Alhambra: “Palace of the Moorish monarchs of Granada, Spain, built (1238–1358) on a plateau above the city” (Merriam Webster). Sounds exciting, right? Well, it just may very well be for those of you puzzle geeks who love to build stuff. “Alhambra” will task players with buying & placing various building tiles, though there’s a catch: each builder you hire wants paid in their native currency. Don’t worry, this mechanic doesn’t turn the game into an exchange rate nightmare from hell as getting this money is easier than it sounds. Still, I suppose I should explain it all a bit more and let you be the judge.
It’s easy to look at the box cover of this game and think, “Whoa, look at all of those colors and shapes…it looks complicated!” In reality, it’s not…though it will make you think a bit. “Qwirkle” is a game about matching colors and shapes, but not both at the same time. One row or column might contain tiles of different shapes that have the same color, for example, while another might contain tiles of the same shape but have different colors. It won a number of different awards and seems to be fairly popular, so I figured I’d splurge a little and pick this up for the family. To that end, let’s take a brief look at the components and the gameplay before heading into the review.
I wish I had more time for pen and paper RPGs as they can really be a blast to play, especially when you have a bunch of silly and imaginative friends with you. I myself participated in my first RPG just last year and unsurprisingly, my character was best known for the ability to shoot arcane missiles out of his gluteus maximus. That’s the beauty of pen and paper RPGs…anything can happen. Speaking of which, I’d like to quickly introduce ““Millennium Adventures”, a new RPG that’ll be seeking your support on Kickstarter on April 10, 2014.
I don’t often see party games that utilize the practice of psychotherapy as its primary selling point, but that’s the beauty of sites like Kickstarter: any idea has a chance to come to light with the right amount of support. The best part is that a lot of these creative ideas turn out to be very good ones! Speaking of support, “Psycho!Therapist” has about 22 days left in the campaign and needs your help to reach its funding goal. The gameplay seems reminiscent of “Apples to Apples”, only here you’ll be attempting to use a variety of tool cards to treat some really wacky clients.
“Höyük”, a tile placement game published by MAGE Company back in 2006, is back with a new expansion on Kickstarter. “Höyük: Anatolia” will still task players with doing roughly the same thing: building the best settlement and scoring the most victory points…only in this expansion, players will also be tasked with completing certain achievements.
I’m not even going to try to count the number of Monopoly variants out on the market. While I admit it would be really awesome to play on a “Mario” or “Zelda” themed board, most play roughly the same way. As such, I tend to see these things as cash-grabs, reserved mainly for loyal collectors who have OCD tendencies. While I tend to be a bit obsessive in my hobbies, “Monopoly” doesn’t rank high up on my “need to own” list. With that said, I’ve enjoyed playing “Monopoly: Electronic Banking Edition“, “Monopoly Deal“, “Monopoly Empire“, and “Monopoly Millionaire” because they break the mold and do something different. It was for this reason that I decided to give “U-Build Monopoly” a spin.
I’ve admittedly gone a little “Ticket to Ride” happy as of late…apologies, though this should be the last entry for a while. “Europa 1912″ is the expansion to “Ticket to Ride: Europe” and like “USA 1910″ (the expansion to the original “Ticket to Ride”), you’ll need the base game in order to play it. Since I’ve already covered the game’s rules in my reviews of the original and “Europe” versions, I’ll opt to simply go over what this expansion has to offer.
Our family has been on a “Ticket to Ride” craze as of late. You’d think one would get tired of matching colors and claiming routes, but there’s just something magical about it that keeps us coming back for more. In addition to picking up the “USA 1910″ expansion for the original version, I figured I’d give “Ticket to Ride: Europe” a spin as well. What really interested me were the new mechanics that the USA version didn’t offer…what’s more I was curious to see how the family reacted to them. For the record, I did pick up the “Europa 1912″ expansion (which goes with this particular version) and I’ll be covering that in a separate article later.
DISCLAIMER: The title “Early Access” means that the product/game is still under development. As such, the content featured below is subject to change. This includes any opinions I may have at the time of writing, as Alpha and Beta builds sometimes change their core mechanics on a whim. It’s important to stress the word opinions, as I find it unethical to review something not yet released in its final form. In other words, don’t take anything you see here too seriously. You can view all of the articles of this series by clicking the “Video Games” tab, located on the top of this page.
You and a few fellow spaceships have just been sucked through a black hole and miraculously, you’ve all survived. Before you can catch your bearings, you realize that you’ve entered a different dimension and your fuel supplies are dwindling. There’s a warp gate nearby that’ll take you home, though the laws of physics seem to be different here. Rather than simply going forwards or backwards with the appropriate thrust, you find that any sort of movement will automatically pull you towards the closest object. Now you’ll have to plan your thrusts and tactically outmaneuver your opponents as they attempt to pull ahead of you and back home. Sadly, only one of you will make it. Will YOU be the one to escape from the ninth dimension?
Fancy a quick dungeon delve without having to spend days creating a character? “Dungeon Roll” will give you the opportunity to form a party as quickly as you can roll a set of dice, a concept that busy parents everywhere can appreciate. Each player will form a party, delve into a dungeon as deeply as they think they can go without having to flee, and compare their experience after three rounds to see who is the best adventurer among them. It sounds simple (and it partially is), but you’ll need a good bit of luck and skill to escape the dangers you’ll face unscathed.
At this day and age, I’m admittedly pretty bad at games that require quick reflexes. I used to be able to complete the first stage of Sonic’s “Green Hill Zone” in thirty seconds flat…now I just scramble to collect rings after “purposely” running into mechanical flying thingys that could only have been invented my M Night Shyamalan. Luckily, there’s no shortage of gamers eager to show of their mad skills for the benefit and entertainment of others. Some are even doing it to help raise money for charity, as is the case with “Games Done Quick”.
Do you enjoy playing light strategy games? I do. My schedule tends to be so busy that I’m not often able to play games that last longer than twenty minutes…hence why I decided to give “Mine Shift” a go. The idea here is simple: get your pieces “home” before your opponents do. Is it worth the twenty bucks I paid for it at “Barnes and Noble”? Read on to find out…
“Rise of Augustus”, put simply, is “Bingo” pumped full of steroids. Like traditional “Bingo”, you’ll be placing markers (legions) onto your cards’ individual squares as symbols are called out. True the time period, these cards represent objectives to conquer and senators to sway. Unlike traditional “Bingo”, the game doesn’t end when someone’s card fills up. Further, most cards have some sort of special ability that comes into effect when they are completed. Sounds simple enough, and you’d be right to think so…though you’ll still need to think a little if you plan to claim the title of “Consul”.
Whether you’re playing “Ticket to Ride” or its video game adaptation, you’re in for a good time. It’s one of the most commonly played board games in my household and for good reason…it’s family-friendly and incredibly fun. This is one of the reasons I decided to splurge a bit and pick up the “USA 1910″ expansion as it promised to introduce some new things to help give the base game a little oomph. Since I’ve already reviewed the base game, I’ll opt to simply go over what came in the expansion and what I thought of it as a whole. If you’re interested in learning more about “Ticket to Ride” in general, go check out my reviews linked above.
While many are familiar with the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare”, someone dared to ask the unthinkable…”who would win if you added a wolf, fox, and lamb to the mix?” Honestly, my money’s on the wolf…I mean come on, it would literally slaughter the lot of them and STILL have time to shave the hair off the Three Little Pigs’ chinny chin chins before devouring them whole. Of course, this being a kid’s game based around a children’s story, reality can afford to go out the window a little…