In this racing game, arrange your tiles to have 10 adjacent African countries to complete your journey first. Airplane and automobile tiles give one more flexibility and choices. Fun, light game, especially good with family, and is educational as well. A little bit of thinking and a bit of strategy involved.
Based on the mechanics in 1812, this 4 player game pits the British against the Americans. Like 1812, each player has a unique deck, and dice, while turn order is drawn out of a bag for each round. Whoever controls the most states when a side has played both truce card wins.
It's a fun system, and my rating of this will likely rise after more plays. I like the intricacies of the map, and wide possibilities.
In this 2-5 player, multiplayer cooperative game, the British are fighting the Americans in the War of 1812. There are 5 possible armies: English regulars, Native Americans, Canadian militia on one side and the American regulars and American militia on another side. Each army has their own deck of cards. Each army is different from their dice; for instance a weaker amry would have more flee results rather than hit results in combat. The turn order each round is different, and by randomizing it, an army could go twice in succession. You play a card(s), move and conduct combat with dice. The game ends when one side have played all their truce cards from their decks, and whoever has the most occupied areas, wins.
I didn't think it was possible to have teams play a side, especially with uneven numbers, but it works really well. There are a ton of choices and opportunities on where to attack and what strategy to try. The games clock in pretty fast, at around an hour or so. I enjoy this game and look forward to more plays.
Fun light game, playable by many people. Play cards in 6 available rows, which bound the allowable values. If you are the 6th card in a row, pick up other 5 cards in your hands, some of which have penalty points (pictured as "bullheads"). First player to 66 bullheads ends the game, lowest score wins. Fun, reminds of a bit of Land Unter where you try to guess the range of cards opponents are playing. All you can do is estimate, play the card and hope! Over a series of hands, presumably the smartest/best estimator should emerge.
There are other variants as well with the bullcards: You can voluntarily pick up a row with at least 3 cards to earn a bull. Each bull allows you to play multiple cards on one stack. After you pick up, two new cards are revealed, escalating the pace of the game.
In this card game, each player starts as a Wonder (with different abilities). Game plays in 3 ages. Each age you select from 1 of 7 cards, pass them on, play the card, select from 6 and so on, until you have played 6 cards per age. The cards have various casting costs, or provide resources. The interaction is being able to purchase goods from your left and right hand neighbor, while you also earn/lose points through military with your neighbors. The cards played provide points, and you can also construct stages of wonders on your board for points.
This is a really good game, and makes you want to come back for more. There is a ton of variety, and different apporaches to take. As well, this game fits in 7 people! Rating likely to rise with more plays.
A game for 3-4 players. Deal out 12 cards to each player, leaving a 4 card kitty. With 4 players, the first player declares trump, and has to take 7 tricks. The next player needs 4 tricks, the last player needs one trick. The twist is that if you do not meet your goal, a player gets to exchange for your highest cards on the next hand; keep playing until a certain score is achieved. There is a lot of luck involved. The 3 player variant is 9-5-2. I'd play, but I'm not too fond of this game.
Classic Sid Sackson game of buying stock in hotel chains, but if the hotels are not big enough, could be taken over by other hotel chains, changing the stock values. Tense decisions on what stock to buy, and not knowing if you have the majority in the stock. A little bit of luck at the beginning to see if you can form hotel chains to get your founder's bonus.
Light family game from Knizia. As an explorer in Africa, move, then turn over counters. If an animal counter, score points by herding with other animals. If a gem, build near a mine to try and obtain majority in that gem. Decision making was generally not too tough, optimize your turn wait for the next player. Most of us in the gaming group were disappointed with this Knizia effort.
In this worker placement game of New World discovery, each player gets five colonists per round. You use them to get ahead in turn order, build, get trade goods for income, get specialized colonists like soldiers or merhcants, move them on a size limited boat to the colonies and conduct war.
This is a very engaging game with lots of strategy. It is fresh, and very fun to play. Game length is around 3 hours. This game works quite well for 6 players as well.
I like it since it is full of tension. You don't know if a player with soldiers is going to pay a visit to your colonists, and you don't want to be too far behind in turn order. There are a lot of things to think about.
There is one action where you do a discovery, sending colonists to conquer a colony. You have to defeat natives, which vary from strength 2-5, then later the cards vary from 2-6. There is a huge variance in the strength and VPs. One game, I did try to make this my whole strategy, which doesn't work. The variance of the tiles/cards might turn some people off, but you make discovery a small part of your strategy and you will have a more enjoyable game. In my case, when I do a discovery, I will send the maximum expected to ensure success (of course counting to see if those high numbered tiles/cards aren't exhausted already), rather than risk failure.
Another train game from Martin Wallace that is similar to Volldampf. Issue shares for money, build track and deliver goods. This could be Wallace's best game. It has a very steep learning curve, and best played with experienced players. Difficult decisions on how many shares to issue, how high to bid in the player turn order, and which tracks to build. The tight income throughout the game makes it a very tense game. It's a good game, but it does clock in at least 3 hours.
In this worker placement game, with a theme based on farming, each player also has a unique set of cards. The scoring rewards being balanced, as you lose points for not having a particular animal or plant.
What makes this game unique are the cards that you are dealt, and trying to form a strategy with what you have. There are a large number of cards, making for countless combinations.
This is a very good game, and plays differently each time.
It does get a bit long with 5 players, and probably a disadvantage for the person going last, so I would avoid it with 5 players. It's best with 3 or 4 players.
I had never been motivated to play a solitaire board game of any kind before, but the solitaire version of this game is quite good.
Put bid tokens face down in different areas: the dragon caves, market, guard, and palace. Reveal bid tokens (multiple tokens per area are allowed), then whoever has the highest value is awarded the spoils. Dragon caves give gems, palace gives treasures, etc. Player with the most treasures win. The blind token placement aspect, along with the varying power of the cards was what detracted from what appeared to be a good component looking game.
Revised version of Stimmt So. Players are purchasing tiles representing buildings to get majorities in the colors and place tiles such that walls are contigious. Easy to play and explain and a definite improvement to Stimmt So. Fairly light game, especially with more players.
Game where players have one action to buy stock, or pick up 1 of 4 available currency cards. If you can pay exact cash for a stock, gain another action. Victory points are awarded on majority of stock. It's not a bad game, the hiccup in the game was when the 4 available cards were $1, then if a player picked one up, it maybe replaced by a high valued card (eg a $9 card), benefiting the next player, making it a luck fest. I'll still play it, but it's light and decisions are easy. Alhambra is the improved version of this game.
With 8 dice, roll as many symbols of the same type as you can, and you can re-roll twice. Put a marker on the number of symbols that you rolled. After each round, first place gets their choice of moving up 2 squares on the scoring chart for that building, or moving up one space and taking the special chit. Chits are worth VPs, or give special abilities, such as re-rolling dice, or adding a symbol of your choice. The scoring for the buildings is like for Alhambra (Score in 3 of the rounds, in the first round, only the first place player earns points, in the second round, first two players score points and in the last round, the top three score points. This game is light, but is long (about 2 hrs for five players). There's nothing really new here, and other dice games are much more fun. Yes, we did have some good laughs, laughing at other people's rolls, and making jokes, but the rolling aspect loses its appeal quick. I haven't tried the other game where you play with the base Alhambra game.
Expansion to Alhambra adding 1) Vizier: allows one to buy a tile out of turn using exact change 2) exchange office: currency cards allowing one to mix and match different currenices in purchasing 3) bonus cards: if you get a specific tile, it adds one to your majority count 4) building huts: tiles set aside for the 6 different colors and as an action, a player can add one to their alhambra. If it is adjacent to like colored tiles ( but not other building huts) then it counts the number equal to the number of adjacent tiles. These 4 expansions can be used independently. They definitely add more choices and give more flexibility, expecially in a 5 or 6 player game. I think it makes Alhmabra better, but I need more plays. It does make the game a bit longer.
Players roll dice, which represent their ships, and use them to do a number of things, including gather resources, draw Alien Technology cards, get more ships or send their colonies onto a planet.
It's a fun game, with a bit of area control, and trying to upgrade your resources. When reading the rules, I was concerned it would be a very light game, since you can potentially use ships to rob your opponents, or the cards allowed you to do various things. I enjoyed my plays with 3 player, and it might be even better with 2 players. Rating may go up with more plays, as I uncover more things. I am looking forward to more plays.
Another trivia game, but Canadian questions only. Some of the answers are very obvious (e.g., Wayne Gretzky), but some questions are difficult. The mechanism is the same as Trivial Pursuit, which is a much better game. I received this as a gift, and we played it a couple of times, but it was disappointing. I sold it soon after. It was disappointing in that the questions didn't have a true "Trivial Pursuit" feel to them, and there was nothing very original about the game.
Interesting game where one puts bid tokens on spell cards and that dictates how long one has that spell. Use collected commodities (from spell cards) to bid on gems, winner being the first to reach a number of gems. It seems that whoever races off with the first couple of gems (either through the double gem spell or clever manipulation of where the bidding takes place) has an advantage. Neat ideas, perhaps if there was a better way to seed the starting cards (make them more equal) the game would be more fair. Some interesting spell combinations can be set up, and game is interesting in that respect.
Highly anticipated release from Knizia in 2003. Players bid on provinces, buying power cards, placing farmers and build temples in ancient Egypt. Each round a sacrifice in money is made to Amun Re to determine how much further actions you get. It's a bit long, since if you make a mistake early, you will be out of the whole game. Some luck on the draw of the power cards (some give VPs, some give farmers, some give bonuses, etc). I would play it, but I prefer Knizia's other designs such as Taj Mahal or Euphrates and Tigres. This game also plays best with five players.
In this worker placement game, players can build armies, collect empire cards or defeat titans. Your workers have numbers on them, and some places on the board you can deny to other people if you have a high number. It's a set collection game, where cards and titans of the same color reward you with more VPs. Armies can be retired to give you a lasting benefit when you attack titans.
It's a fast paced playing game, and reasonably fun. I'm a bit worried that the only way to play successfully is to buld armies and go after the titans. Going after empire cards is a slower way to generate VPs.
In this 2 player card game, one player is the Corporation attempting to protect it's assets, while the other player is a "Runner" attempting to cyber attack into the Corporation. The Corporation places "ice" protection on the draw deck, servers and hand. In the servers can be placed agendas which are worth VPs, or ambushes.
The runner attempts to make "runs" at the Corporation, to either score Agendas, or make the Corporation run out of cards. When you run, the runner reveals the ice and/or agendas. Since the cards are hidden, there is bluffing involved. If the runner hits an ambush card, they can suffer damage.
On a player's turn, they can use actions to draw cards, play cards or earn credit, and in the runner's case, make a run.
The game seems alright after one playing, and I'm looking forward to trying out the other decks.
In this space themed game, use collected sets of cards to put colonists on planets, advance on technology or colonize a base on the planet. The last action involves putting all colored cubes (representing colonists) into a hollow puck, shuffling, then if the first cube coming out of the hole in the puck is yours, you get to colonize the base for VPs. When this game first came out, it looked like a cool strategy game. Then when people started pulling tokens out of the puck, we realized what kind of game it was. Some interesting ideas, if there were less luck involved, could be a better game as the only way to be successful in the game is to take continual pulls from the puck.
This rondel game is a reworking of the original Antike. I like it, it's fairly clean and easy to play. The original Antike was long and had some flaws, in that there was a first player advantage. In this version, the designer tries to address that by giving the last player the card that has an extra build, then the card rotates to the second last player. I would rather everyone have an equal number of turns, then compare scores.
It's fun, and it will be interesting to see how future games play out.
Humorous, fun party game. Each turn, there is a judge who flips up a card. Other players, as quickly as possible play a card that is similar to that card. Judge chooses the "closest matching" card, whoever played that card scores a point. Rotate the judge and repeat until someone reaches a set number of points. Cards contain all sorts of adjectives and wide ranging personalities, leading to hilarious combinations. Since there are a limited number of cards, they will keep reappearing limiting the humor value as they reappear. The game was really fun initially, but it does lose some of it's fun value after a few plays. If you haven't played it, it's worth it for the experience.
An expansion and stand alone game to Zooloretto. Players own a water zoo, collecting sets of animals. Animal sets that expand earn money and more workers, which can be used to earn more victory points. Animals that do not fit in count against you. You also have the ability to expand your zoo, and purchase animals from other people's "discard" pile.
I have played the standalone game, but have not attempted the combined game with Zooloretto. It's a fun, fast paced game, with a good dose of luck. With more players, the less control you have over the animals you can put into your zoo.
In this set collection card game, one is trying to collect sets of objects in ancient Egypt to sell to the market. However there are sandstorms that make you discard half your hand, thus making you to have a tough decision to sell quickly or risk holding on. There are also thieves, that allow opponents to steal one card from your hand. There are also map cards which allow you to get more cards.
There is a ton of luck depending who gets robbed by the thieves and when the sandstorms hit. Once I got a good card and waiting one turn to trade to the market, I got it robbed. There are some neat concepts, and it is a quick game at 20 minutes.
Players either put workers onto the game board, or put down buildings with a colored seal. There are four colored seals in the game: silver, black, green and red. Everytime a building is surrounded (by workers or other buildings), colored seals are distributed. Whoever has an orthogonally adjacent worker to the building closed, receives a colored seal of that buiding. In addition, whoever closed the building, gets a bonus colored seal. That player also gets to put down as many castles as buildings closed. Each castle has one of the four colors, and the sum total of the colors represent the amount of gold each seal is worth, an amount that fluctuates as more castles are placed, and the castle can go up to three levels.
Players can also earn migrant workers by placing buildings over rubble on the map. Also, each player has four flags to use during the game; gain two more workers, and/or trade in their seals for gold. At the end of the game, a final evaluation takes place, and whoever has the most gold is the winner.
I played this twice with four players. The mechanics are simple, but there are tactical plays which one has to look out for as you try not to leave too much stuff for your next opponent. With four players, it seems that near the end, you have to ride out the storm as best you can, and hope your seals will win the day, as the values can change pretty quick. It's an okay game where you play it tactically from turn to turn. I do prefer games with a little longer term strategy, but hey, different strokes for different folks. I would willingly play this game, but I wouldn't suggest it.
In this unique space game, one moves their ships by flicking pieces across a map. You can level up to gain technology advantages, build cities, colonies and research stations. You can also attack your opponents, destroy their ships, ram their ships or blockade their planets.
This is a fun game, but there is luck in the planets you explore, and whether people decide to gang up on you. You can mitigate the ganging up aspect by playing only 2 player. It is fun, and I would like to play more to see the different strategies, but I worry about the more than 2 player scenario, and someone could get picked on.
This deckbuilding game is very similar to Dominion and Thunderstone. Players draw a deck of 5 cards, and use them to purchase items (heroes, constructs) or combat monsters. The stuff for purchase/cpmbat are 6 revealed cards in the middle. When one card is dealt with, another card is immediately revealed from the deck, so you can keep cycling through. Of course this cycling through leads to a bit more luck on what shows up.
It's a fast paced game. I enjoyed my playing of it, and it is not as complex as Dominion. There is enough meat for strategy on buiding your deck, but there still is the luck factor to deal with.
This game completes the 'harvest trilogy', but was designed before Agricola. In ancient China, in the card phase, one has to choose which card to keep and which one to make available to opponents. Then during the action phase, you plant vegetables, then sells them to customers, buy a 2 pack of cards, play helpers, buy vegetables, etc. You are trying to make the most money so you can advance on the path of prosperity. The first step always cost you $1, but the next steps cost the value.
This game works well with 2 players and clocks in at two hours or so. Unfortunately, with more players, it takes a very long time and bogs down. I would only play this with 2 players, and it is a good fun game, with tactics and trying to improvise. What prevents this from being a top tier game is some of the helpers can interfere with your opponents, and you have to wait for your opponent during their action phase. Having said that, I do enjoy this game, and the implementation on yucata.de is fun.
Reprint of Showmanager with a different theme. One is building shipping lines with cards. On their turn, a player either 1) acquires a card, paying money for it depending on the location of the card on the board, 2) "sails" a shipping line, but afterwards can only have a maximum of 2 cards left in their hand, or 3) clear the board of cards, at a cost, to see new cards. Players also have the option to mortgage the value of their shipping lines for more money, at a cost of VPs. To build the optimum shipping lines one must pay attention to what other people are collecting and what is potentially left. Easy, clean and games clock in under an hour. I really enjoy this game and sure, luck is a factor when which ships come up during your turn, or who "clears the board", but tough decisions must be made on hand management as well.
Based on WW II naval combat, on each turn a convoy card is flipped up. Players on thier turn play an axis or ally card to determine whether you are attacking or defending the convoy. Biggest contributor to the winning side gets to distribute spoils of victory according to certain rules. Widely varying cards inject too much luck, and the historical impacts are put in the rules, but still fun to play on occasion. Also, the distribution of the spoils of victory is usually not fair.
Everyone starts with two ants in the nest in the middle of the board. Players then draw a card, play it, and move their ants. You can bring leaves back to the nest to generate more ants of your color. But watch out! Spiders move one space orthogonally to the largest group of ants and devours ants. Winner is the first person to 6 ants or when the deck runs out.
It can be fairly tactical, and simple. On the other hand, there is luck, in that you can steal leaves from your opponents. The novel aspect perhaps is when the spiders move by themselves, which is a mechanism used to simulate monsters in coooperative games. It's okay, but not a game that really grabs me.
In ancient Greece, players put buildings on the mapboard where the cost is paid by terrain or cards in hand. The player mat serves as a temporary holding area for buildings. Bonus turns can be earned if buildings are constructed in a group. First person to put all 30 buildings on the map, or connect two temples is the winner. Some tactics, some being opportunistic to find more space for your buildings while interacting with encroaching opponents. A couple of times, I have seen players accuse each other of not sacrificing themselves to prevent someone from connecting a temple. A little bit of luck depending which of your buildings you draw and in which order. Fairly hyped game from Essen 2003, but it is decent.
A light easy game to play. Players put tokens onto the board and advance their influence marker for that tribe. Conflicts occur if more than 4 tribes are in one area. Depending on the epoch, a number of conflicts trigger a soring round. Sort of in the same category as Web of Power. Fun, light strategy game. There is some strategy, but sometimes epochs end without any control on your part. Games clock in around 45 min or so.
Auction game simulating Germany in 1520. One is dealt a number of cards. The deck is composed of 4 suits representing the nobility, with values ranging from 1 to 17. There are also jokers in the deck. Each card has a cash value as well (lower cards cost less) and you have to pay for your cards. Use the cards to bid on nobility. In the case of a tie with the numbers of cards, the single highest card is a tiebreaker. The winner gets to choose his reward, by advancing along one of three tracks: 1) money, 2) VPs, or 3) cards. Play over a number of rounds. The games we have played have had a runaway leader. There is a mechanic where one has to pay money to advance past 25 VPs and 45 VPs to attempt to slow the leader. It's not a bad game, but the repetition of the bidding does make it kind of dry, and there is not a whole lot of tension in the play. There is also a mechanic where you have to pay for your cards, with the theory being that you have to pay for your higher value cards. I will play again, but it just doesn't grab me.
