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

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

Aether Captains Feature Image on COG Gaming interview of Todd Sanders


Aether Captains: An Interview with Designer Todd Sanders | COG Gaming

COG Gaming | Aether Captains box artYear Published: 2010 (2016)
Designer: Todd Sanders
Publisher: Self Published/MAGE Company/Ninja Division
Players: 1-5
Playtime: 45-90 minutes


As some of you probably know, or as newcomers to the site can probably guess, I’m a sucker for Steampunk.  I like themes with historical roots anyway, but the combination of the Victorian age with the alternate energy track and the focus on exposed inner-workings just creates a really cool atmosphere and hits home with me.  The genre has become more popular in the last few years, and although the number of board games sporting the theme has started to expand, including Steampunk Rally, World of Smog, and Captain’s Wager, there’s pretty slim pickings as far as good Steampunk games are concerned.

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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 - Apex Theropod Deck Building Game Logo

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Apex Theropod Deck Building Game: Exotic Predators Edition REVIEW | COG Gaming

COG Gaming - Apex Theropod Deck Building Game Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Spinosaurus

Year Published: 2015
Designer: Herschel Hoffmeyer
Publisher: Die-Hard Games LLC
Players: 1-8
Playtime: 45-290 minutes

One Sentence Synopsis: If you see ripples in the water, don’t worry…it’s probably just you.

LOOKING FOR A REVIEW OF THE SECOND EDITION? CLICK HERE (or read this first for additional context)

Apex Theropod Deck-Building Game is a Player versus Environment card game for 1-8 players where each person plays a unique apex predator dinosaur species. Starting with a small deck of basic cards, players work throughout the game to acquire more mature and powerful versions of their dinosaurs’ species, and evolution cards that will help them take down larger prey dinosaurs or even gigantic titans like Alamosaurus. Although each dinosaur successfully hunted on the ever-changing game trail is worth points, the real challenges for players are the boss dinosaurs and their minions interspersed throughout the other animals. Possessing unique abilities and requiring multiple rounds of fighting to beat, these boss cards are the ultimate test of players’ dinosaur species, and the one who beats the most bosses before the extinction event is the winner. Continue reading

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Going at it Alone: Solo Variants and Their Place in Board Gaming

Solo Variants


Following on the heels of Shut Up and Sit Down’s heartfelt video, my article last week reflected on one of my favorite gaming moments and discussed the meaning of games and how they are enhanced by the community of friends, social interactions, and memories we form around them.  As I was writing, it dawned on me that the entire discussion really posed an interesting question: what role do solo variants have in the board gaming hobby? Continue reading