Dec 28, 2011

Pro's and Con's Mini Review: Train of Thought

Format: Party Game
Designers: Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games

Train of Thought is the first published game from the Bamboozle Brothers, Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim. It's a party word game for 2 to 7 players that's super simple to learn but a heck of a brain burn to play at times. The game consists of a six sided die, a small hourglass timer and a whack load of cards. Each card has six words on it labeled with a die face. Players take turns being the "Conductor" and try to get the other players to guess a "destination word" from a card that matches a die roll. The tricky part is that the Conductor can only give a three word clue and the clue must contain the "start word" found on another card. If no other player guessed the destination word, the Conductor can then give another three word clue but must incorporate one of the guesses from the other players. This creates a sort of "train" of clues leading ever closer to the destination word.

In this Pro's and Con's review I will look at a few aspects of Train of Thought from a professional and consumer point of view. Here goes!

Dec 20, 2011

Pro's and Con's mini review: Edge

Format: iOS (also available on other mobile platforms, MacOS, Windows, Playstation Network)
Developer: Mobigames
Publisher: Mobigames

Pro's Take:
Edge went the "cheaper to produce" route of using abstract visuals set in isometric levels made up of grey block in order to deliver a game that's full of rich content rather than content rich. The levels are, for the most part, very cleverly designed and require some fun block balancing acrobatics and split second timing to complete. The whole game has a slick and simplistic visual and audio style that mary to produce a tight appealing package.

Con's Take:
Hard core gamers will appreciate the fact a level can be completed by simply reaching the exit or, for maximum score, by first collecting all the prisms and doing it in record time. A cool feature that helps this is the inclusion of a "ghost" of your previous best play through when attempting subsequent plays of a level allowing you to literally race against your previous best time. very cool. It looks cool and sounds great too.

On the down side the controls are a bit of an issue playing on my iPod Touch. I've opted to play with the virtual buttons (swipe and tilt options also available) and I find myself hitting unintended buttons once in a while. I've been playing the game more casually and not trying to get crazy good scores so it hasn't been a problem but I could imagine this frustrating me quite a bit if I was trying to get onto the leaderboards.

So, the verdict!? Get Edge, it's cheap and, well, kinda rad! If you want to get around the touch screen control issues, you might want to steer toward one of the desktop versions though.

Edge on Apple App Store
Image from Mobigames

Dec 19, 2011

Pro's and Con's: Ra: the Dice Game

Format: Boardgame
Designer:  Reiner Knizia
Publisher: Rio Grande Games

On this first edition of Pro's and Con's we'll be having a look at Ra: The Dice Game designed by the legendarily prolific Dr. Reiner Knizia. I thought it would be an appropriate first review given the recent release of my own game, Shake Out! which is also a dice rolling game that strives to be more than just a "dice fest".

As a gamer I've got, essentially, two sides. On one hand I'm a professional video game artist and semi-pro designer, on the other hand I'm an avid fan and consumer. The Pro's and Con's review brings together both of these facets to highlight some of the interesting things we can glean from a game as Professionals as well as the experiences we can have playing the game as Consumers.

Dec 14, 2011

Shake Out! Reviewed On Polyhedral Fury

Check out this review from one of the testers/rule editors of Shake Out! Tom Barclay.

Shake Out! released, Blog online!

I've been sitting on this blog idea far too long and I figured this was as good an opportunity to finally kick it off as any! So, here goes the news...*drum roll* I've released my first commercially available traditional game, Shake Out! YAY!!