RSS

Monthly Archives: June 2011

No Wonder It’s So Great!

Cover Shot

7 Wonders Review

Here it is, one of the BGG Darling, a card game from Asmodee and Repos Production. Designed by the game designer Antoine Bauza, 7 Wonders was anticipated by most board gamers even before it’s launched. At first i even asked why it’s so popular and the game rank was drastically up when the early time of the launch. So i assume the game is incredibly great, and the artworks also marvelous. So i bought it even a little bit pricey from the normal price. But, you bet i was content.
Okay, maybe it’s time i tell you why this game is so great. Here’s my overview of the game:

1. The Theme

So, what’s interesting about 7 Wonders? Well, the theme is one of the interesting parts. It’s about the seven wonders of the ancient world, The Pyramids at Giza, The Hanging garden of Babylon, Statue of Zeus in Olympia, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Lighthouse in Alexandria, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, & The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. This marvelous human creation are the subject of the game and they will be called Wonders throughout the game. The main storyline is players try to build wonder stages and structures so they can gain most points to win the game after 3 ages (rounds or phases, whatever you call it bro). Interesting right? A fresh touch of the theme brought the game into such a hype in BGG and yes, this game was one of the BGG darlings. Maybe the expansions would have wonders from the modern world? Would Borobudur Temple on Indonesia counted as one of them?

2. The Artworks

Miguel Coimbra (the artist) really did a great work. The game illustrations are marvelous, with stunning graphics, clear & detailed image and contrast colors gives us fresh and strong impression. Almost everyone i knew who play this game agree with me aout this and it’s one of the best artwork i’ve seen in board games. I liked the colors and image of The Hanging Garden, The Lighthouse and Colossus, they look stunning. So, again, a praise for Coimbra.

Artwork for The Hanging Garden of Babylon

3. The Game Components

Inside The Box

This is one of the simple games i have ever played. When you open the box,you will find spectacular unique boards of the 7 Wonders, punch out card boards which contain coin tokens and VP tokens. The rest if the cards from 3 ages (along with 7 wonders cards and 2 additional cards for 2 players game). Oh yeah, don’t forget the score sheets,rulebook & quick start guide. The boards are great, so unique and the function turned out to be perfect (to facilitate the tokens and the wonder stage cards while at the same time maintain the aesthetic aspect of the illustrations. The tokens are also extraordinary, small little tokens with unusual circular shape of the coins (with 1 and 3 denominations), and shield like shape VP tokens (in 4 different type: 1, 3, 5 VP and -1 VP penalty). The Cards are divided into 3 ages (with 3 different colors in the back of cards), well, i had the copy which all the back cards of age 3 deck were misprinted (this was stated by the publishers and they will do something about it in the near future, and i heard that they will give replacement of the deck for all first copies, what a relief to hear that. But it’s not a major problem, since you still can enjoy the game normally).
4. The Game Play

Okay, here’s the deal, the goal of the game is the highest VP at the end of the game, each player choose his / her wonder by randomly drawn the face down wonder cards. Take the corresponding wonder board that match his wonder cards and pick his active side of the board, A or B (which the sides can also be randomly chosen by the card if preferable). Take 3 coins token for starter.

Sort the cards based on the number of players and shuffle each age. Draw the cards to each player (it’s supposed to be 7 cards for each).The game applies the neighbors system, which a player can interact with his left and right players as his neighbors (military conflict and trade). Now, players choose one card from age 1 cards, give the rest to his left (clockwise) and resolve the card until there are 2 cards left in player hand, he choose one and discard the last. This would be the end of age. After each age is ended, military conflict is brought active after it’s resolved proceed to next age which moves counterclockwise, and the third age back to clockwise direction.

Game in Progress

Each card can be resolve as a structure, wonder stage or sold to gain it’s price (3 coins). Each card has different types based on it’s background colors, gray and brown for resources cards, yellow for commerce, red for military, blue for civilian, green for science, purple for guild cards. Each player’s wonder board will have 1 resource type in the beginning (this marked that the player has already 1 type of resource in the beginning of the game. Throughout the game, players will need to build structures (and some of them has building cost, which come to the use of coins and resources). When ones want to build structures, he can use his resources and / or buy from his neighboring players for the price of 2 coins each (if the neighbors has the resources). When structures was build, the benefit / functions is immediately take effect (instant in gold and resources), except VP which will be counted in the end of the game. To build the wonder stage is also the same, the only different is player use any card (ignore the card type and structure, the card is faced down in the wonder stage slot). At the end of the game, players will count all the VP’s they had collected, the player with most VP is the winner.

5. The Replay Value

Have i told you that this game is so great? I did? many times? well, i said it again, that this game is so great! The hype was true after all, it’s living through it’s expectation. A filler game that caught the attention of all board gamers, newbie and hardcore gamers. What’s more to it, yeah this game is amazing, since it’s launching the game is ever growing popular, most wanted in every session by every players. Oh, if i was to count who has a copy in my gaming group, well almost everyone had or ordered it. Okay, let’s talk about the replay value, it’s tremendously high, with every wonders you can play and 2 sides of the board. And also, the neighbors system really work with the replay value, since with different neighbors you have different feel of the game. But, i guess, cause the never ending demand of the plays, there will be a point where people just had enough. And one of my friends has already showed the symptoms, by playing it in our holiday again and again. Oh yeah, how you play it also determine the replay value, since there are multiple paths to victory, by playing through military, civilian, science, wonders and guild cards.

