Ten Smaller Board Game YouTubers You Should Check Out!

Everytime someone on Facebook asks "who's your favourite YouTube content creator for board games, it's the same people mentioned all the time! The same guests appearing on shows, whether they are big on board games or not, but what about the little channels? And I don't mean myself, though I am small, I'm talking about all the other content creators in our community who have smaller channels, but love to talk about games none the less. Where's the support for them? Well I'm going to do my part and raise your awareness of 10 Other YouTubers you can give your suppport to. The Conditions? Only that they are preparing reviews predominantly on their own channel and they have less than 10,000 subscribers. If you like the video enough, I'll even consider doing another 10 at a later time.


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The Broken Meeple is in the Top 100!

It is with great pleasure that I announce that The Broken Meeple now features in the Top 100 Board Game Blogs as presented here by Feedspot!



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The Broken Meeple Show - EPISODE ZERO

Hold on!! What's this? 

Well everyone, I recently did a massive relaunch of my whole channel "The Broken Meeple" - if you check out my YouTube channel you can see the after effects of that. Well that also means the podcast got a refresh, with a brand new look, ACTUAL VIDEO CONTENT OF ME SPEAKING via OBS software and a promise to maintain a regular production (95% certain) of 1 episode of around 30 minutes each Sunday. 

So rather than delete all the old content, I've created this Episode Zero to explain everything in detail and show you on screen (audio fans don't worry, I describe everything!). I will say OBS was a "pain" to say the least and my audio isn't 100% perfect, but it's a learning curve so expect improvements going forward!


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BRAND NEW AND FRESH LOOK FOR THE YOUTUBE CHANNEL!


I'm back!!
The channel is now refreshed with a new style, a new look, a new format and I got some fun plans for the channel! If you're a subscriber then check out what's new on the horizon. If you're brand new to the channel, then find out more about who I am, what I do and what The Broken Meeple is all about!

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Top 10 Deck Builders (Last Video Before Refresh)

This one is a bonus episode! I mentioned to the astute few, that I had one more episode recorded before I did a big refresh of the channel. I couldn't change the footage so i figured I would just experiment with some new format changes and release the list as a bonus pre-update video. Be interested to hear about your choices for the list but also any general comments on the differences from previous videos - music, transitions, lower thirds, style, intro, outro, all sorts. #brokenmeeple #topten #lukehector


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Season 4 Episode 7 - What's Been Happening?!

It's been a while due to a mix of reasons, mainly because of my daily YouTube content I've put out to keep you all sane (or not) during COVID. But it's time you got an update as to what else I've been doing as there's plenty going on behind the scenes.

In addition there are few interesting app/PNP additions to some games that are worth a discussion and at the end, there's my final 3 questions for the Q & A.........please submit more questions! :P



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7th Continent "Extended" Review

I tried to be as "animated" as I could, but at the time of filming I had a back injury from a pulled muscle making my motion very limited! :P In The 7th Continent, a solo or cooperative "choose-your-own-adventure" exploration board game, you choose a character and begin your adventure on your own or with a team of other explorers. Inspired by the Fighting Fantasy book series, you will discover the extent of this wild new land through a variety of terrain and event cards. In a land fraught with danger and wonders, you have to use every ounce of wit and cunning to survive, crafting tools, weapons, and shelter to ensure your survival. Top 20 of BGG - one of the best solo games of all time as voted by the BGG community.................is it really all that or are there some annoying kinks to iron out? Perhaps this requires a unique approach to playing a campaign game? #7thcontinent #brokenmeeple #seriouspoulp #lukehector #dicetower



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Solar Storm Review

In Solar Storm, you are crew members on board a ship that has had its energy core taken out by solar flares. Even worse, the ship is caught in the sun’s gravitational pull which is causing even more damage. It is only a matter of time before you and the rest of the crew perish. Solar Storm will give players a unique game every time they play due to the ship’s areas being laid out randomly at the start of each game. In Solar Storm, cooperative play is essential as players cannot win on their own. #solarstorm #brokenmeeple #drandagames #lukehector #dicetower


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Top 10 Games That Escaped Me

Editor Note - Adobe didn't change the numbering on the countdown numbers for my #1 for some reason, but I'm not going to back to re-render a whole giant video for it. So yes, it says #2 twice in a row, but you're all intelligent people, I'm sure you'll manage! :-) Right, hopefully you won't overreact on this list! :P We're back to positive Top 10's so you got no reason to be mad now! Also as a warning, yes my eye looks very red, I had an eye infection for a few days brought on by the excessive hayfever, this has now dissipated as I write this. There are too many games released each year to play them all, so some will slip the net or escape me for whatever reason. Here are 10 games that escaped me, that I really want to play - but why did they escape me and why do I want to play them so bad? 00:00 - Introduction 02:40 - #10 05:30 - #9 07:56 - #8 09:47 - #7 12:01 - #6 14:14 - #5 17:32 - #4 20:23 - #3 22:45 - #2 26:17 - #1 29:38 - Conclusion and Shortlist #escaped #brokenmeeple #topten #lukehector #dicetower

