Category: Reviews Page 1 of 2

Doom of Fallowhearth

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Descent: Journeys in the Dark book The Doom of Fallowhearth, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

Secondly I am a friend of Robbie’s on Facebook, and whilst we aren’t best buds, we do interact with each other on occasion and I consider him a class person.

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What’s is Descent: Journeys in the Dark

Simply put Descent: Journeys in the Dark is good old fashioned dungeon crawler whose linage goes all the way back to Heroquest.

Based very much on the Doom board game published by Fantasy Flight Games, you can see influences from across the gaming hobby, with bits from Space Hulk and Lord of the Rings being identifiable.

It’s set in the world of Terrinoth, a setting shared with Runewars, Runeage and a few other games and RPGs published by Fantasty Flight Games.

It’s a high fantasy universe and you will recognise many of the tropes and races seen in other similar fantasy style settings. It’s not particularly unique, but it is fairly well developed and interesting.

Descent is the dungeon crawler game in that universe, with one player being the evil overlord of the dungeon and the others taking in the tiles of the hero’s.

For a dungeon crawler, let’s be honest it’s one of the best out there, and the only reason it’s not in my collection is that Lindsay and Megan aren’t as enthusiastic about high fantasy as I am!

The Story

I am gonna be upfront about this, the book is at the same time, familiar and comfortable whilst still being new and innovative. It’s contradictory but it works.

The basic plot is that a band of adventurers are reunited to try and find Lady Katheryn the daughter of the rulers of one of Terrinoths baronies. She had been sent to the northern frontier town of Fallowhearth to learn how to rule, and prepare her to take up her mother’s position.

The adventurers are three of the Borderlands Four, characters who fit common tropes, yet subvert them in very interesting ways. There is the human rogue, who just wants to go back home and sit down, the dwarven alchemist who is mainly interested in blowing stuff up and the orc pathfinder who is the levelheaded leader of the pack and probably the most sensible of them.

The tone of the story is gritty and dark, it’s a very modern take on the old sword and sorcery story from my youth. There is certainly a shared history between the characters, and some bitterness, weariness and regrets too, and whilst we don’t exactly get a full and complete backstory, we don’t need it because it feels so natural.

This story is a tale of revenge and love, and asks the question, how far would you go for someone you love, how deep would you go?

Conclusion

This is a surprisingly emotional story and parts of it literally had my heart crushed, and I was moved to tears as well.

This is generally a very by the numbers story and you pick it up and start it thinking it’s gonna be just a pulpy fantasy adventure. But it’s not, it’s deeply emotional and shows that a good writer and make a familiar and well trod genre, fresh and invigorating.

I’d also loved that we had some really good normalised LGBT representation in there, which felt very natural, very right and fitted so well with the story.

Solid 5 out of 5 stars.

The book is released out now in North America and available in the U.K. on the 26th November.


Curse of Honor

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Legend of the Five Rings book Curse of Honor by David Annandale, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

Secondly I am a friend of David’s on Facebook, and whilst we aren’t best buds, we do interact with each other on occasion and I consider him a class person.

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

I am gonna get the big bit out the way first, if you listen to Edge of Empire, you will know I am not a big fan of David’s writing style. Frankly I find it difficult to process and it’s very short sentences which doesn’t give the best flow for me to read.

But he is good at weird stuff, which in Warhammer translates to stuff to do with the warp. I also think he is best when writing shorter works, such as novellas and short stories.

So let’s crack on with a review then!

What is Legend of the Five Rings

L5R as it’s often known is a fantasy setting for a series of card games and RPGs originally published by AEG, but now taken care of by Fantasy Flight.

It’s set in the empire of Rokugan which is heavily feudal Japan influenced, with a bit of other East Asian influences, like China and Korea thrown in as well.

It’s a fantasy setting with the usual fantasy trips of goblins and rat men, but also oni and kitsune too.

In the Empire there are several great clans, made up of various families, and in this novel we focus on the Crab Clan, who are considered the least cultured of all clans.

Their task in life is to guard the rest of the empire from the taint of the Shadowlands on the Carpenter Wall.

