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Reviews and Strategy Articles

Stomp Your Way Into The Future With Golem Arcana




Ever wondered what would happen if you would combine miniatures and mobile technology? I surely have not but apparently someone else did. It is advertised as a digitally enhanced board game, where the designers have combined the strategic aspects of a miniatures war game with the convenience of technology. Imagine wielding a stylus to control "Golems" in a digital world at war, fighting continuously to earn the right to rule Eretsu in the world of Golem Arcana.


                Golem Arcana is a digitally enhanced miniatures board game that leverages the power of an mobile device to deliver an unprecedented and engaging experience. Golem Arcana offers the richness and tactical depth of any other miniature board games without any of the hassles that come with the other miniatures like thick and intimidating rulebook and unassembled miniatures and many more.

                In Golem Arcana, players build an army of towering behemoths (scaled down of course) to wage pretend war against other players. Golem Arcana is a turn based strategy game that uses a mobile app as a referee, as a rulebook and pretty much as a slave. So you better plug in those mobile devices folks cause games can last from 1 to 3 hours. Unlike other war games, Golem Arcana is surprisingly easy to pick up and play it only took me 10 minutes to learn all the basics and an additional 5 minutes for the advanced rules mainly because the app spoon feeds you every detail necessary(not bad for a war game).

How does Golem Arcana Work?               

Golem Arcana utilizes T.D.I. or what is known as Tabletop Digital Interface, this serves as the bridge from reality to the digital world of Eretsu. How does T.D.I. work? Harebrained Schemes has supplied every Golem Arcana starter with a T.D.I. Stylus that uses a tiny infrared camera to read microcodes that are invisibly printed over the top of the icons and values of the figure’s bases and over the terrain art of the board’s regions and transmits it to the Golem Arcana app running in your mobile device via Bluetooth.

                The Golem Arcana app streamlines gameplay by acting as a sort of referee. It remembers and adjudicates the rules and takes care of all the necessary bookkeeping. The app also delivers a few features that have never been possible in a board game before. (pretty high-tech for a board game)

•              The fate of Eretsu Golem Arcana’s game world is entirely in the hands of the players. The rise and fall of Eretsu’s various factions are dictated by the thousands of games of GA played all over the world. Each time you sit down to play, there’s a chance that your game will be a pivotal battle that will forever alter the world.

•              The app makes finding and participating in Organized Play events a breeze. Players are automatically alerted to OP events in their area.-


                 For me Gameplay is a key factor in a game sadly Golem Arcana has not delivered anything new to the playing field. Comparing it to its competitors G.A. just does not stand out unless you factor in the use of the app. So for me Golem Arcana deserves a 6 out of 10 meeples in Gameplay.

Replay Value

                 With the use of the Golem Arcana app players can share create their very own missions which keep the game fresh every now and then, but the battle for Eretsu Concept really pushes the replay ability to its limit. In terms for me deserves an 8 out of 10 meeples in the replay ability.


                 Golem Arcana starter set includes:

  • 1 TDI Stylus (batteries included)
  • 6 Pre-painted Highly Detailed Large Scale Golem figures
  • 6 Large Double-sided Heavy Cardboard Map Tiles
  • 6 Golem Cards
  • 2 Control Cards
  • 2 10-sided dice
  • 1 Lore book and Quick Start Guide


The base set has a price point of Php 3700 which is not bad for what you get. The cardboard map tiles itself is worth it. So I give Golem Arcana 8 out of 10 in components.


                 The theme of Golem Arcana wins it for me. The world is fresh the “fluff” is new (except for the conquering the whole world thing).  With that I believe Golem Arcana deserves a hefty 9 out of 10.


                 The app deals with every aspect of the rules so that you don’t have to this might sound lazy but that’s a good thing. Also the Golem Arcana app automatically updates the rules which are very convenient. With that I leave the rules 10 meeples out of 10 in rules.


                 Overall Golem Arcana is a Solid game. I’m pretty sure that this would not be the last of its kind. Harebrained Schemes has started a new trend which I think other publishing companies might imitate. With an overall score of 8 out of 10 Golem Arcana is a game to look forward to in the future.



