Review – 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

The early 1960s were a different time. The chaos in American society over the war in Vietnam hadn’t really started yet. Protests and radicalism weren’t prominent like they became later in the decade.

The Cold War, however, was definitely a thing and it was alternately warm and cold as both superpowers (the United States and the Soviet Union) bounced from incident to incident, with things heating up and then cooling down as time went on.

Check out Clio’s excellent “The Cold War in Board Games” for an overview of how it’s been portrayed in our hobby.

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One of the games Clio looks at, and one that I’ve recently played enough to actually review, is 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis. The Cuban Missile Crisis was an event that almost did send the world into nuclear war as the Soviet Union stationed intermediate range missiles in Cuba. This was something that the United States couldn’t stand for and they blockaded the small island nation off the US coast.

There was a lot of saber-rattling and finally the Soviets backed down (with some concessions on the US side as well).

This game, designed by Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pedersen with art by Jacob Walker, came out in 2016 by publisher Jolly Roger Games and Ultra Pro.

In it, you and your opponent play the US and the Soviet Union facing off during the crisis, trying to attain a prestige victory.

How does it play?

Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “Review – 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis”

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Review – Architects of the West Kingdom

History is my bag.

I was “hist” online for a long time before I realized that I would never be found by search engines with that title. Hence, “whovian223” was born (ok, not much better, but at least it’s findable!)

Western European history is even more my area of interest, so how could I turn down a chance to own Architects of the West Kingdom which takes place in France in 850 AD?

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It helps that it’s designed by the brilliant (if I do say so myself) Shem Philips and S J MacDonald, with art by the incomparable The Mico. It’s published by Garphill Games and Renegade Game Studios, it came out in 2018 for 1-5 players.

It also hit #4 on my top games played of all time list. Pretty good for a 2018 game, eh?

What is the point? (Editor – what are you, a philosophy major?)

I mean what are you trying to do?

In Architects of the West Kingdom, you are…well, architects (I want a game where the architects are actually the enemy that you’re fighting) who are trying to impress the king of the Carolingean Empire by building awesome buildings as well as contributing to the construction of the Cathedral in the city. You are competing for raw materials, constructing your buildings, and maybe getting in the way of your opposing architects by turning their workers into the cops!

You can lead the virtuous path or you can be a scumbag and deal a lot with the black market to get your stuff and apprentices (or even rob the tax stand!)

How does it work?

Let’s take a look.

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App Review – Tides of Time

There’s something to be said for seeing ages and ages of the world and society appear and disappear in the span of, oh, say, five minutes.

What’s that you say? How is that possible?

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In a surprise announcement two weeks ago, Portal Games let everybody know that their 2-player card game from 2015, Tides of Time, would be coming out on iOS and Android last week.

Sure enough, it showed up on Friday and I quickly downloaded it and took it for a spin.

The quick-playing card game designed by Kristian Čurla with art by Tomasz Jedruszek, Chris Ostrowski, Dan Pellow, Blake Rottinger, Artur Sadlos and Rafał Szyma was published by Portal Games (hey, I think I’ve heard of them!).

How does it play?

Let’s take a look.

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App Review – Mystic Vale

This year has been a big year for digital boardgames already, just two months in.

(Editor – Not that you would have heard about it reading this blog)

One game that’s sort of left over from last year, but just had the first expansion quietly slip onto Steam to join its base game, is Mystic Vale by Alderac Entertainment Group.

The game, designed by John D. Clair with art by…well, a lot of people (all right, I’ll list them: Ralf Berszuck, Storn Cook, Andrew Gaia, Katherine Guevara, Heather Kreiter, Kiri Østergaard Leonard, Matt Paquette, Kiki Moch Rizky and Martin de Diego Sádaba) was developed for Steam by Nomad Games, developers of the awesome Talisman and Cat Lady app.

Mystic Vale - StartCurrently, the game is only available on Steam but iOS/Android is planned in the future. The first expansion, Vale of Magic just released to little fanfare, which is too bad because it adds some good cards.

But this is a review of the base app, and it’s a great one.

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Expansion Review – Oops, You Did It Again

What other game other than Smash Up would allow you to see what would happen if such varied things such as Cowboys, Monsters, and Teddy Bears got into a big fight?

I think that’s one of the things I love about the game, even if sometimes the factions don’t go together that well.

While Smash Up did not quite make my Top 25 Games Played of All Time list, it was quite close (#27) and I’d have to say that I’ve played it the most out of any game that’s not a quick dice-rolling game.

And had a blast with it as well.

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The Oops, You Did It Again expansion (the latest, and yay I got this review in under the shadow of the impending next release!) is a great new addition to the franchise.

Alderac Entertainment Group opened the door again to letting fans vote on which factions would be included in this expansion, and let’s just say the fans went a bit nuts. But that obviously inspired designer Paul Peterson and the rest of the AEG group who work on the factions because they took what the fans wanted and turned in some brilliant work.

Let’s see how things go.

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Review – Mephisto

Are you somebody who would like to make a deal with a very scary demon in order to gain the ultimate power in the universe?

If you are, please forget that you know me.

However, if you would like to pretend that you are one of those people, have I got the game for you.

Quick 2-player card games are becoming quite interesting to me because I have co-workers who love to play games at lunch.

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Mephisto, designed by Dylan Mangini with art by him as well, meets that need to a tee. Not only is it a quick 2-player card game, but it’s actually a good one as well.

That always helps.

In Mephisto, you and your opponent have made a deal with…well…Mephisto to gain ultimate power.

But you can’t both get that kind of power, can you?

Hence the struggle for supremacy and to please Mephisto by giving him monster souls.

Mephisto will be coming to Kickstarter on January 15, 2019.

Dylan graciously sent me a copy of the game. While the artwork is final, the card quality is still not finalized and may be upgraded based on stretch goals, so I won’t be commenting on that aspect of the game.

Let’s see how it plays. 

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Review – DC Comics Deck-building Game

When I was growing up, I was a DC Comics fanboy. Sure, I followed some of the Marvel stuff too, but DC Comics was where it was at. I got my start with the 1980 version of Teen Titans written by Marv Wolfman with art by George Perez.

That series was phenomenal and I quickly jumped to many of the other DC heroes (though surprisingly I was never a big fan of Superman).

While I don’t follow comics much anymore, and I became much more of a Marvel guy as time wore on, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for DC.

Why am I telling you my comics history?

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Because today we’re going to be looking at the DC Comics Deck-Building Game, published by Cryptozoic Games. The game is designed by Matt Hyra and Ben Stoll, and there is no artist listed on Boardgame Geek. It plays 2-5 players.

I’m only reviewing the base game, which came out in 2012, though there are a ton of expansions for it.

Should you try it out?

Let’s check and see.

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