The Story

The story has two main protagonists, initially we have Haru, the heir to the castle of Striking Dawn, and frankly he is a bit of an incompetent warrior.

He discovers when leading a caravan to the castle, a hidden city outpost of the Shadowlands, and in a desperate attempt to prove himself a worthy heir, leads a disaster out expedition to purge the city.

Our second protagonist, Barako, the object of Harus desire, is a more level headed warrior, a woman who wishes only to serve the castle and protect the greater empire. She is a great character with a strong sense of duty, I really love that about her.

When Haru is returned to the castle, well then we get some bad things happening, which leads us into a horror whodunit, with a twist, which to be honest, I kinda saw a mile off.

The story has a heavy horror element, and this is something David is really good at, and yea the sentence shortness was a bit irritating, but I have to say, he is getting better as a writer, he really is.

Not that I could ever write of course, but unlike with some of his earlier work, I couldn’t put this down once I picked it up and read it over a couple of days.

The descriptions of the hidden city were really good and very much put you there in its weirdness and I got a real good feel for Striking Dawn.

He also had the characters kept very much on edge, with absolutely no time to rest, and I found myself feeling their grief, anger, despair, rage and exhaustion.

Conclusion

I won’t lie, I went in with low expectations, L5R was never really my bag, and as I said, David writing doesn’t usually click with me.

But I have to say, it’s an enjoyable read, very well written, very engaging and very well edited, with a nice flow to it.

I kinda want to know what happens next at Striking Dawn.

Solid 4 out of 5 stars.

The book is released on 6th October.

I will be reading The Death of Fallowhearth next by Robbie MacNivan, I had intended it to be The Head of Mimir, but that has expired in my NetGallery account.


Cheap HDMI Video Capture with Loop

I got a cheap £13.99 Video Capture with Loop from Amazon, it cost me £13.99, but will it work and is it any good??? I unboxing and give it a try playing Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES Mini. Available here from Amazon.


Domino Strays

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Heroines book Domino Strays by Tristan Palmgren published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

So lets get in to it, the book as the title suggests concentrates on Domino, the mutant whose power is luck, if you are familiar with the comics, this is set in the current timeline with her being the leader of the Hotshots and contains the rest of the team in supporting roles. If you are less familiar, she was played wonderfully by Zazie Beetz in Deadpool 2.

The story revolves around the Hotshots infiltrating the compound of a cult leader in Chicago to save her clients two children. It skips between three different time periods, giving us the reasons why Domino hates the idea of people being held in cages, and why she has a particular thing for crazy zealots.

Its told from a second person point of view with Domino telling the reader the story, given how closely Domino is associated with Deadpool, I think it would have been very easy for this to go down the route of breaking the fourth wall, but I think this works way better, because they didn’t do that. Honestly it feels like we are holed up in some seedy bar as Domino relates the story to us over drinks.

You get a fantastic inside look at the Hotshots, how they work and the relationship dynamic between them, especially between the closest three of them, those being Domino, Diamondback and Outlaw.

My favourite parts of the story were those that covered Dominos infiltration of the Project Armageddon compound in the Everglades and those about her childhood in a church orphanage. The present days story for me was more of a device to tie it all together, and it was really good at that.

Another positive was that they didn’t overly play on her superpower, she rarely relied on it, and as she points out, its not something that makes her invulnerable and isn’t very cinematic, she has to rely on honed skills and experience, only relying on her superpower when she absolutely needs to.

The only real issue I have with the story is the footnotes, which are in themselves great, but they are all at the end of the chapters, which are in themselves, not that long, but its a pain to have to keep flipping through to make sure you read them when you are supposed to. I would much rather they be at the end of the page they belong with, but I wonder if this is a limitation of the ePub format.

I was a big fan of the Domino: Hotshots series by Gail Simone and this was a fantastic deep dive into that team. You don’t need to have any background in the characters as the book does a great job of giving you all the background you need, but in a natural very easy flowing way. The dynamic between the team was just perfect, with the characters balancing each other out just like they do in the comics. The relationship between the core of Domino, Diamondback and Outlaw, with the other members was just perfect, especially with Atlas Bear, who is only reluctantly a member of the team.

