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  • Barnes on Games- Broom Service in Review, WWE Superstar Showdown, Argent, Relic Expansions,

    Room on the Broom!

    After an 11th hour summer vacation last week, this week's review is up at The Review Corner. It's this year's SDJ Kennerspiel award winner Broom Service, based on the earlier Witches' Brew design by the same designers. I absolutely love this game. It's colorful, fun and it somehow manages to come across like a classic, German-style family game while offering a heavier game than you might expect...yet with simple rules and a KILLER core mechanic that drives everything. You lock down four actions per round, and when your turn comes up you flip one of the cards over and state whether you are taking the Brave action or the Cowardly one. The Cowardly one goes off right away and you do whatever it says. But if you decide to be Brave in order to get the benefits of an enhanced action, then the next player reveals whether or not they have selected the same action and if they have, they pre-empt yours. That's right, you lose your action. Then THEY get to choose Brave or Cowardly and go through the same gauntlet with each remaining player. This is awesome stuff, and it's driving a pick-up-and-deliver game that doesn't feel like any of the usual archetypes of that genre.

    Plus it has a cute witch setting, which I am a sucker for. Fans of The Worst Witch/Kiki's Delivery Service/Harry Potter will dig it. I actually gave the game 4 1/2 stars, not sure why the graphic chopped off half of one.

    I have an advance copy of WWE Superstar Showdown. Now, I can't tell you the difference between Big E and Big Show (who are both in the game). It's really good, as you'd probably expect by now from GF9. More on it later.

    If you haven't noticed in the forums, I've been super excited about Argent: The Consortium. I think it's one of this year's superlative titles, to be sure, even though I guess it came out last year. This is the grand, complex worker placement game with an actual setting and direct player competition you have been waiting for. I'm three plays deep into it, and I'm about *this* close to calling it the best worker placement game I've ever played. Layered, multidimensional and rich with's too bad the title is terrible. I don't know why they didn't go with Argent University. But hey, it doesn't matter when the game is so good.

    Other games on the table lately...I got both Relic expansions and I looked over them last night, soloing a couple of turns to see the new stuff. So far, so good. Interestingly, they didn't really go the Talisman route on these, just adding tons of cards. Nemesis adds just three cards to each of the threat decks. Instead, the expansions actually add on to the gameplay. Nemesis opens up not only PVP, but also some cool ways to drive it. One is that you can take on Apostate gear, which means that Devotees (those without any Apostate gear) can track you down and force you into skill challenges. The other is the Enemies of the Imperium game mode where you have actual bad guys (?) controlled by the players that draw from a different type of threat deck, have a different win condition, and can kill you. One of them is a Genestealer Broodlord, which is kind of fun. Halls of Terra adds Earth and Mars on an expansion board along with these political affiliation tokens, which moves the game somewhat further away from Talisman, although they are obviously an extension of alignments. One of the new characters is a Terminator, which is pretty cool. So yeah, looking forward to trying these out soon. I think I really like Relic, almost the point where I would prefer to play it over Talisman if only because Talisman is one of the more played games in my collection over the past...I dunno, 20 years or so.

    I have Strange Remnants, the new Eldritch Horror expansion, but I've not even looked at it yet. It, on the other hand, does look like a more cards expansion.


  • Barnes on Games- Cthulhu Wars in Review

    The Big Green One.

  • Barnes on Games- Darkest Night in Review (part one), Eldritch Horror returns, more Argent

    VPG rides again

  • Barnes on Games- Defenders of the Last Stand in Review, Mansions of Madness 2, Scythe, Dreadball

    In this post-apocalyptic wasteland, the scarce resource is GOOD TASTE.

  • Barnes on Games- Doctor Who Card Game/Food Chain Magnate in Review, Tanks, Deathwatch: Overkill

    Also reviewed- a game that costs $100 more.

  • Barnes on Games- Doctor Who: Time Clash, Bloodborne: the Card Game, Kaleidos

    Best of three!

  • Barnes on Games- Empires in America in Review, SW: Rebellion, some DVG stuff, Greenland

    Topdeck Montcalm for the win!

  • Barnes on Games- Empires: Age of Discovery and Tumult Royale in Review; A Study in Emerald

    Two old fashioned games this week.

  • Barnes on Games- Evolution: Flight in Review, XenoShyft, even more Knizia Hobbit stuff


  • Barnes on Games- GF9 Expansions in Review, More Legendary Encounters, Darkest Night, Drakon

    While we wait to see what Gale Force Nine has in store for us with the Black Sails, WWE and Family Guy (really?) games, they've recently dropped a couple of expansions.