In Rome, players compete to finish objectives and earn bonus VP tiles. There are 23 tiles in a bag (6 swords, 5 helmets, 4 catapaults, etc) and a town crier draws out one of the tiles. Players then match the drawn out tile to one of their 3 objective cards which have 2-6 of these symbols on it. You have 7 meeples to place on all your objectives, and once an objective is complete, you draw another one, putting back into play those meeples. You earn bonus VPs for the number of objectives you complete, and the type of objectives.
It's a fun filler. Certainly there is luck, but I believe you can try your best to play the percentages in your favor. The more players there are, the more chaotic it will be with all sorts of cards resolving and potentially affecting your game. It's fresh, and it always has one of those "one more time" feels to it.
One takes the role of an automobile manufacturer in the late 19th century. The game is comprised of four turns. Each turn, the player sees their own demand for middle class, mass market and luxury cars, which helps them plan for their production. Each turn, a player chooses a role which gives them a bonus. They then take 3 actions to put down factories, produce cars, shut down factories, or put more salesmen into play.
Factories are staged around the board so that older factories become obsolete, and will take "loss" cubes. Similarly, you earn loss cubes for unsold cars, and unused salesmen.
This i a typical Martin Wallace offering with tough decisions, and loss cubes to worry about. It's an okay game to play, and clocks in around 2 hours.
Risk with resources, but it takes a long time to play. I also wonder if certain moves are scripted eg Britian has to build a power plant, Germany overruns Russia, etc. All the rule proposals for multiple hits for destroyers, air craft carriers suggest these units are too expensive to build in isolation.
On the ancient bank of the Euphrates, players race to build more temples, represented by temple cards that must be built in numerical order. Cards represent the five nationalities in the game, each nation having their own power. I wanted to like this game, with the special abilities of the races, but what made it protracted was when temple numbers kept flipping out that were not useful, then we would have to find an alternate play (trying to disrupt the opponent somehow, or set up for the next big move), that made the game kind of frustrating. But maybe that's what the design was, with the random flipping of tile numbers at the end of a player's turn. Still, some neat ideas.
I always can't remember how to set up the pieces after losing the setup in the rules. But I played this a lot when I was a kid, when I had a 3 in one checkers, chess and backgammon set. Roll the dice and manage your roll, not a great game, but an old one.
Fun and light ballon competition. Five suits of cards, numbered 1 to 13 (but different numbers of cards) can be played in your area or your opponent's area to win a high or low sum battle. Winner gets colored cubes; accumulated cubes can be traded in for trophies. First one to win 3 trophies wins. Decisions aren't too difficult; if there was a bit more strategy to it, I would give it a higher rating, but it is easy to learn and play.
Players are either the sheriff, deputy, outlaw or renegade. Only the sheriff is known at first. Play cards to shoot at other people, gain special abilities, heal, hide, get better weapons, etc. Fun, light, would get higher rating if it wasn't the player elimination aspect of it. But still fun to gun down your opponents.
Based on the card game, everyone is dealt a secret role (deputy, renegade, outlaw and sheriff). Players are also dealt a character card with special ability. Players then roll 5 dice, Yahtzee style. The symbols on the dice are : arrow, 1, 2, gatling, beer, dynamite. The arrows mean you take an arrow, and when all arrows are gone from supply everyone takes that damage in arrows. The 1, 2 means you deal 1 damage in the direction of your choice. The gatling symbol only works if there are 3 of them, you deal 1 damage to everyone else and get rid of your arrows. The dynamite locks the dice (no reroll) while a beer restores a hit points.
It's an okay filler. It plays better with some numbers than others. For instance, 4 players has less variety, since a 2 means you always shoot the same person and it is pretty easy to figure out the roles. Fun and quick, if you are in the mood.
Trick taking game based on collecting junk. Cards are numbered 1 to 10 in different suits. Each round, each player selects a number from their hand. This number scores them points, all others count against them, but at the end of each round, each player is allowed a "clean up", to discard any two collected numbers they choose. At game end, another clean up is allowed. Not a strong trick taking game, too many other good ones out there.
Players simultaneously choose to either 1) advance on the game board by rolling dice 2)get gems 3) get VPs. If one player is the only one choosing that action they get it. If two players have chosen the action, they must negotiate by giving gems. If three players have chosen the same action, none get it! Probably my favourite of the so called everyone secretly choose a marker then flip to see what happens. You can attempt to guess what other people will pick. Earn VPs by having majority in gems, advancing on the game board or earn straight VPs. It's simple, best with 4 players.
A cooperative game based on the latest Battlestar Galactica TV series, where one is secretly either a human or a cylon. Each turn, a player must deal with a crisis, simulated by playing cards face down out of everyone's hands to beat a total. Negative values can also be played. The humans win by jumping Galactica 8 spaces, then one final jump, while the Cylons win by running down one of fuel, moral, population or food. The Cylons also win by having a boarding party advance four spaces on Galactica.
It's got pretty good theme and a fun experience, but be prepared to spend three hours on it. There's also a good deal of luck involved, when you roll dice during combat.
In the city of Belfort are five districts. Players start with elves and dwarves which they place on the board to earn resources, money or more workers. Players then build to put cubes onto the districts to score points for majority of cubes. Players also score points for majority of dwarves, elves, and gnomes, which you recruit throughout the game.
It's a decent fun game. There is some possibility of analysis paralysis near the end trying to get the goods to place the right cubes on the map. I've only played this once with 3 players, but I suspect with more players it might be a bit longish. Still, I think it has some potential and woudl like to play more.
Warriors of Beowulf compete against each other in this Knizia design of the epic poem. In some battles, players play cards to stay in the battle, but they also have the option to "risk" and draw cards from the deck to match required symbols. There is an approximate 1/4 chance of failure, and 3/4 chance of succeeding, allowing you to stay in the battle, otherwise you take a "scratch", with 3 scratches equalling a wound. Other battles are a blind bid of cards against others. Gold is also used for bidding. Good game allowing one to push their luck, and manage risks. Some decisons in the game are extremely tense, deciding whether to risk or face off against an opponent. I think there is a lot of luck, but that is the nature of the game. You shouldn't lose any sleep on the risk decisions you make, but I have seen games where people hardly fail at all or come up with double symbol cards that help their cause. Fun, with lots of groaning.
Players are a character with hit points on might, sanity, knowledge and speed. Players are exploring a haunted house, building the house with tile draws, until a "haunt" begins, then one player becomes a traitor. The victory conditions then depend on the haunt scenario, but usually involve killing off the traitor for the rest of the players or if you are the traitor, killing everyone else off. It's a fun, campy game and if you are young and impressionable, you are bound to like the game. However, the rules do not appear to be very clear in some of the scenarios, so you may have to make up the rules as you go along. Some neat ideas, too bad the execution of the ideas wasn't worked out in detail.
Get cards in districts, then erect buildings and score points according to your neighbors or districts. It's okay, try to maximize your points and react to what other people are building. Near the end of the game, buildings run out and you can force a player to use their card suboptimally (sort of like Zugzwang in chess) which needs to be fixed.
Played twice, and not much interest for it from the gaming group after. As the rounds get later, it becomes apparent whoever wins the last bid has a lot of control, either as kingmaker or heavily influencing the outcome of the game. It's not a bad game, but second tier compared to the other ones out there.
In this game, one starts as a dino or a mammal, and attempts to migrate and achieve majority on the board to score points from discarded tiles: the leader gets half the tiles; second place gets half remaining, and so forth. You need certain genes to move to certain tiles, such as having a M (marine) gene to be able to migrate to a marine tile. You also need predator characteristics if you want to feed on other people. You get genes by picking up cards. The games last four rounds from the Triassic era to the Teriary era.
I have played this three times, all with 4 players. It seemed very random to me. Sure, with experience now, I can try to control the randomness a bit more: 1) Try not to have more than 4 genes, so you won't be affected by level 4 and greater castastrophes, 2) migrate to high numbered tiles, so oncoming tiles won't crush you. We also played with the original rules, but the optional rules give you more gene selection cards and also allows you to trade 2 genes for another ability.
Now, if you view this game from an educational point of view, then it does a pretty good job of inspiring you and teaching you about the era, greenhouse cases and dinosaur characteristics. You can download the rules, and read some of the footnotes. That is interesting.
The game experience is a completely different matter. Having events that move the map up or down a row, potentially crushing other tiles is a bit extreme. Likewise with tiles that come on the board, you might lose your dinos when the tiles come on. We didn't play with the two key optional rules (have 5 more gene cards, and you are allowed to trade two genes for another attribute) which would add more to the game. The game might not support 4 players as well, and perhaps it really shines with 2 or 3 players.
Each player starts with a number of different shapes. The object of the game is to get the most of your shapes onto the board. The only rule is that your play onto the board must be diagonally adjacent to one of your previously played piece. It's a fun interactive game, where you can help your opponents with their placements. For those who are more serious, if you play enough, you will recognize certain pieces that you have, and which shapes you want to put on, or save until the end. There are many tactical blocking opportunities, and opportunities for yourself to find open ground. There is a computer version at www.blokus.com, but I find the board game to be more fun and interactive.
Two player card game by Knizia: With a 30 card deck, each turn is part of a fight, where you play leaders, characters, boosters, supporters and mutants. Winner of a fight attracts a dragon to their side (or puts the opponent's dragon back to the middle). Winner is the person with 4 dragons or runs the opponents out of cards. Cards have special abilities, much like Magic: the Gathering. Seems to be more fun than Scarab Lords, but only playing the basic decks (Hoax vs Vulca), I'm only lukewarm on the game. For basically two decks of cards, and some rules that aren't written particularly well, I don't think you get a lot of value for your money.
In this Knizia game, there are 21 tiles. Each tile has one or more numbers with the color of cards that can be played on that tile. If you play the right number and color of cards, you can claim one of those numbers by placing your cube there. Once the numbers are all full, the tile is scored like an area control mechanic: the first place player with the most cubes gets a certain reward, but all players will get a reward just for being present. The rewards are getting more cards, crystals or dragon skin. Crystals allow you to put cubes in the obelisk, where you need 4 cubes to win. The cards represent the races of Ble Moon (eg Flit, Aqua, etc) and some cards give special abilities eg the '1' Flit card allows you to move your token anywhere on the board, the 1' Aqua card allows you to move the blue dragon, etc. The number of dragon skin you collect allow you to earn more crystals. This is a good fast paced game that easily plays in under an hour, with the tension increased as each opponent gets closer to the victory conditions.
In the island of Bora, Bora there are 6 rounds. Each round you roll three dice. You place dice, one at a time on action tiles to do the action: expand by water or land, take a man tile, take a woman tile, build, put a priest on a temple or do a helper action. The higher the dice you put on the action tile, typically the higher amount of things you get to do. However, subsequent plays on that action tile can only be dice that are of lower value.
You then decide to use one man and one woman tile (which are variants of the action tile). Finally you complete tasks, buy jewels and draw more task tiles.
Finally added to the mix are God cards which let you score fish, or modify dice, or give you more man/woman actions. In the endgame you score points for being adjacent to fish (the last one in gets the fish points).
There are a myriad of ways to score points, which may turn some people off. I don't mind it, but certainly this is one of Feld's more complex games. I enjoy the various challenges of trying to meet tasks, and you are jammed for actions. I'm not sure this game is that accessible to all gamers though. Still, I'd like to get in a few more plays.
In 18th century Lancashire, one is building canals in the canal phase, and putting down cotton mills, ships, coal and iron factories. In the rail phase, railroads are being constructed. Each player gets a hand of 8 cards, which dictates their choices of where to build, and what to build.
It took us five hours to play one and half games and to blunder through all the rules. I must say, the rules could have been written better. There were examples afterwards that were rules that probably should have been put in the rules section.
I think the game has some potential. All the Martin Wallace groupies will like this game, despite the poorly written rules. I'm happy to give this another try.
Well I hate to lump in a classic game with Eurogames, but bridge is the definitive trick taking game. It would be neat to compete in a weekend duplicte tourney to see how I stack up against the pros. This is the game I will work on when I retire and pursue the Master points. There is just not enough time to pursue this seriously yet.
Each round, players first draw five colored cards from two stacks. Five colors of dice are rolled, which tell you what you can do with those cards. On a player's turn, they can sell a card for gold (corresponding to the die rolled for that color), recruit 2 workers of that color, build a canal of that color, build a house of that color, hire a person, or discard a threat.
Based on the dice rolls, you also have to decide if you want to spend money to go up on influence. You also have to compete for majority in canals, people and influence. The twist is once you have gotten the majority, you can never lose those points even when someone surpasses you later in the game.
The theme of the game is based on the Belgain town of Bruges. This Stefan Feld game is very tense, and engaging, with a myriad of possibilities. There are 166 person cards, so there is certainly no lack of variety.
I've really enjoyed my playings of this so far. It's hard to follow a particular script, and the different characters in the game might change how you play. I'd like to get many more plays under my belt to feel comfortable with the range of characters. There are many different approaches to the game as well, and want to play more to get exprienced with the strategies.
Set up a pyramid of colored buckets, then play colored cards to knock down your opponents buckets if they can't overtake the value of cards. Try to construct your pyramid base with strong cards in that color as a weak point can cause your set up to fall like a house of cards. Winner is the one with buckets remaining. Kind of fun, cute light game but wide distribution of numbered cards makes this a light game.
On a mapboard, there is one evil player controlling the evil characters, vs the good players playing Buffy, Xander, Willow, etc. Different scenarios and victory conditions leads to a fun game. Dice rolling for combat, light, fun and decent atmosphere for Buffy fans.
Partnership chess played with two chess sets and two clocks. Teams are on the same side of the table, you play one color, partner plays another color. Captured pieces are sent to your partner who may later plunk the piece onto the board as a move. Growing up in Kingston, Ontario, this was called "double chess", I'm not sure where the origin of the name "bughouse" comes from. With 6 players, we sometimes played "triple chess" and quite often with 8 players, we played "quadruple chess". Usually played at parties, games are quite quick and we spent countless evenings playing the night away. Lots of fun when your partner(s) are calling for pieces they need, or you need pieces from them. Great tension when your king or opponent's king gets "smoked out". Throw in the added time pressure and it's great fun. You need clocks to play otherwise someone will wait it out until they get a piece that they need. Lots of strategy, such as do you sacrifice a bishop on f7 of your opponent's square to smoke out their king, if you are a victim of that move, do you not use your king to capture, but move it one space sideways, etc. Too bad only one person in my gaming group enjoys chess. As a game, would be classified as a filler, but you can play as many games as you want, and substitute other people in if they are waiting to play.
In this building construction game, each player has 3 actions. They either recruit a worker from the display , get a building from display, assign a worker (paying the worker) to a building or earn money. Finished buildings give money and VPs or provide materials for other buildings. You can also pay $5 to take more actions, and assigning another worker to the same building cost 2 actions. Buildings typically require four different requirements to finish, and workers only have a subset of those requirements. First player to 17 VPs wins.
It's a fun, quick filler. You are racing against the other players to get buildings up, and there is some thinking to optimize your plays. You want to recruit workers who are flexible that can help in all types of buildings, but they are more expensive.
Knizia's attempt at a stock market game with 3 commodities. Players buy/sell with restrictions, play cards to influence the direction of a commodity. It's okay, not deep, you have to hope the cards played work in your favor and you need to have a good sense of whether to buy or sell.
In the era of the Byzantine empire, players control Arab and Byzantine armies. One has to manage their money and forces for both, as your victory points will be the sum of both forces. In this cube management game, one selects actions to move, redistribute units, attack, control cities, or take special actions on the board. There is a chance for a sudden death Arab victory if the city of Constantinople falls. I'm not a wargamer, so my rating reflects the fact I am lukewarm on this game even though there are elements that are pretty good. The sudden death victory condition needs to be managed with experienced players, and when playing with someone for the first time they need to be warned about the possbilities of this happening. Because perception plays a role in this game, and whoever is perceived to be in the lead will be mercilessly attacked, I'm not a huge fan of this. There is also an element of luck with the dice as well. Not a bad effort by Martin Wallace.
Fun 2 player card game, where players play influence (hidden or exposed) on opposite sides of senators to win them over. The "No orgy today" is funny. Would like to play a few more times to get a better feel for it.
This is a light family game that won the 2014 Spiel des Jahres. There are five different colored camels that are racing around a board. The race consists of a few legs, with payouts given to the winner of each leg and the game ends when one camel crosses the finish line. Players have 4 choices on their turn: get a bet token for payout on a leg, roll a die, bet on overall winner or loser, or place their oasis token (which when a camel lands on, can move it +1 or -1 spot).
It's quite unpredictable until the end, and it is fun. The more players there are, the less control there is, so just enjoy the ride. There is a lot of luck, but the game is actually enjoyable. There is a lot of groaning, laughing and making fun of other people's bets. My rating is more about the experience and fun, not for the skill involved. I haven't tried this game with 7 or 8 players yet.
Players roll 4 dice, then form pairs to move up along a board. If you re-roll, get more chances to advance, but if you miss your original numbers, lose all you have gained that turn. Players race to be first in advancing along several numbers. It's all based on dice rolling, but it's not chaotic or totally random. Roll the dice, play the percentages, and make your decisions. Quite fun.
In this area control game, there are three decks of cards: cards for getting building blocks, cards for capping the blocks as a building, and cards to put the building in an area. Play over four rounds, and before each round ends, bid cards to earn special bonus amphitheatres, fountains or temples. Then restock cards for next round in player order. It's a decent area control game and fairly easy to pick up. Near the end, some of your plays may become scripted or it may become a waiting game to see who puts their buildings on first, so you can parachute your buildigns on later. It can be a cruel game if you end up not scoring with your buildings.
Fairly innovative tile laying game where one reveals a tile, plays it on the table to connect to other tiles, then place a token on a road, farm, castle, or cloister to score points. It's fun, everyone can play from family to Eurogamers. Going the farmer route has not completely won all games. Some decision making involved.
I don't know if it improves on the origianl Carcassone. It's obvious the farmer advantage has been removed. It's okay, but didn't do much for me over the original Carcassone, hence the slightly lower rating.
Reiner Knizia's contribution to the Carcasonne series is a two player game. The twist is that as you score points, you may get special tokens on the scoreboard if you land on that particular square. These tokens can be used later. Otherwise, it's Carcasonne, and you are tryihg to build a big castle.
Carcassone with plains, mountains and water. A player only has 4 followers, and a decision must be made whether to place a follower or remove a follower (to score partial points). Mountain spaces only score points for adjacent towns, not the size of the mountain, which is a bit confusing. Rivers are similar but do score for number of water hexes, plus adjacent towns. Because it is so time consuimg to figure out the new scoring system, I think it is the weakest of the Carcassone series. But there is a neat wrinkle in one has to decide whether to keep their follower on the map, giving up potential points if they pull it off.
If Apples to Apples were a movie, it would have a rating of "parental guidance". Well, Cards Against Humanity is the "restricted" version. The cards denote racial, religious and sexual things. But it is an incredibly funny game.
