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Success equals less writing

The shop has nearly been open a year and it's success has exceeded my expectations. So much so recently that i have not had any spare time to write any reviews I have started quite a few, just not managed to finish any. From recent releases :-

i like 'Erosion' by Sierra Madre a lot. The game has a similar feel to 'Glory to Rome' but without the mad combos (and you will finish the game knowing a lot more about gelogy than when you started)

'Castle Panic' was not the game i was hoping for, it lacks depth though i think it would be fun to play with young gamers.

'Ra : The Dice Game' is a big disappointment after the success of Modern Art the card game. The lack of an auction takes all of the interaction and tension out of the game.

'Day and Night' . The more i play it the more i like it and the more depth it reveals. It scratches a 'Magic the Gathering' itch whilst playing a clever abstract

'Ad Astra' feels like a Settlers/Puerto Rico hybrid. It's quite challenging and requires the ability to plan ahead and have flexibility in your plans to take advantage of others actions. Not for the analysis paralysis prone.

'Dice Town' - great closer, but has divided opinions in my gaming groups. I think people enjoy the game more if they go into their first play having a familiarity with poker hands

'Middle Earth Quest' - Brilliant strategy game, drips with theme and playable in 3 hours. I'm not a huge fan of 'War of the Ring' but i love this game.

New Releases : 21st September

I’m on holiday from Tuesday 22nd September to Sunday 27th. Whilst away there is no one manning the shop so any orders placed will be shipped on Monday the 28th. I will be monitoring and replying to emails and confirming orders whilst away.

and to try and stop you looking at those nasty other games shops whilst i'm away i have put a small 5% discount in place for all purchases made between now and Sunday ,just enter the code KOSMOS

Batt’l Ka’os from Zman games is released next week.. It’s a tile laying game which sees Orcs and Knights fight it out over castle strongholds.

The Island of Doctor Necreaux
is the first of AEG’s huge autumn release schedule. This is a co-operative card game for 1 -5 players.

The war gamers amongst you will be whipped into a sea of frenzy by two GMT releases this week.

The first is 1805 : Sea of Glory – a block game recreating the continental blockade that kept Napoleon from invading dear blighty.

The second is PQ17 – Arctic convoys. This game recreates the massive supply of goods by the Allies across the seas at the top of the world to aid the Soviet War Effort. The Nazis threw subs, surface raiders and planes at the convoys.

From rules read through both of these look like very interesting games

Caesar's Gallic Wars from Worthington Games completes the war games released this week.

Having listened to a few old Dice Tower Pod casts I have been brain washed into stocking the full range of Battleground Fantasy Warfare (they used to advertise in the show). It’s a miniatures game without miniatures, is expandable and a playable set costs a small fraction of a playable miniature army.

Battle for Hill 218 and Reef Encounter have been re-printed and are back in stock

Pandemic on the Brink is scheduled for release on Tuesday 29th September.

A few German copies of ‘Rise of Empires’ will be arriving on the 28th. Email me if you’d like one.

And last it’s the obligatory “go to another website and buy a game” section.

The game in question is “Where there is discord” a solitaire game recreating the retaking of the Falklands. The profits from the game are going to The Royal British Legion and the Argentinean equivalent. For a debut design and publishing effort the game looks amazing and has been receiving rave reviews. I have ordered a copy and am looking forward to getting this to table.

Have a great week


New Releases : 8th September

Fantasy Flight, game issuing behemoth of the last month, has more to offer us:-

The latest off the production line is Ad Astra. A game of exploration and colonisation, Ad Astra despite it’s Ameri-Trash looks is, according to co-designer Bruno Faidutti, a Euro Game. This game looks like another excellent release from FF, from a rule read through it promises to be a tight economic / development game with a innovative action sequence.

Also from Fantasy Flight comes the Descent Quest Compendium, 16 Adventures penned by the both the designers of the game and other luminaries of the gaming world.

There are also three new pewter miniatures for the Road to Legend Descent expansion, released this week.

Endeavor, officially, hits the UK next Tuesday. Two copies saw night long action at my weekly gaming group, with players queuing up to get in a game. It’s hot stuff.

For family gamers comes ‘Order up’ from Z Man, a family pick up pizzas and deliver game.

