This is an absolutely fantastic strategic game. I absolutely love the way battles are resolved.
It would get a 9 or even a 10 if it weren't for the fact that it is possible for one side to have four turns in a row before the other side gets a turn.
In a game where it is possible to severely deplete the other side's armies in two consecutive turns to a point of almost not being able to recover (I've done this), the possibility of four turns in a row turns an otherwise strategic game into simple luck.
I'll be house ruling this so that if a player gets the last two turns in a round, at the beginning of the following round the first turn will only be drawn from the other players' dice. The second turn would return to normal with all three remaining dice.
Kudos for a job very well done, not withstanding the potential flaw.
This is the most immersive game I've ever played. It draws you right into the world of secret agents. The gameplay is superb!
Note: The gameplay ISN'T hard. However, the rulebook frankly sucks. One entire deck of cards isn't explained in the main rules at all, and isn't addressed in the FAQ. No. It is explained as a footnote at the end of the Appendix. After the list of Kickstarter contributors, even, which has nothing to do with how to play the game. Yes, really. I have never been so disgusted with a rule book! I should take off a point for the truly disorganized, crappy rulebook, but I just can't, because the game is so much fun!
Read through the rules and play a few rounds by yourself before teaching it to your friends. It's absolutely worth it.
*A WONDERFUL "thank you" surprise present from Frediccini! :-)
This has very cool mechanics. I'm so glad Frediccini put it on the table!!! Lightweight fun. Perfect for a relaxing evening of gaming after we've ploughed through rules for the five new heaviest Euros one week after another. A game needn't be complex to be fun and still involve some strategy.
On the first play we died horribly - it was over in 40 minutes. The second play took close to three hours, and while the first two hours were tense, by the end we won almost too easily - people were doing goofy things (let's all visit the carnival in Dunwich, I've never been there before), just because they had the leeway to do it. I liked that you can't predict how it's going to turn out and that each play had a very different feel. It was a truly immersive game.
Post GenCon 2011 purchase. I can't play it with the base game because the cards are not the same. The group I play with would always know when an expansion card was at the top of the deck, and with this expansion some of the card combos are killers. It only gets a 3 because it can stand on its own.
I would be interested if it weren't being published by Games Workshop with their anti-fan, anti-bgg, real life tactics. Seriously, how can a game company miss the fact that fan generated game aids, rules summaries, etc, actually help spread the word, improve accessibility to all gamers, and thereby increase sales?
I have problems lining the pockets of a company that acts like a corporate bully towards its own customers. Others may do as they please, of course.
Test played the prototype. I like it and will probably pick it up.
Pros: Fun filler, and the first training scenario plays especially fast and smooth.
Cons: In the second scenario, it feels like there should be a penalty for reordering the already programmed cards. It seems strange that you "program" the robot, but then can change the order of the cards with no penalty when you activate them. This actually felt like a disconnect from the theme. Savvy players will manipulate this. Also, the programming scenario slowed down the feel of the game play, despite the timer.
A gaming buddy loaned this to me for AmeriTrash on American Independence weekend, and my family who all adore Buffy decided they had to have a copy to play. Yes, it just takes the right game to suck the non-gamers back in. (Insert evil laughter) Whaahahahaa!
Horribly unbalanced. When I beat three of the smartest people I know (Full ride scholarship to Rice University, etc.), there's an issue. I'm not unduly modest, just honest. Oh, and watching one of my friends have a horrible time as I played the game as it was meant to be played and beat the crud out of his faction, and there was nothing, absolutely NOTHING he could do, was awful. Worst time playing a game ever.
I would play this often with the right group, but I would never want to play this with the wrong group, which says more about me as a player than it does about the game. Negotiation isn't my favorite mechanic, and this game was made for those who love negotiation and interaction. I prefer either cooperation or being the master of my own fate.
I had a lot of fun playing this game and can admire it for what it is.
The game description says it "reimplements" Mall of Horror with some changes. I only know that I find it difficult to throw my friends to the zombie hoard to save my own hide, when I think we should all band together.
This game is FUN and plays equally well as a 2 player coop or a 3 or 4 player winner take all game! (I much prefer the coop game. It is tense and exciting every time.)
