Wreck Raiders review

By Mic James

Wreck Raiders is a dice drafting, worker placement, set collection game for 1-5 players,ages 10+ with a 45 minutes playing time.

It’s designed by Tim W. K. Brown and Josh cappel

Published by Kids Table BG

The object of the game is to send your divers to either the underwater wrecks to collect one of 4 treasures
Gems,gold,art and relics.
Or to the beach to collect different shells….to buy aquariums or embellish museum exhibits,more on those later…

You use treasure to buy museum exhibits or place in your vault…

Let’s go into more detail…
The starting player rolls a certain amount of dice depending on how many players…
You use the printed box lid to roll them into…

Any dice that touch squares that contain shells, that dice earns that shell,so when you take the dice you take the shell too.
So a turn consists of choosing a dice…
Placing a diver on the corresponding number position on either the beach to gain it’s reward.

or send your diver to one of the 4 different wrecks…
But there are some rules you have to follow…
You can’t place where you already have a diver…but you can knock off another players diver to the beach,the same number as on the dice but he gets the reward from the beaches space.
You get the treasure that is on the wreck…but also the divers either of you if any, also get a treasure each…so if you’ve got 1 diver and another player has one to your left and you have another to your right, then you will get 2 treasure tiles and the other player will get 1.
So the decision is how to use the treasure.

You can try to collect museum exhibits by matching the treasure on them,put them in the correct order to collect the exhibits bonus.
Or place treasure in your vault to collect VP for each different treasure (4types)and bonus for lines of 3 of the same type

At the end of your turn you have the option of buying 1 piece of an aquarium with the shells you’ve collected…only 1 piece per turn and you must buy a base first.

End of your turn…
The game continues until a set amount of exhibits cards have been completed by one player…
Add VP for exhibits cards,the vault and the aquarium’s
Highest score wins…

My thoughts:
This is a very well produced game.
The components are superb,
Meeple divers look like they’re ready to dive…the tiles and baubles (shells) are thick card that look excellent..
The diver placement is a nice mechanism and makes you think how it is going to benefit your opponents…
the dice drafting really works for the game.and the benefit of gaining extra shells adds to the decisions to be made.
Also there are lots of ways to score VP…
You could just forget about the exhibit cards and just fill your vault or build aquariums.

I have played 2,3 and 4 player games…and it scales really well…
Also has a pretty tough solo mode which I’ve played a few times and really works…
If I had one negative…it is just a very small one…the lid that you use as your dice tray is sometimes hard for all the players to see where the dice end up.
I would say that this game would be a great addition to any family…but also has enough depth and variation for core gamers…
My Verdict…
A Hit

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

Papua review

It is the latter part of the 19th Century. The mysterious territory of Papua has long held interest within the scientific community. The prospect of new discoveries to be found among the landscape’s lush vegetation, wildlife and the local indigenous people promises to bestow much prestige on a successful expedition team. With that in mind, you assemble your intrepid band of explorers and set sail for Indonesia. But setting foot on the shore, you find that you are not alone…

Papua is a dice controlled worker placement game. Each player is the leader of their own expedition team and the aim of the game is to use your resources to best advantage; exploring as much of the area as possible, making allies of the tribespeople and earning the most prestige points before your team is exhausted and must return home.

During set up each player receives seven explorer meeples, 3 food tokens, 3 coins and a privacy screen in their colour. Any leftover explorers form a communal pool to the side of the board. Each player then places their prestige marker on space zero of the scoreboard, their energy marker on space 50 of the energy track going around the right half of the playing area and their corresponding colour hut above the track on the upper left section of the player board. Each player also receives a science card which gives that player a “one-time only” special power. This is placed face up so that the other players can see it. The logistics counters are shuffled and stacked on the central circular space on the board. Five random cards from the exploration deck are returned without looking to the box, the remaining cards are then shuffled and placed on the lower right corner of the board. The field notebook cards are split into the I and II piles, shuffled separately and placed to the right of the board near the top right corner. Lastly the zone counters are placed above the board so that all players can easily reach. True to theme, the most energetic expedition team starts their day earlier than the other teams so turn order is determined by energy level. If this is tied, the player with their energy marker on top of one or more other markers will go ahead of the others.

The game board itself consists of six different zones which provide different benefits. Huts give the player additional explorers, additional dice and allow the player to lock a certain number of die results before (s)he rolls the remaining dice. Logistics provide the benefits shown on the logistics counters e.g. prestige, energy, food, coins. The field notebook gives benefits as listed on the card. The card itself is also worth prestige points at the end of the game. The funding zone earns assigned explorers coins. The hunting zone earns food tokens. The expedition zone is where discoveries are made by gaining exploration cards through a blind bidding system employing the use of the privacy screens. There are 7 types of exploration cards: 6 with images of plants/animals and 1 tribespeople card. Prestige points are awarded at the end of the game for the largest set of different cards and for sets of the same type of card. Tribespeople cards can also be discarded at the beginning of the round to gain one of the benefits listed on the card.

Each round consists of start phase, player turns and resolution phase. Much like any worker placement game, start phase resets the board for the next round to begin and resolution phase pays out benefits according the place “workers” or in this case, explorers. Start phase deals exploration cards to each of the expedition locations, deals new logistics counters depending on the number of players and a new field notebook card to it’s corresponding space on the board. As a last step to the start phase, the player with the least energy places the “X” zone marker. This is now the forbidden zone ans cannot be player during this round.

Players then take turns as per determined player order i.e. most energy. Players start with five dice and start their turn by rolling all at once. if a catastrophe die result is rolled, this is dealt with first. This means an explorer has succumbed to an accident or life-threatening illness. The player then can either sacrifice the explorer to the communal pool or pay a coin to save them. Coins can also be spent to increase/decrease die results by one per coin, or re-roll a die completely.

The player then spends the remaining dice to assign their explorers to different zones. The first time a zone is assigned explorers, the zone marker for the matching spent die result is placed there. This means that later players in the round must roll that number to be able to assign explorers there. When the player has finished assigning explorers, they spend energy equal to the number of explorers placed or spend food tokens to reduce the energy spent by one per token. If they pass a threshold, they must pay the cost in food or sacrifice one explorer for each food not spent. Then the next player takes their turn.

During resolution phase, each zone is dealt with in zone marker order. The forbidden zone marker is left on it’s zone for now, but all other zone markers are removed from the board as each area is dealt with. Any unclaimed logistics counters, exploration cards or field notebook cards are discarded. Turn order is then re-established and start phase begins again. The player with the least energy this round moves the forbidden zone marker as it cannot spend two rounds in the same location.

The game ends either when there are not enough exploration card to replenish the three locations, or one player’s energy drops to zero, in which case the current round is played to the end. Points are then totaled for sets of collected cards, number of explorers, remaining food and energy and for the player with the greatest number of coins. The player with the highest points wins.

Designers: Javier Garcia, Diego Ibañez

Artist: Pedro Soto

Publisher: Devir Games

Players: 2-4 (3 ideally according to BoardGameGeek)

Length: 75 minutes

Weight: Medium – 3.09 out of 5 (BoardGameGeek)

Thoughts

The box was eye catching and the theme appealed to me. You can player the game as a straight-forward worker placement, but with a bit of imagination the them works well. Personally, I think there is room for more theme there, e.g. trouble with the indigenous peoples but I could see how it would slow up the game considerably. The artwork is good especially the exploration cards and the components themselves seem well made. The privacy screens are made of a strong quality card-stock so there isn’t a problem to stand them up.

The game play itself is a nice balance of luck and strategy; managing your resources until the right moment and trying to strategically block the other players from beating you to a bonus, all the while hoping the dice rolls in your favour really creates an unpredictability where sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

Initially there are quite a few little rules to take on board but after a few rounds of game play, they make more sense and the game starts to flow. The two-player game introduces a dummy third player mechanic which i feel doesn’t work as well as the 3/4 player variants although it is still enjoyable. Our first full game was two-player but is helped massively to “mock-play” a few rounds as 3 players to gain an understanding of the game.

Overall I really enjoyed the game. Initially the rulebook was daunting but I put it down to tiredness on my part; giving it a second chance when I was more receptive helped with the smaller, more intricate rules. If you’re introducing the game to new players, you can start with a basic overview of each zone and point scoring and then introduce the mechanics once the game has started. I’d agree this is a medium weight game which would work well with experienced players and those who are beginning to branch further into the hobby.

Meeples People’s Rating: 7.5/8 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