Martians: A Story of Civilization Review

Mars seems to be the hot ticket right now. Whether people are terraforming it, journeying to it, colonising it or battering it and deep frying it, the Red Planet has got more attention than Sean Spicer talking about what he believes to be an accurate account of German history. There are currently rovers on Mars roaming around giving us more information than ever before and they’re all more reliable than the cars of the same name. Rover Metros were less reliable than a London Midland commuter train on a bad day and the Mars Rover took less time to get to its destination.

So being the space-nut that I am, sometime in 2016 I jumped on the backing bandwagon, boarded the mission to Mars and backed Martians: A Story of Civilization. And I note the awful Americanisation of our beloved mother tongue with that filthy “z” instead of the Queen’s “s”, but, like an excited hound with the keys to a JCB, I dive down yet another rabbit hole.

Steve, Andy, his potty mouth, Jon and his creaky chair have come together for another batch of board gaming chat. In part one of a two parts special (I say special, its more that we waffled for too long and had to chop it down) we go through Andy’s Kickstarter habit, have a discussion on the pronunciation of the word Brass, Nandos and how best to censor Andy.

We also talk about some games, since that’s why we’re here. Andy takes us to Mars, in a Story of Civilisation, Steve ventures through time in TIME Stories Expedition Endurance, Jon is all at sea with Tsuro and we all learn some valuable science from Dr Lewis in Planetarium.

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T.I.M.E Stories: Expedition: Endurance Review

I have been a big fan of T.I.M.E Stories. At the time of its release the Myst style puzzles, accompanied by amazing artwork and interesting stories, made it one of my favourite cooperative game experiences. But this feeling has been eroded. The introduction of ‘escape room’ type games follow a similar concept and Mansions of Madness second edition and the Arkham Horror LCG have both made games that offer similar experiences in a much more re-playable format.

This meant that although I was eager to play the latest T.I.M.E Stories expansion ¬- Expedition: Endurance - as I played it the other games in this genre preyed in my mind. To remain king of the hill, T.I.M.E Stories would have to deliver an absolute blinder of a puzzle. Unfortunately, it failed.
Potion Explosion App Review

So let's get this straight; Potion Explosion is a board game, based on a mobile app that now been turned into a mobile app. Confused? Don't be, because Potion Explosion is a fun little game that works just as well on both the tabletop and your telephone or tablet.

The premise is simple, you need to brew potions and do it better than your opponent. To do this you will need to gather four different ingredients each represented by coloured marbles, in varying quantities. Each turn you are only allowed to collect one ingredient from the rack, but if by doing so two ingredients of the same colour come into contact then they explode and you get to collect all of those of the same colour. If by removing these ingredients you then cause another group of the same colour to come into contact then you also get to collect those as well. It means you can set off a cascade and grab a handful of ingredients by simply removing one key ingredient.

Planetarium Review

 A few months ago when I took a peek at Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy, I may have let slip that I was a student of Astrophysics. Sitting in or on an observatory in the middle of winter was all very well, but it did have a habit of reducing one’s tackle to the size of a cashew nut given that the observatory in question was in Scotland. Thankfully it wasn’t all steering telescopes and going cross-eyed trying to discern one speck of light from another. Part of my study of all things “space” involved the formation of stars and consequentially, the formation of planets. I could start harping on about accretion disks, gravitational fields and potential wells, but I’m sure Steve doesn’t want to lose our readership.

Having said all that, it seems that Game Salute have an interest in planetary formation because they’ve recently released Planetarium following a Kickstarter campaign. Every time I hear that word, I instantly think of the South Park episode – not because of Cartman’s cheesy poofs try-out, but because Dr. Adams can’t pronounce the “T” in Planetarium. According to my better half, saying that repeatedly for 6 weeks starts to wear thin. I fail to see the problem myself. 

On their return from Airecon, the boys have put together a bumper episode of tabletop gaming goodness. We start by discussing FAITH: The Sci-Fi RPG and its Garden In Hell starter set. We then go over the games we played and the people we met at Airecon, including our thoughts on Geeknson gaming tables and The City of Kings, the fantasy adventure game that is taking Kickstarter by storm.


At Airecon, Andy joined a group of UK board game media creators to discuss which aspects of the tabletop gaming hobby that they should put into Room 101.
Magmeda Monsters Kickstarter Review

 It was Forrest Gump who famously said “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get”. Which is clearly nonsense as the list of contents is on the box. And even if it’s not, there’s a contents sheet inside. Anyone who buys a box of chocolates at random is obviously either blind or a Grade-1 moron. I raise the possibility of unknown or potentially unpleasant content as we at Polyhedron Collider regularly are sent pre-production, pre-kickstarter or prototype games to assess, review, cast judgement upon and playtest ahead of any proposed release. This process does yield some genuinely good games, some games that have a great idea, but need a bit of improvement plus a spit and polish and then there are the games that, like an albino Vampire, should never see the light of day. Thankfully the games in the latter category are, like the coffee cream in the box of Terry’s All Gold, relatively few and far between because most designers don’t want to release turds rolled in glitter.
City of Kings Kickstarter Review

For those of you who are avid listeners of, or even simply tolerate the Polyhedron Collider podcast, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a fan of hefty Euros. Dice are something that I see as an addition to a game that I can plan a strategy around rather than something that forms a core mechanic. Jon and Steve feel differently on this matter. Or to put it another way, they’re both wrong and need to go to their rooms and think about what they’ve been doing with their lives. If you let him, “Dice Chucker” Tudor would have a vat of the damn things in any game he could lay his hands on, much to my consternation as I would throw those filthy polyhedrons in the fire given half the chance, which is somewhat ironic given our website name.
FAITH: A Garden in Hell RPG Starter Box Review

Reviewing a roleplaying game is not as straightforward as reviewing a board game. A board game is restricted, penned in, but an RPG is open, free to roam and do its own thing. Even if you and I play exactly the same scenario within the same rule set we will no doubt have completely different experiences. Since here at Polyhedron Collider we like to tell you about the experience, it means that an RPG review will be even more subjective than usual, but from our prospective of mainly being a board game review site, FAITH makes thing a bit easier because it borrows a lot of elements from board games and in the process makes a unique setting and resolution mechanic.

Its time, yet again, for another dose of board gaming chat.  Jon is off biking, or some other strenuous activity that Andy and Steve find far too much like hard work, and so they substitute a brummy for a redkneck as they are joined by James Hudson from Druid City Games.  James tells us all about his new game, The Grimm Forest, and goes into detail about publishing, Kickstarter, distribution and Peppa Pig.

The Grimm Forest launches on Kickstarter on 21st March.

A Game of Thrones Miniatures Game News
 
CMON (apparently, we’re not allowed to call them Cool Mini Or Not anymore and must refer to them as See-Mon) have announced a new tabletop miniatures war game based on George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. 

A Song of Ice & Fire Fantasy Miniatures Game will create a rank and file miniatures game based on the series made famous by A Game of Thrones.  Miniatures will use movement trays to manoeuvre around the battlefield and all your favourite characters from the books will no doubt make an appearance.
DOOM vs Adrenaline Face Off

It’s a reasonably well known fact that certain kinds of media don’t transfer well into other formats. In fact, in most cases, it’s like introducing a baboon to the Dead Sea; you might think you’re doing something novel, but in reality all you’re achieving is killing your subject in a rather painful way. The transferral of Assassins Creed from game to movie is evidence of that – turn a reasonably fast paced action game into something akin to watching leaves grow on a dying tree, without the benefit of brutal murder to calm the soul.

Let’s take two recent releases for example – DOOM and Adrenaline. They’re both based on ideas founded very firmly in video games – the FPS, or First Person Shooter for those with only a vague awareness of the concept. As an avid fan of video games, the first thing that came to mind when I saw Adrenaline was Unreal Tournament – Deathmatch FPS in a futuristic Sci-Fi environment. And it’s quite obvious where DOOM came from. DOOM, obviously, although the progression from id Software’s DOOM to Quake was a natural one. Given Quake and Unreal Tournament were rivals at the time, it seems only fitting that they are compared in cardboard form too, if for no other reason than to justify my place amongst Polyhedron Collider’s review panel. Given the review panel currently consists of myself and Steve, it’s not exactly like trying to fight my way onto the UK Olympic track and field team, but I can’t be seen to be shirking my responsibilities.
adrenaline board game review

Way back in Days of Yore, when Settlers of Catan ruled the great board game wildlands and Facebook was something aggressive librarians did to unruly students, I was engrossed in video games. In fact, I’ve been a fan of the digital smile machines since I was old enough to smash fingers into keyboards and code my first POKE-based programs on my trusty old Amstrad CPC-464. And yes, I realise I’m showing my age with that one. Once games evolved to the point where we could shoot each other over the internet, the idea of digital deathmatch has exploded, mostly due to two games: Quake and Unreal Tournament.

Yes, I know there were others, but let’s be honest, they were crap in comparison. I never got into Quake as much as UT for reasons best known to myself and I spent many an hour with the phrases “Head-Shot!”, “Double Kill!” and “Ultra-Kill!” ringing in my ears. And probably my neighbour’s ears too as the speakers were always turned up loud enough to wake Tutankhamun and his extended family.

Its episode 20 and the Polyhedron Collider’s One-Year anniversary, so we thought we would take a break from our usual format and take time to discuss what are our very favourite games and, more importantly, why we like them.

 
Andy makes a visit to We're Not Wizards as a guest on their podcast. Go give it a listen.

 
I try my hand at a spot of video reviewing, as I join Toucan Play that Game's Meeple Box series to talk about Lords of Waterdeep.

Ave Roma Review

One of the more surprising facts about me is that I had a “Classical Education”. That doesn’t mean I sat around smoking a pipe and listened to Beethoven and Haydn all day, it means that I studied Latin and Ancient Greek. The latter was more to do with not having to study Geography to learn why we put sheep on hills than anything else, but it was interesting nonetheless. The benefits of said education did allow me to read works such as the Iliad, the Odyssey and Aeneid; pretty much all stories about a man in a loincloth travelling in a ship, beating up monsters and seducing women, with something about a wooden horse thrown in for good measure. Not a bad job if you can get it and it certainly worked for James T. Kirk, although thankfully wearing slightly more than just a loincloth.
Talisman is Coming Back!

 With the split between Game Workshop and Fantasy Flight Games coming into effect in a few days (you will no longer to buy Fantasy Flight’s licensed Game Workshop games from the 28th February) the question remains, what happens to all the games? It probably means we will never see those games designed by Fantasy Flight game again in their current form, which means no more Chaos in the Old World, Blood Bowl Team Manager or Forbidden Stars but there has always been hope that those game originally developed by GW will rise again.
The Polyhedron Collider Cast Episode 19: Cavern Tavern, Superhot and Elemenz

Jon, Steve and Andy are back and ready for some chat about board games. First off we look forward to Airecon and have a rather in depth discussion about Cavern Tavern from Final Frontier Games.  We then look at a couple of Kickstarters, SUPERHOT from Board & Dice and Elemenz from BadCat Games. Finally we round off the show with questions from the mailbag, answering our thoughts on Kickstarter versus pre-order and comment on the best and worst Kickstarter games we have backed.

Airecon 2017 - We will be there and so should you!

 We all know that 2016 was a bit of a git of a year. With more celebrity deaths than a nuke at an Academy Awards ceremony, I think its 365 days of our lives we’d all like to put behind us. Well, actually, more like 363 days as there was one weekend in particular last year that quite a few people enjoyed in the North-English town of Bradford. No, I’m not talking about the local rugby team entering administration, but of a small gaming convention held in the Jubilee Centre

I am of course talking about Airecon – named not due to the pleasant acclimated conditions of the rooms, but because the event was originally held in the Aire Valley, which makes more sense. Whilst heated (pun intended) discussions about the benefits of recirculated air may be interesting to some, we’re more interested about the tumbling of polyhedrons (two on the trot!), the ruffling of cards and the clatter of…er…cardboard (ok, three was too many).

Superhot the card game kickstarter review

Superhot must be one of the most mind bending video games of recent years. It's a game where time only moves when you do, so if you stand still you can see the bullets hanging in mid-air. What may look like a much stylised first person shooter becomes more of a puzzle game as you try and find the optimum position, avoiding bullets and taking down bright red bad guys.

It's a crazy concept and you would have to be a pretty crazy board game publisher to try and convert this into table top form. Step forward Board and Dice, a Polish publisher who seem to teeter on the edge of sanity every time I speak to them as they bring us SUPERHOT The Card Game.
Cavern Tavern Review

 Anyone who read our Beer Empire review will know that the chaps here at Polyhedron Collider are partial to the occasional pint of the good stuff. And depending on how drunk Jon is, occasionally the bad stuff too. If he ever offers you some of his “Binja”, my advice is to decline, politely or otherwise. Put it this way; last time I had some, I could see beforehand. That’s not to say we’re against the idea of cocktails – quite the opposite. I’m rather partial to a good Mojito or five, and if offered I wouldn’t turn down Sex on the Beach with a couple of Slippery Nipples.


