Second Look—Dragon Flame

Dragon FlameWhile Robert has us on the subject of dragons, let’s talk about Minion Games’ Dragon Flame. Similar in theme to Wrath of Dragons—you play the rampaging wyrms—Dragon Flame, though, presents a lighter but still strategically satisfying experience.

The first part of Dragon Flame has players seeding castles with treasures, one-at-a-time placing treasure cards on the central castles in combinations that they hope will maximize the value of the castle stacks for themselves and minimize their value for the other players. Some of the castles are limited in the number of treasure cards they can take. And depending on what a player accomplished on the previous turn, some number of the treasure cards they play will have to be face-up or face-down.

The second part of the game sees the players acting their parts as dragons, taking turns to attack a castle and grab the treasure cards there. Each type of treasure in a dragon’s hoard at the end of the game scores glory points in a different fashion. For example, jewelry cards are worth a straight number. Statues are worth five points each but only if there are no duplicates. Chests are each worth one point per chest of the same type (thus, their value increases quickly), but this only applies to the single greatest collection of chests. Each chest of another type in a dragon’s hoard results in a penalty of one point.

Dragonflame cards are special. Any in a player’s selected stack gives them a run at burning villages. For every icon on the cards, they can place a flame token on one of a set of village cards. At the end of the game, the dragon who’s contributed the most to burning down a village scores its points.

For me, Dragon Flame’s fun comes from quick but strategic play with a fair amount of back-and-forth positioning player against player. Also, though there may not be dragon meeples, it does come with wood fire tokens to light up pesky human villages.

Dragon Flame Castles

Dragon Flame Villages

Dragon Flame Burning Tokens

A complimentary copy of Dragon Flame was provided by Minion Games for review.

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Second Look—Wrath of Dragons

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Wrath of Dragons is a Resource Destruction game by Catalyst Game Labs. I first got a chance to play at PAX East this year after seeing the dragon on the box and immediately requesting a demo. Filled with crunchy bits and amazing art, the game uses several popular Euro mechanics to provide a fun and satisfying gaming experience.

Played over the course of 6 centuries (rounds), players will place their dragons on actions, draft cards, and head to various areas of the board to pillage and destroy. The game has a great mechanic where one player will get the First Action token, while another gets a First Attack token. Both have their advantages, and no player can hold both at the same time.

Through clever play, proper resource management, and manipulation of the central action wheel, players will move around the board capturing nobles, burning crops, destroying cities, and eating livestock. Dragons can also level up, allowing them move flexibility over the course of the game. At the end of 6 centuries players will tally up their victory points to determine the victor. Conditions like having the most of a certain resource, having a full set of colored buildings destroyed, or owning the Terrorize Tile will add to your total.

dragonsIs Wrath of Dragons worth the $60 price tag? I think so. I’m a huge fan of dragons, so that’s a win right there. Combine that with a small learning curve, lots of choices, may paths to victory, and some really great art and bits and you’ve got a solid Euro on your hands.

It’s not a game I would have expected to come out of Catalyst, but I’m sure glad it did.

A copy of Wrath of Dragons was provided free for review by Catalyst Game Labs.

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Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Today I’ve got a trio of HABA games to go over: Mix and Match Robbers, Tambuzi, and Space Planets. My thoughts on the three vary a good amount, but overall my kids really enjoyed all three. Myself? We’ll get to that.

First off if Mix and Match Robbers, a game of speed matching. Each round a new head, torso, and set of legs are flipped over from 3 separate decks. These three cards will show you the robber that needs to be caught. The players then search all the face up characters and try to find the one that matches the revealed robber. The player who finds it first get that card as part of their victory pool. The game ends when there’s no more combination cards left, or no more matching character cards in the pool. The player with the most robbers wins the game.
300633_4c_f_mix_max_raeuber_englisch_01It’s light, fun, and I was even able to play this one with my 2-year-old son (though he’s a bit slower than the older kids). It’s fast, and only costs $7.49. Will it have much staying power in my household? I’m guessing the kids may take it out now and then over the summer, but will probably tire of it quickly. It’s a great game for me to take out and play alone with my youngest, so I can see it getting more play that way. I’d recommend this up to age 6, max.

Next up is Tambuzi, a larger game with an electronic component that plays sounds, dictates how players move, and signals a round’s end. We we really excited to play this one, but it kinda fell flat for me. Each player has two tokens that they’ll move around the board while trying to get the animals to shelter, or at least not outside the board when lightning strikes. The electronic component has a button that players press to dictate their movement, or allow them to enter a hut if they’re next to one. After a while it’ll also emit a crack of thunder. Whichever player is off the board (the player currently moving) will have that piece removed from the game. Play continues until only 3 animals are left on the board, and then points are added up.

7180_tambuziThe trick here is that you need to play really fast. When you hit the button you get a movement number between one and three. You can also get a hut. When you move, you move outside the board in a clockwise motion. If you land next to a space with an animal on a door mat you swap with that animal and that player then hits the button. If the other animal is already in a hut, you hit the button and move again. If you happen to be next to a hut and get the hut icon, you move inside, swapping with the animal already in there if there is one. If you’re on a blank space, you go again. The goal is to do as much as you can, as fast as you can, so another player gets caught outside when lightning strikes.

You keep playing, with the highest scoring player getting a water token, until all the water tokens are gone. The player with the most tokens at the end winds. To tell you the truth, the game feels way too long playing that way, so my kids and I basically just played until the end of one round, and the person with the highest score won. My 6-year-old son and 10-year-old son enjoy the game to a point, but usually stop after a couple of times. I really didn’t like this one, as it’s purely luck, with nothing really happening except hitting the button as fast as you can. Basically musical chairs with a savanna theme. At $35.99, personally I’d skip it. It’s probably the first HABA game I’ve ever suggested to skip.

301773_4c_f_space_planets_05Last, but most certainly not least, is Space Planets. This one really hit all the right buttons for me, my 6-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, and 10-year-old son. It’s a dexterity game where you’re trying to roll a die onto a card in a 3×3 grid. If you’ve got enough fuel you can snag the card, and maybe even get a bonus if there’s one listed on the card. Can’t buy it? That’s OK, you can use the roll to refuel.

Each card is worth a certain amount of points, and like I said earlier, some let you take special actions. Once one player has taken five tiles each player takes one more turn and the game is over. The player with the highest points wins. Plants are worth what they say, and any extra fuel you have left over can be converted to 2-1 for points, too. It’s really quick to set up, simple to learn, and a whole lot of fun.

Space Planets may be one of my new favorite HABA games, and I can see this one coming out for play time and time again in our house. At $11.99, this one is a no-brainer to purchase if you’ve got kids in the house. If you were to get only one of the three games I’ve covered here, this would be the one to get.

Anyway, there you have it. I always love getting the chance to play HABA games because you generally can’t go wrong. While Tambuzi wasn’t my cup of tea, my kids did enjoy it. Mix and Match Robbers provides a good amount of play for the price, and Space Planets is a gem.

Copies of Mix and Match Robbers, Tambuzi, and Space Planets were provided free for review by HABA.

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Second Look—Poopyhead

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.There’s so many ways I can compare this game to it’s subject matter, but it’d be a bit crude for a family site such as ours. Let’s just say that Poopyhead left me and my kids with a “not so fresh” feeling after giving it a few plays.

Poopyhead is more a novelty than a game. It comes with 5 rubber poop headbands, a Whoopie cushion, and some cards. Players need to rid their hand of cards by playing them to the center stack in the correct order: Toilet – Poo – Paper – Wash your hands. Gameplay is simultaneous, so all players are trying to get their cards down as fast as they can. Rid your hand of all your cards and hit the Whoopie cushion to end the round. The player with the most cards left in their hand has to place a poop on their head. The player with the least poop on their head after five rounds wins the game.

The game seemed like it’d be something the kids would enjoy. Potty humor is always in fashion with little ones. Unfortunately the poop became more of a problem than a fun gimmick. The kids loved to laugh at others who had to wear the poop, but all got upset when they got laughed at for wearing it. The Whoopie cushion also broke the first day we got the game from repeated abuse by the kids. The actual card play wore out fast, and the kids were soon asking to play something else.

All in all Poopyhead was a bit of a stinker for us, and it’s already been tossed in the basement to be forgotten about.

A copy of Poopyhead was provided free for review by Identity Games.

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Second Look—Oh My Gods!

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.I first saw Oh My Gods! at CT FIG, where I had a chance to play the game with it’s designer, Tim Blank. Having just done an unboxing of the game, I figured it was time to write up my review.

Oh My Gods! is a game of deduction where you’re trying to figure out which god stole Zeus’s lightning bolt. At the start of the game one god is chosen blindly and hidden from all the players. Each turn you ask the player to your left if they have a specific god, or you can ask if any of the Gods have a specific trait or element. If they’ve got what you’re looking for, they show it to you. You can also play one of your god’s special powers instead of asking a question, though this reveals that god to the entire table.

SkyZeusPlay continues until someone has narrowed down their list to make a guess at who stole Zeus’s bolt. Here’s the catch. You guess wrong and you’re done. Out of the game. Don’t fret, though. Oh My Gods! plays quick, so waiting for the next game won’t take long.

My family and I really enjoyed this one. The rulebook is clear, the art was appealing to all of us, and the gameplay give us more than something like Guess Who, and isn’t a chore to setup and play like Clue. We’re actually heading out on vacation this week, and Oh My Gods! has been packed up to come with us to play on slow afternoons.

You can snag Oh My Gods! from Gameworthy Labs for $24.98.

A copy of Oh My Gods! was provided free for review by Gameworthy Labs.

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Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Perspective and Sun, Moon & Stars are two micrograms from Minion Games. The former contains only 27 cards, while the latter has just 18. Don’t let the card numbers fool you. Both of them are meatier than your usual micro game fair, and I have to say I was surprised by the experience from both.

I’ll start with Perspective, in my mind the more difficult of the two. It’s not hard to learn how to play the game, but the game itself is difficult. At it’s heart, it’s a memory game. You’re given a goal card and have to arrange the cards in the correct order with the correct colors. The only issue is you need to do so using the backs of your cards, which only your opponent can see. Through clever card play you can flip, trade, sort, and reclaim cards in hopes of setting up your hand for a win.


I played Perspective with my 10-year-old, and it took a few tries to get the hang of the game. Once we did, it was a race to see who could memorize what was going on and get their hands in order. Sadly, my tasted victory more than I. We had a great time, even though the game was a bit of a brain burn.

Sun, Moon & Stars is a bit lighter, but my no means less of a game than Perspective. Depending on how many players there are, they are seated North, South, East, and West, and give a goal. Different animals have different victory conditions. Players try to move the sun, moon, and stars around the table so they’ll be in the positions desired by their goal animal. It’s a bit quicker of a play, and puts the players in more direct confrontation that Perspective.

64c3e3ea5ecd51d1a02aff24a3e5eb95_originalTaking only 5 minutes to play, the game encourages you to play multiple rounds. It’s not hard to do so, as the pleasing aesthetic and, quick play, and satisfying play make it an excellent filler.

Both games are available from Minion Games for $9.99 each. Both are worth the price.

Copies of Perspective and Sun, Moon & Stars were provided free for review by Minion Games.

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Second Look—StoryLine: Fairy Tales

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Take a popular party-game mechanic, turn it into a kids game with a fairy tale theme, and you’ve got StoryLine: Fairy Tales, the first in what I’m guessing will be a line of StoryLine games. I was a bit skeptical of this one, but had a great time playing it with my kids

Storyline comes with 30 Narrator cards that cover two different stories. Then there’s 100 story cards, 20 each of 5 different types. Each turn a different player takes the role of Narrator and flips over a Narrator card for the story they’re playing. The card will dictate what type of cards the players need to play to continue the story. Each player starts with one of each of the five card types, and will also draw an extra of the type needed for the round. Then the players each play the appropriate card face down. The Narrator chooses a card, and whoever played that card gets a token.

StorylineThe tokens are the only part of the game I’m not 100% on board with. If it were as simple as the player with the most tokens wins, then that’d be fine. That’s not the case. Tokens are awarded to players face down. Some are worth 1, 2, or 3 points. Others have special rules, like a boot that’s worth nothing or a crown that lets you take 2 more tokens to score. This means that a player with the least amount of tokens can still pull a win with a lucky hand of tokens. My kids were kind of upset with this too. It seems a bit too random, and was a bit of a buzz-kill at the end of the game.

Overall we had fun. The cards are beautiful, the gameplay simple, and there’s some pretty funny card combinations that can take a more traditional Fairy Tale and really turn it on its head. We may just stick with counting actual tokens, and not using the points and special token powers.

A copy of StoryLine: Fairy Tales was provided free for review by Asmodee 

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Second Look—Guildball

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.This one has taken me a bit to get written, mostly because I needed the time to get it to the table…and the table needed to be cleared off enough to have space.

Of course with most miniatures game, the miniatures need to be assembled before play. Guildball minis are excellent, finely detailed, and a bit of a pain to get assembled. Tiny pieces along with dynamic figure poses proved a challenge for me, as I’m not the best at getting these things together. One I did get them finished, I patted myself on the back and got to work learning the rules.

The rulebook is a gorgeous, full color book full of amazing art, world lore, and the rules of the game. This is both really awesome, and my one complaint about the game. The rules are sprinkled in with all the extra fiction, and at times I found myself just wanting the rules compiled without all the extras. It’s a minor gripe, but one just the same.

As far as the game goes, I was pleasantly surprised how uncomplicated it was. It’s not Dreadball level of ease, but it’s certainly a lot better than other miniatures sports games. Once you have the flow of the game down, it’s a breeze to play the game. That doesn’t make the game any less deep. There’s plenty here to satisfy both miniatures gamers and sports gamers. The sheer amount of teams and their miniatures already released is amazing, and there’s more on the way soon for Season 2.

There’s a lot of things to buy here, so you’re not going to hop into this game inexpensively, but everything I’ve seen so far is a worthwhile investment. The only thing I don’t have is a pitch, and I’m going to make sure I get one for future plays.

Steamforged Games is a fairly new company, but they’re already proven they’re a strong contender in the hobby. I can’t recommend the game to everyone, but if you’re a miniatures fan, a sports fan, or someone who’s looking to get into sports miniatures games, you can’t go wrong with Guildball. It’s a blast, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites, possibly knocking Dreadball from it’s high throne on my shelf.

The Guildhall rulebook, Butcher and Fisherman teams, and appropriate token/template sets were provided free for review by Steamforged Games.

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Kickstarter Preview—Landed

Landed is a tile-laying terraforming game that’s just wrapping an already funded Kickstarter campaign. Designed by Marcin Zarycki and published by Argyle Games, it’s a 2-4 player game where players are laying down tiles and trying to claim pieces of land to fill various contracts. Each turn players can lay a tile, draw back up to 4 tiles, or draw new contracts. They can also play Wonder Tiles acquired any time during their turn, or use one of their cubes to claim land after they place a tile. It’s very simple to learn, easy to play, and a fun light-weight game.

Landed requires careful tile-laying to maximize lands you’re looking to profit from, while also making sure you break up formations that may score your opponents points. Of course you can always piggy back off opponents’ formations, and they off yours, for a slightly less profitable score. Each contract card has several conditions that can be met, each more profitable than the last. Most of these have two values: one from the first person to claim the territory, and one for the second. You also need to keep in mind that you only have a limited amount of cubes to claim land. Once you’re out, you can’t complete any more contracts.

The whole game plays in about 15-45 minutes depending on the number of players. Two player games tend to be quick, and offer more flexibility on the board. Four players are a bit longer, but also a bit more tense as land is quickly taken by other players. You can make sure you get a copy of the game for a $34 pledge, and the more they make, the more stretch goals are unlocked.

It’s a fun game that can be learned and played quickly. A good choice if you’re into tile-laying games, and aren’t looking for anything very heavy.

A prototype copy of Landed was provided free for preview by Argyle Games.

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Second Look—Legend of Vyas

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.The Legend of Vyas is a new CCG by Vansh Games that depicts the Indian epic, The Mahabharata. Of course you don’t need to be familiar with the story to enjoy the game, which my son and I really did.

First off let me just say the presentation of the game is amazing. The box is beautiful, with a minimalist design and a custom cut foam insert for the dice, cards, and box of counters. In the set you get 2 fully-playable decks, 3 stick dice, and a small cardboard box of counters to track damage and such. It’s all laid out beautifully, and really gives a great first impression for the game. The cards are durable, and feel amazing. They’re a step up in stock than your standard CCG cards. Thicker, with a heavier feel. The dice are both unique, and well made, and the counters are a solid cardboard with a nice finish.


The game itself follows through on the physical quality of the components. Each player fields warriors, an advisor, a hero, and a formation card. The formation card actually dictates how many warriors are on the field, and how they’re arranged. This actually has a lot to do with gameplay, as your troops in the front protect rear ranks, and your hero and advisor. Turns are simple. Roll the 3 dice to see how much energy you have to work with that turn, cast spells, field warriors, or equip your hero, then attack your opponent’s ranks. Each warrior has an attack value and health value. There’s no defending. You attack, it does damage plus/minus modifiers, and that’s that. Games are quick, brutal, and require you to always make sure you have a backup plan.

While the game is a CCG, this starter set is the only product available right now. The set is $30, and very much worth the price. There’s an expansion set of 32 unique cards being launched on Kickstarter on May 8th that will also include 2 legendary cards just for the campaign.

A review copy of Legend of Vyas was provided free for review by Vansh Games

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