Board games that tell stories

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Monolith Arena Strategy & Tactics: Harbingers of the Forest

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Dark elves from the magical and mysterious forest accompanied by other creatures will swiftly cut their enemies and drive many arrows through them. My personal favorites, they are tricky, they can poke their enemies while keeping save positions, and they are good at keeping their distance. And that’s where they excel if you keep your distance.your enemies will curse the day those damn elves decided to leave the forest and appear at the arena.

Running in circles

Let’s start with Banner – you want to have it in the middle of the board, or at least in the central zone. So how come you aim for the center if you’re going to keep your distance? It’s pretty simple, you want to take advantage of its special Feature. Move your units around the Banner, shot with Sparks over your Banner and don’t let your opponent catch up to your Units. Run and shoot, run and shoot – it’s pretty simple.

Don’t let them see you

Assassins can strike any opponents on the board which makes them deadly and dangerous, and your opponent will hate that and will try to get rid of them as soon as possible. You want to hide them in corners, and cover them with other tiles, preferably with the runes of acceleration. This way, you’re covered from any attacks, and you strike your opponents even faster, getting rid of any dangers before they have a chance to attack you.

Exploding… morlocks?!

Morlocks can make a lot of mess by removing any connected tile along with the Morlock before the fight even begins. They are powerful because they can remove heavy-hitting units or the ones with lots of shields when they oppose any threat to us. Use them even more efficiently, keep Morlocks near your banner, this way, you can switch positions with its feature if an even greater threat appears on the board.

More mystical creatures!

Apart from elves and Morlocks, we have also Hernes and a Wyrm, two mobile units that can hit hard our opponents. It’s best to use them and get rid of any units that try to take out our distance attackers, especially those with additional shields on them, just make sure you’re not caught off guard, because you’re limited to your defenders with melee attacks.

With elves, it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. You want to dominate the arena with your units and keep your distance from any tricky attacks like charge or fire concoction. Remember, hit and run, hit and run. Wear off your enemy and don’t give them a chance to counter any attacks, make sure you stay in shadows as any self-respecting dark elf.

Let us know how you lead your elves, do you prefer this style of game or you try to take out your opponents as fast as possible.

Matt Dembek

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Tue Mar 5, 2019 10:33 am
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BTTS: I hate board games!

I hate board games. I am serious. It's a constant flow of disasters. I see new amazing cover art and I am immediately sold on the game. I know nothing about the gameplay, I did not read the rulebook, but man, I know it's gonna be great.

Hey, don't give me that look. Want to talk about your reaction after you saw Scythe cover?

The publisher hires an artist to paint the best art piece possible. It has one purpose - attract. This cover art has nothing to do with the game. This artist never played the game, read the rulebook, met designer. Most likely, he doesn't even play board games. He is a hired gun. I know all of this. And yet, when I see a new box art immediately all these small meeples start to run all over the place - by the place I mean my head - screaming "OMG, this game is awesome, I want it!!!!"

Stop it, I yell at them. This cover art has no connection to the rules and gameplay. It's an art piece. Stop it!

"But we want it!" they keep running and my head hurts. "It's awesome. This game will be awesome. The box says it all!!!!"

So I buy the game.

Of course, I am the only person on Earth who misses the pre-order specials. My Instagram feed has it all. Every gamer on the planet shows all the bits my copy of the game misses. This cover is not that awesome after all, and my bits suck. I haven't played the game yet, but I already know that without these additional seventy-two scenarios it's useless. I hate this game. Why did I buy it?!

I delete my Instagram account to stop seeing all these awesome promos I missed. It doesn't help. People post pics of metal coins on Facebook. I delete my Facebook account, but then I got an email from a friend of mine, he just got his copy signed by the designer. I turn off the Internet and sell my computer.

Brilliant. Now I cannot write articles anymore.

I buy a new computer.

I should buy a poster with the cover art. What I needed the whole game for? I hate it.

Anyway.

I put all components out of the box and try to figure out how the game works. There are spaces on the board that matches the shape of some tokens. I put them there. There are pieces in 4 distinct colors. I give set to each player. We sit and look at each other. I create the bank and put all coin tokens in a big pile.

I shuffle the cards. I separate all wooden pieces by shapes.

My wife starts to get impatient. I separate the square tokens by size. To be honest, I have no clue what I am doing.

Wife looks at me and I know this look. I quickly take one piece from each player and put it on space 0 on the track that hopefully is a victory point track. I wink to my wife and smile.

It's a mistake. I shouldn't wink at her.

"Did you read the rulebook?" she asks.

