Game Time Decision

“…I can’t go fishing everybody I know is watching the Orlando Wilson fishing show…” – Orlando Wilson Fishing Show theme

It’s Friday and time for another edition of Game Time Decision! This week we have a game for you that will have you telling the folks at work on Monday about the big one you caught over the weekend. Coldwater Crown is a game of angling prowess that is sure to have you returning to fish those honey holes again and again!

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From the Website:Is that “victory” you taste in the salty air? You’ve secured your spot as a competitor in the world-renowned Coldwater Crown fishing tournament, and the contest has just begun! Will you be able to cast the right bait at the right time to reel-in the biggest fish? Will you be able to strategically balance your efforts at the different fishing locations to win the most trophies? Very little is certain on these frigid waters, but it’s guaranteed the fish will be biting!

Coldwater Crown is a fun and clever board game that captures the thrill of fishing in a tabletop experience. Created by acclaimed game designer Brian Suhre, it’s a game of strategic planning, angler’s intuition, and just the right amount of luck! Test your fishing expertise against up to three of your friends or hone your skills at the practice pond. You don’t have to be a master angler to win, but once your trophy count begins to stack up, you might just feel like one!

From RTHG Staff (Brandon):This game is one of those games that if you are a board gamer, which you are because you’re here, and you are even remotely interested in the theme…you have to have it. Just about 100% of our gaming group grew up fishing with their parents and grandparents so we were all pretty excited to see what this game was about a few months ago. We were entertained!

I won’t go into too much detail about the game here and instead direct you to our First Look and additionally our Impressions videos for the game. Watching both of those will give you a good idea of how the game flows. I will, however, highly recommend Coldwater Crown for both its very good quality of components and (most importantly for me) its strong replayable factor. Currently the game is out of stock, though you may find a copy if you dig around. Bellwether is having a reprint done with the current eta being sometime in November 2017. You can pre-order now on their website to ensure you get your copy.

Game Time Decision

“The neighbors are scary enough when they’re not dead.”
― George A. Romero

Welcome intrepid gamers to another addition of Game Time Decision! This week we have a game that should rise to the occasion of survival fun for your game group this weekend. Zombicide: The Black Plague is a board game that puts you right into the makings of a Hollywood zombie flick, minus Woody Harrelson and twinkies (not in the box, though pantries may vary…the twinkies…if Harrelson is in your pantry that’s a whole other article).

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From the Website: Zombicide: Black Plague is a standalone cooperative board game for 1 to 6 players that brings the relentless zombie-killing action of Zombicide into a brand new fantasy setting, featuring different Survivors from all walks of medieval life and even some fantasy races like dwarves and elves! Each of these heroes possess their own unique abilities to face the zombie horde, from familiar skills to all-new ones! Players control a party of Survivors as they fight to rid the land of an invasion of the fearsome horde of zombies raised and controlled by Necromancers. Survivors find weapons, learn spells, battle zombies, and gain experience. The more experienced they get, the more powerful they become, but the more zombies rise to face them!

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): So, full transparency I, Brandon, am not at all a zombie fan. I’m not talking about this game, I mean zombies as a whole. Just not my thing. I guess it’s that horror genre as I mentioned with the Cthulhu game a few weeks ago in a GTD. So, yeah, the “attack of the zombie horde” aesthetic here did/does nothing for me which is not to say that it isn’t quality or well done because it is.

So for me (Chip is our resident zombie fanatic) to offer this game up for a GTD should tell you one thing: It’s fun. Admittedly when the group chose to play this I was that kid sitting at the table looking at some weird food they were sure they were not going to like. I looked at the box saw that the game time took about an hour…knowing that the crew had played it once before I reconciled myself that this would be over quick and we could move on.

When the game was over I wanted to play again! The colorful, campy manner in which the characters are made just hit me for some reason and I found myself getting attached to mine. I wanted to know if it had a campaign mode to sadly it does not, though it does have a series of quests that you can follow in a pseudo campaign fashion. CMON/Guillotine Games if you’re listening please, please flesh out a full campaign rule-set for this!

The game is $99. Do not let this scare you as with 10 different quests and a host of different character combinations to tackle the content with you will get more than your investment in terms of replay value out of Zombicide: The Black Plague.

