Top 10 Board Games for Halloween

horrorIn no particular order: our suggested board games for the ultimate Halloween board gaming adventure!

Ultimate Werewolf and its variations are definitely a go-to for any Halloween Party. ultimatewerewolfSupporting up to 75 players, this game can accommodate any group of people. Easy to learn and fast-paced, Ultimate Werewolf plays in about 30 minutes, so even those with the shortest attention span can enjoy it. Players pit against each other as Villagers vs. Werewolves. The villagers must attempt to figure out who the werewolves are and vote players out of the game, whilst werewolves take out the villagers one at time. The game ends when either the werewolves or villagers have all been eliminated. A moderator helps run the game to keep it in check.

betrayal_background_carouselBetrayal at House on the Hill is a fan favorite. This game has an innovative layout in which all players start out as heroes exploring a haunted house and at a certain point a trigger mechanic flips one player to become the betrayer. This tile-laying game has a move-explore mechanic so the house reveals itself as you play. With 50 different scenarios, not including the newest expansion to be released, and a different house layout every time, this game is different every time you play it. The game is for 3-6 players and usually lasts approximately one hour. panicstation

Panic Station may be the ultimate paranoia game. Short and sweet, this game is about one infected “Host” player attempting to infect the rest while keeping their identity secret. All players are a suspect, but you must work together to attempt to destroy the parasite hive and thwart the infected player(s). This game plays in about 30-45 minutes for 4-6 players.



Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition is a fully cooperative Lovecraft thriller! Second edition sports an app for iphone and android devices. The app plays as the keeper, while the players get to work together to find clues, defeat monsters, and solve the objective. With two expansions out already and several different scenarios, this game is definitely one of the top horror games currently. This is for 1-5 players and plays in 2+ hours. Not for the faint of heart!lastnight

Last Night on Earth is probably one of the most iconic zombie survival board games. Play out zombies versus humans for 2-6 players in about 90 minutes. This game even comes with a horror-themed CD to enhance the atmosphere–a must-have for any zombie fanatic. Several expansions available and different scenarios available provides replayability.

zombicideZombicide, one of the newer zombie survival games, has exploded in the gaming universe. The ultimate hack, slash, and shoot your way through all the zombies. This game comes with several different themes, including Zombicide: Black Plague and Zombicide: Prison Outbreak. This game comes with beautifully sculpted miniatures and quality tiles. This game is for 1-6 players and varies in playtime depending on difficulty (that’s right–a one player game, AND it has a variety of difficulties).

deadofwinterDead of Winter is a Game Cafe favorite. With all of the elements of zombie survival, story-telling, and secret objectives, this game is one of a kind. Players work together to achieve a main objective while having their own hidden objectives. Beware: among hidden objectives can be a traitor card! Each round players must work together to maintain colony morale, solve a crisis, and find supplies.level7

Level 7 [Escape] is a semi-cooperative survival game for 1-4 players. You awake in what seems to be a scientific military base. Trying to find your way around during a lockdown, you must avoid human and inhuman denizens! Will you work together with your fellow captives? Or secure your own escape and leave the rest to live their short lives in turmoil?

mysteriumHave the ultimate ghostly encounter with Mysterium! As one player takes on the role of the ghost of Mr. MacDowell, prominent astrologist, the others play as mediums performing a seance attempting to communicate with him. Unfortunately, Mr. MacDowell cannot talk, but can only share information through clues and visions to help the mediums figure out who murdered him. Played over a series of seven rounds, the mediums must use the clues to identify the murderer, weapon, and location before time is up. Plays in approximately 45 minutes for 2-7 players!

furyofdracThe most noted vampire arises once again in Fury of Dracula! Play as Dracula crossing the vast countries of Europe, spreading vampirism as you go. Or, play as Mina Harker and her fellow companions determined to catch Dracula and destroy him once and for all. A game of suspense and detective-work, Fury of Dracula is for 2-5 players and plays in approximately 2-3 hours. If you enjoy this game, also check out Letters from Whitechapel, a similar game of cat and mouse with Jack the Ripper!

