Review – The Lost Expedition

“There, I believed, lay the greatest secrets of the past yet preserved in our world of today. I had come to the turn of the road; and for better or worse I chose the forest path..”
― Percy Fawcett

The Story

lost

Legendary explorer Percy Fawcett marched deep into the Amazon in search of El Dorado. He was never seen again. Your team has gone in search of him, but now you hope to escape the jungle with the greatest treasure of all: your life.

Gameplay

You will choose three adventures (Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the co1aunting shall be three) and take health for each character (you always play with three explorers no matter how many people are playing). Each round has two stages: Morning and Evening. Cards are drawn and placed in a row to show which adversities, challenges and confrontations you have to overcome. Sometimes there are good things that can happen, but not very often.

You try to place the cards in such a way that you have enough health and supplies left by the end of the round to make it through another day. You do this by using your health, bullets or food, depending on what the requirement is on the card.

Some cards have rewards for completing them.  Some have choices on them regarding the way you would like to complete the card. Other cards will require you to resolve multiple things.These are represented by different colors on the cards; yellow is to be resolved first, red is second and blue is last.The goal is to make it with at least one character alive when you reach El Dorado.

Components

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If there is one thing i can bank on from an Osprey game, it’s quality components. The chits are a good size, the cards are high quality, and the art by Garen Ewing gives me that retro comic vibe. Also, basing all of the explorers off of famous people was a nice touch. Teddy was mandatory for all my adventures.

Conclusion

This game is very difficult, and I mean that in a good way. I feel it really shines as a solo game with the ability to look ahead and try to map out your moves by yourself (I felt the same way about Fuse). Due to the amount of cards the replay ability is very high on this game. I felt like every adventure was a totally different experience and had to be managed in the moment.

 

 

Kickstarter Review – Bushido Breaker

“Ninjas don’t wish upon a star, they throw them.”
― Jarius Raphel

The Story

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It is the Sengoku period, an era of great unrest within the gravely compromised empire of feudal Japan. Your emperor is nothing but a figurehead while the shogun holds the true power. There are many men who desire to hold the title of shogun and then there is you…

Bushido Breaker is a hidden movement card game of deduction & calculated risks, themed as ninja vs. samurai, that is 2-4 players.

 

Gameplay

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Bushido breakers is a card based two player deduction game. One person plays the role of the ninja trying to kill the shogun while the other player plays as the samurai who protects him. You will each start out with a specific set of cards and one special card. Some of the cards are one time use and some are not. The ninja begins by selecting a starting location and marking it on his hidden sheet. He then plays a card face down and marks down on a hidden sheet his action and location (example entrance 1/kunai). The samurai player then selects one samurai and performs and plays a card for that samurai to perform. If for example the samurai had played the katana with the samurai in entrance 1, he would kill the ninja because the katana defeats the kunai weapon. Play continues until:

Ninja kills all the samurai

Ninja Sabotages all the alarms and moves to the shogun’s chamber

Samurai kills the ninja

Samurai notices the ninja twice (while hiding)

 

 
Conclusion

I am really impressed by this game. It’s seems like a simple hidden deduction game and when you play as the samurai you’re thinking “I have five of them, how hard can this be?” The answer is very hard. After an alarm goes out or you lose a couple samurai panic starts to set in. And from the ninja perspective it is satisfying to watch the confidence fade from the player who is trying to stop you. A couple of times the phrase “WHERE ARE YOU!” was murmured under people’s breath.  There is also a good variance of special cards which, if played correctly, can really turn the tide in your favor. There were a couple times I though I had the perfect special card, only to watch my opponent later play the perfect counter to my special card thus rendering it useless. Also the art is subtle and fits perfectly with the theme. The kickstarter for Bushido Breaker runs from July 11th to August 15th and can be found here.

Review – The King Is Dead

 “Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross.”
― Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur

The Story

king

The King Is Dead is a board game of politics and power struggles set in Britain in the chaotic period following the death of King Arthur. For the good of the country, a leader must unite the Scots, Welsh, and Romano-British — not by conquest but by diplomacy.

Players are members of King Arthur’s court. Whether a loyal knight, a scheming lord, or an ambitious noblewoman, you all have one thing in common: power. As prospective leaders, each player uses their power to benefit the factions, gaining influence among their ranks. The player with the greatest influence over the most powerful faction is crowned the new ruler of Britain.

Gameplay

There are eight regions on the board representing the game’s eight factions, and each region begins with a number of color coded cubes on it, some random and some not. The cubes represent members of the various factions battling for control of the regions, and ultimately Britain. Each turn players must settle each region by playing (or not playing) cards from their hand. Each player starts with the same eight cards, and these are the only cards a player will have during the game. The cards command various actions such as adding faction members, switching factions members between regions or even changing the order in which power struggles are resolved in a region. The twist is that, after playing a card, you must remove a cube from any region on the board. The cube removed is added to your collection, and this is how you keep track of your influence with each faction. But be careful to remember that you only have 8 cards for the whole game. At the end of the game you see which faction has won the most regions, and then look to see who has the most influence (number of cubes) within that faction. The player with the most influence wins.

Components

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Right off the bat I have to say that the inside of the box is a nice touch. I know it seems like a simple thing but it’s a nice touch. I love the board for it’s old world map look, however the regions of Deav & Ratae should not both be on the green color spectrum. It caused confusion for one player who did not initially note the difference in shades of green, and thought that the region of Ratae  directly connected to Aquae Sulis.

Conclusion

I love the concept of this game, but I wish there was more urgency to play your cards to settle the initial regions. I felt like I could wait till 4-5 regions were settled and then decide which cards to play based on what was left. I think if you’re a fan of area control games you will like this one as it’s a nice twist on the genre. That you have to take a cube after playing a card to gain the influence of that faction, therefore weakening the position of that faction on the board is a great idea. I have also created a variant ruleset should you be so inclined to try it out.

