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Game Nite

Issue # 13

the magazine of tabletop gaming

e e r es

F 0 pag 11

Game Reviews app reviews

Sandy Petersen game Designer

“ticket to carcassonne�

Mihajlo Dimitrievsk Artist

and more!


In this issue: Puzzles 7 Word Search 89 Crossword Puzzle 104 Answer Keys

book review

8 Ticket to Carcassonne Entry level primer

Education 4

96

History of Tabletop Games Part XI - Pit

Games in Education Top 10 Family Language Games

Interviews 28

Sandy Petersen

54

Mihajlo Dimitrievsk

Game Designer.

Artist.

Solo Gaming 90

Space Hulk Jeff Rhind

Comics 103 Comics Game Night comic strip.

Android and iOS

2

16

Lunarchitects Glen More Revisioned.

20

Hero Realms

24

Santorini

Fantasy Deckbuilder. Gorgeous Abstract.

36

Vinhos: Deluxe

42

Colony Dice Drafting.

46

Sun Tzu The Art of War.

50

Bermuda Crisis Solve the Mystery.

72

Tavarua Hang Ten in Fiji.

76

Explorers of the North Sea A Worthy Cruise.

80

America Trivia for Gamers.

82

San Allies

94

Crisis

Vintage Lacerda Euro.

Solitaire War Game. Heavy Economic Euro.

Review index

Christine Sampson

Paperback

Kanagawa Painting Theme.

100 Game Nite Contributors

Social Deduction Anxiety

Mobile Reviews 10

12

Contributors

OPINION 86

Reviews

106 Back Issue Index Game Nite Issue #13


From the gaming table

Game Nite ISSUE # 13

R

ecently it has been hard not to notice that the production quality of many of the modern game releases. In this issue we feature some beautifully produced games that also provide excellent excellent game play. Be sure to take a look at: “Vinhos: Deluxe”, “Santorini”, “Kanagawa”

Cover Photograph by Serge Pierro. Santorini © Roxley Games

and “Sun Tzu”!

Editor in Chief/Publisher:

In this issue, Bill Braun reviews “Explorers of the North Sea” .

Serge Pierro

Jeff Rhind continues his series on solo games - this time featuring: “Space Hulk: Death Angel”.

Editor:

David Niecikowski’s follows up his popular “Top 10 Family Math Games” with his “Top 10 Family Language Games”. John Anthony Gulla offers Part XI of his series on the “History of Tabletop Games”. Christine Sampson discusses Social Deduction games and anxiety. Callum Dougherty takes a look at “Crisis”. Special thanks to Sandy Petersen for taking time from his busy schedule to share his thoughts. Special thanks also to Mihajlo Dimitrievsk for his answers and examples of his unique artwork. Congratulations to Vital Lacerda and Eagle-Gryphon Games for winning an Editor’s Choice Award for the stunning ,”Vinhos: Deluxe”! As well as Gordon Hamilton and Roxley Games for their Editor’s Choice Award for their wonderful “Santorini”.

Serge Pierro

Eric Devlin Contributing Writers: Photographers: Bill Braun

Serge Pierro

David Niecikowski

Bill Braun

Kevin Lauryssen

Jeff Rhind

John Anthony Gulla

Robert Delwood

Jeff Rhind

Callum Dougherty

Christine Sampson Robert Delwood Callum Dougherty

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Editor in Chief

Visit us at:

www.gamenitemagazine.com

editor@gamenitemagazine.com

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@GameNiteMag Issue #13

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3


History

The History of Tabletop Games By John Anthony Gulla

Part XI- Turn of the 20th Century Pit Stop

A

t the end of the last article, I promised we would be covering the early 20th Century board games, such as the Landlord’s Game, et al. During my research for that era, however, I came across another interesting genre of games --and an intriguing bit of board game history-- that I consider too relevant to our exploration to leave out. So, without any further setup, our journey will now take a brief “Pit” stop to cover this turn-of-the-century gaming story. The Landlord will just have to wait his turn, because it’s time to get real about our board game history… real-time, that is. As it turns out, the earliest examples of real-time games made a big splash in America just after the turn of the century in 1903, where three card games, all using similar real-time elements, duked it out for eternal supremacy (or at least for dominance in market share). The first of these games was called Bourse, the second was called Panic, and the third was called Pit (published by the notorious Parker Brothers). History would make it quite clear as to who the winner of that contest was (and still is), but what is likely to be much less known is that each of these three games heavily “borrowed” their core idea from a game released only a few years prior, called Gavitt’s Stock Exchange (herein referred to as GSE).

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GSE was so named for its designer, one Harry E. Gavitt, of Topeka, Kansas. While Mr. Gavitt seemed quite a lively man, insisting through the written rules of his game that players be loud and raucous during play or risk losing points, he was not, apparently, too interested in obtaining a copyright for his game. Gavitt claims to have filed for Patent and Copyright in 1896, but it is unclear whether there any actual copyright or patent was indeed filed for the game until at least sometime after January, 1903. This could also be because Gavitt, who also owned a primitive pharmaceutical company selling herbal remedies first created and sold by his father W.W. Gavitt during the American Civil War, was merely using the game as part of a promotion to sell more medicines. In fact, Gavitt had been giving the card game away freely to those who purchased products from him! Regardless, the lack of verifiable copyright and patents opened the proverbial door long enough for the creators of games such as the now quite familiar Pit, the aforementioned Bourse, Panic, and still others to get to market as direct competition to GSE, using much the same style of play. This, in turn, created a micro-war between these similar versions of the game, which would go on for a short time. In its advertising, the makers of Bourse proclaimed that it was the original game of “’change” (presumably short for “exchange”) and that all other similar games were merely “infringing imitations.” Panic boldly

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marketed and sold its version of the game as a self-proclaimed “take-off” of “Wall St. Stock Exchange,” and prominently featured the disclaimer “Copyright 1903” written near the center on each of its 65 cards, ostensibly to provide a clear reminder to all that it was laying claim to the intellectual property. Nevertheless, evidence still suggests that GSE was first to market. The Parker Brothers would eventually go on to buy out Gavitt, once it was clear they would be the ones to corner the market with Pit.

Though these games were altogether more similar than they were dissimilar, they still had some interesting differences and developments during a brief period. GSE employed perhaps the first ever real-time game mechanic, which was described to gamers then as “open-outcry.” Anyone who has played Pit will already understand this open-outcry phase of the game, where all players must simultaneously attempt to exchange a certain number of their cards for the same number of cards from an

Continued on next page>

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History (Cont.)

opponent (never knowing what specific cards they’ll receive in return), in an attempt to collect matching sets and score points from them. Due to everyone attempting this action at once, a short, but frantic period of play ensued, causing players to become loud and forceful in order to exchange their items with preference and succeed. Once it was clear that a player had collected the majority of a certain set during this period of play (i.e. “cornering the market”), they must yell aloud, “TOPEKA!” (an homage to Gavitt’s hometown), and play would stop while points were counted. A number of rounds was played before declaring the winner. The cards themselves depicted different things as part of the theming of the game. In GSE, they represented Railway lines. In Pit, the Parker Brothers wisely dumped the train/railway theme for commonly traded farming goods like wheat, corn, and hay. Incidentally, Parker Brothers would somewhat return to the railway theme in another game that they were soon to acquire, though that discussion is perhaps best left for another article. Other significant differences also existed between GSE and its progenies. For example, in GSE, there were only 6 different types of sets to collect (with 8 of each in the deck), while games that followed commonly had 8 (or more) different types in them (also with 8 of each type). In addition, GSE’s rules restricted card exchanges to only one or two cards at a time, whereas other, later games feature exchanges of up to 4 cards at once. Most interestingly though, GSE included a single card it called the “Telegram,” which would begin play in the dealer’s hand and could be given at any time in addition to the other cards in an exchange, i.e., when trading cards with another player, the person with the telegram card handed them 1 or 2 cards, plus the Telegram, which could not be refused by the partner. In this way, the Telegram acted as an Old Maid, or “Hot Potato” of sorts, causing the player who ended the

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game with it to subtract several points from their score. Panic picked up on this idea, but simply exchanged the card’s theme to what they called the “Panic” card, which is what ultimately gave the game its title. Pit jettisoned this idea in favor of Bull and Bear cards, which may be slightly more familiar to modern gamers. Simply stated, the Bull can act as a “wild” to complete a given set, but also acts as a penalty if it is held in a player’s hand while another person completes a set. The Bear always acts as a penalty card, similar in function to the Telegram/Panic card. Unlike GSE’s Telegram card, however, Pit’s Bear and Bull are counted as a card when trading to other players, meaning a player must call, “Three!” if trading the Bull and two of a commodity to another player. Finally, the ranges of worth depicted on the types of cards differed greatly from one game to the next. GSE’s sets ranged anywhere from $125 to $250, with the possibility of doubling your score in certain ways. In contrast, Pit included ranges from 40 -100 (a larger spread), while Bourse included a meager range of only 1 to 5. Although it was the clear winner after 1904, Pit would itself undergo some changes over the next hundred years plus, with variants and different versions abounding. Still, the core element of its gameplay, the “open-outcry” (or what we would now know better as “real-time”), would be the mainstay and hallmark of its gameplay throughout. As such, Pit has undoubtedly become one of the most successful card games developed in recent history and the obvious champion of games wherein players must shout in order to win. Though the historical record reflects that Mr. Gavitt may have been wiser giving away samples of his remedies with sales of his hit card game (instead of the other way around), he must be proud that boxes of Pit still list him as a designer, and that people still urgently shout across the table at one another for fun even today.

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Puzzle

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(Solution on Page 104)

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Book Review

Ticket to Carcassonne

By Serge Pierro

T

he first thing I do when delving into a new interest is to find a magazine or book on the subject. If I was just starting out in the board game hobby, I would find the premise to “Ticket to Carcassonne” appealing, as it provides basic information for five different “gateway” games, as well as additional information on the board game hobby. Let’s take a closer look. Author Steve Dee uses a conversational approach in discussing games and other points of interest for people who are unfamiliar with the pleasures of the board game hobby. With his British sense of humor, he breaks down each chapter in a laid-back manner. Though a bit disorganized at times, the overall coverage should be appealing to beginners. The main crux of the book is the introduction and breakdown of five gateway games. The author has chose to include: Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Stone Age and Dominion. He also lists several other games that could have been considered. Each of the main chapters of the book is further broken down into three subsections: About the Game, Analysis and Expansions. The Carcassonne chapter starts off with mentioning the origins of the term Meeple, how Klaus Jurgen-Wrede came about designing the game, the historic backdrop of Carcassonne itself, as well as Jay Tummelson’s efforts in bringing Carcassonne to America and reaching a broader audience. Each of these topics is approached with the light hearted humor that permeates the entire book. The next section of the chapter, Analysis, provides the reader with a broad range of basic strategies and tips. These are geared more for a beginner and provide a decent starting point from which they can further explore. Also included is a scan of the number of types and tiles that are included in the game, which is quite useful for players of all levels. Having received a general approach to the game, players are then introduced to individual strategies and tips for Roads, Monasteries, Cities and Fields, as well as tactical concepts with different player counts. Endgames is the last topic covered.

The last section of this chapter is about the Expansions for the game. Listed are 10+ expansion, each of which is given a paragraph or more explaining what each of them has to offer, from the perspective of components and/or new mechanics. Also included are various standalone versions. The chapters for Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and Stone Age are all done in a similar manner. However, the chapter on Dominion includes the author’s breakdown of 25 individual cards, stating the card stats and particular strategies and synergies that are available. I’m not sure that I’d agree with some of the assessments, but they will certainly provide enough information for a beginner to get a better understanding of the game. Chapter 8 is titled “Further Reading” and is used by the author to recommend some other games that beginners can consider trying after they have played the aforementioned games. Chapter 9 gives an overview on Hosting a Game Night and covers various topics, including: where to play, food and drink, choosing games and teaching participants how to play. As mentioned at the beginning, this is the type of book that I would have loved to have seen when I first started playing these games in the ’90’s. Although I would have preferred a more serious tone and analysis of the games, the whimsical nature of the author will appeal to a beginner without alienating them by a more authoritative tone. On the downside there were very few photos or illustrations. Yet for some bizarre reason there were several pages of photos from a game of “Telestrations”. It would have been far better to have included photos relevant to the games covered. This would make a nice gift for someone who has shown an interest in the hobby; however, it is probably too basic for intermediate to advanced gamers.

Author: Steve Dee Publisher: Self Published

Recommended 8

www.skdinning.co.uk

Game Nite Issue #13


Mobile Review

Paperback

By Serge Pierro

An Editor’s Choice Award Winner Comes To Android

W

hen Tim Fowers “Paperback” card game was reviewed back in issue #3 of Game Nite, we gladly gave it an Editor’s Choice Award due to its brilliant gameplay and the host of included expansions and options. Recently I received an Android tablet and a week later the “Paperback” app was released on Google Play. Needless to say that it was the first game app that I purchased and I was very interested to see how the game transferred over into the digital realm. The app has the same look and feel as the original card game and not surprisingly uses the landscape mode for the game layout. There are a limited set of options, but they do include toggling the sound and/or music on or off, as well as player counts and AI. The game supports up to four players and includes pass and play. Sadly, there is no online play against others. Each of the four player slots can be used with either a human player and/or an AI opponent. There is a short tutorial for those who are unfamiliar with the game, though it is only a series of screens with both graphics and instructions. There is no walkthrough of an actual sample game. There are four different levels of AI: Easy, Smart and Smarter. While writing this review I played a game against each of the three AI opponents. I had the highest scoring word (PLONKING 10pts.) and won the game with 46 points while the AI players finished: Smarter 39, Smart 24 and Easy 9. This will give you an idea as to the strength of the various computer opponents. It should be noted that I am a tournament level Scrabble player, so non-tournament players may find the Smarter and Smart opponents to be quite challenging. The game play is fairly straightforward and is similar to the actual game. You are dealt five cards and you can move your letters around and then submit your word by hitting the green check mark. When you choose one of the wild cards, a small screen pops up with the alphabet and you tap on the letter that you want the card to be. If you make a mistake or change your mind, you can drag it back down to the bottom of the screen and it will revert back to its initial state.

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After the word is submitted the device shows the amount of money earned to buy more letters and the piles of available letters that can be bought, these are indicated by being being “lit up” and the letters that can’t be bought are a darker tone. The device asks for confirmation of your choice and play then moves onto the next player. Depending on the people you play with, there are moments where analysis paralysis can be a problem. Even though it is less prevalent on the app, there are moments where the toughest AI will take several seconds figuring out the best play. While this is not a problem, it should be noted that there is a noticeable delay, especially when compared to the easier/earlier rounds. At the end of the game there is a screen showing the highest scoring word and the player who scored it and then the final results are shown. The only downside when compared to the original game is that the expansions aren’t included. It would have greatly added to the playing experience to have those options available. Perhaps in the future these will find their way into the game. Fans of the original card game will love having the app available to play a quick game on their mobile device, especially when they don’t have anyone available to play against. The AI games can be quite challenging, depending on your level of expertise, but the three different AI’s are different enough that players of all levels should find a challenging level of competition. If you haven’t had an opportunity to play the game in real life, then this app will be the next best thing and you’ll understand what the buzz is all about. Even without the expansions this is highly recommended!

Version #: 1.06 Price: $3.99 Devices: Android and iOS Designer: Tim Fowers Publisher: Fowers Games

Game Nite Issue #13

Highly Recommended


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Game Review

Kanagawa

By Serge Pierro

Paint a Beautiful Picture

T

here are two things that immediately grab your attention when looking at the box top of Kanagawa, first is the gorgeous artwork of Jade Mosch and the second is the name, Bruno Cathala. So, without even opening the box the expectations for this game are quite high. Let’s take a look at it and see if it delivers. Kanagawa comes in a square 8” box that is 2 1/2” deep and features spot varnishing on all sides of the box. The custom, white plastic insert has a large well for the components, an individual well for the cards and a special curved section that allows for the storage of the rolled up bamboo mat. The 16 page rulebook is approximately the same size as the box and will get you up and running quickly, though the order of the material could be a little clearer. It also provides examples and explanations of key cards and concepts, as well as featuring Jade Mosch’s artwork throughout. The production quality of this game is quite high. Besides the spot varnishing and custom insert, the game features high quality components. Obviously the first component that catches your attention is the real bamboo play mat. Everyone’s eye brows were raised the first time they saw it unrolled for play and couldn’t help but “ooh and ash”. The other eye-catcher is the inclusion of 15 wooden paintbrush/vase tokens. These add to the realization of the theme. Two large wooden pawns are also included. One for the starting player and the other for the potential first player of the next turn.

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The 72 square cards measure 2 2/8” and are of an acceptable stock. Although they seem fine, I can’t help but wonder if they will be subject to wear/markings as they are repeatedly placed and removed from the bamboo mat, due to its texture.


The remaining components are all of a high quality Each turn the starting player will place a row of cards cardboard stock. onto the School mat and then each player in turn order will have the option of taking any column of cards. Each player will receive a starting tile and two Brush If they choose to take a column of card(s) they will pawns. A first player is chosen and they will be in charge immediately attach them to their Studio. If they pass, of placing the Lesson cards onto the bamboo mat. they will have to wait for the next round of cards to be placed.

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Game Review (Cont.) In order for a player to put a card into play they will need to pay the resource cost listed on it. If they are unable to pay the cost, they must flip the card and add it to the bottom section of their Studio, where it will provide abilities or additional resources. In order to pay the cost they must have an available Brush pawn and either place it on the relevant resource (if it hasn’t already been placed) or move it from a previously used resource to the targeted one. Each instance of a resource may only be used once per turn. Movement is determined by the movement icon on either the starting tile or one obtained during the game. Each movement icon can only be used once per turn.

deck run out or a player has 11 cards in the Print (top) section of their Studio. Then the game ends and points are totaled. The final score is tabulated by how many cards (including your starting tile) were completed in your Print, 1vp each. How many Harmony icons are present on your Print cards and Studio cards, 1vp each. How many consecutive Season cards are in your Print, 1vp each. The face value of the Diploma tiles and 2vp for the player owning the Grandmaster pawn. The highest score wins. Kanagawa is one of those games that just commands attention when it is brought to the table. Players would “ooh and aah” over the quality of the components and were eager to see how the game played. Although it is towards the lighter end of the spectrum, there is enough substance for it to be an enjoyable game for more serious gamers. The one caveat that we had was that at times it was hard to slide the cards underneath the previously played cards, especially on a table with a smooth surface.

If a player meets the requirements stated on one of the Diploma tokens, they have the option to either take the Diploma or state that they are declining to take it and will attempt to obtain a higher scoring one later. Once the Diploma has been declined, that player may no longer have access to that tile and may only pursue the others. This is a push your luck element in which you eschew early lower value Diplomas in order to pursue higher ones; however, you run the risk of not be able to obtain them. It’s a little nuance that makes for some Bruno Cathala and Charles Chavallier have delivered a interesting decisions throughout the game. Each player solid design that will have broad appeal. This is a family may have only one of each type of Diplomas. friendly game that will also interest gamers who are looking for a lighter game to play on their game night. If a player or players previously decided to pass on taking a column of cards, then a new series of cards are dealt below the previous ones, as per the number of Designers: Bruno Cathala & Charles Chevallier players remaining in the round. Once there is a column Publisher: Iello of three cards, any of the remaining players must take a Number of players: 2-4 column, in turn order and add them to their Studio as per the aforementioned instructions. Mechanic: Drafting, Set Collection Whoever has the Assistant Pawn at the end of the turn is given the Grandmaster Pawn and becomes the first player. Play continues until either all of the cards in the

Ages: 10+

Length: 45 mins.

Recommended www.iellogames.com

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15


Game Review

Lunarchitects

By Serge Pierro

Glen More Reimagined

L

unarchitects presents an interesting concept - a space themed game that is based on Matthais Cramer’s classic game Glen More. While this game uses hex tiles instead of squares and space station related resources instead of whiskey, the gameplay is just as strong and with the various endgame and lap conditions the replayability is quite high. Let’s see if the game is able to stand on its own. Iron Kitten Games joins the ranks of new publishers that are using high production values for their game releases and the standards on “Lunarchitect” rival those of top end publishers. Starting with the 12” x 9” x 3” box, one notices the spot varnishing on the box top. The sturdy box contains two, custom moulded, plastic inserts, one fitting inside the other. The storage areas are all marked for easy sorting and includes cardboard dividers to further separate the components. The inside of the box bottom states that instead of throwing the punchboards away, place them beneath the insert, thus raising it and keeping the pieces from moving about. The insert also holds the game board flush on top and acts as a cover. The 24 page rulebook is the size of the box and is printed on high quality paper; however, the rules to the game are only 8 pages, as it is printed in English, German and French. The rules are short and clear with numerous examples. Since all of the in-game effects are icon based, there is a small learning curve to become familiar with some of the more esoteric ones. The three panel board is made of high quality cardboard. The games 73 main tiles, as well as the other tokens punched from the same boards are all printed on strong cardboard stock.

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The 40 custom shaped resource tokens are made of wood, as are the 20 astronaut tokens. Also included are 5 wooden player pawns. The 55 plastic scoring tokens include 30 custom rocket ships and 25 gems.


There are two dies included. The white one is a custom To determine the scoring for game, randomly choose die that is used in games with 1-3 players and has faces one of the four “Lap Scoring” tiles and place it on the of 1,1,1,2,2 and 3. The red one is a standard die that is associated spot on the board. It is suggested that for used in the solitaire version. your first game you use the one already printed on the board. Then randomly choose two “End-Scoring” tiles To setup the game, place the board in the center of the from the twelve that are included and place them on playing area. Each player receives a starting Quarters their spots. Due to the variety of “Lap Scoring” and and the associated color pawn. The Quarters are double “End-Scoring” tiles, every game can have a unique sided and you choose which side you want to use, gaining method of scoring, greatly adding to its replay value. the starting benefits listed. There are some minor setup differences for 1-3 player games vs. 4-5 player games. Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.) There are four stacks of Blueprint tiles: Initial, Early, Mid and Late. Starting with the Initial tiles place them face up clockwise around the board leaving an empty space behind the player pawn in the last position. When any stack is depleted, take tiles from the next stack in the order listed above. Players who have played Glen More or Tokaido will be familiar with the movement mechanism. The player who is in the last position on the track moves to any open tile on the board. If a player moves a large distance chances are they are going to have to wait for their turn to come up again, as other players will take advantage of taking the tiles left behind; however, there are times when there is a tile that you really want and feel justified in doing so, both to deny an opponent and to satisfy your needs.

The game lasts four rounds/laps. When all of the player pawns have crossed the “Performance Review” line (thus completing a lap) scoring takes place using the “Lap Scoring” tile. The game ends when the fourth lap is completed and scored, and then the two “EndScoring” tiles are scored as well and the highest score wins. The game includes a solitaire version that plays against two AI opponents which are controlled by the included dice. You are trying to obtain your best score as the AI tries to deny you tiles. It plays fast and has a wide variety of scoring strategies due to the amount of scoring tiles included.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this game. I’ve played Glen More and enjoyed it, so the concept of “another” Glen More was a bit strange. But there When you land on a tile you take it from the track and is enough of a difference between the two games that connect it to your burgeoning lunar complex, paying makes both of them viable. The variety of lap and any costs listed on it and receiving any bonuses. There endgame scoring methods add a great deal to the overall is a protocol in how the tiles are placed. The placed gameplay of Lunarchitects and the components are of a tile must connect to another tile that has an Astronaut much higher quality than Glen More. Both are excellent on it. Tiles that have a connection must continue the games, but due to the high production values, solo play connection (rail to rail or tube to tube) in the specific and the multiple scoring strategies, these days I prefer direction. Lunarchitects. After correctly placing the tile you activate all of the tiles that touch it, using the icons listed on the bottom of each tile. Each tile may only be activated once per turn. At the end of your turn fill any empty spaces on the track, being sure to leave one empty space behind the last pawn.

Designer: Dan Cunningham Publisher: Iron Kitten Games Number of players: 1-5 Mechanic: Tile Placement Ages: 13+ Length: 60 mins.

Highly Recommended www.ironkittengames.com

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Game Review

Hero Realms

By Serge Pierro

Base Set & Character Packs

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lthough I love playing Star Realms, I prefer Fantasy themes over Science Fiction. So when White Wizard Games announced they were taking the Star Realms engine and adapting it to a fantasy theme, I was intrigued. Let’s take a look at why Hero Realms just might be a better game than Star Realms. The first thing that you notice is the 4” x 6” x 1 3/8” sturdy cardboard box which is clearly an upgrade over the tuck box used for Star Realms. The cardboard insert divides the box into two sections. The box will also hold the contents of the five Character packs, though they rise above the divider. This was perhaps a missed opportunity to have designed the height of the insert to take in account the Character cards. The rulebook is a double sided, folded sheet of high quality paper. There are eight panels on each side and they explain all of the rules and variants for the game. The rules are concise and a player with no previous Star Realms experience should be up and running quickly. The game includes 144 linen finished cards and like the rest of this production, a step up in quality over Star Realms. To start the game, each player receives 7 Gold, 1 Ruby, 1 Dagger and 1 Shortsword to form their starting deck. Players start with 50 Health. The Market deck is shuffled and 5 cards are placed face up, thus forming the Market. The Fire Gems deck is placed next to the Market. Players will draw five (three if going first) cards from their decks. They will then have the opportunity to purchase cards, attack another player and/or use a card effect. There are three main types of cards in the Market deck: Actions, Items and Champions.

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Actions and Items are essentially the same, the only difference being the type of card. Either type will resolve and placed into your discard pile at the end of the turn. The Champion cards are what differentiates Hero Realms from Star Realms. These cards stay in play from turn to turn, unless removed. Players who have played a lot of


Star Realms need to remember that these cards stay in It is with the addition of the Character packs that the play, as it is easy to accidentally sweep them up with game really shines. There are currently five available: your other cards at the end of the turn as a reflex. Wizard, Cleric, Ranger, Thief and Fighter. These have unique starting life totals, two class specific Ability Some cards have Combat icons on them and deal cards, personal items/Champions and different starting the stated amount of damage to an opposing player or Gold amounts. Champion(s). The Wizard’s focus is drawing cards. His Channel A player is eliminated from the game when they are ability costs him two Gold and one health to draw a reduced to 0 life. Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.) card, while also expending the card. His Fireball ability can be used once per game and does 4 points of damage to a target player and all of their Champions. He also has a Cat Familiar which can provide either one Gold, one Health or one Combat. His Fire Staff allows him to draw a card if he has 2 Actions in play and his Spell Components let him pay one less when purchasing an Action. His Ignite spell deals 2 points of Combat damage. He starts with 5 Gold.

every turn. His one time use ability, Heist, allows him to buy a card from an opponent’s discard pile, paying its full cost. His 3 Throwing Knives deal additional damage when played on the same turn, as 1 played deals 1 damage, 2 played deals 3 damage and 3 of them deals 9 damage, it’s strong, but not easy to pull off.

Everyone loved the Character packs. While it seemed that there was some minor imbalance between the top and lower tier Characters, it wasn’t enough to make the The Ranger’s focus is on deck manipulation and card game itself unbalanced. Not surprisingly the Character draw. His Track ability allows him to expend the card, Ability cards proved to be the strongest cards in the spend 2 Gold and rearrange/discard the top 3 cards Character packs and the difference in starting Gold and of his deck. While each Black Arrow that is in play Health only added to the asymmetry in a positive way. alongside his Hunting Bow, allows him to draw a card. The Headshot has a one time use and it allows him to Inevitably this game is going to be compared to Star draw a card and stun a Champion. Realms; however, it can clearly stand on its own. With the addition of the Character packs, I believe that Hero The Cleric’s focus is on healing. She may spend 2 Realms is actually the better game. The game can easily Gold, expend the card and grant a player 3 Health be played without these packs, but you’d be doing and all their Champions +1 Defense until their next yourself a great disservice in doing so, I consider them turn. The onetime use of Resurrection brings back a essential. Champion that was Stunned since your last turn. The Prayer Beads grant the Cleric either 2 Gold or gaining With a fantasy theme, high quality production and 5 Health, unless he has 2 or more Champions in play, playable with 2-4 players out of the box, this is a game then he receives both. that everyone should be taking a serious look at, as it should appeal to a wide range of players. The Fighter’s focus is on dealing Combat damage. By expending Shoulder Bash and spending 2 Gold he is Designers: Darwin Kastle & Rob Dougherty able to deal 2 points of damage. While his one time Publisher: White Wizard Games use of Crushing Blow deals 8 points of damage. His Throwing Axe allows him to draw a card if he does 7+ Number of players: 2-4 Combat damage that turn. The Thief ’s ability seemed unbalanced when compared to the others. For 2 Gold and expending Pick Pocket he gains 3 Health and a target player discards a card. He was able to gain health, as well as card advantage

Mechanic: Deck Builder Ages: 12+ Length: 20 mins.

Highly Recommended www.herorealms.com

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Game Review

Santorini

By Serge Pierro

Highly Appealing Abstract

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s a fan of Abstract games, it should come as no surprise that Santorini would grab my attention. However, with it’s excellent production values and variable “gods” abilities, this is an Abstract game that is going to intrigue players who are not normally interested in Abstracts. Let’s take a look at why this has the potential to appeal to a wide range of gamers - as well as children and families. The 12” x 12” x 2 3/4” box is linen finished. There is no insert, but the plastic components come in resealable bags. The game comes with a “First Game” children’s book that features the artwork of David Forest and Lina Cossette. The book is nicely done and will certainly appeal to younger children. The rulebook is the size of the box and is a double-sided sheet of paper that has six panels/pages. The rules are short, with the majority of the booklet devoted to explaining the abilities on the cards. The board is made up of three separate parts that are easily assembled. Both the base and game board are made of a thick cardboard stock. There is a plastic pedestal that the game board and base attach to. This forms a three dimensional playing area that is quite eye-catching. Clearly the plastic components are the focus of the production. The six Worker miniatures are 1” tall and come in three colors, each color featuring a male and female character. The Towers come in four different sections: 22 level one Blocks, 18 level two Blocks , 14 level three Blocks and 18 blue Domes.

