This strategic American Revolution game is playable even given its age. It takes a true wargamer approach as opposed to the political approach of "We The People." It has generic units and crt's to consult and plenty of die rolling. For a game from 1974, it ain't bad.
Golden oldie of a game. It has plenty of virtues but the main problem is that there's no way to intentionally stop the leader. A couple of lucky early mergers with majority holdings and your pretty much untouchable while the other players scrape to get by. Best played with players of even abilities. Regardless, it's a fun, abstract game to play.
A pretty solid game system that is nominally about exploration. It's really an 8 turn puzzle on trying to assemble the most victory points. The components are "ok" (bad VP track design) but I think the actual map territories should have been larger to accommodate pieces and create more clearly defined territories. If I had one overall criticism of the game, it would be that given the game is about 90% skill, why include the hidden discovery tile/card mechanism (which if a player fails, is incredibly punishing)? Even though the discovery portion is a small part of the overall choices, it can have a large effect on the outcome of the game as you not only fail at achieving the Discovery VP's and money but you waste all of the men that could have been used to procure other things (magnified as it's an 8 turn game). It's a weird mechanism that is very American in a mainly Euro design. And some buildings are definitely more useful than others especially in Age III.
Having said all that, the rest of the game works and creates some tricky decisions and gaming angst (if you're into that sort of thing). I'm not a Puerto Rico fan so keep that in mind.
This game is a tough one to rate. It works as written (rules are a bit foggy but the FAQ's clear that up) but as written, it's a hostile, unforgiving, math-heavy game. This isn't a typical railroad game which moves at a leisurely pace and feels a bit like multi-player solitaire. Get 4+ players and this game is nasty and strategically difficult. Hardly a smile cracks anyone's face for nearly 4 hours of play. And when it's all over, your back hurts from leaning over the map and your mind is fatigued from going through turn after turn of excruciatingly difficult economic decisions. So is this a good or bad game? Gaming can be an enjoyable time socializing, munching and playing a game or it can be "serious face" time where bathroom breaks are infrequent and every difficult decision adds another gray hair. The question is: how do you want to spend your leisure time?
See the GLG variants which help make the game a little more forgiving and a bit more friendly. Oh, and play Volldampf if you can find a copy.
After several plays, my original opinions stand and my rating has even gone lower. The game simply isn't any fun. It's a great mental exercise like multi-player chess but there isn't any real railroading flavor to this game. Plus, it has the problem of "runaway leader." You can't play cooperatively to stop someone. And even more problematic, if a player starts in a bad position (maybe gets cut-off early) then its basically game over for him as he'll limp along for the rest of the game. That's a game balance problem. And then there's the wait...calculate...wait...calculate... style of gameplay.
Honestly, if it was a choice between spending an extra half day at work or playing this game, it would be a difficult decision.
Just plain fun. Cute plastic planes to push around. There are some game balance issues which revolve around the number of players and the board layout. But overall, this is a fun wargame disguised as an airline business game.
Andromeda is a fun game with light strategy. Beautiful graphics on the cards and board elevate the experience. There's a strong emphasis on luck but you still have to make a few key decisions or your cosmic dust. It plays fast enough to get 2 or 3 sessions in an afternoon (with food and drink in between). Not Alan Moon's strongest design but still very playable and enjoyable.
Finally got the 2000 ed. Dice and charts and more charts. Plays faster than Strat-o-matic but not as well supported currently. Catholic or Protestant? APBA or Strat? There's something about the APBA cards that I have an affinity for that goes beyond reason.
This game shows why computer football games have triumphed over paper versions in recent years. Time spent playing equals or surpasses a real game. A blur of charts and player ratings will force you into glasses before your time. It's thorough and that's it's best feature.
Gorgeous game. All the components are simply beautiful. Nice detail in the pieces and the map is one of the clearest I've ever encountered. Objectives and landing areas are well differentiated. The rulebook is done as an old army intelligence file - scratched and aged and reads very well.
The game practically teaches you as you go. The unique order card system that incorporates the sequence of play, leads players through the game. The battle board shows offense & defense numbers for each piece. One the the few wargames where reading the rulebook before you play isn't an absolute necessity. Good old fashioned gaming fun. Bravo Hasbro/WOTC/AH!
I like the smaller more focused theme as compared to the grand original game (A&A). Play balance is iffy and the rules (victory conditions especially) were rough in the beginning (still waiting on version 2.0 rules). No denying that it's truly beautiful after setup.
This is a game that I really want to like more but...it has some faults. The good thing is that it's very approachable to gamers and non-gamers alike. Nice components and the play time is reasonable. What I don't like is that too many of the cards feel almost useless in your hand (eg. 6's,7's, 8's) because play centers on lowest or highest numbers depending on the current Hop (or tile). Also, too many cards get stuck in your hand at times that are just worthless. The is especially annoying at the end of the game when you can have colors (suits) of cards where there are no longer any cubes. You end up playing the next card that comes in to your hand for several turns. Also, the game sort of collapses rather than finishes. It all can happen in a so much of a hurry that you hardly see it coming. There needs to be more ways to get rid of dead cards from your hand rather than only when all eight cards are unplayable. When say six of eight cards in your hand are unplayable and the other two simply hurt your own side, a painful headache is what you get. It's just a tweak or two away from a really good, two player game.
Nice, quick, light game. Good for lunch time battles. It reminds me of Hasbro's Star Wars Episode 1 game "Clash of the Lightsabers" with a little more strategy but no cool pewter pieces. Awful title as the cardgame is nothing like the boardgame.
