Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Monday, August 05, 2013

Tabletop Gaming - Review - Defenders of the Realm

Defenders of the Realm @ BGG
Back when the main cooperative games we had were Arkham Horror and Pandemic, I asked a friend for any other recommendations. What we got was a Pandemic-like game that was actually reliably hard!

The game itself isn't very hard to set up at all and it gets randomized per the cards you draw to determine where pieces are placed. In the end of the setup, it generally looks like this:

Tabletop Gaming - Review - Star Trek Catan

Star Trek Catan @ BGG
 Prior to playing Star Trek Catan, my wife, son and myself had only had the experience of playing some board games, like Catan, via the Xbox 360. We loved playing it that way because it didn't require such an investment to play it on the table. After some time though with the digital editions not getting as much love as the table versions, we eventually had to give in.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tabletop Gaming - Review - Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep Review @ BGG

Where do I start?

I'll start with the simplest of simple three words I could say:


This game, unlike some of our other favourite games, is not co-operative and instead of competitive. Our household really does prefer not delving into competitive games since some of us (not naming myself >.>) are sore losers. This game though, is one of our few that we have no problem whatsoever about playing and easily recommend it to others who may be afraid of playing a competitive game!

We have only played the game most of the time with a minimum of three players and a single match of five players. The three player game was my wife, our 13 year old son and myself while the five player game was those players plus the parents. The three of us love it, the parents got the hang of it and liked it more than other games we have because of how easy it was to learn.

My wife and myself LOVE board gaming yet prefer to play games that aren't too confusing or at least the rules are easy to grasp to lower the need to worry about rulebook the whole game. When it comes to Lords of Waterdeep, the game's rules are almost the most simple we've ever experienced where instead of holding onto the rulebook, you look at the cards and they explain it all to you. It almost has the simplicity of Fluxx (we own Monty Python Fluxx) in that regard.

We are also Dungeons and Dragons fans for the pen and paper tabletop gaming and hence we bought previously the game Wrath of Ashardalon and haven't really gone back to it since (more because of it's rules vs what we'd expect from 4th Edition D&D) but Lords of Waterdeep was a breath of fresh air with the emphasis on worker placement rather than another roleplay board game.

Instead of going to a dungeon, Lords of Waterdeep is about vying for power within the City of Splendors, Waterdeep. Each lord or Lady has their own agenda that is kept secret from the other players while you try to amass whatever your current Lord/Lady needs to win the game.

As previously mentioned, Lords of Waterdeep is a worker placement game where you are trying to place your meeples in the city where you gain the best benefit of more people on your side (cleric, fighter, rogue & wizard) to help complete quests or perhaps to get more gold to help purchase more real estate in the city.

The game itself doesn't feel like you are doing nothing at any time and doesn't feel like it goes on for too long or short. Each game will be approximately 30 to 60 minutes in length and all actions occur nice and quick in a simultaneous manner. There are pause moments but the game flows smoothly enough that even our 13 year old was eager to play and his attention span is well.. He's a 13 year old with ADHD, you do the math on how many can sit and play a board game for up to an hour or more!

A side note for those who, like myself, have fun working out how to store a game (re: Arkham Horror) when not using the box: Whoever came up with the final idea for Lords of Waterdeep's box design was a genius! There is just enough room for everything, every wooden cube, every meeple, every card, all has it's designated place as instructed in the back of the rulebook!

The only downside I can think of with the whole game and this is me fishing for this is the variety of what the Lords/Ladies have to do to do to win the game are not as varied as I would have liked. They are mostly similar in what they have to do except for one or two that are different to the rest.

That is literally the only negative I can think of and I believe my wife will agree with me, heck even the son too. It is by no means a turn off for us since we still really, really enjoy it. This one negative I believe will be easy to fix, perhaps, with expansions. One such expansion is on it's way (Scoundrels of Skullport) which we are very much looking forward to!

I never really do a score for my games but in our newly joined board game group, we were asked the open question of "What is your favourite five" or something similar to that and both of us immediately said "Lords of Waterdeep'.

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tabletop Gaming - Review - Arkham Horror

Arkham Horror was the first Euro game I had ever played and to this day, I still do not regret paying for it.

The artwork honestly I love with this game. The cards, board and tokens are all very good quality and capture the gritty dark tone of H.P. Lovecraft and his Lovecraftian genre. If you have ever stepped into his short stories, perhaps some of the films or even into the Chaosium RPG, you will recognise the tones fairly easy. If you haven’t, you won’t lose out much but you gain much more when you know some of the areas.

Now, if you love competitive games, this is not the game for you. I’ll put that out there straight away. This is a cooperative game and if you don’t all work together as a team, then the Ancient Ones are going to chew you up and spit you out one way or another.

The game itself revolves around an Ancient One coming in on their bandwagon, unleashing minions from portals of the Other Worlds until no one can stop their ultimate goals of conquest or destruction – or so they think.

The main goals of the base game of Arkham Horror (pretty much the same with the expansion boards/cards yet some more effects may come into play obviously) is to:
  • Close all the Other World portals so in one turn there is none left OR
  • Sealed a set number of portals dependant on the number of players (skill checks or a certain item required)
The above two objectives have to be done before the Ancient One gets enough tokens on it’s chart (gained through play on monsters or events) to initiate the final battle (think raid boss in an online game or even video game) where the investigators fight together and win or die trying.

When it comes to who you play in the game, There is some variety to the investigators, each of them giving a special skill to use depending on the situation (be it combat or perhaps when doing purchases) and this also determines your maximum hit points and sanity.

Time-wise, you are getting yourself into an approximately 2-4 hour game depending on a) how experienced you are with the game and b) how lucky/unlucky you are with the card draws.

I say luck there because there has been a game where my partner and I played (with two investigators each as we do) and the game was unforgiving with portals opening as well as the events that we couldn’t keep up. On the other hand, there have been some other times where we can keep on top of the game long enough to get some headway.

This game is still one of our favourites but I have to honestly say, the time to play it can daunt me depending on mood since I usually dedicate around 3 hours to play it and if needed, we just leave it set up in a room the pets (or kids) can’t get into to come back to later.

Honestly though, the time it takes is VERY fun. I wouldn’t enjoy the game as much as we do if it was a one hour game. The mechanics for it just make you NEED that time to try and win.

Many years ago we tried the game with a full 8 people and it was mostly new to them all that I remember that game being agonisingly slow, obviously, and took at least 6 hours to play. Over time though, if prepared more than the spontaneous game we had that day, it wouldn’t take nearly as long as that or so I hope.

All in all, if you love cooperative games in a survival atmosphere but don’t want to be going against purely zombies: Arkham Horror as a base game is all you ever need. If you want to expand, there is the cheaper card expansions or the board expansions that cost a little more. We’ve bought one of each and the board expansions (ours being Dunwich Horror) are very very fun so far.

Highly recommended!

Arkham Horror Review @ BGG

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Tabletop Gaming - Review - Blood Bowl Team Manager (the Card Game)

Cheating. Blood. Football. Fantasy. Minotaurs.

All of these and more is Blood Bowl Team Manager. Blood Bowl, an IP of Games Workshop and originally a tabletop miniatures game (now also a PC/Console game) has now ventured into the land of a card game.

No no, before you cry about another Magic, or one of those other collectable card games: Blood Bowl Team Manager is a complete box of what you need and it works very well. Surprisingly so.

I held off around 6-8 months to get this and I really wish I hadn't and I am very glad I had the spontaneous thought of buying it so that my 12 year old step-son could play Blood Bowl without the blood of the video game. And oh man, was it one of the best purchases I had made!

The premise of Blood Bowl in general is two teams pit against each other to cheat, pass, run the ball for touchdowns, or outright decimate the opposing team, whatever it takes to be the winners of the fabled Blood Bowl Cup.

The teams that come in the box are: Humans, Dwarves, Wood Elves, Chaos, Orcs and Skaven. There are many more that the company could bring out and from what people are saying, with this year being Blood Bowl's 25th Anniversary, that we will see expansions coming. Cross fingers :D

Now, the card game translates this very well by not focusing on a single match at a time but the highlights of the games. Each highlight can have up to two teams compete on them and with an up to four player game, choosing which highlights you want to focus on is one of the starting challenges.

Rather than delving into the rules too deep if you want to know how it plays specifically, there is a set of video tutorials by Fantasy Flight Games showing you just that.

In the above picture , the cards in the middle are the Highlights while the cards left and right are the cards from our hand that we use to try and win the spoils on the card. If you can see it, the Highlights have two 'touchdown zones' that have rewards on the left and right as well as a bigger reward in the middle. As long as you have someone there, you get the reward on the side you choose to represent, and the middle if you win the match. If no one is competing against you, you get all the spoils of the match!

In the end, once you have played in the match ups you want to take part in, and the Scoreboard Phase has been done to see what victory points, star players, staff and team upgrades have been won as spoils of war: The highlights happen all over again!

I thought I better for a tidbit here that the artwork I absolutely loved. It reflected the original game nicely and even sported (how could it not?!) flavour text from the commentators, the Vampire Jim Johnson and the Ogre Bob Bifford.

All in all, the game takes us around 90 to 120 mins approximately. Sunday lunchtime was around the 120 minute mark purely since we haven't played in a month or two.

The winner in the end is not the team with the most physical spoils of war but the roaring, raging fans that follow behind you. He who has the most fans wins the right to be the Champion of the Table!

If you wonder if a $35 USD game is worth it, you shouldn't think a second minute on it. For that amount of money versus some of the other games we have and their price tags to get the same amount of fun (Arkham Horror for instance) then it is a no-brainer!

Once bought, you will never look back.

BBTM Review @ BGG