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Hold the Line (Game #91)

sean johnson
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In 2010 and 2011 I was trying really hard to find war games for various eras that my wife would actually play. This quest had us trade for and plow through dozens of war games, and we learned that my wife really does not like war games. Or at least most of them. This is a game we got in the Gen Con math trade in 2011. It has seen an OK amount of play in that time, and it has generally been regarded quite well. In 2015 we did a "game cup" blog series where we had games compete against other games, and out of 32 games Hold the Line made it to the final four. However, it then did not make it back to the table at all in 2016. Is this a game that we are still willing to make ready and give a shot?

Game Overview
This game is scenario based so the set up and victory condition varies from scenario to scenario. Players will have various units to command that have some different rules that apply to them but for the most part all units follow the same basic rules.

On a player's turn they begin with a base amount of action points. They will roll a die that will give them 1-3 additional action points. These points are used to move units or fire with units. Each unit can only do one. There is terrain that has an impact on movement and line of sight. When firing, depending how many hexes away the target is depends on what number needs to be rolled (normally 5-6 or just 6). The firing player rolls 3 dice and each target number rolled is a hit. The hit unit takes a morale hit and is reduced a step. Units start at 4 morale and are removed when reduced to zero.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game draws immediate comparisons to Memoir '44, but it is considerably different. I like the use of the die. It adds a lot of variability still but it gives the player more control than command cards like in Memoir '44 do. There are several simple but smart decisions here. I like how units move or shoot, this really captures the feel of the era and it makes coordinated troop movements important. This game delivers the feel of the era and battles with very accessible rules.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I really enjoy how straight forward these rules are. They tend to be fairly intuitive. There is enough here that I can tell there is some thematic complexity but it is not overwhelming at all.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game delivers on the theme really well. Many of the battles in this book have full multi-hour war games devoted to them, so this game clearly presents the battle in a simplified more abstract way. However, each battle is done in 30-60 minutes so it is a fair trade off.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It feels like people are fighting. I honestly do not care about the specific conflict, and I could not tell you how this brought out the theme of the American Revolution specifically.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The game comes with a decent amount of scenarios, and each scenario has an easy three plays in it. That is a respectable amount of replayability. However, there is only on expansion beyond the base box so it does not have the depth that some other scenario based games have.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: We do not play this game over and over enough to make it so that scenarios feel the same. Playing every and now then this game has plenty of replayability.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The pacing and flow of this game is great. The whole thing moves right along. Individual turns can be really tense, especially when a certain number of action points are needed and the die is rolled.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I really appreciate how fast this game plays. It feels like I played out a battle, and never takes as long as I think it will.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: My wife and I love Memoir '44 (currently are #2 favorite game together), but earlier this year when the kickstarter for the Command and Colors American Revolution game ran I knew I would pass on it. This game fills that role for us nicely. The mechanisms work well to deliver accessible revolutionary battles. My only complaint is thee is not more of it.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I know that I am not supposed to like war games on principle, but this one is pretty fun.

Final Score

79/100

I really regret not getting Hold the Line: Frederick's War a few years ago. I know my wife does not care much about the history, but I do and it would have been great to use this system in some different battles. Just with the one game though, Hold the Line is a hit for us.
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Tue Jul 4, 2017 4:58 am
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End of the Month Recap

sean johnson
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My wife and I played a lot of games of Race for the Galaxy using the app. I also found myself in several situations playing a lot of party games in a row. This all combined for a big month of game plays.


Most Played Game this Month: Race for the Galaxy (27 plays)
Best New to Me Game: Century: Spice Road



Mid Year Statistics
The end of June gets us half way through 2016. Here is where I stand at the 2017 halfway point.

Total Number of Plays Recorded: 465
Number of Unique Games Played: 165
Number of Games Played More than Once: 74
Number of Games that Are New to Me: 29
Number of 2017 Releases Played: 12 (I think)
H-Index So Far: 9


Play Them All in a Year
Number of Games Played this Month: 13
Best Game of the Month: Warhammer: Invasion(87/100)
Worst Game of the Month: Martian Dice (44/100)
I was gone for a whole week to volunteer as a summer camp director. That made it harder for us to play through our games. We are now down being right on pace, so if we do not play at least 15 games in July we will fall behind pace.


