Gaming Bits: Board and Card Game Reviews

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Gaming Bits: Bananya the Card Game Review

Jonathan Nelson
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Birmingham
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From gallery of MillicanDarque

Bananya the Card Game is a game by Chelsea Schwartz, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be trying to collect one of each of the different types of Bananya cards while playing cards to the Kittie Litter Box to gain more cards and activate different powers. In the end, the first player to collect 10 different Bananya cards will be declared the winner.

To begin, the cards are shuffled together and each player is dealt 7 card to form their starting hand. They are also given a player reference card. The remaining cards in the deck are then placed face down to form the Draw deck. The lid to the game box is turned upside down and placed near the Draw deck in the middle of the play area to be used as the Litter Box. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played with each player taking turns until a player wins. On a player's turn they will draw a card from either the Draw deck or the Litter Box, adding it to their hand. The player must then play a card from their hand to the Litter Box and resolve it's power immediately. However if the player chose a card from the Litter Box, they are not allowed to play it until their next turn. If a card forces the player to discard a card, the player does not resolve it's power. Once a player completes these actions, their turn is over and play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues with players drawing cards, playing cards and activating powers until a player collects a set of 10 different Bananya cards. When this happens, the player must shout, "NYA!" and show that they have all 10 cards in their hand. The first player to do this is the winner.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
The game consists of a deck of 64 cards, 4 large reference cards and a sturdy game box that doubles as part of the game. The box is fairly small but not small enough to fit inside your pocket. The box lid is used as the Litter Box and is adequately designed to look like a cat's litter box. The bottom looks like a sand litter box with a small poop shovel on top of it. The words Litter Box are written on both ends. My daughter and I both found this rather amusing and cute. The reference cards are nice and sturdy and have a great finish on them, as do the playing cards. The finish is quite slick and keeps the cards from sticking together. Speaking of the cards, these are absolutely adorable. My daughter was completely overcome by the sheer cuteness of them all. Needless to say, we both fell in love with the look and feel of the game. It's so cute and sweet that it'll almost give you a tooth ache. That's just how sweet it is. The writing on each of the cards is large enough that I don't even have to break out my reading glasses to read them. That's a nice touch for my poor old eyes. Honestly, I couldn't find anything negative to say about the components for this one. For a simple card game, it don't get much better.

10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is quite short and sweet. It's small enough that it fits comfortably inside the box. The book has some cute pictures on it. It also contains 1 page describing the components and set up for the game and 1 page of actual rules. The back of the book contains 3 frequently asked questions. That's it, there's nothing else. It only takes a minute or two to read over and you're ready to go. My copy of the rules have since been clarified with a newer version which explains that a player must collect a set of 10 different Bananyas to win. My rules stated that you need to collect 10 Bananyas. Not a big thing but it did raise the question of what you needed to win. The rules are simple enough though and so it shouldn't be difficult to understand. The FAQs on the back page clear up a few things like, what if you shout "Nya" and you didn't have 10 different Bananyas. In that case, you'd have to shuffle the cards in your hand, discard 2 of them randomly and then resume playing. It explains what the Litter Box is and how it works and explains about drawing a card from the Litter Box. Apart from that, there's not much else to the rules. While I like the minimalistic rulebook, I'd have really liked to have seen a few helpful hints on how to strategically play the game, as in how you get more cards into your hand to be able to get those 10 cards you need to win. There was 1 major issue that I had with the rules. If you look on the back of the game box, it stated that you draw a card from either the Draw deck or the Litter Box and add it to your hand and immediately resolve it's power. The rulebook stated that you play a card from your hand to the Litter Box and resolve it's power after drawing a card from the Draw deck or Litter Box. At this time, I haven't received any clarification on this so we've been following the rule book, since it should be the definitive answer to the question. Other than that, I think the book is fine. As I said, it's quick and simple to read and fairly straight forward. Overall it gets the job done.

7 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Here lies the part of the game that I had the most problem with, the actual gameplay. I wanted to absolutely love this game. It's so cute and adorable. It looked so simple and easy. The truth is, it's deceptively harder than it looks. The first time we played this one, it took forever and noone could ever figure out exactly how to get the cards they needed to win the game. We finally gave up, which honestly left a bad taste in our mouth to start off with. My daughter was looking pretty worn out with the game but after looking things over again and thinking about each of the different cards and how they worked, I convinced her to give it another shot. The next playthrough went a little bit smoother and we actually wound up with a winner in about 15 minutes time. What we discovered is that you absolutely have to think about how you're going to get cards into your hand and which ones to discard at the right time. The game is deceptive on just how strategic it actually is. The first playthrough we wound up just cycling through cards and never really getting anywhere, never coming close to having 10 cards in our hand. The second time my daughter still struggled on what she needed to do. The box says that the game is for ages 6 and up, but I felt it's not as easy a game as what the box thinks it is. After struggling the first game and losing the second one, she was pretty much done with playing this one. The odd thing was that after a couple of days, she wanted to try it again. I explained what she needed to do to get more cards and that she needed to discard the cards that she had duplicates of so as to keep the ones she needed. This helped her out a good bit on our next playthrough and she actually beat me. So what does that mean to me? Well, it's good and bad. I liked the game, but I didn't if that makes sense. I think if the game wasn't so cutesy and adorable looking, then I wouldn't have thought twice about the difficulty of the game. It's the cuteness that threw us all and made me not like it as much as I thought I would. I think once you realize that it's not a cake walk kind of game, then it becomes a bit more enjoyable. Like I said, it's quite deceptive and not the game we thought it was to begin with. Of course that doesn't mean that we didn't like it, just that we didn't like it as much as we thought we would. My daughter and wife both ask to play it occasionally so there's that. That says that they like it well enough to want to play it. As for me, I think I'll leave the sweetness for my glass of tea and play this with them only when they ask. I think this is a game that will draw people in or turn them away with the cuteness. It'll be a love or hate reaction. I loved how it looks. Those that like the look of the game I feel with not necessarily like the game play, while those that don't like the looks of it I feel would like it more so. It's a very odd dynamic. I guess to sum things up, I found it to be ok but not a game that I absolutely loved. My wife and daughter liked it more than I did, which I attribute to the sheer cuteness of the game, not the gameplay. Overall this is one that I'd recommend trying before buying.

7 out of 10

OVERALL
Bananya the Card Game is a cute but deceptively strategic card game full of cats in bananas. The game varies in terms of actual gameplay. It can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 40-45 minutes. I'd average that at around 25-30 minutes. The first game may be longer but once you get the hang of things it takes a bit less time. The rulebook is short and sweet and can be read in less than a minute or two. I'd have liked a bit more clarification and more about how the game works in the rulebook but I did like the look of the book itself. The game took a couple of plays to really understand just how to play it. It's one that is deceptively strategic and can really take a bit of thinking to understand. I found it to be likeable but not necessarily loveable, as I wanted it to be. As I mentioned earlier, I think players that like the look of this game may not like the game play, while those that don't like how it looks may be more apt to enjoy it. It's for this reason that I'd recommend trying it before buying it. Don't let the cuteness and adorable cats lull you in. It can be a difficult game to win, but still simple enough to understand the rules. The game is family friendly but I truly think that the player age should be higher. I just don't think younger kids will understand what they need to do to win and it may not be as enjoyable for them for this reason. In the end, it's a good game and one that I'm sure some players may really truly enjoy. For me, I'll play it again when my daughter or wife asks to play it. "Nya!"

7 out of 10



For more information about this and other great games from Japanime Games, please check out them out at their site below.

https://japanimegames.com/
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Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:07 pm
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Gaming Bits: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion Review

Jonathan Nelson
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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Board Game: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion is an expansion for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, published by USAopoly, the Op. It is for 2-5 players. This expansion adds 4 new boxes of content to expand the game with, including a new playable character, Ginny Weasley.

For more information on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and how to play the game, please follow the link below.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/59136/gaming-bits-harry-p...

In this new expansion, players can expect to see a lot more content. Without spoiling anything, it includes 4 new boxes worth of content. These include new Locations, Dark Arts, Hogwarts and Hero cards. There are also new additions in the the other cards as well. As I mentioned above, this expansion also introduces a new playable character, Ginny Weasley. She comes with her own starting deck of hero cards, as well as a Patronous card. It also introduces the new Charm boards which allow players to use the Charm abilities. Of course I would suggested that you finish the contents of the original game before using any of the contents of this expansion. With that said, I can now explain how setting up the game works with these new additions included.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


To begin, Pack 1 should be opened up and all the contents sorted and distributed. If playing with less than 5 players, the additional player board and heart token won't be necessary. The Influence tokens are added to the pool beside the board. The Pack 1 Locations should be stacked face up in order on the side that corresponds to the number of players. The new Dark Arts cards should be shuffled together with those from the original core game. The Encounters are stacked face up in order in the center of the board. The 4 Villains cards are shuffled together with the Draco Malfoy, Crabbe & Goyle, Lucius Malfoy and Dolores Umbridge cards, along with 4 randomly chosen Villains or Creatures. The cards are then placed face down on top of the Game 5 Lord Voldemort card, which is placed face up on the bottom of the stack. The top 3 cards are revealed onto the board. The Hogwarts cards are shuffled together with the other Hogwarts cards. The top 6 cards are then revealed onto the board, stacking any duplicates on top of each other. The rest of setup is exactly the same as the core game.

The game is very much the same as the original game. Each player's turn consists of 4 steps. First the player will reveal and resolve Dark Arts events and the Encounter. The Dark Arts event is resolved first, followed by the Encounter. Each Encounter has an effect that normally triggers when certain conditions are met. With these new cards, the Neighbor term refers to the player's to the left and right of the active player. Next the player resolves the villains and creature abilities by following each card’s text. In some cases, there will be certain Encounters that will be triggered during this step. Next the player will play Hogwarts cards and take Hero actions. Like with most deck builders, the player will play the cards from their hand to gain resources and generate effects. Some cards will allow a player to banish a card by removing a card from their deck for the rest of the game and placing it in the discard pile. Banished Detention cards are returned to the Detention stack. Once resources have been gained, they may be used to attack villains with and buy Hogwarts cards with. It should be noted that some creature cards require Influence to defeat them. However unlike attack tokens, only one Influence token may be placed on a Creature each turn. New to this expansion, players may also use their new Charm ability. Charm abilities can only be used once per turn and rely on a player's health. The lower the health, the better the effect. Finally, the player ends their turn. In some cases, Encounters will trigger certain effects during this final step. Before any of the cards may be replaced at the end of the turn, the player should check to see if the Encounter has been completed. If so, then the player claims the card and may use the reward on a later turn. Play then passes to the next player.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


The game continues until one of two things happen. If the players have completed all the Encounters and all the creatures and villains have been defeated, then the players win. They are then able to move on to the next pack. If the villains and creatures control all the locations, then the players lose and must reset the game and try again.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
As with the original game, this expansion adds lots of new challenges to an already great game. The quality of all the cards and extras is excellent. This expansion adds 4 new packs full of cards and tokens. All of the cards have that same great photo quality that was used in the original game. All of the cardboard tokens are very thick and sturdy and look very cool. I really like there are new character cards to be used with this game including the new playable character, Ginny Weasley. Speaking of which, if she’s used as a player character, her ally card is removed from the Hogwarts deck, just like Luna's cards were in the last expansion. The expansion also has some sorting cards that work with the original games boxes in the first game. These make it possible to store all of the components of both this expansion and the base game together in the main box. However I will say that I haven't actually tried to get everything stored together yet...so I'm not 100% sure that it's possible. I'll definitely have to try that out. To be honest, I'm really impressed with the look and feel of this expansion and am extremely excited to have Ginny as a player character. I really felt that we were missing out without her. This is an expansion that I feel fans of Harry Potter will love. Everything feels very thematic and fits in great with the other pieces and parts of the core game and expansion. I’m very happy with everything here. Overall, this looks fantastic. I love it.
10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
Exactly like the original rulebook, this rulebook also evolves as you play the game. The back cover of the book is a bit thicker and has specialized slots for the smaller rulebooks that come in packs 2 through 4. These little rulebooks are small folded up sheets that show you which components to use and explain the new cards and tokens that are introduced to the game as you play. Every set of rules from the main book to the smaller rulebooks has some great pictures and examples that show how the game is played. I still really like the uniqueness of these designs. Apart from that, there's not a lot to say. If you liked the original game and expansion rulebooks, then you'll like this one too. Overall, I like the look and feel of everything here and think that this just adds to the joy of the game.
10 out of 10

From gallery of MillicanDarque


GAMEPLAY
I love this game. I love the first expansion. I also love this expansion. Each expansion builds on top of a game and mechanic that I truly enjoy. This expansion especially has lots to love. The gameplay isn't as difficult as in the previous expansion but still gives a great challenge to those players looking for some excitement. I have to say that I really like the new cards and how they change up the game and how things work. It adds new ways to look at the game and new options to explore. I like the new Charms mechanic and how that it makes it where you might not always want to have full health. Sometimes you may want to lose a few hearts to be able to use that special ability. I also love having Ginny Weasley to be able to play. Between her, Hermione and Luna, my daughter and wife have plenty to choose from. One more thing I should mention, as you start opening the later packs, you'll really find some new additions that continue to change up the gameplay. I won't talk about them here, but will leave them for you to discover as you play the expansion. Needless to say, it adds a new dimension to the game and is a ton of fun. For me, this expansion is a great addition to an already amazing co-op family game. Families that already enjoy the world of Harry Potter should really love this expansion. For others this is still a highly enjoyable expansion. For me it is a must have expansion. This is one that I highly recommend and can't wait to break out and play again.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion is an expansion for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle that adds 4 boxes worth of new content that includes a new playable character. The expansion doesn't add a lot of additional play time to the game. Most game sessions still last around an hour. Just like with the original game, the artwork and theme of the game are fully integrated into every piece, token and card. The artwork is almost all photo quality images and looks amazing. The few items and pieces that aren’t photo quality still fit well with the theme and don’t distract from the gameplay. The expansion adds a good bit of new content and introduces players to the Charms and Potions portions of Hogwarts. Fans of the Harry Potter universe will definitely enjoy the addition of fan favorite, Ginny Weasley. This was one of my wishes with the last expansion and a welcome addition here. Fans of the original game will truly enjoy this expansion. This is one that I highly recommend. For me it's a must have. Your little wizards and witches will love this one.
10 out of 10


For more information about this and other great games, please check out USAopoly, the Op at their site.

https://theop.games/
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Thu Jun 24, 2021 9:14 pm
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Gaming Bits: Oz Fluxx Review

Jonathan Nelson
United States
Birmingham
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Board Game: Oz Fluxx

Oz Fluxx is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will journey to the magical land of Oz where they will be playing cards to gain new items and allies known as Keepers, while playing actions and new rules that will change up different aspects of the game. Of course they'll need to collect the right Keepers if they hope to complete the ever changing Goal card. They'll also need to be on guard for the dreaded Creepers which hope to do them harm. In the end, the player that can best navigate their way to completing the current goal will be declared the winner.

To begin, the Basic Rules card is placed in the middle of the play area. The deck of cards is shuffled and each player is dealt three cards each. The remaining cards are placed face down in a draw pile beside the Basic Rules card in the middle of the play area. If a player is dealt a Creeper card, then they must place it face up in front of themself and draw another card until they have three non-Creeper cards in their hand. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round a player will take their turn which will consist of drawing a number of cards based on the current requirements, playing a number of cards, which is also based on the current requirements and then discarding cards from their hand to comply with the current limit rules that may be in play.

There are several different types of cards that a player may have in their hand to play. New Rules change the way the game is played and take effect as soon as they are played. These are placed beside any previous rules unless they override the basic rules of draw 1 and play 1. If this is the case, the new rule cards is placed so that it overlaps the part of the Basic Rule that it is replacing. Goal cards are placed in the middle of the play area and establish the requirements for a play to win the game. If there is another Goal card already face up on the table, it is discarded and replaced by the new card. Keepers are placed face up in front of the player that played it. These are the cards needed for a player to win. Action cards are one time use cards. To play one of these, the player reads it aloud and then does whatever the card says. The card is then placed in the discard pile. Creeper cards are immediately placed face up in front of the player that drew it. These usually will keep a player from winning the game. However there are a few Goal cards that will actually use them. Once placed, the player will then draw another card. This does not count as a draw or a play. Surprise cards are able to be played at any time during the game. During the player's turn, it works like an Action card. These cards can even be used to cancel out another Surprise card.

One last thing of note, once a player has played the corresponding number of cards as noted by the rules, they will then be forced to discard a number of cards if their hand has more than the current hand limit rule in play. At the beginning of the game, there is no hand limit. Only when a new rule is played that limits the number of cards in a player's hand will this come into play. Once a player has completed these actions, play passes to the next player in turn order.

The game continues until one of the players has met the conditions of the current Goal. The player that does this is the winner, even if this happens on another player’s turn.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
As with any game of Fluxx, this game comes with 100 artistically designed cards. Each one is made of great quality and is just the right size to fit in your hand. The cards each have a very nice finish to them which makes them very easy to shuffle and draw. The artwork on the cards is very fun and quirky, much like the land of Oz. Each one gives you that whimsy and fun that I remember as a child, when I first watched the Wizard of Oz. My daughter was very much engrossed with the different designs and she especially liked Dorothy. One thing to note is that not every card has that artwork on it. Some cards like the New Rules cards have large icons on them to show you what changes, while others like the Action and Surprise cards just have text on them. While it's not necessary for everything to have artwork, I think it would have made it a little more thematic and fun. Still for the artwork that is there, I'm very pleased with it. The cards in this one are very nice and I'm a fan of the overall charm of the artwork. This is definitely a great looking card game full of cute and fun artwork.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
For this game, the rulebook consists of a large double sided sheet of colored paper that is multi-folded. While large, it fits nicely into the box when folded. There's a couple of pictures on both sides of the page. On the front there are pictures of a sample game in progress. On the back of the page, there are pictures of Dorothy, Toto and her farm in Kansas. It's basically the artwork from the card's themselves. The rules are actually quite simple to follow. I don't think anyone should have any trouble understanding them. The back of the page also has a few examples of gameplay to help players understand a few things a bit better. There are also some notes that clarify a few things, such as discarding cards, reshuffling, cards in play and free actions, as well as notes on jumping in and dropping out of the game. Overall the rulebook is pretty nice looking. I’m with how great it looks.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Fluxx has always been a game that my family and I have enjoyed. Ever since we bought that first copy of Zombie Fluxx many years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, it's been a staple of our gaming table. With our love for the Wizard of Ozl, it's no surprise that this version would appeal to us. My daughter has always enjoyed the movie, as have I. I remember as a twenty something, watching it along with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album, something I recommend trying if you've never done it. I think our love for the movie comes from the magicalness and fantastic world that was created. That same spark comes out just a little bit in the cards of this game. While it still has that same Fluxx feel, you do get a little taste of Oz in your cards as well. With cards showing everything from the Wicked Witch to the Scarecrow to Dorothy and beyond. Needless to say, this version has quickly become one of my daughter's favorite versions of all time. This is one for the whole family, especially if you like the Wizard of Oz like we do. This is a great intro to the Fluxx universe and offers a great sampling of cards that aren't available in some of the other decks. Some cards like the Creepers have been left out of certain games, so it was definitely nice to see them used in this version. I will say that I've been considering playing a mash up combining both this and the zombie deck. Thought it'd be interesting to see Oz covered in zombies, but maybe that's just me. In any event, there's a lot of chaos and fun to be had in this game. If you enjoy games like Munchkin or are a fan of the Wizard of Oz, then this would be a nice fun little card game that you will enjoy. This is definitely one that I would highly recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Oz Fluxx is a family friendly card game of ever changing rules and goals set in the wonderful world of Oz. It’s a great little card game that doesn’t take a long time to play. Most game sessions last around 15-20 minutes. The cards are great quality and the artwork is cute and fun. The rulebook is well designed and very easy to read through and understand. The game itself is family friendly and is one that can be played with both kids and adults alike. Fans of Munchkin or any of the other Fluxx games should enjoy this one as well, especially if they like the Wizard of Oz. My daughter and I both really like the look and feel of this version and will be playing it for awhile. This is one that I would highly recommend. No need to click your heels together Dorothy, this one's a keeper.
9 out of 10



For more information about Fluxx and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.

http://looneylabs.com


For more information about Fluxx and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.
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Fri Mar 19, 2021 2:55 pm
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Gaming Bits: Legendary Metal Coins - Cthulhu Coin Set Review

Jonathan Nelson
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Birmingham
Alabama
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From gallery of MillicanDarque

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an amazing looking product from Drawlab Entertainment. That product was the Cthulhu Coin Set from their Legendary Metal Coins line. Here are my thoughts and opinions on the product. Enjoy!

