It was pretty good. Fast play, good mechanics, and interesting. I have no problem with the high luck factor, but the luck here never seems to lead to any nice surprises. I think I like it better as a 2-3 player game where the luck is more controllable.
It was pretty good. Fast play, good mechanics, and interesting. I have no problem with the high luck factor, but the luck here never seems to lead to any nice surprises. I think I like it better as a 2-3 player game where the luck is more controllable.
I got this from Terri for Christmas 04. I have played the palm version, and now I have played it once in person. It will definately take some more plays to get the hang of it, but I am sure I like it now. It is a little heavy on the book-keeping, but not horribly so. The random factor is pretty significant, but it lead to nice surprises in this game. Time will tell if this game is too random dor its weight.
Just played my first game. I have played other blind bidding games, and I understand some people's objection to them, but this game did not feel that way. It felt like there were alot more options because of the artifacts and even with 5 players there always seemed to be something interesting to go for that wasn't being fought over. The game has a very tense feel because of the room by room reveal and because you often have gamble the success of a later room on the result of an earlier room. The magic cards have some nasty effects, and I'm glad we used them.
This rating is for one two player and one five player game. When I was looking at it at Origin 04, I was hesitant to buy this game because the player interaction seemed very low. After playing it, I think I was completely wrong. It is true that the player interaction is mostly limited to taking what the other player needs, but I under appreciated how important that can be in this game. I thought the game was a touch long for my preference in a two player game, and the mock third "player" worked well, but made the setup more complex. These objections don't apply with more players, and as such, it was a fine game.
Taught by BeyondMonopoly and others at PrezCon 04. After two plays, this is a great, tight game. There are alot of choices and many paths to victory, but not too surprisingly for a Knizia game, balance and efficiency are key. You can pay through the nose to get exactly what you want, but you will be beaten by a frugal player. You can be frugal and get by, but the player willing to pay for valuable things will win. The correct path is probably in the middle and influenced by the people you are playing with.
Update: Played my 3rd game and came in 2nd for the third time... This time was with my regular game group. The game played out a little differently, but still ended up with three players within a three point span at the lead. Raised my rating from an 8 to a 9.
Cute little tile laying game with unusual production values for a German game. The board has a plastic frame which adds some depth to parts of the jungle and doubles as a player screen. The game itself is OK, but not all that remarkable. It has more screwage than most tile laying games.
Just played a four player game of this. It seems to me that starting in a corner is an advantage. The two players that only had two fronts to worry about were in the lead with the two players who had three fronts slightly behind. Apparently there is a thread that discusses this very issue with some disagreement about who has the advantage. I will have to read that, but perhaps the players with three fronts should have come to an agreement.
I think it works well that the game plays lightning fast during the early development while not much is going on and when it slows down, the level of interaction increases accordingly. I like that most of the game focuses on development, but most games are going to end in a fight. It is also a surprisingly simple game. I used the Board Games with Scott video to explain the rules for me, and only a couple of additional clarifications were needed.
Its likely to be compared with Tempus when that comes out, and while this is a very good game, I think Tempus is a little more interesting and offers greater variety.
Terri got this from friends for Christmas 04. Good light and fun game, but would it have killed them to spring for some art for the cards? I like the game, but it gets tiresome after about 45 minutes; not intended for long sessions.
Metro without the screwage? That's what I heard, but I think this game has more screwage than Metro. Since the resources are so limited, a little screwage in this game can go a long way. It has an interesting system, and the master architect placement is really important. The route placement and builder arrangement certainly needs to be more dictated by the future locations of the architects than it was in my first game. Like I said, it is interesting, and I would like to try it again sometime, but my initial impression, based on one play, is that this game has limited options. In some games limited options narrow your focus. In this game it seems to take away your control.
I really liked the game, but my rating might change after additional plays. The placement rules are complex and puzzle-like, and part of the enjoyment was watching people (myself included) screw up. Maybe it just matched my mood for the evening. We'll see what I really think next time.
This game has some real potential and looks beautiful! It uses tower pieces that look like they were riped out o Torres. There are alot of competing goals. You only get two guys and you have to use them to surround buildings. They aren't going to do it, so you have to crush nomads with buildings to wring additional workers out of them. They aren't really yours, so you have to turn in a pennant to get more workers of your own. The problems are that you only have 4 pennants and it just so happens that you can only turn money in at that time. It is a challenge to balance out your options.
I played Arkham Horror at Origins 05. Despite significant differences, at it's heart, it feels alot like Runebound. The differences are in the details, but the details matter. This seems like a better game than 1st edition Runebound. It is nice being able to adjust your character, and it's really nice that the monsters and tasks constantly refresh.
Once upon a time, there were three games. Cartagena: the papa game, Marco Polo: the mama game, and Around the World: the baby game.
Cartagena, the papa game, was a wise and elegant old game. It knew that excess mechanics do not make for a better game, and it was simple, fast, and deep.
Marco Polo, the mama game, was also a fine game, but it had not learned this lesson. It had bonus treasure, sneaky little tricks, and more card play. The extra bits were interesting, but in the end it could not compare to or stand apart from the papa game.
The baby game, Around the world, wanted to find its own place in the world. It did not wish to copy the papa game, so instead it tried to out-game the mama game. It added the element of chance with die rolling and event cards, but it also helped mitigate that chance with variable actions and spending gold to re-roll. It was unexpected and had lots of variety. It did not fear the shadow of the mama game, and while it still could not match the wily old papa game, it could stand proudly on it's own.
P.S. I just played a game where so many blue event cards came up that no-one could finish in 80 days. The game does have a special condition for this, but we had one person who, with nearly perfect cards could have still made it, so after the first guy got back to london, the rest of us were playing a few turns with no chance of victory. It was no fun at all, and I dropped the game rating a point as a result.
I played this game online a couple times, but played it in person first at DragonCon 04. The number of people that claim that they lost interest in this game is troublesome, but so far my interest in increasing with additional plays. The only remaining negative factor is that 5 player games get more play with our group.
I played a four player game of this at WBC 2005. Unfortunately, we read the rules wrong. We thought that you could place rangers in any region of the color where your plane was landed. I am pretty sure this completely changes the game. I like what I played, but I will have to try it again before I have any kind of real impression.
OK, now I have tried it again, this time with 5 players, the correct rules, but only the beginner's game. Virtually every turn consists of flying to an area and placing rangers. Whenever possible, you want to fly to an area where you can score because if you place men somewhere that won't score, you are making that area more attractive to others. It's very hard to plan ahead. You can, however, do some pretty sneaky things with the money. Being able to moving one extra man anywhere is pretty powerful. I also think that the windmill scoring in the full game will add a new element of planning to help offset the chaos. I guess my opinion isn't final, especially without playing the full game, but I got a good impression and while it seems to be a pretty decent game, it doesn't really stand out much, either.
I picked up this game at DragonCon 04. I've heard alot of good things about this game, it's only $10, and it's nice to have a game that plays with a large group, but still plays with 4-5 (our normal group size). It's interesting light fare, and the different player goals adds an interesting element. The group reaction was very positive.
The last couple games I've played really dragged on at the end. I think that was due to the Dodge City expansion. I think next time we will play without that (or maybe just with the characters from it).
I gave this to Terri for Christmas 04. It adds some nice options to the game, but the two times we played it recently, the end of the game took forever to resolve. I think the additional cards from this expansion are dragging out the endgame. Next time I think we will use the new characters without the rest of the cards.
For just a little more complexity than Lost Cities, I think you get a whole lot more game here. I also like the event cards. If you don't like them leave them alot, but I like a little unpredictability. I may not like it when it happens, but I like it when things get shaken up. I also like the fact that they are kept under control by having a limit on how many you can play. BTW: I had heard that the cards were thin and cheap, but OH MY GOD!
What a tough dilemma. I played the game at Origins and it is pretty much what I expected it to be. It is truly a light RPG with some board gaming elements. The main surprise was how all the players each had completely different roles to play. In a typical RPG, players typically stay together and fight as a group. This game requires the group to split up in order to accomplish their different goals. Out game involved boarding another ship, so some had to stay behind to fire the weapons and control our ship while others had to actually board the enemy ship. You might think it is less interesting to stay behind, but they always had plenty to do.
The problem I have is almost certainly the reason I was able to pick up the game so cheaply at BGG.con. While the game is on the verge of being practical, I am not sure I will ever use my own copy. I am playing board games because I don't have time to learn and play RPGs anymore. This game is a very light RPG, but even so, I am unlikely to learn the game well enough to actually run it well. Still, it is a fun game. Unlike the previous owner, I am willing to keep the game due to it's unique nature and potential.
In the first game, the scenario we played ended up practically falling into the traitor's (my) hands. In our second game the haunt started quite early. During play, I noticed some potential holes in the rules, and clearly there are limits to the replayability. Despite that, it was a lot of fun. This game lives and dies by it's theme (pun intended), regardless of who wins. It is similar to an RPG in that the rules are a framework and guideline, but if you are paying too much attention to the rules during play, you are probably missing the fun.
O.K. Some revision to my assesment. We just played a scenario that was nearly impossible, and implied several rule exceptions while explaining few of them. There was also no traitor, so we had to run the monsters outselves. I hope there aren't many other scenarios like this.
Just reading the rules did not give me a good idea of what the game would be like. The rules are pretty badly organized, but it was more than that. I just see how things fit together until we started playing.
We played a 5 player game, but since it was our first time, I left the action cards of the expansion out of it. That made the competition for the actions more extreme that I think it normally would be. Still, that competition is part of what made it fun and while this many players is probably more chaotic than some would like, I enjoyed it. I imagine that adding the action cards help, since that adds a consolation action that you can take when someone else gets what you really wanted.
