Archive for September 2012

Kickstarter Launched for Do You Know Your Neighbors?

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Review by Josh: Nuns on the Run

Nuns on the Run board game

Nuns on the Run board game

A big shout-out to Fréderic Moyersoen, the game’s creator, is in order. I think Nuns on the Run is a very unique, ingenius concept in its design. I wish the execution of it had been tidier. Let’s take a look.


Nuns on the Run is essentially a game of Hide-And-Seek with a big twist. The twist being that most players will be novices on a mission to scour an abbey at night to find a key that will unlock the door to their “secret wish” and then get back to their bedroom without the 2-woman team of nuns catching them. 1 or 2 people will play the nun guards while all other players will be a novice. Novices are all given a set of identical movement cards ranging from running to standing still. They are also given a Secret Wish card which they must achieve before the end of the 15th round of play. The Nuns are tasked with preventing any novices from achieving their secret wish, or by catching as many novices as there are players in the game.

Novices will begin in their respective bedrooms and each turn they reveal face-up a movement card of their choice. They do not actually move a physical piece around the board however. They write down the corresponding number of the space they land on, onto a secret movement tracker pad provided in the game. After they record their movement for the round, they must roll a die. The higher the die roll, the louder the novice was when moving this turn. If they are within a die roll’s amount of spaces from a guard, they must put down a noise token in the general direction in which the guard heard a noise. Slower movement cards (such as sneaking as opposed to running) will decrease the noise die roll by a given amount. So, players can move slow and steady but risk not attaining their wish, or they can go faster but be at a constantly higher risk of being heard.

In addition to making noises, novices also have to worry about being “seen.” If at anytime a novice is in a guard’s line of sight, they must put their face token down on the board where they were spotted. Guards can “catch” a novice by landing on their face token—thus stealing their secret wish away and sending them back towards their bedrooms. Until a guard sees a novice or hears a novice, they are forced to walk along pre-set paths according to route cards and corresponding color paths on the board. On the guards’ turn, even if novices are out of sight and aren’t heard making noise, the guards still get to make a listen roll—which works the same way as noise-making but without the movement/sound modifiers involved.


  • Love the game’s concept and theme. Original, fun and appropriate for many age groups.
  • For between 2-8 players it has a lot of flexibility in group sizes.
  • It’s easy to finish a game within 60-90 minutes and moves quickly.
  • Good replayability as secret wishes, paths, and destinations change between games.
  • “Blessing” cards exist to give each player an opportunity to get out of a jam.
  • Very cool board and components. High quality and colorful


  • The rulebook does a very poor job of explaining certain parts of the game. Particularly our group has had problems figuring out when a novice can be heard on the guard’s turn. There’s no explicit direction that says whether movement cards used are in effect for “listen” rolls. Line of sight is also hardly clear at times. A straight line can’t always be drawn from dot-to-dot to determine whether one can be seen. Other vagueries are when one guard spots or hears a novice, and the other guard is nearby—can that guard also “see” or “hear” the novice and give chase? There are a lot of things that need clarifying in this rulebook. House rules can solve a lot of the issues, but expect them to come up repeatedly.
  • The learning curve can be steeper than one would expect because of the vagueness of the rulebook. Expect the first game to take much longer than it should. Subsequent games should be within 60-90 minutes.
  • Depending on which novice you are (which room you start in) and which Secret Wish you are randomly dealt, you could have a very easy time beating everyone else in the game, or a near impossible process. The differences in difficulties can be extreme.

Nuns on the Run Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (Enjoyable in doses)

I would love to give this game a higher score because I love the original concept so much. I think it’s great that 8 people can sit around a board with 2 nuns chasing misbehaving novices around in secret. It’s just so odd and eclectic that I have to smile. And truly—in the right group this can be a very fun game. If you have someone that is good at playing the guards and really giving the novices a run for their money—it gets competitive, tense, and funny.

However, this game suffers from a lot of ambiguity in rules. If you don’t mind sorting a lot of them out for yourself, then I still recommend this game. There are others that will be entirely put off by it and don’t want to expend the effort in sorting out a published game. I can certainly see both sides of the equation.

