Review: First Martians

plodding & prodding, it's a crane not a gun, every flavour of lozenge
OH MY GOODNESS! It's time for a fantastically exciting box. First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet is a game of surviving as the very first colonists on the Solar Satsuma, and keeping your wits about you as your home crumbles like a dunked biscuit.

It's also the sequel to 2012 release Robinson Crusoe, which Quinns didn't get on with very well. What's changed in five years? A lot, we can tell you.


A Re-Review? Arkham Horror: The Card Game

a surprise pterodactyl, vomiting into a trumpet, cereal box fiction
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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: Whitehall Mystery

a gutted game, an over-large uniform, nicotine discs, a rat in a trap
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Quinns: Career Shut Up & Sit Down fans might remember our 2013 Halloween Special, where we reviewed a game called Letters from Whitechapel. This was a beautiful, heinously tense game where one player controls Jack the Ripper, facing off against a team of police players who hunt him through the streets of London like a wild animal. It would be in ill taste to say that we were charmed by that box, but Paul and I would both have to admit to being seduced. What a puzzle. What a board! What fabulous pressure.

Fast-forward to 2017, and it was only a couple of months ago that I was arching my eyebrow at the announcement of a spin-off titled Whitehall Mystery. I read the preview articles and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I was supposed to be excited about.

This week review copies of Whitehall Mystery stepped out from the foggy alleyways of publisher Fantasy Flight, and I gave it a play. And you know what? There’s now egg on my (blood-flecked, murderer’s) face.

I think this is the best hidden movement game ever made.


Review: Burgle Bros.

a dollop of chaos, a crime soufflé, a misplaced acrobat, and a bloody cat?!
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Matt: Chucking Pandemic Legacy in the bin proved to be an uncomfortable day for my board game collection, causing a cardboard-flavoured existential wobble. As much as I love - had loved - Pandemic, experiencing the full-fat campaign spin-off had left me wondering if I’d ever bring myself to go back to the standard co-op game that had been such a household staple.

I’ve spent a while poking my nose around for a worthy replacement, and - for me - I think it might be Burgle Bros.

Dropping two to four players into a classic bank heist, Tim Fowers’ has squeezed an almost comical amount of theme and bits and ideas into a box that - being generous - might hold a small shoe. Our intrepid / idiotic thieves have failed to case the joint ahead of the job, so it’s up to you and your Colleagues-In-Crime to first find the safes, then crack them, grab the loot, and get out.


Review: Arkham Horror – The Card Game

chocolate vampires, a spot of light burglary, classic trepanning, screams
My goodness! After we were a little dismissive at Gen Con last year, it turns out that Arkham Horror is the best card game to come out of Fantasy Flight since Netrunner. Pour yourself a glass of interdimensional phlegm, ensure you're sitting uncomfortably, and let Matt and Quinns tell you why in this spoiler-free review.

If you're the sort of devil-may-care investigator who doesn't care about forbidden secrets, don't forget that you can watch Matt and Quinns play the whole first scenario in this video. Though actually, in hindsight we've now realised that it's a tutorial mission and actually comparatively simple. You should know that far greater twists and terrors await in the full game!


Review: Kingdom Death: Monster

lost ding dong, goes to eleven, you are masticated
While we don't usually review Kickstarter titles, we've made a very particular exception for this seasonal special, with Paul taking a long and very hard look at at the "boutique horror" of Kingdom Death: Monster. Why this? Why now? A new version of Kingdom Death is back on Kickstarter and generating astounding amounts of interest (and cash). It was all the excuse we needed to plunge into this enormous beast and tear at its innards.

Have a terrific weekend, everyone. If you decide to spend it out in some snow, or fighting monsters, or even just rolling particularly large handfuls of dice, do remember to stay safe!


SU&SD Play… Arkham Horror: The Card Game!

the nude FBI, making grapes, good buddies, a machete
It could be the voices that whisper ceaselessly inside our skull, but it seems everyone is talking about Arkham Horror: The Card Game! We're only going to review it after a lot more plays and a few more expansions, but for now why not watch Matt and Quinns play the first chapter of the first campaign? For reference, here's that Garth Marenghi thing they keep referencing. If you haven't yet seen it, do get the DVD. You're in for a treat.

And hey! Since we're in the middle of a donation drive right now and it's the season of giving, we've got yet another video coming in just a few days. Want it a clue? It rhymes with "Wingdom Beth Ponster Peview." What could it be... ?


Review: Not Alone

misleading parties, friendly predators, marmalade skies, home
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Quinns: You and I need to talk about Not Alone. There are more exciting card games out there, and funnier ones, and ones that are sharp as a tack, but Not Alone is the most deliciously playable little game we’ve encountered since Crossing. This box might as well be full of popcorn.

Between 1 and 6 players are the survivors of a crash-landing on a wild alien world. This team (possibly made up of just one nervy player) is opposed by one final player controlling the beast that lives there. A long, thin board measures the progress of each team: The humans win if they can survive until help arrives, the beast wins if it can wear down the humans and absorb them into the ecosystem like beer into a shag carpet.

Each turn, each human player plays a card face-down showing where they’re going, and the beast has to second-guess their movements and slap fat poker chips onto those locations, invalidating your turn or worse. If the beast itself catches you then it devours a precious “Will” cube.

Do I have your interest? Of course I do. You’re a weak-willed human, and this game is a seductive new land. Let’s go exploring.


Review: Conan

Conan i have never reviewed you before, i have no tongue for it
Like an irrepressible wall of pecs and steel, Conan arrives next week (in Europe) and the week after (in America) to bounce all other miniatures games off your table. Standing in his way is Shut Up & Sit Down, a noble bulwark of common sense, here to tell you if this burly box is worth the money.

If you will it, we now have a selection of associated retailers who are more than happy to take your pre-order! And huge thanks to Vancouver's Valkyrie Western Martial Arts gym for their support. If you're in Vancouver why not try a class?

Have a great weekend, everybody. Do it for Crom.


Review: Mechs vs. Minions

a robotic chocolate box, omnistomping, fueltanking, headbutting
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Disclaimer: Quinns, of this site, was a paid consultant on this game. Originally we weren't planning to cover it, but ultimately decided to send it to Pip for an impartial review.

Pip: Summary for the super spoiler-conscious: League of Legends – a videogame with a frankly enormous player base – has made a first foray into board gaming with Mechs vs Minions.

Mechs vs Minions is REALLY good! The developers bill it as Robo Rally meets Descent to give you an idea of how it plays. I've been playing through the campaign with Chris Thursten. We're having a blast and I'll get into the more detailed explanations in a moment BUT!

I wanted to say how much we're enjoying it up here because the game is an episodic campaign with each mission coming in its own envelope so as to deliver a few surprises as you play. With that in mind I figured it would be best to say "It's so good!" up front in case you wanted to go in with as close to zero knowledge of the contents of the game.

Everybody else? Come stomping this way.