Dale Yu: Nice Dice Thrice – Ciub, Cubo, Cubist – Part 3

This week’s reviews look at the conjugation of dice games from Essen 2014.  There are a good number of dice games this year – and I’m slowly but surely making my way through that stack.  I will start the reviews this year with the games most similarly named.  Each uses a bunch of dice in different ways to achieve fun.

 

Cubist

  • Designer: Alf Seegert, Steven Poelzing
  • Publisher: Gryphon Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages:  7+
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Gryphon Games

cubist box 2

The final game in this conjugated review series is Cubist – a relatively unheralded game that I discovered just before the fair this year.  Cubist thematically has gamers trying to make art installations to contribute to a local modern art museum.

Each player starts with his own workshop, with two areas for working on art projects.  These projects are constructed out of the twenty dice in that player’s color.  In the center of the table is the Museum of Modern Art.  Players will contribute their dice to the construction of this museum – the size and shape of which is determined by a randomly drawn card.  There is space on the central board for the museum to be built.  At the start of the game, the single red die is rolled and placed in that area.  This is the first portion of the museum to be built.  The rest of the pieces will come from the players.  There are three art installation cards available in the center of the table which can be claimed in the course of the game, and there are also four Artist cards – each of these will grant their holder a special ability. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Nice Dice Thrice – Ciub, Cubo, Cubist – Part 2

This week’s reviews look at the conjugation of dice games from Essen 2014.  There are a good number of dice games this year – and I’m slowly but surely making my way through that stack.  I will start the reviews this year with the games most similarly named.  Each uses a bunch of dice in different ways to achieve fun.

 

Cubo

  • Designer: Julien Gupta, Johannes Berger
  • Publisher: Queen Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Asmodee

Cubo box

Cubo comes in a brightly colored small square box – I didn’t know much about it prior to arriving at Essen, but I did have a chance to see it at the Asmodee press event.  Why Asmodee?  As it turns out, they are distributing Queen Games now over there.  (As you might have heard, Asmodee is pretty much trying to take over the world – they have also recently acquired both Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight Games). Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Nice Dice Thrice – Ciub, Cubo, Cubist – Part 1

This week’s reviews look at the conjugation of dice games from Essen 2014.  There are a good number of dice games this year – and I’m slowly but surely making my way through that stack.  I will start the reviews this year with the games most similarly named.  Each uses a bunch of dice in different ways to achieve fun.

 

Ciub

  • Designer: Tom Lehman
  • Publisher: Amigo
  • Ages: 10+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: ~45 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with purchased copy

Ciub Box

Ciub is a very interesting game that uses 7 different types of dice and a touch of deckbuilding to create a unique completed product.  The goal of the game is to roll dice to get certain combinations of numbers that match up with those printed on victory point cards.   There are 7 different colors of dice, and each color has a different assortment of numerical values and special abilities.

At the start of the game, each player has 5 white dice.  These white dice have the numbers 1 thru 4 and two swap actions (more on this later).  The tableau of victory point cards is set up with two rows of five cards.  The bottom-most row of cards are those which are generally available for collection.  The upper row cannot be collected just yet, but these are the cards that will soon move into the bottom row – so you can use them to plan ahead.

Continue reading

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of 2 card games from Crash Games: Yardmaster and Yardmaster Express

 

Crash Games was back at Essen this year with a number of full board games and two new small card games.  Patrick was gracious enough to give me copies of the card games to try – and I’ve been able to get them to the table a few times so far this fall.  They have similar names and share similar art, but they have different designers and certainly feel different. I’ll be honest with you that I kind of expected Yardmaster Express to be some sort of dice version of Yardmaster (following the “Express” trend of a few years back) – but that is not the case!

[Note: Normally, I prefer to play a game at least three times prior to writing it for the blog. However, given the time pressure coming up to SPIEL ’14, I have written up my thoughts on a number of games based on only one or two plays in order to cover as many new games as possible prior to the show.  I fully admit that it is often not possible to see the full breadth of a design in a single play, and thus I shall not give a rating to any game at this stage with such a few number of plays…]

Yardmaster

  • Designer: Steven Aramini
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 13+
  • Time: 20 minutes

Yardmaster Box

Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of The Staufer Dynasty

 

The Staufer Dynasty

  • Designer: Andreas Steding
  • Publisher: Z-Man/Hans im Glueck
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 13+
  • Time: 20 min/player
  • Times played: 2 with review copy provided by Z-Man, 1 at Gathering of Friends with Hans im Gluck final prototype

staufer box

Generally, when I see that Andreas Steding is releasing a new game, I’m immediately interested.  His games tend to follow the same pattern – medium to heavy in weight, classic Euro-game style often leaning on worker placement, solid mechanics with a mostly pasted on theme.  Going all the way back to Kogge, which was one of the first games I ever picked up in person in Essen, and continuing on with Power&Weakness, Hansa Teutonica, Firenze, Norenberc, and Five Points – you can see these characteristics shine through.

