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Hooah! Attack on my unplayed in 2011 (#230, Jambo Expansion 2, most recent.)
Dea Draper
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Boise
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My challenge for 2011 is to play 100 of my unplayed games (on my shelves prior to Jan. 1, 2011).
--and now, additionally, trying to keep up with purchases.

6-30-11 6 months & Goal reached!!!
I can't be too obnoxiously happy since this achievement is meaningless unless I also play an additional number equal to this year's new purchases ! Yikes.

But overall I failed: End of 2011: Out of 1427 owned games, 357 un-played, roughly 25%. Only improved my situation by 11 games after including new purchases this year. That's deflating, and scary.

Let's try again: Hooah! Attack on my unplayed in 2012

I wish to reduce the number of un-played games that I own. (I keep playing the newly arriving games, and snubbing the older ones.)

My goal is 100. That is only two a week. Totally obtainable. Of course, I will still be playing other new games that show their alluring faces during the year, either owned by others or acquired by me, and playing old favorites as well.

Below is a list of some of my un-played games owned to prior to 2011. I list them according to number of players, because that is how I arrange them on my shelves.

I will enter them as they are played, with a rating and notations designed for my own purposes. Most of my ratings are based on multiple plays.

4-12 Player Games:
Linq 2-27-11 #28

3-8 Player Games:
Fabula 3-18-11 #46

3-7 Player Games:
Nottingham 6-28-11 #143
Wits & Wagers Expansion Pack 1 12-3-11 #219

3-6 Player Games:
David & Goliath 5-10-11 #93
Time Pirates
Fist of Dragonstones 3-11-11 #39
Pizarro & Co.
Elfenwizards
Ziegen Kriegen 5-13-11 #98
Eketorp
The Big Idea: More Cards! (Exp)
The Settlers of Catan: The Great River 6-14-11 #133
Bootleggers
Small World: Necromancer Island 3-25-11 #51
Dragon's Gold 5-30-11 #119

3-5 Player Games
Hab & Gut 1/18/11 #14
Batavia
Perikles
Nostra City 5-14-11 #100
Greed
Tulipmania 1637 6-6-11 #126
Bull in a China Shop 5-8-11 #90
Cash-a-Catch
Valdora
Serengeti 5-11-11 #95
Maya 5-12-11 #97
Ad Astra 8-2-11 #167
Eschnapur 4-9-11 #65
Giants 1-11-11 #9
Tammany Hall 3-26-11 #53

3-4 Player Games
Sylla
Doge
New England
A la carte: Die Beilage 10-31-11 #212
Krieg und Frieden
Catan Geographies: Germany 6-7-11 #127
Intrigo 5-11-11 #94
A la carte 10-31-11 #211
Basari 3-6-11 #35
Lost Valley
The Bridges of Shangri-La 5-20-11 #105
Giganten 9-20-11 #194

2-10 Player Games:
Leader 1 6-9-11 #129
Formula D Circuits 1: Sebring & Chicago 10-16-11-11 #207

2-9 Player Games:
Breaking Away 6-9-11 #128

2-6 Player Games
Mecanisburg
Jamica 2-10-11 #25
Formidable Foes
Vineta 1/29/11 #21
Top Race 6-10-11 #130
Little Italy 1-25-11 #19
Elfengold 1-28-11 #20
Shark
Hare & Tortoise 1/17/11 #13
KakerLakenPoker 4-25-11 #80
Power Grid: Russia & Japan 4/19/11 #72
Imperial 2030 6-26-11 #140
Alhambra: The Thief's Turn (expansion #3) 2-8-11 #24
Family Business 6-30-11 #149
Iliad 5-9-11 #91
Elfengold (expansion to Elfenland)
Condottiere 4-27-11 #83
Extinction 6-27-11 #141
Genji 3-7-11 #36
Small World Community's Compendium I 3-27-11 #57
Steam Barons 3-26-11 #60

2-5 Player Games
It's Alive
King of the Beasts (AKA Queen of the Cupcakes) 5-21-11 #109
Trias
Carcassonne Hunters and Gatherers
Augsburg 1520
Leonardo Da Vinci
Sneaks & Snitches 5-15-11 #103
Carson City
Fresh Fish 5-21-11 #107
Navegador 9-18-11 #186
La Citta
Heads of State 10-2-11 #198
Tribune
Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition 3-1-11 #31
Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912
Lungarno 5-31-11 #122
New World
It Happens.. 4-18-11 #71
Cheesy Gonzola 4-22-11 #78
Alchemist 5-10-11 #92
Carcassonne The Discovery
Comuni
Prophecy: Dragon Realm Expansion 6-5-11 #124
Phoenicia
Masters of Venice
Emerald 1-24-11 #17
Oltre Mare
Gangster
Fish Eat Fish 4-2-11 #61
Management Material: Information Technology Edition 5-30-11 #118
Machu Picchu
Risk 2010 AD
Charon, Inc. 3-1-11 #30
Nefertiti Expansion
Zooloretto Expansions
Samarkand: Routes to Riches
Small World: Be Not Afraid... 3-26-11 #52