Review by Josh: Shadow Hunters

Shadow Hunters

I’m a man who values brevity, so here’s the scoop on Shadow Hunters.


All players are dealt a character card at the start of the game. There are 3 types of characters: Shadows, Hunters, and Neutrals. Hunters want to kill all Shadows. Shadows want to kill all Hunters or 3 Neutrals. Neutrals have unique, independent win objectives.

Also on every character card is a health point value (how much damage you can take before you’re out of the game) and a character-specific ability. Character cards are kept face-down at the start of the game and are known only to the players controlling them. The number of players in the game determines how many characters of each type are in the game.

Players take their turns clockwise. A turn consists of:

  1. Move your colored character pawn on the board. This is done by rolling the 2 dice together (a 6-sided and a 4-sided), add the numbers, and move to the indicated card space on the board.
  2. Encounter the space you land on. Typically this means you draw a card from a specific pile (although there are others that allow stealing items or healing). There are 3 colored card piles.
    Black = damaging items/weapons.
    White = helpful/healing items.
    Green = Hermit Cards. These are the best way to figure out who other people are. Example: “I bet you are a Shadow. If so, take 2 damage.” If you drew this card, you hand it face-down to anybody else in the game. They read it and must answer either by moving their pawn on the damage tracker up by 2, or say “No effect.” Then they discard the card face-down. Nobody else knows what happened, just the 2 of you.
  3. Attack (optional) If any character pawns are in range of you on the board (adjacent spaces—3 groups of 2 locations) you may attack one of them. Attacks are made by rolling both dice and subtracting the lower dice roll from the higher dice roll. The result is how much damage the defender takes. This can be modified by both weapons and armor. In the case of rolling doubles, the attack misses.

This sequence of events continues until one team completes a win condition. Along the way players can reveal their characters face-up in order to use their special ability. Typically these are a one-shot (once-per-game only) but not always.


  • Accommodates a good number of players (4-8) for most gaming groups
  • Takes, on average, 45-60 minutes to play once familiar.
  • Excellent replayability as there are many potential characters to be and no game is the same (your allies and enemies will always be different)
  • Fun and simple to setup and begin. Beginning gamers will understand after a round of play, and advanced gamers will find enough depth to hold their attention.


  • Being eliminated early-on in the game can be irksome when you have to wait for everyone else to finish killing each other (although our gaming group allows for the first person eliminated to re-enter the game with a mystery character set aside at the setup).
  • Some Neutral characters have exceptionally difficult win conditions compared to others—making it near impossible for them to win (we remedy this by removing some of these from the game).


I wasn’t expecting to like Shadow Hunters as much as I do. I’m not typically a fan of “anime style” artwork—which this is—and I wasn’t sure there would be enough complexity or depth to merit playing more than once. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by this game that I’d never heard of until it showed up in the same online category as “BANG!” which is another group favorite of ours. Shadow Hunters is a great example of how a theme in a game can be very minimal to non-existant (basically a group of cray cray random people/monsters running around an enchanted forest killing each other) but because the gameplay, alliances, and element of mystery are so solidly present, the game holds true and nobody questions “why are we doing this again?” We accept that we are a school teacher attacking a werewolf. Or whatever the matchup happens to be.

I think this is a very interesting, unique board/card game mix that will appeal to a lot of gamers out there if they can get past the initial weird/foreignness to the game.

Review by Phil: Tomb CryptMaster by AEG

I really want to like this game.

At first glance, the mechanics do not seem overly complicated. Then, however, there appears to be a huge devil (or CryptMaster) in the details when trying to actually raid the dungeon and adjudicate game play.

The Game’s Objective:
Recruit up to 5 characters and raid a series of crypts in a tomb.

Setup Comments:
The game is not hard to setup at all. Place the inn board. Decide between the red or blue tomb board and place it. Shuffle the 6 piles of cards and place on the appropriate spot in the inn.

The filling of the tomb is an interesting little setup mechanic that gives people a little bit of insight into what’s where in a tomb and also shares the setup activity a bit so that the few minutes it takes doesn’t seem long at all.

