Jeff Provine – Blogcritics https://blogcritics.org The critical lens on today's culture & entertainment Sat, 01 Dec 2018 21:49:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Card Game Review: ‘The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits’ from Sparkworks https://blogcritics.org/card-game-review-the-princess-bride-a-battle-of-wits-from-sparkworks/ Thu, 01 Nov 2018 21:24:35 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5493093 A wild game of logic, game theory, guessing, and second-guessing that will make everyone’s head spin

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The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits from Game Salute’s imprint Sparkworks allows players to live out the deductive chaos of one of the best scenes from one of the greatest cult movies of the ‘80s.

After defeating both an expert swordsman and a giant in combat, the Dread Pirate Roberts is caught in an impasse with self-proclaimed genius Vizzini over who will have the captured Buttercup. Their solution: a battle of wits with a poisoned goblet. Of course, nothing is as it seems.

In A Battle of Wits the game, each player chooses a character card featuring someone from the film. Choices go far beyond the two who actually played out the battle of wits. Players could be the gentle Fezzik, crafty Prince Humperdink, cackling Miracle Max, Buttercup herself, and even Inigo Montoya. Each card features stills from the film on two sides: living and dead.

Then players collect their wine/poison cards, corresponding to the symbol on their character cards. An array of goblets, enough for each player to have one, is laid out on the table.

Rounds progress with players taking turns adding numbered wine/poison cards to the goblets. Players may add either poison or wine to the contents of the goblet on one side, or they may add to the bids on the other, which will determine who drinks what at the end of the game. As in the film, A Battle of Wits is a wild game of logic, game theory, guessing, and second-guessing that will make everyone’s head spin as strategies are confidently fulfilled or tactics changed. No one will know exactly what is where, meaning luck is just as important as reading people.

When all the cards have been placed, A Battle of Wits ends with the resolution of the cards. All face-down cards are flipped to reveal their amounts, beginning with the bids. The player with the most points on a goblet drinks it, with ties being determined by the order of play, on down to any player who may not have placed a bid at all. Then the wine/poison cards are revealed: If the goblet has more points in poison, then the drinker dies; if not, the player lives! With such an unpredictable setup, the game may end up with several winners or even with everyone dead.

The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits is a card game for two to ten players aged ten and up. It features a splash of variants that allow players to best suit the game for their home table’s style of play, such as working in teams or playing tournament-style so only one survivor remains. Players may add in Sicilian cards with special powers, placed face-up in front of themselves to switch goblets or have immunity to their own poison, completely changing up the balance of the game. They may also play with a day/night card, which allows every other round to have cards played face-up, giving hints as to what may be inside each goblet.

With flexibility and rowdy gameplay in just 15 minutes, players will return to the table for challenges again and again.

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Party Game Review: ‘Horror Trivia’ from Endless Games https://blogcritics.org/party-game-review-horror-trivia-from-endless-games/ Mon, 22 Oct 2018 16:37:38 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5492727 Players test their knowledge of the horror movie genre to see who is most likely to survive.

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Horror Trivia from Endless Games brings the wide range of scary movies and literature into one box to test players’ mental fortitude. As in most trivia games, the basic mechanics are straightforward: Answer questions to win points. Horror Trivia tweaks this formula with an innovative collection mechanic to make things a little more interesting.

In Horror Trivia, players may band together in teams or stand alone as the questions come flying. The person most likely to die first in a horror movie serves as the first victim, as another player pulls a card with two questions listed and reads the top one first, such as “What hangs above Tina’s bed in A Nightmare on Elm Street?” To make progress toward surviving, the player must answer the question correctly. Otherwise the player’s turn is over, and the game continues with the next player.

If a player answers the question correctly, the reader moves to the second question on the card. The questions have no relation to one another; one, for example, pairs The Thing with the completely different “What 1990 movie about an infestation of murderous spiders features John Goodman & Jeff Daniels?” This dual-question mechanic means players will have to have a wide breadth of Horror knowledge to win.

When players in Horror Trivia do answer two questions on a card correctly, they receive the card as a trophy. Rather than just requiring players to collect a certain number of cards, as in other games, Horror Trivia shakes things up by giving each card a weapons symbol, like an axe, chainsaw, or cross. Players must collect three of the five symbols to win. This randomization can slow down players who may have more horror knowledge, or give a lucky boost, which is a solid way to survive a thriller.

