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Subject: Keep Calm and Roll Dice rss

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SGT Dave
United States
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This is a short, somewhat compact game, with terrific art and uninspired mechanics. This can be said of most Japanese games. The winner is determined almost entirely by the roll of a D6; so if luck-driven, roll-n-move games are not your cup of tea, stay far away from KHRONOS HUNTER.

In Japan, paper and space is at a premium, so games need to do what they can with a minimum of components. KH is a large game by these standards, in the sense that it has a board -- not a big board, or a pretty board, but a board nonetheless. The board looks more like a flowchart than a gameboard. This ideal for clarity, but they included some busy, background artwork that does nothing to add to the theme. So we have some pretty color, that does little for the feel of the game, and ultimately muddles the functionality of the board. I would have recommended finding a way to integrate the artwork better to enhance the needed graphics, rather than covering them up.

Mana tokens are generic cardboard coins. Player tokens are just wooden meeples and cardboard squares with no art. This is fine for a Euro game, but this is a straight dice thrower, so it may be a bummer for the target audience.

The cards are the best components: high quality with amazing art. My daughter loves this game exclusively because of the art. There are three sets of cards:

Characters: These are your player characters in a sense. You will choose one at the start, and earn more as you defeat Bosses. They possess attack values that increase as you level-up, and many have special abilities.
Bosses: There are seven Boss cards, increasing in difficulty. They have defense values you must exceed to defeat. They contain rewards if you beat them, and costs if you fail.
Casts: These cards represent armies you have sucked in from various dimensions. They contain attack values. Attack values give you mana when you land on your own card, and force your opponents to pay you when they land on the same. In other words, attack is your rent in Monopoly. Placing armies of matching colors next to each other increases the attack value regardless of who the owner is. You can also trade the position of your Cast cards with other players.

The gameplay is rolling dice and playing cards. Roll to move, follow the space directions, perform one action. If you land on a blank space, you can place a Cast card there. Some Cast cards are free, some cost mana. If you land on your own Cast card, get the attack value in income. If you land on someone else's card, you pay the attack value, or you can pay them double to take over ownership of the card. You can also use your action to level up your character, sometimes costing mana, sometimes free.

If you land on a boss (or you can always stop on a boss space if your roll exceeds it), you compare you character attack value to the boss' defense. To increase your attack value, you can sacrifice your cast cards on the board, adding their value to your own. If you win, you get mana and an additional character card. If you lose, you pay mana to the boss, making him more valuable for whoever defeats him.

There are also Chance spaces. Land there, roll the die, get rewards (only the "4" is bad).

There is a start space. You will find yourself calling it "Go". When you pass it you get 10 man and a Cast card. Pass Go, I mean Start, with 100 Mana, you win.

There are two tactics, place as many Cast cards down as fast as you can to earn income. Or level-up characters to go after the Bosses and get income that way. Of course, if you don't roll to land on the spaces you need, it doesn't matter what your tactics are. There is no long-game strategy here; the game usually ends after two or three times around the very small board.

In conclusion, if you must have any control in your game, please do not play Khronos Hunter. This is a 30-minute roll-n-move, with some nifty artwork, and so-so tokens. That said, I didn't mind it. First of all, I un-apologetically like Monopoly. Second, this game is short. There are times when I just don't want to think for 30 minutes, and there are worst things you can do during that time. That doesn't sound like a very stellar endorsement, and it isn't. It's OK.

However, if you ask my kids, they love it. My teenage daughter loved the art. My teenage son likes the fact that he has just as much chance to win as anyone else. My 8 year old son loves to pick his character and throw dice (Monopoly is his favorite game, by the way). Try it if you like: Monopoly, Sword & Skull, Scepter (obscure Japanese game), Magical Athlete.

I give the game 6 (out of 10), and that's from a dyed-in-the-wool Ameritrash, Monopoly guy.
Kids give this game a 9 (out of 10).
And for serious Wargamers or Eurogamers, I give this a 0 (out of 10).
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