It’s the hottest week of summer, and that generally turns me into a pumpkin. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t deal with extreme temperatures well, which is why I moved away from the Canadian Prairies to the temperate BC coast. I know many would chuckle at me when I complain about our plus 30 degrees Celsius (86 for those measuring in Fahrenheit), but still.

Even with me being a miserable puddle of a human, I did get some board games played, and everyone would much rather I talk about those than about how much I dislike the heat.


Sometimes I have a hard time sleeping, but being up at 5am does award me “free” time, where I can engage with my hobbies as there is a dire need to maintain quiet lest I awaken the sleeping toddler and draw the ire of my wife. This week I had one such day, so I broke out Bullet❤️‘s boss battle mode.

Bullet❤️ is designed by Joshua Van Laningham, and published by Level 99 Games. This is a puzzle-y pattern matching, push your luck game with wildly variable player powers and bosses to test your mettle against. In a game of Bullet❤️ you choose any one of the eight heroines to play as, and another to act as the boss. Each character and boss has their own unique abilities and pattern cards. A round of the game starts with the player taking 10 tokens into their bag and filling their hand up to their hand limit, which is generally 3 cards. During your player phase you can choose to use your Action Points (AP) to activate minor skills along the left side of your player board, choose to activate one of your pattern cards, or draw a token from your bag. Each token, or bullet, that you draw from a bag has a colour and a number. You align the token to the matching coloured column, and count down the number of empty slots equal to the number on the token. Should the bullet hit the bottom row of your player board, it gets whisked away and covers one of your life points. Should all of your life points get covered, you lose!

Your pattern cards will depict several ways you can clear bullets from your board. Many will require bullets to be in a specific orientation and may require specific empty squares are observed, or that certain colours and or numbers are in the correct spots. Any bullets you clear from your bag are sent to the boss. Once all the tokens are out of your bag, and you chose to end your phase, game play flips over to the “Boss phase”

In the boss phase, a boss pattern is first assessed. This pattern searches for an orientation of bullets on your board, and will punish you if you don’t meet the criteria. Again, every boss is different and each will require different patterns and hurt you in wildly different ways. Once the boss pattern has been assessed, any bullets you sent to the boss try to break an enemy shield. Whether or not you broke a shield, tokens are taken from the central supply equal to the number on the bosses sheet (generally the more shields are broken, the more tokens get put into your bag), and play flips back over to the player phase. The player draws patterns up to their hand limit, reset’s their AP back to the maximum amount, and goes again.

I’m self-professed “Not a solo gamer”, but I will admit that the puzzly boss battle mode of Bullet❤️ has captured my heart and mind. The boss is quick and easy to manage and creates a challenging opponent to crash against. Of course, some characters are better at beating certain bosses than other characters. For instance, I played as Adelheid Beckenbaur against “3 – That Which Points” five times, and lost every single time. But the first time I went up against The Bauk, I decimated the challenge without a problem.

The multiplayer mode of Bullet❤️ has a real-time component, which I hope injects a level of chaos and anxiety into the mix. I absolutely can’t wait to play it with other players, and I’m even looking forward to exploring all the different bosses. I’ll try not to blather on endlessly about Bullet❤️, but you can look forward to hearing more about this game now that I finally have a copy in my hands.

Viticulture World

Viticulture World is the cooperative expansion for Stonemier Games classic, Viticulture. This expansion, designed by Mihir Shah and Francesco Testini turns the competitive game on its head by forcing collaboration. Now, in order to win, each player must reach 25 victory points, and collectively earn 10 influence points within 6 in-game years.

Viticulture World was a neat experience, it felt like a wholly different game instead of an expansion. It evoked nice fuzzy feelings to discuss and make plans on how we could all work together to ensure we would achieve our goals. Some big differences include limiting the action spaces to only two workers each, and forcing some of your workers to be dedicated to the spring or winter, unless you spend an action and some cash to train them.

We played the introductory Greengully scenario, which gently introduced us to the new mechanics of Viticulture World. I’ll be honest, even though the base game of Viticulture was the same, it felt like a wholly new game. I’m really looking forward to exploring the other continents, which are just a deck of event cards. The Greengully events definitely gave us a lot of assistance in ensuring we all would reach our goal before the end of the game. I have a suspicion that we’ll be playing this again very soon, so I’ll report back on my thoughts after a second play.