Reviews - Competitive Games

Reef Board Game Review (Plan B Games)

A game about building a coral reef is a whimsical repast that can almost make you forget that we're actively destroying our actual coral reefs. Reef is a beautiful, tactile abstract strategy game in which points are scored almost like in Bunny Kingdom -- exponentially and randomly. There's a learning curve in Reef that's almost incidental: once the game clicks for you, you'll see yourself suddenly intuiting the ways to best play the game.


Deja Vu Fragments of Memory Board Game Review (Asteria)

Help the nameless girl discover her true identity in Deja Vu: Fragments of Memory, a set collection, abstract strategy board game played with up to four players. Deja Vu is a beautiful game with a lot going on; in fact, it's a game of sharp contrasts. If you enjoy games like Splendor, you'll probably like Deja Vu -- but be warned it's a little more in-depth than traditional set collection games, and it can be just about as complex as you want to make it.


Tiny Epic Zombies Board Game Review (Gamelyn Games)

A simple, slick zombie game that fits in a small box, Tiny Epic Zombie is everything both good and bad about Tiny Epic games. As a cooperative experience, Tiny Epic Zombie provided an interesting level of challenge that ramped up throughout the game -- and it's a game that's surprisingly replayable. With competitive modes and solo modes, it has variation enough fo any group. Unfortunately, the growth of the series still seems to be fighting its format a little. 


Junk Orbit Board Game Review (Renegade Game Studios)

A clever game in a stupid box, Junk Orbit puts players in the role of intersteller trash men, trying to complete their deliveries while also managing their fuel. To navigate, you'll need to jettison both trash and goods, attempting to transport items from one area to another. Meanwhile, everyone else will be dropping their junk and hitting you with their junk -- as one does. With the right strategy and fuel management, you can be the most successful delivery service ni sace.


Human Era Board Game Review (Lay Waste Games)

Humans, cyborgs, and machines all vie for control over the universe in this time-travel social deduction game. In Human Era, players take turns meddling with time and space. Humans want to restore the original timeline (which they destroyed). Machines want to sabotage them. And cyborgs, well, cyborgs just want to be on the winning side. The Human Era is an attractive mix of abstract strategy and social deduction that nevertheless perplexed us, for reasons that we'll unfold below.


Red Dragon Inn Board Game Review (Slugfest Games)

You've already explored the dungeons, killed the big bad, and probably burned down a tavern or two. Now it's time to spend the loot. Red Dragon Inn is a game about what happens after the adventure is over. Players drink, gamble, cheat, and attack each other all with the goal of being the last one standing. Once your health goes down enough and your drunkenness goes up enough, you're out of the game for good. Red Dragon Inn is a particularly good introductory game -- even if it is mostly random.


Temporal Odyssey Card Game Review (CGC Games)

Temporal Odyssey is a drafting card game with a twist: you're drafting from the pastpresent, and future. Two to four players will select a character and battle it out, dealing damage to each other, healing, and building up their roster. All the while, they'll be recruiting from different time lines with the ultimate goal of destroying each other -- you know, for reasons Temporal Odyssey plays in less than 30 minutes once players have learned the game, and it has a fair bit of replay value.


Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt Skullzfyre Card Game Review (Cryptozoic Entertainment)

In the running for the longest game name ever, Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt Skullzfyre is a set collection spell-casting battle royale card game played in multiple rounds. With a quirky art style ripped from an Adult Swim special, Epic Spell Wars is a casual, unpredictable game that really doesn't have a lot of strategy to it. Damage comes fast and hard, and there are a number of interesting and unique spell combinations with which to battle your foes.


Sushi Go Party Card Game Review (Gamewright)

Sushi Go is a game about attempting to eat food that is far too adorable to eat. A simple party game that plays a large number of people, Sushi Go is often whipped out at birthday parties and other casual gatherings. It's a good example of how unobjectionable-yet-memorable art can make a game. Sushi Go is a pick-and-pass set collection game, in which players try to make up specific sets of sushi in order to score points. The only decision players usually need to make is which card to keep.