Saturday, March 14, 2020

Board Game Review - One Key

One Key is a co-operative deduction game from Libellud with a feel and mechanic similar to a couple of their other games: Mysterium and Obscurio. In One Key, the concept is that “the key” has gone missing and it’s up to the group to find it. In this case, the “key” is linked to (or is represented by) a piece of odd and whimsical artwork.

To setup the game, one player is selected as “the Leader” (the clue giver) and they draw/deal 11 of these whimsical cards then randomly decide which of those cards is THE “one key.” Over the course of 4 rounds, the Leader will draw and reveal 3 additional cards.

The Leader uses a token to tell whether each card has a “strong”, “weak” or “uncertain” affinity to the key card. The other players (the “Travelers”) choose one of the 3 cards and looks at the token to decide if the Leader felt it was a strong or weak (or uncertain) link to the key card.

Based solely on this information, they discuss amongst themselves which of the 11 available keys should be eliminated. In the first round they must eliminate 1 card, the second round they eliminate 2, the third they eliminate 3 and the final round they eliminate 4 cards to (hopefully) leave the One Key sitting by itself. If at any time the players choose to eliminate the One Key, they immediately lose. They win by making it to the final round of the game and not eliminating the key during the final selection process.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Board Game Review - The Quacks of Quedlinburg

In the quaint little village of Quedlingburg, the miracle doctors and quack surgeons have quite the business going. How would you like to try your hand at brewing a wondrous concoction to cure all ails?⁣

In Quacks of Quedlinburg, players toss ingredients from their bags into their bubbling cauldrons. The more ingredients you can get in the pot, the higher your score. But if you toss in too many white ‘cherry bombs’ your entire potion will explode and you lose your hard earned work for that round. ⁣

Friday, February 21, 2020

Board Game Review - Apocalyptic Picnic

I got Apocalyptic Picnic with the direct goal of it being a fun, light card game that would appeal to my daughter. Our family plays a lot of games but my daughter is not a big fan of many of the games we play. She's a fan of the party game vibe and she does LOVE light card games, especially those with a zany feel or somewhat outrageous mechanics. Based on the description of the game, we felt like this was something that would be right up her alley that we could play together as a family.

Opening the game, we were impressed with the sturdy box and insert. The box shape doesn't fit neatly on our shelf but it holds the cards well and is set up for good organization. The cards themselves have a nice feel and a fun graphical design. The theme and artwork are quirky and cartoony but just gruesome enough to evoke the theme.

The idea of the game is that you have come to a large family reunion picnic. You have 5 cards in front of you that represent your immediate family. To begin the game, one of your family members has already become a zombie. Your goal each turn is to manipulate the cards you draw and play to "bite" or otherwise infect other players' family members to turn everyone else into zombies while you keep the last non-zombie family member in front of you.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Books Reviewed in 2020

Each year I try to read and review a bunch of books. Some years I do better than others. Some years life gets too crazy and I either don't read as much as I'd like, or I don't write reviews on as much, or a combination of both.

Below are the books reviewed during this year.

Here are links to the past few years (2019, 2018, 2017, 20162015, 2014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009)

  1. The Hand of Fu-Manchu

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Book Review - The Hand of Fu-Manchu

As a child/youth, I have vague memories of seeing a movie or TV show featuring the nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu and I seem to recall him (or someone like him) making an appearance in Scooby Doo cartoons. I also knew that the "fu manchu" mustache was named for this character. Those vague memories and associated details left me pretty much in the dark as to the novels and movies of Dr. Fu Manchu. My reading adventure with the Dr. began with his third book, The Hand of Fu-Manchu.

The style and structure immediately felt familiar. Published in the early 1900s, the writing had that formal feel. It also felt very similar to a Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story. I sensed a direct parallel between the Fu-Manchu pair of Nayland Smith / Dr. Petrie and the Conan Doyle pair of Holmes / Watson. Smith has his own distinctive methods for puzzling through problems and coming up with solutions. Meanwhile Petrie (also a Doctor) serves as narrator and foil for Smith as he works through the case.