Sea Shanties: Arrrgh you up for Playing a Game?

The Kanvas Seas are fierce. As the wind blows us onto our new heading, I fear what lies ahead. My crew is tough and ready to pillage and plunder at a moment’s notice, but there be pirates seeking to take my fortune away from me.
We seek Gold, Iron, Grog and Food, but most important, we seek glory and to be remembered among the great pirates before us…

Gameplay

In Sea Shanties, you are a pirate seeking glory in verse and ballad, hoping to have the most renown (Victory Points) by the end of the game. On your turn you follow the ABCs: Actions, Burying and Collecting.

You can take five actions and each player has five to choose from:

When moving one must be aware of the wind direction. Moving along the wind will give the player additional movement at no cost. Moving against the wind will cause additional an additional movement.

Plundering is key to the game. Treat it like area control. The more you control, the more resources you will receive. Also, each island controlled at the end of the game will add to the player’s renown. A player may steal an island for control by having more crew than the previous player.

If a player’s ship is away from their island, they may abandon their crew off the island and back to the tavern. At the tavern the player may recruit a crew member back onto their ship.

When two ships are adjacent to one another a Sea Battle may occur. Each player will bid their crew members against each other. The player with the higher number wins. Then the winning player takes the difference between the two numbers and pillages that amount from the deck of their opponents ship. So if player 1 bid 10 and player 2 bid 5, then 10-5= 5 resources pillaged from the losing player. There is a cost for the winning player. Since the battle was tough and arduous, that same difference will be applied to the crew and that amount will be returned to the tavern.

After doing five actions, the player then buries any loot that they would like by moving their goods to the treasure map side on their player mat.

After this the player then may collect one good from each island they control. Some islands may have multiple goods.

As different actions are completed players may have a chance of being rewarded with achievement cards called Lore and their special abilities granted to the player called melodies. Together they form a verse. The lore will be set to the side of the player as renown at the end of the game while the melody will go into one of two slots on the player board.

There can only be two. Any additional melodies must replace one of the others. Choose wisely.

“Because the Hook brings you back…”

Another card that can bring good fortune are Ballads, these cards go the players who have buried 5 or more of certain resources.

The end is triggered when all lore/melody cards have been revealed or when all Ballads have been claimed. All players have one final turn including the one who triggered the end. All players then total their Lore Cards, Islands under control and their Ballads. Whoever has the most Renown wins the game and shall be forever remembered in pirate history.

Components

One thing the publisher wanted to accomplish was no plastics used in the making of the game. The tokens are cardboard, the dials for battle have a small screw, the map is a canvas style bag, the bags holding the wooden pieces are a nice cloth. A lot of consideration was put into this and you can tell that they took pride in each piece of the game.

The only thing to mention is that the canvas tiles do fray a little and will leave a little cleanup on your game mat, but it is worth it for the effect and feel of the game they have made. The Kanvas Sea is Canvas.

Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail- it is a creative game. The Shanties added a fun aspect. The board is a neat idea and makes it more like pirates. I don’t like that there aren’t many resource tokens and it makes the game a bit harder. it was fun to play though. Recommendation: Try it.

Beth- this game tries to immerse you in the pirate sea life from the canvas map to the pillaging and island stealing with a few songs along the way. It was a fun concept and easy play once we got the hang of it. Some friendly rivalry was good. With 5 people playing, we struggled to get enough resources buried to claim the ballads. By the time we would get close to 5 of one, the resources ran out. Then we also couldn’t steal much from each other because no one was earning more. Maybe we need to be more willing to battle each other earlier in the game instead of hoarding! It was fun and I can see us becoming more confident and ruthless as we understand it more, but since the individual resources don’t count for anything at the end of the game, it’s discouraging when they run out and your islands can’t help you steal the ballads. I say try it as it is, but the game is such a good concept that I would say buy it if we could purchase an inexpensive additional resources pack for 5 players. Recommendation: Try it/Buy it.

