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Raptor: 2 player brilliance in the Jurassic era

Raptor: 2 player brilliance in the Jurassic era

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Raptor

  • Designer: Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti
  • Artist: Vincent Dutrait
  • Publisher: Matagot
  • Player count: 2
  • Play time: 25 minutes
  • Mechanics: Action point allowance, hand management, simultaneous action selection.

Mamma Raptor has escaped from her run and laid her eggs in the park. A team of scientists must neutralize her and capture the baby raptors before they run wild into the forest.

Overview:

Raptor is a 2-player, asymetrical card game from the design duo of Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faiduti. 1 player plays a group of scientists who want to capture and study the baby raptors. The other player plays the raptor family consisting of 5 babies and one very cranky mama raptor.

The board is set up using square tiles in a 3 x 2 grid. Also, there are 4 L-shaped exit tiles which go on each end of the board. On each of the double sided central tiles, you place rocks as depicted on the art. These block movement and line of sight for both scientists and the raptors. The raptor player places the mother on one of the 2 middle tiles and one baby on each of the other tiles. The scientist player initially places 4 out of his 10 scientists, each on one of the exit tiles.

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Nowhere to run!

Both players have a deck of 9 cards and will have a hand of 3 available to them during each round. These cards have a number from 1 to 9 on them and an associated action. For instance, the scientists player can set fire to the jungle,call in reinforcements or put baby raptors to sleep. The Raptor player has completely different card abilities. The mother can possibly disappear from the board to ‘scout’ placing her back on any spot after the scientists used their action. He can then wait with selecting a card until after the scientist reveals theirs.

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sample cards

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Sample cards 2

A round resolves as follows: After both players have selected and revealed a card, the card with the lowest value gets to perfrom the action of the card. The other player gets action points equal to the difference between the two cards. If players would reveal cards with identical value, both would be discarded without effect. The action points can be spent on several things, again varying per player. The Raptor player can use these actions to move the raptor babies one space, move the mother in a straight line, eat adjacent scientists, wake up sleeping babies or put out fires. The Scientists can use their points to put to sleep babies or put a sleep token on the mother raptor (restricting her movements in the future), catch a sleeping baby raptor, move scientists one space or calm down scared scientists. One thing to note is that each scientist figure can only do one agressive action each turn, so it’s impossible to put to sleep a baby and capture it with one scientist in a single turn.

Play continues untill one of the victory conditions are met. For the Raptors this means either having 3 baby’s escape off the board or ending a turn without scientists on the board. For the scientist it’s either capturing 3 baby’s or subdueing the mother (putting 5 sleep counters on her).

 

The review:

When I play boardgames, more often then not it will be in a group consisting of at least three players. That being said, I have a really big soft spot for 2 player games. Especially ones with an Asymetrical nature. I’ve read about this game just before Essen 2015 and I was immediately intrigued by the idea. Especially when I heard that my favorite duo of Bruno’s were going to be the designers. It’s taken me quite a while to track down a copy of the game, but I’m really happy I eventually did. Man this game is so good. It ticks all the boxes of what I like to see in 2 player games.

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Box contents

What I like about the game:

  1.  Component quality: The game is beautifully illustrated. From the cards to the tiles. A couple of things stand out: The tiles are double sided, with different art on them. Absolutely unnecessary, but a lovely little detail. The second thing that stood out to me is the 10 unique figures for the scientists. Really nice!
  2. Well presented theme: The art is really evocative and the miniatures help in this regard as well. I can really see myself in Jurassic world while playing.
  3. easy to setup and teach: The rules for this game are very easy to teach and you can get a game going in less then 5 minutes.
  4. Play time: The game easily plays in under half an hour. It’s really easy to play multiple times after each other.
  5. Clever mechanics: I really like the cardplay in this game. Especially the action points you get for the difference between two card. This makes for some very interesting decisions.
  6. Great player aids and rule book: These are just outstanding. They even had Dutch rules which were actually not just thrown through google translate. As this is a bit of a pet-pieve of mine I really think it deserves a special mention.
  7. Dinosaurs: Nuff said!

