Yes, it is basically a re-theming of Racko. I would recommend this for your young kids in order to learn the states or perhaps as a filler. There are some decisions with the card drafting and some luck when that connecting country you need comes up. The game awards flexibility in your planning.
To me it's really a game of who can be the cleverest. Nobody cares if you have 1 billion points, it's what you do with the cards and creativity that make the game. Played at BGG.con (UPDATE: thrice) & was a blast (for awhile) ... completely depends on the group you play with.
Based on a genius design this is a very long 18XX game. I played an 18 hour game and afterwords was pondering whether any of the small moves I made during hours 1-10 actually amounted to anything. Enjoyed the board and the stock-game but would rather play a faster version.
A well liked 18XX design because it plays quickly (only 4 hours!). Great board and a fair stock-market (nothing too exciting). My biggest gripe is that if all 6 companies are running when the train-rush happens it's can utterly annihilate some of the companies in play. Of course if I was able to "see" this part of the game coming perhaps I would be able to enjoy it better. The big problem when you don't see it is that you just spent 3 others in heavy concentrated calculations and all of a sudden you've basically lost. I thought there should be a couple more mid-high level trains.
Shortened version of 18XX system that works well and I may even end up preferring the 2-4 hour versions better as they could provide more satisfaction/game hour. I haven't played enough to see a big difference between GA & AL.
An enjoyable game that has Nixon and Kennedy fighting toe-toe over the electoral map. They can campaign in states, work the issues for momentum and endorsements or spend their political capital in the media. A very simple system that rewards candidates who keep their eye on the target... winning Election Day! Don't discount the issues and endorsements. Don't get frazzled by your opponent's moves as you often won't need to react directly knowing that you're executing a winning campaign strategy that's netting you more end game points. There's a lot of way to attack the game with smart card play, focused offense and preemptive defense. UPDATE: Knocked rating down 1 point. I love the design but it's not something I'd want to play all the time. There's frustration in every game, it's certainly a dog fight to the end.
An 18XX game with a great theme (space) and some exploration mechanics which I enjoyed but is a make/break point for many fans of the series. Overall I liked the decisions in the game and didn't think it was too difficult to grasp but I didn't really like the start auction as there seemed to be some unbalance in the companies available (I'm sure with experienced players one would have to pay the correct amounts for the stronger companies). Also, it's too long to merit bringing to the table with all the other solid (and shorter) 18XX games available.
A tile-laying auction game with two currencies: money and science points. A round consists of auctioning land tiles for money. These tiles contain some variety of rails and cities which produce either money, science points, VPs or recycling. The first tile you buy in the land auction comes with 1 garbage, the second comes with 2 garbage, etc. They each come with one citizen. When you bow out of the land auction round you can immediately spend science points to pick up one of the technology tiles: these tiles either increase other production centers, provide a new citizen (needed to man a city -- tiles have 1-3 cities which usually produce at different combinations), decrease happiness, remove garbage, transport a citizen (to the next city along a rail) or build a rail.
There is a second auction round where science points are bid. This auction takes place on the game board until each spot is filled. The spots all have cards that are usually bad so you're auctioning not to take the worst cards (unhappiness, more garbage, etc.).
Then you produce: $, VPs, SPs and recycling. Your manned recycling centers can recycle on the tile they're on and orthogonally adjacent tiles connected by rail.
One gets VPs throughout the games through production but the end of the game there is a multiplier for happiness level X number of tiles that do not have garbage on them. The multiplier is 2,3 or 4 and very important. There are also additional points at the end of rounds 2 and 4 depending on what cards are drawn that game.
Finally, tiles with 2 garbage lose 5 points, 3 garbage lose 10 points, etc. Garbage is bad.
So more of an auction game than a Carcassonne-like tile game. Although very different it reminded me a bit of Glenmore in feel and length.
Interesting mix of party/deduction game where players need to leave their inhibitions at the door. You figure out the rules of the high priest by observing the other players (how they act, what they're doing, their environment, etc.).
A mini civ builder where each player starts with a civilization containing certain powers when they begin building it's wonders. Players get a hand of 7 cards, play one, pay any building costs and then hand the next 6 cards to the left. You can interact with the players on the left and right of you by purchasing their resources and in a round by round cold war where the player with the largest army gets points and the player with the lowest loses points. You continue drafting and passing in this style until there is only one card left which is discarded.
The game is played in three rounds and there are a number of combos, mainly in reduced building costs (build for free if you have this other card, etc.). For a thirty minute game that plays up to 7 players it's quite effective.
Awesome components and a mechanic that has you shaking spices from a spice jar. As a cook you try to complete your entree by adding the correct spices & the correct heat to your dish. Meanwhile, ruin your opponents' dishes so that it's only suitable for the pigs.
I'd play this from time to time. It's a light tactical game with a dash of dexterity & a ladle of luck.
Brilliant stock speculation game well ahead of it's time. Players simply build out companies on the board, buy and sell stock. The cleverness is when to merge companies, what companies to buy into and whether to take cash or stock during the mergers.
I don't think a lot of people are going to love the theme... afterall it's really just office work but I thought it was a good change of pace and fitting to the gameplay. That being said it's a game of timing and management that probably isn't going to wow! to many people.
Family style game where players are trying to buy up the boardwalk. There's a majority mechanic for each property and some tactical decisions to make with placements and the cards you gain. Fun game if you play fast and don't take it too seriously.
Light exploration / set-collection game. You need to optimize your movements as your rape Africa. There's a ton of luck involved and I wish there was more you could do defensively but the bottom line is this is a lot of fun. Bumped up my rating half a point as I'm starting to see that there's an extremely subtle game here.
Another strong Wallace offering with a lot happening and various paths for success. Players vie for resources and then work to upgrade those resources (8 in total) through various trade mechanics. Some regions allow for trade if you have a merchant there but an opponent's military presence in that same region will allow him/her to trade and keep you from trading. Grain can be traded for wood or metal. Metal can be made into tools for trade or increasing army size. Gold, Oil, Lapis can upgrade cities for VPs, etc.
Each turn a player starts an empire, brings that empire onto the board and then decides whether to increase the size of the army and how to equip it. Basically here you put down a one-time bid for your army's strength. Usually the best empire available goes to the first person who takes this action. However, subsequent empires may start with less armies but can come onto the board stronger by increasing the previous bid. During fighting if a player has a better army than the defender than they hit on 5s and above otherwise they hit on 7s. A 58% versus 83% chance of success which is significant. Armies are used to take over territory, defend cities, etc. & leave the board at the end of each era.
I've only covered a small portion of what players are competing for. There's a nice ebb and flow to the game. It melds economics and military choices decisions well and should usually take 3 hours to play (probably more with my game groups) as there is a lot to think about.
A decent economic game where players purchase ships then send them out on trade contracts (to make money) until they have earned enough to send the ships out to discover the new world (to gain VPs). It's a clever game where the player with the most foward-moving parts and momentum is going to win. The voyages score twice and can be locked out so there are also some very interesting timing choices... especially since when you send a ship out for VPs it never returns which means you'll need to purchase further ships in order to continue competing. I lost my first game by getting behind the curve early on... something I certainly won't let happen again. I don't think it's going to wow too many people but it's not meant to be a long meaty game. It should play in less than an hour unless you're in my game group where it took 3.5 hours.
I seem to have been playing a lot of games lately consisting of cobbled together euro mechanics. This is no exception. AoE III is a worker placement game where players user their workers for next-turn order, discovery voyages (for VPs, etc. but at a potential risk if you don't send enough workers), colonization (a mini area-control game), warfare (basically removing people from the colonies), goods (set collection for income), upgrading workers (powers), and buying buildings (Puerto Rico light).
It all works well and has a theme that's easy for most people to relate too. Some will find issue with the luck found in the discoveries (number of VPs, etc.), and tile draws for goods & buildings. There's a huge issue with the first turn in that the first player can choose actions before anyone else and it's probably going to be to buy the best building. Each subsequent player gets a pittance of one dollar per turn position after first. Course that first player will then get the first pick of the second actions, etc. too.
I found the actions too derivative and the buildings to be somewhat uninteresting to rate this higher than a 7. Additionally the aesthetics of the game really turn my stomach.
I think streamlining Brass was a great idea. The game plays faster, there's more you can do with the cards and best of all it's designed with an eye towards multiple maps. The different maps can really change the game (probably even more than the subtle changes we see with the different Power Grid maps). I'm not sure if it's necessarily better than Brass but it's probably a game I'll end up playing more often and it's certainly more accessible to new gamers.
2011-08-25 Japan: Felt quite different from the German map as this one only contains 1 iron works and 2 coal mines. Instead of building iron and coal it's garnered from built ships. When ships are built on a new space they come with 2 coal, 2 iron and (usually) demand for some type of good. Along with the ships rather than primarily using train tracks for connections shipping lanes are used. Shipping lanes can be transversed once a built ship between 2 built ports has been established. I should also mention that there are 6 cards to draft from but you can spend an action paying for a card ($1-$3) which is played onto the board immediately. Once you get your head around the new industry set-ups it just feels like a fresh new take on the original game. 2012-09-07 Played the Minnesota map in 2011 and found it very interesting and challenging. Moved rating down 1/2 point as I'm not just dying to play this.
Similar in play to Preußische Ostbahn and in feel to Wabash Cannonball. However, quite a bit different to warrant a separate game. There is no stock dilution or auctions and turn-order never changes. You buy into a family (a daughter) and then can control where that family travels. Family values are set during the first "stock" and rise when they reach cities. If two families meet for the first time all families in the game receive a dividend and the family that connected receives a double-dividend.
After one play: It's almost always your best play to buy into a family when you can afford it so this is what the first part of the game entails. Later on the share distribution seems to drive the game as you are trying to maneuver your families for the double-dividend and keep others, you're not invested in, from making there connection first. Collusion with just one partner (2:2 share split) would be ideal but difficult to setup since anybody can buy into your family on their turn if shares are available and they have the income. The initial share value is difficult to determine -- seems intrinsic to the game but it shouldn't be too high (nobody will get into the family to help it out) or too low (family dividends and capital are low) so they all generally seem to be around $15. Much to be explored and interested to see what the replay value of this is after a few plays.
Question: would the game be improved if both connecting families received a double-dividend payout. It certainly would be a different game.
