Simple abstract to learn and has interesting gameplay. I would have liked this much, much more if there were different board versions available (like Rumis) to provide more variability and higher re-playability.
This is a streamlined, fast-moving "Euro-wargame" highlighted by a "Fog of War turn order" sequence and the "Flee" mechanism. The tide of war can change quickly from each faction's turn and I love how the end game trigger is determined by one side's Treaty cards. The game has high tactics, medium strategy and your positions are not very secure, from turn to turn -- in fact, you're not even sure when your faction's next turn may be (you can go 1st in one round and be last in the next round). I also really love how the dice probabilities of each faction is unique and very thematic. The tension is high and the turn angst is excellent. A very addictive semi-cooperative wargame with a high fun factor.
Update (Nov.2013): For 5 players, play 1812. For 4 players, play 1775.
18xx are railroad wargames with financial themes. I like the ideas and mechanics of this and several 18xx games, but I find the gameplay not very fulfilling. The learning curve is too high for my preferences as there's a lot of screw-your-neighbor nuances to learn or watch out for. I just simply don't have the inclination to invest all that time into 18xx to get decently good at it. I prefer Age of Steam as a railroad game much, much more.
18xx are railroad wargames with financial themes. I like the ideas and mechanics of this and several 18xx games, but I find the gameplay not very fulfilling. It also takes way too long to finish and with so many good games I just simply don't have the inclination to invest all that time into 18xx. I prefer Age of Steam as a railroad much, much more.
I have the Take 5 edition. "Oooh, No! I've had enough steak!" "Hey, want some steak sauce for those cattleheads!!" It's good fun with large groups and I'm always laughing a great deal on my way to avoiding or getting all the cattle heads.
A fabulous civilization card game that is fast, fun and highly interactive. Has a similar mechanism of cards-pass-to-neighbor like Fairy Tale and Magic (but I don't have to collect rare cards and take the time to deck-build).
[This was easily my favorite prototype at The Gathering of Friends 2010.]
"Toss It In The Trash!" is a fun dexterity game where you can score positive points by piling everything in the trashcan without any spills, or you can score negative points for spilling something over. Fun and quirky and just do not bump the table when playing.
This is a real classic masterpiece by a truly great designer. I think I really like this with a full complement of 6 players. Better to warn newbies about why one should merger only if you're in first majority and in some cases 2nd. This gem takes a good deal of getting used to so there is a learning curve to it. Then, of course, there's the never ending debate of open holdings vs. closed holdings... I prefer open b/c I don't believe this should be a memory game.
The 1999 Avalon Hill/Hasbro premium edition is superb and best edition thus far. [posted as of Dec2009]
I also tend to have a great time with Wolfgang Kramer's Tycoon, or the Rio Grande version of Shark (aka "Acquire's evil twin brother"), or Alan Moon's Union Pacific - for which they all have some similiarities with.
A fun little dungeon romp that's similar to Indiana Jones complete with rolling boulder. My only question is with replayability? If they publish more boards or scenarios, then my rating will probably go up higher.
it does have randomness, no doubt, but it's not as high as one might initially think. observation is key since mid-game, there are lot more options and opportunities. there are some subtle skillful plays that would sway victory.
A game of the ebb and flow of empires in and around Sumer. There's quite a bit of resource management and a low-level of wargamey-ness involved. Military units acquired from era to era, ebb and flow so they are never carried-forward, unlike most wargames, since each era is several hundred years. Calculating all the resources that you need is like doing mental gymnastics or flowcharting and does require some planning or calculated thinking involved (is the most difficult aspect in the game, at least for me). You also have to allocate your Workers well to plan for military & resource claims. Most cities have a unique special ability/power when you control it and each era has advantageous armies w/ different startup locations. So, selecting, claiming and maintaining any/all of these could be key to whatever strategies you pursue. I found that the "A attacks B, and C attacks A to win" triangle problem was a non-issue with respect to this type of 3-player game. It's fairly deep but not overly complex and our first game clocked in at about 3hrs w/ learning. If you want a rich, deep and balanced 3-player game in your collection then ATF will probably fit that bill.
only played once and none of us knew how to play so we played straight from rules reading. strategies weren't apparent to any of us so we just tried different things. probably got a few things wrong in the process. however, it didn't seem to wow any of us on the fun factor scale.
Essentially an engine/building game of acquring ship cards in order to send those ships on either, (a) voyages for income, or (b) expeditions for victory points. The tricky part is that there are six ship types of values 1 to 3 and when you send them for money, those ships return but if you send them on expeditions/VPs they are permanently done for the rest of the game.
It has some similar mechanisms compared with Caylus but with three added layers of randomness. I suspect that some of the building tiles are a bit more powerful than others but again, timing is crucial.
I absolutely love this and it's my favorite railroad-themed game. It's a bit on the heavy side and the expansion boards are excellent and perhaps a bit better as the map was more carefully revised for more balance.
Ireland seems great for 3 and Southern England scales pretty well for 4 thru 6. I love AoS basic and these variant boards just adds to my zeal of the game even more. Look out for that de-urbanization action in Ireland (pretty nasty)... In So. England map, London is the only red city so that weights heavily in long-term plans and makes setup a bit more important.
Scandinavia is really tricky with the Ferry power - a really nice twist to AoS that's even nastier than the De-Urbanization power from the Ireland board. Korea is also an interesting twist - none of the cities have a fixed color, they are the color of whatever cube/good is in that city. Therefore, each city usually has multiple or changing colors as deliveries are made and cubes move off the city map. I like Scandinavia a great deal. Korea has an extra AoS randomness factor with the cubes always changing/rotating so I would only play it ideally with 3 (4 is okay).
Both, France and Italy boards IMO are best played with three or four players. France has Paris, a multi-colored city (all but black goods can be delivered there) and it produces all cubes on half of the display chart. Italy is a long narrowish pennisula-like island, where any black goods cube delivered will be minus 1 on the income track for each link of that particular player.
South America is El Presidente's territory! Building costs are high (mountains and rivers) and money is tight for an interesting map that plays very well with large group (4-6 plyrs). China seems to be good with 3 to 4 since building costs are extremely high (many mountains and also extra costs of building into a city for 1st time). There's a reason you start China with 20 money.
Northeast map seems mainly good with three as it seems board position is screwy for the fourth player. Production is out and the "Speculation" action is in. Speculation gives a special +1 income bonus, to the deliverer, of a given good of that color.
[update 2009] I now prefer Le Havre more than Agricola but somewhat willing to play Agricola with five players.
An excellent deep, or should I say, "wide-angled" game with plenty of choices, options and strategies to pursue. The first half of your game is based upon how efficient you are at combining the 14 cards that are randomnly distributed at game's start. As of this writing (Nov. 2007), I can't but help think that there will be a more streamlined/shorter version of this later on down the road (i.e.- Power Grid).
I really enjoy Union Pacific so this is highly similar, except for at least two major upgrades. I love how smoothly the game now runs/administrates with the stock charts of tracking the price of each stock (airline). Also, another major improvement is how the tactical board of adding lines and extending an airlines stock value is much better than U.Pacific.
However, there is one aspect of U.P. that I prefer and I would want to incorporate into Airlines Europe, and that is to have 4 Scoring Rounds (instead of three). And, I would use the advanced rules of U.P. with equally weighted stacks when preparing the deck. Overall, an excellent and streamlined implementation of Union Pacific... packing an already good game with the same punch in less time.
