Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Buds, Blooms, and Thorns Review of Heroes & Tricks by Pencil First Games

Buds, Blooms, and Thorns Review of Heroes & Tricks by Pencil First Games
Disclaimer Support me on Patreon!
Vitals:
Title: Heroes & Tricks
Designed by: Eduardo Baraf, Jonathan Gilmour
Publisher: Pencil First Games
MSRP: $20
2-6p | 15-25 min | 8+

Introduction:
No matter race, creed, gender, or empire – each child of Gamedor is born with an affinity to one of The Four Suits: Card, Meeple, Die, or Token. In Love and War these suits are absolutely meaningless, but in Game, well, they mean everything. A true leader uses their cards, and any means necessary, to gain the favor of other heroes of the land. Can you best the other Lords of Gamedor and build the biggest party of Heroes?

Gameplay:  The goal of Heroes and Tricks is to be the player to win the most tricks (thereby having the most Heroes) in the game. Each Trick is lead by a Hero card that defines the target suit and color, dramatically changing the play dynamic of typical trick-taking games. Players then play into the trick, but only see the last played card and need to use deduction, item play, and hand management to win the most tricks.

—description from the publisher

Blooms:
Blooms are the game's highlights and features.  Elements that are exceptional.
  • The artwork and component quality is great.  Characters and items are fun and comical, the cards and dividers are great quality, and the magnetic box is outstanding.
  • The ability to have the game playable without a table is very interesting.
  • Trick taking with some additional cards to give powers and abilities is a fun twist.
Buds:
Buds are interesting parts of the game I would like to explore more. 
  • I'm curious to know if repeated plays adds a better sense of strategic choice.  
  • There is a variant to play more like a traditional trick-taking game, without the box.  This may feel like you have more control of your game.
  • The rock-paper-scissors style hierarchy of suits is an interesting way of figuring out the trick winner if nothing matches the hero exactly.
Thorns:
Thorns are a game's shortcomings and any issues I feel are noteworthy.
  • Felt like it was mostly luck.  
  • Very limited information about what other players had made choices feel very limited and just a shot in the dark.
  • The general mechanics seemed straightforward at first, but felt a bit kludgy in practice.
  • Though you can play without a table, it's very helpful to have a place to lay down cards as you win tricks.  It's tough to juggle your hand, your won tricks, and the box as it's passed around.
  • There are four suits, four colors, and various ranks of cards within each suit and color.  Each color has two suits, each of which it shares with another color.  That's just too much going on and it results in chaos.
Final Thoughts:
Admittedly I didn't play this game much, but what I did play felt like it was mostly luck since there was so little known information about what anyone had and what was played.  You can only see the card that was played before your own turn.  Unfortunately I couldn't ever find anyone interested in exploring the game further. 

I do like the idea of games that you can play without needing a table, and you can play this without a table, but that's very cumbersome.  You need a place to put the cards you win.  It also gets tiring to have to pass the box around, open it to see the last card played, pick something from your hand, then place it in the box.  Then resolving tricks requires that everything be emptied, the winner figured out based on suit, color, rank, and if any of that happens to match the hero that started the trick or if any gear cards changed anything up along the way.  It all ends up being very chaotic and fiddly.

There are interesting ideas in Heroes & Tricks, but they don't feel well thought out and aren't implemented very well.  So much has been done and added that the game just feels like a random, chaotic mess.  All you're doing is guessing the whole time.  I think instead of expanding to essentially 8 suits (if you consider each suit/color combination separately), since you can only see the card played previously, reducing the number of suits would have been a better idea.  Then you'd be able to make some deductions based on cards you have in your own hand.

This may be more interesting as a standard trick-taking game, where you can see everything played, but only the first player gets to see the Hero that they are attempting to win.  I could see this played where the first player gets to see the hero.  Then all players play one card, visible to everyone, possibly with a Gear card played secretly behind their played card.  I think that would be a lot more interesting, add some clever player interactions and deduction, and feel much less chaotic.  You'd have to eliminate the box novelty though.

As it is, I can't recommend Heroes & Tricks, which is a shame since it looks great and has some great ideas.  If you are looking for something to play while in line at a convention, or at a restaurant with limited table space, I think there are better games to play.  But if you like the theme, and don't mind a game that's more an activity and exercise in randomness, then you may get some enjoyment out of it.  Be warned though, whether you win or lose will have more to do with chance than any choices you make.

