Atlantis Rising

Components: Atlantis Rising is a mixed bag concerning components. The deluxe components are fantastic, especially the crystal ones. However they did not include enough meeples of each color to play when using different player counts, which seems rather cheap. Also the rules leave a lot to be desired and are ambiguous in a lot of situations.

Game Setup: Our setup took 15 minutes. Building the main board, selecting components available to build, setting the library deck and the misfortune deck and adjustments for player count took some time.

Mechanics: Worker placement, variable player powers, resource management, dice-rolling, cooperative.

Game Play: Place workers, suffer misfortune, take worker actions, repeat until win or lose.

Last Word: Atlantis Rising is one of those coop games where the alpha gamer will prevail. Its nothing more than collecting and spending the required resources to build structures that are determined at game setup. For us, nothing is more boring than table-talk about who is going to collect resource A and who is going to collect resource B, etc. Think cooperative Stone Age where you roll dice to collect resources, which is fun risk mitigation in a competitive setting but for a coop game its tedious. This game might have value as a solitaire game and its probably much more enjoyable as an game app for a single player, but as a full presentation board game I’d skip this one unless you have grade-school age kids where this kind of simple cooperative planning is a constructive way to burn an hour plus.

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In the Hall of the Mountain King

Components: Fantastic quality components and nice art. Some of of the icons on the board could be more distinct but this is a minor gripe.

Game Setup: Our first setup took about 20 minutes. Subsequent setups should only take 10 minutes or less.

Mechanics: Resource management, engine building, tableau building, route building, variable player powers.

Game Play: Recruit trolls to gain resources and activate existing trolls in your trollsmoot. Dig tunnels to connect to areas to build workshops to earn variable powers to use each turn or tunnel to scoring opportunities.

Last Word: A unique take on tableau building that is heavy on resource management. Predetermined tunnel shapes gives interesting choices when tunnel building. After couple plays with 2 players its seems it might have a runaway leader problem but that may be mitigated by a more crowded play field with 3 or 4 players or just choosing closer start locations – in any case it did not dampen the fun for either of us. If you enjoy engine building games you should give this a try.

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Components: High quality components and some great art design.

Game Setup: This is a large package with larger player boards and a lot of components. Setup for our first game took a solid 20 minutes, maybe more. Subsequent games should take less time but 10 minutes would be a fast setup for this beast.

Mechanics: Worker placement, resource management, time manipulation, um, yeah…

Game Play: A game with several phases, most of it is worker placement, but its on multiple levels.

Last Word: Anachrony is a heavy-weight game that we found to be heavy-weight fun. There isn’t much out there like it so its hard to compare it to something else. If you like heavy, heady games that have tight resource management, this is a game you must try!

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Glen Moore II Chronicles

Components: The usual high quality components you expect from a designer edition Kickstarter product, good art, and nice organization/presentation.

Game Setup: Variable depending on the modules being played but nothing too long – usually 5 to 10 minutes.

Mechanics: Action selection, Rondell, tile-laying, resource management, variable player-powers.

Game Play: Select your actions on the Rondell by selecting a tile and then when you place the tile it activates it and all the tiles around it.

Last Word:  Very clean design and a great presentation. Lots of replay-ability and good gaming ROI time-wise.

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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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