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While the quality of the components is excellent, it’s the “God Power” cards that give this game its depth and replayability. The 30 cards are Tarot sized and measure 2 3/4” x 4 3/4”. They are of a decent card stock and since they aren’t shuffled they should be fine.


To start the basic game, the first player will place each of their two Workers on any unoccupied squares on the board. Then the second player will do the same. Like opening theory in chess, the starting positions of the minis will have an impact on a players ability to attain their strategic goals.

The game play is simple. On your turn you have to move one of your Workers one space onto any neighboring square that doesn’t include either another Worker or a Dome. This includes diagonals. The Worker may move on the same level, go up one level or go down any number of levels.

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Game Review (Cont.) After the Worker has moved, you place one of the appropriate Blocks or Domes onto one of the surrounding spaces from where they are currently positioned. Towers must follow the proper order of construction. Play continues with players alternating turns, until one player moves one of their Workers onto the third level of a stack of Blocks to win the game. If a player is unable to move or build on their turn they lose the game.

“Golden Fleece God” that is chosen at the start of the game and a “Ram” figure is placed on the board and any Worker that is neighboring it on their turn gets the ability of the “God Power” card. I’m always on the lookout for two player Abstracts that have depth of play and interesting components. “Santorini” fills that niche admirably and is a welcome addition to my permanent collection. The “God Power” cards raise the base game from an “okay” game to a “must have”.

It is recommended that you play a couple of the basic Don’t let the “cutesy” artwork distract you from the games before using the God Power cards, but you’ll want to use them as soon as possible, because they are depth of play available. It is clear that Roxley Games essential to getting the maximum enjoyment out of the is trying to reach a broad market - especially with the inclusion of the “children’s book” - but this is a game. game that is going to be appealing to both adults and The God Power cards are chosen before the game children. Due to the range of Gods and Heroes, players begins and they are broken down into two different of different levels can compete “equally” by having the levels. The first level is designated as the “Simple Gods” stronger player take a weaker Hero and the weaker and includes 10 different cards. Example: Atlas “Your player taking a stronger God. I would love to see this Build: Your Worker may build a Dome at any level.” eventually turned into an app, as it seems like it would Even though these are the “simple” cards, their effects be a perfect fit. are still quite profound and have a great impact on the I’d love to see “opening theory” start to emerge with game. both the Worker starting positions and various god The second level of cards include the “Advanced Gods” combinations. I believe that this game has a very bright and include 20 cards that have more complex effects future and I hope it gains the exposure it deserves, in on them. Example: Zeus “Your Build: Your Worker both the hobby market and the mass retail market. Due may build a Block under itself ” or Limus “Opponent’s to its depth and short playing time, I believe that both Turn: Opponent Workers cannot Build on spaces gamers and families are going to be spending a lot of neighboring your Workers, unless building a Dome to time exploring Santorini. create a complete Tower”. As if the previous combinations of 30 “God Powers” wasn’t enough, the game also comes with an expansion, “Golden Fleece” - which includes 15 “Golden Fleece Gods”. Many of these gods bring more complexity to the game and introduce special tokens and the ability to add more Workers. The expansion also includes 10 Hero cards, which can only be used once per game. There is also a “Golden Fleece Variant” that uses a single

Designer: Gordon Hamilton Publisher: Roxley Games Number of players: 2-4 Mechanic: Abstract, Special Abilities Ages: 8+ Length: 20 mins.

Highly Recommended www.roxley.com

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Interview

Sandy Petersen

By Serge Pierro

Game Designer

“Sandy Petersen is a legend in the Video Game, RPG and Board Game industries.”

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with our readers, can you tell us a little something about yourself? The only full-time job I’ve held as an adult is that of a game designer, which is I assume a weird life, but really I have little to compare it with. I am also a grandfather, a practicing Mormon, and have been married to one woman since 1979.

Did you start designing games at an early age? If so, do you remember what your first game design was like? I loved games as long as I can remember. I think the first game that hooked me so much I stayed in from 3rd grade recess to play it was Clue. The first game I can remember designing was a tabletop hex game based loosely off the Avalon Hill Gettysburg game, but trying to

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emulate the “Gottlos” short story written by Colin Kapp and published in Analog SF magazine in 1969. It was kind of a predecessor to Ogre I guess, but about as well developed as you’d expect a 14 year old kid to create.

Sandy Petersen

Designer Call of Cthulhu Cthulhu Wars Orcs Must Die! Glorantha: The God Wars

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Your interest in H.P. Lovecraft is well known.  What is it about Lovecraft’s writing that continues to captivate you after all these years? I blundered into Lovecraft when I was only 8 years old, and didn’t really understand everything that H. P. was talking about. I didn’t realize what the end of “The Outsider” meant until I was 12. What struck me about Lovecraft first and foremost was the huge contrast between


him and every other author I’d read. He had world-destroying forces of cosmic import. I read a lot of science-fiction (my dad was a fan, and we had decades of old pulp SF magazines in storage), and yet in all the array of great SF at my fingertips, not one of them had anything as utterly outlandish as, say, “The Colour Out of Space”, featuring an entity so alien it could only interact with humankind to feed. Lovecraft literally expanded my mind. You have to understand that when I read “The Call of Cthulhu” for the first time, I had no idea what a Cthulhu was. The final revelation was earth-shattering to me. It was an experience which is probably impossible today.

Besides Lovecraft, are there any other authors whose works you enjoy and what would be your favorite books by them? I believed that Call of Cthulhu was going to be a tiny cult game that only a minute fraction of the gaming public would ever see or read. Its success staggered me. When I wrote Call of Cthulhu, every other person I knew who’d read Lovecraft had been introduced to his writings by me! So naturally I figured knowledge of   “Call of Cthulhu” was largely responsible for him was thin on the ground. I never expected exposing Lovecraft to a large segment of the public.  that the game would actually act to introduce Lovecraft to a wider audience. I really like Rex Stout, Edgar Allen Poe, and Jane Austen, among conventional authors. Among the outre writers I love the old standbys such as Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, and M. R. James, but I have so many books and authors it is hard to focus in on just one.

At the time did you realize that this was going to be an innovative RPG and were you surprised at its success?

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Interview (Cont.) When “Call of Cthulhu” first came out it was a groundbreaking RPG due in large part because of the unique theme; however, 30+ years later there is a great deal of product available with the Cthulhu theme.  What are your thoughts on the proliferation of both Lovecraft and Cthulhu products in today’s marketplace?  Well as Lovecraft’s knowledge has spread, there have been lots of people trying to capitalize on his new-found popularity. Obviously, some attempts are mere money grabs, while others are ill-conceived attempts to tap Lovecraft’s ideas. I guess Sturgeon’s Law applies to Lovecraft products as much as anything else. The only aspect I fear is that someday Cthulhu will be reduced to a figure of fun, instead of an apparition of final destruction. There have been attempts in that direction, but I think Cthulhu What games over the years have had the most still retains some of his old force. impact on you as a game designer? Heck, when I published Cthulhu Wars, the only Cosmic Encounter, World of Warcraft, really negative review I got was from a person Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeonmaster, and who complained that Cthulhu was overdone. Panzerblitz. While I can’t really take issue with his point, I felt that if the person who did the very first Who are your favorite game designers? Cthulhu game ever wasn’t allowed to design Shigeru Miyamoto, John Hill, Sid Sackson, more on the subject, things had come to a sorry and Takayuki Jingu. state.

If you had the opportunity to co-design a game with another designer, who would you like to Besides playtests of my own upcoming games, work with and what type of game would it be? What games have you been playing lately?

the boardgame I’ve played most is “Feast for Odin”, and the digital game I’ve played most is Paul Bettner, and it would be a computer based 3-d game about Lovecraft. “Stardew Valley”.

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You have a unique perspective, having worked in the video game, RPG and board game markets.  How do you approach these different formats from a design perspective and which one presents the best opportunity to deliver your vision? Wow, this could go on for many pages, so I think I’ll summarize by saying: Tabletop RPGS primarily live in the player’s mind, so of course have potentially the most awesome effects, in a sense, because everything is imagined. But nothing is actually in front of you – it’s all numbers on a sheet of paper, and it relies completely upon your imagination to work. Limitations are difficulties in communication, being taken “out of the game” by awkward rules or decisions, and the physical limitations of getting a group together and preparing an adventure. Another problem is that actually playing an RPG takes hours and hours to get the effect – sometimes hundreds of hours. Video Games can really immerse you in the world more than any other format, because you have actual sight & sound (and with new vibrating controllers, touch as well). Virtual reality holds forth the reality of making the world into a true universe. The main limitations here are that you need a really huge team compared to other types of games, and it takes many months, even years, to bring a product to fruition. Even then you have problems with technology. Digital games are so immensely complex, you are certain to have bugs and defects marring your vision.

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Board games add a vision and physical heft to gameplay. Make no mistake, the huge size of Cthulhu Wars figures add play value. When you slam ol’ Cthulhu onto the table, it’s a sight and sound that makes the foe shiver … with anticipation. What I like about board games is the great deal of player interaction that it produces. It’s far more so than even in most RPGs, where most players sit quietly until called on to speak or take an action, or the GM does 90% of the talking. In Cthulhu Wars, when you (to use our earlier example) awaken Great Cthulhu, the other players typically remark on it. Even if they don’t, they start taking actions directly to make themselves less of a target, or to ingratiate themselves to you. Or of course start attacking you. There is so much of this communication that I delight in merely watching others play these games. Another great advantage is that, unlike an RPG, a board game can be finished in an hour or two. So it’s easier to manage your time. In my own personal goal, which is to see people play with other people, I feel that boardgames are currently the best means at my disposal to cause this to happen. But all of my game efforts have been directed at the same. Even singleplayer games of mine, such as Hyperspace, were aimed at the human player interacting, though in this case it was with artificial personalities I’d invented.

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Interview (Cont.) Having worked on so many successful video games, what do you feel they have contributed to your skillset in the designing of board games? They taught me to be precise and how to playtest. In conversations with other board game designers, I find that my playtest system (derived from my digital experience) is quite different from most of them, Mine seems to work for me, and enables me to have massively asymmetrical characters or factions. No doubt their system has its advantages as well.

  You’ve worked on some very impressive computer game titles, such as “Civilization”, “Doom”, “Quake” and “Age of Empires”, what was it like to be part of a creative team to develop a game that you could throw your ideas around with was was not your personal vision, as compared to your really terrific. On the other hand, having a large, highly creative team, can lead to its own own games. Until I founded my own game company in 2013, as a professional game designer, the only game I ever developed that was my own original idea was the Lightspeed/Hyperspeed duo. Every other game I did, including Call of Cthulhu, was assigned to me by my bosses. This is life as a designer, as far as I knew. Of course, I soon psychologically considered these games “my own”, and projected my own ideas and thoughts into it. Working with a large, highly creative team was the best part about doing digital games. Having smart co-workers

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problems. I had to spend a lot of time in intrateam diplomacy and politicking, for instance.

Which one of your games do you consider your best design, and why? It’s hard to pick one. Probably Cthulhu Wars. Though The Gods War is a more sophisticated game, it builds upon the foundation that Cthulhu Wars left. Designing Cthulhu Wars was an amazing experience. The ideas just flowed from my mind in a way that has only happened 1-2 times previously in my life. The

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I hate waiting for my turn, and my games all emphasize a quick turnaround. I also think I am characterized by immersing the player in whatever universe the game is based in – I don’t just plaster a world on top of a system. Finally, What do you think defines your “style” as a game I think I have had success in making games that designer, is there a specific mechanic, rule set, etc. ? primarily focus on lighthearted entertainment. Though Cthulhu Wars is in theory a horrific topic, when I listen to people playing it, I hear Interactivity, asymmetry, and speed of play. laughter, jokes, and cries of dismay. It’s fun. final design is pretty similar to the first draft, except for minor details. It’s as though the whole thing was implanted in my brain by some kind of alien being. I can’t really explain it.

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Interview (Cont.)

Cthulhu Wars was a tremendous success, raising over $1,400,000 on Kickstarter.  Why do you think this game resonated so strongly with the Kickstarter and gaming community?  I think it was a combination of four factors. First, I was known as the pre-eminent “Lovecraftian” game designer, and my name was well-known. At least they knew what to expect from me. Second, I had absolutely terrific art support from Richard Luong, so the game looked as good as it played. Third, I held tough to my vision for the game & the figures. This meant it had a huge price tag ($199 retail!), and huge hard-to-transport figures (Cthulhu’s 8 inches tall!), but it totally fulfilled the promise it had. Finally, I was constantly in touch with and communicating to my backers, so they had a feel for what kind of person I was, and they could sense my dedication. I wasn’t aloof.

You have just released a board game based on the popular video game “Orcs Must Die!”, what was your approach from a design viewpoint of taking a popular video game IP and turning into a board game? I had to figure out what the fundamental aspects of OMD were that I wanted to

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bring to a boardgame. I decided that the three most interesting features were first, player cooperation, without one person dominating the team. Second, the tower defense aspect, which is not featured in many tabletop games. Finally, I was fascinated by the idea of a team-based game, in which two groups of players would go head-to-head against each other. This is extremely rare in boardgames – usually they are either co-op (which OMD does support) or a free for all. I kept the team-based play even after Robot Entertainment themselves dropped it for the online game, because it was so unique.

Your latest design “Glorantha: The Gods War” looks like it is going to follow in the direction of “Cthulhu Wars” and feature asymmetrical play along with high quality miniatures.  What can you tell us about this project? It is finished, and in the works, getting queued up for production at our Chinese factory! I’m excited to see it produced. It is the first game to feature a new idea I’m now using in other upcoming projects, that of a faction “flaw”, as opposed to an advantage. I’ve found that these flaws are even more successful than a unique bonus at giving a faction or a character a strong personality in the game. I am also really happy with the way that the Chaos Rift brings forth a multi-player Prisoner’s Dilemma game.

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Many of your recent games have featured high quality miniatures.  What is the typical workflow of the miniature designs -- from your imagination/ concept to the final sculpture? First I work on the game design, until it’s clear what the creatures and characters need to be. Then I work with a concept artist to put together the images of what these entities look like. There is normally a lot of back-and-forth at this point. Finally, when we are both happy with the result, we hand over the concept to either a hand sculptor or 3D artist (depending on the game), who tries to turn it into reality.

