Camel Up

| 2-8 Players | 20-30 Minutes | Ages 8+ |

Camel up… Camel Cup… call it what you will it’s still fun!

As members of Egyptian high society, you gather in the desert with one simple goal: to gain the most money by backing the right camel to win a leg or even the entire race. However, in this race, it’s not just the lucky ones who can beat the odds. Reading the dynamics of the race and having a good sense of timing is just as important when it comes to backing the right camels and taking the victory

The Gameplay:

In Camel Up, up to eight players bet on five racing camels, trying to figure out which will place first and second in a quick race around a pyramid. The earlier you place your bet, the bigger your possible return — if you guess correctly, of course. Each round the Pyramid dice shaker will be turned over revealing

Camels don’t run neatly, however, sometimes landing on top of one another and being carried toward the finish line. Who’s going to run when? That all depends on how the dice come out of the pyramid dice shaker, which releases one die at a time when players pause from their bets long enough to see who’s actually moving

The Review:

Every character has a detailed backstory and a specific personality, well at least according to my gaming group. I love this game, there isn’t much to it, it’s a betting game,  but who cares it’s great fun with a group. Great for teaching risk/reward dynamics to kids and even better teaching it to adults who do not think in that manner. I totally recommend it to anyone who wants a medium weight game

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Last Will

| 2-5 Players | 45-75 Minutes | Ages 13+ |

In his last will, your rich uncle stated that all of his millions will go to the nephew who can enjoy money the most. How to find out which nephew should be rich? You will each be given a large amount of money and whoever can spend it first will be the rightful heir. Visit the most exclusive theatres or eat in the most expensive restaurants. Buy old properties for the price of new ones and sell them as ruins. Host a huge party in your mansion or on your private boat. Spend like your life would depend on it. Spend to become rich! If you’re the first to run through the money on hand, you’ll receive the rest of his inheritance – oh, and win the game.



In Last Will, each player starts with a certain amount of money, an individual player board, two errand boys and two cards in some combination of properties and helpers. At the start of each round, lay out cards from the appropriate decks on the offering boards; the four regular decks are properties, companions, events, helpers and expenses, with special cards forming a deck of their own. The particular mix of cards varies by round and by the number of players.

Each player then chooses a plan for the round, with each plan indicating the number of cards the player draws (drawn immediately from the four regular decks in any combination), how many errand boys he can use later (one or two), the number of actions available to him that round, and his spot in the playing order that round. In the playing order for that round, players then take turns choosing an action with their errand boy(s), with those actions being:

Take a card on display and add it to your hand.
Draw a card from any regular deck – This can be chosen only once by each player.
Visit the opera and spend $2.
Adjust the value modifiers in the property market.
Take a player board extension, thereby giving you room to play more cards.
Players then take actions in the playing order for that round, with each player having as many actions as indicated on his plan. Actions let you play one-time events (which have a cost, possibly variable); helpers and recurring expenses (which are placed on your individual player board); and properties (which cost money and may depreciate over time). You can often play companions with events or recurring expenses – of course you should bring a date to the opera or a horse on your yacht! – to increase their cost. You can also use actions to activate cards on your player board, possibly with one or more companions and always with the goal of spending money. Helpers and special cards can provide you with unique powers to further boost your profligacy.

At the end of each round, you must discard down to two cards in hand, and properties that can depreciate do so; this is good as a player cannot go bankrupt if he owns properties, and the only way to get rid of properties is to sell them, which regrettably puts money back in your hands unless the depreciation was intense or you manipulate the market.

If a player has no money and no properties, he declares bankruptcy and the game ends at the conclusion of that round; otherwise the game ends after seven rounds. The player who has the least money (or even who is most in debt) wins.


The Review:

I grew up watching older movies,  when my dear friend Elaine first told me about this game I could only think of Brewster’s Millions a Richard Pryor Film.  Now having played this game I can say this is a tight worker placement game.  This is a bit heavier than other games I have reviewed thus far, and honestly I really enjoy it. There are lots of different routes to win, and all you have to do is choose and commit to one.  This is not one I would recommend to people just starting off in the hobby or kids. It does have a tendency to induce analysis paralysis in some folks. However for the seasoned gamers this is a fun game with a really amusing concept.

Darkrock Ventures

Resources are scarce and it is commonplace for companies to mine asteroids to acquire them. It is known that aliens raid these asteroids and therefore mining companies are geared accordingly in preparation of being attacked. Lives are lost in this line of work daily, but if you run a good crew you can make it out alive and rich!

