Imhotep Review

Game overview

Imhotep is one of those games that took me by surprise. It’s actually a simple game but there is lots of strategy to it. There is a lot of love for this game and if you have been part of the board game community for a while, you probably have heard of it. It was nominated for the highly coveted Spiel des Jahres in 2016, which is one of many top awards a board game can receive. In a highly competitive field, being shortlisted goes to show how good this game really is.

Imhotep sees players competing to be the most famous builder in Egypt by building temples, obelisks, pyramids and burial chambers.

You start the game by placing the five site boards in the centre of the table. Each side has an “A” side and a more advanced “B” side. In your first few games it’s best to use the “A” sides and progress to any combination of “A” and “B” sides once you’ve played a few games.

Place the score tracker to the right of the site boards and have the eight ship tokens ready to use. Separate the 21 round cards and the 34 market cards, then shuffle the market cards and place them as a face-down draw pile next to the market tile. There are seven round cards each for 2, 3 and 4 player games. Each card shows 2, 3 or 4 head symbols at the bottom so you will know which ones to use. Take the cards that correspond to your game, shuffle them and return one at random without looking at it to the box. You now have one card for each of the six rounds.

Each player chooses a colour and takes the corresponding sled token. Place the stone cubes close by, this will form the stone quarry. Each player then places one of their stones on the zero space on the score track. Determine the starting player and give them two stones of their own colour. Moving clockwise, give each player one more stone than the last i.e. player two gets 3 stones, player three gets 4 and so on.

Gameplay

The game play is very simple in Imhotep. At the start of the round, you flip over the top round card which shows which types of ships are available for this round. Then each player plays one action. You can take up to three stones from the quarry, play one blue market card and gain the benefits listed on the card, load one cube onto a waiting ship or cause one ship to set sail. Each ship has a minimum number of stones to be loaded before it sets sail but it does not matter if you personally have stones on board. Ships are docked next to one of the five sites and then are unloaded by the owners of the stones starting from front to back. The round ends once all ships that shown on the round card have sailed and docked.

Every round, benefits are paid for the market and temple sites (blue market cards and points respectively). The other three sites are only assessed during final scoring when points are awarded for building pyramids, for the tallest obelisk and for contributions towards decorating the Pharaoh’s burial chamber.

The game ends after six rounds, then you enter final scoring. The player with the most points wins.

Designer: Phil Walker-Harding

Artist: Miguel Coimbra, Michaela Kienle

Publisher: KOSMOS

2 – 4 players

Weight (according to Boardgamegeek) : 2.03 / 5 (Medium light)

My Thoughts

I’m going to say it again about Imhotep; I was very surprised how much I liked this game. There is more strategy than initially meets the eye. It was little things that swung it for me, like sailing a ship containing opponent’s stones to a site which would give them less benefit and hopefully protect the tile you hope to claim for yourself. In a two player game it can be very aggressive. I’ve only played it as a two player game so far and that’s definitely how it was for me. I can see how the game would improve with a higher player count. It will definitely be hitting the table for me again soon so I can try out the expansion.

Meeples People’s Circus rating 6 1/2 out of 10

Snaggit Game review

Game overview

Snaggit is a speed reaction game with a whisker of bluff. Not only are you trying to grab (snag) cards but you are trying to bluff as to why you can take them and challenge the other players on the validity of their claims.

The game consists of two decks of cards, the challenge deck and the animal deck. Each animal card depicts an image of the animal in question as well as symbols for its type of movement and habitat. The smaller challenge deck will set the type of challenge for that round, for example biggest, strongest, different movement, fastest etc.

You start the game by shuffling and laying out six animal cards in a circle where everyone can reach them and place the rest of the cards close by, then shuffle the challenge deck and place it close to someone so they can turn the top card. You then turn over the top card of the animal deck as this will be the comparison card and flip over the first challenge card. For example, in the photo below players are claiming cards that are stronger compared to a millipede so a rabbit might have a stronger urge to reproduce or the python has the strongest venom.

You all have to try and take the cards as quick as possible and say why you are taking them. The other players can question you on your claim and you have to give a good reason or try and bluff your way out of trouble. If they don’t believe you, you have to return that card and one of your hard-earned cards to the discard pile.

At the end of the round, the next circle of cards is made up from any unclaimed cards, the comparison card and any extra from the deck until you are back up to six. The game continues until you have run out of animal cards. If you run out of challenge cards, reshuffle them and continue playing. At the end of the game the player with the most cards wins. If there ever is a tie, set up a sudden death round and have a “snag off” with the tied players. The winner of that round wins the game.

