Deep Madness

Components: Good-quality components with good art that fits the theme. The vast number of monster sculpts are varied and interesting. The tile art is a bit dark on some tiles and the small tokens can get lost visually sometimes. The extra big box for components is super fantastic!

Game Setup: Like most games this big setup is not a quick thing. 30 minutes for our first game though subsequent games went much quick, say 15 minutes.

Mechanics: Action points, hand management, variable player powers, dice rolling, cooperative game

Game Play: Your characters are activated one-at-a-time with monsters taking their individual activation between each character activation. This is a fairly clever mechanic and we found it enjoyable. Search for items, attack monsters, complete mission goals while managing to swim through flooded areas and areas that are “devoured” by the monsters.

Last Word: Deep Madness is a very hard game. It is also a very fun game. The initiative system provides a clever new twist that we really enjoyed. In fact, instead of a set pattern that predictably rotates we house-ruled that each round the entire tableau of character cards is shuffled and laid out randomly so initiate is never known ahead of time. We enjoy games where we don’t have to count spaces or activation where it turns action and adventure games into a logical puzzle game. We may have made it harder on ourselves doing this but the fun of the randomness works for us.

This game was so nice we played it twice in a row – not the norm for us!

In a nutshell, this is Doom underwater on steroids. The missions are fun but hard to complete but that is as it should be for a game like this. If you enjoy more tactical games like Descent, Doom, Gears of War, etc this is a must-have. See for more!

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Components: Lower-quality components. The large tiles that make up the game boars are not thick cardboard but rather thin and will easily warp. The card stock used for the cards is cheap and we noticed some damages to the edges of the cards before the first play was even over.

Also, I trend we noticed with lots of Kickstarter projects we’re getting is that the box size is a smaller box size instead of a “full-size” box, but the pledge prices are what one expects to pay for a full-sized game. This is the case with this game as well.

Game Setup: About 10 minutes. The manual isn’t laid out the best and you have to read the entire manual to figure out what everything is/does.

Mechanics: Deck-building, hand-management, tile-placement, area-control, action-points

Game Play: Interesting and unique game play. The combination of mechanics creates a game play that is fairly unique feeling so its hard to compare it to something that already exists. It did not over-stay its welcome and there were several options each play that made for some tough choices.

Last Word: We fully enjoyed our play of Winterborne but wish the product quality was better. I imagine there will be another release of this with better components because it should sell pretty well based on game play.

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Components: Medium quality components. Highly stylized cartoon art.

Game Setup: 10 minutes.

Mechanics: Action selection, tableau building, resource management

Game Play: Select your actions, spend resources, move and/or attack with your units

Last Word: Typical ultra-simple resource management and combat game without any special mechanics or twists, so a step above Stratego with no hidden units that failed to move us. At 30 minutes a player this over-stayed its welcome quickly. This might be a good fit for kids who want to battle each other but for a Euro strategy gamer there are just too many turns to get anywhere interesting and even when you get there its not that interesting.

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Components: This is the Deluxe Edition with very high-quality components. Minor nit-pick: the gold nuggets were plastic and not metal.

Game Setup: Our first play took 15 minutes to setup. Subsequent plays will probably only take 10 or so.

Mechanics: Simultaneous role-selection, resource management, hand-management, engine-building, bluffing.

Game Play: Secretly select your role while engaging in some bluffing to manipulate your friends to do your bidding, collect your resources, spend your resources.

Last Word: Another game that “resource management” does not being to describe the game at all. Coloma is a great blend of all its mechanics in a way that makes it greater than the sum of its parts. We found it to be very fun and easier to play through than Final Frontier Game’s earlier release – Rise to Nobility (which we reviewed earlier this year in this blog). Final Frontier Games is quickly becoming a favorite publisher and we’re looking to buy whatever they release at this point.

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Rurik Dawn of Kiev

Components: Good quality components. Art work is *amazing* if you like the classics. And there is a great amount of non-repeating art.

Game Setup: Our first game took 10 minutes to setup but it was very straight forward.

Mechanics: A unique worker-placement, resource-management, area-control, bidding.

Game Play: Calling this a typical worker-placement/resource management game is an injustice. The power vs initiate worker placement mechanic is as slick as they come. There are so many *options* for scoring points but only a few ways to score points so scoring is tight. The subtle ways to attempt to outwit your opponents in this game provides many paths to victory but you have to be that much more wary of letting your guard down in those same areas. This is not a “victory point salad game’.

Last Word: In Rurik you are rewarded for having a strategic vision and executing it correctly like no other game we can easily think of. This game will see our table many, many times and has the potential to be one of the best games of the year for us. PieceKeeper Games has a fantastic game here!

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