Friday, May 21, 2021

Board Game Review - Running With the Bulls

Have you ever had a desire to throw yourself in front of a bunch of charging bulls?  Well, Calliope Games has a way to do it that’s safe for you and for the bulls.  Their game Running With the Bulls lets you help direct your own group of “runners” as they try to race across the city of El Toro to a variety of possible destinations. 


The runners and the bulls are represented by colorful dice and the city of El Toro is filled with whimsical artwork with lots of little nuances to make you laugh. 


The game is played over three days (rounds).  Each day, all players roll their dice to determine their starting point at the top of the city.  The larger bull dice are also rolled and will start alongside the runners.  

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Board Game Review - Nagaraja

Recently, my wife and I tried out the 2-player game Nagaraja. I knew hardly anything about this game but had heard some good buzz and the theme and mechanics sounded interesting.  

Nagaraja is a tile laying, route building, hand management game. Each player is a treasure hunting archaeologist trying to find the most treasure in one of two ‘twin temples.’ 


Each round, a new room tile is revealed. Players secretly bid cards which determine how many sticks and which type of sticks they get to roll. The player who rolls the most Fate symbols on the sticks will get to place the room tile in their temple to proceed with exploration. 

But first, if a player rolls any Naga symbols, they can play a card from their hand to use its actions. Card actions could change the result of the roll or have a number of other effects that could be an advantage to them or sabotage their opponent.   

As tiles are placed, a route is build from the temple entrance to hidden treasures. Once a route reaches a treasure, that treasure is revealed. The first player to score 25 points is the winner. But beware. The first player to reveal 3 cursed treasures immediately loses.  

 I found this game rather intriguing. There’s a tough balance between using your cards to roll the best sticks or holding onto a card for its special action. The paths on the room tiles make for interesting choices of wanting to try and win a tile or being willing to pass it up because the path may not be ideal for your current setup.  


We have a number of “go-to” 2-player games already on our list and I don’t think this will supplant any of those, but this is a solid game and one I’d be willing to pull out from time to puzzle through the strategy and try to outwit and outrace my opponent to fortune and glory. 😃😏 

#Boardgames #Boardgame #2PlayerBoardgame #Nagaraja #Hurrican #HurricanEdition


3 out of 5 stars

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Board Game Review - Blue Lagoon

Have you played Blue Lagoon? 
The game has two rounds. Each round is scored the same and gameplay is basically the same in each phases with a slight rule twist in the second phases. While this is a strategy game, the rules and gameplay are simple enough for younger players or new gamers. The art and theme are great as well. 
On your turn, you either place one of your explorers or one of your villages onto the game board. In the first phase, your settlers must either be placed in the water or else on a tile adjacent to a token you already placed. Villages must be placed on land next to a settler you’ve played previously. For the second phase, you remove all of your settlers but leave the village tokens on the board. On your turn you place your settlers next to one of your already placed items.  
Points are awarded after each phase based on controlling the most area on a given island, sets of resources collected during the phase and the longest continuous route of islands you can visit by following a chain of your placed settlers and villages. 
I really enjoy the tricky planning and replanning that goes into positioning your settlers to score the most points. I also love the way the second phase influences the first since you need to be thoughtful in the way you place your villages during the first phase in order to set yourself up for good expansion in the second phase. 

#boardgames #boardgame #BlueLagoon #BlueLagoonGame #ReinerKnizia #TomekLarek #BlueOrangeGames #tabletopGames #IslandLife


3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Board Game Review - Cosmic Factory


As a family, we don't always enjoy "real time" games as they tend to stress out some of our players. But we do generally enjoy tile placement games such as Carcassonne as well as drafting games like Sushi Go or 7 Wonders. So we decided to give this a try.

In Cosmic Factory, you are drafting tiles which you will then try to place in such a ways as to create clusters of different types of planets grouped between strings of asteroids and blank spaces.
You will score each color group depending on the number of planets (and the length of your asteroid path) and then at the end of the game your final score is based on the combined total of the score for your asteroids and the LOWEST scoring color.

Saturday, December 12, 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
  2. The Four Just Men
  3. The Murder on the Links
  4. Dept. of Speculation
  5. Brainrush

Friday, December 11, 2020

Book Review - Brainrush

In reading the quick synopsis of Brainrush, you're made aware that you're in for a different kind of thriller novel.  Indeed, the story is an international, millitary-esque thriller but it expands into other genres as well ranging from sci-fi to paranormal and filled with bits of romantic and buddy comedy.  To a large extent, this is a cinematic novel filled with lots of action and quick takes but it also slows down and plods through a lot of detail and information.

The premise involves a terminally ill man named Jake.  During an MRI, an earthquake shakes the machine and rattles his body and mind and apparently unlocks some amazing mental and physical abilities.  Before long, these abilities get Jake caught up in a global adventure with high stakes.  The story continues to get more and more intricate with new threats and revelations showing up every few chapters.  Many sections read like something caught between James Bond and Jason Bourne.  As you reach the climax of the book and work through the final few chapters, you get a bit of X-files or Indiana Jones (and the Crystal Skull).

In terms of believability, the story stretches things as paper thin as many adventure movies.  As such, the general character and plot development is a little weak, but an entertained reader can employ their suspension of disbelief to ride alongside Jake and his friends.  As more and more outrageous plot elements showed up, I found my willing to suspend disbelief to be waning but I continued on and generally enjoyed the story.

Wednesday, November 25, 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.