Burning Rome Kickstarter Review

I grew up a stone’s throw from the city of Chester, famous for being an ancient Roman city and having some of them oldest city walls in the country. As such the sight of a man dressed as a Roman legionnaire touting entrance to the Deva museum (Deva being the Roman name for Chester) was a common sight. And because this was such a perfect opportunity for a school trip, I should be no stranger to Roman history, but all that I can remember is that the Romans used to eat dormice.
Brutal Kingdom Review

Reviewing games is largely a discussion of opinion. I can give you some objective facts about a game, but in the end the tone and final thoughts of such a written piece are going to rely on my experience of the game and nothing more. While it is true that some games can actually be bad, most games just have some features that mean they don't rise to the top of the quite staggering list of games available today.

And then there are games like Brutal Kingdom, a game I don't like, but that I'm beginning to think it's not because it's a bad game, but because it is simply not a game for me.
Talisman is Definitely Coming Back

One of the many casualties of the recent split between Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight Games was the famous (or should that be infamous?) fantasy quest game of Talisman.  It has long been a staple of the tabletop gaming world and though many people will criticise its old fashioned mechanics there are no doubts that it remained a big seller throughout its life at Fantasy Flight Games.
Game of Trains Review

 Alanis Morissette would call it ironic that I am writing a review about Game of Trains while sitting on a train. It’s not ironic, it's just where I seem to spend most of my time these days, squirming on London Midlands putrid green seats that where no doubt designed to eradicate slouching on public transport by 2019. The good thing is Game of Trains is a damn sight more fun than sitting uncomfortably on a morning commuter train, in fact I would go so far as to say that it has been the best game I have played so far in 2017.

At the UK Games Expo we got to see something very special, it wasn’t something that was on a stand or something you could play. Instead it was an early prototype of a game called Nemesis – a game we have been following for some time and even called it one of our most anticipated games of the year – and it looks glorious.
The Polyhedron Collider Cast Episode 28: A Game of Trains, Isle of Skye and Century: Spice Road

This week’s theme would appear to be the quicker lighter games in our collection. The boys all gush over A Game of Trains, play Isle of Skye while on the Isle of Skye and discuss the hot game of the moment Century Spice Road.

We also end up down rabbit holes within rabbit holes as we discuss kilt patterns, how to pronounce garam masala and wearing a Victorian cape to work.

The Polyhedron Collider Cast Episode 27: The Great UK Games Expo Caper Part 2
 
Jon is back! And so Steve and Andy regale him with some more exciting game we played at the UK Games Expo and talk about some 100% fresh board games and tabletop gaming Kickstarters.

We build theme parks, we go to sea and raid as a Viking and then divvy out the spoils of war, go fishing and become estate agents and detectives. We also discuss drinking songs and how pasties are hotter than the core of the Sun.

Sorry for the audio quality in this episode – we have had a myriad of problems throughout.

Batman the Boardgame first look review

 Batman!

Quite frankly there is part of me that wants to leave this preview as just one word and some photos, but that would be unprofessional of me (although professionalism does seem to always be out of Polyhedron Collider's grasp) so custom dictates I should annotate the pictures of the quite frankly gorgeous prototype minis with some explanation and musings.
UK Games Expo 2017: Game On Tabletop Interview

At the UK Games Expo 2017, I spoke to Laura from Game On Tabletop about the France based crowd-funding platform and how it is launching its first English language tabletop crowd-funding projects.
Dice forge uk games expo review

If I was to simply say Dice Forge is Dominion but with dice,  this will not only convey the whole gist of Dice Forge, but also everything that may get you excited or worried about Libellud's upcoming release. Asmodee and Esdevium were showing off a late prototype of the game at the UK Games Expo 2017 and I got myself a seat to grab a game, well actually my wife saw the game loved the artwork and quickly jumped at the two empty places to give Dice Forge a go.
UK Games Expo 2017: Fallout Miniatures Games and Star Trek RPG

At the UK Games Expo 2017 Chris from Modiphius took us through all the new releases and upcoming releases including the Steven Spielberg 80’s movie inspired roleplaying game Tales from the Loop, the inside scoop on the upcoming Fallout Wasteland Warfare Miniatures Game and the huge box of goodies that is the Star Trek Adventures RPG.
The Polyhedron Collider Cast Episode 26: The Great UK Games Expo Caper Part 1
 
Suffering from the sleep deprivation that comes from the 3 days at the UK Games Expo, Andy and Steve try to download from their brain everything they saw at the UK Games Expo 2017. They failed, which is why this episode covers just half of the games we saw.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved, we had a great time.

Geeknson UK Games Expo 2017 Interview

At the UK Games Expo 2017 I got to commanded a Viking long boat as I chatted with the guys from Geeknson all about their magnificent wood!
Lords of Hellas Kickstarter Interview

Anyone who has been on any form of board game social media may have noticed the new game from Awaken Realms involving loads of minis and some kind of cyber Greek mythology theme. I must admit that although the minis caught my eye the first thought was "here we go, another game packed to the gills with moulded plastic and not a whiff of gameplay" and then I found out that Lords of Hellas is being designed by Adam KwapiƄski and I got very interested.

Me and Adam go way back (in that I spoke to him once at Essen and he didn't look scared, uncomfortable or ask me to leave) and so I thought I would give him a shout and get the inside scoop on Lords of Hellas
Listen to us guest on Gaming Rules - Podcast 46
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Steve and Andy guest on Paul Grogan's Gaming Rules podcast where we talk about Star Wars Rebellion, Dark Souls, Anachrony and of course the upcoming UK Games Expo.

Critters Below Kickstarter Review

You’re in a room. It is dark. You’ve been eaten by a Grue.

Ok, not that last bit, but two out of three isn’t bad. For those of you who may wear tinfoil hats and are obsessed with the impending dawn of war, then you may quite enjoy the subject of my latest peek-a-boo as it’s set in a bunker during a war. Whoever chose to build this bunker clearly hadn’t heard of basic requirements like medicine or lighting. Perhaps they were cut from the budget during construction.

It’s hardly surprising that amenities such as a light bulb were missed as the inhabitants of this Stone-Age bunker are a bunch of woodland animals, the Critters, trying to survive a particularly hefty war involving a lot of bombing of a rather unspecific nature. The world is warring whilst our protagonists must wait it out in their concrete cocoon below ground. And thus we arrive at the name of the game in question: Critters Below from Antler Games
Realm master board game kickstarter review

The more board games you play, the more you notice mechanics and concepts shared between various games. It’s actually one of those great things about learning to play a game, when you realise that there is a common DNA with another game, or a new game takes something familiar to you and mixes it up, using it in a way that you weren't expecting. Unfortunately this sometimes leads to games feeling very similar, or sharing so many mechanics that it’s hard to differentiate them.

The UK Games Expo is the 2nd to 4th of June and it’s the biggest tabletop gaming convention in the UK.  It will be three days full of board games, card games, miniatures and roleplaying games and we take a look at the games that have got us excited.

To get more information and tickets head to https://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk/


Dungeon crawling is a well-used trope in the board gaming world; grab a party of likeminded adventurers and head underground to grab some loot and kick the snot out of all manner of monsters. But what if I told you that gold and sparkling gems weren't the real treasure? What if you were a culture that used teeth as a currency? Well, all of a sudden venturing into dark subterranean deaths isn't about collecting shinies and honour, but instead becomes an attempt to recreate a Pantera album cover in as a many imaginative ways as possible.

In many ways Ravage: Dungeons of Plunder is a typical dungeon crawler and in its basic premise I have to say that there isn't a huge amount of original ideas in the game. You'll venture into dark depths, kill monsters, grab loot, level up and hopefully last long enough to take on the story's goal. But Ravage puts a few interesting tweaks into the age old formula and wraps it up in a package of beautiful artwork and striking graphic design.
 EXIT: The Game – The Secret Lab Review

You may have noticed a surge in the number or Escape Room style board games appearing over the last few months.  Fresh on the heels of cooperative puzzle games like TIME Stories comes a whole range of one-time puzzles based on the escape room phenomenon that is gripping the world.  If you are like me, and live at the arse end of nowheresville you will most likely not have had an opportunity to visit one of these experiences.

Thankfully system like Unlock, Escape the Room and EXIT allow you to experience these cooperative puzzle sessions at home. We were lucky to receive a copy of EXIT The Secret Lab from Kosmos and so the opportunity of a bank holiday weekend meant I was able to lock ourselves into the dining room after a Sunday roast and see if the Tudor family was clever enough to escape a devious laboratory.

We were not.
Steam Works Review

Picture the scene: you’re at a large convention at a popular UK site and you see through the crowd a man wearing a metallic owl on his shoulder, together in Victorian getup and an extendable spyglass fixed to the side of his head. On the streets, this kind of behaviour would usually result in a swift recapture followed by a series of injections and perhaps a straightjacket. In the safe and womb-like environment of the UK Games Expo however, it’s worthy of perhaps a gently raised eyebrow before being distracted by another miniatures vendor. Unless you’re me of course, where Steampunk holds a particular fascination ever since I donned the light gem and began a career as a thief in the PC game… er… Thief.

In a desperate effort to clear the decks before the UK Games Expo, the boys from Polyhedron Collider cast their eye over the latest batch of board games and tabletop Kickstarters.

Steve faces the crushing difficulty and divisive gameplay of Dark Souls and then all three go to war with big mechs and sneaky spies in Farsight. Andy is one with the weather as he moves like the wind in Petrichor before joining Steve on the dungeon crawling of Ravage: Dungeons of Plunder. Finally Steve tries one of the latest Escape the Room games in Exit the Secret Lab.

The UK Games Expo 2017

Chaos. Games. Minis. Press. Cameras. Shops. Stalls. Cosplay. Shows. Talks. Seminars. And Two prats from Polyhedron Collider. It's the UK Games Expo, it’s the biggest tabletop gaming convention in the UK and it’s only a few weeks away.

In part 2 of episode 23, the Andy, Jon and Steve go through our overflowing mailbag and answer your questions. We discuss solo games, Talisman Legacy, apps in game and our favourite and least favourite game components.

Farsight Kickstarter Review

Big bastard robots!

That's what my podcast co-host and Polyhedron Collider writer said to me when I showed him some details about Farsight, the new game from Braincrack games that the entire Polyhedron Collider crew got to play on Tabletopia this week along with Lewis from Braincrack. And the game certainly is about big bastard robots, with a mix of game-play from Space Marine, Stratego and Heroes of Normandie.

fallout wasteland warfare miniature game minis

 Grab a fusion core for you power armour, stock up on ammo, get Dogmeat ready and head out into the wasteland, because here at Polyhedron Collider we’ve got uranium fever for the Fallout miniatures game from Modiphious. We’re big Fallout players and so we are really excited at the announcement of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare at the weekend, but now Modiphius have released some more details.
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.
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