A very abstract game, but it is quite simple and offers some reasonably interesting play. It's important to realize that every tile will be available to you by the end of the game, so plan accordingly. You can afford to have multiple groups as long as the connecting spaces can be filled with tiles that haven't come up yet, and as long as noone blocks the space before it does. If you aren't afraid to capture tiles, it is hard for apponents to block you unless they are already near the space you need. Also realize that you won't use every tile (4 are left at the end). Some of these will be symbol tiles since it isn't practical to join all such widly divergant areas.
I don't seem to find Blokus attractive like everyone else seems to. I think it looks cheap and ugly. Gemblo, on the other hand looks very nice. I have also lost badly every time I've tried it, but I'd like to think I'm not holding that against it. I wonder if I have some kind of sub-conscious prejudice against this game? Maybe the grey board looks too much like the grey background color that is so prevalent in the computer programs I stare at all day? If that's true, then the game's visual relationship with Tetris isn't helping...
This game breaks several of my game preference standards. I do not generally care for perfect information abstracts, and more specifically, I am not crazy about Blokus. For some reason the 3d nature of this one calls to me. Part of the enjoyment definately comes from turning the game around and trying to visualize different possibilities. I enjoy this during my turns and during other people's turns too. Despite all this contemplation, games tend to be pretty quick.
This is probably too early for a fair rating, especially since I lost every game. Still, I felt my options were a little more limited than I would have liked. There just didn't seem to be many times where I was torn between my choices.
I was really expecting to love this game. After reading the rules, it seemed elegent and interesting. Now that I've played it, it was definately interesting. I love the multiple ways to get income, and I think it will take a while to learn the best ways to learn and balance the possible strategies. Unfortunately, it did not seem as elegant as the reading of the rules indicated. It felt a little fiddly and it didn't play as quickly as I had hoped, but it was just one play. If the next game goes more smoothly, then this rating will go up.
I finally got a chance to try this game thanks to Jon Wandke bringing it on his visit to Richmond. I have been interested in this game since it's release, but it has had a mixed reception, so I resolved to try it before buying. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to finish before Jon had to go, but I believe I got enough of a feel for the game to rate it.
I can understand some people's issue with the luck in the game. The demand rolls can totally cut people out of making a profit on their hooch, but at least in our game, everyone who got cut out knew they were taking a risk. There are ways to play it safe, but obviously, they aren't as profitable. There isn't much you can do about bad production rolls, but I don't see this as being any worse than Settlers.
The rest of the game has some luck, but it is all mitigated by the game mechanics. The muscle cards are distributed so that everyone is guaranteed a full range of cards. There is some luck of the draw, but you choose from face up cards and everyone is bidding for turn order with the muscle cards. The rest of the luck comes from the actions of the other players, not a die or a card.
There is a good variety of action cards. There is no doubt that some muscle cards are more valuable than others. It would probably take several games to learn how to use them to the full advantage and some of them can be pretty sneaky. It would also probably take several plays to determine if any of them are "too" powerful, but I didn't get that impression from any of the one's we saw.
The most interesting part of the game is how few ways there are to get influence markers. Most of these come from action cards, and you only get one of those per turn. At first, I wasn't even sure we would get enough, but this wasn't really a problem. To me it seemed like it was always a struggle to get enough, but they were available. The first place player was to one who was able to make the best use of his influence. That's a good sign.
This game also has a significant "Take That" element. The last place player was also using her influence well, but she made the "mistake" of being in front near the beginning of the game. She became a target, and sometimes was just plain in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was positioned well, and if we had played to the proper end of the game, I think she would have done better.
I, on the other hand, never had much influence to spend. Still, that didn't knock me out of the game. I played a conservative game and was able to pick at the leftovers. I ended up in the middle of the pack when we ended the game, but I might still have been able to turn things around to my favor. That is also a good sign.
The game plays well and has a strong theme. Every mechanic feels like it fits with the theme, but the game is still reasonably streamlined. I can see how it isn't for everyone, and I probably won't rush out to buy it, but it is a fun game. Thanks again, Jon.
Just picked this up as part of a mass order from Adam Spielt (thanks Joe) and got to play it twice yesterday. I had seen it played before and am happy to say that it is as fun as it looks. I think it has the fun of werewolf without the 30 minutes of discussion per turn. It should be a great way to warm up, but even as much as I liked it, I wouldn't want to make a night of it. A couple games should be good.
Bought it at Origins 04, months before the general release. I didn't realize it was an early release at the time; it was just an interesting game. I like the theme, the art, and the general quality. Nice bits of background on each character in the booklet. Interesting interplay between the character cards, the events and the locations. After a certain amount of time without this game coming back out, I realized that I am a little reluctant to pull it out due to the complexity of the card interplay. I still like the game alot, but I dropped the rating a point to reflect this.
I finally got a chance to play this due to a friend's $0.25 thrift store find. I had read the rules before, but I frankly just did not get it without having the pieces in front of me.
I recently got Cloud 9, and I can't miss the similar feel of these games. In both games, you are banking your progress on chance, but Can't Stop is a little more strategic, and Cloud 9 feels more social. I found the strategy surprising in a game so dominated by die. Making a four die roll into pairs really lets you play with the odds. You can use progression on two high probability tracks to mitigate the odds on faster lower probability tracks. When columns get blocked, things become much more tense, and luck dominates more.
It does end up being pretty dry. We played on the stop sign version, and unfortunately, that level of red is a bit too much for me. If I wasn't aware of the game's reputation, I would have had a very hard time taking this game seriously. Is there a perfect version of this game? I've seen the pictures of the more attractive mountain version, but the Parker Bros version has the nice pieces that interlock and fit into the stop sign board. It would be great if someone would produce a nice classy wooden version!
I am reluctant to give any game a 9 after just one playing, but this game is pretty close to that. It seems to be quite a bit longer than the 90 minutes stated above, but it remained interesting throughout. I am also sure that we were extra slow due to inexperiance and turns went much faster later in the game. The rules seem long, but that is mostly because they are fairly explicit and have lots of examples. It took a while to explain the game, but everything makes sense and it isn't hard to follow. Abount my only complaint is that the cities and towns on the contracts are a little hard to find (for an American). It would have been nice if the contracts had little maps on them to help narrow the search (ala TtR).
The Age of Steam lite descriptions I have heard are not too far off. It isn't all that much like AoS, but it has a similar gamer quality to it and I ended the game with lots of ideas about what to do differently next time.
My initial impression based on the descriptions was "This game looks really interesting! ". I just played a two player game and I think it is a decent game for two players, but is perhaps a bit long. I do see how it would be even longer with more players. It also has a pretty linear progression without alot of surprises.
Picked up at the BGG.con 2006 flea market as one of three games for $30. I mostly got it because I remembered liking what I heard during a Board Games To Go Podcast.
Just played it for the first time. We played the base game without any of the "Grand Canyon" expansion. I had heard that it was a trick taking game, and it was interesting to see that in action. I do feel the game needed a little something extra, and I bet the expansion will provide that.
I like it even better than the unexpanded Carcassonne. I was surprised at how different the rivers are and forests are than the roads and cities in Caracssone. Of course the graslands are much simpler than the farmers. I think the mechanics are fundamentally similar, and it is really a very different tile distribution that changes this game. It feels like a much tighter game.
It's nice to have something a little different from the norm, but my first game didn't quite leave a strong impression. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt for now, but I need to play it again to be sure of my rating. I have played it again, and I don't care for the ending that much.
Taught by BeyondMonopoly and others at PrezCon 04. This is a nice blind bidding game. It reminds me of Pirates Cove without the stupid combat that penalizes players for guessing 'wrong'. I am not sure if there is any real strategy to it, yet, but it plays very quickly. Even if there isn't, a light, fast, pirate themed game would get played anyway.
Cartagena is a very tight game. One of the keys to this game for me is how you have to play off your opponent's moves. You have to balance waiting for an opportunity and avoiding giving other players similar opportunities. In my opinion, the game has an elegance that makes it mentally attractive.
Wow, it's pretty funny to come back and realize you haven't updated your comment in a couple of years! Here's what I had before: "Only a couple games tried so far. Still new to the game. This game is so widely acclaimed, I'm not sure I've really formed my own opinion yet."
More Catan players is a good thing. The normal 4 player Catan game can be very tight and competative for resources. This can be a good thing, but if you want to play with a confrontation wary group, you can play a 4 player game with the 5-6 player expansion.
I played this with the new Catan event/die cards. This was only my first game, but I bet the more even resource distribution from the deck of die really helped the game. I just played regular Settlers yesterday and it was one of those games where my numbers just never came up. That's OK in a short game, but it would probably be painful here. I also really enjoyed the progress cards. They added alot of variety to the game.
I know the order is backwards, but the more complex building structure really reminded me of Parthenon. What can I say? I played Parthenon first...
I think this is my preferred way to play Settlers now. I like the events, but I have not played enough to swear that there aren't any balance issues. I definately like the more even distribution forced by the deck of die. If needed, you should also be able to control how even the distribution is by alterning the number of cards that are put under the new year card.
6 Nimmt is a very good, light, chaotic game. Some of the best features are that the simultaneous card play keeps it fast, the shifting values of the columns keeps you on your toes, and there is still room for some sneaky play. It makes a top notch filler game.
Terri got the German (6 Nimmt!) version of this at the BGG.CON Flea Market. Good thing we did because we seem to have lost Category 5!
