Luxor

I thought I’d seen every possible way to use cards. Keep them in your hand. Put them on the table. Facing you. Facing everyone else at the table. Turning them every which way to change what they do. And then along comes Luxor, a Spiel des Jahres nominee by Rüdiger Dorn, with a way to use cards that is all new, and yet super simple.

There isn’t much of a story to Luxor. Each player controls a group of adventurers as they make their way through the legendary temple of Luxor to the pharaoh’s burial chamber. It’s not so much what you’re doing or why that makes Luxor interesting. It’s the how.

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Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg

The Quedlinburg Quacks are not the east German town’s hockey team. Neither are the Quacks of Quedlinburg a family of celebrity ducks living in the area. I would love if they were, though. No, The Quacks of Quedlinburg (original title: Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, no official English title yet) is one of Wolfgang Warsch’s games on this year’s Spiel des Jahres shortlists. We already reviewed the others (Ganz Schön Clever and The Mind), so today we’ll talk about quacks and snake oil salesmen.

The players in Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg are charlatans selling their potions and tinctures at the annual fair in Quedlinburg. At least, they will sell them if they manage to make them without blowing up their kettle. Spoiler: they won’t. Not reliably. The possibility of your kettle exploding is the fun. And the best part: when it does explode you have no one to blame but yourself.

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The Mind

This is probably our shortest review ever. At least I can’t think of a game that would have an even shorter one. The Mind is one of Wolfgang Warsch’s games nominated in the Spiel des Jahres awards this year (the others being Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg and Ganz Schön Clever, both nominated for Kennerspiel). I hope you’ll enjoy our very brief video review!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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