Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Smallworld.... it's a world of (s)laughter after all!

Smallworld – Tabletop genocide for all the family!

Starting with the box alone the visual appeal of this game is evident from the beginning. The artwork on the box has a humorous and cartoon-esque appearance and is very well done, The overview of the game from the back of the box is sufficient to give a good sense of the game without spoiling too much before opening.
Opening the box presents you, firstly, with a couple of leaflets from the lovely Days of Wonder peeps showing some of their other products and then below these we get to the first of the main components, the instructions. The perfect length and well presented, there is no overcomplicating of the rules which are not hard to grasp at all. There are race and power reference pages and even a diagram showing the best way to organise the plethora of tokens which lay below. Here also are five reference sheets which show turn order on one side and race/power effects on the other, my only gripe is that these are HUGE, they are almost the same width as the box itself and if all five players requested to have one, which is unlikely thankfully, then they take up more space than the board itself and my gaming table ain’t that big chaps and chapettes!
Skipping over the tokens, which are next and require popping from their frames, we find the boards. The two and three player double sided board is a single fold affair with fewer spaces for the two player side and the same for the double fold board for four and five player games. The art on them is really nice, colourful and the spaces are clearly different from each other with any icons or markers easily distinguished from one another. Both boards are of a high quality, much better than some I own but I have seen one or two better.

Both boards are double sided for  2,3,4 and 5 players

At the bottom of the box is a two part compartmentalised tray for token storage, one part of which is a removable tray which holds the players race tokens for easy access throughout the game without having to have the box at hand.
The tray holds all of the race tokens and gives easy access to them during play,.

.....and here they be.......aaaaarrrrrr!

The trays are a necessity with Smallworld as the token count is among the most impressive I have seen. I am among those sick people who enjoy popping tokens and counters from their frames and this game was guilty of feeding that habit! There are LOADS!!! (that’s right, three exclamation marks, count ‘em) the tokens easily account for more than half the weight of the game and they are gorgeous, the artwork is extremely well done with the same humorous theme held throughout the game and they have a reassuringly sturdy feel to them even down to the noise they emit when dropped on to the board, I know it’s sad but it really is a satisfying noise!

The components alone are begging for a perfect ten and I had to really struggle to find a point to mark it down. In the end I had to settle for one minor gripe in that I would have preferred the reinforcement die to be made of plastic as the wooden one feels a little cheap compared to the beautiful bits it finds itself surrounded by (it must feel a little depressed when it considers this fact!)

Simplicity thy name is Smallworld!
This game is so easy to learn that my entire gaming circle had it down by the end of turn one, even my eight year old son had it learned after a couple of turns and the boy can barely concentrate on staying upright half the time!

On the first turn players select a race and an accompanying bonus trait from the selection randomly generated, paying one coin for each after the first in order (i.e. if you select the third race in the queue you must place one coin on the first and second races as payment, which anyone choosing those races gets to keep as a bonus) and take the required amount of race tokens as determined by the numbers on the race and bonus cards, for example Sorcerers (5) and Merchants (2) gives the player 7 sorcerer tokens to use. These tokens are used to claim regions on the board/map which cost 2 tokens to claim and an additional token for each enemy token, lost tribe tokens (who are placed on the board at the start of the game as remnants of the prior settlers of the region), mountain, fortress (placed by a race with the special bonus to do so) encampments or Troll lairs.
At the end of the turn the player may reorganise their tokens to better defend their frontiers and all regions owned by the player will earn then one gold, plus any bonuses earned by any special rules.

Each player continues in this manner until they are unable to continue with their current race, either through losses in battle (you lose one token for each of your regions taken by other players) or by having spread so far that you cannot expand any more. At this time you may put your race into decline, at which time they are flipped over and no longer active pieces, merely remnants of former glories, and then choose a new race from those available and continue anew on the next turn.
This continues for a set amount of turns, as allocated by the turn tracker on the board, until the final turn when the winner is determined by the number of gold coins earned.
When played with four or five players this game shines in a class all of its own, It has all of the subtle tactics and vicious backstabbing that any gamer could ever want. The joy in seeing someone take a gamble and gain control of several regions only to have the next player ruthlessly annihilate them is a joy not seen in games of a similar nature. It also helps that the random combinations of race and power means that the backstabbing often leads to a revenge play happening sooner rather than later and you never know what combo will be next from the pile. This fact also helps with the replay value. Because the races and powers are drawn from randomised piles each game you will not see the same pair drawn very often and therefore, peoples choices will differ from game to game based on their preference and the choices of other players.