    Spartacus is a no-brainer if you are already a convert, because that game still rules and this one makes those wacky Primus events more common- along with adding new versions of three of the best gladiators, a new boasting mechanic and a couple of "Cock Block" cards. You betcha. The Sons of Anarchy expansion is basically just a player-add thing, and that's fine and this is a good gang. But it's also not particularly essential, especially if you're having a hard enough time getting three or four people to play SoA, let alone five or six. Review at No High Scores this week.

    Really enjoying Legendary Encounters, but I tried to play it with a couple of friends last night and it just kind of flopped. I dunno, they weren't really feeling it and the general consensus was that they wished that we had played Forbidden Stars instead. C'est la Vie. But a solo game, it's really fun and the way the scenarios describe the films is actually really well done.  For example, in the Aliens scenario, it starts off with you exploring Hadley's Hope and encountering host colonists and events happen that prohibit you from attacking in certain rooms. Heading into second phase, you've got to set up sentry guns in two of the rooms, Newt shows up, and TONS of aliens start streaming out- and it really feels like fighting against a horde of them rather than in the first scenario where it does come across contextually as one alien popping up and hitting your people. In phase 3, you've got to find the queen and kill her, of course, but you can't if she has captives. And the first time I did this one, I kept getting captives taken but I thought it was kind of good since it thinned my deck of starter cards. But then when I found the queen there was so many that there was no hope of freeing them all and then killing her beore she took out two of my people. I've lost the Aliens scenario a couple of times now but I've beaten Alien three out of five times. Not sure this one needs any kind of expansion, it really feels complete out of the box unlike so many other deckbuilders.


    I'm also really enjoying Victory Point Games' Darkest Night- but again, this is one that feels like it's best solo. I have the Necromancer Bundle and the From the Abyss expansion and I'm using everything. Fundamentally, it is an Arkham Horror-style adventure game with some sort of vague similarities to that, but it's really lean. There are seven locations on the board and an evil Necromancer that moves between them, dropping off "blights" where he goes. These blights are sometimes monsters, but sometimes hazards or other tidings of ill omen. You have four characters that each have a VERY unique set of ability cards. You do one thing each turn after you resolve an event card- move, attack, hide, pray, search, etc. The idea is that you have to unlock these holy relics that each require three keys. Get all four relics and go to the monastery and you win. Or, you can try to fight the Necromancer.

    It's pretty standard fantasy adventure stuff on the surface, but there are some really cool things going on in the game. You don't have HP, you have grace. Whe you fight and lose, you die unless you have the grace to survive. Stealth is important, and certain things make you gain or lose stealth and effects play off of how stealthy (or not) you are in this quest.  The Necromancer also comes looking for you if you have low stealth, which is bad. It's interesting that you don't always kill monsters or other blights when you battle them. They attack/affect you at the end of your turn, but they remain until you take an action to actually attack them, which incurs a stealth loss. Lots of interesting little things like that going on in this design. I'll probably review the whole thing soon. But so far it's up there with Eldritch Horror and may in some ways be better than that great game.

    I have the new edition of Drakon on tap for Miniature Market's Review Corner. I dunno, this is like the third time I've owned this game and I'm still not quite sure it's a contender at all. It's cute, kind of fun, light, etc. but it's also in the same space as DungeonQuest, which is by far the superior game. But on the flip side, I've been playing it with my kids (5 1/2 and almost 4) and they've been able to grasp it with some help such as explaining the room tiles and playing with open hands. Trying to get this out a the next group get-together with six.

  • Barnes on Games- HABA's Family Game line-up in Review, Return to Hoth, Talon, Healthy Heart Hospital

    Kid approved!

  • Barnes on Games- Heroes of/Shadows Over Normandie in Review, Armada, Study in Emerald, Empires: Age of Discovery, HABA

    Kelly's Heroes versus the Mythos!

  • Barnes on Games- Imperial Assault Expansions/Star Trek Five Year Mission Reviews, Moongha Invaders,

    Better with Boba.

  • Barnes on Games- Legends of Andor/WHQACG in Review, New Imperial Assault Stuff, Armada

    Weirdly, I never reviewed this...

  • Barnes on Games- Mistfall and Undercity in Review, Ingenious H2H, Halloween Games, SCAM, Champions of Midgard

    Two good ones this week!

  • Barnes on Games- Nothing in Review, Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth, Cuba Libre, Food Chain Magnate, and More

    Well, nothing "formal" at least...

  • Barnes on Games- Pixel Tactics in Review, Armada AAR, Archipelago, Chateau Roquefort

    Level 99 does it again.

  • Barnes on Games- Psycho Raiders in Review, Samurai, Defenders of the Realm Revisited, Champions of Midgard

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the best horror game ever published.

  • Barnes on Games- Rebellion in Review, The Game I Forgot About, Imperial Settlers

    Yeah, it's great. There it is.

  • Barnes on Games- Scythe Roundtable, Mansions of Madness in Review

    Three stars separate this game from the other one...