Designers: Rustan Håkansson, Nina Håkansson, Einar Rosén, Robert Rosén
Ages: 14 and up
Time: ~40 min / player
Review by Nathan Beeler
According to the designers’ journal, Nations began life, at least in part, as a reaction to the Vlaada Chvatil epic, Through the Ages. So obvious are the connections that surely every review you read on the game will draw some kind of comparison between the two. While I generally try to make an effort to go down the reviewing road less travelled by, I am not above taking the obvious route when warranted. With Nations, the well trodden path simply cannot be ignored. So pull on your hiking boots; we’re going for a walk through the world of nation building.
Design by: Carlo A. Rossi
Published by: Mayfair Games
3-5 Players, 45 minutes
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser
Is it possible to invent any new race games? Through the years, there have been hundreds upon hundreds published. One would think there couldn’t possibly be any new ideas to justify the publication of yet another one. One would be wrong.
Road Rally USA by Italian designer Carlo A. Rossi is yet another entry into the already burgeoning field of auto racing games. It isn’t even the first to carry a road-rally theme. Still, it has some interesting and fun aspects that do help separate the game from others in an already overcrowded field.
From my understanding, true road rallies challenge participants to complete segments along the course in the shortest possible time. These rallies are vastly more popular in Europe than in the U.S., which makes the name and setting of this game a bit surprising. What is even more surprising is that while the race in this game is divided into segments, they really aren’t timed. Rather, points are scored, which I guess is a way of simulating the timing aspect.
Design by: Frank DiLorenzo
Published by: R&R Games
2-6 Players, 1 hour
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser
Designer Frank DiLorenzo is a fan of the sport of horse racing, so it was only a matter of time before he published a game that recreated the sport. Homestretch is that game, and while it certainly concentrates on racing, the major emphasis is on the betting aspect of the sport.
Before the first race is held, players spend money to obtain an interest in one of the eleven horses that will participate in the four upcoming races. The number of “shares” acquired varies with the number o players, but will be at least three. Horses and shares are numbered 2-12—corresponding the values generated by the roll of two dice—with the cost of each share bearing a correlation to the odds of rolling that number. For example, the cost of Emalus (2) and Pants on Fire (12) only cost $2,000 apiece, while Pressure Point (6), Time’s Up (7) and My Lucky Day (8) cost $10,000 apiece. While the odds may favor the horses with values 5-10, they are more costly. Further, those horses are often negatively handicapped during the four races.
Taking a moment for self-promotion, here is a pointer to my annual Unplugged Holiday Guide at GamerDad.com. Started back in 2003, the GamerDad holiday guides are celebrating their 10th anniversary and may possibly be one of the earliest holiday guides on the net. The guides tend to have fewer Eurogames listed than you’ll find on boardgaming sites since the GamerDad readers typically aren’t experienced boardgamers. Feel free to click over and check it out, or not – I’m fine with that too! (Now go wild in the comments below to tell me the many errors in judgement I’ve displayed in the list.)
- Designer: Mike Elliott
- Publisher: Queen Games
- Players: 3-5
- Ages: 10+
- Time: 60-90 minutes
- Times Played: 4 with review copy provided by Queen Games
I first noticed the signs for Lost Legends at Essen 2012 – but at the time, there wasn’t much information available about it than some spiffy art. The brief description that I was able to get was: “It’s a card based dungeon crawl that uses a draft mechanic”. I was able to get a copy at GenCon 2013, and we have played it a few times since then. It should be in wide release at Essen this year (and thus, this review is part of our Essen Preview series).
The game is a competitive card-based dungeon crawl. Each player takes on the role of an adventurer and will explore the three levels of the game along with the other players. For each level of the game, players will get a chance to acquire new skills and weapons – and then they will get a chance to defeat monsters in order to score points.
Each player has their basic information laid out on a personal board. This board records their experience, mana, and life force on three separate tracks. The outer edges of the board also give the players specific areas to store their different types of cards (weapons, armor, spells, artifacts, skills and defeated monsters).
As I mentioned earlier, the game is mostly driven by cards. There are 6 separate decks of cards in the game – for each level, there is an equipment/skill deck and a monster deck. These are each shuffled separately and placed beside the board. For each level, you will use the entire equipment deck and you will use 3 monster cards per player in the game. Each level plays pretty much the same – the differences will come from what shows up on the cards. The more basic equipment and skills are found in the first level deck, and the least terrifying monsters will also be found here!