The slight differences from Apples to Apples is that you have 10 cards to choose from, and sometimes you have to play 2 cards at once.
In this Western worker placement game, your workers can be challenged to a duel for a right to use the action. Duels consist of a dice roll, modified by guns you have and extra workers.
Each turn, you choose a role that will give you some benefits for the turn, such as extra income or extra firepower. The game lasts 4 turns, where you construct buildings on a map to earn income or VPs.
This game has a lot of theme. But, you could be picked on, and it is not a nice feeling to lose a bunch of duels or be picked on by the big bully on campus. This game came out in 2009, and I missed it with my gaming group, but I had a chance to play it on yucata.de. It's fun to play for theme, not so much in terms of a strategic game, but perhaps I haven't played enough to be able to defend against attacks.
Theme is based on pirates breaking out of jail and making it to a boat to escape. It's light, easy, but the fun factor wasn't in it for me. I'm not sure if it was the racing aspect, or the lack of control that bothered me.
Play cards in the castle, the courtyard or the battlements. Each card gives you a special action when played. Winner is the person who gets rid of their cards. I heard this was a tactical 2 player game, and bought it to try with 2. The game seemed too fiddly, and some cards (such as the Dragon) were more powerful than others. Sold it after 2 playings. Without having tried it with more players, I'm guessing it would become very random.
There are 25 turns in this game to build up your landscape. After rolling two dice, players use the dice to acquire tiles from the main board, put tiles to your own board, sell goods or take extra workers. You earn points for completing areas, and more points are earned if you complete them early. There is a racing aspect as well since you earn bonus points for finishing certain areas ahead of your opponents, and knowledge tiles from the board can give you bonus VPs as well.
This is a very good game. Each turn you have tough decisions, as you want to help yourself, but don't want to leave good tiles to your opponents, but your dice rolls limit what you can do. It's very tense and engaging. It's great as a 2 player and 3 player game.
In this game, themed after Mad King Ludwig, players take turns being a Master Builder to set prices for different rooms. Players purchase rooms, with the cost going to the Master Builder and construct the room into their castle. Closing a room by enclosing all entranceways of the room gives the player a bonus, such as more VPs or another turn.
At the beginning of the game, 4 out of 24 favour tiles are drawn randomly to determine what will also score points for majority purposes (most of a particular tyoe will score 8 VPs).
It's a fun game, and I want to get in more plays. I understand the flow better after my first game, and there are many ways to earn points. The icons and colors can be a bit tough to understand at first, but it should become second nature. There were a few subtlties that I missed in my first game, and would like to play again to improve. Rating may rise with more plays.
The classic game that introduced us to German games. Roll dice, generate resources, trade, build settlements or cities, use discovery cards. Great game, and despite the dice rolling has different paths to victory.
Good solid 2 player card game, brings the Catan theme down to 2 players. A few things to keep track of when introducing the game for the first time (no yellow cards unless each has 3 VPs, no red cards can be built unless 1 has a city), but it plays well. Still waiting to try the expansions to see what they add.
Here, the Catan world has been rethemed for Rome. Players control two Germanic trines (horseman and warrior tribes). Either unit may move to plunder lands, but once they settle a land, they may never plunder again. The terrain consists of ore, wheat fields, and plains. The twist is that the plains will give you bulls or horses as a resource, but that is determined randomly. There is also gold in the game. A bull and a gold give you a discovery card, a horse and an ore give you a horesman and army, while a horse, bull and wheat give you a wagon (Wagons are required for settlements). You earn 1 VP per settlement, 2 VPs, if either of your units conquer 5 different types of land, 2 VPs if both your units settle 4 lands, etc. It's a neat twist on the origial Settlers and fun to play. It's not quite as clean as the original Settlers since you have to calculate where you want your units to move and pay a cost. The tension in this game is deciding to leave Germania and leave yourself exposed to the Legionnaire (the robber) and start plundering Roman cities. Tough decisions also on whether to continue plundering or to settle. It's a decent game and clocks in at about 2 hours.
Designed by Uwe Rosenberg, this game is very similar to Agricola. You start with two dwarves and place them on spaces to take actions, such as building, gathering grain and vegetables, rubies. Unlike Agricola, there are no cards to choose from, the buildings are all on display for anyone to build. Ore is a resource that can be used to arm your dwarves. Armed dwarves can go adventuring, and take rewards (for instance, gaining cows or other resources). New animals, dogs and donkeys are introduced, and you can also build mines on your display.
It's a big box game, with many pieces.
There are a lot of things going on, but it is fun. It's similar to Agricola, but the feeding is a bit simpler. There are no ovens and such, you simply convert goods to food. I had fun and look forward to more plays. The sweet spot for the game is probably around 4 players, otherwise it will be too long between turns.
In 13th century France, one attempts to aid in the construction of Caylus by erecting buildings, or help in the construction of the castle. Speed of the game is regulated by the movement of the bailiff, and which buildings get activated depends on the provost, who can be "bribed". Players put workers in turn order on different buildings to activate that building's special ability. There is a lot of interaction, strategy with placing workers to change turn order, earn money, etc. There is a royal favor section, 4 tracks of improvements for VPs, money, goods or building, where one can work on strategy. It is a long game, at about two and a half hours length. There are a multitude of strategies, and will vary with the number of players you play with. The manoeuvering of the provost does add a screw factor to the game, which can be cruel on beginners.
This is the game that introduces the worker placement mechanic, so it is innovative. It's a bit longer than I would like, and I am lukewarm on this game, but I am in the minority here on BGG since most people really like this game.
In this 3-4 player game, each player is an evil race, with their own special abilities. Players play cards or monsters onto the board to earn points or leave corruption on the board. Battles are resolved by rolling dice. A player can win two ways: by scoring 50 pts, or moving their special dial marker around a number of steps.
It's a decent game, where you decide whether you put on weak monsters or strong monsters, and balance it out with cards. You also have a choice to score VPs, or try to get your dial around to win. Looking forward to more plays. It does take a couple plays to understand the rules, nuances and strategy. Playing with an inexperienced player who just feeds Khorne, for example, doesn't bode well for the other players, so there is a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately all my games have been with inexperienced players, and there have been runaway leaders. There are some neat ideas here, but it does rely on other players to police each other, and it's not really my type of game. I do like the costs of playing cards and characters onto the board, but the rest of it just isn't my cup of tea.
Fairly classic game of moving diagonally, jumping over opponent's pieces to capture them, and getting a crown when you reach the last rank. I don't know if it is the limitations of movement, or searching for the big jump, but this classic game just didn't do it for me when I was growing up. Now on July 19, 2007, this game has been solved so that a computer can never lose. I'm not sure how much appeal this game has anymore.
Chess is one of the classic games - to play properly requires 2 1/2 hrs of time on each clock. When I was 15 years old, I got a rating of 1700 in Canada, played tournaments in Hong Kong beating a couple of 1900 rated players. My great "accomplishment" was drawing the grandmaster Najdorf when he was playing 40 players simultaneously in Hong Kong in 1986, and I was only one of two people to draw him. Unfortunately, I haven't raised a chess piece in anger for many years. I have only played the odd social game with co-workers, but haven't played blitz or anything that sharpens my skill. My skills have declined to the point where I easily blunder away pieces now. Chess will always be one of my favorite games, but I don't think I could find the time to play tournament matches again.
Players are rail barons, seeking to invest in promising rail lines and expanding them. The map board shows four starting lines on the east coast: 1) New York Central (green), with 24 available trains and shares, 2) Pennsylvania Railroad Company (red) with 20 trains and 3 shares, 3) Baltimore and Ohio (blue) with 22 trains and 4 shares, 4) Chesapeake and Ohio (yellow) with 26 trains and 6 shares. Players start with $30, and a share in each company is auctioned off. Players then take turns with one of three choices: 1) expand a rail line by up to three trains, 2) develop a rail line to increase income and 3) put a share up for auction.
When a railroad share is put up for auction, the minimum bid is the income of the railroad divided by the number of owned shares. E.g, at the start of the game, PRC has an income of 7, so the minimum bid on the first share is $7. Money from the auction is put into the railroads money supply, which is used to fund expansions. Expansions cost money per hex, generally $1 per open hex, $4 through mountains and $2 through forests. Expansions into certain hexes, like cities, boost the income of a railroad by one or two. There are some big cities on the map: Wheeling, Pittsburgh and Detriot. A rail line making it into one of these cities has a lucrative boost in income, depending on how developed the city is. For instance, Pittisburgh is worth four extra income, if someone develops Pittsburgh, the income is now worth 6, and a final development gives a total of 8 income. Finally, if rail line makes it into Chicago, the rail line income is boosted by 7, and there is a special dividend pay out.
Dividends occur during the game when two of the three action spaces are full. Each round there can only be a maximum of 5 expansions, 4 developments or 3 auctions. Once two of three possible actions are full, marked by steam gauges, a dividend occurs. Note that a player can choose an action that is available and choose not to execute that action. A railroad pays out the income divided by the number of shares, rounded up. After a dividend, all steam gauges are reset to zero and the development marker for Detriot is moved up by one.
Note when any rail line expands into Chicago, a dividend payout also occurs, but the steam gauges are not reset. After the first rail line makes it into Chicago, a new rail line becomes available: the Wabash line (black), with 2 shares and 11 trains.
The game ends when 1) shares of at least three railroads are all gone, 2) the development marker for Detriot reaches eight, 3) trains from three railroads are all gone, or 4) all development markers are gone.
This rail road stock market game is okay, and has simple mechanics. I dislike the fact where players can maniuplate the ending of the game by buying up shares, or taking an auction action and not do anything to deny someone. But I suppose if you get in the spirit of the game, it will be okay. I'm still trying to learn the nuances of this game, I have a big problem in overpaying for shares. On the plus side, it does play quickly. It is a decent game, but not quite my type of game. Sometimes perception plays a role, and players can deny the leader, putting someone else in the winner's seat.
A reprint of Web of Power with the following differences: 1) areas are only scored once when they are complete 2) once during the game, a person has the option to play a fortress which doubles their road net and area points, in the location placed, 3) there are four face up cards to choose from, and 4) the map is changed so the alliances are more balanced. There is more emphasis on advisors in this version, and it is just as fun. If you have the original, I don't feel you need this version.
Light and fast card game from Knizia. There are 10 suits, valued from 0 to 7. On your turn, you flip over a card, which you may keep and your turn is over, or flip over more cards to attempt to get the card you need, but if the suit of a new card matches those already revealed this turn, you lose your turn. Action cards allow you to draw cards from your opponents or other abilities. Score for three of a kind, and the highest in each of your suits, and having one of each suit. Cute game, fairly luck oriented, fairly fun.
The fun, interesting dynamic in this game is choosing roles: assasin, thief, magician, king, priest, merchant, builder, and soldier. The trick is that you do not know who chose what role, as it is a secret choice from the remaining cards of roles. These characters have special abilities and you interact by doing something against another character (e.g. assasin announces they will kill the merchant) so you cannot specifically target another player, only a role that was chosen. There is a lot of double guessing in that aspect. Victory is obtained by building to 8 buildings anc counting VPs. However, there is lot of luck with hands being switched, the soldier burning down other people's buildings, the assasin not killing the right person, etc. so it should not be played strategically, since one could get assasinated multiple times or robbed, taking away the fun factor. English version of the game introduces the witch, and takes away only one action from the chosen character, which seems more balancing than someone getting assasinated and losing their whole turn. On the plus side, this game works with 7 people.
Expand cities on a mapboard, and build up culture, education or health buildings to attract citizens from other cities. Cities are limited by the wheat the player controls. Decent game, tense decisions in the early going. Game decisions seem routine near the end, but the reason we don't play this too often is that it takes 2 1/2 to 3 hrs.
Populate your region in ancient Egypt, build cities, earn cards, trade cards to earn advancements and progress your civilization. Played this game 4 or 5 times in my lifetime. I'm not sure how much patience I have to play this game these days since games last at least 5 hrs. Some neat concepts here. The disasters seemed quite random and getting into an early fight with your neighbor can be detrimental. If you don't mind the length of the game, can be very engaging for that duration.
At the beginning of the game, players are given a secret color of tribe to control. Move tribes or group of tribes to cause strife and earn VPs in certain terrain. Somtimes getting your own forces eradicated is beyond your control. Have played this with 5 players, by having a player take the neutral tribe. More tactical with a lesser number of players. It's not a bad game, but you need patience but it also depends what scoring opportunities are left for you or your opponents. If one of your opponents is constantly getting scoring opportunites, then it is tough to combat that. It is a quick game, so it is not too painful to sit through if you are getting crushed, and it is fun when things are going your way.
Pick different gladiators to put in a chariot, then battle against chariots or animals by rolling dice. Too much luck involved. After Knizia released Africa, this game and Dragonland, we figured the great game designer must have switched to introducing light games. Well this one is certainly light.
Classic party game of deduction. Wish I knew a way of keeping track of all the information, but I guess if there was a way, everyone would do it and then it wouldn't be much fun. Doesn't count as a Eurogame, but fun as a party game.
In this two player card game, one player is the KGB and the other is the CIA. Each player has identical personalities (Director, deputy director, assassin, master spy, etc.) Each round, an objective worth VPs ranging from 5 to 20 is flipped up. Each player then secretly plays a personality for that battle. Players then flip cards out of the deck to determine the outcome of the battle. The deck has four suits, with numbers ranging from 1 to 6. Each of the suits has different abilities: tap or untap a card, discard a card, look at a card from the deck or move cards. When both players have passed, they reveal their personality and resovle the battle. The higher numbered cards wins, and the personality cards take effect. For instance, the master spy allows the lower numbered cards to win.
There is a lot of double guessing and there is a lot of luck. Some battles are worth 5 VPs, but those are a 1 card, 1 flip battle. The director ability, when you win allows to draw an objective card ranging from 5 to 20, which is quite huge, for a game that only goes up to 100 pts. It's okay, but the double guessing aspect (for instance, did they play their master spy?) is not a real favourite mechanic of mine.
Fun game from Michael Schacht. Players are collecting sets of chameleons. Trick is that you score points for your three largest sets and lose points for any other sets. Easy to learn, decisions are tough. There are junctures in the game where one has to decide to bail out, or add a card, which in a way reminds me of Ra. Can be played as a tight defensive game, or can be played lightly depending on the crowd. Very good design.
A Knizia game where creatures duel it out with cards. Bet on creatures to earn points if those creatures survive. High cards are just as useful as low cards and creature abilities add a neat twist. Our gaming group usually plays the game a number of times equal to the number of players to balance out who gets to bid first on a creature. Playing multiple games usually takes 2-3 hrs. Very good game. I own the Titan the Arena version.
In Colossal arena, there are 4 new creatures that are added: 1) Seraphim which lets you use abilities of dead creatures, 2) Colossus which lets you recover bets made in previous rounds, 3) Gorgon which lets you name a creature card and take from one player, 4) Daimon, which allows you to bet multiple times in a round. So you can mix and match creatures with this re-implemented version. Note also there is a major rule change from Titan: The Arena, in that the game ends when the deck runs out.
As a Roman with an arena, build up your arena to attract more spectators and run shows. On your turn, choose one way to expand your arena (build new show, build season's tickets, etc) or buy a new show, bid for resources for your show, roll dice to attract Roman high council members, and produce your show. The trick in this game is that the highest value show overall wins the game, there is no cumulative counting of scores. Game lasts 5 rounds, and the person who produces the highest value show in each round is penalized by having the person in last place take a resource. This is a nice component game, very fun to play and where you have to build up for your final show.
In this expansion, the Prussian army is added to the base game of Commands and Colors: Napoleonics. The Prussians have some interesting units and abilities: a limited number of iron will tokens allow the Prussians to ignore a flag die roll.
I've played the first scenario and it was interesting: the Prussians can earn VPs by retreating to balance out the superiority of the French. Some neat ideas here, and I'd happily play through the scenarios.
In ancient Rome, each player starts with an identical hand of 7 cards. Cards allow one to collect income, move colonists, build cities, and buy other cards. Each card is also worth game ending VPs. Points are scored in a variety of ways: diversity of cities in provices, diversity in different types of cities, number of colonists and so forth.
There is no Rondel, but you could think of the cards as the rondel. There is a card that lets you pick up all your played cards, so it is similar. There's lots to think about, and lot of tension about who gets to the card display first.
Whoever triggers the game end gets a 7 VP bonus. I've been victimized by this a couple of times, and also I've gotten the 7 VP bonus and lost. I assume the designer has gone over the playtesting to determine that 7 VP is the right award - it just seems a bit unscientific to me and depending on turn order, you could be deprived one turn relative to other people. So there is something about trying to equalize the turn order that nags at me, but it's an interesting game.
Play cards out of hand to win bid for cities. Cards are values or special cards. Highest total wins city, and first person to connect 4 cities wins. Game when the drums came out people started making drumming noises or singing "Little Drummer Boy". Now, the mechanics of playing cards and battling for cities is fun. However, the game itself in trying to connect cities potentially leads to long games and stalemates, thus the second edition tweaks the rules so that only 3 adjacent cities leads to a win. Still, it seems the game overstays its welcome everytime we play.
On a 6X7 grid, attempt to get four of your own pieces in a row. Yes, this game has been solved, meaning that the player going first should win. I would only play this on an airplane if nothing else to kill time on a long flight.
On a modular, hexagonal board, are tiles numbered from 1 to 12 which represent the VP of the tiles. Players may recruit one mage, worker or swordsman per turn at a cost of 5 gold, which allows the player to pay the casting cost of their cards. Cards have an attack value and support value. If the attack value of the card and support value of all adjacent cards equal the number on the tile, then the player earns that amount of gold. Mages allow one to cast spells, or draw cards for cheaper cost.
It's a fun game, though there is a little downtime while waiting for others to take their turn. It's pretty simple to play, and there are some tactical possbilities, since you have to expand to where your other cards are, and you could get sealed off.
I have played the normal and advanced rules. However, we played the normal game wrong, since you are not forced to play adjacent to your troops. In the normal game, you start only one troop, while in the advanced game you put down two troops, but your subsequent plays must be adjacent to those first two troops, and the turn order is reversed in the second placement.
In this space themed deck building game, one uses their actions and energy to play down cards. Cards typically have a fleet and ground strength. Players can then use their cards to invade planets which require a certain fleet and ground values to conquer, which give more energy and VPs. As another action, players can also draft cards from the middle. As the game progresses, the cards get more powerful and planets are harder to conquer, but have more rewards.
The one thing that does bug me a little bit is the way turn order works. In the last 2 rounds, you want to go first or second to have a chance at the good cards (the "core worlds" which give many VPs), and if you don't get first crack at them, you could be at a disadvantage. So by the last rounds, the turn order may not be in your favor.
The game is going to clcock in at around 2 hrs, probably just a bit long for a deck building game, but it is okay to play.
This game expands the deck building game Core Worlds by adding Galactic Orders which are 6 areas where player can place their chits. First a player has to draft a card with a symbol corresponding to that order, then when they play that card, they can place a chit on the order. The Oroders give different abilities if you choose to remove a chit from them (such as adding strength to fleet/ground, or reducing draft cost), or you can leave the chits for majority scoring at the end of the game.