2-4 Player Games
Royal Palace
Shipyard
A La Carte 10/31/11 #211
Amyitis
Kreta
Hansa
Pocket Rockets 5/12/11 #96
Java 1/9/11 #8
Make 'n' Break 8-5-11 #169
Make 'n' Break Extreme 8-5-11 #170
War of the Roses
Mesopotamia
Anno 1503
Castle Merchants
Carolus Magnus
Micro-Mutants Evolution 6-6-11 #125
Municipium
Vasco de Gama 2-22-11 #27
Aquaduct
Before the Wind
Carcassonne: The City 6-29-11 #147
Caribbean 4-8-11 #64
Fowl Play
RailRoad Dice: The First Rails 3-16-11 #44
RailRoad Dice 2 3-14-11 #42
RailRoad Dice Germany 3-17-11 #45
Thurn & Taxis: All Roads Lead to Rome
Krakow 1325 AD
Krysis
Real Dumb Laws 5-21-11 #108
Corsari 4-29-11 #85
Entdecker
Guatemala Cafe 6-15-11 #135
Jerusalem
Agora 4-25-11 #81
Opera
Tobago
Diamonds club

2-3 Player Games
Ticket to Ride Nordic countries 2-7-11 #22

2 Player Games
Court of the Medici 1-20-11 #15
Khet 3D: Tower of Kadesh Expansion 2-18-11 #26
Toscana 9-20-11 #191
Waterloo
Builders of the Earth: Builders Duel 4-10-11 #66
Black Box+ 9-26-11 #197
Mr. Jack Expansion 1-24-11 #16
Blue Moon Expansion: The Aqua 3-21-11 #48
Jambo Expansions 12-24-11 #229 & #230
Blue Moon Expansion: The Terrah 3-21-11 #49
Easter Island 6-27-11 #142
Kamisado
Jambo Expansion 12-24-11 #229
Jambo Expansion 2 12-24-11 #230

1-12 Player Games
Tribal Dice 5/7/11 #89

1-6 Player Games
Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War 5-29-11 #117

1-4 Player Games
Rallyman 1/16/11 #12
Roadzters 1-24-11 #18
FITS Expansion #2: LOTS: Letters On The Spaces 5-22-11 #110
FITS Expansion #3: BOTS: Big Obnoxious Terrible Spaces 5-22-11 #111

Solitaire Games
Doctor Who: Solitaire Story Game
Freecell 5-13-11 #99

Children's Games
Die Siedler von Catan Junior 1/13/11 #10
Insel der Schmuggler (AKA Smuggler's Island) 3-20-11 #47
Pyramidos 4-20-11 #74
Chicken Cha Cha 4-21-11 #76
Duckling Dancin' 4-21-11 #77
Hisss 3-27-11 #55
Giro Galoppo 6-28-11 #144
Pirate's Treasure 6-28-11 #145
Gulo Gulo 6-30-11 #148
Symmetrix
Alphabet Game 3-27-11 #56
Collect the Chicks
Leaping Lizards 4-10-11 #67
Maisy Game 3-31-11 #59


Games & Expansions played for the first time in 2011:

Owned prior to 2011 (My goal is 100)
Jan- 18
Feb- 6
March- 20
April- 15
May- 23
June- 18
July- 0
Aug- 3
Sept- 3
Oct- 4
Nov- 0
Dec- 3

Grand Total Toward Goal: 113

Acquired & played during 2011 (Became meaningful only after the first goal of 100 accomplished):
Jan- 1
Feb- 2
March- 9
April-12
May- 11
June- 6
July- 11
Aug- 6
Sept- 10
Oct- 10
Nov- 2
Dec- 3

(186 inclds 63 exp=89 hole)

Non-owned played for the first time:
Jan- 2
Feb- 0
March- 2
April- 0
May- 1
June- 3
July- 4
Aug- 3
Sept- 8
Oct- 2
Nov- 3
Dec- 6

Totals for all Games played for the first time (Count is just for curiosity):
Jan- 21
Feb- 8
March- 31
April- 27
May- 35
June- 27
July- 15
Aug- 12
Sept- 21
Oct- 16
Nov- 5
Dec- 12

Grand Total of ALL games & expansions played for the first time in 2011: 230


My favorites so far:
Factory Fun, Hab & Gut, Charon, Rattus: Pied Piper (favorite expansion), Asara, Merkator, Resident Evil, Curious George: Discovery Beach Game (Child's game), Pastiche, Breaking Away (My Favorite), Yggdrasil, Cargo Noir, Troyes, Black Gold, Crows, Glory to Rome, Star Trek: Deck Building Game, 51st State, Dixit Odyssey, Ninjato, Navegador, The Adventurers: The Pyramids of Horus,

