Munchkin Panic

Last night was my first time trying Munchkin Panic. I found it to be entertaining, however, in the end I was mildly disappointed.

For those of you familiar with Munchkin, you know that the game consists of bargaining to get ahead as much as possible and inevitably stabbing your friends in the back. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Monopoly ruins families”, you’ve obviously never played Munchkin. Munchkin will send you on a war path and keep you absolutely determined to make whomever won regret it.

I’m sure everyone has heard me talk about Castle Panic enough to realize that it is a very cooperative game and usually brings the table together.

-Munchkin Panic by Steve Jackson Games and Fireside Games-

1-6 players, 45-60 mins

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Munchkin Panic on the other hand combines these two to create a confusing ballet of backstabbing and bartering because you need each other to keep the castle walls up. Basically you barter with each other for kill points and treasure cards. The thing is that in the end whomever has the most kill points has won the game.

This game is honestly very fun, I had a good time even though I was beyond heartbroken that I lost at my first game. It got the point where I was so concerned about points that I ended up not bargaining any longer because my husband was getting all of the kill points. We actually discarded monsters just so the other person wouldn’t get the kill points. We were being incredibly spiteful the whole game and yet in the end I still had the thought of “at least we only lost one wall”.

Every time a monster is defeated there are treasures, which is where the bartering to defeat them comes from. Although you may not get the kill if you help someone, you could potentially get a fantastic treasure that helps you get ahead in the end. Don’t be shy to offer help, sometimes it’s worth it.

My final opinion on this game is that it’s really good. I know my husband probably thought I hated the game the whole time, but it wasn’t true. I had such high hopes in it being just a goofy version of Castle Panic, that my first thought was how it doesn’t compare with Castle Panic. I was defeated, but I will return just as spiteful as I left. Go ahead and take a look at this wonderful game and be prepared to be a little sore at the other players for a while.

Miniature Market has the game available for a good price. Take a look at The Fireside Website and Steve Jackson’s World of Munchkin Site for more information. If you liked this review and want to be kept up to date please follow my page and like me on Facebook. Until next time… Live by the Board.

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Castle Panic Solo Mission Day: 3 (of 3)

Greetings All,

So… it’s day three of three and I played Castle Panic for an hour and ten minutes… SEVENTY minutes… FOUR THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED seconds… by myself. So I guess with every difficulty level I go up, my playtime roughly doubles.

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-Castle Panic w/ The Wizard’s Tower: 74 Monster Tokens (18 Imps, not in constant use), 3 Mega Boss Monsters-

I lost my Wizard’s Tower forty-five minutes into my seventy minute game. At that point I still hadn’t drawn any of my regular Boss Monsters and two of my Mega Boss Monsters. Even talking about it now is making me grumpy. The odds of me winning this game were already slim before Lady Luck decided she was needed elsewhere.

Yesterday, do you recall me saying “I am more determined than ever to win now.”? Well, I suppose I didn’t realize just how much I meant that.

I won.

When I lost my Wizard’s Tower, it left me with only one tower and no way to rebuild a tower. Although you can rebuild walls with the Castle Deck, you can only rebuild towers with the Wizard’s Deck. For twenty-five minutes I played, honestly believing I would lose, but knowing I’d take as many of these monsters down with me as I could. Below you can see a picture of my kitty tossing around the empty monster bag. 🙂

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I took all of them down! Every last one of them! I ended the game with one tower and two walls. I am so happy! 🙂 I will tell you that I am still trepidatious about playing a solo mission again, but how could I possibly resist? After all, they only beat me once! 😉

I sincerely hope that all of you give Castle Panic a try, it’s very reasonably priced at Miniature Market, and has two expansions: The Wizard’s Tower and The Dark Titan, which is coming in March 2015 and you know I’ll be right here reviewing after the first time I play. There are two variants on Castle Panic available: Munchkin Panic and Dead Panic. The Fireside website has all of the games and promotional items. The BGG Store has the promos available as well. Thank you so much for reading and until next time… Live by the Board.

-Livingbytheboard

Castle Panic Solo Mission Day: 2 (of 3)

Greetings All,

Today I tried playing Castle Panic and it’s expansion The Wizard’s Tower alone. As I said yesterday, for those of you unfamiliar with my blog or Castle Panic, I suggest looking back at my earliest post regarding Castle Panic. Also if you have not yet read Castle Panic Solo Mission Day: 1 (of 3), please go check it out.

