Player Avatar
I'm a Real Person
Smash Up Fan
I play yellow
Comic Book Fan

burgerchief

gamer level 7
13411 xp
followers
47

Use my invite URL to register (this will give me kudos)
http://boardgaming.com/register/?invited_by=burgerchief
profile badges
...
...
...
...
recent achievements
Petroglyph
Petroglyph
Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Gamer - Level 7
Gamer - Level 7
Earn Gamer XP to level up!
Knight
Knight
Give 100 hearts (loyalty points) to a single game
Advanced Reviewer
Advanced Reviewer
Review 13 games and receive a total of 980 positive review ratings.
Go to the Imperial Harvest page
Go to the Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion page
Go to the Letters from Whitechapel page
Go to the City of Horror page
Go to the Star Realms page
Go to the Smash Up: Awesome Level 9000 page
Go to the Burgle Bros. page
Go to the Carcassonne page
6
Go to the Dead Men Tell No Tales page
15 out of 15 gamers thought this was helpful

Does this game have a ghost pirate ship exploding on the box? How do we play?!

You are a team of pirates who has just boarded a ghost pirate ship full of loot. Your goal is to escape with all of the loot alive. In order to do this you need to explore the ship, fight fires, dispatch of crew members, manage player fatigue, battle with ghost pirates and use your different player abilities to give you a slight edge. I suggest watching a video play through if this sounds interesting!

Pros-
-Variable player powers
-Modular board
-Lots of replay value
-Challenging gameplay
-Amazing art and theme integration
-Mechanics all make sense with the theme and game.
-Well made components

Cons-
-Can be too random and you lose very quickly or are close to losing from the start
-Some characters seem much better than others
-Some tiles the art can be overwhelming or make it hard to see where doors are
-Battle system is basically rolling the dice and hoping for a high number, with some manipulation.
-Starting board can’t be flipped when exploded, not a huge deal but kinda annoying.
-Alpha player, but no worse than any co op game.
-Lots of things to do and lots of pieces make the game a little fiddly and easy to forget a step the first few times.

I had really high hopes for this game, and it delivered on a few fronts. The art and theme tie in are about as good as you can get for a game. The materials are great, and each mechanic works and makes sense for the game. For some reason it didn’t live up to the expectations. All of the mechanics are mechanics that I enjoy from other games- but when put together it all got kind of muddled for me. The battle system was a little anticlimactic for me, but I’m not sure how I would improve. There is a lot that happens each turn, which can be good or bad. The board can greatly change from one turn to the next, so you are frequently just reacting to problems instead of being able to plan and be proactive. All in all it is a game I would recommend people try out if you are a fan of co ops.

8
Go to the Imperial Harvest page

Imperial Harvest

44 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

No Frills Review:
A tactical, 2 person game with variable player powers, a modular board and magical strawberries. 2 opposing teams of 3 champions collect strawberries to earn victory points, while battling or slowing down the other team. The team with the most points after 14 turns (7 for each side) wins. Games can be played in about 20 minutes. With 14 different characters in the base game and a modular board, this game can have a very different feel each time. Additionally, you can only activate 2 champions each turn making how you play each character very important. If you don’t want to create a new board each time, the game comes with great cloth play mat, so you can just unfold and start playing. Easy to learn and very fun to play.

Longer review–

A Strawberry! A Strawberry! My Kingdom for a Strawberry!
In Imperial Harvest You play as one of two teams, the Raiders or the Imperial Guardians, but the goal is the same:
Your team is in a garden trying to collect strawberries as they battle or block the opposing team for 14 turns (each team has 7 turns). Additionally, teams need to avoid the 2 hydras that live in the moat. At the end, victory points are awarded based on how many strawberries you plucked, how many you are holding at the end, and how many you were able to deposit. There are other ways of gaining points, by meeting conditions of a separate quest deck (expansion), or fulfilling certain character’s goals.

X never, ever marks the spot
One of the strengths of this game is that it is played on a modular board. You can place moat, Hydra tokens, bridge tiles, and garden tiles almost wherever you want, allowing for a different gaming experience each time. The makers of the game also understand that many people don’t feel like setting out a new map each time and included a cloth playmat so you can just unfold, place bridges, strawberries, and Hydras, and basically start playing. I find myself watching TV and just trying out different maps, eventually my wife walks by and says “ooo! let’s play that!” and then we get started.

Feorhyrna, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy
The game has 8 different archetypes for the characters. Each team is made of 3 champions, each of a different archetype (Base game comes with 14 character cards, 2 of them are Bards). However, the champions are not all the same. Both teams have a “Bard” champion with identical abilities, but the rest of the characters and their abilities are very different. Again, this makes the game feel different each time based on who picks what character and how they are used in the game. Some characters are team specific, but many may be drafted by either team.

Despite asymmetrical teams, the characters all seem well balanced. One person having one certain character won’t win or lose you the game in our experience. In fact, the character that my wife and I think is the best, has never won a game. Different powers does make character selection important, as some people will just prefer some character’s abilities and accompanying strategies. What is also important is how these characters work as a team and how you utilize them. As a result, it is important to draft wisely, with the map layout in mind.

