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Saturday, April 30, 2016

International TableTop Day 2016

Greetings and happy International Tabletop Day once again!  Last year we found ourselves at Redemption AleWerks in Fishers and we figured, why mess with a good thing?  So we are back and enjoying what may be the beginning of a promising tradition.  Today we are drinking Taxman's Cherry Picker and Gnarly Grove's Legendberry.  One of the things we enjoy about Redemption is that they are happy to let you sample a few of the brews they have on tap prior to ordering. Cherry Picker is infused with tart and sweet cherries, the fruit flavor is not overpowering, but a nice complement to the malty richness of this Belgian dubbel. Gnarly Grove "Legendberry" cider had a subtle combination of blueberry, blackberry and raspberry juices with a nice acidic bite.  Our game of choice today is Ninja Camp so read on to learn about this small box game with a kick!
Ninja Camp is a 2 - 4 player abstract strategy game by Action Phase Games.  Each player is an animal martial artist training to become a ninja apprentice.  Rather than traditionally quick and stealthy animals such as a cheetah or a snake, you get to play as delightfully awkward animals such as a camel, platypus or armadillo. The games takes place on a grid, with players competing to gain points and outwit their opponent. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner and is awarded the coveted apprenticeship from Sensi Saru.

Each player starts with 2 starting skill cards to help them maneuver and 1 ninja clan card with a special skill on it.  Today we chose Hamster VS Sloth.  The grid is then placed out, 8x6 for a 2 player game, and 8x7 for a 3 - 4 player game.  At the start the game in a counter-clockwise players place their ninja meeples on a skill card of their choice until all 3 are placed.  The turns are simple, you play a card from your hand (or use your special ability), move your ninja meeple, then claim the card you started on.  Different cards have different abilities and point values.  This sounds very basic, but you soon realize that the grid is getting smaller and your options can change very quickly, making each choice an important one.  Play continues until each person is forced to pass on their turn because they are out of options.  The cards in your hand and discard pile are then tallied and the person with the most points at the end is the winner.
When you start this game is seems quite simple, but it catches up to you fast!  The cards are well weighted, and high value cards will have different abilities than lower value cards.  They combine well to create helpful moves when you find yourself stuck in a jam.  As you can see in the first photo, the box is small, but the game takes up a large amount of space.  So while it is easily transported, you do need some foresight as to where you will be playing it.  However, for such a small game, it packs a real punch for strategy, which both of us greatly enjoyed.  The artwork is fantastic and it's great to see animals used in such a fun way. If you enjoy solid strategy games that can be played in around 30 minutes check out Ninja Camp!

Ninja Camp
Overall Meeple Rating: 7/10


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