Entertainment

Game review: Order of the Gilded Compass and 7 Ronin are delightful to play

Posted April 14

Grey Fox Games continues to churn out a variety of hits with unique themes. The dice placement game Order of the Gilded Compass challenges players to plan carefully and think ahead; 7 Ronin delivers two players a Japanese-themed game of tactics.

A lot of two-player games on the market lack originality. But the game 7 Ronin is something special. One player takes the role of a band of mystical ninjas who have targeted a village in feudal Japan for the stealing of grain. The second player controls a band of seven ronin or samurai hired by the village for protection.

A small board depicting a village is placed on the table. The village is divided into 10 locations. The goal of the ninjas is to occupy five of these locations. The ronin player wins by surviving for eight rounds.

At the start of each turn, both players plot which sections of the village they will send their forces. This is done behind a privacy screen. Keep in mind that there are 10 sections of the village and only seven ronin. The art of the bluff is crucial and brings this game a lot of interesting interaction.

Once both players have done their planning, those plans are revealed. Combat now ensues. The seven ronin are powerful and each one has a unique power. To activate those powers, the ronin player must plan and place his or her units strategically. For example, the ronin Musashi can remove one unit from the area he is in, but if there are no ninjas there, the power is wasted.

The ninjas have great numbers and can swarm the village. They don't have any special powers but when they take possession of a village area, they may do something special. That area of the village grants a special power to the ninja player. For example, one of the village areas contains a watchtower. The ninjas can use this tower to deal one wound on adjacent village areas.

7 Ronin is one of the better two-player games on the market. The key to the game is out-guessing an opponent. Can a player place their units in the most effective places to win the day? Play 7 Ronin and find out.

Two to five players may engage the game Order of the Gilded Compass. It runs fairly quickly, taking about 30 to 60 minutes to play, depending on the number of players. In this title, gamers take the role of treasure hunters traveling the world to accumulate the most valuable set of artifacts.

This game is all about rolling and assigning dice to different locations in order to acquire treasures, maps and specialities to win the game. However, each location is manipulated in a different way and timing is critical. For example in the archives, players assign three dice with the same number such as three fives, three ones or three fours. The highest numbers get first choice from a group of treasure maps that help score points.

Another example is the Illumanti location. Players are competing to get their pick of a group of three special powers granted by the secret society here. Dice must be assigned in a specific order. The first player there plays one die of any value. The next player must play two dice, but the first die must match the value of the first player's die. A third person plays here and must play three dice with two of them matching the second player's dice. The top two players who played the most dice get to take a special power.

The different locations and effects in the game keep things extremely interesting. There are five location cards with different rules and nine different building options. Each game, locations and buildings combine in new ways so there is a great amount of replayability and interactivity.

Players continue round after round contributing dice to different locations and collecting tokens for points and power. After five or six rounds, depending on number of players, the person with the most treasure is invited to become a member of The Order of the Gilded Compass and wins.

Those who have played the game Alea Iacta Est will feel right at home with this game from Grey Fox Games. The two games are very similar. The artwork and variety is greater in The Order of the Gilded Compass, but it isn't necessary to own both games.

Those who would be interested in this game would be those looking for something fun, playable in an hour, that uses dice, has plenty of replayability and something that is unique. This game has it all. It's definitely worth the time to check it out. Find out more about both games at Grey Fox Games' website.

Email: rmorgenegg@deseretnews.com

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