Our Top Ten Favorite Games
As we play through our games and rate them on a 100 point scale, we should get a picture of what our favorite games are. Once we are done, the ten highest rated games should be our favorite games as a couple. Based off of feedback, we decided to use our original ten point scale when we review new games. However, we also created a 100 point scale rating that we are using this year, so that we can see how those games rank among all the others. After this month here is how it stands:

1. Race for the Galaxy (97)
2. Memoir 44 ( 95)
3. Star Wars Destiny (95)
4. Terraforming Mars (93)
5. Small World (89)
6. Dice Masters (88)
7. Lords of Vegas (87)
8. Warhammer: Invasion (87)
9. Glory to Rome (86)
10. Among the Stars (86)
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Sun Jul 2, 2017 4:40 am
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Hull Breach (Game #90)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We played this game at Gen Con in 2014 because it was an open event that fit a good time slot for us. This game actually surprised us a good deal and we ended up buying it at Gen Con. We came home and played it immediately, then we have not played it since. In 2015 because it was a super deal I did get the other boxed set, so we have a fairly good size collection of this game. Is this game one of the greatest victims of having too many games or is there a good reason why it has gone unplayed?

Game Overview
In this game both players have their own deck that is full of ships, fighters, marines, and a variety of special cards. The goal is to destroy or capture the opposing base. At the beginning of the game each player gets a set up turn where they get extra money and resources to deploy an initial defense. Along with deploying ships, players also get two free modules for their station which provide extra resources and abilities.

After the initial setup, players go through their turns. The first thing a player does on their turn is draw back up to five cards. They then collect the resources and money that their station and modules generate. Next they can spend those things to deploy ships. Each card has both a resource and currency cost. Bigger ships may come with marines or fighters deployed on them. In these cases players get to look for their decks for the appropriate cards and put them on the ship.

After deploying cards the player can choose to attack if the wish. To attack another player the active player chooses how many ships they want to attack with. Combat is done in initiative order, with the smaller ships (like fighters) having lower initiative. Attacks are done by rolling ten-sided dice. The ship's combat rating is how many dice will be rolled. The number that needs to be rolled is equal or higher than the defense rating of the target. Each die that meets or beats that number will score a hit, and if a ship gets more hits than its health it is destroyed.

Once all ships have fired in initiative order, the next combat step is maneuver with ships with marines may attempt a boarding action against other ships with marines (or stations). Marine combat is done the same way. If the attacking marine force wins (or there are no defenders) then the attack gains control of the ship.

At this point the attacker can choose to retreat, if not a new round of combat begins.

Once the combat phase is over, if the game is not over, it becomes the next player's turn. There are a lot of special abilities that come into play, but that is an overview.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game does have some neat ideas behind it, but it also have some problems. The dice combat and abilities of the ships is neat, but the game is over in the first few turns. Once someone attacks, they need to be able to go for broke or the odds of surviving the return attack is low. This means that most games end a couple of turns after they start. It would be good if there were some sort of alternate victory condition other than destroy the opponent base.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like the dice rolling, the building up a force and the general flow of an attack. However, there are too many little key words and interactions to keep track of.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The game does capture the feel of building a fleet and engaging in space combat. The mechanisms of attacking in initiative order and boarding actions help add to it. I also appreciate that the designers include an extra book that just contains lore for the universe they are trying to build.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It does feel like I am building up ships. I think the disconnect for me is that it is not anything I am familiar with. If this was a Star Wars or Star Trek game I think it would resonate more.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: Like other games that rely around playing a unique deck, the replayability is tied up in how many decks are available. Since we have both base boxes that were initially released the replaybility is high.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Each deck match-up is good for multiple plays, and there are multiple decks.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The flow of the combat is great, but I feel like the game ends too quickly too often.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It does not take long to get into the fighting, and I like the back and forth of combat.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: Problems with the rules and flow aside, the core concept of this game is a blast. I love space combat games. Building a fleet and attacking the enemy base is fun. The combat is dice heavy, but it is a fun rolling a bucket of dice and trying to get hits. This game has some rough edges, but the core experience is fun.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is decent. There are two player combat games I enjoy more, but I am not opposed to playing this one.

Final Score

71/100

My wife's point about having more enjoyable two player combat games is a valid one. This occupies a similar space as Dice Masters or Star Wars Destiny. I think that might be one of the reasons it has been overlooked. I think though, I need to consider it as part of a different bucket. This is a space combat game my wife will play with me. That is a rarity, and it is one that we need to enjoy together more often.
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Sat Jul 1, 2017 5:16 am
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Animal upon Animal (Game #89)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We tend not to include kids games as part of our game collection, with a few notable exceptions. If we could theoretically see ourselves playing the game with just adults, then we include it. That means a game like Catan Junior is not included but this one is. I got this game in 2015 for father's day. It has been played a decent number of times since then. Does this game still stack up for us?

Game Overview
A wooden alligator is placed in the middle of the table and each player takes seven animals from the box. The goal of the game is to be the first one to get rid of all their animals.

On a player's turn they will roll a die and this die roll will determine their action. A player will either place one or two of their animals on the alligator, place an animal beside the alligator, pick one of their pieces for another player to place, or have the other players pick one of their pieces to be placed. If there are already animals stacked on the alligator then the player needs to stack up on those games. In doing so they put animal upon animal (hence the title).

If at any point, a player causes animals to fall they will be adding animals to their stock. The player will gather all of the fallen pieces, keep two and remove the rest from the game.

This goes on until one player is out of animals and they win the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: The rules are fairly simple. The dice add a luck variable, and I think the rule of only keeping two of the fallen animals is a great one.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is a great family game, and the challenge scales well to all age levels.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The theme is just an excuse to stack animals. The experience is a good one. The game requires a level of skill but it is one that is not too specialized and engages everyone.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game name is a little on the nose. The experience is tense and exciting.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the strongest aspect of this game. It is extremely replayable. The short play time combined with a skill based dexterity game is a great mix that can be played over and over.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The fast play time creates a let’s do it again feeling.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: Th game plays fast and the speed of play fits the over all light feel of the game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The quick game time is perfect for this one.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I have not played Junk Art, but this is probably my favorite stacking dexterity game. It is easy, accessible, fun and it has game play that is truly good for all ages.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is a Great family game that I think will have some real longevity. I think we will be playing this game as a family for years.

Final Score

76/100

This game is different than what we normally play, but it truly is a good family game that can have broad appeal to all kinds of people.
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Sat Jul 1, 2017 4:47 am
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Garden Dice (Game #88)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. Inspired by the Geekway to the West tradition, our local game group did a trade table last year. This is one of the games that I got off of it. We played this for the first time close to a year ago, but then it has not been played since. So has this game grown on us?

Game Overview
In this game players are getting points from growing vegetables and collecting sets of vegetables.

The game begins with a blank garden board which is a grid to place tiles on. On a player's turn they are going to roll four dice. The players then use those dice to determine the actions they will take.

A player make take seeds. There are five different types of seeds, corresponding with 1-5. Whatever number die the player spends they may take a bag of seeds equal to that number or lower.

A player may spend two dice to place seeds in the field. This is done by cross referencing the numbers on the die to determine what plot it gets. Once the seeds are on the board the player can spend a die to water a tile and flip it to the vegetable side. The die spent has to be equal to or less than the tile number. When a seed is watered it can chain. Any seeds adjacent to the watered seed might also grow if they are lower than the number of the watered seed. This continues as long as the next tile in the chain is lower.

In the same way players can harvest vegetables by spending a die. Once again harvesting causes a chain in the same way. Harvested plants score points equal to their value. It is possible to harvest other player's vegetables. If this happens the other player still gets the points, but the harvesting player also gets a point.

There are some non-vegetable tiles that can be placed. The sun dial allows for some dice manipulation, and animals can be used to mess with other players stuff.

The game ends when the last seed tile is taken. Players will get extra points for the different types of sets the collected and the player with the most points wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game does some clever things with dice. I do like how four dice are rolled and how they can be used for multiple hings. I also like how smart tile placement can create some combos. However, the dice can severely limit possible actions.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is overly dependent on dice, high rolls are so much more useful than low rolls, and there is very little mitigation.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: Having to plant and then water feels thematic, but overall I did not find the experience to be overly thematic.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Gardening is not terribly exciting and neither is this game.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a high level of tactical play, so I am sure there is some replayability. However, I think the static x2 bonus spots will consistently drive player strategy.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is dependent on dice, but I feel like I will try similar things every time

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The pacing and flow is one of the best parts of this game. I do like the flow of planting seeds and then watering them. It is really satisfying to pull off a big combo

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Bad dice rolls can slow this down and drag this game out.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has some clever bits, but overall I find the game to be dry and unexciting.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Bad dice mechanisms aside the game is just boring.

