At the end of October, we attended a board gaming weekend in Atlanta called Atlanta Game Fest. We had literally walls of games to check out. Some new, some old and plenty of classics. Instead of sharing about the 20 games we played, we want to share about the game that stood out to us and had us wanting more.
The Networks (Erin and Josiah)
In The Networks, you take control of a basic TV station and work to make it better than the other players. You optimize the shows, the actors that you hire, and the ads that bring in money in order to garner the most viewers. Viewers are tracked in the millions around the outside of the board as players go through 5 seasons of TV programming.
One of the best parts of The Networks is the comedy and wit that is on every card. From the actors that you hire to the TV tropes that are addressed on the cards, this game is sure to make you laugh. I really like the ownership that you have over how your individual TV network is run. My only critique of the game is that it can take a long time when playing with 5 players that are all learning for the first time. Our second time playing with just three players was much smoother and took around an hour to finish.
Josiah said, “I really liked deciding what shows to put on your channel. Some of the shows are jokes about real shows that are on TV right now. It seemed realistic because you have actors and ads that you can play on your shows.”
Deep Sea Adventure (Emily)
Our oldest daughter is a fan of good design so she was immediately attracted to the simple and challenging Deep Sea Adventure. The game came to the table many times during the weekend. Players take on the role of divers that are gathering treasure deep in the ocean. You roll dice to dive and gather treasure tiles. When you take treasure tiles, you reduce your die rolls by the number of treasure tiles you take. Oxygen decreases more as players take treasure. The game can be extremely difficult with more than 2 players and this is part of why this is so fun!
Emily said, “The game was simple, fun and I loved the artwork. It was challenging to get back to the submarine on time.”
Fabled Fruit (Ryan)
This is a new game from Stronghold Games that has a really cool twist. As a 30-something adult man, this isn’t a game for me. As a Dad who wants to have great gaming experiences with my kids, this game is a great fit!
Each player chooses an animal from 8 possible options. Each turn you are placing your wooden animal token on a stack of cards that allow you to take an action to receive fruit cards. Players are trying to collect sets of these fruit cards in order to create an epic fruit juice. Create 3 juices during the game and you win.
It’s not a difficult game and it’s a great introduction into the set collection genre of games. What impressed me was that the game evolves as you play. As players makes these juices, new cards are introduced that have different requirements and add game mechanics. It’s a fantastic way to grow kids game experience and challenge them along the way.
SpyFall is a party game for up to 8 players and this 2014 game had our 8 year old wanting more after the weekend ended. One player secretly takes on the role of the spy while everyone else has a location printed on their card. Players ask questions that revolve around the location on the card. Since the spy doesn’t have this particular location card, they have to listen and ask the right question so they blend in with the other players. The spy is trying to guess the location that the other players are at while the other players are trying to figure out who is the spy. This is a really great suspicion and bluffing game and once our daughter understood the rules, she was playing for hours.
Kendal said, “It’s fun and I like it because you’re trying to figure out who is the spy and what location everyone is in. It’s like a mystery! It can be really funny because of the different questions that people ask.”
I had not heard of this game before arriving at AGF, but Ryan saw it out of the corner of his eye and mentioned that he had wanted to play it. When a gentleman next to us set the game down, Ryan asked him about playing, and he was happy to oblige. They laid out a spot for me, and I decided… why not?
Now, I’m not going to say that I was hooked, or that I was blown away, or anything like that. What I thought would be a difficult concept – turn a shooter video game into a board game – has been recreated very well in Adrenaline. I felt the confines of the room. I planned several options as I awaited my turn, trying to maximize the damage I could do to my opponents. I sought out the best weapons and strategized on how to keep them loaded. When I saw that I was going to be able to land the finishing blow on an opponent, I was genuinely excited. When I saw that I was going to be the one taken out, I felt genuine regret.
I only played an introductory version of the game, so I can only imagine how the game improves with bigger maps and additional rules. I think the idea has a ton of potential – I imagine levels of gigantic proportions, with multiple maps, teleporters, and more. While not everyone will love Adrenaline, I believe that there is a strong contingent of gamers out there who will fall in love with this game.