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Category Archives: Microgames

The Life of A Treasure Hunter in the Deep Blue

pic3169827Deep Sea Adventure Review
So you are a group of treasure hunter (either poor or cheapskate) who rent a single submarine for all of you in your quest to dive into the deep blue sea and find sunken treasure. You are playing Deep Sea Adventure, a game from Oink Games (Japan) where taking risk and pushing your luck is the key element to win the game (or not). Continuing the line of small / pocket-sized games from Oink Games, Deep Sea Adventure comes with a very thematic background and an interesting one at that. The game comes with 2 six-sided wooden dice (the pips value ranged from 1-3), submarine board, tokens and wooden diver markers for players within a small box.

The Theme
In this game, 2 to 6 players take the roles of cheapskate / poor (whatever man) treasure hunters that rent a submarine to go dive into the deep blue see to find sunken treasures. Now the thing is, because they’re poor and/or cheapskate, they cannot afford to rent a submarine by themselves, so they rent it together and go diving.

The Game
In this game, players will take turn to go dive deep into the sea in three rounds. Each player (starting from the first player and clockwise) rolls 2 dice and check how many spaces they go down into the sea from the submarine (The movement doesn’t count spaces occupied by other players). When they stop movement, they have to decide whether they want to take the tile where they stop or not. If they take it, place a tile marker below the player marker and take the treasure tile (treasure tiles have 3 different shape that defines the sea depth). The deeper it goes, the higher the treasure will be. At the start of their next turn, each player must check whether they have a treasure tile in front of them or not. For each tile that the player has, they must subtract one from the oxygen track of the submarine for each stack of treasure that player has. And then before they move, they have to decide whether they want to go deeper or back head to the submarine. They can of course drop their treasure once they end their movement during their turn.

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If they reach back to the submarine before the oxygen runs out, they survive and may keep treasure tiles they acquired that round (they may check the value of the tiles). Players who do not reach the submarine when the oxygen runs out are out of the game and their tiles are left on the last space of that players. The next round begins after the spaces are organized (empty spaces are removed and the tiles are gotten shorter). If there are more than one tile in a single space, players can take all of them in a single turn and it still counts as one stack when reducing oxygen. Player with the highest total of treasures win the game.

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My Thought of The Game
I have a mixed feeling with this game. It surely fun and full of hilarious reactions. it shows how greedy you are. The game is truly really simple, on your turn you decide (up or down) and roll dice, that easy. What makes the game hard is, as collective players have to determine what decision each of them should take in order to get into the surface safely (and better if you can snatch a treasure or two). But life is not that easy, the reason why lots of things in the world are not working because of someone else, has his own idea of how things should be. And all (if not) must pay the price. After the first round I can guarantee someone would start cursing on another, it was fun, hilarious and full of crazy moments (stressful not getting anything by the end of the round). In the end, player who is clever enough to get away while other players squabble, would end up winning the game. This is a push your luck game, you try to play safe and get away as soon as possible with the smallest reward, will regret that decision if someones get bigger reward than you even he got up after you. So this mixed dilemmatic feeling will haunt players throughout the game and they will of course not let other players get away with anything. “If I go down, all must go down” is what lies in their mind. Regardless how fun the game is, I must admit, this game has a table life, at some point, playing this game over and over again will tire you out. It would turn the game flat and boring cause it moves in static, every game will feel the same. So I guess the game is good once in a while with the perfect group who don’t mind a bit of take that and luck for their 15-30 minutes.

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Note: Images are taken from BoardGameGeek and full credit to its owners.

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Posted by on August 13, 2018 in Board Games, Dice Games, Microgames, Reviews

 

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Inside Trading Goes A Long Way

pic3678411Startups Review
I am a fan of Oink Games (Japan), their game collections are so fun, easy and compact. I came to know their games from Deep Sea Adventure, which a friend brought to a game day and played it several times, in short we had fun. Since then I am collecting their games and most of them redefine micro / pocket games out there. Startups is one of them, it was released on 2017 and reimplements Rights (which is another older title from Oink games, 2015). I also had tried Rights before but in terms of visual appearance, Startups definitely has friendlier atmosphere. The game also comes with the same uniform small pocket-sized box like most of their games and the games artworks are stunning, truly reflects Japanese approach in visual arts, colorful, simple, straight-forward and unique in the same time.

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The Theme
In Startups, players will invest in startup companies and try to win big (profit) from those companies. As like Startups companies do, there’s nothing certain about their business, their business can go boom or not, depend on the market. Invest in the right companies can lead you to big pay out or the opposite. The game comes in 6 different companies shown by color differences and fictional names and logos. You can find unique names and logos such as Octo-Coffee, Giraffe Beer, Flamingo Soft and others.

The Game
Startups can be played from 3 up to 7 Players and lasts roughly 10-15 minutes. The game comes with a deck of cards that consist of 6 sets of colors (companies), with each color has different amount of cards based. For example Hippo Powertech (green) has 9 cards (all of the cards are the same) while Bowwow Games (blue) has 6 cards (the amount is ranged from 5 to 10). Aside from the cards, the game comes with currency markers, let say these are money chips. Each player will get 10 money chips with white side face up (with 1 value) and dealt 3 cards from the deck. Then there are 5 cards removed from the deck (this is done to assure that in each game there’s at least some sort of hidden veil to the card distribution). Starting from the first player (and clockwise), each player must take a card and then play a card from their hand.

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Taking a card can be done in two ways (from the draw pile or from the market). In the first turn, the starting player can only take a card from the draw pile since there’s no card in the market area (the area around the draw pile). What complicate things is, once a player has the most card of a single color (company), that player monopolize that company shares (he is given the anti-monopoly token of that company) as it’s major / main shareholder. As long as that player has this token, he cannot take card of the same color from the market area and doesn’t pay chip to cards of the same color in the market area when he want to draw from the pile. When another player outmatch him with cards of that color, the token will be pass into the new player.

