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Bryan Fischer

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7
Go to the Small World page

Small World

53 out of 74 gamers thought this was helpful

Once they get all of the expansions on this app, I’ll likely sell my Small World collection. Handling all of the tiny tokens is a pain when you have big fingers, but having the iPad do it for you… that’s just easy. You can play a game of Small World on your iPad in half the time as you can play it with the board game.

The only real issue I have is the level of difficulty and choice making with the AI. The computer rarely never picks a race costing more than 1. Playing cheaply in Small World is a valid strategy, but it seems to be the only one the AI knows. In addition, it plays everything in a mathematical tee. It doesn’t feel like you are playing the game against a person, but rather the computer that tested all of the numbers before the game was published. It feels sterile and boring.

In Conclusion

Buy this game. It’s easily the best board game on the iPad. Once you’ve purchased it, play it a lot in the pass-n-play mode. The screen auto-rotates, so you can just hand it on over or slide it across the table. Great fun.

6
Go to the Nightfall page

Nightfall

26 out of 34 gamers thought this was helpful

First and foremost, a disclosure (and apology). I’m not prone to seizures and this isn’t meant to make light of that condition. I apologize for any insult. That being said, I can only imagine that the animation in this game can actually cause a seizure. Seriously.

Why oh why?!

Why did you take a card game lots of people like and make it a weird playable animated… thing. It’s still Nightfall, sure, but with animated backgrounds and constant animation flying in from all sides it is also a mess.

The playing area is laid out in a semi-circle (somewhat thematic, I get it) with scrolling this and that flying across the screen and in the background. When you’re playing with 3 players or more, you can’t even see everyone’s archive but the screen still shows you the archive of the second player (this may be a bug, or it may switch depending on character – there’s so much going on with the animation on the screen that it’s easily missed either way).

My suggestion

Buy this app if you like Nightfall and want to play it against the computer or in a pass-n-play way. At any given time, there are dozens of games online with no one playing them. In fact, if you join an online game, you’re probably more likely to upgrade your phone/tablet before actually playing the game with anyone. In addition, people constantly quit games when they realize they are losing. I’m not sure why, but Nightfall seems to breed this more so than in other games.

8
Go to the Elder Sign: Omens page

Elder Sign: Omens

55 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

I played and ultimately traded Elder Sign in its physical form. The game was fine, but I really only bought it because of the theme. When it comes down to it, Fantasy Flight has milked Cthulhu and his kin far beyond anything natural. The board game version has the same tired art and the same tired feel of several other Fantasy Flight games, but I still bought this app to try it (go figure).

I was pleasantly surprised.

In app form, this game is significantly more fun to play than its board game counterpart. In fact, I would suggest buying this game for your iPad any day over the board game. You don’t have to deal with components (decent number of them, and shuffling locations in and out of the museum) or chasing dice (they get away from the best of us). But be warned…

This game is crazy hard.

Any by hard I mean brutal, and by brutal I mean challenging (in a good way). You will lose again and again. If you don’t lose several times before beating an ancient one, you either got lucky (the game does have dice) or you are yourself an ancient one. That being said, it’s not frustrating really because the strategy of building the perfect team to beat the different ancient ones is solid (and addictive). Picking a team based on the style you like and then beating the game with them is very rewarding.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion, you should buy this app. It’s polished with great animation (you’ll want to turn off the character title animations after a play or two – it’s under options). The sound quality and art is top notch. The gameplay is challenging and addictive and you have lots of options for team building and playing. Oh, and grab the Cthulhu expansion, it’s worth it.

7
Go to the Ora & Labora page

Ora & Labora

180 out of 193 gamers thought this was helpful

Ora et Labora (Pray and Work, the Benedictine Order slogan) is about what you expect from Agricola creator, Uwe Rosenburg, except that it isn’t. While I enjoy the game on some level, I was primarily disappointed. Here’s why…

Replay Value Isn’t There
Unless expansions start dropping like hotcakes, Ora et Labora lacks any significant replay value. The game doesn’t have random card distribution like Agricola, so each play is the same game. You can mix it up only slightly by playing the French version of the game or the Irish version, but once you’ve played both, you have played the whole game. The card distribution and options are always the same and do not change. You’ll get three good plays out of it, maybe, and then the game just becomes efficient “engine” making.

