The Lost Lighthouse Presents: Camel Up 

Welcome back you lovely people! As the most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us, we have another great game that will have the whole family at the races and hopefully not leave anyone with the hump.
Camel up is a betting game designed by Steffen Bogen. With only a couple of pages of quick to learn rules, it really packs in lots of fun. With a 20-30 minutes game length (definitely more on the 20 minute mark, even less with experienced players) you won’t have to worry about family members getting board or delaying their post turkey power nap. It also has an awesome pyramid that holds all the dice! I love it, it’s quite funny when everyone is waiting on the dice and nothing comes out. A quick shake helps that.

Seriously, how cool is this?

In Camel Up 2-8 players are punters betting on a camel race in Egypt. A game of Camel Up consists of several “legs” and one full lap. A “leg” ends once all camels have moved once. A lap ends once a camel has crossed the finishing line. In your turn you take one of 4 possible actions:

1. Take a betting slip. By doing this you are saying that you think the camel you chose is going to win the leg. The earlier you take a slip, the bigger the earner if it wins. Although if it comes second you still get a pound but you’ll lose a pound if it’s in the last 3. 

2. Place your desert tile. Each player gets a double sided desert tile. By placing this you can make a camel that lands on it go a space further or back. A well placed desert tile can cause havoc for people and is a really great move that a lot of players miss.

3. Take a pyramid tile and move a camel. A pyramid tile means you’ll get a pound at the end of the leg but also means you get to shake the dice pyramid! Which is one of the most fun elements for me but I am a massive child. Each camel has a same coloured dice that is numbered 1-3. Once it’s revealed you move that camel that distance. 

4. Bet on the overall winner or loser. You can place one of your betting cards on the overall winner or loser pile. This is for the lap not the leg. 

Once all the camels have moved the leg ends and you work out how much each person has won and or lost, refill the dice pyramid (what a fun phrase) and start the next leg. Who ever ends the game with most money wins the game. Nice and simple.
The biggest strength of Camel up is how the camels move. It’s really cool. As they make their move, according to dice rolls, they inevitably end up landing on the same space as another camel, but you don’t just stand them next to each other, you stack them on top! It’s even worse when a camel is moved back because of a desert tile, it goes to the bottom of the stack if there’s one on the space behind it. If there is a stack, the camel on top is considered to be in the lead of the rest. Another awesome thing is if a camel in the stack moves, it takes any on top of it with it! This results in some risky bet taking and really makes it a stand out game. No wonder it won the Speil Des Jahres in 2014.    

Yellow is in the lead…I think.

I really enjoy Camel Up as a light-hearted, non serious game. At an RRP of £27.99 it’s a little higher than I’d hope but with the recent decisions our country has taken, a lot of games have a higher price tag. Any “hard-core” gamers may need to warm to it as it’s not really got any strategy per say but it requires some ballsy moves (and a lot of luck) to take a decisive lead. I’ve only played between 3-5 players and it has scaled up well. Haven’t tried 8 yet.  
So send someone some cheers this Xmas with Camel Up. Did I mention it has a dice pyramid?!
Gary 

Double Feature: Legendary (Marvel) & Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary Expansion 

Welcome back everyone. I’ve been extremely busy here at Hennessey Heights so I’m sorry this hasn’t been out sooner. Today we take a look at the mega cool Captain America 75th Anniversary expansion for Upper Deck’s & Devin Low’s Legendary, but I thought we would cover the base game a little bit first. For simplicities sake whenever I write “Legendary” I’m referring to Marvel Legendary, as there are quite a few base versions available. 

Legendary is great for a few reasons. For one, deck builders tend to be quite hard work and if you get your “engine” wrong at the beginning then it tends to be an uphill battle against the other players. Legendary counters this is in a couple of ways, it’s cooperative, so all the players are working together, and it’s rules, in my opinion, chooses fun and laid back vibes over a super in-depth complicated system. You can also set the difficulty with which ever villain you choose to fight. 


As a simple summary, in Legendary you each gradually build your decks with better, more powerful Marvel heroes. As a team you have to try and stop the “Mastermind” from taking over the city. Turn by turn more lower grade villains start appearing in the city locations on the board, causing havoc until they eventually escape. Your job is to defeat these villains before they escape, possibly with innocent people, while building up a strong enough team to punch the mastermind in his smug face. 

I have to say there’re deck builders I prefer, but in different ways. Legendary I would happily crack out for people new to deck builders or board games in general. The simplicity makes it a great “beer and pretzels” game, and I don’t think there’re many deck builders you can say about that. Let’s face it, the fact it is Marvel is also a massive draw, there’s so many cool characters to choose from as well, I tried to collect as many of Deadpool as possible I will proudly say.

The game isn’t without it’s issues. It takes more time than you’d hope to set up as you have SO many cards and they tend to fall out of place in the box if you store the game up-right, but those are minor things. So I can definitely recommend Legendary if you want a light hearted, co-op, deck builder, but if want something with more meat, maybe choose something else.  

So as almost a double feature, we have the Captain America 75th Anniversary expansion. I’m not going to get into how good the cards are game wise too much in this article as I love the artwork too much not to give it the limelight. 

What. The. Hell.


First up, the heroes you get are an awesome addition to the base game. Agent X-13, Captain America (Falcon), Captain America 1941 and Winter Soldier all look really cool. The Steve Rogers, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D cards are a bit underwhelming to me, and almost out of place in an expansion where the art is stellar! The Masterminds included are Arnim Zola and Baron Heinrich Zemo. Both solid choices from the Cap series, their henchmen are super cool as well with Zola’s creations being a menagerie of perverted science and Zemo’s Masters of Evil (WWII). 


The main attraction for me is the old school artwork. While playing, it’s great to really soak in the original building blocks of modern super heroes. As much as I enjoy the artwork of the more modern stylised cards, you get this type in the base game so it’s nice for a different look. I’d preferred it if all the cards were in this 1940’s look but that’s just my preference. 


 

All in all a great addition to Legendary: A Marvel deck building game. 

Captain America 75th Anniversary Expansion RRP 17.99

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game RRP 49.99

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Flick ‘Em Up

There’s a snake in my boot! Sorry, that’s my last Toy Story reference (probably). As we continue with some awesome dexterity games, it would be a crime to miss out Flick ‘Em Up. So grab your Stetson, stick on a western playlist and flex your digits, you’re about do some serious flicking!  

Seriously, how cool does this game look!?

Flick ‘Em Up  was a huge hit last year with its plush wooden “you know I’m worth it” box, and it was. But now Z-Man have released a plastic version, with a massively reduced price to boot. Only a few games in my life have been fun to punch and put together, and placing little rings on plastic cowboys gets included in that. It can also play 2-10 players! 

When it comes to rules, dexterity games thankfully tend to be quite light on them, meaning they are great for cracking out when you have people round who are new to gaming or have trouble picking up complicated rules. 

It’s not looking good for the Sheriff

The core rules behind Flick ‘Em Up are these: meeples activate one at a time between the teams. Once activated your meeple can ether move or shoot, or one of those twice. To move, you simple place the movement disc in contact with your meeple and flick it. As long as it doesn’t touch anything you then place your meeple where the disc ended up. If it does touch something it counts as a failed move and nothing happens, wasting the action. To shoot, you place the bullet disc next to your meeple and flick it, trying to hit an opposing players meeple. If they topple over they have been wounded and take a heart token. What makes shooting harder is all the debris in the way, and friendly players! If you hit a team mate, they take a wound!

There’s lots of extra cool rules for duelling, entering shops and throwing dynamite! One of my favourite extra pieces is the rifle counter, which basically let’s you “aim” your bullet when you shoot which is useful for people like me who can’t hit a barn door. The rule book comes with lots of missions to play through, with extra rules being added as you go. 

We really enjoyed Flick ‘Em Up. It’s nice to see my board game collection slowly lose the time draining non interaction hard-core strategy games, and quick, fun, light hearted games that has everyone talking to each other like, this take their place. Whether that’s just a shift for me, or the community in general I’m unsure but I know when I see a batch of new releases, it’s games like Flick ‘Em Up that catches my eye! 
Flick ‘Em Up retails at 32.99 RRP. 

Next week we’ll be looking at Red Rock Tomahawk, Flick ‘Em Ups awesome Native American expansion! 

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.

The 5 Best Tapletop Games to Introduce People to the Hobby

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We’ve got a new contributor in the form of Jonathan! He’s Kit’s brother. Like Kit, but also not at all like Kit. Because that is not how brothers work.

Mornin’ all, I’m not Kit. Instead, I’m his brother Jonathan, the younger, slightly sillier version. Now, we don’t know much about each other, but I hope you won’t be alienated if I say that I like fun. Do you like fun? It is pretty fun. That’s why I like tabletop games, as they are basically little engines that produce fun, and I like to play them with as many people as possible. Today, we’re going to look at the best games to introduce people to the hobby. Maybe you want to give them a go, but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you are sick to death with playing Articulate with your in-laws. As I said, I don’t know you either.

Let’s be clear, these games aren’t my favourites. Instead, they are easy to pick up, instantly engaging and fun to lose. After all, nothing will put someone quicker off the hobby than losing painfully at something they don’t understand.
5) Monikers

Monikers

“But Jonathan, this isn’t even a board game?!”

I know, dear reader, but if you can get people to have fun with pieces of card or paper, getting them around a board will be so much easier.

Monikers takes the good bits of Articulate, but doesn’t have you playing with cards 20 years out of date. It starts off very similarly, teams taking it in turn to have one member trying to describe the thing on the card without saying anything on the card, with the others trying to guess what the hell they’re on about. So far, so ordinary.

Second round, same cards, this time you only get one word. Starting to sound more interesting? Third round, you can make gestures, but no words. Round four, you go behind the sofa and describe your card with nothing but facial expressions. Round five, back behind the sofa, but now you can mime with anything except your head. This would be impossible, if you hadn’t built up in jokes and familiarity with the cards beforehand.

There are a set of cards you can buy, which I hear work very well. I, however, feel that this game is at its best when you choose your own things to guess. Let each player write down five things, perhaps in categories, and use these as your cards. This makes every game of it different, taking on unique flavours due to the people playing it.  That said, if you feel your group isn’t too creative, or you don’t have time to produce your own, the cards linked below are cheap and of high quality.

Now, as you may imagine, this is a silly game, and requires people to be willing to make a fool of themselves. I still remember trying to communicate Madagascar using nothing but my head. Ah, good times.

Monikers can be found here

 

4) The Resistance: Avalon

the resistance avalon

Be honest, you think you’d be a brilliant evil genius, don’t you? Perhaps it’s just me. Regardless, The Resistance: Avalon gives you the opportunity to be just that. You and your group will be noble Knights of the Round Table. Unfortunately, some of you are secretly evil, and are trying to corrupt Camelot. Each round, you’ll vote on which members of the group should go on quests, then the quest goers will secretly vote on whether or not they want the quest to succeed. If one votes to fail, then the quest fails. Over the course of five quests, once three go to either good or evil, that team wins.

A couple of additional touches make this spicy curry of intrigue even spicier. On the side of good is Merlin, who knows who the secret evil people are. To balance things out, at the end of the game, if the forces of evil can guess who Merlin is, they win, even if they didn’t corrupt enough quests. Ooh, such secrecy, such possibilities for deception.

This game needs to be played with people who won’t hold grudges. Occasionally, the rules can get a little complex for first time players, so you’ll need to have studied that rulebook, ready to field any questions. The game excels, however, because people don’t spend ages staring at a board. Instead, they are looking at each other, using intuition and logic, those wonderful things we all possess, to suss out each other’s motives.

Not convinced yet? I’ll tell you one story, from early in my Avalon days. A friend was playing for her first time, and she was nervous. She haltingly asked who Merlin might be, and I replied by slyly winking whilst stating Merlin would never reveal himself. She nodded, and a bond was built between us. We voted together, we swayed things our way. The final quest came, and we got our people on the quest.

Only, I wasn’t Merlin. I was evil. I had gone full Machiavelli, and tricked my friend into trusting me. My betrayal was beautiful, and yours will be too.

The Resistance: Avalon doesn’t have a designated website page, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find it quickly if you want it.

 

3) Pandemic

pandemic

Pandemic brings something to the table nothing else on this list does. It is a co-operative game, with all players on one side, fighting the board. This makes it ideal for groups who you fear may get a little too rowdy if they’re set against each other.

You play a team of doctors and scientists, trying to prevent four deadly diseases from wiping out humanity. On your turn, you do your best to stop the spread of these diseases and research their cures. If you come up with a cure for each disease, you win! If you run out of turns, you lose. If too many places suffer an outbreak, you lose.  If you run out of disease cubes to play, you lose. In other words, you’re all going to have to pull together to get through this.

When you pull off an awesome manoeuvre, playing just the right card at just the right time, you feel incredible. The games best feature is how each player will have at least a couple of moments when they get to save the day. When your group becomes a team, chaining together moves to pull off a complex set of actions that save the earth, you’ll feel pretty great. Furthermore, it is very easy to modify the difficulty of the game, making sure that any group will have a fair shot.

The one thing you’ll need to make sure of is that no one becomes a mini-dictator, telling people what to do on their turn and browbeating them into subservience. The other thing to be aware of is that after numerous plays, you risk ‘solving the puzzle’, and realising what the optimal plays are. The expansions do a good job of mitigating this, but beware, dear reader, for one day you may need to shell out for them as well, to recapture Pandemic’s wonderfulness.

Pandemic can be found here.

 

2) Codenames

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Codenames is probably the single tensest game I’ve played. It is also a thankfully quick one, otherwise I suspect my head would’ve exploded from sheer stress the first time I played it.

It is also a simple word game with incredibly simple rules. 25 words will be placed out on a table, with players split into two teams. One player on each team is the ‘spymaster’, knowing which cards are secretly their colour, the enemy’s colour, a turn ending innocent bystander, or the fatal assassin card, which results in an instant loss if it gets picked. To communicate which ones should be picked by their teammates, they get to say one word and one number each round. The word will hopefully hint towards some of the ones they want their teammates to pick, with the number an indication of how many to go for this round.

That’s it. A simple, fun game, that is incredibly easy to understand, but rather tricky to master. It is great for those you suspect will be reluctant to try anything too unusual. It may not work so well for those who aren’t too wordy or strong on lateral thinking, but its swiftness and its tension make it a great way to fill 15 minutes.

Codenames can be found here

 

1) Dixit

dixit

Without a shadow of a doubt, Dixit is the best game to introduce people to the hobby. Just show them the cards, and they are hooked. In Dixit, you are rabbits, running around a field, dreaming. Trust me, it is great.

On your turn, you choose one of the frankly beautiful cards in your hand, and play it facedown, providing a word or phrase to describe it. Each other player chooses a card in their hand that could match your description, and adds it to the pile. These are then shuffled and revealed, with everyone else voting for which card they think is yours. If they get it right, or trick someone into voting for theirs instead, they score points. You score points if people get it right as well, but you get nothing if everyone or no one gets it right. That way, you want some people to guess correctly, but not everyone.

dixit2That is the whole game. Playing this game is far more fun than winning or losing it, making it ideal for first time players. You’ll probably need to be the one keeping track of the scores, as I’ve seen people occasionally get muddled with it. This game shows people just how much more a board game can be than what they’re used to. And seriously, look at this card with a bag on it.

Is it not glorious? How could you not want to play a game with something as wonderful as that in it?

Now that we’ve got to know each other a little bit, I’ll be honest with you. I’m tired of Dixit. One day, you will be too. But the first time you play it, you’ll have a brilliant time. The second time too. It’ll take you a long time to get sick of it, and that first time brilliance is exactly what you need in an introductory game. Play it, dear reader, and make others play it too.

Dixit can be found here.

 

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Now, there were other great games that didn’t make it into the list. Some were left off because they were too complex, others because they were too similar to things already on the list. Let me know if you feel any absences are travesties of justice. Trust me with these five though, and you’ll be a bringer of joy to your loved ones. In time, you’ll get to introduce them to more complex games, and you’ll never have to play Monopoly again.

Jonathan

Check out The Nomadic Lighthouse, Jonathan’s own site totally in keeping with the ‘lighthouse’ theme.

 

 

 

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.

Total Reroll: Episode 5 – The Fightiest Pub

Welcome back to Total Reroll, our Dungeons and Dragons podcast! Adam has been playing some some good old fashioned D&D with some friends in London, except it isn’t old fashioned because it’s 5th edition. Our DM Ian has been running us through the ‘Hoard of the Dragon Queen’ storyline, and we picked up a few sessions in with our first episode (we decided to record a bit late, but you can check out some of the previous sessions in Adam’s write ups that start here).

In this fifth episode, Red, Artin, Daria, Ravoprax and Nausicaa head to nearest pub for some drinking, gambling and violence, while Carnicula decides that getting a full night’s sleep is far more important.


Download this episode (right click and save)

If you have any feedback please email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk, tweet us @lost_lighthouse or get in touch via our Facebook

Intro and outro music was ‘Welcome to the Knife Party’ by TeknoAXE