Koboldbande / Troll Trail

by Mikko on August 21, 2014

in Reviews

Koboldbande

The game: Koboldbande or Troll Trail by Gina Manola, published by Amigo and others in 2014. I have the Nordic Troll Trail edition from Lautapelit.fi. I did the Finnish translation.

Elevator pitch: Simple co-op game for young kids and their parents. Find the a way through the forest and get the treasure before the dragon gets to it!

What’s in the box? Cute Doris Matthäus artwork! There’s a board, bunch of tiles and cardboard tokens, and two custom dice. Components are simple, look nice and work well. The game looks charming. The game is in the Ö-Koo series of eco-friendly co-ops, so the components are made from sustainable materials.

What do you do in the game? Players must work together to build a pathway through the forest. The goal is the dragon’s treasure chest. On their way the players must pick up three of the four keys so they can open the chest.

Every turn, players draw a tile and place it so the path is continued. The tiles have straights, turns and T-crossings, so nothing tricky there. There are also dragon tiles: those go to the dragon path, and if the dragon reaches the treasure chest first, the players lose. Players can delay the dragon by picking up the candy tile.

If the players reach the chest first, they win.

Lucky or skillful? Almost all luck. It’s possible to make bad moves, but if the players build the path directly towards the chest and remember to pick up the keys, everything comes down to the luck of the draw: do the dragon tiles come up or not?

Abstract or thematic? Abstract, but with a cute theme. The Doris artwork is very cute and very appropriate for the game.

Solitaire or interactive? Koboldbande is best played together so that everybody gets to contribute.

Players: Any number, really, it doesn’t matter. Just draw the tiles, it doesn’t matter how many players there are around the board. Solo play is also possible.

Who can play? Box says 4+ and is correct. To start with, this is best played with parents, but after couple of plays, even younger children should be able to play this without much help from the parents. I’d put the upper age limit to six years or so, as the game has fairly little to offer for more skilled players. 

Length: One round takes maybe ten or fifteen minutes.

What’s to like: Cute artwork and fun theme; Easy to play co-op game; Eco-friendly components.

What’s not to like: No way to adjust the difficulty; Too easy; Too simple for older children.

My verdict: This game is well done and offers some excitement. However, it’s also quite easy: we played three games and the dragon wasn’t really close to winning even once. My son is eight and my daughter is five, and we’ve played lots of games, so this is a bit too easy for us. I think the game might work if my daughter played it with her friends, without adults involved – I think they could manage it, the rules are simple enough.

I’d like to see a way to adjust the difficulty of the game. It would be nice to have more dragon tiles to add to the mix, or something like that. Now the game is good for smaller children, but runs out of steam pretty quickly with older children. My copy is most likely heading to a family with smaller children than ours: they’ll get more out of this game than we. If you want a co-op for smaller children (four-year-olds, even three-year-olds), Koboldbande is a nice choice.

On the scale of EnthusiasticSuggestIndifferent or AvoidKoboldbande gets Indifferent.

New game notes

by Mikko on August 21, 2014

in More about games

Red is a new mini game from Carl Chudyk and Chris Cieslik. Play a card and/or change the goal. Only requirement? You need to be winning after your move, otherwise it’s game over for you. Fun little filler. Suggest.

Pick-a-Pig was familiar: I’ve played Formissimo, which is the original version. This one’s cuter. My kind of game, I quite liked it and managed to win, despite failing two rounds. Suggest.

Tutanchamon, a Knizia game from 1993 got the honour of being the 1000th rating. Not bad, but I’m annoyed for losing to a king-maker move. Bunte Runde is the better version of the same idea. Indifferent.

Irish Gauge is from the latest Winsome set. Seemed a bit daft at first, but there’s a game in there, and it’s somewhat interesting. A B level Winsome. Suggest.

Ark of the Covenant was a surprise. Wife of one of the guys was browsing a thrift store and sent photos of games to him. I saw the Ark for 5 euros and took it, and she delivered it right away. My friend got Himalaya for couple of euros. What’s even better, inside the Ark box, I found a cheap Indian Ludo/Snakes pocket game, Knatsch and a mass-market Narnia game. Sweet.

Ark is quite good, too, a solid Carcassonne variant with good ideas and special rules. Suggest.

Morels is a two-player card game about mushroom collecting. Pretty nice, a mellow set-building game. Suggest.

My brother visited, and brought with him Cthulhu Gloom, as he knew I wanted to try that. I’ve never played even the basic Gloom, but find the idea of partially transparent cards interesting.

It was. The basic gameplay here offers pretty much nothing – play cards, either to improve your own position or to hinder your opponent – but the theme is funny and well executed. I’d assume the game can become rather unbearable with a larger number of players, but with two, the “take that” element wasn’t bad.

A nice, light game, with a funny theme, then. Indifferent.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – The Liberation of Narnia is a fairly awful memory game with a terrifying name. Roll a die, try to find a matching card from a face-down array of cards. The goal is to create a route across an 6×4 array of cards. In the end, there are two cards: one is Aslan, the other is the Witch. If you find Aslan, you win, if you find Witch, all that you’ve done is reset and you start again. Awful, but the cards are shield-shaped, which is kind of neat. Avoid.

I  got my preorder copy of Subdivision yesterday, and I already played three games against my son (and already wrote a review). The game says 13+ in the box, but I believe that’s just to avoid testing – my 8-year-old son played this just fine. He won the first game, then I learnt how to play and won the next two games pretty easily.

I have some concerns over replayability, but so far it’s good. People who like interaction are going to hate this, as this is a very dry interaction-wise, but those who like simultaneous solitaire puzzles in the style of Take It Easy will find Subdivision delightful. Suggest

Troll Trail (aka Koboldbande) is a simple co-op. Draw tiles, trying to build a path across the forest to a treasure chest. Dragon wants to get there first, and players must find three keys on their way. Very simple, and seems quite easy, but I can see this working just fine for 4-year-olds. Indifferent.

Battle Sheep is an abstract game with cute plastic sheep discs. Build a board of hex tiles, then start conquering. Each player starts with a stack of 16 sheep. When you move, the stack moves in a straight line as far as it can, dropping at least one disc in the starting hex. The winner is the player with the most sheep on board when nobody can move anymore. Pretty nice, and the simple rules, nice bits and engaging gameplay make this an award hog, I believe. Indifferent

Subdivision

August 17, 2014

Back when Bézier Games hinted at new games in the Suburbia family, I was intrigued. When the two games were announced, I immediately preordered both. Now I got Subdivision, and have some plays under my belt. Time for a quick review! The game: Subdivision by Lucas Hedgren, published by Bézier Games in 2014. Elevator pitch: Suburbia meets Take It Easy. Multiplayer solitaire […]

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1000 ratings!

August 15, 2014

Board games, after a long break! The goal for the day was clear: reach 1000 BGG ratings.  Red is a new mini game from Carl Chudyk and Chris Cieslik. Play a card and/or change the goal. Only requirement? You need to be winning after your move, otherwise it’s game over for you. Fun little filler. Suggest. Pick-a-Pig was familiar: I’ve […]

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Troll Hunt

July 30, 2014

I played a pre-release copy of Troll Hunt from the Finnish Board Game Society game library in Ropecon, kindly provided by Roll D6. The game: Troll Hunt by Veli-Matti Saarinen, published by Roll D6 in 2014, after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Elevator pitch: Place and move mirrors on board so that the light rays from your lanterns hit the […]

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Ropecon 2014

July 28, 2014

First day of Ropecon – the largest non-commercial game event in Europe – done. The con got an interesting twist last year, when I decided to involve my now eight-year-old son. Now we’re here again. We’ve focused on board games, as the other program of the con has been somewhat uninteresting (or unsuitable for him). He’s eight, […]

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Rallyman

May 19, 2014

I saw Rallyman being played couple of years ago, and finally got a used copy for myself (actually the very same copy I saw back then). This seems like an interesting racing game. I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but this one seems interesting, and of course being a Finn, the rally theme […]

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For the Crown

April 27, 2014

This review is based on a review copy, kindly offered by Victory Point Games. The game: For the Crown (second edition) by Jeremy Lennert, published by Victory Point Games in 2012. Elevator pitch: Chess meets Dominion: a game of Chess, where you start with just a king and build up your army using a simple deck-building mechanism. What’s in the box? A slipcase […]

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Abluxxen / Linko

March 21, 2014

The game: Abluxxen by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling, published by Ravensburger in 2014. The international edition is called Linko. Elevator pitch: Card game filler where you steal cards from other players in order to get rid of the cards in your hand.  What’s in the box? In the small, though not as small as it could […]

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Zeppeldrome

January 24, 2014

Zeppeldrome is currently looking for funding at Kickstarter. I got a review copy, and finally got it on the table. The review is a bit rushed; I’ve only played two two-player games so far, but since the topic is current and I’m not sure if I have time to play the game again before the […]

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