"Blimpie Dice" or "Zeppelin Dice" has a good fun factor to light game. I probably wouldn't play this w/ serious, deadpan gamers. As dice games go, I'm rather fond of it since there are usually fun (gambling) decisions to make and try for. It is a dice engine build-up game, where you want better (tech) cards to improve/upgrade your dice rolling. The end is usually clearly visible, or it can be sneaky quick if you don't pay attention to the different ending possibilities. There are a good deal of decisions and they always involve dice probabilities. With so many choices and bad luck being mitigated with "+1" bonus chips, the game doesn't feel completely like an utter luckfest even though many dice and cards are involved. Led Zeppelin should be played in the background during this game.
A chemistry game of creating formulas with ingredients and scoring victory points using your opponents' formulas (you can't use your own). Acquiring ingredients in the interim efficiently is very important.
I thought this was just merely okay and wouldn't want to play it with more than four players. But, now with the expanion set(s), the game play it more dynamic and improved significantly overall. The major negative and disappointment is that the card backs may not be compatible with the base game depending upon which printing of the base game you purchased (see my comments in the expansion comments)...
I like a few things from the first expansion and a few things from this 2nd expansion. The great thing is you can mix and match and tailor to your groups' tastes. In this 2nd expansion, I liked the Diamond cards, the Characters and the Archways but I thought there were too many of the Encampment tiles.
The first expansion makes Alhambra a better game, at least for my own interests, and especially the Huts tiles. Huts increase the strategy for the game overall and alleviates some bad luck factors. I thought the original was just simply okay but the Huts make it more competitive for 5-6 players. Downside, for purchasing it, I REALLY don't like the fact that Queen made the backs of the cards for the expansion ONLY "compatible" with the last current printing (3rd?) - the card backs on the first two printings are not compatible with the exchange cards portion of the expansion. Putting all cards in sleeves makes it 3 times thicker and more difficult to shuffle. That's a major deterent in my wanting to buy the original game...
I like elegant designs and choices (great combination in gaming). This is nice push your luck with semi-blind choices.
Instead of 1 to 6 on the die roll, I would have suggested 1 to 5 with a star, on the six-sided die. (Star is player's choice.) Of course, the cards would need to be changed to 1 through 5 also. Or, add a (star) small deck of cards that can be rulebreakers and/or events.
An intriguing little network/travel connection game. Card play and planning for when each particular event cards arises seems as important as knowing which knowledge tiles to try and collect. Grabbing huts early is the most economic path to excellence. I kinda like it, but really want to like it even more than it basically is. I think the game would be greatly enchanced and better served with an Expansion Set (publisher/designer: hint, hint) to add *more* replayability and flexibility to groups' tastes. For example, there could be a larger deck of Secret Mission cards that would avoid experienced players from memorizing the missions. Mutiple sets of Event Cards could be flavored to give it more variety (with different sets, players could choose which set to play with or even which combo of events to play with). Expansion boards or modular pieces that make up a board could be fantastic. It's an open enough game (like Ticket to Ride) that variability and variants can be used, role cards could be introduced, or variant event cards could be generated for greater options.
A territorial game of chess queen pieces. You cannot capture or reduce your opponent's pieces but rather resort to blocking or locking them out (and in doing so you've cut off a section of the board from yourself as well). You have to think positive and negative space at the same time with each move. Easiest way to play is grab a Shogi board (10x10) and use black/white pieces from a Go set...
I think this game is over-hyped. I'm usually a fan of Knizia games but this one falls short for me. As an auction game with a good deal of bidding, winning at it really comes down to the deck of power cards and who manages to draw luckiest, that is, whoever draws cards "MOST appropriate" to their circumstances will win every time. I've played it many times and winning or losing "always" comes down to the lucky card draws. But, this is a BOARD game isn't it? The mechanisms are great though. Evaluating what to bid on each territory is very interesting and I like the auctions. The most consistent way to play seems to be to build as many blocks while buying farmers & cards and hope to get luckier than the next person. The game does indeed have a great production quality and a really nice presentation, but I just can not "overlook" the fact that this game is really disguised as a "Draw The Right endgame Power Cards". There is not other randomn/luck factor in the game so it essentially all hinges upon that one stack of cards and what other players discard. I'd rather play a card game or something in half the time, or if I like these types of auctions then I'd suggest Vegas Showdown to be played.
Another stellar game from Ystari. This euro game has a multitude of paths to victory and each path is multi-tier as well. A splendid game of both offensive and defensive moves that can help yourself while perhaps helping your neighbors too. Beautiful art and components blended together along with excellent game play consisting of multiple combination of mechanisms makes this a top-notch euro game for me. It is loaded with options from the beginning and multiple strategy points.
I like the game's mechanics and there is something to think about during downtime. It seems like another hybrid version of Entdecker, with elements of Settlers thrown in. My biggest gripe against the game is how long it lasts.
This has the typical appearance of a Civ-like boardgame. I wanted to like this more but I totally favor Mare Nostrum a lot more. Antike feels like I am taking "baby step" turns in a very repetitive fashion. There is planning involving tactics and resource management. I don't see how a game of this can be won without involving some wargame elements, whereas in Mare Nostrum, that could be won with making one single attack (which I think is a strength in terms of game design AND replayability). Not too bad but not really my cup of tea.
To say that this game is "deep" and "thought-provoking" is somewhat of an understatement. Lots of bits and building features to consider but don't lose sight of your game winning goal (which you choose).
I was told that this is a "thinking man's Metro" and that seems a fitting moniker for this quirky tile-laying game. But, I'd probably prefer calling it a "thinking man's Tsuro". It's more enjoyable than Metro/Tsuro because it's a longer middleweight game.
If you had to re-design Santiago (an excellent game) for lighter play with push-your-luck mechanisms, you probably would end up with Aquadukt. I think this is a very good light game with some tough decisions which accumulate towards the end. Yes, luck (a 20-sided die) potentially plays a factor in helping you or hindering you but skill and preparation (knowing when to roll dice to play houses versus knowing when to place springs/rivers) is very important. If you rely on pure luck thenI don't think you don't really "get" this game (one could make the case that Can't Stop is luckfest too). Preparing for the opportunities of placing rivers or placing houses is key. Another approach to keep in mind is to play as many of your low tiles so that when you are lucky enough to roll an irrigated region, you can play a good tile (b/c your low tiles have been exhausted). It's also a lot of fun to blow up a region of your opponents' valuable but non-irrigated tiles. Sure luck is intrinsically involved (in a push your luck game like this or with similar games like Can't Stop) but there is also a good amount of skill and decision-making. If you play poorly (skill-wise), you will be heavily-reliant on luck to climb back in or do well. I prefer this with the basic rules and don't add in the mountain +/- adjustments (on the back of those tiles) which involves more chaos to final scoring. I see this becoming another push-your-luck favorite of mine...
I like this a little bit better than Zooloretto b/c I think there are significant minor improvements to the fundamentals of the "Gameretto series". Looking to trying Aquaretto with Zooloretta combined together as the rules suggest.
It was okay at best for me. I think I would tinker with a different number of special cards for something to suit my tastes more. Otherwise, rules as written makes for a randomn game b/c of the Thief cards and Catastrophe cards.
