My wife is not really a game player, which is a bummer because I own over 500 games! She does have a few she enjoys, like Lords of Waterdeep (a Dungeons and Dragons worker placement board game) and Scopa (a traditional Italian card game), for example, but in general she’s difficulty to please with card games.
It’s especially frustrating when you set a big game up and by the end of turn one she might say,’ nope, I don’t like it.’
What is funny about playing with my wife is how she learns rules. Her only question is always, ‘how do I win’ and then she observes how the turns go and follows everyone else’s lead.
Introducing her to the card game Fluxx was hilarious, because at the beginning, you don’t know how to win.
Fluxx is one of those games that is a great game by itself, but has several ‘re-skinnings’ that incorporate various themes into its basic gameplay, which is that you start with three cards, you draw one card, and play one card… unless another card in play tells you to do something different.
In the game, you have various types of cards:
New Rules are cards that can change the basic rules of the game, like draw 4 (instead of draw 1), Hand Limit 2, which means if you have had to draw 4 cards, then played 1, you have to discard cards until you only have 2, or Double Agenda, which tells you that there are two goals to choose from… but what are the goals?
Goals are how the game ends. They will feature two keepers, like one called We’re All All Right, which makes the win conditions that you need two ‘friends’ as keepers. The goals can change during the game though, so play as many keepers as you can.
Keepers are cards that you keep in front of you which may lead you to a win condition, but some goals claim you must have no zombies as keepers, which is difficult… but zombies can be removed…
Creepers are keepers you play immediately with no exception. You can win with a zombie in front of you, so you need to be looking for weapons cards to get rid of them.
Actions are basically cards that you play, and do whatever they say, the results usually being to your advantage.
Play continues until one play is able to complete the goal a card is offering, and this can be done by have the appropriate keepers, or even playing a goal card that allows you to win.
The artwork on the cards is very much of the standard Fluxx type, but it is function and the zombies are appropriately zombie-ish. This game also has the option of removing the zombie related cards so it can be played as a regular game of Fluxx.
It’s a very simple game, and this one’s horror theme isn’t a game that drips the horror genre, but it’s fun enough, and easy to play and can be enjoyed even by non-gamers like my wife!
Who cares about sportsmanship and fair play when you’ve got blood on your claws and the taste of victory in your mouth!
I can honestly say that once of the best things that’s happened to me whilst playing a board game was after executing a particularly cut-throat move while playing Food Chain Magnate, which is an absolute BASTARD of a game, my daughter said to me, ‘ how could you do that? I’m your daughter?!?’
I told her that as her father, my job is to teach lessons, and this one was ‘trust no one’.
We are pretty competitive in my house with board games, to the point that when my wife sits down to play a game, she doesn’t ask ‘how do we play?’, her first question is ‘how do I win?’ (which made for a hilarious rant when we played Fluxx). That’s not to say we don’t have fun playing co-op stuff, but as long as my wife is leading the charge, all is good.
This game, Selfish: Space Edition (there’s also Zombie, Star Wars and Disney Villains editions), from Ridley’s Games is a perfect game for a family who enjoy being a little bit ruthlessness!
This card game has a concept that is quite simple: you are an astronaut trapped in the darkness of space, and you need to move the six spaces it takes to get back to your ship, which would be fine, but you only have six canisters of oxygen and it takes two to move, AND you have to finish on the ship with at least one canister left, and if my maths is correct, that means you are already in an oxygen deficit.
Have no fear though, dear space person, what you do have is a bunch of horrible things you can do to other players like siphon their oxygen, or shoot them with a laser to send them back a space!
Gameplay is really simple: on your turn you draw a card, then, if you wish/ can, play as many action cards as you wish, which will make your opponents lives miserable unless they can reply with a ‘shield’ card, and then you have to make the decision on whether you stay where you are, costing one oxygen, or travelling one space, costing two oxygen.
Moving faces it’s own challenges though, as space is a treacherous place, and every time you move onto a new space space, you may face things like Cosmic Radiation, which steals an oxygen from you, a Solar Flare, which stops you from doing any actions while it is immediately behind you. It’s not all bad though, Useful Junk let’s you draw an extra card, potentially getting more oxygen, or Wormhole allows you to swap places with another player, potentially getting forward a little bit.
Each game only lasts about 20 minutes, but it’s SO easy to set up and play, that it even has a minimum age of 7 as it’s suggested age range. The art is simple, but still engaging and the ‘dead astronaut’ cards are both funny and kind of sad.
