Dale Yu: Spoiler-Free Review of the EXIT series from Kosmos

Dale Yu: The EXIT series from Kosmos

  • Games:  EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin, EXIT: The Secret Lab, EXIT: The Pharaoh’s Tomb
  • Designers: Inka and Markus Brand
  • Publisher: Kosmos
  • Players: 1+
  • Ages: 12+
  • Time: 45-90 minutes (or maybe more)
  • Times played: 1 play of each of the three games with review copies provided by Thames&Kosmos

 

As you’ve likely noticed, the past year or two has been filled with releases in the “Escape Room” genre – games where players work together to solve whatever puzzles come in the box.  We’ve reviewed a number of different releases here on the OG blog in that time period:

For spoiler free reviews from Opinionated Gamers of other escape room games, please see:

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Review of Escape Room The Game – Welcome to Funland | Escape Room The Game – Murder Mystery (NO SPOILERS)

Escape Room The Game Welcome to Funland | Escape Room The Game Murder Mystery

  • Designer: Team Identity Games
  • Publisher: Spin Master Ltd. and Identity Games International B.V.
  • Players: 3-5
  • Ages: 16 and up
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Times Played: Once each with 4 players
  • Both expansion packs were purchased using personal funds.

Introduction

Escape Room The Game [OG Review] is a cooperative “escape the room” game from Spin Master Ltd. that was released in 2016. The base game contains four different Adventures for teams to explore and experience. Plays must work together to solve several puzzles before time runs out. Verifying that each puzzle has been solved correctly requires the use of an electronic Chrono Decoder and associated Keys. The Chrono Decoder is unique to this game system and is used in several ways, including: it’s the game timer, it contains various ciphers needed to solve puzzles, and it verifies the code – entered by inserting Keys into the device – for each part of the Adventure.  Shortly after the release of Escape Room The Game, two separate expansion packs were also released for the game:

  • Welcome to Funland (Difficulty 3.5/5) – Escape from the scary theme park before the creepy clown comes back!
  • Murder Mystery (Difficulty 3/5) – Investigate the crime scene and identify the weapon, motive, and suspect to solve the murder!

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Play These Games First: Other Recommendations

What games would we recommend that aspiring (but wholly inexperienced) gamers play first?  This is the final article in a three part series, and today we discuss our other recommendations that didn’t make the top 10.

We ran through details of the project yesterday, but as a reminder, we had 13 Opinionated Gamers vote in a shared spreadsheet, with 46 different games receiving votes.  We decided to write about our findings in three articles, discussing the top ten games.  Monday’s article discussed #10 to #6 (i.e. the second-highest vote getters).  Yesterday’s article discussed #5 to #1 (i.e. the highest vote getters).  Today’s article is everybody’s chance to discuss games that didn’t make the top 10, plus offer thoughts on the list. Continue reading

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Play These Games First: An Introduction to Gaming (Games #5 – #1)

What games would we recommend that aspiring (but wholly inexperienced) gamers play first?  This is the second article in a three part series, and today we discuss the top five most recommended games.

We ran through details of the project yesterday, but as a reminder, we had 13 Opinionated Gamers vote in a shared spreadsheet, with 46 different games receiving votes.  We decided to write about our findings in three articles, discussing the top ten games.  Yesterday’s article discussed #10 to #6 (i.e. the second-highest vote getters).  Today’s article discusses #5 to #1 (i.e. the highest vote getters).  Tomorrow’s article is everybody’s chance to discuss games that didn’t make the top 10.   Continue reading

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Adventures in Gaming: Tokyo Game Market

As a gamer, I’m always looking for that next board game adventure. This year it was Tokyo Game Market. Travel is always a bit daunting for me but I made the jump. I arrived about 5 days before the show to do a little sightseeing with a good friend that knows Tokyo and speaks Japanese. Highlights included a bike tour of Tokyo,( be sure and keep that helmet on!) and the walking foodstand tour of Shibuyu. I also got a rockin’ good fortune at Senso-ji Temple so watch out, I expect to be winning a lot of games soon.  The day before the show I went to an International Gaming Party and got a little preview of some of the new titles from Japon Brand and TBD.

I tried Animani, a quick little filler where each player is a distinct animal with a special power and you try and eliminate the other by using attack cards on your neighbors.

I also tried Jandwich, a food themed card version with a Mah Jong mechanism. The little playing aids for scoring are bilingual.

I also played Kikkasa by the same designer of Jandwich another Mah Jong inspired little dice game. Here the there is gathering the best chrysanthemums. This one has a very high luck element but it’s also super fast and portable.

Next up was Ars Combinatorial which contained two decks and a book with 5 different games.

I also tried Numeracy: The Rainbow Unicorn, the first of a trilogy of games. This one is aimed towards the children’s market with the subsequent games having more complex mechanisms. The Rainbow Unicorn is route building and resource gathering and super cute.

Colortopia is a real time race game where players use 6 double sided cards to match patterns. Some of the cards have two primary colors with the opposite side having the resulting mixed color and other cards have single cards with the opposite color on the other side. I love these kinds of games and had a great time playing.

I tried another race bluffing game called Honest Rabbit. Normally these kind of games are not for me but we had lots of fun and since no one is really expected to be honest this totally worked for me. Players take turn drawing cards from a common display making 3 card sets of runs or the same color. When they have a set they can ask a player for a 4th card for the set and that’s where the bluff comes into play. Depending on the result you move your rabbit a certain number of spaces.

