Tag Archives: Euro Game

Dominant Species (Video Review)


Game Overview
90,000 B.C. — A great ice age is fast approaching. Another titanic struggle for global supremacy has unwittingly commenced between the varying animal species.
Dominant Species is a game that abstractly recreates a tiny portion of ancient history: the ponderous encroachment of an ice age and what that entails for the living creatures trying to adapt to the slowly-changing earth.
Each player will assume the role of one of six major animal classes — mammal, reptile, bird, amphibian, arachnid or insect. Each begins the game more or less in a state of natural balance in relation to one another. But that won’t last: It is indeed “survival of the fittest.”
Through wily action pawn placement, players will strive to become dominant on as many different terrain tiles as possible in order to claim powerful card effects. Players will also want to propagate their individual species in order to earn victory points for their particular animal. Players will be aided in these endeavors via speciation, migration and adaptation actions, among others.
All of this eventually leads to the end game — the final ascent of the ice age — where the player having accumulated the most victory points will have his animal crowned the Dominant Species.
But somebody better become dominant quickly, because it’s getting mighty cold….

Game Play
The large hexagonal tiles are used throughout the game to create an ever-expanding interpretation of earth as it might have appeared a thousand centuries ago. The smaller tundra tiles will be placed atop the larger tiles — converting them into tundra in the process — as the ice age encroaches.
The cylindrical action pawns (or “AP”s) drive the game. Each AP will allow a player to perform the various actions that can be taken, such as speciation, environmental change, migration or glaciation. After being placed on the action display during the Planning Phase, an AP will trigger that particular action for the owning player during the Execution Phase.
Generally, players will be trying to enhance their own animals’ survivability while simultaneously trying to hinder that of their opponents’ — hopefully collecting valuable victory points (or “VP”s) along the way. The various cards will aid in these efforts, giving players useful one-time abilities or an opportunity for recurring VP gains.
Throughout the game, species cubes will be added to, moved about in, and removed from the tiles in play (the “earth”). Element disks will be added to and removed from both animals and earth.
When the game ends, players will conduct a final scoring of each tile — after which the player controlling the animal with the highest VP total wins the game.








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Trajan (Video Review)


Set in ancient Rome, Trajan is a development game in which players try to increase their influence and power in various areas of Roman life such as political influence, trading, military dominion and other important parts of Roman culture.

The central mechanism of the game uses a system similar to that in Mancala or pit-and-pebbles games. In Trajan, a player has six possible actions: building, trading, taking tiles from the forum, using the military, influencing the Senate, and placing Trajan tiles on his tableau.

At the start of the game, each player has two differently colored pieces in each of the six sections (bowls) of his tableau. On a turn, the player picks up all the pieces in one bowl and distributes them one-by-one in bowls in a clockwise order. Wherever the final piece is placed, the player takes the action associated with that bowl; in addition, if the colored pieces in that bowl match the colors shown on a Trajan tile next to the bowl (with tiles being placed at the start of the game and through later actions), then the player takes the additional action shown on that tile.

What are you trying to do with these actions? Acquire victory points (VPs) in whatever ways are available to you – and since this is a Feld design, you try to avoid being punished, too. At the Forum you try to anticipate the demands of the public so that you can supply them what they want and not suffer a penalty. In the Senate you acquire influence which translates into votes on VP-related laws, ideally snagging a law that fits your long-term plans. With the military, you take control of regions in Europe, earning more points for those regions far from Rome.

All game components are language neutral, and the playing time is 30 minutes per player.

~ Ammonit Spiele

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Urban Sprawl Video Review


Urban Sprawl is a game for 2-4 players. Urban Sprawl abstractly models the growth of a town into a thriving city into a teeming metropolis.

Players assume the roles of entrepreneur, tycoon and politician — each helping in the development of a hypothetical “Anywhere, USA.” Wealth and Prestige will be earned and spent throughout the game. Buildings will rise only to later be demolished for better and larger fare.

Throughout the game players will gather valuable Permits. These will result in either a wealthy Investment or the foundation of a new building Contract. Players will strive to become dominant in one or more building Zones in order to acquire beneficial political offices.

All of this eventually leads to the end game – a vibrant metropolis that is revered around the world – when the player with the most Prestige will be crowned the winner.

Game Play:
The grid of streets on the board provides the framework for building the small town. The buildings will be placed within the grid and identified with control markers (wooden cubes) to show each player’s contribution to the growing urban area. Each building’s value is determined by the cumulative Wealth and Prestige values of the block in which is it constructed.

At the start of a player’s turn he may discard one or more Building Permit cards from hand as “Investments,” gaining Wealth in doing so. Next that player gets 6 “Action Points” (APs) with which to spend on any of the the following activities:

• Acquiring new Building Permit cards from those available to choose;
• Constructing new buildings from those currently available;
• Acquiring a “Favor” — a Building Contract that only that player can build.

Each activity carries with it a variable cost in APs, depending on where the chosen card lies on the board.

Once a player has spent his APs it’s time for a quick reset phase in readiness for the next player’s turn. It is during this phase that events can occur, elections can be held for the various political offices, and players receive payouts in Wealth and Prestige. Wealth payouts provide funding for new buildings while Prestige payouts provide victory points.

Generally, players will be trying to build in areas that provide better payouts. Players are also looking to construct more buildings of a particular “zone” – Government, Residential, Industrial or Commercial – in order to help them win an election, as the politicians each confer a special ability to the player holding the office. Many of the buildings also provide a one-time bonus as they are built, and players can benefit from construction in the right neighborhoods.

Throughout the game, the values of the buildings will generally increase as the town grows into a city and then a large metropolis. Neighborhoods that were once valuable can become run down and new city centers spring up as the urban areas sprawl out across the grid.

When the game ends, players will conduct a final scoring of each Prestige row, earn points based on accumulated Wealth, and score bonus points for political offices held — after which the player with the highest Prestige total wins the game.

~  GMT

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Time Pirates (Review and Play Through)


 Players are skipping through time to steal various artifacts from ancient civilizations. Each of the time periods have only two pathways, so travel is somewhat limited. When in an era, you can refill the tiles, collect tiles, or move on. However, the Time Police are also patrolling the time periods. If the Time Police catch you, they’ll steal all the tiles of your largest collection of artifacts! After three rounds of collection, the player with the best collection wins.

~ Rio Grande Games










Last Will (Video Review)


In Victorian England, the profits of the Industrial Revolution have given rise to a wealthy upper class of English ladies and gentlemen. Sadly, you are not among them. But you do have a rich uncle, recently departed, who decided on his death bed to leave all his money to the relative who will enjoy it the most. To find out who that is, you and your cousins will each be given a substantial sum of money. Whoever can spend it the fastest will inherit all your uncle’s wealth.

Last Will is a race to bankruptcy. In each round, you choose a plan for the day, which determines how many options you will have available and how much time you will have for them. If you don’t give yourself enough options, you might find yourself with nothing left to do after attending the theatre. If you don’t set aside enough time, you might have to forgo dinner prepared by London’s most famous chef or a carriage ride with a charming guest. And don’t neglect your property investments. Or rather, do neglect them: Once your properties depreciate, you can sell them for a pittance, bringing you that much closer to bankruptcy. The upper class lifestyle provides you many opportunities to spend your uncle’s money. Just be sure to spend it fast.

A luxurious life of fabulous wealth is within your grasp. With your uncle’s Last Will, bankruptcy leads to riches!

– Czech Games Edition

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