I also Enjoy a Lot: It Happens, Tammany Hall, Sticky fingers, Pocket Rockets, Abandon Ship, Top Race, Smuggler's Island (Child's game), Heads of State, Sobek, A La Carte, Innovation,

Favorites of my Gaming Friends (input from around 50 throughout the year):
Hab & Gut, Asara, Nightfall (Biggest Hit), Charon, Merkator, Puzzle Strike, Pastiche, Yggdrasil (2nd Biggest Hit), Cargo Noir, Quarriors!, Glory to Rome, The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus,51st State, A La Carte,
Also enjoyed, but eventually has seen less table action: Tammany Hall, Langfinger (AKA Sticky Fingers), It happens..., Dixit Odyssey,


New 2011 games played & commented (but don't count toward goal):
Prolix #6, New Factory Fun #7, Dragonheart #11, Merchants & Marauders #23, Ascension: Rat King Promo #29, Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter #32, Biblios #33, Rattus: Pied Piper #34, Luna #37, Merkator $38, Asara #40, Khet 2 #41, Nightfall #43, Puzzle Strike #50, 7 Wonders: Manneken Pis Promo #54, Small World Community's Compendium II #58, Mansions of Madness #62, Resident Evil #63, ZBall Hi-Grip #68, Trollhalla #69, Langfinger #70,Pastiche #73,Mystery Garden #75,Al Cabohne #79,Curious George: Discovery Beach Game #82, Resident Evil Deck Building Game: Alliance #84, 11 Nimmt! #86, Resident Evil Deck Building Game: Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine Promo #87, Button Men #88, Ark #101, Ark Extra Mix #102, Earth Reborn #104, Innovation #106,Nightfall: Zombie Horde Promo #112, The Mines of Zavandor #113, Cargo Noir #114,Im Wassergarten #115, Mad Zeppelin #116, Abandon Ship #120, King Maker #121, Rory's Story Cubes #123, Savannah Cafe #131, Catan Dice Game #132, Win, Place & Show #134, Yggdrasil #136, Bzz Out #137, You're Bugging Me! #138, Cookie Shapes #139, Haggis #146, Nuts! #150, The resistance #151, Small World Underground #152, Hide & Seek Safari #153, Civilization #154, Advanced Civilization #155, Star Wars: Epic Duels #156, Ascension: Return of the Fallen - Kythis, the Gatekeeper Promo #157, Ascension: Return of the Fallen #158, Red Dragon Inn 3 #159, 7 Wonders: Leaders #160, Fladderadatsch #161, Dice Town: The Indians #162, Dice Town Extension #163, Quarriors #164, Nightfall: Shadow Seven Promo #165, Nightfall: Lisaveta Florescu Promo #166, World of Warcraft Trading Card Game #168, Seven Dragons #171, Nightfall: Martial Law #172,Olympos #173, Ascending Empires #174, Rattus: Jester Promo Card #175, Catan: Seafarers #176, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer - Leprechaun and Pot of Gold Promos #177, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer - Deep Drone Promo #178, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer - Journeyman Sage Promo #179, Junta: Viva el Presidente! #180, High Frontier #181, Eleminis #182, Top Ten: The Bill of Rights #183, Alien Frontiers #184, Alien Frontiers: The Mind Control Helmet #185, Troyes #187, Glory to Rome #188, Qwirkle #189, Crows #190, Hive: The Ladybug #192, Black Gold #193, Bloodsuckers #195, Innovation: Echoes of the Past #196,Food Fight #199, The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus #200,Star Trek Deck Building Game #201, The Secret of Monte Cristo #202, Godzilla Stomp! #203, Sobek #204,Discworld: Ankh-Morpork #205, Ponte del Diavolo #206, Artus #208, Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion #209, 51st State #210, A La Carte: Dessert #213, Dixit Odyssey: "Bunny" promo card #214, Dixit Odyssey #215, Frag #216, Sutakku #217, Sentinels of the Multiverse #218, Railways of England and Wales #220, The Target #221, Arcana #222, Super Dungeon Explore #223, Blood Bowl: Team Manager - The Card Game #224,Ninjato #225,Quest: A Time of Heroes; Attack of the Orcs #226, Dungeons & Dragons: Conquest of Nerath Board Game #227, A Few Acres of Snow #228,
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51. Board Game: Small World: Necromancer Island [Average Rating:6.76 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.76 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-25-11

My rating: 6

Not thrilled with this expansion. It just complicates the play. The best thing about it, 6 can play, and often this many want to play, as they did tonight.

Necromancer is very powerful. Often have to go co-op to beat it. I have played it once so far, but others at the table had played 3-4 times.

