Space Movers 2201

Space Movers 2201

From: KnA Games

Reviewed by: Sitting Duck

The free trader sub-genre of space travel science fiction is one largely unfamiliar to mainstream audiences. Much of this has to do with how, aside from Firefly, it has not really been employed in the film and television media (where there’s a preference for more epic storylines). However, this more blue collar approach to science fiction has been a mainstay of Traveller campaigns for decades. Space Movers 2201 continues the sub-genre’s association with tabletop gaming.

From the rulebook:
Movers specialize in getting cargo to its destination as efficiently as possible. As you deliver cargo, you are rewarded with resources that are needed to keep the Liberty flying. But you must do this without drawing too much attention from the Universal Oversight.”

Unlike many pick-up and deliver games, Space Movers 2201 employs co-operative gameplay. The premise is that you are the crew of the Liberty, a free trader vessel (referred to in-universe as Movers), trying to keep their ship in operation as they attempt to complete a series of objectives. Meanwhile, they’ll try to avoid attracting the attention of Universal Oversight (UO), a corrupt government agency that regulates space travel.

A player’s turn starts by drawing a card from the deck. Depending on what type it is, the card either goes to the player’s hand or is immediately put into play. Movement may then be conducted by moving the Liberty one space and/or placing your crewmember in a different section of the Liberty. The player may then perform an action. The sort of actions that will be available depend on factors like what section of the Liberty the active player’s crewmember is in, which cards are in play, and where the Liberty is currently located. The turn ends with the player discarding down to five cards (if necessary), adjusting the Resource bar down one notch, and moving the UO Scout one space towards the Liberty (if it’s in play).

Skill checks are handled in a very different fashion from other games. The common wisdom in gaming is that rolling more dice is better. The exact opposite is the case for Space Movers 2201, where all the dice rolled must be five or higher for the skill check to succeed. But while it may sound punishingly brutal, this is not really the case thanks to a dexterity element. A skill check will show which ten-sided dice (each a different color to indicate which crewmember they’re attached to) are to be used. Assuming they’re all available, each die is rolled one at a time. If a die comes up with an undesirable result, you can try to hit it with your next die roll and hopefully alter it to something better. Players may wish to get in some practice rolls (a marble shooting technique is the most effective one I tried) before the game starts to get the hang of it. To prevent the dice from flying off the kitchen table and getting wedged under the refrigerator, skill checks are conducted in the game box top. Once all the ten-siders have been rolled, a blank six-sider is employed to make any needed final adjustments. An important feature of the dice is that a caduceus takes the place of the ten. Should a die display a caduceus when a skill roll is completed, the crewmember associated with the die becomes injured. Until a successful Medical Bay action is performed, that crewmember’s die will remain unusable except for Medical Bay actions by that player.

From the box front:
Remember what it was like to go on an adventure.”

The game deck consists of four different types of cards. Cargo cards are the bread and butter of the Liberty’s livelihood. On his turn, a player can play a Cargo card from his hand as an action to load the cargo, so long as the Liberty is at the indicated planet. When the cargo’s destination is reached, the active player can deliver it as an action and increase the Resource bar by the indicated amount. Reaction cards can be used to give the Liberty’s crew a boost. As the name implies, Reaction cards get played based on the action during another player’s turn. However, only one can be played per turn. Event cards introduce complications when drawn. While in play, the listed effect is applied and the card can only be removed by successfully performing the indicated skill check as an action. A UO Pursuit card brings the UO Scout into play. This also increases the UO Presence bar by one and places an Eye marker on the Liberty’s current location. The Scout can be removed from play in the same fashion as an Event card. It’s not necessary to immediately complete the skill checks on the Event and UO Pursuit cards. However, neither is it advisable to let them go unattended. Should an Event or UO Pursuit card be drawn when another is still in play, it replaces the old one. Replacing an unresolved UO Pursuit card immediately moves the Scout one space, while replacing an unresolved Event card reduces the Resource bar by an amount equal to the number of unresolved Event cards (one the first time, two the second time, etc.). To prevent a rapid succession of these two types from occurring, the deck is subjected to a stacked shuffle during set-up. This involves distributing each of the different types of cards evenly between five piles. These are then shuffled separately and placed one on top of another.

