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
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
Oceanos

Oceanos

Jacques Cousteau awakened the fascination for the submarine world in many of us. His film productions present the wonders hidden under the surface of the ocean, and yet they awaken curiosity for more. I think Monsieur Cousteau would approve of the way fellow Frenchman Antoine Bauza presents the underwater world in his game Oceanos: not as a place for warfare, like many games have done before, but as the object of curious discovery.

Read more
Undercover

Undercover

The life of a secret agent is tough. We know from James Bond’s biographical movies about the large number of people who to kill you while megalomaniac villains try to either kill everyone, enslave everyone or just take everyone’s money. But those movies gloss over the hardest part of the job: keeping track of who is who, and who they are working for. You think it’s easy, working with a bunch of double agents who all look the same because they wear stupid hats and trench coats and only meet in dark corners, anyway? Well, think again after you accidentally pass that briefcase to the wrong guy. He looked just like the right guy, but when he said “Thank you” you realized he was talking with the wrong stereotypical villain accent. But no more! With Undercover Doris and Daniel Danzer will help you understand just how hard the secret agent life is on your memory.

Read more
Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot

Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot

Ignacy Trzewiczek and Portal Games are usually known for heavy games, but with Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot they ventured into family game territory. Here you wage sea battles by throwing a metric ton of dice into the game box and then using more or less improbable ship upgrades to fight. For family-friendliness, players don’t fight against one another but compete who can capture or sink the most non-player ships.

Read more

Tokaido – Collectors’ Edition

Usually, when a game is about traveling a road, you win by arriving first at the destination. Of course racing is fun, but it’s not the only way to travel. Sometimes, going slowly and enjoying the trip is what you should be doing. Antoine Bauza’s Tokaido rewards that type of travel, here the winner is the player who had the richest experience along the way. That makes Tokaido very different from a racing game, and in the best way, too.

Read more

A Game of Gnomes

Every year Fragor Games releases one game, designed by the Lamont brothers and produced with ridiculously pretty ceramic miniatures. Last year, that game was A Game of Gnomes. It’s what it says on the box: a game, and about gnomes. Except the title and some puns in the rule book, it has nothing to do with that other A Game of …. Something that everyone is talking about, but it has a lot to do with mushrooms. And it has the largest single component in any game we have here at the Meeple Cave.

Read more
Sapiens

Sapiens

The year is god-knows-when BCE. The first people are spreading across the plains and forests looking for two things: food and shelter. Their most important tool in this dangerous voyage are Dominoes-like tiles they use to map out the surroundings. Okay, no, they didn’t really do that. You do that when playing Sapiens, map out the territory for your tribe to prosper.

Read more
Potion Explosion

Potion Explosion

The Horribilorum Sorcery Academy for Witty Witches and Wizards, yet another institute of magical learning that not only ignores safety procedures, it’s probably using the handbook to start a fire. This time, students have to sit their Potions exam with ingredients from a rickety, old ingredient dispenser and a professor that actively encourages them to cause explosions in that thing and to drink their own potions they just created to see if they work. Realistically, this game is not about winning, it’s about surviving!

Read more