I played this at BGG.CON, and it would be a 9 if it took an hour less to play, but it doesn't. It is still a very good game, and an engrossing way to spend three hours or so. There is alot to choose from, and the game options change as the game progresses, which helps make the game length more bearable. Still, this is not a game that would come out often.
After more plays, I have decided that this game is right on the edge of how much effort I am willing to put into a game. Beyond this, it would become work. More theme would help keep the interest up, which is why Twilight Imperium also straddles this same edge.
I saw this game first at Origins 2005, but did not get a chance to play it. I purchased it while playing games at a game store with a group in MI.
This is a pretty cool game, but it seems to have one serious problem. The hidden victory conditions sound interesting, but unfortunately, you can be playing, and by sheer circumstance, have everything go your way based on other people's actions. You can win the game with inaction. I saw it happen. It's probably not likely, but out of three games, there were two games were people were better off doing nothing for a good bit of the game because any action would have hurt them. Once you recognize a bad situation it takes a couple turns to shift influence elsewhere but the whole game might only last 5 or 6 turns, so it is probably too late.
Even with this problem, I still like playing the game, and may play it again. It is possible that with more experienced players, this is unlikely, but we have alot of games to choose from. Even though I like the game, we are unlikely to play it enough to become experience players.
P.S. My initial rating was an 8, but I dropped it to a 6 after the third game.
I finally played the new version, and while the map is laid out differently, it really didn't seem to effect play much. I think the periodic scoring helps break up the game play a little, but the emissary scoring insures that the real will won't be known until the end. I think I like the game a little better than when I first played Web of Power, but it didn't seem to grab anyone else.
We played it once with 5 people, but I can't say I cared for it much. We are normally a slow group, but we extended this fairly simple game and played it like it was every move counted for the game. This would be fine if the game offered pay-out in kind, but it took WAY too long for what should be a simple game.
"More, but not too much more" seems to be the key point of this game. You might want to advance the goats in your color to get score, but other people can drive them up too and you don't want them to outnumber your Chupacabra. You are strongest in red, but you might want to play the yellow since no-one is in that, yet. You had better watch out competition, or else you might end up in a Taj Mahal style round of one-ups-manship that drains your card supply.
O.K. It's official. I like push your luck filler games. I played the German version first, and bought the English version which has newer rules. This is a very nice set collection game with the aforementioned push your luck element. A great way to start or end the night.
We played a half game once and I wasn't too impressed. We mostly just picked characters for the extra money they would give, so it wasn't that interesting. The second time we used the different roles much better, and the game was better as a result. Unfortunately, it also took a surprisingly long time to play, so it does have that one mark against it.
We played again last night, and I have just decided that the decisions in this game aren't that interesting to me.
I really wish I had paid attention to the time when I started this game. This is supposed to be a fairly long game, but it sure didn't feel like it. It felt like it took about an hour, but I there's no way that the game was that fast.
Obviously I enjoyed my single play of the game. You start out easy; the first turn doesn't seem to be likely to have alot of conflict unless you are really trying to get into someone's face. After that, cities start to encrouch on each other and you have basics in place to start some competition. The game gets tighter and tighter as it progresses. You won't have enough of anything and if you do, it probably won't be true for long.
It's funny that my impression of the game seems to directly contradict some other people's complaints about the game. I did not find it even slightly dry or overly complicated, altough I'm sure it helped that I had experianced players handling the rules. There is certainly alot of calculation involved, and the penalty for mistakes can be high, so I can understand those objections.
Played on BSW and once for real. I had heard alot about it, and both expected to like it and was worried it would be too dry and abstract. It was pretty abstract, but I didn't really mind when I was playing. This is a nice little game. It didn't take very long and while I knew the rules, I had no idea what I was doing. I hope I find it as interesting when I start to understand the strategy.
I got to play a full demo game of Cleopatra at Origins 06. There is quite a bit going on in this game and there is quite a bit of luck involved as well. I think the game is interesting and varied enough that a little luck won't hurt it. I enjoyed my game, but I am still very unsure about the corruption aspect. I am not a big fan of High Society because I don't really like the automatic elimination. It does add tension to the game, but it isn't the kind of tension I like. High Society is a shorter game, the stakes are lower, and there isn't any luck. This game is longer and there are face down cards in the draw piles. You could take a chance on a face down pile late in the game and easily get four corruption or more late in the game. A bad draw like that could easily take you out of the game. I'm sure that doesn't happen all that often, but I doubt it would be fun. I still like the game, but my concern is strong enough to keep me from buying the game until I have played it several more times.
P.S. In our game the guy who shuffled split the deck, turned half the cards face up and then shuffled like he was supposed to. Unfortunately, he did that several more times. It seemed like a good idea at the time (someone even said so), but on reflection, I think it was a mistake. This not only randomized the cards, but also randomizes the distribution of face-up to face down cards. I think a 50/50 mix is important to the game, and I am pretty sure that there were more face-down cards than there should have been.
This is a great light game. Lots of ups and downs (pun intended). It's basically a gambling game. On each turn you decide if you want to stay in the balloon for more points or jump out to keep the current point level. The higher you go, the more it's worth, but the higher the risk. If the balloon fails, you get nothing. It's very simple and fast.
I also recently played Can't Stop for the first time. I can't help but comment on the similarity. Can't stop is more strategic, but Cloud 9 has a subtle social aspect to it that appeals to me. If the person to your left is the pilot, then you get to decide last if you are jumping out. If everyone else is staying, then I am more inclined to stay as well because if we all fall, then no-one benefits. If the pilot is on your right, then you need to decide what everyone else is going to do and also decide if you can pull of the piloting yourself on the next turn. I enjoy this additional aspect more than the pure numbers game of Can't Stop.
While the theme of Cloud 9 is paper thin, I still think it adds a touch to the game. Perhaps it should have been a shipwreck theme because one person deciding to jump can trigger the rest of the players to lose their nerve too. It is sometimes like rats leaving a sinking ship with the poor pilot left behind. For some reason it amuses me when that happens, especially when I'm the poor "fool" left behind, and I have a wildcard to guarantee my next roll.
Picked this up for $5.50 in an after Christmas (04) sale. The rating I gave it doesn't do it justice, but sometimes a game is just "pretty good" in the grand scheme of things and "great" in the right circumstances.
This game is a light deduction game with a fair amount of luck. What's nice is that, at least for the times I played it, it requires just the right amount of thought for a quick filler. Sure there is alot of luck involved, but not too much for a filler game.
So far we have only played two player games. Time and more players may change my opinion.
I have played a couple plays under the belt now. In my first two player game, I did not appreciate the value of being able to move a bidding chip, and Terri cremed me with it. The next game was a little more balanced, and I did not feel personally responsible for dealing with every threat, and that was nice. I do not feel like I have encountered the real meat of the game, but I do like the basics.
I finally got a chance to play this classic game at Origins `06.
I have some questions. I wonder how often it is possible to have a singular victory. I pretty much remained unnoticed until I got my fourth planet, then, of course, no-one wanted to ally with me. When another player got his forth base, he was lucky enough to draw me and I was happy to compromise for a shared win. Apparently, it worked for him, too, since he didn't betray me. How many different ways could this have played out? I don't know the game all that well, but I can bet that there were edicts or flare cards that could have encouraged either one of us to feign cooperation.
That leads to the other question. How vital are the extensions to the game? I have the A.H. version, so I only have the basic set. The heart of the game does seem to be in the negotiation and in correctly picking your allies. Will the game be as much fun without the flares and additional edicts? Now that I have played the game, I have more incentive to find out.
TO be honest, I'm not generally a big fan of this sort of move/shoot game. I appreciate their effort to keep it simple, but it is too simple to make me feel like I'm there, and the mechanics aren't interesting enough to play it for gameplay.
It is a nice quick game that is fun to play when you don't have time for something else. It would have gotten a slightly higher rating if there was a little more variety. The "Puzzle" goal only has three pieces, and one of the pieces is given to you. That's a little two easy.
I picked up a cheap $45 dollar Crokinole/Carom with hundreds of different variations, but the rules for Crokinole are wrong... This seems like a decent game, but it has yet to grab me. Still, it is enjoyable.
Terri won a kick-ass Fillip & Carom, Inc. board at BGG.CON!
I liked the game, and won't mind playing when offered, but I don't know the Cthulu mythos well enough to appreciate alot of the humor. I think playing gave me a taste of what Munchkin would be like if I didn't connect with the theme.
Picked up at PrezCon 07 Auction for $22. O.K. Now that I'v played it, I see why this is frequently preferred over Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix and Top Race. I like the drafting, the red line lanes, and not having "special" cards.
I played Doom and really enjoyed it. This is much the same thing, except we normally have 5 players, so game fits better in our group. Its a great game and reminds me of my days playing role playing games, but it isn't nearly as much work. The game is structured to make the players feel pretty powerful, but that can be a little frustrating as the overlord. It is not uncommon for monsters to get cut down before they even get a real attack, but despite this, I was still able to keep the players on the edge through most of the first scenario. About the only real knock on this game is the length. It is probably the right length for this sort of game, but it still will make it hard to get out again. We have to organize multiple play sessions in a row to make it work.
I played this game at PrezCon 05. This is a very nice racing game, and I can see why alot of people prefer it over Formula De. They are very different games. Formula De is all about managing risk, and this one is by far the more strategic game. I also played Royal Turf this weekend, and this seems to be a much more streamlined version of that. Royal Turf moves one horse at a time, but in the course of a single round, all the horses move. This game condenses that into a single multi-colored card, and seems like a better game to me. I also prefer this game's auction over that game's blind bidding.
This is yet another push your luck game. The theme and the nice gems are really the only thing that sets this appart from the rest. The probability manipulation is probably less interesting than in Cloud Nine and certainly less than Pickomino, but it fits the theme very well. It makes a very nice filler and I have no problem when people suggest the game.
O.K. party game. The scoring is probably more complex than most party gamers would like, but it does add a touch of strategy to it. Thank goodness the gender stereotypes in the game are supplied by the players, not by stupid battle of the sexes style questions.
We have played this once as a two player game, but we forgot to place the neutral castles. I played an unbalanced strategy, which initially put me far ahead, but ended up handing the game to her. It will be interesting how this built in balancing plays out with the neutral castles or more players. I enjoyed the game alot, but I am not ready to rate it yet until we play again.
Finally played it with four. I definately like this game.
We just played our first game (2 player), and I loved it. I haven't gotten to play many miniature games, so this fills a void. The rules are surprisingly clean and efficient, but there is alot you can do. I put all the tiles and items for each new area in zip lock bags, so it was fairly easy to setup each new area. We set the marine difficulty down a bit since I wanted to approach this as more of an adventure/rpg game than as a competative combat game, and it worked great! The rating is a touch lower due to the game length making it hard to bring out.
Just played my first game (2 player). I really love the way the rivers shift and flow. There is a bit of downtime, but I don't think it's as bad as Tikal (which I love), because the choices are a little simpler. My initial rating is a bit conservative since it was only one playing. If it plays well with more, it will probably go up.
Now I have played it as a four player game. The game lasted over 2.5 hours (we tend to be a slow group), but it did not seem that long at all to me. *I* really enjoyed it, and my partner for the first game enjoyed it, but the jury is still out for the rest of the group. Even though I enjoyed it, the length restricts its playability, so I am keeping my initial rating.
I played this at Origins 05. Being relatively new to Euro Games means that I have played many of these game in reverse. People who have been doing this for a while played this game years ago when every third game wasn't an auction game. Me, I just played it, and this is the third game. I liked it a fair amount, but one play did not reveal anything to make it stand out. It's kind of unfair, but that's the frame of reference I have to work with.
Update: Rating reflects multiple plays now. Some nice subtlties, but not too heavy. It doesn't make you feel like you are making movies, but it is well themed non-the-less.
Got this as the "Welcome" prize at BGG.CON, largely based on the lunatic ravings of Tom Vasel. I did not actually get to play it until Origins 06 where I was taught the game by Tom Vasel (thanks Tom). All kidding aside, it was a good time.
I have gone ahead and estimated my rating, but I'm not sure that my first and only game was representative. There was considerably less combat than I had originally expected, which is good. I would not want the game to be all about fighting. In our game, we were primary just running for the nearest, most easily achieved goal. Later we realized that we should have been more concerned with which goals we were shooting for, but it was just a learning game, so no-one was too worried about it. My current rating assumes that the game is better when you play with the right goal in mind. I am curious how team play will go over in our group.
Played this for the first time at Origins 04. I actually rated this slightly higher than regular Chrononauts. I think the new time machines and other gadgets add a little more variety. If you like Chrononauts, your should like this, too.
This might be a pretty good game, but I'm just not into perfect information abstracts. It is similar to Deflexion, but there is only one kind of piece and there are multiple places to "fire" from. You can only fire from a location once and the goal is to hit an opponents piece directly from either the front or the back. A side hit will be deflected forward. Since the rebounding rules are simple, it was not hard to mentally track the laser's path. The lack of a real laser didn't seem to affect the game much.
We played once. This game seemed kind of like Can't Stop and High Society, but it lacks the tension of either. You manipulate the rolls, but not enough to feel like you are in control of the game, and without that it just feels randomn.
I like Fluxx, and the ecological theme is interesting. Appropriately, the goals are likely to be dependant on what other people have. I was worried that these dependancies would drag out the game (A potential danger for this game), but we played three games, and did not have a problem.
Cool game. I almost got Basari on a friend's recommendation, but I decided to hold off. We normally have 5 players. When I found out about this version, I decided that it was "in the cards" so I picked it up. That was over a year ago, and I am only now getting around to the game!
The game has a nice give and take to it. It's easy to get caught up in the gems, but the money is the only thing that matters in the end. The winner was the one who remembered that. Some times I had a hard time choosing what to do, but a few times I felt I knew exactly what I was doing and it felt good.
P.S. Maybe it was just the way we played, but given the specific rules for bartering, it felt more like a bidding game.
O.K. I've gotten a real game of this finished now, so I have a more reasonable assesment. This can be a nasty game, and it is certainly a little more rules heavy than I would normally expect from a Catan game, but that is just fine. It stands well on its own, and has lots of possibilities to think about. I wonder what the fans who expect every Catan game to be light, family fare will think of it?
We took forever playing this game, but I still enjoyed it. That jsut happens sometimes in this group. Occasionally some games, like China Moon, become horribly painful experiances when that happens, but most of the time it means we're over thinking, but involved and basically enjoying the game. I really lucked out in this game. I spent most of the first two rounds getting less than most and ended up taking a totally different route than everyone else. In the beginning the other players who were overlapping routes were as likely to help each other as hurt. Towards the end they were more likely to mess each other up and not affect me because I was off somewhere else. Ultimately, I think I came back and won because of that and because I got the cards and tiles I needed. I think Luck will probably be a big factor in future plays as well, but we all enjoyed it, so there you go...
A light, fun game. I enjoyed playing it, but the special rules like Monkey's Uncle are cute for a while, but then get old. As time passes between plays, I am remembering the annoying bits better than the fun bits.
This might not always be a problem, but our game had a real rich-get-richer problem. The event cards can certainly be nasty, but it can be hard to specifically target the leader with most of them. Even if they do hurt the leader most, they are likely to take another unrelated victim with them. Also, there were at least a couple times that the other players tried to fight me in the bidding, but by that time I wasn't desperate for anything, so their efforts just cost them victory points and I was reasonably happy with a free item and an increased relative point lead. The game also seemed to be a little long for what it was, but that might have been because once I was well established, there just wasn't much for me to do.
I do like the general concept of the game, although the parasols should have been tough skin or something else. The art is well done as well. This might not have been a representative game, but I am not going to be clamoring to try it again.
This is a pretty humorous party game where someone is the judge and reads out an category, and everyone else tries to match that category to one of eight faces. You play rounds with male faces, then with female faces, and finally with animals. After that, you switch over to a mode where you play faces out of your hand and the judge picks the best from those. I can see where it could get old, but I don't really play so many party games where that would be a big problem.
I often look for games that are unique or that represent a different kind of gaming. I got this game because it has a little of both. I do have some other "puzzle" type games, and I have other "grab it first" games, but this seems to have the best of both. I seem to be really bad at timed puzzle games, like Ricochet Robots. In this game, the real time part is in the factory part selection, but the optimizationb part of the game isn't timed, so my normal problems aren't so bad. It won't be a game I'll play all the time, but I like it better than the somewhat similar games I've tried.
My order came from Japan more quickly than I expected. It was only like 5 business days. The icons are extremely simple, and I do not understand the comments from people who claim they are hard.<br/><br/>I have played the basic game twice with 2 players and the advanced game once with 4 players. The basic game is a good way to introduce the game, but it should be played once as an introduction, and then you should move on to the real game. The score has been close every time, and the gamplay is very interesting. Every time you pass the cards, you worry about if you will be given what you need, and if you are giving away something you shouldn't. Your choices get harder as you play because you have to worry about what everyone has, but the game still moves quickly.
I played this at Maryland Game Days. I can see where people could really take their time to predict the monster movement, and I could see where that could make the game pretty rough. We didn't have much trouble with that, and I thought it was a decently fun game. That might be a problem while playing for real with our normal group, but the theme and the originality meant that it was going to be an eventual purchase.
This is a decent game of raiding and trading, but so much of the score isn't counted until the end. It makes the scoring during the game seem completely meaningless. Also, the way the game is structured, there seems to be little profit in starting any multi-part goal because with the slightest run of bad luck, someone else will just come and finish it for you.
Very interesting play mechanic. My rating is tentative, since I have only played a couple times so far. Must admit that I have not figured out the strategy for it, yet. As more time goes by between plays, the gimmicky mechanic seems less interesting.
I played this at WBC 2005. This is a nice little two player game. The first building part of the game seems like Carcassonne. You match up landscape tiles and place huts at strategic locations. Some tiles might have to be set aside when they can't be played, but there might be chances to place them later. Once the land has been placed, the game becomes more like Through the Dessert. You place wooden tokens, expanding outward from your huts, trying to control as much of the board as possible. Hut placement during the first part of the game is important, but it is hard to tell where the important choke points are going to be. I also like the opportunity for a little bit of sneaky play as you use the previously un-placeable tiles to force the other player to place the last landscape so that you can be the first to place a token. Its a nice combination of game play elements and makes for a nice fast game.
Awesome game. Very chaotic, in a good way. Play for quick fun. Don't play if looking for strategy, predictability or structure. I used to rate it higher, but other games have kind of grown up around it.
I have only played once. When I read the rules, I did not see a game here. It seemed too simple. Fortunately, it works very well in practice, and I really like that I was able to turn some really moronic plays in the first part of the game into a better position at the end.
I have played a couple more times now. I kind of like the fact that you have to plan your approach based on where you are in the seating order. Since if you are near the end of the round, you can expect to either pay alot or resign yourself to a lower card. I will have to try the game with the original rules that allow you to meet the previous bid to see if I like that better, but it doesn't really sound as interesting that way.
First tried this at DragonCon 04. I've had been wanting to try this game and was surprised at how well a racing board game works. The gear shifting and turn mechanisms are great.
I tried it out on my game group, and it was well received and a good time was had by all. One of the races had a good demonstration of how much difference a good run through a turn can make. A couple of players managed to come out of the last turn in a higher gear and smoked the two leaders in the home stretch before the finish.
The rating reflects that fact that this is a niche game for our group. We're not particularly big racing fans, but this game is not like any other game. It probably won't come out all that often, but when we are in the mood for something like this, I can't think of any game that could replace it.
Picked up at Origins 2005. A very nice, quick little card game. I played Cthulhu 500 before I played this, and I can where Formula Motor Racing must have helped inspire that. I like this simpler game better.
Not a bad game at all, and very nicely produced. It is alot like 6 Nimmt (Category 5). One interesting difference is that having the most of a color means you don't score that color, and you are shooting for lowest score. That adds some strategy to the game. It is easier to judge what you need to do from your initial hand, so it is a little less chaotic than 6 Nimmt. I'm on the fence about if that is an improvement, though. For me, though, the simultaneous card selection of 6 Nimmt puts it over the top. Smultaneous play and filler games go together very well.
Too complicated to be a party game, too random to be a gamer's game. What does that leave? Something pretty fun. The humor is a big part of the attraction. Will I still like the game if the humor wears thin? I don't know. I'll let you know if I find out. In the mean time, I don't have many humourous games that aren't party or take-that games, so this is something fairly unique.
I played this at PrezCon 05. My favorite part of the game is the order selection phase. I also really like the auctions for the tracks. It lets you decide what advantages you prefer, and what they are worth. In the end it is a very nice blend of mechanics.
I think I like negotiation games, even though I frequently feel like I am either being left out of a deal because I am trying to think about it, or jumping into a deal without considering the cost. This certainly reminds me of I'm the Boss, but the structure is certainly very different. There is more structure to this game, but the trading and negotiation is more open and varied. It is a shame that the game takes so long because I think it would get played alot more if it was shorter.
A good placement game. I would have bought it at BGG.con if the box size wasn't so odd for any place I had to put it to get it home. I wish you didn't have to keep score separately. That's about the only mark against Qwirkle too.
I played this at WBC 2005. I was a little surprised by this game. The flipping and matching made for a pretty interesting game. Unfortunately, I had a real problem with the length of the game. We were assured that it doesn't normally go that long, but I have to rate the game I played.
This is kind of tough. I thought the concept was great and I was really looking forward to the game. After I got the game, I first noticed that some of the cards are almost impossible to read. The color and font choices, while consistent with the theme, are otherwise terrible for payability. I was also disappointed that you can see through the backs of the cards, and can tell more about the next card on the deck than you should. Fortunately, I do not seem to have the quality issues that other people have reported. When we played a 2 player game, I found it to be a light, and reasonably fun "take that" card game. The transparency gimmick does add nicely to the game, but it is not quite as revolutionary as it sounded. The playtime was appropriate for this genre, and if it wasn't for the hard to read text, I would like it better than most.
I have played this once. I do not know why I didn't comment when the game was fresher in my mind. I remember feeling like there were alot of choices, and it felt pretty tense as we played. I remember enjoying it quite alot.
There is a nice resource/building game in here, but the length seems a little long for what it is. It doesn't help that one player won without anyone else being close (we were playing with the secret goals). I talked to some players who warmed up to it considerably after additional plays, so perhaps I am missing something.
Just played it at Origins 04. Many of the mechanics were new to me. Maybe I was tired, but I just did not get this game at all (got whooped, too). I liked Maharaja alot, so maybe I will like it better if I try again. I got a chance to play again at PrezCon 05, and I definately liked it better. It still doesn't feel like the game of games that some people claim it is, but it is also supposed to be a subtle game, and I like the sound of that. I look forward to my next chance to play, but it is not worth owning yet, IMO.
I've had this game for a while, but it finally made it to the table. Like other games of this sort, the main source of entertainment is the text on the cards. Some of them are pretty funny, but once you are past that, it's all about beating down the competition. Munchkin has one advantage in that the items, characters, and encounters are the core of the joke, while in this game the baseball bat is only funny if you read the flavor text (especially when combined with the "Best Friend" with the "Hand Cuffs"). This game has a significant advantage over Muchkin, too... It has a strict time limit (once through the deck). Muchkin can wear out it's welcome while there is still no sign of an end.
Terri won this at Gamefest Richmond 04. This is supposed to be a light, humorous, highly chaotic game. Unfortunately it takes too long to play and the humor feels repetative even before your first game is complete. This would be a 5 (take it or leave it) game, but the terrible paper board drops it a point.
Tried this at BGG.CON and again at PrezCon. This was a pretty enjoyable Through the Desert style connection game with a Ticket to Ride style card selection mechanism.This is my best guess rating, but we didn't have a proper translation, so we might not have played it right. This game presents an odd delima, since I do like it, as my rating indicates, but it didn't really stand out on its own. I am not sure I feel any need to own it.
I enjoyed this more than any other stacking dexterity game I have tried. The rolling action and the differently sized pieces actually seem to allow for some strategic play. Sometimes you get a break and can use one of your bigger pieces, sometimes you have to very carefully place a smaller, lighter piece to avoid shifting the game. I haven't decided that it's worth the heafty price, though.
This seems to be a pretty good little game. The suitcases are cool, but I wish there was a hole in the bottom to make it easier to push your cards out.
There are really two parts to the game. In the main part, you try to smuggle some goods and hope you aren't caught. If you are caught, you can offer a bribe and since that is the only way the sherrif is going to make any money that round, you have a good chance of being able to work something out (unless you are the perceived winner).
The second part of the game is where you can save three cards per turn for the end of the game. These cards score double, but only if the total number of cards save (between all players) is below a certain amount, or if you have the most of that card. I totally messed up on the last part of the game, so I am giving the game the benefit of the doubt. If I play it again, and it seems like the end can be manipulated by good play, then this rating stands. If the last part of the game is a total crapshoot, then I will drop my rating by a point.
This is fairly unique resource/building game. There's no trading, but there is an interesting auction where you bid to control a card with a number on it for each player. The results of the auction will affect different players to a different degree depending on the orientation you choose. Another cool mechanic is how, when you roll for resources, you roll three dice and decide how to allocate them. One die only supplies you, another die will apply to everyone, and the third die will advance an event track. The events are famine (people die), disaster (resources are lost), or quarry (stone heads become available for building). We had some outrageous luck in the game, which probably extended the game, but still, I think the luck is manageable. My only real problem with the game was with the length. This would be a really good one hour plus game, but our game lasted over two hours. If the game either had more to do, or some kind of progression to justify the length, it would be a fine game. You could certainly reduce the number of available trees for a shorter game, but I'm not sure how that would affect the endgame. You could also give everyone an extra die to roll (pick 3) and then give a fifth die for the player who has the favor of the Gods, that would also speed up the game. I plan to keep an eye on it because there is potential here, but I will let others experiment.
I picked up this game at DragonCon 04. The game is better than my rating indicates. It is a good game, but just one that I wouldn't always be in the mood for (hence the rating). The randomness wasn't as bad as the many complaints would indicated, because even though the cards are choosen randomly during the random phase, you get to choose how they are implemented.
I have only played one 2 player game with this expansion. It seemed to improve the base game by giving you something to aim for other than simple escape. The bonus chits give you a little more control, once you get a few, and the automatically turing tiles require a hint of planning. It is still a very randomn game, but these additional elements are a good addition.
I bought this at BGG.CON. This is a good game with alot of tension. It is often compared to poker, but I think it is an enourmously better game than that. You have time to build up your hand and plan. You keep the same hand throughout the game, so you have to be able to win the current battle while retaining useful cards for the next. You have to carefully pick your battles. When a battle starts, you don't just lay your hand down, instead you build it up a few cards at a time. In my last game, I was able to play a suited 8 and 9. There had been alot of competition for a battle on the previous turn, so only one other player was willing to take a risk it. That 8 and 9 was all I had, but I was able to get second place with it. Bluffing is certainly part of regular Poker, but you have alot more control over it in this game. The only real problem with the game is that it tends to run a little long.
A very nice little dungeon crawl card game. It seems to have captured the essence without adding alot of extra rules. Of course, that's easy to say, since I didn't have to read the rules. It wasn't a short game, but it didn't seem to take too long. I'm not sure if this is the fast dungeon crawl game I would like, but feeling fast is almost as good. Our game was interrupted, so it's hard to tell.
Essen 06 Radar - I played an early copy of this at the WBC. It definately has some good elements, especially the market, but it seemed like there were some excesive elements. I look forward to trying it again, but I can't help but feel like it would have been better if it was paired down a bit more.
Played it again, and my impression remains. There is just too much going on. It just doesn't need 15 ways to get bonus score on the map.
Got this at Origins 04, thanks to the nice coupon from the folks at Cheeseweasel card cases. It's alot like Fluxx, but with a mean streak. It's fast, fun, and chaotic, and we were laughing at the end.
Update: One difference from Fluxx that keeps this game in the box is that Fluxx is self describing and can come out at a whim without having to check the rules. This game requires a rules check and doesn't come out because of it.
I played a two player game of this, and that's how I rated it. It is a pretty decent game and fairly fast playing, but it has the same problem as most perfect information 2 player games. Without a little bit of randomness or more players, it just feels like tit for tat. I usually like abstracts with more than 2 players.
I played at Origins 2005. I didn't actually find it to be loathsome, but it seemed entirely pointless. The first half of the game is moving your men around the board and randomly fighting opponenets in each stack. After a while you have a better idea of what is left, but by that time I lost interest. If there are subtleties to this game, they missed their chance to show themselves to me.
The economics of the game are very interesting. Money wants to fly out of your hand in this game, and I was the guy who lost due to having the least money. Obviously I bid too much, but worse than that, I ended up with only a single card at the end (The $20).
I have played once with 4 players. I thought it was an interesting game. I would probably give it a 7, but I don't like the final scoring. I'm not crazy about the elimination scoring in High Society, but that is a fast game and it effectively adds to the tension. This game isn't long, but it is too long for it to be fun to be eliminated outright regardless of how well you are doing in other categories. Also be careful not to let the programmed actions take too long because it could really drag the game down.
So far I have only played the online version. I mostly got it because it is an interesting, unique game, and it was a good price. I may like it better when playing for real, and it is nice and portable.
Picked up off the TBGT Prize Table (Adel Verpflichtet).
I played this once online, and I was pretty sure I liked the game, but there was alot of time between turns. Now that I have played it for real, I can say for sure. I hear alot of people complaining about "Blind Bidding" games, and I found a game that actually seemed like "Blind" bidding I might agree with them. In this game there seems to be lots of things to base your decisions on.
Wow... Just played a group at Origins 04. Never played a game like this before. Really cutthroat. For the right group of people only. The winner was a great wheeler/dealer, and I felt totally out of my depth, but managed to come in second anyway.
How do I rate something like this? This doesn't just represent this game, but all the games you can play with Icehouse pieves. Unfortunately, they don't come out as often as I would like. They don't compete with the other games for shelf space, so they don't stand out when its time to pick a game. Even then, when I do remember them, I would have to actually pick a game after picking the game pieces. Still, none of that is a knock on the game system, and I am very gladd that I have them. I need to resolve to get them on the table.
An OK game, but it seemed just like any other take that card game. O.K. There is one difference; the humor just didn't connect with me. Some of the part names are kind of cute, but why just have a label on a card? Shouldn't there at least be some humourous art to go with the silly part names?
I think this is a great little game. I have only played once with 2 players. I took out the cards, and then set the game up. That's easier said than done because the tiny reference cards and minuscule instruction text does not make that easy. After setting the game up, I felt I needed a break, and eventually had to push to get the game played. If I put the game away without playing it, it might not have come out again. Fortunately, this game shares something other than a publisher with Meuterer because once you get past the overly complex instructions, there is a basically good, simple game here. I really like the questing and training mechanic, and like how it feels like you are always just short of getting the most out of each turn. I lean toward giving it a slightly higher rating, but then I think about having to read the setup instructions again, and the rating comes right back down again. I need a good setup and play guide!
This is nothing like Antike after all. The rondel is still used to select actions, and there are armies involved, but this game is much more about economics than conquest. It is something like a combination between Antike and Acquire.
Countries don't belong to any player and you can be left without a country. I wonder how possible it is for someone to be completely shut out and what that will do to people's opinions.
It is a very good game, and not that complex to play, but the strategy is tough to get a handle on after one play. I am not sure how good it would be for a group that isn't willing to stick to and explore one game for a while.
Pretty interesting game. I feel like there is just a tad too much going on in the game, but I can't put my finger on why it feels like too much here and not in other games of similar complexity. Unfortunately, I was having some bad A.P. moments during play. I'm rating based on my gut reaction right now, but I would feel more solid about it after another play.
Played at PrezCon 05. I enjoyed this one, so I probably need to give up on my preconceptions about abstract games. Sooooo many abstract games are perfect information 2 player games that I really needed to try something outside that mold. This game plays fairly quickly, and as usual, I enjoy the Knizia balanced scoring mechanism. I got a 2 and a 4 player game in, and I think the variable board size for the number of players is very nice, too. It seems nicely balanced for different numbers of players. I think I may be biased, though. I generally enjoy theme in a game, and my interest in Genial is muted by the abstract nature. It was good fun, and given time, my interest level could sneak up on me.
As I suspected, this game has continued to grow on me. Any disinterest I had due to it's abstract nature is gone now.
This game took us forever to play. We had 5 players, and it tooks us like 5 nights of 3-4 hours of play each to finish the game. It still gets a 7 because I enjoyed it, but it probably won't get played much due to the time investment. A shame. I don't know how the session reports with 4 players finished it in a single sitting, but we never switched foremen, and I think that dragged it out some.
It is hard not to use Tikal as a reference when commenting on this game. I own Tikal, but have not played as often as I would like, and have not played the Auction version.
I thought Java was very good. It is an action point game, like Tikal, but most of the actions cost just a few points. Movement of pieces is much less restricted, and less movement is required since you are competing for height, not numbers. You can also put several terrain pieces down per turn. In general, you get to do quite a bit more per turn than in Tikal. I found myself having more AP problems than I had during Tikal, but that was mostly as we approached the special scoring at the end. Tikal has several special scoring rounds, so while the length of the AP was less, it happens more often in Tikal. I guess as long as the other players don't mind, that just means the game is engrossing. Finally, I think the rules in Java are a little more complex than Tikal's, but the game play is a little more focused.
This was a pretty heavy game for our group, and our group often has 5 people in it. This probably means it won't come out quite as often as I would like.
Played at PrezCon 05. I really feel kind of bad only rating this game a 6. When I am in the mood for a eye/hand/reflex game, this is absolutely a 9. This game is sneaky, surprising, and full of laughs, and I feel strongly that some games are required to fill certain gaming needs. My rating more accurately reflects how often I am going to play this type of game.
Got for $5 on clearance. Its an OK game and it has its moments. My biggest problems with it are that it's an elimination game, and its a memory game. I'm terrible at memory games. Playing the social variant (using markers to keep track who played what) improves the game an extra half point.
I would probably sell it, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it, and it's certainly worth $5 for that.
A brain burning 2 player abstract. It has everything I dislike about chess, except it has friggin laser beams coming out of it's head. The thinking is enough different that I enjoy it more than alot of pure abstracts, but not enough to love it.
Wonderful concept, mediocre game. Take T&E and take away your ability to hold a hand of tiles. You have to draw 4 any play them all. Now add a bunch of building types where you have to have two identical cards to do anything and add a penalty for having to refresh your "hand". The cool part where building in the past affects future boards does not make up for the frustration.
My opinion of this game might improve. I have no problem with heavily luck driven games, provided they are light and fun. Our first attempt at this game was marred by the horrible instructions, which turned a reasonably simple mechanic into a total confusing mess.
I have played this once. It was fun, but I did not get a strong impression of the game, at least not enough to rate. By the end of the game, I could see how the game works; how gambling could pay off and how I could influence the King's portion, but by the time I saw all that, the game was over.
I just played again, and it is a nice enough, fluffy game but there just doesn't seem to be enough turn angst to really capture me.
I picked up this game at DragonCon 04. I really expected this game to be like a multi-player Lost Cities. Based on a single two player game, it seems to fall short. I got to try a four player game, and it was a little more interesting and surprisingly, it didn't get bogged down. Unfortunately, I think it didn't get bogged down because no one was interested enough to really think about their moves. It was way too dry. I traded the game for Drakon.
Another Lost Cities type game, but one that never made it to the US before now.
Each card can only be played two ways, so the options might seem a little more constrained than Lost Cities, but in reality, there are more spaces to play on and each card has to be considered when making a choice. Unlike Lost Cities, your hand doesn't get as clogged up with cards that you don't want to play, so the the end result is that the game feels less constrained and less tense. There really isn't any math to the game, but I still found my choices interesting. Sometimes I avoid Lost Cities due to all the addition and subtraction, so despite having a lower rating, this will be a very easy filler game to pick up and play in almost any mood.
I wonder how the game is with a 3rd player and as a 4 player partnership game? Could be interesting.
I liked this area control game. I don't know if this was normal, but our game was fairly close most of the way through. It played pretty quickly too. There are some pieces that were heavily underused in our game, so hopefully these other pieces allow for strategies that none of us explored.
Nice little fast card game. It reminds me of Coloretto, but with a memory element and much less chaos. You don't want to start new sets unless you know you can at least get another one. The memory element had me nervous, but it is fairly mild, and the items in the game are distinctive. We didn't play with the advanced scoring cards. I would be concerned about their effect on balance, but it didn't matter, since the game played pretty well without them.
I played this once at Maryland Game Days `05. This is a cute blind bidding game, and it is interesting how the goal changes for each race, but it ultimately felt too out of control. Part of my impression may be because we only played it as a 2 player game, and this makes it extremely randomn. Unfortunately, I am unlikely to get many chances to change my impression.
I got to try Skip's review copy at BoomerCon and there is alot going for this game. We discussed comparisons with games like Goa, but I think the someone's comparison to Louis XIV works best. You have limited number of workers, and you need to have a minority in an area on the board in order to take advantage of it's ability for free. If you don't win, you can pay for the privilege, but money is victory points, so you don't want to overdo that. Basically you have to pick your fights carefully.
What are you fighting for? Laboratory time and resources. You can have two labs so you can be working on two inventions. Labs can be upgraded, but only when it is idle. You must dedicate your men to work on inventions, to gather resources, and to other tasks such as the previously mentioned lab upgrades, going to council, and getting more men. Going to council gives you a grab-bag of options, such as shifting men around, getting money, and getting a look at upcoming invention cards.
There are alot of decisions to be made, such as how to balance using men to do research in the labs verses using them to compete on the main board. Do you want to upgrade your lab now or can you wait a turn and get it for less of a fight. There is also an important timing element at the end of the game, since you can't buy any resources on the last two turns. You have to make sure you plan for the end game. Well actually, I did fairly well despite totally botching the end, but we were all new to the game. Experianced players would have murdered me.
I was doing so well. I was forming aliances, getting a little bit out of every deal, and making sure that the next deal was with someone else. Then at the end, I forgot that I was going to have to switch boats... Doh!
I bought this game at DragonCon 04. It breaks most of my rules for a good game. It is practically a regular card game (just short one suit). It is really an abstract game; I don't feel any connection to the theme at all. Why do I like it? For one, rules are for boardgames, not boardgame selection. Mostly, though, it is fast, and while it feels light, the choices are significant. Luck is significant, but not overwhelming.
P.S. My interest has dropped a little over time. P.P.S. After a long break, my most recent game felt fresh again.
Saw this mentioned in a journal by Chris Roberts as being a good adventure-like game without combat.
I finally played this at BGG.CON. I really liked it. There is just a touch of player interaction; just enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to change the focus. The focus is on exploration and exploitation of resources, and it makes for a great variation on an adventure game. Too bad it is only for 4 players.
I just played again, and I really should have printed out a faq first. There were alot of unanswered questions in the rules.
This is just a tentative rating. I was tired and the game seemed to go so quickly. I feel like I missed part of it (and my score would back that up). I look forward to trying it again because it definately seems interesting. I have heard about the randomness of the shields, and I can see how it can turn the game, but after all the bitching I have heard, it didn't seem as bad as I expected.
Zambo taught me this at Origins 05. This is a tough game to rate. I enjoyed watching the interplay between the issues and the elections. I was also left feeling that this game could have been done in less time. I have no idea what I would take out or simplify, though.
The shadow cabinet adds alot of control to the game, that might otherwise be dominated by the luck of the issue draw. I loved trying to manipulate the contribution cards to try to get the most out of them. Each election felt like a combination of issues and political manipulation. This game is far from abstract, but still, it feels like there is more game than there needs to be. If I am going to spend this long playing a game, I want to feel like I'm doing more than manipulating a system.
I hope I get a chance to try it again. Our game ran longer than it should have, and my opinion might change considerably when I'm not floundering through the first few turns.
Just played it, and liked it. The instructions make it sound horribly confusing, but it wasn't bad in practice. We had three players, but there wasn't much interaction until the very end. Probably more battles with one more player.
Time has proven that I have no interest in playing this game again.
Good Game that I first played at Origins 04. There's very little luck involved. There is a great deal the other players can do to mess up your plans, so you have to stay on your toes and adjust. Gameplay feels fluid to me, but you aren't totally at the whim of fate.
Pretty decent game. I got lucky and had early control over the security cameras. I kept control over them until the zombies overran the room and I jumped ship. With a "hidden" card, I was able to get both my guys out. Since the room was overrun, no-one else went there. I stayed as the first player for the whole game, and that seemed like too big an advantage.
Picked up for $5 in an after Christmas (04) sale. We played it two players, and it seems to have humor that is similar to Apples to Apples, but the scoring system doesn't fit the weight of the game. I think I might like it as a totally light game of creating silly headlines. Unfortunately, keeping a running score "legitimizes" it as a game, and it simply fails in that department.
I tried this once as a two player game at WBC 2005. I liked it, but I wasn't crazy about it. It has an engaging mechanic and I got a hint of how this could be a very tight game. As a two player game, it seemed all about getting and maintaining control (which I couldn't do) and I think it would be more fun with some more ebb and flow in the game. This game is probably more interesting when more people are involved, or I could have just missed something.
I demoed this game at Origins 05. I tend to like games like Diamant, Cloud 8, Circus Flocatti, and other "Push your luck" games, but this one did not catch me. In those games, there is a single, simple goal that gets closer to success, but that could fail at any time. In this game, success or failure comes at the end of the race, and not before, so it doesn't feel like the same type of game to me. It is also similar to Royal Turf in that it is a race that relies on luck, and you can place your bids in several places to hedge your bets. Unfortunately, the simplicity of those games is lost due to having so many elements to bet on.
It is a neat game, though. First it is especially beautiful, like other Zoch games. The variety of options didn't work for me, but that is probably a feature for others.
This game reminds me of Cartagena. Instead of having multiple pawns, and just playing a single card to move forward, you have a single pawn, and you move forward by playing sets of cards to match the requirements of the target space. There are some other interesting mechanics that allow you to buy your way forward, and there are bonus chests to get for getting to a space first or being at the right place at the right time. It is a good game, and I enjoyed it, but when everything is said and done, I would probably play the more elegant Cartagena instead. Based on one play.
I played this at BGG.CON. Its a nice medium length civilization/conflict game. Conflict is central to this game, as is an interesting variation on trading. The trading consists of being forced to put down a certain number of cards, and other people choose what they want. Even though it isn't by choice, the trading phase is essential to success because you will have duplicates when you need unique items. Based on comments about the base game, it sounds like this expansion fixes some potential balance problems.
I played part of a demo game, but I couldn't finish it. This is certainly the most thematic Colovini game I have tried. I like building games in general and this appears to be a good one. Some people complain that the scoring cards are too random, and I can see how some would have a problem with that, but I play very tactically. I doubt that I would have that objection. I look forward to trying a full game or two to find out.
I tried a full game, and I was right. I don't have any problem with the randomness, and it plays pretty quickly.
I just played my first game of this, and I definitely liked it. There are subtleties to this game that are not immediately obvious. The first one I noticed is that buying a lot of three cards really limits your options and similarly, there are alot of ways to take advantage of other players with nearly full cargo holds. I'm glad we were all new to the game, since an experienced player would have wiped the floor with us. Clearly there are additional aspects to the game that 5 newbies didn't pick up on, and I am betting that these will only make the game better.
Clearly a good design and much better than I would expect a 2 player version of an auction game to be. Still, it is fairly math heavy, perhaps more so than I would want a two player game to be. I tend to prefer lighter two player fare.
Bought at WBC 2005 largely because it is out of print. Played a three player game tonight. I had no idea what I was doing until mid way through the game, and I think I am still missing important aspects of the game. Still I liked it enough to tentatively rate it a 7. It may go up after future plays.
I only played the most basic scenario at Maryland Game Days, but I liked it. Now I finally have it. Now, I have played it some more, and tried an overlord scenario. Good stuff, but Terri isn't interested so it won't get alot of play. Still worth keeping, though.
I have seen this played at PrezCon several times. I did not get much sense of what was hapenning from what I saw, so when it was suggested today, I didn't really know if I wanted to play. Still, that was just a momentary reaction. I am usually game for something new (to me at least).
The game itself is pretty much a pick-up and deliver game. It could almost be a rail game, although some of the movement options like the nebula and jump points would be hard to explain. There is also an exploration aspect, so when you start out, you don't know where things are. As you deliver cargo, new chits are drawn. Some of these are replacement cargo, but some of them are special high demand requests with a corresponding bonus price.
The first part of the game is slower because you have to explore and check things out. I picked up cargo without even knowing where it could go. Fortunately, that worked out. As the game progresses the pace increases because after exploration is over, you know what you need to do. Still the game length is the biggest problem. It is a good game, and I'll play a 7 game that's less than two hours anytime, but once a game gets over two hours, I am looking for an 8 or 9. I am very glad I tried it, though.
I liked this game. The first time I played, it took more than half the game for me to realize that it's more about stopping the other players than it is about promoting yourself. You only occasionally get to make a positive play because it is much easier to predict what's needed to shorten a route than what's needed for a long route. Perhaps I just need more experiance, but it is a very chaotic game. While there doesn't seem to be alot of direct control, I still like the game. It plays very quickly.
I finally got to play this once. Four player games are hard to get to the table. I really should have printed out an abreviated rules sheet/player aid because the translation I used was complete, but really made the game seem more complex than it was. In truth, this is a very simple game.
I expected the game to be more like a hidden role game, but I should have known better. Since the roles are constantly changing, as in Citadels, the role selection is a very tactical choice, and does not have the feeling of deception like Werewolf, Bang, or Saboteur.
That doesn't mean the role selection is uninteresting. If you don't have alot of goods to sell, you get first choice of the roles. If you choose later, you get to see what roles are missing, and may have to adjust your plans to match. If someone took the Meutineer, but no-one took the first mate, you have to decide who offers more points.
Unfortunately, the other way to get points, selling goods, seems much less interesting. The goods you have are strictly limited to what you draw, and the luck of the draw can net you alot, or very few points.
I enjoyed my first play, but I won, and felt mostly in control during the game. Other players seemed to feel that luck was an overriding factor, and I can see how they could be right. My rating will rise or fall, depending on who's right.
I got this from Terri for Christmas 04. I was interested in Tikal, but some comments recommended this as a better game. I went ahead and got Tikal, and like it alot. I also played a friend's copy of Java and like that too, so I felt this would be an easy choice.
I have one two player game and one 4 player game. I thought the movement would be much more restricted, but the canals give you alot of options. I thought it would be faster to play than Tikal, but so far it does not seem significantly faster. Part of this may be because I find Tikal fascinating, so play time has not been that noticeable. The four player game seemed better than the two player game. Obviously there is more going on, but the difference in strategy between going first and going last is more pronounced. Going last in a 4 player game of Mexica seems to be more about taking advantage of oportunity and less about making your own.