My Thought of The Game

Well, here it is, i said it again, so great! I found this game to be satisfying and it’s not a difficult game to learn, even by completely new players. Okay there are lots of symbols to remember and it’s not easy to grasp for first play, but i guarantee, after trying the game once, the second will be lot of easier. Even though i still found out that it’s not easy to understand the big picture of the game, by building resources and the use of the cards. Often new players think that the resources cards they’ve build are discarded after use, they can saving resources for the next turn and so on. So, this game is a must and i am definitely use the game as an opening game for beginners. Not very long game time and no down time since every players simultaneously resolve their actions. There is one thing that really bothered me, the box, or should i say the BIG box. For a card game, it has a big box, and the contents of the box really wasting space. Asmodee or Repos could produce the game with half size of the normal box if they wanted to, and it’s so much easier to carry. I, myself, used storage solution fro the box so i could easily carry it around (even i can’t deny the box artwork is stunning). Oh yeah, one more thing, since it’s a card game, then the use of sleeves for the cards are really useful, to preserve and protect the cards and also make it easier to shuffle.

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Another Night in Dorn

Cover Shot

Dorn Review

My oh my, this is a game that capture my interest for quite some time. And i will tell you the reason in this review. Well, once i was a video gamer (PC gamer to be exactly) and one of my lovely games genre is RPG (Role Playing Games), mostly euro RPG, like Diablo, Baldur’s Gate, Ice Wind Dale Series, Arcanum, Neverwinter Night series, Mass Effect series and Dragon Age series. These games were the best in their era and til now i still idolize them. Well, since i changed the course of my life to board gaming, i was completely out of the grid from RPG. I didn’t even have the lust about Dragon Age sequel in store right now. I’m so into board gaming and i forget the RPG life. But to be honest, RPG is still my best choice of the genre, and haven’t found the best game represent it in board games.

Well, it’s not like there is no RPG game in board games, but there’s nothing peculiar interest me. For instance, Castle Ravenloft from Wizards of The Coast, which was supposed to be a great game, well the promotion and the media spot made us think so. But the real brutal truth was, i did not enjoy my first game and don’t want to play another game of it. Please, do not intimidated by my opinion, after all it’s only my opinion, whence i truly understand why some of you like the game.

Then Dorn came into my vision, first viewed it on Board Game Geek, caught by the cool cover artwork (so dark and menacing) but all of a sudden the components and mainly because of the board, i lost interest. And then later, one of my friends brought the game into our gaming session and we played it. And yes i did complain to him about the game board and components quality and artworks, many times to his agreement.

Published under the czech game publisher which unknown to almost anyone, Altar Games, Dorn had emerge from the heart of Europe into the world of board gaming unnoticed. With the lineup designers Jan Danek, Jiri Danek, Jan Drevikovsky, Filip Kozak, Krystof Kozak and Jan Kozak, Dorn had become a board game that deserves serious consideration and appreciation. Here’s the overview of the game:

1. The Theme

As like any other RPG, which the story usually based on the fantasy fiction of good and evil forces that will determine the fate of the world, Dorn also has the same theme like that. In Dorn, players take the roles of heroes and Dornkeeper, which must confront each others to ensure their victory. The heroes must enter the Dorn (the castle or dungeon where The Dornkeeper resides and casts his plan to rule the world by performing a cursed ritual to destroy the hamlet of Argos. While the heroes team up to fight the minions of The Dornkeeper and ruin his treacherous plan inside his dark and dangerous castle. This co-operative game of dungeon crawling let players work their way as heroes and help each other to fight a player as The Dornkeeper.

2. The Artworks

As i have said before, that the cover really stole my attention, so yes the artworks are compelling. This is so my kind of style. When looking at the characters illustrations, i could say that it’s nice with clssic feelings of medieval time style, but somehow it also looks out of style and less drawn (for it looks like a rough sketch feeling illustrations) from the monotone color (black and beech as the white). But i like the style of the drawing, so the artworks are quite nice, good job from the game artists.

Overall Artwork

3. The Game Components

What You Get Inside

Now this is most of my concerns resided. The game components are below average and yes i would give not even a star for this aspect. The game components, starting from the board and the tokens really dissappointed me. Even the board is thick (not just a piece of paper) and the artwork is not so bad, but the press quality is so low, it really looks like a cheap print with lacks of polish of finishing (no finish, doff or glossy), and the tokens are awful. I don’t mind the material used (plastic tokens) but the stickers (where the illustrations drawn) is so lame (black and white) and it’s hard to figure what monsters it is. Not to mention the small icons of skull in the stickers that represent the 2 hit points for the monster really hard to see. Well i supposed it should be printed in different color (red maybe or any contrast color), so it can stand out to be seen. The blood drops and level markers from marble stones which the reason why this game box so heavy.

4. The Game Play

Actually the game is supposed to be simple and the rule should have been better translated. But, the fact is it’s kinda impose lots of questions about the game. The game can be played from 2 up to 6 player (while in 2 players mode, 1 player as the dornkeeper and 1 player control the heroes), there are a lot of characters to choose to but i wonder why it’s limited to 5 players as heroes? Maybe if it’s more than 5 heroes the dornkeeper would find it hard to deal with them. But as far as my experiences from the plays, the dornkeeper really hard to beat. but anyway, let’s talk about the game play. Dorn is a simple game of semi co-operative play with combined game mechanics like variable player powers, area movement and role playing. So, simple right? Yeah you might say otherwise after you play it. Each players (heroes) choose his / her characters from available options (this can be done randomly or choose what suits them best) and take his corresponding stat based on the character sheet (like blood drops and level marker), receive randomly a blessing and 1 side quest (the quests came from the expansion) an put his player marker in the hamlet of Argos. Meanwhile the dornkeeper (he can choose 2 characters, 1 addition from the expansion, Koschei) and take the random ritual cards, monster supply tokens (weak and stong monster) and place his marker on his chamber. Inside Dorn, is a labyrinth like maze that need to be solved (the heroes need to collect at least 3 artifacts to open the gate of doom and defeat the dornkeeper). The dornkeeper and the heroes take turns starting from the dornkeeper (first turn always start at day and after the dorkeeper finish his turn, it turned into night).

Each side has several phases in 1 turn, and it is impossible to change the order of the phase.

The Dornkeeper phases :

  1. One ritual can be played (with the cost of blood drops). The dornkeeper aqcuire blood drops every time each hero lose his hit points.
  2. Summoning of monsters (the number varies depending on day or night.
  3. Movement of all monsters.
  4. Attack of all monsters.
  5. Turn the token symbolizing day and night upside down.

The Heroes phases :

  1. Blessing card can be played
  2. Movement of heroes (in any order) also the use of potion, take and drop treasure tokens and artifacts.
  3. Attack and casting spells (also in any order).

Game in Progress

The board contains lots of hexagonal spaces like chess (but it’s hexagonal) with different locations and spaces for summoning monsters. The Dornkeeper can pooling up monsters in the center of the ritual chamber to finish his objective. Once the ritual chamber is full (even occupied by heroes), the dornkeeper win. Unlike any other games, the fights in this game are resolved automatically based on the monster and heroes stats and skills. So no luck (dice) is involved in the game. So, it’s hack and slash in board games, what’s more fun and crazy than this? The great about rhe RPG essence is the characters can level up, yup level up to level 3 maximum (yeah man, even the dornkeeper, i know it’s awesome). Heroes can collect xp by killing monster and the dornkeeper can level up with blood drops. Each level unlock lots of new abilities and skills and also upgrade stats. But it’s not as easy as you think, the dornkeeper wouldn’t let the heroes level up that easy. So, who’s gonna win the battle of the century? Does Argos stand still or the dornkeeper finally claim his evil fruit?

5. The Replay Value

Oh come on, don’t be silly, after all of that you still ask the replay value? Well, i’ll tell you this, that this game takes RPG genre games into a new level, yeah, a player interaction aspect that drastically change the game. You won’t find this kind of fun in any video games RPG. Even if you in a losing streak (as heroes, since it’s kinda difficult to win as heroes) you always have the interest to play again. Well as i mentioned it before, the rules seemed complicated because of the translations but i believe it supposed to be simple. And many players believe the rules are broken (imbalance in the dornkeeper side). Well though despite all the broken thing, it still a great game and it’s fun to interact between players and to smash (the intention) the dornkeeper to smithering bits with axes. Oh yes, one more thing the game is using player elimination, and don’t be surprise if you ended up dead and out of the game all of a sudden. If you like RPG games and chaos element along the way, and player interaction, this would be the perfect game for you. And i would say the expansion adds a lot to the base game (since you will have side quests element, new heroes, new dornkeeper) and ad variants to the game.

My Thought of The Game

The game is great, the experience really worth it, worth your time and hell worth your pennies. But, one thing that i had to mention, why i reconsider this game. The only thing that kept me away to buy a copy is the quality. With that kind of quality, i guess my pennies would better stay in my pocket or go to other games instead (so to speak it’s quite pricey with the expansion and must order through the publisher’s online store). But i surely consider if there is any reprint or republished by different publisher, cause this game is so outstanding!

You can also view this review on boardgamegeek.com here.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Board Games, Euro Games, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Say Your Wishes!

Rulebook Cover

If Wishes Were Fishes Review

Honestly i interested in this game because of the artworks. Yes, indeed, the artworks and illustrations are beautifully drawn and attractive. The illustrations are incredibly cute and funny, quite potential to attract girls and kids. So, what am i? Nope, i’m not a girl not even a kid, just like that kind of illustrations. Okay, enough about it, let’s go to the deep waters and go fishing shall we?

1. The Theme
I would say it’s very original. Players take the roles of fishermen, each want to sell as many fishes with highest profit in the market. The fisherman who has the most money win the game. The theme is really suitable for kids since it looks simple before the eyes. Who doesn’t like a theme about fishing, fishes and wishes?The game concept which taken from the title is about wishes. Fisherman capture fish and let it go free and the fish freed want to thank the fisherman by granting the fisherman’s wish. This idea is pure dead brilliant i would say.

Peter Sarret and Michael Adams created such a game that gonna fit perfectly into family value hours. From the publisher Rio Grande, comes a games about fishing and selling fish for every ages.

2. The Artworks
The artworks really put this game into the shelf. Funny characters of the fishes and the beautiful painting color style made the game so attractive visually. Well it’s the first way to sell the game at least. Christof Tisch really put semantic into works, from the illustration of the fishes (angel fish, monk fish, clown fish, sword fish, king fish and star fish). The board is nice and colorful, creating a fun background and ambiance to the game.

3. The Game Components

In the box

When you opened the box, you will find a 3 folded board which illustrated the fish market with a stall for ever fish. Then the wooden component of fishes (15 wooden fishes in each colors) and 5 wooden buyers. The last and the most precious component in the game is the gummy worm. Yeah, Did i say gummy worms? Yes i did, the worms are came out with the unexpected quality. The worms are elastic and made from organic material, so just imagine purple gummy candy with worm-like shape. So cool man, this is the main attraction of the game. A thumbs up for the designer and everyone behind this in Rio Grande.

4. The Game Play

Each player choose his own color and take his boat card and fish tokens and also 6 worms. Set the board in the middle of the table within all players’ reach. Set the buyers in the market randomly, and arrange the ocean deck (1 draw deck as ocean supply and 3 cards face up next the deck as the ocean (the first card nearest the deck is called deep water, and the farthest is shallow water). Each player has 3 possible actions:

  • Catch a fish from the ocean (based where the fish is, the player use his worm to catch the fish. If he take the first / shallowest card, he put the worm on that card and take it into his boat (also the worm). If he want to take the fish in the deepest part, he must put 3 worms in each card and take the last card (with his worm in it, which thus sacrifice 2 of his worms). When the next player wants to take the fish, he must use his worm based on which part of ocean he want the fish is in and gain that card with all the worms left above the card. Players cannot take card from ocean if their boat is full.
  • Sell 1 fish from his boat to the market (normal price of each fish is 2 dollars, let’s assume the currency is in dollars). The price can be modified by the buyers presence in certain market. If the player want to sell a fish in the market and in that fish market there are buyers presence, the price is added with the bonus from the buyers (black small buyer add +1 in total selling of the fish, gray medium buyer add +2 in total selling, and the white large buyer add +3 in total selling).
  • Catch a fish and say a wish by release the fish to the discarded pile. You have that wish shown in the card you take. The fishes have several wishes with different benefits. Each type will be explained below.

Here is the list of the wishes in each fish:

  • Boat wish – this fishes can be turned into 1 additional boat to store more fishes.
  • Sell 1 kind of fish – when you say this wish, it let you to sell 1 kind of any fish into the market from your boats.
  • Move 1 black buyer 1-3 space clockwise and sell 1 kind of fish.
  • Move 1 gray buyer 1-3 space clockwise and sell 1 kind of fish.
  • Move white buyer 1-3 space and sell 1 fish only.
  • Spread all buyers and gain 3 dollars – this instantly spread all the buyers into different markets, in the end of the process there must not be more than 1 buyer in each market. And when spreading the buyer, only move the smaller ones, the bigger stay on the market.
  • Sell one kind of fish as this kind of fish –  this grants you to sell one kind of your fish into the kind of the fish stated on the card.
  • Move fish and sell 1 fish – this grants you to move 1 fish token (any colors) from the market to the garbage heap or move any fish token in the spoilage out of the board.
  • Double Fish – this fish gives you double fish (2 fish at 1 card) if you sell it to the market from a wish effect.
  • Worms into money – gain a dollar for each worm in possession and give each other player 1 worm afterward.

Game in progress

The Market, each time you sell fishes there are chances that the market can be closed (this is called market limit). Market limit vary throughout the game, it start with the lowest limit (4 fishes in 1 market) up to the highest (7 fishes in 1 market). When a market is closed (the fish quota is due), then the players who have most fish in that market score the first bonus listed on the market card, and the second most have the lowest bonus score. When 2 players or more have the equal most fish in 1 market, then the two bonus is summed and divide into 2 and given to the players with the equal fishes. Players can still sell fishes to a closed market, with normal and bonus price, but they put the token in garbage heap.

The game ends if the highest market limit is used (7), or the garbage heap is full (there is 10 fishes in the garbage heap). When the second condition is met, the players who have the most fishes in the garbage -10 dollars to his score and the second most -5 dollars. At the end of the game, each player count the worms in their possession. Player who possess the most worms gain 8 dollars and the second most gain 4 dollars. Player who score the highest money win the game.

5. The Replay Value

I believe this is a great game. Maybe at first i thought that this is game for children, not to challenging and easy to play, but i was mistaken. The game is easy, simple to explain and to play, but it has deep planning and strategy in store to win the game. So you can say it’s still challenging for normal players (the visual and the artwork is deceiving right?). I played again and again, and the game is still interesting with different opponents. You can play safe or take risk by dealing serious problems to other players and so on. This game is great for a filler and suitable for family but also giving what gamers really want, a challenge, even it’s not meaty enough..

