The Lost Lighthouse Review: Loony Quest

It’s not often that you find a game that will please both newbies and veteran boardgamers but Laurent Escoffier & David Franck’s Loony Quest manages to do just that.

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Borrowed from the Esdevium Game website

I can, sadly, see this game getting over looked by people browsing their local games store because the box doesn’t give much of the game away but once you’re inside you’re in for a real treat.
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In the game you are all trying to navigate one of the 7 worlds, represented by 3 double sided tiles. Each tile has a legend that tells you what you need to do to score XP(points), while avoiding various traps and enemies, and secure victory. What ever mission you are on, one thing remains the same, you all have a transparent sheet, and there’s a tile in the middle of the table. You all have to draw on your transparent sheet, then one by one, place your sheet on the tile to see how well (badly) you have done! When explaining the rules, it seems one person will always voice “what? That’s easy!” Little do they know.

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I've got this in the bag!

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Bugger!

Each tile will be 1 of 4 mission types. Link: players must start and end at specified locations on the tile. Move: players must start in one location but may end anywhere on the tile. Ring: players must draw a ring around mission items on the tile. Mark: players must draw a dot on their screen that will hit mission items. Out of the 4 type Id say link is my favourite, it’s a lot of fun trying to look at the tile and translate that to your screen. Ring I’d say is the hardest, as no matter how big you think you’ve drawn the rings, they won’t be big enough. Which ever mission you play will have a lot of laughter Carrying you through it.

For me, the most fun comes from the bonuses and penalties. To unlock these, the line you have drawn must pass through them. They are both cleverly placed, the bonuses are near things that loss you XP and the penalties are near things you need to get to! These can range from having to balance a mosquito on your pen, to having to draw your next line with your arm locked at the elbow.

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Damn that Mossy!

You also get a sand timer included for certain missions. We actually decided to use it for every mission as adding the 30 seconds timer made it more fast paced and exciting.

Each set of tiles colourfully represent 1 of the 7 worlds. Paul Mafayons art is a real treat. As you pass through the worlds, they get harder and harder. The last boss is one of my favourites as it’s a gladiatorial battle with a theatre of chickens watching!

All games have a couple of issues, and I’m glad this games issue is not actually to do with the mechanics or games system. It’s the way you keep score! You place these little markers around the outside of the inlay and there’s numbers all along the box. Great idea, but when you move yours or if you’ve got the same score as someone else, they tend to all fall out which can be pretty annoying.

I’d definitely recommend this as it’s like nothing I’ve played before and has only 20 minutes playtime (something ever gamers shelves tend to be lacking), so great to bring out after dinner with friends and it’s not rules heavy so it’s easy to explain to any non gamers you may have at the table. But if you are a hardcore gamer, there’s still lots of fun to be found, it’s a really fun experience. It’s also a nice compact game game, so you don’t need a massive dinner table to play it.

Loony Quest retails at £19.99 which is amazing value, and why not pick it up from you local games store. Find yours with this link

Gary

The Lost Lighthouse Review: Colt Express

What’s the easiest way to entice me into playing a board game? I don’t know but a 3D train certainly has to be high on the list!

Wine not included.

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We have been spoilt the last few years with so many good games. How can we possibly play them all? Well obviously we can’t, it’s just not possible. So we have to be discerning, and games designers have to be clever to catch our eyes. Well Christophe Raimbault & Ludonaute have done just that.

Colt Express sees 2-6 players controlling bandits trying to commit a train robbery. Problem is, there’s a marshal on board, and oh yeah, all the bandits are out for themselves. With a tight, petite rules set Colt Express lets the fun begin right away.

The basics of the game are that everyone has a deck of 10 action cards which represent things your character can do that round, which range from shooting your fellow bandits, picking up loot, to moving the deadly marshal through the train. The aim of the game is to end with the most valuable loot, that being purses, diamonds or the danger magnet that is the marshals strongbox!
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At the beginning of the turn bandits draw 6 cards and each play a card to create a common deck that gets flipped and actions played out one by one. Most of the time they are played face up so everyone sees what will happen and in what order, but sometimes the train is going through a tunnel and they are played face down, which adds a great bit of mystery.

Firing your six shooter is very encouraged in Colt Express and the mechanic is fantastic. You basically choose another bandit that’s in an adjacent carriage, or any carriage if you’re both on the roof, and serve that person one of your bullet cards to their deck. Might not sound much but after you’ve been shot a few times, drawing those cards are basically useless and limits what you can do. You also earn a massive $1000 if you manage to fire all your bullets! Which can be game winning.

Using up your bullets isn't as easy as it might seem!

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You can also punch each other to make bandits drop their loot. Which is always extremely funny/infuriating.

After 5 rounds rounds, you work out how much everyone has earned and you crown a winner.

Colt Express was a lot of fun, our second game lasted about 30 mins and did not outstay its welcome. Each character comes with an optional power but we found the vanilla version (not using powers) was a much more level playing field. Some of the powers are a lot better than others. It’s a nice light hearted game with more than few things in common with Ca$h and Guns (a game I rate very highly). While the light rules set means it’s a great pick up and play game, it does also mean I probably won’t be playing it every games night. But that’s not a bad thing. Some of my favourite games are ones I only play a few times a year. Id also like to applaud Jordi Valbuena for a great art styling.

Monty approves!

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All in all I’d definitely recommend Colt Express as it packs all the fun of a great western movie into 40 minutes and also so you can enjoy sending the marshal into a carriage full of bandits and see them shot and jump to the roof! Also for a RRP of £27.99 you can’t go wrong.

As always we’d suggest using this handy store finder and support your local games store.

Gary

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Dice Masters The Amazing Spider-Man

So it happened. I tried to stop it. Tried really hard, but the fever has taken me. The fever being Dice Masters!

I can’t help it, honest. At first I reviewed the War Of Light DC starter get which can be found here. It was great, but as I stated in the review, I’m not bothered about DC, I’m a Marvel boy. So when I got The Amazing Spider-Man starter set, I was addicted!

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The art work is incredible, they have chosen some great pieces, I like that they have really captured the spirit of Spider-Man. I’ve always been a massive fan of Spider-Man, particularly the 90’s animation, and this set is a must for any other fans. The dice are, as always, great quality and the cards are as you come to expect. If you play a lot I’d advise sleeving them. In the set you get the standard 44 custom dice, 38 cards and 2 dice bags. People seem to rage on the dice bags but I quite like them! The art is nice and I’d rather them supply them than not!

There are some awesome choices for teams, wether you’re going hero, villain or a mix. As with all the Dice Masters starter sets, it has some super useful cards. One my favourite players so far have been Silver Sable, with a decent stat line, the ability to do damage to your opponent and give you life back, she’s a must in all my Spidey teams.

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We also get a few new team emblems. One for Spidey friends, there’s lots for synergy in the starter set for this and one for the Sinister 6, a super villain team.

I must say though, my favourite thing about Spider-Man are the iconic villains. Carnage being my all time favourite, sadly his dice is pink and purple! Not red and black as I was hoping, but oh well. I think my aim will be to create the sinister 6 villain team. You have to do this through boosters, but I’m not complaining at £1 a pop.

I’m sure you will be getting lots more Dice Masters articles from me in the new year as me and my friends delve further and deeper into the game. You can purchase the starter set for the RRP of £16.99

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Also available are The Amazing Spiderman play mat and dice bag. Both are very high quality so why not treat the Spidey in your life with all three this Xmas!

The Lost Lighthouse Xmas Top 10 Board Games Part 2

Welcome back readers! Today we continue our top 10 count down for The Lost Lighthouse Xmas Top 10 Board Games. Part 1 can be found here. We want more families away from the tv and playing together. Well, maybe some tv as well. So here’s our top 5!

5. Cosmic Encounters

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This was one of my first “modern” board game that forced me down the rabbit hole. Cosmic Encounters has all the ingredients needed for a great after Xmas meal game. Possibly the longest rules set of the top 10 but by no means unachievable to teach people, especially if you already know how to play the game. You are all alien races trying control the galaxy. Each of you draw a card that gives your aliens it’s own special rules, and the great thing is they go up in difficulty so you can keep it easy for people and just stick the green cards. You try to get your spaceships onto other players planets and once you hit 5 you win the game. If you haven’t picked this game up yet, please do! It’s amazing. 1-5 players, or more with expansions. For my full review click here.

4. Ca$h & Guns.

Possibly the king of party games. Certainly the top of my party game list. Ca$h & guns sees up to 8 players trying to dish out the loot after a bank heist, problem is, everyone wants the lions share. You all start with a hand of cards, some represent blanks, others bullets! You all, at the same time, place a card face down, then point your gun and another player. Some might get shot, some might not. Then people who haven’t been shot get to divide up the loot. And you do the same thing for a couple more rounds. Such a great game! And you get awesome foam guns!

3. Pictomania.

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Often referred to as Pictionary on speed, and rightfully so! Pictomania has up to 5 players trying to draw a thing/concept while, at the same time (!), guessing what the other players are drawing. The cards are set in difficulty so you can keep it simple if Nan has had a few too many snowballs! The laughter starts quickly and keeps building as you play. Trust me, drawing skills are not a necessity. 3-8 players. For my full review click here.

2. Dobble.

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Dobble was a surprise hit for me this year. I never excepted it to be so good. At it’s core, it’s a hardcore game of snap but it has so much more! There’s several variants included. You could crack this out at the staff party and within minutes people will be loving it! This is one of, if not the ultimate, stocking filler! For my full review click here.

1. Ticket To Ride.

Yes, it had to be. I’m making this a new Xmas day family tradition. Is it the best game on the list? Probably not, but it is the best game, to me, to get everyone involved. The theme is nice, the game takes minutes to learn and it lasts for just the right amount of time. It’s a simple game of building train routes and collecting points. longer the route, the more points, but if you don’t complete the route before the end of the game it will give you negative points. I’ve played Ticket To Ride loads of times, but if someone suggests playing it, I’m still super happy play.

Well we hope you enjoyed that. I can honestly, and full heartedly, recommend any of these games.

Have a great Xmas, and why not give one of these games a go with your family and friends!

What would you choose for your Xmas game?

Gary

The Lost Lighthouse Xmas Top 10 Board Games Part 1

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With Xmas quickly approaching, we decided to put together our top 10 board games, we think, that would make anyone’s Christmas a little brighter.

We’ve tried to keep the price point low, with a lot of the game hitting the £20 mark or lower .

So put away Cluedo and move aside Monopoly, Christmas has a new main event!

10) Escape. The Curse Of The Temple
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This was one of my intros into modern board gaming and it’s awesome! You play adventures seeking treasure in an crumbling temple. You can only move to rooms by rolling the right combo. But what makes this game great is you are restricted to a time limit! There’s a CD you play and if you don’t find enough treasure in time, you are locked in the temple for ever! Each game is only 10mins and you can have 1-5 players.

9) Loony Quest
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I’m not sure what I love more about Loony Quest, the art or the game mechanics! The game is based round imitating a computer game. You are all characters trying to compete in a famous game to crown the new king. As players you have a tile in the middle of the board and each of you have a transparent sheet and a marker. Depending on the mission you ether have to draw a route, place a dot, or circles objectives. Then you each, in turn, place your transparent sheet onto the centre tile to see if your lines mark a safe route, eliminate a target or gain extra bonuses while avoiding pitfalls and obstacles. Most likely you will hit everything other than what you were aiming for! This is normally followed by loud cheers and lots of laughing. An extra amazing thing in Loony Quest is you can unlock perks which help you in game, or traps that make the game harder for other players! Including banana peels and a pesky mosquitoe! With a game length of 20 mins and player count of 2-5, this will be a hit for sure!

8) Machi Koro
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Full review here

Machi Koro has been sweeping up awards since it’s release, even before it’s English translation. Machi Koro is as simple as it gets, with it’s roll & earn formula. You are all racing to build your own town, winner is who ever builds the 4 landmarks first. You roll a dice, see if it matches any of your buildings, if it does, you earn money. But that explanation does not do this game the credit it deserves. Since adding this to my collection I’ve played it constantly! With it’s 2-4 player count and 15min game time, you’ll be able to get a good few games of this in over Xmas!

7) Hey! That’s my fish
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Full review here

Want a great game, at a good price point that also has amazing penguins in it? Then look no further madam! Hey! That’s my fish has to be one of the simplistic, yet enjoyable games available. You simply have to collect as many fish as possible while trying to get isolated on a list ice berg. With an easy and quick to learn rules set and quick game length we highly recommend Hey! That’s my fish.

6) Sheriff of Nottingham
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Full review here

Fancy a bit of bluffing? What to try and sneak some contraband pepper past grandma? Then Sheriff of Nottingham is for you! Possibly the simplest rules set for a bluffing game, you play traders trying to get through customs, but each turn someone plays the Sheriff and gas to guess wether you are trying to sneak some illegal goods through. If he’s right, you pay him a fine, if he’s wrong, he pays you!

Well that’s our first 5! Please check out any of the links to learn more about the games. We happily recommend them all.

Turn in next weds for our top 5

Gary.

Reader’s Review: Zombie Dice

Today, one of our dedicated fans, Sam Phillips, lets us know his thoughts on a classic game he’s recently picked up.

Zombie Dice 

Everyone loves zombies and I’m no exception. So when I spied a game combining them with a gambling-dice-mechanic I was hooked! 

Zombie dice puts you in the shoes of the recently undead. You hunger for soft, delicious brains and the aim of the game is to eat 13 victims before your shuffling brethren. 

