… Lead a Robot Revolution!

A review copy of Cog and Commissars 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.

Here in the States Election Day has just passed.  For most states new appointed officials have been named, while in other the recounts are beginning.  As with every Election Day there are some who are pleased with the results, and others who are less than.  Those who are happy have a few years to relish in their wins.  The unhappy masses, most look for other ways to spend their time, and frustrations, like becoming a robot Propaganda Minister set on brainwashing the citizens into joining your cause, for example.  Sound like fun?  Then I’ve got a game for you!

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Cogs and Commissars, designed by Matt Haga, illustrated by Zoran Cardula, and published by Atlas Games is a 2-6 player card game that plays in about half an hour.  In this “take that” style card game you take on the role of the before mentioned Propaganda Minster.  You are battling one or more other parties in a race to control the proletariat, bourgeois and commissars rousing them to your cause.  When you have gathered enough support you may attempt a revolution!  Beware, your opponents may be craftier than you think, and squash your revolution before it gets off the ground.

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Cogs and Commissars is a fast paced, action packed game that harkens back to the days of the Red Scare.  The game comes with six preconstructed 30-card decks, or you may choose to build your own.  Each deck has it’s own Faction Leader, with names like Simulenin, Computin, and Automarx granting you a special power.  Once the decks have been chosen or constructed each player gains two proletariat citizens and draws seven cards to begin the game.  The rules are very simple, consisting of four actions each turn.  The first step is to produce citizens.  This is done by flipping the top two cards of your draw deck.  You will gain citizens based on the color of the star on the lower left hand side of the card.  Yellow stars produce Proletariat (worth 1 point), blue stars produce Bourgeoisie (worth 2 points), and red stars produce Commissars (worth 3 points).  It is important to note that citizens may not be traded in for larger point values, for example three proletariat cannot be traded for a commissar even though the point totals are the same.  Certain cards will have effects that target certain citizens therefore making it necessary to keep all citizens their original colors.

The second action is a discard and draw phase.  You may choose to discard any or all of your cards thereby drawing back up to 7 cards.  The next phase, Propaganda allows players to play any number of Propaganda cards from their hand.  The last phase is the Action phase.  Players will play 1 action card (denoted by a yellow gear) from their hands. Blitz cards (denoted by a blue lightning bolt) can be played at any time, as many as the player chooses, both on the player or opponent’s turn.  Play continues back and forth until one player reaches 15 citizens.  Once this number is achieved they may play a Revolution card.  Other players may counteract the Revolution card using cards of their own.  However, if a player manages to recruit 20 citizens their appeal is too strong, their revolution cannot be stopped, and they win the game.

For anyone who even remotely remembers, has read about, or knows anything about the Red Scare, this game holds a lot of fun references.  From the Faction leader names, mentioned above, to the cards themselves, with names like Control the Media, Define the Truth, and Stifle Free Speech.  The artwork on the cards, box, and even the token is spot on, and perfect for the theme.  As with all Atlas Games the quality of the components is amazing.  The cards are made well, the tokens, are a nice, thick cardboard stock.  I love the extra mile that they go with the insert as well.  It is made for just for Cogs and Commissars, making sure that all the components have a perfect space designed just for them.  The game includes 6 reference cards that, after the initial reading, make the instruction manual obsolete.

The one thing missing from this game was a solo option.  I’m not talented enough to design my own, but can foresee that someone may, making this game even more amazing for me.  In the meantime, I have played with various friends, and even my daughter, and they have all enjoyed it.  I introduced it to a friend who is a non-gamer, she really enjoyed the theme, and at times laughed at loud at the references the cards made.  All in all this has been a great game to play with a group of friends when we need a break from heavier games.  I’m sure that by now you are not surprised to hear that I highly recommend Cogs and Commissars.  🙂

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

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Come Play With E! Vast: The Crystal Caverns Edition!

A review copy of Vast: The Crystal Caverns was provided by Leder Games.  We would like to thank Leder Games for supporting our blog.  All thoughts, comments, and pictures herein are our own.

There are some pitfalls to bringing up a young gamer.  One of them is having your games suddenly labeled as “our games” and then finally “my game”.  This happens more than I’d like to admit.  It seems my collection is diminishing while Emmy’s is growing.  Rapidly.  Never was this so clear as when I received a package from Leder Games.  Inside was a copy of Vast: The Crystal Caverns.  I was really excited about the solo aspects of the game, along with the ability to play as five very different characters.  Before the packing material was cleared away the game was claimed as hers.  I tried to play the complexity card, telling Emmy that this game was pretty complex and might be a bit over her head.  Who was I kidding?  She took to the game like a pro.  So, now my game is hers, and my review is now hers as well.

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Vast: The Crystal Caverns, published by Leder Games, designed by Patrick Leder and David Somerville, with art by Kyle Ferrin, can be played by 1-5 players in a little over an hour.  In Vast players choose one of five different different roles to play, The Knight, The Goblins, The Dragon, The Thief, and even The Cave.  Each role has a different win condition and plays completely differently from the other roles.  The Knight wants to slay the dragon and get out of the cave.  The Goblins want to kill the knight.  The Dragon wants to shake off it’s long slumber and exit the cave.  The Thief wants to collect treasure and break its curse.  Lastly, The Cave just wants to collapse and trap everyone else inside.

 

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Vast” The Crystal Caverns breaks the mold for dungeon crawlers.  There is the basic tile flipping as new areas are explored., however, not all characters will flip tiles, some will move across them without doing so.  The Goblins spawn on unflipped tiles based on the symbols, or the specific tribes.  Crystal tiles will appear much, making the Knight very happy,  however if those tiles are collapsed by The Cave, it’s game over.

The components of Vast are amazing, I’m not even sure where to begin.  Even without the Miniatures Expansion, each box contains a cardboard standee of each character or a wooden meeple.  Each character is so well thought out, and each piece that makes up their components was as well.  From the side quests of The Knight, to the omen tokens of The Cave.  The tiles that make up the physical cave are thick cardboard, as are each of the player boards.  The game includes plenty of cardboard tokens and wooden bits to sort through, as well as different decks of cards for almost every role.  If you add on the Miniatures Expansion, you get a ton of, well…. miniatures.  They are very well done with a lot of amazing detail.  They are not needed to play the game, but really g a long way to making it pop on the table.

I have never played a game like Vast: The Crystal Caverns before.  Picking different roles that play so uniquely is something that makes this game really shine for me.  I love how there are different win conditions for each of the roles.  The components, look, and feel for each of the characters adds to the fun of the game.  I really enjoyed exploring all of the different roles, figuring out their dynamics and how they fit into the overall game.  Emmy and I had a great time playing this game, trying to outsmart one another, while trying to win the game before the cave got us!  It was great that we were not only playing against one another but the cave as well!

Emmy loved Vast.  It was clear this was going to be a favorite from the beginning, the artwork drew her in instantly.  She was intrigued by the different character roles, and play styles.  She loved the idea of the board being alive, and taking part in the game.  She loves it so much that she brought it to Dice Tower Con with us this past summer, and played it almost nightly.  She taught some of the other convention goers how to play as well.  It amazed me how well she picked up the different characters.  She has not played them all just yet, The Thief and The Dragon are still a bit much for her to handle.  I can’t see them being out of her grasp for too long though, she just needs to get that pesky reading thing down.

I did get an opportunity to play Vast solo, just don’t tell my daughter!  It was a lot of fun, and I am eager to try all of the characters.  The designers did a really good job of vetting out the rules and making matches based on the number of players to really make it a fun experience for everyone.  Solo play was a bit intense and there were times when all seemed lost for me, only to pull out a win at the last second.  That was pretty gratifying!

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Emmy and I both recommend this game, as a solo experience, or as a group one.  There really is nothing else like it on the market right now.  It truly is a unique experience that really works.  Everything flows well, and it offers enough variety to keep it fresh after multiple plays.  Leder Games recently ran a very successful Kickstarter followup to The Crystal Caverns called Vast: The Mysterious Manor.  The Mysterious Manor offers more of the asymmetric gameplay found in The Crystal Caverns with new characters, as well as a new board, The Manor.  It looks amazing!

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Emmy’s take:

“Hello everyone!  I think that Vast is one of the number one games in the world.  It’s fun to play, you should all learn about it.  There are figures, they are beautiful.  There are all these tiles, and there are these treasures.  I love it!  I always liked being the knight because she’s a girl!  Buy it!  Bye friends!!”

Vast: The Crystal Caverns gets a solid:     img_54531.jpg

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