Deduction party game at it's best. [See my added thoughts for Ultimate Werewolf.] The gist of this social-psychological party game lies in learning how to navigate and negotiate a discourse with a mob mentality of villagers (some whom are secretly Werewolves, and some are villagers with special abilities like the Seer, the Hunter, potion-carrying Witch, etc.). This is totally about social interaction, observation, conversation and group politics with hidden identities. Trying to determine who is whom is as vital as convincing others you are telling the truth. It is great to play with the right crowd/friends under the right circumstances (i.e. partying atmosphere at around midnight with a full moon). Aaaaahhhh-uuuuwwwwwww.....!
Ok, everyone, the big storm is coming so start loading all the animals and provisions two by two onto the Ark. It's quirky fun and fascinating with fabulous art by Doris... It takes a little while to adjust to and understand the "flowchart-like" rules between the inter-relationships of all the animals & provisions cards and their effects on each another in the Ark. Also, don't tip the boat over - no overloading allowed.
A really delightful card/tile-laying combo strategy, layered with a multi-tier scoring/timing mechanism. Everything is based upon the tactical influences of placing your workers. It plays very quickly once you get the hang of what you can do, it all goes dynamically quick. End game is big. Timing and opportunity are as vital as determining accurately what your opponents' are planning to place influence on and when/what they wish to score.
Has very good production quality, lots of bits, multi-card decks and a big board; Fantasy Flight revision has added like twice more to every layer of the older Chaosium edition. This new Arkham Horror can sometimes be long for my tastes with too much downtime if played with new/slower players. When played with experienced or decisive players, this really works well, and if you've read the books, it is really rich in theme.
Has very good production quality, lots of bits, multi-card decks and a big board; Fantasy Flight revision has added like twice more to every layer of the older Chaosium edition. This new Arkham Horror can sometimes be long for my tastes with too much downtime if played with new/slower players. When played with experienced or decisive players, this really works well, and if you've read the books, it is really rich in theme.
Love the beautiful bakelite components and cute frogs. I think I would want more advanced design/rules. As rules are written, I suspect it might have a limited number of plays before it becomes stale. I think player screens would help as would a few more rules wrinkles added for fun factor to those who have played several times.
I appreciate this nifty unique racing game a little bit more each time, the more I play it. Nice little multi-player unorthodox racing game where players traverse the world. Reaching the final destination doesn't guarantee victory. The race is measured by days, so fewest days usually wins. Card management and board tactics is important in finishing early. What makes 80 Days "unusual" compared with other racing games (besides the fact that taking an elephant trip is faster) is that you aren't guaranteed victory just because you arrive at London first. To qualify, you must be one of the first 4 to finish (all other laggards are ineligilbe). The winner is whoever makes the global trip in the "fewest days" before the game ends (when the 4th player reaches London). Box for this game should have been halved and is a bit oversized for the low quantity of components in the game (there's more air in the box than game bits).
I'm a big fan of Tahuantinsuyu but this one left me underwhelmed and, for me ate least, too long for what it is. Mechanics didn't seem to mesh or interact well to buildup tension as I expected when rules were explained. Everyone seemed to always win enough chips needed to build their one receipe each round (so I didn't find any difference maker in bidding decent or extremely well or in hoarding chips). I noted that whomever begins first can actually hold onto being first player for the rest of the game if they kept bidding their high card consistently. I'm not a huge fan of Goa but I think I much prefer Goa to this.
game seems to try for the right balance of spiders versus ants but uses random cards to strike that happy medium...? doesn't seem to have a whole lot of choices for me so i'm a little underwhelmed by it. perhaps expansion(s) will improve this base game.
interesting connection game of managing tiles and seems optimal with two plyrs. with experienced players, it mainly comes down to placing all your tiles down efficiently (getting the right cards helps a great deal)...
There are so many good trick-taking games out there that this one just doesn't manage to standout in any way. The game works okay but I don't really enjoy the combination of randomness/chaos in comparison with tricking skill. Each round may come down near the end and optimizes for whoever chooses the correct trump - and this does necessarily help the picker.
Money gets you influence cards which allows you to bid. It's mostly a blind-bidding game with a few limitations on trying to slow down a runaway leader (who ever manages to get upgrade their VP track early on). It's also a card collecting game where those who have money will benefit more, so it can be frustrating in not getting enough/right cards you need to come from behind. This was the major issue I also had with Louis XIV (same small-sized Alea game).
This has brief similarities with games like Web of Power/China and Kreta and IMO, you absolutely MUST play with the Windmill. Fly you plane all abouts "Down Under" disbursing your rangers into Australia's national parks and efficiently use your actions for area influence, triggering scoring bonuses, influencing the Windmill and accumulating dollars for victory points. In the 1st half of the game, everything builds up superfast as all players jockey for the best camps & ships. In the 2nd half, things start to plateau and level off as the larger Industrial tiles get more attention as players pursue VPs with limitations on their ranger supply and old positioning of camps & ship locations. A fair amount of luck is in the game but also a fair amount of skill needed to put yourself in good positions for the right opportunities yo maximum rewards.
Lots of fun with bumper cars and best with a large group of 6+. If players are really prone to analysis paralysis, or if you prefer less information, I highly recommend using cards instead. A card set from 6 Nimmt! (or Category 5) should suffice since they have cards that run from 1 thru 88 for eight plyrs.
When I'm in the mood for a lengthy medium-weight tactical wargame, this one hits the spot. It helps that the old (1984) Milton Bradley Gamemaster edition was a classic for me during my college days (played that one weekly). Now, this new one with new map makes it more interesting.
A slow tension-building, take-one-piece-off-at-a-time from a teetering flat platform dex game. The game ends eventually, so make sure you count the pieces before playing so that when they all fall down on the floor, you can check for all the pieces. I prefer to play this with the variant/advanced scoring method that considers the weight/sizes of the various shaped pieces (basically mark each piece with a number for it's weight). Most grams or points wins. (See images #78940 and #78941. The pieces are easily discernible so just print out a copy of the two photos that show all the black & red shaped pieces and assign points by weight of each piece. Most points by grams is the winner.
Another game where you have 3 choices and it's best when your choice isn't anyone else's. Try to outwit your opponents. Rating is based only on 4-plyr version of the game. For me, that seems to me to be the ideal way to play it.
Also, I recommend playing it with a rules variant (and IMO, a more balanced game): only one die is rolled at the beginning of each turn so that ALL players move that equal number of spaces rolled. Therefore, the only way to get ahead of anyone else is by picking the "Roll Die" card/role instead of being lucky. In the original rule of each player rolls their own die (so if a player gets lucky & keeps rolling high, there is not much need to choose the "Roll Die" action). My rating is based only WITH this variant rule.
I'm a playtester on this numerous times. I think its a highly innovative deck-building mechanism layered with several features that make it quick-paced and tension-filled. You are both GM and field coach, so utilize your strategy and tactics wisely.
After each baseball game, each team has a chance to draft/demote for better quality players based upon the attendance (income/sales) generated from the game just played. This allows each player the flexibility to improve their team for future baseball games using the deck-building mechanism.
So, BBH is a series of baseball games as each player pursuits the World Series pennant. Each baseball game filters (play a card) into a handful of actions that represent the "highlights" of a whole baseball game, rather than a play-by-play simulation (which is usually drawn out and prolonged in excess).
This game has a distinguishing way in drafting player(s) through deck-building a team (so no two teams are alike), demoting low-quality players for better ones, and a good deal of tactics as you work your path towards a World Series finale.
Although I liked the Modern Zeiten theme better, this revision worked fine. It is essentially a turn-based timing game with an auction mechanism used to for majorities end scoring. A group can easily get through this in under an hour if they have all played before.
It's like a two plyr Tetris with various geometric shapes and it plays very quickly. Good fun that you could play with kids and teach youngsters about "spacial" or shape skills. You can play several games of it in half an hour.
excellent 2-plyr Schotten-totten with specially added tactic cards. some don't like the tactics cards added but I think it adds more strategy and flavor (remember, you could only use 1 more tactics cards than your opponent uses, if s/he uses any at all). since the randomness comes from one deck, I like having another deck to potentially compensate (re-balance randomness with another deck so to speak). the advanced rules usually increase the likelihood of (more) tactics cards used.
It has a few issues when played in large group of 5 or more. Too much downtime even with Pang. Also, the yellow wind card (?) that allows you to steal a card from left neighbor should be from right neighbor. I played a five player game where I was last, and essentially lost a whole turn b/c my right neighbor stole two cards from me and depleted my hand.
An excellent improvement on the Battle Cry/Memoir '44 combat system adding more defensive "group" strategy & tactics. And with the fantasy theme, it adds the council for different magic cards along with other layers into the game getting it close to the middleweight class.
I love the theme and TV show, and this is an excellent game as well. The difficulty values are not scaled according to the number of players and this leads me to believe that 6 players is optimal for BSG with a slight variant (extra human card, which adds a little more doubt!).
Adding Cylon leaders to play is really cool. Great 3-D basestars. New characters are fun to try. It seems so hard for the humans to win, now and even more so with Pegasus expansion. (This isn't necessarily a good or bad thing.)
A boardgame that is disguised as an RPG where players choose a character and role in part cooperation of a spaceship that must complete it's mission. It's much like playing a Star Trek crew member with a mission run by the GM. There are lots of fiddly little rules and exceptions, so knowing the rules book is really helpful in speeding the game along at a good pace to minimize downtime.
It reminds me of Guillotine with an extra layer and everyone have equivalent decks. I wish the endgame with finish one round earlier b/c you really don't have a choice of what card to play (or you're making a double choice in the penultimate round). Shortening it one round, I think, would improve this light game overall and not outlast it's welcome.
It seems this game could be played offensively and progressively, or it could be played defensively. It is really a lot of work for what was projected to me as a "light game" and although the mechanics and game seem okay in and by themselves, it didn't really seem all that much fun to me. Maybe it's just not my cup of tea.
There is definitely a gambler's element involved with this style of game. I was left unimpressed thinking that the randomness of the Risk options plays *very heavily* on players/the game's end result. Additionally, there's a good deal of randomness with the hidden Scrolls, ranging from low (1) to high (3) values. I think that there is "some" strategy as one can easily "try" to plan ahead by looking along the track and plan for future cards needed, but one can not rely too much on one's hand for any duration (except maybe the last leg of the track) so you need to take the Risk challenges whenever appropriate or suffer scratches/wounds when coming in last and next to last at particular bids. However, should one like gambling games (i.e. Manilla) then this just might be right up your alley. The presentation and artwork and bits of this game is nice.
It's a neat, light exploration game which goes from "individual" gameplay and shifts into a "team/co-operative" style by rolling into a randomly determined monster scenario (of which there are 50 different types). This is probably it's best feature, so depending upon which scenario/special monster turns up, and which player becomes the traitor, nearly every game is different with a different set of winning conditions. The board tiles are modular so the haunted house is also different every time. There is, with this kind of game, of course, a fair amount of randomness but also some "luck by preparation" as well. This game reminds me a great deal of another haunted house tile-laying game, Chill Black Morn Manor, but this is much better as it's more balanced, rules are clearer/better and it is a cool "magic fun house" romp creating a fantastical haunted house with lots of fluff. This may also possibly draw comparisons with Fury of Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer games. I really enjoy the quick gameplay and especially the theme as light games go.
One of THE most beautiful bits & components of all my boardgames. An excellent 3 player game (with 4, control is decreased considerably). I somewhat describe this as a game of "offensive Medina". It has more luck involved (with card draws) but skill is also needed to do well while blocking opponents when necessary. I think Medina is a better & purer, but longer. This is short & sweet and satisfying. I'm very intrigued about the "Bigger City" variant where you play with two sets of this gorgeous game. Probably plays at it's best for three players only for less chaos but I can see doing this with four in teams of two each (hey, a new variant - this game is so open for variants).
An area influence game where certain locations are worth more points that others but there are multiple paths to scoring. Both times, I played this was with the 5-6 Plyr expansion (which I've heard is the best/ideal way). Once I played with the cards and once without cards (to cut learning curve for others) and both games were interesting and very enjoyable.
The miniature ships are fantastic and really super cool! Artwork and production quality are wonderful and theme is nice with good mechanisms.
After a couple of plays, I really wanted to like this game more, but in the end, I just feel it is just deterministic and opportunistic. My hand really plays itself and I don't have many interesting decisions. I don't feel like I have any plan and I'm just trying to "make the most of my turn" in gaining as much money by either using my pirate on merchants within reach, or by using a navy to sink a pirate within reach.
It usually takes two or three turns to score your merchants move and delivery (if they have not been robbed of their goods).
I hope I'm completely wrong but I find this game is 90% tactics and 10% strategy.
This is a very innovative or unique trick-taking game with board game tactics added. And, it also has several boards and board overlays to create more interesting variants and varying replayabilitiy. If you enjoy trick-taking with an added board element/tactics, I highly recommend giving this a shot. The theme is good with players being hackers (info tech) trying to infiltrate a network system.
This is comparable with Trains where Trains is equivalent to "Dominion or deck-building plus a board". This is trick-taking plus a board. I suggest customizing the card deck and scaling it based upon the number of players in order to suit the groups taste on randomness. You can moderate this by changing the quantity of each # (three in each # versus standard deck of four in each #). Or, by changing the range of values # (for example, use #1 to #10 instead of the standard of #1 to #13). With four players, we only utilized half of the standard deck in every hand. That's a high degree of randomness, if your group is okay with that.
Nice cool little animal figurines for a light game. I enjoyed the first half way more than the last half. I especially did not like how the endgame works. There can be bottleneck issues where a player deliberate does not play on one particular field filled by other players' cards. This unresolved field forces other players to place cards in other fields. Now, as a strategy, this is fine but in implementation with rules as is, IMO it does not work very well at all. I would volunteer a variant where any player can commit one, two or even three cards to any field that is not closed to them. The rule of only allowing players to place one or two within two turns on each field is limiting and cause chaos and randomness that is not common with a Reiner Knizia design.
Nifty little fixed-sum auction game where players alternate as auctioneers to bid and acquire currency cards for majorities and face valuations. There is little bluffling involved b/c of the auctions. I tend to believe that the blind chicken cards should have a higher negative points value (if not paired with a golden corn) to allow more bluffing and balance out good auction draws versus bad auction card draws. Right now, card draw luck is very high.
