Review: Camel Up Cards

Camel Up Cards is a small box version of the hit-game Camel Up by designer Steffen Bogen, for 2 to 6 players. If you like the original Camel Up, you’ll enjoy this games. Instead of dice, it uses a draw deck of cards to move the camels. You will be able to have some control on the contents of the deck by stacking the deck, which makes for a more interesting game. The race track is also laid out using cards, and you will be able to dynamically change the...

Review: Honshu

Honshu is a trick-taking, map-building card game set in feudal Japan, fo 2 to 5 players, by designer Kalle Malmioja. His second published game, this city builder reminds me of a bit of Patchistory (2013) in that you are putting down cards and overlaying them so that some portions are shown and some portions are hidden. Honshu combines this elegantly with the trick-taking aspect for card selection, which uses resources produced from your city to set the 'suit' of the 'trick...

Review: The Institute for Magical Arts

The Institute for Magical Arts is a two-player dice and area control game by Steve Finn in which players use dice rolls to place "power stones" onto different cards in an attempt to win those cards. Once won, cards offer either special powers or victory points or both.

The game does an amazing job of introducing area control mechanics in a card-based game. Interestingly, the dice in the game are not used for randomization in the traditional sense, but...

Review: Fossil Hunters

Fossil Hunters is a game of area control for 2-5 players. All players have access to the same slab of rock. The goal is to split it apart, divide the spoils, and form complete dinosaur skeletons. And the bigger the better!

It has an interesting varient on the area-control mechanic where you use colored wooden sticks to break off the game board. There is also a compelling resource management strategy—you need to decide wherether you want to wait for more sticks, or...

Review: Cthulhu Realms

In Darwin Kastle's Cthulhu Realms, each player tries to reduce their opponents to insanity or have more sanity than their opponents when the deck runs out. For those that are familiar with the designer's previous hit game Star Realms, this is esentially a Cthulhu themed Star Realms with some added features.

If you like Star Realms, or deck-building games in general, you’d probably enjoyed this game. The designer added a third and fourth-player option and also symbolized all the card...

Review: Cunning Folk

Cunning Folk is a micro game of bluffing and deduction. You are townsfolk, investigating the houses of Ipswich for witches, good and evil. Look at a card and tell your friends which character you see to use its ability. Of course, you could lie. Your opponents might call you out, but everyone should tread carefully: Wrong once, and the town suspects you of witchcraft. Twice, and you are ostracized! Keep your wits about you and—if you lie, do it well.

I can't remember having more fun...

Review: Outer Earth

In the near future, both rapid space exploration and terraforming technology have opened a new science field allowing mankind to explore, discover and terraform planets for habitation.

Players manage a planetary development company and compete in the planet auction market for the developing rights of these newly explored planets.

The clean art style and design looks fantastic and goes well with the theme. The designer has paid attention to detail and it shows. The components...

Review: RESISTOR_

RESISTOR_ is a fast, fun, and intense two-player competitive card game in which you play as one of two supercomputers in charge of your country's global thermonuclear warheads. Through the manipulation of double-sided cards on the table and in your hand, you create a line that is either red (for DEEP RED) or blue (for BLU9000) that goes across the board into your enemy's base. Each player gets three actions and must take all three before the turn is over. Toss in some Resistor cards, either...

Review: Sail to India

Sail to India (AEG, 2013) is a deep strategy and exploration game in a very small and light box. Using only 24 cards, and small wood cubes, the game lets up to 4 players set sail from Lisboa as Portuguese explores, trading and settling their way to India. The cards are set up face-down in a linear map, and flipped over as the game progresses as the world is 'discovered'. It employs a classic Euro-style worker placement mechanic, causing players to vie for the same resources in order to build...

Review: Machi Koro

Machi Koro (IDW Games, 2012) is a Japanese-style, dice-rolling, tableau-building game with a city building theme. I normally don't like dice-rolling games but this is one of the exceptions, since you have some control over the outcome of your rolls. In the game, you purchase building cards using coins. Each building has an ability and a probability range. The interesting mechanic is that purchasing buildings increases the probability that you will get to use the ability of a building with...