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Reviews and Views by I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

REVIEW: Scythe from Stonemaier Games



After tons of online hype and some waiting, it arrived in my mailbox last Tuesday .. and then the wait ’til the weekend and game day started! SCYTHE!

Created by lead designer Jamey Stegmaier with the assistance of Morten Monrad Pedersen (solo variant) in the stark but beautiful world of artist Jakub Rozalski, Scythe successfully funded by Stonemaier Games through Kickstarter in October/November, 2015 and is set to be released to retail in September 2016. This review is based on the base Kickstarter pledge level that is currently shipping worldwide.

It is a time of unrest in 1920’s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory,” which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries.

Scythe (1-5 players, 115 minutes) is a board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor.

In Scythe, each player represents one of 5 different factions leaders attempting to restore their honor and lead their faction to becoming the greatest power in Eastern Europa. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers (workers), build structures, and build monstrous mechs to do battle with the other factions.

For reference, we played a 3 player game. Next up will be 4-5 players and then the solo-variant Autonoma rules, which should prove very interesting indeed.


Each player begins the game with a completely different amount of resources available to them (strength, victory points, movement capabilities, and popularity), several faction-specific abilities that must be unlocked, and a secret objective or two. Starting positions are pre-set on the board based on each factions specific benefits and weaknesses.

Setup looks insanely confusing, but once you’ve done it everything starts to make sense. All you need to know really is laid out in front of you on your Player Mat, Action Selection Board and any other cards you have, mostly in Icon form. Once you have figured out the icons and what they all mean the rest becomes fairly easy to understand.


Scythe – Set up for 2 players (3rd added after this picture) Rusviet Union (Red), Nordic Kingdom (Blue) and Polania Republic (White)

The rules even tell you not to teach new players every little rule (as it can become overwhelming) but rather give them the basics on the quick start guide (every game should come with a quick start sheet!) and dive right in to figure the game out. I find this the best way to learn a game myself, and that’s exactly how we did it here; Set-up, A quick overview of the rules, and then start playing – anything that needed to be looked up afterwards was looked up as needed, and it worked! Sure, had we known exactly how combat works and affects things or how the Factory cards work right away some things may have been played differently but overall it only created small moments of “Oh no! Damn, I wouldn’t have done that .. oh well, next time!”


Except for the players secret objectives (which are randomly dealt) the only elements of luck are the encounter cards that players draw as they come across various territories and combat cards that give you a single-use boost in combat. Combat is also driven by choices, not luck.


Player Action Selection Board

Scythe uses an action-selection mechanism to keep game play moving and reduce downtime. Players can upgrade actions to become more efficient, build structures that improve their position on the map, enlist “recruits” to enhance character abilities, activate mechs to deter opponents from invading, and expand their borders to reap greater types and quantities of resources. These engine-building aspects create a sense of momentum and progress throughout the game.

The order in which players improve their engine adds to the unique feel of each game, even when playing one faction multiple times as you can try out different strategies in every game. Except with the use of the Rusviet Union’s special ability you cannot select the same set of actions two turns in a row which means you have to plan ahead and play smart in order to succeed. If none of the available choices can be used, you can select an action that you know you won’t be taking next turn and simply not do anything.

Each section of the Action Selection board has a “top row” and “bottom row” action. You can, if possible, take both actions (in any order), one of the two actions, or no actions at all. As long as you don’t select the same box twice (That’s what the pawn is for – you place it on the section you wish to perform, so you know you cannot select that one next turn).

Each factions action selection board is laid out differently as well and has different costs/bonuses associated with your choices. This must have been one hell of a balancing act to create but it works! I did not find any faction to be any more powerful (or weak) than any other during play.

When you reach the Factory in the center of the board, you select a Factory Card from the pile (which consists of 1 card per player +1). These cards provide you with a 5th set of actions, essentially extending your action selection board by one more slot for the rest of the game. This can be a great bonus if you get a good card, but if your selections are slim it may not do you any good.

While there is direct conflict, there is no player elimination, nor can units be killed or destroyed. Instead, when two players meet in combat the winner takes over the contested territory and any resources that were available on that territory, but loses popularity, and must have spent some of their combat ability in order to defeat their opponent as well. The defeated player retreats to their home base and earns additional combat cards for later use. To determine combat, each player has a dial with the numbers 0-7 on it. You select an amount of POWER you want to spend (indicated by your power token on a power track on the game board, and yes, you can select to spend nothing in combat .. but you probably won’t win) and add a number of combat cards (1 per player piece involved in the combat), in secret. When both players are done, you reveal your dial and combat cards and the player with the higher number wins. Drop your power level down by the number selected, discard your combat cards and you’re done. Ties go to the attacker. Simple. Fast. When you want to attack, however, is another topic altogether. Attacking is a strategic choice. You don’t eliminate the other player or destroy his pieces, so you must choose to attack for other strategic reasons such as taking resources, taking territories and completing your secret objective.


Beautiful. Well made. Plentiful. Those are the three words that best describe the components included in Scythe.

Every single component looks fantastic, from the cards, to the player boards to the workers and miniatures. The artwork, the sculpts, the materials used everything is of the highest quality, even in the base game (the upgraded components are even nicer, if that’s possible, by looking more realistic). The ONLY issue we had was with the symbols and colors on the game board itself. The symbols could have stood out a little more if perhaps the rest of the board was slightly more muted and the territory types (mountains, plains, etc) could have been slightly better represented (we figured it out easily enough, but there was some confusion at first).


Power Dials used for combat, Faction Leaders minis and Mechs


Scythe is a keeper.

It’s a beautiful game, it’s well balanced, well thought out, LOOKS intimidating but, despite it’s depth of strategy is really quite simple to pick up and play. If you’re looking for a deep strategic, intuitive, action selection game that has multiple ways of winning and is remarkably easy to learn, this is absolutely one to take a closer look at.


How to Play (4/5) – Incredibly detailed with loads of examples and pictures to show you what it’s talking about, the rulebook is a thing of beauty, but at 32 pages it’s insanely large. The page count is the only drawback with the rules for Scythe as it feels much more daunting than it actually is.

Aesthetics (5/5) – Beautiful in layout, design and imagery. Enough said.


