This feels like a more polished version of a game I would have designed in 7th grade. Theme is great, components are great, and the general theme of risk/reward and push your luck is well implemented. However, the game also feels disjointed because every section has its own rules. While there are decision points along the way, which way you go has more to do with what you feel like exploring rather than any strategic imperative.
I get what this game is trying to accomplish by providing a theme-rich sense of adventure. However, in the push-you-luck genre, I derive more excitement and sense of agency from less theme-intense but more mechanically focused games, such as Diamant, Exscape, or Can't Stop.
This game is simple and fun. It is a roll-and-move game with some features to help you land on the spaces you are targeting. There's some educational and inspirational value here, with spaces called "Imaginiation," "Credability," "Flexibility," and "Experience." The game earns a bonus point for effective use of metaphor.
I also like that they used familiar brands and companies rather than made-up ones.
This is a really nice design. I especially like how there are truly varied paths to victory. You can win without getting a single "Court" card. Such upgrades are essential for victory in most other games of this type, but here they are just tools, and that is very interesting.
Maybe slightly redundant to other games in my collection though?
Surprisingly tense for a game about creating the most sumptuous arboretum. It feels very Lost Cities-ish, but with less tension around which card to play and more around which to discard. Is a good game, but does not replace Lost Cities or Battle Line for 2 player play, and I think I enjoy Keltis: Das Orakel more for 3-4.
I think there is some disconnect between the ostensibly harmonious theme and the prominent denial mechanisms. Blocking the crap out of your opponent' scoring feels kinda mean in a game about beautiful trees. "Who's the most sumptuous NOW, beatch?!?"
On the other hand, this game enables abnormally frequent use of the word "sumptuous"
Great mechanic to balance speed with manuverabilty and ability to fight. I haven't yet decided if the other aspects of the game are too cumbersome for a "race" game. They may be for new players, but I suspect not once experience is gained.
New Asmodee edition. The track spaces are incredibly irregular, with some being too small to hold the chariots! The board looks great through, so we found this to be more funny than annoying. The game is very simple, but we were surprised how much fun it was. Bring on the track expansions, Asmodee!
I don't think this is really all that much like Bang. The core mechanism here is that you take 3 cards, keep 1, discard 1, and gift 1, and a solid little game was built around it. Players need to be very aware of the cards they pick and pass out, as victory depends on not handing someone else the win as much as getting yourself to your goals. I need to play this one some more to see how much better it can get with familiarity. it is a solid design, and I suspect one of those games that is best when you play a few times in a row - the game length (20 min) supports that nicely. There is some fiddliness in the rules about when and how you can play privilege cards that I think should have been streamlined somehow.
I've been considering this one for a while. When the new Baker's Dozen version came out, I finally jumped on it. I've got plenty of games about witches and potions, but not nearly enough about food!
I think I like the variant where you deal out all the cards right at the beginning.
UPDATE AFTER SOME PLAYS: I feels a lot like a cross between Category 5 and Coloretto. It may be slightly easier to explain that those (admittedly already pretty easy) games, but I think that overall I would rather play one of those than this. However, the people I've played it with seemed to really like it. My kids especially enjoy it.
So far, it's pretty good. One thing I'm not crazy about is the victory condition. I tend to try to set up my lines for the long haul or as a force that can break through the enemy lines. That has led to many a defeat as my opponent plays the correct strategy of isolating weakened units so she can finish them off!
UPDATE Dec 2013: I think I overexpanded this game. Dealing with the new units is really clunky, and the color based system is so bastardized that it became more of a hindrance than a hep in figuring out what the units do. I went as far as helping Universal Head bring his BL player aid up to date just so I had a chance at keeping the units straight, but it was still a hassle. When BL 2nd Edition came out, I realized that was closer to what i wanted to get out of this game, so BL1 was sold.
DEAL-BREAKER: Gameplay seems too plodding. A bit too many mechanisms, each of them rather uninteresting on their own.
I like my for my co-op games to not exceed a certain rules complexity. This is so that the game can thrive on the player "social" interaction rather than worrying about parsing the rules. I think that Lord of the Rings and Pandemic both get the rules depth about right. I think that both Shadows Over Camelot, and to a greater extent, BSG, start to really push up against the rules complexity that I'm comfortable with for this type of game. However, that being said, I think that BSG is still on the proper side of the line, and all the game's systems serve the goal of giving the players some interesting things to base their actions around.
