Review: Fuji

a pretty hellscape, interesting injuries, oozing magma, and you
Kylie: Wolfgang Warsch’ gorgeous new game, Fuji, pits players as mismatched adventurers who find themselves on top of Japan’s most famous volcano. But it was poor planning on the part of the travel agent, because right as you reach the top, Mount Fuji begins to erupt. You and your companions will have to race against the flow of lava, back to the safety of the village.

Did I mention that this is a co-operative game? Together, players will either scramble to safety, or burn to a crisp.


Review: Museum

Quintinkahmun, a weekend in phoenis, the wetness exhibit, a bad spade
Ava: Let us take you on a tour of the weirdest, most beautiful objects in the world. We can show you the largest palaces and the most specific digging implements, the canniest navigation tools and the shiniest hats you’ve ever seen.

Welcome to Museum, a game of archaeology (stealing), curation (re-arranging), and prestige (letter-writing).

Quinns: With over 300 gorgeous illustrations by Vincent Dutrait, Museum is the definition of a labour of love. In fact, Ava and I approached it like a real museum, taking a leisurely tour of its exhibits across two days.

Finally, we’re ready to write our review. Ava, do you want to explain the game?

Ava: Let me be your guide through the byzantine corridors...of board game.


Review: Underwater Cities

Pimp my Symbiotic City Dome, vanilla churn, a goodie fountain
Kylie: In Vladimír Suchý's heavy management game Underwater Cities, players are competing to build the ultimate deep sea nation. But is it actually better, down where it’s wetter? Are there no troubles when life is the bubbles? Can we really trust a crustacean that sings? I guess we should find out.

Each player is given a personal city map which you'll fill with a scattering of white and red biodomes, which will connect to a flourishing network of factories and laboratories. Ideally, this network will score you points, as well as act as an engine that'll occasionally spew out resources such as credits, biomatter, and kelp. Lots of kelp.

Apparently when we colonise the seas, the only thing available to eat will be kelp. I’ve never tried kelp. Have you tried kelp? They tell me it's the kale of the sea, but I'm pretty sure that's a lie.


Review: Tiny Towns

in the pockets of big stone, fighting with rainbows, a katsu sambo
Quinns: Tiny Towns is a cute little 30 minute city-building game that arrives in U.S. stores tomorrow. The box is full of winsome wooden buildings, players erect farms and homes, and on the cards you can see animals living peaceful lives.

All of which is a little misleading. The best bit of Tiny Towns is hearing one of your neighbours - having carefully examined their own tiny town - mutter “Oh, sh**.”

Intentionally or not, designer Peter McPherson has captured the reality of living in a tiny town. Friendly interactions, with a pungent undercurrent of jealousy.


Review: Betrayal Legacy

a hill worth dying on, death warmed over, generational trauma, sticker schlock
[Hello everybody! Please welcome back Jon Bolding, the rogue who offered us reviews of Orléans and the World Wide Wrestling RPG. As a special Halloween treat, today we're shoving him towards the campaign-powered sequel to Betrayal at the House on the Hill. Bwa-ha-ha...]

Bolds: Moving to live in a new place is stressful, nigh on terrifying. A place where the faucets turn differently, the light switches are in odd places, and your bed faces a wholly new wall.

Well, GET READY, because Betrayal Legacy is a game about moving into a new house over and over, forever, without end. A new house where the portraits leak blood, the attic is infested with gremlins, and even the ghosts have skeletons in their spectral closets.


Review – Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team

death worlds, interdimensional horrors, endless war, and ennui?
Eric: As a teenager, one summer I decided I wanted to learn all of the trick taking card games, a genre that I found strangely fascinating. (I suppose this tells you a lot about me as a teenager and the rural midwestern world of the United States where I grew up.) I learned the rules for Spades, Pinochle, and Pitch. I sort of learned how to play Bridge. I at least read the rules for Whist and Euchre. At the end of the process, though, I found myself feeling confused. In theory, I knew the variations between these games should excite and engage me. In practice, I was at a loss to differentiate one from the other. None of them could really hold my interest.

That is probably a strange place to start my review of Games Workshop's newest offering, Kill Team! A re-release of a variant of Warhammer 40,000, the game's big selling point is its size. Unlike the sell-your-car-budget armies of its larger cousin, in Kill Team each player uses a small band of 5-20 miniatures to do battle in a space designed to fit on a kitchen table. As I've played around with it, though, I find myself at a loss as to what to say.

Kill Team is, at the same time, an exhausting incremental iteration on a tired system... and the best thing Games Workshop has released in years.


Review: Gunkimono

multicoloured melee, modest mesas, military mish-mash
Paul: Board games are strange. I never know what I’m going to like next and no matter what preference I profess, I am always, always being surprised in a way that keeps me as skittish as an anxious antelope. Do I like fantasy settings? Sure! Eurogames that emphasise player interaction? Party games of bluffing and misdirection? Definitely!

And yet naming the game that will next make me grin is as exact a science as reading tea leaves blindfolded from across the room. It’s like I’m in a raffle I never entered, holding


Review: Santa Maria

bountiful pimples, baby buffet, the opposite of Santa Claus
Quinns: There’s quite a bit of buzz around Santa Maria. “Buzz!” spake this box as it arrived in my flat like a gentle but hefty bumblebee, excited to alight on my table.

Paul: OH GOD WHERE’S THE SPRAY QUICK OPEN A WINDO-

Quinns: It’s fiiiine Paul! This is something we can safely let into our homes to flit happily about, to land on our tables or to watch us from the shelves with its compound eyes. Santa Maria is quite harmless!

Paul: Harmless and… perhaps toothless?

Popping open the almost cartoonishly cute box, which appears to depict Santa Claus as armoured as he is jolly, we’ve got dice! We’ve got charming wooden tokens! We’ve got wonky jungle tiles! We’ve got… is this the terrifying face of an inflated baby, about to burst?!


Review: The Mind

THE PROBLEM OF THE INTERNAL, THE PROBLEM OF THE EXTERNAL, Commander J’Pec
Paul: The Mind is one of the very best games that I have played this year. In the last twelve months. In the last twenty-four. Brace yourself, plant your feet, tense your muscles and tug that timeline back as far as you want and I think The Mind is still one of the very best games I have played between now and whenever. I have written so much about it and yet I still can't communicate its gentle brilliance.

It’s also barely a game, not so much a skeleton of rules as a single bony finger, the sort that would be tentatively and timidly excavated, brush by brush, by archaeologists baffled by both its simplicity and its profundity. How, they might ask, could something so simple be so magnificent?


Review: Space Base

admirable admirals, a cheeky tug, the insurmountable greed of your nasty space-friends
Quinns: Ever since team Shut Up & Sit Down first borrowed a camcorder and began proselytising and/or squawking about board games, we’ve been borrowing a line from designer Sid Meier. “A good game is a series of interesting decisions.”

But is this true? Six year later, I'm pretty sure that sometimes a good game is one where you roll dice and then nice stuff happens, or perhaps you own a spaceship(!).

Well HOLD ONTO YOUR PANTS, because in the newly-released Space Base all of these things are true. Each player starts with 12 ships that are straining at their docking clamps like greyhounds before a race, and you’re going to be shrewdly dispatching them across the galaxy for profit and points.

What you’re really doing, though, is designing a slot machine. Won't you listen to me squawk about Space Base? I really like this game.