Chris- This has been an enjoyable game. The only real complaint is the amount of tokens vs the 5 player count. At lower counts the tokens are more than enough and easier to obtain, but at 4-5 players, it can be an uphill battle to get the resources to win those achievements. A great game can turn sour in those situations especially when playing with our kids. I think more tokens for resources could easily put this into a “Buy it.” I feel that I am like my wife and am in the middle of the road as well. Recommendation: Try it/Buy it.

Daniel- I like how it’s a pirate based game and how it seems to be based on Port Royale. I like the Lore and Melody parts and the songs on it. The map is unique and the battles are fun. I always steal islands but I always lose. I wish there were more resources. Recommendation: Try it.

Elijah- when you go on a wind space you get to blow to the next space and I like that. I like the songs. Some of them are funny because they say “booty”. Recommendation: Try it.

Verdict

Our Family puts this at a 3.4/5 Young Buccaneers. This would be closer to a 4.6/5 if that higher player count had just a few more tokens to make reaching achievements that much easier.

Zoned Out: Play, Develop, Repeat. Then lose to your kids as they laugh at your poorly made developments.

Game: Zoned Out

  • Publisher: Grey Fox Games
  • Designed by: Keith Rentz
  • Illustrated by: Jake Blanchard
  • Ages 10+
  • 2-4 players
  • 30 to 60 minutes

“I’ve done it! I have found an area of land to develop on. It has some run down homes and a few parking lots, but there is so much potential. I think I will build some homes and a library here.”

“The houses are built, but I wasn’t able to build on the parking lots and tear down the creepy house in time, but I did work a little on a skyscraper. It’s looking good and I have built some commercial buildings… What!?! Why are they in my zone putting those industrial buildings there. Now they are adding to my skyscraper?!? This is inconceivable!”

Our small town waiting to be developed into a bustling metropolis.
About the Game

In Zoned Out, players build and develop their zones by playing square cards on top of others, covering at the most three blocks. When one plays their card, they would place their developer/architect onto one of the buildings: the residential homes and libraries, the commercial buildings and stadiums, and the industrial buildings and train stations. Each building group has different densities. Those densities are one to three buildings. The other buildings like the library are like wild densities and take on the density of nearby buildings. So if a train station is beside a commercial building with a density of 2, that train station is worth a density of 2. We’ll come back to density and its affects on scoring.

The player has claimed this library as part of their residential area. Currently this residential space would have a density of one.

When the architect leaves their development area, they will place their architect on a new building space related to their newly placed card. Then, they will develop the zone that they had originally worked on. Each space that has that specific building type grouped together will have their plastic building pieces stacked according to their density. Then one will score for their number of blocks and any surrounding museums, parks, parking lots and abandoned houses. The larger the grouping of houses, the more points. Once stacks of buildings have been made, the player who built will add to the downtown zone for their skyscraper.

The small area in the beginning has become our downtown area with skyscrapers being crafted in one of the four zones.

The end of the game is triggered when either a player has played all their pieces or there are no more cards to draw. Then the next set of scoring begins.

Each player is given a card at the beginning. This card is a secret objective that will be scored by all, but that specific player has the upper hand at knowing what is to come. They may play their cards and buildings so they may achieve more points.

Parking lots can hurt players while parks and museums help your score.

Each player will reveal their card and score for them together, one card at a time. Some will be related to density, some to the skyscraper and even to having a majority of groupings. Then there will be the community cards which are known and will score. Finally players will score for the 1st and 2nd most pieces on a skyscraper for each zone. Whoever has the most points wins.

These objectives could make the difference between victory and utter defeat. Play them to your advantage.
Components

The artwork has vibrant colors and designs. The downtown acts as the center and lays on top of four cards with their parking lots covered. The cards have a nice feel to them and are easy to shuffle from game to game.

Nothing gets muddled in the details.

The pieces that stand out the most though are the plastic stackable buildings. They are easy to pick up and it feels like the person who designed that had it in mind. Each piece curves nicely to fit between one’s fingers. As for stacking them, it is simple to place it and just as easy to take them off. Our kids even built different looking towns with the pieces as we were learning the game.

These pieces have the right amount of color to enhance the cards they are played on.
Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail: It’s a good game. Simple and easy to learn, Fast-paced which makes it fun. It has a fun design to it. I say buy it. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Abigail’s Downtown with a Hall of Justice.

