Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gigamons Review


Quick Look:

Info:

Designer: Karim Aouidad & Johann Roussel
Artist: Marie-Anne Bonneterre
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Year Published: 2014
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 6+
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Welcome fellow wizards you were invited here today to test your skills to see if you are fit to join the wizards' guild. Are you fast enough to catch the elusive Elemons in order to summon the mighty Gigamons? Wait, what?

In Gigamons players are trying to collect sets of Elemons (cute little magical creatures) in order to summon their corresponding Gigamons (larger cute magical creatures). The player who does this the best (i.e. has the most Gigamons) by the end of the game wins and becomes the Elemage (fancy name for winner)!

To begin the game players shuffle the Elemon tiles and create a face down 3x3 grid of tiles in the center of play with the remaining tiles being placed face down in a near by draw pile. Players then set the Gigamons to the side along with the rock tokens.

Game setup.

On a player's turn she will turn over two of the Elemon tiles from the center grid. If the tiles match she takes the two Elemons placing them in front of her and triggers the Elemon's power (see below). If the tiles do not match they are flipped back over and the next player takes his turn.

Two Geomons have been sighted!

Elemon powers include taking a random tile from the draw pile, making another player discard an Elemon tile, peeking at four face down tiles, placing a rock on a tile so other players can't take it, taking another turn, and automatically matching any other Elemon.

Once a player had collected three Elemons of a single type they may turn them in to "summon" or take the corresponding Gigamon from the supply pile or from another player who has already claimed that Gigamon.

Three Geomons summon a Terramon.

The game ends when one player has claimed three Gigamons or if the draw pile of Elomons is exhausted and there are no more matches to be made the player with the most Gigamons wins!

Review:

Rules and Setup:
As you can see above setup for Gigamons is very simple and quick taking no more than a few minutes.

The rule set for Gigamons is one of the best I have ever read. There are twelve simple steps that are very easy to follow with a text explanation and a picture. It starts with setup and runs through winning the game and clearly spells everything out in between. The reverse side explains the Elemon powers in detail and is easy to follow along with.

Theme and Mechanics
:
I really enjoy the magical theme going on here with the collecting of Elemons in order to summon Gigamons. It really feels like an old school trading card game with the cute characters and unique powers.

This is a memory, matching and set collecting game with some cool upgrades. It is like they took Pokemon and combined it with Memory taking the simple game play of the latter combining it with the excitement of the prior.

Game Play
:
The game plays quickly, the box says 15 minutes and I would agree with that. As I said in my last review I love games I can learn quickly while my kids wait. Keeps them from becoming disinterested and finding something else to do.

As I also mentioned in the previous review I like that fact that my kids can grab this game on their own and play anytime.

The game plays well with two, three, or four players and all ages four and up (the box recommends 6+).

Artwork and Components:
The artwork for Gigamons is amazing! I want to hang up posters of all the Elemons and Gigamons. :) No seriously the artwork is stunning, Marie-Anne Bonneterre did an amazing job. Here are some pictures to give you and idea of how good it is.

Gigamons hanging out having a good time.

Elemons artwork.

The components are equally amazing. All the chipboard is thick and high gloss—this includes the tiles, Gigamons, and rock tokens—which will withstand the amount of game play this game will see. The box is also very unique in it's shape which is fun to look at but maybe not as much fun to get on to the shelf.

Whats in the box.

The Good:
Number one on my long list of good things is the artwork. Seriously I am in love with these characters. Second is the rule book, when I start the rules of my own game I will be looking closely at this rule book for ideas. Third is the great modification of the game Memory. And last but not least is the fact I can easily play this with all my kids (over 2) and still enjoy it. See you later Candy Land!!!

The Bad:
Nothing, nota, zilch! This game is great!

Final Thoughts:
I can't recommend this game highly enough for families that have players in the four to ten range. Your kids will love it! It is so easy to learn and teach while being equally fun to play. This is an automatic shelf spot earner and will get played a lot.

Players Who Like:
Memory games and Pokemon style games will love Gigamons!!!

I am giving 10 out of 10 super kid meeples.

10 10

Check out Gigamons on:
BoardGameGeek.com
Purchase Gigamons at:
Amazon.com

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Renegade Game Studios Snow Tails Giveaway! Ends August 24, 2016.




