Down to the basics reviews
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Hello!

This is simply a geeklist to organize and allow readers to subscribe to know when a new "Down to the basics" review comes up.

Everytime a new one is posted, I will add a geeklist item to this list.

Thanks!

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1. Board Game: Quartz [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:2694]
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About Quartz:

1) What is it?
Quartz is a push your luck game reimplementing an older game named Ouro de Tolo. In the gsme players are dwarven miners, trying to find the best crystals. There is a good lot of "take that" in Quartz, due to the use of several cards that effect the other players - there are defensive cards also. Finally, the game offers a mechanic of set collection, specially in order to make the crystals with lower values (which are the ones that players usually find the most) allow for a boost in points in other ways.

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2. Board Game: Eaten by Zombies! [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:5016] [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
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About Eaten by Zombies!:

1) What is it?
A deckbuilding game with both competitive and cooperative (with a campaign) modes of play. The theme is the usual Zombie one: survive, scrap, kill - both zombies and humans - or be killed. It has lots of humor and is more thematic than expected for a deck builder.

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3. Board Game: Android [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1180]
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About Android:

1) What is it?
Android is a highly thematic game set in the world of tomorrow - the dread future, a dystopian place, sure, but not a wasteland or zombie infested. In this future, megacorporations run things and there are huge conspiracies happening. And there are laws. Mostly the same we have today.

Players will be detectives, trying to solve a murder case, while they also have to deal with their personal lives and their inner demons. Now, the suspect is different for each player, and during play, one of your tasks is to collect enough evidences to put your suspect in jail. This is a neat thing. Android isn't a deduction game, isn't Clue, or Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases or Sleuth. No, in Android the one who did it is the one player say did it.

To do this, players travel between the city of New Angeles and Heinlein, a moon colony, going after clues, testimonies and leads, gaining favors, using those favors to receive help, access and other things.

There is also a inner battle between light and darkness, as using cards to help herself makes the players go towards the dark, and using cards to hinder other players will lead to light. Yes. Not what you would excect, right?

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4. Board Game: Nippon [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:269]
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About Nippon:

1) What is it?
Is a medium-heavy game about the industrialization of Japan. It blends the development of an economic engine with an area influence/control, which is where the biggest points come from.

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5. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:165] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
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About YINSH:

1) What is it?
YINSH is a member of the GIPF family. In it you are a dog walker, and the goal is to put your three dogs (probably Vizslas, or Xiasi) in the dog house, and you do this when your dog pees in a row of 5 bushes. However, the other player's dog will also want to mark their territories in rows of 5 bushes, and sometimes one will come and pee in a bush one of your dogs peed, chaging the bush to its color. However, the twist is that, once a dog has marked its territory, you guard it in the dog house, making harder for the remaining 2 dogs (or single dog, when two have already done their business) to fight for peeing in the bushes.

It is a neat. However, some do consider YINSH more like an abstract game about rings (and not collars) and markers (instead of peed bushes). Still, the core of the game remain the same.

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6. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:387]
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About RoboRally:

1) What is it?
An actions programming game in which players are represented by robots, whose objetice is to race to reach first some check points around the board. There are elements on the factory (map) that interacts with players, causing more mayhem and giving options and restrictions. And, of course, when talking about programming actions, there is plenty of room for chaos and despair, as when someone pushes your robot into a place you didn't expect and now your following actions can lead your robot to be destroyed!

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7. Board Game: Sylvion [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:912]
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About Sylvion:

1) What is it?
Sylvion is a tower defense type of game, only the tower is a forest and the attackers are Fire Elementals sent forward by the bidding of the Fire Lord - it is probably wildfire season and he wants to do his part, and he is also mad.

The game is set in the Oniverse, home of Urbion, Onirim and Castellion.

In order to fight back, the denizens of the forest got together: so the Fountains gush water, the Whales shepherd the flames, the Stags and newly planted Trees heal the damages, the Squirrels spy on the plans of the Fire Elementals, the Fish feed, no, no, not food, feed power. It is necessary to resist to the attacks until the Final Assault comes.

