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One Night Ultimate Werewolf
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Offered by Smart Games Online
Price: £17.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social-Deduction in Managable Chunks, 11 May 2015
If you've played any social-deduction games like Werewolf or The Resistance then all you need to know is that this condenses the experience into about 6 minutes with all the fun and much less of the stress. It's a fantastic game that can easily be played as an opener to an evening, a filler, or even repeatedly throughout the night. It can also be played from 3-10 players which is going to suit most gaming groups.

If you don't know what I'm talking about then let me elaborate..

In 'ONUW' each player is given a card with a secret role that they don't show anyone else. These are essentially split into two teams: Werewolves and Villagers. At the beginning of the game, everyone will close their eyes and then a series of instructions will be given to everyone (either through a moderator or !USE THE FREE APP!) that enable people to perform unique abilities. For example, the Werewolves will open their eyes and see who each other are.. assuming there are any. Unique characters such as the troublemaker (a villager) will get to swap two people's cards without looking at them. Then, after everyone has performed their roles in secret, everyone open their eyes and a timer of 5 minutes begins. At the end of that time, everyone votes to kill someone else at the table. The person with the most votes dies (in ties both people die) and if a Werewolf is killed then the Villagers win. Werewolves win if a villager is killed instead.

So, going back in time to when that 5 minute timer began, we discover the meat of this game. Everyone at the table has a piece of information: who they were originally and what they did 'at night' (during the closed eyes period). But what this game should probably be called is "Alibis" as this is how the game will be won or lost. Villagers are likely to be quite honest, having nothing to hide, but Werewolves are probably going to claim that they were one of the other roles - perhaps causing a contradiction at the table as two people claim they were the Troublemaker. However, things get more complicated as some people have had their cards swapped without knowing it and no longer truly know what they are. On top of that, there are two special roles: The Tanner who wins when he is killed and the Minion who counts as a villager but wants the werewolves to win. These throw a gigantic spanner into the works that dynamically shifts the bluffing mechanics in the game. It's very clever and very sneaky.

You can then mix and match the roles to suit your game and what you like, keeping the game fresh with variety. It's a great system because it plays so quick that you never feel bogged-down in lying when you're a werewolf and unlike longer games you won't spend half an hour trying to make the whole table distrust your friend. Instead, the game here is a lot more logical presenting a social puzzle that with a bit of teamwork can be figured out.. unless, damn, are they just the tanner and want me to kill them? It leads to some pretty funny reveals when everyone flips their cards over and you talk about what just happened.

It's too easy to recommend this game, everyone should buy it. Quick, easy, fun, clever, small and fairly cheap. Get the free app, it's almost essential and perhaps buy the expansion for even more variety.

Star Wars Imperial Assault Board Game Base Set
Star Wars Imperial Assault Board Game Base Set
Price: £57.13

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you were on the fence..., 11 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Imperial Assault is going to cost you a lot of money. It's a big heavy box packed full of miniatures, cards, tokens and dice. What's more, you're going to find it very hard to resist buying all of the expansions as characters that are used in the campaign would otherwise be represented by boring flat tokens. Then, with the new Twin Shadows expansions on the way (and Boba Fett as a further expansion pack) it's going to eat up more than it's share of your board game allowance.

But that's okay. Because it's worth it.

When Fantasy Flight put out X-Wing a few years ago I got suckered in and have since spent way too much money on additional ships. Whilst I love the game, I hardly ever get to play it and as such feel like I'm just a slave to the FF marketing machine. Imperial Assault though is a game that I'm almost happy to throw my wallet at, as since I got it, I've barely played anything else.

First of all, I've never played Descent (the game engine that this is heavily based from), so my review is from the perspective of someone fairly experienced with board games but fairly new to dungeon crawlers. In Imperial Assault, you combine modular tiles to create numerous classic Star Wars environments and attempt to complete objectives. IA is split into two modes: Campaign and Skirmish - with both providing a healthy amount of content for different situations.

Campaign is undeniably the bulk of the game, with one person taking command of the Imperial forces and up to 4 others taking charge of an individual Rebel character. Combining a decent chunk of story and flavour, the Rebels will uncover an Imperial plot over the course of about 10 missions and develop their characters over time, gaining new skills, items and even allies from the Star Wars universe (like Luke and Han). At the same time, the Imperials will slowly add new tricks to put up their sleeves and become more powerful over time. What's more, the missions have branching paths meaning that the next mission you play will depend on the outcome of this one, giving the game a lot of replay value.

This mode is fantastic and created with a lot of love for the franchise. Each mission feels authentic and varied, with objectives that change throughout the missions and multiple triggers that activate new chunks of story and Imperial deployments. It's incredibly exciting/terrifying when someone opens a door and suddenly Darth Vader arrives to spring a trap. After each story mission you'll also play a side mission, which could focus on an individual Rebel character or something totally divergent and these are always fun with interesting rewards. All of this will keep you hooked until the final mission where both sides will be at their maximum strength and the victor will be decided for the campaign. By the time you've finished this one campaign, you may very well have already put 20 hours into the game and quite likely might want to start another one, switching characters and roles.

Then when you're in the mood for something with less commitment, or simply can't get the full group together, you can play Skirmish mode which puts two sides against each other in a one-off battle. The base game comes with 3 maps with 2 missions on each, all of which have fairly different mission objectives and still manage to include some backstory and theme which is admirable. Each side is able to build teams based on their faction cards deployment costs and a deck of Command cards that gives interesting bonuses during the battle. This mode actually has a fair amount of depth to it and can become especially competitive for one-on-one bouts. Unfortunately the Rebels are quite limited in terms of miniatures and might have to resort to using flat tokens unless you buy the expansions.

I do have a few criticisms, but they're merely things to take into consideration rather than severely damage the game. Firstly, this is another example of FF's poor box insert designs ( a pet-hate of mine) which doesn't do a great job of organising the many many many components you'll have to store. Secondly, the campaign that we've played so far has been heavily weighted towards the Imperials - which isn't so much a criticism of the balance of the game as I've seen online many Rebel teams dominating - but more a balance of the group that you play with. We've actually had to resort to a handicap as the other players were starting to get frustrated with constantly losing which obviously isn't ideal. This is something that will fluctuate with who you play with and how good they are at these games, but I'd say try to always keep it light-hearted and enjoy the experience rather than play to win.

Overall though, Imperial Assault is a fantastic package that is impressive from top to bottom. It's an expensive box, yes, but it's almost impossible not to get your moneys worth as you'll likely play this a lot more than other big games on your shelf. Also, I recommend getting 4 other friends together and each pitch-in to buy the base game, that way the cost is cheap and you'll make sure that the same group sticks together to play the full Campaign. The gameplay itself is fun and fairly straightforward in the beginning, with much of it's depth and complexity arriving over time as your characters grow in abilities - giving the game a helpful learning curve. The artwork is incredible and the production values on the whole are sky-high.. this is about as good as it gets when it comes to board game design.

I think it's time for you to buy Imperial Assault.

Escape Expansion: Illusions
Escape Expansion: Illusions
Price: £24.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent expansion, extortionate price., 23 April 2015
This review is from: Escape Expansion: Illusions (Toy)
I love Escape: Curse of the Temple, it's one of my favourite games. Which is why it pains me so much to review this expansion badly.

You see, if I were to strictly talk about the pieces that Illusions adds then what I would have to say would be mainly positive. The added 6th player makes things even more chaotic (occasionally too much so) but it's a welcome addition for someone who's friends always seem to come in pairs. The added trophy room adds a dollop of thematic sauce to the existing puzzle, amping up the difficulty for veterans and giving some new excitement to the latter stages of the game. The various new tiles (including curses) are fine, not all astoundingly exciting but welcome all the same - even if the card stock is a different colour making it obvious when they are about to be drawn.

It's all fairly good stuff and adds to the core experience (even if some of it feels like it should have been in the core set to start with).

However, as part of a review I cannot talk about it without taking value into consideration. At a recommended retail price of £30 (and rarely dipping below £25) it's 3/4 of the price of the base game for what feels like about 1/6th of the content. It also comes in an absolutely huge box that is obviously just to fill up shelf space in the store rather than conveniently contain it's components.

It's just too expensive.

If you love the game and money is not an issue for you, then you're probably not even reading this review. For everyone else though, you could buy a whole other game for this price and you probably should.

Breville 4-Slice Toaster the Perfect Fit for Warburtons
Breville 4-Slice Toaster the Perfect Fit for Warburtons
Price: £50.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT for Warburtons bread., 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In case you didn't notice, this toaster is PERFECT for Warburtons bread. The team of Breville toaster scientists must have been working day and night to reach such optimal toasting quadratics for Warburtons very special requirements. What's even more astounding, is that besides this incredible synergy, Breville have even enabled their machine to perform completely with OTHER brands of bread-based products. This toaster can simply do it all. Furthermore, this machine has really unveiled my true creative potential in bread toasting and has literally brought my breakfast TO LIFE.

All jokes aside..

This actually is a decent toaster. It's simple to use, with decent functionality (such as "lift and look", "toast to the top" and the removable crumb tray) and has a fairly durable feel to it. It's somewhat reasonably priced for what it is, probably the maximum that I would ever spend on a toaster and for the average toast-muncher it might already be a bit too extravagant - although if you are looking for something a bit more middle-class then I'm sure there are more expensive options, toast enthusiasts might also be suited elsewhere. Certainly nothing wrong with it though.. besides the egregious marketing spiel.

AmazonBasics Portable External Battery Charger 2,000 mAh (Ultra Slim)
AmazonBasics Portable External Battery Charger 2,000 mAh (Ultra Slim)
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Small and incredibly easy to use, 24 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Cheap and cheerful. Small and incredibly easy to use, this is plug-and-play. As an iPhone user it's a bit disappointing for it not to come with the correct adapters (or any for other devices), but that's advertised anyway. I find that this size battery is good for a full charge of my 5s and that can be incredibly useful for a night away from the house or a lot of app usage.