I found the game is best played in a small group, each player takes turn to roll three of the specially marked zombie dice. The player then chooses to score the brains consumed (rolled) or hunt more fresh meat and roll another trio of dice. 

Annoyingly (for you) your intended meals aren’t helpless and come equipped with shotguns, a roll that leaves you with three blast symbols ends your turn without you being able to score any brains previously eaten. 

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Bang Bang He Shot Me Down.

Zombie dice is the perfect pub game. The rules are simple to understand and teach, the game itself is compact enough for a pocket and the zombie theme won’t mark you out as a total loser if you’re one of those closet nerd types. 

In fact I would say zombie dice is the ideal gateway game to drag 
that friend who you wish to drag further into the rabbit hole we call geekdom. 

Sam

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Fury Of Dracula

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Moonlight flickers between the rushing trees, an owl hoots, you hear an eerie sound, not too dissimilar to a coffin lid opening. He’s back! The Count has arisen for a 3rd edition of Fury Of Dracula!

Now, this game has a lot of fans and I’m not just talking about this edition. Previously made by Games Workshop, Fantasy Flight Games has picked up the license for Fury Of Dracula since the 2nd edition. Copies were selling for such escalated prices on eBay, that it seemed impossible for the standard gamer to get a copy. Then FFG announced the 3rd edition release! I was excited, as pretty much every avenue of board game media said this is a “must have” in our collection.

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Sadly I couldn’t afford Fury Of Dracula for Halloween but as the long, windy, nights draw in, pretty much every night is scary!

I won’t go into the differences between this edition and the others as that’s the past and this incarnation is very much the present.

Before the rules, let’s talk about components. Fury Of Dracula is refreshingly light on components compared to most FFG games. All are good quality but it’s nice to not take half an hour setting up before even explaining the rules to people. The Dracula miniature himself makes me giggle as he looks a little bit like a vampire cosplayer that has been caught on the wrong end of a man hunt. The board art is amazing but I fine the colour palette a little drab.

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He appears from the shadows!

Up to 4 people are Hunters, while 1 person takes the role of Dracula. The hunters win if they find, and kill, Dracula and Dracula wins if he elevates the influence track to 13. The rules are pretty simple once you get going, but can be a bit difficult to get your head round to start with. The hunters take 2 actions during their turn, one during the day and one at night. These action can be simple things like moving or reserving a ticket to searching a city for the count himself. Dracula has a bit more to think about, he has to try and move from city to city, unseen, hoping the hunters don’t pick up his trail!

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A cheeky visit to Amsterdam!

The trail is where the excitement takes place in Fury Of Dracula. Everytime Dracula moves he places a facedown location card on the trail, which slides along the trail every time he moves. He also gets to place an encounter card on that location card, which could be an event that delays the hunters if they find that location, it could be a vampire Dracula has left there to try and kill them, or something in between. There’s a lot of options for Dracula and his encounters. If the Hunters move to a space where Dracula has been, Dracula has to reveal the location card and choose to reveal the encounter card or not, as it maybe a card he wants to mature (more on that later). Once the hunters find a location he has been to they can start to work out where Dracula maybe now and start a more focused hunt. 

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Dracula wins the game by gaining influence. He does this by ether biting a hunter in combat, maturing an encounter card, or defeating a hunter in combat. Maturing an encouter card means that it didn’t get discovered by the time it slides of the end of the trail.

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Combat in the game is nice and simple, it takes a few goes to get used to it but it’s good. In a nutshell, the hunters and Dracula have their own combat cards that they play face down and then flip at the same time, if the symbols match then the hunters card takes effect, but if they do not, Dracula’s card takes effect. Dracula is tough but if he gets set upon by 2 or more Hunters then he needs to escape asap! I know this from experience!

Now a thing to consider is that FFG also make Letters From Whitechapel, another great hidden movement game. With a few less rules Whitechapel is a smoother game overall but I much prefer the setting and mechanics of Fury of Dracula as it’s not just a game of hide and seek.

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I really like Fury Of Dracula, being the Count is so much fun, all be it nail biting at times. When the hunters are talking about cities no where near you, you are laughing but then when they have you trapped and they don’t even realise, you’re sitting there in a cold sweat! I’d say it works best as a 5 player, as then it’s 4 hunters deciding by themselves where to move rather than one or two people controling all the pieces. If you haven’t got a hidden movement game in your collection, make sure this is it!

Gary

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P.s A tip if you’re ever Dracula, wear a cape, it’s the best and never travel by sea, it’s the worse!

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Don't travel by see, trust me, just don't.