As you may have noticed from our “Meeples Weekly Recap” posts, we’ve been playing a lot of “Escape Room in a Box”-type games. In fact, I think we’ve played all of the major series in this genre: Exit, Unlock!, Escape Room: The Game, Escape the Room, Deckscape, and Escape Room in a Box. This post will compare and contrast these different games as well as give a brief review of what we felt about playing each of them. Please note that pictures and reviews many have spoilers, though we tried to minimize this as much as we could.
It’s the 1950s, and fast food is the latest craze. Nothing gets the families of small-town suburbia out of their houses like the promise of hot food and cold drinks, served almost instantly. You can see this new market starting to form and decide to start up your own restaurant chain, planning on making bank selling to hungry (and lazy) people. However, you’re not the only one with this brilliant idea, as several other competing chains have started up in your very same small town! Now, you must out-produce, out-advertise, or out-price your opponents out of the market and make your way to the top of the food chain!
Food Chain Magnate is a very heavy strategic game where players build up a fast food franchise starting with just one restaurant and a CEO. You will then need to hire more employees to begin producing food and drinks, advertising your products, and selling to the customers in town. The player who makes the most money by the end of the game can truly call themselves a food chain magnate!
Exploring the deepest reaches of space can sometimes be a lonely job, and when a fraudulent distress signal leads your ship into an ambush, you’ll have to survive by yourself until backup arrives! As the captain, you’ll need to tactfully assign your crew to deal with both internal and external threats, maintain the shields and hull, and take care of crew members that have been put out of commission. Can you survive all of the threats that will be constantly plaguing your ship?
Disclaimer: We were provided a review copy of this game by The Nerdalogues. This has not influenced our review.
In the 20s, an eccentric billionaire flies his airship around the world in search of pugilists willing to fight each other in order to claim the incredible prize of any wish granted. You are one of the eight participants in this year’s bout, ready to take on your opponents one-by-one in a gentlemanly sporting match. What you discover, however, that these Fisticuffs bouts are free-for-all brawls where almost anything goes: from the simple jabs and kicks to uppercuts and haymakers, and even spitting on your opponents is allowed in the ring! Do you still think you have what it takes to knock out all of your opponents and claim the title?
Fisticuffs is a veritable free-for-all of a Take That game, where each turn players will instigate combat against another participant, who can block and counter, or throw in the towel and allow others to tag in and join the fray.
The sky have begun to darken; waves continue to lap on the shore, crashing harder and harder as time passes. Collecting the artifact will bring you closer to the great Old Ones, but send you spiraling slowly into madness. The chanting begins to fill your head and you began to chuckle against your control. Will you be able to find the most artifacts before your foes? Or will you descend into madness long before then?
Tides of Madness is a sequel to the 2015 game Tides of Time. Like its predecessor, Tides of Madnessis a quick 2-player card drafting microgame, consisting of 18 cards and three short rounds. However, it adds a new element, Madness (it is a Cthulhu game, after all), and some additional ways to score.
It’s the 1920s and like many socialites of the period, you strive to host the best morning tea for your friends; after all, it’s how you keep your name in town! Your servants are bustling around making sure everything is just so when you realize that your best pieces are missing! You peer out the window to see that the socialite across the street has send one of their servants to switch your pieces out with something you already have! Now it’s time to scramble, making sure to you have the best prepared party so that all the best in town come to your morning tea, and not the tea of that nasty neighbor.
You’re the new hero in town and with your super suit matching your best qualities, you approach town to save the day. But what do you spot over there? It’s another hero, dressed to the nines, trying to capture the exact same villain you are. And what to you spy from your other eye but ANOTHER hero. Henchmen are closing in, and you want the glory for yourself! Will you defeat the most henchmen and eventually the villain, showing yourself to be the supreme superhero in town? Or will another hero’s magnificent feats outshine yours?
Your local sewing circle has always been a great place to relax and unwind. It’s usually filled with ladies knitting or working on small projects, and is the epitome of peace and quiet. That is, until recently. You see, a rival has appeared that always one-ups you in everything. You sew a dress, she makes one two times as elegant. Her tapestry and needlework is so beautiful everyone gushes over it. Your latest project is a patchwork quilt, and you see this as your last opportunity to prove yourself every bit as good as your opponent. You each dig through the large pile of unevenly-shaped pieces of fabric to find the perfect patches to make up your quilt. But oh no! In the time you took to sew on that one patch, your opponent has placed three on her quilt! You’ll need to do some strategic thinking and time management to make a quilt that’s more complete and beautiful than that of your rival…
Patchwork is a two-player game about creating patchwork quilts using a variety of differently shaped patch tiles. Each tile costs a certain amount of buttons (the game’s currency) and time, and you’re penalized at the end of the game for any spaces not filled up, so you’ll want to figure out the best way to use the available patches to fill up your quilt!
Your fingers click across the typewriter, a flurry of letters fly across the paper as you rush to make your deadline. You pause. No time for writer’s block now, you think to yourself. Frantically, you push around the papers on the desk. All the notes you’ve jotted down are beginning to pay off as you arrange them again and again, creating the words you need to finish the next great American Novel!
Paperback is a deck building card game where the players build words to create novels and earn points. Words unique to your theme and longer words can earn you extra points. Will you be the player to create more novels before anyone else?
Once upon a daytime dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
A quaint and curious card game I’d never played before—
While my hand I was surveying, suddenly there came a playing,
‘Twas my opponent gently laying, laying cards on my E. Gorr.
“No! My gravedigger,” I muttered, “has fallen dead upon the floor—
Now he can do nothing more.”
Gloom is a card game where players are competing to have the most miserable family. They do this by playing modifier cards on their family members to make them more and more miserable (and hopefully dodging positive life events played on them by opponents), until they eventually shuffle off of this mortal coil. The unique part of Gloom is that its cards are clear, allowing additional modifiers to add on to or replace those already played on a character. Light some candles, turn down the lights, and turn on some Evanescence, because it’s about to get Gloomy…