Game Talks: Village

image by BGG user vittorioso

Village (Inka Brand/Markus Brand, Pegasus Spiele) is the Kennerspiel des Jahres award winner for 2012 that combines worker placement with time management.  The game plays best with 4 players and is on the heavy side in terms of rules and mechanics (complexity rating of 3.07/5 on BGG). The game is full of tactical challenges. A smart and unique new action mechanism is responsible for keeping turns short and yet still tactically rich and full of difficult decisions. Also unique is the way this game deals with the delicate subject of death; as a natural and perpetual part of life in the village, thoughts of death will keep you focused on smart time-management.

Presentation at Spiel ’11

Life in the village is hard – but life here also allows the inhabitants to grow and prosper as they please. One villager might want to become a friar. Another might feel ambitious and strive for a career in public office. A third one might want to seek his luck in distant lands.

  • At the beginning of each round, each location on the board is seeded with various resource cubes.  On your turn, you’ll take a cube from a location and do the action – harvest grain, grow your family, craft goods, visit the market, travel the world, go to the council chamber, visit the church, or throw cubes in the well to take any of those actions.
  • At the end of each round, there will be mass where you have the opportunity to advance family members in the church scoring.  As time wears on, your family members will start to die, and will be either added to the village chronicle or buried in an unmarked grave.  When the village chronicle is filled, or the last unmarked grave is occupied, the game ends and everyone tallies scores.  High score wins.

This is a very intriguing game from start to finish.  There are elements of worker placement as you try to put various people in the right parts of the village, but actions are limited in the number of times they can be taken as you remove cubes from them.  Some of these cubes are plague cubes, which are not good but sometimes necessary to take.  The act of killing off your people as you go is probably what this game is most known for, but the whole is a great experience.

Main random element of this game (and, randomness is really important for replay value) is mostly tied to influence cubes that are put on different actions. This will not dramatically change anyone’s luck, but will definitely change how each game is played. Also, trading tiles are random, and will influence your crafting decisions. Anyway, this game has surprisingly nice replayability.

Check it out if you haven’t had an opportunity.

 

 

Games Talks: I’m alone today what should I play ?

image by BGG user Henning

 

Friday (Friedmann Friese, 2F Spiele/Rio Grande Games) is a solo deckbuilding game where you are Robinson Crusoe’s man Friday, trying to give him the skills he needs to survive. It has a good rating of 7.3 on Boardgamegeek and was nominated in 2012 for the Kenner Spiel Des Jahres (but didn’t won the award).

You start the game with a deck of 18 cards, most of which are not helpful.  Each turn, you’ll reveal two hazards from the hazard deck and choose one to fight.  You’ll then reveal as many cards from your deck as are indicated on the card, hoping for enough fighting points to defeat the hazard.

If you succeed, the hazard is flipped 180 degrees and goes into your discard pile, where it will start giving you extra benefits (more cards, more fighting points, the ability to trash unwanted stuff, and so on).  If you fail, you can either spend life points to keep fighting or can take the loss and lose life equal to the difference between what you have and what you needed.

When the hazard deck runs out, you shuffle the discards and they all become harder to defeat.  After you’ve been through the hazard deck three times, you need to fight and defeat two pirates of varying difficulties.  If you succeed, you win.  If your life point total ever dips below 0, you lose.

 

You can watch the Radho’s Runthrough over here

Games Talks: Pirates Games

I’ve recently got the question; which boardgames with pirates them should I play or buy ? Here’s a few ideas below …

After a last foray out to sea, the old pirates plan to retire to Libertalia. Each player has the same crew on his hand of cards, but decides himself when to bring into play the beggar or bartender, the ship‘s boy or the Spanish governor.

How these characters act and what loot they get their hands on, depends upon the cards played by the other players. Particularly in demand are nocturnal abilities that can be used as long as the character is still in the pirate cave and not yet in the cemetery. Played out over three campaigns, the final foray of the ageing pirates is a gripping gamble on the best action at the right time. The richest pirate wins the swift, cunning and easily understood game.

  • By: Paolo Mori
  • Publisher: Marabunta
  • Sales: Asmodee
  • Illustrators: Benjamin Carré and Stéphane Gantiez

This game of skill is a genuine eye catcher: a big wooden galleon rolls around on a mountainous wave in the game box. Due to its gimbal mounting, it easily gets out of balance and begins to swing to and fro. The higher the cargo is stowed in the yardarms, the sooner it will slide overboard. Who is going to be the first to get rid of all eight of his pieces, which are of different weight and bulkiness? Besides a steady hand, a grasp of tactics is required, because the place on the yardarm and the order of play are decided by cards dealt out in parallel with each round.

