Plays the same as Africa, the only one in teh series I had played before. Hawaii and Alaska seem interesting but no one took them so hard to tell what impact they have. The map is more familiar to me, which was bad as I forgot to check colors of neighboring states.
Secret Santa 2007 Gift! Fun game. Similar appearance to its cousin, Twilight Struggle, but different gameplay. It's a little hard to know where you stand in the game (unless you can calculate states in your head or have a computer handy). The break up of the debates and the elections help the game move along and feel like you have mini-goals throughout.
Improves 7 Wonders quite a bit by neutralizing a bit of the luck, especially in the guilds that come up, and allow you to form a strategy before the first card is played. I really don't think I will play just the base game alone (unless teaching it to new people) after this.
Arguably, this is Glenn Drover's best game. While some claim it is a Puerto Rico-Caylus hybrid, I think it is better than both of those games. Game flow is very intuitive and while the first round plays very fast, it is just as easy to pick up the game from this round. There are many choices to make and paths to victory but not a lot of punishment for making the wrong desicions.
I also like the fact this game can easily expand to 6 players; because of this, I hope to introduce it to more people in our gaming group.
Rating after 1 game just so I can get my intiial thoughts down. Good game and well worth the wait. I am not sure if it is the game to take down Puerto Rico or my personal number 1's, but it is a fun game.
We felt the game played fast, almost too fast, but we were playing the family game. There were a few moments of blocking and taking what the other person wanted but for the most part, we were able to get what we wanted. In that sense, it just became a race to see who was more efficient.
There was a lot to think about and I took the shotgun approach. I only took negative points for not having my fields filled. It was a bit overwhelming to realize all the potential positive and negative points but I am sure with more time, it will become 2nd nature and more-crafted plans will develop. I want to get a few more family games in before delving into the Minor Improvements and Occupations. I think these items will help you focus a bit more on strategy.
I expect my rating to go up with more plays but I am comfortable with an honest 8.5 at this time.
Subsequent plays settles it at a 9. The full version puts the family game to shame!
A streamlined version of Union Pacific. Not sure if it will completely replace the original for me but it is nice for a faster game.
Not sure that I like the unnecessary set-up time by removing money from the bank and removing lines based on number of players. We followed the company removal for 2-players but both felt the game was way too short.
With a few more plays, removing Yellow from a 4-player game seems just right.
Along the lines of To Court the King, it doesn't live up to its predecessor. It's a nice change of pace and uses teh dice combinations differently. Two things keep it down for me. One is the luck since cards come out one at a time and may be useless until another card randomly surfaces. They really needed more than 2 phases. The other is that the +1 chip as a consolation prize seems pretty paltry. But do it thrice, and you can get another turn, which seems to be key.
I was looking for a civ-lite game and I found it in this game. Victory conditions are easy toi explain and the rondel seems to minimize the AP that games liket his can suffer.
The only draw back is explaining the conquering of a city. I can wrap my mind around it but have a difficult time explaining it to others. As always, the 6-player possibility is a bonus for me. A 2-sided board is also a nice feature that allows twice as much replayability.
The combination of stream-lined rules, bold artwork, and unique play makes this my favorite stand-alone game of the Carcassonne series. While I enjoy the simple fast nature of this one, I do wish there were more expansions to add. I have purchased a 2nd set with the hopes of adding a few Carc-inspired expansions. My only other "gripe" is that this version seems to suffer the most from the mega-fields; more roads are needed.
Unfortunately, this was a game I avoided because Lovecraft's mythos was completely foreign to me. The artwork and co-op nature made me bite. I was happy to find a well-rounded adventure game beyond my initial impressions. With so many investigators, Ancient Ones, and encounters, no session plays the same twice.
While the rules seem rather complex, I found that they were fairly easy to grasp within a play or two. There is still a need to remember all the maintenance, but it doesn't kill the game if you forget here and there.
I completed the collection by grabbing all the expansions. However, I am still enjoying the base game too much and want to continue to explore as much of it as I can.
I love Arkham Horror and would put it in my Top 5 games of all time. Curse of the Dark Pharaoh means well but falls short of the mark. There are too many unclear issues to resolve (confusing encounters, misprints, etc.) and a lot of awkward parts (scrambling to find pieces, looking for investigators not in the game. etc.). Some elements could have been treated differently - like making the Exhibit Items Unique Items instead. It seems that this was more of a fan-created expansion than an official product. But for all its short-comings, it is still playable. As an AH-fan, I would recommend it but I would rank it at the bottom of the expansions produced.
Two ways to play: Visiting and Permanent Exhibits. The Visiting method is supposed to highlight the expansion by removing all the basic encounters and alternating Mythos cards every otehr round. I didn't feel it showcased it too much so I will stick with the Permanent Exhibit when I play with it in the future. I also need to try the Herald version available to print from FFG's webpage. I think they will helop correct some of the unbalances between teh Exhibit and Unique Item deck.
2nd on my wishlist for AH expansions. I want them all eventually but figured I would go in the order they were produced. Plus, the base game is already more than my kitchen table can accomodate. Dunwich might be too big for the whole kitchen!
A very engaging game. It begins rough as cash dries up quickly but setting yourself up for the end game with multiple harvests is where this becomes rewarding. It seems this will surpass Agricola, especially in the 2-player version, with just a couple more plays.