This has to be the most excrutiatingly tightfisted game I've ever played ... and this is what makes it so great. Wallace's design is flawless and I'm astonished at how he worked out the math to make it such a perfectly tough money management game. You basically start off in the red. You need to issue shares to get money but you have to pay back 20% of each share issued for the rest of the game. You need money to bid for turn order, etc and to build tracks. Overall, you need a great strategy and probably need to use your opponent's tracks (which pays them) to deliver goods in order to make the money you need to hopefully get out of the red before the mid-game.
Rating is for the England map: it's plays similarly to the Rust Belt map except it scales better for 4-6 players. Recommended for new players or larger crowds. London is interesting as in it's the corner of the map and is the only Red city throughout the game.
Rating is only for Scandinavia: sea routelinks and a ferry action set this map apart from others. Although the sea routes cost 6 to build on they are in key areas as they connect parts of the board. Players will tend to take out more stock early on to build on the sea. You do not need the water routes to get from one end of the board to the other. If you choose the ferry action you can transport a cube from one sea-adjacent city to another (before, after or during the move phase). This is key to connecting to our your routes together for maximum payout. It's quite powerful and drives up the auction prices. The map is really tight with 4-players so you'll often see players using your well-placed links.
Switzerland: it's a very tight, expensive map. Perhaps too tight for my taste. Guess that's what you get when you build train tracks in the Alps. Played with 4 and think it may be a better 3-player game. This was my first AoS experience where I maxed out my bonds (a strange map to have the bond buyback mechanic on; although perhaps understandable from a thematic perspective).
Rating is for China: it's a tough map and recommended for experienced players only. The first time you connect to a city you need to pay a one-time connection fee. Also, you need to build out from the sea and each of your builds needs to trace back to the sea. So if you get closed out you may have a very difficult time re-entering the map if the good sea-> land routes are already taken. A very competitive map, somewhat unforgiving.
An incredible 3-player expansion with a few rule-tweaks that really help to ramp up the tension. Since players are building a Metro line within Montreal all track must connect to the network. This mechanic was first introduced in the Moon expansion, I believe and increases the competition as players cannot initially build on opposite sides of the board. It also allows for increased track sharing during the shipment phase which brings us to the Government Track. Each round one of the 3 players builds one govt. track link (up to 3 track lengths). All players can use this track although it provides no income for shipping over the link. The building player can use it to help their cause and/or hurt their opponents' plans. Additionally if you take the Locomotive action you can upgrade your govt. engine level which provides you with another shipment link. Even though you do not get paid for using the govt. links it can be helpful in bridging your own links together. The aforementioned Locomotive action can only be used to increase your govt. engine level. This means one can only expand their engine level by foregoing a shipment action making for tougher decisions, more shares and a tighter game.
Quick-playing card game where players are battling over regions of Greece with the help of the gods. Although card-play is a glorified version of Black Jack there are enough hand-management and scoring decisions to keep it interesting. Plays quite differently but felt similar to Condottiere.
Economic game with a lot of depth, a strong theme and a multitude of cards allowing for a ton of replayability. If you don't enjoy action drafting and economic engine games than stay far far away. Steep learning curve for beginners.
A stock and connection game where the big decision is a) do I pick up more stock into my hand hoping a new scoring round doesn't come up before my next turn OR b) do I lay down track now, increasing my stock value. There's also an ability to sabotage but it's pretty weak and isn't used very often. I remember liking the updated Union Pacific more but I need to play that again to remember why.
A fun push-your-luck game where players use their dice-powers to challenge for new cards. Players can either try to upgrade their powers (they have 6 different slots for new dice powers) or go for victory point cards. You have a big advantage if you understand odds better than your opponents. I place this a step below To Court the King for this type of game. We noticed that some games could end really quick if there's a run on the VP point cards...
Wow! Players place tokens with varying values on the board upside down in different spots to try to win bids (blindly). Once everyone has placed their tokens the winners are revealed on each spot and players can play artifacts or spell cards they have previously won. The pieces are absolutely gorgeous and there's a ton of tough decisions and chances to screw your neighbor. Breese is turning into one of my favourite designers. For you blind-bidding nay-sayers this one has a lot more going on than just blind bidding and it may take an open mind and a couple of plays to see this game's brilliance.
I don't know what I was expecting but I found this disappointing. It is a solid port of the board game but doesn't really bring anything new. To me, that's the issue. I'd much rather play the boardgame -- it's a little longer but doesn't feel so abstracted.
Cool arctic theme with a polar bear! Spiel des Jahres 1979 & well ahead of it's time: it's a pick-up-and-deliver game with a board that you construct (& deconstruct) as you play. It's also got dual purpose cards (although the purposes are very similar). Probably out of date now but with some minor tweaking this could be a great game by today's standards. First item on the To-Fix List: remove the frost-bite cards, they're horrendous; they make you drop off your cargo and move your truck back to camp. Depending on where you were this could be like losing 3 turns.
Players race their forces on the map in order to gather resources so they can build settlements (victory condition is 3). You can attack and defend which adds a needed element. I enjoyed the game but since it's not much more than a light optimization game I feel that it's replay ability is hampered.
Lackluster game that has players creating potions (a combination of ingredients). What works is that the players determine what ingredients the potions require, what ingredients the potion creates (depending on what's available on the board) and then assign a point chip for that potion (1-10 points depending on what chips are available). Players who can fill that potion receive points and the 2 ingredients created by the potion but then must give one of the ingredients used to make the potion to the potion creator. I think the addition of "schools" where players have a hidden ingredient and score points at the end of the game depending on which school got rid of the most ingredients helps the game out immensely. Unfortunately the game is purely economic as the potions don't really do anything special making for a fairly dry experience.
Worker placement game where players are trying to create potions. Now, to create those potions they collect ingredients and then use an app to see how those ingredients mix. The answer to the results are a secret, so players keep track of their knowledge to try to figure out the secret to the potions. I liked it, there's a bit of scoring luck in whether players debunk your potions over others. If others score with lucky guesses, etc. Perhaps it takes a few more games for all the players to totally grok it.
An OK dexterity (well flinging really) game with an awesome premise of trying to stick your meatballs on the chef. Very chaotic -- especially since you need to constantly gather all your meatballs that have been flung over the table or onto your friends' laps. Somebody (else) always seems to have won right when I'm getting into the swing of it.
Clever tile-laying game. I really liked the idea that players draft the money used to pay for building tiles. The money comes in different colours that match the tiles and when a tile is bought with exact change an extra turn is used. Each player builds off of their own Alhambra where bonuses and restrictions apply to tile-placement. A very fun game and highly recommended if you enjoy drafting like I do.
Nice expansion. These only seem to slightly modify an already great game for more variety.
The Favor of the Vizier: The Vizier allows you to jump the queue and purchase something before it's your turn. You flip it over and cannot use it again unless you take an action on a future turn to flip it back. I liked playing with this -- it would especially be handy in a 5-6 player game.
The Exchange Office: An income card you can take that allows you to spend 2 types of currency to purchase an item. Another nice addition that doesn't really break the game since you're taking the ability card as an entire turn action.
The Bonus Cards: haven't played with these but they seemed to be the least exciting. You get a bonus building type if you flip it and show you have the building on the card in your play area.
The Building Huts: haven't used these but they look like they change the game the most. The huts are only worth the number of adjacent buildings, matching their colour, adjacent to them.
Great game that embodies many of my favourite mechanics: I love the simultaneous blind-bid auction that both determines turn-order & revenue, the connection game with preset secret goals a la Ticket to Ride. What I enjoy the most is that money is tight and as the game continues destination spots start filling up & become more expensive to purchase. You need to take careful advantage of your position on each turn otherwise you'll be out-manuevered and find yourself short of the cash needed to move forward. There's a potential runaway leader issue but I feel the game ends before it can become a factor.
Wow. This really does take Chicago Express and notches it up. Particularly with a simultaneous action selection / turn-order mechanism. Plenty of decisions to make and an interesting map full of plenty of opportunity to score points for your investments and while blocking out others.
I hope they come out with new maps for this design soon.
This seems to be the year of Feld. Here we have a mid-weight game, again with multiple ways to score but here he uses the cube tower to good effect. Each turn cubes are thrown into the tower and they determine what actions can be played. Each action corresponds to a different cube color and one can take an action of either of the cube colors that fall out with the strength of the largest number of cubes in one of the colors. So if 3 blues, 1 red and 1 yellow drop out you could take a blue, red or yellow action with a strength of 3. Strength corresponds to the action and could be (how much you could build, how much you could buy, how far you could travel by boat, etc.)
What I really enjoyed is the spatial quality of the game as there's a race to sail to the various islands and build on them. They can fill up quite quickly and once an entire island has been built on their are VP bonuses for those on the island. Although there's quite a lot going on the turns can go quite quickly as it's a series of small actions.
Solid Knizia middle-weight with multiple scoring options, bidding and a sacrifice to Amun-Re. After playing this with people familiar with the game my rating has sky-rocketed. There are a ton of economic and defensive decisions to make each bidding and buying round.
I was looking foward to a new exploration game but this one left me cold. Perhaps I was expecting too much (it looks great) and the concepts of building ladders between mesas is a cool idea. However, the gameplay is fraught with disappointment: first it's extremely fiddly, second there's a steal-mechanic which can throw a lot of your hardwork out the door and third I didn't like the scoring. If Anasazi's Revenge were to ever come out I would try it but I won't be playing the core game again.
An interesting concept but a very flawed design that obviously was never really play-tested and just put on the market to rack-up Angry Birds moolah.
Seriously, the game takes at least an hour to play as you're constantly setting up levels, some of which are nearly impossible to build, only to find out that you can't aim worth a bean because the components suck.
Loads better than Knock on Wood but still just a game built who's only strength is it's marketing. Roll the dice, and hope that you rolled well so you can get rid of your cards. In the end you get to flick a die to knock over the king pig. As a fast game it's not a terrible diversion with young kids.
The Lamont's came up with another unique game. Antics! has a strong theme and is one half pick-up-and-deliver and one half tile-placement. With the the tiles you build your individual anthill and place upon it in order to activate powers. It's an intriguing system but seemed plodding at times. While food is being delivered by to the ant hills amongst the board it needs to be defended lest an opponent steal it on it's route. The endgame condition seems unfair as players may not have an equal number of turns.
While I did not love the game I appreciate Fragor's effort and hope to see more from them.
I can see that some people are disappointed that this isn't necessarily the "war" game they expected. It's really a race to build the most successful civilization. There are 5 ways to gain a victory point: for every 5 cities built, for every 3 temples built, being the first to invest in a new discovery (know-how), for every 7 water areas controlled (by ships) & for every temple destroyed.