First off, BIG fan of the show. I was really looking forward to playing this game after a friend bought it. So we've played 2 games of it and though I do enjoy it, there are problems. First problem is with the pilot characters. Once you play a pilot (even a hottie like Boomer), you probably won't want to play that role again. There can be long periods of boredom playing that role and that's not fun gaming. The other problem is play time. This puppy is a long one and I mean 4-6 hours long. Okay, I'm a bit A.D.D. but this game will try anyone's attention span. Now beyond those two issues, there's lots of fun to be had. Trying to ferret out the Cylon player is good detective fun. If you're the Cylon, you get to brush up on your acting skills. As many players have commented, there's plenty of paranoia starting about mid-game. It's juicy fun not knowing what the next crisis might be or if the President is a toaster or not when ugly crisis come back to back. This is the kind of game that can really be enjoyed by the right group (at least 4 players).
**Update** Too long. Plenty of thematic play but it just takes forever. I could have easily played 2 other games (to completion) by the time this was over.
A game that is less random than it appears and more fun than one might imagine given the topic. It's a card management game but with lots and lots of Reiner "difficult decisions" at every turn. It actually follows the theme pretty well and you do sort of feel that you are on a quest moving from episode to episode working your way towards the dragon confrontation. Plays fairly quickly but you can also play too quickly and underestimate the strategy and tactics required to play well.
Poor play balance and broken scenarios hobble this potential gem. Mostly nice pieces though too many counters to sort thru and organize. I like the roleplaying aspect and the discovery part but I'm not keen on the hidden victory conditions and the core problems to the system. A game I wanted to like a lot but found myself feeling lukewarm about it.
After playing for several months, I feel I can now honestly rate it. My first play or two or three and I thought that the game was alright as I loved the card art and the little plastic dragons. It's unfortunate that the board is poorly done and should have included an icon listing *with explanations* (I found a nice one on the bgeek and taped two copies onto the board).
It was after 4 or 5 plays that I really started to feel the depth of the game's card play. In this game (like a lot of CCG's) "knowing your deck" (strengths and weaknesses) is very important. The game is more strategic than I first thought as I initially played it very tactically from hand to hand. But once all the possibilities started to unfold, I really began to enjoy the game. There's a luck factor that almost any card game has but a skilled player will know how to manage that as best as they can and can still come out a winner.
I ended up buying about 4 more decks (Mimix, Terrah, Aqua, and Allies) after a few plays and I'm very glad for it. This is a game that I will go back to over the years with gaming joy.
Interesting expansion with good things and questionable things. Blue Moon has such great balance from deck to deck that one has to be careful not to destroy that with these cards. I like some of the instant cards and the new variation called the Hyla but are they too powerful? Anyways, it adds variety to the overall play.
This is one of those games that I really want to love because I enjoy the theme. And the theme is well implemented (both in terms of production and play). But one gets the feeling that the Men of Action cards contribute to a very brittle play balance. Some games may find one player receiving great amounts of influence while other games can find one player with little or no opportunity to buy stills. I understand that some players say that the negotiation aspects help to play balance some of these things but that depends on the group of players and how willing they are to haggle. Which could be the game's Achilles' heel. On reflection, I'm not sure the game is balanced well for 3 players (given how few Men of Action cards come into play) and it may well improve with 4-5 players. But it's pretty long for being a "lots of luck/some skill" game (about 3.5 hours for 3 players). Update: I think there's WAY to many cards in the MoA deck. A four player game sees only 48 out of 80 cards!) Instead of providing a different feel to each game, it feels watered down. A tighter MoA deck would have produced more balance and a better feel of the theme.
This game has it's moments that will make you remember the TV show fondly. It's like the ultimate Ameritrash fan game. And I mean that in a good way. Lots of dice rolling and some opportunity for slamming your friends. Lush production with very nice components. I'd buy the game for the Buffy head-shot on the box cover alone!
After a dozen or so plays, this is a nice 2 player filler or lunch hour game. With 2 included maps, there's a variety of play. And there's a couple of variant maps available (found on BGG) to increase the life of the game.
I have the "double-sided color maps without the dice cup version." Sold at Target.
My review rating is based primarily on the Island 2 map along with the variant XXL map that you can print on this site. The Island 1 map is very much a Yahtzee/Catan mash-up. Fine for quick play with little ones but not much of any strategy.
The Island 2 map brings in victory points and longest road and largest army scoring as in the Settlers of Catan board game. Though playing on separate maps, there is some tension on reaching the 10vp threshold.
The XXL map (think Island 3) is more than double the size of the included Island maps 1 or 2 and both opponents play on the same island. Now there is real competition opportunities for taking resources and cutting off your opponent with road builds. There's a fun "Castles option" which allows for scoring 2vp's if you can come up with 6 of the same resource type (the land resource jokers are very important here).
All in all, for a tiny $13 investment (see Target), this is a very nice little game that can travel well.
Tip: I bought a little 5"x7"x1" clear plastic box to carry it in (Michael's Crafts - $2). I also cut out a piece of black foam (Michael's Crafts - $1) to layer the bottom of the plastic box with and that keeps the dice sounds down while also containing your dice roll.
The game has a "broken feeling" to it. I love Civil War and Train games but Berg struckout on this one. It doesn't have good gaming tension in it like a lot of Euro games do and it seems to deterministic (and too long). It's one of those games that "could have been" in the hands of a designer who knows where to cut the fat and build tension.
My wife and I have played this and we were both impressed with it (she rarely plays games as opposed to my game-aholic status). Very enjoyable and relaxing experience. You could play this game really hardcore and ponder every move like a chess match or you can play it with a breezy-style and enjoy it either way. You can teach the game in about one minute of time and a game takes about 30-45 minutes. I can even imagine some variant boards and variant scoring designs being introduced. A winner and a good deal for $19.99 at many Toys-R-Us.
