Archive for May, 2016

We can stir it with the wand

May 27, 2016 4 comments

The latest in our ongoing series of reports on Lego games is on Magikus, one of the smaller games in the series, which is about collecting ingredients to make a magical potion.  The first person to get the full set of four ingredients gets to put them into the little cauldron that comes in the box and, according to Miss B, gets to choose what spell to cast on the losers.


Hedwig goes looking for potion ingredients.

The game is very simple: there is an owl piece, which you position on the edge of the rack of spell ingredients, so it lines up with one of the rows or columns, then you roll a die.  If the die shows the colour of an ingredient that is still in the row or column that you chose, you take that ingredient; alternatively a white result on the die allows you to take anything from the row or column, and a black result allows you to steal from another player.  If you end up with a set of the four different ingredients, you win!

So that is it.  There is a strategy to find here, but it is obvious to most people.  I think this has a problem that is common to most of the Lego games: the game design is awesome for younger kids, and not bad for a parent to play with the kids, but the components are just too fiddly for the ideal age range.  That said, we had fun with this, and Miss B just loved imagining herself making potions at Hogwarts, even though she got frustrated a couple of times when she forgot to move the owl before moving. (Easy fix: no problem, just move the owl and then roll again.)

Plus, of course, it’s Lego. We now have a bunch of Lego skulls that we can put onto minifigs if we want to! 🙂

The verdict from Miss B (aged 9¼): “Very silly. It is a bit more difficult because you have to move first and then roll, which is not what most people would do by natural instinct.  I would give it 10/10, but because of the dice rolling flaw I will give it a 9/10.”

The game: Magikus (Lego), 2 to 4 players aged 6+.

Categories: Games Tags: ,

A strange, goopy mess on the floor

May 18, 2016 Comments off

You may remember a while ago we had a guest post by game designer, publisher, reviewer and all-round nice guy Edo Baraf.  Well, a while after that he ran a Kickstarter project for a storytelling game that he had co-designed, called The Siblings Trouble which is pretty much The Goonies: The Game.  The idea is that you and your siblings are having an adventure in some relatively mundane location (the game is subtitled “Backyard Adventures”) which can be the basis of a fantastical story, and our copy turned up earlier this year.


So the basic idea is that you take it in turns to flip over a series of cards, each of which represents a location, monster or event, and you have to incorporate the card into a narrative that you are building.  Is that troll really a troll, or is it just the janitor from the abandoned amusement park?  You just interpret each card as you wish, and sometimes you need to roll a die to determine what happens next — and, of course, you need to work whatever the outcome of the die roll is into the story.

There are other rules, but I don’t think they really matter.  The main thrust of the game is to tell a story of encountering dinosaurs in the forest or renegade robots in the junkyard, where you save the day with a bit of string and a bag of marbles.  From that point of view, the game is utterly charming, a charm which is helped greatly by beautiful artwork and excellent production values.

We’ve played the game a handful of times so far, but only with the two of us playing, and thoroughly enjoyed it each time.  Hopefully we’ll rope some others in some time and see how it goes with more people.  There are a choice of characters to play (with alternate gender and race variants for each), plus four different locations to adventure in, and a way of building an adventure deck to make for a different game each time, so we’ve mixed stuff up a bit each time.

To be honest, I don’t imagine playing The Siblings Trouble in an adults-only group, but to do so is missing the point: this is really a family game, and it’s a good one.  But, of course, it’s what Miss B thinks that counts around here…

The verdict from Miss B (aged 9¼): “This game is very interesting, because you can never really predict what is going to happen next.  I love the way that you make up the story with only a little bit to guide you.  The characters’ powers are especially funny! I will rate it 10/10 because of all the great ideas merged together.”

The game: The Siblings Trouble (Pencil First Games), 2 to 4 players aged 8+.

What was on the table in April?

May 11, 2016 9 comments

I’m a bit late again this month, but on the other hand, we’ve just passed five years of this blog.  Okay, so the posting frequency has fluctuated a lot, but this counts as a very long term project for me! 🙂

So April turned out to be a huge month for gaming for us, with 42 plays of 29 different titles.  The last time we played more games than that in a month was January of 2015.  Okay, so a lot of those games were quick, small games, but hey, it all counts!


After a long period of avoiding cooperative games, we ended up having Forbidden Desert and Castle Panic in the same weekend!

One weekend got a lot of play due to us hosting a gaming afternoon, where the house was overrun by game playing families.  Actually, this contributed to Miss B’s personal play count quite significantly, but rather less to mine, and we didn’t play together much.  But I was so pleased to see her just piling into games with assorted different people, particularly when I caught her setting up Odin’s Ravens with one of her friends; I just needed to help explain the rules, and they were off.

Top of the heap of games in April was Mastermind, with four plays (we count a play as one guessing game each), followed by Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow, Odin’s Ravens, Highwayman, and BraveRats with three plays, and Push It and Magikus on two each.

That leaves the year-so-far totals with Push It consolidating its lead with nine plays, with BraveRats moving up strongly to six plays, followed by 6, Odin’s Ravens, and Wetland on five plays a piece.


Categories: Monthly Gaming Tags: