You built and defended your kingdom, and now that Winter is here, you need to battle the harsh elements and chillingly scary monsters.
Dwar7s Winter is a hand-building, worker placement, resource management game with tower defense elements in the gameplay. Each player wants to achieve the most victory points, but the only way to survive the winter is to work together.
While Dwar7s Winter is the sequel to Dwar7s Fall, it is an independent, standalone game that includes 36 highly-detailed miniatures.
It’s time for you to grab your golf clubs, put on your space shoes, and swing on over to the next rocket ship launch to Mars. Let’s have a round of golf on Mars Open
1-4 Players – Age 8+ – 1-4 Players
Game By Dennis Hoyle – Published by Bellwether Games – Illustrated by Harris Fagotto
In this out of this world dexterity game, we are golfers on Mars. Just like real golf, the goal is to take your golf ball and move it from the starting area of the course into the hole. Each player will need to keep track of their score, the number of stokes it takes to take the ball to the hole. You want to do is to have the least amount of stokes to get your ball in to the hole. The player with the lowest cumulative score after nine holes is declared the winner.
There are a total of 27 courses you can play on, each with amount of difficulty for beginners and advance player. Each provided course has a specific layout that you’ll put obstacle on the table. There are a few mountains, and even the boxes themselves are used.
Your Martian golf balls are these folded cards. Their futuristic shape gives them the ability to remain stable on the playing surface area and allows the player to perform a number of trick shots. To do a stroke, you can simple flick it with your finger. You’re allowed to rotate your golf ball so you can flick it in a different angle. If your ball falls off the table then it’s “out of bounds” and a stroke penalty will be added to your score.
While the game has a good number of courses for you to explore, you are also encourage to make your own courses.
Mars is open
So what I like about Mars Open is it’s really your game, and very open to use your creative side. The game provided some interesting examples of courses already, but it’s so much fun to just make your own setup. You can make courses that span many tables, or stack up boxes and books to make a mountain. I like to use book so you have to claim up to get your ball in the hole.
Take the whole family
Anyone can play this and I think Mars Open will be the next essential party game and family game everyone wants. It’s like having your own mini-golf course that you can have at home and a traditional game table is not needed. You can play this on a camping trip, or on the floor (which I discourage). Or bring to your next local adventurer’s pub.
Novice and Mastery
While an easy game to learn and to pick up and you can just go for it, nderstanding and learning the art of card flicking can be a whole other level. You can do trick shots, power shots, and have it curve around cardboard mountains. If you’re not into that, it’s still a game that everyone can have fun with.
I’m thoroughly impressed that Mars Open is such a fun, yet simple game to play with anyone and take anywhere. It’s endless fun right out of the box. So take the next trip to Mars Open.
Make sure the visit Bellwether Game’s project right now on Kickstarter.
The Harvest Festival is ready to begin! Take you best warriors to gather material and beware the fire breathing beast. Dragon Canyon is a resource gathering game with tactics and a bit of bluffing.
2-5 Players – Ages 10+ – 30 Mins
Published by Sharp Press Point
The goal for Dragon Canyon is to earn the most points by constructing buildings with the material you gather and to fight off your foes.
Each player starts with an identical deck of character cards. The character have the own special powers, such as fighting formidable opponents and controlling the area. The board of the game is a 4 by 4 modular set-up that changes from game to game. Two special areas of the board, the fortified town and the dragons cave have specially effects. The fortified town give a bonus on attacks and the dragon cave sends the dragon to stomp down characters preventing them from taking any resource and discarding a card from the opponent’s hand. However, the dragon can be stomped out by the Dragon Slayer.
Each turn, the current player selects a character card from their hand and places it face down on the board. Then they may flip up to either use their ability or attack. They also may simple pass to the gathering phase. Character abilities like the Primal Canine can reveal other character, preventing them to gather resources, or the Tribal Mage can move opponent’s characters to other spots on the board.
