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Review: Takenoko

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Players:  2-4 Ages:  13+ Time to play:  45 minutes Today I'm going to be reviewing the excellent Takenoko by Asmodee games.  It was released way back in 2011 and was designed by Antoine Bauza, who also designed the hugely popular 7 wonders game series. In Takenoko, players cultivate and irrigate plots of land in the Imperial gardens of the Japanese Emperor.  Each player grows three species of bamboo (Pink, Yellow and Green), on the appropriate coloured land tiles.  Along the way they'll be getting help from the imperial gardener whilst at the same time managing the appetites of a greedy panda.  The player who manages their plots the best wins! Now I can't get started on describing the how to play without at least mentioning the how beautiful this game looks.  It is a riot of colour throughout, from the incredible artwork on every piece of cardboard to the exceptional components contained within. Included in the game are 28 beautifully illustrated plot tiles

Review: Tikal: Super Meeple Edition

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Players:  2-4 Ages:  10+ Time to play:  90 minutes It is my great pleasure to review the amazing Super Meeple version of Tikal, a game that was released 20 years ago, but is still as fun as ever, and can easily hold its own against more modern games in this genre. Tikal was released way back in 1999 by Ravensburger games.  It was designed by Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer, and in that year it won the coveted Spiel des Jahres .  It's actually part of a trilogy of games from Kiesling and Kramer known as the Mask Trilogy , because the original artwork on each of the boxes had a different style mask depicted on it. And although the gameplay has certainly has stood the test of time, the same might not be said for the original components.  Functional as they are, coloured dowels and cardboard squares don't quite stack up against the plethora of components available nowadays.  Thankfully, in this new edition, the artwork and components have been refreshed to the kind

Review: Camel Up

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Players:  2-8 Ages:  8+ Time to play:  20-30 minutes So today I'll be reviewing the eye-catchingly lovely Camel Up which was designed by Steffen Bogen and released in 2014. During that year it was the winner of the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award, impressively beating the likes of Splendor and Concept to the top spot.  In Camel Up you play one of 8 people betting on the outcome of a camel race in the desert next to a great pyramid. The edition I'm currently reviewing is out of print, but the lovely people at Z-Man games are just about to release a new 2018 version with updated components and a few extra gameplay elements.  As I don't have that version, I'll be reviewing this one as the game itself is fundamentally the same. In this version, you get the racetrack themed game board, which acts as the placeholder for most of the components, 5 brightly coloured camels and their associated dice, a number of betting tiles, corresponding to each camel and the

Review: Council of Verona (Second Edition)

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Players:  2-5 Ages:  13+ Time to play:  20 minutes I'm digging out a bit of a classic for my next review, it's the card game Council of Verona!  This little gem is a card placement game created by Michael Eskue which was released by Crash games in 2013.  Sadly, Crash games ceased trading in 2017 for various reasons but but during their time they did create a number of really solid and well received games.  Council of Verona was one of their most popular titles featuring on the hallowed (and also sadly defunct) YouTube series "Tabletop" featuring Wil Wheaton. Council of Verona is based on the the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare and features not only the main protagonists, but their friends and families (the Montagues and Capulets, who are sworn enemies).  The game is set in Medieval Verona and see's the two families locked in a struggle for power over the ancient city. Inside the beautifully designed box (which closes magneticall

Review: Tiny Epic Galaxies: Deluxe Edition

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Players:  1-5 Ages:  14+ Time to play:  30-60 minutes Imagine if you will, an epic game set in the depths of space, where anywhere up to five players can control a fleet of ships racing to colonise a vast array of planets.  Each player has tools such as energy, diplomacy and culture to increase the size of their fleet and create a massive empire in space.  Now try to imagine that huge game fitting in a box no bigger than a pencil case...  Impossible, you might say...  well you'd be wrong. The aptly named "Tiny Epic Galaxies" designed by Scott Almes released by Gamelyn Games manages it effortlessly.  It's a worker placement style game with a bit of risk thrown in for good measure.  The goal of the game is to use your fleet of spaceships to colonise planets.  Each planet has special skills that you can use but also a points value, the winner of the game is the first player to reach a score of 21. Now I mentioned before how much game you get in this little box

Review: Monopoly: Nostalgia Edition

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Players:  2-6 Ages:  8+ Time to play:  60-180 minutes So we’ve all heard of it and most of us have played it, it’s the classic board game and family argument starter, monopoly.  And although most of us know it’s old, it’s still surprising, to me at least, exactly how old.  The original game on which monopoly is based (called the landlords game) was designed by Elizabeth Magie and patented in 1904 which makes the game well over 110 years old and counting, but of course the version that we are all familiar with began its life in the mid 1930’s. Over the years, it’s safe to say monopoly has had more costume changes than Mr Benn. Usually to capitalise on a movie franchise or TV show, which is understandable. But from time to time some questionable versions hit the shelves like “Coca Cola Monopoly”, “Horse Lovers Monopoly” and “Star wars the phantom menace monopoly” (for the criminally insane). With such an esteemed pedigree, it’s sad to think that Monopoly nowadays gets a ba

Review: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! 30th Anniversary Edition

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Players:  2-4 Ages:  8+ Time to play:  30-45 minutes Survive: Escape from Atlantis! was designed by Julian Courtland-Smith and was released way back in 1982.  The game was titled "Escape from Atlantis" in some countries and "Survive!" in others.  The game has had many publishers over the years and some rule modifications, but the 30th Anniversary Edition currently in circulation is published by stronghold games.  In Survive: Escape from Atlantis! you play as an intrepid group of explorers on the island of Atlantis which is sinking into the ocean.    Your aim is to evacuate your explorers from the island onto one of the safe islands located in each corner of the map.    Each of the explorers has a number printed on the bottom representing their value which players are only able to see at the placement phase at the beginning of the game.    At the end of the game the numbers on the bottom are revealed and the player with the highest total (and not necessari