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Kickstarter Game Review – Galactic Arena

I have all but quit doing Kickstarter reviews. Most of the time, they suck. Worse than that, most of the time, the prototype sucks. It’s a bunch of cardboard that some knucklehead cut out with a pair of scissors, and the dude was apparently half-drunk when he was working because the pieces always look like they were gnawed by feral mole rats. But I guess the guys making Galactic Arena saw me coming, because the idea behind this game made me really want to play their game, even if I was going to get a handful of recycled material pretending to be a game. The idea, the one that made me accept a review copy prototype of a Kickstarter game when I swore I would never do that again, is that every game this company intends to publish will be based in the same universe. It’s called the Apocalypse Universe because in the game back-story, there was an apocalypse. In the universe. Which is probably why they scrubbed the name ‘Hamster Universe,’ which would have made no sense at all. According to the documentation that I largely ignored, the masses love to watch warriors compete in the Galactic Arena. Again, the names here are...
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Expansion Review – Smash Up Science Fiction Double Feature

When I first heard about Smash Up a few years ago, I was excited. It sounded like so much fun, and it looked absurdly silly, and the concepts were awesome. You just grab two completely different factions and combine them to make one deck that basically does something completely wacky. I was so stoked to get that first copy that I broke it out and played it right away with my wife and my dad. And my response was basically, ‘Huh. Well, there you go.’ Underwhelmed, I suppose. But obviously, I was not the voice of the industry in this case, because Smash Up continues to sell well enough that there are now three different expansions. Somebody is playing this game. Not me, but somebody. The newest set, like the two before it, introduces four new decks that can be combined with each other or any of the old cards to create something completely different. This one is called Science Fiction Double Feature, because they needed a name and that was not taken yet. You get shapeshifting aliens, cyborg apes, super spies and time travelers. Spies are not technically sci-fi matinee fodder, but they’re in the box, so what the hell. Like just about...
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Expansion Review – Keyflower: The Farmers

Before you read this review, you should read my review of Keyflower (RIGHT HERE), unless you have already read that review and remember it well enough to fake it through this review. I am not going to repeat myself, except to maybe play up the whole mandingo angle a little bit. Instead, I’m going to tell you all about Keyflower: The Farmers, which is an expansion to Keyflower that will now let you raise cows and pigs and sheep and maybe turn them into leather and food and pants. I would posit that Keyflower: The Farmers is misnamed. It should probably be Keyflower: The Ranchers, because aside from a few places that let you grab wheat, it’s all about raising animals. And since the wheat is mostly just used to feed animals, that doesn’t count as much of an exception. The original Keyflower lets you use your brightly colored slaves to grab up stonesmiths and carriage houses in order to make the most money at the end of the game. The theory still works pretty much exactly the same, but now instead of capitalizing on metal ore and wood, you’re trading in livestock. You’ll try to run up a good supply of delicious pets...
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