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Top 10 Overrated Games (IMHO)

I love board games, I love gaming, don't get me wrong here when you read the title. But we all have things we dislike in gaming whether it's a specific genre, a theme, a mechanic, a publisher trait, a designer style, a player trope, whatever. Most are afraid to express these views. Well not me!! :P And this is the big one that always gets contention. Even more so that hated games - which is kind of weird, but I guess they overlap and also some games you state you hate are usually hated by everyone anyway. My Top 10 Overrated Games based on current social media, BGG rankings, content on YouTube etc. Just try not to over-react - it's purely opinion........... 00:00 - Introduction & General Update 04:50 - #10 08:09 - #9 11:32 - #8 15:02 - #7 19:24 - #6 25:06 - #5 28:29 - #4 34:40 - #3 40:58 - #2 47:58 - #1 52:48 - Conclusion and Shortlist #overrated #brokenmeeple #topten #lukehector #dicetower https://youtu.be/6pJ43K_OfS8




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Top 10 Things I Hate In Gaming

I love board games, I love gaming, don't get me wrong here when you read the title. But we all have things we dislike in gaming whether it's a specific genre, a theme, a mechanic, a publisher trait, a designer style, a player trope, whatever. Most are afraid to express these views.
Well not me!! :P To get through another week of isolation, a new Top 10 is an order and one that will allow me to get some venting out.........this was an exhausting one! :P And the worst..........is still yet to come. 00:00 - Introduction & General Update 03:49 - #10 06:50 - #9 11:38 - #8 15:38 - #7 18:28 - #6 23:23 - #5 27:33 - #4 33:04 - #3 38:06 - #2 44:12 - #1 52:59 - #PC #hate #brokenmeeple #topten #lukehector #dicetower




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Escape Tales: The Awakening Review

Escape Tales: The Awakening is a story driven escape room in card game form, with immersive exploration, no time limits when solving puzzles, and a collection of tough choices that will captivate and immerse you deeply. As for the story, here's the set-up: Players take on the role of Sam, whose daughter has been in a coma for over two months and whose doctors still cannot explain how this happened or what caused it. According to them, everything is fine with the girl; she's healthy and shouldn't be in this condition. Sam is desperate and looks for answers everywhere he can, which leads to a weird meeting with Mark. Can this Escape Room set itself from the competition by bringing us a proper narrative and potential replayability? #escapetales #brokenmeeple #boardanddice #lukehector #dicetower



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Season 4 Episode 6 - Golden Geek Awards 2019

Talk about hot off the press! The Golden Geek Awards for 2019 were just released. Now granted, I don't tend to rely on the rating or award systems governed by BoardGameGeek, but that doesn't stop me from giving my thoughts!

So I will take you through each award (that I can fairly comment on) giving you the winners and runners up and some of the nominations that I feel should have been given more love.

Afterwards, I have 3 more questions from the mail bag including thoughts on a rather controversial "solo gaming" video released by others recently. . . . .



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Traintopia Review

It is a truly wonderful day indeed as today we start our great competition! At the dawn of the nation of Traintopia — a country of clean, efficient, and fast transportation — we are looking for a new president, and we know exactly who we want for the job! In Traintopia, you must create a futuristic train paradise with networks and routes for goods, commuters, and tourists. Despite being related to trains, I'm diving into this new gateway family game from Board&Dice. However should I be concerned about something bigger than just the setting it's using? 03:40 - Duration 05:11 - Ease of Play 07:08 - Tactics & Strategy 16:20 - Aesthetics 19:20 - Immersion 20:40 - Longevity #traintopia #brokenmeeple #boardanddice #lukehector #dicetower



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VLOG: A Ton of Solo Games: Part II

As we're all stuck in isolation, everyone is talking about solo games and lists are being prepared and all sorts. However I've seen some dubious stuff out there, where you can tell that the hosts don't enjoy or appreciate or know a lot about solo games. So here are two videos dedicated to talking about a ton of solo games - hopefully this list will give you a solid foundation to build your solo game experience upon! Feel free to put some I missed in the comments! Hope you enjoy these impromptu VLOGS! 00:35 Self Improvement (Beat Your Score) 13:05 Objective / Thematic 32:35 Controlling Multiple Avatars #solo #brokenmeeple #games #lukehector #dicetower



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VLOG: A Ton of Solo Games: PART I