The gameplay is brilliant and I can’t wait to add some of the expansions to it if only for the new races!
9/10 (that dice dammit!)

Monday, 28 January 2013

Zombie Dice!

Zombie Dice – “BANG!.....No Brains for you!”

Zombie Dice, by Steve Jackson Games, is a push your luck dice rolling game in which the players are zombies attempting to munch down on some delicious, juicy brains! The only issue is that the owners of said brains aren’t too keen on donating to your lunch plans and are busy either running away or bearing shotguns to blow your rotting head from your zombie shoulders! The first player to gather and chew on 13 brains wins, but only if the dice are lucky for you!

The game comes with thirteen dice, all of which have a really good feel in the hand and look fantastic, six green, four yellow and three red each of which have three icon on them, in varying number.
Brains – Three on the green dice, two on the yellow and one on the red.
Feet – Two on the green dice, Two on the yellow and two on the red.
Gun shots – One on the green dice, two on the yellow and three on the red.

Thirteen victims with juicy brains!

During a players turn you take three dice at random from the tube (or dice bag which we have found better, especially for those such as myself with dinner plate hands and sausage fingers!!!) and roll them. For each brain rolled the player puts those dice aside until the end of the turn, feet are kept and rolled again as the victim has run out of reach..... for now, and shotgun blasts are kept along with the brains. Any runners are gathered up and a new dice are taken to make up a hand of three and rolled again, and so on and so on until either three gunshots are collected whereby your head has been blown clean off and all brains rolled that turn are lost, the player decides to stop rolling and all brains are added to the players total or a player reaches 13 brains and stops thereby winning the game.
This is where the “push your luck” element of the game comes in. When faced with needing only two brains to win, but having two gunshots already, do you take the chance and roll again risking a shot and losing any brains not yet scored or do you take your brains and hope none of the other players get a lucky break?

This is a brilliant filler game and recommended for a cool down period between bigger games on a full gaming day, or simply as a quick gaming burst when time doesn’t allow larger games.
I give Zombie Dice a 10/10. For what it is, a filler game, it delivers gameplay and replay value in spades and anyone can learn it in seconds, so much so that both of my children have played and loved it!

Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature

This small expansion adds three dice to Zombie dice as replacements for the regular dice and come in two different flavours.....

Santa and the Heroes.

Part 1 – Big Summer Action Movie.
Two new dice are added in place of two of the yellow dice, the Hunk is a new white dice featuring a double brain in place of a single and a double shot in place of a single.
The Hottie is a pink dice which has three feet (in heels) one shot and one brain, making her hard to catch than a regular victim.

The unique rule for these two victims is that if you have caught one of them and the other shoots you they can rescue each other and return to the bag!

Part 2 – Santa meets the Zombies.
Replacing a green dice this part adds a solid red die with new icons.
The dice represents Mr Claus himself and he is just as much a victim as any other person in the game, but he may survive yet as he also brings presents!
Along with a gunshot, feet and a brain (Santa’s own head candy!) we have a double brain as Santa has brought you a yummy double helping, an American football helmet making you a “Tough Zombie” which enables you to withstand an extra gunshot before falling and an energy drink which makes you a “Fast Zombie” and enabling you to convert any running feet into brains as they aren’t quite fast enough to avoid you now.

Out of the two expansions the “Santa meets the Zombies” is the better of the two as it adds more to the game as the hero and the hottie do but all in all they are a fantastic addition to a brilliant game and if you have, you need the other! The beard so declares!!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Heroquest, my gateway game.

Heroquest – The game that started it all! (this will be a long one)

A little battered, but much loved!

