Welcome to the first-ever Board Games Marathon! In this little feature, we’ve recently played a bunch of board games that we were sent for review by one of Australia’s top board game distributors. A fun night starting with a good dinner, then a few drinks, then many rounds of yelling, cheering, throwing insults, and consulting instruction manuals were had as we went through each game, sometimes more than once, to have fun as a group and bring the results to you! The games played on this night were Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Jabbas Palace, Reload, Really Loud Librarians, and You Lying Sack. So let us roll the dice and see which games are hits or misses.
Writers Note: Each game was played with 4 players, 2 of which have extensive board game experience and knowledge, and the other 2 are novice players at best.
Name: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Developed by:Z-Man Games Game Type: Board Game Players: 2-5 Play Time: 60+ Minutes
What is it?
Traverse a galaxy where iconic Jedi heroes utilize the familiar gameplay mechanisms of the Pandemic series in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Planets under siege populate the game board as players take on the role of legendary Jedi traveling from battle to battle, teaming up and fighting off the Separatist threat. Battle droids attack on sight, and a planet invaded by too many will fall under a blockade, hindering Jedi from liberating it from the enemy or accomplishing missions.
Players must work together to confront the onslaught of droids by moving into their spaces and engaging them in combat, utilizing dice and squad cards to deal damage and push back the threat. In between battles, players move from planet to planet, battling more droids, crushing blockades, completing missions to turn the tide of war, and facing off against iconic villains.
What did we think?
It’s Star Wars, it’s the Pandemic System, what more could you want? Star Wars: The Clone Wars takes the usual move-around-the-board and battle system that made the Pandemic games so popular and turned it into Jedi vs Droids! You do have some resource management to work with in terms of what you can do and what abilities you have available, but outside of that Star Wars: The Clone Wars is one of the easiest and best games to sit down with a group and play. Some games can be over quickly if you botch things up, but most games will take around 30 to 60 minutes in order to complete. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is one of those games you want to have as many players as possible playing at the same time as the game gets harder and more exciting the more people you have playing, so grab a group and give Star Wars: The Clone Wars a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Name: Reload Developed By:Kolossal Games Game Type: Board Game Players: 2-4 Play Time: 60+ Minutes
What is it?
In the near future, the mega-corporations of the military-industrial complex have invested trillions in developing cybernetically enhanced clone soldiers for off-world exploration. Seeking to build robust teams for future missions — and more importantly, to land lucrative government contracts — they have created special training islands. On these islands, they are able to simulate all of the deadly conditions their soldiers may face on remote planets.
To fund these expensive programs and the military-grade innovations built into their test subjects, the arms manufacturers have teamed up with media moguls to create and promote broadcast competitions live from the islands’ training grounds. Thus was born “RELOAD”, the biggest TV show on the planet, with the most charismatic and capable subjects competing in front of millions of avid viewers to win fame for themselves and fortunes for their creators.
In Reload, you get to engage in this battle-royale experience thanks to an innovative action dice system that offers fast-paced play and the freedom to explore the island while fighting for fame.
What did we think?
We didn’t know what it was about Reload that just didn’t hit with the group. While the game is meant to take about 60 minutes to play, our group was still trying to work out the basis at around the 2-hour mark, and that’s with the tutorial videos and instructions at our sides with every turn. Even with one of our players being a long-time Civilisation player, something we came to theorize Reload was based around, we couldn’t work out everything needed to get the game to work as it was intended, let alone play as something we all enjoyed. While the random board generation and all the other aspects of a game like Fortnite bring to Reload, we walked away wanting something less taxing on our brains and a bit more simple to play. The idea of bringing the concept of Battle Royale to board games is a new and interesting idea, but Reload needed a bit more time in the think tank before getting released.
Name: Star Wars: Jabbas Palace Developed by:Z-Man Games Game Type: Card Game Players: 2-6 Play Time: 20-30 Minutes
What is it?
Based on the beloved card game and set in the Star Wars galaxy, Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game retains the simple and fun mechanics of the original as you utilize the talents of iconic characters from Return of the Jedi. Players take turns using the elegant “draw a card, play a card” gameplay and then executing the card’s effect. Cards include characters like Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, Salacious Crumb, Jabba the Hutt, and many more, with each card offering different effects, such as Boba Fett allowing you to take a card from another player, or Salacious Crumb allowing you to look at another player’s hand.
Players use abilities from members of both the Rebel Alliance and Jabba’s crew to outwit and outlast the others. On top of the classic mechanics from the original Love Letter game, Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game also introduces Agenda cards. This offers new win conditions, adding another level of strategy to the game.
