Harder to play than the other games in the "10-days series" because each state appears only once in the deck (whereas, 10d-Asia, 10d-Europe & 10d-Africa have duplications of country tiles). Kids & adults can enjoy this one together.
More strategic than 6 Nimmt!, but way too long with 1 round per player. There's a lot of downtime due to individual turns compared to 6 Nimmt's simultaneous card selection. Also, the game just isn't much fun because there are too few choices each turn (i.e. too few real decisions)... you either have good cards or you don't.
A certain amount of group-think is needed because if you have even one player who is not trying to avoid giving bull bonus cards to other players, it can tilt the outcome of the game.
Pretty good game. The bridge to Cuba that gets destroyed by a hurricane is a nice touch. As with most 18XX games, I wish it didn't take so long to play. I was a bit annoyed that some tiles cannot be upgraded, but I think this is a standard feature of 18XX. This version is supposed to be one of the shortest versions, but it felt like it took forever.
Very accessible game. Doesn't offer a lot for strategy, but it works well with non-gamers. Too chaotic for my tastes. Check out Hornochsen or Tanz der Hornochsen for more strategic versions of this game.
Finally tried the PROFI variant after 24 plays of base game. It's an interesting variant. At times it is very chaotic, but with the TACTIC variant used at the same time it wasn't too bad. Most chaotic point is when someone undercuts you by a small margin, taking "your spot", and then your card gets sent somewhere totally unexpected.
A fun game of card drafting and interacting with your "right and left" neighbors (ala Scream Machine). The fact that it holds 7p and plays fairly fast (45 min) is great too!!
UPDATE: A good (not great) light-weight game that is almost entirely based on card-drafting (others in the genre are Notre Dame & Fairy Tale). I would argue that it is not multiplayer solitaire because you can impact almost anyone at the table by denying them a card (e.g., burying it to build your Wonder)... but the game does feel a bit solitaire-ish since you can only have significant interactions with your immediate (left + right) neighbors. I think the game would benefit from some kind of central competition like the national customers in the game Scream Machine (which has the same immediate neighbor interaction mechanic)... and it wouldn't surprise me if an expansion is in the works that fills this gap (perhaps a gladiator showdown or some kind of commerce goal cards?).
The fact that it holds 7 and plays fast is a big plus because it is a good game for bridging gaps during game days/nights when you are waiting for more people to arrive.
UPDATE #2: still my favorite card drafting game so far, but it's feeling more solitaire-ish than I would like.
It's a weird, rummy-like game that you can be played at multiple levels of complexity/difficulty (the most basic of which apparently isn't a fun game according to my friend). We did a 2p medium difficulty/complexity game, and it was okay but felt a like it had a bit too much "take that" for me. My impressions are somewhat skewed due to inexperience with the system/mechanics and not-so-great card draws compared to my opponent. It's odd and interesting enough that I'd like to play again to see if there's a rich and satisfying rummy-like game hiding behind the complexity and quirkiness.
Others say: 2012. 2-3p with 4p fan-created/partnership rules. Set collection meets MtG. 3 different levels of play... 1st is mostly set coll with a twist. 2nd and 3rd levels add special abilities. Some say it's an over-complicated set collection game, and I guess I would have to agree.
"Auction" - 1 play. Pretty good game with dual purpose cards (fairly innovative since this is c.1963)... the cards are used as money in addition to being used to try to make the best poker hand. The weird thing is that you must bid with poker hands in order to buy more cards to try to make a better poker hand. Two things that I didn't like... FIRST, if you don't get at least a pair in your initial deal of 10 cards, you will likely have a bad round... SECOND, I didn't like adding a new card at the start of each person's turn because it seemed like cards were getting buried too fast. ** Only takes 2 decks of playing cards to play, and it holds up to 7 players! **
Great game. Has stood the test of time. It ought to be on every department store shelf (instead of Monopoly). CAUTION: New players need to understand the few ways to make money or they will get crushed and dislike the game.
Cute and the theme fits with gameplay. I have only played once (and I was very tired)... but this game felt like work instead of fun. You need to time the completion of your jobs carefully, and it's very important to think about how the completed orders will get stacked and put in the file drawers (scoring)... when you screw up, your job will score fewer points. Until I play again when I'm less tired, I'll give the game a rating of 6 out of 10.
Big on tactics, small on strategy. Good for kids and casual gamers. Luck-heavy (dice & cards). Definitely has "take that" elements. The cards are quite powerful, but I didn't feel that any individual card was "too" powerful. The 2-player game has reduced competition (about 70% of the hotels were just one unit big), and I would like to play again with more players (or doubling the number of hotel units from 20 to 40 for the 2-player game). If you can find the game for a few dollars, it's a good deal. I mainly bought mine to expand Can't Stop to 8-players, but this game will remain in my collection as lighter fare for casual, kid-friendly gaming.
3 plays, Fun game of economics and exploration. Blends euro-game mechanics and a light (area control) wargame. Multiple paths to victory. Good balance of luck, tactics & strategy. Some buildings are a bit too powerful and slightly unbalanced, but I hear that there is a more balanced set posted here on BGG. Moderate learning curve since you really need knowledge of the building tiles to do well. Probably best with 3-4p and too chaotic with 5-6p. Nice tension over discovery/exploration since conquering a map region puts the trade goods token up for grabs on the next turn... so hopefully you planned ahead and have a missionary to snatch it up. ** UPDATE: after play 3, it feels like this game takes a bit too long to play, but it's probably just my slow turns and the fact that all of my games have included at least 1 newbie.
** UPDATE 2014: I don't like the luck of the colony points or the range (4-7 pts); it should be tighter or balanced with money (i.e., a low points colony shouldn't also have low money). The game encourages you to conquer regions by attacking with the strength of 6 guys to avoid losses, but then it is a crap shoot whether you get as many points as your opponent who is attacking a different region.
Okay game. It's less cut-throat with 4 players. Games can get very harsh with 5 and 6 players. After 3 full games, the debt-building first half of the game doesn't seem as terrible. I agree that often players get to the end and wish they had bumped up their speed ("links") more. IMO - game is a brain-burner & isn't very forgiving of mistakes.
The dual purpose of cubes in AoS:Korea makes for some tasty decisions. Cities do not have a color/demand... instead, they want the same colors of cubes that they currently hold, and no cubes on a city means that it is dead (no demand). Theoretically, it's probably best to keep poaching from shared cities and delivering cubes to your own "back 40" (saving the cubes in the "back 40" for later) to preserve your viability by hurting opponents... but sometimes this approach unclogs the path for big deliveries by your opponents.
MY GENERAL FEELING ABOUT THE SERIES: I'm not fond of AoS (particularly the excessive debt & income reduction and the player elimination thru bankruptcy), but I find myself wanting to get better at AoS so I guess that that is a mark of a good game. My distaste for AoS also stems from the ultra-competitive nature of poaching cubes... and the irony of making inefficient routes to go through extra towns and cities to gain more income. I know that the limited track types makes building into cities more strategic, but I still find it pretty annoying.
1st game was rough. Learning curve is very large since there are ~200 different cards in the game, and it's hard to figure out how things are inter-connected. It's a game of resource management and hand management. Lots of luck in the occupation and minor improvment cards that you are dealt at the beginning... but these are the only cards that you get for the entire game so you must use them wisely (so there's a good bit of strategy). It's neat to know the full potential of your "clan" instead of drawing cards during the game. I want to play again soon to fix some 1st game strategy mistakes.
Version 1.3 (unplayed) -- Looks like many of my complaints about v.1.2 have been fixed.
Version 1.2 (obsolete) -- Rather slow due to complexity. Surprisingly, there are many choices but few viable strategies. The game is an interesting puzzle, however, it is unbalanced for 2 players (the player with the better roll for starting resources (reed for making rooms or wood for making pastures) usually wins by being more likely to get points for having the majority of something (ex. most sheep). Aside from competing for majorities, the game has almost no player interaction (like Yahtzee). I like Yahtzee-esque games, but I would prefer to have everyone share the results of a single roll of the 12 dice (similar to the dice mechanic in Yspahan). This would potentially speed up gameplay and make the game feel more like Agricola.
So far I like this game as much as it's predecessor (Union Pacific). The new incentive for laying stocks (money to buy routes) is a good mechanic, and I like the fact that it's harder to obtain Air Abacus stock... in our games so far most players have waited to get involved in AA until late in the game because there were so many other valuable things to be doing instead. The extended payouts (to players in 3rd, 4th and sometimes 5th place in a stock) are also a nice change... as is the ability to trade in your face-up stocks for AA stock since you often end up with a few duds by the end of the game.
An excellent dice-rolling, luck-pushing game of level building that has just the right mix of player interaction and solitaire elements. First, you enhance your factory (by boosting the number and types of dice that you can roll), and then you try to grab the most victory points.
Weird game. Reminiscent of Bazaar since you trade cubes to get cubes of a different color (plus some points). More complicated than Bazaar. Suffers from both too much control (creation of recipes) and too little control (rapid pace that cubes are used and discarded back in the box).
Great for diehard & casual gamers alike. Alhambra does not have dice or action cards, but there's enough luck and short-term strategy in the tiles (buildings) & cards (money). Player interaction in Alhambra consists of observing what other players are collecting, building, etc. and trying to throw a monkey wrench in their plans and/or helping your own position. This can lead to tough decisions, but the game tends to move quite quickly. It's fun to watch players walling off areas to score wall points and then trying to figure out how to build more buildings. The 2-player option for Alhambra is decent, and my casual gamer friends love the game. ** UPDATE 2008 ** The game suffers a bit with 5-6 players since there are fewer tiles and turns per player and luck plays a bigger role. I think over-paying is a much more viable tactic with 5-6 players (as opposed to only buying with exact money and getting a rainbow with bad walls).
Caravans -- just okay. The cards give you "free money", but they lack flexibility so they are mostly tactical (i.e. you buy them when you need 1 or 2 in a money in order to buy, then you hope that that particular color of caravan (money) proves to be useful during the rest of the game).
Power of the Sultan -- okay and maybe good. The cards allow you first dibs on a particular color building and this can be very powerful, but the fact that all of them are cost '7' seems a bit arbitrary and annoying... perhaps the designer chose '7' since it's the approximate mid-point of tile values. The randomness of changing the building color for these cards is probably a turn-off for some people. This variant adds a bit of certainty (strategy) but plenty of randomness (tactics) as well.
Art of the Moorish -- unplayed New Scoring Method -- unplayed
Diamonds = pretty good. it's really nice to have "wild" money that will work on any color currency, even though diamonds cannot be combined with other currency. it's hard to decide when to spend the powerful diamond cards... unless you are getting a tile that guarantees majority.
City Gates = mostly harmless. doesn't change the game that much. now it's not as bad to surround your alhambra with walls since you could build a gate in the wall to get out.
Characters = okay but often situational and therefore luck heavy. although they are sold as an auction, it might be too much to ask one person to "take one for the team" in order to keep a character card from the leader.
Change/Coins = good variant, makes over-paying a little less bad.
Traveling Merchant = okay bonus point variant but luck heavy. The reserve board can be quite useful in this variant. These merchant points are a big deal, like wall points, because they are scored during each of the 3 scoring rounds. Rules aren't clear, but we played that you cannot refill the meeples on your market disc until the end of your turn. Some colors of meeples run out fast since there are only 7 meeples of each color and each player always holds 3 unused meeples on his/her disc in addition to any meeples that successfully entered the Alhambras.
I haven't played the other 2 variants in this set.
Architect Cards = pretty good. I always have a few places that I'd like to swap tiles one-for-one, and these architect cards let me do it for free... well, almost free.
Bazaars = okay. Too much time is spent trying to figure out how to fit these darned open squares into your Alhambra to maximize the points. The payouts can be significant, though... so don't overlook these but don't get so caught up in them that you ignore the simple majorities game that is basic Alhambra.
Vizier = pretty good, but it's annoying to have to go around the table every turn to ask if players want to use their vizier.
Money conversion cards = good. just a slight manipulation, but adds some versatility and strategy for those that complain about the luck of having the right money cards at the right time.
Bonus cards = okay. kind of breaks the tight majorities game where you know when you need to pull the trigger and overpay to guarantee 1st/2nd place.
Worker huts = okay. breaks the tight majorities of the base game and slows down the game considerably with contemplative players. the huts give you bonus buildings of their designated color (when played properly).
OTHERS SAY: Larry = The first expansion makes Alhambra a better game, especially the Huts tiles. Huts increase the strategy for the game overall and alleviates some bad luck factors. I thought the original was just simply okay but the Huts make it more competitive for 5-6 players. David Fair = Likes the money exchange cards. Tends to reduce some of the luck of the money & tile draws.
Very abstract and brain-burning for a dice game. I think it feels this way as a result of being overloaded with things that you could do... and trying to figure out what will give you a small edge over your opponents in this tug-of-war, area control game.
As for strategies... I'm not sure if sacrificing a ship on the terraforming orbital is worthwhile compared to keeping all of your ships (dice) and making colonies via the other 2 methods that don't consume a ship.
Mostly harmless game of route-building and set collection. Easy rules and gameplay make it a good choice for families and casual gamers. Lots of luck in the event cards (and luck in where your opponents decide to play huts), thus it is a game of tactics (not strategy). Scores are very tight so it is important to claim your "one of each specimen" bonus tile early to get more points than your opponents. Later in the game, it becomes cost prohibitive to try to reach your secret locations... especially with 4 players (the max).
======= OTHERS SAY... Set collection, route-building, luck-heavy, blind bidding, tight money, better parts of TTR. Powergrid boiled down with no tension. You know where you need to play, it's obvious. Each turn an event card is drawn, and many of them can mess up your plans, so it can be a bit frustrating. Could be better if it had expansions such as... (1) larger deck of Secret Mission cards that would avoid experienced players from memorizing the missions, (2) multiple sets of Event Cards could be flavored to give it more variety (with different sets, players could choose which set to play with or even which combo of events to play with), and (3) expansion boards or modular pieces that make up a board could be fantastic.
It's an interesting efficiency, race and set collection game. The novel thing is that the actions you can take and the strength/power for the actions is determined by a cube tower (randomized). There is some predictability since cube fairly readily move through the tower so you usually start each phase with 7 possible cubes (action points) for each phase. I enjoy the tension of the race to collect the various scoring items and multipliers (i.e., port/town spaces on the map, goods tiles and multiplier tiles). The building tile placement (tetris pieces) add to player interaction since you can cut off other players and cover over portal/towns, but simultaneously you're limiting your scoring multiplier potential and bringing the island closer to completion which will cause island scoring, so there are trade-offs and turn as angst. The special ability tiles give you methods to bend the rules and mitigate some of the luck from the cube tower. Overall, it's my favorite game with a cube tower, but I'm not sure it will get played frequently.
A forgettable card-drafting and tile (card) placement game. It's largely multiplayer solitaire aside from trying to avoid passing good cards to your neighbor and competing over the (optional) objective cards. The game play is similar to 7 Wonders, but the cards and font are smaller and hard to read at a distance. I'm willing to try AtS again, but 7 Wonders feels more engaging and fun to me.
Okay auction game. At first, I wasn't a big fan, but this game has many interesting mechanics that grew on me. Examples: the bidders get bumped around the board & if players don't give Amun-Re enough, it will be a bad crop year. STRATEGY NOTE: focus on scoring-related power cards (early) and making sets of pyramids to get VPs, don't get caught up in an arms race for most pyraminds on the east/west side of river.
Too abstract for my liking. Learning curve is pretty steep... so don't expect to win your first game. Much like Pizarro & Co., there are only a limited number of players that can advance on some of the technology "tracks" (e.g. banking or temples). Also, I was disappointed that the caravan moves so rapidly... and one player (stuck with a zero level camel) cannot afford to move the caravan much so he's at the mercy of the other players. ** Note for future plays: the resource discs are pretty scarce so the farming action is quite valuable, and banking on it's own is not a viable strategy since money doesn't buy you much if the good cards have been taken already.
A very dynamic game that seems somewhat broken. The large point swings (15-20 VP) from finding suspects guilty/innocent overshadow the rest of the game. You can spend time (actions) to advance your character's storyline, to move and plant evidence on suspects, to build puzzle pieces that might provide direct VPs or VP-modifiers and to play cards that directly harm another player. The balance of good actions and bad actions is well done; after playing a card that is really good for yourself, you'll need to play bad cards on opponents before you can play another good card on yourself. The main problem with the game is that it's really tough to do well if you don't earn points with your secret suspects... and it's not easy to ensure that your suspect will finish the way that you want him/her to. It seems dumb that the evidence planting is done in secret when you have almost zero incentive to play evidence (either positive or negative) on anyone other than your 2 secret suspects. Collecting guaranteed points and largely ignoring the evidence-planting is a sure fire way to lose the game... so I don't think there are multiple paths to victory... I think you must stay involved in the evidence planting to win but it's all just a crapshoot of who gets the best numbers to plant at that point.
Average dexterity game, very nice wooden pieces. Too luck-heavy for my taste... the die roll can be really good (ex. make another person play your animal) or really bad (ex. you must place 2 animals ontop of the stack). There are very few opportunities to try to mitigate the luck. My clammy & unsteady hands put me at a disadvantage too.
Filler game. The primary game mechanic is very similar to Medici and somewhat similar to Coloretto. Not good for 3 players since you need a bunch of players to absorb the colors that nobody wants. Feels unfinished with 3 players... imagine Coloretto with the same 7-10 colors of cards but only 3 rounds of collecting cards... naturally, luck prevails, and you're probably gonna get stuck with one of each color and few points.
4 plays. The race aspect of the game forces players to keep a close watch on what other players are doing. Resource system is more forgiving than Settlers. Good non-confrontational game of city building, resource mgt. & exploration. Basically, I don't believe that there is a lack of player interaction... there's plenty of thought that goes into trying to edge out other players for public buildings and guessing which exploration tiles a person has left behind.
Adds legs to basic Anno 1503... but makes the game significantly longer. It is still a race to achieve 3 victory conditions; however, some conditions were dropped and some new ones were added. Furthermore, you must achieve 1 of 3 original game conditions and 2 of 3 new (expansion) conditions.
There is more luck in the expansion because of the aristocrat cards, pirate cards and dice battles with pirates... but (for me) it adds enough variety and tough choices to make up for being luck heavy.
As with most Catan series games, the players are at the mercy of the dice (luck). Anno 1701:TBG is an interesting but lengthy game that is a cross between Seafarers and Anno 1503. There is plenty of boat movement and exploration. Overall, I like it. I just wish the game didn't drag on for so long in addition to the extra length from the Settlers-style leader bashing.
My new favorite abstract. As a bonus, it includes pick-up-and-deliver which is one of my favorite mechanics. I love the turn angst since you must cover hexes on your ant hill as you build up or collect food tokens. Unfortunately, there are some component issues--the board is too busy (making it hard to find things) and two of the four player colors are natural (one has a VERY light coating of brown wood stain, but the two colors are VERY difficult to tell apart, especially in poor light conditions).
Too long & too much effort for my taste. The learning curve is pretty steep, and there is likely a scripted approach for success (at least at the start). Skip the storage building... instead build a cathedral very early and choose the patron saint that lets you store unlimited goods (you don't even need a worker in the cathedral for unlimited storage!). I think this game has more chits than any other game that I have ever played.
The name should be annoying island. It's an abstract that sounds boring just while reading the rules. If you spend most of the game collecting food chips and you always keep some food chips available to boost your fighting ability, you will probably do well. I'd rather play a better game.
A subjective game in which you can easily get hosed by the luck of the draw. Since I hate subjective games (especially those where people try to be funny with their choices), this game is a special form of *torture* for me. The winning tactic is to play to the whim of each judge (i.e. be sure to play with people you know well, and hope you get cards they will like). Note: I also dislike games that you must play with people that you know well.
A convoluted and chaotic tile-laying game that feels more like work than fun. It feels like a more strategic version of Metro or Tsuro. There are hefty restrictions on the type of tile (if any) you can play. Depending on what your opponents do, the game can be very chaotic, but you still need to think several moves ahead to keep your options open and to try to stay out of your own way in addition to competing with your opponents (especially at the start). Player pawns move and build tiles on the center of the board, and in order to build tiles, these prawns must be able to "see" one of the master builder figures (which each representing a different type of tile) that parade clockwise around the perimeter of the board. Having only one matter builder in sight can be detrimental since you're forced to build that tile, even if it's a bad tile for you.
A silly social-deduction game that is similar to Werewolf. Players have hidden roles and must determine the roles of other players through table-talk. There is always some bluffing since revealing your identity is dangerous. Usually, the same questions are asked and same answers/bluffs are given until someone gets tired of the nonsense and makes a semi-random guess. Points are awarded (randomly) to the members of the winning team, and the process is repeated--ad nauseum--until someone gets to 10 points. I just don't like these social deduction games... I find them to be annoying and a waste of my time.
2 plays. I agree with the following comments from other users (1) luck of the draw can be significant and (2) animal card placement rules are somewhat complex and casual/non-gamers might have trouble with these rules (player aids are absolutely necessary).
Okay game. Fairly abstract & brain burning... but there's enough going on that you don't notice the abstract-ness. Very much a "waiting game" with everyone trying to avoid setting up a big score for the opposition. Not a game that would hit my table often... especially since my wife hates starting on a wide open board (ex. Mexica & Torres)... and I dislike "waiting games" as described above.
Long, but fun. Best played with someone that knows the game well. The monster movement is funny... using arrows on the chits... often the monsters circle around buildings. Wouldn't mind having a copy of this 1987 classic since I enjoy the new version.
Definitely enjoyable. Dripping with theme. I would agree that there are better co-operative games out there, but the atmosphere of this game just sucks you in. With more than 4 players, there can be a lot of down-time... also there are lots of little rules so it's best played with someone familiar with the rules. **UPDATE** There is a VERY skewed distribution of gate openings & clue token appearances. This makes me feel that the base game is pretty scripted (i.e. seal the most active gates, then slowly win the game). I'm anxious to try the Dunwich Horror expansion... which sounds like it will fix this super strategy. If you want a tougher game with the basic set, i would suggest playing the Hastur scenario (which makes it harder to seal gates). Perhaps random die rolls to determine gate & clue appearances would make the game feel less scripted.
Doesn't add a lot to the game other than new Encounters (Arkham & Outer World), Mythos cards, some spells & museum item cards. The museum item cards are tough to obtain (only from encounters), and they are weird... but some work like Elder signs which is cool. The new monster encounters that involve monsters "surprising" characters can be a pain (you cannot evade until surviving one round of combat with the monster).
Fixes some of the things that bugged me about the original. First and foremost, the "Gate Burst" mythos cards add some uncertainty to sealed gates... without these, you can study the gate distribution of the mythos deck, seal the most frequent gates, and usually win. Second, the injury & madness cards add to the theme and provide a great alternative to losing half of your items and wasting a turn to heal.
This is my 2nd favorite big box expansion (after Dunwich) because travel to the new map is almost always going to be necessary during the game. The Deep One Uprising mechanic (similar to Dunwich) and "marshal law" rule add a lot of tension (and force players to travel to Innsmouth) because nobody wants the Ancient One to awaken early. Much of Innsmouth has wacky movement rules but I'm glad that gates can open there so you probably need to travel there. At some point I need to try the personal stories.
Fairly simple hand management game. Luck heavy from 2 card decks and die rolls. The board movement feels too linear... there is only one parallel path so everyone is collecting almost the exact same cards in the same order (offset by a turn or two). Okay for families and casual gamers, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Reasonable with 4p; could be chaotic with 5-6p.
Just another lack-luster deck building game. Players buy or capture/kill cards from a 5-card tableau in order to collect VP's or better cards for their personal decks. When one card is taken (bought or banished), it is immediately replaced with a random card from the tableau draw deck. The game is full of boom and bust... either you have what you need to acquire cards or you don't (and cannot do much on your turn). It's an okay way to pass the time periodically, but I don't need to own it and probably won't suggest to play it. The expansions (some of which stand alone) add a bit of variety so I'd prefer to play with them.
** 2014 update: The more I play it, the less I like the base set. When the standard number of VPs are used, the game ends too quickly... usually just as you dilute the start cards enough that the deck-building become interesting because you begin to see the fruits of your labor. At least part of the problem is that it's difficult to get rid of the crappy start cards since only 2-3 purchasable cards allow you to repeatedly banish cards from your hand or discard pile. To me, almost all of the cards in the Ascension base set feel generic and boring... and the gameplay feels sluggish, only ramping up near the end of the game. In contrast, Ascension: Storm of Souls felt refreshing as if there were more choices/options on your turn and more interesting card powers even though the framework/basic gameplay is the same.
Better than the original. The additional basic monster (Fanatic) to be fought, the event cards, and the fate/instant events all improve the plain, mechanical feeling of the base game. It's an okay deck-building game; however, I don't like the randomness of the draw deck compared to having control over purchases in other deck-building games. For example, on my first turn in one game, I bought a green hero that benefits from having other green hero cards but almost none of the green cards came out until halfway through the game. Another example is someone with only 3 runes (money) available buys a cost 1 card and then gets lucky as 2 more cards that cost 1 each get drawn consecutively afterward such that he was able to buy 3 cards with his weak hand.
An enjoyable (albeit somewhat chaotic) programmed movement race + speed game with similarities to Robo Rally. The goal is to tag each of the relay points but unlike in R.R. you can tag them in any order... and they are moving targets!!! Ship programming is a speed puzzle. From the point at which you find out which way the asteroids will be moving (at the start of the turn), you have 30 seconds (sand timer) to program a few moves for your ship. This makes the game speedy, stressful, and chaotic. You need to figure out which way is clear of asteroids because your ship will be damaged if you hit them or they hit you (and your ship could blow up if it takes too much damage). I like this game more than R.R. because it tends to be more fast, furious + stressful.
Others say and I agree: Long setup, too chaotic/random & basic race game gets repetitive quickly.
Underwhelmed. Too much luck of the cards. Whoever is lucky enough to get an early regular customer to fit with his "home" farm is in the best shape (he will have a faster money engine and less penalty for casual customers). Another, luck of the cards issue is for the 2-pack action... which often turns out to be a waste of 1-2 coins. The game is very restrictive and structured, but there's a ton of luck, and it's easy for opponents to mess with you... so in the end I just felt kind of annoyed with the game.
UPDATE 2011: there are so many little decisions that AP sets in, and I get lost in the minutia of optimizing a single turn. The luck of the cards is somewhat mitigated by strategically choosing which cards to discard into the "pool". That said, there's still too much chaos from luck and hurt-your-neighbor cards.
Straight up card drafting & set collection. This game is very simple, yet very addictive. I wish Queen Games hadn't pasted the cruise ship theme on this game... the theatre theme was much better (see Showmanager by Queen Games).
Pretty fun game that resembles Cartagena crossed with That's Life (plus another mechanic or two that makes it better than that combination sounds). Better on BSW since it shows you the exact places that you can move.
Okay game of hand management and tile placement. There is plenty of luck in the tile draws (and card draws), but it is tolerable. As others have said, it's probably better as a 2-player game. In 3-4p games, everyone needs to play a tight game in order to prevent a runaway leader. I'm lost if I don't use glass beads or transparent chips to mark off which buildings have already been used.
Played the 1st two races. Seems fun. I think the average speed car is the best choice, but I was the pole-sitter & winner of both races so I might be biased and YMMV. Definite similarities to Ave Caesar boardgame, but without the forced coin toss to Caesar (which I think is equivalent to a pit-stop) & with 3 double-sided puzzle boards that fit together in pairs to make about 6 different tracks for more gaming goodness.
A good (but complex) economic game. The randomness of the demand system is a double-edged sword. On one hand it causes long turns and AP, but on the other hand, it amplifies the tension... plus there are many ways to hedge your bets.
Another secret identities (secret goals) game that has similarities to Bang!. It's full of bluffing and reverse-psychology. At first blush, it seems like players have more control compared to Bang!, but there is still plenty of randomness, luck of the draw, and collateral damage. Especially when players use their once-per-game special action card.
I'm not great at making up dictionary definitions, so this game feels like *work*. Not bad every now and again, though.
**UPDATE** The newer 2006 version is very much like Beyond Balderdash, and this is a big improvement over the original Balderdash because the acronyms, people, movies & law categories make the game more interesting and fun.
A nice blend of 18XX and cube-rails (Chicago Express and Wabash Cannonball). The stock price advancement scheme does a good job of keeping stocks from rising in value too quickly. As with most 18XX-style games, my main complaint is the length of time required to play.
A fast, filler word game that plays out like "speed" scrabble. It's probably best if players are of similar skill levels... or if handicaps (such as draw 2 tiles instead of 1) are given to certain players. The winner is the lucky player that can place a tile at just the right time (when 4 or less tiles remain in the pool), which is pretty lame. It seems like there should be some kind of point system or bonus for the number of times that you called "peel".
