Much like craft brewing, the craft board game industry has exploded in recent years. It used to be a little difficult to find a great game with a theme near and dear to your heart. Now, it’s hard not to find over-saturation in some areas. For example, if you want a zombie themed board game and decide to review every one, that could take a very long time.
The story is similar in cities near and far. At first, the protests against a corrupt economy and a violent police force start off small. The government cracks down to crush the movement but their brutality backfires. Thousands of furious people from all walks of life take to the streets in solidarity. The city is quickly engulfed in a vibrant popular rebellion bringing everyday life to a standstill…
Bloc by Bloc is a cooperative game from Out of Order Games where you are protesting in the streets and doing your best to overcome suppression by the police while liberating neighborhoods from state control. Obviously, this is a unique theme. I imagine the theme is a bit controversial in some circles, but it’s really unique. And really given how many games are about war or becoming an emperor, this is benign. I think it’d only trigger those responses due to it’s relevance to current affairs. If you watch this video review, they all comment on the uniqueness of the theme:
There are a ton of games of external struggles like Risk where countries fight other countries. This is of course about an internal struggle within a modern society. If this general idea of internal struggles interests you I recommend checking out this “Geeklist” on BoardGameGeek.com. If you are new to BoardGameGeek (aka BGG), I generally look for games with at least a 6.0 rating (and preferably rated by more than 100 people since early raters tend to be natural fans who sought out the game or even friends of the designers). So for Bloc by Bloc I would judge by the video reviews rather than the inflated 9.8 rating on BGG.
With that in mind, here is a super long video on the game. It’s really long but I suggest watching the intro and/or skipping ahead to the closing which starts at 35:32. And if the game appeals to you, make sure to check it out on Kickstarter before the campaign ends on May 17th.
I am a bit of a board game collector. I also play them, but I clearly sometimes just buy games because they are cool. And these days, lots of board games make their way into production via kickstarter. This Starving Artists card game looks pretty good.
Now, I already have a pretty damned great looking visual arts board game called The Gallerist. But this one is tempting. Besides playing fairly quickly (40-60 minutes) and including a solo play option (1 to 4 players) for those rainy, lonely nights (queue Barbara Manning’s Isn’t Lonely Lovely), it has a neat option for producing your own custom cards for the game:
Using the following two tools, you can create your own canvas cards to including in your copy of Starving Artists. They let you upload your own pictures, set the title and artist, drag and drop paint locations, and give a canvas its own value in food, stars and paint.
This is really neat functionality if you have your own art, or even better, your kid’s art that you want to have in the game. The game itself is reasonably priced at $29 including shipping and there are 20 days left on the kickstarter campaign. I cannot speak to the quality of game play just yet. I still have to watch a gameplay video myself, though these folks liked it:
I like that review for it’s brevity. This one is longer, but I appreciated the entertaining intro in particular.
Well, I like board games. It’s no secret. But if you know me, you know I don’t so much like reviewing things. But I will highlight worthwhile games here from time to time. And Lost Woods by Poppy Jasper Games has been one of my most popular acquisitions in the last year, so I think it’s worth the quick highlight.
There is virtually no learning curve to this game. The rules are simple and it plays fairly fast (30 to 60 minutes). Normally, the first time you play you can add an hour to any game as you learn the rules. For Lost Woods, you need no more than an extra 20 minutes. It’s a simple but fun game which makes it perfect for inexperienced players of all ages. And thematically it’s fun too. You are camping in the woods, wake up and discover you are in some forest full of monsters. I’m not really sure how that happened without you realizing it but you fight your way out using random weapons such as the tent peg of destiny or a cast iron pan.
The game has a 7.22 rating on BoardGameGeek which is quite good. Here is a summary of the rules: