Review: Bargain Quest

eaten by a witch, the realm of retail, doritos: cool original
Who's ready to make a sale? Bargain Quest is a game about running a shop in a fantasy world, and figuring out the best way to empty the pockets of doomed heroes. Though if they actually manage to slay the dragon? Well, that's just free marketing.

Better yet, Bargain Quest is Matt's new favourite way to get newbies involved in the joys of board gaming. But will he sell Quinns on it? That boy's a famously tough customer...

The Sushi Go Party! review mentioned in the review can be found right here. Thanks to Dice Saloon here in Brighton for letting us film. They're an awesome, friendly shop with a ton of free play space, and locals should check them out.


Review: Crystal Clans

dandelion warriors, floodlights of dread, cooking the books at fraggle rock
Quinns: To look at the box of Crystal Clans, the new 2 player card game from publisher Plaid Hat, is to hear the soaring soundtrack of Saturday morning cartoons. The bracing breeze of GI Joe! The salty spray of the Thundercats-

Matt: Quinns this is a family show.

Quinns: It sure is, Matthew, and so is Crystal Clans! This box is a bat-signal that immediately summoned my childhood fascination with not just “fantasy” but the fantastical.

Contained within this game's deliciously diverse clans are knights that ride bees into battle, necromancers who pursue a romantic Dia de los Muertos aesthetic, time-travelling twins and one massive crocodile. This feels like a world for everybody, and the manual doubles-down on that by using the feminine “She” to refer to the player.

Everything in Crystal Clans has a touch of the revolutionary about it, and that extends to the actual game. This is like no other box we’ve ever reviewed.


Review: Fugitive

jack won't behave, hamster in a hurricane, solo socks
Paul has been on the road of late and, since it’s never a bad idea to travel fast and light, he’s made sure to pack a few smaller games. Among them is the book-sized marvel that is Fugitive, but can a game so small stand out in a world of big boxes and flashy components? Can it compete with its big brothers? Here’s our definitive opinion.

Review: The Fox in the Forest

pretty foxes, handsome woodcutters, and a psychic slapfight
Quinns: The Fox in the Forest is the best small-box card game I’ve played in two years.

That’s a pretty momentous statement, right? Well, now we’re going to lose all of that momentum as I plunge this review-car up to its axles in mud, because Fox in the Forest is a trick-taking game.

The board gaming scene has a habit of not explaining what “trick-taking” is, probably because it’s a huge pain in the ass to teach. But we’re going to do it, here and now, in SU&SD’s famous spirit of accessibility. We can through this mud together, reader! You get in the driver’s seat, I’ll get out and push. Just stick with me! Now, feather the accelerator! The ACCELERATOR! That’s what we call the gas pedal in England do it oh god the mud is in my shoes


Review: Cockroach Poker Royal

hot ants, cool dogs, regal bats, and an average man
As our team continues playtesting and preparing for the first of the year's Big Reviews, here's a cheeky appetiser! While Quinns was on holiday this month he filmed a couple of lightweight reviews on his favourite travel games, starting with the ever-entertaining Cockroach Poker.

(Yes, we published an article about Cockroach Poker before, but in 2018 our written articles reach a fraction of the audience that our video reviews do. In other words, if a game's absolutely awesome then us writing about it is basically the worst thing that could happen to it, so going forward you can expect us to occasionally re-visit a classic game in video format.)

(And no, you're not wrong, Quinns mentions Galaxy Trucker in this video but forgot to film that bit of the script. His waterlogged English brain was probably struggling with all that sunshine.)


Review: Modern Art

Machiavelli-maths, i've made a huge mistake, Rafael Silveira is rubbish though
Quinns: With CMON’s new edition of Modern Art, a game of blisteringly quick and dangerous art auctions, Shut Up & Sit Down continues its exploration of classic Knizia. Just who is Reiner Knizia? Where did he come from? What is he doing? We’ve interviewed him and I still don’t know. All I can tell you is that he’s responsible for more than 500 games, literally some of which are good.

But Modern Art isn’t just the oldest Knizia game we’ve ever reviewed. With the exception of 1981’s Consulting Detective, I think this is the oldest game we’ve reviewed, period. It came out way back in 1992, when Paul was celebrating his 30th birthday and Matt hadn’t even been born yet.

Can you feel it? This site is trembling with time right now. Slip inside my cardboard Tardis. Let’s see if the years have been kind.


Review: Legend of the Five Rings

Quinns: Phew! I birthed two of the year’s toughest reviews last week, but there’s no rest for the wicked. Today we’ve got some coverage that a lot of people have been asking for.

Remember when Fantasy Flight Games bought the rights to 1996 collectible card game Netrunner and released a new edition that took over my life? Well, Legend of the Five Rings (henceforth “L5R”) is them doing that again. This was originally a 1995 card game, but any week now shops will receive FFG’s beautimus new edition using the Living Card Game business model of releasing fixed expansions rather than randomised boosters. This makes it cheap compared to most collectable card games, albeit still expensive compared to board games.

In other words, we could have a hit on our hands. Have Fantasy Flight folded the original game’s steel into a captivating card katana?

Let’s find out.


A Re-Review? Arkham Horror: The Card Game

a surprise pterodactyl, vomiting into a trumpet, cereal box fiction
Quinns: So, we’re seven months on from when Matt and I first peeled the delicate outer membrane from the otherworldly Arkham Horror: The Card Game (otherwise known as ‘shrink-wrap’). We were stunned at how much fun we had. After years of rolling our eyes at Fantasy Flight’s Lovecraft products, we found that inside this small, unassuming box was an absolutely electric experience. I was as surprised as anyone when I announced that it was my favourite game of 2016.

Now, you’ll remember that while you can go back and play this game’s scenarios on “Hard” and “Expert” modes, most of the appeal is in the first playthrough, making each new expansion pack feel like a long-awaited episode of a favourite TV show. You call your friends over, microwave some popcorn, put the popcorn in the bin so nobody can get grease on the cards and sit down to see what happens to your characters (and their decks!) next.

Which begs a question. Now that the first full campaign has been published (seven expansions that make up The Dunwich Legacy), how’s this TV show doing?

And I think most players would answer you the same way. A small laugh, a faraway look, and then they'd say “Oh, man. It’s good. And... weird.”


Review: Millennium Blades

sweat washes off, john lemon, millennium dollars
Thrower: The table is a wreck of cards, tokens and wads of cash. One player has collapsed on the sofa, eyes closed, exhausted. Another feverishly sorts their deck, cards held close to face, unable to understand what went wrong. Someone else has walked out, professing a desire for space and calm.

I'm wondering where the last two hours went and how I didn't notice we now have an audience of a new visitor and a cat. I realise, suddenly, that on this cool spring evening I'm bathed in sweat. This is the aftermath of Millennium Blades.

We've spent the time pretending to be players of a fictional collectible card game in an anime universe. Millennium Blades is, then, a game about playing games. This sounds like a recipe for a design that disappears up its own backside. Instead, this game is interesting, intense and ingenious. Stuffed with self-referential satire, it sits, winking at its players from the comfort of its oversize box. If you can unpick all the parodies from a card called “I’ll Form the Head” from the “Obari as Hell” card set, you’re a higher voltage gamer than me.


Review: Ethnos

BOLD TRAVELLER! Dare you enter the land of Ethnos? There live creatures the likes of which you cannot imagine. Trolls! Orcs! And what's that, hiding over there in that bush? Why, it's a wizard, laying a wizard egg. It is spring here, after all.

Alright, so the "land" of Ethnos is a bit rubbish. But this is a new game from Paolo Mori, who gifted us with Libertalia in 2013 and Dogs of War the year after that. Surely he has earned a moment of your time? Sit a while, traveller, and listen to Matt and Quinns rave about his latest design.