Grab Your Pitchforks and Torches! Game Review

French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, André Paul Guillaume Gide, said: “There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” Not the case in this game! The castle overlooking the village is now occupied by evil. Monsters roam the grounds behind the castle’s tall walls and livestock is going missing at night. Rumors are circulating and fear is growing among the people. Having enough, the local peasantry is taking matters into their own hands. Grabbing pitchforks and torches, they march to the castle’s gates, but will they be ready for what they encounter? Continue reading

Slide Quest Game Review

American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” If it hurts you to think – to furrow your brow and concentrate critically – then I have a game here you should avoid. This is a puzzler – a quest – to navigate as a team through treacherous terrain and dangerous turns. Only the bravest and most emotionally stable need to apply to play this video game inspired tabletop challenge. Continue reading

Big Bad Fables Game Review (prepublished version)

American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, and film producer Walt Disney said, “All cartoon characters and fables must be an exaggeration and caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.” Stories capture our imagination and serve to not only entertain, but to teach. Embedded in the stories we were told as children are lessons to learn. Danger and hope lurk in our nursery rhymes and fables. There are monsters and heroes. In this game, the Big Bad Wolf is out-and-about, but safety can be had if a sturdy house is built. Continue reading

Shuffle Grand Prix Game Review

Former American professional stock car racing driver, Jeff Gordon, said, “I think fear is what keeps us from going over the edge. I mean, as a race car driver, I don’t think what makes a good race car driver is a fearless person. I think it’s somebody comfortable being behind the wheel of something that’s somewhat out of control.” In this game, control is an illusion. You can equip your vehicle for speed, throw down traps to slow down your opponent, and even sabotage an engine or two. In the end, what will win the race is random lucky outcomes and close calls. Continue reading

Crimes in History: H. H. Holmes’ Murder Castle Review (prepublished version)

American serial killer, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes (better known as  H. H. Holmes), said, “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than a poet can help the inspiration to sing.” So good was Holmes at killing that he constructed a building full of traps and prisons right in the middle of a street in Chicago, known now as the “Murder Castle.” You and a few other unlucky souls find yourself lost in the sprawling labyrinth designed to torture and confuse. If you hope to survive, you must find evidence and escape, but time is short! Continue reading

Fences Game Review

If you own livestock, you need two things right from the start: space and means to enclose said space. In this game, players will take on the responsibility of building their farmland, filling it with as much livestock as they can, and then closing it with fences to ensure the livestock doesn’t run amok. But there is only so much land to go around, and that makes claiming it just as important as building it. Continue reading

Darwin’s Choice Game Review

English naturalist, geologist and biologist, Charles Darwin, said about his theory on the survival of the fittest, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.” In this game, players will introduce new and wonderous animal species, mutating them to adapt to shifting climates in hopes of keeping them alive for as long as possible. What players will quickly learn that no matter how strong an animal might be, it will not be able to survive unless it has the capability of changing. Continue reading

Rune Game Review

You are a mighty Grand Master of the Runes. You know their secrets and their power. With the help of your lesser Rune Masters, you collect and focus energy to summon a creature from another world to do your bidding. But there is treachery among your ranks. Another Grand Master assisting in the ritual is working against you. The ceremony will continue, but who the creature serves will not be known until the ritual is complete. Continue reading

Dragon Market Game Review

Congratulations! Your family has the honor of being invited to the prestigious wedding of a young princess. You are required to attend – without having any choice – and that brings up the problem of what wedding gift to bring? You consider your options and decide that one will not do for a princess. Making a list, you give what items to purchase to your energetic and talented heir. It’s on them you put your hope that one of the items to be collected is a gift that makes the princess smile and brings honor to your family. Continue reading

Gridopolis Game Review

American business magnate, entrepreneur, industrial designer, investor, and media proprietor, Steve Jobs, said, “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” In this game, light game rules and abstract simplicity create a hotbed of creative focus and strategic engagement on literally multiple levels. Continue reading

The Rank Game Review (prepublished version)

Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho, said “Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.” Writing is but one form of how we share. We also share ideas, thoughts, and feelings through music, art, a conversation, and even through a light touch on someone’s shoulder when we pass them by. Of all these many ways we communicate with each other, how well do we know the person we are speaking and listening to? This game looks to answer that question. Continue reading

Roil: Defy Fate Game Review

King Louis XIV, also known as Louis the Great or the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), was King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. He said, “The ministers of kings should learn to moderate their ambition. The higher they elevate themselves above their proper sphere, the greater the danger that they will fall.” Politics can be a tenuous game of cat and mouse, with continuous tactical moves and deep strategy. We certainly see that in today’s politics, but it was so much more dangerous in the past when played at the court of kings and queens. You don’t lose your position, you lose your life and possibly your entire family line. In this game, your ambition to gain power must be tempered with building a foundation that can withstand the attacks from your rivals. In the end, only one house will stand above all others. Will it be yours? Continue reading