Who needs eggs when you’ve got games? In partnership with our old chums Asmodee UK, we have a veritable cornucopia of Board Game goodies to look at this week with plenty of prizes to be won. Not only that, but we have more Superhero treats whether you’re into toys or games – PLUS the result of our Marvel Rivals giveaway!
And frankly, there’s so much in our basketful of Easter treats for you in this week’s giveaway you’d think we’d mugged a suspiciously large rabbit. Chocolate? Meh. We’ve got all the surprises you need!
AZUL: QUEEN’S GARDEN
Brand new and fresh out, the latest iteration of the hugely successful (and very beautiful) tile-placement franchise AZUL takes us out of the palace and into the garden. Now this is quite a dense, crunchy game – not exactly hard, indeed it’s essentially very straightforward, but does require concentration. It is a resource management game where the value of tiles collected can be used to plant your garden, scoring points for the colours and patterns created.
It’s visually stunning, with beautiful tactile tiles that chime in with the overall aesthetic and high product quality you would expect from the franchise. It feels different enough to the previous iterations to be a worthwhile addition but with enough similarity to appeal. It is also blessed with one of the best rulebooks I’ve come across in a while, with clear setup and detailed diagrams.
It’s a demanding game, but very satisfying. It is definitely for teens and above, and provides a great challenge for families with older kids or as adults, despite not taking very long to play (indeed, that’s also part of its appeal). A good addition to the game shelf – so much so we’ve got one for you to win! Keep reading to find out how!
This fast and furious game of trading is a deceptively simple 2 player treat. Each turn you either buy from the market or sell an item; the more of an item you sell, the more bonuses you get, but the earlier you sell an item the more it’s worth. It’s a devious balancing act, as you aim to become the Maharaja’s chief trader over the course of 2 or 3 rounds.
If you’re fond of slightly abstract games such as Splendor or card based engine building games you’ll really enjoy this; it’s not massively deep or complex but it’s an absolute hoot. Particularly when you start hoarding all the camels!
This sleeper hit boardgame for 1-5 players of ornithological collecting and breeding proves there’s a place still in the world for Twitching that isn’t anything to do with a livestream. It’s won a string of awards, it’s the top-rated Family boardgame on BoardGameGeek (as well as consistently sitting in the top 25 overall) and let’s also take a minute to highlight the fact it’s from a female creator also (which is a real rarity in the industry) and art team. And it’s very, very easy to see why.
Wingspan is an astonishingly simple, elegant game that is genuinely beautiful, educational and fun. You aim to build the most attractive habitat, across Woodlands, Grasslands and Wetlands, whilst meeting specific (random) goals each round; as the rounds progress, your number of turns (and therefore actions) decreases, ramping up the pace and pressure. Despite only having 4 actions available per turn (play a bird, lay an egg, gather food or draw a card) it has plenty of tactical weight as you figure out which action to take to maximise your resources; do you play the short game, and go for the round’s goal, the long game, and work towards the bonus cards (objectives) for the final scoring, or try to reach a balance? As you take your actions, birds in that habitat will activate also, such as raptors hunting for smaller birds from the deck (to bonus score), prolific critters laying extra eggs for you to hatch, hoarders finding extra food, and so on.
The component quality is superb, and that’s before you even add in the deluxe Speckled (ooh, shiny) eggs. It comes with chunky wooden dice and action cubes, a charming dice tower to assemble in the shape of a birdhouse, heavy cardstock playmats and tokens, and a rack and sorting tray for bird cards. It also has, in the new edition, a set of Swift start rules (see what they did there?) which help everyone through their first turn clearly and concisely without feeling like you’ve been railroaded, and both more and less competitive versions of the game goal scoring board, depending on how much of an apex predator you want to be. The game is fast to pick up and play, but no less complex for all that it is smooth, streamlined and satisfying.
As if that’s not enough, there are also currently two expansions for the game, one adding the birds of Europe, which add more birds that activate out of sequence – as well as being more familiar to those of us herabouts, if that’s your thing – and Oceania, which introduces a new set of game boards and another resource, to represent the diverse habitats that exist elsewhere on the planet.
Wingspan is simply stunning, and a worthy addition to any collection for any gamer, casual or competitive. It’s light enough even for the non-gamers, but has the tactical weight to really challenge the hardcore among us. As if I haven’t made it clear, this a must-buy modern classic, and deserves to go down as one of the greats.
From the brain of legendary designer Reiner Knizia comes this curious and magical 2-player game of making legendary, mythic creatures to inhabit folktales. It’s a quirky concept, right down to the fact that it comes in two box art variants (and #spoileralert you can win a copy in our Easter Basket), and that quirkiness extends to the sometimes slightly baffling rules leaflet – for a game that’s aimed at 8+, I would’ve liked a little more clarity. However, once you get your head around it, this becomes an elegant game of bidding and bluffing.