So far, I've played twice, both times with the same 4 players, and both times the Cylon gave herself away very early, which I think severely hampered the game. Also, I'm not a fan on the Sympathizer rules, which are both too fiddly and not much fun for the person who draws that card. I think next time I'll try to find more players or try the "no sympathizer" variant.
I am eager to try this again, and I want to be a Cylon!
UPDATE: Okay,I got my wish and got to be a Cylon. This happened a little past the halfway point when the revealed Cylon pushed his other card to me. Despite that, I was able to avoid being pegged as toaster until the turn I revealed during the run to the last jump.
I think the game does a great job of setting the atmosphere and creating tension, but I find the gameplay to be too ponderous. I think I'm changing my opinion that this game was on the good side of the complexity line. It's actually not so much the complexity as the plodding pace it had for us as we went though every step, shuffle, and math at each turn. I had assumed that the game would smooth out a bit with more play, but it hasn't. After tonight's game, I don't know that I would choose to play this again over something else. Just too long.
I also am terrible at remembering to use the characters' negative abilities.
I think maybe Shadows Over Camelot has the better approach. Overall, Shadows is certainly less thematic, but it still gives a good measure of the hidden traitor vibe, and more importantly the mechanisms are simple enough that they get out of the way of enjoyment of that aspect.
I can see why some people love this game, but for the life of me I can't imagine wanting to add more baggage to it with the expansions.
Overall, I would be very happy to play someone else's copy of this, but I don't see myself teaching and leading a group through it again.
I think the people who have described this game as a combination of Taj Mahal and Lord of the Rings are dead on. The game shares the brinksmanship bidding of Taj Mahal and the set storyline and events of Lord of the Rings. The game feels lighter than either of its parents, and it is a good game in its own right. My primary criticism of the game is the tiny board spaces. The pieces don't even fit in them, and they are very hard to read from across the board. The spaces should have been twice as big, and there is plenty of empty space on the board for them to have done so. Yes, the background art is nice, but I'd much rather have had bigger spaces.
I like this style of gameplay on occassion, and I think this game tried hard to implement a lot of neat ideas. The theme is great, and I like the dice system. Thankfully, the second edition of the game fixed the shamefully poorly edited rulebooks.
UPDATE Nov 2014: This is generally a fun experience, but it is highly variable how good of a GAME you are actually going to have.
I think this game could be a lot of fun with the right crowd. Problem is, I am never with the right crowd, and I just don't feel all that good about breaking out a game where you points guns a people. I'd gladly take someone else up on the suggestion to play, though.
This is decent alternate Carcassonne. I do like that it includes a Cloister type tile, which is somthing my current Carc faves (Hunters & Gatherers and Castle) do not. The tiles look great, and collection of the resources as wooden bits is a nice change. I especially like the fishing mechanism where the seas become depleted.
However, overall, I don't enjoy it quite as much as H&G. The filling of ship orders was not an interesting as I had hoped, and more or less just felt like an extra step to get your score.
This is a very good game that I enjoy even more that the Settlers board game. It's great when you're looking for a two-player contest that's somewhat deeper and longer than the typical Kosmos game. The drawback is that I don't find this to be the most exciting game and it tends to feel just a little long.
This is a very fun negotiation game. The only reason I don't own it is another game called Lords of Vegas. The games have a very similar feel to me, but LoV replaces the calculations of Chinatown with the evaluation of probabilities, and I enjoy the latter more.
A nice improvement on the original, which was one of my childhood favorites. The bigger board, minis, and ability to keep the cards on the board are very nice. I also like that you can find your "to-hit" number by color rather than having to read the card - better suited for my young kids. The art also got a nice upgrade in this version.
Not sure I would enjoy the trading or some of the random elements thrown in here, not to mention the forced-catch up mechanism of last place player taking a resource from first place. Seems like a family-friendisized Princes of Florence.
UPDATE: I bought it and played it a few times with my family, after trading Princes of Florence for being too dry. This game certainly has more flavor, but is overall an even more milquetoast gaming experience. The auction, ostensibly the central mechanism of the game, is frequently uncontested. There is also potential for AP as people study the program card.
That all being said, this is a very beautifully produced, pleasant family game, and I'll happily play it. The catch-up mechanism actually works pretty well in the context of the game. The limited actions possible between auctions keeps everything nicely under control. However, it does make the gamer in me crave Medici for a truly great auction, and good ol Catan is a better trading game. I could also recommend Vega Showdown as an auction game of about this weight that is overall more interesting.
