Play to Win: Stronghold Games

Stronghold Games will be sending us two games for our Play to Win.

Dark Moon

darkmoon

Year Published : 2011
# of Players : 3 − 7

Download Rules here

WELCOME TO DARK MOON. The Noguchi Masaki interplanetary mining corporation welcomes you to its outpost on Titan, the dark moon of Saturn! You will be joining an experienced crew of miners, technicians, and adventurous souls who live to experience all the wonders that our solar system has to offer. Purpose, loyalty, camaraderie, friendship, and sacrifice all await you as a new and valued member of the Noguchi Masaki family!

DARK MOON (formerly known as BSG Express), is a game of deception and betrayal at the cold edge of space.
You are a crew member on a deep space mining expedition to Titan, the dark moon of Saturn. During a routine excavation, an “incident” occurs whereby some of the crew become infected with an unknown virus, and become paranoid, deceitful, and violent, trying to destroy the others.

At the start of the game, players are divided into two teams: Uninfected and Infected. The Uninfected team simply needs to survive until the end of the game, while the Infected team secretly attempts to destroy them. Each player knows which team they are on, but does not know which team the other players are on! Who is your teammate and who is your enemy? Can you trust your best friend? And why doesn’t anyone trust you when you tell them you’re one of the good guys?!
Roll dice, overcome traumatic events, throw your friends in quarantine when you don’t believe them, and (if you’re Infected) betray everyone at just the right moment to secure victory!

La Granja

lagranja

Year Published: 2014
# of Players: 1 − 4

Download Rules here

In La Granja, players control small farms by the Alpich pond near the village of Esporles on the island of Mallorca. Over time, the players develop their farms and deliver goods to the village. Players are vying to earn the title of “La Granja” for their country estate!

Over the course of 6 game rounds, players will expand their farm by adding fields, farm extensions, market barrows, and helpers. They will earn VPs by delivering goods to the village of Esporles. It is important to observe the actions of other players, manipulate turn order, and adjust your strategy based on the dice and cards.

La Granja is a fascinating game that requires careful planning. Timing and speed is crucial. However, successful players must cope with the uncertainty of events during the game. The player who has earned the most victory points at the end of the game is the winner and new owner of the La Granja estate!

Diamonds

Diamonds
From: Stronghold Games
Reviewed by: Tony McRee

Diamonds by Mike Fitzgerald, who also designed Hooyah, which I reviewed for this site earlier, brings a new trick-taking game to us in 2014. To be honest, if you like trick-taking games, you don’t need to read this review; just go buy this game. The object of the game is simple, score the most points by collecting plastic diamonds as you play cards over a series of rounds. These plastic diamonds are either in your vault, which are worth 2 points at the end of the game, or in your showroom in front of your vault, worth 1 point.

Diamonds can be played with 2 to 6 players and uses a deck of 60 cards with 15 cards in each of the standard suits found in a normal playing deck of cards. There are no face cards in Diamonds, just 1 through 15. During each round, players are dealt 10 cards, so if there are less than 6 players, some cards and not in play which adds to the strategy of the game. The game ends when the number of rounds played equal the number or players or when everyone has had a chance to deal. Dealer determines how many cards, 1-3, get passed to the left and the player to the dealer’s left starts the play.

“What makes the game of Diamonds different from other trick-taking games is that when you cannot follow suit you will get a “Suit Action.”

So, how do you get plastic diamonds? By playing the suits in the deck. If you take a trick, then you get the suit action. If you can’t follow suit, then the card you play, you immediately take that action of the suit. When all the cards are played, the player that collects the most cards in each suit gets to do those actions as well. If you were unfortunate not to take any tricks at all during that round, no worries, put two diamonds in your vault. What are the actions? If you win a trick in diamonds or play a diamond card as the off suit, then you may place a diamond from the stockpile into your vault. Hearts let you take a diamond from the stockpile and place it in your showroom. Spades let you move a diamond from your showroom to your vault. Clubs let you steal a diamond from another player’s showroom to yours. That is the game.

This game is fast and fun to play. There is strategy in this game on every card being played. You need to maximize your off suit plays and not just try and win a trick. You have to think ahead of when you want to bleed a certain suit if you are strong in it. There is always something to do and think about when playing in this game even if your hand isn’t a winning hand. And since this is not a bidding game, those that don’t like card games because of bidding should really try this one out. Diamonds can also be played in variants such as playing with partners which adds another twist to the game.

Diamonds is a great game to add to your collection and I highly recommend it.

Codex Rating: 18
Product Summary
Diamonds
Type of Game: Card Game
Game Design by: Mike Fitzgerald
Game Components Included: 60 Playing Cards, numbered 1-15 in the four standard suits, 6 Player Aid cards, 6 Vaults, 110 small clear (1-point) Diamond Crystals, 25 large red (5-point) Diamond Crystals
Retail Price: $ 24.95 (US)
Number of Players: up to 6
Player Ages: 8 and up
Play Time: 30 minutes
Website: http://strongholdgames.com