We have a lot of fun with this game, and I possibly will buy some of the others as there are minor changes depending on which game, for example, in the zombie one, the dead players return as the undead! I have little knowledge of the others so I can’t comment on them, but I could always do with more games!
If you are having a games night, this is a great entree game or wind down game. Simple to learn, fun to play, but it doesn’t have a great deal of substance… still, seeing someone one space away from winning and running out of oxygen is a guilty pleasure, especially if you have a spouse as focussed on winning as mine is!
One of the great thing about having children is that you can mold them into being little versions of yourself. Being a horror fan is a difficult thing though, because you don’t want to say to your six year old ‘ok, sit down. It’s time you watched Human Centipede.’ The best way to develop your child into a monster kid is through stuff like Scooby Doo, and getting them to play games that have monster themes, like this one, Kraken Attack.
Kraken Attack is a co-operative game, which means the players work with each other against the game, and everyone plays a different pirate on a pirate ship getting attacked by a kraken. The pirates win if they injure the kraken three times, and the players are beaten if the kraken hits the ship four times.
The set up for the game is fairly simple. Each player (from one to four) picks a pirate and takes their accompanying deck of cards. The board is then set up with eight ship pieces put on the ‘ship’ part of the board, eight tentacle pieces put on eight side of the board in their starting rows, labeled with canons, guns or cutlasses and the kraken itself put into the it’s own board, separate to the main board, with some extra dice that will eventually pop up as the kraken wanders down the track that’s printed there…
… but more on that later.
Each player starts each turn with two cards from their deck face up in front of them. They roll the dice, one red and one blue, which have images of various sea creatures that represent rows that the Kraken’s tentacles are on, and move the respective tentacle along the row closer to the ship.
Each column that the tentacles movie along are labelled with a canon, a gun and a sword, which are the weapons required to send it back to the beginning of the row. On each turn they can play the actions on their card which can be a combination of:
Hammer – repair the ship (after a tentacle attacks)
Boot – move in the deck
A cutlass, gun or canon – stop the tentacle on that row
The player can choose to do any or all of these actions, and depending on their character, can sometimes perform one of the actions more than once. If they are able to hit a tentacle on the row they are on, the tentacle goes back to the beginning of the row, ready to strike again at any chance.
Also on each card is a porthole, and if that porthole has a funny face in it, the kraken gets angry, it moves along its personal board. Every time it hits a space with an extra dice in it, that dice is added to the dice pool so on every turn, more dice are rolled, activating more tentacles and making keeping the ship afloat more difficult.
This continues with each player taking their turns and trying to keep the tentacles away because if the ship gets hit four times and it isn’t repaired, the ship sinks and the kraken wins! Once the kraken gets to the end of its board it replaces one of the tentacles and starts attacking the ship personally, but if you wound it three times, the players win!
You may have noticed that I said the game plays from a minimum of one, which means it has a solo mode! You want your kid off the TV/ computer/ iPad but don’t have time to play a game with them yourself? Well this game has a solo mode that makes for a fun distraction for one bored child!
We love co-operative games in my house. I think it’s because we are all pretty good team players and are willing to take advice from others before playing our turn. This can occasionally cause something called ‘quarterbacking’, where one player tries to control the other’s actions, and because children are adorable little egotists, an older player might need to make an dictatorship game more of a democracy by making sure all the players get a chance to speak.
It’s great to play with children because it’s an all-win or all-lose situation, so none of them will feel singled out. The pieces are all wonderful looking toys that are inviting to play with. It’s simple to learn and really fun to play.
I honestly can’t talk this game up enough. I think Loki really outdid themselves with both the game and the components. It is a kids game, but my gaming group have found it’s just as good a game for adults who would like to play something co-operative, but don’t have the time for a game of something like Pandemic.
There’s one thing that every single person whose ever watched a movie have in common: they have suggested a different angle or ending to a scene, or to the whole movie itself. Movie goers are all potential movie writers or directors. Seriously, every time you see an interview with a modern filmmaker they talk about how they were influenced by *insert name here*, and that’s exactly the mentality that this game preys upon.
Sure it is easy to come up with a better ending, but how easy is it to come up with a pitch for a film on the spot? If a movie producer came to you and said,’ I hear you’ve been talking smack about my films, YOU come up with a better idea!’, could you do it, or would you just blather on and watch them and their multimillion dollar investment walk away…
Pitchstorm is a party game that gives you that opportunity… well, without financial offer anyway.
