Friday, January 12, 2018

Monster Highway

In brief
Wow!  We love this game.

AJ's full review
The game creators had this game on display at a board/video game convention, and they were very nice when they taught us the game. They've been to multiple other conventions, including PAX Unplugged.

The premise is simple: four cars build a path to their separate bunkers, then drive on that path, all while the monster chases you down. You roll two dice. If you roll a Road, you can build a tile of road. On Car, you can move ahead. On Monster, the monster moves at random. Rolling the dreaded Monster-Monster lets you move the monster anywhere. This makes Monster Highway the Mario Kart of board games.

Highly recommended for people who have fun with competition.

Rating: 10/10!

Shay's full review
We have played this game with the game's creators at several gaming conventions and have loved it every time.  Each time, the game was different and was as much fun as the first times we played it.

Players are trying to escape nuclear fallout by driving their car to their home base.  While you are trying to escape by building roads, you also have to avoid the irradiated monster and actions played by opponents.

Replay value is very high, based on our plays.  There is just the right combination of randomness from card drawing and rolls combined with offensive and defensive strategy to keep you coming back to play this again and again.

Rating: 9/10

The Kickstarter for this begins on January 15.  You can find more information at Monster Highway on BoardGameGeek.

Photos courtesy of One Day West.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle

In brief

This is one of our favorite games.  We like the cooperative format, deck building, and the Harry Potter theme.  Absolutely recommended.

AJ's full review

This is one of our favorite games. We were recommended the game by Tim at Games on Tape (thanks to him and his podcast) and we liked the idea up until he said that you face [NAME REMOVED] as a boss. I asked how that was possible and he answered that the game is a progressive deck-builder. This combined with the fact that it's co-op, and we went to Cloud City to pick it up.

Now, for those of you who aren't nerds (about 44.58427% of you), I'll explain the three terms that I just brought up. Co-op: This simply means that either everyone wins... or nobody does. Deck-builder: You start with a small deck of 10 - 12 cards, but the deck becomes stronger as you play. Progressive: This means that you play on, when you win one game, the next becomes playable, on and on until you face [NAME REMOVED].

You also get to play the books. The first game, you play Sorcerer's Stone and face Crabbe, Goyle, Draco, and Professor Quirrell. When you finish, you can open Book 2 and face [NAMES REMOVED]. You win if you defeat all the bad guys. You lose if enough cards are drawn.

There's not much to say that Shay won't. This game is great. There's just one thing.....  Quirrell is in Book 2!

Rating: 9. Out of 5!

Shay's full review

I had heard some not-so-great reviews about this game, so I was hesitant to buy it, but WOW!  We love this game.

It is a cooperative deck building game, which combines two of my favorite things with my great love of anything Harry Potter.  As with any deck building game, you start with very basic cards and you add to your deck in order to have better cards available each time you shuffle.

The differences in this game are what makes it great.  First, it is cooperative.  The players are working together to defeat the villains.  Second, the game is divided into years.  Each time you complete a year, you open a box inside the game and you get new cards and features to add to the game.  They correspond with what happened in each Harry Potter book.

Also, each player chooses a character to start and each of those characters has their own unique abilities.  I started out playing as Hermoine, but my favorite character from the books, Neville Longbottom, has a great ability that I just can't pass up.

This game works fine if you are going to play with people who aren't familiar with the Harry Potter series.  You might have some trouble with the spell pronunciations, but just consider that part of the fun.

Rating: 10 

You can find more information on BoardGameGeek and Amazon.

Photos courtesy of USAopoly.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Utopia Engine

In brief
Utopia Engine is a great solo game that has a lot of replay value.  We also love that it is free and easy to take along when we go out.

Shay's full review

I was looking around at print & play games on BoardGameGeek when I found this game.  It seemed a little daunting to have a 12-page rulebook for a paper and pencil game, but I was intrigued.  The instructions are written very clearly and are easy to follow.  After two games, I put them aside and was good with just the adventure pages.

The story of the game is that you are trying to construct a device, the Utopia Engine, to stop doomsday.  First, you have to find the parts in six areas and then you must assemble them before the world ends.  You use two dice, a pencil, and some basic math to find and assemble the parts.

I love a good solitaire game, especially if it includes dice, and this game does not disappoint.  I made a laminated copy and we have it with some other favorite print & plays to break out when we are looking for some quick fun.

Rating: 8

You can find the download and more information on BoardGameGeek

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sushi Go Party!

In brief
We both think that Sushi Go Party! is a great update of a really good game. Definitely recommended. 

AJ's full review
We're kicking this blog off with games at PAX Unplugged. We got 3-day badges and scored all the booths, so we're not gonna miss anything.

So, Gamewright. The family favorite in our house. In fact, we play their games so much that I won the Sushi Go! Tournament at the World Boardgame Championships in July.

Speaking of Sushi Go!, our first review is going to be Sushi Go Party!

First of all, there are dividers in the box, which is a plus. Sushi Go Party! is an enhanced version of Sushi Go!, where you BUILD YOUR OWN DRAFT DECK!  The cards are split into four sets: Appetizers, Rolls, Specials, and Desserts. You take a couple of each and shuffle them together to make your draft deck. Tiles of the cards are put around a SCORING SYSTEM! That, alone, would be an amazing game. But it gets better.

First, there are recommended decks, from the original cards to a two-player layout. Now for the individual cards: Temaki is like a mini-pudding -it's worth 4 points if you have the most, and -4 points if you have the least. It's not TOO bad... Tofu is a great idea. If you get 1, that's 2 points. 2 is worth 6 points. 3 is worth... NOTHING! Green Tea Ice Cream is a Dessert, so it scores at the end. For every 4 you own, you get 12 points.

The only problem I have found is that the lid is unstable, so if the lid pops while the box is on its side, well, you can imagine what happens.

Rating: 7/10

Shay's full review
Sushi Go! is a favorite in our family, so we were excited to find Sushi Go Party! at PAX. The basic idea, which is the same in both versions, is that you are drafting cards in order to make sets. Each player drafts one card from the hand they are dealt, then passes what is remaining to the next player. You do this until you draft the last card, then you tally up the points from your sets.

The Party version adds a scoring system, which is great, and some new varieties food to add more strategy to the game. This version also plays up to 8 players. We haven't played with that many, but that would definitely add a twist to the drafting because you would be far less likely to get the cards you need if you don't draft them immediately.

With the added cards in this game, you also create a menu (there are suggestions in the manual), so each game can be completely different by changing which items you include.

Initially, I wasn't going to buy this because we already had the original Sushi Go! game in our collection, but it was definitely worth the investment. We will also be keeping the original game to take with us when we are on the go because it is so much more portable.

Rating: 8/10

You can find more information on BoardGameGeek and Amazon.