I played the Incan Gold edition and found it a very amusing, light game. It has all the elements of a great filler game. Quick, high tension, laughter, crying, and near perfect components for it's theme. This is one of THE best filler games I've ever played.
Probably near the top of my all-time favorite lite wargames list. Beautiful cards and fun battle system. Collectible nature probably hampered sales. Buy the complete editions (Bull Run, Shiloh, or Gettysburg) and enjoy a delightful game.
After a couple of plays, I see that this is an extremely defensive game. Players play conservatively and more conservatively and then try to seize an opportunity. You're a fool to go on the offense unless it will immediately pay off. Components are decent and the cards are a nice stock.They could have made the number/symbol different on each card suit to help note what suit it is. As it is, you can't tell a dwarf from a hunter until you look at the entire face of the card. I would have preferred a corner symbol (like the number beside say a bow for the hunter). The board serves its purpose with some pretty art work but don't most trolls live in caves or under bridges? Then there's the plastic dragon piece color issue. My dragon was blue. Luckily, I own the Blue Moon card game and just swapped out a red dragon from that game. Given the artwork and all, anything but a red dragon just doesn't seem right.
Update: we continue to enjoy this game and play it weekly at lunch so I've upped my rating from 7.1 to 8.0 for now. Note to publisher: this could also be a dynamite 3 player game if an expansion were offered. A new deck of a different color and a tweak of the ship rules would seem all that was necessary to expand it to 3 players.
First Impression: This is a lot of gaming stuff for your gaming bucks. I look at it like a gaming sandbox with much potential beyond the official documentation. This is pure RPG-geek heaven.
Final Impression: Just like the first game in the series, it's very light (though a bit more meaty than the first game - Ravenloft). I have some problems with it but I do like theme much better and the solitaire system is unique and it works. If there were more scenarios or other games that you could add to this, I'd be more enthusiastic. (Sold it)
I like that this is essentially a miniatures game with a bit of card play . The artwork is outstanding. The game system is rock solid with a nice variety of units and the ability to bluff. Underappreciated probably due to the original collectible elements. Just buy the complete "bronze" edition and enjoy a fine game.
I find this game MUCH more fun than say Robo Rally which shares some similar mechanics. The theme is well done in terms of graphic design and overall feel. The race element creates tension and we found the advanced rules which include teleporters for the monster to be a nice addition. Overall, you'll laugh and you'll cry. It's a fun gaming experience for 3+ players. I'd worry a bit about downtime with 5+ players.
This game has grown on me over several plays. When we started playing, we missed the personal yard points and deductions rules. Boy, the third day is a killer with having to empty your yard or lose points yet still build useful trains. Easy to learn but lots of little tactical decisions that will make or break you. Games are usually close (well balanced system) which makes the final day a real nail-biter. Another fine Alan Moon design. Only criticism is the card design. As there's so many cards that have to be placed on the table, had Mayfair printed the car names on the card ends as opposed to the card bottoms, lot's of table space would have been saved.
Listen to people who say that if you haven't read the books, don't bother with the game. If theme is important to you (it is to me), then you want to like and know the theme of a game. I'm not into high fantasy so I should have known better.
The mechanics of the game are fairly simple though some don't feel quite right (particularly the bidding portion). It's sort of Risk with elements of Dune and Wallenstein. When all meshed to together, it feels weaker than the individual parts.
If you aren't into diplomacy then forget about this game. Some positions (houses) are just stronger than others and the only way for the weaker houses to combat that is to gang up or at least have a truce or two going. And the game is unfortunately really l o n g.
This is a very good game that has somehow existed under the radar of many gamers. There are difficult but fun choices to be made in several areas of this game. It has a nice combination of luck and strategy that makes it feel more like an American game than a Euro. And of course, it's flat out gorgeous. Best game about the oil business that I've played.
This is one of the better collectible card games with a sports theme. The one thing I could complain about (besides the cost of getting a decent set) is that the games could be a bit long. Good humor on the cards.
I'd rate it a bit higher based on the game mechanics (which are pretty good) but my beef is with the theme - I don't like it. Not that I'm a real "PC" guy but the stereotypes on the cards can lead to banter best not heard by most sensitive people.
I use to own this one but it just felt a little stale after awhile. Funny how most Steve Jackson games make me feel the same way. It's as if they're the same system, regurgitated with a different theme. Factor this and factor that. Sold it.
So far I like it. The positives far out weigh the negatives.
There's very fun artwork on the cards for Potter fans like myself. They include cute little quotes from the books which support the theme of the card. Several artists were involved so you get a variety of fun children's picture book style drawings.
There's plenty of deck building options to try out different strategies. Do you go for lots of opponent deck damage with Creatures and Spells? Do you try to deny your opponent actions and make them discard from the table with Adventures and Charms? Maybe you want to go with a strong Quidditch deck and force some Match cards onto the table which you're prepared for with Items and Spells. Maybe you go for lower Lesson card Spells but accumulate damage early and on every turn or try to string a killer combo that requires a high number of Lessons. Your lead Wizard/Witch character often sets the theme for your deck. And with a small 60 card play deck, you have to build a focused deck to be effective.
It's a fast playing game (less than 30 minutes) which is also a benefit as you can do match play like best of 3 games.
It has a minimum number of rules clarifications in comparison to other CCG's as timing issues rarely come into play.
Overall, this fast, fun CCG is a winner and its' low Geek rating puzzle's me.
