Sunday 29 May 2016

Review - Family Fortunes

Published by Britannia Games
Designed by Britannia Games Limited
For 2 players or 2 teams, aged 8 to adult

Family Fortunes

Television was a big part of my life growing up.

I think, part of the reason is because my parents both worked incredibly hard. They bust a gut to make sure they could provide for their family, and when they finally got to have a moment of downtime, they invariably flaked in front of the television. British soap operas, like Eastenders, were a staple in our house; but really anything was fair game.

When I think back to my childhood, I don't tend to remember a lot of specific things; but I do remember particular feelings and emotions quite vividly, and a lot of those feelings are indelibly linked to television.

The jaunty intro to The Antiques Roadshow, even now, fills me with a deep sense of misery; because back in the day, that was the shot across the bow. It was the reminder that all I had to look forward to was half and hour of the dullest television ever created, followed by the mournful opening credits of Last of the Summer Wines, which ultimately meant bedtime, followed by Monday bastard morning, and another week of school predominantly comprising being bullied, feeling like I wasn't particularly good at anything, and being told to stop daydreaming.

I think that's why I don't really watch television anymore.

Don't get me wrong, I will binge-watch Daredevil or Game of Thrones with the best of them; but I never switch on the television just to watch any old crap that's on. And that's why I've never seen the newest incarnation of Family Fortunes (which American readers will know as Family Feud, I believe). Apparently the show is presented by Bolton's finest, Vernon Kaye, which has to be the best advertisement ever devised for switching off the television and going for a long walk.

But anyway...

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Review - Imperial Knights: Renegade

Published by Games Workshop
Designed by secretive grots in a dungeon somewhere
For 2 players, aged 14 to adult

How do you review Imperial Knights: Renegade?

It's not a rhetorical question. I genuinely don't know.

I don't even know where to start.

I mean, I'm not even sure how to describe the game.

The whole thing is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a contradiction wrapped in... er... shrink wrap, I guess.

The game is at once too expensive and excellent value; massive in scale yet ridiculously small in scope.

It is arguably one of Games Workshop's most exciting board game releases in the last few years, and unquestionably the dullest.

And what you think of it... what I think of it... is entirely down to perception.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Review - Pentago

Designed by Tomas Floden
Published by Mindtwister AB
For 2 players, aged 8 to adult


I'm not a competitive person.

In fact, I bet I'm less competitive than you.

I'm probably the most least competitive person ever, and if you don't agree then we'll have to settle it with an arm wrestle.

I like to win, obviously.

Everybody likes to win.

Although, having said that, I am reminded of that joke about how there are certain activities where it's better to come second.

But anyway...

Thursday 5 May 2016

Review - Gears of War: The Board Game

Designed by Corey Konieczka
Published by Fantasy Flight Games
For 1 to 4 players, aged 13 to adult

Often, on sites such as BoardGameGeek, you hear boardgamers talking about games that "fired" other games.

"Hear about Thunderstone Advance? Totally fired Dominion."

"Tried Battles of Westeros? Fired BattleLore."

"Got a copy of Kingdom Death: Monster? Fired everything..."

Generally speaking, a game fires another game when it has a central mechanism, or a particular style of play, that it does better than an older game. These are the latest iterations in the constant evolution of games design, and they usually stand on the shoulders of giants, taking great games and giving them extra swagger.

Now, there are some people who see enough difference between two games to want them both, but I understand why a lot of people feel the need to fire older games from their collection. It's not necessarily a "cult of the new" thing; it's just practical. There is only so much time and space in the world, after all.

Recently, I reviewed a game called Fireteam Zero. If you read that review, you will know I am a huge fan. You will also know I mentioned it features a similar card system to the one found in another excellent game, Gears of War. (Or rather, Gears of War: The Board Game, to differentiate it from Gear of War: The Video Game, or Gears of War: The Action Figure, or Gears of War: The Meccano Set.)