Tabletop Game Reviews, News and Round-Ups

Penny Papers Review

Thanks for checking out our curated review round-up of Penny Papers. We’ve pulled together reviews and walkthroughs that resonated with us from amazing gamers and creators. Our favorite board games create an immersive experience and have great table presence. Will Penny Papers be your family’s next favourite game too? Let's find out!

Mechanically a roll-and-write strategy game similar to Yahtzee, Penny Papers is the perfect solution for family gaming with player count ranging between 1 to 100! Play time is a quick 20 minutes, so no need to worry about the kids losing their attention to the game. A cool perk of Penny Papers is its three fun and exciting storylines for which the recommended age limit is 7 and above for the Temple of Apikhabou, 8 and above for Skull Island, and 9 and above for the Valley of Wiraqocha. Each edition has its own twist during gameplay. The Temple of Apikhabou is about attempting to discover hidden treasures through unknown corridors while navigating your way through a spooky temple full of mummies! Brave enough to sail the sea? Skull Island will test your navigation skills while you chase the pirate’s booty. Got what it takes to explore the unknown? The Valley of Wiraquocha will keep you guessing as you maneuver through the forest to mountainous terrain as the threat of snakes is looming around every corner. The main objective of Penny Papers is to utilize the same result of three dice to discover regions more closely than your opponents by carefully writing numbers in their grid to receive the most amount of victory points possible. Regulating your space on the grid while rolling the dice is the ultimate test. Sabotage your opponents' grids as threats emerge.

Tom Vasel of The Dice Tower describes his Penny Papers experience with gameplay strategy tips and commentary explaining how the game is built around patterns. Vasel is impressed by the high quality of Penny Papers and its storylines. The game themes make for an enticing and awesome playthrough you won’t want to miss out on!

Tabletop Gaming used some pretty creative language to describe Penny Papers by calling it the antithesis of a ‘multiplayer solitaire’ and ‘addictive as a smartphone puzzle.’ The short playtime and freedom of player count makes Penny Papers a unique experience for family gaming. Lucky dice rolls can turn the tide during gameplay. The suspense is spectacular.

The Game Boy Geek shares his thoughts on Penny Papers and its three storylines as easy to learn. Once you play one storyline, you’ll get quite comfortable as you play the next storyline and immerse yourself in another playthrough. Each storyline is similar enough mechanically, but different enough to enjoy and expect something new. By far, The Temple of Apikhabou was an easy playthrough. Skull Island felt like a light to medium playthrough. Meanwhile, The Valley of Wiraquocha was the most challenging of the three storylines for The Game Boy Geek. We suggest playing Penny Papers’ storylines in this chronological order so that you might gradually build up your Penny Papers IQ and prepare yourself for the next adventure. We hope your Penny Papers playthrough is as pleasant as a bouquet of flowers!   

What we love most about board games is the table presence and how immersive they can be. This game includes super cool features such as:

  • Play Sheets
  • A set of three 6-sided dice
  • 2 pads of colorful double-sided paper
  • Game manual

Will Penny Papers be on your table next?

 

 

Evolution Climate Review

Thanks for checking out our curated review round-up of Evolution Climate. We’ve pulled together reviews and walkthroughs that resonated with us from amazing gamers and creators. Our favorite board games create an immersive experience and have great table presence. Is Evolution Climate your family’s next favourite game too? Let's find out!

Evolution Climate is realistic. Realistic enough that the game was mentioned in “Nature,” a globally recognized and respected scientific journal. You can definitely see this game as an alternative to a chapter in your child’s science textbook. Evolution Climate is the perfect solution for family gaming with player count ranging between 2 to 6 players. The recommended age limit is 12+, since Evolution Climate is a little more complicated than your average family board game. Still, Evolution Climate is the talk of the dinner table and is rated as one of the hottest board games out now. The main objective of Evolution Climate is to evolve your species in an ecosystem plagued with food scarcity, danger, and climate change. There are more than 200,000 ways to evolve your species. Talk about options! A long neck will allow you to reach food that others cannot, while a hard shell will protect you from carnivores. Fur keeps you warm during hibernation and burrowing keeps you safe from the desert heat. The choice here is the best part of Evolution Climate. You control the destiny of your species during each turn.

Game Kahuna of Opinionated Gamers describes his Evolution Climate experience with gameplay imagery and commentary explaining what he learned from playing the game and feels that competitive players that enjoy strategic thinking will love this one. But be sure not to place judgement on the game based on the first playthrough. Evolution Climate is one of those board games that grow on you and once it does, it will keep growing until it evolves as an enjoyable experience for you. The game truly is educational and certainly not as boring as the monotonous grade school teacher.

Eric from What’s Eric Playing lists 8 advantages players get from playing Evolution Climate. The art is exquisite. The first player token is wonderful. We don’t have enough fingers to count the amount of strategies that can be deployed. Combining traits with different species is super cool. Climate events make players act quick, causing suspense and an interactive experience. The hidden score system keeps other players guessing who’s in the lead. Playtime is reasonable. Last but not least, you get to name the species you create with a vast and creative naming scheme. How refreshing is that?   

Jonathan Liu of Geek Dad shares his two cents by saying that as you recognize the different traits provided during gameplay, you have the ability to sculpt fascinating critters. The great thing is there is no cheat code for the game, meaning that every strategy used can only rent you success for a limited time. Opposing players can’t follow a specific method to gain the upper hand. Instead, players have to work with what they are presented with on the board. Since Evolution Climate is about constantly maneuvering, players will want to ensure that the ecosystem your creature is living within favours its existence.  

What we love most about board games is the table presence and how immersive they can be. Evolution Climate includes super cool features such as:

  •         177 Trait Cards
  •         30 Event Cards
  •         240 Food Tokens
  •         20 Species Boards
  •         40 Wooden Cubes
  •         6 Food Token Bags
  •         1 Climate Track
  •         1 Climate Marker
  •         1 Dino Starter Token
  •         1 Rule Book
  •         2 Player Aids

Will Evolution Climate be on your table next?

Root Review

Thanks for checking out our curated review round-up of Root. We’ve pulled together reviews and walkthroughs that resonated with us from amazing gamers and creators. Our favorite board games create an immersive experience and have great table presence. Will Root be your family’s next favourite game too? Let's find out!

Root is the perfect solution for family gaming with player count ranging between 2 to 4 players. The recommended age limit is 10+, since Root is a little more complicated than your average family board game. Still, Root is the talk of the dinner table and is rated as one of the hottest board games out now. We recommend taking the gameplay in bits and pieces as you might want to utilize the “Learn to Play” walkthrough provided on the first try. Once you get the hang of Root, you won’t want to let it out of your hands! The main objective of Root is to reach 30 points before everyone else in their own respective neck of the woods. There are four sectors: Marquise de Cats, The Eyrie Dynasties, The Woodland Alliance, and the Vagabond. Though each sector is fighting to claim the prize, let it be known that each tactic by each faction is in no way the same. Depending on which faction each player selects, the gameplay will vary. Marquise de Cats desire power and perform militaristically on the board. The Eyrie Dynasties are about power too, but behave more traditionally as textbook royals. The Woodland Alliance is the anarchist group, looking to forge unions with the working-class creatures in the world of Root. The Vagabond is the selfish crew, only trading with other sectors if that means more resources for them.

We turned to Alex Singh of iSlayTheDragon to see what it’s like to get a walkthrough. Singh describes his Root experience with gameplay imagery and commentary explaining how the game flows cohesively and smooth like butter turn by turn. Each move that is made is uniquely designed and the game mechanics are what allow Singh to say that Root is one of the best games he has played in 2018. The story really adds an immersive feel to the entire experience.

Shut Up & Sit Down lists some important tips for getting the most out of Root with an enjoyable experience. The first tip is to shake things up and keep it weird! Flipping the board and playing on the Winter themed side will make things exciting during your first playthrough. If you feel like Root has settled within your heart, buying the Riverfolk expansion will create space for an additional Vagabond player. This means more randomness and unpredictability!