I like what these Orders add, giving the players more options. I'm looking forward to more plays with this.
Players take on the role of aliens with special powers and attempt to win by occupying 5 enemy bases. Combat is determined by "pointing the cone" at an enemy base, ask for allies, playing cards face down, reveal, then add the cards to your strength to see who wins. The special powers of aliens break many rules, which was quite innovative for 1977.
I played this many times as a teenager in the early 80's. I thought it was a great game then, with multiple powers, and hidden powers, but now that I replay it, there is a certain unstableness to it, with a ton of luck. This is due to varying abilities of powers, the expansions, flares, kickers and so on. Still it is a relatively classic game.
The new 2008 version of Cosmic by Fantasy Flight Games. Having only played the basic game of this, the only rule changes were 1) the addition of reinforcement cards of value 3, allowing main players or allies to play them after cards have been revealed, and 2) the destiny deck has more variety on who you can attack. There still is a ton of luck, but the game plays quickly, and is over in under an hour. It's a great game for 1977, but it shows it's age.
Party game, played in teams, combining trivia, charades, guessing what a person is making from clay, etc. Fun party game, but some questions (such as humming the "Four seasons") could be difficult. Also had a problem with someone having seen the cards before, so they were stuck in a quandry - to be quiet and not affect the outcome or play with the advantage?
Classic game of drawing cards, discarding one into a kitty, then playing them out one at a time to earn points. Points are scored for straights, flushes, pairs, triples, 4 of a kind and summing cards up to 15. After playing out cards you score points as well, and one player gets to score the kitty.
In this dexterity game, players attempt to flick disks onto a circular board, where there are disk like, scoring regions with more points awarded towards the center. The trick is that to keep your disk on the board, you must hit one of your opponent's disks. You can play with 2 people, or as teams of two. I have only played the team version. It's fun, but I found that I slightly bruised my fingernail when flicking too many disks. I consider this more of a party game.
Each player has a character with 100 hit points. Each round, there is a random monster encounter. Each round, the player order of attack is decided randomly. Whoever deals the killing blow to the monster gets the VPs for the monster. In this card driven game, damage is delivered from the value on the card. There are also potion cards which give special abilities and interrupt type cards which can disrupt other player's cards. Each monster also has special abilities and can do damage to the players.
This is a very light, random game. If you just enjoy sitting back, have cards flying back and forth, some cancelling, some getting through, then you will enjoy this game. I think the younger generation will enjoy this game. It's not really my type of game.
In this WW II themed dice rolling game, players use their soldiers to try to advance during the D-day invasions. Each player has two red, two blue and two white dice. You are allowed 2 re-rolls and can "freeze" previous rolls to give you the best rolls. For instance, rolling a 4 of each color will give you a bonus. The dice give you more soldiers, equipment, and courage to advance, while the sectors contain machineguns, bunkers and so forth.
It's an okay solitaire game, but not fun when playing with other people. I have played the Gold beach scenario with 2 other people. I'm willing to give this game another go, I think it has some potential, but it fell a bit flat with the other players.
I understand it is being republished as a cooperative game, with some rules updates, so I think that is a nice improvement. Looking forward to trying the new release!
Trick taking card game but highest card is given to the player who played the lowest. Scoring is based on cards you have captured - if you only capture 2 cards in a suit, you score all the points, otherwise you score 1 point per card in that suit you have captured. Not a great tricking card game, maybe those who don't like the traditional trick taking games will like this one.
Card game where one opens mines then play bronze, silver or gold cards to score points. Bandit cards can steal mines, however. Played as a partnership game in '98/'99, but never brought out again. Friend bought it because it was a Knizia game. Okay game, but game settled into which partnership had a 'close' card or enough bandit cards to defend their open mine. But certainly the partnership who got more 'close' cards seem to have an advantage. An afternoon of playing many rounds did not seem to settle anything. I'll play again, but suggestion of this game doesn't excite me much.
Based on the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, a partnership game where players attempt to collect food and Meurtos cards. Deck has four colors, once you play a color, rule is you cannot play that same color. The four suits have non-uniform values of numbers. Some unique artwork, not well received in the gaming group. As partnership trick taking games go, sure there are some novel aspects, but compared to all the others out there, does nothing to shine above the rest. Sold the game after a few playings, but I don't mind it.
Deck of 30 cards composed of 15 disasters (five different types, three cards each) and fifteen numbers ranging from 1 to 17. In a round, flip a card. If it is a number card, all explorers present split the gems; if it is a disaster card, no one is in danger unless it is the second copy of the same disaster. Everyone then loses their gems. Players have the option of retreating back to base camp before the next card is drawn and splitting the leftover gems left on cards, and having the privilege of banking their gems. Play over five rounds. A cute little game that plays quickly. If you gamble and win, it's fun, if you lose, it's still fun.
Classic game of negotiation, and simple movement of units before WW I. Played this game many times in high school. Sure it's fun when you are on the winning side of an alliance, and it is not much fun when you are getting backstabbed. I think it had a niche market back in the early 80's, but the game length, and player elimination makes this a less palatable game now.
This fun party game resembles a combination of Apples to Apples and Balderdash. Players are dealt cards with cartoonish pictures. The current player says a sentence, or hums a tune to convey the meaning of a picture, then a card is placed face down out of their hand. Everyone else then plays a face down card. Cards are revealed and players have to choose the the current player's card to score points. You also score points if people choose your card.
It's a different game, fun to play at a party,and was the French game of the year in 2009. It would be interesting to see how replayable it is, though I heard there are expansions already.
To win a province (and place tokens to build for VPs), one places bid markers face down (value numbered from 0 to 3), up to 4 markers in one area. I'm not fond of blind bidding games, like this one, Aladdin's Dragons or Die Weiss Lotus, since they are diffcult to play strategically (but of course some people love these games, but that's why they have menus in restaurants, so you can have a choice). There are some neat concepts, with cards turned up to see which province gets resolved first, so people can plan their advisor moves. The game as a whole is okay, but not something I want to play regularly.
A blind bidding game that reminds me of 6 nimmt. In a matrix of 7 rows and 9 columns are placed a number of items valued 1 to 7. Players have bid cards numbered 1 to 6, multiple bid cards can be placed on a row. At the end, bid cards are revealed, and highest takes the first card in the row, second highest takes the second card in the row, etc. Ties, both players get nothing. A bit random especially with the ties, plus the fact that a recent acquisiton of a suit replaces your old one throws a slight wrinkle to it. Very light game.
An abstract area control game, where one has three druids on the map, and when a druid moves, a stone is left in the druid's location. These stones are used to compute majorities surround squares (3 pts), pentagons (4 pts) and hexagons (5 pts). Whenever a player ties or takes the lead in a shape, they may slide a scoring tile (ranging from 1 to 4) into the stack of scoring tiles. The scoring tile is multiplied by the location in the stack, and the shape. It's a short game, not too bad, but the starting players seem to have an advantage.
In this worker placement game, themed after six species fighting for survival, players play to improve the durability of their species, cause glaciation, add new tiles, migrate and reproduce. It's also an area control game, and there are cards that give you a wide range of bonuses. It's a game that clocks in around 4 hours. There are some interesting twists, in that you can use a worker to reserve a future action on the glaciation action.
I have played once with 5 players. I'm happy to try again, to understand the nuances of this game, but the time could be a factor. I also have some concerns about the wide swings caused by the dominance cards, and the targetting of the leader. The game does keep you engaged throughout.
In a 7 season game, each player puts down an agent with abilities from season 1 to 7. The trick is that the higher abilities can only be available if they match the season, or less, in which they are played. This is an area control game where the agents let you dump cubes into the board. The agent's abilities get more powerful and more chaotic as the game progresses. Some spots on the board are worth points as well, creating dog fights for certain spots.
It's a long, fairly chaotic game. The cards can lead to many rules questions and it's just not my type of game. If it was somehow shorter it would be less painful perhaps, but I couldn't really stomach the almost random abilities of various cards.
In this card game, one starts with a 10 card deck, consisting of seven copper cards and three 1VP cards. You always deal out five cards, perform actions, buy new cards, discard and draw five new cards. In the middle of the table are 10 different cards, with a quantity of 10, which you can buy. The game has 25 of these cards, and every game, 10 of these are in play. These cards are the heart of the game, which gives you bonuses in buying, getting more actions, etc. Also available for purchase are more copper, silver, gold, 1 VP cards, 3 VP cards and 6 VP cards. The game ends when the 6 VP cards are exhausted, or any other three stacks are depleted.
This is a good card game with a lot of variety. There are many possibilities, different games, and they all clock in very fast. It's also a lot of fun, though after repeated playings, it has lost a bit of the shine, though. I really enjoyed it initially, and liked the game design, but there needs to be a way to equalize player order.
Bidding for districts in Chicago, but you cannot bid a certain number if you own certain districts and winning bid is redistributed to the players who have that numbered district. Not that innovative; it set up a kingmaker problem, and it almost made it random on who got richer. Played a few times, but not brought out again.
A plastic boat is precariously balanced on a point holder. The object of the game is to carefully place penguins on the boat, which will cause the boat the sway with the weight of the penguins, without knocking over any penguins onto the table.
This manual dexterity game is designed for ages 5 and up, and I had fun playing with my daughter who is not quite 4. It's fun to play with young kids.
A tactical game where players are trying to build houses and a hacienda by two rivers. Players have 6 action points which they distribute to their 6 workers. Income is earned by having a presence in the terrain, irrigated by the river, that is scoring. Other opponent's units can be forced to return to base if you attack from higher ground or outnumber them. Players can change the course of the river by setting up dams. In the only 4 player game I played, it was quite chaotic with the board changing significantly after your turn. I heard that it was less chaotic with 3 players. It's all right, I would play this again and so that I can form a better opinion.
This is a light game based upon the small village of Pompeii that was wiped out during the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. Players first palce meeples into the buildings of Pompeii depending on the location cards they have. In the second phase of the game, players place lava tiles which may trap or engulf meeples. Player can move two of their own meeples per turn to get them out of the city and whoever has the most meeples out wins.
There is a lot of luck in this game, but the geography of where the lava tiles start may favour one side where to initially place meeples. It's light, and can be fun in the right environment.
Bruno Faidutti game, theme based on adventurers killing dragons then splitting the loot. Depending which adventurers you used (thief, magician), you get a special action (rob someone, get a magic card). Splitting the loot is a negotiation process, limited to one minute with a sand timer. Extremely light, like other Faidutti games.
Originally callued Traumfabrik, this game by Knizia is based on where one bids for directors, actors, cameras, specials effects tokens to complete movies. The neat mechanic is that the winning bid is split up evenly among the players. This game was republished as Dream Factory, and then Hollywood Blockbuster, which speaks for it's popularity.
Whoever has the most actor points gets to pick first at the party, wherby in actor point order players choose tokens from the party pool. VPs awarded for first completed color movies, largest movies, largest director points, worst movie. Interesting mechanic where the winning bid is divided up amongst the other players. A lot of it is risk, since the party pool is hidden, if one bids high to get first pick there, there maybe nothing worthwhile.
When this game game first came out, it was a neat trying to produce movies with different requirements. It had an easy theme that is easy to grasp, and the movie names and actors are known, and are humorous. However after repeated playings, this game seems to have gotten old, since there is luck in what is at the party. Sometimes you get caught in a bidding war with someone who is out of the game, and the party adds an uncertainty element. If people overbid, you can't win by hoarding contracts, though you might win another bid cheaply.
I think the things you have to decide on is do you finish movies quickly to get more movies and the associated first movie points, or do you produce blockbuster movies to get the big movie points.
Nowadays, I would prefer to play another game with more strategic depth.
Fun, light game if you are looking for variety in a 2 player setting. There are 9 suits (twenty cards of 20, eighteen cards of 18, etc, much like Bohnanza). Players either draw 2 cards, then discard or play down a run of at least 2 cards of the same suit. The run must be more than any other run of the same suit on the table; owner of previous run must discard that suit. Round ends when all 9 suits are on the table, or one player has 6 suits, or when one draw pile is exhasusted. Score the suit values and play over 4 rounds.
Theme is based on druids trying to subvert trees. Each tree has numbered druids on it. Each turn, play a druid card - if the number matches other druid cards, all druid cards "dance" that number of trees around the board (direction is set by the particular tree). Then, if allowed (color druids have to match), a fight over a tree takes place with the higher number winning. Lose 2 trees and you lose. Theme is different, as a game, there probably is a different way of presenting warfare, and the part where all like numbered druids dance and play musical chairs, well that is funny once, but could be almost interpreted as random. Not a bad game, played twice but I think my friend was disappointed in it so he sold it. I need a couple more playings to form a real opinion to see how much strategy there is, but game is no longer within gaming group.
Different factions on Dune (Harkonnen, Atredies, etc) compete for spice and avoiding worms. Combat resolved by selecting a personailty from the household and playing other cards.
"But Sir, you promised me a Harkonnen!"
Neat idea of different factions with different abilities and ways to win the game. Would have a higher rating if the game wasn't so unstable (nucleonics could wipe out a bunch of forces), and once the Harkonnen lose all their troops, they are basically out. Games typically clock in at more than two hours.
In this 2-4 player game, each player is a dungeon keeper, attempting to get food, imps, traps and monsters. At the end of a building year, adventurers visit your dungeon and try to trash it. You use your monsters and traps to enslave the adventurers to earn points. It is an economic game with building, then using your building to collect points. This is Vlaada Chvatil's best game so far.
This is a very engaging game, with many tough decisions to make. The rules are funny to read, and it is a complex game. I really enjoy this game. Things are tense during the card plotting phase, where you wonder if you might get shut out, or if you will have enough money to do all the things you want. Then you might end up unexpectedly with what you did or did not want, and you have to adapt. I still haven't had the chance, nor the bravery to attempt to attract a paladin, but hope to change that sometime soon!
From the same designer of Dungeon Lords, this new game is themed on you running a pet store. You send imps to go shopping, to buy cages, pets and other items for your store. In certain rounds, you have to exhibit your pets and sell your pets. VPs are earned from the exhibitions and selling.
Every round, you have to manage the needs of your pets, based on card draws. They may have play, poop, magic, disease needs and you have to try to manage all of them.
It's a fun game, and similar feel to Dungeon Lords in that you are trying to minimize the pain you inflict on your pets. It's a bit more forgiving than Dungeon Lords, where in that game you could lose a bunch of tiles when monsters attack you. Here you would lose a pet, worst case scenario. Dungeon Lords is more fun for me, but this game is good too.
In this cooperative dungeon crawl game set in the D&D universe, players choose between a cleric, ranger, fighter, wizard or rogue. On a player's turn they move/attack and explore new dungeon tiles, which turn up monsters. Combat is resolved in the D&D way, rolling a 20 sided die and resolving against armor class.
The games are fun, full of tension, and engaging. Looking forward to going through all the 13 adventures.
Fun abstrct game for 2 players. Pieces can be stacked, and movement is governed by the size of the stack. Stacks must be adjacent to a DVONN red piece otherwise they will be eliminated. Favors those who can look ahead (you go here, I go there, you go there). So, I guess it depends on how serious you want to play it.
Quick light game: Players put cards of the same suit on the table to score points; but on their turn, opponents get to make use of what is on the table to score points as well. A neat concept. Luck factors in with 1) who gets the special cards, allowing them to clear the table, for instance, or 2)even being able to draw many of one suit at an opportune time. I played this a few times and enjoyed it, but with the lightness and luck, I don't think it will have a chance to be played again.
In this space exploration and conquest game, players can explore, build up their space ships, move and attack, research to optimize their civilation and gain influence on planets.
This is a game that has a steep learning curve, but very enjoyable. There are so many different paths to victory. There is luck in the tiles you get to explore, and the dice you roll in combat. There are a ton of options, and that's what makes this game fun. Rating likely to rise with more plays.
Updated Basari for 5 players where the dice rolling has been removed. Cards are dealt to each individual player representing the jewels or money they can earn. The new actions are bid for contracts, or take gems from the supply. Despite being a blind simultaneous action game, it's fun. Sure, there is luck with who chooses what and doublethink, but had fun during my plays with it. In our games we haven't really explored all the contract cards yet, some of them can be destablizing.
On a 7 X 7 map grid, one attmepts to cultivate their plants, and take over opponent's plants. The cards in the game are irrigation cards (where on the grid you can place) and cultivation cards (grow your plants if you have the right pattern for the card). Conflicts occur if you place your plant adjacent to an opponent, and an acquisition will occur, with the war being waged by money. There is a lot of luck in the cards you need for cultivating, and if you fall behind, you will be completely out of the game, as your opponent's plants become indestructable masses that engorge everything adjacent to it.
Theme based on car design. Players secretly assign points to cars then influence them by choosing a direction, color of car, or distance to move, score points on where they end up. I do like the part where you can secretly assign different points to different cars, but that's all I like about this game. Play a card and really all you can do is hope. Just not my cup of tea.
In medieval Japan, each player starts with three action cards. Each action card has four possible choices of actions, such as get rice, get extra worker, build and so forth. You preprogram your three moves each round and resolve them in player order.
Getting goods requires you to put samurai onto the board, income is collected by houses players have on each area. The game ends when someone gets to 12 VPs, then you finish the round.
It's a fun game, with lots of tough decisions to make. Looking forward to more plays. My rating is likely to rise with more plays.
This is an Egyptian themed worker placement game with a slight twist. Worker placement spots go from the top of a stream to the bottom, and you can't go upstream of your last worker. Players are gathering brick, gathering food, and increasing the strength of their workers to build monuments. There are also cards that give you scoring bonuses.
I enjoyed this game. It plays quickly, and it is tense all the way through. It uses the bonus scoring cards (reminds me of Masons), but gives you a mechanic to choose one you can use. There is a ton of tension in this game about leaving cards for your opponents if you do not hurry along the river.
In this area control game, players first pay for a card depending where the card is located in the draft. Each card has a symbol, and some actions one can perform with the card. The possible actions on the card are putting cubes on the board, move cubes, move cubes by shipping and build a city. Cubes can be placed only in your cities or on the start space of the board
At the end of the game, players score 1 pt for each majoirty they have in a region, and score 1 pt for each continent they control. In addition, they score points for the sets of symbols they have collected.
The game plays quickly, typically 20-30 minutes, and being an area control game, you have to compete with your opponents. I like the game, and rating is likely to go up with more plays. There is lot of angst on which cards to pay for and what to leave behind.