Honorable mentions include Zombies!!!, a run for your life to find the helicopter pad to escape game; Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, the newest installment of Pandemic by Z-Man Games; and Potion Explosion, the candy crush board game! Check all of these games out and more at your local game shop, or stop in at Game Cafe to have a look around! Happy Halloween!



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Kaladesh: Quick Preview

kaladesh2Moving forward into Kaladesh, excitement continues to increase significantly. New mechanics, beautiful new art, and the Masterpiece Series all contribute to making this set unforgettable.

Just taking a quick look at new Planeswalker prints, Chandra and Nissa (who both have two different versions in this set) are both fantastic. Chandra is definitely by far the superior Planeswalker to be printed in Kaladesh (it is her homeland, afterall). She is not the first Planeswalker to have four abilities (compare to Jace, the Mind Sculptor)but she definitely has relevant abilities and a great converted mana cost for what she is.


Energy counters add a new mechanic for us, but we’re not really sure exactly how effective they will be. Not too many cards with this mechanic printed look astounding, but they’re definitely not all terrible. Most cards that have been revealed give you energy counters, but there doesn’t seem to be much do with the energy counters once you have them, or the build up will take a while. For example, Architect of the Untamed, or Aetherworks Marvel.


New keywords introduced. Fabricate. (When this creature enters the battlefield, put N +1/+1 counters on it or create N 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens.) This is a neat mechanic which allows the player to make a choice based on game state. Bigger creatures, or more creatures? That is the question.

Crew. (Tap any number of creatures you control with total power N or more: This Vehicle becomes an artifact creature until end of turn.) Crew appears on Artifact Vehicles, but doesn’t look to be impressive yet.

Inventors’ Fair, which is basically an artifact tutor, could possibly be a new EDH staple. Searching mechanics are definitely a hot commodity in this format, particularly since everything is a singleton except basic lands. And if you’re running an artifact win con, then this helps you find it faster. Aetherflux Resevoir also has potential in EDH. Cast all the spells, throw all damage!

Then, of course, there are the dual lands that are being printed. Definitely good for your early game. Now we have enemy color “Fast Lands,” as opposed to the friendly ones from Scars of Mirrodin. It’s about time. (That wasn’t very…fast…)


Let’s not forget to mention the Masterpiece Series. If you loved the Expedition Lands printed in Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch, you need to check these out here. Seriously. Super awesome reprints of our favorite artifacts. Mox Opal, Swords, Sol Ring, Aether Vial, and more. Too much. Can’t handle the awesome.


If you’re as anxious for Kaladesh to hit the shelves as we are, check out our prerelease events page here!

Happy Gaming!




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Game Cafe Welcomes Pokemon Go Players to Independence Square!

Image result for images pokemon go logo

With around 20-25 Pokéstops and 2 Pokémon Gyms in a 2-3 block radius from our store, Game Café is dedicated to helping our fellow local Pokémon trainers “Catch ‘Em All!”

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In our event space, we have set up free phone charging stations for players wanting to catch Pokémon in the area. No power cord? No problem! We’ve got you covered.

Please be sure you stay hydrated! Come in any time during store hours for our “Squirtle deal”: a water cup with all day refills for just $1! We also have fountain sodas available with all-day refills, or cans of soda or energy drinks!

Although the nests seem to have changed yet again, we do have fairly frequent lured spawns of Bulbasaur and Squirtle, as well as a veritable Safari Zone of Rhyhorn, Tangela, Pinsir, Scyther, and Tauros. The Pharaoh movie theater across the Square, when lured, has produced some extremely rare spawns, including Kabuto, Omanyte, Onix, and Porygon!

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If you’re seeking to supplement your love of Pokémon with other Pokémon-related hobbies, we sell Pokémon Trading Card game singles and packs! You can check out our card selection at We also run tournaments and leagues on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the Pokémon Trading Card Game and Video Game. You can find more information on our Pokémon events on our Facebook page:

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Be sure you stop in and say hi to your fellow trainers behind the counter! Although most of us are Team Mystic, we welcome trainers from ALL teams to Game Café! We all like a little friendly rivalry!😉

We hope to see you soon!