Step 1: Get Strawberries. Step 2: … Step 3: Profit!
The players each have 7 turns to get as many points as possible. The characters start with 3 action points (AP) and 2 abilities, but gain an ability and 1 AP once they pick up a strawberry. Also, some characters can give more AP to other players and gain AP in other ways. The player can only activate 2 characters at a time, the other is sleeping. On the next turn, players then MUST activate character who was sleeping, and rest another character. Making it a delicate balance of keeping characters out of danger but still useful.

On the board are 2 hydras that live in the moat or moats depending on your set up. The hydra attacks in the 4 orthogonal directions constantly, and can attack through obstacles, making them quite a threat. A player may forfeit a character’s turn to move the hydra 1 space (in the water), which is costly in a game with limited turns, but the Hydra can be very useful in blocking or defeating opponents. Moving a hydra early on can pay huge dividends later.

At the end of the game (after the 14th turn), the 2 players count up victory points and the one with the most wins!

Pros
-Quick game to set up and play. (Playtime around 20-30 mins)
-Modular board allows for different maps.
-Asymmetrical character abilities allow for unique match ups and different gaming experiences.
-13 different characters (2 bards) allows for many different combinations.
-Easy rules with a good rulebook allows for players to quickly get into the game.
-Turn limit makes the game feel like an exciting race.
-Can combine multiple copies of the base game to make bigger maps and add more players.

Cons
-The game is all tactical, no randomness, which may put off some people.
-Some players may experience analysis paralysis.
-There can be runaway games if players don’t plan well, which makes the last few turns not very exciting.

Overall
This was the first kickstarter game I ever backed, and I do not regret it. I was looking for a 2 player game that would be exciting and fun with high replayability and no luck. Whenever I ask my wife if she wants to play a game and we don’t have much time (or we don’t know when the baby will wake up…), this is the game she wants to play.

It’s just really fun to play. The turn limit makes each move important, and usually encourages a race like feel. The different characters and modular maps force you to work with your characters abilities and try to use the map to your advantage. Maps can be created to have more or less interaction, so it can feel more like a battle with careful maneuvering for position, or a puzzle where you use must your powers to gain an edge in a race to the end. Or, it can feel like a mix of both. The required resting of a character makes things interesting, since one person may never rest one character, but then the other characters will be less useful. Overall, it’s a fun game that I recommend.

7
Go to the Bottom of the 9th page

Bottom of the 9th

109 out of 117 gamers thought this was helpful

Ahhh, baseball parks. The smell of cut grass, hot dogs and that sweaty guy sitting next to you. I love baseball. As relaxing as it can be to watch a game, it also produces some of the most dramatic moments, especially when teams are tied at the bottom of the 9th.

This game skips the opening of the game and boils it all down to those last 3 outs. A team with only 2 pitchers left is going up against a team of 6 remaining batters to decide the outcome of the game. If the home team doesn’t score, the away team will win by default because they are an offensive juggernaut. This is the home team’s last chance!

Set Up
Decide who wants to be home/away. You can either randomly select or purposefully draft your players. 2 Pitchers for away, 6 batters for the home team. Batters have 1 limitation: each hitter is a position player and you can’t have more than 1 type of position (ex: you can’t have 2 first basemen). Each batter and pitcher are unique with varying strengths and weaknesses. Each also have special abilities and some have ongoing effects.

Batters set up a batting order, pitcher selects starting closer, and then you start!

Gameplay
Most of the game play involves rolling dice. If you like baseball, but don’t like dice, this game will likely not be for you. The gameplay is put into 3 distinct phases:

The Stare-down
During the stare-down, both batter and pitcher use their “pitch tokens”. The pitcher is secretly choosing either low/high and inside/away for their pitch, the batter is secretly trying to guess what pitch the pitcher is going to throw. The pitcher has an “ace” pitch that he can throw that can make it hard for the batter to hit. However, the pitcher will become fatigued if he throws the elements of that pitch too often. (If an ace pitch is “low and inside” having someone throw “low” a lot will fatigue the pitcher). Once a pitcher is fully fatigued he can’t throw that type of pitch, so the batter will guess that element correctly (since he only has 1 choice).

Both pitcher and batter reveal their tokens, if the batter guess some correctly, he gains batting powers or a combination of possible powers. If the batter misses the pitcher gains powers or a combination of possible powers. Next is the batting phase.

Batting
The pitcher rolls 2 dice. One is for pitch control (normal 6 sided die) the other pitch location (dice with 3 Bs, 2 Ss, and a C). The pitcher could throw a “Ball” a “Strike” or a “Corner” pitch. Each pitch has it’s strengths and weaknesses. The pitcher then applies any powers including re-rolling dice or adding on to the total, among many other different abilities. The batter then rolls 1 dice and applies any powers, like the pitcher. You check the batting chart to see if you have a ball, strike, foul, or a hit.

Base Running
If you get a hit, now you have to make a mad dash down the baseline! You and the pitcher engage in a roll-off (variant included which takes out the speed element, I prefer that way). Batter rolls a 5-6 first, then the hitter is safe. The pitcher rolls a 5-6 first, then batter is out.

Additionally, if the batter rolls a natural “6” on a Strike pitch, the ball is “crushed” and the player has the opportunity to get a home run, double, etc. If the ball is possibly going to be a home run, the fielding team has 1 chance to scale the wall and catch the ball by rolling a “6”.

After settling the outcome of base running, or a 3rd strike/4th ball the next batter goes up and the game starts over until a run is scored or the 3rd out is recorded.

My Thoughts
I collected baseball cards as a kid and was immediately reeled in by the character cards, and the sticks of gum. There’s just a lot here for lovers of baseball, the theme is solid in this game.

People who don’t like baseball will probably not take to it as quickly. Most of the rules are intuitive… if you know baseball. If not, then it will take more time to understand. This will hurt their initial enjoyment. Additionally, if they don’t get into the theme, it could feel like a roll and check type of game, which is less fun. Since it has a few light decision making, it is important to have a fast stare down, batting phase, and base running phase. If the game moves quickly, that makes for a fun game. Early on, the game will take a few extra minutes, which hurts the fun of the game. If you take 5 minutes on 1 pitch and it ends up getting fouled off, or it’s a ball, that’s annoying. You want action! If the whole batting phase takes 1 minute, then you probably feel like you “just missed it!” and are excited for the next stare down.

I recommend this to baseball fans who don’t mind dice. This game would be great to bring on trips or to a bar, since it comes in a small box (as long as the lid stays on…). My wife will play this game with me, but she’s not crazy about it. I have some friends who just LOVE building the line-up for the batters and could honestly spend all day just doing that.

All in all, it’s a fun, light, fast game with the right people.

8
Go to the Timeline: Events page

Timeline: Events

48 out of 54 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
In timeline you start with a hand of cards each naming and depicting an historical event. The object of the game is to get rid of all of your cards. One side of the card is the name of the event and a picture, the other side is the same picture and name but it also has the date the event occurred. To start the game, turn over one card so the date is face up, that’s the starting point of the timeline. On a turn, you try to place one of your cards (date side down) in chronological order, relative to other events. Once you decide on a point in time, you turn the card over to see if you were correct. If you play a card correctly, then the next person goes. If you put a card in the wrong sequence, you discard that card and draw a new one and then the next person takes their turn.

Pros:
-Very Simple.
-Events are varied, some are more common knowledge and some are obscure making it so that even history buffs may have some challenge. (Yeah, you know when WW2 ended, but do you know when the Turkey was discovered by Europeans?)
-Very fast playing.
-Creates great conversation.
-You learn while you play.
-GREAT for history lovers.
-Cards are well made with nice (and helpful) art.

Cons:
-Since you learn while you play, there is limited replay value without expansions.
-May not work for people who dislike history/dates.
-Mostly a test of knowledge, reasoning and some luck which some players may not enjoy. There is some strategy, but not a lot.
-Can get unlucky with starting cards and have a very hard game, or start the game with very easy cards and know you will win.
-Some minor translation issues from original French. (Ex: “First Train Accident” is actually referring to the first FRENCH train accident.)

The lowdown
Timeline is a little game with some big appeal for the right people. My dad loves history and doesn’t enjoy games of deduction, or strategy. He doesn’t like the type of pressure those games can create. This game was amazing for him. He loved testing himself against the game. Everyone else who I have played it with were casual players and they enjoyed it. What was fun was hearing people trying to think aloud their placement based on what had been played. It can take a lot of effort to not help or just resist adding your 2 cents (even if they end up being worth less than that.) People who refused to play still had fun listening in and talking about how cards were played. I think that’s part of the beauty of this game, you can play competitively and add some house rules to make it more competitive and gamey. Or it can be a conversation piece that gets people talking, interacting and sharing what they know.

If you buy one and like it, you will need to buy at least another for there to be much lasting replay value. While 110 cards is a lot of events, this game is an effective education tool and you learn when things happen pretty quickly. The approximate dates stick with you because of the meaningful conversations and social learning that occurs. So, the things that make this a great game, also hurt it’s replay value. All in all, a great gift, and a fun game for my friends and family that I will bring out occasionally.

9
Go to the Burgle Bros. page

Burgle Bros.

54 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

*Snick!* your team of cracker jack thieves has evaded guards, hacked keypads, dodged lasers and finally cracked the safe. You tremble with excitement as an eerie fog rolls out of the vault, to reveal: a small chihuahua… What kind of bank is this?!

Burgle Bros. is a cooperative game (1-4 players) where you and your team need to find and crack all of the safes in a bank and then escape the building without getting caught. I have played with 1-3 players.

Setup
To set up the game, you must randomly select a character for each player. Each character has different abilities to help you get the loot. A character card has 2 sides with different abilities on each side, one side is “advanced”. The 7 characters are similar to characters in heist movies and offer a lot of different combinations and strategies for getting past tough rooms, tricking guards and cracking safes. Characters start with 3 stealth tokens which are essentially health. The character is able to hide from a guard 3 times but will be caught on the 4th time and the game will end since the thief will rat out his buddies.

After picking your characters you need to set up the bank. You can play with 2 or 3 floors. Each floor is a 4×4 grid of room tiles that are shuffled and laid face down, the only thing you know for certain is that each floor has a “stairs” tile and a “safe” tile. The other rooms could help or hinder your progress. After laying down the room tiles you place walls in between the rooms either using the room generator website or by creating something on your own. These walls prevent most travel and block sight in most situations. Then you lay out the loot deck, event deck, and tools deck.

Finally you set up the guard deck. The guard deck is a series of cards that tells you where the guard is, or where he is moving. The guard will only move on the floor where the player is active, so to start the game you reveal where the guard starts and set its movement die to 2. Which means after each character turn the guard will move 2 spaces. Once a guard reaches his destination, a new random destination is pulled and he starts to move to the new room. Guards always move the fastest route or the most clockwise route and ignore room abilities. If a guard is in the same room as a character, that character loses a stealth token. When the guard deck runs out it is reshuffled and the speed is increased by 1. If an alarm is set off, the guard moves towards that room and the speed is increased by the number of alarms going off. We play that you can’t look at the guard discard deck, but the rules say you can.

Gameplay
To start the game, the characters enter the building anywhere on the first floor (they tunnel in) and then on your turn you have 4 action points to spend. You can: peek at an adjacent room to see what it is, move into an adjacent room, hack a computer (if in a computer room), add dice to a safe (if in a safe room), try to crack the safe, use a tool or a special action, among various things.

Basically you are trying to find the safe and the stairs, crack the safe, and move up to the next level all while avoiding the randomly moving guard. Peeking reveals the room so you know what your character is getting into. You can move into an adjacent tile without peeking but run the risk of setting off an alarm, losing an action because you run into a deadbolt or keypad, or even falling down to a lower floor. Knowledge is power in this game, the more you know about the rooms the more you can use them to your advantage or plan ways to work around them. If you spend 2 or fewer actions you trigger an “event” which means you pull an event card. These could be good or bad for you.

Finally, after finding the safe you need to crack it. To do this you need to reveal each room that is in a straight line horizontally and vertically from this room (hard to explain but once you see the game set up it makes total sense). You spend actions to add dice to the safe room and then spend actions to roll the dice in hopes of getting the correct numbers. Once you crack the safe take a tool card which are usually very helpful) and a loot card (you don’t have to play with the loot deck but we do) and make your way to the next floor. Where you reveal the guard (who moves 1 space further than the guard below him started as moving) You keep doing this until you crack the final safe and escape the building by going up the last flight of stairs onto the roof where a helicopter is waiting.

Pros/Cons
Pros:
Awesome art
Game is very well made and good quality
The whole game makes sense, very intuitive
Exciting! The game gets more tense with each floor
Lots of meaningful decisions
Random floor and wall set up makes a different game each time
Different numbers of floors allows for different game lengths and difficulty
Fun to explore the different characters and strategies with them
Theme is exectued wonderfully
Teamwork is definitely needed to succeed

Cons:
-Can be fiddly, lots of things to remember to do each turn.
-Alpha player could take over, or at least make the game less fun
-Can get super unlucky with guards and tiles, but usually unlucky on one floor means you get lucky somewhere else.
-for people who want total control this game can be frustrating.
-with 3 levels, it can take up quite a bit of space, unless you buy or make the tower.
-Some character more interesting/fun than others.
-Box BARELY fits the game.

Overall
I kickstarted this game expecting a really fun and engrossing game. I wanted to feel like I was pulling off a heist. That is exactly what I got. My wife LOVES this game, she will not turn down a game of it when there is time. The art, theme, simple turns, meaningful decisions, and building suspense makes this game a hit with us. It is kind of like a more complicated Forbidden Island. The strategy with how to use the characters to mess with guards, evade traps and get around obstacles is fun and mostly different each time. Some characters are so much fun, like the acrobat who can move through a room with a guard without being detected. Or the rook who can move another character on his turn. Other characters have useful abilities, like the hawk who can peek through walls, but they just aren’t as exciting. The loot deck is a lot of fun, imagining yourself escaping from a bank with a yapping chihuahua setting off alarms and attracting guard’s attention is just silly and fun.

At times the game seems to just be totally against you but if you are able to survive, things eventually turn in your favor. The more players you have, the more floors you will want because it slows down guard movement, since someone on the 2nd floor doesn’t activate the guard on the 1st floor. So more floors isn’t necessarily harder. The more people you play with, the harder the game gets since the guard will move more before your next turn. 3 players is a good number, it is challenging but not too hard. I haven’t played with 4 but I imagine it gets a lot harder. I played this solo the first 2 times with 2 characters and I would suggest others do a solo game as well to get all the rules down.

