Shoot ‘Em Up: Euro Style!



designed by Filip Neduk

Lock and load and blast your opponents to little tiny bits in this boardgame version of a first-person shooter. Every turn you take two of three possible actions: move, shoot, or pick up either a weapon, an upgrade, or ammo. Cards represent different weapons: play cards to shoot, expend ammo to overcharge certain weapons for added mayhem, and spend ammo to “reload” weapon and bring the card back into your hand for continued death-dealing next round. You do damage by placing your damage counters on their player boards, and they on yours. The more you get hit, the more adrenaline (roll credits) you get, and the better your actions become. When you receive enough damage to die, points are scored: whoever has the most scores the most points, doing the first damage gets a bonus point, and everyone who hits you gets something. Repeat until the skull timer runs out, most points wins! Avoiding combat gets you not killed, but also you don’t actually score any points either.

Great self-balancing mechanics throughout the game, from the fact you are worth less the more you get killed to the way your actions improve the more damage you take. Moreover, the fact you can get points wherever you damage encourages equal death-dealing amongst all players.

One Live Verdict: Lock, load, gear up, and load out (plus any other first-person shooter clichés) for this one.

Exciting Words Slammed Together!


“Apocalypse Chaos”

designed by Florian Flay, published by Z-Man Games

My vote for one of the most ridiculous titles I’ve ever seen…but a clever sci-fi themed co-op where you fight off invading alien hordes  in several different scenarios. It even has a three-dimensional board with raised platforms for multiple level combat! Roll dice to allocate actions, trade among players, activate special abilities in your rooms, and blast the multitude of rampaging aliens to satisfying bits.  The aliens are simply programmed through cards to move and attack, and it’s up to you and your team to maximize your own dice in relation to their actions.  It’s like a complicated puzzle that you need to solve.  A complicated puzzle to avoid your horrible, brutal deaths from withering alien attacks.

A good game for fans of the equally punishing “Ghost Stories” where success is both hard-won and satisfying.  But that name…oh, that name…

One Line Verdict: Join the fight!  Much more intellectual than the theme and title suggest.

Space, the Final Frontier…

“Xia: Legends of a Drift System”

designed by Cody Miller, published by Far Off Games

Outfit your spaceship with engines, shields, and guns and go exploring the galaxy tile by tile. Roll dice to move, attack others, do pick up and deliver missions, mine, and make money to upgrade your spaceship to earn fame points! Earn fame points by doing almost anything: including rolling a natural 20. Lots of choices, but subject to a kind of wonky randomness as you depend on dice for moving, defending, shooting, mining, traveling through space barriers, and blowing up on your second turn after a bad roll.

Almost a sandbox game with great-looking components.  Seems complicated, but flows smoothly and quickly, but that gosh-durned randomness…