Dale Yu: Review of Applejack


  • Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
  • Publisher: The Game Builders
  • Players: 1-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 30-60 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher at SPIEL 2022

So, Uwe Rosenberg might be best known for his epic games (Agricola, Feast of Odin, etc).  But he’s also made a bunch of card games, and in recent years, lots of tile laying games.  Applejack falls into the tile laying genre, but this time with hexagonal tiles; a shape I don’t think he’s ever used before.

The publisher entices you with this description: “A wide orchard lies in front of Applejack’s cottage. Help him and his daughter plant apple trees and harvest the juicy apples. Don’t forget to set up the beehives between the trees. Because at the end of this game, whoever gets the most honey wins!”  We previewed this game around SPIEL 2022, but now that we’ve had a chance to play a few more times, it seemed like a good time to revisit the game.

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Dale Yu: Review of Let’s Go! To Japan

Let’s Go! To Japan

Per AEG: “In Let’s Go! To Japan, you are a traveler planning, then experiencing your own dream vacation to Japan. The game consists of thirteen rounds in which players draw activity cards illustrated by Japan-based artists and strategically place them in different days in their week-long itinerary. These can’t-miss tourist attractions will have you bouncing between Tokyo and Kyoto as you try to puzzle out the optimal activities to maximize your experience while balancing your resources. The game ends with a final round in which you ultimately go on your planned trip, activating each of your cards in order along the way. The player who collects the most points by the end of their trip wins!”

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Dale Yu: Review of Rolling Heights

Rolling Heights

  • Designer: John D Clair
  • Publisher: AEG
  • Players: 1-4
  • Age: 14+
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

Says AEG: “Roll Your Meeples, Build the City.”

It’s the 1920’s and your career as a general contractor is about to take off. You have just started your business in a rapidly expanding city.  In Rolling Heights, players roll workers in the form of meeples. Standing meeples work hard that day and provide special actions and building materials, while face-down meeples provide nothing. You can always push your luck for better rolls, but you might lose valuable materials you need to construct new buildings. Completing buildings gains you prestige, as well as new workers to help you construct even larger buildings, including skyscrapers.  Will you construct the next famous landmark?

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Dale Yu: Review of Bonsai


  • Designers: Rosaria Battiato, Massimo Borzi, Martino Chiacchiera
  • Publisher: dv Games
  • Players:1-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

To paraphrase the publisher:  The Japanese term “bonsai” means “planted in a pot”. A bonsai is a living work of art, a perfect miniature plant, identical in all respects to its full-size simile, but several times smaller. A bonsai is a microcosm that contains within itself the mystery of the universe, unchanged in all but dimensions.  In the game Bonsai, players take on the role of expert bonsai masters intent on growing their own bonsai. Whoever grows the best plant will be appointed to show their Bonsai at the Imperial gardens.

To set up, each player gets a Pot in their color as well as a starting Seishi tile; additionally, players get some starting Bonsai tiles based on their position in player order.  The main board is placed on the table, and 4 cards from the Zen deck are placed on the spaces.  Finally, goal tiles from three of the five possible colors are set out.

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Matt Carlson: Review of Wreckland Run

  • Designer: Scott Almes
  • Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
  • Players: 1
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 30-45 mins
  • Review copy provided by publisher

The age of solo boardgaming is among us. With the business of everyday life, there will always be boardgamers who simply can’t get free on a regular basis to play with their friends. For years, one’s only option was to take a boardgame and play against oneself. With the rise of cooperative games, it was possible to take on a game without having to be your own enemy. Unsurprisingly, solo boardgaming received a big bump during the pandemic. While digital implementations of boardgames are available, sometimes it is nice to lay everything out on the table and play the game with easy access to the entire game state at once. Wreckland Run is a recent solo boardgame entry by Scott Almes (designer of another good solo game, Warp’s Edge.) Wreckland Run has you driving your armed-to-the-teeth, tricked-out car through a post-apocalyptic gauntlet of enemy vehicles. If you manage to drive and shoot your way successfully to the end, another six adventures await.

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Dale Yu: Review of Your Best Life

Your Best Life

  • Designer: Yaniv Kanaha
  • Publisher: Wizkids
  • Players: 1-8
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

Says the publisher: “Will you go on vacation with each other or build the house of your dreams? Will you raise a big family, or do you prefer to party with friends every evening? Why not both?! Go ahead — try to have it all! Your Best Life is a flip-and-write life story game. Playing as couples or singles, players manage their happiness and joy as they experience various choices in their lives. Each turn, players choose cards with the actions that will build their character and family unit. Players mark their actions on their individual or family sheets in order to “live” the most successful life!

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