Adam Factor of Sprites and Dice shares insights on the asymmetrical aspect of Root and goes into the wargame like strategies behind the gameplay. Adam Factor offers a view of Root’s warlike gameplay and how the mechanics fit very well with the story as a reason to suggest Root is the best bet for fans of war games because of its political undertone. We didn’t think of it as wargame like but Sprites and Dice highlights some great examples, specifically drawing attention to the theme of survival within a conflicted environment.


What we love most about board games is the table presence and how immersive they can be. Root includes super cool features such as:

  •         A two-sided compact board with exquisite summer and winter graphics
  •         Two Rulebooks:
  •         1. Learning-to-Play (Rulebook) for relaxed and conversational readers
  •         2. The Law of Root for precise and strict readers.
  •         Learn-to-Play walkthrough sheet
  •         Player Boards for each faction
  •         Colourful symbolic tokens
  •         Two 12-sided dice
  •         Sturdy player card deck
  •         Uniquely shaped and faction-based wooden board game pieces

Will Root be on your table next?

My Little Scythe Review

My Little Scythe Review

Thanks for checking out our curated review round-up of My Little Scythe. We’ve pulled together reviews and walkthroughs that resonated with us from amazing gamers and creators. Our favorite board games create an immersive experience and have great table presence. Will this game be your family’s next favourite game too? Let's find out!

Basics about the game - My Little Scythe is great for family gaming with a broad player count ranging between 1 to 6 players. While the game’s recommended age is 8+, younger players (6 or 7) can still get into the game with a little help from parents. The main objective of My Little Scythe is to earn 4 trophies from 8 possible categories. Players earn these trophies for completing certain actions or events through the gameplay such as perform quests, execute magic spells, and send gems and apples to the supernatural Castle Everfree.

Tahsin Shamma from BoardGameQuest has an in-depth description of what the gameplay is like and how it works. Shamma describes his My Little Scythe experience with gameplay imagery and commentary that backs his reasoning explaining why the game really brings enjoyment to the entire family! A well done and exquisitely designed theme, refreshingly simplistic, and a game that works well with a family gamer mom or dad. Each choice is a difference maker as players decide whether to move toward certain resources. It’s good to be strategic every move. If you’re a Scythe fan and want to bring the experience to your kids, Shamma says My Little Scythe is the answer.

Stone Maier aims to “create memorable, beautiful, fun games that engage and delight gamers worldwide.” My Little Scythe was initially designed as a prototype by a father and daughter. Stone Maier collaborated with the family to follow through with their goal of making family time possible. Rest assured that the entire family will love this one!

To hear more about what it’s like to play and get a walkthrough, we turned to Kevin and Melissa from Tantrum House. They view My Little Scythe as short, sweet and simple. It’s the perfect answer for all folks from new board game players looking to spend quality time with the little ones to Scythe fans that just can’t ignore the – dare I say – cuteness!

What we love most about board games is the table presence and how immersive they can be. This game includes super cool features such as:

  • Rulebooks for both multiplayer and solo play
  • 14 miniatures ranging in size from 48 to 70mm
  • 1 painting guide and 1 achievement sheet
  • 5 custom dice, 24 custom apples, and 24 gems
  • 70+ mats, tokens, tiles, and boards
  • 71 cards (57x87mm)
  • 3-piece Game Trayz custom insert

Will My Little Scythe be on your table next?

Skirmish Miniatures! Kickstarter Games February and March 2018

Skirmish Miniatures! Kickstarter Games February and March 2018
Our favorite kickstarter miniature and skirmish games with campaigns ending the week of February 26 2018. Including games from great puiblishers such as Sandy Peterson and Academy Games.

Read more →

Kickstarter roundup - Our picks for late August and early September

Kickstarter roundup - Our picks for late August and early September

It's been a great summer for gaming! While we're soon to say goodbye to summer, it's had some amazing gaming moments. Kingdomino winning the Spiel Des Jahres and GenCon 50 being two big highlights. As we head into the end of a board game summer 2017 and into early fall there are some fantastic quick play, card based, storytelling games funding on Kickstarter. Here are our picks that wrap up in the next week or so. And I know it's tough think about it now, but with the delivery dates planned for some, they might just be your new winter favorite board games!

 

 

Final Boss: The Card Game from Rafael Gonzalez
Ends August 27 – Funded - Why we love it: Quick play (~20 mins) - player options from solo up to 6 - win by victory points - play co-op or competitive - awesome video game theme - sharp card art - we expect it's hilarious. Core pledge is €21. 1-6 players, 15+, 20 mins. Campaign details here. 

 

Itchy feet the travel game kickstarter

Itchy Feet: The Travel Game from Malachi Ray Rempen
Ends August 30 – Funded - Why we love it: Unique design - designed for travelers - game cards are marked to double as playing cards - comes with postcards - sized for light travel - easy to learn, easy to share - Canadian co-designed. Core pledge $24USD ($5USD Print N Play). 2-6 players, 9+, 10-40 mins. Campaign details here.

 

Enchanters kickstarter board card game

Enchanters from Gindie-LudiBooster
Ends August 31 – Funded - Why we love it: Quests and crafting in one - build your own gear and upgrade character gameplay - we're a mage at heart - tons of depth without being complex - all the unlocked stretch goals (new cities) add a lot to the game. Core pledge is $39USD. 2-4 players, 14+, 30-60 mins. Campaign details here.

 

Dark Masts: A Dead Seas card game kickstarter

Dark Masts: A Dead Seas Card Game from Roger Ogre
Ends September 6 – 54% funded - Why we love it: Head-to-Head action - unique fantasy/high sea mix - heavy combat focus - centered on weakening and defeating your opponents base(ship) rather than their heroes - fast paced. Core pledge is $30USD. 2 player, 20-30 mins, unknown. Campaign details here.

 

Gauntlets and Goblins kickstarter storytelling game

Gauntlets & Goblins from Ian Gibson
Ends September 9 – 40% funded - Why we love it: Light and fun RPG - play with kids to help introduce the game style and concept - gives you all the tools to play out a great story - leaves the storytelling all up to you. Core pledge is $30USD ($15 Print N Play). Our guess: 2-5 players, 30 mins+, 6+. Campaign details here.

Kickstarter roundup - our picks for early August

Kickstarter roundup - our picks for early August

We love new board games and RPGs (role playing games), especially if it means supporting new game designers. We’ve been backing games for a while and thought it was time to share our picks each month. August is an exciting month with GenCon 50 is around the corner. Before it arrives there are some amazing new games already showcased, with Kickstarter campaigns ending this week! Here are our favorite Kickstarter board games and Kickstarter RPGs for early August 2017.

Star Scrappers cave-in Kickstarter board game

Star Scrappers: Cave-in from Hexy Studio
Ends August 8 – Funded - Why we love it: Sci-Fi theme with a unique story arc – amazing art and card graphics – win by victory points – accelerating pace as you play. Core pledge is $25 USD. 2-4 players, 12+, 60 mins. Campaign details here.

 

Out of the Woods Kickstarter card board game
Out of the Woods from American McGee
Ends August 17 – 80% Funded – Why we love it: Hauntingly beautiful yet dark art – brings a new take on classic storylines – horror themed game that plays in quick rounds. Core pledge is $25 USD. 2-4 players, age and time unknown. Campaign details here.

 

Firelight Kickstarter rpg one-shot rpg
Firelight: The Questing Card Game (RPG) from HobbyHorse Games, LLC
Ends August 8 – Funded – Why we love it: It makes RPGs more accessible – it packs great storytelling into a card based game – plays as a one-shot rpg in a 60 to 100 minute sitting. Core Pledge is $30 USD. 2-4 players, age unknown, 60-100 minutes. Campaign details here.


Sakura kickstarter board game a-games
Sakura from A-Games (publishers of Ave Roma)
Ends August 15 – Funded – Why we love it: Cool mechanic of paying supporter cards to change game play – easy to learn and play – gorgeous cherry blossom card art. Core Pledge is €20. 2-6 players, 10+, time unknown. Campaign details here.


Spire RPG Kickstarter rpg
Spire RPG from Grant Howitt
Ends August 15 – Funded – Why we love it: The theme – city-bound fantasy horror – tons of story and character depth – straightforward D10 system. Core pledge is £15. 3+ players, age and time unknown. Campaign details here.


Must mentions
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game from CMON
Ends August 14 – Funded – With a popular publisher and popular theme it was going to be a hit. Classic style tabletop wargaming with unit formations and massive armies. Campaign details here.

A song of Ice & Fire tabletop miniature wargame cmon game of thrones got



Star Realms: Frontiers by Robert Dougherty (White Wizard Games)
Ends August 9 – Funded – Another really popular title and publisher, Frontiers is both a stand alone game and expansion for Star Realms. Backers get access to tons of add-ons from the other White Wizard titles too. Campaign details here.

Star Realms Frontiers Kickstarter card game expansion

 

Seven Hells! Our tabletop taken over by A Game of Thrones the card game!

Seven Hells! Our tabletop taken over by A Game of Thrones the card game!

Thankfully we’re still mid-summer and it means lots of warm nights gaming. We’re huge GoT fans so to warm up for the latest and final season of the show we’ve been playing Game of Thrones the Card Game (2nd Ed) from Fantasy Flight Games.  This was our first Living Card Game so we were keen to see how the play style was compared to a TCG (trading card game).

 

There’s beauty in Winter but you might think it has come on your first play through

We loved the cards. A set for all the major houses and factions (such as the Night’s Watch). Beautiful looking banner cards plus our favorite (and love-to-loathe) characters. A Game of Thrones the card game is a deck builder. Players build a deck based around their house of choice and then alternate through turns bring new cards into play (called marshalling), attacking each other through challenges and collecting victory points in the form of power tokens. The game seemed a little too complex off the hop - include a 16 page learn to play guide and a full rules reference book. After a first play through it got easier and turns flowed more naturally.

 

Game play follows a series of actions each turn. Players collect gold, buy cards and then issue challenges. This is where house selection really comes into play as the types of challenges you can issue, and also defend, depend on your characters. As you might expect the Lannisters seem to have more intrigue challenges with the Starks and The Nights Watch heavily military challenge focused. The third type is a power challenge that seems to be common across all houses. Our experience is that the Martell’s are the most balanced house between all the challenge types. Of course all the house characters can be buffed or have challenge types added to them through attachments (item cards), but that part of the game play felt a lot more secondary than how you play items in a typical TCG.

game of thrones GoT Living Card Game board game review yourgamingsidekick ironbeangame

Everyone is plotting something when you’re in the Great Game

 A unique element we experienced for the first time were the plot cards. Plots cards are secondary decks assigned to each player. Plot cards influence the entire round. When played they represent gold the players earn to marshal (play) new cards, which player wins initiative and the claim bonus for winning a challenge. Each round starts with players selecting and the simultaneously revealing their chosen plot card. Selecting plot cards and building your play around them is key to the game play. Do you want a round where you get a lot of gold to bring as many cards into play as possible? You might build an unstoppable force or you might bring through a ton of cards. Do you want to ensure initiative and get an extra claim for winning our challenges? You might finish the round with a lot of power tokens only to have them stolen or they might be the extra you need to close out a win.

Playing with just one opponent was ok, but became predictable and the challenge types (attacking and defending) felt more limited. Playing with at least 3 added the dynamic to really open up the game.

 

The tl;dr

play at least 2 games with new players, one to learn and one to actually play; best played with 3 or 4 players; plots cards add an awesome element of strategy to each round and keep games fresh; just like in the television series, houses can rise or fall quickly based on a few key decisions/moves and a combined force of multiple characters; we’re really excited for Game of Thrones season seven #GoTS7!

 

Let us know if you’ve played A Game of Thrones the card game or Living Card Games and which is your favorite!

 

your gaming sidekick

Scott