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

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

Clash of the Battle Goats

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Clash of the Battle Goats Review | COG Gaming

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Clash of the Battle Goats ContentsYear Published: 2016
Designer: Brent Critchfield
Publisher: Studio Woe
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 20-45 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis: The grass is the same shade of green on the other side…but now there’s twice as much!

There’s never too much of a good thing, and what’s better than mutant goats?  The correct answer is “not much,” which is why if you enjoyed last year’s Gruff, or if you’re new to the mutant scene and are looking for a fast-paced, competitive card game, you’ll want to give Studio Woe’s new standalone, tactical card game Clash of the Battle Goats a look (on Kickstarter now). Continue reading

COG Gaming - Xenoshyft Onslaught cooperative board game box art

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Xenoshyft Onslaught Kickstarter Edition REVIEW | COG Gaming

COG Gaming - Cool Mini or Not Xenoshyft Onslaught Box ContentsYear Published: 2015
Designer: Karen Philosophales, Michael Shinall
Publisher: Cool Mini or Not
Players: 1-4
Playtime: 45-60 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis: “It’s an ugly planet. A BUG planet! A planet hostile to life…” -Last Words of Unnamed Field Reporter

“Join the Mobile Infantry and save the world. Service guarantees citizenship.”  Starship Troopers was the first “R” rated movie I ever saw, and almost 20 years after its release it’s still the quintessential action film for alien bug hunting.  Although it has been a while since I’ve seen it, the memories I had of the propaganda newsreels, the initial shootout with the bugs, and the epic defense by the Roughnecks of the outpost on Planet P, all came flooding back the second I saw Xenoshyft Onslaught on Kickstarter.  Something about the art reminded me of Starship Troopers– maybe that the weaponry and armaments were futuristic but still connected in some form to modern technology or design- and after reading the description I was pretty sure I had found that against-the-odds base defense moment distilled into boardgame form.  Having enjoyed Xenoshyft Onslaught over the last couple of months, I can confirm that’s exactly what Cool Mini or Not’s latest title brings to the table. Continue reading

COG Gaming - Millennium Blades game cover for interview

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COG Gaming Kickstarter Highlight and Interview for Millennium Blades from Level 99 Games

COG Gaming - Millennium Blades game cover for interviewYear Published: 2015
Designer: D. Brad Talton, Jr.
Publisher: Level 99 Games
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 120 minutes

The TCG/CCG as a game model is largely defunct in modern gaming with the exception of a few large, omnipresent titles like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon.  It’s basically designer-suicide to attempt introducing a new collectible card game to the market, though that doesn’t stop enthusiastic, albeit misled parties from attempting each month on Kickstarter.  Part of the reason people keep trying, I think, is because the genre incorporates so many exciting aspects: the rush of opening packs of cards and the chance of finding something rare, the mental exercise of pouring over a collection for hours constructing card synergies and strategies for the perfect deck, the social interaction of trading, collecting, and competing, and the satisfaction of seeing your hard-earned deck emerge victorious. Continue reading


The Post-Campaign Shakeup: How Much is Too Much? Focus: Apex Theropod

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Apex Theropod is a deck-building game from Herschel Hoffmeyer that recently finished a successful Kickstarter that raised over 1,200% of its initial funding goal of $4,000.  Just as amazing, this was Herschel’s first card or board game, and his first Kickstarter campaign to boot.  In some ways, maybe it’s not so surprising the project did so well; after all, it’s a card game that’s all about freakin’ dinosaurs!

The game went through numerous changes during the campaign, and Herschel did an excellent job adapting as the project proceeded, and communicating the changes to backers and being transparent about all the modifications he made.  The campaign ended with the vast majority of backers extremely happy with where the game was in terms of art, card layout, and mechanics. Continue reading