I have the honor of reviewing Zimby Mojo, by Devious Weasel Games, with game design by Jim Felli. These are my thoughts and opinions. Enjoy!
Zimby Mojo, is a “Co-Opportunistic Game of Cannibalistic Mayhem.” 1-8 players take on the role of Shaman in a tribe of zimbies. Your goal is to send these dedicated servants on a quest for the King’s Crown, called the Cannibal Crown. Once it is in your zimbies’ possession, and returned to your tribal board, you win. The problem, however, is that all the other tribes are trying to get the Cannibal Crown to their tribal board, as well. On top of that, the King’s thugs are going to do everything they can to protect the King and his Crown. Throughout the game, you will most likely need the help of some of the other tribes in order to defeat the King and his thugs. Since there can be only one King, a betrayal is inevitable when playing with 2 or more players. Be careful, as the Cannibal Crown instills a heavy burden onto those that carry it. As the tribe’s Shaman, you must deal with other tribes of cannibalistic zimbies, zombies, and thugs to grab the crown from the King. Let’s take a better look at the game.King's Sanctum, with Rituals, Wards, and Seals. The Thugs are ready to patrol, too.Game setup for two players.
To set up the game, there are a few preliminary items that need to be arranged. After laying out the board, place the Blood Thickets and the Blood Vines in their correct spaces. Next, the Elemental Seals and Elemental Wards are placed. These wards can be placed in their spaces in any order. The seals, however, are randomized and placed face down in their corresponding spaces. To continue, shuffle the 8 Ritual Markers and place 1 in each of the 4 corners of the King’s Sanctum. You’ll notice the matching sword symbols. Make sure these tokens are placed in the corners, and not on the Ritual Tile. In the center of the King’s Sanctum is the Blood Mist. The King is placed on this square to start. His thugs are placed adjacent to the Elemental Seals that were placed earlier. At this point, the board is set up (see above image). Now the players get their material.
Each player takes a tribal board. These have one entrance that leads onto the main board. Players may place them at any Entry Point tile that they would like. For reasons that will become clear a little later, placing your tribal board at the second Entry Point located on the Outer Patrol Route is suggested. If you look on the board you’ll see red and black footprints on some of the squares. These represent to routes that the King’s thugs will take during the game. The red route is used when the King is still alive. The black route is taken after the King is killed. Since the second Entry Point on this black route takes longer to get to, it is recommended to place your tribal board at this tile. Each player then gets 4 mojo tokens, and a selected amount of active zimby tokens. The rules suggest 4 for new players, and 8 for the more seasoned Shamans. In addition, players receive a selected amount of Scroll cards, as well. After shuffling the Scroll cards into one deck, the rules suggest dealing 3 to each player, for the new players, and 6 for the vets. After deciding on the start player, you are finally ready to start your hunt for the Cannibal Crown.
If you’re looking to play this solo, the rules have a few alterations for you. First, you will remove the Scroll cards that have a red dot in the mojo symbol. Shuffle the remaining cards and deal, face down, 17 cards to make up the Scroll deck. These 17 will be the only cards in this game. In addition to the 4 mojo tokens, you will be able to use 8 active zimby tokens. Draw 6 cards from the Scroll deck to represent your starting hand. The next few adjustments will make more sense after the basics of the game are understood. For now, just know that when activating an elemental seal, which usually requires some cooperation, in a solo game a zimby must be sacrificed. Because of this, there must be at least 2 zimbies in a column when at the shrine. The blood of the sacrificed is used to break the seal, and the zimby then goes to the Far Shore (which is a term used for the place where zimbies wait for activation). The King’s Crown gives a witchery (type of scroll card) benefit of 50%. Some of these benefits target the tile that the King is on, as well as ones that target the King himself. There’s also an adjustment to the King’s rituals and when thugs re-enter the board after being killed. Instead of rolling a d4 to determine randomness, you will roll a d6, using a roll of 1-4 as normal, but assigning a roll of 5-6 to a quadrant or portal tile connected or nearest to the player’s tribal board. The thugs will change their behavior in a solo game once the King dies. When this happens the thugs move at a pace of 2d6 along the red Inner Patrol route until they reach the Outer Patrol route that is connected to the player’s tribal board. They will then follow this outer route, at 2d6, until they reach the tribal board entrance. Here, the first two thugs to reach the entry tile will flank the entry tile and hold their positions; the first thug stopping on the first tile before the entrance, with the second thug stopping at the first tile after the entrance. The remaining thugs will continue to patrol the outer route as normal, at 2d6. If a thug manages to defeat a zimby column that is carrying the Cannibal Crown, and can get it back to the Blood Mist tile, located in the center of the King’s chamber, they are then crowned the new Cannibal King, and you lose the game. You will also lose the game if you are unable to draw a card from the Scroll deck during the refresh step. To win the game, simply kill the King and get Cannibal Crown back to your tribal board. If this is accomplished, your score is equal to the number of cards remaining in the Scroll Deck. Easy, right? Ha! Good luck.
“So, now that I have the game set up to play…how do I play?”
In order to kill the King, claim the Crown, and get it back to your tribe, you will need to use your mojo and active zimbies to play Scroll cards, break through the seals protecting the King, and engage in combat. Let me say that the game, at its core, is easy to pick up. You will get the basics to the game pretty quickly. However, there are a lot of moving parts. The rule book is essential, especially for your first few plays. I will not cover every facet of the game in this review. This review is intended to whet your appetite…just a little bit. To completely understand the game, I would recommend running through it a few times on your own, just to get all the rules and terms down, before you really play it or teach it to anyone. Otherwise, you will be searching the rule book for all the different instances of movement, columns, combat, etc. Again, it’s not difficult to learn how to play Zimby Mojo, but getting to know it before you really play it would be a good thing.Zimbies, Zombies, and Mojo tokens.
How to play:
Each turn, starting from the beginning of round 2, will start with a Refresh. All used mojo and zimby tokens are turned back over to their active sides. Any obstacles that can be turned to their “B” sides are flipped. If a token is already on the “B” side, then it is removed from the board. Next, each Shaman draws a Scroll Card. After the Refresh Event, the King gets his action. If the King is in the Blood Mist, he will move to a random Ritual Tile. Use a d4 and split the board into quadrants to determine onto which Ritual tile the King moves. There are 8 possible Rituals of which 4 are chosen for each game. The Rituals range from filling up the King’s Sanctum with the Blood Mist, dealing damage to the zimbies, to draining mojo from the Shamans, and even sending cannibalistic madness to each Shaman, forcing them to eat their own zimbies! If the King is already on a Ritual tile, then the King moves back into the Blood Mist. After the King, it is each Shaman’s turn. Only during the next three events may a Shaman use such effects as cannibalize, extract mojo, use mojo, and use scrolls. On the Shaman’s turn they may, in any order, spawn new zimbies, move creatures, attack, or make zombies. I’ll explain movement, attacking, spawning, and columns in a moment. For now, those actions make up the Shaman’s turn. After they take the actions that they wish to take, it’s time for the active thugs to take their turns. Thugs are able to move or attack. Movement for them was briefly mentioned earlier. They will either move 1d6, if the King is alive and they are on the red Inner route, or they will move 2d6 if the King is dead, following the rules for movement toward the column that holds the Crown, or toward the Crown's owner’s tribal board, as discussed before. Attacking, again, will be discussed in a bit. Once the thugs have completed their turn, any zombies on the board will shamble toward the closest living creature, as long as the zombie isn’t soothed (this will make more sense in the explanation below). Next, it’s on to the Wrap-Up Event. First, obstacles that can cause wounds will cause wounds. Then, all Shamans will discard down to 6 cards (player’s choice). Finally, players will determine who the start player for the following round will be. The first player will be the Shaman with the most active, non-chanting zimbies on their tribal board. Ties for this are broken by rolling a die. During the game, the first mover takes the Bag O’ Fate. They will be in charge of all draws from the Bag O’ Fate, will make all die rolls for the thugs and the King, and will take the first turn during the next Shaman’s Turn. Play then cycles from the Refresh step to the Wrap-Up step until someone gets the Cannibal Crown back to their Tribal Board.
