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Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy MLP Halloween

My daughter and I decided over the summer that we were going to be Rainbow Dash and Applejack for Halloween. We had the knit hats and matching scarves and my mother-in-law would maybe my daughter's costume. I would wear jeans with boots and a cutie-mark t-shirt. All was right with the world.

Then I became greedy and wanted my sixth grade co-workers to dress up like ponies, too. There was some minor resistance (ponies or Milwaukee Brewers Racing Sausages), but we made it through. One of my co-workers made the ears on the headbands. The same co-worker ended up having to print the t-shirt transfers (which I felt so bad about. . . but my printer didn't work and I couldn't find a place to print them).

Bottom line, we all tried to fit the personalities of our characters and I did a lot of coaching and prepping for most of these, but it worked out. We even made our only guy teacher Big Mac AND got make-up on him. It was super perfect.

Here are the costumes, which worked out perfectly.


Then I had two different costumes... the one with the hat and the one with the knit hat.


My daughter's costume is so gorgeous! It's a full body suit made of that really plush, soft fabric that they make comfy pants out of. My mother-in-law followed a pattern she found for the suit proportions. There's a detachable tail made with colored feather boas. She also made a matching hat, gloves and shoe covers, but we already had knitted gloves and a knitted hat. So we went with that, as per my daughter's request. She looks adorable!




She was thrilled and I was happy to have a real costume. Thank goodness I had co-workers who knew how to do makeup for the ponies to really add to the awesome. It was a great My Little Pony Halloween!

I'll leave you, this Halloween, with a Geek & Sundry video spoof of my Tabletop Game Club's favorite game, Werewolf!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Meet Me at the Table: Sheriff of Nottingham

Title: Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham was the talk of GenCon 2014. Tom Vasel from Dice Tower went to Arcane Wonders to try to reprint some of his absolute favorite games ever. These games are now known as The Dice Tower Essentials and are published  by Arcane Wonders. The first of these games is Sheriff of Nottingham, which has its roots in the German game Hart an der Grenze. It was rethemed as Robin Hood and then became Sheriff of Nottingham for it’s 2014 reprinting. A unique and brilliant game that has been all the rage among gamers. So much so that when I played the game at N.E.W. Gameapalooza in Oshkosh, I had requests to borrow it (at the con) for personal playing. It has only just been released for purchase by the public, but was a sellout, stalk-to-purchase game at GenCon.

Geeky Specs

Designer: Sérgio Halaban, Bryan Pope, André Zatz        
Published by: Arcane Wonders
Year Published: 2014         Rough Game Time: 60+ mins
Players: 3-5                        Suggested Ages: 13+
Type: Bluffing, Hand-Management, Some Roleplaying

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

You are merchants who have heard that Prince John is coming to Nottingham! Whenever the Prince comes to town, there is a flood of income to be had. It’s time to get your goods to the market within the city gate and sell some of those high priced goods that are favorable to customers, legal or illegal. Yet. . . there is one thing standing in your way: the Sheriff of Nottingham. He is holding routine checks at the gate for illegal contraband coming into the city. You now need to make a choice: bring in legal goods and earn all your money the fair way or smuggle in your illegal high value goods with your legal ones. Can you bluff your way to making an extreme profit or is the Sheriff on to you?

What’s in the Box?

  • 216 Goods Cards
    • Legal Goods Cards
        legalgoodssheriff
      • 48 Apples
      • 36 Cheese
      • 36 Bread
      • 24 Chicken
    • Contraband Cards
        contrabandsheriff
      • 22 Pepper
      • 21 Mead
      • 12 Silk
      • 5 Crossbow
    • Royal Goods (Contraband) Cards
        royalgoodssheriff
      • 2 Green Apples
      • 2 Golden Apples
      • 2 Gouda Cheese
      • 1 Bleu Cheese
      • 2 Rye Bread
      • 1 Pumpernickel Bread
      • 2 Royal Rooster
  • 110 Gold Coins
    • 29 1-gold coins
    • 42 5-gold coins
    • 17 20 – gold coins
    • 12 50 – gold coins
  • 1 Sheriff marker
  • 5 Merchant Boards (Merchant Stands)
  • 5 Merchant Bags (yellow, red, purple, green, blue)
  • Rules Book
whatsintheboxsheriff