I definitely prefer the drafting and recycling of cards over Agricola.
An interesting little "filler." I was curious why it was rated so highly when the turn options seemed so simple. But it makes for some intriguing decisions as you decide whether to reach for the next shrine or block around the one you protect; to maximize your builds, or sacrifice for more resources. And just once you think your plan is coming together, more land opens up and your back to hex 1.
Another Wallace winner. Though many tough decisions, the game moves. Lots to think about but the basic premise isn't very tough. With most of his recent games, a collection of black cubes that can hurt you, but these Loss cubes seem pretty manageable. I want to play this again soon.
This just seems to be a game of extremes. You either love it or hate it; feel engaged in the play or see too little interaction. I think the game is fun and engaging and have almost as much fun when it is not my turn.
I also think the game is a good gateway but feel it has to be played at least twice in a row during its intro. The first round seems to be a lot of rules and players trying to understand the effect of the myriad of cards. But playing a second game usually sells everyone on how easy it really is.
My quest for High Noon and other special card releases finally come to an end. I don't usually buy "complete" expansions if I already have a bunch of the cards. But when I first got the game, we played it so much that most of those cards are worn down quite a bit. So I look forward to picking this up to replace the old cards plus get the ones I missed.
Great trick-taking gaming with a twist. Trump can be called...or not...but not by the lead player. You show everyone what you are collecting...except for what remains hidden. Easy to teach but deep enough to draw you back. Quick play that will become the newest go-to card game in my group.
Akin to Carcassonne where you claim areas and those areas score points based on tiles. This is more mechanics than theme. It plays well enough with some thought going on in the order and selection of tiles to activate the vault or the order side. I think I would rather play Carcassonne though.
Being the first C&C game to be published, it broke a lot of ground. While the theme is still great and I anxiously await another company to pick it up (and support it with expansions), I think that the game has been outdated with the other games in the series. I think a few house rules are in order for a few flaws, though it is hard to tell what should be kept because of historical significance and what is improved game play in the other titles.
The one rule that needs to be changed in the future is the ability to order one unit of your choice when you have useless tactic cards. Another rule that needs to be looked at is allowing Infnatry to move 2 hexes if they choose not to battle. The game takes longer to develop when they can only move 1 hex at a time but may be refelctive of the period. The final rule that is questionable is eliminating a unit when it retreats off the board. It may also be refelctive of a unit being completely broken and going home, but it also seems too extreme when one flag can send a full unit with a general to the victory track with 2 flags.
Decent party game. The biggest thing lacking is enough question cards. After only 3 plays, we pretty much went through the whole deck of cards and I have learned most of the 1st and 2nd round questions. Plus 2nd edition did little to correct the probelm if a member of the opposite sex was knoweldgable about the "other side's" area of expertise. 1st edition, if a guy was a cook or a lady a sportsfan, they had this game locked up. 2nd edition, though I don't remember the categories, had similar problems.
I was a bit down on this game when it first came out. But I knew also that DOW wasn't giving us a completely finished product. With most of the rest of the foundation set, this game is finally getting to where it should have been.
While the theme doesn't quite grab me the way Memoir does, it has its own level of excitement in the Lore aspect. This truly is a unique game from the rest of the C&C series and will probably finish as the most magnificent of the bunch.
Epic improves the base game by giving you so much more room to play. Reluctant Allies is a great twist to adding more players. I would have rather seen a different means to mark them than card board tokens. Now we just need more scenarios in this format.
Wow, what a highly thematic game! Some of the downtime (when the space was clear) was a little long and drawing skill cards each turn was a bit of a pain, But even the downtime felt thematic as you waited with baited breath for the next Cylon attack. Although the first game out was a 2-player test run, accusations flew after the Sleeper Agent phase and it was pretty intense.
The only interesting aspect of this expansion is the Allies. The rest makes it too random and too hard for the humans. I find it is just more fiddly now and doesn't add much. I guess the new cylon ship mechanism gives a more regular cylon presence but I never felt the original mechanism was broken.
After several more plays, my rating keeps going up. It is a bot more fiddly and makes it much harder on the humans but I think the theme is even more integrated. I really like the CAG and Allies. The Cylon Fleet works well but does ramp up the difficulty if you just keep jumping instead of dealing with the Raider problem.
I prefer this expansion more than Exodus. This is a bit more tame and does "more of the same" better. I particularly like the Cylon Leader aspect as a replacement for the Sympathizer balancing mechanic. There is a good selecting of interesting characters that do not seem overpowered. Pegasus can become a damage sponge but a decent alternative for locations while it lasts.
After several more plays of Exodus, Pegasus does seem a bit lackluster than my initial impression of both. However, it is still a solid expansion and I like combining aspects of both expansions for the ultimate experience.
I get the nostalgia feel to the game, and for that it is worth a play. But the game can go through periods of doing nothing. Everyone tied so no heroes come along. Or if you get behind in a category, you can't catch back up. There are also too many "take that" cards that can also cripple you when you finally get something to do.
Joshua's First Game. probably Joshua's favorite game. I don't mind this as much as some of the others because it goes really fast. Only the special candy spaces add some luck but it doesn't seem as bad as Chutes & Ladders.
What a delightful game! This is my favorite light Euro. It is easily accessible to newcomers yet varied and strategic enough for frequent gamers. Each expansion also seems to add and enrich the game.
To be fair though, the base game all alone has a few shortcomings for me: the lack of a 6th player, the incomplete feel of a total package, and too short. Inns & Cathedrals make up the first two points while Traders and Builders takes care of the last 2 points. I rarely play the game without at least these two expansions. Even if I don't use all the rules, I keep all the tiles in the game.
So basic vanilla Carc probably deserves a score of an 8 for me. Hunters & Gatherers and Ark of the Covenant are the better basic games. But with the expansions, Carcassonne is impossible to beat.
If T&B and I&C finished out the base game for the complete experience, A&M looks to elevate this to Carc 2.0. It seems every aspect of the game is impacted for the better and I can hardly wait to add this into the standard Carc package.
A decent expansion for Carcassonne that adds 3 modules.
Castles are the best of the bunch allowing you to leech more points from others hard work at the cost of giving up a quick 4-point city. I'd give it a 9.
Bridges function fine but don't see a whole lot of use. Bridging a gap to continue a road seems less useful for roads that see too many tiles already. I'd give it a 7.
The Bazaar was forgettable. Auctioning was just cumbersome and doesn't seem to mesh well with the Abby or those who draw a tile at the end of their turn instead of the beginning. The random interruption also slowed us down. I'd give it a 5.
This is a streamlined version of the original that puts th issue of farmers to bed. It also has a clever addition with bonus tiles and a new concept of huts that gain points at teh end for the river system.
My only complaint of this game, is that the colors are too similar to distinguish the features - especially in lower lighting and if you are a bit tired. If the graphics and been more like the video game, this would be my favorite vanilla Carc game.
This is a must have expansion. Not only does it add the possibility of a 6th player, it "completes" the basic game and put it on par with the other basics Carc games like H&G and AotC. This set remains in my basic game mix. While I don't usually play this expansion when I introduce the game to someone new, it is almost always implemented by the second game.
Conundrum on this expansion. I keep it mixed in my other main Carc tiles and play with it everytime I play. So it should be a 9 or 10 for the amount I use it. However, the expansion was very disappointing in what it offered. It had the potential to add some real unique tiles instead of a rehash of what we already had. So for design and my ability to recommend it, I give it a 3. Overall, I'll place it a 4 and leave it at that.
This expansion doesn't add a whole lot to the game and probably doesn't deserve such a high ranking. However, it is played just as much as the base game. Our group likes it because it spreads us out to begin with (we play a lot of 6-player games) and helps create the better visual effect of the city.
This adds a bit more to the River experience if you have the expansions included. With a few more roads and buildings inserted, it also seems to break up the fear of the superfarm wrapping around the ends.
We play with both rivers usually starting with a 2nd one once the 2nd spring is drawn. If a lake is drawn, we house-rule the option to discard to the bottom of the pile if there are still more rivers and make it a requirment if there isn't an open river hex still on the board.
After Inns & Cathedrals, my favorite expansion for the Carcasonne series. The tiles have a permanent place in the basic mix. However, I usually hold off introducing the rules until the 3rd game.
We all have our favorite aspect. The farmers love the pigs and the knights love the builder. Mine typically gets trapped quickly so I sometimes reserve him for the roads - that way when a iget a "crap" piece, I can at least go again. Christie dominates the trade goods. Somehow, that is always her niche and she usually ends up with two of the three.
The impact to the system is that motivation to complete others' cities is introduced. Farms are given a little bit of a boost and everyone enjoys a 2nd turn.
Nice mix of Settlers and a Train game. I like the elements in the game that promote settlement to the west (free tracks, bonus gold, and moving resource numbers). Also good that you never get hosed on resources, picking up at least a gold if needed. Lots more decisions to make though ultimately you need to get your settlements founded and your trains running.
This is my favorite of the heavier Euros. There is lots of things going on and always leaves you with a sense that there is too much to do with too little resources. The interplay between all of the mechanics is finely balanced. Though I haven't played it many times, the games have been varied enough that I continually want to play more.
I am holding back on a full 10 because I have only played this with 2 players and a few 4 player games. I haven't fully explored the 3-player or 5-player options which I hear can radically change the game play.
I didn't pay much attention to this game when it was first announced. No interest in Warhammer. However, I got tagged to run a game for FFG at GenCon and so had to learn the rules without the game and only a week out to boot. Once I read them though, I thought this would be a good game.
After running it and explaining it later to my wife, I have to say this is an awesome game. It is very tight rules-wise and has an interesting valuation concept between the resistance and conquest value. There are just enough old world tokens to affect all the different aspects of the game while being able to keep them all straight. The interaction between the 4 Chaos gods is also pretty well balanced. The set amount of rounds make this a fast-paced game where you have to strike fast and grab what points you can while making sure you advance your threat dial every turn at least once, if not twice.
This game went from a "no interest" to a must have" in a matter of minutes. I think this is the sleeper hit of the Con for FFG. If it doesn't get its due, it is only because it is overshadowed by the hype surrounding Middle Earth Quest.
Joshua loves the game so I play it with him and will leave it at a 4. But of all the children games, I like this the least. Too much back and forth with too much luck in the big gains and losses. Once the boys are past this age, I'm dropping it to a 2!