Can be a fun romp, but overall I find it too chaotic & random. The game is luck heavy, and I don't like the bluffing aspect (i.e. pretending to be the innocent deputy today so you can build enough firepower to go gunning for the sheriff tomorrow). I feel like you need to play this game with 7 players so there are 2 deputies and more uncertainties for everyone. When it comes to bluffing about hidden alliance cards, I prefer the Shadows over Camelot game which gives players more control over their actions... and certainly, actions speak loader than words in Bang! and Shadows.
This expansion adds some spice and flavor to the rounds. The game is still luck heavy, and I don't like the bluffing aspect (i.e. pretending to be the innocent deputy today so you can build enough firepower to go gunning for the sheriff tomorrow). I feel like you need to play this game with 7 players so there are 2 deputies and more uncertainties for everyone.
The green-bordered cards add a bit of flavor and strategy to the mix. Some of the other cards aren't intuitive so you need to learn what the "action" symbols mean. The game is still luck heavy, and I don't like the bluffing aspect (i.e. pretending to be the innocent deputy today so you can build enough firepower to go gunning for the sheriff tomorrow). I feel like you need to play this game with 7 players so there are 2 deputies and more uncertainties for everyone.
A boring roll-and-move (technically spin-and-move) economic game. Everyone has a shopping list that is almost identical (except for the pets). It's a race to buy everything on the list and pay off your credit card debt. Much like Monopoly, you get a payday when you pass a particular spot on the board... and much like other roll-and-moves, the board is filled with calamities when you roll poorly.
An unsatisfying, abstract filler game that is very luck heavy and feels stripped down to the bare essentials. Okay for kids, non-gamers and novice gamers. The game mechanics include roll-and-move, simultaneous action, and stock holding (majorities). On a few rare occasions, there's a bit of rock-paper-scissors and negotiation (when 2 or more players land on the same space). Strategy-wise, it certainly helps to keep an eye on how many gems of a particular color you need in order to lock the majority because the gem "pools" do run out. As the gems run out, the strategy becomes linear (boring) as players just race to their start spaces (via die rolls) hoping to get the bonus for ending the round.
Sidebar: If you like the psychological angst of the rock-paper-scissors element in Basari, I suggest trying Goldbrau (where R-P-S is used each turn).
Weird stock-building and stock-crashing game. I thought I liked the original version (Modern Zeiten), but I'm not sure now that I have played this re-make. The games are pretty much identical... and the mechanics are very interesting, but much of the gameplay feels forced or out of your control.
A simple 2p card-based war game of luck and tactics. Each cards represents a particular type of unit with certain attack and support relationships relative to adjacent cards/units. Most units attack, trace a supply line, or provide support orthogonally, but a few do so diagonally (most notably the special forces unit which is the only unit that can obtain support diagonally). Cards can only launch an attack at the moment that they are placed and only if they have the required support (crosshairs) from adjacent cards/units. A few units (tanks and artillery) can attack without support and can be useful clear space and break through the enemy line. The special forces unit can also be very effective for breaking through since they can trace supply lines diagonally. The critical space is the enemy base located directly behind the hill card, and the special forces can provide a quick means to reach and occupy that space for the win. It's a clever tug-of-war, filler game considering that it's just a small deck of cards, but it's not a game that I feel excited about or compelled to purchase.
An okay 2p tug-of-war that reminds me of En Garde… but it has more bells and whistles in the form of interesting options compared to the simple/spartan En Garde game. The "waiting" to re-use battle cards... TRANSMISSION LOST... (not sure what happened to the rest of my comment).
Entirely too random and chaotic. You just rush into random locations (tetris-shaped map tiles) that have random defense values, and roll dice to see if you win. If you win, you MIGHT get some loot cards... but they are also random. So if you're lucky, you might get some loot cards worth victory point, but probably you will get crappy attack/defense cards. Also, the components stink... the plastic horsemen and flags are quite ugly... and the finish on the map tiles is a shiny laminant that peels and tears easily (revealing bright white cardboard) just by punching out the pieces.
Weird game... but certainly interesting. Efficiency is paramount in this economic game, and the game is won or lost by how many times you pay the toll. So try for a discounted toll card and try to play your order cards as travel cards when you enter the city for delivery. Realize that most beans are going to cost you "par value" if everyone is playing competitively... so take advantage of cheap beans when you can. There is a lot of luck in the order cards and harvest cards, but you have to make the best of what you've been given.
Update: It's an edgy and "mean" or cut-throat trading game when played by experienced players; therefore, this game is better when played by experienced players. New players often make lop-sided or stupid trades/gifts for invitations. You really need to appreciate the value of what you are giving to the other guy. Getting to move halfway across the board for one movement card *is* a big deal.
Ultimately, there are too many little decisions to make in this game, and the game drags on for far too long. Plus the switch-eroo cards tend to break the game... allowing one player to score big, but leaving the other player with unexpected crap. Nice effort, but I think I'll stick to the game called Medici which has the same boat-loading theme and shorter play time.
A beer and pretzels style area majority game that takes too long to play. You build an economic engine (e.g., recruiting more guys) and then go for VPs. The 2-3 guilds that let you steal from all opponents turn it into a painful, "take that" type of game. Supposedly, if you play without these guilds, it's a better game.
Rating is for basic game. Seemed to be a tight race for points. You can try to plan ahead since most of the challenges are public knowledge, but you cannot predict how high other players are going to bid.
Cute dexterity game, but low on strategy. Plays pretty fast. Mostly a game for kids, but okay for adults in small doses. The tiny magnet and ball really send the wooden goat flying so this can be chaotic for the first couple of turns while you are learning where to position the pieces.
Not as much tactics or strategy as I had hoped. Much of the game plays out as a story that happens by the random card draws. I like more control so I would rather play the Buffy:TVS (cooperative game) or Arkham Horror (2005 edition). When the "haunt" starts, I enjoy the deduction aspect of the game where both the players and traitor are trying to figure out the secret powers and goals of the opponent. OTHERS SAY: seems monotonous, lots of waiting, can get killed by the rooms if unlucky, bad gets worse.
I'm not great at making up definitions, so this game feels like *work*. Not bad every now and again, though. This game is better than regular (original) Balderdash since it includes additional categories like acronyms, people and movies.
Abstract, dry & annoying for me. Perhaps there is a variant that would help, but the base game seems to involve a lot of annoying gameplay where you just set up the board for the next guy to score more points than you just scored.
comments: too much luck. you'll never really have the property cards that you want. you always seem to be setting up your opponents so you have to play cautiously. it seems like you have a lot of options, but you don't. in our 2 player game, we never had 3 properties in a row to build the large residential or commercial blocks. i can't imagine playing with 4 or 5 players.
Okay filler if you like abstracts. A bit on the long side, though. Each pawn can only move to its own color. Then the person who moved the pawn takes an adjacent colored disc. The faster the pawn reaches the finish line, the more points discs of that color are worth. The final turns of this game can take a while as players engage in min-maxing.
Kinda boring. Mostly annoying. 1 play, basic rules. Most plays seem obvious. The 4 random tiles you get during the course of the game have a major impact on your success. There shouldn't be tiles with only 1 type of animal (i.e. 3 turkey or 3 fish)... there should be at least 2 types of animals on the tiles so that the person placing the tile cannot suck up all of the good stuff. Maybe this game would improve if players started with all of the tiles they would use for the entire game. It takes a long time to build up anything in this game, and often other players can jump your claim pretty easily. It's annoying that you cannot build multiple teepees or canoes on a given turn in the basic game.
Fun deduction game. Much better than Clue. Somewhat less brain & labor intensive than Sleuth. **UPDATE** This game doesn't offer as much deductive reasoning as Sleuth. You definitely reach a point where you have narrowed down the last letter to one of two choices... and you must simply chug through the draw stacks until the right letter appears... an easy fix might be to allow the "ask any one question" then make your guess rule that is found in Sleuth. Probably plays better with 4 or more players... my recent 3-er game felt too easy.
Missing the fun. The limitations on card play make this game painful. At least with the basic set there was little chance to save cards between rounds to build a substantial attack force. So much of the game was spent in a stalemate... with luck of the cards... until we ran out of cards and I won by having the right cards left. I also don't like the fact that you need to win twice before moving a dragon to your side of the board (it gets stuck in the center or neutral ground)... this drags out the game even further. I'd much rather play Battle Line or Schotten-Totten.
Okay efficiency game. Feels abstract to me. The game engine rewards players who find themselves in the right place at the right time... and rewards players that seed the board with their own cubes. Although it's tempting to run off and work alone on the opposite side of the board, you really need to play "follow the leader" to get the most crystals and dragon scales (and to be a contendor for victory). When one tile is completed, players who worked on the tile get goodies (and the biggest contributor gets the most goodies)... but then the tile is turned over and it adds a bonus (reward) to any adjacent tiles that get completed. If you can't get the right cards to stay near your opponents on the profitable side of the board, you might find yourself at the back of the pack in a hurry. It takes a long time to complete tiles on your own, so think twice before breaking ground on tiles that are far from your opponents. Undoubtedly, efficiency is very important (both in card play and board play). I like the race element created by the early "bricks" of the obelisk costing a lot less than later bricks... but I dislike the "follow the leader" element caused by the game's economic engine.
An okay dexterity game. It's annoying that it is easy to knock your own discs out. Practice is essential if you want to win against experienced players. Not as good as Loopin' Louie, but it scratches the same itch.
