Sickness, strange work schedules, and other such surprises have left us with little time to prep an episode, so, we did one completely on the fly! We decided to press record and see where it went. Hope you enjoy this one, as it’s a first. But, it turned out pretty well, methinks.
Quick Look: LANDER
Designer: Daniel Alexander (II)
Artists: Elias Stern
Publisher: Intrepid Games
Year Published: 2020
LANDER is coming to Kickstarter on March 3, 2020. You can also Play Before You Pledge! Check out the map of where a high-quality prototype is available to play in your area.
But first, each round consists of a preparation phase in which you prepare for the coming year. During this phase, Event cards are drawn and, depending on the event, the first player will make a decision that will affect all players for that year. Some events don’t give room for a decision and simply tell you what’s about to happen (i.e. you don’t get as much food when gathering resources). Once the first player makes the decision, each player, starting with the first player, draws a random sector tile, places it wherever they want, and then adds a building to a sector adjacent to one they already control. There’s a good bit of strategy involved in this step, even if you draw a tile you have no use for whatsoever.
Once everyone has done their placement, resources are gathered according to each sector’s output that you control. Upgrading sectors during a “year” will (generally) give you more of that resource at the start of the next year. And the more resources you have, the more you can do. Once resources are collected, each player is dealt two Action cards, a Tool card, and a Training card. Play begins with the starting player.
|Taking control of an Accolade is an Anytime action. As long as you meet the requirement, it’s yours to control.|
|Playing Tool and Training cards on characters is a Free action.|
|The board grows as the game progresses, allowing players to spread out and collect more and more resources.|
|The three types of Activity cards.|
I like how each player gets one main action on their turn—that’s it. It makes you think harder and plan ahead for what you really want to accomplish. Free actions are nice since you can save and build up before you start your turn and take your action. That also can keep other players from stealing what you’ve worked hard to accomplish.
The missions work well, and as your engine grows, you are able to accomplish them faster and faster. The game definitely speeds up as you get going.
- Despite a lot going on, it’s easy enough to learn
- Because the sectors click together, the entire board can move as one without losing pieces in the process
- Strategic to the core
- Clever use of rule book
- Step-by-step guidance for setup
- Multiple game variants for preferred playtime
- There’s a lot of text on the cards (which isn’t inherently bad), and that can slow things down for new players
- Some people might not like the card that lets you kill one of your crew to gain food resources (with the card image being that of a delicious-looking steak 🥩 ).
|Not only is the game great, but the insert is actually really good! Keeps everything organized without spilling everywhere, which makes for easy setup for your next game.|
Check out LANDER and Intrepid Games on:
Benjamin Kocher – Editor and Reviewer
Benjamin hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He’s a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego’s Copyediting Extension program. He’s a freelance writer and editor, and covers everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Kocherb, and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.
See Benjamin’s reviews HERE.
Russian board game designer Stan Kordonskiy may not quite be a household name. Not that many households make it a habit to memorize board game designers…but if there was a shortlist of up and coming designers to keep your eye on, he should be on it. In the last year, his name has graced the […]Read more
Jason is joined by Liz Davidson from Beyond Solitaire this week. We have some game reviews for you, and also make an announcement. Listen to find out!
First up, Jason reviews the 18 card, tile laying mini-game from Leitman Games, Squire for Hire (10:40), comparing it to some very well known contemporaries like Sprawlopolis and Circle the Wagons. Does Squire for Hire stand with these other beloved games?
Quick Look: Gorinto
Designer: Richard Yaner
Artist: Josh Cappel
Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 1-4
Playing Time: 30-60 min
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
WARNING: This is a preview of Gorinto. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.
tl;dr: Semi-abstract set collection game with variable (designed) set up and clean, elegant art. Plays quickly and with lots of tactical gameplay, especially at two players.
Getting to the Game: The rulebook provides a few examples of how best to set up the initial board, but basically, you’re given a 5×5 grid and you have to put 60 tiles on it. The standard setup is a pyramid shape, with two tiles high along the outside edge, three tiles high on the eight middle spots, and then four tiles high in the center. These should be randomly placed, face-up from the bag. From there, add ten more tiles in order along the top and left edges of the board. Give each person a player mat in their chosen color and place that color scoring marker next to the wisdom (scoring) track.
You’re also going to shuffle up the goal cards and add two of them to the goal spaces on the scoreboard. Shuffle the key element cards and add two of them as well. Place the season marker in Spring, and then Chwazi to see who goes first. Give that player the yen first-player coin, and get ready to climb the mountain.
Playing the Game: Each game is going vary in its scoring from another, some wildly, so any given strategy isn’t necessarily going to always work. Not only is the setup random in where each of the tiles are, but depending on the pattern you used, the amount of tiles in each space is going to vary. What this amounts to is a fresh game experience with each session. This absolutely delights me, and in a game as quick as this one, it’s also massively important for replay value.
