Dale Yu: First Impressions of Room 25 Ultimate


Room 25 Ultimate

  • Designer: Francois Rouze
  • Publisher: Matagot
  • Players: 1-8
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: about 30 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Matagot


Room 25 Ultimate is a reboot of a game which kind of flew under the radar at Essen 2013.  Or at least I feel like it did (I honestly don’t have any sort of numbers to show how popular it was or wasn’t at the time).   The story is fairly simple.  Players are competitors in a futuristic game show where the players are all prisoners trying to escape from a maze of rooms.  This new version of the game keeps the old components of the original game while adding in a few “ultimate” additions to make the game ever more frenetic. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Snowblind: Race for the Pole


Snowblind: Race for the Pole

  • Designer: Robert van Zyl
  • Publisher: Pleasant Company
  • Players: 1-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 45-60 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Pleasant Company


In Snowblind, players lead an expedition to try to reach the South Pole.  The four countries which were in the historic race to the pole: Norway, Japan, England and Germany are represented in the game.  Each country essentially gets its own column on the board where they try to advance from their ships to the South Pole and then survive the trip back to their ship at the end of the game! Continue reading

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Santorini (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer: Gordon Hamilton
  • Publisher: Roxley Game Laboratory
  • Players: 2 – 4
  • Ages: 8 and Up
  • Time: 20 Minutes
  • Times Played: 8 (with 2, 3, 4 Players)


Santorini is an abstract strategy game first created by Gordon Hamilton in the mid-1980s.  The game was previously self-published, but then last year Roxley Game Laboratory picked it up for Kickstarter release.  Santorini’s campaign was one of the most successful Kickstarters of 2016, and copies of the game started shipping last month.  

I’d been playing Santorini for a while now — mostly at www.boardspace.net, which still has a digital version of the game with decent bots — so I was eager to back the Kickstarter and get my copy.  When it arrived, I was impressed, and Santorini made it into my top 10 games of 2016.

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Dale Yu: Review of Blank White Dice


Blank White Dice

  • Designer: Johnathan Leistiko
  • Publisher: WizKids
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 14+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Times played: 5 with review copy provided by WizKids


I first learned about Blank White Dice when talking to Zev at Essen 2016.  It was my first time talking to him since he moved over to WizKids, and he was pretty excited about the game.  Due to a combination of my (lack of) luggage space and WizKids’ inventory at Essen, we agreed to get a copy sent to me during the Winter.  It took awhile to make it to the table due to the large glut of Essen games, but over the holiday break this year, it got repeated plays. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Get Rich Quick


Get Rich Quick

  • Designer: Lenny Herbert
  • Publisher: Foxmind
  • Players: 3-5
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: ~30 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Foxmind


get-rich-quickGet Rich Quick is part of the new line from Foxmind Games as they try to enter the family game market.  They are amongst a number of companies that are moving from abstract or educational games and trying to get more into the mainstream categories.  Previous to this, their main game in the genre was Maze Racers.  Looking through their catalog, they appear to also own the rights to String Railway, an interesting game out of Japan from a few years ago.11 Continue reading

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Freak Shop


Freak Shop

  • Designer: Henri Kermarrec
  • Publisher: Catch Up Games
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Catch Up


In Freak Shop, players each are trying to build up their mansion (card tableau) to be the scariest one in the neighborhood (i.e. having the most scary points in their mansion).  Each player starts with 4 cards – in a number distribution that gives slightly better cards to those later in turn order.   The rest of the 65 card deck is shuffled and turned into the shop inventory.  The “Shop Closed” card is shuffled into the last 6 cards of the deck. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Lanterns: The Emperor’s Gifts (expansion)


Lanterns: The Emperor’s Gifts

  • Designer: Christopher Chung
  • Publisher:  Renegade Game Studios, Foxtrot Games, Pegasus Spiele
  • Players:  2 – 4
  • Ages:  8 and Up
  • Time:  40 Minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Renegade Games

I got the chance to play the base game of Lanterns at a few conventions over the past year, and my opinion of it was very similar to the OG writers who commented on the original review.  The game is a great light game, extremely suitable for gateway purposes, but felt fairly same-y after 3 or 4 plays.  At that time, I passed on getting a copy of the game as I felt that I had already fully explored it.  The expansion, The Emperor’s Gifts, adds new components and rules to the game that help to add some variety to the game.

But, first to review – a short recap of the base game (courtesy of Chris Wray)

Lanterns: Tile placement and set collection with a twist…

Players are artisans decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns.  The player who earns the most honor (i.e. victory points) before the festival begins wins the game. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Jorvik



  • Designer: Stefan Feld
  • Publisher: eggertspiele, distributed by Stronghold Games
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 45-90 mins
  • Times Played: 2, with review copy provided by eggertspiele


Jorvik is a re-boot of a old game which I used to love, Die Speicherstadt – released in 2010, but never seemed to get much love from the gaming community.  Die Spiecherstadt was set in old Hamburg, the hometown of eggertspiele.  This new version is set in Jorvik, the old Viking game from what is now York, England.  In this new version, rather than being competing merchants trying to fill up warehouses, you are Viking Jarls who are placing their workers to improve their standing in the city as well as helping to protect the city from invasions.

Each player chooses a color and takes the 3 vikings in their color as well as 5 coins.  The game is played over four seasons, and a deck is created with Winter cards on top, then Spring, Summer and Autumn.  The bottom card of the deck is the Attack of the Picts.  If you are playing the base game (Karl), you’ll only use half of the board; if you play the Jarl game, you’ll use the entire board.  For the rest of this discussion, I’ll focus on the Karl game as that is what we have played most recently.  In any event, all of the Karl rules are used in the full game.

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Ulm



  • Designer: Günter Burkhardt
  • Publisher: Huch! & Friends/ R&R Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by R&R Games


Ulm was high on my list of games to try at Essen after doing a bit of preview work prior to leaving for Germany. After reading the rules to the game, I was immediately attracted to the action selection mechanism in the game. As it turns out, I never got a chance to play the game at the show – though I did manage to play a different Burkhardt game at the fair – one with its own inventive action selection mechanism (Kilt Castle from Zoch).

In any event, Ulm places the players in the medieval city of Ulm – at a time when the cathedral is being built (sometime in the 1500s). Ulm is a free city in the Holy Roman Empire and there is a bustling trade going on down the Danube. The board shows the old city with the river running along the bottom of the board. The cathedral is built and placed on the appropriate space on the board. There is a 3×3 array of action spaces near the cathedral, and a prescribed set of action tiles are randomly distributed on those 9 spaces. Each player takes the pieces in their color and places their boat on the first space of the Danube.

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Dale Yu: Review of Capital



  • Designer: Filip Milunski
  • Publisher: Granna
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: 60-75 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by Granna


Capital is one of many city building games out this year at Essen 2016. The theme for this is close to the publisher’s heart as it involves building up a new version of Warsaw, the capital city of Poland and the home of the publisher, Granna.

In the game, over the course of 6 epochs (representing many centuries of building), each player will eventually build his own district of the city – it will be limited in space to 12 tiles, some version of a 3×4 grid. There is a small central board which is used to hold the tiles and keep score. There are five double-sided milestone tiles, and they are randomly placed on the five spaces under the tile stacks on the board. Each player starts with a single starting tile and 6 coins. Continue reading

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