Game Time Decision

“We’ve done our duty. Andy’s grown up.”Sarge (Toy Story)

The wonderful thing about this week’s Game Time Decision is that even if you are a grown up this game reminds you that you are never too old to play with toy sized troops! Windup War will have your game group trying to out fox each other in order to claim total victory!

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From the Website: When the kids are away, the toys come out to play…AND FIGHT! Welcome to ””Windup War””! Turn the keys and spring into battle! Assemble your army of toys, then command them in combat to be the last army standing! Ready? WINDUP THE WAR!

In Windup War you plan your army’s course of action to take down the armies surrounding you! Program your units’ actions and strategically snipe your targets! Be the last toy army standing to win!

Windup War features adorably toyetic graphics in miniature and portable packs! Each faction is a super-cute size, and is ready to fight wherever you go. With six different units per faction, each with unique weapons, there are dozens of configurations for your army; try different combinations to find your favorite strategy! Windup War is easy to pick up and quick to play, with a playtime of about 15-30 minutes for 2-6 players.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): When this game was first placed on the table for game night it instantly gave me one of those “Christmas morning” warm smiles. I grew up with all kinds of toy soldiers, many of which are closely depicted in the artwork for Windup War. Truth be told I still do some war gaming and with past and present history detailed it was no mystery that I would find this game appealing.

The game has six factions which play with their own level of uniqueness. Each turn you choose 5 cards from your hand and place them face down in front of you in a “1 through 5” order based on which cards you want to kick off first. There are many various effects outside of dealing damage which allows for significant choice in how you want attack your foes. Once everyone is set you simultaneously flip your cards in order and watch the mayhem unfold!

Sounds simple? Well, it certainly is…to learn. There is most assuredly a level of strategy behind card choice and programming (order) choice that makes Windup War a game I think is very favorable to many replays to figure out different card synergies (which are influenced by your draw which means you need to find multiple pairings/orderings).

If you saw our Impressions on Windup War you may have noted that Lucas mentioned that players can be eliminated before game end. He said that it wasn’t such an issue for him as the games don’t take very long. I absolutely agree. The downtime experienced upon elimination I found of strengthened my desire to play the next game and adjust the choices I made in the last game.

This game’s relatively small size makes it a great travel game as well. My sincere hope is that Katie Khau and Jessica Chu are working up other factions to add to this base game. Windup War will get your game night in gear!

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Game Time Decision

“My sons! [sighs] My sons, if you are to become true ninja, you must work harder. Your path in life will not be an easy one. The outside world will not be a friendly place for you…” – Master Splinter

The wonderful magic of Mutagenic Ooze is the gift that keeps on giving. Prepare to slip on your half-shell, grab your ninja weapon of choice and head out into the streets to battle the Foot in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past! Cowabungaaaaaaa! Oh, and don’t forget to order the pizza. It is game night after all!

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There the world’s most fearsome fighting teens!

From the Website: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past is a miniatures combat, scenario-driven campaign game that features story content from the IDW TMNT comic. Taking the role of their favorite Turtle or the ultimate villain Shredder, players battle their way through a series of 60-90 minute missions in which they develop their characters’ strengths, fighting styles, and equipment along the way to create a lasting story arc. Fan-favorite characters like Casey Jones and Alopex appear throughout the missions as the Turtles call on their closest allies for help in battling their deadliest foes. Designed by premiere game designer, Kevin Wilson (DescentArkham Horror) and featuring more than 40 sculpted miniatures, 12 unique maps and over 100 cards featuring all-new original artwork, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past is the definitive gaming experience.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon): We have “The Works” version of this game and the pizza box package alone is worth it for die hard Turtles fans. I honestly had no idea what to expect as I missed the kickstarter for this one though, as I mentioned above, being a Turtles fan I was ready to play once I saw it hit the table.

I have always gravitated toward Leonardo. Mike was just too much of a doofus to me, Don was way to smart for me to even try, and Raph was too much of brooding butthead. I sat down to Mike (ugh) however lucky for me RTHG Jo was gracious enough to trade characters with me (the cards were already placed when I arrived, but now I had Leo!) and then in turn she traded with RTHG Chip for Donatello who ended up with Mike.

Each of the turtles have their own schtick (Leader-Leo, Smart-Don, Nimble-Mike, Loner-Raph) and based on your rolls of 3 specific-to-Turtle dice for Leo, Mike and Don (6 dice for Raph who can’t use dice from the other three) you can share one die with the player to the left or right of you with the third only being usable by your Turtle. Each die face contributes to a ranged, melee, move or defense action through which you put the hurt on the Foot. The game is played out cooperatively through scenarios on boards that resemble the streets you see in the various forms of the IP. One person will play as the Foot with the remaining as our intrepid heroes.

We had a very good time with this one and came to the conclusion after our game that where you place your Turtles does really matter based on the scenario goals, especially if you have a cagey player controlling the Foot. Seating order seems to play a role too as there were a few times I as Leo could have benefited from Mike’s move granting die faces (I had Don and Raph on either side of me). The sharing of one individual die per player with the players next to you helps mitigate dice randomness some and allows for forming a small bit of strategy based on player abilities and special moves.

Get this game, order a pizza, watch your favorite Turtles movie or TV episode and then play a couple of scenarios of this game. Game night win!

Game Time Decision

Lo there do I see my father; Lo there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers; Lo there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call me, they bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever. – The 13th Warrior

Sharpen your axe and sword, and pack a light lunch. Were invading England! It is quite possible those exact words were uttered at some point and should you fancy a turn at conquest of the England, or at defending the isle from ravaging hordes of pagans, 878 Vikings – Invasions of England is a game you should check out!

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From the Website:878 Vikings is an area control game for 2 – 4 players. Gain fame, riches and a new home as the Vikings voyaging to England, or defend your Kingdom and Christendom from the pagan hordes!. Viking players control the Norsemen Viking freemen and the fearless Viking shock troops known as Berserkers.

Players for each side work together in order to coordinate their strategies. The English start the game controlling all of England, but then the Viking players invade from the sea to strike deep into English territory! Players decide when to end the game by calling for the Treaty of Wedmore. The team controlling the most cities by the end of that round wins the game.

From RTHG Staff (Brandon):There was no question for me when it came to whether or not I would play this title from Academy Games. Having played and enjoyed two previous titles (1775 and 1812) from them I knew this game would be familiar yet unique. It delivered.

The two previous Revolutionary War titles felt like you were mustering and maneuvering standing armies around the map. That in mind I was excited in our play through to be on the Viking side as I figured it would hopefully give that fast skirmish style army feel that I imagine the Viking forces were as they raided. A key point in bringing that home for me is that the Viking forces are attached to a Viking Leader when they enter the board for the most part. It challenges you to identify critical targets to attack toward your victory goals all the while leaving enough forces to hold them or make the English pay dearly for them. This may sound like normal fare however the Vikings can’t reinforce as freely as your standard armies. So, yeah, decisions that matter.

The game also comes with terrain markers for forts and churches which we used to mark key locations as well as for their aesthetic value. It was satisfying toppling the towns and churches as our forces roamed across England. Not so much for the English!

Academy Games continues to be excellent at what they do and you will no doubt want to play this game a few times over this weekend!

Game Time Decision

“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” — Ricky Bobby

If you have ever had a desire to race camels, or to bet on the racing of camels, then this week in Game Time Decision we have the game for you! Camel Up is a dromedary contest that entreats you and seven of your closest gaming friends to step up to the betting counter and wager on which ship of the desert is the fastest!

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From the Website:Place your bets with Camel Up, the hilarious game of betting on camel races. Winner of the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award, Camel Up invites you and up to seven of your friends to the wackiest camel races you’ll ever see. You each play as members of Egyptian high society who have gathered in the desert with one goal in mind: back the right camel and win a pile of money! Each round you can bet on the camel you think will win a leg or even the entire race. Just remember: the earlier you place your bets, the greater the potential rewards.