Bought at WBC 2005. I was hoping that this would be a shorter, optimized version of Zombies, but it wasn't. The end of the game turns into a gauntlet that seems to guarantee that the first 3/4 of the game is rendered completely irrelevant. I won our game by dying, losing everything, returning to the beginning, and then waiting for another player to get in range so I could steal the book and run away with it.
It's a good area control game. I thought it was pretty unique. I especially like the card drafting at the beginning. You have an idea of what special cards are out there, but you don't know them all and you don't know who has what.
There are some good decisions about which areas to try to control. If you can control a safe area (no doom token), you get a head start on the next round, but you get points when your men are sent to Valhalla. You also get them back so they can be used again. The heavens could be a big factor in the game, but we concentrated on the main board when we played and really didn't do anything in the heavens until the last round. Getting the right set of kingdom tokens by controlling the heavens could be pretty important.
When we played, we had some questions about the balance of the scoring, but unfortunately, I don't remember enough about it to know if they changed the balance or not. I plan to buy the game as soon as it comes out.
Cards had silhouettes of animals that were mirror imaged as if the animals were standing next to reflecting water. You played two cards to try to make a run of four cards that all matched in color, and with 2x2 animals in various order. These cards had to be in a straigt line until you were three cards from the center, and only then could you turn. You placed a black cube on the last card, but the remaining three cards stayed in play and could also be used to score. You also had a limited number of monkey cards that let you break the rules for one turn.
It appears to be a good strategic positional set making game that would make a slightly heavy than usual filler. Snooze said he didn't like it because it wasn't intuitive, but I think that was part of the attraction for me. It felt a little bit off-center and that was interesting. I didn't pick it up because it seemed a little expensive for just a simple card game (and some cubes) and it only supported 2-3 players.
Update: Found it in a game store and decided to pick it up.
Yeah! I win! I like the game (I bought it before playing it). I have heard some people complain about the chaos, but in this game, chaotic for some means dynamic to me. I first saw it at BGG.con last year, and I finally got my first chance to play it at BGG.con this year (2006).
P.S. Don't take the "Yeah! I win!" too seriously. I have yet to win once in four games.
Very good quick race game. I just played for the first time, and my first impression was that the race would be too static, but that was wrong. I did not appreciate how much affect the tile placement has on turn order. This lead to some very nice turn-arounds in our game. I thought I had a good chance of winning, but a little bad luck and optimal plays by other players changed all that. Fortunately, I like interesting surprises more than I like winning.
I like the new tiles and the coal pickup, but I'm not sure about the Black Rose. It hindered the leaders, but didn't significantly help the people in last, so it ended up being just annoying. There are extenuating circumstances, though. We had six players, and I think that was just too much for this game. Also I was one of the leaders and the Black Rose cost me the win, so maybe I'm just being a big baby about it.
I bought this game at DragonCon 04. I have had an interesting history with this game. I first heard about it years ago, but frankly even after I got into boardgames and learned not to judge a game by its theme, the theme still managed to turn me off. I bought the game at DragonCon 04, despite a complete lack of interest, and was even more bored by the contents. Fortunately, I know this is an area where I cannot trust my instincts. We tried it last weekend, and it showed great promise. The art is just an excuse to hold auctions. The lackluster contents are still a problem, but we're over the hurdle now, so that shouldn't matter much now. I wish it came with more chips, because we were constantly providing change, but we were also over-bidding a lot, so it might not be as bad next time.
God, I hate boardgames... Roll die, move, Repeat... Hey, what's that game with all the tiles and little wooden dudes? Thank you Carcassonne for showing me that there's more to boardgames than Monopoly.
Played at PrezCon 04. I didn't really play a whole game of this. I took over for some kid who abandoned his tournament game. It worked out well for me, because I got a crash course. This looks like a fun enough game. I don't think there is a great deal of strategy, since you mostly just run around collecting powers for your monster and use your military to hinder that others until it is time for everyone to fight. I could be wrong, but my impression is that this game is exactly what it seems to be. Given a chance I would play it again.
My favorite "themed", "take that" card game. This game makes me laugh, invokes fond memories, and the rules make it easy to pick it up again after a break. Unfortnately, after a 4 hour game with 5, I am beginning to experiance what people have been complaining about. I still like the game, but we simply have to find a way to shorten it.
Do *not* try to teach this game by a straight reading of the rules. In fact some of the actions explained in the second phase don't make sense until you have read the 3rd phase. It tells you to turn a card sideways to indicate that you have used it before you even know how you get it. I normally try to review the rules before teaching a new game and I picked the wrong time to make an exception.
Once you get past that, it is quite a nice game medium weight game. The rules are actually pretty simple, but you need an overview of how they work before you get into a linear phase by phase description. The different sponsors of the game can really change how you play, so you will either have favorites that you want to get early to suite your style of play, or you will want need to adjust your play to suite the sponsors you get in early rounds. It makes for a nice dynamic game, which I like. I went for a strong early presence in the museum, but that resulted in me getting fewer cards. Others were able to get more sponsors by concentrating more on the dig site. In the end, the top two players were determined by a tie breaker and the third place person was only one behind us. Unfortunately, the bad rules explanation on my part meant that most of us didn't understand the end scoring (me included), but it is still interesting that we were so very close.
This is a very good game, but it plays to my weaknesses too much. My memory is awful, and I don't really want to keep records detailed enough to make up for that. Some of the event cards are annoying, but I guess those could be removed from the game.
Update: 2nd play. A better record keeping method, and removal of the annoying events significantly improved my fun.
O.K. I finally get to play a Mystery Rummy game. I had a hard time getting interested in the games.
I tried some traditional card games as a kid, but I didn't like any of them. They always seemed like it was just about drawing the card you needed. I am pretty sure I was wrong about some of them, but I still have a hard time getting past the prejudices I formed back then. The name "Mystery Rummy" conjured a gut reaction that this is a traditional card game with delusions of being interesting.
A fairly steady supply of positive comments made it easier to overcome my prejudice, so I finally bought Al Capone. Reading the rules turned things around. The light came on and I had concrete evidence that that this was just a rummy game with a few special cards...
Still, my gaming prejudices have never helped me before. Why should I give a rat's ass about some medieval Italian trading family? Because its a good game! Why should I bother with these stupid colored shapes? Because its a good game! Why should I give some stupid rummy game a chance? Well, because I hope its a good game.
Now, that I have finally played it, what do I think? I think it's a pretty good game, but I haven't really given it a full shot. We played a four player game without partnerships just to learn the basics. I have never played any partnership games before, and I didn't want that complication for our first game. The important thing I learned is how important all those special cards are. Sure, this is rummy at its core, and if that's all there was, I wouldn't be interested. Those 5 key special cards take the game to a much more interesting place and just reading about them in the rules didn't give me any appreciation of that. I am glad I finally played it.
I went ahead and gave it a preliminary rating with a little extra credit for my assumption that it is better with partners. There are enough ratings for this game that an approximate rating won't have any impact.
Cool game. Nice idea and good mechanics. The rating reflects my enjoyment of our first game, but I see some problems. It's probably a bit more effort to play than we would normally want. Also, I would never want to play as Mister X. It's not that Mister X can't win, because I haven't played enough to know if that's true. The problem is that our group already has a problem with AP. Put us all on the same side, and it becomes group AP. That's fine for the detectives, because we are all involved, but it probably sucked for Mrs X (although she never complained). I have a different problem on the detective side. I could easily be the guy who tries to tell everyone else to "do this" and "you go there". I had to try to reign it in for this game.
This is a really nice dexterity game. It seems to have a little more going for it than some of the others I have tried. Its not all about dexterity because there is actually a little strategy to this game. It is, of course, still a very light game, but I like having a little something to think about.
I haven't played a full game of this, but I got enought of a demo to make it worth buying one set to check it out. I am pretty hard on "take that" card games these days, since I already have some that I like well enough and don't feel I need any more unless they bring something more than humor to the table. This game appears to bring alot more to the table. There is a strong positioning and manuvering aspect to the game that I am betting adds quite a bit. I'm betting $15 to be exact.
I just played a rush game (only two rows of animals instead of three), and I liked it. From what I can tell, the game loses alot from using the rush version, but it worked well to get a feel for the game. I hope we can try a full game tomorrow.
Very nice game with some interesting choices. It has a unique bidding mechanic that combines price and turn order as one so that you raise the price of your own items if you want to go first. I enjoyed the game, but it wasn't a "must buy" until I picked it up for $10. (Played with TSG)
I played it again with the regular group, and it fell flat. I still think the mechanics of the game are good and well balanced, but for some reason the game fails to interest me.
What can I say? I liked the dayglo aliens... People were saying good things about the game, and I really don't have many conflict games, so I justified a purchase without having played it. Fortunately, now that I have played it with 3 players, I can say I liked it quite a bit. Sure, it isn't the most original game in the books, but it it borrows well. The mechanics work together very nicely. For example, I was impressed how the humans, who appear to be the weakest unit in the game, are actually a vital resource.
This is a pretty cool game, and I've played 3 times. I'll be 100th person to comment that the waterfall mechanic is great, and that the game is gorgeous. The game also has as a merciless dark side to it. There is a bit of a screwage factor in that you can steal gems, but there's more. In one game, we all gambled that someone else would be sane, and in the end, every canoe except one in a 5 player game went over the falls. That's nasty. Despite a few painful moments, I still want to play the game because I don't think it will always be like that. If the game continues to feel that way, the 6.5 stands, but I feel that more experienced play will reveal a tighter game.