Game Review: Highly Thematic Japanese Tactical Card Game “Sashimono”

It’s 1600s feudal Japan and you’re a warlord, preparing your troops for battle. Battles in this era are quite formalized, however, with troops trained to be offensive or defensive. Rather than squads and battalions, specialist teams are known as “Kumi” and are generally categorized as polearm units (melee), ranged units, and cavalry. A group of nine Kumi are known as a “Sonae” and they were expected to demonstrate ingenuity and adaptation to changing battle conditions,…Read More

Game Review: Out-of-This-World Tile Placement “Luna Capital”

What if our exploration of the moon didn’t stop with Apollo 17 but actually revved up? By 1977 we could have had colonies on our lunar neighbor, all ably managed by the popular Lunar Colonization Authority. That’s the premise of Luna Capital. Manage your colonization efforts, create the most appealing colony, and your region of the moon will be selected as the Luna Capital. Luna Capital is a new game is from game publisher Devir,…Read More

Montalo’s Revenge: The Expansion to Solo Puzzle Game “Relics of Rajavihara”

Sliding solo puzzle games like Rush Hour can be great fun, challenges that require you to plan long sequences of moves, along with an element of physical playing piece manipulation. It’s very satisfying to solve a level and move to the next one! About a year ago, I had a chance to review a prototype of an entirely new entrant in this category called Relics of Rajavihara, a shifting blocks puzzle. I really liked it…Read More

I Assemble The Mandalorian Out Of Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces…

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with jigsaw puzzles. Most of the time I enjoy the slow, detailed process of puzzle assembly, but every so often there’s a moment when I swear that a piece is just missing and that somehow the company omitted that piece from the box. Of course, somehow it does all work out in the end and I’ve never yet had a puzzle actually missing a piece, but the…Read More

Game Review: Catching the Solo Spirit of the Board Game “Distilled”

Fermentation is probably one of the most important chemical reactions known to humankind. Since the dawn of civilization, people have been taking advantage of how sugars change into alcohol, the process that underlies every alcoholic beverage, from the lowliest moonshine to the fanciest aged cognac. Fundamentally, though, it’s straightforward: water + yeast + sugars = alcohol. Want to make a specific spirit like vodka, gin, or brandy? You’ll need specific sugar sources (grains versus fruits,…Read More

Game Review: Engaging Roll & Write Puzzler “Torpedo Dice”

Ever since their introduction, there’s something about submarines that fascinates people. Maybe it’s the unimaginable experience of being in a metal tube thousands of feet under the ocean’s surface, skulking along, waiting for a chance to surface and BLAM! attack with a well-placed torpedo. Or maybe it’s the fact that submarines are the wild card of modern warfare, able to sneak up on ships without warning in a way that no other craft or vessel…Read More

Game Review: The Goofy Fun “Chez Cthulhu” Card Game

As if having roommates isn’t enough hassle, now you have to worry about whether Cthulhu is encroaching on your living space. Man, what a hassle. And are the Old Ones going to pay rent and do their share of the chores? In the wacky card game Chez Cthulhu you and up to four of your friends are drinking and harassing each other, I mean, living together, worshiping Cthulhu, and being massive slackers. The most slack…Read More

Game Review: Protect the Merchant Fleet in “The Shores of Tripoli”

When America declared its independence from Britain in the late 1700s, there were a lot of subtle consequences around the world, most undoubtedly unanticipated by the new nation. One area particularly hard hit was the Mediterranean Sea, where merchants endlessly picked up exotic goods to sell throughout Europe and the new citizens of the United States of America. Prior to the Revolution, pirates were cowed by the presence and might of the British Navy, but…Read More

Game Review: Set Building “Pilfering Pandas”

Those poor pandas, stuck in the zoo when they want to be out and in the wild. Who wouldn’t prefer their natural habitat to a zoological park where everyone just stares at you all the time? Fortunately, these pandas are savvy and have cut a deal with the sneaky meerkats just over the wall; it’s a zoo break! In Pilftering Pandas from Wren Games, it’s your job to help your panda collect sets of food…Read More

Game Review: Light Card Stacking “Sky Towers”