The rules for Pitchstorm come in two different ways, one for 3 to 5 players, and the other for 6 to 12, so as a party game, it can be suitable for a small table or a large gathering of people. The rules are only slightly different as the second offering makes it a team based game.
The concept is very simple. Each player (or team) have to pitch an idea to the player acting as ‘the executive’, who then picks the best pitch and that player (or team) received a point.
At the beginning of the game (for a 3 to 5 player game), one player as picked as the executive, and they get to draw three cards from the ‘Notes’ pile. Next all the players get to draw three cards from either the Character or the Plot pile. Each player, in turn has to pick one card from the deck they DIDN’T pick from initially, for example, if a player drew three plot cards, they now pick one character card.
After they have their single card, they have to pick one of the three cards in their hand and have 90 seconds to pitch their movie to the executive. However, and the 60 second mark, the executive picks one of their notes and tells the pitching player that this has to be added to the pitch. The executive picks the movie they liked the most and that player keeps their ‘note’ card as an indicator of one point. This goes around the table until everyone has had a turn, and the winner is the one with the highest amount of note cards.
In a larger game, teams of two, each team player either takes three character or plot cards and place them at the same time for the concept of their film. During the 60 second pitch, performed by both players, the executive team, who have note cards each, will place their note cards so the players have to adjust their pitches twice with the new information. The scoring is the same as above except for the team.
The final goal for this game is variable, as you can play it as long as you want but just as long as each player/ team has had an opportunity of being the executive.
NB.: there is a Pitchstorm timer app available on the App Store.
Pitchstorm is a fun game for a big group, but only if every one is compliant with the concept. Like bigger games like Dungeons and Dragons, if a person is not INTO playing the game, they won’t just have a bad time, they will drag the entire game down. It is, essentially, a storytelling game and that story/ joke telling skill set is one necessary for a fun time. This is a game for people who love to be creative and loud and funny.
Not reviewed but available are 7 expansions: Pitchstorm NC-17, Pitchstorm Date Night, Pitchstorm Superheroes, Pitchstorm Animation, Pitchstorm Creature Features, Pitchstorm So Bad It’s Good and Awards Season. Most of these are simply entertaining the tropes that the name suggests, but Awards Season also adds Award Cards, which give bonus points.
I don’t know where they came from, but I always seem to have had copies of the card game Top Trumps in my house. Maybe they came from overseas relatives along with my Beano annuals, or maybe friends bought them for me, but either way, I became the Top Trumps guy. I liked collecting tradings cards, and Top Trumps was like getting a full set all in one go.
I rediscovered them in the early 2000s when my daughter became of that discovering games age, also it was pretty cool to revisit the collection, and buy some new decks, and we started getting titles like Top Gear, DC superheroes and all the Doctor Who ones… yeah, ‘HER’ collection!
(NB: one of those Doctor Who decks has one of the most interesting cards in all of my 520 board and card games… Hitler! Yikes!)
Obviously, Amazon knows what I buy and has seen, over the years, my consumption of many decks of sets of Top Trumps, in combination with my massive horror consumption, led the algorithm to suggest this to me: Top Trumps Unofficial Guide to 30 Scary Flix.
The rules to Top Trumps are quite simple. The aim of the game is to have all of the cards in your hand, but how do we do that in Top Trumps?
The cards are dealt evenly amongst all the players and each player holds their personal deck so they can only see the top card. Each card has a series of stats on them, in this case Budget (in millions of $), Survival Rate, Sequels & Prequels, Cult Status, Soundtrack and Fear Factor, and the first player reads out a stat of their choice. All the players compare that stat, and the one with the highest score wins all the other players cards, and places them on the bottom of their personal deck. The winner then gets to choose the next stat
If two cards have the same value, all those cards go into a pool and the same stat is picked for the next card, the winner gets all the cards including the ones in the pool.
The game is a very simple kids game, made mature by its choice of subject matter. It’s not going to tax ones brain, but occasionally a game can take so long that it may tax one’s patience. Like Monopoly, this isn’t really a game people play anymore, but collect due to the variety of geographical or pop culture themes added to it.
