Second Look—Mafia de Cuba

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.

Fans of Mafia or Werewolf who want a bit more out of their game, pay attention. Mafia de Cuba gives you what you love, and so much more.

Actually, the only thing Mafia de Cuba shares with the previously mentioned games is the face that each player has a role, and someone is trying to figure those roles out. The really cool part? Players choose their roles through gameplay.

The game starts with The Godfather, the only non-secret role in the game. He fills the cigar box (the actual box the game comes in) with 15 diamonds and the character tokens. He then passes the box to the next player. Players can take any number of diamonds out of the box, or a character token. The first player can actually take TWO character tokens and hide one, this removing it from play. Once the box makes it around the table, The Godfather questions the players trying to find the thieves. boite-mafia-de-cubaIf he recovers all fifteen diamonds he wins. If he accuses the wrong people, he’s eliminated and victory is awarded based on who was accused. Each different role has different victory conditions, most sharing victory with other roles. The game’s expansion, Revolucion, adds more roles and a fake diamond.

The game is a blast, and I actually prefer it over other social deduction games. Everything from the pieces, the roles, and the role play really hit the right buttons with me. Speaking of the pieces, the game’s box is designed to look like a cigar box, the plastic diamonds are excellent, and the character tokens have enough heft to make them feel substantial. There’s a player-aid under the lid of the box with a space to place a sticker with the extra rules that come with the expansion, so all the rules are right in front of you during play.  It’s a game that feels solid from the ground up, the only downside being you need at least 6 players to play.

The rules are simple, and you’ll really only need a references sheet for the roles for the first few times you play. The expansion adds more depth, and a lot more fun.

I see this replacing Werewolf in my game collection, though I’d love to see a Werewolf themed version of this in the future.

A copy of Mafia de Cuba was provided free by Asmodee Editions.

  • Comments Off on Second Look—Mafia de Cuba

Gen Con 2015—Asmodee

Gen Con logoAt the Fantasy Flight Games In-Flight Report (which I’ll cover separately), Christian Petersen talked about Asmodee’s grand plans. The company, he said, sees the possibility of achieving a scale similar to the largest international toy companies but doing so by building on the best type of toy, games.

Asmodee’s presence at Gen Con was certainly consistent with that attitude. The booth and demo space was again even larger than last year, the number and variety of games more than I could cover.

One I was not able to try, Mysterium ($50), was also one of the hottest at the show. A limited supply brought people running to the booth with the opening of the exhibit hall doors. Mysterium is described as a combination of Dixit and Clue. It has a game-master of sorts but is played cooperatively. The goal is to solve a murder mystery with clues provided by art cards.

My favorite was one that Asmodee will be distributing for Queen Games, Treasure Hunter by Richard Garfield. Due at Essen, Treasure Hunter combines an easy card draft with a straightforward process that totals up the players’ cards in each of three color categories and awards the ones with the least and greatest values bonuses or penalties, as the case may be each round. In addition to value cards for each color, players are also drafting the occasional modification card, as well as dog cards used to fight off trolls.

Mafia de Cuba ($30, September) is Asmodee’s entry in to the social deduction category. It also comes with a beautiful cigar box, which is used in the game to hold the godfather’s diamonds, as well as a group of role tokens (faithful henchmen, driver, FBI agent, etc.). After the box is passed around the table, the goal of the godfather is to figure out who stole his diamonds. But say, for example, he accuses someone who turns out to be the agent, well then that agent wins the game instead.

Starfighter ($30) is a two-player card-based spaceship combat game played in columns. The concept is fighter screens making runs at opponents’ cruisers. However, the fewer columns a player takes advantage of one round, the more cards they may draw the next.

Barony ($50) has players trying to elevate their noble characters to the rank of Duke. This is accomplished by recruiting knights, moving them around the board, upgrading them in stages, producing resources, and eliminating opponents.

2015 has been a big year for dinosaur games. In this category, Asmodee will deliver at Essen Raptor. It’s a two-player tactical game in which one person plays the scientists trying to capture baby raptors and the other side plays the dinosaur mother protecting her young. Gameplay involves the simultaneous selection of cards. The person who’s card number is lower gets to play their card’s special ability that turn. The one who’s number is higher, receives the difference in action points.

Another Essen-scheduled game from Asmodee is Doctor Panic. An action party game with a medical theme, Doctor Panic incorporates eight mini-games, every one of which must be completed within the total time limit. The mini-games include such activities as matching the pose on an x-ray card or sewing thread to match a suture pattern. A soundtrack counts down the time limit and sometimes also interrupts normal play with sidetrack tasks, such as running around the table.

For Days of Wonder, Asmodee was showing the prototype of a new Ticket to Ride double-sided map board. One side features the British Isles, comes with a new deck of cards, and adds technology development to the game. For example, at the start, players can only complete length-2 routes. To complete longer routes, they must first upgrade their trains by playing wild-cards. The other side of the board has a map of Pennsylvania and adds company stocks to the game. Each completed route provides shares in certain companies. At the end of the game, the majority shareholder in each company earns a bonus.

  • Comments Off on Gen Con 2015—Asmodee