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This game was a pleasant surprise. I love games that force you to think about your next move, and not only depend on luck. You really have to plan your strategy, and sometimes take some risks in order to win the game. This makes for some tense gameplay situations, where you might have only one more chance to save the village. Will you risk it all, or play it safe? The game has enough components for replay value and with four modes of difficulty will keep you going for a while. Still, this is one of those games that you won’t play for an entire evening, but is fun enough to play two or three times and than call it quits. A typical gameplay session takes about half an hour for up to three players. When adding more samurai, this time will increase.

If you like heroic games, where you must hold out against impossible odds, this one is definitely worth checking out. The Asian theme for me was an absolute plus as well, and that for me made it worth it even more. All in all this is just a fun little game, which you will definitely bring to the table more than once.

I give Samurai Spirit a 8 out 10 score.

Fortune and Glory the Cliffhanger game, a boardgame for 1-8 players, by Flying Frog Productions (2011)

The torchlight flickered against the dark walls of the temple. It looked like no one had been inside for maybe hundreds of years. The ancient map showed two corridors branching off from the main room. Neither of them looked very promising. However at the end of one of them, the Armour of Atlantis would finally be found. Suddenly a portcullis slammed down, the way back sealed off. A maniacal laugh could be heard in the distance, quickly followed by a mocking voice with a thick German accent: “Good luck”. Now for those of you who think this is the opening scene of the new Indiana Jones movie, I am sorry to disappoint you. However I just made this up to help set the tone for the incredibly fun game Fortune and Glory, set in the Pulp Adventure era, and which comes about as close to you starring in a Indiana Jones movie.

Components

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This game is huge. I placed a small cover for a pen in front of the box, just to show you how big this game is. There are so many things included within, that it is impossible to describe them all. I will go over the most important things though. First up is the incredible gameboard, which shows you a world map, and all the places you can visit in your hunt for ancient artifacts. There are over 165 plastic pieces contained inside the box, which include miniatures, gold pieces, temples and a very cool looking Zeppelin. Then there are an enormous amount of cards that are used in a lot of different situations. There are cards that feature the dangers you have to overcome, gear and allies you can buy for your characters, and a lot of other stuff. The cards are made of very sturdy material, and can definitely take a beating. A pretty unique item is a soundtrack cd, which can help you get into the mood when playing the game. Rounding out the game are a whole bunch of counters, dice, and ofcourse a rulebook. The rulebook is a hefty 30 pages long, but written clearly. However it would have been nice to include an index, which could have helped you find certain rules more quickly while playing.

Game overview

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You can play this game in a number of different ways. There is a competitive mode, which means it is pretty much everyone for himself. Then there is the cooperative mode, which as the name implies, has everyone cooperating in trying to beat a certain evil organisation. And you can also play the game solo or in teams. Being mostly a solo player, my review will focus itself on the cooperative mode, which plays pretty much the same on your own, as it does when playing with multiple players.

So what is this game all about? In Fortune and Glory you take on the role of an adventurer who will travel around the world to recover ancient artifacts. While you are doing this, the game itself plays the role of a vile organisation, that wants the artifacts for their own nefarious reasons. Included in the basic game are the Mob and the Nazi factions. The game takes place in the late 1930s, and as such it creates truly a very rich atmosphere. When you finally arrive at the site where an artifact can be found, you have to take a number of tests to recover it. These are incredibly fun, and there are an enormous variety of situations you can encounter. For instance, you might have to solve an ancient puzzle, escape in a car chase, fight a bunch of enemies, the possibilities are endless. All tests are described on the so called danger cards, and resolved by throwing a number of dice.

When you fail a test, the danger card flips to a cliffhanger side, and things become even more dangerous. Just like in the movies, you might find yourself going over the edge of a waterfall, or having to escape from a plane that is going down. If you finally manage to overcome all the tests, you can recover the artifact, and sell it for Fortune, the main objective of the game. Depending on the number of players you have to reach a certain amount of Fortune, before the evil organisation you are fighting against, reaches it’s own goal. Things can become very tense indeed, with you racing across the world, trying to recover a final artifact in order to beat the game.

Difficulty

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Now I am not going to lie to you, this game has a lot of rules. As such it will definitely take you a while to get the hang of this game. I have so far played three sessions, and I still find myself looking through the gamebook trying to look up a particular rule. However, this game is such an incredible amount of fun, that I did not mind this one bit. What helps is just looking at a few great walkthrough videos on YouTube, especially the ones made by the Lonesome Gamer. Not only are they fun to watch, they really help you in learning the game. If you are a casual gamer, you might not like the game as this is definitely not a pick up and play type of game. Sessions can last for three to four hours, and time can be extended if you are playing with more players.

As for winning the game, that is also no easy task, but on my last game I did get close. One thing that can be annoying is the dicerolling. If you are really unlucky with the dice, especially when trying to pass certain tests, you have almost no chance of winning.