The plastic packaging is sturdy, and the cards are of a fairly robust nature, but there are a couple of problems. Some of the card images from the films aren’t very interesting, like the 28 Days Later card which just has an image of Cillian Murphy on a bridge. I think perhaps the movies posters may have been a better idea. There is also the grand idea of having a fun little Top Trumps File which has a little blurb about the movie… and I mean little. Like 64 words in a 3cm by 2 cm box little. Horror is so much scarier without eye strain!
The choices of movies are quite broad though. You would expect Nightmare on Elm St or Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but surprises like Ginger Snaps, Ringu and The Babadook are great to see.
This isn’t a game that an adult would play because it’s fun, but if, like me, you are curating a horror board and card game collection, it’s a good addition!
It was a great mix of sci-fi and horror and took risks in storytelling that really opened the door for what we have in sci-fi and horror TV today. It even adapted as cast came and went and whilst every season wasn’t a hit, it mostly was intriguing and a good watch…
… and to say I had a crush on Dana Scully is an understatement.
The puzzling, investigative nature of the show lends itself wonderfully to board game mechanics, as investigation and puzzles are the cornerstone mechanics of many popular games. From RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, to solo games like Rush Hour, these are the mechanics that can enthral any number of players!
This means that several games have been based on the show, and this one, X-Files: Circle of Truth is a re-skinning of a puzzle game for two players from Buttonshy called Circle the Wagons. Buttonshy are known for ‘wallet games’; cheap, small number of player games that usually have very few pieces, this game has 18 cards and two player ID cards, but contain fun, or at least interesting distractions that only take 15 to 30 minutes to play.
X-Files: Circle of Truth sees two players choose whether they want to be Mulder or Scully, each character has a different advantage that doesn’t make much difference at the beginning of the game so the choice is has little relevance until the game starts to play, but you should still keep your advantage in your mind while you select cards.
The other 18 cards have ‘cases’ on one side and 4 images of aliens, microscopes, guns and other things the FBI would use, on a variety of backgrounds representing ‘places’, like fields, sewers etc, and the game set up sees three cases picked for the middle of the table, and the other 15 cards placed with the 4 images facing up in a circle around them (‘Circle’ of Truth… see?).
The point of the game is to have the most points and points can be achieved in several ways. The first is by scoring the most amount of a particular location, for example, you would get 4 points if you have 4 sewer cards connection, but none for any other sewers. The cards with the 4 images on them are taken by the players and placed in front of them, and can be partially laid over each other in an attempt to make larger areas of the same location. The trick with the accumulation of these cards is that it’s taken in clockwise order.
The play is started in one position chosen by the second player, but if the first player particularly wants a card two cards away from the starting position, the first player gets the cards in between, creating a personal ‘map’ by laying the cards as mentioned above.
The other way to get points is if one of the mission cards in the middle of the circle in achieved, which could be if you have UFO logos in a row, or getting bonus points for any 4 files attached corner to corner in a square.
The game is quite fun, and quick to play. The Buttonshy games are clever in their tiny size with big gameplay execution, but I think that sometimes the cleverness is the selling point rather than the actual gameplay. This game is fun, sure, but the fact it’s a reskinned cowboy game means that other than the iconography, it’s not very thematic as an X-Files game.
Also, considering it’s a extremely portable game, it takes up a lot of room on a table, so it’s not very suitable as a game one might take to the pub. There are certainly games that are more fun that take up less room that are more thematic to their theme. Love Letter is the perfect example of a small game that alters its gameplay slightly to adhere to the theme of its reskinning, like the Thanos or Star Wars versions.
To summarise, I do like the game, but it’s theme is tacked on and for a ‘little’ game, it takes up a lot of space.
Several weeks ago, I did a review for a fun card game called “Psycho Killer’ from Escape Tabletop Games. The kind people from VR Distribution in Australia saw this review and kindly offered me a copy of each of the expansions to review.
If you wish to read that review, you can find it here: Psycho Killer Card Game – go back and read that first before embarking in this review.
In that original review, I do criticise the game for being packed in a far-too-big box for how small the game is, and when I saw how small these expansions are I assumed they would fit in the box with the original cards, which they do, but only if you remove the inserts that hold the original cards in place, or you can take these cards out and throw them in the box which would be a shame, because the audio cassette/ Walkman boxes are pretty cool.
Just on that: the boxes for these expansions ARE cool, but make no sense thematically. The original game, set around slasher films of the 80s come in a video tape, which is bang on for theme, but these seem to be more about the box art theme of the original rather than the game theme. Sure they all look cool together, but I just don’t get it.