Universal Oversight is a constant hindrance for the crew of the Liberty. Once the UO Presence bar reaches a certain point, skill checks are penalized while at a location with a UO Eye marker. The bar can be reduced using a Communications Room action, but this requires the expenditure of resources the Liberty may not be able to spare. Then there’s that persistent UO Scout. While it may at first appear to be easy to evade, an incautious crew can find themselves boxed in if they don’t pay attention. Should the Scout catch up to the Liberty, a die is rolled to determine which crewmember is taken in for questioning (with an eight, nine, or caduceus meaning they get off with a warning). As long as a crewmember is detained, the associated die cannot be used in skill checks. Plus, if the crewmember in question is being used by a player, he cannot perform movement or actions on his turn, nor play Reaction cards. To get the crewmember back, the Liberty must go to UO Headquarters and perform the listed skill check to bust him out.

There are multiple ways to lose, but only one way to win. The most common way to lose is when either the UO Presence bar tops off or the Resource bar bottoms out. Certain cards will also indicate automatic loss conditions for when they’re in play. To win, the crew of the Liberty must successfully resolve a series of five Objective cards. This can either involve randomly drawing five cards during set-up or using a pre-selected set (more of which will be available in future expansions). The former method has the advantage of greater replay value. However, the latter guarantees a balanced series of Objectives, as well as possessing an overarching theme. The first objective is revealed once the crew has successfully delivered a cargo, while the other four are revealed after the preceding Objective has been completed.

In conclusion, what had the potential to be an exercise in frustration is avoided thanks to the stacked shuffle and the dexterity gameplay. The Resource bar is also an effective abstraction with considerable appeal for anyone who doesn’t like keeping track of multiple assets.

Rating: 17

Product Summary

Space Movers 2201

From: KnA Games

Type of Game: Board Game

Game Design by: Kevin & April Cox

Cover Art by: Jon Hrubesch

Additional Art by: Jon Hrubesch

Game Components Included: Rulebook, Finding Liberty comic book, Game board, 1 Roll mat, 2 Ship tokens, 7 Character tokens, 1 Drone token, 1 UO Coin token, 7 Character cards, 20 Cargo cards, 20 Reaction cards, 10 Event cards, 10 UO Pursuit cards, 5 Adventure A Objective cards, 20 Random Objective cards, 7 ten-sided dice, 1 six-sided die, 1 Liberty Resource marker, 1 UO Presence marker, 9 UO Eye markers, 20 Cargo markers

Retail Price: $60.00

Number of Players: 2-7

Player Ages: 13+

Play Time: 60 minutes

Website: http://www.spacemoversgame.com/

Reviewed by: Sitting Duck

Disc Duelers

Disc Duelers

From: Level 99 Games

Reviewed by: Barry Lewis

Have you ever asked yourself, “Do I need more dexterity games in my life?”  If you answered “Yes!” then I have a review for you.  If you answered “No” then you’re lying to yourself.  Now it’s time to enter the world of “flicky” games with my review of Disc Duelers by Level 99 Games.

Disc Duelers is basically an elimination game where you try to eliminate the other players’ discs before they eliminate yours.  The game has two versions-the basic game, or Classic Elimination, and the advanced game.  I’ll talk about the basic game first since the majority of the rules are covered in the basic game.

For the sake of this review I’ll be reviewing this as if it’s a two player game.  Before the game begins you and your opponent will have a chance to place terrain.  Each player gets to place a piece of terrain anywhere on the board, with a few minor rules in placement.  The terrain must be evenly distributed among the players.  So if you have five pieces of terrain then only four will be placed and the fifth will not be used.  Terrain can be small boxes, books or just about anything. I personally like using Legos or Duplo bricks.  Once this is done you’ll then begin to build your team of characters.  Once you’ve done this take the discs that correspond to your character cards.

When you look at your characters’ cards, the characters have two stats: Movement and Attack.  The number of Attacks each character gets is listed on the red disc and each number of Movements is listed on the blue disc.  Also on the character’s card at the bottom is a Special Power.   The Special Powers vary and give the characters their own unique feel.  All characters have 5 life unless noted on their card.    Here’s a quick play tip – use unused character discs to keep track of a character’s wounds by placing them on the character’s card.

At the beginning of a game all character cards are upright or “Ready.”  When you act with a character’s disc the character’s card is then turned sideways or “Unready” and cannot be used again until all other characters have acted.  When all characters have acted then the round ends and all characters return to their “ready” status and can be used again.

You’ll then randomly choose who goes first, but before the first player acts each player will take one of their discs and place it at the edge of the table.  The disc is then moved twice onto the board.  This is repeated with all the players’ discs until all are on the table.

