Scott’s Toy Box: Grab a Bag of Fun
By M. Scott Anderson
This month in the Toy Box, I went “grab bag” style. There isn’t a theme between the three toys I’ve written about except that they are all fun, so let’s get to it.
In this card game, you play as a librarian trying to build the best library. You build your library by sending out assistants to different places and collect cards with up to four books on them to shelf in your library. You gain points for your shelves being stable, as well as collecting the most of certain book genres – all while having a variety of book genres. But be careful on what you collect, since one genre is banned and will take away points. Tip: for books to count you have to have them in alphabetical order. Each location that your assistants go to allows you to do different things depending on the location. But the general action is to draw a card or add a card to your library. There are even special assistants that give you more options when playing. The game ends when one of the players has shelved a certain number of cards in the library. The number of cards depends on how many players there are, for example for four players the game ends at 12 cards. There’s also a version for one player, which is one of the better solo versions of a game that I’ve played. You can find Ex Libris on Amazon for $45.
Adventure and crafting are blended together in this game. You need to have a phone or tablet to play, but the game doesn’t take place solely on the device. The app will give you basic instructions on how to set up the arena. Then you can begin the first episode of which two come in the box. In the episode, the story will begin and then after each short part there will be a craft to make. The game will show you a photo of the craft and tell you what is needed to make it, but the game won’t give you specific instructions. It’s up to you to figure out how to make it. Once the craft is done, take a photo of it. One thing that doesn’t come in the box is a token that represents you in the story, however you can use just about anything for it. For instance, I used one of my Funko Pops that I had on my desk. BoxiTale is $40 and can be found at Barnes & Noble this month.
In this game you are charged with rolling dice and collecting ruins for your tribe. You begin with one Ruin card already in your hand. To gain other ruins, you have to say which card you want. Then you roll the die and then place it on the card. On each card there is a price, once the sum of the die on the card is equal to (or goes past) the price, the card is given to the person who placed the die with the highest number on it. Also a number of stones is placed on each card. If you roll a 1-3 on the die, you can take one of the stones and place them in front of you. As you collect stones, you place them next to one another to form a hexagon. When the shape is complete, you can select a wonder and place it inside the completed form. Once all the ruin cards have been claimed the game is over and the points are added up. Points are given for having many of the same color ruins, having one of each color ruin, having three or more wonders, and points that are on each wonder. You can find Unearth on Amazon for $28.