The Verdict

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I have had this game in my collection for quite a while now, and I finally got around to playing it. I absolutely love it. There are so many fun situations than can crop up during this game, that not one game is the same. One moment you try to sneak aboard a Nazi Zeppelin, and in another you try to escape from a crumbling temple. Everything can happen in this game, and if you are a lover of the Indiana Jones movies, than this game is really worth checking out. Yes there is a big element of luck involved, I can’t deny that fact, but the game is so much fun to play, that I really did not even care when I failed at another test. All in all I highly recommend this game. Put on your hat, crack your whip, and start the plane….just try to avoid any snakes while you are at it…..

I give Fortune and Glory a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

Fuse, a dicegame for 1-5 players, by Renegade Game Studios (2016)

Don’t you just hate it when that happens? One minute you are cruising along in the galaxy aboard your spaceship minding your own business, when suddenly alien invaders have breached your hull. And as if that wasn’t bad enough they have left bombs on every deck in order to blow you, your ship and the valuable A.I. of your ship to smithereens. Okay it is time to get your dice out and start defusing them. Wait, what?

Components

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The components of this dicegame are relatively few, but they get the job done. Inside the box you will find a total of 25 coloured dice, and a nice looking cloth bag in which to place these dice. Also included are a total of 54 different bomb cards, and 11 special fuse cards. The rulebook is the last thing included, and it is written well, with enough examples to teach you the game. The components are relatively simple, but this is one of those games that is not about the way it looks, but the way it plays. And gameplay is definitely a blast (pun intended).

Gameplay

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In Fuse your ship has been attacked and unknown assailants have placed a enormous amount of bombs aboard. You have 10 minutes to defuse them all, and this has to be taken very literally as this game plays in realtime. The game has a (free to download) app, in which a clock counts down together with a very annoying ship A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). In the beginning she is very encouraging, but as the clock is counting down, she becomes somewhat less friendly and tells you to hurry things along. Ofcourse you don’t have to use this app, you can also a regular timer, but I honestly say that I found it pretty funny listening to her.

So how does this game work? Each round, depending on the number of players, a number of dice are pulled from the dicebag. After you have rolled the dice that have been pulled from the bag, they are then used to defuse the bombs, which are depicted on the cards. Every bomb is different, and has it’s own set of problems to solve. For instance some cards require you to put dice on them in a particular order, or combination of numbers. On other cards you might have to build a stack of dice, starting at the bottom with a particular colour. If a die can’t be used, you have to reroll that one, and remove a corresponding die from a bomb you are in the middle of defusing. Depending on the level of difficulty you are playing at, there are a certain number of bombs you have to defuse before time runs out. This creates a very nervewracking game, especially when time is beginning to run out, and you are not even halfway through.

Difficulty

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You can learn this game pretty quickly. The rules are really not that difficult, and as I mentioned earlier, the rulebook is pretty well written. However mastering the game and beating it, is a whole different story. I have so far played this game only solo, and after a couple of rounds have not yet managed to beat it. The timer is effective, and even though you should not let yourself be affected by it, you sometimes can’t help it. Being a dicegame there is ofcourse always an element of luck included, but you also have to think quickly and plan in advance, in order to become a winner. And trust me when I say that by using the app, you will eventually begin to get very annoyed at the ship A.I.voice. She can truly be a real….well I guess you can fill in the blanks for yourself.

The Verdict

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I simply put, love this game. This is just one of those games that is easy to pick up, but  has that “Let’s try this one more time ” quality. Okay, this is not the most awesome looking game ever, but that really does not matter, as this game just has fun written all over it. I am primarily a solo boardgame player, and I find that this game really works well playing it alone. (Well not alone, you still have that kind and friendly ship A.I. to keep you company). I can imagine that when playing this with other people, things can become even more tense, passing the dicebag around, with the timer counting down to destruction. I highly recommend this game. If you like dicegames in general, this is almost a no-brainer. Well, with only 1 minute left to total ship destruction I am going to give this game my final score.

I give Fuse a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Justice League Hero Dice, a dice game for 1-4 players, by Heidelberger Spieleverlag (2015)

I love playing boardgames. There is just something about setting up a cool looking board with lots of features, cards, miniatures and other stuff. It can however sometimes be a lot of work to set up such a game. Luckily not every game has to have a massive set-up time to be enjoyable. Justice League Hero Dice falls into that last category, while still looking very cool it is quickly placed on the table and a blast to play.