Beth: this was easy to explain to the kids and the colorful cards appealed to them. I appreciated that the turns went quickly so that we didn’t lose their interest. There is enough strategy to keep the adults interested, but sometimes it may not matter and the luck of the card draw advances someone more. The redraw option shouldn’t be feared once or twice because it could advance your points by much more. I had a difficult time understanding the written directions for this game even though that is my preferred learning method. I was left with a few unanswered questions, but playing the game helped some of it come together for me. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Beth deep in thought over her next move.

Chris: This game was easy to play. There were some hiccups in understanding at first, but as we played through the game, we quickly caught on and enjoyed our time playing this one. Those pieces and the ease of play make this a quick filler. I highly recommend this to be played by families. Kids have just as much a chance to win as the adults. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Our fully completed metropolis, dense with residential, commercial and industrial buildings throughout.

Daniel: I like how the building pieces stack and the art of the city block cards and how it looks when its all together. I like how its quick and easy and I say buy it. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Daniel’s little town of stacking.

Elijah: I like how I am actually allowed to stack the pieces in this game. They don’t usually let me. It doesn’t take much time. Recommendation: Try it.

Elijah’s creation from stacking the pieces.
This is an easy recommendation. The illustrations and ease of play make for an enjoyable game. We hope you like this one as much as we have.

Volcanic Isle: The Wife just used Fissures to Destroy My Village

Game: Volcanic Isle

  • Publisher: Arcane Wonders, Pendragon Game Studio
  • Designed by: Andrea Mainini, Luciano Sopranzetti
  • Graphic Design by: Davide Corsi, Kris Aubin, Stephen S Gibson
  • Ages 13+
  • 2-4 players
  • 45 minutes
Journal Entry: Day 1

“We have arrived at the island. We have decided to go our separate ways and find places to call home. This land is surrounded by volcanos and have left behind signs of great eruptions of long ago. We shall build our homes on top of the ashes as we seek to please our gods.”

Journal Entry: Day 257

“Our village prospers. We have begun to raise Moai to praise the gods we worship. May they be pleased in what we do. There have been some fissures along the land, but we are not fearful. The gods will protect us.”

Journal Entry: Day 382

“The volcanos are erupting and our villages are lost. The lava comes closer to us. Perhaps we must pray harder to our gods and build more Moai…”

Journal Entry: Day 401

“Our people have sunk to the bottom along with part of the island. My life was spared thanks to the prayers to our ancestors, but the volcanos of our land were our doom and destruction… I must rebuild a new civilization and more Moai in hopes to bring bounty to our people.”

Part of the island has sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

Arcane Wonders was kind enough to provide us with a copy of Volcanic Isle. This game brings your villager to an island covered with volcanos. As you journey across the board you will remove ash and build up villages, create villagers, and then create Moai in hopes to praise the gods and ancestors before you.

There is one catch. With each Moai raised, fissures are created and may cause the land to be spilt and sunk to the bottom of the oceans below. Also, there are chances that one of the eight volcanos may erupt, causing lava to flow into your village, bringing death and destruction. As you build, you will receive points. Once there are two or less volcanos remaining, the game ends and scoring will be added from what remains on the island.

Components

The plastic pieces are well made. Each village, settler and Moai have a great attention to detail. The boat, prayer and lava tokens have artwork fitting of the design and made of thick cardboard.

The scoreboard’s pieces stack on each other which is a nice touch.

Then there is the board. This is what is so special. The board is modular. The game has an initial setup of where you will put all the board pieces and volcanos, but there are special setups with smaller amount of land and also larger islands.

Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail: the board and character pieces are cool. I like being able to sabatoge other people and get rid of their villages and moui. I dont like how if you use the lava up in on place it doesn’t refill right away so its useless. Recommendation: Try it.

My red players were no match for my wife.

Beth: this one keeps me on my toes and I like it. I plan ahead when I play, but I havent quite figured out the best strategy, whether it is to set up more Moai or just spread out and set up villages. I look forward to trying different ways. It is frustrating to set so much up just to have it sink into the ocean, but hey, thats island life, right? Recommendation: Try it.