The Gameplay:

A round begins with rolling a set of Power Dice, these are community dice that players will use in order to successfully mine the asteroid. Players then take turns placing workers throughout different space stations and on a mineral rich asteroid.

 

After all the workers have been placed a third and more volatile Power Die is rolled. A player starts his/her turn by rolling his/her Rig Dice, these represent a power element of his/her mining equipment that is to be paired with the community Power Dice in order to successfully mine resources from the asteroid. Then he/she resolves all his/her workers. As soon as players begin exporting minerals, hostile alien ships begin patrolling and will attack every round making it more difficult to resolve all the workers successfully.

Throughout the game, players will be increasing their worker count, gaining and spending credits (which are the victory points), gaining additional Rig Dice and acquiring explosive Neutronium bombs to protect them from the alien attacks.

When 3 of the 6 resource nodes on the asteroid are void of minerals the end of the game is triggered. The round is finished and the player with the most credits wins the game!

The Review:

This was one of my favorite Kickstarters I have ever backed. Magic Meeple Games was the best at keeping their backers informed about everything.

The game itself is a great intro worker placement game. Simple rules and easily understood ways to manipulate your dice make this a great game for people new to these kinds of games. I am not a big fan of dice, and they don’t seem to like me either, but with all of the ways to manipulate the dice I don’t fear the randomness of the dice.

Pandemic

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Several virulent diseases have simultaneously broken out all over the world! You are a specialist whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.

The Gameplay:
The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. A deck of cards provides the players with these abilities, but sprinkled throughout this deck are Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases’ activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the “normal” spread of the infections.


Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists’ strengths in order to conquer the diseases. For example, the Operations Expert can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases and which allow for greater mobility between cities; the Scientist needs only four cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal five—but the diseases are spreading quickly and time is running out. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!


The Review:

I have only won at Pandemic once. I have been on the losing end of this game more than any other important have ever played. And you know what? I keep coming back.  We loving call this the game of perpetual losing.  

All that being said, Pandemic is an awesome co-op game anyone can get into.  I use it as a gateway game for people who haven’t been into the hobby before

Five Tribes

| 1-4 Players| 40 – 80 Minutes| Ages 13+ |

 

Crossing into the Land of 1001 Nights, your caravan arrives at the fabled Sultanate of Naqala. The old sultan just died and control of Naqala is up for grabs! The oracles foretold of strangers who would maneuver the Five Tribes to gain influence over the legendary city-state. Will you fulfill the prophecy? Invoke the old Djinns and move the Tribes into position at the right time, and the Sultanate may become yours!

Five Tribes is an unique twist on the worker placement genre, the game begins with the meeples already in place, and players must maneuver them over the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places tiles that make up Naqala. How, when, and where you displace these Five Tribes of Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers determine your victory or failure.

The Gameplay:

On a player’s turn they will pick up all the meeples in a section and begin placing the meeples back down on the board, leaving one meeples per square they travel. There’s a catch, if you pick up 6 meeples you must travel 6 spaces, having dropped a meeples in each space as you pass, and the last meeples you place must have a matching color meeple where it is placed. No matching is necessary or advised for the other meeples you place down. Depending on the color of the meeple placed a different action is taken. Ref meeples assassinate other meeples,

5-TRIBES-promo-Djinn-Dehnim-600x600.jpgYou need to weigh many different pathways to victory, including the summoning of powerful Djinns that may help your cause as you attempt to control this legendary Sultanate

The Review:

Five tribes  is crazy fun and has a pretty mild learning curve so anyone can pick it up and play.  I really enjoy this game and do consider it a good introductory game for those just getting in to the hobby.  Now there is some “controversy” surrounding some copies of this game, I have a first edition, and it includes wild cards that are slaves.  Some people took great offense to the inclusion of slaves in a game, based in like the early years AD, and they expressed their displeasure. In later copies Days of Wonder changed the “offending” card to Fakirs. OK enough of the games goofy history in the Market. This is an awesome game and i do hope that you give it a go. It has simple mechanics even kids can learn, the cutest camel meeples that you will use to make territories you contort, and really nice artwork to boot.

Oh My Goods!

| 2-4 Players | 30 minutes | Age 10+ |

You are European craftsmen during the Middle Ages who produce tools, barrels, glass windows, and many other goods. Only if you make clever use of your production chains will you have the most victory points at the end of the game.

 

The Gameplay:

The object of Oh My Goods! is to build buildings, hire assistants, and to produce goods.

About the Cards: The cards in Oh My Goods! are multi-purpose. Each one is primarily a building that costs gold and is worth victory points. However, each building also shows a resource on it.

Alternatively, each card can be placed face-down on a building to represent a production good; each of those goods is worth a specific amount of gold, as shown on the building that produced it.

Setup: Each player is given a charburner and 7 cards atop it, to represent 7 coal. He also gets a starting hand of 5 cards and a worker card.

Market: A round of play starts with each player discarding and drawing cards. At “sunrise”, the players see what resources are being offered in the market that day. Cards are flipped face-up until two cards showing suns are revealed. This represents approximately half of the resources that will be available that day.

The players then decide how they’re going to manage their day based on that limited information. Those resources will ultimately be used to power buildings, so the players need to select which of their buildings that they think they can operate. A player takes his worker and puts it under one building — which will clearly be the charburner on the first turn. He also decides if the worker will be sloppy (which makes it easier to produce) or efficient (which is more demanding but produces more).

Finally, they select a card from their hand and places it face-down as the building they might decide to build that turn.

At “sunset” More cards are flipped into the market until two more suns are shown.

Production & Building: Now each player, in turn, produces at the building that their worker is at. That building lists specific resources that are needed to get the building going. An efficient worker needs to provide all the resources, while a sloppy worker can skip one. If these resources are in the market, they can be freely used, but a player has to make up any deficits from the cards in his hand.

A building that has been activated in this way produces goods: one from a sloppy worker, two from an efficient worker. However, it also allows the building’s production chain to start up. This allows the player to place additional resources (or sometimes produced goods from other buildings) onto the building from his hand (or in the case of produced goods from other buildings).

Producing goods and refining goods like this is the may way to make money in the game. The coal in the charburner is worth just 1 gp, but a cow on a cattle raunch is worth 3 gp, and that cow could be chained into hides at a tannery worth 6 gp or meat at a butcher worth 7gp!

Building. Buildings cost money to build; if a player is earning, he might be able to sell some of his resources to build the building he earlier selected.

Alternatively, a player can purchase an assistant, which also requires having specific palettes of cards; the assistant can be used to run another building (but is less efficient and costs money to move).

Ending the Game: When a player has built eight building that round ends, then a final round of play occurs where every player gets to activate the production chain of every building, whether they activated the building itself or not.

Before this last round, each player’s series of buildings runs in slow motion, with things moving from one building to another in small little steps. But in that last round, resources and goods can go streaming through the buildings if the player built well.

 

The Review:

I was introduced to this game by Val a regular at my FLGS, the first game I totally failed to pay attention to the rules until almost the end of the game, luckily I tied for the win. Since then I have played several times, and I can say this is a fun game. I have been told by others that over a few dozen plays this game looses some of its appeal, but I figure with how many games I have in regular rotation I don’t really need to worry about that for a few years.

Gloom

| 2-4 player | 60 minutes | Ages 13+ |

The world of Gloom is a sad place. The skies are gray, the tea is cold, and a new tragedy lies around every corner. Debt, disease, a packs of rabid flesh-eating mice—just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, they do. But some say that the rewards of the afterlife are based on the misery endured in life. If so, there may yet be hope—if not in this world, then in the peace that lies beyond.

The Gameplay:

In the Gloom, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. You’ll play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters to lower their Self-Worth scores, while trying to cheer your opponents’ characters with marriages and other happy occasions that pile on positive points. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins.

Printed on transparent plastic cards, Gloom features an innovative design by noted RPG author Keith Baker. Multiple modifier cards can be played on top of the same character card; since the cards are transparent; elements from previously played modifier cards either show through or are obscured by those played above them. You’ll immediately and easily know the worth of every character, no matter how many modifiers they have. You’ve got to see this game to believe it!

The Review:

Gloom is a hilarious game, for people with a particular sense of humor. I love playing this game, the clear cards are so cool to play with, and who doesn’t enjoy alliteration. It’s kind of fun to inflict terrible fates on to your characters then kill them, while making good things happen to your opponents.

I love this game; I have always had so much fun playing this with my friends. We never really fall into a “take that” kind of play so much as what’s the funniest way to make the story happen.  I really do enjoy this game, but i do have friends who loathe it.  Alliteration is not for everyone and those who do not like story telling or word games may be turned off by this game.