Witch of Salem : Fun for 4 with a great theme [Board Game Review]

Mykal discusses one of his go to Horror tabletop games with Halloween coming up, maybe your group would enjoy Witch of Salem.

I first came across Witch of Salem (Mayfair Games ) designed by Michael Reineck (Pillars of Earth, Cuba: El Presidente) whilst watching a Dice Tower Top 10 with Tom Vassel and his buddies. I was searching for a coop board game with a good theme that did not take too long to set up and play yet still was interesting enough to my group that we play it again. Off the rip I liked the Cthulhu mythos with the it being the early 20th Century New England involving ancient ones, demons and intrigue.

My initial fears after playing Arkham Horror and Eldritch Horror (Fantasy Flight) was that I would pay a lot of money for a game that the group would not play enough to warrant its price. An issue for many people entering the hobby of board games especially those who intend to collect is the price on some of the best games are pretty steep, add in postage you are looking at a hefty some of cash for something you won’t get to use that offten. I have paid for games that I only ever got to play once and wished I could have got another honest opinion on the game before buying it. Board Game Geek did not have it scored too high (6.6) yet what I could read the game seemed straight forward, challenging and did have a tone of play that matched the theme.

The game’s designer Michael Reineck is a German designer who was nominated in 2008 for Designer of the Year, the year Witch of Salem was released along with some of his other projects. I could not find a website or social media page to dig up some more info but he has worked on more than 6 published board games and the list is nothing to sneeze at. The artwork (Franz Vohwinkel) even when looking at reviews seemed interesting as it did in Dragons Lair when I went to purchase it.The artwork looks great from the box to the cards to the map you play on with the right dark tones to bring the setting to life.

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The box contains all your standard board game pieces, tokens, cards and a board with a manual to read which could have been streamlined a little more but was easy enough to comprehend. The game is limited to 4 players max and is a cooperative game involving strategy and combat. Not really a mystery game despite the description on the front of the box but the horror theme and the the progression mechanics are easy to use and build tension as time passes in the game.

This is a fun game and is pretty simple to learn after one playthrough. That being said, Witch of Salem is not an easy game and scales well for a maximum of 4 players. There are a variety of ancient ones you can find yourself grappling with as the time mechanics don’t seem to stress the players more rather keep the tension and pace consistent. Towards the end you and your players will have to come together to seal the gates and prevent the demons from entering our world. This is something you can play for a while as games seldom feel the same and it is great for a halloween board game before the movies or after dinner. I recommend this over Eldrith and Arkham as it plays faster, is taught easier and the price is fair considering what you get out of it. If you want something that will have you on the edge of your seat for most of the game and don’t want a million things to set up Witch of Salem is the horror coop game for you.

 

Rating: 8 out 10

I gave it a lower score because I feel that the game could be fun with more players and there were no expansions released. The rules are not as straight forward and all of the characters are the same with no significant diffirences in skills and abilities.

Summoner Wars Master Set (Boardgame Review)

Plaid Hat Games deliver a stellar addition to their collection and a must play for any deck-builder or card game player who enjoys fantasy and battling.

I am glad to finally review my favorite card game / deck building game on the market. Plaid Hats really delivered when they designed the game. Summoner Wars boast numerous nominations for Game of the Year from Dice Tower to the International Gamers Awards which in itself should speak on the quality of this game. The game is set up with a battlefield and each player uses a faction deck of his choosing. The board is used for movement and dice are used to determine attacks and spell damage. The player takes the role of the Summoner, each faction has one Summoner who is like a wizard who calls up his units using his magic pile and places them on the map adjacent to a wall card.

box

The rules are simple and straight forward with a beautifully drawn and brief, easy to read manual providing players with all the necessary information needed in simple english. Our first game ran an hour and some change but after a few games you should be playing 45 minutes without rushing. The mechanics are interesting so you never getting the feeling of being bored and the game play is very dynamic. Another plus about Summoner Wars is that though there is decking building in the form of mercenary decks and faction packs you are ready to play out the box and the investment is far less than its competitors. For a hundred bucks you have a hefty collection and for a little more u can own the ENTIRE collection of factions with secondary summoners.

Another thing that truly blew me away was how diverse yet balanced each faction was which made the game that much more fun to play. You have factions that have cheap units, some even costing 0 but then you also have powerful ranged units from another faction or a summoner that can control your enemy’s units !!! This makes the gameplay that much more competitive and leads you  to having a favorite faction early on as you can play 6 factions out of the Master Set. The set also includes a quality map and rules how to play 4 player with another matching map. I truly recommend this purchase because of such a low entry point expense and as a game it is a fun deck builder that is easy to teach and has a high replayability factor.

The site provides decent support and there is also a free app you can download for you mobile devices so you can try the rules out before buying. With the existing popularity and so much added content and product finding it at an online store will not be difficult and it is fairly priced.

You can expect an a more detailed break down of factions and how to play them in the near future so stay tuned, subscribe to the NERD DIMENSION FB Page and let us know what you think in the comments sections.

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