 

Game Time Decision

“When did I ever refuse an accomodation?”  –Don Vito Corleone

This week on Game Time Decision we have a message for you: Those that don’t try this game sleep with the fishes! The Godfather: A New Don is an area control, area influence dice game by Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier, published by IDW Games.

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From the Website:Control the streets to climb your way to the top in The Godfather: A New Don. In this dice-rolling, area control board game, you’ll take on the role of the head of one of six major crime families battling for control of New York City. Through the roll of your dice pool, you’ll send out your soldiers to take over different territories or send them to Vegas to gamble on your future.

Use your muscle to become acting Don, and you’ll be able to make an offer your opponents can’t refuse, but be careful. The tides of power shift with every roll of the dice, so you’ll have to use your influence at just the right moment, or you’ll risk sending your soldiers to sleep with the fishes.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon):I have always been a fan of the Godfather series of movies. There is a bit of romance in the idea of putting something before self (the family) and all others and doing whatever it takes to make it succeed. Sure there are some questionable actions taken and we all should be grown-up enough to know between right and wrong, and that ultimately they were movies. Good, good movies.

So when the chance to play The Godfather: A New Don came up I was all in. The first player (The Don) rolls three large die to represent the Vegas section. This section is numbered 1-6 (game is played with d6) and during the 1st turn you can send some of your meeples to Vegas to gamble on your behalf. Only 1 meeple per number (no sharing) and if the Don rolls your number you get to add that die to your roll for the turn.

The game is an area control game with the game board broken down into different neighborhoods of New York City. Each sub-section (of a neighborhood) has a yahtzee format die value assigned to it (two 1’s, three 4’s, four 5’s, etc.) which are what you have to match within your die roll to claim on your turn. After the Don’s Vegas roll everyone rolls their die (then add any Vegas die to your lot) and you pair off your like numbers (or in some cases a small straight) in an attempt to lay claim to various sub-sections. Each neighborhood has three victory point values assigned to it allowing players to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd based on how many sub-sections they have claimed influence over within the area.

A neat feature, one our group played up in our normal over-acting way, is that after everyone has rolled for the turn and before the Don begins their turn (claiming sub-sections), the other players have to offer up one of their die to the Don, as they duly should. The Don gets to accept their offer, or request a different die number (1-6) instead, of which the player can’t refuse if they have it. The player then gets to place one of their meeples on the river track space of the number of the die they gave (having a choice of the initial number offered OR the Don’s requested number).

Game end triggers when a player has placed onto the board their last meeple after which a last turn is finished and points tallied. The board has a river section (mentioned above) which functions primarily as die manipulation, and also there is a muscle track which is how the role of the Don can change hands turn to turn (add up the pip totals of any die that can’t take a sub-section to advance along the muscle track-at end of turn it resets). The rest of the game’s rules keep gameplay clean, fair (the Don has some action restrictions to compensate for his power), and moving. With a playtime of around an hour, how can you refuse?

Game Time Decision

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H.P. Lovecraft

This weeks choice for Game Time Decision does its best to evoke that strongest emotion and does so by incorporating modern technology. Mansions of Madness Second Edition from Fantasy Flight Games is an investigative board game where the players are pitted against that oldest instigator of our fears, Cthulhu.

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From the Website: Fight for your life in Mansions of Madness Second Edition, the app-assisted horror game inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. From the makers of Eldritch Horror, this fully cooperative game takes you and up to four other players on a harrowing adventure through the dark and desolate halls and alleyways of Arkham. Much like the original Mansions of Madness game, the second edition offers a number of thrilling and confounding scenarios, each with a unique and unpredictable map, intricate puzzles, and bloodthirsty monsters.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): I’ve never really been a fan of Lovecraft and certainly have not read any of the books he has written. I am not, in fact, a great fan of the horror genre at large. It has just never really been my thing. I don’t get a thrill out of being scared or scaring others. Growing up I had no interest in Halloween (so was very content staying home and watching television) and the only reason I’m out on October 31st these days is my wife loves Halloween and so do our kids.

That said, I really dig Mansions of Madness Second Edition. My first exposure to this game was after a long day of walking around Gen Con this past August. One of the guys in our group picked it up and we decided we’d jump into it that night at the hotel (as gamers do after buying new shinies at a convention). I love solving mysteries and I think that aspect of the game plays more to me than the aesthetic of the Cthulhu setting. Many cooperative games don’t really guide you to interact with the other players with their definition of “cooperation” being that you aren’t actively working against the other players. Mansions fosters that cooperation by giving the investigators (your player personas) traits which encourage working alongside another investigators.

