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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Week ending 24th Feb 2013: Hoplomachus The Lost Cities, Innovation Figures in the Sand, Taluva, Formula Motor Racing, CO2, Snowdonia, Morels, Heartland, Homesteaders, Express 01, Love Letter, Le Havre The Inland Port, Phantom, Blood Bowl Team manager, Village, Siberia The Card Game, Coup

Quite a few new games and the highlight was FINALLY being able to play CO2 again with 5 are the highlights of this session. Lets take a look!

Hoplomachus The Lost Cities

A Kickstarter game that was backed by my friend who brought it over to give it a go before deciding on the standalone expansion that is currently on Kickstarter now. This is a quick gladiatorial type of combat game where 2 players pit their heroes and armies in a bid to kill the opposing hero and win the game. This game can also be played as a solo game against various arena animals/creatures. The main focus of the game are chips which are used to indicate your unit as well as health. During your turn, you will draw from a bag containing chips of your army as well as tactics which are like spells. Then you will choose from 4 available chips to execute. It can be either a unit, in which case you "summon" the unit, place it on 1 of 6 summon points and stack a number of red chips underneath the army unit to indicate its health. It can also be a tactic chip in which case the effects of the spell is executed. This game is all about battling and gaining enough Crowd Favour points will allow your Hero to unfreeze and start to move on its own and fight as well. Turn passes from player to player until 1 player manages to kill the opponent's  Hero and wins the game. It is a fast pace easy to learn game. You move close enough so that you can start to whack at someone. Combat is dependant on the dice you can roll and how many hits you have rolled. Each hit will deal 1 damage to the enemy. I won with the opponent's Hero barely even out of the gate because my unit was fast moving. The game comes with 3 different groups but replayability maybe limited because the base set of units are the same. There are some unique units to each group though and they do showcase the power and strategy that is unique to the group. Production quality is quite good as the game mat is similar to those used in the landscape map of Wings of War. Nice thick mousepad like material. Average game for me but I won't say no to playing it again.

Innovation Figures in the Sand

I have loved the base game as well as the expansion but having never been able to bring it out very often, I had to let go my copies. Innovation is quite an intriguing game to me with all the splaying and the icons and now there's an online version which seems to make the game flow much more smoothly. My friend had bought the latest expansion and thus we gave it a go. Figures essentially adds well, famous figures to the game as well as new features to the game. I won't go too much into details but the game now takes longer with all expansions added in as each player needs to have 8 achievements to win. We did not really get to use a lot of the Figures expansion features as we drew more of the previous expansion than figures. Its still quite a challenging game deciding what to go for and what to meld and I realised having a good draw of hand is quite important to progress forward and win. I am still abit meh about the game but i won't reject to another game just to make sure that is how I feel. Components wise, card art and stock are just the same as the base art. If you prefer a nicer art, do take a look at the IELLO version.


Played 3 games of this and my friend Jon mentioned about the imbalanced for the first player because he/she will have an advantage in this game. Also, since this plays quite like Chess, if other players are not diligent in blocking others, they could easily allow that opponent pull ahead. I did enjoy my games though as it forces me to think and see where I can block and still score. Perhaps this might make a better 2 player game but I have yet to try with just 2. Components are nice and the final picture looks really good with the different levels and all the nice wooden buildings. I still feel this is a good game.

Formula Motor Racing

A card game about F1 racing by GMT? Really? This has gotta be some form of joke ya? Well lo and behold, my friend had this game in his collection and we brought it out to play. It reminds me a lot of Tiki Topple. During your turn, you will play a card with which to manipulate the current standing of the race cars which are setup in 1 straight line. When the game ends, you will total up the points where your cars are positioned and whoever has the most points will win the game. So its a fast filler that is quite dependant on the cards you draw and how you play them. I think it will benefit more if, like Tiki Topple, the colors that you are aiming for are secret at the beginning. This will not make it so easy for other players to guess what colors you are and target you specifically.


Finally managed to play a 5 player game with ALL the right rules. It certainly took quite a bit of time and can be frustrating at times. Some of the issues Jon mentioned in his rant on BGG I definitely faced for example goals that do not seem fair when faced with so many players (i.e. the UN Goal objective). While you are faced with at most 12 moves in the entire game, these 12 moves will take quite a bit of time for them to finish. Having only 12 moves also severely limits what you can do in the game. Also the tech tree's powers are even more evident in a 5 player game as the player who won was maxed out in several of the tech trees AND had the leader in tech objective card. The action cards in your hands are also more important because they can give you that much needed white cube to rush in and built that power plant before another player can. So while I still love the game, I won't play it with 5. At most 4 will do for me. Time to try the Solo game and see how it fares. Still loving it and I managed to get a set of skull-like stickers to stick on my CEPs. A little pimpin' :)


Played Snowdonia Variant where players can choose which side they want to begin from and plays up to 4. I think this variant does not create as much competition because it is dependant on which side the players choose. 1 player could very well be all by himself at 1 side without much competition. So I think if I were to play Snowdonia again I will play it in its original version. Its an ok game for me and nothing fantastic as far as I can see.


Been wanting to bring this simple set collection game out for a go again as it has been some time since I played this. Its still quite a nice game but I am wondering about its replayability. There are already quite a lot of set collection type games in the market and I have quite a few of them so I am not sure, but perhaps I need a few more plays to determine its final value in my collection.  One thing i realise i am disliking is how card games require you to refill the market or the central path where all the cards are by pushing the cards down and refilling from the end of the line. This is amazing tedious especially in this game where its a constant refill every turn. Luckily I sleeve my cards thus they won't wear down so fast but its a hassle to keep pushing cards down the line. I wish designers can stop this "mechanism".

A game that I manage to snag at a recent FLGS warehouse sale (first of its kind in Singapore!) This is a tile laying game with a small tech tree at the side. During your turn, you will get to lay a 2-square tile or a 1-square tile (each player begins with the same set of five 1-square tiles). When you lay the tile, you will get to score either victory points or farm points. Farm points are used in the small tech tree and if you manage to max out any of the 5 columns, you will get to score a livestock tile which gives you some points at the end of the game as well. If all of your markers are at or past a certain row where the farm pieces are, then you get to place your farm piece which will net you victory points every round and also prevent other players from scoring victory points on the fields your farm is on. Its an interesting game as you are trying to score more for yourself while at the same time blocking other players. The tech tree seems a bit odd as its possible for a player to max out a column during a turn immediately. Granted we were not very adapt at blocking each other in our first game but still to be able to do so seems odd. Once a farm is out on the board though players start to target the farms to minimise scoring per turn for that player. Components are nice and thick and functional. Art wise is a little bland but functional. Not a bad purchase for the price.


This time I had a better idea of what I am doing but the game seems to end too early when I am just getting into the grove of the game. One little nagging thing I have with games like Homesteaders is the ability for concurrent play. While I am not saying my opponents will cheat, I would like winning to be not tainted and not due to mistakes or carelessness made by opponents. Of course you can enforce such that each player takes his/her turn before the next player takes his/her turn. This will however make the game possibly unbearably long. It certain has enough buildings to allow for sufficient replayability but since all buildings are available every game, I guess it is possible for you to plan such that each game you will have the most optimal sequence of buildings to select and win the game. I will definitely want to give this a few more tries.

Express 01

Sigh. I really wanted to like this game. I had thought it looked interesting enough to give it a go. Card quality is very nice and art is not too bad. However the game play with the 2nd group seems to fall very flat. It may still work with the right group but I haven't managed to find the right group. The mechanism where cards in your hand are used to purchase items and potentially they can be used as stocks or routes make it more confusing than if you were playing Glory to Rome which has similar implementation of the cards. If there were a solo variant, that may save it enough for me to keep it in my collection.

Love Letter 

Another 2 rounds of Love Letter. Even though it seems light I enjoy it quite a bit. Somehow though I don't really feel the randomness as readily as others do. I still feel that there's some skill involved especially when you are taking the Guard. Love letter for me so far still trumps Coup.

Le Havre The Inland Port

Played 3 games of this 2 player version of Le Havre and loving it much. I still haven't managed to break the 222 barrier and I am wondering just how I can maximize my game play. I tried going by the food route but somehow along the way when your opponent starts to use your buildings your plans start to get screwed. This is also an ideal game for the iOS especially with a very good AI. I wonder if anyone out there has a good strategy can share with me?


Another game of Phantom. This time both of us stored a lot of power on both sides of the tableau and so we were trying to draw Charmer ghosts to draw the Character cards and score. Once that happens though the game went pretty fast. I managed to score my 11 points pretty fast and I won the game. The art is beginning to wear on me because its a lot of neon colors and not aesthetically pleasing. So after a few plays, its kinda unique and interesting but I doubt the replayability will keep it in my collection for long.

Blood Bowl Team manager

Another game where I was so intrigued by the theme of Warhammer that I had to grab it. So far I have YET to play it even once and i was glad to be able to table it finally. Its an interesting card game where you, as a team manager, is laying cards (up to 6 in a round to a maximum of about 5 rounds) which represent your players that are competing for highlights or a tournament for that round. When you play a player, there are certain actions associated with the player which will resolve. Once all team managers have passed, then we will check each highlight and resolve a winner. All will receive the corresponding rewards which may come in the form of Fan Points (victory points), special team cards or even Star Players which will boost your team's capabilities.


Ah, one of my favourites in 2012. I played quite a bit of this once I gotten my own copy and when i was in New York as well last year. Its been quite some time since I brought out my copy to play and boy, am I super rusty. I came in last I think and I am not amused! I used to be quite good with this game but i made some mistakes which probably cost me about 10 points. I wouldn't have won anyway but well it may have made some difference. I used to be able to score quite decently with the Travelling as my main scorer but this game was cut short by another opponent who was aiming to finish the game fast to prevent the winner from gaining too many customer tiles. Still a fun game for me but my friend wasn't too keen to keep the game anymore. Pity as I am looking forward to the expansion and the inclusion of 5 players. I wonder how that will play like.

Siberia The Card Game

Played this with 4 players this time and I am thinking its not suitable for 4. For 2 and 3 maybe but for 4 this makes the game quite hard to control and plan as most of the time, the items you want are snatched up quite quickly. A gripe that I mentioned just now with Morels however is not an issue here as you just replace those cards that were taken by drawing from the deck. There is no need to push the whole row of cards here. Phew! Still average about this game so far as it doesn't bring anything new to the table for me. May not make the cut.


2 more games of Coup! Taught this to a new player who prefers this to Love Letter. I guess inherently its in my nature to trust someone and with so little clues its hard for me to judge if a person is bluffing or not. So far ALL my challenges have been for naught and I am usually losing in the game of Coup. I did win once tonight though because of my opponent did not pay attention to the coins I have amassed which allowed me to perform a final Coup on him to win the game. So far the "beauty" of this game hasn't really shown itself to me. Lets hope I can get more games in to allow it to shine.

And so that's it, a great week of gaming! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Magnum Sal, Core Worlds Galactic Orders, Fairy Tales, Siberia The Card Game, Phantom, Pax, Star Wars the Card Game, CO2, Reef Encounter, Pickomino, The Hobbit Card Game

Not many new games I have played so far but a few good oldies! Lets take a look....