The game is quite attractive and the rules read pretty smoothly with only a little ambiguity. You follow Bilbo's journey with the company of dwarves as they go to reclaim their home of the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug. The mechanics aren't complicated and you get them down by halfway through your first game. This is nice because then you can concentrate on strategies and tactics quickly. I like all the optional rules and particularly the semi-cooperative one where everyone loses if Smaug reaches Laketown. There's a nice combination of card hand management for events and some dice rolling to resolve adventures (which isn't often in a Knizia game). The game fits two niches: a really good family game and an excellent light/filler game for more advanced Tolkien loving gamers.
I now own the 3rd edition after selling the 2nd. It's a nice point-to-point battle system. You can chrome it to death with optional rules but the basic game with a few advanced rules is really all you need.
I have the later "Samurai Swords" edition. Very luck dependent game and one that has the cardinal sin of knocking someone out of the game early so that they can watch the rest of the game. Would have been better as a turn or year based game so that it would end before anyone was elliminated.
I believe the ccg aspect of this game ruined it for me. I'm as paranoid as the next guy (who like big brother is watching all that I type) but I think it simply would be better in a non-ccg format. The artwork was sort of juvenile.
Another oldie but moldy. Played a lot of this as a kid. Strange game in that it ended when you bankrupted the bank! Neat board with 3 levels of drilling holes. Rates high on the pieces scale. Wish someone would come up with a variant for an ending that is more rewarding and less like "well I guess it's over."
A little to "old school" for my tastes. I very much enjoy the historical period but the game play was a bit clunky and graphics were marginal (though acceptable for their times). Sold it. (I did own the PC version and got some play out of that.)
Just about my favorite game of all time. It has randomness but your job is to control this as much as is possible. Theme is just terrific. The cards are great looking and humorous. It never plays the same twice.
With Liberty, Columbia makes a playable wargame but there's some fiddly rules to remember (and 1.01 rules help but more work is needed and use the FAQ). The fog-of-war using blocks is usually excellent but there's so few blocks (25 a side) that it's less important here. The refined battle system (seen in some other Columbia designs) is elegant and sometimes brutal to the attacker. The map has subtle terrain features not obvious at first and it requires study to effectively use it. The differentiation in units (militia, loyalists, foot, guards, dragoons, leaders, warships, indians) contributes to a fine feeling of this period's warfare albeit at a strategic level. [Addendum: my rating has gone down as the game incorporates so much randomness with battle die-rolls, card draws, French Entry by chance, and game turn weather conditions by chance that play balance (and game outcome) sometimes hinges on the randomness of chance as much as strategy. The game appears to be quite brittle in terms of play balance (especially concerning the French). If played as published, you'll need to play it 2 or 3 times in a session in order to be fair to both players.]
My first statistical sports game. The game that actually got me into the hobby of sports gaming (along with a friend who had the '72 Sports Illustrated Pennant Race game which had individual player cards). I initially owned the '77 Skor-Mor edition (purchased from an Ad in Baseball Digest). It had 2 large results boards and individual player cards. I played 100's of games solitaire, recording stats, and standings in spiral ring notebooks as a kid down in the cool basement of my childhood home. I sold the game to a friend for baseball card money. Later (in the late 90's), I repurchased the game (second edition) and of course childhood memories don't always reflect reality and the game had long since been surpassed by better systems. Sold it (again).
It's a game that grows on you after a few plays. To do well, you need to do some minimal card counting (Captains, Admiral, 6,7, and 8 valued merchant ships). It also helps if you know how many of the powerful Pirate ships (the 4's) have been played. But since you only go through the deck once, this isn't too hard. Timing is also incredibly important - when do you drop those merchant ships onto the table? Sometimes you can sneek a few value 2 or 3 merchant ships out and back into your points pile while others are fighting over the 5's and 6's. This is a fine filler game especially for about 3-5 players (really unplayable with 2 players and anymore than 5 players and the game would drag). It's simply good "pirate" fun. (I own both the Loot and Korsar versions. While Korsar is quite attractive (artwork and box), I find its' larger cards difficult to shuffle. Loot has standard sized cards (inferior artwork) but are easy to shuffle and this version goes for only $5.95 at many of the large retail stores.)
I like what it adds to the overall game system. Having a live, active evil player just adds to the quality of the experience. And if you're the one who gets to play Sauron, dark, evil fun is in-store for you.
After playing a 2-player (solitaire) game, I can see the appeal of the game (especially to comic book fans like myself). It's fun to watch the superhero teams try to use their strengths to overcome villains and solve headlines. Managing resources (especially Plots points and Resource cards) is the core of the game. Then there's a lot of fun dice rolling but with many, many tactical modifiers (Hero's special abilities, Allies, Agents, Backup effects, etc.). The game does come off more as an "experience" (like a role-playing game) as opposed to real gamer's game like say Puerto Rico. I think there's room enough in the gaming world for both. The rules are not laid out well (they are fiddly as well) and maybe a better summary could have been done as the company's FAQ is a necessity. Others have remarked that each game seems to have a moment that is remembered (like a good game or comic) and mine had the Hulk failing to solve a last game round headline in Central Park and losing the game for the Avengers to the Fantastic Four. It was a classic comic tragedy.
And speaking as a DC comic lover, I'd love to see a "DC Heroes" game with a similar approach.
Seemed pretty old school to me (AH version). Not a lot to really get my juices flowing as the graphics themselves were so bland. Needs an updating. I like the idea of a space-themed game using a railroad pick up and deliver engine. Sold it (AH edition).
