13 Dead End Drive was an awesome board game that came out in 1993. In this board game, you want to be the sole inheritor of a huge fortune and you do that by killing the other characters with deadly traps sprinkled around the mansion. What is unique about this game is you can control any character on your turn (perhaps to lead them to a trap). I describe it as Mouse Trap if it was a good game. It had a very visual board that definitely draw your attention. I remember playing it when I was in elementary school and this youtube video reminded me of it. 13 Dead End Drive is unfortunately long out of print so it now fetches a pretty penny.
13 Dead End Drive was a fairly popular mass market game but did you know it had a lesser known sequel 1313 Dead End Drive that came out nine years later?
1313 Dead End Drive actually streamlined the game and fixed a lot of the flaws of 13 Dead End Drive. First off, in the original game the traps broke way too often and it isn’t a problem I believe with the sequel. The board in the sequel was also easier and faster to set up and while playing the game, it had less things to keep a track of.
As for the rules in the original, there was a portrait on the wall which said which character is the going to inherit the fortune and if he or she escapes the mansion, the player who controls that character wins. So if it is your turn and if you don’t own that character, you have to kill him or her. 1313 Dead End Drive takes that out and replaces with a money track aka the will. Certain characters start off with more money but as characters start to die the money trickles down and you also don’t instantly win if you escape the mansion with one of your characters. Instead the player with the most money after the last card of the deck was drawn wins. This works a lot better.
Both 13 Dead End Drive and 1313 Dead End Drive are still fun games to play. There is a bit of deduction, a bit of bluffing and a bit of take that in this game, all mechanics that I love. If you want a unique light filler I highly recommend either game.
So this is a follow up to my Think Geek Warcraft Epic Box blog post. I can’t be the only one who thinks the items you get are super random. I gave it some thought and designing a board game with these components could be a fun challenge. So again the five things that came in the box were: a mini poster, a lanyard with a Warcraft card, a Horde patch, a coin with the Horde symbol on one side and the Alliance symbol on the other and finally a Warcraft hammer key chain.
I designed a fun (although that can be subjective) game that uses everything but the mini poster and nothing else. Also everything can be hanged on the lanyard so it is portable and travel friendly.
This is only a two player game and it is a coin flipping game with a dexterity element which requires quick reaction times.
First the players have to sit across from each other. To set up, put the card on the middle of table, the hammer on the far end on one side of the table and the Horde patch on the far end on the other side. The card in the middle represents the base, the hammer represents attack and the Horde patch represents defense.
On your turn, you will flip the coin. If it lands on the Horde side, you are the Horde for the round and you have to quickly take the Horde patch and place it on the card in the middle. Your opponent is the Alliance in this case and he or she has to take the hammer and tap the base before you place the patch on the card. If it lands on the Alliance side, you have to take the hammer and tap the card before your opponent places the Horde patch. Whoever succeeds scores a point and players immediately lose if they touch the wrong item (if both players touch the wrong items they both score zero for the round). Reset the board, take turns flipping the coin and let’s say first to three points wins.
Be care not to hurt your opponent with the hammer and it can be fun psyching them out so they touch the wrong item.
Don’t Break the Ice was a fairly popular kids board game. It even inspired a German TV show. What is surprising though is how old the game really is. It was in fact first released in 1968 by Schaper Toys. It has since seen a bunch of different printings but as expected it is much harder to find the older versions of this game. Luckily it was recently reprinted by Hasbro with a Frozen theme and this is the edition I have…
So in Don’t Break the Ice, Anna and Olaf are in the middle of dangerous patch of ice! Each player then take turns using a mallet to knock a piece of ice off. If Olaf stays on top, it is the next player’s turn but if he falls, you lose! If you can find an older version of the game I really recommend it over this. The grid was 6×6 rather than 5×5 so the figure can be in the middle of the board and the base of the older version was made of plastic rather than cardboard. Plus if I recall the older version came with two mallets instead of just one. But given that the older version now goes for over $35, this does the job.
All in all, Don’t Break the Ice is a quick, fun and silly game. I don’t really care for the Frozen theme but I have to admit it sort of works. There is actually a very similar game called Penguin Trap that has a bigger board but it hasn’t seen a US release.
Part of my job is to find interesting new board games to play. So I am always keeping my eyes open. I thought it would an great idea to share on my blog some of the awesome but obscure board games I came across!
So first up is Battleboard. Battleboard is obscure kids board game made by Ideal in 1972. Board games back in the day had simple mechanics like roll and move and had rely on gimmicks to stand out. Battleboard is like Battleship but the gimmick was you would use an air pump aka air catapult to launch your opponents pieces in the air!
The key to this gimmick is the air channels on the board connecting each of the spot with an opposing one.
You would think this a super random game where you have to get lucky to hit your opponent’s pieces like say Battleship but there is some strategy built in this game. There are five columns so four knights and one king on each column. Knights start in the back row and the king starts one row head. You can move one piece up, down, left or right one spot each turn. To use your air pump on a spot would tell your opponent that the spot is currently empty so you can eventually deduce the general location of each knight and king. To win you need to get two pieces on the front row and if your king hits the front row you can get a knight back. But this is risky though since you have to announce that the king has hit the wall giving your opponent a lot of information. You can also win by taking out four of your opponents pieces since they can’t win.
