Dale Yu: Review of BONK



  • Designer: David Harvey
  • Publisher: Competo/Marketoy
  • Players: 2 or 4
  • Ages: 6+
  • Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Times played: 6 with review copy provided by Competo/Marketoy

BONK is another of the new Target-only offerings for this year; this one from the same company that brought the awesome wooden dexterity game KLASK to us. BONK itself is not new, it is a modernization of Rollet, a game that I first saw a few years ago.

The concept in BONK is simple.  Two teams play against each other.  The field is a large rectangle, with areas in each corner cordoned off to hold each player’s slide.  The small area between the cordoned areas is the team’s goal – teammates will do their best to defend their goal and not allow the wooden ball to enter it! Continue reading

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The Fox in the Forest (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer:  Joshua Buergel
  • Publisher:  Renegade Game Studios, Foxtrot Games
  • Players:  2
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  30 Minutes
  • Times Played: > 5


The Fox in the Forest is a 2-player trick taking card game from Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games.  The game, designed by Joshua Buergel, was released this summer, getting a bit of pre-Gen Con buzz.

As regular readers know, I’m a trick-taking enthusiast, to put it mildly.  I was eager to get my hands on The Fox in the Forest, and a friend was kind enough to get me a copy for my birthday.  

Two-player trick taking games are genuinely few and far between.  We’ve seen a few games attempt to include 2-player rules, but generally the game is actually meant for three to five players, and the 2-player rules are more of an afterthought.  Not so here: The Fox in the Forest is meant only for two-players, and that is certainly noteworthy in its genre.   Continue reading

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James Nathan: Mini Rails

Mini Rails
Designer: Mark Gerrits
Artist: Steve Tse
Publisher: Moaideas Games Design
Players: 3-5
Ages: 13+
Time: 40-60 minutes
Times Played: 5 times with purchased copy, 1 time with review copy
Previously Covered: Lorna’s Mini Review – First Impressions


Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between what I want and what I think I want. Between what I like and what I think I like. One of the things I think I like is sleek rule sets and another is stock-holding train games, so when something like Mini Rails comes around, I’m a fish in a barrel (even though the outcome varies.)  Continue reading

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Cities of Splendor: An Expansion Review

  • Designer:  Marc Andre
  • Publisher:  Space Cowboys
  • Players:  2 – 4
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  30 Minutes
  • Times Played:   > 6

Cities of Splendor: A Review of Four Expansions


Splendor is one of my all-time favorite games.  I’ve logged more than 75 plays (though I’ve probably played more than 100 games), hosted Splendor events, and once even placed second at a big Gen Con tournament.  So I was eager for its first expansion, Cities of Splendor, which is releasing soon.

I’m loving this expansion, which is really a series of four different expansions.  I think it adds some nice elements to the base game without adding much complexity.  I’m going to provide an overview and rating for each one.   Continue reading

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Congratulations to the 2017 IGA Nominees!

The nominations for the 2017 International Gamers Awards were recently announced.  Congratulations to these games, designers, and publishers!  

The IGA is awarded annually by a jury of prominent gamers from around the world, with a stated goal “to recognize outstanding games and designers, as well as the companies that publish them.”  Over the years the IGA has grown to be one of the major prizes in gaming, alongside Germany’s Spiel des Jahres (“Game of the Year”) and the Deutscher Spiele Preis (the “German Game Prize”).  The IGA’s nomination and voting procedures are outlined on the jury’s website (http://www.internationalgamersawards.net/).   Continue reading

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James Nathan: Review of Gads Hill 1874

Gads Hill 1874
Designer: Stephan Riedel
Artist: Christian Opperer
Publisher: Clicker Spiele
Players: 2-4
Ages: 10+
Time: 45 Minutes
Times Played: 6 with purchased copies

There was a time last October when I moved this to the “not interested category”.  Sometimes I don’t keep up with pre-Essen/pre-BGG.CON planning, and end up overwhelmed, and then some game that I’ve marked “undecided” gets moved with a hatchet to “I don’t have time to deal with you.”  I mean, I looked at it a second time and thought “what was the deal with this one again?”

But then I found myself in a situation where it was things I did not want to play from someone else’s bag of games or Gads Hill 1874, so here we are.


In Gads Hill 1874 we’re roughly archaeologistdetectives discovering an old west town – Where was that Barbershop? What street was the School on?

The wrinkle here, as in general with Riedel’s games, is that there isn’t an answer yet.  There’s no person/weapon/room card tucked in a nice envelope that form an answer you’re working towards.  Rather than whole situation is in flux as you play, as this is an inductive game, rather than a deductive game.   Continue reading

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Indulgence (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer: Jerry D’Arcy, Rob Daviau, Justin Jacobson
  • Publisher: Restoration Games
  • Players: 3-4
  • Ages: 14 and Up
  • Time: 45-60 Minutes
  • Times Played: > 5


As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of trick-taking card games.  I play them, collect them, and have even written a few pieces on their history.  So when I heard that Dragonmaster was being “restored” by Restoration Games under the title Indulgence, I was excited.  I had heard quite a bit about Dragonmaster, but had never actually had the chance to play Milton Bradley’s classic from the early 1980s.

Indulgence is excellent, and I enthusiastically recommend it.  It might be one of the best-produced trick taking games out there, and there’s a great deal of replayability.  If Restoration Games keeps this level of quality, they’ll be a company to watch.   Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Paper Tales


Paper Tales

  • Designer: Masato Uesugi
  • Publisher: Catch Up Games
  • Players: 2-5
  • Ages: 12+
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Times played: 5, with preview prototype provided by Catch Up Games

I was approached by Catch Up Games to look at their upcoming Essen releases (albeit in final prototype form).  I have had pretty good success with their releases – SOL and Freak Shop last year – so I was interested to learn more.  When I found out that the designer of the new games was Masato Uesugi, it became more a question of “how soon can you ship it here from Europe”.  The game was originally designed in 2011, but it has been Japanese-only until now. Continue reading

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Codenames Duet (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designers:  Vlaada Chvátil, Scot Eaton
  • Publisher:  Czech Games Edition
  • Players:  2 (or more)
  • Ages:  11 and Up
  • Time:  15 Minutes
  • Times Played:   > 9


Codenames Duet is the cooperative, two-player version of Vlaada Chvátil’s Codenames, winner of the 2016 Spiel des Jahres.  Czech Games Edition released the game at Gen Con 2017, where it topped many hotness lists.  For this design, Chvátil partnered with Scot Eaton.  

Essentially, Vlaada has taken Codenames and worked it into a cool version for two.  The game comes with 200 cards with 400 new words, plus a sort-of campaign mode using mission maps.   Continue reading

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GenCon 2017 Mega Rundown – Odds n Ends

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe reporting is winding down, but not without sharing photos of things that amused me as I wandered the convention center, like the sleeping giant to the left who was a loaner from the popular live-action True Dungeon experience (think LARPing in a specially built dungeon.)

True Dungeon was located in the basement of Lucas Oil Stadium.  The convention expanded into the football stadium this year, with a few events (like yesterday’s starship simulators, anime movies, etc…) in the hallways and the entire football floor covered with stalls and game tables.

Continue reading

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