I will be pulling this one out only when 6 want to play.
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52. Board Game: Small World: Be Not Afraid... [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked]
 
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-25-11

My rating: 8

I rated this expansion the same as the Base Game.

Just adds more Special Powers and Races with some different bonuses without complicating the game--just more variety.

This expansion will easily slip into every Smallworld game.
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53. Board Game: Tammany Hall [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:399]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-26-11

My rating: 8

An exceedingly strong area control game with lots of viciousness, yet beautifully simplistic. Very thematically developed. Has to do with Political Bosses' influence over immigrants in NYC during 1850-1870.

The first term (4 terms, 4 years each) goes very fast, but then the game picks up momentum rapidly in board presence but the game slows down. There is some brain burning and analysis paralysis with the wrong people (I was one of those persons a time or two--but most had their moment so none of us griped. I will be playing again several times in this coming week and I know my play will speed up.) I didn't go to bed till 5:30 AM and spend the next 5 hours dreaming about the game and alternate strategies. (And proceeded to lose the 2nd game badly.)

Great looking board with a good informative layout. The brown and the purple Bosses (player pieces) are so close in color, difficult to tell them apart, especially if the lighting is a little poor. Rule sheet short and simple.

So far have played with 5 players, 4, 3 players--three is good but five is so delightfully brutal.

If you like games with lots of interaction and back stabling, get this one.

It's a keeper.

Note: After a few more plays, my friend, a Martin Wallace enthusiast, noted this looks and feels like a Martin Wallace Treefrog Game. I said true, but it isn't. My friend snatches the rule book and searches the credits and says, see--and shows me that Martin Wallace shared in the development. Definitely up to Martin Wallace par, plus.
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54. Board Game: 7 Wonders: Manneken Pis [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-26-11 (Received in 2011, so doesn't count toward goal)

My rating: 3

The base game is a favorite of mine and many in our gaming group.

Nobody who has played this 8th Wonder likes it, including me--it stays in the box. It's irritating, and its only real benefit is for a laugh, due to the drink reward, but only to those who see it for the first time.
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55. Board Game: Hisss [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:6878]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-27-11

My rating: 5

I rate children's games according to how excited I am to play them with the appropriately aged child.

A color matching game for a four year olds, 2-5 players. A little more advanced than some color matching games because often the card has to be rotated and then offset, so the matches are not always so obvious.

My 3 yr old grandson makes the matches, but the 50 tiles are too many--we reduced the number to 35. At his age he has to be playing all the time, so he helps me make my snakes too. If more than two in this age group are playing, I let them make their snakes simultaneously because it takes them time to rotate and line up the snake bodies. Too much down time if they take turns, and they lose interest. We then choose the longest snake, the most colorful snake, the most snakes, etc., so everyone wins in some way.

Older children can play by the rules where turns are taken and there is one winner.

Colorful tiles are heavy and durable.
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56. Board Game: Alphabet Game [Average Rating:3.60 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-27-11

My rating: 5

I rate children's games on how excited I am to play the games with appropriately aged children.

I have been looking for more games my 3 year old grandson can play--not many out there. I do have a number of 4 year old games, so have been pulling them out.

Even though I purchased this in 1979 for my 5 children, I had not rated it because I have no memory of it. So, it has been on my list to play.

Ages 4-6, 10 mins, 2-4 players. Out of print now, but survives in thrift stores and on Amazon.com.

At 3 my grandson matches up the letters on the board and on the large, two-letter words printed on heavy cards with the colored side up. He spins the spinner, moves the pawns, but has no interest in putting it into a game where turns are taken (although there are other 3 year old rated games in which he does take turns).

The game suggests individual play, and that is certainly how this game attracts him. There is an advanced game for 5-6 year olds using the longer words written over a corresponding picture on the reverse side of the cards/tiles.

By Scrabble, this educational game is a good one that my children evidently used & played, otherwise I wouldn't have stashed it away.

We will be playing it again, probably often, because he named some of the alphabet letters as he placed them on the board, and identified the word No, He doesn't attend a pre-school, so I think this is an important game for him.
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57. Board Game: Community's Compendium I (fan expansion for Small World) [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-29-11

My rating: 7

A Print & Play expansion adding more races and Special Powers, for a greater variety.

Due to the slightly different size, the cardboard thickness, and the finish, if I draw them out of a bag, by feel I have an idea of what it might be; Likewise, if they are stacked and I can just look at them. Because of this, probably won't automatically add them to the game. More likely will add then when we have a 6th player using Necromancer, and we want some additional choices.



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58. Board Game: Small World Community's Compendium II (fan expansion for Small World) [Average Rating:5.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.53 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-29-11 (Not mine, so doesn't count toward goal.)

My rating: 7

Another nice Print & Play expansion for Small World that is nicely done.

The same comments for this one, as for Compendium I above.

