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The Games Everyone’s Talking About – June


One Piece The Card Game - Matthew Morgan

I wanted to talk about a card game that I can't get enough of at the moment, and it's taken the world by storm. One Piece the card game has been around for just over a year now and paired with the hit Netflix show, players can't get enough of it.

Being no stranger to trading card games, I can easily vouch that the OPTCG is one of the quickest games to pick up and learn. Mechanics are simple to get the hang of and there's a variety of play styles to keep every player interested.

The best way into the game is with one of the 13 available starter sets. These include a pre built deck, player mat and instruction booklet and are cheap to pick up. From there, you can buy booster packs for individual cards or use the card from other start decks to bolster your collection.

With the seventh main set releasing at the end of the month, there's plenty of cards to get your hands on and it's even affordable to build competitive decks that can put up a fight.

It's also worth noting that One Piece the card game also has one of the best communities I've had the pleasure of playing with. With event's being run across the globe, there's always a chance to get a game in.

Interested? Then why not pick up a starter pack and start your own adventure for the one piece!

John Hunt - Thunder Road Vendetta

Thunder Road Vendetta has just hit peak hotness over the last week As it remains steady on the BGG hotness list while landing a very favourable and fair review from Matt at SU&SD. And with good cause, as he absolutely nails the chaotic joy that comes from this accessible but no less satisfying MadMaxathon of a game. A race in abstract , I love the fact that you remain on a Moebius track until one player is eliminated at which point it’s a dash to the actual finish. I love the varied custom dice, the chain crashes, attack helicopters and the penalty for falling behind. It’s top draw carnage that has enough tactical nous to keep gamers interested and enough capricious meanness for a great family game.

Continuing with the Mad Max theme, Roxley’s excellent 2 player head-to-head, Radlands us back in the hot list. News of its expansion making an appearance at GenCon has piqued interest, and with good cause. This is a beautifully illustrated and tactically tight little battler has cracking table presence, engaging card play and surprising levels of depth and replayability. No wonder news of an expansion has aroused interest – it will certainly be joining my collection.

More peaceful but nonetheless tense is Heat which aptly remains hot, hot, hot since the launch of its expansion Heavy Rain. Loads of goodies here at a modest cost and with well managed rules overhead. An extra player, 2 more tracks, surface water, chicanes and the super cool icon. The list goes on. Well worth the investment even to just get it to 7, but then there is so much goodness included. A must have for petrol heads wanting more of the game that channels what F1 ought/used to be like.

The White Castle - Seb Hawden

Devir are on a hot streak at the minute with their small-box games that contain a shed-load of gameplay within. White Castle follows the likes of Red Cathedral by not taking up much shelf space while having a deep, full-fat game inside. I really enjoyed Red Cathedral and have been playing The White Castle a lot recently, I cannot decide yet which I prefer but The White Castle is easily, just as moreish.

In The White Castle, you have nine turns, yes, just nine turns to get as many points as you can. How you get these points though, due to a random setup is a different puzzle every time. This quirky game is a mixture of dice drafting, action selection and combo-seeking goodness. The board is laid out in a way that means taking certain actions feeds into other actions and the player who utilizes it the best, will certainly come out on top.

The board is split into roughly three sections, one section for each of your three different worker types. Each of these sections score differently, offer differing benefits and are manipulated differently. Along with resource gathering and the very clever dice drafting, you must use the time track to get a leg up on your opponent, taking the vital first pick of the dice.

One of the main draws of the White Castle is that on your personal player board, you have three rows of ‘workers’ and every time you place one on the board you are making the actions available on your board that much better. There are many ways to play The White Castle and every game is slightly different but I love the way you approach each game. Trying to thread that needle over nine turns, trying to eek out every action and maximize each turn. It's so juicy.

The White Castle is a joy to bring to the table, every, single, time. I played a two-player game yesterday and my only problem was that it was over too quickly, I wanted a few more turns to get things done and that is always a great sign of a decent board game.

Sky Team – Luke Pickles

Sometimes a game takes off for no reason. Yes, it’s going to be THAT kind of article. It soars to high heights for no good reason other than being a great game. And sometimes that game will descend and circle around in the back of people’s minds before rising again and jetting off beyond the atmosphere. That seems to be what happened with Sky Team, the two player only cooperative game which gives everyone who’s ever had the thought of “yes I could land a plane if the pilots were taken ill” a chance to be proven, oh so very wrong.

Sky Team is a fantastic little game where you have to control the speed, roll, radio and all the various little touches that make the funny noises when you’re coming into land at an airport. This is all done by the medium of the dice and limited communication with your co-pilot. What’s more is you can add in all sorts of player powers and varying difficulties to really challenge yourself as you play more.

What has driven Sky Team to rise back up to the top of the hotness chart this month is how well it did at the annual Board Game Geek Golden Geek awards. As well as winning the Cooperative Game and 2-Player Game of the Year, Sky Team was the runner up for Innovative Game of the Year and Thematic Game of the Year, which is quite astounding. I could see Sky Team circling around for quite some time, with new challenges coming out to keep the game going for years to come

The White Castle - Jacob Dunkley

The White Castle has been an absolute hit with everyone I have introduced it to and came high on a load of best games of the year lists last year but what makes it so special? For me it is a combination of a few things.

Firstly fantastic gameplay with a variable set up! I love dice drafting games and this does it so well in a really tight game where you only get 9 turns before the game ends! This game will make your head hurt with some difficult decisions and make you feel rewarded when you pull off a great combo. The variable set up means every game feels a little different with lots of routes to points and victory.

Secondly, it has cute little bridges for the dice placement and it looks fantastic on the table. Thirdly it comes in a reasonably sized box! Honestly this point could be one of the best things about this game and the designers also excellent previous game ‘The Red Cathedral’. In an age where boxes can seem to be 90% air, the White Castle is tightly (and I do mean tightly) into a small box that will nestle nicely onto your shelf without taking up too much space.

As a quick overview, in this game you will be drafting dice and placing them on to the board to perform a range of different actions to ultimately increase your clans standing by getting the most points, which I’m pretty sure is how it worked in real life. Get your gardeners, warriors and courtiers out and you’ll improve the rewards when you take an action on your own player board. Oh and you have to maximise everything you can do in just 9 turns? This game is special and deserves all the praise it gets.