The three expansions are called Gratuitous Violence, Z and Bloody Mary.
Gratuitous Violence is our first expansion, and it adds a much more combative experience. There are 15 cards in this little tiny box, all marked with a ‘V’ so if you want to play the game WITHOUT these cards, they are easily removed.
First, it adds a Psycho Creature to the pile, if you draw this guy, you don’t just drop all your weapons, you also take one from each other player… yikes! Save Yourself allows you to force another player to draw your last card instead of you. Creepy Local let’s you try to steal a particular card from another players hand. I Know What You’ll Do Next Summer let’s you look at rearrange the top three cards so you can pick who gets what for the next three hands, and finally, three ranged weapons (Flame Thrower, Crossbow and Hunting Rifle (not pictured)) which have the unique ability of the player holding them being able to put them on another players weapon pile to increase THEIR score.
As you can see, these cards add a really nasty, attack-other-players element to the game, and the word “BAST-AAAAAAAAARD” will be exclaimed often. Also, the addition of the extra cards means that the player count can be increased to 7, so you can make even more people angry!
Z is the next expansion, and adds a zombie apocalypse to the threat of a Psycho Killer. Again, this card adds enough cards to the deck so you can increase the player count to 7, but whereas Gratuitous Violence was all about attaching other players, this is all about you as an individual.
This expansion is all about getting infected by a zombie virus, and then trying to get rid of it to another player. The weapon cards in this expansion are all zombie attacks (Bite, Scratch and Swarm) but they don’t get played when a Psycho Killer attacks, but instead they get played when you draw an Infected card, and you will keep playing those cards as long as you are infected.
You can get rid of the card though, with either a The Cure card, in which you shuffle it back into the deck (keeping your wounds), a Supply Run card, were the player takes one card from every players hand (maybe they’ll take that infected card) and the Patient Zero Psycho Killer card, where you distribute your cards to the other players. There is also a Shallow Grave card, which can be swapped with the top card on the discard pile; got an Infected card? Swap it with a played The Cure, if you are lucky!
This expansion is hilariously self-destructive, but the zombie injury cards are affected by the Band Aids and Stitches cards from the main game, also cards like Let’s Split, Drop Your Keys and Disarm can also be a way to rid yourself of the Infected card.
Bloody Mary is the final expansion, and it turns Psycho Killer into a drinking game! The first thing one must do to play this game as a drinking game, is to remove all the Psycho Killers and Weapons cards from the base game, and replace them with the Bloody Mary cards, and the Drink cards. The scoring is still the same, except when someone gets a Bloody Mary card, everyone has to take as many sips of their drink as the points on the card say. For example, if you got a Bloody Mary (+3 points) and placed a Beer card with it (+1), you would take 4 sips of your drink.
This game also adds ‘Character Cards’ to the mix as well. While you have a character card in your hand, you must take on the persona of that card. For example, if you have The Bartender in your hand, it’s your job to keeps everyone’s drinks filled, The Final Girl stops you from taking a drink, and The Jock allows you to pick a member of your frat, and they have to drink whenever you drink. These character cards make for an interesting experiment in the game, and even cards like Play Dead allows you to keep a character card should the opportunity come up where a character is to be removed, which is whenever a Bloody Mary is played.
There’s also other drink-oriented cards like Pass Out Under the Bed, where instead of drawing a card to end your turn, you take a drink, and Splatter, where everyone must keep drinking their drink until they finish theirs, or you finish yours!
I’d like to point out at this point of the review, that the To Watch Pile encourages everyone to drink responsibly, look out for your buddies and please, don’t drink and drive.
This box also has a bunch of blank cards do you can create your own Psycho Killers: maybe your deck needs a Cropsy (drink a flaming sambuca), or a Madman Mars (you have to spend 5 minutes awkwardly in a spa with another person while terrible music plays), or even a Norman Bates (player wears a wig and impersonates their mother until the next Psycho Killer is drawn).
I have to make the points on this one a bit lower than the others for two reasons. One, the re-jiggery-pokery of the deck on setup is never a fun way to start a game, though the makers of the game have labelled all the cards with a little Bloody Mary so they are easily removed. The other issue is that it narrows the game to drinkers only, so under-18s are immediately left out as are non-drinkers. I think games are better when they appeal to a wider audience, and this narrows it. Don’t get me wrong, the actual mechanics of the drinking in this expansion are fun, but a non-drinker in your board game club isn’t going to get anything out of it. Also, it’s a shame the character cards weren’t in other expansions with non-alcohol related things for them to do, like maybe a ‘Lovers’ card who divide damage equally or something like that.
