If I’m Going Down… by Van Ryder Games Review by David Lowry

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If I am Going Down

If I am Going Down… by Van Ryder Games

Creak….. Creak….. Drag…. Thump, Drag….. Thump. The noise grows closer as you hear ragged breath emanating from whatever is getting closer. You peak through the slit in the door frame and see a human forming moving closer to you. Limping along, it is misshapen you can tell from the back light. Trying not to make a sound, the hair on the back of your neck stands up as you know something isn’t right. A chill runs down your spine as it just keeps coming. How does it know you are in there? You feel around for anything you can find as a weapon, trying to not make a sound. Finally it moves in the light coming through a window from the moon.

Hollow eyes stare at your location, flesh hangs from its face and hands. Dried blood covers its clothes and it skin is grayish, rotted and you can start to smell the stink of a…. dead body. Suddenly, you notice more figures moving your way…. The same slow gate, and you realize they are there to help you. Panic rises and your breath grows shallow. What are you going to do, it’s almost at the door. You feel something round, wooden… a bat? You grip it tight, waiting for it to open the door.

Publisher: Van Ryder Games

Released: 2012

Game Designer: A.J. Porfirio

Artwork: Gary Simpson, Aaron Wong

Players: 1 – 2

Ages: 14 to adult

Playing Time: 30 – 60  Minutes

Game Mechanics: Co-operative play, Card/Battle Driven, Campaign

Contents: Zombie deck (55 cards,) fate deck (41 cards,) six character cards, 50 tokens, 3 scenario cards, 2 turn reference cards, 1 zombie ability reference card, scenario book and rule book.

Suggested Retail Price: $30.00

Parental Advisory: Theme not safe for kids however, there is no blood or gore. The card art is the only real issue here.

If I am Going Down… by Van Ryder Games is the first DCG (Dying Card Game) at least that I know of on the market. What does this mean? It means you will die playing this game. No two ways about it. That is definitely a new marketing position if I have ever seen one. Being a able to play as a solo or a co-op with another play is a nice new twist as well. Also a nice feature is the fact that is scenario driven. You can play with or without the scenario book and even create your own scenarios.

In If I’m Going Down…, you place cards in set pattern and battle zombies as they move closer to you. Each character cards has unique abilities and operates better with certain weapons than others. You start the game with 3 items/weapons and can search for more on your turn to upgrade so to speak or ditch weapons which are no longer of any use. Most of the zombies are generic but some have special abilities that make it harder to kill and some pop up right next to you. The object of the game is to see how many zombies you can kill before they finally kill you.

When I first played this game, I found it to be fun but something that could very easily get old quickly. The first game I played was about 60 minutes and then I found a couple things I was doing wrong with not paying enough attention to the symbols on the zombie cards for effect. Then I played again right after that and the game never ended. Two hours in. and I am killing everything in site over and over again. I finally had to leave for a meeting otherwise I could have been there a very long time.

If I’m Going Down… is a well thought out game for the most part. It’s a bit of very cool and a bit of meh. I can see where A.J. has a great head for game design. He did extremely well in designing the components. The resources cards are double sided and very easy to understand and give you all the info you need while playing. The rule book is very well done. The scenarios are well done as well and the fact that you can create your own help with re-playability if you want to invest the time. Otherwise, this doesn’t have a ton of re-playability. It does suffer from the feeling of just going through the motions doing the same thing over and over again. However, it’s a very solid effort, with a few different zombies thrown in, and maybe a variant that increases the overall decision making, then this game becomes a whole lot better. Right now it’s basically a hack and slash card game that has great potential.

The other issue I had was the character movement. Can they? It isn’t listed as an action yet it is referenced in the rule book. I figured it should be an action, so I used the same movement as a zombie. One space per turn. This needs to be clarified unless of course I missed it.

Like I said before, the components are well done both in ease of use, structure and materials. The art work is good, but could be better. Being the first game, I am sure budget may have had a bit to do with this. A.J. included a spacer on the back of the rule book to help keep the card rows straight. That was a great idea to be included. There were a lot of little touches A.J. thought of that many designers and publishers don’t.

Over all, If I’m Going Down… is a decent game that is best suited to people who are zombie fanatics, love solo games and really like hack and slash. It’s not a must have game, but it isn’t bad either. It’s a very solid first (I believe) effort from Van Ryder Games. Based on what I have seen here, I am excited to see what else they bring to the table as they show great promise for future games.

I am giving this game 6 out of 10 stars.

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Belfort From Tasty Minstrel Games Review by David Lowry

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Belfort

Belfort from Tasty Minstrel Games

“What the ….?” The lumber yard is bustling more than ever as you look upon scores of elves picking up wood for whatever project they are working on. “What is going on?” you ask the yard foreman. “Seems that the King has requested a lot of building to be done.” he replies. “What? I was given the license to build for the city. I won that job!” Hastily making your purchase you take your load to the job site where currently underway, you have a tower going up.

As you walk towards the site, a dwarf runs up to you handing you a letter. Reading the apology sent by the Assistant Deputy of the Assistant Deputy, it states the King has decided that because of a clerical error, many master architects have been hired to build for the city. When building season ends, the King will hand the Key to the City to the one master architect who truly deserves it. “I can’t believe this!” you scream. “Grunt! Get over here!” A dwarf red of hair, stout of build and covered in dust and dirt from the morning work ambles up to you. “Yes sir, what do you need?” he grumbles as if he is to busy to be bothered. “Hire, all the help you can, elves and dwarves alike! Get as many gnomes as we can muster and get to building as many building as we planning all at once. Make sure you are first to the quarries, lumber yards and gold mine. We need to be ahead and better than everyone else. Well don’t just stand there! Move!” you shout. “Yes sir!” Grunt starts yelling at workers, giving them orders and point in directions for them to go. Then he scurries off to attend to his mission.

Shaking your head, you mind reals from all the work, long nights and personalities that will create issues you will now have to deal with. “It’s always something” you mutter to yourself. You set your mouth in grim determination and your mind to make sure that you will have that Key to the City at the end of building season and no one is going to stop you.

Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games

Released: 2011

Game Designer: Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim

Artwork: Joshua Cappel

Players: 2 – 5

Ages: 13 to adult

Playing Time: 90 – 120 Minutes 

Game Mechanics: Worker placement, Area Control/Influence, Card Drafting, Hand Management

Contents: 5 Game board districts, key to the city, calendar board, collection board, 50 property cards, 5 turn order crests, 1 calendar marker, 5 player boards, 12 guild tiles, 30 wood logs, 30 stone blocks, 20 metal bricks, 46 gold coins, 6 multiplier chips, 35 dwarves, 35 elves, 22 gnomes, 60 property markers and 5 scoring markers.

Suggested Retail Price: $59.99

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

In Belfort, each player is sending their loyal crew of Elves and Dwarves to the tasks of gathering resources, gold and constructing various buildings that have unique abilities for increasing influence in the city. Hiring Gnomes as staff for the building thereby, activating many of the special abilities and helping the player achieve success. Likewise, players can hire guilds to help along the way.

As each player is building in the five districts, their influence grows and knowing what and when to build can be critical to their success. According to the calendar, the scoring will be done three times throughout the building season. This will based on each players influence in each of the five districts as well as the size of their workforce of Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes. By the end of the seven rounds, the player who has earned the most points wins the Key to the City!

First let me state that Belfort is an amazing worker placement game. It is very well thought out and offers plenty of strategy while it is still simple to learn and understand. With all the worker placement games out there (and there are tons of them,) this one to me stands hands above most of them. With the popularity of gateway games of the genre like Lords of Waterdeep, Belfort brings much more to the table. The theme stands out to me immensely. I am not sure why exactly but it probably is a combination of many things such as the artwork, story and feel of the game. Many games of this style have themes that are just pasted on such as Lords of Waterdeep and have really no effect on the game. The mechanics of cube pushing are really all that matter in providing the character of the game at this point.

Belfort somehow manages to incorporate their theme into the overall experience and make it absolutely critical to the experience. The strategy of the game is quite deep and yet only feels like a medium weight game. If the players are familiar with euro style games, they will pick this up very easily and a great game will be born every time you play it. Yet as stated before, it is a good game for new gamers to learn and pick up quickly. This also serves very well as a family game as there is nothing for adults to have to worry about theme wise.

The artwork of Belfort is top notch and really, really adds a lot of flavor to the gaming experience. The components are some of the best yet for a euro game. The boards, guilds and other pieces are thick and colorful. There was no warping whatsoever in my copy. Everything is easy to read and understand. The cards are of good stock, weight and good artwork. A little assembly is required as you need to put stickers on the different colored playing pieces when breaking open the game.

My only complaint may be that player boards might have been a bit better as you need a lot of room to play this game. The building costs are on the player board and on the cards again. I have yet to see anyone use the board to determine the cost of building. Some space may have been saved here and there, with the calendar board, resource board and player boards and a little better planning, but this is a very minor complaint. As over all this game is awesome.

Belfort has become my go to game in worker placement genre. I have to play anything of this weight that is this fun, deep and easy to learn. While there are many great games out there, Belfort should be a table favorite for a long time to come. You don’t shelve great games and Belfort is a GREAT game.

I am giving Belfort 8.5 out 10 stars.

This game is Club Fantasci Certified!

Club Fantasci Certified

Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Utilizing Free Content for Board Game Publishers

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Club Fantasci

The board game industry is all about the “Cult of the New” now. The next big game, next exciting Kickstarter, that is what is driving companies these days. It’s new content and a constant driving sales force and we as board game lovers fall in line and buy all that we can as it comes out. We forget about the games that came out before as the new games make it to the table five or six times before the next hot thing arrives for us to drool over. For years great games came out at a much slower pace before Kickstarter started launching what seems to be 50 new games a week.

With all the new people coming to gaming now, they don’t know about the
“old” games (anything over a year old it seems) as all the scuttlebutt is what is hot now or coming out. This is why I started the “Revisiting the Classics” reviews for Club Fantasci. There are so many great games that people forget about or have never discovered and that is a shame as many of past years games are just as good or better than todays games. How can we tackle this problem?

Well, first of all publishers have to learn to market their past games as well as their new games. Learning how to drive traffic to your website is key in any marketing strategy and then having the content there that is on the FRONT page is where it is at to successfully sell your whole catalog. You can do this in rotation so as not the over clutter your home page.

Recently I wrote a quick review for Le Phantome de L’ Opera for Asmodee Games. They put it on their front page of their site a couple months ago now and I still get hits on this review from their site. Is it selling games? I don’t know, all I know is people read this review everyday. That should help sell games if it’s a good review.

Mayfair Games posts reviews on the games direct page on their site but many of the publishers ignore this content or only post it on their Facebook page or twitter. While this makes your social media strategy easy as you always have new content (although many still don’t use this) it isn’t helping make the sale on your webpage.

Many may not agree with me, but I am a firm believer in leveraging your resources and board games reviewers are the publishers most power free resource their is. So publishers, when a review comes out, if you feel that is a great piece to help sell your game, use it. Don’t just use your favorite reviewers, you will alienate the other ones. Judge the review on it’s own merit and use that. Help the reviewer out as they are helping you out.

Maximize your online sales strategy with smart, efficient and effective marketing and watch your sales grow. Take care of your reviewers and they will take care of you. Most of all let’s do it for the love of spreading our love of this amazing hobby and the great games from before.

Best of luck!

TN Game Days 2014 Recap

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TN Game Days

The TN Games Days held it’s 9th convention from March 14th – 16th in Franklin, TN at the Cool Spring Marriott this last weekend and let me tell you it was a blast. It was my 5th time and first time as a sponsor at this board game convention and each year it gets bigger and better. This year it grew by about 80 attendees to reach 350 people total. The event run by Rick Kuehler, Bo Link and Russ Rupe (Conquest Gaming, LLC) was very well done as usual and is one of the events I most look forward to every year.

TN Game Days

Friday afternoon

Starting at 8:00 am on Friday morning, the convention hosts events all three days including things like a flea market, math trade, 3D Battlestar Galactica (thank you Craig Herbert,) Crokinole tournament, Wits & Wagers tournament, designers showcase, a Tessen tournament, Conquest of the Empire, a charity auction plus tours of games for the attendees to participate in and register to win prizes throughout the convention.

The tours consisted of the following:

Quick Gaming Tour – Escape: the Curse of the Temple, Love Letter, For Sale, The Resistance and Snake Oil being the featured games.

Calendar Tour – Around the World in 80 Day, Kingsburg and Dungeon Lords.

Cult of the New Tour – Relic Runners, Space Sheep! and Parade.

The Constructables Tour – Steam Park, Wits & Wagers, Stecon: Infinity.