A wonderful abstract game which I often describe as "multiplayer Tetris". Extremely easy to learn (literally in 60 seconds) as only you try to connect/touch on your own corners and never connect/touch along your own edges (opponent's edges are ok). I found that it has a special universal appeal with casual gamers, non-gamers, kids or gamers alike. It's easily one of my favorite gateway games to introduce others with.
I think the game needs to be shorter for what it is. The rules as is, makes for a highly potential degressive game and there isn't any mechanism that makes it progressive enough to end or climax for a shorter game. BF can last the whole day if one or more players choose a defensive scheme. One way to make it more progressive is to change the corruption markers and rules relating to it. Although the theme is good, b/c of it's similar combat rules, I would easily prefer to play Axis & Allies. There are other mob/gangster theme games I like much much better.
BM City is a card-driven building and influence game that has some multiple CCG-like powers/elements. Some times it's better to build cooperatively with others and some times you'd do well to build solo. It is a very enjoyeable dual-usage cards, area majorities game that scales well 2, 3 or 4.
I think the origins of Liars Dice/Perudo was from South America. It's best "approached" as a fun party bluffing game. Bluffing is the best part of this. There is a "push your luck" element, combined with bluffing, determining probabilities, and choosing when you have to decide whether to "challenge" a bid or bid "higher" (or force someone into that situation). I love doing the "no-look bid" when I make a bid without looking at my dice... What a hoot!... If you like this, you may also like Pow Wow aka Coyote.
This is a nice game for young kids to learn spacial recognition in a way that is similar to 3D version of Tetris. [It's also a nice adults game of having a few beers/drinks and see who is still capable of making the correct pattern in an efficient amount of time.]
A fun little spring-action visual dexterity filler game. You have to visually determine which pieces can be taken from the board without triggering the tension of the board crushing wall. Plucking larger pieces are worth more than smaller pieces but triggering the spring-loaded wall is a penalty...
It's a really neat lightweight auction cardgame as boardgame and is reminiscent of Citadels. As with most any game having cards and dice, there is a element of randomness involved but you have some control within this framework. You want to generate VPs by building mines, saloons, winning mayorships in various towns and using other events cards (like dynamite!) against your opponents'. There's a neat innovative auction feature: the winning bid is distributed in counter clockwise fashion while turn order for card selection goes clockwise. Don't forget that money are VPs as well so you're using VPs to try and generate more VPs. I've played it with six players IMO it works fine.
There are close similarities of Bootleggers with El Grande (bid cards, majority influence, action cards, designated family areas). I prefer El Grande and believe the predessor is much better of the two.
An excellent economics connections game (canals and trains) that is very different and very original. However, it's got a learning curve to it and it has lots of fiddly and meaty rules here and there and plenty of little details and difficult to learn from scratch. It's highly recommended to be taught by someone who is very experienced and knows all the intricacies really well. Brass is essentially two games in one (using the same board twice in slightly different ways) and using the same building generators. Everyone starts with the same capacity of building tile stacks but strategies and opportunities can vary greatly. The first half is the canal phase and the second half (consisting much more of your score) is the train phase. The economics aspect of the game lies with the players trying to increase income by building ports, coal, iron, cotton and shipyard companies. The only knock is that it can create analysis paralysis with certain players, which would bring the game length to a slow crawl, adding an extra hour or two.
I'm not a big racing fan but this one I like. It mimicks the concepts of drafting/slipstreaming fairly well, only slightly similiar with Um Reifenbreite. Also, this is an indoor track race in three scoring segments. Considering the components, I wish this were cheaper. If you've got six play Breakaway and if you've got four, I'd lean towards Um Reifenbreite. For something lighter, try Formel Fun (with the Turfmaster Variant posted).
Play is similar as an Agricola or Puerto Rico style of game. Unlike Agricola or PR, it doesn't seem to be deep strategies but I've only played once and using just the Basic Lab. It has more horizontal flow than vertical depth, in terms of building an engine and beer output. It seems like its a mistake to try and produce as much beer as possible. Ingredients are difficult to accumulate in our 4-player session. Maybe the Advanced Lab has deeper nuances... Overall, it's a solid game with plenty of moving parts.
very dry and dull for me (and I'm an abstract fan). didn't really see the point of it? it just wasn't very fun to play or to solve it. it seems all about trying to kick other players off each village while everyone just tries to do the same dull thing, so if that's the case, I'd prefer El Grande, Mammoth Hunters, etc...
A very enjoyable and cute short game. It's classic Herr Knizia as you must use what are essentially "victory points" on the bears to finish the race. The more you spend, the less you'll score - but is it better than NOT scoring (or scoring negatives) any of your own bears?
Plays best with the Reverse-direction variant (same number played switches from clockwise to counterclockwise, or vice-versa). It's a nice filler with some chaos fun that best with six or five players.
Feels like reverse-pinball or gravity-pinball (slow Pachinko), where step-by-step you try to get the balls that released from the top and have them drop, bump and fall into your designated area. There are lots of blockers and bumpers that can be played during the card rounds to detour the balls into your basket area. "Kids friendly game with the right crowd once in a while" type of game.
I think I like this a little bit better than Sid Sackon's Bazaar. The board is superficial but I like having it. It's a short set collecting and payout formula planning game using blind-bidding in determining turn order (bidding too high will cut into your profits but bidding too low may not maximize your choices). Three months of cards are revealed to show what the set collecting options are in the upcoming rounds. Very clever and best if you play the game quickly (not meant as a long analytical game).
I'm not great at word games but this was neat. The Scrabble-like tiles are a really nice touch but I can't help but think how it might be more practical to have cards instead... The game is so elegant and open that it's extremely flexible to variants and house rules.
a good 3-player heavy, euro-mechanics wargame by one of my favorite designers. rules were a bear to tackle on the first session but game works fabulously where interaction between players is fascinating.
A fun party-styled game in the theme of gangsters trying to outwit each another by staying alive to get as much of the cash loot as possible while surviving the hail of bullets or gun bluffing of others. I liked this much, much better than Bang! and this festive party game should be hoot when played with the right crowd.
An excellent filler game and advantage goes to people who have great memories or able to track cards well. Regardless, I don't have that memory skill and it is a lot of fun to try a few different things by (1) trying to make matches & cut down on your cards or (2) minimize your score or (3) screw the leader by swapping his cards. I'm sure you could bluff as well but I'm not experienced enough to attempt that just yet.
The theme is interior design but it's really a tile laying light strategy game. Do you take money and make things less costly for your opponents? Or, do you spend now, buy the tiles you really want and hope your opponents make things cheaper? It's works very well in theme and there are some interesting choices to make throughout the game. In any case, I really like it but best with three (four if you include the expansion tiles). It compares favorable with Alhambra and I suspect I like this more b/c it has similar gameplay and decisions in a much, much shorter time.
An historical simulation of building canals but it's essentially a building and connections game (or a train game if you will). It has a slight feel of Age of Steam (which to me is a good thing) but there are major differences in mechanism & game play. You can control one of five engineers at any given time (they have different advantages) and you have an equal set of tile mix to use for the whole game. You can never build with the same type adjacently connected to each other (there are four types of canals). Each new contract must be accomplished with new builds and you cannot use old canals systems (even if they are yours) to finish the new contract. Move and deliver goods can use anyone's canals as long as they do not visit the same colored town twice and must finish the final leg on your own canal. This is an excellent game with an interesting variety of contracts and networks to build that begs for replayability. However, I belive the board and contracts are imbalanced (except with 3 players). After over a handful of sessions, I'm starting to feel that the middle western portion of the board is an important network of towns to connect and run deliveries to; to the point of it being an optimal or very powerful strategy...