Gaming can be an expensive hobby. Check out the latest well-funded campaigns on Kickstarter and you’ll assume you can’t get a new game for under $150 and to have all the cool components it can cost twice that. Daunting! Fortunately, there are people who are fighting this tide, game designers more interested in having others play their games than in making lots of money. People like Charles Ward at Ex1st Games, who creates “Forever Free”…Read More

Game Review: Murder’s Afoot in “Foul Play”

Deductive puzzles based on a process of elimination are a mainstay of family games, best represented by the popular Hasbro game “Clue”. Everyone’s racing around the board trying to collect as many clues as possible to eliminate suspects, weapons, and locations to be able to narrow down that classic question: whodunit? This entire class of games requires patience and a good memory, and you typically need to know the entire field of suspects (weapons, locations,…Read More

Game Review: Mind Bending Puzzler Katamino

You’ve probably heard of Tangrams. It’s a puzzle with seven shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. Mostly triangles, they might include a square or a rectangle. Katamino is the next evolutionary step of this type of puzzle; a collection of a dozen different “pentaminos”, each of which is five units in size, that you have to fit together to fill a rectangular space. The bigger the grid, the more pieces you…Read More

Transport Goods Before Yer Sunk in “Quests & Cannons”

Who doesn’t love pirates and the exotic adventure of tropical seas as a theme? From the mythic stories of legend to the surprising reality of how ships had efficient and egalitarian crews, there’s something appealing about bold galleons, schooners, and brigantines as cannons blazing, they unfurled their sails in a desperate attempt to outrun the fast-approaching enemy with its cross-and-bones flag flutterin’ in the wind! Heave ho, me maties, heave ho! That’s the spirit caught…Read More

Game Review: Tricky Tile Placement with “Overboss”

Gamers love their dungeons to explore, their fantasy worlds that include monsters and dangerous terrain both. Sprinkle in some occult and a dash of Lord of the Rings and you’ve got an ecosystem that can be the basis of a wide variety of games. While many are focused on what I call reveal, explore and battle games (like the granddaddy of ’em all, Dungeons & Dragons) the terrain itself offers additional possibilities, including tile placement. And…Read More

Game Review: Doomlings, A Card Game for the End Of The World

It’s hard not to have at least an occasional moment of existential dread when you think about the events of the last year or two. Between world politics, killer weather patterns and a deadly pandemic, there are legit reasons to be anxious about what’s going on. What better reason to play a game than to enjoy the pleasure of interacting with friends or family over a known scenario and written set of rules? Turns out…Read More

Game Review: Camp Pinetop – Solo Play

It’s the doldrums of summer and you’re just hitting the tween years. You could stay glued to your gaming console but your folks have a better idea: It’s time to head up in the mountains for summer camp! This year, like every year, your goal is to earn all those cool achievement patches and be head of the camp, loved and admired by all! Well, I can’t send you to summer camp but the fun…Read More

Game Review: Micro City – Solo Play

Hang around board gamers long enough and you’ll learn that there are names for certain types of common gaming mechanisms. “Area control” games are those where you compete to gain control of a specific region on the playing board, for example, and “push your luck” games reward bold players, with increasing rewards, against increasing risks. Catan is an example of the former, while Zombie Dice is a classic push-your-luck game. Another very common game mechanic…Read More

Game Review: Amazing Jungle Run — Solo Play!

All those books about surviving in the Amazon rainforest turn out be darn useful when you’re stuck in the jungle, fighting to escape! A card collecting game for 1-4 players by BuddyPal Games, The Amazing Jungle Run is quick and fun for family play, a zippy filler game for game nights while waiting for the rest of the group to show up, or as an entertaining solo play. I opted to compete against the dummy…Read More

Game Review: Push Your Luck Card Game “Zombiefilled”

For the most part, zombies seem like the most benign of monsters. The classic zombie is dumb, falling apart, and shambles without much cognitive processing involved. The problem arises when there are lots of them or, in more recent imaginings of zombies, they’re fast or smart. Still, since we all know at least one person who might just be an actual zombie, at least early in the morning, it’s a popular theme for media and…Read More

Roast the Perfect Brew in “Coffee Roaster”

I drink a lot of coffee and spend a lot of time in coffee shops and local cafés. Even now, some of my local favorites have a few tables open and plenty of outdoor seating while the weather permits. It’s no surprise then that I write about coffee and think about how to make a great cup of coffee both, trying different brews, making different mixups at home and even dabbling in coffee + alcohol…Read More