My 2 year old daughter loves this game, and I love playing it with her. I was amazed the way she instantly recognized one door could stand for its color, picture, count, and a letter. I highly recommend this for 2-5 year olds.
D&G is a trick taking game that has 2 features I really like. One, there's no trump. I like that because I always mess up trump. Two, high cards, low cards, and middle cards are all useful due to the very clever scoring system. Very fun, although a full game (one round for each player) would be too long. Fortunately, you can just play a round or two.
I believe that DOOM is the best iteration of this system. DOOM gets you to the good stuff (tactical combat, special abilities, fun dice resolution system) with the least amount of hassle. The hook of Descent 2 for me is the campaign system. In concept, it is cool that the heroes and the overlord can level up. However, the two sides are leveling up more or less equally, so the "leveling up" really just means that everyone rolls more dice and can take more damage. It is not like the leveling up in say, Runebound, where you have to judge when you are powerful enough to take on greater challenges. In D2, you do a series of missions at level 1, then a series at level 2, which is similar except everyone rolls twice as many dice. This is underwhelming to me. However, I do like how the outcome of each encounter affects how following ones unfold. The campaign is suitably epic, but it is a commitment of quite a few game nights.
Personally, I'd prefer to just get in and out with DOOM for the combat, play Mansions of Madness for the narrative, or Earth Reborn for a more intricate tactical experience. D2 falls through these cracks for me, and is therefore getting Jones ruled off my shelves. I would still very happily play D2 anytime, though.
There is some good stuff here, but I fear that the impact of the random events is too great in relation to the amount of strategy present in the rest of the game. Imagine if you pieces in a territory could be randomly wiped out in a game of "China" and you'll get my drift. Maybe this game is light from a Wallace point of view, but it's not so light that I don't get annoyed when my board position is destroyed by a random card draw.
This is one that seems to really annoy women because points can be taken away! I like the way the card deck limits actions a bit and puts a time limit on the game. I find keeping track of the score and mine income a bit of a chore. Overall, I think it's a neat game, but I'm not sure that I find it a lot of fun. While I like it, but I think I'm more likely to reach for Elasund when I'm in mood for this type of game. However, I also feel compelled to try it again, so my opinion may improve.
A slick little expandable hack-fest. Each player acts as dungeon master for the other players. The scope is limited, but that's part of the appeal. Good for a play every once in a while or when you don't want to lug along your Runequest or Talisman sets.
A good game, but man, the cards are unhelpful at telling you how to resolve them. A lot of referring to the rules is required at first. However, the fear this game creates is awesome. It's one of the few games where you're relieved rather than bored when a room is empty. I find the combat mechanism tedious, however. If it's going to be nearly totally random, just roll a die and be done with it.
SPARK: Great to play with my 3 and 5 year olds. Teaches them counting (dice recognition) and memory skills, with just enough interaction to also allow them to practice good sportsmanship. The way my son shouts "DOUBLES!"
Excellent kids' game and game for parents to play with their children. My 3 year old has the rules down and loves it! This game has improved his counting skills and he can now instantly identify the number on die faces without needing to count the dots.
This game definitely brings some novel ideas into the worker placement genre, with its unique use of dice and interesting game flow. I very much respect it for its beautiful artwork, absolutely stunning production, original theme, and novel mechanisms. However, after a few games it started to feel a bit samey, despite all the stuff going on. Also, this game is all about tempo, not blocking, which is odd for a worker placement and something that I don't find as satisfying.
I am hopeful the the expansion revitalizes this game as much as Tuscany did for Kickstarter. That may get me to take another look at it.
Fun little puzzle game. The problem is, the more you think about your moves, the better you'll do, but the less fun you'll have. Implement a (short) turn timer!
I've ended up playing this a couple times around Halloween for the last couple years, and it's always been with 5+ players. Each time I am left with the impression that the game would be better with fewer, but have yet to try it that way.
Great bluffing game with a fair amount of strategy. This is one of the more giggly and cursifying games I own. The cards need sleeves though because their quality is not great, which is surprising from Days of Wonder.
A great distillation of Pandemic down to a more kid and family friendly format. Great components! Not nearly as interesting to me as Pandemic, but I give it points for being easier to get to the table with casual gamers.
