I had to get my message to the Princess. It was vitally important that she would hear this, but I had to be extremely careful. Many people were plotting against her, and against me, so nobody could be trusted. I had to try and get past the guards, the handmaiden and others to reach her. My heart was beating in my throat and my emotions were welling up. I tried to keep it together, because I was so close to delivering to her my Love Letter by Z-Man Games.
As a board game reviewer, you need to have access to board games. That’s obvious. Some reviewers rely solely on games they bought themselves, maybe got as presents or borrowed from friends, while others will only review games sent to them by the publisher or even the designer. Many reviewers will rely on a mix of both. What I want to look at in this article is how review copies, which are (usually) free, may influence a review and what the relationship between publishers, or designers, and reviewers may look like and how it can also play a part in how a review is written.
The longer we enjoy our hobby and the more games we play, the more our taste in games is likely to change. As a reviewer, I can only write about a game as I feel about it at the time, but even if my taste in games changes, the review will remain on the blog. So the question is whether a review should stay frozen in time or if it should be revisited with a fresh perspective. Let me try and answer those questions in this article.
It was the fifth factory you had visited today, as you were trying to find three turquoise ceramic tiles to complete your pattern in the King’s palace. You needed three – exactly – no more, no less. The first factory you had visited had no turquoise tiles, the second had four, the third had only one and the fourth had two. The factory you were in now, was the last one that made these tiles, and if it didn’t have the exact number of turquoise tiles you needed, you had to go back to the previous one and make do with two, which would put you behind schedule and make the King angry. Yet, you were in luck. The factory overseer told you that they had your tiles and exactly three of them. You were so pleased that you found three tiles that were all Azul by Next Move Games.
I slammed down Cowgirl and immediately opened the bidding with a “Klik”, which was countered with a “Thwak” and to which I responded with a “Splat”. A “Twang” played by the other side brought us level again, which meant I could still win this. After a moment’s hesitation, the other side played “And” and immediately put down Wheel-Demon, closely followed by “Zooom”, giving them the leading bid. However, their unexpected move actually gave me the advantage. I put down “Kerunch”, which they countered with “Eeeek!!”, which I trumped with “Crrash”, which they… no… they couldn’t keep up. The bids were level, which meant I was victorious and was inching closer to victory with another two Heroic Echoic by Happyclash Games.
With a loud “Bang!” the head flew off, followed by a “leg-splosion” that severed both legs, leaving only the body and the left arm. It wasn’t pretty. Yet, you knew you could turn it all around. There were still plenty of options. You just had to duck and dive and try and swap body parts with another robot to boost your own. You were sure that in the end you would be a Bots Up.
If you don’t have much room for games in your house, like me, then small box games are ideal. Of course, what one person considers a small box might be a medium-sized box for someone else, but I will go with what I consider small boxes, which is really small, and list five great small box games that will cover a wide range of tastes and experiences. They’re listed in alphabetical order, so there is no favouritism here.
I guess it has become tradition now for boardgame blogs to suggest a number of games that people should play with their friends and family over the festive period. As I love tradition, I will do what everyone else is doing and give you a selection of games some of which may suit your taste and may also be a good match for whoever you choose to play with when you enjoy some time off over Christmas.
I absolutely love mint tin games, and Mint Tin Mini Skulduggery by subQuark fits this bill perfectly, as it comes in a properly small, rectangular mint tin, rather than the larger format that many other mint tin games come in. That means it fits perfectly into your coat pocket, so you can have it with you at all time. After all, you never know when the opportunity arises to play a game when you’re out and about.
GoodCritters by Arcane Wonders is an i-cut-you-choose sort of game with a twist. Players are members of a very successful gang of burglars and take turns to be the boss who divvies up the loot amongst everyone in whichever way they see fit. There is plenty of opportunity to be selfish or favour some players over others. Yet, it is up to the whole gang to vote on whether to accept the split or not. It’s a bit like being a pirate really – but that’s a different story.