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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51. Board Game: Secrets of the Lost Tomb [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:3157]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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If you ever get a chance to play a copy of the ORIGINAL Arkham Horror board game, it helps to have Richard Launius GM your game for you. The man brings the fun to the game and its a blast. Keep an eye out for him at conventions.

Secrets of the Lost Tomb would probably benefit greatly if you could play it with Bruce Campbell, Gilbert Gottfried, the reanimated corpse of Rodney Dangerfield, or one of the robots from MST3k. Perhaps not Gypsy, nobody would want to play a game with Gypsy.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/26240227
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52. Board Game: Star Wars: Destiny [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:366] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
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Don't I play enough lifestyle games? Yes I do, but at least this is one that I can play with my kids. The kiddos LOVE Destiny in a way that is probably unhealthy and is setting them up to become CCG junkies in the future. I'm a terrible parent.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/26852564

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53. Board Game: Eschaton [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:4635]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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So yeah, back in the 1980's everybody's mom was freaking out about how games would turn you into a devil worshiper. Well, Eschaton finally delivers on this promise some 30 years later.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/26926288
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54. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.41 Overall Rank:16]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Late at night the design team for The 7th Continent sneaks into my bed room so they can steal away my dreams. There is no other way to explain how they could have made a game that feels so precisely in tune with my tastes.

That's how games are made, right?

With just a few months to go in 2017, this is my game of the year.


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/26988605
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55. Board Game: Folklore: The Affliction [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:1173]
Scott Sexton
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I enjoy The Witcher board game FFG released a few years back, but unfortunately, it doesn't FEEL like a Witcher game despite its gorgeous veneer.

Folklore FEELS like The Witcher brought to life on the table top.

Mechanically, Folklore plays out like a weird chimera mash-up between Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness 2.0 and a Fighting Fantasy book. You would think that would mean the game is a clunky Frankenstein patch-work mess. Surprisingly though, Folklore manages to be a game that pivots frequently and smoothly from navigating an "overworld map" to simple text and dice based combat, to lengthy story scenes filled with dice based tests and choose your own adventure style decisions, to an isometric square grid exploration and minis based combat. That is a lot of variety, and it could have been a complete disaster, but somehow isn't. It reminds me a lot of the classic SNES game Act Raiser, which was a weird hybrid action/civ building/RPG game. Those are genres of game that shouldn't mix well, but somehow did into what is still an incredibly unique game.

Fans of Ameritrash and story telling in games will find a lot to love in Folklore! If you enjoy games like Fallout (1 & 2), The Witcher (1-3), Final Fantasy 1 through 10, and old school Japanese RPGs, Folklore is definitely worth taking a look at.

This isn't quite my game of the year, but it is definitely going to make my favorites list for 2017.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27268031
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56. Board Game: Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:541] [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
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Nexus Ops was a pretty revolutionary design for its time because it took dudes on a map and area control types of games and made it so that you didn't need to win battles or control the most territory in order to win the game. Running the long con is what wins you the game.

Shadespire takes the minis skirmish game and makes it so that the game is about more then killing your enemies.

There is a pacing problem with many minis skirmish games. Most start off with a frantic blast of action and casualties (fun) but eventually things wind down to the last few figures struggling to take one another out (tedious). Its a problem I've had since I first played Battlemasters and has continued all the way to modern skirmish games like X-wing.

Shadespire fixes this issue by adopting Nexus Ops' brilliant objective system. Yeah, killing enemies is a good way to score points, but the game is ultimately won by scoring objectives. Complete routes are difficult to pull off, and the fixed 3 round structure makes for a compelling tension right up until the final act. Its a minis skirmish game that really isn't about killing. Nice!


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27485761

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57. Board Game: Legacy of Dragonholt [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:993] [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:446]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Probably the best designed game book style adventure game to date.


