“Onitama—an elegant and simple game of martial tactics.” Sign me up! This game is right up my alley and thankfully it lived up to its claim. Your Master alongside four protégé battle your opponent’s Master and disciples for superiority at the Shrine of Onitama. To do so, you must capture the opposing Master or move your Master into your opponent’s Temple Arch. Using one of two cards in your possession with predetermined movement choices, you strategically move your Master and students around the small 5 x 5 temple space. Interestingly, you’re able to see each others’ cards to better determine whether or not a move is sensible. A game of back-and-forth, especially toward the end, Onitama is deep enough to exercise your brain, but its simple qualities won’t have you overthinking things to a point of frying it.
Matt and I taught Biff this game and he beat me. The different combinations of cards really make for a different game each time. It’s interesting how variable the length of play can be with this one, too. Sometimes it feels like you’re overthinking and other times you feel like you’re just flailing around trying to survive!
Onitama is a surprisingly simple, yet tough to master game. It feels a lot like chess. Players are trying to eliminate each other’s “big dude” or get their own “big dude” onto the other players Temple Arch located on the other side of the board. The twist comes in when you and your opponent only use five movement cards that are randomly drawn from the deck. These cards are open information and they will rotate around to both players and you play them. Trying to think ahead like you would in chess will have your brain on fire. I found it difficult to be aggressively offensive or defensive. The key to the game is balance in planning your moves. This is a quick and clever little game.
I’ve now played this light abstract somewhere between 6-10 times and it’s become a quick favorite. I’ve always been drawn to two-player abstract games, and this one provides quick play that values skill and forethought, completely devoid of randomness. It’s a great option for any skill level and one that is completely worth the pricetag.
This Mother’s Day I decided to teach the family Spyfall, which really does a excellent job of pulling everyone together for a laugh and a great time…unless you’re the spy. Being the spy in this game will have your anxiety skyrocketin’ off-the-charts but you have to keep your cool. Mom, let’s just say, isn’t the greatest spy. In her defense, this was her first time playing, but we knew she was the spy fairly soon in the round. We then proceeded to toy with her and ask her off-the-wall questions just to see what her answers she’d come up with. Turns out, she is a spy who forgot when she last ate and brings her bathing suit with her…to a restaurant.
I’ve still never been the spy in Spyfall and every time I play it I am absolutely terrified that I will get the “SPY” card. I’m also really afraid that the location will be the Crusades Army because I don’t think I would have any idea how to handle that. Luckily we were at a casino and the hospital so I could make it work.
I was able to play this for the first time and ended up playing it three times in a row. It’s a quick, lightweight game that I really enjoyed it. I liked deciding what paths to take and seeing what everyone else ended up doing.
This is a really great looking, pretty challenging, but super fun cooperative deck-building game in which you’re trying to break curses using your elemental magic so bad stuff doesn’t happen. The game is simple enough—play the cards in the type and number indicated on the curse cards to make them go away. Along the way you collect madness cards into your deck that makes it harder to cast elemental magic and cure curses. We almost ran out of madness a few times, and I had so many in my deck that I was dangerously close to having a hand of just madness (which is a lose condition). Overall, despite the fact that it’s a pretty simple game, it’s quite tense and pretty excellent.
This game was anticipated for a long time, but it seems to have all but disappeared from the hobby conversation. It’s a card-based cooperative game that, despite the wonderfully bright and animated art style, is painfully difficult. I’ve enjoyed my two plays and look forward to giving it another go, though with the challenge that the Beginner difficulty poses, I can only imagine what the other two difficulties bring.
We made it through our first run of the second expansion to T.I.M.E. Stories and it continues to be an amazing experience. Like the others, the two hours spent in the new setting were spent getting our bearings and now we can officially start to unfold the mystery. The fantasy environment is rich with D&D style NPCs and world-building, and the whispers of a dragon army loom in the back of our minds and we try to figure just why we’re here and how to save the day. I can’t wait for more!
I FINALLY got in my first play of Village. Dan and I played a game for two and quickly ran through the rules. I decided I was going to go heavy in traveling in the beginning and was able to travel to four locations. I also picked up a few high scoring market tiles. Unfortunately, we were playing part of the game all wrong and the game ended quickly since our people were dying off too quickly! We realized the mistake near game-end. (We were using our people on the yellow spots to take the actions instead of just paying our cubes!) I was able to pull off the victory* by a single point but, obviously, the play was voided. Looking forward to playing again!
This is a great little game and one that offers a great distilled deduction element in a very small package. I gladly parted with one of my Dead Drop decks at the end of the night in hopes that word of its fun would travel across state lines with our friends!