HEXplore It

Components: High quality. Cardboard thickness and card stock is decent with a quality finish. Fantasy artwork is well done and fun to look at.

Game Setup: Setup is straight forward but the plethora of options to choose from can be a bit daunting, which is a good problem to have but take some time to go through all the materials.

Mechanics: Cooperative, character building, variable player powers.

Game Play: Adventure game succinct RPG elements.

Last Word: We like adventure games and the encompassing game play of HEXplore-It ticks all the boxes for us. The options are practically limitless and the RPG -lite experience should be well received by any RPG players. There are some unique mechanics and devices used that we’ve not seen else as well. Its a longer endeavor but if you like RPG light experiences that are not watered down this is for you. Learn more at HEXplore-it.

We also will have a copy on display at NEWGame this weekend!

Embark

Components: Cubes and custom chits the quality you’ve come to expect from TMGs

Game Setup: Variable set up based on player count. Was nicely detailed in the rules set. Took 5 – 10 minutes the first time. Subsequent set ups will take half the time.

Mechanics: Hidden bidding, variable player powers, action selection, minor resource management

Game Play: Fast and easy simultaneous bidding with a clean up phase with some choices makes for a lighter and fun experience that plays as quickly with 5 players as it does with 2 players.

Last Word: We love games like this. Fast game play with some interesting choices but enough substance to make the game not really a filler.

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 so that is saying something.