There is one new war game this week and it is a stand alone game in the Panzer Grenadier series. ‘Fall of France’ has fifty scenarios recreating the six weeks of blitzkrieg it took Germany to conquer France.

Other news

Fantasy Flight is going to publish English language versions of Planet Steam and Bushido Way of the Warrior. If you don’t want to wait I have both of these language independent games available in their in their original language versions, Bushido is a sale item.

Pandemic : On the brink is rumoured to be released on September 15th

I have booked my trip to Essen, a fun/business trip my, aim is to secure games for the import section that are not going to have an immediate English language version by one of the big American publishers, and other gems. The aim is to have the games available for sale within 10 days of Essen finishing. If there is anything you’d like me to try and secure, or and suggestions for things I should be looking at, please email me.

Palastgefluster and Court of the Medici

A comparative review by Martin Griffiths

Court of the Medici and Palastgefluster are both neat little card games that share a theme of intrigue in a medieval court. But how do they stack up against other games and each other?

Both games come in small boxes that contain nothing but a set of cards. Palastgefluster is in one of the tiny Adlung-Spiele boxes while CotM has some space for the cards to rattle around in. Both games have sets of cards in each player's colour depicting different members of the court: Jester, Lady-in-Waiting, King and so on. And in both games players take turns to play a single card from their hand onto the table. The biggest difference is that CotM is for 2 players only while Palastgefluster accommodates 3-5.

In Court of the Medici, each player takes their own deck, shuffles it, places the top four cards face up into the "Inner Circle" and then draws a hand of 5 cards. A turn will generally consist of playing a card and then drawing a card. Each member of the court has a value (between 0 and 15) and the cards can be played in various ways to try to increase your own presence in the court while eliminating your opponent's courtiers. At heart it is a mathematical game: when you play a card on to another card in the court to form a "conspiracy" you can then eliminate any other card or set of cards that has the same total. A few of the cards have special powers in addition to their numerical value. For example the Lady-in-Waiting can break up an "alliance" of courtiers while the Jester is a wild card. The game ends either when one player has been driven out entirely from the Inner Circle or when both players have drawn through their entire decks, with the winner given by the higher total of cards still in play.

After a few plays, the game seems very tactical. Your options are constrained by what you have in your hand, and you usually want to look for a way to get a card into play while eliminating one or more of your opponent's courtiers. The special powers add a few nice wrinkles, and the variable end conditions have made each game play quite differently. Sometimes it's an out-and-out war with courtiers being offed left, right and centre; sometimes there's more of a cat-and-mouse feel. As you may have gathered, the game isn't strongly thematic, but the gorgeous artwork taken from Medieval paintings and flavour text from Macchiavelli does help with that. All in all it's a very enjoyable 20-minute game that scratches the same itch as Battle Line or Lost Cities.

In Palastgefluster the sets of player cards are all shuffled together. Everyone starts with a hand of 6 cards, and the aim is to play cards one-by-one to the table in order to end up with six different characters displayed, thus scoring a point. If a player is forced to play a duplicate character, they automatically lose the hand and everyone else gains a point. The game is played to 4-6 points depending on the number of players, though if you have slow players you might want to set a time limit instead.

The different characters each offer a different ability, for example allowing you to swap displayed cards with another player or take back a previously played card into your hand. The clever twist is that the colour of a card played determines who is next in the turn order, so you might be able to play a string of cards at once or make another player take a turn when they really don't want to. Like CotM, it's a tactical battle, and it does seem easier to try to force someone else into an error than to go all-out for the solo win. This makes the scoring very close and it would be easy to end up with a tie. However there is a variant scoring system in the rules to make this less likely.

As the name implies, Palastgefluster is a German game but this is a bilingual edition. The player summary cards have an English translation and the character cards have icons to explain their special powers. The rules are also translated, for the most part reasonably well, and if in doubt there are some good player aids on boardgamegeek. The artwork is more cartoonish than Court of the Medici but still quite pleasant and the game will appeal to those who are fans of hand-management and a healthy dose of screwage.

I would be hard-pressed to say which of the two games I prefer, but as they both come in at well under a tenner and satisfy complementary numbers of players, there's no real need to decide!