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Mini reviews of all the games that I've played, and how I feel they rank compared to the other games that I've played.

Archive for Andrew Butler

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Pentago

Andrew Butler
Australia
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Pentago



Played 6/2/12

The next game after playing the warm up game of Click Clack Lumberjack was Pentago. This was another of my bargains from Cancon. $10 from the second hand stall, so very happy with that, as its been one I've been wanting to buy for a long time. I play it a fair bit on the iPad, but nothing beats a physical copy I can hold.

Components/Quality

I'm not sure if the version I bought is a travel version or a (big) pocket version or something? It seems to be a little bit smaller than I seem to remember it being when I saw it in the shops. Or maybe my eyes have just gotten bigger perhaps so it seems smaller .

I really love how the board is put together. It looks so smooth when you slide the quadrant out, rotate it and return it. Its such a clever design and really makes the game. Its fairly sturdy white plastic, so its not going to get broken if the kids play with it. It came with a bunch of nice heavy marbles in black and white, again maybe not as large as I would have liked/remembered, but they got the job done.


Rules

The rules were well laid out and straight forward. Place one of you marbles anywhere on the 6 x 6 grid (made up of 4 quadrants each with 3 x 3 places), rotate any quad, not just the one containing your recently placed marble 90 degrees clockwise or counter clockwise. The first person to get 5 in a row is the winner. Nice and simple with no ambiguity. I like it


Game Play

Time on the box was 5 minutes. We played 3 games of this in about 10 minutes, if that. You have to be able to visualise where the marbles are going to end up once you turn them to be able to play well. There was one instance where Andrea was able to build a diagonal row across the board, and I couldn't for the life of me see it as it wasn't the conventional straight across the middle line that I was expecting. There is a nice amount of strategy in trying to play marbles so as not to get noticed while you build the line across the board. Something that I haven't perfected in doing yet BTW


Downtime

Like Toc Toc Woodman, the game moves so quickly that time between turns is minimal. I found that it was almost quicker to play against a person than it is to play against the AI on the iPad.


Would I play it again?

Of course. (really this is a silly question, as I would play almost any game, even those that I loath, if it means the difference between game and no game). This was on my radar for a long time, and now that I have it I plan on bringing it out when ever there is a quick few moments for a game.


Rating out of 10


I think i'm sounding abit like a broken record now, but I would have to give it a 7 out of 10 for being a fun little 2 player game.

Where would I place this against the other games that I've played (currently only ones I've reported on?)

I think I like it more than Toc Toc Woodman, but would have to place it under Space Maze just because of the lightness of it compared to Space Maze.

Current Order

Thunderstone: Dragonspire
Space Maze
Pentago
Toc Toc Woodman
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Tue Feb 7, 2012 3:52 am
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Toc Toc Woodman

Andrew Butler
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Toc Toc Woodman



6/2/12
After a birthday dinner at Taj Agra Belconnen (fantastically yummy Indian Food. The butter chicken was to die for) Went over to Andreas for a few games. It was already the 6th of February and I had only 1 game under my belt for the month

The time on the box is 15 minutes, but you would have to be playing fairly slowly to make it last 15 minutes. In 15 minutes I was able to explain the rules, set the game up for a "practice" game to get a feel for how hard you needed to swing to "Toc Toc" the bark off, then set it up again and play to completion.

Components/Quality

I ordered this as part of the Kick-starter for Toc Toc, and it arrived just before Christmas. The box and packing reminds me so much of a typical game that you would buy from Target or Kmart, rather than a typical "Euro". And I guess that's because that's exactly what it is. Its a game that I think will be more likely to be sold there then at Milsims or Mind Games. But don't get me wrong, there was nothing at all wrong with it, it serves the purpose and suits the game to a tee. The components consist of a stump which onto the tree will be built, and 9 tree cores which will each hold 4 pieces of bark. As I got the pre order from kick-starter my set also included the gold core and bark, to take the total core pieces to 10. It also came with the "exclusive" golden axe. Turns out that this does not give you extra chopping speed or strength, nor did it give me the power to kick sprites and gain blue potions but it does look cool meeple


Rules

The rules really couldn't be simpler. Each person gets two chops at the tree, collects anything that falls off, person to the right has their go. Bark scores 1 point each, cores score -5, highest score when the bark is all gone wins. THATS IT! Rules explained in 2 sentences.
I know there are different points values on the golden bark and core, but they didn't come in the box. Ok I've just looked up the expansion rules. If you use the Golden Axe you only get 1 swing rather than two, but anything that falls off is doubled in points. The golden core and bark are also worth double points, so 2 and -10. If you knock them off with the golden axe 4 and -20. Will play those rules next time.



Game Play

As I said it really is very simple, so there isn't a lot extra to add. Ready some other posts here on the geek, we had a house rule which I saw someone else used also. Wood that fell from core but didn't make it to the table wasn't collected. You need to knock it off to claim it. The other post I saw dealt with if you are allowed to use the back of the axe, not just the front. I think I need to agree with a response and say that i'm a purist. You can only use the blade of the axe to chop with. The one hesitation I have with playing it with a large number of people, is that someone will get chop happy and bring the whole thing down in a single mighty chop, thereby ruining the game. Hopefully this wont happen thou, but I'll have to review that if/when it happens.



Downtime

With a turn taking maybe 20 seconds there wasn't any time for down time. And I was as invested in all chops anyways, wanting to see if anything fell off, or look and see if I could seen any easy points.

Would I play it again?

Yup. I've got regular Tuesday night games tonight, so I plan on taking it along and having a few quick games before something a little more meatier

Rating out of 10


I really liked the game, and am sure that the kids will love it (just have to work out a way to stop Domino from eating the pieces that will inevitably end up on the floor). 7 out of 10

Where would I place this against the other games that I've played (currently only ones I've reported on)

It was a fun game but I think that it would have to go underneath Space Maze.

Current Order

Thunderstone: Dragonspire
Space Maze
Toc Toc Woodman
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Tue Feb 7, 2012 12:10 am
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Space Maze

Andrew Butler
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Space Maze



I Played Space Maze at Andrea's on the 1/2/12 in a two player game.

Time on the box was 45 minutes, It probably took us a bit over an hour, again rules checking as first play slowed us down.

Components/Quality.

This was one of my bargains of Cancon which I bought for half price as the box had a small ding/tear on the side. All the comments and pieces inside were in perfect condition thou. The maze square pieces were of a nice thick cardboard, and the spaceships which attach to the side of the maze were double thickness with a section removed so they sat on top of the board not just next to it which was a great feature. Cards were of an ok quality, maybe a bit thin or glossy not sure which one, but I had to keep checking to see that there wasn't too cards stuck together before I play them. There was 4 dice for each person playing, and they were of a good quality. But the real stand out feature of the game was the 3 custom shaped aliens for each player. Every player has a green, purple and orange alien, but the sculpts were different for each player. This for me really added to the game play for me, as I felt like they were actually competing aliens. The only downside is numerous times during the game I planned an epic move, and tried to complete it, before being told that it wasn't my alien I was trying to move. But that's probably just me, and in time I'll be able to distinguish the aliens apart better. The other cool component of the game was the crown, which is what you are trying to reach and return to your ship. This crown slots onto the head of the alien who has control over it, so its easy to see who has it at any one time, and also it looks cool.



Rules.

The rules were easy enough to understand. The one rule book had both rules in English and not English (German perhaps?) We had a little confusion with the card that allows you to move and extra space. Was it on top of your movement or separate? Thankfully there was a good example that dealt with just that in the book. In fact there has little examples all the way through the rules that explained important rule which made it easy to understand. The is a table in the back of the manual that explains what all the cards do which is very handy.

Game Play

The space maze is a 5 by 5 grid with the middle tile containing the crown that you are after. Each player starts an equal distance from this tile. After the first turn we both had aliens two tiles into the maze, and I thought to myself that there was no way that this game was going to take 45 minutes to play. However from that turn there was hi-jinx to be had. Things started getting strategic in the selection of dice to try and restrict the other player from potentially having anything useful to do, as playing the better cards requires a bigger die number to complete. Plus as the dice are coloured the same colours as the aliens, you need to ensure that you can get a good die for a particular alien otherwise there actions are greatly limited.

Downtime.

When it wasn't my go I was always playing ahead what my turn would be. There was a degree of having to change your plans when the tile you wanted to move to was moved itself, but I never felt that I was sitting there with nothing to do. I guess with 4 players rather than 2 there might be less incentive to plan your go in any great depth as to the changes to the board that can happy on everyone else's turn. But as you take turns in a choosing a die, there always seems to be something that you can do that conforms to your plan.

Would I play it again?

Sure would. Now that I've played it once I can see things that I would definitely do different, and perhaps plan more for the end game rather than playing so aggressively in the mid game. I would be very keen to have a 4 player game to see how that changes the game play.

Rating out of 10

I would give this a 7 out of 10. A solid game that I would happily play again anything someone asked.

Where would I place this against other games that I've played (currently only ones I've reported on, in this case Thunderstone)?

I really liked played Space Maze, but think I would place this under Thunderstone: Dragonspire as I enjoyed it more.
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Mon Feb 6, 2012 3:24 am
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Thunderstone: Dragonspire

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Thunderstone: Dragonspire



So on the 31/1/12 Chris, Nick and I played Thunderstone: Dragonspire at Chris's.