I like the theme. The production values are good. But it doesn't quite grab me the way Verrater did. It isn't as deep and as tactically challenging as Verrater. I'll play it but it feels like a game that's not quite a filler but not quite a main dish.
Rather a fun card game version of baseball. Captures the GM role of team building nicely and the strategy deck building is sort of the coach's role. Then you get to dice it out. Only complaint is that against all other ccg's - too costly.
Good and fast. That's the two words that come to mind with this card game. The game is a nice extension of the Monopoly theme and a solid rummy variant. There's a few different tactics to employ depending on the hand dealt to you. The game allows for some creative use of wild cards as you can reorganize (Chapter 13?) your properties. The two person game loses much of the "bankrupting" that can occur with more players (simply too much money for only two players) but that's a minor gripe. There can be some big swings in fortune but hey, that's in keeping with the Monopoly theme! Since two player games last about 15 minutes, I don't feel bad if I get some poor draws. Nice to see Hasborg can still create a decent game.
Love the theme (brought up Catholic) and the visual presentation is just beautiful. It plays fast and there are subtle layers of strategy. The mechanics far surpass Clue (Cluedo) as you need to strategize before each round as to how you are going to use your 4 turns because you can only do a couple of things per round and then you're called back for Mass. The victory point system is also slick as you can win in this game without deducing the exact culprit but instead make good revelations. A really good time for 3 players with an hour or less.
A terrific, fluid game with different problems on both sides. The block fog of war is used nicely. I love the point- to-point system and the tactical battles are a sub-game that is just as fun as the strategic game. I'd give it a 10 but the map is too small for the number of blocks in the 3rd edition.
This game frustrated me as I liked the topic of exploration and conflict but it didn't seem to quite fit together. The components were very poor. Counters were way to small and hard to manipulate. The map was so-so and the tiles were also poor. Fighting the natives was historical and the search for gold was as it should have been. But it was really old school.
Played a friend's copy and it's a nice, light little wargame. Hasbro tried to spiff it up with sort of glow in the dark pieces which made it look cheap to me. Some interesting tactical choices but little strategy. I'm not a fan of multi-player games in which a player can be elliminated like this one. The game probably works best with four players. It's pretty rough as a three player because two players can pinch the middle guy and it's game over for him. There's sort of a cute "King of the Hill" aspect too with the raised middle section. Overall, better than you'd think but just by a little.
I owned the first season of this game. After many attempts to play it, the scanner failed about every other time to read a card. What to do? I took it outside and applied a hammer to it. It didn't work any better in 100 pieces but I felt a cathartic relief from the experience.
More complicated (or more fiddly) than I would have liked. Rules were pretty bad in the original release but have improved slowly over time. Pretty as she sets up but the campaign game is quite long. Axis & Allies Pacific game is easier to get into and also quite attractive. There's potential for a higher rating with more play and some additional revising of the rules.
This is one of those games that is simply fun to play. A great strategy game? No. A great time with your gaming group? Yes! Great little bits of plastic and wood and a nicely mounted board. This is a very pleasing package. Bravo DOW!
Solid German game. I think the theme is better connected to the mechanics than Puerto Rico. Though I can't ever imagine myself saying "why doesn't someone make a game on buying power plants and the rights to power up cities", this game works and works pretty well if you're into the theme. There's great tension in the bidding process and the ever-changing available power plants. The map boards seem to create interesting dilemmas of position and placement. Overall, the game pieces are deluxe and nicely done with one exception: why the rules aren't in color is beyond me. I do have a creative design critique: why make the different types of wooden goods in strange shapes as non-cubes tend to roll around. I would have been satisfied with just different colored cubes but I'm more of a "functional gamer." I disagree with some reviewers with their belief that it's too mathematical as one can play most of this game without decisions being bogged down in equations. The very end-game (last couple of turns) can get math-heavy but the decisions are few at this point. It is an economic game with a focus on using your cash wisely and that's not going to appeal to everybody. This one should see plenty of play in our gaming group.
Update: Lowering my rating from 8.5 to 6.5. I was wrong as the game is too math heavy for my taste. To play it well, you have to be planning at least a full turn ahead and calculate your money down to the last dollar. It has a run-away leader problem as there's very little you can do (without destroying yourself) to reign someone in if they get lucky in auctions. The auction mechanism can unbalance the game. Players may over pay for what are visible plants only to see a fresh plant pop up late in a turn that gives the loser of earlier auctions a golden opportunity (broken auction mechanism to me). It's also better to place later on the board for starting positions as there's no where to hide without hurting yourself and it's better to respond to player's positions than to try and stake one out. And how many auction games does the world need?
This is a very interesting game that is almost like playing solitaire with a group. The player interactions are very subtle. I'm very challenged at building my plaza. Some sort of piece-space relationship problem. I'm not very good at this game and the bidding mechanic is a bit tired but I'll still play it occasionally.
(Z-Man edition) This is a very good adventure RPG and borders on excellent (just wished it played a wee quicker). I've only played a few of the more popular games (Talisman, Return of the Heroes) and this game places in front of these others on my play list. It forces players to make some tricky choices about where to best spend their time and how to get to the best places ahead of your competitors. Some random thoughts:
Guild abilities may look sort of weak on the surface but this game is about the little choices that make up a character. Yes, you need to level up in order to beat the various Guardians and gather the artifacts but you need to battle through many monsters and get the jump on your competitors. This is where the items and abilities come in. They round out your character and give them the tools to win the little battles while all the time looking to level up for the final larger battles.
The game board looks a little small and cramped to start (compared to say Talisman) but it doesn't take long to realize that you don't move to places all the quickly or easily and the distances are greater than first imagined.
