The very first Unplugged column I ever wrote for Snackbar Games featured the 2002 spaghetti-western shootout card game Bang!. In the eight years(!) since that column, Bang! has received numerous expansions as well as several spin-offs. Perhaps most relevant to the general Snackbar audience is Bang! Halo Edition, but I wanted to revisit Dodge City to talk about 2013’s streamlined Bang! The Dice Game. READ MORE
There are a lot of worker-placement games on the shelves these days. Each one brings its own special spin on the core mechanic, but for the most part, every action taken by one player results in one fewer choice for those who follow. Competition for desired actions and a limited number of workers each round forces players to prioritize, and a backup plan or three never hurts.
Coal Baron, a 2013 design by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kelsing, takes a different approach. Instead of only a handful of workers, each player has over a dozen, with the specific amount depending on the actual number of players (up to four). If a player wants to use an action previously taken by another player — or even themselves — all they have to do is assign one additional worker to that action. This adds a new level of strategy, as you must balance the actions you want to take against how many workers you are willing to spend to take them. READ MORE
Ghostbusters was a landmark in the pop culture development of my generation, and it still resonates today. News of an all-female cast version of the movie sent shockwaves through the internet, and a Cryptozoic Kickstarter campaign for an official board game crushed its $250,000 goal. As much as I love Ghostbusters, I did not back that campaign, mostly due to the fact that I had already played 2013 Iello Games release The Phantom Society and didn’t see the need. READ MORE
A while back I talked about Lord of the Fries, a Cheapass Games title about zombies working in various restaurants. While that game just finished up a successful Kickstarter campaign for a new edition, the zombies of Frieday’s (the Fast Food Restaurant of the Damned) first appeared in Give Me the Brain!, which itself just received a new “superdeluxe” edition as part of the Stuff and Nonsense campaign. READ MORE
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 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