We’ve decided that we’re going to hold off on writing our group reviews until around Thanksgiving – in order to give as many of our writers a chance to play the games at the fall conventions (Great Lakes Games, Sasquatch, BGG.con, EuroQuest, Basement Con, Lobster Trap, etc) and allow for as many comments as possible on the new games.
In the meantime, I thought I would write up some quick mini-capsule reviews of some of the new games that I’ve played. Most of the games have only been played once, so clearly my opinions are still forming on the games – but I know that many people are trying to figure out which games they want to buy/try first, and to that end, any opinions will be helpful. These thoughts will eventually be edited/incorporated into the full review that will come in the next few months, but I will try to talk about the new games a little bit at a time until we’re ready for full reviews. I will try to give a short description of the game(s) in each piece and some quick thoughts about them. The rules are not meant to be comprehensive – merely enough to give a flavor for how the game works.
- Designer: Bjorn Heismann
- Publisher: Amigo
- Mechanics: real time dice rolling, set collection
Gameplay: Board of different colored spaces has 6 turtles randomly drawn and placed on map. Each player rolls 5 dice simultaneously, trying to arrange the colors correctly. Can re-roll as much as you want. Fastest player goes first. Players then move their pawn onto colored board spaces in the order of the dice. If you move your pawn onto a space with a turtle tlie, you collect it. At end of round, you draw turtles to bring the board total back up to 5. Game goes until all turtles are collected. You score 8 points for each set of 6 differently colored turtles. Otherwise, turtles are worth one point each.
Thoughts: It’s a decent family game, but not something I’d play regularly with my adult group. My boys like the game, though the game can degenerate into looking for only one or two colors on your initial roll, placing the dice as quick as possible and only taking those few steps – but ensuring that you get a turtle each turn. If you approach it as a light family game, it’s a quick 20-30 minute game. With experienced gamers, I think the system can be “gamed” a bit, and it’s just not right for that group. That being said, having spoken with my friends at Amigo, they are committed to making solid family games, and in that regard, they have succeeded.
- Designer: Masao Suganuma
- Publisher: Grounding / Japon Brand
- Mechanics: dice rolling, deck/city building
Gameplay; Players start with the same two buildings. Each is triggered by a specific dice roll (sometimes on your own turn, sometimes on the roll of an opponent). On your turn, you roll dice, and then see if one or more of your cards is activated; this happens when the exact roll (either 1d6 or 2d6 is found on the top of your card). Most cards provide coins when activated. You can use coins to buy more cards – each with different numbers that activate them and with different payouts. The goal is to be the first to build four city cards (all players have the same 4 to build to win the game).
Thoughts: I really like this game. There is a lot of nice risk management in trying to get your cards activated – especially in deciding between rolling one or two dice on your turn. This can be important because your cards only activate when the exact roll is found on the card. The actions on the cards are different enough that there are multiple paths to victory, though in the end, players that roll their own numbers more often will tend to do better… After 2 games, the selection of cards feels a bit limited, but there is already an expansion out which gives about a dozen more card types, and this will hopefully widen the choices. But, even without those extra cards, I’m still looking forward to playing this one more. About 20-30 minutes per game – up to 4 players.