(UN) CONVENTION (AL)
I don’t know about you but, for me, United States presidential elections are fascinating. This year, the race to capture the highest office in the land has taken on some strange and bizarre twists and turns. All of it coalesces at the Republican and Democratic conventions held in the summer to anoint each party’s standard bearer for the election this November. We’ve been having elections since the days of George Washington and conventions nearly as long but this has certainly been, to say the least, unconventional.
The unconventionality of this election cycle has brought millions of people, many of whom have previously exhibited no interest in politics, into the political forum of the country. This unconventionality has stimulated unprecedented excitement and interest. Excitement and interest are good things. Maybe we can apply “unconventional” to our own hobby/industry.
It seems evident that the old, worn, tired approaches – be it politics or game design – do not inspire or get results. The rewards for unconventional thinking are readily apparent: more attention, more buzz and, for those most interested in the bottom line, more sales. In each issue of Gamers Alliance Report, our goal is to seek out and focus on the games that bring something new to the table and turn the typical “conventions” of gaming into unconventional fun.
In this issue of Gamers Alliance Report, we get caught between two cities, visit the World’s Fair, pierce the “vale”, commit murder and do our best to escape! Greg Schloesser gets religion and Pevans gets civilized. Chris Kovac visits Japan, Joe Huber spreads his wings, Kevin Whitmore gets goosed while Andrea “Liga” Ligabue rages on! And, of course, much more. Until next time,
Herb Levy, President
Summer 2016 GA Report Articles
Reviewed by Herb Levy BETWEEN TWO CITIES (Stonemaier Games, 3 to 7 with 1 and 2 player variants], ages 8 and up, about 25 minutes; $35) Ever since Antoine Bauza rediscovered and re-implemented the game mechanism of card drafting (and made a monster hit by using it in his game 7 Wonders), card drafting has become more and more popular in recent game designs. But ...Read More
Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue BLOOD RAGE (Cool Mini or Not, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 60-90 minutes; $79.99) I really like most of Eric M. Lang's designs and of those Blood Rage is the game I prefer. Tense, deep, with different paths to victory in an outstanding presentation. It is a typical "American" game, with intense interaction but a really low ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy CASTLES OF BURGUNDY: THE CARD GAME (Ravensburger/Alea, 1 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 30-60 minutes; $13.50) If you've been paying attention to a lot of the successful board games published over recent years, you might have noticed a trend. It seems that profitable board games will give rise to card game versions of themselves. Castles of Burgundy is such a ...Read More
Reviewed by Pevans CVLizations (Granna, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $35) The title of the latest game from Granna is a play on their earlier game, CV, from a couple of years ago. CVLizations, designed by Jan Zalewski, comes in the same size box as the earlier game and has similar artwork and design. There the similarities cease. The game’s ...Read More
Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser DOMUS DOMINI (Franjos, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $54.99) In Domus Domini, designed by Heinz-Georg Tiemann, the monastery in Cluny is in trouble. It has been neglected for decades and is currently in dire straits. The new abbot has called upon surrounding monasteries to come to the aid of this venerable institution. Failing to heed ...Read More
(UN) CONVENTION (AL) I don't know about you but, for me, United States presidential elections are fascinating. This year, the race to capture the highest office in the land has taken on some strange and bizarre twists and turns. All of it coalesces at the Republican and Democratic conventions held in the summer to anoint each party's standard bearer for the election this November. We've ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy ESCAPE THE ROOM: MYSTERY AT STARGAZER'S MANOR (ThinkFun, 3 to 8 players, ages 10 and up, 90-120 minutes; $21.99) Suppose you found yourself trapped in a room with no apparent way out, armed only with your intellect? This is the situation that has become something of a phenomenon in the "real world" as these sorts of situations have evolved from digital ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy KILL DOCTOR LUCKY: DELUXE 19.5tH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Cheapass Games, 2 to 8 players, ages 12 and up, 20-40 minutes; $40) In the world we live in, the craving for something new is a powerful and often irresistible force. This applies to games as well as many gamers virtually salivate over the promise of the next new game to appear on the ...Read More
[Note: Nick Sauer, designer of Looting Atlantis, has been a contributor to Gamers Alliance Report, including content for our Sid Sackson Tribute issue as well as reviews, the last appearing in the Fall 2010 issue.] Reviewed by Herb Levy LOOTING ATLANTIS (Shoot Again Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 30 minutes; $40) The legendary land of Atlantis has been the subject of ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy MYSTIC VALE (Alderac Entertainment Group, 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 45 minutes; $44.95) Over 20 years ago, a game called Magic, the Gathering appeared (Winter 1994 Gamers Alliance Report) which introduced the idea of "trading and collectible card games". Years later, that basic idea was taken to a new place with a game called Dominion (featured in the Winter ...Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac NIPPON (What's Your Game?, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 120 minutes; $60) Nippon is a two to four player point engine building game with worker placement and tile laying elements designed by Nuno Sentiero and Paulo Soledado. The game has a very light them of industrialization in Japan during the early 1900’s ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy OH MY GOODS! (Mayfair Games/Lookout Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $15) Originally published as Royal Goods, the game has hit American shores with all of the 110 cards intact but the name changed to othe more whimsical Oh My Goods!. In addition, the original rules for the game have been revised by the designer, Alexander ...Read More
Reviewed by Pevans PELOPENNES CARD GAME (Irongames, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; €17.99) I really enjoyed Bernd Eisenstein’s Peloponnes (Winter 2010 Gamers Alliance Report) when it first appeared from his imprint, Irongames, in 2009. It’s a clever, entertaining game of developing an Ancient Greek city-state. I was thus intrigued by the arrival of his Peloponnes Card Game last year, essentially a card ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy SUSHI-GO PARTY! (Gamewright, 2 to 8 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; $21.99) It seems like only yesterday (actually it was last year in the Spring 2015 issue of Gamers Alliance Report) that we reviewed a very cute card drafting game designed by Phil Walker-Harding called Sushi-Go!. But nothing makes for good times like getting more and more people ...Read More
Reviewed by Kevin Whitmore TIN GOOSE (Rio Grande Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 120 minutes; $59.99) Tin Goose, designed by Matt Calkins (Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan) is about building an airline business at the dawn of commercial aviation in the USA. It is a handsome game, coming in a large square box. Opening the box, you will find a ...Read More
Reviewed by Joe Huber WINGS FOR THE BARON (Victory Point Games, 3 to 5 players [with a solitaire variant], ages 13 and up, 45 minutes; $49.99) As with many gamers, I very much enjoy attending game conventions. But my criteria for attending conventions isn’t based upon locality, or cost but on who I’ll get to see there. This might naturally push me towards large conventions ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy WORLD'S FAIR 1893 (Renegade Games/Foxtrot, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 40 minutes; $40) As the Industrial Revolution began to change life on this planet, science and its promise of wondrous things to come captured the imagination of the world. That excitement encouraged people around the globe to exhibit tomorrow's wonders. These conclaves of future possibilities were known as ...Read More