Bunny Kingdom

In the Year of our Hare 1492 Bunstoph Columbun, an acute listener even among bunnies, heard sounds of life from the other side of the Atbuntic Ocean. A New World thus discovered, the rush for colonizing it began. Up to four Rabbit Lords go to make this new world theirs in the name of the great Bunny King. The most successful of them will earn the coveted title of Big Ears plus all the golden carrots their ships can carry.

Bunny Kingdom is a card drafting and area control game by the illustrious Richard Garfield, inventor of such things as Magic: The Gathering and Robo Rally. This new game has a deceptively cute theme and design, but don’t let that fool you. The contest for the new world is fought with all the cunning a bunny can muster.

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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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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.

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Kingdomino

Kingdomino

Bruno Cathala is one of those game designers who aren’t married to one genre or one game mechanic they keep coming back to. Games with his name on the box include Shadows over Camelot, Cyclades, 7 Wonders: Duel and many more. The only thing they really have in common is that they are great games. That list is now joined by Kingdomino, a kingdom building game using Dominoes-like tiles. It’s a light family game and has nothing in common with any of Bruno’s other games, mechanically speaking. It is nominated for the Spiel des Jahres 2017, usually a good indicator for a great game.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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