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Player Avatar
Rated My First Game
Go to the Pandemic page
10
Andreas Sep 1st, 2014
“"Quick! We are about to lose Asia!"”

Following my usual routine, I discovered this game after watching it played on “Tabletop” with Wil Wheaton. The game is super easy to explain to people, and the opportunity for tremendous difficulty only adds to the fun of the game! There isn’t a lot of downtime between players (only when you are about to die from card-loss, and the strategy for the next few turns are all that stands between you and victory!), and the many different roles ensures that each player, not only feel important in their own way, but are very important to the success of the game.

My game is almost worn up from all the playing, and everyone i’ve played one session with, have immediately wanted to play it again! It’s my gateway-game to get people into board gaming at the moment :)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 20 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Rated My First Game
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
9
Andreas Sep 1st, 2014
“Amazing easy-to-learn eurogame!”

Bought this with my roommate, after having seen it played on “tabletop” with Wil Wheaton. Tried it first with just 2 players, but that gets way too competitive with mandatory quests. Tried it with my study group of 5 people, and loved it! I found that 4-5 people are the optimal but 3 are okay as well.

The amount of interplay between players are somewhat limited, including only the “intrigue”-cards, that add something different and unexpected to the game. It gets really hectic toward the end of the game, and the inclusion of the monopoly-esque mechanic of building, and reaping included benefits makes sure that theres a lot of strategy involved in the game!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
8 out of 20 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
3
Gamer - Level 3
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
8
MikeP {Avid Gamer} Sep 1st, 2014
“Addictive, Highly-enjoyable Euro Game”

First of all although the Dungeons and Dragons logo is prominent on the outer box of this game, you need not be a fan of the franchise to play this game. There are no mechanics that lend to the D&D dungeon crawl, the association is purely thematic.

Game-play:

This is a worker placement Euro game. You start off by selecting a secret Lord of Waterdeep card which gives you a secret quest to do througout the game. During the game you may place agents on different areas of the city and recruit adventurers, set up quests, carry out intrigue or build buildings. Resources allow you to finish quests and score points, with some quests having long running effects or bonuses, such as an extra agent to play on your turn.

Pros:

- This is a beautifully laid out game. The insert is of very high quality and well thought through. You may think it’s a bit surreal for a review to go on about the box insert but the way it is laid out, with specific push areas to lift cards and round trays to organise adventurers makes the setting up and clean up after the game a breeze.
- The rules are simple. First time players are usually well in grasp of the game by round two. In my group last week, the newbie won the game!
- The game is quick and clever. You can have an easy game where everyone just goes for it trying to accumulate points or you can apply more subterfuge to the game by trying to trip up your opponents.
- The randomness of the Lord of Waterdeep card adds a certain element of uncertainty as you try to figure out what your opponents’ strategy is.

Cons:
- Adventurers; the are just coloured wooden blocks. This doesn’t matter to me, but based on the D&D marketing some gamers may be expecting painting figurines. Be warned.
- The D&D theme is very thin, this could be a bonus it really depends on the player

Who would enjoy this
- Family Gamers
- Avid Gamers
- Casual Gamers
- Strategy Gamers

Enjoy the Game!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
15 out of 15 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
1
Go to the Freedom: The Underground Railroad page
 
HighlandSpring {Family Gamer} Sep 1st, 2014
“A fun but tense game ”

I missed the Kickstarter for Freedom but was attracted by its unique theme, quality components and ability to play solo or up to 4 players. I normally play with my wife and you really do feel the moral dilemma associated with the balance between achieving your goals and risking (or deliberately accepting) the ‘deaths’ of the slaves that are in the slave market awaiting delivery to your (full) plantations. On average the game takes about 90 mins to play, and to date with about 10 games under our belt we’ve had a 40% win rate. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who like co-operative games.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
7
Gamer - Level 7
I'm Completely Obsessed
Explorer - Level 4
Go to the Vanuatu page
8
inmarg {Avid Gamer} Sep 1st, 2014
“A cruel and great design”

Vanuatu might be another point salad euro game, but it is for sure one of the cruelest and cutthroat euros around. It demands great planning from a player to get the most of your action pawns and sometimes an entire round will be wasted because of gamble. As the game only last 8 rounds this can seem very cruel and not fun for the victim, but this is also why Vanuatu stands out from the crowd.

Gameplay:

Vanuatu lasts for 8 turns and each turn has 5 phases.
1) Turn setup (Preparing the board for a new turn)
2) Character selection
3) Action Planning
4) Performing Actions
5) Rest tokens (Determining start player)

On your turn you’ll have 10 characters to choose from which will aid in the 9 different actions available to you. The start player will choose character first, but he may only choose from the unselected from the previous round before putting back his previous which player two now may choose in addition to the characters left by the start player and so on until all players have picked a character. 9 of the 10 characters will aid you by making an action cheaper or earning more points/vatus for you while the last will help you get in getting an action done.

Action planning and performing them is where Vanuatu separates itself from the crowd. Each player has 5 action discs and in turn order everyone places 2 of these, then 2 and finally the last. After placing them you get a chance to perform actions but here is the catch. You can only perform an action if you have the majority on that space, in other words you’ll have to have more action discs on a space than any other player with turn order being the tiebreak which is natural you’re placing your discs first. The rather cruel part of this is if you do not have a majority you’ll still have to remove your action disc(s) for a space which in turn may have the change effect of destroying your entire turn which is bound to chase away casual gamers.

Actions:

There are 9 possible actions to choose from on where to place your action discs and you really do not want to compete too much (which of course is inevitable).

Sail: Pay 1-3 vatus to move your boat (where your boat is will det
Build: Pay 3 vatus to build a stall
Explore: Take a treasure tile
Buy: Buy 1 good cube and place on a boat to earn points
Fish: Take a fish tile
Draw: Make a sand drawing to score 3 points
Transport: Ship a tourist to an island and earn vatus
Sell: May sell fish tiles to receive vatus
Rest: May choose from the available rest tokens

Several of the actions are depending on the placing of your boat. For example you may only explore and fish on the tile your boat is on and to perform an island action your boat has to be adjacent to that island.
Another feature of Vanuatu is that you’re never allowed to get rich. Whenever you reach 10 vatus you’ll receive 5 points and are set back to 0 again so it is very important to balance your economy.

Conclusion:

Vanuatu is as mentioned not for the casual gamer and it is not for someone who takes blocking to personal because that will happen. A lot! Instead, those who enjoy a good brainburner and are rewarded for good planning will find a lot of pleasure here, evil pleasure but lots of pleasure.

On a final note, while Vanuatu is a game for 3 to 5 players, it will run mighty different between those numbers. With 3 players you will be able to get a lot more done as you can spread your action discs, while in a 5 player game you’ll have to pick your fights. Don’t forget, missing one action may render the other 2-3 actions you were hoping to get done useless so sometimes you will have to take sub optimal moves and rather wait a turn.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
10 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful

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