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Carmen Norris
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When I first saw this game I didn’t know what to think. It has a very unusual theme. There are a lot of different colored dice and I was afraid I was going to be playing something similar to Yahtzee. But when someone sends us a prototype, we must tell them what we think… and Greyelephant enticed me by comparing it to a dice-building game like Quarriors. so let’s dig in:


Forge by Clever Mojo Games

2-5 players in roughly 30 minutes

The goal of this game is to be the first blacksmith to craft 4 (or 5 in a 2 player game) items for the waiting customers, represented by craft cards.



The game consists of different colored dice, craft cards, black market cards, gather cards, and player vaults (also cards at this point). We also have two wooden bits that must be used for something. Maybe the instructions can give us an idea:

Okay, so that explains the dice. Now for the Gather Cards. These are used to acquire dice and special abilities. When you choose a gather card you must choose whether to use the action on the top or on the bottom of the card. The squares represent the dice you must assign for the round or sacrifice permanently (as demonstrated by the red X) in order to claim the reward.



So let’s set the table up for a three player game and see how this works:


A round conists of three phases: Gathering, Crafitng, and Clean up.

In the gathering phase I can gather a card from those on display, use the black market card to trade for dice or advantages, or end my turn by passing which gives me one black dice. On my turn I will choose a gather card, picking either the top or the bottom and assigning the appropriate dice to the task. Note that the dice I am using are not in my vault card. If the chosen action yields new dice then I will put them into my vault for use in the next round. Then I will replace that card with the top of the gather card deck and my opponents will have a chance to choose cards.

In this round I decide to take these two gather cards (and I should have placed the dice gained into my vault) and then I pass so that I will have dice left to roll for the Shield card.



In the crafting phase I roll my available dice to see if I can match or exceed the numbers on the craft cards. I can manipulate my dice by using the cards or chips that I acquired during the gathering phase. If I can allocate the appropriate color and value die to every square on the card then I have completed the job! Other players now have a chance to exceed the numbers that I rolled and snatch my customer. if they do not exceed, then I claim the card at the end of the crafing phase.

In the clean up phase I put my completed job cards under my vault card and return the dice I used to craft to my vault card. Then I move to the gather cards and return the dice either to my vault or the dice stack if they were placed on a red X.

Gather cards are collected from all players, shuffled and made ready for the next round. The next round begins and I remove my dice from my vault in order to use them throughout the round. Play continues until someone wins by crafting 4 (or 5) items.

My thoughts:

Wow, that looks pretty boring. Blacksmiths? Dice? Well, I ended up getting addicted and playing this countless numbers of times. Now you and I may have different tastes. I enjoy relaxing games. I am full of enough adrenaline from teaching kids all day that I don’t need more coming from gaming. I don’t know how to relate this to you but it is one of those games that I just find relaxing.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this game. In the end I would not compare it to Quarriors at all, but you are building a supply of dice. You have to manipulate trades and purchases to get your dice pool to where you need it and as you can see, on one round you might need to trade your black dice to get a red, and then in the next round a craft card requires a lot of black dice. (Look at the picture of the gather cards and you might already see an easy way to do this. When we played the person who figured out and used this strategy almost always wins. Broken? We will see. Maybe the developer will find a way to fix this some.) You also have to make sure to acquire gather cards that are going to help you get the dice roll you need. You have to pay attention to what the other players are doing because they could grab the card before you or snatch your customer by rolling higher.

We have 6 friends that come over on a regular basis and they all said that they enjoyed it and would like to play again. We have played it so much that the cards are looking a little worn (well it is just the prototype).

I love it. I love it so much in fact, that this game is the one that made me start doing reviews.

I am looking forward to seeing what Clever Mojo Games improves with the final version, and I wouldn't mind a one player variant. If you want to a game to play with your partner or while enjoying time with a group of friends, I recommend you add this to your collection.

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Thanks for the great review. I am so happy that Forge pushed you over the edge to become a reviewer!!

So, about your comment...
Quote:
(Look at the picture of the gather cards and you might already see an easy way to do this. When we played the person who figured out and used this strategy almost always wins. Broken? We will see. Maybe the developer will find a way to fix this some.)

...can you give me a little more detail on what you thought might be broken? Since the game is still in development, we might be able to make some adjustment. Or, maybe there's a rule that needs to be clarified. In any event, getting feedback from players like you will help us make the game better for everyone else.
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Carmen Norris
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Thank you.