Certain scenarios also challenged my RPG gaming brain washing in that you must indeed separate the group if you want to achieve success. Coupled with the aforementioned teamwork synergies the players find themselves in sort of a ballet, balancing spreading apart to achieve goal coverage while timing their rendezvous to accentuate each other’s strengths.

Oh, and then there’s the app. That this game makes use of an app to guide the story I think is the gel that makes it all come together. Aside from the Vincent Price like narrator and eerie music (which help set the mood nicely) the app tells the story and when you factor that you input which personas the players are using it gives an even more detail enhanced version of the scenario format. A key feature of the app is to allow players various ways of accomplishing a task based on their ability strengths as well as random gear and spells they find. This flexibility is something you typically see in RPGs, rarely in board games. Also, when you factor that more content can/will be generated and easily delivered via download the app certainly adds to the value of the experience.

If you enjoy a cooperative gaming experience where thoughtful cooperation is rewarded, and you’re okay (or into) thing horror related then Mansions of Madness Second Edition is a quality game that you should try!

 

Game Time Decision

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. ~Carl Sagan”

Indeed imagination is a large part of the catalyst that drives us to play the board games we so much enjoy. This weeks Game Time Decision, Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy, hurtles players into the vastness of space and challenges us to forge an empire.

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From the Website: Eclipse is the first international superhit from Lautapelit.fi. It’s a massice civilizations building game set in space, where players try to lead their own race to a dominant role in the galaxy.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): So I made a confession to the other RTHG staff the other week that I’m a sucker for space operas to which they replied “Yeah, we know, next”. I’m full of captain obvious moments by the way. It will come as no shock, then, that when deciding what to play for our second game of the night when they suggested Eclipse and I saw the box art I was all in.

Eclipse is a game for up to 6 players. Each player gets a faction card that is double sided with the “entry level” side having varying factions of humans and the opposite side having all very distinct non-human races. Replay value is highly coveted by me when it comes to games. Big plus.

Your individual game board contains your population pieces (aligned along 3 tracks that correspond to different types of “currency”), your 4 types of space craft (3 ships, small to large, and a space station), and your influence tracker (using the tokens here increases your per turn operating costs). There is also a central game board that houses the tokens for three different research tracks from which you can advance your civilization. It also houses a sizable area for ship upgrades as well.

The game is played over 9 turns where you use influence tokens to claim regions of space (which you have to explore for and are represented by hexagonal tiles) and then place your population counters on available planets in that sector. There is a bit of a balancing act as not all tiles have suitable planets and gong into negative income is bad…very bad. A combination of point values for the hexagonal sectors plus values from items you find when you explore/claim a sector (which can be used for victory points or in most cases adds currency or a ship upgrade) plus some savvy game play determines the victor.

If you enjoy Twilight Imperium, or the idea of Twilight Imperium, but don’t have that many hours to play, Eclipse is certainly a title that can scratch a bit of that itch.

Game Time Decision

“Thus we never see the true state of our condition till it is illustrated to us by its contraries, nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the want of it.”
― Daniel Dafoe, 
Robinson Crusoe

Happy Friday folks and welcome to Game Time Decision! This week we bring forth for your gaming consumption a title that allows you to play out those being lost on a deserted island “what ifs?”. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island strands you and up to 3 of your friends on an uncivilized island and tasks you with survival. Uncivilized, yes. Uninhabited, no. Beware!

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From the Website: Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island is an adventure game for you and your friends to play as castaways on an uninhabited island. Your task is to build a shelter, ward off potential dangers, and complete the missions. There are seven different scenarios included in the box – they will provide you with new, more difficult, and curious ways to play!

From RTHG Staff (Chip): Buy this game! No, I mean it. Stop reading and go buy it. Okay, you’re still reading. This game is a crazy, perilous, nerve-racking, good time of exploration and survival. And that’s just the first scenario! Ignacy not only brings the world of Robinson Crusoe to life in this game, but he brings the whole genre of pulp adventure and perilous journeys. Time is so precious and needs are so great. Which things must you have, and which can you risk doing without? Throughout play you’ll find yourself desperately trying to press forward with your plans only to have new threats come out of the jungle to challenge you.

