There’s a part of me that’s really enjoying this time of year – the time when they release the Target Exclusives! (it’s way better than Prime Day that’s for sure!) It’s so great to see a larger retailer putting more on their shelves than extensions of the same brands over and over like we did a few years back. Now we get to see new stuff – like the Oregon Trail Game from last year – from a whole host of companies like Days of Wonder, Big Potato Games, Wonder Forge, IDW and the list goes on. I should really do a post on this like I did last year and maybe I will next week sometime, but in the meantime, let’s talk about three of the games that I got to play in advance from Big G Creative:
Shifty Eyed Spies
4-8 players ages 9+, ~20 minutes, $20
This is a social party game with some amazing lenticular box art (it literally makes the eyes shift when you walk past)! The tagline is “a sneaky game of sending signals” and that is exactly what it is. Everyone is a spy and they have 2 cards in their hand: the spy they are trying to reach, and a location where they are to pick up some information from another spy. You have to get the attention of the spy you need to meet with by winking at them, in return they will shift their eyes to the drop off point location. If someone winks at you, you shift your eyes to the location pictured on the card in your hand. If on your turn you can state who you are meeting and where their location is, you both receive a point (the card). First 2 players to have 5 cards wins (yes co-winners because it takes 2 to pass secrets.) Pretty simple – but you have to do it without getting caught! If someone intercepts you, they receive points instead of you and you must get a new mission. Overall, it was fun with a larger group – especially if it’s later in the evening because it’s a lot easier to pass info while everyone is laughing at the person who can no longer be so subtle. Ha!
How to Rob a Bank
2-4 players ages 12+, ~30 minutes, $25
Light strategy game where one person acts as the bank player, whereas everyone else gets to be on the team of robbers. For the robbers to win, they need to collect a certain number of money bags in 3 rounds or less (number depends on the number of players) and obviously, the bank player would like to stop that from happening. The game is played in 3 phases: Floor Layout, Planning, and Action. In the floor layout phase, the layout of the bank is revealed through 9 tiles that have bags of money, walls, an alarm, and the starting points for the robbers and guards. Then comes planning. Each player draws 8 cards from their deck and will use them to create a plan. One at a time, everyone lays a card face-up in front of them, covering any previously laid card, until everyone has 5 cards. Now it’s time for some action! Everyone flips their cards over and it’s time for phase 3. The banker goes first and flips their top card and does the action, then the robbers go in a circle taking their actions. This continues until all of the cards are gone. All tiles and pieces that remain on the board are removed and the round starts over. If by the end of the third round, the robbers haven’t gotten enough money bags – the banker wins! This is really just a broad overview as there are lots of things that can happen along the way. There’s a section in the instructions about reviving an unconscious robber (ha!), the getaway car, pepper spraying a guard, pulling an alarm, etc. It’s one of those games that you have to play once to really get and then there’s lots of repeat play value because the board always changes.
The Wizard Always Wins
2-5 players ages 10+, ~20-40 minutes, $25
This is another light strategy game, and like the title says the Wizard always WINS because you have to be acting as the wizard to win. The game is all about getting as many of your color gems as possible into the “Bag of Fate” so when you’re the Wizard you might pull one of your gems and win! You do this by making sets of elements that allow you to put gems into the bag or to “level up” (which I’ll explain in a minute.) Each round everyone will choose a character to be (only one person can be a character at a time) and each character has special powers. You’ll be using these powers to collect elements from the bag of fate as well as from a deck of cards. Once you do your character’s “special power” (collect cards or tokens/play a card face-up, etc.) and you can make a set of elements (different numbers required for each element) from your face-up cards and gems. You discard them and depending on the element you turned in, you will either place a gem(s) into the Bag of Fate and/or Level Up. Once everyone has taken their turn the round is over. Your character marker is moved to the number that matched the character you just had and that determines the order for picking characters in the next round. If you choose to be the Wizard during any round, when it is your turn to go you look at the level you’re at and draw that many tokens from the Bag of Fate. (See why it’s important to level up? Better chances when you’re at level 8 then level 2). If you choose your gem color, you win! If you don’t everything goes back in the bag and your turn is over. Oh, the suspense when someone is pulling gems!! This game has lots of elements that feel familiar so it’s pretty easy to grasp. I like that the characters each have numbers and that helps dictate which order you go in the next round – so if you’re the wizard one round, you’ll be last the next round. If the Wizard is already taken but you know you want to be the wizard the next round (if there is one) you might choose character #1 “The Queen” to ensure you’ll be the first to draw. It’s all about choosing when to be the wizard – and then hoping luck is on your side!
I have to say that all three of these games were fun and are really nicely made. They have super sturdy boxes and well-designed parts; it’s what you’d expect from the games you pick up at your local game store – not something you always see when you pick up a game at Target. If you want more information on any of these games, go to Big G Creative’s website and watch their videos: http://www.biggcreative.com/videos/ I’ve been promised a copy of the Bob Ross game but they didn’t have a copy to send — if you are like me and excited to try it out, I’ll post as soon as I have a chance to tear into it!
Games were provided free of charge from the manufacturer – Thanks!