As we're all stuck in isolation, everyone is talking about solo games and lists are being prepared and all sorts. However I've seen some dubious stuff out there, where you can tell that the hosts don't enjoy or appreciate or know a lot about solo games. So here are two videos dedicated to talking about a ton of solo games - hopefully this list will give you a solid foundation to build your solo game experience upon! Feel free to put some I missed in the comments! Hope you enjoy these impromptu VLOGS! 00:00 - Introduction 01:55 - Quick & Easy 07:08 - Light & Portable 10:57 - Summary of the Main Categories 12:07 - Solo Games with an AI Player COMING IN PART 2: Self Improvement (Beat Your Score) Objective / Thematic Controlling Multiple Avatars #solo #brokenmeeple #games #lukehector #dicetower


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VLOG - Solo Gaming (Introduction)

As we're all stuck in isolation, everyone is talking about solo games and lists are being prepared and all sorts. However I've seen some dubious stuff out there, where you can tell that the hosts don't enjoy or appreciate or know a lot about solo games. I've even seen ones where they outright condescend solo gaming as a concept. . . . seriously?!!? Now a Top 10 list isn't enough, there are too many solo games to talk about. So first I'm going to talk about solo gaming in general, then in two further videos I will be giving an overview of a TON of games suitable for solo play! Hope you enjoy these impromptu VLOGS! #solo #brokenmeeple #games #lukehector #dicetower



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Guards of Atlantis - First Impressions Preview

Guards of Atlantis: Tabletop MOBA is a competitive "zero-luck" team-based board game inspired by computer games of the MOBA genre.
In the game, each player controls a single hero and uses a hand of cards to move that hero around the game board, employ special abilities, and attack enemies. Defeating enemy minions earns you coins, which are used to buy levels and upgrade your hero. Your goal is to help your "minions" — units that are not directly controlled by the players — reach the enemy base and capture it. Guards of Atlantis II is a complete overhaul of the original game with 21 new heroes, new game board and much more. In addition to new content, Guards of Atlantis II streamlines the rules of the original, making it faster and tighter. Not a full review, but instead of a first impressions preview of the game before it launches on Kickstarter on April 28th. https://bit.ly/3eMnMeD 00:00 - Intro and Overview of Game 07:30 - Duration 10:07 - Ease of Play 12:30 - Tactics & Strategy 16:48 - Aesthetics 18:30 - Immersion 20:50 - Longevity and Closing Thoughts #guardsofatlantis #brokenmeeple #wolffdesigna #lukehector #dicetower



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Board Game Bling - Bringing Back An Old Series

Resurrecting an old series! Not a common feature though. But ERaptor were kind enough on request to donate me 6 inserts for some major game titles. I have assembled them all, put them in my own games and now I'm going to show what they comprise of and how much value they add in terms of setup and takedown vs the money you pay. Both pros and cons will be discussed! #Eraptor #brokenmeeple #bling #lukehector #dicetower




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The Broken Meeple Podcast - S04 E05 - Isolation Woes

Doesn't isolation just suck?!

Ah well once I've moaned about how I'm coping as an extrovert with isolation, I can talk about gaming matters!

Firstly my thoughts on Dominant Species which I played literally last night for the first time on Tabletopia........was it worth the 5 hours of investment?

Second, a quick snippet on my fears for how the gaming industry is going to return to normal with regards to releases.

Thirdly a kind contributor has given me a few cool questions to answer for Q & A including how I came up with the Broken Meeple name and why is theme so important to me in a game?


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Shelf By Shelf Series - Check Them Out On YouTube!

You requested it as a community. And being the glutton for punishment I am, I decided to adhere to your requests! :P 2 rooms, 3 Kallax Units, 48 Squares, Over 200 Games..............it's time to go shelf by shelf and talk about my entire games collection, one cube at a time!

And sorry but I won't be linking all 48 videos to this blog as that would take me forever! Check them out on YouTube and subscribe to the channel and playlist!




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Kanban Driver's Edition Review

"Kanban" — or 看板, the Japanese word for billboard — is a term for the visual cues that might be used in a lean, efficient assembly line in order to expedite and smooth workflow. These signals get the workers what they need, where they need it, when they need it to create a just-in-time (JIT) production system. If you want a seat on the board someday, you need to show that you can keep a complex machine running smoothly, efficiently, with everything happening just at the right time. Kanban: Automotive Revolution is a pure Eurogame focused on economics and resource management that puts you in the driver's seat of an entire production facility, racing for the highest level of promotion. With the new Eagle Gryphon version on the way - is this one still worth considering if you want a cheaper alternative? Will you enjoy the mechanics enough to warrant considering either? By community request, this is my review of Kanban from Vital Lacerda. 05:30 - Duration 07:22 - Ease of Play 11:22 - Tactics & Strategy 15:28 - Aesthetics 18:05 - Immersion 22:05 - Longevity 24:50 - My Final Word #kanban #brokenmeeple #stronghold #lukehector #dicetower



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Dale of Merchants Review

As voted by the community, the first of two reviews of alternative games in my collection. Is Dale of Merchants a deck builder that needs more attention and love? Spoiler alert: yes, it's in my collection, but why? Find out more here!


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Podcast - Season 4 Episode 4 - Swiss Army Cards


We got some new segments debuting on today's show!
Firstly a summary of how life is progressing under the Coronavirus restrictions for someone who doesn't like being stuck at home. . .
Then my first impressions of Rune Stones and Silver & Gold.
Followed by the first new segment "Movers & Shakers" where I talk about games that have risen or fallen in their ratings and explain why.
Finally the second new segment "Mechanics" where I talk about my favourite game mechanics, explaining why I love them so much and give examples of games where they feature prominently in my collection.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to the podcast RSS feed and consider supporting The Broken Meeple on Patreon to keep the show running.



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Top 10 Middleweight Games

Many talk about light games or heavy games. Why not in the middle? One reason is because it's very hard to define what is a middleweight game. Well I'm going to do my best here and talk about my favourite 10 games which I consider to be "medium weight" - and I like to think my split of light, medium and heavy is less insanely skewed then many other gamers! 05:08 - #10 06:54 - #9 10:02 - #8 12:49 - #7 15:36 - #6 19:16 - #5 22:24 - #4 26:18 - #3 29:54 - #2 33:29 - #1 38:40 - #PC #topten #brokenmeeple #middleweight #lukehector #dicetower



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Oriflamme Review

In Oriflamme, the players find themselves in the middle of a medieval feud over the French royal crown. The King is dead! Long live the King! As heads of influential families, the players strive to come to power with cunning and malice, power and strength, virtue and infamy. Their goal: the king's throne! In the tactical card game, hidden cards are played in turn. By tactically uncovering and activating their effects, players can outdo or get them out of the way, because all players have the same goal in mind — to collect the most influence points for their family and thus win the game. Never heard of it, wouldn't look at the cover twice, but it was recommended to me by a contact at Asmodee. It's 20-30 minutes and you know what, I'm up to here with everyone talking about giant 3-4 hour Euro monsters and nothing else - so let's have a good look at this little filler. 05:25 - DURATION 06:35 - EASE OF PLAY 07:44 - TACTICS & STRATEGY 10:54 - AESTHETICS 14:38 - IMMERSION 16:08 - LONGEVITY 18:32 - MY FINAL WORD #studioH #brokenmeeple #oriflamme #lukehector #dicetower


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Ishtar Review

From the award-winning designer Bruno Cathala, Ishtar is a game in which you play the role of a gardener aiming to transform the dry desert into the Lost Hanging Gardens of Babylon. To accomplish your mission, you will have to plant flowers, which, if you place them well, can help you gather precious gems and activate actions. Whether to buy Trees (which will block the link between two Flower spots, as well as earning you points) or to purchase upgrades (such as getting two more points per Tree card at the end of the game), collecting gems will be a crucial part of the game. Get them before your opponents, recruit apprentices, send them to earn points in the copses of flowers you have created, block others and think carefully of the upgrades to purchase if you want to become the best gardener at the end of the game! Why isn't this getting any buzz? Is it criminally underrated or is the lack of any buzz justified? Let's go into detail and find out in the new review, requested by popular demand from the community! #iello #brokenmeeple #ishtar #lukehector #dicetower




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VLOG - Coronavirus Update

Given what's happening in the world right now and especially within the UK with the Coronavirus, I felt I needed to give you guys an update on how things are going for me as well as what will happen with the channel in the next few months. #vlog #brokenmeeple #coronavirus #lukehector #dicetower



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On Mars Review

This is a long one guys! I wanted to keep it short like other reviews, but it's just not possible for these heavy Euro games, there's too much to talk about! I did a quick vote on Twitter and the people opted unanimously to release it as a full video and not split it. So that's what you get, a bumper edition of a review for Vital Lacerda's On Mars! But of course, if you want to navigate it, check out the timestamps below - I hear that they help! :P In the beginning, you will be dependent on supplies from Earth and will have to travel often between the Mars Space Station and the planet's surface. As the colony expands over time, you will shift your activities to construct mines, power generators, water extractors, greenhouses, oxygen factories, and shelters. Your goal is to develop a self-sustaining colony independent of any terrestrial organization. This will require understanding the importance of water, air, power, and food — the necessities for survival. Do you dare take part in humankind’s biggest challenge? 03:20 - DURATION 05:10 - EASE OF PLAY 11:38 - TACTICS AND STRATEGY 17:38 - AESTHETICS 20.55 - IMMERSION 23.25 - LONGEVITY 26:52 - MY FINAL WORD & RANKINGS OF LACERDA GAMES #OnMars #eaglegryphon #vitallacerda #boardgames #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower





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The Crew Review

In the co-operative trick-taking game The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, the players set out as astronauts on an uncertain space adventure. What about the rumors about the unknown planet about? The eventful journey through space extends over 50 exciting missions. But this game can only be defeated by meeting common individual tasks of each player. In order to meet the varied challenges, communication is essential in the team. But this is more difficult than expected in space. Taking inspiration from one of my most hated games of all time, is this going to end in tears and rage for me or does the Crew offer enough differences to elevate it to a decent little filler? #thecrew #kosmos #boardgames #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower



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Coloma Review

In the game of Coloma, you are a pioneer who has recently traveled out West to strike it rich and make a name for yourself. You will prospect for gold and use your windfalls to recruit workers, rustle up horses, and establish businesses. You will also get opportunities to explore the surrounding riverways and frontier lands. But alas! You are not alone—every other pioneer seems to have gotten the same idea! Therefore, it will take extra cunning tactics on your part to not go Bust with the rest of them… It certainly looks the part, but does it have the substance to go with it? Does it have any player count where it works in perfect harmony? Check out the review on Coloma from Jonny Pac! #Coloma #finalfrontiergames #boardgames #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower





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Podcast - Season 4 Episode 3 - Maintaining Integrity

Mainly just want to have a chat guys, talk about some games played and answer a few questions from the mailbag. However two of the questions have a strong link to "Integrity" when conducting reviews and I certainly do talk a lot about that. So it makes for a good title for the podcast!

Hear my thoughts on the Wingspan expansion, Ishtar and Tokyo Metro! And then 4 very interesting questions from the community mailbag!



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Top 10 Multiplayer Games That Are Best With 2

There's an editing gaff at 06.55 where I had a duplicate copy of a game box cover appear when it shouldn't have. Apologies but not a lot I can do about it now!! 😄 It's really common that a ton of games good at two players aren't particularly good at multiplayer. Whether due to imbalance or time length or too much chaos. But people also believe that a lot of excellent multiplayer games suck at two players. . . . . yes and no. I feel there's quite a lot of games that play really well or probably best at two players despite being good at multiplayer. So here are my ten picks for games where despite catering to multiple player counts, actually play best when it's just two of you. Do you agree with the list? What are your choices? Spread the word, spread the video and let us know your thoughts in the comments. #topten #multiplayer #boardgames #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower



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Top 10 Games With High Replay Value

When you purchase a game, you want to get the most out of it. So it needs to be still fun and give you something new on repeated plays. Now when you spend a fortune, you kind of expect that, but still some games don't deliver. So here are ten games where I believe for the money you spend, you're getting a decent amount of replay value out of the base box alone. No CCG's, no LCG's, no expansions allowed. Price point will vary on the games depending on just how replayable they are. #topten #replay #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower



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Wavelength Review

Wavelength is a social guessing game in which two teams compete to read each other's minds. Teams take turns rotating a dial to where they think a hidden bullseye is located on a spectrum. One of the players on your team — the Psychic — knows exactly where the bullseye is, and draws a card with a pair of binaries on it (such as: Job - Career, Rough - Smooth, Fantasy - Sci-Fi, Sad Song - Happy Song, etc). The Psychic must then provide a clue that is *conceptually* where the bullseye is located between those two binaries. For example, if the card this round is HOT-COLD and the bullseye is slightly to the "cold" side of the centre, the Psychic needs to give a clue somewhere in that region. Perhaps "salad"? After the Psychic gives their clue, their team discusses where they think the bullseye is located and turns the dial to that location on that spectrum. The closer to the center of the bullseye the team guess, the more points they score! OK so I don't go mad for Wolf's games and the last big game he did I ......... kind of ...........still need anger management for it. But maybe Wavelength is the turning point? Will this be the current party game to talk about? #wavelength #wolfgang #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower



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Awkward Guests Review

Awkward Guests is a one of a kind deduction game with infinite re-playability. Based on the innovative Brilliant Deck System! It can recreate Mr. Walton’s murder in so many different ways that you won’t ever play two similar games! Its engaging Brilliant Deck System will actively involve you in the investigations, allowing you to use genuine detective abilities to solve each case. To solve a mystery, you will have to interrogate the suspects, question the household staff, examine the crime scene, search for clues around the Walton Mansion, consult the police reports… You will do all of this while exchanging information with your opponents or hiding it from them. Get ready to use all your gumshoe skills! WHO killed Mr. Walton? HOW did the murderer end his life? WHY did the murderer killed him? Was there an ACCOMPLICE? Will you be the first to solve the mystery? Is this truly CLUEDO done right?? #awkwardguests #megacorpin #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower





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VLOG - Recovery & Airecon

Now back in the saddle after a week of illness, not 100% recovered but enough to at least speak and record a video! Thanks to those who wished me well, t'was appreciated. Just to give you a quick update on proceedings and talk about my upcoming visit to Airecon 2020! #vlog #brokenmeeple #airecon #convention #dicetower



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The Hadal Project Review

Got at least one done before I caught Tonsillitus! The original Time Stories ended on a bit of a low note after a downhill spiral...........can The Hadal Project rejuvenate the franchise or will this be like a Disney live remake? For the Time Stories veterans - did you enjoy the entire series or was there a point where the magic died? Your favourite scenario? (Mine's Arkham)



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Podcast - Season 4 Episode 2 - Consistency Is Key

Bumper episode tonight! A quick first impression of Awkward Guests in advance of an upcoming review in the future. My thoughts on a Twitter discussion where gamers were asked which publishers have the best consistency in making good games? Some more Q & A from the Patreon mailbag!




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Crystal Palace Review

In Crystal Palace, players take on the role of a nation at the time of the first World Fair in London (1851), trying to create a buzz with spectacular inventions and the support of famous and powerful people.

Crystal Palace is a dice-placement game in which the players themselves determine the stats of their dice at the beginning of each round. The higher the number, the better — but it comes at a price. In the course of the game, dice are placed on eight action locations (Patent Office, Reform Club, London Times, Port of London, Waterloo Station, British Museum, Bank of England, Westminster) in a competition for the best resources, patents, and brains.

In a world of slightly weird inventions, you will meet people like Phileas Fogg, Levi Strauss and Amelia Edwards, and invent gadgets such as the Thinking machine, the Beer glass counter or the Climate changer.

—description from the publisher

I had never even heard of this game before I was told about it. Didn't know it was on the horizon, who was making it and had you not shown me the cover or the publisher blurb, I would have imagined this was a football manager game. And even if you showed me those, I'd have likely passed it by.

But a fellow mate on the UK Facebook groups recommended this game to me and said I had to grab it when I visited Essen. Not sure why I caved in to that alone especially with the stiff competition for other heavy Euro's that year, but I was at Essen, I had spare Euros and figured, what the hell, let's see if I can find a hidden gem in this heavy Euro....

....were mistakes made?

Let's go into more detail........



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Chocolate Factory Review

Set in the early 20th century of entrepreneurs and chocolatiers experimenting with new ways to create and market chocolates, YOU are assigned the task of chief chocolate maker! Chocolate Factory is a euro game of literal factory building and moving (using a pushable conveyer belt component) chocolates you must complete the largest number of chocolates required by retailers for the best value. The game also features wooden chocolate pieces and a movable conveyer belt making the physicality blended with euro mechanics a unique experience. Who doesn't like chocolate right? There's a lot of promise in this to be good and it's getting the buzz. So why don't I see it being played more? Let's see if I will partake in a chocolate finger or prefer to stick to my diet? #chocolatefactory #alleycatgames #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower



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Top 10 Game Reprints

Sometimes a game goes out of print and it's lost to time. People remember the game but others can only hear about it and never get to play it. And it's always sad...............but then a reprint gets announced and suddenly everyone loses their mind in excitement. I personally love a good reprint if the game justifies it. So here are 10 reprints/editions ranked not just by which ones I enjoy the most, but also taking into account how eventful the reprint was - did it really change the old game for the better, did it improve the rules ten fold, did it add tech to the mix etc. Note, it can't be simply a cosmetic upgrade and nothing else. Not every game on this list is one that I enjoy. . . . What game got you most excited for a reprint?





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VLOG - Portalcon

Fresh back from a weekend in Poland to visit Portalcon by invite of Ignacy, Merry and the gang, I give my spiel on what the con is all about, how my second visit to Poland was, some first impressions and most of all, my thoughts on what I'm excited for from Ignacy's Keynote seminar. #vlog #brokenmeeple #portal #portalcon #dicetower




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Sierra West Review

In the late 1840s, thousands of pioneers headed out West to seek wealth and opportunity. Many of these brave souls traveled by wagon over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, into what would soon become the Golden State of California. In the game Sierra West, you are an expedition leader who must guide a party of rough-and-ready pioneers—employing a clever mix of strategy and tactics with each step. Sierra West comes with four sets of special cards and parts, each of which can be combined with the game's basic components to create a unique mode of play. During setup, the players choose a mode, then build a mountain of overlapping cards with the corresponding deck. Each mode adds new thematic content, alternate paths to victory, and interesting twists on the core mechanics. Replayability and puzzle solving as well as a cover you just want to lick? It all sounds amazing so far. Hold up, is it my turn yet? #sierrawest #boardanddice #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower




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Warpgate Review

Warpgate is a fast-paced game of hand management and area control. As a leader of a unique race of aliens, lead them towards triumph. Move your fleets of star-ships on a hex-based modular game board, establish colonies and outposts and engage your enemies in battles for the control of prized commodities. Research new technologies and grow your galactic empire. 20 minutes per player? Easy to learn? Tactical and strategic gameplay as well as thematic integration? . . . . . . 20 minutes per player??..........these are some bold claims. What better person to tackle them head on? Can Warpgate provide the 3X formula in a fraction of the time of other behemoth space games? #warpgate #wolffdesigna #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower




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Mississippi Queen Review

In Mississippi Queen, players race their paddle wheelers down the Mississippi, picking up passengers along the way. But onboard coal supplies are limited, so each ship's acceleration and maneuvers must be carefully planned. The twists and turns of the river are unknown at the start of the game and are revealed only as ships progress downstream, so captains need to be alert at the wheel and ready to change course - Keep Exploring Games

Everyone has their list of words that they hate. Whether it's because they can't spell it or say it properly or it just grates them. Mississippi is one of those words for me. Nothing against the location at all. It's just one of the most painful words for me to spell, I literally could start a counter during this review of how many times I've misspelt it. Already at "1" from this paragraph alone.

At least I can pronounce it fine though, so playing Mississippi Queen...... "2".....wasn't a problem. A reprint of a very old racing game where you sail your boat across the famous river of the same name (ha ha, avoided that one) and pick up passengers. Not much else to say really, it's a pretty simple game over all and I'm all up for a racing game, we need more of these family friend ones and less of the 2-3 hour long simulation monstrosities.

However I don't recall hearing everyone clambering for this game to be reprinted, most wouldn't have even heard of it. And given how old it is, have they tweaked it so that it will stand up against the modern day competition or is it already DOA (Dated On Arrival)?

Let's go into more detail........



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Azul: Summer Pavilion Review

In Azul: Summer Pavilion, players return to Portugal to accomplish the task that never began. As a master artisan, you must use the finest materials to create the summer pavilion while carefully avoiding wasting supplies. Only the best will rise to the challenge to honor the Portuguese royal family. Ok screw what the theme is, you know the story of Azul by now. Do we really need a third one? Let's see if this can offer anything new that would make you ignore the simple original? #azul #nextmove #brokenmeeple #lukehector #dicetower


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Dust In The Wings Review

"Dust in the Wings is a family game of perception, planning, and picturing the beauty of nature. Built on the wisdom of Mancala — a beloved game known for thousands of years — Dust in the Wings creates an experience that is light on rules, engaging in its gameplay, and wondrous to the eye!" - Board&Dice

It's nice to actually get to play some games that are just intended to be light, pleasant affairs. No £75 price tag, no giant box with miniatures or 1,000,000 chits, no complicated rules that require a membership with Mensa to understand, just quick and light hearted fun.

Dust in the Wings is based on what is known among gamers as the "Mancala" mechanic, introduced many decades ago in the game of the same name. The concept of picking up a group of tokens and then distributing them one by one in adjacent spaces/containers until eventually the final one you place triggers an effect. It's a very dry mechanic, but a really engaging one and yet not commonly seen in modern games. The big portrayer that springs to mind would be Five Tribes by Days of Wonder, a great and brain-burning Mancala game in my Top 100 that will drive colour blind players insane.

Board&Dice appear to have taken the Mancala mechanic and put it into what looks like an extremely light gateway level game. This is a gap in the market I feel and if they pull it off, it could work out nicely. The question is, does it succeed in capturing the attention of more than just the casual gamer or will the more appropriate title be "Dust On Your Shelf"?

Let's go into more detail........



D-URATION


Starting off on a positive note, this is "blink and you miss it" levels of quick. This game can be taught in less than a few minutes and it will barely take 20-30 minutes to actually play through it. . . well providing you haven't got that chronic sufferer of Analysis Paralysis (AP) in your group, then I can't help you.

And that is a rather big caveat, more so than in other games. The Mancala mechanic is solid, but it has one huge glaring flaw which permetates in every game that uses it. It's one of the biggest generators of AP out there. After all, you're staring at a grid littered with tokens where you have dozens of eligible moves to choose from. Obviously you won't see them all, but you bet you'll be trying to. Those who can't handle that level of optional choice tend to struggle to make quick moves - Five Tribes players will testify to that.

