Critic's Corner: Game Reviews

Board Game Reviews by Corey Whelen at Outset Media
*Not all games reviewed are distributed by Outset - we just like them!

Big Enough for the Both of Us: A Kingdomino: Duel Review

by Corey Whelen
22 December 2020

2 Players, 30 Minutes, Low Complexity, Medium Strategy, Ages 8+.

The Amazing (Camel) Race: A Camel Up Review

by Corey Whelen
10 December 2020

3-8 Players, 30 Minutes, Low Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 8+.
Disclaimer: Not distributed by Outset Media

Some games are battles of intellectual prowess. Cerebral competitions where every move is calculated, and the shrewdest strategist is victorious. Camel Up is not one of these games. Camel Up is a game where you bet tiny plastic coins on tiny plastic camels that are racing around a tiny plastic pyramid. And honestly? I couldn’t be more excited to recommend it to you. Stick with me here, this is a weird one.

Why am I Hungry Now?: A Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza Review

by Corey Whelen
28 August 2020

2-8 Players, 10 Minutes, Low Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 8+.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. These words echo through every round of the appropriately titled party game- it’s a chant, a mantra, an implicit agreement among the players that the second those silly words stop, shenanigans will ensue. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is an extremely hectic variation on Slapjack, which means the player with the quickest reflexes and the best memory will come out on top.

Keys to the Kingdom(-ino): A Kingdomino Review

by Corey Whelen
9 June 2020

2-4 Players, 15 Minutes, Low Complexity, Medium Strategy, Ages 8+

There aren’t many games with as much prestige as Kingdomino. With a list of accolades and awards longer than some menus, this simple little tile-laying, kingdom-crafting game makes a big impression!

Critics Corner: The Christmas Collection

by Corey Whelen
13 December 2019

It’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls with decks of cards, time to hang the stockings near the game-shelf with care, and time to entertain friends and family during those interminable holiday gatherings!

Luckily, Outset Media has your back with plenty of Christmas themed games that are more fun than listening to Grandma talk about her extra toenail again! We’re going to take a look at three of our favourites for entertaining through the holidays!

Absolutely Marvel-ous: A Marvel Champions Review

by Corey Whelen
11 November 2019

1-4 Players, 45-90 Minutes, High Complexity, Medium Strategy, Ages 14+

Avengers: Endgame was the biggest movie of the summer, and the merry Marvel bunch have been picked up by the biggest board game developer in the world to bring super-heroic scenes to your table! While not the first Marvel-licensed board game, Marvel Champions is the first effort by Fantasy Flight games to bring the Marvel universe to life, this time in a living card game (LCG). It’s a cooperative, card-playing beat ‘em up where your heroes will struggle to balance their personal lives against the machinations of evil-doers, and it’s swinging into stores this month!

It Takes Two: A Double Spot Review

by Corey Whelen
7 November 2019

2 Players, 45 Minutes, Low Complexity, Medium Strategy, Ages 8+

Two-player board games are somewhat unique in that there are a few things a two-player game needs to be in order to be successful. It needs to have interaction and competition. It needs to have clever mechanics and a tight ruleset. It needs to be simple to learn and difficult to master, and most importantly, it needs to be fun! Many board games share these traits, but they’re especially critical in two-player games- otherwise, why not just play a larger game with only two players? MindWare’s delightful Double Spot was designed to exemplify all these traits, and what results is a fast (and fun) battle of wits- and a perfect game for two players!

No, Your Other Left: An Up-A-Bit Review

by Corey Whelen
23 October 2019

3+ Players, 60 Minutes, Medium Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 8+

Draw a horizontal line across your paper, then draw four, equal-sized circles underneath, touching the line. Take one end of the line, draw a hook on the end to turn it into a “J” shape. Then, off the other side of the line, draw a line straight up, then a smaller line out two inches to the left, then another two inches down.  Finally, connect both ends of the line, and what do you see? The answer is a finely played round of Up-A-Bit, a fantastic re-release of the classic party game by Outset Media- although, the real answer is a rollerblade that probably looks a train, sorry.

How the West was Fun: A Flick 'em Up Review

by Corey Whelen
16 October 2019

2-10 Players, 60 Minutes, Medium Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 8+

“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us” growls the stranger, a steely glint shining in his eye. A tumbleweed blows through the dusty street between you. He’s right, it is a really small town made of cardboard and wood, but you’re not about to tell him that. Your hand floats over your tiny wooden bullet-disc, you pull back your finger, aim your shot, flick, and fire. The disc spins across the table and slams into the wooden cowboy, knocking him to the ground. “Dang partner,” he mutters as he stares up at the sky. “Do you play crokinole?”

Gem-Boree: A Sapphiro Review

by Corey Whelen
9 October 2019

2-4 Players, 30 Minutes, Low Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 6+

Sapphiro by MindWare makes an impression the minute you pull it out of the box. A glittering rainbow of multicoloured gems grace the gameboard and your objective becomes clear almost immediately. You want these gems. You NEED them. Specifically, you need one gem of each colour, and you don’t want the other players to get them. It’s a good, simple premise for an abstract game, and the rules are just as easy to parse. It’s easy to start playing Sapphiro, but it can be difficult to stop!

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