June 22nd, 2020: ::::) Edition
Phone: 204-487-4263  
You arrive back in town after a long adventure, eager to rest, relax, and maybe pick up a few new toys. After stashing your gear at the inn and grabbing a bite to eat, you head out to the local market, renowned for its incredible selection.

Your sight is filled with a plethora of games the likes of which you've never seen. After recovering from the initial bout of being awestruck, you begin to browse the wares.

A number of new items catch your eyes...
Board Game Focus: The Big Book of Madness
The Big Book of Madness currently holds the title of my favourite cooperative board game, and here's why.

I should preface this by saying, as someone who loves deckbuilding games, games like Dominion , Star Realms and Clank! , there was no way I wasn't going to like The Big Book of Madness . It's a deckbuilding game with gorgeous art and a fun theme: you and your fellow players are students at a nameless wizarding school, and traipsing through the forbidden section of the library you've opened a book of monsters. It's up to you and your friends to quickly defeat the monsters and reseal the book before they wreck havoc on your school and your psyche. In order to do so you'll need to quickly learn new spells and find more potent sources of mana in order to handle everything these monsters throw at you.

As a deckbuilding game, The Big Book of Madness stands out a little by having you fill your deck with your spell-casting resources, while the spells you actually cast remain outside your deck and can be upgraded or swapped for new ones as the game progresses. You'll always have access to your Aura of Fire or Essence of the Earth, but unless you've made sure to include enough Fire and Earth mana in your deck you might not have the resources to cast the one you want on a critical turn. And this is a game where every turn matters. If you and your team aren't extra-efficient with your actions as the game progresses, you'll see your decks start to fill up with unusable Madness cards that need to be burned to purge from your deck. The characters you select at the beginning of the game and the different elements of spells you acquire throughout encourage you to specialize in certain types of magic, so while one player might be especially good at getting rid of their excess Madness, others will have to rely on their teammates to keep them from completely losing it.

You don't have to beat every monster in order to succeed in The Big Book of Madness, just the last one, but if you've been struggling on your way to that last monster fight it certainly won't be easy. It takes a lot of coordination and preparation to defeat that last beast and seal the book again!

Things I liked:
  • It has a lot of unique elements (like card storage for future turns and your always-available list of spells) that I haven't seen in other deckbuilding games, while still providing the kinds of gameplay that I expect and enjoy from the genre.
  • Amazing art.
  • Plays up to 5 players, which is common for cooperative games but having more board games that play more than 4 players is never a disappointment.
  • Actually challenging: Again, something that is common to cooperative games, but with each player having a couple of spells and managing a deck's worth of resources it's much more difficult for one player to start managing everyone else's turns, everyone needs to keep thinking and be on their toes. It feels really satisfying when you do actually make it to the end and beat the last monster.
  • Did I mention the art?

Things I didn't like:
  • Actually challenging: On the harder difficulties, this game gets stressful! As someone who has a bit of a competitive drive, every decision becomes harder to make as you lead up to the final fight, and although the game provides ways to combat it, randomness does play a factor in which cards you'll draw. Harder difficulties are much harder to play if you don't give it 100%.
  • Although it's unlikely to happen, if a player ends up being unlucky enough to accrue and number of madness cards and is stuck only madness cards in hand at the end of their turn, they immediately lose and are kicked out of the game. As a penalty for not managing your madness it makes sense, but having that much madness in hand is already such a detriment, I don't know if it needs to be exacerbated by making that player sit the rest of the game out.

Verdict
I love it! As you might have guessed from the beginning, The Big Book of Madness is currently one of my favourite games. If you enjoy a good cooperative challenge and are ready to puzzle through some devilishly tricky turns where one wrong spell-cast could mean unleashing waves of monsters upon your poor school, give The Big Book of Madness a shot!

Available now to rent or buy, in-store or online !
Available for Preorder: Lumineth Realm-lords Army Set
Elves are returning to the worlds of Warhammer with this new release for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar! The Lumineth Realm-lords are the successors to the High Elves of old, and they're bringing their ageless wisdom and battle training to the fields of the Mortal Realms. Available in limited quantities, the Lumineth Realm-lords Army Set is everything you need to kick-start your new army. From stunning miniatures like the hollow suit of armour that is the Light of Eltharion, to a limited edition version of the army's Battletome with stunning wrap-around cover art, this is your first chance to lead the champions of light before they are more fully released later this year.

Pre-order now in-store or online !
New Releases: Fabius Bile and Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider
The twisted clonefather, Fabius Bile, is back in Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider ! Embody the cruel scientist himself and his new breed of Chaos Space Marines, or pursue him mercilessly with new rules for Death Guard, Adeptus Custodes, Sisters of Silence and the Officio Assassinorum .

For those of you who enjoy a painting challenge, there's a new miniature for Fabius Bile as well, accompanied by a scuttling Surgeon Acolyte. With all his reaching mechanical arms, it's not hard to see how he got his 'Spider' nickname.

Both available now in-store or online!
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