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Again, there is some back-and-forth here. When we are all satisfied with the final sculpt, off it goes to China. At this point, sometimes China comes back with production issues or possible alterations, which we then have to approve or disapprove or find a way around.

What advice would you have for aspiring game designers? Know exactly what you are going for, but be flexible and responsive. In the contradiction between these two goals you will find the game you are looking for.

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Game Review

Vinhos: Deluxe

By Serge Pierro

Vintage Lacerda Euro

V

inhos: Deluxe by Eagle Gryphon Games is a deluxe edition that is so deluxe - that the game comes shrink-wrapped with the box cover left one inch from closing due to the amount of punchboards and components inside. Couple this with a Vital Lacerda design and the multiple versions contained in the box and you realize that the word “deluxe” might not begin to cover it. Vinhos: Deluxe comes in an oversized, linen finished box. Measuring 12 1/2” x 15 1/2” x 3 1/4”, it is more reminiscent of an attache case than a box for a game. The custom black plastic insert is the size of the box and has numerous compartments. It also includes a clear, molded plastic cover to keep the components from moving around during storage or transportation. It should be noted that one of the black sections of the insert is removable and reveals a well that contains some more components, including the decks of cards for the solo variant. The game comes with two rulebooks, one for each version of the game, as well as a reference book. The 2010 Reserve edition of the rulebook is 20 pages and it is profusely illustrated and has detailed explanations of all of the rules. The 2016 Special edition 16 page rulebook is similar, in both layout and structure as the 2010 version. The Reference book contains the setups for the 2010 and 2016 versions of the game, as well as the solitaire rules. The large, six panel, double sided board is linen finished and has the 2010 version of the game printed on one side and the 2016 version on the other.

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There are far too many bits to list individually, but all of the cardboard components are of a sturdy stock, as well as being linen finished. The wooden meeples and the other wooden components are all of a high quality.


Fans of both Vinhos and Vital Lacerda will be thrilled to have deluxe versions of both the 2010 game and the newer 2016 version, as well as having the opportunity to play Vinhos with a Solitaire version. I will be concentrating on the 2016 and Solitaire versions of the game, since there are already numerous reviews of the

original. Though it should be noted that even the 2010 version has had some tweaks to it in order to make the game play even better. While this is a heavy game, the 2016 version is considered to be a little lighter than the original. Part

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Game Game Review Review (Cont.) (Cont.) of this is due in part to the removal of the Banking With the Winery Action you can buy one or two mechanism. The streamlined 2016 version is still a very Wineries for the listed price. These will add to the value satisfying game and is not a light game by any means. of your wine during production. Place a Renown cube on the associated region. Gameplay is fairly straightforward. The game last six rounds and on each round players will do the following: The Enologist/Farmer action allows you to purchase a combination of one or two of them for the prices listed. A new Vintage tile is revealed to indicate the weather Note: there is an error on the player aid stating that for that round, as well as other information that will be they cost 1 Bago each. The correct price is printed on used during the Wine Tasting Fair stage of the game. the board. The main part of a round has four steps: 2 Actions, 1 The Wine Experts action allows you to purchase one or Maintenance and 1 Production. two Wine Experts. You take the top Expert on the stack To take any of your Actions you must first move your and place it alongside your player mat for later use. token to the space that has the Action you want to take. The Export Action allows you to export one or two The movement is free if moving to an adjacent space wines by placing them in the relevant area of the board. or back to the middle of the area. However, if there is The space in which the wines are placed must be equal another token present, you have to pay that player $1, to or less than the value of the wine. Barrels are used if the round marker is present you have to pay the bank for placement and victory points are awarded based on $1 and if you move to a nonadjacent space it costs an the wine’s value. additional $1. The Sales action allows you to sell one or two wines. The main actions of the game are: buy a vineyard, Barrels are placed on the appropriate space, noting color buy a winery, buy Enologists/farmers, buy cellars, Sales, and value of the wine and the player receives Bagos Export, Wine experts and Press release. equal to the wine’s value. Since cash can be tight in this The most important action of the game is the “Buy a game, this is an area to keep an eye on. Vineyard” action, it is so important that it is actually The middle section of the board is for the Press Release located on two opposite spaces on the board so that they or Pass Action. To Pass, you simply do nothing. The are more accessible to the players. This allows you to Press Release allows you to present a wine to the Fair. buy one or two vineyards from different regions for the (see below) price listed on the tile. After purchasing the vineyard, place a Renown cube in that region. These can be used During Maintenance - take back one barrel from the later to increase the value of the wine. hotel sell area to indicate that your wine has sold. The Cellar Action is used to purchase Cellars that produce aged wines which are worth more points. The cost is listed on the space and you may choose to buy either one or two. When purchased a Renown cube is placed in the region of the vineyard that the Cellar is used for.

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During Production - move wine in the cellars one space to the right, if unable to move, it is removed from the board. Calculate Wine Quality: 2 pts for Vineyard, 1 pt for Farmer, 2 pts Enologist, 1 pt Winery and then the “modifier” on the Vintage/weather tile. Add the total and then place the Red or White tile with the corresponding number onto the leftmost space in the Cellar.

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If your wine meets the criteria of a Magnates you may The Wine Fair is visited on rounds 3, 5 and 6. If you have not already used the Press Release action to place take a wine barrel from that section of the board. Even one of your wines in the Fair, you get to do so now, for if you match all three Magnates you may only take two barrels. free. The Press Release is made up of the following steps:

The last thing you do is discard the wine.

Choose a wine from your player board that you would The Wine Tasting Fair itself is made up of three steps: like to enter into the Fair. If available, you may discard The first step awards victory points based on your up to 2 Renown cubes from the region of the wine’s position of the Fair Track, with the player in the lead origin to increase the value of the wine by +1 for each scoring the most points and the others scoring less. The cube. points increase for each of the three Fairs. You earn Fair Points based on the value of the wine. A new turn order is determined by the order of the This is marked on the special Fair Track. players in the booths of the Fair. You place your marker onto one of the booths at the The last step is the opportunity to buy Magnate Fair. Other than the first booth, the others offer a bonus Action/Multiplier tiles. To obtain one of these tile you when chosen. must discard a wine from your player board. The new You may discard a Wine Expert if they match the turn order is used. If you pass, you are no longer able current demand on the Vintage Tile and move your to participate. Any tiles left are discarded and the area is refilled with new tiles from the stack. marker on the track accordingly. Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.) After the third and final Fair there is a special turn for one more action and then the endgame scoring. The final scoring is based on how much money you have, scoring half the quality of your remaining wines, majorities in the Export columns and eligible Magnate Multiplier tiles. Each of these is added to your score and the highest score wins. With the growing interest in Solitaire games it is nice to see that a challenging one is included. As the player, your turns are quite similar as the regular game; however, you and the AI take both of your actions consecutively. Your opponent is the “ruthless Lacerda”, an AI player that was designed to provide a brutal challenge. “Lacerda” uses two decks of cards, one that will dictate his actions for the turn and the other is a “randomizer” that provides numbers for specific resolutions. On his turn he will turn over a card that will show the area of the board that he will move to and then the action is resolved. Unfortunately, his actions are explained in the Reference Book and this oversized book had to be kept in reach for each of his turns. I was a bit disappointed to see that there was no player aide, as having to keep looking things up (especially on the first play) dragged the game on for longer than necessary. For the most part the scoring is the same throughout this game; however, the final score is determined by accumulating “Accolades”. Ex: If you have a higher score than the AI at the end of the game you earn 4 Accolades. If you finish with more money than the AI you earn 2 Accolades, etc. The total number of Accolades determines your ranking. There are four levels of ranks: 0-4, 5+, 10+ and 15+. A perfect score is 16. The Solitaire version is challenging and to reach for the upper echelon you will have to adjust your strategy to address the specific Accolade goals, which is different than how you would play the game against nonAI opponents. It’s a fun challenge, and as soon as I

finished a game I wanted to start another, but due to the investment of time it just wasn’t feasible. This is a worthy challenge for Solitaire players, especially when playing for a 15+ or perfect score. Having reviewed wines for publications this is a theme that is close to my heart. It was with great anticipation that I spent exploring the game to see if it did the theme justice, and it did! While it is not a simulation, Vinhos does a great job of putting you in the position of running a vineyard and in the process exposes players unfamiliar with wineries what transpires in that world. Vital Lacerda is known for his heavy and intricate games and Vinhos is no exception. While the game play is not complex, it is the intertwining of the mechanics and the intricacies that run throughout the game that add so much to the experience. You will be rewarded upon multiple plays as the strategic and economical concepts become further revealed. This is a gamer’s game and it is a production that you will be proud to own and play for many years. Few games offer as much depth of play (in two different versions, no less) coupled with such great aesthetics. The sommelier in me would highly recommend this for your gaming pleasure. However, keep in mind that this is a heavy game, and like a heavy red wine, it won’t appeal to everyone. But to those who enjoy depth, this will be a game where you can savor the experience. Cheers!

Designers: Vital Lacerda Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games Number of players: 1-4 Mechanic: Worker Placement Ages: 12+ Length: 90-180 mins.

Highly Recommended www.eaglegames.net

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Game Review

Colony

By Serge Pierro

Draft Dice to Build a Better World

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olony is a dice drafting, “deck builder” game that’s set in the future, with a civilization trying to rebuild itself from the nanopocalypse. Players will collect resources and attempt to be the first to rebuild their Colony, using unique buildings that have special abilities. Colony comes in a 12” square box and features a black plastic insert that has sections for dividing all of the cards by title and type, as well as a storage well in the middle for the tokens and dice. The card sections have room for sleeved cards. The insert also comes with a cardboard cover that lists the cards by name and type. It should be noted that the insert is designed so that the cardboard top “snaps” into place and keeps the components secure from movement. The 16 page rulebook is the size of a magazine and is amply illustrated. There are several examples and tips, as well as an illustrated breakdown of all of the cards and their abilities. You will probably need to have the rulebook at your side for the first game or two, as the game is icon intensive. The game comes with 166 cards that are double sided, with the backs having the upgraded version of the fronts. The cards are of a decent stock. The cardboard tokens, as well as the score board and “tray cover” are all of the same thick cardboard stock. There are two different types of dice included, 30 white (Stable Resources) and 12 frosted (Unstable Resources). Also included are wooden disks in four different player colors. The setup for the game is similar to that of a deckbuilder. There are six stacks that are used for every game: 5 different Production stacks and the Fallout Shelter. The other seven stacks are either chosen randomly or by choice. Bezier Games has made available a free app for both Android and iOS

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that will generate starting configurations based on your personal settings and is recommended to those who would prefer to have an “outside source” generate what cards are used. Each player receives a set of four starting cards that match the color of their scoring token. Normally players will set the sides of these cards to the 1.0 version; however,


it is recommended for the first game that you use the On a player’s turn they do the following phases in 2.0 versions of “Upgrade” and “Construction”, as this order: Prepare, Scavenge, Activate and Cleanup. allows for more dynamic play. Players will also receive 3 white dice which are rolled and placed onto their During “Prepare” the player will remove the dice from “Warehouse” card. their “Warehouse” and place them in the play area, though if space is tight I would recommend that you The scoring track is placed on the table and each player leave them in the “Warehouse” so that they don’t get will put their scoring token in the starting area, and the confused with the dice rolled during “Scavenge”. CHIPI tokens are placed in a community pile. Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.)

Players “Scavenge” by taking three white dice from the supply and rolling them. They choose one of the dies to add to the dice from their “Warehouse”. Then the remaining dice are passed to the next player, who will then choose one and pass the other die to the next player. The current player also has the option of using any of their CHIPI tokens before they roll and add the same amount of frosted die(s) to their roll. The dice obtained with the CHIPI tokens are kept and not passed with the others during the draft; however, they must be used on the current turn or they are returned to the general supply.

as each one provided a unique, strategic approach. This is a game that could have a bright future with the right expansions, as the cards that are included offer a strong base to build on.

As with other games that have extensive icon usage, the game can be a bit daunting when first learning how to play. This is somewhat similar, though not as difficult, as the learning curve of Race for the Galaxy. The terminology was a distraction as each of the dice had an element associated with it (ex. a 6 die was Uranium) and I felt that it just wasn’t worth the effort to memorize all of the thematic terminology, which is somewhat During the “Activate” phase, players can activate or reminiscent of my problems with Android: Netrunner build cards. Activated cards can produce additional and its overabundance of thematic terms. resources or have other effects. To build new cards a player needs to spend the specific amount of resources If you are a fan of deck builders, dice drafting and printed at the top of the card. Newly built cards can’t be engine builders, then this is a game that you will want to activated not the same turn in which they were built. If look into, as the gameplay is solid and engaging. It has a player chooses not to build during this phase they may its own feel and the more that we played it, the more we take the amount of CHIPI tokens as determined by the discovered the hidden treasures in the design. This is a current version of their “Construction” card. (1.0 = 1 game that I’ll continue to play solitaire and with others token and 2.0 = 2 tokens) — and yes, the solo play is also fun! The “Cleanup” phase is where players do the end of the turn “housekeeping” such as: resetting card orientation, storing stable dice, returning unused unstable dice to the supply and adjusting their score to the current total. Play continues until the end game condition is met. This is determined by the number of players and target point total list on the scoreboard.

Designers: Ted Alspach, Toryo Hojo, Yoshihisa Nakatsu Publisher: Bezier Games Number of players: 1-4 Mechanic: Pool Building, Dice Drafting Ages: 13+ Length: 45-60 mins.

Colony shares familiar elements of other deckbuilder influenced games, yet provides its own take on it. We were quite happy to see the asymmetrical card categories,

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Recommended www.beziergames.com


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Game Review

Sun Tzu

By Serge Pierro

The Art of War

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un Tzu is Matagot’s revision of the game Dynasties by designer Alan Newman. With its upgraded components and combative theme, Sun Tzu brings the “Art of War” to the table in a two player game. Let’s see if the game stands the test of time, like its namesake. The box measures 8 1/4” x 10 3/4” x 2 1/2” and has an ornately printed insert with two large wells and a central shelf to rest the board on. The four page rulebook has several illustrations and the rules are clear and concise. The Event, Special and Warlord cards are listed individually to clarify their use. The two panel game board is made of a sturdy cardboard and is linen finished. The Scoring Displays are linen finished and made of a thick cardboard stock. The 55 cards are of a decent stock and have a nice snap to them. Since there isn’t a great deal of shuffling in the game, they should be adequate. The 44 plastic miniatures are divided into 21 red and 21 blue, with each color having three different sculpts. The remaining two minis are of Sun Tzu and King of Chu, one cast in silver plastic and the other in gold. To set up the game, randomly choose five of the Scoring Displays and place them next to the province names alongside the left and right

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sides of the board, with their orange sides facing towards the center of the board. Place the gold mini on round one of the Round track and the silver mini on the middle space of the Score track. Shuffle the five Event cards and turn over the top card to display the Event that is currently in play.