Taiwan Monster Brawl lives up to its name. The art for the spell cards is fantastic. We only got to play a short game and as expected it’s a dice feast.

Finally had a chance to play Mini Rails. This is a short train game, buy stock or build once per round for 7 rounds. Train game at a minimum from the designer of  SteamRollers.

After the show we tried Space Debris a little card game which was really placement game. This one has Looney Tune type animations and the company had an almost identical game which was ninja themed.

Also tried a tile placement game from Grounding, the company that did Machi Koryo. It’s a race to get around Tokyo. Makes a great souvenir for me since it lists all the popular tourist spots.

Finally tried Hatsuden which is a little two player card game in the vein of Lost Cities. Definitely want to try it again.

So the game market is pretty impressive. This year it was at a Tokyo Big Sight, a massive convention center. It filled one of the halls. Every little table is a stand and there are so many things to see. I love looking at all the independent productions and hand crafted items and would have bought tons more if they had English rules. I just don’t have the space for games I might not ever be able to play…

Here are most of the games (I also ordered some from TBD) and I’ll be posting more commentary as they get played and I catch up on some sleep.

 

Posted in Convention Report | 4 Comments

Play These Games First: An Introduction to Gaming (Games #10 – #6)

A few weeks ago, a former coworker with little gaming experience asked me for a list of recommended board games.  He loved the classics as a child, and he had tried a couple of modern titles, but he wanted to explore a few more.  

In today’s marketplace, where thousands of titles are released each year, finding good games can be a challenge.  I immediately rattled off a list to my friend, but I also got an idea for an article: what would the consensus list be for us here at The Opinionated Gamers?  What games would we recommend that aspiring (but wholly inexperienced) gamers play first?  

We had 13 Opinionated Gamers vote, with 46 different games receiving votes.  We decided to write about our findings in three articles, discussing the top ten games.  This article will discuss #10 to #6 (i.e. the second-highest vote getters).  Tomorrow’s article will discuss #5 to #1 (i.e. the highest vote getters).  Wednesday’s article is everybody’s chance to discuss games that didn’t make the top 10.  

Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of twenty one

 

twenty one

  • Designer: Steffen Benndorf
  • Publisher: NSV
  • Players: 2-6
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Times played: 6, with purchased copy

Steffen Benndorf is becoming one of my favorite designers – mostly because the majority of his games are in my favorite genre, the Roll-and-Write game.  twenty one is the newest release from Herr Benndorf, and it has already reserved its place in my Roll-and-Write box with Qwixx and Qwinto after the first week. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Pyramids

 

Pyramids

  • Designers: Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert
  • Publisher: IELLO
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 10+
  • Time: ~30 minutes
  • Times played: 6, with review copy provided by IELLO

Pyramids is the newest release from the design team of Dunstan and Gilbert – I have been a big fan of their previous joint efforts (Costa Rica, Elysium and Relic Runners for instance).  This newest release has players vying to build the most impressive necropolis.

The main part of the game are in the construction cards – these cards have either 2 or 3 building stones represented on their bottom half – and players will use these to construct their monuments: a pyramid in the center, with a tomb underneath and a tall obelisk off to the side.  There are five different colors to the construction stones, and some of the stones have a glyph printed on them.  The deck of construction cards is shuffled and each player is dealt a single card to start the game. A set of God tiles is placed in the center of the table – they will be used each round.  A first player is chosen randomly. Continue reading

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LYNGK (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer: Kris Burm
  • Publisher:  Huch! & Friends; Rio Grande
  • Players:  2
  • Ages:  13 and Up
  • Time:  30-60 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 5

LYNGK

LYNGK is the seventh (arguably eighth) game in the GIPF Project, an award-winning series of abstract games by Belgian designer Kris Burm.  

The GIPF project started in 1997, and the series has been released worldwide by a few publishers in the twenty years since.  Though the project went out of print a few years ago, HUCH & Friends began republishing the games with a fresh look last year, starting with GIPF and YINSH.  We reviewed both games at the time.   

LYNGK is the new game in the series.  As you’ll see below, the game is played with six different colors, each representing a game of the GIPF project, making it a “synthesis of the project.”  As described in the rulebook, “[w]hile GIPF itself is the epicenter of the project, LYNGK is the umbrella game.  It brings together all 6 games through the implementation of elements and mechanics that characterize each game of the series.”   Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Watson & Holmes (2017, Asmodee)

Watson & Holmes

  • Designer: Jesús Torres Castro
  • Publisher: Space Cowboys / Asmodee (initial version by Ludonova)
  • Ages: 12+
  • Players: 2-7
  • Time: 45-75 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Asmodee NA

There have been a number of Sherlock Holmes themed games out in recent days which coincides also with the rise of escape room/puzzle room games.  It appears that there is growing interest in games of deduction and puzzle solving, and Asmodee (and other companies) look to be trying to capitalize on this growing trend.

Watson & Holmes was originally released in 2015 by Ludonova.  We reviewed it here in the months following the fair.  The game was picked up and re-released in an updated fashion earlier this winter.  It is under the Space Cowboys label this time around, and distributed by Asmodee. Continue reading

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