While we've been busy working on the business plan we've found the time for one or two games, these are three of our current favouries...
Not sure who wrote the blueprints for most of the castles we've built in this game but a larder probably shouldn't be reachable only from the crypt and I'm not sure I'd want the shed directly next to my great hall. In The Castles of Mad King Ludwig you build up your castle from a shared supply of rooms trying to select those rooms that will most please the King (and reach your secret objectives). Even the set up of this game is on theme, building up the pieces of the game board. The rules are direct and easy to learn, but the strategic choices can be intense.
While there's no direct interaction in the game, each decision impacts and influences your opponents as what you build limits them and sometimes you'll be paying them for the rooms you want, so you need to make sure not to overpay! With a random selection of rooms available each game a great variety of win conditions and gameplay dictated by your opponents decisions, this is a game we'll be coming back to again and again.
We saw a review of Evolution on a Shut up and Sit Down podcast which made the game sound so much fun we went out and bought it immediately - we have not been disappointed.
Those of you following us on facebook will have seen that my initial response when I opened the game was to be amazed by the stunning components. Beautiful, vibrant artwork, great quality throughout, a reference card which pretty much covers all the rules and food bags with more great artwork. I'm not sure what more I could have asked for.
The game itself is great - you start with a simple species which you evolve - becoming a carnivore to feed on the other species at the table, growing a long neck or developing scavenging to ensure you always have enough food. Each trait card gives your species a new angle to survive and thrive, but once you start combining them the variations become immense - the fat tissued carnivore was particularly frightening!
The game is also a wonderful explanation of the theory of evolution, so much so that one of our friends who teaches primary is already planning to use it in lessons. Finally wanted to say - great job by North Star Games with their 'how to play' video, you got us into the game really quickly!
A wonderful game about making honey with bees - stay with us because underneath this wonderfully simple concept and brightly coloured dice is a game with depths of strategy.
It reminded me a lot of Alien Frontiers with its elements of area control, resource management and dice rolling, but more closely linked to the theme and less directly competitive. On each turn you roll your bees then take it in turn to assign them to various options. You'll want more bees (dice), to make honeycomb , collect pollen of course, but there's also those special action cards and naturally you'll be wanting to turn that pollen into honey (the victory condition).
The competing hives will of course be doing the same thing and there'll be times you'll be cut off from particular options, but unlike in other games of this type it rarely feels like you're wasting a turn and the theme keeps it light and fun.
A great game for people new to the hobby with a theme that's unlikely to scare anyone off, but with enough going on that old hands will be engaged and entertained - I certainly was!