If you happen to purchase Zimby Mojo directly from the publisher's website, the game comes with an “Order of Events” card, to help you through each of the steps. This is also available for download from the files page on the Zimby Mojo page on BGG.
The King’s movement is very specific. Either it moves to a random Ritual Tile, if it is already in the Blood Mist, or moves to the Blood Mist, if it is already on a Ritual Tile. Thug movement follows either the Inner or Outer Patrol routes, depending on if the King is alive or dead. If the thugs are patrolling the Outer routes, only one thug will patrol each quadrant. This is different in the solo game, however (as explained above). Thugs will only move in the direction of the foot icon printed on the board for their specific route. If a thug has been Expelled, which means it was killed and placed on a Barracks Tile, then the thug will return to a random portal, dismissing any creature already on that portal. If during their movement a thug encounters an opponent, it will initiate combat during its Attack phase, which happens after all thugs have moved. During movement, thugs can pass through other thugs, unless that thug is engaged in combat. In this situation, the thugs will join in the fight. After all thugs have moved, they will begin their attack phase. After combat is resolved, surviving thugs continue along their routes. Thugs that are killed are Expelled. Zimby movement depends on how many zimbies are in a column. A column of 1-2 Zimbies may move up to 4 tiles for each 1 mojo spent. A column of 3-4 may move 2 tiles per mojo, and a column of 5-6 Zimbies may move 1 tiles for each mojo. If the column has 7-8 Zimbies that column may only move 1 tile for every 2 mojo spent. Any column of 9 or more Zimbies may only move 1 tile for every 4 mojo spent.A multi-tribe column, with yellow and purple Zimbies.
Creatures may be stacked into columns. These columns are considered to be one creature, and may be one of two types of columns: Thugs or Zimbies. Thugs may only stack on other thugs, and zimbies on other zimbies. So, a zimby may never join with a thug, and vice versa. In a solo game, you are only one tribe, so your column will only be one color. When playing with 2 or more players, there may come a time where you want to join forces in order to take down the King, or eliminate some thugs, or even break a seal to the King’s Sanctum. In order to join zimbies into one, multicolored column, the player seeking to join the column must get permission to join from the Shamans that have zimbies in the existing column. During a Shaman’s turn these columns are controlled if the active Shaman has a zimby of their color in the column, or are considered uncontrolled if they do not. Columns have a limit of no more than 3 zimbies of the same color. If, for some reason, the number exceeds 3, then expel any zimbies over 3. Each column also has a Brutality level. When attacking, this is determined by the number of the column’s controller’s zimbies in the column, +1 for each other tribe represented in the column. When defending, the column’s Brutality level is determined by the number of the largest tribe represented in the column, +1 for each other tribe in the column. Although you can attack other tribes in Zimby Mojo, you cannot attack Allied columns. Columns are said to be Allied if they share a common tribe. However, Scroll cards can still legally target zimbies in allied columns.
Thug columns are formed only when they are returning the Cannibal Crown to the Blood Mist, or if they happen to land on top of each other as they are patrolling. They have no size limit, and have a Brutality level of 1, +2 per thug in the column. If the thug column is in combat, they will not separate until the combat is over, and if carrying the Crown, will only separate after returning the Crown to the Blood Mist, or loses the Crown. If the column is not involved in combat and does not have the Crown, then they will separate naturally during the patrol movement phase.
There are 3 types of Scroll Cards: Rituals, Incantations, and Witcheries.
Rituals have a target or effect, which happens immediately, and then the card is discarded.
Incantations target a Shaman, and have a lasting effect. When using an incantation, a Shaman must first pay its mojo cost, then place an active zimby face up on the incantation symbol on the card, which is placed next to a target Shaman. This chanting zimby is still considered to be part of the Tribal Board. Shamans may never have more than 8 Zimbies on their Tribal Board. Any excess zimbies are sent to the Far Shore (waiting area for zimbies).
Witcheries are channeled through a Shama’s zimby on the main board or their Tribal Board. Although Witcheries can target an array of creatures and/or tiles on the board, they are restricted by 3 rules: The casting Shaman must designate an active zimby to the Witchery. The target of the Witchery must be on the main board, and no more than 3 tiles away from the channeling zimby. The channeling Zimby must also have line of sight through a straight line to its target, with no other creature, Darkness, or Blood Mist in the way. This line of sight may not turn or bend, or be diagonal.
Creatures may only make valid attacks within their Combat Zone. Zimbies and thugs have a Combat Zone equal to their movement. The King’s Combat Zone includes all tiles that surround him. Zimbies can decide whether to attack another creature or not. Thugs, however, must attack if there is a creature in its Combat Zone. Zombies are also required to attack other living creatures within their Combat Zone. Only active creatures may initiate an attack on their controller’s turn, and only once per turn. When there is a multi-tribe column of zimbies, the active Shaman may make one attack with that creature. If that column of zimbies happens to leave combat, it may make another attack on its next controller’s turn. A creature is considered in Combat Lock once they, or their opponent, initiate combat. They are locked until they either die or have no opponent in their attack zone. Creatures stay on their tiles until the Combat Roll is resolved. The Combat Roll of the creature is equal to its Brutality, + any effects from Scroll Cards/Cannibalism, + 1d6. After any Scroll Cards are used to alter the attack roll, the Combat is resolved. If the attacker wins, they must move onto the tile where their opponent died. If the defender is the winner, they do not move from their tile. Wounds inflicted by damage are not accumulated. Therefore, in order to kill a creature, a single source must do enough damage equal or greater to the creature’s vitality to kill it on one turn. Zimbies have 1 vitality. Thugs have 2 vitality. Zombies have 3 vitality. But the toughest opponent is the King, with 4 vitality. When wounds are dealt to a multi-tribe creature, the Bag O’ Fate is used. First, set aside all items held by the zimbies in the column. Next, place all zimbies in the column into the Bag O’ Fate. The first mover then randomly pulls out one zimbie for each wound that was dealt to the column during the attack. These zimbies are killed, and placed on the Far Shore. After all the wounds are decided, the first mover will begin drawing one zimbie from the bag for each item that was set aside. These zimbies are now holding those items.
Creatures will always defend an attack, even if they did not start the attack.
As a tribe’s population diminishes, a Shaman may decide to spawn new zimbies into the tribe on their turn. Zimbies are spawned from the Far Shore to the Shaman’s Tribal Board, at a cost of 3 mojo per zimby. There must be a zimby present at the Far Shore for the Shaman to spawn a new zimby. These fresh zimbies are placed on the Tribal Board face down, or depleted. A Shaman may only spawn up to 2 new zimbies per turn. However, Scroll effects may break this rule. Remember, a Tribal Board may never contain more than 8 zimbies, and this includes zimbies on Incantation cards, as well.
Yes. After all, this is a game of “Cannibalistic Mayhem”, isn’t it? Cannibalism may be used by Shamans or zimbies. This will provide a short-term gain. No more than twice per round, a Shaman may decide to eat an active zimby from their own Tribal Board. Each zimby eaten will give the Shaman either 2 mojo or the ability to draw a card from the Scroll deck. Zimbies consumed in this manner are sent…you guessed it…to the Far Shore. On your turn, if you decide to have a zimby participate in Cannabilism, they must follow a few rules. First, the zimbies must be in a single-tribe column. You can’t eat another tribe’s zimby. Zimbies in a single-tribe column may eat up to 2 tribesmen. For each one eaten, the Shaman can give the eater either +4 Brutality for its next Combat Roll, double range for its next Witchery channeled, or double effect for its next Witchery channeled. Combat effects to Brutality are additive, meaning each zimby eaten will add +4 (+8 for two zimbies). The doubling for Witchery effects are multiplicative, meaning the first zimby eaten doubles the effect (either towards range or effect of the Witchery) and the second zimby eaten will double the effect again (quadrupling the effect). Cannibalism must immediately precede the action that it is enhancing. No holding on to a zimby’s leg to help out at a later time!
“A Zombie is the shambling, unliving remnant of a Zimby – a brainless, animated meat puppet. They are very powerful, very slow, and very stupid.” One of my favorite lines in the rule book. They are strong, and they are stupid. They could potentially attack, and kill, members of their previous tribe, as well. These “meat puppets” are spawned at a limit of 1 per turn, and no more than 2 per Shaman, and can only be spawned by moving 2 active zimbies from their Tribal Board to the Far shore, then replacing a zimby that is active and alone on a tile on the main board with an active zombie token. This zimby is also sent to the Far Shore. Zombies can be controlled on their creator’s turn, with a movement of 2 tiles per mojo spent, and they have the same combat zone as zimbies. They are unable to pick up items, cannot be joined into any columns, and cannot be used to channel mojo or Witcheries. On the brightside, they cannot pass through blood thickets and will suffer wounds from the Blood Mist, Blood Vines, and Deadly Vines. On the other hand, zombies are unaffected by death curses and pass through the Patches O’ Darkness and Entangling Vines without any damage.
During the Wrap-Up phase of the round, all zombies are considered uncontrolled, and all zomies that are not locked in combat will Shamble toward the closest living creature at a movement of 1d6. This is measured through the number of adjacent tiles between the zombie and the creature. If the zombie comes across a creature in its active combat zone it will stop and initiate combat. A zombie’s controller has the option of paying 1 mojo per zombie to prevent it from Shambling. Otherwise, an uncontrolled zombie cannot be affected.
The Cannibal Crown:
This is what you have been after from the start. Now, just get it back to your Tribal Board. But wait! There are a few things you should know about this powerful Crown. With the power comes the burden. If the King was killed in combat by a single-tribe column, it’s now yours. Run! However, if the killing blow came from a multi-tribe column, use the Bag O’ Fate to determine the Crown’s controller. If the King happened to fall due to the effects of a Witchery, then the Crown falls on the tile where the King died. Again…Run! As mentioned, there are powers that come with carrying the Cannibal Crown. The Crown will grant the carrier a 50% immunity to Witcheries and Obstacles. This immunity is determined with 1d6. On a roll of 3 or less (50%), the carrier will be unaffected by obstacles and Witcheries for that turn. Witcheries are still considered to be cast, but have no effect. However, if the Witchery targets the tile on which the Crown carrier is standing, the Crown does not stop those effects. The Crown also grants the ability to use the King’s Rituals, found in the King’s Sanctum. By moving onto a Ritual Tile in the Sanctum, the zimby carrying the Crown can channel 4 mojo to perform the Ritual. If the Ritual affects a random quadrant or portal, the controller may choose one, instead of it being random.
Remember, with great power comes…great burden! The Carrier of the Crown will feel the weight of its power through the heavy movement burden. It will, however, decrease in heaviness after the first and second Refresh phases. During the turn in which the King met his death, the Carrier of the Crown moves as if there are +8 zimbies in the column. After the first Refresh, the Carrier will now move as if there are +4 zimbies in the column. After the second Refresh the Carrier will now move as if there are +2 zimbies in the column, for the remainder of the game. As an example from the rule book, if the carrier moves as though there are +4 zimbies in the column, and the column has 3 zimbies in it, it’s as if it is moving with a column of 7 zimbies!
From here there are still the Shrines, Wards, and Obstacles, however, these are pretty simple to understand from the descriptions in the rule book. So much for just an appetizer!
It may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. Once you set it up and start going through a full turn or two, it will all start coming together.Another multi-tribe column.
The components are great. The stickers on the wooden tokens, representing the different creatures, are simplistic, and well done. Each tribe had a distinct color, and 5 of the 8 tribes have a specific marking over the eyes, that adds just a little bit more in making the tribes different from each other. The wooden bits are of good, chunky quality. The cardboard tokens are also solid. I really like the way the board is set up, with the Inner and Outer Routes, and the easy to find foot prints for each route. The variety in the cards, the randomness of the Seals, and the use of 4 out of 8 possible Ritual tokens gives this game great replay value. I do wish more of the art found throughout the rulebook was used more in the game. The faces on the wooden tokens are fantastic, and the backdrop to the main board is well done, however it would have been nice to see some of the drawings found in the rule book on some of the cards, perhaps. The box cover, done by Naomi Robinson, and the sketches, done by Tani Pettit, are amazing!
There is a lot in this rule book. There has to be, though. This game, although simple at it’s core, has a lot to figure out as you play. The stack, the columns, the Brutality and Vitality levels, the randomness to the quadrants, the movement of the thugs, and the multi-zimby creatures, and the zombies… The rule book gives you everything you need to know, and everything you’ll need to refer to in order to get your answers. What I found odd is the game setup is on page 13. The rule book goes through turn order, the different Events and phases, combat, movement, killing the King, the Burden of the Crown, and a bunch of other things before it even gets you to unfold the board and place it on the table. And honestly, it helped out tremendously! Although I can’t remember a rule book that did the same thing, I felt I knew more about the game after reading through the specifics of the game before I dealt out player pieces, or constructed the Scroll Library. I’m not sure this would work with all games, but with the different layers of Zimby Mojo to learn, I think this was a very smart idea. It also gives you a sample round as a reference, with illustrations to help you understand movement and such.
The player count helps change the dynamic of this game quite a bit. I played it as a solo game a few times, in order to understand the game before I introduced it to my friends. The solo game is good, but doesn’t compare to a multi-player game. The decisions on joining, betraying, and standing to fight changes dramatically with the increasing player count. I haven’t been lucky enough to play it as a 6+, but would jump at the chance, as I am curious to the chaos that would happen when 8 tribes are trying to get one crown back to their tribe. It’s fun and challenging as a solo, with a strict limit of rounds to accomplish your goal, but the multiplayer game is where it’s at. If you’re not a fan of too much randomness, I would go into this game knowing that there is a ton of randomness: Randomness for the quadrants, the portals, the Rituals, the Seals, the 3 types of Scrolls that you may or may not draw from the deck, the randomness in the movement by dice rolling…you get the idea. However, I didn’t mind it at all. Of course, every time I needed a thug to move 4 or less tiles, the die result would almost always be a 5 or 6. I felt it added to the game, instead of taking anything away from it. We are talking about cannibalistic tribes!
Zimby Mojo is a fun, chaotic game of Zombies and Zimbies...and Cannibalism! It’s a bit strategy, with a lot of luck, good for 1-8 players. It received mixed reviews from those that I had the chance of playing it with, mostly iffy from those who didn’t like the randomness and wanted a little bit more control over certain things in the game. Although, those that liked it, including myself, really liked it. We enjoyed the chaos. We enjoyed figuring out how many, or when, to stack the columns, when to back-stab a helping tribesman, and when to get in and kill the King. Overall, if you like luck and randomness in games, I would suggest getting this one to the table!
