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amym

gamer level 8
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Go to the Ghost Stories page
Go to the Takenoko page
Go to the Carcassonne (iOS) page
Go to the Seasons page
Go to the Carcassonne page
Go to the Machi Koro page
Go to the Takenoko: Chibis page
5
Go to the Bananagrams page

Bananagrams

55 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

I purchased this game for two reasons.

– It’s very portable and durable, so it’s great to take on trips.
– I had read several times that this game is great for people who love Scrabble and people who hate Scrabble. I don’t care for Scrabble (I’m too impatient), but my parents love Scrabble, so this is something I might be able to get them to play with me instead.

Setup

– Dump the tiles out of the bag
– Make sure they’re all face down and mix around
– Draw a certain number of tiles (depending on the number of players)

Super quick and easy!

Game Play

Someone yells “split”, everyone flips over their tiles, and start making words. The words all have to connect to one another like in Scrabble or a crossword, and you only play with your own set of tiles. Whenever someone uses up all their tiles, they yell “peel” and everyone takes another tile. This continues until there are not enough tiles left in the pile for everyone to draw another tile. Then the first person to use all their tiles yells “bananas”. If all their words are valid, they win.

You can rearrange your tiles as much as you want. If you have a tile you just can’t seem to fit in anywhere, just yell “dump”, put that tile back in the pile, and draw three new tiles.

I bought the 2012 Olympics version (it was cheaper at the time), and it comes with 5 “blank” tiles (they each have a picture of an Olympic sport on them- swimming, running, etc.) which can be substituted for any letter you choose.

Thoughts

I can see how this would be appealing to those who love Scrabble. You’re still fitting words together, but you just do it with your own set of tiles. Avid Scrabble players can have an advantage, because they may know more words, especially the more obscure q and vowel only words. On the other hand, they could have a disadvantage too if they spend too much time thinking about which words to play. In Bananagrams, the complexity of the word doesn’t matter, you just need to make them as fast as you can!

Overall this isn’t my favorite game. I still find it a bit too dull for me. I’d rather play something more interactive. With more people, it may be more fun though since I’ve only played with 2 and 3 person games.

If you like Scrabble or word games in general, this is probably a really good option for you.

9
Go to the Takenoko page

Takenoko

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Takenoko is a really cute, fun, and laid back game for 2-4 players. The artwork and components are great, and the setup is quick and easy.

Setup

– Give each person a player board and two tokens. The tokens are used to help keep track of which actions they take during their turn.
– Place the starting tile in the middle of the table along with the panda and gardener figures. Shuffle the other land tiles and place them to the side face down.
– Separate and shuffle the panda, gardener, and land tile cards and place face down.

Game Play

There are five actions you can choose from each turn.

– Draw a card (gardener, panda, or land tile)
– Draw three land tiles (choose one to play and put the others on the bottom of the pile)
– Take an irrigation stick
– Move the gardener
– Move the panda

Each turn you may choose two of these actions (unless the weather die allows you to take three). You may only do each action once per turn (unless the weather die allows you to do the same action twice).

The goal is to complete the objectives listed on the cards you draw. Panda cards require you to eat a certain number of a certain color of bamboo. Gardener cards require you to grow bamboo. And land tile cards require you to play land tiles in certain configurations.

Pink tiles are the least abundant and green is the most abundant, so completing objectives that require eating and growing pink bamboo usually scores you more points than doing the same action with green or yellow.

Depending of the number of people playing, the game ends when one person completes 7-9 objectives. The person to do this first also receives the emperor card which gives them two additional points. It is possible to finish more objectives, get the emperor card and still lose the game. So it’s best to concentrate on completing the higher scoring objectives that you draw.

Thoughts

I really enjoy Takenoko. It’s easy to learn, easy to play, and has great artwork and components. The only issue I’ve had with any of the components is some of the bamboo pieces don’t fit in the other pieces, but we just shaved them down a little and then they fit fine.

