Pull Up a Seat - A Single-Take Review of Just Desserts

Pull Up a Seat - A Single-Take Review of Just Desserts

No soup. No salad. No entree. Just desserts! Today Jeremiah reviews the latest concoction to come out of Looney Labs: Just Desserts.

Just Desserts is a card game for 2-4 players in which you're a server at a desserts-only cafe, trying to take care of guests who come in with certain tastes that are on your tray (cards in your hand). This is a filler  game that plays in anywhere from 10-40 minutes.

So, should you serve up Just Desserts at your next game night? Or send it back to the kitchen? Let's find out!

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Holiday Fluxx--A Review

Holiday Fluxx--A Review

"Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer

Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year"

- It's a Charlie Brown Christmas

Today Jeremiah is taking a look at one of the newest variations in the Fluxx universe: Holiday Fluxx! And since the holiday season is barreling at us full steam ahead, let's jump in!

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Breaking News: New Doubleclicks, and Fluxx!

Breaking News: New Doubleclicks, and Fluxx!

Well, things have been a little, ok a lot crazy around here for the past few weeks. I (Jeremiah) had an emergency appendectomy, and spent the better part of about 7-10 on the couch -I don't really remember how long it was... And Scott has spent the last several days out of town. But amidst all of the craziness, we got a spiffy little email from our friends over at Looney Labs sharing with us some cool news!

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Loonacy from Looney Labs- A Review

Loonacy from Looney Labs- A Review

Loonacy is a fast-paced, matching, party-ish game from those loonatics over at Looney Labs. You know the ones I'm talking about--the folks who brought us Fluxx, Fluxx the Board Game, and a bunch of other wacky games they claim you can teach in one sentence. So what's so loony about Loonacy? Can you teach the game in one, single, solitary, individual sentence? Only one way to find out...

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Choose One!--A Double-Take Review

chooseonecover
chooseonecover

DONOVAN: What... is... happening...? (His skin turns brown and leathery and stretches across his bones until it splits. His skeletal hands reach for Elsa's throat, choking her. Indy rushes forward and pushes Donovan away. As he falls the BODY BREAKS INTO FLAMES, then SHATTERS AGAINST THE WALL.)

KNIGHT: He chose... poorly.

 - Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade

Today we take a look at Looney Labs' latest party game, Choose One! The decisions you make during this game will stir up conversation at your game night, party, or other social gathering.

Let's take a look!

 

 

 

The Components

chooseonebits
chooseonebits

The box includes a small board that is really more of a score track, with a start space, 1-10 spaces and a finish space. It's a bi-fold board.

300 Choose One Cards--These are the main/only mechanism to the game; they all have two choices on them: One choice has a white background while the other is purple.

20 Voting Cards--10 white, and 10 purple,and each player receives one of each at the start of the game.

10 Pawns--These are random pieces, everything from a from a wooden car to a plastic hot dog.

1 Felt Bag - To store the pawns in.

chooseonecards
chooseonecards

The Setup

Setup is quick and easy: Each player selects a pawn and takes 2 voting cards (one white, one purple). Players place their pawns on the "Start" space of the board and you select a beginning player.

The Gameplay

The first player assumes the role of the "Chooser" (yes, that's what they call it in the rules), and the Chooser chooses a card, looks at the two choices on the card, and places a voting card that indicates their choice face-down. All the other players reveal their vote (we always did it on a count of three, so that players wouldn't have an advantage if someone knew the Chooser better than others). After the votes are revealed, scores will be tallied and pawns will be moved. If no one guesses the correct (matching) choice, the Chooser scores 2 points. If at least one player guesses correctly, each player who chose correctly gets 1 point (including the Chooser), but if everybody guesses correctly, then no one scores.

Once a player moves into the Finish space, he or she wins. If there's a tie, play enough extra rounds to declare a winner.

The Verdict

Jeremiah--The components for this are really quite simple: The cards are a little thin, but the design is colorful and the colors for your choices are quite easily distinguished. I like the hodge-podge of items that are used for the pawns and the little felt bag is a nice touch. If I had one small complaint about the components, is that typically games of this type also come with a smaller box within the larger box to hold the cards. This does not. So you find yourself passing the game box around or leaving it on the table, it was a little clumsy at times, but definitely did not ruin the experience for me.

Firestone--I agree. The different pawns are fun, and certainly in keeping with Looney Labs' aesthetic. And I agree about the box, too. Even a functional divider would have been helpful, but this was just "Here's a box full of cards. Good luck keeping them organized!" Not a deal-breaker at all, though.

chooseonecards2
chooseonecards2

Jeremiah--The concept of this game isn't terribly original, but it's still fun. This game makes for a perfect ice breaker for social gatherings. I don't know that it's all that great for a gamers' group, unless it's used as a filler for a group of gamers who don't know each other all that well.

Firestone--This didn't work with gamers at all. We ran through a round, realized it was an ice-breaker game and not really a how-well-do-you-know-your-friends game, and quit. The problem is that the questions aren't equal. I know...I know... I'm overthinking the cards in a party game. Maybe. Some of the questions create genuine unknowns, where even friends wouldn't know which you'd choose. "Flower Garden or Vegetable Garden?" or "Butterflies or Fireflies?" Those are choices most of my friends won't know. But then there are ones such as "Mac or PC?" or "Rock or Country?" Well anyone who knows me is going to know the answer to those.

So overthinking? Sure. But I don't think this is a good game for people who already know each other. It would be a fine icebreaker game.

Jeremiah--This game actually came at the perfect time for me: It showed up right about the time I took my new position in youth ministry. I've used it to get to know students a little better, strike up conversation and had some good laughs around the table with it. I've even pulled random cards from the box and used them during a youth service as an ice breaker to get everyone talking.

Firestone--I can see it working well for that type of situation, but not many others.

Firestone's Final Verdict--This game is just too niche for me to recommend it. As a game where you're supposed to gauge how well you know people you already know, it doesn't work for me. In an ice-breaker situation, it would work fine. But it's just not my favorite party game. Unless you just took over a youth group, I have to recommend leave this one on the shelf...

Jeremiah's Final Verdict--This is a fun game for the right settings. It's definitely a light party game, but at the same time it's pretty flexible so those settings are easier to find than you may think. Overall It's a fun little party game that will strike up great conversation and shared laughter with both strangers and friends! Put this on the table!

We'd like to thank Looney Labs for supplying us with review copies of Choose One! This in no way influenced our opinions.

Have you played Choose One!? Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments!

We'd love it if you subscribed to our little blog over on the right!

Also don't forget to look for us all over the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and our Podcast!

A Double-Take Video Review of Fluxx: The Board Game

Sure, you already read our review  of Fluxx: The Board Game from last week. But that wasn't all we had to say about the game! (Okay, it was almost everything, but still... Video!) Watch Firestone be slightly less grumpy about a game! See Jeremiah do a terrific Pac-Man impression!  

Thanks for watching and reading, and please let us know how we're doing. If we can improve on something, we want to hear it!


Fluxx: The Board Game - So Who Won?

20130810-214738.jpgWe have been extremely happy to host a number of contests over the past 6 weeks or so. And they just keep getting better, and better.We're humbled to be able to partner with such great folks in the industry to bring these to you, and most recently we've joined forces with the great folks at Looney Labs to give away a copy of the very newly released Fluxx: The Board Game! So who won? Read on!

We reached 89 subscribers so we randomly generated a number between 1-89 which came up as 4 and I (Jeremiah) loaded up our subscriber list on my iPhone and counted to the fourth name. And the winner is!!???

Matt Ouellette!

A big congrats to Matt!

We'd also like to thank Looney Labs for providing us with this copy of Fluxx: The Board Game to give away!

Didn't win this time? That's ok, because in just a few days we'll be giving away yet another game! Yep, that's right we have another contest coming your way, really, REALLY soon! So be sure to subscribe to the blog, and our YouTube channel and all of our other social media pages to find out how you can win!

Fluxx: The Board Game—A Double-Take Review

We adore chaos because we love to produce order." ~M.C. Escher Looney Labs has turned their hit card game into a board game. Is it as chaotic as the card game? Is it completely different? Will Firestone actually like this game?! Let's find out!

The Basics

Fluxx: The Board Game is for 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, and takes 15-30 minutes to play.

The Components

12 wooden playing pieces in four different colors: 3 yellow cubes, 3 green cylinders, 3 red pawns, and 3 blue person-shaped pieces.