The rondel is what really sets this game apart. It makes for tough decisions as you can only choose/perform one type of action on each turn & you can only move 3 spaces along the rondel for free. The one-action per turn keeps the game moving at a steady clip.
Combat is diceless & simple, basically you need one more unit than your opponents defense to conqueur.
This could be a war/diplomacy game depending on the game group personality (just attack more) but I see it more as a resource management, area control game. I'm looking forward to see how future games turn out. 11/2005
UPDATE: Knocking down a point, some from less interest, some from the fact that Antike II is a slightly improved version. 01/2015
Not too much different from Antike. A quick civ game where you can battle other players but those battles need to be chosen wisely as gearing up for war is expensive. It's more of a race to build technologies and expand the fastest. You need to be efficient on action wheel and try to expand without ruffling to many feathers.
A great design with multiple victory conditions, action selection, resource & building management. Most beginners will find the game to be challenging & claustrophobic (painful but fun) as the board & their cities continue to fill up with buildings, pollution and tombstones (from famine). The hundreds of pieces did not bother me & the game isn't as intimidating as it looks once you get a couple of turns under your belt. Some may be put off by the limited player interaction although some nasty interaction will occur once kingdoms meet up with each other; this is when you can really screw with your opponents by harvesting & polluting the land they've had their eye on.
Pick the red apples that best fits the green apple, of course this is extremely subjective (which is where the fun is). UPDATE: downgraded rating from a 9. Lovely game in its simplicity but starting to drag with so many other games out there I'd rather play. UPDATE: I would now rather play Wits and Wagers or Say Anything. Downgraded from a 7.
An enjoyable game of chance. Control freaks should stay away. UPDATE: repeat plays have shown that there are some good choices. Roll so you can place more houses OR add to the water network to protect your investments. The gamble is IF your houses will survive long enough (if an area fills up houses lacking water are removed from the game). There's also some good placement choices wherein you're hoping your opponents will build the canals you need for you.
I would like to give this one another shot as I think my initial "5" rating may be due to the fact that it was late at night and I thought it was going to be a quick/cute game. It's a brain burner. You're trying to place animals in the ark and there are a ton of placement rules depending on whether they're carnivourous or not, etc... to top it off you need to balance the ark so it doesn't capsize.
An interesting tile-laying stock management game (when you boil it down). Players can place a building card from their hand OR place workers. Once a building is surrounded: a) the player who completed it earns it's family seal (stock) and every worker piece, around the building, also earns it's owner(s) additional seals (so you can work in unison to complete projects) b) the player who completed the building places a castle piece which shows a family seal onto the castle grounds, usually covering up a different coloured family seal (stock manipulation). If you're still following the interesting part is after a player's turn they can decide to play one of their four pennants and score any seals they have for gold. The value earned is the number of seals turned in times the number of seals of that colour currently showing on the castle. I was impressed by how fluid all the mechanics fit together despite the fact that Dorn's patented stacking mechanisms were missing.
Brilliant cooperative game with a ton of chrome, theme & tension. It's not a very difficult game to play but there is a lot to learn. 2-hour game?? Try doubling that, (probably depends on the group). Also, there was quite a bit of time between turns in my 6-player game. The good news is that it's pretty fun rooting for & ultimately helping our your fellow companion investigators.
Interesting multi-player abstract where players can capture pieces (muglus) from other teams and with those captures try to split up the captured team's muglus grouping in which case their smaller grouping(s) would all perish having been cut off from their supply chain. Once a player has placed all his muglus he can begin removing empty pieces from the board, as the game becomes more compact the capturing seems to increase. I liked it but it seems one mistake could really ruin your whole game (say if a large portion of your pieces are captured/killed in one turn).
I really dig this simple game design with the concept of Conquer from Outside. Players place 2 pieces that must start from the outside rings or a ring you control. Your second placement can be in an area towards the center that's connected to your first placement.
You control an area by being the first to have 2, 3, or 4 pieces within it (depending on the area's requirement). After taking control of an area you check surrounding areas and if there is an uncontrolled area surrounded by 2, 3, or 4 (depending again...) of your controlled areas then you gain control of that too. This creates an interesting area control game with the opportunity for a chain reaction. In my first game I was up 8-5 and then won on my next move 20-5 due to the chaining effect.
Rating may go up but I first need to see it's re-playability.
I enjoy the twist to this race game. The person who finishes in the least amount of days wins but that's not necessarily the person who finishes first in real-time. Basically it's a family oriented card-drafting game with some special action role-selection, screwage, etc.
I noticed that some of the comments for this game mentioned: no interaction, too long, it's too easy to get your recipe, repetitive play, etc. These opinions are not facts when applied to the 5-player game which is full of interaction, back-stabbing, angst and planning. The bidding reminded me of Aladdin’s Dragons; a really nasty version. The commodities, used to do anything in the game are what you use to buy the recipes which ultimately earn you victory points making for a good amount of economic decisions.
A novel game with a few problems. The flicking is really fun, until you can't land anything making it even more difficult to take out a strong defensive colony. I appreciate the simplicity of the design and it should play fast but I found it to be overlong which is frustrating when you realize 30 minutes before the end that catching up is nigh impossible.
The puzzle piece board: horrible idea as it created notches of unevenness rather than the smooth surface required.
Fun game that succeeds because it tells a good story. It's a light tactical assymetrical war game. Imperials versus the Rebels (as I'm sure you've already guessed). It's basically a race... the Imperials are trying to slog through Hoth with their AT-AT's to destroy the Shield Generator before the Rebels get 6 transport ships away (which are event cards). It's one of those games that could probably take 45 - 180 mins depending on swings of fate, tactical manuevers and use of the force (especially with the dice).
At the Gates of Loyang has many unique ideas. I really like how the scoring works but fear that it may be very difficult to catch up if you're behind. It's already a heavy tactical game with only a bit of interaction so in some cases players will just be trying to beat their own scores, like in a golf match.
I've only played this against opponents online and it's very mathy. I fear that in person all of the calculations would just bore the heck out of players awaiting there turn. Decisions are challenging as every dollar counts. It's not a loosey goosey at all. Extra money is particularly difficult to come by since one needs more each round in order to move up the VP track.
I thought this game was pretty clever at first but now I'm enjoying less with each play. It may just be too much of an abstract brain-burner and I'm not getting it or perhaps I need to hold back earlier in the game so that I have more of the dominant high scoring pieces at the end? Plays similarly to a two-player version of Samurai.
The gameplay is fast and easy to learn yet the decisions are thought-provoking and sometimes painful. It's a fun set collection game and I found myself mainly concerned with my own sets. Repeat plays will show that theirs quite a bit you can do to effect your opponents choices. Money is tight and I really enjoy the borrowing mechanism, which ultimately effects your standings on the points board.
A civ game that certainly works but felt too heavy and complicated. I liked most of the ideas: mythological creatures to fight, tech, movement, buildings, multiple currencies, etc. Overall, I guess I just didn't find it to be too fun.
Interesting game where I was destroyed quickly by someone who quickly went to work forming bridges that worked both offensively and defensively. With lesson one under my belt I look forward to trying again. UPDATE: Already bumping rating down half a point. Clearly there's a strategy but the difference between a novice and experienced players is too great to ever overcome.
Elegant 2-player area control game with multiple paths to victory and multiple ways to score. Each player has a deck of cards valued 1-4. You draw 4 cards and place those values on 4 different slots. Each slot does something different but they do interact with each other. The genius is that each slot seems to be equally important making for some tough decisions. Somewhat dry but plays quickly.
The verdicts still out on this one. There is luck involved from the tile draw but I felt it's a game of positioning yourself to take advantage of good tile draws ("buildings" you need). I felt a lot of tension, which is a good thing, as it's ultimately a game of nickels & dimes, a bad or costly placement here or there (keep in mind you can never move any of the buildings once placed) and you'll lose the game against a worthy opponent.
The 3-4 player game can be frustrating if you need to place in poor spots in order to defend while others watch instead of helping. So far, best as a two player. Perhaps providing a bonus in the multi-player game, when 2 shrines are connected, rather than an outright victory would fix this.
Finally, finally got around to playing this. I do enjoy a pickup-and-deliver game and wish there were more out there. I have to say this one has all the hallmarks of a solid family game but really seems to have a bit too much luck to compete with today's euros.
Most of the luck comes from the cards. The events that are drawn can really help you. Additionally, you can get really lucky if a contract card comes up that you're in a good position to take while others are not.
Disclaimer: Haven't tried the 2007 updated version yet. I'm sure after 20 years they came up with some solid improvements.
A push-your-luck dice game where players' squirrels are placed into 5 parts of the forest with the goal of creating squirrel pairs that can collect nuts. Placement is determined by the roll of 2 dice. One can continue to roll again to place more squirrels but risk busting and having to take back all their squirrels placed during that round. Squirrels can be pushed up into higher parts of the forest where they combine with squirrels from other areas.
The set collection scoring (different types of nuts) and the mechanic to push squirrels up into the forest probably make this too difficult for the youngest of the young crowd. I would stick to the manufacturer's suggested age of 8. Younger player's could probably learn the game but I imagine they would have a very tough time competing with anybody older.
Solid light - mid-weight auction game where players are vying to prove that they are the best Jakob Fugger a Jakob Fugger can be. I like this game, it's quick and has some good decision-making. I imagine that it could become fairly formulaic after repeat plays. UPDATE: I've played with 3 & 5. I much preferred the competition in a 5 player game but think 4 would probably be the sweet spot due to how long the game took.
This one didn't disappoint. You usually need to work with your opponents in order to score. Movement on the board is fairly free-form but you have a limited number of resources so optimization and opportunity are key. The windmill is the new Castillo. This one fits in between Web of Power & El Grande. UPDATE: knocked down half a point as this doesn't hit the table often.
Rating and Comments are for Prototype: I enjoyed this. I wouldn't call the decisions excruciating but there is a lot to think about. An economic game that borrows the action selection mechanic from Age of Steam. Players build car factories, distribution centers (where there is some board play mechanics) and decide how many cars to manufacture. In similar fashion to Lokomotive Werks you know some of the market demand but not all of it. Cars are sold each round and unsold cars will earn you losses.
I was really looking forward to trying this game and when I finally did at BGG.con I found it to be fairly disappointing. It may just be that we weren't confident in our interpretation of the rules (particular regarding which direction cars rebound off each other during crashes, etc.). It's fine as a bumper-car sim but I've recently discovered, although I don't mind blind bidding games I really don't enjoy blind movement games too much. Perhaps additional plays & a better understanding of the rules will move my ranking up.
Interesting theme of bird-mating. Semi-strategic card game where players stack there deck (order it) and then play a little area-control bidding game to see who gets to mate with the mommmas. I liked it but need another play...
For such a classic race game I was suprised that there wasn't more interaction and chances to block out the other racers. I'd much rather play Daytona 500 as it adds a bit more decison making with the auctions and drafting mechanisms. Still, it's a short, light racing game and I'd give it another try soon to see if I'm missing something.
Probably played this game more than any other as a teenager. We had map rooms and house rules (randomly choosing territories and playing risk style). Very fun but now it's kind of tedious and I feel it can be quite unbalanced. Haven't tried any of the newer versions and probably won't. I've grown past this game but will always hold it dear to my heart.
Fun adventure themed game where players who go out to collect jewels, must outfit themselves with various items to give themselves an advantage over various obstacles. Game play is quite simple in that you roll to dice, use one to flip a tile and the other to move your pawn. Serious gamers be warned: there's quite a bit of luck here. However, there's lots to think about for younger players and they should be able to compete with adults.
Wonderful wooden pieces. I really like how the cactus looks and it's a challenge for younger children at first. However, there will be a time when it's no longer a game. When you can balance all of the pieces with ease. If it just came with 5 or so more pieces I think the replayability would be vastly improved. Rating is higher for 3-5 year olds.
Players bounce their 4 balls of 3 different sizes (small, medium and large) into the holes in the walls of a cube. Once someone gets all their balls in you score points based on the size of the balls you got in. Silly fun but I don't see a ton of replay value.
Beautiful game with some of the best componenets. Great theme too but the overall game play involves too much luck, as you're hoping & waiting for the wind to change to your advantage. Feels like a strange simulation & probably wouldn't get too much repeated play.
Fairly quick, enjoyable, elegant two player game. The game play often stretches you (choice wise) but usually provides one with enough options to make it strategic. Reminded me of Schotten-Toten with a bit more luck but a bit more tactical choices to be made. Quite abstract so the balloon cup theme feels pasted on but overall I cannot think of a better choice. I hope to see more of Stephen's games soon. UPDATE: downgraded 1/2 a point as it can just get too game-y and if it's up in the air when the game's close near the end it can really come down to a good card draw.
Tense dexterity game that I'm not too good at. The physics in this one were pretty suprising... the board can tip quite a bit without the pieces falling (although I always seem to be able to find the one piece that will tip the balance).
I had played Pick Two! long ago and enjoyed it. However, I found that like most word games this one is really only competitive with people of the same level as you. I have a good vocabularly but I'm not quick at making words. In word games it's very difficult to get better quickly. So there are certain people who are always going to smoke me in this game.
On the flipside, if you're not too competitive and like making words I'd recommend it. Probably a good game for younger crowds too. I think I would have loved this between age 10-16.
I would have enjoyed this more in my younger years when I had more time for chaos, role-playing and laughs. It's not terrible but I don't ever find myself wanting to play it when Family Business (which is more straight-foward) exists.
A fun party game, better than I thought it would be. It has a good point system, but who cares ... it's really about sculpting clay & then trying to figure out what the h*ck everyone else made. After all, that's what wizards do, right? You don't have to have any artistic ability whatsoever, in fact it may work against you. There's also a board to move around to get "elf stones", etc. (I'll remember this game the next time I hear the phrase "pasted on")
Enjoyable trick-taking game that shines because of the recycle mechanic. Players have a good pile and a poison pile but after each round they can take 3 like cards from the poison pile and add them back into the deck. Extra cards with that number are added to the good/point pile. This allows for some long-term strategy which is rare in a card game.
A fun & light game with aspects of guessing/bluff, negotiation & set-collection. The negotiation phase had more of an auction feel to me. Looking forward to trying ES&R. UPDATE: Moved rating down 1.25 points just because I prefer Witch's Brew & Edel, Stein & Reich better.
Baseball card games where all you really do is flip cards to determine whether you have a hit, ball, double, or whatever. You play by the basic baseball rules but the rulebook does not state whether runners can tag on fly outs, etc. The cards are nice but the game play is seriously lacking -- especially when you're meant to play 9 innings.
This can be improved with some house rules but it needs a complete redesign that adds some decision making before it becomes what I would consider a true game.
An old classic. I like it as it's from a family of card games I hadn't been introduced to before. There's hand management and of course a lot of tactical play. Card counters would do quite well because timing seems important.
Great production and somewhat original ideas even though it boils down to set-collection (collect different companies and turn them in for points), area control (try to get the most of a commodity -- this is where the most points are scored) and auction (closed market where money spent is distributed to the other players).
The end-game seemed too chaotic as area control can flip quickly (most of ours were won by having only 2 of a commodity). This may have been because there were 5 people (where my rating would be about a point less) which seemed to create some control issues. However, the short play time makes up for some of those flaws.
Classic Knizia: easy to learn, simple design which has a lot going for it. A game of second guessing ... knowing when to start your melds and where to play them can be agonizing. The 10 tactics cards help enrichen the theme without detracting from the core game or turning it into a non-collectable CCG-style game.
Solid tactical war game with great chrome (aka thousands of miniatures). I like the battle-back formation mechanics and the stream-lined card-laying activation system. I enjoyed it better than Memoir '44 especially since it has a much better theme.
The theme is pulled off extraordinarily well and the designers used the BSG license to it's fullest. It's Cylons versus humans but the Cylons are initially hidden within the human population. Table-talk and play that inspires trust but leads to accusation, second-guessing and poor decisions is going to help the Cylons undermine the human efforts from within their ranks.
The game relies on an engine to help keep the balance between the two sides. A fluky disaster card-draw or even an early-guessed reveal can throw off this balance. Like most cooperative games there isn't a lot ONE person can do on their turn. So you'll need to really help everyone with the decisions presented to them each turn. This can be frustrating for a revealed Cylon player who at times is going at it alone with not many choices ahead of him. For me BSG only seems to have about 5 plays in it before it becomes too samey. Perhaps this can be changed by bringing different personalities to the table. If you're like me, not much of a table-talker and even less a manipulator you're probably going to be a generally weak player compared to others.
UPDATE: knocked down a half point because it seems to be either too hard or too easy. Additionally the 3-4 hour play time is 1-2 hours too long for such a repetitive game.
Fun game that gets everybody playing and watching into the action immediately. Don't buy one of the new editions when loads of the old ones are still available on eBay. An amazing design. It's just spinning tops but the battles that ensue are often unpredictable and epic. My son absolutely loves playing although he cannot take me down when I put Super Sam into the ring.
This is a cool set-collection puzzle game that can be a little mind-boggling until you get the hang of it. I like the design and especially appreciate it since it came out in '67 but it's pretty dry despite all the bright colours. Recommended for a young players or the family.
Clever line-management / fetish game where you're trying to get your animals into the Beasty Bar and kick others out of line. Players each have identical cards, you play them from your hand and use each animal's power to manipulate the line. Enjoyed it quite a bit. You need to play a tactical game and try to remember which cards your opponents still haven't played.
This is a cute game that finishes in 10 minutes. Players each have different goal cards (to collect certain types of food). There is a large pile of tiles (face down) in the center of the board. Someone says start and everybody scrambles to find their food tiles. Players are collecting 3 different types of food but there are 6 or so in the game. Play continues until someone finds a tile that contains a light/lamp and then everyone needs to hide. They continue picking tiles until they find a refrigerator tile to hide behind... as in musical chairs there is 1 less fridge card than the number of players. Do this three times then count up your score. You get points for collecting the right type of food, bonus points for one type of food and for finding lamps. Lose points for other types of food + the person with the most tiles collected loses points too for being greedy. It's silly fun that would scale well for all ages.
A slow moving game where players draft/bid on cards to gain goods that will eventually be loaded onto ships and delivered. There are some special action cards but generally speaking not much flare here. However, it's a thoughtful game and I would recommend it to players who enjoy out-managing their opponents. It really comes down to timing and bidding just the right amount.
A competitive mish-mash of worker placement and area control. Has a good map and a lot of buildings you can place into to gain powers. Additionally players can build onto those special buildings, owning them, which allows them to score in that district (area control) but also tax others when they place on your buildings (to gain powers).
Forget the theme. This is an auction game where the most cards played (of the chosen types) wins the auctions. You continue most of the auctions until players drop out and take their place marker. (So in a 5 player game the first person to drop out would take the 5 marker). Then when the auction's over whoever won takes their pick of the available prizes. Often the last place finishers are left with "prizes" that hurt them. During the auctions players can choose to play cards until they are equal to the last bid or take a risk where two cards are drawn from the deck. If the cards drawn match the suits of the auction they are added to the bid. If neither of the cards match the suits then the player is out of the auction and takes a scratch. Scratches add up to wounds and can give you negative points at the end of the game. Many players will complain about the luck of the game but I see it more as a game of odds, choosing when to bow out of an auction and looking ahead at what cards the next auctions require. Played quickly it's an alright game.
Players are trying to get from port - port without getting sucked up in the storm (which moves randomly across the board, can cover your ship, and might suck it up as the storm and ships each have magnets). It's a novel design and since each player starts with 4 ships there are some choices. However, overall it contains a lot of randomness (where the storm moves, what you roll for your movement, cards at the ports have different values, etc.).
I can see how some people would like this game but I found it a bit flat and too luck driven for my taste. The scenarios really didn't pull me in and there wasn't enough control. Oh, and need I even mention what a shoddy job they did with the rulebooks (see errata) not too mention the fairly poor components considering the game's price tag? UPDATE: knocked down 1 point as there are just MUCH better cooperative games out these days where players can actually influence the outcome.
Many people are comparing Beyblade to Battling Tops. It's certainly the next step forward tech-wise but there's a big difference. The Beyblade matches are quick, they have customizable parts and sometimes you're going to just be overmatched... i.e. the strongest will win most of the time. With the tops you're usually on an equal footing but most importantly there's more of a narrative in the arena. Tops can be thrown out of the ring, tops can seemingly go down for the count only to sweep an opponent and spring back up for a victory lap. Battles are epic. I didn't find any drama with Beyblade just a big disappointment.
Competitive exploration, area control, action-point game that probably doesn't get the fanfare it deserves. OK, so it doesn't really bring much new to the table but it's a good combination of mechanisms that work. The islands also have mayors (which score well) and they can be overthrown by holding an election (votes from your pieces (citizens) on the island can be increased with goods you've collected).
A quick-playing game, similar to Tutankhamen, where you're trying to collect coloured discs along a track. The discs score depending on how quickly it's color finished. There's really no luck (except perhaps turn-order) and some interesting decisions that don't bog down in too much paralysis.
True it's another K&K majorities game but I found it really intriguing. Players earn food determined by their majorities in three different region types on the board. You get fish in the streams, turkeys in the mountainous areas and bison in the meadows. The food is used to pay for action points (to feed the hunters) and to buy teepees and canoes (which add to the majority totals). There's a tile-laying mechanic too which can be used to create new regions, expand regions or join regions. The choices in the game are difficult for a few reasons: you have a limited number of hunters to work with (although those can be melted down to teepees/canoes and returned to your supply to be bought back later), actions are expensive... you won't always be able to pay for the number of hunters you want to move/activate and the scoring, although easy to understand, is difficult to parse out quickly. This is one of the heavier area-control euros out there.
Initial reaction: although this is an extremely dry stock game the market mechanisms and eventual stock-market crash work very well. I really think Friese did an excellent job balancing the predictability of fluctuations based on purchases and sells by the group with the luck of the draw which although can cause sudden jumps in prices is also based on known probabilities influenced by earlier decisions. The loan mechanic and how one need not bother paying them back is genius too.
I bought this largely out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised to find a solid trick-taking game. Like Hearts but you can follow suit or rank and I feel the 5 suits and scoring mechanics trump it. Plays well with 3 and although the box says it can play 6 my guess would be that the loss of control with more players would greatly hinder enjoyability.
This puzzler is more fun than I expected. A challenging tactical game where your choices (usually) diminish each turn. You must play defensively to win but allow yourself enough wiggle-room. Would not want to play with over-analyzers. UPDATE: I've recently realized that I do not like Blokus as a multiplayer game: that's if you're going to be competitive. I would however be into trying the partners variant.
Nifty abstract where players place Tetris-y 3-dimension pieces on a board. No blank space can be left underneath the pieces and your next move must touch a side of one of your other pieces. Furthermore, different sections of the board have height limitations. You play until someone is out of pieces or nobody has a legal move left. Then you look from the top down and count the squares showing of your color then subtract squares from any unplayed pieces you may have leftover (as in Blokus).
It's enjoyable and the decisions are not too difficult to make (or too obvious). However, in a 3-player game I would think that one person would normally have an advantage since two will usually "fight" each other once more. Biggest downside is that your "friends" could decide to just work together and knock you out of the game early.
Knizia combines his Battleline design (again!) with a non-collectable CCG?? There seems to be a nice balance and consistent theme between each of the decks. Recommended for people who enjoy CCGs but don't want to shell-out their life time savings. Cool art. UPDATE: knocked down 1/2 point as this doesn't get played too often.
Blue Moon City does a great job of bringing the BM universe into a euro-style game. Just don't come in thinking it plays like BM... it's much different and Knizia's strongest design in years. Not too meaty of a game but I enjoyed the set-collection, trying to close off sectors (which provide bonuses later) and the multi-use cards.
This deck contains pairs of cards that are stronger when played together at the expense of tying up your hand while waiting to draw the second-half of the pair. There are some cards that allow you to fish for other cards.
An excellent pick-up-and-deliver game. What really sets this above many others in the genre is it's simplicity. On your turn you use your action points to move your elephant caravan, purchase goods from the market, sell goods at a city or build a palace (where you'll receive money when players travel through your palace on future turns).
There are only four goods and their prices in the buyers market are determined by the the number of goods that have come out each round compared to other goods. So rarer goods cost more and goods are paid for by both rupees and actions. The prices in the sellers market are determined by the markets need at the time. Once one sells a good at the market it's value moves to the bottom (so it's worth the least). The changing markets create an urgency to time the selling of your goods. At each market there is only one good that can be bought and three that can be sold.
Beyond that there are some set collection aspects, etc. for end game scoring. It plays within 30 minutes.
Austria is trying to breakthrough France's lines to capture specific areas on the board or demoralize them before the day is over. France who starts with less troops is trying to bide its time by tying up the Austrian troops and falling back when necessary until their reinforcements arrive.
It plays very much like an abstract game. The way troops engage each other through the approaches is quite unique and the combat system and movement mechanics, once learned, are fairly straight forward but with a large number of fascinating tactical scenarios that are not initially apparent. You need to rely on smart manoeuvres since combat is very expensive (the winner always loses at least one troop) and although the Austrians outnumber the French the time clock really puts pressure on them which can find them moving desperately forward in formations that the French can exploit.
Super-fast game that has players trying to get their primate to punch Kongo's pouch to collect the most coconuts. However, when trying to do this Kongo may swing around and knock you off your post (and out of the game). The game lasts 15-30 seconds and Kongo's swings were a bit too unpredictable for my liking.
Interesting kids game of racing up stairs in a castle. The catch is once you become haunted, or killed for more mature players, then your pawn is covered with a ghost. All the ghosts are the same so at this point it's about trying to remember which ghost is yours. Easier said than done and this is where it gets tricky. Once you're ghosted you can move any ghost pawn so the question is are you moving your pawn forward or someone else's? You second guess yourself once someone moves your ghost or what you think is your ghost...
Would like to try with the expansion which allows up 6 players and adds a new rule.
Light auction game with a Settlers of Catan production mechanism. Good for newbies. I liked this a lot the first time I played but the second time I got destroyed & I can't see how I could have played better. Still, not bad for a light game ... some strategy, tactics & bidding.
A ridiculous amount of ways to score and a neat mechanic where you roll dice which are used for you action selection. Higher numbers on the die allow you to do more but lower numbers are useful later in the round as you'll need to play a lower die than one already placed on an action in order to use it.
Want a really long game -- this one will trip up any AP-prone players.
I have mixed feeling for my initial play. It's a unique take on a pick-up-and-deliver train game where players need to pay attention to the supply and demand that is generated through play. One's actions on the board are somewhat dependent on the cards you hold. In this way the game can be somewhat tactical at times. My group never really moved that far up the income track and in fact those that concentrated on generating income fared poorly which is counter-intuitive with this sort of game. However, I feel that this is also due to inexperience as it has a steep learning curve. It certainly feels like a Wallace game so if you like his designs I'd say it's well worth checking out. I look foward to playing again and seeing what I missed the first time around. UPDATE: raised rating 1 point: there's a lot you can do with the cards and numerous routes to victory. It's strategic but rewards bursts of tactical play well. Very competitive and plenty to think about.
Super-fast playing game (2 minutes) that simulates street-fighting & Street Fighter well. The different character decks all seem to be nicely balanced and even though some of the differences seem subtle they make enough of a difference to warrant their existence.
A tough little abstract game where you're trying to spread across the lands and own a piece of as many territories as possible before the bridges are destroyed. I wouldn't want to play this with too much table talk or it could get frustrating as players could easily work against you.
First of all the ships from the Gamemaster series are fantastic. The first half of the game (broadsides) is pretty good, sail around trying to out guess & out-manuever your opponent then cannon-ball the heck out of them. Aim for their captain or sails to get the edge. The second half of them game (boarding parties), if it comes to it, is purely a dice-fest where you can usually see who's going to win. Not bad for it's time, but now there are much better games.
Unique combination of familiar game systems with a ton of different cards (each unique) that can be drafted and used to create influence in the city. Feld excels at creating various ways to score. Quite tactical with card drafts and dice (rolled once for the round affecting everybody's choices). Deserves repeated play.
A refreshing game with beautiful, albeit busy, artwork. At it's essence it's a worker placement game but there are elements of set collection, area control, auction and a market.
The designers pull out two mechanisms I haven't seen before. First is how the art market changes. There's a square on a grid that can be shifted a number of spots depending on how many different types of art you have. Where the color of the art piece you're selling ends up on the square determines its value in coins and VPs.
Additionally, there's a neat mechanism for determining where actions could be played. Basically it's a small L shaped piece that when placed shows which area is open. I found that controlling this piece can be very powerful especially when there are bonus actions that each player can own by building on spaces. You either want to include more of your spaces or exclude those of your opponents.
Overall, very fun. I loved how all the pieces fit together for an engaging game.
A decent filler type game with some interesting decisions between taking over a "stack" (it's Dorra after all) or a ship. There's a small amount of push-your-luck and trying to outguess your opponents. It's a small but unique game with a solid scoring system and roles that work well (captain, etc.).
A game of hand-management and timing. You play cards that determine how far a certain color moves. The catch being that once someone reaches the top the cards remaining in your hand determine the points you get. So moving colors up that you want to score reduces the number of cards you have in that hand of that color.
Very clever and cool use of a hexbug. Basically the hexbug is in a maze, on your turn you roll the die which tells you what type of wall you can move (spoon, fork or knife). Move a wall and then it's the next person's turn. If the hexbug walks a path to your area of the board you score a point and it's dropped back down into the middle.
Exciting at times but I don't think it has a lot of long-term play value for me. Definitely recommended for kids though.
On your turn you either take a bull card which breaks some (or all!) of your china and take a money card OR spend a money card on new china. When you have 2 money cards you must take china. When you have 0 money cards you must take a bull.
The cards have different colors which determine what gets broken... the trick is to try to mitigate your damages and perhaps leave a tableau that enforces your opponent's to take damage. There's a lot of look-ahead and praying.
I like the game but fear that it may just be TOO tactical. Hopefully further play will prove me wrong.
Solid memory game for children. Players place bunnies into their bunny holes secretly memorizing which ones hop and which don't (noted by the peg color underneath them). First player to collect all four colors first wins.
Players take turn rolling a die. If you roll a color you pick one of the 5 bunnies of that color push it down in it's hole and then hit your farmer to see if it pops out. If it does pop out you keep it. If it doesn't pop out players should try to remember that it's a non-hopping bunny. If you roll trade then you must trade with another player (assuming you have a bunny). One side has all four colors so you can push down any bunny you want.
Kids don't need a great memory to enjoy this. The hopping mechanic works well and the memory aspect should evolve over time.
An excellent pick-up-and-deliver game that maintains that Splotter-uniqueness. The game demands multiple replays because I imagine there are multiple ways to attack the puzzle. I can see that some players have issues with the stopping time action choice but I haven't run across any problems with it yet.
An enjoyable and very abstract simultaneous bidding / set-collection game by Sackson. It's compared to Bazaar because the goal cards are very similar. Bazaar seemed to use more of a puzzle-like maneuver approach where in Business you're trying to outguess your opponents.
I love that each player is playing both the Arabs and Byzantine forces: these forces each have their own treasuries, armies and victory point totals. At the end of the game if a player's lower score for one of the 2 forces is less than half of their higher score than they only score the points for their highest scoring force rather than adding them together. Play-wise the game is fairly straight-forward but there are some extremely difficult choices to make. It really comes down to management of your actions (controlled by cubes), taking advantage of your positions and squeaking out a (fairly) balanced number of VPs for each of your forces. After the first play I wasn't extremely pleased but over the couple of days that followed I kept thinking about the game, possible strategies, it's balance, etc. and it dawned on me that this was another fabulous Wallace design. Would recommend playing with four. UPDATE: subtracted 1/2 point as after the newness of the unique design wears off you see that it's really a very tactical game. Perhaps too tactical.
I like that this is a fast game (under and hour) that's easy to teach but has some tough choices. In this game of timing and efficiency players are redecorating their houses and trying to attract guests. The big points, from what I've seen, are in the bonus tiles where players are racing to complete certain tasks first (these involve being the first to furnish the house a specific way). Take the money (which you'll need) or purchase a tile before others do?
Well-themed game with great cards. The characters interact as you would expect them to, if your familiar with King Arthur. The problem is that the game is far too fiddly and math oriented. Far too much to keep track of for my taste.
In what other game can Joseph Lieberman or the Reagan Democrats be an asset? In what other game will Oprah Winfrey be your saving grace or downfall? An interesting game reminiscent of the Blue Moon family of games in that you're simultaneously competing over multiple objectives (states in this case) through hand-management and a cycling deck of action cards. The drafting mechanism was a great addition -- and probably necessary for longevity.
People say they play this to spend quality time with their children and get them into gaming. Well, if you want to teach your kids anything after they've learned how to count I recommend staying away from this game all together. There must be some other games which teach some type of strategy without having to be able to read yet. I'll think it over. 08-2005
UPDATE: Now with a son I admit this isn't as bad as I thought... considering how he enjoys it. Since he already knows how to take turns and all of his colors there's not much point in this with other games available. Raised rating from 1 to 1.5. I do NOT like the art on the new editions.
A unique Splotter design (a bit Roads & Boats, a bit of Bus) that's a pick-up-and-deliver game with a movie producer theme that actually fit the gameplay. The goal is to create networks that will ultimately provide what's needed to create a movie. I've only tried it with 2 (which worked well) but I'm thinking the sweet spot is probably 3.
I have mixed feelings about this expansion. It's fun in it's absurdity but it adds a ton of chaos to a game that already has quite a bit of luck. I'm sure you can improve your catapulting skills over time but it's very hard to control and can quickly change the meeples on the map. Frustrating if you've been invested in building something. With the catapult nothing is defensible. If you don't bring an ounce of seriousness to your Carcassonne game then I say use the catapult.
Good expansion as it adds more scoring multipliers thus increasing the tactics without really changing much of the gameplay. Also, the Big meeple is really great as it encourages more takeovers. 10-2007 UPDATE: increasing rating 1/2 point. This really does make for a better game. The new tiles, including the lake and cathedral scoring are great.
Far better than the original Carcassonne. This one has some real decision making & almost every tile draw provides multiple ways to build up your offense or defense. In typical Knizia fashion there are multiple scoring opportunities.
This is probably the heaviest of the series with a lot of decision making and speculation. Pretty long for a Carc game but can be quite rewarding. I really like how the game ramps up and the point-grabbing focuses change as the game progresses. UPDATE: raised rating up a 1/2 point as this version just provides more to think about.
If you like The River and have the other expansions than The River II is a logical choice. It's the same as the first river but with expansion building goodness. It's also cool to have a 24-tile river.
Another solid expansion that increases game tactics without changing the play much. I like that you can pick and choose which expansions, out of several now, you want to play with. The builder is a significant piece as it allows for extra turns (builds). The pig adds to the farmer scoring bonus and the trading tiles add a bit of set collection to the game.
A very simple game in that all you need to do is place one of your animal cards in order within a line of cards. The categories are weight, height and life-span so there's challenges for all age groups. The art is beautiful and they've done a great job taking the idea from Chronology which used time but ultimately took the idea from Rack-O which used numbers. What I like though is that everyone is playing on the same line, rather than working on an individual one.
A roll-and-move game that's not as brainless as many of the others. It sort of has a pick-up-and deliver mechanic as you need to earn specific things in order to go down certain routes. It's pretty fun with the right crowd and has secret missions of sorts: before the game begins players allocate how many points of each of three categories they want to collect in order to secure victory.
A tactical majorities game where dice can often play a great deal in determining your moves. There are some significant decisions to make in placing cubes onto the board (strengthening a position in a tactic that can backfire later if you lose control of that area) or onto the table to increase your strength in a colour (let's just call them colours and cubes... why pretend there's theme in a Colvini game). Plays quickly and probably best for with 3. NOTE TO SELF: don't play this when I'm really tired!
Interesting take on the pattern recognition game. There are nine score cards out depicting different 3 horse patterns. Players stare at the horses in the carousel to see if they can make one of the simple moves (offered in the rules) in order to put 3 horses in front of the carousel that would match one of the cards. Nice production. If you like games like Set I would suggest you check this out.
Sorta a cross between Way Out West and Caylus. It's a worker placement game where after the worker placement phase actions are resolved in order determined by their position on the board. What makes this game interesting is that players are also buying and placing tiles to build towns. There are some interesting placement and timing decisions to consider that can effect your opponents. Furthermore there are shootouts that determine who wins a tile (if multiple workers are placed on an action) and you can try to steal profits from buildings. I think I would always prefer the dice for shootouts over the less exciting card-draw variant.
An enjoyable and light race game where players have a hand of cards with symbols on them and set up routes between Cartagena and the escape boat. You play a card and move one of your pawns to the next empty place with that symbol towards the boat, leapfrogging that symbol everywhere it has a piece on it. There's also an interesting mechanic where you move pieces backwards in order to draft extra cards.
Definitely one of the stronger games to come out of the 70s. Has a slight Acquire feel although you aren't ever taking over other Cartels. There's certainly some fortune in how the cards come out but it works as an economic family game.
This is a cool version of the game that became Sleuth. Interesting map and nifty character pieces. I really need to play this a couple more times before I can make up my mind ... something I'm looking forward to.
Auction game where one person flips fish cards over until one of the other players ring the bell. The fish always cost the same but they then must be placed onto their storage. There's only room for 3 different types of fish. Instead of auctioning a player can also sell fish. The more fish you have of one type the higher your sell price. There are special cards which let you steal fish and when you sell fish, that type in another players storage will rot some unless they have it on ice.
I've only played once but we noticed that the two leaders in the game were running away with it. They always had more money to invest and would continually invest often. Might be a problem with the game but hopefully just something everyone needs to understand before the game starts.
Set-collection, screwage (slight), press-your-luck and some economic timing decisions. All-in-all something I'd like to try again hoping to see a gem of a game.
Easy to learn area control game where players with identical sets of chits blindly choose two of them for their starting hand and then place one on the board or activate it's power. Redraw back to 2 chits. Once the board is filled it's scored both horizontally and vertically with various bonuses.
For a post-card game it seems to hit it's mark fine. My initial impression is that the chit-drawing may be too chaotic. I dominated my first play but it seemed to be due to the draws more than my tactics. I'm hoping this was just a fluke. Looking forward to seeing what else Mr. Do has in store for us in the future.
[6-player] for what this game offers, a team-oriented deduction, it does a great job, has exceptional art and a fine theme. Players are each on one of two teams (your teammates and opponents alignment is initially secret) and the team wins when somebody declares victory and can point out their teammates that are holding the necessary objects (either keys or goblets). On a players turn they can declare victory, fight another player (to gain information or objects) or trade with another player. Fighting is resolved by casting votes (various objects or player powers can influence the fight). The trading mechanism is great because many of the objects, when the trade is accepted, spring a special power (which is the highlight of the game and where a lot of the deduction, etc. happens). UPDATE: Knocking down a point as I had a terrible experience with this... the game is very dependent on the group dynamic.
The verdict's still out. Typical Feld game as far as multiple ways to score. Here he uses dice to determine your actions and a player board, that reminded me a bit of Key Harvest, for placing tiles you gain onto further constraining your actions. Another game of micro-efficiency and combos but this time many of your choices are tactical in nature due to the dice rolls.
Ingenious combination of dungeon crawler meets flicking dexterity game. The rules aren't terrible once you get them down -- some dungeon crawlers get too bogged down with rules and fiddly status adjustments. The playing time is much more than 30 minutes as advertised. Expect 1-2 hours depending on experience. I'd probably like it better if it played faster.
The cloak of invisibility + poisoned dagger combination may be too powerful a combination for any overlord to defeat.
Card-based Catan works well because all of the cards fit together quite nicely and there's enough different types of cards (a ton if you include expansions) to warrant replay. Problem for me is that it's a 90-minute game and there are other, meatier games that could be played instead. I'd still like to explore it more though as there seems to be multiple paths to victory worth exploring.
This expansion allows for a meatier game of Catan at the expense of a longer game. I'm not a huge fan of the knights but I do like the different city improvement tracks you can build up. The expansion works well but I don't necessarily want to play it more than the base game.
Not a big fan of the cards. I like the excitement the dice have to offer. Sure, if you want a more balanced game then you would play with a deck of dice. However, the events are designed (mainly) to help the rich get richer. Sure it adds some extra flavour and strategic options (for example: one bonus if for those who have the most settlements on harbors). Overall, I thought the cards just created a measured choas that helped the leaders the most.
I really love how this game takes the Catan mechanisms, simplifies them for kids and adds a pirate theme. No keeping track of score, no cards to hold onto (although you can buy Coco tiles that work as instants) and two simple trading mechanisms (1:1 once on the board per turn and 2:1 unlimited with the supply).
Played with my son and wife and have to say that it's pretty fun and the player who makes the best decisions with what they have to work should usually win. It's not really one of those silly children's games that you'd play with your adult friends though.
It's a cute, quick filler which I would certainly play again but it really has little depth and some control issues (so you're really playing your hand against the odds of what others can/will play). UPDATE: rating moved up a point as I'm starting to see some significant hand-management decisions.
Sort of a dungeon crawl but seemed much more like a tactical placement game with special powers. You'll need some luck and some tiles are much more powerful then others, it's just a quick fun game so make up your own rules.
For me, replaces Agricola, as there's not as much luck (no cards dealt, so everybody starts on the same footing) and I can compete. Agricola has a learning curve that I never caught up on. So yeah, basically, Rosenberg streamlined Agricola and added the great quest mechanic that allows you to perform additional actions. You still need to manage your resources and time your moves according to what you feel others may be trying to do.
K&K have done it again and this time they bring some new slants to previous design ideas. The game has just the right amount of tension, plenty to think about and a dynamite mechanic that keeps the board play from being static without being too chaotic.
Cavum has an 18XX vibe with it's route-building and ability to button spots.
There's an interesting action selection / action point mechanic where each player has a menu of 12 actions to play in a round. On your turn you can play 1-4 of your remaining actions. This makes for some interesting decisions since timing is crucial; sometimes you'll want to compose a key early play (usually to sweep up gems or gain board position before it's blocked out) and sometimes your aim will be for a late play on the board.
There are many ways to score including route building to cities, set-collection and stock-market manipulation. Overall a fine game.
A multi-faceted game with various routes to victory & an overall great design. There's area control, resources, building, action/role selection, etc. I suspect the group you play will heavily influence what type of game it becomes. It could be a screw your neighbor negotiation game (moving the provost, paying attention to what your opponents are going for & beating them to it). The number of players also changes the game (it's much tighter and danger lurks with 5 compared to 3).
Beware of min-maxers, there's a lot going on. The bottom line is, and I've said this before, you have to be flexible with this one. Long-term stategies are good but you're going to be forced into a lot of tactical decisions.
UPDATE: moved rating down .75 points. I'm just not as excited about this & it's a long game. It's an uber-euro that's as tough as your opponent's are bright.
Excellent party game that has some acting in it (2nd & 3rd rounds) but since the celebrities are reused from round to round you really only need to provide clues to quickly fire-up your teammates' recall skills.
Excellent mix of theme and area-control strategy. Cool theme, powers and multiple paths to victory. It can get swingy at times so a bit of table talk may be needed to try to protect yourself. Doesn't overstay it's welcome.
Fantastic two-player abstract that utilizes die faces are used to determine movement options. Try to capture your opponent and make it the chamber in the center of the board that splits dice (thus growing your army). Pieces bounce of the top and bottom of the board and the board wraps left-to-right. Great combination of offensive and defensive tactics.
Cute little mathy game where players are trying to move pawns to their side of the board. There are 5 columns each containing a pawn. You move 3 pawns per turn and the number one lands on lets you know how far the next pawn can be moved. Try to combo your moves to land on scoring spots, safe spots or to provide your opponent with a poor lead.
Really suffers from sameness and gets dull fairly quickly. Here's a quote from modgirl - "What number am I looking for? I kinda went blank for a minute."
Borrows some ideas from Titan: The Arena in that you're betting on who's going to win a battle and then playing cards to try to affect the outcome. The theme matches up as you're a wizard casting spells (cheating) to affect the outcome of battle.
Bets and cards played are blind though making for a lot of randomness but you can hedge your bets (receiving a lower payout) and see who played cards where and how many cards were placed on monsters. The deck of cards you can play cast spells, lower or decrease power. Also, a random judge is drawn each round who has rules on what can / cannot be played.
Its fun and quick with cool art. Just don't expect too much depth.
Solid family game that's both random and subtle. It's a push your luck game with majority scoring (you want the most of an animal to get the bonus token). Also want to keep track of what animals may be left in the bag lest you bust. Remember to hide your good chips under your pile when possible and try to use the monkeys cleverly. The stuffed animal edition where you're pulling guts out the monkey's back is super cute.
Interesting connection with a clever design where one player is connecting mountains and the other rivers and where each space on the board serves as both a mountain and river space. There's some luck in the dice but it didn't seem to overwhelm the gameplay -- basically you need to set yourself up so that the odds are in your favor and so as to not provide your opponent with any easy connections.
The purest negotiation game I've played. If you like negotiation I highly recommend it as it's a great design. The play is straight-forward but you'll need to use your guile and get into as many (profitable) deals as possible in order to win. UPDATE: knocked down another half a point as I don't really look foward to playing this. Played with 3-players and it was god-awful (not enough buying and selling chaos for my taste). Would rate as 3 with 3 players.
Simple family style game that's actually quite enjoyable. I always prefer these games (such as Wits and Wagers) where players are rewarded for making the best educated guess rather than needing to actually know the subject (Trivial Pursuit). It's the push-your-luck element that really lets this game shine.
Cool game although a bit chaotic and unpredictable as you would expect when time travel is the theme. Fit's into you coat pocket. Confusing to new players if they're unpatient but really not that hard to learn.
A pure bluffing game with a fine theme of trying to cross a bridge. If someone catches you bluffing or if you incorrectly call a bluff than it's Ciao, Ciao (and you're pushed into the abyss).
Roll a die and then peek at the number (it's rolled in a cup that has a looking glass on one end). The die has a 1, 2, 3, 4, X, X. On the X's you need to bluff on the other numbers you can bluff if you want. Say a number and move the number of spaces forward then the other players can choose to call the bluff or not. Players who correctly call a bluff push you over and then move that number of spaces (called) themselves.
I would only recommend this for people who can purchase this on the cheap or who are huge Citadels fans. If you already have a US version of the game it only adds some new purple districts (which is great but unnecessary unless you are tired of the old cards). The new wooden king is cool and having another set of character cards is great.
A multi-player solitaire game in the vein of Carcassone that plays quickly and has some good decision making. Everybody will be playing with the same set of tiles so the trick to the puzzle is how to place your personal set of tiles and scoring markers in order to outscore your opponents.
Tight resource-management where players are attempting to build the best civilization (cities). Should you go for quantity or quality? It's sometimes tough to decide how strong you should be influence-wise (Will of the People); the mechanic which sucks your opponent's townspeople into your city, destroying their unpopulated buildings. You'll need enough food from harvesting to feed all of your citizens (and any new ones) otherwise you'll pay a strong penalty. This one definitely hits the sweet spot.
Cute, quick, Kramer. Move customers in place to either land on your properties or move close to your properties. Meanwhile keep the robber away from you and try to move him towards your opponents properties; try to keep the other customers off of your opponents properties, especially the properties that pay during every player's "turn" (not round). Customers can only move in one direction (player chooses where to turn on intersections). There's also a great balance of deciding whether to use your VPs to a) buy more properties or b) expand properties. There's a bit of luck involved and some possible king maker scenarios.
This game has quite a few mechanics mixed together. Not really much of a deck-builder although that's sorta part of the game (you don't really churn through a deck though). Much more of a careful planning, card management, resource collection game. Haven't quite figured it out yet. Bottom line is there's a lot to do but you'll probably fail if you try to do it all!
An interesting tile-laying game where you're basically creating an engine to generate income, happiness and VPs. You also ship resources to power your tiles and hoping others don't snatch you're shipment opportunities away from you like they would in Age of Steam.
Players use dice to fulfill spell cards and gain more dice (their are a 5 or 6 different "suits", I believe") to fulfill more difficult spell cards. Decent decisions to be made and more of a light-mid weight game than a filler.
Elegant design with some simple but effective rules for building up civilizations and fighting other civs. Way ahead of it's time... many of the mechanics can be seen in new games even now. The heart of the game is trading goods and dealing with calamities. The calamities give the game life and strife while trading is the key to winning.
Games will take a full day and it's mostly worth it. My biggest beef is that it can get really gamey at times. For example, one may be thankful to receive a calamity in order to kill off people so that they have a larger supply to pay off taxes and circumvent a revolt. One may want to shrink the number of cities built so that they are more likely to get cards before the stacks empty out.
This is a pretty good, light, abstact, gateway game. Most of all it's enjoyable and I like the added layer that you're colour is secret. UPDATE: The game is easy to learn but not necessarily light... it scales well with the abilities of the players. Add 1/2 point to rating.
A rather clever dexterity game that has players take turns climbing a summit with there fingers using mechanics borrowed from Twister. Everybody found it to be more challenging than it appears. The game comes with a bunch of cards that can be arranged in countless ways to create the mountain challenge. If all this sounds interesting to you I'd say go try to swoop up a copy.
A quick abstract game that has players building (and traveling) higher and higher trying to isolate their opponents so that they cannot travel as high. If your climber is the highest and your opponents cannot travel any higher on their turns then you win. Each player starts with 2 ladders and a blocker that are very valuable and can each only be used once during the span of the game. Beautiful production.
Intriguing dice game where the roller splits dice into auctionable lots, the dice are auctioned and then placed onto each player's individual board. There are rules to placing on the board but basically you're trying to match each clock face. Additionally, when numbers on the clock are matched special powers are activated that allow further enhancements to your clock. Once endgame conditions are met players score points for how accurate there clocks are, sets, etc. There's no player interaction accept for in the auctions so it might be interesting to see some interactive powers in an expansion.
Short and sweet game that has a bit more depth than I expected. Your hand is tight (only 3 cards) so it's difficult to decide whether to take or play a weaker card (worth less points) because you need it to help complete your clocktower or whether to take a card that will only allow you to start or add onto a tower that's taller than you wish (keeping in mind that each subsequent tower with the same coloured roof must be at least one story higher). The draw pile is face up so there's another level of tactics, which I haven't explored, from the defensive end.
UPDATE: this is an enjoyable game. Once you have a couple of games under your belt the decision making is pretty quick. Not too much interaction although you can look and see what your opponent may need to help make your drafting decisions.
I've only played Cloud 9 twice but it was a disappointment especially with the new rules where they kept the brain intact but cut out the heart. The original FX Schmid rules contained bluffing, catch-up mechanisms, card combos and the Pass The Barn card (pass the pilot duties to the next player). Out of the Box should have kept these rules as an advanced variant. Either way I thought there was just too much guessing unless you're a card-counter thus making it a memory game. It just seemed like a game of statistics with imperfect information. I think I had a tough time because you're betting on what other players can do but have no influence over their play.
Clue variant that's actually pretty good, where one player runs around stealing & destroying while the others try to find & capture him before he splits with the loot. Sometimes it's too easy to spot the thief (a lucky guess). Being the thief = 6; being a detective = 4.
Kramer & Kiesling have long been one of my favorite development teams. Here they don't disappoint. Coal Baron is a midweight game that can play within an hour. It mixes a number of popular mechanics with worker placement taking the forefront. Basically, you purchase the rights to mining contracts (with various delivery systems) and rights to open new shafts within your mine. You use action points to move your mine cart/elevator to gather and deliver the raw materials needed to fulfill your contracts.
