What's Eric Playing?: Week of June 17, 2019
Another four reviews this week! A rare 10 / 10, another doujin game, more from Button Shy, and more! As usual, click on the game’s title to read my full review!
Overall, I think High! High? High!! is pretty fun. It helps that I don't 100% play it by the rules, eschewing the multiround structure for a quick-and-simple single-round game (or five+ rounds of a single-round game, which is also pretty fun). When I play it, I'm mostly there for laughs or the persistent feeling of futility you get when another person successfully ruins your entire scoring structure, but that's just life, isn't it? It is for this game, at least. People who may enjoy this game are the people who like the sorta introductory card games that got a lot of us into board gaming -- Coloretto, No Thanks!, Saboteur, Hanabi, etc; all those small box games that end up in a lot of people's all-time favorites. That said, between this and Tokkome, I'm probably going to end up going after those cruel, cruel horses every time. Either way, if you're looking for a fun, quick card game with some bright art and cool pieces, High! High? High!! is a solid choice! I quite enjoyed it.
Overall, Blood Royals is fine! I think, for me, I was a bit frustrated as the rules grew more complex that there weren't examples of the maneuvers that were now available to us. As the game grows more complex over the course of the campaign, then, it becomes harder to tease out what moves are available / correct and you end up stuck with some house rules that may be totally wrong. In fact, I'm pretty sure ours were totally wrong. Even then, the blocking can be a bit frustrating for players, as it's possible for an opponent to completely clown you (and it leads to several rounds every game where nothing happens, which isn't terribly exciting). I understand that the risk of doing so means that the scores will be lower, so it's possible that your opponent can quickly turn the tables on you, but, it's still not as engaging as, say, Star Maps, where you kind of float quietly through space. Either way, I think the core concept is neat, as you compete to gain favor with your supporters and eventually win support across the land. Haven't played a ton of area control + roll and write games, which I really appreciate. Oh well. Part of my disinterest might be the generic medieval theme, but that's a personal thing, so whatever. If it were in space I'd probably be a bit more sold on it? I don't dislike it, though, I do appreciate a lot of the things it's got going for it, like its portability or its super-slick purple cover. I'm hoping this isn't the last we see from The Spiel Press. Either way, if you enjoy roll and write games or you've always wanted to be a feuding king, Blood Royals might be for you!
Welp, I'm probably going to regret this rating, but, I think this is the best EXIT game. I don't have a ton more to say than that, but I should at least try to justify it so that when one inevitably comes along that's better than this one I can sufficiently eat crow for being so presumptuous. It has literally no puzzles I dislike. I liked all of them, and it's two EXITs smashed together, basically. That's some incredible puzzle design, in my opinion. There are a few groaners, but I really respect those because they're clever in a way that makes me feel just a bit dumb. It's another narrative EXIT, which I truly adore. It even comes with cool souvenirs for once you're done? That's another strong move. My literal only complaints are nitpicks, and that the theme isn't my favorite of the EXIT themes (that still probably goes to Dead Man on the Orient Express), but it's still a really good one! Given that this was one of the later releases, I'm stoked as hell (pun intended, I guess) for the rest of the upcoming EXIT games, and I can't wait to see what they've got in store for us next. If you're a fan of the EXIT series, at all, I think this one's the best one I've played, hands down, and I'd overwhelmingly recommend that you check it out!
Overall, I think Tiny Ninjas is a fine little game. My general impression is that it'll appeal to players who are looking for a light skirmish-esque game where you can gradually wear down each others' defenses before striking the final blow, or you can attempt to risk it all to take out your opponent before ultimately coming up short (and paying the price for it). Only letting the defender replenish their hand is an interesting idea, and for the most part it works to create a tension between attacking and defending. Sometimes, annoyingly, it can intimidate attackers into avoiding any sort of aggression, meaning that they'll cycle through their cards less frequently and the game can kind of drag, a bit. Generally this doesn't happen that much, though it is a distinct possibility given that you're just randomly drawing cards. Thankfully, the deck is varied enough that most draws are decent. Regardless, the box is a cool bit of design and the dice are very nice, so the production value of the game is solid, which I always appreciate. If you're into the idea of a quick and light two-player combat game that's give-and-take with some twists, turns, and a bunch of different card options, you may really enjoy Tiny Ninjas!