Reviews by Scott (but not THAT Scott)
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Greetings and salutations! My name is Scott Sexton and I like to write board game reviews. I'm not particularly funny. I'm not some analytical authority on games either. My skills as a writer and editor are at least suspect, so please, don't feel like you need to remind me of my shortcomings. Cool?

This GeekList is a place for me to collect my reviews so that at the very least I can remind myself that some of my reviews are particularly awful and I don't want to repeat those mistakes. A keen eyed observer may point out that I haven't linked 4 reviews I wrote to this list. These 4 reviews aren't worthy of your time and if I could change the past ... well you get the point. We all have regrets. In each entry I'll give you a couple quick thoughts and link you directly to the original review.

I'm going to indulge in a bit of self aggrandizement for just one moment. I wish more reviewers would share their "Gaming CV". My interest stems more from wanting to better understand a given reviewer's taste and perspective to see if they in any way match up with mine. After all, why should you listen to me if you want an opinion about stuff I hate or have no experience with?

I was born in 1978. I am old enough that I remember watching The Empire Strikes Back in the theater. The first time it was in theaters.

My first glimpse into the greater world of tabletop gaming (not including mass market stuff) was a collection of D&D Choose Your Own Adventures (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endless_Quest) hidden away in my cousin's room. I fell in love with the swords & sorcery setting of D&D although, I've never played it. Fast forward five years or so and I found HeroQuest, which in turn led me to Battlemasters, which segued nicely into the Mutant Chronicle's Seige of the Citadel (1st edition). Oh yeah, and there was also a brief detour into Magic, Star Wars CCG, Doomtown, Lord of the Rings CCG and Jedi Knights TCG that lasted the better part of a decade. I had a truly epic complete collection of Heroscape which I had to sell just before my kids were born. I actually had a BGG account back then, but somehow I've managed to loose that avatar to the mists of time. Gaming took a back seat to parenting for a few years, but eventually, my kids gave me plenty of great excuses to get back into gaming.

I consider myself an omnigamer, but my tastes skew in favor of Ameritrash and games that embrace setting and narrative (or at least try to tell a good story). I am a firm believer that good games should try to empower gamers, give them rewarding choices, and offer positive feedback loops whenever possible.

I have 3 gaming groups. My pre-teen twins (son & daughter - they play whatever I force them to play, and they like it dammit). My meet-up group (we play anything). A private group (we meet for heavier, meatier games).

One last thing I want to mention. My reviews exist in part because I was inspired by three authors who write reviews that I particularly enjoy:

Charlie Theel
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Daniel Thurot
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Do yourself a favor and check out their excellent work.

I hope you find some games on this list worth checking out!

PS- I've been asked several times about the meaning of my Avatar's badge, "Follow your bliss." You can learn more about the philosophy of Joseph Campbell here:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/04/09/find-your-bliss-jos...
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1. Board Game: Valley of the Kings [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:705] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Valley of the Kings is a great little deck builder and was one of my first reviews that I'm not completely embarrassed by. I wrote this back before I tried to come up with creative titles for the reviews. The early format for my reviews was to have a bare bones listing of what works and doesn't works before summing things up with a conclusion. I've always hated game play summaries in reviews (especially written ones) and I hate writing them even more.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1195443/review-valley-kings...
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2. Board Game: Neuroshima: Convoy [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2267]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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I'll be the first to admit, this is not a very good review. In fact, don't even read it. The real reason I'm posting it here is that The Convoy is a nifty little 2 player card game that arguably does a better job telling a story then any other 2 player dueling card game I know of. I suppose that is par for the course considering it comes from Portal Games. This is one of those games that newbies to the hobby should definitely check out if they like 2 player dueling card games. The ugly cover art and small box size make this one that is easy to ignore when you are browsing the shelves at your FLGS.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1207475/no-fate-what-we-mak...
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3. Board Game: The New Era [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:985] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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I know all the kids these days love their Imperial Settlers and 51st State 3.0 (master set), but there is something about The New Era (51st State 2.0) that just won't let me get rid of it. I like mixing together the original 51st State, New Era, Winter, and Ruins all in one stupid mess of a deck. Yeah, the game feels clunky compared to 3.0. Yeah, the symbology is a huge pain in the ass. Yeah, this is a nightmare to teach. Despite all that, something about the 2.0 version of this game just feels a tiny bit more exciting and sexy.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1209412/war-never-changes-r...
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4. Board Game: Magnum Opus [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:5332]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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I wish I was clever enough to work Queen lyrics into every review I wrote. Here's a big thanks to Game Salute for letting a great little game die in obscurity. If you can find a copy, feel free to snag it up and buy a lottery ticket because its your lucky day. I enjoy innovative deck builders. I LOVE it when a eurogame has an objective based victory condition instead of a simple VP scoring system. Magnum Opus does both quite well. The aesthetic of the game isn't very exciting, but the game play is quite solid and satisfying. Magnum Opus isn't my favorite deck building game ever, but its up there and I'll probably never get rid of it.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1238337/who-wants-live-fore...
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5. Board Game: Spell Saga [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
 
