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Brian Hazzard

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Go to the Dominion page
Go to the Stone Age page
Go to the Pandemic page
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
Go to the Citadels page
10
Go to the The Resistance: 3rd Edition page
36 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

The Resistance is hands-down, without-a-doubt, the absolute best bang for the buck I have ever gotten out of a board or card game. My 3 couple / 6 friends gaming group has played this one around 50 times, and every single time we play it gets better. All of that glowing review for a game that costs somewhere around $15.

Recently when I was writing a blog post about the best board games for folks new to the hobby (http://brianhazzard.com/recommendations/2013/04/28/the-best-board-games/), I had to put this on the list. So what makes it so good?

- Theme: Most of the players are loyal resistance members, but a few are spies for the corrupt government. Only the spies know who’s who, and their goal is to cripple the resistance.
- Deduction: As a resistance member, it is thrilling to watch for social cues and do some logical reasoning to uncover each player’s motivations.
- Deceit: As a spy, it is gut-wrenching trying to go undetected, while making the necessary plays to trip up the resistance team.
- Simplicity: Any fiddly rules are decidedly missing from this game, leaving just the riveting intrigue without game-ish destraction.

The final verdict: this is the only game I have ever played that has twisted my stomach in knots so much, but had me coming back for more. If you think that you and your friends can handle the heat, you MUST have this game.

 
Go to the Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm page
16 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

From a purely price/component perspective, this is not a good buy. What you get are some cardboard chits representing goals, a 5th player, and a few new cards. Luckily this expansion is much more than just what is in the box.

The goals guide strategy a bit by providing providing a new source of points that players can claim if they meet some criteria. There are 2 type of goals: “first” and “most”. To claim the points offered by a “first” goal, a player must be the first to meet it’s conditions. Points from a “first” goal are claimed immediately and cannot be taken away. To claim the points offered by a “most” goal, at game’s end a player must have the most for whatever metric the goal states. This extra source of points will affect a player’s decisions throughout the game.

The new cards add strategic choices to the game, mostly by making alien, gene, or military strategies more viable than they are with the base game alone.

I recommend this expansion to any fan of Race For the Galaxy.

7
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

62 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

One of my friends bought this game when we were first starting up our gaming group. We’ve played it with all player counts, several times over. Usually we play with 6 or 7.

Where most games that claim to be playable with more than 6 tend to bog down and drag on, 7 wonders shines. What makes it work well for larger groups is the simultaneous action selection, and the fact that player interaction is reduced to just a players left and right neighbors.

The simultaneous action selection means that downtime is minimized, keeping gameplay feeling fast and exciting.

The reduced player interaction is seen by some to be a weakness of the game. The positive thing about it is that it prevents information overload. It also allows you to focus on your corner of the world and optimize there. On the other hand, it means that who you sit next to, and what their strategy is can be among the most important aspects of the game. If that bothers you, this may not be the game for you.

The game also plays well with smaller numbers of players. Some of my friends prefer it with 3 because player interaction is higher.

I feel this is a must for SOMEONE in your group to own because it is a solid choice for just about any gaming situation.

8
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
40 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

I read lots of reviews before purchasing this game. I knew that if I could get people to play the game, I would enjoy it immensely. But, I worried that it would he too difficult to teach, and that. Those with short attention spans would never give the game a try.

Surprisingly I had none of those issues. The game has been well received by my gaming group. Perhaps more surprisingly, it has become a favorite 2-player game for me and my wife.

When I first read the rules I was pretty lost. I convinced my wife to play through a shortened “practice-game” referring to the rules often. We used the “your first game” rules and that went a long way to bolstering our confidence with the game. After that we played a fee real games and other than a few small misunderstanding with the rules, everything fell into place.

In our first few games there seemed to be a runaway leader problem. First she won by more than double, then me, then her, etc. I was concerned that the game boiled down to just luck of the draw. We later figured out that because of the inflexible way we were playing, it basically did.

At game’s beginning your strategy is going to be biased by a “start-world”. In order to not be completely at luck’s whim, you’ll need to adjust your strategy based on the cards you draw, and what your opponent does. For instance, if you had planned on a heavy produce-consume strategy, but the produce phase helps your opponent more than you, adjust your strategy and let them play produce.

There are lots of strategic options in the game, each with ts own advantages and pitfalls. Sometimes more important is just making wise tactical choices with the cards you have available to you Right Now.

The key things I like about the game are:
* simultaneous action selection keeps play fast and minimizes downtime
* Interesting player interaction rises from the fact that everyone participates in every phase selected, but the selectors get a benefit
* Lots of strategic options: Build worlds or developments fast before other can get enough points, crank out an efficient produce-consume engine, build up military power so you can settle for free, go for card synergies in regards to powers granted or points earned.

Pure awesome in a box full of cards!

 
Go to the Stone Age page

Stone Age

32 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

A fellow gaming friend unexpectedly got this game for me for my birthday in 2011. He also got me a pack of “fancy bits” which are replacements for some of the tokens in this game. I’ve played it a few times now and I really like this game.

The production quality is incredible. Even the backs of the boards have great art. It comes with a real leather dice cup. I seriously would have expected this game to cost twice as much considering how high quality all of the included bits are.

The game play is “thinky” and can also be a bit “mathy”, but because there are dice rolls, you always have the option to take risks to get big returns. If you’d prefer to avoid risk, you can mitigate bad dice rolls by investing in tools which allow you to tweak rolls that just fell short. Each turn is fairly fast most of the time, but can occasionally get bogged down in AP.

The scoring is neat too, because it allows you to try and get synnergies by focusing on a specific strategy.

Overall there is a ton of choice and decision making in this game, and I highly recommend it to anyone who isn’t prone to analysis paralysis.

7
Go to the Citadels page

Citadels

24 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

I assert that in the 15-20 dollar range, you simply won’t find a better game. This game is great because:

It scales well from 1 to 8 players. With 2 it is cut-throat and intensely psychological. With 3 to 5 it is a fun card game that is easy to teach, and offers plenty of critical decision making. More than 5 can get long with chatty or AP prone players, but can still be fun with a fast group.

It travels well. Since the box is small, I can easily take the game along anywhere I think it might be nice to play a game.

The only downside is that the role cards seem to wear out quickly.

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