Takenoko relies a lot on luck (which cards you draw, which tiles you draw, what the weather die lands on, etc.), but there is a little strategy involved as well to get the most out of what you draw/roll. It’s a fun game for both adults and kids. If you’re in the mood for something light and not too complicated, this is a good option.

6
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

33 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

When I first bought this app, I had seen Ticket to Ride played on Tabletop, but I had never played the game myself. Since I was looking for a new app to play, I thought I’d give this one a try before buying the physical version.

Look and Setup

The app itself is nice. The interface is easy to use, has good graphics, and I didn’t experience any bugs or other issues. As always, setup (or lack thereof) is always a big plus for digital versions. Just choose your opponent(s) and tap play. You have the option to play against the bots, online, local, or pass and play.

Playing

Mostly I played against the bots. I didn’t find it all that challenging or exciting. The bots complete all their actions very quickly, and sometimes their turns are so fast, you’re not sure if they just picked up train cards or destination tickets. There is just something so unsatisfying to me when playing against the bots. I guess maybe I just miss the player interaction.

I tried a few games of pass and play as well, but liked those even less than the bots. When playing with another person, you cannot look at the board at all, since you would be able to see all their cards. So, you can’t look at the board and think about your future moves while they take their turn and vice versa. While they make their moves, you just sit and do nothing. I did not try any online games, but perhaps those games would be more satisfying.

I finally got a copy of the physical version (10th anniversary edition, which is gorgeous!!!), and I’ve really been enjoying it. If you like the digital version, great! If you don’t and haven’t tried the physical version, give it a chance. Just because you don’t like this version doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way about the other.

7
Go to the Phase 10 page

Phase 10

49 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

Phase 10, for 2-6 players, is very easy to learn and works well with any number of players. The deck consists of cards numbered 1 through 12 in four different colors (red, yellow, green, and blue). There are also wild cards, which can be substituted for any card you choose, and skip cards which can be used to force another player to lose their turn that round.

There are 10 phases to complete-

1. Two sets of three
2. One set of three and one run of four
3. One set of four and one run of four
4. One run of seven
5. One run of eight
6. One run of nine
7. Two sets of four
8. Seven cards of one color
9. One set of five and one set of two
10. One set of five and one set of three

A set consists of cards of the same number (1,1,1 or 2,2,2 etc.). A run consists of cards in sequential order (1,2,3,4 or 4,5,6,7, etc.).

The object of the game is to be the first to complete all 10 phases.

Setup

The game is played in rounds. To begin, shuffle the cards and deal 10 to each player face down. Place the remaining cards (face down) in the middle of the table. This creates your draw pile. Flip the top card over and place it face up beside the draw pile. This creates your discard pile.

Game Play

Going around the table, each person draws one card (from the discard or draw pile) and discards one card. Once you have all the cards needed to complete a phase, lay those cards face up in front of you. Once you have completed your phase, you can then play cards from your hand that add onto the cards you or any other player have laid down. Play continues with each player drawing and discarding a card each round until one player has no cards left. All players who completed their phase during that round continue to the next phase for the next round. All players who did not complete their phase during that round must attempt the same phase again until they complete it.

Scoring

Scoring is only needed to break a tie in the event that two players both complete all 10 phases during the same round. In that case, the player with the lowest score is the winner. Points are calculated as follows- the first person to go during a round scores zero for that round. All other players must add the cards remaining in their hand to calculate their score for the round. Cards 1-9 are worth 5 points, cards 10-12 are worth 10 points, skip cards are worth 15 points, and wild cards are worth 25 points.

Variations

There are several different editions which change up the rules a bit. I have Phase 10 Master’s Edition, which allows you to choose which phase you want to work on in that round, instead of going in the usual order. There is also a Phase 10 dice edition, an app version, and desktop version. Different rules are also available online for the original version which can add some variety without the need to purchase other editions.

Thoughts

Phase 10 can be a fun game for those who enjoy more casual games. For those who want a lot of strategy or depth, this game would not work well, since Phase 10 relies heavily on luck. This is not a game I normally reach for anymore, but it’s fun to play every now and then. Especially when you’re with groups of friends and family who aren’t really into games, this is an easy one to get them to play. Since it doesn’t require much strategy, this would good to play when you’re in the mood for something more laid back.

6
Go to the Tsuro page

Tsuro

54 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

Tsuro is a great filler game for 2-8 players, and it’s very easy to learn.

Setup is really easy. Lay out the board, choose your marker, and deal 3 tiles to each player. Starting with the oldest player (according to the rules, but you can always change this if you want) and then going clockwise around the table, choose your starting place on the board.

To play, place a tile on the square next to your marker, then move your marker (and any others that are next to the new tile), and draw a new tile. Players are out of the game if a new tile is played that causes their marker to go off the board or run into another marker. Continue placing new tiles until only one marker remains on the board. The last person on the board is the winner.

Thoughts

This game is best with more players. I’ve played with just 2 people, and it’s not as exciting. Mostly we stayed on opposite sides of the board, laying tiles that only affected our own markers, and the winner didn’t come until the last tile or two. When playing with more people (I played a couple games with 6), there is a lot more interaction between players.

Overall, this game is really easy to learn and fun to play. It’s great as a filler between more involved games, works well with a large group of people, is quick, and also works for a wide range of ages.

5
Go to the Hey, Thats My Fish! page
17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

I purchased this game because it sounded cute and fun- penguins, fish, and whales- what’s not to love? Visually the game is cool, and the app runs smoothly every time I’ve played it.

Setup

It’s an app, so there’s not any setup other than choosing your options and clicking start. You can choose from 1-4 players (human or computer in any combination), and three levels (easy, normal, and hard). There are also different ice block configurations to choose from, although most of them are locked until you complete certain achievements.

Game Play

The concept is really simple- eat the most fish. To do this, you place your penguins on ice blocks with just one fish. Then each player takes turns moving their penguins to a new ice block. You can move as far as you’d like in any direction, as long as it’s a straight line and there are no holes. Once you move from an ice block, the number of fish on that block is added to your score, and the ice disappears. If your penguin becomes trapped (standing on a lone ice block with nowhere to move), then a killer whale jumps out of the water and eats him. Play continues until all the penguins have been eaten. The player with the most fish is the winner.

Thoughts

Overall, it’s a cute game, and I think the theme would appeal to kids especially. I would recommend playing with a minimum of 2 players (doesn’t have to be two humans). I tried playing 1 player, and that took all the thinking right out of it. I haven’t unlocked a lot of other configurations, so maybe it would still be challenging with only 1 player if you played another scenario.

Personally I do not care for this game- it just doesn’t hold my interest, but I can see how it would be great for some, especially kids and casual gamers.

7
Go to the Carcassonne: Bridges, Castles, and Bazaars (Second Edition) page
13 out of 14 gamers thought this was helpful

This expansion comes with 3 components-

– 12 castle tokens
– 12 bridges
– New tiles

Castles

The castle tokens allow you to score more points when you complete a small (two tile) city. You can either score 4 points for your city as normal, or place one of your castle tokens on the small city and wait for another feature to be completed in your fief. Your fief is comprised of the two tiles to the left and the two tiles to the right of your completed city. You score when (or if) another city, cloister, or road is completed that is part of your fief. Whatever the value of the completed feature, regardless of who completes or owns that feature, that is how many points you now score (along with whoever scores for the actual feature completed). If there is already a city, road, or cloister completed in your fief when you place a castle, it does not count- only items completed after you play your castle. If no other feature is ever completed in your fief, then you don’t score anything.

Bridges

The bridges are a nice addition. They are actual wooden bridges that you can place on the board to extend your road(s). The nice thing about the bridges is that they allow you to continue your road in areas that would normally be blocked. You can build roads over cities, cloisters, other roads, etc. They definitely add more options to your game play.