To find out more about Zimby Mojo, visit: http://deviousweasel.com/
Copyright 2016 by Devious Weasel Games
Gaming thoughts and reviews from a veteran gamer.
Archive for Mike Guigliano
29 Nov 2016
- [+] Dice rolls
12 Oct 2016
I have the honor of reviewing The Networks, with game design by Gil Hova, graphics by Heiko Gunther, and art by Travis Kinchy. These are my thoughts and opinions. Enjoy!
The Networks, designed by Gil Hova, is a card drafting and placement game for 1-5 players. Each player takes their turn running their own TV network for 5 seasons, attempting to attract the hottest shows, and the brightest actors, while making the most money in advertisements and getting the most viewers per season. Each season, players will spend their actions recruiting actors, signing advertisement contracts, and placing TV shows into 3 time slots. The actors enhance the viewership of the shows, which are the points needed to win. The ads enhance the income you receive per round. At the end of each season, your selected TV shows will age, and potentially gain or lose viewers, creating an interesting choice to make: ride the show one more season, or cancel it, sending it to reruns, and slotting a brand new show for your network. Once both players pass for the season, each player calculates their income and viewership, shows age, new cards become available for next season, and the game moves on. At the end of 5 seasons, points are added up to see who ran their network the best!
"Ok. Sounds interesting. How is the game set up?"
Each player picks a color and receives the following components in that color: 1 Player Board, 1 Scoring Square, 1 Turn Order Disc, 5 Starting Cards (1 Actor, 1 Ad, 3 Shows), and 4 Black Cubes. The starting Actor and Ad are placed in the Green Room (left side of the Player Board). This is where Actors and Ad cards go when they are waiting to be attached to a show. The Actor cards (with the STAR symbol) show how many viewers they will add to a show, once attached. Some Actor cards have a condition on the bottom, giving the player a requirement that must be met, or extra choices on how to use that actor. The Ad cards show how much money it will generate for the show during the Income phase. Some Ad cards also have a condition on the bottom of the card. The 3 Show cards are placed to the right of the Player Board, in the 3 time slots, each one with a Black Cube marker on the top right Viewer row (next to the 0). As mentioned in the rule book, "It doesn't matter which shows go on which time slots; all Starting Shows are equally bad." This is very true. Each starting show generates 0 (yes, that's a zero) viewers. You will want to cancel these shows, sending them to the rerun slot (on the left side of the Player Board) as quickly as possible. Not only will the new show be better for your Network, generating viewers, the Starting Shows will generate 1 viewer in the rerun slot. Once this is setup, each player is ready to begin Season 1!Player starting components
The play area, where players are spending their actions, consists of the Scoring Track, Star Cards, Ad Cards, Season Show Cards, and Network Cards. There are different setup rules depending on the number of players in the game, so make sure you check the rule book for specific setup instructions. Here's an overview of the different components in the play area.
Scoring Track - Yes, this keeps the score. However, it serves a much greater purpose. This track is made up of 3 parts. The Left Track, in addition to having the scoring track around the outside, helps keep track of the Season. The Middle Track, also having the scoring track around the outside, has the turn order track and houses each 100/200 Viewer Tokens in each players color. They are used when the players cross the 100 and 200 Viewer mark. The Right Track is the one that is very important. On the bottom of the track, there is a red bar indicating in which player count it is used. It also lets you know what the income of each player is at the start of the game. For example, in a 4 player game, Player 1 would start with $5m (money is represented in millions), Player 2 would start with $7m, Player 3 with $9m, and Player 4 with $11m. The Right Track also helps with setup, as it dictates how many Actor, Ad, Shows, and Network Cards are drawn and placed face-up at the start of each season, available for selection. The different cards are not replenished as they are selected, so it's important to have the correct number of cards available for each round.
Left, Middle, and Right Scoring Tracks
Star Cards - These add Actors to your Shows. Each card has a signing cost, which you pay to select the card. Selected cards are placed in the Green Room. Star Cards also have an upkeep cost. This cost is paid by the Network at the end of each Season during the Income/Expenses phase (explained later). Each Star Card has a Viewer track, on the right of the card (in color), representing how many viewers they will bring to the show each season. On the opposite side (left, in gray), there is a "bad" Viewer track. This is used if the Star Card has to be rotated, due to a card condition. The condition is listed at the bottom of the card, and they vary, but will typically have you rotating the card 180 degrees if said condition is or isn't met.
Examples of some Star Cards
Ad Cards - Ad Cards also function in different ways. Each Ad Card has a landing bonus, which immediately gets you money once it's selected (Remember, selected cards go to the Green Room). Ads also give you money during the Income/Expenses phase at the end of each Season. As with Star Cards, some Ad Cards also have conditions listed at the bottom of the card, as well as a "bad" side, if rotated.
Show Cards - Show Cards generate the most viewers, which translates into points, so they are very important in the game. Shows are broken down into different Genres, which help generate the Genre bonus actions (located on the Player Boards). Show Cards, as with Star Cards, have a cost. This cost is paid in order to select the show for your Network. They also have an upkeep cost, which is paid at the end of every Season. The Viewer track, on the right side of the card, functions in the same manner as the Star Card, with 2 extra details. The top-most viewer slot (which is where the black cube is always placed) has a couple extra bits of information. It tells you in which of the 3 available time slots it would prefer to be slotted. If you can, or chose to, place the show in that slot, it will generate more viewers for your Network. The top-most viewer slot will have 2 numbers. The left number is used if the Show is placed in its preferred time slot, with the right number being used if the Show is placed in the other 2 time slots. Show Cards may also have prerequisites listed at the bottom off the card. If the icons listed at the bottom are in gray, it is optional. However, if the icon is in color, it is required. A Show Card may not be placed if the prerequisites cannot be met. These icons consist of a purple star, indicating a Star Card must be placed along with the show, and a green dollar sign, indicating that an Ad Card must be placed along with the show. Sometimes one of each symbol is in color, and sometimes the player has the choice of one or the other. If either symbol is in color, that symbol is required in order to place that Show Card into a time slot. If the symbols are gray, you may place either a Star and/or an Ad Card along with the Show Card. If the symbols are gray, you do not have to place a Star or an Ad Card along with the Show Card at that time. Doing this at this time does not count as an action. You can choose to use the Attach action later on.
Examples of Show Cards
Network Cards - These cards give players special powers during the game. Once selected, each card triggers in 4 different ways, depending on the icon in the upper right of the card. Either they are used immediately and discarded, kept face-up until used and then discarded after use, kept face-up and used during final scoring, or has a lasting effect and a discard ability (used in the advanced game). Each Network Card also has symbols across the bottom of the card. Some of these symbols are in color, while others are in gray. This track is only used in the 1 or 2 player game (see rulebook).
Examples of Network Cards
"Ok. I got the cards down. How do the turns work?"