In this Viking themed game, each player has a mat, and a player screen. Each player then secretly assigns vikings to tasks: 1) gather resources in the form of green bricks (1 VP) , brown bricks (2 VP), tan bricks (3 VPs) or gray bricks (4 VPs), 2) attack another player fort by sea, land or by boat, and 3) defend their fort. After everyone has assigned vikings, everyone reveals their locations, and vikings are put on the board. Wherever there are not enough resources to go around, battles are fought, with cards numbered from 1 to 6. Each player has a hand size of 4 cards, and must cycle through all their cards. The loser of the battle assigns their viking to the appropriate hospital, but swaps cards with the winner. The hospitals are a timing mechanism on when your vikings can come back to the game - e.g., if you lose by 3, 4 or 5, it takes 3 turns for your vikings to come back, if you tie, they come back at the end of the round. Players then take their plundered resources, and erect a part of their fort. There are 6 walls, which can hold a maximum of 3 brick, and the strength of the top brick helps when a person's fort is being attacked by another player. Each player also has 5 medallions, which are worth 1 VP each, or they can choose to use to exchange cards with the deck. Game ends after 10 rounds, or when someone has built 18 walls on their fort.
I'm not real fond of the blind bidding (where you assign vikings to resources then reveal to see if there are battles), since someone can get lucky by "outguessing" someone else. It's an okay game, and has some interesting mechanics, and clocks in at around 90 minutes.
In the world of Arkham Horror, players are investigators, working cooperatively to destroy the Ancient One. The main mechanic in this game is rolling 6 dice (of which spells can add more dice, or allow you to re-roll) to complete tasks, Yahtzee style. Failing tasks generally affects your sanity and stamina, while being successful allows you to gain items, such as Elder Signs, which a certain number are needd to dispatch the Ancient One. The Ancient One will awaken if enough doom markers are placed on it, which it gains from investigators dying, or failing tasks. When the Ancient One awakens, you might have a chance to try and fight it before he devours you.
The dice do add a good deal of luck, and some adventure cards are much tougher than others. Worth a look if you are an Arkham Horror fan. It's reasonably fun, though it may bog down with more players as you wait for your turn. But you have to enjoy the dice aspect of the game.
Be the first elf to travel to all your cities by using different transportation mechanisms (wind, water, mule, etc) by matching with your cards. Neat concept of using different transportation tokens over different terrain. However, one could easily get stuck with the wrong transportation token in the wrong area. Fun game, one tries to control their hands, but opponents can easily waylay a good plan. The first time I played it, I thought it had potential, but the placing of routes by other players seems to add too much randomness. I'll still play it since it is neat.
In the new world, there are 7 rounds in this game. Each round, you construct a building. Next you collect colonists. Then you put colonists into buildings to take actions: (ship to Europe or one of the outlying regions, draw cards, attack another player). Then you put back colonists from occupied buildings into your supply, and start a new round. Each player has a player mat to track their abilities and the cards they collect.
This is a good game. Your actions are fairly simple, and there are many tough choices. There are some instances where it is possible to lose your token in your area when you are attacked, but it is expensive to attack. This game really grows on you, and forces you to make tough choices from turn to turn.
Object of the game is to place scouts, huts or fortresses on island pieces as the game board gets "explored". Points are awarded on islands for people who have majority of units. This first phase of the game is decent. But the next phase consists of placing scouts down one of 7 available paths. Each of these paths leads to a hidden victory point counter of 5, 10 or 15 points. The first scout down on that path can look at the hidden VP counter. Majority on the path will take the VPs, ties going to the one first on the path. It appeared in both games we played, the winner of these discovery paths was also the winner of the game (assuming everyone was close in the island discovery phase). Game hasn't been brought out since, but the game does have some neat ideas. I think this is Klaus Teber's weakest effort (compared to the Catan games). However, friend mentioned there maybe a fix to the discovery paths (limit them to less points, or less of a swing from 5 to 15), so we may try this game again soon. June 14, 2004: Played a three player game, took 2 1/2 hrs including relearning the rules. Hut wars didn't appear to influence outcome that much. Might be a decent game after all, but only have 3 plays under my belt.
In this real time game, players have 10 minutes to escape from a collapsing temple. Players are continuously rolling dice to either: explore a new tile, discover a new tile, activating gems, or rolling to escape. The dice also have black symbols, which make the die useless, but can be recovered by rolling a gold symbol, which reactivates two black dice. Players can escape when they have activated enough gems so that the escape roll is manageable.
This is a frenetic dice rolling game, since you have to go back to the start chamber a couple of times during the game, otherwise you lose a die. Teamwork is essential, since some players can roll too many black dice, and need help to get out.
It's fun, having played the basic game, the curses module, along with the treasures module. I'm looking forward to more plays.
I confess, we didn't finish one game of this, but being able to buy any number of cards to bid at any time, then working to get inside buildings and get random victory points ranging from 3 to 8 was a bit of a turn off. Person who bought the game sold it. I probably could play one whole game of this and it may not be that bad.
Using only the cards from 9 to Ace in a standard 52 card deck, in teams of two, declare the trump suit and take tricks. This game introduces the right bauer and left bauer, the jack in the trump suit and the jack in the other colored suit. Easy to learn and play, probably a good introduction to trump before moving on to bridge. Once lost $62 playing this game for money.
Knizia's E&T with cards, where every player has a hand of 8 cards. The rules are very nearly the same as the board game. To earn VPs, however, one has to play the right type of card to the table, and take the corresponding card from their hand. There are at most 8 kingdoms, and the treasures are also represented by cards. The only trick is that you can only see the top card of your VP pile, so you may not remember which color you are short. It's a shorter version of the board game, and fun. I think it is lighter than the boardgame, since you have a hand of 8 cards, and that adds much more luck and uncertainty when you are conducting conflicts.
Seize control of records and play concerts to score points. Seem to be unbalanced because influence cards range from low to high. Did not appear to have much strategic value - if the record was at the right value, it could be seized then play a concert, but only if you had the right cards. Friend bought this and we played it twice before he sold it. Neat components, with a sand timer.
Game where one tries to spread dinosaurs over the map and survive other dinosaurs and the elements. Genes are bid for every round. Attacks are resolved by rolling a die, which may detract from the strategy. Some cards are also more powerful than others. Good game, usually clocks in at 2 hrs.
Start with some cities in your hand, travel there and to other cities to score points. Not a bad game, but I guess watching helplessly as people formed loops detracts from the game. Also the seeding of cities appears to provide an advantage to some players.
You are racing from Greenland to the Northwest Passage, then back to Greenland. You have 7 workers on a ship, and you spend actions to move your ship, draw tiles, place tiles, pick up objects on the tiles for points, and finally you can split your workers from your ship to a sled and vice versa. The sled only travels on ice, and there is a disk in this game that rotates around the board that marks which marks an entire section of the board will be covered in ice. Normally you take one action, then it is the next player's turn, but for an extra worker you can take another action before the next player.
Tiles have ice or water, and when you complete an island, you score points. Tiles may also contain symbols which can be collected to form sets.
You get points for reaching the NW passage, and points for returning to Greenland.
So it's a combination tile placing game and racing game. There could be some downtime as you try to fit tiles into certain spots. It's an okay game, and generally willing to play it.
Japanese card game with 100 cards. There are four suits and players draft cards: Deal out five cards, pick one, pass the rest on and keep selecting until you have five cards. Then play three of those cards, one at a time. Cards can flip over other cards, or open your own cards. Repeat until you have played 12 cards, then score for only those cards that are still face up. Some cards score differently depending on whether you have met certain conditions, such as most of one type, or square of the total number of a type, etc. Interesting, fun, quick game. Don't expect this to be a highly strategic game, there is a good dose of luck such as your initial draw selection, and if your opponents play defence or not. The mechanics are neat, and decisions on which cards to collect can be tense. The 4 player partnership game is just as fun.
Inside the dungeon lives a hungry monster that moves by predetermined rules. Inside the dungeons are you and your fellow players, each controlling three player tokens (with 7 players). First player to get two tokens out of the dungeon wins. Now, I played this once with 7 players, and we knew it was quite random, but it was kind of fun and innovative. I think it is neat with the theme of a monster running amok and everyone is trying to get away. Don't try and play this game for strategic value, just enjoy the experience.
Theme is based on playing firefighters onto a map. There are 36 hexes, numbered 1 through 6 (six of each). Players add a hex to the highest sum of hexes (to represent fire spreading), then place 0 to 3 firefighters. To score points, add the continuous chain of hex numbers your firefighters occupy, then divide by the lowest valued unclosed edge. Obviously, huge luck of the draw on whoever gets the '1' tiles. Light, easy, kind of cute, can also play this solitare. Perhaps to fix the luck part, give each player a '1' hex (for 2 players, give two '1' hexes each); then a player has a choice of drawing a tile and playing it OR use their '1' hex tile.
This game simulates the 18th century battles between Britain and France for control of what is now North America. In this card driven game, the mechanics are borrowed from Dominion, but it does it to realistically simulate how wars were fought then. If you need resources, you need to make a request for them, and here they show up in your discard pile before being part of your draw deck.
You can settle locations with a village, or upgrade them to double your VPs. You also score points by capturing cubes of your opponents through seiges or raids. The game can also end if either side captures a key town.
This is a very good game, and I am looking forward to more plays. There are many strategies to pursue, and many things to do! Too bad it only plays with 2 players.
Multiplayer solitaire game (like Pangea, Tikal, Goldland), but way worse. Players wander around using ferries or on foot to buy 6 different commodities, then sell them to get 3 "fetishes" to win the game. Confusing buy/sell mechanisms between traders and merchants, then they trigger a random event after you deal with them, in our game someone sold goods for $600 almost running the bank out, prices of commodities were randomly fluctuating, and on top of all that everyone gets a random action (eg close a merchant for a turn).
A Bruno Faidutti game. Each person has 10 gold to bid with for 8 characters in a round. Highest bid wins, everyone else loses the offered gold for that round. As expected from a Faidutti game, emphasis is on doublethink, canceling one's actions with a character, and so forth. Game becomes skewed if someone gets to 2 VPs before anyone else (game ends at 3 VPs), and that happened all the time, since a recurring character allows one to sell gems for 2 VPs. This forced people into playing defence and ruining the game, when one has to bid all gold for a character just to deny the leader (and leader could second guess everyone by not bidding). Not real exciting for me when played as a strategic game, but I guess as a light game where you just observe the mechanics, it's okay.
Based on the Tales of 1001 nights, this game designed by Bruno Cathala has a 6 by 5 set of tiles seeded with three meeples each on the tiles. There are five different colors of meeples. Players then move the meeples, mancala style. For instance, if there are 3 meeples on a tile, you have to move 3 hexes, dropping off a meeple at each hex. Where you end your move, there must be a matching colored meeple to the last meeple, and you get to remove those meeples: Yellow meeples count for majority scoring, while meeples allow you to purchase bonus cards call Djinns, green meeples allow you to collect cards for set collecting VPS, red meeples allow you to assasinate other meeples and blue meeples score for adjacent blue numbers as well. In addition, each tile has a special ability (buy cards, buy Djinns, place palace/tree) that you execute when you finish your turn.
Each turn, you also bid for turn order on a fixed track, so you can always bid $0 if you do not wish to spend VPs.
This is a really engaging game. It can get very complex, since this game is more about not leaving behind valuable points after your turn, yet there are a few tactical possibilities. This could be Cathala's best game and I'm looking forward to more plays. I keep thinking about what I want to do next game.
Players control a race (humans, cats, bugs) with spaceships. Play cards to lauch attacks on opponent's fleet, upgrade weapons, etc. Spent a couple of afternoons playing this. Not a bad premise, but the idea of being able to load up as many cards on your mother ship, and the amount of time it took the bugs to defeat the cats (literally) left a bit of a bad taste. Tried shortening the battles, but fun factor was not there. Perhaps it's just the expansion set (cats and bugs) are bad, the original box of humans vs somebody else wasn't too bad. But this isn't Magic: The Gathering.
In this card game, players first bid for available licenses (lobster, tuna, shrimp, cod, king crab, processing). Each license gives you special benefits, such as giving you extra cards. Mulitple licenses of the same type will improve your benefit If you have the right license, you can launch a boat of the same type, and giving it a captain to earn fish cubes, which are 1 VP each at the end.
This is a fun filler, with different approaches that are possible. The fun part is trying to make each different license work. I've played three times, and looking forward to more plays.
On a race track, players race cars by making decisions on which gear to select. Number of hexes you move is determined by a die roll dependent on the gear you are on. You are allowed a certain number of tire, fuel, brakes, engine and body work hits (depending on how you take corners, land adjacent to other cars, etc). I'm not a huge racing game fan, but there is a fair amount of luck with the die rolls. It's okay, and can support a large number of players.
Formula motor racing with cards. Each player controls two cars in a race. Play a card to move cars forwards or backwards. Special cards can put cards out of the race. Play over three rounds. Easy card game from Knizia. Decisions are relatively easy, hope the crash card doesn't hit you, and optimize your position. It was fun and fresh when it first came out, but now it is rarely suggested.
There is a lot of luck. It's one of those games where you can introduce to people to get them into the hobby.
Place counters into a Roman campus. Scoring is triggered when column, row or room is full. Player with most tokens gets points for number of counters, but players with least tokens lose points. I've only played this game with 6 players. The first player gets an advantage by placing in the middle, being in on 5 scoring places and thus reducing his chances of losing points. It's not a bad try at a strategic token placement game, but it seemed too chaotic with 6 players. Maybe it works better with less.
Collect sets of fossils for points. Fossil is a good simple game with one drawback. Near the end of every game, with people playing to win, each player would take too much time to analyze the board, who was collecting what fossils, how could such and such a person be prevented from getting the fossil, that it was no longer fun. Also, if you try to play defence, someone after you might not, exposing all the good tiles to your opponents. Neat mechanics, though.
In the drafting of the US constitution, players represent a historical figure and attempt to earn VPs by supporting or opposing articles, influncing the debate room or playing event cards. This is mainly a card driven game.
There are a lot of random events in the cards, with varying ability, so much so, that there is a lot of back and forth hindering your opponent. Only played once, but willing to try again.
Combination of trick taking game, and trying to get rid of your cards as fast as possible. Suits are respresented by animals, with non-linear relationships between animals (eg only foxes can eat hedgehogs). Despite the simple artwork, and the fact that it can be played by kids, there is a lot of thinking and tough decisions on what cards to play. Games typically last an hour, with a few hands being played which should average out the distribution of the cards. Very good game.
In this cooperative game, players are trying to rescue slaves to freedom in the US during the period of 1800-1865. Players may purchase fundraising tokens and conductor tokens to move slaves on the board. The board features five slave catchers which automatically move in response to movement by slaves on the board. Players win if they can buy 3 support tokens, and send 5 slaves to Canada before they lose the game. The end of game is either 8 rounds, or too many slaves overrun your limit.
It's a fun game, and difficult to manage the cash flow. It's very challenging and looking forward to more plays.
Up to four players try to find another player controlling Dracula who is secretly moving around in Europe. However, the hunters can stumble on Dracula's trail, or use special event cards to find his exact location. The hunters must kill Dracula in combat to win. There is a night and day aspect as well, where Dracula is stronger at night. Dracula's movement over Europe is tracked with cards on a sliding 7 card track, which means Dracula cannot visit a city twice within 7 turns. Special event cards allow Dracula or the hunters to break rules of the game or gain special advantages.
It's an okay thematic update to Scotland Yard, but it plays longer, around two and half to three hours. Fun to play to experience the theme, especially if you have read the novels and are familiar with the characters.
Players race to build a spaceship consisting of engines, batteries, crew members, shields and other components. The speed of the build phase is governed by a sand timer. Players then use the ships they have built to run through a gauntlet of random events. These events usually cause damage to your ships, sometimes in a hilarious manner. It's a fun, light game.
Long awaited sequel to Titan the Arena that disappoints. Theme is races in space forming bases. The dice off of powers, getting exposed bases knocked down added extra elements of luck to the original game of Titan.
Play cards to move your colored pig to the front of the pack to get food, which count as VPs. Keep your food by getting to the front of the pack for your last turn. Unfortunately not too much strategy when we played this with 5 people. As a childern's game, I would rate this fairly high. As a eurogame with other people, it's okay for a few laughs.
Collect different fantasy creatures, represented by 6 different suits. Play down cards to certain rules, then resolve battles with highest cards winning. Nice cards, but generally not well received by the gaming group. If there was something else beside the card playing (a la Taj Mahal), then there might be something to the game, but as it stands, only a small amount of strategy.
In this 1-4 player cooperative game, players are a Taoist, combating Chinese ghosts. Each turn, a player draws a ghost card, and places it. There are 9 villages where players can enlist help, such as grabbing tokens to defeat ghosts, or automatically killing ghosts at a cost of a life. Players can also wander adjacent to ghosts and roll dice to attempt to kill the ghosts. Players win by killing a Wu Feng ghost (a top tier ghost), and the ghosts win by hanuting a number of villages or killing off the Taoists. There are four difficulty levels (Initiation, Normal, Nightmare, Hell), which handicaps the life tokens players start with or the number of Wu Feng ghosts they have to kill to win.
This is a difficult but very fun, and engaging game, but I like the idea that it is difficult to win, since it is challenging.
As a strategy tip, we found making the blue player go first so they can use a double action on the buddha square, or the square to get two tokens works well, then have another player go to the square to put on a permanent token of a color.
Yes, the rules don't take care of the myriad of special cases that can arise, but the designer is making an effort to answer them here.
In this party game, attempt to predict what others want for gifts, and select what you want as a gift. The gifts are selected from cards, with 4 decks of cards for variety. You select 4 different gifts, with different levels of desire for the gifts. You score more points for matching the right gifts with the right person, and conversely you could lose more points for selecting the wrong gift. The components are nice, it's a good change of pace, and easy to play. Best played with people you know, and with a large number of people.
It is a fun game, but the rules could be written a bit better. Also, when a person looks at what the others gave them, it does matter in which order you do it, since your token cannot advance beyond the finish line, and you could lose points, so the order in which you reveal gifts is a factor. It is a decent party game, quite socialable, and has a nice idea, but doesn't stack up to other party games like Apples to Apples.
Two player abstract game where players bring their markers into play onto the board one at a time. Once four markers are in a row, that whole row is removed, including opponent markers. Play until opponent can't bring pieces on. Fun, fairly quick abstract game.
In this game, each player is a cyclist with different speeds on different terrain; some are good on mountains, some are good on flat areas, and some are all round riders. Each cyclist also has a number of energy points. Each turn, a cyclist decides whether to leave the peloton and break ahead, and how much energy to spend. The race is conducted over a number of turns in mountains, downhill, and flat terrain.
The rules were a bit hard to interpret. The game, as a one race event, is okay, but it appears to favor staying in the peloton till near the end (to safe your energy) then breaking away with the most energy to take the lead. Might be a good filler for cylcing enthusiasts.
In this game, players have their own deck of 15 cards, and each round they secretly choose 5 cards to play. Three of the cards will be played; it is possible that your cards will match those selected by the opponent. The cards depict two actions on them and you can do both if no one else chose the card, othewise all players who chose the card get one action. So there is some guess work on what opponents might want to play if you want to get more actions.
There are 4 rounds, and you try to build VPs. The wheels from Ora Et Labora are used here. Each player has 2 wheels, one with glass, and one with brick. Glass and brick are only earned if all the other resources are advanced by at least one, then the wheel turns, you get less of the resources, but you will have one brick/glass.
