enfrdeitptrues

Board Game

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Battleship
    Developed by: Frima Studios
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Release date: August 2, 2016
    Available on: PS4, Xbox One
    Genre: Board game
    Number of Players: Up to two
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for fantasy violence and mild language
    Price: $14.99

    Thank you Ubisoft for sending us this game to review!

    Battleship is a classic board game that I have not played in ages.  I’ve been wanting to show it to my kids, but the electronic one that I had growing up is listed for $80 on Amazon.  The newer versions of Battleship aren’t as sturdy and like all physical board games, you can lose the pieces.  This version of Battleship is only available in digital format and provides thirty story missions and endless local and online matches.  If you’re looking to play against anyone online, you had better look elsewhere since I was not able to find anyone to play against.

    Thankfully you can still play against the computer or a friend.  Playing against your friend requires the honor system as the game asks the opposing player to look away while the ships are being deployed.  Each player needs their own Xbox account or a guest account logged in to join a game.

    The classic game rules can be used where only one shot per turn is allowed or you can play the much faster Clash at Sea mode.  With the new rules each player earns three white and red pegs per turn.  Spending them during the ninety-second turn is optional as more powerful attacks require more pegs.

    Battleship
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: A classic board game re-created with classic and enhanced play modes
    Weak Points: Nobody online to play against; local multiplayer asks players to look away from the screen; dumb AI
    Moral Warnings: Naval warfare; minor language (d*mmit)

    The advanced attack modes require active ships so as your fleet gets depleted, so do your options.  Some of the enhanced attacks let you place five white pegs at the cost of four.  Another new move lets you deploy a mine that will attack anything in its radius when hit with a missile.  If you want to canvas a rectangle shape or an entire row (throughout a couple of turns), it's possible with the new rule set.  With the added arsenal of moves available, more strategy is added along with faster gameplay.

    Five tutorials are available to teach you the basic and advanced battle techniques.  The story campaign is decent though the enemy AI seems rather dumb at times when it chooses not to sink ships right away after it detects them.  The missions vary and some of them put you at a disadvantage by starting you off with less ships than your opponent or by requiring you to sink their fleet in a limited number of turns.  

    The enemies range from pirates to orcs and you can unlock and customize different fleets with Uplay points earned in-game at the Uplay store. The different fleets have variations of the same attacks at their disposal.

    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 76%
    Gameplay - 13/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 88%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 7/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Visually this game won’t disappoint.  The 3D graphics look good and you can rotate your grid to see your ship’s placement by pressing the right bumper button on the controller.  When a ship is hit the controller will vibrate and you’ll see the cracks on the head-up display (hud) screen.  When a ship capsizes it will appear on the grid and will be grayed out on your hud. 

    The sound effects are good, especially when a ship is hit.  Each attack has its own sound effects too.  The battle themed background sets the mood accordingly.   Though there is dialog in the campaign, none of it is voice acted.

    As fun as this game is there are a few things holding it back from a solid recommendation.  The first is the fact that nobody is playing it online.  Playing against humans is always more fun than dumb AI.  Hopefully you can trust that your opponent will not be looking at the screen while you’re setting up your ships.  My last complaint is the language.  While it’s not severe, I still don’t think it’s necessary to include the word d*mmit in a family friendly title.  This is not a word I would like my children to be saying when they get frustrated.  Because of these issues I recommend passing on this title and sticking with a previous release or the physical version.

     

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Eternal Kings
    Developed by: Rolando Issa
    Price: $44 shipped

    A special thanks to the creators of Eternal Kings for sending us a reviewable version of the game!

    Chess is a well-balanced game that requires great skill to master fully. Even if you’re not good at it, you can still have fun playing it. Eternal Kings is based on many of the rules and concepts of chess but incorporates card game mechanics making it a fun and new experience. Not only do you get to fully kill the king to win, but you get to lay down traps, structures, and harness many cool abilities while playing.

    All of the same chess pieces and movement patterns remain, including the pawn moving one or two spaces on the first turn and then once per turn and being able to attack diagonally. In the deck I played with, I had one pawn that was able to attack in any direction. That sure caught my opponent off guard! Besides moving diagonally, my bishops had a shadow ability that allowed them to move through two of my pieces if needed.