BTBW felt very different from regular Bohnanza even though the premise and many of the core mechanics of the 2 games are the same. The wild cards give you more to think about when trading because you might have a special power that will go away and/or (since you cannot discuss whether cards are regular or wild) you might receive a "dead" bean (with a skull instead of a bean-o-meter) that will make your field worthless unless you get another bean of that type. With 4 players, you only go through the deck one time which adds another wrinkle to think about since you'll only have X chances to obtain a bean of a given type.
An odd game. Really different from plain Bohnanza since collecting coins is no longer the goal of the game. Munitions depots seem like a necessity, and cities with fortresses seem near-impossible to conquer. After all cards are "owned", the lucky guy that keeps getting blue beans for attacks/defense will probably win... unless several opponents gang up on him. It takes a long (LONG!) time to go through the deck 4 times because the deck stays large... you rarely hold onto many cards in your fields or in your hand since you are busy cashing them in to pay for battles.
Clever and interesting, but it seems flawed. The start player and 2nd player seem to have an advantage because there are two excellent places to drop toll booths and the rest are mediocre. Related to this is the fact that the connections on the board seem imbalanced because two cities have only one way in and out (resulting in one person getting paid tolls both ways instead of being able to split the tolls between two players).
Cute little dice & speed game for 2-5 players. Mostly a filler, but there can be a lot of anxiety and tension. Game is better when you use the advanced rules. I wish that someone would sell the green "Ranger" die separately for those of us that own the 1st edition in the tube.
Another good game in the Mystery Rummy series. I like the opportunity to double your meld by skillfuly moving the wooden car. I also like that there is only one type of gavel/special card (FBI cards) and you have a choice of actions when playing that card. The components (cards) are inferior to the other M.R. games. The black-bordered cards quickly show pay wear on the edges, and I'm afraid that the Bonnie and Clyde cards might begin to look different (less worn on the edges) relative to the rest of the cards. I dislike the graphical choices for the location cards, and overall the at and graphics look good but are functionally poor choices. Small font and busy, non-constant images within a "suit" make it difficult to keep track of which suits/locations have been played to the table and discard stack.
Okay game. Novel auction payment mechanism that re-distributes the cash paid by the winning bidder among his opponents. Unfortunately, there is too much "take that"... especially on the 2nd time through the deck (the end game) when all of the mines are gone and the tableau contains only action ("take that") cards. Yuck!
Weird trick-taking game. Moderate learning curve. An unlucky hand of cards can be hard to overcome sometimes... but some mitigation is possible since you get to give cards to your neighbors & the bottle. Trick-taking is not my favorite genre so I don't need a copy in my collection. Playing to 500 points is too long, go with 200 instead.
Enjoyable but complex game. My buddies are hating me for taking unfathomably long turns in my first game. The hand management aspect of the game is great. I also like the economic & victory point systems, and I'm convinced that it can be just as good to build the coal mines & machine shops as it is to get tons of points for building a shipyard. It certainly helps to have stage 2 buildings on the board when the canal phase ends... if you do, you will have extra "seed" towns from which you can expand in the railroad phase of the game.
Good logistical game. Great fun for 2-players or more. Probably tops off at 4-players since 5 or 6 would really cramp the small board. I enjoy the public locking rules and many other variants. Haven't tried the variant where you make Newcastle & Plymouth major cities and require 5 of 6 major cities to be connected. Note: I have the boxed 3rd edition.
Our group played a bunch of 2-er games with pre-constructed decks. My overall impression was neutral. You burn through a ton of cards on most turns (which is annoying, unless you really need a particular card). The play area is cluttered with cards -- and when you "attach" the cards to a character, you end up with unwieldy stacks with lots of fine print that you must constantly wade through to determine character stats. Perhaps the game would be better on subsequent playings where I'm familiar with gameplay and I have constructed my own deck (or at least studied my pre-constructed deck).
I don't watch the show, but this game is awesome. It's a good balance of strategy and luck and a little character development. Most played game when I was at college. #plays = 30+ ** Warning: don't leave Buffy alone on the graveyard side of the board at the start -- evil will usually win by killing her quickly. **
An amusing, "take-that" style game. Played 2-er with the "discarding = playing" variant. Deck distribution seems imbalanced (too many level 2&3 release cards, not enough poach cards). THINGS TO KNOW: most attack cards will be yellow or blue (so focus on skilled managers in those colors), the worst ideas are usually level 0 (so try to avoid having an unstaffed or easily poached Sales Dept)
Long, complex, brain-burner, fairly abstract. Played once on SpielByWeb. Hard to grasp gameplay from the rules, so read strategy tips in BGG forums before playing. The game works best for experienced players since newbies cannot always comprehend the consequences of their actions. You have only 20 precious action cubes for the entire game, and some will be wasted by mistakes or cut-throat play. This results in many agonizing decisions... unfortunately individual players don't have a lot of control over the game... so you must count on other players to make good moves.
It's an okay party game, and it can work for pretty much any number of players. Each card contains pairs of clues and phrases that contain a particular "buzz" word. One person reads the clues one at a time, and his teammates must name the phrase that goes with the clue. Each correct answer is worth 1 point, and you play to 50 points. When you pass, you cannot go back... and when time runs out (approximately 3 minutes) the opposing team gets a chance to answer any that you missed or did not get to. Some of the phrases are tricky or obscure... but most of them are common phrases for Americans.
Decent euro-wargame. Fair level of interaction among players. Army cubes sort of get recycled so players are encouraged to build forces and use them; two reasons to not carry over big armies between turns are (1) army upkeep costs gold and (2) you get half of your dead guys back into your cube pool (which is very useful). There are few Byz. civil wars, use them wisely. Final scoring encourages players to try to do equally well for both sides (Arabs & Byz.). It's bad when multiple field armies of the same type (Arab or Byz.) move to the same side of the board because they will quickly run out of things to conquer. The special rules have a huge effect on the game... ex. movement out of Constantinople is special, Byz. field armies cannot move into the desert, the Bulgars cannot attack via sea routes, and the game ends immediately (with special scoring) if Arabs sack Constantinople. The emperor action can be very valuable. Players can make the game go fast or slow... the best way to slow it down and wait for your opponents to commit their forces is for you to buy or play just one army per turn for a while.
An interesting economic game with dual purpose cards that serve as money (for auctions) and victory points. Heavy on luck of the draw. I didn't mind the luck because there were lots of tough choices regarding hand management. Sometimes it's best to be last and to get the best pile from the marketplace after the bidding rounds (cards used as money all get dumped in the marketplace by color... and you pick one color and take all of those cards, then the 2nd worst player gets his pick, etc.).
UPDATE (7/2009): I like the dual purpose of cards, whereby payments become market offerings. Getting skunked with a crappy lot that nobody wanted (because you were the unlucky first player to "pass") is annoying but just part of the game. It's something to consider when bidding on earlier auction lots. Newbies can mess up the balance of the game by bidding poorly.
An okay 2p game of card drafting, hand management, and area control. Realistically, the game comes down to outlasting the cards-in-hand of the other player when battling for a state and taking advantage when your opponent has few cards in hand. A small hand of cards (or zero cards) makes you vulnerable because you probably cannot win a state or slow/stop the other guy... and you become heavily dependent on luck of the draw since you can only draw one card per turn to refill your hand. The powerful cards are made tame by giving a bonus to your opponent. All of this adds up to the game having a tug-of-war feeling... I win a state and become weak due to a small hand size, then you win a state by playing a bunch of cards because I'm busy refilling my hand, and then I pounce on another state which you cannot defend due to low hand size, and so on.
The basic 15 card decks for learning the game are pretty lame. They contain lots of cards for changing the top issue (defense vs. economy) or demographics, and too few cards that give votes. This can lead to a long/slow game with lots of turns spent drawing cards to try to find the voter cards.
1 play. Interesting game reminiscent of Age of Steam (including the game length of around 2.5 hours), but it feels less harsh (no mountain of debt from turn #1). My biggest beef with the game is that the canal connections are all predetermined (and historically accurate, I suspect) so you really need to study the map in the rulebook that tells you which canals are dead ends (single routes between 2 cities). The game presents tough and interesting decisions regarding which type of canal segment to build and when to take on new contracts (versus keeping an open slot for the next deal of contracts). I'm not ready to rush out and buy Canal Mania, but I'd definitely play it again.
Not terribly intuitive on the first play. You need to know too much about tile and card distribution--before playing--in order to do well. Don't waste your time boosting charisma... it's more important to boost one of the other 3 abilities (which work on both challenge cards and obstacles like bears). Based on 1game,4p,2hr
An okay area influence game with a moderate learning curve. Fairly abstract. Lots of numbers to pay attention to on the building tiles (cost, VP, etc). The fixed board of squares and orthogonal gameplay makes the game feel forced (limited strategies). I prefer the game La Citta which is somewhat similar (city building) and uses a hexagon-based board. I also didn't care for the bonus influence points for being first to bring water; it seemed like the bonus was too big for one or two players who got a good position early.
An economic and area influence game based on the game called Tycoon, but there are some substantial changes. This game has several mechanics and bonus points that encourage players to diversify (i.e. build warehouses in many different cities, rather than concentrating their influence)... the limit of 3 consecutive warehouses and the bonus cards for building in 9+ cities (base game) and the pirate protection/extortion fee (in the pirate variant) all encourage players to "seed the board".
PIRATE VARIANT -- This variant makes El Capitan a very different game from Tycoon. The pirate fee can be painful, but you need to fit it into your strategies. So far, I like it.
Seems like an okay pick-up-and-deliver game. Captain Park moves like Dr. Lucky, but there is more meat to this game than Kill Dr. Lucky (KDL). I'm not a fan of "story-telling games", but this one works out okay since there's enough of a euro/abstract/economy game in here... plus, unlike KDL, you don't have to deal with the constant "not dead yet" cards. I've played twice with 4p, but now I want to try a 7p game because there are so few of them (and good ones are even scarcer).
