First Impressions – Custom Heroes

“Crafting” cards is becoming a new fad in boardgaming, though I think it’s mainly AEG who are doing it.

Games like Mystic Vale, where you can gain cards and then improve them, are starting to become more prominent.

Last night, I got the chance to try one of the latest card-crafting games, Custom Heroes. The game is designed by John D. Clair with art by Matt Paquette and the game is published by AEG.


This is more like a normal trick-taking game than most others in the same genre, in that you are playing cards to the table and trying to “win” the pile (not quite a trick, but I’ll explain), all the while buffing up cards with improvements that will change how they act.

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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.


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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Sony Pictures looking to get wood for sheep in upcoming Catan movie

(yes, sorry, I went there even though it’s an old joke)

Movies based on video games have been coming out a lot over the last few years, even though most of them bomb.

But a movie based on a board game? How does that work?

Catan - the Movie
Hopefully it’s full of wooden buildings!

Sony is looking to find out as they negotiate for the rights for Catan: the Movie, based on the 1995 hit boardgame designed by Klaus Teuber. This is the game that many non-gamers are familiar with, at least as far as the name goes.

So it kind of makes sense that if you have to choose a boardgame for a movie to appeal to more than just gamers, Catan would be the first one you look at.

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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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Human Nature and Gaming – The Power of Sales

There’s something about human nature, beyond just in board gaming but also for life in general, that makes us perk up when we hear about a good sale on something.

“70% off!” a web site may proclaim, and we all kind of stand to attention.

Even if it’s something that we don’t really care about.

We often still feel that urge to jump on it.

100% Flax cookies are 90% off? I know they taste like sawdust, but c’mon. 90% OFF!!!!!!!

I think board games are a special category of this, however, because while all of us are gamers, we don’t all like the same games.

What’s worth full price to you may not even be worth 50% of full price to me.

Yet I hear 50% off and my first thought is to consider it.

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Smash Up Arrives on Digital – Extremely First Impressions

I’ve become a fan of the Smash Up card game, where you combine two different factions (Zombie Dinosaurs!!!!) into a deck of cards and try to reach 15 victory points by “breaking” bases before anybody else does.

You do this by playing minions there that have a certain amount of power, along with actions that can increase/decrease that power or let you play additional minions or do a lot of other wacky stuff that I’m not going to get into right now.

What I am going to get into is the fact that this game has finally come out for mobile devices!

Developed by Nomad Games and released by Asmodee Digital, this digital version of the game has nine factions (Dinosaurs, Pirates, Geeks, Zombies, Wizards, Robots, Ninjas, Tricksters and Aliens) to use, with more coming in the expansions I’m sure.

It’s so cool that this is finally available!

Smash Up splash page
All the usual stuff on the splash screen

Isn’t it?

Well…..yes and no.

Let me explain.

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New to Me – September 2017

September was a good month for “new to me” games. It was a good month for gaming in general, but the new ones I got to play were a nice mix of old and new.

Which illustrates exactly the point of my “new to me” post!

So why not get right into the goodness?

Tobago (2009 – Zoch Zum Spielen) – 1 play


This is a fun exploration/treasure-hunting game that I had never heard of.

The island that you are on is made up of modular tiles that are randomly placed and nobody knows where the treasures are. Each treasure starts with a clue card in play that narrows down where that treasure is (e.g: “not in a forest” or “next to a river hex”).

Tobago - Board
The randomly created island

On your turn, in addition to moving around the island collecting stuff, you play a card to one of the treasures that will narrow down its location even further. You then will be getting a “share” of that treasure when it’s finally discovered.

It’s a neat mechanism, where you have to decide whether you want to help an opponent find a treasure because at least you’ll be getting some of it if you place a card down.

It’s also played in under an hour, which is a plus!

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