Monday, February 28, 2011

Mansions of Madness shipping.

According to the FFG website this anticipated title is now shipping to retailers. In talking to some sources some places may have it as early as tomorrow.

Keep an eye out to the blog for our review in the near future.

Week of Feb. 28th & Site News

We're in the process of gearing up staff at the OBGB. This should increase the number of posts and reviews.

This week we will have a Merchant & Marauders review, a NinajGo video review and hopefully some other surprises.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Fantasy Flight Games has announced another expansion Arkham Horror called Miskatonic Horror. With the large number of already released suppliments to this game, FFG has taken a new approach with this expansion.

Miskatonic Horror is a new type of Arkham Horror expansion that builds upon the materials found in the ample library of other Arkham Horror expansions. While the components and rules found in Miskatonic Horror can be enjoyed with only the Arkham Horror base game, the more expansions you incorporate, the more aspects of Miskatonic Horror you can enjoy.
Personally I'm eagerly awaiting Mansion of Madness but for all the Arkham lovers this looks to be a nice expansion.

Forbidden Island Review

Published: 2010

:Matt Leacock

: GameWright

Rules Complexity: Easy

Players: 2 -4

Type: Cooperative

Artwork: A

Bits: B

Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game for 2 to 4 players that is very similar to Pandemic. The reason for this is the two games are designed by the same individual. Calling Forbidden Island a Pandemic light is a really excellent way to describe this game. While such a comparison might be considered a slight to the title, I think it's a compliment. Pandemic is an excellent cooperative game and Forbidden Island replicates many of that games mechanics and it plays in half the time.

The setting is simple. You're a group of treasure hunters and your goal is to acquire 4 Idols off this island and then leave before it sinks via the helipad because we all know a mysterious island comes with an equipped helipad. As a group you can lose the game in a number of ways. If a character dies you lose. If the water level gets too high you lose. If both treasure chambers for an unclaimed idol sink you lose. Finally if the helipad tile sinks you lose.

Each player is randomly given a character who has a special ability. For example the pilot can fly himself for an action to any other tile, the diver can swim under flooded or sunken tiles for an action allow him to move large distances.

On your turn you get to take 3 actions, then you draw 2 treasure cards and then you draw flood tiles based on the water level. All of which is covered on the back of your player card which makes the player card very useful and also makes the game much easier to explain.

The actions you can take are moving, shoring up flooded tiles, giving a treasure card to another player on your tile or claiming a treasure if you have 4 matching cards in your hand.

The trick to the game, and possibly it's flaw, is the treasure deck contains 3 water rises cards. When one of these is drawn you increase the water level. This level determines how many cards you draw in the flood stage. You then reshuffle the discards in the flood deck and put them on top of the flood deck draw pile. Pretty much identical to the way this mechanic works in Pandemic. The treasure deck itself isn't very large and each player has a hand size of 5 so the cards cycle at just the right speed.

Finally you draw flood cards based on the water level so you will be drawing between 2 and 4 cards depending on how bad things have gotten. When you draw a card it matches a tile. If that tile is dry you flip it to it's flooded side. If that tile is flooded you remove the tile and the card from the game. Removing the card is an important rule not to forget as it reduces the size of the flood deck.

The game itself usually plays very fast and is also typically very tense. Players coordinate there actions between shoring up tiles and trading cards. There are also special cards that can be played at any time. These are the sandbags card which allows you to shore up a tile. Also the helicopter lift card which allows you to move all pawns on a tile to another. The Lift card is also required to be played to get everyone off the island once on the helipad.

Forbidden island is a decent game. It plays very fast and for some reason is easier to explain then Pandemic. In fact I would consider Forbidden island a good game to get some9ne feet wet for Pandemic.

The only problem I have seen with the game and it has happened twice is if the water rises cards get grouped up in the shuffle and come out early you can usually outlast them and then it is a pretty easy victory. When that doesn't happen the game is usually very tense and is a good 30 to 40 minute ride.

Forbidden Island is a good game. It plays fast, it's exciting and easy to teach. If you own Pandemic you might not need this game unless you're looking for a new setting and a game that plays quicker. If you don't own Pandemic I would still recommend it over Forbidden Island as it is a slightly deeper experience.
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wrath of Ashardalon First Impressions

Wrath of Ashardalon is the second release in the D&D board game series from Wizards of the Coast. For those who have the previous release Castle Ravenloft you may be wondering if it is worth your while to own another version of the game.

WOA is in a new setting which means it comes with all new monsters, new tiles, new cards and of course new heroes. The first thing I notice about WOA is I preferred the variety of monster more. Obviously setting the location outside of a haunted castle controlled by a vampire gives you a little bit more flexibility in the types of monsters you can include. Once again the sculpts are fantastic but the thing I am most impressed with is the monsters are much harder.

There are some new rules for doors and a few other things which I am not going to get into in this impressions article mainly because I haven't had a chance to play any of the scenarios including them. The rule book and many of the items are much more organized and address a lot of the issues people were having with Ravenloft. the rules clearly state which pieces will be used in every session and which are scenario dependent. This makes the learning curve much easier for new combers who could be overwhelmed with the amount of items in the box.

In my limited time which as of this writing includes 2 plays of the solo scenario I've discovered the best thing thus far about WOA is the treasures. You can find some really powerful and helpful items.

The tiles are again very nice and of sturdy quality. The cards on the other hand (at least in my copy) left a little something to be desired. Ravenloft is one of the most played games in my collection and I have very little wear on those cards. With the WOA cards I found the corners turning up and showing slight signs of warping within 30 minutes of opening the game. Curles edges and slight warping is expected with cards, but not in that short of time with absolutely no plays. To their credit WOTC has already issued me new cards which is appreciated but I have doubts they will make a difference the cards just seem to be on a different stock.

Overall I think if you loved Ravenloft then WOA seems like a lock. The new setting, figures and rules will keep you busy. If you were luke warm about Ravenloft then you may want to try WOA as the setting an additional rules make the game a tighter experience. However if you loathed the previous game I don't see anything in WOA at this point that would change your mind.

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