In turn order, players will use an available action to grow their Network. Once a player takes an action, it is the next player's turn, and so on. Play continues until all players have passed, using the Drop & Budget action, which triggers the end of the Season. Player actions are conveniently listed on the Player Board. Available cards are not replaced as cards are selected by the players. Cards are only refilled at the start of each new Season. The available actions are as follows:
Develop a Show - Following each show's prerequisite, players may select an available Show Card, paying its development cost, and placing it in a time slot on the right side of the Player Board. A player may choose to cancel an existing Show in order to make room for the newly selected Show. They may even cancel a show that was acquired that round. Canceled Shows are placed in the Rerun slot (on the left of the Player Board) and will stay there for the rest of the round, generating Viewers at the end of the Season before being moved into the Archives (bottom left of the Player Board). Once placed in a time slot, the player will place a black cube on the first Viewer row on the card. This black cube will progress down the Viewer rows as the Seasons change and the Show ages. Outside of any requirements, if the player has any Star or Ad Cards in their Green Room, they may attach them to a newly acquired Show Card at this time, obeying the Show Card's prerequisites and limits. During a Season, a player may achieve a Genre Bonus, which is done by collecting a certain number of matching Genre Shows (color coordinated). The bonus actions available to that player are listed on their Player Board. Collecting 3 similar Genres will give you 1 of the following action choices: draw 3 Star Cards and keep 1; draw 3 Ad Cards, keeping 1 and collecting the income from the other 2. Collection 5 similar Genres will also give you the option of Drawing 3 Network cards, keeping 1. In addition, if you managed to collect 5 similar Genres, you may exchange Money for Viewers, at a rate of $4m for 3 viewers.
Sign a Star - Players may select and pay for an available Star Card. Newly acquired Star Cards are placed in the Green Room (top left side of the Player Board) until they are attached to a Show Card. Star Cards may also have a condition listed at the bottom that the players must attend to, as well.
Land Ad - As an action, players may select an available Ad Card. This Ad Card is place in their Green Room, and will generate money for the player immediately. As with Star Cards, Ad Cards may also have a condition listed at the bottom of the card.
Take Network Card - Of the available Network Cards, a player may use an action to select one of the cards. They cost no money, and there is no limit to the amount of Network cards a player may have. If there are no face-up Network Cards available, then a player may not take a Network Card. NOTE: Network Cards will take precedence over any rule contradictions.
Attach Star or Ad - If a player has any Star or Ad Cards in their Green Room, they may select this action to attach one of those cards to an existing Show Card, if the Show Card has the room. The attached card is simply slid under the Show Card from the right side. A player may discard an existing Star or Ad Card to make room for the new one. If the new Star or Ad Card has any conditions, those are taken care of before the new card is slid under the Show Card. If that condition changes AFTER the card has been slid under the Show Card, that condition will no longer force the card's condition to trigger.
Drop and Budget - This action is used when a player passes for their rest of the Season. If selected, a player will remove their player disc from the turn order track and place it on the left-most available location on the "Drop & Budget" track. That player will receive income (Season 1) or income or viewers (Season 2 and later), based on the symbol located under their player disc. The order in which players pass and use this action determines the player order for the upcoming Season.
"What happens after all the players have used the Drop & Budget action?"
They have now reached the end of a Season, and there are a few steps they must take before a new Season begins. End of Season scoring has 4 parts. Players will generate income and pay for expenses. The Show and Star Cards require upkeep, and the Ad Cards generate Income. Once combined, either the player's Network will be positive and generate Income, gaining money, or the Network will owe money and have to pay money from their supply of cash. If a player doesn't not have enough money to cover their expenses, they keep their money and pay their expenses by using their Viewer total from the scoring track. They will then tally up their viewership for the season, using the extremely convenient Scoring Calculator, located on their player board. Viewers from each Show Card in their lineup generate Viewers, as well as each Show Card that has been placed in their Rerun slot. Each Show in the lineup will age (move down one viewer row). Shows that are in their Rerun slot will move down to eh Archive slot. Then, they will populate the available cards for the next Season. If this is the end of the first Season, the right-most scoring track will be flipped over for the rest of the game. If this is the end of the fifth season, players will calculate their viewership from their active lineup one more time (ignoring income, expenses, and reruns), as well as score one viewer for each Star they still have in their Green Room, and all end-game scoring from Network Cards. The player with the most Viewers will be the winner. Ties are broken by the player with the most remaining money.
The components are good. The wood tokens work well. Included in the expansion, The Networks: On the Air, there is a sticker sheet to use with the wooden components. They add a bit to the otherwise plain markers, but are unnecessary. The cards are a little thin, but are of good quality. Sleeves for the cards will prolong their life, and won't be a problem, but the back of each card has a convenient icon and colored backs matching the type of card, so unless the sleeves are clear, these would be covered. Each of the thick cardboard Tracks and Player Boards are great. They function perfectly, keeping things in order, and are very well laid out. The addition of the calculator on the Player Board is wonderful. When you're adding up the viewership for the Season, this makes it very easy to keep track of your 8pm slot, then your 9pm slot, and so on. Very smart. The Player boards include the player actions that are available each turn, as well as the Genre Bonuses that players could achieve, as well. Both the Tracks and the Player Boards are very well organized. The cardboard money would really be my only gripe. When punching them out, and I'm very careful with my games, some of the money bits started separating. This only happened to a handful, and really only to a corner, but I would have liked them to be of better quality. Honestly, they are easily replaceable with some $1 and $5 coins, if you happen to have some handy, or in another game.
Rating: 8 of 10
The rulebook is very deliberate, and informative. It explains things simply and in a very understandable way. The examples given in the rulebook further explain how the cards work, with very useful breakdowns of each part of each card. The back of the book explains the 1 player and the 2 player rules. And during the setup pages, there are info boxes on the right side of the page that help with the 2-3 player setup, as certain cards are removed from play before shuffling and displaying the cards for Season 1. The illustrations are very helpful, and the rulebook is easy to navigate.
Rating: 8 of 10
The Networks is an easy to learn game, with easy to understand icons and turn order. The available actions included on the Player Boards are clear. The gameplay could be described as a multiplayer solitaire, but part of the game is knowing what your rival Networks are trying to go after. You may want to recruit that certain Star before they do, or attempt to develop a certain show first, knowing that a rival Network will get a bonus for having a certain number of a certain Genre. However, you could very well just stay within your own game, and not pay attention to the other players. I feel this is a viable strategy as well, but will cause some of the choices to be easier than others. For me, I will always keep an eye on my competitors to see what they are possibly going after, but my focus will be making my Network the strongest Network possible. The "advanced" cards, and the expansion will add replay to the game, changing it up even more from game to game.
Rating: 8 of 10
The Networks is a solid, card-drafting game. It presents the players with interesting, and sometimes tough, choices throughout the game. The option to include the "advanced" cards will change the game, once you feel like you understand how to play. The expansion "On the Air" adds even more cards to the decks, increasing replayability, as well. The show titles on the Show Cards are a spoof on existing, or once existing, TV shows. For example, one Show Card is titled, "Criminal Mindfulness", a spoof on "Criminal Minds" (great show, by the way...). Others are titled "Monday Night Foosball" (why don't we have this?), "Broken Worse", and "Doctor What", and the art helps you in figuring out of what TV shows they are spoofs. The art is great, by the way. Way to go, Travis Kinchy!
Rating: 8 of 10
To find out more about The Networks, visit: www.networksgame.tv
Copyright 2016 Formal Ferret Games. All Rights Reserved.
- [+] Dice rolls
13 Sep 2016
I have the honor of previewing HoliMaths X, with game design by Matias Roman, on Kickstarter now. It recently won the Academics' Choice award! http://www.academicschoice.com/games/holimaths-x-multiplicat... These are my thoughts and opinions. Enjoy!
HoliMaths X, is an educational math card game for 2-6 players, ages 7 and up. The game time varies, depending on which option you decide to play, but can rage from 10-40 minutes. Players younger than 7 can play with the included "HelpCards." The game center's around the multiplication tables. One box covers numbers 1-6, while another box covers numbers 7-12. With at least 10 different ways to play the game, it is very customizable, and easy to adjust to help solidify certain multiplication skills. I will not be going over all 10 different ways of playing the game. For more information, you'll be able to visit the website, linked below.
