Rarely do I come across an educational game that makes me wish I was back in Science class way back when I was a wee lad…”Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration” did that to me and then some. Almost half of the rulebook is a workbook containing interactive activities like crossword puzzles while other parts teach you about the very science you’re “playing” with throughout the game. It’s easily a thumbs up from me and can be found (as of the date of this posting) on Miniature Market for about $25…Amazon lists a $35 price (use the sidebar search tool to send a little change my way), so I’d grab it from the former unless you have Amazon Prime (free two-day shipping). The components are top notch so I decided to do a video tutorial / review, so go check it out below before you leave this page. My only real complaint was that the game didn’t come with a couple of baggies or rubber bands to hold the cards while the box was closed for non-use. Special thanks to Game Designer Dante Lauretta for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.
Think YOU have what it takes to gain control of 17th century Europe? Then you’ve come to the right place. Don’t worry, you won’t need to manage armies or build an economy…rather, you’ll be gaining points based on how far your influence takes you. Players will be playing country cards to place their cubes onto various people who occupy influential positions and score victory points. You can gain victory points a number of different ways…being the first to put a cube on a particular city, occupying all of the cities of a country…the list goes on. I opted for a video review as the game is very visual and easy to play, so be sure to check it out below. Spoiler: “Royals” reminds me of “Ticket to Ride” in some ways, which is a VERY good thing. Special thanks to Tony Gullotti from Arcane Wonders for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.
I’m not a fan of paper and pencil RPGs, but I do play a lot of RPGs on the PC. “Skyrim”, “The Witcher III”, “Dragon Age”…you know, games that allow you to level up your attributes in one way or another and gather loot. “Roll Player” is a board game about making a character in the most efficient way possible based on their class, back story, and alignment. As the name of the game implies, you’ll be using dice to do so. I decided to do a video review as I had a lot to cover, but in short I really enjoyed this one…so much in fact that I intend to play the game again tonight just after launching this review. It just oozes theme and gives players a LOT of options to modify dice on their character sheet so that they can meet their individual requirements. As a fan of PC RPGs, I love “Roll Player” and what it does. If you’ve done any sort of role-playing in the past, then you should too. Go check out the below video for the specifics. Special thanks to game creator Keith Matejka for providing me a press copy for review purposes.
Finally, a game about “yellow cake” that doesn’t include a three-second rule. You see, this kind of yellow cake is a tad…well, nuclear. In “The Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction”, you’ll be using yellow cake, uranium, and labor in order to build bombs and score victory points. Doing this will involve the chaining of cards so that inputs produce outputs, although cards can be used for their indicated labor too (not both). We chose to share our first playthrough and first impressions in the video below so that you can see how gameplay flows, but our resolve that the game is awesome still holds strong after the fact. Special thanks to James Mathe from Minion Games for providing us with a press copy for review purposes.
As both an adult and a parent, I recognize how important a solid education is in the grand scheme of things. Sure, I haven’t used the Quadratic Formula since High School, but I have had to use basic math on a regular basis…especially with some of the Euro-tabletop games I play. I’m also an accountant, so there’s that too. That’s why I enjoy playing educational games that test these skills, especially with those who still have their whole life ahead of them (like my kids). “HoliMaths X”, a 1-6 player game that’ll be launching on Kickstarter in September of 2016, is one such item that focuses heavily on multiplication. Before we begin, I’d like to thank Matt Roman from HoliPlay Games for sending me a prototype for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not reflective of the final product, making everything you read about here (including the rules) subject to change.
Let’s say that you and a squadron (or even fleet) of ships were flying through space minding your own business when suddenly, your sensors collectively warn you of impending doom. We’re not talking space pirates or meteor showers…rather, a wormhole that is sucking you all in that leads to who knows where. Heck, it could even crush your ship like an egg. All you know is that you want to be the LAST one to enter that thing and you guessed it, that’s the primary goal of “Wormhole!”. Before we get into the details, I’d like to thank Andrew Needles from Epic Penguin Studios for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.
It’s quite a feat when I can claim that a game mechanic crosses my path that I haven’t seen very often. Weighing your booty (treasure, not the backside) via the game’s container itself is one of them. “7 Seize”, a pirate-themed family friendly game that’s on Kickstarter right now (as of 8/27/2016), is looking for your support to reach a goal of $28,103 within 26 days. Current pledges have almost already reached the $5,000 mark with a total of 70+ backers.