At the beginning of  every player’s turn you must announce  what you are doing with that disc, either moving it or attacking with it. This is very important for the sake of taking or doing damage.  Movement is very simple – just flick where you want to go up to the number listed on the character’s card.  You have to be careful and have good control when moving since if you hit another disc, including your own, the disc you’re moving will take a point of damage.  Although, if you hit a piece of terrain while moving your disc will not take damage.  The rules for attacking are basically the reverse of moving.  To attack just flick your disc into another opponent’s disc.  The opponent’s disc will take a point of damage.  If you attack and hit terrain your disc will take a point of damage as well. Also, if anyone’s disc falls off the table either during movement or attacking that disc takes a point of damage.

One of the fun aspects of the game is doing combo damage to an opponent.  For example you attack an opponents’ disc and hit it for a point of damage, the attacked disc continues to move then hits a piece of terrain for a second point of damage, it’s momentum then causes it to fall off the table for a third point of damage!  The game limits you, though, from taking more than one point of damage from each kind of hit.  For example, you attack an opponent’s disc and hit it for one point, it then hits a piece of terrain for another point of damage and deflects into a second piece of terrain, but since it’s already taken a point of damage from the first piece of terrain the third point of damage from the second piece of terrain is then ignored.

So that’s the basic game.  The “advanced” game just adds in crates and items.  So let’s talk briefly about them.

Set the game up as normal and then place as many crates half to the number of players, up to 3 crates, on the table.  So in a two player game only one crate will be in play.  The crate is then dropped by one of the players about two feet over the table.  Where the crate lands is where it stays.   To open the crate a player, during their turn, just has to hit the crate with one of his or her discs either during its movement or attack.  When a player hits the crate they may draw an item card from the item deck and put it with that character’s card.  Only the character that opened the crate may use the item.  The crate is then re-dropped by the player to the right of the current player’s turn.

Items can increase attacks, modify movement, heal and protect.  There’s also a few that are a detriment to your character if you’re unlucky enough to draw them.  The items can either be used once then discarded, or used once per round depending on the symbol on the card.  Cards that can be re-used are turned sideways when used and can be readied for use again at the beginning of a new round.

The game has, to me at least, a lot of replay ability since there are 50 characters to choose from and 48 different items.  The discs slide nicely on any smooth surface and the game can be played on any sized table.  The game does have other variants such as soccer, volleyball and racing, but honestly I haven’t played them yet since I’m having fun just playing the regular game.  If there is any real “con” to the game it’s that you have to sticker the discs.  The game is easy to learn and fun to play.  It’s a great game for kids and adults, but it’s light theme may not fit those hardcore game nights.

Codex Rating: 14

Disc Duelers

Produced by: Level 99 Games

Designed by: D. Brad Talton Jr.

Illustrated by: Fabio Fontes

# of Players: 2-6

Suggested Age: 10+

Playing Time: 45 minutes

Retail Price: $39.99 (US)

Website: http://www.lvl99games.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Caveman Curling

From: Gryphon Games

Reviewed by: Barry Lewis

I have to admit I’ve grown fonder of dexterity games, or as my two year old calls them “flicky games.”  Maybe it’s that I find them more enjoyable to play or maybe it’s that I have no real grasp of tactics or strategy for other games, but regardless games such as Crokinole and Pitch Car grace my gaming table on a regular basis.  So when I came across the game Caveman Curling in a hobby industry magazine, I shouted “Huzzah!  It must be mine!”  Of course I shouted this in my head since the kids were asleep and my girlfriend already thinks I’m one stiff breeze away from being institutionalized.  Sorry.  I digress.

When you open the game up the first thing you’ll notice about the game is the “board” itself.  The board is not a board, but a sheet of paper-like material called “Tyvek,” which makes it very durable, allows it to roll up for easy storage, and the discs slide well on it.  You’re now probably asking yourself “If it rolls up then how do you keep it flat when you play?”  Well that’s a very good question and one that was answered by the designers very ingeniously.  Provided in the game are two weighted magnetic pieces of wood called “slammers” which clamp at either end of the board helping it to lie flat.  What you’ll also notice about the board is the art.  I always find something new that makes me laugh.  It’s fun and very busy.   It’s kind of like a prehistoric “Where’s Waldo.”

Caveman Curling is a light game that only takes about 15-30 minutes to play and is very easy to learn.  Basically, you and your opponent will take turns flicking your discs or “stones” down the ice and the closest stones to the center will gain points at the end of the round.  First player to 6 points wins.  If the round ends and no one has reached 6 points, then a new round begins. Sounds simple and it is, but included in the game are two usable special items that can make for a very strategic game.  These two items are hammers and totems.  Each player get 2 totems and 6 hammers to use each round.  The hammers come in two sizes, short and long, and are used to reposition your stone closer to the center depending on where the stone stops.  You can also use the hammers to place your stones in the way of your opponent, effectively “screening” your opponent from having a clear shot to the center.  I like this strategy and use it frequently.  The totems are used by placing them on top of the stones and are used to protect them.  If a totem is ever hit and knocked off a stone the player whom owns that stone may re-shoot it at the end of the round or if the stone happens to slide into a better position that player may choose to leave it there.  Also, in case you’re wondering, there’s no rule that says you can’t knock your own totem off your stone for a re-shoot at the end of the round.  Also, you cannot use a hammer and totem together on one shot.  Either use one or the other.

