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.


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.


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!


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.


Components: Components are the quality you’d expect for modern-release game. Highly-stylized minimalist art fits the theme perfectly and is pleasing.

Game Setup: Setup took a little bit to get done. Straight-forward illustrations and complete component manifest was helpful.

Game Play: Gentes is “one of these games” that is hard to describe even when taking the time to explain in great detail much less trying to explain it in a purposely short description. It’s a deeper game with a lot of different things going on that are all directly connected and influence each other. To get the desired effect players need to take into account how the several different game areas affect each other/ are related to each other.

Mechanics: Mostly action selection with a worker balancing mechanic that is fairly unique.

Summary: To be successful at Gentes one has to make several game-influencing choices and make them at the right time. Your choices have to be thought out in advance as every thing you change affects what you are able to do in other areas of the game. It feels like Teotihuacan-lite but that does not really do it justice. This is a game that takes some “wrapping your head around” to fully understand but not because it’s a gaggle of dozens of choices like Teotihuacan; it’s much more streamlined then that. “Elegant” may not be the right word, but it should give you an idea as to its design.

Last Word: If you are up for a deeper experience with interesting decisions that are more subtle and strategic then that of your standard worker placement / resource management game, Gentes could be for you.

Tasty Minstrel Games has a unique title with this one.


Components: Smaller box game but the components are the quality you’d expect from a full-sized game.

Game Setup: Easy setup and smaller footprint.

Game Play is straight-forward and succinct but suffers at a lower player count. Still functional at two-players though, which is hard for a bidding game.

Mechanics: The main mechanic is bidding with some logistical planning for tableau building.

Summary: A fairly fun bidding game that does work with two-players, though there isn’t a lot of tension there at that player count so it ends up feeling more like a non-interactive race.

Last Word: If a turn-based Galaxy Trucker bidding game sounds fun to you pick this one up.

Down Force

Components: Standard top-quality components you’d expect from a game at this price point.

Game Setup: There are a couple different ways to play the game and the rules outline each of these perfectly fine.Game Play is straight forward and pretty simplistic, which fits the theme perfectly.

Mechanics: Hand management is the main mechanic. The twist in this game is you move most all the cars on most turns so deciding when to help your opponents provides the tension.

Summary: There isn’t a lot going on here besides the most basic hand management. The main part of the game feels one step above roll-and-move. There are some other optional mechanics they have available to try and make it more than it is but it’s simplistic enough for non-gamers to play. To us, this keeps the game moving along nicely which fits well for a racing game.

Last Word: A light game with mechanics simple enough for the non-gaming crowd but fun enough for gamers as well.