What I didn’t like as much:

  1. Balance?: It might be a little bit early to say after 5 plays, but to me it seems a bit easier to win as the scientists. I’m pretty sure the game is actually very well balanced and it will equal out after more plays. I do think that the scientists are a tad easier to play at first, though.
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Clever Girl!

Final Verdict: 8,5/10

 

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Top 10: Most anticipated games for 2016

Top 10: Most anticipated games for 2016

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Lists! We gamers really seem to love them. We list our favourite games, our gaming goals for the next year, our collections and plays…… If we could, we could make a list for nearly anything. One thing that I always try to do is keep up with upcoming releases. I read forums, news snippets on BGG, you name it. With the compiled info I can normally easily make a decision if I’ll be interested in a game or not.

Mostly this comes down to some very simple criteria:

  • Do I know and like the designer?
  • Who is publishing the game?
  • Is the theme something that interests me?
  • What type of game is it, what are the core mechanics? (if possible I check if there are already some rules online
  • Is it something that would fit my group, kids or boardgameclub?
  • How is it presented?
  • What is the expected price going to be? (who am I kidding, really 😛 )

Based mostly on these criteria, I’ve compiled a list with the 10 releases, I’m looking forward to the most in 2016. We’ll start with number 10 and work our way down the list to my most anticipated game.

 

10: Tiny epic Western

tewTiny epic western is the newest game by Gamelyn games. They are mostly known for their “Tiny epic” series of games, of which I have played a few. Even though I haven’t liked everything that they’ve brought out. (I really didn’t care for Tiny epic Defenders for instance) This game combines worker placement with a simplified poker resolution mechanic, which really sounds interesting to me. Apart from that every player has a character with a unique power and  the presentation of it all is really neat.They are currently running a kickstarter for this game, so if you like what you’re reading head over to the page now using this link.

9: Histrio

pic2697488_mdTo be quite honest, there is not that much information out yet about this release, but it’s still high on my radar based on some of the criteria I mentioned above. Firstly, one of the designers is Bruno Cathala, who has designed many games I really enjoy (five tribes, Abyss, 7 wonders duel). The game is being published by Bombyx, so it will look amazing for sure! Apart frompic2745000_md that, there is a one-liner of information about the game on BGG:Histrio involves animal actors in renaissance times, with players performing dirty tricks and carrying out shenanigans in order to present the best troop possible to fit the mood of the King.   Somehow, that line has really peaked my interest.

8: small box Iello games

Ok, I know that this entry is basically cheating, as I’m talking about more then one game here, but as this is my own little space of interweb I think I should be able to get away with it. Iello has grown from a large french publisher, to become one of the world’s leading companies over the years. Games like King of Tokyo and King of new york are taking the world by storm and apart from their own releases, they do french releases of many well known and well loved titles.

I, However, like them best for their smaller box games. Biblios, Nyet and Welcome to the dungeon have all become some of my favorite fillers and see many plays at our game club events. Then there is the tales and games series, a special line of terrific kids games that they do. Both of these lines will be getting some new releases this year, of which I’m most looking forward to Kenjin, Candy Chaser and Tales and games: The pied piper.

7: A feast for odin

pic116113_tAgain, there is not too much known about this title yet. All I really know is that it’s the newest Uwe Rosenburg game and it will be published by Feuerland spiele. It promises to be a heavy euro as we’re accustomed to from Uwe’s previous designs (Ora et Labora, Fields of arle, Le havre, Agricola etc..) and as long as it doesn’t have a penalty system like Agricola, I’ll be on board. The title suggests that the theme will have something to do with norse mythology, which is allways a plus for me.

