Review: Terraforming Mars

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.”

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Review: Warhammer 40,000 (8th edition)

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.

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Review: Tigris & Euphrates

June 23, 2017 Reviews Tigris & Euphrates, Heavy Games, SU&SD Recommends 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? … Read more

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Review: Fields of Arle

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?

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Review: Imperial 2030

June 9, 2017 Reviews Imperial 2030, Heavy Games, SU&SD Recommends Money! Money makes the world go round. Money also makes factories, fleets and armies that around that world and bash each other to bits, at least that’s according to Imperial 2030! But is it really all about war? Just because it looks like Risk and … Read more

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Review: Millennium Blades

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.

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Review: Great Western Trail

Hoo baby! The profoundly beefy 2016 game of Great Western Trail is finally back in stock the world over. We’ve had ample time to test its systems, prodding its many rules from every conceivable angle, and today want to tell you that it lives up to the hype.

And thank goodness for that! When was the last time your evenings contained a dose of cowboy magic? It was too long, wasn’t it?

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Review: Cry Havoc

Quinns: Oh my god. Where do we start?

Maybe just gaze into the above image. Try and take it all in. Crystals! Robots! Colours! Cards! Three dozen unique kinds of token, each with a different shape, as if they were all so scared of this primary-coloured scrum that they started to collapse in on themselves.

This is Cry Havoc, one of 2016’s most striking and well-received war games, and if you take anything from its Shakespearean name it shouldn’t be wry sophistication, but that this design is as wild and energetic as a pack of dogs.

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” Let me tell you what I think of this grand box.

That was another quote from Julius Caesar, you see. I might even do another before we’re done. Brace yourselves!

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Review: Quartermaster General: 1914

Quinns: It can be lonely reviewing games by yourself. Matt and Paul might be at the Game Developer’s Conference, but I have a solution!

Matt’s head made from papier-mâché: that’s because you’re great quinns

Quinns: Ha ha, you flatter me! Let’s get down to business, Matt.

Matt’s head made from papier-mâché: i love business

Quinns: Today we’re reviewing Quartermaster General 1914, the third (and most highly-rated) entry in the Quartermaster General series. Like Memoir ‘44, these games might look like stodgy wargames, but don’t be fooled! 1914 is a tricky, playful card game that lets you get stuck into the drama and anxiety of WAR without having to measure any distances or frown at charts.

Now, our site has said over and over again that there aren’t enough team-based board games –

Matt’s head made from papier-mâché: oh goodness no, nowhere near enough

Quinns: Don’t speak, you’re getting flakes of glue on the table. So team play is exactly what the Quartermaster General series is all about. In our case, 1914 is a five player game where three frail players take on two wealthy ones. It’s a tremendously exciting hook, and we’re just getting started.

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Review: Vinhos Deluxe Edition

Quinns: Alright ladies and gents. Today we’re tackling a box of unparallelled size and charisma. The publishers tell me that there are less than 3500 copies of Vinhos Deluxe Edition (the Kickstarted re-imaging of 2010 wine-making classic Vinhos) left, and I want to make sure that you guys have the chance to buy one.

It takes a lot to excite me these days, but Vinhos Deluxe Edition managed it. Contained in this box is nothing less than a torrent of beautifully-illustrated tokens, a board that’s positively threatening in scale, and a fat, clean manual written with wit. It even has nice fonts! In a board game!

But it takes very little to make me nervous, and Vinhos Deluxe did that too. The rules that make sense, like buying vineyards or aging wines, contrast fiercely with the more arcane regions of the board, where players claim score multipliers or manoeuvre their action-selectors.

Any inference you want to draw from the header image of this article is correct. This game’s a beast to play, it’s tougher to teach, and it’s even harder to review.

Obviously, I couldn’t be more excited.

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