Cats are wankers. It’s a simple truth. Their cute, furry fa├žade is little more than a thinly veiled cover for their treacherous, evil ways. Oh sure, they’re adorable and look great when asleep, but as The Oatmeal has thankfully identified, cats are clawed, plotting deathtraps that just eat, sleep, vomit and poop in strategic locations specifically chosen so that you’ll stand in it and trail the remains all over the house. The two felines in my life definitely fall into this category. Kipling is an evil, maniacal genius that will nuzzle you one minute and chew your nose the next. Banjo is much more personable, but has the rectal precision of a laser guided air-assault. Between them, they rule the roost and a good night’s sleep is very much at their behest.

Steve and Andy grab some mics and bring you another dose of board game chat. We discuss the business negotiation game in the world of Android and Netrunner, New Angeles. We then order a greek salad and a bottle of ouzo to discuss Santorini, the beautiful abstract game from Roxley Games. Finally we look forward to 2017 and talk about the games we are looking forward to the most.

20 Awesome Looking Board Games Coming in 2017: Part 2

Update: The publisher for Nemesis has been updated to Rebel.pl

Original Article: Not too long ago we listed the first half of our 20 Awesome Looking Board Games Coming in 2017 and we are here today to continue that list.  I don’t know what it is about the coming year, whether there really has been a massive growth in the board game market or if game publishers are becoming savvier and better at marketing their products but the list of potentially amazing games seems to be bigger than ever.

Here at Polyhedron Collider we try to cover all the bases and although we will be listing some already known about and hyped games, I hope that some of these are new to you. Of course these lists are personal and these are games that I am looking forward to, so if you think my taste doesn’t match yours or if you think I’ve forgotten a huge game, please let us know in the comments below.


Time has rolled round yet again, the year has been reset and by the time you read this most people's New Year’s resolutions will have been broken. Hopefully your New Year’s resolution wasn't to buy less table top games, because there are loads of awesome board, card, miniature and roleplaying games set to be released in 2017.

Every year this list gets easier and easier to write as game publishers provide more and more information early and start promoting their games. In fact I've really struggled to keep this list down to X games.

It also means that games can be delayed.  All the games listed here are slated to be released in 2017, but as we've seen in previous years there may be some delays.

My Most Played Games of 2016

Every year I like to look back at my gaming habits. The theory is that even though its normal to look at the best games of the previous year (which I have done in both the Best Games of 2016 and our latest podcast episode) it’s also good to look back at the games I've been playing the most, the theory being that it keeps track of my gaming tastes and shows which games have truly shone through.

We kick off the New Year with by kicking some demon butt in Doom: The Board Game, we investigate the hype of Mechs vs. Minions and realise we know nothing about our nation’s past with Timeline: British History.  We also discuss board game profit margins, the new Roborally and boardgamegeek.com.


For those of you swimming around inside your father’s scrotal cavity in 1993, the DOOM series has been a benchmark for FPS titles (First Person Shooters for those of you not au fait with the wonderful world of the video smile machines), a standard which few games have surpassed. id Software are renowned for making solid game engines and DOOM was their breakthrough title. It’s spawned (pun intended) a legacy of sequels, updates and remakes around the canon – all usually involving an unnamed soldier (the DOOM Marine) running around a Martian base trying to repel the forces of Hell back from whence they came. Rather like closing time in a one-club town, there’s a lot of ugly mutants wandering around attacking the authority figures and wondering why they get a beating, before being sent back to the holes they came from.
the best board games of 2016


It’s that time of year yet again where we take stock of what has been before and look forward to what yet may come.  I’ve already discussed some of my favourite games of the year on our latest podcast episode but that doesn’t stop me from sticking with tradition and writing up a list of my favourite games of the year.

As with every year it’s not possible to play every single game (unless your surname is Vasel) but I always have a damn good go to play as many games as I can.  Unfortunately, there are always those that slip through the net.  I haven’t had any chance to play Euro-darlings Cottage Garden and A Feast for Odin and my miniature game addiction laments that I haven’t had the opportunity to play The Others: 7 Sins, even though one of my gaming group went crazy with the Kickstarter it got stuck at sea for a very long time.  The games I regret not playing the most however are Terraforming Mars and Cry Havoc both of which come highly praised.
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