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Baseball Highlights: 2045 (Game #101)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. I played this game for the first time in February of 2016, and I really liked it. More importantly, I thought it was a game that my wife would absolutely love. At the time it was between printings, but later in the Spring we got the game as soon as it became available. My wife's reaction was mostly positive but she was not as blown away as I would have thought. In the past year or so we have played the game together four times. Now that the game is back up to the plate will it hit a home run or strike out?

Game Overview
This is a card game with deck building aspects that seeks to simulate a futuristic baseball season (baseball with robots!). There are several variations on how the game can be played, but I will be summarizing the standard two player game.

Both players have a starter deck for their team. The vast majority of the game consists of the "mini-game". This is where players put their teams up against each other. Each player gets six cards. Each card has two potential elements. There is an immediate effect that will take place the moment the card is played. Many of these effects are defensive, but some are things like stealing bases. Many cards also threaten hits. This game has an unique flow that is easier to see than it is to explain.

The first player plays a card and the threats the card threatens (like say a double) is put on their player board at home. The next player will then play a card, their immediate effect might say "cancel one hit" which will remove the threatening batter. If the immediate effect did not remove the threatening hitter, then the batter will advance to the base. This goes back and forth until all cards are played, and the player with the most runs scored wins the game.

After a round of this, then players will be able to draft new cards for their team. Each card that is played during the mini-game has a monetary value, and the total of the cards played is how much players can spend. There are six star player out in the center to draft from. When a player recruits one of these players, they must send another player down to the minors. This means that players decks are always the same size.

This process is repeated so that players play three mini-games and have three draft rounds. The player that won the most matches will be the starting home team in the world series, which is a best of seven. In between these mini-games there will still be draft rounds. The player that wins the world series, wins the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game feels innovative. I love how it captured the feel of a baseball game without delving into statistics even a little bit. This is also an incredibly fresh take on deckbuilding. I think the base mechanism of every time a card is added another card comes out is one that will eventually be borrowed and used in other games.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I do not know why, but this game frustrates me more than other card games. It just feels like I never have what I need. I know it is not hard, but i find the basic turn structure to be not very intuitive.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: One of my gaming highlights of last year was doing a four person tournament in this game. We played a round robin to determine the tournament bracket. It was great to watch my team develop over the course of the season. This game brings out the baseball theme so well, and I like the retro-future flavor as well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: To this game’s credit the theme is strong here.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: Even playing with quickplay rules, the mini-game that is the core of the gameplay is repeated multiple times. The downside to this is that once I finish the game I am good for a bit. Every time it comes out it is a new and good experience but it is not a game I want to play all the time.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It might be, but I do not want to play it.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: Much like the actual sport of baseball this game has a slower pace. However, it suits this game and it has a good flow as the game progresses and the teams become more and more unique.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is soooo repetitive.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I really like sports themed games that seek to create the feel of the sport without being a deep simulation. This game does that for baseball really well, and I think it is a lot of fun to play.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I actively dislike this game and I do not find it fun at all .
Final Score

63/100

It has been commented in our game group that figuring out the kind of games my wife likes is tricky. That is probably true, but I tend to be decent at it. This was a big swing and a miss. I think the trade value is probably high for this game still, so hopefully we will be able to get something more to her liking.
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Today 2:07 pm
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Rallyman (Game #100)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. I bought this game at Gen Con all the way back in 2012. It was a Sunday morning purchase at a decent markdown from the Coolstuff inc. booth. Like so many other games, we played this one a decent amount in the first year of owning it. However, at this point it has been two years since the last time we played it. Can this game rally back onto our favorite games list?

Game Overview
In Rallyman players race three legs of a rally. These legs are made by assembling tracks from the geomorphic boards. The game's major mechanisms are dice with a strong "push your luck" element. Each turn, players may roll dice to move. There is one die per gear, and each die can only be rolled once. There also two white "acceleration dice" that can be used to get further movement. Since each die can only be used once, players have to plan carefully how they use their move.

