Review – Hanamikoji

(Editor’s Note: Apparently there is conflicting information about whether Hanamikoji was a capital at any point. I took my description below directly from the BGG site for the game, but other information seems to contradict that.)

Like any honest businessperson, we would all want to attract as many customers as we could to our shop.

In Japan in the olden days, in the old capital of Hanamikoji (why do I keep forgetting the “j” in that name?), there was a Geisha street where geisha plied their trade. They were graceful women who had mastered the art of dance, art, music, and various performances. It was very prestigious to attract the most talented geisha to your establishment to entertain your clients.

Thus, of course, competition for their favours was born.

So hey, let’s make a game out of that!

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In Hanamikoji, two players vie for the favour of seven Geisha Masters.

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Review – Azul

Don’t we all need a little colour in our lives? Something to make things brighter, lift our spirits?

Did you ever want to lay tile without having to get all of that adhesive ready first?

Azul is the game for you, then!

Azul 2
Excuse the finger. It was glued to the lens with tile adhesive

Azul is an 2-4 player abstract tile-laying game designed by Michael Kiesling with art by Philippe GuĂ©rin and Chris Quilliams. It’s published by Plan B Games in North America.

Yes, there is a supposed theme for the game (“Azulejos” were originally white and blue ceramic tiles that the Portuguese king fell in love them with and wanted his palace to be decorated with them, with the players being tile laying artists who are competing to get the job), but let’s face it: it’s an abstract game.

As somebody who doesn’t really do abstract games, what do I think?

Let’s take a look.

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App Review – Lotus

Sometimes you just need a little tranquility in your life. Your day at work was terrible. The kids are getting on your nerves.

Zombies are rampaging down the street.

You know, a typical Monday.

On days like that, you need a game that’s peaceful, that will contribute to your inner Zen.

On those days, you’ll pick up your mobile device and open the Lotus app.

(Hopefully you downloaded it before the Zombie Apocalypse cut all the power)

Lotus
It’s peaceful right from the beginning!

Lotus is a beautiful 2-4 player card game published by Renegade Games. The app is published by Renegade and Dire Wolf Studios.

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App Review – Patchwork

Patchwork is a game of grid-management, putting puzzle pieces into your grid in a much more efficient way than your opponent.

That’s basically what it breaks down to.

Since I am not the most spatially aware person around (I once tried to push a 5-inch object through a 1-inch hole), I don’t really care for these games.

In fact, when I played Patchwork on the table for the first (and only) time, I really didn’t like it.

When Digidiced put out an app for it, even though I’m a fan of their work, I had no interest in picking it up.

Then the other residents of the wonderful Stately Play web site forums decided to do a decathlon of various mobile games, and Patchwork was chosen as one of them. I told myself  “fine, I’ll learn the game just to participate.”

Lo and behold, I ended up loving the game.

Patchwork End
Somebody went to the remnant sale!

How can you not like a game where you make ugly quilts?

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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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