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First Impressions Gaming Of May 2021

Dice City

Dice City - FavouriteFoe

Viva Rolldovia!

I like dice. I didn’t know I liked them until I started throwing handfuls of them. And Dice City lets me roll 5 at a time! But these D6 aren’t just for chucking around. They are the way in which cities are crafted in Dice City!

Not only that, Dice City has exposed my love for HUGE personal player boards. Please don’t get me wrong. I love games with small boards, as well as those with no boards at all. But, if I am given my own cardboard playground to control, then BIGGER is apparently BETTER! And Dice City definitely rises to the top here. Each one is an enormous 30 space tableau and easiest the largest in my collection.

Granted, with a few mills, a couple of houses, and a soldier here and there, your board doesn’t start off as an impressive place to work, rest, or play. But that’s ok because it is just the foundation for building up your new medieval metropolis!

Plus, as a new game to my table this month, I found out that building is exactly what Dice City is all about. It is a fun, light dice-based engine builder. You are managing resources to upgrade your basic locations for those which give better returns. And, with each dice determining where you can modify each turn, there are lots of different ways to upgrade your barren village into a booming town!

But, you aren’t solely at the mercy of the dice. Good thing as they can (and often will!) be fickle masters. With some strategic decision making and creative crafting, you can manipulate their fateful rolls. You will find multiple ways to gain more resources, defeat bandits, trade, and ultimately score points. Additionally, if you’re in the mood to meddle, you can also attack your opponents’ own building plans. Which definitely takes you out of multiplayer solitaire mode, and into cunning constructor territory!

So far, we have played Dice City at a two-player count. It has been a lot of fun and flows well. Admittedly, with so many potential ways to score points, I have had a few turns where I have stalled slightly as I work out what I want to do. But, paralysis hasn’t lasted long and didn’t disrupt our games. On that basis, I am really looking forward to playing it again!

Room 25 - Rebecca Robinson

For some time Room 25 has been lurking on my shelf of shame. I'm not sure why I wasn't compelled to pick it up sooner. Perhaps because the box art wasn't really my favourite style.Boy am I a sucker for a pretty game. Or that the game offered too many modes of play and I wasn't sure which one to fear of new rules can overwhelm the enjoyment of games sometimes.

But whatever it was, I wish I'd have given it a go sooner and I definitely can't wait to get friends over to experience the game at a higher player count.

Room 25 is a thriller/horror game that instantly reminds players of the movie The Cube. According to your game mode, you must set out 25 room tiles in a 5x5 grid from which you must escape without entering one of the many rooms that will kill you.

The turn order mechanism and the limited options for what you may do on your turn can make for some nail-biting rounds.

We opted for a nice cooperative play. Survive together, die alone. This mode allows for limited communication about the status of a room but nothing more. Safe - green, neutral/slightly dangerous - orange and instant death - red. The game becomes about remembering as much as you can about the rooms. You're trying to guess the actions of your fellow players and desperately exploring, searching for Room 25, so you can make your escape in time.

Unwittingly, the way in which you plan your moves can make or break your game, and on more than one occasion we made moves that led to our untimely deaths. However, it being such a quick game to set-up, meant that it was pretty easy to regroup and try again.

It’s not often that after learning a new game I immediately want to play again. But something about this game really hooked me. And now I look forward to playing the other 4 game modes!

Destinies - Thom Newton

I love a good story game. Something I can go out and explore and really get lost in. 7th Continent has been an absolute favourite of mine for a long time, but it has a lot of rules and can be a struggle to get to the table sometimes. Destinies by Lucky Duck Games may well be the quick set up adventure game I have been waiting for.

Destinies is a competitive story-based adventure game. 1-4 players will be racing to try and complete their destiny in a fantasy medieval setting. It uses a very similar system of app assistance to the one found chronicles of crime. Because of this, you can throw down a few cards and minis and you’re off to the races!

Most of the cards have QR codes that hook into the various scenarios on them. These can be scanned by your clever phone or smart slab and will be used to feed you events as the story progresses. This system is great as it helps keep the rules light but has the potential to make the experience very deep indeed. One QR code can give different information depending on where in the story you are, or even which scenario you are playing. It’s a very neat system and it works really well here.

So far, I’ve mostly been playing the solo mode. The mission I’ve been playing has me trying to save a village from a werewolf that is terrorising the populace. I’ve had a blast exploring and trying to figure out all the steps that allow you to reach your goals. There seem to be multiple paths to victory depending on how you decide to proceed through the unfolding events. I normally play these adventure games solo, but I am definitely looking forward to how Destinies handles a competitive adventure!

Hadrian's Wall - Joe Packham

I’m an unabashed history buff, the Roman era especially gets me all excited. So when my passion for board games and my love of history come together it’s like catnip for this nerd! You can imagine my excitement when Garphill games, one of my favourite publishers, announced Hadrian’s Wall. Add to that the fact that this was a heavy pencil and paper game and this became one of the most exciting titles of the year for me. Now it’s finally arrived and I have a few plays to my name it’s time to share my first impressions.

While its main focus is dual paper sheets that the players use to play out their game, Hadrian’s wall is not a roll and write. While it does utilise card decks and the flipping of said cards it’s not even a flip and write. The actions you choose aren’t directly dictated by these cards. No, Hadrian’s wall gives you a set of workers and resources and you then use these to pay for an array of actions on your player sheets. A large array of actions! As you pay to advance up a multitude of tracks and build a ton of buildings you unlock myriads of bonus workers, resources or actions too. These bonus combos lead to THE most satisfying cascades of actions and rewards and they are what make Hadrian’s Wall a seriously addictive and enjoyable delight.

Ultimately it’s a game of balance. You must look at defence because every round the Picts will attack your wall, if they break through, minus points! But a strong wall alone won’t win you this game, the people want temples and theatres and gladiators too. Balance them all and you may just be promoted to Legatus Legionares! First impressions of this pen and paper euro are really exciting. While interaction is virtually non-existent, it excels as a solo game or as long as AP doesn’t rear its ugly head, a solid multiplayer solitaire extravaganza!