Got this for my son, who's about three years too young to play. Impressed with the quality & cuteness of the blocks, and how well it plays for adults as a 10-minute filler. And we haven't tapped the drinking game possibilities yet.
Wonderful game. You have to find a balance of strategy, tactics, and opportunity in the hand you're dealt. The two actions you get per turn are rarely enough to complete the action you want, so gaming the turn order is vital to get turns when you want them.
There's tension and opportunity cost between all of your options: build coal/iron now and take an immediate payoff? build/ship cotton early for the foriegn market, or build up more cotton & ports to bulk ship later? build now, or develop and build more valuable industry next turn... if the space is still available? Burn an industry card that might give you options later, or use a city card that might be your only way into a city you don't expect to use? take loans at the end of the canal age or flip one more tile?
My rating for Brit creeps upward as we get better at playing quickly (4-5hrs). The asymmetric nature and multiple tribes per player is really cool, and I'm seeing very different strategies emerge in email games. Friendly discussions with Dr Pulsipher on the 'geek add to uniqueness and historical appeal of the game.
Downside is that we often need newbies to play a full game, and said newbies can skew the game with shortsighted moves
The I&C expansion really spices up the base game. The inns give you more good places to put your meeples, reducing luck of the draw. Cathedrals are more of a crapshoot, but they add a bit of variety. Haven't tried the big meeple yet.
I've only played a couple games, and accidentally won both (against experienced players!). While I felt like the luck balanced out, the dice slowed the game down (due to an inability to plan ahead), and made it take a bit longer than it ought to be.
Clever, pretty game that plays quickly and is easy to introduce. I like the fact that you can print out the Web of Power map & several print & play expansions, and play that with the same pieces: basically four games for the price of one. Also, my wife tends to win this one, which makes everyone happy
Initially, having never played CCG's before, I was impressed by the depth of the game's deck-building component. After a dozen games (mostly on BSW), the deck-building has become fairly standard, and timing the push for VP's the bigger challenge. Still haven't played with Gardens or Witches, which certainly complicates things.
BSW is definitely the way to play this... the constant shuffling & longer play-time would otherwise lower my rating.
The powerful cards add something to Dominion that previous expansions have lacked, and that adds something that really pops. I'm not quite convinced that province-collectors can compete with colony-collectors in the same game, so the strategic space hasn't exactly doubled, but the variety certainly has.
A clever little fencing game, which really captures two-handed fencing nicely. The only problem is that a 2-player game usually comes down to luck of the draw, and multi-player has no structure. So I made a melee variant to fix that.
Good large-group game, but as you add players, the lag between turns gets a little dull. There's not too much to think about, and luck seems to dominate gameplay. The pitting rules are really silly... it needs something better there.
Has a very different feel than any other abstract I've played. Stones are played by geometrical intuition as often as they're played by tit-for-tat calculation. I find this to make for an equally deep, but less stressful game, that nevertheless builds in excitement and has as much of a "story" as themed euros.
My wife and I started by playing 20-minute 9x9 games, and have moved up to hour-long 13x13. The flavor does change significantly as the board gets larger, and multiple areas play separately, then slowly coalesce.
El Grande seems like the most elegant game we have... all of the decisions balance multiple objectives, and the board position is just stable enough to allow for clever but forgiving strategy and tactics.
Downsides: My wife (and recently, everyone else )finds this dry, combattive, and a little long, so we either end up playing something short & sweet, or a railroad game
Wow, what a brutal theme. You starve to death, unless you can cannibalize your opponent, in which case you probably starve to death next turn, unless you can steal a patch of farmland until it erodes, at which point you starve. I like it. For variety, of course
What I didn't like as much was the hardcore take-that leader-bashing screwage of the mid & late game. The problem was that the screwing mechanisms don't cost the aggressor anything, except ill will, which at this point in the game is saturating since everyone has to screw someone on their turn. So the person who is accidentally least-screwed wins. I feel the game could be much improved with a slight tweak in the cards to fix that
Munchkin still gets played a bit when friends who are afraid of my Euros come over. It's still a fine game, and when played infrequently, the jokes stay pleasantly fresh. It's just that I own two dozen higher-rated games and am unlikely to play it under other circumstances.
It's worth noting, though, that original Munchkin, without expansions, can be a brutal, tactical, sneaky battle, especially when played by overcompetitive folks. With one expansion, I feel this reaches a comfortable compromise; with more, it waters down the game and turns it into a card lottery.
