It’s time for everyone’s favorite column: Hits & Flops. For those new to this website, about once a month I do a drive by of the games we’ve played at The Gaming Annex. With a single play under my belt, I make sweeping judgments about said games. This month we will look at a few new releases that we got to the table like Gloom of Kilforth and Sidereal Confluence. Let’s dig in!
Hits & Flops July Edition
The reviews on Kickstarter for Unfair were overwhelmingly positive. So much so that Cool Minis or Not picked up the rights to it and published it.
In a game of Unfair, players are competing with each other to make the best amusement park. Players draft attraction cards, hire crew and get paid. Players attempt to fulfill the requirements on blueprint cards in order to get additional points. Random events are pulled each round which may benefit or harm players. The game ends after a prescribed amount of rounds. Whoever has the most points is the winner.
The game has a very strong “take that” element. This might have been obvious given the name. The take that element was added because this would be a four player solitaire game otherwise. Maybe not solitaire, but there would be minimal interaction. The take that element is actually too strong. You can wipeout an opponent’s progress in the game with a single card. Think 7 Wonders. Imagine if there was a card that let you remove several of his cards. That’s how powerful the take that element in Unfair is.
You can play with little or now take that. The game has options that allow this. But then you are only playing 7 Wonders for 90 minutes. Unfair would then be a tableau builder with some weak drafting mechanics.
Unfair did not hit the mark with me. I have to give it a FLOP rating.
2. Sidereal Confluence
Sidereal Confluence is a no-holds-barred trading game…in space. It takes the best part of Advanced Civilization, the trading phase, and turns that into a game unto itself. Players must trade wisely to end up with the most points at the end of the game.
Players are dealt a faction at the beginning of the game. Each faction has unique strengths. Players start with some resources. Resources are wooden bits of various colors. Players also have some a starting assortment of converters. Converters are cards that allow you to turn your resources into more and different resources. Once set up, players can begin play.
There are several phases in each game round. But the most important is the trade phase. Here players will trade their resources for other resources so they have the right ingredients to run their converters. You can also trade planets. Planets are simply converters that do not bear the name “converter”.
Once the trade phase is concluded, players run their converters. They turn their colored cubes into more and/or different colored cubes. This builds their engine which in turn will allow them to run more converters on the next game round.
Trade for colored cubes. Then turn these cubes into more/different cubes. I’m getting bored just blogging about this. Sidereal Confluence was a surprising flop. Our group loves Advanced Civilization. And Sidereal Confluence is not in the same vein. It’s a 3 hour catastrophe. The designer somehow made a boring trade game. A typical trade phase might go something like this, “I have green. Does anyone need a green cube? I could use a red cube”.
It’s a shame too. Because the designer tried to make Advanced Civ in space but the game lasted way too long. So he paired it down to just a trading game. And a debacle at that.
Verdict: Unbelievable flop
I’m not a fan of the Werewolf games. I don’t like Werewolf, One Night Werewolf, Ultimate Werewolf or One Night Ultimate Werewolf.
And I don’t like Ted Alspach, the designer either. I had a big disappointment with his game Perpetual Motion Machine which I felt defrauded by. So when Dusty brough out Werewords you can guess that my expectations were pretty low.
Werewords is like One Night Ultimate Werewolf meets 20 questions. Roles are dealt out like they are in Werewolf. One player is the werewolf and another is the seer. The rest are villagers. These roles are all secret. One player is the mayor who is both the mayor and one of the previously mentioned secret roles
The game requires an app. All players close their eyes. Then the mayor launches the app and picks a secret word from the few that app offers. Then seer opens his eyes and sees the secret word. And finally the werewolf does the same. Then the game begins.
Over the next four minutes the mayor says nothing. He only doles out “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe” tokens to the players. The players ask yes or no questions in order to figure out the secret word. If they figure it out, the werewolf will get to guess who the seer is; if he is correct, the werewolf is the winner. If not, the villagers are the winner. If the players do not solve it, the villagers will get to try to figure out who the werewolf is.
The game is very much like One Night Werewolf. But it’s got none of the zany role switching. It’s all about finding a McGuffin but also trying to root out who the seer or werewolf is.
And it’s great.
It’s a fantastic game. It’s almost as good as Avalon. It’s about as perfect as a social deduction game there is. It plays quickly, it’s easy to learn and it’s not samey after several plays. Ted Alspach has fully redeemed himself in my eyes.
Verdict: it’s wonderful! A HIT!
Gloom of Kilforth
Gloom of Kilforth has the most beautiful components to any game. That’s no exaggeration. Each card is a unique panting. And the paintings are gorgeous. The game took years to produce because of the artwork.
Gloom is a co-op in a fantasy world. Each player has a character they use to further the group’s goal, usually defeating a boss monster. Players use their resources and actions to move about the board. Monsters must be killed, new alliances are bonded and items are unearthed.
Gloom of Kilforth treads where many other games have already gone. It’s only redeeming quality is its artwork. And that quality wears thin after 6 hours, the amount of time of our debut game. Gloom was an amazingly bad experience. It was our first epic game of CabinCon IV and it was a dubious.
All of us thought the game was beautiful in components, pedestrian in mechanics and bloated in game length. I’m forced to give it a devastating a FLOP verdict.
Our new and improved location…where even flops are hilariously fun
- Gloom of Kilforth
8. Merchants & Marauders: Broadsides