SdJ Re-Reviews #22: Torres

  • Designer:  Michael Kiesling, Wolfgang Kramer
  • Publisher:  F.X Schmid, Rio Grande
  • Players:  2 – 4
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  60 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 50

Torres Cover

Torres: Burgenland and Terra Turrium mix with mechanics meant for Tikal…

Kramer and Kiesling started their collaboration on Torres while they were still working on Tikal.  Some of the mechanics in Torres were part of Tikal’s original design, and the similarities between Torres and Tikal have led Torres to be considered an honorary member of the Mask Trilogy (which includes the games Java and Mexica).  But Kramer’s flirtation with what would eventually be called Torres actually goes back much further, to an exceptionally rare game called Burgenland.   Continue reading

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12 Realms

Design by Ignazio Corrao
Published by mage Company
1 – 6 Players, 1 1/2 – 2 hours
Review by Greg J. Schloesser

12 Realms

Cooperative games are all the rage, with seemingly a dozen or more released each year.  While there were a few cooperative games back in the 80s and 90s — most notably Scotland Yard  — the genre began gaining in popularity with the release of Reiner Knizia’s Lord of the Rings at the turn of the century.  From that point on, a steady stream of cooperative games has been released just about every year.  The themes have included everything from ghosts to firefighters and policemen to infectious diseases.

With the popularity of the television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time, it should come as no surprise that the fairy tale theme has now been incorporated into a cooperative game.  12 Realms by Ignazio Corrao was originally released in 2010, but this year has seen the system enhanced with the release of numerous expansions.  As such, the game is once again receiving attention.

Set in a fantasy land populated by legions of evil creatures and characters, players assume the role of “good” fairy tale characters, including Snow White, Red Riding Hood, the Nutcracker and even the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Hmmm … not exactly the type of characters that inspire machismo in most gamers.  Still, these characters must unite to dispel the Dark Lords and their minions who threaten to subjugate the fantasy lands under their evil dominion.

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Code of Nine

 

Code of Nine

  • Designer: BakaFire
  • Publisher: Z-Man Games
  • Players: 3-4
  • Ages: 13+
  • Time: ~45 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Z-Man Games

codeofnine

Code of Nine is yet another game from Japan that has been cleaned up and reprinted by Z-Man Games.  For years now, Zev (and now Sophie) have been targeting some of the best games from Japan and getting them to the English-speaking market.  I’ll admit that not every one has been a hit, but most of them have been, and going to these reprints is a pretty good way to get a feel for the Japanese market.  Last year, Z-Man printed Tragedy Looper, another design by BakaFire which was a fairly polarizing game.  Most of the gamers that I’ve talked to either seem to love it or not care for it – but almost all of them have said that Tragedy Looper is unique in its mechanic and style.

Code of Nine is another game from the same designer –previously released as OWACON (at Spiel 2014) – but I did not get a chance to try it then.  Between a small supply from Japon Brand as well as some delay on my part (as I was not sure about the game from trying to read thru the original rules translation), I did not get a copy of the game.  Now it’s time to see what I missed! Continue reading

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SdJ Re-Reviews #21: Tikal

  • Designer:  Michael Kiesling, Wolfgang Kramer
  • Publisher:  Ravensburger
  • Players:  2 – 4
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  60 – 120 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 5

Tikal Cover

Tikal:  Kramer and Kiesling win the Triple Crown of board games…

After his success with Richard Ulrich on El Grande, Wolfgang Kramer was open to collaborating with other designers.  Michael Kiesling had founded a game company and released a couple of games, but without much success.  He phoned Kramer for advice, and after more than two hours, the two had the basics of the game “Haste Worte?” down.  That game was published in 1997, and a legendary design team was born.  

After their relationship took off, Kiesling approached Kramer about creating a game based on a city at the bottom of a lake which would occasionally rise to the surface.  Kramer liked the idea, and the two started experimenting with mechanics to simulate the city emerging and then submerging again.  One day, Kiesling faxed Kramer a picture of hexagonal tiles connected by ladders.   The image reminded Kramer of the Mayan Temples, and he immediately contacted Kiesling to suggest that they change the theme to archaeologists excavating Mayan ruins.  That game would become Tikal.

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Review: Artifacts, Inc. by Ryan Laukat and Red Raven Games

  • Designer:  Ryan Laukat
  • Publisher:  Red Raven Games, Iello
  • Players:  2 – 4
  • Ages:  13 and Up
  • Time:  60 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 5

Artifacts Inc Cover

I’m generally skeptical of the Kickstarter craze the hobby has experienced in recent years, but I’ve noticed a few small publishers that consistently produce a stellar work product.  Red Raven Games is one of them.  I’ve tried all of their games, and I’ve enjoyed each of them.  As I said in my Gen Con coverage, Ryan Laukat is a renaissance man of board gaming: not only does he design his games, he also illustrates and publishes them. And here’s the thing: he’s amazingly talented at all three.

I expected Artifacts, Inc. to be good, and it didn’t disappoint.  It wasn’t on my radar pre- Gen Con, but it turned out to be one of my favorite titles of the convention, and it has gotten a lot of table time in recent weeks.  I’m not alone in my enthusiasm: the game sold out at Gen Con, and it was fairly high on the BGG Geekbuzz list.   Continue reading

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Clockwork Wars

 

Clockwork Wars

  • Designer: Hassan Lopez
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 13+
  • Time: 60-120 min
  • Times played: 2 with review copy provided by Gryphon Games

clockwork wars

Clockwork Wars is a steampunk themed game where the 4 rival races (Purebreeds, Troglodytes, Rhinochs and Mongrels) fight over seven turns to take control of their hex-based world.  As the story goes, the humans (Purebreeds) created a number of hybrid races: human-chimp, human-rhino and human-dog.  These four races are fighting over territory and trying to mine them for their natural resources which can then be converted into discoveries which will help them win the overall battle. Continue reading

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Broom Service

Design by Andreas Pelikan & Alexander Pfister
Published by Alea / Ravensburger
2 – 5 Players, 1 – 1 1/4 hours
Review by Greg J. Schloesser

Broom Service - cover

Since its founding way back in 1999, Alea has earned a much-deserved reputation for producing high quality, challenging games.  Indeed, for years their forte seemed to be developing deeper strategy games than what their parent company (Ravensburger) normally published.  While dedicated gamers were enamored by their games, they were largely overlooked by the Spiel des Jahre committee, the group that yearly grants the most famous German game awards.  So many Alea games seemed deserving of the award — Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, Taj Mahal, Castles of Burgundy, and more — that gamers began suspecting there was some sort of hidden bias against the company.

Finally, the long drought has ended.  Broom Service by the design team of Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister won the prestigious Spiel des Jahre, but strangely in the Kennerspiel (strategy games) category.  The game seems much more suited to the standard category, which tends to recognize games that are more family friendly and offer less depth or strategy.  I thought it rather odd that the game had received a nomination in the strategy category, and was even more surprised to see it win that award.  Odd.

Broom Service is actually a revamping of Pelikan’s earlier Witch’s Brew, which was also published by Alea back in 2008.  This new version introduces a board, whereupon players will fly on their brooms to deliver powerful potions throughout the realm.  The role selection mechanism remains, albeit with a few twists.

 

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Dale Yu: Review of The Princess Bride: As You Wish

 

The Princess Bride: As You Wish

  • Designer: Daniel Solis
  • Publisher: Game Salute
  • Players: 2-6
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by Game Salute

princess wish

The Princess Bride is one of the iconic movies of my childhood.  Released in 1987, I would say that I have conservatively watched it at least 100 times, and I’ve worn out more than one pirated Betamax copy of the movie due to overuse.  Some of the quotes from the movie remain in my lexicon to this day.  Inconceivable? Not so much.

To the surprise of some, this 28 year old movie is still selling off licensing rights – and Game Salute continues their series of games which started with The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die back in 2013.  There is a set of three new releases, all small card based games, for 2015 that bring the movie back to life on your gaming table.  Though each of the three games stands alone in its own right – we have enjoyed playing them together as a set. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of The Princess Bride: Miracle Pill

 

The Princess Bride: Miracle Pill

  • Designer: Philip duBarry
  • Publisher: Game Salute
  • Players: 2-6
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by Game Salute

princess pill

The Princess Bride is one of the iconic movies of my childhood.  Released in 1987, I would say that I have conservatively watched it at least 100 times, and I’ve worn out more than one pirated Betamax copy of the movie due to overuse.  Some of the quotes from the movie remain in my lexicon to this day.  Inconceivable? Not so much.

To the surprise of some, this 28 year old movie is still selling off licensing rights – and Game Salute continues their series of games which started with The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die back in 2013.  There is a set of three new releases, all small card based games, for 2015 that bring the movie back to life on your gaming table.  Though each of the three games stands alone in its own right – we have enjoyed playing them together as a set. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits

 

The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits

  • Designer: Matthew O’Malley
  • Publisher: Game Salute
  • Players: 2-10
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by Game Salute

princess wits

The Princess Bride is one of the iconic movies of my childhood.  Released in 1987, I would say that I have conservatively watched it at least 100 times, and I’ve worn out more than one pirated Betamax copy of the movie due to overuse.  Some of the quotes from the movie remain in my lexicon to this day.  Inconceivable? Not so much.

To the surprise of some, this 28 year old movie is still selling off licensing rights – and Game Salute continues their series of games which started with The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die back in 2013.  There is a set of three new releases, all small card based games, for 2015 that bring the movie back to life on your gaming table.  Though each of the three games stands alone in its own right – we have enjoyed playing them together as a set. Continue reading

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