Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Board Game Review - Part 2

(Apologies for the delay - life became hectic and then I got ill.  Meh.)

Resuming my board game reviews from Lone Star Game Fest with the games I played Friday, December 28th.

Directly from Kickstarter and now available online in a few places, Zombicide is the Kickstarter I wished I'd backed.  I don't own a copy and so I cannot get enough of this game.  You are survivors in a zombie apocalypse, just like in the movies.  The game is cooperative and mission based, so you have a different goal depending upon what the mission is.  The game comes with 10 missions (in no particular order of hardness) and the Guillotine Games posts supplemental missions on their website for download.  The base characters you play are straight out of classic zombie movies.  If you were in on the Kickstarter, you get bonus characters based on other pop culture icons who fit right in.

Generally, your goal is to get from the starting point to the board exit without dying.  Usually you have to find some things (like food) before you can leave.  As you kill zombies, you get experience and level up, gaining up to three new abilities.  The zombies have 3-5 spawning points, at least one of which is directly in your way, more likely all of them at one point or another.  There is a deck of cards that show what spawns at each spawn point.  The cards have four levels of danger and the danger is set by the player with the MOST experience.  So if you have one person mowing down all the zombies, every time they top over into a new experience the board gets more dangerous for everyone.

Updated rules are available on the company website.  I recommend them as they clarify a few minor points that were unclear in the original rules, but the game is entirely playable out of the box and tons of fun.  Oh, the updated rules also lists the difficulty level of the missions, which do not go from easiest to hardest but vary along a rough story arc.  Mission 0 is the trainer, but Mission 1 is the hardest mission in the box and takes the longest to play.  I will defeat it one day, oh yes I will.

Summary:  Buy this and play it if you get the chance - I will soon.  It is not cheap, but comes with a ton of minis and a the art work on the boards is beautiful and detailed.

Ticket to Ride: India
I believe I reviewed Ticket to Ride before (play it as soon as you can), but the India expansion is the newest board expansion for the game.  It includes a reprint of the Switzerland map on the flipside, but I didn't have a chance to play that side.  The game play is the same as all the Ticket to Ride games (fun), but the twist with India is that you score bonus points if you are able to build duplicate routes to your tickets.  The bonus is significant, so it's worth keeping an eye out for, but I won the game on straight route completions and the longest route bonus, so it's not critical.

This is NOT a game board for beginners or those subject to analysis paralysis.  The over-thinking trying to score the dual route bonuses will kill the game.

Summary: Buy this if you like Ticket to Ride (and you do, right?).

Infinite City
I sat down to play this because I had nothing better to do.  Best spent hour of my life at the con.  Maybe second best, but it would be a close tie with The Castles of Burgundy.  We'll see.

Infinite City is a tile laying game where you build the board as you play, one of my favorite styles of game.  Turn order is simple: add a tile from your hand to the board, put one of your markers on the tile, do what the tile says, and draw back up to five tiles.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  The tiles let you do things ranging from add additional tiles, draw above your hand limit, swap markers with someone else on the board (stealing their tile), and a lot more.  The game ends when someone puts their last marker on the board and the other players get a final play.

Points are scored three ways.  First is number of linked tile groups, minimum of three to for a group, no diagonals.  So isolated tiles of 1 or 2 do not score at all, but 3+ score equal to how many you have linked and you can score multiple groups.  Next is control of silver cards.  Some cards have silver rings on them - control the most at the end of the game and you get points equal to how many you control.  Finally, some cards have point values - you score all the point values on the cards you control.  Most points wins.

First time players will focus on board placement and maybe silver cards, but experienced players will focus on cards worth point in themselves and try to grab as many of those as possible.  You can easily double your score with those, so watch your opponents tile values, not just where they are on the board.

Summary: Good gateway game to introduce people to the hobby and fun to play for more advanced players.  Plus, the sci-fi city artwork is elegant and cool.  I want my cities of the future to look just like this.

That's it for now.  Part 3 will wrap up both Saturday and Sunday as I played several games I've played/reviewed before and not as many new games.  I should have that ready to post by Tuesday, January 15.


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