Review: Twilight Imperium, Fourth Edition

space sneeze, letnev party, a reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreally big car park
At last. A full six years after we rugby-tackled one of the most glorious and gargantuan board games ever made, we once again take on Twilight Imperium. Sleeker and shinier than ever, just how does the refined fourth edition compare with its previous incarnation? Look no further, for we offer you the definitive review of this epic space opera.

And yes, we really do mean definitive. After Matt and Paul prodded the game so much at Fantasy Flight's headquarters for Matt's in-depth documentary, Quinns took on the brave (some would say Herculean) task of looking at this new edition both as a standalone game, but also alongside its predecessor, which is now widely discounted. Which one deserves your money?


Spoiler-Free Review – Pandemic Legacy: Season 2

is it still "cosplay" if it's this bad, leaving numbers behind, rose-tinted goggles
A mere 700 days later and IT'S HERE! Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is the sequel to our game of 2015, Pandemic Legacy, and it's even more ambitious than the first game. Not only is this box heavier and more expensive, it tells a far more complicated story.

But what do we think? Has the lightning of genius smote this particular property once again? Or does Season 2 feel like a difficult second album?

If we were you, we'd take a deep breath, click play and find out.


Review – Star Wars: Rebellion: Rise of the Empire

quinns' toothy heart, a sad birthday, 8 more complexity
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Quinns: Matt, are you ready to review the Rise of the Empire expansion for Star Wars™: Rebellion? To bring everyone up to speed, Rebellion is a grand 2-4 player game set in the Star Wars universe, which I reviewed and said it was fun, but I couldn't quite recommend it.

What does the expansion add? Well, let me just quote the press materials: “Rise of the Empire isn't just inspired by Rogue One; it follows the movie's example, adding new depth and story to the Rebellion game experience just as seamlessly as Rogue One provided new insight into the Galactic Civil War presented in the original Star Wars trilogy.”

Matt: I just did a big vomit out of a window. In Real-World Terms™ it’s an expansion that adds quite a bunch of stuff: new leader characters, new cards, a whole new combat system, more unit types and plastic figures, and a brand new planet: EWOK-HOTH, HOME OF THE CHILLYBEARS.


Review: The Voyages of Marco Polo

embarrassing dads, a really good candy-based joke, bouncing bags of bananas
Hot dog! At the time of writing The Voyages of Marco Polo is ranked as BoardGameGeek’s 39th best game ever. Our team has now comprehensively tested, teased and tutted over every aspect of its complicated machinery to bring you what we think.

That said, our viewers should note that as Englishmen, we still have no bloody idea about that American folk game where someone yells “Marco!” and someone else yells “Polo!”, and we’re not Googling it on principal.


Review: Legend of the Five Rings

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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.


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.


Review: Terraforming Mars

this makes no sense, lonely algae, the british national anthem, the solar satsuma
For many board gamers, Matt Damon wasn't the biggest imaginary thing to happen on Mars in 2016. That honour belongs to Terraforming Mars, a game so popular that the publishers have already announced four expansions!

But what will we make of this smash hit? As Matt Damon said so aptly last year, "Wrap your face flaps around this! Mine's a lumpy one."


Review: Warhammer 40,000 (8th edition)

19 organs, 90 dice, 400 of dollars, 7 previous editions, 1 life
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Eric: For any of what follows to make sense, I need to take you to a place in my past. Imagine the house where I grew up. Follow me down into the basement, past the unfinished walls and pantry shelving and washing machine. Back here, hidden under the stairs. Do you see it?

That was my desk.

It isn't much to look at – an austere, industrial thing. The kind of desk I now imagine factory workers flipping over in some proletarian revolution. But I spent huge amounts of my late childhood and early teenage years here. Pouring through those roleplaying manuals stacked in one corner, drawing elaborate maps on that graph paper, and – as the spackling of color attests – painting the little figurines that line the shelf above.

Those were my first space marines.

About a month ago, Games Workshop released their 8th edition of the Warhammer 40,000 rules. Back when I was painting at that desk, it was 3rd edition I played. As much as those iterations between then and now can be seen as cynical cash grabs – partly because some of them were – there is something noteworthy about this new one. But more on that in a minute.


Review: Tigris & Euphrates

Everybody, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! We of course refer to the Annual Summer Goodtime Tile-Based Reinerstravaganza, and this year the star of the show is the new Windrider edition of Reiner’s 1997 classic, Tigris & Euphrates.

Don’t know who Reiner is? Don’t like tigers? Allergic to tiles? Well frankly, that’s just not good enough. This box is a bulwark against boredom, a titan of the table, and the new edition deserves just a little more love.


Review: Fields of Arle

Cow compression, campestral candy, for peat’s sake
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Paul: I’m not sure what it is about all this grit and graft that hooks me. Uwe Rosenberg keeps making games about hard work and manual labour and there I am again, scraping at the soil or sweating at the forge as I worry if we have enough food for the winter. My servile son shoves another horse into the stables, while my wife trudges through the fetid, bubbling peat bog that marks the edge of our land. There is so much that needs doing. Fields of Arle is the greatest farming challenge I've ever taken on and… is it weird that I relish that?