An interview with designer Alex Berry

 

alex

If you asked me what my favorite release was last year i will quickly tell you High Treason. This game is just the perfect balance of back and forth struggle for a two player game. Recently i had the opportunity to talk to Alex Berry about it.

This is one of the most unique themes I have come across in a game. How was it chosen?

I thought of doing a trial game with the key mechanic of jury selection. Having a 12 person jury would be too onerous for gameplay mechanics, so I wanted to pick a jury trial that had less than 12. Louis Riel’s seemed to fit the bill the best.

How long did it take to gather all the information and fact check each of the character cards?

cardI had been working on the design since 2012. I read through the entire trial transcripts to determine the cards. Other secondary research occurred. finding the photos was the hardest and there was a lot of help from various sources.

Was there a mechanic you really wanted in the game but just could not get to work out?

Not really, I’m very satisfied with how the game turned out. I’ve other mechanics for other games.

I have watched several of your videos. I really enjoyed your “Top 5 Underrated Games” segment. What would be your #1 game from 2016 in that category?

I can’t pick my own, lol, I’d say Forged in Steel. It also does unique things with the CDG mechanic. A lot of strict Euro players don’t like it and it has taken some heat, but it is really a brilliant game that underwent a lot of playtesting (I know ’cause I was a playtester on it) and that forged a great game.

Do you have any other games in the works?

Yes, I’m currently working on 3 different games, all in various stages of design. Furthest along is a game on the Presidential Election of 1824, a game on the Nuremberg Trials, and one on the Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson in the Senate.

Finally, what is a game that you love that we may have not heard of?

to
I’d say Tim Taylor’s To the Last Man. I’m the opposite of a Euro player, to me the mechanics need to invoke the feel of the theme and To The Last Man does that Brilliantly. I feel like I’m Falkenhayn; Yes I’m suffering terrible causalities, but I’m bleeding the enemy white at a faster attrition that I myself am taking, and that’s how I’m going to win the war. It also employs hidden information extremely well which is another favourite mechanic of mine, as you observe by the jury selection process in High Treason.

Meet the new blog, same as the old blog

“There’s Mistaken Point, Newfoundland.
There’s Moonbeam, Ontario.
There are places I’ve never been,
and always wanted to go.”
Fly – The Tragically Hip

 

Thank you for stopping in. My name is James Freeman and I am the new blogger for to die for games. Before I get into my intro, I just want to say what a great job Halden did with this blog. I’ve told him that he is welcome to come back and post on the blog any time he wants. I really enjoy reading his reviews and hope to play some games with him some day in the future.

So I thought I’d tell you all a bit about myself. I live just outside of Buffalo, NY,  but I like to think I am Canadian by osmosis. I grew up watching Mr. Dressup and the game show Definition. I watched Coaches Corner every chance I got. I love SCTV and Kids In The Hall. Every major concert I have experienced has been in Toronto (my musical idol, Elvis Costello, who I met at CFNY, the first Foo Fighters club tour, Lolapalooza 91, The Residents, Gorillaz, the list is endless).

 

Does this matter when it comes to my gaming? Probably not, but it matters to me. Not only do I get to blog about my favorite thing in the whole world, but with To Die For Games being based in Canada I get to give a little bit of entertainment back to a culture that gave me so much.

 

As a gamer I am not generally “Cult of the New” when choosing what I play,  but I promise to play and review as many games on “The Hotness” as I can reasonably get to. Between myself and those in my various play groups I have access to thousands of games both old and new, so if there is something specific you want reviewed just drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do. On my former blog (dadmostlyloses.com) I also loved to do interviews with publishers and designers, so I’m also very open to suggestions for new people to track down and speak with.

 

I truly am grateful for the opportunity to go on this journey with you, and I can’t wait to get started.

 

Le jeu se déroule.
gentlemen

Munchkin X-Men

Munchkin is a divisive game. It’s massively popular, it generates endless piles of money for Steve Jackson games yet many people in the hobby hate the game. They absolutely hate it. I am not one of those. 

The X-Men edition of the game is put out by USAopoloy under license from Steve Jackson games and Marvel. The game and its content will be familiar to most who have played any version of Munchkin but lets take a deeper look. 


Gameplay

The basic play is the same for any version of munchkin. Kick open a door by drawing a door card. Fight the baddie and gain levels and/or loot. The first player to get their student of the Xavier school to level 10 of the education is the winner. 

The baddies in the game will be familiar to most comic book fans as will the Allies that the students can pick up along the way.  Players can also improve their students powers by playing student powers which get stronger as the student gets to higher and higher levels. 

One unique feature of this munchkin game is the character cards. Each student character has unique abilities that can be used throughout the game unlike regular munchkin where everyone is exactly the same at the beginning of the game this gives a little variety. 

Components

The artwork throughout the game is really good. It’s bright, colourful and features all the characters that one would want in an x-men game. 

The cards and player cards aren’t thick linen finished cards but that isn’t what anyone is looking for from a munchkin set. The cards are perfectly serviceable. 

Conclusion

The gameplay will be instantly recognisable to anyone that has played munchkin but I think it brings enough new to the table to be interesting. I don’t think this game will convert any haters but I enjoyed it and think it’s an excellent addition to the family. 

Thanks for reading

I have been struggling to keep pace with getting enough plays to give thoughtful reviews and managing the life of a father of 3 busy kids. Unfortunately something had to give and it’s writing for this blog. I have really enjoyed creating the content I have here and i hope you continue to follow the rest of the To Die For crew on YouTube, Twitch, and twitter. 

I will be posting one last review tomorrow and then I will take my leave. 

Thanks for reading my thoughts. 
Halden