It's a quick paced game and I enjoy it. There is a learning curve on all the available buildings. In the game, not all the buildings will come out, so you have to be flexible on your strategy. I'm looking forward to more plays.
As the head of a Scottish clan in the 17th century, your turn consists of choosing a tile from the display and adding it your display. Your new tile has to go adjacent to a clan member, and you get to activate all adjacent tiles. If you race ahead in the display to grab tiles, other players can grab more tiles behind to catch up.
Tiles give resources, give VPs, or give you special abilities. There are three scoring rounds, when the tile deck in each round runs out. You then compare your whisky production, your chieftians and special cards to everyone else to score VPs. At the end game, you get penalized 3 VP per tile to the person with the lowest number of tiles.
It's a fun game, with agonizing decisions on which tile to take and which tiles to activate. You don't have enough resources to do everything and always replayable with the order the tiles come out. I enjoy this game.
Game of political domination. Blind bid on 12 regions to fill with politicians. If you have a majority, in a region, possible actions are wage war, increase diplomatic/economic/military presence, migrate, raise diplomatic action against another region (economic sanction, demilitarize, remove opposition party units) for vote, etc. Players may also elect to play cards out of thier hand. The rules were a bit hard to wade through, there are some extremely random bugger cards, and there are lot's of ways to target the perceived leaders. If you enjoy blind bidding on territories, followed by targeting who the percieved leader is, followed by random bugger event cards, you will like this game, but I am not a huge fan of any of this mechanisms.
During the fall of the Roman Empire, one attempts to make it the furthest along to Africa, as the Goth slowly approach Rome. There are three types of resources: legions, cities, and forests. Each turn, you play one of the types out of your hand, and activating those resources. You erect buildings on your land, and the buildings give you special bonuses. At the end of your turn, you must pay resources to prevent the Goth from moving. If you do not, the Goth destroy buildings. This is a game where you try to minimize the destruction, rather than try to slowly build up your buildings. If you do not like the idea of having your buildings destroyed in an almost ad hoc manner, then this game is not for you. This game is all about trying to generate resources so you can buy buildings, use them before they get destroyed to be the first to Africa. It takes a different mentality to play, and will take a few games to learn. There is a lot of luck in which buildings show up for you to build, and the game does depend on what other people do. If others are playing forests, you are almost forced to follow suit, otherwise your unique reasource buildings will be fodder for the Goth.
In this Roman themed card game, each card has three things it can represent: it can be a client (architect, crafstman, merchant, legionary, laborer, or patron), it can be a building material (rubble, wood, concrete, brick, stone or marble) or it can be a building. On a player's turn to be leader, they play a card out of their hand to do that client's ability (e.g., play an architect to start a building or get material for a building). Other players can follow suit to get the same ability, then the next player gets to be leader. Wild cards known as "jacks" allow one to follow suit if they do not have the card.
Each player has a player mat, where cards are stored. Depending where the card is stored, it is a client (gives further actions if you or an opponent choose that action), or it is a building material in "stockpile" area, or it counts as VPs in the vault.
This is a fun game, with many interesting card combinations. I want to play this at least 10 more times to get the feel of it. Most of the learning curve is in the first game, then you can start exploring strategies, such as having an early merchant to earn VPs in your vault, or other clients. This game has a lot of potential to be good.
In 16th century Goa, players first bid on a number of tiles on a 5 X 5 gird. The number of tiles auctioned is equal to the number of players and the first player gets to place a flag which determines which tile is auctioned first, and the flag itself which is bid on is worth an extra action. Players place their player marker to determine which tile should be auctioned off, and bidding is once round, with the money going to the owner of the player marker.
After the bidding round each player has 3 actions. Each player has 2 player mats - one mat tracks the colonies they have founded, the other has 5 different tracks to progress: 1) more ships, 2) produce more gems, 3) more money, 4) expedition cards, 5) bonus in founding colonies.
Players earn pts for how far they progress down the tracks, the number of colonies they have founded, sets of cards and other tiles won from the auction.
It's a very interesting game and it grows on you. However there is one flaw, and that to be successful, you are forced to go down the expedition card track. The cards in the game are typically better than actions you can take on other tracks. There really is only one way to victory, so the game doesn't have a lot of variety in terms of strategy. I like the auctioning mechanism and the different tracks to progress on, so I sort of wish the expedition card track could be balanced out. The game was published in 2004, and there was a release in 2012 to try to fix some of the imbalance, but I'm not sure that was achieved. It's an engaging game, tense and full of angst, so it's too bad there aren't too many alternatives to your strategy.
Another minor quibble I have with the game is that two people can collude to pay a high price to each other for the flag, thus gaining an extra action over their opponents.
It's a good game to try and explore for a while, as it has a lot of depth.
One of the first Eurogame area control games I played: move units from playing area to holding area, from holding area to board through bidding cards. King marker moves around to limit where units may go and a tower (castillo) can contain units as well. Fun, expansion cards were fun also. Lots of things to agonize over, such as the Castillo, overloading an area, and parachuting a different scoreboard into an area.
Each player has a deck of cards ranging from values of 1 to 3. Pairs of chits, containing VPs ranging from 1 to 8 are flipped up. Players compete by playing down cards to gain control of the chits. The only trick is that the chits are not awarded until both can be taken. The person taking the first chit with the higher value of cards will then have the chit's value deducted from their card's value. The cards also have special abilities, such as covering up an opponent's card, or taking another turn. Quick and fun filler.
The mechanics are fun, and it is a clean game. As a strategy game, you may get picked on by other players in competition for chits. You could argue, well, then try for lesser value chits. But with a large number of players, no one is going to let you have anything for free. May work best with 4 players, and could be crowded with 5 players.
Game of collecting the heads of nobles as they approach the guillotine during the French Revolution. Fairly light game, sometimes you can squirm all you want, but you are forced to put someone in the guillotine who will score negative points for you.
In 19th century Argentina, players are building up their animals herds, connecting to markets and lakes. On their turn, a player has these choices 1) buy land or animal cards, 2) play animal or land cards, 3) harvest, 4) buy lake or hacienda. Animals allow one to connect to markets, with more points awarded to the more markets you connect to, and land tiles score double the adjacent land tiles that you have. There are two scoring phases, when the animal card deck runs out, scoring occurs. It's not a bad game, I'm just conerned that turn order is important, since in a 5 player game, the first players seem to have an advantage in staking out territory.
In this cooperative card game, one is attempting to construct the best fireworks possible. The deck has 5 suits, with cards numbered from 1 to 5. There are three 1's, two of 2/3/4 and one 5 in each suit. Your hand size depends on the number of players, but you cannot ever look at your hand. You hold your hand outwards so your team members can see it. During your turn, you have three choices: 1) give information to another player about their hand, restricted to color or number of the card(s), using a timepiece, 2) discard a card to renew a time piece, 3) play a card blindly. The goal of the game is to construct the suits in order from 1 to 5, scoring points for those constructed in order. The game ends when you either blow a fuse (playing cards blindly that don't fit) twice, or the deck runs out.
This is a very good design and I can see why it won the Spiel de Jahres in 2013. You can have fun devising conventions you think will work. You can have fun laughing at people's mistakes. It's also addictive since you want to achieve perfection. I'm looking forward to trying to get 25 pts!
In the Baltic Sea with 9 cities, players attempt to sell goods, move the ship, put down warehouses or buy goods, but the trick is that you only get 1 action at a city. Seems to play better with 3 players than 4 players since the board doesn't change significantly as much after your turn. The mechanics are clean and it is easy to play.
In old Europe, one is trying to establish trading posts to build offices or upgrade their skills. After getting all their markers between a city, a player may choose to occupy a city, or upgrade. Each player starts with a mat that outlines 5 skills and during the game, earns more cubes and skills as they upgrade their various abilities. There are various ways to score points, including earning bonus markers , occupying cities or connecting cities.
This is a good game, with many tough choices to make. Do you focus on skills? Trying to build a road net? The only drawback of this game is people can block you, fairly or unfairly, or they can displace your cubes. Sometimes being targeted can feel unfair, but it is part of the game.
The two player game introduces a pawn so that players can only take actions where the pawn is located. It's a bit artificial to get interaction, and would not recommend the 2 player game.
Racing game where you expend carrots and lettuce or rest to gain carrots. The more you move, the more carrots you expend and you need to finish the race with no carrots. I know this was the German game of the year in 1978. Unfortunately, it didn't do much for me. Sometimes luck played a part if you placed in a certain position to get the bonus. Like other racing games, if someone else occupies a key spot (a cabbage spot before the end), you could be in big trouble.
Draft cards into your hand, then when somone initiates combat, play out six card poker hands to score points. There are 9 total combats, and generally the first through third best poker hands will score points. You can try to save cards for the combats at the end, but you can also initiate combat to force the issue. Great plus for this game is that you can play with 2 to 6 players. I'm constantly amazed at the inventiveness with what people can do with an old theme. Rating may tend upwards with more play.
In La Havre, France, one is accumulating goods and livestock to earn Francs. There are a fixed number of rounds, and 7 turns per round. (In a three player game, there are 18 rounds). On a player's turn, they either collect goods, build, or go into a building to take that action. Optionally, they may purchase buidings, if they wish to do so. Buildings are seeded in three columns, and you can only buy the lowest numbered building in a column first, before being able to get at the rest of the buildings. At the end of each round, one has to pay food or Francs, and there may be a harvest where players may gain a maximum of one grain (from one grain) and one cattle (from two cattle). Food requirements can be reduced by owning ships.
Like Caylus, if you use someone else's building you have to pay them a fee. A small number of special buildings are randomly mixed in to make each game different.
The mechanics are simple, and the game is very tense. It's a good game, with lots of choices on how to optimize your economy. Near the end, everyone wants to get the same goods or the same action, so it gets tricky trying to do everything you want. I am fully engaged each time I play.
There is only one drawback, though. If you want to play succesfully, you must use loans. In fact, loans are overpowered, and the designer has given a house rule to make attempt to balance the loans: you pay 2 francs if you have X or more loans, where X is the number of players in the game. I'm surprised there hasn't been much discussion about loans at all. Sure, you can argue that everyone takes loans, but that takes away one option of trying to play the game without loans. I haven't played this game as often as I like, but knowing that loans are the only way to go has slightly turned me off.
In Hawaii, players spend feet tokens to move around, and shell tokens to pay for goods. The board configuration is different each game, with 10 rectangular pieces distributed into 4 rows. It costs feet to move from one row to the next. Price tokens are put on the rectangular pieces and represent the price you have to play. You have the option to pay double to get the back side of the tile, which gives better value. The round ends when everyone returns to the beach. Then the price tokens you collect are compared with your opponents and the game board. If you have the most, and meet the minimum of the game board, there is a mjority bonus for first and second, plus those who met the minimum.
Fruits give you flexibility to feet and shells, while the huts give VPs. However, whether you want to build one village or multiple villages depends on your strategy. There is so much going on here with different strategic paths. There is a ton of tension as you do not want to leave tiles for your opponents, yet there could be so many tiles that you want.
It seems like I completely missed this game when it was released. I enjoy this game, with the tough decisions and whether or not an oppponent will take a tile you want.
Deal out an equal number of cards to all players. Start playing out the hand, but each hearts are turmp, and each heart you take is worth a point and the Queen of Spades is worth 13 points. Lowest score wins, so you want to avoid taking hearts. However, there is the option to take all the hearts and Queen of Spades, which is worth -25 pts. One of the earliest games with trump, and easy to play, with strategy as well. I would still be playing it were it not for the multitude of trick taking games out there.
We played this game in it's latest reincarnation as Top Secret Spies. There are 7 spies on the board, roll dice and move any of them. Score points for spies at certain intervals, but the trick is that the owner of each spy is kept secret. Earn points if you correctly guess the identities of the spies. This game really needs the Heimlich manouevre to save it. Sure, the aspect of trying to guess who owns which piece has some tension, but the points awarded for that are not worth the points one earns during the game for being in certain buildings. Strategy wise, it doesn't much make sense not to get 7 or 8 pts and let everyone know your color. A Wolfgang Kramer game, but this game is bad.
Pick up souls in one plane of Hell, to deliver them to another. Transport restrictions depend on rail car you use. Once you reach a plane, pick up a special ability to use. Played too seriously with Eurogamers, each who wanted to win, so it wasn't fun, nor was the theme funny. Rules couldn't resolve 1 or 2 situations that arose during the game. Perhaps we played it too seriously, instead of treating it as a light game.
Play character cards along columns. Dominate enough columns to win, use a pegasus to randomly draw the sole hostage card from your opponent's hand or have the opponent run out of cards (aided by using Zeus). It's not a clean game, otherwise, rating would be higher.
An abstract game that features 60 tiles with 1, 2 or 3 fish on them. Each player has a number of penguins. After they move, the penguin eats the tile they are on, earning those number of fish as victory points. Movement is straight in any direction, but blocked by gaps in ice floe or other penguins. It's a very cute, very simple game that plays quickly. I have played twice with four players, where it is slightly chaotic, but I imagine the two or three player game can be quite strategic. Also, the first player has a slight advantage in being able to seed their penguins first and get the first move to capture fish.
Cute bidding game from Knizia. Compete for positive scoring items, but person with the lowest cash cannot win the game, and the first one to pass on a bad card gets stuck with the bad cards. Novel ideas, and they work well in this 30 minute game.
In this card driven game, players advance their civilization either militarily to the top or technologically to the right. Advancing on technology gives you more actions and more cards, while military allows you to conquer other territories. Generally when you play a card, you have to exhaust a cube, and at the end of the round you get to refresh your bottom two played cards, so your deck gets limited.
It's got some nice mechanices, and it plays cleanly. The problem is that this game takes excessively long. If you are playing this game for the first time, it's likely not to be an optimal game, so you could fall behind and stay behind which is not a lot of fun. I'm willing to play again, but not sure if it will be fun with less players.
Two player game with blocks of insects, each with unique movement and goal is to surround the opponent's queen. To invent such a game was a masterpiece! However, for strategic value, whoever goes first should win since they are one step ahead of their opponent, unless thay make a mistake. Maybe one way to balance it out is to play 2 games, and whoever surrounds the queen in the fewest number of moves is the winner. It's a shame the winner is usually decided by who goes first, since the game has a lot of potential with it's ideas.
In this 2-5 player trick taking game, a player is either a good character (Gandalf, Thorin or Bilbo) or a bad character (Smaug or Bolg). Some cards have white star, pipe or black helmet symbols on them. After each trick, whoever wins the trick has to distribute them according to their character. Gandalf and Smaug may assign one card to each character, Bolg assigns any one card, Bilbo can assign one card to any character, and one to himeself. Finally Thorin randomly assigns all cards. A good character dies if they have taken 2 hits, where black helmets represent hits, and white stars are healing cards. Similarly a bad character dies if they have taken two hits, with white stars being hits, and black helmets area healing cards. Pipes allow the person to draw more cards (then discard down) for the final round. Depending on the number of players, there are different victory conditions usually one side have to outnumber the other. If not, a second round is played.
Yes, there is a lot of luck in this game. It's a quick game, and does have the "let's play again" feel, but there is only so much control you have. For instance, if Thorin gets a hand with many trump cards, and he takes the majority of the tricks, it's going to be pretty random.
As English nobles, players decide whether to go to the auction house or display an art collection. Either location you can be a thief to steal from other people, or be a detective to put thieves in jail. Displaying an art collection allows one to advance along the game track. If multiple players are displaying collections, larger collection wins. Show an art collection, or go to the auction? Some doublethink, some guesswork. It's okay, but don't try to treat it as a deep strategy game.
Card game of the Shogun era of Japan. Goal is to acquire honor through card playing. Brutal game. Friend from gaming group bought it, and wanted to like it. Shogun kept changing, ninjas flew back and forth and game took way too long to finish. Totally random, and after friend introduced rule changes (win up to 200 honor points or something) it was still bad.
Deck consists of 10 suits, numbered 1 through 11; players are dealt 12 cards. Meld/rummy game where one "sails" with two colored crews (with different numbers), can discard matching cards at a "tavern" and leftover cards ("stowaways") are your score. The lower the score, the better. Fun, need more plays, only got in two hands.
A "negotiation" game with chaotic factors determining who can propose deals and thus earn money. I'm not too fond of it, since the negotiations were very chaotic, with bosses changing, trading partners changing. As a game of perception on who's winning, it can be unfair on who thinks who is winning. We played it 3 times, and it has not been played for a couple of years. It's hard to play as a strategy game, perhaps you build up your hand and try to win the big deals. As an observer game, it's kind of fun to see the cards played fast and furious. I think a couple of people in our gaming group really enjoyed it, but I wasn't too thrilled.
In 19th century Europe, on a map similar to Diplomacy, there are a number of bonds associated with the 6 countries on the map: Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, England, Germany and Russia. Players controlling the most bonds of a country take actions for the country by moving along a circular rondel. The actions are: raise armies/navies, move units, tax the country and invest in the country. In the basic game, there is an investor card that rotates clockwise and allows the holder to buy bonds in any country. In the advanced game, once a country has finished the turn, anyone can buy bonds in that country. The bonds acts as victory point multipliers, ranging from 1 to 5, depending how far the country has advanced in power points. Designed by Mac Gerdts, the system is similar to his previous game, Antike. This is a wargame, so it will not be for everyone. Sometimes nations get attacked without much provocation. Also the nations start in a particular order (Austria, then Italy moves, etc.) This can mean some players will be short a turn. I think being a wargame, this game relies on players to balance the game.
Now, too be good at this game, you have to treat the countries like a stock market and invest in the one that looks like it will succeed. I'm not very good at this, I tend to get drawn into the tactical aspects, and I'm not that good at it either! It has some interesting concepts, but it is a bit long, and it's not my type of game.
The updated version of Imperial, where the superpowers are now Russia, China, Brazil, India, USA, and Europe. The map is different and there are a couple minor rule modifications. The power points are not calculated relative to what you scored the previous time, so the game closes a little faster. The game still depends on people to police each other to a certain degree, and you could get attacked unfairly. If you can handle that, the stock mechanism of the game leads to a lot of tension and agnst.
I'm not particularly good at this game, but I'll play when asked to try and improve.
Players have their own unique deck of cards, corresponding to the settlers they take: Rome, Japan, Egypt or Barbarians. In this card driven game, players play down cards to get more resources and earn VPs. The interaction comes through swords, and you can raze an opponent's card. There is also a mini draft of cards from a common deck of cards.
It's an interesting game. The first game, you'll feel like it is solitaire, since the card text is hard to read over the table, so you just have to be aware of what your opponent's cards do. With experience, it should get better. I'd like to try all the decks to see what they do. Not sure if anyone in the gaming group will pick up this game, but I would be willing to give this game a few more tries.
Cards are laid out in a grid like fashion, and players move transports or cruisers through the grid. As new cards are explored the owner may use the ability of the explored card. On a player's turn, they add a card to the impulse, and then execute the cards in the impulse, which consists of 4 cards. Players have up to 10 choices of things to do, such as mining cards, moving, or trading cards for VPs.