"Well..."

"You must be kidding me!" she yells at me and stands from the table. I can tell it - now she is really angry. Every husband knows when his wife is angry. We get this power along with the wedding ring.

"I will figure it out. This cannot be difficult. I played the other game from this designer a few years ago!" I say but she doesn't listen. She just gives me another look. She has a whole wide arsenal of looks. We are in the 'You are in trouble' section.

So I am sitting now reading this damn rulebook. I feel like being at school again. My brain is defending. I want to go to bed. I want to eat. I want to stand. I want to do anything but the homework. I mean the rulebook. It goes slow, but I have some progress - I am 4 pages in. Only 32 to go. Smallest font possible. I can imagine how it was manufactured. Printing machines and the whole factory in the scale of bonsai trees...

I hate board games. I am serious.

(to be continued...? give me your ideas what's next!)
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Fri Mar 1, 2019 10:18 am
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Board Games Insider ep. 97 - Hasbro wins the game of life

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We continue the countdown to the EPIC #100 special episode! Meanwhile Ignacy went on tournee to 6 cities, finished Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write and is teasing us with L.A. Crimes pre-orders. And Stephen announces Aftershock coming back to Kickstarter soon, Egizia will be live on April 9, and talks about a month long Forum Trajanum Envoy Store Splash! Also, some more news form the industry!

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Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:09 am
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Imperial Settlers: Strategy & Tactics – Amazons and We Didn’t Start The Fire

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It’s time to use Conquest with Amazons! This already sounds like a great idea, so let’s tackle the last expansion for them included in the box – We Didn’t Start The Fire. How will their deck building effect work with the new mechanics introduced in this expansion? Is releasing Cerber on our opponents enough to stop them from conquering our empire? First thing first; let’s prepare for the incoming battle.

Once again we want to help you try different options that work well (in our opinion) when using this expansion while playing Amazons. Let’s take a look at the opportunities presented to the fierce Amazons in this Imperial expansion.

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Greek Legacy is a card with three copies – it’s a strong start – I would even dare to say that we couldn’t start off better.

Thanks to this card, you will be able to protect your empire with upcoming Foundations from its Production – making it harder to Conquer your essential cards. So we recommend building it as soon as possible – even if that Building Bonus sounds exciting and you might be considering waiting a while to snatch a few of your opponent’s Buildings. The best choice, in our opinion, is to replace the Flee market with it. This way you won’t tempt your opponent with extra scoring options along with a triple color-coded card.

Stables and Fortress of Ares – two cards with two copies each. Other reliable choices, as discussed here.

Stables

A mighty card, especially when you are able to rotate it between your empire and your deck. Drawing cards from the top of your opponent’s deck and being able to choose the one that you discard sounds fantastic; it’s a silent attack that your opponent cannot avoid. Chamber of Treasures feels like another good choice here. Don’t give your opponent reason to get that Feature to gain VP whenever they Raze, especially now with Stables in your deck.

Fortress of Ares

It’s not hard to raise that Fortress with Amazons, and you should go for it – especially in combination with Greek Legacy (used even as a Deal) – you will have plenty of Foundations to discard to Fortify it. Here we would recommend replacing either Bounties or Statue of Midas. Bounties, yet another exciting and open-for-taking scoring card. But then again, you might consider to keep some of them and let go of some gold for that instance. We feel like both choices are cool.

Single copy cards presented in this expansion: Diversion, Alarm! and Cave of Cerberus. Cards that allow you to Conquer other players, utilizing the main mechanic of the expansion.

Diversion

This card helps you adjust the position of cards in your opponent’s empire. You want to take advantage of it before you decide to snatch one of their cards to reduce the cost of Conquer. Our choice of replacement would be The Capital. Storing Resources is great, which makes it once again an interesting option for your opponents, so let’s not give them that.

Alarm!

A must-have card in your deck. How would amazons without an option to conquer look like? You want to be able to pick one of your opponent’s buildings – even though it’s only one card, with the Amazons’ feature you should be able to find it fast. Here we recommend replacing either Rear Guard or Secured Garner from their main deck since both of them won’t be as helpful using this strategy.

Cave of Cerberus

As for this card mentioned before, it’s an optional choice. Sure it looks cool, but the building bonus feature works mostly as a defensive strategy in this tactic. If you see your opponent preparing themselves for conquering by stacking up on Sword deals, you can steal those deals and stop their engine. But then again, your opponent might ignore deals, and you won’t be able to get anything, so we leave this choice to you. As a replacement, we would go for the other one recommended above – Rear Guard or Secured Garner.

So maybe Amazons didn’t start the fire – at least they don’t want to admit it. But they are ready to ring the alarm and conquer some empires. To be honest, they were always ready. Give this expansion a chance and prepare your Amazons deck. Let us know how you liked it, and if you took Cerberus for a walk and some Conquering along the way.

Matt Dembek

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Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:20 pm
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Portal Games Informant #93 - How did Detective win Golden Ace



On February 21st, in Cannes, the Festival des Jeux started. One of the highlights of the festival was the presentation of The Golden Ace – Game of the Year (l’As d’Or-Jeu de l’Année) awards for the best board games.

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Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:15 am
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Short letter from England

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Greetings.

I don’t want to alarm you, but I’m writing this to you because I haven’t heard from Percy for a while. I know that I should be used to it; it’s not like this is the first time that he’s been unable to send mail while he’s out there, alone in the wild. He’s already endured so much, and I believe in him and his success. Well, I must believe, because I swear - every time he’s back from there, I feel like he leaves a piece of himself there - so I worry, because I don’t know if he could take yet another failure.

Read the rest of the letter: https://mysterytales.portalgames.pl/letter/

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Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:35 pm
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Portal Games Informant #92 - ROI of meeting with the fan



Ignacy and Merry were on a big, one week tournée around the north parts of Poland. It's a very different experience from attending big cons in USA or Germany. Follow Ignacy on his journey, take a look at our awesome Polish fans, and see what clubs and shops accommodated them all

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Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:00 pm
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Restless days and bad omens

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The jungle is as hostile as it ever was. It has already been 23 days of travel through it, and even though we are doing fine, something weird is going on. Rimmel got severe food poisoning, and he’s not looking good, but that’s not what I mean. All I know is that right now we cannot stop, even though both Rimmel and Jack asked me to slow down. We should reach the Bakairi post in a day or two, and I will be able to help him there. For now, I must push harder because I cannot shake off a feeling that we’re being watched…

Follow the rest of Col. Fawcett's story here: https://mysterytales.portalgames.pl/restless/

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Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:41 pm
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Board Games Insider ep. 96 - Hot Winter

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Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:58 pm
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Monolith Arena Strategy & Tactics: Lords of the Abyss

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Darkness and hellfire, creatures of the night, simply speaking – Demons. A faction filled with horrors and nightmares that will leave your opponents in total fear. Lords of the Abyss and their champions names are frightening, but what is even more terrifying is their ability to teleport all around the map and to poison their opponents. Their goal is to bring chaos on the battlefield, to leave their opponents confused, but it doesn’t mean their game is chaotic, you must plan your strategy from the very start to make sure that the underworld will be pleased with your results. Control your chaos.
Venomous touch

First, make sure that you take advantage of your most fearsome feature – Venom. Place your banner in a way that you will be able to reach your opponents banner with champions connected to your banner. It’s ok even if your banner will end up adjacent to the opponents banner. Your goal is to inflict poison to your opponents banner as soon as possible. It would be great if even more poison markers lands on their banner, this way, an opponent will think twice before playing their battle orders for the rest of the game.
React quickly

Opponents will try to block you from inflicting any poison, and they will push you whenever it’s possible. You only have two Move orders, but there’s something even better – teleportation. Jumping from one side of the battlefield to another sounds fantastic, and it is. So keep your Runes of teleportation safe, place them far from your opponents, and make sure you have one of your tiles always connected to it. This will allow you to react quickly whenever your opponent use orders like a push to avoid getting hit with your poison, thanks to the teleportation you can reposition yourself and still try to inflict some poison.
Fearful champions

Apart from those tricky features, Lords of the Abyss have quite fearful champions at their disposal as well, that works well with the presented mechanics. Horrors net their opponents while inflicting 2 wounds, use those to block your opponents banner feature and do some extra damage or use them to protect your units that are about to inflict poison. Spikes can inflict poison on their own, try to put them on the other side of the battlefield, away from your banner so that your opponent has to spread their defenses. There’s also Mygalomorphs that works best in the center of the battlefield with their spread attack and high initiative, they can cause quite a diversion.
Drop your weapons!

As if it’s not enough, Lords have another cool feature – Disarmament. Any connected enemy tile to it, cannot attack. Runes of disarmament work best placed in the corner of the battlefield, this way they are protected by the board and can disarm up to two tiles, meaning only one side is open for a counter.

As you can see chaos can be a good thing if you make sure you control it correctly. Let us know how you base your Lords of the Abyss tactics.

Matt Dembek

***

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Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:00 pm
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