Dale Yu: Review of Papayoo

 

Papayoo

  • Designer: uncredited in rules
  • Publisher: Gigamic
  • Players: 3-8
  • Ages: 7+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Gigamic

Papayoo box

Papayoo was a pleasant surprise when it arrived from Gigamic.  You’ve probably heard of Gigamic – they are best known for their wooden abstract games – such as Quoridor and Quarto.  However, in the past year or so, they have been making a push to get into the family game (i.e. non-abstract) market.  Many of their current games are small format games sold in tins.

Papayoo is an interesting card game – the game consists of sixty cards – four “traditional” suits (called clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades) from 1 to 10, and a special fifth suit, called Payoo – numbered from 1 to 20.  The final component to the game is an eight-sided die which has two faces each for the four traditional suits. Continue reading

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The 2015 Meeples Choice Awards Voting Have Begun!

Just a reminder that the voting for the first round of the Meeples Choice Awards has begun on the Spielfrieks User Group (http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/spielfrieks/).  Right now, we’ve got a list of 195 games.  Everyone gets to vote for their 10 favorites, with the eventual goal of coming up with 25 nominees.  If you haven’t already done so, submit your ballot and make your opinion felt!  If you’re not a member of Spielfrieks, you can join us by sending an email to spielfrieks-owner AT yahoogroups DOT com.

The exciting news this year is that we have our very own voting application!  It was created for us by our very own Wei-Hwa Huang and it’s not only super-slick, it’s extremely easy to use.   If you were frustrated by what the group was forced to use in years past, you’ve just lost your excuse for not voting!  Hopefully, a lot of you will be able to join us.  Thanks!

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Tides of Madness (Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer:  Kristian Čurla
  • Publisher:  Portal Games
  • Players:  2
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  20 Minutes
  • Times Played:   > 10 (On Review Copy)

Tides-of-Madness

Tides of Madness is the sequel to Tides of Time, a game I reviewed last year and put in my Top 10 of 2015.  But Tides of Madness, which features a Lovecraftian theme, adds a new twist: certain cards, while powerful, can also cause you to go mad.  If you accumulate too many Madness Tokens, you go insane… and lose the game.

Like its predecessor, Tides of Madness is a brilliant card drafting and set collection game packed into just eighteen cards.  I’ve loved my plays so far, and the additional strategy that comes from managing the Madness Tokens leads me to liking Tides of Madness even more than Tides of Time.  Most people I’ve played with have agreed.  

Tides of Madness will be released at Gen Con.  It can be preordered from Portal Games for Gen Con pickup. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of The Networks

 

The Networks

  • Designer: Gil Hova
  • Publisher: Formal Ferret Games
  • Players: 1-5
  • Ages: 13+
  • Time: 60-90 minutes
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by Formal Ferret Games
  • Website: networksgame.tv

networks box

In The Networks, players each control a small television network and try to grow it to become the most successful broadcaster in town. At the start of the game, your network is pretty sad – kinda looking like Channel 62 from the Weird Al classic film “UHF”. (Of note, the pink player in the game is Ch 62!)  All you have is a few crappy public access shows and barely any money. From this humble beginning, you have five seasons (game rounds) in which to become the media mogul that you’ve always wanted to be…

Each player has their own network board which shows the three timeslots that they are trying to fill. Each of these slots has a started public access show to start the game. The clever three part scoreboard is setup for the appropriate number of players, and the right portion of the board will tell you how to correctly set up your first turn based on the number in the game. You will shuffle and deal out Show cards, Ad cards and Star cards to the table. (In later rounds, you will also deal out Network cards – but there are none in the first round!) Continue reading

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Elfenroads (Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer: Alan R. Moon
  • Publisher:  Rio Grande Games; AMIGO Spiel + Freizeit GmbH; Others
  • Players:  2 – 6
  • Ages:  13 and Up
  • Time:  45 – 90 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 10

Elfenroads

Note: We’re focusing on reprints, re-themes, re-releases, etc. this month.  Since Elfenroads is a reprint of Elfenland and its expansion, Elfengold, this entry is part of that series.  

Elfenland, winner of the 1998 Spiel des Jahres, had been out of print in the United States for a few years, and the game’s popular expansion, Elfengold, had been out of print even longer.  But last fall, Rio Grande, AMIGO, and a few other publishers released both titles in a big box edition that also featured new artwork and a new map/game called Elfensea.  This new edition was called Elfenroads.  

Elfenland itself has an interesting history, which I wrote last year as part of our Spiel des Jahres Re-Review series.  You can read the full history at that link, but here’s the abbreviated version: Elfenland’s earliest predecessor was also called Elfenroads, and it was released at Essen 1992 in a limited edition by Alan Moon’s publishing company, White Wind.  A few years later, AMIGO Spiel approached Moon about reissuing Elfenroads in slimmed-down form.  That game, Elfenland, won the 1998 Spiel des Jahres and several other honors.  The following year an expansion called Elfengold was released that added back in many of the mechanics present in the original Elfenroads.  Many gamers preferred the expanded mechanics present in the original Elfenroads or Elfengold, and both games became highly sought after by collectors, garnering high prices on the secondary market.   Fast forward to Essen 2015, when a new game bearing the title Elfenroads was released.  That title, as discussed below, is a sort of big box edition of the game consisting of Elfenland, Elfengold, and Elfensea.   Continue reading

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Congratulations to Codenames for winning SdJ and Isle of Skye for winning Kennerspiel!

The prizes were announced this morning –

The Spiel des Jahres was given to Codenames

2016_codenames

 

The Kennerspiel was awarded to Isle of Skye

2016_isleofskye

 

So – in our predictions, we’re one for two…  Luke, Joe H and Jonathan F were the three writers who correctly picked the pair of winners.

 

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TANKS – The WWII Tanks Skirmish Game (Review by Matt Carlson)

TANKS: Panther vs Sherman Starter Box
Designers: Andrew Haught, Chris Townley, Phil Yates
Publisher: Gale Force Nine, LLC
Players: 2
Ages: 8ish
Time: 30 minutes

(review copy provided by publisher)

TANKS is a new, lightweight system of miniatures from Gale Force Nine, focusing on (surprise) the tank battles of World War II. The idea is to have a fast-playing miniatures wargame to serve as an introduction to the hobby. This is the first wargame by Gale Force Nine, who produce a prodigious amount of pre-painted battle terrain, presumably usable in TANKS games as well as the more complex Flames of War game owned by GF9’s parent company, Battlefront Miniatures.

TANKS Bits (2)

My assembled tanks.

Continue reading

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The Opinionated Gamers take on the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres 2016

 

The short lists have been out for a few weeks now, and the writers here at the Opinionated Gamers have had a chance to play the games and try to guess at what the real jury will select for the award winners.  The press conference is set up for this coming Monday, so this seems to be a good time for us to publish our poll.

In this year’s version of the proceedings, the OG writers were simply asked to predict which game they thought the jury would give the awards to – NOT what the writers wanted to win.  There is room in the comments for our personal choices.  We had 26 writers vote this year, which may be our best SdJ turnout ever!

So, without much further ado – let’s start with the Kennerspiel this year….  In a runaway victory Continue reading

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YINSH (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer: Kris Burm
  • Publisher:  Huch! & Friends; Don & Co.; Rio Grande
  • Players:  2
  • Ages:  9 and Up
  • Time:  30-60 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 10

YINSH

Note: We’re focusing on reprints, re-themes, re-releases, etc. this month.  Since YINSH was recently reprinted, this entry is part of that series.  

YINSH was the fourth (arguably fifth or sixth) game published in the GIPF Project, an award-winning series of six abstract games by Belgian designer Kris Burm.  Burm first published the game through his company Don & Co. in 2003, with Rio Grande also releasing an edition that year.  It was later picked up by SMART for a revised multilingual edition and Rebel.pl for a Polish edition.

The entire GIPF series went out of print a few years ago, but HUCH & Friends has started reprinting the games with a fresh look, beginning with GIPF and YINSH.  That endeavor will culminate in the release of a new GIPF Project title next year.  I interviewed Mr. Burm for the most recent edition of Counter Magazine (April 2016) as part of my series on the history of the winners of the International Gamers Awards, and I wrote a history of GIPF yesterday on this site.

Continue reading

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GIPF (Game History and Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer: Kris Burm
  • Publisher:  Huch! & Friends; Don & Co.; Schmidt Spiele; Rio Grande
  • Players:  2
  • Ages:  9 and Up
  • Time:  30-60 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 10

GIPF2016Cover

Note: We’re focusing on reprints, re-themes, re-releases, etc. this month.  Since GIPF was recently reprinted, this entry is part of that series.  I’ve included updates on the reprint below.    

GIPF is the first game in the GIPF Project, an award-winning series of six (arguably seven) abstract games by Belgian designer Kris Burm.  Burm first published the game as an independent in 1997, but a few months after its initial release, he came to a partnership with a German publisher.  The game and its successors in the GIPF Project have been released worldwide by a few publishers in the nineteen years since.  Even after all this time, GIPF still stands as one of the most revered abstract titles in our hobby.  

The entire series went out of print a few years ago, but HUCH & Friends has began republishing the games with a fresh look, starting with GIPF and YINSH.  That endeavor will culminate in the release of a new GIPF Project title next year.  I interviewed Mr. Burm for the most recent edition of Counter Magazine as part of my series on the history of the winners of the International Gamers Awards, and he gave me some great details about the origin of GIPF.

What follows is my history of GIPF, plus a short review with thoughts from all of the Opinionated Gamers.  

Continue reading

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