Promos - There are some promos that you can try to find for the game that are fun little additions. They were available get GenCon2014, but you might be able to find them online to purchase.
    promosheriff
  • Royal Summons
  • Feast Plate
  • Arcane Scrolls
  • Brimstone Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Strawberry Mead
  • Golden Silk
  • Dragon Pepper
  • Heavy Crossbows

How To Play or Not to Play, That is the Question

Set-UpSheriffNottIN

  1. Each player chooses a Merchant Stand and chooses the matching colored bag.
  2. A banker should be nominated who will handle the money at the end. They will also give each player 50 gold (1-20 gold piece, 5-5 gold pieces, 5-1 gold pieces).
  3. Shuffle all the cards together.
  4. Deal 6 cards to each player, face down.
  5. Put the deck in the middle for a draw pile. Then draw 5 cards and discard them to a stack on the left. Draw another 5 cards and discard them to a stack on the right. You should have 3 stacks, a draw in the middle and two discards on the sides (see instructions for images if unsure).
  6. The person with the most actual cash on their person will start with the Sheriff.
gamesetupsheriff

Playing

    THE Sheriff
  1. There are five phases to each round before the Sheriff passes to the next player.
  2. First, the Sheriff sits back and watches and does not take a merchant turn while they are acting sheriff.
  3. Phase 1: Market
    1. From your hand of six you discard cards and take others from either the discard pile or the draw pile.
    2. You can discard up to 5 cards, but you must discard at least 1 card. Place these face DOWN on the table in front of you.
    3. Draw your cards from the discard pile first. You have to draw from the top of one of the stacks, not whatever cards you want.
    4. If you only want a few from the discard, take those and then draw from the draw pile.
    5. Or you can draw just from the draw pile.
    6. After you have selected your cards, put the cards you placed face down on the discard pile in any order that you want.
    7. Each player does this on their turn. Be wary of drawing from the discard pile, because everyone can see what you take.
  4. Phase 2: Load Merchant Bag
    1. Look at your cards and decide what you are going to put into the bag. You can put up to give cards in the bag and you must at least put one card in the bag.
    2. Be careful not to let anyone, especially the Sheriff, see what and how many you are putting in. Keep it as secret as possible.
    3. Once you snap your bag shut, you cannot reopen it, so remember what you put in the bag.
  5. Phase 3: Declare Your Goods
    1. During this phase you must look the Sheriff in the eye and tell them what goods you have in your bag.
    2. The Sheriff does not look in the bag during this round. You are only declaring and handing over your bag.
    3. When you declare you can only declare 1 legal item, but you must declare the exact number of cards in your bag.
    4. Example: Declare – “I have four chickens.” But inside the bag, you have 1 chicken, 2 apples, and 1 Crossbow.
    5. After declaring it is time for the Sheriff to inspect your bag or let you pass.
  6. Phase 4: Inspection
    1. The Sheriff must now address each player in any order they want. The Sheriff can intimidate or threaten to open a bag. Players can offer bribes to avoid the Sheriff opening the bag. Bribes can be gold, legal goods currently in your merchant stand, contraband from your merchant stand, goods in your bag (legal of contraband), or a promise of a future favor (see Honor Among Thieves in the rule book for a neat little player choice).
    2. Once the Sheriff makes his decision, he cannot change it. So no taking a bribe and then still opening the bag.
    3. The Sheriff can negotiate the offer to get what they want, but once the Sheriff agrees, he needs to turn the bag and let you pass.
    4. If the Sheriff does not accept any bribes or a proper deal cannot be struck, the Sheriff opens the bag.
    5. Once the bag has been opened, the following scenarios can happen:
      1. All the goods match exactly what you declared (Example: 4 chickens). The Sheriff must pay you the price in the bottom right corner of the card out of that player’s money for the inconvenience.
      2. Some of the goods match what was declared, but some are contraband or legal goods that are not part of your declaration (Example: Declare – “I have 4 chickens.” In the bag you have 1 chicken, 2 apples, and 1 crossbow). The legal declared goods go to your stand (so the 1 chicken), but you must pay the sheriff for the contraband and undeclared legal goods. The price is in the lower right hand corner in red. The Sheriff then puts the contraband and undeclared legal goods on the discard pile in the order they choose.
      3. All the goods are contraband and none were legally declared, then you must pay the Sheriff for all the items and they are all discarded by the Sheriff.
    6. All cards should be emptied from the bags at this point and goods put on your merchant stand. Contraband stays unrevealed (face down) at the top of the merchant stand.
    7. Note: If you have no more money to pay, then you start paying with goods to match the price. See directions.
  7. Phase 5: End of Round
    1. If all players have been Sheriff twice, end the game here.
    2. All players draw up to six cards into their hand. (Hand limit 6.)
  8. Pass the Sheriff to the player on the left. Start at Phase 1.

The End

There are two variations to how to end, depending on the number of people playing. If you’re playing with 4-5 players, each person should play the sheriff twice and then game ends. If you’re playing with 3 players, each player needs to be the sheriff three times and then the game ends.
Reveal your illegal goods and collect money for all of your goods, legal and illegal.

Tally up the points for who had the most legal items and present the King and Queen’s favors. If there is a tie for either the King’s or Queen’s favor, there are split rules. The King’s favor adds the King’s and Queen’s points for the item and split the points for the amount of the tie, rounding down. If this happens, then there is no place for Queen’s favor. So if 3 people tie for the most chickens, you would take the King’s favor points, 10, and the Queen’s favor points, 5, and add them, 15. Then divide by 3. Each person would get 5 points.

If there is a tie for Queen’s favor, divide the points among the number tied for the Queen and round down.

Count points for coins you collected from your legal and illegal items, include favor coins and leftover coins. The person with the highest points at the end wins.

If there is a tie, the player with the most legal goods wins. If there is still a tie, the player with the most Contraband wins.

Rules Weren’t Meant to Be Broken (Or Were They?)

If you run out of cards, reshuffle the discards into a pile, but leave the top 5 cards of each discard on the table.

The biggest rule to remember, and one I screwed up when I first taught the game, is that you DO NOT hand out money throughout the game. What you have is what you have. When we played it, we had an endless amount of money, so we were willing to gamble, but when we tallied up the points, it didn’t make sense that we had to count the gold AND the goods again. So just remember not to hand out money during the game. What you start with is what you get for all your dealings.

When the Sheriff pays out for looking, it does not come out of the bank. It comes out of your own money. So wager wisely.

Don’t forget to look them in the eyes! Bribe after everyone has declared, but you need to look the Sheriff in the eyes. It’s the hardest part of the whole game! Don’t not do it.

Best Played Under These Conditions

This game is best played with 4-5 people. The more people, the better. The more fun you’ll have and the more gameplay you get out of the game, because you have more turns. Playing with fewer people causes there to be alternate rules and while the game is still a great deal of awesome, having more players to interact with is really what sets the game up to blow your bluffing mind!

The game could be fun for young people, but I would gauge whether you feel the young people you are playing with can handle the rules or if they’re going to go off the rails. I’m not going to say don’t go under 10, but I think Middle School is a good age for kids and their ability to comprehend the game. If you have a gaming household, this game might work well for younger players, as they have been raised on the teat of tabletop gaming.

The level of your ability to bluff has, honestly, no bearing on this. I am a terrible bluffer and would fail at poker, but I did well with this game. It’s about being consistent with your bluffs and paying attention to the people around you while you play.

Spice Up Your Game

The most obvious way to spice up to the game play is to have a Medieval Times FEAST! A giant mug of Mead with your roasted half chicken, roasted ribs and roasted or grilled half potatoes. Maybe get some rustic peasant bread to serve on the side. Eliminate all utensils and eat with only your fingers and a knife! If you’ve ever been to the actual dinner theater, think of what you enjoyed about their meal and time there and have at it! Make it a special night.