The starting differences of strength and willpower of the various game characters is small. At the start, you are either balanced or stronger in one or the other. But don't let that fool you. It isn't easy to level up on these two important stats so you need to think out a course of action in terms of where to focus your gains. Balanced characters may actually have the hardest time because they are forced to choose a path where the unbalanced characters mostly have the path chosen for them.
The game pieces are of high quality with a mix of cardboard and wood pieces. The cards are small but readable and the quality of material is high. The artwork meshes well with the theme and enhances the overall gameplay.
Overall, I'm really impressed with this game. It has a lot to offer and future expansions will keep this game fresh for years to come.
Pros: plays fairly quickly; simple mechanics; tricky short-term vs. long-term strategies; decent components (though you can't read the buildings' text without picking them up or referring to a cheat sheet).
Cons: so-so theme (Plantation owner???); small player interaction (with some auto-play turns and lots of dependence on other player's role choices); somewhat unforgiving of play mistakes (especially early on). No dice rolling.
Conclusion: it's a successful game because it works as printed. The game does get fairly heavy in the late stages and some players will have brain lock-up (yours truly) over a crucial decision (followed by brain fatigue after the game). It's not a game that I would seek out to play (like in tournaments) but if others clamored to play it, I'd reluctantly join in.
I'm on the bubble here. I think the Mayfair artwork is less than satisfying in this case. Knizia is one of my favorite designers but maybe it's the strong negotiation element that turns me off. I want card play or some more flavorful elements.
I love the overall game but I despise the end chase elements and the horrific payoff table. But the game is just old fashioned fun with an easy going play system and time for players to banter. Choo-choo!
After a couple of plays (Railroad Tycoon), I must say that it's an improvement over Age of Steam (AOS).
Things I like:
* It's faster playing (vs. AOS) with games ending so quickly that it can catch you off guard.The railroad operation cards are a very nice touch adding randomness to the game and lots of tactical goals to take advantage of. More ways to victory versus the AOS system.
* Building a network is more organic and realistic in this game with much, much less of the tricky, spiral track building found in a successful AOS victory.
* While the economics aren't painful like AOS, there's a subtle importance of being thrifty and wise with expenditures.
* Auctions are not quite the ugly, thrashing battles of AOS but are generally more dignified with an occasional battle very early in the game over geographic position or over a very important railroad card.
Now things I don't like:
* Okay let me get it out - the game board is RIDICULOUS in its size. It's simply not designed with the game players in mind. It's more like a model railroader decided to create a map and pieces. The map should be 30-40% smaller for true competitive play and tournament play. Important railroad operation cards can be a long distance from 1 or more players. Some people talk about their place at the table actually determining where they will build because it's easier to see what's in front of you and they're lazy. I understand that point.
* Also, I don't like the way the victory point track was created. It's very difficult to keep the locos where they should be on the track and the printing of VP's and income is just too small. The older I get, the more this last point is important.
* The rules are vague in a couple of important places and a set of revised rules or official FAQ is something truly needed.
* Three player game balance is very tricky. Two players is straight forward and four players is probably the sweet spot. Five and Six player games probably make for a longer more unruly game but that wouldn't effect play balance. It might have been nice if specific scenarios had been created for 2 and 3 player games (beyond initial cube distribution and number of empty city markers). Scenarios that take out geographic portions of the board (along with certain cards) and maybe give players a specific Tycoon card as a goal.
Overall, I like the game as railroad games go. Is it my favorite? Not sure. I really, really like Ticket to Ride/Marklin Edition. But more RRT plays may change my mind as to my favorite... or not.
This is a great little card bluffing game. The strategies are subtle. Memory is an important asset here. It isn't "all luck" as some might think. If you develop a playing pattern (like bad players sometimes do in a Poker game) you'll be hammered. And personally, I think Winning Moves made the classiest edition.
It's better than I thought it might be. But I've played many a stat baseball game and this isn't the best. But it is a nice overall package and I'm glad somebody is still trying to make this type of game.
Decent RPG boardgame with one of the worst rulebooks ever written (thank gawd for fans). More player interaction and possibly more modern game mechanics in certain places would improve it. But that said, the game works and has its moments. A strong RPG group would probably truly enjoy it.
I don't get all the hype. Makes me feel like a mechanical rat in a maze. I don't like games where players can die early and have to watch the other players finish the game. Someone else here says it well, "too long and too light." Plenty of other games I'd play before this one.
Bought it on an auction (almost new) as I generally love Columbia's block games. But I just didn't get the rules to this game nor the feel of it (honestly, I'm not a WW2 desert war fan though I typically like mech). Sold it.
It's currently THE adventure/rpg game system available. It plays fairly smoothly (though the battle system seems a bit awkward). The graphics are very good. The flavor text on the cards is good. The components are of a high quality (cool "paint-able" plastic figures). There are expansions galore to make the game feel a little different from play to play. And the bonus is that the main game actually plays pretty well as a solo experience.
The only real downside is the play time but there are plenty of official optional rules (and unofficial ones) that will speed up play. I'd never, ever play this game with more than 4 players as the game length would be intolerable. Though with 3 or less, this is a really good adventure game system.
This is an interesting expansion that I enjoy. Very different from the main game and almost a new game. The geography is key and makes for some tricky movement decisions. On top of that, you need to choose "day" or "night" movement and that has a bearing on how difficult things may become. There's a quest system that isn't real strong (mainly just traveling to places) but it challenges the player given geography and conditions. No Runebound fan worth his/her salt would be without it.
