Dale Yu: Review of Blue Skies

Blue Skies

  • Designer: Joe Huber
  • Publisher: Rio Grande Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 14+
  • Time: 45 min
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by RGG


Says RGG: “The year is 1979, and the U.S. government has just deregulated the airline industry, opening it to competition in terms of fares, routes, and the airline companies themselves. You represent a new airline that’s trying to set up business in the U.S., but you have an entire country open to you, so where will you set up shop and how can you profit more than the other newcomers to ensure that you survive?”


Joe Huber (disclaimer – he is an author here on the Opinionated Gamers, though he had no influence over this review) has always had board games that interest me.  They often focus on a few simple elements and make a compelling game from them.  One example would be his recent release, Caravan, which we reviewed last year.   In Blue Skies, players act as the head of an airline; trying to succeed by correctly predicting where the demand for air travel will be.  And, of course, because Joe is involved, Cleveland plays a role in the game…  [Just an aside, but – yes, my involvement _did_ influence the inclusion of Cleveland.  But only a little; it would have been hard not to include it, and still to spread the airports chosen well across the US. – Joe]

Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2020, Reviews | Leave a comment

Dale Yu: Review of Holi: Festival of Colors

Holi: Festival of Colors

  • Designer: Julio E. Nazario
  • Publisher: Floodgate Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 13+
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

Holi is the ancient Hindu Festival of Color, where believers celebrate the return of Spring.  Though the holiday is celebrated in different ways, one hallmark is the presence of colors everywhere.  This game has a 3D tower where players will try to throw powder onto the different levels, hoping to have their color fall down onto as many people as possible.

To setup the game, you must first construct the 3 level courtyard by securing the levels in between the four corner supports.  Each player then takes their colored markers and matching color deck of cards, shuffling the cards and then drawing one card into their hand. 2 Sweet tokens are placed in each of the 8 spaces that are orthogonally adjacent to the corner spaces on the lowest level.  8 more Sweet tokens are placed, one each, in the identical spots on the middle level.  Rivalry cards are dealt face up to the table to provide specific rules changes to the game.

Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2020, Reviews | Leave a comment

Dale Yu: Review of Kodama Forest

Kodama Forest

  • Designers: Jenny Iglasias and Kevin Riley
  • Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards
  • Players: 3-6
  • Age: 14+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by Indie Boards & Cards

In Kodama Forest, Springtime has come again, and your forest is blooming! However, the magical kodama spirits will only grace the lushest and most beautiful of landscapes. Plant bamboo and flowers to attract friendly pandas and butterflies to beautify your plot of land. Plan carefully to ensure that your two forests can be filled with as many plants and animals as possible in order to please the colorful kodama.  This game requires both cooperation and competition in order to succeed.

A player board is placed between each player and their neighbor to either side.  The table will have the same number of player boards as players, and each individual player will have one board to their left and one to their right.   The forest tiles are placed in the bag, and the other tiles (butterfly, frog, panda) are placed in the center of the table where all players can reach it.  Each player then draws three forest tiles from the bag to start the game. 

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Unmatched: Buffy, Beowulf, & Little Red

Not quite six months ago, I published a pretty massive review of the Unmatched game system here on the OG… including a substantial bit of writing about how it compares to Star Wars: Epic Duels, the out-of-print mass market game on which it is based. (Important fact that may summarize that portion of the review: I still am more than willing to sell my lovingly used copy of Epic Duels to finance further Unmatched purchases.)

This time around, I’m going to forgo all the preliminaries and get down to the nitty gritty: just how good are the two new boxes in the Unmatched line? I might also comment a bit near the end about our experiences playtesting the announced Unmatched: Marvel boxes… 

Continue reading
Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Dale Yu: Review of MicroMacro – Crime City

MicroMacro – Crime City 

  • Designer: Johannes Sich
  • Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
  • Players: 1-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 15-30 minutes per case
  • Played with review copy provided by Pegasus Spiele and Edition Spielwiese

Welcome to Crime City, a city where crime lurks around every corner. Disastrous secrets, devious robberies and cold-blooded murders are the order of the day here. The local police are no longer able to control the situation. Therefore, the work of clever investigators is required. MicroMacro – Crime City is a cooperative detective game. Together, the players solve 16 tricky criminal cases by determining motives, finding evidence and convicting the perpetrators. An attentive eye is just as important as a deductive talent in order to unravel everything riddle on the 75 x 110 cm large game board. A magnifying glass is included in the game to help with finding every detail.


In this inventive game, the board is a paper fold-out map that takes up most of your table. It is a black and white line drawing affair with plenty of detail.  Depicted on the map is a snapshot of life in Crime City – you can see the people, buildings, vehicles, etc all drawn out in fine detail.

Continue reading

Posted in Essen 2020, Reviews | 3 Comments

Under Falling Skies: A Solo Gaming Review

Our story starts back in March of 2020… which, let’s be clear, feels like a decade ago. (In the words of Ned Ryerson, “Am I right or am I right?”) As my family and I chose to self-quarantine, I began searching for print’n’play solo games on BoardGameGeek. One of the highly recommended solo games I stumbled on was Under Falling Skies – the winner of the 2019 9-Card Nanogame Print and Play contest on BGG. 

About the time I found it, Czech Games Editions announced that they were going to publish an upgraded version of the game for Essen 2020… so, after one play (which I enjoyed), I put away my nine-card deck and played other solo games instead. (If you want to know more about my solo game play, check out my Solo Gaming in the Time of Covid post which I just updated to cover all of 2020.)

I wondered if CGE could take Tomáš Uhlíř’s incredibly compact design and expand it without making it too complicated and/or too riddled with unnecessary components and rules… so I was more than pleasantly surprised by the incredible success they packed into the 9 x 7 x 2.75 inch box.

Continue reading
Posted in Essen 2020, Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment