Archive for the 'On the Radar' Category

Lasercut Role-play Terrain

Posted by James (admin) on 20th August 2014

Lasercut photosI noticed this Kickstarter project the other day which I think looks amazing.  The project is creating laser-cut wood pieces with which you can make dungeons or villages for table top play.

Some of the pieces attach to the base plate(s) and the rest of the items slot together so it’s completely modular and can be taken apart too.  Floors and roofs can be removed too so you can use the inside of the buildings.  Whilst primarily for role-playing and table top games, I think they’d be great as the board for a board game too.

You can read more about the project, pledge levels and watch videos here:

The time lapse video of the project creator making one of the sets is interesting to watch.  Check out the headstones in the graveyard – you can have one inscribed with your name if you want.


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On the Radar: Essen 2014

Posted by James (admin) on 31st July 2014

SpielSpiel in Essen is now less than 3 months away so the information about (and the buzz around) games being released there has begun.  It’s always an exciting time of year as lots of new games get announced in the lead-up to the event in October.  I will be looking to do the same as I did last year and post short previews of games that catch my interest.

As it’s not possible to write a preview of every interesting game (plus, I notice some games some time before I’m able to post a preview), my Spiel 2014 page will show a full list of all the games I find interesting (whether previewed or not) and links to any previews I’ve posted.


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On the Radar: City of Zombies (Kickstarter)

Posted by James (admin) on 22nd October 2013

City of Zombies game City of Zombies is a co-operative, dice-allocating game where players are trying to stop wave after wave of zombies from attacking the city.

This is a Kickstarter project that is live at the moment.  The game was designed by Matt Tidbury to help his daughter with her arithmetic and, since then, Matt has had a great deal of excellent and positive feedback from the many schools where he has tested it with kids, as well as adult education centres and even a prison too.

Whilst the game is intended to help kids with their number skills, it offers a fun game challenge too.  Players take turns rolling 3 dice and they can then allocate them to zombies which each have a target number on them in order to destroy them.  The tricky part is that to kill a zombie, a player must use the values of the dice to match the target number on each zombie AND no dice can be left unused.  So, if you roll a 2, 4 and 5, you could add these all together to make 11 and kill one zombie with value 11, or multiply the 2 and 4 to make 8 and kill one zombie with value 8 and another zombie with value 5, etc.  Remember, every dice must be used in some way or no zombies can be removed by that player.  After each player has had a turn, the zombies advance towards the city and more zombies arrive at the top of the board.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Bruxelles 1893

Posted by James (admin) on 9th September 2013

Bruxelles prototype

Image of prototype from Cliquenabend’s preview video. Click on the image to watch the video.

Bruxelles 1893 is a worker placement game with lots of game mechanics going on.  The setting is that players architects who are building Bruxelles in 1893.  The board is divided into two areas: the Bruxelles board and the Art Nouveau board.

Worker placement on the Bruxelles board locations is free (no coins); however, if a player wants to place on a location occupied by another worker, they must place one more worker than those already there; however, these extra workers go to jail/court when the player takes the action.  So, you can potentially use any action on the Bruxelles board but it may cost you workers.  The locations for workers on the Art Nouveau board is a grid and players must add coins to their workers when placing there.  The players with the most total coins in a column at the end of a round takes that column’s bonus card which can be used for either an instant bonus or saved for an end of point scoring effect.

The 5 actions are: gain resources for building, build a building, create a work, sell a work, and gain a character.  The income from selling a work (I believe a mix of cash and points) is based on the position of a marker on a grid – the income a player receives is based on the marker’s position and is adjusted by which player you are too.  So, changing the income marker’s position shifts all player’s potential income mix.  The resources required to build a building are determined by a dial and you can turn the dial after you construct a building.  Gaining characters gives a bonus but there’s a cost at the end of the game if you also keep the character. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Mystery of the Templars

Posted by James (admin) on 9th September 2013

Mystery of the Templars cover
Mystery of the Templars board

I’m always interested in the history of the Knights Templar and I remember seeing a prototype of this game at Essen a few years ago.  Players send their knights in missions so they can gain money and relics.  A mission if successful if enough knights are sent and these can come from a mix of players, so there’s some possible collaboration.

Players can then buy and sell at the markets and events happen.  After this, players can send their relics to different locations to put them on display; however, transporting anything takes money and is safer if escorted by knights.  Of course, there are various enemies that may attack locations too, so players must allocate their knights and resources carefully.

Towards the end of the game, the persecution of the Knights Templar begins and players must try to rescue their relics and try to get them to their havens.  When the persecution starts, players can only use money where it is currently located too (whereas, up until then, a player can move their money freely between their bases).  The winner is the player with the most victory points scored during the game, plus points for relics, knights and cash in their havens when the game ends.

I love the setting and the game mechanics sound interesting too.  I definitely want to try this one.  More information and the rules can be found on Stratelibri’s Mystery of the Templars page:


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Spiel 2013 Preview: Rockwell

Posted by James (admin) on 8th September 2013

Rockwell gameRockwell is a mining game which mixes a little bit of worker placement (as you place your vice presidents at the start of each round to gain different advantages in the drilling phase) with tactical moving of your drilling crews.  Drilling is a often a joint effort by multiple players – if there are enough drilling crews of enough total strength on a tile then the resources recovered are revealed and shared between the players present (regardless of the amount of crews they have there).

Splitting the resources gained is intriguing as the players involved share out as much as they can so they have the same and any remainder is given to the player with the ‘priority’.  Players can move other players’ crews by bribing them, or they can pay to hire temporary crews (who don’t take a share of any gains).  Players can sell what they mine and buy other resources like improved drilling crews, permanent mine shafts and safety equipment.  Each player is attempting to complete some of the achievements which score fewer victory points if other players have already completed them too.

So, Rockwell looks like it contains a lot of interesting tactical decisions along with some strategy too.  More information and the rules can be found on Sit Down’s Rockwell page:


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Spiel 2013 Preview: Rampage

Posted by James (admin) on 7th September 2013

RampageRampage is a dexterity game of giant Godzilla-like monsters smashing their way through a city.  Each player controls a monster which consists of a wooden disk for feet, with a wooden body/head section on top.  The city is divided into different neighbourhoods and buildings are built out of card layers with meeple as the supports between floors.

That may sound kind of normal but the game actually based on flicking, dropping and blowing.  Each turn, monsters get 2 actions.  To move your monster, you flick the feet disc.  To attack buildings, take your monster piece and drop it onto a building.  To blow a building down, place your chin on your monster piece and blow.  To throw a vehicle, place the vehicle piece on top of your monster and flick it.  Players get to eat any loose meeple in their current  neighbourhood.  Also, monsters can attack each other too – a successful attack removes one of their teeth which reduces how many meeple a monster can eat during a turn and are worth points too.

Each monster has a special ability as well as some other  powers.  Each player has a monster screen behind which they hide the meeple and monster teeth they gain, but rather than simply place items here (because that would be far too normal), players push items through the mouth slot in the screen.  Nice.

Rampage looks totally made a lot of fun.  More information and the rules can be found on Repos’ Rampage page:


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Spiel 2013 Preview: Spyrium

Posted by James (admin) on 4th September 2013

Spyrium boxSpyrium caught my attention from the gameplay description.  It was only after that that I discovered it is designed by the creator of Caylus and Caylus Magna Carta (the latter being one of me favourite games).  So, this doubly interested me.

The game has steampunk-ish setting and players are each head of an industrial conglomerate an spyrium is a mineral high in energy.  The player who scores the most victory points (VPs) by the end of the game wins.

Spyrium uses a clever worker placement system where players place their workers in between buildings which are laid out in a 3×3 grid.  Players take turns either placing or activating a worker; however, once a player starts activating their workers, they can’t place any more during the current round, so you have to choose when to switch from one to the other.

Activating a worker allows the player to use one of the two cards that the worker is positioned between, so you have a choice until you use them.  The cards in the 3×3 grid are either characters (which give you one off benefits), buildings (which allow you to build your own buildings used for special effects in future turns), and patents (which give you on-going abilities plus score VPs at the end of the game too).

Using a card by activating one of your workers next to it costs money equal to the cost of the card being used plus the number of workers (of any player) that are positioned next that building.  So, placing your workers can hinder others, give you a choice of uses, and the order you use them in can make a difference too.  Workers can generate money too which is also based on how many other workers (of all players) are next to the same building. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Armadöra

Posted by James (admin) on 1st September 2013

20130831-204740.jpgArmadöra is a new game by Blackrock Editions who published The Boss in 2011 and Blackrock City in 2012. The Boss is one of my favourite games as it has a superb information revealing/deduction game mechanic, fits a lot of game into a short play time, and fits a lot of game into a very small box. Blackrock City was quite different in gameplay and was good too, (although not as good as The Boss in my eyes).

Armadöra appears to be a re-themed version of a game called Nuggets where players are trying to stake claims on gold mines. Various mines are on the board and players take turns either (a) placing their markers face-down (which have different strengths) on any empty board square, or (b) placing 2 fences between squares on the board. When an area is completely sectioned off by fences (so long as it’s large enough), the players’ markers in the area are revealed and the player with the most strength receives the gold for any mines in that section.

Armadöra has a fantasy adventure theme (with players after Dwarves’ gold) and has some extra rules for an advanced version. Sounds simple, fun with plenty of tricky decisions and entertaining tension. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spiel 2013 Preview: Relic Runners

Posted by James (admin) on 29th August 2013

Relic Runners boxRelic Runners looks like a nice light game of jungle/temple exploration.  It’s a race to grab as many victory points (VPs) as possible.  During the game, players place markers along jungle paths.  When a player moves, they can move along one continuous stretch of their own colour pathways (any distance), plus one section that is not their own as the first or last section of their move.  When a player reaches the end of their move, they can spend a ration to explore their location which means they can pick up a ruin tile or temple tile.

Most jungle paths have a marker next to them.  When a player passes any path markers that are face-up during their move, they turn them face-down and can advance their toolbox markers on their player board  These toolbox markers can be used at any time for the power/ability on which they are located – there are three separate columns they can advance up and the higher up the column, the better the power/ability.  Players can have multiple toolboxes on the same columns, and even the same spaces, if they want.

I like the sound of the toolbox markers as players can build up the different powers they want (a bit like a simple tech tree).  Also, I like the movement logic and the rush to grab the different tiles too.  Relic Runners sounds like a relatively light and fun game (I expect along the lines of Ticket To Ride). Read the rest of this entry »

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