New York Slice
Bezier Games, 2017

A game guaranteed to make you hungry, New York Slice is a “I slice, you choose” game. Remember when your parents, or perhaps your kids were given a cookie or other treat, and one child divided the treat, but the other child choose which piece they received? This game is modeled on that principle. This game is played in six rounds or “pizzas” of 11 slices each. The pizzza slice types run from three to eleven points (Three 3’s, Four 4’s up to Eleven 11’s). The slicer (first player) will divide the pizza up into a number of sections, one per each player in the game. Then they will add a daily special event to one of the sections, or may choose to make the daily special its own section. Each player will then choose a section to keep, with the slicer receiving the last remaining section. This is a set collection game, where you are attempting to have the most pieces of each pizza type at the end of the sixth round. If you have the most of a type, you will receive that many victory points. (have 2 or more of the “3” pieces will get you three points)  Ties will receive no points. When you take a pizza portion you also have the option to “eat” any of the slices you just acquired. Those slices will be placed upside down in a pile beside your other pieces. You may only eat a slice if it has a piece of pepperoni on it. Anchovies on slices not eaten will count as negative points against you at the end of the game, and each pepperoni on eaten slices will counts as one point at the end of the game. This makes for interesting decisions throughout the game as you have to determine if you need a slice in order to have the most of its type, or if you may want to eat it for extra points at the end of the game or to negate an anchovy.

At the end of the game, you receive points for the sets for which you have the majority, plus or minus points from daily specials, plus eaten pepperonis, minus anchovies. Special slices like the wild slice or combo slices can tip the balance for ties. Daily specials can add all sorts of strategies. There are 14 daily special included in the game, but only 4-6 are used for each game, giving lots of replayability. This is a fun game, but can get a bit thinky as people try to determine the best slice for their strategy. If you have players with analysis paralysis difficulties, you may want to add a timer for the slicer to keep the game moving. It is a light weight casual game that is lots of fun. Make sure to plan to order a pizza before you play so it will arrive when everyone is hungry after staring at yummy pizza slices for a whole game. Recommended.

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.

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.