Review: Eclipse

Hot Laser Death, lustrous pennies, Scandinavia is basically outer space ok
Review: Eclipse
Quinns: Perhaps you're aware of a little game called ECLIPSE? It erupted out of Finland two years ago like some dark alien life-form, intent on devouring the world's leisure time.

I am proud to say that I have done battle with this alien (is this analogy working?) and my review has JUST THIS MOMENT gone live on Eurogamer. It starts like this:

"This game was 2012's biggest release, and it couldn't be more deserved. Eclipse's masterstroke was in taking a genre with a portentous appeal - claiming star systems, climbing hand over hand up a grandiose tech tree, engaging in HOT LASER DEATH - and compressing it down into just two hours using the same dark Scandinavian genius that brought us flatpacked Ikea furniture."

...and it continues, using words.

In all seriousness, a lot of people called Eclipse 2012's single biggest release. If you're curious, you should absolutely go and have a little read. And then maybe have a little buy. Alright, a big buy.

But let me tell you- this one is absolutely worth it. Any of you guys tried the expansion?


Review: Archipelago

sea eels, beef island, the problem with beef island, have some more wine
Splash! Splutter. Cough. You've just washed up on the shores of the best game we've looked at in ages.

Friends, newcomers, children of all ages, please enjoy this review of the ethically dubious Archipelago. It's early days, this might end up being our game of 2013. Who knows? If Archipelago teaches us anything, it's to plan for the future. The future, and also for what you're going to do with all those sodding pineapples.

Enjoy, guys.


Review: Mansions of Madness

Monster Vs. Barrier, Center Parcs of Madness, paul what happened in the shed
Review: Mansions of Madness
Quinns: I've reviewed Mansions of Madness on the Eurogamer! Anyone interested in just how ambitious a board game can be should read this one. Or anyone interested in a couple of private stories from our gaming table.

"I'll never forget the time my friend played team psycho Michael McGlen. He idly wandered into a shed, alone, where the Keeper deployed about six cards in a comedic level of bullying. Two turns later Michael ran out of the same shed with a back injury, no shotgun and a crippling fear of the rest of us, whereupon the shed promptly exploded."

Paul: YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN'T TALK ABOUT THE HORRORSHED.

Quinns is right, though. This is a very strange, but hugely impressive game that everyone should know about, even if it's just to steer clear. Go read!


Review: Robinson Crusoe – Adventure on the Cursed Island

no-oo, board games, review, Poor Barry
Review: Robinson Crusoe - Adventure on the Cursed Island
You know when you buy a game, and you know it’s going to be good?

"This will be a great time," you announce to your cactus or spouse. “I have been convinced by this game’s art and premise that I will enjoy myself."

Your coat’s still on. You pick up the phone. “Barry?" You say. “It’s me. Would you like to come over and have a great time?"

I was convinced Robinson Crusoe was the game for me. Guess what!


Retrospective: Ambush!

Ambush!, Retrospective, shit going down
Retrospective: Ambush!
Paul: Right then, shall we look inside a box that hasn’t been opened in at least sixteen years?

Review: The Castles of Burgundy

review, The Castles of Burgundy, ape balls, piglets
Review: The Castles of Burgundy
Paul: Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, Jesus! That looks like the lovechild of a maths textbook and hotel room art. I’m not having that in my house.”

Hold on. The Castles of Burgundy, which casts 2-4 players as the holders of estates in medieval France, has the whole board game community bleating with quiet joy. We absolutely had to get hold of a copy and try it out. You know what? I actually think it’s quite special, too, although I appreciate it’s such a placid, thoughtful, deeply European game that it won’t be Quinns’s kind of thing. Still-

Quinns: No, no, I really like it.

Paul: You do?

Quinns: Yeah, it’s excellent.

Paul: But-

Quinns: And here’s why!


Review: Merchants & Marauders

sharks, review, Guzzling rum, Thick Sparks, Cheeky dolphins, stars, voodoo
Review: Merchants & Marauders
Quinns: Rum! Guns! Thievery and corruption! Broadsides and boarding actions, executed by daring captains, their magnificent ships reeking of fragrant spices and tobacco. A glittering sea, taken to foul moods and murderous storms. Sharks! MONEY!
 
Ain’t no backdrop like the 18th century Caribbean. If only there was a board game set amongst all this.

Oh wait!

In our last episode we said we thought Fortune & Glory was a poor example of Ameritrash, Ameritrash being board games that, generally, focus on conflict, cheap thrills and on smothering your table with components rather than being a fair and nuanced game. We’re covering Merchants & Marauders, then, to show you a beautiful example of Ameritrash. This game is a parade of unexpected happenings, satisfying rewards and crushing defeats that all mix together in a foul voodoo potion which brings the Caribbean, shuddering, to life.


Review – Game of Thrones: The Board Game

review, A Game of Thrones, Winter is coming, grand strategy
Review - Game of Thrones: The Board Game
Quinns: This month saw the release of a beautiful new edition of the Game of Thrones board game, a game of duplicity and scheming that, according to rumours, is so mean it’s actually capable of damaging friendships. Yesterday Paul and I played it, and today we seek to answer two very serious questions. One, should you buy it? And two, following his incredible defeat, will Paul manage to assemble an objective opinion?
Paul: I’m not bitter! There’s a lot about A Game of Thrones I want people to know, but they can start by knowing I was graceful in defeat.
Under my rule House Tyrell were a staunch and honest ally for the entire game, which definitely wins me the moral victory.

Review: Black Gold

review, Black Gold, spurt, milkshake
Review: Black Gold
Quinns: We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “SU&SD, what I really want is a board game about being an oil prospector, except with all the tension and exclusively brutal interaction of a wrestling match.” Well today’s your lucky day!We’re reviewing Black Gold, a game of racing across Texas in a pick-up truck, trying to build wells before your opponents, as well as fierce, arena-like auctions where everyone bids for the right to sell their oil. There Will Be Blood? Yes. Yes, there will.

Paul: You know what? This is the sort of game I wish Monopoly was. A capitalist, pugilist slugging-it-out where the only thing that matters is money and how much of it you can wrench out of the hands of others. And it doesn’t have disgusting paper notes in, either, so that’s another pro. I’m not really sure there will be blood, but there will be a lot of oil and an awful lot of very cruel business practices…


Review: Fury of Dracula

review, Fury of Dracula, Quinns' box nightmare, hunting the elderly
Review: Fury of Dracula
Quinns: Did you ever play hide and seek as a kid? Do you remember the hysterical thrill of wedging yourself under the bed, trying to control the unbelievable noise of your own lungs? Or being the hunter, creeping through a familiar environment with carbonated anticipation tingling along your veins? Because I’m inclined to call board game Fury of Dracula hide and seek for adults. This is a beautiful, beautiful game, and it deserves a place in houses the world over.

Paul: I didn’t have anywhere exciting to hide as a child or very many people to play with anyway. But we did play a game called Nine Nine In on our school field, which involved-

Quinns: FURY OF DRACULA sees four players each controlling a vampire hunter chasing Dracula across Europe. It’s a glossy update of a classic called Scotland Yard, which was a board game about catching a runaway criminal in London, but here a fifth player gets to control the immortal Count Dracula rather than some greasy burglar, so it’s already the better game.