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59. Board Game: Maisy Game [Average Rating:4.19 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-31-11

My rating: 4.5

I rate children's games according to how excited I am to play with the appropriately aged child.

This is a simple matching, set collection game using a spinner.

A true 3 year old's game--colorful, sturdy, large pieces with familiar book illustrations, 10 mins or less.
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60. Board Game: Steam Barons [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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3-26-11 (forgot to enter this on 3/26)

My rating: 8

Expansion exclusively for Steam by Mayfair. I have rated this expansion the same as the base game.

Played the North England side--loved the mountains and map layout. Yes, just 1 play and I've rated it--but the rating for me is solid--It doesn't complicate the game--just more variety.

Can't wait for 2nd expansion by Mayfair due this year.

I like Steam the more I play it--better than Age of Steam.

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61. Board Game: Fish Eat Fish [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:4757]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-2-11

My rating: 4.5


A light family game with a little strategy; repetitious but quick--10-20 mins. The box says 8+ years, but I can't imagine wanting to play this with anyone older than 8. (But it isn't a young child's game either.)

Movement of the fish is similar to the penguins in Hey, That's My Fish!, but that is where the similarity ends.

Each player has a set of cards for resolving attacks between fish who want to eat each other. Once a card is used it is discarded, so players with a good memory and enough interest for what has been played have an advantage. (The same mechanic as many, many other games.)

The board is dull, but the fish are colorful and in the beginning fill the board. The box's insert is designed specifically for the game, but fitting each of the 35 fish into their slot is way too fiddly--very unlike me, but I just dump them in the box.

In fact, Hey, That's my Fish! is a better game, that fills the same niche, with a wider age range, so might get rid of Fish Eat Fish. If I keep it, it is only because I think kids might like way the fish stack as though eating each other.
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62. Board Game: Mansions of Madness [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:150]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-3-11 (Just received, so doesn't count toward goal)

My rating: 5

The box says 2-5 players, and strangely enough we played the first game with 6 because we misread the box. The next game was played with 5, and all those involved said there was no difference between playing with 5 or 6.

9 different people played the two games tonight, and this is what they had to say:
Everyone liked the game (myself least of all). Everyone said they would be up for more games, and I have been asked to bring it again next gaming night. I will play it if someone pulls it out, but I will not suggest it myself.

Excluding my rating, everyone put it in the 6-8 (out of 10) range. Those who have played Arkham Horror, agree AH is a better game, more complicated and with more options than Mansions of Madness. MoM is a good gateway game to Arkham Horror.

One friend who played the Keeper in both games tonight, has played many games of both Descent and Arkham Horror, said that Mansions of Madness is a mix of the two. He rated Mansion of Madness an 8 out of 10.

I rate both Descent and the re-printed Betrayal of House on the Hill, another similar game, higher than MoM. I have never played Arkham Horror.

Positive comments by the players: Lots of re-playability, like the forced ending that keeps the game within reasonable time limits, favorably impressed that draws are possible, interesting looking, love the miniatures, and enjoy the story line.

Negative comments: Too finicky, puzzles not hard enough, didn't get to do enough in the game, needs an organizer for the components, daunting rulebook if never played this type of game before. I seemed to be the only one who objected to the downtime between turns. The time I got to play compared to the length of this 2-3 hour game, was a very small ratio. I didn't care about the story line, which held the interest for others.

I took an entire afternoon to just punch, bag, and label the numerous different kinds of tokens, tiles, cards, and miniatures. I glued the figures to the bases and after play switched the baggies for organizing containers for the many components. Also added more ten-sided dice because passing one die around got old in a hurry.

I am keeping the game, but I will not be buying the expansions which are sure to follow--which is unusual for me. I am just not that big a fan of this genre of game.
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63. Board Game: Resident Evil Deck Building Game [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1431]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-5-11 (2011 unowned, but on order--another that doesn't count toward goal.)

My rating: 10 (increased)

Everyone who played the game said they liked it, and all rated it above Thunderstone, another deck building card game where you go into a cave instead of the mansion to kill monsters.

Favorable comments:
Like being one character with abilities that improve upon leveling up, and like the variety of characters; Simplicity of the cards and the play; Looks good; Play is fast; Impressed with the strong re-playability with the many scenarios built into the game; Excited about the variant where there are no monsters, and players attack each other.

Unfavorable comments:
At the end of the first game, "When is this game going to end?" (Killing the Big Monster took each of us 10+ turns when we could do nothing because of weak hands--We learned this had happened to another group. In the next two games this wasn't a problem.) Also, not a satisfactory way of keeping score of health--used paper & pencil, but easily jumbled after a player had taken a few deaths.

I find it interesting that the strongest monster ("Infected" one) might be the first one encountered in the mansion. He inflicts massive damage, but when he isn't killed he is shuffled back into the deck--so you never know when he will pop up. Other undefeated monsters go to the bottom of the deck.

