The was once a time I loved this game. If you are looking for a Vote For What Fits game, then buy Say Anything. If you are looking for interesting connections and insights, get Dixit. There is nothing to game does "best" at this point.
Too many "two noun cards", but a useful expansion if you play the game often. I would not buy this instead of the original, but it's nice to have more cards. Strangely, what I like best about this expansion is that I can sort all of the best cards into this expansion's smaller box and bring that instead of the Big Box the base game comes in. I'm not really sure what that says about the quality of the expansion.
Do not play if you don't like puns. If you do like puns, you may enjoy this one.
My only qualms with it is that the rounds take a bit longer than I would otherwise wish them to. Also, the box is ridiculously oversized for the components (although it's Steve Jackson so the box size was predetermined). I wouldn't play it every week, but I'd play a ground round or two every month or so.
EDIT 03/30/13: It turns out, the game actually improves a bit on replay. If you're worried about the game-breaking things then you CAN actually prepare for them. Who knew?
Pretty decent party game, but dependent on the group. Good cooperative game. It's our first "Arkham Horror" type game. Interesting enough game for us to have anticipated its re-release in 2010.
EDIT 12/18/2013: If you're looking for a silly Scooby-Doo Mystery type game, and don't care about mechanical balance, then you may want to look into this one. The scenarios are wildly unbalanced such that when the haunt is revealed it is rarely a surprise who wins. However, it's great fun if you're in a quiet setting with only a few people and no other distractions. I highly recommend really getting into the narrative of the story.
We first played this at a friend's house in Baltimore. Ever since then, we've been hooked on this simple game. The game mechanics are simple, so it makes for a great time-filler. We've shown many of our friends this game since we bought it. With modification it even plays well with only 2 players too.
Big Box sets are a complicated matter. On one hand, I love everything in here. On the other hand, how am I supposed to know that I want to invest in this box before actually having played the game? As a result, I own a small box set of Carcassonne AND the Big Box. I don't actually mind this a whole lot though, since sometimes it's nice and easier to just use the base set.
As for the expansions included here, I think that Inns and Cathedrals is an absolute 'must have' for Carcassonne. I'm kind of indifferent on the Bridges expansion, but the castles *do* make things interesting. I'm happy with the purchase.
EDIT: I've had this big box for almost 10 months now. While the expansions are neat to use every once in a while, I think that buying regular Carcassonne along with the Inns & Cathedrals would suffice for most people. Of the other expansions, Princess and the Dragon is actually my favorite, since it's so ridiculous.
I found it difficult to rate this particular game. I've tentatively rated it a 7, because I really enjoy playing it with my wife. With the two of us, we've found it enjoyable to smash up some goblins and orcs.
With others, I've found it either boring, or aggravating to play. They either get caught up on telling me exactly what I should do during *my* turn, or don't actually enjoy the game. It is very unlikely that I will suggest playing it with not-my-wife.
Want a more challenging Castle Panic? Then get this expansion. It doesn't really do much for me and my wife, but many people I know love it.
I've rated it a 5 because my wife and I will add it sporadically to our Castle Panic game, but is not the norm. The added monsters are less intuitive, and the wizard cards change the game to try to be more thinky. This is not really what Castle Panic is meant for/does best.
The best part of this expansion is that the additional players' colors are better than the ones that come in the original. This is not a good thing. The idea of an in-between build phase are good, but it removes much of the trading aspect that I love about the original.
I like the addition of gold because it becomes very competitive to get there without being game-breaking. The new tiles and rules preserve the feel of the original while breathing new life into the game.
EDIT 03/31/2013: Between Seafarers and Cities & Knights, I much prefer this one to the other.
This is probably the fastest game I've ever 'dimed.'
Coup is a clever little game, but I wouldn't vote it for Game of the Year. If you enjoy micro games like Love Letter, but want a bit more bluffing involve, then I'd take a look at this. It'll likely sit in my bag of games I always bring (just because of its size), but is not something I will be pushing on people to play every week.
Cribbage is my favorite card game, and it pains me to rate it a six. However, while I enjoy cribbage, I would usually be willing to play a board game instead. Also, I generally get annoyed that it's only a three-player game.
This game is extremely gimmicky. It was marketed for people obsessed with dice. I love dice, so I was really looking forward to playing. Upon reading the rules, I realized that different dice shapes and sizes are rarely mixed for any of the challenges, and are only mildly important to the game.
A must-have game for anyone who's into CCGs. The game itself is a stroke of brilliance (and has spawned myriad derivatives). The only drawback to Dominion is usually the other players.
EDIT: 12/10/2012 - You know, I actually like Dominion the more that I play it. I'm typically opposed to card games, but I am starting to enjoy the game more and more. Also, the two-player game takes much longer than one would expect.
Edit 04/19/14: Dominion is overrated, and it is only the expansions which redeem this. The base game is a solid 'meh' for me.
I do not like chess. Chess is frustrating because I always feel like I would need to sit down for hundreds of hours beforehand studying before I could actually play a decent game of it.
The Duke fixes that problem for me because you're only dealing with three units initially, and the little random bag element makes the game a bit lighter in general. Sometimes you really *do* get the perfect/worst draw, and that sucks. Also, the 6x6 grid makes the game much more manageable.
What is REALLY clever in The Duke though is that each piece has two sets of instructions. I really like that. It's brilliantly simple, but really engaging too. This was my surprise hit of 2013.
This game takes a lot longer than I thought it would to play. That being said, it's worth the wait. Friendly competition without the cutthroat mechanics. Also, great artwork!
Downside: the rules book is poorly written. In an attempt to make the book into a tutorial it sidesteps any sort of sensible organization.
EDIT 12/10/2012: Played Dungeon Lords again, this time I let a friend who is very good at tracking rules 'run' the game. He too had the same problems that I did with the rules. Despite the poor rulebook, the game remains extremely fun.
EDIT 03/31/2013: Played again, this time with four people who had played before. It definitely improves on replay a lot. I partially played it this time to see if I wanted the Festival Seasons expansion. Since that is now listed on my 'owned' list, I'd say it went well. I played Lords of Waterdeep the following day and this just blew that experience away. My go-to worker placement at least for now.
I have played this expansion once, but here was my impression:
If you're *already good at* Dungeon Lords, and you would like a longer and more challenging experience, then you should look into this. To get the most out of it, I would recommend playing with the same group of people multiple times before trying this.
Because of the prior limitations, I find it unlikely that this will see much action, which is a shame.
I received Eve: Conquests as a Christmas present from my older brother. I have yet to play the game, but it was mostly purchased as a collector's item. In short, I would not own this game if I did not play Eve Online. That being said, it's one of my most prized games.
I bought these cards when I was actively playing Eve Online. I thought the game was surprisingly well put together. I would not mind playing more, but I doubt I will ever find the right group for it. Mostly keep it around as a collection now.
Not a game I would want to play more than once every few months. However, I could be talked into it, especially if there were young ones. My review is completely unsurprising considering how I feel about Pass the Pigs.
Great tile-based adventure game. I would not recommend the game for two players, but I would recommend it for small groups of people that have a great sense of humor, and don't mind having their ships blown in half.
I've rated this a 9, but I do not think the base game by itself deserves that. When combined with The Big Expansion, this game becomes one of my favorites. The expansion is a must-have because it adds more variability to every aspect of the game: more ships, more encounters, more components, more aliens, and even more game modes. The best expansion I've ever bought.
This expansion comes with exactly what you expect it to:
More components, more ships, and more danger. In addition to that, it also comes with some support crew. What I love about this expansion is that it gives more variety and ways to play the game, so it will keep it fresh.
Also, I highly recommend that if you own this game then try at least one game where you fly three flights: a flight II, IIA and IIB. It's great fun!
These cards are necessary if you're playing with a group which refuses to slow down for new players. I rarely encounter such a situation, but it's very useful to have for that. Also, the +- on each card is well done.
Want to add another player to Galaxy Trucker? Tired of the same old missions? Have an idea for a new component? What's that, new aliens you say? This expansion has all that and more. One of the few expansions that really does *expand* the game play. A must-have for any Galaxy Trucker.
The expansion itself is intended to be pick&choose. Not all of the additions work well with each other, so it's best to try out a few and see which ones you enjoy.
Sometimes, ratings are a funny thing. I would not want to play this game very often, but it is definitely one that I will play if I'm in the right mood. If you're feeling macabre, then you should seriously consider this. Half of the fun is making up stories as to how your family is dying.
The game itself is fairly basic, but that works for this. If you're considering buying this game it's worth noting that the cards smell *really really bad* when you first open them.
Sadistic fun. Heads will roll! One of my favorite fillers
EDIT 12/18/2013: I played this game quite a bit when I first got it. However, it's really a 'play a couple times with each group, and then never play again' type of game. The humor's funny and clever, but it's best not to beat a dead horse. This is the problem with humor-theme games.
A French game reprinted by a German company about a Japanese fireworks display -- translated into English. What an interesting circuit. The take-home point of this is that it's a game so good that it's *worth* going round-about to get it.
I ordered the game from GameSurplus. I had never ordered from them before, but they were one of the few places which I could get this game from. Along with my shipment, they made sure to print out the instructions for Hanabi for me; that little act really set them apart to me. That they knew the game well enough to print and include them with the game was quite the pleasant surprise.
The game itself is fantastic too; it's so simple that you think "How could this *possibly* be hard?" But it is; people forget what you've told them or don't realize why you've pointed out something about their hands. Also, the limitation on hints is a brilliant mechanic. Great game for a great price.
This was my favorite christmas present from my wife in 2012. The extremely simplistic rules (once you actually get through them) combine into an incredibly deep experience. I really recommend this for either 3 or 5 players as that's when the board is most 'full' as was intended.
EDIT: 04/04/13: If you're thinking about buying this game then PLEASE read the FAQ and revised English rules. We've been playing it for four months and only just realized that we were playing the Bonus Tokens completely 100% wrong.
EDIT 12/18/2013: Having played the game a good dozen+ times now, each time the game is completely different, and strategies evolve from game to game. There is no one winning strategy that I have found, and people usually form metas against the previous winning strategies. I would love to get a regular group of Hansa T. players together to really explore the repeatability of the game.
This is the epitome of a party game. It's great if you're in the right company, and it's terrible if you are not. The answers are often funny enough to make up for the poor game mechanics.
EDIT: The game itself comes with a few special cards and a board to keep track on -- my wife and I have since removed the game from its proper housing and condensed it so that it is easier to bring places (small box easier to carry than big box).
Marian and I were looking for a good 2-player game, and I think we found it. The first few matches involved us learning the game, but they went quickly so it was easy to get a gauge. With 8 cards in your hand, you wouldn't think that choosing to discard one would be as nerve-racking as it is!
Great game, but not one you can repeatedly play; I break it out every few weeks to play a match against someone (not usually the same person in a row).
Puerto Rico is a game which I continue to enjoy more with each play. Once I figured out the mechanics, it became much more enjoyable. The fact that one of my other favorite games is based off of this is no surprise either (Race for the Galaxy).
While I am not particularly convinced by the game's theme, the interactions between players is bar none. Every time that someone captains a ship and I get left out it pains me, while being able to capitalize on something nobody else can feels like an achievement. Tons of replability. If you enjoy euro games, this is a must-have.
Race for the Galaxy is unique in that it is a game you can clearly get better at playing over time. There are many different strategies to choose from, which helps with the replay factor too.
As I've played, I've grown more excited for each time this hits the table, rather than slowly eroding my desire to play. If you're looking to learn a game to play with a specific group as a reoccurring event, then this is a game you should seriously consider.
Let me contrast this to Seven Wonders. RftG plays faster, with more variation between games, and you actually control your own destiny. When I lose in RftG I usually know what I did wrong, and when I win I know exactly what I did right.
I consider this a 'must have' expansion for Race for the Galaxy -- it vastly improves the military planets in particular, although I have yet to try the Takeover rules.
The one concern with it I do have is that I feel some of the original combinations are a bit diluted by the new cards. Then again, this is probably why Alien Artifacts is a stand-alone expansion rather than built-on.
There isn't a whole lot different about the expansion.
Well, that's not entirely true. From what I have seen, the expansion has three principle changes:
1. It allows for a Single-Player game. 2. It allows for a Five-Player game. 3. It adds a few incentives to target your deck toward specific goals.
Obviously, the third change is the most substantial, and I found it easy to understand and an interesting addition. The expansion also comes with a few new cards and I thought that they were nice additions (like new Terraforming and Uplift cards). I'm happy with the expansion for the price I paid, but I would not pay more than like $25 or it (except that later expansions require this one).
I am impressed with the quality of RftG in general, but what really set it apart for me was that the new expansion comes with a replacement Gambling World with the new distributions on it. I was impressed that they had the forethought to actually include that. I know it seems a silly thing to be happy about but they clearly care about their game.
I consider this one of my 'must have' games. I bring it with me whenever I take games somewhere. It's by far my favorite area control game because it plays so quickly.
When I first played Rattus, I thought that the witch was incredibly under powered, and that you'd have to be crazy to pick them. However, I really recommend people get used to that particular role, because it can be incredibly powerful when combined with the Knight.
EDIT: 12/22/2013: I have now played Rattus close to ten times. The initial "Oh wow, this is different!" has worn off, but the game remains a very enjoyable and light/quick game. If you enjoy the game I highly recommend picking up an expansion for it though, as I do not have it yet and it's starting to feel very samey every time. The expansions have different roles you can substitute to increase the replayability.
It's hard to rate this particular game. I usually carry it with me, but I find it difficult to suggest and more difficult to play with strangers. I may stop bringing it, since it plays best with people who already know each other.
Robots? Lasers?? Computer Programming??? This game successfully emulates the frantic robo-combat shows that were popular in the 90s. The only drawback is that the power-ups can unbalance the game in longer races.
A fun quick dexterity game. I could be convinced to play every once in a while. I played the game once when I was much younger and I remember it being much more difficult then. However, because you only have to match the middle three there is quite a bit of maneuvering which you can do in order to get things locked. It's like a super-easy Rubik's Cube.
One of the better Classic games. This falls solidly into a '6' for me -- I have to be in the specific mood for this one, but sometimes I really *am* in that mood and enjoy this one. Thankfully, Marian and I are quite casual players so it goes better than it could otherwise.
I think that Spyrium is one o the lightest worker placement games that I have played. I say this as a compliment. I was not expecting great things when I first played this game, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Much of the tension in this game comes from *when* you decide to move from Phase A to Phase B, which is just a brilliant mechanic. Allowing everyone to bid on certain locations, and then up-pricing them as a result works very nicely as an automatic balancer.
I also really like that you don't use every card every time. This is a big thing with many new games that I have noticed. Don't include all components every time, that way each game will be slightly different. This works nicely in Agricola for Occupations/Minor Improvements, it works nicely in Russian Railroads with mechanics, and it works nicely here.
I liked this game enough that I bought my younger brother a copy for Christmas. It's a compliment to pick up a game for yourself after playing it with friends, but it's a HIGH compliment to buy it for another person.
This game simulates planning and building rival cities and competing for various resources. Each turn a player adds one tile to their growing city, and then adjusts their population and money accordingly.
The designers here guaranteed a different experience every time by including more tiles than needed (so you only play with a subset), and introducing various public and private goals to compete for throughout the game. One game I double-invested in Casinos, while another I never saw a single one. This little bit of unknown information really goes a long way here: are Offices in short supply this time? Are we all avoiding Industrial Districts like the plague? Tune in next time to find out!
From the actual playing stand point, the turns are short and simple, with only two resources to really track (income and population). I was not expecting to like such a simple design, but I love it. Rather than focus exclusively on getting those two numbers very high, you're usually focused on combining adjacency bonuses on your city tiles. Two players may have rich towns but accomplish that in completely different ways.
I've rated this a 7 rather than the 8 which I've given to most of the other TtR games because this one is just so basic and open. I really enjoy the Ferries, Tunnels and Territories which the other games have implemented. That's not to say this isn't a great game; it is. However, the others are are much better in my opinion.
Switzerland makes a great two or three person map. It's small enough that you're derailing each others' plans, but not so small as to *always* be doing such.
India is a nice map for larger groups. Its biggest addition is that you can earn points for return routes. That small addition makes a big impact. In my limited experience, India feel like there are more roads to victory than in the traditional.
This is like every other TtR map, except that it has color-blotching like crazy. The addition of Terrain-Doubling is a neat idea, although I think it is more powerful in the 2/3 person games than it is in the 4/5 person games.
When playing just watch out because all of the colors are so close to themselves that if you need one route of a color you probably need MANY.
I'm rating this one a 7 because I like it since it's Ticket to Ride, but it doesn't fill or replace my "If I want to play TtR with X players I'll play THIS board!" Good expansion, not quite as good as the others.
The train stations are a much appreciated addition to the game. Also, the implementation of ferries and tunnels leads to people actually targeting locomotives;I have rarely seen in that in the original.
The only small gripes I would have for this version is that the colors are not as balanced in this version as they were in the original. However, Europe does a better job of incorporating the grey lines so it makes up for it.
EDIT: Europe is a much more strategic map than the original Ticket to Ride. If you are looking to play a more difficult TTR then you may want to check this out.
When I first started in this hobby, Trailer Park Wars was one of the games I picked up. I have retained my review for the game mostly because it's nice to remind ourselves that sometimes our tastes and preferences change over time, and that's okay. That is, just because the game no longer appeals to me does not mean it does not appeal to someone.
ORIGINAL REVIEW: I am a sucker for gimmicky games! Whether it be deep space junk exploration (Galaxy Trucker), or Trailer Park Warfare, I love it!
The game itself is very straightforward; play until X happens, then count up everyone's points. What makes this game special is that the pink flamingos and trailers, characters and actions are all so over-the-top that you count help but laugh.
If you look at this game and say "Ha! Rednecks!" then you'll love it. Otherwise, you won't.