Philips HR1832/41 Viva Collection Compact Juicer, 1.5 Litre, 500 Watt - Red
Philips HR1832/41 Viva Collection Compact Juicer, 1.5 Litre, 500 Watt - Red
Price: £39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a great looking piece of kit that's easy to use and ..., 24 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Small and effective, a great looking piece of kit that's easy to use and easy to clean. Before this we were using a traditional blender for smoothies and, while functional, this makes the process easier and more enjoyable.

Igenix IG4015 Catering Urn 1,650 W - 15 L, Stainless Steel
Igenix IG4015 Catering Urn 1,650 W - 15 L, Stainless Steel
Price: £68.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good size and has decent functionality, 24 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using this for beer brewing purposes and it's made the process so much easier and quicker. It's a good size and has decent functionality, although the single skin wall means it is very hot to touch. Easy to use and well constructed, I happily recommend.

Tacwise 18G 50mm Brad Electric Nail Gun
Tacwise 18G 50mm Brad Electric Nail Gun
Price: £116.69

5.0 out of 5 stars easy to use and well built, 24 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Effective, easy to use and well built.

Comes with a solid plastic case and is very easy to set up and use.

Mascarade Card Game
Mascarade Card Game
Price: £14.40

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it., 13 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Mascarade Card Game (Toy)
Mascarade is a very flexible game. Accommodating 2-13 people, it plays out in about 15-30 minutes and is really easy to learn. The box is conveniently small and all of the artwork and components are gorgeous.

In Mascarade, every player is trying to gain 13 coins in order to win. Each person then has one card in front of them face down that they are generally not allowed to look at. On your turn you can do one of 3 things: Look at your card, swap your card with someone else's without looking or "claim" to be a certain character. Each of the different characters in the game then has a unique power, for example the King can gain 3 coins on their go.

So what tends to happen is, people swap each others cards around and before long nobody is quite sure what card they actually have. Looking at their card would take up their entire turn, so instead they might try to bluff and claim to be someone else - "I'm the king!". If someone else at the table thinks that in fact THEY are that card, they will proclaim so "No, I'm the king!". At which point, both (or all) people claiming to be that card turn them over - whoever actually is the proclaimed card gets to do the power (so whoever had the king would gain 3 coins) and anyone who was caught out has to pay a fine to the centre of the table.

This leads to some pretty funny circumstances, especially when you factor in some of the other characters. For example the "Inquisitor" can point at someone at the table and ask them who they are, if that person guesses correctly then nothing happens.. but if they get it wrong, they have to pay the Inquisitor a hefty 4 coins. Trying to pick out the people who are the most confused at the table and asking them who they are is riotous fun (in one game I played, after using this ability to ask someone who they were, it turned out that they were actually the Inquisitor).

Overall then, it's incredibly easy to recommend Mascarade. It's a very good party game, but even it's 2 player mode is a bit of fun. The artwork is incredible and it's a lovely package on the whole. The game is fun, quick and easy to learn - making it a great filler game for almost anyone.

No Title Available

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Satisfying., 3 Jan. 2015
Machi Koro is a very simple and satisfying game to play. Each turn all you do is roll a die, earn income based on the number you rolled and then buy a building card. The first player to build their 4 "special" buildings wins.

Each building has a number attached to it which determines what you need to roll on the die for it to produce income. Therefore it's in your interest to purchase a variety of different shops and have all the numbers on the die covered. Each card also has a colour; green earns you money when you roll the number on your turn only, blue earns you money anytime someone rolls the number, red allows you to take money from other people who roll the number and purple have their own unique abilities. Later on in the game you'll also have the opportunity to roll two dice and add the result together, allowing you to purchase higher numbered buildings with their own unique traits.

What's great about this very simple mechanic is that at first, rolling the numbers you need is strictly gambling, disappointing when what you need doesn't come up but exciting when it does. Before long you'll be able to adjust the odds, you'll win more often but some numbers will pay out bigger than others. The strategy is what to buy, do you go for the safe option? Or do you risk the bigger rewards?

And that's it.

The only problem here is that after a game or two, you'll probably work out the best and most likely strategies which combine the use of certain buildings. This isn't so bad if everyone else playing also knows them, but might make it a bit unbalanced otherwise. This issue however does already look to be addressed in the upcoming expansion where rather than have a comprehensive table of options to choose from each turn, there is a randomly drawn selection of options - making the game different every time.

I really do enjoy Machi Koro, it's a light game but it feels rewarding to play. There's little interaction between players but because of the different coloured cards you do still care about other players turns. Building up your collection of shops and increasing your odds is addictive and rarely frustrating. The game plays well from 2-4 players, but is probably a bit more dynamic with 3-4 because of some of the cards. It's really easy to teach and wraps up reliably within 30 minutes. The base game might become a bit predictable after a while but this doesn't stop it from being enjoyable - and as mentioned, should be addressed in the upcoming expansion which looks to add a generous dollop of variety to the game (as well as a 5th player).

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