Game Night Blog Carnival: Scallywags

Pictured above is an “inactive” priate, which counts toward a total needed to sail. The pirate also contains the Monkey card, which allows the player to draw an extra card each turn.

Scallywags is a card game for two to four players ages 12 and older, published by Bent Castle Workshops. As the name implies, the game has a pirate flavor; the object of the game is to be the first to assemble a pirate crew from dozens of interchangeable pirate parts; the number pirates required for victory varies with the number of players.

The Scallywags deck contains 120 cards. Ninety of them are, for lack of a better description, pirate parts; 30 heads, 30 torsos, and 30 sets of legs. The remaining 30 “event cards” allow players to make it easier to assemble pirates or more difficult for opponents to do the same.

Each player gets a hand of 10 cards to start with, and nine cards are laid face-up in the center of the table. These nine cards, collectively called “the commons,” may be taken by players during their turn by discarding and exchanging cards from their hands during their turns. Players attempt to build pirates by using cards in their hands, cards drawn at the start of their turns and swapping unwanted cards from their hands with more appealing cards from the commons.

Continue reading


Game Night Blog Carnival: Memoir ’44

Memoir '44 divides the D-Day Campaign into several smaller scenarios, playable on a two-sided board that can be modified with cardboard terrain hexes.

This post represents the Athenaeum’s participation in Game Night Blog Carnival, through which RPG Bloggers post a review of a non-RPG game once each month.

Memoir ’44

Memoir ’44 is a two-player board/war game which uses the Command and Colors mechanics developed by Richard Borg; the game was named the official game of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. The game was published in 2004 by Days of Wonder.

Supplements enabling the recreation of the War in the Pacific and for aviation combat have also been released, but are not reviewed here.

The mechanics behind the Command and Colors system – which have been adapted to other conflicts for other game titles –  are simple. There is a game board, marked with hexagons and divided into left, center and right sections; cardboard terrain hexes, which are placed over board hexes to recreate the terrain of a historical battle; a deck of cards containing order cards for units in different sections and tactic cards that can be played in special situations; a lot of little plastic infantry, artillery and cavalry/armor; plastic battlefield features such as barbed wire, sand bags and “hedgehog” tank obstacles; a set of battle dice; and a scenario book explaining how to lay out the terrain and deploy the units to recreate a battle.

Continue reading

Game Night Blog Carnival: Carcassonne

This post represents the Athenaeum’s participation in Game Night Blog Carnival, through which RPG Bloggers post a review of a non-RPG game once each month.

Carcassonne: flagship of the ‘Eurogames’ genre

The terms “Eurogame” or “German Board Game” are often applied to a genre of games that aren’t restricted to the traditional model of moving a player’s token along a path of spaces in a racetrack pattern. These games focus on providing players with multiple paths to victory, on keeping all players involved until the end of the game, and on making each play experience as unique as possible.

A prime example of this sort of game is Carcassonne, a tile-based game of German design marketed in the U.S. by Rio Grande Games. Although the basic game was first published 10 years ago, Rio Grande has launched nine mini-expansions and eight full expansions to keep play fresh for even veteran players.

The game was named for the French city of Carcassonne, which is famous for its intact Roman and Medieval fortifications. As different cultures occupied the city in turn, each left an architectural stamp on the city, creating what some have called a randomized look, a randomization portrayed in the game of Carcassonne by cardboard tiles which are randomly placed during the game to form an image of a city that differs with each playing.

The game is played with two to six players. Each player is furnished with eight tiny figures, seven of which are used during play to identify each player’s growing influence in the developing city (the eighth is used for scorekeeping purposes). The other primary game feature is the set of tiles, each of which pictures some representation of city walls, roads, religious cloisters, fields, or a combination of more than one of these elements. A “starting tile” – depicting a portion of city wall, a road and a field, which could easily connect with a cloister – is placed in the center of the table before play begins.

Continue reading