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Core Worlds: Revolution & Core Worlds: Galactic Orders (Expansions Review)

Core Worlds: Revolution box cover

Designer: Andrew Parks (Galactic Orders), Andrew Parks & Sara Sterphone (Revolution)
Publisher: Stronghold Games
Players: 2-5
Time: 90 minutes (though I’d say it’s about 30 minutes per player)
Ages: 10 (officially – though my 9 year old does just fine with it)
Times Played: 4 (base game only), 7 (with Galactic Orders), 3 (with review copy of Revolution provided by Stronghold Games)

Some games are weighed down by expansions. They become bloated like beached whales, ripe for bundles of critical dynamite to be strategically used to blow their blubber to kingdom come. (It’s at this point in the review that I must recommend you watch a very old piece of video that humorist Dave Barry refers to as “the most wonderful event in the history of the universe”. You can find this video, along with a number of other interesting related tidbits, at TheExplodingWhale.com.)

Case in point: my beloved Anno 1503 is a fast-paced (15 minutes per player) development/race game – the expansion (Aristokraten und Piraten) has some great sounding ideas that simply make the game slower, longer & only slightly less tedious than watching bread mold. That fact that it is very OOP just makes it expensive and hard to find – without reducing the tedium level. Continue reading

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Dan Blum: Review of Orléans

Orléans

  • Designer: Reiner Stockhausen
  • Publisher: dlp Games
  • Ages: 12+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 90 minutes

Times played: 2 (on a purchased copy, though not mine)

Orleans Box

Background

In the beginning was Dominion. There might have been games that used “pool building” as a central game mechanism before, but it was certainly the first one that anyone noticed. Like anything new that attracts a lot of notice, it was imitated a lot. And the days of deck-building were long in the land.

Dominion of course uses cards. Most pool-builders use cards, but some use dice, and one thing someone (I have no idea who) tried early on was making a copy of Dominion that used tokens drawn from a bag instead of cards drawn from a deck. This saves space and time: no shuffling! Sadly it ceased to be a good alternative once cards were released that manipulated the order of one’s deck, but there’s no reason tokens in a bag wouldn’t work fine for other pool-building games. Surprisingly (to me, anyway) there haven’t been many: there’s Puzzle Strike, there’s an interesting-sounding but unavailable Argentinian game (Imperios Milenarios), and as far as I know that was it until this Essen, which saw the release of three such games. Continue reading

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Nathan Beeler: Review of Abraca…What?

Abraca…What?
Designer: Gary Kim
Publisher: Korea Boardgames
Ages: 7+
Time: 30 min
Players: 2-5
Review by: Nathan Beeler

Open, Says Me
Abraca…What? can be an enchanting experience for those who are receptive to its charms.  Laughter and merriment tend to fill the aether when the game is played by a spirited group.  But the converse is also true: those approaching it with a dry analytical mindset may win the game, but in the end they’ll lose all the magic.  Abraca…What? seems to reflect back and amplify what its players bring to it.  Speak fun, and enter.

Abraca_Cover

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iBoardgaming – Eclectic Fall 2014

game_table_ipad_iboardgamingPerhaps a surprise to the hard-core boardgamers, there are strategic apps on the app store that are NOT direct ports of boardgames. Here’s a selection of various game apps (including wargames and collectible card games) that might be worth a look. Pick one up to entertain you during your holiday travels.

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Dale Yu: Review of Chimera

 

Chimera

  • Designer: Ralph H. Anderson
  • Publisher: Z-Man Games
  • Players: 3
  • Ages: 13+
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Times played: at least 5 – with review copy provided by Z-man and with copies at Gathering of Friends

chimera

Chimera is a fairly complicated card game which I was first introduced to at the Gathering of Friends in April 2014.  One of my all-time favorite card games is Tichu, and it’s the kind of game that you will see constantly in play at gaming conventions.  While it is one of my favorite games, it doesn’t get played much at home (Actually, almost never!).  Tichu is a partnership game which plays specifically four players.  Additionally, there is a pretty decent learning curve to the game that keeps non-Tichu players away from learning it.

Having played many a late night game of Tichu with Ralph Anderson, I know how much he loves the game.  While there is 3-player variant ruleset of Tichu, the somewhat cleverly named “Three-chu”, it just doesn’t seem to capture the same fun as the base game.  Ralph took it upon himself to come up with a similar climbing game that is meant for just 3 players – the result is Chimera. Continue reading

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