The wide range of questions in Horror Trivia sets it apart from similar games. It digs deeply into the genre, pulling questions from more recent films like 1408 as well as classics like The Silence of the Lambs. Cult favorites like Ginger Snaps and Alice, Sweet Alice make appearance,s along with lesser known movies like Phenomena and 1979’s Tourist Trap. Be assured that any game of Horror Trivia will likely end up with a big list of movies for players to check out to boost their familiarity with all things creepy.

Horror Trivia is a trivia-answering game for two or more players aged 13 and up. As the length of the game is based on players’ abilities to answer the questions correctly, rounds could be finished very quickly for horror geniuses, or they could go longer while players struggle to remember what they saw last summer. With a comfortable price point of only $9.99, Horror Trivia is a great treat for the Halloween season and all year round.

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Party Game Review: ‘Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents’ from Big G Creative https://blogcritics.org/party-game-review-bob-ross-happy-little-accidents-from-big-g-creative/ Tue, 09 Oct 2018 00:56:57 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5492299 Turn grubby little doodles into masterpieces!

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Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents from Big G Creative shows players everywhere that there is no such thing as a bad move when it comes to art.

Bob Ross was the famed painter whose television program has allowed generations of audiences to watch mystified while he skillfully unfolded landscape paintings with a paintbrush while spouting blue-collar wisdom with such confident gentleness it was practically spiritual. Similarly, Happy Little Accidents serves as party game in which everyone is a winner, one player just a little more so to make things interesting.

The basic tools of Happy Little Accidents are similar to other party drawing games, but the methods are unique. Players first doodle shapes and squiggles, whatever they like, on three slips of paper. The finished slips are all placed in the middle of the group facedown, and the game begins with each player drawing a slip at random for the first round.

While a timer runs, players add to the doodle to make it into a match of an item from a card, whether it be a concrete object or abstract concept: “cloud,” “old,” “leader,” “mud,” “realistic,” “baker,” “habit,” and beyond. While other drawing games are all about speedily getting recognition or precision, Happy Little Accidents is about creating whatever a player wants out of what appeared.

Players follow the drawing rounds three times with three different words. With 54 cards and 18 choices on each card, there will be many games of Happy Little Accidents before players need to repeat themselves. Players choose their favorite from their three doodles-turned-drawings and place them out front for the final round of voting. Since there are three options, players are thus not necessarily directly competing with each other but rather comparing apples and oranges and choosing a personal favorite kind of fruit.

After a review of the art from the drawing phase, players give each other tokens worth various points from one to three, marked by Ross’s famous pet squirrel, Peapod. Players grant three points to their favorite drawing, two for their next favorite, and one to the others. When all points are awarded, players add up their squirrels to see who the winner is. Althougheveryone has won in some fashion by creating something never before seen.

Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents is a party game for three to six players aged 10 and up. Younger players might join in, too, on the play of making doodles into new works of art even if they do not worry about the voting aspect. House rules and homemade tokens may adapt the voting to larger groups as well, making Happy Little Accidents something for any party, inviting anyone who would like to join in. With each game taking only 10 or 15 minutes, players will likely start up a new round as soon as the last one is done.

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Board Game Review: ‘Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft’ from Devir Games https://blogcritics.org/board-game-review-holmes-sherlock-mycroft-from-devir-games/ Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:29:51 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5491945 Players duel to gather clues and prove which Holmes brother is the cleverest.

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Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft from Devir Games serves up an excellent worker-placement game while adding the tension of set collection. The setting is Victorian London, where an anarchist’s bomb has exploded near Parliament. Her Majesty’s Government has placed its cleverest gentleman onto the task of determining guilt, none other than Mycroft Holmes. Yet his famous detective brother, Sherlock, is working the other side of the case, believing there is more conspiracy involved. Players take sides to gather clues and solve the mystery in a race of Holmes against Holmes.

Holmes is a dueling game, with two players facing off to collect the most victory points in a variety of schemes represented by Clue cards. Seven sets of clues are arranged in increasing amounts: three mysterious seals, four burned-out sticks of dynamite, five snubbed cigarettes, and so on up to nine fingerprints. Players seek to collect the most of each suit to win points correlating to the number in the set, with bonuses available for collecting all cards of a type or for collecting special Map Fragment clues.

As the game progresses, players will have to keep track of not only which cards they have collected but also how many of each set their opponent has claimed.

Clue cards in Holmes are bought in a market mechanic from a line of available options through Investigation tokens. These tokens are themselves earned through three actions each day over the course of a “week” of investigating. The options available for those actions will change based on what characters come into play.

