Game Review: Tally Ho!

tallyhoTally Ho!
Thames & Kosmos, 2016

The two-player game Tally Ho! began life as Jag und Schlag in 1973, but was recently brought to the United States by Thames & Kosmos. In Tally Ho!, the players take sides as either the hunters or the "hunted" wildlife. The game is played on a 7 x 7 grid filled with randomly placed tiles. Each player in turn turns over one tile, or moves a tile. Hunters can capture wildlife if they are facing with their gun in the correct direction. Captured tiles go into the players score pile. The hunters are NOT able to turn at any time, so must work to position themselves on the board carefully to take the animals. The Animals (bears and foxes) on the other hand, may capture smaller animals. The bear may capture the hunters, if they can get within one space. There are also trees, which act as blocking terrain, which can only be removed by the lumberjack tiles. Players take turns flipping tiles, moving them and capturing until all the tiles have been flipped over. At that point, four more rounds are played. Players can opt to continue hunting and moving, but now have the option of escaping the board escaped tiles are then added to their players scoring stack. Different tiles have different values, and the highest score at the end of TWO rounds is the winner.

Yes, two rounds. The first round is played, then the players switch sides, with the hunter player now controlling the animals, and the animal player now controlling the hunters. After the second round, scores are tallied, and the player with the highest score wins.

I like the idea of this game, however the play is unbalanced towards the hunters, which is why you have to play two games to determine a winner. I thought this would be good for kids, but my experience has been that the kids don't want to play two games to determine the winner. When the game is over, it should be over. A little more playtesting and work on rules, tile play, tile distribution and movement could have made this a balanced game that could be played in one round. If this doesn't bother you, then you may like to give Tally Ho! a try.

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Game Review: Suburbia

Bezier Games, 2012

In Suburbia, you are working against other players to build communities that will attract more people while at the same time, providing enough money to grow and build.

Each player starts with three tiles, a community park, a factory and a suburb. A real estate market is placed on the center of the table with seven spaces of increasing value. Tiles are placed into each of these market spaces for sale. On a player's turn, they will purchase these tiles, paying the cost on the tile, plus the cost of the market space, then take the tile and add it to their community. Players then score the tile. Scoring can include increasing or decreasing your income or your reputation. Some tiles also have "synergy" with other tiles, causing them to increase or decrease your or other players income or reputation. So after every tile that gets placed, on your or your opponents communities, you will check all your tiles to see if you adjust your values. Getting tiles that produce income early is key, as the higher your population gets, you will cross red lines on the scoring track that cause you to lose income and reputation. This is a nice "catch up" mechanism, but can also hinder you if you get too much population too early, and not enough income to purchase more tiles. At the end of your turn, you will gain money equal to your income, and population equal to your reputation. If players cannot or choose not to purchase a tile from the marketplace, they still have two options, building a lake (placing a tile face down, which produces instant money) or purchasing one of the three base tiles for a lesser amount.

Each player also has a secret goal, which could be anything from having the most of a tile type, to having the most money. All players will also be competing for four open goals which will score at the very end of the game. The player with the highest population and the end of the game wins.

Suburbia is a very strategic game, however the random nature of which tiles come up on any given game or turn can make each turn a challenge. Players who are prone to analysis paralasis could cause this game to run longer than the stated 90 minutes. It is also a "thinky" game. Players need to stay on top of what tiles are being played both on their boards and others, to make sure that they are scoring all the different synergies that they may have.

Players who have played Castles of Mad King Ludwig will easily pick up Suburbia as it has many of the same game mechanics. I enjoy this game, and like that even though the players are each building their own communities, they must pay attention on every turn to make sure they are scoring all their available points. If you like a more thought-intensive game, then Suburbia may be for you.

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October 2016 Minutes

Mindbridge Meeting Minutes - October 5, 2016 - 7 pm - The ARC of SE Iowa

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes - posted online, approved.
  3. Treasurer’s Report - we have less than last month after paying bills.
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
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Game Review: Crazy Karts

crazycartsCrazy Karts
Portal Games, 2016

Fantasy Mario Kart chaos racing for the win! Or, if you're old enough, Wacky Races in board game form.

Crazy Karts is exactly that. You and a partner compete in a race across a hazard filled board against other teams. Play goblins, elves, dwarves or mummies, each with their own special actions. Each player has a hand of steering wheel (action point) cards (6 cards, 3 worth 1 point, 2 worth 2 points, and 1 worth three points.). Each player has a control board that contains half of the actions for the team. Each player distributes their action points across the available actions on their board. One player will control the special power, acceleration, attack and repair, which the other controls the initiative, powerups, brakes, steering and power. The catch? The players cannot conspire or communicate in any way when programming their actions! After all the cards have been secretly placed, all players reveal their boards and resolve the actions.

Along the way your cart may take damage from your opponents (either from getting shot or from running into other carts or walls) or from obstacles on the course. The more damage you take, the lower your maximum speed can be. Also, the faster you go, the less action point cards you can use in the next round. These mechanics make for very close races, and lots of chaotic, hilarious excitement. The board also has power up points where you can gain special powers that may help you or hinder your opponents.

The game comes with variable board sections, so you can play different layouts and lengths. It is suggested that you start with a three-board qualifying race. After the qualifying race, teams recieve upgrades and repair damage to their carts based on their finishing placement. Then you play a four board "race", winner takes all and receives the fancy champagne bottle token to celebrate their win.

The combination of blind programming, wacky power ups and special actions make this game very chaotic. I have found that many races will have most of the carts finishing on the same turn, so initiative can be very important, as can strategic space manipulation. Guessing where your opponents might be headed and trying to outmaneuver them will give the strategic gamer their fix, while still allowing for enough random wackyness to keep the lighter game lovers happy.  Recommended!

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