The very first thing you see when you lift off the lid of Dark Souls: The Board Game is a piece of black paper that simply states, “you died.” It’s a message that has been seen thousands upon thousands of times by Dark Souls player. This may be the most faithful adaption of a video game to the board game medium ever if its managed to get this detail right. It’s a promising start, so can the rest of the game match it?
It’s a little known historical fact that the American revolution was supported, and mostly won, by witches whose magic was capable of turning the entire tide of war. It’s a shame that the history books so rarely mention these brave folk who wielded arcane forces, yet their sacrifices for the cause were great. I mean, who else could possibly have dealt with the fact that Paul Revere was actually a werewolf? It is these facts that are so stupidly kept from our children in school in favor of teaching them utter rubbish like maths. Who the hell even uses maths!?
The Godfather is one of the most well-known movies of all time, beloved by thousands upon thousands of people who sat in rapt attention as they watched the story of Don Vito Corleone, as played by Marlon Brando in his greatest performance. And now, since we live in a time where various licenses are being used to create great games we’re getting a boardgame version of the movie courtesy of designer Eric Lang and publisher CMON. So is it an offer we can’t refuse?
Y’know, when you think of vidoegames that could be easily adapted to the medium of boardgames DOOM is not one that springs to mind immediately, and yet somehow this is actually the second attempt at translating the carnage of DOOM into cardboard. Weirder, still, it’s actually pretty damn good.
Lobotomy is not a small game by any means, dominating the table its placed upon after its lengthy and somewhat tiring setup process. Nor is it an easy game to enjoy at times. It’s fiddly with a myriad of individually simple rules that as a whole can be difficult to remember and constantly send you flicking through the poorly laid out rulebook. It would be easy to dismiss Lobotomy right there, but I’ve enjoyed fiddly games before. In fact one of the earliest board game reviews I did was on Arkham Horror, an intricate mess of mechanics, rules and dice rolling that takes ages to setup and that loves to make you reach for the rulebook. So I persevered. Was it worth it? Kind of.
Catch the Moon does not waste time with its theme; you build a ponderous tower of ladders in order to catch the moon. It’s a simple, lofty goal, a hint of story in an abstract game you can learn in a minute and then giggle about for many happy hours. Grabbing my attention-span challenged niece, age 9, I sat her down and taught her the whole game in just a couple of minutes. Just a few minutes after that she was hooked.
You don’t gently put Scythe down on a table like a baby that must be coddled. Oh no, instead you thump it down with authority, the sizable box dominating the space and demanding that all present pay attention to its beautiful artwork! And then you open the lid revealing decks of cards, wooden pieces, plastic miniatures and a variety of tokens, as well as a substantial board and a bunch of other stuff. It’s a veritable feast of components. Despite its size and somewhat daunting visage, however, Scythe is actually quite easy to learn; every turn you choose one of four quadrants on your player board and perform one, two or none of the actions there. Simple. Well, kind of.
The variety of themes which game designers can find ways of slotting mechanics into never ceases to amaze me. Sagrada is all about using dice to craft stain-glass windows, and while the theme is fairly superficial it does lead to some rather stunning components and a strong presence on the table. But the most important thing of all is that when you open the box you’re greeted with ninety brightly colored dice and a handy-dandy bag to put them in. Ninety dice! What a time to be alive, eh?
I’ll be the first to admit that while I previously found the idea of a mat for boardgames appealing it was never something I considered actually owning for myself because it always felt like a frivolous purchase made by people who have far more disposable income than myself. Now, though, I have to admit that having a mat made gaming a lot more comfortable. So let’s check out the Big Viking Mat, eh?
On my kitchen table two forces face off. On one side are the Daqan, noble human warriors with their block of spearman, fierce cavalry, brave hero and towering golem. On the other side stands the army of Waiqar the Undying, a dark horde made of skeletal warriors and horrific carrior lancers. Yup, it’s another game from FFG intent on making you spend all your cash on new models and expansions rather than on bills and food. Oh, and it comes with FFG’s typically bloody awful cardboard insert, too.