Monday, 29 June 2015

008. The Cardboard Cartographer issue 8.

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Welcome to issue 8 of The Cardboard Cartographer.


In this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer we'll be reviewing 'Terror in Meeple City'.
But first I'd like to thank you for visiting our website!

Each issue we hope to post some news, a game review and talk about topics relevant to table top games, such as mechanics, conventions, Kickstarter and so on.

I'd also like to mention that all opinions in this issue, and all subsequent issues, are those of their respective authors.
Please don't feel like they are a personal attack or an attempt to undermine or void the opinions of others.
Feel free to agree, disagree, debate and discuss, or simply ignore any or all that is written here.
Whatever you do, be civil. Thank you.

If you have any suggestions feel free to comment, email us, or hit us up @TCBCartographer on Twitter.



Because of the sheer UK games Expo content in the last issue, we did not get to cover Origins which hit Columbus, Ohio (US) from June 3rd to the 5th.
Origins is similar to the UK Games Expo in so far that it is a board gaming convention with focus on playing games, rather than the larger conventions such as GenCon and Essen which focus more on trading.

As always there was a huge amount of games on show.
If you'd like to check it out, we strongly recommend checking out the Dice Tower's Origins playlist on YouTube, as their coverage of the events was excellent!

Publishers not paying designers.

This issue was first bought to our attention by Board Game Brawl in one of their 'Kickstarter Update' segments.

It has been claimed that Queen games has not honoured numerous contract agreements between a handful of designers including Donald X Vaccarino, Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier; printing their games without the designers permission and without paying the royalties necessary to do so.

In addition to this Martin Wallace has had a similar experience with Eagle-Gryphon Games which has gone very public on Board Game Geek.

For more information on the Queen Games incident, click here to watch the Board game Brawl episode here.

Alternatively read up on each separate case here:
Donald X Vaccarino.

Sen-Foong Lim & Jay Cormier.

For more information about the Martian Wallace vs. Eagle-Gryphon Games incident, there is a thread about it on Board Game Geek.

This is quite distressing news.
As a general rule, the boardgaming community is quite open, fair and friendly.
This kind of controversy brings bad blood to a community that isn't brimming with negativity.

It will be interesting to see how these disputes are resolved, and how the community reacts to it.

We hope for an all round positive resolution so that all parties can carry on making and publishing great games.

Samurai Reprint.

Back in issue 2 we reviewed the out of print Reiner Knizia game, Samurai, published by Rio Grande Games.

Samurai is getting a reprint!


Hot on the heels of another Reiner Knizia game; Tigris and Euphrates, Samurai is being reprinted by Fantasy Flight Games, and is due out in the 4th quarter of 2015.

 For more information head over to the Fantasy Flight Games website.


Yet more Kickstarter projects!

Zombicide: Black Plague.

Zombicide: Black Plague is a standalone cooperative boardgame for 1 to 6 players that brings the relentless zombie-killing action of Zombicide into a brand new fantasy setting! Players control a party of survivors as they fight to rid the land of an invasion of zombies controlled by the game itself. Survivors find weapons, learn spells, battle zombies, and gain experience. The more experienced they get, the more powerful they become, but the more zombies rise to face them!

Ending on July 7th 2015,'Zombicide: Black Plague,' by Cool Mini or Not has so far smashed it's funding target.
Initially looking for $125,000 the project has achieved over $2,300,000.
Success isn't unknown to the Cool Mini or Not team; Zombicide Season 2 and 3 both surpassed $2.5 million.

For those of you unfamiliar with Zombicide, Cool Mini or Not originally Kickstarteted this game back in May 2012.
Black plague is their 18th project, all of which have been hugely successful.

The game is a cooperative one where players use their skills and weapons to fight their way through huge hordes of zombies to achieve a certain goal.
Zombicide: Black Plague brings a fantasy setting to Zombicide, tweaking the game along the way.
The game adds enchanted weapons, spells and armour.

The jury is out on how playable Zombicide is as a game, but it's success and popularity is undeniable.
Simply put: If this is your kind of game, there is no reason this shouldn't excite you.

It adds a nice twist to an established system.
The Fantasy theme really comes across quite well through the cards, characters and their well crafted miniatures.

There is no questions over reliability.
This project has been funded, and they will deliver.
By now Cool mini or Not are seasoned Kickstarter veterans.
If there are problems they will deal with them, so there should be no worries here.

With so many games like this on Kickstarter, my main gripe is 'why is this here?'

Zombicicde is hugely successful.
I can understand why the first iteration back in 2012 took to Kickstarter, but now some 3 years later, it is an established company with a product that will shift a ton of units.

It does not need Kickstarter in any way.
They clearly understand this too, as their stretch goals go all the way up to $2.4 Miilion.

Another gripe I have is concerned with the manner of these stretch goals.
The entire Zombicide franchise is plagued with Kickstarter only backer rewards unlocked via stretch goals; adding additional characters, missions, miniatures and so on.
These will be in limited supply once the projects funds, and after each campaign, they have been sold separately for extortionate prices.

I know this is not Cool Mini or Not's fault directly, but these kind of rewards encourage this behaviour.

I personally am not a fan of this.
Limited rewards are meant to be just that; rewards.
Giving something back to people who genuinely have an interest in the game and not just something for someone to make some quick money on.

Personally, I'm not sold on Zombicide.
The game works well enough but it relies heavily on theme over mechanics, with a heavy focus on flooding the gameboard with miniatures to add any feeling of tension or engagement.

Apotheca: The Secret Potion Society.


Across the land, an invitation has summoned the most clever apprentices: a chance to enter the secret potion society. The cutthroat members, the Apothecaries, have grown too savvy of each other's schemes. They've chosen you to compete in their black market game! Conjuring powerful magic and deception, outwit your adversaries, and you too might join Apotheca.

Ending on July 10th 2015, 'Apotheca' by Knapsack Games has achieved more than double its $20,000 funding goal, sitting at just over $45,000 at the time of writing.

Apotheca is a game for 1-4 players which focuses around making potions.
Players take it in turn to perform 2 of the 4 available actions; Reveal, Power, Restock or Hire.

The Restock actions allow a player to take two potions, look at what they are and place them face down on the board.

The Reveal action allows players to reveal 1 face down potion card on the game board, and collect the corresponding gem.
These Gems are in turn used when performing the Hire action.