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-Castle Panic w/ The Wizard’s Tower: 61 Monster Tokens (18 Imps, not in constant use), 3 Mega Boss Monsters (set up from the rule book)-

I just have to start off by saying this play through massively disturbed me, as it was so difficult. The Wizard’s Tower comes with a nifty deck of cards that are just… beautiful… Often times my crew has been saved because of a lucky draw from the Wizard’s Deck, being that there are multiple cards that can harm several monsters at once. Now don’t get comfortable thinking the Wizard’s deck will make your life easier, because it was given to you to counteract all of the horrible monsters that come with The Wizard’s Tower expansion.

Some of you may remember me talking about my Mega Boss Monster induced PTSD in my first Castle Panic Post. Playing a solo mission with Mega Boss Monsters will put a whole new level on your PTSD. I can honestly say that had I not already started this three-day project I may have backed out of completing day threes game/post. Even playing with multiple people, Mega Boss Monsters can be a challenge. I mean you have monsters that breathe fire, summon other monsters, bring back monsters, monsters that take trading in cards out, and even monsters that are not affected by Wizard Cards!

Anyway, the game lasted me forty minutes, that’s twice as long as my first solo campaign, AND I lost my Wizard’s Tower twenty-five minutes in. When you lose The Wizard’s Tower, you can no longer access the Wizard Cards. Needless to say, I lost the game…
The game ended with three monsters in my castle ring, when monsters are in your castle ring you can only hit them with specific cards and those are few and far between.

The Gargoyle (whom you can only hit with an Archer) took out my last tower and still had 1HP left. I also had monster with 1HP that was on fire and a monster with 3HP in the castle ring. On the board itself I had two monsters in my Red Swordsman ring, one with 1HP and one with 2HP. I also had a Mega Boss Monster on the board with 3HP, which is why in the picture you can see so many flames. The Chimera (Mega Boss) breathes fire every time it moves. I had two walls left both had flame tokens on them, one was fortified. You can see the picture below.

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My opinion…? I would have been more sore about losing had I not at least finished off drawing monsters, but since I did, I suppose it’s a miracle that I made it as far as I did. If you learn anything from this post let it be this: PROTECT THE WIZARD’S TOWER AT ALL COST. If I were able to keep my Wizard’s Tower I truly think I could have conquered the monsters.

If you are interested the best pricing is over at Miniature Market. You should also check out Castle Panic and The Wizard’s Tower expansion on the Fireside games website for more information, including reviews and promotional items.

Please do not let my horrible loss discourage you from trying the game. I had fun, but it definitely upset me that I lost. You know what though? I am more determined than every to win now. 🙂 I’ll be back tomorrow with Castle Panic Solo Mission Day: 3 (of 3). Thank you for reading and until next time… Live by the Board.

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Castle Panic Solo Mission Day: 1 (of 3)

Greetings All,

So I decided I would try a solo game of Castle Panic for those of you that can’t convince your family and friends to play a board game with you (I have the same issue). I am very fortunate to have a husband who loves board games.
For those of you that read my older post regarding Castle Panic, you should know this is one of my favorites. My husband and I have become so automated at the game that we play with every single piece. If you haven’t read the older post I suggest you do to get a better understanding of the game.

Castle Panic

-Castle Panic: 49 Monster Tokens (set up from the rule book)-

I literally played with the bare rules, no extra pieces no promos… just the standard rules.
Anyhow the rules differ a bit more than a multi-player game, particularly because there is no one to trade with.

Within my first three rotations I had already lost three of the six towers and two of the six walls. Considering the fact that if you lose all your towers you lose the game, it was not a good start. I was very convinced that I was going to lose.

The mechanics that go into a multiplayer game are far superior to that of a solo campaign. I still had fun, but the whole time I was mourning the absence of my partner, after all who wants to go on a monster murdering spree alone?

The picture below shows the turn right before the end of the game. I had two towers and one wall left. I had a Goblin with 1HP in the Knight ring of Green, a Troll with 3HP in the Archer ring of Green, a Orc with 1HP and the Goblin King with 1HP in the same Swordsman space in Red.