Weary of expansions, but yes, will be getting them. (So many more avenues for expansions than the other deck builders--for instance, more items to pick up in the mansion, not just new monsters.)

Deck Building Games in order of how I would pull them off the shelf to play:

Puzzle Strike (a rising star)
Resident Evil (newest addition)
Nightfall
Dominion (this one has taken a tumble)
Thunderstone (I really like this game. Just like the others better)
Ascension (Still has its time & place)
Heroes of Graxia (Going to sell)

EDITS: When the Gatling gun is discovered very early in the mansion, and the game also has Reload, the player is so overpowered the game becomes broken. From now on I think if Reload is in the game, we will initially put Gatling gun in the last half of the deck. They are both such powerful cards.

I prefer this game with 3 or more players.

Card quality poor--needs sleeves.

Poor Box Design:
Unfortunately, once sleeved they no longer fit in the slotted box.

If you don't sleeve the cards so they still fit in the box, then the order in which to store cards as suggested by the rules book, is by number. The cards are numbered and so are the slots--note the black numbers on the black insert. I find this curious since the cards you pull for pre-designed scenarios call for the cards by name, not number. Not only that, the numbers do not correspond to alphabetic order either.

The box does not have enough height to add tabbed indexes and is too narrow to label over the numbers with the cards' names.

Despite all these negatives, I really like the way the game plays and is staying a favorite of mine.

EDIT: Have now played all the modes numerous times, including Partnership, and the Versus Mode is by far the best.

EDIT: 5-30-11, with 50 plays raising rating from 9 to a 10. By far the most versatile of the deck building games, & therefore the most re-playable.
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64. Board Game: Caribbean [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:1929]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-8-11

My rating: 6.2

This is a light filler game with conflict and heavy interaction--everyone is trying to bribe the pirates with rum to deliver treasure to them. Every action (hidden bets) rests on who makes the highest bribe.

Plays 2-4 players. My first game was with two, and it was okay, but I know this head-on, conflict game will be so much more fun with 3 or 4. (If you like more control over your maneuvering, stick with 2.) With two players also found it a little repetitious near the end--with more players hopefully there will be greater uncertainty for who might win so the end won't seem as though it is dragging out.

Because the pirate ships move in alphabetical order, there is strategy to the bidding, which takes some thought and can slow the game down.

Although the ships and the card holders are cardboard, I am impressed with their design. I glued the pieces together, and they still fit protected in the box with the board resting on top of the insert.

I always appreciate games that have geography, as this one does. Refreshes my knowledge of the islands and ports. Visually appealing too.

On Bruno Faidutti's Best List.

Conclusion: Looking forward to playing again with 3-4, and the rating might go up some.

Edit: Played with 3--better. Raised rating. Might still go up after playing with 4.
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65. Board Game: Eschnapur [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:6442]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-9-11

My rating: 5.9

I admit it, the graphics and the spectacular board hooked me on this one. I was finally able to pick it up in an auction. I printed out English rules here on BGG.

This is a light strategy and auction game that lasted less than an hour with little down time between plays.

Every person's turn includes a mandatory auction, and a couple of elective actions, one of which triggers a different bidding war.

I like the mechanic of the monk, which by the way, is an awesome component. The person with the lowest score takes possession of him, and when they score, the points are doubled. The monk immediately transfers to the person with lowest score. This introduces a timing strategy of playing the right cards at the right time. I found myself holding onto a (hopefully) winning card, intentionally slipping into last place, and then scoring big and sling shooting ahead.

There is strategy in the mandatory auction; also in the Treasure Chest auction when trying to play either the highest or the lowest card, but not between cards. It is helpful if you can remember what has been played.

All five of us enjoyed it, and would play it again.
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66. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1387]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-10-11

My rating: 6.8

I like the 2-4 player board game, and I like this card game for 2. Glad I have both. (This game is shorter.)

The selection of 3 cards by each player is unusual because one of cards will always be in contention.

There is luck with cards that turn up, their arrangement, and the coin/seal flipping. However some of the coin flipping luck can be over come by the purchase of coins/seals. I do not enjoy games of luck, but this was okay. I liked it.

The always different arrangement of cards that results in a unique "board" each time, makes this game very re-playable.

I am looking forward to playing this one again.
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67. Board Game: Leaping Lizards [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:10358]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-10-11

My rating: 6

I rate children's games according to how excited I am to play them with the appropriately aged child.

This is a short counting & a set recognition game, without strategy. The idea is cute--a player can arrange the rope "race course" in different winding configurations, then the lizards leap over beads along the way.

Since my 3 year, 4 month old grandson can count and read numbers I was sure this game, even though rated for ages 4+, would be great for him since it involves counting tiles & the movement, but he just didn't have the attention span even when we shortened the finish line (slide 2 beads together, then they jump both instead of one). We've played it twice, just to make sure, but I think the "race course" is just too abstract.

