Tag Archives: reviews

Salem (Game Review by Chris Wray)

Designer: Travis Hancock Publisher: Facade Games Players: 4 – 12 Ages: 12 and Up Time: 25-35 Minutes Times Played: 8 I’m a huge fan of social deduction games.  I love playing them, I collect them, and I even enjoy moderating … Continue reading

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Review of Pups

Pups is competitive trick-taking card game in which players are dog trainers using their packs of loveable pups to complete in a series of legendary canine showdowns to become the top dog. During each of seven rounds, trainers will receive a pack of seven Pups, bid on how many showdowns can be won during the round, complete in a series of showdowns by playing Pups with the highest valued one winning, and then collect Reward Treats for successful bids or Penalty Poos for failures. The trainer that has earned the most overall treats wins and is declared Top Dog! Continue reading

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Review of Blend Off!

Blend Off! is a real time game in which all players are frantically rolling dice to collect fruit, blending smoothies, and filling orders to earn gold stars. Makes total sense, right? To best understand the theme and mechanisms of the game, it’s important to know the backstory. Here it is as told in the rules…

Blend it Like Becca — a small-town smoothie shop sensation! It’s been a slow night. Becca the shop owner, Kevin the runner boy, and the Master Mixers – including you! – have started closing up shop. One minute before close, the door swings open. Outside, you see parked school buses and a line of people all the way to the street corner! The high school girls’ volleyball tournament has just gotten out, and everyone is craving a smoothie for the ride home. Becca cuts a deal: whoever blends the most smoothies tonight gets free smoothies for a month! The Blend Off has begun, and only one can win. There’s just one problem: Kevin. Skittish at best on normal days, he flies into a frenzy, grabbing fruit for you from the fridge at random. Take the fruit Kevin brings, complete the orders Becca calls back, and blend your way to victory!

In the game, players represent the Master Mixers who are competing to blend the most smoothies. Each Master Mixer rolls a Fruit Die representing Kevin\ and the random fruits he retrieves from the refrigerator. The deck of Blender Cards represents Becca who is continuously calling out smoothie orders to be filled. Unlike many games, there are no individual turns. Players are all playing and taking actions simultaneously until the game ends (when Becca is out of orders). The player that earned the most gold stars from blending smoothies is the winner. Continue reading

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Hanamikoji (Re-Review by Chris Wray)

Designer: Kota Nakayama Publisher: Quick Simple Fun Games; EmperorS4 Games Players: 2 Ages: 10 and Up Time: 15 Minutes Times Played: > 10 Quick Simple Fun games released Hanamikoji in the U.S. in December.  The game is currently up for … Continue reading

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Spyfall 2 (Game Review by Chris Wray)

Designer: Alexander Ushan Publisher: Cryptozoic / Hobby World Players: 3 – 12 Players Ages: 13 and Up Time: 15+ Minutes Times Played: > 5 Spyfall came out a couple of years ago and was a big hit on the social … Continue reading

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Review of Codinca

Rival treasure hunters (i.e., players) have discovered the Temple of Codinca while exploring the Yucatan rain forests. To open the Temple and find the great treasures contained within, players must use various mechanisms to manipulate a grid of sixteen carved Symbol Tiles to match specific Key Patterns. The first player to match their own Symbol Tiles to their four Key Patterns will unlock the secrets of Codinca.

Codinca is an abstract strategy game that combines skill and chance. Players take turns using various actions (e.g., flipping, swapping, and shifting) to manipulate a common grid of tiles to create patterns that match their individual Key Cards. The game is meant to be fast-paced and tactical.

Codinca was first available as a pre-production release at the Essen Game Fair (Spiel) in 2012. Only 150 copies were available and it sold out. A Kickstarter campaign was launched in September 2013 to fund a full production release, but it failed to reach the necessary goal. The game largely disappeared until it re-debuted at the 2016 UK Game Expo in new pocket edition. According to the announcement from the publisher, “the mechanics have been streamlined, the tiles made substantially chunkier, the rules include six languages (English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish & Polish), and it all comes in a very pretty pocket sized magnetic closing box.” This review is for the new 2016 release of Codinca. Continue reading

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Raven (Game Review by Chris Wray)

Designer: Bob Kamp Publisher: Drive Thru Cards Players: 2 – 6 Ages: 8 and Up Time: 30+ Minutes Times Played: > 5 (on Review Copy Provided by the Designer) Raven, a trick taking card designed by Bob Kamp and available … Continue reading

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Insider (Game Review by Chris Wray)

Designers: Akihiro Itoh, Kwaji, Daichi Okano, Kito Shinma Publisher: Oink Games Players: 4 – 8 Ages: 9 and Up Time: 15 Minutes Times Played: > 12 (with 4-8 Players) Insider is a bit of “20 questions” mixed with “Werewolf” (or, … Continue reading

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Pandemic Iberia (Game Review by Chris Wray)

Designers: Matt Leacock, Jesus Torres Castro Publisher: Z-Man Games Players: 2 – 5 Ages: 8 and Up Time: 45 Minutes Times Played: 5 (with 2-5 Players) Pandemic Iberia made its debut at Essen 2016, receiving a much wider release in … Continue reading

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Review of Herbaceous

Herbaceous is self-described as “a flavorful card game” in which players can “relax while enjoying this elegant game of picking and potting herbs.” The objective is to score the most points by potting the best collection of herbs. To do this, players take turns drawing and planting herbs into the Community Garden and their individual Private Gardens, and later picking those herbs to pot into various containers. Every player has an identical set of Container Cards, but each type of container has different requirements for what it can hold. Points are scored at the end of the game based on the number of Herb Cards potted in each container.

Herbaceous is the fifth game successfully crowdfunded by Eduardo Baraf and Pencil First Games using Kickstarter. The campaign ended on September 23, 2016 and was supported by 2,208 backers. The game shipped to backers in January 2017. Continue reading

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