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Mur Lafferty

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Use my invite URL to register (this will give me kudos)
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Go to the Quarriors! page
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Go to the Escape: The Curse of the Temple page
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Go to the Escape: The Curse of the Temple page
129 out of 142 gamers thought this was helpful

Many good games contain a strong mechanic paired with a good story. The goal of the game is to let you experience the story with the mechanic. And if any game is dedicated to replicating the experience of the story, that game is Escape!.

I always explain it as “you’re Indiana Jones, and you realize you can’t get out of the temple unless you put all the gems back. And there’s dice.”

The dice include four sides that show images that are your goals for moving around the game- to unlock a new room, you roll two green adventurers (this is two sides of the die, so a 30% chance of rolling), or to move into some rooms you need a running person and a key. Black masks lock your dice, meaning you can’t pick them up and reroll them, and gold masks unlock two black dice.

It’s important to stick with other players so that if you get all five of your dice being black masks, someone else in the same room can give you one of their gold masks. If they roll one.

I hadn’t played a real time co-op game before Escape!, and I don’t deny it- it’s stressful. All that dice rolling, keeping track of the dice you have and the dice you need, and getting the strategy deciding which dice to re-roll. Do you keep rolling when you have what you need, but you have too many dice locked up, or do you dedicate everything to getting your gold masks to unlock your black masks? Then there’s getting locked up and needing help.

We have people in our gaming group that don’t enjoy that aspect of it, but I find the immersive feelings integral to the experience. That’s the challenge: you don’t just have to escape, but you have to escape NOW.

There is a mechanic so that if enough people get too many black masks, you can decide as a group to add one gem to the stash you must return to the temple, making the game a tiny bit harder, but giving everyone a free reroll of all the dice.

The best part is, if you like the game, then you can play several games in an evening to get the hang of the game. And if you don’t like it, then it’s just ten minutes out of your evening and you can go play something more sedate. There’s no reason not to try Escape just once, you can’t go wrong. Lot of dice rolling, lot of yelling, and a whole lot of fun.

Go to the Locke & Key: The Game page
62 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

I love games and I love Locke and Key, so I thought this was a no-brainer. But when I got it, I discovered the ugly truth that some game designers take an existing license and create a game the delves deeply into the story, and some take a simple game and slap a license on top of it.

While you ARE Frodo and Sam in many of the LOTR games, and you ARE Arkham investigators in Arkham Horror, you get no sense of exploring the Keyhouse or participating in the adventures of Bode and Kinsey and Tyler with the Locke and Key game. You get a simple card game. Some people say you don’t need to have read the comics to play, but even if that’s the case, people should walk away from the game having some sense of the world of Locke and Key. It failed to give me a sense of the world, and I was very disappointed.

The art is excellent, but that’s because the art in the comic is excellent. I’d just suggest reading the comic to understand the horror and wonder that is the Keyhouse and the Locke family.

Go to the Can't Stop page

Can't Stop

78 out of 109 gamers thought this was helpful

I do love the more complex games that take hours to play and have a rulebook longer than most George RR Martin novels, but every once in a while a fun game that is beautifully simple in its strategy and gameplay comes along, and I’m hooked.

Can’t Stop is one of those games. Great for a quick game while you’re waiting for late arrivals to you gaming group to show up, it’s a game that seemingly relies on luck to play – dice rolls – but there is complexity in deciding whether to follow the common, longer paths, (6, 7, 8) or chance the super-short, rare paths (2 and 12). Do you advance existing tokens or do you start new ones to diversify and threaten opponents? And the biggest question – do you take the chance and roll again, risking everything you’ve earned this turn?

It’s a surprisingly strategical simple dice game that I will always be eager to play if it comes up.

Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

19 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of those games where I love the idea- who doesn’t want to play zombie aliens or pirate leprechauns? – but the gameplay simply wasn’t fun. It’s a surprisingly complex game, in that I can’t imagine how long it would take to properly test each combo*, but clearly there are some combinations that are game-breakers, which makes the game frustrating at best and boring at worst.

Instead of building your own bases or forts and attacking each other, you’re all battling for domination of forts by playing cards on each fort. You can spread out your influence or try to dominate one fort. It feels like a king of the hill game, and if you have the wrong combination, you’re sunk.

(Speaking of king of the hill games, it reminds me of King of Tokyo, a vastly superior game.)

I get frustrated and lose interest if a game relies mostly on luck of the draw, so a game like this just loses me.

*My point being I do NOT think they playtested the game well enough, or they would have caught that some combinations simply are too strong or too weak.

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