Mea Culpa

Mea Culpa

Way too many religions in the world threaten their believers with going to a bad place if they misbehave. Let’s call it Hell. Or maybe Purgatory, if there’s a chance you might leave and go to a good place at some point. Think about that what you will. But in the Middle Ages, one religion went a step further than usual with this belief: the Catholic church offered their believers a way to buy themselves free from eternal punishment. With the purchase of a papal Indulgence, they advertised, your soul will go straight to heaven, all your sins forgiven. And as a side effect, the money will pay for a shiny new basilica in Rome. This practice was not universally popular. It was so unpopular, in fact, that a German priest and theologian rallied against it and caused a schism in the church that was never mended. And that’s why we get Mea Culpa, a game about indulgences, this year, exactly 500 years, after Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg.

Read more
World's Fair 1893

World’s Fair 1893

The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago has mostly fallen from general awareness. In its day, however, there was a consensus that this event had a transformational power in America exceeding anything since the American Civil War. Calling the game World’s Fair 1893 transformational might be going a bit far, but it’s in one league with many of the novelties presented at the 1893 World’s Fair.

Read more
Bohemian Villages

Bohemian Villages

Ah, Bohemia, land of the dice, where the fate of whole families hinges on a few rolls of the metaphorical bones. The locals didn’t mention anything about that when we passed through on our vacation, but it’s probably one of those things you don’t discuss with outsiders. Being a village boy myself, I can relate to that. When someone passed through our village, we also didn’t tell him who’s life had been ruined by the dice. But in Bohemia, or at least in Reiner Stockhausen’s Bohemian Villages, the dice have a much more direct influence on the not-quite-meeple-people’s lives. The dice decide what career they can take and sometimes to which village they have to move.

Read more
Floris

Floris

It is the Countess’ flower ball, and you are invited. Since the countess kind of digs flowers (not literally, she had gardeners for that…) – you want to bring her the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and thus get the most sympathy points. But beware – the countess may be a bit greedy for the flowery stuff – but excessiveness is not rewarded. After all it is still Noblesse Oblige!

Read more
Burger Up

Burger Up

Warning! Do not read this review while hungry. You’re about to read a many words about burgers, which will make you hungry to play Burger Up, but also to go out and eat at that grass-fed beef only burger place across town.

Read more
Kanagawa

Kanagawa

In Kanagawa, all players are disciples of Master Painter Hokusai, trying to learn in his studio of art how to produce visual effects on canvas, capturing the mood of the different seasons as well as specific objects like trees, buildings, characters and animals. And while his wisdom is available to everyone, not every disciple can take away the same learning from the Master.

Read more
Age of Thieves

Age of Thieves

Age of Thieves is not a game about collecting victory points or anything mundane like that. It is about nothing less but fleeing a city under a full-fledged state of alarm – with guards roaming the streets and alleys – while casually carrying the most valuable jewels you can out of the city.

Read more
HOP!

HOP!

Marie Cardouat’s game illustrations have always been in a style fitting for beautiful children’s books, and that is still just as true in HOP!. Beyond the illustrations, the game’s story is equally made for kids. After finding a book describing a magical kingdom in the sky, the child heroes of HOP! decide that they have to see the realm of magical creatures living in the clouds for themselves. And once that decision is made, it is a matter of moments before they are floating into the sky, each carried by a handful of balloons. And just like that you’re in the middle of a dexterity game for the whole family, and prettier than pretty much any other game out there.

Read more
Kilt Castle

Kilt Castle

From haggis to caber toss, Scotland is full of traditions that seem odd to an outsider. But the oddest tradition has recently been discovered by Günter Burkhardt: when the Scots build a castle for their clan, it’s not a collaborative effort like you would expect. Every builder wants floors in his or her own color to top of all the tower. The resulting castle is neither very hospitable to live in nor does it have great defensive value, but it is a home for your clan, and someone made a lot of money building it.

Read more
Small Star Empires

Small Star Empires

The final frontier… Space. The last remaining adventure, vast and (mostly) unexplored. We could go on about rogues, treks and storm troopers, towels, the Force and Lord Helmet – but today we would rather focus on a less mainstream but without a doubt worthy item: Milan Tasevski’s short and easy-to-learn, but still very replay-worthy Small Star Empires.

Read more