    There are four decks or realms in this game and they each cater to different playing styles. The realms are Agility, Wisdom, Strength, and Intelligence. Agility focuses on speed and nimbleness and the deck contains four traps that can be placed on the board. Since the traps are facing down, the opposing player won’t know if it’s one of the bluffs unless they trigger it and see for themselves. The wisdom cards focus on protection, healing, and coordination. The wisdom deck is a good counter to agility as the intelligence realm offsets the strength deck. Instead of traps, the strength deck allows for some deadly structures to be placed on the board. Aptly named, the creatures in the strength realm pack quite a punch. If you like magic and versatility, the intelligence deck may be the one for you.

    Eternal Kings
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: A fun mashup of chess and card games
    Weak Points: A little pricey but it’s well constructed and designed/balanced
    Moral Warnings: Magic use; religious symbolism (ankhs); dark and detailed creatures 

    Playing with pure decks is an option, but you can combine realms and construct your own powerful deck. There are rules that have to be followed to keep the balance. Each deck must have eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, and two bishops, as well as a king and a queen. The powerful pawn I mentioned earlier is a restricted card that only allows one copy to be included per deck. Along with the playable cards, you’ll need sixteen ability cards and you can have duplicates of them as long as they are not restricted cards.

    Chess players will feel right at home in Eternal Kings. There is a learning curve, as you get familiar with each of the pieces and their abilities. Drawing an action card is not a given and must be earned by playing a card that lets you do so. Once a card’s ability has been used, it must be flipped over to prevent double dipping. At the end of each turn, any health points are replenished for cards that were attacked. If an attacker is unsuccessful (and still alive), they must return to their starting position.

    Each turn has three phases. The beginning phase is where triggered events happen and the discipline required to use abilities is replenished. In the movement phase at least one creature must move. A creature can only move once per turn. Some cards allow for nearby allies to move as well but they must take turns. Abilities are set and pre-existing abilities are also activated in the movement phase. The final end phase is where end turn abilities are triggered. Any ability cards exceeding the allowed limit of five are discarded in this phase.

    Eternal Kings

    The length of the game depends on the skillset of the players involved. My son and I enjoyed an hour-long skirmish and he’s hoping for a rematch (I won). He is especially looking forward to customizing his own deck instead of sticking with a prebuilt realm. Eternal Kings is ideal for tournaments and can be played with two or four players.

    The game mat reminds me of a thin mouse pad. The rubberized bottom makes it stick to the surface without wrinkling or shifting. The checkered rectangle spaces are the perfect size for the card pieces. Not surprisingly, it looks just like a chessboard. Why re-invent the wheel, right?

    Visually, Eternal Kings is very impressive. The art style is rather dark and each of the creatures are well designed and have a lot of detail. You won't find cheerful and bright colors, but the artwork is fantastic nonetheless. The card stock is smooth and feels durable. I look forward to this game lasting and providing us many years of enjoyment.

    If you enjoy chess and card games, you’ll want to check out Eternal Kings which is currently being Kickstarted. The game can be yours for $44 and is a great addition to any board gamer’s library as long as they don’t mind some magic use.

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Monopoly
    Developed by: Engine Software
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
    Release date: October 31, 2017
    Genre: Board game
    Number of players: Up to six
    ESRB Rating: Everyone
    Price: $39.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you Ubisoft for sending us this game to review!

    We originally reviewed Monopoly when it first released in 2014. There are some additions in the Switch version and the biggest draw for me is the portability. With some of the long road trips we’ve been doing recently, an hour long plus game for the kids to play in the car is a big win. However, the portability comes at a cost since the Switch version sells for $25 more than other platforms.

    My biggest concern with the Switch version was performance. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that this game ran great for us. When it first launched there was a glitch that caused load times lasting several minutes, but that has already been addressed and we didn’t have any problems running the game.

    All five of my family members were able to join in with the four joycons and our pro controller. I like how you can shake the controller or simply press a button to roll the die. The pieces have animations as they go across the board and you can skip them to save on time. Additional pieces unlock as you play the game more.