I like how the worker placement spaces do not block other players. If a place is taken you can still go there by playing down one more worker than already exists on that spot. The efficiency of your worker placements and timing is key here.
A take on the carnival goldfish bowl game. Hats Off tried something similar in the 60s but those are nearly impossible to aim. Coconuts adds some card play and stacking cups to add a bit more excitement. It all boils down to silly fun so I'd be hard-pressed to turn it down.
Solid deduction game where you can see everybody elses codes but your own. When it's your turn you read a question and answer it based on the tiles your opponents hold (this helps them deduce what their code is). As the game progresses deduction get's trickier as once a player get's their code correct they get new tiles, tiles are often reshuffled, which can screw with your book-keeping.
Ouch! Pattern recognition on a board with tiny pictures on tiles and the pattern is a sequence of 5 pictures or the longest sequence one has found if time runs out. Interesting? Perhaps. Fun? Perhaps not.
There's nothing particular bad about this game other than I didn't think it was too fun. There are certainly some interesting decisions to make, some bluffing and a pretty good theme considering the game's simplicity. This may have made a good filler but it overstays it's welcome and feels more like war than blackjack (which it's partially based upon). Also, it's hard to catch up if you get too far behind especially if you've lost some agents.
Players blindly play cards to bid for influence in regions. Once strengths in a region are revealed, colonial powers collectively fight the natives, and if successful the strongest colonial power steals that region's resources.
I think the blind aspect of the game really works here. Players aren't secretly assigning all of their moves, a la Wallenstein, instead they're playing them one at a time, perhaps bluffing but nontheless providing information. Cards played down along with position of fleets, often needed to enter a region, provide a sense of what opponent's are attempting to accomplish. There are also some action cards that come into play and size limits in regions making timing very important. All in all a solid, often tense majority influence game.
Very fun light-medium strategy card game which is themed fairly well for a Knizia creation. Players bid on which creatures will survive 5 rounds and then use the cards in their hands, good timing and a bit of bluffing and luck to manipulate the outcome. There are player powers but they don't come in too often and when they do they aren't powerful enough to detract from the game.
Streamlined 2-player war game that plays fairly quickly and creates a great narrative. I imagine there are some pretty great session reports attached to this title. Although I'm not a big fan of the war theme the tactics are engaging enough to merit further plays.
Quick-moving war game with a theme I found much more intriguing than that of Memoir '44. Some tough decisions between pressing forward for the attack or getting the scattered troops back onto the line. Comes with dice any 5-year old would love.
Interesting game of bidding for and then erecting buildings to improve one's city. At the end of each round the cities are attacked. Players work together (or not) to help fend of the invaders: it's a blind-bid mechanic that improves the Comuni defense (defense of all cities). As a catch-up the richest cities have more to defend and must make up the difference after the Comuni defense has been established by using their city walls.
As the game progresses the decision-making gets much more interesting as the competition for resources & the strength of invaders become stronger.
Players score points for the levels of their different buildings + hero points for contributing the most to the Comuni defenses - points for each level of undefended attack. There's also T&E inspired bonus points for having a city with a good balance of different building types.
Cardinal vs Cardinal: Road to the Vatican! is a theme that should be used more often. Interesting artwork and a system that's simple but somewhat uninspiring. My group gave this the bone so I didn't complete my first game. There's a card draw which some people will complain about because some cards are more valuable then others. I liked the chance for bluff, the quick-play, that it starts as a little stock game & ends with majorities scoring. I'd give it another shot if I had a chance.
Think Titan: the Arena but with blind bidding. Each player has 3 bid cards each round with values anywhere between -1 to 4. They can bid on 2 of 5 initial cardinals. After the first 2 rounds one cardinal is eliminated along with the vote cards attached to it. After the 3rd round the cardinal with the most votes is elected pope and earns an extra VP. VP values on the cardinals range from 1-3. Reveal the votes under each of the remaining cardinals and the player with the highest value scores those VPs. Continue playing until someone has 9 points.
It's a card game that involves bluff and timing. Battles are chosen and the main stategy seems to be to try to diminish your opponents hand while keeping enough good cards for yourself to win other territories later. I have observed that everytime this is played at least one person really despises it. Will try again but afraid my rating will not improve.
Heavy-weight action point game where players are competing for VPs in various arenas. The brilliance of this game is in the gifting system: you give a "gift" to someone and they are suddenly obligated to you... they need to vote for you, they lose area control ties, etc. You can only break the obligation by giving them a more valuable gift or by fulfilling one of your obligations. The gift system sets up an intriguing domino system once multiple players have multiple gifts from multiple opponents.
There's a lot going on here and more to be explored.
A nice game where you are trying to connect two sides of the board by gaining majorities of different sections. Once you place the required 2 or 3 pieces around a section you conquer it. Of course most of the placements are within intersections of 2 or 3 sections making for some interesting decisions. Not sure how strong the first player advantage is.
First, Hasbro should be congratulated for producing solid launchers. If you've ever played Hats Off or many of the older launching games of the past you know these types of games can quickly degenerate to complete random chaos.
It's light, fast, fun and silly. You're trying to connect 4-in-a-row. Landing on top of another player's square takes it. There's and advanced version that adds some extra power checkers to the game and actually improves it.
Unfortunately, I never see the bottom board in play much. It's actually harder to launch into so the action tends to stay on top.
(Two-player version which is how Conquest was originally published).
Cool abstract war game. Probably one of the earliest action point games (this one has 20 per turn!).
Basically each piece has a move limit. Some pieces (ships, elephants and chariots) can transport other (slower) pieces across land or water. Successful attacks reset that pieces turn-allowance back to zero (momentum). Additionally defender can battle-back if they have a piece within two moves of the attacked piece (thus killing the attacker). The game is really about setting up to take advantage of these two features (attack momentum & battle-back).
I like the game. It's compared to Chess a lot but I don't really see that too much although I suppose if you wanted to spend a TON of time figuring out how to spend your 20 action points you could make it into that type of game. I say play quickly and have fun!
Exploration game where players start on an island and send out colonizers to search the seas and take over newly found islands. Eventually players will knock up against each other and can war. The problem is that warring is much more expensive than taking over islands and building huts, that give VPs and more money, on those islands.
My first game saw no fighting but I suppose that the group you play with could completely change that.
I enjoyed the mechanics including the simple fighting rules but I expect some will be disappointed as it's an exploration game (therefore contains a good amount of luck in that you can find different levels of islands or open seas) and because it's pretty much a euro/war hybrid.
A remake of CotE with Struggle of Empire rules. Problem is I would rather just play Struggle or the original (w/a fixed cannon mechanic). There's nothing terribly wrong with this. Oh, and I don't like the big Eagle maps -- it's just silly. I don't need to pretend like I'm sitting in a war room making big decisions.
Interesting in that players use their troops to conquer enemies in lands but there's no direct attact on your opponents. Instead you try to block your opponents from being able to reach certain parts of the board... it's really more of a strategic game. You receive a bonus strength from troops adjacent to the hex you're attacking.
Solid game of bluffing, maneuver and patience. Players are trying to get the secret briefcase to their base and on their turn can pay off one of the eight spies, move a spy or kill a spy. The catch is that, in turn-order, the other players can block your move or assassination attempt. How? by having paid the spy more money (payoffs are tallied secretly in a bank book).
As the game progresses the spies get killed off (as do your investments in them) and the game comes down to who has the most control of the remaining spies. At this point the game can get silly and frustrating but everything up to this point is quite a bit of fun.
2008-02 This is the ultimate supply/demand game. Players who enjoy buying, selling and trying to carve out the best profit margin may really enjoy this. I like the premise quite a bit but found that the game play gets repetitive after awhile and a lot of my moves felt determined by what options were provided by the other players rather than what I wanted to do. Since it's meant to be a commodity speculation game the tactical nature was frustrating at times. Perhaps my outlook will improve upon further play but for now it's too dull to get excited about. 2012-07-20 UPDATE: Played again last year with a completely new set of people and enjoyed it much more. Group think can do that. Raising rating +.5.
I dig the idea and implementation of worker placement mixed with deck-building. It's a decent game but I feel the card system might be too streamlined and pared down making for what would eventually become a duller and duller replay experience as compared to other deck-builders.
Strange twist on trick-taking as players are aiming to either take the least amount of points or the most points (but don't get too greedy!) in a 3-player game. Trying to fall inbetween the other scores is tricky and you'll often need to change strategies mid-stream. One draws a special power before the game begins (each card represents a power -- luckily they aren't huge rule-breakers). Also, interestingly the point values of cards are different depending on what the trump suit is (Sheepshead). Sounds convuluted but it all ties in fairly well.
A silly conquest game with alliances to exploit and tons of powers. The end game is usually always going to be spent doing everything you can to make sure the leader doesn't win. Once you build a base on a planet it's fairly safe there which makes the game play at a good clip since it's all about forward momentum.
The description calls this a casual card game but really it's not. It does play fast. You really need to pay attention to what's going on. There's a certain tension and at times you're really just at the mercy of your opponent's cards. I found it intriguing, fun? not so sure about.
I really love the theme and how the actions of other players can launch your pieces to the next level. In order to succeed you want to pay attention to what other players want to do. In the meanwhile you want to keep enough resources to accomplish your own goals. The technology track is key to the game.
I had a fear of the end-of-world end-game scenario where pollution gets too high. Mostly because I thought it could be a game spoiler for the player that's furthest behind. Fortunately single-handedly causing the end-game would take a lot of ingenious work, work that would better be spent trying to win. Curious how many games actually end with everyone losing... my guess is that it rarely happens.
A frantic game due to the timer where annoying music is played out. Feels more like packing a suitcase than a dexterity game. Still it's quite fun if in the right mood. Sometimes it's amazing what you can pack into the back of the trunk and I like how many of the pieces work together.
Light blind bidding game. Each player has 3 train cars they are racing. A card comes out depicting each of the 3 different train cars and a wild (move any car) along with a number of spaces you'll be able to move for each car. Players all start with the same hand of cards and take turn blind bidding and can win one or more of the cars. If they win the bid they get to move their corresponding car the number of spaces indicated on the card. This continues until the races are over (you get points at the halfway point and at the end of the race). Trick is you can only refuel your hand of bid cards once. OK for an/opener closer if you can get by the horrible theme.
Very fun game as long as you use your imagination. You can be the humans or the monster either way you're almost gauranteed to get stuck in a tight spot and deal out some major damage. I wish more boards had been created for this gem.