Rolling a die, means the player will move one side. Most of the die facings are safe, but there are 1 or 2 "!" per die. When a player rolls one of these they still move one space. However, if a player ends up rolling three total on a turn they lose control and spin or crash. The player can choose to roll these dice one at a time, or they can do a "time attack" and roll all the dice at once. If the player does this and does not spin out they get second markers that will reduce their time at the end or can be spent to prevent a potential crash.

When players go through corners, they mus be using a certain die (or a lower gear die). Some corners be slid through, and other can be cut sharply and go off road for a short cut.

When a player stops moving they take a time card based on the gear they stopped on. If they stop in 5th gear the time card is 10 seconds, but if they stop in 1st gear the time card is 50 seconds. At the beginning of the next round, the player may use the die that corresponds with the current gear or one higher and lower.

When a player reaches the finish line they total up their time cards. Which ever player has the lowest total time after three legs is the winner.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: I do like how this game uses mechanisms that naturally support the theme. The game is fairly simple, but the added damage rules ratchet the complexity up too quickly. Pushing too hard or just bad luck can be almost impossible to overcome.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think this is a clever way to do “push your luck.” The base mechanism is there but there are also more considerations and deeper rules.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is easily the strongest aspect of the game. I have played a lot of the DiRT series of video games. When I was at the height of involvement with those games I even watched rally racing videos, and this game nails the feel of those races.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The theme comes through. I feel like I am racing on winding roads on the barest edge of control.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The map tiles add a lot of variety, though I wish there were more of them. Even though the same track segments can get used over and over, the different pairings create a new tactical challenge each time.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Being able to make different tracks helps but the base experience gets kind of dull after a while.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This just about kills the game. Rally racing is by definition multiplayer solitaire. I get that. However, it can be so boring waiting for other people. The count out, then they recount, then they lose count, and then they start all over. At four players especially this game can start to drag quickly.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The analysis paralysis is terrible in this one.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I think this game captures the theme well, but the play experience goes from fun to boring too quickly as it drags out.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is only fun when it is my turn.

Final Score

64/100


If played with people who naturally went fast, I find this game good. It really does such a good job with the theme. However, we both find the experience of playing together to be a little frustrating so it is time to trade this game.
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Today 4:30 am
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For Sale (Game #99)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We got this game several years ago, because I wanted to use it for a youth group lesson. However, we ended up keeping it and it has been a go to game when playing with groups of non-gamers. Unfortunately, due to the player count requirement we do not get to play it together very often. So is this a game we are still sold on?

For Sale is played into distinct rounds. For the first round players are all given the same amount of money. A number of property cards equal to the number of players will be turned face up. These property cards are from 1 as the lowest and 30 as the highest. Players will make bids on the highest available card. On a player's turn they may bid higher than the current number or pass. If they bid higher, then the next player in turn order faces the same decision. If they pass, then they must pay half of their previous bid and take the lowest available card. For example if my previous turn I bid 3, and then on my next turn I have to either bid 7 or pass. I choose to pass, in doing so I pay 2 (half my bid rounded up) and take the 12 property card because it is the lowest available card. The last player left after everyone passes pays their full bid, and gets the highest value card. It is possible to pass without bidding, and just take the lowest card. Players only have the money they start with to bid on property cards. Once all of the property cards are bought the game moves to the second phase.

