The Review Queue

Want to know what's coming up on GJJ Games?  Below are games that I may be reviewing in the upcoming weeks or months.  I say 'may' because occasionally I don't receive games that publishers/designers contact me about (they put me on a list and sometimes there aren't enough copies to go around) and sometimes I review a game just because I feel like it.  Also, every once in a while I play a game that just isn't ready for production.  So rather than post a bad review I give the publisher/designer the option of having me hold off.  Sometimes I get updated rules and/or components, in which case I'll play again and post a review (if the game is ready), sometimes the designer moves on to other projects or I just don't get updates.  So, without further ado, here are games in my review queue!

Recently Published - these are games I recently finished publishing reviews for.
  • Adepts - A resource management and worker placement game for 2-5 players.  Players assign workers to gem mines and process them to produce mana while also casting spells to help with mining, production, and affect competitors.  Update: The review is finished and will be posted closer to the Kickstarter launch.
  • On Pointe - A light, family-friendly game about ballet.
  • Codenames: Duet - The two-player version of the modern classic party game.
  • The Whatnot Cabinet - A beautiful tile drafting strategy game from the team that brought you Herbaceous and Sunset Over Water.
  • Thalara: The Last Artifacts - An interesting two-player card game where you battle to acquire artifact cards.
  • Crimes in History: H. H. Holmes' Murder Castle - A tile-laying, exploration game where players are exploring the strange hotel built by H. H. Holmes, trying to collect evidence cubes and avoid the sinister H. H. Holmes.
  • Floriferous - A gorgeous game about collecting flowers and more from a garden.

Scheduled - these reviews are written and scheduled to be published in the upcoming weeks.

    Waiting to Review - these are games I've received and am working on playing and reviewing.
    • Flow of History - A card-based civilization-building game for 3-5 players.  Status: Played, had some rules incorrect, need to play again.
    • Fleecing Olympus - Use your deity's powers, roll dice, and use powerful card abilities in an effort to steal golden gems from other players.  Status: Played
    • Haze Islands - This is the winner of the 2016 PnP Game Design Awards that I hosted.  Status: Unplayed.
    • Pick-A-Pig & Pick-A-Dog - A fast and frantic card matching game.   Status: Unplayed
    • Isaribi - Play as a fisherman in Edo era Japan.  Status: Unplayed
    • Feudum & The Queen's Army - An economic medieval game of hand and resource management.  Also includes the solo expansion, The Queen's Army.  Status: Partial play - major learning curve on this one.
    • Before There Were Stars...  - A storytelling game where you create myths and legends based on star constellations you find in your dice.  Status: Unplayed
    • Codenames: Pictures - Another from the Codenames series, this time using pictures instead of words.  Status: Played
    • Big Easy Busking - An area control game about playing music on the streets of New Orleans.  Status: Played
    • Seven Bridges - A roll and write game about exploring Königsberg and its seven bridges that gave rise to a mathematical puzzle.  Status: Unplayed
    • Winning Streak - A book that discusses the 40 most popular board games of all time, according to Ranker.  Status: Read, review in progress.
    • Madoshi:  Priests of the Sun and Moon - A two-player pattern-matching game about capturing Yokai spirits.  Status: Unplayed
    • Skulk Hollow - A two-player asymmetrical hand management and combat game where one player controls numerous small characters and the other player controls one large guardian character.  Status: Unplayed
    Waiting to Receive - these are games I've been contacted about and will hopefully receive to review.  If I wait for more than a few months without contact or see the game already on Kickstarter, I'll take them off this list.

    Unlikely to receive these, but still hopeful:

    Played and Not Going to Review - these are games I've received and played, but I felt weren't ready for production, or had other issues, so didn't write a review - hopefully, I'll receive updates when the game is ready.
    • Fuzzy Mage Fight - A card-driven combat game where each player is an animal mage casting spells.  Kickstarter Preview.  Status: I played this twice with my game group and both games were over before everyone had a third turn.  The game is extremely random and unbalanced.  It has some interesting ideas and wonderful artwork but felt very unfinished as far as gameplay is concerned.  I decided not to review this game, however, it was on Kickstarter and made $68k on a $5k goal, so hopefully, others enjoy it.
    • Newspeak -  A tense game of dystopian subversion in which you take the role of either the 'dissidents' or the 'moderators' in a mind-bending battle of wits to determine the reality around you..  Kickstarter preview.  Status: Played, but the game has changed.  I initially received this a week before the first Kickstarter, but with some incorrect components.  I played anyway and got mixed reactions from my game group.  The first campaign was canceled before I could get a review out and then the game changed a bit before the second campaign and I never received updates.
    • Into the Black: A Game of Space Piracy - A semi-cooperative game about pirates boarding a spaceship, finding loot, and taking over the ship from the current crew.  The version of this I played was not ready for production and had a lot of issues.  I never received updated rules or components, but the game is now on Kickstarter with many updates (several of which I suggested to the designer) that make the game look much better than what I played.  
    • Lost in Space - a deduction game where players are aliens trying to use their ship's detectors to determine which planets in the solar system are Earth and the other planets.  The version I played was interesting but only worked when one or more players chose to bluff.  If no one bluffed the game was very boring.  I made a few suggestions to the designer and he is working on updates to the rules that take some of those suggestions into consideration.  The latest set of rules look more intriguing, but I haven't yet received a playable update.

    Never Received - These games I was contacted about reviewing, was looking forward to reviewing, but never received a review copy.
    • Dawn of the Archmage - Summon creatures from your various schools of magic and pit them against each other in the arena. You summon creatures of various power levels and value and they fight each other using a dice-based combat system.  NOTE: Never received this, but followed along with the development of the artwork, which is awesome!  Just as well though, because the new baby took up too much time to be able to get a review of this out anyway.
    • Barnyard Roundup - A family-friendly bluffing game where players are trying to collect farm animals to sell on market day. UPDATE: I won a copy of this in a giveaway, so I may review it still.
    • Pocket Prison - A mini-card social deduction game.  UPDATE: Project On Hold
    • Zipang Portable - is a gorgeous Ukiyo-e style card game designed by Japanese artists, easy to learn, fast to play, yet strategic, in which players will dive into the great battle of the 17th Century Sengoku period to play Japan's most iconic characters.
    • ToSS: Trials of Sword and Staff - A party dexterity game with a fantasy quest theme that can also be a drinking game (although I won't play it as a drinking game).  I was contacted about reviewing this, but may not receive a copy until it is ready for retail.  We'll see.
    • Space Race - I was contacted about this during its (successful) Kickstarter campaign and may get a chance to review it prior to it heading to retail.
    • The CopyCat - A word-based, hidden-identity psychology game where players have to figure out the "CopyCat" among the Humans using clever word descriptions, teamwork, and strategy.  This is a higher player count game, which is usually a challenge for me to get to the table, so I will only be receiving a copy of this if they have extras.
    • Trench - A 2-player abstract strategy game that was a hit in Europe is now coming to the rest of the world via Kickstarter.  Estimated review date: September 19, 2017 EBGN
    • A book based on Star Realms.  I don't know the title yet. EBGN
    • SteamPunk Mek Dice Tower and Pocket Dice Tower - These are laser cut dice tower kits that I'll be able to build and test out.  Game Accessories.
    • Heropath - A strategic miniatures adventure game.

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