    Monopoly
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Classic and now portable board game
    Weak Points: Way more expensive than other versions which have been out longer; no online games to join
    Moral Warnings: The haunted board is Halloween themed and has references to ghosts and fortune tellers

    There are living boards which are themed, detailed, and animated. The properties may be renamed as well. My kids liked the Halloween themed haunted board. There are also city and amusement park boards available. The classic boards have the traditional board along with a Rabbids themed one.

    Monopoly games can take a while to complete and one of the advantages of the digital version is the ability to save mid-game. Switch profiles are automatically entered as players. Configuring the controllers for each player was easy to do.

    On your turn you can roll the die, look at the board map, make a trade, manage properties, or declare bankruptcy. The trade menu lets you trade properties for cash and/or real estate. If you're badly in debt you can declare bankruptcy and the game will give all of your assets to the player you owed money to. When all of the players but one declares bankruptcy, the game is over.

    Monopoly
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 94%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    To shorten the game, there are many game mode cards available. You can change the winning conditions for the first player to own a hotel, or collect $500 in rent, or earn $2000 in cash, or have a certain number of properties or monopolies. House rules can also be applied like the Free Parking space giving out money collected from chance cards. Other rules include not giving any money by passing Go, giving the choice of collecting $400 or moving anywhere you want instead.

    Online play is available, though I was not able to join any games using the quick match feature. I would only recommend buying this game if you have people nearby to play against or don't mind playing against the AI.

    While the Switch version looks, sounds, and runs fine, I have a hard time justifying the premium price for it. The portability is great, but I would wait for a sale or price drop before picking it up since the online play is dead and the other platforms are much cheaper. If it was cheaper and more people were playing it online, I would say that this would be the definitive version.

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Monopoly Family Fun Pack
    Developed by: Asobo Studio
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Available on: PS4, Xbox One
    Genre: Board game
    Number of Players: Up to six
    ESRB Rating: Everyone
    Price: $29.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you Ubisoft for sending us a review copy of this game!

    In our home we have three different variations of the popular board game, Monopoly.  We have the original, a Nintendo themed one, and the ATM version.   Out of all of them, the classic version gets the most use.  While Monopoly has been digitized many times before, this is our first time playing it in videogame format.  Despite my crappy luck, the whole family enjoyed our time in Monopoly Family Fun Pack.

    If you're creative you can design your own Monopoly board in the My Monopoly mode.  You can customize the property names and their appearance.  I can just imagine all of the giggles coming from a solar system themed board with a property named Uranus.   

    If you're not feeling very creative you can use the standard board or a 3D enhanced living board with people, trains, and cars moving around it.  There is also a Monopoly Rabbids board available as well.  Once you have the board picked out, you must choose by which rules you want to follow.  You can go with the Classic Rules or Speed Die which adds a third dice to be rolled.  If the third custom dice lands on a Mr. Monopoly face,  you get to advance to the next available property after taking your regular turn.

    monopoly
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Decent representation of the classic board game with nice visuals 
    Weak Points: Slow animations; repetitive dialogue; not many people playing it online; no back option to undo rolling dice to get out of jail
    Moral Warnings: None unless you play against sore losers

    Some popular house rules are readily available to add into the game if you like.  I was raised with the Free Parking Cash rule and that is one of the options.  Other available additions include getting $1000 for rolling two ones, the first player to reach $3000 wins, build houses without owning a monopoly, collect rent in jail, buy available properties through auction,  or collect $400 or moving anywhere on the board if you land on Go.  

    Once you have the rules and board style picked out, it's time to play!  I like how you can share one controller and pass it around.  At the beginning of the game, each player rolls the die (by pressing  the X button) to determine their movement order.  Up to six people or computer opponents can play.  You can set the AI difficulty to Very easy, Easy, Normal, and Hard.   If you're feeling photogenic you can enable the camera to take pictures of the players throughout the game. 

    All of the classic Monopoly pieces are in play with the addition of a Raving Rabbid piece.   Each piece has its own animated movement style.  For example, the dog and cat will walk while the thimble will roll to its destination.  The jail animations are amusing the first time they are seen, but not so much when it happens to you often.  

    monopoly
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 100%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    On your turn you can roll the die, look at the board map, make a trade, manage properties, or declare bankruptcy.  The trade menu lets you trade properties for cash and/or real estate.  If you're badly in debt you can declare bankruptcy and the game will give all of your assets to the player you owed money to.     When all of the players but one declares bankruptcy, the game is over.     

