COG Gaming

Official Blog of COG Gaming – Board Game Reviews, News, and Entertainment

Empires in America box art- feature image for board game review.

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Empires in America Second Edition Review | COG Gaming

Empires in America box artYear Published: 2016
Designer: Joseph Miranda
Publisher: Victory Point Games
Players: 1
Playtime: 30-60 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis: Prepare for war, fight the good fight, and then discover how much of a powerful jerk Amherst is…

I’ve quickly amassed a decent shelf of solitaire games over the past couple of months, having been turned on to just how fun sitting down and quietly making your way through something actually designed for worthwhile solitaire play can be.  I’ve tried to spread the complexity and type around a bit, but have invariably ended up with more historically-oriented titles than anything else, and mostly ones that are easily played over roughly an hour;  larger time investments can definitely be fun, but I figure flexibility will ensure I get the games tabled even when I’ve got a regular, at-home partner to play with again.  As such, after my initial experience with the tense, thematic Zulus on the Ramparts! from Victory Point Games, which I reviewed, I decided to go back to their successful States of Siege(tm) series and see whether any of its other titles would strike my fancy. Continue reading

Apex Theropod Deck Building Game Box for COG Gaming board game review of the second edition

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Apex Theropod Deck Building Game Second Edition Review | COG Gaming

Apex Theropod Deck Building Game Box for COG Gaming board game review of the second editionYear Published: 2016
Designer: Herschel Hoffmeyer
Publisher: Die Hard Games
Players: 1-6
Playtime: 1-3 hours

One Sentence Synopsis: Just try not to hum the Jurassic Park music while thumbing through the cards…

Note: Some images depict cards from expansions as examples due to upgrade pack production error/delay.

Getting noticed is probably one of the most difficult aspects of producing a game, especially if it’s on Kickstarter and you’re depending on that attention to publish.  Apex Theropod The Deck Building Game had little trouble doing that last year theming a deckbuilding game around dinosaurs, blasting past its funding goal and overwhelming the creator in the process.  The game eventually delivered to most backers, but really represented a mixed bag as far as quality and the gameplay itself.  You can read my full review of the first edition here, but suffice to say the game had great art and theme, but suffered from an atrocious rulebook, lack of player interaction, and a number of mechanical deficiencies that, while still making for an enjoyable experience overall with some player variants added in, clearly indicated the game needed more development time and more widespread, blind playtesting. Continue reading

Aphids mechanic for March of the Ants: Minions of the Meadow expansion board game review.

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March of the Ants: Minions of the Meadow Review | COG Gaming

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COG Gaming - march of the ants antYear Published: 2016
Designer: Tim Eisner, Ryan Swisher
Publisher: Weird City Games
Players: 1-5
Playtime: 70 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis: Aphids, and Parasites, and Spiders, OH MY!

A year has past since our tiny denizens first entered the meadow in March of the Ants, which I reviewed and still believe was one of the best lighter strategy games of 2015, but definitely one that slipped under the radar for most gamers outside of Kickstarter circles.  If you missed it the first time around however, don’t fret, because this sleeper hit is on Kickstarter again, and it’s accompanied by an all new expansion Minions of the Meadow that adds some great new content to this already-solid game. Continue reading

Zulus on the Ramparts board game review by COG Gaming

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Zulus on the Ramparts! Second Edition Review | COG Gaming

Box for Zulus on the RampartsYear Published: 2009
Designer: Joseph Miranda
Publisher: Victory Point Games
Players: 1
Playtime: 25 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis: “60! We dropped 60, wouldn’t you say!?” “That leaves only 3,940.”

I’ll admit I’ve never been much for solitaire board gaming.  I much prefer the social interaction afforded by having friends over or attending game days at my Friendly Local Game Store, and if I’m going to play something alone I usually boot up a PC game.  I’m normally lucky enough to have my wife around to play board games with me throughout the week in-between longer game days, but work has recently taken her away from home for a month at a time and effectively cut my gaming time in half.  I was alright with the reduced exposure for about a week, but then I started feeling the itch for board gaming so I sat down with some of the cooperative titles I’ve got on hand that are playable with one person, and actually found myself rather enjoying the experience; it’s contemplative, and I rather liked being able to have my inner-monologue out loud while I puzzled through games like Freedom: The Underground Railroad, Legendary Encounters: an Alien Deck Building Game, and Darkest Night. Continue reading

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Bloc by Bloc Kickstarter Review | COG Gaming

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Bloc By Bloc ReviewYear Published: 2016
Designer: Rocket Lee, Tim Simons
Publisher: Out of Order Games
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 90-150 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis: Power to the Cubes!

It’s certainly an interesting time to live in the United States.  We’re in an election year so politics is heating up in different ways on both sides of the aisle, and over the past decade we’ve seen the rise of various social movements that have continued to gain traction and change the cultural landscape and sociopolitical dialogue.  Accompanying those trends is a rising tide of impassioned social protest and rhetoric, be it from groups like Black Lives Matter, or from anti-immigrant groups.  As a result, or even as the motivation behind some of these movements, police and government conduct are topics that are once again heavily in the popular spotlight, and under extraordinary amounts of media/public scrutiny.  Even in the most dramatic throws of upheaval experienced to date in the U.S., however, we’ve yet to see the worst a situation can devolve into given the right confluence of corrupt police authority and intent, and zealous, inflamed popular response. Continue reading

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective board game review


Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Review | COG Gaming

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective BoxYear Published: 1981 (2014)
Designer: Raymond Edwards, Suzanne Goldberg, Gary Grady
Publisher: Ystari
Players: 1-?
Playtime: 60-120 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis:  My friends and I’ll show you! Ya smug bast…

I play a lot of games.  A lot.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s never nearly enough, but I try to sit down at least twice a week for 5+ hours each time and dig into numerous titles.  As a result, regardless of what new game I’m playing I can usually reduce the learning curve and make a good showing of things by finding a previously played game to relate it to; it’s rare I come across something that is so dissimilar to most everything else out there that it provides a whole new experience for me.  And yet, that’s exactly the feeling I got when cracking open Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and finishing my first case:  I felt like I had actually gotten to experience something totally new- like the first time you try a delicious, completely unfamiliar foreign food, or that feeling you got when you were just getting into the hobby and sat down for your first worker placement game. Continue reading