Snakes & Blogs
2013 ‹ By Year
Here is a fantastic game where ancient gods exert their influence over cults vying for power in the scorching desert sun. Through warfare and sacrifice the sands are stained, as giant living machines of destruction tear down city walls.
Welcome to the land of Kemet, a new offering by Matagot whom previously brought us Cyclades (which this title feels in some ways a spiritual sequel to.) I was taken aback at the beautiful components, very cool miniatures and great artwork draws you right in to this title. Each god has its own unique detailed warriors as well as large mythical beasts. Not to mention the boards captivating art and intuitive design, mystical kingdoms are divided by a river that actually sizes the game based on how many players there are. All cities and locations are the same distance away from each other without appearing to be, making for a great marriage of art, design and game balance.
Kemet is a straightforward strategy game, with cutthroat conflict at its core. Each player assumes the role of an ancient Egyptian deity (such as Ra, Anubis, Sekhmet or Sobek.) along with its own tribe of devoted worshippers and your goal is to take over kingdoms during the course of multiple day/night cycle. This game is delightfully diceless, feeling in some ways like “Chaos in the Old World” meets “Small World”. Kemet is ideal for someone looking to enjoy a uniquely brilliant war-game with a great theme, no player elimination and a reasonable play time. Victory points often exchange hands through area control or are gained permanently through sacrifices. Remember, in the desert sun, only the strong survive.
- Dan Legault
There is a glut of games available to transport you back in time to the Dark Ages, those centuries after the fall of Rome where everything in Europe went down the toilet. Including toilets.
Many are the times that I have sat down with friends in order to farm land, collect rocks, and build castles, but one night, in a passion, I swore never to play another game where I would have to deal with workers, craftsmen, traders and builders. (Except for Carcassonne. No one hates Carcassonne.) I am here today to say that I have rescinded my pretentious proclamation, because a new game – which includes farmers, weavers and traders, set in the Dark Ages – is too fantastic to ignore.
I was taught Guildhall, the new card game from AEG, the other week, and I cannot get enough of it. It has simple mechanics, but its simplicity facilitates teaching rather than stifling playability. You have a hand of cards, all of which belong to one of the six professions in the game. Each profession, when played, gives you a particular action and goes into your guildhall, a personal tableau, at the end of your turn. The more cards of a particular profession you have, the stronger the effect is when another is played on subsequent turns. The professions are collected into sets (five different colours), which give the player the opportunity to buy point cards – first to twenty points wins.
It is a remarkably fun game. Frankly, I wish I were playing it right now, rather than working on this article. So long as you heed my words and give it a try next time you’re in the café, my painful sacrifice will not have been in vain. So play Guildhall right now. If it can make me excited to play another game set in the Dark Ages, it can win over anyone.
- Colin Young
From Colin, one of our game gurus, a highlight of a game that might not see as much love as it deserves. Hidden gem, Quo Vadis?
Long before Kakerlakenpoker and Skull & Roses were facilitating bad behaviour between friends, there was Quo Vadis?. The principal of the game is very simple: negotiate your way through the Roman Senate to collect as many laurels as possible. However, your game pieces (the members of your powerful political family) move across the board only with the assistance of your opponents’ voting power, so try to avoid offending your friends at the outset. (There will be plenty of time for social bridge-burning later on.)
Your turn is simple: you add one of your politician’s to the board; you move one of your politician’s up the board towards the Inner Sanctum; you move Caesar himself. The board is broken up into a number of committees, which only have so many spaces for the ambitious politicians climbing the Roman political ladder. However, since you need a majority of votes from your current committee to move forward to the next committee, you will have to spend much of the game harnessing the raw, unbridled power of your silver tongue.
Quo Vadis? is a mean game. I have been excommunicated from several game nights for my psychologically abusive behaviour during this game. If there is a shred of decency left in your still-beating heart, beware; this game punishes decency and crushes timidity. But if our gurus have taught you Cards Against Humanity, Kakerlakenpoker and Skull & Roses and still you ask for more, try Quo Vadis?.
 Snakes & Lattes is not liable for you having to take a taxi home after you alienate all of your friends that drove here; Snakes & Lattes is further indemnified from all emotional damages arising from the playing Quo Vaids?. Enjoy responsibly!
From Colin, one of our game gurus!
Here’s the thing: I love monsters, I love ghosts, I love card games and I love adorable artwork. So, when we saw Ghooost! on display at February’s New York Toy Fair, I was entranced: the man who created King of Tokyo and Magic: The Gathering has designed an adorably macabre card game with the cutest artwork I’ve seen in ages. When I clumsily asked the iello’s booth reps if I could take a copy with me for the café, it was with regret that they told me they had only display copies for the show. My devastation that day has given way to joy, for Ghooost! has finally arrived at the café!
The game’s mechanics are simple: play a card(s) of the same value from your hand to the Cemetery (read: discard pile) provided they are equal to or greater than the value of the top card. If you can’t, draw the Cemetery into your hand. Each player has their own Mansion (read: separate mini-deck dealt to each player at beginning of game) which they cannot touch until the second phase of the game. Empty your Mansion and hand first, and you win the round! It seems like the first round is build up for the second, gathering good card combinations to help drain your Mansion; some of the strategies are less apparent in a two-player game, but Ghooost! strikes a nice balance between strategy and luck (as all good card games should).
The artwork is adorable and its teach is straight-forward (which means I’ll be pushing it on all of the game gurus). For all of my praise, I cannot rightly say that it’s very innovative (not until I play it a dozen more times), but the game is one of the most charming additions to our collection in recent memory. If you want something light and fast to get your game night started, Ghooost! will make a fantastic addition to your collection.
For the second year, Snakes & Lattes made the trek to New York for its annual Toy & Game Fair. This is one of the largest events for the game industry where a number of new titles are introduced.
This ain’t Fan Expo or GenCon, though – there’s no pageantry, no Dealer’s Room – this is about business folk making business deals in business-y ways. Which means we’re here to give you the inside scoop!
First things first: Firefly’s back! At least, as a board game. Battlefront, the fine folks who publish the Flames of War miniatures line is coming out with a game based on the beloved property later this year. When we talked to them, they had just announced its development and had little information to provide from a mechanical standpoint. However, they seemed passionate about staying true to the license and giving fans the kind of game they wanted. So long as you can pilot your own ship, hire your own crew and deliver your cargo, I think we’ll have a lot of folks angling to play Firefly: The Board Game when it releases this fall.
For the many co-operative fans that come to the cafe, Forbidden Desert looks like it is going to be amazing. The sequel to Gamewright’s Forbidden Island, the game begins after a helicopter crash in the desert strands you near an ancient and deserted city. By exploring the city and surrounding desert, you will hopefully discover the missing pieces to the flying machine that will take you to safety. However, sandstorms rage all around and will bury you if you cannot construct your craft in time. We were, sadly, not able to sit down for a full game at Gamewright’s booth, but the components look fantastic. We’re looking forward to launching Forbidden Desert in a big way here at the café, so keep your eyes and ears open in the coming months!
Our good friends at R&R Games were gracious enough to gift us with copies of their new games, Qin and Spectaculum. Both are from the inimitable Reiner Knizia, marking a shift into strategy games for the otherwise party game focus of R&R. Spectaculum plays a little like Through the Desert with a light stock market mechanic attached – I tried several rounds as a two-player game, but am looking forward to trying a slightly more chaotic four-player experience in the near future. Qin is a straight-forward tile-laying game with some area-control elements in it, bolstered by beautiful components. Neither game is overly complex, but both seem like good steps towards the designer’s meatier classics. Look for these on our new games shelf!
And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg. There was far too much to see to write about here, but if the Toy Fair was any indication, 2013 is going to be a pretty darn exciting year for Snakes & Lattes and the board game community at large!
Our current tap offerings, Winter 2013 - Limited Fin du Monde (usually Maudite), Amsterdam Wee Heavy, King Pilsner, Thornbury cider, Mad Tom IPA, Mill St Cobblestone Stout, St Ambroise Scotch Ale (Limited), St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout.
Your game of Catan is about to get a whole lot rowdier – we’re excited to announce the addition of craft beer and classic cocktails to your gaming experience. We’ve selected a wide range of beers to satisfy all tastes, and our team of “Beer Gurus” will be on hand to answer any questions you might have. In addition to our craft beers, our bartenders will be serving up classically inspired cocktails with a modern twist. Enjoy a game of Manhattan with a cocktail of the same name or reward your apathy in Cards Against Humanity with a nice civilized pint. Follow us on Twitter to keep abreast of our ever changing draught list and stay tuned for our Cocktail of the Month program.
Make sure to drop in and take advantage of our "Pint 'n' Play" offer, too - join us on Mondays and Tuesdays before 7:00 p.m. and get access to our game collection plus a pint of any of our top-notch craft draughts for only $10. Come with a few friends and conquer the early-week doldrums by pairing drinking with gaming. Our knowledgable servers and gurus are here to help you make informed selections; we hear King Pilsner goes great with King of Tokyo, Cobblestone with Carcassonne, and Wee Heavy with Sumo Ham Slam.