The dark side of this game is that we have played this with people who hijack the game try to figure out every little thing that will happen. There are enough random elements and moving parts that it is really hard to “figure out” the game. This makes those gamers that like to “solve” the puzzle of the game go bonkers. Since each person has their own character and there are a lot of unknowns, the alpha player doesn’t necessarily boss people around. I find that the alpha player just stresses everyone else out and tend to confuse people with convoluted strategies and mess up turn order which can ruin the game. So make sure you have a token to remember turn order, and have some kind of rule about unwanted talk.

That being said for 1-3 players it is a great game, for avid, casual and family gamers, just be careful with who you invite. With some house-ruling you could probably play with 5 players. I mostly play it 2 players and it is a blast to play that way. So if you are looking for a big game in a small box, look no further!

6
Go to the Machi Koro: Millionaire's Row page

Machi Koro: Millionaire's Row

53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

On the Expansions
Machi Koro is a great family dice game that only became better with the Harbor Expansion. The Harbor is one of the few expansions where, if the person did not like the base game, I would recommend they played it with the expansion because the game is flat out better. In fact, I really believe that the Harbor expansion should have been part of the base game, it seemed to complete the base game in a way that made it much more fun and replayable in my opinion.

The release of Millionaire’s Row only furthers my opinion that the Harbor expansion should be included in the base game. Much of Millionaire’s Row is made better by having the Harbor expansion. In fact if you have Machi Koro, and are wondering which expansion to get, get the Harbor first, DO NOT get Millionaire’s Row first, as it builds on things done in the Harbor and adds some tricky mechanics.

Let’s talk about Millionaire’s Row!

Forget it, Jake. It’s Millionaire’s Row:
Millionaire’s Row adds several new establishment cards of all colors, but does not add any new landmarks or starting cards for a new player. What’s interesting is that the title of the expansion would leave you to believe that the game is about getting tons more money compared to the other expansions and having more runaways, when in fact it has more powerful stealing cards than the other decks and actually has a card that redistributes all the money evenly. So in a game where the title makes it seem like there would be more runaways, it actually does the opposite. Holding onto money can be harder!

I always rely on the kindness of strangers
I’m not going to get TOO in depth with the cards because I always like figuring out things for myself and not reading it in a review. But, there are some neat new mechanics.

One new mechanic are cards that help temporarily. They are low dice roll cards that are only helpful if you have less than 2 landmarks constructed. After that they don’t earn money for you when rolled. Another is a card will give you 5 coins when you first build it, but then you must pay 2 coins each time it is rolled. There is a card that actually destroys your landmarks but gives you money in the process, card where you can close down certain types of cards temporarily and earn money for each building closed this way, a card that moves away your buildings, a red card that will take all your money (and activates with the tuna boat), purple cards that redistributes all the money, a purple card that takes money the more you invest in it, as well as a whole host of other cards that earn money when rolled and can become quite the economic engine.

Important note in how we play
We play with a reduced number of purple cards when we play (one card of each purple card type for each player playing), so the purple cards don’t come out and clog the trade row. Additionally in 2 player games, we remove 2 cards from east establishment type, and in 3 player games we remove 1 card. We also tend to have 12 cards in the marketplace and ensure that 2-3 low priced cards start the game in the marketplace.

If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man

These cards are very different from the other cards, and that’s a good thing. If you’re playing with the harbor expansion, the potency of these cards are diluted to a degree where they are powerful, but not overly so. It’s like any other engine in this game, IF the cards come out and IF they are bought in enough quantity and then IF they are rolled, they can be powerful. Sometimes it pays to be patient and build a crazy engine, sometimes takes too long and your engine never quite gets going. I didn’t find the game to be slowed down much, the money moves around the table a lot, but it is never taken OFF the table (except with the loan office). The stealing cards just redistribute the money, and in games with more players we found that people often times started with more money than when they ended their turns. However, most people in our group still use known strategies (tuna boat, convenience store, furniture factory, etc.) to build their engines.

The times, they are a changin
We also found that, with these cards, we really had to re-think strategies. Playing with the Tuna boat and the Member’s Only Club (the one that takes all your money), forced players to open up their distribution of buildings. They would get more cards that paid out on a 10 and 11, just in case they were flush with cash and didn’t want to add on 2 to their roll to get the tuna boat and lose all their money to the Member’s Only. Do you activate the Tech Company to take money from opponents and prevent others from buying on their turn, or do you add 2 to the roll and pay out on a 12 with the tuna boat and food and vegetable market? More people took out loans early to make important purchases, but then tried to close them for renovations or move them away so that they wouldn’t get burned by them later on. Do you get the demolition company to keep building and tearing down your harbor in order to try and get the radio tower or airport? The addition of the cards adds new strategies, changes old ones and forces players to get tricky and take risks.

