17th Jan2018

‘Terraforming Mars’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Although Terraforming Mars has already been lauded as the best game of 2017 by many and in fact as the best board game ever by a not insignificant number of people, it took me a long time to really see the appeal. There’s no doubt that the concept of transforming the surface of Mars into a habitable […]

11th Jan2018

‘Pandemic: Rising Tide’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Whilst the ingenuity of board game designers never ceases to amaze me, particularly when it comes to designing and integrating new mechanics with existing themes, the Pandemic series has been equally impressive in doing the opposite for the past few years. From the many variants and expansions of the base Pandemic game (including two seasons […]

03rd Jan2018

‘First Martians’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

I feel remarkably lucky to have received First Martians at Christmas time, when more or less the whole country downs tools and gorges themselves on turkey and chocolate for several days before looking for something else to do. That something, for me, is almost always board games, but at this time of year I’m also […]

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22nd Dec2017

‘Civilization: A New Dawn’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Sid Meier’s famous Civilization series is among the most revered video games of all time, having featured six core versions, a raft of expansions and several spin offs and sister series. The original Civilization is now over twenty years old, but perhaps the most impressive thing about it is the fact that the basic, turn […]

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11th Dec2017

‘Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Although I can’t for the life of me think why it’s happening now (it is twenty years since the original series, so maybe that’s why) Buffy The Vampire Slayer has just been converted into the latest Legendary deck-building game. For those who are unfamiliar with them, the Legendary series is a collection of complete, out-of-the-box […]

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01st Dec2017

‘Dark Souls: The Board Game’ Review

by Matthew Smail

“You Are Dead” states a welcoming sheet of jet black paper overwritten with blood red, gothic print. It’s the first thing you’ll see as you ease the deep, deep lid off of the retail release of Steamforged Games incredibly popular release of Dark Souls: The Board Game. It’s a mantra that will be all too familiar […]

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29th Nov2017

‘Seafall’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Since it was released last year, Seafall has experienced something of a stormy reception from core gamers and popular critics. If you take an aggregate view of every review out there, you’d find faults ranging far and wide encompassing everything from pieces that won’t stand up straight to a dull theme, too much luck of the dice […]

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31st Oct2017

‘Pandemic Legacy: Season 2′ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Unusually, I’d like to begin this review with a quick note on spoilers. Pandemic Legacy: Season Two is (unsurprisingly) a legacy game that features various different possibilities contained within secret dossiers and chambers inside the box. Within this review, the pictures I have shown include ONLY what you will see upon first opening the box […]

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27th Oct2017

‘The Legend of the Five Rings’ Card Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Among all of the settings that I’ve come across in gaming of all kinds, one of my personal favorites is the feudal age of Japan. From the beautiful architecture and manicured gardens to the subterfuge, suppuku and all out war, it’s a time and place filled with intrigue and potential, especially from the perspective of […]

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18th Oct2017

‘Jim Henson’s Labyrinth’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

As a child of the 1980’s, I spent a lot of my time recording movies at Christmas on my mum and dad’s VCR. From blockbusters like Star Wars and Indiana Jones to classics like Oliver, I probably had thirty or forty tapes that I watched over and over, occasionally bumping a bad movie from my […]

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16th Oct2017

‘Catch the Moon’ Board Game Review

by Phil Wheat

Essentially a skill game of stacking ladders – think Kerplunk or Jenga in reverse, adding pieces rather than taking them away – Catch the Moon sees players stack ladders on top of each other in order to build the ladders into the sky and literally… catch the moon. Only these ladders aren’t as sturdy as […]

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12th Oct2017

‘Mansions of Madness: 2nd Edition’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

For most people, the introduction to modern board games comes by way of Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride or maybe Carcassonne. For me, it was the original edition of Mansions of Madness. I’ve always loved board games, but for several years in my twenties, I had no one to play them with and MoM was the game that I […]

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18th Aug2017

‘Lobotomy’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Have you ever wanted to recreate your favourite B-Movie horror movie in board game form? If such a game existed, wouldn’t you just love it to be packed with miniatures, randomised scenarios, huge stacks of cards and a deep and complex rules structure? With Lobotomy, Titan Forge Games may have released just such a game, […]

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16th Aug2017

‘The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is the latest game from well regarded veteran designer Eric Lang, featuring the “dudes on a map” style of gameplay that Lang is most famous for, combined with the strong theme of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic movie trilogy. Essentially a game of area control, resource/hand management and trick collection with a twist, Corleone’s […]

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27th Jul2017

‘Aliens vs Predator: The Hunt Begins – 2nd Edition’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

The Aliens vs Predator brand is now so strong and spans so many forms of popular media that sooner or later, a miniatures board game was inevitable. That particular game came in 2014, following Prodos Games successful Kickstarter for Aliens vs Predator: The Hunt Begins – First Edition. The Kickstarter was not without controversy however, […]

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24th Jul2017

‘Conan: Nordheim’ [Expansion] Review

by Matthew Smail

In Monolith’s incredibly atmospheric board game adaptation of Conan, players control the titular hero and his ally’s through a broad range of individual scenarios, each inspired by famous scenes from Robert E. Howard’s novels. The latest expansion to Conan is Nordheim, which sees Conan and a select few of his pals (plus a brand new […]

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19th Jul2017

‘Game of Thrones: The Card Game’ Review

by Matthew Smail

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been waiting for the latest season of HBO’s Game of Thrones adaptation with baited breath. No doubt, you’ll also have been hoping and praying that the treacherous winds of Westeros blow favourably for your favourite characters as the epic series draws to a conclusion. But what if you […]

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12th Jul2017

‘Rune Wars’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Despite coming complete with a very big box full of shiny lovelies, Rune Wars: Miniatures Game (just Rune Wars from here on in) doesn’t quite have enough stuff in it to create huge, tabletop battles from the outset. Thankfully though, this game was clearly designed as a simplified, modular fantasy battle system with the specific […]

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05th Jul2017

‘Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – The Thames Murders and Other Cases’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Introduction As I’ve grown older, one of my most enlightening realizations has been that there is just as much – if not more – opportunity to find inspiration from the past, as well as the present or future. For me, this is especially true of music and film, but it has never occurred to me […]

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03rd Jul2017

‘Century: Spice Road’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Introduction Marking the first release in a trilogy of games that will each share the Century title, Century: Spice Road is a 2017 release from popular player-turned designer Emerson Matsuuchi. The rub of the Century series is that each one is intended to interlink with the others, enabling larger and more complex games to form. […]

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