The Resistance – The Evolution Of Bluffing Games

Board gaming has been my hobby since I discovered modern board games back in 2006. Since then, I have been a part of different board game groups, learning different games and growing my personal collection over the years. I enjoy games like Cooperation, Party, Adventure and Deck Building.

Gameplay is the most influential factor in my game rating system. When scoring gameplay, I take into consideration details such as:
1.     Balance
2.     Mechanics
3.     Playtime
4.     Fun factor
Replay Value is another factor I consider highly when rating games. This reflects how much I enjoy a game and how often I would like to play it. This also reflects if a game is worth getting for my collection or not.
Components add to my interest in a game. 2 factors I consider when scoring components.
1.     Quality – high-grade materials translate to a longer shelf life.
2.     Details – impressive details and nice artwork are always a plus.
Theme is not too high at number 4. While a good theme can help make a game more enjoyable, I still enjoy games with themes that don’t fit too well.
Rules have the lowest influence in my scoring. I am open to implementing house rules for games if they improve gameplay. When rules are hard to understand, I check forums on the BGG website and download rule summaries.
The Resistance is a game published by Indie Boards & Cards set in the Resistance universe. It is a bluffing and social deduction game that can accommodate 5-10 players over a period of roughly 30 minutes. Who can you trust? Which side will succeed? Who are spies and real members of the resistance?
The game is set where a powerful and corrupt government called the Empire has taken over. You play as freedom fighters of the resistance movement. However, there are a number of spies among you. The outcome of the next 5 missions is crucial. Whichever side is the first to successfully complete 3 missions wins!
Gameplay – 9/10
Each game is a best of 5 missions. Whether its 3 successes or failures determines if The Resistance or The Empire is victorious. In every mission, the leader for the turn must nominate agents whose number is pre-determined by the number of players, followed by a voting amongst the players. If failed, the leader switches to the next player and the process is repeated until a team is sent. This adds a nice balance to the game, but on rare occasions, seating arrangements and luck factor can simply favor the blue team.
Replay Value – 8/10
The main factors that give this game its score are:
1.     Short playtime (30 minutes or less)
2.     Roles are uncertain at the beginning of each game
3.     Plot cards included in the 2nd edition
It can be played repeatedly because of the random role assignments of resistance and spies. The Plot cards can give a different game experience when included.
Components – 5/10
Components are not meant to be a strong point for this game. The pieces are composed mainly of cards, cardboard tokens and mission boards. The components for this game are as follows:
  • 10 Character cards (6 resistance, 4 spy)
  • 1 Leader card
  • 5 Team cards
  • 20 Vote cards (10 approve, 10 reject)
  • 10 Mission cards (5 succeed, 5 fail)
  • 6 Scoring marker tokens (3 resistance, 3 spies)
  • 1 Mission marker
  • 1 Mission Tableau
  • 15 Plot cards
Theme – 10/10
The theme fits this game very well. The leader for the round can feel great pressure while selecting whom to send on a mission. Not knowing who are truly loyal and who are spies in hiding, a player uses all his skills to decide who should go in the mission.
Rules – 9/10
The rules are simply laid out in a short rulebook. They are easy to understand for a game that has been played and enjoyed a countless number of times in my different game groups.
Overall – 8/10
The Resistance is mainly a deduction game. Other known games in this category would include Werewolf, Love Letter and The Resistance Coup to name a few. There have been nights when these games are played continuously for hours.
Unlike other deduction games, Resistance does not involve player elimination. The Blue team (Resistance) and Red team (Spies) win or lose together. Plot cards have also been included in the 2nd edition, which give players different special abilities that can change the way the game is played.
 The Resistance Avalon is a latter version of this game also released by Indie Boards & Cards. It is in a medieval setting with special characters like Merlin, Percival and Mordred each with special abilities that can be included or not in the game. Characters with these special abilities are included in 1 of the 2 expansions scheduled to come out.
The Resistance is a game that can accommodate 5-10 players, but is a highly recommended game for 7 or more players. I would like to end my review with a quote from BGG that I believe well summarizes the feel of the game.
“The Empire must fall. Our mission must succeed. By destroying their key bases, we will shatter Imperial strength and liberate our people. Yet spies have infiltrated our ranks, ready for sabotage. We must unmask them. In five nights we reshape destiny or die trying. We are the Resistance!”  