My Final Opinion
I like the cards. I think they are fun to play with and it’s exciting when they come out. That’s the most important part, isn’t it? Sometimes things are slow to start, but that was a problem with Harbor as well. You would get cards that were too expensive or wouldn’t pay out until you had 2 dice. If things are REALLY slow, we don’t play super seriously, and we just add a few more cards to the marketplace. We haven’t experienced more slow starts than normal, maybe even a few less since you can get the loan office and general store.

The game is about having fun, and our friends all seem to enjoy the new cards and the changes and in the moment decisions they introduce. If some of the cards really bother you, then I guess you can play without some of them. But, I really like working with what’s available and trying to cobble together a winning strategy with unlikely buildings.

Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this unless you have already played and enjoyed Machi Koro with the Harbor Expansion. Even then, it’s not a “must buy” and I would recommend it only if you feel the Harbor has grown stale or if you are just Machi Koro-Krazy and want to play it more and more. So, for the Machi Koro enthusiast, I say this is a fun expansion, but not a must have.

Pros:
New cards are fun
More variety
If you had a lot of runaway games, this will reduce that

Cons:
No New Landmark cards
No Cards for a 6th Player
Really is better with the Harbor Expansion as well
Name is misleading, more about redistributing money than accumulating money
Color of card backs were slightly different

5
Go to the Exploding Kittens page
69 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

This game takes the card actions of uno and combines it with the building tension of Russian Roulette. This game doesn’t really have a story so I will make one:

1000 years ago an evil wizard terrorized the land with his demonic cat army. The mightiest kings and queens fought the evil wizard, and managed to defeat his cat army, but not before he sent some cats into an alternate dimension for some reason. Fast forward to present day. Many of them returned and became enticed by modern pop culture and began developing unusual lifestyles. A select few of these cats became critically unstable and will explode when they come into contact with humans. You and the fellow players are currently locked in a room in the old wizard’s castle (why did you go in there?) with a pile of cats and can only leave when the last explosive cat has been detonated. Time to start investigating the cats!

Like I said earlier, this game is a combo of Uno and Russian Roullette. You lose when you draw an exploding kitten and cannot defuse it. Each player starts with a hand of cards that includes 1 defuse. You may play cards but then you need to draw 1 card. After you defuse an exploding kitten, you are able to put that exploding cat back into the draw pile, secretly, in any order you like. Other cards shuffle the deck, make a player take 2 turns, negate another players action, skip your turn, see the next 3 cards, or take 1 card from another player. The other cat cards can combine to select a card of your choice from the discard, or to steal from an opponent.

I played this game with 2 decks and 10 players and it was fun-ish. I didn’t like the elimination part at all. Games are quick, but the first person out had to wait 15-20mins for the next game. It is very random since the cards you start with vary, and the draw deck is random. The tension does build the more you draw, and after someone defuses a cat. The art is fun, but the jokes get old. It is a very ridiculous game that is okay for big groups, and it fits easily into your pocket. However, with little strategy, lots of spite, and the elimination element it lacks a lot of replayability for my group.
Pros:
Easy to learn
Fits in your pocket
Quick
Silly
Appealing art

Cons:
Very random
Lots of spite
Elimination element

9
Go to the Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion page

Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion

118 out of 124 gamers thought this was helpful

A fun, but flawed base game
Machi Koro is a great game that had a few issues.

The first issue was that the recommended rules for the base game had all of the cards available to purchase. This allowed players to go after the most statistically valuable cards (Cheese Factory and Furniture Factory specifically) and most games ended up feeling very similar.

The other issue was that with only 15 types of cards and 4 landmarks, there was not a lot of variety in game play.

Enter, The Harbor
The Harbor Expansion does a lot to fix the above issues of the base set.

10 new establishments and 3 new landmark cards (including one that you start the game with) add variety and new strategies to the game. It may add a little bit more time because of the added landmark cards in order to win, but the new establishment and landmark cards are powerful and generally allow the game to move at a similar speed.

The recommended rules for the Harbor Expansion is that you mix up all of the establishments (or, whatever ones you want to play with) into one draw deck. You then display 10 unique establishments,, stacking identical cards, and those cards are available for purchase. Now, this does greatly change the way the game plays, and this may bother some people, but for people who grew tired of the original game play this is a huge improvement.

Additionally, the game comes with additional cards for a 5th player. I’ve never played with a 5th, but if that was a limiting factor for your group, well, it has been fixed.

Pros:
-New establishments add variety and new strategies.
-New landmark cards add more strategy.
-New rules create more variety and force different strategies each time.
-Helps balance the game away from the furniture/cheese factory strategy, while still keeping the cheese/furniture factory strategies as a possible way to win.

Cons:
-May add a little more time with more landmarks.
-Players who enjoyed the original set up of the game where all cards are available may not enjoy this new set up.
-Also new set up lends itself to a little more analysis paralysis but not much.
-Should have been part of the base game.