Before I start rambling, which I surely will do but please bear with me, I wish to clarify two things. Firstly I have a large soft spot for this game! It was the gateway game for me getting into board gaming and as such will always be special to me. Secondly my thanks to Jamie Dodd (follow his blog at http://jd-ontblog.blogspot.co.uk for video game reviews and some really nice paint jobs on GW mini’s), somewhere during 1995 I was at his house playing Street Fighter and he chanced to mention a board game that I had seen advertised on the t.v. and that he had a copy. Bowing to my constant queries he showed me the game and I loved it. Cut to eight-or-so  years ago, I had been a solid video game geek and not a board gamer in the slightest, and one of my work colleagues mentioned that he was selling a copy along with a copy of Space Crusade (which was ruined/destroyed in a series of unfortunate circumstances many moons ago) for £10. The nostalgia alone made me almost rip his arm off and I was pleased to find a complete and almost mint copy of Heroquest (the Barbarians Sword was broken and the Wizard had been modified). I left the game alone for a couple of years and then, one slow day, we chanced to play to relieve the boredom and ended up running the full campaign over the next week and my board game craving began in earnest. So when my FiancĂ© complains....... it’s Jamie’s fault.

On to the review......

Designed by Games Workshop and Milton Bradley Games as a way of getting more casual players interested in the warhammer universe, and probably looking for board game to war gaming conversion along with it, Heroquest is an adventure board game for two to five players and was first published in 1989 and featured the tale of four adventurers (Barbarian, Wizard, Elf and Dwarf) on their quest to defeat the evil sorcerer Morcar (or Zargon if you live in North America) and over the years had many expansions.

A birds eye view

The game is played on a rather nice, and large, board with the dungeon layout printed on it, which is asymmetrical to help with the planning and following of maps provided in the quest book (more on that in a few). Populated by an assortment of evil gribblies from lowly Goblins all the way up to the brutal Gargoyle and the evil sod himself Morcar the dungeons can be assembled in almost limitless different formations with the doors and furniture used for the rooms and tiles of broken, fallen rubble used to seal off unused corridors and alter the shape of the board giving almost infinite possibilities to a seemingly finite board on first appearences.

Back to the box firstly and the artwork is a classic heroic combat scene with the barbarian striking a decidedly Conan-esque pose with a horde of bad guys spilling from the background onto his fellow adventurers, while the rear sports some of the usual fare of game blurb accompanied by a picture of a game session under way with three children, none of whom appear to be looking at the board, just the middle distance. The inside of the lid has instructions for the assembly of the various pieces of furniture and the Gargoyle, a feature common to most MB games of the era which involved some form of assembly.

The first thing under the lid, in my box anyway, is the evil wizards screen which on the outer facing side features the wizard Morcar himself and a host of his evil minions while the inside has a quick reference for the map icons and instructions on how to handle the traps.
Next we have the board, pictured above, divided into seventeen rooms and surrounded by corridors. The rooms have no door spaces printed which allows for the separate doors to be placed anywhere you wish. The little details on the board are a nice touch, from the odd scrap of paper to piles of bones, they add to the feel of the game once playing.
The rule book is short and concise with simple explanations of the rules and small demo games to demonstrate movement, combat and magic/ranged combat. So easy are the rules that you really only need look at them once and you know them for ever, in fact writing this review has seen me open mine for the first time in around six years!
To accompany this is the quest book, of which I have two, which contains 14 quests detailing the journey through the dungeons culminating in the final battle with the Witch Lord, servant of Morcar. The reason I stated that I have two is that both are from the 1989 English release but feature a different opening mission. The original first mission was called The Maze and was a sparsely populated dungeon where the objective is to find the exit, the second is called The Trial, which is a much harder combat slog with all enemy types present barring the sorcerer, this provides a more difficult introduction to the game and is preferred by most players I have run games for. The quest book has a top down map of the dungeon detailing where the heroes start, where the dungeon contents, mainly the furniture and doors, all of which are cardboard held with plastic detailing (see pictures), and monsters are to be placed when a room is explored and what treasures can be found, all accompanied by flavour text detailing the story behind each mission.