Three Little Pigs – the universal family game

Three Little Pigs is a game from IELLO games that takes popular childhood stories and turns them into a family game for all ages. This game is part 1 of their Tales & Games series (the other two are Baba Yaga and The Hare & Tortoise)



Here’s a short description from BGG.com:


As a little pig, your dearest wish is to build a strong and beautiful house in which you can spend your long winter evenings. But you won’t need trowels nor scaffoldings, as only dice will allow you to construct your dream home. Beware the wolf prowling around, whose only thought is to literally blow down your comfy house!

The Three Little Pigs is an easy and fun dice game for the whole family. On your turn, roll the special pink dice up to three times and try to generate symbols to trade for doors, windows, and roofs made of straw, wood, and brick. The more beautiful and voluminous your house is, the more points you will earn at the end of the game. If you generate two wolf symbols, take a huff and puff and blow someone's house down!

This original game comes in a box decorated to look like a storybook and includes an illustrated version of the famous tale of the Three Little Pigs.


How I Review:

In this part we rank our criteria and explain our silliness in featuring the different aspects of the game.

Most Important - Gameplay mechanic of course is my number 1 criteria. A game has to flow smoothly allowing for an enjoyable experience. It is the meat that we chew and the flavor that we digest.

Second Most Important - Replay Value is my #2 most important factor. Since I started Gaming Library I have been placed in situations where I constantly have to teach and play the same game over and over again. That’s why I love games that are still fun even after 100 plays J

Important - Rules for me should be logical and intuitive yet deep enough to offer challenges. I want the rules laid out that would make sense and having a cheat sheet or quick start up guide is a big help to get things going. I’m sure that 80% of people don’t want to slog through a thick manual.

Important but not a deal breaker - Theme is a hit or miss for me depending on the game and I tend to like euros so I’m fine with pasted on theme on games just for flavor.

Sweetener - Components for me as long as the cards are readable then I’m good.


The Actual Review


The game is very much close to heart with the Three Little Pigs story. Huff and Puff, build your house to withstand the big bad wolf!


The box art and dice are simply beautiful and up to the standard of King of Tokyo.

(Insert components – source: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1026269/ill-huff-and-ill-puff-and-ill-clap-cheer-or-zzzzzz )



The rules are simple and easy to breeze through, perfect for any family game night!

A reviewer on BGG summarizes the gameplay beautifully

Players take their turn one at a time. Like Yahtzee, players may roll their set of 5 dice up to a total of 3 times, setting aside any dice they wish to keep in between rolls. Players must set aside all wolf dice, and may not reroll anything once they have collected 2 or more wolf dice. 

If the player has 0 or 1 wolf dice, the player may then use the dice to purchase tiles:

Straw roof costs 2 roof dice
Wood roof costs 3 roof dice
Brick roof costs 4 roof dice

Straw window costs 2 window dice
Wood roof costs 3 window dice
Brick roof costs 4 window dice

Straw door costs 2 door dice
Wood door costs 3 door dice
Brick door costs 4 door dice

Players must then put their tiles into houses. Doors may only go on the bottom and each house may only have one door. Houses can have as many window tiles as desired. Once a house has a roof on it, it may not be expanded.

However, if a player has 2 or more wolf dice, then the player may not purchase anything. Instead, the player must pick another player to target, pick a house belonging to that player, and flick the arrow on the wolf wheel. The targeted player must remove all tiles of the material type shown on the wolf wheel from the targeted house.

Points are given at the end of the game for various things, including materials in completed houses, flowerpot symbols, tallest house, most number of houses, most flowerpot symbols, etc.


The game is similar to King of Tokyo when you take the core mechanic – get dice, roll and re-roll and then decide your action. It is a mechanic that time and time again is quick, simple and fun!