Good for beginners & non-gamers, but it's simplistic (except for the farmer scoring which can be a nightmare). I say simplistic because you have a single tile to work with. You play that tile, then draw another single tile (and hope it's a good one) and wait for your next turn. I'd prefer to have several tiles to choose from for more strategic play.
Better than basic Carc. Why? Because you get a bonus tile (extra turn) for completing gold nugget forests. It results in tougher tile placement decisions. If you want a comparable game of basic Carc., you need to buy the Traders & Builders expansion for an extra $10 or so. That said, all of the Carc. games are too random for my taste.
Fixes the game by adding tiles (various triangles or pinch-offs) that were missing from the original. This provides a little more strategy. The Inns are a nice bonus for road scoring since roads usually are low scoring. Adds pawns for a 6th player which helps if you have large groups of gamers or family members.
Interesting twist on the basic game. Here the board shape is restricted, and the tile-edges don't have to match (so it's easier to cut off your opponent). I really like the "bonus" chits on the scoring track that entice you to land on that number.
For hard-core Euro-gamers, this is still just a rather dull tile-placement game, but the gameplay is an improvement over basic Carcassonne (less mean-spirited) since you cannot steal regions in this version... you share the region instead so both players score points.
The river start & end tiles create an annoyingly large meadow/farming zone early in the game (Rating 4). I usually leave the river start & end tiles in the box (Rating 6). It results in two dead spaces, but it gets rid of the super meadow/farmland problem... until somebody works hard to connect both sides of the river.
One of my favorite abstracts. Sure there's a lot of luck in the die rolls, but this is a fun game with a dynamic board (islands merging). Can get a little brain intensive, but most of your choices are limited by the die rolls (i.e. tactical)... so turn length is typically not excessive. I also enjoy the 4-player partnership game.
Not a bad race game... just not one that I find myself wanting to play often. Luck heavy. Hand management is one of the biggest things, but your hand of cards usually is not that big and often you cannot seem to draw the right cards. It also feels a bit too simplistic for my taste... nothing to pick up on the way out... just a simple, abstract race. **UPDATE 2005** I have lost interest in this leapfrog game. I prefer the game called Freya's Folly.
I have only ever played the Jamaica variant where you cannot see the upcoming 12 cards and you cannot see your opponents' cards. Jamaica is pretty chaotic and random, but the other 2 variants would be brain burners and take forever.
I had trouble wrapping my head around this game of worker placement. Also, I was annoyed at the psychological element of guessing when other players were going to build (and playing your master builder card). If you guessed correctly or got lucky, you could get as many as 15-20 points from the master builder, but often you would get zero or 5 points. Need to try again and just do stuff instead of turtle-ing and collecting resources (that I ran out of time to build with anyway!).
An enjoyable but repetitive game of set collection. It has a novel mechanic for 6-sided dice. You use your die rolls (2d6) to collect tiles and/or place tiles, then repeat (again and again). Large sets generally get more points. After a second play, I think there's too much luck of the dice (and tiles for each round) for a game of this length that "wants" to be a fairly meaty strategy game. The many small decisions tend to increase down-time between turns and ultimately the winner seems to be the person who got better dice rolls to take advantage of opportunities in tiles/majority positions. Sure, there are dice modifiers, but if you have to use them every turn to fix your bad dice to try to slow down the leader(s), you're gonna lose.
Update: Rating dropped from 9. Basic Settlers doesn't do enough for me these days. I need to "kick it up a notch" with expansions like Cities & Knights... or maybe Das Buch (which has some interesting variants like hot air balloons).
Feels like Settlers and Memory combined with some hand management and dice- rolling. Few viable strategies... and after looking at the expansions, I don't think they will reduce the "scripted" feeling of the gameplay.
Unplayed... but after reading the rules and looking at the cards, it seems like these add more complexity but don't provide good alternate paths to victory... most cards require that you already have something (expensive) built... so it's possibly a waste of time to draw from these expansion stacks.
As with most Catan games, the players are at the mercy of the dice (luck), but SoA:Rails to Trails adds some nice twists without losing too much flavor from the original S.o.C. Unfortunately, the game is too long. The focus of this game is to produce cubes (by making settlements) and then to use your rail network to deliver your cubes. The catch is that each city/settlement can only be delivered to once in the entire game. I like this pick-up-and-deliver mechanic, and I also like the way that rail (road) building is the reverse of the original S.o.C. Here, you want to connect to your opponents' cities because you cannot deliver cubes to your own cities. I also like the gold coin "consolation prize" when you don't produce anything on a resource die roll.
2 plays. It's not the best thing since sliced bread so don't be fooled by the phenomenal rating... but it's a pretty good game. Steep learning curve for newbies. I tried to be the "builder of useful buildings" to earn lots of points, but that was difficult to do as a newbie. Getting the free favors for building the most pieces of the castle seems important... much like making the best offering in Amun-Re to get the most bonus actions.
1 play. Long game. Perhaps because we were new to the game and very tired... but I blame it on the lack of double-cube production buildings for the entire first half of the game. Fun to try to figure out which of the buildings in your hand of cards will be most profitable for you and other players... and how soon you should play those cards/buildings. Plenty of long turns and over-analysis. Still it's a good game and probably fixes the lack-of-luck problem that some people have with Caylus. The quality of the cards in the Rio Grande version is fair at best (not sure about versions from other publishers)... the black boarder on cards was a poor choice, and there was plenty of "chipping" at card edges with white showing through the black ink... plus, I hate trying to shuffle and play with the small cards.
An area control and variable player power game with too many options for my brain to process when deciding how to spend action points... mostly because it is pretty easy for your opponents to nullify your plays (thus it is very tactical and somewhat chaotic). It is a game of efficiency and choosing your battles wisely. The game is a bit fiddly but seems to come together nicely if you don't have excessively slow players (like me). Six cultists per player felt like it was not enough, but this is probably by design and is probably a result of my inexperience with the subtleties of the game.
Long/slow. Too much confrontation and competition with very few actions (and each move forfeits an option for your end of the round action) so this one becomes a brain burner. Players compete for resources with influence markers in a manner that is the same as the market in Hermagor. The competition over gems is often so close/tight that you don't have any idea which gems you will win; this makes future-planning (strategy) very difficult.
An abstract game of move then counter-move. You must have full awareness of the entire board because one mistake will cost you the game. I'm not a fan of these bare-bones abstract games. They feel scripted, forced or both.
Okay push-your-luck game, but not as good as Circus Flohcati because you can loose everything in this game. If you happen to have your stack built in just the right sequence, you can get cleaned out by the other players in just a few turns where you failed to draw a rare animal (i.e. elephant, giraffe, etc.). Okay every so often, but not the best of the push-your-luck genre.
I dislike abstract games... especially ones like Chess where many moves (e.g. opening strategies) are scripted. Studying and memorizing the moves and counter-moves is not fun for me. I like more free-form games with at least a little luck. Also, Chess is one of those games (like Scrabble) where it is best to play against someone near the same skill level as yourself... because runaway leader games are not fun.
Pretty fast rail-building and stock game. Gameplay varies with the number of players since there are only 4 main railroad companies and each one has a different number of stock certificates (3,4,5 or 6). Also, there are a limited number of wooden trains for each company and unless you build directly to Chicago (hence the Express part of the game title), you will run out of wooden trains and never reach Chicago. It follows the typical rail/stock game mold with player money and company money, dividends, and the goal being to have the most personal money at the end. Wrapping your head around the dividend values is a little tough at first but not too difficult. Initial stock purchases are typically $12-18 each, which becomes company seed money. There are tons (~5) ways the game could end so it's kind of tough to remember all of them. The game has almost no luck aside from not knowing what other players will do so it's important to figure out what is a fair price for shares and figure out how to work efficiently with the limited number of wooden trains.
Others say: The original Wabash Cannonball only differs in the way that dividends are rounded.
#plays (W.Cannonball): ? (best guess is 1) #plays (C.Express): ? (best guess is 2)
One of the few abstracts that I like. Diplomats are very important, and newbies usually under-estimate their value. Almost identical to Web of Power (Kardinal & Konig). Note: comments are for basic game of China, I haven't tried the advanced game yet. ** UPDATE ** Lately, I have been playing with newbies... and this game suffers... you really need all players to keep one another in check or else you get run away leaders.
Fun little leap frog game. It's a chaotic abstract where you get to move 3 frogs per turn, but one of them must belong to another player. Comment is based on 1 play with original 3-2-1 rules (first frog moves 3, second moves 2...). Feels a bit like Cartegena because you jump over opponents. Probably good with kids. **UPDATE 2005** I now prefer Freya's Folly out of all of the "leapfrog" games.
It's a tough map. I like the Taiwan container delivery mechanism. When and if you do a long East-West route can have a big influence on your game... that said, you still need to be lucky with card draws.
1 play. Like the original, this version is reasonably enjoyable for an abstract. It feels a bit too open for 3 players... but maybe it's because we didn't have much confrontation in the first half of the game.
Good negotiation & trading game. Almost a pure negotiation game... leaves me wanting more structure and faster turns. It's possible to get crushed by luck once in a while if you cannot get the right locations or you get crappy cards and pick the "wrong" ones to keep (i.e. building locations that nobody cares about).
Yuck! This game has too much blind bidding; in fact, blind bidding is almost the only thing you do in this game. You have a limited idea of how valuable something is to your opponents, but usually your bids are just wild guesses in which you hope for the best. I'm fine with never playing this game again.
Last person to arrive at school seems to get screwed for several turns. Takes too long. Some questions are too easy... and there is not a lot of replay value because the question deck is fairly small. Seems like the person in the lead should be the first to leave home since that is the time when most opponents have Scott Farkus cards.