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ThinkFun Escape the Room: Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat Giveaway! Ends August 30, 2016.




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Jason Williams KS edition of Swords & Sails Giveaway! Ends September 16, 2016.




See all the Giveaways we have found HERE!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top That Review


Quick Look:

Info:

Designer: Thierry Denoual
Artist: St├ęphane Escapa
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 6+
Playing Time: 15 Minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Abracadabra watch me pull this rabbit out of my hat...Poof! Wait a minute, I know that rabbit is in here somewhere.



In Top That players are racing to stack their magical items in a single pile based on what the newly flipped over challenge card shows. The player to do this the fastest wins the card and the player with the most cards at the end of the game wins and becomes the Grand Master Magician or something like that.

Each players begins the game with a top hat, coin, rabbit, red cup, and orange tube. The challenge cards are placed in the center of play and players are now ready to begin.

From left to right: coin, top hat, cup, tube, and rabbit.

To begin players turn over the top most challenge card revealing what items are to be used in the trick/stacking. Items showing must either be visible once stacked or invisible. Items not showing must be put aside for the current round.

Challenge cards.

Visible items show up in color on the challenge card and must be stacked so you can see the item entirely (from the side) once completed. Invisible items show up in grey on the challenge card and must be hidden from view completely.

The hat, cup, and tube are visible while the rabbit is not (the rabbit is hiding
under the hat). The coin is not used so it is set aside.

The player who can do this the fastest yells out "Top That!" and checks her stack against the challenge card. If it is correct and agreed upon by all the players she takes the card.

Play continues in this manner until all the challenge cards (or a predetermined number of cards) have been taken. Once this happens it triggers the end of the game and the player with the most challenge cards wins!!!

There is an advanced variant where items with stars around them cannot have hidden objects inside of them. This makes for a bit of a more challenging game since you won't always be able to hide stuff under the hat.

Review:

Rules and Setup:
Being a kids game, Top That is very quick to set up—as you can see above—and easy to learn. The rules are super straight forward and short making it simple to get started.

My kids were able to pick up the game quickly as well and were able to play on their own soon after learning. The 6+ age recommendation is spot on, however older players that have better dexterity will have a slight advantage. To deal with this we give the younger kids a bit of a head start.

Theme and Mechanics
:
I love the theme of Top That as I have always been fascinated with magic, and although you really aren't doing magic during the game it is still fun theme that works well with the mechanics.

This is a speed/dexterity game that will test a player's ability to quickly look at a challenge card and complete it which is a lot like Dr. Eureka (see review HERE). The big difference beside the theme is the dexterity required is much lower in Top That.

Game Play
:
Top that can easily be played in under 20 minutes (15 minutes is what the box says) even using all the challenge cards.

The game is tight and really plays smoothly especially with younger kids. It also plays well as a two, three, and four player game. I imagine you could even test your skills with some time trials in a single player game.

Artwork and Components:
The components are so great in this one. When I first got this package my kids were bouncing off the walls waiting for me to open it. The quality is top notch which I have come to expect from Blue Orange Games.

What comes in the box.

Although the artwork is minimal in Top That, what is there is great. My only gripe here would be on some of the challenge cards the difference between visible and non-visible items can be hard to distinguish for younger players—specifically the rabbit (grey vs white).

The Good:
I love games that I can play with the whole family and Top That nails that. The fact you can set up and teach the game quickly is a huge plus as I often find myself loosing the kids if I take to long in this department. Also the fact the kids can take the game off the shelf and play it themselves is awesome.

Speed and dexterity games are great learning tools for younger kids which is always an important factor for me. Have I ever mentioned that I love how board games can help with early childhood development. :)

The Bad:
The only thing as I mentioned above would be trying to distinguish between hidden and non-hidden objects.

Final Thoughts:
Don't be fooled by the kids game appearance, adults will like this one too which makes it great for the whole family. Top That has already been played multiple times and has found it's way on the my shelf even though the review was not complete. I guess it has now found it's new home.

Players Who Like:
Players who like family games with a speed element like Blink, Fast Flip, Spot It, and Dr. Eureka will love Top That!!!

I am giving Top That 8 out of 10 super kid meeples.

8 10

Check out Top That on:
BoardGameGeek.com
Purchase Top That on:
Amazon.com