In the second phase of the game, players are going to sell their property for check cards. The number of check cards is equal to the number of property cards. Once again, a check card will be set out for each player. Players will then select one of their purchased properties. Everyone reveals at the same time. Whoever placed the highest numbered house gets the highest check, and so on down the line. This process is repeated until all of the check cards are used and all of the players have played all of their property cards. Players add up how much they got in property cards and add any unspent money from the first round. Whoever has the highest total is the winner.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: I know it is a loaded word, but this feels like an eloquent game. It takes the concept and make it very simple to play and understand while still retaining depth.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think having two different phases are clever. The rules are very intuitive.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: I think this is kind of the weakest part of the game. It is a mechanisms different game, and thematic chrome is traded out of simplicity of play.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think the theme comes through. The way to win is to always buy low and sell high.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The mechanisms are so intuitive and the play time so fast it is easy to play it again.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game has a strong classic game feel. This is one that does not wear out.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the strongest part of the game. For Sale has a near perfect pacing and flow. The flow between two distinct rounds is perfect. Both are quick and do not overstay their welcome. This game also offers decisions that are easy but weighty at the same time.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game plays really quick. It never feels like it drags at all.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is close to the perfect-filler. The game just works well. It is a shame that this game never received mass market pentration because it could be come a true classic.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is a lot of fun. We do not get to play it often, but I am always up for doing so.

Final Score

85/100

This is just one of a small number of games we have that can not be played with two. The reason why we keep it is that it we both think it is a good game, and we think this is one of the best gateway games for non-gamers that we have played.
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Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:29 am
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Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Game #98)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. When Imperial Assault was announced at Gen Con in 2014, it became my most desired game. It was an instant buy for me. It released halfway through December of that year, and by January of 2015 we had it on the table. We started playing through a campaign, but my wife was not wild about that. However, the skirmish mode went over much better. I ran a mini-campaign at Gen Con last year, and I am doing it again this year. All told in the past 2 1/2 years this game has racked up a decent number of plays. While we are a couple of miniatures packs behind we have also stayed up to date with the endless expansions for this game. Has all of that investment been worth it?

Game Overview

Success is based on the specific scenario that is being played. This game has two sides, the rebels and the Empire. In general, the Empire has more but weaker units, while the rebels have less but much more powerful units. In a round, the rebels will activate a unit and then the Empire will active a unit, this goes back and forth until all units have been activated.

When a unit is activated it can perform two actions. Some units, like storm troopers, have multiple figures so each figure will get two actions. There are several actions that a player can take. The active figure can move as action. Each unit has a speed rating. Units can also attack, or interact with various objects (doors, terminals, supply crates, etc). Hero units also are allowed to take a healing action, and some heroes have special abilities that are actions.

To attack, the attacking player will roll the indicated attack dice. The defender will roll their defense die. Each hit symbol will cause a it, but each defense symbol cancels out a hit. There are also potential surge symbols that activate special abilities, but the defense die also has a symbol that cancels out surges. The hit dice also have numbers and this is used for range. For range attacks if the numbers on the die do not add up to the distance between the attacker and the target then the shot misses.

Each scenario takes place on a map that is made by putting geomorphic puzzle pieces together. There are various types of terrain that might block line of sight, movement, or cause extra movement to be needed.

When playing a campaign game, there are several things that carry from game to game. The Rebels get credits that can be used to buy new equipment and XP that can be turned in for new abilities. The Imperial player gets influence that can be used to bring in powerful cards in a scenario.

When playing a skirmish game both players bring a 40 point team and a custom built deck of command cards. A skirmish game is played to 40 points. Points are earned by eliminating opposing units but most scenarios give additional ways to earn points. Out of the box the skirmish options are limited, but each miniatures pack provides a new skirmish map with two scenarios playable on that map.

