Sandcastles, Andrew Harman

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I spotted Sandcastles  by YAY Games on Twitter and really fancied it, and for a mere £13, I thought why the hell not?  It’s amazing how much fun can be packed into a small box with cards.
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If you saw my unboxing video then you may have seen that these cards are more like square tiles and have various graphics depicting buckets, crabs and seagulls. They have different patterns around the outside that are the ‘walls’ and you use these to build and connect your sandcastles. In a two player game you randomly choose ‘objective’ cards that will score you points e.g-  ‘largest’ sandcastle, the ‘tallest’ sandcastle, a sandcastle featuring 4 bucket cards etc. You play by selecting a card each turn, either by drafting from three central cards, or from the draw deck in order to build your castle. Some of these cards are attack cards and these can be used to mess with your opponent, steal their cards and ruin their glorious sandcastle. When an opponent attacks you can play a card back on them to deflect their attempt, e.g – they play a crab to poke your castle, but you reveal a seagull to eat their crab, but they happen to have a bucket to throw at your seagull, so it’s like rock/paper/scissors and really fun!
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 You can build several sandcastles at once, but you can only set aside your sandcastle for scoring when it’s been completed and all of your sandcastle walls are joined up and closed off. A two player game finishes when the wave card appears. It took about half an hour to play and I never got bored or found it repetitive. It was really genuinely good fun!
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There’s a variant for 3-7 players and for solo play. I’m really looking forward to playing solo, in fact it was the main reason I bought this game as it has a solo option.  Unfortunately spare moments are few and far between, because my current life situation just doesn’t include alone/down time really. I remind myself that it’s not going to last forever and it’s nice to have games with solo play for when the time is right.
Sandcastles is a very good and worthwhile purchase in my opinion, and you can buy directly from the YAY website or from Square Orange. More info on the game here.

Live On Kickstarter…The Lords of Rock!

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I recently acquired a prototype of a game launched on KS today and that is The Lords of Rock, a beautiful looking game with a great theme, that I’ve never seen in a game before. Think 80’s hair metal x He-Man x She-Ra x Jem and the Holograms x legends and Gods. It is brought to us by Solar Flare Games/Brave Frontier Studios. In this simple take that/hand management card game you are playing as a range of mythical gods set to take control of the earth via the medium of rock n roll. The KS rewards and stretch goals are really cool, I absolutely love the plectrums and playmat.
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You create a band from one of the available pantheons, made up of a bassist, drummer, vocalist and guitarist and you go to the venues (world wonders and mythical places) to play. Based on what the audience is hankering for at that event (drums, vox etc) you tot up your skill level within your band against your opponent’s to see whose skills meet the audience requirements for a good show. You can modify your skills with set cards (aptly named rock songs) to either boost your skills or lower your opponents. The winner is the person who has claimed the most souls (represented by soul stones) after 4 venues have been played.
I was talking a while ago about possibly starting a group gaming session locally for kids/teens and this is the kind of game I would definitely take along and teach. Personally, despite the beautiful art work and the fantastic idea, it is a bit too on the light side for me. I hope there’s an expansion that brings more to it for heavier gamers (designer Dave Killingsworth has mentioned this is in the pipeline) anyway, go check out the KS page and finer details, have a look at the rule book and marvel the gorgeous art work here.