Tag Archives: Board Games

Awesomely Awesome Board Games: Don’t Break the Ice

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…

Frozen Don't Break the Ice

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.

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The 2016 AEG Black Friday Black Box is Phase!

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!

phase whats in the box

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.

phase card game

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.

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My Reviews of Three Random Obscure Board Games from Board Game Geek

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.

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

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.

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?

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The Weirdest Thing Out of A Pack of Cards

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…

cards against humanity retail pack

cards against humanity retail pack

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.

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My Haul from International Tabletop Day

So today was International Tabletop Day and I am been playing board games all day, all over New York City. I got to try a lot of new games and I won some Machi Koro promos!

Machi Koro Promos

To be honest, I bought Machi Koro awhile ago but I never opened the game. But with these promos, I am definitely bringing it to the next board game meetup. Speaking of which if you are in New York City, I host board game socials in Bryant Park every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 6-8 PM. It is a lot of fun and best of all they are free!

I also saw some discount heroclix figures in a separate gaming store and I picked up these sweet Superman and General Zod figures too!

Superman and General Zod Heroclix

These figures are a little different and little bigger than your typical Heroclix figures. They are from a TabApp Elite set which some sort of iPad game. I am probably never downloading the app but these are interesting additions to my huge Heroclix collection.

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More Quick Board Game Reviews: King of Tokyo, No Thanks, Rolling America & More!

I am going to start a new job hosting board game nights so I have been demoing games all month! Since the last board game review post was somewhat popular here is another one.

King of Tokyo
King of Tokyo is my favorite game introduced to me so far. It is fun, fast paced, easy to teach and wildly addictive. It also has a great theme (kaiju monsters causing all sorts of mayhem in Tokyo) and I honestly have never seen a game draw in non- gamers as well as this one. King of Tokyo is going to be a staple in all my board game nights and it has rocketed to my favorite game.

King of New York
King of New York takes King of Tokyo and adds a few new interesting mechanics to keep things fresh. It is a bit harder to teach especially to those new to board games but this is an excellent game that I will take out after a group plays King of Tokyo a couple of times.

Rolling America
Rolling America is a hard puzzle game and this is easily my new favorite one person game (although it can be play with a lot more people).

Spaceteam is a chaotic co-op party game where you try to make sure things are getting done to travel through space. It a perfect ice breaker and filler but I have to warn you there will be a lot of yelling. Along the same lines I want to try Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, where you need help from your friends to defuse a bomb.

Timeline Challenge
I love Timeline but you can finish a game in like 5 minutes. Sometimes you want a little more. Timeline Challenge adds a lot to the base game. Timeline Challenge is kind of a like Cranium with dates and it is good trivia party game with the right group.

Monster Factory
Monster Factory is tile laying game and it is basically like a super simple Carcassonne. I found the game boring but it can be good with kids.

The X-Files CCG
I love deduction games so I gave this a shot. I got 2 starter decks but if you play with the basic rules the decks are kind of imbalanced since they are semi random and you have to take out a bunch of cards. The core of the game is interesting. You need to send your agents to investigate sites, pass skill checks and from there is it like Clue. I hate the tiny little rule book since it was a chore to read. I didn’t even bother with advance rules but the basic game is mediocre. It may have worked better as a stand alone board game or living card game rather than a Collectible Card Game where cards are random.

No Thanks!
Finally I don’t really like small set collecting card games (there are a lot of them) but I tried No Thanks and it probably the only game in the genre I will play. It is simple but surprisingly strategic.

Games I want to try next:

Pixel Tactics
I don’t know much about this game. I have heard good things and I got it for cheap.

Mr Jack
This seems to be an interesting deduction game that I haven’t played.

Shadows Over Camelot
Shadows Over Camelot is a classic co-op game and it is one game I really want to try out.

Run, Fight or Die!
I heard this game is like King of Tokyo with zombies. I bought the expansion Running Late But We’re Worth It for only $.99. I am looking for a good deal on the base game.

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Quick Reviews of Games I Tried for Board Game Night

I have a HUGE collection of board games and cards game and until recently a number of them still had the shrinkwrap on. I regularly host a board game night (that is always seems to be getting bigger and bigger!) but it is sometimes hard to get a new game on the table. But recently I had some free time and hosted a bunch of board game nights with a bunch of different people over the last month. So I got to try out a bunch of new games. I thought to have a quick post with some on my thoughts on some of these games.

Adventure Time Love Letter – Love Letter is consistently one of the most requested game for board game night. I picked up the AEG Black Box that had this version of Love Letter along with a bunch of similar small card games. This is still the best micro card game. I love the Adventure Time theme and I love the two twists this version brings to the base game.

Lost Legacy – This is from the same designer as Love Letter. I like Love Letter better but this is my choice for a Love Letter like game for larger groups as you can combine the two decks.

Who Stole the Cookie? – I could see how this game could be fun but all everyone wanted to do was peek at the cards so it became the game who got lucky and found the location of the two cookies first.

Cypher – This is the last card game I tried from the AEG Black Box and of the four, this is the weakest game. It is too similar to Love Letter but it is also more confusing so everyone wanted to just go back to Love Letter in the end.

Stinker – This is a huge hit among my board game group. It is like Apples to Apples meets Scrabble. It may replace Say Anything as my party game of choice.

Timeline – This is surprisingly a really fun game. It is super simple. You just add events to a growing timeline and hope to get rid of all of your cards first. I am looking to buy more Timeline sets and perhaps try the Timeline Challenge.

Temple Run – This game is mindless and boring. It is kind of like UNO where you can’t make any choices. Honestly I wouldn’t have gotten this game if it wasn’t like 5 bucks.

Adventure Time Finn-ominoes – Similarly I got this because it was really cheap and I love Adventure Time. Unfortunately the components are so cheaply made, it is actually impossible to play. But it does come in a nice Finn case.

Qwirkle – We misread the rules so we have to try this out again.

Black Stories – This is great game to bring out as you are waiting for other people to trickle in. It is a co-op game where you have to solve a riddle with yes or no questions.

The Hunger Games: Jabberjay Card Game – I hate hidden role/ traitor games because I am the worst liar but this is one traitor game I would play. You play your actions via semi- hidden cards so the game moves much faster.

Dicemasters – Dicemasters is the collectible dice card and it is a ton of fun. I bought a D&D starter with the promo card and War of Light starter with a bunch of booster packs so I can get a good one on one game going. This game can be a huge money sink so I am a bit wary on it.

Wow that is a lot of games I tried out in the last month. Here are some games I want to try out next.

Empire Engine and Bacon Wars – These are the two other card games in the AEG Black Box (7 in total). I don’t think Pretense will go over well in my gaming group.

X-Files CCG – This is an interesting out of print CCG that had some deduction elements in it. With the new series, I don’t think there is a better time to try out this game.

Viceroy – I liked Game of Thrones Westeros Intrigue Card Game so I got this game for Christmas as a gift. It seems to have a similar mechanic but it seems more complex and much heavier.

Doomtown – I love the theme and the game seems interesting but I have yet find the time to actually go through the rulebook and play this with someone.

Ticket to Ride – Believe it or not, I haven’t tried this game out yet.

TIME Stories & Pandemic Legacy – I have heard nothing but good things about these games. Although a legacy game may be a tough sell because my gaming group is always changing.

Mice & Mystics – Finally, I really want to try this game but as you can tell lighter shorter games seem to go over better with my game group.


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