Chris: This game has a nice feel of take-that. The wife and I had a serious raising of Moai, resulting in a split right down the middle of the island. Sadly, the side that survives is the side that has the most volcanos. All that work to sink her to the bottom of the ocean led to my own destruction. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Game ends when the island is down to two volcanos. Elijah’s endgame scoring got him the win!

Daniel: the first things I like is that you can sink other players and build your own villages. I hate it when other people sink my villages, but it is fun. You can spread people all over the place. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Elijah: I like to play pretend with the people and Moai. I make them them talk to each other. I like making the volcanoes erupt. Recommendation: BUY IT!

We think this would be a fun game to enjoy with the family. The changing nature of the board makes for replay-ability and the risk for building your Moai can be your victory as much as it is your destruction.

Funkoverse: As the Kool-Aid Man would say “OH YEAH!!!”

Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game (Batman, Harry Potter, Rick and Morty and Golden Girls)

  • Publisher: Funko Games
  • Designed by: Prospero Hall
  • Ages 10+
  • 2-4 players (though it is possible to do with 6, and is a fun experience)
  • 20-60 minutes

Remember that time in the 80’s where the Kool-Aid Man and Rose from the Golden Girls battled to the death?

You don’t? Would you like to?

Funko has created a line of POP! culture references to movies, comics, television and more. It brought back memories of nostalgia as one could see their favorite characters in a smaller cute collectible form. Now picture mashing up those characters into a battle of epic proportions. This is Funkoverse.

He who shall not be named finally gets another chance to kill the boy who lived.

In Funkoverse, you have the chance to take some of your beloved characters and place them on the board competing in one of four modes. There is control, territory, capture the flag and leaders. Players will pick their favorite POP! figures and put them on the field. As they accomplish tasks, they will collect points. Once a player has reached a certain limit (depending on player count) they win.

What makes the game unique is the individual characters and abilities. The Boy Who Lived easily gets up from being knocked down. Joker leaves traps for Bats and his friends, and Kool-Aid Man busts through walls.

Two best friends finally teaming up.

The game starts when a scenario is chosen by the players. There is Control, where you try to control areas of the board. There is Territory which is all about being in the scoring area at the end of the round. Having the most in the Scoring Area will get you bonus points. Leaders is all about taking down the leader and getting more points for it. Then there is the Capture the Flag scenario. If your team’s player is on or adjacent to the flag of your opponent, you can bring it home to score points as well. Out of these scenarios, we found that Territory was one of our favorite scenarios that we enjoyed playing. It really challenges the players to meet in a main area to fight for dominance on the battlefield.

Harley Quinn uses her hammer to get an advantage on the Bats.
Components

These Pop! Figures are well made. When looking at them, there is no real difference other than size from their larger counterparts. I could take these out and display them like any other Pop! figure and no one would know the difference. The bases also make it possible to mix and match good guys and villains on some interesting teams. My all-time dream team: Rick, Rose and Kool-Aid Man.

Target Exclusive and goes great with Black Cherry and some sugar.

The boards are double-sided and go well with the scenarios, each having a special set-up. The tokens and player cards have a nice feel.

Each character card has cute images of the characters and their own special interactions that they can use. Some thing also that adds a nice touch are the points. Rather than having a simple score card or markers on a board, you get these plastic gems that add to the experience. The dice look great and you can tell that great thought and detail went into this game. A perfect example are the points in the Jurassic Park standalone expansion. Inside each gem is what looks like a mosquito cased in amber.

These cards add a nice flair and show the different abilities of each character.
Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail: I like the characters and how they have items that they had in their different movies and shows. I like the replay-ability,  how you can play different modes to make it different each time and you can also mix and match the different sets. The boards have different places on it from the movies and shows too. My favorite set are the Harry potter ones. Recommendation: BUY IT.

