Dice Masters: World’s Finest

 

Oh my, that’s right, I’m back! After many months of wedding prep, saving and of course the actual wedding, I’m ready to type again.
I was very kindly supplied with a few Dice Masters box samples, but sadly at the peak of wedding chaos, so I’d like to apologise for not getting to these sooner.

For a recap on the game mechanics please see my first article on Dice Masters.

So Dice Masters has gone on from strength to strength since my last article, my gaming skill has not! It’s not about winning for me anymore it’s about putting together cool teams and, in all honestly, some pretty dice. But that’s good right? It must show the appeal of the game that it hits so many buttons.

World’s finest, a 2 player starter set, definitely does hit the correct buttons for me. After the some what, or massive, disappointment of Batman vs. Superman it’s nice to see Wizkids can get it right. The artwork is amazing. My personal favourites being Harvey Bullock and the classic art of Call To Actions.

Who’s not a donut enthusiast?

The dice also don’t let the set down. With all the releases so far you’d expect the quality designs and colours to diminish but there’s no evidence of that here. The Superman die is a surperb marbed blue and white, while it’s impossible not to love Harvey Bullock’s donut die!

Game play wise, World’s Finest offers lots of cheap characters, something I feel the starter sets before lacked. That alone, combined with the RRP of £16.99, makes it worth adding to your collection, beginner or not.

Why not use this awesome Store Locator to find & support your local scene.

Gary

 

We were supplied a copy of the game for this review.

 

The Lost Lighthouse Plays: T.I.M.E Stories Part 1

And that’s my final thought on the game…wait, something’s wrong. I know what’s happened; we’ve jumped in at the wrong point of the run. Let’s spend some Time Units and jump back to the beginning of the article.

*Various 80’s Sci-Fi noises*

T.I.M.E Stories rematerialized within our local game stores in 2015, published by Space Cowboys and Asmodee. A game notoriously difficult to write about as SO much relies on the story and not letting the cat out the bag. So I’m going to write one article now, 3 runs into the game, with no spoilers and one after our time agents have solved the mystery WITH spoilers

So this piece will focus on how I feel about the mechanics, aesthetics and general play style of the game but will give away none the important story hooks.

As I previously stated our play group has only got half way through 3 “runs” into the mission supplied with the base game, so my opinions may change in the next article after we’ve finished. So take them with a pinch of salt.

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Look at how cool those component slots are!

Upon looking at the contents of the box, you know this is a different game. I’m a huge fan of RPGs and from what I’d heard of the game that would help. The components are fascinating; the pieces that represent the players are huge! It feels as if the designers looked at standard games components and went “our game’s completely different, let’s not have standard components”. One thing I really enjoy about the box design is that you can essentially “save” your game progress ready for your next session. The board itself is a blank canvas which is perfect considering the idea of the game.
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I feel I’m getting ahead of myself. If you haven’t heard about T.I.M.E Stories, you and between 1-3 other players take on the roles of agents sent back to some time in history, ours or otherwise, to correct something that has gone wrong. Problem is, time travel takes a lot of energy and it’s not long till you’re ripped back to the future. Every trip is called a run, and every time you try to do something during a run it costs Time Units (TU). Once you’ve spent an allowed amount of TU during a run you have to start again from the beginning. But hopefully you’ll bring along some memories and items from your previous run(s).

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I played as Mademoiselle Doume. Bitter as hell, and twice as tough!

You each pick a different person for your agent to inhabit while they have slipped back through time. Some are better at conversations, some are better at smashing heads! Classic RPG style. It really benefits your party to take a mix.
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Your “view” during the game is a panorama, which changes per location you go to, of the area you are occupying. This could be a roof or a cave etc. you can move your agents around the panorama to interact or talk to various people. Some times for better or for the worse as you are occasionally drawn into fights. The dice mechanics are really simple, though the rule book sometimes isn’t as clear as it could be. As you travel to different locations, you slowly start to piece together the mystery you are there to solve. Then, inevitably, you run out of TU and have to start again. I believe you are meant to get quicker with each run as you know where things are and who you can ignore.
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The artwork is a true highlight. The mission in the core box looks beautiful. It really has that American Horror Story vibe to it. I’d even advise putting on some creepy music while playing.

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Time Units run out much quicker than you'd hope!

So I and my crew are 2.5 runs into a game. It’s a completely new experience for us; it has such a unique playstyle. I really enjoyed reading out the cards and the look on people’s faces when, as a team, you’ve made a bad move, or the joy when you’ve solved something. I’d advise a “no phone at the table” rule as it can really break the vibe of the game if people aren’t paying attention, it also doesn’t help as you need to remember things people have said to you from previous encounters. I can’t give a full opinion yet as I’ve not finished the first mission but the “re-run” style mechanic is looking to be a blessing and a curse at the same time. On occasions it’s really nail biting trying to get stuff done before your run ends, other times it just gets a bit tedious redoing the same things 3 or 4 times. I’m hoping once we have finished the first mission that opinion will have changed.

Overall, at this moment in time, I’d say T.I.M.E Stories is still worth picking up, it’s so unique in its play style and really gets the players immersed in the story. The fact each expansion just “plugs in” to the game board is really cool.

So until my final review, get in your time pods and secure yourselves, for time travel can be a little bumpy!

Gary

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 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.

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Dice Masters “War Of Light” 2-player Starter Set

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Dice Masters has been such a massive hit this year in the game world but I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. Why you ask? Because I didn’t like the way it looked? The themes? The fact it’s dice? Nope, I love all the those things! I have been trying to avoid it because I love everything about it, and I didn’t want to get addicted. Still, despite all these things I’ve managed to avoid it. Until I got sent a copy of Dice Masters “War Of Light” to review. It’s fine, I mean, it can’t be that good, right? *Gulp* .

I’ve got to say, I’m a Marvel man. Anyone that listens to the podcast knows I’m not a huge fan of DC. Batman is fine, I don’t like Superman and there’s not many more I can name in all honesty. Which is why I was genuinely happy that the review copy I was sent was a DC themed 2-player starter set. It meant I could reach my conclusion focusing on the game, not the themed wrapped around it. It’s hard sometimes, as we all forgive our loved ones failings, but that doesn’t help a games review!

I think the best way for you to get to grips with the rules is to check out this amazing video by the legendary Rodney Smith, of Watch It Played fame, which can also be found on the Wizkids website. It really helped me get to grips with the rules before my first game.

The game works a lot like a collectible card game, but with dice. In fact, that’s exactly what it is! If you’re familiar with card games like Magic The Gathering, then you’ll understand the basics of Dice Masters. You start the game with 8 basic dice that, when rolled, generate different types of energy (an in-game resource) or a basic fighter, or sidekick as they are called. Side kicks and character dice are you main fighting power, able to attack, block or just be menacing in general. The attacking rules are simple, with the complexity coming from what you decide to do. When you choose to attack, your opponent can elect blockers, any damage that gets through takes life points away from the player. Going back to energy,  you can pay for better dice which represent bigger and more bad ass heroes, which in turn can generate more energy or fighting versions of themselves. In War Of Light you have access to heroes like Hal Jordan and Batman but you can also recruit villains including Lex Luthor and the dreaded Anti-Monitor. But the core of the game is learning when to recruit, battle or hold strong in defence. One mistake, or poorly planned attack can easily lead to your defences being to weak to withstand a strong retaliation. Also trying to remember who your opponent has recruited and if they’ve been drawn from their dice bag yet is vital! In my first game, my opponent was in a strong lead and decided to attack with all he had, reducing me to 1 life point! But he used all his dice, I then drew my dice and 3 of them I rolled ended up being strong characters which then attacked and won me the game.

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This set gives you lots of play value, a few starter sets I’ve played in the past requires you to immediately go and buy extras to get any proper play from them. This set lets you play a really good game but trust me, you’ll go buy boosters, not because you need to but because you want to!

What was really cool was working out little tricks like keeping your basic sidekick dice in the field area, effectively “milling” your dice pool so you’re more likely to draw your stronger dice but also helps your defence.

If, like me, DC isn’t your thing then they also have Marvel, Yu-Gi-Oh and D&D versions. If they do an Alien or Predator (or vs) set, I might as well get my pay check in dice form!

My FLGS runs at least one draft a week of Dice Masters and I talked to them about it, and they said the game is only picking up speed. Everyone loves it and the fact you can do drafts of it makes me love it even more. 2 dice boosters are also available, meaning you might pick up some rares along the way! You can use this handy store finder to help you find the closest location to play. RRP is £16.99 and boosters are £1

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I can only assume this guy hates those lizards!

I really enjoyed Dice Masters “War Of Light” and if you enjoy the Lantern Corps or the War Of Light cannon in general then this is definitely the box set to pick up, the art is beautiful and dice are awesome quality.

I’m more than happy to say I fully recommend this game, just don’t blame me when you have to re mortgage your home!

Gary

We were supplied a copy for this review.

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Timeline Inventions

When were rubbish bags invented? I’ll tell you, 1950. I don’t know how I know this very random fact, but never the less, I do. I don’t know how I knew it when I won my first game of Timeline: Inventions, but I did. It wasn’t even a guess, I knew it. I feel I’ve skipped ahead some what, in the voice of Bo Selecta Craig David, can I get a rewind!

The aim of Timeline: Inventions is simple. Each player has a certain amount of double-sided cards. One side has a picture and name of an invention, and the other side is the same but has the date also. Players lay their cards date side down.  Then one card is drawn from the remaining pile, and placed it the centre of the board, date side up . This is our starting point for the timeline. The first player chooses one of their inventions and decide wether or not it came before or after that first card. If they think before they place it to the left of the start card, if they think after they place it to the right. Then they flip their card, if they are correct (yay!) the card stays where it is, if they are wrong, it gets discarded and they have to draw a new one (boo!). Then the second player goes, but they now the timeline has, possibly, two cards on it. So does it go before, after, or in between these dates! As the game progresses the timeline gets bigger and it’s harder to place cards as the dates get closer together. The first person to have no cards in their hand wins.

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The group I played with enjoyed Timeline: Inventions. It seems to fit well into that “pre big game, game” slot. The aim is very direct and there’s no real tactics to speak of, but because it’s quite a short game, it ends while it’s still interesting. The price point is good as well, barely more expensive than a cinema ticket, and for that you also get a really nice tin to house it.

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The art work style is also really cool, and also the choice of “inventions”. Having “RPG games” and a Doors song come up were nice treats.
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While no game is perfect, an issue I do have is that one of the dates that’s printed is wrong. It didn’t ruin the game what so ever, and in fact made for a good discussion afterwards.

Another plus is that there are five versions of Timeline! So you can take your pick of what you think your group would like. Timeline is available at Waterstones for £12.99 or you can pick all five versions up from Amazon.

I would recommend Timeline: Inventions if you’re looking for a quick, fun game to start your evening and also who knows, you might learn a thing or two. Like, when rubbish bags were invented!

Gary.

A sample copy was supplied for this review.

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Dobble

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It’s not often a game takes you completely by surprise. In a golden age of board gaming, it’s easy to over look a little game like Dobble. It’s not in a huge, flashy box or costs loads of money, so it must not be worth it, right? Wrong, so very wrong!

I had not heard of Dobble before playing it, but I love Jungle Speed, a game made by the same publisher (Asmodee), so I gave it a go. Within a few minutes I fell in love. It asks for so little but gives you so much back in return. It’s hard to describe how much joy you can pack into a metal container, barely bigger than a can of tuna.

I like to think of it as “hard-core snap”, that might not make it sound as good as I’m preaching, but trust me readers, have I steered you wrong before? In one way or another you are trying to match up a symbol from you card with one on a central card, or someone else’s.

The symbols are nice cartoony designs, some more abstract than the others. I particularly like the cat & the gingerbread man, which the rules name “Orange Man”.

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The overriding objective could not be simpler: “No matter the game, you always need to be the fastest to spot the identical symbol between two cards, name it out loud and then take the card, place it or discard it depending on the rules of the mini-game you’re currently playing”.

This objective carries over into the 5 mini-games included in the rules, here’s my 2 favourites:

“The Well”. In this game the cards are dealt face down to players with the last card face up in the middle. Then players flip their pile of cards and try to discard them to the middle pile by matching symbols. The last player to get rid of their cards loses!

“The Hot Potato”. This is the first of the mini-games that consists of multiple rounds. Each round players takes one card and keeps it face down. Then everyone flips and tries to be the quickest to match and pass their card to another player, which then becomes their new card to pass on until one player has all the cards from that round! Then the round starts again, and this continues until all the cards are given out. Who ever has most cards loses.

All 5 games are great though. It’s really interesting how you can create different games from one core concept.

One of my favourite things about this game is that, while children playing and calling out their matching symbols is super cute, grown ass adults shouting “gingerbread man!” Out loud is hilarious.

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If you’re looking for a new, fast pace, super fun game that all the family can enjoy, then I’d suggest you pick up Dobble!

available from Waterstones on the high street for around £12.99 and online from WHSmithArgos and Tesco.

Gary.

A sample copy was supplied for this review.