One of my favorite card game. The game is easy to teach and most people grasp it after the first round or two. While some feel there is too much downtime, I stay engaged with everyone's action and trying to figure out the players' strategies. The game can drag with the wrong people - especially the closer they sit to the king and have more character options. For that slight inconvenience, I knock it down to an 8.
A good game in the C&C series. My least favorite because 1) I struggle keeping the units straight and 2) there is not a good forum environment (can't stand consimworld) and 3) it is hard to play this one PBEM with all the evade interrupts.
Because of 2, I don't feel I know the latest errata and clarifications like I do with BattleLore and Memoir. Because of 3, I don't have as many plays logged - and probably why I can't keep the units straight.
But a solid game none the less and probably the best match for the C&C series.
Another in the C&C Series, though it still manages to stay fresh. Once again, a few major tweaks introduces a whole new strategical approach. The units seem easier to remember than Ancients though Ancients uses a better marking system.
I have looked forward to this version for many many years and it lives up to the expectation.
Will take a few plays to completely sink in. Looks to be a solid game and my rating will probably go up. Need to wrap my head around transport canoes used for transit and used for control; but I think we played it right.
Production slightly under par for GMT. Discovery chits needed to be a different blue so they stand out (I think the designer said they should have been the color of the game board). Also, my ocean hexes weren't completely glued (front and back) and one has already fallen apart.
Fairly straight forward economic engine game. Cash seems a bit tight though to expand quickly so need to explore more efficient ways to generate income. First play was with 2 and was left a little underwhelmed. You obviously lose the tension of the Office auction, but the final score was competitive.
Interesting game. A bit random but love the bluffing and alliance making. I also like that destiny picks your target and keeps you aggressive in this game. No means to turtle as you have to get out there and fight. The shifting alliances and alien powers keeps it interesting.
Like Apples to Apples but with pictures. A decent party game that I just don't enjoy. It is too subjective like their other title, Say Anything. But this is a game my friends and family would like so I recommend it to them.
Interesting take on the worker placement as you have natural alliances but then must compete against those to gather resources.
The game is a little too tight in that there isn't enough time to get anything going before it is over. Perhaps with more players and more initial starting spaces, the game will open up and resources are more likely to be gathered.
Pretty standard trick-taker. Follow suit, highest card wins the trick. The neat aspect is the special function based on the suit. What you win with allows you to move Diamonds (VPs) from Spot A to Spot B: from the supply/showroom/other's showroom to your showroom/vault. Playing off suit also grants those abilities so you are actually relieved to cast off cards. After each round,t eh person collecting the most of each suit gets that action once again. So lots of moving Diamonds in the game.
The flaw I think is that vault (safe) Diamonds are worth 2 VP while showroom (at risk) Diamonds end up at 1 VP. While it takes a bit of manipulating to get Diamonds in the safety of your vault, they can't be touched which makes it hard to catch up to any perceived leader. Meanwhile there is a lot of stealing going on with Showroom Diamonds that tends to harm those already doing a poor job of safeguarding the higher value Diamonds.
It might be better to score those at higher points since that is the higher risk. So banking guarantees a lesser value to give you a more interesting decision.
Definitely adds time to the game and shakes up the decision making process. With 4 or less, I think the base game is probably sufficient and this only needs to be pulled out with 5 or more, possibly with 2 as only one reward is giving per location.
I am not a big fan of these types of games where you need to process info quickly and react before others. Some games do it better than others. Blink and Beep! Beep! are examples of doing it better and Jungle Speed is one that does it poorly.
Discount Salmon joins Jungle Speed in doing it wrong. The most annoying thing about this is the tiny grayed out symbols you are too look for. Nearly impossible to discern from any distance and something like the make-up is very indistinguishable from the toxic symbols used. Also given that there are potentially two symbols not next to each other with people tossing cards makes it even more difficult to even see what you are going for.
Perhaps if this could be corrected in a future edition, it might allow for another point or two to be added to the rating. But as it stands, that is 10-minutes of my life I wished I had back.
Plays fast and furious and allows for a unique experience that I could only find in CCGs before. I like the quick nature, especially with experienced players. Plenty of variety that the base game alone is still fresh for me.
A fun little "push your luck" diversion. We used the alternate combat which speeds up the game. The game is way to luck-dependent for me to add it to my collection between die rolls and the drawing of the widely varying cards/treasures.
More similar to the original than Candamir. I prefer the simplicity of only having to deal with 2 resources and the match/set of the influence cards. The board does get a bit too tight towards the end as you try to find space that isn't going to be expensive to develop.
Martin does deck-building; and he does it well. I like this implementation of Dominion on a Board where the reward is a physical representation of what you captured. I like the synergy of playing certain cards together and the asymmetrical nature of the two nations. The game ended rather abruptly when realized only one type of counter needed to be gone at the start of a players turn, so this will most likely impact our strategies for next time. Still, final scores were relatively close. Looking forward to another game soon.
Definitely a twist on the train pick up and deliver game. Quite the brain burner to juggle all your areas of influence, still turn a profit, and knowing when to hold and when to fold your tracks to the big dogs. And with most games of these types, never enough time to do it all.
I can finally fulfill my childhood (and adult) dream of being a fire fighter. Great co-op that does a decent job of capturing the spirit of the rescue in game format. So far we have only played easy settings and while somewhat challenging, not that difficult. Waiting to see what the right setting is for a tougher experience and if the luck will even out to the bad side.
