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Family Board Game Review: Flashlights and Fireflies

Flashlights and Fireflies is a board game version of flashlight freeze tag for 2-5 players.  The game is recommended for ages 6 and up, and is published by Gamewright.  In Flashlights and Fireflies, you play the role of children playing flashlight freeze tag in the woods.

The game plays in three quick phases per round, and the game ends when one player reaches home.  The board includes three sections; the woods, the firefly field, and the path home.

Game Contents

  • 36 Woods tiles
  • 6 player pawns
  • 6 player tiles
  • 20 firefly tokens
  • 6 flashlight cards
  • 1 game board
  • 1 wooden die

Gameplay

Flashlights and Fireflies plays in rounds, and each round include four phases: hide, catch, shine, and sneak.  In the hide phase of the round, you draw woods tiles and hide your player tile, then the tiles (four to start) are laid out face down in front of you.  The woods tiles may have woods on them, or a pest that you might find in the woods.  

In the catch phase, each player takes turns rolling the die to determine how many firefly tokens they can draw.  The firefly tokens have between one and three fireflies on them, or they can have a mosquito.  A mosquito token drawn during the catch phase ends the phase for that player.

In the shine phase players take their firefly tokens and place them in front of the other players to find them.  For each firefly, the player can turn over one opponent’s tile, then if a player token is found the found player is frozen for the round.  If they find trees nothing happens, and if they find a pest the seekers turn immediately ends.

 The final phase of the round is sneak, and in this phase, each unfrozen player moves their pawn up the path one step closer to home.

Family Gaming Assessment

Flashlights and Fireflies is a great game for the whole family.  The game moves quickly through each round and takes about 20 to 30 minutes to play.  The age recommended is 6 and up, but since there is no reading in the game it does scale down nicely to slightly younger players.  The artwork is cute, and the tokens and tiles are made of high-quality, thick cardboard.   

The game is fairly easy to learn and players are typically very comfortable after one or two rounds. However, it might be worthwhile to do a few rounds of practice with the youngest gamers to help build familiarity.  One additional point of note is that the directions are a little wordy and can be confusing initially.  Once we played it through once and worked through the phases it was much easier.

Conclusion



For any family with younger gamers, Flashlights and Fireflies is a great addition to their collection.  It has simple game play, and does a great job introducing the gaming element of rounds to younger players. The directions can be slightly confusing, but it is worth taking the time to understand the game for a quick and easy game for younger kids.  Flashlights and Fireflies is a fun simple game that the whole family can enjoy playing together.


Make sure you check out our other board game reviews!

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Shadow Strike Melee: Ninja Card Game is a fast paced bluffing game for up to nine players! It is currently live on Kickstarter, but we were fortunate enough to be given a prototype copy for review purposes.

Gameplay

Shadow Strike Melee puts its players in the shoes of a group of overconfident ninjas in a wild battle. The goal of the game is to outlast all of your opponents as players deal “strikes” to each other using numbered attack cards.

Combat itself plays out like War. Higher valued cards defeat lower valued cards. Ninjas never let things remain that simple though. These ninjas are cocky. Players represent that by playing with their three combat cards facing away from them. This means that everyone else knows more about a players hand than they do!

This information mismatch is the driving force behind the game. You really have to look at your opponents cards and make careful decisions. It might seem safe to attack someone with a hand full of ones and threes, but you don’t necessarily know that your hand isn’t worse! Fortunately, you also have a trio of equipment cards that help manipulate fights in your favor, or rescue you if your cards aren’t helping.

Shadow Strike Melee can be played individually, but our family preferred to partner up and play in teams. This gave us the option of using our equipment cards to help rescue our friends, and take advantage when our opponents get aggressive.

The biggest highlight of the game for us so far has been how fast the games are. Players are eliminated, but no one sits idle for long. The box says that games last around ten minutes, but I think that might even be too long.

Can Kid’s Play The Game?

The short answer is “Yes.” It does involve number comparisons and the equipment cards do have a small amount of text on them. But, this is not a challenging game to play.

One problem that young players MIGHT have is with their hands. You have to hold your hand in a very specific way to make sure that your opponents can see your cards. Younger players might struggle with that and drop cards a bit more often than they normally would. I don’t think this is a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but it is worth keeping an eye on.