An auction game where all players have the same amount of money (cards with values 1-8) and must decide the best way to spend this money at 3 consecutive auctions in order to earn victory points. It's a good game for people who really like auctions and near-perfect information games. For me, the game is just average.
Multiple-player solitaire (or true solo) game of tile placement, set collection and puzzle/pattern-building. Essentially, it's a game like Take It Easy where everyone has the same tile set and places the same tile at the same time, hoping to end with the highest score (thus the best use of those same tiles). Just a quick filler game of min-maxing that can almost be played in auto-pilot. Meh!
Interesting game of territory control. Hard for the losing player(s) to "catch up". Large amount of luck in card draws. Moderate learning curve for building tile placement and for the timing of building purchases (some buildings are required for growth beyond population level 5 & 10). Note: you can steal citizens from your own cities and kill the city if it reaches 0 citizens; From experience, I can say that this is a bad idea.
1 play. Abstract & tile-laying, yet I like it. Lots going on and various scoring options. The victory point engine in City & Guilds feels a bit like the distribution of profits in Goldbrau... and I like it.
Too long and too easy to get left behind (unable to achieve the minimum victory points). The trading mechanic is neat, but it is harsh in two ways (1) disaster cards can get ugly and (2) it often takes multiple turns to build up enough money to buy advances (especially with 6 or 7 players where there's lots of shouting and inevitable competition with them for the same goods). It's scary how trading disaster cards to a game buddy affects the meta-game; it's guaranteed that some players will hold a grudge for months or years into the future.
Notes to self: see private comment for past play info & tips.
An abstract, which is one of my least favorite genres. Also, the bluffing element required for this game is a turn-off for me... especially in a memorable 2p game where I was bluffing with my opponent's color!
Boring! Game choices are pretty obvious (i.e. fill your gladiator team with as many swordsmen as you can... and attack the weakest thing that you can reach). Something about the wound markers (wooden stars) annoyed me... I think there was a rules ambiguity as to whether a full hit on a guy that was already injured resulted in another wooden star (wound) being applied to someone else on the gladiator team (even though the attack was directed at the injured, and now dead, guy).
Okay set collection game. I'm not fond of the card acquisition mechanism; luck of draw is high, even with half of the supply face-up. Constantly need to worry about setting up opponents due to the building mechanics & point system. Biggest gripe is doing the math for building... usually there are multiple options, and you would have faster turns with a spreadsheet to quickly compute all of them. As for the tribute/offering it seems like the highest you would want to bid is about 10 talents.
Fun "press-your-luck" game for up to 6 players. I prefer the original version c.1999 which has four "pass the barn" cards that switch out the pilot in mid-flight. These cards are in addition to four "wild" cards.
Seems like a decent twist on classic Clue based on scenario #1 of 12 (Monte Carlo Affair). My rating is 5.5 instead of 6.0 because it would probably get boring once you have played each of the 12 DVD-based scenarios (at which point you are supposed to play the game without the DVD and without the time-of-day clue cards, essentially reverting the game to classic Clue). There are two big improvements, though... (1) you don't have to roll to move and (2) you don't get moved around the board when someone implicates your person in the crime.
In scenario #1, I like the way that the clue cards act as a game timer (by which players could be eliminated); thus players should pick up a few item cards from the butler. Unfortunately, the DVD rushes the game along at a certain point by REPEATEDLY forcing everyone to reveal one of their clue cards once the scenario-specific DVD items have finished (i.e. the game progressing at a slow pace).
Slightly revised Clue. The game timer (clock cards), 2 dice for movement, 1-time-use character actions, and "intrigue" cards (with special actions) are a nice touch. It's still Clue, but it's much more tolerable and similar to designer/Euro deduction games.
Okay variation of the classic game. Unsuccessfully attempts to make Clue better by removing the roll-and-move-to-rooms aspect and by adding elements from the Sleuth card game. As with regular Clue, it's annoying that the dis-proving of your suggestion always goes clockwise starting with the person on your left. As you might expect, you tend to get the most information when someone doesn't have any of the 3 cards in the suggestion. ** Note: the "FUGITIVE" variant suggested in the rules is bad. One person pretty much sits out for the majority of the game, watching everyone else play. **
I really don't like bluffing games, and this game is almost pure bluffing. You have a slight amount of strategic information based on the cards in your hand and those already played to the table, but you usually just pass a card and hope for the best. Liar's dice and Pow Wow are much better bluffing games.
An okay deduction game that I'm still trying out. Someone who solves their first two racks quickly and gets a 3rd rack of tiles is from the initial tiles seems to have a huge advantage. Also, some questions (more than others) seem to give up a lot more information. Need to play again. -- UPDATE: I'm not fond of the restriction that the cards put on the game progression because you draw one card to be your question and you have no choice of questions (like Sleuth, Black Vienna or Deduce or Die)... you may narrow things down to the point that only one or two of the 21 questions is meaningful... so you then have to sit and wait and hope that you draw that question card (ugh!).
Just okay. I don't like the low number of "support cards" required to finish the missions... especially the single card missions for which the winner is random. Also, you really need to play against the same opponent multipe times to get to know his/her style of play... without knowing your opponent, you won't know which secret agent you should play (or not play).
#plays=1game,4of6 rounds. The game seemed decent. I'm not sure why it has such low ratings here on BGG. Certainly, bad luck with event cards could cripple a player (hence some of the low ratings), but there's probably a simple variant that will mitigate this. I haven't quite figured out if it's possible to win the game with a small number of colonies (ex. 3 of 15 in 3player game)... and I'm struggling to wrap my mind around the army limits of 3 armies per territory... it seems that conquering nearby territories after everyone has "bulked up" will be extremely unlikely... so you need to fight to gain/hold territory from the start... the game held my interest and I want to try it again.
An average push-your-luck & hurt-your-neighbor card game. Coloretto has more randomness and luck-of-draw than I like... especially if people don't shuffle the cards well. When it comes to games that penalize you for collecing a rainbow of colors (i.e. you get positive points for 2 or 3 colors and negative for the other colors), I prefer the game "M".
Below average and not fun. Too dependent on luck of the draw, especially since you get only 3 cards in hand. Limited options for strategic play. Also, there are so few brown cards and the brown column is so short that your ability to protect yourself from attacks is hampered considerably.
3 plays. Some redeeming qualities, but ultimately too chaotic for my tastes. It's important to become a backer for 1-2 creatures at the start... otherwise, it's difficult and expensive to take over the backer-ship. I recently tried the T:tA version, and I liked the way that generic strength cards blocked the use of the special powers.
There only 5 rounds so you need to study the tile & show combinations that work well together or else you will end up going in multiple directions and not score enough points. There are too many types of asset tiles and not enough of each (alternatively, you could say there aren't enough wild tiles), especially considering the rapid loss of tiles via retirement. Annoying that there is not a superstar for each asset type, especially because almost everything has the same rarity (10-12 tiles in the bag). With 3p you don't see enough tiles (partially due to the fact that there are so many stinking kinds of asset tiles) & there is little trading. With any number of players, you really need to pay attention to who is getting a slam dunk and progressing from one show to the next perfectly... then the losers must gang up on the winner(s) and take the most important tiles during the "steal" phase.
Completing shows in step-wise fashion is critical because each completed show provides a +5 bonus to your next show. I would like to try adding a 6th round for the 3-player game. The noble movement trend is 2 laps around the board for the 5p game and only 1 lap for the 3p game (probably due to fewer dice rolls in the 3p).
UPDATE. Haven't played in a long time but my residual gut feelings are as follows... it's an okay auction game but nothing stellar, someone pays a bunch and gets what they want, everyone else just kind of does the best they can with sloppy seconds. It plays better than that sounds and there were some ways to mitigate the luck and limited choices, but (in my opinion) it is maybe just a little above average as far as auction games go.
Luck of the draw is significant. Seems important to know the card distribution. After 2 plays, it seems like this game has its moments... but it's over too soon, and you cannot count on your opponents to "do the right thing". Much like the game Attika, someone usually has to "take one for the team". ** After 2 more plays, I can say that this game is not good for 3 people. Also, it wouldn't bother me to wait another 4 years to play it again because the game is too random.
Lighter fare that tries to be a strategy game. Too much luck & a significant start player advantage. It seems like everyone should start with some power cards for defense against the early "unstoppable" attacks. Also, the setup is very random. Some have suggested an alternate game setup where all terrains are placed, then you place starting populations in switchback fashion (like Settlers). With the amount of luck involved with Time Cards, I'm not sure that a more strategic setup would improve the game.
Wow, this is a weird game. Hard to tell what is a good play, and it is chaotic enough that it might not matter. Multiple layers of buying and selling plus regular under-cutting of prices makes my head hurt. I guess the blind bid auctions for the containers really destroys my respect for the game... it is hard to figure out how much a lot is worth to your opponents... and then you'll probably lose the blind auction by a dollar. There is a general lack of control and a dependence on your opponents to make rational auction bids and make sensible business decisions (i.e., not build an X factory 2 other people have X factories and a Y factory is clearly needed).
Okay variable player powers game, but the constant negotiation of alliances (for single battles) annoys me. Some powers (e.g. Zombie) seem unbalanced. Also, I don't find the gameplay to be very interesting.
Okay variable player powers game, but the constant negotiation of alliances (for single battles) annoys me. Some powers (e.g. Zombie) seem unbalanced. Also, I don't find the gameplay to be very interesting.
Somewhat boring push-your-luck game. Very few opportunities to mitigate luck... often you find yourself forced to keep rolling the dice and praying for a chance to stop and score. It's not that you don't want to Wimp-out, but the game won't let you. Has similarities with another game called "Farkel".