First off let me explain exactly what the product is and give you some more details about it. To begin with this is a pack of 24 metal coins. There are 6 gold, 8 silver and 10 copper coins included. They're each a little over 3 mm thick and vary in diameter from 29.4 mm to 29.6 mm. These can be used with any Horror based board game or role playing game. They work especially well with those based around the Cthulhu Mythos or any other Lovecraftian style game. Apart from that, there's not a lot more to explain. Instead I'll show you some pictures of the thickness and size of these coins.

From gallery of MillicanDarque

From gallery of MillicanDarque

From gallery of MillicanDarque



Next I'll show you the different designs on the front and back of these coins. To be honest, I'm not sure which is which.

From gallery of MillicanDarque

From gallery of MillicanDarque


MATERIALS and QUALITY
In this section I'll try to give you a better understanding of the actual coins themselves. Each coin in the set is quite hefty and has a good feel to it. They are extremely well made and each coin's design is very intricate. The copper and gold coins have had their designs cut deeply into the metal giving a raised feel to them. The silver coins are a bit more smooth and not as deeply cut. The finish on each one isn't overly shiny which is well designed for the theme. I think shiny coins would have been less attractive and would not have worked as well with the Cthulhu theme. As you can tell from the pictures these coins are fairly thick and large. They're a little thicker and larger than a quarter. Honestly, these feel really good in your hand and make a very satisfying deep clink when put together. I think they look absolutely amazing and the quality is out of this world. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of them. Overall the materials are outstanding.
10 out of 10

INSTRUCTIONS
No instructions needed with these, simply take them out of the plastic bag and play with them however you like.
----

From gallery of MillicanDarque

From gallery of MillicanDarque


GAMEPLAY and USES
So as mentioned earlier, these can be used with any horror style game from The Call of Cthulhu RPG or any of the Fantasy Flight Arkham Horror style games. For me, I plan to use these with my Arkham Horror Card Game. I think they'll work great as spell tokens, clue and doom tokens and especially as investigator action tokens. I think they'd work great with Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror as well. As you can see from the various pictures with my game, they look really nice alongside the other pieces. My son has said that he'd like to use them with his role playing buddies as they've just started playing Call of Cthulhu a few weeks ago. He thought they'd be great pieces to use during the game to interact with. Having used various coins and such while playing D&D back in the day, I think he's absolutely right. The deeply compelling stories from a game of that nature paired with things like these coins that you can actually interact with make for an even more immersive experience. Needless to say, his friends are going to be rather jealous when they see them. Fans of H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos will love these coins simply for the overall beauty of the designs, while RPG gamers and board gamers will find they have many uses when paired with the right game. Overall, these look simply gorgeous and will be used in lots of various ways, most notably with my Arkham Horror card game and my son's gaming group. I highly recommend them and I couldn't be happier with the set. However if Cthulhu or horror games aren't up your alley, there are tons of different coin sets available from Drawlab Entertainment to suit whatever type of game you prefer to play.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
The Cthulhu coin set from Drawlab Entertainment's Legendary Metal Coins line is a collection of high quality gaming coins that work well with both RPG and board games alike. The coins are very high quality. They are thick, heavy and intricately designed for beauty as well as functionality. I love the choice to go with a duller finish, as a shinier finish wouldn't have worked with the them in my opinion. These particular coins work best with horror style games like Call of Cthulhu the RPG or any of the Arkham Horror style games from Fantasy Flight. For me, I'm using them with my Arkham Horror card game, while my son will use them with his gaming group to play Call of Cthulhu. Needless to say this is a set that I highly recommend. These are a great addition to any game night, however if you're not into this type of game, then Drawlab Entertainment has lots of other coin sets that will fit whatever type of them you're looking for. I highly recommend checking them out and finding a set for your own game. Trust me. You will not be disappointed.
10 out of 10

For more information about this and other great products, please check out Drawlab Entertainment at their site.

https://www.drawlab.com/
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Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:46 pm
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Gaming Bits: Ice Duo Review

Jonathan Nelson
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Board Game: Ice Duo

Ice Duo is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2 players. In this game, players have two games to choose from. In Ice Dice, players will be rolling dice and trying to acquire 3 sets of pyramids each in a single color. Of course they'll have to be careful as their opponent can steal from their collection. The first player to do this will be declared the winner. In Twin Win, players will be moving pyramids around on the board in an effort to create a configuration of pyramids that matches one of their goals. The first player to do this will be declared the winner.

To begin Ice Dice, the pyramids are stacked up and sorted by size and color and placed to the side of the playing area. This area is called the Bank. The dice are placed between this area and the Bank. The first player is chosen and play now begins. To set up for Twin Win, the board is placed in the middle of the play area. The pyramids are stacked in five trees consisting of one of each size stacked on top of each other from large on the bottom to small on the top, each of three different colors. One tree is placed on each of the square spaces on the board. The Twin Win cards are shuffled together before dealing out two cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down near the board. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game of Ice Dice is played over a series of turns, with each player taking a turn. On a player's turn they will roll both of the dice. The player will then take a pyramid of the size and color indicated from the Bank and place it on the Counter. The Counter is the area between the two player's play areas, called their Vault. If there are none of the specific size and color in the Bank, the player must steal it from the other player. A couple of things of note, when rolled the atom symbol means that the player may choose any color of pyramid that is not already on the Counter. If the pyramid die shows two different pyramids, then the player may choose between the two sizes shown. Once placed, the player may choose to roll again or they may choose to stop. This continues until the player stops or Busts Out. Busting Out occurs when the player rolls the same color as a piece already on the Counter. If this happens, the player must return all the pieces on the Counter back to the Bank. Once the player chooses to stop, the pyramids on the Counter are then moved into their Vault. It should be noted that if a player manages to roll all five colors without Busting Out, then those pyramids are placed in the player's Vault and they may then take another turn. One other thing to note is that if a player's Vault already contains all the size and color of pyramids that they rolled, then they get nothing for that roll but are allowed to roll again.

This game continues until one player has three single color Trios. A Trio is a group of three pieces of each size. It should be noted that the player may have two Trios of the same color. The first player to collect these three Trios is the winner.

The game of Twin Win is played over a series of turns, with each player taking a turn. On a player's turn they must take two actions. They may choose to either move a piece or they may change a goal. To move a piece, the player may choose to either move one piece two spaces or two pieces one space each. When moving pieces, the arrows on the board must always be followed. It should be noted that when moving a piece, any color of piece may be moved but only the topmost piece is allowed to be moved. Also of note, pieces can be stacked onto any size pyramid. That means that a small pyramid can be placed on a larger pyramid and vise versa.

The other action a player may take is to change their goal. To do this, the player simply trades in one of their Goal cards and draws a new one to replace it. The old Goal card is placed on the bottom of the stack. Once the player has taken two actions, play passes to the other player.

This game continues until one player has created one of the patterns from their Goal cards on the board. Once this happens, the player simply reveals their card showing the created pattern and that player is the winner.

One last thing should be noted, there are two other types of groups that have not been mentioned but will appear throughout the game, the Nest and the Tree. The Nest is when three different sized pyramids are stacked together with a small inside a medium inside a large pyramid. The Tree is when three different sized pyramids are stacked with a small on top of a medium on top of a large pyramid in the form of a tree.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
This is one nice looking game in a small package. There are lots of colorful plastic pyramids in the box. Each one of these is brightly colored and comes in 3 different sizes; small, medium and large. There are 5 different colored sets and each set contains 2 of each size. Each pyramid is translucent and has small pips on it, either 1, 2 or 3. The 3 different sizes fit nicely inside each other to nest. I absolutely love the colors and how nice each of these looks and feels. The game also comes with a set of dice, a small game board and some euro sized cards. The dice are engraved and are colorful as well. One die has the different colors with some fun shapes while the other has different pyramid sizes or selections of sizes on it. These are really high quality and super nice too. The board has circles and squares with arrows pointing in different directions on it. The board is really well designed and is also high quality. The cards are euro sized and have either a Nest or Tree of one of the 5 colors on it. These are the goal cards for Twin Win and are very easy to understand. Needless to say, this is a game full of high quality components that looks really great. I love how small the game is, making it the perfect size for travel. The game is super nice. I absolutely adore the different colored pieces and how well everything fits together. This is a game that looks fun and will draw people in with the bright colors. I'm very pleased with all the components.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for these games consist of a double sided, multi-folded sheet of small paper. There's also another of these sheets that contains some basic information about these types of games by Looney Labs and it also introduces many of the others in the line of games from them. This second one explains different concepts like sizes, groups, orientations and pips. The rulebook itself is fairly simple and quick to read. There are only a couple of small pictures and a few examples, mostly of dice rolls for Ice Dice. However it's not like there's a lot needed for either of these games. So the good thing is that you won't have to spend a ton of time with a rulebook. What's here is good enough to get you oriented on the system and how to play each of the two games included in the box. I will say that there are some basic setup instructions that you have to pretty much figure out on your own as it's not really spelled out in the rulebook; such as putting out the board and placing the goal cards where they can be used for Twin Win. Not that it's a big deal, but some players may miss that and wind up playing the game wrong or wondering what's wrong with the game. Things like this are a pet peeve of mine that I wish game companies would be better at keeping from happening. I always say, don't assume that the player knows how to set up or play your game, just tell them so there's no confusion. Aside from the minor irritants of setup, the rulebook does a good job of explaining how to play the actual games. Overall I think the rules are just fine.
7 out of 10

From gallery of MillicanDarque


GAMEPLAY
These are two fun two player games. Both are quite short and only take around 20-30 minutes to play. Ice Dice is just a really fun push your luck dice rolling game. It's all about getting 3 sets of pyramids, each set of a single color. This is probably the fastest of the 2 games and it relies on a lot of luck. The thing about this game that I like is that as the game goes on, it's a lot harder to keep rolling without losing what you've already got out on the Counter. In the early part of the game, you can push your luck and keep rolling without too much fear of messing up. That is unless you have my luck with dice and roll poorly on your second roll. This can allow the other player to catch up with you if they're falling behind due to good rolls on your part. I like also like the stealing part but my daughter only liked it when she was able to take one of my pyramids. Overall this one was a lot of fun. Twin Win is a little bit more strategic but is still simple enough for younger players like my daughter to enjoy. With this one it's more about moving things around to be able to match one of your goal cards. Of course you don't know what your opponent has so you also have to watch what they're doing and try to make sure that they don't stack up the right configuration of pyramids too. It can be a lot of fun moving things around and trying to out think your opponent. Of course you can get too focused on what you're trying to do that you completely miss what you're opponent is doing creating a win for them. Don't ask. Needless to say, this one is a lot of fun too. Having never played any of the other pyramid style games, I don't know a lot about the system. However I think that any players that enjoy those games, should love this double pack of fun. This is one that I would highly recommend. It's colorful and full of fun. My daughter approves.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Ice Duo is a collection of 2 fun games in the pyramid collection of games. Both Ice Dice and Twin Win are short and fun games that can be played in around 20 minutes or so. The components are really high quality and brightly colored. They really draw you in. The rulebook is small and simple but doesn't fully explain setup which might be a bit confusing for new players. The games are really fun and easy enough for younger players to enjoy. This is one that fans of any of the pyramids games should really enjoy. I'd even say new players should find lots to like in this combo of games. This is one that I would highly recommend. It's a fun blast of color in a small package.
9 out of 10

For more information about Fluxx and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.

http://looneylabs.com
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Mon Dec 7, 2020 8:02 pm
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Gaming Bits: Bible Bingo Review

Jonathan Nelson
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Birmingham
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From gallery of MillicanDarque

Bible Bingo is a game by Bible Games Central. It is for 2-24 players. In this game, players will be playing the classic game of Bingo but using the books of the Bible instead of numbers. In the end, the first player to connect five squares in a row and call out "BIBLE BINGO" will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player is randomly given a Bible Bingo card. For fewer players, more than 1 card may be given to each player. A handful of Bingo chips are also given to each player. Players will start by placing a single Bingo chip on the Free Space in the middle of their Bible Bingo card. The remaining Bingo chips are placed within reach of all players. One player will not receive any Bible Bingo cards and is instead chosen to be the game leader. This player is given the Bible Bingo Calling card deck, which they will then shuffle together. Once all players are ready, play now begins.

During the game, the game leader will draw a card from the Bible Bingo Calling card deck. Once drawn, the leader then calls out the book of the Bible and the section that it falls under; for instance - Old Testament - Poetry or New Testament - Letters from Paul. Players check their Bible Bingo card and if they have that particular book of the Bible on their card, they will place a chip on the corresponding square. The leader will then draw another card and repeat this process over and over again.

The game continues until one player places Bingo chip on five squares in a row. This can be vertically, horizontally or even diagonally. Once a player does this they will then call out, "Bible Bingo!" The first player to do this will be declared the winner.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
This game consists of a big stack of Bingo cards, a deck of calling cards and a huge bag of Bingo chips. Each Bingo card is quite large and double sided, providing lots of different configurations. Unlike regular Bingo cards, these don't have letters along the top and numbers in each space. Instead the cards are divided into a top and bottom section and several individual sections in each. The top section is for the Old Testament of the Bible and it's divided into 5 different columns of 3 spaces each. The columns are Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets and Minor Prophets. The Poetry section contains the Free Space. The bottom section is for the New Testament and it consists of 3 sections. The sections are Gospels & History, Letters from Paul and General Letters & Prophecy. The first section is a single column of 2 spaces, while the other 2 are 2 columns each of 2 spaces. Each section from both the New Testament and Old Testament is outlined in a specific color that matches the color bar at the bottom of the corresponding calling card. Speaking of calling cards, each individual card matches the illustration and color of each space on the Bingo card. So for instance, the New Testament book of Matthew has a red color bar on it and the art depicts a cross with a crown on it. The same image and color that is randomly on the Bingo cards. The artwork and designs are a bit simplistic but they convey the corresponding book of the Bible fairly well. The cards are a little bit thin which hopefully won't cause an issue after repeated plays. So far, it's not been a problem. The Bingo chips are dark green plastic discs that are see through. Like with anything of this nature, it doesn't take much of a bump to make the discs slide off the card. I think a lot of this is due to the finish on the cards and the smoothness of the discs. For this reason, I simply recommend laying out each card in front of the caller as they're read out. This way, if the player bumps their card, the caller can go back over the ones they've already called out. Personally I feel that component wise, the game looks and feels pretty nice. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the layout and designs of the Bingo cards or the calling cards. I also wasn't a big fan of the artwork either. It felt a bit too simple for me. However seeing as this is a game designed for younger players, it's something that I'm willing to overlook. For me, it think it will appeal to children, parents and Sunday School teachers.
7 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a lot longer than it has to be. There are only 2 pages of actual rules for the game. The remaining 11 pages consist of an overview of the different books of the Bible. Each page is dedicated to one of the different sections like Law or Prophecy and it gives a summary of what each is about. I like that this is there and that kids, parents and teachers unfamiliar with what each is about can read through a quick overview of each one. The book contains several pictures, most of which are the simple designs shown on the calling and Bingo cards. There aren't any examples, but this is Bingo so it should be pretty easy to figure out. With the layout of the game, I would have like a possible gameplay variant or something of that nature. Unfortunately, there's just the basic rules of Bingo included. Overall, the book explains everything quite simply and even provides history and and references for the Bible. I think it does a good job, even though it's a bit longer than I'd have expected.
7 out of 10

From gallery of MillicanDarque


GAMEPLAY
If you've ever played Bingo before, then this won't be all that new to you. The game only has a few differences from the classic game. For one, the player boards are set up a little different, as described above. That means that instead of calling out letters and numbers, the caller calls out either Old or New Testament followed by the section and then the book of the Bible. For instance, Old Testament - Law - Genesis or New Testament - General Letters & Prophecy - Revelation. It takes a bit of getting used to and for the first play through it'll throw you. After that, it's not a big deal and you'll have it all figured out. Just like regular Bingo, this one can be played with a lot of people. The game includes enough cards for up to 24 players making it great for family get togethers and Sunday School classes. It's simple and fun for players of all ages. I will say that if you don't like Bingo, then this game won't change your mind. It's Bingo. It's a highly luck driven game that's simple enough for anyone to pick up and play. Fans of Bingo that are looking for a more religious theme will like this one. As previously noted, it's one that should appeal to children, parents and Sunday School teachers. Veteran gamers will most likely pass on this game as it simply doesn't have any strategy or decisions to be made. It's merely luck based. For me, it's one that I enjoy playing with my kids for that reason alone I'd recommend it.
6 out of 10

OVERALL
Bible Bingo is a very light weight version of the classic game of BINGO. The game is very quick and doesn't take more than about 10 minutes or so to play. The components are nice but the artwork is a little simplistic. The cards are a little thin but they're not it's not that big of a deal since they're only used to call out the books of the Bible with. The rulebook is a lot longer than it has to be, but it does contain some nice Biblical overviews. The game itself is very simple and luck driven. If you've played Bingo, then you'll quickly understand this game. This one is family friendly and would be great for using in a children's Sunday School class or for home schooling with a Bible curriculum. Players looking for a deep strategy game won't find it here, but fans of Bingo will enjoy this take on the game. This is one that I'd recommend for either of the situations noted above, or even for parents looking for something simple to play with their kids. It's worth checking out.
7 out of 10


For more information about this and other great games, please check out Bible Games Central at their site.

https://biblegamescentral.com/shop/
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Thu Dec 3, 2020 2:12 pm
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Gaming Bits: Parable Parade Review

Jonathan Nelson
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Birmingham
Alabama
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Board Game: Parable Parade

Parable Parade is a game by Bible Games Central. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will be drawing cards and trying to make sets of 4 cards from the same Parable. Of course they'll have to watch out as their opponents may try to take a card away from them. They'll also have to watch out for the dreaded Oopsie! card which means their turn is over. In the end, the player that can make 2 full sets of Parable cards first will be declared the winner.