Magnum Sal

I have heard of this game before and was very tempted to get it but I wasn't too sure about the game play so never really got around to it. Luckily my Cult-of-the-New group had managed to get a copy and I get to play! Its so nice to be in a CotN group :P I am very lucky as well! So on with the game. In the game we are all trying to go digging for salt and then return back to deliver them to the King and earn points. So its all about us getting resources and going to the King to score points by turning them in based on the objective tiles available. That is the summarised view of the game. Other things you have to consider are the other players' miners that are in the mine with you that will cost you extra money just to transport salt cubes topside and may even steal cubes away from you. We were working quite hard during the game turning in a lot of objectives whereas only 1 player did not complete any at all till the very last turn and he scored quite a few of the high point objectives to win the game. However it seemed we played a vital rule wrongly, that is after every round, you will take back ALL your miners. This makes a very big change because it will mean that we have to establish our steps down into mine again. Another point that seems wrong is that if you store your cubes all the way to the end, you can score all the objectives that have way higher victory points. If that's the case, it may lead into a stalemate as the only way where rounds will end is when 5 objectives are completed. So jury is still out on this one but definitely requires another play to see where this stands with me.

Core Worlds: Galactic Orders

I have played Core Worlds twice I believe and while it feels like a deck builder, it has an additional element where you use troops to try to conquer planets that are available in the middle of the board. In addition, there are some core worlds which are like final objectives that you already know how to conquer and thus you can build up your deck to prepare for it. Its not a bad game but it doesn't really capture me or compel me to want to play it many times again. My friend had just gotten the expansion and we decided to give it a go. Expansion adds a few boards which give you extra powers like increasing the number of actions you have. To be able to activate them, you have to turn in your tokens that are already on the boards. To place your tokens on the boards, whenever you play cards that have those mysterious symbols, you get to place a token on the respective board. The expansion does add extra dimension to the game as you could plan now to get certain cards into your deck so that you can place your token on the boards. I found the extra action benefit the most useful though the power that lets you purchase a science card at a 3 cost discount to be quite good as well. Its quite a good expansion for the game so I will recommend playing the game with the expansion in the future. Still doesn't really endear me to the game enough to get myself a copy but I wouldn't say no to playing it.

Fairy Tales

Seems to be a newer version of the game that I had previously. The icons seems to be redesigned now and the rules are better. That is all the changes there is though. The game is a very straight forward drafting game that seems to be a lighter version of 7 wonders. With more players there will definitely be more interaction as there are cards which cause other players to flip their cards facedown and thus not allowing those cards to score at the end of the game. Its light, have very nice anime-style graphics and seems to have a back story but since the rule book is very short they did not include the story. Average light-weight game and worth a play or two.

Siberia The Card Game

Managed to get this game out again for another 2 player game. Light good filler that is easy to teach and fast to play. Might be growing on me. Lets see how it plays with 4 because that will make it more competitive as people will scramble to grab the specialists cards that will grant good benefits. Give it a try!


Another try of this seemingly fun 2 player game. This time the gameplay feels like chess to me as we battle it out to try to scare the characters with the most points. I feel that this game if you are not on guard all the time, your opponent may just pull ahead and there is certainly no catch up mechanism. I won with 11-2 points! Definitely give it a try before you buy.


Interesting set collecting game where you are fighting against Rome unless you are the secret spy which means if Rome wins, you win.  During your turn, you will take 3 cards, one at a time and decide where the cards go. This portion is similar to Biblios as you need to decide one at a time where to place them. Then you get to buy cards and play cards from your hand. You will then get income and your turn ends. Now the interesting part of the game is that to win, you will need to have at least 4 of the sets in front of you that have more cards than those that Rome has. Another way to win is if Rome wins and you have the secret spy card. Its not a bad card game but for my first game at least, kinda hard to beat Rome. Its possible that its my first game and I still haven't figured out some of the tactics yet but I can see how this will be fun. Not sure how well it will do with more players though because with 2 its already quite hard to beat rome. Will like to give it a try again to see how it works with more players.

Star Wars the Card Game

Close in the heels of a very successful relaunch of Netrunner, FFG's Star Wars the Card Game had received quite a bit of hype and I was itching to play my copy. Compared to Netrunner, this has a different engine and seems lighter to play. Dark side will have a death star counter which counts to 12 each of his turn thus the game length is limited to at most 12 rounds. Light side will win when Dark side run out of cards OR having destroyed 3 of the Dark side's objectives. During your turn, play is similar to most LCG games where you get to untap/refresh used cards, draw cards, play cards and fight. FFG tried to weave into the game certain concepts because of the theme and by and large it seems an average game. Not bad but seems to be lacking something. I think being a fan of the show and role playing will enhance one's enjoyment of the game. Some issues I have for example how fast you use up your cards in Edge battles makes it seem odd that a game ending condition is if you run out of cards to draw from and you don't get to shuffle your discards back into your deck. I will give it a few more plays to make a final verdict but as of now Netrunner is still ahead of Star Wars the card game for me.


Sigh, the game that broke my heart this week of playing. I have so far played this 3 times and won all 3 times which makes my head swell. Unfortunately after reading around BGG I realised to my horror my wins are all tainted. That is because of some rules that we have gotten wrongly. For example, I realised that market doesnt increase in price if you buy a CEP from the market (the wording on the player aid seems to suggest otherwise). Also to determine ownership of a region, its not based on the number of power plants you have, but the number of types of plant you have. These and a few other rules really made the previous games I played all very tainted and I feel kinda bummed. I must say though that the rules in the game aren't very friendly to go through and judging from the numerous comments and questions on BGG, a lot of other players feel the same. Nevertheless, I still feel that this is a good game and I cannot wait to try it again WITH ALL the correct rules. I do feel that this game may not be suitable with more than 4. I also would like to play it solo and see how it works. A few of my friends though have totally dissed the game which I guess I can understand some of their points but it did not cause me to dislike the game. Furthermore, I haven't really hit most of the problems they have experienced. Then again, I haven't played this game with more than 3 so far so maybe my opinions may change when I do get a chance to table it for 4 and 5. Tomorrow! I will get a nice rematch with hopefully 4 and see how it goes. Oh and I am pimping my CEPs :P Will post pics once I get my copy and the stickers this week! Definitely give this a try. Highly recommended!

