Dale Yu: First Impressions of Choice Words



Choice Words

  • Designer: Robert Kamp
  • Publisher: Mindware
  • Players: 2-8
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 10+
  •  Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Mindware

choice words

I was approached by the designer of this game, Robert Kamp, to take a look at his new release over the holiday season.  As I knew that I would have plenty of non-gamers around the house, this seemed like a good opportunity to try out a game that is geared more for the causal gamer.


Choice Words is a game where players try to come up with phrases that use words that appear on drawn cards.  Each player is given a sheet to write down their answers – and someone is designated the starting player.  There are two different decks of cards in the game, a “Match Play” and a “Scratch Play”.  The starting player chooses either one of the decks and draws a card out of the box for that deck.   Continue reading

Posted in First Impressions | Leave a comment

Dale Yu: Review of Evolution (NorthStar Games)



  • Designers: Dominic Crapuchettes, Dmitry Knorre, Sergey Machin
  • Publisher: NorthStar Games
  • Players: 2-6
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Times Played: 3, with review copy provided by NorthStar Games


This is now the second time that I’ve reviewed Evolution.  The first time was back in 2011 with the original Russian version of the game, published at that time by RightGames.  The English rights going forward were purchased by NorthStar Games, and Dominic Crapuchettes has done a great job working with the game – kudos for him for that.  Boo on him, however, for changing the game so much that I can’t recycle my old review though!  ;)

In Evolution, you are trying to create species and evolve them so that they survive and succeed.  The game is centered around the trait cards, there are 129 of these in the game.  Each player starts with a single species, this is shown by a wooden species board.  Each board has two tracks on it, one for body size and one for population.  A new species starts with a marker in the 1 space on each track.

Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Reviews


Design by Uwe Rosenberg
Published by Mayfair Games / Lookout Games
2 Players, 20 – 30 minutes
Review by Greg J. Schloesser


Early in his career, Uwe Rosenberg developed a reputation for designing highly creative and sometimes quirky games.  These included games such as Bohnana, Klunker and Mama Mia.  Over the past decade or so he has moved on to designing deeper and more strategic designs and, indeed, has a loyal following of gamers that eagerly await his next creation.  Many have become game club staples, including his juggernaut Agricola.

One of his more recent offerings is Patchwork, which is neither quirky nor terribly strategic.  Rather, it is a lighter 2-player game that challenges players to place oddly-shaped quilting patches into a growing pattern.  The game has a decidedly Tetris-like feel, but players must accumulate buttons in order to purchase the patches they covet.  Care must be taken, however, as in addition to serving as currency, buttons are also victory points.

Each player receives five buttons and a blank board upon which their quilt will be formed.  Each board depicts a 9×9 grid, onto which the Tetris-like pieces will be placed.  The central board depicts a quilt, but serves solely as a timing track.  The 33 patches are randomly placed surrounding this board and the “neutral” pawn is placed immediately following the small, 2-space patch.  Each tile depicts its cost in buttons, the amount of time spent to attach that patch, as well as the number of buttons—if any—the patch will provide at certain points during the game.

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , ,

Dale Yu: Review of El Gaucho


El Gaucho

  • Designer: Arve D. Fühler
  • Publisher: Argentum / Passport to distribute in US
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Time played: 3 with review copy provided by Argentum


I have always been a supporter of Argentum.  In my many years to Essen, Argentum has always had interesting games at the show, many of which I have greatly enjoyed.  Most folks know them for Hansa Teutonica, but I have also liked Coney Island and Yunnan recently.

El Gaucho is the third design of Fuehler’s that I’ve played this year (which also happens to be all three of his games in the BGG database) – the others being Pagoda and Scharfe Schoten.  El Gaucho is a lighthearted game about going to the dice rodeo and then collecting high scoring cattle. Yeah, I know that doesn’t make much sense, but that’s what it says on the back of the box! The subtitle of the game is a bit more revealing: “A set collection and take-that game”. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Reviews | 2 Comments

New game-based comic available in English – Giocomics

Giocomics, the comic strips of the Italian web-magazine Gioconomicon, by Stefano Castelli and Alan D’Amico, becomes international as it is now translated in English!
With their obsessions and funny habits, Klaus (the German), Bob (the American) and Marco (the Italian) embody the typical gamers profiles. They live their gaming passion, and comment about what’s new and what’s going on in the gaming world. Giocomics is hosted on Gioconomicon.net, the Italian gaming magazine born in 2004.

Stefano Castelli, a devoted gamer and author of boardgames such as Turandot and C.O.A.L.: Combat-Oriented Armored League, writes the lines of the strips; Alan D’Amico, sculptor, illustrator and artist for several boardgames (such as Kingsport Festival, Blue Max, and Everzone) is the author of the drawings.