6: Splotter spellen reprints

 

Here I go again with the cheating, I promise it will be the last time for this list. I’ve always had an admiration for the dutch design duo of Jeroen Doumen and Joris Wiersinga. Partially, because they are my countrymen and I feel a bit of national pride doesn’t hurt. Also, I’ve allways wanted to play some of their games but have never had the chance. As most of their games are out of print, they are hard to come by and extremely expensive on the secondary markets. When I heard about the upcoming reprints, I was super excited as maybe I’ll finally get a chance to play classics like Indonesia and The great Zimbabwe

5: Pandemic Legacy, Season 2

k2-_47a7d64e-be41-4ba2-ba97-59eb9d6ab6ed.v1One of the best boardgaming experiences I have ever had was playing the first Season of Pandemic Legacy, so naturally I want to play the second season. There’s nothing really known yet about that game, apart from that it will come out this year. I do sincerely hope that we go in an entirely different direction this season, but somehow I don’t have to worry.

 

4: Arcadia quest: Inferno

I’ve had so much fun with the base ga650x650_2d72d65844c6b08ebbb09e0f12c63659c9b667e77931f3aea6997200me so far and have many things left to explore there. That doesn’t mean I’m not terribly excited to get my grubby little paws on the ‘expansion’ that was recently kickstarted. There is an awefull lot of stuff that will come with this game:aq An entirely new campaign, a pets expansion (also with a new campaign), Dragons! Demons! Angels! I hope to have my current AQ stuff painted before this will show up….

 3: Lisboa

pic2345949_mdI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Vital Lacerda!!! (I’m talking about his games of course). During Spiel in Essen last year, I had a chance to talk to the man behind some of my favorite games and there he told me about his newest design that would be released in 2016, Lisboa. I’ve been following any news I can find about this game and so far it looks to be amazing. The game is about the reconstruction of the rebuilding of the Portugese Capitol after the 1755 earthquake. Not the most exciting theme to be honest, but if he’ll manage to incorporate the theme into the game mechanics it should prove to be very interesting. It will be a city building, economic game and probably on the heavier spectrum of euro games. If you would like to read more on Lisboa, I’d highly recommend checking out the BGG page.

2: Vinhos: Deluxe edition

How would you react when your favorite game, from your favorite designer gets a deluxe edition?  Well, my reaction was kinda like this:meme2

I’ve been trying to find a copy for myself for a long time (and still am by the way) but when Vital told me a kickstarer for a deluxe edition produced by Eagle gryphon games would be launched in January I couldn’t contain myself. Apart from a massive component upgrade, the game will be strepic2649446_mdamlined quite a bit. I personally love the new art style of the game, but this is off course a matter of taste. I’d say check the BGG page out and decide for yourself. As soon as the Kickstarter launches, I’ll be sure to write about it on the blog.

One last thing, if you follow Vital on twitter, you’ll find lots of info an pictures about his new releases. Highly recommended! @vitallacerda.

 

 

 

1: Scythe

pic2323719_md.jpgAnd finally, number one on the list could only go to Scythe. The newest game from king of kickstarter, Jamey stegmaier. The Kickstarter for Scythe was run late 2015 and was by far the best kicksater project I have ever followed. Frequent, meaningful updates, backer interaction and awesome commitment from the designer and artist. Wow, just Wow!

Scythe is a 4 (3.5 really) X game set in an alternate history 1920’s europe. The game is pic2789227_md.jpgbased upon a series of artwork from artist Jakub Rozalski. In the game you play as one of the 5 factions of Eastern Europa, farming for food and staking your claim in the lands around a mysterious factory.  Scythe is pretty much a sandbox game, where apart from a hidden objective card you are free to roam the lands and find your own way. Decisions come in the form of encounter cards, which will let you choose your destiny. A special note about the components of the game, these are absolutely stunning. From individual mechs and leader figures, to beautiful metal coins, it all looks top notch. If this game will turn out half as good as I expect it to be, it will be one of the best games in it’s genre ever.

 

 

So, that’s it for this list. Be sure to follow boardgameblues to see all updates. What game are you excited about? Leave a comment with your own choices.

Sjtollie

 

7 Wonders Duel: Cathala VS Bauza

7 Wonders Duel: Cathala VS Bauza

7 Wonders Duel

  • Designer: Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala
  • Artist: Miguel Coimbra
  • Punblisher: Repos productions, Rebel.PL, Asterion press
  • Player count: 2
  • play time: 30 minutes
  • Mechanics: Set collection, Card drafting.

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Overview:

7 wonders duel is the new 2 player game set in the massively succesfull 7 wonders series. Where the original game caters up to 7 people, this one is especially designed as a two player game. I’ll give you a brief overview of how the game is played, before I’ll give you guys my opinion of it.

It’s probably not necessary, but I’ll treat this overview as if you’re unfamiliar with regular 7 wonders. Please bare with me on this one, as some things could be familiar.

7 wonders is played over three ages, represented by three decks of cards. Each age, a tableau of cards is set up and players will take turns acquiring these cards for the expansions of their empire. Different card types are divided by color. There are 8 types of cards in the game:7 wonders duel card types

  • Brown Cards: Basic resources. Aqcuiring these helps with the costs to pay for other cards
  • grey cards: Refined resources. Same as above
  • yellow cards: These have various effects, but generally give money/points or influence the price you pay for resources
  • Green cards: Technology cards. 7 different symbols. They give points and if you acuire a pair of the same type will give you a benefit the rest of the game. If you manage to collect 6 different symbols, you immediately win the game by a scientific victory.
  • Red cards: Military cards. By acquiring these cards, move the military dominance marker along the track towards your opponent for every symbol on the card. This give points and can cause the opponent to lose money. If you manage to reach the end of the track you automatically win by Military victory.
  • Blue cards: Civilian cards. These cards generate points.
  • Purple cards: Guild cards. Score points/money. If you acquire a guild card (only 3 available in third age) you score points at the end according to certain conditions.

wondersAt the start of the game, players will draft wonder cards, till both have 4. From 10 available science tokens, 5 are placed on the board. When selecting a card form the display you have 3 options: Build the card in your tableau, looking at the cost of the building. Any resource you don’t have can be bought from the bank. The cost for these is calculated as follows: You pay 2 money, plus 1 additional for each of that type of resource your opponent does have. You pay these costs to the bank, not your opponent. Your second option is building a wonder. You select a card and place it beneath the wonder, paying costs as normal. You then immediately gain the bonuses on the right side of the wonder card. A third option is to sell the card. For this you gain 2 money, plus an additional 1 for each yellow card in your tableau.

Each round the display is arranged in a different way, with rows of face up and face down cards. As soon as a card is uncovered, it becomes available for selection. If none of the alternative victory conditions (military or scientific) are met before the third age ends, points are scored and whoever has the most points is declared the winner.

The Review:

Let me start off by saying that I’ve played regular 7 wonders qui20151104_124156te a bit, including all expansions. I’ve liked some better then others, but in general I really like the game. Before playing this game I had a question nagging in the back of my mind: Is a 2 player game really going to add something for me? The short answer: Hell Yeah!

What I like about the game:

  1. Playtime is quick. You can bang out a game in less then 30 minutes.
  2. Interesting design decisions. I really like the alternative way military and Science works in this game. Additional ways of winning open up some new strategic avenues to explore. The Mah-jong style card display  has some hidden information which I really like.
  3. The science tokens. I love bonuses that are only for me.
  4. Artwork. This is really top notch, from the box art to the cards and especially the wonder cards.
  5. Still gives that 7 wonders feel. Makes the game playable with 2 which in my opinion it wasn’t before.

What I didn’t like

  1. The rulebook and I’m talking specificcaly about the Dutch rules included. Being Dutch myself, I always like it when rules in my own language are added to a game. Here however, the rules are translated so badly that I highly suspect a bad google translate job. From a publisher as well known as Repos, I think this is unacceptable.
  2. More luck. Since some of the cards in the tableau are face down, you miss out on some information. Some of this can be covered by carefull planning, but it could be that the card you really needed gets revealed right after you choose. This is a small nitpick for me though.
  3. Card size. Even though the cards are very clear and well laid out, I feel the size could have been a bit bigger.

Final Verdict: 8/10

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