New Canadian Games Reviewed

A sneak peek from the Canadian Heritage Collection newsletter...


With the holiday sales season upon us, most of the new Canadian game releases of 2010 are now available from distributors and making their way into the hands of eager customers. With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of the customer reviews and commentary coming from BoardGameGeek, a popular gaming site among game enthusiasts. While commentary on the site doesn't always reflect the opinions of the broader market, it nevertheless offers some interesting insights into how you might want to present a given game to your customers. Read on to hear what people the world over are saying about some of the latest board and card games designed and published right here in Canada...

Bargain Hunter
Bargain HunterPublished by Valley Games, designed by Uwe Rosenberg

"One of my favorite 3 player games. It also plays 4 but 3 is the best number. It's a trick taking game with a twist. Players are collecting treasures which is equivalent to a specific card number. When a trick is taken the treasures that are being collected going into the treasure pile while the rest go into the junk pile. At the end of each hand you can clear one type of junk out of your junk pile, 2 or 3 get discarded back to the deck while the rest go into your treasure pile changing what you are publically collecting. Another twist is that there are multiple of each card and when both are played to a trick the second player gets to decide if it's higher or lower. Also the first person to play to a trick who doesn't have the color led gets to play a card and declares whether that color is or isn't trump for the rest of the trick. This means each trick can have a different trump. All in all a very enjoyable game." - Michael Kagen, USA

BugsPublished by Valley Games, designed by Keith Meyer

"I've played this probably 80 times. This is a fast "take THAT" filler that is just a whole lot of fun. In every setting where I've seen this game, people laugh, say bad words, and literally have a blast... and the fun with respect to alcohol consumed appears constant. Just as much fun with or without. This game works well with kids as well. Again, fun, light filler in a small box at a nice price. Can't beat that! Additional comments in the rules and design of the bugs on the cards by a real-life entomologist makes this educational as well." - Phil Sauer, USA

CatacombsPublished by Sands of Time Games, designed by Aron West, Marc Kelsey, Ryan Amos

"After two games this game rocks! Played with wife and kids 6 and 8. They were the good guys. I was the evil Gorgon. You wouldn't think mixing a dungeon crawl with a flicking game would work very well, but because there is some skill involved it works even better than just rolling a bunch of dice. This game just pulls you in. The kids did need a couple of practice shots, but really easy to pick up. That however does not make the game easy to win. There are some choices to make, but sometimes one choice can really make a huge difference in whether you live or die. ie.. Which hero attacks first, and which monster to attack first. I think this game really scales well for different ages. In my case just being a good aim didn't win me the game. " - Kevin Harrington, USA

CrowsPublished by Valley Games, designed by Tyler Sigman

"In Crows you score points for attracting crows to your shiny objects. It's the special tiles that change stuff up a bit and make this into quite a nice nifty game with quite some tactical options. It's family friendly but should also appeal to gamers. Fun." - Surya Van Lierde, Belgium

HaggisPublished by Indie Boards and Cards, designed by Sean Ross

"A masterpiece. Truly a great card game that joins or exceeds the standbys - cribbage, hearts, and so on. The quality of the game play is matched by the art design & component quality. No small matter there... This is the best 2-player "traditional card deck" game I have ever encountered. But don't play it with a regular deck; the artwork brings too much. The card art is both understated & elegant, the touches like double-sided K-Q-J wild cards and visual treatment of point cards ease the play functionally & add to it's pleasure... With three kids piled in a pizza joint waiting for the pie, we whip this out & play a few hands. Ditto for camping & hiking. Ditto for the front porch at night. Fast for a few hands; or a longer series of hands for a points win... Pure pleasure." - Tom Shields, USA

