Black Fleet

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I love pirate games! So, when Asmodee announced Black Fleet, I was immediately excited. After further inspection, it seemed to be a stream-lined version of Merchants and Marauders and I was a little skeptical. However, after my first play through, I can definitely see adding it to my collection. It has a relatively low setup and play time, with a ton of fun packed in! (First game was about an hour) The rule book is well written and the components are great. (Coins and plastic ships miniatures) I recommend checking it out!

-Andrew

Kitty Paw

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Get ready call “meow!” because in the game of Kitty Paw, your ability to meow and hi-five is as important as making your kitty-block patterns!

The concept of Kitty Paw is simple. Each player is a kitty (assigned by their paw card), and the goal is to replicate the pattern on your puzzle card using all the little hexagonal kitty tiles, but you have to do it faster than your opponents and, when you think you’re done, shout “meow!” and raise your paw. Your opponents then vie to call meow and high five you; the last to do so loses points equal to the penalty value on the back of their pattern card. But, if you didn’t replicate your pattern correctly, you get penalized too!

Each tile has two adorable sides – awake top-view of a kitty and sleeping belly-view of a kitty – so make sure you have your cats right-side up as you work!

The age recommendation is 8+, but younger children can play as well, and the tiles are durable enough that you don’t need to worry about little kids damaging them (so long as they don’t make their way into a mouth, of course). The general chaos of a turnless game is well suited to smaller competitive groups and works best with 4 players, but you can even play it single player if you just want to practice making patterns.

-Kiara

Maximum Throwdown

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Maximum Throwdown is a competitive card-flicking game, where you toss cards from your deck onto other cards. The symbols the cards land on determines what actions you can take. For example, you could attack another player’s cards by trying to cover up their points with a card toss, or you could steal another player’s card, toss it,  and try to land it upside down such that they lose points.

Personally, I didn’t really care for it, but, then again, I played it as a two-player game. I can see how it could be fun with a larger group, perhaps a party where you don’t want to have to think much or explain many rules. I’ve heard that other dexterity games, such as Cat Tower, are great for drinking parties, and perhaps this one would be enhanced by the presence of libations. I also think the age range (14+) is underestimating the ability of most children, I think 10 or 12 years old would catch on quickly to the basic mechanics. And perhaps it would be great with younger kids too!

-Natalie

Blood Rage

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Blood Rage is a fantasy miniatures game set in a world of Norse mythology. The tagline of Blood Rage is, “Life is Battle; Battle is Glory; Glory is ALL” and that is exactly what the game is all about. It begins with a drafting phase where your goal is to acquire powerful battle cards or ancient monsters to fight at your side. Players then fight over territories and whether they win or lose they are rewarded for their efforts. To the victors go the spoils but there is also no shame in losing for your soldiers are rewarded in Valhalla. One strategy, Loki cards, actually rewards you for losing battles, or punishes the winner. What I like about the game is that there are many different balances so that one strategy does not work every time. Drafting is very important, but so is knowing when to strike and the combinations of the cards that you draft. It plays 2-4 players and lasts about 90 minutes.

-Andrew