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  • Heroic? Uhh…. (A Review of LEGO Heroica)

    I’ve been curious about LEGO board games for a while.  They’ve been on the market for more than a year now, yet there really hadn’t been one that looked enticing enough for me to finally bite the bullet and make a purchase.  But this past fall, LEGO unveiled their Heroica line of dungeon crawl games.  “Great!,” I thought.  One of my favorite genres mixed with everyone’s favorite building blocks – what could possibly go wrong?

    As it turns out, plenty.

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    Let’s Conquer the Galaxy! A Review of Eminent Domain

    This past weekend, my wife and I celebrated our seventh anniversary.  Like any good geek couple shackled with the responsibilities of jobs, school, and parenthood, we didn’t have our hopes set too high for a night on the town or a weekend away.  Instead, we celebrated the only way we knew how – by cracking open a brand new game.  Lucky for us, it made our anniversary a memorable one.  Why?  Because Eminent Domain might just be our favorite game so far.

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    All aboard for Train of Thought, a word association guessing game

    pic946896_md1-201x300I was never much for charades, Pictionary makes my skin crawl, and the last game of Twister I played resulted in two separate ambulances and a bevy of court orders.  Needless to say, party games aren’t usually my thing.  And yet despite my general distaste for the genre, I found myself slapping on an engineer’s cap and playing conductor for a few rounds of Train of Thought. As it turns out, there’s a little party fun tucked away somewhere inside me after all.

    Train of Thought is a party game that’s all about word association.  Stacks of cards are scattered around the table, and on each card are six different words.  Players will take turns being the conductor, and it’s the conductor’s job to roll a die to determine a starting word, draw a new card kept in secret, and attempt to get the other players to say the word on the secret card using a three word clue that contains the word on the first card.  So if I roll a 6, and on the first card the sixth word is car and the second card the sixth word is engine, I might give a clue like “Under car hood.”  Somebody might guess engine, and if they do, both the guesser and the conductor get a point.

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    Puzzle Strike (Board Game Review)

    As someone fairly new to the world of board games, I’m afraid that I have to admit that I’ve never played Dominion.  In fact, I’ve never played a deck building game at all.  Puzzle Strike has served as my entry into this particular sub-genre of gaming, and for the most part, it’s been a welcoming experience.  With simple rules, quick gameplay, plenty of variety, and the fun of playing with chips instead of cards, it almost seems like the perfect entry point for those looking to delve into the world of deck building – almost.

    Loosely inspired by the video game Puzzle Fighter, players will receive gems on each turn that they can try to combine and “crash” into their opponent’s playing field.  The object of the game is to destroy your opponent by filling their field with 10 or more gems, thus ending the game.  In case you’re not familiar with Puzzle Fighter, think of the gems as your falling blocks in Tetris.  Once you have 10 or more of them, the screen fills up and its game over.

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    Monopoly Deal (card game review)

    Amongst the board gaming elite, there are few words that draw more ire and disgust than “Monopoly.”  The first real board game most of us learn as a kid, it’s simple dice rolling, property-buying, four hour sessions of free market economy really seem to rub some people the wrong way.  In fact, this quintessential American classic scores no higher than a 4.5 average on BoardGameGeek.  Yeesh.

    It would seems serious gamers have a real hate on for Rich Uncle Pennybags and his thimble full of fun.  Despite all of this, I’m here to sell you on a little card game called Monopoly Deal.

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    Flash Duel (board game review)

    David Sirlin has become something of a maverick in the world of competitive games over the last few years.  Puzzle Strike managed to recreate the experience of Capcom’s Puzzle Fighter in a tabletop experience, complete with its own set of Street Fighter-style characters.  Yomi brought those same characters into a rock-paper-scissor style card battle.  And wedged neatly in between those two releases was Flash Duel, a card game that brought Sirlin’s Fantasy Strike fighters back, albeit in a somewhat simpler fashion.

    The basics in Flash Duel are incredibly straight-forward.  Each player is represented by a wooden pawn, and at the start of the game these pawns occupy opposite ends of numbered board.  In your hand are five cards, each of which features a number from 1 thru 5 on it.  Players will use these cards to move, attack, defend, and push.

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    Fruit Ninja Kinect (Video Game Review)

    My arms are sore.  Really really sore.  Go ahead and make your jokes, but I have a damned good reason for it this time:  I’m woefully out of shape.

    Also – Fruit Ninja Kinect.

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    Space Hulk: Death Angel (card game review)

    While I’ll always prefer the original, there’s simply no way around it – Aliens was one hell of a good movie.  Games Workshop thought so too, and back in 1989 they decided to show this love by ripping off the premise and cramming it into the Warhammer 40k universe with the release of the board game Space Hulk.  11 years and 2 re-releases later, Fantasy Flight Games decided to use their licensing rights to re-imagine it as a card game.  The results, like the film it’s ripping off, are exquisite.

    In the Warhammer Universe, a Space Hulk is a derelict spacecraft left floating through the cosmos, its crew either dead or abandoned.  Death Angel tells the tale of a team of Space Marines who board the ship Sin of Damnation.  Their mission? To quell the Genestealer infestation aboard and destroy the forward launch control rooms.

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    Let’s Play! Eleminis (card game review)

    Earthly elements have long played a role in card games, whether we’re talking Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon.  But while water, fire, air and rock types in those titles tend to represent symbolic groupings, there aren’t too many games out there that simply address the blunt force of these elements.  In the simplest way possible, Eleminis has stepped up to fill this void.

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    Let’s Play! Leaping Lemmings (Board Game Review)

    It’s a story as old as time: lemmings are born, raised, and – at some point in their life cycle – decide to jump off a cliff along with their buddies in a spectacle of mass suicide that would put Jonestown to shame.  But here’s the thing – it’s just not true.  Knowing this, the fine folks at a research lab in Montana have spent millions to breed and race a suicidal strain of lemming, so that they can be raced to their death to settle a $20 bet.  We like to call this “science.”

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