These expansions all have a recommended retail of about $19.95, and I think the Gratuitous Violence and Z boxes are certainly worth it, even though the contents of the box don’t seem to be much. They do add fun extra elements of gameplay with a small amount of components. The Bloody Mary expansion I probably wouldn’t worry too much about, but I do like that you can make your own Psycho Killers! People whose board game nights turn into orgies of liquor might enjoy it.
I’d just like to offer a thank you to the people at VR Distribution for allowing me an opportunity to review their product.
Horror movies are a great source of inspiration for games. The bigger the horror movie, the more potential for success the game has, and when you take something like Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and make it into a game, provided it’s a fun game, you can pretty much well guarantee you are onto a winner.
Jaws is the blockbuster film from the 70s, based on a book by Peter Benchley, that launched Spielberg’s career and has had several video games based upon it, such as Jaws Unleashed on the Playstation 2 and PC and Jaws: Ultimate Predator on the Nintendo 3DS, not to mention a Super Nintendo game called simply Jaws, that came out in 1987, but more recently several board game companies have swam up to the licence and eaten it with much ferocity. We have had the inevitable Jaws Monopoly, the Funkoverse Strategy Game: Jaws (which comes with two smaller sized Funko Pops to appease the worldwide cult of Pop fans), and this game, from Ravensburger, titled simply Jaws.
Ravensburger make some amazingly thematic board game (if you haven’t tried Villainous, give it a go. It is Disney themed but lots of fun), and Jaws is one of those games that follows the basic plot of the film. This game is a three versus one game, with three players playing Quint, Brody and Hooper as they attempt to destroy the fourth player, who plays the big shark. This game is right in fashion of the current video game trend of have one vs many games like Dead by Daylight (also coming soon as a board game) and Evil Dead the Game.
This gameplay is divided into two halves. This first half of the game, on one side of the board, has a map of Amity Island and sees the human players attempting to stop Jaws from eating swimmers and at the same time attempt to locate the shark with location barrels. Each player has a series of things they can do in their turn which is thematic to the character, as is their extra special abilities, like Hooper’s fish finder for example.
Quint and Hooper spend their time searching for the shark by placing location barrels in the water, which the shark attempts to avoid, whilst Brody shuts beaches and delivers more barrels to the docks for them to use… Brody’s piece doesn’t go in the water because you know, Brody doesn’t like the water.
You might be asking yourself,’ but how does the shark avoid being located? Doesn’t the player have a piece on the boards?’ The answer to that is no, the shark player uses a separate notebook to record where on the map, signified by map locations, and doesn’t place their piece on the board until they have been spotted. They move around eating swimmers secretly, only revealing where they are if they go through a space with a barrel, or if they are spotted from the beach by Brody, or when they chow down on a beach goer.
Each turn, an Amity Event phase card is revealed which shows a special ability one of the players may have in that turn, but also deposits more swimmers in the water!
This first part of the game is finished when one of two things happen: either the shark ends up with two barrels attached and their position fully revealed, or they eat nine swimmers. How the Act Two of the game plays out is decided by how successful either team have been. If the shark eats more swimmers, it gets a higher amount of special ability cards in the second act, but if the humans stop them early enough, they get extra gear to stop the shark.
For the second act sees the board turn over to reveal a sunken version of the shop The Orca, where undamaged images of the ship overlays are placed on top. Cards are issues to either team regarding their success in the previous act. For example, if the shark ate five swimmers before having two barrels attached, they would receive six shark ability cards, and the crew would get seven pieces of crew gear.
Each turn the shark attacks the boat and the crew prepare themselves for the attack. The shark player reveals each turn where they MIGHT attack, giving the crew an opportunity to be ready to defend, and play continues as the shark either slowly sinks the boat, attacking the crew and having them lose their life points, or the crew are able to kill the shark with lucky dice rolls in combination with their gear.
Obviously there is a lot more to this than my summary here, and I suggest you take a look at Becca Scott’s How to play Jaws YouTube Video ( How to Play Jaws – YouTube ) before purchase if you want a better idea of how to play.
Thematically, this game is amazing. The pieces all represent their characters well, and the dividing of the two acts is a clever way to play the game. The instructions are clear and concise and well-illustrated, with some great examples of play.