Medieval-Times-Food-640x480

Let’s say you’ve decided to go the all-out-route, then you could roleplay your characters. When you choose your character boards, decide to be in character. If you are the breadsmith, organize your story around the breadsmith. Give them a reason to want to smuggle certain items or if they wager, what kind of story are they going to spin based on their background. Add in some fun accents, too.

Merchants

If you’re not looking to make a whole night of it, but want some sort of playful snacks, I suggest making a little snack platter or, as the game calls it, a Feast Plate, with cheeses (see the cards for different types of cheese), apples (see cards for different types of apples), and breads (see cards for different types of bread. There are also some alcoholic beverages to select from, too. These items are easy to eat with utensils, so you don’t get your cards dirty, and still add some atmosphere to the game.

Cheese Platter

Finally, I have to put in the plug for some sort of marathon movie night to accompany this particular game. I grew up LOVING Robin Hood and, thanks to Kevin Costner, had one of my first big movie star crushes at the age of 10. So whether you’re a fan of Errol Flynn, Kevin Costner, Cary Elwes, or Russell Crowe, why not watch the evolution of Robin Hood with your friends and lambast the heck out of the actors who play the Sheriff. I, though, especially loved the Disney version of Robin Hood. Something about Robin Hood as a fox had the character firing on every cylinder for my 6-year-old self.

The Sheriffs

If you’ve said “TO HELL” with the movies, check out BBC’s Robin Hood and experience the short-lived drama. See Keith Allen (Lily Allen’s dad) as the Sheriff and see the most modern spin on the historical tale of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. Over the years I wonder if culture has gotten away from giving to the poor and has focused more on thwarting the establishment. A deep discussion point for the after-gaming experience when you’re all lounging around, finishing your Mead.

Finale

I’ll be honest. . . I was dubious of this game at first. I can be easily turned off by heavily-buzzed games, because don’t want to follow th eherd of sheeple that say something is good or bad. I like the decide for myself whether a game is worth it or not. Luckily, I have a husband who very much wanted the game at GenCon and was able to get a copy. I played it and was in love! I’ve played the game a few times now with varying degrees of friends and strangers and no matter what the mix was, the game was fun. Sure people have their quirks and can change up the game, but it sure is a great deal of fun for all those involved.

The artwork is unique and vibrant. Lorraine Schleter created the game components and developed the card art. These items have such a visual depth with great attention to detail. You could actually study the cards, but don’t get caught looking for too long. David Sladek is credited with the character art, as well as the box art and, once again, they are visually stunning. Schleter and Sladek blended their visions succinctly and create a visually stunning and gorgeously crafted game.

Sheriff of Nottingham really is a smash-hit game with great replay value. It has enough mental engagement to keep you going, but enough laughs for it to be a lighter game for your heavier evenings. Great for laughs, but it really hones your bluffing. It is a must have for your game collection or game club or gaming get-together, especially during these busy holiday seasons.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Meet Me at the Table: The Walking Dead Card Game


The Walking Dead Season 5 airs on Sunday, October 12.  In preparation, I’ve been playing Walking Dead games. The first, and the easiest, is The Walking Dead Card Game.  The game seems to fall roughly around the beginning of Season 3, when our survivors have attempted to create a livable habitat in the prison. I am a die-hard Walking Dead fan and I also am a zombie-freak! I am well-versed in the cultural canon of zombies and it’s hard to pass up games, movies, TV-shows, or books. So I honor of one of my favorite shows airing and honoring the month of October, I will be reviewing some Walking Dead and other zombie games!

Title: The Walking Dead Card Game

 

pic1594490_md

Geeky Specs

Designer: Wolfgang Kramer                                    Published by: Cryptozoic Entertainment
Year Published: 2013                                                 
Rough Game Time: 15+ minutes (depending on players)
Players: 2-10 (if using Survival Mode)                   Suggested Ages: 15+
Type: Card Game, Hand Management

 

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

There needs to be hope in order to survive! Working together, hope can be found and zombies can be destroyed! Choose a hero and take out the walkers before all hope is gone. . . For everyone!

 

What’s in the Box?

