File me under: I presume
What it’s All About: LivingStone is a super euro wannabe by Playroom Entertainment (makers of Killer Bunnies). Players travel by steamboat down the Zambezi and draft dice with which they can explore and exploit the dark continent. The die chosen from among those rolled at the beginning of a turn determines how deeply you can explore the river shore OR how many gems you can mine (pull) from the gem bag OR how much money you earn. Pitching tents on explorations costs increasing amounts of money and gems can be traded in for money. The farther down the river you travel the more expensive an expedition ashore costs and the more gems removed from the bag, the riskier each mining attempt becomes. You may also draw action cards to tweak gameplay elements or just gain Victory Points at the end of the game.
Speaking of the end of the game. With a small play group it can become pretty evident who is going to win. The additional endgame victory points are fairly predictable and baring a huge load of gems being hoarded, or a devastating mine collapse you will probably be able to see the winner from 2 turns out. Which is depressing because I want to like LivingStone more than I do. The dice pool all players share and it’s impacts on strategy (you can’t draw a die of a lower value than your previous draw) are intriguing. There is also a necessity to tithe coins to the Queen throughout the game to avoid to avoid being an instant loser; Which, is a dumb mechanic?So, if you are the player who gave the least to the Queen you just lose. I can see this working if you didn’t have to announce when you were donating to the queen so as to include a hidden variable to the game. As it is the player who hoards cash early will have a dramatically increased chance of staying in the running at the end. Bleh.
LivingStone is a fairly light game with a janky combination of mechanics that is not bad, per se, but lacks a compelling hook. Victorian Era exploration should be adventurous, because it was, and turning it into a long division exercise just isn’t much fun.
Time Commitment: 30+
Tweaks: The two player variant of LivingStone makes it possible for both players to lose if they haven’t tithed enough to the Queen! Wonderful! (?)
Gripes: Donating to the Queen is a cute concept but is incredibly annoying and ruins a players motivation to succeed. Down with the Monarchy!
Best For: The guy who needs ALL the Euros.
More and more of late the popular concept of a board game includes tons of tiny wooden doodads, bits or figures sprawled across a table. The days of a single pawn winding away across a roll & move track are fading with every copy of Carcassone & Catan on a Target shelf. And more the better.
But these bits can present a particular sticking point for the at home maker. If your design calls for a healthy helping of widgets your options are, at best, tedious and at worst expensive. Or is it?
Some preview copies of the professionally printed version of “Slash: Romance Without Boundaries” made their way into our filthy hands and we unboxed the hell out of them.
What’s it all about: Avalon is Resistance 2.0, a party style bluffing game where players don the roll of Supporters of King Arthur or dirty, dirty Minions of Mordred (spies). It’s Werewolf, but more complex with more roles that add to the depth of deductive logic that’ll be used to expose who’s working for who.
File me under: Jack The Ripper enthusiasts are the worst.
Our artist David Bednar sent along two thumbnail sketches for the upcoming Pack the Pack campaign and their pretty nice! We are working to nail down the characters so that the cover illustration can move forward!
When we discussed the game with David a week ago we references the art style of the French MMO Wakfu and there is just enough of that styling in these thumbs to move forward. We wanted something that was fantasy-themed but had an approach-ability to it that would appeal to younger players. Just for the record Stella Hellabad is the best character name I’ve ever seen.