Game Play:
There are 3 sets of colored (red, green, blue) d10 dice that are used for adjudicating combat, handling traps and/or dispelling curses. The sides of the dice are either blank or have an axe (denoting success) and the reds have the highest frequency of successes. I’d have to look at the dice again but I think the R,G,B dice were 80%, 40%, 60% respectively.
I think it’s important to note the “up to” in the “Recruit up to 5 characters” statement.

At first I wondered at this and its novelty vs. kludginess and ultimately decided that I wasn’t bothered by this as much as I thought I’d be.

IMPORTANT: In several cases, you have a better chance at surviving in the dungeon by taking a beefy fighter with a few items and going it alone. The problem is, you don’t necessarily know this ahead of time UNLESS you happened to place that trap or monster or curse.

Note: In this game’s case, “beefy” means a fighter with a whopping (wait for it) FIVE (5) hit points.

Most, if not all, of the monsters have more than that. Most of the monsters get an outrageous number of dice.

In no particular order:

  • Monster vs. character hit points
  • There’s no good way to stack a party to play & survive the crypts. The randomness is such that if you’ve got the wrong make-up, you should just leave after the first guy hero dies. Though, to be fair, I think I did read a warning to be prepared to have your characters die, a lot. And that they did.
  • The risk/reward ratio seems off.
  • There are some monsters, not even the champion monsters, that seem outrageously overpowered.

I’ve wanted to play this game again before giving it a rating. This review has been sitting for a couple of months now… but I haven’t been able to get anyone to play because Josh keeps warning people away from it. Burn him!

Ultimately my rating for this game is: Playable (with Fixes)

Though… I don’t know what fixes would/should be employed. I reserve the right to amend this review should it be played again.

My Rating Scale

  • Awesome: It’s fun, playable, has great art and few, if any, minor issues
  • Very Good: Just like awesome, only it either lacks something or there’s some issue that makes the game just a little less than awesome.
  • Playable (As Is): Fun, playable with decent art/mechanics with minor issues and at most 1 easily remedied major issues.
  • Playable (with Fixes): Potential for fun, but flawed; the game requires fixing before playing again.
  • OK: Not great fun, but it kills time. It might even be playable but most would ask why.
  • Seriously Flawed: The game is so flawed I am beside myself with how it got published at all. It is also nigh impossible to fix (or just requires way too much to fix, including the creation and printing of new cards/mechanics).

Review by Phil: Mage Knight by WizKids

In brief, the warnings about the time commitment to play this game are all completely true. This was hard to believe prior to playing the game the first time. Everything on the net warns of 4-hour games and there’s even a 3-hour learning curve on top of that while trudging through the first scenario — the one they call short for people not yet familiar with all of the rules. And there are MANY, MANY rules!

That crazy time commitment aside, the game is quite enjoyable once you’ve gotten around the complicated game mechanics and the setup.

Mage Knight photo of components

The Game’s Objective
Mage Knight has several different scenarios that are available, some cooperative, that can be played. The objective is based on the chosen scenario.

The suggestion for the first game – or any game including people unfamiliar with the rules – is First Reconnaissance. For our first game, we played this scenario with 3 players. With the setup, consternation over the 2 20-page rule books and a switch to watch YouTube videos that reviewed the game and discussed combat, etc., we were at this for almost 7 hours.

I kid you not.

However, the good news is that for our second game (a few weeks later) we played Blitz Conquest and we completed the first portion (day) of a 4-portion scenario in under an hour. And the setup was amazingly quick given the first game’s introduction to all of the parts and such.

We stopped playing after ~4.5 hours and were roughly 75% of the way through the scenario.

Setup Comments
The first time we played, setup just seemed to take forever. Part of that, I will admit, is our fault. Their Game Walkthrough book has all of their cards displayed and it gives you the key to determine which of the cards (most with the same card back) is what type of card. They all have the same card backs because they can be acquired as resources for individual decks and should blend in.

The cards themselves are actually pretty packed with information and coded in a way to have all of the mechanics on them. The same is true for the monster and building tokens. The problem is trying to memorize all of the symbols or getting comfortable with quickly looking them up.

The 2nd time we played this game, I had the game setup in under 15 minutes.

Game Play
The game is broken down into rounds (day or night) and individual turns within that round. Depending on the scenario there are a number of rounds that describe the time limit by which some objective must be met.

  1. There are tactics cards that determine turn order in the round and there is a set of tactics cards for both the day and night rounds. Depending on the tactic chosen, an ability is given. Turns progress through all players until someone runs out of cards and declares the last round.
  2. The basic deed cards of each character (the same 16 cards for each player at the start of the game) determine the details of what you can do with your Move and Action. Movement costs are based on the type of terrain and whether it’s day or night.
  3. Actions are determined based on what sort of space you are encountering and/or if you’re choosing to engage another character in PvP combat. During your action, you can encounter Marauding Orcs, Dragons, villages, Mage Towers, a Keep, a Monastery, Ancient Ruins, dungeons, monster dens, etc. At ‘building’ locations, you can perform actions of a commerce-like nature spending influence to recruit follower units or spells. Or you can attack the personnel, suffering a reputation decrease, while also gaining rewards. With Orcs and Dragons, you can only fight them and gain influence when defeating them (as the villagers rejoice).

That brings us to combat. There were some complaints around combat around the table as we were playing. And it is definitely a different set of mechanics combining the opportunity to have ranged attacks occur first (and repeatedly if PvP). Depending on what cards you have and what sort of combat is happening it can be very different.

  • Orcs & Dragons: encountered outside. If you move by them in adjacent hexes they’ll aggro and combat will stop movement and need to occur. When fighting non-players, the target does not get an incoming ranged attack as in PvP.
  • You, however, get a chance to attack the target by range (or siege if it’s fortified). If you can do enough damage to them to kill them, you do not suffer any damage from their melee attack.
  • If you cannot range/siege attack the target to kill it, you then move to the melee phase. You will need to block the damage they can deal.
  • If you block all of the damage, you then move onto your melee attack phase. If you cannot block all of the incoming attack you are going to take at least 1 wound. You can assign wounds to units to avoid taking them into your hand – something that is important to do because holding wound cards decreases the effectiveness of your hand. You take a wound for the incoming damage. You then subtract your armor value. Now repeat until the incoming damage is less than your armor value.

    That is: You’re attacked for 6 damage. You can’t block it all and your armor value is 2. You take 1 wound, subtract your armor (2) from the 6 and there’s 4 damage left over. Repeating that, you take another 2 wounds. Again, if you have enough units you can assign wounds to those units. You’ll have to heal those units before you can use them, however. The moral of the story: block as much damage as you can!

    Note: the above has been corrected on 9/30/12

  • Lastly, you can then melee attack the target. If you do damage >= the target’s armor value, it dies. You gain (or lose) reputation depending on the target and get other rewards based on whatever it says on the card that describes it.

Essentially, that’s it. You do those basic mechanics while trying to accomplish whatever objective is laid out in the scenario.

I think one of the problems with this game is the potential to suffer game fatigue. This game is definitely geared toward a hardcore gamer and even then, if you fail your (personal) fortitude save at any point during the day while playing this game the play time can easily be artificially extended due to failing to pay attention, inserting breaks, playing Gems on an iPhone, etc.

Additional Analysis
I reserve the option of adding something here after playing this a few more times.

Ultimately, my rating for this game is: Very Good

My Rating Scale

  • Awesome: It’s fun, playable, has great art and few, if any, minor issues
  • Very Good: Just like awesome, only it either lacks something or there’s some issue that makes the game just a little less than awesome.
  • Playable (As Is): Fun, playable with decent art/mechanics with minor issues and at most 1 easily remedied major issues.
  • Playable (with Fixes): Potential for fun, but flawed; the game requires fixing before playing again.
  • OK: Not great fun, but it kills time. It might even be playable but most would ask why.
  • Seriously Flawed: The game is so flawed I am beside myself with how it got published at all. It is also nigh impossible to fix (or just requires way too much to fix, including the creation and printing of new cards/mechanics).

Kickstarter Video Progress

Hello, hello!

We have great news. We have completed a video that explains how to play the game. In addition, we have taped (a second time) our video that gives a brief introduction to us and the game that will be used to introduce Josh and I to the Kickstarter community.

Our friends are working on the editing of that video and we hope to submit our Kickstarter campaign this week!

You can see one of the videos here:
DYKYN Game Play Video

Tell us what you think!