One thing boardgames usually play quite loosely with is time. One round equals one month? Then using your workers to construct a building takes a month, be it a log cabin or a cathedral. Need a new worker? That takes a month. Travel to the next city? Sounds like a month-long trip. Getting money from the bank? Better bring your tent, because guess how long that will take.

Well, not so when you start building the city of Samara. Corné van Moorsel’s Samara is all about time. The game’s basic unit of time is still a month, but how many months something takes and how many people you need to accomplish it, that’s where things get way more interesting.

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Silver Amulet / Silver Bullet

I’m starting to wonder if Ted Alspach had some bad (or maybe very good?) lycaontrophic experiences in his youth. He created Ultimate Werewolf, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Ultimate Werewolf Legacy, and a bunch more, what are the odds the neighbors’ dog didn’t whisper dark secrets to him?

Ted’s newest take on the lupine exposure genre is the Silver series, so far containing Silver Amulet and Silver Bullet and soon to be joined by Silver Coin. The furry beasts in these games are much more insidious than usual, though. In the Silver games, people are not simply werewolves or not werewolves. Werewolves exist on a gradient from “not a werewolf” all the way to “holy crap, that is absolutely a werewolf”. Finding the most werewolf group of people will be a challenge under those circumstances.

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Cerebria: The Inside World

Year2018PublisherMindclash GamesAuthorRichard Amann, Viktor Peter, István Pócsi, Frigyes Schöberl, Nick Shaw, Dávid TurcziPlayers1 – 4Age14 – 199Time60-120StrategyLuckInteractionComponents & DesignComplexityScoreInside every one of us, powerful forces are[…]

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Letter Jam

Take some words. Pulp them thoroughly into component letters. Mix with sugar and possibly pectin, boil in a jar. Realize that you misunderstood what Letter Jam is, throw out that mixture of boiled sweetened dictionary, and play the game by Ondra Skoupý.

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Pandemic: Rising Tide

In times when a lot of bad things happen, it can be important to remember that we, as a species, have achieved a lot of great things already. We’ve eradicated diseases and developed vaccines for others. We’ve saved the world from a continent full of fascists. We’ve wrestled land enough to build whole countries on from the cold, wet embrace of the seas.

Two of those three things you can experience right now in a Pandemic game. The one we want to look at this week is Pandemic: Rising Tide. With this version of Matt Leacock’s legendary cooperative game you can join one of the world’s biggest engineering project, the Dutch flood control system.

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The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

First of all: the game’s title is wrong. In my heart of hearts, Pluto will always be the ninth planet. So what we’re looking for in The Crew is planet TEN. Come fight me about that, International Astronomical Union!
With that challenge out of the way, welcome to our review of The Crew: The Quest for Planet NineTen. It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what you’ll be doing in this game. As a crew of astronauts the players go hunt for Planet NineTen.
More surprising is how you go on that epic quest. Trick taking games are not a traditional medium to tell a story, nor are they commonly cooperative. But I’ve gushed before how incredibly versatile that simple game mechanism is.

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Stronghold Second Edition

Ignacy Trzewiczek’s Stronghold is an iconic asymmetric game. The attacking player controls the invading monster hordes, the defending player the valiant defenders behind their walls. More players are not an option. The defender’s walls give them a great advantage, and to win they only have to keep their walls unbreached for seven rounds. To balance the scales the attacker has full control over the pace of combat. The more he does before the assault at the end of each round the more time the defender has to prepare, too.

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Azul: Summer Pavilion

Three years ago began the success story of Michael Kiesling’s Portuguese mosaic games. Azul was one of the great successes of 2017, Spiel des Jahres Winner 2018, 2017 Golden Geek Best Family Game, and a number of other nominations and awards. An expansion or sequel was guaranteed.

That sequel was Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra and was somewhat less popular. I can’t speak for everyone else, but personally I found the placement rules counterintuitive, entirely opposite to Azul’s rules and game board that make it perfectly clear what you can place where.

Now we have the latest installment of the series. As you’ll see in a moment Azul: Summer Pavilion is closer to the original game again, but has its own new twists. For better or for worse? We’ll see. One thing outside of the game mechanisms sets this new Azul game apart from its two predecessors: You’ll create a mosaic that didn’t exist in the real world. King Manuel I died before work started on the pavilion he envisioned and the project was scrapped.

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I’ve been talking about this game every time we mentioned word games recently. It’s about time I told you more about it. I’m talking about Decrypto, a word game by Thomas Dagenais-Lespérance. It sounds like a regular word game like many others at first. One player gives hints about words, other players on his team try to guess the words. We’ve seen it before. So what makes Decrypto stand out? Allow me to introduce it!

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