There are a huge number of Alien Faction cards, which are all great! The number of factions lend extra oomph to the replayability of the game. Fantastic sci-fi cartoon-ey art, and fantastic miniatures. Awesome game!
Terrific cooperative game with some very innovative mechanics. It felt very original in the field of cooperative games many of which feel very "same-y." Very tense game with tons of meaningful decisions. Plus, you know, Pirates!
Playing simultaneous solitaire with other people and then checking to see who played best when it's over is not my idea of great gameplay. I'm afraid that both times I played this I had a "This is torture, can someone please just make it end NOW" experience. Others love it, and more power to them.
I like the way all the characters are broken in their own way, and that I get a fairly even fight with my gaming partners when everyone plays to their character's strengths. I like that the game plays completely differently depending on which character I'm playing.
There are too few decisions (1. Which card do I try to defeat? 2. Do I heal? or 3. Do I buy?). After that it's just dice. Normally I don't mind dice, but there has to me MORE to a game than that.
A friend compared the phone app to a slot machine. He meant it as a compliment, but I think it's a huge detraction - just luck of a dice roll and little more to the game. The "slot machine" comparison is just as apt in the board game itself as it is for the app.
There is far too little interaction or collaboration for a "cooperative" game.
Finally, it felt dry as the Atacama desert. Which is the driest desert on Earth.
I gave my copy away to someone who I sincerely hope will like it more than I did.
Must master...must play again...Mark, you've created an Endeavor junkie!
*traded to Frediccini for Richard Garfield's Filthy Rich. I never could get past the slavery mechanic to where I would suggest bringing it out, even though the game itself is great and I enjoy playing it.
One of my favorite gaming moments was getting everything necessary to make slavery illegal and stop the evil slave holder (Darryl) from winning! Haha! Take that, you villain!
Epic Spell Wars should be rated for exactly what it is: the best of its class (exceptionally fun, light-ish card games). It's a perfect filler, or perfect for an evening when the crowd just wants to relax and doesn't feel like taking three hours for Arkham Horror, Twilight Imperium, or RuneWars. The only reason it doesn't get a ten is that it does not fall into the rare category of "I would always want to play this game if asked, no matter how often."
The proof of how good it is? A friend of mine and his group were set to play Arkham Horror and then played Epic Spell Wars....for 5 hours!
P.S. The CEO of the company himself called my group back and answered a game-win-altering question when the geek was down. (Yes, we are a cheeky bunch.) Rather than being annoyed, he seemed pleased that we were having so much fun with their game. I am now a fan of Cryptozoic Games. :-)
Note: We went to the Cryptozoic booth at GenCon 2013 specifically to cheer for Cory and thank him for answering our question when BGG was down. The Cryptozoic bunch are as swell in person as they were on the phone.
First purchase at GenCon 2013 The UPS store at GenCon used NO packing materials and the game arrived busted up. When I wrote and filed a claim, UPS came and took the box and the busted games that I can't replace because they aren't out yet...and haven't contacted me about refunding my money, either.
Four weeks later, still a dead loss. Note added: four months later and still a dead loss. I recommend avoiding the UPS booth at GenCon. It is privately owned and they have never returned even one of my several calls about the insurance claim.
GaleForce 9 games were a bit odd when I wrote to explain the situation and ask if they would allow me to BUY a replacement copy given the circumstances. They seemed to think I was running some kind of con on them (even though I gave them a link to the UPS claim). I wanted to buy a replacement for the Post GenCon Meetup game day, since several people had asked about playing it. GaleForce 9's response was a bit insulting. They accused me of trying to get free games out of them after I asked if I could buy another pre-release copy. They rather ranted about it. I thought it couldn't hurt to ask, but am feeling a bit rebuffed. Now I'm trying to decide whether I want to give them my money again for a second copy.
GenCon 2011 purchase. This was the game I was most excited about at GenCon 2010. Great theme, and a great adventure mechanic where failure has actual consequences for the player...and yet, -4 for completely cumbersome minutia in the rules that slow down gameplay and that keeps this game from ever getting on the table!
Some careful streamlining would have helped enormously.
This game was done exceptionally well. When i first heard the name and that it was coop, I cringed, hoping that it was NOT an all against one game with someone playing the opposition...which would have been WRONG.