8 orange pegs

Tiles and pegboards

1 deck of cards

 

The Setup

Place a peg into the leftmost peg on each of the rules on the Rules pegboard, and into the 3 spot on the Win pegboard.

Place the Start tile in the center of the table, mix up the other tiles, and create a 3 x 3 square of tiles around that center Start tile.

Pick player colors, place all used pieces on the Start tile, and give each player the card that corresponds to his or her color.

Look through the deck and find the first five Goal cards and place them in a pile faceup on the Win pegboard.

Shuffle the cards and deal three to each player.

Before the game begins, everyone gets one free rule change. You can move any peg one space to the right (or up if you're moving the peg on the Win pegboard. You can move any peg, even if it's been moved by someone else, but you can never undo or reverse another player's move.

The Gameplay

Randomly determine a start player. On a player's turn, you'll just look at the Rules pegboard and do what it says. You'll be drawing 1-4 cards, depending on where the peg is. You'll be playing 1-4 cards, depending on where the peg is. You'll be moving 2-5 spaces, depending on where the peg is. And you'll have a hand limit of none, 3, 2, or 1 cards, depending on where the peg is.

You can play cards and make moves in any order you want, and can even alternate between them.

There are blue Action cards that make something happen. They might let you trade hands with another player, or force everyone to trade colors. There are yellow New Rule cards, that change the rules somehow. They might tell you exactly how to change a peg, or give you options on what to move. Green Leaper cards have one of the pictures from the tiles on them, and you just jump a piece to that space. Purple Goal cards are played onto the top of the Goal pile, so that becomes the current Goal.

The Start tile has four arrows leading out of it, and you can only leave using one of those arrows. You'll be moving and playing cards and trying to match the Goal card currently on the top of the Win board.

Most spaces have a picture of one thing on them: chocolate, sun, music, brain. Each space can only hold one piece. If you move onto a space with another piece, you bump it to an adjacent unoccupied space (other than the one you just came from).

Each tile has one octagon space, which can hold any number of players. There are also two Portal spaces. As soon as someone moves onto one of the Portals, that person is immediately transported to the other Portal space.

There are also Special Move rules. One allows you to rotate a tile as one of your moves. One lets you pick up a tile and move it to another space—as long as you keep the orientation the same and as long as it's still connected to the rest of the tiles. And finally, the Wraparound rule lets you move off of one edge of the board and wraparound to the other. You can even cross gaps left over from uprooting a tile this way.

Any time (even on another player's turn) that you have pieces on spaces that match the current goal, you take that card. And as soon as someone has a number of Goal cards matching the current win level on the Win board, that person...wins!

The Verdict and Recommendations

Firestone—It's no secret that I don't really like Fluxx. It's way WAY too chaotic for me. I'll play with my family, but I wouldn't call it my favorite family game by a long shot. But Looney Labs wanted me to play this anyway, because it was more strategic, they said. I was skeptical but open-minded. Well they were absolutely right.

Rather than being based completely on the luck of the draw, Fluxx: The Board Game feels more like a puzzle: Each turn is a little puzzle to solve. Sure, there are still cards to draw and luck there, but there's also more stuff you can do to affect your position. How can I get myself onto those two spaces using the rules, cards, and movement available to me? While there's still some chaos and luck, I felt as though I had more control than I EVER had in the card game.

Jeremiah—I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of Fluxx! Fluxx, if nothing else, is unique compared to anything else you will play—I love the way the game wreaks havoc with the players, causing them to readjust constantly. No, it's not very strategic—at times—but there's something about seeing the agony on your friend's face when they realize they HAVE to play a card that causes you to win!

Fluxx the board game captures a lot of the original feel of the card game but does a great job of creating a new experience for fans of the game and newcomers!

Firestone—The pieces are a mix of good and bad. The pegboards and tiles are all nice and thick, but the pegs are too long. So when the pegs are in, the boards won't sit flat on the table, and if you push the board down flat onto the table, some of the pegs pop out. The wooden pieces are nice and chunky, and the cards are all adequate—though very, very thin.

All the pegs in, or flat on the table—you can't have both.
All the pegs in, or flat on the table—you can't have both.

Jeremiah—I'm also not a fan of some of the components. Yeah the tiles are thick and sturdy, and the cards are good quality. But I wasn't a fan of the pegboard system, either. I love its function! Just not its form. One of the peg holes is a little loose, too, causing the peg to fall out. Maybe it's the Euro gamer in me, but I'd just rather have had a tracker token on a track for the rules.