There are five sets of cards for the players and the evil sorcerer to use throughout the game, all of which have withstood the test of time better than a lot of other full games I have. These are...
Monster cards – These are the reference cards for the evil sorcerer which show how many spaces the monsters can move and how many attack and defence dice they roll in combat.
Quest treasure cards – These are five magical items found throughout the campaign which can aid the heroes such as a sword that does extra damage to orcs and some magical armour.
Spell cards – Four classes of spell, fire, earth, water and air, comprised of three spells each. These are divided between the elf, who receives one class, and the wizard who receives the other three. The wizard receives more and has more use for the magic as in combat he is little more than a squishy target in a robe!
Treasure cards – During the quest heroes can search empty rooms and corridors for treasure or secret doors instead of fighting. When they do they draw a card from this pile of 25 cards, 16 of which are either potions or gold, 1 has nothing and 8 feature either traps or wandering monsters who appear and immediately attack the luckless hero.
Equipment cards – Between each mission, provided they survive, heroes can spend any gold found or earned on these cards to buy new equipment, from weapons and armour to cloaks for wizards and toolkits for disarming traps.
Monster cards
Hero cards

Combat dice

The players have two reference sheets during play. A card sheet specific to each character class showing their attack, defence and movement values as well as their hit points and mind points (like hit points but used rarely by special enemies to damage you psychically) and a paper reference for the players to track their wounds, equipment and completed quests.
The miniatures are a made of a decent quality (for the time) plastic, the heroes are cast in red. Orcs, goblins and firmirs are cast in a dark green. Skeletons, zombies and mummies are cream and the gargoyle and sorcerer, who stands in for npc’s in some missions, are grey. The sculpt’s are not too bad and are made to last. Finally there are six dice two of which are standard red D6, the other four are used for combat and defence and have three skulls to represent hits, two shields for hero defence and one black shield for monster defence.

The gameplay in Heroquest was made deliberately uncomplicated, making it an ideal gateway game for introducing new players to the genre. The early missions are short but still long enough to serve as a simple tutorial.
Movement for the heroes is governed by the rolling of two D6 and they may up to the rolled amount of squares. (In our games the players using the Dwarf have yet to roll greater than 8! For years our group have had to wait for the Dwarf to catch up!)
The movement value for the monsters is printed on the relevant monster card as are the defense, attack, body and mind values.

The details of the board are filled in by the player acting as Evil Sorcerer as the heroes turn corners, open door or attain line of sight by any other means. The furniture, doors and monsters are placed according to the map (in the Quest Book or hand planned). The players take their turns in a clockwise fashion starting with the player to the left of the Evil Sorcerer and then any monsters on the board get to act, moving and attacking as the Sorcerer sees fit.

Combat is a simple affair. Each Hero has a number of attack dice to throw, as stated on their character cards (or on the monster card if the attacker is such) and for each skull rolled on these dice a hit is scored. The attacked player then rolls their defence dice, likewise stated on either hero or monster card, and for each shield rolled one hit is blocked. Monsters have a harder time defending themselves as I showed earlier, the must roll a black shield and each combat die has only one of these. Monsters have only one wound so most die with ease, the greater exceptions to this are the Chaos Warrior, the Gargoyle and the Mummies as they roll four dice in defence, so have a greater chance of lasting. The monsters often have the advantage of numbers in the quests but a combination of the combat prowess of the dwarf and barbarian and the magic held by the wizard and elf give the heroes an equal edge with which to fight off the hordes.
Magic is used simply by playing the appropriate card during the turn instead of attacking, either before or after moving, and these spells range from assistance spells which can heal, defend and aid escape or they can attack the monsters with sleeping spells, fireballs or by summoning a genie to obliterate them. These spells are only usable once per dungeon so choosing when and where to use them adds a tactical element to the more difficult missions.

Elf, Dwarf and Wizard preparing to get a beating from a Firmir

The missions range from simple combat runs to escorts and seek and destroy missions but the inclusion of a blank map in the centre of the quest book adds the limitless potential for home made quests, although a photocopy is recommended for this as frequent pencil erasing would soon destroy the map page.

All in all I will give Heroquest 9/10. It is as good a gateway game to the board gaming community as any other and is very thematic for those with the inclination for fantasy. The age rating is for 9 and upwards but I have had many games with my son from the age of five onwards and he proved to be quite the tactician, defending the soft, squishy wizard with a walking wall of dwarf and barbarian. The only reason I give a 9 as opposed to a pure 10/10 is the slight limitation of the board itself. We have long since adapted the rules for longer campaigns, added classes and equipment and begun using modular dungeon tiles from my copy of Descent – Journeys in the Dark instead of the old board but we still lean back for some nostalgic gaming when we are either bound by a timescale which prevents larger games or we simply want a simple, old school romp through those familiar halls and rooms.
Heroquest will always be special to me and my group and will never be forgotten as others have been and surely will again, and if you ever get the chance, I urge you to have a game. Suit up, grab your combat dice and wade through some monsters with your friends, there is always a quest waiting.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Ponte Del Diavolo

Review : Ponte Del Diavolo.

Designed by Martin Ebel and published by Rio Grand Games, Ponte Del Diavolo is a tactical tile placement game for two players in which players attempt to build islands and connect them with bridges (the name itself translates to “Devil’s Bridge”).

All of the pieces other than the board are wooden which adds a nice tactile element to an otherwise sterile appearance. There are 80 wooden tiles, 40 red and 40 white which are divided between the two players and 15 grey bridges as well as a 10x10 board which, admittedly isn’t fantastic but serves its purpose.

The main purpose of the game is, each turn, to place two of your coloured tiles on the board and make islands comprised of four pieces and connect them with bridges, scoring more points for each connected island at the end of the game. These islands may not touch another of the same colour in any direction but can touch opposing islands, in fact this is one of the main tactics of the game as the bridges can only be placed over blank spaces and may not cross over island tiles. This is where the strategy of the game is most evident as you are made to think multiple moves ahead from the first as you attempt to isolate your opponents islands while leaving your own open to build bridges.

The game is really easy to pick up and a great filler for any game day/night as an average game takes 20-30 minutes at most. The abstract nature of the game may put some off but for those wanting a good, short, inbetweener game I can easily recommend this. With prices around £15 or less (I picked mine up at a branch of The Works for £7.99) you could do much worse than this little gem.

I’ll give Ponte Del Diavolo 7/10 but only when compared to other filler/abstract games as it wouldn’t really stand up to a more thematic game.

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Review 3: Bears!

Being a dice game I wasn’t expecting a large box and I wasn’t disappointed , the box is 5 inches tall by just over 3 inches square and the top slides down over the inner section revealing artwork that continues from the outer cover depicting a cartoon image of a rather disgruntled bear looming over a campsite while the occupants run for their lives.

The rules are presented on a small six-fold leaflet and are very simple to follow and are accompanied by some simple diagrams and a few images for added flavour.

Also included are four points reference cards, one for each player, showing the dice combo’s the players are to play for and the scores for each. These being:
-Bear/Shotgun = 1 point
-Tent/runner = 2 points
-Tent/sleeping bag = 5 point unless there are bears remaining in the camp site in which case they are -2 points.

Now we’re past the crust let’s get to the filling, the dice.
The forty die are nicely made and have a good feel to them if a little light, the twenty player die are black with two each of three icons on them, a sleeping bag, a shotgun and a running person. The white camp die, which have four tent icons and two bear icons, are equally well made and look great in contrast to the black player die.


Each player takes five of the black player die and the camp is made up of five camp die per player, the camp dice are rolled in the centre of the group and then the players roll their hands before a free for all ensues as the players match up their dice with a camp dice one at a time until only one kind, either bears or tents, remains in the camp, at which time the rules compel players to yell “BEARS!” to signal the end the round and the scoring is worked out, all remaining camp dice are left. During this free for all, players are permitted to reroll their hand as often as they wish but this is inadvisable most of the time as the fast paced structure of the game leaves little time for this. One issue is that the camp dice can easily be knocked during the grab for pairs which can alter the roll or just scatter them across the table if someone is particularly ham fisted.

Overall I give this game 6/10, the components are nice but the gameplay is little more than a scramble with no strategy involved, it simply boils down to random chance and who has the quickest hands.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Review 2: Claustrophobia

First impressions are that the box is nicely decorated with thematically dark artwork and sturdy, the vinyl effect to the box is a nice touch and gives the box a good, solid feel. The second impression is the weight! It seems rather weighty for the size and that is a good thing! Just make sure you don’t drop it as you’ll either lose a toe or two or cause a little structural damage!!!

On opening the impression of quality continues starting with the rulebook. This is clearly written and well spaced with plenty of breakdowns and easy reference sections for some of the rules, of which there are not too many! Along with some easily read examples and demos. Then there is the Troglodyte reference chart which is also very easily understood and clearly written, this is too made of a good thick card and treated to the same vinyl effect, which lends to the sturdiness of the whole package. Under these are the tokens (pre punching). Again these are thick and beefy and really well printed. A problem I’ve had before is that some tokens are printed a little off-kilter and being a little OCD about things being even and level this irks me. This is not the case with Claustrophobia, all of the tokens are neat and centrally punched and came away from the frame with no mess or ripping (another problem that sometimes occurs, and that means I’m looking at you Fantasy Flight!)

Under these still we get to the true gribblies of the box (a made up word, feel free to steal and spread it!) The movement tiles are where the weight comes in. They are BEEFY. The art on them is nice and straight forward, no confusing lines or iconography and where icons are used they are clear and easily referenced on the back of the rulebook. The various event/equipment cards are well printed and the art is of a similar quality, leaning slightly more to a comic book style which I like to see every now and then and the character reference boards are well done even if the plastic stands they rest in do come across a little flimsy! The wound tokens are BRILLIANT! Where most companies would go with plain pegs or even card tokens for wound marking Asmodee have made them small nut+bolt shaped pegs that slot into the player stat cards. This doesn’t sound that impressive but its the small things that sometimes please people and make them come back for more.

One small criticism is the dice. They feel frickin’ awful! There is no weight to them at all and they feel as though they would crumble to dust if you squeezed them.

Finally we get to the miniatures. These are well sculpted and not too delicate which can be a turn off sometimes. The paint job isn’t astounding by any means but not that bad as to warrant a repaint unless I run out of other minis to paint and have a hankerin’ for a brush o’ thon!
Out of the box (before play though) I’d give this an 8/10 just for component quality.

The Redeemer Vs. The Demon
The Troglodyte horde
The Redeemers Blades for hire (left) and Brutes (right)

The first couple of games played do nothing to harm the first impression of the game, the rules are that easy to grasp and reference from the boards provided that even the first game plays quickly and effortlessly. The balance between the enemies and the adventurers/warriors is good, even if it seems a tad one sided as the enemies usually end up outnumbering the heroes three to one. It can all hinge on one decision by either party as to the outcome of an encounter, and from experience being killed completely one tile from the exit and a comfortable win is a brutal experience! But one that made me want to immediately try again and try a different tactic. The abilities of the warriors and the equipment loadouts each scenario provide make for many interesting choices too and more are available online for more options.
Example of a game in progress (the heroes are as good as lunch!!!)
After playing I stand by my 8/10 score and would recommend this game to most board gamers as a brilliant change, the similarities to GW’s Space Hulk are evident but with a greatly lower price tag (and the gap keeps rising boys n gals! GW’s limited release guaranteed that! Muppets) and pre painted miniatures for those without the inclination for brushy nonsense make this a more affordable tactical corridor combat board game. Just don’t buy if you don’t like losing, this game can deal defeat in crushing fashion but that is more than half the charm! Forget Resident Evil, Silent Hill or Siren, THIS is survival horror

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Carcassonne, starting with one of the best!

Review 1: Carcassonne

I have to start my reviews with my favourite game, Carcassonne is an award winning  euro game published by Rio Grande Games, which features a tile and worker placement theme and was one of my first forays into the euro game style, which has become my favourite of late. Euro games place less, or even no, emphasis on player conflict and focus on financial/economic conquest as opposed to combat. As such it isn’t really geared toward power gamers but will suit almost every other player down to the casual visitor to the table.
Box art.