HoliMaths is a card game for families or educators looking to make an impact in their children's or students' math skills. As an educator, I have had the opportunity to use this game with a few of my students, with great results. For this review, I will go over the game play for the first two "options" of play.The yellow box includes everything you'll need for the numbers 1-6, while the green box includes the number 7-12.Everything that is included in the yellow (numbers 1-6) box.
Option 1:: ORGINAL Game Play
Each set of numbers include larger "Problem Cards" and smaller "Solution Cards". Depending on the number of players, you will select that many number sets to work with for the game. For example, if you are playing with 3 players, then 3 sets of numbers will be used in the game. If playing a 4 player game, then 4 numbers will be used. First player can be determined by any means desired, however the rule say you can draw the top card from the Problem Cards and the first person to shout out the correct answer first becomes the first player. The Problem Cards are then shuffled together, and 6 are dealt to each player. The Solution Cards are placed in the "Magic Solutions Bag", and each player will draw 6 from the bag. Each player places one Problem or Solution Card type face up in the center of the table. This starts a discard pile for each card type. The game is ready!Components of the yellow and green boxes set spread out.
A player's turn starts by drawing one Problem Card and one Solution Card. These cards can be drawn from either the draw deck and Magic Solution Bag, or from the respective discard piles. If drawn from either of the discard piles, only the top card is available.
Once the player has drawn one of each type of card, that player must now match at least two Problem Cards with two Solution Cards. "Wildcards" (with the smiley faces) can be used to make any match between Problem and Solution Cards. If the player cannot match two Problem Cards with Solution Cards, that player discards at least one Problem or Solution Card from their hand, and play goes to the next player.
If the player has at least two matches in their hand, that player may start playing those cards by laying them face up in front of them on the table. The player must say out loud what the Problem Cards is and what the Solution is that they are playing. If that player already has two matches face up in front of them, they are allowed to play with any card in front of any player, starting on the turn after they get their second match. Also, at the end of a turn, a player may place up to two Problem Cards (only one place in front of each other player) as long as that player has two "Solved" Problem Cards in front of them. No player may receive a Problem card from another player in this way if they already have two "Unsolved" Problem Cards in front of them.
When this happens, if the receiving player has a Solution Card in their hand for the Problem Card that they were just given, they yell out "HoliMaths" and place their Solution Card on the Problem Card. This player now turns the cards sideways to represent double the points!
The Commutative Property is also always in effect during the game. If at any point during their turn a player notices that another player has a Problem card in play that applies to a Solved Problem card in their play area, using the communinity property (for example: 5x2 is the same as 2x5) they may take the Problem card from the other player and place it under their own Solved Problem Card. This will earn the player triple the points at the end of the game!
A player's turn always starts with drawing one Problem and one Solution Card, as explained above.
Here's a fun twist: During a player's turn, if they have a Problem or Solution Card that can replace a Wild Card that's face up on the table, they may switch cards, taking the Wild Card into their hand. This Wild Card must be used to make a match during the same turn.
A player's turn ends with the discard of either a Problem or Solution Card, as done to start the game.
As a penalty, if a player take more than two minutes to play, they must draw a Problem and Solution Card. If a player plays an incorrect Solution Card to a Problem Card, that player must draw two Problems Cards. If another player points out that an incorrect Solution Card has been played, they are rewarded with a Solution Card from the Magic Solution Bag for paying attention! They must also give the correct solution to the problem.
The game ends when any player has an empty hand of cards and no "Unsolved" Problem Cards in front of them. They get 100 points for finishing the game first, and then the scoring begins. If, at the start of the game, any player can place all of their Problem Cards with all of their Solution Cards on the first turn, they receive an additional 300 points!
Using the symbols in the corner of each Problem Card, and the included Scoring Card, player's add up the Solved Problem cards in the play area in front of them. Points range from 10-60 points, with the extra bonus of 100 points for the first person out, the double points bonus for any "HoliMaths" Solutions, and the triple points bonus for any commutative property Solutions.
Option 2: STAIRS Game Play
This version of the game is similar to completing a multiplication chart in a grid format using the Problem Cards.
To start, select between 3 and 6 number sets, using their Problem Cards and their Wild Cards. It is recommended that these number sets should be correlative, but selecting non-correlative numbers will increase the difficulty. For example, use number 1-3, 2-5, or 4-6. Or, if you have both set, you could use 5-7, 6-8, etc. Of the selected numbers, shuffle all their Problem Cards together, and Deal 6 cards to each player. The top card of the remaining deck will be used to start the grid. Reveal it and place it in its location on the table. This location is where that card would be if there was a grid spread out on the table, with each row and each column representing one number set. Each turn should be limited to one minute, to keep the game "dynamic and fun." For an example of this option in action, see the linked video at the bottom of this review.
For this game, cards may only be placed in the grid orthogonally adjacent to any existing card. Diagonals do not count. Players may only play one card per turn.
If a player doesn't have a card to play, they must draw a card from the deck. If the drawn card can be played, that player may immediately place it in the grid. Otherwise, they add it to their hand of cards and play passes to the next player.
Wild Cards can be played in place of any other card. If on a player's turn they have a card that can replace an already existing Wild Card, that player may replace the Wild Card with the correct card for that spot, and immediately place the Wild Card in a different location on the grid.
As a rule, when a player plays a Problem Card to the Grid, they must also say the solution. If a player does not say the solution, they receive a Problem Card from the draw deck as a penalty. If they say the incorrect solution, any other player may say the correct solution, giving a Problem Card from their hand to the player that said the incorrect solution.
The game ends when a player runs out of cards in their hand. Scoring is done by using the included Score Card and adding or subtracting the symbols on the Problem Cards.
The components are great! The symbols are clear. The numbers on the cards are big enough to see from across the table. Each card is set up very well, with the Problem Cards having the problem facing in both directions, helping the other players read them without the cards being upside down. The colors are vibrant, as well. As this is a game about math, the colors, the Magic Solution Bag, and variability of the game play options makes the game look fun on the table. I find it difficult to shuffle the Solution Cards in the Magic Solution Bag, almost wishing the Solution Cards were discs, which would making it easier to shuffle in the bag, however, they function better as cards.
The rule book is ok. At points, I had to read certain parts a few times before understanding. However, as the rule book is still being developed, I'm sure the editing and refining of it will make the final rule book much better.
Once you understand how each of the 10 ways to play the game works, it's amazing. As an educator, I see a tremendous value in this system. As I mentioned in the beginning, I have been using HoliMaths with a few of my students, and I have seen each one of them improve their multiplication skills. As the game can be customized to fit each student's needs, I was able to use only the number sets that the student was struggling with, and play the game with a very specific focus. One student liked it so much that he began developing his own variation of the game. HoliMaths offers parents and teacher an option for students that has much more meat to it than just filling out a multiplication table, or completing various worksheets. Students use their brains to figure out the problems in their head, or with the HelpCards, but as they play they are given visuals to call upon the next time they play, or come across the problem in their homework. One of my students has struggled with the number 8 in his multiplication work. While playing some variations of HoliMaths with him, I have seen his recall of his 8s multiples continue to improve and get stronger. I can't say enough about how well it has helped, and how great the customizable nature of the game fits for each student. Set up is easy from game to game, as well.
Rating: 9 of 10
HoliMaths is a great addition, or alternative, to help learn the multiplications tables for numbers 1-12. It is extremely customizable, very helpful, and easy to get to the table. The cards are of very good quality, so they will last long. The variations in gameplay offer so many ways to help students, or children, learn, not only with their mental math skills, but by giving them visuals to use later. An excellent game, but an even better learning tool!
Rating: 9 of 10
To see the games in action, visit:
http://youtu.be/Qde--BriQE (option 1)
http:/youtu.be/g4oCpCof9Mo (option 2)
To find out more about HoliMaths X, visit: www.HoliPlayGames.com
Copyright 2016 HoliPlay. All Rights Reserved.
- [+] Dice rolls
16 Aug 2016
Are You Ready to Show Your Honor?
I have the honor of previewing Zipang Portable, with game design by Ko Sasahara, coming to Kickstarter soon from Engine ID, Ltd.. These are my thoughts and opinions. Enjoy!
Zipang Portable, is a "pick one, play one" card game for 2-6 players, that plays in 10-20 minutes. Players are vying for power, diving into "the greatest battle of the 17th Century", becoming Sengoku heroes seeking the Shogun's power. Each player has a starting hand of 2 cards, and 5 Mangoku Coins (or 4 coins in a 2 player game). Each round, called a Campaign, starts with each player placing a Mangoku Coin in the middle, creating the Pot. The winner of each Campaign will win the coins in the Pot. On a turn, a player will draw from the deck, bringing their hand to 3 cards, and then play a card from their hand. Each card has an effect, as well as an Attack and Honor value. I'll explain these in more detail later. The card's effect is resolved, and play passes to the next player, drawing a card from the deck, playing a card from their hand, etc. Each Campaign ends when either one player is left in play after a Battle, or the Emperor card is played. Respectively, the winner of the Campaign is the last player standing, or the player with the most Honor points from cards remaining in their hands. If a player runs out of coins at the end of a Campaign, the Game is over, and the winner is the player with the most Mangoku Coins. In the case of a tie, players will shuffle up the cards and each tied player draws one from the deck. The player with the highest Honor points on their drawn card is the winner.
"I like quick card games. This one sounds interesting. How is the game set up?"A 3 Player game's starting components
There are certain cards that are removed depending on player count. The remaining cards are shuffled to create the draw deck. Each player is dealt 2 cards, as well as 4, in a 2 player game, or 5 Mangoko Coins. Any unused coins are removed from the game. The last thing to do for setup is to take the top card of the draw deck and place it FACE DOWN to create a discard pile. This removes one card from the deck without the players knowing which card will not be in the Campign this round. That's it! You're now set up and ready to start your first Campaign.
To begin a Campaign, each player places a Mangoku Coin in the Pot. The first player for the first Campaign is chosen randomly, or the rules state the youngest player. Subsequent Campaigns will begin with the winner of the previous Campaign. Player one draws a card from the deck, then plays a card from their hand of 3 cards. Let's talk about the cards.Some examples of the cards. The art is wonderful!
Card Layout In the upper left, each card has a name, with an associated BTL (Battle) and HNR (Honor) value. The name of the card will dictate what effect the card will have when played. For example, the Bandit will let a player steal a Mangoku Coin from one Opponent. The Princess lets a player steal half of the Pot, rounded down. The Merchant forces other players to add 1 coin to the pot. The game comes with a reference card to help the players figure out each card's effect. In addition to the effect on each card, the BTL and HNR points are significant. The HNR points help determine the winner of the Campaign. When each Campaign ends, players will add up the HNR points from the remaing cards in their hand. The highest value is declared the winner of the Campaign, and they win the Pot of Mangoku Coins. A tie in points results in a shuffle of all the cards, and a 1 card draw, off the top of the deck, with the highest HNR point listed on those cards declaring the winner of the Campaign. The BTL value on each card are used in two ways. If the card played creates an attack, the player starting the attack is considered to have a BTL score equal to the played card's BTL value. For instance, if the player plays the Captain, which has a BTL value of 3, their attack value is 3. The player, or players, attacked must now defend the attack. The defending player adds up the BTL value of the cards in their hand. If this value is EQUAL TO or GREATER THAN the attacker's BTL value, the defending player has successfully defended the attack, MUST show their hand of cards to prove the value is successful, and play continues to the next player. This act of showing the cards creates, what the designer calls, an important "deception element" to the game. Not only does this show the defender has the necessary points, it gives the other player some information on their opponent. Now, if the defending player's BTL value is LESS THAN the attack value, that defending player is eliminated from the Campaign, then play continues to the next player. If at this point only one player remains, that remaining player is the winner for that Campaign.The Emperor ends that Campaign. Winner has 6 HNR points.Component layout. One of each card, with the Mangoku Coins and the Reference Card.
The components are printed from The Game Crafter, LLC, as a pre-Kickstarter prototype. Once up and running, the campaign will have more information on the quality and final components of the game. The colors and images on the cards are fantastic! Each card's layout works really well. The banner in the upper left is easy to read and understand. The BTL and HNR points are clear. Also, each card has one sentence that summarizes the effect of that card. For instance, the Peasant card reads, "Together we need not fear battle!", reminding the player that 2 Peasants need to be played, as one Peasant has no effect. These lines are very helpful as a quick reminder after you have played the game a couple of times. It will be wonderful to replace the Mangoku Coins with 17th Century Japanese coins, too. And I have to say, as this copy of the game came from the Game Crafter, that they did a great job, as always!
The rulebook is also a prototype component. Its layout is fine. The rules are clear, with helpful images of setup, turn order, and a description of the card effects. I'm sure the final rulebook will be well organized and easy to follow, as well.
Zipang Portable is an easy to learn and quick "draw one, play one" card game. Players are faced with interesting decisions throughout the game, consisting of keeping certain cards in order to be better defensively, or using cards in a more aggressive manner. The setup for the game is simple, as is the gameplay. However, simple gameplay doesn't mean easy! There is some luck involved in the shuffling and drawing of the deck, but this doesn't detract from the decisions a player will have to make during a Campaign. If you like games like Love Letter or Coup, this is absolutely worth your time.
Rating: 8 of 10
Zipang Portable is a fun, quick, easy to learn card game, with fantastic art and tough decisions for the players. Setup is simple, and players are involved in their first Campaign in no time. Although this is a pre-Kickstarter copy of the game, it still looks great! I'm looking forward to backing the campaign once it goes live!
Rating: 8 of 10 (in anticipation of the campaign)
To find out more about Zipang Portable, visit: www.sengoku-zipang.com
Copyright 2016 Engine iD. All Rights Reserved.
- [+] Dice rolls
I have the honor of previewing a new card game: Imperium Chronicles Combat Card Game, with game design and artwork by William Mitchell. These are my thoughts and opinions on the presented Starter Pack materials. Enjoy!
Imperium Chronicles Card Combat Game, designed by William Mitchell, is a card game for two players. These players take turns being the “attacker”, playing one unit card per round, and possibly enhancing that unit’s strength, if you are the attacking payer, or its defense, if you are the defending player. Once both players pass, the attacking unit’s total strength is compared to the defending unit’s total defense. The attacking player gets the point if their unit’s total attack value is equal to or greater than the defending unit’s total defense value. However, if the defending unit’s defense is greater than the attacking unit’s strength, the defending player gets the point. First player to 10 points wins! This 10 point threshold can be adjusted, as desired, for shorter or longer games.
"But Mike, what's included in this 'Starter Pack?'", you ask? Thanks for asking!
The "Starter Pack" comes with everything two players need to start playing. The 108 cards are broken down into different types. 5 of the cards contain the rules. 1 card represents the "attacker" for the current round. The remaining 102 cards will make up each players game deck. These cards contain unit cards, attack modifier cards, and defense modifier cards. I will go into more detail about the cards in a little bit, but for now just know that these 102 cards are all shuffled up and distributed evenly between the two players.
"Ok. So how do you play?" Glad you asked.
The 102 cards is divided into two piles. From there, players now construct their game deck, draw a hand of seven cards, and take turns playing, and possibly enhancing, a “unit” card from their hand of seven cards. Let’s take a look at the different cards included in the game.
Unit Cards: These consist of 18 Creatures, 18 Feran/Roahttu, and 18 Warlocks. Each of these cards have a certain attack type; Melee or Ranged. Each attack type is followed by a more specific type of attack; Blunt, Energy, Explosive, Kinetic, Pierce, and Slash. Every round each player will be playing one unit card of their choice, with the attacking player playing their unit first. This gives the defending player a little bit of wiggle room in playing their defender for the round. The base attack and defense values of these cards range from 1 to 6. From there, each unit can be modified by using (you guessed it) the modifying cards.
Attack Modifiers: Made up of 30 cards, these represent ways to increase a unit's attack value. Each cards has a value of "+1" or "+2" listed with a certain type of attack that it modifies. For example, the "Laser Carbine" has a "+2 Att for Energy", meaning that when played to modify an attacker with "Energy" as it's attack type, the Carbine will add 2 to the unit's attack value. Each attack modifier has one specific type that each card will modify. One attack modifier is played each turn, as long as it is modifying a proper unit, until the attacking player chooses to "pass" in order to end their turn.
Defense Modifiers: These 18 cards do exactly the same thing as the attack modifier cards, but with defense values. The values range from "+1" to "+3", and each modify at least two different types, some with three different types. For instance, "Battle Armor" will add "+1 Def vs ALL Melee, +2 Def vs Kinetic & Explosive, and +3 Def vs Energy." I'm sure you completely understand what these all mean, after reading the explanation of the attack modifier cards, but just in case, I will explain further. "+1 Def vs ALL Melee" means that the defending unit gets +1 to their defense total if they a defending against an attacking unit with "Melee" listed. "+2 Def vs Kinetic & Explosive" means that the defending unit will get a +2 bonus to their defending total if defending against an attacking unit with "Kinetic" or "Explosive" listed. Anyone want to guess what "+3 Def vs Energy" will do for the defending unit? Anyone? Bueller...? Bueller...?
Now, there are only two simple rules the players must follow when constructing their game deck from the 51 cards they are dealt...
Rule number one: The deck must have a minimum of 30 cards, with a max of 60, if combining multiple starter decks.
Rule number two: Each card's "Tier" limits how many of that card can be in the deck.
"Simple? But Mike, you never mentioned anything about 'Tiers' on the cards."
I was getting to that next...
Each card in the game has a 'tier" system, which limits the number of each card that can be in the deck. (See. I said I was getting to it.)
For example, The "Sentry - Warlock Minion" card has a tier 3, represented by the Roman numeral "III" in the upper left corner. This means that a player's game deck cannot have more than three of that card. The "Major Hauer - Warlock Boss" card has the Roman numeral "I" in the upper left, meaning only one of that card can be in the game deck. It is possible for players to play with multiple "Starter Decks", which would really help the player develop a well-rounded game deck. This is where the tier system will really come into play (pun intended).
I went over this before, but after all this new information about "tiers" and "modifiers", let's go over the game play again. Once players construct their game deck, following the two "simple" rules, an attacking player is determined through whichever means the players see fit (flip of a coin, highest pips on a die roll, rochambeau). Each player draws seven cards from their respective decks. The first player is the “Attacker” and will play a unit card from their hand to act as their attacking unit for the round. Play passes to the other player, acting as the “defender” for the round, playing a unit card to act as their defending unit. Each of these cards will be the player's only unit card throughout each of the rounds. Once the unit cards have been determined, the players take turns modifying their units by playing the modifying cards, "attack modifier" cards if you are the "Attacker" player, and "defense modifier" cards if you are the defending player. Each round continues back and forth, until both players pass. It could be possible that one of the players cannot, or chooses not to, play any attack or defend cards, while the other players could play multiple cards in a round before passing. Once both players have passed, the attacking player adds up their unit's attack value. The defending player adds up their unit's defense value. Each round's point goes to the attacker, if the total attack value is equal to or greater than the defense value, or to the defending player, if the defense value is greater than the attack value. After the point is given, the "Attacker" card is passed to the other player, switching roles for the next round. All cards that were played during the round are discarded to each player's own discard pile. Each player then draws back up to seven cards. The new attacking player plays a new unit card, as their attacker. Then, the new defending player plays a unit card to act as their defender for the round. If a player's game deck runs out of cards, simply reshuffle the discard pile to create a new game deck.
Here's an important rule to remember when drawing your hand of seven cards: If none of the cards in your hand is a unit card, the player must (yes, must) discard one card from their existing hand of seven cards. Then, that player draws the top card of their game deck, discarding the drawn card until a unit card is drawn.
The components are good. The cards have a nice feel to them, and have a decent thickness. As with most black-bordered cards, these will end up showing use and whitening if not sleeved. As it is a compact package, the use of the "Attacker" card, to denote the attacking player for the round, and the use of the cards to display the rules, makes this game easy to take along with you on trips, or to your local game night. My copy came with a clear plastic band around the cards, but they can easily fit in a deck box of some kind, to make transport simple.
Rating: 7 of 10
I really appreciate the rules being on the cards, instead of some folded piece of paper. The rules are easy to understand, and delivered in a way which made learning the game easy. Some rule cards include a picture describing the unit card features. Sometimes an image can make understanding things even better. The rules cards are labeled with "Page 1", "Page 2", etc. This makes keeping them in order a breeze. Breeze, I tell ya!
Rating: 9 of 10
The gameplay is easy enough to learn and, for a quick card game, has just the right level of "thinky" to it. It's not ground-breaking, by any means. However, there is an element of bluffing and guessing, which can really make the game more interesting. Luck plays a factor, as you are severely limited to the seven cards you draw for your hand. I can imagine that the deck building will make the game even better, as you construct a deck that has perfect synergy for the factions you decide to take into battle. For example, playing a low defense value defender may, or may not, be the only unit you have in your hand. To the attacker, this looks like an easy point for them, seeing that their unit's attack value is 4, to your defense value of 1, so they pass for the turn, knowing they have this one in the bag. The defending player starts to show that evil grin, as the attacking player fell right into their trap! The defending player just happens to have two "+1 Def vs Melee" defense modifier cards, and a "+3 Def vs Energy"...both of which are represented in the attacking unit! Final score or the round: Attacker 4, Defender 5. Point goes to the defender! I think this adds a certain element to the game that wasn't really apparent at first. After playing the game a few times, this strategy showed itself, and I liked it!
Rating: 7 of 10
Imperium Chronicles Combat Card Game is a fun two player game, that is super portable, and easy to learn. It puts two players against each other in a quick turn-based battle. The cards are good. The game play is good, with just enough strategy to keep it from being too easy, but at the same time, limits the players to a seven card hand, with no hand manipulation. This may turn people off to the game play. I like how each player constructs their game deck, giving the player the opportunity to make it as random or as focused as they want. Having the ability to combine two starter decks worth of cards would give the players even more control over their game deck.
Rating: 7 of 10
The game is available through DriveThruCard’s print on demand service.
To find out more about Imperium Chronicles, visit: www.imperiumonline.com
Copyright 2016 Imperium Group LLC. All Rights Reserved.
- [+] Dice rolls