If attacking, you pick an adjacent character to reveal. Both you and your opponent roll a die and adds the result to their character’s power. Some characters are good at fighting others, so it’s good to note what you’re up against. The Ancient wood Assassin, for example, can easily win against the dragon Slayer. The defeated player sends their card to the discard pile, while the winner gains the resource from the supply for which character was defeated. If you win and you’re also the attacker you gain loot cards worth 3 points and a bonus 10 whoever collected the most.
Before going into the gather phase, a Harvest event might trigger. When there’s a line of four cards, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, the Harvest Festival is here. Each player collects the recourses their character cards are on, then all of those characters are discarded.
Then on to the gather phase, each of your character collect resources on any character that is face-down. On the note of collecting resources, each resources that is collected will go to the caravan of your player card. In this game, resources are not readily available at first, but will be at the beginning of your turn as the resources from your caravan is moved to the stockpile. So in the claim phase, you are able to spend any number of goods from your stockpile to obtain buildings. After the claim phase is over, it’s the next player’s turn until one of the building decks have been depleted. If that’s the case, then it time to trigger the end of the round and everyone gets one more turn.
Buildings increase in value with the number you have. Some buildings will make opponents discard characters from their hand when they are built. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins the game.
Let’s Build it!
The main point of Dragon Canyon is placing your guys, gathering material, and build as much as you can. The overall game has a two-part structure. First is where you place your characters to help you gather material then second you spend that material to earn building with which is your points. However, planning is important and that is because your material can’t be used immediately. What I like about that is that no one player can jump right a head and make a quick turnaround. Also building what buildings is important to whether you get the most points as possible, and to make buildings that effect you in a beneficial way.
Play or Stay
The heart of the game is playing your characters and take their powers to your advantage to get the materials you need to build. Card are placed face down and the player will decide at that time whether to do combat or to keep it so they can gather.
I believe the main decision point for each player is either attacking or gathering. Gathering, while easy enough to take the material can be barred from an aggressive player. It also helps that player who is attacking may have a shot of getting the loot card, the reward that is collected to player who wins the initiated attack. Not only that, but you can get rescores dropped from the defeated character. Going deeper to all this is that once a character is revealed, it a matter of time that another player will take the opportunity to counter it and even collect its resource.
Let’s go the Harvest Festival
I like that the board’s state is fluid and that character cards never stay too long. Triggering a Harvest Festival can work in different ways. One is characters return (but through the discard pile) but also gather your resources. The other is breaking off gathering points from your opponents. It will not only stop an opponent from gathering that spot, it will remove them from the board and make more room.
You revealed my character card!
Since players are playing cards facedown, it will lead to the question of if there’s any bluffing in the game? From my plays of the game, I believe that most of the decision are strategic ones and not something you can put something down and strike fear in the opponents. I’m never putting some down so that other players won’t go there and most of the time it will be the case of trying to gather. I also think that attacking is on the advantage from the player of initiates it since there’s points to be earned.
And the dragons
With the name Dragon Canyon, the game itself has very little to do with Dragons and there’s only one dragon in the game. In my plays, it’s not used much since is merely a way to slow down other players.
Dragon Canyon soars overs by taking resource gathering to a new level. The gameplay has surprises and keeps it’s interesting by having strategic decisions each turn. Fun for all gamers. An excellent game and has my crowdfunding recommendation award.
In this Kickstarter Preview, I have my brother Marc and my friends Jeffery, Victory, & Richard play a round of Cock Block from Kevin’s Got a Gun. This is a game about you trying to be the first rooster to score with chick in this fun and hilarious take-that game.
We all know that Zombies love eat. They will eat almost anything, including your flesh so why not throw food at your longtime rival chef and make your escape. It’s feed them, or be them. Here is my preview for Feeding Zombies.
In Feeding Zombies, as a chef, your goal is not turning in to a Zombie by making sure your rival chef get bitten first to become of the horde.
On your turn, you play food cards, throwing food on the side of your opponent. All zombies have a favorite food so they will become attracted and move closer. Zombies happened to follow each other so, when a food card is played and the front zombie moves up, zombie in the center row follow. If a zombie reaches the fourth row towards your opponent, they get bitten. In short game, all it takes is one bite to lose the game. In “petit feu” mode, each chef receives three tokens which they flip for every bite. If all of them are flipped, then it’s game over. However, they can trade these tokens for menu cards. Any empty spaces in the center row always gets replaced immediately.
Menu cards help by having a power effect. One can get rid of 2 zombies and another can put a zombie at the other end of its column. They can also be obtained by discarding the necessary food cards. The other way to get rid of zombie is taking one out with a knife, except you can only use it if a zombie is on the third row.
In addition to your typical zombies, there are two more worth mention. First are lightning zombies, that when feed both their favorite food, move to the left or to the right into an empty space. Then zombies from the center fill in column. At last is the ninja zombie. It must be fed two food cards to move. It will move even from inside a column and will move to the front of the column either to the right or to the left.
Light, Fast, Fun
Feeding Zombies is light and fast, and you’re trying to lure the zombies to your opponent. The rules are easy to teach to any one and even to younger gamers who aren’t afraid of the zombie theme. This is something you can bring out during lunch break or right between games.
What’s on the menu
As a card based game, Feeding Zombie is about the importance of playing card as to how much you can draw. I think you should always play cards to attract zombies to your opponent’s side and by doing that, playing more cards will make you able to draw more cards. It also helps if you do get a better hand of different food cards so that you can have zombie advance. You may also consider trading in for a menu cards since some of their powers are very useful.
And on a side note, the game is also playable solo. It’s very much of the same game but more a to-the-point and even a “defend the castle” sort of feel to it.
I’m quite impress on what Feeding Zombie does. It a really good two player game that bring excitement and trills to the table while being light and totally fun.
It usually beings with being lost in the woods and finding an abandon cabin. This beings with you smashing down the cabin door. The game of Monster Slaughter is where you’re the monsters going after the humans and taking a bite out of them.
2-4 Players – 45 – 60 mins – Ages 14+
Publisher: Ankama – Design: Henri Pym – Lead Artist: Edouard Guiton
In Monster Slaughter you are a wonderful family of monsters trying to kill all the human teenagers who set foot in a cabin in the middle of the woods. The goal is collect the most points by breaking down doors, taking a bite out of flesh, and to carefully predict which of the humans will die in a certain order.
There are four families in total each with a father, mother, and child. You can be the Vampires who can ability to search better than the other monsters, or the Golems who are just known for their strength. The werewolves are quick and nimble and get around the cabin faster than anyone, and finally the Zombies who just won’t stay dead. Each family member has different skills and what they do better in. The Father has more strength, the child have more actions, and the mother fall in the middle. Each player will now decide what order they think the humans will die in.
The game begins with the humans hiding in one of the rooms in the cabin, so their figures are placed off to the side for now. The players move in to the house and try to figure out where their first prey is. Each turn they move one of the family members. That chosen family member cannot act again until all have acted. They can take a peek by looking at the top card to a particular room of the cabin. They must also break down doors. This not only earns them a point but it also scares the hiding human and shuffles that room’s deck.
To find where they are, they can search around the room they are in by rolling the dice and drawing cards for each success on their dice rolls. Sometime it can be items which can hinder other monster’s attempts to attack the humans. If they do find a human, their card is revealed and their figure is placed on to that room. Now you can attack this human, but be careful, each human has their own ability to fight back and won’t go down easy. A point is rewarded for each successful hit give to the human. When a human dies, an extra point is given to the monster that defeated them, and then all players reveal they first dead human victim token. Getting it right will earn one brain token worth 3 points.
However, a human can be scared and moved to a different room which their time before death can be prolonged, giving the monster player a way to plan their kill order. When a human is no longer in a room with any monsters, they hide, removing their figure from the board and shuffling their card in room’s deck they were last seen.
After each round, when every player uses one of their monsters, an event card is drawn changing up some of the rules of the game. The game ends when all the humans are devoured or when dawn has broken after 12 turns. The player with the most points is the winner of the game.