Buds, Blooms, and Thorns Rating:
Thorn!  I can't quite recommend this game,
although you may enjoy it if you like games
like this.  I feel this game has some flaws and
there are areas that it could improve in the
experience it provides.

Pictures:





Did you like this review?  Show your support: Support me on Patreon! Also, click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.


GJJ Games Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with my family and friends.  Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some were provided by a publisher or designer for my honest feedback and evaluation.  I make every attempt to be both honest and constructively critical in my reviews, and they are all my opinions.  There are four types of reviews on GJJ Games: Full Reviews feature critical reviews based on a rubric and games receive a rating from 0 to 100.  Quick Reviews and Kickstarter Previews are either shorter reviews of published games or detailed preview reviews of crowdfunding games that will receive a rating from 0 to 10 based on my impressions of the game.  Buds, Blooms,and Thorns reviews are shorter reviews of either published or upcoming games that highlight three aspects of a game: Buds are parts of a game I look forward to exploring more, Blooms are outstanding features of a game, and Thorns are shortcomings of a game.  Each BBT review game will receive an overall rating of Thorn, Bud, or Bloom.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 208: Mallory Shepherd

Welcome to People Behind the Meeples, a series of interviews with indie game designers.  Here you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know about the people who make the best games that you may or may not have heard of before.  If you'd like to be featured, head over to http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples. Support me on Patreon!


Name:Mallory Shepherd
Email:Contact@cleverfoxconsultants.com
Location:Dallas, TX
Day Job:I have a consulting company for marketing and project management. Clever Fox Consultants. I help people complete their projects on time and on budget and also do marketing for their products! And manage crowdfunding campaigns/product photography, etc.
Designing:Less than six months.
Webpage:Cleverfoxconsultants.com
BGG:LittleBug627
Twitter:@LittleBug627
Instagram:@TheMeeplesMadeMeDoIt
Find my games at:Nowhere yet!
Today's Interview is with:

Mallory Shepherd
Interviewed on: 8/20/2019

This week's interview is with Dallas designer, Mallory Shepherd. Mallory has been a part of the board game industry for a while now, doing project management, marketing, and helping with crowdfunding through her company, Clever Fox Consultants. Recently she's turned to the design side of board games and I'm excited to see what kinds of games she creates! Read on to learn more about Mallory and her projects!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Less than six months.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I’ve been involved in the industry as a playtester and with marketing/project management for several years, and I finally made the jump over into designing. I made the jump because there were games with themes I wanted to play that didn’t exist. And I was honestly inspired a lot by Elizabeth Hargrave.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Currently unnamed game involving libraries.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet, but I’ve done playtesting and marketing on a lot of published games! Most recently Unmatched and Lanterns Dice.

What is your day job?
I have a consulting company for marketing and project management. Clever Fox Consultants. I help people complete their projects on time and on budget and also do marketing for their products! And manage crowdfunding campaigns/product photography, etc.

Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.

Where do you prefer to play games?
I love all types, but party games and games with mostly luck are my least favorite. I equally love Ameritrash and Euro games.

Who do you normally game with?
I have a game group and then a few friends that we play a lot of two player modes on.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Whatever one of us just got fulfilled off of Kickstarter. I just got the expansion for Inis so maybe that.

And what snacks would you eat?
I’m lucky, my friend usually makes something in her air fryer or bakes things for us. When I’m hosting we usually have delivery of some kind and chips/some kind of dry snack around the games. And cheese. Always cheese.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Sometimes we play mood music based on the theme of the game.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Madness Comics and Games

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorite: I’m on a Champions of Midgard kick because I’m excited to get my Kickstarter copy of Reavers. Least: Smash Up. It’s on my shelf and I don’t want to get rid of it, but it doesn’t make it to the table at all anymore. Worst: Do prototypes count? Hmmm a published game I really didn’t care for is a Fantastic Beasts Dice game. It’s basically co-op Yahtzee and there just wasn’t any substance to it.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite: this one is hard. I like a lot of different mechanics. But if I had to pick, I’d say deck building. I really love deck builders and the thrill you get when you can get that perfect turn off. Least: PLAYER ELIMINATION. I hate it and it needs to go.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I tend to get a lot of games to the table, but I haven’t played Dead of Winter for a long time because it’s hard to get people to commit to a game that takes a bit more to teach and play.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, RPG Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
No

You as a Designer
OK, now the bit that sets you apart from the typical gamer. Let's find out about you as a game designer.

