Travel Games – Part 1

So, on my recent vacation, I was separated from all things gaming for almost two weeks.  The good news is that I was taking a trip with some friends of mine that do play board games, including one that plays 40k (for longer than I have, if you can believe that)–who, coincidentally, was the one that pointed out the good ship Ultramar.

Anywho, before the trip, I went ahead and purchased a few travel friendly games.  I didn’t bother to play any of them in advance so that I wouldn’t have any sort of advantage.  In total, I purchased six games, exactly none of which I’d ever played (or really even heard of) before.  To avoid buying duds, I spent some time researching travel board/card games online (mostly over at Board Game Geek’s website).

In order to keep the post length manageable, I figured I’d do a brief review of three games in each of two posts.  So, in the order that I wound up purchasing them, here goes (note: the titles in all of these reviews link to the BGG page for the appropriate game):

Bang, the Dice Game

BangDiceEarlier I’d said that I’d never heard of any of the games I purchased; however, I have played Bang! before.  The difference is that I’d played the card game version and not the dice game (which I honestly hadn’t heard of before).  I really liked the card game when I first played it–enough so that I bought both it and the Dodge City expansion (which were the only ones available at the time–though I understand they have a few more now).

Anywho, while the card game seemed great at first, it definitely has some flaws.  The first of which is that you need a lot of players.  While you can officially play with three, it really takes at least four to play, and five if you want to have access to all of the roles (the Deputy doesn’t unlock until that point).  It also takes a long time to play, as you can get jammed up not having enough range to shoot at the players you want.  Another problem (and perhaps the biggest) is player elimination:  you can sometimes get killed completely before you even get a turn, which can lead to an hour or more of waiting around for the game to finish (since it does play fairly slow sometimes).

The dice game seems to have resolved these issues.  First, it plays far faster than the card game, with the estimated game length at 15 minutes.  This eliminates the issues with player elimination as well, since you really don’t have to wait long to jump back into the game.  It also natively has an ability which allows you to shoot at people 1-2 spots away from you (though no farther–although that wasn’t an issue for us as we never played with more than five people), so that’s an advantage as well.

Essentially, it’s very similar to the original game, with the same characters (who possess many of the same abilities).  Starting life totals are higher, but they go down much faster.  Each turn, you roll a set of five dice with the ability to re-roll twice more (a la Yahtzee).  Each face of the die contains one of the following:

  1. Shoot a player exactly 1 space away from you
  2. Shoot a player exactly 2 spaces away from you
  3. Beer (gain 1 life–up to your starting life)
  4. Arrow (Indians!  Collect an arrow token, and then if it’s the last arrow, each player takes damage equal to the number of arrows they have)
  5. Gatling (if you roll 3x Gatlings, all other players take 1 damage)
  6. Dynamite (if you roll 3x, lose a life and end your turn immediately.  Cannot be rerolled.)

Obviously it lacks some depth that the original game has (for instance, there are no misses at all, and many of the other fancy effects like Cat Ballou are missing as well), but it does a good job of encapsulating the original game in a fast and easy to grok game.  It should be noted that for all of the games we played during the cruise, we had an 8 year old and a 10 year old playing right along with us, and they picked it all up quickly.

Overall, I think this was a good game.  It had all of the advantages of the original game, and fixed the problems as well.  If you liked the card game, I’d definitely pick up this one.


The second game we played (which is actually the last game we played, but the second game I’m reviewing) is called Coup.

CoupThis game seems too basic to be fun.  If I told you that a game consisted of nothing aside from a deck that contains multiple copies of five different cards and a pile of coins, would you think it could be fun?  Surprisingly, it really turned out to be.

The premise of the game is that you’re trying to influence others by any means possible in order to rise to power.  Your influence is represented by a hand of two cards–so when you lose influence, you lose a card.  When you’re out of cards, you’re out of the game–and there is no way to get cards back.

Each of the cards has special abilities that allow you to take actions during your turn, or to block others’ actions.  Since other players can’t see what cards you have, you can easily bluff during the game to perform actions you shouldn’t be able to, or to block people.  The way to lose cards (influence) are to:

  • Use the Assassin to take away one influence from another player
  • For seven coins, you can take away an influence from any player (which can’t be prevented)–a game mechanic also says that if you have 10 coins in your possession, you have to do this
  • Get caught bluffing.  If someone calls your bluff, you have a chance to prove you weren’t bluffing.  If you can’t (or choose not to) you lose a card of your choice.  If you weren’t lying, the other player loses a point.

The key to this game is really knowing who to bluff and when–sometimes it just works out.  The games play really quickly, and after playing it several times, I don’t feel like it’s the sort of game you can master.  It all depends on the players around you, and how willing you are to push the bluffing.

Again, a cheap, quick and easy game.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

Mr. Jack Pocket

The last game I’ll be reviewing today is sort of a “guess who” style game about finding Jack the Ripper.

MrJackPocketThe game sets up in a 3×3 grid of city streets (randomly distributed) with the “Mr. Jack” player choosing a citizen at random.  Each tile depicts one of the citizens and Sherlock Holmes, Watson, and an out-of-sorts dog walk around the edge of the city peering down the streets to find the bad guy.  At the end of each turn, Jack determines whether any of the characters can see him down the streets, and then Sherlock flips over any of the tiles that have been eliminated from possibility.  Over the course of 8 turns, they have to maneuver themselves so that they can figure out which citizen is really Mr. Jack.

The actions that can be performed consist of moving each of the characters clockwise around the board, spinning / swapping pieces, and eliminating suspects one by one.  What makes it pretty innovative is the way you determine what actions are available in a given turn.

Each of the actions is printed on one side of four chits.  During the first turn, Sherlock throws the four chits in the air and then chooses one action to perform.  Mr. Jack then gets to choose two of the remaining actions, and finally Sherlock gets the last one.  During the second turn, all of the pieces are simply turned over (to evenly distribute the actions) and the process is repeated in reverse order (ie. Jack gets one, Sherlock gets two, and Jack gets the last one).

While none of the actions seems like rocket science, trying to figure out what your opponent can do with that one last chit seems incredibly difficult.  Granted, we didn’t play this but two times (with Mr. Jack and Sherlock eaching taking one game), but I think this has some replayability as well.  Sadly, it was limited to just two players, so it didn’t get much game time with our group during the cruise.

Still, I liked the game, and it’s only about $10, so I’d recommend it to groups that have small numbers of players.  Hell, I’m sure to play this with Derek or Brandon some week…

Well, that’s it for these three reviews.  My next post will review the other three games: Love Letter, The Hive, & Zombie Dice.  Stay tuned!


Conquest: the Board Game

I recently did a mini-review of Talisman & Relic, two board games from Fantasy Flight that are based in the GW IP.  Again, I use the term loosely because it’s not a detailed review per se, just what I thought of the games.

Well, for Christmas, Brandon got a copy of Conquest, which isn’t so much a board game, but a “living card game,” again by Fantasy Flight and set in the 40k universe.  The difference between an LCG and a board game is simple in that you don’t have a set board, and the vast majority of the game is based around cards.  It’s different from a collectable card game (CCG), such as Magic: the Gathering, in that you can just buy one box and have every card.  In contrast, CCG’s generally require you to buy randomized packs of cards with which to build your collection.  To get continued revenue, LCG’s, like Conquest, generally produce regular expansions that encourage you to buy more.  To my knowledge, this hasn’t happened yet for Conquest, but then again, it’s only been out for a couple of months, so I’m sure that it will soon enough…  (EDIT: apparently I’m mistaken, as they have three expansions out already)

FFConquest2Anywho, the game plays out by dealing out seven battleground worlds to fight over.  Initially, only four of them are eligible, but a new one is flipped over each turn.  The game is won by conquering enough worlds with match resource values.

Each player earns a number of credits each turn, which are the primary resource by which cards are brought into play.  You also have a fixed amount of draws per turn but, as you probably predicted, there are ways to affect that number as well.

Initially, we started with the two suggested decks: Ultramarines vs. Orks (though I guess, technically it was Space Marines, my deck was lead by Sicarius, so it was pretty obvious that it was Ultramar-themed.  I believe it did have representatives from both the Crimson Fists & Blood Angels chapters inside it though).  I let Brandon choose the decks, and he opted with the Orks, presumably because he plays them in 40k, and I play Bloo?

The game very quickly overwhelmed me with complexity and options.  First, there are the obvious problems of having a limited number of cards and resources to cast them.  That much was easy to wrap my head around.  Some of the options included:

  1. Understanding how fights happen and where.  By default, fights happen on the first planet, and every other planet with a warlord.  So, just because you have troops at a planet, doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily fight.
  2. Each planet also has a specific fight effect that happens when you win a combat there, which can drastically affect the rest of the board state.  Some examples include: removing a unit from the board completely, healing a unit completely, etc.
  3. Understanding when you can capture a planet.  This is apparently only true of the first planet every turn–which is pretty basic, but it took me a little while to grasp that.
  4. Figuring out the command phase of the game.  Regardless of whether there is combat at a given planet, each in turn will undergo a command struggle–which happen before combat.  These struggles can result in additional credits and or cards.  These additional resources can help out tremendously in a fight.

FFConquest1None of these seem particularly complicated on their own, but the way they intertwined was fairly brilliant, and a little overwhelming at first.  After two games, I don’t think I’ve mastered it by any means, but I have enough of a grasp on it to say that I think I get it.

The game also has a fair bit of replay ability.  The base game comes with seven (7) decks to start with, and each one seems to have different underlying themes/mechanics.  For instance, the Tau seemed to deal more with equipment, the orks with brute force, and the Marines with the command phase.  Plus, the decks all have the same backs, so it gives you the ability to mix and match–so you could make a “chaos renegade” deck by combining parts from the IG and Daemon decks.

Of course, they’re also releasing lots of expansion content as well.  Personally, I haven’t played any of them, but it’d be easy to see how they could expand upon the premise.  In addition to making new faction decks, they can do some simple additions to make drastic changes to the game.  For example, the game has the mechanic to allow each race to start with different amounts of life and resources, but very few races make any use of this.  So, adding new warlords for each race with different starting totals (and special abilities) could make a big improvement.   Also, there are a very limited number of battlefields available (10, I believe) with the base game, so expanding upon that would go a long way to making the game seem more dynamic.

Overall, I think it was a pretty great game.  It holds true to the theme well, and there doesn’t seem to be one clear strategy to win (although I did win both games by focusing on the command phase for additional card draw).  I’d happily play it again.

If you’re interested in learning more about the game, you can find detailed info at the Fantasy Flight website, and you can purchase it from my preferred online retailer: the War Store.

Image Credit: Fantasy Flight Games


Relic & Talisman: The Board Games

Right around Black Friday, Talisman (the board game) went on sale for IOS (read: ipad) for $.99.  One of my friends (who ironically has absolutely no interest in WHFB or 40k) fell in love with this game and insists on playing it every chance he gets.  I don’t get to play games with him very often and, as a result, I’ve never played Talisman before.  But since it came so highly recommended, I figured I could blow $1 on it.

I should also mention that I got to play Relic recently as well, and I’ve been told that it very closely resembles Talisman.  After playing both, I can agree with that statement whole-heartedly.

Some of the few differences I noticed (beyond a thinly veiled skin are), in Relic:

  1.   RelicYou have multiple decks of bad guy cards that are thematic.  I only played it the one time though, so I can’t say whether they’re functionally all that different, or if it’s just a skin.
  2. There is an “exploding dice” mechanic (when you roll a 6, you can keep rolling).
  3. There are more stats (I think there were five in 40k, but only 4 in Talisman)
  4. There are fewer different classes/races, but they generally fall into the same archtypes.

Keep in mind that I’ve played Relic all of one time now, and Talisman a grand total of three times through (and another two times part-way through).  Despite not playing them much, I think I can reasonably say that I don’t like either of them.  I’m going to put forth some sweeping generalizations here, that may not fully apply to one or the other game, but since they seem so similar (and I have such extensive knowledge of both), I’m going to assume I know everything.

Now they’re not all bad.  Some of the things that I did like include:

  1. Talisman(Relic) The sculpts of the models are fantastic.  They’re easily on par with the rest of the 40k line, and I’d love to see a set painted up.
  2. (Both) The theme of the game is pretty spot-on with the table-top game.
  3. (Talisman) The amount of options available are just crazy.  Granted, the game has been out for MORE THAN 30 YEARS, but it’s still impressive.

Some of the things I don’t care for–that seem to be inherent in both games are:

  1. They both have a time commitment.  This is probably more of a neutral comment, since games of 40k often take 4+ hours, but a four player game of either of these is not going to finish in under 2+ hours–and learning games take much longer.
  2. There is an inherent grind built-into them that is akin to most MMO’s.  In part, this is part of the charm, but in both the process seems to take too long.  Every time I play, I seem to bounce around between squares that give me little to no benefit (or perhaps even hurt me).  It takes a while to get to the point where I can “farm xp.”
  3. Luck plays a big part.  I’d say too big a part.  From the start, there’s very little strategy involved, aside from “rolling good,” and “hoping you get a good encounter card.”  The next level of complexity involves deciding which items to keep and which to discard–though that doesn’t happen quickly.
  4. There is an inherent imbalance between the characters.  I guess this is true with any game where players aren’t carbon copies of each other.  Perhaps they are balanced, but luck plays too big of a roll between them?  I tend to think that some are just plain better than others though, and part of the luck is getting the right piece before the game starts.

Both do have elements of fun, and I found myself drawn to play Talisman again, even though I look back with disdain upon the hours I spent playing them (yes, hours, as the fastest I managed to finish even a 2-player game with the AI set to full speed was 45 minutes–and that was with the house-rule set that just reaching the center wins the game).  The fact is that they take a long time and have a moderate level of fun–in the same way that World of Warcraft was fun when I got sent on a quest to kill 10,000 spiderlings.    Conceptually it sounds cool, but after a while, you realize that you’re just wasting time.  That’s why I don’t play MMO’s anymore.  They’re work that tricks me into thinking it’s fun–but when I take an objective look at it, it’s not really.

Of course, mileage may vary.  You may love one or both of the games, and I won’t begrudge you that.  Hell, if you had one and wanted to play it with me (one time), I could see myself playing either again.  Both have an allure of fun, but (at least for me) they miss the mark.  I haven’t played it 10,000 times yet though, so maybe I’m not smart enough to walk away…


Building Buildings

wh39kPegasusBuildings (8)Earlier this week, I posted a warning about eye protection, that came as a result of an occular adhesion incident (or what very nearly could’ve been one).  This all happened while I was assembling some terrain from Pegasus Hobbies.

Interestingly enough, those models had been sitting in my closet since December of 2010.  I never would’ve guessed it’d been that long, but the blog doesn’t lie.  Sure enough, I have a post from back then that details what I received for Xmas that year.

wh39kPegasusBuildings (7)By the way, if I might interject a bit, I’d like to say that I’m really happy that I have this blog.  While it certainly isn’t a hub of internet activity, it’s doing a great job of documenting what I’ve done with the hobby for the past four years.  Case in point, when I went to assemble the terrain, I could’ve sworn that I was missing a box of something–but I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I also couldn’t find a receipt in my email because it was all purchased from my family members.  Then I remembered the blog!  Sure enough, I had written a post that documented everything that I’d received (for the record, I was mistaken about missing a box).

Anywho, the boxes we’d cracked open included:

Again, all of those products are from Pegasus Hobbies and the links are directly to my favorite retailer: the War Store.  In total, that comes to $114.90 and includes shipping anywhere in the United States (even Alaska–though it’s sad that statement has to be included as we’re obviously within the U.S.).

wh39kPegasusBuildings (4)I had originally suspected I’d have ordered some of the Gothic City Building small sets (with the various arches & butressses), but I guess that never happened.  In hind sight, that wasn’t such a bad thing, as I’m bordering on too much terrain as it is.

Anyway, Brandon and I were the only ones to show up to gaming that week, so we sat down and started assembling some terrain.  I’d originally hoped to have the buildings all assembled, based and painted (or at least base coated), but it turns out that was far too optimistic for a single evening.  Still, I think we made good progress.

wh39kPegasusBuildings (9)By the end of the night, we’d assembled all of the buildings with the various bits they came with, and Brandon had even gotten a little creative with some embelishments (more on those below).  But there’s still quite a bit of work that needs to go into them (adding GW bits, character, rubble, etc.) before I can even think about painting them.  I also took the liberty of using some brass etch supplied to me by theRhino over at Thin Your Paint.  He sent them to me in the hopes that they would work for my Fortress of Redemption, but they were, alas, too small.  Still, I knew they wouldn’t go to waste.  Thanks again Rhino! He’s a fine chap there, with a great blog, so go check it out.

That bears repeating:

Go Check out theRhino’s blog over at

If you like my blog at all, you should love his.  It’s more of the same: Ultramarines & Tyranids…

Back to the topic at thand though…  As for the kits, I’m quite pleased with them.  They’re sturdy (thicker than the GW equivalent) and about the right scale for 40k (though technically they’re more than 3″ tall per section, but they do look good on the table-top).  There’s not a whole lot of options: most of the wall sections are nearly identical to each other, with about the only choices being “window” or “now window.”  Each of the larger boxes come with a single door section (of which I’d already lost a hinge before we ever got to the assembly stage).

wh39kPegasusBuildings (3)Each of the ruins section seems to have come with 1-2 floor sections, but none come with the large building–which I found a little bothersome.  This means that most of your buildings won’t have a second level, unless you come up with another solution (more on this in a later post).  The ruins kits, however, do come with a large triangular shaped wall that’s effectively 2 wall sections high x 2 wide and tapers down into a nice looking slope.

We ran into some difficulty working those in to the undamaged building sections, but a vice and some brute strength were enough to snap them into compliance.  wh39kPegasusBuildings (6)These broken sections seem to add character to the buildings and also give models more room to move around/through them.

As I went through and assembled buildings in pretty standard fashion, Brandon took some time to let out some of his more artsy side.  He crafted a little chapel out of some foam core and beams (from 40k buildings) and a few bits like a clock and a statue from the WHFB chapel kit (which is apparently no longer available–I’m glad I picked one up to convert into a plague tower when I did).

I’ve included a few shots in here for scale: one with a Pegasus building next to a GW building and including a 40k model/ruler for scale, and another with a Predator tank on the technobridge.  In general, I’m quite pleased, but there’s still plenty of more work to do.  So, if you’ll excuse me…

Great iPhone Games: Warhammer Quest, ORC, StarCommand, Agricola, & Tiny Heroes

There was a stint there for a while where I wasn’t blogging much, or even playing 40k/board games.  Mostly, this was due to real life taking priority, but I was able to keep my sanity by playing various little games on my iphone.  The one that I play the most is still Dominion, which I wrote about earlier, but I’ve downloaded/purchased a few more and figured I’d pass along my thoughts on them, in case anyone was interested.

ORC: Vengeance  ($2.99)

I have to apologize.  I downloaded this one at the end of last year because it was in the top games of 2012 (a category that shows up in the iTunes store at the end of the year) and it was free at the time, so why not?  I played it through completely at the time and have never gone back to it, still, it was great fun.

It’s been so long since I’ve played this (and really most of these games) that I can’t give a quality detailed review, but what I can say is that it’s sort of a “pay-to-win” model of game.  I got it for free, and then you can spend money for additional in-app purchases to buy gold, which allows you to get uber items.  In my experience, those items aren’t really better than the items that you eventually get in the game—so they’re definitely not worth investing in.

The game itself plays very much like Diablo—except without the skill trees.  It’s got great feel, character, decent plot (I wasn’t into it all that much) and some nifty bad guys.  It seemed relatively easy overall (unless you go the sewers—which are borderline insanity), and was definitely worth the $0 investment.  I’m sure I played the total game in the span of about 4-5 hours, so even $3 seems worth it.

Warhammer Quest ($4.99)

WQ-headerIf you play GW games, you’re probably already aware of this.  I loved it when it came out originally as a board game, and it seemed a no-brainer when it was re-released.  It’s a great adaptation of the original (although with significantly fewer characters and less monsters than were originally available), but it’s still great.  I played the game through entirely and maxed out the level of almost all of my characters (which is level 6, by the way).

Interestingly, I fell into the same pitfalls as I did when I played the original game.  The first time around, I bought the pit-fighter (not available in the digital edition), and he turned out to be crazy over-powered.  This was because he came with a potion of healing that was basically endless, and in that game healing was undoubtedly the most powerful part of the game (plus he could move as he attacked with was pretty ridiculous as well).  In this game, I remembered immediately that healing was powerful, so before I even started, I purchased the Warrior Priest character (downloadable content) as well–only to find out that he has no healing spells.

Some priest, eh?

What he did have, is a ring that randomly heals (or sometimes hurts) nearby party members.  So, despite his inability to heal, he did prove to be amazingly helpful at um… healing.

The irony is that when I played the original board game all those years ago, the second character I went and picked up was the Warrior Priest.  In retrospect, I seem to remember being miffed that he was unable to heal people in that edition as well, but then equally amazed at how efficient his ring really was.

Anywho, in my experience of the game, the Maurader is definitely the beast of the group.  The Dwarf is super hard to kill (but not very effective), and the Priest is required (At least initially).  I didn’t have a whole lot of luck with the Grey Mage, but then again, he’s the person I kicked out of the party to include the Priest originally, so he’s much lower level than everyone else.

Anywho, I think the game is definitely worth $5, as it gave plenty of hours of entertainment.  After you complete the first section of the game, there is an additional skaven-based content segment, but I didn’t buy it.  I wasn’t sure how much further it would allow me to progress (I guessed it wouldn’t increase the level cap), so I looked at the cost of it vs. the base game (it was also $5) and didn’t think it was a reasonable charge.  Though, if someone knows better than me, please let me know.

StarCommand  ($2.99)

StarCommandI’m pretty sure this purchase came as the result of a recommendation of Russ from the D6 Generation.  I believe he likened it to the old X-COM series, but that may be inaccurate—I know he recommended another with that line of thinking that I tried to run, but my poor little 3GS couldn’t handle it.  Anywho, this game is sort of a throw-back to the games I played as a young lad.

What I’m saying is the layout is very basic, static, progressive and the graphics are classic (ie. Bad).  I still really enjoyed playing through the game (I did so twice).  The advice I can remember includes:

  • When firing on enemy ships, there are no instructions, which lead to me doing a whole lot of nothing for quite a while during the first battle of the game.  In that screen you’ll see the enemy ship with a dot rotating around it.  You need to click the screen when that dot passes through the little circles on the outside.  That’s true of two of the guns—the last one seemed a little more intuitive in that you are lining up crosshairs on it.
  • Healing is quite good
  • Stay away from the edges of the ship during a battle when the hull is breached, or you’ll get sucked out into space.
  • Grenades aren’t worth the time.
  • After each battle you have time to heal/repair the ship/restock tokens.  It’s recommended that you do so before completing each mission.

Again, another app I paid for, and I’m happy I did.  If you like retro style games, this is probably a fine buy—although I’m sure you can get a ton of retro games for free elsewhere…

Agricola ($6.99)

agricola-boardI bought this one also based upon a D6G recommendation, though not from Russ (who seems to loathe this game with every fiber of his being).  Raef, however, lists it as the best game ever.  Though I typically seem to agree with Russ’ game picks, Raef tends to have a personality much more akin to mine.  To further pique my curiosity, Board Game Geek used to have this rated as the top game ever.  Could Ross really be that wrong?  Honestly, I wasn’t going to pay the $70 to buy the board game and find out.

But then, they launched it as an IOS game.  Despite the rather high price tag for an IOS game, it’s still a far cry from the MSRP on the board game (and it seems to include multiple expansions for free), so I jumped in.

There are five sequential tutorials to go through before you start.  I’m ok with tutorials, but this was overly long, and I found myself clicking through it faster than I probably should: Next, Next, Next…  By the time I actually finished those tutorials, I felt that I had a reasonable grasp on it.

Boy, was I wrong.

The options in the actual game didn’t match up exactly with the tutorial, and I wound up starving my family several years in a row.  It got so bad, that I went back and watched through the tutorials again to see how this game could be so hard.  I wasn’t happy with the game at all, but I’d paid a whopping $7, so I was going to actually play it through at least once and not have starved anyone.  After playing it through 5-6 times, the game got easier (and, as a result, less frustrating).  By game 7 or 8, I actually found it rather fun.

I haven’t played it all too much since (I probably have a couple of dozen games under my belt in the six months that I’ve owned it), but it’s not bad.  The problem is that, despite actually liking the game, I don’t see the point: I won’t be able to convince others to play it.  I can’t imagine too many people will be enamored with my recommendation: I know it sucks for the first 5-6 games, but trust me, after that, it’ll start to become fun!

My advice: steer clear.

Tiny Heroes (Free)

tinyheroesThe last of the D6G recommendations, this is a cartoony defense game where various heroes are raiding your dungeon for treasures, and you have to put a series of traps & monsters in their way to prevent them from doing so.  In total, there are about 20 levels that you can go through, and about as many options for traps/monsters.

The levels do get progressively harder (including addition of more severe heroes to thwart you), and the traps get better(ish).  I wish there was more balance within the traps, as some of them seem to be clearly superior to all of the other choices, so I found myself using them all of the time.

After beating the levels, you can go back and try them all again to see if you can get perfect scores (ie. 3 stars), or you can purchase additional levels to play.  I found myself doing much of the former, but none of the latter.  I did get hung up on a couple of levels where I was only able to collect two stars, and eventually stopped playing it entirely.

Still it’s a great investment at $0.

Anywho, those are the games that I wound up playing this year.  Hopefully someone takes something constructive out of this review.