I've played a few brief FTF games and several games in a Java based version and I like it. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that I like it far more than Puerto Rico (it plays faster with a more streamlined sequence of play). Some tough choices have to be made (fewer than in PR) and the timing of role choices is crucial. Bravo!
It's a decent family game but the original two player rules didn't work. Very beautiful when setup and some mild strategy. Goofy point system which GMT didn't help by not providing enough money for payouts.
Honestly, it's a game that is fun and if you like amusement parks, a nicely implemented theme. Card art is fun (on the silly side). There's some layers of strategy and keeping up with the Jones going on here. My gaming friends have enjoyed it quite a bit.
This is an interesting addition as it can speed up game play. The tricky part is to get these cards dispersed into the the large play deck. Careful shuffling needs to happen because if you get too many of these together, the game suffers.
For the price (usually found under $5) it is well worth it. A quick two player game with some nice tactical choices. And cute pewter pieces. Try the variant with a fixed 8 card hand limit. Plays even better.
The first strategic wargame that I ever purchased (amazing that I ever went back to the hobby). It was so complicated that I never truly finished a single game. It had an insane amount of fiddly bookeeping. So it sat on a card table and was worked on for months in a solitaire fashion. I recall that I ended up trading it to someone for some other game that I now don't remember. I was deep into Star Trek and Star Wars when I bumped into this one. Oh the pain!
Fun (sometimes ruthless) game play are the hallmarks of this good filler game. Actually an excellent 3 player game. Card graphics are nice though inaccurate names define some of the cards. The game plays quickly and requires some nice little tactical decisions.
It's a baseball simulation game - without dice (though there is dice probability worked into the Fast Action Cards). It's an interesting idea but it didn't really grab me for a full season replay game. But it's fun as a one off game or series play. Also, let's face it, it's a rather cheap implementation by the old Avalon Hill and not particularly attractive (like say PtP, APBA or even Strat). The Statis Pro torch has been picked up by homebrew gamers (using available AH card formulas) and they've created some better looking cards than the originals. I ended up selling my one season package ('89 or '90?) and picking up the Great Teams edition to replace it. Maybe I shouldn't have sold it as it now feels like a mini hole in my baseball game collection.
Classic dice and charts baseball game. I played many games until I started playing the computer version which is great (and better for season replays). It's a religion as much as a game. Catholic or Protestant? APBA or Strat? I probably like APBA a bit better as a system with those magical numbers and I prefer the more standard card size. But Strat-O-Matic *feels* like baseball when you play a single game and there's much less chart referencing than either APBA or Statis Pro.
It's even better than they say it is. The theme is simply an overlay to a great nail-biting poker/boardgame. I can't play it all that well but it's engaging every time I play it. So many wonderful and difficult choices to make...
I had never played Talisman until this new (Black Industries) 4th edition. Read many things about it and was familiar with the basics of game play.
Pros: They did a beautiful job with the overall graphics. The board is attractive and a nice size plus lots of helpful text (when correct- more later). The 2-D character pieces are also very nice and I don't really mind them over 3-D plastic pieces (especially if not painted). The cards have nice images and readable text. The game play is pretty much what you'd expect from a game designed originally in the early 80's. There's definitely some player tension and I probably would have seen more tension had we all had some previous hands-on experience with the game.
Cons: Errors? Yes, lots of errors. People are already pointing out incorrect character card text (Prophetess). There is at least one board printing error and possibly more depending on the ruling on the Village and City spaces. The rulebook is ill conceived so much so that it's hard to find answers to obvious questions. Yes, the little plastic pieces used to record Strength, Craft, and Life were also ill conceived. I'd probably take a paint pen to them and color the number so that it stood out at the very least. The cards (and box) are not "Euro-Quality" and Chinese printing (though probably cheaper) doesn't reach that same quality level. Also, I would have expected a few more variant/optional rules included as the game has gone through several editions with lots of tweaks.
Overall, the game still has a charm to it that is undeniable. Fixing some of the errors is an obvious first step. And I think a few advanced rules could kick the strategy quotient up a bit without doing any damage to the core game.
As I now have the new revised 4th edition by FFG and played a session, I've upped my overall rating. Mainly because of the following:
* They cleaned up the board, rules, and card language to make it more consistent. There's very few errors (only spotted one so far).
* I love the plastic minis as they lend a much nicer look to the game. I look forward to painting them.
* I like the little cones for the craft, strength, and life tokens. Much easier to pick up and count.
* I think the Fate tokens are a very good addition to the system. This addition helps to balance some of the bad luck that players sometimes get in spades.
The game can still run long but it is a fun adventure game experience. This is a true board game classic.
Just not my cup of religious strife. It was an early game in the whole GMT card-driven gaming system (actually all descendants of the brilliant "We the People" game system by Mark Herman). Sorry God. I sold it.
There's a few different routes to victory. I like that you can throw in some defensive play as well as the typical offensive play in such games. Light on player interaction and nothing particularly new about the game system but it's delivered in a very appealing package by Days of Wonder. And I love a pleasing train theme.
Finally a true "gamer's game" in the T2R series. The game has a marvelous gaming tension to it that is a hallmark of great games. Completing tickets are tricky because the predominant north-south lines have a lot of competition. And completing the most tickets is a very important (not to be overlooked) 10 point bonus. But that's one layer of the cake. A second layer is the passenger system which forces players into a game of chicken over "when" to make those points. Do you try to take the larger points quickly before your lines are more fully developed? Or do you wait until mid to late game when you can run a passenger over many, many cities but with lower payouts per city? The game offers many roads to victory. And the frosting (to complete the cake analogy) is the beautiful card artwork, pieces, and game board. Train hobbyists will love to look at the cards nearly as much as gamers will enjoy playing the game. Best game I've played in a looooong time. (Update 8-2-06: Moved rating up .5 after yet another terrific game.)
