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Go to the Clank! page


29 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

Since Dominion there have been a dearth of deckbuilders. Many have missed what makes Dominion so good – the speed. In Dominion players can play their hand very quickly, draw up a new hand and cycle through their deck very fast. Many of the more modern deckbuilders have switched gears and taken more of a hand management where the players don’t want to lose cards from their hands and where getting through your deck is a bad thing.
Pleasingly, Clank! eschews all of this modern deckbuilding nonsense and goes back to the Dominion feel. Players start with a small deck with some ok and some rubbish cards in. They will buy cards from a row that’s on offer and increase their powers. Those powers will become important in doing a bit of dungeon delving.

The players in Clank! have dared each other to steal the best treaure from the dragon’s dungeon. To win, a player must get into the dungeon, find an artefact and return to the start with it. However, they must also prove themselves to be the best thief so must get as much gold as possible as well. Cards and tokens will also be worth points at the end so gather as many of those as well.

Once one player gets out then it’s a race for the other players as the dragon (who has now been told about the other players and their evil thievery) has awoken and will attack every turn!

Oh, I forgot to mention the dragon attacks! Players should try to be stealthy in Clank! as stumbling around, stealing valuable gems or flipping lucky coins(!) all produce Clank!, i.e. noise. The more noise you make the more likely the dragon will hurt you when it attacks. And dragon attacks are always a surprise (until one person gets out).

It’s a great game with a great sense of humour. The game hits all the fantasy tropes but adds fun to them. Singing sword? Great for fighting monsters but all that noise it’s making is bound to attract the dragon! That pesky Kobold? He’s weak but until someone takes care of him he’s going to keep pointing out your whereabouts to the dragon. And the endless goblins that provide players with an endless supply of coins.

Oh, and enjoy all the bizarre monkey goodness! 🙂

Go to the Azul page


14 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

It doesn’t matter what the theme is meant to be for Azul – the rules of the game don’t reflect anything that is really happening. It is a beautiful abstract. I don’t just mean the pieces, the gameplay is beautiful, too.
In this game, players are taking tiles from little groups of tiles and adding them to their board in rows. The restriction is that all the tiles taken must be the same colour and all the tiles of that colour must be taken. When added to the player’s board, the tiles must be placed in a row and all the tiles in that row must be the same colour. The rows have 1 to 5 spaces – if there’s no room left then the player will be penalised for extra tiles. At the end of the round, all of the full rows will have one of the tiles taken off and added to the main ‘picture’ on the board, a 5×5 grid. Once someone completes a row in the that ‘picture’ then the game ends.
It’s these restrictions that make the game so enjoyably brutal. You can see what you need and so can your opponents. They can then make sure that the tiles you want aren’t available leaving you with unwanted tiles that will lose you points. As the round goes on the options become less until you find yourself painted into a corner. But it’s a great feeling because all the players are in the same position.
Since Azul plays quickly it never outstays its welcome. In fact, I have sometimes felt surprised that the game ended so quickly!
Go get it – it’s lovely and it’s brutal!

Go to the Friday page


17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

There’s a lot going for this little game. It’s simple enough to get your head around the basic concept but at the same time you really find yourself poring over some of the decisions that come up in the game. Many of the cards have special abilities when used as fighting cards giving another layer to think about. Combine that with the number of cards in the deck and you have a game that has a good amount of replayability.

Repeated plays do feel different. In one game you might find yourself spending a lot of life rapidly to thin out your deck because the first Hazards are simply too difficult. The following game might feel easier because that hasn’t happened but then a tricky hazard crops up later and spoils your plans.

Play can be very tense. You start off feeling confident with lots of life but you soon find yourself with only a couple of Life tokens left begging that the top Fighting card will be enough to defeat the Hazard! This gives the feeling that the game is a real challenge. When you do win against the game then you truly feel like you achieved something!

The length of play is good, too. It takes about 20 minutes to play a game so fits nicely into a lunchbreak if you’ve found yourself on your tod (as I have a few times 🙂 ). And if you think it’s all getting a bit too easy, there is a scoring mechanism of adding up good cards and taking off bad cards. This means a player can see if they are improving or not over time. If the game is still too easy then there are four levels to play at, making the game gradually more and more difficult.

There’s not many cons, to be honest. One might be the artwork; as I mentioned above I did walk past this game the first time I saw it. The art gave me no idea of how deep the game is. But once you’ve got playing the artwork is soon ok.

Secondly, there might be a slight issue with some translations. The rulebook is nicely laid out and gives plenty of examples but there were still a couple of rules that confused me the first time I played it. A couple of terms were used with slightly different meanings in the rules leading to some misunderstanding. I did have to check the rule about paying life when being defeated by a Hazard as I thought I still got to keep the Hazard afterwards! This is quite fundamental!

But those are small cons compared to the pros. This game is very good and I have already clocked up many games of it since acquiring it this year. I suspect there are many more games of Friday to be had by me. The only thing is: can you bring yourself to game solo? This almost feels like crossing a certain line of geekiness. That said, there are times that you just want to game and there’s nobody around!

I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys board games in general, particular if they sometimes have problem getting enough people together to scratch that board game itch! Go on – give Crusoe a hand, you’ll feel a real sense of victory when he escapes from the island!

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