Final Score

51/100

We both did not care for this game, and my wife actually dislikes it more than I do. This is not a game we will be keeping, and it goes back to the trade pile.
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:00 am
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Codenames (Game #87)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. I got this game right at a year ago when it was sale at Target. We do not have many party games, but I thought this game was worth making an exception for. It turned out being a good call because this game has a lot of While it is not the optimal way to play, the game does have a two player co-op mode. Is this a game that will keep us guessing for a while?
Game Overview
In this team game there is a grid of 25 words. each team has eight or nine words they have to correctly identify. One person on each team is the spymaster, and they know which words on the grid their team has to guess. The other players are the guessers.

On a team's word, the spymaster will give a clue followed by a number. The number means how many of the words on the grid correspond to the clue. So for example, if two of the words on the grid that the team needed to guess were "baseball" and "New York" the spymaster might say "Yankees".

A team must always guess one word, and they can guess one more than the number given. If the team guesses one of the other team's words the other team gets to mark it as guessed correctly. There are some neutral words, and there is a black word that if guessed is an auto-lose.

Assuming no one auto loses, the first team to correctly guess all of their words wins the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a near perfect set of rules for a game of this type. It all works together so wonderfully.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The rules are straightforward and intuitive. The game just works together perfectly.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is one of the better team/co-op experiences in games I have played. It is always a tense game and it has an exciting race feel.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This has the feel of a party game. I generally do not like party games, but despite that I actually enjoy this one.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has so much replayability. It was built with that in mind, with double sided cards and clue cards that can be rotated in multiple ways. It can be played over and over again so easily.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Every game is different and it has a strong “let’s do it again” feel.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a short play time, but it does have a lot of downtime because of the clue giver having a hard time making connections.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The pacing and flow really falls on the clue giver, and most tend to be slow.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I find this game a lot of fun to play, and I am impressed that it is consistently fun. This is one of my go to filler games and large group games.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is probably my favorite party game, my preference is not to be the clue giver though.

Final Score

78/100

We enjoy the experience of playing codenames together with just two but find the scoring system lackluster. We are really looking forward to checking out Codenames Duet
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Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:05 am
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Subdivision (Game #86)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. Geekway to the West often gives a free game to all attendees and in 2015, this is the game I received. We played the game not too long after getting it, and then we have not played it since. After a two year hiatus we played Subdivision again, was it worth the wait?

Game Overview
In this game players get points by filling in the plots of land in their subdivision. The game is played in four rounds, and during each round players can play up to four tiles.

Before playing a tile a player will roll a die, and this die will determine what type of plot players can build on. If a player would prefer they can spend money to place a tile on a different type of plot.

When a player places a zone tile, they can activate any adjacent zone tiles. An activated government tile will allow a park to be placed, and park tiles score points of each adjacent tile at the end of the game. A residential tile will allows a school to be placed. A school tile can be placed on its own, or if it works out stacked on another tile. If a school gets three tiles high then it is worth 8 points at the end of the game.

If a luxury tile is activated then a lake can be placed. Lakes will give the player $1 for each adjacent tile. Industrial tiles will allow a player to play one or two roads. These are important because any tiles that can be connected to the highway printed on the player board are worth five points, and roads help make that connection possible. Finally commercial buildings allow sidewalks to be placed, and sidewalks will score points based on how many different types of tiles they are touching.

In between rounds there are bonuses that can be achieved by having certain patterns or conditions met.

At the end of the game players will lose points for plots they did not fill with tiles and then get points for parks, schools, and tiles connected by roads. The player with the most points wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is very puzzle-y. It is neat how smart placement can trigger multiple tile placements.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The rules feel clunky. They are not complex but it is hard to really understand how the scoring will work out at the beginning of the game.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is one of the weakest aspects of this game. The whole thing feels very abstract. It is theoretically about building a subdivision but it quickly just turns into colors and actions.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is fun to watch the suburb get build as tiles get placed and the board is filled.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The die does give some randomness, but the game feels like that after just a few plays it will very much the same.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game feels very puzzely which means it feels like it will not take long to really hone in on optimal ways to play.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: Going into the game players know they will be placing 16 zone tiles over the course of four rounds. The game flows remarkably quick.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is surprisingly fast with a lot of thought involved.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is not terrible, but it is fairly forgettable. For me this game is not very compelling and there are several other city building games that I would rather play.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It’s OK, but it is a bit dry.

Final Score

57/100

We initially kept this game because we did not think it is bad. However, I think there is a very clear reason it has been unplayed for two years. It may not be bad, but for us it is not terribly good either. This is probably not a game we will get out often at all so it will be traded away.
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Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 am
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Battle Cards (Game #85)

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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. In the mid-nineties I encountered Battle Cards in a comic book store. This was months before Magic the Gathering made CCGs a thing, and I loved the idea of a game that I could play with the cards in the pack. The world of Battle Cards is very generic fantasy, but it had a decent amount of background put into it. This was my first real exposure to high fantasy, and I really enjoyed playing the game with the dozens of packs I got over the course of several months. Fast forward to 2015 and three boxes of Battle Cards were in the Jack Vasel memorial auction. I made it my mission to win, and that is what I did. When we last reviewed the game it got an OK score and we considered it a guilty pleasure. Does this game still scratch and slay that gaming itch?


Game Overview
We will be explaining the advance combat campaign game. This is the most complex way to play the game, and it is the way that provides the most game.

First players decide how many cards each side will have. Players pick a combination of cards that are all the same faction or neutral. The strength level of the cards should also be equal (cards are warrior, strong, powerful, or awesome).

Both players also get a set of advanced combat cards. Players can use a full set, or they can customize the 8 cards available if they have extras. Players order their forces however, they want and then they give them to their opponent.

Each turn both players will pick an advance combat card. Each card attacks an area (head, body, arms, or legs) and defends against two. Both players reveal their cards. If the defended location matches the attacked location of the opponent the attack is stopped. If not it goes through, so it is possible for both players to hit.

Each card has several scratch off locations like a lottery ticket. these locations correspond with the different attack areas. On a hit, the attacker will scratch off one of the boxes on the opponent's card. If it is blank nothing happens. If they get a hit, they get a free attack anywhere. If it is a second hit, then a lifebox is scratched off. If it is blank, the fighter lives to fight again, but if it is a skull and crossbone it is dead and removed from the game.

After the round of combat, both players move to the next fighter in their order. This continues until one side has lost all of their cards.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: Even when playing with the most advance rules possible, there just is not a lot of game here. Now that legacy and disposable games are a thing, I think scratch and slay combat is going to prove to be an idea that was ahead of its time.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is very simple. Despite that, scratching off hit boxes is fun and novel.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The art on the cards is OK, but it has a very dated 80's fantasy look. The theme comes out though in the fact that there is a game with-in a game. There are multiple quest cards that have riddles or hidden information for players to discover. This is done by reading the backs of cards, making connections, and really investing into the set. This is a truly unique idea and delivers a thematic experience unlike anything else.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The experience of playing this is more of a time waster than a real game.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is replayable with a big caveat. It can be replayed as long as the cards are available. In the original booster model, the replayability was terrible. However, when a whole box can be bought for just a few dollars it is easy to get that much fun out of the investment.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: For the game to have true replayability it requires a decent amount of buy in.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The back and forth pacing is just right, and the pause to scratch a box creates the right amount of anticipation.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game moves fast and the timing is just right for what it is.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is dirt simple, but there is something very satisfying to winning the rock-paper-scissors match up and then seeing a hit. On the flipside there is a surprising amount of tension to get hit and watch the opponent scratch the box, hoping they get a miss.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is simple and silly but inherently fun.

Final Score

66/100

Objectively speaking this is a sort of OK game at best. However, this is a base fun to scratching the cards that can not be denied. Later this year my wife and I are taking a trip together, and we know to play in the airport and on the plane we are taking a deck box full of battle cards.
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Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:27 am
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Zombie 15' (Game #84)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We got this game as part of the 2015 Gen Con math trade. Our biggest motivation for wanting this game is that every year we have an annual zombie day. We did play this one a couple of times on Zombie Day in 2015, but it has sat unplayed for the last year and a half. Was it worth getting this game back off the shelf or is it(un)dead on arrival?

Game Overview
This is a cooperative, scenario based game. The game uses geomorphic tiles to create a variety of board configurations, and victory conditions is scenario specific. One constant though is that the scenarios have a fifteen minute time limit that is directed by a soundtrack.

On a player's turn they will get four actions (five in a three player game). If a zombie is in the space with a player they are very limited in what they can do, and they can not move until the zombie is defeated. Defeating zombies requires weapons. Each weapon has a set number of zombies it automatically kills, but each weapon has a limited number of uses. Some weapons may attract other zombies to the area in a horde. Each time a weapon is used is one action. If a player has no weapons they can do bare handed fighting, which requires taking a wound to kill one zombie.

If there are no zombies in the space, a player can move. Each space is one action. If the player is in a search location they can search. A quick search requires drawing three cards from the search deck. Some of these cards cause new zombies to appear. Other cards though are items. Players discard any items they do not take. A careful search allows a player to take a card from the discard pile.

