Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So Halloween approaches.
Well Minion Games has an offering tailor-made for the upcoming spook night.
"In ages long past, the Master taught you the dark secrets of undeath. You could no longer perish, and as long as you had fresh body parts available, neither could your loyal servants - who were coincidentally made somewhat more loyal by the zombification process. But now the Master has fallen! ...Again. And this time those vile heathens have taken the inconvenient extra precautions of separating and inhuming some integral pieces of his unliving remains," relates the company website (www.miniongames.com )
"In these dire times, one has to look after his own, and you're a necromancer who is more dangerous than most; you're a necromancer with a business plan. Your zombies will dig up graves and loot valuables, and while they're at it, they'll grab fresh body parts so you can make more zombies to dig up more graves. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, it's so good that other necromancers are after the same cemeteries you are!"
And therein lies the fun lure of the 2011 release Grave Business from designer Andy Van Zandt.
The premise of the game is such a fun one you can't help but be drawn into this one which accommodates two-to-four players.
So the first impression from the description was a good one.
The light-hearted cartoon-ish art makes this one softer for a family than the name might imply.
Then I opened the box and was greeted by a pile of card board sheets that I had to punch a bigger pile of cardboard pieces of out of. Now I recognize games need pieces, and cardboard 'chits' are a reasonably priced option, and when thick as these are, they will last.
But when there a dozens of chits, and I do mean dozens, I can't help but see lost pieces down the road. How many Scrabble sets are complete a year after purchase?
The concern becomes worse if you travel your games to local club events, or the neighbours for a night of fun.
Past that the components are solid.
The game mechanics are pretty straight forward, although you can imagine moving and piling and tracking chits is a rather large of things. For me that takes away from the game a bit, but most will accept it as the norm.
The game is essentially one of competing with other players to collect treasure and body parts, just some good ghoulish fun, especially for this time of year.

-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper October 12, 2011 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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