To begin the 12 Parable Summary cards are set aside. The rest of the cards are then shuffled together and placed in a stack in the middle of the play area to form the draw pile. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The game is played in a series of turns with each player taking a turn. On a player's turn they must start off by taking at least 1 card from the draw pile. If the card drawn is a Parable or Kingdom card, then it is placed in front of them face up. Parable cards are arranged by their particular sets while Kingdom cards are simply placed in a separate pile. It should be noted that a player may have any number of Parable sets in front of themself. Once the drawn card has been placed, the player may choose to take another card from the stack, adding it to the appropriate pile, or they may pass. One thing should be noted though, if the player draws an Oopsie! card instead of a Parable or Kingdom card, then their turn is over. The player must also discard 3 Kingdom cards from their pile. If the player doesn't have enough Kingdom cards, then they must discard Parable cards to make up any difference. The discarded cards are all placed in a common discard pile in the middle of the play area. The player may continue drawing cards and placing them as long as no Oopsie! cards are drawn. Once the player decides to stop drawing cards, play will then pass to the next player in turn order.

A few things should be noted about Kingdom cards. Besides being discarded when an Oopsie! card is drawn, they may also be used to take another player's Parable card. This is done by discarding 3 Kingdom cards of different colors on the player's turn. Once discarded the player may take 1 Parable card from another player's pile and place it face up in front of themself, combining it with any other cards of that particular set. One thing should be noted, Parable cards from completed sets may not be taken. Another thing to note is that once a player uses their Kingdom cards in this way, their turn is over and they may not take any more cards from the draw pile.

The game continues until a player completes 2 sets of Parable cards. It's recommended that for games of 2-4 players, 3 sets should be completed instead of just 2. A completed set of Parable cards consists of 4 cards of the same Parable. The first player to complete their sets is the winner.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
This game consists of over 100 cards. There are 4 types of cards included in the game; Parable cards, Kingdom cards, Oopsie! cards and Parable Summary cards. The cards are very bright and colorful. The artwork on them is rather simplistic and kind of cartoon like, however I think that this will appeal to kids especially younger ones. I would like to point out that the cards are a bit smaller than normal playing cards. It felt odd having them in my hand. It wasn't until I compared them to a regular sized card that I noticed the difference. One more thing to point out is that they are a bit thinner as well. Thankfully the finish is nice enough that they aren't difficult to shuffle. I'll be honest, I thought they might stick together or be a problem but I was relieved when they worked fine. The Parable cards, besides having the artwork of the parable on it, also has has the name of the parable inside a colored box along the left side of the card and a number in the bottom right corner. The number is where the card fits in the sequence of the story. I will say that I wish the colored box was a little bigger but I'm glad that each one has a different color to help differentiate between the parables. I also like that the cards are numbered for lining up the cards for a particular parable in order. The Kingdom cards have a brightly colored background in one of three colors; pink, green and blue. In the middle of these cards is a king's crown. The Oopsie! cards have a person with a look that says, "Uh oh, you pushed your luck too far." Overall I think the cards are nice enough and do the job of conveying the parables fairly simply. My biggest wish for the whole thing though is that the game had come in a bigger box with an insert to keep the cards separate. Instead the box for the game is a tuck box that barely fits the cards in two stacks inside it. It's rather annoying trying to get the rules back into the box once the cards are in and it's harder to put the cards in after the rulebook. This all could have been avoided with a better and larger box, like the one that came with the Bible Bingo game from the same company. It just could have been a little smaller. Apart from that though, I don't really have anything else to gripe about. Overall this is a fairly nice looking game that should appeal to parents and kids.
7 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is a simple piece of double sided cardboard that is folded in half. The rules are in full color and only take a minute or two to read through. For the smallness of the rulebook, it's surprising to see as many pictures on it as there are. There are even a couple of examples too. Each of the different card types is explained, as is the basics of gameplay. I didn't see anything here that should be difficult to understand at all. The only thing that I would have liked to have seen was a way of playing the game solo, like playing a game of solitaire or something. I think this is a game that could easily be played that way and solo rules would have been a nice addition. As it is the rules do a fine job of explaining everything so I'm not going to complain. Overall I'm pleased.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a very simple game that can be played fairly quickly. Basically you will draw cards from the deck until either you stop or you draw an Oopsie card, or you decide to cash in a few Kingdom cards. You will keep pushing your luck until you get enough cards to complete 2 or 3 sets of Parables or you mess up. Thankfully you don't lose any cards that you've already drawn. The only time that happens is if an opponent chooses to cash in their Kingdom cards to steal a card from you. Apart from that, there's not a lot of interaction between players. It is simply you against the deck and that relies heavily on luck. After playing this a couple of times, I really started getting a feeling of deja vu. I think that's because the game has a lot of similarities to one I reviewed several years ago called Women of Science. Like this one, that game was about making 3 sets of cards consisting of 4 cards of the same color. It had a card that allowed you to take a card from the discard pile and one that let you take 2 cards from an opponent's already placed set of cards thereby destroying their set. The way the Kingdom cards work is similar but not exactly the same. For instance, once you have a complete set, the cards in the set are safe. Another player can not use their Kingdom cards to take a card from it. One more difference is that in this game the players can keep drawing cards from the deck as opposed to only being able to take one card from either the deck or the top of the discard pile. For me both games scratch the same itch. They both have the same feel to them, except this one is centered on parables from the Bible as opposed to matching colors. This game is family friendly and can even help parents to teach their kids some of the different parables from the Bible. I like that there are summary cards included to help do just that. I think fans of Women of Science will like this game, especially if they found the other game a little too mean with the Prestige cards. I think parents that are looking for a light and fun card game to play with their kids would enjoy this one too. This is one that I'd recommend. It's a nice game that teaches good lessons.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
Parable Parade is a very light weight card game about 12 of the Parables told by Jesus in the Bible. The game is rather fast. Most play sessions last around 15 minutes or so. The rulebook is small and can be read in a couple of minutes. The game itself is quite simple and easy to play. The main idea is to simply collect 2 or 3 sets of 4 cards from the same group. The push your luck and set collection mechanics are very prevalent here. The game is family friendly and can also be used to help children understand the Parables through the use of the summary cards. This is one that could easily be used in a children's Sunday School class or even in home schooling with a Bible curriculum. Fans of card games like Women of Science should enjoy this one and find some striking similarities between the two games. This is one that I'd recommend. It's definitely one worth checking out.
8 out of 10


For more information about this and other great games, please check out Bible Games Central at their site.

https://biblegamescentral.com/shop/
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Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:43 pm
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Gaming Bits: Go7Gaming LGC-003v2 Insert Kit and LGC-003 SCARD Kit Review

Jonathan Nelson
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Birmingham
Alabama
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From gallery of MillicanDarque

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out a couple of products from Go7Gaming. Those products were the LGC-003v2 Insert Kit and LGC-003 SCARD Kit for the LCG card games from Fantasy Flight Games. I also received a couple of the LGC-DIV-009 dividers as well. These all came together in a flat rate shipping box. Inside all the bags were shrink wrapped together. In the insert bag there were several laser cut wooden along with a full color set of instructions on how to assemble it. The SCARD Kit had smaller wooden sheets and a set of color instructions as well. After taking out the sheets and reading over everything, I was then ready to assemble the product.

Let me begin by explaining what these are and how they are used. As I mentioned earlier, these are inserts for the Fantasy Flight series of LCG games. Specifically these work with the smaller core box sets like in Arkham Horror, A Game of Thrones 2nd edition or Warhammer 40000 Conquest. These will hold the contents of the base game and several expansions. The LGC-003v2 insert is to be placed inside the core game box, while the LGC-003 SCARD kit is used inside of this insert. I've found that this works out quite well with the cards that I currently have from two big expansions, a couple of the single run scenarios and all 5 of the investigator decks. At this point I was able to pretty much get everything into the box. Of course, the insert lifts the lid of the box a bit high, so it's just something to be aware of. With all that said, let's get into the specifics of the assembly process. To start off with, you'll want to separate all the different wooden sheets so that you can more easily recognize what pieces are what. Each of the separate pieces are quite easy to punch out of the sheets so you should have no problems.

At this point, I should mention that if you've read any of my reviews for any of the Go7Gaming inserts, you will realized that glue is pretty much required, or at the very least highly recommended. While not an absolute necessity, it's definitely the best option. With this review I won't be telling you each time pieces are to be glued. Just be aware that if I'm discussing the attachment of 2 pieces, then you'll want to apply glue between both of them. For this Insert Kit, I decided to go with Gorilla All Purpose Household Glue. It's fairly cheap and dries clear and strong. For me, it worked rather well and was easy to use. If you look closely, you'll notice some glue remnants. That would be because I took several of the pictures prior to the glue drying. So without further ado. let's go ahead and get into the assembly process.

We will start off by assembling the token tray. First off the center tray divider is connected to the tray base, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Next the long tray walls on each side are attached to the tray base, connecting them with the center tray divider, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Once that's done, the tray end walls are attached to the tray base and connected to both sides of the long tray walls, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


After everything is finished, a couple of the splitter walls can be placed inside the token tray to better adjust the tray. The tray lid can be placed on after it's all had time to dry. What you will most likely have is something like this.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


From gallery of MillicanDarque


This brings us to the largest portion of the build, which is the insert itself. To build it, we start off with the insert base and the two inner divider lanes, which should be connected together, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


The two insert end walls are then attached to the base and connected to the two center divider lanes, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Finally the two outer divider lanes are attached to the base and connected to both of the end walls, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


The last thing to do here is to add some of the dividers and let everything dry. What you should end up with is something kind of like this.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


With that completed, I should now mention the SCARD kit and how it's assembled for the insert. This is really quick and simple. We start off by connecting the center tab strut to the wall, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Next the divider is slid onto the center strut to give you more than two storage areas, like so.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Once the whole thing has had time to dry, you can then connect it to the wall of the main insert, like so. If you still need more areas for storage, you can keep adding more walls like this or possibly even attach them to any previously assembled. I chose to only do the one and then to place one of the insert dividers next to it to help make it more stable.