No need to worry, the game is a fantastic pure coop, with real historical characters and events. The economic weight of the underground railroad is felt as the players try to support their mission to free people in every way possible. It is a very strategic game. I have to admit I hate losing this one more than a normal game, but it creates renewed respect for the people who championed this cause.
This game is definitely getting a kickstarter bump in ratings, so beware. If you like economic engine building games, there are so many better games than this, where the different parts flow together in a synergistic whole that this never achieved.(Euphoria comes to mind as what this game aspired to be and failed miserably to achieve.). The interaction in this game is limited to taking an action someone else did previously and bumping them to get another smaller free or larger paid action. If you play with four people, that means that there are a possible seven other turns between your turn and your next turn. There is almost too much going on, and the mechanics are fairly punishing. Playing this game felt like WORK, not fun. Don't get me wrong, I love some complex games...just not this one. I am forever grateful I got to play this before (not) purchasing.
I like the dice as the third "player" in a two player game to add to the tough decisions and unpredictability. Genius. (It worked so well that they've picked it up to create a two-player alternative for Francis Drake.)
This is now my favorite two-player game.
I appreciate the decisions of what to pick up and where to play it, and when to take the chieftains off of your map so that they can score. This is a thinking game all the way through.
Adding insult to injury, this game is easily twice as long as it needs to be due to players having to wait a round to build after trading for goods....which does not alter the game in any way other than making it excruciatingly longer. Excruciatingly because nothing interesting is happening in that time. I'll play Twighlight Imperium, Die Macher, etc., so length of game isn't an issue as long as the game play is INTERESTING.
Plus, don't let the cute artwork fool you, if played the way it is designed, this is a vicious game.
Bottom line, other games do the economic/civ engine much better.
Easy to teach rules. Depth of gameplay. Innovative movement mechanic that increases need to strategize and increases game tension. The right kind and right amount of interaction. Beautifully produced. Fun!
I could easily see playing this as much as Castles of Burgundy. (high praise, indeed!)
I like that you can deal someone in late and it doesn't break this game at all. This attribute makes Kill Doctor Lucky perfect for a game group when two or three members arrive and are waiting for more members to arrive.
If anyone knows of other games that people can join after the game has been going a few rounds, please send me a geekmail. :-)
Update: It doesn't work as I had hoped, because it goes on far too long for what it is.
Rated 7 for being good at what it is: a children's game that adults can enjoy playing, too. Each player moves and changes the maze on their turn as they try to make their way to the treasures they need, making this much more strategic and engaging than the vast majority of children's games out there.
This may be the best expansion I have ever played simply because it adds to s to the base game while retaining everything good about the base game. -It adds more mechanics. The barricades and sewers add a fresh new feel to a game that comes off the shelf constantly. -It adds new scenarios, a huge plus on a scenario driven game. -It adds to the theme so seamlessly that it could have come with the base set. And, it's huge fun! Simply brilliant - great job Flying Frog!
One dimensional gameplay, and mechanics that are too much like Sentinels of the Multiverse for Last Starfleet to be considered only "inspired by Sentinels" cast a shadow over this game.
First, the gameplay: Players try to put people on the planet. The planet does damage not to the ships, but only to the people. This is very linear and one dimensional, when the theme cries out for multiple branches of play.
Also, while the turn mechanics are almost exactly copied from Sentinels, in Last Starfleet the players are only battling the planet (environment), while in Sentinels the players are up against both a Villain and an environment. The combination of different villains and environments and how their attacks work together lend depth and replayability to Sentinels which is missing in Last Starfleet. Since players only battle the environment in Last Starfleet, one would think Last Starfeet would have many unique and amazing planet environments to fight to keep it fresh. But no, there are only a few.
The turns: Ships have individual powers and a deck. Play a card. Draw a card. If you die, turn your card over and there are two powers for you to use to aid the remaining players. Then it is the planet's turn.
To the designer: I understand being inspired by other works, but for heavens sake, make an effort to branch off of it enough to make it something new and something uniquely your own. Just beacuse they are ship captains rather than Superheroes doesn't mean you aren't plagiarizing in a way that reflects badly on you even if it isn't illegal. Do other people do this? Yes, but that doesn't make it right. And if you do borrow ideas, try to make them into something MORE, so that you are helping board games progress rather than giving people less (in this case, half of the game that was borrowed from).
This was such a disappointment. Lord of the Rings has beautiful game boards. The boards progessively follow the story, which is nice, but the game play is dry, repetitive, and tedious. It is also one of the least truly cooperative "cooperative" games I've played, in that a bare minimum of interaction or group decisions are necessary. This is only my opinion, of course. It may fit someone else's ideal perfectly.
After reading the synopsis of the game play and reading dozens of comments in which all the guys are raving about the lightning quick game play, the multiple repeat plays, and "laughing their asses off" it seems like a must have "quickie." I enjoy it very much, but it is a light filler.
There is enough going on in this game that a player could pick a different strategy nearly every time they play it, which means a) I can always think of something I should have done differently, and b) I always want to play it again. I love playing this one. The wheel is very innovative and adds to the strategy! This is perhaps my favorite Euro tied with Power Grid.
This is an EPIC game! I expected it to feel at least a bit dated, given both the year it was produced and that games, in general, keep getting more refined over the years as designers build on what works and get rid of mechanics that don't. I was surprised to find that this is pretty much perfect.
We played a 5 1/2 hour game with 5 players which is a true tribute to our teacher, since three of us were new to the game. (You rock, Melissa!). It didn't feel like five hours at all - THAT'S how engaging the game is.
I like that Merchant allows a player to formulate and actually carry out a plan, but it does it at the price of a long playing time and tons of chits. I loved the way it felt while playing -100% engaging (What will I do next? What will my best route be? How can I get the resources/upgrades/fame/income that I need???)
On the other hand, I would need plano boxes or the set up and break down time alone would deter me from ever playing! (It would be the best game just sitting on the shelf, but still.) 8-24-3013
*update 10-7-13 bought two weekly pill organizers for the 14 races, a plano box for everything else, and took the plunge!
Super cute art, funny card text, and gameplay that is easily accessible to even non-gamers, guarantee that this card game has its place. However... Leveling up and "kill the leader," now "kill the new leader" that sometimes goes on for FAR too long ensures that I'll only play this once or twice a year.
For a game that looks as childlike and simple as it does, this game keeps you thinking furiously all the way to the end! There is no "down time" as a player is always thinking of what to do next, which I like a lot.
I like that MushMush! gives a lot of the feel of RoboRally without the interminable stopping to see who has the highest number on a card and therefore gets to go first. This is streamlined fun, Fun, FUN!
Note: I have never played the original Snow Tails.
I was demoing children's games for my local (now defunct) game store, and this was hands down the most popular. The children would play a game, then immediately get in line and wait for another turn. They loved placing the tiles, and they watched like hawks for the roads to close, even if it was to help their opponents place their meeples.
The thing is, it wasn't boring for the adults, either. Gsmes that can bridge that gap are rare.
A charming little game to pull out when there are kids over.
Complexity does not equal depth of play. Complexity does not automatically equal a great game.
Tried to play, but it was needlessly and awkwardly rules minutiae heavy for a game that was simple set collection at its heart. I committed the unforgivable sin of quiting a game before it was over. Heck, we had only completed the first round. The components were beautiful, but the game was NOT.
Thank you so much, Frediccini! I couldn't find Once Upon a Time in English anywhere. I love the art work and the idea of this game. Once again, your kindness and thoughtfulness humble me - you are beyond awesome.
This is a solid, fun, light filler. It's easy to teach, and easy to play. It will be a great addition to the games our game group can play when we are waiting for another table to finish a longer game.
(Yes, it is Robo Rally as a quick game with dice instead of cards, and I think there's a definite place for that.)
My game group felt that this game was so brutal that it felt like being punished. That's the first time I've heard them refuse to play a game because the theme came across TaoO WELL. I thought the game was good, but sold it since it wasn't going to get played again.
I found it being sold new at COAS bookstore for two dollars, and looked up the comments on board game geek on the spot. It seems worth trying...it was never produced in english, but still ranked high on the geek for abstract game, AND has it's own iPad app which won best abstract game app of the year last year. Sounds promising.
Repetitive. I wanted to like it, but there wasn't enough to it. It's like one of those pop tunes with a catchy beat but only one line repeated over and over. (Put cards in sack and bluff/tell the truth. Repeat.)
It is obviously a lot of other people's cup of tea. More a party game that doesn't play a whole party of people, but only four.
