Come Play With E! Robit Riddle Edition

A review copy of Robit Riddle was provided by Atlas Games.  We would like to thank Atlas Games for supporting our blog.  All thoughts, comments, and pictures herein are our own.

Like all good geeks of a certain age I absolutely loved Choose Your Own Adventure books from back in the day.  I fondly remember reading through each of my copies until I had gotten every ending, and traversed every path that lead to them.  Therefore, it has been with great interest, and excitement that I have watched the resurgence of this genre, especially when it crossed over into the board gaming world.

My daughter is way too young to have experienced any of this, and sadly those beloved books are long gone.  Van Ryder recently released a really cool collection of Graphic Novel Adventure Books (I did a review of Captive that you can read here).  This collection was also a bit too dark for my daughter, so it almost seemed as if she’d have to wait to experience choosing her own adventure for a few more years.  Almost.

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Recently we came across Robit Riddle, a storybook game designed by Kevin Craine, illustrated by John Ariosa, and published by Baba Geek Games and Atlas Games.  Robit Riddle was initially released through a very successful Kickstarter, one that I was sad to miss.  Now it is readily available through Atlas Games and you FLGS.  The game packs all of the choose your own adventure excitement that I remember experiencing as a child into a family friendly story telling game for all ages.

In Robit Riddle you take on the role of one of six robots looking for their missing pets, known as robits.  Players will work together, choosing different paths in the story, pooling their resources to overcome tests and adversaries, and even making new friends along the way.  The main box comes with 3 different stories to choose from, although there seems to be a hint of more to come.

As you would expect the game is played, mainly, through reading a story book.  Certain spots will ask for a choice to be made, flipping to the corresponding part of the book.  At times there will be tests required, or as Robit Riddle calls them, encounters.  Encounters are breaks from the text in which players are encouraged to take on the role of their character and expand upon the story .  Once they have added their part to the story dice are rolled to see if the encounter was successful, if your words had their desired effect.  There are often three outcomes from the dice rolls, a failure and two passes, with one pass being the more favorable of the two outcomes.  During the course of the game players can accumulate story tokens which can also be spent to increase the number of successes.  The story tokens take the form of little metal gears, a really cool touch.  Story tokens can also be spent to add a bookmark to a page.  This mechanic is a nice little touch too.  Once you choose your outcome you may place the bookmark, allowing you to go back to it if you chose poorly.  Once you have resolved another encounter the bookmark is removed, and your opportunity to backtrack is lost.

Robit Riddle is a cute little game, and one that Emmy absolutely loves.  Over the summer we spent an entire night playing Robit Riddle over and over and over again.  She wanted to try to get as many outcomes as she possibly could.  It reminded me of my time with my books when I was a bit older than her.  Her excitement for the story was very clear, she loved the characters, and wanted to save the pets, at all costs.  We played through all three adventures, some more successfully than others, and she consistently comes back for more.  We both hope that there are many more expansions for this game in the future.

If you are looking for a game the entire family can play together, this is for you.  if you like to tell stories and really get into a game, this is for you.  If you want to see your child tap into creativity that you didn’t even know was there, this is for you.  There is hardly a situation that I can think of where this would not be for you.  Emmy and I cannot recommend it enough.  She says we’ve talked about it enough, now we need to go play it!

Emmy’s take:

“Hi friends, it’s me, Emmy!  Robit Riddle is a fun game, and you should try it sometime! It has gears, you should see them, it is so much fun!  There’s cards and the robots are so great!  You take out cards, you play cards, and it’s just like a story game!  You need to buy it!  Bye friends!!”

Robit Riddle gets a solid:     img_54531.jpg

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… Pilot the Nautilus!

A preview copy of Nemo’s War: Second Edition was provided by Victory Point Games.  We would like to thank Victory Point Games for supporting our blog.  All thoughts, comments, and pictures herein are our own.

The year is 1870, also known as the “Dark Ages” of naval development.  The seas are a mysterious and dangerous place, full of peril and uncertainty.  Vessels are disappearing, lives are lost, and legends of sea creatures can be heard at every port.  Assuming the role as the infamous Captain Nemo, commander of the Nautilus, you set out to confront these mysterious, tame these seas, and maybe gain some fame and treasure along the way.

