Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review: Blockers!

A tense racing abstract for four or five players.

A rarity among abstract games is something that's easy to pick up and play when you have more players around. Blockers! the recent re-edition of the game Uptown by Gryphon Games fits bill perfectly.

In the game, players try to lay their tiles into the fewest connected groups. Each player has an identical set of tiles, and each tile can be laid in either one column, one row, or one of the 9 sudoku divisions of the board, depending on the symbol on the tile. Players have a limited ability to capture tiles, but this counts directly against them in scoring, so the game is rarely very aggressive.

A good lunch-time sized abstract game for four players.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Review: Portobello Market

If you're slow, you'll never catch the market

Portobello Road, despite looking like a light family game, is a short sharp game of maneuvering your market stalls into the prime positions along the lane-ways with the most valuable customers. The extreme shortage of market stalls and the fact that unfinished lanes are mostly not scored makes the game both tense and short.

Portobello Market is very nifty with 2, plays well with three when there's a little more consideration of which player is safer to give some points to.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Gardens of the Alhambra

The trees have it

Queen have taken advantage of the success of their Alhambra franchise to re-release one of their classic abstract game Carat as The Gardens of the Alhambra. This simple tile-laying game is a struggle for area control where every move you make, helps another player and where the only way to get the big points is to ensure you are only the barest fraction ahead.

This battle is fought over garden tiles as players reconstruct the orchards, groves and pathways of the famous Alhambra of Granada.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Review: Six

Pieces of six! Pieces of six!

There are many abstract games in which players create a row of pieces to win. Six is, at most, a distant cousin to these games who lives in a much better part of town. In Six, players place pieces trying to create one of the three possible winning formations (including a line) while playing for position in two different phases of play forcing them to walk a delicate balance of attacking and defence.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Review: Mord im Arosa

Eight floors, one guess. A novel murder mystery

In Mord im Arosa, the players take the roles of amateur detectives attempting to investigate (or at least doing their best to make sure that one of the other players is arrested for the two murders that have been discovered tonight at the Hotel Arosa.

In this light abstract crime game for 2-6 players, sharp ears are the key to making sure someone else takes the fall.

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