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Counter Magazine #73 - Games reviewed
Greg Schloesser
United States
Jefferson City
TN
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Issue #73 is now available. Issue #73 is jam-packed with 120 pages of articles, reviews, convention reports and commentary. You'll also enjoy the full-color graphics and photos!

You won't want to miss the 2 dozen reviews and outstanding articles, including Jeffrey Allers' article "Games and Refugees", which relates his experiences teaching and playing games with the refugees from Syria and other countries.

Listed below are the 2 dozen games reviewed in this issue. Feel free to add your thoghts and comments.

You can download Issue #73 by visiting the BoardGameGeek store at:

http://boardgamegeekstore.com/collections/counter-magazine


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1. Board Game: Alan's Adventureland [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:11403]
Greg Schloesser
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Jefferson City
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Designer: Alan Ernstein
Review by: Ben Baldanza

The core idea in this game is very strong, and it harkens back to the 1990s tile laying ideas in some popular games of that era. The tension about how to maximize the scoring given the bonus rounds while building for the final scoring is also excellent. But the way the card play links with the tile laying is contrived and this takes away from the enjoyment of the mental tile laying challenge.
 
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2. Board Game: Bomarzo [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:5427]
Greg Schloesser
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Jefferson City
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Designer: Stefano Castelli
Review by Greg Schloesser

I give the designer tremendous credit for developing a creative game around the very unique and slightly disturbing Bomarzo park. The storyline of the troubling sculptures actually being ancient, somewhat dormant divinities is clever, and the worker placement aspect works well here. However, I do feel he has been over ambitious and tossed in too many facets and aspects, bogging the game down.
 
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3. Board Game: CVlizations [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2725]
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Design by Jan Zalewski
Review by Simon Neale

I think that Jan Zalewski has designed something sufficiently different in CVlizations to make it stand out from other games of similar depth and runtime. There is enough going on in the game to keep any hardened gamer interested, and the game has been a hit with my family.
 
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4. Board Game: Domus Domini [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:6319]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Heinz-Georg Thiemann
Review by Paul Evans

For me, the game provides the right amount of planning and thinking—without melting any brain cells—and some interaction between the players. It seems to be carefully balanced so that players can opt for different strategies and still have a chance of winning.
 
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5. Board Game: Happy Pigs [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1531] [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Kuraki Mura
Review by John Humphries

Although Happy Pigs is enjoyable enough to play, it did not create any real competitive feeling as it is not until the end of the game that you have any idea who is leading, at which point it is too late to do anything about it.
 
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6. Board Game: Heckmeck Extrawurm [Average Rating:6.94 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.94 Unranked]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Reiner Knizia
Review by Kendall Johns

I have always been a bit of a sucker for variants, but I realize that they do not always improve the game. In this case, however, I think it does.
 
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7. Board Game: Hip Hops [Average Rating:5.19 Unranked]
Greg Schloesser
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Review by Kendall Johns

Brews of the World is a simple game, of course, but fun. It is almost worth having just for the cards and the information contained on them.
 
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8. Board Game: Histrio [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:2928]
Greg Schloesser
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Jefferson City
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Design by Bruno Cathala & Christian Martinez
Review by John Humphries

Histrio is a fun game to play, not too heavy, but with enough in it to keep most gamers happy.
 
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9. Board Game: Karuba [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:388]
Greg Schloesser
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Jefferson City
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Design by Rüdiger Dorn
Review by Ben Baldanza

Karuba is fun and fast. There are plenty of good decisions to make, starting with where to initially place the hunters and pyramids. From there, creating good pathways, possibly backtracking to get some valuable gems, racing to get to the pyramids for the best bonuses, and the critical choice of whether to place a tile or move the hunters are all important decisions.
 
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10. Board Game: Lignum [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2247]
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Design by Alexander Huemer
Review by Ben Baldanza

While there is a lot to think about and lot to consider, the basic ideas are simple and well implemented in the game design. I have no doubt that this game was play tested extensively and I give great credit to the designer and developers for a truly enjoyable and worthwhile gaming experience.
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11. Board Game: Loop Inc. [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:3617]
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Design by Scott Almes
Review by Greg Schloesser

I find it quite unique and refreshing, and the challenge of assembling a hand of action cards that I can somehow manage to get to work properly over the course of three turns is both daunting and satisfying...when the plan ultimately works!
 
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12. Board Game: Ominoes [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:4785]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Andrew Harman
Review by Kendall Johns

Like all games with dice there is an element of luck, but it seems less here than some. I like the idea of working out how to move your dice to form a group. If I were wearing my educator’s hat I might say that it teaches spatial awareness.
 
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13. Board Game: Pirates of the 7 Seas [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:3613]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Oleksandr Nevskiy & Oleg Sidorenko
Review by Simon Weinberg

Pirates of the 7 Seas is great fun with excellent art and components. It is thematic and interactive, and I would recommend it highly for gamers or families.
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14. Board Game: Porta Nigra [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:976]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Michael Kiesling & Wolfgang Kramer
Review by Greg Schloesser

Every game of Porta Nigra that I have played has been tense and exciting, with the winner in doubt until the final points are tallied. A player may be leading throughout most of the game, only to see an opponent sweep past him when the majorities are determined.
 
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15. Board Game: Quadropolis [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:257]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Francois Gandon
Review by John Humphries

It is the simplicity of the games’ mechanisms compared to the planning required which makes it so suitable for a wide range of gaming experience from occasional family players to more hardened gamers.
 
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16. Board Game: Römisch Pokern [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:6824]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by David Parlett & Johannes Krenner
Review by Dale Yu

Romisch Pokern is an interesting take on the press-your-luck dice game genre as there are a number of things which help set it apart: the Roman numerals on the dice themselves, the restriction of recording scores in order on the score sheet, and the fairly valuable bonus cards, which can help save a turn from going south.
 
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17. Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion [Average Rating:8.45 Overall Rank:6]
Greg Schloesser
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Jefferson City
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Design by Corey Konieczka
Review by Dr. Steve Owen

The asymmetric nature of the game system works very well to reflect the powerful Empire, hamstrung by having to dilute his forces to maximise his search capabilities, and the relatively weak Rebel maximising his meagre forces to distract the Empire and draw him away from the base.
 
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18. Board Game: Steam Time [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1193]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Rüdiger Dorn
Review by Greg Schloesser

What I enjoy most about Steam Time is the numerous strategic paths open to a player. A player can concentrate on one or two aspects, or perhaps try to accomplish a small amount in each of the various options available. No one path seems to be overpowering, which is a testament to good development work.
 
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19. Board Game: Stellar Conflict [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2692]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by James Ernest & Tom Jolly
Review by Simon Neale

Having played both the Light Speed predecessor and Stellar Conflict, I think that Konstantinos Kokkinis and Antonis Papantoniou have done a really effective job in bringing the game forward and making what was originally a fast, fun filler into something more, both in terms of depth and re-playability.
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20. Board Game: Trainmaker [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:4923]
Greg Schloesser
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Jefferson City
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Design by Chris Leder
Review by Ben Baldanza

. This Kickstarter version is nicely produced with good-looking dice and cards, and the extras included to play the bonus games add to the value. This is a nice upgrade from the original version of the game while keeping the core simplicity in place.
 
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21. Board Game: Spearpoint 1943: Eastern Front [Average Rating:6.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.93 Unranked]
Greg Schloesser
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Design by Byron Collins
Review by Mike Clifford

... the historical detail and essential planning elevate Spearpoint to the forefront of wargame design.
 
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