Roleplaying Experience (3/5) – There is a deep story behind Scythe, set in 1920’s Europa with a number of disparate factions working against one another to become the most powerful in the land. One thing that seems to be missing is the importance of The Factory, which is said to be the major centerpiece but lacks any major desire to get there.

Fun (4/5) – Almost no downtime, especially at the start of the game, quite balanced throughout the different factions and the stakes are raised immensely nearing the end. Once those stars start hitting the board they come fast and furious .. and before you know it the game is over! A 2 hour play-time was a little long for our test group, but it was still a good time for all involved, even those who don’t typically go for longer, strategy based games.


Game Night (1/5) – With a 2 hour play time (not including setup), you’re unlikely to get in multiple games in a night, but it is possible.

Shelf Life (3/5) – I feel this game will definitely see table time but, again, with it’s play time and complexity it’s not going to be the go-to game for many groups.

Bonus Points

Quality Components (2 points) – This game is beautiful in every aspect. From the amazingly high quality artwork on the cards to the custom components and the beautiful miniatures it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at.

Overall Score : 7 out of 10 (+2 bonus points)


REVIEW: Ready Check!





Ready Check is a card game by 2HandsomeGames that is inspired by similar fast paced, tongue in cheek games like Munchkin; loaded with in-jokes, stereotypes and things that any current or former MMORPG player can truly appreciate.

Essentially you play the role of a Guild Master (the leader of a group of players in a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG) in a generic MMO. Your goal is to recruit and manage unique guild members personalities, assign them the best classes and raid dungeons for loot and Victory Points. While doing this, you have to watch out for your opponents who may choose, at any time, to play an effect card on you and mess up your plans. Or, you just might draw a card with Patch Notes that change the rules of the game for everyone.

A ready check is an automatic survey that can initiated by a party or raid leader. Ready checks are most often used in preparation for a boss encounter to make sure everyone is ready to commence. They are also often used as a means to survey which players have returned if the raid takes a break for any reason.

The concept of the game is fantastic. The gameplay is fairly straightforward too. You don’t need to be an MMO aficionado to understand the game either which is a bonus.

While not yet in production we have been in touch with them and got ourselves a print and play prototype copy to review. The rules were pretty rough when we got them, with a lot of terms going undefined and some general confusion with how certain cards are used. Thankfully the designer has been more than willing to take critical suggestions and since then has updated the rules significantly.

2HandsomeGames are re-launching have relaunched their Kickstarter and hope to get this produced and, as they state, “Bring all the joy, misery, and laughter of your pay-to-play MMORPG to your table”. The original Kickstarter was cancelled after a week. This is a good thing! 2HandsomeGames realized they weren’t ready and have regrouped and fixed things up for a relaunch. And let’s be honest .. they had way to many reward tiers that it was just confusing. The relaunch should be a lot leaner and cleaner and the rules have been tidied up and refined more.

I know I’ll be backing it to add to my collection of light games!


Ready Check is a component-lite, rules-lite card game. Good for a filler or palate cleanser between heavier games, or for those times when you just want a quick, light hearted game.

The game consists of a Rules sheet and 3 decks of cards. Forums, Dungeons and Loot cards to be precise. The print and play prototype we used had about 90 cards but the final product should contain approximately 200 cards in total.

The Forums cards are what makes up your guild members. Each turn you can choose a forum card to bring into your hand to build your guild. On their own, the forum cards provide only part of the rules interaction as some of the personalities provided will only play with certain others (or not at all) while others come with different stipulations. It’s a balancing act of what you need to successfully raid dungeons for those Victory Points.

Dungeon cards are where you get your victory points. You use your guild members (Forum cards + Class cards from the loot pile) to raid dungeons and score loot and points. The harder the dungeon is to defeat, the more points it’s generally worth (though some are worth more loot than points). Having a limit on the number of Dungeon cards in play means you have to carefully choose what ones you want to raid depending on your goals (points vs loot, or both) and what guild members you have available to raid them.

Loot cards are what provides everything else in the game. This is where you will find the classes to equip to your guild members (giving them a “power” rating to defeat dungeons), rules modifiers (global “patch notes” and personal “buffs and debuffs”) and effects cards which you can use to help yourself during a raid or hinder your opponents during theirs.

During any given turn you will draw forum cards (as needed), organize your guild using the forum cards you have plus any classes you’ve looted (you do start with a few loot cards to get you off the ground by the way!), raid dungeons and reap the rewards. The first person to 40 Victory Points wins.

Simple. Elegant. Fast. Honestly, it only takes a few minutes to get the rules down and you’re ready to raid .. and mess up your opponents.

Here are some card examples for you;

class cards dungeon cards

effect cards forums cards

patch notes stash cards



Rulebook – How to play               4/5

Everything you need to know is there (now). Well organized, easy to read and clear since updating them.
Terms are well defined and diagrams/picture references help clarify more difficult rules.
Ready Check is rules-lite and good for quick, filler gameplay

Rulebook – Aesthetics                   3/5

Well laid out, decent amount of picture references using the actual game art to go along with the rules.
Concise and to the point without a bunch of filler fluff.

Gameplay Experience                    3/5

If you’ve ever played an MMO, or at least know the gist of them, you get it. It doesn’t have quite the same level of tension as a real MMO but expecting that would be a little much.
You get the general feeling that you are in the shoes that Guild Master who has to balance the personalities in your guild to make the most of dungeon raids.

Gameplay “Fun”                               3/5

It’s a quick, fun little game, reminiscent of Munchkin and the like, with some different mechanics in how you manage your cards to make it stand out.
Lots of different cards and combinations help.

Replayability – Game Night         3/5

The game plays quick enough and there are enough cards and combination options that playing it several times in a single session is easily achievable.
It’s a little bit niche (within a niche) so not everyone is going to want to do a repeat, even if they enjoyed it once.

Replayability – Shelf Life               2/5

As with games of this kind, you’re not likely to bring it to the table all.the.time.
It’s one of those great filler games that you remember you have and pull out to play between games or if you just want a quick, rules-lite game session.


Prototype Copy – 1

Great Artwork – 1 – The art is perfect for the genre. Light hearted, fun, MMO-ish.