This game just keeps growing on me. Finally played it with all the expansions and I think it may go up to a 10 soon. It is just a fun game that makes very logical sense. Get up earlier, get exactly done what you want, but be cranky about it. Sleep in, enjoy life. Buy paint, mix paint, use paint, score points.
I was first introduced to this game when asked to demo it for a convention in 2014. It is a streamlined dungeon crawler in space. I like the way upgrades are handled by building up a hexed up character sheet. The alien movement is interesting as well in that they jump from area to area instead of by individual spaces. The "programming" of what they do at different distances is also clever and gives unique flavor to the different types.
I really like this game. But I am afraid my bias towards Spain (I was an exchange student there) may contribute to this more than anything else. Unfortunately, I can't get my friends fired up about it though they all seem to enjoy it.
I am not a big fan of auction or area control games. But the blend of the two works well for me. I like the added suspense of trying to screw everyone through the action cards while trying to efficiently balance my moves from the provinces to my court and from my court to the regions. I also like the added suspense of the Castillo emptying during the scoring round and the "clearly I cannot choose the cup in front of me" reasoning when selecting their destination.
I have the decennial version but haven't gotten into the expansions yet.
I have wanted a fire game for quite some time and this is a decent shot at one. Interesting decisions to keep fire away from you but to risk your own districts to get something of value is necessary.
Played with the random colors. Only complaint from the group was that the random bonus districts seemed unbalanced. Some only scored 2 points while others scored 12. Those with 12 managed to get all the eastern districts.
One play so far. Interesting, but unforgiving. It will be a puzzle figuring out the best/efficient strategies. Unfortunately, I think it is too long and too prone to knowing the cards to be something I introduce often.
Played again 3-player and the game is infinitely better in this format. Instead of one player being punished with only 1 turn per round, everybody has 2 turns in a round and the starting player for the round gets a "bonus" round. The flow is much better with this slight change to the 7-turn round.
I'd like to get more plays before passing a final verdict. I think the dark side of the locations will make for a far more interesting game. There seems to be a lot more "take that" and swinginess than in the other SBG I've played. But I do like the area control and the bonuses for playing the same faction in their home or getting +_ 1 strength.
An okay WWII game. The art work is gorgeous. The tiles are a bit too busy with so much info - a double-edged sword for sure. The additional layers of rules just made it feel longer than it needed to be. I'd rather play Memoir and get a lot more plays in.
Pretty good game and I love the sweeping history on this one. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw on the epoch cards and the worn-out Risk-like battle mechanism shows me how much of a Euro-gamer I have become in the past few years.
While one of Feld's lighter offerings, I really enjoy this one. Quick to explain, quick to play, the game still offers interesting decisions as you decide in how you distribute cards for the round. The variable set-up presents a slight challenge in how to optimize the randomness.
Though Breese seems to only put out one game every couple of years, they are all solid designs. I enjoy the twist in placing your workers and the special effect each has. I think the production could have been a little better to help the game flow and think a better system could have been devised for what has been harvested or not.
A very meaty game to wrap your head around. The flow of the game is easy to pick up after a season or two but there are plety opf interconnected actions to think about. Probably my favorite of the key series.
I was initially luke-warm on this as just another dice roller. But it is quick, super easy to teach and really displays a push your luck feeling. Even the best laid plans can be foiled by your final dice roll. Even though I am enjoying the base game, I am really looking forward to finding the expansion to add even more layers.
An interesting version of Lost Cities. I like that it can be played with more than 2 and that it simplifies the concept of a negative cost to opening an expedition. Only played the 4-player game so hard to tell if the 2-player will be better than the original game.
Interesting game with a lot going on. Seems more forgiving as you usually have the option to pay for what you need or have some consolation prize. The board can get a little fiddly, especially when it is slick and the advisors starts spinning. But another winner from Dorn.
Just felt like rolling a bunch of dice with such random results. Felt like there could have been much more to this and hoping we played it wrong. Might as well play paper-rock-scissor. Half the time and twice the satisfaction.
The game is pretty broken. You want to win? All you have to do is read the clues in a robot voice (like a bad 60's movie) and people can usually pick up on the clues right away. Once we figured this out, nearly impossible not to blow through the clues and pile up a bunch of correct answers.
All time favorite game. I love the era, I love the C&C system, I love the components. In particular, I love the abstract battles where I can keep all of a unit's attributes (movement, battle dice, and range) in my head. I also like the variety in all the scenarios and the endless possibilities of the expansions. DOW has also established an awesome community that enhances gameplay and allows for new opponents via Vassal. This is my all-time favorite game and will remain so for quite some time. With almost 200 plays, I am no where near the end of all the scenarios nor has my enthusiasm declined from the moment I opened the box.
A solid expansion to a great game. EF has managed to take a few tweaks and make a very unique experience in the world of C&C.
First, I love the visual impact, along with the W/D board, or the winter battles. I really enjoy that aspect that screams EF to me.
The second is the use of more units and more involved terrain. The battles are really drawn out and engaging. Most of my longest sessions have come from this expansion and they are worth it.
Next, I really like the introduction of the Snipers. They give just enough harrasment to keep things interesting. If you don't deal with them, they can eventually take down a unit. And if you spend the time to go after them, they don't grant you a medal.