In case of a tie, the captain has the last word. When one or more objects fall off the yardarm, quick reactions are called for: cargo caught in this way is laid aside. Pieces that fall in the sea must later be placed back on the ship.

By: Christoph Cantzler
Publisher: Zoch
Illustrator: Michael Menzel


Not directly a pirate theme, but close enough to mention it (it’s similar to Niagara) – especially it fits also with kids and elderly. The game is called Gold Am Ornico and it’s multilingual inside the box.

On the banks of the South American Orinoco River, precious treasures are hidden in ancient ruins. Already,  prospector teams are making their way there. Unfortunately however, the gold lies on the other side of the raging torrent. To reach the other shore and collect the most valuable coins in the dense jungle, one must bravely place one‘s adventurers on logs floating downriver. The clever use of two dice determines where the team can jump onto the wooden logs and how far they will drift along in the water.

But beware: the competitors never sleep! They in turn try to position the logs so that they can snatch the most coins. Tactical considerations and a good portion of luck with the dice provide plenty of excitement for young and old.

By: Bernhard Weber
Publisher: Haba
Illustrator: Michael Menzel


Cartagena is unique in this pirate list in that there is no high seas action at all in the game. Instead, your pirate crew has been locked up in prison and the game is all about a prison break. The gameplay is really simple, play a card and move a pirate to a matching symbol on the path. The game was initially published in 2000 and you will find various versions of it in retail.

Even though the gameplay in Cartagena almost has a Candyland like feel to it, there is actually quite a bit of depth here as the leapfrogging mechanic will have your crew going in different directions. Easy to learn, but surprisingly fun.

By: Leo Colovini
Publisher: A bunch of them but most likely you’ll find one from Ravensburger or Rio Grande Games.
Illustrator: Christoph Clasen, Didier Guiserix, Martin Hoffmann, Tomasz Larek


It’s been over a decade since Days of Wonder released this Pirate themed board game. In Pirate’s Cove, each player is trying to become the most feared pirates in the seas. The game is played over 12 turns, and each turn a player must decide which of the game’s six islands their pirate will visit.

If two players choose the same one (or the one with the legendary pirate), combat ensues. Pirate’s Cove is filled with Days of Wonder’s patented easy-to-learn rules and high quality components.

Combat resolution is determined by the strengths of your ship and the results of cannon fire (dice). The goal of combat is to scare away rival pirates so that you are the only pirate left at the island. If you stay in combat too long, your ship will suffer and make subsequent turns more difficult, so there is a fine balance of when to stay and fight and when to let the bigger ship have its booty. If you flee from combat, you end up at Pirate’s Cove where you receive a small compensation for the turn. Once all conflicts are resolved, then the bounty for each island is given out.

By: Paul Randles, Daniel Stahl

Publisher:Days of Wonder and Amigo Spiel

Illustrator: Cyrille Daujean, Julien Delval, Swen Papenbrock, Markus Wagner


After a long career in piracy, Captain Henry Morgan skillfully gets appointed to be Governor of Jamaica, with the explicit order to cleanse the Caribbean of pirates and buccaneers! Instead, he invites all of his former “colleagues” to join him in his retirement, to enjoy the fruits of their looting with impunity. Each year, in remembrance of the “good old days,” Morgan organizes the Great Challenge, a race around the island, and at its end, the Captain with the most gold is declared Grand Winner.

Jamaica is a race game where the players must race around the island of Jamaica, fighting and looting as they go. The gameplay in Jamaica is quite simple. Each player has a hand of 3 cards, and the first player (captain) rolls two dice. Each die will correspond to a day or night card. The players then select one card from their hand to correspond with each die. As cards are revealed, players will move around the island, collecting loot and possibly battling each other if they end on the same space.

By: Malcolm Braff, Bruno Cathala, Sébastien Pauchon

Publisher: Asmodee and GameWorks

Illustrator: Mathieu Leyssenne


If you enjoy piles of minis and MOBA-style combat (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), then Rum and Bones is for you. Cool Mini or Not Games brought Rum and Bones to Kickstarter (I would suggest you get the version from the 2nd KS called Rum and Bones Second Tide which is more “polished” than the initial 1st KS version).

In Rum and Bones, two pirate crews face off for some ship-to-ship boarding action. Your Bosuns and Deckhands will operate under a simple AI (and mostly just be fodder), while your hero pirate crew swings about the ship destroying objectives and uses their special abilities to earn you loot and victory points.