Each scenario has their own victory conditions, and when playing a campaign who wins decides what scenario is played next.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: The box advertising claims that this is two games in one box, and in this case it is true. At this point the majority of our games have been skirmish, and that is preferred way to play. However, I know there are people who play this game a lot and never touch the skirmish component. It is a great design achievement, that this game can deliver two different experiences so well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The core mechanisms and dice usage are good. However, there are a lot of special abilities and small details to keep straight. This really clouds up the rules for me.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game captures it's theme perfectly. For instance the last game we played, had the Dewback riding Captain Terro and a storm trooper commander working together to take on rebel troops in the Nal Hutta swamps. At the same time, Luke Skywalker was engaged else wehre against two jet troopers. The whole time I could practically hear music from the Star Wars soundtracks playing in my head.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think Sean likes this game so much because this is basically an acceptable way for an adult to play with Star Wars toys. The theme comes through a lot.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is one of the strongest aspect of this game. There is so much game here. The skirmish is essentially a customizable miniatures game. The scenarios and options in that mode pile up quickly. I am also impressed how much replayability the campaign has. There are different heroes, different agenda decks, and branching paths.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It requires an investment but with all of the different teams, different scenarios, and different maps this game could be played over and over.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This might be the weakest aspect of the game for a couple of reasons. First in the campaign, the time limit on a lot of the scenarios is tight. This means that a lot of the time, the rebel player is just running as fast as they can. The other thing that hurts the pacing and flow is that set up time is a bear. To put out a map and throw teams together for a skirmish game is 30 to 60 minutes.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like the back and forth of the skirmish. The campaign mode frustrates me a lot though. It is annoying to have a “gotcha” everytime I open a door.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I love this game, and I think it is so much fun to play. The biggest issue I have with the game is that I do not get to play it enough. I would love to play this competitively but there are not any local options. I also would love to have a group to play through the campaigns with.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I will play this, but I would rather play a game like Memoir ‘44. It is a good game, but I think I like battle games to be a little more straight forward.

Final Score

84/100

While this game does get played and this game will continue to get played, I do have to admit that the cost/play ratio is not lined up very well. To go all in on this game is expensive (but cheaper than X-Wing or Armada). I think my wife might be on to something, this game might fulfill my inner child's toy desire. Which is why I still need to get Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Hera Syndulla and C1-10P Ally Pack. . .
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Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:36 am
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City of Spies (Game #97)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. Last year at Gen Con this was on my short list of games to check out. It was going head to head against Covert. I had more or less decided that I was buying one of these two games, and this is the one that won the day. This game came to the table multiple times in 2016, and it has even made it out a couple of times this year. Are we still happy we recruited this game?

Game Overview
In this game players control a network of spies that the continually try to grow for missions. Each player starts off with the same set of six spies. Each spy has a power and many have a special ability.

The board is made up of six tiles placed in a 3x2 grid. With one exception, each tile has one spot for a new spy to be recruited and three places for players to play their spies.

On a player's turn they will play one of their spies to this board. The spy must be placed on an exterior space of the board or adjacent to a spy of the same player. This means there is a strong spatial element as players need to consider what their next play might be.

Once players have placed the number of spies they are allowed, each of the six board tiles are resolved. They are resolved in numerical order. All tiles are turned face up. The three spots on each tile are numbered, so starting with the first position, spies are resolved.

Spies have a wide variety of special abilities. Some can move or assassinate other spies, some can switch out the prize card, and others can get stronger based on who is adjacent. The power of spies is figured out for the tile, by adding the value of spies belonging to the same player together. The highest value wins the recruited spy. If there is a tie then the player on the first position wins.

Each of these location tiles have special abilities as well that are unique to the tile, and there are spots on the tile that can grant the option to look at face down spies. After all six tiles have been resolved, a new round begins. Players have to discard down to only six active spies. Discarded spies are worth one point each. The board is then reset for the next round. There are eight tiles and only six are used. They are placed in a random orientation.

After doing this for four rounds the game ends and final scoring is done. At the beginning of the game four mission tiles are selected players win these by having majorities. Such as the most American spies or the most spies with the assassinate ability. The player that has the majority in one of these four areas gets six points. Each spy has a point value, so players get the points listed on their active spies, plus one point for each discarded spy. The player with the most points wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game feels very unique. It is not quite like any other game I have played. I absolutely love the team making aspect of this game and I like how this is a conflict heavy game without feeling combative.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think the mechanism of making a team each round from recruited agents is something new, and I really like it.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The cartoon art style hides some of the history in this game. The spies are all real people as are the locations. I like how the intrigue of playing tiles face down and being able to peak at some rally adds to the espionage.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: For me the theme feels kind of weak. The experience of putting a team together is fun though.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: There are a lot of small things that get changed up. The goals are different, the orientation of the tiles are different, and not every spy is guaranteed to come out. However, I feel like this game could benefit from added options that an expansion would add.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game has built in variability that adds replayability. I wish there were some more options though.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the strongest part of this game. Four rounds is a perfect length. It allows the game to develop but still ends quickly. Individual turns have a great flow, as players battle over the locations. This goes into the instant reward of players getting to build their teams before doing it all again.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I really like the sense of progression that this game has. It is fun to see what kind of spy team I end up with at the end.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I really enjoy this game. I like the theme, I think the game is really something different. It plays fairly quickly as well. It gives a great game experience in an hour or less.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is fine. I do not dislike it. I am generally not opposed to playing it, but I am not sure if I will ever request it.