Each game begins with the three widely known characters from Holmes stories: loyal compatriot Dr. Watson, long-suffering landlady Mrs. Hudson, and suspicious Inspector Lestrade. After three turns for each player, a new character, like lovable Toby the hound or clever Violet Hunter, is added as a new “day” with three actions refreshed. Play continues through seven days, or 21 turns, when the game ends and players add up their victory points.

The characters offer a wide variety of options for placement of a player’s action. Some provide more Investigation tokens to a player’s pile; others allow players to spend those tokens to pick up Clue cards that have been set out. Each is a little different, such as Billy the Bellboy, allowing a player to discard a Clue in exchange for a wealth of Investigation tokens. A few characters even allow direct attacks upon the opponent, such as stealing cards.

Optional characters give special rules, like a Sherlock/Mycroft card serving as a game of Hot Potato to be rid of, or devious Moriarty requiring players to give up Clues or Investigation tokens, for the truly bold.

Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft is a worker-placement game for two players aged ten and up. It is a great time for players who enjoy the decision-making of worker placement while sharing in the thrill of the options constantly changing to demand further decisions. With the variety of character cards each coming into play at different times based on the shuffle, replayability is high as no two games will likely ever be the same.

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Tabletop Game Review: ‘Star Scrappers: Cave-In’ from Hexy Studio https://blogcritics.org/tabletop-game-review-star-scrappers-cave-in-from-hexy-studio/ Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:51:36 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5491805 Collect the most minerals to win, but watch out for your workers being bought out from under you!

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Star Scrappers: Cave-In from Hexy Studio blends flavors from several types of gameplay into a riveting science fiction universe. It combines the decision-making of worker placement games with the rolling development of deck-builders and good old-fashioned competition, as players scoop up cards that opponents desperately want. This brings together the best of choice-determination from Euro-style gaming with plenty of chaotic interruptions from the other players around the table.

Cave-In is set in the Star Scrappers Universe, a grungy sort of Wild West take on the classic galactic post-war setting. It’s populated by six factions, the martial and ambitious Terrons originally from Earth, the robotic Metanels, the expansive and multi-tentacles Hy’drans, the living crystalline Minegglers, the constantly evolving floral Weedlocks, and the Bioss, powerful rogue androids escaped from Terron scientists.

These play on strong tropes of the genre while offering a fresh take by putting them all together. The rich universe is shown best through the potent, almost haunting art, which shows a dark vision of the future of space.

Most sci-fi games that feature factions has players pick one to serve as their own, with a locked-in set of special powers. Cave-In throws open the gates by allowing each player to choose their benefits by recruiting mercenaries from each available faction, treating them as resources to be managed along with actions.

The game begins with the table set up around a game board: mercenaries of different strengths and skills on one side, stocks of minerals on the other, with artifact cards that give special bonuses in the middle. Players take turns playing cards to recruit mercenaries, mine crystals, collect artifact cards, use mercenaries’ skills, or raid card stockpiles that have been built up by other players.

As in many games, the goal of Cave-In is to collect the most victory points before the end, which is the titular cave-in of the mine because of too many minerals being haphazardly pulled out. While the end goal is the same, Cave-In features numerous routes to victory by collecting bonuses for oneself or sabotaging others via raids. Players may strategize economically, focusing on spending their points for artifacts that reduce costs later on. Or they may think militarily, striking out at opponents to keep them from getting ahead. The best strategy, of course, will be a combination of strategies arrived at by watching one’s opponents’ moves.

Star Scrappers: Cave-In is a tabletop game for two to four players aged 12 and up. It’s a medium-length game, lasting about an hour depending on how quickly players come to their decisions. Replayability is boosted if players play only four of the six factions at a time, allowing for multiple combinations of different factions’ powers. Likely players will develop their favorite factions and strategies, but they will have to compete with their opponents to get those powers for themselves first.

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Card Game Review: ‘Star Trek The Next Generation Fluxx” from Looney Labs https://blogcritics.org/card-game-review-star-trek-the-next-generation-fluxx-from-looney-labs/ Mon, 17 Sep 2018 00:26:22 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5491636 A bold new adventure for the card game with ever-changing rules

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Star Trek The Next Generation Fluxx from Looney Labs is a bold take on the classic card game with the ever-changing rules. With so many different properties being incorporated into the Fluxx world, including a Fluxx for the original series Star Trek, an unknowing glance would guess that each version is just a skin over the original set. Yet Looney Labs creates new rules and shuffles the numbers of different kinds of cards to give each edition its own flavor. The former ST:OS Fluxx focused on a rapid spirit of adventure, for example, while the ST:TNG Fluxx captures the themes of cleverness and diplomacy like the new series.