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I was scared as heck, BUT I got very lucky and drew two Red Swordsman cards and one Barbarian. (Barbarian is an instant kill) I took out the 3HP Troll with the Barbarian and the two monsters in Red with my two Red Swordsman. I also had a card called Drive Back, which drives one monster back to the forest! My next turn I got a Green Archer and was able to take out the last monster!!! I survived my first campaign with two towers and one wall. Ok so it wasn’t a great ending, but it was definitely a relieving one. It took me only twenty minutes to go through this solo campaign.

My opinion…? Do not play a solo mission if you have never played the game before. Having knowledge of the cards that could possibly show up really helps the strategy. At one point I had a card that I knew I could discard because I had yet to draw a card that could help me and there were only three cards left… I had good odds and luckily guessed right. I suggest giving this a try when you’re bored. It really was fun, regardless of how many times I had to wipe the sweat from my brow!


For more information about Castle Panic including Promotional items and expansions, I suggest checking out the Fireside website. That site also has a lot of reviews, including one from Tabletop w/ Wil Wheaton! Also check out Miniature Market for the best pricing. I’ll be back tomorrow with Day 2! Thank you for reading and until next time… Live by the Board.

-Livingbytheboard

Recruiting New Gamers

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Greetings All,

This is one I still struggle with. My husband, however, is much better at than I am, which is why I asked him to co-write this one with me. I’m fairly certain that half of the ability to convince people to try board games has to do with charming them. My husband is by the far the most charming person I know so he has a very easy time getting people on his side. Please read more below to get his take on recruiting new gamers. Enjoy. 🙂


-Husband-

To recruit new gamers, you need to at least have a vague idea who you’re playing with. This makes it way easier to potentially draw anyone from the hardened gamer to the total neophyte.

Know someone who’s never played board games, but loves video games? Too easy! Suggest an analogue of a favorite game of their’s! “You like Starcraft? How about showing me your strategic prowess in a quick game of OGRE?” Know someone who likes casual cell phone games? Too easy! “Something quick, easy and fun? How about you lend me 10 minutes of your time and play some Coin Age or Brave Rats with me?” How about a non-competitive type who just wants to have fun? “How’s about a co-operative game then? We can save OUR castle together!” I’ve found that far and away the easiest way to get people to game (in any situation) is to tailor your approach, almost like you’re trying to sell gaming as a product. “Man, have you ever heard of a game called Disc Duelers? It’s like a super open game of RPG battle pogs!!!” “Dude, Zombie Dice is like zombie Yahtzee…y’know, except without being schooled by old people.” I jest, of course! Or my general use line: “Can I borrow five minutes of your life? I’ll repay it 100 fold in entertainment!”

BATTLE POGS

If you do manage to secure someone for game night, its almost equitable to catching a fish on a hook… now you just have to reel them in! And how do you do that? You whip out the AAA titles from your game shelf! I am a thorough believer in “palate cleaner” or “feeler” games. By which, I mean shorter games that will better help you understand the temperature of the table. Did your table of new invites enjoy the rule light, rapid play game? Or the slower, more complicated/methodical game? These are important things to know about your guests to insure the success of your evening as well as potentially insuring the return of your guests.

Great “feeler games” I personally use are:

Love Letter by AEG

2-4 players (we’ve played w/ 5), 10-20 mins

Love Letter is easily one of the biggest, quickest crowd pleasers I own. Easy to learn rules, quick gameplay, and a friendlier competitive structure. Hard to go wrong with this one.


This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us by TMG

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 10-15 mins

This game shares a lot of elements with Carcassonne. Fantastic simplicity coupled with a hidden level of complexity make this an easy way to spot the more thoughtful members attending your table.


We Didn’t Playtest This At All by Asmadi

2-15 players, 1-5 mins

This is a card game that is so absurd, it’s divisive. It’ll either be an instant favorite, or an eye roller. Great way to sift through senses of humor, or lack thereof.

Fantasy by Asmodee

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 20-30 mins

Fantasy is a slightly longer card game with (somewhat) simple rules, and a nice (you guessed it!) fantasy motif that keeps players in the game until the last card is dealt and the scores are tallied. A great game to help your table rev up for a tougher, longer game.


Now, let’s get to real meat and potatoes of all of this. The AAA crowd pleasers that turn these new acquaintances into fast friends:

Ticket To Ride by Days of Wonder

2-5 players, 30-60 mins

If you’re visiting this blog, odds are you’ve AT LEAST heard about this game…or I’m actively judging you and your life decisions. 🙂 Needless to say, few board games can truly pull in veterans and neophytes alike. It’s got a great, turn of the 20th century aesthetic, profoundly easy to understand rules, and utterly FANTASTIC gameplay. I can’t opine about this game enough!