Sylvion mix phase of draft, when the deck is built, then a bigger phase of battling the Elementals. Everything is done in about 30 to 45 minutes.

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8. Board Game: Mafia City [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:5394]
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About Mafia City:

1) What is it?
Mafia City is an area control/influence game mixed with hand management. In the game, players are mobsters, the chiefs of powerful gangs, and they vie for control of several places in the city. This is done in a very confrontional way as one might expect, as it fits the mechanics and the theme.

And, by the way, there is a fine amount of care in the theme - while the game does get procedural during play, the locations abilities make sense, the cards and even the tie breaker has a meaning theme-wise. Very nice indeed.

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9. Board Game: Exodus: Proxima Centauri [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:1131]
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About Exodus: Proxima Centauri:

1) What is it?
Exodus: Proxima Centauri is sort of a 4x game with a sci-fi theme. Sort because there is really no exploration, as the map start all open - there are, however hidden spaceships of the Centaurian Resistance, so this bit you do explore, but isn't truly exploration. Anyway, the other 3x are right here though: there is plenty of fighting (exterminate), expansion and exploiting the planets for resources.

Exodus: Proxima Centauri is the love-child of Eclipse and Twilight Imperium (Third Edition), as it has the blueprints and economics of the former and the politics of the latter. Also, Exodus: Proxima Centauri has a little in common with the "following" action of TI3, but here is called "reaction" - everyone picks a main action to do, then, by paying population, is possible to do the secondary action of your own card or of someone else.

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10. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:17]
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About 7 Wonders Duel:

1) What is it?
7 Wonders Duel is a reimplementation of 7 Wonders for 2 players only. Sure, 7 Wonders do have 2 players rules, using the Free City, and I played with them and they work OK. Still, if you truly want a very good 2p game, 7 Wonders Duel is your thing.

7 Wonders Duel has the same feel of 7 Wonders: 3 Eras, several types of cards (scientific, civic, military, production, etc) and cards have requirements you need to pay and "chains" of buildings, so if you have and earlier version, you get for free the upgrade. Is a well known and proven mechanic, and is what you will get here. But 7 Wonders Duel come with several changes: there isn't a draft phase anymore, as all the cards for the Era are in the table, some hidden, some open, and players can't take the hidden ones before they are open. Also, every player has 4 Wonders to build. Finally, the game can end in three ways: by finishing the cards of the 3rd Era, by Scientific victory and by Military victory.

7 Wonders Duel can go in a briskly pace and end in less than 20 minutes, and even longer games won't break too much the 30 minutes.

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11. Board Game: Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:444]
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About Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game:

1) What is it?
Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game is a card game of medieval fantasy adventure, whose mechanics are influenced by Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set, by The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, by Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game and even reminded me a little bit of Darkest Night (First edition) due to the use of actions.

Is a cooperative game, based on scenarios, each with a unique challenge, foes and locations, which isn't the most fun to set up, but it didn't take as long as I thought it would.

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12. Board Game: Samurai Spirit [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1149]
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About Samurai Spirit:

1) What is it?
In Samurai Spirit is cooperative game in the tower defense type, in which players are samurais defending a village from villains. Yes, this is Seven Samurais - there is even seven samurais to pick from.

Wait! I will stop you right now to say: Samurai Spirit has almost zero theme. The game is almost an abstract with art on the card, instead of just numbers and icons - and would completely work with just these two parts. Still, is easier to sell a game with a theme. So in no moment you will feel like actually fighting villains; and little of defending a village, mostly because you have the visual effect of seeing barricades and houses being taken out.

Notice that BGG is your friend in this matter, as it doesn't list the game as thematic. But for some reason I went on thinking it would be a little more thematic than it actually is. So, my bad.

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13. Board Game: Merchant of Venus [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:831]
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About Merchant of Venus (second edition) for the classic game:

1) What is it?
Is the essence of pick and delivery game, with a racing aspect (the first to X money). This mechanic counts for around 85% of the game, with the remaining 15% being exploration, ships upgrades, finding planets and revealing obscure points of the cosmos, building spaceports and factories, etc. And you will be bound to take goods and passengers from point A to point B for a long time, as the playing time clocks around 3 hours.

Therefore, the game is all about finding the best routes, trying to take the best deals, and make every stop counts towards the final goal.

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14. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:610]
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About 6 nimmt!:

1) What is it?
6 nimmt! is an entertaining card game, from Wolfgang Kramer (El Grande, Tikal, etc), in which the goal is to take as few as possible points. Is all about hand management, considering not only the card you want to play, but also what the other players might.

Unlike some of its kind, 6 nimmt! seems to work in different ways:
- Up to 3 players: more control, some fun;
- From 4 to 6 players: less control, great deal of fun;
- From 7 to 10 players: enough chaos to kill a bull.

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15. Board Game: Orléans [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:26]
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About Orléans:

1) What is it?
Orléans is a pool building game, in the vein of Dominion and Quarriors!, blended with worker placement. In it, you hire workers, that are represented by tokens, and the tokens go into your bag. In the next round, you will take a certain number of workers out of the bag and these will be available for use in that round - and you will use them mostly in your personal board, but they, by the use of the City Hall space on the personal board, can be sent to work in big issues involving the city of Orléans (they stay there - is basically the "trash" option).

With the workers (knights, craftsmen, farmers, monks, scholars, etc) you can help the city of Orléans, travel the country by land or river, build trade posts, acquire tools, adavance in science, and several other things.

Orléans offers a nice experience, with many paths to follow, and all with a not big learning curve.

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16. Board Game: Food Chain Magnate [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:28]
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About Food Chain Magnate:

1) What is it?
Food Chain Magnate is an economic game of building a company in order to gain money by serving food and beverages to the people of the town. It is a game that requires players to make an engine capable of attending the needs of the people and creating them, using for this several workers.

The rules aren't all that hard to understand, but the game offers a lot to think about, going from positioning in the market, to hiring, training and putting the employees to work.

Once the few akward first steps are taken, the flow is smooth and everything connects well. All was left to worry the players is fierce competition in an overcrowded market, and all the paths Food Chain Magnate offers in order for you to became one.

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17. Board Game: The Grizzled [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:335]
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About The Grizzled:

1) What is it?
The Grizzled is a cooperative game set in the World War I, in which a group of friends fight together to survive the hardships - both personal and regarding the overall threats of war.

Don't worry too much, though. The Grizzled is mostly abstract, involving just card play, in a quick and intense game that lasts around 25 minutes. It can start talks about war and the men that fought it, but surely it doesn't contain nor represents the horrors of a war.

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18. Board Game: Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:659]
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A battle between the Republic and the Federation, it simulates the last 30 or 40 minutes of the movie Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Each side plays in 4 different areas: battlefield, pallace, space above Naboo and the site where the jedis and sith are fighting.

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19. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:302] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A war fought with characters from different genres and eras, played on a customizable 3D board.

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20. Board Game: Dungeon Twister [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:881]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A battle/race that mixes fantasy characters, items and dungeons with abstract strategy-like game play.

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21. Board Game: Star Trek: Fleet Captains [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:494]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A game that represents very well the concept of Star Trek: lots of exploration and influence, but also a good fight when one is needed.

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22. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:919]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A Tower Defense Game converted to a boardgame. Several bad monsters are trying to destroy your castle (walls and towers). There are three ways to play the game: The players control the heroes against a horde of bad guys: orcs, goblins and trolls. You can play as Co-op (everyone wins or loses), Master Slayer (everyone loses but only one player wins) and Overlord (one player controls the monsters agains all other players).

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23. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:658]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A simple cooperative game where you have to recover treasures before the island submerges.

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24. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:78]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A cooperative game where you have to discover cures for diseases to avoid the brutal human extinction.

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25. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:123] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
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Review by Binder.

1) What it is?
A Second World War game where you control troops form the allies or the axis during specific battles that simulates real events of 1944.

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