Players will each control up to five heroes at any time, moving them across the game board in an attempt to destroy various key features across their opponents ship. Victory is obtained by destroying enough of these features. Your heroes are not alone, however, as your crew also consists of deckhands and bosuns who, while not controlled by the player, will work on a simple AI to wreak havoc on the enemy!

 

By: Michael Shinall

Publisher: Cool Mini Or Not

Illustrator: N/A


Rattle Battle, Grab The Loot is a unique dice game where players drop piles of dice into the box lid and see where fate takes them. Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot has some fantastic components, including custom dice, die cut upgrade tokens, and thematic artwork. Portal Games made a great production value for your money this time.

The gameplay has players playing through a few rounds of dropping dice, fighting merchant ships, and upgrading their Galleon while in port. When upgrading their ship, players use physical pieces to assemble their vessel, making each ship look different.

In the box are dozens of punchboard pieces to customize your ship. In addition to common items and crew members, there will be unique item upgrades and crew that can make your ship stand out among the crowd! Definitely unique, my favorite aspect has to be all the customization options players have for their ship.

By: Ignacy Trzewiczek

Publisher: Portal Games

Illustrator: Max Banshchikov, Grzegorz Bobrowski, Anthony Cournoyer, Roman Kucharski


In Tortuga, you are a swashbuckling buccaneer trying to safely transport your treasures to the legendary pirate haven of Tortuga before other buccaneers, your fellow players, can capture it from you. Players simultaneously roll their dice and assign them in order to put boats in the water, fire off the cannons, gather more crew, engage the enemy at close quarters, or move their treasure ever closer to safety.

Players are rewarded for their ability to adapt and their quick decision making skills – a little luck and a hint of greed never hurt a buccaneer either! The game plays in 30-45 minutes and has a low rules threshold for “new or young” players.

 

By: Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim

Publisher: Queen Games

Illustrator: Claus Stephan


Published by the always impressive guys at Space Cowboys, Black Fleet give each player control over a pirate ship, a merchant ship, and shared control over the royal navy. During the game, players will be using their merchant to deliver goods around the board, their pirate to attack other player’s merchants, and the royal navy ships to attack other player’s pirates.

The three unique ships help to make Black Fleet both highly entertaining and also quite a unique gaming experience. Outwit your opponents with fortune cards and combos, earn money faster than they do, and pay the ransom for the governor’s daughter to win the game!

By: Sebastian Bleasdale

Publisher: Space Cowboys

Illustrator: Denis Zilber


Dead Men Tell No Tales is a co-operative game for 2-5 players. The game uses the common Action Point system to determine what a player does on their turn…with a twist. As players work together, they can pass their Actions on to their teammates in order to best utilize the assets that they have. Players will build the board as they play, ensuring that no two games will ever be alike. As they search the ship for the Treasure, they will encounter Enemies and Guards that they must battle, along with various items that will help them in their quest. all the while, battling the inferno that resulted when they took over the ship. Unique systems for tracking fire, enemy movement, and a player’s fatigue all combine into an interesting and unique cooperative gaming experience.

By: Kane Klenko

Publisher: Minion Games

Illustrator: Jason D. Kingsley, Chris Ostrowski


Merchants & Marauders lets you live the life of an influential merchant or a dreaded pirate in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. Seek your fortune through trade, rumor hunting, missions, and of course, plundering. Modify your ship, buy impressive vessels, load deadly special ammunition, and hire specialist crew members. Will your captain gain eternal glory and immense wealth – or find his wet grave under the stormy surface of the Caribbean Sea?

It is certainly the most complex game of this list! A big component of the game is whether (or when) to turn “pirate” or remain as a trader or neutral party. Both careers are fraught with danger: pirates are hunted by NPCs (and other players) for their bounty and blocked to certain ports while traders are hunted by non-player pirates as well as their opponents and generally have to sacrifice combat capability for cargo capacity. Although players can kill each other, there is no player elimination as players may draw a new captain (with a penalty) so it’s possible to come back from defeat.

By: Kasper Aagaard, Christian Marcussen

Publisher: Several, including Asmodee

Illustrator: Ben Nelson, Chris Quilliams

 

Upcoming Games of Interest

Below you’ll find a short selection of games that are just printed in the last weeks or upcoming soon. Those made/make some “buzz” on internet and people are exited playing them (soon).

 

I spoke about Dice Forge a while back on this post; it is a dice rolling, dice-crafting card and dice game where each player is vying for a seat in heaven by defeating their rivals in battle. The game is designed by Régis Bonnessèe and is published by Libellud with Asmodee. The game uses simultaneous dice rolling and resource gathering along with a dice crafting mechanism in the 2-4 player dice chucker.