Hiring allows a player to gain extra apothecaries, granting them additional powers.
Powers are unique to each Apothecary meaning the more hired, they more versatility a player has.

Apothecaries are the key to winning to the game; the object of game is to satisfy 3 apothecaries by making matches on the game board.
Matches are horizontal or vertical rows of at least 3 face up potion cards of the same colour on the board.
Once a match is made, those potions are removed from the board and placed on a player Apothecary.
This Apothecary is now satisfied.
This provides the player with 1 point towards victory, but at the same time stops the player from using its power in the future.

This game is really well put together.
The rules are simple and easy to understand, meaning the game isn't complicated or hard to learn.
Due to this the game is straightforward to play, making it really accessible to all types of player.
The hidden potion deployment as part of the Restock action gives the game some depth and room for passive player interaction; having a bit of bite without any outward aggression.

This is only Knapsack's second Kickstarter project, and you wouldn't know it from the quality of this project and how well it is presented.
Andrew Federspiel has spent an outrageous amount of time researching just what makes a Kickstarter campaign tick; how to present it, how funding levels should be tiered, the type and level of backer rewards and stretch goals and so much more.
Due to this level of commitment to the project, I have no doubt they will deliver on their commitments; any delays or problems will probably come from manufacturing.

Apotheca is a project we'd happily back because of how much effort has gone into the game and the campaign.
For these reasons it is our pick of the issue.
Though if you're unconvinced there is a print and play version available, as well as a pdf of the rules available, so you can try it out in advance.

Mare Nostrum - Empires.


'Mare Nostrum - Empires' is a French language board game classic designed by Serge Laget that is being re-introduced by Academy Games and Asyncron. This expanded title includes updated rules, counters, and map board, many new components, and multiple new ways to win!'

Ending on July 5th 2015, 'Mare Nostrum - Empires' by Academy Games has completely destroyed its funding goal of $15,000, raising over $425,000 with days to spare.

Mare Nostrum is empire building meets area control, very reminiscent of 4 ex strategy games.
It is what I imagine would happen if you crossed a game like Sid Meirs Civilization with a territory control game like Game of Thrones.

The project page does touch on some aspects of how the game works, but doesn't go into great detail.
As it doesn't have downloadable rules or a gameplay video it is hard to tell how well the game actually plays.

The way the board is laid out seems similar to a Kickstarter project we looked at in issue 2 called Hands In The Sea. -
Where Hands in the Sea's visuals were 'dull, dated and just not visually pleasing in the slightest,' Mare Nostrum is the complete opposite.
Everything looks well designed and polished ; the components are clean, visually distinct and look set to be of decent quality when made.

The game also comes with summary sheets; a feature I'd like more games to have.

Academy games have put out two fairly successful Kickstarter campaigns prior to this including Fief - France 1429 and Freedom: The Underground Railroad, so have decent experience with this type of project.
The Fief Kickstarter especially would had provided a wealth of experience as like Mare Nostrum it did exceptionally well.
This did cause delays, and as such is something they will have planned for this time around.

I'd like to talk more about it, but there isn't much that can be said due to the lack of gameplay explanation, rulebook or related media.
Certainly something worth checking out if these types of games are interesting to you.

'Terror in Meeple City' Review by 'DarkHaZZl3.'


Google - Fu.

Terror in Meeple City (Formerly known as Rampage) is a dexterity game for 2- 4 player, in which players collect sets of Meeples.
Designed by Antonie Bauza and Ludovic Maublanc, the game was originally publish under the name Rampage by Repos Production in 2013. Due to the similarities between the boardgame and the arcade game of the same name, Repos changed the name to Terror in Meeple City in 2014.

For more information head over to the Terror in Meeple City page on the Repos Production website.

Alternatively you can check out their page on Board Game Geek.

Contents and Impressions.


• 4 body pawns,
• 4 Paws tokens,
• 4 Mouth/ Stomach player screens,
• 16 Teeth Tokens,
• 1 City Board (in two parts),
• 1 Runaway board (double-sided),
• 90 Meeples (15x6 colours),
• 4 Vehicles,
• 19 Floor Tiles (12 small squares, 6 rectangles, 1 large square),
• 48 Monster cards (16 Characters, 16 Powers, 16 Secret Superpowers),
• 1 reference sheet.

The visual style of this game really jumps out at you.
All the components are big, bold and colourful and the art style is the same.

The art style is very cartoon-esq.
Despite this style there is actually quite a lot of attention to detail .

For example, the details on the players screens match the details on their corresponding pawns.


The purple dragon's pawn has an earring as does it's player screen and the floor tiles all have little details on them.


There is a game of Cash & Guns being played in one, a pokéball in another.
I also like how the game comes with a sticker sheet to make the Meeples more interesting.


It might not seem important, but details like this are a really nice feature.
You get the feel that a lot of time and effort has gone into the game, and that is a somewhat satisfying feeling.


All these game pieces; the cardboard floor tiles, the game board and the wooden pawns are fairly sturdy, as they have to be, but it really adds a sense of quality.


The rules are fairly clear, simple and well laid out, and the reference sheet is extremely helpful as the cards don't explicitly explain what they actually do.


Despite this the cards are all pretty cool.
The artwork is colourful and has a sense of humour.


The overall impression you get before you've even played the game is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and wants you to have fun with it.

Game Play.

The objective of Terror in Meeple City is to gain the most victory points by the end of the game, which last until the last building has been destroyed.
Players do this by taking turns to perform various actions to knock down buildings and eat their inhabitants.

The set up Terror in Meeple City is always the same with more monster for more players.
In addition there are two runaway board options to change up the game.

To set the game up, Meeples are drawn at random and placed onto the Meeple icons on each of the ruins and then a floor is added on top of them.
This process continues until each building has three floors, with the middle building being the exception.
Players then pick a monster and place its corresponding pawn on its paws in one of the four corners.

In this example the game is set up for two players, using side B of the runaway board.


Players are then dealt a Character card, a Power card and a Secret Superpower card.

The Character card gives the player a goal for the game that provides them with additional victory points when scoring.


The Power card allows a player to perform a unique action.


The Secret Superpower card allows a player to use one off unique action.


The Secret Superpower card remains a secret, however the other two cards are played face up for all to see.

Once this is all done, the game is ready to be played.

It is worth noting at this point that the game board is broken down into 'areas.'
These are distinctly marked with boarders around them and are also different colours to help them stand out form each other.
It should also be noted that if any part of a piece is touching an area it counts as in that area, which means pieces can be in more than one area at once.

Players take it in turns to perform 2 from the 4 available.
These can be in any combination and in any order.

The 4 actions are Move, Breathe, Demolish and Toss a Vehicle.


To move, a player removes their pawn from their paws, and flicks the paws token in the desired direction.
Wherever the paws end up is where the move ends and the player place their pawn back onto their paws.



If the controlling player knocks over another players pawn by doing this, the controlling player takes one of the now prone players teeth and places it behind their player screen.
The prone player pawn remains that way until it is their turn.


In this example the Purple player has knocked down the Blue players pawn while using a move action.
The purple player then places one of the Blue players teeth tokens behind their player screen.


In addition to this, if a player flicks their paws off the game board they lose one of their own teeth, which is returned to the box.


If the player has another action, the player places their paws in one of the corners and continues their turn.
If it was their lats action then that player remains off the game board until their next turn.

To perform a Breathe action a player place their chin on top of their player pawn and simply blows.
Carnage ensues.

To perform a Demolish action a players paws must be touching a pavement which surrounds the buildings on the game board.
The player then picks up their pawn and drops it onto the building from anywhere above the building.



If the player somehow manages to miss the building entirely, they lose 1 tooth which is return to the box.

To perform a Toss action, the player must be in the same location of the board as a vehicle.


The player then places the vehicle on top of their player pawn and flicks the vehicle off in a chosen direction.



If while performing any of these actions a Floor Tile has no Meeples on top of it then the player whose turn it is gets to take that tile and put it behind their player screen.

Also, if at any point during their turn a Meeple is knocked off of the game board it 'runs away' and is placed on the Runaway board.


Once the threshold of Meeples is reached its effect is activated. These are different for each different Meeple type and also vary depending on which Runaway board is being used.


Once a player has performed two actions they then get to eat Meeples.

Players can only eat Meeples who are not touching/ partially touching a building.
In addition to this a player can only eat as many Meeples as they have teeth.
Players start with 6 teeth, and will minimum have two teeth (these cannot be knocked out).
To eat Meeples a player picks 1 location they are in and eats as many Meeples as they are allowed to following the above rules.


In this example the Purple player can eat the Red Meeple and the Yellow Meeple from the location they are standing in.

These Meeples are then placed behind the players screen.


The game continues in this fashion until the last floor ties is removed.


The current player finishes their turn, and then each other players get to take one more turn.
Once this is done the game is over.

Players then calculate how many points they have earned.

10 points are awarded for each set of Meeples collected.
A set of Meeples is 1 of each colour.
Each floor tile is worth 1 points and the teeth taken from other monsters is worth 2 points per tooth.
In addition to this, players may score additional points depending on their Character card.


In this example Purple has won the game.
The blue player has 17 points; 10 for a complete set of Meeples and 7 for the floor tiles they've consumed. They did not achieve their Character card's goal of eating the most Green Meeples.
Purple player has 38 points; 20 for 2 complete sets of Meeples, 1o for the floor tiles consumed and because of their character card, 8 points for the teeth they've taken from the other player.

There are a lot of little extra rules as a result of the various cards and variations on how to play.

If you want to know more about these, or read the rules for yourself, you can download the rules from the Repos Production website.

Personal Opinion.

Terror in Meeple City is not a game you're going to play all of the time.
It is not a deep, heavy strategy game.

It is simply a fun, family friendly game.

Personally, I am not a fan of dexterity games.
When I first played this game I was very apprehensive because of that.
One of the reasons I think this game is quite good is all throughout my first game, in spite of my apprehension, I was giggling like an idiot.

The simple rule system and absurdity of flicking tokens and dropping pawns allow for the game to provide a funny, enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining experience.
The first time someone tries to blow down a building, or drops a pawn on a building is always a great moment as Meeples go flying in every direction.

Because of this game and the amount of fun I have playing it, I have decided to give dexterity games another chance.
So take that as you like.

The main downside of this game is obvious.
Pieces literally fly off in all directions, and it is extremely easy to lose pieces because of this.

When you first get the game some assembly is required.
None of the pawns or Meeples have sticker on them, and sticking them all on is a tedious process.
I can look past it as it is a one time problem.

Another problem is the 'sticky' ruin tiles.
To raise the buildings from the game board, you have to stick ruin tiles over the ruin locations on the game board.
The adhesive quality of these tiles is terrible.
I ended up super gluing mine on as it was a better alternative.

Another little gripe I have is that during set Meeples are to be drawn at random, but no opaque bag is supplied.
Again, it isn't a major thing, I just feel it would just make the game a more complete package.

Re-playability is also a potential issue.
The game is a simple, light and fun.
Unfortunately that means it lacks depth and diversity in terms of game play.
While the different card combinations do switch it up a bit, I don't feel it is a significant enough change to extend the games longevity.

While this may be a problem for some, I personally am fine with it.
The game is not designed to be that type of experience; it is lighthearted, fun and not really serious in any way.

Overall I think Terror in Meeple City provides a really fun gaming experience, is very pretty to look at and if it sounds like something you'd enjoy I'd happily recommend you pick up a copy.

Expansions, Reprints and Different Versions.

The first edition of Terror in Meeple City was called Rampage.
Other than the name there are no differences between the two.

There is a mini expansion available for Rampage/ Terror in Meeple City called 'Rampage: The Space Cowboys.'
Image courtesy of Board Game Geek

This mini expansion adds track for the Grey Meeples whilst playing side B of the runaway board.
Unlike all the other tracks the Grey Meeples reward the player that knocked them off.

The availability of this expansion is questionable, but can a print and play file can be purchased from the Repos Production web store.

Alternatively you can download and lower quality version for free from Board Game Geek.

Considering it costs very little, or nothing, it is certainly worth picking up.

Digital Spotlight.

As far as we're aware there doesn't exist an app, digital version or tabletop simulator version of Terror in Meeple City.

That being said, you can always play the classic Rampage arcade game!


What did you think of this issue? Pro's, Con's?
Did any other Kickstarter projects grab your attention?

Have you played Rampage/ Terror in Meeple City?
What do you think?

Are you a fan of dexterity game or not?