Continue reading

Posted in Humor / Satire | 2 Comments

Dale Yu: First Impressions of Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age


Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age

  • Designer: Tom Lehmann
  • Publisher:  Gryphon Games
  • Players: 1-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 40-60 minutes
  • Times Played: 3, with review copy provided by Gryphon Games (apparently a KS copy)

RTTA iron age box

The original Roll Through the Ages, released in 2008, was designed by Matt Leacock and subtitled “The Bronze Age”.  Now, 6 years later, The Iron Age has come to market – though with a different designer – this time, Tom Lehmann.  The game is still a roll-three-times and then do stuff with the dice game, but with some added levels of play. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Reviews

Dale Yu: Review of King of New York

King of New York

  • Designer: Richard Garfield
  • Publisher: IELLO
  • Players: 2-6
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by IELLO


King of new york

King of New York is the second generation game from the well-known designer, Richard Garfield.  You may have played the predecessor of this game, King of Tokyo – a pretty big hit a few years back.  In King of New York (KoNY), you take on the role of a monster – and you try to be either the first monster to 20 VPs or the only monster left standing in the five boroughs. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Reviews | 1 Comment

Dale Yu: Review of 7 Steps

7 Steps

  • Designer: Michael Kiesling, Reinhard Staupe
  • Publisher: Kosmos
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Times played: 6, with review copy provided by Kosmos Germany

7 steps

7 Steps was one of the big box Kosmos releases from this most recent Essen.  When I first started in this hobby (about 15 years ago), a new Kosmos release was a very highly anticipated thing.  Heck, to this day, I (and many of my compatriots) refer to the 30cm square box as a “Kosmos square”. Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2014, Reviews

Deep Sea Adventure – First Impression

Oink Games has done it again and managed to come up with another fantastic filler. Like Dungeon of Mandom before it Deep Sea Adventure is terrific multiplayer “push your luck” game for up to 6 players. The small box contains a submarine, a marker for air, 6 player pieces and several ruin chips (treasure) tokens and markers.


All players start in the submarine which also has the game timing mechanism-air. You start with 25 units of air which is used collectively by the players.

The players roll 2 dice and move from the submarine down to the ruin chips.

After the initial roll, you must decide if you go forward or turn around and return to the sub before you roll. When you land on a ruin chip you may pick it up and keep it in front of you without looking at it’s value. The deeper ruin chips tend to be worth more.  You replace the ruin chip you picked up with a blank marker with a X on it.


Sounds easy enough, right? Well the tricky part each player prior to their turn marks how much air they’ve used. Air units used are equal to the number of chips picked up so far on that exploration round . Also for every chip you have picked up during that exploration you move one less than the dice roll. Did I mention the dice are numbered from 1 to 3? Once divers have picked up their treasures it’s a race to get back to the sub without running out of air! If you do not make it back to the sub your ruin chips are lost and land at the bottom where they stack up. You are allowed to drop a ruin chip if you land on a blank chip.

If you failed to make it back to the sub, your colleagues will rescue you minus your treasure, throw you in a decompression chamber to get you into shape for the next dive. If you succeeded in returning to the sub you get to keep your ruin chips and flip them over as treasure. They will not count against your air in the next round.


The game consists of three exploration rounds or dives. The player with the most points wins.

I really like this game. It has a fun theme and it hits all the right buttons for a push your luck mechanism. You can feel your greed as you try and pick up one more treasure but it’s so heavy you start panting and using up more air…The race is on heading back to to the sub, can you get there before the air is gone? Will my fellow divers make it back in time? The tension rides high! I really recommend this game  and stop using all my air!

Eric Martin: (7 plays on a purchased copy) Deep Sea Adventure plays like a collective Diamant, with everyone trying to push their luck in order to go deeper and get more — but now what you carry affects the fate of everyone else and time runs out much quicker than you think it will.

This entanglement leads to the only issue that some have had with the game, namely that the player who leads after the first or second round can try to pick up as much as possible to kill everyone before others can score. I don’t have a problem with such evil doings as it’s amusing to see a game encourage suicidal tendencies (so to speak); you just need to collectively work against the leader so that you can all dive deeper, but you know at some point that players will break and start grabbing things, then you’re all on your own once again…

I love it! Lorna, W. Eric Martin

I like it.


Not for me.




Posted in First Impressions | 3 Comments

Happy New Year from the Opinionated Gamers

Well, we’ve made it through another (calendar) year – and thanks to everyone who continues to read our little blog…  We’re not quite yet to our fourth birthday though – that will be 1/24/2015.

When I founded the blog in 2011, the goal was simply to provide a blog for some Opinionated Gamers to be able to write about the hobby which we love.  The mantra here has always been – no deadlines and no requirements.  Essentially, any of the OG writers can write what they want, when they want.   Continue reading

Posted in Site News