There is luck involved, and it is possible to set up good combinations.
As most people have noted, don't play this game with 4 or more players. It will really bog down, and much harder to find decent cards as your territory is cramped. This game does shine with 3 players and it is fun. With 3 players, it's easier to explore the cards and a bit more strategy as the card you put into the impulse can be used twice by you,
In medieval China, players are attracting workers to their temples to survive one calendar year, where there are attacks by Mongols, drought, and contagion. In the action phase, players choose from the following: research (earn VPs through scholars), build (build a palace segment), fireworks (earn fireworks counters), money (take money), helmets (move up higher on the turn order track), rice (take rice counters), and prestige (buy a scroll to earn 1 or 2 VPs a month). These are performed in player order, and if another player wants to do another action that someone has taken, they must pay three gold. In the person phase, players recruit a worker into their temples. Each player has an 11 person deck, with 9 cards representing the unique personalities in the game, and 2 cards are wild cards. The workers are split into two categories, the younger that can do more, while the older are worth more prestige, and help the player in the action phase for turn order. Each month, there is a scoring, based on temples, number of court ladies, and scrolls a player has. At the end of the game, there is a final scoring, counting monks and 2 VPs per worker.
This is a good game, with tense decisions to be made as one tries to weather the contagions, Monguls, tribute, or drought. One has to adapt to the monthly problems, and trying to be able to stay ahead of everyone else to go first in the action phase. Fun, engaging, and each game is different, as the monthly problems are seeded differently as well.
This game has a steep learning curve, but it is a tense game. It's different from other games in that instead of building up people or economy, you are likely to be losing people due to the calamities.
Probably one of Michael Schacht's heaviest games. The novel mechanic in this game is that the start player is the auctioneer. He continues to auction off tiles (taking the profits) until all tiles are gone, all players pass, or the auctioneer takes a tile for themselves. The next player then auctions off what is left. Players then build the tiles (factories, tehcnology, or bonus tiles). Factories produce goods that build other factories/technologies. Some factories and technologies are linked on the gameboard, and a player owning both links gain 3 VPs. Technology VPs range from 2 to 5 VPs, factory VPs range from 1 to 4 VPs. The crucial decisions in the game are as auctioneer do you try to play it fine and make as much money as possible with a risk of losing it all if you don't keep the tile you really need. As other players do you collude to pass and shaft the auctioneer? Do you play defence and take a tile that an opponent really needs. Can be very cutthroat amongst defensive gamers. The randomizer is that the order of the tiles comes out different, so you could be put at a disadvantage if what you need comes out at the wrong time; also in a 4 player game, the last player will miss out on 1 start player turn (so they will be an auctioneer one less time compared to their opponents), this may turn out not to be a disadvantage at all. Seems to play best with 4 players; in 3 players, there is less money, thus your turn as auctioneer usually involves keeping a tile, and leaves it more vulnerable to luck of the draw, but easier to analyze.
Manage your waste production in the production of power, optimize number of workers and so on. Earn money to win the game, but watch out for your waste. Game has some potential However, the timing of the accident card (like Union Pacific dividend card or Mogul crash card) seems to influence too much who will do well and who will not. You might get time to clean up your waste, or if you are in debt, you may be further in debt when the accident hits. It's not a bad game, and I could play it occasionally.
Knizia abstract game. Two joined hexagonal pieces are the playing pieces. Each piece has two symbols on it, out of 6 possible symbols. Play on the map to score points by linking up with other like symbols. Like Euphrates and Tigres, score is the minimum of all your symbol points. This is a delightful abstract game, can be played with all kinds of people, and it is also fun when played in teams.
In this civilization themed card game, one either draws cards, plays them on the table, or uses the special effect of the card. Each card has a number of symbols on it, so when you use the effect of the card, your opponents can also use the ability if they have at least the same number of symbols as you. Some effects are "demand" type effects which usually take away something from your opponents, but again, if you have at least the same symbols you are immune to the effect. Other effects allow you to "splay" your cards, so that even though cards on top of another, you can overlap symbols to give you more power.
The cards are ordered from level 1 to 10, with the more powerful cards at the higher levels. You start slowly at level 1 and work your way upwards. You win by getting a number of achievement cards which you pay for with scored cards. There are other sudden death win conditions as well.
Yes, there could be very destabilizing cards, but that is part of the game, and it's fun, and should play quickly with 2-3 players. With 4 players, I recommend the team game, otherwise it may be a long game. I'm enjoying this game, and looking forward to more plays, since I am only just scratching the surface.
Make negotiations to employ knights/workers in your castle, then can bribe or manipulate other people to pay you more, or bribe the original person you made the deal with. In fact, you don't have to honor any deal! Very cutthroat, and left a bad taste in my mouth. However, these type of games are not my type, but made me think about honesty and honoring deals after the game was done. I prefer something a little more structured.
In this 2014 Kennerspiel award winner, one has a merchant and 4 assistants with a wheelbarrow wandering around twelve areas of Istanbul. When you go to an area, you have to drop off an assistant to do the action, but if you go back to the same area where you have an assistant, you can recover the assistant. The different areas allow you to earn cash, goods and tiles, all in an effort to get rubies. First player to five rubies wins the game.
This is a fast paced game that clocks in under an hour. You are racing under players to get rubies, and you have to be very efficient. It's a fun game, and I'm looking forward to more plays.
It did win the Kennerspiel, so my expectations were high for this one, perhaps unfairly so. It is a good game, but not sure it deserves the Kennerspiel. There is some interaction with the other players in that you have to pay them $2 if you land on their square, but generally when the game gets rolling, you are off on your own. There is a bit of luck as well with the dice rolling. Games cab be over before you know it, and in this sense, it almost feels like a filler game.
A Knizia game, where one plays knight cards out of their hand (vaguely similar to the Condottiere mechanic) to win tournaments. Win 4 tournaments to win the game. I felt that it was fairly random, especially with the "Riposte!" cards. In fact, now to make fun of games with a random effect, I use the "Riposte" words and people understand. The game is fun to play once or twice; I've played it three times and my friend who owns it has not (perhaps thankfully) brought it out.
Two player game where one buys wares (giving up gold) or selling wares (earning gold). Players play cards out of their hands for the wares, people or animal cards to affect your opponent or utility cards which stay in the game and give you special benefits. It's a decent game, I haven't had a chance to set up double card combinations yet which is where you can potentially really mess with your opponent.
Friend brought this game back from Essen: Web of Power with cards. Cards are laid out in a matrix format on a table representing 6 countries. Collect cards starting from the sides. Points are awarded for majorities and each card also has symbols on them, and collecting more of them generate more points (like a road net in the original game). Players also have stones to "reserve" cards; opponents must discard a stone to remove yours. Some face down special actions can be collected (but some are worth -2 points) as well. Not a bad little game, with multiple players, sometimes an opponent is left with good choices. Released as a 2 player game called Richelieu. May play more strategically as a 2 player game, okay game, but as game winds down, one is left with less choices.
Play melds of cards to earn mice. Once all 20 mice are gone, game ends. Appears to be a broken game by Knizia. All mice were gone before we were halfway through the cards. Maybe we missed something here.
This is a German only available expansion to Keltis. The board shows a network of interconnected roads going from bottom to top, with different symbols on them. Each player has 5 tokens to advance along the roads. Players play a symbol of a card to advance up one spot on the road. The only rule for card placement is that cards must increase or decrease in value, similar to Lost Cities. There are 5 suits, and there are two numbers of each suit from 0 to 10. Generally spots on the road increase in value as one goes higher, and along the road are gems. If one accumulates all five different types, it is worth 10 pts, and three of a kind are worth 6 points. Points scored are for gems, and for the value on the road; one of the player's token is a token that is a X2 multiplier for score.
I really enjoyed this game. It's easy to play, and each game is different with the different placement of the special tokens. Knizia is back!
In this dexterity game, you put in sticks into the holes of a hollow plastic container. Into this container, you load marbles or other round objects. Players then take turns removing sticks, and attempt to minimize the marbles that fall out.
We have the "Honey Bee Tree" version, with the sticks representing leaves, and the marbles are bees.
It's a fun family game, and something my 3 year old finds amusing. The drawback of this game, with the Honey Bee Tree version is during the setup, as there are more sticks put into the container, it is harder to put more sticks in, as they are blocked by the other sticks. The sticks have to fit in through one hole, and come out another, which makes the last few ones hard to setup.
Necklace building game where one may auction off pieces of a necklace that is to be built later. There are 4 "wild card" pieces, which are extremely powerful, and whoever gets these (by random draw) will be more successful. Too much power is attached to these wild cards, so whoever gets them gets to have their way with the other players. Played twice, one person got 5 out of the 8 wild cards, and he of course enthusiastically enjoyed the game. Sorry, the game doesn't do much for me.
Over the four seasons in a year, players bid on tiles, or they may use tiles up for auction. The tiles are hexagonal, and players represent their bid with meeples placed along an edge of the tile. All tiles can be upgraded to earn more VPs, and tiles either give resources or allow you to transport goods or upgrade tiles. Boat tiles also give special abilities as well. Each season, one can also bid on turn order for next season, and you also bid for boats with meeples and skills.
The trick with the bidding is once the color is set, further bids can only be of that color. As well, a fourth, rarer color meeple can also be gained as well, adding a layer of tactics to the game.
There is a lot going on in this game, especially when you have to look around and see who has what tile, since you can use that tile by donating a meeple(s) to that person.
It's a decent game, with many things to think about.
Card game by Knizia where one conquers foes represented by cards. To conquer a foe, play cards out of your hand to match the foe strength. Later, foes can be used to exchange for trophies each worth VPs. Trophies vary in cost eg, a trophy for 10 VPs cost 5 red strength, some require numerical values, eg 12 strength foes earn 20 VPs. Game ends when trophies are exhausted, or the foe stack is depleted. There is some luck in the strength cards you draw (a few cards in the deck are wild cards or double strength). There is a little bit of tactics on which column of foes to conquer, or do you do repeated attacks so you have enough foes to claim a trophy ahead of an opponent. It's a quick game and fairly light.
There is a castle with 7 levels. Each player is dealt a card showing which 6 characters they support (out of the 13 possible characters in the game). Players are also dealt one 'yes' card and two 'no' cards. Players take turns moving characters up or placing them (with certain restrictions) in the castle. Once a character reaches the top, a vote is held. If all players vote 'yes' a scoring round takes place; if any player votes 'no', that character is discarded and so are all the 'no' cards that were used. Play in 3 rounds. A bluffing double think game that reminds me of Muscat a bit. You'll enjoy this one if you like Adel Verplicht. But I'm not a real fan of these games.
Card variant of Elfenland. However, the one player option where one can discard 4 cards to get three cards made the game extremely long as players attempted to optimize their routes. Sold my copy after a few playings.
Players are monsters attempting to be the King of Tokyo, either by accumulating 20 VP first or be the last one standing. Players roll dice on their turn to either earn VP, attack, heal or get energy. Energy is used to purchase cards, which may give you more bonuses. The damage you do depends whether you are in Tokyo or outside of Tokyo. Inside, you damage all monsters outside, and when you are outside, you can only damage those monsters inside.
This game was designed by Richard Garfield, and it is a fun little filler. I'm looking forward to more plays.
In this enjoyable filler, players first choose four boards out of eight to construct a map. Each board will contain different terrain, and extra action chits. By placing a settlement next to a castle, one can earn an extra action for the whole game. You also choose three victory card conditions from the ten available, so each game will be different. Your turn consists of playing a terrain card, putting settlements on that terrain, an dusing your extra actions.
It's very quick, and it does have a good dose of luck, since you only draw one terrain card. I like it, it has a "let's play another game" to it, though it may wear thin after repeated playings. But it's fun so far.
Not a bad effort from Knizia. Players place tiles onto a 5 by 6 board. Tiles drawn from the pile range from -6 to +6, plus there are other special tiles. Players may also place one of their own player token which denotes a multiplication factor ranging from 1 to 4. Points are scored by multiplying the player token value with sum of tiles along the row and column (negative points are possible!). Play three rounds, but only the multiplication by 1 player tokens can be recycled from round to round. There is luck in which tiles you draw, but rules are simple, scoring is easy and does not take long too play.
This old Avalon Hill game is a historical piece on the War of the Roses, where one plays nobles onto the map, get royal heirs and try to have sole king at the end. Battles and seiges resolved by card draw. I've played this many times when I was young, but the game typically gets too unbalanced, with large luck of the draw of cards and the random event cards break up people's forces so that they can be attacked. Long game where one's fortunes are cyclical. In the early 80's when I first played this, I guess that was what was expected of "war games" and there were not that many of them. I did like reading the historical references in the rulebook, and like reliving the history of that period, though.
Each season, everyone rolls three dice. In player order, the players put the value of the dice onto advisors to get their benefit (earn goods, VPs, soldiers, or look at monster cards, etc). After each season, everyone can construct buildings, which give further benefits and special abilities, but advanced buildings can only be constructed if the lower level buildings below them have been built. (There are 5 rows of buildings, some give benefits with dice, some give VP, some give soldier benefits, etc). Finally, in winter, a monster attacks. A dice is rolled to determine the player's strength, and each player adds their soldier level to see if they defeat or lose to the monster. Victory usually means 1 or 2 VPs, defeat could see you lose a building. Play over 5 years.
It's an engaging game, with it's fare share of luck. The mechanics aren't new, but it is fun, and keeps you busy over the approximate 90 minute time period. There are various paths to victory to try as well. The luck part is where one can consistently get high rolls, as opposed to one who gets below average rolls, which can hurt you. Your bad luck could take you out of a game early, and that can really detract from the game.
I do like the various strategies that one can try, and each game can be fresh and different.
This expansion to the base game adds 5 modules, any of which can be used interchangeably: 1) two new rows of buildings, 2) individual rows to cover up existing buildings, 3) cards which give each player special powers, 4) event cards and 5) variable point markers for the monsters instead of rolling the dice against them.
These makes the original game much better, and I look forward to more plays.
Play different political faction cards out of your hand to compete for majority points in countries. At game end, more majority points awarded for the most played political faction. After playing the first time, the special cards (egg on leader's face, etc) were taken out to get rid of the randomness. Then it seemed whoever was in the seat to form winning alliances was subject to peer pressure or false perceptions on who was winning. That seemed to reward who could manipulate the best, shout the loudest or who could prevent other people from proposing alliances. It's been played more times in our group than it deserves.
In this 2-4 player game, there are 8 provinces in Siam that are being contested. Players play cubes (red, blue or yellow) onto the board to affect the area control. Players have an identical 8 card hand. When they play a card, players take a cube anywhere on the board to add to their collection. Whoever has the majority of cubes representing the majority in provinces, wins. In a 4 player game, it is a team game.
The team game isn't quite as fun as a 3 player game, and it seemed a bit artificial that a partner could ride the coat tails of the winner. The 3 player game is pretty good, with lots of tension, and back and forth between the players. I haven't played with 2 players, it might be slightly easier to have more sense of control then. It's an okay game, and plays quickly at 45 minutes.
In this area control game from Stefan Dorra, each round, one is choosing one of 7 character roles, and putting pieces onto the island of Crete. There are 11 scoring rounds, which are player initiated by the cards. There are commodities to be gathered for points, placement of abbots to deny other players from building, or building forts in key intersections. A fun game, and could be Stefan Dorra's best game so far.
There is luck in this game, depending on which provinces come up for scoring. At the same time, it is full of tension. I have only played this with 4 players, so there may be a little more element of control with less players.
In feudal times, acquire shields, land and build pieces of the cathedral. Friend spent $60 to buy it and really wanted to like it. As the rules stand, no one seemed to be able to accumulate shields. It was chaotic with kinghts being played back and forth, king's mercy and so forth. But maybe instability is the way the game is supposed to be played. Friend tried putting fixes (no King's mercy, only 3 cards allowed to be played, no stripping an opponent down to below 2 huts, once shields are won, they are permanent), and it worked only slightly better. There maybe something to the game, but since I'm not interested in watching knights go back and forth for some greater purpose, I give it a rating of 4.
Move your pawn token around a matrix of cards to collect different ingredients. Neat set collection aspect to game, but there were a couple of things I noticed 1) the first player has an advantage in collecting mushrooms/magic wands (to get more turns as they go first), unless the first player gets a poor start card, then the second player has a chance at a run of the good bonus cards 2) The opponent may be able to put a pawn in your way, and mess up your planning (though it could be argued you could do the same) potentially causing you to hit a corner and miss a turn 3) the recipe cards (for special conditions VPs) appear to be unequal in value, maybe play without them. Maybe if the special bonus cards/exploding kettle cards were not present, it may make for a more strategic game.
Construct a building to put desirable renters in your building and undesirable renters in your opponent's buildings. Sure, it's fun to have bums in your buildings, bombs to blow up your neighbor's buildings, put vagrants in your neighbor's dwellings but this game is too chaotic and random.
In this zombie themed game, one (or two) players are the zombies, and the rest are heroes running around town. As players, roll the dice and move. There are strategic objectives one tries to achieve, such as killing 15 zombies, or rescuing four townsfolk.
It's a fun thematic game, that comes with a CD for music. It is heavily luck dependent and it is more of an experience game. There is lots of favour, and as the players, there is a ton of tension as the zombies close in on you. Just don't try to play this game too strategically.
In this 2-4 player cooperative dungeon crawl game, players take on a particular scenario, trying to prevent monsters from overrunning their castle, and meeting the victory conditions. The players slowly learn about the requirements of what they have to do as the game evolves.
Players have seven hours in a day, in which 1 hour represents 1 movement point which they can use to move and fight. Players can gain strength and other items by trading in gold. Players can earn willpower (represents how many dice you roll in combat) and gold by defeating monsters, but each monster you defeat shortens the game by one turn. The combat is fairly streamlined, and you can get dice bonuses with helms or witches brew.
It's a refreshing game in the sense that the quest you play will be new the first time you play it. It's really fun and really makes you work together. I'm looking forward to more plays.
In Renaissance Italy, choose inventions to work on, then assign workers to various parts of the city to gather resources (such as more laboratories, more workers, components) then produce the inventions. It's a very good strategy game. When you compete for resources, you play down tokens into an area. The person who has the highest number of tokens there gets the action for free, second place pays $2, third pays $3, so you do not lose everything. This game rewards a bit of planning, some luck in that you and your opponents do not produce the same invention, and very restricted resources. There are many tough decisions to make on whether to upgrade your lab, get more workers, get more components, etc, while your opponents are competing for the same things. Early games have clocked in just under the 2 hr mark. I really want to like this game, but if you happen to produce an invention simultaneously with another person, then you get less money and have to bid for the rights to the card. That allows people without conflicting inventions to pull ahead, and the situation gets worse if you get three people working on the same invention. These situations may detract from the game where it is no longer enjoyable.
Players are racing from St Louis to get to the Pacific Ocean first. During your turn, your mandatory action includes taking a chracter card action or taking an action in the village, which requires Indians. Optionally, you can recruit more characters or set up camp, which may pull you backwards, but allows you to get all your cards again to use.