From gallery of MillicanDarque



After everything has had time to dry, you can then begin to place all of the cards inside the insert and adjust the dividers as needed. Here's how mine looks after placing everything together.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


I also added all of my custom pieces and removed the chaos tokens from my box, since I mainly use the app on my phone for this.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


As you can see, the lid and the bottom of the box don't quite mesh up, but I think it works. The rulebooks and rules sheets make things a little off, but not enough to make a difference. This completes the project.

From gallery of MillicanDarque

From gallery of MillicanDarque

From gallery of MillicanDarque



MATERIALS
In this section I would normally cover the look and feel of each of the different components. With this being an insert review, I'll instead describe the insert and how it was packed instead. Everything came prepackaged in a flat rate shipping box. Inside the box, everything was wrapped with shrink wrap and placed inside large zip lock style bags. Everything looked very nice and there were no problems with the packaging. The wooden sheets are thick and sturdy and are very easy to punch out the different pieces for each one. If you decided to use glue or tape, you'll need to supply your own as these insert kits do not come with any included. As I mentioned earlier, I used Gorilla All Purpose Household Glue. It has worked really well for me with previous builds and I've been quite happy with the overall results. Assembling these products was not hard at all, as you've already seen. The inserts took a very short time to assemble, which I was very happy about. Overall I feel that the materials are great quality and everything is strong and durable. To sum it up, I'm very pleased with the overall look and feel of this product.
8 out of 10

INSTRUCTION
For this section, normally I'd be explaining the game's rulebook. With this being a product review for an insert, I will cover the instructions that came with it instead. The instructions for both the insert and the SCARD kit came on single double sided sheets of paper that were basically folded in half. Both of them had full color instructions with a very detailed process on how everything should fit together. This included diagrams showing how each piece fits together and pictures of the different wooden sheets labeled for ease of assembly. That last part is always a big help. Just looking at the sheets, I sometimes get confused on which piece is which. Thankfully the instructions are there with each piece labeled to help me out. Everything was explained very well and I didn't find it difficult to understand at all. Needless to say with the help of the instructions I was able to make short work of the assembly process. Overall, I'm very pleased with how easy the instructions were to follow.
8 out of 10

CONSTRUCTION
With this section, I would normally be explaining how the game played along with any thoughts I had about it. For this review, I'll be giving my thoughts on the assembly process instead. To start with, the assembly process was quite simple and didn't take a very long time to complete. As with most of the Go7Gaming inserts, a bit of glue is needed, as the joints are a bit loose and tend to not hold without it. For this project, I used Gorilla All Purpose Household Glue which has done a very good job for me so far. I've used it with the last couple of projects that I've built and have been quite happy. The middle pieces of the main insert seemed a bit warped or crooked, as I've noticed in some of my previous builds. Thankfully I was able to work it out when I connected the end pieces. That helped straighten them out enough to be able to work the token tray inside the box. As I've mentioned earlier, I currently have two big expansions, a couple of the single run scenarios and all 5 of the investigator decks. I separated each of these with dividers for now to keep each one separate. I may end up going back and dividing up the investigator cards from the story cards and locations. For now however, I'm finding it fairly easy to find what I'm looking for. I'm also considering adding some cardstock dividers for each section to be able to see each card type at a glance. In any event, you can see from the pictures that everything has worked out quite well. This holds a good bit of stuff, but I can see that I'll need more room soon. There are a few things I'd like to point out though. First, with the shallowness of the game box, the insert extends well past the box bottom. As a matter of fact, the lid just does come down over the lip of the box bottom now. Adding the rulebooks, campaign guides and other sheets from the different expansions makes the lid move up a bit higher, but it still holds everything really well. You can see examples of this in some of the pictures shown along with this review. I'd also like to mention that I did remove some of the cardboard pieces like the chaos tokens from the box. That's because I upgraded a lot of stuff from purchases I made on Etsy and because I mainly use the app for the chaos tokens. As for the SCARD kit, it's great for taking care of those small euro sized cards like the investigator tokens. I just used one of these as I don't have a lot of the smaller cards at the moment. Overall I'm very pleased with how everything turned out and I'm glad that I have a better way of keeping things together than those old ziplock style bags. This is one that I would highly recommend for owners of the Arkham Horror card game, especially if they have any expansions. It's well designed and does a great job.
8 out of 10

OVERALL
The Go7Gaming LGC-003v2 Insert Kit and LGC-003 SCARD Kit for the LCG card games from Fantasy Flight Games are great products that help to organize your game. The main insert does a good job of holding a lot of cards inside the small core box. The added SCARD kit takes care of the small euro sized cards. Everything is good and sturdy and was quite easy to assemble. The assembly process was fairly short which is always a bonus. I think once everything was assembled it looked great. I would like to note that the insert does raise the lid up a good bit but it still holds everything inside. I realize that not everyone will probably like how this is set up, but for me it does a lot better job than that long card box I bought to hold everything in, plus it looks better too. This is one that I would highly recommend for someone just starting out with one of these LCG games, like Arkham Horror the card game. It holds a good bit, but you'll definitely be needing more space fairly quickly. Overall I really like how well the insert is designed and am very pleased with the whole thing. This is a great product that definitely deserves an A+.
8 out of 10


For more information about this and other great products, please check out Go7Gaming at their site.

http://go7gaming.com/
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Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:16 pm
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Gaming Bits: Lost Ruins of Arnak

Jonathan Nelson
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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Board Game: Lost Ruins of Arnak

Lost Ruins of Arnak is a game by Elwen and Min, published by Czech Games Edition. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players will take on the role of archaeologists as they set out to discover the secrets of the uncharted island of Arnak. They will need to equip their team with the best items as they search the jungles for lost ruins full of mysterious artifacts. They'll also have to overcome the guardians of these sites if they hope to uncover enough information to lead them to the Lost Temple. In the end, the player that can best lead their expedition and thereby gain the most points, will be declared the winner.

To begin, the board is placed in the middle of the play area with the Bird Temple side face up. The Artifact, Fear and Items cards are separated into separate decks. The Artifacts and Items decks should be shuffled before placing them face down on their marked spaces on the board. The Fear deck is placed face up on it's marked space but does not require shuffling. The Moon Staff is placed in the card row beneath the Roman Numeral I. An Artifact card is dealt to the card row face up to the left of the Moon Staff. Five Items cards are then dealt out to the remaining spaces on the card row to the right of the Moon Staff. The Idol Tiles are mixed up and then are randomly assigned to the level 1 and level 2 sites. Each site in the first region gets one face up idol, while the sites in the second region get one face up and one face down idol. Depending on the number of players, blocking tiles may be required to be placed on the board. This is only done in 2 and 3 player games. For more information on this, please check out the rulebook. The Temple tiles are arranged in a series of stacks, as noted on the board. Each stack has a number of tiles placed on it equal to the number of players. Any unused tiles are returned to the box. The Research Bonus tiles are shuffled and dealt out to the Lost Temple Bonus stack and Bonus Tile spaces. For the Lost Temple Bonus stack, a stack of tiles is made with a number of tiles equal to the number of players. This stack is placed face down at the top of the research track. The Bonus Tile spaces get 1 bonus tile each. Some spaces will only get tiles if there are 3 or more players in the game. Any unused tiles are returned to the box. All the resource tokens are placed into separate piles on the supply section of the board. The level 1 site tiles are shuffled and placed face down on their space on the board, as are the Guardian tiles and the Level 2 site tiles. The Assistant tiles are turned with the silver side face up and then shuffled into 3 separate stacks of 4 tiles each, before being placed on the supply portion of the board. The player's Research tokens are placed on the supply section of the board as well. Each player is then given a player board, research token, 2 archaeologist figures and 4 basic cards in their chosen player color. Players will place their player board in front of them and their Research tokens below the Research track, as mentioned above. Each player places their magnifying glass on top of their notebook. Their archaeologist figures are placed on the tent of their player board. Each player takes 2 Fear cards and adds them to their 4 basic cards. These cards are then shuffled and placed face down on their player board to create their player deck. The first player is chosen and is given the starting player marker. A number of resources are then given to each player based on their turn order. Once each player has these resources, play now begins.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


The game is played over 5 rounds. Each round is divided into 5 steps. The first step is to Draw. In this step each player will draw cards from their decks until they have a hand of 5 cards.

The second step is to Take Turns. For this step, each player will take a turn consisting of one main action and any number of free actions. The first player will start and then each player in turn order will take their turn. There are several choices that a player can choose for their main action. They can dig at a site. To do this, they must first pay the travel cost to the site they want to send their archaeologist to. This cost is paid by spending a card with the boot, car, boat or plane icon on it. Any card used in this way must ignore the effect of the card. Sometimes the cost requires two icons which may be paid from two different sources. It should be noted that a higher travel value may be used to pay a cost as well. This means that a plane can be used to pay either a car or boat icon and either of these 2 icons can be used to pay boot icon. A player may also spend 2 coins to make a plane icon. Once the travel cost is paid, the player can then move their meeple to the chosen space. The player will then resolve the effect shown at that site.

