04th Jan2019

‘The Quacks of Quedlinburg’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

The Quacks of Quedlinburg (which I think I’ll just call Quacks from now on) is a rather unusual bag building and push your luck game that centres on the idea that players are charlatan doctors, selling their wares to the highest bidder. To do this, they’ll use a wide variety of weird and wonderful ingredients […]

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28th Dec2018

‘Newton’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

In Newton, two to four players will travel Europe’s greatest universities, study and send their students out to work in order to score points. In doing so, they’ll prove themselves to be among the greatest minds of the 17th Century. Newton is a fast-paced, mid-weight eurogame for one to four players designed Simone Luciani and Nestore […]

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27th Dec2018

‘Auztralia’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Trains, vital resources and the race of ancient demons that H.P. Lovecraft dubbed The Old Ones – could a game be any more Martin Wallace? Well, perhaps if it was card driven, which Auztralia surprisingly isn’t. Even so, this modern hybrid of A Study in Emerald and Brass takes a number of classic Wallace systems […]

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24th Dec2018

‘Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

One of the surprise hits of the Essen Spiel show in 2017 was the relatively unheard of Azul, which went on to take the board gaming world by storm. Azul was sold out and restocked several times in the run up to Christmas and it has remained one of the most popular gateway games, slotting […]

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21st Dec2018

‘Here’s Negan’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Love him or hate him, The Walking Dead’s Negan is one of the most iconic characters to be introduced into Fox’s long-running TV series. Of course, Negan has been known to fans of the original comic book series for a long time and even starred in his own feature length graphic novel back in 2017. […]

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20th Dec2018

‘Heroes of Terrinoth’ Card Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Heroes of Terrinoth is the latest game to join the ranks of the ever-expanding number of card driven adventure games that have recently exploded in popularity. Games in this genre aim to replicate bigger, more expansive dungeon crawling and RPG experiences without the same commitment in time, effort and often money that come with games […]

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19th Dec2018

‘Reef’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

In my house, my wife and I are huge fans of Emerson Matsuuchi’s work. Century: Spice Road remains one of our favourite games and whilst Eastern Wonders wasn’t quite as well received, the combined game (From Sand to Sea) has ensured that we’ve kept both copies on our most played shelf. In Reef, Matsuuchi’s latest […]

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18th Dec2018

‘Teotihuacan: City of Gods’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Fans of Mesoamerican history and heavy euro games have reason to rejoice with the release of Teotihuacan: City of Gods from Daniele Tascini, David Turczi and NSKN Games. This impressive looking dice placement game uses a number of interlinking mechanics to create a thematic “point salad” that offers players several ways to win, all of […]

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17th Dec2018

‘Zombies, Run!’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Zombies, Run!, was originally a hugely popular app that is still used to “gamify” the activities of walkers, joggers and other sporting types on a daily basis. The premise of the original game was simple – take the concept of a pace runner, but make the pacer into a zombie horde. Add objectives and global […]

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12th Dec2018

‘Discover: Lands Unknown’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Whilst Fantasy Flight Games’ Keyforge has been making a big splash with its procedurally generated decks and fast, fliuid gameplay, Richard Garfield’s latest effort is not the only game to use the technology that FFG call their “Unique Game” system. Discover: Lands Unknown boasts a designer who is almost as illustrious as Richard Garfield (and […]

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05th Dec2018

‘Forbidden Sky’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Whenever I open a new board game these days, I hardly know what to expect. Among all of those which I’ve played this year, there’s been a myriad of card, paper, wood and plastic – where Forbidden Sky is concerned, I was met with a pleasant surprise. Not only are all these standard components present […]

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28th Nov2018

‘Arkham Horror: Third Edition’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

If you’re familiar with Fantasy Flight Games catalogue, then you must have encountered one or more of their Lovecraft inspired games by now. Among them are some of the most recognisable lines in FFG’s catalogue, including Mansions of Madness and the Arkham Horror Living Card Game (LCG). There have also been two editions of the […]

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21st Nov2018

‘Champions of Midgard’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

In Champions of Midgard (Champions) the players will draft warrior dice by placing workers, in order to then gain Glory by fighting various monsters including trolls, draugr and much more exotic fauna. Theme is everything in some games and it masks a huge difference to the way a game can make you feel about playing […]

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14th Nov2018

‘Battle of Britain’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Although the size of the box, hundreds of different cards and the imposing looking plastic airplanes that reside within the Battle of Britain box might make you feel as if this were going to be a heavyweight, complex war game, PSC Games updated version of Richard Berg’s 1990 classic is surprisingly accessible, very fast paced […]

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07th Nov2018

‘Guilds’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Guilds, from Christian Giove is a light to midweight game that using dual drafting mechanics to simulate players expanding the ranks of their guild by attracting the most interesting characters, whilst simultaneously building out the physical makeup of the guild headquarters. Guilds supports two to four players, but it really comes to life at three or […]

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02nd Nov2018

‘Coimbra’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Coimbra is a brand new game from Eggerspiele in which two to four players don the relatively familiar doublet’s of near-renaissance era explorers, based in the famous Portuguese city that shares it name with the game. Coimbra is a fairly classic euro style game that was actually designed by a group of relative veterans, each of […]

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31st Oct2018

‘Keyforge’ Deckbuilding Game Review

by Matthew Smail

The tabletop gaming world has no shortage of deckbuilding and card games, many of which claim to be innovative. Almost every one is designed to accommodate a particular need, whether that’s to be fast and fluid or deep and complex, with unlimited possibilities. Most of these card games deliver their particular style of innovation because […]

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24th Oct2018

‘Master of the Galaxy’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Master of the Galaxy is a brand new 4x (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate) game that claims to be playable in under an hour, without compromising the deep, strategic gameplay that this genre has become known for. As you can imagine from the name and the images, Master of the Galaxy takes place at an abstracted, […]

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22nd Oct2018

‘Smiles and Daggers’ Card Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Smiles and Daggers is a brief, multiplayer card game that features very unusual artwork and an unusual betting style of play that involves a lot of player interaction. Three to six players each take control of a unique looking faction that is presented in a deck of six cards: three knights, two lady’s and one […]

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17th Oct2018

‘The Magnates’ Board Game Review (Phalanx Games)

by Matthew Smail

In The Magnates, each player acts as a powerful family who is embroiled in deciding the fate of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth over approximately two hundred years, from when it was formed until when it ultimately fell into decline. The Magnates is relatively abstract and takes place over four rounds of play, each of which represents the […]

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15th Oct2018

‘Cosmic Encounter’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

If there was ever a list of board games that were most recognised as those capable of conjuring up incredible stories of near misses, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and getting one over on your friends, Cosmic Encounter would be on it. With Cosmic Encounter now over forty years old, the Fantasy Flight Games […]

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12th Oct2018

‘Founders of Gloomhaven’ Board Game Review

by Matthew Smail

Founders of Gloomhaven is a city building game in which the players act as the founding settlers of the titular city of Gloomhaven. Whilst Founders of Gloomhaven is set in Isaac Childres’ Gloomhaven world, it’s a very different kind of game to the original Gloomhaven, which is well regarded as one of the best dungeon crawlers […]

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