Reef Encounter

Now I have heard of this game and its rated quite highly on BGG and been wanting to give it a try. But something (maybe its the theme or the art) seems to put me off getting my own copy. In Reef Encounter, we are essentially trying to feed our parrot fish polyp tiles and score points for each tile fed at the end of the game. Whoever has the most points will win the game. Reef Encounter is a tile laying game where you are trying to grow your coral until a certain size before you feed to your parrot fish. During the game, certain colors of polyps can "eat" or overgrow other colors of polyps. So in this way, player interaction is crucial as you can play to block others and prevent them from scoring points. Another way to block will be the scoring tiles which you can flip and lock in to ensure certain colors will score more points than the others. It is a medium-heavy game as you are trying to obtain certain polyp tiles and play at the right timing such that you can grow your corals and "cash" them in at the right time before other players decide to take pieces off your corals. Quite a good game and I would like to play it again. Not sure why its not creating as much hype here but I am suspecting the theme itself is not very attractive. Its about marine life and may remind people of an aquarium or a fish tank. That could be the reason why its not as attractive as other widely accepted themes like Fantasy or space. Give it a try!


A light push your luck dice game where you roll as many times as you want but each time you have to lock down dice of the same number. If during a turn you cannot lock down any (because they have previously been locked down), then you end your turn and, if you have an existing domino, have to give it up. When you stop, you will take the domino that has the same sum as all your dice added up. The game ends when there are no more dominos to take and players counts the number of worms they have on their dominos. The player who has the most worms will win the game. Simple, light but not that easy to score dominos and you can even steal your opponents' top most dominos provided you have rolled the exact number. For a light game like this, it can drag on too long and overstay its time on the table. Not a game for me unfortunately.

The Hobbit Card Game

Final game I will talk about today is The Hobbit Card game. This is a bridge like Trick taking game where players play either the Good side (frodo etc) or the Bad side (dragons and orcs etc). Starting with the player who has won a previous trick (or a particular character), players will play cards very similar to bridge. If a player has won a trick, then, depending on his/her character powers, distribute the cards in that trick. At the end of a round (when all cards are played), players check to see what cards they have received. Depending on the symbols of the card, players maybe kicked out of the game. At the end of 2 rounds, the Good side will win when they have at least 1 player left alive with a Good character card. The Bad side will win when all Good players have been eliminated. Light filler game that has the character powers as an interesting twist to a well worn game mechanism. The artwork though I think is based on the original novels. Game play wise, is average only for me. I won't want to play it again though.

So that's it, CO2 being the most exciting and yet most disappointing game for me in this whole set. I hope to report better news again once I have finally played it with all the correct rules!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Episode 3 of P.U.L.P. is out!

Click here to download it directly

As usual, comments, suggestions and questions are welcome and we will love to hear from you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Week ending 14th Feb 2013: Geistes Blitz 2.0, CO2, Love Letter, Santa Cruz, Pamplona, Archipelago, Hanabi, Siberia the card game, Homesteaders, Taluva, Coup, Samurai the Card Game, Tzolkin The Mayan Calendar

Happy V-day people! Episode 3 of our podcast will be out this sunday so look out for it! :)
Highlight of this blogpost will be CO2! A lot of controversy with the game so lets get on with this post!

Geistes Blitz 2.0

Seeing that its Chinese New Year and we have cousins over who are still rather new to boardgaming, I brought out this party-agility game for them to try and they love it! There were a lot of cut throatness amongst siblings and relatives which is surprising. i won't go into the game details again but its sometimes surprises me how party games create that amount of fun with a lot of people at the same time. It often reminds me that not everyone derives the same sort of fun from the same activity though I probably won't expand my collection of light filler games unless they also provide some depth as well to me. Still its pretty fun game and if you play the variants (i.e. talk instead of take, talk in different language) that will make it really challenging! As of now, my aunts and grandma are having my copy and I hope they get into playing it often! :D


Ah, I am still awaiting my copy from local online store but in the meantime I am glad to have a crack at this. Even though our first game we played 1 minor rule wrong and did not rotate the start player, I think we played well and had a good time with the game. So i was raving about it to my friends about the game and to my surprise, 2 of them did not like the game at all. Jon, my podcast cohost wrote about his experiences here and, as expected, gotten quite a few comments and even got the designer's attention as well. Now much of the gripe that Jon mentioned in his post I did not experience. It could be due to the way we played. Right at the start we cleared the cards we have in hand so as to gain the benefits. This dictated how we started the game and it was only after we cleared the cards did we see what the UN objective cards were and we focused on them. That said, when I was playing the game I did keep my secret objective in mind and I think the rest did as well. We did not face the issue where we did not install a project because opponents will build the power plant. For me at least, I saw the benefit outweighed the cons so I went ahead. We did use our scientists strategically as well so it was a small deterrent for others to try to install our plans. We did not feel that the game bogged down and while its true that we had to adjust our plans according to our opponents' decisions, I could still plan strategically what I want. The technology tracks though I felt dictated too much of the game. Its silly if you ignore them as they give you several benefits and trying to chain several advancements together I think is key to playing the technology track. That said, I do wish that its has lesser impact, similar to the Temple track in Tzolkin. For example in Terra Mystica, there is no 1 single aspect of the game that is mandatory for you to win the game. There is supposedly a slight cooperative aspect of the game because we all will lose if the PSI rating is more than 500. But the game isn't so brutal like Archipelago and largely this can be managed by players already building power plants. I did win the game in the end with about 180+ points but the rest weren't that far behind. End game, the CEPs (at $8 a piece) really gave me a huge boost to win the game. So, all in all, I really enjoyed my first game, very astonished by my friends' reactions and would certainly like to try a game with them to see what could have gone wrong or perhaps they are right after all. Jury is still out on this i guess but I am not waiting till then to pimp my copy :P

Love Letter
Alas for such a simple game, my assumption has made an ass out of me. I reailsed I have been playing another rule wrong which is to set aside 1 card before the start of the round. That will make quite a big impact as even if you have the Guard at the end, you cannot for sure, guess your opponent's card. Playing it properly for the first time though still confirm again that I really like this game and even more than Coup. Its a simple game that is played several rounds to determine the winner and can last up to an hour if all players are playing well and guarding each other effectively. i wonder if I am up to the task of using my creative juices to retheming it my way. Lets see.