The Campaign

The Kickstarter campaign has a little less than three weeks to go and is more than halfway to its goal. You can get yourself a Standard edition of the game with a $20 pledge.

Conclusion

Go for it. This is a great game to get things started on family game night and makes a great party game for larger groups.

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Kickstarter Review – Scream or Die

Scream or Die is a 2 to 8 player game by Amber Palace Games designed for players ages 8 and up. The game takes between 15 to 20 minutes to play and is very simple to learn and explain. It is currently on Kickstarter with a modest funding goal. We’re happy to report that this is a pretty good game that will be a cute addition to your family’s game collection.

The base game box comes with:

  • 8 monster mats
  • 36 scream tokens
  • 15 dice (three of each color)
  • 8 Candy trackers (two of each color)
  • Dice bag
  • Rules booklet

You play as a tiny monster that has been transformed into a child by your boss (who happens to be an evil witch). The only way to break the spell and get returned to normal is to be the first monster to bring her thirteen Halloween candies.

Gameplay

Each round of Scream or Die consists of three phases- Before the Roll, After the Roll, and Scoring.

Before the Roll

The roller removes five random dice from the bag to make a dice pool. Starting with the player to the left of the roller, each player takes turns using their scream tokens to add dice to the pool. They do this by paying the token which forces the roller to pull another die blindly out of the bag.

After the Roll

Each player gets a chance to re-roll dice of their choice. Just as before, starting with a player to the left of the roller, all players take turns using scream tokens to make the roller re-roll dice.

Scoring

Each player gets one candy for each of the monster symbols of theirs that is showing at the end of the round. Players keep track of their candy using the score tracker on their monster mat.

Players continue to play rounds until one person gets thirteen or more pieces of candy.

The game is quick to play, and the push your luck mechanics and dice influencing strategy make it much more fun than a basic dice rolling game. We love the fact that you can play with up to eight players! Our playtesters enjoyed that they were never bored because they had an action to take on every roll.

Another thing we love about Scream or Die is how great it is as a teaching tool. This is a great game for teaching the concept of resource management. It’s very easy to go through scream tokens in the hopes of adding dice that are favorable to you. But, you have to make sure that you are aware of what other players are doing so that they don’t take the lead too quickly. Some of our players forgot to save up some scream tokens to re-roll symbols that were helpful to their opponents towards the end of the game. They were VERY aware of the mistakes they made as they watched their friends rack up the points and win.

The rules include some fun variants for team play and dice drafting to keep things interesting. There is also a simpler family variant that makes scream tokens a little more fair.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a terrific party game, filler game, or introductory game for non hardcore gamers. You can back this game with confidence. We think your family will enjoy this one!

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Family Board Game Review: Rampaging Jotunn

 

Rampaging Jotunn is a 2 player viking themed game by Lost Cog with a hex board made of large tiles. The object of the game is to avoid the Jotunn (a magically strong giant from Viking mythology), and protect your village using your army. The Jotunn is a constant variable in the game.  The game is for players 8 and up and is expected to take 30 minutes to play.

Game Contents

  • 12 Different land tiles (containing 10 hex spaces with forests, fields, mountains, and on some, a volcano)
  • 1 Center Hex
  • 2 Defense line Hexes
  • 1 blue die
  • 1 red die
  • I Jotunn (marker and stand)
  • 2 Blue vikings (Marker and stand)
  • 2 Red Vikings (marker and stand)
  • 6 Wooden longhouses (3 red, 3 blue)
  • 2 Terrain Cards
  • 6 Army movement cards (3 red, 3 blue)
  • 73 Rampaging Jotunn playing cards
  • Rulebook

Gameplay

Setup: To set up the center hex with numbers is placed in the center.  This is the Jotunn’s direction indicator.  The 12 terrain tiles are shuffled and six are randomly selected. Players take turns placing the tile around the center hex to create the board. Next, players take turns to place their three villages, placing one on each turn. Then, players take turns to place their two armies, and they must put them on an adjacent tile to two of the villages. Each player is given 3 Army Movement Cards, and have a Terrain card for movement reference for the Jotunn and their armies. Players are also dealt five Rampaging Jotunn playing cards. The final step of setup is to place the Jotunn on the center tile and roll to see which number he faces for his starting direction.

During their turn, players have several options.  

  • They can:
    • use one of their Army movement cards and move their army (note: once your three movement cards are used you get all three back to use again)
    • Play a Jotunn card and move the Jotunn (or follow any special directions on the card)
    • Discard 3 cards from your hand to raise an army
  • At the end of their turn a player draws to bring their Jotunn hand back up to 5, also if the Jotunn was not moved on a players turn it moves forward one space in whatever direction it is facing.
  • Battles:
    • If you move your army onto the hex of another army you both have to roll to “battle” the offensive army gets plus one to their roll and the higher roll wins.  The defeated army is removed from the board.
    • If the Jotunn lands on an army it instantly defeats the army, and it is removed from the board.
    • Should the Jotunn land on a village that has not gotten a defense line hex, it is instantly defeated.  With a defense line hex under the village the Jotunn must roll a three or more to defeat the village.
    • Armies can also attack an opponent’s village.  

If a player loses all their villages they lose the game.

Family Gaming Assessment

Rampaging Jotunn is a good game for the family to play together.  The game does take a little time to learn and is not intuitive with some of the multiple steps and mechanics per turn.  This game, especially with younger players would benefit from a play through to learn the rules. The age rating is 8 and up, and I agree. An inexperienced gamer on the lower end of the age range will benefit from support with the steps and mechanics until they are more comfortable with the game.Once the rules and mechanics of the game are understood and comfortable the gameplay move smoothly. There is also a notable amount of strategy, mixed with some luck, and that may make it more challenging to play with two different skill levels.

Currently, the game is only available as a two player game. According to the developer, Matthias Bonnici, as of June 2017, that they are looking to do a Kickstarter “soon” for a four player version of Rampaging Jotunn. As a two player game it is more challenging to include the whole family playing, so a four player game is one to watch for on Kickstarter.

Conclusion

The viking theme of Rampaging Jotunn is entertaining and the graphics are appealing to players of all ages. The game was easily mastered in one play through and was engaging to play. The gameplay while a bit complicated to learn more smoothly once a few turns were played. Rampaging Jotunn is a good addition to a family’s game collection, especially if you enjoy the Viking theme.

 

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monopoly gamer box

By: Stephen Haberman, TheGeekyHusband

If I were to guess how many coins I collected in video games over my lifetime, I would bet I’d be the Warren Buffet of in-game currencies. When it comes to Monopoly however, I find it difficult to pronounce myself as anything more than an average property connoisseur.

I have played Monopoly all of my life. It started during childhood when they released a “Town of ____” Monopoly for basically every town in America. It continued into my early teens when I was playing on my Gameboy or begging my folks to take us to McDonalds. Even soon after college, my wife and I found new love for the game with “Monopoly City” which moves from cash to credit cards. So, I can say my interest in the game has always existed, but it is a game that can run long, and can feel as if the odds pile up against you.

Now, Monopoly Gamer comes to market with a promise to reinvigorate the title, by incorporating everyone’s favorite plumber into the mix: Mario. Mario is actually not a stranger to the Monopoly world, having already had a Monopoly game rebranded with his likeness before, and having tried to mimic the game’s core mechanics in Nintendo video game releases of Mario Party, as well as Fortune Street.

The problem with a simple rebranding is that the core of what makes Mario familiar and fun is not just the characters, but the collectibles, the power ups, and the journey to defeat all enemies that stand in his way. Monopoly Gamer brings all of those mechanics into this new board game, and does so while also waking up a stagnant Monopoly series.

Power-Ups

How does this differ from other Monopoly games?  To start that conversation, we need to talk about power-ups. Power-ups have been added to the game while also replacing a six-sided die. At the beginning of a turn, you’ll roll a power-up die and a six-sided die. The power ups give players the ability to collect coins, force opponents to drop coins, and move forward.

 

Coins! Coins! Coins!

Coins, the only currency that matters in the mushroom kingdom, have replaced cash, and are rewarded/used for everything.

  • Rent is paid with coins
  • Coins are awarded for landing on unique spaces
  • Picking up coins that players were forced to drop

 

Boss Battles

It used to be that passing Go over the course of Monopoly was just a way to get some extra cash in your pocket, but now you (and anyone else that passes Go) will be activating the Boss Battles every time around the board. These Boss Battles will reward the victor with additional coins for the end of the game, as well as some fun treats like a free property, or stolen goods from an opponent.