Agenda cards like Exalted One award the player with the highest number in hand the win. However, cards like Jabba’s Court and Rescue Mission switch it up and award the victory to the player with the most Palace or Rebels cards, respectively, in the play area. These and other Agenda cards ensure varied strategies will be needed with every game beyond simply eliminating other players.
What did we think?
One of the quickest games of “knock the player out” that we played on the night. Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game you get your cards, use the ability, resolve things, and award points/tokens as needed. Speed is the name of the game here and the faster you can get the right card in hand, the faster you restart and get another round in. While this was chaotic at first after about 3-4 rounds most of us had the card memorized and games dropped down to who gets the knockout cards the quickest. While it was fun, to begin with, those of us with good memory could predict who had what, and then those people dominated the game. Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game is a nice ice-breaker game and perfect for travel but needs a lot more cards for longer play sessions.
Name: Really Loud Librarians Developed by:Exploding Kittens Game Type: Knowledge Board Game Players: 2-12 Play Time: 30-60 Minutes
What is it?
In this game, your useless knowledge will win you useful points.
Think fast, not hard in this merciless word-shouting board game. Start by drawing a category card. Your team will then shout words from that category that begin with the letter on the race track. Move along the track every time you get a word right and race against your opponents to win. This is a simple game for versatile occasions. Play it as a two-player game for a casual night-in or bring it along as a party game for big groups.
What did we think?
Oh god, did our brains hurt after this one! Breaking off into groups of 2 and playing Really Loud Librarians really was not something we should have waited till later in the night to do. While this simple game from the people behind Exploding Kittens starts off as something crazy, you’ll find that your brain in a panic will not remember all those words you thought you knew, not to mention that some of the topics in Really Loud Librarians range from easy to insanely hard (and some really American focused). BUT! Really Loud Librarians is one of those games I would love to take to a University and play with people in that realm because the knowledge that you gain from playing this game would do great for those who need to study and cannot remember terms for a subject or test.
Really Loud Librarians is one of the more brainy type games out there but can range from a simple play style to a more hardcore difficulty when you add in things like bonuses and other optional mechanics that the game provides. You might not walk away from Really Loud Librarians feeling like the smartest person in the room, but you’ll walk away knowing something new that might come in handy during trivia night or something.
Name: You Lying Sack Developed by:Exploding Kittens Game Type: Party Game Players: 3-6 Play Time: 15-20 Minutes
What is it?
In You Lying Sack, you want to be the final player in the game, with everyone else having been removed because they were terrible liars.
Each player starts the game with two “bad things”, these bad things being made of foam. A sack is filled with made more bad things, along with one good thing, which is made of hard rubber.
On a turn, roll the six-sided die, then place it on the “shrink your pile” space. Next, draw from the sack either the one good thing or as many bad things as is indicated on the central display, which starts at 2 and increases to 8, resetting to 2 anytime a 6 is rolled on the die.
Whatever you draw, hold your clenched fist (or fists) out to the player on your left and say, “My hand is full of bad things. Will you take them?” If they decline, ask the next player. If everyone declines, then you keep any bad things in your hands; if you had the good thing, however, give away to other players as many bad things from your pile as the number shown on the die, then return the good thing to the sack.
If another player accepts your offer, they add the bad things to their pile or (if you held the good thing) they give to you bad things from their pile equal to the number on the die, then return the good thing to the sack.
If you ever have at least ten bad things in your pile, you’re eliminated from the game. When only one player remains in the game, they win.
What did we think?
You Lying Sack, a combined effort from Penn Jillette (Of the famed Magic duo Penn & Teller) and the minds behind Exploding Kittens was the star of the night. A simple game of deception and lying turned out to be a real eye-opener for all of us (Especially those in relationships) that hasn’t been done this well since Cards Against Humanity. With You Lying Sack you are given the choice between taking bad things, or the one good thing, all based on what someone pulls from the lying sack. Games could last from 5 minutes to as long as 20 minutes with our group, and every playthrough was different as everyone changed things up in their lying and deception in order to knock the other play out by giving them 10 bad things or keeping the good thing to themselves.
A real surprise for all of us, but You Lying Sack became the game that everyone picked as their game of the bunch and the one we played all the way through into the night. A game that is designed for people of all ages, but the older the better (and adding alcohol to the mix enhances the game too), You Lying Sack is something that you should be playing right now… I’m serious… Why are you reading this? GO BUY IT NOW!!
Review Disclosure Statement: All of the Board Games were provided to us by VR Distribution Australia for review purposes. For more information on how we review games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.