Outlive

Components: While the component in Outlive are all punch-bits, they do a good job of keeping the quality high and the feel fun. The meat bits are little steaks shaped like steaks, the bullets are little bullets, etc.

Game Setup: Outlive is one of those game that looks way more complicated than it is due to the rules set being very detailed. Setup takes a bit but the manual outlines everything in simple manner and setup gave us no problems.

Mechanics: Resource management, action points, movement management.

Game Play: Fun and engaging. The movement management aspect where stronger ranked meeples shake-down lesser strength meeples on the space they move to is unique and like nothing we’ve seen before. Its fun to build and manage your shelter while competing for resources with rival camps. There is enough interaction to consider during each move but it never gets too mean.

Last Word: Its a unique title with some novel ideas with a not-too-long run-time. Its nothing that is going to change the industry and it won’t become a favorite title but we’re looking forward to subsequent plays of Outlive.

Nocturion

Components: Nocturion knocks it out of the ball park regarding components. Metal coins, player markers and resources along with resin and plastic miniatures make for pretty resources to gather. The board art fits the theme and it fantastic. The card art is lesser though.

Game Setup: Game setup isn’t the worst but the rules set is one of those pretty ambiguous situations so it took some re-reading to make sure we got it right. And still were not sure when we started.

Mechanics: Dice placement, resource management, variable player powers.

Game Play: The rules set is ambiguous in lots of ways so it was one of those things where every turn was filled with doubt as to if we were playing correctly. On top of that, there are clearly some translations issues, some errors, some commissions, and inconsistency when using terms (i.e. using the words “gather” and “harvest” when talking about getting resources, etc,). There was a lot of procedure each turn compared to the amount of meaningful choices as well.

Last Word: We don’t just like games here, we love them. Most reviews here will be relatively positive, or at least in that light. We did not even finish our game of Nocturion. They do have a few really neat ideas in the game but I can’t tell if they are half-baked, the execution is just off a bit which ruins the whole experience, or the rules set was so poor it did not properly convey important things we missed but it just was too lack luster to care anymore halfway through.

Rise to Nobility

Components: Excellent quality.

Game Setup: The setup instructions are detailed, easy to follow and setup took about 10 minutes.

Game Play: Interwoven levels of play. Dice placement is throttled and controls worker placement.

Mechanics: Dice placement, worker placement, resource management.

Summary: Think Alien Frontiers meets Lords of Waterdeep.

Last Word: Excellent production and game play. Our first play has us excited to buy the other game in the series that we previously decided not to acquire.

Neom

Components: Nice quality. Good art but the color palate wasn’t the most vibrant and there is a lot to look at as you play so things seem to get washed together after a while.

Game Setup: The setup instructions are adequate. There is a bit of setup as tile counts chance depending on player count.

Game Play: Medium-light game play with some interesting risk-taking choices. Not a lot of player interaction but some is available. 

Mechanics: Tile selection and placement with some resource management.

Summary: Think Suburbia meets 7 Wonders but somehow not as good as either of those. The disaster/catastrophe tiles are really mean and unbalanced, especially in a two-player game. There is no one regular play in the game that can swing the victory point balance as much as a disaster tile does. I suppose its supposed to be a catch-up mechanic and there are steps players can take to mitigate the risk of disaster tiles but at the end of the day luck determines who may get reamed by a disaster, and those plays can decide who wins and who loses. No one likes to be on the business end of plays like that.

Last Word: Its an interesting tile laying game that’s easy and fun to play. We quit using the disaster tiles at least in 2-player games and that improved our experience quite a bit. There are better games out there that do what this does and they do it better as well. If you are big on Sim City type games you should check this out though.

Skulk Hollow

Components: Top-quality throughout the production. Art is fantastic and extra details are nice.

Game Setup: Setup instructions were easy to follow and setup was quick.

Game Play: Skulk Hollow is an interesting asymmetrical two-player game. How things play out is highly dependent on which monster of the four available 4 monsters is being played as each monster has different rules and abilities. The non-monster player also has a choice of which leader they are going to use for the game making for some dynamic changes in game play based on monster/leader combinations.

Mechanics: Action selection and hand management.

Summary: Top-notch gaming presentation with easy mechanics, plenty of choices, and solid game play with a shorter run time.

Last Word: If a head-to-head fight wrapped up in a cute presentation is what you are looking for, look no further. We rather enjoyed our time in Skulk Hollow and will visit plenty more times.

Tribes

Components: The usual high quality from Kosmos. Top quality. The art matches the theme nicely and conveys the information it needs to.

Game Setup: The setup instructions are detailed and setup is quick and easy.Game Play: Light-weight and easy to grasp.  

Mechanics: Action selection is the main mechanic.

Summary: Select an action, move it back in the queue, advance through the tech tree, grow your tribe. This is a mechanically simple game but there are some interesting things going on here for it being lighter-fare.

Last Word: If you are a fan of other Kosmos titles you’ll probably like this as its more of the same, and we don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

V*Commandos

Components: The quality components you’d expect from a release like this. Miniatures of the main characters instead of tokens might have been more fun though.

Game Setup: The setup instructions are simple and detailed. There is a deck of mission cards to play through and each requires a similar but different setup.

Game Play: Linear. There are three training missions to complete that gradually teaches game concepts. Since this is a solo/cooperative game this is a nice touch as there is no human opponent to know if you inadvertently “cheat” and point it out.

Mechanics: Spending points on available actions to solve your mission objectives.

Summary: This game is ripe for promoting the dreaded “Alpha-gamer” syndrome. Thwarting that usually involves all players getting involved in a discussion about what the players should do each and every turn. We can’t think of a more effective way to wreck this game and take all the fun out of it unless you are playing with children and want to encourage that type of collaboration. What can save this experience is limiting open discussion at the start of each mission determining roughly how to achieve the mission objectives and then not speaking on each other’s turns to let each player figure out for themselves how to accomplish what needs to be done.


Last Word: Being a highly themed abstract game it will be easy for players to experience the dreaded “alpha gamer” situation with this one. That means it’s perfect for solo play though.