Feel free to comment on this post, or alternatively hit us up on Twitter @TCBCartographer.

Thank you for reading this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer, until next time!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

007. The Cardboard Cartographer issue 7.

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Welcome to issue 7 of The Cardboard Cartographer.


In this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer we'll be reviewing 'Imperial Settlers'.
But first I'd like to thank you for visiting our website!

Each issue we hope to post some news, a game review and talk about topics relevant to table top games, such as mechanics, conventions, Kickstarter and so on.

I'd also like to mention that all opinions in this issue, and all subsequent issues, are those of their respective authors.
Please don't feel like they are a personal attack or an attempt to undermine or void the opinions of others.
Feel free to agree, disagree, debate and discuss, or simply ignore any or all that is written here.
Whatever you do, be civil. Thank you.

If you have any suggestions feel free to comment, email us, or hit us up @TCBCartographer on twitter.


UK Games Expo 2015.

On Friday 29th of May, the UK Games Expo opened its doors to the public.
The next three days saw a medley of games being played, sold, demoed and previewed.
You can check out the official website here -

There are far too many exhibits for one person to cover, so what follows is our (@DarKHaZZl3's) account.

This was my first UK Games Expo.
I had intended to attend the previous year, but sometimes life happens.
I was quite looking forward to the event; not only because of all the games on show, but it was also a great opportunity to meet like minded people and generally have a good time.

While I felt like I didn't really cover too much, I think the best way to relate the events to you is to break the event down into each day, picking out the standout moments from each.

Being the first day I didn't really know what to expect.
I wondered the trade halls for a while checking out what was on offer.
It wasn't long before we met up with some of the #TwitterBingo folk (if you don't remember who these people are, go check out issue 4).

Nate Bret and Ben Maddox of the Bored Game Hour podcast, Jacob Coon; a reviewer and panel member on the Whose Turn is it Anyway podcast, James Bacon; a blogger, and a couple of other people (their names have been omitted for privacy).

As the first day was predominantly exploration, though we did manage to play a game which was being launched at the UK Games Expo called Orctions.

001 -  Orctions

Orctions is a card based game designed Elliot Symonds (@Quirkative on twitter).
One half of Orctions is a worker placement driven auction and set collecting game, the second half is a dice based combat game.

The object of the first half of the game is to collect three sets of cards;the number of cards required for these sets is dependent on the types of Orcs you have.

002 - Orctions

The games worker placement and auction mechanics are interesting, in fact there was a large feeling amongst us that, with a few tweaks, the auction aspect could easily be the entirety of the game.

The second half of the game is to be the last Orc left standing.

The combat mechanic is somewhat clunky.
The main dice used for combat is the D4, with more effective fighters using more dice, or D6's.
Unlike most standard dice combat games, the combat resolution doesn't use a risk style 'like for like' mechanic where a singular dice faces off against another singular dice.
Orctions uses a highest number(s) wins ,with a defenders advantage in the case of a draw.

For example;
An attacker roles 3 D4's, with the results being 2,3,3.
The defender roles 2 D4's, with the results being 1 and 3.
In Risk each side would lose 1 dice/ life/ unit.
In Orctions, the defender has the highest number/ draws with the attackers highest number, therefore defends against all attacks.

This drags combat to a complete crawl.
There is a slight dexterity element to the dice rolling, in so far that a player can knock another players dice out of the arena, but in all honesty, it isn't something you would want to do as a defender unless you literally cannot win.

Overall a game worth checking out, because that auction part of the game is really quite interesting.

Another stand out moment of the first day was the quality of the RPG events on offer.

Ben was kind enough to offer me a ticket for one of the Call of Cthulhu RPG events.
The event was run by Ben Wilson and was a one shot adventure called The Pillar of Rohini which was being run using the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition rules.
Having never been to an RPG event of this kind, and having never played any of the previous editions of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, I had no idea what to expect.
We had a little bit of a bumpy start with some people not turning up, but after a quick trawl of the trade hall we managed to find enough players to begin.

It was a lot of fun!

The system is extremely simple to play and understand, even for new players; everything runs on D100 rolls.
Te one shot adventure was very well written and delivered.

If you are a fan of RPG's and have thought about attending in the past, I would highly recommend doing so. It is well worth the £4.00 ticket price.
Juts be prepared for a late night!


Saturday was less wandering about, more talking and playing games and demo's.
Thanks to Jacob, I managed to get involved with a preview of several of Portal Games new releases, which Ignacy Trzewiczek was demonstrating.

One of the games was an up and coming release called Tides of Times.

003 - Tides of Time by Portal Games

This game is a two player card game design by Kristian Curla and is being published by Portal Games.
The object of the game is get the most points over three rounds.
players do this by drafting cards with the intention of creating the best points engine for themselves, while trying to limit their opponents ability to do so.
It is quite an interesting little card game, that I was terrible at.

The next game he showed us was his new game called 'Rattle, Battle, Grad the Loot.'
As this has been mentioned on The Cardboard Cartographer before, I was really interested to see how the game would work.
Ignacy said while the title of the game might seem weird, it essentially describes exactly how the game plays, and after a quick demonstration, it is pretty much spot on.
Players grab a load of dice, throw them in the box, take turns destroying ships and the grab whatever loot they can.
Loot is used in a number of different ways; to gain points, upgrade your ship and so on.
It looks to be a fun game, but was still very much a prototype at the time.

Finally, an early play test prototype of the new expansion for last year's smash success, Imperial Settlers, was shown to us.
Atlanteans looks set to shake up the way Imperial Settlers works.

004 - Atlanteans by Portal Games

Not only does it introduce a whole new faction; with new building and mechanics to the game, but it also adds extra cards for the pre-existing factions, so as to balance out the game play.
On of the new mechanics features permanent building upgrades. These can make buildings harder to destroy, more productive and so on.
It is very interesting, and more about this game will be revealed at Portal con, before being officially released at Gen Con later this year.

The rest of the day was spent with more #TwitterBingo folk; today's casualties were Millie from Geek on Radio and Mike from Who Dares Rolls (he's the secret 19th number).
We generally chatted, and played some games and had a few drinks with Ben, Nate, Jacob, James and others from the previous day.

005 - Imperial Settlers w/ @Geekonradio & @WhoDaresRolls


The final day of the Expo. Many games were bought and more were played.