When you design games, do you come up with a theme first and build the mechanics around that? Or do you come up with mechanics and then add a theme? Or something else?
I’m a theme first person and let the mechanics evolve from there into what feels natural and makes sense for the theme.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Haven’t entered one yet!

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I’m sure he’s a lot of people’s but Jamey Stegmaier. He puts a lot of thought into his games and takes risks and I admire him for that.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
From all over. First, I pick themes that I love and am passionate about. You have to be if you are going to be researching things about it. I get a lot of inspiration while I’m doing research on the theme too. A lot of mechanics make sense from learning about the theme. Another place I get inspiration from is playing a lot of games. I mean A LOT of games. Of all different types. And third, I listen. I listen to my game group when we are playing a game and someone says “man I wish I could do this in this game.” And I also get a lot of inspiration from playtesting other people’s games. You have those “aha!” moments when you see a mechanic and realize if you tweaked it a bit it would work really well in your game.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I’m part of a design group and we playtest for each other. I also get my friends involved. Then after that I ask my friends to find friends and so on.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Both!

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Killing your baby. I think that’s the hardest thing for any designer to do. Apart from that, it’s knowing when your game is ready to be pitched or to go on Kickstarter. There is always a “I could make this better” and knowing when to stop can be hard for me.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Harry Potter. I’m a giant Potterhead.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Just do it. Just get out there and start making one. There are no bad ideas at the start. I sat on the sidelines for so long testing games and wishing I knew how to make one before I realized they don’t have any more idea what they are doing than I do in the beginning. I’d have started designing a long time ago if someone had told me to just start making a notecard prototype with all your weird ideas and it’s fine if it’s bad. That’s where we all start.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Pick themes/mechanics you care about and wish existed. You will spend a lot of time with them. It’s also better to start making a simple prototype right off the bat than trying to plan it all out on paper first.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Library Game

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Dallas Design Group

And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
Star Wars, Dr Pepper, and I had to google what a Betamax was.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
There are other hobbies? JK, I really enjoy reading and listening to podcasts. And geeking out over fandoms. I also like photography.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I’m teaching myself how to edit video so a lot of video things.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I don’t have a favorite type of music, but I love sci-fi/fantasy/post apocalyptic books and movies.

What was the last book you read?
Tiny But Mighty. It’s a book written by a kitten advocate and rescuer. She’s really reminded me that even one person doing small things can make a difference.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, I wish I did but don’t have the time to practice.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I don’t like ketchup, mustard, or mayo.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I touched a Monet painting in Paris. The actual painting. Pretty sure you can get arrested for that.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I kind of accidentally adopted my cat. She was just supposed to stay for the weekend and it’s been two and a half years now. She’s my constant companion and is pretty awesome.

Who is your idol?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s done so much for equality in the United States and didn’t let anything stop her in a time it was unheard of for a woman to be a lawyer.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I’d treat it more like a time turner and do over certain little mistakes. And maybe go to the future. I’d be tempted to go to the past but be terrified of the butterfly effect. I’d love to solve some historical mysteries though!

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Ambivert. It’s a thing, look it up!

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Captain Marvel. She’s strong, has a lot of powers, and can fly through outer space! How cool is that?

Have any pets?
An awesome cat. Her name is Kat.

When the next asteroid hits Earth, causing the Yellowstone caldera to explode, California to fall into the ocean, the sea levels to rise, and the next ice age to set in, what current games or other pastimes do you think (or hope) will survive into the next era of human civilization? What do you hope is underneath that asteroid to be wiped out of the human consciousness forever?
I’d hope for Star Realms to survive. Imagine an Ice Age people playing a game with spaceships. I’d be okay if Cards Against Humanity was never played again. (Sorry, not sorry.)

If you’d like to send a shout out to anyone, anyone at all, here’s your chance (I can’t guarantee they’ll read this though):
Lindsey Rosenthal, for getting me into the design group I’m part of. They really pushed me to start making my ideas into reality.

Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

Be kind to people.

