Travel Games – Part 2

Ok, in my last post, I mistakenly said that I’m reviewing these in the order that I’d purchased them, but I apparently have the order reversed.   Since I purchased both sets of games within a week of each other, that seems an honest enough mistake.

Anywho, last time I reviewed Coup, Bang! (the dice game), and Mr. Jack Pocket.  In this post, I’ll be reviewing the final three games that I’d purchased: Zombie Dice, Hive Pocket, & Love Letter.  Again, the titles of each of these is a link to the BGG website entry for the respective game:

Zombie Dice

ZombieDiceOh wow, I lied earlier.  I said that I’d never even heard of any of the six games I’d purchased, but I did watch Will Wheaton play this game on Table Top.  Doh… Well, at least I’d never played it before.

This game is fairly quick and mindless.   The premise is that you’re a group of zombies, trying to collect brains and avoid being blasted by shotguns.  The first one to collect thirteen brains wins.

The game is a dice rolling, press-your-luck sort of game.  Each die contains some number of faces with brains, shotgun blasts, and scampering feet (indicating an escape).  You want collect brains, avoid shotguns, and the scampering feet just need to be rerolled.  There are three colors of dice (green, yellow, & red) that are increasingly harder to get positive results on.

Each turn, you roll three dice and try to collect brains.  At any time, you can stop and keep the brains you have rolled, or continue pulling new dice (adding them to any escapees to add up to three dice) and continue rolling.  If at any time during your turn, you’ve rolled a total of three shotgun blasts, you end your turn, forfeiting any brains collected that turn.

There isn’t much strategy in this game, other than figuring out when it’s best to press your luck and when you should stay put.  As a result, it was good for some mindless fun, but I don’t foresee me playing this all that much in the future.  However, if strategy games aren’t really your thing, and you just want to have fun rolling dice around the table, this is probably a good pickup for you.  I just don’t think it’ll get much play in my house.

Hive Pocket

Hive PocketThis is called the pocket version of the game because it’s smaller than the original, but is (apparently) otherwise unchanged.  It consists of 26 hexagonal tiles (reminiscent of Ma-jong) each with different insects on them (ignore the fact that some have spiders on them).

The object of the game is to encircle your enemy’s queen with your various pieces, each of which moves differently–so it remind me a lot of chess.  Like in chess, the queen (a la King) moves only one space per turn, and can easily get cornered in.  You have to use your other pieces creatively to block your opponent’s tiles to prevent being “check-mated.”

I’m not sure I can do justice to how the various pieces move, but I’ll try:

  1. Queen – Moves one space per turn
  2. Spider – Moves exactly three spaces per turn
  3. Grasshopper – Hops directly over all pieces in a line
  4. Ant – Moves to any available exterior space
  5. Beetle – Moves one space–can move on top of other pieces to prevent them from moving

The pocket expansion also comes with the Mosquito (clones nearby pieces) and the Ladybug (moves three spaces, two on top and one down), but we never played with them.

The similarities to chess and the fact that the game consists entirely of hard plastic pieces (and therefor could be played poolside) made this a fairly popular game.  At first, I wasn’t very thrilled by it, but after a while, I took a shining to it (and it eventually rekindled my interest in Chess during the cruise as well).

I’m surprised at how simple and fun it is.  If you like chess, you’ll probably like this game as well (though why not just play chess?  I s’pose because this game is far more portable).  If you don’t like chess, you might still like this game, as everyone in our group seemed to enjoy it to varying degrees.

Love Letter

Ok, this game is ridiculous.  During my review of Coup, I’d slandered a game that had only a deck of five different cards and a stack of coins.  This game contains a deck of 15 cards containing a total of 8 different options (some of which are as simple as “if you discard this card, you are out of the round”).  And that’s it.

LoveLetterWell, there is a bag of wooden cubes to keep score, but you could just as easily do that with a pad of paper.

The thing is, the game is ridiculously fun.  It easily stole the hearts of the group I was playing with (although that might have had something to do with the fact that the 8-year old loved princesses too).

The premise of the game is that you’re all suitors of the princess, and you need to get your love letter to her.  At the end of each round, the player with the highest scoring card (ie. the person closest to the princess) gets their love letter turned in and wins the round.  The first to four points wins the game.  Each turn, you draw one card (so you have two in your hand) and discard one of them to play it–following the directions on that card.

That’s it.  The cards are all fairly straight-forward (although we did have an issue with the Handmaiden on the first play-through before we realized that she only affects you).  It’s so very basic and has a silly premise (at least to us nerdy-gamer guys), but it plays quickly and fun, has a lot of randomness, but also a good deal of strategy.  It was very easily understood by everyone who played it, and we all enjoyed it immensely.  I definitely see myself playing this one again in the future.

So, there you have it.  In total, I  bought six games for the trip–all of which were relatively fun.  I’m really happy with my investment and, if after reading these two posts you still want to buy any of these games, I’m sure you’ll be happy with your purchase as well.

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