This time you are the Monsters
What I really like about Monster Slaughter its finally turns the tables and you get to be the monsters. Not just one, but a family of three of them and each their then own unique ability. The game, to me, feels very thematic. You start lurking about the cabin and seeking out the humans. Then SMASH! The door breaks down and the scared little humans scrabble to hide away in the rooms.
The cabin in the middle of the table
The physical game itself is a spectacular center piece. It has a very large table presents and the actual game box is used as part of the board. Partitions are added as walls and they layout is designed in such a way that makes each room feel distinct. The doors are on a whole other level. These are not some top-down-put-between-wall markers. The doors rests, sandwiches itself in the walls. When you collect after you break down the door, you remove the enter door leaving a hole where it was, and it also counts as a point. This is very nice touch to the game.
I really like games where there is only a finite amount of actions available in its entirety. In the style of the game, every move matters. Each monster can only move once until all the others in your family move. That means it’s very important to plan things out and what monster you’re going to use.
Who’s our next victim?
The most challenging part is trying to line up your kill list and even getting your ultimate target. Killing the humans in your particular order will give you more points and doing damage to them will also help. It will be tricky to how you can sway the chances of your next victim. This is where the scare action comes in handy, “helping” the humans buy their time to hopefully for you to put their death later and at a more appropriate time.
I’m having a bash with this game. A box that transforms into a cabin that immerse you right in the experience and getting to be in the perspective of the monsters; Monster Slaughter is a great additional to any horror game night. It’s an excellent game and one that I’m giving my crowdfunding recommendation award to.
This next game I’m taking a closer look at has its steam engines ready for the next journey. Brass Empire, from Rock Manor Games, is seeking for crowdfunding for not only for the well-received deck-building, but also for its new expansion, New Canton.
This review will first focus on the actually base game itself and then go in to a preview on the expansion.
1-6 Player – Age 10+ – 30-60 mins
Publisher: Rock Manor Games – Designer: Mike Gnade – Lead Artist: Declan Hart
Brass Empire is a deck-building game where players start with a the same deck, buy cards with resources they make, and collect the most brass, the game’s victory points, in order to win the game. As with many other deck-builders, the starter deck follows the norm of a ten card deck and having you draw 5 cards at the end of each turn. In Brass Empire, you also begin with a reserve deck of a specific faction, which cards can be purchased from just as you would when buying cards from the market. Different faction will focus on different aspects of the game, such as gaining more resources or destroying opponent’s buildings.
There are two separate markets in which a player can buy from making a total of 12 card pool selection. The Labor Market let you gain employees that will generate resources, let you draw more cards, and you may find powerful employees that may even give you a better edge against your opponents. The Design Department is where you get buildings and units that help mine brass and attack others. When you gain cards, they will always be sent to the discard pile. So the only time you’ll see your purchased cards is when you need to shuffle your discards.
For a building to be constructed, it needs to be played from your hand face-down. Next turn, all face-down buildings are built turning face-up and stays in play until it gets destroyed. Units also stay in play until they leave. Units can’t be used when they first come out, but are able to act after that. Units serve to main purposes. First, they can mine for Brass and collects one Brass for each strength is has. Second, it can attack other units and buildings. An attacking unit will deal damage to a card’s health, which will cause it to be destroyed if it reaches zero. In this game, damage is persistent and it will carry over each turn. Damage is calculated at the same time, so other units and even some buildings can attack back. Destroying a building or a unit through combat will reward the attacker with the brass from the supply of the destroyed cards brass value.
The game will end once all the brass has been taken. The player adds all their brass points from ones they collected and for every cards that has it’s worth in brass. The winner of the game is the player with the most points.
Steampunk has been one of my favorite themes across film, literature, and video games. With the influx of steampunk going into geek culture out there, I’m starting to get picky on how anyone’s interpretation of the genre represents itself. One of the things that Brass Empire avoids is relying on Victorian era style steampunk too much (you cannot believe how this annoys me). Each of the factions is based on a different theme and part of the world like the Wild West or Japan. While the game does showcase a great amount of diversity in the art, the art itself has some caveats. Most of the art is done by one artist, Declan Hart. Not all the art is best, especially ones depicting people. However, what it certainly makes up for is the very imaginative and creative buildings and vehicles. Throw a bunch of airships in there and I’m already liking the game.
The graphic design is good and each card is easy to follow and understand. However, I wish there was a much easier way to sort the cards. There are essentially two different types of cards, labor and developments. Here the tricky part, the main way to tell these cards a part is this small symbol to tell whether it’s an employee, a building or unit, but all the employees go in one deck, and the buildings and units got in another deck. There are many times to my surprise even after sorting the cards that I have found another no belong into one of the decks. I think what’s confusing me that cards has the same design as any other card. It’s a little annoying, but just a minor problem that doesn’t slow down the game too much.
Brass Empire takes place in the world of Cobalt. It’s like a world where we live in but if there was steampunk things in it and if all lands converged into one big mass. When it comes to themes and story, I always like to know more about the world and there’s plenty what the book has. One thing I wish for is more it on the cards and that’s way flavor text can add a lot to the immersion. But what I can tell you the upcoming expansion will have focus in that and I’ll go into more below.
What kind of deckbuilding game is this?
There are many deckbuilding games out there and I believe that Brass Empire holds up very well on its own. To make a comparison, I would put it between Dominion, the granddaddy of deckbuilding games, and Ascension, a highly respectable deckbuilding game with several expansions that even rivals its predecessor.
It’s more complex than Dominion with more tactical decisions when buying from the market and more diversity of cards in each game. It’s less complicated than Ascension, with its straightforward mechanics and it doesn’t lose steam going towards the end of the game.
Deep without being complicated
What I really like in Brass Empire is that that cards are so simple to read and they don’t have a block of text on them. You also have a huge market with 12 cards to purchase and your faction cards in your reserve as well.
Set up and factions
It does follow the most basic set-up of a typical deckbuilding game but you also get to start with a faction reserve deck. You don’t necessary need to buy any of these cards but it will certainly help to give an edge throughout the game, I find some of the cards to still be useful nearing the end of the game.
I never felt that there was a part of the game where the market stalled from giving good and even purchasable cards. I felt I was able to make a good card purchase each turn. As you’re buying buildings and units, you’ll be putting them out which helps condense your deck. Both may eventually get destroyed, but they get to be played once again. Also, buying higher price card is not too out of reach.
There is a bit confrontation in the game and it rewards players for attacking and destroying their cards. Damage is also persistent so players can team up to take out a really good building. The nice thing is that you at least get to use the effect when it comes out for the first time. The only way to get attacked is to have something in front of you.
This is also brings up something very important. There are many paths to victory. The only way you know you’re doing things right is you are collecting brass for points. You can get points by destroying other player’s card through combat, generating brass through other cards, and mining with units or spending construction resources.
At the time this review is being written, the Kickstarter of New Canton is currently going on which I highly suggest you checkout for the second printing of Brass Empire and for the new expansion I going to go through now.
New Canton not only adds in more and brand new cards, but it provides a new way to play. A story will also be part of this system and will unfold and even branch off from the player’s decisions they make during the game. The main feature is the campaign mode where player will choose a character that will evolve and change as the game will, both in mechanics and as part of the story. I don’t want to go into it too deeply for it might spoil some of the games stories and surprises. Player will oversee a faction and get a hero card that gives some abilities. The game progresses from game to game and major changes may occur during the middle of the game. Sometimes these events will activate after or before each game, or even during in the middle of a player’s turn.
Some of the new cards that can be found in New Canton are relics. These will be shuffled into one of the market decks. Relics don’t come face-up on the board, instead, it remain face down and a market card is played on top of it and can be obtain with the purchase of the card that is comes with. You may only use the relic once since they are very powerful.
Another are events that will be shuffle along the deck as well and can be drawn and take on effect during the game.
Score and Conclusion:
I’m not only surprised but impress of what Brass Empire does. I really like that there are different factions you can start with that has its own advantages, a simple and engaging combat system, and it has many paths to victory that makes it a solid deckbuilding game that feels fresh and doesn’t lose steam.