Beth: The idea of mixing characters on the wrong sets with way different powers and tools sounds too chaotic and stressful for my taste…Harry Potter and the golden girls should not interact. However, the reality of it was a fun game that can be played differently each time, however you feel at the moment. Maybe its a Joker type of day or you are in a Hermoine Granger mood. Maybe you want to control a team yourself or you want to cooperate. It takes time to learn each character and what they are capable of. You need to play points and with items in order to have an exciting game, don’t be discouraged by the basic first game play which was lacking a bit. Also be careful not to get yourself stuck in a knockdown pattern where everyturn is spent on standing up becuse that loses some fun. Try it, but maybe buy your favorite set just because its Funko. Recommendation: Try it.

Bellatrix was no match for Rick and Rose.

Chris: When playing the initial intro, I was not excited. What drew me in was that moment where were playing a scenario and Daniel and I were having a roll off for damage. It kept going back and forth and there was laughter and exhilaration as we battled. This game is a great choice for families. The art is cute and those figures are amazing. If I were to play a game with kids and their families, this one would be a great introduction to the hobby as it links some memorable characters from yesterday and today. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Daniel: I love it. I like how the characters are designed and have weapons they hold, but I dont like how some don’t have them so people often fight about the characters. Some of the boards are double sided and I like that. I like to play in territory mode because it results in more battles with the people trying to be in the same place. It’s a fun family game. My favorite set is the Harry Potter one with Draco and Ron. Recommendation: BUY IT!

Elijah: It was a little confusing about their powers and the tokens and when I could use them again. It was a little exciting because I wanted to KO people and kick their butts basically, but I didn’t because I didnt know how to use the powers. The characters are fun and weird. Ron and Malfoy are my favorite to look at even though I havent played with them yet. Recommendation: Try it.

This is a game worth getting to the table and it has a great deal of variety with the Pop! line.

The Grimm Masquerade: Why Does Everyone Point the Finger at Me?

Game: The Grimm Masquerade

  • Publisher: Skybound Games, Druid City Games
  • Designers: Tim Eisner, Ben Eisner, James Hudson
  • Illustrated by: Mr. Cuddington
  • 2-5 players
  • Ages 8+
  • 20-40 Minutes
The top left of the card shows the Boon. The bottom right shows the Bane.

There I was. I knew she was Red Riding Hood, and I had just drawn a disguise. This was my moment. She had one disguise already in front of her. I passed it over. She smiled. She then put the evidence marker on Red Riding Hood. What?!? Was she really the Big Bad Wolf all along? I drew my next card, the card I would keep. It was a spindle. I was unmasked and removed from the Beast’s Ball.

Playing with a pre-teen is killer, especially when she learned her competitive nature from you.

Actions give players chances to accuse a player or try to unmask them.

The Grimm Masquerade is a fun-filled deduction game that pits you against others trying to unmask each other at Beast’s Ball. Each player is a character straight out of Grimm’s Fairytales. You play as one of eight characters and each character is working to collect Boons (Good) and avoid Banes (Bad). Each turn a player will draw a card and either a)keep it face up in front of them or b)pass it to another player. Then they draw a card and do the opposite action. If someone collects three of their special Boon, they end the round and get the rose marker for that specific round. Roses act as Victory Points. This is Beast’s Ball after all. If you collect or acquire two of your Bane, you are unmasked.

Roses are the victory points of the game. Whoever has the most wins!

Unmasking does not mean elimination. You still have the chance to mess with your fellow players and unmask them. When unmasked, you collect your cards. Then on your turn you will draw a card and give one of your artifacts (cards) to another player in hopes to kick them out of the Ball.

So what was pointing the finger about in the beginning title? It is about actions that players can do. When a player has two of an artifact, they have a chance to discard them and take one of three actions. These actions may cause players to place evidence markers on a character they are not, look at the guests who did not attend the ball or point the finger. Pointing the finger is accusing another player of being a character. If right, the accuser receives two roses and the accused turns over their character card. Then the broken mirror is placed over that player. If the accuser is wrong, the accused gets a rose and then places an evidence marker on that character. After three rounds, the player with the most roses wins!