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27618039
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58. Board Game: Path of Light and Shadow [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:1434]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Path does pvp combat better than any other deck building game, bar none! Its a meaty if not slightly claustrophobic game that packs a 3 hour epic into a 60 to 90 minute box.


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27752525
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59. Board Game: Escape the Dark Castle [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:1378]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Yeah, I screwed up my review calling this game "Escape From the Dark Castle" instead of its actual name "Escape the Dark Castle".

Its still an awkward name.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28005394
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60. Board Game: Dinosaur Island [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:116] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Dinosaur Island has been a smash hit for my kids, which is saying something considering how much the two of them like to argue about everything of late. As a game, Dinosaur Island delivers on the promise of being the board game equivalent of a pop corn monster flick. Its good, but not great. Sadly, that means it lacks any sense of narrative or mechanical density that I crave in a fancy euro. That isn't to say I wanted Dinosaur Island to be a heavier game, quite the contrary, I think the weight is spot on. Dinosaur Island simply lacks that something special that I get from truly classic mid-weight euros. Dinosaur Island WANTS to be Viticulture with 10 ton predators, but it never really materializes. Here's hoping the expansions help.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28207620
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61. Board Game: Lords of Hellas [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:210]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
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Lords of Hellas is Clash of the Titans the board game with a dash of ancient aliens tossed in for good measure. That sounds terrible, and it is. Its saying something when one must conclude that a Harry Hamlin movie does a better job of staying true to the source material then a board game, but oh well.

While the details are eye-rollingly absurd, the plot beats of Lords of Hellas are spot on and surprisingly true to the source material. You have your classic Greek Heroes running around doing classic Greek Hero stuff (minus all the sexy bits) while you have a massive war raging in the back ground.

I have no idea why the publisher felt that the sci-fi elements were necessary, perhaps to differentiate this project from Monolith's Mythic Battles: Pantheon, but if you can get over the fact that Lords of Hellas has a bunch of cyborgs and no gratuitous shots of Harry Hamlin's posterior, I think you'll be quite pleased with what Lords of Hellas brings to the table.


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28467560
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62. Board Game: Thunderstone Quest [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:338] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
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There are things about Thunderstone Quest that seriously piss me off because the rest of the game is an absolute masterpiece of deck building design work. Specifically, I find the guild favors to be lazy and completely pointless additions. I hope AEG comes up with something better as a promo or in the next expansion.

I ALSO think the lack of epilogues for each of the scenario's is kind of insulting too. AEG practically invented the idea of integrating rich and cohesive plots into CCGs which makes the lack of a proper ending to any of the stories baffling. Its the literary equivalent of blue balls and I despise it. Then again, George R.R. Martin has made a career of such a thing so what do I know?

Everything else about TQ though is absolutely amazing. Game turns FEEL GOOD! There is a very tangible sense of accomplishment and progression throughout the game. TQ is the kind of game that will put a smile on your face even when your 12 year old son kicks you in the rear.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28591369
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63. Board Game: Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:2131] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
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You are probably better off spending your money on Hoplomachus then on the junk Russell Crowe auctioned off recently (to pay for his divorce). But I'm not sure that says much. Like Russell Crowe, Hoplomachus gives you a performance that feels competent, but ultimately long in the tooth and a bit hollow. At least Hoplomachus won't sucker punch you in the back of the head or share lewd selfies with your wife.

Hoplomachus is probably a better game then my review would have you believe, but sadly, its a just a good game in a sea of all-star titles. Try it (or watch a video) before you buy it.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/29396782
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64. Board Game: Too Many Bones [Average Rating:8.50 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Get your pitchforks and torches ready.

Too Many Bones does almost everything Gloomhaven does, better.

Its an embarrassment of clever design ideas and is worthy of all the praise Gloomhaven received and then some. Too Many Bones is the game you would get if Eric Lang had designed Gloomhaven. Its good. Damn good.