A group of us decided to demo Homeland: The Game, designed by Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski and Sean Sweigart and published by Gale Force Nine.

Homeland is a co-operative game with secret rolls which include a traitor and an opportunist.
The game was described to us as Battle Star Galactica meets the Resistance, which I feel is quite fitting.

While the intention was to play a short demo the game, we actually managed to finish a whole game because it isn't that long.

Each round new threats appear equal to the number of players.
Players take it in turns to secretly aid or sabotage these threats dependent on their secret role.
Each round the threats escalate until the 'drop' and have to be resolved, in addition another set of threats appear.

Gale Force Nine has become known for its thematic games.
While I don't feel this delivers the Homeland theme, it certain delivers the secret agency/ hidden enemy theme very well.

I also think the mechanics work reasonably well.

Battle Star Galactica is quite a lengthy game, and if someone doesn't understand the role of the Cylon/ Traitor,the game can be thrown one way or the other.
The Resistance on the other hand is smooth and sleek, but doesn't have the same bite and complexity that BSG has.
I think homeland is a nice middle ground, though admittedly, this is only after one play.

It certainly is more enjoyable than one of Gale Force Nine's previous games Firefly, but I don't think it beats Dead of Winter by Plaid Hat Games in the cooperative play with a secret role category.

I also got my first glimpse of Forbidden Stars, the new Warhammer 40,000 themed game by Fantasy Flight Games.
I didn't get to play it, but after seeing it in person, I really want too!

006 - Forbidden Stars

We also managed to play a quick game of Room 25, a game designed by François Rouzé and published Matagot.
This was introduced to us by the couple behind the #TwitterBingo event; Geraint and Rhyannon of @Gohalvesongames.

Room 25 is essentially a puzzle game with programmed actions that are taken one at a time, in turn order. by themselves
We played a cooperative version of the game, which was interesting, though there is a cooperative competitive version, where players help each other, but only so that they may escape at the detriment of the others, which sounds much more intriguing to me.

The final thing we got to experience was an Orction by the guys behind the previously mentioned Orctions.
The Orction was a real life auction of games that were bought for the occasion or surplus to requirements.
It was entertaining watching Elliot play the role of auctioneer, and was nice to see some people grab a bargain and fight over the rarer games.
This should totally be a n annual event!

So there you have it. I am aware that I've missed out a great deal of things.

I'd like to talk a lot more about it, but alas, I would be here for a very long time, and I simply couldn't see everything on offer by myself.

It is to this end I have enlisted the help of everyone who took part in the #TwitterBingo meet up.
Bellow are their accounts of the event; what they did, their experiences and many other bits and pieces for you to enjoy, if you so desire.

I seriously recommend checking them out;

Geraint & Rhyannon - Go Halves on Games (@Gohalvesongames on Twitter); a couple from South Wales in the UK who love board games of just about any description.
Check out their thoughts on their Facebook page 'here.'

Millie - Geek On Radio (@Geekonradio on Twitter); host of weekly podcasts, radio shows & the occasional blog of all things geeky.
Check out the UK games Expo episode on iTunes, or alternatively on the Geek On Radio website.

Jacob Coon - Whose Turn is it Anyway (@jacobjcoon on Twitter); Currently a technology missionary with @GEM_eDot and board game reviewer and panel member on the Whose Turn is it Anyway podcast.
Check out his write up of the event;
Part 1.
Part 2.

Matt Hawkes - Bored? Game! (@bored_game on Twitter); Owner of a website and shop dedicated to anyone who lives, breathes and loves to lose themselves in anything remotely to do with games.
Matt got to have a peak at the retailer summit held the day before the expo. Check out his thoughts on his web blog of the event.

Mike B - The Who Dares Rolls Podcast (@WhoDaresRolls on Twitter); Apparently, he's never bored of the board, or interviewing folk.
Who Dares Rolls have a blog on the event and well as an episode of their podcast dedicated to the event. 

Nate Bret & Ben Maddox - Bored Game Hour Podcast (@boardgamehour on Twitter); For one hour a week, it's time to talk nothing but board games. Every Monday: Start time 7pm (GMT) 12PM (PDT) 3pm (EDT).
Their podcast can be found on the Board Game Hour website, or alternatively, on iTunes.

Luke Hector - The Broken Meeple (@thebrokenmeeple on Twitter); a board game loving geek that likes to express himself! Running a blog on blogger dedicated to reviewing popular board and card games.
You can listen to his episode on the UK Games Expo on his blog.

James Bacon (@Jbsin on Twitter) - A blogger who loves American football and geek culture.
Check out his first blog post, which is on the UK Games Expo on his WordPress blog.

Paul Davis - Card and Pixel (@cardandpixel on Twitter); Paul and his associates are passionate gamers who love writing about games, and curating interesting articles about games, modelling, industry news, mechanics of gaming and philosophy of gaming as a hobby.

For the Card and Pixels UK Games Expo head over to their Tumblr blog 'here.'

That's a lot of folk, but you'll learn a lot about the event for sure.


It has been another slow month for Kickstarter.
There have been a lot of projects released, but not a great deal that stand out.
Here is this issue pick of the litter.

Sky Scrapers.
007 - Sky Scrapers Kickstarter

'The unique characteristic of Sky Scrapers is that it can be played on a board of any size and any shape. This opens up endless possibilities for a mix of real and virtual game entertainment which is the basis of the Sky Scraper Project.'

Ending on June 16th 2015, 'Sky Scrapers' by Logy Games is well short of the $50,000 funding goal, sitting at around $1,500.

Sky Scrapers is a two player abstract game based around capturing, and therefore building on top of, tiles or buildings.
The height of the building dictates its movement; 1 high moves one space, 2 moves 2 and so on.
Once a stack of tiles reaches four high it is a Sky Scraper.
The game ends when there are no more move remaining, and the player with the most Sky Scrapers at the end of the game wins.

It isn't all that often you see abstract games on Kickstarter, and this campaigns current level of support is a good indicator as to why.
Kickstarter is, in theory, the perfect place to launch a game like this.

In reality, the market just isn't there right now.

Backers are drawn to big, showy things; projects that are nostalgic, or projects that are essentially safe bets/ pre-order systems.
That is a shame, because Sky Scrapers seems to be a decent abstract strategy game in the same vein of chess and checkers.