    Walking Dead Card Game Box
  • 110 game cards
    • 104 walker cards
    • 6 Hero cards
      • Maggie
      • Glen
      • Rick
      • Andrea
      • T-Bone
      • Darryl
  • 1 set of Rules

 

How To Play or Not to Play, That is the Question

  1. Start out by separating the Hero cards from the Zombie cards.
  2. Each player takes a Hero. They all do the same thing, so the preference is just the character.
  3. Then, the Zombie deck should be shuffled.
  4. Deal out 15 cards to each player, in addition to your Hero. So you should have 16 cards.
  5. Then draw four cards and lay them face up along the left side of the play area. Lay them so that it creates 4 rows.
  6. Put the rest of the cards aside, as they will not be needed.
  7. During each turn, the players choose one or two cards they are going to play that round.  They lay them facedown in front of them.
  8. When everyone is ready, the cards are revealed. The player with the lowest placeable card goes first with that card. Then the next lowest card and so-on until all the cards have been played.
  9. If you played a Hero as one of your two cards, you get to place your card, no matter the value, first.
  10. The goal is to collect a row of 5. When you play the 6th card, you collect the 5 before it and the 6th card becomes the new #1 card in the row.

 

The End

The game ends when players are out of cards in their hand. They then count up the points on the cards they have collected.  These points are determined by the number of bullets on the cards. The highest total amount wins!

Rules Weren’t Meant to Be Broken (Or Were They?)

One of the rules that we had to remember, as it felt a little awkward, was that you can place smaller number cards at the end of the highest number cards. For example, if you have a 1 or 2 in your hand, but there are no cards in play that would allow you to play them, just look for the highest number set and it goes behind those cards.

Also, do not look at the card at the beginning of the row when looking for the lowest card. Always look at the card farthest to the right for the lowest number.

There are two additional play-types with this game. You can play in Survival Mode, which allows for up to 10 players, or you can play Solitaire. In Survival Mode you want to collect as few points as possible. The above directions are for Hero Mode. Solitaire has directions available on BoardGameGeek.com.

Best Played Under These Conditions

The more people, the better. You can play with just two people, but the cards don’t rotate out as quickly and sometimes you really get stuck in a jam. The more people who play the game, the more options you have for strategizing and the game play moves quicker.  A player range of 3-6 would be best.

Spice Up Your Game

This is perfect to play between episodes or during commercial breaks. You can always stop and pick up the game. A rousing addition to any kind of Walking Dead marathon! The simplicity of it makes it easy for fans of all ages to play and you can play several rounds of it without breaking a sweat.

Due to the quickness and simplicity of the game, it might be best to hold off on any kind of going-all-out zombie party. This would be a quick addition to an already established party. So really, it’s a quick game to play in-between more intense zombie games, while still embracing the theme of zombie.

If you’re really needing to have something special during this game, I suggest Mitch’s Walker’s Blood drink. Mitch is one of the Vloggers for Geek & Sundry and has all sorts of nerdy cocktails that he creates. It’s a pretty simple drink that can be easily made with the exact ingredients, or ingredients that can be easily substituted without changing the thematic taste of the drink.  Please remember, only create this drink if you are of legal drinking age and remember to Drink Responsibly!

walkersblooddrink

For a non-alcoholic drink for your evening, try Rachael Ray’s Blueberry Iced Tea! Classic southern Iced Tea with a Blueberry twist! It even has an eerie color.
Rachael Ray's Bluberry Iced Tea

Finale

The Walking Dead Card Game is a very light card game. I enjoyed the quick-play value, but the real joy of playing came from the Walking Dead connection. The game itself isn’t unique, but it has replay value. When I played, I had to really stay on top of things. If there were a different skin on it, it would be great for kids. Wolfgang Kramer  created a game called 6 nimmt! which operates under the same rules (The Walking Dead is just a skin of that game), which could be fun, potentially for younger players.

As a game, take it or leave it. Great for those games you play between the heavier ones, but it is a gimmick and the game-play really has absolutely nothing to do with The Walking Dead or zombies. It’s just about the pictures and the fun that you are able to add to it. If you’re a fan and want an easy game, this is it. If you’re hardcore about the quality of your game collection, you might want to pass this one by.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meet Me at the Table - Giant

*Disclaimer: This is an unpaid review of a Kickstarter Project. This review is of a prototype copy of the game. Please be aware that any components or gameplay may be subject to change in a final copy.*


This past month at GenCon, one of the highlights of my and my husband’s time there was encountering game designer Mark Hanny and playing a total of five of his games over the course of that insane weekend. His games are full of interesting ideas and his mind as a designer seems to be in overdrive. His games often combine themes and game styles that would be considered strange at the surface, but in practice proved to be incredibly engaging. My husband’s favorite game of the entire convention, stacked up against the major releases from the likes of Asmodee, Iello, AEG, and Fantasy Flight was one of Mr. Hanny’s games.

We got to be such regulars at his demo table that when he told us about his game he was testing for an upcoming Kickstarter, I offered to review it for IGG.

Now, with the project officially launched on Kickstarter, I can tell you all about Giant, an innovative and tactile game that entertained us more and more with each progressive play and even sparked delight from our 4 year-old daughter.

Title: Giant

Giant Game Picture

Geeky Specs

Designer: Mark Hanny       Published by: Joe Magic Games
Year Published: Currently on Kickstarter!          Rough Game Time: 60-90 mins
Players: 3-5                     Suggested Ages: 12+ (with an adult’s help under 12)
Type: Card/Token Drafting, Light Tableau Building

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

The Giants of the North, long absent in the civilized kingdoms, have returned! They do not come in peace. And thus the kingdoms rally their armies and hope beyond hope they can end the Giant threat before a trail of devastation is left in their wake.

Giant the GameWhat’s in the Box?

  • 6 Giant Stand-ups
  • 6 Giant holders
  • 32 Troop Cards
  • 60 Victory Tokens
  • 75 Combat Tokens (15 of each color: red, blue, green, yellow, orange)
  • 7 Dice
  • 5 Flag Cards
  • 5 Card Holders
  • 1 Draw Bag
  • Needed (not in t he box): 1 cup to shake tokens

How To Play or Not to Play, That is the Question

    Giant Setup
  1. Prepare the Giant Standees and set them up in the middle of the table.
  2. Each player selects a colored flag card. The Combat Tokens for the colors being played are then added to the Draw Bag
  3. Shuffle the Troop Deck and deal each player 6 cards from it
  4. Each player selects one Troop Card from their hand, keeps it, and passes the rest of the hand to the player on the right. Continue this until all Troop Cards have been drafted. These will be the potential armies each player has available to them.
  5. Shake the Token Bag well, draw 3 tokens for each player, and place those tokens in the cup. The starting player then shakes the cup and either tosses the tokens out onto the table with flair or slams the cup down dramatically (whatever makes you happy). Then, starting with the first player, each player drafts one token from the newly created token pool and you are now ready to begin play. (See token types below.)
  6. On your turn you have three actions you may take.
  7. First, for each numbered token of your color in the token pool you may draft any token other than a numbered token of another player’s color from the pool. You are always allowed to draft one token (even if you have no tokens of your color showing) and can never draft more than 3.
  8. If you have NO tokens you can legally draft, a re-roll occurs. Add 2 tokens per player from the bag to the cup, shake, and add to the token pool.
  9. Second, you may EITHER play a Troop Card to the field, paying any gold cost it has OR draw one random token from the Token Bag. Spent gold is returned to the Token Bag.
  10. Third, you may EITHER initiate an attack on a Giant of your choice, paying the necessary activation costs of any Troop Card you wish to bring to battle, OR draw one random token from the Token Bag. Spent Activation and Bonus Tokens are returned to the Token Bag.
  11. When attacking, select the Giant you wish to attack as well as the specific Body Part Token on the Giant you are targeting your attack on. Add up the Attack Ratings on all your activated Troop Cards, as well as any Bonus Tokens spent, and if the number is greater than or equal to the white number on that Body Part Token, your attack is successful. Pop the token out of the Giant and claim it as your prize! This method of combat is purely deterministic, so you should never fail an initiated attack (unless of course you did your math wrong!)
  12. When a Giant has its fourth and final Body Part taken out, he is defeated and it’s time for scoring. Any player who claimed a token from that Giant makes a scoring roll for each of those tokens. Roll a number of dice equal to the blue number on that token, take note of the target roll as shown by the picture of the die on that token, and for each success you earn one Victory Point Token.
  13. When a Giant dies, there is an automatic re-roll to add tokens to the token pool.

