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.
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