24th Jan2020

‘Aftermath’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

If you’re familiar with the previous storybook games from talented designer Jerry Hawthorne, you’ll know exactly what to expect from Aftermath. This latest addition to the series that saw Stuffed Fables and Comanauts released over the past two years continues the trend of delivering a tight, story driven experience that mixes interesting combat scenarios with […]

22nd Jan2020

‘Puerto Rico: Deluxe Edition’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Whilst most fans of board gaming would argue that each generation of games essentially eclipses the previous one, and that the “current” era of games are no older than maybe four or five years, some games continue to break the mould. You’ll be familiar with the likes of Ticket to Ride and Catan, but when […]

15th Jan2020

‘Homebrewers’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Few things go better together than board games and a few beers with friends. Throw craft beers and healthy discussion about the best flavour combinations into the mix and you could have a perfect evening, I mean, what could improve things further? Well, what if the board game you’re playing is Homebrewers, a dice rolling […]

13th Jan2020

‘The King’s Dilemma’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Even though legacy and narrative games continue to be awarded high praise in the board gaming world, the number of games that actually centre around them remains fairly low. This might be because the art of telling a story over ten to fifteen different sessions is a very different talent to that of building a […]

10th Jan2020

‘The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Featuring the semi-slapstick idea that their Captain has been killed for the third time (with this being the third game in the series) The Captain is Dead: Dangerous Planet takes the players to a Starship Troopers inspired alien home world where they must gather relics in order to better understand their insectoid adversary. Obviously, there’s […]

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08th Jan2020

‘Memoir 44′ & ‘New Flight Plan Expansion’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

If you’ve seen a hobbyist board game collection in the last four or five years, chance’s are that you’ll have seen at least one copy of Memoir ’44. This Days of Wonder game is a beautifully produced collection of plastic and cardboard that uses the well-trodden Command & Colours system created by the late Richard […]

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20th Dec2019

‘Deep Blue’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Days of Wonder is a well known brand when it comes to creating extremely attractive and highly accessible board games that offer a gateway level experience whilst still introducing players to some of the more complex mechanics that appear in other games. Memoir ’44, Small World and Quadropolis are just a few games released by […]

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19th Dec2019

‘Race for the Chinese Zodiac’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

In Race for the Chinese Zodiac, up to five players each take control of one of the twelve animals that represent the signs of the Chinese Zodiac. Whilst the winner of the game is the player who wins the race, the journey that the players go through to reach the finish line is more about […]

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18th Dec2019

‘Catan: Starfarers’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

The original Settlers of Catan (later shortened to Catan) remains the gateway game that introduced legions of new players to modern board gaming. A mixture of luck, strategy and player agency as well as a simple, attractive layout ensure that the original remains popular even now. But what happens when the relatively simplistic gameplay begins […]

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11th Dec2019

‘Arkham Horror: Final Hour’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

H.P. Lovecraft’s Arkham universe has proven to be a rich source of inspiration for board games in the past ten years, and Fantasy Flight Games have been particularly prolific in creating games featuring the Elder God Cthulhu and his madness-inducing minions – often referred to as “The Deep Ones.” Alongside their Mansions of Madness and […]

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06th Dec2019

‘Ninja Squad’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Ninja Squad is a real game of two halves, with the first fifteen to twenty minutes played as a cooperative game on one side of the board, and the second, slightly quicker half being a competitive race that takes place on the other side. Thematically, the players each act as one of up to four […]

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04th Dec2019

‘Irish Gauge’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

No matter how hard I have tried, I have never been able to get excited about games that centre on trains and stock trading. I’m not sure why, but even when I started out in the hobby, I tended to find that games like Ticket to Ride would bore me long before the game was […]

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29th Nov2019

‘Expedition to Newdale’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

I don’t know, sometimes you wait a long time for your next Alexander Pfister game and it turns out to be a disappointment (Blackout: Hong Kong) and sometimes you wait for what seems like a relatively short amount of time and two turn up at once, namely, Maracaibo and Expedition to Newdale. The subject of […]

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25th Nov2019

‘Taverns of Tiefenthal’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

The thematic elements of a board game are very important to me, and I often choose to play games that have a focus on something that I enjoy in other areas of my life. The issue with that, however is that it’s quite easy for a game to look the part, but I like it […]

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22nd Nov2019

‘Age of Dirt’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

If you look back to my reviews of both Stone Age and Stone Age: Anniversary Edition, not to mention Evolution: Climate, you’ll probably get the impression that I am quite the fan of games that deal with ancient history, probably because I love exploring the educational aspects of these games with younger members of my […]

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18th Nov2019

‘Decrypto’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

As far as party games are concerned, I often take a fairly dim view. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate the odd game here and there, but in general I prefer meatier games that require a bit of thought and a lot more strategy. Decrypto, from Le Scorpion Masque, is a team based deduction […]

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15th Nov2019

‘Nemesis’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Whilst there have undoubtedly been many emulations and adaptions of the Alien universe, it is often the unofficial interpretations that capture the terrifying menace of the xenomorph most effectively. Nemesis (from Awaken Realms and veteran design Adam Kwapinski) is certainly not officially attached to the Alien universe, but its setting, cast of characters and subject […]

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15th Nov2019

‘Planet Zoo’ Review (PC)

by Matthew Smail

Planet Zoo is the direct semi-sequel to Planet Coaster, the modern classic that was released back in 2019. More importantly, Planet Zoo is the spiritual successor to Zoo Tycoon, and many of the Frontier Developments team who worked on both Planet games are of previous Rollercoaster and Zoo Tycoon fame. With this kind of heritage, you’d expect Zoo […]

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11th Nov2019

‘Marvel Champions: The Card Game’ Review

by Matthew Smail

Fans of Fantasy Flight Games will be extremely familiar with the concept of the Living Card Game, an idea that takes the deckbuilding and customisation aspects of a Trading Card Game, but rather than selling products to customers in random boosters or similar, Living Card Games are sold in preset packs or bundles, each of […]

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08th Nov2019

‘Foothills’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

For those who’ve never heard of it, Snowdonia is a large and popular euro game set in the Welsh hills (unsurprisingly) that features trains, resource trading and victory point collection. What proves to be an expansive and highly strategic experience at four players is a little bit less exciting at two, however, and designers Tony […]

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07th Nov2019

‘X-Wing 2.0: Wave 4 – Resistance Transport Expansion Pack’ Review

by Matthew Smail

For me, at least, the presence of the Resistance Transport in a miniatures game about squadron level combat is a bit of an enigma. Sure, the Transport may be based on the B-Wing platform and it can be used as something of a gunship, but such a ship would feel more at home in games […]

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05th Nov2019

‘X-Wing 2.0 – Wave 4: First Order Tie/sf Fighter & Tie/vn Silencer’ Review

by Matthew Smail

With the release of X-Wing 2.0 Wave 4 come two new ships for the First Order, including the Tie/sf Fighter and the imposing Tie/vn Silencer. The first of these is an alternative take on the traditional Tie Fighter, adapted and updated for the First Order’s special forces and featuring a turret that can fire both […]

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