“Bang: the Dice Game”
designed by Michael Palm & Lukas Zach, published by dv Giochi & Asmodee
Be the last man (or woman) standing in this Wild West duel. At the beginning, each player is assigned a role: sheriff, outlaw, deputy, or renegade, with each role having a different goal to win the game: the sheriff and his deputies have to survive the withering gunfire of everyone else, while outlaws win when the sheriff is eliminated, or the renegade wins when she is the last one left alive amid all the carnage. All roles are hidden, except for the sheriff. Then players are given a unique character with a special power to help when the lead starts flying. Players take turns by rolling dice (up to three times via the old Yahtzee mechanic) and then resolving the actions on the dice: shooting, healing (with a swig of beer), blowing yourself up, or maybe even calling down Indians to deal damage to all. Run out of life points, and you’re sent to Boot Hill (that is, you are eliminated), but your team can still win! Whoever is left (according to your win conditions) wins the game!
Plays quick and easy with the hidden roles adding a layer of strategy that keeps the game interesting and makes people really mad when you start shooting the members of your team. The quick play keeps the game moving and getting eliminated less sad and boring.
One Line Verdict: Strap on your six-shooters and draw (or roll, in this particular case) for a fun, quick-moving hidden role game that doesn’t require all that talkin’ and negotiatin’.
designed by Antoine Bauza, published by Asmodee
Such a cute game with a little cute panda munching bamboo as you lay bamboo hexes and send the gardener to grow different color bamboo. Each round begins with the roll of the event die: get more actions, or double up on action or get move the panda or gardener for free. Then choose two actions to perform during the round. Choose a new hex tile to add to the garden, or move the gardener to grow bamboo, or move the panda to eat (collect) a bamboo shoot. Race to complete your secret objectives: having combinations of bamboo eaten, or grown, or hexes in certain patterns. Win the favor of the emperor and the player with most points from objectives win!
So very cute, but it can be so brutal and cutthroat as you work at cross purposes against the other players. It almost drove my son to tears because you can totally mess someone up quite unintentionally.
designed by Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert, published by Asmodee Games & Space Cowboys
Call upon the powers of the Greek Gods and build your legends! Yes, it is a resource management game, and yes, it is a set collection game, but never done like this. Choose from a variety to different gods to start the game: some gods have attack powers, while others are far more peaceful. Each round, draft a card from a central pool and knock down one of four pillars, but make sure the pillar you knock down doesn’t stop you from taking a future card. Then use card powers, but only score them once you transfer them to your Elysium…and then you score points by sets. And it’s maddening in you only get five turns to do all this!
Hard to wrap your head around the mechanic at first, but once you figure out, it’s an elegant system of drafting and building. The variable god powers will set the level of player interaction as well. That’s a good thing.
Designed by Sebastian Bleasdale, published by Asmodee Games and Space Cowboys
Sail the seas as merchants, pirates, and the navy at the same time! Each player controls a merchant ship to deliver goods, a pirate ship to sack other players, and one of two navy ships to thwart the pirates. One card allows you to move each separate vessel as you deliver goods to earn coins, raid the other players’ merchants, and use the navy to sink those pesky pirates. Use the coins you earn to unlock upgrades that feature different game-breaking powers for each player.. Also get fortune cards to deploy extra powers to your vessels. Only players who unlock the last upgrade are counted to win the game: the most coins wins. And you can have a ton of coins, but don’t forget to unlock those upgrades, because timing is a factor! As I learned the hard way.
There is a lot of strategy and cutthroat action, but oddly enough, minor stakes. Good pirate-y fun all-around.