Zone Control

If you played Monopoly,  then you know that owning property and getting all of the properties of the same color is a key to victory. It is no different in Monopoly Gamer, but the costs for purchase and rent are much smaller in scale to other version of the game. Also, with the inclusion of Player abilities, power ups and Boss Battles, you could own all the property and still come up short.

Player Select

What tops off the experience is the difference in experience you can have due to the character power-ups. Characters range from the well-known (Mario, Luigi, Peach) to the less familiar (Boo, Diddy Kong). All of them have a unique power up ability, and a unique event that occurs if you should land on the invincibility star space.

Not all characters come with the game by default, though.  Mario, Preach, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi come with the base game. Others can be purchased through a $3.99 character pack, which comes with the board figure, a sticker, and the player card with the character’s abilities.

 

Go!

With all of these new features being added and a pace that really speeds up a game known for dragging on,  Monopoly Gamer feels like a game Nintendo and Parker Brothers can be proud to have their names on. The ability to add additional player characters is also a great way to add replayability to this one.

I would recommend this game for any video game fan looking to have something to play when unplugging, or a board game fan with less free time. I would even say the character figures, design and style of the game as a whole will look good on your shelf.

If you have any further questions about the game, please check out a full play through of the game I did with my wife on my Twitch Channel here!

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Kickstarter Review: A Dog’s Life

Beton Games

Age Rating: 8+

Players: 2-6

Timeframe: 40 minutes

MSRP: Unknown- Coming Soon to Kickstarter

Style: Family Action Game

A Golden Retriever, a German Shepherd, a Poodle, a Whippet, a Boxer, a Labrador,

and a Fox terrier take a break from their masters to have an adventure in the streets.

They need you, your family, and your friends to guide them on their exciting journey. Walk a mile in their paws and be an canine hero!

Introduction

A Dog’s Life is a game designed by Christophe Boelinger that was released in the early 2000’s and has recently been reimagined and reimplemented by Beton Games. It will be available as a KickStarter on August 8, 2017. This game is true to theme throughout, has mechanics and actions that make it super appealing to young players, and it can still be exciting for older players due to some serious strategy.

Contents

  • 1 complete game manual
  • 1 game board
  • 6 pre-painted dog figurines
  • 1 dog catcher car
  • 1 die
  • 6 dog cards
  • 72 action cards (12 for each dog)
  • 6 den cards
  • 6 hunger tokens
  • 15 trash can tokens
  • 24 dog bone tokens
  • 12 newspaper tokens
  • 48 piddle tokens (8 for each dog)

If you are a dog lover, you will be enchanted by the art and the components in this game. The hand painted figurines are adorable, the dog cards give each pup a real personality, and the theme is honored throughout every aspect of the game. The quality of the board, figurines, and tokens is high, and the website mentions more breeds of pups may be available in the future.

Gameplay

Each player chooses a pup figurine and a pup card that they will use to navigate through the city streets. Each pup has a specific number of action points and has strengths and weaknesses that are unique to their personality and help them progress through the game.

On their turn each player has 3 phases that they play through. The first phase is the FOOD phase. The player starts their turn by moving the hunger counter on their dog card down to the left one step. Their pup is now a little bit hungry. Each turn that food is not replenished, the pup gets hungrier and could possibly end up fainting and being taken to the shelter.

The second phase is the DOG STUFF phase. During this phase, players use the action points on their dog card to complete activities. Players have to decide when their dog needs to:

Beg in restaurants, search through trash, deliver newspapers, fight rival hounds, drink from fountains, piddle on lamp posts, or hide from the dogcatcher. Some of the activities in this phase require players to use their action cards to determine the results of their activities. Completing an action is taking a risk and may not always lead to the best result.

The third phase is the DOG CATCHER phase. During this phase players roll the die and move the dog catcher’s car, possibly sending some pups to the dog shelter. Being stuck in the shelter is similar to being in JAIL in a Monopoly game.

The object of the game is to be the first pup to bury three bones successfully in their den.

Is it a Family Game?

The theme and artwork in the game give it a unique feel that is immediately appealing to players young and old. Kids love the idea of playing a game where a dog actually piddles and begs and searches through trash cans. The game is easy to learn in just a few minutes, but there are a lot of choices to make in the game which adds an element of strategy.  We definitely think this game requires a few play throughs before children and adults master all of the strategy  successfully. There is quite a bit of information in the manual about real dog shelters, a dog’s lifestyle and care, and about specific breeds. We think this is a great learning tool. The game uses minimal text, making it easy for younger players to understand and there are many different ways to win this game so all players have an equal chance.

Conclusion

This game is fun for parents and children to play together, it has a unique and well executed theme, and is easy to learn and play. We think the many variants and options give this game a high replay value and that this is the perfect family game night adventure for parents with children between the ages of 6 and 12.

A Dog’s Life is currently live on Kickstarter.

FCC disclosure: A copy of this game was sent to us by the publisher for the purposes of this review.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, in my opinion, is the best video game that Nintendo has ever made. I also think that it is on the short list for one of the best games ever made. Longtime readers often accuse me of speaking in hyperbole a lot, but this is no joke. Breath of the Wild is just that darn good. This is the game by which all open world games will be judged moving forward.

The Legend of Zelda is one of the longest running franchises in game history. Each game in the franchise, up until now, has taken a very regimented formula and built upon it. . Link wakes up. He goes to a dungeon. He gets a tool within that dungeon that helps him complete it. He then uses that tool to get to the next dungeon. He finds another tool there. He rinses and repeats until he eventually encounters and defeats some version of Ganon.

Breath of the Wild is a game that was built on one single core principle: nothing is set in stone. Nintendo set out with the purpose of stripping away as many parts of that regimented formula as they could while still maintaining its “Zelda”-ness. I don’t know how they created such a unique game and new feeling game while still regularly reminding players that they are playing a Zelda game. But, they definitely succeeded.

The biggest different between BoTW and other games in the franchise is that (aside from a brief stint on the Great Plateau) players can do as they please. Players are given all of the basic tools they need within the first few hours of the game and are then set free to run off to do… whatever.

This freedom was not only liberating, but it was also a creative force. Everyone playing this game was crafting their own narrative. Players had to come up with whole new ways of discussing their experiences because almost everything you said about the game was a spoiler in one way or another.

Another critical element to the experience in BoTW is its sense of discovery. It feels like every inch of that game was a meaningful encounter, a puzzle, or a signpost sending you on your way to further adventure. There was always something exciting on the horizon for me as I played. In fact, it was easy to find myself distracted that I would set off on a grand mission only to stop halfway through to literally pick flowers.

The days where Link could, on death’s door, slash at some bushes to get a few hearts are gone. Instead, you have to combine ingredients like apples, meat, mushrooms, and other food items to cook healing items. Combining the right ingredients can even result in food that provides stat buffs. You can even combine monster parts to create elixirs. Mastering this system is crucial for anyone who wants to be able to progress through the game. Fortunately, experimentation is almost painless. Ingredients are everywhere and there is a cooking station at every stable.

Nintendo went out of their way to craft Breath of the Wild carefully. Their artistry is visible in every aspect of this game and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Is it a kids’ game?

Breath of the Wild is rated T for Teen. It does include some mild violence that players can’t really escape. Almost all of the conflict resolution in the game is done at the point of a sword, or club, or arrow.

There are some slightly mature themes and costuming choices running throughout the game, but there is nothing overtly sexual going on.

Can kids play it?

The most important thing to note with Breath of the Wild is that this game is incredibly challenging. The world is not a forgiving one and players will have to contend with armies of monstrous enemies as well as the elements. It is very important that you monitor your child’s frustration level while playing. There is no “easy mode” in this game. Young players can, however, move at their own pace throughout the world. The game is designed so  that players will not be constantly under siege from the enemies.

There is some voice acting, but the vast majority of the story and the quest clues are all delivered via text. Players will need to be adept readers to be able to succeed at this game. A lot of the clues depend on subtle word play that might be lost on early readers.

Conclusion

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the best video game that Nintendo has ever made. I would comfortably recommend this game to anyone who owns either a Nintendo Switch or Wii U. It is a remarkable value when you consider all of the secrets that players can slowly pry out of this massive world. Do yourself a favor and play this game. The reality is that we don’t score games here at EFG, but if we did I have a hard time imagining that we would give it less than a perfect score.

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Board Game Review: Hoagie

 

Hoagie is a sandwich building game from Monkeybeak Games.  It is a card game for 2 to 5 players that is recommended for ages 5 and up.  In this fast paced game each player is trying to build the perfect sandwich without any part getting spoiled by three oogies (pictured on the spoiled food and special action cards).

