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Player Avatar
5
The Silver Heart
Video Game Fan
I Am What I Am
Go to the Rokoko page
8
Freyja {Casual Gamer} Sep 3rd, 2015
“Worker placement, a bit of deck building and lots of dresses”

rok
Gameplay
You are a dressmaker / tailor with the objective to gain the most prestige points by providing dresses and coats to the distinguished guests as well as funding decorations and fireworks for the biggest ball of the season which is in 7 rounds time.

This is a 2-5 player game (which is a good start for me as having the option of more than 4 players on the base game is always a plus). The gameplay involves part deck building and part worker placement. You use 3 employees (cards) each round to do your bidding via worker placement, with the mechanic of requiring you to use the cards you did not use last round, meaning hiring and firing employees is also a big part of the strategy. During a round, each turn (i.e. each card you play) you choose a primary action and each employee has a specific secondary action (although in some cases this is nothing) and there are three levels of mastery (apprentice, journeyman and master) who can perform different actions on the board.

The actions you can carry out on your turn include, buying cloth / resources (to make attire), making attire, funding a decoration, buying / hiring employees, getting start player. As mentioned above there are different levels of cards, for example an apprentice cannot make attire but he can go and get the cloth for you. You exchange money through some of these actions and also gain a salary every round.

There are a lot of other bonuses you can gain throughout the game depending on where you place your creations on the board, what decorations you fund and using employees secondary actions which really adds some depth to the strategy.

The game is easy to learn but there is definitely an advantage for those who have played the game before, so may take a few games to get up to speed.

Who is it for?
This is quite a light euro game but also with a fair amount of strategy and a lot of “oooh…I was going to go there” but in a good way. I would say this is a great family game as well as a good game to play with friends. Don’t be put off if you think the theme is too girly, this really isn’t the case…if you’re worried you could always just make coats and be a tailor!

Pros
-Good selection of different moves without being overcome with too much choice
-Lovely theme and artwork
-Good components (a mix of thick cardboard and wooden pieces)
-Easy to learn and family friendly
-Good length of play of about 1 – 2 hours

Cons
-The number of actions available may be lacking for the more heavy strategy gamer – as opposed to something like Caverna but all the different bonuses mean it isn’t too light in this respect either.
-It is easy to have “your spot” taken before you get there so if you’re not a big fan of this then take heed

Should you own this game?
I really enjoy this game and like the mix of deck building and worker placement so if you are looking for a slightly different take on worker placement which isn’t too heavy, with a great theme then go for it. If you are not a big fan of stepping on each others toes during worker placement then this may not be for you.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
31 out of 36 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
4
Cryptozoic Entertainment fan
AEG fan
Go to the Scoville page
9
Fullmetalwwant {Avid Gamer} Sep 2nd, 2015
“Cause peppers are awesome!”

Ah yes, the life of a farmer is often one of hardship. Often times, you have to decide which crops to grow every year. However, one such crop is known all over the world and that’s peppers. From the tame to the most extreme levels of hot, peppers is a fine little thing that everyone likes, maybe.

Scoville is a game about planting peppers and getting different kinds of them for a contest on who has the best peppers. From fulfillment cards to making some recipes, Scoville is the kind of game that last place can very well mean first place. How will you handle the heat?

By now, mostly everyone took the hot puns so it’s pretty cool here anyways.

Gameplay

Over the series of rounds, players will be able to plant and harvest peppers. There are 5 phases of the game and each has their own rules as to what you can do. Plus, it’s important to understand this because player order is important!

1. Auction – The first thing players do is the auction phase *This doesn’t happen when the game starts, afterwards this phase begins in Round 2* To begin, players put whoever many coins they have in their hands and once everyone is ready, you reveal the coins to everyone. Whoever has the most coins will determine where on the turn order track they want to be. Once everyone decides, in turn order from left to right, you get to select one of the auction cards on top of the board to gain some extra peppers. Once everyone has chosen a card, we move to the next phase.
2. Planting – From left to right, players then choose one of their peppers to plant on the main board. The key thing here is that they must be horizontally or vertically touching another pepper in order to be planted. This is also where you earn award plaques if you were the first person to plant a certain pepper.
3. Harvesting – In reverse turn order, players then move their farmers on the board to gain peppers depending on what two peppers they can make. Players may move up to three notches (four if you decide to use one of your bonus action tiles). When in between two peppers, players look to see what peppers they make and gain that pepper from the supply and continue moving forward. Players can only turn around at the start of the their movement and never in between. Turn order is important because players can go through a player on the board so you have to go around players just to get to a space you want to go. Once everyone has made their move, we go to the next phase.
4. Fulfillment – This is where players can try to fulfill some goods to get some points back in return. While players can perform any of these actions in any order, they can only do each action once!
-Visit the Farmers’ Market: A player can choose one of the market cards to see if they can fulfill them. They can range from giving you peppers, points or coins.
-Compete at the Chili Cookoff: Here you can use a number of peppers to make recipes and earn points. The more peppers a recipe uses, the more points it’ll give you.
-Sell a batch of Peppers: Each sold pepper you will net you $1 for every 2 of that colored pepper is on the board. This is more helpful towards later rounds once you start getting more peppers on the board.
5. Time Check – This is the final phase of the round to determine if we are at the endgame or if we switch from Morning to Afternoon.
-If it’s Morning, check to see how many recipe cards are left. If there are fewer cards then players, then one more round is played and the game ends. If there are still more market cards then players, we are still in the Morning. If there are fewer, then we go into the Afternoon and we replace all the auction and market cards from the Morning deck to the Afternoon deck.
-If it’s Afternoon, check the recipe and market locations. If one of them has fewer cards then players, then play one more round. If both locations have less cards then players, then the game ends without going another round.

Once you determined what happens, another round begins until one of the above happens. Once everyone is finished, you count up how many points you have based on the market, recipe, award plaques and bonus tiles you have. Coins are awarded points for every 3 dollars you have, you get a point. Whoever has the most points is the winner of Scoville! In an event of a tie, the winner is the one who has the most coins!

Feeling the Heat

Scoville is probably one of my favorite games made by TMG. Everything about the game screams theme and the peppers are just the best little components I’ve seen. The game itself is like a thinking game. You understand how to make more peppers but the key factor is that auction phase of the game. Do you go first to get more peppers or do you decide to go last in hopes to harvest the best peppers while prevent players from getting theirs? The choice is yours to determine where you want to go. The game allows you to get points from either the market or the chili cookoff so you can expand your options and get the peppers you want.

Later in the game, you will start getting more of those complex peppers that can be worth big points at the end of the game. Each time you make a phantom pepper, you see how much work you placed into getting that. Those bigger recipes call for using more rare peppers and it’s often very hard to get what you want because other players went on your space on the board. This is where money can be a big hindrance to players because you get money from completing market cards but it isn’t that much. So often times, you have to bid smart in order to get what you want. And that could mean coming between first and last and your goals could change depending on where you go.

If I can mention one thing about this game is that this is a fun game that isn’t that heavy. It does make you think but it won’t take you hours to complete the game. It’s simple to understand the rules once you get a few rounds in and players will start talking out loud about what they want to do. I remember in one game a friend was taking a while to decide what they want to plant. Thankfully the game comes with those breeding charts or it would take forever to finish the game. Often times, you have to really think about what you want to do but players could plant brown peppers on the board to mess up the field. This is because brown peppers can’t make other peppers and are the loser peppers of the world so if you plant them next to peppers that can make other peppers, you might as well try planting at a different area to get those good peppers.

Final Verdict

Scoville is probably one of my favorite games from TMG (and I like Belfort and that’s a bit more of a heavier game then Scoville). The fact that you plant peppers and make other peppers is really great and once the game ends and you see the board, that’s a lot of hard work for just peppers. Everything about the game is wonderful and the peppers themselves won my heart over. This is a fun little game that can be great for other players to enjoy very much. While some players complained about the bidding aspect of the game, I like it very much just so that it gives a sense of luck with who gets to determine their player order first. But remember, its not always the first or last player to gain the victory.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
40 out of 46 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
8
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
The Gold Heart
Go to the Cypher page
6
Tom {Casual Gamer} Sep 1st, 2015
“19 Cards in a Blue Velvet Pouch...”

I am a loyal fan of Love Letter, and I have logged nearly 200 plays. So I was delighted to find Cypher, also from AEG, in late 2014. The two games share many features. Most notable are the clamshell packaging, soft velvet storage bags, and a handful of cards. Both games are quite portable, easy to learn, and very inexpensive.

Cypher has much more of its instruction booklet devoted to the game’s theme and “back story” than Love Letter. There are several pages devoted to Cypher’s history and purpose. They explain how the existence of a future world depends on the security and integrity of a computer network called “Nexus”. “Cypher”, an artificial intelligence that has hacked into Nexus, is the antagonist in the story.

The setup and gameplay of Cypher are quite simple, and the game works for 2-4 players. On his turn, a player plays, draws, passes (to another player), and discards a card. As cards are played, their effect(s) must completed immediately, even if the effect is negative to the player who plays the card. The cards have point values, called “influence”, ranging from 0-9. Cards played are kept in front of each player and totaled at game’s end.

The game’s end is triggered when a player plays the “Cypher Anomaly” card or when the draw deck is exhausted. After the trigger, each player gets one more turn, and the player with the most influence (total points) wins. Games take just five to 10 minutes to play, so it is easy to play several games per sitting.

I think Cypher suffers from its association with Love Letter. I suspect far more people have some familiarity Love Letter than do with Cypher. Its charming simplicity makes Love Letter accessible, unintimidating, fun. While Cypher shares some of Love Letter’s family traits, it lacks Love Letter’s straightforward appeal. I also find Cypher’s dark, futuristic theme to be less alluring than Love Letter’s domain of Tempest.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
41 out of 46 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
2
Critic - Level 1
Go to the Exploding Kittens page
6
balut {Avid Gamer} Sep 1st, 2015
“Easy to learn casual game for a group”

In a nutshell:
A simple, easy-to-learn competitive survival card game with unique art and humor from The Oatmeal. Works better the more players you have involved. Typical game time is about 30 minutes.

Overview:
Everyone starts with a hand of 5 cards: 1 Defuse card, and 4 randomly shuffled non-Exploding Kitten cards. On their turn, each player plays as many cards as they want from their hand, and then draws a card. If they draw an Exploding Kitten, they have to either play a Defuse card, or they’re dead and out of the game. Play continue clockwise until only 1 player remains.

Aside from the vital Defuse cards and deadly Exploding Kitten cards, other cards in the deck are designed to either minimize your exposure to danger or increase the danger to other players. Certain cards let you see the see upcoming cards in the deck, allowing you to tailor your play to take advantage of the card draws. Other cards let you skip your draw turn, or force the next player to take multiple turns, or steal a card from another player’s hand.

One of the most powerful – and often humorous – cards is the Nope! card, which lets you cancel any non-Defuse, non-Exploding Kitten card action played by someone else. Furthermore, a Nope! card can be played to counter a Nope! card, so at crucial moments in the game, you can have several Nope! cards played in quick succession, forcing everyone to sort out what exactly happened (or didn’t happen). It’s probably the most exciting card play sequence in the game.

Eventually, every player but one will draw an Exploding Kitten with no defense against it, and the last player earns bragging rights as the victor.

Conclusion:
A quick, casual card game that’s enjoyable in small doses, and works best as a warm up to more in-depth boardgaming or as a palate-cleanser between other games.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
43 out of 49 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
1
I'm a Real Person
Go to the Escape: The Curse of the Temple page
4
Micco {Social Gamer} Sep 1st, 2015
“Stressing chaos and insane objective”

The objective of the game is to get out of a temple before the time is up.
The running back and forth to find the exit, but also collecting diamonds to be able to get out of the temple.

With people rolling and rolling and rolling dice, it is almost impossible to coordinate usage of all the dice.
Also the time track that comes with the game is insane.. In the basic time track, they want the players to return to the starting room twice… It is almost impossible to get back and find the exit room, so we actually wind up just using a stop watch instead of the soundtrack.

Generally the game can be fun enough, but I find it way to stressing..

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
42 out of 50 gamers thought this review was helpful

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