Ganz schön clever

This year, the third seal of the apocalypse has been broken: A roll-and-write game is nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres. Or was that the fourth seal? How did that happen? Has the world gone mad? Did the Yahtzee mafia threaten the jury? Take their children hostage?

It’s something much less sinister. I didn’t think it could happen, but Ganz schön clever might be a roll-and-write game that deserves to be on that list. There’s something about it that sets it apart from other games where you roll dice and write numbers on your score pad. In this game, the dice have different colors.

Read more

Flee

As a reviewer, games where you discover new content and new rules while you play are frustrating. On the one hand, they are awful. How do you review a game with a Legacy or Fast Forward mechanism without giving away all the good bits? On the other hand, they are great, simply because discovering new things while you play works that fingerboard that is our brain’s reward mechanism so well. Or, in plain English, they’re one hell of a lot of fun. And we love to talk about fun games. So be warned, ahead you will find very mild spoilers for the first few rounds of Friedemann Friese’s Flee.

Read more

DIG

Anything worth doing is worth doing as a contest. Running? Sure. Jumping? Certainly. Rolling dice? Well, duh.Throwing typewriters? It’s been done. Digging? I’m not sure if it’s been done before, but now there’s DIG, so you can do it in the comfort of your own home. It should have been obvious that there would be an annual digging contest somewhere in the multiverse. This one is only for the bravest of adventurers. The Hill has treasures aplenty, but it also has monsters, cave-ins, and your competitors.

Read more

Pulsar 2849

Pulsars are certain types of stars that emit a tight beam of electromagnetic radiation. The beam doesn’t really pulse, it just appears that way because a pulsar rotates with a frankly ridiculous speed and we can only detect the beam when it’s pointed our way. Now, something the size of a star rotating in a matter of seconds or even milliseconds, that’s a lot of energy. And where is a lot of energy there are people thinking how to harvest it. Harvesting energy from pulsars is a wee bit beyond our current technology. But in the future, like, maybe in the year 2849?

Building pulsar-powered power plants, so called gyrodynes, is your job in Vladimír Suchý’s Pulsar 2849. A gyrodyne is basically a stellar scale dynamo, a ring built around a pulsar that turns with the force of the rotating star and transmits the energy generated elsewhere. But what powers the construction of a structure of that magnitude? Dice!

Read more

Video Review: Arena – For the Gods

If you compare mythologies from all over the world two things quickly become obvious. One, the gods get bored easily. Two, they don’t have the attention span for complex entertainment. A game where heroes bash each others head in for the glory of the gods is exactly their kind of fun. Which brings us to this video review of Arena: For the Gods.

Read more

Update: Clans of Caledonia

It’s been almost a year since we reviewed Juma al-JouJou’s Clans of Caledonia. Our review back then was based on the Tabletopia version of the game because the Kickstarter for the physical edition had just started. We’ve spent some time playing the paper-and-wood edition since then and it seems like a good time for an update.

Read more

Video Review: Enchanters

Swords of Fire. Shields of Stone. Daggers of Poison. All essential heroing equipment, but usually just props. Until now, that is. Enchanters is a game all about the Xs of Y without which a self-respecting hero never leaves home. I hope you enjoy our latest video review!

Read more

Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time

Usually it’s safe to assume that the people entering somebody else’s house through the window are the bad guys. Usually. And it’s not an excuse that the dwellings owner is called Professor Evil, either! What was he supposed to do, not pursue an academic career because of his last name? There is, however, the little detail that Professor Evil has been using his time machine to steal priceless artifacts right out of history. The Mona Lisa is small fry in a collection that contains Excalibur and the Ark of the Covenant.

If some heroic individuals were to enter such an individual’s citadel to return those stolen items to their rightful place in the timeline they would most definitely be the good guys. But their mission won’t be easy. A man called Professor Evil, why, his security systems are bound to be more interesting than a blinking red light on the wall. Those heroic individuals would need some outside guidance as they make their way through the Professor’s home. Someone telling them were to go, what to do. Someone like… you. Welcome to Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time.

Read more

Video Review: Mountains of Madness

In our second video review we take to the Mountains of Madness! This cooperative game by Rob Daviau, based on the H.P. Lovecraft story At the Mountains of Madness. It introduces one of the most unlikely combination of words you’re likely to hear: Lovecraftian party game.

I hope you enjoy the video!

Read more

Rob ‘n Run

Rob ‘n Run might easily mislead you when you first look at it. Between the cartoonish cover art and the paper built escape vehicle on the table you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a kids’ game. You’d still be mistaken. Although Rob ‘n Run is suitable for kids – the crimes you commit are non-violent safecracks, and the rules are straightforward enough – adult gamers will have more fun. You have to take great care how you communicate, what conclusions other players will likely draw from revealing certain information in the situation you find yourself in. Kids below the recommended age of ten will struggle with that. We are enjoying the hell out of it.

The first published design by Michael Luu is a cooperative game with restricted communication. The players are a gang of safecrackers doing a few more jobs on their way to the airport. For every robbery one of them is the boss. The boss knows the tools needed for this job. Instead of just telling the rest of the gang, however, he can only give cryptic clues. The rules say he does this so the police cannot figure out where they are from what he says on the radio. I think it’s more likely that he read to many Batman comics and The Riddler is his idol.

Read more