The decisions on what to get first and what to build next are what makes things interesting. It allows for risk management teaching the participants the value of going for a big brick house full of windows (which is hard to accomplish) or being safe and betting on having lots of cheap or mid-tier houses that utilizes affordable materials (straw). I’ve played this a lot with younger children and they quickly learn these simple concepts and understand the value of probability and risk management.

Replay Value

The game can be played over and over by a family. It is a great way for parents and children to bond together. I have to admit though it is a gateway game and as such it will lead you looking for the next step or your next game after 20 plays or so. The beauty of the game is that if you play with others it will not become old as the banter of who the wolf will (Huff and Puff!) will certainly keep things exciting and keep everyone laughing.



The game is an excellent way to introduce games to parents, children and girls because of the familiarity of the theme, high quality components, the simple rules and fun game play. Highly recommended as the first foray into the world of board gaming.


08.0 / 10.0 - 030% - Gameplay

08.0 / 10.0 - 025% - Replayability

09.0 / 10.0 - 020% - Rules Explanation

10.0   / 10.0 - 015% - Theme

10.0 / 10.0 - 010% - Components 

Overall Score: 8.5/10 




Splendor: The Game You'll Keep On Playing


Splendor is a game developed and published by Asmodee, it allows players to immerse themselves into the role of gem collectors and merchants of the renaissance era who are out to get the most prestige of their time.


How I Reviewcc

This are my points for rating a game that I have played

Game play Mechanic is my  first concern  as it is what drives  most game to be a hit or a miss with the players.

Theme is my second priority, coming from a generation of RPG players I would want a game where I can immerse in not only the game play but also the lore involved with the game

Components is the next thing that I am looking into as I am also one of those guys who would want to show off their games with the quality of components that it includes

Rules, important but not too particular about it

Replay Value I put this last because I like games that some people tend to not play over and over


The Review

Theme- in this game you play as a merchant from the renaissance era out to get prestige, you do this by collecting gem mines, transport caravans and shops. All of this to make sure that you are the most prestigious trader in that era.

An excellent theme for the history buff specially the baron cards who are not named but are very specific with their liking so another mini game involved is to guess who that royalty is.



This is where the game shines the most, it has 40(7 x 5 different colors , and a 5 yellow wild gem) gem tokens that are made to look and feel like authentic poker chips, which in my opinion adds impact to the overall experience of the game.

Also included are  90 development cards, 40 level 1(mines), 30 level 2(transportations) and 20 level 3(Shops). as well as 10 noble card board tiles and the rulebook.



The rules are extremely easy to understand. Learning the game i a quick and fun experience.


Game Play

Playing the game is both an awesome and relaxing experience, the game is fast and easy to learn but really hard to master.


Here is a quick run through:
setup is quick, separate all 3 card stack depending on their  level and reveal four of each level face up in their own corresponding row, this will be your market. Do the same with the gem tokens stacked according to colour, and randomly place barons(number of players+1) Player take turns performing one of these actions on their turn ,

Take three gem tokens of different colour

Take two gem token of the same colour(gem stack has to be four or more)

Purchase a card from the marketplace

Reserve a card from the market place by taking said card and also getting a wild gem token(can only hold up to 3 reserved cards at a time)

If players have enough level 1,2 &3 cards in play to accommodate a visit from  a baron then they also get that baron on the turn that they meet the requirement.

The first player to reach fifteen prestige points will herald the end of the game. If they were the last to play that round then the game stops immediately but if they were the first then  the succeeding players can still do their last actions to close the round.

Player with the highest prestige points at the end of the game wins. Easy Peasy right?

I’ll leave that up to you to experience first hand.


Replay Value

The fast paced and relaxed game play entails this game to be played again and again and again, a fast favourite to most players who have experienced the game first hand. And as I always say nobody plays splendor only once.

Overall: the game is a very good gateway game to new players and a good cool down game to veterans in the board game scene. Highly recommended for all ages as well.

Especially good if played in a group of 4.

Reviewer: John Brillantes



09.0 / 10.0 - 030% - Gameplay
09.0 / 10.0 - 025% - Theme
10.0 / 10.0 - 020% - Components
09.0 / 10.0 - 015% - Rules Explanation
10.0 / 10.0 - 010% - Replayability

09.5 / 10.0 - Overall






Zombie 15': Battle Against Time! Zombies Are On The Rise!