Each turn you are aiming to ensure your preferred faerietale creature survives to the next round, by playing cards lowering the value of some and raising the value of others. Once all the creatures have a value, the lowest is eliminated each round – so do you bid up and hope you don’t lose the one you’re betting on, or try to undermine the ones your opponent seems to favour? It’s a very simple game at its core, but one that will have you frantically hoping for the right critter in your hand (even if it’s the shape-shifting chameleon, which can be used as any creature). Creatures also have abilities that trigger if you have bid on them the most (making you their “commander”) so bidding wars can heat up there – and with only 5 bids allowed in game, choose wisely!
It’s actually very fast and fun, with some lovely high-quality components: the pebbles and their bags are very tactile, and the oversized tarot cards of the game itself allow the art to shine – though perhaps the cardstock could be a wee bit heavier, and arguably they are a little big for small person hands. The scoring is simple enough, gaining points based on the rounds where your creature survived (assuming it made it to the end of the 5 rounds), which is good for the smallfolk; I’ll be really interested to try this out with the little one when she’s a year or so older, as she’s game-savvy enough at 6 to cope with Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride. A great, portable game that’ll do us well on train journeys and rainy spring days.
Now I’ve been desperate to get this to the table since New Year but, as it’s for 3-6 players (and the general state of the world) it’s been a struggle to get folk round a table. But Easter is a great time to catch up and reconnect, so me, the kids and an old gamer pal were able to sit down and take a proper look at the latest game in the Arkham Horror range. In essence, it’s a reskin/revised edition of Battlestar Galactica, the game of secretly being a Cylon and stabbing your mates in the back, but here the action is transplanted to a transatlantic liner in the early twentieth century, and one of your chums is gleefully planning to sacrifice all to the unknowable horrors of the deep.
We really enjoyed this, and to my surprise my 12(ish) year old loved it, describing it as a mix of Cluedo and Among Us. Unsurprisingly, he did a great job of hiding being the secret saboteur, messing with the ship and sacrificing us to the Dark Gods of the Deep. In the game you use your skill cards to save passengers, find useful cargo, keep the engines running and solve various Mythos crises – and whilst you can help one another, your help is also hidden (cards played face down), meaning you can be secretly sending your cohorts to the bottom of the ocean. Desperately, the players race to cross the ocean and cast banishing rituals, but like any Arkham Horror game, your chances of victory are pretty slim. It’s a great game, a bit card heavy – mind you, it’s not token overload for a change – which means there’s quite a lot of hand management and just keeping track of the physical table space.
On balance, we all liked it, including our old chum and super-critic Drew (it passed the Would Play Again test), and where in Galactica you kind of thought that humans ultimately stood a chance of winning, weirdly you just accept that the likelihood of losing and going bonkers in this Mythos version of it. I’m delighted that it’ll be entering our regular rotation of family games.
Finally, a new take on a family classic. Dungeon Mayhem, the card game of DnD fun, has been a regular in our house for years. With its simple mechanics and jaunty art it’s a popular pick up and play choice, and the new Marvel version brings it back to the table with a bang. Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Iron Man and Captain Marvel. Each one plays differently: Iron Man a balance of attack and defense, Captain Marvel very combat focused, Black Panther both more defensive and sneakier, and Scarlet Witch is a bit more finesse with a mix of tricks and deck manipulation.
The core game mechanics are extremely simple (the game is 8+), in that it is draw a card, play a card, but there’s enough variety in the individual cards to keep the game fast and fun (and with up to 4 players, frantic!). It’s highly entertaining pocket game that ticks a whole lot of boxes.
So in our Easter Basket we’ve got all sort of goodies from our chums Asmodee UK, including Miniatures, Board Games, Card Games and more!
First up, how about DEADPOOL, everyone’s favourite Merc with a mouth for MCP, complete with Taco Truck and Bob, Agent of Hydra? Plus, a copy of AZUL: QUEEN’S GARDEN, EQUINOX (mystic deer art), and the deluxe speckled egg upgrades for WINGSPAN (after all, you’ve got to have eggs in your basket!) and a copy of MARVEL MAYHEM for the whole family to get stuck into!
As usual, you win by telling us which of this week’s items above has got you most excited! And remember to Like, Comment and Share across your socials (FB, Insta and/or Twitter) tagging us @bigcomicpage & @sam.graven to bag yourself a bonus entry!
UK only unless you’re willing to fork out the postage, alas.
And the winner of our Rivals Panel: Spider-Man vs Doctor Octopus is… Mark Havener!
Congratulations! Remember to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days to claim your prize!
Coming soon, a breakdown of Mantic’s new big box sci-fi game, Firefight, which OF COURSE you’ll get to win your own copy of, more Transformers releases to win as well… It’s all just too much!