One benefit to the board is that each character is on the board showing their Bane and Boon. This makes it easier for the player to not have to remind their self who they are and what can hurt them.
Components

The artwork is stunning and beautiful. Each character has their own personal look that does not fit the Disney norm, and that is a good thing. The cards are solid and even the board is well done. There are additional components for advanced play and also to make it easier for a first time action.

Pay two cards of one type to play an action. Actions can be vital to your success.
Our Family’s Thoughts on the Grimm Masquerade

Abigail, 12: I like everything about it. I don’t like the putting the mirror on after you have been unmasked instead of before. It confuses me. I like how you have to try to unmask the other players before you get unmasked. I get excited when I know who someone is then I get to point a finger at someone. It has pretty good artwork too! Recommendation: Buy It!

Beth: I haven’t quite perfected the art of throwing people off my trail, but I still like to try. I like forcing people to identify who they are not, so I can narrow it down more. And there’s always the chance that I unmask them anyway. I do not like that the winners of the third round get so many more roses than anyone else, because it makes it harder to beat, but overall it’s an enjoyable family game and even when someone is out they are not fully out. So everyone still gets to play. Recommendation: Try it.

Unmasked? It’s okay. You still can play in hopes to unmask other players.

Chris: I loved teaching this at stores and at local game nights. This is a fun social deduction game that plays within a reasonable amount of time. I also appreciate that when someone is eliminated, they still have a chance to play. I know that feeling of being killed off, watching others play as I sit in my chair. Waiting for the rest to be done can be irritating and not enjoyable. I think with this player count and difference in style, this can be a great game for families who are wanting to not cause anyone to feel left out. Recommendation: Buy It!

Daniel, 11: It’s really fun how you can be different fairy tale characters. I like that you can give stuff to people to see if they really are that person. I like that if you are unmasked that you can still give stuff to other people. I like how there’s different actions you can do if you pay two cards. Buy It!

Elijah, 8: There’s different characters. It’s okay. I might like it. I like giving people cards that mess them up. I had guessed someone, and it was Daddy. I wasn’t certain and didn’t call it out. Recommendation: Try it.

The Grimm Masquerade is a game worth a look, and if you are a social deduction nut, this is the game for you!

Tiny Epic Mechs: You killed my Mech. Prepare to possibly die.

Oh Yeah! I’m loaded and ready to win!

Game: Tiny Epic Mechs

  • Publisher: Gamelyn Games
  • Designed by: Scott Almes
  • Illustrated by: Roland MacDonald
  • 1-4 players
  • 30-60 minutes
  • Ages 14+
All of this fits in that tiny box.

Collect. Deploy. Collect. Deploy. These were the choices I had planned. Then she came in. I knew that our opposing views on football were not going to be the only conflict this day. This Cleveland guy was about to get wrecked by his Pittsburgh-loving wife… She started off with a pulse pistol. Health was running low. I returned fire with my grenade launcher but it was too late. She knocked me out. It was the same old story: Boy wants mech, boy gets mech, and boy loses mech.

The floor tiles are randomized. This changes up the strategy for collecting and deploying.

So it’s the Year 3030. E-Sports and Virtual Reality are no longer exciting for the masses. What does excite them is that raw energy of man and machine battling against each other in the arena. People are plugging in so they can see the chaos ensue. This is Tiny Epic Mechs from Gamelyn Games.

In Tiny Epic Mechs you are in the arena facing your opponents while deploying mines and turrents. This game is considered a programming style of game. What that means is that you will pick your actions and hide them, revealing them one at a time. Each action may lead to disaster as you don’t know your enemies turns until they reveal theirs. This can lead to chaos on the battlefield.

Beth is deploying mines and turrets. Each area you control gains more resources when collecting. They also will help out in point scoring.

This isn’t just about battling in the arena. This game features area control. Everytime you place a turret or mine, you have the chance to move up in points. During the six rounds you play, your turrets and mines will score. You will score these on the second, forth and sixth round.

The scoring tokens and round tracker. Having the Mighty Mech at the scoring round gains an additional 3 points.

The battle map is randomized as each two to four player experience will be different. There are different set-ups for each which has you place your arena cards down in different location as well as the base for each player.

Only one of us is going to get that Mighty Mech…and I plan on it being me!

As for the Mechs, you have a chance to jump into one as you power up by paying five credits. You will start with one basic weapon, but you can use your credits and energy collected to purchase advanced weapons. Weapons will vary from Ranged, Area and Melee. These weapons can counter and give an extra boost to an attack. Think of it as Rock, Paper, Scissors. As each attack does damage, the players score goes up. Whoever has the most victory points by the end of the sixth round wins!

Components

Lets start with the Meeples. The customization of them is unique and something we would expect from Gamelyn. Each Meeple can hold a maximum of two basic weapons, the mech with two basic and two advanced, and the Mighty Mech with four advanced weapons. The advanced weapons are varied and no two are the same.

Each playable character has two sides, one for the mech and one when out of the mech, as well as special abilities.

This player cards are a great reference and the playable characters have a nice two sided look with each player going into their new mech. Then there are the wooden pieces. These have a nice little detail that makes this game just above and beyond. The mines have numbering on them and the heart for your life even has a little heartbeat. These are nice touches.

Our family’s thoughts on Tiny Epic Mechs

Abigail, 12: The one thing I like is the characters. Wasp is my favorite. I like how each has a separate ability and how they look cool. Something I don’t like is how long it is. Six Rounds is too long. If people are slow, it’s not the games fault, but six rounds is too long. One part of me doesn’t like it that you don’t know what other people will move when you choose your own moves, because it can mess up your whole plan. Another part of me likes it because it is unpredictable and can make for an interesting game. The weapons. I like how you start off the basic, but all the other ones (advanced) are completely different and something nobody else has. I like that you can damage someone if you set a mine or turret where someone else has planned to move, then you don’t even need to go in their area. I also like that you can put a mine in an area that could knock them out in one move. Four Rounds would be better. Recommendation: Try it.

Beth: I don’t like attaching all the weapons as I think it is cumbersome. I get why some would enjoy it though. I liked the unpredictability of the moves in relation to the other players. It added some excitement to it. I liked having to strategize what weapons to choose based on what others may use against me, that only certain weapons can counter others. I think the mines and turrets are generally there for points, as players can avoid risking them. Recommendation: Try it.

This may not end well…

Chris: I’m impressed with how much game comes in a small box. The meeples customization and the randomness of the board can change the way you play. I also enjoy that the player character I choose has a skill that may help me in battle or take less damage from mines/turrets. Recommendation: Buy It!

Daniel, 11: I like deploying mechs and turrets and that you can purchase weapons. It’s fun that you can upgrade into a giant mech. Recommendation: Buy It!

Elijah, 8: I like putting the weapons on the meeples and the Mech suits. Like the Kitty card, because it’s named Kitty. Daddy helped me with getting the Giant Mech Suit. Liked the turrets and powerups.  (He had a hard time focusing and thinking the steps ahead of time.) Recommendation: Try it.

My Little Scythe: Friendship is Magic

All the members of My Little Scythe, except for Morty the Eagle. He sadly fell to the Wild Tiger Kingdom…

Game: My Little Scythe

  • Designed by: Hoby Chou and Vienna Chou
  • Illustrated by: Katie Khau
  • 1-6 players
  • 45-60 minutes
  • Ages 6+

Seven Animal Kingdoms vie for trophies as war rages on the battlefield. Alliances are made and broken, pies laying waste to a great expanse of white, gray, green, yellow, red and blue. Apples and gems have been stolen. The time for war or friendship is at hand!

Okay, that got dark. I may have watched too many episodes of Game of Thrones.

My Little Scythe is a family game for 1-6 players created by Hoby Chou and his daughter Vienna Chou. In this game, you are one of the seven Animal Kingdoms of Pomme. This competitive game puts you in the role of the Seekers, two animals of your Kingdom, sent to prove your worth by achieving four trophies. These trophies can be earned from collecting gems and apples, improving your player mat, collecting magic spell cards, making pies, completing quests, earning friendship and winning a pie fight. There are eight different paths for players to choose from to achieve their four trophies.

Each kingdom is ready. Let the games begin!

Each player will have their seekers on the outer edges of Pomme. On their turn, they will decide what they will do on their player mat. They can choose to:

  • Move: Move their Seekers, possibly collecting goodies along the way or encountering quests and possible battle.
  • Seek: Rolling the dice to gain gems and apples, or to boost friendship, put the goods in locations that their opponents may be in.
  • Make: Use your resources collected to move up in pies, magic or even power up your player mat with one of the Move/Make power up cards.
Carrying goods can lead to trophies: one for apples, another for gems. Quests can bring victory if you accomplish two.
Magic Cards can be beneficial two ways. They can be used for pie fights or you can collect 3 to achieve a trophy.

Once a player has placed all their trophies, everyone else gets a chance to try to catch up. If there is a tie, the player with the highest friendship wins. If they are tied in friendship, the winner is the one with the most gems and apples.

Eight possible trophies. You only need to place four of the eight for the chance to win.
COMPONENTS

The artwork is beautiful. Each region has beautiful details of color on the board. Katie Khau did amazing work with the Kingdom of Pomme. As for the gems and apples, they are well made and are well done for a family game. The dice are well made and for a family game, this was made with love. The miniatures sculpted by Marchen Atelier bring a cartoonish and adorable look. They add to the experience, especially the little backstories and the painting guide.

These are solid components and the insert is well made.
Daniel’s Great Monkey Kingdom collecting goods as it moves through Pomme.
Our Family’s Thoughts on My Little Scythe

Abigail, 12: Artwork is pretty cool. I kind of like that you have more than 4 trophy choices and that you don’t have to do them all. I don’t usually do many pie fights. Usually I go for the quests, making stuff, friendship and then whatever is most convenient. Recommendation: Try it.

Beth: I don’t like that it has a selfish motive for giving items to other people, because it is to earn points to win. Like the detail in the characters and the backstories of the animals and the kingdoms they are coming from. It’s just generally fun to play, with pie fights instead of anything violent. We are left with more laughing than any cutthroat remarks. I like that there are several different ways to earn trophies, so are different paths to take to win. Recommendation: Buy It!

We may have gone overboard with Seeking. Elijah has a monopoly because of a healthy competition between me and Abigail.

Chris: I enjoyed this one. This is one of the games that if someone asks to play it, there is no groaning. One thing that I like is that the turns aren’t too long and that you can benefit by helping others. I notice that there becomes a competition with Abigail as we both act “nice” with each other with our friendship, but then the cards are off the table as soon as we get our friendship trophy. Another thing that I like is that every player starts with a card to help them with trophies. These cards make it easier for me to meet certain conditions in order to gain trophies. Recommendation: Buy It!

Daniel, 11: I like the portals and that they make it easier to travel around and gain gems and apples, also that you can make better options and do quests. Recommendation: Buy It!

Monkeys, Tigers and Bears. Oh My!

Elijah, 8: I just like it, but I don’t like the pie fights because you lose friendship. I like it because of the little foxes (Kingdom of the Wolves) and the cards that get you stuff (power-ups), the one where after your turn you can give as many things as you want (apples and gems) to your partner. Recommendation: Try it.

Final Verdict
This one is worthy of a purchase.

Welcome to The Charity Boardgamer Page

Board Game Blogs, Family Reviews and Charity Interviews

Aren’t there enough Blogs and reviewers out there in the board game community already?” was the question I asked when I decided to get involved. I asked it a lot. People had asked if I was going to go this route and I thought, “No,” but then we thought about the charity side of what our community can do, we decided to look further into this. Well, with the encouragement of my family and friends in the board game community, we are jumping in the water.

So what will you see on this site?

  • Thoughts on board games from not one, but all five of us. We will be putting up a review with thoughts from Abigail, 13, Beth, Chris(me), Daniel, 11, and Elijah, 8. The games are only as good as those you play with, and we play with them a lot.
  • There will be blogs on upcoming games, thoughts about moments and the board game culture.
  • The focus is to show the good of our community and what we can do if we work together. If we can come together at a table for a game, we can do the same for a good cause.

Enjoy the site and we look forward to sharing our family’s thoughts on board games and the good we can do together.