I eventually realized that this is not a racing game - it's really a gambling "press your luck" game. The rules variations suggested to add "realism" are laudable, but really subtract from the essence of the game. Even the strange pit stop rules make sense when viewed in the context of a gambling game. The game is good even with just 2 people, but I'd recommend each driver play 2 cars. I haven't played the full Formula De, but I really don't think I'd like it as much. Adding any more complexity or length would probably make the game too tedious for me, but I really enjoy the "mini" version.
Wow, amazing production quality on this game. However, I am still waiting for a great game that uses the excellent "one way worker placement road" mechanism. To be sure, Francis Drake does a much better job with it than Egezia (which I give credit for inventing this mechanism), but still doesn't fully do it justice.
I don't think the second half of the game scales well to fewer players. Even with a full boat, I'm not sure about the programmed order mechanism used for scoring in a game of this weight. I think that can work very well in a lighter game (e.g. Caribbean), but I'm not sure it is aligned with the tensely tactical worker-placement phase of the game.
This is a clever game in a nice package that feels like a deck-building trainer. I don't feel like it has much replay value for me. I beat it on hard after 3 games and feel kinda done. Going for higher scores doesn't appeal to me much - I'd probably rather go back to solo Thunderstone!
This is a good area-control game. It could have easily been presented with common military or trading theme. They did a really good job with the theme, and it fits well. The main drawback for me is that it in my collection it competes with games like Carolus Magnus, Dynasties, and Great Wall of China, and I don't like it as well as those.
This is a great game to play with kids. The game is a good lesson in risk taking. I play it with my 3 and 5 year old. The three year old needs just a little help, and the five year old has it down. They both really like this game, especially collecting the trophies.
This is a really nice, clean design. I will gladly play it anytime. However, I don't yet know if it earns a space on my shelf next to some of its juicier descendants such as Chaos in the Old World, Rattus, Shogun, and even Dynasties.
I think the fact that I'm not too excited by any of the expansions is a tribute to the elegance, power, and purity of the original design. I have to admit that preferring Rattus makes me feel like a candy ass.
Excellent packaging was used for the FFG Silver Line edition. This could have easily been marketed as Samurai: The Card game. It's become a lunchtime favorite. It's a bit of a shame that the FFG version didn't keep the iconography of the German edition.
Excellent poker style game. This is great with a group of 3-6, but I'm not too impressed with 2 player play. Make sure to carefully explain the somewhat fiddly Dog rules - the Dog cheat sheet on the publisher's web site is helpful in this regard.
I wish I hadn't had to pay so much for this game, but if the Funagain exclusive deal was necessary to get the game published then I guess it was worth it.
This looks to be a very nice midweight eurogame, in the vein of Notre Dame and Yspahan. I especially like the mechanism of the sun moving round and triggering resource replenishment and scoring. However, I don't know that it would be good enough to earn shelfspace considering I already have some games I love (such as the two mentioned above) in this category. If it gets a full expansion that adds variability, I will give it another look.
UPDATE: Bought the game on sale, and the production is awesome. However, this is another one of those euros where everything you do gives you points. Feld does a lot fo these games, but he usually adds an interesting mechanism to limit the actions you can take. Helios doesn't really do this, other than encouraging you to try to build a set of 4 like color tiles. As such, you get to just sit there and try to work out which action will eeke out an extra point or two for you.
Great art, and the horse racing part is really well done. However, I think that maybe there is a bit too much going on between the races. I'd rather have seen a more streamlined between races system and more races overall.
This game has a unique feel and a very unusual rhythm. It also has so many cards that seem overpowered that on balance none of them are. In this it reminds me a lot of Glory to Rome. However, Innovation is much more chaotic than GtR, and as such I think that all the interesting twists it presents would eventually begin to wear on me.
I spent my junior high years collecting Star Frontiers stuff. Never actually played that much, but back then I loved to read rules. This was a great game system that got overshadowed by 2nd Ed D&D. The Zebulon's Guide was an awesome addition and streamlined the system - unfortunately the first volume was the only one published, so they never got around to updating the Knight Hawks space combat rules.
This game has some very nice implementation of its theme. However, the game mechanisms are not quite as interesting as some of its peers. There is also air if setup and take down burden. That makes it hard for me to choose this when I find Star Realms gameplay more interesting and streamlined. I don't know how long Aliens would hold my interest once I've played through all the scenarios. So this game is a low 7 for me, meaning I'd always be happy to play someone else's copy, but it is an easy decision for me to not buy it myself.
This is probably the best game in the no-frills hidden movement and deduction genre, mechanistically speaking. I think I would have preferred a lighter or more fantastical theme though. This may be hypocritical given some other games that I enjoy. However, I don't like importing "colonists" to farm tobacco in Puerto Rico, and I don't relish murdering women in this one. Go figure.
That all being said, I love the central conceit that Jack needs to return to a single hideout space each turn. This gives a wonderful centerpiece for deduction and deceit, and the maps feels very much the map up on the wall of every crime drama. This game is wonderfully tense and just all around solid and elegant. Perhaps appropriately, this game has murdered Scotland Yard and Nuns on the Run. Fury of Dracula survives thanks to its delicious chrome, and I suspect a Specter Ops will as well if I ever get a chance to play it.
UPDATE Sep 2015 I am getting an inkling that Jack can win through a series of fairly cheap moves. My last game, The investigators found only a few clues the whole game, and don' know that I would have done nay better in their shoes. I pulled a little double back the first nigh, then with that false trail in place was able to get to my hideout fairly quickly on night 3, and in 3 moves (2 wih a carriage) on night 4. When Jack waits, the women must move, and that can let you reuse a murder spot to your convenience. So maybe the game can be too easy for Jack, but I won't get to play enough to know, because my wife finds the game frustrating, and I can understand that.
I don't like that the game can be made easier or harder for Jack just by where he chooses to put his hideout. It makes the app almost a necessity, but then they want another $3 for that. Not a lot of money if you love the game, but I would wish it was somehow better balanced here. Ultimately this is the point that will probably push the game out of my collection. Jack needs to consider how hard they want to make the game for themselves at the very start, and that will result in second-guessing whether that was a good choice, win or lose.
Good negotiation game. I would be happy to play it any time. It is very rules light, leaving more room for the negotation (in contrast, I felt that Mall of Horror had too much procedure going on that got in the way of the bargaining). However, I'm the Boss is king of the hill for me in this type of game.
THE DEALBREAKERS: The pacing is off; the most interesting part of the game ends before the game does. By the time you finally get your engine together, it is just not that satisfying to turn the crank on it. Too much dependency on what dice rolls and cards come up for a calculating cube-pusher.
I generally appreciate this game and the way all the parts fit together. At first, I liked the challenge of trying to put together the right engine to allow the purchase of PP each turn. If you can but PP on just one turn when your opponents can't, you'll have a big advantage. I also like the trade-off between a couple cubes now or a bunch of cubes later.
However, I'm finding this less interesting with repeated plays. You need to deal with multiple levels of randomness, so you can't count on either the dice or the cards you'd like to see come up.
I think my biggest issue with the game is with its pacing. You can't do a whole lot at the beginning. Then, you do a bunch of stuff towards the middle and finally get your engine in play, but then in the last third of the game you are awash in cubes and pretty much just mopping up. That last third takes the longest to play out because you need to dink all your cards and deal with all your cubes. Consequently, the game loses some momentum at the endgame.
What is up with the thin cardboard? The tokens in this game and Notre Dame are barely acceptable. Come on guys, this is the Alea Big Box series! Step it up!
So to sum up: I found the game quite interesting at first, mainly due to the dice mechanism, but the game lost its luster for me with more plays.
A pretty good, tense game. It might have been better done with a castle and walls theme, but spaceships work as well. The one problem I can see is that there's potential for a game to drag on for a very long time, but this may be a misfounded fear, as it hasn't happened to me yet. I think the luck factor some people seem to worry about is mitigated by the fact that you can discard your whole hand for a new one every turn.
There's a lot more strategy here than you might think, and there's enough dice rolling that things usually work out the way you'd expect, but with the occasional upset to keep you on your toes. However, I worry a bit about the balance between the teams, and it seems that a lucky card draw can really slant things in one player's favor. Also, the game is just a little too complex for it to be a gateway game, which is a little counterintuitive given the theme.
I think that Nexus may have learned the wrong lesson from the success of The War of the Ring. That game is so deep, and so reminiscent of its source material that people are willing to put up with the fiddliness of it. But when it comes to Superheroes, It's Clobberin' Time! I thin it was amistake to weigh the game down with all the niggling rules like they got away with in WotR.
I think I'd be happy to play this once in a while, but owning it, and therefore having the responsibility of teaching it, was ultimately too much of a burden for me, so I traded it.
This is a nice design, and is very clever. I don't find it quite as fun as it is clever, but I'd still happily play it. I think the new goals from the Extension cards are an improvement to the point where I'd almost consider them a needed "patch" for the base game.
Just four cards, but they really improve the game. No longer can you easily guess which colors your opponents need. It almost seems like the designer had a better idea for scoring that he was able to add with these cards.
Very good auction game - I love all the varied types of auctions as well as the valuation system. However, I find the bidding process difficult - it's very mathy to come up with just the right value, and one person who miscalculates badly can throw the game off. The card game edition does most of the good stuff while eliminating the tricky money component!
This has a couple interesting dynamics that set it apart from standard Monopoly.
Most importantly, the goal is now to reach a set amount of cash, rather than bankrupt your opponents. You are also not allowed to mortgage properties or sell back houses unless it is to avoid bankruptcy, so cash means cash. This creates an interesting choice when it comes to spending money on property and houses. After a couple rounds, you make $250K just for passing Go, and the goal is $1M, so there is a temptation to just not buy anything. But if you do that, and land on opponent's properties, then you'll have no way to get that money back from them.
The cash chips rather than paper money is nice, and speeds play. In fact, this whole game could be considered a "Monopoly Express", as many of the refinements here seem to be designed to speed the game, which is always welcome when it comes to Monopoly.
UPDATE Feb 2015: Yeah, this is probably my "favorite" version of Monopoly due to its quick play. It actually feels like a board game version of the Monopoly Deal card game, if you can wrap your head around that.
I like this game, but I also feel I have not yet played it enough to truly appreciate the depth that seems to be waiting here.
The rules, however, are a mess. I don't think I've ever had so much trouble with a rulebook as this one. Once you get past it, the game is not very complicated. I think the problem is mainly that the first half of the rules should be last. You need to read the rules all the way through before you have any idea what's going on.
If it weren't for the rules issue, I would say this this is a great game to give as a gift. The cards are very high quality and the box is amazing.
UPDATE May 2015: I finally played this game again after many years. This one one of the first games I bought when I was getting into the modern era of boardgames, and I've been finding it very interesting how my tastes have changes (matured?) over the years.
Where I originally thought I had an inability to grasp the strategy of the game, during my latest plays I instead felt like there are many uncontrollable elements, and that your performance is largely based on luck. So my tastes are either more refined now, or I've just become arrogant I also found the flow kinda clunky. Sometimes you draw a bunch of melds and end the hand quickly, and other times both players stall for a while until someone finally draws the right card.
I think my latest plays really made me appreciate the durability of "Lost Cities", a game that also has you collecting sets but avoids the uneven performance of JtR.
Fast and fun. It's all about playing the odds and mitigating risk. Lots of luck is usually required to win, however. Not as good a filler game as Category 5 or Coloretto, but it is quicker that both of these.
The genius of this game is that it is more fun to be the one sneaking around, and in this game everyone but one player gets to sneak. The drawback is that the line-of-sight is unnecessarily fiddly due to the design of the board, and the game can easily be ruined by players misjudging line of sight. It's not like a player can ask for clarification without giving their position away, either.
This game should have used something like the Tannhauser system for clarifying line of sight (hmm, maybe I could mod the board? Feels like too much work), or just settled for a simpler map.
UPDATE: I'm afraid this game is falling between the cracks for me in the "Hide and Seek" genre. With gamers, I'd rather play Letters from Whitechapel or Fury of Dracula. With my kids, I'd rather play Ghost Chase or Flurch Der Mummie. Nuns on the Run was supposed to be my casual gamer game of this type. The problem is, it is just too fiddly and too easy for Nun players to make a mistake. They can't ask questions during the game without spoiling things (giving away their position), and that is the kiss of death for "gateway games." I realized this when I had the perfect group of 6 casual gamers, and passed NotR on by because I didn't want to try to teach and referee it. How are you ever supposed to use the line of sight ruler that comes with the game without giving away your position, anyway? Consequently, this game is neither well suited for competitive nor casual play.
This dice game has some nice features. I like how the character's powers are largely implemented by giving them different dice. The game also presents some interesting choices. Ultimately, however, I think that whether you win or not or predominantly a function of how well you roll, and that calls into question whether the choices you make are really all that meaningful.
On its surface, it is mainly just flip a card, roll some dice. However, there are some interesting decisions to be made, and teamwork between characters is key. I find it strangely compelling in a way that Descent 2 was not for me. Perhaps there is some merit in stripping the idea down to its essence. I think the idea of slowing developing my character is the hook for me. Whether that is enough to keep me interested through 6 adventure decks remains to be seen.
UPDATE Oct 2014: We're about halfway through adventure 1, and the shine is starting to come off this a bit. We'll see how far we get. I think that the most interesting thing about this game is the way you build your character, and while that is fairly novel for this type of game, I am not sure I ultimately find that compelling enough to sustain my enthusiasm.
UPDATE Nov 2014: Well, my son (age 7) gave me a very well reasoned agruement as to why Pathfinder was not his favorite game. "I have to wait 10 minutes between my turns, and when it is my turn I barely know what I'm doing." Fair enough. As for me, I am finding the game repetitive, and gaining a +1 here and there is no longer thrilling me. I am also perplexed as to how I continue to find this game so finicky to deal with rules-wise. I think I'll be turning to Lord of the Rings Card Game for a similar questing card game, but with more interesting mechanisms. I'm also looking forward to Assault on Doomrock, which I hope will be more of what I hoped to get out of Pathfinder. I just don't think the long campaign thing is for me with this particular game. I think this game may be too reliant on the appeal of slowly leveling up, and the game guts underneath aren't really interesting and varied enough to sustain the game long-term.
Sounds outstanding. I'm imagining something with the same general feel as Jamaica, with the added element of bluffing! Dice + push-your-luck + bluffing + flicking + cowboys = home run for my lunch group. #1 on my wish list right now.
UPDATE: Bought it, played it, and it's just as fun as I hoped.
Really really clever, but I find it difficult to estimate the value of the industry tiles. The central strategic element of at what rate and form (horizontal vs. vertical) hinges on your estimation of when someone will go bankrupt, and that is impossible to know. I feel like there needed to be one less layer or a little more open information so that the wonderful central conceit of the the inevitable collapse of the system can shine rather than being obscured by the inscrutable nature of the clandestine deals.
The game represents the theme very well, but I think it is too out of control to be fully enjoyed.
In general structure, this feels a lot like Goa, and I think I like Goa more. Nevertheless, PoF is one of those wonderful games where there are so many strategic options and so few turns to accomplish them in. This is a great game to play with people who want deep strategy but not direct confrontation.
It's just fun, and becomes just strategic enough with the Expert Culling Variant (with the house rules that triggering all "Scoring" abilities whether or not you cull for points if the creature survives, and allowing the culling of a different used die if you chose not the cull the creature).
UPDATE May 2015: After getting the iPad app, I've recently played this a lot more than I ever did with the physical game, and I'm starting to wonder how much of my affection for the game is based on physically handling those dice. The game design itself is maybe not so interesting to me, and I find it troublesome to have to continually reference the cards to know what each die does. I do love. The bag full of dice idea in theory, but I don't so much enjoy the flow of the game.
I think that Puzzle Strike is a more strategic and less fiddly version of this deck building battle concept.
This game is lighter and smoother playing than I had anticipated, and the latter reason is why I think I like it. With the recent trends toward brutally complex co-ops (which I do love also, don't get me wrong), I can also appreciate one that is just wacky and easy to play.
I favor the first edition of this with the smaller box for its item tiles rather than cards and the improved portability.
This is a good bidding game that is similar to, but not quite as good as, Turn the Tide. I don't know why there's so much complaining about the "Relationship" theme. Would we really prefer another game about impressing renaissance ponces?
Lots better than regular risk. This is the game that got my wife back into boardgaming in the early 2000's. A few of the cards add to the luck, but also to the excitement. The time limit built into the game is much appreciated. More like regular Risk than is Risk 2210AD.
I really wanted to love this game because it has so much cool stuff going on. But in the end I found it too restrictive and it just didn't all come together for me. Or it may just be that I always lose badly. However, if I am going to spend so long playing a game, I think I prefer it to be more focused in scope, with freer choice of actions, and less luck dependent. I actually think Conquest of Nerath does the hero side-quest thing better.
I am also troubled that the map setup is so critical. You can easily lose the game before the first turn if you aren't very careful with the positioning of your home realm.
I would say that if you've played Runewars a couple times and like it enough to keep playing, you should get this expansion. The new cards are great, and I also really like using the more powerful cities. I am not sure the commanders are worth the trouble though. Nothing here changes the game too much, but the added variety is great to have.