Netrunner: New Players Tour.

TN Game Days

Personally I was able to teach two epic games of A Game of Thrones 2nd Ed., one was 4 hours, the other was seven hours (I love this game,) played Battlestar Galactica (humans lost at the last second,) Trajan, Nations, the brand new Marvel Legendary expansion: Paint the Town Red, Belfort, DC Deck Building Game twice and Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery. Friday I left at 3am and Saturday at 4 am. It was fun!

One of the great things about TN Game Days is it feels very intimate. Even though there are tables full of people everywhere, it isn’t to loud. You can hear the players, have plenty of space and you are close to everything you could need. The hotel is great, a bit pricey at $119 a night but it’s worth it right? Every year, I meet new and amazing people who come from all over the US to attend the event. Although I only got a couple new games in this year, it was well worth it as getting the big games to the table is always hard.

TN Game Days

The first Game of Thrones

Sponsors for the event were:

Game Surplus, Out of the Box Publishing, AEG, Conquest Gaming, LLC, Days of Wonder, Rio Grande Games, Roll The Dice, Bring Your A Game, Stronghold Games, Van Ryder Games, Let it Sew, Meeple Source, Z-Man Games and Club Fantasci.

Next years TN Game Days will be March 13th – 15th at the same location. Don’t miss this! If you have any questions about attending in the future or sponsoring please email me or get a hold of TN Game Days here: www.tngamedays.com.

Game on!

TN Game Days

Belfort from Tasty Minstrel Games

TN Game Days

Lord of The Rings with Craig Herbert’s enhancing

TN Game Days

Star Wars Crokinole Board

TN Game Days

Nations from Lautapelit.fl

TN Game Days

Trajan

Manifest: The Board Game from Schilmil Games on Kickstarter

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Manifest: The Board Game

Manifest: The Board Game

Ships, Cargo and Pirates oh my! Manifest: The Board Game is set in the roaring ’20s as players compete to ship cargo, flee pirates, hope the stock market doesn’t crash to devalue their cargo and deliver passengers while not get lost at sea or sink altogether.

Publisher: Schilmil Games

Game Designer: Amanda Milne, Julia Schiller

Players: 2 – 5

Ages: 13 to adult

Playing Time: 20 minutes per player

Game Mechanics: deck building, blind card draw

Contents: Game board, 55 action cards, 85 deck-builder cards, 42 contract cards, 48 cargo tokens, 24 passenger meeples, 10 cargo ships, 5 shipping company boards, 2 dice, 1 for sale board

Suggested Retail Price: N/A Currently in Kickstarter

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

Billed as a family game that has enough weight for serious gamers to enjoy this one to look at and support before it goes away. Only 15 days left to contribute!

Check out the Kickstarter for more videos, the rulebook and all the stretch goals: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/278847765/manifest-the-board-game?ref=live

 

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Gone Viking by The Flux Capacity on Kickstarter

Gone Viking

Gone Viking from The Flux Capacity is on Kickstarter with only 14 days left for you to contribute! Admittedly I am a bit late to this one but with the Club Fantasci Board Game Awards this month and the TN Game Days last weekend which we sponsored, I have been a bit busy.

Gone Viking is a trick taking game in the vein that is great on theme and unique enough that is should be a great addition to add to your cards games. One of the great things about this game is you are not limited to playing once card a turn.

I don’t want to put to much info in here as the goal is for you to visit the Kickstarter page and read it there.

On a personal note, the folks at The Flux Capacity sent one of the best emails I have ever received in announcing a release. The email came with all the relevant information, links and a zip file full of images to use which NEVER happens. Kudos to The Flux Capacity! This gives a great warm and fuzzy as to their professionalism.

Due to this I highly recommend you checking out and backing this project on Kickstarter.

Publisher: The Flux Capacity

Game Designer: Francois Valentyne

Players: 3 – 5

Ages: 13 to adult

Playing Time: 45 – 60 Minutes

Game Mechanics: Trick Taking

Contents: 54 playing cards, 41 wealth tokens,

Suggested Retail Price: N/A Currently in Kickstarter

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

Gone Viking

Components

Visit the Kickstarter Page here: http://goo.gl/8klDlX

The Flux Capacity webpage: http://thefluxcapacity.com/

The Flux Capacity on Facebook: http://facebook.com/thefluxcapacity

The Flux Capacity on Twitter: http://twitter.com/thefluxcapacity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wqh-2RL8yxI

 

 

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Draco Magi by Robert Burke Games on Kickstarter

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Draco Magi

Final Dragon Card Design

Robert Burke Games launches their game Draco Magi designed by Robert Burke and Richard Launius on Kickstarter. There are only 24 days on this project so don’t hesitate if it interests you.

Draco Magi looks like a pretty good card game that sits exactly in that pocket. No boards or other extraneous things, just cards with several different ways to be played to allow for some strategy.

Check out the kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/478379924/draco-magi

Game Description

Game Play Video

Tasty Minstrel Games Announces Scoville is now on Kickstarter

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Tasty Minstrel Games

 

 

 

A “hot” new game from the guys at Tasty Minstrel Games! Check it out and back it if looks good to you.

“This clever new game has been burning your ears for some time now, and we are so excited to release it to the world. Scoville has a unique and elegant mechanism that gives it great depth of play, yet makes it accessible to players new to the board game hobby. Players will be crossbreeding hot peppers to make them hotter, and hotter, so that they can be put together in the recipe’s that will fill the citizens of Scoville’s need for Heat.

With art by Josh Cappel you know the game is going to look amazing!

Now, here is where we are super excited for you. Normally in Kickstarter campaigns where game items have the flexibility to be custom named, backers can pay more money to have that privilege. But, we here at TMG don’t always do things conventionally.

We are going to offer random backers the opportunity to help us name these crazy hot recipe’s throughout the campaign.

Back early, and maybe you can lay claim to coming up with an Outrageously Hot Recipe Name. Are you creative enough to make the Minstrel’s Molten Mouth seem like stuff for a baby’s bottle? We’ll see…

If creativity isn’t your thing that’s fine too, we will still work with the winners to put their name into a recipe title if they wish to do that instead.

Also, stretch goals are in place, and with your help not only will we have some outrageously awesome recipe names, but we will also be able to add a fifth and a sixth player, custom farmer meeples, and of course, with more backers will come even more recipes for us to name.

So, please check out Scoville and back it.” – Tasty Minstrel Games

Check out the Kickstarter here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michaelmindes/scoville-the-hottest-farming-euro-game-ever?ref=TMGemail

 

Space Junk from Lamp Light Games Review by David Lowry

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Space Junk

Space…The Reality TV Frontier. The year is 2047 and the new “Green” is cleaning up space. There is tons of clutter littering the space around Earth and the future Jeff Probst has launched a reality TV program that will not only drive up his ratings with a race in space, but also clean up space as well.

In comes the cast of Space Junk. Sgt. Ned “The Hammer” Cole, Manuel Guerrero, Wynonna Fudd, Kitt Vicious, Mr. Smith, Bubba Johnson, Thomas “Tommy” Carmichael, Jimmy Ross and Johnny Tantrix. Join the cast as they race their ships made up and adapted from space junk!

Publisher: Lamp Light Games

Game Designer: Lief Steiestol, Mike Friesen

Players: 2 – 6

Ages: 6 to adult

Playing Time: 60 – 90 Minutes

Game Mechanics: Dice Rolling, Story Telling, Take That

Contents: 1 Game Board, 150+ Junk Cards, 8+ Character Cards, 6 six sided dice, 6 Ship Boards, 18 Translucent Cubes (3 of each color,) 12 Point Trackers (2 of each color,) 6 Space Ship Tokens and 1 First Player Marker.

Suggested Retail Price: N/A Currently in Kickstarter

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

Overview

In Space Junk players are characters that are featured on a reality TV show while racing each other to get the most point victory points at the end of six rounds of play. While racing the players are ramming, attacking and searching for space junk to attach to their ship in hopes of making it better and increasing their chances of winning.

The race happens within 3 rings around Earth which the players may traverse basically at will. The closer rings score points faster, the farther rings allow for more searching which allows to enhance the players ships as well as score points as most space junk cards have a victory point value. The player board holds six slots (used for ship enhancement) for attaching junk to to each players ship as well as a fuselage slot that can never be damaged. The cargo hold will hold as many junk cards as you wish (points!) and can never be damaged. Only the six slots on your ship can be damaged.

Space Junk

Prototype Components

Sequence of Play

Movement Phase : During the movement phase players may move the amount indicated by their Character Card and any junk cards. They first decide what ring to move in and then move the number of space indicated by their totals. A player may score points this way each time they pass the starting line which is very easy to do if they are in the center ring.

During the movement phase, players may ram another players ship if they land in the same space. This allows players possible to take junk from another players ship and place it on their own.

Attack Phase: During the Attack Phase, players may attack one other player no matter where they are on the board but will suffer a -1 penalty for every space away the defending player is. The attacking player roles a six sided die and add it to their attack total based on their Character Card and junk cards then subtracts any penalty. They score one hit for however many times the total is divisible by five i.e., if the player scores 15 then they hit 3 times and score points for the hit. Then the attacking player rolls one six sided die per hit and the defender move any card hit in a slot number (1-6) rolled by the three die. The damaged space junk cards are turned sideways and discarded after everyone’s turn.

Search Phase: The Search Phase allows each player to pick up space junk to add to their ship or cargo hold. The rings have a “limit” as to how many pieces of junk a player may pick up. The center ring is 3, middle ring is 6 and outer ring is 9. This limit is not altered by a players search total. A player may have a search of 13 but will only be allowed to take as many cards as the ring allows.

After all the players have adjusted their ships totals from junk lost or gained they are now on TV describing their character, ship and round just like any other reality TV episode you have seen. This is actually the most fun part of the game. I put in a house rule that any player that didn’t participate in this would lose 5 points just to make sure no one got to shy.

After six rounds of these three phases, the player with the highest point total wins!

Final Thoughts

Space Junk is a light game that tries very hard but misses on a few levels. It feels more like a party game and this is what are gaming group came away with. Being that the most fun was had during the characters describing themselves, the rest of the game pales in comparison and is a lot of work when you could just pull out Snake Oil or Cards Against Humanity and have no set up or tear down time.

Now to be fair, I reviewed the prototype so I am not sure what the real game will look and be like. The rules we a bit vague especially in the attack phase description. You are supposed to score 3 points when you successfully attack another player but it doesn’t specify if it is 3 points once or for every successful hit.

The scoring track is a major issue with me. It is completely fiddly and more confusing than helpful. I am sure it would not have increased the cost hardly at to print a scoring track around the board to make it easier to score and see immediately vs. having a track on the left in increments of 10 points except where they skip from 100 to 120. What happened to 110? Then to have another track on the right side to track the single points. Is this really necessary? Using two tokens to score instead of one on a board that had plenty of room for a scoring track all the way around it?

That artwork was good, the flavor text was sometimes funny although it didn’t always have something to do with the card it was printed on. I think the final product will be an attractive one. The cards and board I won’t comment on as I don’t know what the final product will be.

Space Junk is a decent first effort from Lamp Light Games and might fill a spot for people who love party games and space themes. I did enjoy the “TV time” portion of the game as did the rest of our group but the rest fell a bit flat and felt like just going through the motions with out any real need for much strategy. The dice are completely random and many times when scoring 3 hits, no damage was done to the other players ship.

Due to the amount of cards given in this game, it has some re-playability and I suppose expansion could be made I am just not sure it would be worth it. This is definitely a game that should be played with at least 4 – 6 players to have enough chance to ram or attack anybody with out penalties and to have enough “character stories” to have fun with.

Due to the lack of any real “game” and the best part being the “stories” I am giving this a 5.5 out of 10 stars. For what it is, it plays to long, is to much work and you can get the best of Space Junk in simpler cards games that aren’t as fiddly.

I was provided a review copy of this game.

Dungeon Roll Review by David Lowry

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Dungeon Roll

Dungeon Roll Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Two giant stone doors tower before you, covered in moss, vines and deep battle scars from ages gone by. Upon further inspection, a dank smell permeates the air as you approach the doors. The smell of death, decay and something not quite right makes your parties skin crawl. With a word, your wizard opens the doors to complete darkness and the unknown is tugging at your senses. The wizards staff lights up, the warrior moves in first, one member after another. What will you find in the Dungeon? Why is the hair standing up on the back of your neck? Why is there a giant red scale on the ground before you? Do you have the metal to brave Dungeon Roll?”

Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games

 

Game Designer: Chris Darden

Players: 1-4

Ages: 8 to adult

Playing Time: 15 minutes

Contents: 1 rulebook, 7 white party dice, 7 black dungeon dice, 1 10-sided level die, 36 treasure tokens, 24 experience tokens, 8 hero cards, 4 player aid cards, 1 hero book.

Suggested Retail Price: $15.99

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

Dungeon Roll

Necromancer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Dungeon Roll each player receives a Hero Card either at random or the player can choose from the following characters: Bard, Battlemage, Beguiler, Chieftain, Commander, Dragon Slayer, Necromancer and Paladin. Each Hero also has a Special Ability that can be used anytime and and Ultimate Ability that can only be used once per delve into the Dungeon. Hero can level up once after gaining enough experience points to help their special abilities.

The game is played in the rounds or each playing delving into the dungeon three times each. The first player then rolls the 7 white dice to determine their party that may include Champions, Fighters, Wizards, Thieves and Clerics. The person to the Players left is the Dungeon Lord and rolls the Dungeon Dice as well as tracks the current players lever with the Level Die.

Dungeon Roll

Bard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The players turn consists of four different phases:

The Monster Phase: The active player uses his companions (Champions, Fighters, Mages, Thieves and Clerics) to battle the Monster Dice (Skeleton, Goblins and Oozes.) Any Dragon dice rolled are set off to the side to be faced later if three or more Dragons are rolled. Once a companion is used to battle a monster is put in the graveyard and cannot be used again unless brought back with a potion later in the turn sequence. Dungeon Dice are returned to the Dungeon Pool to be reused again. The current player can press their luck and go deeper into the dungeon increasing the level on the Level Die and gaining more experience points. Level 1, one Dungeon Die is rolled, Level 2, two Dungeon Dice are rolled etc. If a player fails to defeat the current level, they must flee the Dungeon and their delve is over with out gaining any experience.

The Loot Phase: The player can choose to do these in any order.

Open Chests: One Thief or Champion may open any number of chests and all other companions can open a single chest.

Quaff Potions: Any companion (including scroll die) can be used to quaff any number of potion dice. One potion equals on companion resurrected from the graveyard.

Dragon Phase: If there have been 3 Dragon Dice rolled then the current adventurer must battle the Dragon! The adventurer can only defeat the Dragon if they have 3 different companions to battle it with. If there are not 3 Dragon Dice, skip this phase.

Regroup Phase: Here the adventurer retires to the tavern. They collect experience points equal to the level they achieved on the Level Die. If the adventurer was brave enough and somehow made it all the way to Level 10 on this delve, they must retire and collect 10 experience points. The adventurer can keep seeking glory by going deeper into the Dungeon if they have not achieved Level 10 yet. Remember if the adventurer cannot defeat all the Monster Die, they must flee the Dungeon and no experience points are gained.

Once the delve is over, the adventurer passes the dice to the left and play begins again with that player.

Once all the adventurers have completed all three delves the game is over and the players count up their experience points. The one with the most wins!

Dungeon Roll

Dungeon Roll Dice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasure: When a chest is opened during the Monster Phase, the current player gets to retrieve treasure from the Dungeon. These can be used during a players turn if applicable like a fighter token or a mage token which acts as an additional companion die. Once the toke is used it is returned to the box. All unused treasure tokens count as experience points at the end for the player that has them.

The components for Dungeon Roll are very good. The artwork is very nice, the dice are high quality with cool graphics and the tokens are small but serviceable and sturdy. The box is a cool treasure chest look for the packaging but I can see the lip on the inside getting damaged fairly easy so take care when closing the box. The Hero Cards are very attractive and of decent quality. As much room as in on the card, the text could have been bigger for people with eyesight issues but that is a super small quibble.

Dungeon Roll is an very fun, quick romp through the dungeon and in some ways the theme really comes through. This is a great filler game or travel game as it all fits in the small treasure box and is playable anywhere anytime as it really only lasts about 15 minutes each game. Designer Chris Darden did a great job of finding a way to mix the luck of dice rolling with strategy and the feel of a dungeon crawl in such a small, compact quick game. This is a winning design and game. Great job Chris and Tasty Minstrel Games.

I am giving this game 7 out 10 stars as it is very fun, quick and thematic at its core with just the right amount of luck and strategy for a filler game that keeps everyone engaged and is going to be great fun for kids and adults.