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Balder

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9
Go to the Village page

Village

7 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

COMPONENTS
Components are of very nice quality. The game includes the main board, farm board and coloured meeples for each player. There are wooden cubes for each influence type, cardboard trading tiles, etc… Anyway, the quality of components is great!

DESIGN
The game has really nice design. The cubes are, just that, cubes, and don’t expect too much on that front, but images are really beautiful.

RULES
In Village, a player controls a family in it’s struggle to reach the top through multiple generations. Yes, this game’s resources are different types of influence and TIME! Pretty much, anything you do, costs time, and when clock ticks, a player needs to “kill” one of his oldest members. But, fear not, even in death, many members bring fame to the family, because they are often remembered in Village Chronicle as first members of council, best craftsmen, famous travelers, etc…
At the beginning of each turn, green bag is used to take influence cubes specified by number of players, and those are randomly set on different village parts. Then, players, take a cube and do action tied to the place a cube was on. These include trading, traveling, crafting, making new family members, rising in church/council…
The game ends when either whole chronicle or graveyard (if there is not enough space in chronicle of that type) is full. Points are tallied and winner is the one who has the most!

FUN
Village is a VERY, VERY fun game… On each turn, there are so many actions the player can do, and each of those actions is very unique. During each session, a player will be confronted with tough choices that will greatly influence his later turns. And if you love a little bit of tension, church mass is a very fun mechanic, where player sends his family member into church, and at the end of each round 4 meeples are randomly drawn from black bag and put into church hierarchy. If you don’t love luck driven mechanics, you can (naturally) buy place in the mass 🙂

REPLAYABILITY
Main random element of this game (and, randomness is really important for replay value) is mostly tied to influence cubes that are put on different actions. This will not dramatically change anyone’s luck, but will definitely change how each game is played. Also, trading tiles are random, and will influence your crafting decisions. Anyway, this game has surprisingly nice replayability.

OVERALL
Aside from having great quality components with nice design, the Village is a smart, and beautiful game with many tough choices, few very interesting and novel minor mechanics, that is not too hard to learn and is thematically great for families.
9

10
Go to the Agricola page

Agricola

6 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

COMPONENTS
Nice boards and average quality cards (that are not used as much as in other games, so it’s not that bad) and many wooden pieces to represent vegetables, wheat, animals, etc… High quality components, but could be better.

DESIGN
Cards and boards are nice, clear and thematic. Wooden pieces are, wooden pieces, this is an euro game, so don’t expect too much on that side. But it is enough.

RULES
Each player starts the game with 2 actions, representet by farmer and his wife. For each action, a player chooses one of the possible ones from the action board and places his worker, disabling any other player from taking it in this turn. On each turn, new action on action board is revealed, unlocking new possibilites; like taking new types of animals to the farm, having a baby (to have more actions on subsequent turns), and so on. During the whole game, you need to make sure to have enough food, and in the same time build and collect everything, to be able to accumulate as many points as possible.

FUN
This game is heavy. Apart from being full of stuff and literally heavy in the box, it is very heavy for the players. The rules are not that hard to learn, but the game is extremely hard to master. You will constantly have problems with wanting too many things, and being able to do so little on your turn. In the end, you need to have as many things in as many different categories to make more points and win the game. This is definitely the game that will make you run for everything, and will heavily penalize those who don’t.
And that said, I really, really love this game. When you finish the game with nice number of points (even if you didn’t win), you will feel rewarded. It can sometimes be too heavy, and that might impact the fun factor.

REPLAYABILITY
Apart from being hard to master, the game has some different actions on action board (randomized before each play) depending on the number of players, it also has few different deck of cards (interactive, advanced…), and each deck is huge, and only a small fraction is played on each game. Replayability is literally FANTASTIC!

OVERALL
This was one of my favourite games when I bought it, and it is still one of the best that I every played. It has nice components and rewarding gameplay with great replayability. But keep in mind that it is a heavy game, and some people don’t like that.
10

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
9 out of 9 gamers thought this was helpful

COMPONENTS
Game consists of a large board (showing the map of Europe), one very large deck of train cards, smaller deck of destination (task) cards, plastic trains in different colours for each player and wooden token for score keeping. As is a custom for euro games, score is kept on a track around the map. Everything is of very nice quality.

DESIGN
Completely in theme and very clear. There is absolutely nothing bad I can say about the design.

RULES
At the beginning of the game each player gets 4 (1 large and 3 standard destination cards) and chooses two to keep. During a turn, player can either pick two (or one if he picks up a revealed locomotive card) revealed or hidden train cards, connect two cities or choose new destination cards. This goes on until one player spends all his trains. Players score points for each connection, but also from finishing destination cards; but for each non-finished destination card at the end of game, player loses that many points. There are also 10 additional points for the player with the longest road.
Additional Rules to original Ticket to Ride include ferries (you need to use Locomotive or two to build connection), tunnels (you might need to spend additional cards to build connection) and stations (you may use other players connection for your own destinations cards).

FUN
Ticket to Ride is a classic, and not without reason. It is a beautiful, simple family game loved by so many people around the world. It has it’s dose of luck and strategic thinking, but it is never too heavy for the players, it plays fairly quick, and it has trains, and who doesn’t like trains?!

REPLAYABILITY
As simple game as it is, it has to sacrifice a fair amount of replay value, so I don’t recommend playing it for too many consecutive nights. On the other hand, as popular as it is, it has a nice amount of different expansions, that can help with this issue…

OVERALL
This game is a must have for every board gamer. Apart from being a classic, it is also a great game for introducing someone to a hobby, fantastic for lazy nights where you don’t want to activate your brain cells too much and completely safe for younger children to play…
8.5

7
Go to the Bang! page

Bang!