My Thought of The Game

I love the game, i love the illustrations and man i love the gummy worms, enough said! Even the illustration and the package seems fairly for children and girls, i must strongly disagree, since this fun game can be fairly fun and challenging for anyone. Don’t judge the fish by the ocean right? Enjoy the game in the seafood restaurant would give you nice ambiance to add the game feel.

After The Game of Worms

You can also view this review on boardgamegeek.com here.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Board Games, Euro Games, Reviews

 

Tags: , , ,

Let’s Build A Cathedral!

Box Cover

The Pillars of The Earth Review

One of my friends introduced this great game in the early age of my board gaming life. And i gratefully he did, since this game is so great for me. I love it practically. Published by Mayfair Games and designed by Michael Rieneck & Stefan Stadler this game is based on the novel by Ken Follet.

The Pillars of the Earth is based on the bestselling novel by Ken Follett and the 2006 game in the Kosmos line of literature-based games.

At the beginning of the 13th century, construction of the greatest and most beautiful cathedral in England begins. Players are builders who try to contribute the most to this cathedral’s construction and, in so doing, score the most victory points. Gameplay roughly consists of using workers to produce raw materials, and then using craftsmen to convert the materials into victory points. Workers may also be used to produce gold, the currency of the game. Players are also given three master builders each turn, each of which can do a variety of tasks, including recruiting more workers, buying or selling goods, or just obtaining victory points. Getting early choices with a master builder costs gold, as does purchasing better craftsmen. Players must strike a balance between earning gold to fund their purchases and earning victory points.

This game can be played 2-4 players (for the base game) and up to 6 players with the expansion set. Here’s my overview of the game:

1. The Theme

Since it’s based by novels of the same title, i assumed there’s no problem with the theme, in fact, the theme should be rich. The story of the game center the players as master builders hired by the king of England to build the most renowned Cathedral in that age. Each master builder have his/her craftsmen and can hire more. Master builders put their workers to gather resources or produce gold and use their craftsmen to convert resources into victory points. This victory point symbolized each master builder participation in the building of the cathedral. The highest contributors when the cathedral finished, won the game.

2. The Artworks

What can i say, it’s splendid. Michael Menzel really did a extraordinary effort in the artworks, and he’s renowned for it (he also do the artwork for World Without End, Stone Age, Cuba, Dragonheart, Atlantis, Batavia, The Settlers of Catan, Turn & Thaxis, In The Year of The Dragon, and many more). If you like the prolific, artistic with the touch of fine art.  When i looked at the boards, one word, “splendor”, the board is so beautiful and amazing that it captured my eyes and heart completely. So, a gamer like me, who thinks that visual really matters, would find this game satisfying to have and to play.

3. The Game Components

Game Setup

Okay, now we look at the game components. The game board is a 4 fold side board with extraordinary masterpiece art from Michael Menzel. The board depict the map of the city (with locations) and the cathedral building site at the center. The cards separate into several categories (craftsmen cards, resource cards, privilege and event cards). Master builders and workers in each player colors (made from wood) and resources cube (wood, sand, stone and metal). Oh yeah, the most distinctive component of the game is the cathedral itself (consist of 6 wooden blocks of different shape which can be built into 1 whole complete cathedral).

One little thing that made a difference between the base game and the expansion is the pre-press color quality of the cards and cubes. The cubes (especially the wood) and the game cards has slightly different color from the base game.

4. The Game Play

This game using worker placement and resources management mechanics. The goal of the game is to collect as many VP as possible in 6 round of the game, player the highest VP in the end of 6th round win the game.

The game play in later is explained for 5-6 players (with the expansion which adds a board, resource card, craftsmen cards, and event & privilege cards). Each player choose his color and receive his player aid card and 3 basic craftsmen cards. Set up the components with resources cubes in each supply area, 9 resource cards randomly chosen and 3 craftsmen from each round are displayed in bottom of the board. This provide the resource options for worker placement to place and craftsmen options for players to hire. The other 2 craftsmen cards for each round is put in the board. take 2 continuous and 1 instant / one time privilege cards and place it in the board face up each round, fill the market with resources and put the St. Dennis card in it’s place. The game start with first player (randomly choose the turn order), by acquiring a resource card or craftsmen card of his choice (when acquire craftsmen card during this turn, the player must pay the amount cost of gold of that craftsmen). After this, next player choose his until all player has pass. Remove the unused craftsmen cards out of the game. Place workers based on the resource cards in players’ possession to the resources supplies. First player then draw from the bag (with 2 master builders for each colors in it) randomly 1 master builder, he can once per turn redraw it  with another builder from the bag. Once drawn the master builder must be placed by the owner of it’s color, in skip position or in a available slot (you must pay a amount of gold to place the master builder in a slot on the board, range in 7-0 golds). Each time a master builder is drawn, the cost reduced by one until it’s reach zero. All skipped master builders will play with 0 cost. The first player who set his master builder on the slot (not skip) also put his third (outside the bag) into the last position on the turn order track located in the top of the new board.