The mechanics of who goes first is unique--sometimes the one in the lead, sometimes the one who is last. As a result, wooden lizards can jump backwards, forwards, and get double turns.

I enjoyed it because it is different, but will put it away probably for another six months or more until he is older.
 
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68. Board Game: Bisikle: Z-Ball Hi-Grip [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-12-11 (arrived 2011, doesn't count toward goal)

My Rating: 2

This is an expansion to Bisikle and RoadZters. Purchased the new ZBall Hi-Grip, hoping it would be an improvement (by not rolling back or leaving the track as often). It has a dull finish opposed to the slick surfaced one that comes with the game.

We tried it on flats, curves, raised curves, with the RoadZters game to jump over cars, as well as the Bisikle game. One of us played with the slick surface, the another with the dull surface. We couldn't see any difference. It seemed to us they rolled identically, with one not stopping any sooner than the other. We switched balls, and still came to the same conclusion.

We thought that maybe the time we would notice it the most was when English was applied or when it stopped & spun but wouldn't slowly work its way off the track. But no, we couldn't see even a subtle difference.

Interestingly, the box shows a picture of the ball with "Hi-Grip" lettered on the ball. My ball only says "Z-Ball", but as mentioned, the surfaces are different.

I rated it a 2 because I love that word "annoying" in BGG's description of ratings. We will continue to use the ball, but it doesn't give an advantage in play, so I will just mix it in with the other balls. Wasted money--I already had 5 balls.
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69. Board Game: Trollhalla [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:2082]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-12-11 (Received this year, so does not count toward goal)

My rating: 7

When I saw that Alf Seegert had designed another game I snapped it up because I love Bridge Troll. (To digress, I rarely find games amusing such as Killer Bunnies. The humor behind Bridge Troll I find the most enjoyable of any game I have played. I also love the original mechanics, and even the graphics are perfect for the game although they are not the type of graphics I usually like. Bridge Troll is under rated.) So there was no hesitation in getting Trollhalla. And I have not been disappointed.

In both games the trolls and characters are familiar and Ryan Laukat is the same graphic artist; and the Billy Goat bullies the trolls. The games themselves are otherwise very different with no other similarities.

This is such a well thought out & designed game: It is very difficult to hog spaces on the boats that plunder islands. Since cards too are a bonus, rules of play and end game penalties, guard against hogging cards. Sea routes are obvious. Not being able to put your tokens next to each other in boats and sea lanes makes a huge difference and a key rule in how well the game plays--just very well tested and put together.

What I especially like about this game are the "mixed strategies". For instance, going for the most of one type of tile scores bonus points for the largest set and points for each tile. However, the set that gives the most points (+25 for the Billy Goats) scores the least per tile (+1 for each Billy Goat tile), while the Bull tiles score 6 pts each, but only +4 points for the largest set. Likewise, maneuvering for position on the chief Troll's boat might just lose your island plunder, and visa versa, due to competing sea routes.

Strategically I kept my eye on my positions on the boat, the boat's orientation, cards I held, the positions on the Chief Troll's boat, domination of the sea lanes, sets being collected by myself and the others, how close the boats were to filling, and more. There is a lot to watch yet, I did NOT feel over whelmed, at all.

There are so many ways the game can un-expectantly change but none of them complicated, and all of them fun. There is so much to watch, that I was surprised more than once by opponents whose moves changed everything completely, including who was in the lead! The surprises generated a lot of laughs.

We are playing with gross little Viking trolls, but there is unexpected subtlety in play.

Yeah!--No score keeping until the end of the game--so NO tokens that keep getting knocked off the score track, and the element of not really knowing who is going to win.

The game has re-playability. Two variants are suggested, one of which, The Weather Tile Variant, adds more strategy to the game by removing the random card draw.

My only complaint: In poor light the red & orange are too close in color. Yellow in place of the orange would be much better.

Have played with 3 and 4; 3 is good, 4 is slightly better because I just like the way plans can get skewed. Also with 4 we seemed to fight more for the sea lanes.

I am more impressed & delighted with this game than I thought I would be, even though I was looking forward to it. The group had a mixed response to the game; half liked it, half didn't.
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70. Board Game: Langfinger [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:2704]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-14-11 (Just arrived, doesn't count toward goal)

My rating: 6.7

Version: Sticky Fingers, AKA Langfinger (German), Pegasus Press

Quite charmed by this little filler/family game. Simple rules with good graphics, very attractive. 30 mins play. Up to 5 players. Works well with 2.

Size complaint:
This is almost a good travel game size. The game board is a folded 10" x 7"--perfect travel size, but the box height could easily be cut in half. Okay if you are traveling by roomy car, but for airfare the box needs to be shorter. I also need shelf space. So anytime a game wastes space (no matter how small the dimensions of the box), I get indignant.