6 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

COMPONENTS
Very nice quality cards, tokens and boards (we rarely use tokens and boards, though).

DESIGN
Design is pretty nice, colours are light, font is very much in style of western, everything is very clear. I like the design of the game.

RULES
There are 3 decks of cards. There are Roles, Characters and Action cards. Each player takes a role character in secret (depending on the number of players, there are different numbers of outlaws, deputies and one renegade and sheriff). Each role has a different win condition, so Sheriff and Deputy will win if all outlaws and renegade are dead, Outlaws win when Sheriff is dead, and Renegade must be the last alive with Sheriff and kill him to win the game. Sheriff is the only character that is visible to other players.
Every player also draws a character with special abilities and different number of hit points.
During a turn, a player draws two action cards and plays any number from his hand (but is normally allowed to play only 1 BANG! card per his turn). There are classic instant action cards and equipment cards that have a lasting effect after they are played. Almost actions are represented by few icons and are very easily understood.

FUN
BANG! is a party game, and as such it is mostly a very fun game. But, it has 2 pretty big downsides… First, it is a game that IMO requires at least 5 people to be really playable, and secondly it can last for too long, and the game that eliminates players should not be like that. Even worse is the scenario where you can die on the first turn, before even having a chance to play…

REPLAYABILITY
It should not be played all the time. It is a nice game for those sessions where there are enough players, and you really need to relax your brains… But if there are too many of those situations, I guess you should get few games for such occasions. Replayability is ok, but not great.

OVERALL
BANG! is a nice game, fun for 5 players, but have a problem of dragging along for too long… especially with more than 7 players, where the risk of dying in the first turn (before having a chance to play) is even greater. Replayability is also not too great…
7

8
Go to the San Juan page

San Juan

COMPONENTS
The game consists of a deck of cards of average quality. There are also 5 role cards and trading cards printed on the cardboard.
The box also includes a pencil and a nice pad to keep scores.

DESIGN
Nothing special. It looks fine if you take it in its theme, but it is not great.

RULES
At the beginning of the turn, Governor (first player) selects the role he wishes to play. Role is actually a type of action that is played by all players (except Prospector, that is played only by the player who chose it), but the player who chose the role gets its benefits. At the beginning of each turn, the Governor token is sent to the next player.
Actions include building, producing, selling and taking cards… And cards are everything in this game, they are buildings, money, goods. So, i.e. a player has 4 cards in his hand, he chooses to build a building (from his hand) costing 4, he will take a Builder role (which gives him the benefit of building at -1 cost) and will discard other 3 cards to pay for it.
A producer will put goods (cards from the top of the deck) under his production buildings, and a trader will sell these goods for the amount depending on trading cards and goods type.
Anyway, once any player has 12 buildings, the game ends and total points are tallied.

FUN
I really like San Juan. It is a very simple and fun game with a nice amount of strategy. Number of cards drawn are so huge that luck is really at the minimum, though luck on trading cards can greatly influence your plans. Anyway, it is a fast, easy to learn game, that is actually great for 2 players.

REPLAYABILITY
I had San Juan for many years in my collection, and it is a game that was brought to the table many times. But never for too many times in a row. Anyway, my personal feeling is that game has a nice replayability, but should not be exploited for too long…

OVERALL
Very, very fun and simple game, with (probably) nice replay value, but unfortunately packed in average quality components and with bland design.
8

10
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

COMPONENTS
The games consists of a large number of cardboard tiles, a set of wooden meeples for each player and a board for score tracking. Everything is of very nice quality.

DESIGN
Since it is an older classic this game has different designs. I am reviewing my, about 10 years old Rio Grande version. I really like the design of tiles, and pretty much like the design of other versions I saw… As for the meeples, everything I need to say is that meeples represent one of the symbols of board gaming, and this is the game that got them in the form we know them today.

RULES
Each square tile in Carcassonne represents a part of a city, road, farm and/or a cloister. On each turn, a player takes a random tile, and puts it on the map bordering at least one other tile in such a manner to not make impossible connections (an open part of the city, must be continued to a city, a road to a road, and so on…). When he puts a tile, he may put a meeple on that tile on a city, road, farm or cloister segment. City will score 2 points per tile when finished (or 1 if not finished by the end of the game), road will score 1 either way, farm will score 3 points per finished city it borders by the end of the game, and cloister will score 1 point for each tile bordering a cloister (including itself). Apart from farms, meeples are returned to the hand of a player if the segment they are on is completed. Very important rule is that player must not put meeple on a segment already occupied by another meeple (friend or foe), and if at some point meeples of different players end up on the same segment, only the player with more meeples scores points (or both, if there is a same number of meeples).

FUN
Carcassonne is one of my favourites. It is a fast, fun and simple game in its core, but with much more depth than it looks. You may run for the extremely large city, and lose many points if you fail to finish it, you may go for the farms, but you will lock to many meeples till the end, you may go for the roads, but they don’t bring too many points, you may also try to take a hard work from others, by trying to connect your small segment with their large, or put tiles in such a way to make them unable to finish theirs. It is a beautiful game, full of interaction, very fast and easy to learn!

REPLAYABILITY
A large number of tiles that are randomly drawn will make every game different from any other, but the game might feel the same after some time. Lucky for us, Carcassonne has many great expansions, out of which I recommend Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders, because I have those… I guess there are many other great expansions.

OVERALL
Carcassonne is great game for almost everyone. It is very simple and fast in rules, but also great for outsmarting your opponents. It is very family friendly, and a great gateway for those new to the hobby.
10

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