Game in Progress

Once all the master builders are set in the board, all the locations in the boards are resolved (order based on the numbers), starting from:

  1. Event Card – Have 2 possible outcome, bad event or good event. Such bad events or good events will affected all players.
  2. Protection from Arch-bishop – Player who has his master builder placed in this slot, gain protection against the event card or he can choose to have 1 resource cube of his choice from the market.
  3. Wool Mill – Collect income, gain gold as many as worker placed.
  4. Kingsbridge – Take privilege card (2 slots available), this slots with the expansion, are used for continuous type of privilege cards.
  5. Kingsbridge Priory – Collect Victory Points (2 slots with 2 and 1 VP each).
  6. Forest – Produce wood resource (as many as workers placed).
  7. Quarry – Produced stone resource (as many as workers placed).
  8. Gravel Pit – Produce sand resource (as many as workers placed).
  9. King’s Court – Tax Exemption (4 slots, the first slot gain 1 metal resource cube).
  10. Shiring – Take craftsmen card (2 slots available).
  11. Shiring Castle – Take 2 additional workers for the next round.
  12. Kingsbrigde Resources Market : Buy or sell resource from market (To buy, limited from the market stock, no limit when selling). Has 4 slots available (for player order).
  13. Cathedral – Convert resources to points from craftsmen.
  14. Reorder Players – This slot gives the first player to the player who fill the slot.

The expansion board also give new locations (also resolved in order). With these slots available:

  • 9a. Tax Collector – Player who put his master builder in this slot, free from tax and gain that amount of gold (only 1 slot).
  • 9b. Crusades – Players sent his workers to take part in the crusade (4 slots as 3 workers for 1 VP, 4 workers for 1 VP, 6 workers for 2 VP, 7 workers for 2 VP).
  • 9c. France – This slot gives the player the ‘Inspiration of St. Dennis’ card, which give the player the ability to copy other player craftsmen card or reuse one of his craftsmen card at -1 capacity. Only last for 1 round, next round place the card back.
  • 9d. Coast – Player who put his master builder in this slot, have the chance to only sell his resources with 1 gold higher than the price in the market.
  • 9e. Shiring – 1 slot of privilege card.

Every time the 13th step is resolve, put on e part of the cathedral wooden block to the center of the board. When the sixth round finished, there will be 6 pieces of wooden block in the board, beautifully formed as the cathedral.

5. The Replay Value

I think this game is fun, fun enough to be played over and over again, since the privilege, event, craftsmen cards and even the resource cards are random. Yes, play it again and again with different players and different cards, feels different. But as you can see, the game is based on story which also has game time limit (6 rounds), so there will be less value when you had played all the cards variants. But, for several plays (4 plays for me) is still a great and entertaining game.

My Thought of The Game

I love it, just love it. Since the artworks mesmerize me so much, and the game play really put serious game into fun. Fun to draw the master builders, manage resources and even this game does not really involve players interactions such as conflict and else, but it still great to have interactions between players about the slot placements and acquiring the craftsmen cards and privilege cards. If you play the game with expansion first, the base game somewhat won’t interest you like the way the expansion did. Cause the expansion gives you more viable options and chances.

So, when the first time i played this game, i want this game instantly. A great addition for your family games collection.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Board Games, Euro Games, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gemstones into Gemstones?

Box Cover

Scepter of Zavandor Review – 110624

Just been introduced to this game, and for my first play in 3 players game, i like it. But definitely not for newbie, since it really need quite understanding upon the mechanics and all the possibilities. Published by Z-Man Games and designed by Jens Drögemüller

The Scepter of Zavandor is about magic and power. Players represent young magicians who have gained possession of old magic knowledge, and with it they attempt to achieve the powerful position of archmage, symbolized by the Scepter of Zavandor.

To increase their power and influence, the young magicians enchant jewels and seek out knowledge. An auction mechanism also allows them to acquire artifacts and sentinels. Victory points are earned through active gems, artifacts, sentinels, and knowledge.

Here is the overview of the game:

1. The Theme
Well, since it’s euro game, there’s not much to talk about the theme. But even it’s paste on, theme is quite different and fresh from other games. Players take the role of magician apprentices that have the goal to achieve the highest VP when the game ends. Each player has variable player powers. the only odd thing is, the apprentices turns a specific gemstones into that same kind gemstones! What? Well i know they’re still an apprentice, but seriously? Even i myself doesn’t need to be them to be able to convert a ruby into ruby! But, carry on, it still interesting (ignoring the odd).

2. The Artworks
Beautiful. Yes, the artworks looked fresh and clear to be seen. But the illustrations of the characters seemed immature (well they’re apprentices anyway) and not good lookings. And there are some texts that really hard to be read because the annoying background (darker color that interfere the black text readibility).

Player Sheet example

3. The Game Components

Unboxing

Actually the game components are quite good, even though there were some minor drawbacks such as the gems cards (which the front side are black and white), the gem tokens VP info are in the other side, and the 2 version languages (really cramped the space with texts). The main board is just for the spell books and each player has his / her own player sheet. The gemstones’ denomination comes in tokens and cards for easy handling for the incomes. The sentinel tiles has different size from the others (square tiles).