Final Score

77/100

I think my wife has only played this as a two player game. While it works at that count, I think it is better with three or four. This is a game we will be keeping and the Double Agents expansion is on my radar.
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Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:16 am
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Tribbles Customizable Card Game (Game #96)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We got this game in 2013. That year I had sold a lot of Star Wars memorabilia at Gen-Con, and I used a lot of those funds to get everything for Federation Commander. One of the online stores that I made these purchases from had this game for $5. Since I was buying Star Trek related stuff, we added it in. We played it a good deal after first getting it, but then we only played it once in 2014 and it has not made it to the table sine then. Is this game irresistibly lovable or just a big pest?

Game Overview
In Tribbles every player has their own deck of tribble cards that have values ranging from 1 to 10,000. A player begins by playing a 1 tribble card. The next player must then play a 10 tribbles card. This is followed by 100 then 1,000, and finally 10,000 (The go in multiples of ten, because it is thematic). If a player does not have the required card then they draw a card, and if it is the needed card it can be played. After a player draws a card, the next player may play the next card in the sequence or they can start over at 1.

Every single card in the game has special abilities such as skipping other players, reversing the way of play, allowing a player to take another turn, and more. Every time a player plays a card they may choose to use the card's ability or not.

Eventually, a player will play out their hand of cards. When that happens they win the round, and get to add up the value of all the cards they played to be scored as points. Five rounds are played, and the player with the most points is the winner.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is essentially UNO with special powers. This does add a bit of decision making since every now and then a player gets to decide which card to play in order to activate a power. The game has a lot of randomness. The poison ability for instance can score a player anywhere between 1 and 10,000 points.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is very easy, but it is silly and does not have much strategy.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game does not have a theme to really speak of. Thanks to the cards though I now know a lot of Tribble trivia.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The theme is tribbles? But the goal is to score the most tribbles, and tribbles are a pest so it would seem I want the least of them. The theme is not really there.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The game is played over five rounds, and that kind of shoots the replayability for me. After those five rounds I am done with playing.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It does have that kind of classic card game appeal, but the high level of randomness detracts this a bit.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: I think this is the weakest part of the game. For me, this just goes on a bit too long for what it is.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is fine I guess. It progresses fast, and I think five rounds is an OK length.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I would rather play this game over a Star Trek themed Uno, so there is that. It is OK, but it is not one of my favorites.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is not a deep game and it is probably not a good game, but I find it a lot of fun.

Final Score

57/100

This is not one of our best games, but my wife truly finds it fun. I think this probably has a very low trade or re-sale value, so until we absolutely need the space we will probably keep it. Some day we will have a Star Trek party and it will be the perfect game to have available.
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Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:40 am
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Islebound (Game #95)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We got this game at Gen Con last year. It really impressed me on the show floor and we enjoyed playing it once we brought it home. However with all of the other games we had to play in the lat part of last year and with playing through all of our games this year, it has not made it back to the table. So is this a game we are bound to play again?

Game Overview
In this game players are trying to get the most points by sailing the isles, building buildings, and gaining renown. On a player's turn they will always move, take an action, and then they may do free actions.