Footnotes aside, this is a very good read and given that the characters are very much Marvel B-List characters (Other than Black Widow), means that its accessible to those who only really know Marvel from the MCU.

In short you have a great book looking at one of Marvels more interesting characters and its really enjoyable.

Domino Strays is going to be released on October 6th.

Moon-Bots Review

I first played this game designed by Franz Coudrec and illustrated beautifully by Sylvain Aublin at EGX where I was asked to demonstrate it.

And I loved it so much I walked ground to Firestorm Cards and bought it then and there.

The Jist

The grand annual Moon-Bots tournament sees the galaxy’s most gifted scientists gathering on the moon to build robots to fight one another, upgrading them as they go.

The last robot standing wins the game and you start off with a basic robot which has one attack, and one dice.

The first phase of the game is a card drafting phase in which you salvage parts to make your robot better, these components costing you either 2 energy, 1 energy or being free. This is important and energy is also your robots life, some particularly good components like re-rolls and extra dice cost you an additional energy.

The market place is a grid of six cards in two rows, with the cost rising depending on how high in the grid it is, if a card below another one is picked, the cards above it move down and get cheaper.

There are certain cards which you have no idea what they do, these are never allowed to be feee so if they drop onto the lowest level of the grid they disappear, but these can be really good, like allowing you to scour through the deck to find an upgrade you want for free, or indeed some of them cause you problems.

The parts you salvage are added to your robot, and the art matches up with the robot on the player boards, and enhances your combat ability. Some upgrades, such as extra dice or defences go to the top and side of your player board.

The second phase is the role of your dice, and this is very much like Machi Koro in that your rolls determine what actions you take. Initially the robot will either punch on a roll of 1 or fire a missile on a roll of 6, but as you add more dice you get more possible things you can do, such as a leg which does a rocket attack on a 2, 3 or 4.

You can then attack the player on your right, or your left only, or split the attacks between them and damage their energy levels, once one of the players next to you is eliminated you can then attack the player next to them as if they were next to you.

Components

The box gives you a bunch of upgrade cards, four dice in each player colour, four energy markers and four player boards.

The cards are on a fairly average card stock, nowt to write home about but they do the job well, the player boards are double layers so that the upgrades slot in and fit rather nicely where they should be, and the artwork all matches up perfectly.

The dice are nice and chunky and use Arabic numerals instead of pips, which actually fits the game rather well art wise.

Look

I love the artwork and that drew me in fairly early on, it’s cute and I knew right away that would get Megan and Lindsay to want to play it.

What’s Good

I really enjoy the game and it can be played in around 15-30 minutes, and gives you a good game experience whilst not taking too long.

Lindsay picked it up in a couple of terms without needing to read too much of the instructions, and she did rather well.

Simple, yet lots of fun.

What’s Bad

It’s easy for two players to hang up on the player between them to eliminate them from the game early on, so here is hoping your group is fair and nice.

The instructions aren’t the best however, they just don’t feel the best written.

Final Score

This game is cute, it has a similar vibe to King of Tokyo and a lot of Machi Koro, it’s a very enjoyable little game.

Have to give this 7 out of 10.


I will not lie I have looked at other reviews to get an idea of how to write this, I am no pro, but there is a possibility that I may have been influenced by reading them and some stuff may have filtered through to this review.

If you do spot anything that could be seen as heavily influenced by what someone else has said, let me know and I will be sure to credit and link them.

Game Details
NameMoon-Bots (2019)
ComplexityMedium Light [1.50]
BGG Rank [User Rating]11855 [6.58]
Player Count (recommended)2-4 (3-4)
Designer(s)Franz Couderc
Artists(s)Sylvain Aublin
Publisher(s)Blue Orange (EU)
Mechanism(s)Uncredited

Wrath of N’Kai

After my review of Tales from The Crucible, Aconyte reached out to set me up with a new copy of Wrath if N’Kai by Josh Reynolds.

So here are some disclaimers which are always important to put out there first. I am a friend of Josh on Facebook, and whilst we aren’t beat buds, we do interact with each other and I consider him a class person, and I have very much enjoyed his work with Black Library.