4. The Game Play
Okay, the game take bidding / auction mechanic, variable player powers, resource management mechanic.
Each player randomly choose a character and take his / her starting statistic (from starting hand limit, spell book, starting gemstones and capital).
Now set the starting players by randomly choose the player order tiles.
Now the goal of the game is to collect as many gemstones you can hold each turn and turn it into VP every turn (by doing actions). Each turn consist of 4 phases (determine turn order, income phase, action phase, count the VP’s). Every player can take actions as many as they want if he / her is able to.
So what actions are available to each player? They are listed below

  • Put your skill token (or whatever it’s named) to one of the spell books (this can only be done once per turn by each player.
  • Buy or sell any kind of gemstones.
  • Allocate active gemstones.
  • Buy your skill token.
  • Bid the artifact cards and sentinel tiles.

Game in Progress

Each gemstones you posses, generate some amount of gemstones (this is the weird thing) that you can use or keep (when you decide to keep it, only the same amount of your hand limit, the excesses were removed back to the supply at the end of the turn). Opal stones gives you opal tiles, based on the number of opal you have. The ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond has cards, that randomize the amount that generates the gemstones.
Spell book gives you knowledge, there is 6 knowledge trees that can be developed (each knowledge tree has 5 levels). when you gain the last / top level you instantly receive 2 VP’s. This knowledge gives you benefits and also detriments. Usually it affects your hand limit. The game ends when the fifth sentinel are bought.

5. The Replay Value
It’s quite good and after my first game, i want to play this again. The variable player powers gives you variants, and the random gemstone cards and artifacts put luck into replay value. And no dice, so no curses if your hand sucks to roll.

My Thought of The Game
Well, you can say i love this game, i even think about own it myself. A great game to pass the time with thinking. This game also indirectly put your math lessons in elementary school to test. The need of adds and substractions in inevitable. The downside of the game is, there’s no change of quarters in this game, so quite a hard decision to let go that useless dimes for donation.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Board Games, Euro Games, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Revelation of Cthulhu

Base Game

Arkham Horror Review

I believe it is justified to write my first review on my blog on the game that really introduces me to other great games. Yes, please welcome my first board game (exclude Monopoly and Snake & Ladders, practically i did not consider them as board games), Arkham Horror, survived the elimination against other candidates (Pandemic and Red November) when we (my gaming group) decided to own our very first board game.

The year is 1926, and it is the height of the Roaring Twenties. Flappers dance till dawn in smoke-filled speakeasies drinking alcohol supplied by rum runners and the mob. It’s a celebration to end all celebrations in the aftermath of the war to end all wars.

Yet a dark shadow grows in the city of Arkham. Alien entities known as Ancient Ones lurk in the emptiness beyond space and time, writhing at the gates between worlds. These gates have begun to open and must be closed before the Ancient Ones make our world their ruined domination.
Only a handful of investigators stand against the Arkham Horror. Will they Prevail?

Had been published under one of the biggest publishers of board and card games (Fantasy Flight Games), Arkham Horror was really being in the spotlight for quite some time. Designed by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, based on the epic cult horror stories by the myths of H.P. Lovecraft, Arkham Horror in a short time had earn it’s fame among other board games.

After several considerations to choose what game was really suitable and fit for us (my gaming group), since we’re 4 players group, have quite amount of spare time, and no experience in any professional board game, we decided to pick Arkham Horror, since it’s a cooperative game (okay, it’s a reasonable idea to start playing board game with cooperative play, right?) which can be played by 1 player up to 8 players at once and has the most variety mechanics, dozens of characters (the good and the bad), challenging gameplay and the most of all, the theme was so attractive for us in that time. So, looking at the considerations, you all must be thinking that we’re the kind of players that really love and think theme is important, well this i can only answer for myself, which is not. No, theme is not the most, but really added as consideration. But for my first impression, visual does really matter, and yes, Akrham Horror has good and powerful visual artworks (well thanks to the artists).

What is it about Cthulhu? Well, it’s a Myth creatures of great and supernatural powers by the imagination of Lovecraft, it’s the high priest of the great old ones with gargantuan size, lots of tentacles, hideous appearance and usually known by the abject terror it evokes.

Okay, here is my overview of the game,

Base Game & The Expansions

1. The Theme

As i had said before, the theme of the game is really interesting. Okay, who doesn’t like chasing around monsters, closing gates and fighting powerful ones to save the city? Players take roles as investigators who have been summoned to investigate paranormal and mystical happenings in the city of Arkham. With a classic 1990’s style and arts, Arkham Horror offer such an intense gripping horror feeling yet challenging and compelling game to accomplish. Player can choose character fro dozens of available options, with different backgrounds and statistics of course (whoo, i love it).

2. The Artworks

On behalf the theme, the artworks were also adjusted to the theme to support a streamline feelings of the theme and game. A classic cult with dark and antique surrounding style to describe the Mythos horror. Many artists were involved and contributes on the artworks and the did a fine job. The illustrations were re-implemented from works of H.P. Lovecraft, to provide details and fresh stunning graphics of the Ancient Ones, monsters and another dimensions.

3. The Game Components

Yeah, one of the things i like about Arkham Horror, the components. Since we’re new to the world of board games, unboxing a game full of various components was one of the wonderful things in life (and still). The board is big, the components is so many, the cards are great and many. A 6 folded board that represent the city of Arkham, which consist of city locations, another dimensions, terror track, sky area and outskirt. The cards came in several types and sizes, big (mythos, another dimension, location cards) and small ones ( investigator cards like common items, unique items, spells, blessing / curse cards, retainers, and many others). Lots of tokens for clue tokens, stamina and sanity, elder sign and doom tokens, monsters and gates tokens, player markers and money tokens. The last are the investigator sheets and ancient one sheets and dont forget the 6 d6 dice.