Game Contents

  • Fresh Ingredient Cards (bread, lettuce,meat, cheese)\
  • Spoiled Ingredient Cards
  • Special Action Cards

Gameplay

Hoagie’s gameplay is very easy and takes just minutes to learn.  Each player is dealt a hand if 6 cards to start the game.  On each players turn they play a card from their hand. Several actions with the cards can occur, but only one can occur per turn.  

The actions include:

  • The player can play a fresh ingredient  in front of themselves to build their sandwich.
  • The player can replace a spoiled ingredient on their sandwich.
  • The player can spoil and ingredient on another player’s sandwich.
  • The player can use a special action card these include:
    • Skip:skip any player’s next turn,
    • Reverse: reverse the game play order
    • Double Play: play 2 additional cards from your hand after a  double play card is played

At the end of the players turn they draw back up to 6 card. In order to win, a player must begin their turn with a perfect sandwich, which consists of bread, meat, cheese, lettuce, and bread.

 

 

Family Game Assessment

Hoagie is very simple to learn and the only reading needed is on the Skip, Reverse and Double Play cards. Even then, once a younger player is familiar with the picture on each card, the need to read the card is mitigated. The pictures on the spoiled food and special action cards are gross in a silly cartoon way, and are not excessively disgusting or scary, rather Hoagie has a level of gross that kids and adults will find entertaining. The game play is quick paced and the 20 minute time noted on the box is accurate. Hoagie is a light game that can be played with multiple ages all together making it a great game for the whole family.  The way the mechanics of Hoagie work, adults and children can easily play together and the children have just as likely a chance of winning as the adults without help.  There is some strategy, but there is enough random chance it really is anybody’s game.  

Conclusion

Hoagie is a wonderful family game that is great for a range of ages to play together. It is easy for young players, and is fun for older kids and adults as well. This is a great addition to any game collection.

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Kickstarter Review – Cauldron: Bubble and Boil

Magic Circle Games

Age Rating: 12+

Players: 2-4

Timeframe: 45-60 minutes

MSRP: $50.00 (Special Kickstarter price- $39)

Style: Resource Management

It’s time for your coven to select a new leader! Prove that you deserve to be chosen as the greatest amongst the other talented witches by creating the best gardens to gather the components needed to brew the most powerful potions. Don’t forget to use your powers to hex your competitors while you work on brewing your potions. The witch with the most wicked potions and victory points wins!

Introduction

Cauldron: Bubble and Boil is a game designed by Robert Booth that will be available as a Kickstarter on July 25, 2017. The theme of the game is a lot of fun and lets you explore your evil side while still encouraging friendly competition. This game uses some familiar mechanics such as resource gathering, set collection, objective completion, and a bit of “take that!” play which all combine to make a really unique game.

Contents

Rules Booklet
1 scoreboard
8 player markers (2 for each player)
4 cauldrons
80 cauldron cards
30 crone tokens
30 corruption tokens
128 garden tokens (32 red, 32 orange, 32 yellow, 32 green)

The artwork on the box, the cauldrons, and the cauldron card design really invoke the wicked witch feel and add to overall fun of the game.

Gameplay

Each player starts the game with a hand of five cauldron cards, a cauldron containing 1 of each resource type, and a diablerie track. On their turn, players may use their cauldron cards to cast a hex, harvest resources from an existing garden, plant a new garden, or record potion recipes to their recipe book.

If a player chooses to play their cauldron card as a hex, they pay the cost described on the card, follow the action (which can be good or bad for the player and opponents), and move their token on the diablerie track (hexes count in scoring in the end game).

A player can also choose to play their cauldron cards to plant a garden. Gardens require 2 or more cards with matching resource cubes in order to be planted. Players may only have 2 gardens at one time. Gardens yield resources which you can harvest later and they also help you gain crone tokens (victory points) when completed.

Players can also choose one cauldron card from their hand to place face down under their cauldron in a recipe book. These cards have a recipe on them that require a certain combination of components to complete and if you have all of the components to successfully brew the potion at the end of the game, you will earn the victory points listed on the card.

If a player is dissatisfied with the cards in their hand, they may discard and draw new cards. At the end of a turn, players draw back up to five cards and play passes to the next player.