And...

I really like cheese.




Thank you for reading this People Behind the Meeples indie game designer interview! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples and if you'd like to be featured yourself, you can fill out the questionnaire here: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html

Did you like this interview?  Please show your support: Support me on Patreon! Or click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Press Release: Announcing Succulent - A Beautiful Strategy Game! From Renegade Game Studios

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Announcing Succulent - A Beautiful Strategy Game!
Compete to find out who is the master horticulturalist!

We’re thrilled to announce Succulent - a beautiful and strategic tile-laying game designed by J. Alex Kevern and illustrated by Anna Daviscourt.
You are a gardener tasked with thoughtful selection, delicate pruning, and tireless care. You’ve earned a reputation as a master horticulturist. In Succulent, you compete against your peers for lucrative and prestigious projects that will cement your place as the community’s premier succulent gardener.
The game is played over a series of turns where players collect succulent cuttings from their gardens along with water crystals and use them to complete projects which grant various benefits, including earning points. Optimize every turn to become your community’s premier succulent gardener and earn the most victory points to win.

Succulent is designed for 2-4 gardeners, ages 10+, cultivating their gardens in 45-60 minutes.
Lucky gamers will be able to catch an early release and demo day of Succulent at select friendly local game store on April 4th with Board Game Expo

Find a local store and ask if they’re participating in Board Game Expo! 
Pre-order the Game Now!


Did you like this press release?  Show your support: Support me on Patreon! Also, click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.



Friday, January 24, 2020

Eye on Kickstarter #80


Welcome to my Eye on Kickstarter series!  This series will highlight Kickstarter campaigns I am following that have recently launched (or I've recently discovered) because they have caught my interest.  Usually they'll catch my interest because they look like great games that I have either backed or would like to back (unfortunately budget doesn't allow me to back everything I'd like to).  But occasionally the campaigns caught my attention for other reasons.  Twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, I'll make a new post in this series, highlighting the campaigns that have caught my attention since the last post.  In each post I'll highlight one campaign that has really grabbed my attention, followed by other campaigns I've backed or am interested in.  I'll also include links to any related reviews or interviews I've done.  Comments are welcome, as are suggestions for new campaigns to check out!

You can also see my full Kickstarter Profile to see what I've backed or my old Eye on Kickstarter page that was too unwieldy to maintain.  Also, check out the 2019 Kickstarter Boardgame Projects geeklist over on Board Game Geek for a list of all the tabletop games of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the projects I'm currently watching as of the fourth Friday of January, 2020:

Live Campaigns from Past Eyes:
APEX: Theropod Deck-Building Game by Outland Entertainment


HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
School of Sorcery
by Dr. Finn's Games - 2 DAYS LEFT!
  • Steve Finn has a reputation for designing amazing filler games, and, having played a number of them, I have to say the reputation is well deserved. His games are always fast, light, engaging, and interesting. School of Sorcery is his latest Kickstarter for an update to an older game of his (2015's Institute for Magical Arts) with new artwork and refined mechanics. Go ahead and grab this, I'm sure you won't be disappointed! And hurry, this was a 2 week campaign, so there's only a few hours left!


Collect magical items and build friendships to increase your influence at the School of Sorcery. This quick-paced strategic game for 2 players is a newly revised and updated version of Dr Finn’s popular Institute for Magical Arts, successfully Kickstarted in 2015.

During the game, players compete to win magical items and characters at different locations. Each round has 5 Phases:
PHASE I: Collect Crystals - Collect 5 crystals
PHASE II: Cast Crystals - Using your dice roll, send crystals to desired locations
PHASE III: Use Portal - Using the portal, secretly send crystals to a new location
PHASE IV: Activate Powers - Activate the powers of your permanent cards
PHASE V: Evaluate Locations - Award sorcery cards at the locations

Features:
Simultaneous Decision-Making: Little downtime
Dice Mitigation: Multiple options for every dice roll
Unique Card Powers: Increases replayability
Fantastic Art and Colorful Graphics: nice to look at
Quality Components: shiny gems, punchboard player boards and locations, wooden tokens, high quality cardstock





Pacific Rails
by Vesuvius Media
  • Pacific Rails is a train game with a theme that I really find interesting. It's about the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, which I also coincidentally made a game about (see The Overland Route), though it's just a small 2-player, 18-card game. Pacific Rails looks like a fun, historical tile game and I'd love to give it a try someday.


Return to Dark Tower
by Restoration Games
  • Restoration Games has been breathing new life into classic games from decades ago. Last year's hit for them was a reboot of Fireball Island and now they're back with a completely reworked and modernized version of the classic Dark Tower. In this new iteration they've improved the gameplay, updated the art and graphics, blended the physical gameplay with an innovative app, and engineered an amazing tower that actually works in conjunction with the app via bluetooth. I just wish it wasn't so darn expensive! Still probably cheaper than getting your hands on a good copy of the original though...


Jurassic Parts
by 25th Century Games
  • I love puzzle and area control games and Jurassic Parts looks like a great one. Not because of the dinosaur theme, which is great, but because of the interesting area control puzzle aspect of it. As you use chisels to section off pieces of map you'll get rewarded based on how much you helped with sectioning off the map. The more you help the more fossils you'll get, so there's a really interesting area control battle along with a puzzle as you try to figure out how to best section out the play area so you can build the most complete skeletons.


Migration Mars
by Enhance Games
  • I've mentioned before that I'm a sucker for a great space themed game, especially with roots in actual science. Migration Mars is about the race to build a sustainable human colony on Mars and it looks incredible. From the amazing buildings to the clean graphics, this is a game I'd love to get to the table.


Citadel Deck Block
by Quiver Time
  • Back in 2016 I reviewed the Quiver Gaming Case and thought it was outstanding. I still use it to this day to store and carry my Star Realms, Epic, and some other card games. Now the team is back with a deck box that is just as, or maybe even more incredible. The quality on Quiver Time's products is amazing and the engineering that has gone into the Citadel has resulted in an ingenious product. If you're looking for a high quality deck box, here's your answer!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Buds, Blooms, and Thorns Review of Island Hopper by Eagle-Gryphon Games

Buds, Blooms, and Thorns Review of Island Hopper by Eagle-Gryphon Games
Disclaimer Support me on Patreon!
Vitals:
Title: Island Hopper
Designed by: Scott Almes
Publisher: Eagle Gryphon Games
MSRP: $50
2-6p | 30-45 min | 8+

Introduction:
You and your friends all make a living by selling goods amongst a chain of beautiful tropical islands. Sounds great, right? Well, there's a problem. None of you are successful enough to buy your own seaplane, so you all pitched in and bought one together, which means that each day you all have to use the same plane to make all of the day's deliveries – and some of you aren't going to get paid. To make matters worse, the plane is in such disrepair that the instrumentation is broken, the compass demagnetized, and the windshield is covered in cracks, duct tape, and the remains of a few unfortunate seagulls, so the pilot might as well be flying blind...

Each day in Island Hopper, players auction off the Captain's seat; the player who becomes the Captain is in charge of flying the plane for the day, but cannot make any deliveries of their own. To make their deliveries, the other players bribe the Captain to fly to the islands to which they need to go, thereby earning themselves cash. When it's time for the Captain to fly, the Captain must close his eyes, pick up their goods tokens, and attempt to land them in an island's harbor. A successful landing means that players can fulfill their contracts and the captain collects his bribe — but if the goods splash into the sea, you might find yourself under water...

—description from the publisher

Blooms:
Blooms are the game's highlights and features.  Elements that are exceptional.
  • A silly combination of dexterity and social interaction with a fun bidding mechanic.
  • There are fun, strategic choices to make.
  • The artwork by Kwanchai Moriya is whimsical and the components are top notch.
  • There are lots of moments for laughs, as long as you don't take the game too seriously.
Buds:
Buds are interesting parts of the game I would like to explore more. 
  • This game isn't for everyone, but if you like social interaction and light strategy, give it a shot!
  • Having limited chances to say a single word has pros and cons.  On one hand, it prevents people from just shouting things out randomly, on the other hand, with certain players it results in no one saying anything.  It might be fun to try playing without the direction tokens and let the pilot have to figure out directions from a cacophony of different instructions.
Thorns:
Thorns are a game's shortcomings and any issues I feel are noteworthy.
  • The game is simple enough, but the rulebook could have used a few more runs by a proofreader.  There are a few typos and phrases that seem to be left over from the prototype (referring to coins as cubes, for example), the terms 'round' and 'phase' are used interchangeably, and there are a few details that seem to be missing (like what triggers the end game).
  • We found players hands tend to either rise from the table or drop closer to the table, so some players tend to drop the goods from higher up, resulting in more bounces and less successful landings, while others are almost placing the goods right onto the islands.  2-3 inches is an ideal height, but it's difficult for everyone to be consistent.
  • While the art throughout the game is pretty nice, the coins are super generic.  They're functional, but about as plain as could be.
  • There is a very high amount of luck in the game, particularly for what contracts and passengers are available to draw.
  • Missing from the rules is what the ruling should be (success or not) if a good is on an island and coins.  Not touching the table, but definitely supported by the coins surrounding the island.  We've been playing that the coins become an extension of the island (thus making it even more attractive to try to fly to), but there's no discussion of this in the rules at all.
Final Thoughts:
Island Hopper is the type of game that needs a very specific audience.  It's quite fun if people are willing to be goofy and silly, but it's not going to work well with people that are very analytical or strategic.  There is a bit of strategy, but it's overshadowed by some silly dexterity mechanics that can leave your best laid plans sunk in the water after a bad bounce.  If you go into the game understanding that the joy comes from the experience, regardless of if you win or lose, you'll have a good time.  This isn't a perfect game; there are some fiddly aspects to it, and for as casual as it is, there is a lot going on outside of the primary mechanics.  Whether you feel this enhances the game to move it up a notch from just a casual dexterity game, or just gets in the way of a silly dexterity filler is up to you and the group you play with. 

This is a great game to play with the family, particularly the 8-15 age range.  I think the 12+ age limit is quite a bit higher than necessary - there are no complex mechanics or concepts.  Probably the limiting factor is how far across the table the players can reach since the islands can be spread out a bit.  I think if you like games like Colt Express, Junk Art, or similar light, silly games, Island Hopper might be a good choice for you!

Buds, Blooms, and Thorns Rating:
Bud!  This game definitely has some
great moments.  It's good for several plays
and should appeal to most gamers, especially
if you enjoy other games like this.
Pictures:























Did you like this review?  Show your support: Support me on Patreon! Also, click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.


GJJ Games Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with my family and friends.  Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some were provided by a publisher or designer for my honest feedback and evaluation.  I make every attempt to be both honest and constructively critical in my reviews, and they are all my opinions.  There are four types of reviews on GJJ Games: Full Reviews feature critical reviews based on a rubric and games receive a rating from 0 to 100.  Quick Reviews and Kickstarter Previews are either shorter reviews of published games or detailed preview reviews of crowdfunding games that will receive a rating from 0 to 10 based on my impressions of the game.  Buds, Blooms,and Thorns reviews are shorter reviews of either published or upcoming games that highlight three aspects of a game: Buds are parts of a game I look forward to exploring more, Blooms are outstanding features of a game, and Thorns are shortcomings of a game.  Each BBT review game will receive an overall rating of Thorn, Bud, or Bloom.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Press Release: Announcing The Space Battle Lunchtime Card Game from Renegade Game Studios

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Announcing The Space Battle Lunchtime Card Game!

Battle In An Intergalactic Cooking Competition At Your Gaming Table

In partnership with Oni Games, Renegade Game Studios is excited to announce the upcoming release of Space Battle Lunchtime Card Game
Space Battle Lunchtime Card Game is based on its namesake graphic novel by Natalie Riess, about Earth baker Peony who gets the deal of a lifetime when she agrees to be a contestant on the Universe's hottest reality TV cooking show, Space Battle Lunchtime!

In the game, players will face off as contestants in the intergalactic cooking competition show. They’ll collect and combine flavor cards to create the perfect prize-winning dish, trying to impress the alien judges with their creativity!
Designed by Daniel Solis (Wonderland, Junk Orbit)  and illustrated by Space Battle Lunchtime creator Natalie Riess, episodes of the game last about 30 minutes, starring 2-5 competitive cooks who have orbited the Earth’s sun at least ten times. Chefs can begin cooking when the game releases in May!
Space Battle Lunchtime is part of the new upcoming event, Board Game Expo! Participating stores will be able to demo and sell this game a full month early on April 4th. Find out more about this program here!
Learn more!

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