This is a game where each player will take and roll their dice during each player’s turn and gather the resources. Then, the active player is able to take their actions to do different things during the turn. The players will be able to buy different dice faces which will give them the ability to craft their dice and make them fit their strategy. Upgrading the dice will make each action more powerful and give more resources which the players will be using to complete ordeals and gain glory points.

 

Anachrony from (Mindclash Games) is a worker placement game where players have to balance the present day with the past as they will time travel in order to prepare their people for a coming apocalypse. The game is designed by Richard Amann, Viktor Peter and Dávid Turczi and is published by Mindclash Games. The game uses worker placement and variable player powers with the time travel theme as the players attempt to either escape or find a way to avert the apocalypse.

 

Lisboa is a hand management game that takes place in during the mid-18th century while Lisboa was rebuilding after multiple tragedies and natural disasters that occurred. The game is designed by Euro-master Vital Lacerda and published by Eagle-Gryphon games. The games uses hand management, tile placement and area control as its primary mechanisms during the heavy, Euro-influenced gameplay. The game finds each player taking on the role of a member of nobility as they are attempting to gain political influence in order to rebuild the city and take control of commerce, construction and other means of gain in this brilliant game. The hand management is especially clever and I really love the use of tile placement as well. Lacerda’s games are well oiled machines and I think this game is going to be no different than his others in that way. On top of the amazing looking gameplay, the art and graphic design are wonderful as well! I can’t wait to try this one out!

 

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is a Legacy-style game where players take on the role of survivors attempting to find out what is going on out in the world after tragedy strikes. This game is designed by Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock and is published by Z-Man Games. This game uses co-operative play, set collection, point-to-point movement and variable player powers as its primary mechanisms as the players attempt to stay alive and hopefully save humanity.

Each player takes on the role of a different survivor of a horrible, world-spanning plague which destroyed most of humanity in its wake. This game is the second of the series and will feature Legacy elements as the players will fight to survive. There isn’t a ton known about this game yet as they are trying to keep a tight lid on things so it is a surprise when it is released and gives the players a sense of discovery as the first one did. This one finds the players on floating cites called “havens” just before they go out into the world to scout the areas and see what has happened during humanities absence.


Charterstone is a Legacy-esque game where players will be building up the kingdom of Greengully by colonizing a new area. The game is designed by Jamey Stegmaier and released by Stonemaier Games. The game uses worker placement, action selection and Legacy-styled ideas as its primary mechanisms in the colony building game.

Each player takes the role of a citizen who is chosen by the Forever King of the kingdom of Greengully to help colonize a new area beyond their borders. The players will mainly use actions that are on the board and during the game will be creating new ones by placing stickers on the board which will open up new and different actions. In the beginning there won’t be much to choose from but as the game continues more and more actions are opened up thus creating new and different choices throughout the experience. The players will go through 12 games building up their charter and by the end will have a one-of-a-kind charter that they created. I’m really looking forward to this game as I think Stegmaier does a great job with his games in both scope and execution.

Alien Artifacts is a multi-use card game where players will be using their cards to explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. The game is designed by Marcin Senior Ropka and Viola Kijowska and published by Portal Games. The game uses multi-use cards, card drafting and exploration as its primary mechanisms as the players will be creating their corporation and exploring the galaxy.

Each player takes on the role of an interplanetary corporation who is trying to its power in the galaxy by building their ship, researching new technologies, and exploring the galaxy for things/beings to exploit. Every turn the players will get to draw some cards and then use them in different ways. This game is a multi-use card game so there are many options and decisions to make for every card the player takes. These cards will let the players do a variety of actions including discovering planets, buy technologies, increasing military might, and increasing your holdings just to name some of the decisions.

 

Eurazeo Fiscal Year 2016 report

Eurazeo is an investment group that holds several companies, including Asmodee which is the one we probably mostly know about but they also have a large range of brands like Desingual or Europcar or even Léon de Bruxelles as part of their portfolio.

There is a public publication of the annual results done every year (done on 17 March 2017). Here’s what you can find (extract) about Asmodee for the 2016 results:

In 2016, Asmodee posted revenue of €377.2 million, up +39.5% on a reported basis compared to the previous year, and solid organic growth of +18.5% at constant scope and exchange rates.
This growth was spurred by all product lines and regions: international activities now represent 75% of Group revenue, particularly in the US and the UK. The year was marked by a particularly robust performance in the cards segment, driven by Pokémon which benefited from favorable trends in all the Group’s European countries.
The Group’s EBITDA totaled €65.2 million, resulting in a 17.3% margin. EBITDA increased by +57.5% on a reported basis and +23.7% at constant scope and exchange rates.
Asmodee is also pursuing its strategic initiatives: enhancement of its editorial contents in all regions and on all media, ramp-up in new regions, primarily the US, and creation of its digital platform offering.
Pro forma of the external growth transactions carried out at the end of 2016 (F2Z, Heidelberger, Millenium and Edge), revenue in 2016 totaled €402 million and EBITDA amounted to €78.1 million, i.e. a +19.4% margin.
Net financial debt totaled €223.6 million following the June 2016 refinancing and the acquisitions at the end of 2016, i.e. a leverage now lower than 3.0x EBITDA.

