Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of I Hate Zombies

Product– I Hate Zombies

Producer-Board Game Geek

Price– $ 8 but only through the kickstarter so far

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 minutes (2-12players)

Type-American

Depth-Light

TL; DR-A great, simple game to get a group playing quickly. 95%

2015-08-27_1440648743

Basics-Man, I HATE ZOMBIES!  I Hate Zombies is a quick party/social game where players get to be either zombies or humans.  After everybody is dealt a card, every other player flips their card from the human side to the zombie side.  Zombies, and only zombies, then attack a human on their right or left by playing rock paper scissors.  If a human lose, they take a wound and turn their card.  If a human takes two wounds, they become a zombie!  If the human wins, then the zombie takes a wound.  Three wounds to a zombie, and that player is out of the game.  Every human has a power that ranges from healing to insta-killing one zombie!  If only humans remain, then the humans have won.  If all the players become zombies, then the zombies win!  It’s that simple.

2015-08-27_1440648789

Mechanics–   This game is crazy combination of Coup and Rock Paper scissors.  It’s fast, fun, and crazy.  However, only the zombies attack.  That’s kind of boring for the human players as they have to just endure the attacks from the zombies.  It doesn’t make me hate the game, but it is a bit boring.  However, it does move fast enough that players get a great taste of the game quickly keeping them from getting board.  4.5/5

2015-08-27_1440648836

Theme-This is a crazy American style game.  Play moves fast, so it does feel like a zombie hoard.  Overall, it’s great.  The humans all feel distinct, but the zombies all just feel like the same old thing.  That could be intentional as the zombies are now a hoard, but I’d like for the zombies to feel a bit distinct.  Furthermore, there isn’t much story here.  It evolves as you play if you play with a great group, but the game itself isn’t a story powerhouse. 4.5/5

Instructions– The rules to the game are short enough they could be written on a napkin.  It’s that simple. It’s also simple enough to be quick playing and easy to explain.  Good job!  5/5

2015-08-27_1440648914

Execution–  This game is a bunch of cards, a bunch of people, and rock paper scissors.  You have to try to screw that up!  What I did get was some awesome art, great physical card stock, and a nice pouch to hold it in that fits in a CD holder.  And the best part is this game costs somewhere around eight bucks.  You get a whole microgame that can get a whole room of people playing for about the cost of a hot and ready pizza from Little Caesars!  5/5

Summary-This is a simple fun game.  It’s not the most complex game out there, and it lacks a little in theme, but it makes up for that in simplicity, speed, and fun.  If you need to get a whole room of people playing a game to break some ice, you would be hard pressed to find a better game than I Hate Zombies! 95%

Advertisements

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Run, Fight, or Die

Product– Run, Fight, or Die

Producer-Grey Fox Games

Price– ~$35 here http://boardgamegeek.com/geekads/click/361282?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.coolstuffinc.com%2Fp%2F205940

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up– 10 min per player 1-6 players

TL; DR-Zombies!!! without the annoying length/Yahtzee with Zombies! 90%

 

Basics– Zombies!!! meat Yahtzee!  In Run Fight or Die, you play several different survivors trying to flee the zombie apocalypse while gathering up different survivors in town.  Each turn, you roll the main five dice and an event die.  The event die has random occurrences ranging from a sneak attack from a zombie (lose health) to an all clear night with no more zombies spawning this turn.  After that you have your main dice which can be rerolled two more times after the first roll.  These dice have faces ranging from running, melee attacks, range attacks, finding people, the “book of the dead”, and the zombie symbol which can’t be rerolled normally.  Each player has a board with three ranges on it (close, medium, and far).  Melee kills two close zombies, ranged attacks kill one at any range, and running moves one zombie back one range or off the player’s board.  The “book of the dead” and the finding people sides have different effects ranging from finding locations, healing, killing all zombies in one range, events, or finding gear depending on the number of matching symbols.  The zombie symbol causes one more zombie to spawn on your turn during the end of turn steps.  You can reroll a zombie symbol if you take a fleeing card-these are never good events!  After you attack zombies and get followers/locations/gear, you move all zombies one space closer.  If a zombie moves on to your character (from close range onto you), you lose health.  Then, you spawn three zombies with more for every zombie die side you have at far range, and the next player takes his or her turn.  The game continues until someone dies, someone finds the town line card with enough followers or someone gets the last zombie boss victory point.  Then, its the player with the most points wins!

 

Mechanics– This game is pretty simple and pretty fun.  Make no mistake; this is NOT a brain buster of a game.  It’s a simplified run and gun game.  You run around killing an unlimited hoard of zombies while trying to find people, locations, and gear.  The dice rule this game, and if your dice run cold, you will have a phenomenally bad time.  Each character is enough different from one another because their powers really do separate them from one another.  Each character has a different dice combo that will trigger something amazing if it happens, but it’s usually really hard to pull off, so I’ve never seen it actually happen.  The best description of this game is the old Zombies!!! game mixed with Yahtzee.  You move around town waiting for an end condition card to occur or enough point to happen to end the game.  Most often though, the game will end when someone dies.  It’s not a bad mechanic, but don’t expect any surprises or extreme complexity from this game.  4/5

 

Theme – I like this theme.  It’s zombies, so I know some people think that theme is played out.  But, the way the theme of advancing undead is implemented is a fun one.  The zombies fall down your player board almost like Tetris pieces at an unstoppable pace.  It’s rather tense as you try to stay alive but know that your continued survival is all dependent on the dice rolls.  It’s a very tense game that plays out in less than 30 minutes sometimes.  The different stories from each survivor do make an interesting story for how the world’s ending, and the fact that some followers are detrimental is another interesting way to represent how hard it is to deal with some people under pressure.  This game has a lot of style that really help emerge you in the world. 5/5

 

Instructions-So funny story-When I got my kickstarter copy of the game, it came with the rules, but was missing the middle pages of the rules.  The rules were not on board game geek either.  After emailing the creator, they now posted them there.  With the rules, the game isn’t hard to play.  It’s not horribly organized, but I think it could be better laid out.  Also, some questions like how often I can flee from zombie dice have come up, and the rules don’t specifically answer that question.  The rules are not bad, and the game is playable even with these questions, but a bit more would have helped make this game a bit better. 4.5/5

 

Execution-This game is pretty well set up.  The zombie pieces are well done miniatures, and you get a ton of them.  The cards all look cool.  The different characters have great art, layout, and story.  The player aids and zombie range boards are all done well.  The dice are nice and chunky with easy to read pictures.  The one thing I don’t like is the zombie boss.  It’s a giant zombie, but for most people who buy the game, it’s a cardboard token.  I would have liked to pay a bit more and ensure that everyone gets an awesome zombie boss mini that was part of the kickstarter.  You can buy your own boss mini, but that seems off to me.  I hate paying to make my games a bit better-it feels a bit like pay to win for me.  Like all my other minor problems with the game, the problems I have are not major, but a little bit more would really rocket this one to the top. 4.5/5

 

Summary- This is a fun game.  It’s not the kind of game I’d solely invite people over to play for a weekend, but it’s a great game to bring out late game day as a quicker game to get a bunch of people playing some last minute games.  This game has elements of games like Zombies!!!, but really cuts down on the length of the game.  And, the game has Yahtzee elements as you will try to roll for combinations of different effects to make it to the next turn or find different things.  The game isn’t perfect, but it’s a great way to get your zombie fix without having to spend hours spinning your wheels. 90%

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of CO2

Game– CO2

Producer– Stronghold Games

Price-~$55 here http://www.amazon.com/Stronghold-Games-8007SG-CO2-Board/dp/B00AKVLMY2/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1407249487&sr=1-1&keywords=CO2

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up-35 min per player (2-5 players)

TL; DR-A few problems mar an otherwise good game. 83%

 

Basics-The world is in trouble, and you have to fix it through capitalism!  In CO2 you play a company specializing in green/renewable power starting in the 1970s.  Each round starts with players gaining money, coins or both based on how much research their companies have in each type of green energy.  Then, each of the six areas of Earth gains more CO2 producing power plants if they do not have enough power plant in that region for each decade( 2 in 1980, 3 in 1990 and so on).  Each CO2 producing power plant increases the global CO2 parts per million rating and can lead to ecological disasters on a continent.  After that, in each decade you are given a number of turns based on the number of players.  On a turn you can do one of three actions: propose, implement, or build a green power plant.  When you propose a power plant, you place a project token in one of three sections that either gives you money, technology cubes, or scientist meeples.  When you implement a proposed plant you spend a carbon credit to gain resources depending on the type of plant with resources ranging from technology cubes to money or both.  If your company has enough research in a particular type of plant and enough money, you can build an implemented plant gaining more research in that plants type as well as victory points.  Also on your turn, you have several free actions where you can move a scientist meeples, buy/sell carbon credits, and play cards.  Scientist meeples can be moved to an implement or proposed project, from one project to another, or from a project to a research convention with the same energy type as a project the meeple was on.  If all the spaces on a convention are covered, all companies gain research in each type of energy the scientists were on as well as one research in any type of energy from that meeting.  If you implement or build a project with another player’s meeple, that player gains one research in that type of energy, get to move that meeple for free, and you must pay them an extra dollar for the privilege.  In the center of the board are the carbon credits.  On your turn you can buy or sell credits, but not both.  The cards are UN mandates give you bonus points if you build specified types of power plants.  The cards in your hand give you bonus money, credits, tech cubes, or scientists if you do an action specified on the card.  You may only perform one free card action each turn.  At the end of your turn, you gain one research in one type of energy based on a project one of your scientist meeples is on.  And the game continues like this.  After each player has taken a turn, and the first player advances the action counter.  When there are no more action spaces left for this decade, the decade advances, and research points/money are given out, disasters happen, and then the turn counter is reset based on the number of players.  The game continues like this until a few events happen:  1) the CO2 level gets high enough that mankind dies/everybody loses 2) the decade is 2030 or 3) the CO2 level drops below 350.  At the end, players who controls the different areas of the board based on number of power plants in each area gain carbon credits based on the region, the players spend those for money, get research money/points one last time, sell money for points, and the player with the most points wins.

 

Mechanics- When you get past the instructions (see below), this game is really fun!  The game makes you think on your feet a lot while having to make smart choices based on what the other players are doing.  You CAN’T build stuff alone.  You need to work with the other players to get the power plants built and experience to do it, but if you let the other build everything, you will lose.  This game does semi-cooperative really well, maybe almost the best I’ve seen for a while. 5/5

 

Theme- The game does do some justice to the theme of different green energy companies working together/against one another.  The mechanics do enforce the theme of needing other to help you and the theme of environmentalism.  An example is the ecological disasters.  When an area of the world has a problem, each company WITHOUT power plants in the area has to pay a cube to the region or be seen as callous.  These cubes can be used by other players who build in the region because now grants are available to help fix the damage.  I do have some problems with the theme as the components could use a bit more to make things a bit more thematic.  Yes, this is a euro game, but that doesn’t mean it has to have cubes.  Give me some other kinds of meeples like little computers or something. 4.5/5

 

Instructions- This game was written by a lawyer.  The rules are divided into sections and subsections that make this game not fun to read.  The rules are several pages of three columns of words with few pictures.  The pictures that are in there are awesome and really help to explain the rules.  But, there are not many!  The rules reference sections like 2.2.1.  DON’T DO THAT!  Have a nice flow that invites me to read!  I’ve been sitting on this game for a long time (six months) because I couldn’t make it through the rules.  When you do read the rules, you see the game is pretty standard euro-game fare, so it’s not too complicated.  But even after the several subsections in the rules, I and my gaming group were still left with questions regarding scientist movement and other important aspects.  Overall, it’s not the worst set of rules I’ve read as I was still able to play the game without a visit to Board Game Geek, but only just. 3/5

 

Execution- The game components are not bad, but I would have liked a bit more.  The game uses small, half standard cards for all the cards in the game.  That’s not bad, but there are less than 60 cards in the game.  So, the cards are more of a pain.  Adding to the pain, the cards don’t have any words and unless you know what cards you’re looking for, it’s really a pain as you need to constantly look at the rules to find which cards are separated into which piles.  Bigger cards with different colors would have really helped distinguish the types of cards.  Also, the box is kind of flimsy.  The board is well done and the iconography is good, except where the rules fail it.  Overall, it’s the product is ok, but some minor problems hamper the whole.  4/5

 

Summary-This is a fun game.  The game itself is a great Euro game.  The theme is fun as it’s a controversial subject-global warming-while being executed well.  This game is semi-cooperative worker placement on two different levels-projects and scientists- which I haven’t seen for a while.  If you love worker placement/development/resource management euro games and can get past the dry, boring instructions, you will have a blast trying to outwit your opponents on a global scale.  83%

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Fleet

Game– Fleet

Producer– Gryphon Games

Price-$25 here 

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up– 45 Min (2-4 players)

TL;DR– Fish meeples for the win! 90%

 

Basics– Hit the high seas for some cold cash!  In Fleet, you take the role of a sea captain on a newly opened sea trying to make the most money fishing.  What makes this game unique is the nature of the cards.  There are two types of cards: licenses and boats.  You must have a license to fish.  These licenses also give you extra abilities like drawing extra cards, using fish (points) to buy more cards, or cards being cheaper.  Licenses also give you more of that ability as you have more of one particular license.  The boat cards are used for money, as the boats themselves, and as captains.  So you have to decide, based on the cards you have, how you will pay to buy licenses, pay to launch boats only for licenses you have, or use the card as a captain.  Each turn starts with an auction phase for licenses.  You may only buy one license per turn, so no player is left completely out to sea.  Next, you can launch a boat that you have a license for by paying their launch cost from other cards in your hand.  After that, you can place a card face down on a boat (regardless of the boat type).  This boat is now captained.  Then, all captained boats gain one fish cube (point) each turn, to a maximum of four.  The final part of each turn is each player drawing two cards and discarding one.  The game continues until all the fish cubes are gone or there are no more licenses to buy.  When that happens, the player with the most points from fish, boats, and licenses at the end of that turn is the best fisherman and wins.

 

Mechanics-I like the mechanics of this game.  The fact that cards are money, boats, and captains all at once makes every choice you do very important.  You sometimes have to decide between giving up a boat to get a license to get more cards next turn OR to not get a license so you have more boats to get fish or a card to captain your boat.  BUT, you might not have enough boats to captain the boats you have, so you have to decide what will have to happen this turn.  It’s a fun level of frustration, and those little quick choices are important and fun.  The only major problem with this game is a serious run away victor problem.  There is NO mechanic to balance the game.  If someone is ahead, they will stay there until they themselves lose that position.  I enjoy the fact they can’t be attacked as it adds to the theme, but I would like some way to slow a player who breaks out ahead of the group.  Overall, it’s fun, quick, and surprisingly deep. 4.5/5

 

Theme-The game is fun, but I didn’t necessary feel like a fisherman.  You do several fishermen like things like get licenses, launch boats, or captain boats, but I would have liked a bit more story to my actions.  It’s not an abstract game by any means, but a little light on theme.  The game is fun, but don’t expect Arkham Horror levels of theme in this game. If you get the chance, buy the fish meeples (they’re cute and add that much more thematic elements to the game), 4/5

 

Instructions-The instructions work well, but there are a few problems that I still don’t think were answers.  The rules address the many mechanics built in fairly well giving lots of examples for how the licenses work etc., but I was left wondering about the roles of processing ships.  It’s a minor question, but the rules left me with a few of those.  There are no problems in these rules that will stop you from playing and enjoying the game, but little questions that will cause you to run to Board game Geek a few times a game. 4.5/5

 

Execution-This one is well put together.  It comes in a small box, and it’s cheap, sturdy, and well done.  The iconography works reasonably well after some explanation.  The cards themselves are good card stock and easy to read and understand.  The game come standard with blue cubes to represent the fish you catch, but this game is much better with the fancy fish meeples you can buy separately.  They are worth it! 5/5

 

Summary-I picked this one up when I bought Rococo (reviewed here ).  I loved that game, and this one was originally just part of the package deal I was working with the publisher to try to get some extra games since I’m greedy.  Honestly, I’m really glad I did.  This game is a ton of fun, plays fast (even on a first play through without reading the rules before hand), and is much more complex than you would think for a fishing card game.  The multiple uses for the cards will make you start to think hard on what to do on your turn, and you don’t often get that in a 45 minute card game.   This is a cheap fun game that is well worth the price you pay.  But if you can, buy the little fish meeples because fish meeples! 90%