Castle Panic by Fireside Games

1-6 players, 30-60 mins

I’ll be frank with you readers, this is my personal favorite game of all time. Published by Fireside Games, this is a co-operative “tower defense” style game. This game is a remarkable bonding experience for all involved! It’s you and your team struggling against a common foe, you’re all left with little more than randomly drawn cards and your wits! Fantastic for game nights!


Puerto Rico by Rio Grande Games

3-5 players (there is a 2 player variant), 90 mins

This one is quite a bit more complicated than the previous entries on this list. Puerto Rico is a “prosperity” simulator, in essence, this game tasks you with being able to expand your city and island faster (and more efficiently) than your opponents. There is a very little luck to strategy ratio for this game, so veteran gamers are likely dominate during the first play through with neophytes. This game is equipped with no “actual” game board to play on, but is managed through individual’s city boards and a PLETHORA of smaller game pieces, so this game does require a little bit of imagination. That said, this is a 90 minute game with a HIGH amount of strategy and lateral thinking…so this game isn’t for everyone. HOWEVER, I HIGHLY recommend this for every kind of gamer…at least to try once.

Variety is the spice of life, however, most people will be more inclined to try a new dish if it looks more appetizing. Bottom line, presentation AND substance are both CRITICAL in your approach to gaining new members of your table. Just play your experience by ear, and try to cater to everyone’s tastes without compromising anyone’s. And, above all else, MAKE SURE TO HAVE FUN!


I’ll have to have him co-write more often… I’m pretty sure he blew me out of the water! 🙂 Anyhow, his description was shockingly accurate to how our “gaming interviews” go. When I say gaming interviews it is exactly what it sounds like, we’ve even told people they were essentially being interviewed to be a regular at our table.

We both hope you enjoyed this topic, as it was readers choice. Soon I will be starting another three-day segment, this time regarding solo play games. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Merry Christmas

Greetings All,

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope all of you have/will manage(d) to get in a board game or two in today. Our Christmas celebration was yesterday, we only played three games between dinner and gift giving. I just wanted to share them with you.

Christmas Trivia by Greenbrier-

-2+ Players, 5+ Mins-

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We played with five us and said the first one to ten got a candy cane. There are three questions on each card and the range from very easy to fairly hard. It’s definitely a kid friendly game, but they made it with enough complicated questions to be fun for adults as well.

Munchkin Loot Letter by AEG and Steve Jackson Games-

-2-4 Players (We played with five), 20 Mins-

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This is “Love Letter with a face lift.”, as my husband says. It’s Love Letter meets Munchkin. It is a great play and easy to learn. All of the cards originate from the game Munchkin and they all have the same abilities as the one from Love Letter.

-Glow Stick Ring Toss-

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This is one you can make yourself, but I bought mine at Dollar Tree. It was too cold to play outside. We waited until it was dark outside and turned off the lights in the house. We played ring toss in the living room. Originally we had planned on playing first to five, however, the task of making one ring proved so difficult that it became the first to one. It took us twenty minutes of playing before my son finally made one ring, but it was really fun.

One last thing I’d like to share with you is the idea of family gifts. We make a small list of family gifts, which are usually board games or movies. This year we had the games mentioned above as well as Munchkin Panic and a Uno variant. I will review these two later as we have not yet played them. Thank you so much for reading, have a Happy Holiday, and until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Meet my kitty.

Greeting all,

Meet my kitty, Saint. He is my Christmas gift from my husband. He is adorable and so sweet (my kitty, not my husband… although he’s adorably sweet as well!). Saint is 8 weeks old and a rescue.

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Saint is named after several things: One – Saint Walker from the Blue Lantern Corps. You’re familiar with Green Lantern, yeah? Well there are also Blue Lanterns. 🙂 Two – The Boondock Saints is one of my favorite movies. Did you know that there was a Norman Reedus before Daryl Dixon? And Third – He was a Christmas gift, so you can also say he was named after Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, because I’m cliché’ like that.

Saint will be helping me out with some Board Game pictures, so I thought I’d let you get familiar with him first! 🙂 Happy Holidays from us to you and until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard