Assault on Doomrock Preview

[This post is a preview for a game currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo.]

Assault on Doomrock, designed by Tom Stasiak, is a game currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo. It is a fantasy themed cooperative game that combines a ton of great features and mechanisms. It has players assuming the roles of heroes (that have some rather interesting and comedic traits) who are traveling to the titular Doomrock to fight and defeat the big bad. It does a lot of neat things and really aggressively trims the "fat" from what has become the prevailing model for these types of "dungeon crawl-y" games.

Ready for adventure! Initial set-up for the myriad decks of cards.

Gameplay in Assault on Doomrock is split up into two distinct parts. First, heroes will have to make choices about how best to spend their time exploring and encountering the randomly generated locations of adventure mode in order to visit shops, gather gear, and level up. There will always be three areas available for the players to travel to.

Each area card will have several locations the players can encounter for a variety of effects, some positive and some negative. Most actions players take during this phase of the game will cost a certain number of time units, which the players need to spend wisely - because once these are depleted, the heroes will have to enter combat with enemies.

Combat in Doomrock is done with dice, but not in the traditional way. Each hero will have ability cards which can be activated with specific dice. Before each combat round begins, each player will roll their dice and assign them to corresponding ability cards. Once combat proper begins, each hero will be able to activate each ability once for every die she had previously placed on her hero's ability cards.

If the Rogue had two 6's on her Poisonous Stab ability card, she would be able to activate that ability twice this combat round.

Combat in Doomrock is different from what one might expect from a fantasy game in another way - tactical positioning and movement is very abstracted. Heroes and monsters are represented on the field of battle by cardboard discs. These discs are either adjacent to each other or they aren't (distant). Heroes and monsters can use melee attacks on enemies adjacent to them, and ranged attacks on enemies who are distant from them. 

I had a lot of fun playing Assault on Doomrock. The art is fantastic and beautiful, and I really like how it is set in a fantasy world with the familiar structure that provides, but Tom has put a very funny twist on everything in his take on traditional fantasy that I find delightful.

I also really like how Tom has separated the two parts of the game, the adventure phase and the battle phase. The adventure phase feels much more like a traditional "euro" co-op game, where players are working against the clock to try to find all the benefits they can while avoiding the unavoidable negative events. 

Combat in Doomrock is much more simplified than in similar games, but no less interesting. The fun part in pretty much any tactical combat game of this kind is gaining new abilities, and then getting to use those abilities in unique ways. Rarely is the "OK I have 5 movement, and I can go here, or here...or here..." part where very much of the fun lies. Doomrock cuts all of that out, and lets players focus on collaborating to assign and use their dice most effectively. 

One thing I didn't mention about the game is that there is no board. In fact, everything that isn't a token in this game is a card, so while set-up does take a little bit of time, the game has plenty of randomized elements involved in set-up, so there are likely millions of possible variations this game could take each time it is played.

Doomrock is a really fun game, and while I mentioned it does abstract out a lot, it remains a very solid, very engaging and involved cooperative game that will take a lot of teamwork and careful planning in order to succeed. 

If you think Assault on Doomrock sounds like a game you would like to play, head on over to the IndieGoGo page now to pledge your support to receive a copy when it releases this fall. The campaign is currently funded at nearly 200%, so now we're just looking towards stretch goals!

Istanbul Review

Istanbul is the Kennerspiel des Jahres nominated (2014) game from famed and accomplished designer Rudiger Dorn. It has players assuming the role of a merchant and his assistants moving through a bazaar, interacting with the various vendors and meeting up with other merchants, family members, and even the governor!

Istanbul's "board" is made up of several separate tiles, which are laid out in a 4x4 grid. This can be done randomly, but the rules do suggest specific layouts for beginner and advanced games. The goal of the game is to gather goods and money in order to acquire gems. The first player to acquire 5 gems (6 in a two player game) will be the winner!

On a player's turn, she must move her merchant and her stack of assistants either 1 or 2 spaces (not diagonally) and do 1 of 3 things:

  1. If none of her assistants are already on the tile, she drops one off, and performs the tile's action.
  2. If one of her assistants is on the tile already, she picks that assistant up (places it on the bottom of her stack) and performs the tile's action.
  3. If none of her assistants are already on the tile and she also has none in her stack, her turn ends. 
Here, the yellow player need to decide if she will go back to a tile where she had previously dropped off an assistant, or go to the fountain (the only tile that can be used without an assistant) to call back all of her assistants.

A lot of the strategy of Istanbul is planning out a couples turns ahead, so that you don't have to deal with option 3, and do basically nothing on your turn. 

The tiles that make up the board allow players to do a variety of things. Some are Warehouses that allow players to load as many of a certain kind of good as they can carry in their carts. Some are Markets that allow players to sell sets of goods for money. Others are Mosques that reward players with upgrade tiles for having a certain number of goods.

Two of the more important tiles are the Sultan's Palace and the Gem Market. These are the two main ways to acquire gems. At the Sultan's Palace, players can trade in goods for a gem, which makes the next gem more expensive for the next player. The Gem Market lets players buy gems, with each successive gem purchased more expensive than the last, just like the Sultan's Palace. 

The first available gem at the Sultan's Palace (in a 2 player game) costs 1 jewelry,  1 fabric, 1 spice, and 1 fruit. Once that gem is taken, the space it was previously covering is added to the next gem's cost.

Istanbul is a game that hit me right in my wheelhouse. It has a lot things that I love about board games, like variable setup, player powers (though you don't start with them), advanced planning, upgrades/engine building, and even some dice rolling! 

From left to right: The blue upgrade tile adds another assistant to a player's stack, the yellow upgrade tile (my favorite) allows a player to pay $2 to retrieve an assistant from anywhere on the board and place it in her stack, the red upgrade tile allows a player to set a die to a 4 or reroll whenever rolling dice, and the green upgrade tile allows a player to purchase 1 of any good when visiting a warehouse.

Speaking of upgrades and dice rolling, let me talk about the upgrade tiles. There are four total, and just like the Sultan's Palace and Gem Market, they become more expensive as they become purchased. They are also pretty important to doing well in Istanbul. Once players are more familiar with the game, an interesting race happens in the beginning of the game where the players will rush to grab either their favorite upgrade tiles or a cart expansion.

(Left) At the beginning of the game, each player can only have 2 of each good. 
(Right) By visiting the Wainwright tile, players can purchase cart upgrades for $7. 

Players have to visit the Wainwright during the game as early as possible, because the additional capacity will allow them to purchase upgrade tiles they may have been priced out of, it makes it easier to make money at the market tiles, and it makes it much easier to acquire gems from the Sultan's Palace. 

There is so much to like about Istanbul. Mr. Dorn has not only reimplemented a version of his Goa auction mechanism, but he has finely crafted a fantastic medium weight strategy game. Istanbul has so many options for players to explore, with many interesting decisions to be made each turn, and planning ahead is very much rewarded. The act of planning out your actions in just the right order so that you can not only do everything you need to do, in the order that you need to do it in, and also end up with all of your assistants back in your stack is just so satisfying. 
One thing I don't always love about the game is the luck of the cards and the dice. Some of the cards are just better than others, especially if they are drawn at exactly the right/wrong time. The dice can really hurt a player who doesn't have the applicable upgrade tile, and can result in several wasted actions. The interesting aspect that arises from the randomness of the dice, however, is that the value of the dice manipulation upgrade tile is a bit more fuzzy than the values of the other 3 upgrade tiles.

After I got Istanbul, I played it 5 times in 4 days. It is absolutely one of my favorite games from this year. It plays well with all player counts, does not overstay its welcome, and despite having a fair amount of complexity, I feel like I could teach this game to almost anyone. Istanbul deserves all the hype around it, and despite being up against two very strong contenders for this year's Kennerspiel des Jahres (Concordia and Rococo), I believe it should (and will) win the very prestigious German "expert game of the year" award. I give Istanbul a 9.0/10.

Scrapyard Empire Preview

This post is a preview for a game currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Art and rules may change.

In Scrapyard Empire, players are managing their hands of steam-powered parts cards and using them to build small machines, with the ultimate goal of combining those small machines into game-winning inventions!

To set up the game, each play is dealt 8 parts cards, 5 small machine cards, 1 invention card, and 1 character card.

On a player's turn, she will have 2 actions to spend from among 4 choices:
  1. Draw 1 card from either the parts or small machines deck.
  2. Attempt a dig from any scrap pile.
  3. Attempt to steal a part or small machine card from another player.
  4. Initiate a trade with any other player.
  5. Activate a small machine ability.
Look at that art!!!

Digging is an interested mechanism because it allows players to get cards from the discard pile - but players are not allowed to look through the deck before choosing to dig. First, they have to roll a six sided die. On a 4, 5, or 6, the player is allowed to deal the scrapped (discarded) cards in a pile in front of everyone until the player sees the card she would like. The remaining cards are put on top of the dealt cards. So digging requires players to have some memory of what is in the scrap pile. 

Stealing is similar in that a player who would like to steal a card needs to pass a die roll (4, 5, or 6 is a success). After a successful roll, the thieving player can choose any parts card from another player (which are always face up), or take two small machine cards from another player's hand, steal one, and give the other back.

When rolling the die in Scrapyard Empire, players have the option of scrapping any cards they have in order to get a +1 on their roll - which is a pretty neat mechanism. 

In addition to needing the Navigatrix in order to build the Time Machine invention, its in-game ability is pretty nifty!

After a player has used all of her actions, she can build any small machines she has in her hand as long as she has the required parts for it in front of her. She scraps the parts, and lays the small machine card in front of her. These are safe from being stolen. The same then goes for any invention cards she can build with the small machine cards in front of her. They are scrapped, and she puts the built invention in front of her. 

The final phase of a player turn is the discard phase. If a player is over the hand limit - 8 parts, 5 unbuilt small machines, and 1 unbuilt invention - she has to discard down until she is below those thresholds. 

Gameplay continues like this until 1 player has built 2 inventions! 

"I say, that giant lizard does like a mite peckish. Hate to be rude, but must be off!"

Scrapyard Empire is a fun card game that puts some neat twists on familiar game mechanisms that fit quite well into a well-themed package. What I really like about Scrapyard Empire is the feeling of building up an engine. First, you need parts to build small machines, with the ultimate goal of building an invention, but the abilities the small machines give you are so good...maybe I'll just build a few extra small machines here..."

I think the best comparison I can make for Scrapyard Empire is that it reminded me of a slightly more complicated (with  player powers, more options, and more interaction) version of the Spiel des Jahres nominated game, Splendor. Obviously Scrapyard Empire's theme is a bit more exciting, and the mechanisms of this game really do make for more interaction - especially with the ability to steal cards from opponents. 

I think Scrapyard Empire is a fun game that will fit very nicely into many people's collections. It has an appealing theme coupled with easy to explain and learn ruleset - and a very reasonable playing time (30 minutes). If you think Scrapyard Empire looks like a winner, go back it on Kickstarter! There are options on there for a deluxe version of the game that looks simply fantastic.

posted 6/18/2014

Wanted: The Outlaws Kickstarter Preview

Wanted: The Outlaws is a game currently funding on Kickstarter from publisher Bibelot Games. It is a light, family style game of cards and dice set in the old West.

In Wanted, players use Loot to recruit to hire characters and build their posses. They then use these posses to go on jobs and earn Reputation. After all of the cards have been used, the game is over and the player with the most Reputation wins!

To set up, the deck of cards is shuffled, and dealt out into 6 piles which are turned face-up. Each player starts the game with 12 Loot. On her turn, a player can do 1 of 3 actions. She can recruit a face-up character by paying Loot, she can use the characters she already has to go on a face-up Job, or she can Report a Tip. Reporting a Tip will gain the player 1 Loot, and the ability to place any of the top cards in the middle of the table on the bottom of its respective deck. 

The action that drives the game is going on Jobs. These are the horizontal cards that describe something to be done in town. A player can use her posse to go on a job as long as her characters' cumulative stats for Smarts, Power, and Will either equal or exceed those stats on the job card. If a player decides to go on the job, she rolls the number of dice pictured in the upper left hand corner of the job card, and gains the benefits (and suffers the penalties) from that roll. Players can gain either 1 or 2 Loot or Reputation or suffer either 1 or 2 wounds.

Wounds are placed on characters that went on jobs, and if a character takes wounds equal to their hearts, that character dies and is discarded.

Uh-oh! Looks like some of these Outlaws are going to make it home for dinner!!

That is pretty much the game! Play continues in this way, each player getting 1 action per turn, until all of the cards in Town are gone. At this point, whoever has the most Reputation is the Outlawiest Outlaw of the All!!

The theme is a lot of fun, too. There are a good number of games set in the Wild West, but I can't think of many that fall into the light, family category. For that, I can't recommend The Outlaws enough!

The game is definitely light, but doesn't overstay its welcome, and gameplay is smooth since each turn is so short. This is certainly a game that I would pull out with my family, or with my younger niece and nephew for a short, rootin' tootin' dice filled romp. It would be even better suited to playing with grade schoolers because players would need to practice adding their character's stats to see what jobs they can do.

If you think Wanted: The Outlaws would be a good fit for you, then go check out their Kickstarter campaign!!!

Praetor Review

Praetor is an upcoming worker placement game from NSKN Games set in ancient Rome. Players assume the role of a Roman engineer tasked with building up the Eternal City. Caesar will reward the engineer who can improve Rome the most!

The starting workers for the blue player. The dice on the right are available workers. The dice on the left are villagers, and not available.

Praetor is a worker placement game where your workers are represented by dice. The number of pips on each worker, represent how experienced that worker is. The more experienced a worker is, the more effective it is at performing many of the game's actions. At the same time, many of the actions players can send their workers to do will increase that worker's experience, but when workers get to 6 pips, they retire and are no longer considered active.

Building the wall tile to the right costs 2 marble and 2 weapons and would yield the player 10 favor points. This player would also get a bonus 6 favor points for having already built 2 wall tiles. 

Players can gain favor points in a variety of ways, but the main two are by managing their resources to build buildings or to build parts of Hadrian's Wall. The game ends once either the available building deck or wall deck is empty. On her turn, a player can choose between two basic actions (with a third option being introduced once certain tiles are built): build a new building or place a worker on an unoccupied building.

To build a new building, the player selects a building from those available, returns the required resources to the supply, and places the building into the city grid. Each building tile shows how many points the player receives for building it, and the player can also earn bonus points if she can place the tile in such a way that the color of the plazas in the corner of the tile match the tiles that have already been placed. Building a building requires a worker, and whichever worker is used to build, will gain an experience at the end of the round. Not only does the player building the building get favor points, she also is adding a new tile to the board - and one that she can get a benefit from even if other players use it.

If the blue player wanted to activate the Temple of Plutus, she would have to pay the yellow player 3 gold. She would then receive 1 point for all of her wood and stone - and her worker would return to her at experience level 5 at the end of the round.

To use a building, a player simply places one of her active workers onto the tile, and immediately receives the benefit. If the building was built by another player, she might have to pay an entrance fee to that player. If the city tile has a green circle, the worker used to activate that tile will not gain experience - only tiles with a red circle will grant a worker experience after being activated.

Most active workers (which are kept on the green spaces) cost 1 gold each at the end of each round, though they become more expensive once a player has 5. All retired workers (kept on the red spaces) cost 1 gold at the end of each round.

Obviously the most interesting thing about Praetor is that the workers in the game gain experience and eventually retire. This mechanism is made even more interesting by the fact that each worker a player has costs (at least) 1 gold at the end of each round. This includes retired workers. So having a worker gain experience is great, because they get stronger and can perform more powerful actions. It is also good because once a worker retires, the owning player gets bonus favor points (the earlier the better). But, having to pay for workers who are now retired can be a major drain on a player's economy. Figuring out the timing of when to retire workers is a lot of fun.

This balancing act is further complicated by the building tiles. I mentioned before that the red tiles will grant a worker experience, while green tiles will not. So one might think a viable strategy might be to level workers up to 5, and then use them on green tiles. This will certainly work - but not as well as one might think. The green tiles' activation abilities are not affected by a worker's experience. The market tile (which is green), for instance, allows a player to interact with the market - regardless of the experience level of the worker placed there, the action remains the same.

The awesome but AP inducing Market. The exchange rates on pictured on each player's personal board.

Speaking of the market - it is probably simultaneously one of my favorite and least favorite parts of the game. It is one of my favorite parts of the game because activating the market tile allows a player to interact with the market as many times as she wishes. None of this "one sale and one buy" nonsense! A player could sell all of her weapons and buy 20 wood - and get the rest back in gold if she wanted! The market is also one of my least favorite parts of the game for the very same reason. Having the ability to exchange money and resources to basically any equal combination of resources and money is very powerful, but involves a lot of calculation and planning - which slows the game to a halt. This introduction of a little analysis paralysis does not hurt Praetor too much, however, since aside from the market, the game flows at a rather nice pace. 

Praetor is a fantastic game. I think its biggest strength is while it does change things up a bit, it doesn't reach too much. It innovates just enough, while keeping the core ideas of worker placement intact. This allows players who speak the language of games to get into the game easily, while making the experience mechanism accessible and easily enjoyable - without having to jump through too many mental hoops to get there.

I would absolutely recommend Praetor to pretty much anyone who is reading this. I don't think it would be a good first worker placement game, but as a second or third game with this mechanism I don't think there are many more innovative, accessible, or interesting worker placement games to be found. I give it an 8.0/10. 

Jim would like to thank NSKN Games for providing him with a review copy of Praetor.

If you like Praetor, you might also be interested in: Bruxelles: 1893, Viticulture, or Lords of Waterdeep.

Our $30 to GameSurplus Contest is over!!! Thank you everyone for entering!!!

This entry was for a contest that was run from Monday, June 9 through Sunday, June 15, and is now over.

Congratulations to our winner, Jordan!!! He has been contacted by email.

Thank you to everyone who entered, and shared, and tweeted!!!

That's right - Board Game Reviews by Josh is having a contest! The prize is for a delicious $30 (digital code) to spend at my personal favorite online retailer, GameSurplus.

The wonderful people over at GameSurplus stocks all kinds of great games, but what makes GameSurplus so special is that they go out of their way to stock things that have been released - but don't have US distribution. Recently, they have had great titles like Luna, Istanbul, Notre Dame, The Palaces of Carrara, and Taluva in stock.

But what makes the shopping experience really special at GameSurplus is the people. They offer exemplary customer service - I have never been disappointed with a purchase from them. Even when my apartment building and UPS were having issues, they took time to go out of their way to call UPS and get the situation straightened out for me.

This contest is going to run for 1 week (from Monday, June 9, 2014 until Sunday, June 15 at 11:59 PM EST).

In order to enter you must leave a comment on this post answering a few questions I have for you! Details are below! =)

Good luck, and thanks for reading Board Game Reviews by Josh!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

North Wind Review

North Wind was published by KOSMOS in Germany a few months ago (as Norderwind), and is being released here by Z-Man Games soon. It is the latest game from famed designer, Klaus Tueber. You might recognize that name - Mr. Teuber designed what is arguably the most popular hobby board game ever, The Settlers of Catan.

North Wind is a light/medium weight game where players are trade captains sailing from port to port, delivering goods and dealing with encounters like pirate attacks and merchant ships. Similar to Catan, the game is a race to 10 points (8 in a 4 player game). The main mechanisms in the game involve upgrading a "player board" (more on that later) and a small dose of push-your-luck as players draw tiles from a deck, usually choosing to either use an one of two actions per turn to perform the action of the tile, or continue drawing.

The "player boards" I mentioned earlier are amazing. They are 3D cardboard ships that help players track upgraded abilities and to store resources. The mast, for instance, indicates how many tiles a player is allowed to draw from a deck on her turn. Players begin with the ability to draw 4 tiles before their turn ends, but this can be upgraded to draw as many as 6 tiles per turn.

There are 3 decks of tiles in the game, 1 each for the ports - Norderkap, Trutzhavn, and Olesand. During set up, each deck is seeded with its corresponding port tile, then 6 more random tiles are added, and the deck is shuffled. One of the more interesting parts of the game is that although the deck is shuffled whenever a player chooses to go there, the composition of the decks doesn't change during a game, so once players get to know what is in each deck, the decision of which deck of sea tiles to explore each turn becomes more and more informed.

The action tiles in the game allow players to purchase or sell goods, upgrade their ship, or search a shipwreck (gain 2 gold). The most interesting part of the game is how each player decides to upgrade her ship. Players can put a crew member in the crow's nest and gain the ability to check the first tile in a deck after deciding to go there, and then either put it back or move it to the bottom of the deck. Players can hire an accountant so that whenever they sell goods, they gain +1 gold. There are 3 other crew members players can add, but each player can only choose 4 of them to have in any given game, and once a crew member is added, she cannot be changed.

The upgrade tiles also give players the opportunity to raise their masts (thus allowing them to draw more tiles each turn) or to add cannons to their ships (allowing more die rolls when combating pirates).

That's right! Pirate attaaaaack! There are four fog tiles in the game. If a player draws one, she rolls the white die, and will most likely have to fight off a pirate ship - though there is a 1 in 6 chance she will discover treasure in the fog, and not have to fight anyone. If she rolls at least 1 skull on the die, she has to either pay 1 gold to continue her turn, or choose to battle. For every cannon on a player's ship, she gets to roll her cannon die 1 time. She can also hire a cannoneer when using the action of an upgrade tile to increase the odds of hitting the pirate ship. If a player wins the battle, she gets a pirate captain to throw in her ship's brig. Losing a battle with a pirate ship can be painful - the player's turn ends immediately (so she loses either 1 or 2 actions depending on if she had taken one yet or not). But since one of the ports (Trutzhavn) is basically a prison, it is likely that at some point during the game, players will choose a sea tile deck wanting to find a fog tile.

Speaking of delivering to ports, on the main board, each port has a column of contracts. If players have these resources when they draw the port tile for the corresponding city, they can deliver them to earn a victory point. Once a player puts her cube on a contract, it is fulfilled, and none of the other players can fulfill that same contract.

The game proceeds like this, with players taking turns drawing tiles from one of the sea decks, and using their two actions, until 1 player has place all of her victory point tokens out onto the board that player is the winner!

North Wind is a great family strategy game with excellent components, a fun theme, and plenty (but not too many) decisions to be made. There is a good combination of short-term and long-term considerations to be made, which is good to keep more dedicated "gamers" interested, and to keep those less initiate in the hobby from feeling overwhelmed.

The mix of short-term and long-term decisions is really brought out in the way players upgrade their ships. Do you want to get a Treasurer, which will be a big help in the beginning of the game? Or a Lookout, which will always be pretty valuable, but will let you see all 7 of the tiles on a turn if need be? These decisions are very engaging, and being able to make your actions stronger (especially in ways that you choose) is something I think everyone inherently enjoys.

There is limited interaction between the players, but what interaction is there (completing contracts) is a nice addition. Since most of the columns of contracts build upon each other as they ascend, having the contract you were collecting resources for taken by another player is unfortunate, but not too punishing. I really like the fact that the overall goal of the game is a race, and the way that the contracts are taken off the board as they are completed contributes to that sense of urgency.

North Wind is not an especially deep game, but there is a good amount of game here, especially for groups just getting into the hobby, or for those "mixed" groups that are made up of "gamers" and their "non-gamer" friends (thoughts of playing this with my parents come to mind). I had a good time playing North Wind, and though I probably wouldn't bring it to any of my monthly gaming meetups, it would certainly be on my list of games to bring when playing with people whose only definition of "Euro" is the EU's currency. A solid family game - I'd give it a 7.5.

Hollywood Kickstarter Preview

This post is a preview for a game currently on Kickstarter. I played the game using the print and play files, which are available via the Kickstarter campaign. My copy was assembled by me, and did not include cards which will be included in the final version of the game.

Hollywood was released in Russia by Hobby World almost a year ago. It received some favorable attention, but faded from the limelight quickly due to its limited print run and availability. Hobby World is attempting to fix those limitations with its current Kickstarter campaign.

Hollywood (as one might guess) is a game about making movies (and money) in Tinseltown. It is also a mash-up or sorts. It combines auctions with card drafting - two game mechanisms not usually found in the same game.

Players represent movie studios, and are tasked with putting together higher grossing blockbusters than the rival studios. Making a movie is as simple as assembling a script, director, and an actor. Players will do this by collecting a hand of 9 cards over a series of 3 main gameplay phases.

In the first phase, a player will draw a number of Star Cards (directors, actors, and scripts with better attributes than the basic cards) equal to the number of players, looks at them and distributes them among the players (1 each) as she chooses.

Next, each player is dealt 7 cards from the basic card deck, chooses one to keep, and passes the rest left. This repeats until each player has kept 7 cards.

The final stage of card acquisition is an auction. A number of cards from the basic deck are flipped face up according to the number of players. Then, using their bidding cards, players bid on either one of the cards, or the top card of the basic deck (which remains face down).

After this, each player has 9 cards in hand with which to make movies! As mentioned previously, each movie requires a script, director, and an actor (or actress). There are other cards that can be added, like the producer, the makeup artist, or the editor. Players can have as many of these green cards as they like. After everyone is finished assembling their movies, players receive income for their them.

This movie is worth $26 million. $4 (base) + $2 (for coins) + $16 (for matching heart symbols) + $4 (for having a "Lead Duo")

Each card in a movie adds $1 million to its value, some cards have coins that also add value, and if any of the cards match the genre of the movie (set by the script) they also add extra value. After each player gets her income, the movie with the most awards icons wins the movies of the year award. This player will get to distribute the star cards for the next round and the award itself will give bonus income at the end of the game. Then, the next round begins (unless it is the third round, in which case the game ends). The player with the most money wins!

Hollywood is what many might call a "next-step" game. The type of game that people might play after first being introduced to hobby games. It combines a few different gaming mechanisms, but not in ways that are super confusing. The separate parts are kept pretty separate, while all being used to further each player's simple goal of collecting the best set of 9 cards they can.

The theme is appealing, the game is simple, and - bottom line - playing the game is fun. If you think Hollywood would be a good fit for your collection, Hobby World's Kickstarter has already funded and they are currently pursuing lots of exciting stretch goals! Go grab a copy and help us get those bonuses!