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Azura

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Review 3 games and receive a total of 40 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Dominion page
Go to the Carcassonne page
Go to the Cosmic Encounter page
Go to the Citadels page
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
7
Go to the Shadows over Camelot page
52 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

Shadows over Camelot is a cooperative game, meaning players work together to “beat” the board. This is made interesting with the inclusion of a potential traitor who is trying to foil the plans of the Knights and cause them to lose. This keeps players a little on edge, unsure of what kinds of things they can trust their fellow knights to do. All this takes place on an stunningly attractive board. The components of this game really make it. The amount of nice looking cardboard and plastic that comes with this is great.

The actual mechanics of the game are a little boring, and the game is balanced very different depending on how many people are playing. Less than 5 players? The traitor is going to have an easy time winning? More than 5 players? The traitor is going to have a difficult time. Furthermore, the number of ways a traitor has to make an impact on the outcome is limited. The only major mechanic a traitor has is to play evil quest cards face down and lie about the severity of the value, or to play quest cards where they are not needed. Of course, the Traitor can always accuse other players of being a traitor, sewing doubt.

In short, Shadows over Camelot is a fun game, but is not without its flaws. For a similar game that does “Coop with a hidden bad-guy” better, check out Battlestar Galactica.

7
Go to the Ingenious page

Ingenious

37 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

Ingenious is a quick, lite, abstract game that involves placing two-sided tiles, dominion-like tiles onto a hexagonal grid. Each side of the tile has a different color, and players score points by lining up tiles that share colors. Sounds simple, and it is, but there is some cunning involved here.

Specifically, the winning player at the end of the game is the one with the highest, lowest scored color. What this means is, if I have 10 points in 5 of the six colors, and 2 points in the last color, you will beat me if you have 3 points in each color (because 3 is greater than 2). This creates scenarios where players must evaluate whether it is better, or even possible to block off his or her opponent from scoring points in the colors that they need the most.

Ingenious has about as simple of a rule-set as they come, but it can be fiendishly competitive and plays lightning fast, so players will be sure to be begging for rematches let and right.

8
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
43 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

Settlers of Catan is the game that started the wave of contemporary games that we see today, and is indeed many peoples first foray into board games that are more intricate and strategic than the likes of “Clue” or “Monopoly.”

Each game, the board is created by placing a bunch of hexagons with numbers on them onto a map. These hexagons determine which kind of resource they produce, and the number determines what dice result is required for those hexagons to produce their resource. Players build settlements, connected by a network of roads, onto the vertices of these hexagons, getting those resources when the dice numbers come up. That is the basics. Sounds easy? Well, that’s because it is, but that doesn’t mean it is devoid of strategy.

Players will have all kinds of choices to make, deciding what to build, where to build it to maximize their resource gains, where to build to block off opponents, what sea ports to control to get better trading ratios, what kinds of trades to make, and others. This surprisingly simple game packs a bunch of options without ever feeling overwhelming or complicated.

The biggest complain against this game is that the luck of the dice can make or break you. This is a very true sentiment, and the only solace players have is that the better player will win more often over a large number of games. If game-by-game luck is a concern, it game be more or less eliminated by using a deck of cards containing the dice results, in the proper distribution.

9
Go to the Cosmic Encounter page

Cosmic Encounter

57 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

Think Dominion is like multiplayer solitaire? Feel like your choices aren’t having any real impact on the game? Look no further than Cosmic Encounter. This sci-fi game is loaded with bluffing, conspiring, diplomacy, and “Take That!”

Each player starts with 20 ships, divided evenly amongst 5 home planets. It is each players goal to be the first person with ships on five planets owned by other players. To do so, players will have to either make a successful attack or deal with their opponent for the turn, determined by a Destiny deck. This brilliant mechanics ensures players never feel bad about attacking other players, and grudges to be inexcusable.

Each player is assigned a special alien power, that alters how certain mechanics of the game work. Some of these powers are generally better than others, but thankfully each time a player has an encounter with another, players can ally themselves with offense or defense. In this way, players can gang up on a winning player, keeping everyone even.

Cosmic Encounter is simply a great game. No two games ever feel the same, with 50 different alien powers, and no two players having the same play style. One complaint: The game supports 3-5 players, but playing with three is a real drag. It can be moderately fun, but it often feels like players are too much at the whim of the luck of the draw. This is diminished when playing with more people.

9
Go to the Dominion: Prosperity page
43 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

There are many expansions out for Dominion now, and if you are on a shoe-string budget and have to limit yourself, you absolutely should grab Prosperity. This expansion adds the most bang for your buck, by far. The new mechanics include:

– Colonies and Platinum, an extension of Provinces and Gold
– VP Tokens, to improve your score without cluttering your deck
– 7-Cost cards, to help ramp your deck up to buying those expensive Colonies
– A load of new Treasure cards that have action-like effects

This set plays great with the other expansions as well, so don’t feel like you can’t mix and match the expensive Prosperity cards with cards from other sets. Any fan of Dominion should have this expansion, plain and simple.

8
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

62 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

Carcassonne is a popular gateway game for new gamers, and with good reason: it is easy to teach, is very aesthetically pleasing, and you never feel like you are overwhelmed with choices. Each turn consists of drawing a tile at random and finding a spot to place it, evaluating different spots based on how many points you can get at the moment, how many points it will be worth later, and whether or not it prevents your opponents from scoring points.

The mechanic of drawing tiles completely at random means that there can be a significant amount of luck, but a good player knows how to make the most of seemingly unlucky pieces and make them work in their favor. The luck factor is just high enough to make new players feel like they are never out of reach of victory, which is a huge plus.

For when the game begins to get stale, add in the Inns and Cathedrals, and well as the Traders and Builders expansion for extended replay value.

Pros: Plays fast, easy to teach new players, caters to both gamers and non-gamers (especially with expansions)

Cons: Wears out its welcome after multiple plays, more luck than power gamers will appreciate.

9
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

67 out of 93 gamers thought this was helpful

This was the game that got me hooked on board games. As a Magic: The Gathering player, this game has a lot of mechanics that really appeal to me. Players build their decks as they play, selecting from a randomized card pool. This pool of 10 cards changes each game, allowing for near-infinite replay value. The strategy is quite deep, although there is a decent amount of luck, which may be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of gamer you are.

I highly recommend this game for any player who enjoys collectable card games, card drafting, or really just about any gamers who enjoy a fast, simple game with a good deal of strategy.

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