Burgle Bros

There is nothing like a good heist movie. Now you can experience a good heist board game! You will work together with other players to rob three safes on three different levels before escaping to a helicopter on the roof. Players will face lots of different security challenges in their effort to pull off the heist.

The main foil for the burglars is the security guards on each of floor. At the end of a player's turn the guards move to a predetermined destination. Each time a guard passes through a space with a player’s standee, they lose one of their stealth tokens. If one of the players has to lose a token and doesn’t have anymore, they get caught and turn in all of their friends ending the game with failure.

Not only do the players have to avoid the guards but there are lots of security measures in the building as well. Various different types of alarms (motion, thermal, visual, keypads) will cause the guards to increase speed and change destination. However, confusing the guards can work in your favor and there are also lots of bonuses in the building as well.  Some rooms have tools for players to use and other rooms have computers to hack alarms.  

The players might think once they managed to crack the safe (which isn’t easy) that they would be set for success. But the various pieces of loot have negatives that make them difficult to carry with you. Some are heavy and make you move slower and some are ostentatious and make you more visible to the guards!

 

While this makes the game seem absurdly difficult,  Burgle Bros is quite approachable and winnable. It combines randomness in ways that don’t overcome the game with swinginess. The programmed movement for the guards is clever and predictable in a way that allows for the players to plan. Each player also has a special ability that makes it so each player has a role to fill while trying to rob the building!

Lifeboats

Everyone simultaneously voting for what the outcome of a game is peak game mechanic.  Lifeboats is a great game of trying to get your survivors to shore, while making sure the other players survivors don’t.  Over the course of the game you will vote on which boats will leak, which people will get thrown off if there isn’t room, and which boats will move towards the shore.

Cutthroat games are definitely not for everyone, but Lifeboats is cutthroat without being mean.. Having taught this game to a large number of groups, it is always fun to see the people who would never screw over their friends, gleefully throwing their survivors off the boat.

While the game is essentially vote after vote (you do shift boats as well) there winds up being quite a bit of negotiation and tactics.  Where in some games you would just want to fill a single boat with your own survivors and push it quickly to the shore, that doesn’t work in Lifeboats. You need a boat with lots of different players in order to get support to move your boat over the others. But then you run the risk of those other players turning against you and throwing you overboard at the earliest convenience!


Lifeboats is one of the most player interactive games that we play. It is always great fun to see people really get into the spirit of the game desperately trying to get their survivors to shore.

Adrenaline

On the surface, first person shooter video games would not be the logical choice for a board game setup.  However, Adrenaline does a good job of making you feel like you are sitting on your couch shooting your friends with special weapons and powerups.    

Each of the weapons deals damage in different ways. Some can shoot through walls while some you need to be in the same square as your opponent. In lots of board games if you die you are eliminated from the game which can be pretty unfun for that player. This game there is almost no penalty for dying - you just draw a card to find out where you respawn and the game continues!

Scoring for the game is similar to how some area control games are scored. If you have done the most damage to a target when they die then you get the most points with each other player damaging them taking a little bit less. Although you also get bonus points if you are the first one to shoot someone. Once someone is damaged you want to kill them quick; they get more powerful as they take damage!

Another problem the genre could suffer from is everyone just shooting the same person over and over again. The designers of Adrenaline have taken that into account with a great design choice. The more times a player dies, the less points they are worth, thus making the player who has never died a high point target.

If you enjoy running around a arena shooting your friends with fun weapons you should give Adrenaline a try!

Appetizers of the Gods

Have you ever had an ebay auction go horribly wrong?  Once in a spree of bidding and in the hopes of getting some cool Sobe swag, I accidently bid on and won one of those large beverage coolers that you see in convenience stores.  Not only was there no where to put it in my dorm room, but shipping it to Alaska would have been more than it was worth.  Luckily, one quick email later everything was worked out--I told the seller I didn’t really want it and he had already promised it to a friend.  

Author, Basil Sands

Author, Basil Sands

Colin Farnsworth also finds himself at the bad end of an ebay auction.  What seems like a coup, winning rare playing cards for the game Fantasy Underworld, turns into a surreal adventure when four leprechaun brothers show up on Colin’s door with a troll in hot pursuit, claiming the auction was actually a contract for room and board in Colin’s house.  Then shenanigans ensue!  There is accidental streaking, large carnivorous puppy snatching birds, talking dogs, unpermitted housing upgrades, and more ale than you can shake a tankard at.     


Appetizers of the Gods would be perfect to kill time on a plane trip (say you are headed to Gen Con, or Dragon Con, or Comic Con, or whatever con) and needed something fun to read.  The book is fairly clean if you want to share with your kids, and would be perfect for a road trip.  Definitely, check it out if you want something fun to read this Summer.  

The Arrival

Based on Irish mythology, The Arrival is a unique area control game where the players claim territories and can also cause more and more enemies to spawn on the board taking corruption in the process. The game has two different ways to score at the end depending on who is most numerous at the end of the game - the players or the evil Fomori.

The most unique aspect of The Arrival, is the way players get resources over the course of the game. Each player will select four cards that only have vague hints on what is on the other side to decide what resource they will receive. Each card has three rows on it and players will have to select which of those rows they want to collect from before they have seen the flip side on all four cards.

Once everyone has gotten all of their resources, players go around the board taking actions. They can build up strongholds, place defense in their regions, fight off the Fomori, and finally place more Fomori on the board. When doing that you are able to have them attack other players destroying some of their strongholds. Although that is also giving them monsters that they are able to attack for points later!


The game ends when one player has become too corrupt from helping the Fomori, or after a certain number of rounds have passed. If the evil outnumber the strongholds on the board then they have overrun the players and the person with the least corruption wins the game. If there are more strongholds than evil, then players calculate who has the most valuable areas under their control making your path to victory an interesting balancing act.

Dresden Files: Cooperative Card Game

We really enjoy Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, so we were excited when we heard there was a game with that license coming out. That excitement only increased when we learned it was going to be cooperative as that is a type of game that we really enjoy. The Dresden Files cooperative card game is a really tight game that plays differently than most other card games.

Each player selects a character to play and collectively players choose which of the stories included they want to try to complete. Once players draw their starting cards (depends on the number of players) then you will likely only draw one or two more cards through the entire game. So players need to be very conservative in how they use the cards that they had drawn.

Every card has a set number of fate it costs to play. Players can also discard those cards in order to get some of that fate back. But remember, cards are a very tight resource so you don’t want to discard too many. In order to win the game, players need to solve more of the mysteries than there are bad guys left on the board once all of the cards have been played.

To add both some variability and the essence of luck in how successful Dresden has been in his investigating there are also some fudge dice that you use occasionally throughout the game. Dice can often make a game very swingy but fudge dice only have three different results possible (-1, 0, +1).

The few times we have played the game it has been pretty difficult. While it can still be somewhat punishing to win the game, it winds up being a great fun trying to figure out how to interact with the story cards in the board to get a victory.

Castles of Caladale

Players are trying to make the best castle combining three different architectural styles into a beautiful hodge podge castle. Wizards like medieval castles. Gnomes for seem to really like Tudor style architecture. Lastly, fairies build and live in some very scary trees! There isn’t that many building rules, just that you need to keep your themes attached to one another and not directly attach one to the others!

On your turn there is going to be 9 different castle tiles you can select from. You don’t have to play the it right away or even be able to play them right away. Just keep it nearby and try to get it incorporated into castle before the end of the game. If you just don’t like any of the tiles available you can also flip one of them over for a single point at the end of the game.

Scoring is pretty simple as well. You get two points for every tile in your castle, points for towers you have installed, and those tiles you flipped over during the game. However, there is some penalties if you have exposed your castle to the air. You can’t have a complete castle if you are missing some of your walls!

One of the reasons that this game is so approachable is that you are never locked into the shape of your castle until you score at the end of the game. Lots of other tile placement games you would need to be able to place tiles immediately and also wouldn’t be able to change your castle if a more advantageous way to set it up. That element also makes it more fun as you are constantly tearing down and rebuilding your beautiful castle!

Wombat Rescue

You know we here at Platypus Gaming have a soft soft for animals that are unique.  Especially the unique animals living in Australia.   While the platypus is number one in our hearts, a close second is the wombat.  Fun trivia fact, this short and stocky creature poops cubes, and uses these cubes to navigate between their burrows and food sources.  

Why all of this poop talk?  Well the main mechanic of Wombat Rescue is using the poop of your wombat mom, to venture far away from your burrow to find your wombat babies, all before they are eaten by devious dingoes!

After your group of two to four players stop acting like grade schoolers regarding the poop mechanic, the game play is simple.  Players build up food resources, eat the resources, and then poop out cubes used to navigate the territory.  Too much poop and you won’t reach your babies, too little poop and you will become lost in the outback, unable to find your babies.  Players navigate back and forth from their burrow bringing each joey home.  The player who saves all four wombat joeys is the winner.  But really, we’re all winners playing this game.  

This is a great game enjoyed by everyone.  The game play is quickly learned and simple to do with some strategy.  The art is cute, and the theme is great.  Plus, you learn some great trivia for the next time you need to impress your friends about animal kingdom poop habits.  

Time's Up!

Party games aren’t everyone’s favorite.  I’ve seen people cringe whenever a party game is brought out.  However, some occasions call for a party game--they are easy to learn, accessible to everyone, have endless replayability, and great for large groups of people.  So when you’ve played every party game in your grandma’s closet, and Cards Against Humanity isn’t an option; give Time’s Up a try.

Time’s Up lasts three rounds, with teams guessing the names of famous and infamous people--real and fictional.  Points are earned by the number of cards each team has at the end of each round, with the team with the highest number of points at the end of the third round the winner.  Round one allows players to say anything, other than part of the name, to help their teammates guess.  Round two is similar but only one word can be spoken.  The last round is charades, with members acting out the names in the deck and hoping their teammates can guess the name.

There is no way, unless you have a perfect memory, of remembering all the people in the stack.  Even if you could, sometimes the high pressure nature of trying to guess, and guess right, will cause hilarious brain farts.  For example, one game we used Wolverine as the shorthand clue to help guess Hugh Jackman.  This was great, except several team members kept guessing Wolverine during the charade round instead of the actual actor name.  What happens then is through guessing and game playing the teams develop their own clues for guessing during the second and third rounds and the game becomes more and more hilarious for everyone playing.

This game has quickly become a Platypus favorite.  It's fun for everyone to play, and doesn’t require you to intimately know the people you are playing with, trivia, or have expert drawing skills.  Time’s Up will probably be a game we bring to parties for many year to come.      

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of the simpler games in our game library, but still is a lot of fun. Six different casinos are laid out on the board, each with a silly reference to real Las Vegas casinos. Then each of the casinos is given money and that is what the players are trying to acquire to win the game.

On each turn a player will roll all of their available dice, starting with all eight, and group them by the number rolled on each dice. Then they need to decide which group to place out on the board. If they decide on a group they need to put all of the dice of that number in that casino. They are not allowed to only place a few of them. In order to win the money in a casino they need to have the most dice on it when everyone is out of dice.

Once all of the dice have been rolled you go from casino to casino giving the largest dollar amount card to the player who had the most dice and the second card to the player with the second most amount of dice and so forth. However, if two players are tied in a casino they are both removed from contention so sometimes even with a small number of dice you can still win.

The interaction between players vying for these different casinos means that the game really needs at least four players to shine. Anything less than that and you wind up having to use variant mechanics to have a ghost player which makes a simple game more complicated than it should be.

After three rounds the player with the most money wins. This normally only takes thirty minutes making this game a great filler between longer games or if you just want to have fun with a larger group of people!