That being said, it's not as problematic here due to the inherent simplicity of this game and most players should be able to cope just fine - but you've been warned.




E-ASE OF PLAY

Any game that can be taught in a matter of minutes is going to be easy to grasp. There are barely any rules to learn and what rules there are, are family level simple. It's clear that this was the target audience for Dust in the Wings and it may end up being a little too simple for most Euro gamers.

The one slightly fiddly aspect is having to populate the butterfly objective cards with point crystals each round and scrapping them occasionally. With the speed this game moves at, it's very easy to accidentally miss a round and forget to update them. It's also a bit of a pain constantly having to reach into that bag and draw them out - you have to for fairness, but you feel sometimes that you spend more time sticking your hand in a bag then actually taking your turn.

Of course, if it wasn't painfully obviously from the pictures, if you're colour blind, you're outta luck. If red, blue and yellow cause you issues, you won't be able to make out anything on the board. Now granted you could simply ignore the colours and focus entirely on positional objective cards - however as we'll get into very shortly, that's a very bad idea.



T-ACTICS & STRATEGY


The beauty of the Mancala mechanic is having all those tactical options in front of you and trying to deduce which one is the best move, subject to annoying other players with your AP that is. There are plenty of choices, but this is a game that children need to be able to understand so don't expect brain burning decisions here.

It's also going to be devoid of any strategy. You don't plan ahead except possibly in a two player game and even then it's about reacting to what's offered to you. In a 3 or 4 player game the board state is just going to change too often to form anything more than a short 1-turn plan.

But we now come to possibly the most important aspect I need to bring up. I can't talk about subsequent printings of this game, but in this current edition, there's one big flaw in the scoring. Being only able to achieve either a Gathering or Composition card usually results in the obvious choice being the Gathering option because the points are usually always greater or involve less "work" to achieve. This makes it very linear and one-note for adult gamers and end game scoring results in 90% Gathering cards across the players - the point rewards for Composition cards are simply too low to be worth glancing at.

Now the publisher has recently released an official Variant for the game, published on BoardGameGeek (link at the bottom of this review) with the premise that the retail released rulebook is the family rules and the variant is for expert gamers. I can't stress enough how mandatory it is for anyone older than a child to play with the variant rules, it actually for me fixes the game as a whole.

It's a small change as well - you are now able to claim BOTH a Gathering and Composition card in the same turn. On top of that you only stack crystals if a Gathering Card was scored in that round. There are no words to describe how much this improves the game for gamers. It balances the scoring in one fell swoop. But it does turn the issue of analysis paralysis for some players up to 11 because now you're having to try to find a move that will gain you two cards instead of one.

However I will say that the family rules are still fine, but be strict in that you only play this with families.


A-ESTHETICS

The components and artwork are pretty decent across the board - nice and colourful for a relatively inexpensive package. However do publishers get a discount on certain box sizes or something? This box which is Ticket To Ride sized has to hold a small board, a bag of tiny gems, a bag of tiny butterflies and a low quantity of cards. That's it! Why is it so large? It's completely un-necessary and frustrating to open a big box and basically realise you just essentially bought "air".

This could have easily fit within a Gamewright sized container - think Sushi Go Party or Forbidden Desert if the board came with more folds. Or at least let's say a Splendor box. It's not the biggest problem ever when rating a game, but it's still one of those annoying quirks in the industry we'd like to see the back end of.


I-MMERSION


Another quirk about the Mancala mechanic, it's not the most thematic inclusion in any game. And to be honest, theme isn't what Dust in the Wings is all about. This is meant to be a quick mechanical affair, but with a pleasant look to it and it succeeds in that regard. It's a dry game, but doesn't have the appearance of one.


L-ONGEVITY


There's very little variety in the cards to keep this fresh but younger players I think will still keep coming back to this for the colourful butterflies and simple gameplay. I can see this being brought to the table every now and again within a family environment or in a game cafe as an introductory tool and would say it's best suited to that purpose.

But for older gamers or those wanting a bit more meat, I can't see this appealing to them. They'll play it and probably be content at that and then move on to one of the harder, more involved Mancala games. For me, I enjoyed the first couple of plays, but then found myself getting bored when bringing it out in subsequent plays - clearly though I don't think I'm the target audience.



MY FINAL WORD...........


Dust In The Wings is the quickest and easiest Mancala game you're likely to see these days. However a pleasant look and simple mechanics aren't enough to make me reccomend it other than to families with young children.

The advanced rules can add to the experience for older players, but even with those, this is one of those games that will get the odd play, but struggle against the heavy competition in the gateway games market.


6/10 (7/10 for kids or families).


Complexity Rating





Link to Advanced Rules:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/183197/official-rules-variant-advanced-formations




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