The Lost Lighthouse Plays: Cortex Challenge

​Welcome back everyone! Well, as we gear ourselves up for Xmas, yes already, we decided to look at a few games we thought could make your gaming partner/friend/cat’s day even better. We have a selection of games ranging from small to large, to fit anyone’s needs/stocking. 

Today we will be looking at Cortex Challenge (designed by Johan Benvenuto & Nicolas Bourgoin). I’m so glad I was able to review Cortex Challenge, whether we should or not, we judge things by the cover and it’s box gave me the vibe of stocking filler normally found by the till in department stores, thankfully it’s so far from this! For me, Cortex fits in the ever growing & popular quick party game category. 

Cortex has a delightfully short rules set, 3 very small pages. You set up the game by shuffling the challenge cards (excluding the textured touch cards) and placing them face down in the middle of the table. The back of each card will tell you what type of challenge the group is about to play. If someone thinks they have solved the challenge they ether perform the action the card tells them to or they cover the card and shout the answer. Ok, you don’t have to shout but I bet you will! If that player is correct then they receive a piece of their brain token. A player needs 4 tokens to complete their brain and win the game. Each player also needs to feel the touch cards as they may get a chance to win a touch challenge in the game.

In Cortex you and up to 5 others will test your grey matter through 8 possible brain games:

1) Memory. For this challenge you will have a card with 5 items on it. Cover the card and say the items out loud to win the challenge. 

2) Maze. Cover the card and say which letter is the correct path out the maze.

3) Colour. Cover the card and say which word is written in it’s own colour.

4) Coordination. Place the corresponding finger/s on the part of your face it tells you to.

5) Duplicates. Cover the card and say which picture has appeared twice on the card.

6) Frequency. Cover the card and say which number has appeared the most.

7) Reasoning. Cover the card and say which shape fits the diagram shown.

8) Touch. If this card comes up, then the person who won the last challenge has a chance to win again. The person in question has to close their eyes while the rest of the group chooses one of the touch cards for the person to try and guess. If they get it right they win another piece of brain!

There’s so many things I love about Cortex. First off, it can fit so many points in a gaming night. Fancy a quick pre or post dinner game, it fits. Want a game to get you excited before a longer game, perfect. Is it small enough to carry in my bag to a friend’s house just in case we can get a quick game in, yes! Is it easy enough to explain/play so non gamers can enjoy, BOOM, it is. Also the price point is perfect for Xmas only costing RRP £12.99. 

Not the best opponent.

 The only downside to Cortex is, like a lot of games, there are types of people that will excel or be awful at this game. If you have a problem solving personality you will probably keep wining, so someone who doesn’t will keep losing. Cleverly there’s different types of challenges and we found some people were better at one type than another. Also, the game is short enough that it’s doubtful someone doing badly will get board and it’s exciting just to play let alone win. 

If you like games like Dobble or Jungle Speed then I’m confident you’ll enjoy this. I love those games and Cortex will happily sit next to them in my collection.
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: The Grizzled

The Grizzled is a co-operative card game for 2-4 players. A lot of board/card games have based their setting in war. Where most games theme themselves around the fighting itself, The Grizzled is about the morale of a group of friends that have signed up to fight the good fight during the Great War. I always find it a bit difficult to play war games that are based during times of our close relatives, but The Grizzled presents itself in a tasteful way. At every step it respects it’s themes.

I think the first thing that will attract you to The Grizzled is the art. It’s absolutely beautiful by the fantastic Tignous and If there’s some thing that sticks with you, it’s his art. I’d find it impossible to think someone could walk past the cards laid out and not be drawn in by the art work. It’s the first thing that struck me that’s for sure!

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The games itself, to me, is a mix of strategy and push your luck. Your aim is to reveal the dove of peace, but if at any point the war monument is revealed or a soldier has 4 “Hard Knock” cards laid out in front of him, you lose. Each player starts with a soldier and some support tokens (these represent some kind of relief, that being a hot coffee or a friendly chat).

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Trial cards consist of ether threats or hard knocks. Threats represent pure danger while traversing no man’s land and hard knocks represent psychological conditions you and your friends may develop. At the start of each round, a certain number of trial cards are placed onto the peace card and the rest are placed on the monument card.
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During the game the mission leader choses how many trial cards will be dealt to each person (each player gets the same amount). Then one by one each player takes an action that can range from playing a card or making an inspiring speech to your best friends.

While the game is co-operative, your hand of cards are secret from each other. You could also end up with hard knocks like mute, which means you can not communicate with other players in any way!

When you play a threat into no man’s land you are trying to avoid matching 3 threats, the avarage card having 2, the worse card having 6! You also have to deal with traps that trigger more cards being played. If at any point, 3 threats match, the mission has failed.

After a while your only option is to withdraw from the mission. Cards are dealt from the monument pile, onto the peace card depending on how many cards the plays have left in their hand. The better the mission goes, the more chance, potentially, of succeeding with the next.
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The games ends when the dove or the monument is revealed, or if a soldier has 4 Hard knocks.

My group loved playing the The Grizzled. When you laid out the cards, it was more like you were working on a piece of art. Everything from the environments on the cards too the hand written hard knocks.

While a co-operative game, The Grizzled takes just enough away from your freedom to communicate to make it a different, more intense experience. Just reading some of the hard knocks make you really reflect on what those men went through; mustard gas, bombardment, and the dreaded whistle blow that signaled another push through no man’s land.
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Wether we won or lost a game, it felt like like an achievement, like you’ve tried as hard as you could. Every move you make, you think how it’s going to effect your brothers in arms. When you decide who gets your support token, it’s not always simple. Does the man with the most hard knocks get your support or the one who have 1 really bad one!

As a special mention I’d liked the “Happy Christmas” card. It really gets you if it gets drawn. That ray of hope in the worse time.

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I’d full heartedly recommend The Grizzled. It’s simple superb. I’ve been compiling my “must buys” for Christmas and this will have a well deserved place on it.

You can find your local retailer for The Grizzled by using this link.

You can pick up The Grizzled from Amazon for £16.99

Gary.