New Tiles

The new tiles are where the bazaar part of the expansion comes in. When a tile with a bazaar on it is drawn, it is played as normal, and the bazaar round triggered. In the bazaar round, more land tiles are drawn (one for each player) and players bid to see who gets which tile. Players lose or gain points depending on whether they buy or sell tiles that are auctioned off during the bazaar round.

This is one of the more recent expansions I have gotten, so I haven’t gotten as much play out of it yet. Overall, I think it’s a nice addition.

The bridges are definitely the best part in my opinion, because they add more placement options. The castles can you help you score a lot more points (or not), but I definitely have to remind myself to use them. Last time I played, we completely forgot about them and didn’t use them at all. Usually I only play Carcassonne with two people, so we leave out the bazaar part of the game. We just play the tiles as normal and leave out the bidding round. I find the bazaar round to be better with more players.

7
Go to the Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals page
17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

This expansion comes with four components-

– 8 gray meeples
– 6 point tiles
– 6 large meeples (one in each color)
– New tiles

Gray Meeples

These are the same as the meeples in the base game- they’re just a different color which allows you to play with up to 6 people instead of just 5.

Point Tiles

The point tiles are extra tiles that have 50 printed on one side and 100 printed on the other. They are used to help keep track of points if you score more points than the score board allows (the board only goes up to 50). I actually keep these tiles in my base game box in case I’m not playing this expansion and need to keep track of more points.

Large Meeples

Each player will receive one large meeple (he’s slightly larger than the regular ones). During scoring this meeple counts like two regular meeples when deciding who has the most followers. For example- player A has two followers (regular size) and player B has one follower (large size). Since player B’s large meeple counts as two regular followers, they would share the points with player A. If player B had also had a regular size follower, they would have then scored all the points and not had to share with player A.

New Tiles

There are 18 new tiles with this expansion. All the tiles have tiny little meeples printed on them to differentiate them from the base tile set and other expansions. Some of them are just different configurations that add extra variety to the game play. But some tiles have roads with an inn on them, and there are two city tiles with a cathedral. If you finish a road with an inn, you get two points per road tile (instead of the usual one). If you complete a city with a cathedral, you score three points per tile and three points per pennant (instead of the usual two). However, if you do not complete a road that has an inn or a city that has a cathedral by the end of the game, you do not score any points at all.

I think this expansion adds a little more strategy and competition to the game. Normally, you can just place tiles and followers anywhere and you’ll still score something at the end even if you don’t finish. This provides an incentive to finish certain roads and cities you have started, and it also provides other players an incentive to try and stop you from finishing them.

7
Go to the Carcassonne: Traders and Builders page
110 out of 117 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of my favorite expansions for Carcassonne. It comes with five components-

– A bag
– A builder in each color
– A pig in each color
– Trade good tokens (wheat, barrels, and cloth)
– New tiles

Bag

By far my favorite component of this expansion is the bag. It makes setup even easier, because you just throw in all your tiles (from the base game and the expansion), mix them in the bag, and pass it around the table during play.

Builder

The builder allows you to take an extra turn! How does this work? First you place a follower in a city or on a road as normal. Whenever you add a new tile to that road or city (where you already placed a follower previously), you can place your builder. Any time you add a new tile to that feature, you will get to draw a second tile to play as normal. This gives you a lot more options and scoring opportunities. When placing a builder initially, that counts as your turn, and you cannot place another follower anywhere on that tile during that turn.

Pig

The pig allows you to score more points for each city in your farm. You place the pig on a tile that is connected to a farm you’ve previously claimed with one or more followers. The pig doesn’t count when determining who claims a farm- it just makes your farm worth more. At the end of the game, you score each city as 4 points instead of three.

Trade Goods

Some of the tiles for this expansions have goods printed on them (barrels, cloth, or wheat). Whenever a person completes a city, they also receive any goods that were in that city. The person who gets the goods is the person who plays the finishing tile. The scoring for the city is separate from the goods. The goods are scored at the end of the game. The person with the most wheat (or barrels or cloth) gets 10 points.