Santa Cruz

Essentially, this is a light euro style game with a worker placement mechanism. The interesting parts of this game are the 2 phases and the set of cards you choose which will determine how you can move around the map during your turn. During the 1st phase, tiles are placed facedown on the map and each player will get to play a card from the set he has chosen to place one of 3 types of buildings on the board. The sets come in unique combinations for example one may have more "road" cards while another has more "river" cards. Road cards allow you to place your building into a spot 1 road away from your existing building. River cards allow you to place your building into a spot on the same river as that which you have a building on. Amongst the card you play will also be objective cards which will score for all players. When all cards have been placed, then all players take back all their buildings, return their cards (except the objective cards), receive a new objective cards and choose a set of route cards to begin phase 2. The twist will be that all tiles that were exposed in Phase 1 will remain as it is thus players begin phase 2 with new knowledge of both the tiles and possible objectives that maybe played. Th game ends when all players have played their cards in the 2nd phase and the winner is the one with the most points. So when I played this, the initial rush seems to be to complete your objectives first before others so that only you get to score and they don't. At the same time you also want to see what others are doing so you can tap in on their objectives as well. Once the objectives are scored, then its all about finishing up by trying to claim those that give the most points. There are also bird tiles which you can obtain that give you 1-3 points at the end of the game. Not bad and cleanly designed but I don't think I will give it another play.


Run! The Bulls are coming! Based on the annual festival where cows and bulls will run against humans this game attempts to capture the feeling with a twist. You control BOTH a runner and 1 cow and 1 bull. Over 4 race maps, you will attempt to enable your runner to cross the finish line and use your cow and bull to gore/trample on your opponents' runners. The runner will always only move up to 2 spaces whereas the bull and cow have their own set of cards which are distributed to the players at the beginning of a race. Then at the beginning of each race, players will start by placing their cows and then bulls (playing cards to do so ). Finally players will place their runners and depending on where they are they will score bonus points (for being daring). Race will start and the runner/cow/bull that is furthest in front will go first. If your cow runs over another runner, they are trampled and you score 1 point. If your bull runs over another runner, they are gored and you score 2 points and the runner will not finish the race. There are also special cards which you can play that lends certain powers for example you can trip another runner that is adjacent to you. The odd thing about this game is that you can control your own bull/cow to protect your runner. That is quite a big disconnect from the theme of the game. There is quite a fair bit of blocking required from other players else a player can take advantage and win the races. After some of the cows overtake the runners or nearing the finishing line, it becomes pointless to continue as the bulls and cows often will no longer be able to prevent the runners from completing the race. At the end of 4 races, player with the most points will win the game. It is a light game and lots of laughs as we attempt to manuver our pet cow/bull to block others and we relish the opportunity to trample/gore our opponents' runners into the ground. There isn't much to strategy and its a tactical game. Components are rather good with nice thick boards and cards and nice art. The disconnect of your pet cow/bull puts me off a little.

Archipelago Solo play

Previously I had mentioned my experiences with Achipelago and how it all fell to pieces and I have never yet managed to play a single game properly. So i was eager to try out the solo game and see if its a keeper with it. The main differences are that you choose a character from the solo set which will dictate the starting setup, end game condition and points scoring conditions. In addition, during the card purchasing phase, you will need to purchase 1 card and then rotate 2. If at any time you cannot purchase you will lose. If there is a rebellion the game will also win as per the base game. First solo game i failed and lost when the game won. Second solo i got 3rd place. It seems incredibly difficult (as also mentioned in BGG) to score a gold medal for a short game. It seems that medium or longer games will play better. It becomes how well you can play the game to meet the different objectives and since the solo cards are quite different, there will be a lot of replayability. Still however its hard to prepare for the random events that may occur and thus fight against the game winning. Especially in a solo game where you are dependant on luck of draw for the cards which you can purchase and the tiles you explore. If you are unlucky, you may end up wasting several turns exploring but not being able to place the tiles or have cards which do not help you to quell rebellion. The fact that the events are also random unless you prepare at least 1 cube of each type in the domestic market and harvest a lot of discovery tokens makes this game a bit too random for my taste. At least in CO2 you know HOW to prevent the game from winning and you can work towards that. In Archipelago you can't tell and worse there are so many possible varieties that it seems way too difficult. So unfortunately, I would have loved to like this game, I don't think it has made the cut even with the solo expansion. Pity.


Co-op game! OMG why am i playing a co-op game? because the first time i played this, we had a lot of fun. Probably its because we were all quite tired and it was very late into the night when we played this. Mostly because we groaned at bad tips being given and laughed when we started forgetting previous tips or pointless tips being provided. It was quite fun then and I was fortunate enough to PnP the design that friend had done. I brought it out for my cousins to play and surprise surprise the first things that they said was "its a coop ? but i don't want to play coop!" LOL. Think it runs in the families. Anyway they tried but we did not have the same level of fun as we did previously. I have also tried it in office and the effect is same. Muted and not the same as before. Maybe i need to add liquor with this game hahahaha. In anycase, I love the rethemed game and the art is gorgeous. It will remain my unique copy :)

Siberia the card game
Following up on the base game which had some hype but seems to have died down, the card game version, plays 2-4, draws from the same artwork and the same mechanism of playing 2 of the same tokens (in this case cards) to activate the particular item. In the card game, there is a row of resources (some covered initially) that you can have access to. There are also character cards (workers, sales men etc) that you can purchase as well which give you certain benefits. Then there are action cards which you draw at least one per turn and play to obtain resources OR characters. To play the cards, you need to play 2 cards with the same symbol as the item you want to obtain or 1 card + 2 other cards of any symbol. If its resources you are attempting to obtain, how many workers you have will determine how many resource cards you can pick up. So the characters will give you certain benefits. Salesmen will increase the prices of each of the resource cards you have at the end of the game. Game ends when all resource cards have been revealed and players tally up the $ value on each of their cards (including character cards) and whoever has the most $ will win the game. Its a light set collection type of game that is quick and easy to play. Not terribly exciting I feel yet and the characters are certainly very powerful. I will need to play this with my more competitive friends and see how it goes.


I used to own a copy of this but sold it away to another couple who really loved it. I missed the awesome bits that came with the game so recently I bought another copy. Boy was it fun sorting the cool apple-eeples, cow-eeples, copper-eeples and steel-eeples as well as punching out all the thick thick cardboard pieces. For a game of this size and price, it sure comes with a lot of high quality bits! In the game we are all trying to build up a town and earn points and by the end of 10 rounds, whoever has the most points will win the game. At the start of each round, there will be a sort of worker placement and then income (in terms of money or goods) phase. After that, players will need to pay $1 for each worker they have. Next comes the auction phase where players will bid on up to 3 rights which will dictate what players can buy/build during that round. Finally, players will, in a certain order, purchase/build available buildings in the market to add to their town. The round will end and a new round will begin. halfway through the game, settlement buildings will be removed and new town buildings will be added to the market. last 2 rounds, only city buildings will be available in the market. There are also loans which you can take and only need to pay back at the end else they will deduct points from your score. An interesting bit about this game is the availability of a market with which you can buy/sell resources freely except every buy or sell action requires a trade chit which usually comes as a resource from a number of buildings. I don't know why but i suck at auction games. i usually don't do very well and end up over paying or losing out on it. I also am bad at managing my finances lol. Still i do enjoy the game but probably not as much as my other friends who were playing with me. I am also particularly tickled by the presence of a DUDE ranch which give points depending on how many cowboys or farm hands you have at the end of the game. Dude ranch.... I can imagine them going "Yo DuDeeeeeeee....... Wasssup.......?" lol. Try it!


An medium abstract game that has seen a recent reprint. I have heard its a pretty good game and decided to take a chance on it. Its an abstract game where you are placing tiles each turn and then placing one of 3 buildings (with certain restrictions). The game will end when a player has placed all of 2 types of buildings or when all tiles have been played. A player can be kicked out early in the game too if he cannot place any of his buildings due to the restrictions. A player can also win early if he has managed to place all 3 temples on the map. There are some restrictions as to how you place the map and how you place buildings so when you take a tile, you need to plan ahead and decide what you can do with the tile. This can lead to analysis paralysis as you are working out all the different things you can do. There can be a lot of screwage in the game because you can place tiles to block others or cover someone else's buildings so this is a highly interactive game. I had a lot of fun as its not just a pure abstract (no theme and bland) but has just that enough theme to make it a good game for me. Definitely needs more plays to have a better sense but for now is a try it for me!

Played Coup with 4 players and somehow its still not grabbing me as how Love letter has. Another player in my group as well also preferred Love Letter to Coup. Not sure if its the bluffing aspect that is throwing us off but then again I love Kakerlakenpoker which has bluffing as its main game mechanism. Maybe I need to play it with the right group to fully appreciate the game.

Samurai the Card Game

i have seen the base game being played and the plastic pieces in that game are way cooler than the ones in the card game. Also the card game requiries a lot of space to play whereas the base game limits you to a preset board. Still this abstract game is a fun one but it requires players to be aware of possible setups and try to prevent those from happening. If all players are doing their part then it should allow for an intense close game. Very fun for me.

Tzolkin The Mayan Calendar

Recently I wrote in to the publisher about my damaged board and to my pleasent surprise I have received new pieces for the entire board (instead of just that 1 piece)! Now to figure out how to take out my painted wheels to attach to the new board. I tried to see if ignoring the temple will net me the victory. I must say that while you don't need to make it the main focus, you cannot ignore it. I went on the tech track and played pretty well in my opinion. Near the end though after having accomplished it, I turned to the temple tracks to try to grab some final points to give me the victory. One of the players had his timing all wrong though so had to waste a few turns here and there just taking up his action pawns which is unfortunate. I am beginning to appreciate the "move the wheel twice" feature which is a very good screw your opponents move when timed just nice. As our spaces on the board are planned to the assumption that the wheel will only move once, you now have to pay attention to the corn on the wheel and when someone may want to take the first player and ultimately, if that person will also want to move the wheel twice. Because moving the wheel twice will screw up a lot of well layed plans and assumptions. people may now have to pay up to 3 corns to perform activities which they had planned previously and that can be a lot. The intial drafting of your starting resources is also very important as a first mistake can set you back a lot and make it costly to catch up. In this game I managed the corn i required pretty well and it was my best game so far as everything was working out for me and I was left pretty much by myself. So after more plays, I am beginning to better appreciate the game and enjoy it. Still highly recommended in my opinion!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year! And i played: Phantom, Maya, Le Havre The Inland Port, Among The Stars, Riff Raff, Coup, Hanabi, Kemet, Copycat, city of horror, robinson crusoe, legendary

Hey Everyone, HAPPY Lunar New Year!
Its the year of the Snake and I hope everyone has a pleasant and wonderful year! I am hoping for great things to come, improving and increasing listenership for the podcast and readership for the blog and so far its been quite a good start for me :)

I did some reshuffling and here is my boardgame collection (minus all the items which I am putting up for an auction coming next sunday (if you are interested and in Singapore, please take a look here

I will need to find a place to secure them when my brother and family comes over! :)
Over the last 2 weeks or so I played quite a number of games including most of the new games that I have bought from Speaking of which, I must praise the shop for having an updated collection (mostly Euro games since, well they are a shop in Europe) and quite affordable shipping rates which makes the games more economical to obtain.
Now lets get on with the games I have played:


