We had a great boardgame weekend over at the Sssplat house. With Halloween coming up, a horror theme seemed to be appropriate and City of Horror and Locke & Key made the table. Both games were entertaining and a lot of fun. On Sunday night we got in a game of bluffing and deduction with Skull & Roses, then tossed some food around with Food Fight. Then we finished it off with another round of Locke & Key because we couldn’t get enough of it on Friday. Locke & Key was the big surprise and earned Game of the Weekend honors!
City of Horror – by Nicolas Normandon (ranked 864 on Boardgamegeek.com)
What could be better in October than a zombie apocalypse game? City of Horror is a follow-up to Nomandon’s popular Mall of Horror boardgame that uses similar mechanics. As with all games of this genre, the goal is to survive. However, the cutthroat, every man for himself mechanics of this game make it hugely entertaining. Each player controls three characters with their own unique abilities. For instance, there is the pregnant woman who suddenly gets two votes if you activate her ability, that’s right… she gives birth. If you think you’ll make it out of the game with all your characters, think again. You’ll be lucky to get out with one!
Locke & Key – by Matt Hyra (ranked 2862 on Boardgamegeek.com)
The first great impression of this game is when you take the cards out of the box. The cards are of high quality with foil highlights and beautiful artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez. The game gets better from there. Players are dealt random cards that are used for bidding on and defeating challenges that earn victory points. Along the way, you can be rewarded with magical key cards that boost abilities during these challenges. An interesting mechanic of the game is that 2nd place in challenges is rewarded with keys, extra cards or victory points while the winner gets the higher victory point total of the challenge. Sometimes its better to jockey for 2nd place than actually be the winner. What a great game!
Skull & Rose – by Herve Marly (ranked 517 on Boardgamegeek.com)
A fun take on the traditional “Liars Dice” bluffing mechanic. The game is simple in nature with players receiving 4 cardboard chits, three of which depict roses and the fourth depicts the dreaded skull. Players take turns secretly laying tiles on their play area until someone boldly claims how many roses are on the table. Play goes around the table with players passing or increasing the bid made by the player before them. When everyone passes, the last player who make a bid begins turning over chits until he/she reaches their bid or turns a skull. First person to make two successful bids wins the game! A fun game… but don’t mistake the chits for beer coasters (because that is essentially what they are!).
Food Fight – by Matt Hyra (ranked 3238 on Boardgamegeek.com)
Because of our great experience with Locke & Key, we pulled out another game by Matt Hyra… Food Fight, and our hopes were high. Unfortunately, the game seemed to fizzle on us. We played with 6 players, which is recommended on Boardgamegeek but that still didn’t help. We also used the card drafting mechanic that slowed the game down somewhat, but lessened the random factor. But all that seemed for naught when you have to shuffle your cards before serving them anyway. Personally, I was sour milk when I tied a challenge with another player and it was decided by a random card flip. He got everything, I got nothing. I’m really just there for the entertainment but that mechanic just seemed to take away from the strategy of the game play and broke it all down to a 50/50 coin toss. To make things worse.. most every challenge ends in a tie. Sorry Matt… gets a rating of “Meh”.