Ultimately, you’re going to score points based on how many tiles you have in each stack on your player mat. The two scoring goals you chose earlier will dictate exactly how those points are tallied. On your turn, you’ll choose a tile along the edge, and move it into the adjacent row or column. Based on the type of tile you moved, you’ll claim some number of tiles near the final resting place of the moved tile — for example, a fire tile means you can choose from the top tiles in the column; water lets you pick from the row. Just how many tiles you can claim from the mountain is based on your Understanding of the tile you moved. If you look at the player mat, you’ll see that each element starts with a single symbol above the name. You add this symbol to the number of already-collected tiles of that element, and that’s your understanding value. So, in the example pictured, we currently have a Water Understanding of three, so when we place a water tile, we’ll be able to pick up three tiles from that row. You add the claimed tiles to your mat, increasing your understanding of those elements. For the most part, any Understanding over four is irrelevant, since there are only ever four other spaces you can take a tile from. This changes when you place an Earth tile, as then you can take as many tiles as you want from the space you just placed that tile onto, up to your Understanding.
While this seems complicated to explain, in practice, it’s the essence of simplicity. Once you grok it, the majority of your turn is going to be figuring out just how many points each available space will net you — which brings us to the first point I’ll make here: as with most abstract games, AP players need to be aware of their triggers. You can very quickly derail a game by trying to math out every available outcome of FIFTY different placements (assuming you’re the first person in the round). Absent this, games will be a pretty quick affair of people aiming to nab as many of the two key elements as they can while keeping their eye on the scoring goals.
Gorinto succeeds wildly where it aims; it’s a tactilely-pleasing abstract game that’s gorgeous to look at and has just enough tactical gameplay to feel like you’re not completely at the mercy of the random tiles scattered on the board. With no hidden agendas to complicate the proceedings, there’s definitely an aspect of the game where you see an optimal move and pray that no one else does, but of course, they always will. The goals mitigate this somewhat by forcing people to diversify in some cases. Early on in our testing, we played with a goal that allowed you to score points based on the difference between your tallest and smallest stacks. Since no one wants to take zeroes on either of the two key elements, in a three-player game, this means you’re all going to have to pick an element to avoid. In a four-player game, someone’s going to have to make some hard choices. It won’t always be like that, but with limited resources, and those resources literally being the only way to score other resources, there’s a delicate, delicious dance to be had here. In a four-player game, you’re going to notice the mountain dry up quickly, so make your moves early, and try to play ahead — if you can.
Also, Kickstarter friends are going to get the Dragon tiles expansion straightaway — these are tiles you can shuffle into the tile bag at the beginning of the game. They serve as wildcards, allowing you to put them in any stack you want. However, once they’re there, they can’t be moved. So choose wisely.
Artwork and Components: While the assets I have on my table are definitely not final, what’s here and what’s pictured on their KS page are encouraging. The overall aesthetic is pleasing and simple, with clean lines and a welcoming palette.
My concerns with the components are mostly space-related. The board can get a little cramped, and while I don’t have the for-sure production-ready pieces, for my money, the mountain board needs to be at least 10% bigger. As it stands, you can’t really get your fingers in between taller stacks of tiles without pushing everything around, and while the stacking tiles pictured in the campaign solve the issue of my tiles being easy to skew all over the place, a tad extra space would really go a long way towards making everything look a lot nicer. The 3D sculpted season marker and metal coin for the first player token are both nice upgrades to the KS edition, so don’t skip on that.
- Compelling visuals,
- Easy-to-learn mechanics
- Strong theme
- Goal cards keep every game fresh
- Quick play all but guarantees an immediate rematch
- Can have runaway leader issues
- Mountain board feels cramped and interacting with the (admittedly) prototype pieces feel clunky
Score: Grand Gamer’s Guild has a strong pedigree of games that have a catchy hook, and keep things relatively simple while maintaining a strong sense of involvement. Gorinto follows in these footsteps by providing a gorgeous table presence without sacrificing gameplay. Fans of abstract games and thinky titles without being paralyzing should love this latest offering. I’m giving Gorinto a score of On the Path.
Nicholas Leeman has been a board game evangelist for over 10 years now, converting friends and family alike to the hobby. He’s also a trained actor and works summers as one of the PA announcers for the St. Paul Saints, a professional baseball team. He lives in Minneapolis, MN with his board gaming wife and son.
You can find Nicholas’ articles HERE.
To kick things off this week we look at the listeners’ responses to the question of the week: “What’s a game you hated at first but later came to love?”
In acquisition disorders this week, Anthony looks at the third expansion for War of the Ring: Kings of Middle Earth, and Chris looks at Of Knights and Ninjas – Medieval Card Game, on Kickstarter now.
At the table this week, Anthony played Root: The Underworld Expansion as well as the first three games of King’s Dilemma, and Chris played Clinic, the newest rerelease from Alban Viard.
The smell of cut grass, the crack of the bat and the slap of the baseball on leather…the thought is enough to get any baseball fan through the wintertime. With Strat-O-Matic Baseball, the classic baseball managerial simulation, that feeling can be yours any time, if you feel like substituting with the smell of a freshly […]Read more
Tom & Zee share their Top 100 games of all time! This time its 10-1! They are joined by Roy & Mike for the people’s Choice!
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