Oh yeah, and the character art is an abomination unto the eyes.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/29568644
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65. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000: Heroes of Black Reach [Average Rating:8.44 Overall Rank:4053] [Average Rating:8.44 Unranked]
Scott Sexton
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I'll be the first to admit that this isn't my best review, or even close. Most of it is spent complaining about how a great game is marred by a crappy rule book and steep learning curve.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30708114
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66. Board Game: Fleet: The Dice Game [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:1489]
Scott Sexton
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Fish are jerks and they deserve everything they've got comin' to them.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30761404
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67. Board Game: Obsession [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:1047]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Obsession plays it straight. Completely straight. Not ironic in the slightest. Seriously.


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30819016
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68. Board Game: Blitz Bowl [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:2547]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Blitz Bowl is a game about tactical positioning and brutal hand to hand combat set in a world that is a not so subtle dig at America's violent and consumer driven culture (I watched Robocop, I get it already.).


https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30819504
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69. Board Game: Coma Ward [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:7712]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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The best thing about Coma Ward is that it gave me an excuse to make a Culture Club reference. Who doesn't dig English New Wave? Bad people, that's who. Fun fact, per Boy George, Karma Chameleon is a song about having the courage to be true to your self and saying what you really believe in. I wanted Coma Ward to be Silent Hill the board game. I wanted to love this game. I really, really, really did ...

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30995449
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70. Board Game: Hand of Fate: Ordeals [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:2964]
Scott Sexton
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Silver Lake
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Hand of Fate, as a physical object, is a work of art. Its simply stunning table presence and layout design are captivating. It evokes the game's setting and mood unlike any other game I've played before. Ian O'Toole puts on a master class in board game visual presentation. Hey other board game artists, did you notice how none of the card backs say the game's name? Take note folks, this is how its done.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30999275
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71. Board Game: HATE [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:2198]
Scott Sexton
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Hate seems to be a design by committee project where Eric Lang only served as a senior producer. You could have fooled me because from start to finish, Hate feels, almost absurdly so, like a quintessential Eric Lang design. Clever action point system, dice chucking that never gives bad feels, variable player powers, player empowerment, combo-tastic combos, rewards for doing cool stuff, it’s all there.

My only strikes against Hate are a lacking but functional rule book, and its soulless take on the source material.

Well, you can check out the version of this review that BGG mods haven’t rejected here:

https://brawlingbrothers.com/hate-board-game-review/

If you enjoy Eric Lang’s blockbuster titles or Warhammer Underworlds style skirmish games, this is probably your new obsession.
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72. Board Game: Sorcerer [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:2155]
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
66539
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The makers of Sorcerer obviously take issue with Charles Baudelaire's famous line:

"One of the artifices of Satan is, to induce men to believe that he does not exist: another, perhaps equally fatal, is to make them fancy that he is obliged to stand quietly by, and not to meddle with them, if they get into true silence."

Maybe they just disagree with that line in The Usual Suspects.

Just looking at the cover of Sorcerer's box you should have a pretty good idea of what you are in for. Off brand satanic magic, all the time, and there is nothing subtle going on here. Its as if the art team got together and asked themselves, "how evil looking can we make this game without directly referencing the Judaeo-Christian devil?" I made the mistake playing this game for the first time with my 13 year old daughter in the dinning room at a Hyvee Supermarket in town. With the looks I got, you'd have thought we were actually conducting a black mass while chowing down on Lo Mein and General Tso's. Seriously people, everybody knows Lucifer prefers Crab Rangoon.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/31936622
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73. Board Game: Run Fight or Die: Reloaded [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:5265]
Scott Sexton
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Reloaded isn't going to be anyone's "favorite game" in their collection, but its a great game to haul to game day/night. Its easy to teach. It plays fast. It offers interesting enough decisions. Most important of all though, its a fun game to play when you want to "shoot the sh*t" with friends. Kudos to the team at Grey Fox Games for improving a game that was already worthy of your attention.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/32712040
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