Well, let's say someone gets the mill card on almost every round. Now let's say they also happen to get the jeweler. They have just gained a ton (one red, one green and two black if I am not mistaken) of dice without sacrificing a thing. They start to dominate the game big-time. It is especially noticeable in a two player game because the luck of the draw determines who is able to do this.



I think it might be okay with more people, though I must admit that one time that we played with 4 people and the 15 year old who consistently went for the mill card won by a landslide.

If the person who gets the mill doesn't get the jeweler card they can still make up for it by using the bazaar card, still coming out ahead in the number of dice and not sacrificing anything. Even the black market only requires 3 dice to get a red one.

I can't imagine the rules needed clarification. Every time I thought I had a question I found the answer in the rule book. Kudos!

The reason that I say it could be broken is that when one card is more powerful than any of the others, it seems to become a problem. Would you agree? I am hoping you come up with something to rectify this.


By the way, love this:

"That with it thou may blow thine enemy to tiny bits."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOrgLj9lOwk
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Tim Norris
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With just the two of us, I exploited the Jewler/Mill combo with vigor! It's extremely powerful. Now when I was playing with 3 others, it was much harder to get this combo to work. Mainly you are only going to get 2 cards max on your turn with that many people.

Even with the Jewler card not always being available, I would always use the Mill. Then just sacrifice 3 dice on the black market to gain another red die.

 
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Captain Ameritrash
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Femelephant wrote:

By the way, love this:


Sure, but the pips really should be
125
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Ray Smith
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Sounds very intriguing.
I am not a fan of Quarriors, and was hoping for an upgrade of a similar concept (with better art) would come along. Hopefully FORGE will be that game.

If the cards/final art proves to be "stunning", I'm on board all the way!
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Tim Norris
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Don't miss out on the InD20group board game giveaway. We are giving a copy of Empires of the Void away to one lucky entry. Ends in 5 more days!

http://www.ind20group.com/2012/06/27/ind20-group-ascending-e...
 
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Carmen Norris
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TrashGameLover wrote:
Femelephant wrote:

By the way, love this:


Sure, but the pips really should be
125




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Tim Norris
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Lavardi wrote:
TrashGameLover wrote:
Femelephant wrote:

By the way, love this:


Sure, but the pips really should be
125


Win!!! This is quoted fr truth!


The awesome part is that we all totally get it.


Remember he did it again when approaching the bridge where you had to answer the 5, no 3 questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7iXw9zZrLo

how do you make the video show up on the thread instead of just a link?
 
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Femelephant wrote:
Thank you.

Well, let's say someone gets the mill card on almost every round. Now let's say they also happen to get the jeweler. They have just gained a ton (one red, one green and two black if I am not mistaken) of dice without sacrificing a thing. They start to dominate the game big-time. It is especially noticeable in a two player game because the luck of the draw determines who is able to do this.



I think it might be okay with more people, though I must admit that one time that we played with 4 people and the 15 year old who consistently went for the mill card won by a landslide.

If the person who gets the mill doesn't get the jeweler card they can still make up for it by using the bazaar card, still coming out ahead in the number of dice and not sacrificing anything. Even the black market only requires 3 dice to get a red one.

I can't imagine the rules needed clarification. Every time I thought I had a question I found the answer in the rule book. Kudos!

The reason that I say it could be broken is that when one card is more powerful than any of the others, it seems to become a problem. Would you agree? I am hoping you come up with something to rectify this.


By the way, love this:

"That with it thou may blow thine enemy to tiny bits."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOrgLj9lOwk

Nick, the designer of Forge, as been working on the Mill. He, too, has thought it unbalanced for quite a while. The newest version has the same upper area but the lower area is now lose one Gem die and use three Any dice for the same three-wood two-metal reward. He seems happier with the balance now. After this weekend's play testing we'll be updating the GameCrafter version to reflect that change and a few other tweaks.

One of those tweaks is that Nick has added five new Gather card. At the start of the game you take the North and South Mine and the East and West Forest, and the Bazar, then you randomly select six of the remaining gather cards (Alchemist, Astrologer, Caravan, Carpenter, Cemetery, Dragon Lair, Jeweler, Mill, Peddler, Tavern, and University, ) to bring your gather deck up to the eleven cards needed for the game. Every game will have a different selection of gather cards so you'll use the first round discovering what's available and subsequent rounds fine-tuning your strategy to use those gather cards.