Each player starts with 18 minis and receives the matching deck of cards. Players will then choose one of their five Warlord cards. Each player places aside the cards marked 1-6 and then shuffles the remaining cards and draws the top 4 cards and adds them to their hand. Each round has five phases: Advancing the Round marker, Placing Action cards, Revealing cards and resolving battles, Scoring and Drawing new cards.

At the start of a round the marker is advanced one space. Scoring takes place when the marker reaches the 3, 6 and 9 positions on the track. The main phase of the game is the placing and revealing of cards and resolving the results. Each player will first play one card to each of the five Provinces on their side of the board. After all five cards have been placed, each province is revealed one at a time and the numbers of the cards are compared. The results will be indicated on

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Game Review (Cont.) the map by the placement of the minis. Ex: Red plays a 4 and Blue plays a 2. Red wins the battle by two and places two of their minis on the relevant Province. If an opponent already had minis at the Province, the battle result will either subtract or add to that number. Ex. Red plays a 4 and Blue plays a 2, and Blue has 1 mini in the Province. Red wins by two and uses 1 to remove the Blue mini and Red places the remaining mini, thus giving him control of the Province.

As a huge fan of two player games, Sun Tzu is a worthy addition to the ranks. While not as deep as Antike Duellum or as light as Lost Cities, Sun Tzu fills a comfortable spot in the mid range of two player board games. The “tug of war” aspect of the scoring provides a tense back and forth element to the game play.

The cards marked 1-6 provide an interesting twist to the game since they come back to your hand after being played, and the caveat placed on using the “6” card During the Scoring phase, each Province is scored by prevents the card from being abused. The onetime use the player who currently controls it. The amount of of the “non 1-6” cards adds another level of strategic points received are indicated by the Scoring Displays. decision making to the game. The orange face is used for the scoring during round Since the game provides 10 Scoring Markers and only 3 and then it is rotated to display the red face which will be used for round 6 and then finally rotated to the 5 are used per game, there’s a nice variety of scoring brown face for round 9. On each face the current points possibilities, without certain regions of the board becoming strategic “hot spots” on future plays. available are displayed in green. Scoring is tracked by moving the silver mini the The production value is excellent and greatly contributes amount of points earned by each player, with the mini to the theme. It was enjoyed by all who played it, and moving in the direction of the player who earned them. for those looking for a solid two player game to add to This has the effect of a “tug of war” between the players. their collections, this one is easily recommended. It should be noted that if the mini reaches the end of the track at the end of the round, the game is over and Designer: Alan M. Newman the player who achieved this is automatically declared Publisher: Matagot Games the winner. After the scoring takes place, any of the cards that have a “square” around the number (1-6) are returned to your hand and any others are removed from the game. Each player then draws 2 cards from their deck.

Number of players: 2 Mechanic: Area Control, Hand Management Ages: 9+ Length: 30 mins.

Play continues as above for each round and if there is no winner during the course of the game, the final position of the mini on the Scoring track at the end of the game will determine the winner.

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Recommended www.matagot.com


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Game Review

Bermuda Crisis

By Serge Pierro

Solve the Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle

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he Bermuda Triangle has been a source of inspiration for many books and movies, so it should come as no surprise that it would show up in a game. Players will use cards and upgrade their abilities in their quest to solve the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Does the game succeed in doing so… let’s find out. The 10 1/4” square box is 2” deep and includes a cardboard insert that has two wells to hold the components. The player mats and rulebook rest on top of the insert. The 12 page rulebook is well illustrated and has the pertinent information, but I found the text and backgrounds to be off-putting and hard to read at points. While the attempt to capture the theme in the rulebook is admirable, being able to clearly read the rules should be paramount. Textured backgrounds with yellow text and dark drop shadows are not the type of contrast one wants to deal with when learning a game. The four, double sided, player mats are made of a decent card stock and feature basic and advanced sides. The “Discovery Dawning Track” is also double sided and made of the same card stock. The cardboard tokens are made of a heavy cardboard stock and the 202 linen finished cards have a nice “snap” to them. To start the game each player receives a player mat (Skills Map), as well as three Common and one rare Resource cards. The Hourglass token is placed on the “Start” position on the “Discovering Dawning Track” and each of the decks are placed on the table and grouped accordingly.

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For the first game you should use the basic side of the Skills Map and the following games you will definitely want to use the advanced side. On a player’s turn they can take any of these actions: Build or Upgrade a Camp, Buy 1 Mystique Card, Activate Camp or Venture Abilities, Play Ambush or Boost Cards, Use Artifacts and Initiate and Execute Trades.


In order to “Build or Upgrade a Camp” you have to discard the Resources listed on the player mat for the Camp you want to build or upgrade. Each of the Camps provide abilities and have to be completed in order, from Basic to Advanced, and Advanced to Ultimate. The camps can be thought of as “tech trees”. When a Basic Camp is built it receives 1 VP, but when an Advanced or Ultimate Camp is built for the first time it receives 2 VP’s and 1 VP per upgrade afterwards.

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At the start of the game you are limited to buying 1 Mystique card per turn. There are three different decks that are considered “Mystique”: Ambush, Boost and Venture. The Ambush cards cost any three common resources and specialize in attacking other players. The Boost cards cost three rare resources and are defensive and help to acquire additional resources. The Venture Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.) cards can be purchased with any three resources and are This game turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It double edged, as they have both positive and negative contains some interesting concepts and I believe that abilities on them which can be manipulated by Artifacts if this was released by a larger publisher with higher and card effects. Many of the “Mystique” cards have production values, it would be a game that more people Nature Points printed on them, which is one of the would be talking about. potential victory conditions. However, there were some things that I found fault The Artifacts have five powerful abilities. You can with. We were never able to complete a trade because discard the Artifact to draw a Mystique card, disable several Catalyst cards rewarded certain trades and no or enable a Camp, use it as a wild Resource, destroy one wanted to hand a player a free VP. There were also any player’s Ambush or Boost card and finally, rotate a Catalysts that rewarded players who used Ambush cards Venture card. We found that the most common use was to attack, which was not a major strategy in our games. as a wild Resource. Without Trading and Attacking, many of the Catalyst cards were rendered useless and since they are hard to Although unavailable for purchase, Catalyst cards are an replace, we were stuck with a dead card or two on several important potential source of VP’s. They have variable occasions and felt that the game stalled because of this. conditions for completion and are an integral part of a strategy that tries to win the game with 14 VP’s. Each This is a game that I look forward to playing again. The player receives one when the Hourglass reaches the Victory/Nature victory concept was fascinating and appropriate space on the “Discovering Dawning Track”. you had to keep an eye on both paths throughout the game. The Camp upgrades were implemented nicely At the end of your turn you draw four cards. These and players were rewarded with interesting abilities. come from the Common and Rare decks and you have to state what you are going to draw beforehand. Although I didn’t feel like I was solving the mystery of Example “I am going to draw 2 Commons and 2 Rares” the Bermuda Triangle, I did feel that I was attempting and then you draw accordingly. to explore an interesting and fun game — and that was a far greater discovery. There are three ways in which you can win the game. Either by having 14 Victory points, having the most Designer: Jerrod G. Warr Nature points when the Hourglass token lands on the “finish” space and by completing the three pieces of Publisher: Lysander Games “Brinehorn’s Scroll” -- one of each piece is found in the Number of players: 2-4 Common, Rare and Venture decks. The victory condition with the Nature points is interesting. When the Hourglass token lands on “Finish” the game’s winning condition changes from Victory points to Nature points. This adds a great deal of tension as the endgame approaches because you have to decide if you might have to switch gears from one winning condition to another.

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Mechanic: Hand Management, Variable Powers Ages: 14+ Length: 30-60 mins.

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Recommended www.bermudacrisis.com


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Interview

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Mihajlo Dimitrievski By Serge Pierro

Artist Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with our readers, can you tell us a little something about yourself? Hi, my name is Mihajlo Dimitrievski and I’m an illustrator from Macedonia, that’s on Balcans btw, not in Russia. I like to draw. I collect comics, art books, toys and lately, boardgames. I’m married with two children. I like to sleep and play on my Playstation. I don’t like to travel.

Do you come from an artistic family?

Mihajlo Dimitrievski

Artist Shipwrights of the North Sea

Actually, no. However, my two older sister used to read to me from comics when I was little, so I guess it started from there. In ex-Yugoslavia we used to have a lot of comics in the markets. My favorite ones when I was little were the Disney ones (Mikiev Zabavnik and Mikiev Almanah).

Valeria Card Kingdoms Game of Thrones: Hand of the King

Raiders of the North Sea Cavern Tavern https://www.facebook. com/%D0%A2%D1%85%D0%B5%D0%9C%D0%B8%D1%87%D0 %BE-198918470118215/

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Interview (Cont.)

What are your earliest recollections of doing art? Well my earliest drawings were on my father’s work documents that I do recall and I have kept some of them - drawing on the margins of the books (Sergio Aragones Mad-art style). I think I still have one of those books, I think it is an episode with Tarzan. It still looks cool, which means that I was that good from start - or that I still suck.

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Are you self taught or did you study art in school? Self thought, all the way - I did try to get into an art school after high school, but I failed. After that I enlisted in print school - and in the middle of it I started working for one of the biggest advertising agencies at that time as a storyboard artist-designer. It was idea plus DDB. Of course in between I did a lot of comics and illustrations as a freelancer. These periods helped me to meet a lot of people and friends and one thing led to another.

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Interview (Cont.)

Who are your main artistic influences? I do have a lot of influences - I will try to recall some of them: Harold Foster, Simon Bisley, Burne Hogarth, Adrian Smith, Frank Frazetta, Liberatore, Moebius, Mezieres, Claudio Castellini, Bane Kerac, Herrman, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Genndy Tartakovsky, Meccracken, Pejo, Uderzo, etc. As you can see, I’m a comic book fan.

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Your artwork has an animated quality to it, do you enjoy animation? If so, what are your favorite animated series? Yes it does. Well I was really blown away when Cartoon Network started. Being a fan of comics from when I was little, I really enjoyed cartoons and animations. But the start of Cartoon Network was awesome. Simplicity of line and design. Awesome. And being a lazy artist as I am, unable to paint like Frazetta or Boris Valejo, I can probably get away with saying that I like to stylize. I really do enjoy cartoons, and I do love to work in that way. Maybe it somehow connects to that that I never really did grow up. Animated series: Samurai Jack, Powerpuff Girls, Dexters Laboratory, Billy and Mandy, Ren and Stimpy, Regular Show, Cow and Chicken,Wonder Over Yonder, etc. Continued on next page>

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Interview (Cont.)

Who are your favorite board game/card game artists? I do like the regular roster of artists on all of the popular games like Magic, Warcraft, Lotr and similar stuff, but I really do enjoy the more cartoony and weird stuff. Aside from the artists listed above I really do like art from Denis Zilber, Adrian Smith, Jakub Rozalski and Xavier Collette. They have recently caught my eye.

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What is your favorite medium to work in? Well I do work digitally, so that would be my preferred medium. I used to work ink and paper first, then scanning and painting, but for at least 10 years I’ve done work 100% digitally. I work very fast, I work all around the world - so digital art all the way. As I say, I work with heart and mind - everything else is a tool.

Can you tell us about your studio and work environment? My studio is in my basement and it is pretty large, I don’t know the measurements, but it is at least the size of an apartment. Being a fan and collector, I’m surrounded with toys, book, comics and stuff. And I live in the centre of my town, so coffee is always on hand. I do like to work surrounded with things that I love, so I do feel great when I’m working and then when I look left and I see Star Wars stuff...or if I look right and I see a Lord of the Rings staff. It does help, keeping in mind that illustrating is a relatively lonesome process. Continued on next page>

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Interview (Cont.)

How did you get involved in creating artwork for the game industry? Well blame it on Shem Philips from Garphill Games. I really didn’t know nothing about the boardgame industry before Shem called me and asked me to work on his games. The people seem to like the stuff and these last few years I’ve done work on a lot of games. So the first boardgame I ever worked on was “Shipwrights of the North Sea”.

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Do you enjoy playing games? If so, what are some of your favorite games? I haven’t played a single boardgame. I’m ashamed, I know. Not cool from my side, but I really don’t have much time for playing, except with my kids on the PlayStation, but that is rare (my son doesn’t let me near it) so when I sneak some time alone, I play Overwatch, Titanfall 2 and Call of Duty. I really hope to start playing boardgames soon. I do seem to have some and I have made a lot of them. Again, sorry everyone for me not playing boardgames, yet. However, I do draw them! Continued on next page>

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Interview (Cont.)

If you had an opportunity to do the artwork for a game by a specific game designer, who would it be, and what would you like the theme to be? Well being a big fan of Star Wars, LOTR and Game of Thrones, what do you think? Game of Thrones - done! All joking aside, I like working on different kinds of games and I tend to work on a couple of games daily which is fun because I do change a lot of subjects. From aliens, to monsters, to warriors, to fruit etc...

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You have a distinctive style, is this something that has developed organically or did you have a “former style� that you moved away from to further develop your current one? I guess I evolved toward something I would like to watch. So cartoony style (resembling Cartoon Network). Trying to be funny and interesting to everybody who watches and buys my stuff. I hope I make people happy and laugh. I do want people to have fun while playing games and watching over the artwork. Evidently I sometimes go over cartoony style. Continued on next page>

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Interview (Cont.)

What are some of the differences between doing the box art for a game, as compared to doing the cards themselves? With box art you should see it on a shelf with millions of other boxes. It does sell the game on first sight. So more work on it. For example, if I work on card for a day, I would work on a box for a couple of days. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can surely catch someone’s attention with it. So it has to represent the overall subject in the game, all in one illustration. I do like to work on covers.

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What is the piece of artwork that you are most proud of? Thats like picking your favorite child, I think all of my art is okay, with the last one being the ones I like the most. They seem to have less flaws then the previous ones. Continued on next page>

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Interview (Cont.)

Do you illustrate projects outside of the game industry? Yep, I work as an Art Director for an animation studio here in Macedonia - Lynx Animation Studios (http://www.lynxanimation.com/about-us.html). We are currently working on the first, Macedonian, animated movie “John Vardar vs Galaxy�. I do storyboards for all the major Balcan agencies, I do work on a lot of books - and from time to time on some comics too. So yes, I work a lot.

Do you have any news on upcoming projects? Not really, I wait for the publisher to announce them first and then after that, I do too. I can mention that I work on a ton of stuff, a lot of sequels and a lot of new games - that look great. So, I hope they are great games, too. They are!

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Do you accept private commissions? Commissions are great, I do them whenever I can and then I buy comics and toys.