Time on the box was 45 minutes, which I knew was being overly optimistic. Took about 2 hours, but that included rules explanation as Nick and I had played it, as well as 20 minutes discussion and looking up rules on BGG, but I'll get to that.

Components/Quality.

I liked the box size, which I think is similar to Dominion, so would fit nicely on my shelves. The inside of the box was better than Dominion (in my opinion, which is all these posts BTW) in that rather than having an assigned hole for each card, came with lots of foam pieces and card separators so you could fit lots of cards in the box. It didn't seem to come with a huge amount of cards, but that could just be my impression of it. I know that it only came with the two Thunderstones, one of which seemed useless in the game we played (fortunately it didn't come out thou), so that could be increased.

The cards were ok, not great, but I think they would defiantly need sleeving if you were playing it a lot.

It came with a dungeon board for the creatures, but I not sure whether it was the material it was coated in, or the combination of the light and where I was sitting, but It was really reflective of the light and created a lot of glare to the point that it was very hard to read it.

Rules.

This is where the games major faults were I thought. There was too much ambiguity of the wording on the cards, that when events triggered it was unclear exactly what needed to happen. For example I defeated the Flame Rage Hydra Dragon, which caused me to destroy the village card with the highest value. So we spend about 20 minutes discussing whether or not this means destroy the top card of the most expensive village item, or the complete stack of the village item. In the end we worked out (we think) that it means the top card in my hand at the time. Confusing. Also we had the chieftain's drum. What constitutes a village card? is it only the ones with the village icon, or are the torch and iron rations included too? I'm still not 100% sure what the correct answer on that one is as there seemed to be 2 different schools of thoughts and not shortage of people willing to way in with an opinion. I mean these aren't game breakers by any stretch of the imagination, but the defiantly slowed down the speed of play, and sowed a degree of discontent into the game. The other thing, and maybe this was just me, but the icons on the cards weren't big enough and maybe too cramped on one side. I keep forgetting which icon did which. Again that could have been just me, maybe combined with the board glare from the light which made it a bit harder to see, but I think there was defiantly room to perhaps make the icons a little bigger on the cards.

Game Play

I liked how the game played. I'm a big fan of dungeon crawl games (even thou I never get to play them ), and for me this scratched that itch. I defiantly got the feeling I was building my party to venture into the dungeon and fight the baddies. I wasn't sure how you could get that dungeon crawl feel with just card's, but it defiantly pulls it off. Yes the game play draws a lot of its mechanics from Dominion (which one doesn't?), but I felt that there was enough of a difference to warrant playing this over dominion. The way the defeated creatures added to you deck as victory points, yes just like Dominion, but unlike dominion they don't just have to clog your hand, they can be spent as money. Genius. Nothing worse than getting stuck with a hand full of duchy's. Most of the turns seemed to be going to the village and buying cards or resting and trashing cards, before a big splurge into the dungeon to take on a creature. I would have thought that this would get boring, or at least feel just like Dominion, but I actually became invested in getting better equipment for my guys and trying to level them up before taking on the dungeon. I think it was probably something like 80% shopping 20% dungeon, but that was a pretty good balance. And speaking of levelling up, that's a great aspect of the game. Being able to replace weaker team members with their levelled up equivalent was a neat twist. Thins out the deck of the chaff, and brings dungeon adventures closer.

Downtime.

I don't think that this suffered from downtime at all. In much the same way Dominion, doesn't really seem to suffer from it either, I was always looking at my cards and trying to plan what my next more should be. Should I got to the village and stock up, or do I think that I could take that bandit? That's one of the downsides to a big dungeon crawl like Descent: Journeys in the Dark, when its not your turn, it seems that there is not really anything that you can do. At no-time did I feel I was bored or wishing that it was over.

Would I play it again?

Absolutely. I'm looking forward to it. I've been thinking over the game we played and thinking where I could have done things differently. Any game that has you still thinking about the game 2 days later is a winner in my books. Of course it helped that I won (all the more sweeter as I beat Nick by one point, AGAIN , but even if I lost I would have considered it a fun game. It was especially sweet when I wa sable to "lose" at a fight to lose a militia out of my hand, while Chris and Nick both had to lose a big fella (twice).

I'm going to Melbourne tomorrow for the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular on Saturday, so plan on dropping into to Milsims. Chris has asked me to pick up Thunderstone: Legion for him, so I look forward to getting to play that one too

Rating out of 10

This would have to be a solid 8 of 10. I used to be a huge fan of Dominion, but have gone off it a little due to lots of plays, but as a deck building game this is right up there.
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Thu Feb 2, 2012 12:46 am
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No Game Left Behind!

Andrew Butler
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My new years resolution this year was to post more on BGG, or even some. Basically less lurking more participation. I initially decided that I would do this by ways of writing up reviews of the games that I played.Read more »
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Thu Feb 2, 2012 12:22 am
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