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.

Trogdor!!

Components: Excellent component quality. This is the Deluxe Edition and it included stylized wooden meeples and an identical set of plastic miniatures so we can choose the component style each time we play.

Game Setup: Setup is simple with several scenarios outlined in the rule book.

Game Play: Straight forward and pretty simplistic.

Mechanics: This is cooperative abstract gaming experience.

Summary: Theme is fantastic and applied through the entire experience including the rule set. Since this is a cooperative game and its game play is simplistic and abstract it can be played solo as a puzzle just as easily as a multiplayer game.

Last Word: A light game with abstract mechanics simple enough for the non-gaming crowd. However, this really offers itself to the “Alpha Gamer Syndrome” which can plague cooperative efforts. Game play is also pretty dry. This game would be ideally suited as a family game with parents playing with their children.

Stworze

Components: Components are the quality you’d expect for a regular sized board game. The artwork is good and fits the theme but the color pallet used throughout can make some of the tokens blend into the board and hard to find. The miniatures are unique and good quality.

Game Setup: Setup was straightforward and took just a few minutes.

Game Play: Completing missions to advance the game is the central concept. Missions are custom for each individual character. There are many characters to choose from. There are several ways to complete each mission and while each character has different mission goals to choose from at all times, the multiple ways in which missions can be completed provides player interaction.

Mechanics: A variety of euro-style choices drive the game play.

Summary: Unique in subject matter and game play it can be described as “Euro Touch of Evil” perhaps. The combination of different options wrapped up in a historical fairy tale theme from an old country provides a very unique experience from most modern board game offerings.

Last Word: Fun game play and interesting subject matter and theme provide excellent gaming ROI for us. The game presents itself just beautifully! We’re looking forward to subsequent plays of this one.

See Underworld Kingdom for more on this beautiful game!

Horrified

Components: High quality components and great-looking, stylized art captures the theme nicely.

Game Setup: Each monster has a different setup but none of them require more than a few minutes to setup.

Game Play: Cooperative action-selection similar to many modern coop games but each monster provides a variance.

Mechanics: Cooperative pick up and deliver with risk mitigation.

Summary: Pretty simple and straight forward coop with a neat theme that is well done.

Last Word: Works perfectly as designed. Good for the non-gaming crowd and gamers who enjoy lighter gameplay and the theme.