Okay party game, but the difficulty level of cards is all over the map... from obscure people & places to simple objects like "bicycle". Therefore, luck of the draw is significant (i.e. you hope you don't get stuck with Trafalgar Square as your first card).
A re-implementation (and slight improvement) of Uno. The goal is to be the first person to get rid of your cards. It's luck-heavy (someone could theoretically win on their first or second turn), but there is a bit of strategy (e.g., hanging onto a set in hopes of using it to go out on a later turn).
Pro: even young kids can play, and you could play it at a pool or water park.
This game was very random. Perhaps there is a little more strategy after you gain experience, but it wasn't much fun. Not being able to play out of your hand ("draw pile") is frustrating when you're so used to being able to do it in Ligretto.
Bad game. Maybe an okay memory game for very young children, but for anyone with moderate powers of observation, this game is way too easy! We played with all of the tiles, and we almost instantly knew which two tiles had been flipped & switched. Perhaps it would be better to change 3 tiles for adults. My biggest beef with the game is the drastic difference between the fronts and the backs of many tiles (i.e. a light green background changes to bright red, and the animal is often posed very differently); additionally, the shapes of the tiles are fairly dissimilar. These issues make the game incredibly easy for adults.
20+ plays as a kid. This was one of my favorite games in my youth, even though the catapults were pretty lazy and the crossbows often just knocked pieces back (instead of busting them open) on our tile floor. Usually we stopped playing by the rules and started slamming Dukes of Hazard cars into the structures... but this game fits almost every little boy's dream of shooting things and causing destruction. If rated as a kids game, it's probably a 7 out of 10.
Disappointing! The bulk of this economic game is spent trying to mirror your good board locations (i.e. dice numbers) with the players on your left and right. It's a simple buy low and sell high game that is full of luck from dice rolling and fairly random price changes (due to rolling doubles).
A filler, but not much of a game. Boring. You're at the mercy of the dice. The only strategic decisions are (1) who to attack and (2) what to do if you roll the "wild" icon. Annoying when you get kicked when you're down... if you roll a tentacle on a "fight back" roll, you lose more sanity to your opponent. Positives are that it's fast, it's small enough to fit in your pocket, and it takes up little table space (i.e., it's something to kill time at a restaurant, bar or party).
Fairly fun & cheap. There's a rule or two about connectivity of the office with certain locations that is hard to grasp at first due to the graphics of the cards, but once you get beyond that hiccup, you're in good shape.
This is a "take that" game... a genre that I really dislike. Extremely chaotic, lots of guessing and hoping for the best. People that like the Munchkin game will probably like Cutthroat Caverns. For me, it is 60-90 minutes of torture.
Pretty good abstract in which timing is very important. I'm not sure if I like the multiplier mechanism... but without it, there's not much of a game here. In my plays with novices (including myself), a lucky player gets mad points from the x3 multiplier ship for several turns after several people simultaneously blow their wads to try to take that x3 spot. I think experience will solve this issue since strategic players will hold single crates for quick deliveries that knock down the person who is scoring mad points.
** UPDATE: I love the puzzle and race aspects of this game, but players must work together to keep everyone in check or else there seems to be a runaway leader problem.
Cool deduction game created from 3 decks of standard playing cards. As with any deduction game, it takes 1-2 plays to figure out a good system for keeping track of the information. The interrogation mechanism is a little weird at first, but after the first few rounds it makes sense. I enjoy the fact that after you figure out which 2 cards are hidden, you still have to do a little logic puzzle in order to win.
An okay co-operative game that has many similarities to Pandemic, but it's more complex because each person has multiple special powers, the monsters (unlike disease cubes) are not automatically removed (you must roll dice), movement seems to be easier, and there are penalties for ending your turn in the same space with monsters (disease cubes). I'm not fond of the need to save massive amounts of cards to make attacks on the generals. Also, it lacks some of the sense of urgency that I feel in Pandemic because the supplies of monsters and taint crystals are large and do not run out as quickly as disease cubes in Pandemic.
One of the better dungeon romp games. Seems like it's hard to play a melee only character (close combat can be painful & there are many enemy shooters). Diversity in weapon skills seems important since you get treasure at random and cannot guarantee that you will find the type of weapon you need. Those gamers that dislike shooting, killing or line-of-sight should avoid this game. Takes a long time to set up (many pieces). Also, the dungeon tiles don't fit together well (you have to force them together), which stinks.
Easy rules. Accessible for casual & non-gamers. Unfortunately, aside from having multiple chicanes (bottle-necks), the tracks do not provide many tactical options. There ought to be more corners where using the inside lane takes less moves than the outside lane.
Also, I find the game to be somewhat annoying. It's tough to deal out the screwage (take-that) evenly. Most cards move almost all of the race cars so it's tough to be selective when you pick a card to play. Often you end up randomly screwing people because they happen to be convenient targets at the time. As a fix (or a style of play), my wife says that everyone should try to cause problems for the player to their left. I think it's important to keep pole position away from someone who really wants it. Additionally, being in the middle of the pack seems to be bad (high chance for screwage).
BASIC GAME = An odd trick-taking game. I was annoyed by the randomness in the card exchanges after someone wins a "scoring" card, but I suppose that the exchanges are helpful (and strategic) because they give you information about your opponent's hand. There seem to be too few options on a turn since there are only 4 suits and you often are forced to play something that you don't want to play. In this sense, it feels like the game is playing you (grrr!!).
An okay push-your-luck and guess-what-everyone-is-doing game. Best feature is that it can hold up to 8 players. Worst feature is that it's pretty chaotic, and one good gem haul from 1 of 5 mines can win someone the game. In the luck-pushing genre, I prefer "Circus Flohcati".
Just okay. An abstract-ish economic game with multiple levels of set collection. Collect a set of tiles (1 mine, 1 boat, 1 contract) to make gems, then trade sets of gems to buy tiles that upgrade your garden (conferring special abilities or victory points).
The game is mostly a combination of game mechanics that work okay together (albeit toward a goofy goal of building the nicest garden). The bonus tiles remind me of Nottingham, the "tree" points remind me of the jesters in Princes of Florence, and the orthagonal influence when claiming tiles reminds me of Hermagor. There is a bit of a technology tree that I suppose is reminiscent of Goa.
The game is just bad. Very random and the red trivia cards are too easy (ex. what is the shortest month of the year?). A ton of the blue cards are simple pictionary style tasks. Many of the dice "challenges" involve just rolling the dice and hoping to get a good roll (and usually you have only 1/3 or 1/6 chance). COMPONENTS: Dice quality is fine, but you get a ton of 6-siders. The cards have a crazy shape that is impossible to shuffle. The box and inserts are terrible... mostly thin plastic that you must fit together like a puzzle.
A pattern recognition game with very little replay value because you'll memorize the key color changes and items missing. I have been told that this game is a rip-off of Dobble, which is supposed to be a better game.
Okay roll-and-move game that feels like another game called Source of the Nile. This game is more suited for kids and teens, though. Too much rolling and randomness for not enough progress (i.e. slow game). Has a bit of a Galaxy Trucker feeling since you equip your adventurers and hope for the best... frequently you end up surrendering your items in failed challenges or dropping your equipment to haul a$s so you can escape a carnivorous dinosaur that is stalking you. Amusing but not strategic enough to belong in my collection.
1 play. Convenient & cheap minatures-style game. I'm just not a fan of this genre. It was annoying that almost ever disk has its own unique special powers and the writing is tiny (we had 4 players, each with a different beast pack). The movement mechanic of flipping circles and trying to land on opponents for attacking is sure to lead to arguments over bad flippers (people who fail to do exact end-over-end flips). Seems like this game requires a large table.
Combines elements of Apples to Apples, Barbarossa, Cluzzle and Attribut. It is mostly a parlor game that you play for socializing. Success in the game depends upon whether you are lucky enough to have a card in your hand that resembles the clue given by the "current" player (which is often weird or an inside joke since he doesn't want everyone to guess the card that he is playing). Slightly better than Apples-to-Apples since it is a little less subjective (everyone votes, not just one player)... and you are not totally out of the round if you don't have a good card... you can still get points by correctly guessing the card that the "current" player contributed to the secret pile of cards.
Little if any improvement over Sorry! and Parchesi, except that it's played in partnerships. Luck of the cards is almost the only thing that matters. To be fair, there is a small amount of tactical card play. Takes way too long to play.
Overstays its welcome. Standard pick on the leader until someone wins game. Artwork is very 'busy' making it hard to find places & distinguish things (trashcans versus fountains). The theme fits the gameplay and is amusing for the first game or two. OTHERS SAY: Too long, excessive luck, theme is good, best for kids, soft on strategy for adults.
I'm not a fan of abstracts, and this "pooping Druid" game is no exception. There's a minor cooperative element in that in order to get points from any given region, there must be stones from 2 or more different players on the edge of that area. This means that you need to position Druids (and drop your stones) near your opponents.
An area control & worker placement game with bite (nastiness). The worker placement mechanism in this game is similar to the Age of Empires III board game, which I like. At times Dominant Species is very intense, but ultimately I think it may be too luck-heavy and chaotic for my liking and for the length of the game (3-4h).
The element (food) chits are drawn from a bag (chit pull), and they can be heavily skewed; Your primary food type might come out all at once or it might not appear for 3-4 turns in a row. The cards (which are received for having dominance) tend to cause lots of chaos. In fact, some cards seem to be too powerful.
You really need to focus on the element (food) discs when your permanent food comes out or you'll get hurt by the wasteland and decimation actions. You may need to stall (and not produce your cubes/species on the board) because your permanent food type is not getting drawn from the bag. In this case, at least you can score some points from land tile placement (via glaciation or wanderlust) while you await better times (food) for your species.