    True to Monopoly fashion, this game takes a while to play through.  While the player movement animations can be skipped,  their other actions (or lack thereof) cannot be.  Unlike the board game, this digital version is easy to stop and resume if needed.

    If you're looking for a faster game, Monopoly Family Fun Pack also includes a digital rendition of the card game, Monopoly Deal.  The goal of Monopoly Deal is acquire three complete monopoly sets of different colors.  You're luck can change at any moment so you must avoid Debt Collector, Forced Deal, and Deal Breaker cards.  While this game can typically take a half an hour to beat in the card version, the digital version may take longer.  The first obstacle is finding someone online or in your friends list to play against.  Once you have a game going, the pace may vary depending on how  long it takes your opponent to make a move.  

    While not perfect, there is a lot to like in the Monopoly Family Fun Pack.  The retail price is $30, but I have seen it as low as $20 online.  For $20 it's definitely worth considering.   Our family has enjoyed it and I am curious if that will become our new preferred method of playing Monopoly.  

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Risk
    Developed by: Zoe Mode
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Release Date: February 3, 2015
    Available on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
    Genre: Strategy
    Number of players: Up to four players
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for mild violence
    Price: $14.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you Ubisoft for sending us this game to review!

    Prior to playing this digitized version of Risk, my previous and only experience was playing the Plants Vs Zombies variant.  Unfortunately, I need more practice before I can win against my husband or the AI anytime soon.  The basic concept is simple, but it takes some skill to master.  

    Your ultimate goal is to control the world. The more territories under your rule, the more army units you'll have at your disposal at the beginning of each round.  These units are crucial for acquiring and defending your territories.  As you accumulate more land, you'll sometimes get trading cards that will give you bonus units.  Those cards are handy to trade in when you're in a pinch.  

     Besides the global domination mode there are two other modes worth checking out.  In order to play the Secret Mission or Capitals mode you have to have a minimum of three players. The players can be AI, human, or a mixture of the two.  The AI can be balanced, defensive, or aggressive.   I played against the balanced AI.  

    Risk
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: The classic Risk game gets modernized, global domination never looked so good!; Great way to learn geography
    Weak Points: Xbox Live required to play online
    Moral Warnings: Combat violence 

    The 2010 rules are used in this game and you have the option to change the fortification rules to acquire adjacent or contiguous allied territories.  A cease fire card option can be enabled or disabled as well.  

    One the game mode, rules and types of players have been established, it's time to begin the game.  The player order is randomly determined and the initial territories can be automatically or manually assigned.  

     Each turn has three stages.  You begin in the deployment stage where you deploy your units in offensive and defensive positions.    The number of units you have to work with depends on how much land you control - you get even more units when you have an entire region under your dominion.  

    Risk
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 84%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 94%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Once all of your units are allocated, it's time to attack!  It's wiser to attack adjacent territories with fewer units than you.  Dice are rolled to determine who wins the battle and in the event of a tie, victory goes to the defender.  You can watch the dice roll or auto battle to have it done quickly behind the scenes.  In general the dice have been good to me, but there have been times where I have attacked a territory with two units against my six and still lost. The Integrated Reconnaissance Intelligence System's response of "Your defeat defies explanation" is pretty accurate.  After the battle mode is the final mode, allocation, where you can take some units from one territory and send them to another.  

    When it's the AI's turn you can speed up its turn.  Even in fast mode you'll have to skip each confirmation of their battle victories and losses.  When continents are fully claimed there is some battle footage shown that adds a little dramatization. It doesn't show soldiers fighting, just vehicles.   The visuals look great and the interface is easy to navigate.  There's a handy graph on the lower left hand side that shows the territory allocation by color.  Anybody with over half of it in their favor is doing well, but I have learned the hard way, the tables can turn at any given moment.  

    Anyone who is a fan of the Risk board game should look into this digitized version.  If you fancy yourself good at it you can play online (if you have Xbox Live ) and see where you rank on the leader boards.  Despite getting my butt kicked numerous times, I enjoyed my attempts at world domination. 

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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