Player's ships begin with a movement of two. They must move and they can not move back in to the space they just left. Next, there are four possible actions a player may do. They may visit a location. To visit a location there is a cost that must be paid. The cost is paid to the treasure map space unless another player controls the location then it is paid to them. Each location then grants a special ability. The location abilities are really the heart of the game. They provide resources such as pirates, fish, wood, knowledge, and influence. These resources can be used to do other actions or turned into renown.

The second and third option are a player can attack a location or ally with a location through diplomacy. Each location has a strength. if the number is red then it must be attacked, and if it is in blue it required diplomacy. To attack a location a player must commit pirate or sea serpent cards and roll dice to determine strength. If a player falls short they can injure their crew for additional strength. To do diplomacy players must spend influence by removing discs from the influence track. The influence must be meet or exceed the strength. In either event once a player beats this number they gain control of the location. They immediately get money equal to the strength of the location and the player gets to visit the location.

The final action a player can take is hunt for treasure. The play gets all of the money that has been paid to the treasure space. If nothing is there they get one coin.

Players may also take the two free actions. There will always be two events on the board at locations. If a player is that location they may do the event. Each event requires paying or meeting a certain condition, and events pay influence. In fact they are the main way to gain influence. Players may also build a building by paying the cost. Buildings provide special abilities as well as provide victory points.

There is a lot of small things not mentioned such as adding new crew with special abilities, the renown track that players work up to gain seven renown plus a bonus, and the rules for players attacking one another.

When a player builds a set number of buildings the game will end. Players get renown for buildings built, money earned, and renown tokens collected. The player with the most renown wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: I really like how this feels like a 3X game. It has a sense of exploring with sailing around and completing events. Players exploit has they gather resources and build buildings to create even more synergies. Players also expand as they befriend or take over islands. The exterminate part is missing since players can not truly attack and hurt each other. The mechanisms all support this really well as players have to decide each turn which avenue they are going to pursue.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like all of the options this game provides, but I feel like a lot of the symbols are hard to keep straight. I am always asking what stuff means.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game does a great job at creating the world it takes place in. It is a great experience, and the exploring a sea of islands while building up homeland is presented well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The sense of exploration and sailing really comes through.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: For me the base experience is compelling enough to come back to. The game also has a lot of variability built into it so that each game will have different options than the previous one.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game has a lot of variability between the double sided boards, the orientations, and the different buildings.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: Th pacing of this game is so easy, as players move, encounter an island in some way, and then possibly build. I also love the flow as the game goes on and players build up their empire through taking an islands and buildings.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game has a big long game feel to it, but it gets it done in a shorter time than I expect.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I really enjoy this game. Mechanically it is pure euro game, but it is also a wonderful thematic experience in a world that is inviting.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There is a lot to do in this game and I love the sense of exploration and discovery it has. It is fun.

Final Score

84/100

We have one other Red Raven game (Empires of the Void), but I am really looking forward to playing Near and Far. This is a game we both like and we are looking forward to playing it more as soon as we can.
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Sun Jul 9, 2017 4:27 am
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Viceroy (Game #94)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We got this game at Gen Con in 2015. This was a game that was on our short list of games to check out. When we did my wife especially liked what she saw. We initially played this game right after getting it, and then after it sat unplayed for a couple of months we made sure it was one of our 2016 10x10 games. We completed playing it in November of last year. Unsurprisingly since we have played 93 other games together this year this one has not made it back out until now. Does this game still match up to our gaming tastes?

Game Overview
In this game players recruit various characters to build a "pyramid of power" to get the most points.

Each player begins with one card in play and a hand of card that consists of one character card and three law cards. The game is played over twelve rounds and each round has two phases.

The first phase is the auction phase. There will be at least four cards available, and each one corresponds to a color of gemstone. All players will select a gemstone they have to get a card that corresponds with that color. If a player reveals a color no one else revealed then they get the card they wanted. If two players revel the same color and there are two cards for that color available, they might reach an agreement. Otherwise, any people who tied lose their bid and there is a second auction. This can happen for a third time.