 

ICE COOL Tournament

So it did happen ! Last week – on April 19 – took place the first ICE COOL tournament of the Boardgame Monkeys, sponsored by Atalia a French distributor who’s providing quality games for our hobby pleasure ! We received several boxes and a customized trophy for this occasion.

Ice Cool is produced by Brain Games Publishing who put together a fun “flicking” game for 2-4 players, playable in about 30 minutes and that won several awards ! It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s not just cool, it’s ICE COOL!

We started at 19H00 setting up the game boxes for the tournament, for most people this was a new game, never played before and a few rules explanation + tips & tricks were welcome. Having agreed on the point elaboration, of we go to set up the pools (note for later: do a random pick with names in a hat next time + print a copy of the tournament specific rules upfront). Some players started “flicking” while we waited for 19:30 kick-off and the late arrivals.

 

Under supervision of the referee for the tournament (that would be myself), some folks fueled their pinguins with Belgian beer in the hope to flick better through doors & above walls (yes, you can do this trick-shot with a bit of practice). All participants were actually grateful to Atalia (see their Facebook) for providing us such a beatiful Trophy and a game box for the winner. It’s with a strong determination that pinguins were flying around capturing fishes and supervisors catching the student pinguins.

 

Our participants are rushing through their pool, scoring points that they take with them to the next round. As the game goes on, the techniques are improved and we start seeing favorites at each tables. With 4 pools and 16 players flicking to grab the 1st position, there is intense concentration around each board. Precision is key !

 

Pinguins are rolling, stumbling and jumping on every table, but soon we do have our final table of competitors with the highest score over the different pools. Yvan (31 points), Gianfranco (29 points), Bernard (34 points) and Filip V.O. (35 points) are running ahead and earned their spot to play at the winners table.

And our proud winner is ….. drumroll … Bernard who receives the beautiful trophy provided by Atalia and a gamebox to play at home with his family. Congratulations to him and all players who had a very tight score (all between 20 and 30 points) by the end of the evening.

It was a fantastic night and with the remaining boxes we will certainly set a tournament up again ! Thanks all for your participation and enthusiasm. It’s was really fun, see the sneak peak below if you missed the event. Check Out ICE COOL (BGG link) at your favorite boardgameshop.

 

ICE COOL Tournament Details

Join us tomorrow night for the ICE COOL Tournament organized in collaboration with the French boardgames distributor ATALIA who’s kindly sponsoring the event of tomorrow night April 19 at Outpost Gamecenter in Brussels ! I received them all and they are waiting for you to pick !

Sign up for this free tournament to get a chance to win a gamebox (for the 1st position) and a custom made trophy. Have a close-up look below !

 

To make this tournament interesting, please find hereby the rules specifications for tomorrow.

  • We’ll play with full tables of 4 players.  The game plays in 4 rounds where each player will be playing the surpervisor for 1 round.
  • You win one fish card per door that you pass. If you’re stuck in the middle of a door; it does NOT count as you’ve passed that door. The points on the card have no value – it’s the total of fish cards that you accumulate that will count.
  • As soon as a player collected his 3 fishes or the supervisor captures all identity card from the 3 other players; the game stops.
  • A player should only touch his penguin on his turn. Any contact with his pengiun is therefore also considered as a flicking = your game turn. The ONLY exception is when you are placing your penguin back on the red line in order to play with it.
  • Before playing your turn, it is advised to name your penguin color – ensuring you’re playing with your correct penguin.
  • If a player (student) is touching the supervisor during his flicking = it does count as the supervisor capturing the student and receiving his identity card.
  • If a penguin leaves the board, all what was done before (getting a fish, touching a student or be caught) will be validated. After a jump outside the gaming box, you replace your penguin on the red starting dot and your turn is over.

 

Hope to see you all tomorrow in top shape for some crazy flicking of penguins ! Would you need a short explanation on the game, please have a look at the Watch It Played video. Rules of the base game can be found here.  They are short and easy to read, check them out ! Big thanks to Atalia Jeux. Check out their Facebook for great new games.