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Use my invite URL to register (this will give me kudos)
http://boardgaming.com/register/?invited_by=ianthehuge
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8
Go to the Compounded page

Compounded

108 out of 115 gamers thought this was helpful

Why I bought Compounded: I bought Compounded based on the excellent reviews by @garbled and @melpomene; so, if after reading this review you are still on the fence, check out their reviews. The reason I was entertaining purchasing Compounded in the first place was because of the theme. Orcs, zombies, and elder things aren’t everyone’s bag of dice (or elements in this case), and I wanted to find a game to hook some of my non-gamer friends who weren’t into the whole fantasy/horror/sci-fi-thing that tends to dominate our table. When it came down to it, it was either Compounded or some game about farming sheep and feeding your kids…

The unboxing: Beautiful components! A bag of multicolored crystalline “elements,” large stat-tracking cards acting as lab tables, a scoring track that’s a periodic table, a stack of square “compound” cards, and assorted tokens for special items and the inevitable lab fires. The pieces could all be about 20% bigger, but it makes for a compact box I can easily throw in my bag. Also, the colors of the components are muted and calming. I know that’s kinda odd to say but I recently bought Nexus Ops (which has a fit inducing color scheme) so I thought it was worth mentioning.

A simplified breakdown of play: There is a 4×4 field of “compound” cards on the table. The goal is to draw and or trade for the right elements you need to complete compounds and thus gain points. The phases are 1) draw elements from the bag and trade if you want, 2) claim compounds in the field, 3) add elements to compounds, and 4) score compounds. Easy! Easier than being a lord of Waterdeep. There are also lab tools you can earn that give you special abilities; and as you complete more compounds you can “level up,” which lets you draw more elements in a turn, or place more elements in a turn, or claim more compounds in a turn, etc. Oh! and also there are lab fires (think Pandemic‘s outbreak cards or Forbidden Island‘s water level cards) that turn up, unintentionally and intentionally!

My first few plays: Learning the game from the rule book was…okay. What helped me the most was seeing it played on a video from Dice Hate Me Games’s site: linked here. Teaching Compounded is an absolute breeze. It takes about 3-4 turns to get the flow and after that it’s a piece of sulfur cake. The majority of the times I’ve played have been with two players, and I’m pleased to tell you that this is a great two-player game (and a great couples game). A dummy board is included to open up trading options, and it gives the other players a common “enemy.” Sure you’re still playing against each other but as long as Nobel (the dummy) doesn’t win you’ll both be happy. The more players you add the more interaction there is, especially when you are trading elements. Thankfully the turns go by quickly enough that even with five players there isn’t too much downtime.

Was Compounded worth it to me? Absolutely! It’s a unique game that’s easy to pick up and which may appeal to your friends who more grounded in reality than you. (This was certainly the case with me.) I found my copy at my FLGS but from what I’ve read it’s been sort of rare recently. Fortunately for you there is a kickstarter starting up as soon as August 1st (Thanks for the head’s up, @paladin!).

Would I recommend it to…?

Family Gamers: Yes! It’s got a unique theme that is easy to learn, and that has all sorts of educational opportunities.

Social Gamers: Maybe. There is player interaction but it’s limited to one phase per turn…and whenever someone lights someone else’s compound on fire. For us it’s enough player interaction to keep everyone talking and laughing for the length of the game.

Strategy Gamers: Maybe. It’s light strategy, maaaaaaybe medium-light. There is the random draw of elements

Casual Gamers: Yes! Easy to learn and easy to teach. It wraps up in about 40 to 45 minutes and you can get on with life.

Avid Gamers: Yes! Unique and perfectly applied theme. You know you have a friend out there that would join your game group if only there were a little less mythril and a little more molybdenum.

Power Gamers: No! Too simple and unpredictable (random element draw and lab fires). But hey, it’s science, and science will not be micromanaged!

7
Go to the Boss Monster page

Boss Monster

107 out of 115 gamers thought this was helpful

Why I bought Boss Monster: Boss Monster was an impulse buy I have to admit. I had no knowledge of the Kickstarter campaign, nor do I remember running across any reviews of it before I spotted the faux NES cartridge box on the shelf at my FLGS. I read the back and loved the idea of being a boss monster and killing heroes with spikes, lava, and dracolichs. It was the first time in a while that I bought a game without any preconceptions or expectations. I bought it simply because it looked like a fun, simple, lighthearted card game.

The unboxing: Boss Monster looks good. The box is matte black. The cards have some great pixel art on them with loads of dorky references. The card quality itself is merely okay. They have a cheap gloss on them and I’ve noticed some flaking at the edges. (This will be rectified in the revised version that is estimated to be released in the first week of June. They are switching production to Cartamundi.) The paper insert is decent and has enough room to hold the base game and expansion without letting the cards slide all over the place.

My first few plays: I won’t go over the how-to’s and what-are’s of the game since they’ve been well-covered by the other reviewers, but the first few plays were a little rough to be honest. The rule book seemed vague on a few points, but all our questions were answered at the Brotherwise website through gameplay videos and the faq. (The revision will also have an updated rulebook.) Once I felt I had a grasp on the rules I played some 2-, 3-, and 4-player games that ranged from almost mechanical to increasingly chaotic as players were added. Not a very positive sounding review so far, is it? Well, honestly, it wouldn’t be if we had just left it alone and played it as it is written. But I felt there was a good game in there waiting to be found…and we found it. It was a simple fix really. We removed all of the heroes with 4 hp. This meant that the epic heroes came out faster, damage had to be managed more efficiently, and spells became incredibly valuable. Once we removed the chumps gameplay improved for every size game: games became more strategic, less chaotic, and far more tense.

How I play now: I was completely satisfied playing Boss Monster with only the minor adjustment mentioned above, until I heard about the Tools of Hero-Kind expansion. The expansion offers a new card type: the item. Which attaches to heroes and makes them even more deadly. Once an item-toting hero is killed in a dungeon, that dungeon’s boss gets a single-use ability attached to that item. For me this expansion fixed everything. Now even the chumps could do some damage. After incorporating the expansion we put the 4-hp heroes back in the deck, and we’ve never turned back.

Is Boss Monster worth it?: It depends on your love of 8-bit games. If you have even a vague fondness for retro video games, yes. But still the only way I’d ever recommend playing the base game sans expansion would be after removing the 4-hp heroes. If you already have the game and found it to be lackluster, I highly recommend the expansion. It fixed everything I didn’t like about the base.

Would I recommend it to…?

The Family Gamer: It’s easy to teach once you understand the rules and the pixel art is definitely cool, but the side-scrolling nostalgic aspect might be lost on the kiddos. So, maybe.

The Social Gamer: Interaction is limited to thwarting other player, but not in a fun Munchkin way. So unless you had a subscription to Nintendo Power, no.

The Strategy Gamer: There are strategic elements, yes, but not enough to make you stay for more than a game or two. So unless you had their first optic blood vessel pop during a midnight run through Brinstar, no.

The Casual Gamer: Easy to play once you’ve checked the faq. Lighthearted. 20-30 minute playtime. Great art design. So, yes. Even if you didn’t grow up with video games, yes.

The Avid Gamer: There isn’t another game like this. (As far as I know.) It is unique and the application of the side-scrolling 8-bit era video game is perfect. Absolutely, yes. Don’t forget the expansion!

The Power Gamer: No. Even if you took your Sega to prom, no.

8
Go to the Pathfinder ACG: RotR – Character Add-On Deck  page
21 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

If you’re reading this then you either have the game already or you are thinking of buying this add-on along with the game. Either way I recommend you get the character add-on, even if you won’t be playing with 5 or 6 players. If you haven’t read reviews of the base-set I would recommend those by @Paladin, @Smudge, and @Wade C. Now, on to the add-on!

The Character Add-On feels more like an expansion than it does an add-on in that it broadens the scope and experiences in the game without feeling like an appendix. The characters that are included (barbarian, paladin, druid, and monk) are all uniquely focused and are not just rebooted, base set characters. They are, to me, the most interesting of the available characters.

Along with the character cards come a large pool of boons (72% as opposed to 28% banes) which can be used by base-set characters as well as the add-on characters. There are no boons that are exclusive to the add-ons, which is a huge plus if you want to use a base character toting around add-on weapons. That’s right, don’t think the boons are merely more of the same cards that are in the base-set. There are many unique and even awesome boons (I’m looking at you deathbane crossbow +1)!

As far as banes go the add-on is much lighter. The henchmen are simply more of what was in the base-set; this was to expand the base scenarios up to 6 players. The monsters and barriers are fine, but nothing to write home about. It is obviously in the character/boon department that this add-on shines, because the Pathfinder Adventure Card game is about spending time with your character and investing in her or him, decking them out with sweet gear and powerful spells. I’m currently on Adventure Pack 4 with my druid and I’m already looking forward to starting again with a monk or barbarian. What kind of hero do you want to be?

Here’s a break-down of the 110-card distribution…because some of us really are that OCD. 🙂

Monsters: 15 = 13%
Blessings: 15 = 13%
Characters (including character, token, and role): 12 = 11%
Items: 12 = 11%
Weapons: 12 = 11%
Spells: 12 = 11%
Armor: 10 = 9%
Allies: 10 = 9%
Barriers: 6 = 5%
Henchmen: 6 = 5%

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