For the first time since joining BGG six years ago, I tried to give a game a 10.5! BGG wouldn't allow me to do this, and I understand that it would skew the ratings...but the game deserves it!
This is so much fun as a cooperative game. My family called an intermission, intending to continue the next day, but twenty minutes later my daughter sat down next to me and initiated a conversation sorting through all the possibilities that went on until we all decided to take our chances against Holmes.
The game plays absolutely fair, but it IS tricky!
Highly recommended for all who-dunnit fans. The game puts the gamer INTO the mystery!
This is a great game. The only problem is that the locations that are the most fun are copyrighted so that the game designers couldn't use them. My best advice is to buy this for the brilliant but simple game design, and art, and for teaching the game. Then make your own locations to add to the game for the added impact and added fun.
Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) - Your legacy lives on - in a board game, no less! Thank you for The Door Into Summer, Friday, Citizen of the Galaxy, The Star Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Space Cadet, Have Spacesuit Will Travel, Stranger in a Strange Land, and so much more. I opened your books and you opened my mind.
I liked the theme and the components already, and then the FruitlessPursuits blogger wrote thst he played two games in a row at Origins and would have kept playing all night if they would have let him, because it is a GOOD game. It's definitely worth checking out!
This would be a perfect ten if they would revise the encounter book to make sense. No more being in a desert and having an "ocean" encounter! Also, they desperately need to fix such problems as: - players should NOT be able to spend three hours in jail in one game. - players should be more able to get rid of curses - there should be a GRAND END ENCOUNTER to wrap up the "story" instead of an abrupt, random "oh, I've got points, the end, I win." This is too abrupt and jarring and is just a let down in such a thematic game.
Agents of Smersh puts this game to shame, and yet...I love Tales of the Arabian Nights. I hope they make it right someday.
Fun, light, push-your-luck party game. There is a lot of laughter when we play.
This game is a nice change of pace in between heavier games, or at the end of a long gaming session.
Also, Till Dawn is perfect for when a number of non-gamers are at the table. It can break the ice and help non-gamers feel comfortable enough to try something a little bit more meaty for the next game.
Very Zen and restful game with numerous decisions that matter.
I played this for the first time after a three hour beast of a game and felt refreshed enough afterwards to immediately tackle Kemet. The heavy gamers and new gamers in our group all like this very much. Plus, it is easy to explain to non-gamers.
This does not feel like a "filler" even though the play time is short.
I now believe that Antoine Bauza is a genius. I wanted him to sign my copy at GenCon in the worst way, but my schedule and his never matched.
This is a great worker placement with a unique worker movement mechanic. It is a lot of fun. It looks intimidating though, and I have trouble getting people to play, even when I know they love games that are even harder than this!
This is the game that convinced me that a huge economic machine building game should never come down to sheer luck. The card draws in this game will make or break everything else you do, and some cards are vastly overpowered compared to others. Most importantly, the card draws aren't always the type you can plan around, which means the game comes down to luck. If you get the grapes that match your sales cards you are going to do well. If you can't get matching grapes and sales cards, all of your building will come to naught, and there is nothing you can do. (And a game spent madly trying to draw cards to get what you need to no avail is not much fun.)
I love the building up of the vineyard. I love growing and harvesting the grapes. But I really wish they had created a permanent sales board with all the types of wine you could sell to the side. Then you could plan for your sales, and it really would be an excellent strategy game.
Not just AmeriTrash I haven't played; WOTR takes up the top two slots in the AmeriTrash rankings. Either it's very, very good, or the tie to Tolkien gives it a boost it doesn't deserve. Worth checking out - need to play.
Lightening fast game play, great mechanics, real strategy, and an awesomely integrated theme make this a favorite! There are good reasons that there have been eight editions of this game! It has definitely withstood the test of time.
Hopefully, never again...this is a "everyone beat on everyone else and constantly thwart their plans" game. I actually wound up in a position to effect who of thee players might win, so it can also be a king maker game.
My rating is for what Wok Star is and intends to deliver as a game: Fast, frenetic, simultaneous action, cooperative play. This game is tons of fun! (This rating is based on the original game/rules.) One of the best coops I hope to own (c'mon kickstarter!)
Also, it is worth noting that one person can NOT shanghai (heh!) this game and take over.