All Game Reviews

Sentient Board Game Review (Renegade Game Studios)

Sentient is one of those games that can be nearly impossible for me to get other people to play. A mathematics-fueled strategy game with strong aesthetics, Sentient looks a good deal more complex than it is, prompting many players to quit before they begin. Like many strategy games, Sentient is simple in terms of rules, and more complex in terms of strategy (though not by a lot).

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Fantahzee: Hordes & Heroes Board Game Review (AEG)

It seems as though every time I complain about a well-known, popular game, I find myself defending a lesser known game that has the very same complaints. That's merely an observation -- I'm certainly not going to stop. The first step, after all, is self-awareness. Fantahzee is a dice-driven game with an excruciatingly twee name, in which players compete to create the best band of heroes. Through a combination of dice rolling and card drawing, players defeat enemies and rack up victory points.

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Exploding Kittens Card Game Review (Exploding Kittens)

At this point, I'm sure nearly everyone who has wanted to play Exploding Kittens has played Exploding Kittens. I played the game initially when it first came out on Kickstarter and wasn't impressed -- but, since then, it's been pulled out at nearly every game-related party I've attended. Exploding Kittens ushered in a swath of similar card games, as comic book artists realized that really, all you need to make a deck-based game is some art and a Kickstarter. So, though I'm technically reviewing Exploding Kittens, in reality I'm reviewing this entire genre of games.

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Thanos Rising Board Game Review (USAopoly)

Thanos Rising is the most okayish game that I've ever been angry about. A cooperative game for up to four players, Thanos Rising gives players the chance to build a team out of the heroes that they know and love -- all while fighting back tide after tide of villains. As players progress, Thanos assembles his gauntlet stone by stone... and if he manages to put it together, the players (and, well, the universe) lose. It's a compelling theme for a game and there's a decent game somewhere underneath, but a litany of strange design and component decisions hobble it.

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The Witcher Adventure Game Board Game Review (Fantasy Flight Games)

The Witcher has long been one of my favorite RPGs, but I've never gotten around to playing the board game -- or even the physical version of Gwent. Not only do I have an inherent hesitation when it comes to themed games (Game of Thrones Catan, anyone?) but there's been a long-standing animosity between the writer of the book series and the game developer. The writer has been outspoken about a feeling that the video game entirely eclipsed his work, even stealing fans from his portion of the franchise.

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Xenoshyft Onslaught Board Game Review (CMON)

Xenoshyft is a rare game: every time I play it, I like it both more and less. For a cooperative game, it also counter-intuitively becomes more difficult the more players you add. In Xenoshyft Onslaught, you fight waves after waves of enemy in a tower defense format. Once the base explodes, you die. If you can last a set amount of rounds, you win. All of it is really quite simple, except where it falters is its strangely unintuitive battle system.

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Healthy Heart Hospital Board Game Review (Victory Point Games)

I can neither convey nor justify the sheer joy we felt when we picked up Healthy Heart Hospital. To be precise, two of us felt this; the rest of our group approached with a spectrum ranging from casual interest to abject hatred. I can't defend our excitement: in mechanics, it's a perfectly mediocre family-style board game situated around a Grey's Anatomy-inspired hospital. In Healthy Heart Hospital, a cooperative game, your goal is to heal as many patients as possible, building prestige and (hopefully) not killing too many of them.

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Roll Player: Monsters & Minions Board Game Review (Thunderworks Games)

Roll Player is the game-before-the-game. In Roll Player, you competitively create an RPG character. Once the characters are created, the game is over and everything is scored. Players need to meet certain metrics as far as stats and alignments, and they can gain traits and skills throughout. Roll Player already has a lot going on, and now the Monsters & Minions expansion adds something further. In Monsters & Minions, players also take turns fighting monsters and ultimately fight the boss.

7

The Witch is Dead RPG Review

After a successful run at "Honey Heist," we decided to do another similar (and even more popular) RP system from the same author: The Witch is Dead. In the Witch is Dead, roleplayers take on the role of magical animals. After the murder of their master, they are tasked with finding the eyes of her killer (the Witch Hunter) and bringing them back to her, to concoct a spell and make it so that the witch will live again. The Witch is Dead is an interesting system, because by all means, players report either having a horrible time with it or a great time with it.

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Parfum Board Game Review (Asmodee)

If you've played Fresco, you've already played a version of Parfum -- and that isn't an indictment. Parfum is a more streamlined version of Fresco, with a few little mechanics that work very well together. The end result is a relaxing game that is completely unobjectionable. In Parfum, you need to brew up some potions (OK, perfumes -- but we couldn't stop calling them potions) to satisfy your clientele. Your clientele being, of course, wealthy women who are all identically dressed (this isn't one of those socially aware games, and that's OK).

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Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game (Renegade Studios)

We pulled Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game out when it was first released, but everyone promptly lost interest. What we expected would be a shallow-but-fun game looked to be far more complex than anticipated. Like many games, Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game works best with someone teaching it to you. There are a few strange things about the game that can leave both casual and experienced players baffled. It's a deck builder, but as though rendered by someone who had never developed a deck builder.

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Kill Doctor Lucky Board Game Review (Cheap Ass Games)

Now released by Paizo Publishing, Kill Doctor Lucky bills itself as "the family board game of murder in the dark." In that respect, it's absolutely accurate: a darker version of Clue, Kill Doctor Lucky is a shallow, easy game with few mechanics. Surprisingly, there is more going on beneath the surface than it appears; if you wanted to play it multiple times, you might actually find yourself developing a strategy.

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