Update: Having played the 2nd Edition with five players, I still feel the changes have not improved the game for five.
Don't let some of the minor score track comments deter you from grabbing this one. A great, and IMO underrated, 3-D building game. It has my favorite game mechanic of dual-use cards (do you spend to build or save to bid on auctions?). How do you use your cards? How high do you build? Which cards do you pickup? IMO, works best with four plyrs.
Base (vanilla) rating is probably a 7. An excellent game to introduce non-gamers, newbies or casual gamers but I prefer Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers best. For a Carc-on-training-wheels version, just skip or eliminate the farming rules if you think that the inexperienced players/kids could not handle it yet. With the plethora of expansions, you should a la carte which ones to add. Four or less should keep the game from being excessively long. It's pretty cool-looking to watch the whole landscape of Carcassonne build out. I always think of this when Le Tour de France stage hits this town in France. [The extra half-point to 7.5 is b/c I never play just the base game so I added it for when expansions are thrown in.]
Prefer this a bit more than the original basic game. H&G usually serves as a better Gateway game since non-gamers usually don't understand the basic farmer scoring rules (can cities get counted twice, etc.) whereas the 2 endgame scores, the hut networks and animal meadows, are easier to calculate.
the dragon throws an interesting chaos factor into the game while using the faerie as a counterstrategy. the princess lures a knight away from cities, which usually impacts greatly the influences of large & medium-sized cities.
nice idea to throw in mechanics to allow for two tiles in one turn. trading goods add a dimension where you may wish to complete a scoring feature even though it does not benefit you in the short-term.
This is essentially Carcassonne with some gambling involved. It is nice if you like Carc and I think it might be more fun with a dice-rolling "Casino" variant instead (roll die/dice when moving around the wheel).
A pitch-by-pitch baseball simulation game using a standard deck of cards. What a delightful card design by the great Sid Sackson, originally published from his Gamut of Games book. The main objective is hand management and it really simulates baseball fairly well. There are certain situations where tension builds up pitch by pitch b/c you have the "cover the field" (hand mgt) in case the ball is hit but you don't want to over-play your hand to walk or even strikeout the batter. The game takes over an hour for a full nine innings though.
This is currently my 2nd favorite (to Lines of Action) in Gamut of Games.
It is BEST played with four players! The game is fairly basic when starting out early. Creating some footprint on the ground floor platforms when building. The game starts to really be interesting in the middle of the game, as people start positioning themselves for long-term scores. The final third of the game is where players are really competing (using pillars) to attempt to achieve one or more of those super high-level builds that generate large scores! This is an elegant and pretty game with some nuances. There is flexibility on using your bonus track to manage one's dice luck (or lack thereof). A really tricky game and very eye-pleasing to watch as the game builds out and up.
I think I may prefer this if the decks were setup differently (and it can be done so, as a house rule or variant). I like the mechanisms and options. I wished that the decks split up more based upon characters versus buildings and you can choose what ratio to have in your hand at start of each round. Game as is, the characters and buildings are all mixed up with each other in both draw piles.
If one draws way too many characters or way too many buildings (later more likely) than I think that can be a much tougher game to manage.
In essence, this is a "team deduction" card game with a blind co-operative mechanism. It's a semi-cooperative but you don't know who your team is! Players are trying to determine who is part of which faction (two teams) by actions taken and using magic items and special powers to deduce who is on their team. Winner is the team which has a member stand up and shout out in declaration whom they are aligned with, who are their fellow teammates and can display that they have acquired the necessary possessions required for victory. If the declaration proves incomplete or partially false, then their team loses.
The multiple layers of randomness (draw cards, draw monster tiles) really didn't do it for me. It offers a mildly interesting trade phase and how tiles are awarded (based on kill) versus cooperative defense of the castle didn't have a good mixture or semi-cooperative for me to enjoy playing it again.
It has a similar feel to Settlers of the Stone Age but I think this one is a bit better. There might possibly be an optimal strategy towards the second half of the game when players begin Conquering cities (certain cities/areas are more ideal for their resources). The 2 VPs card for both your armies conquering four cities is a bit too powerful. I think it should be something like 1 VP for three cities each or 2 VPs for five cities each.
I like the "deck of dice" aspect (even though rolling dice in Settlers really doesn't bother me) but I'm not sure that the events themselves are equally fair & balanced - perhaps it's just me opinion of what should be balanced. The events seem to add more chaos (not unlike rolling dice) and I'm not entirely sure it's for the better...
It's a fun, light dungeon romp. I prefer the alternative rules of different stacks (similiar with Attika) for more a balanced/have more control (or a method that has less randomness or probability of what you select from your own stacks).
I think it's an excellent game with much going on but it is just NOT my cup of tea. I really admire the splendid design but I usually prefer some or a little more randomness in my games. Since it is long and prone to analysis-paralysis, I'm just not as head-over-heels about it as most folks are. It is essentially a game that has two optimal strategies toward victory and is susceptible to group-think. I would've preferred it to be 45 mins shorter than it is (and there are lots of lengthy games I much prefer).
An interesting abstract that is very interactive. To me, it's somewhat similar to playing chess with dice as limited queen pieces ping-ponging on a cylindrical board. Moves along fast and the replayability of it intrigued me enough to want to go again after my 1st game of it. Capturing, splitting dice and transferring energy points make for a useful blend of balancing strategies.
An obvious classic and enjoyed it in my junior H.S. sci-fi & chess club days. Never got great at it and don't wish to spend the gobs of time to master (provided I'm smart enough to?). I use my set for games like Lines of Action and other neat abstracts that require an 8x8 grid. I prefer to play the much shorter Chinese Chess.
A light track-laying railroad game with auctions for limited company shares. It reminds me a bit of a lighter Steel Driver or lighter Stephensons Rocket. Plays very differently with 3 players versus 5 players (since game starts with four major railroad companies). At several times during the game, you really have to bet wisely on which railroads will profit the most and the game varies on the # of dividend payouts (rounds).
rules needed much more clarifications and could be organized better. play was somewhat interesting, not too terrible, but i felt like a few extra tweaks/variants could be added for a more balanced/strong gameplay. with Betrayal on House on the Hill and Arkham Horror, i'll not likely ever turn to this one.
This is referred favorably as "3-player Tichu". I've taught this to non-Tichu fans and they enjoyed it more than Tichu since you are mainly playing for your own victory (non-partnership). I like the theme of The Chimera versus The Hunters and the rules for allowing to flexibly add "a kicker or kicker pairs" to Triplets makes learning or going out easier to resolve one's hand. It's still has highly similar amount of depth and strategy as Tichu, but Chimera is quicker, more flexible hand management and thus easier to learn/play while still being a complex enough card game that skill will usually win over luck.
I usually prefer the crayon rail games that have a significant twist or plays very differently than just changing the map. This was okay but the western half of China lacks major cities and b/c of the length of territory to cover, I'm not sure it is as efficient as the eastern half of the city (one of the optimal strategies is to use a north/south network in the east).
It's hard to rate this after one play. I thought there might be some end game breakdown issues but we might've played it incorrectly (we played you may flip the number of tokens up to the dice roll but not mandatory).