LibertePublished by Valley Games, designed by Martin Wallace

"I like the game very much. Full of important decisions, strong but elegant mechanics. A pure area control game from a great designer (Martin Wallace). The historic content is present all the time during the game. The most wonderful experiences I've ever had playing a board game were with Liberté. A very, very special game. Cards can be decisive to victory and a bit of king making is also possible in some games, specially 3 player games but I still like to play Liberté and it is one of those games in which I don't mind losing because of whatever reason because I have fun always and everytime I play it. One of the great things I feel in this game is exactly the fact of having the same amount of fun and strategy that a great game requires." - Paulo Soledade, Portugal

NHL Slapshot Card Game
NHL Slapshot Card GamePublished by BLM Games, designer uncredited

"This is like a quicker version of NHL Ice Breakers, and will probably only find it's way into diehard hockey fans collections (as is usually the case with any hockey themed game). At a glance it seems a little more complex than the aforementioned competition, but it's a pretty straight forward game (even though the rule sheet could have been better). This would probably be a good addition for kids (10+) that are already in love with the game of hockey or any hockey loving gamer." - Jeffrey Dill, USA

Perfect Stride
Perfect StridePublished by Funleague, designed by Jeff Timothy, Kay Darby

"Perfect Stride is a card game about racing horses, scoring points for how well you do.,, It's a cute horse game, and would be great for people interested in horses. From a gamer's perspective, it's a press your luck game. You choose how "risky" you want to be. Then you see how it pays off during each jump. It feels fairly balanced in how it plays, catching up to the leader." - Andrew Tullsen, USA

Super Comics
Super ComicsPublished by Le Scorpion Masque, designed by Christian Lemay, Roberto Fraga

"Paaaaaaaaaarrrrrrtttttttyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!! Another good party game from the publisher Le Scorpion Masqué and another good Roberto Fraga game. The two designers are known to make different games, and there association gives a good one here! Very funny and crazy challenges!" - Antony Hemme, Canada

Two by Two
Two by TwoPublished by Valley Games, designed by Rob Bartel

"By far the best new family game that I’ve played in 2010 with its nice components, easy, quick play, palatable theme and the basic scoring. Throw in the advanced scoring and suddenly it morphs into a different beast suitable for older, more competitive children and gamers looking for a light, 30 minute game to start or round off an evening’s gaming. There’s not much else out there that can boast that kind of versatility and, to top it all off, with the theme and simple play this would make an ideal gateway game too!" - Geoff Hall, United Kingdom

new Canadian publishers!

A new Canadian winter brings more than just new games, however. It also brings some brand new Canadian publishers. While we didn't get a chance to include them in our 2010 Canadian Heritage Collection, we invite you to join us in welcoming them onto the scene.

Diceless Games (Quebec)
Diceless GamesWebsite

"Diceless Games is a small business located in Quebec, Canada. We focus in the conception and production of board games… without dice. Randomness can be created without the use of dice…"

A la DeriveLaunch Title: À la dérive
Game Description: À la dérive is a fun little game where you take control of a trio of penguins on a frozen ice field. You will need to trap your opponents using wits and cards to appropriate the eggs needed by the tribe. But watch out, the climate change is making the ice fields melt faster than usual. Who will be the last one standing on the slippery ice?
Time: 45-60 minutes
Players: 2-4
Age: 8+
English and french rules are in the box. There is no text on the cards.
Price: $30 (CAD) + $10 shipping and handling to Canada and USA.

Zen Zombie Games (Saskatchewan)
Zen Zombie GamesWebsite

"Zen Zombie Games was formed with the aim of bringing fun and interesting card and board games to the world, both in physical and virtual form."

Ninja Pirate Zombie RobotLaunch Title:  Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot 
Game Description: Be the first to build a ninja, pirate, zombie and robot in this fast-paced card game. Play head, torso and legs to complete your own characters or use wild cards to go even faster. Completing a character lets you move cards around – you can even play on your opponents characters to block!  Easy to learn, with enough depth for even the seasoned game, or use a simplified set of rules that make the game accessible to kids as young as four or five, while still being enjoyable for the rest of the family.
Time: 5 minutes
Players: 2
Age: 8+
Price: $12 (CAD) + $5 shipping and handling to Canada and USA.

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