As usual in this weekly column, I tested the following games for you before giving you my recommendations. In specialty stores they are often offered in French.
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- 2 to 4 players | 8 years and older | Beginner level
- 30 to 60 minutes | $34
After taking you to medieval kingdoms, fantastic worlds full of dragons and giants, and then to prehistoric lands, the Kingdomino franchise now invites you to the Far West. In 2016, French designer Bruno Cathala (who I recently had the pleasure of meeting) launched Kingdomino, an instant classic that sold 1.5 million copies. Now he’s back with a code design called Moon River, named after a river at the heart of this American Gold Rush-inspired game.
Using a clever turn-based selection system, you select puzzle pieces that fit together in pairs to form dominoes. You then place these tiles you created near your river to form vast areas of meadows, desert, ravines, fields, farms and forests. Suddenly you collect the cattle, gold nuggets and cowboys that belong to your tiles.
With its puzzle pieces, Moon River adds an additional layer of decision-making to the mechanics of the original Kingdomino, which I like. It also adds a mischievous side, allowing you to deliver a few low blows to enemies; I would have done without it, but it’s a minor consideration.
I really enjoyed the previous entry in this series, Kingdomino Origins, with its cavemen and evolving levels. Moon River stands out as well, making this latest release a very enticing option for families and new players. Simply choose your preferred theme: Wild West or prehistoric times? You can’t go wrong…
- 2 or 4 players | 10 years and older | Beginner level
- 10 to 20 minutes | $38
The colorful Accomplices (sometimes called Accomplices) is more of an activity than a “traditional” board game, but I found it fun and original enough to merit a playful recommendation. In this cooperative title for two or four players (as a team), you take on the role of burglars who have two minutes to get to their loot while avoiding security lasers.
However, each of you – equipped with glasses with a blue or red filter – only sees half of these threatening rays. So your job is to communicate effectively enough to help the “drawer” thief use a sharpie to trace the path to coins, treasure, and the exit… without getting too caught up in the semi-invisible beams of light.
A charming concept, elegantly executed, with much more challenge and replay value (16 rooms and four difficulty levels) than you might think. I can imagine “Acomplices” being a big hit with young players and families at holiday gatherings.
- 2 players | 8 years and older | Beginner level
- 15 to 25 minutes | $30 (in the French version)
Imagine a duel where the card that was supposed to bring you victory is hijacked by your opponent, who immediately uses it against you! This is the soul of Mindbug, a fast-paced family card game that immerses two players in the theme of an alien invasion.
The 54-card deck is full of “creatures” with different powers that are essential to hit the enemy, defend against their attacks or regain life points. Without forgetting these two Mindbug cards, capable of taking over a card played by the opposing party.
Colorful and sophisticated, Mindbug creates a dynamic clash that puts an interesting twist on a tried-and-tested style. All the fun comes from choosing the right cards to play at the right time after spending a moment guessing your opponent’s strategy. Not bad for such a small deck of cards!
What is this “board games” section?
As I am passionate about board games, I will immerse myself in the gaming world with you, keeping in mind the perspective of the consumer who, like me, discovers and explores this pastime.
I test table, board, dice and card games for you in order to provide you with my recommendations and first impressions in the form of thematic rankings, suggestions for new products, meetings with creators, etc. And this by always giving a good place to the games offered in French stores in Quebec.
Every week visit the website lesoleil.com/vivre/passe-temps/jeux-de-societe and consult the Vivre section of the Soleil application.
Note: These games were made available free of charge for our testing by ÎLO, which has neither received nor exercised any right to review the content of this journalistic article.