Components

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Justice League Hero Dice currently has two sets. One for Superman, one for Batman. Each set is enabling you to play the game on your own, and by combining them you can play with two or more players depending on the number of sets that are used. The first thing you will notice is the cool artwork that is inside the box. If you are a comic book fan, you will definitely appreciate this. The other thing that is worth mentioning are the custom dice. These are absolutely gorgeous looking, chunky dice, and are the best that I have ever seen to date in any game whatsoever. The Superman set contains six of these, and the Batman set seven. Rounding out the game are 17 cards that contain 10 villains you will be fighting, six special superpower cards, and a card for the city you will be trying to protect. Finally each set has a number of tokens and the hero sheet that has all the information on it for the hero you have chosen.

Game overview

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Justice League Hero Dice is a dicegame in which you try to protect your hometown from a bunch of villains that are trying to destroy it. Superman for instance has to protect Metropolis from villains such as Lex Luthor and Doomsday. Each game plays in a series of rounds. Each round you decide which villain to fight against and then you roll your dice. A villain has a certain number of hits that he can take before being defeated. With the dice you are trying to score hits and avoid negative results that cancel these hits. Superman for example has dice which contain a Kryptonite symbol, a Superman logo, a Freeze breath symbol and a Heat Vision symbol. Each Superman logo rolled scores a hit, but each Kryptonite symbol negates these hits. Heat vision and Freeze breath symbols cancel out the Kryptonite. The Superman dice come in three colours, and after each roll you decide which colour to put aside, effectively locking the dice. After three rolls, you compare the results, and hopefully have scored enough hits to defeat the villain.

The dice results can be slightly altered by using the superpower cards of your hero. Since you only have six of them, you must use them wisely and at the times you need them the most. After each round a new villain enters the battlefield. If you have not managed to defeat the previous one, things can become very bad, very fast. When there are a certain number of enemies you risk the chance of being overrun, and they start tearing down the city you are trying to protect. But you won’t let that happen right?

The game ends after the villain deck runs out. The points that have been scored are then compared to the city card chart. And this determines if you are a Legendary hero, or just someone who is nothing more than a footnote in the history books.

Difficulty

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This game is very easy to learn. The rulebook is pretty straightforward, and explains things just enough to get a clear picture. Winning the game however, can be tough. As with most dicegames it depends a lot on luck. The superpower cards do let you manipulate the game a bit, so you do have some influence on the dicerolls. In order to get a cool Legendary Hero endresult however, you have to pull of some very nifty moves. But hey, that is what being a Superhero is all about right?

The Verdict

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I really liked this game. It looks great, is easy to learn and is just nice to play if you have some spare time to kill. It is not an earth-shattering or worldchanging game, but it doesn’t have to be. Supposedly there are two new sets in the works right now (The Flash and Green Lantern). I am looking forward to those, and wondering what they are going to come up with. The Batman set is different from the Superman set, in the way that the dice rolling mechanics are slightly changed.

All in all though this is a nice little game, and whether or not you will like it, all depends on if you want all your games to be really complex. If that is the case, you can pass on this one. If you like the occasional simple game that still looks great, and you are a fan of superheroes, than you should definitely give this a try.

I give Justice League Hero Dice a 8 out 10 score.

Legendary Big Trouble in Little China, a Boardgame for 1-5 players, by Upper Deck (2016)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the cult classic Big Trouble in Little China. This movie directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russel, has easily become one of my favorite B-horror movie/comedies. With some alltime great one-liners (“Son of a bitch must pay “), I have some very fond memories of this fantastic movie. When Upper Deck announced last year that they would be releasing a game in the Legendary series based upon the movie, I at first thought it was a joke. To my delight though it wasn’t, and yesterday I managed to procure my copy and play my first few games. Was it worth the wait?

Components

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As with every Legendary stand alone set, the box provides a new gameboard. The boards feel like a mousepad, and are very sturdy. The box is smaller than a regular Legendary stand alone set, and because of this the board is folded up in the box. This caused it to have a few noticeable folds. This is a minor issue, but still I wish they could have found a better way to include the board. As this is ofcourse a deckbuilding game, there are a lot of cards in this box, though also not as much as previous stand alone sets. Included are 400 cards all with original artwork of varying quality. As I currently own every Legendary set to date, I have gotten quite used to the differences in artwork between the cards themselves. All in all though the cards look great, and manage to recreate the spirit of the movie. The last thing included is ofcourse the rulebook which does a pretty good job in learning the rules for both veteran players, and players new to deckbuilders.

Game overview

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The Legendary series by Upper deck has now two different game variants. You have the Legendary Encounters sets, which include games based on Aliens, Predator and more recently Firefly. And then there are the normal Legendary sets, which so far have only included games and expansions based on Marvel superhero’s. Big Trouble can now be added to the last list. The big difference between the two gameplay variants is that in Encounters you basically replay the movies on which the games are based on. Completing a number of objectives, you play through some well known scenes of the movie. The normal Legendary series puts you against a villain, who is trying to complete some nefarious plot. Recruiting hero’s you try to stop the villain before he completes his objective.

As Big Trouble in Little China is only one movie, I understand why they decided to go with the normal Legendary treatment. Legendary is a deckbuilder, which means that starting off with a basic set of cards, you try and purchase new and more powerful cards with the basic ones, to enhance your deck. During the game your deck will grow stronger, making it more able to deal with all the enemies that are thrown against you. The hero’s you recruit in this game are ofcourse all familiar characters of the movie including Jack Burton himself. There are a total of 12 schemes, or evil plots if you will, to provide more than enough variety.

Difficulty

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If you already played any other set in the Legendary series, you will have absolutely no trouble in playing this game. It closely resembles the Marvel Legendary series, and as such contains mostly rules that you will already be familiar with. For new players it will at probably be a little bit more difficult in getting into the game at first, but eventually you will get the hang of it. The best way to learn it is by letting a player who already knows the game teach it to you, or just look at the enormous amount of YouTube video’s already out there. Legendary isn’t a difficult game to learn though, and after you have played a couple of rounds, you will have no big trouble (pun intended) with it  whatsoever.

The verdict

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I have been looking forward to this game since it was announced last year, and obviously my expectations for it ran high. Being a huge fan of the movie, I at least hoped the game would do it justice. And I am very glad to say that it does. It is a delight to play with the characters from the movie, and see some great lines of the film return on the cards. The schemes are pretty tough, the villains are great, and the enemies you have to fight are also not a walk in the park. This provides for some very challenging gameplay. A thing worthy of note is that there are no official solorules included with this game, which is a first for Legendary. The rulebook does mention that you can play the game solo using any of the rules from previous sets. I played the game solo by just playing with two hands, and treating it as a two player game.

If you are a fan of the movie, than I think you should check this game out. But even if you are not, or might never have even heard of it, you will probably still enjoy playing it. It provides enough challenge and replay value to keep you playing for a long time. Whether or not you will be able to beat all the schemes, well to use another Jack Burton quote : “It’s all in the reflexes…..”.

I give Legendary Big Trouble in Little China a 9 out of 10 score.

Ascension X-War of Shadows, a Boardgame for 1-4 players, by Stoneblade Games (2016)

It has been a while since I last did a boardgame review, and with the release of a new set for Ascension, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. Ascension X-War of Shadows, is the tenth expansion for the Ascension deckbuilding game. Ascension is a fantastic deckbuilder, but in the past was accused of having poor artwork. That is definitely a thing of the past now, as the art on every card is simply gorgeous to look at.

Components

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Inside this tenth expansion you will find a total of 177 cards. As always there are the standard cards, which you find in every Ascension box, but there also 96 new cards, that make up the new set. There is also a very cool looking new gameboard, and as everyone who knows Ascension is used to a total of 50 Deluxe Honor Tokens. The rulebook rounds out the set, and is printed in a precise and clear manner. As mentioned above, the artwork on the new cards is amazing, and anyone who used to be negative about it, should truly be happy with the art pictured on the cards.

Game overview

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The fun thing about Ascension is that every set released can either be played on it’s own, or combined with other sets. When a new set is released there is always something new that is exclusive for that set alone, and ofcourse War of Shadows is no exception to this.

The coolest new feature of Ascension X is the Day and Night cycle. Each card in this set is either a Night or Day card. Depending on the number of cards in the centre row, it is either Night or Day. Most of these new cards have a special power that only activates on Day or Night respectively. This makes for some very interesting gameplay aspects. You might have a very cool Daylight powercard in your hand, but when it is Night, you can’t use it’s power. As the game progresses, the Day and Night cycle continually shifts, making for some exiting games.

The other thing that is new, is dual cost Heroes and Constructs, which means when you want to buy these, you have to use both resources of the game to acquire them. If you do however, there are some truly powerful cards in this set, that make the often steep cost worth it.

Difficulty

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As mentioned above the fun thing about Ascension is that each set can be played on it’s own. The game doesn’t have a steep learning curve and can be taught to new players in about 5 minutes. For the experienced Ascension player, it is only the matter of learning the new rules of the set, and you are ready to begin play. And that is another thing I just love about this deckbuilder, you don’t get bogged down by an enormous amount of rules. It’s all very easy to learn, and it plays enormously fast.

The verdict

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Ascension just keeps getting better and better. With every set, the game truly grows, and the new rules mechanics introduced with this set, are a joy to play with. With so many new cool card it is hard to pick any favorites, and i am not going to do that, since that would spoil the surprises this set holds. If you loved Ascension to begin with, or are a fan of deckbuilding games but have yet to discover this one, i highly recommend Ascension X-War of Shadows.

The one downside of every set being able to be played on it’s own, is ofcourse the amount of standard cards you get. But that is a minor gripe, as this game simply rocks.

I give Ascension X-War of Shadows a 9 out of 10 score.