New Tiles

There are also 24 new tiles (some with trade goods and some without). All the tiles have tiny little pigs on them to differentiate them from the base tile set and other expansions.

The bag and the builder are my favorite parts of this expansions. The pig is nice, but it doesn’t really add too much to the game, just a few more points. The goods can add a little extra strategy to the game, depending how you play, but don’t normally make a huge difference unless one person collects the most of all three or it’s a really close game.

7
Go to the Qwirkle page

Qwirkle

75 out of 83 gamers thought this was helpful

Setup

Qwirkle has a very quick and easy setup. Open the box, take out of the bag (which contains the tiles to play with), draw your tiles, and start playing.

Game Play

Each player chooses 6 tiles (without looking at them) from the bag. The player who can play the most tiles in one turn goes first (don’t show anyone else your tiles). After the initial tile(s) are played, each player has to then play tiles that build on those starting tiles (kind of like scrabble- you can’t just play somewhere new, you have to build off of what is already there).

To play, you have to lay down tiles that are either all the same color (but different shapes) OR all the same shape (but different colors). You cannot play two of the same tile in the same row. So, if you have 4 circles and 2 of them are blue, you can only use 1 blue circle for that turn. If you play a tile (or tiles) on your turn that completes the set (6 of the same shape or color), you have made a Qwirkle, and you score double! After your turn, draw enough tiles so that you always have six.

You continue adding onto the other tiles until one player has no more tiles and there are none left in the bag. The first person to use all their tiles also scores an extra 6 points.

Thoughts

There is a little strategy involved to score the most points, but it’s still a relaxing and fun game to play. Since you are only dealing with shapes and colors, it would be easy to teach this game to a wide variety of people. The only issue I’ve noticed is the red and orange can be little difficult to tell apart if you’re not in the right light or you don’t have good eyesight. I’ve heard others say the same about the blue and purple as well.

Overall, an easy and fun game to play!

9
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

49 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

Carcassonne is a great game! This was the first game I played that wasn’t the usual game most people think of when you say board game (Monopoloy, Sorry, Life, etc.). It’s because of this game (and now boardgaming.com) that I’ve found so many new and really fun games to add to my collection.

The setup is pretty quick and easy (mix up the tiles and make little stacks, pass out the meeples, and you’re ready to go). Even when adding other expansions to the base game, they don’t add too much time to the overall setup. If you play with the Traders & Builders expansion, you even get a cloth bag to mix all your tiles in and draw from there instead- even simpler!

Playing the game is pretty simple as well. Draw a tile and play it. Each tile either has a piece of road, city, or a cloister (green all the way around with a little building in the middle). The goal is to match up the pieces to complete cities, roads, cloisters, and farms. All these items score points when completed or at the end (for fewer points) if they’re not finished during the game. The winner is the one with the most points after all scoring is done. This game sounds really simple, and it pretty much is, but simple definitely does not mean boring in this case! There is still a lot of strategy involved if you want to win.

Thoughts

I think this is a good game for people who really like games and also for those who don’t play much (if at all). I tried teaching Settlers of Catan to some of my family once, and they just didn’t have the patience, but when I taught Carcassonne to the same group, they actually enjoyed it.

I enjoy playing the base game, but I really love how there are so many different expansions to change things up. It really adds to the replay value of the game. You can play with one expansion or five or any combo you want.

7
Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

13 out of 14 gamers thought this was helpful

Zombie Dice is a really quick and easy game to learn. There are 13 dice colored dice (green, red, and yellow), and each side has either a brain (good), a gunshot (bad), or running feet (neutral). Green die have more brain sides, red die have more gunshot sides, and yellow die are in between.

Setup

There is none! Just grab your cup and get started.