The game has some interesting ideas and you want to create some card combinations that work. The trouble is, setting up camp on the first turn is the only way to play the game strategically. If you don't set camp, you leave your symbols on the table for other people to take advantage, and they will pass you standing still. If you persist in leaving your symbols on the table, your options for plays get weaker, and you might as well set camp anyways. So to be successful, the game becomes an exercise in getting ready for the big push, and limits the variety. Sure there have been a few good suggestions on how to prevent the first turn camp set up, such as adding mountains behind St. Louis.
Some cards are obviously more powerful than others, and where they show up in the deck does result in some luck.
The game could probably use a few tweaks to be a good game.
Note: On mid-August 2014, the designer and publisher added a new rule to prevent one from setting camp and falling 5 spaces behind (and no one can use your symbols, while you get to re-use your cards). The rule makes you discard all cards but your starting hand, and limits your resources. It seems like a good rule, and a fix should have been implemented a long time ago, but at least the fix is now part of the official rules. I'm not sure if this will bring the game out of the graveyard for me, but I am willing to try it again.
Area control game by Martin Wallace set in the France during the French Revolution. When players play soldier cards, they put 1 to 3 tokens of a faction (Radicals, Moderates or Royalists) onto a specific region of France (around 30 regions in the game). When we first played this, we played this wrong and removed all tokens after every election (it is only tied tokens). Thus, the game took 3 hrs 30 minutes which we really hated, and I gave it a rating of '4'. With the correct rules, I am happy to report that the game plays better. Some luck with the draw of the cards: the soldier/personality cards range from a strength of 1 to 3 troops, the special cards like guillotine eliminate other player's personalities. Game also seems to rely a lot on perception: current leaders are usually hammered (rightly or wrongly) by the other players. In this respect, the game can really be "in your face" especially if you are not even winning and you get hit by the terror/guillotine/purge/emigrate cards. A neat concept with the majority counting for elections, and okay as long as you don't mind the confrontational aspects of the game.
Players take on the role of sailors on boats trying to get to islands. However, boats spring leaks and sailors (by a vote) must be thrown overboard. Once boats reach islands, VPs are awarded per sailor. Played this once with 5 players and it seemed quite random. The theme is probably good for one or two laughs, but none of us had the desire to play again.
Every player gets their own marked deck of 40 cards. Each deck has 4 suits (blue, green, yellow, red) numbered 1 through 10. Players create three columns of single cards face up, then another column ("Blitz"pile) of 10 cards. Players then play cards into the middle, matching cards in suit and going up in sequence. Like solitaire, plays can shuffle through three cards of their remaining deck to play cards, or reduce their 10 card column. First player to get rid of their 10 card column yells "Blitz" and the round is over. Score single points for cards played in the middle, minus two points per card left in their Blitz pile. First one to 75 wins.
It's a fun party game, lots of luck, speed required, and you may damage cards when rushing to put them in the middle.
Slight abstract game where players make deliveries of goods with boats, trains and planes. Payoffs for goods are increasing as the game goes on, and actions cost more as you do more per turn. The slight abstract, low interaction of it may have left me and the gaming group lukewarm but it is okay. We talked about the advantage of the player order (first players appear to have an advantage as following players could get left with their refuse). Opinion only based on one play, however.
One is attempting to rebuild London from the fire of 1666, in this card driven game. One either plays cards, activates cards, buy boroughs or draw three cards as their action. After you activate cards, some get flipped over, never to be used again, while some stay permanent.
Money is very tight, and you can take loans when you need money. You can also accumulate poverty tokens from the cards or activating cards, so one also has to worry about reducing their poverty tokens, as at the end of the game, they reduce your score.
This is Martin Wallace's best game to date. The rules are simple, and the stacking of cards is a pretty neat mechanic. I really enjoy this game, and want to play this a ton more.
In this children's dexterity game, Loopin Louie is a battery operated plane attached to a pole, and flies around in a circle to knock off player's disks. Each player has 3 disks, and they have a launch pad mechanism to protect their eggs, and propel Louie just out of reach of their own eggs, but hopefully at a right trajctory to knock off other people's disks. It's actually good for a few laughs, watching Louie twirl around and make flying noises while everyone is frantically hitting their launch pads. The novelty wears off quickly, however.
Fun, unique cooperative game by Knizia where everyone plays a hobbit trying to throw the ring into Mount Doom before Sauron corrupts everyone. Everyone gets involved in the discussion on how the party should plan it's next move. Some people don't like it since 1) there may not be any control if too many event tiles show up 2) it can be viewed as a multiplayer solitarire game, and 3) some people can dominate the decisions of the party. Despite these minor drawbacks, a good solid game.
A LoTR collectible card game. Cast characters, but the opponents get to use casting cost against you. You are playing both the fellowship and shadow player at the same time; advancing when you are the fellowship or launching attacks on your opponent when you are in the shadow phase. I had high hopes after spending $50 to get 2 starter decks and 8 boosters. But like any CCG, it is still not quite enough (I didn't get any Nazgul). But there are some neat concepts in deck construction since you have to play bad and good, and the twilight pool is a neat concept. I just don't want to get sucked into spending money on a CCG like Magic again.
In this expansion, there is a "battle" board for the main board. Everytime you move on the main activity line, you trigger some enemies which appear or move on the battle board. You can play down Gandalf/Aragorn/Boromir/Legolas/Glimli to block enemy movement. If an enemy reaches a certain square, events get triggered. If you defeat an enemy you get rewards. It's a good expansion and adds another layer of complexity to the base game. It's fun, and if you have outgrown the base system, this expansion is very good for variety.
Second expansion to LOTR. Adds 2 scenario boards with options to skip boards. When an activity tile is drawn first on a hobbit's turn, a foe is flipped over. Because the military victory option is too easy, I give this a rating of 7, but our group plays that you cannot win with the military victory.
This expansion allows one to play Sauron, good for those who like a bit of competition. Instead of rolling the die, players invoke Sauron who then play a card on the hobbit. The expansion makes it much harder to win and makes it a longer game at around 2 hrs. Technically, one could play with 2 people, with 1 player as Sauron and one player playing multiple hobbits. I haven't had a chance to play with the 20 or so gray tiles which gives players the option of choosing not to accept a bad tile.
In this cooperative card game, players are going on quests with characters from Lord of the Rings. First, you get 1 resource per hero, and with these resouces you can play allies, attachments, etc. Each round, you then have to decide which of your characters to commit to the quest, then defend or attack against enemies. The trick is that your characters can only choose one of questing, defending or attacking before their card is exhausted for the round.
The time pressure element is measured by "threat". If you don't proceed along quests very well, you gain more threat, and the game ends for the player if you exceed a certain threat.
The quests have different levels of difficulty. I'm having fun trying to survive the more difficult quests and like the puzzle solving aspect of that.
The mechanics are borrowed from Magic:The Gathering, but it's a fun fresh cooperative game each time.
It's also a much better game than The Game of Thrones:LCG, by the same designer. I'm having fun experimenting with the four different themed decks and looking forward to more plays. You can play it solo, or with more players, where you can see interaction between the various decks, so there is more variety.
However, there are all sorts of rules questions, which take some time to sort through. You will need some patience to get through all the different rules for different scenarios.
Fun quick 'Stratego' like Lord of the Rings. When two pieces meet on the same square, if one does not immediately eliminate the other, then they play cards and add the value of the card to the character's strength to deterimine the victor. The card played could also be a magic spell. Each player has a similar deck, and must play all of the cards in the deck, before being able to reuse 'good' cards. Dark side player wins by eliminating Frodo or getting 3 dark side characters into the Shire. White side wins by getting Frodo into Mordor. Combination of strategy, bluffing and luck.
Tile placement then exploration in Tolkein's world. An extreme example: your opponent finds Gandalf, and you find the Balrog, you must lose a few turns to defeat it. Meanwhile your opponent is walking along recruting Aragorn, Glimli, Legolas or other things that help them out. It would seem your opponent is far ahead of you. There must be a way to make that example fair to the player who lost the turns battling the balrog. Other than that, not a bad game.
Play cards in numerical order to start expeditions. The longer the expedition, the more points. Great 2 player game from Knizia. Tense decisions on whether to start playing cards to an area, attempt to double the value of an area, or discard a card that your opponent could potentially use. Simple rules, but many decisions.
In this 2-4 player game, the board shows five different colors of paths. There is a deck of cards, with the five different colors, with numbers ranging from 0 to 10, twice, in each suit. Players play cards from lowest to highest to move their token on the corresponding colored path. Each path space also contains the number of victory points, which get higher and higher as a player's token gets higher up the path. Some of the spaces on the paths have bonus tokens such as idols, or advance one of your tokens on any path further one step, or a number of VPs (5, 10 or 15). The first player to get to an idol removes it, and idols count towards your total depending how many of them you have. Play three games, and sum all idols and points earned to determine the overall winner.
It's a fun game, and easy to learn. There are tough decisions to make and it plays quickly as well.
Players explore for gold in the Klondike. Players explore drawing diamond shaped tiles and triangular shaped tiles. Mining for gold requires food and sometimes timber. There are a myriad of items one can acquire or build (buy cart, fishing rod, rifle, canoe, horse, saw, etc). Only played once with 4 players and it turns out we were playing wrong; you need 10 gold tokens to attempt to win, not 10 gold nuggets, which was the incorrect way we played. I thought there might be a lot of luck involved, but I need to play this properly before making an informed opinion.
Area influence game based on 17th century France. There are 12 figures represented by 12 boards. Move your pawns onto these boards to achieve majorities or have a presence to earn tokens. Tokens allow you to fulfill missions, worth 5 VPs each. Other boards let you get accumulate other chips, worth 1 VP each. It's been an engaging game with 2,3 or 4 players. Plan to spend two hours playing this game.
In this card game, one is attempting to woo a princess with a love letter, and you want to prevent others from doing the same. There are 16 cards, with a numeric rank from 1 to 8, and each card has special abilities. For instance, there are 5 copies of the 1 card, which is a guard, and if you guess an opponent's card correctly, they are out for the round. Each round play cards to be the last one left, and you earn a cube. Play over multiple rounds, and the first one to four cubes wins.
It's a fun little filler. Yes, there is luck, there is some deduction involved, and it plays quickly.
Place knights, place walls, move walls or draw cards to expand your various kingdoms. Simultaneous choosing of actions and if more than two people choose it, an auction takes place. A game that we don't play enough. Lots of competition for walls, knights or cards. Have not played the updated version (Domaine) which apparently takes out the bidding system and makes it cleaner.
Luna is the Moon Priestess, and players are vying to be the succesor. On the board are 7 islands, where round to round, the Moon Priestess and Builder will move around. Players start with novices on some of the islands.
There are 14 possible actions in this game, but generally players use novices on islands to earn favor tokens, building a shrine where the builder is or moving up in the council for game end scoring.
Players can also put their novices into the temple to earn points as well.
There are tactical aspects to the game, since there is an Apostate on one of the islands, and will cost players points if their novices are present at the end of the round. Players can use actions to move the Apostate. Other tactics involve kicking novices out of the temple. Players can choose to end the round by turning over time tokens, so you can put pressure on other players.
There are a ton of things going on in this Stefen Feld game. There is so much you want to do, but you don't have enough time. There are so many things going on, and it is easy to get caught up on the tactics without looking long term. Being a Feld game, I was a little surprised by the way you could potentially hurt people, by moving the Apostate, or turning over time tokens to cut short the round. It's interesting to play, but it takes a few plays to get comfortable.
In the old Portugese city of Macao, there are 12 turns. Each player first chooses a card to put on their tableau. 6 different colored dice are then rolled, and players choose two of the colored dice: the number of pips on the dice are the number of action cubes in that color the player receives, but that number of turns later, so some planning is required. Players use action cubes to activate cards, use activated cards, take territories, move on the wall (for turn order in choosing cards) or moving ships to sell goods. Some of the cards requirent different colored cubes to activate, and at the end of the game, non activated cards count against you.
There are many things to consider, and I like the game. It might be a great game if it could be shorter. There are many possibilities of tactics that requires more play to uncover.
During their turn, players roll 1 or two dice. They then use coins to purchase buildings. Some buildings allow you to get coins during your turn, some earn coins during other people's turns, or some allow you to take coins from other people. The first player to build all 4 landmarks wins the game.
This game has been compared to a lighter version of Settlers of Catan. It's a fun filler, and you can choose what strategy to pursue. You do need some luck for your buildings to come up. Some people think there is too much luck. I'm certainly looking forward to more plays of this.
As a mage knight, players move around terrain to attack monsters, influence units, or explore different dwellings. Each player has their own deck of cards. At the beginning of the game, they are virtually the same except for one card. You can then acquire spell cards, or other special cards, and wound cards (which fill up your hand) as the game evolves.
I enjoyed my one and half plays of this. I like solving problems, and I have barely scratched the surface of this game. I'm hoping to get in more plays of this game, but part of the problem is trying to find the time. I suspect like all good games, the rating will rise with more plays.
One of the first "dungeon crawl" games with a choice of up to 16 characters. Your character has different abilities, such as toughness, armor, quickness, etc. Each character has different victory conditions. I played this a few times in the mid 80's and it is nostalgic for me, but probably a bit long to set up and figure out the rules again. I did play with someone who completely understood the rules, so my rating maybe different if I had to figure out everything for myself.
Brilliant game design by Richard Garfield. Idea of instants, interrupts, and casting costs leads to an amazing game. Too bad there were too many expansions, and too many cards, which made it too expensive, and too hard to keep track of the cards. I wonder if the marketing has paid off in their strategy to print a million cards or if it has turned people like myself off it. Multiplayer (3 on 3) or around the table was fun as well. Still have too many cards left over, would like to sell them since no one else in the gaming group plays anymore.
Players collect five different amulets by placing minions onto the board, using magic to shift hexes, pay for amulets and moving minions. It's a nice component game, lots of decisions and reasonably simple. However, the many decisions results in a lot of downtime while waiting for others to play and the board tends to change so that you have to wait until your turn before you start planning. With all the shifting hexes, your minions could get moved around a lot and not much of it is under your control. I have only played this with 4 players, so perhaps it plays better with 2 or 3 players.
There are 7 oracles. During each visit, attempt to get majority to earn the victory points, second player gets choice of magic spell or VPs if first player didn't take them. Trying to displace another player's token involves a rock, paper, scissors (RPS)mechanic. Well it is a Knizia game, but the RPS mechanic when you duel with someone puts an awful lot of luck/bluffing into it. It's light, and I could play it in the right mood.
Area control game where players build palaces in cities and homes in cities or villages. Players must move their architect to the city to build a palace, and movement is governed by houses on the villages; you pay the owner of the home (maximum of 2 homes per village) to pass through the village. Players choose initial starting roles which offer some advantages, then choose 2 actions per turn after to affect the board (building, earning money, and so on.) I prefer Kramer's other effort, Tycoon. This one might grow on me with more playings, but there is a certain bit of controlled chaos, such as changing the scoring of the cities or changing roles.
A traditonal Chinese game with 144 tiles. Players are attempting to collect sequences of three or triplets. Each turn, you draw a tile, then discard, or you can take one of your opponent's discards out of turn if it forms a triplet, otherwise, you can form a sequence from the discard of the opponent to the right. You score more points if you have sets from all of one suit.
It's a popular game among the Chinese, and many people are familiar with the rattling of the tiles as they are shuffled. There is luck, and many house rules. There are a few things to keep track of, but once you get the hang of it, it flows easily.
In this 4 player game, everyone gets 20 tiles to start, with 32 left bhind. The tiles are from two decks of cards, with 8 jokers. The goal of the game is to get rid of your tiles, or have the fewest points at the end when no one can play. To first play, one has to play out a sequence of at least 3 tiles, then you can add tiles to other sequences. You can also discard 3 of a kind to the middle. Tiles left in hand count against you, Aces are worth 15, faces are worth 10, everything else is their numerical value.
There is a bit of strategy in discarding tiles that least help your opponents. It's a fun filler, there is luck from hand to hand, depending how many jokers one gets.
I know a few people who have this game, and I heard it is quite difficult to get, some of them had to order it all the way from Malaysia!
Fill pizza orders by putting ingredients and pizza orders into a common pile of cards. When all cards have been played, go through common pile to see if orders filled. Some memory required, and a good dose of luck. It's a fun game, but not too satisfying as a strategy game, since all you can do is attempt to fill out orders based on what you have in your hand.
Alea's 8th Big Box game: Area control game based on the ice age. On their turn, players either play a dark card to collect activity tokens, or play a light card to move tokens. There are 6 mammoths in the game, and an area with 1 or 2 mammoths double or triple the score, respectively. Last place player after each scoring round gets to use a glacier to wipe out an area. Some nice ideas here. However, I only got to play once, since we thought it was extremely fiddly (put a mammoth in your area, have someone take it away, put it back, moved away etc). Played with 5 people once and the game was sold.
Compete over buffalo with other Indian tribes, Indians ranked in a certain order, but lowest ranked can defeat the highest ranked. Played 3-4 times and never played again. I think there is an appearance of strategy when one chooses their cards to play, but player perceptions enter the mix and influence the buffalo hunt. Last player in a round gets to play last and have the hammer so to speak. Okay, but only for humor value. Added "squaw" to vocabulary, and neat mechanism where if one spends too many high cards capturing buffalo, they get saddled with a -10 VP card (which happened to me frequently, and someone remarked that I liked to "machinegun the buffalo".)
Up to 5 countries (Rome, Greece, Carthage, Babylon and Egypt) compete for scarce resources. Armies, fleets and fortresses can be built to defend or invade. A 2 hr game that is not difficult to play. However, Rome seems to have an advantage over the other countries, since they are close to 7 or 8 different commoditites. The game also progresses on what your neighbors do; if one person builds an army, you are almost forced to, but the other players go ahead in production, while you fall behind. Based on an apparent disparity between nations (though I personally don't mind the challenge of trying to play Greece, for example), the unpredictable intentions of neighbors, the game just doesn't work well. The trading phase reshuffles commodity cards around, which benefits others, and can hurt you, and most of it maybe beyond your control. An ambitious game that I think everyone wants to like, but has limitations.
Bid for shops, then move different colored tokens into them (or into other player's shops) to score points. It's not a bad game, it has a couple of neat mechanisms, but sometimes it feels some people are set up for a big score and there isn't too much you can do to prevent it. I'm not particularly fond of the bidding for shops either. Probably needs a couple more playings to make an informed opinion, but I prefer more of the other eurogames out there.
Each turn, players are putting a wall, tower and two houses onto the map. Whenver a city is formed, players may use their scoring cards to earn points. The scoring cards give points on either completed cities or award points for buildings outside cities (eg score 1 pt for each tower not in a city). The score cards are key to the game, and it is possible to recycle cards to get more desirable cards. It's a fun game, plays quickly and fairly simple. When you get the right scoring cards, you will have a good game, when you do not get the "right" scoring cards, you game will be just mediocore. Based on this variance, the game isn't something I want to play that often. It's simple, and not complicated, but the luck factor in the scoring cards is fairly substantial.