Word games like “Scrabble” are all well and good, but they often reward the players with the most vocabulary floating around their heads. This makes playing with children somewhat difficult, unless you limit yourself to three or four letter words that don’t earn yourself a whole lot of points. “Word Domination”, a game that’s coming to Kickstarter late August of 2016, doesn’t have that problem. Before I go into why that is, I’d like to thank Jeff Beck from Uproarious Games for providing me with a prototype copy for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything you see here (including the rules) subject to change.
Adult themed card games seem to be making a comeback as of late. Take “Cards Against Humanity”, for example…almost every casual gamer I know (even teenagers who really aren’t supposed to be playing it) seem to know what it is and how to play it. “Farce”, a game that’s coming to Kickstarter in August of 2016, is similar to “Cards Against Humanity” but has quite a unique twist to it. Before I get started, I’d like to thank Game Creator Guy Walker for providing me with a prototype for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything you read about here (including the rules) subject to change. Like “Cards Against Humanity”, this game is not meant to be played by the easily offended, so you kids out there reading this should go do your homework or something.
Having played this on the PC a bunch of times (“Dead Man’s Draw” was originally a video game first), I was curious to see what all came in the boxed version. To my surprise, I discovered variants, traits, and other goodies that allowed me to customize the game any way I wanted to. You can check out my review of the board game and/or check out my game sessions on the PC in the videos below.
“Elementos”, the fresh maker…no, that’s not right. Don’t get old kids, it’s easy to get confused. Luckily, you won’t be confused by the rules of this particularly easy to play game. In “Elementos”, two players will be attempting to use the elements to get their pawn over to the other side of the board. These elements come in the form of pieces and while they all have the same movement rules, they have a rock-paper-scissors relationship. To make things more interesting, they can be flipped to reveal a completely different element than what they were before. I’ve opted to do a video review for this one, but spoiler: “Elementos” is fun for just about any couple, seeing as how it’s quick to both learn and play. Check out the video below for a rules overview and a quick look at my final thoughts.
War games are popular for a reason…it’s not like you can drive your very own Sherman down your local highway every day (if you can and it’s legal, good on you). “Final Act”, a game that has a little over two weeks to go on Kickstarter (as of the date of this posting), is looking for your help to reach its goal. “Final Act” promises to be streamlined and easy to play, but just as intense and strategic.
Want to challenge your vocabulary skills but don’t feel like playing an hour plus long game of “Scrabble”? “Flipside” may very well be the game you’re looking for. This solo card game only takes twenty minutes to play, challenging players with earning the highest score they can with the help of special one-use abilities that they can use along the way. Special thanks to Steven Aramini from Biggest Little Games for providing me with a press copy for review purposes. Like my other recent reviews, I’ve opted to do this particular one in video form. It was quicker and easier than writing a 1,000 word article. Hit play below to see how it plays and what I thought, though you can probably guess by the review score that “Flipside” was most certainly above average. I’ll go as far as to say that “Flipside” is probably the best solo card game involving vocabulary that I’ve played to date.
I’ve always had an interest in alchemy, mainly because the term transmuted (pun intended) into what we now know as chemistry. While I was never very good at chemistry, I do enjoy learning about the elements and how they interact with one another. Whether I was watching Bill Nye or some teacher down at the Carnegie Science Center, my eyes were peeled to what was going on. “Alkemia: Destiny’s Recipe”, a game that’ll be launching on Kickstarter sometime in August of 2016, will task players with becoming the Grand Alchemist by saving the land of Alkemia via the synthesizing of the Crest of Creation. Before we begin, I’d like to thank the folks at Kinsoul Studio for reaching out and providing me with a prototype for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything seen here (including the rules) subject to change.
Kal-Purnika…a colonial planet’s name that runs right off the tongue. In this make-believe world, this planet is renowned for its technological advances, specifically the ability to infuse minerals into a person’s DNA for the sake of curing diseases and enhancing various mental functions. Unfortunately, treatment is expensive and in exchange for it, the government requires that the individual work for ten years of servitude as a metal mind agent. Players will be competing to rebuild a power plant…the first to do so gets released from this servitude early. Before we begin, I’d like to thank J.J. Sturgeon for reaching out and providing me with a prototype for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything you see featured here (including the rules) subject to change).
Filing Paperwork, earning and spending the Almighty Photon, dealing with hazardous Solar Jellies, and planning out your fiscal periods is just all in a day’s work in “Bureaunauts”, a game that’ll be launching on Kickstarter early August of 2016. In short, you’ll be competing with other players to complete career goals in order to gain votes across the five department heads. Before we go any further, I’d like to thank Allison Markello from Fox and Ox Creations, LLC for reaching out and providing me with a prototype for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes are a work in progress and not reflective of the final product, making everything featured here (including the rules) subject to change.