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Rated My First Game
Go to the Pandemic page
Moose {Casual Gamer} Aug 29th, 2014
“Great Co-Op for 2,3,4 Player”

I got my hands on this game about two weeks ago. It has changed board gaming for me. This was my first Co-Op game and it is tremendously challenging and fun! A new personal favorite!

The game is the players (people playing the game) versus the board game itself. It is really fun to play 4,3, and even 2 player. Let me tell you too, two player is just as fun as 3 and 4.

There is a lot of strategy involved and planning within the game. I don’t recommend this game for young children because of this. I play it with college friends and we can’t get enough of it right now. What is also a great thing to note on this game is that you can change the difficulty of the game. We play on moderate (5 Epidemic cards) and enjoy it and will soon be daring enough to do hard (6 Epidemic cards).

The game is super fun and is enjoyable whether you win or lose (and you will lose, I guarantee that). Not super easy to learn quick, you really need to play a game to really get the hang of it.

Go out and buy it! It’s at local game shops and even saw it in Target the other day.

Last bit, we just got in the “On the Brink” expansion. You have got to get this after you play the original Pademic, IT IS AMAZING! It takes Pandemic to the next level.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
13 out of 19 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Expert Grader
Go to the Forbidden Island page
Scatheoholic {Avid Gamer} Aug 29th, 2014
“A good intro to co-op gaming, but not the best...”

Video review (with Forbidden Desert): http://ow.ly/AQN8T

Forbidden Island is a co-op game that entices you and three others to visit its shores with the promise of four colourful ancient artifacts. What the brochure doesn’t tell you, is that all it takes is the weight of at least two intrepid explorers to force the entirety of the mainland to slowly sink. Then again, this probably should’ve been apparent when browsing for travel insurance. Nevertheless, the intrepid among you must battle through the islands glorious locales in a bid to collect all of these precious artifacts before they get wet…and dissolve.

In the race to discover four artifacts, players take three actions ranging from moving around the island itself, to shoring up tiles and gifting items to other players. Every turn they’ll pluck up two adventure cards that show a particular artifact. Once someone has gathered four cards that show the same artifact, they can trade them in for a funky little trophy that can be gained at specific locations. Gather four and they can escape the island with grand forms of wealth.

After a player takes a turn, the island starts to grow wise to your antics and has its own turn. Depending on where the marker on the Tidal track is, a number of cards are drawn showing locations on the island. Once one shows up, it floods. If that location is already flooded, it disappears forever. All of a sudden, this horrible tension kicks in, as tiles begin to float off the table and a natural countdown commences. The ocean even infects the usually friendly artifact deck, hiding some ‘Waters Rise’ cards which raise the tidal marker upwards, meaning on the next turn, a larger amount of locations will flood. It’s all very atmospherically *ing.

But…hang on. Those ‘Artifact’ cards…they’re like the ‘Location’ cards in Pandemic. And the artifacts themselves…they’re very much like the cures in Pandemic. Is this beginning to sound a bit familiar? Well…yes, from the outset, it does look like Forbidden Island has earned an adequate GCSE at the Pandemic school of optimal co-op games. Matt Leacock seems to be rather aware that he hit a winning formula with his former co-op title and carried the same principles over here. That’s by no means a bad thing, I mean, the formula works and thankfully Forbidden Island has different ways of ramping up the tension in comparison to its inject-‘em-up sibling.

With only one way to win, there are several ways to lose, all linked to unwelcome flash floods. Should too many waters rise cards crop up, you all die. If one of you is on a tile that sinks and there’s nowhere for them to swim to, they die and you all get so upset that you can’t bear to finish the escape attempt. If the locations you haven’t gathered specific artifacts from sink, you all die of stubbornness.

Forbidden Island can be played on several difficulties, originating the Tidal Track marker on different points, beginning on higher draw numbers for the higher difficulties. However, some of this can be portrayed in the game’s modular fashion. As each location comes on its own individual tile, constructing the island itself tends to show from an early point just how screwed you will be. Such layouts affect where everyone will start, the routes everyone must take could be greeted with a slight approving nod or wild erratic nods that launch your face straight into the table in despair.

No matter what the difficulty, the trend seems to be that you HAVE to work as a strong group. In Pandemic, and often in many other co-ops, team members can often be sent to various parts of the world and entrusted with tasks without a second thought. However, here if you send someone off on their lonesome, with ongoing flooding threatening to make tiny peninsulas, there’s no guarantee they’ll make their way back. Of course if one member is lost, the entire expedition was for nothing, so you’ll find yourself forced to construct lines of humans. It’s all a boost to camaraderie as you hoist a plucky explorer away from the grasps of the ocean at just the right time. At its best, Forbidden Island is pure, unadulterated camaraderie in a box…tin. At its worst, though, it’s a concentrated barrel of woe.