Secondly I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

So Arkham Horror is not a game I have actually played, I fancy it, but me and the Cthulhu mythos have never been quite on the same wavelength.

I have never read any H.P. Lovecraft books, my first exposure to them was at a small convention in London when I was about 12, it was actually a convention for Corps of Drums, not even speculative fiction.

Basically an older chap was reading a book and it lead into a discussion lead by a BAME person about the issues of racism in his work, and even the chap reading the book was pretty clear that there was some nasty racism in some of his work.

As I said I have never read any, that discussion put me off, but I have read stuff by other authors, never a novel, usually short stories and played games set in the mythos. I have so many Cthulhu expansions for games that one would think I am a huge fan.

I can play all of Munchkin Cthulhu, get all the references and jokes, but as I said never read a single Lovecraft story.

It’s a gap in my knowledge that I am actually going to try and fill, I was recently gifted an audiobook of the complete fiction of Lovecraft, so am considering giving that a listen, but I will admit the racism is something that I will be on edge about.

What is Arkham Horror

Anyway that put to one side, let’s look at this book, by first looking at the game Arkham Horror which is a cooperative game, originally designed by Richard Launius, and is now in its third edition which was released in 2019.

It’s published by Fantasy Flight Games, a subsidiary of Asmodee, and is set in 1926 in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts. Each player takes on the role of an investigator, who are working to stop the Ancient Ones, eldritch horrors which lurk in the void beyond space and time.

It’s a 1-6 player game and you work together to gather clues and defeat the evil of the Ancient Ones and save the world.

As I said I haven’t actually played Arkham Horror but I do own its spin off Elder Sign the cooperative dice game.

The Story

It’s a 1920 whodunit told mostly from the perspective of master thief Countess Alessandra Zorzi who arrives in the town of Arkham, hired by a mysterious cabal to steal a newly discovered mummy.

The eldritch prologue sets you up for some occult horror, but the book largely steered clear of that, which given that the protagonist is not that familiar with the intricacies of the occult makes sense.

The setting is deep and rich, with gangsters and bootleggers, all speaking with 1920s US slang. It’s a real atmospheric period piece that evokes the days of prohibition, with just a hint of eldritch terror and added tommy guns.

Alessandra herself is a very three dimensional character and extremely well developed beyond the trope of the aristocratic thief. We see her backstory teased out over the book, learning more about her as we go though, and as I said, she is more than just the trope.

Her driver Pepper was actually my favourite character in the story, they have their own secret, although this is revealed early on. They are full of spunk and as mentioned by a gangster they deal with, moxie.

It’s a really fast paced book, that I literally devoured over two sittings, one that got me 20% of the way in and the rest in an evening that kept me reading until 3am! I was just utterly drawn in by the story with its twists and turns.

As I said I haven’t played Arkham Horror, but I have played Elder Sign and I recognised lots of elements of that games story mechanics in this book.

And given my surface knowledge of Lovecrafts work, I did recognise a few little nods to those within the story that will please those who are more familiar.

There is a bit of a creep factor in there, and there were certainly bits that had my skin crawling just a little, but not so much to put me off. It’s very light in terms of horror, which makes it very accessible.

Conclusion

Personally I loved this book, it was a throughly enjoyable story which whilst grounded in the Cthulhu mythos, did not delve into it too deeply, nor did it require me to have more than passing knowledge.

In fact I think if a layperson was to pick up this book and read it, they would get on with it perfectly fine without knowing a thing about the mythos.

This book was great and for me it was a fantastic read. I particularly enjoyed a strong female protagonist who at no point needed any romantic entanglements, and the pulpy 1920s nature of the story was just delightful.

I really hope that the countess and Pepper return to Arkham for some more adventures, this is kind of hinted at, but please Josh, do it!


Tales From The Crucible – Book Review

Aconyte Books were kind enough to allow me to review a couple of books ahead of their general release and the first one I am doing is the first Keyforge book, Tales from the Crucible.

So couple of things I should get out of the way, I do have a causal work contract for Aconytes parent company Asmodee to demonstrate games, one of which is Keyforge.

I am also friends with three of the authors whose stories are featured in this book, David Guymer, CL Werner and Robbie MacNivan, but I have tried my best to not let those two things cloud my judgement.

I will start by saying that the software that is used to read these time limited books is absolutely awful on the iPhone 11, it’s very buggy, it misses off the top line of every page due to the notch, meaning you have to mess about a bit to read it, and it frequently skips forwards a few pages and very often crashes.

If you are going to buy these, do so in a format that can be read by any other program than Adobe Digital Editions.

Ok so with that out of the way, let’s dive in.

What Is The Crucible?

The Crucible is a giant word larger than the sun, an artificial planet that is constantly under construction by the the Architects.

They gather their materials by transporting them from other planets and worlds, often bringing that worlds inhabitants along for the ride.

The world contains every environment imaginable, from bustling urban sprawls, to deserts, to jungles, to meadows and everything in between.

The Architects communicate through the ethereal Archons who themselves are completely in the dark about the purpose behind the Crucible.

And so they gather bands of followers, to gather Æmber, a psychic substance that can be forged into keys that unlock the vaults if they architects.

Keyforge itself is a unique deck card game, developed by Richard Garfield, the developer best know for Magic: The Gathering and King of Tokyo.

It’s a really good game, you should go check it out, but I am not reviewing the game here, but I will soon.

The Book

Tales from the Crucible is a collection of nine stories from established authors the majority of whom have some experience writing for franchises.

The collection is expertly edited by Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells and I think she deserves a big mention here and the collection flows really well from one story into another with aspects of the universe introduced in earlier stories being built upon in later ones.

It probably does help to have a brief idea of the fluff and lore behind Keyforge, but it’s not exactly required.

So let’s take a look at the stories, we open up with Contract by Tristan Palgren and this is the tale of an elf assassin name Vira, hired to take out an Archon.

The Archons are godlike beings who are believed to be immortal so the story does touch on the contract being more trouble than it’s worth for the bother it might bring on the Shadows.

You get to see two Archons and their retinues battle it out over Æmber and the technology, magics and different cultures that make up the races of the Crucible.

This story is an amazing introduction to the world of Keyforge and the twist in the end is quite good.

I actually hope to see Vira feature in more stories as I rather like the character.

Then we have The Apprentice by Cath Lauria, which features Roz the titular apprentice to a Goblin mechanic.

Her whole purpose in life is to gather the parts and money to fix Tris, the only thing she has left of her parents, only thing is her boss has lost Tris in a bet.

This story follows her efforts to keep Tris by striking a deal with a Saurian, and her journey to get what he wants.

You get a great look at the Crucibles underworld and some of its most downtrodden inhabitants who live in an actual dump.

Personally I found this story to be the richest one in the book, the amount of world building it achieves is incredible and it’s a lovely quirky story and you can’t help but be touched with the ending.

After this we get Extermination Examination by Robbie MacNivan, who as I mentioned, is a friend.

This story follows a pair of students conducting fieldwork with the Martians, who are a fanatical, xenophobic and secretive race.

The Martians I found in the game to be a bit cliche and Robbie plays up all the cliches here, they even have heat rays! And it works, especially as he actually fleshes them out a lot and really digs into their paranoid nature.

The ending to this one caused me to laugh out loud, I was reading it in bed and it caused Megan to wake up frightened!

The Librarians Dual by M K Hutchins is about a librarian funnily enough, but she has a daughter whom is trapped in the walls of her library, and must be given books to read to prevent her from being fully absorbed into the walls.

Out on a journey one day to return some books to the central library, she encounters a gang of giant barbarian warriors and accidentally becomes their leader!

I was reading this and scratched my head as I wasn’t sure where it was leading, but oh my this story is hilarious, absolutely rip roaringly good, it kinda reminds me of Prachett a bit.

The next story, To Catch a Thief by Thomas Parrott concerns Nalea Wysasandoral an elven thief who whilst being excellent at what she does may have bitten off more than she can chew.

A notorious private detective, Talus the Thief-Taker a creature made of stone. Both of these are wonderful characters and despite only being a short story, you get to know a lot about them.

Another insight into the underworld of the Crucible and a twist at the end which was unexpected and very interesting.

The we have Useful Parasites by MK Hutchins which takes place in the Lesser Uncanny Forest and features a Taryx who is a creature a bit like an Ent, who acts as a healer for the creatures of the forest.

The story is about him taking care of a creature that crashes into his vegetable garden , whom he calls Burble, and tending it back to health for it to become a companion and assistant.

But noting on the Crucible is quite what it seems and the assistance that Burble gives him in his work to care for the creatures of the forest comes at a price.

It’s a slow story and the ending is what I would describe as bittersweet, but it’s really well written and very enjoyable all round.

The Perfect Organism is a contribution by CL Werner and this Godzilla inspired tale is about a Martian scientist called Briiilp and his efforts to make Creature 647 the perfect genetically adapted war machine.

Sending him out to face a an abomination known as the Tyrant, this tale really shows off Werners ability to write such horrible creatures and the way they act and battle and also really explores the character of the fanatical Martians.

Wibble and Pplimz, Investigators for Hire from M Darusha Wehm is a delightful story starting with the classification detective story trope of a missing person.

This most unusual story in the collection it sees the protagonist venture into the lawless zone accompanied by a classic odd couple of Wibble and Pplimz, who have some, shall we say erratic personalities.

The ending was a twist I really didn’t see coming and in a way was slightly disturbing.

I am not sure what to say about David Guymers Vaultheads, it was a really entertaining romp which looked at the idea that LARP is something that might also exist in the universes of speculative fictions.

It’s a really engaging story and I saw lots of aspects of role players, LARPers and gamers I know.

To be honest it was practically perfect as a means to end the collection as it’s kinda subversive and I liked that, and I think the ending was actually quite upbeat and emotionally satisfying.

Conclusion

This was a really good collection, I was already reasonably familiar with the lore behind Keyforge and this was a great way to explore the universe a bit further.

But now I want more, there are some characters in there that I really need to read more about, and I think that Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells has frankly done a superb job in getting the right authors to write the right stories.

I will absolutely be buying this as soon as it’s released in September.

The only reasons I took so long to read this was the dreadfulness of the software that I had to use to read it, plus during the reading of it I came down with COVID-19 and struggled to actually concentrate on reading in the way I would have liked to.

This is why I was sadly unable to read Wrath of N’Kai by Josh Reynolds, before my load of the file ran out which is a real shame


One Night Ultimate Werewolf Review

This is a version of Werewolf in which everything happens over a single night, if you are unfamiliar with Werewolf, then I guess I had better explain it!

Werewolf was originally called Mafia and was created by a Russian dude, Dmitry Davidoff in the late 1980s. In it people are assigned a role in secret and the game them works in two phases, the night phase in which people carry out their roles in secret, and a day phase in which people attempt to root out the werewolves in their midst.

In normal Werewolf, to win, the Villagers must rid the village of all evil doers, whilst the Werewolves must reach parity with the villagers.

There are lots of different roles which can change up how the game works, for example Tanners, whose win conditions is to be killed.

This version was originally designed as One Night Werewolf by Akihisa Okui and further developed by Ted Alspach and is published by Bézier Games.

The Jist

So in One Night Ultimate Werewolf, it strips it right down and does everything in one night phase and one day phase, with the villagers needing to kill a werewolf and the werewolves needing to kill a villager.

You are randomly given a card, which has 1 of 12 different roles on it, but what I am going to do here is tell you about the roles used for a standard 3 player starter game.

In this you will create a deck of 2 Werewolves, 1 Seer, 1 Robber, 1 Troublemaker and 1 Villager, you then hand a card out to each player, who looks at it, and then places it face down on the table. The remaining three cards are placed in the centre of the table.

Players then close their eyes, and an announcer reads out what happens, but you won’t need an extra player for that, as Bézier Games have developed an app which does it all for you.

The Werewolves will then wake up and look for each other, they then close their eyes and the Seer wakes up and can either look at a players card, or two of the centre cards, they then close their eyes.

The Robber then wakes up and can then exchange their role with another players role and view the card, they then close their eyes. At this point the Troublemaker wakes up, and then exchanges cards between two players.

Then everyone wakes up and you try and figure out between you, who are the Werewolves and therefore who should die.

There are other roles, for example the Drunk who wakes up and swaps their card for one of the centre cards, but doesn’t look at their new role.

You have five minutes to debate between yourselves who are the Werewolves and who must die, after which you all point at the player you wish to kill after a countdown.

Components

In the box you get 16 cards for the various roles, plus 16 chits for each role along with a rule book.

The cards and chits are punchboard as opposed to simple game cards, and so are very durable, we have had our copy since not long after publication five years ago, and it’s seen a lot of play, sure now some of the cards are showing a little wear and tear, but they still hold up pretty well.

The App obviously isn’t in the box, but I can’t mention components without talking about it, it’s great and means that your group doesn’t need an extra person to be the announcer which means everyone can play, and that is brilliant. You load it up, select what roles you are using and set it away, simple but brilliant.

And all of this fits in a super small box so it’s highly portable.

Look

The art is really fun, it’s not as serious as other Werewolf games and is in a cartoon style by Gus Batt, great artwork and suits the more simplistic, fun version of Werewolf this is.

What’s Good

I love this game, it’s a real favourite of mine, I love a good hidden identity game and this really ticks a lot of boxes for me.

It really gets your heart beating and the way you have to navigate the social dynamics of whatever group you are with adds a new twist to every game.

It’s wonderful to see a group think they have secured victory, only to have it snatched away from them by a sneaky werewolf who convinced them that they were an innocent villager.

What’s Bad

Werewolf had a lot of different roles for it, if you put a gun to my head and made me say something bad about this game, it would be that in order to get a bigger Werewolf experience, you need to add expansions, I mean I personally think Daybreak is an essential.

Final Score

I love this game, it’s one I can pull out again and again and again.

I love to play a full game of Werewolf, but this comes pretty close to that.

I give this game a solid 7.5 out of 10


I will not lie I have looked at other reviews to get an idea of how to write this, I am no pro, but there is a possibility that I may have been influenced by reading them and some stuff may have filtered through to this review.

If you do spot anything that could be seen as heavily influenced by what someone else has said, let me know and I will be sure to credit and link them.

Game Details
NameOne Night Ultimate Werewolf (2014)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityLight [1.39]
BGG Rank [User Rating]396 [7.15]
Player Count (recommended)3-10 (4-10)
Designer(s)Ted Alspach and Akihisa Okui
Artists(s)Gus Batts
Publisher(s)Bézier Games, Lacerta, Playfun Games, Popcorn Games, Ravensburger, Reflexshop, Siam Board Games, UBO CnC, Viravi Edicions and White Goblin Games
Mechanism(s)Hidden Roles, Role Playing, Roles with Asymmetric Information, Traitor Game, Variable Player Powers and Voting

Catch The Moon Review

So I think I am going to try and write a review for every game in my collection, so what better way to start than with a game that isn’t actually in my collection!!!

The copy we played with actually belongs to Megan’s mum, we played it at the UK Games Expo earlier this year and upon describing it to her, Jane insisted we bring her back a copy, which we duly did.

The Jist

Catch the Moon is a dexterity game by Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez in which you start with a nice plastic base, into which two sets of straight ladders are inserted. You will be using these as a basis to stack other Dalí inspired ladders

You then roll a custom D6 which will produce one of three results, either you need to have your ladder touching two and only two other ladders, or one and only other ladder, and the third result is that your ladder be the highest in the structure.

Simply enough, but if you fail then you revive a teardrop token, any ladders which fall, you remove from the game, and the player that caused them to fall gets a teardrop.

The game ends when the last teardrop is taken or you run out of ladders. If the last teardrop was taken, the player that got it, is immediately eliminated, and the winner is the player with the fewest teardrops remaining.

This is a bit hash, I have had no teardrops, then gotten the last one and been eliminated, allowing Lindsay with two teardrops to win. But when checking around for other reviews, particularly Tom Vasel review from the Dice Tower, I have to agree, it’s only a short game, so it’s not like you put hours into something only to lose to a silly rule.

Components

The plastic base is great sturdy and just what you want, the dice is lovely and warm feeling, but the ladders do feel a bit flimsy.

But I would counter that same thought, because whilst not being the most solid material, they need to be light so they can stack easily, so I would say they are right for the game.

Look

There really isn’t much in the way of artwork, the cover of the box is beautifully illustrated by Emmanuel Malin, but other than that and the instructions, there isn’t a lot to really talk about.

What’s Good

To be honest, I love this game, it’s simple and what you get at the end is a unique piece, almost like a work of art.

What’s Bad

The elimination of the last player to take a teardrop isn’t great, but honestly, that’s kinda clutching at straws to look for a fault.

Final Score

I feel confident in giving this game a solid 7 out of 10, I want to give this an 8, but it still leaves me wanting something with more meat, but then I do prefer more in depth games.

That said, this will not be a bad addition to anyone’s game collection, and it’s going on my buy list!

Game Details
NameCatch the Moon (2017)
ComplexityLight [1.00]
BGG Rank [User Rating]2416 [6.78]
Player Count (recommended)2-6 (2-4)
Designer(s)Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez
Artists(s)Emmanuel Malin
Publisher(s)Bombyx, Asmodee, Asterion Press and Hobby Japan
Mechanism(s)Dice Rolling and Stacking and Balancing

Thoughts on The Lion King

I saw the Lion King on Monday and I thought I would share a few thoughts about it, a little bit of a review.

Right I am gonna start out with saying that I have read other reviews since I saw the film, so some of the ways of putting into words what I am feeling are highly influenced by those, I am trying to be as original as possible, but there is a good chance I will word it similar to those.

First off the bad stuff, I like to finish these things on a high, especially as The Lion King is one of my favourite Disney films.

The length, it’s just a touch too long, the original source material, is rather barebones, there’s not a lot to it, but in the original, that works, because it’s very compact and well timed. But in this the thinness of the material is laid bare because it’s been stretched out a bit too much.

Beyoncé’s singing style, I will be honest, just doesn’t suit the film, she is an incredibly talented singer, but her warbley style just doesn’t fit anything else and it stands out badly. Donald Glover has adjusted his singing style to be closer to the original and you can tell, but Beyoncé just sings like Beyoncé.

I am not keen on some of the changes to the story they made, Be Prepared is one of my all time favourite Disney songs, and they utterly butchered it, that really made me upset.

And the loss of the line “they call me Mr Pig” is a miss, but I get why they took that out, my parents would have got that reference, but I guess fewer people in my generation would, which is a shame as In The Heat Of The Night is a classic. But replacing it with an anti-bullying message is pretty good.

Also the hyenas are poorly served, they have had a lot of their lines cut and don’t stand out at all, which is a shame because they have some great actors in the roles, just criminally underused.

Also James Earl Jones, well his voice just doesn’t have the same power as it did in the original, it’s feels more fragile, and I guess given his age this is inevitable, but given his performance in Rogue One just a few years ago, the decline in power is worrying.

Ok so what’s good then, well the actual CGI and animation is incredible, it’s so realistic you could be forgiven for thinking that these lions are actually talking, it’s simply mind blowing.

Some changes to the story make a lot of sense, like the way Scar leads Simba to the gorge, the explanation of his taking him there is a lot better.

The casting is amazing, not one choice is bad and they all make the roles their own rather than trying to imitate the original actors, Donald Glover stands out as per usual and Seth Rogan and Billy Eichner are amazing together, I would love to see them team up in more stuff.

The music itself is great other than Be Prepared and really gets the nostalgia pumping.

Overall, I am gonna give the film 6 out of 10, as I said I love the original, but this feels almost soulless and doesn’t stand on its own feet.

It just feels like it was done for the sake of it, rather than for any real passion, which is a shame because the amazing cast deserved better.

I came out of the cinema, and I didn’t feel the same joy as I felt with the original, it doesn’t spoil the original for me, but it’s a film of wasted potential.

Anyway, I saw it with Megan, Lindsay and Paul at the Odeon Gallery in the Metrocentre, which is always a treat for the nachos, popcorn and drinks which are unlimited and the very nice seat, and thanks to both me and Paul having CEA cards it only cost us £8.88 each!

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