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Pokemon GO Phenomenon


As far as mobile apps are concerned, Pokemon GO seems to have made an impact across several demographics. Attracting gamers and non-gamers alike, preying on our nostalgia, Pokemon GO has us off our couches and out in our neighborhoods again.

pkmgo3With the incorporation of Gym Battles, grabbing Pokestops for items, catching your favorite pokemon, and walking to hatch eggs, this app is surprisingly simple, yet still engaging. Considering this is only the Beta version, we are most likely going to see it expanded upon in the coming months.

Like every game, Pokemon GO has its ups and its downs–and it seems like naysayers are more likely to criticize Pokemon GO lately.

Pokemon GO has people out in the streets during the day, but more people are out and about at night. This has caused police to become more concerned for pedestrians, as well as drivers. The app warns players to stay alert and aware of their surroundings, but we have already seen that some have had tunnel vision enough to injure themselves or others. This, however, is not the app’s fault, just as much as texting while driving is not the phone’s fault.

pkmgo4Concerns about trespassing and playing while driving have been addressed by the app in it’s latest update. A warning button pops up whenever the app is started, letting players know to not trespass while playing, do not enter dangerous areas, and do not drive and play. The app also now has an alert that shows up when it senses you are going “too fast”–letting you know you shouldn’t be driving.

There are other concerns, too. The country of Iran has already banned Pokemon GO completely, stating there are high risks to security. (Look at the full new article here.)

pkmgo1Despite the negative feedback, we should look at Pokemon GO as a whole and how much it has given society. More and more people are actually out walking around, socializing, and spending time with their families. Making new friends and exercising is just the topper on what Pokemon GO has done. (Players can walk to hatch eggs into Pokemon at the 2k, 5k, or 10k level.)

Pokemon players across nations have united in Facebook groups and forums. Friendly competition between Team Mystic, Instinct, and Valor sometimes gets a little heated, but we are more excited that the social aspect of this game is progressing in more than one avenue. Online and out in the world, people are going bonkers for Pokemon GO.

pkmgo2Delving deeper, Pokemon GO has definitely help small businesses, especially in areas with greater numbers of pokestops. With more foot traffic, people are becoming more aware of business they had never seen before–even ones that had been there for years. Although Pokemon GO is a free app, it has definitely brought in business, and not just for in-app purchases. People are spending money on portable battery chargers, extra phone data, drinks and snacks for their pokemon journey, etc. Pokemon is definitely making a resurgence, and the demand for branded items like stickers, buttons, shirts and the like has increased.

Consumerism is up, and people are exercising, making new friends, socializing, and exploring the world around them. No doubt the hype of Pokemon GO will wear down slightly as time goes on, but for now it remains a social phenomenon. There will always be a few bad apples making the app appear dangerous, but that goes with all things in life. Overall, the app has taken a step forward in gaming technology and it has succeeded in appealing to several audiences. We’re excited to see what Pokemon GO has in store for us next–trading, battling, more?

Good luck on your pokemon journey, friends. Happy hunting.



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Things Heat up with Steam Siege – Pokemon Preview!

steamsiege1Get fired up about the newest Pokemon XY set, Steam Siege! As with the last few sets, this new set will feature several new BREAK evolutions, including Xerneas BREAK, Yveltal BREAK, Clawitzer BREAK, Yanmega BREAK, Hydreigon BREAK, and Pyroar BREAK.
Yveltal BREAK synergizes well with the use of cards that damage the opponent’s bench with its new attack, which deals 30 damage, in addition to its base 120 damage to the active Pokemon, to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon that already has damage counters on it. Clawitzer BREAK is also interesting. It can, for one energy, ensure 120 extra damage on the next turn to the opponent’s active Pokemon.

xerneasbreakXerneas BREAK, however, is the standout among the set for me. When combined with the reprinted Geomancy Xerneas, you can effectively attach energy to your Pokemon, which makes Life Stream hit even harder!