I bought this game having only read the reviews on BGG (and there wasn't must information on it yet) as also a filler for my packaged delivery to bring down postage costs. I was eager to give it a try and was I surprised at the fun I had with this little game. Phantom is a 2 player game where players are trying to scare this group of people in a haunted mansion. First player to reach 11 points wins the game. There are 4 locations in the mansion and during your turn you must activate each of them in the order that you choose. When you activate a location, you may pass or play a card. There are 2 types of cards in our hands, Ghost cards which belong to 1 of 4 types and have 1 of 6 characteristics; Place cards which may provide "scare points" as well as increase the number of ghosts that location may hold. If after you activate a location and your "scare points" meet or exceed the scare limits of a single character in that location, you would have successfully scared that person and win points based on that person's character. It is a straight forward set collecting light-medium weight game where you must decide how to position your Floor and Ghost cards in order to be able to scare and score points. There is also much player interaction in the game as there are Ghost cards which will allow you to steal an opponent's ghosts or even Floor cards. For our very first game, we came in surprisingly tight and it was down to the last character in the game to determine the winner. Both of us agree that this is a good game and would like to play it again. The card quality is matt and quite thick but that also means you should sleeve it to allow for ease of shuffling. Artwork is also not too bad. I would recommend you to try before you buy.


We played a 2 player game of Maya which have additional items like the ladders and the priest. Rules are still the same except that if you manage to combine 2 pieces of the same colours together in the same pyramid you get to place a step/ladders at the bottom of that pyramid. At the end of the game you will score 1 point if you have majority of ladders/steps in that pyramid. In addition, if you manage to complete a pyramid (all pieces are the same color), you will be able to place a priest on the top of the temple which will also give you 1 point. Its not a bad game but there are some quirks I think. For example, you may end up doing only 1 possible move during your turn but these instances probably occur nearer to the end of the game where its very hard to be able to find something to move. Fun game and a must try!

Le Havre: The Inland Port

Played another game and it still holds a lot of appeal to me. The way you need to keep looking at your opponents's board and try to predict what he is trying to do and timing your moves just right is a very fun mechanism for me. This feels quite different from a 2 player game of the base game and plays quite fast. I guess the lack of needing to feed makes this version not as stressful as the base game. I predict there will be new buildings in a future expansion (similar to Agricola All Creatures Big and Small) and I will look forward to getting it. Only problem is for people who have never played Le Havre the base game, they will find it hard to visualize why the mechanics (while streamlined from the base game) function in this manner that seems a little bit counter intuitive. For new players, be patient with it and after a few plays I am pretty sure you will be able to enjoy it like I did.

Among The Stars

I have heard of this game but wasn't too interested in it. The game is very similar to Suburbia but with a space theme and drafting mechanism. You will be drafting a card each turn and then building the card you drafted into your space station. You could also discard it to get money or to build a power reactor. Then depending on the card you played, you may score instant points and move up on the score track. Pass the remaining cards in your hand to your neighbour and then rinse and repeat till all cards have been used up and that is the end of a year. The game lasts for 4 years and then players count up their secret objectives + race (each player has a unique race with special traits/objectives) and whoever has the most points wins the game. Unlike suburbia this has more player interaction as you can perform actions to steal money etc from your neighbour. Artwork wise its pretty nice as it has very obvious colours to easily tell what each building provides and its an ok game. I did not do too well with my first game though so that was a bummer. The game also requires a lot of space because of the way people can grow their space station in all different directions so having a big table is a must to play this game. All in all, I would say this is a try before you buy.

Riff Raff

We ended the night with an agility game with awesome wooden bits and a very unique component - a loopsided ball bearing. Each player will choose a card from identical decks and then simultaneously reveal the card. The player who played the highest number will go first. Each player during their turn will take an item from an identical set and place it on the space corresponding to the number he/she played. If you tip the boat (its balanced quite precariously) then you can attempt to catch the falling pieces and place them onto the board. If you fail then your turn is over and you keep all pieces that have fallen. This continues until the cards have all been played or when a player has all his/her pieces on the boat. With the introduction of cards, it does add a slight tactical decision making to the game. You want to be the next to place items when the ship has just been cleared or has very few items. If you  play a card that requires you to play after someone has just put in the same space, then its very likely you will fail and have more pieces to keep. I sucked at agility games and this was no exception. Components wise this game has top notch components. So if you are into party/agility games or a light game with friends (especially when drunk), then I will recommend you to try this game out before you buy.


Finally managed to get myself a copy of this game that has been generating a lot of hype in 2012. I have played this about 6 times so far and I am beginning to warm up to the idea and concepts on how to play the game. Basically you have 2 cards face down (You can see them of course) in front of you which will represent your lives in the game. During your turn you can play an action. Whenever someone plays an action, anyone else can counter (by declaring that you do not believe the player) and if they are successful, the action is blocked. If at anytime, anyone is not successful when countering an action because they were caught bluffing, then they will lose a life by flipping over the card. If you have to reveal both cards, that means you are out of the game. The last player standing wins the game. Not a bad game but I need to get used to all the bluffing and challenging actions or basically, knowing how to read a person. Now I can see that this game is only vaguely resembling Love Letter and is a whole different animal. In Love Letter you are not bluffing so there isn't a need to think further and thus caters for the simple game that it is. In Coup there is a need to bluff and try to get away with things. This is quite dependant on the group then as if they are role playing along or cajoling others, then the game will be quite fun for everyone. So Love Letter I feel is more accessible and easier to play and Coup is quite dependant on the group of players. Both will still be in my collection and I would heartily recommend anyone to give both Love Letter and Coup a try!


My friend managed to retheme the game of Hanabi into a Christmas theme and I was eager to bring it out for my colleagues to play this co-op game. Now if you know me, I don't really like co-op games because I feel a need to compete but I had quite a lot of fun with my regular group and the original game of hanabi that I wanted to see if I can recreate the same fun and laughter we had with my other groups. What surprised me right at the start was how my colleagues all mentioned they don't want to coop! They wanted to compete! Hahahaah.... that was music to my ears :P We still manage to give it a go though and I think I manage to recreate some of the fun and face palm moments. I love how my friend manage to capture the spirit of Christmas with fantastic and creative art and I am glad to have this copy.