Firestone—Yeah, even my wife, who isn't a gamer at all, asked, "Why didn't they just have wooden cubes that you move on a board to keep track of this?"

UPDATE: Amber from Looney Labs has contacted us to let us know that they have a solution: pieces you stick to the bottom of the pegboards to raise them up high enough for the pegs to fit fully in. Contact customer-support [at] looneylabs.com. Thanks Looney Labs!

One other small complaint is that they chose the vanilla Fluxx as the theme. I completely understand why they did it, since it's their flagship product, and the one most people will be familiar with. But it's also kinda...boring. A cookie. A sun. A glass of milk. A piece of pizza. Andrew Looney. Meh... I would have been all over a Star Fluxx: The Board Game. Maybe that's in the works, but asking people to buy multiple versions of a $10 card game is one thing. Asking them to buy multiple versions of a $30 board game is very much another... But that's just a personal preference.

Jeremiah—I was totally fine with the original Fluxx theme; it sets up the base for the offshoot of the franchise. I, of course, have no way of knowing Looney Labs' plans for the future, but I could see them selling expansion packs instead new complete versions. Swap out the tiles and the cards and you're set—you don't need new player tokens and rule boards etc. Of course, Zombie and Pirate Fluxx would make for some cooler meeple options!

I'm pretty impressed with the great synergy between the board/tiles, cards and rule trackers! The cards still have their Fluxxy charm, and the board adds some great decision-making moments as well.

Firestone—Yeah, but the decisions aren't overwhelming. I could see someone prone to analysis paralysis getting overwhelmed by all of the choices as they puzzle through things. But it probably won't be a problem for most people.

Jeremiah Final Thoughts—As a fan of Fluxx, I have to say, while I was excited about FtBG I was slightly nervous that it might be an obligatory attempt to cash in on the reputation of its successor. All of the fears have been put to bed soundly! This game is fun! It is very puzzle-like, and the way it allows players to shift and change the playing surface makes it very replayable. Fluxx: The Board Game is the M. C. Escher of board games. Put this game on your table!

Firestone Final Thoughts—Aside from the terrible pegboard implementation, I like this game a lot. It's very light, and unlikely to make it past a couple of plays with my regular game group. But my family and I really like this, and I actually think it's a great nongamer game. I agree with Jeremiah: Put this game on the table!

Thanks so much for reading! And if you want, you can watch the video review, too!


Another Contest! We're Giving Away Fluxx: The Board Game!

FluxxDo you like chaos? Well how about Milk & Cookies? Well do you at least like free games?! Good! We like giving them away!

Thanks to the fine folks at Looney Labs, we have a brand-new copy of the hot-off-the-presses game Fluxx: The Board Game—and we're giving it away to one of you! We've played the game, and we can tell you that it's much more strategic than the card game. Even if you don't like the card game (like Firestone!), we think you should give the board game a shot. It's a horse of a different color...

This contest is a little different than the ones we ran last month. In order to be eligible for this contest you'll need to subscribe to our newly launched YouTube channel. In two weeks, we'll give the game away to one YouTube channel subscriber (who also has a US address).

But wait! There's MOAR! If we get to 100 subscribers in those two weeks, we'll give someone else a copy of Kill The Overlord, from APE Games. We can do this! Tell your friends! Tell you enemies! Tell your mama, 'cause if she wins, she'll just give the game to you anyway...

Thanks for reading!

[youtube http://youtu.be/H0NFmTQgBy0]

What You Missed...

tileWith life speeding up for us around the upcoming holidays, we've fallen off of our usual weekly rhythm. But that doesn't mean we haven't had an exciting week here at TOG! Here's what you missed... We started the week out with exciting news about Star Wars the Card Game as Fantasy Flight released their always thorough and helpful tutorial videos.

We also completed our 2012 Christmas Holiday Gift Guide!

Our Kickstarter Weekly featured a nifty project for your copy of Catan—you gotta check this one out!

This week also brought good tidings of great joy for all of you Fluxx fans, as Looney Labs and Playdeck launched the Fluxx app in the iOS app store!

Again, we thank you for reading, and hope you come back next week for more gaming news, reviews, and interviews!