SdJ Re-Reviews #19: Mississippi Queen

  • Designer:  Werner Hodel
  • Publisher:  Goldsieber, Rio Grande
  • Players:  3 – 5
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  45 Minutes
  • Times Played:  5 (On the Rio Grande Edition)

Mississippi Queen Cover

Mississippi Queen: Racing Against Obstacles in Paddleboats

Mississippi Queen traces its roots to 1986, when designer Werner Hodel was teaching high school math and physics.  One day, when Hodel was walking up a flight of stairs to the teacher’s lounge, a mob of students came storming down.  He had to dodge them in order not to fall, moving left and right as they rushed past.  An idea clicked in his brain: a race game in which characters have to avoid oncoming obstacles.  He jotted down some initial notes and thought more about the game in the days that followed.

The first prototype was completed within a few weeks.  He called the game “Rafting,” and it simulated rushing down a wild river.  Early versions had two dice showing the power and speed.  Hodel showed the game to nine publishers between 1986 and 1995, but they all declined to pick up the game. Continue reading

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Matt Carlson: First Impressions of Evolution: Flight expansion

Evolution: Flight Expansion

Publisher: North Star Games
Designers: Dominic Crapuchettes, Dmitry Knorre, Sergey Machin
Ages: 12+
Players: 2-6
Time: 60 mins
Review copy provided by North Star Games

Evolution Flight Box 2

As you read this, the second edition of Evolution should be releasing, along with its first expansion, Flight.  I was recently provided with an early copy of the Flight expansion, but have so far only played it enough to give it a first look.  It primarily adds a new trait to the game, Flight (duh), but also includes a few other traits and game play elements to help flesh out the new flying options.

Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of New York 1901


New York 1901

  • Designer: Chenier La Salle
  • Publisher: Blue Orange
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 30-60 mins
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Blue Orange

New York 1901

New York 1901 is the new big-box release from Blue Orange, a relatively new company that has previously focused on bringing over the best of the French language games to the market.  New York 1901 is a bit of a change for the company as it is a natively produced game.  It is the designer’s maiden effort, and should be in full release at GenCon 2015. Continue reading

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Counter Magazine Issue #69

Counter Magazine Issue #69 (July 2015) is now available for download from the BoardGameGeek store:

Here is a peek at the brilliant cover, designed by Timothy Weaver:

Cover - Aquasphere

Issue #69 is jam-packed with 100 pages of articles, reviews and commentary from a cross-section of renowned individuals.

So, what’s included in this issue?  The following is just a brief overview of some of the material included.


Aquasphere – Stefan Feld strikes again with another meaty game, but this time of the seafood variety!  Players scurry about an underground laboratory while programming robots to do the hard work.  Does this measure-up to other Feld offerings?  Greg Schloesser gives us the scoop.

Diamonds – Mike Fitzgerald is well-known for  his Mystery Rummy series.  This year he offers several new titles, including Diamonds, which has some interesting twists on the trick-taking genre.

Doodle City – Design your own city from the drawing board…literally!  Players create their city by sketching it on their pad.  This popular game is explored by Simon Neale.

Elysium – Space Cowboys created a sensation with last year’s Splendor.  They are back with more, including a trip to Mt. Olympus where players get to write the legends of the gods in Elysium.  Stuart Dagger let us know whether the journey is worthwhile.

Fields of Arle – Uwe Rosenberg seems to have an inexhaustible well of ideas.  His latest offering takes the concepts pioneered in Agricola to the Fields of Arle, an in-depth and challenging 2-player game using similar systems.  John Humphries offers us a detailed look of the game.

The Game – Many folks were surprised that one of the three finalists for the Spiel des Jahre was The Game, which many folks had not even heard of.  Alan How tells us about this simple, yet addicting game.

The Great War – Many feel that a game recreating World War I would have to be boring, as the war is most remembered for the static trench warfare that ensued.  Boredom is not a characteristic of The Great War.  Paul “Pevans” Evans tells us why recreating this war is quite challenging and fun.

Hyperborea – This ambitious Asmodee publication is quite impressive in appearance, with wonderfully detailed miniatures.  Does the game measure-up to the components?  Dr. Steve Owen gives us the inside scoop.

Nations: The Dice Game – Nations created quite a sensation with the civilization-building game fans.  Can one truly recreate the feel of that game — as well as the civ-building genre —  in a dice game?  Simon Weinberg emphatically says “yes!”

Pandemic: The Cure – The Pandemic continues to spread. The latest in this excellent series is Pandemic: The Cure, which converts the game into a dice affair.  John Butitta succumbs to the disease and tells us why experiencing this Pandemic is so much fun.

Progress: Evolution of Technology – Yet another civilization building game, but this one concentrates almost exclusively on the technology tree.  Does it succeed?  Greg Schloesser lets us know.

Quartermaster General – While the game has a strong “wargame” name, it really is a merger between a war theme and European game mechanisms.  Commander Mike Clifford explains why this game has become such a smashing hit.

Scoville – Tasty Minstrel Games has emerged as a dynamic company that offers quality products.  Scoville is one of their latest titles, taking us into the fields where peppers are harvested and used to make mouth-watering chili recipes.  Is the game a tasty treat? Read more and find out!

The Voyages of Marco Polo – The designers of the very popular Tzolk’in are back, this time traveling from the Americas to the Far East as they recreate the journeys of Marco Polo.  The game is being met with wide acclaim, and Stuart Daggers tells us why.

There are numerous other great articles, including:

From Polyominoes to Patchwork – Dr. Mitch Thomashow explains the birth and evolution of polyominoes in games, including their latest use in Uwe Rosenberg’s Patchwork.

Get Off My Lawn! – Are games getting to complicated and unwieldy … or is Greg Schloesser just becoming ornery?

Convention Reports – Learn all about recent game conventions, including reports of dozens of new games that are being released.  Reports include Origins, UK Game Expo and PLAY: The Games Festival.

These are just a few of the many articles and 23 reviews that are included in Issue 69 of Counter.  Intrigued?  Then make sure you visit the BoardGameGeek store and download Issue #69.

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SdJ Re-Reviews #18: El Grande

  • Designer:  Wolfgang Kramer, Richard Ulrich
  • Publisher:  Multiple (Originally Hans im Glück)
  • Players:  2 – 5
  • Ages:  12 and Up
  • Time:  90 Minutes
  • Times Played:   > 50 (On the Rio Grande Edition)

El Grande Cover

El Grande: Kramer teams up with Richard Ulrich to make a classic…

One of Wolfgang Kramer’s friends, Richard Ulrich, approached him in 1992 with a prototype he called “Das Trojanische Pferd,” or “The Trojan Horse.”   Kramer liked the game, which featured the Trojan Horse deploying troops as it traveled to various neighborhoods.  Kramer and Ulrich agreed to jointly develop the game.

They showed it to publishers in 1993, but it was rejected as being too complex.  Development continued until 1994, when Kramer traveled to the Nuremburg Toy Fair with the prototype in his suitcase.  Much to his dismay, he saw on his arrival that Alex Randolph and Jumbo had already published a game with the same theme.  The designers went back to the drawing board, acknowledging that, despite having different mechanics, two games couldn’t be published so closely together with a similar subject. Continue reading

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iBoardgaming – Summer 2015

game_table_ipad_iboardgamingFor most, summer means a bit slower pace and the possibility of some vacation travel, a perfect opportunity to give some of the more recent boardgame/strategy titles available on iOS.  Whether your summer is winding down, or is still in full swing, it’s time for me to share a few of the more interesting titles I’ve been messing with this past summer.

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Dale Yu: Review of Tokaido Crossroads Expansion


Tokaido: Crossroads Expansion

  • Designer: Antoine Bauza
  • Publisher: Funforge, distributed domestically by Passport Games
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Times played: 4 with review copy provided by Passport Games


The Crossroads Expansion for Tokaido is being distributed domestically by Passport Games, and they were kind enough to send a copy of this expansion to me for review.  I have played Tokaido plenty in the past few years, and while I did not write the OG review for it – I’ll copy Ben McJunkin’s description of the base game here for anyone who is unfamiliar with the base game.

Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Taxi Wildlife


Taxi Wildlife

  • Designer: Florian Racky
  • Publisher: HABA
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 5+
  • Time: ~10 minutes
  • Times played: 5, with review copy provided by HABA USA

Taxi wildlife

I’ll stick with the theme of finding wooden animals with touch alone by reviewing Taxi Wildlife.  Players act as crazed taxi drivers in the game trying to pick up the most passengers as they drive through the jungles of Tasmania.

There are 48 route cards, and they are separated by the numbers on their backs (1, 2 or 3).  Three draw piles are created and the top card of each is flipped up.  The two pouches are set up with each of them holding two of each of the different animal types.  Finally, each player takes a starting road card as well as a colored player card – once player colors are set, the duel cards that involve the colors in the game are separated and shuffled into a duel deck. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Master Fox


Master Fox

  • Designer: Frederic Vuagnat
  • Publisher: IELLO
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 7+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Times played: 3 with review copy provided by IELLO


Master Fox is one of the new summer 2015 releases from IELLO.  In this game, players take on the role of foxes that are competing with each other to be the best thief.  The first player to score 10 points will take home the victory.

In the first round of the game, the 24 basic shapes are put in the bottom of the box.  Then, the deck of loot cards (one of each of the 8 basic shapes) is shuffled and three cards are drawn.  Everyone makes note of these cards – and the goal for the round is to collect one matching Loot pawn for each card.  The lid is placed on the box and shaken so that the pieces are mixed up. Continue reading

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SdJ Re-Reviews #17: Die Siedler von Catan (a.k.a. The Settlers of Catan)

  • Designer:  Klaus Teuber
  • Publisher:  Multiple (Originally Kosmos)
  • Players:  3 – 4
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  90 Minutes
  • Times Played:   > 50 (On Various Mayfair Games Editions)

Siedler Cover

Die Siedler von Catan: The game that changed everything…

The Washington Post has called it “the game of our time.”  Wired described it as a “Monopoly killer.”  The game has inspired songs and a novel, and there are dozens of references in pop culture.  With more than 22 million products sold in more than 30 different languages, there is no Eurogame with as big of a footprint as Die Siedler von Catan.   Continue reading

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