A card can be played from hand into two places, in front of the player as stock or to the market area. Playing a card in front of the player means that player add one card as a share of that color to his possession. While playing a card to the market area means that player release a company share to the market and can be acquired by anyone else without the anti-monopoly token of that color. The thing is once there’s a card in the market area, players have to pay one chip per card in the market area if they want to draw a card from the pile, unless the player has the respective anti-monopoly token.

The game ends right after the player who draw the last card from the pile have played his card. All players add all of their cards from hand to their collection of shares. Evaluate each company anti-monopoly token (if there are more than 1 player who have the most cards of a company, no one gets the token). Players with anti-monopoly tokens get 1 chip for each card of the respective company from other players who also own / invest on that company. That chips are flipped out to the brown side (shows number ‘3’ instead of ‘1’) to show that their investment has come to fruition. If no players have shares of that company, the owner do not get any payout. Total the chip amount they have and player with the highest point wins the game.

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My Thought of The Game
This game is brilliant. It is so simple and complex in the same time. The game plays very fast, the ruleset is very simple but there are several things to consider that seemed unusual for new players to click on right away. This is the kind of game that needs to be played at least once for players to realize how the game flow really works. In short, there are 6 companies in the game, each company have different amount of shares that can be acquired. You can randomly get a share or take a specific one. Once you already have monopoly of a company, you cannot get more from market (the specific way) and can only get more randomly. Investing in a company share is always risky even if you have inside trading (the cards in your hand), but ain’t all of them is a risky business? In order to win big, you need to risk something big. You need pay out, but you have to decide which company will give you the most lucrative one with the least efforts and risks. Getting all out in a company is not always a good thing, cause it would probably scares your possible shareholder away, without opposing shareholder your shares means shit. So sometimes its better to wait or play slow in order to trap potential shareholders. The company have grades, i like how each company has different amount of cards, it offers variety / constant struggle between opportunity and risk. Company with more cards give you flexibility, higher probability to get it, but it also has bigger risk cause it also applies to other players. I found that the game has nice interactions, you will constantly check other players and see what cards they place and place them where, these are so important to decide what you should do. What I like about this game is that the game has a strong theme (although it’s not really a favorite among players) and it has a WOW element that players can quickly pick up right from the first play (the type of game that players need to play it firsthand before they get the big picture). And for me, this kind of game is definitely worth to play and have. Though the problem with any small game, it has low replay value because it feels the same in every game and with repetitive plays the game will turn stale in a short time. But the game also has a multiple round variant, where you can play the ‘long’ game. I have not play that variant yet, so I cannot comment anything about it.

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Note: Images are taken from BoardGameGeek and full credit to its owners.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2018 in Board Games, Card Games, Microgames, Reviews

 

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You Don’t Need to Be Right, Just Make Sure One of Your Opponents Fell For It!

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Box Cover

Yabunonaka (In A Grove) Review
Would you believe that this game has a box with the size of a cigarette box? Of course you would, why wouldn’t you, right?
Hattari or Yabunobaka (or In A Grove fr its English name) is a small pocket-sized game that you can snuck it anywhere (yes, anywhere). It’s designed by Jun Sasaki and published by Oink Games which already known with their characteristic small-pocket sized games such as Dungeon of Mandom, Deep Sea Adventure, Maskmen, A Fake Artist Goes to New York and etc.
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The premise is its a bluffing and trick taking game with a scent of deduction element in it. There’s a crime happened (murder to be precise) and there are 3 suspects in which one of them is the killer. Now players will try their best to accuse one of the suspects and try not to be exposed as liars (accuse the wrong suspect).
The game plays with 8 man-shaped card tiles with numbers from 2-8 and blank tile. This number is the main information for the player to guess which is the killer. The killer is the highest number from the three suspects. But the twist is, each player will have one tile that they know and they will draft the tile one time so they know 2 numbers, sharing it with their neighbors. Based on this information the first player will secretly look 2 suspects and he can decide whether we want to tamper the evidence or not (switch one of the suspect with the victim without looking at the victim’s number), and marked it with tamper marker hence players will know which one already has been tampered with. Now he must decide which one is the killer by placing his accusation chip in one of the three suspects. Then the next player may look the other 2 other suspects beside the previous player had already accused.

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There are restrictions such as the blank tile is always innocent, and if there are number 5 in one of the suspects, the killer is reversed, the lowest number is the killer. Once all player already accused, the tiles are flipped face up to see which one is the killer. Players who correctly accused get their markers back. But for them who accused the wrong suspect, they have their markers flipped to liar side and the owner of the top visible marker take the whole stack to his supply (along with other tokens below his). This will add his supply with more markers. To determine the loser, players with 8 or more markers in his supply is the loser, if no one then the player who runs out accusation chip is the loser. But if no one, the game continues to next round, the first player is change to next player clockwise.

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At first this game is weird for its end game situation. But once you try it you can see how the game really works.
Based on what information you know, you can make a small deduction to accuse and of course other players’ actions also crucial to give you hints, but beware of the bluffing since the last person to accuse taking all the risk.
It’s a fun and very fast game that you can play up to 4 players. You can play it basically anywhere and anytime since you probably need only 5-10 minutes for one game. The downside is it’s replay value. It relies heavily on players’ behavior and way of thinking. With several plays maybe players can guess how the game works and might be less interesting compared with the first plays, but of course, with different groups, there might be different feels and flows of the game.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Microgames, Reviews

 

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