If you are at all familiar with modern board games, you’ve likely been exposed to The Settlers of Catan. Klaus Teuber’s 1993 design helped to change the face of the hobby, kicking off the “eurogame” revolution. At the time, it was a massive paradigm shift for players who had been raised on Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley fare for generations. To this day, it is still a leading “gateway game” for introducing new players to the wider world of board games outside of the mass-market stalwarts. READ MORE
As a member of London’s famed Adventurer’s Club, you have heard countless tales of thrilling excitement. Professor Elemental’s tales are especially enthralling. There’s just one problem: they’re complete fabrications.
You’ve seen him sneaking around back streets, collecting worthless trinkets from curio shops and overhearing anecdotes in pubs that he then weaves into his bogus tales of adventure. You could call him out on it if you wanted to. But instead you’ve decided that two (to six) can play this game… READ MORE
When I talked about Aquasphere, I mentioned my day job in scientific research. Little did I suspect at the time that I would soon play another game, Alchemists, that would essentially focus on the ins and outs of academia (sort of).
In Alchemists, each player takes on the role of a potion brewer attempting to learn the secrets of their art via experimentation and deduction. There are eight “alchemicals” in the world, and eight mystical ingredients that each contain one of them. Your job is to determine which ingredient represents which alchemical. READ MORE
Race for the Galaxy is still one of my all-time favorite games, but I won’t deny that it has a fairly steep learning curve. It can be hard to teach to new players, especially after several expansions had fundamentally changed the game for me, making a stripped-down “base” game awkward for all involved. A new, streamlined start would be a better option, and that’s exactly what Roll for the Galaxy offers. READ MORE
I might have mentioned Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate a few times over the last two years. You might also notice that we don’t have an actual review of MH3U here on Snackbar Games. The reason for this is that I bought it the same day I bought LEGO City: Undercover and that review took precedence; by the time I was able to play MH3U, it was too late for any review to be useful. I don’t have that problem this time, as indicated by the over 80 hours I’ve already put into Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate since picking it up — which officially makes it my second job if you do the math! READ MORE
I really appreciate good world-building. For me, the sign of a solid, well-crafted setting is the ability to re-use it in other creations beyond the original and its sequels or expansions. This isn’t something that happens in the board game world very often without a licensed property being involved. A good recent example is Fantasy Flight Games’s Android universe, which spun off into Infiltration and served as a natural fit for the revival of Netrunner.
Level 99 Games has now done something similar, taking its World of Indines, most notably seen in its BattleCON Street Fighter-style fighting games, and exploring one of its key locations: Argent University. READ MORE
In general, I am a fan of the way Stefan Feld designs games. His creations (like Trajan, Rialto, The Castles of Burgundy and Notre Dame) typically feature several point-generating paths, a simple yet intricate way to navigate them and, frequently, some sort of negative element that must be mitigated. You often have to plan moves several steps ahead, and it often feels as if you never have enough time or actions to do everything you need to get done. There are definitely a few titles of his that fail to grip me or even actively turn me away (Macao comes to mind here), but for the most part, I am willing to give any new release of his a fair shot. READ MORE
Sentinels of the Multiverse remains one of my favorite games of all-time, but I readily admit that the mechanics can be a bit much at times. Fortunately, my friends and I have decades of playing and judging Magic: the Gathering under our collective belts to help us manage dozens of card effects. If you’ve tried Sentinels and enjoyed the concept but found it too “mathy,” perhaps a more tangible system is for you: enter Sentinel Tactics. READ MORE
The ever-expanding multiverse of Greater Than Games’s “Sentinels Comics” takes an interstellar road trip with the latest supplement, Wrath of the Cosmos. As with previous expansions, Wrath contains two new heroes, two new environments, and four new villains for your cooperative comic-book enjoyment. Also like previous expansions, this one focuses on one particular aspect and related tropes of traditional comic superhero storytelling; in this case, that means extra-terrestrial threats to Earth and its surroundings! READ MORE
Below are my ten favorite new games from 2014… of the 15 new releases I played. For the sake of completion, I might as well mention all 15.
Below the cut you’ll find both Professor Layton offerings this year, Azran Legacy and vs. Phoenix Wright, which were the usual yearly offering and an interesting (if somewhat flawed) experiment, respectively. Super Smash Bros for 3DS was a fun appetizer for the main course that would arrive about six weeks later, but was never seriously going to contend thanks to hardware limitations. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire surprised me by how much I enjoyed revisiting Hoenn, although the inherent problems with the originals weighed down the experience a bit. Finally, Shovel Knight (which I played on the 3DS, if that matters) was a fun retro romp but not really my cup of tea; not enough Mega Man in its otherwise-rich gameplay DNA mix, I guess. READ MORE