Eve of Destruction
Eve of Destruction
A new game based on Steve Jackson's classic card and dice game, Illuminati. For 2-8 players. Best played with 4-6.
Eve of Destruction includes a new Illuminatus, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a cabal as devious as any in the minds of many). They attempt to save human society from ecological disaster but must do so in competition with the nefarious forces of greed and power that have always sought to control humanity.
On the rare occassion the IPCC wins a game (circumstances are stacked against them), all players can rejoice that there may be hope the real Illuminati can avoid the disruption a post-apocalyptic world would pose to their rule. FNORD
Dust Tactics: V2 Campaign Adaptations
Dust Tactics: Jungle Warfare
Ever want to put your Dust armies in the middle of thick jungle and let them slash their way to victory? The Battle of Darien Gap is a campaign designed to let you do just that - new terrain tiles included!
The Trouble with Nazis
Love Letter re-themes are a dime a dozen. The game practically screams for re-themes and that's part of its greatness. There are many great ones out there already. And many of those are Firefly inspired too. Here's another!
The Evolution of Evolution
I couldn't wait to get a copy of the recently premiered Evolution so I downloaded the print-and-play version of the game from publisher North Star Games. Instead of cutting out 180 tiny cardboard Food tokens, however, I bought some green and pink cubes for the game. Interestingly, this simple change in pieces allowed the game itself to evolve.
The thing I like most about Evolution (and there are many things I like about it) is how concrete it feels. Playing Evolution feels like building and managing an actual ecosystem. Things grow, adapt and die. They eat. And most fun of all, they are eaten. All of this proceeds quickly and smoothly in the game (which is remarkable given the complexity it simulates) and everything feels real... except for the being eaten. Here, the food mechanism of the game becomes abstract; when feeding on another player's species, you take Food from the Food Bank instead of from the thing being gobbled up itself. Wouldn't it be great if your competitors were made of meat you could eat? With some wooden cubes and Evolution 2.0 they can be!
Evolution 2.0 does not change the gameplay of Evolution in any way. It simply changes the way Food is passed around the game table when Carnivores eat. Players place Meat Cubes on their Population and Body Size tracks and when a species is predated, these Cubes move to the Food spaces of the attacking Species Board. The pain and horror! You can almost feel your population being digested as you pass their hapless flesh across the table to another player.
April, 2015. Updated: March, 2017
Again, I couldn't wait. Instead of waiting 12 months for the English version of Mysterium I bought a copy of the Polish version of the game, Tajemnicze Domostwo. Thanks to fellow fans of the game on BoardGameGeek.com I found an English translation of the rules, whereupon I launched into one of my favourite gaming pastimes, transliterating rules. I love theme in games and often smooth the thematic elements of a game in my mind, sometimes on paper...
Tortured Domicile is such an exercise. It's my narrative layer to the game, not at all dissimilar from the original. It also proceduralizes (if that's a word) the use of a game screen, and includes construction details for a screen and art for the same.
Deep Sea Adventure is a very fun, very tricky push your luck game from Japan. While the game is very polished, the English translation of its rules are not.
Here's a buffed version of the game's rules that clarifies several points muddied by the original translation, in particular: that players return to the submarine between rounds, that players cannot turn back for the submarine without picking up a chip, and that chips can be dropped on turns without movement.
September, 2015. Updated: November, 2017
De Vulgari Eloquentia: Tally Sheet
Scoring in De Vulgari Eloquentia is positively medieval. Which is kind of the point. dVE is that rare 'cube-pusher' that unifies its point-salad scoring with deep theme — the development of the Italian language in the 13th century. But point-salad it remains. And to make matters worse, the game lacks a score track! Here's a tally sheet that helps you score at the end of the game. It is sufficiently descriptive to also act as a player aid to help you plan your scoring. (For a full player aid check out this one by boardgamegeek user arnodestang, it's brilliant.)
Ticket to Play
The set-up and rules for each variant (map) of Ticket to Ride vary slightly from variant to variant. (I guess that's why they're called variants!)
The variations are so slight (and we play so many maps) we have to open the appropriate rule book almost every time we set-up a board. No more! Here's a chart that lays out the variations between variants very clearly.
Concordia Salsa: Player Aid Update
Ah, the realities of game publishing. The expansion for Concordia, Concordia: Salsa, seasons the original game with delicious new dimensions. However, to simplify printing, the publisher included a player aid printed on cardboard instead of card. This is understandable since the expansion doesn't add cards to the game, so printing and packaging a single card for the expansion would have been extravagant. But it's unfortunate because the game's original player aid was on card, and an updated/integrated player aid would have been so much more elegant than placing the new, chunky, over-sized player aid beside the old one. Here's a fix for that: an updated player aid that adds the cost of building a Salt City to the bottom of the Architect aid, and adds Salt City flags to the Scoring aid.
Historia and the Humble Brick
Historia is a civilization game reduced like a fine French sauce into a silky, smooth-playing Eurogame. (Actually, the game is designed by an Italian, but as Italy claims to have inspired French cuisine, that is as it should be.) An example of this streamlining is the game's tech track which replaces the fiddly tech trees typically found in civ games.
I love Historia's tech track in every way except one. The amateur archaeologist in me misses the inclusion of brick in the march of early techs that set humanity on the road to writing, printing, and board gaming. Here is a monumental player aid that sets that right, and details Civbot behaviour too.
Zombie Plague Spreads by Mail!
The clever solo minigame Escape of the Dead was originally designed to print on a single sheet of paper and play with pencil and eraser. It later evolved tokens to replace the pencil. While the game, tokens and rules still fit on one page, the tokens were easily misplaced so the game's designer suggested storing them in an envelope. An envelope you say? Here is a two-page version of Escape of the Dead called Caution: Zombies Inside that folds into its own envelope for the convenient storage and mailing of the shambling menace.
A new word-based party game, Insider, gives the instant classic Codenames a run for its money. Sadly, it can be hard to get in North America. Luckily, it can be played with pen and paper, or . . . your copy of Codenames.
This implementation is called Fink.
The Topology of the Pax Romana
Concordia and its expansions offer many maps of the Roman empire during the 1st century A.D. Each map has its own geography. More importantly, each map has its own topology of cities and trade routes. Denser maps make for more competitive games especially as player counts go up. Finding the map that suits your group (number of players and temperament) can be tricky. Here are some charts to help with that!
January, 2016. Updated: February, 2017. Updated Again: December, 2017
Less is More: Re-boxing Augustus
Why do game publishers insist on selling us air in addition to game? For many reasons, most quite understandable. I still resent the practice however. Games take up more space than books and DVDs. Our house is small. If you're living in an urban centre, your condo might be smaller. Many publishers are aware of this problem and are now releasing an increasing number of good games in small boxes. Still, there's a lot of air boxed up on our game shelf. Sometimes what a game really needs is a good re-boxing.
Evolution, like most popular games, has swelled in size because of several expansions. If you've supported your Evolution habit like I have, via conversion kits and extra decks of Evolution cards, you can easily forget which cards to add or subtract from the game when you're in the mood to play this or that version of it. Here's an outline of Evolution's configurations and a card list to help you sort all that out.
Moonbase Alpha is a great little war game. I don't play a lot of war games and I found the rules a little complicated. They are elegantly written but contain a few holes. In my humble opinion they needed one more edit.
Here is that edit. It's based on the game designer's rules clarifications in the game's rules forum at BGG.
Moonbase Alpha is streamlined but multidimensional. There are many levers that can be pulled in pursuit of numerous winning conditions. Here's a Salient Player Aid to help players strategize. The player aid that comes with the game (the Corporate Sheets) is good but doesn't focus on winning conditions. Me, I need all the strategic help I can get.
Pandemic Legacy: The Full Narrative
You know we love Pandemic, the co-operative board game. It's remarkably balanced. You play against the game and almost every game is a nail-biter. Well, Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 takes Pandemic to a whole new level.
For any gamer living under a rock, a legacy game is a board game that is played repeatedly as a series of games during which elements of the game are permanently modified. In a legacy game, you can be instructed to rip up a card altering a play deck, or mark the board changing the possibilities for movement. The game evolves. The series of games becomes a grand soap opera. A narrative arc emerges based on the results of each game. Because the game's parts are modified, a legacy game can't be played again, at least not without buying a new copy of the game.
Pandemic and the legacy mechanic were made for each other. They go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
Here is a session report for our first play of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, all 16 games of it. DO NOT CLICK ON THIS LINK unless you have already played ALL of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. This report contains the complete story of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. It is replete with spoilers. EVERY SPOILER. Do not spoil this game for yourself. It is the best board gaming experience I have ever had. If you missed the universal praise for this game, many other people have said the same thing. Do yourself a favour and play it!
In the Game Cupboard
We try to keep a lid on our collection of games. These short reviews explain why we've added particular games to our game cupboard. Be warned though, these are not reviews of every game I play, just my faves. As such, the reviews tend toward the superlative.
My reviews are teasers. They aim to interest. They often stray into more general topics concerning gaming. What they are not is comprehensive. If you want details about publisher, designer, year released, etc., head on over to www.boardgamegeek.com and do a quick search.
Last expanded: November, 2017
A few extra people dropped by to play? Need to find a game for a big group? Here's a list of games (from our collection) sorted by the maximum number of players they support.
Updated: February, 2018
The Zen 10
Looking to build a small but well rounded board game collection? Here are some suggestions of strong games from the classic categories of gaming.
April, 2016 / July, 2017
Jeff Hohner, 2013-2018
click to tip — thanks!