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Game Review – Onitama

Game Title: Onitama
Game Company: Arcane Wonders
Players: 2
Recommended Age: 14+
Play Time: 10-15 Minutes
MSRP: $29.99

Onitama is a two-player abstract strategy game, played on a 5 square by 5 square play mat. Game components are high quality and the theme and artwork are very well done.

Each player controls 5 pieces; a Master and 4 Students. Players take turns using their available moves to maneuver their pieces to either capture the opposing Master OR to get their Master to the other Master’s starting square.

The game play is unique in the fact that the game comes with 16 movement cards, each with a fitting Kung-Fu style name and artwork. Only 5 cards are randomly drawn each game. These 5 cards make up the available moves for both players during the game. Each player starts with 2 cards. The fifth card is placed off to the center of the board. When a player executes one of his card maneuvers, he places that card onto the center spot and takes the card that was there. This unique play mechanic not only ensures that no two games are ever the same, but allows for each player to know what moves their opponent has or will have in their following turn.

If you’re looking for a simple yet strategically challenging game for 2 players, we highly recommend Onitama. Come in today for a demo of this or many other awesome 2 player games.

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How does Magic fit into The Game Annex?

Yes it is true, The Game Annex is known as Fort Wayne’s premier board game store.  I have embraced this and have always been dedicated to that.   For almost 2 years we did not have Magic, mostly due to the thought that board gamers and magic players couldn’t coexist.

The fact is, they really don’t anywhere else in our metro area.  Considering our meta was so amazing, the thought of adding something that had a bad rap was scary.  However I am pleased to say, we have managed to co-mingle board gamers and Magic players!

So fast forward to this summer when we opened and shortly after closed our North Store.   We were mostly magic up there.  It was growing a nice crowd.  But we still didn’t see a a ton of cross over.  Then when we chose to close the second location, we didn’t want to say “sorry about your luck” and go back to no Magic at our Illinois road location.

So we prepped a semi private area to our large gaming area for trading card games.  This started our blend of friday night game night (our biggest night at the store) with Friday Night Magic.

What can you expect?

If you are one of our many loyal customers, you will know that the FNM will be run exactly the same as our board game nights.  We offer a clean, friendly and bully free atmosphere that people can come and play in.

Do you want to know what is really cool?  We offer a great place with lots of experienced Magic players.  Some of the top players call The Game Annex home.  We have one of the best tournament organizers running events and amazing judges lending their hand to building up our FNM.  On top of all of this, we still have a fun and friendly atmosphere.

It is safe to say, we intend to treat Magic with the same passion we do our board game area and we can not wait for you to experience The Game Annex difference.

 

 

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Mysterium – Worth the Hype?

For months now, we have seen the glorious advertisement in various board game magazines. It has had a fair amount of hype surrounding it. So is it worth the hype?

Mysterium

It all started at GenCon 2015 – The expected release of Mysterium. Then the news arrived that only around 100 people per day would get their hands on the product. I admit it, I fell into the hype. I am not ashamed. The description that was all around was that it was a cross between Dixit and Clue intrigued me. Ok, considering that Clue was my favorite game ever as a child, it really intrigued me.

So how do you play? In a nutshell: One person plays as the Ghost trying to communicate with Psychics to find out who killed Warwick Manor’s manservant on December 13th. The ghost issues clues in the form of artistic cards like found in Dixit to the Psychics, who then try to decipher the clue or vision from the ghost to match the corresponding person, place or thing. This continues on in a series of rounds (hours in the game) until everyone has successfully identified their own personal suspects. If the psychics successfully identify their suspects in the 7 rounds (hours) then the game proceeds.

The ghost then randomly draws to see which psychic has the real culprit. The ghost issues one last vision that leads the psychics to the true culprit. The entire game the psychics are allowed to talk and discuss the visions while working cooperatively. The end of the game and the last vision is done in silence. If at least one person guesses the correct players suspects as the culprit, the team of psychics and the ghost have won the game.

I did roughly 6 demos of this game now and have to say it gets better every time I play it. The teams that I played with were all completely different and went about it a completely different way. It was a lot of fun. I will say that when you play on easy, it is very plausible to find yourself min/maxing the game. But, when you play the harder levels that seems to not be an issue at all.

Overall the game is a very refreshing change in party style game play. Asmodee has done a great job with the components. This game is attractive and very well done following the theme and storyline. I am very excited to see what Asmodee picks up next, as this game is manufactured by Asmodee but designed and created by Libellud.

What I do find very interesting is that the original Polish version has a rating of 7.064 on Boardgamegeek.com while the American version produced by Asmodee has a 5.668 rating. I call shenanigans on that one. Asmodee has done a beautiful job on this and it will likely be a big hit for people that like and enjoy games like Sheriff of Notthingham (Arcane Wonders) and Resistance (Indie Board and Cards).

I can also say that every group that played for our GenCon show and tell event, walked away from the demo very happy. I would recommend this to those looking for a very a socially engaging game (except for the ghost who doesn’t get to talk…much) and for those that may have a group that gaming does not come naturally. Cooperative games always ease the stress of playing games for those that are not as addicted as the rest of us.

So for me….the hype is real! We are taking pre-orders now at The Game Annex. I feel comfortable in saying it would be a safe bet to take a chance on this game.