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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This is a weird little game that tries to do something that no other game has done when it was first released as a pnp (tell a real story with a single deck of cards). I adored it. Then came the weird as all hell post Kickstarter wait for this game filled with stream of conscious updates that had to have been at least partially fuel by elicit substances. I'm pretty sure the creator was in over his head and didn't get enough money on the project to pay for everything. Sound familiar? Strangely though, I eventually did get my game (technically I'm still waiting on the last batch of promos but I'm not holding my breath). I guess this is part one of three or four, but I'm skeptical that I'll ever see anything more on Spell Saga. Too bad, at least I have Arkham Horror LCG to keep me warm at night.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1265896/go-then-there-are-o...
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6. Board Game: The Valkyrie Incident [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:7558]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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John at Small Box Games knows his two player card games. This is an obscure title that is obscure even for a SBG title. Too bad, because this is probably one of his best games too (behind the awesome Omen). This nifty little gem is VERY similar to another overlooked game I love, High Command. Think deck building mashed up with a two player dueling card game. The big draw back here is that the game is a bit tricky to teach and is difficult to find. I really hope that John decides to revisit this design some day and do something more.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1282300/valkyrie-incident-s...

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7. Board Game: Fallen [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:2147]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Keep an eye out for used copies of this one, its a real collector's item. This is yet another one shot Kickstarter game where the company wasn't able to maintain any momentum following a very well run campaign. The Kickstarter was a success and was much discussed due to the giant volume of exclusive content. The company decided to release 2 expansions and offered a direct pre-order instead of going back to Kickstarter. Something or things went really wrong with the company and the expansions saw considerable delay. I was lucky and got my expansions (along with all the exclusives) but there are tales of folks who've not gotten their orders. Its too bad because this is a really fun storytelling dueling game. Its great to play with kids because it gives them a neat little immersive choose-your-own-adventure experience. The expansions improved the narrative greatly by allowing the story cards to meld together more seamlessly. I hope others can figure out a way to build on what works in this game.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1314422/gather-round-childr...
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8. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:415]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Mike Fitzgerald is a national treasure and probably one of the best game designers in the world. I'm not just being hyperbolic. I think that if you were to critically evaluate his body of work you'd be amazed at just how well designed his games truly are. Baseball Highlights is about as close to a perfect 2 player game as they get.

Professional Baseball has its problems, and I think that this game is ignored by a lot of folks who are turned off by the theme. Too bad, because this is a game that is driven by an amazing design engine that has very little to do with baseball.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1337944/baseball-highlights...
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9. Board Game: Omen: A Reign of War [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:1042] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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This isn't a particularly well written review, but the game is stellar and worth checking out if you somehow haven't tried this one out. Omen is a CCG dueling game in a box. GORGEOUS looking game on the table too.


https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1314646/blood-guts-ancient-...
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10. Board Game: Lords of War: Templars versus Undead [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:5606] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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A nifty little dead game from a dead company. This review shows some improvement in my skills as a writer, but not much. I'm mostly posting this one because I do enjoy this game series. Just to fill you in a bit, Lords of War looks and feels a bit like Summoner Wars. Its a kickstarter game that went through 4 or 5 successful campaigns before the company was shut down through litigation with Blizzard who had a game of the same name. The game has 6 factions. 4 of the factions had 2 full expansions to fully complete them, and the last 2 factions never received their final expansion to fully flesh them out. Mechanically, LOW is a pretty simple abstract tile placement game that feels like it takes inspiration from both Summoner Wars and Neuroshima Hex. The art is bright and kinda cartoony surreal. LOW is also simple enough that its a very easy game to teach to kids and newbies. My son especially loves playing his favorite faction and he has become quite a challenging opponent.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1361300/lords-fun
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11. Board Game: World of Tanks: Rush [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:5754]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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I love a good Yakov Smirnoff reference.

Who hasn't seen this game growing mold in their local FLGS clearance bin?

Too bad, I enjoy this tight little deck building game quite a bit.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1373928/soviet-russia-deck-...
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12. Board Game: Demonslayer: Siege of Mt. Kunlun [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:11292]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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This is a terrible game, although it did give me an excuse to use the phrase "bikini clad lady monsters" in my review, so I guess that is worth something. Seriously though, don't touch this game. This is easily one of the worst deck building games ever made. It feels like a bootleg Thunderstone knock off with ZERO inspiration or effort put into making the game fun. There was at least one expansion that allegedly fixes things, but it has never made it to the US. Even if it did come State side, I've got Thunderstone or Arctic Scavengers to scratch pretty much the same itch.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1373934/your-kung-fu-no-goo...
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13. Board Game: Eminent Domain: Microcosm [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2204]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Its the most fun you'll have in an Eminent Domain spin-off game!

Seriously though, its a solid micro game that distills Concordia down into a 15 minute card game.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1376319/concordia-space-and...
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14. Board Game: Soulfall [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:5852]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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I'm pretty sure everyone has forgotten about this game by now. It isn't the best game ever from Small Box Games. It has a wonky scoring equation. It really needs to be a 4 player game only. Despite those things, I still stand behind Soulfall being a solid area control game and wish it would get another round of polish and the big box treatment. If a bigger game company got a hold of Soulfall, it could be developed into something really special I think. Like everything from SMGs though, its super pretty to look at on the table.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1382871/where-your-god-now-...
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15. Board Game: Warband: Against the Darkness [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4524]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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I have trouble getting this one to the table. I truly enjoy Warband, but there is almost always something else I feel like playing instead (mostly Hansa Teutonica or Concordia).

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1428914/if-martin-wallace-h...
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16. Board Game: Hostage Negotiator [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:900] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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I have played more games of Hostage Negotiator then any other solo game I own. Hostage Negotiator does a brilliant job of evoking feelings and emotions out a player while still offering them meaningful choices and a healthy dose of dice chucking. Hostage negotiator is just such an impressively clever design that I am truly in awe of it. This is easily the best solo game ever made to play in under 30 minutes and it is my go to game to take with me when I travel.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1428946/eldritch-horror-exp...
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17. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:415]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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This is such an awesome game that I wrote a review of the many expansions available. It doubles as a buying guide of sorts as well for those who are unsure what expansions they should get.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1448034/choose-your-own-exp...
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18. Board Game: Fleet Wharfside [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:2885]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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This is probably the shortest review I've written. Here is another game that nobody talks about. If you like Abyss, this feels like a streamlined version of Abyss. I like this better than Abyss for 2 players, but at higher player counts I prefer Abyss.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1461987/abyss-express-revie...
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19. Board Game: Xenon Profiteer [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1778]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Xenon Profiteer is a brave little game. It does some very different things with deck building AND it has a setting/theme right out of left field.

The best part about of this review is that I had the opportunity to discuss Darth Vader's ding-dong with T.C. Petty III. That's a thing that happened.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1501379/xenon-profiteer-lan...
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20. Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster [Average Rating:8.76 Overall Rank:32]
Scott Sexton
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It should be no surprise how I feel about KDM. Its an ameritrash magnum opus of cosmic horror. The problem with KDM is that it is a lifestyle game and demands a serious commitment in order to see the author's true vision. This is a heavy weight campaign that rewards those brave enough to gaze into the abyss. Don't be surprised when the abyss gouges out your eyes.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1590791/alone-dark-review-k...
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21. Board Game: Battle For Souls [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:2495]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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My review style has evolved a bit here and I'm actively trying to be interesting and make things less formulaic. Battle for Souls is a solid enough rummy style dueling game to boot!

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1597429/could-it-be-satan-r...
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22. Board Game: Zombicide: Black Plague [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:146] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
66539
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I think this review is actually a step backwards for me. I didn't feel particularly inspired and I think it shows in what is a pretty dry review. The game is far better then the quality of the review.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1599017/undead-again-review...
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23. Board Game: Salvation Road [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:4495]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
66539
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Here I am in this review trying to get back to a more narrative style in my review. Its sort of a hybrid between my current style and the more standard outlined review I have traditionally used.

Salvation Road is a game that gives me a bit of heart burn. I feel like it plays best as a solo game and I don't feel drawn to it at all as a co-op experience. The layout and art design work is excellent. I especially love the use of Polaroids and how the game board is spread out like the survivors' table as they plan their escape. All very immersive. What doesn't work for me is that the game lacks zest. It feels very much like a simple resource accumulation game with some resource management and press your luck tossed in as a side thought.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1599564/kiss-build-dream-re...
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24. Board Game: Princes of the Dragon Throne [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:8863]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
66539
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Lets all collectively offer Game Salute the bird for dooming this game to obscurity. Princes of the Dragon Throne marries two of my favorite game mechanisms. Deck Building and Area Control. I hope that some day this game sees a reprint with a different publisher. I'm not sure if the creators of Tyrants of the Underdark ever played Princes of the Dragon Throne, but Tyrants really does feel like it takes some of the cool ideas from Dragons and runs with them.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1601241/roof-roof-roof-fire...
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25. Board Game: Camp Grizzly [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:2347]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Camp Grizzly is every Friday the 13th movie ever made (and more) jammed into a dice chucking adventure game with a healthy mix of storytelling tossed in for good measure.

The art work (form the world's slowest artist) is phenomenal and captures the feeling you are watching a Pixar horror movie.

Your enjoyment of this game is VERY group dependent. If even just one person isn't having fun, it can quickly sink this game. Let the game's cards narrate the story and feel free to role play this a bit. The expansions too are pretty much a must to give you enough content to fully diversify the game's ability to generate a random story that feels good. The game even has nifty little semi-traitor and full on traitor features you can choose to customize with any given game.

Simply put, its a slasher flick in a box and it is a delight!

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1604152/ill-be-right-back-r...
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