Components Are Underwhelming
If this game’s components are what’s to come from the new Z-Man, we should expect many years of let downs. The player boards, reference sheets, and extension tiles are super thin. Extend play with normal amounts of skin oils will likely prove problematic. In addition, the rondel which is easily the most icon part of the game, is super thin and requires taking apart when you want to play the game with certain combinations of players. A huge let down overall.

Complication of Scoring/Rules
This isn’t a complaint of the overall strategy involved in the game. The level of strategy is about right, in league with Agricola and other similar games. This is however a warning. This game is very complicated the first time you play it. In addition, it’s almost impossible on your first pass to grasp who is winning. Scores are generally in the 200-300 range, made up of series of small scores (5-15 pts).

In Conclusion
I do like the game, don’t get my wrong, but I’ll always like it from a distance (aka, playing other people’s copies). The game doesn’t have enough replay value (right now) to warrant a purchase. Oh, and the components are greatly lacking for the price.

8
Go to the Discworld: Ankh-Morpork page

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

105 out of 112 gamers thought this was helpful

Ankh-Morpork captures the world of Terry Pratchett in a light, chaotic game interwoven with brilliant theme. As a fan of the fiction, the game does what it set out to do. As a fan of board games, the game embodies the theme almost to a fault.

Deep? No.

It’s important to note that this game has opportunity for strategic play around most corners, but the play is often too chaotic to take this game from “medium-light” depth to “deep.” It’s not deep. Then again, perhaps we should define “deep.”

If you are a gamer who considers Settlers of Catan or Robo Rally to be deep, then yes, Ankh-Morpork is deep. Like Settlers and Robo Rally the game play has strategic decisions to be made, but a chaotic element is central to game play. “Luck” is both your friend and enemy in these types of games. In Settlers you have the dice that may keep you from ever collecting resources from a 6 or 8. In Robo Rally the chaos is in the secret movement selection that causes downright chaos.

Like in Robo Rally (but not in Settlers,) the chaos is central to Ankh-Morporks theme. In Ankh-Morpork, this is done through the cards you draw.

If you are the type of gamer who considers the above mentioned games to be “light” and finds “deep” strategy in games like Hansa Tuetonica, Through the Ages and Puerto Rico then you will undoubtedly find this game light. That being said, it does scratch the itch quite nicely.

Good game? Yes.

Some games that suffer from chaotic card draw or dice rolling are really just suffering from ill-conceived mechanics. For some, this “luck” element isn’t something they are willing to look past. For some others, a game being controlled almost entirely by luck is exactly what they are looking for. These are not avid strategy gamers. Still, others find luck acceptable as long as it is well founded in the game’s theme or mechanics.

Ankh-Morpork, is exactly that. A game where the luck/chaos is central to the game’s theme. If you haven’t read any of the Discworld books this may be hard for you to understand. But trust me, in a world full of wizards killing each other for one shoes, randomness is the name of the game.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is a good game. It is full of strategic thinking mixed with theme-driven chaos. The components are top notch and the art rivals some of the best in the industry.

Who should play this game?

Everyone, at least once.

Who should own this game?

Anyone who’s looking for a light strategy game with a great theme and amazing artwork, and who doesn’t mind getting totally screwed by bad card draws and dice rolls as long as the chaos is theme-driven.

9
Go to the Fiasco page

Fiasco

131 out of 152 gamers thought this was helpful

Having a party?

Are you having some people over? Do you want to laugh uncontrollably for hours? Grab some index cards, sharpies, dice and pick out a playset. This is my favorite rpg to play in a party setting because there is no set up, the play is fast, and it always gets out of hand.

No set up?

Well, truthfully there is set up, but it’s as much a part of the game as anything else. When players decide their characters, relationships, pick locations, etc. they are not only forming the framework for the session, but they are having fun doing it. This isn’t a board game you have to place tokens on, the set up is like the appetizer.

Time flies!

By the time you’re half way through the game, you aren’t even aware that the time has flown. The game can be played super fast, or you can simply melt into the mood and go with it. Our sessions last anywhere from 60 minutes to 120 minutes (the later sessions being much occasion for silliness). Regardless of how long the sessions are though, the play is fast. Turns are short and the outcomes are ridiculously creative.