The game is lots of fun and that to be expected from designers Prospero Hall, who gave us the previously mentioned Villainous, as well as other thematically on-point games like Horrified, Fast and Furious: Highway Heist and Godzilla: Tokyo Clash.
I do have to say I have one problem with it and that is the player count. This is a three vs one game, and whilst I appreciated that the instructions say that it can be played with one player playing all the crew, or two players sharing one crew member, but it is much less fun. When three players are the crew there is a lot of discussion as to what to do next, where with one player, they sit studiously in silence for several minutes while they decide what each crew member will do. As the shark player, knowing where you are in act one and watching as three people talk about how they are NO WHERE near you is a great deal of joy, and that’s what games are all about, right? Fun and interaction!
Like Monopoly or Cluedo (Clue, to my American friends), Trivial Pursuit is a well-worn classic in the history of board games, one that surely every fan of games must own, either the classic one with just the regular mix of trivia questions, or one of the ‘flavoured’ ones, like the Star Wars or Harry Potter ones.
For years, horror fans have been left out in the cold… or in a basement… or in the woods, or wherever the heck it is that horror fans would not like to be abandoned… with only those mainstream movie related ones available to us, or in one of those wedge-shaped mini ‘bite-sized’ editions, of which there is a horror one, but now we have a spectacular, big-boxed and proper edition with this Trivial Pursuit Horror Ultimate Edition!
As usual the winner is the first person to collect the six different wedges by answering trivia questions correctly, but you knew that, right?
The rules of this game are the same as most other Trivial Pursuit games: each player roles a die and moves that many spaces to your (final) destination. Once there, the player to your left asks you a question based on the colour you have arrived on.
In this game:
Green – Paranormal
Pink – Psychological
Yellow – Monster
Blue – Comedy
Orange – Gore/ Disturbing
Purple – Slasher
If you get the question right, you get another turn. If it is a junction space, you collect that colour wedge, unless you already have it, in which case you get another turn. If you get the answer incorrectly, the turn passes to the next player. This repeats until one player has all six colour wedges, and their objective is to get to the middle square where the other players get to pick the final question category. If they get that right, they win!
The problem with a lot of these flavoured Trivial Pursuits is if you don’t know the subject, you won’t stand a chance at a win. For example, I would never even entertain the idea of playing either the Friends or the Dragonball Bite-sized edition. This, however, does go easy on the casual, or lighter horror fan, as there are questions not just based on some obscure 70s slash-fest, there are also questions on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight. For example, the first card I’ve just pulled out of the box has questions about Session 9, 30 Days of Night, The Loved Ones and the second card I’ve pulled out asks about Dexter, What We Do In The Shadows and Black Mirror.
If I’m completely honest, my first game of this against my daughter, who is a horror fan but not to the extent that I am, was far too close for my liking.
The style of the game and the box artwork are great and very thematic without referring to any particular film. The exterior art has a dirty wooden box look with a bloody handprint on it, what more could you ask for, and the board looks like a dirty wooden floor, with the actual game made to look like its part of some kind of dark ritual, with paintings of mysterious runes and bones and feathers added as addition decoration.
There are 1800 questions on the cards, and if you have the bit-sized horror one you can add that as well! The quality of the cards is pretty good too.
The pieces are where the game really shine though. They have the traditional Trivial Pursuit wedge-collecting base, but weird, non-specific character pieces on the top. Mostly with these types of games, like the Warner Bros. or Star Wars ones for example, the pieces with reflect characters from the franchises, but as this is non-specific, they have used their creativity and come up with some disturbing models!
This game says the amount of players is ‘2+’ on the box, but it works best at 4, I think, but that’s my opinion of all Trivial Pursuits.
In essence, this game is just a Trivial Pursuit, so if you like that game, you will probably like this, but its genre specificity makes it really for fans of horror. If you are having a board game night and someone loudly proclaims “Oh, I don’t like horror films’ then put this back on the shelf as it will be of no use to you, or, and this is the better answer, send them home: why do you have a non-horror fan in your house anyways?
It doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but its nice to show off what obscure horror facts you know to your horror loving mates. If I’m to really label a specific problem with this game, it is a little pricey from some retailers. When I got mine several months ago, it took me a while to find it for less than $100 (I paid $80 Australian). It may have come down since, but with everything going on in the world in 2022 and the past two years, I can’t imagine a price reduction being on the cards.