The End

The game ends immediately when all six Giants have been brought down in glorious victory and the last Giant’s points have been claimed! Whoever has the most Victory Points at the end of the game is the winner! Ties are broken by the commander of the largest army. If there is still a tie, the player with the most gold buys bragging rights.

Rules Weren’t Meant to Be Broken (Or Were They?)

There are 5 types of tokens in the game:
Gold (Used to put your Troop Cards onto the field of play).
Military Activation (Used to pay activation costs on Military Troop units).
Magic Activation (Used to pay activation costs on Magic Troop units).
Attack Bonuses (Used to give straightforward bonuses to your overall attack on any Giant).
Numbered Color Tokens (These are the reverse side of the other tokens and, while in the token pool, they determine the number of tokens a player can draft on their turn as well as your fate when it comes time for Giants to SMASH puny humans.)

Some Troop Cards have special abilities that take effect when they the unit’s activation cost is paid for an attack.

Watch out for the Re-Roll! The giants have a chance to attack you back! Whenever there is a re-roll (either after a Giant dies or when a player cannot draft a token) it is time for Giants to SMASH. After the re-roll, if the sum of any color’s numbered tokens is 7 or greater that player loses one of their Troop Cards. Ouch!

Some Giants

Best Played Under These Conditions

Giant works well with any of its player count. This is a game that you can use the play with three or more aspect. You do, though, need at least 3 players to play.

The game is lighter in weight with many random elements, but it offers a fair bit of strategy in managing your resources to efficiently get the best value Giant tokens and maximize your points so I think it appeals to a wide audience. Whether you’re a novice or a veteran gamer, it has a little something for everyone.

Though the recommended age is 12+, I think younger kids will have great fun with it as well making it a nice family game. Our daughter, who is 4-years-old, loved the giants and had fun poking out the pieces. We had to do a great deal of guiding with her, but it was still fun for everyone.

Spice Up Your Game

This game has so many fun ways to spice up your gaming night. There are two bents you could take. . . You could get the giant or the food could be giant food. Let’s start with you being the giant.

You’ve chosen to make yourself feel like a giant! Great! I highly recommend the awesome cookbook called Tiny Food Party. There are some seriously adorable recipes in the book to really help make you feel like a giant in your own right. If you’re not into baking, there are tons of mini-items to purchase at your local stores, like mini-éclairs, mini-quiches, mini-candies. Get some baby carrots and use a tiny bowl to put a little dip in. Even mini-rice cakes! Lay out the spread and enjoy!

Chocolate Eclairs


Let’s not forget the drinks! Pour your drinks into tiny glasses. Use disposable and cheap shot glasses or just use shot glasses. Maybe you have mini-little-kid glasses. Whatever floats your boat. Then use appetizer utensils or tiny little forks to eat with. Use things that continue to give you that giant feeling! Even use the smaller plates, verses the larger dining plates.

Giant Cupcake


So eating tiny isn’t your thing? Well, then think big! I always love this Giant Cupcake Cake dessert. I love cupcakes, so a Giant Cupcake. These are always a fun treat and guests should always love cake. If they don’t, though, you can make a Giant Hershey Kiss Rice Krispies Treat. Use a funnel to create the impression of the Hershey kiss and then wrap it in foil. Instant giant deliciousness! Quite honestly, anything you can make larger than life, will probably be a hit!



If you’re feeling creative enough, can talk in Giant Voices or stomp around like giants. I know I enjoyed voicing the giants in the game whenever they attacked back. It added to the fun of the game. For even more ambiance, create Giant Tissue Flowers to place around the table or on the backs of the chairs. These are adorable for parties, as well as games.

giant-luau-tissue-flowers

Finale

Having played several games from Mark Hanny, we were accustomed to very meaty, thinky games from him. So we were surprised (pleasantly so) to find out just how fast-paced, light, and easy to pick up Giant was. It’s just smooth-flowing, easy-going fun. As mentioned above, it is also delightfully tactile with the bag shaking, token drawing, cup slamming, and Giant poking!

There are some who might be turned off by the randomness of a number of elements in the game, but if the token pool isn’t cooperating with you, it is somewhat mitigated by your ability to draw more tokens instead of taking actions on your turn. And while the points gained per Giant Token is random, it is very well balanced randomness in terms of effort/reward and with the deterministic combat you at least know for sure an attack won’t ever be wasted. We played eight games in preparation for this review and we were very pleased with just how tight each game wound up being at the end.

There are a lot of really interesting effects on the Troop Cards and every game will play out differently depending on what types of armies hit the battlefield. This interesting dynamic combined with fun and simple mechanics is proof of a very neat concept.

As for the production quality of the game, I should make it clear that Mr. Hanny self-publishes his games. But while you’re not going to see the lavish production values you would find from a major company like Asmodee, Mr. Hanny has been making games for a very long time and has the equipment and materials to produce very nice looking games for a one-man operation. The art on the Giant standees varies in style from comically cartoonish to grimly intimidating. They provide excellent table presence that will make passersby stop and watch as chaos ensues. And Mr. Hanny’s pride and joy are his unique cards. They are treated with a special laminate that protects them better than any sleeve, provides a nice sturdy feel, and yet still shuffle very well. Purists may be turned off by the slick feel and glossy sheen, but I find it a nice change of pace. Plus, we hate sleeves in this house!

All in all, you’re probably not going to find anything out there that gives quite the same feel as Giant and for a lightweight and lighthearted game good for families or gaming groups, Giant is a welcome addition to our collection.

Pledge Levels:

The Giant Kickstarter is offering discounts of Mr. Hanny’s previous successful Kickstarter projects alongside your Giant reward at various pledge levels. That’s five games Mr. Hanny has already delivered on (another point in his favor) that might pique your interest and sweeten the pot and seal the deal for you. While we have not played two of those available (Famous Zombies and Bellwether), I can provide a little feedback on the other three.

Argosy: On the surface, Argosy looked like any other game of interstellar exploration, colonization, and conquest. It revealed itself, however, to be a brain-burning abstract game in a 4x space vessel. Abstract games are not my or my husband’s genre of choice, but we were still fascinated by this game where you manipulate three types of research tokens into triangular patterns to gain knowledge to open up various powers to progress your quest to colonize your way to the center of the galaxy. It’ll make smoke pour out of your ears, but it is an elegant design.

Super Powers: This one was conceptually so out there that we were telling people about it for days. A Euro Superhero game? Insanity! Yet, extremely interesting. Super Powers is fundamentally a worker placement game where the placement of your pieces earns your hero powers, opportunities to fight villains, or other unique actions. This was the first game of Mr. Hanny’s I played and I immediately knew how outside the box his ideas were, but this was both clever and strangely charming.

UFO Hunter: This is the beefiest, most epic of the games discussed here. UFO Hunter is a globetrotting game where players seek out proof of extraterrestrial life. It features bidding, trading, and exploration as players travel around a map of the world, starting rumors, investigating rumors, gaining contacts and alien-finding equipment, all in the hopes of being the one to collect the most evidence that there is life out there in the stars and it has come to visit us on Earth. There is a ton going on in this game, but it is has a genuine cool factor and is another game that provides excellent table presence with its dual game boards and lots of cards and tokens again.

So there you have it. If you like what you’ve read and seen here, head on over to Mark’s Kickstarter page and consider giving him your support. This is a very short run project for a limited edition run of Giant so get it while you can, but keep an eye out for his next, longer running Kickstarter for his game Demise of Dr. Frankenstein (my husband’s favorite) coming out right on the heels of this one.