In Conclusion

This game is a must for anyone who has ever done some role-playing and likes to get groups together to hang out. We came from a D&D background and found this to be the perfect gateway into single-session rpgs.

5
Go to the Thunderstone page

Thunderstone

5 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

We all like Dominion, why? Because it’s a great game. The play is challenging and you can get better and better at the game. Is the theme awesome? No. Does it need to be? Apparently not, because Dominion is madly popular.

Thunderstone takes Dominion, changes it up a bit, and adds a tired theme on it. Take Dominion, add some dwarves, swords and bad guys… bam, new game (not really). Dominion is better than Thunderstone, period.

8
Go to the Nuns on the Run page

Nuns on the Run

61 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

About the title, yeah, I was joking, but seriously… Nuns on the Run is a good game, but I think it’s important to plan on it for a group of people who like to laugh. Running around a board “in the dark” can be great fun when someone gets caught. It’s not your typical board game because of a lack of moving pieces, but it is one of the better large-group games I’ve played.

We’ve had games where the Prioress and Abbess catch two people in the first 2-3 rounds and others where all of us have managed to go unseen for a good long while before a flood of “captures” take place. And there’s nothing like that feeling you get deep down when the player(s) playing the Prioress and Abbess make a bad assumption that leaves you scot-free. Ah, freedom.

If you want something light, but challenging and of course fun to play, Nuns on the Run is one of your best options.

6
Go to the Cargo Noir page

Cargo Noir

74 out of 129 gamers thought this was helpful

First and foremost, this is not a bad game, but it has one major flaw. The game is too repetitive, even within the first game. By the end of the game you feel as if you’ve done the same thing over and over again for the last 45 minutes with little variation between players strategies. The components are nice, especially the pawns, and the art is lovely. But the game is a little too light for any hobby gamer to want to play more than once.

7
Go to the Innovation page

Innovation

58 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

You’ll need it if you’re playing Innovation for the first time. It’s such a complex game and amazingly intricate in its card variation. You’ll likely be confused and feel lost for the first several times you play, but eventually you’ll start to get somewhat of a feel for the flow and card selection.

Either way, it’s good fun trying to figure this one out.

5
Go to the Ticket to Ride: The Card Game page
57 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

This game isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great either. It’s one of those games that makes a good two-player filler. When my wife and I are tired of Jambo, Castle Panic or Carcassonne, we might pick up this game and play. Would I bring this game to the table with my usual gaming group? No.

7
Go to the Mansions of Madness (1st ed) page
41 out of 64 gamers thought this was helpful

Of all of the modular “dungeon crawler” style games (Dungeon Twister, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Zombie In My Pocket, etc.), Mansions of Madness is definitely the best. The Lovecraft theme is no different than any other Cthulhu-type game, but it feels more involved this time. If you’ve read Lovecraft, you’ll feel like your in one of his untold stories which harken to other published works. Very nicely done.

As for the mechanics, adding puzzles and a plethora of attack types has really made the game have more depth than others like it. Castle Ravenloft is paper thin compared to this game and that’s why you should play Mansions. It’s great, you’ll enjoy it.

4
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
42 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

Race for the Galaxy is not a good game. It is a good concept, but the game execution is horrible flawed. While you can “know” the decks and number crunch your brain into paralysis, the lack of concentrated strategy outside of sheer luck is a sour dagger.

Pros:
– Components are nice
– Appears to have a level of strategy that could make a good game

Cons:
– That “level of strategy” is really overcomplicated chaos
– Lack of mid-term or long-term strategy
– Too much relies on luck of the draw
– Only gets more complicated and worse with expansions
– Not a game for serious card-based strategists

When it comes down to it, Race for the Galaxy is overly hard to grasp once you’ve played it a few times, but that barely (if at all) prepares you to play it as it was no doubt imagined to be. What could have been layered strategy is no more than luck-driven “do what you can with what you have, but only for this turn.” While that can be good for some games, it doesn’t feel right for this one. If you’re looking for a game where you can build a strategy and engine as you play, do not play Race for the Galaxy.

7
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons (4ed): Player's Handbook page
50 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons for many, many years. I started in 3rd edition and played 3.5. I’ve also played several other RPGs and done more than my share of house ruling and GMing in all of them. What does this mean? It means I’m qualified to say the following as much as any other D&D gamer…

Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition doesn’t feel a whole lot like Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not a bad edition, it’s just different. Wizards of the Coast are doing all that they can to attract new players, especially from video game RPG and MMORPG circles. And 4th edition is the best way to do that. It creates a “I console/pc game, but I’ve never table-topped game” friendly atmosphere.

