Category Archives: Reviews

RDTN Episode 117: Ethnos, Unfair, and The Captain is Dead

The three games in this episode created different reactions for us. One of them will be a jewel in our collection. One did not get the love that others have shown it. And finally, one created a split among us, something that seldom happens on RDTN. However, Unfair, Ethnos, and The Captain is Dead should not be missed.

Ethnos might make you raise your skepticism thinking that it is just another set collecting game, but there is plenty of strategy in this one. If you are on the fence with Ethnos, check out the Watch It Played video and maybe that will help in your decision.

Unfair is a pure engine builder with the theme of trying to build the best theme park. Like all engine builders, you will increase the efficiency of the engine as you learn the cards. One of the nicest features of the game is it comes with six genres to add to the replay-ability of the base game. The number of genres you pick from depends on the players and they all get shuffled together. Each genre has a different aspect too it, so it helps add to the randomness of the game. But at its heart, it is an engine builder.

The Captain is Dead is a co-op game that offers play up to seven people. Support for that number of people without being a social deduction game is tough to find and truly a gem in the cooperative gaming world. Another high point was that the A.P. in the higher player count did not show up. In our plays, people pretty well knew what needed to be done. All in all, three very solid games worth a look for sure.

In the Kickstarters we mentioned, the Big Viking Mats is off and running and is almost half way to the funding goal. Went back and looked at all options when it comes to finding a game mat to fit the table and while there may be some cheaper options, you really need to look at the type and quality of mat. I found a 4×8 mat for $50 and come to find out, is was great for the floor in a horse stall. But it is so heavy that it would not work for a gaming table. Big Viking Mats is a very good option and Paul is looking to be as accommodating with the design as he can be.

Chariots of Rome is also off and running and coming to the first turn in their funding. They have a ways to go, but plenty of time so far. This isn’t one of those huge scale racing game, but a fun frolic through the Circus where you are pushing your luck and trying to out think your opponents. Be sure to watch all their videos on their KS page to get a really good idea what the game is about.

Be sure to check out the two apps we mentioned as well: Tokaido and Terra Mystica

In our next episode, we go back to the movies for our summer preview and be sure to watch this space for how to enter in our next contest.

RDTN Episode 116: Assault of the Giants, Jump Drive, Moons and Chit Chat

After many attempts to get the segment to rise from the ashes, we were successful in rezzing Chit Chat for this episode. We are honored to have Mandi Hutchinson join the Chit Chat team, so please be sure to be on your best behavior while she is here. However, Suzanne is use to y’all so carry on as normal. In the segment, we tackle the dilemma of how do you cull your games and, without a doubt, there are many ways to look at it. We are just going to present our ways from the simple to the completely ridiculous* and hope that you will contribute some of yours on either the RDTN Guild or Facebook Page.

Assault of the Giants by Wizkids games is the big review in this episode. This is an area control game where giant
factions are battling for ordning points by completing events or battling with other clans on the board. The game is based on the Dungeons & Dragons adventures and comes from the story the Storm King’s Thunder which was published in 2016 and is often seen as one of the best adventures for 5th edition. The premise of that story is that the giants are running a muck and the small folk must battle the giants or be crushed. This game uses the very start of the story where the giants have emerged. Players control one faction on the board and play command cards to do the various actions. The game is straight forward and fairly easy to teach. Most importantly for us, the game makes us want to play it again because we had a nagging sensation that we could have done better. If you get a chance to give this a try, be sure to do it.

We also have two 5 Minute Initiative reviews based on two new card games. Jump Drive is from Rio Grande Games and is from the Race for the Galaxy universe. This is a clearly a filler that might help you with Race or Roll for the Galaxy in a generic way, but it would be stretching it to say it is an intro to either of those games. Don’t give this too much analysis, it is a filler game. The other game is Moons from one of our local designers, Robert Burke. This trick-taking card game is not a filler and is similar to the card game Diamonds by Stronghold Games. There are some nice one offs to a standard card game that is enough that you might not want to pass up a play if you get the opportunity. Both games are not without their minor faults from a big point swing in Jump Drive to the advantages that the asteroid cards have in Moons. But, we would still play them if brought out on the table.

Be sure to check out the Secret Cabal crowd funding that is going on if you are so inclined. One other thing, if you have yet to write a review or rank RDTN over at iTunes, we would greatly appreciate it.

Segment Time
Intro 00:34
The Captain is Dead 5:26
Secret Cabal KS 14:13
Jump Drive Review 20:07
Portal Games 24:54
Assault of the Giants 25:44
Chit Chat 45:44
Moons Review 1:18:43
The Broken Token 1:23:35
Outro  1:24:23

Definition of gibbous
1 a : marked by convexity or swelling
b of the moon or a planet : seen with more than half but not all of the apparent disk illuminated
2: having a hump

RDTN Episode 115: VAST, Imperial Settlers-Aztecs, Balloon Pop, and Interview with Justin Jacobson

It is no secret that we like games that have some type of asymmetrical component to it and VAST: The Crystal Caverns has this. The fact that each individual has their own “powers” and play style is what brings us to the table for this game. But, the individuality doesn’t keep the interaction down because everyone must help one another at times in hopes that they are able to score their winning condition when the time is right. One thing that would scare us for sure in designing this game is how to balance this game with all this individuality. But thank goodness they did achieve it. And due to the individuality, you will spend time getting good at one, then realize you got four more to go, so the replays will be in this game. There has been some negative comments out in the community, but you do owe yourself at least one play of this game.

We also got to try the Aztec expansion for Imperial Settlers which we were lucky enough to demo back in July of 2016. We enjoy Imperial Settlers and this expansion will hopefully get the game to the table more. The Pray mechanic and Blessing resource are truly a new and innovative approach for this type of game. Instead of a dry get resource, use resource repetitive play, you know have the randomness that these games are lacking at times. Also, there was an error on a card that delayed this game coming out until Portal was able to reprint this one card and stick in each expansion. That goes a long way in showing the type of company you are dealing with because they could have just pushed the expansion out and had people contact them for a replacement. Well done Ignacy, well done.

It is exciting that Stop Thief got funded, but wait till you listen to Justin tell us about the plans for Restoration Games. They are already working on more games and will be making announcements at Gen Con. We tried, man did we try to get him to Spill the Beans, but he was tight lipped. He did promise to come back and we will surely have him back on the show and hopefully Rob Daviau will join us.

Segment Time
Intro 00:45
GAMA News 2:45
Castle Dukes 6:30
Cooking with Dice 7:55
Evolution Climate 9:58
Balloon Pop 11:43
Karuba 15:10
First play of Star Wars Rebellion 16:43
Imperial Settlers: Aztecs 19:23
Portal Games 24:25
VAST: The Crystal Caverns 24:56
The Broken Token 46:58
Justin Jacobson 47:25
Outro 1:04:20
Funagain 1:10:05