From RTHG Staff (Chip):Camel Up (Camel Cup) is a great game for mixed groups of gamers and non-gamers. It’s a party game with a board, and sure to be enjoyed during a social evening. Betting on the camels and cutting off your opponents is the name of the game in this light-hearted title. Nothing like watching your pick get carried across the finish line to victory by the one your friend was “so sure” had the lead.

Game Time Decision

“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Uncle Ben (Kind-of), Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), written by Stan Lee. Also, probably inspired by Winston Churchill, but that’s a rabbit hole we’ll stay away from for now.

Welcome to another weekend and another choice to make for the greater good of your gaming plans. Faced with this chance to be a hero we offer for your gaming pleasure a game that will save the day! Legendary: Marvel from Upper Deck will have your gaming group living up to their super gamer potential!

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From the Website: Legendary® is a deck-building game set in the Marvel Comics universe. To set up the game, players choose a number of hero decks from the likes of Spider-man, Hulk, Cyclops, or Wolverine, to name a few. Shuffle them together (since players use only a handful of hero decks out of the fifteen included) allowing the hero deck to vary widely in terms of what’s available. Players then choose a mastermind villain (Magneto, Loki, Dr. Doom, etc.) and stack that particular villain’s attack cards underneath it. Next, modify the villain deck as needed based on that villain’s particular scheme. Over the course of the game, players will recruit powerful hero cards to add to their deck in order to build a stronger and more resourceful deck. Players need to build both their recruitment powers (to enlist more heroes) and their fighting ability (to combat the villains who keep popping up to cause trouble). Players recruit heroes from an array of six cards, with empty slots refilled as needed. At the start of a player’s turn, he reveals a villain and adds it to the row of villains. This row has a limited number of spaces, and if it fills up, the earliest villain to arrive escapes, possibly punishing the heroes in some way. Some villains also take an action when showing up for the first time, such as kidnapping an innocent bystander. The villain deck also contains “master strike” cards, and whenever one of these shows up, the mastermind villain (controlled by the game) takes a bonus action. As players fight and defeat villains, they collect those cards, which will be worth points at game’s end. Players can also fight the mastermind; if a player has enough fighting power, he claims one of the attack cards beneath the mastermind, which has a particular effect on the game. If all of these cards are claimed, the game ends and players tally their points to see who wins. If the mastermind completes his scheme, however – having a certain number of villains escape, for example, or imposing a certain number of wounds on the heroes – then the players all lose. Do you have what it takes to defeat the villains? Or, will you let them escape? Play the all new Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building game to find what the cards have in store for you.

From RTHG Staff (Lucas):With a barrage of superhero movies the last few years, sometimes you just have to save the world! When you get in one of those moods I would strongly suggest Legendary: Marvel from Upper Deck. This is my go-to deck builder and my go-to superhero themed game. If you’re a regular follower of the channel, you know that I like deckbuilding, but honestly a lot of them run out of steam over time. The variable setup in this game keeps it from getting stale and keeps me coming back time after time. This is a cooperative deck builder, so if you and your group can stop the mastermind’s evil plot, you win. Otherwise… Well… I think we all know what happens then…

Basically, you start with by picking a mastermind. Then, of course, he has to have a master plan, called a scheme in game terms. That will typically direct you on special rules for this game. Then you assemble a team of heroes and off you go. If you prefer to automate these choices there is also an app you can download which allows you to check which expansions you have and it will tell you what combinations to use. Oh, yeah expansions. There are a ton of them. You don’t need any of them, but look around and see which you’ll like if it interests you. I would strongly suggest Dark City, which was the first big box expansion. Let’s get back to the game. The standard deckbuilding currency here are shield agents, which you’ll use to buy superhero cards to improve your deck. As you play you may get wounded, and these cards will clog up your deck, making it less effective. Sometimes, villains will grab bystanders, which of course you must rescue, because letting the bad guys escape is bad. Worse if they escape with a bystander to do god knows what to that that waitress. Time after time this one delivers with good gameplay and good theming. So if you’re in that “Save the World” mindset this weekend, check out Legendary: Marvel!

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.