Sunday, May 15, 2016

THE ROUTE: From Defused to Confused


You are on a mission in deep space and intruders have boarded your ship, setting up twenty or more bombs. Now the elite bomb defusal unit has been called in to stop the threat in the next ten minutes or it is curtains for us all. How do we defuse the bombs? By rolling lots of dice. Wait what?

So the theme is thinner than the air surrounding our spaceship but hear me out. Each bomb is represented by a card, on the card is spots to place dice in different combinations. One player rolls dice equal to the number of players, each player then have to take one and only one die, placing it on one of the bomb cards in front of them. Players co-operatively decide who needs the certain dice the most. Any dice that are left over are re-rolled which can cause players to remove already locked in dice from their array in front of them.

With an ever ticking clock counting down you often don't have time to fully discuss or stop someone from taking a die. As the deck thins and the seconds waste away the tension rises.

This is the perfect dice chucker if you are looking for that game to fill that short time between games this should certainly be on your wishlist.

51st STATE: The Master Set

A pleasant surprise on my doorstep during the past week or two was the arrival of my pre-ordered copy of 51st State: The Master Set. After the success of Imperial Settlers, which had reimplemented the original 51st State game system designer Ignacy Trzewiczek went back to the original, taking what he had learnt in the process. 

The original version is much loved but has a reputation for being symbology heavy and a hard teach to a new player. This version streamlines alot of that. Or so I've heard, having never played the original I just have the comparison to Imperial Settlers to make, which is very favorable.

Players are competing factions, building up their states in a post-apocalyptic world. It's a kill or be killed world, where razing an opponent's buildings right after they built it often happens. Settler's viciousness was layered beneath a cutesy art style, where as 51st is in your face about how you should proceed. The replacing of a round limit with a race to a score of 25 is most welcome, making the play length more bearable at the higher player counts.

Just got in a couple of plays so far and looking forward to much more.


There's gold in them there hills!! And silver. And copper. We're prospectors competing to build up our mining empire, with a mix of resource management and area control. Players will be putting out camps or settlements to maximize the resources of the land. All the resources you gather get placed in your "supply track" which uses a clever mancala mechanic to manage what you have. The further back you place the more points you score, but the more refined a product you will have in the end.

This game not only harkens back to the gold rush time period, it also pulls back to a simpler time in gaming. It reminds me of those early euro-games like Puerto Rico and it's ilk, where light mechanics give a game a hidden depth. An elegant time.

Only the single play and I want to pick up my own copy. One of the best of 2015 for sure.


From light euro to the epitome of American gaming. Dripping with theme and over flowing with miniatures & dice comes the huge Star Destroyer like box of Rebellion. Fantasy Flight have hit it out the park again with this game, based off a little know video game.

It can only be described as the Original Trilogy in board game form. Two or four players compete as the Empire against the Rebels, the dark side searching every corner of the galaxy for that hidden base. This game creates a new story every time you play. I can see many unique memories being formed with each play and post-game discussions on the decisions each side took while playing.



Sherlock Holmes is a smartass. That is my summation after playing this sublime game. Originally released back in the 80s, the version the wife and I have been playing is the latest printing for Ystari. This is an incredible solid deduction game. You get a case, you read through an opening chapter, detailing what game will be afoot. Then you have to take the information you were just given, names and the like, grab the London Directory and chase down leads.

Each case gets it's own book with numbered chapter headings throughout, each heading refers to an individual that you look up using the included directory. It's an adult choose you own adventure. You pick a lead, read what happens when you get to the place where they are, digest the info, move onto the next. It is all very clever and has a way of making you feel smart as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

At the end of a case you compare yourself to the master, Mr Holmes, and he is a cocky one. While you were chasing your tail all over London, he had just strolled down the road and solved it in a minute. Yes his way was easier, but your way brings Victorian London to life. Has you scanning the daily paper for that small piece of info you think you missed. Has you discussing the details of the case before you put in your final answers. Makes you think.

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