Thursday I was able to sneak down while they were training the demo people games and got a quick play of Pets. The pet map boards are very colorful and stand out from all the previous Arcadia Quest boards. The pets ranged from a little pony to a big panda. The pet mechanic added some nice depth to the game, but did not bog it down in any way. Your pets can move before or after your characters actions and can even open doors for you. What the pets provide are special passive abilities that provide benefits to their guild. Players can attack other team's pets to eliminate that buff or they can also attack wild pets. Attacking wild pets allows you to capture them when defeated and may complete a quest. I found this to be a great addition and can see myself using the pets in every game of Arcadia Quest.
Taco Grade: A
Friday morning started off huge for me. I was able to play Masmorra with Rodney and Pep from Watch It Played, Marty from Rolling Dice & Taking Names, and Mark from Board Game Corner. Big fan of all their work and they were all awesome in person. Masmorra was another game that I had kickstarted recently and was very curious how this is compared to Arcadia Quest. Masmorra is a completely different game than Arcadia Quest and only shares the same universe. In Masmorra, you and the other players are competing to get the most victory points while exploring the dungeon. Once a player gets 15 VP (that was the total for demo game, regular game is slightly higher), you will finish the round and the player with the highest VP wins. Players can not directly attack each other but after their turn is done, they get 2 movement points to use on monster dice. As you can see by the picture, I was close to winning so they threw every monster at me. The game while very easy to learn and play, had some great strategy involved and there was no runaway leader. After playing I really wanted to play again right away but I had lots of other games to try out.
Taco Grade: A+ (my game of the show)
Next I met back up with Ozzie (So1ks member who plays a lot of the review games with me) and we sat down to play Potion Explosion. I did not know anything about this game coming in, but the marbles and components caught my eye. In Potion Explosion players are making potions to complete sets and eventually when the game with the most victory points. During your turn you will have 2 potions that you are trying to create. Each requires a specific amount of color marbles. On a player's, they will select one marble that is displayed. After grabbing that marble, if two of the same color marble crash together, you get all of that color color marble that are together in the crash. Think Candy Crush or Bejeweled. Once completed, potions are available for a one time use that will allow the player to perform a specific action like take 2 marbles in a row or take one of each color from the bottom row. Setting up combos is huge and can turn the tide for victory.
Taco Grade: B
I am a fan of the original Xenoshyft, but usually prefer to play it on my tablet. I was curious as to what has changed with the new core set. 3 of us took the challenge of going through all the waves. I was the only one out of the 3 that had previously played Xenoshyft, so that probably hurt our chances a bit. The player specialties have been upgraded slightly and you no longer have to wait to use different aspects till wave 2 or 3. All of the troops have been slightly upgraded or changed. Your starting troops now start with 2 attack and 1 defense. Some of the items now have extra benefits when the conditions change. Changing conditions is something new as well. You have night, fog, and monsoon. It is possible to have 1 or all 3 of these conditions during any round. The difficulty has changed slightly. During the first round of a wave, each player will face 3 enemies instead of 4. During the last round of each wave, boss monsters are introduced into monsters. This is a nice change from getting hammered right away on wave 1, round 1. The game is still very difficult. The game plays pretty much the same as the original other than those changes. We ended up making it to wave 3 but did not survive the first round. Still very challenging but not impossible.
Taco Grade: B+
I was invited to play in the Unusual Suspect All-Stars Event with the guys from Watch it Played, Secret Cabal, Rolling dice & taking names, Board game corner, and Dice Tower. This was one of those achievements as a reviewer that I will always remember. It was an honor and privilege to be apart of the event.
Unusual Suspect is a party game that has the group trying to figure out who the criminal is from the line up. 12 pictures will be laid out in a grid as the suspects. 1 player will play the witness and will answer using the yes or no cards. That player will receive a card that tells them which of the 12 was the criminal. Another player will take a card and ask the question on the card. The questions range from Does this person play board games, to is this person about to go on a cruise. The players minus the witness must then eliminate at least one suspect per question asked. The group wins if the correct person is identified. This is all about judging a book by it's cover and stereotypes. I enjoyed the game, but can see some being offended by it and would not play it with people I do not know.
Taco Grade: C+
This was the party game that everyone talked about at the expo. Players are competing to complete spells before other players do. The catch is that there is a card drawn each round that adds a challenge to everyone. For example, we had a turn where we could not use our right arm, and another turn that had us put our wrists together and keep our hands flat like we had flippers. Each round players choose one of their 2 spell cards to try and cast. The spell will have 4 or 5 dice symbols on the card. Players will all roll their dice as quickly as possible to complete the spell. You can only use one die per roll. Once you have matched all the symbols you will yell TaDa! Depending on the size group once a certain number of people have completed their spell the round is over. The first player to perform 7 spells wins the game. Sometimes a spell that is casted will affect another player. The caster my choose a player that the spell affects. An example of this is that they must keep their head on the table for the next round. This was a lot of fun that had people yelling and dice flying. Highly recommend giving it a try when it becomes available.
Taco Grade: A-
You might be asking, why is there no picture of Bloodborne? Sony and CMON are still in the works of finalizing pictures for the license so they asked that no pictures be taken for this game. I can however tell you about it. This is a semi cooperative game but with only one winner. Players must work together to defeat the enemy for the round. You will go through 2 mini bosses and 1 big boss, as well as a few normal enemies. Each player starts with the same cards. There is a dream card that lets the player take half damage for the turn, take back all previously used cards and pick a new card from the market. There are also melee and range attack cards that may have extra abilities that may hurt the other players. During each round players will select one card to use on the enemy. Starting with the first player they will go around and resolve damage from the cards and if enough damage is done, each player who helped defeat the enemy gets a trophy. Trophies will go up on a scale that will earn you more blood points with the more you have. Damage done to enemies also earns you blood points and when you dream, they will go into your bank. If and when you die, you lose all blood points that you did not have in your bank. You do get to come back healed next round. If all the players die at the same time, the game wins and ends at that moment. This was interesting game that had plenty of bluffing and trying to figure out what your opponents are going to do. I do not care for the theme so I will not be getting it, but those who do like the theme will be very happy with the game.
Taco Grade: C+
If you have been reading my other articles, you may have heard me mention this game in my Essen guide. This was originally released at Essen and will now be published in the states by Cool Mini or Not with a release of hopefully Gen Con. Dojo Kun is one part worker placement and one part dice chucking, fighting game. Each player is the leader of a dojo and for 3 rounds will place workers or acolytes to improve the dojo, recruit new acolytes, train, or go on a quest. After 3 rounds, each player will send acolytes into the marital arts tournament. The fighters will go head to head rolling dice to see who has the most punches. The players not involved in the fight will bet on a winner. The game uses a paper rock scissors like mechanic for the fights. Players will roll dice corresponding to their training. They will then add up each of the symbols. Jumps reduce holds, holds reduce blocks and blocks reduce punches. Players will earn victory points based on their performance in the tournaments and also from quests, dojo upgrades and acolytes. Players can also train their guys in special moves that add extra symbols when the criteria is met. After 6 worker rounds and 2 tournaments, the player with the highest victory points wins the game. The characters are spoofs off of pop culture icons like Hulk Hogan, Akuma, Bruce Lee, and Ryu. I really loved this game and thought it was a good mix of the two styles. This will be a must buy for me.
Taco Grade: A (runner up for Game of the Expo)
I love Rum & Bones. Yes the original has some issues but generally I really enjoyed playing it. I backed Second Tide the moment it came out and was really excited about the changes they mentioned. The changes made to the game have really made for a quicker game and made it more enjoyable to play with a player count higher than 2. Teams now take turns activating characters each round. Movement has been increased to 2 spaces per move action. Characters now unlock new abilities and can upgrade them with gold instead of using gold per use like the old version. The game was more aggressive. I am very happy with all the improvements made to the game.
Taco Grade: A (Ozzie's game of the expo)
Another fun, small box, party game that will be released this year. Looterz has players recruiting things ranging from people, to frogs to vampires. These characters will then try to loot the cave for you and come out with gold. Once a player reaches a certain amount of gold, the player wins. These characters on your turn can either go in the mine and hopefully come out with some loot or they may attack and kill other characters. Some characters will blow up and remove all currently played characters in the game. This is all about risk/reward and pulling off some sweet combos. In the end it does come down to the luck of the dice. I really enjoyed it and will be looking forward to playing it more.
Taco Grade: B-
This is a quick party game that has players trying to complete a straight of 1-6 on their dice. Each player has 6 dice and can only lock in one die at a time. Players do get a special character ability to use for their first straight. Once a player has completed their first straight they flip over their card and now have a debuff that hurts them for completing their second straight. Once a player has received their second straight they win the game. This was a quick fun game that I could see playing with parents or those who are not really into the hobby.
Taco Grade: C+
A cooperative game that has players trying to play element cards to create a planet. Players can not talk with each other about what cards they are playing and must rely on everyone hopefully being on the same page. A tough game , but I do not see much replay value in it.
Taco Grade: C-
This is a game that is getting reprinted by CMON. This game is has players looking at a picture with lots of items in it and writing down words associated with the items in the picture that start with a certain letter. Players compare words after a minute and give points based on the amount of unique words that a person wrote down. This is a fun game that I will enjoy playing with kids and parents. A good mind game to help keep the brain going.
Taco Grade: B-
The last event I participated in was an Arcadia Quest tournament that they are currently working on for organized play. Players competed in 3 rounds of games. The first round was capture the flag. The second round was king of the hill and the last round was Kill the guild Leader. I had a blast with all 3 variants and will discuss more about the tournament in another article down the road. I got first in the first 2 rounds, but then the dice failed me big time and I tied for third in the last round. We ended up with a three way tie for first that was decided by round points and I ended up in third. It was a blast and I see this being very popular in the future for organized play at stores and other cons.
CMON Expo was my first smaller gaming convention and I had a blast. I played a ton of games in 2 days and met a lot of great people. (sorry if I did not mention you, but you are awesome) If you live in the Atlanta area or love Cool Mini or Not games, I highly recommend attending next year. I know I plan on being their. Thank you to Cool Mini or Not for putting on a great convention.