It is fun to pull the levers on this victory point generating machine. I worry only about replayability. What is to stop me from just doing the same thing every time? Are the engineers really enough to mix up the strategy?
I think I like the idea of this game more than I enjoy it in practice. I think my issue is that the incentive system for bluffing seems to be off. I will try to sneak things through because hee-hee I'm being sneaky, but I don't know that the game mechanisms really encourage that properly. I think it works better if you are making deals with the Sheriff, but even then there are better dealmaking games. I think Coup does a better job of creating a good framework for bluffing.
Don't get me wrong, this is a very good game with a wonderful production. However, I think the general opinion on Space Hulk may be somewhat inflated by nostalgia and awesome paint jobs. This is probably sacrilege, but I'd probably have preferred less over-the-top minis. Personally, I don't find it to be the masterpiece it seems to be revered as and think DOOM the Boardgame is overall a more interesting sci-fi pew pew fix.
Fun, well-exploited theme on this one. Get the large monkey height card from the files section though - the card-sized one that comes with the game is too small. And for $20 I'd expect a better box and a die!
I think the game's a true classic and I had a lot of fun playing this with my college buddies. As long as you're in no hurry when you play, this can be a great time. We had a house rule that you had to take off your pants for the duration of your time as a Toad to suitably add to the humiliation.
UPDATE: These days I need to be in the right mood to enjoy this one, but I still appreciate it for what it is, and the nostalgia love remains strong.
This is an enjoyable, thoughtful game. The rulebook isn't THAT bad except for 2 errors: 1) it doesn't make explicit that Theo already HAS the restricted reagents listed on his experiment card, and 2) on the back cover under the Scoring heading, "restricted" should be replaced with "forbidden". In both theme and general gameplay, Theo strikes me as a super-advanced version of Igor: The Mad Scientist's Lament. However, there are many more choices to make in this game, and the action point system works very well. You can do just about anything you'd like but at the cost of more action points for the most helpful actions. This one's a sleeper in my opinion, and is considerably better than its BGG rating. Scales well from 2-5 players, but a 5 player game may seem a bit long.
If you are new to Thunderstone, skip the original set and just get this. This is better tuned and fuller featured!
For a pure deck-building experience I would still choose Dominion. For a thematic card game adventure, I think I prefer Sentinels of the Multiverse. Even with all the fiddliness for SotM, it is somewhat less annoying that the Thunderstone math. So while I have had some fun with TS, these two games have knocked TS off my shelf. It is actually a fairly shallow deckbuilding experience, and too beholden to the Dominion framework to execute very well on the theme.
This game is surprisingly evocative of its theme. You really feel as though you are on a quest to have a fulfilling journey, and fulfilment comes from completing your sets. I suppose there may be is an interesting lesson here about depth being more satisfying that a wider variety of shallower experiences. Players tend to naturally diversify from each other, so there is generally only mild and coincidental interference between players. I certainly find Tokaido to be a pleasant experience, but I'm not sure it is terribly satisfying as a game. Perhaps it would lose its other charms if it was.
A great game where everything is negotiable. I need to create more opportunities to play this one.
UPDATE Feb 2015: I finally after many years played it again. I have since had experience with other negotiation games, including Chinatown, Lords of Vegas, and I'm the Boss, and in comparison I find ToG rather ponderous.
I really like the way you pass your cards around after each hand. The game feels similar to For Sale, which I also like quite a bit, but Turn the Tide might be a better game. However, For Sale gets a lot more plays.
UPDATE Sept 2014: This is a nice design, but I just don't find it as fun as For Sale or 6 Nimmt! Also, the requirement to play one hand per player can make this feel too long.
This is a very nice midweight Euro. It plays fast and goes down smooth. I really enjoy when games give you random combinations of things to place a value on, and this game does that well.
While it is pretty good, it is not the grail some seem to be making it out to be though.
UPDATE Sep 2015 Played this some more, and I'm feeling like it is a one trick pony. Yes, there is some tension in the bidding, but that's about it. Ra and Medici both do this type of random-lot valuation bidding much better.
With all the recent brouhaha around Broom Service, I thought I would give this earlier iteration of the system a try with the family. My overall feeling is that it is kinda fun and mildly strategic, but I'd rather play Citadels or Libertalia. The whole "I cancel your action and you don't get to do a darn thing" mechanism really isn't that fun for me, at least not when it happens with this regularity. (If you get assassinated in Citadels, you just need to be tricksier next time)