An excellent, simple and elegant negotiation game. I'd recommend this & Bohnanza for a light to mid-weight negotiation game with Traders of Genoa (also great) for a deeper negotiation/trading game. I tend to favor this game with less than perfect information or a Hidden Goal variant (i.e. - end game bonus reward for businesses on a certain street), especially with serious players. Another option is to keep tiles secret and reveal only when offering to trade or placing on the board. This way, there is less perfect information.
This is an interesting CCG variance from Magic. Tiles make it look fancy and artwork is cool. It probably could've been square cards but I kinda like this as tiles. Combat methods and "stacks" mechanism makes this very different from Magic (plus it adds tactics). Wish there was a way to choice which starter sets you purchased to avoid potential double buying of the same sets.
I usually only like to play this without the Warlord (#7). Yeah, demolishing buildings is fun but no Warlord makes for a more progressive/buildup game that plays to a faster conclusion. Otherwise, it could go on and on longer than necessary. With a large group there is significant downtime and this is a bit annoying for a simple straightforward game so perhaps fewer players is more my cup of tea...
Played it four players and I was usually last in turn order. It's an 8 turn game, and I felt I only had one good turn and most of my turns had very few interesting choices b/c the other players ahead of me choose earlier than I. I would try it again but only with 3 players.
This is a thoughtful-population planning tile-laying and growth/control game that requires careful attention to citizen migrations between all players' cities. I suspect that being the central player on the map board raises the highest potential risk unless it is a powerful city. Turn order is important as it seems mostly better to go last. IMO it would be more balanced if all players move citizens and then limits are imposed in finality of that phase. Overall, I think it is a heavy game but lumbersome (over 2.5 hrs) with a good deal of long-term nuances to think about. Might possibly be best with 5 players or 3, but probably not 4 b/c of how the map is adjusted (no modification for 4?, hmmm...).
Seems interesting in my one play of it with four plyrs. I thought it had several mechanics from other popular German games but the synergy of them didn't really wow me - maybe I'm just missing something more to the game. One plyr compared it with Web of Power, which I thought was a somewhat "fair" assessment. I'm not sure if there's much long-term control or whether you just have to be flexible & opportunistic as to what face-up tiles (buildings or markets) are available when it's your turn. On a minor note, I didn't like the color contrast, or lack of contrast between player and guilds - they should've been different or should've been the same tokens matching the symbols on the tiles.
An interesting combination of goods majority scoring, buildings & resource management and deck-buying/building. Occasionally, it takes some planing/time midway to determine which cards to buy. Probably not wise to play with analysis paralysis players though and, not so bad with 2 or 3 players.
It's a nice game but it's a bit too analytically long (with 100% public information) type of game for me to enjoy so I probably won't re-visit it again. It's pick-up-and-deliver and I feel I'd rather play a meatier train game like Age of Steam instead. If was shorter and less public info then it would fit better as a light-medium class game (rather than feeling like it's a lightweight game that has analysis time bringing it to a medium length game).
Innocent in simplicity and elegance. Guilty on depth of strategy and tactics. I'm coming to the conclusion that when you choose to move a blocker, you are sacrificing opportunities to place one of your pieces down.
It's like a woman who is beautiful, but also smart. Don't let the good looks fool you! There's a good game beyond the pretty and with innovative & subtle mechanics. A lavishly and beautifully produced game (top of the line DoW stuff) with very appealing theme of building & constructing a palace for Cleopatra, using card management (resources & artisans) as a major mechanism. It has everything: cards, dice, big plastic bits, tiles/pentominoes, player aids, and on and on. There are several strategies to pursue and I suspect you'll find there's more than meets the eye after subsequent plays. I love the end game rule where any player(s) with the most corruption tiles gets fed to the crocodiles and is ineligible to win (just like in Knizia's High Society). Be careful how far you stray into the Dark Side...
Excellent port building & route connections game with no luck involved. Extremely similiar with Santa Fe Rails but the port chits (little circlular pieces) are so very tiny that it's very difficult to see them. Production should have made these at least twice larger than it is...
This should be called "Clue: The Serial Killer edition"!!! When you play this, you will know why b/c the murderer can strike again and again against the players and knock them out one by one. This is a much improved "twist" on Clue, which I hadn't played since I was a kid or teen. (Aug2009)
It's a neat little game and looks like several things/variants could be added to it. I'm uncertain as to the replayability of it. Will it have staying power? Also, I don't see it having anything to do with the bestselling book, The Da Vinci Code...
It draws comparisons to Traumfabrik, Showmanager and Princes of Florence but is very different on it's own. There's lots of planning for which shows to create and deliberating of which tiles to gain. There's a fair amount of luck in setup/start. I wish the auctions or lot refreshments weren't so limiting on the "start player". Acquiring medals is mostly a random roll of dice (and there is importance towards getting them). Also, the high randomness of how the pawns (Emperor, Consuls & Senators) move definitely creates a significant "random impact" on the endgame results, especially for the very last show performed. I think this has the potential of being a much better strategy game if the randomness is mitigated more and if the auctions were less limiting with more player control. The artwork and production quality is fantastic (as you would expect from a Days of Wonder game) and the theme and bits are very pretty. I am interested in playing the designer's variant(s) to see if that helps improve my taste for the game.
A card-driven squad wargame; seems like a tactical next step from Up Front. I still enjoy Up Front so we'll see how this holds up in time, especially with newer title releases into the squad war genre...
I love the interaction of this game and the card system + board tactics are both very interesting. Scoring and strategy is not easy to grasp in your first game. I think I like many of these mechanisms that go together fairly well (creates a lot of interaction with direct confrontation) and it's not an offensive game at all.
This Euro is all about synergizing your "end game scoring strategy" with accumulating the right multipliers (cards) to make your strategy payoff big. I think it rewards players who can build enough on the board tactically while find enough good cards that match what they're doing on the board. If one accumulates too many cards, it might not help. Also, like many Euro games, pursuing things which other people are not directly doing is advantageous usually.
A striking blend of squad wargame elements that, along with the "interrupt" or opponent's mid-turn reactionary choices (CAPs Command Action Pts), makes me feel like I'm really involved in a war stratagem nearly all the time, all the way through - even when it's my opponents' turn. CoH game play lies somewhere between ASL and Up Front/Combat Commander, with the right blend of war game aspects, that puts it over the top of both games b/c of it's (1) accessibility to all types of gamers, (2) shorter time frame with balanced mechanisms and (3) having the complexities and nuances that are found in many great wargames of it's ilk.
It's just as the description says it is: a Eurogame putting together "euro-mechanisms" using deckbuilding, worker placement and Through The Ages + Agricola stylized Victory Points racing game with a finite number of turns. It's proof that you can mesh euromechanisms to create a "new" game. If you like these mechanisms, you might like the game.
I believe that there are two editions as I understand it. The 1st edition (2008) has more player components (of each color) than the 2nd edition, which has been re-named "Cornerstone Essentials" (2010).
This is a building and climbing dexterity game where you want to place your game pieces (one through six) in order to allow your climber (meeple) to ascend to the highest level possible. Or, simply, just higher than the other players by trying to block them from climbing further up. It's fun and has a great deal of re-playability so I'm look forward to trying more of advanced rules and variants. There's a good mixture of fun, balance placements, offensive and defensive tactics to use and it's fairly engaging to watch. It's also eye-catching that non-gamers and gamers alike can all enjoy. There will be plenty of ohh's and ahh's for everyone involved.
