Dale Yu: Review of Ancient Terrible Things

 

Ancient Terrible Things

  • Designer: Simon McGregor
  • Publisher: Pleasant Company Studios
  • Players:2-4
  • Ages: 14+
  • Time: 60-90 mins
  • Times Played: 3, with review copy provided by Pleasant Company Studios / GameSaluteatt-box

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Liga: (P)review of Soqquadro

SoqquadroBoxSoqquadro

Designer: Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascini, Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino
Publisher: Cranio Creations
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-12
Time: 20 min

Soqquadro, the new game from Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascini and Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino by Cranio Creations is a classic party-game: something really different from the previous titles like Tzolk’in and Sheepland. What Soqquadro shares with this games is the will to be really innovative, to offer something new and fresh to gamers and the typical craziness of Cranio’s titles like Horse Fever, Steam Park or Dungeon Fighters.

The great idea around Soqquadro is to make a game really dependent on the place where it is played: different houses/places will offer new/different tasks. What Huizinga called the magic circle extend well around the table and the players involved catching the objects and furnitures all around.
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Dale Yu: Review of Sultaniya

 

Sultaniya

  • Designer: Charles Chevallier
  • Publisher: Bombyx/Asmodee
  • Ages: 8+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 30-45 min
  • Times Played: 3 with review copy provided by Asmodee

Sultaniya is a Persian city founded in the 13th century that was once a capital of a Mongol dynasty.  In this game players are trying to build the most beautiful palace from the tiles in the game.  The castles will eventually be four levels tall, and points are awarded to the players for meeting certain criteria.

Each player starts with a player board which serves as the base of his palace.  At the bottom of this piece, you will find the unique scoring rubric for that player.  Each player can receive +1VP, +3VP or +6 VP for different types of palace features.  There are two different possibilities at each VP level, and the boards are set up so that all players have a different overall combination of VP producing features.  The fourth icon on the player board is shared by all players for soldiers.  Players also are dealt two secret objectives (from a deck of 10 possible) which provide each player with two other ways to score points.

sult1

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7 Days of Westerplatte – Review

7 Days of Westerplatte

Designer: Łukasz Woźniak

Publisher: G3/ST Games

Players: 1-4

Time: 45 – 60 minutes

Ages: 8+

 

Reviewer: Jonathan Franklin

Times Played: 3 (with review copy provided by G3 Games)

 

Plants vs Zombies, the co-op, set in WWII.

7 Days of Westerplatte is an amazing story. Stop now, go here and read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Westerplatte,then come back for the rest of this review.

Up until last month, I thought of this as an important historical chapter in WWII.Today, it seems more relevant than ever.

The players are Polish soldiers holed up in a depot trying to hold off the German forces for 7 days. The Germans are represented by a deck of cards filing towards your defended position. There are five columns of Germans, represented by the letters A through E. You have five positions along the wall of the depot that defend against those five columns.

Fortunately, your positions are defensive and are protected with a wall of bricks. When you are not at the wall, firing on the attackers, you can fall back to buildings that offer benefits, such as more ammunition, more mortar grenades, more bricks, more landmines, etc.

Photo by Henk Rolleman

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Dale Yu: Review of Chinatown

Chinatown

  • Designer: Karsten Hartwig
  • Publisher: Z-Man Games, 2014
  • Ages:14+
  • Players: 3-5
  • Time: 60 minutes

Z-Man games continues their series of reprints of classic games – the newest entry into this line is Chinatown.  Originally released in 1999 by Alea, this was one of the first negotiation games that I can remember playing and enjoying.  The designer, Karsten Hartwig, was something of an unknown at the time – and frankly, he remains in relative obscurity now.  He has designed two other games (Augsburg 1520 and Lucky Loop) – both of which have come and gone through the game collection.

Chinatown was well received in its initial release, and it made the “Recommended” list for the 1999 Spiel des Jahres as well as the nominated list for the 2000 International Gamer Awards.   The new version of the game has all new artwork, but the gameplay remains unchanged from the original version.  Filosofia and Z-man did release a second edition in 2008 in a large box format, and they have shrunk the game down in the most recent 2014 printing.

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Feld Madness

Stefan Feld can be a polarizing game designer.  Many love his games; many love to hate his games.  The Opinionated Gamers recently came together to rate all of Feld’s games that we had played over the years on our classic scale (i.e., Love it, Like it, Neutral, Note for me).

Aggregating these ratings, we’ve come up with the “definitive” OG ranking of Stefan Feld designs.  This ranges from a tie for the greatest with an average 3.2 out of 12 ratings (we consistently like these games!), all the way down to game # 18 with a mere 1.2 average (a resounding not for us).

In addition to providing our aggregate ratings and resulting ranking, we have listed all of the individual ratings that went into this, along with some commentary from the Opinionated Gamers about the basis for these opinions.  As you’re sure to see, we have quite a diverse set of opinions on Feld’s games, with the same game often running the gamut from “love it” to “not for me” ratings.  So where does your favorite Feld game fall… how would you stack up his 9-year oeuvre… and where do you think La Isla will fall later this year?

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Dale Yu: Review of Rothbo

So, I’m sure most of you have read the title of the column and are trying to search for a game called Rothbo.  You won’t find it that way, because the Rothbo isn’t a game – but rather a “rotating board game platform”.  We were given the opportunity to give one of these a whirl and see how the Rothbo could improve our game playing experiences.

Rothbo

The Rothbo is a fairly large sized platform that is mounted on a lazy-susan like rotating base.  The surface of the Rothbo is large enough to hold a 33” x 22” board – in otherwords, almost any Eurogame will fit on this accessory.  On their website, there are pictures that show boards as large as Axis and Allies fitting on the surface.  There are rows of pre-drilled holes on the Rothbo, and you use bracket pegs  pushed into these holes to fix the game board in place. The platform is constructed from MDF (medium density fiberboard) with a nice black matte finish on it.  The rotating mechanism twirls smoothly and silently.

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OP Mailbag – Game recommendation sought

Occasionally we get comments via email from readers of the blog.  Just this week, the following question was posed to us – and I thought it would be a good idea to run the question by the writers of the blog so that you could get opinions from many of us!

Name: Brent

Comment: Great site; I was looking for some advice and thought who better to recommend something I’ve never heard of and come out feeling optimistic that I’ll like/love it sight unseen!  In short, I really enjoy some lighter games such as:

- King of Tokyo

- Wurfel Bohnanza

- Keltis: Le Jeu de Des (the dice version)

- Piraten Kapern

- Las Vegas

- Fistful of Penguins

- Heck Meck

- Exxtra (Excape)

Given that, I was wondering if you had any suggestions of other games of similar ilk that my friends and family would enjoy.  I really appreciate your time and look forward to your insight if you can spare the time.  Thanks again for a great site!

Comments from the Opinionated Gamers

Dale: Well, you seem to love dice games – I will limit my suggestions to games that also use dice…

1) Yspahan from Ystari, 2006 – this is one of my favorite family style dice games.  Luck certainly plays a large role in the game, but the randomness of the dice keeps you on your toes.

2) Steam Park, Cranio, 2013 – is a quick game where you are vying to build the best amusement park.

3) Bang! The Dice Game, daVinci, 2013 is a great dice version of the classic card game – though a bit more streamlined, and it removes the chance that you will be eliminated without a turn.  Finally,

4) Blueprints, Z-man, 2013 – a fun little game about building buildings using the dice themselves as building blocks.

Finally, 5) Camel Up, Pegasus, 2014 – this most recent Spiel des Jahres winner is a nice little race game with the added benefit that it can take up to 8 players.

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Abluxxen Wins Austria’s Spiel der Spiele Award

Unhappy with the results of the SdJ award?  Maybe you’ll feel better about an announcement made a little south of Germany.

The Spiel der Spiele, which is Austria’s national game of the year prize, was awarded a couple of weeks ago to Abluxxen, the tricky card game designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling and published by Ravensburger.  This title was an early favorite to win the SdJ, but it didn’t even get a recommendation from the Jury.  Hopefully, the announcement will reduce the sting of what many viewed as something of an injustice.

The SdS awards began back in 2001 and this is Kramer and Kiesling’s third winning game.  The first two were Pueblo, from 2002, and Asara, in 2011.  Only Knizia, with four winning games, has more SdS victories.

The SdS committee also posts a list of recommended games each year, organized in various categories.  Here are the cited games this year:

Special Prize:  Raben Stapeln

Games for Experts:  Caverna; Russian Railroads

Games for Friends:  Blood Bound; Concept; Norderwind

Games for Families:  Camel Up; Tortuga; Voll Schaf

Games for Children:  Die verrückte Vogelscheuche; Flizz & Miez; Geisterei; Hetzen nach Schätzen; Speed Cups

Yes, the gaming award season is now upon us.  Next on the docket is the DSP award, which is usually announced sometime in September.  This tends to be won by heavier games and Russian Railroads, the only game of any complexity mentioned by both the SdJ and SdS, might well be the favorite.  Can it bring home the prize?  We’ll soon know!

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Yunnan

Design by Aaron Haag
Published by Argentum Verlag
2 – 5 Players, 90 minutes – 2 hours
Review by Greg J. Schloesser

yunnan01m

Ever since I was a child I heard variations of the phrase, “I wouldn’t do that for all of the tea in China!”  As a child, I didn’t realize that China produced a lot of tea, so assumed the phrase meant that you wouldn’t do that something for just about any price.  Only later as an adult did I come to realize that China was a large producer of tea, a fact that no doubt influenced Aaron Haag’s game Yunnan, which deals with tea production in the provinces of China.

Apparently the most desirable tea was Pu’er, which was primarily grown in a difficult-to-reach region.  The path through the provinces was difficult and the journey arduous, but the profits were worth the effort.  The road actually existed until the 1960s, until it was finally supplanted by a safer, more efficient one.  Yunnan attempts to recreate this tea trade, as players must travel to these remote areas to harvest the tea and ship it back to the market in Pu’er for sale.  To do this, however, they must plan properly, insuring they have the proper number of horses, border passes, traders, influence and, of course, money.

Yunnan uses an auction mechanism that is similar to one pioneered in Philippe Keyaerts’ Evo.  It also includes movement and construction aspects.  All action occurs on the one main board, which depicts sections of the city of Pu’er and its surrounding provinces.  There are also helpful charts and a score track depicted, but the board is uncluttered and easy to decipher.  Each player begins the game with three traders, a handful of coins and one horse.  They will be able to acquire up to four more traders during the course of the game, as well as construct bridges, trading posts and tea houses.

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