How can readers keep up to date on what projects you are working on? I regularly update my Facebook page, so if you like my stuff, be my guest: https://www. facebook.com/%D0%A2%D1%85%D0%B5-%D0%9C%D0%B8%D1%87%D0% BE-198918470118215/

What advice would you give to aspiring artists who would like to work in the gaming industry? It may sound like a cliche, but the only thing that matters is working a lot. Sure you can post on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and but you have to have stuff to put up there. You also have to build up your portfolio, be present, respect clients, respect fans and above all - respect the deadlines!

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Game Review

Tavarua

By Serge Pierro

Hang Ten at Tavarua

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hile writing this during another cold winter, “Tavarua” brings back memories of the past summer… as well as looking forward to the next one. While Surfing is a popular sport and recreational activity, it is not a theme that is often seen. Cody Miller takes on the challenge and delivers a unique game. This is the first release since his popular game “Xia: Legends of a Drift System” and I looked forward to seeing how he designed around this theme. “Tavarua” comes in an 8 3/4” x 12” box that measures 1 3/4” deep. The white cardboard insert has two different sized wells, as well as three platforms on which to rest the board upon. The 12 page color rulebook is profusely illustrated. Each topic is broken down into small sections that makes the game a bit easier to learn, but the rules themselves are needlessly verbose when compared to the actual gameplay and could have used an editor to pare down the amount of information, as I’ve seen rulebooks of more complex games have less words. Two pages are devoted to the two solo variants and include an example setup of a solo game. The double sided, single panel, game board is linen finished and is made of a sturdy cardboard stock. The second side features a different location to surf, yet there is no difference in the actual gameplay. All of the cardboard tokens are linen finished and are of a decent cardboard stock. The double sided, player mats are made of card stock. One side features a long board and the other side a short board. They serve their purpose well, however I can’t help but feel that they don’t fit in with the quality

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of the other components. I certainly understand the need to keep production costs down, but I would have liked to have seen the mats printed on the same cardboard stock as the game board and scoreboard, just to keep the same level of quality across the entire product.


The game includes wooden meeple tokens, as well as wooden balance tokens.

To set up the game, place the six wave tiles on the board and roll and place a die on each of them.

The 129 cards are of a decent card stock and should be Each player receives a board and matching components and starts with a hand of five cards and a Stoke token. fine for their use. Each round is made up of three phases: Advance/Play, Resolve and Wave/Score.

Six custom faced dice are also included.

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Game Review (Cont.) During the Advance section of the phase the wave tiles (and the components on top of them) all slide one section closer to the shore, with the tile and die reaching the shore being placed at the top of the board and the die rerolled and placed upon the tile.

The solo variant is amazing. Playing against predetermined AI you play a series of games for the Career Mode. You compete in different events as you try to increase your ranking over the course of 12 months. As you gain a higher ranking you obtain Stoke Cards that can be used to further aid your pursuit. Players of During the Play section of the phase players will place the main game may want to use this mode as a basis for one of their cards face down alongside one of the four a series of games to simulate a season of surfing. corner positions on the side of their player mat. Where the card is placed will determine the how the card is “Tavarua” is a unique game that is going to appeal used. to anyone who has an interest in surfing and perhaps, skateboarding. While it is not a simulation of the sport, Cards that were played during “Play” are resolved it does an excellent job of portraying what the surfing during the Resolve phase. experience is like. While it is true that non-surfers might be a bit confused by the terminology and scoring The Wave/Score section is where most of the action system, those who are familiar with both will embrace will take place, with the top of the Wave deck being it as it tightly integrates the theme. The main game turned over and players adjusting their position on seems to excel in the 2-4 player range, as there is less their surfboards. Players who reach the shore score at fighting for waves and a more relaxed feel. The Career this point and any player whose token is moved off the Mode of the solitaire version of the game is brilliant and board “wipeout” and are placed in the “Wash” area of is worth the price alone. Unless you have an interest in the board. surfing, this game might not be appealing to all players, as the integration of the theme with the mechanics Play continues in this fashion until there are no longer is what makes for the experience. Whether sitting at any cards in the Wave deck. the table on a cold winter night or relaxing on a warm summer day, “Tavarua” will put a smile on your face as Scoring is determined by the number of points earned you vicariously ride the waves from the comfort of your from the cards and tokens played by a player during home. their ride. If a player falls in the Wash, they score the highest card in their score pile, if they decide to “Bail” Designer: Cody Miller they score the points they currently have on the current Publisher: Far Off Games ride and if they ride the wave all the way to the shore Number of players: 1-6 they receive all of their points, as well as an additional two points for reaching the shore. These numbers are Mechanic: Hand Management then referenced with the scoring chart and a player Ages: 14+ token is placed on the relevant space and the number indicated is their score. Example: if you total 14 points Length: 45 mins. your ride would be “scored by the judges” as a 6.5.

Recommended www.faroffgames.com

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Game Game Review Review

Explorers of the North Sea

By Bill Braun

A Cruise Worth Taking

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arlier this year I had the privilege of receiving a copy of Raiders of the North Sea, a game developed and published by Shem Phillips and Garphill Games. My review for the game was featured in issue # 7 of Game Nite Magazine. At the time I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but, to my delight, the worker placement aspect of the game surprised me with its innovation, while the quality of the components – from the amazing artwork to the hefty metal coins – truly impressed me. As a result, I gave the game a final rating of “Recommended” and it has since remained in my collection while becoming one of my more frequently played games of 2016. When presented with an opportunity to get my hands on yet another title, from a now favorite designer, I immediately jumped at the chance. Explorers of the North Sea adds another layer to the overarching North Sea trilogy and establishes its presence in the latter years of the Viking Age. As ambitious sea captains, players seek out new lands to settle and control. They will need to transport their crew among the newly discovered islands to capture livestock, construct outposts and fulfill various other goals. Venturing out into uncharted waters as a Viking sea captain to discover new islands sounds like a grand adventure, but will the gameplay and components live up to the high expectations established by previous games in the North Sea series?

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Gameplay As its title suggests, Explorers of the North Sea is primarily focused on the navigation and exploration of new lands and the riches they provide. The objective of the game is to become the most prestigious Captain, gain Victory Points by controlling islands, delivering livestock, raiding settlements, constructing outposts, and destroying enemy ships. The game concludes at the dawn of winter, and the player with the most Victory Points is declared the winner. Each player begins by choosing a Viking Captain to play as. With a total of 11 captains to choose from, each providing their own unique skill, every game of Explorers of the North Sea offers a new experience and alternate strategies to victory. Where one captain may specialize in controlling islands and ensuring the presence of Viking warriors, another will focus on the delivery of livestock or defeating enemy ships. The wooden livestock meeples are placed off to the side of the play area, settlement tokens are shuffled and placed face down, and enemy ship tokens are shuffled and kept face up. The 48 hexagonal exploration tiles are shuffled and dealt three, facedown to each player, with the remaining tiles placed into a face down stack. Each player is

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provided one wooden Longship, seven Vikings, and five outposts in their chosen color. Lastly, a Mainland tile is selected from the three provided. The mainland consists of three fixed tiles connected to a larger area and provides the starting point for each player to place their Longship with two Vikings on board and the remainder of their Vikings ready for work. Proceeding clockwise, each player begins their turn by placing one tile from their hand onto the play area. This newly placed tile must share at least one edge with either the starting board or another tile, and all edges must match up to the surrounding tiles (land to land and sea to sea). These individual tiles not only help to create the unexplored islands (and an ever growing play area), but also dictate the

components that are added: livestock (pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, cattle, and horses), settlement tokens, and enemy ships. Explorers of the North Sea is primarily an actionbased strategy game. As such, after placing their exploration tile, each player may then take up to four actions, including: loading or unloading the ship with livestock, moving the Longship one space, moving Vikings, transporting livestock, or constructing an outpost (which takes two actions). Each of these available actions can be selected and used multiple times on a player’s turn. While the game may initially be viewed as a simple pick-upand-delivery system, the more expansive the map becomes, the more opportunities for victory points become available; continually shifting a player’s Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.)

Photo: Bill Braun

strategy for winning. Each player ends their turn by drawing a new map tile into their hand. Although there are no dice to be found, Explorers of the North Sea still includes a bit of luck and randomness. This is primarily seen when a settlement or enemy ship token is added onto a newly placed map tile. When placing a settlement token players are instructed to take one at random from the supply, turn it over, and reveal its military strength. To successfully raid that settlement, players will need to move an equal or higher number of their Vikings onto that settlement – essentially raiding and defeating it and scoring that number of additional Victory Points at the end of the game. Additionally, moving a Viking Longship onto a space that contains an enemy ship always requires a minimum of two Vikings to be on board. Combat occurs automatically and will score one additional Victory Point, but the randomness

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comes into play when the ship token is turned over to reveal whether a player’s Viking was killed in the process. However, much like Raiders of the North Sea, a Viking’s death is glorious and will provide an increasing amount of Victory Points equal to the number of dead Vikings, squared. More Victory Points is great for end-game scoring, but having a finite number of Vikings and losing too many too early in the game will hinder future actions on that player’s turn. The game will end after 48 turns (there are 48 tiles to be placed), and while this may sound like a long game, turns go exceptionally fast and there is very little downtime in between. As a result, Explorers of the North Sea can easily be played in under an hour. Add to this a quick set up time, rules that are easy to teach and simple to learn, and you’ve got a game that will fit snuggly in between other, meatier games, or can be played numerous times in a single sitting.

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Theme and Components

Final Thoughts

Garphill Games continues to impress me with their game components and theme. The wooden livestock meeples are adorable, the tiles are thick, durable, and colorful, and a near exact art style has been replicated from Raiders of the North Sea to illustrate the variety of Viking warriors – and that’s a good thing.

Explorers of the North Sea is a wonderful addition to the North Sea trilogy. It compliments the gameplay that Raiders of the North Sea provides by delivering a well-constructed and uniquely different experience. The rules are well written, the components are a pleasure to display on my gaming table, and the game provides an experience that is both strategic and satisfying. As such, I find myself very much wanting to complete the trilogy by adding Shipwrights of the North Sea and experimenting with how the North Sea Runesaga brings all three titles into a single, cohesive and competitive gaming experience.

Since first encountering Raiders of the North Sea, I have become a huge fan of the art style, particularly how the women are depicted. Much like the television show Vikings, these women radiate courage, are able to stand toe-to-toe with the men of their settlement, and are a force to be reckoned with. I find this particularly important and hugely gratifying the more I play games with my young daughters, and Explorers of the North Sea is a game that they helped me to learn, play, and appreciate. Kudos to Shem Phillips and Garphill Games for recognizing the need to not only continuously include women into this wonderful hobby of ours, but to present them in a manner that is so much more appropriate than how they continue to be depicted by mainstream media.

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Designer: Shem Phillips Publisher: Garphill Games Number of players: 1-4 Mechanic: Area Control, Pick-up and Deliver Ages: 12+ Length: 45-60 mins.

Recommended garphillgames.com

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Game Review

America

By Serge Pierro

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here are certain genres of games that I have little interest in. Trivia/Party games would certainly fit in that category; however, “America” was designed by Friedemann Friese and Ted Alspach, so I have to admit that my curiosity was piqued. Would this actually be a trivia game that I would enjoy, or would it be yet another offering in an already overcrowded and dull market segment. “America” comes in a standard 12” square box that is 2 3/4” deep. Upon opening the box you are greeted with a custom cardboard insert that has two small wells surrounded by a copious amount of cardboard. One well stores the tokens and the other stores the deck of cards. The 12 page rulebook is amply illustrated with examples and does a good job at conveying the pertinent information. The four panel board is linen finished and double sided. The difference between the sides is that one side has a map of the United States with the name of each state abbreviated, while the reverse side has the same map, but with the abbreviations left off, thus making it a more challenging game due to the fact that the state names are not printed on the board. The 1/2” wooden cubes come in six colors, with six cubes per color. The main component of the game would be the 160 cards and their storage box. The cards have a matte finish and measure 3 2/16” x 4 3/4” and are made of a respectable card stock, but since the cards are not shuffled, this has no effect on their wear. The storage box is linen finished and includes a divider for the cards. To start the game each player will receive six cubes of their color and a starting player is chosen. They will choose one of the two available cards that will be used for that turn. The player will then read the three sections of the card and players will then in turn place one of their cubes on any of the available spaces on either the track with the dates, the track with the numbers or on one of the states on the map. Additionally players have the option of placing a cube in one of the special areas related to each of the aforementioned sections. These areas are the “No Exact” and “No Exact or Adjacent”. Players

A Trivia Game for Gamers will continue to place cubes until all players have passed. If a player should choose to pass, they are no longer able to play anymore cubes in the current turn. When all players have passed the card is scored. Each of the 3 card topics is scored separately with an exact answer scoring 7 points and any cubes that are adjacent to the correct answer, scoring 3 points. The “No Exact” space scores 3 points if none of the answers were exact and the “No Exact or Adjacent” space scores 7 points if any of the cubes are not exact or adjacent to the correct answer. The game is played in 6 rounds and whoever has the most points wins. This is a party/trivia game that I actually found enjoyable. There are interesting decisions to be made with the cube placements and the wide variety of subjects covered in the deck of cards allows everyone to have an opportunity at having an edge in a particular subject, as well as preventing a “know it all” from dominating the game. Several players who weren’t interested in trivia games also enjoyed it, due in part because it was possible to place cubes adjacent to other player’s cubes and still score some points, even if you had no idea of the answer, perhaps thinking that the other player was more knowledgeable in the subject matter. Although this is not a game that I would usually bring to the table on a regular game night, it is certainly one that I will be bringing to family gatherings and holidays, as the ease of play, small investment of time and subtle strategic depth, should make for an entertaining gaming experience for both gamers and non-gamers.

Designers: Ted Alspach & Friedmann Friese Publisher: Bezier Games Number of players: 2-6 Mechanic: Trivia, Party Game Ages: 13+ Length: 45 mins.

Recommended www.beziergames.com

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Game Review

Sans Alliés

By Serge Pierro

Solitaire Card Game

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ames for 2-4 players still dominate the hobby; however, there are games being designed for larger groups, as well as those for solo play. Geoffrey Greer has adapted the later approach with “Sans Alliés”, a military themed, card game in which you try to capture the Enemy Capital before the enemy builds their Ultimate Weapon. “Sans Alliés” comes in a somewhat flimsy 4 1/2” x 7” x 1 1/4” box and while it is not terrible, it is not the same level of quality as most game boxes. The 20 page rule book has an illustration showing the initial setup; otherwise, the rest of the book is predominately text. Bold headings aid in searching for a particular rules section. A single sheet “errata and addendum” is also included. The components include: 120 gloss finished cards that have a nice snap to them, 17 thick cardboard chits and 2 dies. The game has two versions: “Limited War” and “Total War”. It is recommended that you start with the “Limited War”. To setup the game, form a pyramid starting with the Enemy Capital card at the top then placing and overlapping the remaining cards to form eight levels. Place the Enemy Technology chits alongside the right side of the pyramid, in the proper order. These will be used to determine the strength of each pyramid level. Place the four Unit chits, leaving room for the associated cards. On your turn you do the following, in order: Draw new cards, Deploy units from you reserves, Resolve invasions, Check enemy research and Resolve any end of turn actions.

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Draw cards: Draw 3 cards + 1 card for each Resource Center you have captured. If an Enemy Breakthrough card is revealed, move the Enemy Progress chit up a level. Deploy units: After drawing your cards, you place them under the associated chit. Each of the chits represent specific units and can be upgraded.


Resolve invasions: You choose what units you want to commit to combat and compare their force totals to the defense values of the target. If equal or higher, you are successful; however, you roll the dice to see the effects of the Casualty roll, as you may get to keep, or lose more units.

When a Resource Center is captured you get to upgrade one of your Unit chits. The Personal chit receives the Scout ability. The Vehicles upgrade allows Vehicles to increase their strength from 3 to 5 and can also be used as a strength 1 aircraft or ship. The Ship upgrade increases their strength from 5 to 7 and it allows Ships to be placed as wildcards. The Aircraft Check enemy research: At the end of your turn a upgrade increases strength from 3 to 5 and now allows die is rolled to see if the enemy has made progress in bombs to be dropped. A large part of your success will their research. If the die roll is less than or equal to be determined by how you upgrade your units when the number on the current level, the research chit is capturing a Resource Center. When all five are captured advanced one level. Continued on next page>

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Game Review (Cont.) you are able to use the Ultimate Weapon cards in your deck, which allow you to remove any card other than the Sea cards or the Capital.

Exposure is indicated in the upper right corner of the card and indicates how many cards need to be uncovered before invading that Region. Regions that have a [2] in the corner mean that both Regions below it need to be removed before that card can be invaded.

The game ends when either you have captured the enemy Capital or the enemy completes his Ultimate Weapon by advancing his Research token off the top of Garrisons indicate the number of additional Personnel cards needed to be discarded to claim the Region. Then the pyramid. number is equal to the amount of Resource Centers The “Total War” variant is more challenging and adds captured. the following to the game: The Season Tile, Commander cards and the Prison Camp chits. While there are many solitaire versions of war-games available, there are few that are as portable or card based The Season tile has four sections, each devoted to a as “Sans Alliés”. The “Total War” variant was the most particular season it’s effects. During winter +4 is added challenging and had several tense moments. Strategy is to the region’s defense value and during summer the key, but there is the element of luck with the dice roll. defense is modified −2, while both spring and fall The game has good replayability and you might want have zero modifiers. At the end of each turn the tile is to try setting up some of your own scenarios, such as placing all of the Resource Centers at the top of the advanced to the next season. pyramid and fighting your way through the terrain to get Commander cards are wildcards that can be placed in to them, which is difficult because you aren’t receiving any column to be used as that unit type. When placed any bonuses from captured Resource Centers. Being in the Personnel column they can be used as spies to able to set up these types of scenarios kept me interested in playing it more than just a couple of times. If you attempt an enemy Setback. like solitaire card games, as well as military themes, then The three Prison Camps are placed during the setup of you might want to take a look at this. the game. The two dice are rolled and the coordinates are found on the diagram in the rulebook and the Designer: Geoffrey Greer Camps are placed accordingly. During the game when a Region with a Camp is captured, the chit is placed Publisher: Past Go Gaming beside the Personnel column and modifies the current Number of players: 1 stat +1 for each Camp captured. Besides the aforementioned additions, there are some new rules as well, with the most important being Exposure and Garrisons.

Mechanic: Card Payment, Dice Rolling Ages: 13+ Length: 60 mins.

Recommended www.pastgo.net

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Opinion

Social Deduction Games: Anxiety in the Name of Fun? By Christine Sampson

    Let’s all stop for a moment and think about the reasons we play games.     Is it because our minds love to strategize solutions to any given situation? Is it because we crave a bit of an escape to a fantasy world different from our everyday lives? Is it because we need a vehicle for positive social interaction -- or just a fun way to pass an afternoon?     The answer to the question could easily be any of the above. But let’s focus the question a little bit more to social deduction games, meaning, in the most general of terms, a category of game in which players take on roles that other players then need to uncover and act upon to win the game. Social deduction games often entail bluffing, bribing, manipulating, tricking, or ostracizing other players to achieve the objective. 

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    Examples of social deduction games include Werewolf and its variations, in which a human team attempts to “kill” at least one member of a werewolf team to win the game; Bang!, in which the outlaw hunts the sheriff, the sheriff hunts the outlaw, and the deputy and renegade stand ready to protect or take sides; and Coup, in which players take on roles within a politicallyconnected family and maneuver for power and influence.     It seems everyone’s got their reasons for why they enjoy this type of game -- but not me.     Here’s my deal. About 40 million Americans are living with some form of an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Hello, my name is Chrissy, and I’m among those 40 million people. There aren’t any statistics that illustrate the popularity of

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Photo: Christine Sampson

social deduction games, but if I had to wager a guess based on my own experiences, it would be that there are at least a few other people out there with anxiety who avoid this type of game because of that.

deduction part of the game. I got my feet wet with Citadels, which only relies on a modest amount of bluffing. But I was completely traumatized by a recent game of “Two Rooms and a Boom,” a hidden-role social deduction game that splits a large group into two teams     I can handle a light-hearted round of Love -- a blue team, which has a president, and a red Letter, in which the cards govern the social team, which has a bomber -- each based in a

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Opinion (Cont.) separate room. As you can probably guess, the bomber’s objective is to “blow up” the room with the president inside. If that occurs, the red team wins. If not, the blue team wins.

dumb luck aren’t really the kind of games I like. Sure, they can be fun in settings where everyone want to play a single game and people can just be silly and have fun with it. But there is no real strategy in these games and your choices can The three rounds are timed and everyone potentially not influence the game at all. … any seemed to start talking at once. The atmosphere game that ends up as politics with everyone talking was suddenly intense. Everyone was taking it so at once is basically unplayable for me.” seriously; they threw themselves into their roles and acted upon them with all the fervor of a It’s not to say this type of game is without its troupe of stage improv actors. I was in awe of merits. their quick-witted thinking. The pressure was mounting -- so much so that my anxiety kicked     For Beverly Lau, a game enthusiast from San in and I had to sit out the majority of the game. Francisco, California, who is a fan of games Man, did I feel lame. such as Werewolf, Resistance, and Coup, it’s all about a specific type of fun. I know I’m not alone in my opinion of social deduction games.     “In real life, I wouldn’t lie or falsely accuse others, but in social deduction games where the Dan Arnott, a gamer from Albany, New York, rules allow it -- and even reward it -- I don’t shares similar thoughts. He thinks of them as have an ethical problem with doing these things,” political campaigns or popularity contests, in Beverly said when asked her opinion of this type which a small number of people who are overly of game. “It turns out it’s pretty fun to successfully vocal -- Dan calls them “candidates” -- can trick people into thinking you’re a good guy, when dominate a game in which few hard facts exist. you’re really the bad guy! This is probably only true because there aren’t consequences for being caught, “Because there is basically no information and aside from losing the game.” any information provided is questionable at best, all choices are pretty much choosing which of the     Because at the end of the day, even if you’ve candidates makes a better case,” he said. “Now, bluffed your way to the top, it’s just a game. games that basically just rely on guesswork and

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Puzzle Issue #13 Crossword Puzzle 1 4

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2. Mihajlo Dimitrievski's homeland 7. "Crisis" publisher 10. Chess Champion "___ Carlsen" 12. "Kanagawa" artist ___ Mosch 13. "Orcs Must ___" 14. "Cartoon ___" 17. "Paperback" Designer Tim ___ 20. "Sun Tzu" King of ___ 21. "Sans ___" 22. "Ticket to ___" 26. "Colony" tokens 27. "Smash or ____" 28. "Tavarua" location 29. card finish 30. "Forbidden ____" 31. Sandy Petersen game

1. "Mamma ___" 3. ___ Kitten Games 4. ___ Lacerda 5. Designer Friedemann ____ 6. "Glen ___" 8. Greek Island ___ 9. Famous Portuguese wine 11. "___ Duellum" 15. "Art of ___" 16. Designer "Ted ___" 18. "Explorers of the ___" 19. "Space ___" 20. "Kanagawa" co-designer Charles ___ 22. "Bermuda ___" 23. "Brinehorn's ___ " 24. "Forbidden ____" 25. Sanorini expansion "Golden ___" 27. Hang ___

(Solution on Page 105) Issue #13

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Solo Gaming

Space Hulk: Death Angel By Jeff Rhind

“By our fury, they shall know the Emperor’s name! Forward and destroy the infestation my Brothers!”

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pace Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game is a cooperative card game for 1-6 players from Fantasy Flight Games and Games Workshop set in their Warhammer® universe. You are a squad of soldiers clad in powered-up, mechanized armored suits rippling with weapons making your way through a giant space “hulk” of a starship, infested with aliens called Genestealers. You don’t need to have any knowledge of the Warhammer® intellectual property – just think of it as your space marines doing battle with xenomorph aliens from the popular movie franchise Alien. Since this is a cooperative game with all players trying to win (or lose) together, this makes a great solo adventure. But don’t get your hopes up, the aliens in this game are relentless and don’t lose often. You start by selecting your marines (or choosing randomly) which come in pairs, each assigned a color. Each pair of marines comes with a color-matched set of three action cards. Each pair of marines has different abilities than the others – some may be better at attack, or defense, or movement. The “board” is set up with a set of locations at the top with the top-most card flipped to show where you are and also displays setup information. Beneath are your marines randomly distributed in single column but the first three face to the left and the

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Photo: Jeff Rhind

bottom three face to the right. On the location card will be the terrain cards that get assigned to spaces on either side of the marines. These include ventilation ducts, doors, control panels, and hallways. Most objectives require you to make your way through the space hulk to the last location and escape with at least one soldier still alive while other objectives may require a different end game requirement. Finally, to the left and right of the location card are small piles of face down Genestealer cards, called blip piles (again, think of space marines in Aliens and their motion trackers), from which aliens will spawn and attack your marines from each side in the column formation. Each turn involves four phases. First is the Actions Phase where you choose which action cards you will activate – one for each set of marines. However, you cannot choose the same action card in a set in back to back turns. Second

is the Resolve Actions Phase. Actions are now resolved based on the lowest numbered card first. Some action cards apply to both marines while others may only apply to one of “Your Brothers.” When using an “Attack” card, the dreaded “skull” die is rolled. A skull indicates you have killed an alien (50/50 chance). A player can also choose “Move and Activate” which allows you to change up your formation and move marines around, change their facing direction and activate a location. The last type of card is the “Support” which allows the player to place support tokens on marines to allow for re-rolls of the die or allow for activations when subsequently playing “Move and Activate” cards. Once all of your actions are done, then it’s time for the Genestealers Attack Phase. The more aliens in the swarm adjacent to a marine means it’s easier and far Continued on next page>

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Solo Solo SoloGaming Gaming Gaming(Cont.) (Cont.) (Cont.)

Photo: Jeff Rhind

more likely that the marine will get attacked! One hit on a marine and they are eliminated form the game. Once each swarm on each side of your marines attack, you flip an event card and follow the text in the Event Phase. (hint: it’s usually bad) Also the card will indicate where more Genestealers spawn, from which blip pile they come from, and specify their movement within your squad’s formation. The game continues until you make your way through all the locations in the scenario and complete your objective or the aliens eliminate all your hardened space marines.

It is quick to set up and as your marines get killed by aliens you can return their cards to the box which makes clean up a breeze. Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game makes top 10 solo game lists every year since its initial release in 2010. There are a couple of expansions that offer some more scenarios as well as some additional soldiers to choose from for your squad. It’s an alien beat down that is thematic, challenging and a rousing great time! Photo: Jeff Rhind

After one or two plays you’ll understand how to play the game. But, don’t be fooled! This is game is hard… really hard. The skull die is unforgiving. Even with a 3 in 6 chance of rolling a skull, it seems they never come up often enough. The randomness of the die roll is what

makes the game exciting. Reading through the forums on BoardGameGeek online and you will notice a recurring pattern – loss. But quite honestly, if it were too easy, this game would not be as popular or fun as it is. When you do win, often times, you will do so with a lone marine or, if you’re lucky, two left – and it feels really good!

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Game Review

Crisis

By Callum Dougherty

Heavy Economic Euro

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risis is a heavy euro worker placement and economic game with a co-op twist where players must maintain financial stability together or face serious austerity and even losing the game from financial crisis. In Crisis you lose together or one can go on to win alone. Crisis has a variable set-up that makes for an unknown demand for each type of resource, resulting in a lot of commodity speculation. One mechanism conspicuously missing is trading. This is an economic game, a semi-cooperative economic game, so it is interesting that trading between players is not in the rules. Player X has plenty of chemicals, energy and food, she is going to produce even more this round, more than she can store and she desperately needs money; however, she won’t be able to export until next round. Player Y really needs energy to run a business but that spot on the board has already been taken; furthermore, his plans depend on him having a lot of chemicals for manufacturing later. Why not agree to a trade? I understand the lack of trading is part of what gives the game its flavor, but it is a bitter flavor that dilutes much of Crisis’ co-operative nature and stands in direct opposition to having fun.

“The game can fail badly if you don’t play well, but it is definitely an experience thing! After a few plays you will see that you will know what to do and what not to do. I think that this is not bad in a game. When I buy a game, I want to be able to play it many times. If I figure out what happens in my first play, usually this means that the game has very few options.” But I don’t feel that way about this game. There’s a big board filled with places to play, but unless I’m lucky in how the business investment cards come out and unless every other player has helped us keep on top of the financial crisis, there are no options for me and I should just use all four of my actions on drawing opportunity cards. At least then I stand the chance of getting a measly one bonus VP at no downside and the ability to cheat my way around poor circumstances of the board that are beyond my control. But left with just this one viable action, I will lose and I can do little with these opportunity cards to help maintain a good financial state so my opponents may lose with me. But then I get to why this game isn’t bad - it is fun to lose Crisis!

When you play Crisis you pick a difficulty and maybe your players are selfish and make risky investments on turn one that lead to a thick and fast decline, where As does Crisis’ deceptive balance of reward and everyone tries to claw their way out of it, yet by the end progress versus complexity. What should be a mid- of turn two you crash the market and everybody loses, weight euro is bogged down by the need to play right. laughs and points fingers. Then you quickly re-set up Co-designer Pantelis Boubolis describes Crisis this the game and play, while promising to be more frugal way on a BGG thread: this time.

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Photo: Callum Dougherty

This is also where Crisis shines thematically. Crisis is about the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and you can feel it critiqued in the game: the folly of bad investments, the suffering caused by a poor economy and where businesses invest too heavily on the promise of later returns. The allegory is considered through a lens of the great diesel punk metropolis of Axia in financial decline, though I wish this game was themed on the financial crisis itself. Where Crisis lacks as a game it succeeds as art and I suppose after all there isn’t a lot of diesel punk games out there.

Crisis isn’t going to appeal to everyone. Crisis plays best at 2 or 3 players and descends into AP, misery and boredom at 4 and 5. Honestly, I hated Crisis the first time I played it, but it has grown on me. Crisis is for small play groups and players who enjoy euros with themes that offer economic insight.

Designer: Pantelis Bouboulis & Sotirios Tsantilas Publisher: LudiCreations Number of players: 1-5 Mechanic: Commodity Speculation, Worker Placement Ages: 14+ Length: 30-120 mins.

Worth Trying www.ludicreations.com

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Education

My Top Family Language Games By David Niecikowski, MAED, ABD

ast issue presented my family’s top math games that we played since my boys were as young as 5 and 3 and that we still play today. This issue will discuss categories of games we played over the last 15 years that emphasize language skills, in particular games with the mechanics of recall, spelling, storytelling/ guessing, word association, and writing. All the games listed support vocabulary development and oral language use and can be tied into English Language Arts Common Core standards. As in the previous article, the focus is on games we play for fun as a family and not games that are best for the classroom teacher; although some of these games are great for this purpose, especially when used in small groups.

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not hit the table as often when more authentic options are available; 2) They may lack theme compared to other games that are more immersive and thus, more interesting; and 3) They may be enjoyed more as ‘party games’ that lend itself to larger groups of players than our typical family of 4; i.e., games that are more likely to be suggested when family and friends are over and are interested in gaming. Thus, it would be misleading to try and rank them and it is more appropriate to group them by mechanics to signify mood or “What are you in the mood for?” situations. In other words, when we are in the mood for a particular category of language games, the games below are our top choices.

It may be of interest to note that as a family, language games are a genre that received the least amount of plays over the years by comparison to other genres. There are three main reasons: 1) Some of these games are more didactic/academic oriented than other genres and therefore do

Please note that some games described below may be out of print but can be bought through the secondary market. Other games on the list with an asterisk (*) have mature themes and should not be played with young children (unless modified).

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Recall A synonym for this category is trivia games that also develop reading skills. A longtime favorite is the Professor Noggin (2002) series with over 36 versions covering mostly science and social studies topics such as Presidents, Human Body, Explorers, and Earth Science. We like how the game encourages you to pay attention (to typically one of six possible questions on each card) if someone does not know the correct answer the card is placed back in the deck

after revealing the correct answer and will be drawn again for someone to try and win. The player who earns the most cards of the 30 card illustrated deck wins. We also like how there are easy and hard questions to make the game more competitive for players of varying knowledge levels. A more recent favorite is the Timeline (2010) series of card games and Timeline Challenge (2015) board game where players try to be the first to rid their illustrated hand of

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Education (Cont.)

cards by correctly placing them on a timeline in relation to each other; for example, in the Music & Cinema version I would have to determine whether the movie ET came out before, after, or in-between the movie The Shinning and the song Mamma Mia. Spelling When in the mood to spell words we will either play Bananagrams (2006) or Word on the Street (2009). In a large group of players situations Word on the Street will win out as you can play the game in teams; racing to win the most letters in a tug-of-war by spelling words to meet categories on drawn cards. The junior version has all letters of the alphabet as opposed to 17 letters in the original version. Bananagrams is more fun in small groups but does not have as much player interaction as you race to use all your tiles creating a crossword-like puzzle of words. Our boys find these two games more appealing than Scrabble as they are shorter in game length, more flexible in spelling option, and other players can still complete with a player who is a walking dictionary.

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Storytelling When in the mood to tell a story and play noncompetitively we will play a variation of Once Upon a Time (1993) and take turns playing cards while adding to the story. Thus, we do not play with the interrupt rules where it becomes a competition to finish the story first. We also use the dice “game” Rory’s Story Cubes (2005) for this purpose but we take turns using all rolled dice to tell our own story rather than adding to a group story. Word Association All of the following games have players make word associations or pitches to a rotating judge who will decide which association or pitch best fits a drawn category. If the judge picks a player’s association/pitch, then that player wins the category card. The first player to win so many category cards wins the game. Apples to Apples (1999) was the first game of this type we played where you are associating verbs and adjectives to a noun category. Cards Against Humanity* (2009) takes it to an adult level that may offend. Snake

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Oil (2010) has players pitch a new invention to a profession such as a “carpet”-“map” to an “astronaut”. Channel A (2012) is along the same lines but you are pitching a new anime show using keywords within a theme. The exception in terms of mechanics is Codenames (2015) which is our current favorite large group/team game. In Codenames clue givers (Spymasters) must provide a one word clue in an attempt to guide their teammates to guess the correct words on a grid of word cards without helping the other team or revealing the double agent. Writing It has been years since we have played this category but if we are in the mood again it will be one of these games. Things* (2002) and Smash or Trash (2008). Both games involve writing pitches or responses to win the most points with a rotating judge or group vote. Things involves writing responses to humorous (or potentially inappropriate) situations such as “things… you shouldn’t attempt at your age” and Smash or Trash, which involves racing to rewrite lyrics from a drawn list based on drawn subjects such as rewriting the song “YMCA” to the subject of

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“Roadkill”. Another game where you want to score the most points is You’ve Been Sentenced (2005); a game where you don’t physically write with a pencil, pen, or dry erase marker but where player’s race to create sentences using pentagonal shaped cards that depict the different usages of words. For example, you can score more points if you can create a sentence using the “pirating” form of “pirate” rather than “pirated” in your sentence. In closing, you may notice that two possible categories are missing from our list – drawing/ clay and acting games. We just aren’t into games with mechanics were you have to draw or create objects with clay or act out/pantomime. I recall us trying a dozen titles once over the years, especially during the days when I was reviewing hundreds of games for other publications, but they never hit the table again. Many of these games are solid in terms of execution but the mechanics did not captivate us.

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Contributors Serge Pierro

Serge has playtested numerous games for several companies, including Wizards of the Coast and AEG. He has also written for Duelist, Inquest and Gamer print magazines. His award winning photography has appeared in both newspapers and magazines. He has self published a game, and has several other designs scheduled for a 2017 release.

Eric Devlin

Eric has been the North East Regional Representative for Wizards of the Coast, the brand manager of Legends of the Five Rings, as well as working with Sabretooth and Third World Games. He has an extensive background in playtesting for top companies. He has also written for Games Quarterly, Duelist, Inquest and others.

Bill Braun Bill has been a contributing writer for PSNation and High-

Def Digest, an Editor and Publisher Relations Director for 30PlusGamer, and the co-creator and podcast host of A Band of Gamers.

John Anthony Gulla John graduated with an M.A. in Humanities, wherein he focused his study on games, the history of gaming, and game design as it relates to the Humanities. He is an avid board gamer and game collector, with over 200 games in his current collection. You can reach him on BGG.com under the username JohnAG68

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Jeff Rhind Jeff is a single father raising a 17 year-old son and a 6 year-old daughter, and slowly coaxing them into the world of tabletop gaming. He has been gaming for many years and shares his love and appreciation for the hobby by reviewing and talking about games on his web site: completelyboard. com as well as his You Tube channel at youtube.com/completelyboard. You can also follow him on twitter @jeffrhind

David Niecikowski David is a published game designer and recognized expert on using traditional games with families and students. Since 2000, over two dozen of his board games, role-playing supplements, books, and articles have been published. He has also worked as a freelance marketing and event consultant with scores of industry companies such as Alliance Game Distributors, Gen Con, Wizards of the Coast, Upper Deck, Mayfair, Rio Grande, AEG, and Out of the Box.

Kevin Lauryssen Kevin has a Master in Audiovisual Arts and majored in Animation. He works as a Freelance Draftsman for multiple companies in Belgium. He’s an avid gamer who has created a web-comic about boardgaming. His work can be found at www.game-night.be

Christine Sampson Christine is a full-time journalist who considers herself lucky to be doing exactly what she pictured herself doing when she was 15 years old. Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post, the East Hampton Star, Newsday, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications and blogs. When she isn’t playing tabletop games, chasing down news stories, or trying to catch up on sleep, Christine can be found holed up working on her novel.

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Contributors (Cont.) Robert Delwood

Robert, a professional technical writer by day, first played Panzer Leader and hasn’t stopped since. He’s playtested during that time, has written an Advanced Squad Leader automated player aid, and proof read rules for six companies. He’s also reviewed games for Fire and Movement, Armchair General, Paper Wars, and ASL Journal..

Callum Dougherty

Callum is a cinematographer and video artist working in film and fashion video. He is currently studying his MA in Film and Cultural Studies where he is busying himself figuring out how to squeeze ludology into every assignment! In his free time he can be found playing only the heaviest euros or trying out the creepiest and wibbliest new roleplaying games!

Contributors

?

Game Nite is always interested in hearing from potential

contributors! If you feel you have something unique to offer, feel free to contact us... we’d love to hear from you!

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Comic

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Answer Key

Games That Begin With The Letter “C� Z

C A

V

E

C K M

Z

R M

O T

C O L

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U R E

R N A W C A L

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C O N

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C H A

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C C C O D E

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C H U R C H

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G Y

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C H K

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D O D G R D V

S

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F

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Q H O

Q Q R C

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C G Y

A W H S M C

I

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A

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C

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P

R

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N C A

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A W A

V

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Z

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G Q A

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C A

M O D C V

N O E

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O N R O W L I

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R Y

G X C Y

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G A

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X O H W C H E

S

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C R E

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T

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W A

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H M W C H

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O W N

I

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L W C K

C S

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C Q R C A

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H E

Q U O B C C

F

O D S

Z

E

A

U B

W O

H B

Z

E

R

K

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O A F

X P

U N V

H R S

D R A

L

T

F

G S

J

T

O D E

H S

D W B

B

Q E

O Q K M

C R A

N

I

U M

X

F

R Y

C R O K

I

N O L

E

O A

catan

carcassonne

caylus

caverna

citadels

codenames

cyclades

coup

conan

crokinole

concordia

catacombs

civilization

cuba

colosseum

coloretto

chinatown

container

chess

churchill

cartagena

castaways

cranium

chrononauts

cathedral

chaosmos

clank

compounded

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Issue #13 Crossword Puzzle 1 4 7

5

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U D 12

J

16

F

I

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C R E

A

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26

28

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23

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21

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19

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L K

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Across

2. Mihajlo Dimitrievski's homeland [MACEDONIA] 7. "Crisis" publisher [LUDICREATIONS] 10. Chess Champion "___ Carlsen" [MAGNUS] 12. "Kanagawa" artist ___ Mosch [JADE] 13. "Orcs Must ___" [DIE] 14. "Cartoon ___" [NETWORK] 17. "Paperback" Designer Tim ___ [FOWERS] 20. "Sun Tzu" King of ___ [CHU] 21. "Sans ___" [ALLIES] 22. "Ticket to ___" [CARCASSONNE] 26. "Colony" tokens [CHIPI] 27. "Smash or ____" [TRASH] 28. "Tavarua" location [FIJI] 29. card finish [LINEN] 30. "Forbidden ____" [DESERT] 31. Sandy Petersen game [GLORANTHA]

Issue #13

E

O G N U S

S

25

H

L E

N

A

E

N

C

30

T

A

F

D E

N

I

L

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I

T

I

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3

N

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E O R A

18

T

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29

15

11

M A

T W O R K A

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10

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S 31

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C H U

D O N

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14

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C E 9

A

F

L J

8

O N S

17

L 22

M A

6

13

E

S

2

M

S

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R

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Down

1. "Mamma ___" [MIA] 3. ___ Kitten Games [IRON] 4. ___ Lacerda [VITAL] 5. Designer Friedemann ____ [FRIESE] 6. "Glen ___" [MORE] 8. Greek Island ___ [SANTORINI] 9. Famous Portuguese wine [PORT] 11. "___ Duellum" [ANTIKE] 15. "Art of ___" [WAR] 16. Designer "Ted ___" [ALSPACH] 18. "Explorers of the ___" [SEA] 19. "Space ___" [HULK] 20. "Kanagawa" co-designer Charles ___ [CHAVALLIER] 22. "Bermuda ___" [CRISIS] 23. "Brinehorn's ___ " [SCROLL] 24. "Forbidden ____" [ISLAND] 25. Sanorini expansion "Golden ___" [FLEECE] Game Nite___ [TEN]105 27. Hang


Game Review Index

• • • • • •

This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us Small World Stella Nova Shoot-Out Postcard Cthulhu Postcard Empire

• • • • • • •

Tile Chess Cards of Cthulhu Samurai Spirit Golem Arcana Pairs Sutakku Timeline

• • • • • • • • •

Baseball Highlights 2045 Samurai Sword Paperback For the Crown Trench Firefly Cutthroat Caverns Rise of the Zombies Shadow Throne

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• • • • • • • • •

Rhino Hero Attila Spurs and Sprockets Chaosmos March of the Ants AquaSphere Fidelitas Rise of Cthulhu Maha Yodah

• • • • • • • • • •

Animal Upon Animal Sushi Draft Stones of Fate WWII: Stalingrad Stockpile The Magnates Sentinel Tactics Flip City Space Movers 2201 Dark Tales

• • • • • • • • •

Nevermore Gold West Arcadia Quest Dragon Flame New York 1901 Lift Off! Tesla vs. Edison Yashima Targi

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Outer Earth 1944: Race to the Rhine Runecast Cycling Tour Witkacy Firefly: Fistful of Credits Dozen Doubloons King Down

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Game Review Index

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Steam Works Web of Spies Cartography Xia: Legends of a Drift System Orleans Raiders of the North Sea Hoyuk Wizards of the Wild Myths at War Ring It! Hogg Wild for Wealth The Martian Investigations

• • • • • • • • • • •

Cosmic Run Imperial Harvest Under the Pyramids (Eldritch Horror Expansion) Bomb Squad Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization Luna Biblios Dice Trekking the National Parks Fuse Skulldug! Horrible Hex

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Cuisine a la Cart Foragers The Shadow Over Westminster Scoville Valeria: Card Kingdom Onitama Knit Wit Worlds Fair: 1893 Flip City: Reuse Gruff The Walled City Empires at Sea

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Game Review Index

• • • • • • • • • • • •

JurassAttack! Oh My Gods! Looting Atlantis 13 Days Apotheca Tiny Epic Galaxies Automobiles Daxu Slaughterville Kheops Scoville: Labs Ancient Conflict Treasure Chest

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Dr. Eureka Stockpile: Continuing Corruption Sugar Gliders Dawn of the Zeds: Third Edition Vast: The Crystal Caverns The Networks Grifters Trajan Conspiracy! Secrets of the Last Tomb Best Treehouse Ever Matryoshka

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Imhotep In the Name of Odin Centauri Saga Draconis Invasion Dastardly Dirigibles Flamme Rouge Haspelknecht Hansa Teutonica Star Trek Panic Theomachy Commissioned San Ni Ichi Small City Issue #13

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Issue #14 March 2017

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Game Nite magazine issue 13