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United Kingdom
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Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Go to the Yardmaster Express page
pookie {Avid Gamer} Mar 1st, 2015
“Speed draft your train”

If you thought that at twenty minutes long that Yardmaster was too long a game, then there is a solution. Funded through Kickstarter and also published by Crash Games, Yardmaster Express is a micro game that can be played in ten minutes however many players you have. Designed for between two and five players, aged thirteen plus, in Yardmaster Express, the players attempt to build the most valuable train in a limited number of turns.

The game consists of one Start Player token, five Engine cards, thirty-two Railcar cards, and four Caboose cards. At the start of the game, each player receives an Engine card to which he will attach his Railcar cards and one player is given the Start Player token. This player draws a hand of Railcar cards equal to the number of players. He then takes his turn.

On his turn, a player draws one Railcar card and adds it to his hand. He then plays one card from his hand. Each Railcar card is two-and-a-half inches square and divided vertically in half. Each half of the Railcar card has a colour and a number on it as well as a railcar. Both the colour and the number on each side can be the same or they can be completely different. What matters is that when added to a player’s train, the colour or the number of the new Railcar must match the colour or the number of the last Railcar in the train. So for example, the last Railcar in Dave’s is a Green 2. Thus he can play either another Green card or any card with a value of 2. If a player lacks a card that he can add to his train, then he flip a card and play it as a Wild Card, in which it acts as any colour or number.

At the end of his turn, a player collects up his hand and passes it to the player on his left, who then takes his turn.

Once a set number of round have passed—seven for two players, six for three players, and so on, then the game ends. The players add up the value of the numbers on the railcars in his train—that is, both numbers on each Railcar cards—to get a total. The player with the longest run of one colour of railcars receives a bonus equal to their number. The player with the highest total is the winner.

Now what is clear here is there is only the one hand of Railcar cards. It is this that is passed from one player to next, each time the holding player drawing and playing a Railcar card. The draw, play, and pass mechanic feels not dissimilar to that of 7 Wonders, though of course, there is only the one hand of cards whereas everyone has a hand of cards in 7 Wonders. The same two core choices are offered here as in 7 Wonders—does a player add a Railcar to his train because he needs it, or because it will prevent another player from adding a Railcar that he needs? This choice may not always be there, but it needs to be kept in mind when it is. The game though, is primary luck based, players relying on drawing the Railcar cards that they want to play rather than on cards that they want to prevent another player using..

Yardmaster Express is nicely presented. The cards are of a high quality and a nice touch is the basic rules are printed on the Engine cards for easy reference. The rules are easy to read and learn. The packaging is nicely sturdy. The addition of the wooden Start Player token is nice too as is a mini-expansion and some variant rules.

Given the lack choices and actions—just draw a card, play a card, pass the cards on—Yardmaster Express is suited to a younger audience, rather than the suggested minimum age of thirteen which feels rather high. It also plays better with three or four players as with five players, the number of turns feels far too short. Yet despite its simplicity, Yardmaster Express is reasonable filler, one that fits easily into a bag and carried around.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
2 out of 2 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I Got What I Wanted
Go to the King of Tokyo page
Doc Revelator Mar 1st, 2015
“Monster mash”

If you’re looking for a great, thematic game that almost any group can play, enjoy and have a hilarious time with, then King of Tokyo fits the bill.

The dice-chucking gameplay is great. It’s far more than just Godzilla-themed Yahtzee though; there’s a clever risk/reward mechanic and the cards add some modulation of the simple rule/scoring.

It’s a competitive game, but a funny one; the fact that the players all assume the guide of a silly B-movie monster means it’s all in good fun, and the random nature of the dice fits the chaotic vision of monsters knocking lumps out of each other in a city.

This was the game my 8-year-old son decided he wanted to play to welcome in 2015 on New Year’s Eve, and it has become a well-loved member of the family.

Top notch fun for everyone.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
2 out of 4 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I Got What I Wanted
Go to the Forbidden Island page
Doc Revelator Mar 1st, 2015
“A beautifully-presented gateway game with neat gameplay.”

Once my family decided to embark on our new hobby of tabletop gaming, buying Forbidden Island was something of a no-brainer. The stunning presentation, very reasonable price and co-operative nature of the gameplay make it a superb introductory game. The theme is exciting and mysterious;grab the treasures from the forbidding ruins and make good your escape before the island is flooded forever.

This game is gorgeous. The components are lovely, chunky and attractive – the treasures really feel like treasures. The artwork is wonderful, perhaps deliberately reminiscent of videogames like Myst, and sells the theme and setting of the game really well.

The gameplay is streamlined and easy to follow, and also scales perfectly for groups of different abilities. The co-op mechanics are the star here. Children playing can be helped by adults, but often have the best ideas themselves, and the discussion and interaction the game precipitates is wonderful. There’s much laughter and immersion to be had here with a group of friends. The urgency provided by the Waters Rise! cards is palpable, and on the harder difficulties the game can be a challenge even for a sharp team. The different player abilities mean that everyone gets their hero moment and has a valuable contribution of their own to make.

It may not be the all-conquering behemoth that the similarly great Pandemic (by the same designer) has become, but it’s a tidy design of a similar ilk with a brilliant theme. It’s a pleasant thing to own and the tactile nature of the components really helps it sing. It’s cheap enough to take a punt on but certainly feels like a luxury production. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

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4 out of 4 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Survive: Escape from Atlantis! page
Alex {Casual Gamer} Mar 1st, 2015
“The most cut-throat game I've ever played”

The first thing I gotta say about Survive! Escape from Atlantis is that this is the most directly confrontational game ever. If you are playing with kids, I think that they will enjoy the heck out of it unless they can’t handle losing. But between adults, you’re going to make some enemies fast.

As a matter of fact, I think it should be warned in advance that this game is a very confrontational, cut throat game that involves a lot of direct confrontation and elimination. You can totally screw someone over with just a few moves.

And that is why I love this game so much. I can handle it and I love that it has that aspect about it. I also love that it is so thematic. The island is slowly submerging, the volcano is about to erupt and we are sailing away in shark infested waters. What could be worse?? How about your opposing players, trying to screw you over by playing monsters in your areas or trying to take over your boat or sending whales over to sink your boat. Now there’s some heavy handed confrontation going on right there. You will be lucky if you make it with one boat load.

I think this game is a lot of fun and if you can handle that “take that” aspect of the game and also the fact that you can plan something strategic only to have the plan thwarted with a single move, then you will enjoy this game. It is also a very quick moving game. It doesn’t require that much time in terms of planning a strategy. There is strategy but the strongest priority on your mind is getting your meeples off the island and surviving the sea monsters and everything else.

This game will see lots of replay in my group. And also since I have all the expansions, it will create for some variation in the game. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a fast paced competitive and adventurous game.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
7 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I play orange
Go to the Villagers and Villains page
C. Aaron Kreader {Avid Gamer} Feb 28th, 2015
“Replay all day!”

This game is built like a bag of chips.

You cannot eat just one. There is so much variety in here it keeps getting fresh. Love that about this build. But hey, I am biased.

Pro: Replay and ease of learning

Con: It is only 1 hour long. I want more.

Price: Decent.

Overall: I like a quick game that everyone i the family can enjoy it mixes light and heavy weight elements making it the perfect blend. A combo of humor and luck soften any lose as well.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful

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