Monday, 8 June 2015


'If I don't get a fuel card next time, so help me....!'

Type: Strategy / Card
Players: 2 to 4
Time to explain to others: About 1 to 3 min
Time to play: About 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: To play 3/10, Game difficulty 4/10
Portability: High (just a deck)
Overall: 9/10

This games holds a special place in our collection, as it was the first game me and the better half played together. I wanted to introduce her to card and board games, but coming from a place of interest but no other knowledge, she was - understandably - cautious of the complexity of some of these types of games.

Then I came across this game. Rockets, the pictures looked very unthreatening, so 'Huh, I'll have a go!'.

We were hooked from the first play.

You play opposing Space projects, trying to get as many of the rockets into space as possible. Each turn you draw cards: rockets (a sort of  blueprints, if you will), fuel and metal (to actually build the things), and the ever present action cards, that will accelerate you construction, sabotage your opponents', etc.

Said rockets need to go through 3 levels of contruction, and you need to draw the right technician to allow the machines to advance to the next stage. As per usual in these games, you are at the mercy of the cards. Tables can turn at the 11th hour, I've seen games change in 2 turns, as someone draws the right fuel card and/or the right tech, and leapfrogs ahead.

Rui's conclusion: A simple, visually pretty and accessible game. Not as strategic as others, but very easy to pick up. A great introductory game, as well as one for the kids. Great fun!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Oddball Aeronauts

Steampunk alien sailors. No word there I didn't like.

Type: Strategy / Card
Players: 2 (with the expansion, up to 4)
Time to explain to others: About 1 to 3 min
Time to play: About 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: To play 3/10, Game difficulty 4/10
Portability: Very High (see below)
Overall: 8/10

This is a little gem of a game I picked up at Games Expo '15 in Birmingham. I couldn't tell you what drove me, I saw steampunk and airships and bought it on impulse.

I was not disappointed.

Now, if you go to Board Game Geek, this game has quite a low score. And I just about see what they mean, but I truly don't mind. Let me explain.

Oddball Aeronauts is effectively Top Trumps updated. You have a deck of cards, and individual cards have power numbers. You choose one of these powers, and compare it with your opponent. As you can see, typical Top Trumps. But here is where things change.

In this game, you can play one, two or three cards in one go, and you add the power of all of these. So brilliant, I hear you say, I'll always play 3 cards, meaning I'll always win! Well, not quite.

You have to discard the cards you play, so if you keep playing 3 at a time, you'll run out very quickly. And I need to add at this point, your deck is your life, the first person to run out, looses. Also, many cards have special powers, introducing the ever-needed randomness.

When you win the duel, depending on what power you chose (3 per card), the rewards are different, forcing the opponent to discard, recovering cards yourself, etc.

One of the main selling points of this game is that you don't have a discard pile, you simply flip the cards round and put them at the back of your deck. So you technically don't need a surface to play, as all you need is in your hand.

Rui's conclusion: Fast, cheap, quick and fun. Don't expect a hugely deep game, just something entertaining you can play on a plane or a train. Recommended for young ones, newbies and for travelling gamers!