REVIEW : Fantasy Coins and Bars


Written by James Campbell of I Will Never Grow Up Gaming on May 8th, 2015

If you play board games you’ve encountered all manner of paper play money and cardboard coins and tokens and the annoyance of having to sit there punching out sheets of flimsy little coins. You also know the invevitable sight of having that paper fold, crumple, tear and stain when you play that game a lot and that one guy in your game group always has to eat flourescent orange cheese puffs (ok .. that guy may be me, but I digress); Having those cardboard circles roll off the table because it’s so light that someone sneezed and away it went; Needing tweezers or very slender fingers just to pick it up off the table.



If you don’t play board games .. just how the heck did you end up landing here anyway?!

Paper money and cardboard coins are all well and good for kids or Monopoly but there is nothing like the feeling of real, cold, hard metal. There are several options available these days to get you there, some better than others.

In that vein, Fantasy Coins LLC is running a Kickstarter campaign just like they did last year.  Only it’s not just like they did last year, because it’s for 10 NEW coins sets .. and gems .. and gold and silver bars.  So it’s kind of like last years.  Only different.  Bigger. Better!

Each of the coins is beautifully crafted with fantastic iconography on both faces.  Kudos to the artist. They look amazing and every single set perfectly depicts the theme it’s geared to.  Speaking of theme, there are fantasy themes (Elven, Dwarven, Orcs, Cthulhu, etc), sci-fi themes (Credits), historical based coins and more.

They come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes as well. The coins have some good weight to them without being over burdening.  Being Canadian, I can tell you they feel about the same weight as our $1 coins.  To go with the weight the size of the coins is just about perfect.  There is a small variation in size between gold, silver and copper, with copper being the smallest of them.  And there is a wide variety of shapes to go with those sizes, depending on the set you choose.

Not only do they feel right with their weight they sound fantastic too.  Yes, that’s right .. sound.  Coins have a sound to them when you drop them, stack them, play with them .. and these ones sound right.  They have a good click and clang without any dulling to the noise.  They jingle in the bag just as coins should.

The coins are a nice thickness too, so you won’t have any troubles picking them up. And that’s the OLD set.  The new set promises to be even thicker.

victory point


What is even better is the variety of coins available.  You can tailor your purchase to the games you play, from fantasy RPG’s, historical board games to Sci-Fi and everything in between. Even Victory Point coins (see to the right) are available, which is pretty nice if you ask me.  Using cardboard chits for victory points is all well and good but these are stunning.

The hex gems are quite nice as well.  They’re 44mmx18mmx7mm laser cut from glass and hand polished.  No acrylic junk here!  They come in green, red, blue,  yellow, orange, purple and one colour to be voted on by backers. Quite a variety of colours.  They also list on their Kickstarter page that there are smaller gems in 4 different shapes under development. Personally I would go for those instead of the set that they have with the kickstarter as I think the smaller size and variety of shapes will go over much better and just look that much more “real”.

The campaign ends in a week and they’ve gone well over their funding goal, so get in fast while the getting is good!

Fantasy Coins and Bars Kickstarter will net you 30 coins or 7 gems for $15.

You have choice too;

  • 10 of each coin (gold, silver and copper),
  • 30 of the same coin.
  • 7 Mixed gems,
  • 7 of the same gem.

Choice is good!

That is not a bad deal for these hefty little items, especially compared to some of the (often lesser quality) competition. And the deal gets better if you use the add-ons for more coins and gems, or bars at $10-14 for each extra set of coins/gems and $1.40 per (actual) 24k or silver plated small bar!  Lets not forget you have to add shipping to that as well but they have added a lovely little pledge
calculator to help you calculate your pledge amount, shipping and stretch goals before the end of the campaign. Damn you shippers, stealing some of my gold.  They’re pirates, I tell you!

They’ve even included add ons such as faux leather pouches, cotton pouches, 24k gold or pure silver plated coins and a sample pack (the old version of the coins with 45 coins).

Let’s wrap this up then, shall we?

Fantasy Coins LLC has yet another fantastic gaming accessory available to fill that void in games.  These coins are the perfect addition to those games that use fake coin money and would add a great bit of fun to any roleplaying game night!

Overall Score : 4/5 (A little cheaper would be nice, but the price is still great .. I’m just a cheapskate)

Pros :
Great weight, sound and feel
Won’t tear
Can be cleaned
Adds a lot of style to your game(s)

Cons :
Added weight to the game (for travel – not a lot of weight but when it starts to add up it could be an issue for some)
Added cost (you could go hog wild adding coins of all kinds and the next thing you know, can’t pay your rent! #Gamerproblems)
We have to wait for them to arrive! (ok, that’s not a con, it’s impatience)

serpent coins



rangers coins


cthulhu coins


forgemaster coins


Disclaimer : Fantasy Coins LLC sent a set of their original coins and gems to review.   The writers at I Will Never Grow Up Gaming do their best to write unbiased reviews based on personal opinion; a free game or gaming accessory does not equal a positive review.

FMGCon2014 Recap

September 11th, 2014



I Will Never Grow Up Gaming attended, and co-sponsored, the 4th Annual Field Marshal Gaming Convention in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada held on September 6th and 7th, 2014.

This convention is billed as a casual, family friendly, open tabletop gaming weekend.  It’s a smallish convention typically seeing around 40-50 gamers spending 2 very full days of tabletop gaming of all kinds.  There is typically a heavy Axis and Allies contingent that spends the first day doing nothing but, however this year was different.  There was less A&A and much more of .. well, everything else!  And a LOT more people!  Within minutes of the doors being open tables were filling up with guests playing games.  Quite a sight to see compared to prior years where the first couple of hours was more of a mingling session and a few people wandering around not knowing anyone.  It was a rare sight this year to see anyone not involved in a game of some kind.

Now in its 4th year, this time commemorating the 100th anniversary of WWI with its “World at War” theme, the convention provides its guests with a great opportunity to get away and enjoy their favorite, and many new games face to face with other gaming enthusiasts.

FMGCon2014 Front Desk

FMGCon2014 - 1775 RebellionHaving been to all 3 previous events and being on the committee, obviously I new what to expect.  What I did not expect was the fantastic turnout and that higher level of professionalism that the con has gained as it matures.  This years event was 10 steps closer to the “big con” experience with the “small event” casual, and more importantly, friendly feel.

The front desk was well run and organized and had all the information you needed. The Bring and Buy table was full of treasures.  The Games Library has continued to grow exponentially each year, so much so that it’s difficult to choose the games you want to play in a “limited” 30 or so hours of game time!  Things ran smoother than ever before.  Even with the whirlwind of activity and the confusion that results, the staff were on the ball at all times.

With over 60 gamers attending throughout the course of the weekend the staff were kept busy manning the front desk/snack bar/bring and buy table, fielding questions, demoing and teaching games and, in their off time, playing as many games as possible.  Heck, the staff were even playing games at the front desk in between attending to the guests needs.



Several organized game events were scheduled this year, which is the first time this was done.  And I do say, these events were a success.  From Warhammer Fantasy Battles, to Axis and Allies Miniatures through the day, Axis and Allies Global 1940 and Door Prizes AND all the open gaming, the action was non-stop.  Bolt Action Miniatures turned out to be the big scheduled event of the day on Saturday with 8 people playing a game pitting the Germans against an entrenched Russian army in Stalingrad.  Incredible, and a shout out to Ross Cossar for running that game.  Ross won the Bolt Action Minis starter set from Warlord Games at FMGCon2013 and has taken to the game since, teaching it to players at any number of conventions in the past year.  He did a fantastic  job and all of the players left the table happy (and some looking to get into starting their own armies).

FMGCon2014 - Midnight Munchkin Madness 2 For the 2nd year in a row, Midnight Munchkin Madness (titled as a humble nod to Felicia Day and “The Guild”) ran at 11pm Saturday.  This humourous card game saw 7 hardcore gamers (some of the few still left standing at that late hour) pitted against the monsters of an epic dungeon, and often against one another, to knock down the door, fight the monsters, loot the room and advance to glory.  Prizes were handed out randomly based on special prize cards placed in the pile, so how well you were actually doing in the game made no difference.  All in the name of fun!  A few of the guests had never even heard of Munchkin prior to joining this game, but they did quite well after a little bit of learnin’.


Sunday, as usual, saw a lighter crowd but there were still quite a few people mingling.  With the miniatures and “big” games (such as Axis and Allies) out of the way the day before, the Sunday crowd got down to playing everything else they could get their hands on.  This was the great opportunity to try out new games you’ve never heard of before, or ones that you enjoy but don’t get to play very often.  And there were a lot of them out!

The Play and Win Games table was well played, but no one played them more than the group of gamers who came from’s Whitby Card and Board Games group.  My god they played the heck out of those games, and it paid off.  They won the lions share!  For the first time ever doing a Play and Win, it went quite well.


This year the event chose to donate a portion of proceeds to Charity!

The Wounded Warriors Canada project was chosen as the charity of choice, as it seemed appropriate with the theme of the event (WW1 100th Anniversary) and its roots in strategy war gaming.  In addition to the proceeds from guest passes, “CHEAT (for charity)!” tokens were sold.  For $2 you received a token that could be used in any game (2 per game max) to “cheat”.  Did you roll the dice poorly?  CHEAT and re-roll them!  Did you draw a horrible card?  CHEAT and draw another!  Did someone play a card on you that you didn’t like?  CHEAT and cancel it out!  Did someone use a CHEAT token?  Use your own to CHEAT and cancel it out!  The Cheat tokens were a raging success and we got to hear a lot of stories from those who used them to great success and miserable failure.  There was also a Silent Auction on a Rod Hockey table, donated by one of the regular attendees.  $50 was raised on this silent auction and added to the Charitable Donation.  In total a little over $200 was raised for Wounded Warriors Canada!


Did I mention the sponsors yet?  No?  This year the convention saw phenomenal support from the gaming industry.

Games for the Library and the Play And Win event were donated by Alderac Entertainment Group, Plaid Hat Games, Game Salute, Stonemaier Games, Arcane Wonders, Cool Mini or Not and Victory Point Games.  In total 15 games were provided this year by these companies, some that had not even been released yet!

Advertising and promotion was provided by, Makerlight Studios (who do all of the fantastic posters and artwork for the convention), Strategy Games, Skyfox Games,, Daily Hobbies and Worlds Collide Comics and Games.

And of course, Field Marshal Games and I Will Never Grow Up Gaming provided door prizes and promotional support in addition to fronting the money to get things off the ground.

These companies, and the individuals who work for them, cannot be thanked enough for their huge support of a small convention like this!


So what did I get to do all weekend?

Besides manning the front desk for several hours, talking to a lot of people and taking dozens of photos of games being played, I ran the Midnight Munchkin Madness event, I got to teach two groups how to play Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures and refereed a game of “To End All Wars” WW1 Miniatures on a purpose-built trench table.

I also got to try out Boss Monster, Serpent Stones, Rivet Wars, Zombicide, 1775 The Rebellion, Castellan, Zombie Dice, Takenoko, Love Letter .. I am sure I’m missing something there but to be honest, a weekend with that much activity and little to no sleep, can you blame me for forgetting a game or two?  Yeah, you’re right .. shame on me!


When all was said and done, the games packed up and everything loaded into the trucks for the return home, the 4th Annual Field Marshal Gaming Convention was undoubtedly a success.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year, and, of course, your friends and family!  The Field Marshal Gaming Convention shows promise to grow and get it just gets better with each passing year.

Game on!

Written by James Campbell of I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

FMGCon2014 - AAM 1   FMGCon2014 - Boss MonsterFMGCon2014 - CastellanFMGCon2014 - Love LetterFMGCon2014 - Rivet WarsFMGCon2014 - Takenoko (Day 2)FMGCon2014 - XWing Minis 4

The Best Cooperative Board Games

Everyone’s a Winner With The Best Cooperative Board Games

Competition is fun. Being the winner is really fun. Being the loser, however, not as fun. That’s why the best cooperative board games can be so useful and unique: if I win, you win too. If I lose, guess what? We’re all losers.  If you love to play games with your friends working towards a common goal, then cooperative board games are the perfect fit for you!

The games we’re discussing here fill just that need. Cooperative games are a great way to get people involved in games because they don’t feel as left out on an island to figure things out for themselves and other players are more likely to help because everyone’s success is linked to one another.

Here you will find a list of the best cooperative board games followed by games highly recommended to anyone looking for that non-competitive, board game that you and your friends can play together.

Best Cooperative Games
Best For
(1-5) Stars
Pandemic Board Game

13+ 2~4 Party 45 min 4.5 Stars4.5
Forbidden Desert Board Game

13+ 2~5 2 player/Party 45 min 4.5 Stars4.5
Eldritch Horror

14+ 1~8 2player/Party 2 ~4hrs 5 Stars5
Zombicide Base Game

14+ 1~6 Party 20min ~2hrs 5 Stars5
Battlestar Galactica
10+ 3~6 Strategy 2~3hrs 5 Stars5
Space Alert

12+ 1~5 2player/Party 20 min 5 Stars5
Resistance The 2nd Edition

13+ 5~10 Party 30 min 5 Stars5
Shadows Over Camelot

10+ 3~7 Party 90 min 4.5 Stars4.5
Ghost Stories

12+ 1~4 2player/Party 60 min 4.5 Stars4.5
Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game

12+ 1~2 2 Players 60 min 4.5 Stars4.5
Duel of Ages II Basic Set

12+ 2~8 Strategy 60 min 5 Stars5
Wizards of The Coast Legend of Drizzt: A Dungeons and Dragons Board Game

12+ 1~5 Dungeon Crawl 45 min 4.5 Stars4.5
Castle Panic

10+ 1~6 Strategy 60 min 4.5 Stars4.5
Gears Of War

12+ 1~4 2 Players 60 min 4.5 Stars4.5

Strategy- Battlestar Galactica

battlestarIf you’re not familiar with the popular sci-fi show, Battlestar Galactica is built on the relationship between humans and cylons. Cylons are a mechanized alien race that has declared war on humans and has also recently found a way to look identical to human beings. So, in the game everyone plays a crew member aboard the human spaceship that is trying to flee the pursuing cylon fleet. But, here’s the twist, there are people in the game that are cylons, but you don’t know who.

This level of deception isn’t often found in board games, as cylon players try to secretly sabotage the efforts of everyone else playing. Cylons can, of course, be discovered and kicked off the ship. If you’re playing as a cylon, it can be nerve wracking to sit at the table with everyone else and be the only one that knows why everything is going so wrong.

This game is an absolute blast, especially if you’re a fan of the television show. But, if you’re someone that doesn’t enjoy backstabbing, collusion, and sabotage, Battlestar Galactica may not be for you. But, I am, so this game is for me.

Dungeon crawl- Zombicide

zombieZombicide is a perfect game for gamers out there that have been blasting away zombies on our computers and gaming consoles, but haven’t been able to scratch their tabletop zombie itch. This game started as a Kickstarter, so there is clear effort made towards satisfying the customer’s needs. In many ways, it means that this board game does a great job of simulating the video game experience in the same vein as Left 4 Dead.

Each player assumes the role of a survivor stuck out on the streets during a zombie outbreak, the game supports up to six total players, with each player taking on a character with a different set of skills. For example, the girl wearing roller skates gets a bonus to her movement capabilities. The point of the game is to work together to gather up loot and weapons, and then make it out of there alive, which doesn’t happen all that often for everyone in the game.

One thing you’ll notice when playing the game is the RPG elements. As players kill zombies, they will level up. Each character gains different bonuses the higher their level gets, but no matter who you are, when you level up you gain more attention for more difficult zombies.

There is all kinds of fun to be had in Zombicide. Working with the rest of your team to fight off hordes of zombies is a blast with your friends. One downfall of the game is that it does allow players to die. So, if someone makes a dumb mistake early on and gets eaten by zombies, they just became a spectator for the duration of the game’s 30-40 minute average play time.

 Two player- Space Alert

spaceSpace Alert proves that board games can be just as hectic and tense as any other form of gaming. In Space Alert, you and up to four other people play as the crew of a spaceship that is facing an incredible amount of distress. You must navigate through space as asteroids, aliens, and spontaneous equipment malfunctions try to slow you down and get you killed.

What makes Space Alert so intense is that it is one of the few games that is played in real time. Every game lasts ten minutes and at the end of the game you have either escaped or been destroyed. This creates a remarkably fun atmosphere, and forces players to communicate efficiently and effectively. The fact that the game is so crazy may also be a bit of a turn off for some people. Inevitably, people will start shouting things at each other, not because they are mad at them, but because they really need those engines up and running so that they can escape this enemy ship that is firing lasers at them. That may not be an ideal experience for everyone.

This is one of the best cooperative games out there simply because it does such a great job of creating that tension that can only be created by the constant fear of imminent death (so to speak). The game can be played with or without the CD that it comes with, but for the sake of atmosphere I would recommend using it.

Party- Saboteur

sabaturSaboteur is a hidden role game, just like I mentioned earlier with Battlestar Galactica. The theme in this game, however, is a bit more cute. You play as either a gnome or saboteur. The gnomes are excavating for treasure and are getting very close. If you’re a saboteur, you are trying to make sure that the gnomes don’t touch the treasure.

The game starts with the goal of reaching one of three cards that are facing down. One of those three cards will have the treasure, and the gnomes are trying to build paths within the mine that will reach one of those cards while the saboteurs are taking actions to slow them down.

This game is much more simple that Battlestar Galactica, so I would definitely recommend it to a crowd of non-gamers. The concept is accessible and the strategies are rather straightforward. If you’re looking for an accessible hidden role game, Saboteur is probably the best option avaiable.

Surviving Gaming Conventions

Tips for Surviving Gaming Conventions


You are in a room, possibly a very large room. It has many tables, chairs, and most of all people. These people will become your aquaintences, friends, and even temporary family. You are at a gaming convention for the next few days and it is your mission to survive this convention with strength, honor, and most of all fun!

Here are a few tips on surviving gaming conventions to help you figure out exactly how to do that. Be it a small tabletop gaming event to the largest Geek-Fests in the world, the advice is mostly the same.

1. Get as much information before you leave, as you can. Most conventions place information on their websites before you go. It is important that you know your way around, both inside the convention space as well as the local city, so that you will have more time to play your games and less time standing around figuring things out.

2. Sign up for the forums and talk to people about their expereinces. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

3. Try to arrive at the convention early so that you can scope the place out and get a feel for the “life” you will be living for the next few days.

4. Pack your own food instead of eating at the hotel. This is a must when you’re on a budget because hotel food is a lot more expensive than store bought food. Pack an ice chest with perishables, drinks, and ice. Bring along a small container or lunch box to carry food in. This will prevent you from having to return to the room. Call the hotel ahead of time to find out what accomadations your room will have. Find out if you will have a microwave and refridgerator at your convenience. If not, there are ways to make good food without these. If you have a coffee pot, you have instant access to hot water. Make a lot of sandwiches and bring some picnic essentials to go along with the meals. Rule of thumb, make sure to bring enough food to share with others and you should be sure to have enough.

On the same thought, bring food and drinks to the convention!  DRINK LOTS OF WATER through the day!  Staying hydrated can be a life saver.  If you forget to bring food or drink, most cons will have some available and there are always stores nearby.  Of course, bringing your own will save you money (Check the convention policies on outside food and drink first however, just in case).

5. Do not try to do it all. If possible, plan out your schedule before the convention. Most conventions will let you pre-register/sign up for games that you really want to play. Chances are you want to try and cram 96 solid hours of gaming into the weekend, to get the most of your money. If you do this however, it will become extremely hard to concentrate and play your best. Most hotels also do not allow you to sleep in the conventions gaming rooms, therefore you will need to get a room and sleep there.

6. Save money everywhere you can. Before booking a hotel room, log onto the convention site forums to see if anyone is asking for a roommate or if there are discount hotel room rates offered. If not, type up a post asking if anyone wants to split room costs. This can be a double or triple bargain! Just make sure that you follow hotel policies about how many occupants they allow per room. Be sure to sign up for the discounted rooms when they’re available. This could save you hundreds of dollars, depending on the length of your stay. Also see what your convention policies are on volunteering. Sometimes you can get a percentage off of your room, get discounts in the shopping areas, free meals, or other comps.

7. Bring a backpack or satchel. The thing about conventions is there’s often some free stuff for you to get your hands on and you’re going to need somewhere to put all that swag. So, bring a bag for you to put your loot in.  A backpack is also going to be helpful to bring some food and drinks (check the conventions policy on outside food and drink first just to be sure you can get away with this).

8. Stay Healthy. We’ve all heard about Con Crud. Wash your hands all the time. Bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Wash your hands all the time.  Pack Pepto tablets in case the con food starts hitting you hard. Bring some Advil or Tylenol in case you start coming down with something. If you start feeling really bad, do everyone a favor and go rest in your room instead of spreading the plague.

9. For the safety of everyone, please shower – they call it Eau D’Geek at a gaming convention. To average people, it’s just called B.O. These rooms are full people, all of whom are creating body heat.
Heat + Human Body = sweat & stink. Please, do yourself and your fellow gamers a favor and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD REMEMBER TO SHOWER EACH DAY!
(and no, just spraying on some cologne doesn’t work .. in fact it usually only makes it worse)

10. Speaking of odours, for the safety of everyone, PLEASE DO NOT WEAR SCENTED PERFUMES/COLOGNES.  Many people are allergic, and in some cases deathly allergic, to these chemical scents.

Just shower, put on some clean clothes and unscented deodorant and you will be saving others a lot of hassle and pain.

11. At larger conventions, there will be lines. Just be patient and wait in line, bring a DS and start a social game of Mario Kart? Or…

12. Talk to other people in line – yes, this mean interacting with REAL people in a NON-INTERNET based type of communication. When you’re standing in line waiting for things, just turn around and start to chat to the people around you. You never know who you’ll meet there. Some of the best of friends have met in convention lines.

13. Bring a camera because you never know who you’ll meet at these conventions or what you will want a picture of.

14. Bring some money.  Chances are you’re going to want some of the merchandise that’s going to be offered for sale. It’s unique, geeky, and hard to pass up.

15. Pack like a Backpacker.  This means, bring what you NEED, not what you THINK YOU MAY NEED.  If you find you’ve forgotten something you can always buy it there if you really  need it.  The less you bring, the easier it is to travel.

16. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.  There’s nothing like spending all day on your feet in shoes that are going to cause you pain.  You’ll be doing a lot of walking.  Wear appropriate footwear for that!  And take the local weather into account when dressing.  You don’t want to be at a convention, sweating like a madman because you dressed for the ice ages when it’s mid-summer.  Check the local weather forecasts ahead of time and find out what kind of environmental controls the convention space has so that you’re not uncomfortably dressed.

17. Last and most important of all, have fun!!! Play, make friends, be a good winner and loser, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Preview – Maha Yodha, “The Greatest Warrior” – Card Game

April 28th, 2014

Maha Yodha means ‘the greatest warrior’ in Sanskrit.

Maha Yodha also happens to be the name of a card game that celebrates the rich mythology and ancient culture of the Hindu faith, which has not really been explored (if at all?) in tabletop gaming.  This game is being launched on Kickstarter on April 30th May 7th, so if you like what you read here, be sure to check it out and back it.  Maha Yodha, a game 4000 years in the making!

Maha Yodha is a Card Game that brings to life the epic battles and immortal tales from India’s mythical past. Your deck of cards has legendary warrior cards along with powerful weapon and scroll cards. Your deck signifies your faction and you are its commander. Fight against other factions & use war-craft and clever strategies to lead your faction to victory and emerge as the ‘Maha Yodha’.

Maha Yodha was designed as a simple and quick 2 player game that also features deep tactical maneuvering of hand management. It is an introduction for beginners who are making their first steps in the world of themed card games.

The prototype we received to preview features two of the decks of the factions that will be made available.  In this preview we will see the Adityas (white deck) and Asuras (black deck), each with its own slightly different style of playing.  What’s that you say?  Another Collectible Card Game?  The creators assure us this is not the same as your average CCG.  In fact, they don’t want to have you dealing with “rares” and the like at all.  You buy a deck, and that is your deck.  There is no bonus for having more money and time available to you than your opponent.

Objective :

The way to win is to bring your opponent’s life (which starts at 20) down to zero.

Each turn, as you place warriors, weapons and scrolls (by spending ‘valour’ points), you ‘attack’ and deal damage to the opponent equal to the attacking strength of the warrior minus the total Defence of the defender. Beware though; if your attacking strength is less than your opponent’s Defence you take damage equal to the difference instead.

The Cards :

  There are three types of cards that are played in Maha Yodha.  They are Warrior, Weapon and Scroll cards.  Each card has its rules and details printed directly on it, such as Attack, defense and any special abilities and a little bit of trivia knowledge (Who says you can’t learn while playing a game?).

  Warrior cards are used to attack, obviously.  You can place any number of warriors as long as you have enough Valour to spend.  Weapons can be added to warrior cards to provide additional attack and/or defense values and you can add any number of weapons to a warrior card.  Each weapon has a corresponding warrior that it will work best with giving you special bonuses beyond the additional attack and defense.  Scrolls are cards that feature special abilities.  These abilities remain in effect as long as they are in play.

 And can we just say; the artwork on these cards is beautifully done!  The only drawback we found in the look of the game is that some of the cards have a yellow on white fine print text that can be difficult to read.  If they fix this and make the text match the rest of the deck (purple on white) then that complaint is easily erased. (** EDIT : The makers are aware of this issue and promise it will be rectified in the final product)

Game Setup :

Each player chooses their deck and shuffles it.

The player going first (however you choose to decide this as the rules don’t specify any particular way) draws 5 cards as their initial hand and they may discard the entire hand and redraw (after revealing it to their opponent) if it contains no warriors.

The second player then does the same.

Setup is as simple as that, and now you’re ready to play!

Gameplay :

Gameplay is very straight forward and fast.  Anyone who has ever played Magic : The Gathering will find it even easier as it has some similar mechanics, cutting out much of the more involved and difficult aspects.

First you must discard any scroll cards you have on the battlefield, pick up into your hand any warriors and weapons previously played (aha, very unlike Magic there), and then discard any number of cards (of your choice, if you choose to discard any at all) from your hand.  You then have to draw new cards up to the hand limit of 5 (if you want to keep what you picked up and you’re already at 5, you simply don’t draw new cards)(again, unlike Magic .. good, now we’re getting somewhere different).

Each turn you have 5 Valour points that are spent to lay cards in any combination.  Some cards may add more Valour points, most of them however cost you a specific number of points, as listed on the card with a little lightning bolt symbol, and you cannot lay a card if it costs more Valour than you have available.  This is a very easy way to determine what you can lay.  There is not fiddly adding up points based on what you’ve got on the table.  You always have 5 points, period, end of story (unless of course you add more by playing cards that tell you to in that turn).  Simple!

You then add up your total attack value and if your Attack is higher than the opponents Defense value, you deal damage equal to the difference (attack-defense=damage)!  If your attack value is LOWER than your opponents defense you take damage yourself instead (oops).

When your opponent is reduced to zero (0) health from your original 20, the game is over and you win.

See the picture to the right for a sampling of what a typical round  may look like ->

Summary :

Maha Yodha is a 2 player CCG with some familiar (and some not so familiar) mechanics that plays in 20-30 minutes and is very easy to learn, with stunningly beautiful artwork and fun history and facts.

We would rate it a 6.5 out of 10 overall (at this stage).

A couple of minor issues we found that the creators have a lot of time to look into fixing;

  • Tiny yellow text on white backgrounds on some of the cards is hideously difficult to read (an easy fix before production begins and has been noted by the makers)
  • How a typical round is to be played needs some clarification (For example, does the attacking player play all of their cards, then the defending player?  Or do you play one card at a time alternating between the two players?  Or does the defender play their cards first?)
  • Does the defender need a Warrior to defend?  (I assume no)
  • The rules, while simplistic and meant for quick easy play, are possibly TOO simplistic.  Some examples and further explaination would go a LONG way to bringing our rating up some and giving us a better idea of how the game plays out!

Certainly nothing major there to be worried about as I imagine most of the wrinkles will be ironed out before the game goes into production.

Overall the game has been very well designed and illustrated.  Maha Yodha would make a great “conversation piece” type of card game for most players (due to the history and mythology that is so often unexplored) and we think it would make a decent addition to your collection even if only for that reason, let alone the gameplay value.

See more about Maha Yodha on Facebook or visit the Kickstarter page

Review : X-Wing Miniatures Game stays on target!

March 21st, 2014

Overview of the Game

The X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship to ship miniatures game that puts you in control of a squadron of Imperial or Rebel starfighters from the Galactic Civil War era of the Star Wars Universe. If you’re a Star Wars fan or think that commanding a space battle sounds like fun (and you would be correct), you should definitely give this game a try!

Whatever your chosen vessel, the rules of X-Wing facilitate fast gameplay. Each ship type has its own unique piloting dial, which is used to secretly select a speed and maneuver each turn, but more on that later.

Star Wars: X-Wing features (three) unique missions, and each has its own set of victory conditions and special rules; with such a broad selection of missions, only clever and versatile pilots employing a range of tactics will emerge victorious. What’s more, no mission will ever play the same way twice, thanks to a range of customization options, varied maneuvers, and possible combat outcomes.

The Star Wars: X-Wing starter set includes everything you need to begin your battles, such as scenarios, cards, and fully assembled and painted ships. What’s more, Star Wars: X-Wing’s quick-to-learn rule set establishes the foundation for a system that can be expanded with your favorite ships and characters from the Star Wars universe.

About the Setup

The initial setup for your initial game can be quite lengthy. As with most Fantasy Flight Games products, the rulebook is quite clear and covers the game thoroughly; but it can take a little while to get through all of it. Diagrams are often used to illustrate what the rulebook is talking about, which makes things easier to understand for anyone who is visually inclined. Once that’s done, there are numerous cardboard elements that will have to be punched out, including flight path rulers, ship movement dials, tokens and markers, ship identifiers, obstacles, etc.  Keep in mind that once you’ve done this the first time, subsequent set-ups will go by a LOT faster.

Once all of that first-time-only stuff is out of the way, you have to assemble your squadron! If you’re playing for the first time using the setup recommended in the rulebook is strongly suggested, even if you have other (expansion) ships and pilots available to you, as it is much simpler to learn the basics of the game this way. For subsequent games, if you’re playing with just the starter set, you’ll have options for pilots and a few upgrades. If you have additional ships from the expansions, your options really start to open up. This can lead to long pre-game setup if squads weren’t planned in advance, particularly when it comes to selecting upgrades (including missiles, bombs, astromechs, co-pilots, etc.). Once the squads have been determined, the ships must be attached to their stands and bases, although this is a quick and easy process. Once that’s done, it’s time to fly.

A Brief Overview of the Gameplay

At its core, gameplay is relatively simple. Each player chooses a manuever from the movement dial for each of their ships and lays the dial facedown. Maneuvers are colored green, white, or red on the dial.

  • Red maneuvers are generally longer and more difficult than other moves, so they make the pilot take a stress token, which prevents that pilot from taking actions (more on that in a moment) or performing another red maneuver until the token is cleared.
  • Green maneuvers clear a stress token, but are generally shorter and simpler moves.
  • White maneuvers have no additional negative or positive effects beyond moving the ship.

Once all ships have had a maneuver assigned, the players reveal and move their ships one-by-one, starting with the ship whose pilot has the lowest pilot skill rating (a number on each pilot’s card dictates their pilot skill). After each ship is moved to the end of the movement ruler that corresponds to the maneuver they selected, the player has the option to have the active ship perform one of a variety of actions, including acquiring a target lock that lets the ship reroll attack dice or use certain secondary weapons, gaining a token the can be used to modify attack or defense results, barrel rolling, etc. Which actions are available varies by ship type and pilot, and are completely optional. Once all ships have been moved, the game moves to the combat phase.

The combat phase starts with the pilot with the highest skill and then going in descending order. In order to attack, players use the range-finding ruler to determine if any ships are in range and within the ship’s firing arc (printed on the ships base cards). A ship can choose to attack any ship that meets both of these conditions, but can only attack one per turn. Once an attack is declared, the attacker rolls attack dice equal to the attack value for its primary weapon (printed on the pilot’s card) or secondary weapon (printed on the weapon’s card), depending on what they’re using. If an attack was made from range 1, the attacker gets an additional attack die. The defender then gets to roll evasion dice equal to the ship’s agility number. If an attack was made from range 3, the defender gets an additional evasion die to roll. The number of hits on the attack dice are compared to the number of evades on evasion dice to determine if any damage is dealt. Things get a little more complicated, though, as there are hits and critical hits. Normal hits will deal a face-down damage card to the ship if not cancelled by shields or an evasion die. Critical hits deal a face-up damage card to a ship if not cancelled. Face-up damage cards still count as one damage, but add additional effects, such as extra damage, reduced pilot skill, prohibiting certain actions, etc. All normal hits must be cancelled by die rolls or shields before critical hits can be cancelled. A ship is destroyed if it takes damage equal to its hull strength.

Once all attacks have been resolved, the round starts over with players assigning all surviving ships a maneuver.

Play continues in this fashion until one squadron is entirely wiped out or the scenarios (if one is being played) objective is met.

Game time can range from as short as 20 minutes to well over an hour depending on the size of the squadrons, players’ abilities to read their opponents, and the luck of the dice. Since all combat is determined entirely by dice rolls, luck plays a huge role in this game. If you don’t like games with a strong luck-based component, this isn’t the game for you.

Strategy is definitely involved, but even the best strategy can be defeated by a series of bad dice rolls.

Learning The Game

The game is really quite simple to learn, especially compared with most other miniatures based games on the market.

Things get a little more complicated in the details than mentioned above, such as what to do when pilots’ skill levels are tied, what happens if ships run into each other or leave the play area, how to use some secondary weapons, etc., but the vast majority of the time, it really is as simple as described in the above section. Even when it’s not, the rules are very clear on what to do in any of those exceptional circumstances, and the results are logical and easy to remember.

Most people who play this game have a firm grasp of the rules and mechanics after only one (or two for those who take longer to learn rules) games. From there, it’s simply a matter of figuring out how to use the different types of ships, pilots and upgrades most effectively; which just takes a bit of playing with them to get a feel for the different roles they fill.

The Game Components

The quality of the miniatures for this game, at this price level, is astounding. All of the sculpts are highly detailed, even going so far as to include nicks and gashes on some of the unique ships to show their battle damage (such as on the Millenium Falcon). However, being plastic, some of the sculpts have parts that seem very delicate, such as the tips of the X-Wing’s wings. They probably seem more fragile than they really are but it never hurts to be extra careful with them.

Otherwise, the huge amount of extra pieces is astounding.  The 6 unique eight-sided dice are a great new mechanic introduced for this game.  Rather than numbers as we’re all used to they consist of Hit/Critical Hit/Blank (on the 3 red attack dice) or Evade/Blank sides (on the 3 green defense dice).  Of course, you can buy a separate Dice expansion as the 6 dice provided with the game are often not enough (unless you like to keep track and then roll the same dice again for one combat round).

The cardboard tokens and range rulers are all made from the same thick, high quality material as virtually every other Fantasy Flight Games product and seem sturdy enough for most gamers.

The pilot cards are nicely glossy, full colour cards with lovely graphics, but probably a little bit thin (though this isn’t much of an issue since they don’t get shuffled). Some of the cards artwork has been shared between this game and Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars LCG, which might irk some people who happen to have both games, though this is a minor point. Also, be aware that if you plan to sleeve your cards for this game, you will need standard sized sleeves for the pilot cards and mini sleeves for the damage and upgrade cards.

Overall Verdict

Overall,  Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures is a very fun game that really captures the feel of the space battles from the classic Star Wars trilogy without bogging you down in rules and charts, and the miniatures are quite amazingly detailed.  However, the game won’t continue be much fun if you don’t plan to expand your collection significantly. Given the cost of each additional ship and the number you will need to form a 100 point squad (the recommended standard for the game), forming a viable squad can start to get pricey very quickly, especially if you want the option to have a great squad for both sides. Also, given Fantasy Flight’s apparent inability to keep things in stock and the long turnaround on reprints, there can be long periods where selection is limited at best.

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of Star Wars and prefer Star Trek?  Yeah, there’s a game that’s almost exactly the same (with some minor distinctions) set in the Star Trek universe, “Star Trek Attack Wing”!

Published : 2012
Publisher : Fantasy Flight Games

2+ players (limited only by the number of models you purchase and the points level you choose to play at)
30+ minutes play time
Ages 10 and up (manufacturer recommended 14+)

Overall Rating : 9/10 (some minor rules hiccups with a few of the special abilities, but otherwise a near perfect miniatures combat game)