All Game Reviews

Battle for Greyport Game Review (Slugfest Games)

About two hours into Battle for Greyport, we understood most of its mechanics. For what should be a simple, cooperative deckbuilder, Battle for Greyport is oddly complex. And it doesn't have to be. It's all about the manual. We've talked about this before, but the manuals for games keep getting worse. As games become more complex, this becomes an even larger problem. In the old days, we might learn one or two large games a month. Today, there are so many games coming out that you are often learning a new one each game night.

7

Dread Horror RPG (The Impossible Dream)

Dread is a Jenga-based horror-themed roleplaying game -- if you aren't already sold on it, it's probably not for you. Rather than rolling dice for action resolution, Dread makes you pull Jenga blocks. If the tower falls, you fail... and often die a gruesome death. Though the premise seems patently ridiculous, it is actually more thematic than it seems.

7

Total Rickall Game Review (Cryptozoic Entertainment)

Total Rickall is one of those games that's mostly theme. And that's fine. Based on one of the most popular episodes of the hit show Rick & Morty, it has workable mechanics, an accessible structure, and enough flavor and character to bring it to life. An easy, cooperative game, it's probably the strongest of the "Rick and Morty" games released so far -- but it's also probably a game you'll play once or twice and then forget. A great side effect to this game is that it could serve as an introduction into boardgaming for those who aren't already hobbiests. "Hey, you like Rick and Morty?

7

Punderdome Game Review (Jo and Fred Firestone)

"This game is not in any way the game that it appears to be," said one friend, sadly. Made by a father daughter team (that's right, it's a box full of dad jokes), Punderdome pretends to be a competitive pun-spinning game. What it is, though, is so much darker, and so much less exciting. Glossed up in the veneer of brightly-colored cards, the secret behind Punderdome is that there isn't actually a game there. It's just random sets of words, which don't mean anything.

3

The Origin of Expressions Review (Discovery Bay Games)

We may have never played a game as ill-suited for us as an audience as this one. The Origin of Expressions is an improvisation and bluffing game, in which players attempt to write down convincing origins for phrases and guess the correct one. As we played it, it became quickly obvious that we just don't know words. We could envision a world in which this game was fun, but it was not this world. It was a world in which we had cocktail parties and joked over a gaffe in the most recent New York Times editorial.

5

Ugg-Tect Board Game Review (Fantasy Flight Games)

Some games are elegant, complex, and sophisticated. Other games are just fun. In Ugg-Tect, players need to communicate through a set of gutteral noises and motions. One team is describing a photo, while the other attempts to buid it. With brightly colored shapes and inflatable clubs, it seems like just a kid's game. It's actually extremely challenging and leads to some incredibly beautiful moments. Ugg-Tect requires that players get in sync with one another and begin to think alike, and towards the end of the game solid communication is (usually) achieved. 

7

13 Clues Board Game Review (CMON)

It looks like Clue, but it's really a puzzle of deduction and elimination. In 13 Clues, each player has a set of items in front of them: weapon, person, and location. Though they can see the items in front of everyone else, they cannot see their own. They can ask questions of other players, investigate excluded items, and make guesses -- that's it. Through the course of the game, players race to figure out what's in front of them faster than the others. 13 Clues takes a fairly old deduction mechanic and dresses it up with attractive art, set pieces, and a refreshing theme.

8

Beasts of Balance Review (Sensible Object)

This is a children's game, but that's never stopped us before. Beasts of Balance is less a board game and more a toy, and it proved to be a fantastic distraction while we were defeating a mindflayer in Betrayal at Baldur's Gate. App-based games like First Martians and the Unlock Series are becoming more popular, but few of them have the synergy and creativity of Beasts of Balance. In Beasts of Balance, the app is truly a part of the interactive experience, rather than simply being another method of dumping information on the players.

7

Scythe Board Game Review (Stonemaier Games)

One of the most popular games of 2016, Scythe is a moderately complex area control and resource management game. As players progress, they produce goods, hire workers, build mechs, and erect buildings. Players need to meet specific milestones in order to trigger the end of the game: once an individual player meets six milestones, the game immediately ends and players count up their victory points.

8

Dark Souls The Card Game Review (Steamforged Games)

Straightforward and streamlined, our Dark Souls the Card Game review found a concise deck building experience that goes well alongside the more complicated Dark Souls board game. Playing up to four people and taking about an hour and a half to finish, the Dark Souls card game walks you through a number of challenging fights as you progress your characters and work towards the two end bosses.

8

DropMix (Hasbro) Board Game Review

Collect your favorite types of music and play DJ with your friends in DropMix. DropMix uses RFID technology to play music while cards are placed on a board, creating a pattern-matching game with some technological panache. With multiple game modes and a variety of collectible musical genres, DropMix is a fun, distracting party game. At the same time, a reliance on smartphone and tablet technology -- and having to buy booster packs to expand the game -- holds it back. 

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