Finally, the Commissar rules are very unique. For me, this is a frustrating aspect of the game as too much can happen from when you place the Commissar's card to when you actually play it. But as much as I dislike the concept, it do appreciate the flavor it brings to the table.
I tend not to rate expansions as high as the base game. However, I think this is an exception as it really adds a new level to the game. Though the games tend to run longer since there are more orders to carry out, I actually find the gmes are shorter in the sense of actual turns. With the epic sense, it leaves you feeling that this is the way Memoir '44 was meant to be played.
Perhaps it was the hours spent maximizing the US attack againt japan in Axis & Allies, but this was the must have expansion for me in M44.
As with the other Army expansions, the feel is unique in this game. Where PT has its strengths is in the bloody feel of the battles. The slight tweaks to the IJAgive you the sense this is a battle to the death. And while not as interesting as the IJA, the USMC rule activates more units for more carnage.
I also like the new terrain and corresponding rules, such as the jungles and headquarters.
This is probably my favorite of all the expansions.
Another winner in the Mask trilogy. Choices are a bit more focused here and the board will get fully developed as calpullis get locked down and force you to move around. Score stayed fairly tight throughout and the board leaves a wonderful vista at the end.
I was not a fan of auction games but I am finding myself more drawn to them recently. I especially like the variety of auction mechanisms within the game. Easy to teach, quick to play, I will lean on this for a great filler.
It's Monopoly. It tries to speed up the game by giving each player a role and starting property. it also has VPs as a means to win and places a value on each property and what has been developed. But then the game slows as you have to go to the video and watch the segment. Some were entertaining but all were much too long for what they ultimately gave you.
If I had to play "regular" Monopoly, this would be an OK choice. But I still think U-Build It Monopoly is a better choice at this point.
Interesting Tile-laying game that stays dynamic with the shifting attention of the visitors. The added bonus of the permanent benches is a nice side-goal. Played as a 2-player and the blind auction mechanic works well for that number.
What a great game! I love the artwork, love how simple it is to grasp, and love the combos that can be put together. It can be a slaughter-fest but in a good kind of Small World way where you can at least do what you want with what you get out before it goes away. Easily the best design from Small Box Games.
This is the best of the drawing games for two main reasons. 1) Anyone can play. As the name shoudl indicate, this is more about doodles than drawings. Everyone can draw a recognizable cat or dog and that's all this game asks. 2) Eraser board! The biggest drawback in most drawing games is having enough paper. And you feel cheap telling everyone to use the back - not because you don't want to spend the money for the paper, its because its a pain to locate the one that goes with the game. Markers can run out but they are much easier to replace.
Another in the dreidel series. This one is different as you use the dreidel for movement and for actual combat against Nazi guards. Spin the dreidel to knock them down hoping to get bonus results as well. A fun diversion!
Alan has designed another solid game. It is much more chaotic and abstract than his other games but still offers the tension of wanting to do more than you can. The chaos comes from the other players pushing walls and switching control markers. Randomness comes from drawing the cards that restrict your placement options, and the random scoring opportunities in the deck. Scores were tight throughout the game and seemed everyone had an chance to steal the victory at the end.
While I really enjoy this game and find it quite fun, the game is just too luck dependent for it to be a solid winner. Two more games tonite (10-MAY-08) drove the point home. Played three other games with this couple prior so they were familiar with the strategy and rules. We went with 5 epidemics in each game. The first game we won in about 5 rounds as the cards just kept coming up in our favor. The second game we lost in that same amount of time due to too many outbreaks and ill-timed Epidemics. Both games felt too hollow. Rating dropping from a 9 to 7.
At first glance, it doesn't seem to be very much to it. But once in the game, it does a great job of creating the tension and frustration of a real football game.
Though influenced by the luck of the dice, it seems to accurately reflect the ease some teams have of driving down the field in one series and then going 3 and out in the next.
The game really shines with the expansions that tweak the teams just enough to make it feel like you are playing the Colts or the Bears. My only complaint with the expansions is they come out so late in the season and reflect the previous year.
However, I also admire the designer's support of this game. I particularly enjoy playing the Super Bowl challenge each year and helping predict the winner.
There are some games out there that you just don't think are interesting from a theme-perspective. Then you swallow your pride and take a shot at it and you kick yourself for not doing so earlier.
I love how everything has been implemented in this game from the auctions (which I rarely like in a game), resource management, and the constant calculations I have to keep in my head. This game also scales extremely well and still feels like the same game whether at 2 or 6 players. And it is always a bonus when I can have any 6-player game without forced expansions.
While this game seems to take some time to crank out, it doesn't seem like you spent so many hours playing it. This game is deserving of it's high marks.
Interesting mix of cards. Though the cards were shuffled into the deck, 3 of them popped up early and back to back, including the Flux Generator which constantly stayed in the future market.
Theme park helped get more cities connected (since we didn't make it to Step 3 this game) and the Warehouse helped screw over the resource market. The two events came out early and had little overall effect.
It seemed to drag the game out a bit but not too much since there was only 1 actual power plant added to the mix.
China: Makes for a very different gaming experience in that the plants are pretty much scheduled to come out in a certain order. Scarcity of plants, especially with more than 4 players, really makes you rethink your strategies.
Purchased it because it was #1 for so long. I thought it was a clever game and we really enjoyed it as a 2-player game. We then realized how brutal a multi-player game can be and haven't touched it since. It never hooked me like so many other selections from the top 10.
More of a novelty game with the magnetic pieces moving around. You can see the mummy but he can't see you. He knows he has you when he hears the distinctive click. The board isn't big enough to drop 5 clues to the Mummy where you are.
Another excellent Breese design. All the parts fit together seamlessly as you build your little ocean cycle. Growth takes death feeding it and it is interesting to see the waves of action during a turn. The shifting dominance and values of the coral inserts enough chaos into a real thinker of a game.
First Play, 2-player: It was an easy game to explain and we had the rules down pat within a round. As play progressed, the subtle interaction of picking up cards or playing them vs. creating more empty spaces is intriguing. I look forward to more plays.
Biggest gripe is a runaway leader problem. I think between evenly experienced players, this will be less of an issue, though that may devolve into a scripted opening. My bigger concern is introducing this to new players and most likely crushing them in that first game.
First play was with 2 players. It was decent but really needs more, I think, to let this shine. Because of the 5-player limit, this doesn't usually fit our group. But I am determined to get more plays in soon.
I have been wanting a race game for a bit and this seemed like a great theme. The rules seemed pretty straight forward (once I wrapped my mind around drifting through the turns) and we were up and running quickly.
I see that the game could summer from too much AP, especially with a larger group. It took my quite a few head scratches trying to negotiate the first U-turn. But I also think with more plays, I would have left myself better cards and a sharper sense to resolve it more quickly.
All in all a fun game and I look forward to playing it with more.
I wanted to like this game. Star Wars. FFG LCG. What could go wrong? The mechanics seem decent but I just don't have fun playing the game. I just don't feel like I am playing a *Star Wars* game or that my actions even remotely resemble the SW universe in any way.
Netrunner screams theme: I feel like I am attacking an evil corporation or defending it from ne'er-do-wells. Game of Thrones seems like a bloody treacherous war. Lord of the Rings punishes the adventurous fellowship. All of these game sessions tell a story that are set in the exact world they represent. SW:TCG does no such thing.
I definitely prefer this version of the game over the original. There is enough other things going on that it keeps my interest even when I am losing. My only complaint is that it can get a bit tight in the 4 and 6-player versions as you run out of space to colonize and have to focus on other aspects to gain the win. It forces diversification, but if forgotten can lead to a late game stall.
I tossed the insert and created my own foam-core insert to fit all of the expansion in here as well.
Fun game that I thought would be similar to Pillars of the Earth but played nothing like it. It was more enjoyable than a brain-burner and had some unique scoring situations. The one thing I am unsure anout is the massive amount of points scored at the end of the game but after a few plays, you realize the importance of the Civ cards.
This is probably the best worker placement game out there.
Interesting concept. As with most games of this length, there is more going on in the rules than the actual game play at any given time. Steep learning curve for the Invader, especially the first games just trying to remember everything that can be done.
Quick twist on the card-drafting mechanism. Easy to follow scoring and enough variety on scoring options to keep it interesting. The Chop sticks is a nice touch letting you sacrifice a turn now to be able to grab two cards later and make a more potent move.
Pros: Plays well. Has some nice synergy to it as you get some bonuses for getting certain cards together as multiples or in combos. Has an interesting "personal" deck that injects some powerful but balanced "unique" cards. Probably biggest pro is the ability to move VP cards out of your deck into a "reserve."
Cons: Print is WAY too small to read. Too many piles in play to start with. Theme. I don't get it. I am not an anime fan. I feel dirty for playing it even though it is basically PG. But going beyond that, no clue what I am doing. Just collecting a bunch of maids to work for me. Ummm ok.
So-so: Borrows heavily from Dominion. Might be a plus, might be a negative in that regard. But it is a basic: 1 Action, 1 Buy, Clean-up, Draw to 5 game. Cards give you the +X draw, +X Action, +X coin, +X Buy. Hearts = Coins and in same denomination of 1, 2 and 3, but they all cost 1 heart more.
Quick game that seems to play best at a full table. There is a lot less control of what you can do to influence the game except talk. So this is even more dependent on communication than many of the other social deduction games.
My preferred gateway game when introducing new players to the boardgame world. They all seem to struggle with the "take 1 of 3 actions" but quickly get the hang of it and are usually hooked after one play.
The only downside to this game is it only supports 5 players and my typical group is 6. Luckily, we have a copy of Union Pacific, which is similar enough but a much more enriching game.
Great map for 3 players. Just enough tweaks to make this interesting as yet another different version. A lot more small routes but with everything so interconnected, it is more than made up for with the ease of completing destination tickets.
Also had a different feel from Switzerland, which tries to accomplish the same goals.
I need more plays to further comment but I think this is my favorite Knizia. Though most see it as a typical pasted on Euro theme, I actually think it is one of his most thematic games. There is a lot going on under the surface and while simple to understand appears to be very difficult to master. But I enjoyed the first tense play and look forward to getting this on the table with gamers that I know will appreciate it.
I am no fan of Yahtzee but one couple in our group loves it. I was hoping this would be a good compromise and it has worked well! I enjoy the added strategy of figuring out how best to manipulate the dice while they still get to roll a handful of them. Sounds like when we "figure out" the best contingency of courtiers, it may turn into a race game. But since this will be an occasional filler, I think it will have more longevity with our group.