The main flaws with Munchkin are that it takes a bit too long, and almost always leaves 1-2 players card-poor (due to drawing high-level enemies their first few turns). I need to try a game with a draft of starting equipment/class/races, maybe beginning at level 3 to compensate (and shorten the game)
Nice expansion to the original game. Original Munckin was brutally hard to win, requiring clever cardplay and backstabbing to even have a shot at winning. Unnatural Axe dilutes those cards so that the third or fourth person to go for the win should succeed.
Caution: The more expansions you add, the more the screwage is diluted, until it's almost just a race to level 10 vs the 1-2 undefendable blocking cards. If you add two expansions, death becomes rarer, and the game is more lottery and less clever.
I quite like NMM. It's a simple, satisfying attractive abstract that's quick to teach, takes the right amount of time to play, and offers decent complexity. It can be sketched on a napkin while waiting for dinner, played at reenactment venues, or be a game night filler. I've yet to play it seriously, so I could care less that it's solved.
This is another one of those games I like better than everyone else. I appreciate the struggle to align all of your needs with not quite enough auctions or actions to get it done. I think other people see an underthemed optimization euro.
Very nice map for RR Tycoon. The game is both financially and geographically tighter, and the map is has a color structure, with red cities in the middle, and yellow and purple cities at the perimeter, to encourage building from center to edge. On the downside, this did create less differentiation among play, making it more about competing at parallel tasks. RoE forces balance and competition, where RRT expects the players to provide it through intelligent play and bidding.
I'm rating this below RRT for a couple reasons: It lacks some of the grandeur of the original map, and fails to bring any exciting innovations to the game, as opposed to cool rules in several BGGer-made maps.
Fills the principal gap of all RRT/RoTW maps so far: it works well for 2-3 players, complementing the 4-6 player sweet spot of the original map. Being a smaller map, feels a little more scripted, fewer real options. I also think I dislike the always-in-play major lines.
It's nice to have a more expensive map that takes 5-6 players. The shorter game length (due to fewer cubes on the map) changes the debt dynamic to compensate, too. My one complaint is that the plethora of mountains (even in places where the land is rough but flat) limits the number of smart routes, such that the Rockies and coast might as well be a point-to-point grid, and the plains seem too poor to compete.
This is offset by the ability to put the eastern, western, and/or Mexican maps together for mega-games.
RR Tycoon was already my favorite game, and I bought the Rails of Mexico map to basically make it equivalent to RotW. But I'm going to rate RotW higher anyway, because the Mexico map makes it much more fun for 2-3 players without needing to buy an extra map. Kudos for the extra addition.
RRT Comment: The game that got me into boardgaming. I love the feeling of building massive rail networks on the huge board, making tough decisions of taking shares vs. growing organically, and the uncertainty in when the game ends. Only downside is that although she loves the game, my wife doesn't like uber-competitive play, so she refuses to play with 6, and dislikes 5 somewhat, whereas 5 is the sweet spot for me.
I must say, I like Vinci slightly better. Vinci has a wider diversity of civs, a more familiar map, and open scoring that I find is more interesting. Small World scales better, but we mainly played these games with 4-6 players anyway.
This is just a game that makes me smile... in a cringing sort of way, after we realize that we did one point of damage too few and the space amoeba is going to eat our heads. Can't argue with the 20-30 minute playing time either. I worry a little that it will get formulaic, but we haven't nearly gotten there yet.
I've always found this simple, elegant, fun. but a bit dry. Everyone's trying to complete their routes with maximum efficiency, so it basically comes down to playing well and hoping the card draw doesn't screw you. Not bad, but not at the top of my list.
Very much prefer the European version to the USA game. The division of long and short tickets make the draw less of a factor, and stations both make the game friendlier, and allow for clever completion of a wider range of tickets.
This is a massively chaotic game. Played with enough people, you have almost no control over your destiny. Played with fewer, it's a crapshoot whether you drown or not. Maybe there's strategy under that, but I've never figured it out.
The strange thing about VQ is that it looks like a wargame, but building an army and taking people's keys is the least efficient way to score points, and a prolonged stalemate will likely knock both players out of the running. It's just so much easier to score points with piracy, weddings, and patronage, so the peace dividend is very, very high.
But that, in turn, captures how the second half of the 16th century differed from the first, and from Here I Stand. I'm not sure how I feel yet about "slot machine" payouts from piracy, weddings, and patronage, but I've enjoyed my first few games, and the rest of the groups has as well.