4. The Game Play

Okay, here’s the meat of the game. One of the best Ameritrash games with the compilation of game mechanics (dice rolling, variable player power, point to point movement, chit-pull system, hand management, co-operative play). Players choose their investigators (random or not), take their starting item and choose the ancient one they want to deal with. Setup the board with all the tokens and start the game. Player moves start with the first player and clockwise in these turns: Upkeep Phase > Movement > Arkham Encounter > Other World Encounter > Mythos Phase.

At Upkeep phase, players do action simultaneously, refresh their exhaust cards, receive money from the bank, resolve special upkeep actions, and adjust their skill based on their focus. During Movement Phase, each player start from the first player, move where they want to go around the city (based on his / her movement points). After all the players moves, the Arkham Encounter Phase is resolve. Each player in Arkham location draw location card or resolve the location special action. Other World Encounter Phase is resolved if only there’s investigator in other world. After that Mythos Phase is resolved, draw Mythos card and resolve it’s effect (headline, rumor and environment) and the movement of monsters. A Gate and monster can appear from the effect of Mythos card, and they appeared in Arkham location described by the card (if so, the doom track move 1 step higher. If the location already has a gate open, monster surge happened. Monsters appear from all open gates.Players explore the location of Arkham for acquire items and spells, defeating monsters (and collect their markers as trophy), venture the other world and close the gate, thus preventing the Ancient One awaken when the doom track reach it’s limit. When Ancient One awaken, investigators must team up to battle it for the sake of Arkham (this is the final boss, just forget the gates and monsters, focus your aim at the boss and let blessing guide your bullets).

Battling monster is done in different way in Arkham Horror. Investigators must use their skill check to successfully pass the battle or other things. There are lots of checks used in Arkham Horror such as Speed Check, Evade Check, Fight Check, Combat Check, Spell Check, Horror Check and many more. These checks are made by rolling dice (commonly 1 for auto miss and 6 for auto hit). So, the 6 d6 dice are greatly increase the luck factor. Which can be up & down of the game. Well, surely this game is not for players who doesn’t like luck interferes with their play.

5. The Replay Value

When you come to sense of the replay value, i assure you that this game provide variety and different game play in every game. Dozens of different investigators, different ancient ones, different items to collect and different effects of the cards and many more. So, yes the game value is quite high. Experience the game with each investigator and ancient ones, and race the trophies against your fellow investigators. Contains heavy text and English language conversion is needed but it will run off after several play and get used with the specific rules. But there’s one thing to be notice right here, when you improve your gaming experience and skill, there’s a chunk of possibility that you’ll end up bored and not challenged anymore with the co-operative play system. So, like myself, after it happened, i was quite had enough of the co-operative game, and want to get into some player competitive games. And another thing, this game has a lot of expansions and by ‘a lot’ means so many. To this very date, there are 11 expansion listed (small and big boxes), so yes, you have a lot to do and still long way to go, experience all the myth of H.P. Lovecraft. The expansions offers you more game play, new rules, new investigators, ancient ones, monster, new cities, tons of cards and other elements. All of these will gives you something to think about til you go insane in the asylum, by the horror of Cthulhu.

My Thought of The Game

A great game indeed and i was grateful that it’s my very first board game. For this level kind of game (heavy medium game), it’s a good start to move into heavy games, and just by doing so, i found no difficulties to absorb more heavier games. The theme is almost provide real feeling and the game. The cool thing about the game is you can roaming around the city evading monsters or hunting them, searching and collecting items (wish that it would be powerful enough to help you kick some asses). The most extraordinary feeling about this game is when you battling monsters or doing skill check. Sometimes luck isn’t in your side and damn, you sucked. Lose 1 or to stamina or sanity, even unconscious or insane or even devoured! Player elimination huh? Well not really, since you can enter the game immediately with new start investigator, well of course without all the items you have collected. Luck or dice seems the center of fun in this game, so don’t blame the dice if your rolls awful, blame your hand!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Ameritrash, Board Games, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , ,

Hello world!

Hello board gamers… or anyone who has taken interest in my subject of interest and passion (board games and card games). My name is Angrod Vardamir (definitely not my real name), i am a board gamer from Indonesia and here’s my blog.

Please feel free to browse and read my blog here, it’s new and still need a lot of preparations and i wish it’s gonna satisfied my expectation. I find it persistently for me to write (since writing is one of the good thing about us, to make a record about us, life and anything. So) everything about what interest me. Board games has become my passion recently, i play, play and play when i have the time and chance. There are things around it that cannot be describe with only words, but them words is such a powerful medium nevertheless. So i begun to write game reviews, session reports and any other things.

So here you can find reviews, informations, and many more about board and card games.

Thx for visiting my blog… i hope i’ll be able to maintain and update it from time to time.

You can check my BGG profile here or you can enter Indonesian Board Game Community forum from here, my nickname is Vardamir.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
%d bloggers like this: