Game Review: Timeline

TimelineTimeline
Asmodee, 2008

How well do you know your history? Think you’re pretty good? Then this series of lightweight fast paced games might just be for you. Timeline is a small game with a little over 100 cards in each set, each card has two sides. One side says the event/item/idea, the other has the year that that event/item/idea happened or was created. Each player has 4 cards in front of them, date side down. On their turn, the player picks one of their cards and adds it into the timeline on the table. Once placed, the card is flipped to see if they were correct in their placement. If correct, play continues to the next person. If they were incorrect, they have to draw a new card and try again on their next turn.  Easy, right?

There are currently 7 different timeline sets: Inventions, Discoveries, Historical Events, Diversity, Music & Cinema, American History and Americana. These sets are easily mixed and matched because each set is color coded. The Small (5” square) tin has a color on the top right corner of the lid, which matches the color on the dates on the cards. So you can easily mix sets to make a bigger pool of cards with different subjects, and just as easily sort them into their individual sets when you are done.

This deceptively easy concept can be fiendishly hard as you try to remember if Friends premiered before or after Tiger Woods became the youngest Masters champ. (It was before) It can also be very easy: Friends premiered after the first Stetson hat was sold. (Both examples from the Americana set.)

The artwork on the cards is nice, and can help you (or not) as you try to decide where in the current timeline to put your card.

A minus on this game is that eventually, you may learn the dates on the cards enough that the game becomes too easy. Wait… A MINUS that you learn historical dates? Yes, this game could be used for the nefarious purpose of TEACHING kids (and adults) about historical events and times. AND it’s fun as well. So go buy this as a stocking stuffer for those middle grade kids. It’s priced right and you will be giving them something worthwhile and fun. And while you’re at it, check with your kids’ teacher and see if one of these sets would be good for their classroom as well. Great teacher gift! Highly Recommended.

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Game Review: Top Promoter

pic1701236_mdTop Promoter
Game Salute/Moore Games Please 2014

Top Promoter is a lightweight, quick, fun game. It is themed around boxing, but you don’t need to be a fan of boxing to enjoy this game. You are a promoter, attempting to get your fighters into arenas. Each arena has 3 bouts, with the main event paying out more than the earlier events. This mechanic works really well for giving you the thematic feel of the game. The game is for 3 to 5 players.

Each player has their own deck of fighters and promotional tricks. The card names are amusing and lighthearted (Larry lefty, Has Been, and the Big Chicken are just a few). Each fighter has a hometown, weight class, popularity rating and dice stat/knock out rating. The card art is fun, but is repeated (as are some of the names) in other decks. So you might have the same “person” come up against himself from a different promoter. That is just me being picky tho. I understand that in a game with 15 boxers times 5 players artwork can get pricy, but that little extra effort would really enhance the fun factor. It in now way effects the playability of the game. You only play once through your deck, so picking the right fighters gives a nice lightweight strategy to the game.

You begin the game by randomly selecting a number of locations based on the number of players. Lay out a number of face up locations equal to the number of players minus one. Each location supports 3 bouts, the bout closest to the location is the main event, the second is the Mid event, and the lower card is the starting event. Each player shuffles their deck and draws 6 cards. Each player selects one of their boxers and places it face down in front of them. When all have chosen, the cards are revealed and placed in the bout positions based on the highest popularity first. Boxers who are placed on the location that matches their hometown will get an extra dice when their match is played. Once placed, the players draw back up to 6 cards. Play continues until all bouts on a location fill. They immediately resolve first bout up to the main event. The players roll dice to determine the winner of the match and are paid out according to the bout position, length of the bout, and underdog bonus. Should a player win all three matches at a location, they will also receive a clean sweep bonus.

Once the last location is resolved, the game is over and the player with the highest amount of money wins the game.

This is a fun game with good balance and nice humor. Fun for all ages, regardless of your interest in boxing as a sport.  Recommended.

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Game Review: Snowball Fight and The Great Snowball Battle

Snowball Fight

GreatSnowballBattle

The Great Snowball Battle
Sninkthinkink/Game Salute 2014

Snowball Fight
S&S Innovations 2002

Ready for winter? If the snow isn’t flying yet, and you’re itching to get out in the snow, here are a couple fun and easy games that will scratch that snowball itch, and you don’t have to get wet and cold in the process.

Both games are card games. Snowball fight has round cards which is fun and thematic, but can be harder to hold and you have to adjust your card orientation quite a lot because a round card doesn’t have an easy “up” side. On the plus side, both the snowballs and cover are on the same cards (sometimes both on a single card), which gives an element of strategy to using your cards as you may have to choose between using them for cover or attack. The Great Snowball Battle has more types of cards, cards for cover, the snowballs, events, a kid card which gives you an ongoing or one time power and gear.

In Snowball Fight, the person with the least hits wins, you can take 30 points of damage before you are out of the game. In The Great Snowball Battle, you have 3 pieces of gear which get taken out any time you take a hit. Once you lose your last piece of gear, you have to “go inside” and are out of the game.  You can choose to either attack, or “clear out” on your turn. When you clear out, you get rid of all your “damage” as well as your cover and any items you have, and start over with new cover and a new item.

Snowball Fight is a quicker, simpler game, and has a little more fun with the cards, naming each snowball (Avalanche, Dipsy Doodle, Boulder, Lucky Shot, etc.) while The Great Snowball Battle has more options, and the snowballs are simply numbered.

Both games are card games, with approximately the same number of cards. The Great Snowball Battle however comes in a HUGE 10”x10” box. Very oversized for what is in the box. Snowball Fight comes in a much smaller box, so is a little more portable if you are wanting to throw in a game to take along on that long car ride or to Grandma’s house for the weekend. Both games can be played by kids and adults, bothbare recommended for ages 8+.

Overall, Both are good games. If you are looking for a fast-paced lightweight snow themed game, you won’t go wrong with either one. Because The Great Snowball Battle has more options, there is a little more re-playability, but also is a little clunkier in its mechanics and isn’t as good for 2 players. Snowball Fight has quicker, simpler and more elegant play, but can get a little stale after a while, and some people have difficulty with the round cards. Both recommended.

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Game Review: Cosmic Cows

CosmicCowsCosmic Cows
Playroom, 2001

Cosmic Cows is a fun, silly, 2-player game. You and your opponent are aliens attempting to abduct cows. How much better can it get? You move the cows along the track using Yahtzee like dice rolls, attempting to pull the cows into your mothership. This results in a kind of tug of war with tractor beams and cows. The first person to get 3 cows into their ship wins.

I once went to a casino and played a penny slot with a theme of aliens abducting cows. It was hysterical and I won money. So I *may* be partial to cow abducting alien games. Just sayin’. I think the theme is hysterical, it comes with 10 cute little plastic cows, and 10 dice, and a nice easy to understand board.

If you like Yahtzee, then you will like the mechanics of Cosmic Cows. As I have said before, dice kinda hate me, but I still like this game a lot. It’s simple, plays quick and will bring smiles to the table.  So if you’re looking for a quirky, fun, quick 2-player, or just need something to spice up your Yahtzee fetish, pick up Cosmic Cows.

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