Star Trek: TNG Fluxx follows the base rules of Fluxx where nothing is predictable. The game begins simply: each player takes a turn drawing a card and playing a card. As the cards go, however, the rules change. Players may add a new rule changing the numbers of cards drawn or played, limiting the number of cards held in the hand, or even swapping playing a card for drawing a new one, much like a character taking a pause to think before taking their dramatic action. Through the game, players collect Keeper cards, which may be combined to meet the conditions of a Goal and thus win the game.

Features from the TV series are clear in Star Trek: TNG Fluxx with Keepers showing tools like the Phaser and the Holodeck and favorite characters like Data, Geordi, Guinan, and of course Captain Picard himself. They pair up to make Goals, with Data and the Holodeck being the conditions to win with Elementary, Dear Data. There are also plenty of Creepers, cards that prevent a player from winning unless special conditions are met, such as Q and the Romulans. Several Creepers attach to Keepers, like the Borg and a Malfunction, rendering the Keeper a hazard until discarded.

Beyond the iconic elements, Star Trek: TNG Fluxx reflects the thematic mood of the series as well. The new rule Darmok! enables players to draw extra cards in they spend their turn speaking only in proper nouns and numbers, a great boost for a dedicated Fluxx player. The most strategy comes with playing on the Creepers, playing Actions like Creeper Reassignment to move a Creeper to another player or Distress Call to prompt everyone to draw a card with those players suffering Creepers drawing even more. By slyly changing who is being attacked by the Cardassians, a player may go from what would be considered last play to victory in a single turn.

Star Trek The Next Generation Fluxx is a card game for two to six players aged eight and up. Games are usually fairly short, lasting about twenty minutes, although the actions of clever players can rapidly speed up the end with swift moves or extend play by stopping another player from winning with a sudden shift in the game.

To add further excitement for Trek fans, Looney Labs also offers a Star Trek Fluxx Bridge Expansion deck with a suite of new cards that combine ST:TNG with the Original Series Fluxx. Goals match captains, science officers, Enterprises, and the Past and Future themselves.

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Board Game Review: ‘Bad Maps’ from Floodgate Games https://blogcritics.org/board-game-review-bad-maps-from-floodgate-games/ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 00:59:12 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5491578 Players program pirates in pursuit of buried treasure, but everyone is in it for themselves!

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Bad Maps from Floodgate Games makes programming fun for a whole new group of moderate players. A gap has long existed between complex adult programming games like the classic RoboRally and simple, straightforward programming games that are largely about filling in the blank to achieve a goal. Bad Maps splits the difference, showing a clear goal to be met while introducing randomized elements to keep every player shuffling for good footing.

The scenario in Bad Maps takes a fun direction for programming games. Each player serves as a pirate captain, competing with the other players to direct four crewmembers on their quest to find buried treasure. Of course, pirates are nary trustworthy, and players are truly in it for themselves.

Bad Maps takes place in two rounds. In each round, every player receives Map Cards with directions on them and Objective Cards that describe what will win the player points. Rather than each player pursuing the treasure directly, Objective Cards give victory points for different positions for the pirate minions on the board. Players might seek to have the red minion closest to the treasure but have the blue minion the farthest away. These different directions sets Bad Maps apart as each player will be feeding the “robot” pirates orders that may very well be contradictory, leading to chaos on the board.

With Objectives in hand, players begin filling out slots on each side of the board for the four pirate tokens to move. Orders can be moving ahead or backward by a certain number of squares or to change directions on a compass. The cards are laid one at a time with players taking turns. While many of the cards are played face-up, each round designates several slots to be “blacked out” by being played secretly facedown. A player may only look at one of their opponents’ facedown cards, meaning they will not only have to plan out their own strategy to best accomplish their Objectives but also watch other players to guess what their motives and actions may be.

Once cards are laid, the crew’s orders are completed with their tokens moving around the board. Their actions may be very straightforward, but a sly captain may give a contradictory order, leading to chaotic wandering that could end up with falling in a hole. When the movement is over, players reveal their points from their completed objectives. Player with the most points after the second round wins.