On the other hand if you don't use it as a travel game, then it is hard to excuse the very tiny game board that is much too small for 5 people to sit around. The game board is so attractive, it deserves to be bigger.

Edit: Others who have played it like it as well. We are all ready to play it more. Sweet little game. (In the last 4 days I have played five times with different people--all have liked it so far.)
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71. Board Game: It Happens.. [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2324]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-18-11

My rating: 6.8

I had read some good things about this game but the name turned me off. When I saw that Michael Menzel was the artist I bought it.

It is an appealing, filler/family game that is light, but still has enough strategy that I enjoy playing it. It is only 20-30 mins, and I think it plays well with 3, 4, and 5, although 4 is best because everyone gets one turn at going first. Just a 5 minute rule read and you're ready to play. (We set it up, read the rules, and played two games all within an hour.)

It is a dice game, but clever placement and manipulation of the dice, provides some balance against the luck.

I really don't mind that the theme doesn't hold together, because I like the play. But why is an anteater excited about finding an old shoe or broken glasses in a termite mound, and why would they be there at all? Why and how did an ancient Egyptian, Gold Pharaoh or a large stereo speaker blasting out music get there? Are termites bigger, and stronger, and more cultured than I thought?

"It Happens...." is an obvious play on words that doesn't really fit the game. So I have to think it was named this just to get people's attention, and generate sales because it is supposed to be funny...like little kids in the movies saying bad adult words. This game is for ages 8+, so I think they could have used a more appropriate title--and saved the name for a real, down-on-your-luck game targeting young adults & older.

This is another game where the box, although not large, could have been so much smaller.

I do like the game, and it's a keeper. My group likes it too.
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72. Board Game: Power Grid: Russia & Japan [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-19-11

My Rating: 8

Played the Russian side first. I don't feel it was all that different from the other maps. I was excited about the Japanese side & stayed up till 5:00 AM to play it.

The Japanese side is very different with not only resource production, but placement. Also the long skinny map with an island mixes things up a bit, and gives it a nice new feel. I rated this a little higher than the base game because it stirred up new interest for me, and after so many maps was surprised in the originality used to adapt the game successfully to Japan's shape.

After Japan's horrific disaster with the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear power plants, we were thinking of possible variants for resource production.
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73. Board Game: Pastiche [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:774]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4/19/11 (Just arrived, doesn't count toward goal)

My rating: 8

This game has been well received by my gaming friends, even the ones who didn't think they would like it and by those who are not all that interested in art.

It is a good family game with simple rules. It is also an excellent educational game although we were not playing it for its educational value. Nice components, although common card stock was used, and after a couple of plays I think the cards need sleeving--because this game is going to get played a lot more. The box is extremely sturdy--wish my boxes were all this way.

There is strategy in laying the tiles, trading, and filling commissions. All resource management--no auctions as in other games with Master Paintings.

I am very pleased with this game and looking forward to more plays soon.
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74. Board Game: Pyramidos [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:5906]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-20-11

My rating: 4.8

I rate children's games according to how excited I am to play them with appropriately aged children.

As usual, HABA does not skimp on the construction materials of their games. Very impressive and different looking game when put together.

The idea is cute--floating blocks down the Nile to the site of a pyramid. Along the way you might fall victim to the crocodiles. The winner is the person who gets the most points building the pyramid.

This is is a difficult dexterity game for adults. Maybe kids will do better. I am visiting my older grandson soon and played this to see if I wanted to take it. I found it very repetitious, even though there is strategy--but it is strategy that is beyond the average 6 year old--a very devious strategy--one I would never use against younger children (unless they were better at the game, heehee).

I am keeping the game, but not taking it with me--there are better games to take up space in my suitcase. I doubt this game will ever see a lot of play.
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75. Board Game: Mystery Garden [Average Rating:5.18 Overall Rank:10108]
Dea Draper
United States
Boise
Idaho
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4-20-11 (arrived today, doesn't count toward goal)

My rating: 5.3

I rate children't games according to how excited I am to play with appropriately aged children.

Visually interesting. A combination of "20 questions" & "Find Waldo" type game.

This is a very detailed game board. There are 48 tiles with pictures of items (many of them Mother Goose based) found on the game board. A secret tile is drawn and 4+ year olds ask questions to narrow down what it is within 15 questions. First to find 3 tiles wins. Also variations for older & younger children.

My 3 year old grandson and I played it differently. For 40 mins (I was amazed at his attention span) he went through every tile, turning it over and finding it on the game board.

It is a small board with very small numbers on stepping stones--since for 4 year olds, I think the numbers should have been much bigger.

I like the game because it is different from other games I have for this age group, and it introduces the children to asking creative questions with visual cues, to narrow down the secret object quickly.
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