10 Minute Heist by Daily Magic Games
One of my favorite elements in any game, both video and board, is getting loot and lots of it! When I got the chance to review 10 Minute Heist by Daily Magic Games I was pretty excited because it is all about getting loot. You don’t have to fight any monsters, blindly explore countless rooms, or go on a magical quest; you just steal the wizard’s loot. That’s it? Yep, that’s it. Well, besides the fact that everyone else is trying to steal the same loot! 10 Minute Heist is a super quick set collection game that hits KickStarter on October 4th and will only cost $19 to add to your collection. Let’s take a closer look at this loot grabbing game.
You start by constructing the wizard’s tower in an 8 x 5 grid of cards face up that represent the different treasures of the wizard. The top two rows are made up of cards from the “light” deck and the rest of the rows are made up of cards form the “dark” deck. Each row represents a different floor of the tower. Once the tower is complete, players draft a card from the remaining light deck with the last player to move drafting first. This card is kept secret, it is the only card that is kept secret (the rest are face up), and you are now ready to steal as much of the wizard’s loot as possible!
Every player starts on the top floor and during your turn you can either steal an item from the floor you are on, or drop to any floor below you and steal an item. The only catch is you cannot move back up. That’s it! Those are the only rules to the game. There are five different types of suits: tomes, potions, jewels, artifacts, and relics. To score points at the end of the game you must have the most points of any one suit. There are also additional points awarded for collecting the most 3, 4, and 5-point value cards. There is one caveat when grabbing all these loot cards, some cards are cursed and the person with the most cursed cards at the end is docked 3 points. Also, certain loot cards have special abilities that must be played immediately when they are stolen. These are nice little bonuses such as giving one of your opponents some curses, or allowing you to take an extra card or turn. Points are also awarded for the first and second player to exit the wizard’s tower.
10 Minute Heist: The Wizard’s Tower is one of the easiest rule sets I have seen. The game is easy to learn and takes 15 to 20 minutes to setup, play, and tear down. The fantasy element adds a nice touch to the simple set collection mechanic of the game. When I first read the rules and setup the first game I honestly thought this game was going to be too simple possibly to the point of being boring. All but one loot card is face up (I forgot to mention that the card right before the exit is placed face down) and you simply take loot until there is nothing left to steal. Where is the challenge? Where is the strategy? Everybody gets to see the cards and everybody gets to see all but one of your cards. Hmmm, maybe my view of loot has been skewed by countless games of facedown treasure decks. At any rate, I was nervous I wasn’t going to like it.
The first game I played was a two player game and it went how I expected. Not much of a challenge, and was a total loot grab without too much other concern. The next game was a three player game with my youngest son, and oldest son. Suddenly a little strategy came into play. What a difference one additional player made in terms of strategy and fun. Now, two players were going after the same loot as I was and it was much more strategic. Do you drop down for a really good card or to possibly steal a card you know your opponent needs, or do you stay on the current floor to pad your current collection? The extra player also meant that there was another set of eyes keeping track of the sets I was trying to collect. I loved it, and my boys loved it too! We had tons of fun with three players. I believe this game would really shine with four or five. I was bummed I wasn’t able to pull together a four player game before this review.
It would be nice to see a special two player rule variant to add the same excitement and fun as with three plus players. Perhaps something like only a total of three items can be stolen from each floor. It needs something a little different to spice up a two player game. With three or more players 10 Minute Heist is seriously one of the best “quick” games I have played. It’s amazing how Daily Magic was able to provide a good amount of strategy, and a huge amount of fun in such a simple game. If you have read my other reviews then you know how much I love games that are quick to setup and tear down, play relatively fast, have easy rules, and are inexpensive. 10 Minute Heist ticks all those boxes. Two features that would make this game even more amazing are a solo variant, and an improved two player variant. With having only 49 different loot cards the game could get repetitive given you could play many games in a short amount of time, however, it looks like they will be adding additional cards as mentioned in stretch goals on KickStarter. That helps alleviate fears of repetitiveness.
Tony’s Pros and Cons
Pros: Quick setup and tear down, easy rules, Loot, loot, and more loot, plays super-fast, amazingly fun with 3 or more players, great game to play with family or friends.
Cons: No solo option, 2 player game is not nearly as fun as 3 plus, possibly too few cards for great replayability.
Tony’s Epic Scale: 1 (easy setup, only a few cards and standees for components, quick play, I didn’t think a 1 could be this much fun!)
Value: 10 (Under $20 on KickStarter. I challenge anyone to find a game at this price that is this fun!)
Art: 8 (Great art! Nice being able to steal such beautiful loot!)
Setup/Teardown: 10 (Separate light from dark cards, shuffle, construct tower, game on!)
Re-playability: 6 (This could go up to 8 if more cards get unlocked through KickStarter.)
Fun Factor: 6 (Split the difference between 4 of a 2 player game and an 8 from the 3 player.)
Check Out 10 Minute Heist From Daily Magic Games On Kickstarter October 4th!
Below are pictures from the preview game:
It has been a quiet few weeks since my GenCon review post. I did do a review of New Bedford in that time because I love that game so much I wanted everyone, well, everyone that actually reads my blog, to know about it. But I really haven’t had a lot of new and exciting games to blog about. That is all about to change in these next two weeks. I have two games to review that will be hitting KickStarter soon, one game I am helping to fine tune the solo version before it hits KickStarter, and other I am play testing for the next two weeks. Oh, and I also have been working on my own game that I am going to start play testing with my boys the next few weeks. It is inspired by an old XBOX 360 arcade game my boys and I loved or I should say love as we still play it. Exciting!
The two games I will be reviewing for KickStarter are 10 Minute Heist by Daily Magic Games and Battle Road Miniatures by Mike Becnel Games. I am really looking forward to 10 Minute Heist because, as you all know by now, I love games that setup quick and play fast. This game definitely sounds like it could be one of those games. It appears like it has some good art, I like the theme, and the mechanics seem pretty simple while still providing a challenge. I am pretty excited to test this one out. The other game I am reviewing is a Print and Play version of Battle Road Miniatures. This is a table top car battling miniature game with a heavier rule set. It has templates for moving similar to X-Wing with a “Control Panel” to keep track of your car’s stats. My boys and I break out X-Wing occasionally but it usually doesn’t end well and seems to take us forever to play. I am usually not a fan of games with templates but the kid in me is looking forward to battling with matchbox cars. I am curious to see if this provides us a little better experience than X-Wing. The cumbersome amount of templates and some overpowered pilot / card combinations usually mean we don’t completely finish a game.
Up next I will be testing out and helping to tweak a solo version of a game called Incantris by RAINN Studios. It is hitting KickStarter on September 7th and they want to make sure the solo version is ready to go. Again, as you all may know, I love games with great solo versions so I am really looking forward to playing this game and giving the designers my feedback. I will be play testing a Print and Play version and hopefully I will get to do a review of the production version once it is complete.
Last week I received a game called Gyrating Hamsters that my boys and I have been play testing for a few days now. It probably is the first game I have played in awhile that I just didn’t particularly care for. To be fair,” take that” style of games just do not go well at my house. Inevitably one of the boys starts getting a little grumpy when they feel like they are getting “ganged up” on. Usually a little grumpy turns into raised voices, animated hand and arm gestures and snippy arguments. That is why I try to stick to coop style games or games with a little milder take on “take that.” Aside from that the art is kind of bland and none of us cared for the random luck of battle. I do like the hurricane card that really helps someone that is way behind and really sticks it to the person that is way out in the lead. The game plays quick with two people but tends to get stretched out with three and four. I did enjoy play testing it though because I just love to try new games.
Finally, there is my game. A game that I first envisioned remaking as a 3D video game. I, being a programmer, figured it would be no problem to create a video game. I can program no problem. I can’t, however, create 3D assets worthy enough to be in a video game. I also couldn’t find an artist that wanted to create my art. So my dream of remaking this game sort of fizzled out until a week ago. While in the beginning stages of creating my first “easy” civ board game I realized my video game idea could transfer to a board game pretty easy. Within a few days I had all the basic rules and components to start testing it out. Well, actually I am finishing the cards today. Creating a playable version of a board game is a little easier than a video game especially when you have components in other games that fit the bill. Also, card protectors with a black back work well for generic homemade card stock cards with no art and just words. I am really excited to start playing this and tweaking it to evoke the same hectic and chaotic feel I wanted from the video game. Stay tuned on this one. I will reveal more details as the game progresses into something worth presenting.
My first GenCon experience is in the books and I already can’t wait for next year! My boys and I had the time of our lives. I was in total awe the first time I stepped into the exhibitor hall. I have never seen so many awesome board games in one place. It was slightly overwhelming. I got some sweat deals and some really awesome new board games. New Bedford by DiceHateMe and Greater Than Games was my absolute prize of the show. My main focus, really my youngest son’s Aidan main focus, was demoing the Dark Souls board game by Steamforged Games followed by demoing Zephyr: Winds of Change. Besides those two goals it was searching for games we thought we wanted and games we didn’t know we wanted.
We arrived at the exhibit hall about 15 minutes before the doors opened. This was only about 15 minutes later than I wanted to arrive. I didn’t think that was too bad since we had to make about a 2 and half hour trek from Northwest Ohio. Well, it was really a three and a half hour trip when you factor in potty breaks and a good sit down breakfast just outside of Indy. But we made with time to spare. The line to get in wasn’t long at all and that 15 minute wait seemed like an hour. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. So much anticipation and excitement!
I soon realized we were on the opposite end of the Dark Souls demo but I didn’t want to risk getting out of line to venture to a closer exhibit hall door. So the plan was just to make our way across the hall once inside. So the doors and we make our way in like an old west cattle drive. This is where the awe struck me. It was so hard to focus on getting to the SteamForged games booth. So many exhibits. So many games. But we made it and with only two people in front of us waiting to demo Dark Souls. As I watched the people in front of me demo Dark Souls the realization I was at Gen Con hit!
We waited about a half hour then it was our turn to play Dark Souls. The main reason we wanted to come to GenCon was about to happen. Aidan and I demoed the game together. He was the Herald and I was the Warrior. My demo didn’t last long. As with the Video Game, I am not a great Dark Souls player. OK, I am not even a decent Dark Souls gamer but I love to play and the demo did not disappoint. I managed about 10 minutes of play time and did about 4 damage on the Dancer. Aidan lasted another 20 minutes and came within 2 damage of beating the boss himself. Needless to say, we both can’t wait for this game! After the demo was over a SteamForged Game member talked to us about Dark Souls, both the video and board game, as well as other board games for about 30 minutes. It was so cool talking to somebody that loved the game with as much passion as we do. He was so nice. We were complete strangers to him yet we talked like best friends. It was an amazing experience and one neither my boy nor I will forget. Thanks SteamForged Games!
After hitting the SteamForged Game booth, and my oldest son Austin falling in love with SteamForged Games’ Guild Ball, Aidan and I went exploring the exhibit hall. Austin stayed back and kept playing Guild Ball. I think he spent most of GenCon playing Guild Ball. I wanted to stop at Gamelyn Games booth and see if I could get a glimpse of their upcoming game Tiny Epic Quests. While I didn’t get to see anything about TEQ, I did snag a deluxe edition of Tiny Epic Galaxies. Now I am ready to back the expansion when it hits KickStarter in October. My first GenCon purchase was made! Scott Almes and Gamelyn Games will always hold a special place in my board gamer heart.
After Gamelyn Games we worked our way to the middle of exhibit hall checking out Portal Games, Red Raven Games, and Stronghold games among others on the way. Unfortunately all those publishers were out of the games I had been eyeing. Although with Red Raven Games I regret not picking up Isle Bound. I was looking for Above and Below but after seeing more about Isle Bound I am bummed I didn’t buy it. Lesson learned. After resisting so many purchases along comes Academy Games. Mare Nostrum Empires was on my list of “must check out games.” They were running a deal to get the base game, the expansion, and bonus content for a great price. I couldn’t pass it up and in fact it is out on my dining room table right now with the Greeks and Romans on the brink of war. Mare Nostrum is one amazing game that will be played by us boys for a long time.
Austin finally hooked up with Aidan and me again at the Academy Games booth. He was pretty stoked about Mare Nostrum. We spent the next few hours looking at more board games as we worked our way through the rest of the exhibitors. Once we got to the end Austin wanted Aidan and I to try Guild Ball so we made our way back to the SteamForged Games booth. On the way back I picked up some Kittens, Puppies, and Adventure Time 2 Dungeon Crawl packs for our Munchkin games, a King of New York and King of Tokyo bundle, and New Bedford. The King of Tokyo I had actually played the night before for the first time ever and liked it. A quick light cut throat game that can be played by anyone. I picked up the Munchkin cards because those can be a pain to find around Northwest Ohio and New Bedford was a complete impulse buy based off of the beautiful cover art and theme. I will be reviewing that game so look for that in the near future.
Back at the SteamForged Game booth to play Guild Ball until it was time to demo Zephyr. Aidan and Austin decided to face each other as I watched. I am not a fan of games that require a tape measure to play but now I wish I would have bought the starter kit deal and made a one inch grid field. I think a grid would speed up the game to my liking while still keeping the feel of the game. Oh well, that is what is so cool about GenCon. You get to see and play games that you would never even consider looking at normally.
After Guild Ball it was a quick stop at the concession stand and off to demo Zephyr: Winds of Change. Zephyr is a game we backed on KickStarter earlier this year and have been so excited about it since. It took us forever to find the table where the game was being demoed at. The game hall was huge and everything looked alike. We finally found Zephyr and met Aaron, one of the creators. He was such a cool guy. While one game of Zephyr was finishing up he stood there and talked to us not only about Zephyr but about other games and GenCon. We compared our GenCon hauls and discussed some games we each backed on KickStarter. It was just an amazing experience. After about 20 minutes Aidan, Austin, and myself finally were able to play Zephyr. It is an amazing game. A cooperative game set in a steampunk world where you are the captain of your own airship. We all loved it and we all talked about it the whole way home, well, when they weren’t sleeping that is.
After playing the Zephyr demo we stopped at a few more booths and we were ready to go. As ready as you can be to leave GenCon that is. Being our first experience I know we missed a lot of stuff. Even in the exhibit hall which we were in all day. I see tweets from vendors and exhibitors and I am like, “well I didn’t see that” or “I didn’t see them.” But even seeing everything I missed it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I can’t wait to go back. I am hoping to spend two days there next year. I would like to play more games and take my time wandering the exhibit hall. One day was amazing but I felt rushed because I wasn’t sure how much of every game the vendors and publishers stock. The answer is plenty unless it is an early release super popular game like SeaFall or Cry Havoc.
Gen Con is here and tomorrow will be my first time ever attending! The first time I even heard about the “best four days in gaming” was only a few months ago. I had no idea such awesomeness existed let alone existed so close to where I live. In fact, I live about the same distance to Origins as well! Next year is going to be an amazing game convention year for me. Anyways, I digress. So, when I first checked out this “Gen Con” I was hearing all of these gamers speak of, I was in awe to find out it was only two and half hours away. It was a bonus that the early bird rate was still in effect too! I noticed it ran Thursday through Sunday so I decided Saturday would be a good day to go so my family and I could road trip it. Now, I say family and I but I will explain. My youngest and oldest son were excited about such an event but my wife and middle son had no desire to look at, purchase, and play board games for eight hours. So they found outlet malls, shops and some adventurous outings to partake in around Indianapolis while the three of us geek out.
From about May to June I was making plans to meet game designers and demo games I had backed on KickStarter. I was going to get to demo Dark Souls, one my most anticipated KickStarter games ever, and meet the designers of Zephyr: Winds of Change. This was going to be awesome! I had never been so excited to attend a convention in my life. As July rolled around I found out about some additional games I was going to see demoed that weren’t releasing until next year like Tiny Epic Quest by Gamelyn Games. I was so pumped. As soon as this game was announced it became my top must have game for next year. The excitement was building!
My goals were set. Meet designers, demo games, and find awesome games that were not considered mainstream. This was my chance to find games that didn’t get shelf time at my FLGS. But as August neared I found out some pretty cool games were releasing at Gen Con. I was going to be able to get SeaFall and Cry Havoc! Shut up! My goals suddenly shifted. I wanted the new hot games. Now I was really pumped. Then my world came crashing down around me. Only limited supplies were announced. Only people going Thursday would get my new super favorite must have games. I was so upset. Why go?
As I was glued to my Twitter feed yesterday I saw supply of SeaFall and Cry Havoc dwindling down before the gates were even opened. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a VIG. Those turkeys bought all the hot games before Gen Con officially opened! All of a sudden I was happy not to be going on Thursday. I would have been so mad to take a day off work, wait in line, rush to the booths only to find out they were sold out. To top it off SteamForged Games demo of Dark Souls didn’t even arrive until this morning! I would have missed demoing the game I originally was going for!
Now I am excited once again! I am planning on demoing Dark Souls and checking out Tiny Epic Quest before anything else. Portal Games is going to run through Imperial Settlers and 51st State with me. I have been eyeing both for a while. I am going to get to play Zephyr: Winds of Change by Portal Dragons. A game I backed on KickStarter, created some content for, and eagerly awaiting its arrival next year. Then I am going to check out Stronghold Games, Red Raven Games, and Academy Games. After that it will be a quest to find the hidden gems of Gen Con.
Next week I will blog about my adventures or misadventures at Gen Con. If I found that hidden gem or went with an oldie but goody I haven’t played yet. I will also update how the non geeks of the family fared. Tomorrow is my first Gen Con and I can’t wait!
So, last week was one crazy week! Finally recorded my first two video reviews, technically one review and one play through video, and it went nothing liked I had planned. At one point during my play through video the legs on one side of my table gave out creating one big pile of cards. Now well shuffled cards mind you. I laughed. Aidan laughed. My first true recording blooper. It was a pretty funny scene and one you will not see until my first uncut blooper edition hits the internet. I also learned no matter how much you rehearse what you are going to say, the first time you say your own website name it will be a blubbering word jumble. Repurposing a room for a make shift studio is also harder than one might think. Again, no matter how well you think the room is “shoot” ready, a stray pile of legos or a random xbox controller will undoubtedly finds its way into the review. Oh, and lighting. Lighting is something a newbie video reviewer never considers until you see a shadow of a man holding an iphone in every scene. Anything else? Yes! It is nearly impossible to review and play a card game while also holding the video recorder. As I tried to show the viewers all the cards in my hand an explained what each one did in the game, I soon realized the limits of two hands.
Despite all the mishaps, the errors, the newbie traps, and the fact that the videos were not anywhere near the grand vision I had for them in my head, it was a fun and educational experience. I don’t want any of my reviews to be over produced and scripted. I want people to see how I play the game and my true feelings for the game. I would prefer people not see random toys, card tables collapsing mid review or the screen suddenly shifting 90 degrees for no reason but I think that will come with experience. I love board games. I want to help designers get their games noticed, my viewers to see new games I get as well as my favorite games, and I want people to see an honest review.
I will definitely be working on a “review” area in the basement; a big bookshelf full of games behind me, a nice game table, and maybe even some nice lighting fixtures. That is, if I can stop playing games long enough to get something done. I also need to invest in a few other pieces of recording equipment to make games a little easier to review. All of this will come in time. In the meantime, I really appreciate some of the fancier review sites. I also appreciate their budgets!
Come back later this week as I go over my pre GenCon thoughts and plans. Thats right people, I am heading to GenCon on Saturday!
Last week was an amazing week for me and First Time Through. I wrote my first two board game reviews with help from my lovely and super talented editor. Yes, that would be my wife and she hated every minute of it! So for that I greatly thank her. She is not a big board game player to begin with and since my writing is not the best she had to give up quite a bit of her time. This is also why I am winging this blog without editing but, for me, it was worth it! Both games I reviewed, The Lords of Rock by SolarFlare Games and Temp Worker Assassins by David Newton, were fun light games that I enjoyed playing. Temp Worker Assassins ends in less than a day so if you want the game you better hurry over to Kickstarter and back it. The Lords of Rock starts August 1st so mark it on your calendars so you don’t miss it!
On Saturday I got to enjoy three games I have never played before: The Networks, The Grizzled at Your Orders, and the ever popular Scythe. The Networks was a great medium game with lots of choices and humor. I loved it! I found out that I am not cut out to be the CEO of a television station but I had fun anyways. If you love television or board games with lots of choices then this one is for you. It wasn’t hard to learn, the turns went quick, and I was engaged the entire game. The Grizzled was the first game I have ever played where my heart was pounding out of my chest. Trying to keep your soldiers alive is so intense. We lost on the last card played. So close to surviving! The game is simple to learn, plays fairly quick and yet it is very engaging and there is a lot of strategy, and consequences, in your decisions. The last game I played was Scythe. I was super bummed I was not able to play a full game but the hour and a half I played it went by so fast. The game is absolutely mind blowing. It felt like you were playing a massive conquest game yet played super easy with quick turns. Your choices for each turn are simple: produce, trade, move, or bolster. Each one of those actions also has an alternate action such as deploy a mech, upgrade your player mat, build buildings, or enlist which gives you bonuses. You randomly pick one of five factions and randomly pick one of five player mats to give you a different combination each game. I felt that the combat might be slightly weak but there were only two battles so I didn’t get into the entire experience. There is a Tiny Epic Kingdom feel to combat where you have to secretly select how many points you want to commit to a battle. The player that commits the most points wins but both players then lose the points they committed. I thought that was ok. The light combat mechanic keeps the game moving nicely without having to focus on combat heavy rules. The reward for combat can be a nice amount of unspent resources from the other player. So combat is definitely important but is not the focus of the game. I will be adding all three of these games to my collection for sure as each one scratched a different gaming itch. What a day of gaming!
Temp Worker Assassins Review
Do you think you have what it takes to infiltrate an office as a temp worker assassin? Well, for starters, the office workers are not your normal shirt and tie types. They are Barbarians, Orcs, Gorgons, Halflings, Sorcerers, Ninjas, and even the Devil himself. Oh, and you can only use pencils and items you find in the stationery cupboard such as rulers, staplers, protractors, and clipboards as weapons. Security is pretty tight when you have Zombies walking around so there is no way to sneak in daggers or death potions. To make matters worse you are competing against other temp worker assassins to claim the lucrative bounties set on each “regular” worker.
Temp Worker Assassins by David Newton is a quick game featuring deck building and worker placement that pits assassins against each other to claim the most bounties. The game is played through five rounds simulating Monday through Friday, to be the top assassin by the end of the week, you will have to successfully raid the stationery cupboards of different office departments to arm yourself with a deadly enough arsenal of office supplies to acquire the bounties of the most brutal office workers. Still think you have what it takes to be the top assassin? Let’s look into a week of being a temp worker assassin.
Every player is given a starting deck of pencils—a combination of fairly sharp and relatively blunt, and then draws the appropriate amount of those cards to begin the game. Hand size is dependent on the number of players. The first player places one of his assassin meeples in a department and performs the action stated on the department card. Actions include gaining a card from the cupboard—which adds new, deadlier office supplies to your deck, draw one or more cards from your player deck giving you a bigger hand to assassinate better targets, or some other action which can help you or hinder other assassins. You can also choose to attempt an assassination on one of the workers that are face up in the target pile, you just have to make sure your card attack value is greater than or equal to the defense value of the target. Play continues with each player placing an assassin and performing the appropriate action. Once all players have placed all their meeples the day is over. All meeples are returned to the player and the next day (round) begins. Game play continues until five rounds have been played. The first player to successfully perform an assassination each day gets the bonus card for that round. The bonus cards are helpful in making your deck better for assassinating the big guys.
Picture of the R&D Department Card.
The true strategy of Temp Worker Assassins is deciding which department to place your meeples on. Each department’s actions and benefits vary greatly and there is even an occasional bonus for occupying all spaces in one department. I was often torn between trying to get better weapons, making my current hand bigger, or going after weaker targets to get the daily bonus. In the end my strategy of quantity over quality failed miserably. I obtained the bonus every day and assassinated the most targets, but my targets were weak, and didn’t produce much in the way of bounties.
The repalyabilty of this game is amazing. There are so many departments—currently 37 to choose from, and since you only play with 10 each game the different combinations are…well…a lot. The deck building aspect really reminded me of Ascension, which I truly love, having cards that let you permanently get rid of weaker cards, cards that let you draw additional cards, and even cards that let you attack and draw.
Along with great replayability and amazing strategy, Temp Worker Assassins sets up quick and plays fast. I love games that can be played in about a half hour to forty-five minutes including setup and tear-down and Temp Worker Assassins is right there. David Newton managed to fit a very strategic game in a small package. Kudos!
Check out Temp Worker Assassins on KickStarter:
Tony’s Pros and Cons
PROs: Quick Setup, fast game play, depth of play for a small game, humorous art
CONs: variety of weapons (we can always use more weapons)
Tony’s Epic Scale: 1 (Plays fast with few pieces and easy setup)
Value: 8 ($27 dollars on Kickstarter - $25 would be better!)
Art: 7 (Humorous and consistent but the department cards are a little blah.)
Setup/Teardown: 10 (fast, fast, fast!)
Re-playbility: 9 (maybe a 10 with a bigger variety of weapons and attacks.)
Fun Factor: 8 (Come on, you’re attacking Barbarians with pencils people!)
The Lords of Rock Review
Games about mythological gods battling it out for control of the universe are nothing new, however, gods settling the score through a battle of the bands is very unique. This is exactly how The Lords of Rock by SolarFlare Games spins the classic quest for supreme power. Players create bands based on gods of a certain pantheon (the religion of a specific culture such as the Greeks or Norse) and then battle it out over two rounds. Players select face melting rock and roll songs in the form of set lists to boost their standings or sabotage the other bands by playing cards with negative effects. The band with the most fans’ souls at the end of the game is crowned ruler of the universe. Easy enough right? Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to win an epic universal battle of the bands.
Every god has a primary and secondary skill. A complete band must be made using four gods with a primary skill of singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer. The secondary skill comes into play in smaller venues where a primary skill may not be active but the secondary skill is, so the god can still contribute to the band’s score. Once everyone has their bands in order, venue and set list cards are dealt out and play begins. It is easy to get a game going and the quick setup is a major plus for The Lords of Rock. From opening the box to rocking out at the first venue can literally take five minutes!
Venues come in four sizes; small, medium, large, and extra large. Each venue has highlighted skills, one for small and up to four for the extra-large. Only gods with the highlighted skill can contribute points, so picking a venue that benefits your god’s skills while limiting others is very important. Once your base score is tallied up it is time to start rocking your band’s set list. Players take turns playing set list cards that either give your band a bonus or sabotage another bands performance. This is the heart of the game as players try and outwit each other with their set list cards. There is a decent amount of decision making here as you choose how many and which set list cards you want to play. Do you give your singer a +1 bonus this round or wait and hope you can use its +2 bonus at a different venue. Oh, and there are roadies you can pick up along the way to negate those negative effects! I love the fact that SolarFlare Games included roadies. After all, what is a rock and roll show without roadies?
Once everyone has played, the scores are added up and each band is awarded fans’ souls based on their standing at the venue. That’s it! The game ends when every player has selected two venues. The bands total up all the souls they have collected with the title of rulers of the universe going to the band with the most souls.
I love that The Lords of Rock is quick to setup, easy to learn, and fast to play, yet still gives you the feeling that each card played is meaningful. Add in a little bit of back stabbing as you sabotage other bands and it really starts to feel like a true battle. There isn’t much depth to the game but that is part of the appeal; it’s a light game that plays quick. It can be played by gamers of all ages and the strategy behind the play will be enjoyable to more than just mythological or rock and roll buffs. The art is fantastic and it really fits with the theme of the game… gods, power, and rock and roll. The art really nails it, and brings the whole thing together. I had flash backs to 80’s cartoons such as He-Man, which is totally awesome! The mythological spin on classic rock songs adds humor to the game, be sure to have Google at the ready to look up some crazy mythological names and places. I found out I was a little lost with Norse and Aztec mythology. My favorite venues to play were the small and medium sizes as it seemed there was a little more strategy involved in choosing the venue. Using a small venue where say only guitarists are scored is a great way to limit other players who went light on guitarist as their secondary skills. In contrast, in extra-large venues everybody’s main skill is used so secondary skills do not come into play, and the set list cards seem to have more of an impact. The strategy when picking the venue was fun because you can put some bands in a hole at the start of the round by using the gods they choose against them. Of course, it was also fun to see all the cards played at an extra-large venue. Prepare yourself for the massive set lists that come out in the final round!
The Lords of Rock hits Kickstarter August 1st and at a base pledge of $20 this game should be must on your lists of games to back. Stretch goals for the campaign include adding more gods and other content to ensure The Lords of Rock will be forever battling on your table top.
Follow these links for more information about The Lords of Rock and SolarFlare Games:
Tony’s Pros and Cons
PROs: Quick setup, fast game play, price
CONs: lack of depth
Tony’s Epic Scale: 1 (smaller numbers are games that play faster with fewer pieces: 1-5)
Value: 8 (Bang for your buck: 1-10)
Art: 7 (looks, consistency, theme: 1-10)
Setup/Teardown: 10 (1 - More setup time than play time. 10 – fastest setup/teardown ever)
Re-playability: 7 (1- never hitting the table again. 10 – never leaving the table again)
Fun Factor: 7 (How much fun I personally had playing the game: 1-10)
A software developer by day and avid game player by night.KickStarter has recently rekindled my love of board games. Now I am looking to help the little guys of KS get their games noticed and funded as well as demonstrate how easy or difficult a game is played its first time through.