An excellent 3 player trick-taking game. It's often described as "a three-handed style of cosmic encounter in a trick-taking game format". Lots of special powers for each round with very quirky rules that make virtually every round "different" and therefore decision-making & goals varies. It's offbeat and keeps-you-on-your-toes interesting.
A nice roles selection and bluffing game in under 15 minutes. Takes a few plays to get the hang of the different roles and choices to bluff. Plays quickly and allows a few good choices.
[Update] I think it plays well with 4 or 5 players. With 6, there are not enough cards to allow for sufficient room to bluff or acquire certain roles. I think that with 6 players, there needs to be four cards of each role/character. This game should scale for the number of players.
[Update] Also, with three players, I would suggest thinning the standard deck by one less card of each character.
Having played both Coyote and Pow Wow, I very much prefer the Pow Wow edition by Ravensburger. Also, Pow Wow plays up to eight players. This seems very silly and has some card luck to it, but it does have a good deal of bluffing skills to it. It reminds me a lot of Liars Dice/Perudo but with card randomness instead of dice, so you must deduce the probabilities of whether someone's best guess is on the spot with regards to knowing what the deck of cards consists of (and whether the card has been used or not). It's also possible to use two copies of the game for up to 12 players.
A dense and interesting resource management Euro-game. I suspect that it's optimal with 3 players but it might also be good with 4 also. The turn sequence, actions menu, Expertise track options and resources all add up to a finely tuned optimization strategy game that should clock in at under 3 hours. All the interlocking mechanisms fit well for a deep Euro-game.
Have you ever wondered what it seem to have a game where you have to pack all your stuff into a van because you are moving to a new apartment? Well, that is the concept of Jam Pack Jam! Stuff, jam, push, fold and cram as many things as you can, into the back of the 4 wheeler before time (15 seconds?) runs out. The funky music is the best part of the game. ..
It's okay as party games go but there are party games I like much more. I like the concept of the 5 pop choices but some answers are easier and some are nearly impossible, so luck of the draw has as much to do your "cranium skills". Or, maybe I suck at it.
A really good resource management and influencing legislature game. There are some similarities to Pillars of the Earth and Puerto Rico, and I really like this combo in Cuba, but it feels very different from those two. It only lasts 6 rounds but I could easily see some game groups making it a longer game with an extra round or two.
It's "Euro-trash" (part Ameri-Trash and part-Euro). There are Gods to bid favors from and acquire special powers with, Mythic Monsters to call upon, a navy of ships to move, armies to build/conquer with and special buildings to erect. Lots of opportunity, planning, quick-changing strategies and counter-strategies. Cyclades is quick and dynamic, things change quickly. It takes off like a ski-shoot but many times, climatic finishes can end abruptly like driving off a cliff (when you least expect it). I rather enjoy the ride of this if you like Euro-wargames.
A novel superfiller type. Sort of a game design combination of "dungeon crawl" and "racing game" merged into one race track. Or, "Carcassonne NASCAR" if you will. You have a bunch of rectangular tiles you randomnly choose and place. You pick a speed which determines turn order and how many tiles you place on the track. Different tiles have different traits and allows you to help your own race car or hinder opponents' race cars. I think a good house variant would be that everyone has their own exact set of supply tiles to choose from and after they're used, they will select from a community of supply tiles.
The theme is tea picking, a bit unusual but kind of works. It is a tile set collection and pick up & deliver type of game using a modular tile board layout. The major aspect is that scoring is cumulative and largely about timing.
[4/13/2012] This is as the title entails, "Battlestar Galactica Express". It plays briskly compared with BSG and offers the similar flavor of suspicion and crisis management issues that the Fantasy Flight edition has. I think it is a bit more difficult to find or "out" a cyclon in hiding.
[Update: 4/16/2015] The theme has now been reimplemented since my initial 2012 print-and-play of it. It definitely has that Battlestar Galactica "feel" of attempting to detect who the traitor(s) is/are but the game plays much faster than BSG. At its core, it's mainly driven by dice management, rather than cards (like BSG). It's a lot of hooting and hollering when accusations fly in this game of hidden roles! Either way you slice it, the dice can still kill your team. ;-D
I enjoy deck-builder games like the whole Ascension series, Legendary, A Few Acres of Snow (not really Dominion though).
The only complaint that I have with DC is that the main Super Heroes played by each person is NOT fairly balanced. I tend to believe that Green Lantern and Aquaman are significantly more advantageous than the rest of the Super Heroes. They need to make them all more balanced in some way.
Update (Apr.2013): After an initial session of 'Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship Deck-Building Game', I think I prefer that over DC Comics. It's essentially the same system but they've improved how the Arch-Enemies (Super Villians) arise by escalating them, from low to high. An excellent tweak!
For some reason, I think if you're going to make a game that's called "Chaos Poker" then it really should have full-tilt chaos. Well, maybe it's just me. I think there should be more chaos cards in the deck that are not just the face cards. My theory is that I go all-out on the chaos factor or I just play straight poker (i.e.- Texas Hold 'em).
A neat little children's game that can be player with adults (but best played with people who do not have perfect or photograhic memory). To make things a bit more interesting (but hopefully not too long), add one more card to the table.
An excellent, fun co-operative/team dungeon crawler with various different scenarios (or makeup a balanced one of your own). Some of the elements in Descent remind me of my RPG days. Expansions give it even more pizazz. Descent can be easily tailored to your group's tastes...
I've played a few sessions so far so this is an initial impression. An advanced campaign from copper level is very long and estimated at probably over 60 hours, or six whole gaming days to complete if the heroes know what they're doing. The campaign Plot goal for the Overlord and the Heroes goal to upgrade and eventually kill the Avatar in the OL's Keep is a great campaign idea. But, it's just that, it's Long-Term. I'm not sure there are enough short- to mid-range goals for the OL. Specifically, there aren't any for the OL, except to upgrade. It seems like the OL's job is to just simply push the time limit and capture as many conquest tokens as possible from every situational encounter and dungeon. In original Descent, there is this anxious "tug of war" tension or a build-up to the final room with the boss monster, while momentum swings back and forth, and a push-pull, tug of war fight between who will end up with sufficient conquest tokens to win (positive for heroes vs. negative for OL). The dungeon explorations in Road to Legend do not have that tension of who will eventual emerge victorious. Heroes can just keep venturing into the dungeon until they flee or eventually win out. For the OL, it's just a question of how much conquest (kills) were accomplished during the heroes romp from start to finish. For the OL, the dungeons are just simply a medium for killing heroes (extracting conquest tokens) as often as possible until the next dungeon or encounter. There's not the same tension of original Descent b/c the build-up to the finale is with the Avatar in the end, at the OL's Keep - but that's the last 8 hours and not the middle 50 hours of play. There are a lot of super neat nuances and excellent changes in Road To Legend that make the game play and combat more balanced for both sides. It's still Descent and I love it so but the build-up is much more slower and protracted. Maybe I need some middle goals in between that could "strongly sway" the strengths of Heroes or OL in the final battle or maybe I need to adjust to this newer version of a campaign-styled Descent. Although it may sound like I'm being a little picky, don't get me wrong, it's still Descent and I still really like this new expansion a great deal.