Bad Maps is a programming game for three to five players aged thirteen and up. With only two rounds, games are fairly quick, lasting about a half hour. Thanks to its mix of goal-pursuit and zany chaos, Bad Maps is as fun for young players just starting out their journeys into programming as it is for established gamers who have long been plotting their strategies. To add further complexity for older players, Bad Maps offers an Advanced version features more randomization and a special power for each captain such as keeping cards between phases, maintaining the starting position, or manipulating the facedown play rules. Players will likely find their favorite sneaky captain to meet their dastardly plans.

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Graphic Novel Review: ‘Woman World’ by Aminder Dhaliwal https://blogcritics.org/graphic-novel-review-woman-world-aminder-dhaliwal/ Mon, 10 Sep 2018 00:50:35 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5491465 'Woman World', a graphic novel by Aminder Dhaliwal is replete with drama and hilarity in a world where men have died out.

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Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal, published by Drawn + Quarterly, stands humbly tall in its genius mixture of science fiction, humor, drama, and philosophy. An experiment in online storytelling, Woman World served originally as a biweekly webcomic, which feeds its episodic nature growing storylines while having no dedication to a particular length. This style lends itself well to realism, giving portrayals of some days that pass by quickly with a few fun jokes while others are fraught with tension and adventure.

Woman World begins like a hard sci-fi novel. A scientist discovers that the statistical balance of having more women than men in the world is not just happenstance: men are actually dying out, generation by generation. While politicians continue their focus elsewhere and most people worry more about natural disasters, the generations winnow away human males until it truly becomes a woman’s world.

All of this serves as background for the true story of Woman World, the all-women village called Beyonce’s Thighs. It is populated by nudist leader Gaia; artist Ina; blacksmith Yumi; wise Ulaana, who remembers the days of men; youngsters like Naomi and Emiko who have never seen a living man; and numerous others who make their living in a mostly calm post-apocalyptic land.

Life continues by carefully controlled sperm stocks that allow a new generation. Although there is always a sense of quiet impending doom with no one quite sure what will happen when the supply runs out. In the meantime, there are plenty of opportunities to crack wise.

Woman World blends wider philosophical pondering with hilarity that pops out at the reader. Searching the nearby ruins, Emiko finds an old artifact, a DVD of Paul Blart, Mall Cop, whom she takes as a heroic role model and inspiration of the perfect male specimen.

Her grandmother Ulaana does not have the heart to tell her otherwise and instead feeds her with encouragement. New religions form up when stashes of Oprah media are discovered. A Blockbuster store is shown as a dilapidated storefront, identical to how it stood decades before the calamity.

Other jokes in Woman World are quick gags as suitable for the Internet age, such as the doctor finding a note reading, “Please examine my enclosed stool sample,” leading her to an actual four-legged stool while pranksters giggle outside. Ulaana makes up ridiculous rules to a game she assures the children is baseball, which involves giving grandmas kisses and yelling “Baseball!” Plenty of other laughs come from wordplay, such as comparing manpower and girl power in terms of force.

Yet Woman World is not just comic of jokes. The characters grow while the relationships between them develop. Much of the comic is dedicated to the interworkings of the younger women, going in and out of relationships, carrying crushes, and dealing with gossip.

The confident mayor balances maintaining her political position with inspirational speeches while not wanting to play herself up. Yumi struggles with anxiety, showing that, no matter the apocalyptic circumstances, people are people, which is the core truth of Woman World.

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Card Game Review: ‘Nut So Fast’ from Smirk and Laughter https://blogcritics.org/card-game-review-nut-so-fast-from-smirk-and-laughter/ Sat, 08 Sep 2018 12:34:44 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5491413 This card game takes reflex reaction games to a new level of skill and hilarity, adding a party element of body interactions.

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Nut So Fast from Smirk & Laughter takes reflex reaction games to a new level of skill and hilarity. This card game uses the time-tested mechanic of fast recognition and reaction, familiar from games like Slap Jack and Speed, and adds a whole new party element of body interactions. Players not only have to keep an eye on their cards to be the first to grab tokens but also have to keep an eye out for numbered moves that shake their things.

Nut So Fast begins with each player receiving a deck of cards facedown. Wooden nut tokens are placed in the middle of the table: several cashews and walnuts, a pistachio, and an almond. Alongside the nuts, players set up a deck of Nutty Poses, laying out three cards with physical actions beside corresponding number cards. These poses could be bunny ears, clapping, covering one eye, stretching lats, or a wildcard of a player’s own choice.