This is one of the few games I have bought a second copy to keep when not at the RTH Studios. It’s that good! It’s also just as fun solo as in a group and the scaling was clearly well-tested and well-conceived. The second edition even standardizes the box size to boot.

Game Time Decision

“…That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.” ~Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Welcome to another edition of Game Time Decision! My apologies of the last couple of weeks as when life happens, it happens. Last time we went down a historical path, and for this week we mixing a little fact and fiction. Sheriff of Nottingham from Arcane Wonders is a game that can take you on a hilarious trip out of Sherwood Forest!

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From the Website: The Sheriff of Nottingham is a family friendly game where each player will have the chance to be the Sheriff himself! As peasants, players will declare goods they wish to bring into the city and it will be up to the Sheriff to decide who is telling the truth and who is secretly trying to help Robin Hood! Experience Nottingham in a whole new way! Declare your goods, deal with the Sheriff and secure victory in a fun-filled and exciting adventure.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): This is one of those games that, being honest, I didn’t know how I was going to feel about playing. We all have “types” of games we like and from just the overview I was sure this one was not in my alley. Clearly since I am writing about it here I was wrong!

The game, in a nutshell, involves everyone taking a turn as the Sheriff twice with all other players attempting to bring their goods into Nottingham. The goods are in the form of cards, of which there are several varieties (Chickens, Bread, Apples, etc). There are legitimate goods, and contraband. All have values that score points at end game. Players put several of their goods (cards) in and envelope and when their turn comes they declare to the Sheriff the content of their goods and ask that they be permitted to bring them to market.

You can lie. Point of fact you need to lie if you want a chance to win. You can also bribe the current Sheriff to let goods pass. Contraband usually scores big, but if you get caught you pay.

The game is solid and I imagine would be fun a time or three if you played it straight laced. It shines, absolutely shines if your group is into roleplaying and enjoy creating a suitable character and acting him/her out. The staff at RTHG have, to a person, all been involved with theatre arts from highschool into college. I’m not saying you need a TA degree to love this game as I am saying we were all very comfortable jumping straight into an imaginary persona. The fact that all of us from the very start just jumped into character, creating voices and playing our alter egos to the hilt made this experience amazing. Our group talks about the value of creating memorable shared experiences and Arcane Wonders did just that for us. Just maybe Sheriff of Nottingham can do that for you too!

Game Time Decision

“We have met the enemy and they are ours.” — Oliver Hazard Perry,

Hey folks and welcome to another Game Time Decision! This week we have up for consideration a game that takes us on a bit of a historical trip. 1812 The Invasion of Canada from Academy Games doesn’t require a degree in Military History to play yet it will leave you feeling like a grizzled field commander ready to take the field again and again.

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From the Website: The year is 1812. Great Britain and her allies are battling Napoleon for control of Europe. In response to British seizure of American ships and goods, the young United States declares war on Britain and invades Canada. You and up to 4 other players take command of the armies of the British Redcoats, Canadian Militia, and Native Americans, or of the American Regulars and American Militia to decide the fate of the Americas. The action takes place on a huge historically accurate map that spans the United States and Canada from Detroit to Montreal. Players from each faction cooperate to gain control of key towns and forts.

1812 features fast, intuitive and fun gameplay that involves teamwork and strategic planning in a historic and educational setting. This is THE GAME for people who want an enjoyable and manageable introduction to historic/conflict based games.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): The thing I love about Academy Game’s Birth of a Nation series of games is that their historical aesthetic is very well done yet the games are not so drenched in minutiae that they take forever to play. Granted, there are certain games or IPs for which I LOVE the most exhausting level of detail possible, I just don’t think it would have served this series very well. Sometimes quick and easy is good!

I’ve played 2 of the 3 games in this series with 1775 being my first and I find that 1812 is my favorite of the two. The deciding factor for me was the inclusion and manner of incorporation of the Native American force in the game which plays as its own, wily entity. It also allows the game to be played by up to 5 players as well with players controlling Regulars and Militia respectively on both the British and American sides plus a player with the Native Americans (fighting alongside the British and Canadians).

The combat is very neat and tidy in that you roll a number of dice based on which types (Regular, Militia or Native) are present at the battle site. The number of dice is limited and not all dice have the same chance of dealing a killing blow (Regulars, for instance, have the best shot at taking out an enemy) which presents several rounds of combat in larger battles. Commanders have to weigh in those onslaughts if they should fall back and regroup or see it out to the bitter end.