What do all those new gather cards do? You're going to have to wait until Nick gives me clearance to release the info
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TrashGameLover wrote:
Femelephant wrote:

By the way, love this:


Sure, but the pips really should be
125

Why didn't we see that, ourselves? I'll suggest this STRONGLY to Nick, the designer.
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Carmen Norris
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CleverMojo wrote:
TrashGameLover wrote:
Femelephant wrote:

By the way, love this:


Sure, but the pips really should be
125

Why didn't we see that, ourselves? I'll suggest this STRONGLY to Nick, the designer.
That would be great. Haha. Maybe you just needed the card and the video together. Great call Trashgamelover!
CleverMojo wrote:
Nick, the designer of Forge, as been working on the Mill. He, too, has thought it unbalanced for quite a while. The newest version has the same upper area but the lower area is now lose one Gem die and use three Any dice for the same three-wood two-metal reward. He seems happier with the balance now. After this weekend's play testing we'll be updating the GameCrafter version to reflect that change and a few other tweaks.

One of those tweaks is that Nick has added five new Gather card. At the start of the game you take the North and South Mine and the East and West Forest, and the Bazar, then you randomly select six of the remaining gather cards (Alchemist, Astrologer, Caravan, Carpenter, Cemetery, Dragon Lair, Jeweler, Mill, Peddler, Tavern, and University, ) to bring your gather deck up to the eleven cards needed for the game. Every game will have a different selection of gather cards so you'll use the first round discovering what's available and subsequent rounds fine-tuning your strategy to use those gather cards.

What do all those new gather cards do? You're going to have to wait until Nick gives me clearance to release the info
Thanks for letting us know. We'll try playing with that change to the Mill card. More gather cards sounds like a welcome addition.
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Ryan Mayes
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Thanks for a great review. This has really got me pumped for this game. I can't wait to see how development progresses.

Has Clever Mojo announced if they will Kickstart Forge? I'm ready to make my pledge!
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Nick Sibicky

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Oh! 1-2....5! Of course! GREAT IDEA! How did I miss this? It will be changed in all future versions.

Thank you, Femelephant, for the wonderful review! As David noted, we've known about the Mill being overpowered for a long while and should have been changed much earlier. The new version looks like this:

I know adding a 3 extra dice cost may not seem like a lot to balance it, but remember that across your first two turns you could use 4 dice to gain 2 wood from each of the Forests (or alternatively, use the Mill's upper ability + a Mine) and on the next turn use an additional 4 dice to gain another wood from a Forest and 2 metal from a Mine. So in total this would net 3 wood and 2 metal by spending 8 dice across two rounds. Using Bazaar to spend 5 to get a gem on the first round, and then using the Mill on the second round by spending an extra 3 will net you the same 3 Wood and 2 Metal by spending 8 dice; so this is very similar.

I just started to see some of the previews of the artwork for Forge this past week and it is looking great! As David mentioned we are introducing some new cards/mechanics into Forge as well so that each game played has a very different experience and must employ different strategies than the last.

Quite honestly, it is all very exciting and as good as the game was when you received your test version, it is even better now. I hope that you are looking forward to it as much as I am!

Thanks for playing, and thanks again for the review. We really appreciate it!

Nick Sibicky
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Craig.
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Looks interesting. Kind of reminds me of Airships.
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Pat Johnston
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Is there any new info on this game? I cna't believe this is the only post so far! Great review BTW?..
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hawkeyept wrote:
Is there any new info on this game? I cna't believe this is the only post so far! Great review BTW?..

Sorry, I've been so busy on the new job that I haven't been on BGG in a month, it seems. No, nothing new. Still development and play testing.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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rdsmith wrote:
I am not a fan of Quarriors, and was hoping for an upgrade of a similar concept (with better art) would come along. Hopefully FORGE will be that game.

My one play of Quarriors! didn't impress me, mostly because it took waaaay....tooooooo...long (2 hours). I also found the dice hard to read, the buys mostly obvious (the multiple buys variant would help), and the attacks somewhat annoying. So for me, the bar was set pretty low.

I have now played Forge five times, and I certainly like it much better than Quarriors. Aside from the general "dice-building" idea, it's not really much like Quarriors. Initially I wasn't sure how much I liked Forge, but has definitely grown on me. There is a lot of replayability with only a subset of cards used each game. Each session has quite a different feel.

There is quite a bit of player interaction, although a lot of it is subtle. You can steal during the crafting phase, but that's not all that common. It's more important to keep a close eye on what your opponents are doing, to decide what dice to get, and whether to focus on gathering or crafting this round. There are a lot of short-term vs. long-term trade-offs, since each round each die can (generally) only be used to gather OR to craft.
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