One of the new releases from Essen, Kemet is touted as Cyclades successor and from the same publisher as well. I had Cyclades previously and did have fun with the game so I was eager to give this a go and see just how it plays. Kemet surprised me with what it is and how different it is from Cyclades. In Kemet you are trying to be the first to score 8 points (shorter game) or 11 points (longer game) which will trigger the game end and the player with the most points wins the game. To achieve this, during your turn, you will place 1 of your action discs onto your player board to trigger an action. Things that you can do include recruiting soldiers, move your troop, earn prayer points (currency), increase your pyramid level and purchase power tiles. This actually a Euro war game with an Egyptian theme and a worker placement mechanism. The game actively encourages you to wage wars and engage in battles with your opponents as this is 1 way to gain permanent points in the game. On the board, there also 5 temple areas where you can control to gain temporary points but these areas are easily wrestled away as you can pay 2 prayer points (which is the currency of the game) to teleport to obelisks on the map and there is one located at every temple. My initial thoughts were that this is an ameri-trash game because it has nice components and even nicely washed figures which are usually staples of an ameritrash game. So I am very surprised when I realised after playing that this is a euro game that requires players to interact with each other to win the game. Art is pretty good and the components are excellent. Figures of the scorpion, snake etc (these are the "heroes" or special units of the game) are also very nicely washed and even stamped at the bottom of their bases. I am also surprised that none of the units had warped blades as they are quite small and looked fragile. The other big component are the pyramids that look like 4 sided dice. The pyramids and the levels they are at will allow you to purchase power tiles depending on the levels. They look so cool and most players will start throwing them once it is out of the box. But alas they are just used as place holders. My first game took way longer than it was supposed to be because I did not realise we all started with 10 troops thus allowing us to wage wars right from the get go. My 2nd game was way better and it was really close with all 5 of us nearing the 8 point mark and we had 1 epic final round to determine the winner.


Finally manage to play Copycat another Essen 2012 release. This is a euro game which borrows other games mechanisms and to weld them quite smartly into a single game. Because this is a euro game, theme wise it suffers for me. Artwork also seems a little kiddish and thus I did not appreciate it as much as others. Gameplay wise, I can see how the various game mechanisms are nicely woven together to create an intriguing game but I only got this like halfway through the game though. First thing you do is draw 5 cards from your deck. Then choose one of the cards to bid for position. That card you used is discarded. Once player order is determined, in player order, players will then place their workers on the various available cards on the board which will allow them to activate an action. Once all workers are on the map, in turn order again, players will activate these workers and perform their actions accordingly (i.e. shred card, gain money, gain VP, buy a card). Rinse and repeat till one of 2 end game conditions are triggered. While I can appreciate how these different mechanisms work together, the theme falls woefully sort for me. I think this is the case where I am quite put off by the bland art. I wouldn't mind playing it again but I am definitely passing on getting a copy for myself.

City of Horror

From all the Euro games we went into an ameritrash game and boy was it trash lol. Its primarily a negotiation game where in you are also trying to strategically move your people around the board so that you are always in a majority and thus can vote someone else's character to be eaten by the zombies. At this point our group was pretty tired and we were learning this as a new game which is not a good combination to have. During your turn, you choose a location card and then every player simultaneously reveals the card. In turn order, players must move one of their characters (each players start off with 3 in a 5 player game) to that new location. Then each location is resolved. If there are enough zombies to meet that location's requirements, then players in that room will need to vote to feed someone to the zombies (Urk!). The game ends after 5 rounds and players' characters must have the antidote for them to survive the airlift and score points. Incredibly there were only 2 players left with characters at the end and I lost by only 1 or 2 points. I think our regular group has moved on to euro games nowadays and perhaps that is why most of us weren't enjoying the game. This game is a super MEH for me!

Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island

This is another co op game which I purchased to play solo. I have read that it is a very fun thematic game therefore I pulled the trigger and wanted to see for myself. In a turn, the phases are as follows: first you draw an event card and resolve the event. If it bumps another event out (there can only be at most 2 event cards that are revealed) then you will have to perform a threat action as depicted by the event card that has been bumped out. Next you get resources depending on which tile you have set up camp on. Next phase you decide where you want to place your pawns on the various available action spaces. After that is done, you will execute the actions by visiting each action space in sequential order and using the pawns After all actions are done, if required, roll the weather dice to determine how much suffering you are subjected to. Finally, check if you are sleeping out in the open and feed yourself. A turn is done and the game repeats and will end depending on the scenario that you have chosen. So far I am having fun playing this game solo even though I have not won the scenario yet. One problem I have with the game is the way the rulebook is written as it is not very intuitive and may be unclear at times. Luckily a FAQ has been provided and this should prove helpful when I next play. I have heard that in real coop mode, the game is also as tough if not even more. I will continue to play it as a solo game and will recommend this game.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building game

Played another solo game of Legendary. I am intrigued with the different villans and super heroes so wanted to try a different combination. This time Magneto was threatening earth again by converting everyone into a Killbot! Rogue, Storm and Emma Frost, the 3 ladies of XMEN are tasked with stopping Magneto and to contain the killbots within the city. If 5 killbots escape, they will be able to propagate across the globe and Earth would be lost! The initial part of the game was trying my best to ensure none escape and I was defeating enemies left and right. However somewhere into 30 minutes of the game, I realise I should just focus on defeating Magento. As I have been storing up my attack power with a lot of cards, I was able to defeat Magento in 2 consecutive turns. I ended the game with 28 points. Legendary reminds me of Thunderstone but much improved. You cannot just keep building up until you are ready to face the Mastermind. Instead its a constant management of villans running amok in the city areas as well as keeping your hand lean and trim to be able to defeat the mastermind eventually. There will be expansion for this game sometime near GENCON 2013 and they will be adding 17 super heroes! SEVENTEEN! I wonder if this game though will survive in my collection till then ;p Stay tuned true believers!

So that's a wrap, a lot of typing and a lot of cool games played!