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Nemo’s War, designed by Chris Taylor and Alan Emrich, illustrated by Ian O’Toole, and published by Victory Point Games, is a 1-4 player game based on the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  What exactly was Captain Nemo doing in the Nautilus?  If you’re like me, you probably don’t remember too much about the original story, aside from giant sea creatures and a cranky captain.  That’s okay.  Although the game is based on the novel, you really don’t need to have much, or any, prior knowledge of the text.  You are the Captain, you will make the choices, starting with your motivation.  Why are you out here?  Are you looking for scientific discovery? Are you looking to explore the uncharted waters, finding new lands, and possibly people?  Are you trying to incite a war to overthrow the imperial overlords?  Or do you want to support the anti-imperialism cause, lending your resources to the fight?  Once you have chosen your motivation you will construct a draw pile based on your motivation.  Your end game conditions will also depend upon this choice.  The board is then seeded with hidden ship tokens, representing the growing threat in the seas.

Nemo’s War begins in Act One, playing through Three Acts (unless other end game conditions are met).  As each new act is introduced more dice are added to the dice pool and more ships are added to the oceans, bringing the game to a tense crescendo.  The turn begins with an Event Phase, flipping over a new card in the act deck, resolving any events or trying to overcome a test.  Other cards may be put aside to use at a later date.  Tests are completed with a roll of the dice, the cards are then put into a pass discard pile (netting you points at the end of the game) or a failed discard pile.  After the Event Phase is the Placement Phase where new ships are added to the board.  When placing new ships a number of dice is rolled equal to the current Act.  Then dice may be a combination of black and white.  The dice will show you what waters new ships will be place.  The differential of two of the white dice will also determine the amount of action points you will have to spend this turn.  Finally, the Action Phase, where you will have the opportunity to spend your action points.

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Action points can be spent in a number of ways, from adventuring to attacking other ships, from inciting rebellions to resting, repairing or refitting the Nautilus.  Most of these actions will require dice rolls for success or failure.  You may also leverage your crew, ship, and even yourself to help alter these rolls a bit.  Make no mistake, this is just a glossing over of the rules.  This game is deep, with many choices to spend those precious action points on.  Nemo’s War is more than just a “roll the dice, take the action” type game.  There are many choices to make each turn, many different way to help mitigate your rolls, chances to take, that will probably not work out in your favor.

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Nemo’s War, for me, has been immersive, each game bringing new things to overcome, and new ways to do so.  I love the choices, right from the beginning the tone of the game is set with the choice of the motive of Captain Nemo himself.  From there the choices multiply.  Should we start clearing out the seas?  Should we look for treasure?  Do we need to upgrade our ship?  How about starting a rebellion in some far off lands?

Nemo’s War was built with the solo gamer in mind, and that makes all the difference to me.  This was far from a mode that was added on through stretch goals in a Kicistarter.  I have played this game as a solo game, as well as a multiplayer game.  I prefer the solo game by far.  It feels like this game was made to be played purely solo.  Everything, from the tokens to the artwork on the cards is done with prefect detail.  The game draws you into the story, you truly feel as though you are the captain of this ship, making tough choices, and just trying to survive one more day.

Nemo’s War offers a challenge, and many times I have suffered defeat.  Even a “win” is measured by how successful you were, offering five different epilogues for each motive.  The replayability has been immense.  I have not yet played all the motives, instead I keep trying to do better in the ones that I have played already before moving on.  The tokens and gameboard are all very well done, thick cardboard, and well illustrated.  The cards contain quotes from the book, move the story forward, and also are beautifully illustrated.  Everything has been made with attention to detail as well as staying true to the original material.  If you are looking for a solid solo game to add to your collection, look no further, Nemo’s War has it all in one package!

Thanks for joining me this week as I singlehandedly piloted the Nautilus!  Join me next time, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and please, feel free to leave a comment below!

… Survive the Genestealers!

There have been many a time when I have been late to the proverbial party.  Never has it been more sad than with Space Hulk: Death Angel, now out of print, once published by Fantasy Flight Games.  I was lucky enough to find a copy for pretty much retail price, not the crazy, ransom-like prices that it is now going for.  I had seen a lot of solo gamers talking about what a great, albeit frustrating, experience this was.  So, I looked into it, tracked down a copy, and gave it a spin.

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Luckily I didn’t know too much about the game when I ordered it, I may have, on initial glance been turned off by the Warhammer 40,000 tie in.  I’m glad that I missed that part. I’m sure that Warhammer is a fantastic game, so delete the hate mail you were just typing, but it just isn’t my type of game.  To each his own, however, I am willing to admit this game, Space Hulk: Death Angel is.  The game play is quick, as your Space Marines will probably be picked off by the dreaded Genestealers in no time flat.  This is in part to the, well documented, evil red die.  The game is hard, this is no walk in the park, people.  Every time you turn around there are more and more Genestealers popping up, the die seems to be working against you, and time is running out.  As a space marine is killed the swarms that consumed him move onto their next victim, until no one is left to hear you scream.  (Did you really think we’d get through an entire post about alien attackers without me working that one in???)

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The game is played by puling an even card, resolving it’s effects, and then placing new genestealers according to the color coordinated blocks on the bottom of the card.  Genestealer can then move, also denoted on the event card.  It is then your turn to try to combat this craziness.  Each team of Space Marines must choose one action per turn to take, and it cannot be the action they took last turn.  They may attack, move & activate, or support.  Each team also has a special power that goes along with each action choice.  To resolve an attack the Marine must roll the die, rolling a skull icon to be successful.  Moving allows the Marines to do just that, move, one space up, or down, and can even change facing.  They can also activate any cards in front of them that have the activate ability on it.  Choosing support allows you to put a reroll token on any Space Marine.  Once the Marines have taken their turns it is the Genestealers turn to attack.  Each Marine must roll the (evil) die to see if they successfully defended the attack.  This is accomplished by rolling a number higher than the number of Genestealers you are currently facing.

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Easy, right?  Sure, that’s what I thought, and then I played it.  I actually won my first game too, and I was feeling invincible.  Then I lost, and lost, and lost again.  Then I was feeling miserable.  Through it all, I wanted to play again, to redeem myself mostly.  The game plays so quickly that it was easy to play again after a failed attempt.  I love the feeling of accomplishment when things go your way and you are able to take out a swarm of Genestealers.  I also like that I get upset when I lose a Space Marine.  Some Marines have special abilities listed on the cards, and losing them can mean losing the game.  I get attached to those poor guys, and am really sad to see them get devoured…  I have to admit that I have never played this game multiplayer, which is a true testament to how good it plays solo.  I like making the tough choices of which action to take, especially when I attacked last round and cannot do it again!  Gulp!!

 

The components are well made, the cardboard tokens are sturdy, and even thought the die does require an exorcism, it is still well made.  The cards are all linen finished, and standard thickness.  The rule book jumped around a bit, but luckily, the internet had plenty of references to go to figure out rules questions.  The box is also well made and has survived the trip all the way here from Canada (where I ordered it from) without a scratch.  My biggest complaint, and this is entirely on me, is that the expansion packs are nearly impossible to get without mortgaging your home.

It seems Fantasy Flight lost the rights to produce Warhammer themed games, thereby having to stop producing this game.  It would be great if they could take these mechanics and slap them on another IP that they own, perhaps Arkham?  Think about it, poor Arkham investigators searching rooms in a mansion and finding creatures, like the Cthulhu behind every door.  With the vast popularity of the Arkham games this would fit right in, and would work well.  But, that’s just my opinion.  🙂

 

Thanks for joining me this week as I singlehandedly survived the Genestealers!  Join me next time, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and please, feel free to leave a comment below!

 

… Be the Best Driver!

A preview copy of Rideshare Wars was provided by Zuroovi Games.  We would like to thank Zuroovi Games for supporting our blog.  All thoughts, comments, and pictures herein are our own.

At some point in everyone’s lives they will utilize a rideshare service, be it Uber, Lyft, or the classic yellow taxi cab.  Zuroovi Game puts you in the drivers seat, running your own ridershare corporation.  Think you can “hack” it?  (Pun totally intended)

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Rideshare Wars, designed by Peter Madara, illustrated by Manuel Berbin, is a unique card game that plays 1-4 players in about 45 minutes.  In Rideshare Wars you are a rideshare corporation battling for the biggest share of the city.  In a unique twist on set collecting you are collecting riders, from different cities as well as zones of these cities.  Getting the most zones will net you a milestone card, as will collecting all the zones in a particular city.  Collecting 6 milestones in a 2 player game will result in an immediate win, so keeping an eye out for these bonuses is extremely important.  If the milestone criteria is not met the game ends at the conclusion of the evening shift, the player with the most points then wins the game.

To begin set up three different rider decks are built based on the number of players, 20 riders in each of three decks for a solo game.  These three decks will represent the morning, afternoon, and evening shifts of your rideshare business.  Four riders will be layed out to begin the game offering a starting pool of fares, descending from the draw deck.  Each player will also start out with seven driver cards, effectively the currency of the game.  The driver cards will be used to pick up on of the fares from the pool, the cost ranging from one to four driver cards.  The card costs will depend on the placement in relation to the draw deck, the card closest to the draw deck being 4 and farthest away 1.  A taxi stand will also be set up, these riders can be acquired as well, just not the traditional way of using driver cards.

On your turn you will begin by drawing a tool card.  Tool cards can be good or bad for you, and may be played for their effects right away, placed into your hand for later used, or used as payment for an optional action later in the turn.  After drawing a tool card the player may choose to displace a rider, this costs a tool card, and discard the rider from the game.  Next the player will acquire a new rider from the pool paying it’s cost, and adding it to their hand.  The player will then choose a rider from their hand to play into their play area.  They may then choose to activate one or two optional action, .  There are many different optional actions to choose from gaining another tool card, to gaining a rider from the taxi stand.  The player will then check to see if any milestones were achieved, collecting the corresponding card, and finally refiling the rider pool by sliding all cards down and adding a new one to the top.

Rideshare Wars packs a lot into a small box.  There are many different choices to makes, from optional actions to what riders to pick up and when.  The riders also contain different effects that can be beneficial to you, or negative to your opponent.  Some riders can net negative points but give great effects.  Other cards can give you bog points but may not have great effects.  If you run out of driver cards you can gain a loan, gaining three new drivers, however if they are not payed off at the end of the game they will cost you negative four points.  There are times when you will find yourself picking up a rider to stop an opponent from doing so, or because you have no other choice.  This can mess with a plan that you have meticulously been working on, forcing you to reconsider your tactics.

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The copy of Rideshare Wars that I received was a prototype, therefore all pictures of the content are subject to change.  With that said, the game presents well.  The cards are well done, colorful, and the artwork is perfect.  The colors pop off of the cards, and the cartoony style really went with the theme, in my humble opinion.  The rulebook is pretty long, and can be a bit intense at first, but with a few plays under your belt things start to fall into place and make sense.  For beginners I recommend leaving out the option actions.  There are a ton of them, and can make the game a bit overwhelming.  The theme is truly unique, one that I have not come across in tabletop yet.  I love the idea of getting behind the wheel, looking for these riders, from the grumpy old guy to the socialites.  The tool cards are great too, sometimes giving a boost at just the right moment, and other times really blowing it all up.  The captions on the tool cards are funny and light, and made me chuckle out loud on more than one occasion.  The game is light, but can be heavier based on all the decisions you have to make.

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I recently took Rideshare Wars on vacation with me.  It made it to the table, and we had a great time with it.  The theme was accessible to everyone that was there, gamer, and non-gamer alike.  The basic game play was also accessible to everyone at the table.  We made some minor tweaks to accommodate newer players, like removing some of the optional actions, as I previously mentioned.  That seemed to make the game much easier to them to understand and enjoy.  Overall everyone who played it enjoyed it, and would like to play it again.  A huge compliment from non-gamers!

Rideshare Wars is currently on Kickstarter.  If this sounds like a game that you might enjoy please consider backing it here.  Thanks for joining me this week as I singlehandedly became the best driver!  Join me next time, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and please, feel free to leave a comment below!