Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons Review

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Publisher: Ravensburger
Age: 10+
Players: 2-5
Game Length: 45-60 minutes
MSRP: $34.99

A little over a decade ago, Pandemic popularized the cooperative board game genre with doctors and researchers matching cards to find cures to multiple diseases before the disease-cubes took over the world.  While I appreciated the then-new concept, I found the theme a bit dry and card-matching too simple.

In 2020, Wonder Woman is here to save the day. Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons is a smart evolution of co-op cube-defense, with the much more exciting theme of defending Themyscira from comic book villains.

No Man’s Land

The Amazon island of Themyscira is gorgeously presented in a large game board with over a dozen different locations, such as the training grounds, the library, and the Temple of Aphrodite. Each player chooses one of five Amazons, including Diana, better known as Wonder Woman from DC Comics. Each Amazon has a unique ability and a bronze miniature figure that contrasts beautifully on the colorful map.

Challenge of the Amazons pits your team of Amazon warriros against one of three different villains: Ares the warlord, Circe the spellcaster, and Cheetah the lycanthrope. Each villain has their own agenda and tactics reflected in their personal card decks, as well as scaling difficulty for the number of players.

Each turn the chosen villain runs around the map deploying cubes and hazards, which could represent blocked roads, wounded amazons, or enemy minions. The players need to balance removing these cubes with chasing down the villain. Both the villain and the island itself have health bars, and if Themyscrica’s defense drops to zero, the Amazons lose.

Goddess of War

The Amazons’ turns are divided into two distinct phases. It’s here where Challenge of the Amazon’s clever game design helps solve one of the biggest problems with co-op games: players ordering each other around.

In the Strategize phase, players can openly discuss their plans for the turn, but only with about half their cards visible, face up in front of them. Enemy obstacles are cleared by playing cards, each of which features multiple numerical emblem symbols. Symbols include Vigor (sword) to defeat minions and Leadership (star) to summon additional warriors. Players can use this public information to plan out where to go and which obstacles to tackle, or combine their might into a big hit on the enemy villain.

Once they’ve finished strategizing, the Battle Plans phase begins. Players pick up the rest of their cards and plan their three actions in secret, without speaking. The flexibility on each card results in a satisfying balance between trying to coordinate with your teammates, while also improvising based on the cards. Sometimes your best laid plans go awry, as in battle, but it still feels thematic and fun.

While the Amazon minis, enemy character sheets, and game board are exceptional components, the same cannot be said of the cards. The hero cards represent abstract adjectives like Experienced, Resourceful, and Bold, and depict images of clouds, trees, and spiderwebs – not exactly a thrilling declaration when battling the forces of Ares. I would’ve much preferred scenes of our Amazon heroines fighting and training, especially as the cover art by comic artist Jenny Frison is so darn good.

The Rating

Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons has a recommended minimum age of 10+. While DC Comics and Wonder Woman have become increasingly kid-friendly, the board game requires advanced tactical planning and coordination, which can be challenging for younger kids.

As a co-op game, Challenge of the Amazons would make an excellent pick for family game night with older kids, teens, and parents.

The Takeaway

With the exception of big-box RPG Gloomhaven, co-op games aren’t usually very popular in my house, but I’m more than happy to make room on the game shelf for the princess of Themyscira. With colorful components and a nice balance of teamwork and solo planning, Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons makes co-op fun again.

Find Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons at Amazon, Target, and other retailers.

Pokémon Home: How to Transfer, Store, and Trade Pokémon

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With the release of Pokémon Home, trainers finally have the chance to consolidate their pokémon collections that span well over a decade. We’re providing a step-by-step process for bringing everything together, as well as what all you can do with Pokémon Home and the different versions and subscription levels.

Using Pokémon Bank on 3DS

The most exciting prospect for Home is bringing our old pokémon from previous generations onto the Switch generation. For the 3DS era (Gens 6-7), which includes X/Y, Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Sun/Moon, and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, Nintendo offered an app called Pokémon Bank, released in 2014. Bank was largely the same as Home, a digital cloud storage space to upload pokémon, in order to bring them into future games.

Bank also supported the older Nintendo DS generations (Gen 4-5) through a free app called PokéTransporter. The DS had a GameBoy Advance cartridge slot, and it was possible to transfer the GBA era (Gen 3) into the DS era using the in-game Pal Park in Gen 4. By using all these methods it’s entirely possible to transfer pokémon who are over 15 years old!

Pokémon Bank requires a subscription fee ($5 a year) in order to transfer, though it’s free to leave them in storage. However, with the release of Pokémon Home, the subscription fee for Bank is currently waived until March 12.

In order to transfer pokémon from these older handheld generations, you’ll need to first set up Bank. Simply download it from the Nintendo eShop on your 3DS, sync it with the game cartridge (for Gen 6-7) or use PokéTransporter, and transfer pokemon from the game box to a storage box. Not that you won’t be able to transfer any pokémon directly from your party – you’ll have to start the game and move them to a box first.

Moving pokémon from Pokémon Bank to Pokémon Home

In Pokémon Bank on the Nintendo 3DS, select the option to Move pokémon to Pokémon Home. Important Note: This is a one way-street. Once moved to Home, pokémon can never return to Bank. Say goodbye to the 3DS era (or start over fresh).

Pokémon Bank will mention a Moving Key. Don’t proceed just yet.

Download Pokémon Home on the Nintendo Switch from the eShop. Home is also available on mobile devices, but we’ll need it on Switch to transfer from Bank.

Make sure you’re signed in as the same Nintendo account as you used for the Nintendo 3DS and Pokémon Bank.

Select the Move option, and Begin Move. Home will provide a Moving Key for Bank that will only be valid for 3 minutes. We’ll want both systems ready to go!

Confirm on Pokémon Home to get the 12-digit key, and carefully enter the key on the now much tinier Nintendo 3DS screen. Both systems should confirm that the key is successful, and that pokémon are transferring.

Pokémon Home will be unusable while pokémon are transferring, but it shouldn’t take long. Within a minute I saw my full roster of 844 pokémon successfully transferred to Home. You can choose to move them exactly as they were in Bank, or re-organize the boxes.

Moving pokémon from Sword and Shield or Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee to Home

Transferring pokémon from the Switch generation is a far simpler process, since they’re directly compatible with Home. Home will automatically detect these games, which you’ll see under the Pokémon screen. Selecting one of them will take you to a simliar screen to Pokémon Bank, with Home’s storage boxes on one side and the game’s storage boxes on the other.

The first thing you’ll notice is that many pokémon aren’t supported in the Switch games yet, as denoted by a red slash circle symbol. No pokémon can be transferred into the Let’s Go series (but they can be uploaded to Home) while Sword and Shield supports a select number of pokémon that equals about half the total roster.

Certain moves are also not supported in Sword and Shield, such as Refresh, Embargo, and Flame Burst, even though the pokémon itself is. These pokémon with unsupported moves will have a yellow triangle exclamation point over the move. You can transfer these pokémon if they have this symbol (and not the red slash circle) but the move will be removed during the transfer. Future Pokémon games may support these moves (as well as additional pokémon) so it may be worth waiting.

What can Pokémon Home do on Switch?

Pokémon Home can do three main tasks on the Switch: Transfer pokémon, view the National Pokédex and Research Tasks, and earn and transfer Pokémon Home Points . Points are earned by depositing pokémon, and you’ll get a big boost of 3,000 points the first time you upload a single pokémon. Points can then be transferred at a rate of 30 points to 1 BP to Sword and Shield (and future core Pokémon games).

BP can be used as currency to purchase special items at the Battle Tower in Sword and Shield, once you complete the main campaign. BP can also be earned in-game by battling at the Battle Tower.

Completing Research Tasks

By entering the Pokédex section of Pokémon Home on Switch, you can tab over to the Research Tasks. Currently there are only two sets available: one for Galar (Sword and Shield) and one for Kanto (Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee). Think of these tasks as optional achievements for uploading specific pokémon from those games into Home.

Note that transferring the pokémon from Bank won’t work – the pokémon have to originate from those specific games.

There are no rewards for completing the tasks, but it’s a fun way to work towards Catching ’em all.

What can Pokémon Home do on Mobile?

The mobile version of Pokémon Home is free-to-download on iOS and Android mobile devices. It’s primarily used for trading, though you can also see your entire collection, and receive any Mystery Gifts offered by Nintendo. The mobile version also includes Challenges, which are a bit like Research Tasks that act as milestone achievements for depositing certain pokémon. Unlike Research Tasks, Challenges do come with rewards in the form of digital stickers.

How do I trade Pokémon in Pokémon Home?

Pokémon Home finally adds the GTS, the global trade system that allows for easy online trades, as well as trading between friends, and the thrill of the random Wonder Trade.

Trading via Pokémon Home is only available on the mobile app, not the Switch app. Certain trade functions will be limited depending on if you’re using the Basic or Premium Plans (see below).

To trade, simply tab over to the Trade section of Pokémon Home, where you’ll find Wonder Box, GTS, Room Trade, and Friend Trade.

pokemon homeThe GTS is the primary place to get the exact pokémon you’re looking for, letting you enter in all the parameters, while putting up another specific pokémon to trade in return. You can also search for pokémon, and what other trainers are looking to trade them for. Premium users can put up to three pokémon in the GTS, while basic users are limited to one at a time.

Wonder Box lets you send one of your own pokémon out onto the digital trading block, and receive a random pokémon in return. It’s a total gamble but can be a fun way to receive new or interesting pokémon. Premium subscribers can have up to 10 wonder trades going at once, basic plans are limited to three.

Trade Rooms are like multiplayer lobbies, with folks jumping into rooms to randomly trade pokémon. Premium users can host and join rooms, while basic users can only join rooms. Specific rooms can be joined via the host’s room ID.

Friend trade is pretty obvious – trade with people on your friends list! Unfortunately Nintendo’s friends list systems are never well-integrated; you’ll need to add friends specifically to Pokémon Home.

What’s the difference between the Basic and Premium Plans?

Pokémon Home is free (Basic), but also includes an optional paid Premium Plan. The Premium Plan costs $2.99 per month or $15.99 per year, a 300% increase over Pokémon Bank. The following chart showcases the differences.

Primarily, you won’t be able to transfer pokémon from Pokémon Bank without a premium plan – but you should only have to do that once anyway. Note that number of pokémon that can be stored, however, from a paltry 30 (a single box) for basic users, or up to 6,000 for Premium. The IV Judge tool is also only available for Premium users.

What happens to my pokémon when my Premium Plan expires?

Don’t worry about your pokémon disappearing, like Pokémon Bank, if your subscription expires, your pokémon will rest safely in the digital storage space. However, you’ll only be able to access the 30 pokémon in your Basic Box until you renew your subscription.

How do I use the Judge function?

The Judge function, or IV Judge, is a way to analyze your pokémon’s individual values, or IVs. Each stat category, including HP and Defense, have a rating from No Good to Best, which can only be seen by using the Judge function. The Judge also provides an overall rating for the pokémon based on their IVs, such as Ok Stats or Good stats.

The IV Judge is available in every game, usually after beating the main campaign. But Pokémon Home Premium users also have the ability to see all their pokémon IVs in both the mobile and Switch version.

In the Switch version, press Y to view the Base Points, then Y again for the Judge. In the mobile version, tap the stat hexagon graph to view the IVs.

Pokémon Home is free-to-download on Switch and mobile devices.

Funkoverse Board Games Are the Perfect Light Strategy Games for Families

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I never paid much attention to the odd, square-headed figurines known as Funko, despite their incredible popularity and breadth of licenses. They couldn’t be scanned into their own video game series like Skylanders, nor unlock various Nintendo features as with Amiibo. Plop them into a series of tactical strategy board games, however, and you have my attention.

With intuitive rules, multiple game modes, and asymmetrical figures, the Funkoverse Strategy Games are a refreshing blend of family-friendly content with satisfying tactical gameplay.

The Funkoverse games originally released last fall in four-figure base sets ($39.99, up to four players) as well as smaller two-figure “expandalone” sets ($24.99, two players) using smaller figures with popular, kid-friendly licenses like Batman and Harry Potter.