Don’t get me wrong, co-op games are meant to be magnificently challenging. They’re meant to don diamond boots and put pressure on your relationships, slowly straining any form of patience from it as it goes. However, with limited room to move around getting smaller by the minute and a fairly small amount of actions to deal with, many turns simply consist of shoring up flooded locations and praying for the right cards to come up. You see, as each player is given three actions, they don’t really have enough to do exactly what they want to do. That’s fine, it’s a logical staple when balanced correctly. However, it also isn’t really enough actions to actually make yourself feel useful. The most pro-active thing you can do to escape, gather artifacts, is a huge waiting game as you hope the right cards will come up to the right people so that you can at least make some form of trade to speed things up. As you can only give cards to other players and not take them away, it kind of feels like your usefulness can occasionally be put on the backburner, and no matter how many locations you shore up in a game, you’re going to face certain death once the number of cards you have to draw outweighs the land you’ve got to run on. Compare this to Pandemic, where it feels like any player can be launched into a crisis at any time, and you begin to see that the game slowly slots into a panicked pattern.

With a lack of variables to affect as the game gets smaller and smaller, you can occasionally hit this ‘Wall of Despair’, where you realise unfittingly far away from the end of the game that there genuinely is no hope. The floods will inevitably catch up and destroy morale, and even destroy tiles on the same turn if you’re unlucky enough. Games like Pandemic have a number of variables not just to mix things up, but to empower your team and make them feel like there’s always something they can do before death creeps in. Here, if things don’t go your way, there’s not a lot you can do but sit and wait for the waves to absorb you and your friends. It’s not a bad game by any means, but after a couple of replays, a few patterns begin to emerge. Maybe Pandemic has spoiled me. Maybe, though, I’m just bitter because there’s another Forbidden place you can visit that may not hold greater treasures, but a much greater experience. Maybe you should head on over to the Forbidden Desert…


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
12 out of 13 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Gamer - Level 2
Go to the Puerto Rico page
Antonio {Strategy Gamer} Aug 28th, 2014
“Nice game”

Nice game. Easy to learn and play.It isn’t a beautifull game but it’s a strategic one. It’s fast and everybody can play because it’s a fluid game. It was my first boardgame and I like this world because of it. Now it’s not my favorite boardgame but sometimes I like to play them with my friends and new players. There are ugly components but when you start to think about the possibilities and in the stratgies you forget it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 15 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Amateur Reviewer
Go to the Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small page
Silverano {Casual Gamer} Aug 28th, 2014
“Raising sheep and building fences !”

Agricola is an easy-to-learn, two player game designed by Uwe Rosenberg.
You play as a simple farmer (or farmerette) and your goal is to have the most points after 7 rounds.
You can get those points by collecting and raising a variety of animals (sheep, horses,…), building structures or by expanding your farm and make full use of those expansions.

The game is played on 3 boards:
1 main board consisting of resources, fences, cribs, actions, etc.
and 2 small boards, 1 for each player, where they build their farm on.

Like I said before, this game is easy to learn and play but that doesn’t mean you can turn off your “wonder of nature” called a brain. There are different strategies you can and should use, because every “opponent” will play differently and you need to adept to that to be able to get a big farm.
Well, opponent is a harsh word in this case because you don’t really get the feeling you need to beat the person you play against, you just want to build an amazing farm…and sometimes that will mean you are the winner :)

The developer of this game really kept it simple and clean. The animals, cribs, fences,… are represented by small wooden figures and the buildings by tiles. The illustrations and design really gives you a peaceful feeling and his is the main reason why I like this game so much. A lot of 2 player games these days are heavily competitive. Agricola on the other hand is what I call “a friendly competitive game”: If you win, that’s great, if you lose…well there is always a next time and you will look forward to that because it was so much fun ! That’s what everyone wants if they play games, they just want to have a nice time! If you want to have a high strategic face-off, that’s possible to of course, but I have the feeling that you might want to search for another game then because it would be a shame to ruin this lovely and relaxing ambience the game offers you.

- Easy to learn
- Small box so good for when you are on a trip
- Wooden miniature livestock !
- Lots of fun !

I really can’t find a negative thing for this game.

This game is very amusing and while it’s good for people who aren’t that into board-games, more experienced players will have a lot of fun to. You can learn it very quickly and you will enjoy it for many hours !

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
14 out of 14 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Gamer - Level 2
Go to the Gloom page
MikeP {Avid Gamer} Aug 28th, 2014
“Mr Giggles Returns!”

Rarely does a game make me laugh so hard that I cannot breathe. This is one of these rare games. Without fail, with Gloom the evening will descend into side splitting laughter as the most awful things happen to your family. With the right crowd you may need oxygen – you have been warned!

First of all the quality of this game is superb with strong well made cards and the process and rules of play are beautifully simple.

You each start off with a family with different family members (Mr Giggles!) and play transparent cards over your or other players’ characters. Each card is transparent with negative (good) or positive (bad) points and a starting sentence such as ‘savaged by poodles’. It is up to the person laying down the card to come up with the narrative, i.e. why Mr Giggles was savaged by poodles, and so each game will vary depending on who you are playing with. My gaming group is dark so I am unable to repeat why Mr Giggles was savaged by poodles….. Playing cards to ruin your opponents score adds to the mirth, the only rule is that the narrative must flow. People who are into role-playing will love this

The game ends when you kill (yes kill) all members of a family, not necessary yours. Killing an opponents family member is a good idea if they have positive points.

All in all this is a fun game which can be awesome with the right group, that is really easy to play and easy to learn. Be warned however, this game can be a bit dry if played with people that are not into storytelling. The game is still playable, just not as fun!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
14 out of 15 gamers thought this review was helpful

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