The proof is in the 4th edition Player’s Handbook. In this book, D&D is presented in a format built a lot like a MMORPG. You have your race and class as normal, but powers and feats look a lot more like video game power descriptions. They play more like them too. This means classes are more specific to the D&D thought of what the class should be. It’s less flexible, but presented much easier than ever before. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so, but it’s quite different than D&D 3 ed.

To any gamer out there looking to get into D&D, start here. Buy this book and get a group together and start playing. Once you’ve played for awhile and start to feel that urge to make more unique and dynamic characters, buy the 3 and 3.5 books, you’ll never leave them.

Pros:
– Great artwork, as always and great quality book
– Convert and beginner friendly
– Well organized chapter structure

Cons:
– Veterans will prefer their older versions
– Classes are too rigid

8
Go to the Call of Cthulhu LCG: Core Set page
96 out of 114 gamers thought this was helpful

The fact that Call of Cthulhu plays like a Fantasy Flight LCG is both a good thing and a bad thing. If you’ve played A Game of the Thrones or Lord of the Rings LCGs (both by Fantasy Flight) you’ll notice similarities in the game play. The idea of having different “strategies” as varying “spheres” like Lore and Will is interesting, but Fantasy Flight is using this theme in almost every LCG they put out.

Pros:
– Quality components and artwork
– Extremely good version of the LCG “sphere” mechanics
– Fun theme that’s perfect for Lovecraft fans
– Customizable decks with expansions

Cons:
– Feels like you’ve played it before (Fantasy Flight LCG style)
– Cards are white bordered (ugly in a dark-themed game)
– Only 2 player

Basically, if you like Lovecraft stories and want a 2-player card game that you can expand over time without paying way too much, Call of Cthulhu is a smart buy.

 
Go to the Dominion: Seaside page

Dominion: Seaside

50 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

It’s hard to say which Dominion expansion is the best all-around expansion. Parts of Intrigue and Prosperity are simply stellar and even a few cards in Alchemy and Cornucopia are good, but all around best expansion has to go to Seaside.

Dominion: Seaside has a little bit of everything. A new mechanic, a new “state of play” (The Island allows you to remove cards from play, to be counted at the end) and interesting combinations that really make for a great addition. My only complaint comes from the metal tokens that come with the game. While it’s cool that they are made of metal, they’re kind of small and there are rarely enough of them.

If you own the Dominion base set and you’re looking for a good expansion all the way through, Seaside is your pick.

8
Go to the 7 Wonders: Leaders page

7 Wonders: Leaders

16 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

Once you play with this expansion, you’ll never take it out of your base 7 Wonders set. It truly completes the base game, making it even better than it originally was.

Something to keep in mind though: The Leader cards are a fantastic addition, but players should make sure to not depend on them too much. While they can help you focus your strategy, they’re generally not a game changer. The original game cards and mechanics are still the key to most of your points, but these cards can add a few tricks up your sleeve.

9
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

40 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

7 Wonders is an instant classic in every way. The game has a decently deep level of strategy and each game feels fairly different. I have to recommend playing with the Leaders expansion though. In fact, once you play with that expansion, you’ll never play without it because it’s such a natural fit. It’s as if the game was completed with the expansion.

I suggest this game for any group that has a collectible card game itch, as well as, any players who’ve been obsessed with Dominion and its expansions.

7
Go to the Survive: Escape from Atlantis! page
38 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

Survive: Escape from Atlantis! is a pleasure to own. From the moment you open the box and view the fantastic, euro-style components you’re in for a treat. The rules are easy to read and understand, so the game can be played right out of the box.

The most difficult part of this game is keeping your friends from hating you after you feed a boat load of their men to a sea monster. Seriously, the game is nasty, but it’s oh so fun to be the bad guy and try to convince the table you’re harmless at the same time. It’s a game of politicking and fast talking.

If sharks, sea monsters and whales aren’t enough for you, the expansion giant squids are even meaner to unleash on your opponents. And thanks to the somewhat collaborative game play you can get away with it too.

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