A very fun "deductive" type game. This is easily introduced and explained and an over all success. The only draw back is the limited risk in the push your luck aspect. I'd rather see the curse cards shuffled back in after being drawn.
Own The Princes of Florence Module (01/13/2010) Own the Notre Dame Module (09/29/2010) Own the Louis XIV Module (05/20/2011) Own the In the Year of the Dragon Modules (05/20/2011) Own the Witch's Brew Modules (08/13/2012)
Necessary addition to the game with more players (even with the base set of 2 to 5). Before, the tribune was the most challenging of the victory conditions because it required multiple steps and factions. Now the new module adds more crafty ways to get victory points.
Excellent worker placement/resource management game. I like the twist on this one where you can get the same cards (resources) at each location, but get them in different ways. I also like the multi-step progression of getting the cards in order to get the factions in order to collect the winning conditions.
A very mathy game. Another good use of dice in a game. Takes a twist on Stone Age that instead of choosing where to go, then rolling, you roll first and go to the most efficient use of the pips. Also nice that there are a set amount of dice no matter the number of players and you can "borrow" as needed.
Looks to be a solid design with enough variability through the available Activities and events to keep this interesting.
Only complaint so far is the board layout. I am fine with the art direction and think their choices were good. However, they could have done more to make the "boxes" on the board more integrated with the artwork. Many games like this have blended form and function much better than here. Also, some of the iconography seems a little inconsistent. Nothing game breaking but slightly distracting.
My first and favorite CDG. The game is easy to learn but difficult to master. I find the individual actions to be remarkable accurate on such an abstract level. I also enjoy reminiscing of the events being a child of the 80's - especially once the late war deck is introduced.
My reasons for not giving this the full 10 is that I am worried about eventual replayability. With such a tight deck and more familiarity of the cards, I am afraid it may become too scripted. However, I really enjoy it now and look forward to many more games.
Best family game of 2010. The components are top notch with colorful graphics. It is easy to introduce, quick to learn, but offers enough of an edge in competition and strategy to hit the table many times.
Ticket to Ride is a good game but falls short for me in two areas: it is a 5-player game (where most of my game groups have 6) and it is just a bit too light. Union Pacific fills those shortcomings quite nicely. There seems to be a bit more strategy with the options available and the tension is much higher as the unexpected dividend rounds come up. This is fast becoming one of my favorite games.
I want to like this game more but the chaos is not a good thing in this game. The rich get richer and it can be tough to catch up to the leader. Though a random event can put you back in the lead, it has more to do with luck than strategy. Only using half of each deck lends to great variety between games, but it also seems to unbalance things: the cards that might be used to tackle the leader may just never come up. The random ending borrows from Dominant Species but again is too random compared to that game. At least DS still allows you to react and plan for the end as someone has to actually execute it as an action.
I will keep playing because I want to like this and I hope some strategies develop. But it is not quite the game I had hoped it would be.
This was a great little game that promised to have many plays. Unfortunately, we bought Stone Age shortly after and it has overshadowed this one. When we want a short, meeple-themed game, that one usually goes first.
However, the game was solid and offered some interesting choice of strategy. The theme isn't what one would expect of a Viking game, but it shows they were about more than just pillaging.
Sorry this one sat on the shelf so long. It really is a fun little game. Dusted it off after 3 years and still enjoyed it.
Horrible first experience with the game. Too much going on that was not intuitive enough. My girlfriend threatened to never play it again and I had to agree. We are going to give it one more shot someday as we both wanted to enjoy this game so bad. Our first practice round a few weeks prior to the actual game went off well so we are not sure what happened in the actual game.
This game was included as a freebie in a Pozy.com order. I wasn't too thrilled about it but we gave it a try one day and found the game to be incredibly entertaining, especially since everyone we have introduced it to gets pretty involved. Though the game plays better with around 6, we have had decent success with it up to 10 so far. A great, fast-playing party game that most people can pick up pretty easily.
Awesome party game. There are a few of us in the group that love trivia but since the others can't compete, prefer not to select those games. This is a perfect fit for both groups. We enjoy the challenge of the tough questions while they enjoy betting on our often conflicting answers. Since teh questions are so far out there, we spend as much time discussing the answers as we do playing. A truly socializing success.
Since this game will be compared to Pillars of the Earth, one can confidently claim they are nothing alike. Instead of a worker placement game to gather your resources, you play 1 of your 12 action cards that are from your own deck. The distribution of resources by the starting player is interesting though seen before.
There seems to be a little too much emphasis on gathering the resources that you are "taxed" at the end of 6 rounds (a chapter) so your moves can be somehwat scripted, especially in the firast couple of rounds. Once you protect yourself from losing VPs, then you can focus on the game itself and try to pull ahead.
The game is interesting and an improvement over PotE. While Christie thinks it is the best new game in a long while, I still am somewhat lukewarm on it. Luckily it plays rather quickly - about 20 minutes per player once you get the mechanics down. So with each play I it has grown on me a little bit more.
This is the most refreshing game I think I have every played. The use of the dice is a clever twist that allows one more control over the luck factor. There is also so many paths to score points. When the dice don't favor me, I can stay in the game with card draws. Gold elludes me, I can focus on the caravan. Not getting the neighborhoods I need, just build. I think I have used a different strategy everytime I won. It's fresh, it's fast, and it's lots of fun.