Each level follows the same pattern of: 1) getting stuff, 2) fighting monsters.
- Designer: Aureliano Buonfino, Lorenzo Silva, Lorenzo Tucci Sorrentino
- Publisher: Cranio Creations
- Players: 2-4
- Age: 10+
- Duration: 45-60 minutes
review by Andrea “Liga” Ligabue thanks to a review copy from the publisher
What happen if you take a nice theme, like amusement parks, a bit of steam-punk, that is always glamour, a dice-rolling real-time mechanic and a bit of strategy ? What if you add Marie Cardoaut arts and the creativity of the Cranio Creations team ? That is actually Steam Park, one of the funniest Essen releases. A game that will not rise up in the Olympus of the top BGG ranks but I’m sure will offer hours of entertainment to the luck owners probably finding his place in the limbo between real fillers and long/deep strategy games.
In the far land of Robobourg you are the owner of a steam park, a fantastic carnival for robot. You will try to build it up and attract visitors (robots), getting money and in the mean-time keeping an eye on the trash level since Robots in Robobourg are not happy about dirt.
Dale Yu: Review of Sanssouci
- Designer: Michael Kiesling
- Players: 2-4
- Ages: 8-99
- Time: 30-45 minutes
Times Played: 3 with review copy provided by Ravensburger
Game Idea – Over the course of 18 rounds, players are trying to construct the best garden on the board in front of them. The garden board has 9 columns, each with its own identifying landmark (trellis, fountain, statue, etc) and each of these columns is six rows deep. At the top of each column stands a noble. During the game, these nobles will march downwards (on played tiles) to score you points.
Tiles are placed on a 5×2 grid – two tiles available on spaces of each of five different colors. Players have a hand made up of 2 cards. These cards show either a pair of colors OR a specific garden landmark. On your turn, you play one of the two cards from your hand and then you choose a tile that matches the characteristics from the card played. If you play a colored card, you choose from one of the four tiles that is lying on a space of matching color. If it is a landmark card, you take a tile with that symbol on it – from any row on the board. If there are no tiles that match the symbol, then you can take any tile from the display.
Designer: Etienne Espreman
Publisher: Pearl Games / Z-Man
Time: 90-120 mins
Main Mechanic: worker placement, auction, majority control, modular board
(This game had been covered in an Essen Preview earlier, but it is being republished here with new comments from other OG writers!)
Bruxelles 1893 is a game that tries to capture the architectural development of the Art Nouveau neighborhoods in Brussels, Belgium. The game is played over 5 rounds, and the winner is the player with the most VP (duh). The action takes place on two separate boards: 1) the Brussels board and 2) the modular Art Nouveau board.
In the setup of the game, the 5 strips of the Art Nouveau board are randomly placed into the frame. Each strip has 5 action spaces on it, and together, the 5 strips make a 5×5 array of action spaces. At the bottom of each of the 5 columns, there is a space for a bonus card. At the start of each round, a Stock Exchange card is flipped up which has two sets of coordinates for two of the verticies of the Art Nouveau board. The start player has to choose one set of coordinates, and this marks the outside of the Art Nouveau board that will be used. Thus, depending on the random setup at the beginning of the game, which card is drawn from the deck and depending on which of the two coordinates are chosen, the actions available in any given round can change!
Once the useable area of the Art Nouveau board has been discovered, it’s time to take actions. Players can place their pawns on either the Art Nouveau board (of course , only on the available spaces) or the Brussels board. Continue reading
Just a quick note of thanks to all the writers and readers of the Opinionated Gamers. When this all started a few years ago (from the ashes of BoardgameNews), I wasn’t quite sure what would come of it…
The blog has just crossed a major milestone – this is the 1000th post for the blog!
Thanks again to everyone!
Thanksgiving weekend is a time to travel to be with family (for those that celebrate it). It’s hard to bring out a nice boardgame in the car (or on the plane) and while you could play something on your iPad sometimes it’s just nice to treat yourself to a solo gaming experience. It’s great when boardgames make the transition to an electronic form, but there are also some nice titles designed specifically for electronic play that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are a few of my favorites from the past few months. As one might guess, as a fan of boardgames, most of these titles have a significant amount of strategy or planning involved, as opposed to “twitch” games which focus more on response time than cerebral challenge. Continue reading