Zombie 15' is a new and innovative co-op zombie game for two to four players created by Guillaume Lemery & Nicolas Schlewitz! While most other zombie games take around 90 minutes or so to play, this is the first one that has an included CD that has soundtracks that end at exactly 15 minutes. If you guys don't finish it before the track ends, you lose the game. Get ready to be on your toes as you try to complete your objectives while killing hordes and hordes of zombies coming after you.

Continue Reading >





You are a powerful state official within a government full of discord, intrigue and chaos. The government is on the brink of collapsing and you seize the opportunity to amass power by bribing and manipulating your way to the top. To be successful, you have to eliminate all your opponents and cut off their ties and influence.

In Coup, the goal is to be the last player standing. One would want to be the last player in the game with influence which is represented by face-down character cards in the playing area.  Coup is a relatively simple game. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed, bluffing game that is sure to test your friendships and ties.


You are the head of the family/government official of an old Italian state which is ran by a corrupt and weak government – sounds pretty familiar don’t you think? The theme of the game itself is pretty common as most games revolve around concepts like fighting for power.

However, what makes this game fun is that it’s sort of like Poker in a way. It’s set almost exactly like it – you have to hide cards and you have to bluff your way to winning.


                The rules of the game are pretty straightforward. Plus there are handy cheat sheets which states all the actions a player can do every turn plus its conditions. It’s pretty easy to understand and even beginners would be able to get the flow of the game right away.


                When you open the box, you’ll see 15 cards (3 copies of each character) and several “coins” to represent currency. These are basically the only components in the game along with six cheat sheets for every player.


The only winning condition of the game is to be the last one standing. Meaning that you have to eliminate all of your foes. If you can’t eliminate them by force; bluffing and manipulation are the keys to the kingdom.

A player only gets to do one action per turn. Either that player can save up on resources (coins), exchange cards or steal from other players, or simply launch an all-out Coup. In order to do any of these actions, you have to have the appropriate character cards.

Here’s a quick rundown of the characters:

  • Duke – Can automatically take three coins from the pile; blocks foreign aid. Because of his greed, he’ll be able to help speed up the process.
  • Ambassador – Exchange cards with the stack; blocks stealing. Because of his diplomatic abilities, the ambassador can help get rid of unwanted cards while also checking what cards are left on the stack.
  • Captain – steal two coins from another player; blocks stealing. He can slow down another player’s progress by taking his resources.
  • Assassin – pay three coins to make another player lose influence. For a cheap price, she can catch unwary players off their guard.
  • Contessa – blocks assassination. By with her mere presence, she can protect a player’s influence.

Apart from these, a player can also perform several actions without the use of cards.

  • Income – Take one coin from the pile. Sometimes, honesty is the best policy.
  • Foreign Aid – Take two coins from the pile. Can be blocked by someone with a Duke.
  • Coup – pay 7 coins to make a player lose influence (unblockable). Unfortunately, in a tale surrounded by lust for power, money makes the world go round.

However, the aspect that makes this game worthwhile, nobody knows what your cards are. You can lie, cheat, and steal all you want – just don’t get caught. When you take one of the character actions – whether actively on your turn, or defensively in response to someone else's action – that character's action automatically succeeds unless an opponent challenges you. In this case, if you can't (or don't) reveal the appropriate character, you lose an influence, turning one of your characters face-up. Face-up characters cannot be used, and if both of your characters are face-up, you're out of the game. So be wary of your surroundings.

The game is all about probability. Since a character card is flipped up once a player loses influence, you can start counting cards to check which ones are left and who among the other players are bluffing their way to winning.


                All in all, I think that Coup is a party game that everyone would enjoy. It could be played again and again because each time, the players are able to use different strategies and moves against different opponents. If you bluff the same way every game, you’re bound to lose. Someone will always try to mix things up and make the game more exciting. Hence, it does not grow stale and it will always be un-shelved when you have visitors.





(OUT OF 10)









Distinctive Gameplay




Not that unique




Few components; easy setup and cleanup




Simple and straightforward








Convinced? Then head over to the Resistance Coup page and grab it before it sells out!

Piecing Together Westeros by Thomas Aquino

Piecing Together Westeros by Thomas Aquino

As a big fan of both the book and the series of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” better known as “A Game of Thrones”, I couldn’t help but get excited when the opportunity to build a 3-dimensional (or 4D as advertised) puzzle map of Westeros happened to chance upon my time.


This puzzle is unlike the other City puzzles by the same brand that have the element of time as part of its allure. As a basically a themed 3D puzzle, there are 3 layers to complete it and over a thousand two hundred pieces to it. The first layer consists of the base map of the puzzle and it is the most difficult one to finish. It contains the most parts and is in itself the challenge of the product. The second layer defines the lands and its divisions per area of the ruling houses of Westeros while the third layer defines the areas of interest in Westeros in detailed sculpture forms such as King’s Landing and Winterfell.


I have to admit though that I am honestly not really a puzzle guy. I did some before but these were mostly little puzzles usually when I take care of a nephew or a niece. Never anything on a scale of a hobby and aside from this being my proverbial ‘first time’ it was also something that dashed my expectations and humbled me. ‘Easy’ was the word I believed it would be, ‘Challenging’ is the word I want to use to describe the experience but honestly the one real word to describe the whole experience would be: ‘Rewarding.’

Like any simple puzzle I was able to tackle, I believed that building the borders would make it simpler. This was a gigantic mistake simply because this was not a simple puzzle. The borders themselves, although easy enough to appraise as a border, would be difficult to actually distinguish as the right piece. So, in a futile attempt to build things, I decided to go for the most indistinct part of the map: The North. Being all snow means its white enough to be easily marked allowed me to complete that part of the map first. This honestly was the right thing to do on my end. Piece by piece the white puzzle parts became a map of the North, from the Wall to the frozen wastelands that compose the northern end of the map. Honestly, the resounding triumph of completing this part gave a boost to my ego that allowed me to further work towards completing the puzzle.


Hours became days and changes in tactics allowed us (with help that changes from day to day) to progress further. Finishing the puzzle became a chant in my head. From building the North to the lands of Dorne then tackling the middle of the map and completing King’s Landing, the Reach and the rest of the ever so elusive lands of Westeros gave a sense of triumph, reward, and a sense of accomplishment that I have missed. As you find pieces that fit you feel as though you’ve completed something right and the gratification for such was in some sense immediate.


After completing the landed areas, the biggest challenge with the map awaited me: The Ocean. Of course this would seem easy, I mean it would really just mean fitting the right piece but honestly that was the challenge. Black pieces with almost indistinct markings had to fit in an exact area. Any forced piece would pose problems later on. In fact, we had to change certain pieces from both the borders and the other attached ocean pieces just to find the right pieces during the final stretch. I am honestly glad for the help from a friend, Kevin, as he helped me figure out stuff that I would have had a harder time with during the final push on the puzzle.


Finally, as the first layer of the puzzle lies complete in front of us, we admire our handiwork for a moment before we start with the second layer. In comparison to the first layer, the second layer was more or less quite easy to finish. A few hours and it was done. The second layer complete and the map had a better and detailed finish to it that just raises its quality up a notch.

The third layer was a bit trickier, mostly because you have to be careful with the second layer getting damaged. Nothing a little cleaning of the edges can cure though. Still, it took only a couple of hours to finish and we finally have the completed 3D (4D) map of Westeros.


This product is something I would completely recommend for those into puzzles as it was in fact a challenge and the finished product itself is beautiful. For first time puzzle builders like me, this is a good starting point as not only is it an interesting diversion of your time but it is something that can be done and eventually displayed. I would also like to recommend this as a pastime for couples or maybe for those that are interested in doing challenging things as a group. I don’t know how you’d find the product itself but for me it was a blast to build and it was definitely something I enjoyed especially since I am a fan of the series. I can’t wait to display this piece in my home and let right below the books of the series.
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