Review – Smash Up

When you’re sitting down to watch The Walking Dead or some other zombie movie, what’s the first thing that goes through your mind?

No, not “ohhh, ain’t Darryl hot?”

The first thing that goes through my mind is that this show could use a dinosaur or a space alien.

Or maybe a Dumbledore.

For those of us with a similar mindset, Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has us covered, with the hit game (with an ever expanding list of expansions) Smash Up.

Smash Up Box
They all look unhappy with each other.

Designed by Paul Peterson, with artwork by Dave Allsop, Bruno Balixa, Conceptopolis, and Francisco Rico Torres, this 2012 game lets you “smash up” (Ha! I see what you did there) two classic factions into a deck of cards that you will use to stomp your opponents.

The game plays 2-4 players.

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Review – New York Slice

Do you see a pizza dripping with cheese and toppings and start to salivate?

Of course you do.

(I believe that pizza-haters are a myth propagated by Big Diet)

So what game could be more perfect for a lunch-time gaming session than New York Slice?

New York Slice
You can buy the game in 30 minutes or it’s free (Note: this has not been endorsed by Bezier Games)

New York Slice is a game designed by Jeffrey D. Allers with art by Stephanie Gustafsson and John Kaufmann, published in 2017 by Bezier Games.

The game plays 2-6 players.

The game is one of those “I split, you choose” games which I didn’t realize was a thing until I saw this one (though I know that it’s also been used before).

So how does it work?

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Review: Tyrants of the Underdark

I’ve read a bunch of R.A. Salvatore’s “Drizzt Do’Urden” books set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting.

I think I’ve read 40, but there are probably 40 more (editor’s note: That’s probably an exaggeration) and I’ve always enjoyed the world-building Salvatore has done with the series, almost even more than the characters.

Drizzt is a Drow (Dark Elf), a former denizen of the underworld that’s fittingly called “The Underdark.” He’s an outcast from Drow society because it is pretty much a cesspool of evil scheming and betrayal and they worship the evil spider-goddess Lolth.

Since Drizzt has his own game, why not play a game where you get to be a conniving betrayer who’s looking out for your family’s interest and trying to bring down the other noble houses among the Drow?

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Now you can, with Tyrants of the Underdark (2016), the deck-building area control game designed by Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, Andrew Veen with art by apparently nobody (I think it just spontaneously appeared on the cards in some miraculous event that should probably be canonized) and published by Gale Force 9 and Wizards of the Coast.

(Literally, the art credit on Boardgame Geek is “N/A”)

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Review – Valley of the Kings: Last Rites

In Ancient Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs where whoever died and built the best pyramid was seen to be the most dope ruler in all the land, sometimes it wasn’t just what was buried with you that made the difference.

Sometimes it was who you were buried with.

And these people didn’t have to be dead ahead of you either.

(I’ll stop and let you think about that for a moment)

It’s definitely not something you want to think too hard about when you’re playing the latest version of Tom Cleaver’s Valley of the Kings.

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Valley of the Kings: Last Rites is the second standalone expansion for this wonderful deck-building series. When I say standalone, I mean it too.

While there are rules for mixing and matching the cards in the various expansions, I really have no interest in doing that. I like to play each set individually.

As noted above, Valley of the Kings: Last Rites is designed by Tom Cleaver with art by Banu Andaru and published in 2016 by AEG Games.

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Review – Iron Curtain

The Cold War has always been an interesting topic for me. As a child of the 70s and 80s, I grew up during the height of it, when TV-movies like The Day After and World War III (damn, David Soul could act) made us wonder if nuclear annihilation was going to be coming soon.

(Of course, we didn’t have any incidents that literally made us as close to nuclear war as the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 60s, but that didn’t stop the fear)

Many games have been made simulating the Cold War and various aspects of it, most notably the GMT Games favourite Twilight Struggle. That game was the first time I knew of a card-driven game where cards had faction-specific events, and if you played your opponent’s event card, they chose whether to implement the event or not.

So when I heard that Jolly Roger Games and Ultra Pro were coming out with a quick 20-minute Cold War game called Iron Curtain, and that they were offering review copies in exchange for honest reviews, I knew I had to jump on it.

I’m glad I did.

Iron Curtain Box
That is a big box for a bunch of cards

Iron Curtain is a 2-player game designed by Asger Harding Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen with art by  Jessica R. Eyler and David Prieto.

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Century – Golem Edition (Century review appendix)

Earlier today, I posted a review of Century: Spice Road, the 2017 spice-converting card game by Plan B Games.

A new version of this game has just come out in the past couple of months, called Century: Golem Edition, with art by Justin Chan and Chris Quilliams.

The gameplay is exactly the same between the two games. The only differences are in the aesthetics and the artwork.

Century - Golem cards
Crystals instead of spices. Who would’ve thunk?

In Century: Golem Edition, instead of being medieval spice traders collecting spices to fulfill contracts, you are instead collecting and transforming crystals in order to power golems.

Century - Golems
Cute golems!

Instead of wooden cubes, you have nice plastic crystals instead.

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Everything else is the same!

So which version should you get?

Personally, I love the look and feel of the Golem edition. The nice plastic crystals definitely feel better (and are easier to handle) than the small wooden cubes. The artwork is adorable too.

That being said, there are supposedly going to be more games in the “Century” line. I’m not sure what those games are going to be or whether they are going to have similar artwork.

It has been said that there will not be Golem version of those games, so your components may not be aligned when you get future games.

That may not make a difference. It may make a difference but you don’t care.

Either way, if that concerns you, you should definitely get the original version. It’s also not really worth upgrading if you already have the first game (unless you are a loving collector of art and must have the best artwork).

But if you have a choice, I would definitely suggest the Golem version of the game.

What are your thoughts?

 

Review – Century: Spice Road

Have you ever dreamed of being a trader in the medieval world, trading one type of cube spice for another type, fulfilling contracts by turning in certain types of cubes spices?

Of course you have! Who hasn’t?

(Pipe down, you in the back. You know you’re lying)

With the 2017 game Century: Spice Road you can do that!

Century: Spice Road box
Beautiful box cover!

Century: Spice Road is a 2017 game designed by Emerson Matsuuchi, with art by David Richards and Fernanda Suárez and published by Plan B Games. There’s also Century: Golem Edition that plays the same and has the same designer and publisher, but with art by Justin Chan and Chris Quilliums.

I’m just reviewing the game itself, though I will comment on the component differences in another post.

This review was written after 4 plays.

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