Periodic: A Game of the Elements (Review by RJ Garrison)


Designer:  John J. Coveyou & Paul Salomon

Publisher:  Genius Games

Players:  2-5

Playing Time:  40-60 minutes

Ages:  10+ 

MSRP 39.99

Review copy provided by Genius Games

Periodic:  A Game of the Elements keeps Genius Games moving forward producing games that combine solid science, solid mechanics and solid fun.  In Periodic, players race around the Periodic Table collecting elements in an attempt to complete goal cards, or earn Academic points by moving along the research track.

The game is played over a series of rounds that are broken up into 2 phases:

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ハニーフェスタ (Honey Festa)

Designer: ゆたか (Yutaka)
Artist: ツクダヒナミ (Hinami Tsukuda)
Publisher: ゆるあ~と(Yuruart)
Players: 1-4
Ages: 8+
Times Played: 6 times on a purchased copy

Honey Festa is a puzzle game originally released at the Spring 2019 Tokyo Game Market. When I say “puzzle” game here, I mean it in the context of a “bingo” type game, like Take It Easy! or Karuba, where one player acts as the “caller”, pulling a tile from an established pool, and each player then finds their matching tile and…does something with it.

My feelings on this one are…complicated, and I had to break down my rating into three separate categories, but I won’t leave you hanging: I love the gameplay.

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Candy Lab

Candy Lab

  • Designer: Thomas Danede
  • Publisher: Funnyfox
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher/distributor

In Candy Lab, players are competing employees in a candy factory.  You are each trying to be the best at filling to orders for the brightly colored candy bars.  Unlike Lucille Ball, no one is going to have to eat the candies – just put them in boxes!  The game includes 27 colored candy bars (in pink, blue and yellow) – which are randomly arranged in a line on the table.  This represents the conveyor belt of produced candies. The deck of order cards is shuffled and each player is dealt a hand of 5 cards.  A supply of three cards is put face up on the table along with the remaining deck of order cards.

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Dale Yu: Preview of The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game

  • Designer: Ryan Miller
  • Players: 1-4
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 15 minutes per chapter, 6 chapters in the box
  • Played with review copy provided by Ravensburger USA

“Fencing. Fighting. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True Love. Miracles”.  So, if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  And I’m assuming that all of these things will be in this board game, just like it was in the movie, just like it was in the book by S. Morgenstern. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out if anyone will ever be “mostly dead” though.

In this “Adventure Book” game, the players will play through six chapters of the Princess Bride story.  Well, they will try to play through the story – because that pesky sick grandson will continually interrupt.  Regardless, the players work together as a team to advance through the story.  Each chapter will can be played independently, but with a suggested time of 15 minutes per chapter, the whole game should take about the same time as the movie itself – which is 98 minutes, as I am sure you know…

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Dale Yu: Review of Hibachi


  • Designer: Marco Teubner
  • Publisher: Grail Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Age: 10+
  • Played with advance prototype copy provided by Grail Games

Hibachi is a game where players try to construct desirable dishes, using all their skills to collect the right ingredients as quickly as possible.  This game is a re-theme of Safranito, a 2010 Essen release, originally done by Zoch.   The original game was set up in an Indian bazaar; here, the game is played on what appears to be a hibachi tabletop.

Each player has a set of coins, each labeled with a value from 100 to 600.  These coins are hefty clay poker chips.  The board has 9 different ingredient bowls on it as well as a few smaller special action spaces.  At the start of a 4p game, 6 ingredient cards are placed around the board in their slots, 3 recipe cards are dealt out and placed near the table, and each player selects 3 of their chips to play in this round.  Players start with 2000 in paper money.

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The Crew Wins a la carte’s Best Cardgame Award

The a la carte award is conducted annually by Fairplay magazine, with the goal of honoring the best card game of the year. It’s one of my favorite gaming awards and they’ve chosen a bunch of great designs since it began in 1991. They recently announced the results for 2020 and it will come as no surprise to most of you that the winner is The Crew, the hit cooperative trick-taking game designed by Thomas Sing and published by Kosmos. Richard Garfield’s Carnival of Monsters finished second and Tom Lehmann’s Res Arcana wound up third. All in all, it’s quite an impressive list of games. Here is the top 10, together with their designers:

  1. The Crew (Thomas Sing)
  2. Carnival of Monsters (Richard Garfield)
  3. Res Arcana (Tom Lehmann)
  4. Spicy (Gyori Gabor)
  5. Walking in Burano (Wei-Min Ling)
  6. Watergate (Matthias Cramer)
  7. Yokai (Julien Griffon)
  8. Palm Island (Jon Mietling)
  9. Don Carlo (Wolfgang Kramer, Bernhard Lach, Uwe Rapp)
  10. Space Base (John D. Clair)
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