Players take turns flipping over two cards from their decks one at a time. Each card features a number or a collection of cartoon nut icons.

If a number is flipped, players rush to recreate the Nutty Pose, with the last player to pose having to add cards to their deck.

If nut cards are flipped, players look to find which combinations fit best, whether four of a kind, seven of a kind, or two sets of four matches. Each of those corresponds to a particular nut token on the table, and players race to be the first figure out the combination and grab the right one.

Players who miss out on cashews or walnuts take cards as penalties, while players who successfully grab the pistachio give cards to a player of their choice, and players who seized the almond get rid of cards from their decks.

Play continues until a Time to Score card appears, ending the round. Players then add up how many nuts appear on the cards they have had to take for missing on grabbing nut tokens or being last to pose. Golf rules apply, with players seeking to get the lowest number of points. After three rounds, the player with the lowest number of overall points wins the game.

With so much going on, Nut So Fast is a game of serious silliness. Often in reflex games, players are just looking for one set of circumstances to arise. In this one, players must be ready for a number of possibilities, or to do quick math to add up the appropriate combination of nuts on two cards. These varied reactions set Nut So Fast apart from simple reflex games. It requires being truly quick-witted.

Nut So Fast is a card game for three or more players aged eight and up. Rounds are very quick, thanks to the inherent nature of the moves, meaning whole game will take only 15 to 20 minutes. Players should be ready to take a pause for laughter, of course, as the competitive grabbing or posing will lead to plenty of shrieking and giggles in this high-energy game.

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Card Game Review: ‘Draconis Invasion: WRATH’ from Keji https://blogcritics.org/card-game-review-draconis-invasion-wrath-from-keji/ Wed, 05 Sep 2018 01:08:11 +0000 https://blogcritics.org/?p=5491357 'Draconis Invasion' is back with over 300 new cards!

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Draconis Invasion, the cooperative deck-building dark fantasy game from Keji, is kicking the fight against the onslaught of evil into an even higher gear with its new expansion: WRATH. The shadowy art matches the fearsome imagery of the original, but it is somehow even more nightmarish with its turn toward ragged giant monsters, creatures with foul glowing eyes, and, perhaps most chilling of all, cursed beings that are just on the edge of human. As rich as the thematic elements are, the gameplay is where Draconis Invasion shines.

The basic mechanics of Draconis Invasion are the same with a few suggested tweaks to add to the players’ options. The game stands unique in its use of gold to not only buy cards but also to activate them from a player’s hand. While most deck-building games use initial points like “gold” as a starting point from which players seek to move beyond; gold always remains a valuable commodity in Draconis Invasion as players work to defeat an assault of powerful foes amid brutal Events. Players gradually accumulate Terror cards that take up valuable space in their hands, and the more Terror means more Events, which ultimately balance the game as the ultimate goal is to collect the most Glory Points to win the game.

The original Draconis Invasion follows a smooth A-BCD flow of play: play an Action card, then Buy a card, drawn new Campaign cards that pay bounties, or Defeat an invader, ending the turn by discarding the whole hand. This expansion suggests adding two more possibilities: Eliminate a non-Terror card as an option to help clear out older cards from one’s deck and Forward, which allows players to place an unused gold card on top of their draw piles, resolving the potential issue of getting caught without enough gold in a single hand to make the big purchases. With these actions available, the game is sped up and elevated to more epic play.

In addition to new mechanics, the expansion to Draconis Invasion brings in a slew of new experiences to the field. The new monsters like the dreadful construct Abomination, the leering Sea Dragon, and unnervingly beautiful Babalon are balanced by new Defenders and Actions. Players may draw glorious Lion Lords and hard-hitting Minataurs into their decks, not to mention glass-cannons like Goblin Enforcers and fiery Seraph that do devastating, though costly, amounts of damage. Actions provide more balanced gameplay than ever with players who make a big push to get ahead in points giving free cards or bonuses to other players, bringing them along without much gap.

As a new angle for Draconis Invasion, the expansion offers a new “campaign” mode in which players compete across ten Battle Stages. The base pack had suggestions of what sets of cards to include for the original Battle Stages, but these offer a whole new setting as the forces of the kingdom turning the tide against the maleficent invaders only to discover a trap. The sets of cards build to introduce more powerful cards step by step, giving new players time to learn these new skills and adapt their strategies to take advantage while giving a sense of story to fans of world-building.

Draconis Invasion is a card game for one to six players aged fourteen and up. Check out gameplay in action:

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