This isn’t a valuable board game but it is one lost to time. Ideal actually still exists as a brand and they actually still make this game as Battlefield Blast but even this reprint is hard to find. My copy of this game is unfortunately missing one pawn and both air catapults. I replaced the pawn with something a similar shape and weight (actually the rope piece from an old copy of Clue) and the air catapults with two balloon pumps. Battleboard is an interesting, fun twist to the classic Battleship game and playing the game really feels like taking a step back in time.
Unlike previous years, the 2016 AEG Black Box has only one game and it is marketed towards advanced gamers only. Interesting. Well I have my hands on the Black Box now and the game is Phase!
It includes 306 cards (6 reference cards, 6 preconstructed decks and loose cards to build and upgrade decks with), a bunch of tokens, 150 sleeves and a rule book.
Phase is a CCG/ TCG (maybe LCG?) years in the making. It was announced way back in 2010 and it wasn’t released until now. I haven’t played the game yet but it has an intriguing mechanic where each card is double sided, one good and one evil. A big emphasis on this game seems to be deck building and finding game breaking combos. For me, deck building is my favorite part of most card games (including Magic: The Gathering) and I also just happen to love finding wonky combos and intricate synergies. In fact, AEG has a prize for those who can find these game breaking combos in Phase. The art on the cards is outstanding and the cards are tarot card size which is unusual. Another interesting thing about this game is instead of buying packs like in a CCG/ TCG to get the cards you want, you can make your own combination of cards (the good side and the evil side) and print it with Drive Thru Cards.
The game is for 2-5 players. I skimmed through the rulebook and watch this youtube video so I think I get the game. With four different modes on each card, the game could be complicated to keep track of. But the game in a nutshell is just recruiting strong warriors and playing pump spells or removal spells in combat to win influence tokens/ victory points. Combat is like Magic. Warriors have an attack and defense value and they trade blows. One twist is that only good warriors can block evil warriors and vice versa. You pay for most cards by phasing aka flipping between the two sides of cards in your resource pool.
I haven’t been this excited about a board game or card game in a long time so I have high hopes for Phase. I just have to convince some of my MTG friends to try a new card game.
I have a huge collection of board games and I get to try even more board games at my job but I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to give some truly obscure board games a shot. So I kept hitting the random board game button on Board Game Geek (which is a directory of pretty much every board game in existence) until I came across a free board game that I can print and play or one that I can play with what I had already (like a deck of playing cards). Here is a review of the first three reasonable games that I came across. I say “reasonable” because I am not going to play a random 4 hour wargame. There are actually a ton of free print and play games out there so it didn’t take forever.
The first game is Spurs and Sprockets.
This is a pure strategy tile laying game that is like tic tac toe with some actual interesting decisions. I made it by printing out the tiles and gluing it on file folders with rubber cement. In this game, each player has the same tiles and they take turns placing them until you form a 4×4 grid. You get points when you connect three or four tiles in a row. There is an option rule where you can “attack” your opponents tiles. All in all, this is a simple game to learn but wow it is such a brain burner. I recommend it if you like deep abstract strategy games.
The second game is a solo game that you can play with a deck of cards, The Bogey.
The Bogey was an honorable mention in the Solitaire Print and Play Contest and I love, love The Bogey. I was looking for a quick solo game that doesn’t take up much room and this game is perfect. All you need to play is the rules and a standard deck of cards. In the Bogey, you have to arrange all the cards in less than 12 piles given that each pile has to go from high to low (King to Ace) and each row has to be the same suite. Of course there is a Bogey (a random card between turns) that can throw a wrench in your plans. If you are looking for a time killer that you can play solo, I can’t recommend this game enough. I actually play this between turns in Hearthstone while I wait for slow opponents to make a move. I am so happy I came across this game.
The final game is Hamburger Cardgame.
There are 52 cards in this game so I just glue them on an old deck of playing cards. This game was created in 2010 and oddly there are now a bunch of make a burger card games. Overall, this game is really just a set collection game that is kind of like rummy. You have six rounds to build the best burger but what is interesting is you have to commit to one part of the burger each round so there is a bit of a push your luck element to it. You can go for big points by assembling the right combination of cards in the right order or you can get zero points for not completing your burger. There is something here but it needs a bit more refinement and there are better filler card games out there nowadays. But hey it was free and it was fun.
So there was one great game, one game that good for the right crowd and one OK card game. I think I got lucky.
I am not the only one who prints random games to try… right?
This has to be one of the weirdest things out of a pack of cards. It is a Cards Against Humanity Retail Product (retail as in the cards are about retail stores). It is a Target exclusive and from the front of the pack, it has a $1 instant rebate…
It comes with 20 Cards Against Humanity cards and a crisp one dollar bill??? I don’t know if this is the weirdest thing I ever pulled out of a pack of cards or if the dirt from the Lewis and Clark Trail is.