All Game Reviews

Visitor in Blackwood Grove Board Game Review (Mary Flanagan)

It's always difficult to review a game that you wish had been better. In Visitor in Blackwood Grove, a mysterious Visitor attempts to guide a Kid through their forcefield, while the Agents surrounding them attempt to intervene. To protect herself, the Visitor has created a forcefield that has certain rules. The Visitor and the Kid must build trust, all while the Agents attempt their own guesses. It's a fantastical, B-movie premise, and a manual that is -- if not good -- relatively clear. The problem is, unfortunately, the game itself.


The Vampire, the Elf, and the Cthulhu Game Review (

I wonder sometimes if I'm the recipient of oddly specific curses. Either I ran over some witch's big toe at the grocery store, or game manuals are just bad. The Vampire, the Elf, and the Cthulhu is a project that's gone wrong on so many levels that it would be easier to illuminate the small areas in which they got things right. Certainly, the premise is eyecatching and probably led to its success. This game is a storytelling game in which writers are competing to introduce themes into a novel.


Expedition Card Game Review (FABRICATE)

Have you ever wanted to play a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game while furiously shuffling through a deck of cards? Expedition is your game. An app-driven RPG, Expedition puts you in the role of one of many selectable adventurers, complete with their own kit of abilities. Designed to simulate the experience of playing a traditional role-playing game without a DM, Expedition marries app technology with board gaming in an altogether uncomfortable but still interesting way.


Small World Board Game Review (Days of Wonder)

Whether you're controlling bivouacking giants or fortified wizards, you need to lead your Small World civilization towards greatness. Appropriately named, Small World's primary feature is its perfectly sized maps, which forces players to immediately encounter each other, working to take over as much of the land as possible before they need to send their civilization into decline. Players are able to select races that have randomized attributes, changing strategy from game to game.


Skull Board Game Review (Asmodee)

A beautiful and simple bluffing game, Skull is a 20 minute experience for up to six players. As with many games, there is both the game of Skull and the experience of Skull. The game is fairly straightforward, but the magic that can occur in the right group is undeniable. All of this is helped by the game's intricate and vibrant art -- which dress up an otherwise extremely simple, but challenging, game. In many ways, Skull facilitates the act of bluffing. 


Honey Heist RPG (Grant Howitt) [Character Sheets Inside]

You have two stats: criminal and bear. And really, what more do you need? A one shot roleplaying system by Grant Howitt, Honey Heist puts you in the role of literally just a bear trying to commit a heist at the upcoming HoneyCon. it sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous, but there's actually a lot more going on. Honey Heist can be described in just a few minutes and creates enough of framework for a story with very little prep.


Alien Artifacts Game Review (Portal Games)

Glance at the box for Alien Artifacts and it reads a lot like an infomercial. "The 4x game that you can play in an hour!" Never before have I seen a game tip its hand so strongly in a single sentence. Alien Artifacts delivers exactly what it sets out to do, but it's also clearly a game for people who play games. That's not to say that it isn't playable by casual gamers, because it absolutely is.


Potion Explosion Game Review (CMON)

Potion Explosion is one of those classics that we pull out when we can't figure out what to play and want to play something fast. Despite this, every time I play it it occurs to me that there are certain things that we didn't think about, and that the game is actually more complex than it seems. Potion Explosion is a pattern matching game in which players are pulling colored marbles in an attempt to craft the right potions. Potions themselves give you special abilities, which you can use to control the types of marbles you get.


Red Flags Game Review (Red Flags)

Developed by the creator of Superfight, Red Flags is the "game of terrible dates." A Cards-Against-Humanity-style game, Red Flags challenges everyone involved to come up with the perfect date for you. From there, it's up to everyone else to sabotage it. She may be a brain surgeon with a Tardis, but she also collects human skulls. There may be a bodybuilder whose kisses cure cancer, but he is on every fad diet at the same time. Ultimately, Red Flags becomes a game about figuring out which date isn't as bad as the others.


Valeria: Card Kingdoms Game Review (Daily Magic Kingdoms)

"I know, let's play Valeria." "Which Valeria?" "You know, the one with the cards." There are three versions of Valeria, they all use cards, and -- more confusingly -- they all use the same art. But if it isn't broken, why fix it? Valeria: Card Kingdoms is a fast-paced recruitment and resource gathering game, which operates like a cross between Splendor and Catan. In Valeria, players build strength, kill monsters, and develop their kingdoms. 


Munchkin Booty Game Review (Steve Jackson Games)

I've talked about how much I hate Munchkin for two or three minutes, but never before have I talked about how much I hate Munchkin for a full ten minutes. We recently played the pirate-themed Munchkin game, Munchkin Booty, and happily it was everything I hate about Munchkin as a system and as a premise. And I readily know that I'm not winning anyone over here, and I don't care. I don't like this game. I've had fun playing this game in the past, and I'm willing to believe that it's utterly a fluke.