Starting with the box, as I usually do, the quality is fantastic as with most Rio Grande games. The design is very good and suits the game by not being too overstated and very thematic. The four follower types, Knight, Monk, Thief and Farmer are represented on the cover art & the information & images on the back keep with this theme also with a simple piece of text explaining the origin of the French town of Carcassonne which serves as the inspiration and setting for this game, a short description of the gameplay which doesn’t give too much away and a list of the contents along with an image of some of the contents.
A small three player game in progress.

The score tracker.

Inside the box is just as pleasing to the eye as the outside. The rules are presented on a six sided A4 sized pamphlet but are not too complex, at least half of the space is taken up by examples of tile placement and follower placement and the rules take around ten minutes to read through and grasp the basics. The score tracker is nice and made of the same high quality card stock as the rest of the playing pieces which themselves are very good indeed. The tiles have some really nice images on them and the card quality is among the best I have, popping them out of the templates (which is a sad pleasure of mine!) is seamless and they came out clean and with the merest application of pressure which is, for me, a sign of a quality production. Finally we have the followers, or for almost the entire gaming community the “Meeples”, these little wooden fellows are one of my favourite playing pieces in my entire collection! Presented in five flavours, red, yellow, green, blue and black, they are made equally as well as the rest of the components in the box and round off the contents well.

The game is a simple one to play, the mechanic of take a tile, place a tile adjacent to any other placed tiles and place a follower if you want is a painfully easy one to follow!, you get a follower back when you score with it by completing the construction they are placed on so managing your placement is key. But the devil, they say, is in the details! The aspect of strategy rapidly shows its head in any game, be it with seasoned Carcassonne players or noobs. Trying to build a large city is usually an early tactic as you score two points for each tile that makes up the city or town you have a follower on, until some ruthless rival caps it off for you and puts the skids on to your campaign of expansion. Placing a follower on a field (the grass areas surrounding the towns and roads) is good for playing the long game as they are only scored at the end of the game and they score three points for each completed city/town they are connected to & this can be a game breaker, unless someone manages to connect their field to yours at which time they will share the points unless you can do the same and outnumber them. Roads are good for quick scores as getting a follower onto a road and extending the heck out of it is rather easy and you get a point for each tile the road is on.Finally we have the cloisters/chapels, these need to be surrounded by other tiles to score and they score nine points when complete. When the final tile has been placed all of the scores are tallied and the remaining, incomplete roads and buildings are counted, incomplete towns scoring half points.

The balance of tile pieces is perfect, the game flows fantastically and never gets bogged down by repetition of pieces & even if it did the sheer amount of options for placement makes each and every game unique and unpredictable.

The scoring tracker is the only thing that I would have any less than a positive word for, as it sometimes gets in the way and can easily be knocked, scattering the meeple score pieces and naffing up the score for the players, a simple tally is an equally effective way of scoring this game as well as various digital score trackers available for tablets and smart phones.

In summation Carcassonne is one of the best euro style games available, simple to learn and teach, very addictive and for the money one of the best value games at the time and that’s before you even consider the sheer volume of expansions available for it!

9/10 and worth it all!! Would be a straight 10 if not for the score tracker.

Blog post 0.5


That’s the greeting done, what next? An introduction I suppose!

I’m Nick and at the time of this post I am a thirty year old, six foot odd beard with a person somewhere behind me! I have a FiancĂ© and two raucous children who seem to be in a state of perpetual motion somewhere in my immediate vicinity, so much so that I often trip over or stand on one or both of them.

The purpose of this blog is to promote and review games, and I am not talking about video games here, there are by far and away enough sites that do that to varying degrees of success and quality. I am talking about tabletop games, the main source of pain to my wallet! These can be card games, board games (which are my main focus), miniatures games, war games, dice games and every permutation in-between. The reviews are from my own collection of games and miniatures and I will try my best to post at least once a week which will give me time to keep the collection growing and further allow reviews.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy what is to follow or at least find it useful!