What Board Game Collective
Publisher of the Month
What Board Game will feature one distributer or publisher each month to take a look at some of their best games and discuss with the team what it's like to work in the wonderful world of board game distribution and publishing.
Founded in 2004, Repos Produciton is one of Belgiums leading publishers of family, connoisseur and expert games.
Below, WBG reviews three of Repos Production's best currenlty available games, but first, let's chat with Virginie Gilson, a Publishing Manger at Repos.
WBG's Top Three Repos Production Games:
1. Just One
If you like party games, buy this. If you like word games, buy this. If you like fun games, buy this. If none of these three apply to you, you should still buy this! This game could be the one that gets you away from that crunchy euro and perhaps just a brief break from the miniatures!
Just One is so fun! It can be taught in under a minute and played with as many people as you like (using some paper and pens). It works great over video call with only one person needing a copy of the game and it works for all ages. I play with my five and seven-year-old and my 72-year-old mother. All enjoy it. It is just so fun and in my humble opinion, is the perfect family party game.
The game is so simple. Players take it in turns to take a card, chose a word in any way their group decides, and then everyone looks at the chosen word bar the guesser. Players must write a single word clue that can help the guessers pick the word. The simple catch being that if there are any matches on clues, they both get wiped. So, you need to think of clues that will help the guesser but are not so obvious that everyone else picks it too.
For example, in a four player, the word could be “train.” Two people write “station” and one goes for “tracks.” “Station” must go as it has been chosen twice, leaving the guesser with just “tracks” to guess the word “train.” Possible, but obviously not as easy as if they had both clues. Maybe they think “prints” or “race” instead if they don’t have the “station” reference too. It really is as simple as that, but it’s so fun to play, creates some huge laughs and brilliant moments of fun
You can play to a certain score, or just for fun without scoring at all. The official rules say to get ten cards and try to guess as many from those ten as you can but that an incorrect guess means the group loses a card not yet chosen yet from the ten they have to start with, meaning a bad guess loses the team two possible points, the card you are on and another you now don’t get to do. Don’t play that. It just discourages people from making a guess if they are unsure. Why would you want to do that? It just makes that round no fun for anyone. Very odd rule. Just play for fun. Let people have a second guess every now and then if they are close. Let kids pick their words from cards that have more simple things on. A few house rules will make this brilliant for everyone. I absolutely love it.
2. 7 Wonders
There are certain games, like Just One above, that are must haves in any board game collection. 7 Wonders is another one of these and here’s three reasons why.
First, there is no other game that offers a mid weight gaming experience as smooth and as fast paced as this in a (up to) seven-player game from what I have seen. Unlike other games suited for larger groups, it doesn’t slow down the game or create long waits for your turn when playing in large numbers. The drafting mechanic means all players play at the same time and the player count has little effect of the overall game length except perhaps “banter!”
Secondly, the theme of this game is so good! It is not richly intertwined into the game, don’t get me wrong. It can feel a little abstract at times. But if you bring the theme to the game yourself by being mindful to the wonder you are working with and the cards you are using, it is so fun. I love looking at the pictures and discussing what I am building. Throwing myself into the theme of the game, As I said, it needs some work from you, the player, to make this happen, but if you do, I promise it will be worth it. I don’t go as far to dress up when I play, but I am not that far off.
Thirdly, this is a brilliant gateway game into civilisation, drafting and more heavy strategy games. It is very simple to teach and get started and feels familiar to non gamers due to the theme and art. As such, people generally have a good time with this on their first game. They may then look over your shoulder at the other games in your collection they might have previously dismissed and ask for a game or two. It may not go straight from this to Twilight Imperium with your non gamer friends, but it certainly could easily get them into Clank, Terraforming Mars, Concordia, Le Havre or Underwater Cities with the shared mechanics they have now comfortably learnt and hopefully enjoyed.
Interestingly, Repos are about to publish a new version of this game as it is 10 years old and they felt it needed a re-fresh. New art and some slight rules tweaks are tightening up the game all for the better. Only issue is the new and old version won’t be compatible so old expansions won’t work with the new base game and any new expansions won’t work with the original game. Shame, but it happened with Carcassonne too. Times move on I suppose. But which one to get now? I suppose the new print as it will be the one Repos support moving forward but you wont be able to use the old expansions, which are great! So, maybe the old if you want the expansions. The new copy if you don’t.
Concept, unlike the other two games featured here, may not be as well know by most, despite coming out back in 2013 and offering something that Codenames and Decrypto do. Perhaps this came out too soon. Before the market exploded. If it was launched now, I think it would become an instant classic and rise the BGG charts and live amongst its peers.
Concept is currently ranked as the 54th best party game on BGG behind games like Perudo and Pictomania. I am certain if more tried Concept, it would be a top 10 game. It feels so fresh and like Just one, can be explained within a minute and play with anyone. You can play with the rules and scores, or just for fun. You can play for as long as you like or to a set points total. It offers a free form group gaming experience that is just so much fun.
In short, the game asks players to get the other players to say a word or phrase simply by them placing cubes and tokens on certain parts of the board. The board is made up of a series of opposite themes, nouns or concepts! Hot-cold, big-small etc. Such as a cube on the fiction, rather than real-life sign, one on the red and blue colour scheme area, and another on the male side of the gender icons., may make you think of Superman. Pretty easy one with only four cubes. Sure, you may say Spiderman first, or maybe just sit there stumped on your first go, unsure what is going on, but trust me, you will get there eventually. And that’s fine. This is like Pictionary. Shout out as many guesses as you like until you get it. I have played with my seven-year-old and we always end on the harder phrases such as “Blind as a bat,” “Absent minded” or “Like two pees in a pod” as we start to understand each other’s style of play.
It’s a bit like The Mind or The Crew in this respect. As players get into sync with each other, the game becomes easier and you can ramp it up to new levels to match that. This creates brilliant moments that I know I will enjoy until I am no longer able to move little cubes around a board.