The second wave of Funkoverse games are releasing in March, including four-figure and two-figure sets from Jurassic Park, two expandalone sets from the Golden Girls, and the first character-only expansion in Aggretsuko, the rage-prone anime cat from the Netflix series. Future sets releasing this summer include Back to the Future and Wonder Woman.

Each box includes a complete game, containing dice, tokens, and a double-sided game board to wage miniature tactical warfare. However, Funko Games and developer Prospero Hall (Disney Villainous) smartly recognized the mix-and-match quality of the Funko universe, and designed the Funkoverse games to be fully compatible with one another. It’s easy to field a dream team of whichever Funkoverse heroes and villains you like. Hermione, Bat Girl, and Rose from Golden Girls can team up against Harley Quinn, Dr. Ian Malcolm, and Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty.

Two players (or two teams) begin by choosing one of the sides on the grid-based game board, and field a team of either two or three figures each. Each base game and expandalone set feature additional basic figures such as “Police Officer” (represented by small discs) to help pad out teams before you invariably buy more sets and figures.

Each set comes with four game modes, including capture the flag and territory control, and each figure comes with its own set of special abilities that operate on cooldowns. Players (or teams) take turns activating figures and performing actions such as moving, challenging opponents with dueling dice rolls, assisting allies, or performing special abilities.

Special abilities are thematically tied to each character. Batman has a grappling hook to quickly close the distance to the closest enemy, while the Jurassic Park Raptor can place ambush tokens to pop up in different places around the board. Clever girl.

Special abilities are limited by using tokens (two per character) with a cooldown tracker, with stronger abilities taking more time to recharge. Each Funkoverse figure also has a special ongoing trait. Defeating Joker lets him place a mystery box in his space, which he can later explode using his Bang! ability, while Harley can perform a free challenge attack when standing back up – securing an epic win for my opponent in a close game.

The scenarios play quickly while still leaving plenty of room for interesting tactical decisions. Do I spread my figures out to nab those precious point markers, or stay clumped together to form a defensive phalanx? Do I spend both my actions moving to a critical spot, but leaving myself vulnerable? Should I use Batman’s stronger special attack now, knowing it leaves me unable to use Relentless next turn if he fails and gets knocked down? Strategic depth comes from learning when to use which characters and how best to manage the limited ability tokens.

I’m delighted by how impressive the Funkoverse strategy games look and play. The figures are smaller than standard Funko in order to properly fit in the tactical grid, but look fantastic. The Funkoverse figures can also carry tiny weapons and tools that add their own special abilities, like Harley’s signature Mallet.

With a recommended age of 10+, younger kids will need some assistance with advanced tactics – or you could play without special abilities and ease them into the world of tactical strategy. The Funkoverse games are part of a rare breed of tabletop games that are fun with both kids and adults, making it a huge win for family game night.

Find Funkoverse Strategy games at Target, Amazon, and hobby game stores.

Defend Themyscira in Co-op Board Game Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons

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Ravensburger and Prospero Hall, designers of Disney Villainous and the Funkoverse Strategy games, have announced a new co-op board game starring DC Comics’ Amazonian superhero, Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons is coming March 1, with a suggested price of $34.99.

Here’s the official game description:

The Amazons, a powerful tribe of warriors, have lived in peace for centuries on the tranquil island of Themyscria. That peace is shattered when their enemies invade. Now it’s up to you to defend your home! In this cooperative game, you’ll strategize together, face your foes on the battlefield, and rise to meet the challenge of the Amazons!

The tabletop game is designed for 2-5 players, with five unique hero miniatures (unpainted), including Diana. Players face off against one of three villains: Ares, Circe, or Cheetah, each offering unique gameplay and different levels of difficulty.

Ares was featured in the 2017 feature film Wonder Woman (directed by Patty Jenkins, starring Gal Godot), while Cheetah will appear in the upcoming sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, in theaters June 5.

The suggested age range for Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons is 10+, with an average play time between 45 and 60 minutes. The stellar box art is by comic artist Jenny Frison.

Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons will be available via Amazon, Target, and hobby game stores on March 1.