The game end is triggered when one or more end condition is met.

  • A player has stored his or her 7th recipe under their cauldron
  • When two resource colors are depleted
  • The last crone token or corruption disk is taken from the supply
  • If one or more players reach the top of their diablerie track

Once the end game is triggered, players play until the end of the round and then score victory points based on the various rules.

Is it a Family Game?

The game has many different mechanics to keep track of and does require some basic reading. A savvy gamer of 8 and older should be able to play this game, especially considering the Kindly Crone variant listed in the rules booklet. The recommended age on the box seems to be a bit high. This is a light game that requires strategic thinking, planning and forethought, as well as some advanced memory and critical thinking skills. Players really need to have the ability to remember recipes, make independent decisions, and think about what their end game objectives are. Our adult players found both the theme of the game and the actual gameplay enjoyable. There were so many different ways to achieve the most victory points at the end, and we love the fact that the rules booklet contains variants for longer or shorter games and for more advanced gameplay

Conclusion

Cauldron: Bubble and Boil makes good use of game mechanics to balance play. It is very difficult for anyone to take an obvious lead. Also, it provides lots of play choices each turn so there are many different viable strategies to accommodate differing play styles among players.

It is apparent that there was quite a bit of thought put into the design of this game. The game was easy to learn, turns moved quickly, and there are is plenty of replay value. We had fun trying out different strategies each time we played to see which was most successful. We also loved the artwork and the theme. This game comes highly recommended by our play testers!

Check it out on Kickstarter ASAP!

FCC disclosure: A copy of this game was sent to us by the publisher for the purposes of this review.

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Family Board Game Review: Poop The Game

Poop the Game from Breaking Games is a toilet and pooping themed card game.  It is a 2-5 player game recommended for ages 6 and up. A second deck, labeled the Party Pooper Edition, can be incorporated to make this up to a 10 player game. Play time is estimated at 15 minutes.  This was a Kickstarter in 2014 that was successfully funded and has expanded since then to include a Public Restroom Edition, which was also funded through Kickstarter.  

 

Contents

  • Cards:
    • Poop cards
    • Toilet cards
    • Wild cards
    • Drinking rules card
    • Poop Remix cards (4): provide alternative rules and objectives to the games
    • Deep Doo Doo Remix, for advanced play and 2 player games

 

Gameplay

The objective of the game is to be the first to run out of cards.  To play, a toilet card is placed in the center.  The number on it represents the “clog” number.  Each player is dealt five cards and take turns placing cards on the toilet, and cards are stacked staggered so they all are visible.  Cards with poop on them have a value from one to four bases on the amount of poop represented.  Players are not allowed to meet or exceed the clog number.  If the only cards they have will meet or exceed the clog number then the toilet is “clogged” and they have to add all the cards from that toilet to their hands and flip a new toilet card.  If three cards of the same color are played in a row the toilet is flushed, all other players draw a card and the “flusher” begin play again using the same toilet.  Wild cards add interesting twists to the strategy of the game. On the wild cards there are directions containing sounds or actions on the bottom of the card, and when the wild card is played the player must do this sound/action until another player plays the same wild card.  Failure to do so results in having to draw a card if it is noticed by another player and called. Some of the actions are “grunt on turn”, “hold nose on turn”, and  “fart sound on turn”.

 

Family Game Assessment

This game was as ridiculous as it sounds.  It was played with two boys; a five year old and an eight year old. They enjoyed the game and found its theme hilarious.  In contrast, I had some reservations about the theme, and found the cards gross. The poop cards show poop piles with flies and some have corn pieces in the poop.  The noises and descriptions on the wild cards also added to the crass nature of the game. While the game is recommended for ages 6 and up, I was uncomfortable playing with my two boys, as it was encouraging behaviors I am trying to teach them are not appropriate in most situations, such as imitating bathroom sounds.

There are also additional directions to make this a drinking game.  On the box it says, “It’s a kids game! It’s a drinking game! Just not a kids’ drinking game.”  As a parent I am uncomfortable with a game that comes with drinking rules in the game, and is advertised as a drinking game right on the box.

Conclusion

While the game itself is easy to play and learn, the poop theme, descriptors on the cards to act out, and the drinking game elements make it hard to recommend this game to the average family. This could be a fun and silly game for the right family and the right situation, however, I do not feel it will be a good fit for many families.

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