Tag Archives: Auction/Bidding

Castles of Mad King Ludwig Review

Castle

In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria…one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he’s commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he’s building while also selling his services to other players.

In the game, each player starts with a simple foyer. One player takes on the role of the Master Builder, and that player sets prices for a set of rooms that can be purchased by the other players, with him getting to pick from the leftovers after the other players have paid him for their rooms. When a room is added to a castle, the player who built it gains castle points based on the size and type of room constructed, as well as bonus points based on the location of the room. When a room is completed, with all entranceways leading to other rooms in the castle, the player receives one of seven special rewards.

After each purchasing round, a new player becomes the Master Builder who sets prices for a new set of rooms. After several rounds, the game ends, then additional points are awarded for achieving bonus goals, having the most popular rooms, and being the most responsive to the King’s demands, which change each game. Whoever ends up with the most castle points wins.

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Warlock Review

Warlock

A curse is cast on you, which transports you to the magical land of Norkobia. You wish to return to your earthly existence, but Lord Maldorf, ruler of Norkobia, will not let you go unless you meet his demands and build him an enormous empire.

In Warlock, you must use the skills and powers of mythical creatures such as giants, wizards and gnomes to build your empire and thwart your opponents. Each card offers four possibilities, and by using your cards strategically, you can build the biggest empire, be released to return home, and win the game.

The aim of the game is to build an empire next to your castle, with cards that are laid out in a 4×4 grid. Every turn, players will receive 5 cards. One will be placed in their dungeon (where a card will receive a special ability), another one in Hubba’s bar, where all the local creatures gather to be hired by the players. The other three cards are kept in the players’ hands. The round continues with an auction where players can use their cards to purchase others. Once the auction is done, players can use their cards’ special abilities to expand their empire and thus score points. Beware however of other players, as they can steal some of your cards, or destroy parts of your empire. The game calls for cunning placement of your cards in your empire and shrewd bidding in the auction phase. The game ands after three full rounds, or after a player manages to build his/her 16th city (card) in his/her empire. Points are awarded based on the value of your cities, majority bonuses and the variation of the cities built in your empire.

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Critical Preview – Hollywood

Hollywood

In the movie-making game Hollywood, each player is a studio boss who tries to produce the most successful blockbuster. Players construct movies from game cards that they draft or purchase. Players compete to get the most popular stars to perform in their movies because this brings them more money and more Hollywood Awards (which are pictured on some cards).

First, players take turns choosing cards with the aid of drafting. Second, players purchase additional star cards (the strongest cards in the game) at the auction. Third, each player uses his nine cards in hand to make one or several movies. A movie must have a minimum of three cards: a Script, a Director and an Actor (or Actress). Additional cast members are optional, but they add to a movie’s total box office. Quality films bring a large amount of profit to the player.

Players go through three production years, then after the third year Hollywood Awards bring extra money to the players, and the richest player wins.

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A Game of Thrones the Board Game (2nd ed) Review

King Robert Baratheon is dead, and the lands of Westeros brace for battle.

In the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, three to six players take on the roles of the great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, as they vie for control of the Iron Throne through the use of diplomacy and warfare. Based on the best-selling A Song of Ice and Fireseries of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones is an epic board game in which it will take more than military might to win. Will you take power through force, use honeyed words to coerce your way onto the throne, or rally the townsfolk to your side? Through strategic planning, masterful diplomacy, and clever card play, spread your influence over Westeros!

To begin the game, each player receives an army of Footman, Knight, Siege Engine, and Ship units, as well as a set of Order tokens and other necessary components. Each player also receives a deck of unique House Cards, which are used as leaders in battles against rival Houses.

Each round in the game is made up of three phases: the Westeros Phase, the Planning Phase, and the Action Phase. The Westeros Phase represents special events and day-to-day activities in Westeros. There are three different Westeros Decks, and each denotes a different global action, potentially affecting all players.

The Planning Phase is perhaps the most important. Here you secretly assign orders to all of your units by placing one order token face down on each area you control that contains at least one unit (Knight, Footman, Ship, or Siege Engine). This portion of the game emphasizes diplomacy and deduction. Can you trust the alliance that you made? Will you betray your ally and march upon him? Players may make promises to each other (for aid or peace, for example), but these promises are never binding. The result is tense and compelling negotiations, often ending in backstabbing worthy of Westeros!

During the Action Phase, the orders are resolved and battle is entered! When armies meet in combat, they secretly choose one of their House cards to add strength to the battle. Finally, the Houses can consolidate their power in the areas they control and use that power in future turns to influence their position in the court of the Iron Throne and to stand against the wildling Hordes.

In addition to featuring updated graphics and a clarified ruleset, this second edition of A Game of Thrones includes elements from the A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords expansions, including ports, garrisons, Wildling cards, and Siege engines, while introducing welcome new innovations like player screens and Tides of Battle cards.

Tides of Battle cards are an optional mechanism that brings an element of unpredictability to combat, representing erratic shifts in the momentum of war due to factors such as weather, morale, and tactical opportunity. During each combat, both players draw one Tides of Battle card from a communal deck, and its value modifies the strength of his chosen House card. What’s more, such a card may also contain icons that can affect the outcome of the battle…all of which delivers a new level of intensity to your military engagements.

~ Fantasy Flight Games

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Pay Dirt Review

Pay Dirt

In Pay Dirt, a gold excavation game set in Alaska, players must manage and grow their entire mining outfit, from workers and personnel to equipment and gear. The Alaskan countryside is an inhospitable environment, so players will face hardships that affect their entire outfit – not to mention the ever-dropping temperature that could shut down their operation…

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