Another action that a player may take is to discover a new site. To discover a new site, the player will chose a level 1 or level 2 site and then pay the compass cost shown. They will then have to pay the travel cost for an undiscovered site in that region to move their archaeologist meeple just like if they were digging at a site. Once placing their meeple, they will take the idol on the site and resolve the idol's effect. If a site has 2 idols, both idols are taken but only the face up one's effect is resolved. These are placed face down on the supply crates of the player's board. A new site is then discovered by taking the top tile from the stack that matches the level and placing it face up on the board. It's effect is then resolved immediately. Once this is done, the guardian is awoken and the top tile of the guardian stack is drawn and placed face up on the site tile. One more thing of note about idols. Players may place an idol that they've gained onto one of the four slots on their player board as a free action. Once this is done, the player chooses one of the 5 effects shown. However once placed, the idol can not be moved.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Another action that a player may take is to overcome a guardian. To do this, the player must first have an archaeologist on the guardian's site. They will then have to pay the cost shown on the bottom of the guardian's tile. Once this is done, the guardian is removed from the board and placed beside the player's board. The defeated guardian may be used once during the game for it's boon, shown in the upper right corner of the tile. Once it is used, the guardian tile is turned face down and may not be used again. It should be noted, at the end of a round if a player takes an archaeologist back from a site with a guardian on it, they will gain a fear card to be placed in their deck.

Another action that a player may take is to buy a card. There are two types of cards that can be bought, items and artifacts. To buy an item, first the player chooses the item card and pays the gold cost at the bottom of the card. They will then place the item card face down on the bottom of their deck before refilling the card row by drawing a new card from the item deck. To buy an artifact, the player chooses the artifact card and pays the compass cost at the bottom of the card. They will then move the artifact card to their play area where they may immediately resolve it's effect, ignoring the tablet cost. They will then refill the card row by drawing a new card from the artifact deck. In both cases, when a card is drawn to refill the card row, the remaining cards slide towards the moon staff making a space at the end of the row for the appropriate item or artifact card.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Another action that a player may take is to play a card. To do this the player simply places the card from their hand face up into their play area. They will then resolve the card's effect. The card will remain in play for the rest of the round. Effects with a lightning bolt are considered free actions while other actions count as a main action. If an artifact card is played, then the associated tablet cost must be paid before performing the action. It should be noted that some rules and effects will send cards into exile. Items and artifacts have special places on the board for their exiled cards while exiled fear cards are simply returned to the fear deck.

Another action that a player may take is research. To do this, first the player must choose which research token they wish to move. It should be noted however that the player may not move their notebook above their magnifying glass, otherwise either token may be moved. When moving the player is only able to move up into a space that is connected to their token's current space. Before moving, the player must first pay the cost printed on the bridge connecting their current space to the new space they wish to move into. Once paid they may then move their token and gain the results of their research. If their is a face up research bonus tile, then they immediately gain the bonus and remove the tile from the game. The player will also gain the row's effect based on which token they moved. This is shown on the end of the row. Once the player's magnifying glass reaches the top row of the research track, they have discovered the Lost Temple. The player then places their magnifying glass on the remaining empty space worth the most points. They will then take a bonus tile, looking through the stack of face down tiles and choosing one. Once the player finds the Lost Temple, the player will pay to take a temple tile instead of paying to advance their token. The cost is shown below each stack of tiles. As players move up the research track, they will gain Assistants. When this happens, the player simply chooses one of the available assistants on the board. They are then placed on one of the Assistant squares of the player's assistant squares on their player board. Some assistants have free actions they may be used by turning the assistant sideways to show it has been used, thereby exhausting the assistant. These actions are only used once per round. As the player moves further along the research track, their assistants may be upgraded from silver to the gold level. Gold level assistants have stronger effects.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


The third step is to pass. Passing counts as a player's main action for the turn. Doing this, lets the other players know that the passing player will not be taking any more turns that round. The round ends once all players have passed.

The fourth step is to set up for the next round. As long as it is not the end of the fifth round, a new round is set up by having all players follow 4 steps simultaneously. First, players will take back their archaeologist meeples and place them onto their player board. If an archaeologist is taken from a site with a guardian, that player must add 1 Fear card to their play area. Next, If the player has any cards left in their hand, these are discarded to their play area or may be saved for the next round. Next, players gather all the cards in their play area and shuffle them together, placing them at the bottom of their own decks. Finally each player will refresh their assistants by turning them the right way up.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


The final step is to move the moon staff. To do this, the card row must first be adjusted by exiling the two cards on either side of the moon staff. The moon staff is then moved to the right to indicate the number of the next round. The card row is then refilled in the same was as noted above in the section about buying a card. The starting player marker is then moved to the next player in turn order and a new round begins.

The game continues until the end of round 5 is reached. Players will then take back their archaeologists and gain any Fear from guardians. The rest of the steps above are skipped and play proceeds to final scoring. Players earn points for where their research tokens are based on it's row. They also ear points for their temple tiles, idols and empty idol slots, as well as for guardians they overcame and any items or artifact cards they have with points on them. Players lose points for any Fear cards they have. Each player's points are added up and the one with the most points is the winner.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
This game is absolutely gorgeous. Each piece is dripping with theme and color. There is the huge colorful board with two sides of amazing artwork. The Bird temple side looks bright and full of hope, while the Snake temple side is a bit more ominous and dangerous looking. Each player has a player board that shows off the brightly colored tents of their camp sites. There's also the supply board which fits in along the bottom of the board. One thing to be aware of is that the board itself is huge. Adding the supply board makes it even bigger. You'll definitely want to have a large enough table for this monster. The game also has a ton of gorgeous looking cards. There are basic cards for each player, fear cards, item cards and artifact cards. Each of these are great quality and have some amazing artwork, especially the item and artifact ones. Next there are all the different tiles for the game, like the guardians, level 1 and 2 site tiles, assistant tiles, idol tiles, temple tiles, bonus tiles, blocking and reserve tiles, as well as the rival action tiles used only in the solo variant. Each of these fit in well with the theme and the overall look of the game which adds a lot. Then there are all the tokens from the cardboard coin and compass tokens to the plastic tablet, arrowhead and jewel tokens. There's also the cardboard moon staff and starting player marker. The plastic pieces are absolutely amazing. They really draw you into the game and it's theme. I kind of wish all the tokens had been plastic or possibly even metal, especially the coins and compasses. I think it would have just raised the coolness factor of the game even higher. Finally there are the colorful wooden archaeologist meeples, research tokens and the pad of scoring sheets. The game comes with some cute stickers for the notebook and magnifying glass research tokens which make them look even better. The scoring sheets are a great help and make adding up the final points a lot easier. Needless to say, each and every piece will just blow you away with how thematic and colorful it is. I was amazed at the beauty of it all. It shocked me with the high quality and overall coolness. This has to be the absolute best looking game that I've played in 2020. I'm in utter awe of it.
9 out of 10

From gallery of MillicanDarque


RULEBOOK
The rulebook, just like the game itself, is absolutely gorgeous. The book consists of 24 glossy full color pages that will make your jaw drop. It might even bring a tear to your eye. So many of the pages have these thematic journal entries that add to the flavor and look of the rulebook. All the components and setup instructions are laid out in an easy to understand and follow way. The rules are explained in great detail in a step by step process that is very simple. Throughout the book there are tons of great pictures and examples that will help you understand each rule of the game. This takes up the first 18 pages of the book. Page 19 explains the Snake Temple side of the board and how it's set up and played, including rescuing survivors from the first expedition and gaining fear from the dreadful tales of the temple. The next 2 pages cover the solo variant and they explain the rival action tiles and how to use them. One thing I'm definitely a big fan of is a solo variant. I love being able to play with others, but an added solo variant means I can play the game anytime I want. The last couple of pages consist of the appendix with notes on selected cards, things you shouldn't forget when playing and some frequently asked questions, as well as a few other odds and ends. There's also a list of effects and keywords which are very helpful too. Overall this is an amazing looking rulebook. It's easy to read through and quite enjoyable to flip through as well. It's definitely one of the best rulebooks that I've ever seen.
9 out of 10

From gallery of MillicanDarque


GAMEPLAY
This game is an absolute delight. If you ever wanted to be Indiana Jones, like I did, then this is the game for you. While you won't be fighting off Nazis or other random bad guys, you will be uncovering amazing artifacts and dealing with massive guardians as they watch over their relics. Each round you'll be sending out your team members to various sites, as well as buying better cards to improve your deck with. You'll also be wanting to move up on those research tracks to gain lots of added benefits like assistants and various resources. The thing about this game is that there are so many different paths that you can take and so many different options to gain points. Of course when there are good cards to be bought, you'll definitely want to add those to your deck. With only 40 item cards and 35 artifacts, you never know if another good card will come up. The same is true on the various site tiles. When you see one with some good rewards, it's usually best to take it before your opponent does. Another thing to think about is the research track. As you move up the track, you'll gain some very handy benefits, even more so if you're the first to move into that space. It's always a good idea to keep ahead on these tracks. That's just some of the various actions you can take. That's the thing about this game. It's so thematic and fun. You really get that sense of adventure as you're playing it. On top of that, if you flip the board over there's an even more dangerous and difficult game waiting for you. This variant can be rough but the story behind the lost team members of the last expedition makes perfect sense. Rescuing those people will give you assistants that will help you on your own expedition. I find that this side is even more thematic and fun than the easier Bird temple side. I love the sense of danger and excitement from this variant. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, this game also comes with a solo variant. Love it! The rival action tiles really feel like you're playing with another player. That's pretty rare when you find a solo variant like that. I've usually only seen that in something from Stonemaier games. The rulebook mentions that there's even a solo campaign coming to the website, but that's not been released on the site yet. I'm eagerly awaiting that for sure. The game is played in about 30-40 minutes per player. Which is great. However I'm not a big fan of the 4 player games. They tend to be a bit longer than I like to play. Honestly I'm more in love with the solo and 2 player games. Overall this is an amazing game that I completely enjoy. Fans of adventure and Indiana Jones movies will love this game. This is one that I highly recommend. It's a lot of fun and one that will be on my keeper shelf for a long long time.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Lost Ruins of Arnak is a deck building and worker placement game with a sense of adventure and excitement. The game doesn't take a very long time to play. Most game sessions last around 30-40 minutes per player. The components are absolutely gorgeous and each one is dripping with theme and beauty. I love the artwork on this one and the plastic tokens are a nice addition. The rulebook is just as beautiful and is one of the best that I've ever seen. I especially enjoy the added solo rules and the Snake Temple variant. The game itself is so much fun. It's exciting and very thematic. If you have ever wanted to live an Indiana Jones movie, then this is the game to play. It really captures that sense of wonder and adventure that you find in those movies. I really like playing this one. I was very excited to find that there was an additional variant to play a more difficult game, as well as including a solo variant. Needless to say, I love this game. It's definitely my most favorite game of 2020. Fans of adventure and exploration will love this game, especially if they enjoy the Indiana Jones movies. This is one game that I highly recommend. Just remember, those relics you find belong in a museum.
9 out of 10

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Czech Games Edition at their site.

https://czechgames.com/en/
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Mon Nov 9, 2020 1:10 pm
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Gaming Bits: Harry Potter: House Cup Competition Review

Jonathan Nelson
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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Board Game: Harry Potter: House Cup Competition

Harry Potter: House Cup Competition is a game by Nate Heiss, Kami Mandell and Patrick Marino, published by The Op. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of head of a House of students in the magical world of Hogwart's. They will be sending out their students to perform tasks and grow in their magical knowledge to take on dangerous challenges, in an effort to gain points for their House. In the end, the player's who's House gains the most points will be declared the winner.

