Letters from Whitechapel: Do not open!

Letters from Whitechapel box art. A shadowy figure standing above Whitechapel blueprints.

It’s Halloween. By now everyone has had their fill of pumpkin spice lattes and reviews and playthroughs of Mysterium. For me, I’m opening a blood drenched box holding a half-eaten human kidney and a letter that reads:

From hell.

Mr Lusk,
Sor
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer
signed
Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk

Which is weird, because my name’s David.

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Deck-Building is Dead. Long live Deck-Building! A Dale of Merchants Review.

Dale of Merchants box cover - features a hiker overlooking a small town by a waterfall

I grew up in the golden era of massively multiplayer online games. The biggest being World of Warcraft. It was fantastic. I lost years to the game. It also ruined the industry. No other company could come close to recreating something so irreverent and genre defining. In board gaming, Dominion did the same for deck-building. Many have attempted, but none have conquered the king. Dale of Merchants is a new challenger, and the question we must ask is: can it take the throne?

 

Dale of Merchants box cover - features a hiker overlooking a small town by a waterfallName: Dale of Merchants

Players: 2-4

Publisher: Snowdale Design

Designer: Sami Laakso

Artist: Sami Laakso

 

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Raiders of the North Sea – A board game to play before Ragnarok!

Raiders of the North Sea cover, angry vikings ready to raid

Not so long ago there were two schools of design within board games. On one hand, the uninteresting theme, no luck, all strategy games that came primarily from Germany – called Euro games or Euros. On the other hand, we had American style games where it was all randomness all the time, extremely high player interaction and jam packed with style. These games were lovingly referred to as Ameritrash. While these terms aren’t used so much today, as these styles have bled together over the years, this board game I’m reviewing demonstrates the differences each style brings while attempting to find a middle ground.

Raiders of the North Sea cover, angry vikings ready to raid

Name: Raiders of the North Sea

Players: 2-4

Publisher: Renegade Games and Garphill Games

Designer: Shem Phillips

Artists: Mihajlo Dimitrievski

Raiders of the North Sea allows players to live a week in the life of the Vikings of old. On Monday: you’ll work at the Mill getting food or gold. Tuesday: The Silversmith gives a silver for any help he receives. Wednesday: time to meet the townsfolk at The Gate House, make friends and they’ll join or aid your crew later. Thursday: make an offering to the chieftain at the Long House who’ll honour you with glory and victory points. It’s a good time to note this board game is not historically accurate. Friday: it’s one silver beer night at the Barracks making it a great place to pick up new crewmates and a hangover. Saturday: spoil yourself. Take the crew out raiding and pillage a nearby settlement. Sunday: pour some mead out for those who journeyed to Valhalla – the Viking equivalent of the big farm upstate, and then loot a now defenceless village. Monday: it’s time to do it all over again.

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Welcome to the Dungeon!

The unfortunate side effect of playing too much Guitar Hero in 2005 is that I can no longer say Welcome to the Dungeon without following with: we got fun and games. This week we’re going back to an old favourite, and a real turning point in my board game career. Where I turned from the lovable casual hobbyist into the board game consuming monster who writes this blog. The game that started it all is the fantastic and wonderful Welcome to the Dungeon, designed by Masato Uesugi, and published by IELLO. Beware that reading further will lure you deeper into the amazing world of board gaming. You’ve been warned.

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Back from the Depths Lovecraft Letter

This blog isn’t Marvel. We know this because I’m flat broke, and it doesn’t take a year to get a sequel. A couple weeks ago I reviewed Love Letter, and this week I’m back in the expanded Love Letter universe to review Lovecraft Letter. Although there are many flavours of the original game, Lovecraft Letter is the only version that revisits and re-implements core design of the game. It’s a 2-6 player game designed by Seiji Kanai and published by AEG.

Roll-to-review-board-game-lovecraft-letter-box-front

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CrossTalk: The Hip New Party Game You Should Be Talking About

 

Roll-To-Review-board-game-CrossTalk-Cover

There’s an old joke: a Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother. I feel like this encapsulates what CrossTalk is all about, you’re trying to get your team to guess the meaning of the word in vague yet creative ways. It’s a team-based party word game where you need to pick your words carefully, and your team carefully-er. Designed by Brett Sobol, Seth Van Orden and published by Nauvoo Games, let’s see how it rates.

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Santorini: Zeus Lands Lead in Greece Lightning

Roll-to-review-board-game-Santorini-Cover

As trashy as Jersey Shore gets, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Greek gods. Zeus, for instance, slept with anyone and anything, and ended up having more babies than a kindergarten. Seriously, once you hit double digits, maybe it’s time to consider a vasectomy? I mean I’m six months into having my first child, and I’m already thinking about it. Anyway, believe it or not this is a review for Santorini, a 2-4 player abstract board game designed by Dr Gordon Hamilton, and published by Roxley and Spin Master.

For this review, it was only played with 2 players as recommended by the rule book.

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Tash-Kalar Review: Tash(-Kalar) of the Titans

Tash-Kalar, have you heard of this Roll-to-review-board-game-tash-kalar-box-frontgame? It was released to some acclaim and then fell off the face of the Earth. Now, under the watchful eyes of Czech Games Edition, they’ve thrown this board game into a Lazarus pit, and resurrected Tash-Kalar at a price point so good looking that I’d like to take it out to dinner.

A quick heads up: this game comes with many game modes, and player counts. I did not review all of these – booo, you suck Dave! Instead I focused on the best rated game type: two player High Form. This is the objective-based game type, which the Tash-Kalar purists swear by.

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Jump Drive Review: Start Your Engines!

Roll-to-review-board-game-jump-drive-box-artGiven the Commonwealth Games are 100km away, you’d forgive me for mistaking Jump Drive for a board game about the determination and drive required to become a professional long jumper. Instead, what I found was a baby board game; essentially My First Race for the Galaxy. A 20 minute engine builder for 2-4 players, designed by Tom Lehmann and published by Rio Grande Games.

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Red 7 Review: It’s not Uno

Red-7-Board-Game-Review-Box-artRed 7 is a 2-4 player card game designed by Carl Chudyk and Chris Cieslik and published by Asmadi Games. It’s a card game that’s seen Talladega Nights one too many times, as the rules are simple: if you’re not first you’re last. If at the end of your turn you’re not winning, you’re eliminated, with the winner being the last player still standing.

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