Designer: Andrew and Jenny Harman

Artist: Amy Harman

Publisher: YAY Games

1 – 6 players

10 mins

Weight: 1.29 / 5 (light)

My thoughts

This is a fun party game that more to do with quick thinking and bluff. It’s a quick game so would work well if you have 10 minutes to fill or could last longer if you really like a debate. This game, although light, would appeal to casual and experienced gamers alike. It would make a great gateway game and I could see it working well as a game to play with children. The fast pace of the game and the short length could really capture their attention. The cards are really easy to understand and the artwork is great on them. The card quality is good (very important if you’re all trying to grab them at once) and the limited edition set I bought comes in a tin and with a YAY Games pin badge.

Meeples People’s Circus rating 7 1/2 out of 10

Nemesis board game review

pic3756288.jpgGame overview
Nemesis is a 1-5 player semi-cooperative survival horror sci-fi game by Awaken Realms. Players are woken from hibernation as the crew of a spaceship. The emergency procedure states there is a critical system failure and the spaceship cannot continue its cruise. The crew’s aim is to find the cause of this failure,fix the situation and safely return back to Earth. To the crew’s dismay they find that one crew member is dead. Someone (or something) tore apart his hibernation chamber and dragged his lifeless body out. In addition, if you listen closely, some additional noises and sounds can be heard. New ones, strange ones, ones that were never heard before…

Board setup

When setting up the board for the first time, make sure you use the basic side shown in picture above. There are two types of room tiles; room one tiles are always used and provide the essential ship functions whereas room two tiles add flavour to the game and only five are used in a game. Shuffle all room one and room two tiles face down in their respective piles and place them on the board on their indicated spaces. Place the leftover room two tiles back in the box without looking, then shuffle and place the exploration tokens onto the room tiles face down.  Again you will have some left over and these are returned to the box.

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Take the coordinates cards, shuffle them and place one face down on the indicated space on the board then place a status marker on the “B” space on the destination track. Then place escape pods tokens on the board according to the players; 1/2 players get two escape pods, 3/4 players get three escape pods and 5 players get 4 escape pods.

Take the engine tokens (one working and one damaged for each of the three engines), shuffle the tokens face down and place each of the stacks on their locations on the board. Then place the intruder board next to the main board, and add five eggs to it and 3 random intruder weakness cards face down on it.

You then place 1 Blank token, 4 Larvae, 1 Creeper, 1 Queen, 3 Adults and then 1 additional adult per player in the game into the intruder bag. Then shuffle the four decks of item cards, put them close the the board for easy access during gameplay and put a status marker on the green space on the time track.

Crew setup

To determine player order, take help cards (starting with number one) equivalent to the number of players, shuffle them and give one to each player. Take the matching number card holder and remove any objective cards that don’t apply to your player count. Shuffle the remaining objective cards, deal each player one corporate and one personal objective and keep these hidden from all other players. You will have to pick one when you have your first encounter.

Shuffle the character draft cards and deal two to the starting player. They pick a character and return the other to the deck. Repeat in player order until everyone has a character. Each player should then claim the corresponding player board, miniature, action deck and starting weapon and item cards. Player one then gets first player token (space cat!) and place the blue character corpse token in the Hibernatorium. You are then ready to start your adventure on-board the Nemesis.

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Gameplay

The basic gameplay of nemesis is very simple but the additional side rules add a level of complication. You start with a deck of ten action cards, drawing five per round. You can either spend them for basic actions or use for the action written on the card. Every time you move into a room without anyone in it, you roll to determine which direction your character hears noise from and add a marker to that location. If at any point you have to add a second noise marker, remove all other noise tokens at the location, draw a intruder token out of the bag and place the miniature into your location (unless it’s a blank token which causes you to add a noise marker in all corridors connected to the room you are in. As you move around the board, you discover room tiles and uncover exploration tiles. Exploration tiles can cause special effects like covering you in slime, causing a fire to break out, creating a malfunction in the room, making you have to roll for noise or close a door behind you.

The main objective of the game is to fix the engines and make sure the ship is heading to earth but there’s a lot of things trying to stop you; even your other teammates could be trying to blow up the ship or even send it to Mars. When you are in one of the engine rooms you can to take an action to check the status of the engine (keep it hidden from other players – your objectives may be different). If the engine is broken (or working if you want it broken) you have to take a repair action. The same applies for checking coordinates but when you check them you can set the destination.

Seems simple so far right? The whole time you’re moving around the ship noise is being added and once intruders start coming onto the board, the fun really begins. You only have limited ammo and intruders aren’t the easiest to kill. When you are attacked, you can get contaminated. An infection card is added to your deck of action cards, clogging up your hand and can even cause a creeper to burst out of your chest! You can check the contamination cards in 3 of the rooms to see if you are infected by taking the rooms action. If you are infected, you must place a larva on your card and I suggest head to the surgery room as soon as you can!

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The game ends after 15 rounds. You can win by deciding to return to cryosleep and leave the intruders to face the dangers of hyperspace or you can abandon ship via the handy escape pods.  These are either unlocked manually at given locations or automatically when another crew member dies. The game can end quicker if someone sets the ship to self-destruct, then you have 6 rounds to make it to an escape pod.

There is a lot more to the game but this is just a basic overview.  There are some parts I feel you should find out for yourself during your first game

Designer: Adam Kwapiński

Artist: Piotr FoksowiczEwa LabakPatryk JędraszekPaweł Samborsk

Publisher: Awaken Realms

1 – 5 players

Weight (according to Boardgamegeek) : 3.35 / 5 (Medium)

My thoughts

This game is a very intense game, you never know if the other players are trying to kill you or help you. The developers definitely used lots of ideas from the movie Alien and I’m glad they did. This game is dripping with theme, all the components are of great quality and the detail on the miniatures is mostly great except for two exceptions; the soldier miniature lacked detail due to a manufacturing fault which seemed to be an issue for many Kickstarter backers.  Also my scientist figure wasn’t glued together properly, leaving massive gaps where his arms were meant to be touching. However I contacted the publisher, Awaken Realms and they sent out replacements that are perfect.

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I really like this game and would definitely put it in my top 5 games. With more plays I think this could become my number one game.

Meeples People’s Circus rating 9 out of 10

Spirits of the forest review

Basic Overview

Spirits of the forest is a very beautiful set collection game. In the game, you represent one of the four elements that nourish the the forces of nature. You are trying to collect the nine spirits that are represented in the tiles.

You start the game by shuffling, then laying out the 48 tiles face up in a grid of four high by twelve across. You then shuffle the fourteen favour tokens face down and place eight of them onto the tiles (as shown in picture below). Any unused tokens are returned to the box without looking at them.

Each player is then given gem stones; three in a two player game or two in a three/four player game. The gem stones are used to reserve a tile that you want. If a player takes a tile with your gemstone on it, it will cost them one of their gemstones and it is removed from the game.

The game is played over multiple rounds; on your turn you choose to take either one or two tiles of the same colour, so long as your tiles do not have more than two spirit icons. Tiles are only taken from either end of the grid. When you receive a favour token look at it but keep it hidden, it might be used for final scoring or it may have a special power that you can use during a later turn.

When all the tiles are collected, it is time for final scoring. Each player counts how many of each spirit type they have (including favor tokens); the player with the most of a spirit type is the only one to score, they receive points for how many they have. If players draw, no one scores. If a player has none of a spirit type, they pay a five points penalty.

Across all the tiles there are scattered power sources (sun, moon and fire). These are scored in the same way but the penalty is only three points for players that don’t have any. The winner is the person with the most points. If there is a tie, the player with the least tiles wins the game.

Designer: Michael Schacht

Artist: Natalie Dombois

Publisher: ThunderGryph Games

1 – 4 players

20 mins

Weight (according to Boardgame geek) : 1.29 / 5 (light)

My thoughts

For a very basic game, this has definitely a lot to like about it. I personally got the kickstarter edition of the game, so it has tonnes of extras and I’ve not even tried half of them yet. My version didn’t come with gems, it came with element stones and my tiles and tokens are printed on wood instead of card. Not only are they nice to look at but they also have a good tactile quality to them.

I’d agree with the BoardgameGeek weight analysis. This is a light game. The favour tokens do add a level of the unknown but the bulk of any strategy lies in offsetting the risk that your opponent(s) will take any tiles you have your eye on before you can claim it yourself.

I have to say I really enjoy the game. I’ve only played it as a two player but I have enjoyed every game. In my eyes, it’s a perfect filler game; if you have ten minutes to spare in-between longer games it’s perfect.

The artwork of the game is stunning. From the box to all the tiles, it looks like you would expect of a Studio Ghibli movie. It definitely makes people notice when it’s all set up on the table; a real eye pleaser.

Meeples People’s Circus rating 7 out of 10