To play

1. Shake the cup, remove three dice (without looking- no fishing out the easy green ones!) and roll them.
2. Set aside any brains or gunshots. You always roll three dice at a time, and you must re-roll any feet you rolled previously.
3. Remove enough dice from the cup to have a total of three dice each time, and roll again.
4. Continue until you have 13 brains or you choose to stop for that round.
5. If you get three gunshots, you’re dead and lose all your brains from that round. Put all the dice back in the cup- your turn is over.
6. If you choose to stop before three gunshots, count the number of brains you have and make a note. Put all the dice back in the cup- your turn is over.
7. Repeat these steps until someone has at least 13 brains.
8. After someone gets to 13 (or more), everyone else gets one last turn to get to more than that player. Then the game is over.

Thoughts

This game plays really fast, especially with only a couple people. You can easily play this game with 2 people or as many as you like really. It’s a fun little game to use as a filler between other games or to just kill some time. If you like zombies, then you’ll love the theme, but it’s equally fun for anyone who isn’t into zombies.

Extras

There are a couple expansions you can get for this game, and a free app as well. I haven’t played any of them myself, so I can’t elaborate.

8
Go to the Ghost Stories page

Ghost Stories

57 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

If you like the physical board game version of ghost stories, there’s a good chance you’ll like this version as well. The graphics, sound effects, etc. are great, and the app runs smoothly. As with the physical version, you can choose from four modes of game play (initiation, normal, nightmare, and ****). You also choose whether to play with 1-4 monks. I prefer to play with 1 monk, but I also haven’t tried playing with more, so my opinion could change if I ever decide to try more.

As with the board game, it’s a very hard game, but it’s a fun challenge anyway. Since I already played the board game before trying the app, I can’t really say how easy/hard it is to learn from the app provided instructions, but I did look over them, and they’re very similar to the board version. Since I already had a decent grasp on how the game works, it wasn’t an issue for me personally, but I do prefer when digital games have tutorials (which this app does not have) along with the written instructions. While playing, it does have your current action choices listed on the left side, which is helpful for newer players.

On its own, I think this is a good game to play when you want a challenge. If you’re in the mood for something easy and relaxing, then you should try something else. If you have the board version, this version can be helpful as well to clear up some of the instructions or reinforce certain rules that aren’t as clear in the rule book or that you missed/forgot. I definitely learned a few things I hadn’t noticed before the first few times I played with the app!

9
Go to the Carcassonne (iOS) page

Carcassonne (iOS)

108 out of 116 gamers thought this was helpful

I love this game! It’s my go to activity when I’m on break at work or just anytime I need something to occupy me while waiting in general. If you like the original physical board version, I would definitely recommend this digital version. It’s easy to play (or learn if it’s your first time), the graphics are well done, and there are many ways to play.

There are many different ways to play. You can play by yourself (solitaire version), but personally I don’t care for this version, although I must admit I’ve only given it a few tries. You can play against one or more computer players (in varying difficulties). You can play against others in person (just pass the phone, tablet, etc.) or you can play against others online.

Expansions are also available (ranging from $0.99 to $1.99 each). Currently available are river, inns & cathedrals, traders & builders, princess & dragon, phantom, winter, and double base tile set. Winter is one of the newest “expansions” (along with double base tile set) and is the only one I had never played before.

The Winter expansion comes with snow covered tiles and dirt roads and also includes the gingerbread man. The gingerbread man is slightly similar to the fairy in princess & dragon. The gingerbread man is used only in cities and is scored when either a city is completed or a new gingerbread tile comes into play. It is worth the number of tiles that make up a city. So if you have a city that is comprised of 5 tiles, then you would score 5 points for having the gingerbread man in your city. The gingerbread man is scored regardless of whether a city is complete or not. If a city is completed, the person who completes it chooses where the gingerbread man moves next. If a gingerbread tile comes into play, the person who plays the tile chooses where the gingerbread man moves next. These points are in addition to any points normally scored for the city.

Overall, this is a great digital game with lots of replay value. I like playing it best on my tablet, but it’s great on a phone as well (zooming in and out is very easy).

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