In the next phase players will play cards. Cards are played in a pyramid fashion. This means that cards can be added to the bottom row without issue, but to place a card on an upper row there must be two cards underneath to support it. Character cards have a gemstone cost associated with them that must be paid to play the card. Playing cards in higher rows requires extra gemstones. When a character card is played it provides some sort of reward. The reward given depends on the level played, and generally these get better as the level gets higher. Players can get gemstones, points, tokens that create scoring sets, and score multipliers.

When players play cards in their pyramid, they will also be completing circles. If a circle is all the same color the player gets a free bonus gemstone, and these mono-color circles are worth points at the end of the game.

There are a variety of ways to score in this game, so it has a big point salad feel. At the end of the 12th round the player with the most points is the winner.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is very mechanically driven. I like tableau building games, and I think the mechanism of what level a card is placed on is a good one. I have only played this game with two players, and I do not know if I want to play with more. Gems can be so hard to get, that I think competing with multiple people in the auction phase would be brutal.


Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like figuring out the best way to place cards and build the pyramid but the economy is a little too tight for my preferences.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The theme of this game is odd because it is not there but the artwork is amazing! The beautiful cards are begging to be given more of a lime light in a theme heavy game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I honestly do not even know what the theme is, but the experience is good. I like building a strategy throughout and see my end result both in points and in card pyramid I have constructed.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is one of the game's strongest features. There are more cards than will be used in any given game. On top of that cards will be used on different levels each game. There are a lot of ways to get points, so every game has a different feels.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The cards having multiple uses is great, but I think it can be easy to get in a rut strategy wise.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a unique flow as it goes from an auction round to a building round. The pacing is surprisingly quick and the end of the game tends to sneak up every time.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There is a lot of thought in this game, but I am always surprised at how fast it goes.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game requires balancing staying on top of the economy with finding ways to get points. Losing this balance can be frustrating in the middle of the game. This is not one of my absolute favorite games, but I do like it and I will play it.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: When we first played this game I was really taken with it. I still like this game, but I did not enjoy playing this as much as I have previously.

Final Score

74/100


I mentioned it, but we like this game with the big caveat of liking it with two players. That is the only way we have played the game, and we are both unsure if we would like it with more. This game has fallen from our initial impressions of 2015, but it is still a game we enjoy and will play together.
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Sat Jul 8, 2017 4:29 am
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Stone Age (Game #93)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. This is one of the games we got fairly early on in our gaming hobby. In those first couple of years we played the game a decent amount. However, that is about it. Since we first wrote about this game in 2012, we had only played this game one other time before our most recent play. Is this game still relevant to us or it is a relic of a previous age?

Game Overview
Stone Age is a worker placement game. Player's will take turns placing workers in several different places. There are three places in the village to place a worker. One gives a player agriculture so they pay less food at the end of the round. Another gives tools, which help with collecting resources. The final area in the villages is usually called the "love shack". Two meeples go in and then three come out. Many of the other places on the board are resource spaces. There is wood, brick, stone, and gold. To collect resources a player will roll a die for each worker. Depending on the resource, will depend on how many resources are collected. For example, for every three pips rolled a player will get one wood and for every six pips a player gets a gold.

Players will be using these resources for a couple of different things. They will be using these resources for a couple of different reasons. Players will use these resources to buy cards. Many of these cards provide an immediate benefit such as a resource, food, or points. These cards also provide end game bonuses in the form of multipliers. For example one card might provide a x2 multiplier for each tool that I have. Other cards have symbols on the bottom of them. Players get points exponentially for the number of different symbols they have. For example if a player has five different symbols they get 25 points. If they have all eight symbols they get 64 points.

The other thing that players spend resources on are for huts. Huts score points based on the amount of resources, and this is one of the main ways to score points. The game will end when all of the cards are used or one of the piles of huts is bought up. At that point all of the bonus points are added in and whoever has the high score wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has fairly simple mechanisms that work well together, but perhaps they work a bit too well. There just is not enough stuff to spend resources on. The choice is huts or cards and that is it. The game also is really a four player game and does not work as well with less, especially with just two.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like the mechanisms. I especially like the worker placement and the use of dice to get resources.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: I feel like if I squint hard enough I can see the theme and get the feeling of building up a stone age civilization. However, too often that feeling just gets relegated to going through he mechanisms of collecting resources and turning them in for points.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The mechanisms overwhelm the theme quite a bit.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the weakest part of this game. It has been almost three years since we last played the game, and we both knew instantly what we wanted to do and how to pursue that strategy. While I am sure someone smarter than us can find a more optimal way to play, we both know how we want to approach this game. There is not enough variety in the strategies to pursue or even the tactical options to make this engaging beyond a dozen plays or so.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think strategies emerge from this one fairly quickly and it starts to feel a little worn out after a few plays.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This is player dependent. At four players the pacing and flow is wonderful. At that player count the game has a lot of tension and fierce competition. At two players though it is like playing on easy mode and it is easy to do a viable plan B if the other player takes the first choice.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is a fairly simple and straightforward game, but it is easy for some analysis paralysis to creep in and slow things down.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This is a good gateway worker placement game. I am very glad we got it when we did, and it really did walk us into deeper games. However, for me anyway this game just does not hold up and I am done with it.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game mechanisms are enjoyable to run through, but it does not hold up with just two players. Overall I think I might be kind of done with the game.

Final Score

63/100


We both recognize this is a solid game design. This is very much a case of it's not you, it is me. If we were going to play with non-gamers there are other gateway games we will pull out first. If we are playing with gamers, this is not our go-to euro, and we are done with the two player game. At this point in our gaming lives, this game is not going to make it to the table so it is time to move it on.
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Thu Jul 6, 2017 4:33 am
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King of Tokyo (Game #92)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We were a little late to the party on this game. We had both previously played the game when it came out, but we did not purchase this game until 2013. Since then it has been played with a decent amount of regularity. So when it comes to dice game, is this one the king?

Game Overview
In this game players play as a monster and seek to be the king of Tokyo by scoring enough points or by being the last one standing. On a player's turn they roll six dice and they may have up to two re-rolls. Hearts cause a player to heal damage, claws deal damage, energy gives energy cubes, and the other three can give points. The die faces are numbered 1-3. A set of three of a kind will score points equal to that number. When a player gets into Tokyo the get a point, then if they stay in Tokyo until their turn they get two points. A monster in Tokyo deals damage to all monsters outside of Tokyo, but monsters outside of Tokyo only deal damage to the on in the city. Energy can be used to buy upgrade cards that give all kind of good stuff. The first person to reach 20 points or the last one standing wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has brilliant mechanisms. It uses dice in ways that are familiar but also unique. The power cards offer a lot of depth to this game as well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I love rolling dice. For how simple this game is, it offers some great decisions.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game can be a great experience that leads to some real stand up dice rolls. I like the theme and I think it is done well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The monster fighting theme comes through incredibly well. It also really feels like a king of the hill match.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: One of the real appeals of this game is that it works well with lots of groups. I have taught it to non-gamers with success, and at this point my seven year old can play without assistance. However, it still holds just as well for a group of gamers.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Dice games tend to have naturally high replayability. That is true for this game. The added variability of the cards also increases this.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The players tend to control the pace and flow of this game based on how aggressive and/or reckless they are. This means the pace always moves at the right speed for the group.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think that even at higher player counts the game length is good.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a great theme with mechanisms that implement it perfectly. I find this game a lot of fun. It is one of my go to gateway games, and I am always up for playing it.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is fun. The only downside is that it really requires at least three players.

Final Score

85/100

As I mentioned our oldest child can play this with no problem, and our youngest can with a lot of assistance. However, I think this is a game that has potential to be an evergreen family game. It is one of our collective favorites and a game we are happy to have.
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Wed Jul 5, 2017 3:17 am
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