After a player takes all of their actions they have to fend off zombies. The fend rating of weapons in the space are added up, and if it is greater than the number of zombies they are fended off. If not the player is knocked prone and takes a wound. Standing up requires an action next turn.

Each character has a special ability and potentially even a minor weakness some kind. In many scenarios the sound track will include a zombie sound every 60 to 40 seconds. Each time that happens, a card is drawn and the number of zombies shown is added to the active player's space.

Some scenarios have other specific rules. While victory conditions change if all players become knocked out (drop to zero life) or time runs out everyone loses.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: I like how this game uses real time game play in a scenario-based game. However, some of the rules do not work as well for me. I dislike how deterministic the combat is. I also dislike the upkeep this game has, such as tracking ammo, adding zombies to the horde, etc. They are minor, but when the timing of the game matters using time to do these things adds frustration and a sense of fiddlyness.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like the real time mechanisms, but a bunch of small rules are hard to keep track of.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The production quality on this game is excellent with a lot of miniatures and the art direction is good. The game does deliver a good narrative experience.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game feels like zombies are attacking so the theme does comes through.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has replayability the way that a video game like Dark Souls has replayability. Especially, at the higher scenario counts it requires replaying again and again to beat the scenario.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The campaign is probably replayable, but the setup time makes multiple plays in a row drag out.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The 15 minute play time does force the game to flow quickly and it has a very frantic pace.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Fifteen minutes is a good time frame, and players not wanting to get stuck with the zombie cards causes the turns to go fast.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: For me the excitement that this game should have is kind of diminished by how procedural the mechanisms are.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I have a love/hate with real time mechanisms. I find it exciting but it is also exasperating and stressful.

Final Score

67/100

This game is kind of one the border for us. We have not played all of the scenarios, and we are willing to do so. However, there are other zombie games we prefer. My wife likes the game more than I do, but she decided the game is going to the trade pile.
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Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:38 am
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Jaipur (Game #83)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We traded for this game in 2014, mostly because this is a very highly regraded two player game. We played it a couple of times when we first got it, but that was three years ago. Since then the game has sat on the shelf unplayed. Is Jaipur a victim of having too many games or is it just destined for the trade pile?

Game Overview
Jaipur is a set collection game where players are collecting between six different goods. On a player's turn they may either take cards or sell cards. There is a center row of five cards. When a player takes cards they have three options. They can take all of the camels present. Taken camel cards go on the table in the "herd" and not the hand. These cards are then replaced from the deck. The second option is to take any one goods card, and that card is then replaced as well from the top of the deck. The third option is that the player may take any number of goods cards, but the player must replace these cards. The cards can either be replaced with other good cards from the player's hand or with camels from their herd.

If a player chooses to sell they discard as many good cards as they have for any of the six goods, and they then take score tokens equal to the number of cards discarded. These tokens start at a higher point total and then decrease. The rarer goods require a minimum of two cards discarded, and there are fewer of the score tokens. There are bonus tokens that can be earned for discarding 3,4, or 5 cards.

The round ends when three of the goods token piles are gone or when the deck is empty. The player with the most points wins the round. The first player to win two rounds wins the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: It is impressive that this game has such simple rules but a lot of depth. I am not there, but I have a sense that this game has a deep level of playing lurking under the surface. For instance, keeping track and knowing what is still left in the deck could give an advantage.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The rules of this game are very simple. Yet they also seem very clever. The rules are straight forward but the gameplay is a bit more nuanced.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is where the game drops the ball for me. It may have some clever rules but the game is not gripping, exciting, or engaging in any way.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The theme is generic. The experience is bland and boring.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: There is little variability between plays. There are some games that feel replayable despite that but this is not one of them. Maybe it is the nature of playing best 2 out of 3, but after playing the game one I have little desire to get it back out again.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: After one best two out of three I was good. I do not think this holds up over the long haul.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the best aspect of this game. The back and forth two player play works well. As one player uses camels, the other player grabs them, and both players are keeping an eye on what might be claimed.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Each round goes fast, but I was done before the end of the third round.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This is not a bad game. It is fully competent and has some neat ideas. For me it ranks in the good but not great category. If the game had a theme that drew me in more, that would push it over for me perhaps. As it is, I think this game will just keep collecting dust for us.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game has Interesting ideas, but I found it lacking a bit in fun.

Final Score

62/100

When it comes to two player only games it seems we go against the grain a bit. This is the second time that we found a highly regraded two player card game to be lacking fun. This game clearly has its fans but we are not among them.
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Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:59 am
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