December was a curtailed month for games.
The last game I played was on December 13 (or December 16 if you count my Combat Commander ladder game I played on a Friday night).
Between a Sunday Funday being snowed out, Christmas falling on a Sunday, as well as the last week before Christmas being all “work from home” (and thus no games got played at lunch), it was a short month!
I still managed to get 8 games played, and 4 of them were new to me!
That made the Cult of the New to Me happy.
What didn’t make them happy was that all of them were from 2022.
That got me a bit of the side-eye.
Even so, I’m not dissatisfied because four games is enough to make a substantial post!
With OrcaCon coming up in January (this coming weekend!) and three other Sunday Fundays, not to mention a regular work schedule, we should be back to regular programming in January.
Besides, I have so much work to do with upcoming “end of year” posts that it’s a good thing I only have 4 games to write about!
So without further ado (all of my ado died in the Marvel Mutant Massacre anyway), let’s begin!
Designer: Bruce Glassco
Marvel Remix is mostly a reskin of the already fabulous Fantasy Realms, but it’s a bit more than that.
Not much more, but a bit.
It has the same “you have 7 cards in your hand and at the end of the game the 7 cards need to add up to a bunch of points through cool combos” thing that Fantasy Realms does.
However, it’s a bit more streamlined. The combos, while still really juicy, aren’t forcing you to tear your hair out on how to score them without using an app (which I don’t think exists for Marvel Remix, at least not yet).
Gameplay is exactly the same except that you start out with one Villain and six Remix cards in your hand.
You still have to draw a card, either from the deck (though this time you can choose either the Villain or the Remix deck) or the discard row.
The game ends as soon as somebody places the 10th card in the discard row.
Sounds exactly the same, right?
Well, there’s the Villain and the Villain deck, of course.
But most importantly, there’s the requirement that if you don’t end the game with at least one Villain and one Hero/Ally in your hand, you don’t get any points!
You can’t have a hand of all Remix cards and even if you do have a Villain, you have to make sure you have at least one Hero/Ally as well. It can’t be just Locations, Equipment, Conditions and Maneuvers.
The combos you are creating can really build up the points, but as I said, it’s not as complex as Fantasy Realms. That’s not a bad thing, as a game this quick and easy doesn’t really need to be a brain-burner when you’re trying to score it.
You can actually just use poker chips to score this one instead of having to take an Advanced Calculus class (I exaggerate…a little).
This is great fun, takes about 10 minutes per game, and it’s Marvel too so the artwork is pretty good.
Definitely would play this multiple times.
Designers: Helge Meissner, Eilif Svensson, Anna Wermlund, Kristian Amundsen Østby
Artists: Gjermund Bohne, Martin Mottet, Dan Roff
Wow, almost two months in a row I’ve played the new hotness from Aporta Games. First Bad Company and now this.
Revive is a civilization-building game that takes place about 5000 years after an apocalypes.
You’re trying to rediscover the world and some of the advanced technologies that became lose during that time.
It’s also a kind of deck-building game, though not a traditional one.
Each player starts with a 6-card deck of citizen cards. A random three of them will be placed on the table in front of you for use in the first round. The other three will be in your Resting Area.
This is the last time you will ever shuffle them.
You also get a player board and a tribe board. The player board is where your machine tracks are, and you will be uncovering technologies. The Tribe board are you abilities which you can unlock during the game.
The machine track has three branches and moving along the tracks will also unlock potential abilities that you can use if you spend energy.
As you advance on the tracks, you will unlock powerful abilities and gain artifacts. The abilities can be used as a free action by spending energy tokens, which can really boost your turns.
During the game, you will be able to get technologies to place on these tracks, so you can tailor your abilities to what you want to do.
Then, of course, there’s the main board where the world is reduced to a tiny area that’s explored and then a bunch of face-down tiles that you will be exploring.
You will also be constructing buildings on these areas to give you better production and/or abilities.
Each turn of the game, you will be doing two actions or hibernating.
The actions are: play a card, use your Switch token (which lets you use somebody else’s already played card, which then goes away), explore, populate, or build.
Here’s the interesting part of the deck-building aspect, though.
When you play a card, it’s from your play area into a section of your player board.
Each card has actions/icons on the top and bottom of it. If you play it on one of your top row slots, you get to do the top actions/icons. If you play it to a bottom row slot, you get to use the bottom ones.
You can also add modules to these actions to strengthen what happens (for example, when you play a green or grey card to the slot with the arrow pointing to it, you not only get to use the card action but you also get a book resource).
Once a slot is used, it can’t be used again until you hibernate. The card will just stay there (though there are some special abilities that will let you reuse a slot) until you hibernate. Which is why if somebody uses their switch to use your card, it’s valuable because the card goes to your Resting Area, freeing up the slot for you to use again that round.
You can also explore by spending food and possibly books, plus one extra food for each hex between one of your markers and the tile.
You’ll get victory points immediately and can turn over the tile, placing it however you want for maximum benefit.
Populating or building on a space also costs either books (populate) or gears (build) plus food based on range from your nearest piece on the board.
Exploring will allow you to take a citizen card or a technology.
The citizen card goes directly into your Play Area, ready to be used immediately if you have room for them.
When you hibernate, all cards in your Resting Area go to your Play Area. Any unused Play Area cards stay there. Then your already-played cards go face-down to your Resting Area. So your cards will always be one of two places (or three, if you count already-played).
During the game, you’re trying to unlock artifacts because these are the timer for the game.
Once they’re all gone, the game end is triggered.
At the beginning of the game, each player gets a random (chosen from two choices) artifact card that will guide you toward how you want to play.
You will get endgame points for your artifacts and how they relate to these cards.
For each artifact type you have, you will get points as shown on the card.
There are also a bunch of other endgame points from unlocking technologies, exploring into certain areas, things like that.
Whoever has the most points is the winner!
This game has been much-talked about recently and I found that I really enjoyed it. Some have said it’s not as thematic as it could be, but I found it very thematic.
I find the technologies tracks really interesting and I love the variation on deckbuilding and card play. Playing a card for either the top or bottom actions and then having them stuck there, taking up the space until you hibernate, it’s all really cool.
I also did really well, almost beating Abi in my first play. It’s a game that I kind of “got” which doesn’t really happen all that often.
It’s a game I would love to play again just to see if I still “get” it.
Designers: Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pedersen
Artist: Vincent Dutrait
In the first of two racing games that were introduced to me in December, Heat is about Formula 1 racing in the 1960s, and the art style definitely brings that home! Or at least the cover art does.
In the game, you are going to be trying to manage the heat of your engine in order to come out ahead at the end of the race.
You have a player board that basically gives you everything you need, like where your draw pile goes, your heat reservoir (in the center), and your discard pile. Along with this is the action sequence for each round and your gear shift.
You’re going to have a hand of Speed cards plus some Upgrade cards, some Stress cards and some Heat depending on the track you’re using.
The Heat will go into your reservoir but you’ll shuffle the rest of the cards into a deck. Then draw 7 cards.
Each round, players will choose what gear they are in (you can shift upward or downward one gear, but if you want to shift two gears, you have to spend a Heat into your discard pile). They will then choose a number of cards from their hand equal to their gear (so 1-4 cards) and place them face down.
Once everybody’s done that, the cards are revealed and executed in the order players are on the track (so the leader will always go first). This is important because drafting to move ahead a couple of spaces does exist and this will give those who are behind a chance to do that.
On your turn, you will move the number of spaces equal to the total of your Speed cards. If you played a Stress card, then you will draw from the top of your deck until you get a Speed card (not an Upgrade card, Stress or Heat). That number will be added to your movement.
This can become important when you are going into tight corners.
The number with the arrow pointing to it is the maximum number of moved spaces on your turn before you have to start spending Heat to make the corner.
So for this corner, if your move was 2 spaces, you’re fine! For every space beyond 2 that you are moving, you have to spend a Heat from your reservoir.
If you don’t have enough, you spin out!
You move back to the first available space before the corner, take one or two Stress cards into your hand, and shift down to 1st gear.
That’s not an optimal result!
You can also boost your move one time. You spend a Heat and draw the top card of your deck until you draw a Speed card (just like using a Stress card!)
There are opportunities to add Heat cards to your reservoir, but only if you have a Cooldown symbol (you’re in 1st or 2nd gear or if you are the last car (or second to last with 5+ players)).
The caveat to that is you have to have the Heat cards in your hand from having previously spent them and shuffled your deck. If they’re not in your hand, a Cooldown does nothing.
The map will tell you how many laps are in the race. You keep on doing this until somebody crosses the finish line on the last lap.
They’re the winner!
There’s also a campaign of sorts, which could be kind of cool. I only played the game once so we didn’t have that.
This game was really neat and plays up to 6 players well. It only took us about 90 minutes to play and I can imagine it would be even faster once people are used to it.
I’d love to play this one again. I can understand why people are raving about it.
Designer: Matt Calkins
Artist: Donal Hegarty
Finally, we get to the other 6-player racing game, which we played a week later.
I’ve been wanting Charioteer since I read the description of it and saw that beautiful cover.
After opening the box, looking at the rules and the pieces, and getting it to the table, it’s actually quite family-friendly! In fact, this is a racing game that non-gamers could play, though there are some tactical decisions you have to make.
These are based on the cards you have, of course.
In Charioteer, you are…well, charioteers…racing in the forum in front of the Roman Emperor.
Movement is all done through card play, just like Heat, but in a much different way.
Players each have a player board and they get a random skill card that will show in what order their skill markers are on the board.
They will also get a hand of 8 cards.
On the board there will be a crowd card and two other cards face-up that will become crowd cards in the next turn or two.
Players will choose 1-3 cards from their hand to play down in front of them.
These cards must all have at least one matching symbol, maybe a red 3 or red 5, or maybe a green 6.
You can use the active Crowd card as well as long as it has the symbol you are using.
Then, for each matching symbol on the cards, you move that number of spaces on the board.
You can almost run around the whole board in one turn if you have a bunch of green sixes!!!
That’s not how it works.
That’s how we played it, but that’s not how it works.
We played this so badly that it almost hurts. I wanted to play it again the next Sunday but we got snowed in and then Christmas came.
Hopefully in the new year.
Anyway, the way you really play it is that the number in the symbols you used (say a green 6) is the number of base spaces you move. This can be increased if you have skill of the same colour plus the number of symbols that you matched.
So if you play five green sixes and you have +1 movement skill for green, then you would move 6 (base) + 5 (number of matching symbols) +1 (skill) so 12 spaces.
If you’re moving through a corner (like in the picture above), you have to count each space (moving back and forth from inside to outside) unless you are using a black Cornering move.
Also, and I love this part, if you are moving through a space with multiple chariots, you have to pay an extra movement point for each chariot you have to pass before you can move forward again.
After each move, you get to add one to the skill for that colour. If the Emperor wanted you to use that skill (you roll the Emperor die at the beginning of the turn to see which one he wants), you can increase the skill a second time.
If you play red symbols, then that’s an Attack move. You don’t move as far, but everybody takes one damage point to their chariot (unless you played a Shield icon). There is no attacking just one person in Charioteer.
You can heal damage by using a Yellow move, where you really don’t move far but you get to heal half of your damage. Damage is important because for each damage you have, you move one less space on your move.
There are other things, like fan tokens that you can use to improve your turn, the whip to let you move faster as long as you don’t pass anybody, and things like that.
I did not have a lot of fun playing this game the way we played it.
I’m sure that will change when we actually play it right, because it looks fun as hell.
In January, we will play this right. I may take it to OrcaCon, but even if I don’t, it’s coming out the next Sunday.
So there you have it. Only four new games for December, but they were all pretty good.
I can’t wait to start the new year and get some more new to me games played.
Which should happen this weekend at OrcaCon!
I’ll be doing a report on that when I get back.
What do you think of these?
What new to you games did you play to close out the year?
Let me know in the comments.
Category: Board Games, New to MeTags: Anna Wermlund, Aporta Games, Asger Granerud, Bruce Glassco, Card Drafting, Charioteer, Daniel Skjold Pedersen, Days of Wonder, Deckbuilders, Eilif Svensson, GMT Games, Heat: Pedal to the Metal, Helge Meissner, Kristian Amundsen Østby, Lunch Time Games, Marvel: Remix, Matt Calkins, Racing Game, Revive, Set Collection Games, Wizkids
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.