To begin, the first player is chosen and given the First Player token. Each player will then choose a Common Room player board, beginning with the first player. They will also take the corresponding Students and place them on their spaces. Each player is also given 9 Level Trackers which are all placed on Level 1 for each class. Each player is given 2 Basic Lesson cards and 2 Knowledge tokens. The third player is also given an additional Knowledge token, while the fourth player gains a Magic token and 1 Easy Challenge card. The board is placed in the middle of the play area. The rest of the Knowledge and Magic tokens are placed near the board within reach of all players. A Location card with 1 fleur-de-lis is randomly chosen and placed face up on the board. Two more randomly chosen Location cards with 2 fleur-de-lis and one Location card with 3 fleur-de-lis are placed face down on the board in their appropriate spaces. The remaining Location cards are returned to the box. The House Cup Hourglass Display is placed to the side of the play area, along with all the gems. The Basic and Advanced Lesson cards and the Easy and Hard Challenge cards are all shuffled separately into 4 decks. The Basic and Advanced Lesson cards are placed face down on their corresponding spaces. The top 3 cards from each stack are then placed face up on the board. The Easy and Hard Challenge cards are placed face down in their spaces as well. The top 3 cards from each of these stacks are also placed face up on the board. The Round Tracker is placed on the first space at the bottom of the board. Play now begins.

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The game is played over seven rounds. Each round consists of 2 phases; Classes and Challenges. The first phase is the Classes phase. In this phase, each player will take turns placing one of their 3 students from their Common Rooms onto the Hogwarts board. The player will then take one or both of the following actions with their student. They may learn a lesson and/or place a student. Learning a Lesson is an optional action. To learn a lesson, the player's chosen student must meet the requirements shown on the Lesson card and have at least 2 levels in a class. These lessons can be learned prior to or after placing a student making it possible for the student to gain a level and then learn a lesson. Once the lesson is learned, the player gains the reward listed on the card.

The other action is to place a student. To do this, the player simply places the chosen student's token on an open student space on the board, gaining the reward shown in the box for that space. Some spaces are only available in 3 or 4 player games, while others require Knowledge and/or Magic tokens. Location cards normally require a student to have a minimum number of levels. It should be noted that student tokens may not be placed on a space that is already occupied by another student token. Once all players have placed each of their three students, then play moves on to Phase Two.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


Phase Two is the Challenges phase. In this phase players return all of their students to their Common Room and may then attempt a challenge, as long as they have at least one Challenge card in their hand. A player may attempt a maximum of either 2 easy challenges or 1 easy and 1 hard challenge. To complete a challenge the player will place the Challenge card in front of themself and place the students participating in the challenge beside it. The students must have the required amount of levels in the corresponding classes. Some challenges may even require Knowledge tokens be returned to the supply. It should be noted that more than one student may participate in a single challenge, adding their class levels to the other's. Once a challenge is completed, the player will gain the rewards on the card. If the reward given has points, then one gem for each 10 points is placed in the player's House Cup Hourglass. The completed Challenge card is then placed face down on the player's Common Room player board. One more thing of note, if a player is attempting to complete two challenges in a round, then they may choose which order to resolve them in. This makes it possible for the player to use the rewards from the first challenge to help them complete the second one. If a player does not have the required levels, they may also return one Magic token to the supply in place of any one level as often as needed. Once all players have completed the Challenges phase, a new round begins.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


To start a new round, each player will return their Student tokens back to their space on their Common Room player board. They will then advance the Round tracker one space. If this is round 2, 4 or 6, then a Location card is revealed on the board. If playing a two player game, then the First Player token is automatically passed to the other player unless it was takend during Phase One. The new round will then begin.

The game continues until the end of the seventh round. At this time players add up all their points from gems in their House Hourglass, for each level tracker at Level 7 and for every pair of Magic and Knowledge tokens. The player with the most points is the winner.

From gallery of MillicanDarque


COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of great looking pieces to it. First off there are the common room player boards. There's one for each of the 4 different Houses at Hogwarts. These are thick and slotted for each of the different students. The slots fit the plastic level trackers that are so cool looking. These are very thematic looking. The game comes with a big selection of cardboard tokens as well. There are the magic and knowledge tokens. The magic tokens are witch hats and the knowledge tokens are books. There are also the student tokens that are round and double sided with the student's picture on one side and the team's house symbol on the back. Finally there is the round tracker and the first player token. The round tracker has a Hogwart's symbol and the first player token has Hedwig with a letter in her beak. The game also comes with 2 sizes of cards. There are the location and reference cards that are square. The locations have a photographic image of the location it represents on it, but unfortunately it's mostly covered with text and symbols. There's a big stack of euro sized cards that contain the challenge cards and the basic and advanced lesson cards. These are a bit bland looking too. Mostly they're just text and some symbols. The board is also much the same way. It's a bit bland looking as well. They're isn't a lot of flavor or theme to it. It looks nice but it's just not thematic like I would have liked it to be. The cards and board could have had some flavor to them. The board could have had an image of Hogwart's in the back with the symbols on the different spaces. The cards could have had some more images then just the symbols. The final pieces of this game however are the most thematic and coolest looking part of the whole game. That's the house cup hourglass display and house point gems. Each gem is clear plastic in one of 4 different colors. These are so pretty. The hourglass display is cardboard and once assembled it holds the 4 corked tubes. The tubes are plastic and come with an actual cork. The display looks amazing when it's put together and is a very awesome way to keep visual track of each player's points. I love how cool this thing looks. One final thing that I should mention is the insert inside the box. I like how that everything was thought out so well. It even has room for the fully assembled House Cup display to fit inside without having to take it apart after every game. This was some great planning and something I'm very pleased about. Overall I think the game looks good. Even though there are a few things that could have been a little more thematic or visual, I think the game still looks great. I think fans of Harry Potter will be overall pleased.
8 out of 10

From gallery of MillicanDarque


RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is very well organized and designed. There are lots of pictures and examples throughout the book. Each step and phase of the game is explained in detail. The rulebook includes plenty of detail for each of the Lesson cards, game board location spaces and Location card. In fact, there are 5 pages dedicated to the pictures and explanations of each of these in the book. The final page of the book includes a place for Champions to write their names. I thought this was a nice touch for players that enjoy keeping a running record of such things. The rules are very easy to read through and understand. I didn't see anything that was difficult or that should cause anyone any problems. Overall I think the rulebook is great. As an introductory game into worker placement, these rules do a great job of explaining everything for a new player. I'm very pleased with it all.
9 out of 10

From gallery of MillicanDarque


GAMEPLAY
This is a fun game and one that is great for new players. The theme of Harry Potter will be sure to attract players of all age groups. So this is one that definitely needed to be family friendly and easy for new players to learn, thankfully it is. It introduces the mechanics of worker placement to a new audience in a simple to follow manner. The game is easy enough to understand while containing plenty of strategy for even veteran gamers to enjoy. Like any good worker placement game, figuring out where to place your students and what challenges to attempt is key. Of course being able to control the different characters like Harry, Cedric, Draco and Cho should be quite entertaining for fans of the movies. Each round players will try to train their students to be able to perform different tasks in an attempt to gain points for their House. The more difficult the challenge the greater the rewards. I have to say that I quite like the way that this game goes about leveling up characters and making it possible to earn points. The theme feels very close to the game itself. I like how players earn gems to place in their team's flask. I think this is a very thematic way to display those points to everyone. I think that this is a game that fans of the Harry Potter universe will highly enjoy. I think for veteran gamers, it's a bit similar to other worker placement style games but should still have enough meat to it to entertain. Overall this is a game that I recommend, especially to players trying to include their family into the hobby. This is one that's family friendly and works for everyone. I rather enjoy this game myself.
8 out of 10



OVERALL
Harry Potter: House Cup Competition is an introductory worker placement style game set in the Harry Potter universe. The game doesn't take a very long time to play. Most game sessions are around an hour to an hour and a half. The components are very good. The House Cup Hourglass display is gorgeous, however the board and cards are a bit bland and could have used a bit more thematic flavor. The rulebook is well written and is great for introducing the mechanic to new players. The game itself is a lot of fun. It's a great introductory game for new players and one that should interest a lot of fans of Harry Potter. This is one that is family friendly and easy to learn. This is one that I recommend. Now if I can just remember where I put my wand.
8 out of 10


For more information about this and other great games, please check out USAopoly, the Op at their site.

https://theop.games/
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Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:55 pm
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