It's time for a new board game adventure.
Where do you start?
Wingspan is back in the charts. Has it ever gone away?
Everdell is in the editors choice. It's a beautiful looking game.
You want to discover something new and exciting, but there are thousands of games out there.
The Zatu New Releases Subscription Box may be your saviour. Each month, a parcel full of surprises arrives at your door.
The Excitement Begins
The email has landed. Your new releases subscription box will arrive in 2 days. You search the new releases section. Will there be Land vs Sea? Jamaica 2nd Edition?
Your December 2021 box has arrived. The excitement. The anticipation. You open the box, close your eyes, and pull out the first game.
I received three games from the Zatu New Releases Subscription Box, Kingdomino Origins being the first. The Kingdomino series is popular. Looking at the box, Carcassonne immediately pops into your head. A classic. The series so far includes Kingdomino, Queendomino, Kingdomino Duel, and Dragomino.
In Kingdomino Origins, you're going back to prehistoric times. Your tribe intends to be the most comfortable in their land. The land is no bigger than 25 plots (squares), and each region must have fire to keep your people warm. Your territory is restricted to a 5 x 5 area.
The Kingdomino Origins component quality is excellent. The mammoth, mushroom, and fish tokens are soooo cute. The colourful tiles have a nice feel with a glossy finish. The rulebook is bright, easy to read, and has plenty of pictures.
What Do You Do?
Kingdomino Origins is a simple tile placement game with some hidden depth and 3 modes. It has variety.
In the beginning, each region needs fire to be comfortable. The more fire, the happier your tribe is, the higher the score. On some pieces of land, fire has already been discovered. Fire is also spat out by the volcano. Where it lands depends on the volcano size. Scoring depends on the size of each region, multiplied by the number of fire symbols.
After the easy setup, you should have:
- Your coloured start tile in front of you, with your hut on top of it.
- Your tribe chief, placed on one of the revealed tiles.
- A second set of 4 tiles, number side up, in ascending order.
Starting with the player on the lowest numbered tile, you take 2 actions. Place the tile in your territory, following the placement rules. Put your tribe chief on one of the numbered tiles that are not already occupied. Once all players have taken their turn, reveal the tiles. Randomly select 4 more tiles and place them number side up, in order. After each player has taken 12 tiles, its game over. Scoring begins.
There is more. Most region tiles have resources and place that token on your tile. Each round, you count the number of different resources in your territory and win one of four totems. Other players can steal them later on. At the end of the game, you receive a comfort point for the number of tokens and your prize totem. Beware - fire can destroy your precious resources.
Your tribe is here to help you but they charge. Your resources are limited but their help could win you the game. Grouping the warriors together is a bonus. Surrounding other tribespeople with resources or the tribe can benefit you.
There are two scoring rules and a 2 player variant as well.
Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy
The second game in my Zatu New Releases Subscription Box was Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy.
Frank Herbert’s Dune is a classic sci-fi book.
The latest Dune film has encouraged the release of new Dune games, such as Dune: Imperium, Dune: Betrayal, and Dune: House Secrets.
Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy has revisited Dune: Board Game.
Dune: Board Game is a reprint of the 40+-year-old original.
The streamlined rules and playtime between 30 to 60 minutes have opened the world to new explorers.
Players are fighting for control of the planet Arrakis. Melange (spice) is the most important commodity in the universe. Your Faction travels the planet, harvesting spice and battling for control of strongholds. Beware the storm and watch out for sandworms.
The board depicts a desolate planet in a dark and gloomy universe. The board can be difficult to identify the strongholds, but it doesn’t take long for your eyes to adjust. The factions have different advantages that make the experience interesting.
It may take a few plays before you realise it’s a great game. The quick turn phases and thoughtful battles can change the outcome unexpectedly.
How Do I Win?
Be the first Faction to control 3 strongholds after the third, fourth, or fifth turn. If no one holds all 3, it’s down to the amount of spice.
Setup is straightforward. 4 decks of cards, spice tokens, and faction boards showing each variation are placed on or near the board. The traitor cards are used for only the factions in the game. Each faction has its own unique advantage in certain phases.
There are 7 phases in each round.
The relentless storm is circling the planet, destroying most things in its path.
Spice blows appear and it is a race to reach that territory.
Prepare for future battles and buy cards from the market.
Revive any forces or leaders from the Tleilaxu tanks.
Ship out your forces to any area on the planet surface and move a group to your chosen destination.
Let the battles begin. You may lose your leader, or discover the traitor in your ranks.
Spice collection is essential to ensure you can afford your future plans. Spice is currency.
The final game in my Zatu Subscription Box is Picture Perfect. You have been hired to photograph a party but the guests are being difficult and demanding. Even the dog and the plant are not easily pleased. It is not easy to make everyone happy, but you want to be the best. If they are in the picture but ignored, you lose points. The Table Decoration will make it Picture Perfect. Otherwise, sell the decorations at the auction for inside information on your subjects.
Arcane Wonders have done it again. Picture Perfect gives you something new. Just mention Four Gardens and the pagoda springs to mind, as well as Furnace and the bidding tokens.
Get your mobiles ready.
Where is the board?
No dice or meeples.
Who are all these people?
Yes, there are cards, but they go in envelopes. You have to read the other cards.
What on earth is going on?
Picture Perfect is different, and it is hard to find another game like it.
How Does it Play?
Setting the scene. The party could be in a bar, at the beach, in a grand room, or in the countryside. A choice of one of two tables and flooring. The guests arrive.
Naming and giving backstories to the guests is suggested. We have already named the plant Robert, followed by Scary Mary, and Obama.
Shuffle the cards and secretly place 3 in each envelope, randomly distributing an equal number of envelopes to each player. 2 or 4 envelopes are placed in the middle of the table face up. Shuffle 3 exchange and 3 auction cards together. Place these face down next to the envelopes in the middle.
Each player secretly looks at the cards in their envelopes and organises the scene.
Every round a card is drawn from the middle and read out aloud. Exchange cards will give the players the opportunity to view other envelopes. Auctions will cost decorations but could give an advantage.
After 6 rounds, the final arrangement is made. Take a pic on your mobile.
Who will score the highest and be the photographer who gives the best satisfaction?
The December 2021 Zatu New Releases Subscription Box is a good mixture of games.
It has been said, “Variety is the Spice of Life”.
Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy was a surprise. A thoughtful and strategic, streamlined game. Not too long or a heavy thinker.
Picture Perfect is a joy to play and very different.
Kingdomino Origins shines as a simple, quick, and fun game.
There have been plenty of discoveries this month.
Shall I get my mobile out again? Or travel back in time, or to the future?
Choices, choices, choices!