Saggyhead has been getting her summer shorts on as the weather heats up! Illusion, Hero Realms and Charterstone are raising her temperature!
Wolfgang Warsch ~ Age 8+ ~ 2-4 Players ~ 10-20 mins
I tend not to have many party games in my collection. Mostly this is because we play most of our games at two players so they don’t get as much attention. In the pandemic though, I was desperate to get more “zoomable” games to play with friends and family who are non gamers. Enter Illusion, a small game based on the optical illusions created in your brain when looking at coloured patterns.
This game involves guessing in a line up which order the cards go in terms of say the amount of yellow they have on them. Each card has a different pattern in red, yellow, green and blue. All you have to do is put them in the correct order. On your turn you can either challenge the order that the previous player has given or you can draw a new card and try to place it in the row. This sounds far easier than it actually is. Your brain is immensely smart and fills in the optical illusion and tricks you into seeing yellow where perhaps there is not any. On the back of each card is the percentage of each colour present in the image. So when the lineup is challenged, the numbers are revealed and if you are correct then you win the arrow card. Winner is the first player to get 3 arrows.
Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle ~ Age 12+ ~ 2-4 Players ~ 20 mins
Do you want a fast small box that costs very little money but packs a bunch of replayability and is a battle to the death? Then Hero Realms might well be the game for you. It and its space themed brother Star Realms are pure deck builders where everyone starts from the same basic cards and during the course of the game buy cards from the common market to upgrade their decks to super winners. I love the mechanism of deck building, it is easy to pick up and play and the play style is simple enough that most people can pick it up in under five mins.
Play consists of playing your five cards, these will give you attack points to batter your opponent, coins to buy new goodies from the market, and card abilities which will let you draw more cards and trigger additional abilities. There are four coloured factions in the game, and you will want to focus on one or two of these so each of your hands you draw will help you create combotastic moves that will make you feel like a god. I love this game, it’s cheap to buy but it packs a huge punch.
Jamey Stegmaier ~ Age 14+ ~ 1-6 Players ~ 45-75 mins
This is a saggyshort of a HUGE event rather than just a game, but this is a spoiler free intro review. This is a legacy game played over 12 episodes where you and your pals will be building your own village collectively by sticking stickers off and opening secret tuckboxes and getting new cards to add more rules to the game. If you haven’t played a legacy game before, then they are games where the rules will develop as the campaign continues and you and your fellow players will permanently alter and change the board and game components as you continue. The games tend not to be replayable, and you often rip up cards that are no longer needed. This can feel scarily permanent, which of course it is. But in a game like Charterstone, you stick stickers into the rulebook and onto the board, so you kind of have to just embrace it!
Charterstone is a worker placement, resource management and village building game. You are collecting resources to turn them in for points and/or opening new “crates” which will bring mystery cards and perhaps new rules. There is a bunch of excitement surrounding the investigating the story and exploring the Charterstone world that makes the whole experience an absolute joy from the off. I won’t tell you more about the exact mechanisms or the surprises because these are for you to discover.