The set also features some new Pokemon-EX, such as Steelix-EX, M Steelix-EX, Magearna-EX, and Volcanion-EX. Gardevoir-EX and M Gardevoir-EX also got new

versions, with the latter showcasing the most unexpected change in this set – dual-typing.
volcanionexThe new version of M Gardevoir-EX is, as you’d probably expect, a dual-type Fairy and Psychic Pokemon. Volcanion-EX is another of these dual-types, with the expected Water and Fire typing, although the printed weakness to water makes less sense due to this change. There are eight cards in total with a dual-type in this set.

Volcanion also gets a non-EX form in this set. Fire energy recycling gets some nice boosts with this card, as well as the Ponyta from this set. Which is good, considering the fact that Volcanion-EX and Infernape in this set will hog your Fire Energy in a big way. With a few Battle Compressors, Infernape could deal some major damage, but it is very conditional.

magearnabastiodonMagearna-EX will be a nice addition to Steel teams. Each of your Pokemon with Metal Energy attached will become invulnerable to the effects (minus damage) of opponent’s attacks. Bastiodon also makes a good Steel teammate, as its first move counterattacks your opponent if they deal it damage, which means you always have an answer to those problem Pokemon that deal massive amounts of damage at once.

Some of the more interesting additions to the set are the new Klefki and Talonflame. klefkiKlefki‘s ability allows it to attached to another Pokemon as a Pokemon Tool to prevent damage from opponent’s Mega Pokemon. Talonflame is allowed to be played face-down as a Basic Pokemon at the very start of the game, and gives you an effective method of additional card draw.

croagunktoxicroakIf you enjoy using status effects to thwart your enemies’ plans, the new Croagunk and Toxicroak hit your opponent with stackable poison effects that can both vastly increase the amount of damage your poison can deal and protect your Toxicroak from being damaged by Pokemon you’ve already poisoned.


The most exciting cards for the metagame, however, are Pokemon Ranger, a Supporter which reads, “Remove all effects of attacks on both players and all Pokemon,” and Ninja Boy, who allows you to search your deck for a Basic Pokemon and swap it directly out with another of your Basic Pokemon, shuffling the first into your deck. Both cards should definitely make a splash in the metagame. Hopefully this causes more variety in decklists at the competitive level.

As of yet, we don’t have pictures of the English versions, but we have translations. Here’s the link for the pictures of the Japanese versions:

You can check out the complete list of spoilers here:

Stay tuned for news on the upcoming prerelease!

Happy Gaming!

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Eldritch Moon – First Spoilers

eldritchmoon3Eldritch Moon – First Spoilers

As we move forward in Magic: The Gathering, the Eldrazi story continues to unfold. As we had suspected, or read on Reddit, Emrakul was slated to be printed in this set. With the help of some hints on Tamiyo’s Journal, the Magic community deciphered this card from breadcrumbs left behind by Wizards of the Coast.


As for large, monstrous creatures, Emrakul, the Promised End does not disappoint. However, it does seem a little lackluster compared to it’s previous printing as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. We can’t really ask for too much more after that shenanigans, though.

Looking at the card for more than just abilities and attack value, we can start to figure out where the story is headed. Based purely on speculation, but with a name like “The Promised End,” we can gather that perhaps the Innistrad plane will be destroyed once and for all.


(Side note, the set symbol poses as our beloved flying spaghetti monster. Thank you for all the tentacles, Wizards of the Coast.)

Less impressive is the reveal of Legendary flip-card Ulrich of the Krallenhorde//Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha. ulrich

Finally, those Commander decks have a general for their werewolf ideas. Looking at the card closer, it brings back memories of Huntmaster of the Fells//Ravager of the Fells. It definitely appears to be inferior to its predecessor, and it will most likely target itself with the +4/+4 ability.

coaxfromAnd finally, we have a random blue sorcery, Coax from the Blind Eternities. This card is definitely interesting, allowing you to sideboard cards that you might potentially need against certain match-ups without actually having to run them constantly in your deck. Forget giving up your game one loss, you can pull what you need right now…as long as it’s and Eldrazi. This card could definitely be interesting in game play, but we’ll have to wait and see what other Eldrazi cards are in store for Eldritch Moon to see what we might be able to pull out for this card.

It’s still too early to make an assessment of this set, but we’re sure excited to see where it’s heading. Stay tuned for more updates on this set soon. If you’re already super stoked for this set, check out pre-ordering a box today. Click here for more information! And get prepared for the prerelease the weekend of July 16th/17th. Check out the event here!


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Eternal Masters Quick Look

EternalMasters1Eternal Masters

All the cards in the Eternal Masters set have now been spoiled! If you’ve been following at all, you can see why the hype around this set is bonkers. With cards from both Legacy and Modern formats reprinted, certain builds will now be a little bit more accessible to those trying to jump in.

Notably, of the only two Planeswalkers printed in this set are Jace, The Mind Sculptor is among them. This says a lot about the cards that Wizards of the Coast wanted to reprint for this set. Most are probably disappointed by the lack of Liliana of the Veil, but perhaps WotC was trying to keep some uniformity to the set. With other cards like Dream Twist, we can see certain archetypes in the spoilers. However, it does seem bizarre that Jace would be the only Planeswalker. In the normal routine of things, it’s “all about that Jace” for this set.

Unsurprisingly, Dack Fayden makes a return for us. With only one printing in the Conspiracy set, and his rising popularity, printing this card seemed like a given. But it begs the question–why all the blue? We’ve known since the beginning that Force of Will was going to be printed, which only hinted at the possibilities for Eternal Masters. With other renowned blue cards like Mystical Tutor, it appears this color had some real love…unlike red.


Red cards this set are quite underwhelming. We see the resurgence of Young Pyromancer, which is always a favorite, but not much more to be overly excited about. We’re only seeing our beloved commons and uncommons–Faithless Looting, Chain Lightning, etc. However, nothing like Bonfire of the Damned or Past in Flames. Disappointed? Maybe. Same with white. Old favorites like Intangible Virtue and Squadron Hawk appear, but not much else besides the Enlightened Tutor.


Green and black cards have a few favored reprints. Heritage Druid and Sylvan Library are very popular right now, so we are happy to see these coming back to us. Necropotence, Blood Artist, and Tragic Slip are definitely timeless keepsakes.

KarakasThree cheers for Bloodbraid Elf, Shardless Agent, and Deathrite Shaman!! Duplicant, which has been seeing more play (at least here in the midwest), will finally be available! Overall, we’re pretty happy with this set considering the sheer number of cards WotC had to choose from. Still wishing for the artifact Swords to be reprinted, as well as a few more lands (despite the super awesome Karakas). We hope you’re looking forward to the release as much as we are.

Check out your local game shop for more information about this set or release day events on June 10th. Click here for information on Game Cafe’s release day draft!

Happy Gaming!



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True Steel – True Reveal


A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition – True Steel

Yesterday marked the release date of the last chapter pack in the Westeros Cycle of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition. However, with it came several new additions to every player’s card pool.

barristanFor the Baratheon player, the addition of Ser Barristan Selmy could be a great one. Baratheon now has another chance to keep dear Robert alive. Use Selyse’s ability to fend off Tear of Lys, and now use Barristan’s ability to fight off the remainder of your concerns (Mirri Maz Duur, anyone?). Barristan is almost the equivalent of the Night’s Watch Maester Aemon. Rather than kneeling to save; stand to save. The good thing to note is that Barristan does NOT have a faction requirement like Aemon does. You do need to make sure Barristan is knelt, though, or else his effect cannot happen. But, this is okay since another knelt character means Robert is buffed (“Go get the breastplate stretcher. NOW!”).

ilynpayneWe finally get the infamous Ser Ilyn Payne, the man on Arya’s hit list. It might seem counterintuitive that he doesn’t come with a military icon, but his text alone is enough to make up for it. Kill a character with printed cost 3 or less? Kill target Margaery. Kill target maester. Kill target The Hound. No doubt there will be complaints of the Lannisters getting ANOTHER beefy guy, but there are still several ways to combat his ability. Treachery, Milk of the Poppy, and Crown of Gold are only a few options.

The new Septa Mordane gives a great boost to your already-good Arya and Sansa. Although, Septa does seem to help the old versions of both cards much better than the newer versions. New Sansa does not seem to want a boost in strength, yet old Sansa can now easily be 6 STR by also running Lady. Old Arya can now sport triple icon with stealth. Perfect.


This chapter pack seemingly came with something for everyone. Tyene Sand, for Martell is not only a reusable Tears of Lys, but she’s also a Sand Snake character. No reason to run the Little Bird in your Night’s Watch deck now that Old Bear’s Raven is available.


Unfortunately, it seems the Tyrell card pool for this expansion is a little lackluster. Butterbumps does not seem to be playable at this time, but with the fool trait on a few cards now, we can speculate about the future. It also seems the Greyjoy cards aren’t exactly what we want them to be either. Drowned God’s Blessing can protect from a lot—but not Tears of Lys (which is the real icon Greyjoy is missing). And Dagmer Cleftjaw is also a little expensive to add to your Greyjoys. There are a few instances in which you might want to destroy locations, but this card just might slow down your power ride.


jhogoAnd let’s definitely not overlook Jhogo, the newest Dothraki/Bloodrider character. Super stoked to see Bloodriders come to life and bring death with them. This card makes Smash Bros. (Targ/Lanni) even better (as if they weren’t playable before). Pair these guys with Ilyn Payne, and you’re sure to have the beefiest characters on the battlefield.

Overall, this chapter pack could not have done better as the closer of the Westeros Cycle. We look forward to checking out how much this alters the meta! Tell us what you think.

Happy Gaming!

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Shining Victories: Out of the Oven into the Frying Pan

shiningvictories1By John Cardarella

Shining Victories: Out of the Oven into the Frying Pan

As the dust begins to settle with the most recent Advanced Format List update, many are scrambling to restore a foothold on the Yu-Gi-Oh! community. Monarchs and Kozmos, with very little attention paid from the list, seem to be the key players now. New cards from the recent gold iteration also revived the previously deadly Atlanteans and still vicious Burning Abyss. It seems that solving on problem has only left new ones in its wake. So the question is: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Kozmo-CORE-ENThe beginning of May will bear the arrival of Shining Victories and Game Café will be in the spotlight for this exciting release with a Sneak Peek this weekend! Duelists will have a preemptive chance at gathering the necessary pieces to new archetypes and some old.

Kozmos will finally get the Death-Star equivalent in Kozmo Dark Planet. For the easy cost of banishing Kozmos from your hand that have a total level of 10 or more, duelists can summon this 4000/4000 monster to the field! Moreover, Dark Planet is here to stay with its ability to negate opponent spells by banishing a kozmo monster from the graveyard. Combined with the archetypical immunity to card targeting, Dark Planet may eclipse many a duelist. Blue-Eyes will receive another boost to its archetype as well, bringing Kaiba players back around for another duel.

SoulCharge-DRLG-EN-SR-1EBoth of these cards are must-haves in the Blue-Eyes arsenal. Twin Burst can be normally fusion-summoned or summoned by sending two Blue-Eyes White Dragons from the field to the graveyard. It cannot be destroyed by battle and can attack two monsters. If that wasn’t enough, Twin Burst also banishes monsters not destroyed by battle with it! This makes for incredible opening gambits against your opponent. Once the dust settles, duelists can finish their turn by creating Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon. This Blue-Eyes card restricts your opponent’s special summons to only 1 monster at a time, severely hindering pendulum summons and Soul Charge plays. Paired with Twin Burst, these two new Blue-Eyes will ensure your opponent’s field stays nice and clear.

However, if you’re into stopping your opponent’s options dead in their tracks, then Amorphages is what you’re most excited for in these set.

[Amorphage Lechery] [Amorphage Sloth] [Amorphage Goliath]

[Amorphage Greed] [Amorphage Wrath]

The Amorphage archetype consists of pendulum monsters that prevent special summoning of monsters from the extra deck EXCEPT Amorphages. If this wasn’t enough, their various pendulum effects can prevent spells, traps, monster effects, graveyard effects, tributing and much more! By playing the right Amorphage at the right time, an experienced duelist can stop the wide spectrum of competitive decks in this format. Paired with the persistence of pendulum monsters (more so now that Wavering Eyes is banned), Amorphages will very quickly carve a nice seat in the tiers. 

shiningvicsneakAs we start approaching the World Qualifier tournament, these next few months will be filled with bright new futures in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Many old and new cards will be tossed into the fray and it is definitely anybody’s game. Make sure you attend Game Café’s Sneak Peek this weekend to give yourself a fighting chance.

For more information on this event, click here!

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Star Wars: Rebellion Board Game Review

starwarsrebellion1by Dustin Olson

Upon setting up my first game of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Rebellion, it was painfully obvious that the Rebel Alliance could not win through military conquest. As I went through the Learn to Play booklet, I was relieved to discover that conquest is not the Rebellion’s goal. Survival is the name of the game as a Rebellion player. But, I cannot say that made things any easier.

rebellionStar Wars: Rebellion appears like a Risk clone set in the Star Wars universe. In many respects, it plays like that as well. Thankfully, however, there is a lot more that this game offers to its players. In Star Wars: Rebellion, an Empire player aims to increase its sphere of influence through fear or conquest, with the aim of discovering which planet houses the hidden rebel base. The Rebel player, however, aims to slow down, harass, or misdirect therebelbase Empire player in order to keep their base hidden, or at that very least, stave off an attack that can end the Rebellion once and for all. If found, the Rebellion can move its base, unless of course their base is stuck in combat. But, that doesn’t necessarily make things easier, as the chance for escape lessens the longer the game is played and the more influence the Empire player(s) has. As I played, it seemed as if the Rebellion and the Empire were actually playing two different games; the Empire was playing Risk, while the Rebel player was playing Letters from Whitechapel (another Fantasy Flight title).

rebellionsetupMy first few games were set up as the starter version (shown above), in which the Empire’s influence and the Rebellion’s Alliances are set. This version of the game seems to offer the most balance, as Empire and Rebellion players have a turn or two before they really have to worry about bumping into each other. In these games, it felt as if both players stood a chance; and it boiled down to action/movement economy and player skill.

rebellion1In the games that I played with the advanced ruleset, however, it really seemed as if the Rebel player was against a wall the whole time. Granted, that very well may be the point. It certainly did make the games more interesting and dynamic, but sometimes, it just seemed unfair. In an advanced game, starting bases are randomized (not completely random, as there is only a select pool of starting rebel planets and empire planets, but random enough that you cannot go into a game with a set game plan). I blame my shuffling skills, but every time the bases were randomized, the rebel planets always shared adjacency with empire planets. This wouldn’t necessarily be bad, but as the rebel player only starts with military units in two spaces (on their hidden base and on one of three planets they start the game with), they are often unable to defend if they do not have units in that area. Also, as the Empire is able to subjugate a planet simply with boots upon the surface, while the Rebel player must act through diplomacy. Because of this, the rebel player is always at a disadvantage economically. But, once again, this is probably the point.

turntrackAs the game goes on, no matter which version you are playing, things tend to get more desperate for both players. As there can only be a set amount of turns in a game (it starts at fourteen turns but can be changed through gameplay), an empire player will want to expand its influence through fear, trade, and conquest in order to increase its rate of expansion and thus limit the amount of places that the rebel base could be hidden; also the empire player should try to kidnap the rebel heroes, thus cutting down on the rebel players action economy. Meanwhile the rebel player will want to do anything and everything to slow the empire down; harassment, subterfuge, and diplomacy are the rebel players bread and butter.

My experience of Star Wars: Rebellion was mixed, but positive overall. Sure, there were a few times that setup in the advanced game made the Rebel player’s task all the more difficult, but that player still had a fighting chance. It was a small chance, but a chance nonetheless. And looking back at the original Star Wars trilogy, I suppose that is the only kind chance that the Rebellion ever really had. Perhaps that is why I feel that Star Wars: Rebellion, with all its problems, is nothing short of brilliant.


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