This certainly isn't their first game either.
Their website indicates that they have made several games in the past, but this is their first Kickstarter campaign.

Another thing that doesn't work in the projects favour is their odd funding options and complete lack of stretch goals.
$50,000 is a lot of money for what the project has to offer and it isn't until you read the whole project page you realise that the money is also for the creation of a virtual gaming platform.

'Creating the virtual game platform will take money. Our minimum target, $50,000, is kick-starting funds to build a great initial web site. To achieve a polished, user-friendly and highly functional web site may require additional funding. Any excess funding will be used to improve the web site experience and the virtual service.
The Sky Scrapers Project site will be permanent. It will bring fun and entertainment to everyone.'

$25,000 of this goal is on IT, Programming, Web design and server rental.

This means that this Kickstarter is essentially two projects in one.
Something that I just don't think is going to work very well, nor will it gain backer confidence.

Our verdict? Just play the free app to learn the rules and make the game yourself out of, well, anything.

Push It.
008 - Push It Kickstarters

'Push It is a tense game of skill that can be played anywhere. To win, push, flick or judo-chop your pucks so they are closest to the central jack at the end of the round. Sound simple? Well, it is! Find any smooth surface (tables are ideal, and luckily most people have them), whip out your Push It bag, and play with whoever is up to the challenge.'

Ending on June 28th 2015, 'Push It' is by a group of people from the UK headed by Leeson George.
The project has passed its initial funding goal of £4,00 by over £1,500.

Another game without a great deal of theme, Push It is a competitive dexterity game.

The easiest way to describe this game is tabletop bowls.
Players take it in turns to push, flick, slap or chop their puck from the table to edge in order to get closer than anybody else to the Jack Puck in the middle of the table.
It is that simple.

We managed to see this game in action at the UK Games Expo.
Any game that can get people vocally excited is doing its job reasonably well.

It isn't a big box game of intense strategy, nor is it a beautifully told story dripping with theme.
It is simply a light, fun game that is small and easy to play.

There isn't a great deal else to say.

This is their first Kickstarter campaign, but they seem to have everything in place, ready to start production when the project is complete.
Unknown setbacks aside, I think they'll manage to deliver in a decent time frame.

And for just £15 to get your own copy, it isn't unreasonably expensive.
Well worth backing if this kind of game is your thing.

009 - Exoplanets Kikcstarter

'Space — a place of extraordinary phenomena, interdependencies that have existed for an eternity, and mechanisms which have not yet been fully identified. A mysterious place which sometimes causes fear and trepidation due to its magnitude, but is always fascinating. This time the cosmos became our inspiration. That's why we'd like to invite you to have fun with us and participate in the project of publishing the game in which everyone becomes a co-creator of cosmos - Exoplanets.'

Ending on June 20th 2015, 'Exoplanets' by 'Board & Dice' is a Kickstarter staff pick and so far has secured more than double its original funding goal.

Exoplanets is a game that is part resource management, part area control.
Players take it in turns to birth new planets and spend resources to create and develop life.
All of this is done in an attempt to establish their dominance in a young star system.

The game play mechanics seems polished and the theme, while not hugely influential on the game play, is pretty neat.

We suggest you check out the Rahdo Runthrough video on their page as it does a great job of explaining how the game flows.

It is hard to put the feeling this game gives me into words.
It doesn't do anything special or unique, but it looks like it does.

The whole feel of the game is unique, even though I know full well it isn't.

The combination of resources management, area control and hidden goals is something that appeals to me, and couple that with the ability to foil others plans with the strategic use of powers just give the game a little bite.

This is something I think would make a great little game; complex enough to be interesting and simple enough to be accessible to newer players.

This is Board & Dice's first Kickstarter project.
They have made a couple of games in the past which have been shipped worldwide, so have some experience in this regard.
The publisher they are using for North American fulfillment is a company called Stuntkite Publishing, which is an equally small publisher.

oard & Dice seem to have a solid fulfillment plan, but this game has already doubled their expectations in terms of basic funding goals.
Though with a reasonable amount of stretch goals available, it seems they have planned for this eventuality.

I'm never confident when it comes to the reliability of Kickstarter projects by small publishers, but I think this is project is probably as prepared as they can possibly be.

If you're interested, but not 100% sold on the game there is a $3 pledge level print and play version designed for 2 players

It was a hard choice between this and Push It for our Kickstarter pick of the issue, but Exoplanets just nudges it for me.
I'm not the biggest fan of dexterity game though, so bear that in mind.

'Imperial Settlers' Review by 'DarkHaZZl3.'

010 - Imperial Settlers Opening

Google - Fu.

Imperial Settlers is an engine building game focused around card drafting game and plays with 1 to 4 players.
Designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and published by Portal Games in 2014, Imperial Settlers was an instant hit.
It was nominated for 6 awards by Board Game Geek alone, winning the Best Solo Game of the year.
In additional it has also been nominated for 3 Dice Tower awards, amongst many more.

For more information head over to the Imperial Settlers page on the Portal Website.

Alternately you can check out their page on Board Game Geek.

Contents and Impressions.

011 - Imperial Settlers Contents

• 1 Score Board,
• 4 Faction Markers,
• 1 Round Marker,
• 4 Faction Boards,
• 220 Cards; 30 Barbarian Cards, 30 Japanese Cards, 30 Roman Cards, 30 Egyptian Cards, 84 Common Cards, and 16 Attack Cards,
• 32 Wood Tokens,
• 32 Stone Tokens,
• 32 Food Tokens,
• 40 Worker Tokens,
• 18 Raze Tokens,
• 10 Defense Tokens,
• 24 Gold Tokens,
• 6 Multiplier Tokens,
• 1 First Player Marker,
• 4 Egyptian Special Tokens,
• 1 Rule Book.

The art style of Imperial Settlers immediately jumps out at you.
It is simple, cartoony, cute and colourful.

It takes the edge off the game a little and makes it enjoyable to look at while playing.

The wooden tokens (the Meeples, wood, stone and food; which is an apple! Confirmed by Ignacy himself!), are cute and visual distinct from each other in shape and colour.

012 - Imperial Settlers Wooden Tokens

The cardboard tokens are equally distinct, if somewhat more functional, but still retain the difference in colour and shape.

013 - Imperial Settlers Cardboard Tokens

The faction cards are colour coded on the back with each factions emblem, to help tell them apart from each other, as are the common cards.
Again, the art is simple, cute and not too busy.

014 - Imperial Settlers Faction Cards

The faction boards follow this pattern, but with a bit more detail.

015 - Imperial Settlers Faction Boards

I think having all of the characters in the game be women was a nice touch; there simply isn't enough female characters who are not sexualised in modern gaming.

016 - Imperial Settlers Scoreboard

The scoreboard is functional, but I'm not a huge fan of the snake like path. The red letters help distinguish the direction, but every time I've played this game, someone gets confused.

The only real downside to the game is the text size as it is a bit on the small size.
I do however understand that this is a necessity; there are cards the utilise all of the space the card allows, and I for one would prefer to have all of the information relevant to the card on the card, as opposed to in the rule book.

Game Play.

The designer of Imperial Settlers fully embraces technology.
It is to that end the game comes with a QR code which takes you to Portal Games YouTube channel where you can watch a video tutorial of the game.

If you're a fan of analogue, feel free to keep reading.

The objective of Imperial Settlers is to have the most victory points are the end of the game, which lasts five rounds.
Players do this by taking turns to collect resources, build buildings, razing buildings and other actions.

The basic set up of Imperial Settlers is the same for each game.

Players select a faction each and their faction card deck along with it.
All other cards and tokens are placed to one side and in reach of all players.

Players then take two face down cards from their own faction deck, and two from the common deck.

017 - Imperial Settlers 2 player set up

In our examples we have used a two player set up.

From here you're ready to play.

Each turn is broken down into 4 phases;
  • The lookout phase,
  • The productions phase,
  • The action phase
  • and finally the clean up phase.

In the lookout phase players draft cards.

Each player draws the top card of their faction deck into their hand.
Cards are then dealt form the common deck equal to the amount of players plus one.

018 - Imperial Settlers lookout phase 1

In our 2 player example this means three cards are dealt face up.

The player who is currently first player selects one of these cards to put in their hand.

019 - Imperial Settlers lookout phase 2

The next player clockwise then picks a card and so on until each player has chosen one card.

020 - Imperial Settlers lookout phase 3

The last remaining card is discarded.
After this more cards are dealt; again, equal to the players plus one.

The player who chose last in the draft that just happened (the player immediately anti-clockwise of the first player) picks a card first, and then this continues anti clockwise, until each player has picked one card.
The remaining card is again discarded.

The next phase is the production phase.

In this phase players take it turns to collect all of the resources their empire generates.

023 - Imperial Settlers production phase 2

Production sources are; The faction board, production buildings and deals.

021 - Imperial Settlers production phase 1

We'll go over production buildings and deals in more detail in the action phase.

After everyone has collected their production it the action phase.

The action phase is the core of the game.

During the action phase players take it in turns to take one of the following actions;

Build a location,
Activate and Action location
Make a deal,
or trade worker Meeples.

Build Action.

The vast amount of a players victory points will come from buildings.

To perform a build action a player selects a card from their hand and play the 'pay to build' cost and then place it in the relevant row alongside their faction board.

023 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 1

In this example a player wants to build a Quarry.
A Quarry costs 1 stone and 1 wood to build
The player pays this cost and the building is built.

Some Faction buildings have a building in their resource cost.

This means that to build this building, a player has to pay the resource cost and sacrifice a common building. This sacrificed building is then discarded.

024 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 2

In this example a player is spending 2 stone resources and sacrificing a Quarry to build a Colossus.

It is important to note that a player may use 1 coin in place of 1of the basic market resources; wood, food or stone.

027 - Imperial Settlers actions phase; coins

There are three types of buildings

Production, Feature and Action buildings.

025 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 3

Production buildings.

When a production building is built, it will immediately produce the resources it would have done in the production phase.

026 - Imperial Settlers action phase; build 4

In the case of the card above, it produces 1 stone. In addition to this the card produces an additional 1 stone as a reward for building the card.

Feature Buildings.

Feature buildings provide a players engine with background abilities.

Some provide victory points when a player performs a certain action, while other simply provide an empty space to be expended when building faction buildings

While production buildings which activate when built and again in the subsequent production phases, and feature buildings which happen in the background, action buildings have to be specifically activated.

Activate an Action building.

As previously state there are three type of buildings.
Production, Features and Actions.
Production building produce when built and in the production phase and Features are triggered by certain events.
Actions on the other hand have to be activated, and take up an Action to do so.

To activate a building, simply follow the instructions on the card in the same manner as when activating the worker trade action.

Action buildings provide flexibility to a players engine; some allow spending resources to gain victory points, others allow a player to convert one resource into another.

Trading worker Meeples.

Each faction board has a Production space, and Feature space and a Action space.

028 - Imperial Settlers action phase; trading meeples 1

This not only shows a player where to put their cards, but also has abilities they can utilise.
In order to trade worker Meeples, player activate the action location on their faction board in the same manner as the action cards.

029 - Imperial Settlers action phase; trading meeples 2

A player may exchange 2 worker Meeples for one of the following; 1 food, 1 wood, 1 stone or 1 card. The card may be either a faction card, or a common card.

030 - Imperial Settlers action phase; trading meeples 2

This process takes up 1 action, but may be performer multiple times in future actions.

Make a Deal.

Sometimes a player may have a faction card that is not beneficial to their engine, but has the ability to produce a desirable resource as part of a deal.

To make a deal a player selects a faction card they want to make a deal with, and discards one food to make the deal.
From then on this card will produce that resource during the production phase, and in the same way a production building does, immediately produces that resources when the deal is made.

031 - Imperial Settlers action phase; make a deal

In this example a player is paying one food to make a deal with the Primeval Forest. This produces 1 wood immediately, and every production phase from now on.

Raze Action.

When using a raze action, a player expends swords in order to destroy common cards and buildings in order to gain resources.

There a two types of raze action.

The first type of raze action is raising from your hand.
A player may select a common card from their hand and expend one sword token to raze it.
If they do this the card is discarded and the player gains the 'raze to gain' resources.

032 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 1

In this example the player spends the sword token and gains 1 wood resource and a 1 coin token. This card is then discarded.

The second type of raze action is razing an opponent's common building.
To do this a player picks one of their opponent's buildings to raze and spends two sword tokens to do so.

033 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 2

The player gains the 'raze to gain resources' in the same way they would when razing from their own hand.
However, instead of the card being discarded it becomes a 'foundation.'

034 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 3

A foundation may be used instead of sacrificing a building for the purposes of building faction buildings. In addition to this, the player whose building has been destroyed gains 1 wood.

Players can defend against having their buildings Razed to a degree. Each faction produces 1 shield token a turn.
During a players turn they may place this shield token on one of their building; this does not count as an action.

035 - Imperial Settlers action phase; razing 4

If a building has a shield token on it, any player attempting to raze that building will have to pay 1 extra sword token, for a total of 3 sword tokens.

There is no limit to the number, type or order of Actions a player may take during the Action phase, so long as only one action is taken at a time.
Once a player has performed one of these actions, play passes clockwise
The action phase continues until all players have passed.

This means play will pass around the table several times.

Once all players have passed the action phases ends.

Clean Up phase.

During the cleanup phases players discard all resources and tokens that haven't been used.
However, if a player has an the ability to store any resources, they may do this first.

The feature location on the faction board usually offers a player the ability to store a certain resources, but other cards may also provide this ability.

It is important therefore to try and maximise the resources gained throughout the action phase as not to waste any resources.

The only exception to this rule is during the fifth round. Players retain their resources in the fifth round to help decide ties in scoring.

Once each player has done this the round is over, and it is on to the next round.
Play proceeds in the same manner until five rounds have passed, at which point players move on to scoring.


In addition to the victory points scored throughout the game using actions and features, players score points for each building they have constructed.

036 - Imperial Settlers scoring part 1

Common buildings are worth 1 victory point each, while faction buildings are worth 2 victory points each.
Again, certain features may have some bearing on scoring, so bear this in mind.

The players with the most victory points in total wins.

037 -  Imperial Settlers scoring part 2

In the case of a tie, it is the tied player with the most resources wins.
If there is still a tie, it is a draw.

If you want to check out the rule book for yourself, they can be found on the Portal Games website.

Personal Opinion.

This game at first appears to be overly complex.

When I first tried to play the game I struggled to wrap my head around it.
With a little help from the tutorial video I realised how simple the games mechanics truly are.

You draft cards and you build an engine.

This simplicity allows you to focus on maximising what you have, and that is where the meat of the game lies.
It is almost solitaire-esq in its design, however the ability to raze other players buildings for resources you need/ to deny them of what they need, adds just a little bite to keep it interesting.

The raze mechanic is one of my favourite examples of balance in a game too.

Razing would be far too powerful if you simply destroyed the building and gained resources; especially in the case of combat heavy factions, but by having the building turn into a foundation, it allows the victim to continue building in spite of this aggression.

It doesn't overly reward aggressive play like some civilization themed games do, but instead allows you to modify your style of play to the engine you are building.
It allows the player to chose a strategy they think will win them the game, instead of being told to play a certain way because that faction is best sued that way.
Yes, certain factions are somewhat inclined towards a certain path to victory, as are all games with asymmetric powers, but it is overly detrimental if that path is not followed.

Because of the 1 action nature of the game there is also very little downtime.
Analysis Paralysis shouldn't be a huge factor as the player interaction is minimal, but in bigger game it can sometimes start to tell.

I can see why a lot of people think this game is best suited to 2 players, but I honestly feel it works perfectly well with 3 and 4 too.

Once you wrap your head around it, the game is simple to understand and easy to play, and because of the mechanics it uses, it is very unlikely there will be a runaway winner.
The vast majority of games I have played have been won by a point of two.

In addition to this there is a solo variant.
The solo variant is actually pretty good, if a little limiting.
Ignacy has taken this into account, and released a free to download solo campaign variant to keep the solo play interesting.

Overall I think Imperial Settlers is a game the justifies the amount of awards it has been nominated for.
I'd certainly recommend check out Imperial Settlers if you haven't already.

Expansions, Reprints and Different Versions.

Imperial Settlers was released in 2014, so expansions thus far are limited.

The only retail 'expansion' so far is the 'Why Can't We Be Friends' Empire Pack, a mini expansion, also released in 2014.

038 - Imperial Settlers Why Can't We Be Friends Mini Expansion
image belongs to Portal Games.

Taken from the portal website;

Imperial Settlers: Why Can't We Be Friends, the first Empire Pack for Imperial Settlers, includes new common cards for the central deck, new cards for each of the base game's four factions, and two new cards for use in the solo game with some factions. One new effect on the cards is "open production", an ability that allows an opponent to visit your building for the resource produced there while giving you the worker who made that trek. Hope you can put him to use once again!

The pack adds a total of 55 cards. Perfect if you really enjoy the game and want a little more variety.

Just before Christmas of the same year, Portal also released a solo campaign for the game.
This is free to download from their website, so definitely worth checking out.

In addition to these, Portal Games announced Atlanteans, the first full expansion for Imperial Settlers, on May 5th 2015.

039  - Imperial Settlers Atlanteans expansion
image belongs to Portal Games.

From the Portal website;

As time has passed, we have lost record of the rise and fall of the Atlantis, but now, you can replay this ancient legend in Imperial Settlers! The denizens of Atlantis bring their technology to the world of Imperial Settlers with all new mechanics that change the way you must play the game both as the Atlanteans and against them.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to preview Atlanteans at the UK Games Expo.

The expansion looks set to shake up the way the game is played, introducing lasting upgrades to buildings, and introducing the Atlantean faction, which focuses on these upgrades, and values common building much more than other factions as a result.
Very excited for this expansion to be released, and if you like Imperial Settlers, I seriously suggest picking it up when it hits shelves sometime after Gen Con.

Digital Spotlight.

As of yet there is no official, or unofficial online or app version of Imperial Settlers available.
There is however, a tabletop simulator version.

The quality of this mod's visuals are amazing, and all available sources point to it being a very good implementation of the physical game (as far as tabletop simulator can be good).

If you're a fan of Tabletop Simulator it is certainly worth checking out.


What did you think of this issue? Pro's, Con's?

Did you attend the UK Games Expo? What did you think?
Have you check out anyone invovled in UK board game media?

Did any other Kickstarter projects grab your attention?

Have you played Imperial Settlers?
What do you think?

Feel free to comment on this post, or alternatively hit us up on Twitter @TCBCartographer

Thank you for reading this issue of The Cardboard Cartographer, until next time!