SAGGYHEAD has jumped head first into September wearing her saving sandals in Patient Zero, Three Little Wolves and Alphabeasts Attack!

Save Patient Zero

Cédric Martinez ~ Age 10+ ~ 1-7 Players ~ 30-45 mins

 I am a scientist, and the idea of a game that played on that was something I really wanted to get behind. This game is similar to battleships in that you are trying to guess your own antidote to a disease. Saving the world is the aim and this is done using a cluedo or Guess Who style of deduction. Taking fragments of information and putting them together to determine your antidote code. This game is designed to be played in teams, and is a little like Captain Sonar in that you will each be hiding behind your player screens trying desperately to piece information together before your opponents have a chance to beat you to the guess. This has the looks of a very in depth difficult deduction game, I think in part due to the theme, however it is actually a very accessible game.  I think this game is most suited to families and is accessible enough to try with non-gamers.

This can be played using the companion app. The app allows solo play and removes the need for someone to “run” the game. However, I was unable to use this on Android, I believe that this is something being worked on by the developers. We played the two player mode, where we each ran the game for the other, answering questions about their antidote. This worked well and meant there was no downtime as you had to work on both your own and opponents turn.

The Three Little Wolves

Poki Chen ~ Age 8+ ~ 2-4 Players ~ 20 mins

The age old tale of the Three Little Pigs has just been flipped on its head and now the Big Bad Pig is in charge. The little wolves are scrabbling around trying to make ends meet by building tower blocks, whilst the Big Bad Pigs run the show. They swoop in and take all the credit for the work of the wolves. This is a small box card game with a few tokens which add additional complexity. What strikes you first is the fun cartoon art style by Smoox Chen, this game is fun to look at. Components wise, the tokens are high quality and brightly coloured and easy to determine from one another. The card stock isn’t particularly thick, but the bright colours and art style really make this a good looking game.

Gameplay flows simply, you play a card from your hand and then you draw a card. It really is that simple. There are three different colours of building cards; red, blue and yellow as well as the white wild cards that can be played into any colour. You are trying to create the tallest tower block of each colour, however if you found yourself being left behind, all is not lost. You can weasel your little wolf tokens into the houses of opponents and gain points off the back of their hard work. At the end of the game any white only towers will be destroyed, and the smallest tower of each colour at the table will be demolished. This calls for interesting decisions as you try to manage your three towers at the same time.

This game for me was a puzzle that kept my brain going but I think that the two player variant is a bit weak and this is better at higher player counts. The randomness of the cards being placed in the dummy player doesn’t pose enough of a threat to the human players. I think this game is best at the full complement of 4 players, where the push/pull of card play will really push you to make those tricky decisions.

Please note I was provided with a copy of this game for review but my opinions are unbiased.

Alpha Beasts Attack

Dr Daryl Crow ~ Age 7+ ~ 2-5 Players ~ 20 mins

Alpha Beasts Attack is a card based word game from Origame. Players pit their brains against the Alpha Beasts and try to survive long enough to collect enough brains to win the game. To defeat an Alpha Beast in front of you or in the centre, all you need to do is think of a word with that letter in it. Trouble is that these letters could be a “Q”, a “J” and a “DD”. Which makes things a whole bunch trickier. There are also Alpha Bosses who pose an even tricker problem, where you must have more vowels than consonants in your word, or think of a word with only one syllable. During this co-operative game, you will get only one word each to play so you have to make sure it is a good one. You need to take out all your own Alpha Beasts and as many as possible from the centre because every undefeated Alpha Beast will attack you and become a scar. If you take too many scars (2 x the number of players) then the game is over so you have to work hard to defeat everything thrown at you.  As you collect defeated Alpha Beasts, you can trade them in for drawing from your help deck which will amongst other things contain brain cards which you need to win.

As Wordle swept the world earlier this year, I realized that my long held disdain for word games was actually just for scrabble. I don’t hate word games, I just really don’t enjoy being annihilated at Scrabble by the serious players. This game is pretty unassuming to look at, but it can be surprisingly difficult. We lost by getting too many scars a few times. Luckily the more you survive the more likely you are to get enough brains to win. There are ways to make it much easier, all the way down to the kid-friendly version giving you a bunch of different ways to play this depending on who is around. If you are wanting a game that you can quickly get to the table from with any selection of players, or wanting a word game to support your child’s learning then this might be a game for you.

Please note I was provided with a copy of this game for review but my opinions are unbiased.