Game Review: Papayoo

Gigamic, 2010

Papayoo is a variation of your standard trick taking game. The deck is built slightly differently with the 4 normal suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades) in the numbers 1-10, and a fifth suit, the Payoo suit with 20 numbered cards. The goal is to take the least amount of points during a round. More on that in a moment. Although the game uses “normal” suits, the artwork is bright and colorful which makes the game a little more fun. Note that it also, besides having the suit shapes, has different textures (circles, lines, etc) making it friendly to color blind folks as well.)

All the cards are dealt to the players. Then each player gives the player on their left a number of cards (3-5 based on number of players) from their hand. After this “draft”, a special 8 sided die (with each of the 4 “normal” suits on the die twice) is rolled. The 7 of that suit becomes the Papayoo for that hand. The dealer then leads a card and all players must follow suit if possible. The highest card in the suit led takes the trick.

Each of the Payoo suit (numbered 1-20) is scores points equal to the number value on the card at the end of the round. The Papayoo 7 (the normal suited 7 of the suit rolled on the 8 sided die) is worth 4o points. Remember, the goal is to NOT score points.

The game can be played to a pre-determined number of rounds or points.

This is a fairly standard trick taking game, without trump, but with the special dice and drafting which make it more interesting than a game of Hearts or Spades. It retails around $12-$15 and comes in a handy small tin. It is great for carrying around in a purse or vehicle to have on hand for a few rounds when you have time. It is easy to learn and play and quite a lot of fun. If you are looking for a different game for someone who likes standard trick taking games, pick this one up. It would make a good stocking stuffer or gift exchange gift. Recommended.

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December 2016 Minutes

Mindbridge Meeting Minutes December 7, 2016 at ARC of Southeast Iowa

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes – posted online, approved.
  3. Treasurer’s Report – we have money but less than last month.
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
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Game Review: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

harrypotterhogwartsbattleHarry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
USAopoly 2016

Just in time for Christmas comes this Harry Potter Themed introductory deckbuilder. USAopoly is known for creating themed versions of games like Monopoly or Clue, but may have hit a home run with this unique stand alone game.

You will see the difference from the moment you open the box. It has a large game board and boxes labeled Game 1 through Game 7. The first thought is “Is this a legacy game?” It is not. The idea is that it is a game that teaches itself as you play. When you open the rulebook, it tells you to start with game 1 (game 1-3 if you are already familiar with deck building type games). Then the very simple, easy to understand rules walk you step by step through setup and play so you can start right in with the game. Playing as either Harry, Ron, Hermione or Neville, the players cooperatively work to defeat villains before the villians take over the game locations. In game one, you have three villians and two locations. During your turn, you will use your cards to gain attacks, coins or hearts, using the attacks against the villians, the coins to purchase cards from the board to add to your deck, or hearts to heal damage you have taken. Each turn, you look at your location and do its action (usually revealing and resoving a dark arts event card), then you will see if your villian triggers something to happen. Then you play the cards in your hand, purchase cards and assign your damage to a villian. At the end of your turn, if you have defeated a villian then you resolve their reward.

This is a FANTASTIC way to teach a deckbuilder. Starting very simply to teach the basic concept, and, once you win the game, you may then open the next box, adding cards and rules, changing or adding villians and/or locations, and/or adding new components. Each new game will add more challenge as well, so that by time you have added in all seven boxes, you will be facing three villians at a time. This approach, along with the very popular Harry Potter theme, makes this game an attractive gateway game.

I took this game home for the Thanksgiving holiday to introduce it to my non-gamer nieces and nephews. They LOVED it. We played three games, adding in boxes two and three. We won each game. It was great to see siblings who don’t get along well playing cooperatively and enjoing each other as well as the game. They enjoyed the theme almost to the point of role-playing casting their spells and talking about the Harry Potter world. I was unsure if they would only play game one and be done, but they were excited to add more and keep playing. Even my Mom got in on the action!

So this holiday season, if you have some Harry Potter fans and are looking for a great game to keep everyone involved and one that will have lots of replay value, consider Hogwarts Battle. Even veteran deck builder players will enjoy this game although they may want to start with game three or more. Really veteran players may consider just starting with the full seven game set, though I feel they would be missing out on the discovery that this game offers by playing and adding as you go.

Highly recommended.

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Game Review: Colony

Bézier Games, 2016

A nanopocalypse has happened. Humans have been driven underground and now that the nanobots have left, the survivors must use the resources available to them to rebuild society. This 1-4 player card game has elements of dice drafting and dice pool building, Dominion style card purchasing, Machi-Koro style tableau building.

Each player starts with a warehouse, in which to store resources, a supply exchange to change resources, a construction action card and an upgrade action card. Every card in the game has two sides, a base side, and an upgraded 2.0 side which does basically the same action, only slightly better. For example, the warehouse will hold six resources on it’s 1.0 side, and holds nine on it’s 2.0 side. Each of the cards also has a resource cost, it’s power, and small orange half circles on the bottom which are their victory point total. (Usually between 1-2 on their 1.o side, 2-4 points on their 2.0 side). The object of the game is to acquire a number of victory points in front of you based on the number of players. 15 points for four players, 16 points for three players, and 20 points for two players.

Each game will have piles of resources and actions which the players may purchase during the game. The game comes with 34 different sets of cards. Five basic resources, one basic victory point card and 28  variable cards, of which only seven will be used in each game. This gives the game tons of re-playability and variety. You can choose the way you want to play the game. If you like a more aggressive game, you can add more aggressive cards, if you don’t, choose more non-confrontational cards. In this way, the setup is very like Dominion.

During your turn, you will take three stable resource dice (white), and will roll them, choosing one, and drafting the rest to the other players at the table. You will also gain dice, both stable, and unstable (grey dice, unable to be stored between turns). Their die face indicates which type of resource they are. Scrap Metal (1), Genetically Modified Organism (2), Protein (3), Polymer Fabric (4), Fiber (5) or Uranium (6) will be used to purchase the available cards, gaining you resources, actions or victory points. Sometimes you don’t get the right combinations of resources to allow you to purchase a card. In that case, you pick up a CHIPI (Cybernetic Holder of Instant Production Improvement)… yeah, CHIPI. You may turn in up to three CHIPIS during future turns in return for an equal amount of unstable resources to use on that turn.

Basically that is the entire game. It is easy to learn, yet has a lot of strategy. I have found that there are many ways to success, and not being able to purchase the cards you are looking for for your initial strategy does not put you out of the game. And should you find yourself falling behind, there is a nice catch up mechanic built in to get you more dice during a turn, allowing you to build more, giving you more victory points.

I had the great fortune of being able to work with Bezier at Gen Con this year demo-ing this game. I was concerned at first, since it was new and unknown, but I loved it right away, and have felt the same enthusiasm from almost everyone to whom I have shown it. I pre-ordered it as soon as I could, and am so thrilled with the game even though I have only played the suggested starter cards. Can’t wait to build up a group that wants to play different variations! Highly recomended.

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