The game plays with each faction having a set of cards that provide movement options as well as combat bonuses. Players shuffle then draw 3 cards and plan their course of action accordingly.

1812 lists an hour and a half to play and that’s about right even if it’s your first time. There are a limited number of turns and additionally there are Treaty Cards that which when one side has two on the table it triggers end game. Fun, Fast playing, and Factual, 1812 The Invasion of Canada is one of the best strategic decisions you can make!

Game Time Decision

A man with deep far-sightedness will survey both the beginning and the end of a situation and continually consider its every facet as important. ~ Takeda Shingen

This week for Game Time Decision we look to feudal Japan with a quick play dice game from Fantasy Flight Games called Age of War. Well, quick unless the dice rise in rebellion against you!

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From the Website: Age of War is a fast-paced dice game for two to six players, designed by Reiner Knizia and set among the warring states of feudal Japan. In the game, you and your fellow players take on the roles of rival daimyos attempting to unite the Japanese clans by mustering your troops and conquering castles.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): This is probably one of my favorite quick play, travel friendly games. In a nutshell the game has several sets of color coordinated cards that represent castles. Each has a points value (for victory) and a set of symbols on them that match the symbols on the sides of the 6-sided dice of the game. You roll decreasing die with a goal of applying matching symbols to “take” a castle. Taking a full colored set gives a few extra bonus victory points. After the last castle is taken tally points and declare victor. You’re done!

There are a few minor rules I left out of the above description but nothing so involved that takes away from said gist. I would highly recommend spending the $14 to add this to your anti-boredom when traveling pack!

Game Time Decision

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few…~Winston Churchill 

This week we submit to you a game that will take you back to the battlefields of Europe during the late 1930s into the 1940s. The game is called Heroes of Normandie and not only do you need to bring your helmet, your humor and a little hollywood moviemaker will be needed too!

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From the website:  A wargame in the tradition of the classic Hollywood war movies.

Just beyond the Normandy Coast in the beautiful summer of 1944… The sun shines, the daisies bloom, the hedgerows stand tall. Early in the morning, distant machine guns chatter sporadically, and the boom of distant explosions rumble in the sky. Thousand of men battle one another and die, in bravery or in cowardice, as Heroes or simply as men.

In our story, we leave out the extras and focus in on the Heroes who populate the classic Hollywood war movies, from the supporting actors up to the stars. A Bridge Too Far, The Longest Day, Patton, Kelly’s Heroes, Saving Private Ryan. These films are our inspirations, and this is what we have given you in Heroes of Normandie!

In order to reproduce the atmosphere of these timeless movie classics, we stepped up the pace of the traditional war game. We have provided you with everything you need to make even the smallest scene explosively exciting! We want you to grin with delight as you mow down those invading GIs with your MG42, or when you bombard those Nazi swine with your bunker smashing mortar fire!

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): Heroes of Normandie is a game that really appeals to those history buffs AND movie aficionados that enjoy watching the World War II movies of Hollywood. The game plays to its name in that the heroes are significant pieces to any force, but make no mistake…they can and will die a death that is worthy of any movie screen!

The game comes with 6-two sided game boards that represent various terrain in the D-Day era France on which your opposing forces will clash. Devil Pig Games does a very good job with the artwork on these boards as well as on the cardboard pieces that represent the units. The artwork is stylized which helps accentuate the humor that is also a primary characteristic of Heroes of Normandie. The humor isn’t too over the top, mind you, and seems to me to hit a sweet spot between the Gomer Pyle and Hogan’s Heroes television shows if you are old enough to remember them. If not, you have the internet and you’re welcome!

Heroes of Normandie uses a points based system with each unit having a clearly marked cost. You simply agree with your opponent on a point cost (or go with the point totals given in a scenario), choose your forces and go!

Currently there are American, German, and UK Commonwealth forces from which to choose. There are also a number of terrain and troop/hero expansions to pick up to give a ton of variety to your games in terms of new units, new machinations of war and new terrain to explore/exploit. Once you have a grasp of gameplay, which has a small learning curve, you’ll knock out games in less than the listed one hour play time and will likely want to play “just one more”!

The base set for Heroes of Normadie (pictured above) can be found at most FLGSs or on the internet on a plethora of board game sites.