Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Diamonds

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Diamonds

Product– Diamonds

Producer-Stronghold games

Price– $ 25 here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NFSBU9Y/ref=sr_ph_1?m=A7YAR2WDYOPTK&ie=UTF8&qid=1440129851&sr=sr-1&keywords=diamonds

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-45 minutes (2-6players)



TL; DR-Best parts of several trick tacking games. 92.5%


Basics-Time to throw Eucker, Hearts, and Spades into a blender!  Diamonds is a trick taking game that combines the best of all of the above.  Players are dealt 10 cards, and the dealer will decide to trade one to three cards.  All players then choose that many cards from their hand and pass them to their neighbor.  Next, the player to the left of the dealer will place one card down.  These cards have values between one to 15 and have the four suits found on any normal deck of cards: hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs.  Each player then has to place a card of the leaders suit, if they have any, or play any other card, if they don’t have the same suit as this trick’s lead card.  Here is where the game becomes more than just a trick taking game.  Each suit has a power associated with it.  Diamond cards place a diamond behind a small screen called your vault.  Hearts place a diamond in front of the vault in your vault.  Spades take a diamond from the front and place it behind your vault.  Clubs steal a diamond from in front of another player’s vault and places it in front of yours.  Whoever played the highest card with the lead’s suit gets to take all the played cards and set them next to his or her screen and then take that suits action.  If you couldn’t play a card with the lead’s suit, you just take the action associated with your suit.  Playing off won’t get you cards for the round’s end, but it does get you whatever power the card you played has.  Whoever won that trick then becomes the next lead player for the next trick.  After 10 tricks each round, all players separate their cards into four piles based on the suits.  Whoever has the most number of each suit gets to take that suits power again.  If you didn’t get any tricks, and thus have no cards, you get two free diamonds placed right into your vault instead.  Play then continues with a new dealer.  After each player deals one or two times, depending on the player count, each player counts their diamonds with diamonds in your vault worth two points and those in front being worth one.  The player with the most points wins!


Mechanics–  I’m from Michigan, so I knew this game from another game called Eucker.  Eucker is fun, but it lacks depth.  This game is amazingly deep for a trick taking card game.  Sometimes you do better by playing off than ever winning a single trick.  Sometimes, you need to win every trick.  That evolving strategy is amazing.  Also, the game isn’t hard to play.  I do love me some 8-hour, math fueled, Euros where I build cars, but you will learn this game in under 3 minutes, master it in 10, and have a chance of winning in 15.  Honestly, this is a well done game.  5/5

Theme-Theme is a hard concept in your average trick taking game.  What’s here is ok.  There really isn’t a story here.  But then again, I’m not really looking for one.  I’d like more, as I’ve seen some reskinned trick taking card games with more theme, but I didn’t expect too much going in.  The components are nice and do build a bit of a world, but don’t play this game if you need something like Dark Moon’s story.  3.5/5

Instructions-That paragraph above is all you need to play this game.  The rulebook is as short as it needs to be.  The game is an extremely simple to play game, so the rules don’t have to be too difficult or cover too much territory.  The extremely helpful thing included in this game is a cheat card for every player giving some quick iconography on how the different suit powers work.  Honestly, this is a slick, simple rulebook that will get you playing in about 5 minutes even if you’ve never played a trick taking game before. 5/5


Execution-This game is a small game, but not a poorly put together one.  You can see all the components here: http://youtu.be/dugtHKid-Ko . The game is about a quarter the size and weight of most of my other games, but that doesn’t hurt its delivery.  The game comes with cardboard standee vaults, a deck of cards, and plastic diamonds.  What is here is well done and beautiful.  The art is distinctive, but not distracting.  The diamonds are nice plastic pieces that you want to collect.  It’s a power-packed box.  5/5

Summary-Diamonds is the game I bring with me when I hang out with my family in Michigan.  It’s got the simplicity of Hearts, but the depth I need in a great board game.  It has great components and instructions.  My only real complaint is the theme, and the only reason I ding this game on theme is I play too many RPGs, and I want theme in everything I play.  If a games story isn’t the most important thing to you, then this is an amazing, easy to play trick taking game that’s a great game to add to any collection.  92.5%

11-7-14 Name cards for the Lord of the Rings Card Game

My wife and I love the Lord of the Rings Card Game.  We play a ton of games together, but we really don’t have any desire to play with others at game store or con events.  A problem with that is, among other things, names can be a problem.  Named heroes can’t play in the same table, so some players have to quickly fix up their decks to play.  How about his idea FFG….



Name/Title cards-  As part of the game night kits, new cards come out that are the nicknames and titles for the characters.  If two or more players want to play Aragorn from the same sphere or just with the same exact name, then these two players take a nickname/title card specific for that character.  These cards could say-Dúnadan,  Longshanks,  Wingfoot, and/or Strider.   Now these same players can play together, tables are not as hard to legally make, and there is some in game effect for having the same cards in play.


I even propose expanding this out for allies.  If a deck has a card like Gandalf and a hero Gandalf is played, then both players take a one time threat increase at the start of the game.



Daily Punch 9-3-14 Player Adjustment for Shadowrun:Crossfire and dual roles

I like Shadowrun:Crossfire.  I’ve reviewed it, but its still a kick in the teeth with its difficulty.  What makes it even harder is playing the game with less then four players.  Here are my suggestions to fix it.


1-Dual roles-A few people have given this advice, but here is the general suggestion.  When you get two role cards, you don’t take four basic cards for that color and one off the others, but you take two cards of one color, three cards of the second color, and one card of the other two.  Now the player who has two roles might be targeted by two obstacles, but will be equally ready to fight back.


2-Extra hit points-few players means more crossfire events, more obstacles targeting the same player, and less turns to deal with any major obstacles in front of a player.  I suggest giving all players one extra hit point per player missing.  This will power up the players a least enough to help the players get a foothold in the game.



Daily Punch 2-19-14 New encounter type for the Lord of the Rings LCG

I love the Lord of the Rings LCG.  We have the standard will power quest that uses willpower, we have battle that uses attack, and we have siege that uses defense…how about one more?

Endurance-This questing mechanics works much like the other quests.  Players assign characters to the quest as normal, however, the total threat of the enemy is compared to the health of all assigned characters.  Players do not gain threat as normal, however, any difference between the threat total and the enemy total is damage that must be assigned to each players heroes and characters.  Characters can only have as much damage assigned to to as they have health preventing one character taking all the damage, and if you do not quest, you will receive a high amount of damage.

I envision this as an environmental mechanic.  Think of the original quest for quest on Caradhras.  Instead of question with will power, the quest will wear down the characters health.  Characters will freeze to death because they die instead of giving up the will to live through will power.  In addition, the monsters and encounter cards could represent smaller attacks on the players or more environmental, single event dangers.


Daily Punch 12-25-13 The Manhattan Project Alternative Card Setup

I LOVE The Manhattan Project.  But, I have a problem with how the card drop.  Inspired by Suburbia (board game, not the movie), I have a new way to set up the cards.

Below I have pictures for each of the the card types.  Each type is set up in four rows.  The top row is the standard start cards.  Below that I have the cards for set “A”, then set “B”, and finally set “C”.  At the start of the game, you shuffle the separate sets independently.  Then you stack the B card set on the C card set without shuffling.  Then you put the A set on top on the pile.  You then set up the game as normal.  Look at the cards below and give me your thoughts.

*NOTE*-I just saw I lost a card for the universities-The One Engineer to four general work card goes in the “C” set for the universities.

5 4 2 1 3

Daily Punch 10-7-13 New card type for Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project is one of my favorite games because I love me some good Euro, worker placement games that have combat between the players!

I was thinking though, would it affect the game if you could place two workers to the board in a turn?  Maybe a new building card type?


Card type – University

Requirments to use- two of any workers + one red money symbol

Benefit-Place one extra worker on the main board





Daily Punch 10-1-13 A new card type for the Lord of the Rings LCG

I haven’t ever done a board game component, but I’ve been listening to the Cardboard of the Rings podcast, and I’ve had an idea…

How about Bastions.  My idea for them would be something akin to a location the players can play that any player in the game can use.  I think of them like permanents in Magic: The Gathering.   When an attack is undefended, a player who controls a bastion may have the attack target a base camp instead.   Here are a few ideas:

Rivendell-Lore 6 Resources-5 HP-When a card with the surge effect is reveled, the players may pay 3+1 per player to counter the surge effect.  All other effects on the card still occurs

Gondor -Tactics 6 Resources-5 HP-After all cards have been reveled from the encounter deck, players may pay 3+1 per player to deal one point of direct damage to all enemies in the staging area.  The may only be triggered once per round.

Edoras- Spirit 6 Resources- 5 HP-During the questing phase, players may pay 3+1 per player to add +1 willpower to all characters questing.  This may only be triggered once per round.

Rangers of the North Base Camp-Lore 6 Resources- 5 HP-Players may pay 3 + 1 per player to add +1 defense to all characters.  This may only be triggered once per round.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list.  Nor is it really meant to to be completely right, but I would like to hear your thoughts.  Does this break the game?  Is this what it needs?  Is this smart or stupid?  Drop a line.