After a couple of plays, I think I like it even a bit more than the Swiss expansion. There's no unbalanced country-to-country ticket situation to encounter. Having ferries and tunnels adds some interesting play tactics. Dangling that massive 9 space route out there as a prize can alter people's strategy (though I completed it in my first game AND lost). The game art is very cute with the winter theme. Overall, a real winner for the 2-3 player crowd.
First of all, how the heck does someone forget to put a scoring chart on the map or on a card?! All I had on hand was the Europe edition and that scoring chart didn't include scoring for a "5" train route (and why is it 10 and not 11 points?). Second, why force people (when playing 2 player games) to play a certain style in order to balance out the ticket draws?! A bit disappointed on the overall execution of this expansion. It's playable but with adjustments... and a bloody scoring chart.
*UPDATE* I have the replacement cards and they are definitely an improvement. And having real, printed score cards are a big plus. I think some of the problems with the country ticket draws in 2-player games (3-player works fine) can be overcome with a house rule. Either remove duplicate country-to-country tickets or don't allow a player to score max points on a second country-to-country ticket (they need to choose a different country connection). I'm going to up my score for improving the quality of the game. (7.1 to 7.6).
My wife and I play this one. Works quite well for two players. Nice, fast, friendly piece laying, race game with a train theme. Also, a nice lunch game with the guys. Plays well with 3 and 4 players but I'd be hesitant to play it with more as it would simply end to quickly and with little input on strategy.
Wish I had read this BGG entry before buying it as it's a remake of "Clash of the Lightsabers" and an inferior one. No pewter figures and let's face it - Star Wars is much cooler than Transformers. But if you missed the original game, it's worth buying as it's a good two-player card game. Perfect for a play or two during a work lunch.
Played solitaire and I like it. It models a typical RPG game quite well though on a smaller scale. But don't let the fewer board tiles (in comparison to Return of the Heroes) fool you because this game forces you to make more difficult path decisions. The characters are different and will take different paths to level up. The game could get a little stale after multiple plays but then you just merge it into ROTH and you're back in business.
There's no reason this game couldn't be played by 3 players. Things I'd do to modify the game a bit for 3 players:
* Hand out the Magic Weapon Quests at the beginning. Halfling gets Bow of Perfect Aim Quest; Paladin gets The Lyre Quest; Orc gets the Axe of Bragg Quest.
* The world is round and you can move from top to bottom or from right to left by exiting the board and re-entering at the exact opposite compass point.
This is a very fun, not too demanding stock and tile placement game. The pace of the game is moderate and the choices are only somwhat difficult. Plenty of randomness to offset the brainiacs among us. Very attractive setup.
I like it. I really like it. Much to my surprise AH did this right. Interesting tactical decisions and opportunities to block your opponents or at least make them pay a little bit more for something. Nice play length for a 4 player game. Looks good though they could have included some zip bags for all the little pieces. Would love to play a 5 player game. But hey, where's the showgirls?!
Quick and tension filled. It's a "gamer's game" and not a social game. I favor it over Age of Steam because it's quicker with similar difficult economics but is overall more forgiving. Plus, I like the goods growth mechanism better than the one in AoS and there's Action cards to help the less fortunate players.
The game grows on you after several plays. There's actually a bit of strategy mixed into a mostly luck driven game. Not crazy about the computer artwork and doing any sort of math. Use the bid and bank card playaids.
This is a very tense and demanding game. It's not light-hearted but a true gamer's game. Though it's about the 30 Year's War, the heart of it is actually a resources management game so battles take a backseat. Overall, it's a well thought out and balanced game.
This is a very good cross between a Euro and a American game. It's got nice graphics but with some shooting and cattle rustling. The worst thing about the game is the scoring system and the lack of a good score sheet.
To be honest, I'd say there's very little *zing* in the game (pretty cards for the most part with some humor on a few). But it plays out rather ho-humly with building resources (slowly with only one played per turn) and attacking with allies and flinging abilities about. Some games can be rather lopsided depending on when cards come out of your deck (another typical CCG problem). The game also has the often seen CCG problem of having too many special terms on their cards. You'll need to strongly refer to the rulebook for at least the first half dozen plays (terms like Ferocity, Protector, Ongoing, Elusive, Berserking, etc.). Maybe a sequence of play card with some defined terms on the reverse (in each stater box) would be a useful addition. Then there's cards that have that what-the-frack text which makes both players freeze up and grinds the game to a halt.
And so on and so forth. I firmly believe that a player's level of enjoyment with this game will rise exponentially with how much of a *jones* they get from the WOW world. Others need not apply (or go pick up some cheap Magic cards on ebay from some poor sap going through a divorce or who's oldest child is headed off to college).
At first I thought it was a decent game. It's very fast playing and not terribly complex (both good things in my book). But as I played it some more, I decided that it was basically unbalanced. The larger the game got (more and more expansions to make more and more money), the more it became unplayable. And it has the pathetic CCG curse in which the more money you spend, the better your deck will be.
Best way to play the game (if you must) is with some deck limitations stated before deck building like one or more of the following:
*Play with the core game and maybe the first expansion cards only. *Deem certain weapons illegal. *Set a maximum number of transports and star fighters allowed in a deck. *Allow no rare cards in a deck.
By setting a few parameters in the deck building, you can have a somewhat enjoyable, definitely more balanced (i.e. competitive) game.
Update 12/16/08: I threw the cards away. Since I no longer clip cards to the spokes of my bike, they serve no purpose on this earth.