Meg Takes a Bite– A Mini Review of Cunning Linguistics by CRaZy Like a Box

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A Dirty Market

cards-against-humanity-1Since Cards Against Humanity came out, there has been a boom of adult humor games that feature similar mechanics and design. I’d go so far as to say the market for such games has become a little saturated. While I like CAH, it lost its appeal after what felt like the hundredth time playing. With the recent exception of Joking Hazard, it’s been hard to find a game that features adult humor that isn’t just some CAH knockoff or done in bad taste.

Before the new year, I was asked to preview an adult humor game that took an indirect approach to being dirty but wasn’t a direct copy of CAH. I was excited to give this game a try, and I was very pleased when I did.

Time To Get Cunning With Language

unnamedCunning Linguistics (see what they did there) is a party game, for 3-8 players, where you can make dirty answers to questions out of seemingly innocent words. Each round the selected reader will choose a topic card and read it to the group. Everyone, including the reader will submit an answer for the topic card. Answers are created using the nine word cards in front of each player and what’s listed on their Free Words bank card. Once everyone has written down their answers, and turned them in, the reader will share each answer with the group. Everyone, except the reader, will then vote on which answer they like best. For each vote an answer receives, that player will gain a point. The first player to reach the point goal for the game will be declared the winner.  Continue reading

Meg Previews Manaforge by Mystic Tiger Games

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Magic in the Making

The elements swirl freely around the shop, winding through the rows of my displayed wares. I wield the elements to settle on the forge and they seem to dance sprightly, waiting for me to shape them. I stoke the fire, filling the room with a thick heat. I grab my tongs and ready the metal. I melt it down, and watch it become a beautiful, sun-golden liquid. I call down the elements from their post, and as each one dives into the glowing pool, the room fills with brilliant light. The brightness settles, the room is once more lit only by the glowing fire. The once golden liquid now reflects light like a prism. I can feel the power of the arcane radiating through it, and as I stare at the prismatic pool, I think, “This will be my finest weapon yet.”

The Manaforge

manapicThe Basics
  • 2-4 Players
  • 60-90 Minutes
  • Age 13+

In Manaforge players take on the roll of wizards specialized in the creation of magical items and weaponry, and the goal is to have the most prestigious magical forge at the end of the game. The game is played over a series of nine rounds, broken up into three rounds each of Dawn, Noon, and Dusk. As the game progresses through the day, the level of item you can make becomes more challenging. For example, during the Dawn rounds, you will find more mana producing items, whereas there will be none in the Dusk rounds. Each player also has two special talents that are drafted at the beginning of the game. These talents can give special abilities to help you during your turns, or give you a boost in the beginning of the game. Players gain mana using a combination of dice and cards. There are four types of mana available: earth, fire, water and air. Most items are forged from a single type of mana or some combo thereof. There are also items considered Arcane, which generally use at least one of each element for mana. Continue reading

Meg Previews 5ive: King’s Court by GameStax

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…All the King’s Men?

“Where are all of my men?” The King’s voice boomed like thunder, rolling across the great hall. The emptiness of the room became overwhelmingly apparent. Just then a small, anxious man approached the throne and knelt. He bowed his head, averting his gaze from the King’s disapproving eyes.

“We are all here your Majesty,” he squeaked. 

“That’s impossible! There only be but four of you in this room, and one of them is the Queen!” The King’s displeasure hung thick in the air. “Where in God’s name is everyone?” He began to pace back and forth in front of his throne. 

The man who still knelt, head bowed before the King, spoke once more. “Your Majesty, we are your court. Our knights are off training. You were only meant to meet with us today. Everyone is here as promised. I’m the Bishop, and with me I have your highest commanding knight, and the Rookie… *Hrumph*… I mean Rook.” 

The King let out a long sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I suppose this will have to do… Now, should we have camel or pony rides for my birthday–I can’t decide.”

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The King’s Court

characters-03The Basics
  • 2-4 Players
  • 15 Minutes
  • Age 6+

In 5ive: King’s Court by GameStax, players will try to assemble the members of the King’s court. The members of the court are: The King, the Queen, the Knight, the Bishop, and the Rook. Each member of the court, including the King, has a special ability that will either help the active player or hurt opposing players. However, players always have the opportunity to block cards, but that can get expensive.  Continue reading

Meg Previews Nothing to Declare by Apauling Games

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Workin’ Security

AirportSecurity_1.jpgI’ve been working at the airport doing baggage checks for a long time now. Generally, there isn’t a lot of excitement. Most folks just try to get away with bringing their big shampoo bottles– or giant tubs of hair gel, you know the type. After that, it’s mostly nail clippers and tweezers. Sometimes I think to myself, “All these people want to do, is just keep up with their grooming habits.” However, I have had some pretty incredible finds here and there. The type of finds that make you scratch your head and say, “How in the world, did you ever think you were going to get that through security?”

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a lady who was trying to get a big ol’ bottle of chloroform through the checkpoint without anyone noticing. She tried to play it off like she didn’t know how it got in there. Honestly, even if someone were trying to sabotage you, sticking a giant bottle of chloroform in your bag, would not be how I’d choose to do it. Ya know, we never did get her to admit what it was for. I can only imagine what the marshals were able to get out of her. That was weird for sure, but nothing will beat the guy who thought he could get a suitcase full of live snakes through the x-ray machine. 

*Sigh*

People sure are strange. 

What’s In the Bag?

14813132_10154027920759646_1759755180_oThe Basics
  • 2-6 Players
  • 20 Minutes
  • Age 8+

In Nothing to Declare, by Apauling Games, players will try to sneak crazy items through airport security. Each player will start with their own baggage and passenger cards. Passenger cards are used to affect your baggage, or the baggage of your opponents. Your opponents are not the only thing you have to worry about. Be prepared for random inspections! Only concealed baggage will be worth points. At the end of five rounds, the player with the most points in their concealed baggage, will be declared the winner.  Continue reading

Meg Takes A Bite- A Mini Review of Unreal Estate by Grand Gamers Guild

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Print & Play Madness

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PnP for Ahead in the Clouds

Recently I have found myself making lots and lots of print-and-plays for all kinds of games. For the past month I have been playtesting a game for Artana, so I’ve had to make several copies for it. A designer friend of mine sent me a PnP copy of one of his games months ago, so I am finally getting around to that. Plus there are two Kickstarter projects that I wanted to try as well. Let me tell you, it’s a lot of cutting and sleeving, but if you have the time, making PnPs can be a relaxing and rewarding thing. For Kickstarter backers, I absolutely suggest it. If you are on the fence about a game to back, give the PnP a try, and it might solidify your decision to back.

I’ve gotten extremely luckily with the the two Kickstarter PnPs that I have made. The first was Ahead in the Clouds, a great little two player by Button Shy Games. The second is the game I wanted to talk about today, Unreal Estate by Grand Gamers Guild.

City Building 101

14657657_10153969298594646_1162209222_nIn Unreal Estate, city building is all about timing and hand management. The town council has contacted you and your fellow players to build the best cityscape that you can. To do this, you must pick the buildings that will make the city the most beautiful. Choosing what buildings you’d like to use, is done in a drafting style, and any building designs not drafted will be sent to the Scrap Pile. However, demand can build up for these scrapped designs, so you will have a chance to cash in on them later, and be the one to bring back to the city what the people want to see. Wait too long, however, and one of your competitors may snatch up the payout before you can.  Continue reading

Meg Previews Stitches by Norwester Games

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There’s Something In The Dark Woods

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Photo Credit: www.clipartkid.com

Beyond the grounds of Franken State University, there is a place that no one dares enter. Past the scattered trees, to where the woods become dense and dark, you can find things that are truly terrifying. Everyone knows what’s out there. Everyone knows what the woods are really inhabited by…

The abandoned thesis projects of the university’s science department are alive out there– sad creatures, crawling in the dark. When the sun falls below the horizon, you can hear them, growling and grunting, fighting each other to survive.  And if you listen really closely, you can sometimes hear them speak… 

“Shiny… Tummy… Kitty…” 

However, these creatures are not the true danger. There is something far more sinister lurking in those woods. Long ago, it was left to fend for itself– the first failed experiment. It has been said, that the other creatures have tried to destroy it, to fight against the beast, but none have been successful. Perhaps, if the creatures could stop fighting amongst themselves, they could defeat the Abomination once and for all…

Monster’s Brawl 

stitches_promo_image_1024x576-768x432The Basics
  • 3-7 Players
  • 20-30 Minutes
  • Age 7+

Stitches, by Norwester Games, is a semi-cooperative game, where players take on the role of abandoned thesis projects, trying to survive in the woods. The goal of the game, is to upgrade your body parts, enough to be able to team up with the other creatures, to take down the Abomination. Players can gain new parts by scavenging the forest floor, or by attacking the others and stealing their targeted body parts. In the game, attacking uses a simple Rock, Paper, Scissors mechanic for combat. Whenever a player attacks another player, both the attacker, and the player being attacked, will learn a new word. These words will be the only form of communication that you have, besides grunting and growling. This adds to the challenge of trying to coordinate a strategy with other players. If a player chooses to attack the Abomination on their turn, anyone who shares a word with that player must also attack (there are ways to get out of attacking, but it is costly). The Abomination is not easy to kill, and will require players to have strong upgraded parts and plenty of allies to defeat it. However, there is a limited amount of time for you and your fellow creatures to defeat the Abomination. If there are no more cards left in the Parts Deck, the Abomination has won.  Continue reading

Meg Previews Unmasked: Dracula’s Feast by Jellybean Games

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A Feast For The Ages

draculaTonight will be a feast for the ages! Every candle is lit, every streamer is hung. The banquet table is set with a smorgasbord of delectable delights. The townsfolk should be arriving shortly and the band is ready to play.

Everything is perfect. I’ve really outdone myself this time…

*A low growl echoes through the foyer, followed by the stomping of several (possibly large) feet*

What was that? No, No, No! This is not happening. I specifically avoided sending them invitations! I can’t believe they’ve decided to crash my party! *sigh*  Now that the guests have started to arrive and everyone is wearing their masquerade masks, I can’t tell anyone apart! What a nightmare! 

Perhaps I can dance my way to figuring out who everyone is… Might as well enjoy myself while trying to get rid of these monstrous party crashers.

Making Plans

accusation-card-backsThe Basics
  • 4-8 Players
  • 5-15 Minutes
  • Age 10+

Dracula’s Feast, by Jellybean Games, is a social deduction game where players try to figure out the identities of the other guests who have crashed Dracula’s big event. The game has no night phases and isn’t a free for all guessing fest. Players must take an action on their turn to gain information about their fellow guests. Players may dance with, question, or accuse the other guests on their turn. Once they are certain they have discovered the identity of all of the other players, they may attempt a Grand Reveal on their turn instead. However, a correct Grand Reveal isn’t your only chance at winning. Every role in the game has a special ability or restriction to how they must play. This could change the way you gather information in the game, or how you present information to others. Players must be careful to not be tricked by the special role abilities, because a wrong accusation or Grand Reveal could mean your banishment from the party.  Continue reading