The game states 2 to 6 players, but it seems to works best with 2 players.  The age recommendation states 7 to adult, but it may be played by slightly younger players.  The only real problem that I’ve encountered is that the board can slide a bit when you’re playing, but that can be fixed, supposedly, by attaching felt pads to the bottom of the slammers or just holding the board at the shooting end with your other hand to keep it from moving.   That’s what I do and it seems to work.  Overall this game has a lot of replay value and will continue to make it to my gaming table for a long time to come.  If you’re a fan of dexterity games definitely give Caveman Curling a flick.

 

Codex Rating:   12

 

Product Summary

Caveman Curling

From: Gryphon Games

Type of Game: Board Game, Dexterity

Game Design by: Daniel Quodbach

Cover and Additional Art by: Bony le Ludonaute

Retail Price: $ 49.99(US)

Number of Players: 2-6

Player Ages: 7 to Adult

Play Time: 15-30 minutes

Website: www.eaglegames.net

 

Reviewed by: Barry Lewis

AttrAction

From: R&R Games
Reviewed by: Barry Lewis

“Let’s see…it’s a dexterity game with magnets.  Must buy IMMEDIATELY!”  Yep you guessed it.  It’s time to delve back into the world of “flicky” games.  Normally this game would not have “blipped” on my radar if it wasn’t for my two year old discovering how cool magnets are.  So it was just “kismet” that I would come across the game AttrAction.

This is not a very long review because this game is very simple to learn and plays very quickly, but it’s still lots of fun.  The basic idea is whoever “attracts” the most magnets at the end of the game wins!  That’s it. That’s the game, but for the sake of having a somewhat longer review let’s just take a quick look at the rules and the pros and cons of the game.

At the beginning of the game each player will take 1 magnet from the 25 magnets provided.  You’ll then spread the rest of the magnets, standing on their short end if possible, on the table.  Pick who will start the game and that person will then place on the table and flick the magnet given to them in the hopes of attracting the other magnets.  The idea is to create a “cluster” or group of magnets.  If this happens you will take that cluster for yourself.  If you happen to make more than one cluster you can only take one cluster and leave the others for the other players.    If you happen to shoot and hit nothing then your magnet that was just shot remains on the board with the others.  If you shoot your magnet off the table or it knocks or pushes another magnet(s) off the table then the magnet(s) goes to the player on your left.  If you find yourself without a magnet to shoot then you may take one off the table and shoot it. That’s it!  Short and sweet.  Most dexterity games don’t take very long unless you’re playing a game like Pitch Car.

Here’s what I like about the game.  It’s easy to learn, easy to play and is portable.  R&R Games even provides a little cloth bag to keep the magnets in.  The game can be played basically on any flat smooth surface.  I also like that it’s noisy, even though this reason finds its’ way into the negatives section as well.  I like the clicking and clacking the magnets make when they cluster.

Now, for every positive there’s a negative (a little magnet humor for you).  The main negative is the magnets are small so you must supervise very carefully when playing with younger children.  Nothing ruins a game night more than having to take your child to the ER because he or she decides they need more magnets in their diet.  Usually before the game I count and make sure all 25 magnets are accounted for and I count again after the game to make sure all 25 magnets are still there.  Also beware of tables with metal in them.  Since these are magnets the metal will affect gameplay.  In addition, be careful where you put the game.  Keep the magnets away from sensitive electronics.  So don’t forgetfully throw them into your laptop bag on the way out the door for game night.  The last problem is they’re noisy!  Depending on where you play you may very well disturb other people with the noise.

I still enjoyed the game even though it looks as if the negatives outweighed the positives.

 

Product Rating: 10

 

Product Summary

AttrAction

From: R&R Games

Type of Game:  Board Game, Dexterity

Game Design:  Jeff Glickman

Editing by:  Frank DiLorenzo

Graphic Design:  Jenn Vargas

Retail Price: $15.95 (US)

Number of Players:  2-4 players

Player Ages:  14 and older*

Play time: 10 minutes

Website:   www.rnrgames.com

*Adult supervision recommended if game is played with small children in the house or persons of any age that are prone to placing small objects in mouth.