The Board Gaymer Reviews – Survive: Space Attack!

Once upon a time, in the magical 1980s, a much younger me was riffling through drawers in the storage room in my house when I stumbled upon a board game that I had no idea we owned. The cover had cartoon people rowing boats and swimming in a creature filled ocean while a volcano erupted in the background. The title of the game took up most of the box and simply read “SURVIVE!”.

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Box cover of the original (1982) Parker Bros. version that fascinated me as a child.

Being very young at the time the game served mostly as a toy, having a large number of colourful, and not to mention highly swallowable, pieces. The rules were in a small book and not on one sheet or printed inside the box lid. I remember attempting to read them on occasion, but I didn’t get very far. The rules book, all the components, even the smell of the box had this distinctly ‘adult’ nature to them. The idea that grown-ups had their own board games struck me as a revelation. It seems silly now, but the memories have stayed with me to this very day. When Stronghold Games announced plans not only to remake the original Survive but also to release a separate version with a space theme and updated rules I was excited to see what I missed as a child. Does Survive: Space Attack live up to the hype I built up all those years ago?

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Survive: Space Attack! set up for 4 players.

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The Board Gaymer Reviews – Mansions Of Madness: Second Edition

The advent of new technologies has brought an interesting time for board games. How long will cardboard and dice be the core of the tabletop experience when we’re all increasingly tied to our portable computing devices of various sizes and holographic technology seems to be the next big thing. Until the day we have table sized tables and ubiquitous holo-lenses our smartphones, tablets, and PCs have the potential to become a powerful component to enhance tabletop gameplay. When revising Mansions of Madness for its second edition, Fantasy Flight Games took the bold step of replacing a major part of the original game with a free-to-download software application. Does this gamble pay off and improve the experience or is it just a gimmick?

 

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Mid-play with Mansions of Madness. The tablet is running the Android version of the app with the matching map displayed.

 

 

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The Board Gaymer Reviews – Scythe

It’s no secret that I love games with a strong theme. Games where the aesthetics, concepts, and mechanics are tied together, are the ones that draw my attention. On the other hand, I do understand that sometimes theme based mechanics can get bogged down in details to make them coalesce, adding too many layers of complexity to truly make it an enjoyable experience (I’m looking at you Dungeon Pets). Finding games that balance the richness of a great theme and flow of mechanics is one of those great joys I have as a board game enthusiast, and when a game like Scythe comes around and falls right in that sweet spot, I know I’ve found an extraordinary gaming experience.

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Scythe including the Invaders From Afar expansion setup for seven players

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The Board Gaymer Reviews – Dark Souls: The Board Game

The Dark Souls video games, a dark fantasy action RPG hybrid, have been played by millions, would seem ripe for a tabletop interpretation as part of an elaborate pen and paper RPG. Steamforged Games took the risky move of bringing the beloved IP to Kickstarter as a full-fledged miniature-based board game. Dark Souls: The Board Game’s Kickstarter looked extremely promising and broke backing records for tabletop games, bringing with it the high expectation of quality and fidelity to the source material. Does Dark Souls: The Board Game meet its lofty goal of bringing the on-screen experience faithfully to cardboard or is it destined to die a quick death?

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The Board Gaymer Reviews – Rum & Bones: Second Tide

The MOBA, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, is currently one of the hottest trends in competitive online gaming. Games like League of Legends are a cornerstone of the E-Sports world but very little attempt has been made to bring its more recognizable aspects to board game form. Known for a cast of colorful characters and simple yet deep mechanics it would seem like the elements of the genre would be ripe for cardboard plunder. In swings Rum & Bones: Second Tide by CMON Games, recently released sequel and re-implementation of the original swashbuckling MOBA based board game of pirate ship duels on the high seas that aims to bring the same kind of experience as the genre of online game around the table. Continue reading “The Board Gaymer Reviews – Rum & Bones: Second Tide”

Not-So-New Review – Arkham Horror

On occasion, instead of looking at a relatively new release, I’ll talk about a game that has a special place in my collection. These won’t be a traditional review of the game, but more of a look back at why it’s important to my collection or the tabletop gaming world at large. First up, one of my favourite games…

There’s a point for some people when a hobby suddenly goes beyond a mere interest and develops into a passion or even an obsession. Those people can usually pinpoint the event that made this happen for them. For me, it wasn’t the first games I remember capturing my attention –  the original “Survive!” and “Stop Thief!” (which subsequently have and are being remade) which my parents owned that fascinated me as a child. Maybe I had something for exclamation points?  It wasn’t even the first non-mass-market game I purchased either, which was Age of Mythology to which I often subjected my confused and drunk roommates. No, the moment my interest in tabletop gaming overflowed was a little over a decade ago when I decided to pick up Arkham Horror. Continue reading “Not-So-New Review – Arkham Horror”

The Board Gaymer Reviews – Clank!

It’s hard to believe that while deck building games seem so common now, it’s been less than 10 years since Dominion hit our tables and made the genre what it is today. While I have always found the mechanics of Dominion very enjoyable, I felt the theme of building an empire was too disconnected. Anyone who has “Remodel”-ed their “Militia” into a “Library” will know what I’m talking about. Since then many other games have attempted to mesh thematic gameplay with deck building mechanics having varying levels of success and complexity. The newest contender is Clank!, a press your luck dungeon thievery game. Is Clank fit to steal the deck building crown?

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Clank setup for 4 players. Ready to delve into the dungeon!

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