My Impressions
I really enjoyed the base game, but it became clear after 2 plays or so that it was a very limited game. There were limited strategies and some of those strategies were just a lot better than others.

In my opinion this expansion creates new synergies between cards that allow for a much more balanced play that offers more paths to victory. The new rules with the 10 unique cards force players to think on their feet and cobble together a strategy based on what is available, or hope that certain cards come out to complete your strategy. Something that I really like.

I only have 2 complaints. The first is that I think the “Sushi Bar” card should be cheaper, or activate on a different number. With my group it has only been purchased once in 12 games, and barely made it’s money back before becoming useless. It’s probably used to counter people who try to only use 1 dice for the whole game, or as a way to boost the food warehouse, but if no one is doing that, then it is not as effective. It’s not a bad card, there are just a lot of other cards that are better.

The other complaint is that the Harbor Expansion should have just been a part of the base game. It is so enjoyable and the game just feels so much more complete with it, it’s hard to understand why they were not released together.

In short, I really enjoy this expansion. If you purchased the base game, and found it fun, and charming but limited, then purchase this expansion!

10
Go to the Letters from Whitechapel page
60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

(Quotation in title taken from actual newspaper headline)

In Letters from Whitechapel you play as either the police or as Jack during the height of his murderous rampage. The goal of the game is to either catch the murderer or to murder and escape for 4 nights. I’ve played with 3-6 players.

Components
I don’t usually do this, but let’s talk components. I love the map in this game. Well, I love maps in general, but this map of the Whitechapel neighborhood is easy to read, thematic and just plain old neat. There are tons of locations on the map, each one numbered. The police officers have their meeples on the big board while Jack has a separate, smaller map and a pad of paper to track his movements secretly. I am not usually a fan of using pen and paper like this, since the paper runs out or can be damaged easily, but in a game with secret movements, it makes sense to use this instead of a dry erase board to limit possible cheating.

Gameplay
One player chooses Jack. Before the game starts, Jack selects a safe house that he needs to get to each night. The possible victims are on the map at designated starting locations. Police officers are at their starting locations, but some police are actually “fake” and will be removed once the murder occurs. One police officer is the lead investigator for that turn and chooses the fake and real police positions. Jack does not know which police are real or fake. Jack can decide who to murder and then once he murders, the fake police are revealed and Jack has the chance to move first. He high tails it back home, with the help of some special abilities, and the police officers try to find locations where he has been to make a trail to his house, or arrest him in the streets. This goes on for 4 nights, each night the police officers get a little closer to catching Jack and figuring out his home base and each night Jack tries to evade and confuse police. Jack only has a certain number of turns to get back home each night or he loses the game.

Pros:
-Great components.
-Very thematic.
-Thrilling and exciting as Jack or Police.
-Simple game play makes it easy to teach and start playing.
-With so many locations, strategies for Jack and the Police, and different people playing different roles, the games can have a lot of variety and replay-ability.

Cons
-Challenging for both sides. But some groups may be better as Jack or police making it less fun for some.
-Alpha player problem for police.
-Analysis Paralysis, and too much discussion at times for police.
-Some people may be turned off by theme, and for moral/ethical reasons may not like game.

My Impressions
Playing as Jack is a thrilling experience. As the game goes on, my hands shake and I start to sweat. Playing as the police is also fun, you have meaningful discussions and if Jack can make it to the last night, it is a frantic chase to the finish. The danger feels real, even the decision of who to murder at the start feels so sinister. These were real people, and I can’t help but feel some remorse for playing a game about the last moments of their life. But, man is this game fun and I put that to the back of my mind.

It is hard, for the police and for Jack. Some people think it is too hard for Jack, some think it too hard for the police. In my group the police usually win, but it is very close and generally comes down to one misstep by Jack or a lucky guess by the police. In my opinion, the police probably have a slight advantage because they have several minds working and can mathematically deduce Jack’s exact location at times. Also, the police can make a few mistakes and still win, but Jack does not have that luxury. However, a sneaky Jack can put the police on the wrong trail and possibly win the last night in one move. So, it’s a challenge for both.

The police can be dominated by an alpha player, very easily. While the lead investigator changes each night, one person can still dominate the discussion. In addition to this, the police can talk. A lot. It is very easy to over analyze every possible angle and possible route which can lead to very long games. This can sometimes help the person playing Jack since they can listen into their conversation, but usually it just drags the game on. However, variations in the game by using a timer, or not allowing police to talk during the chase unless they are adjacent to each other can help this issue.

This isn’t a game you can probably play all night for a few reasons. Some people don’t like playing Jack (it’s a lot of pressure), and if the same people play Jack, you tend to catch onto their strategies and tricks. It’s also draining, you think a lot and it can be pretty intense. That being said, it is a fantastic game to bring out every once in a while.

I know it says it is from 2-6 players, but I can’t imagine playing with only 2. The whole point of the game is that Jack is going up against a team of police, and if there is no team, it just isn’t as fun. 3 players is good, but 4 might be the best. More than that there starts to be too much discussion.

The long and short of it is that I love this game when played with the right people. When people get into the theme it is a blast to play. The board, theme and simple rules draw you in, and then the search for an unseen murderer keeps it exciting. I wouldn’t play it all the time, but when we do play it, it is always a blast that comes down to a frantic finish.

7
Go to the Machi Koro page

Machi Koro

56 out of 63 gamers thought this was helpful

My wife and I play board games once we’ve put the baby to bed. It’s a quiet, non-tv related activity that we enjoy doing together at night. She is probably described as a casual gamer like me, but is a bit more competitive. She dislikes learning new games and it usually takes her 2-4 plays to actually start enjoying a new game. We both loved Machi Koro from the first roll of the dice.

Lightning Review
A simple, fast, and easy to learn, dice game with quick turns, lots of luck, and some meaningful decisions. If you are looking for a highly strategic game, this isn’t it. If you don’t like dice, then this may not be a good fit. There are some strategies that give you a much better chance of winning, but variations in the game can change strategies and increase replay value. If you are looking for a fun game that is great for a family game night, or to play with a few casual gamers, then this is a good one to get.

Longer review

Game Play
A few people have covered the gameplay, and the rulebook is superb, so I will keep it brief. Ultimately, you are trying to build the 4 landmark cards, the first person to do this wins the game. In order to do this you need a lot of money. In order to get money, you need to construct buildings that earn you money. Each turn you roll a die (or dice). The number on the dice activates certain cards. These activated cards earn you money or allow special actions. After you collect the money, you can build 1 structure with your money. Then it’s the next person’s turn.

Variable Rules:
The rulebook says to have all cards available, so that anyone can buy them at any point in the game, given you have the money available. I think this is an excellent way to learn all of the cards and possible strategies. A good way to teach beginners the game. However, there is no reason why this can’t be changed up. Using the Harbor Expansion rules adapted to this game will increase replay value. Additionally, you could limit the number of cards for certain buildings to make it less likely for a big payout (If playing with 2 players, remove 2 cards from each stack, so that there is less chance of a gigantic, and unbalanced payout). There are a lot of other possible variations. This slight tweaking of the rules makes the game more exciting and increases replay value.

Pros:
-Simple and light game.
-Easy to learn.
-Wonderful artwork.
-Variable gameplay.
-Fast turns, with exciting dice rolls.
-Meaningful decisions on your turn.
-Great rulebook.

Cons:
-Certain strategies are better than others.
-Initial gameplay can feel stagnant after a while.
-Components aren’t great. Cards are a little thin, and coins are cardboard.
-Dice rolling. You could possibly just be unlucky for the entire game, but this is unlikely.

Conclusion

There are 2-3 strategies that are statistically better than the others and it’s easy to pick up on these strategies after the first play through. But, since everyone goes after these cards, it sometimes becomes the other less statistically significant cards that win you the game. Additionally, lucky dice rolls, Purple Card abilities, landmarks and the strategies for getting those statistically powerful cards also play a big factor. We found that removing 2 cards from each type of building is a must for 2 player, it forces you to have to save up money instead of just sitting back and waiting for a ridiculous payout.

I really enjoy this game. Sometimes the dice don’t go your way and that’s annoying, but when it does go your way it just is a great feeling. I play a lot of games 2 player with my wife. This is the first game that, after playing it once, she wanted to play it again and again. Even the next night, she wanted to go back and keep playing. It’s a game we can play with our parents and friends whether or not they are into games. The quick gameplay, appealing artwork, meaningful decisions, and exciting rolls make this an instant hit initially with most casual, family, and avid gamers. Almost every roll could benefit you so it keeps you into the action even when it’s not your turn. Also, trying out different set ups and rules make it fun to explore and play again and again, while still going back to original game play from time to time.

We have since started playing with the Harbor Expansion and prefer this way and will most likely continue to use the Harbor Expansion.

9
Go to the Pretty Pretty Smash Up page
36 out of 41 gamers thought this was helpful

Quick Review…
Do you own and like Smash Up? Do you want more variety of factions that are unique, change strategies, and pair well with others? If you answered yes to these questions, then buy Pretty Pretty Smash Up.

Longer Review
I own all of the expansions except OC. From my observations good Smash Up expansions…
1.) provide that element of discovery with faction pairings.
2.) offer more combinations, counters, strategies and pairings.
3.) don’t change game time or rules too much.

The above are the most important for game play, and this expansion nails all of them. This expansion also offers silly and appealing factions with fun names and art that make it an even more fun experience.

This set deals a lot with control, either controlling actions, controlling bases, controlling minions, or moving minions. However, there is still a lot of variety within this set…

The Factions!
Mythical Horses
(Shooting star leaving a trail of rainbows) Friendship is magic! These ponies get stronger when other minions are around. Some cards allow them to drop down a ridiculous amount of power on a single turn. They can move, play some extra minions, and get powerful but don’t really have any offensive or many defensive cards. This is a power group.

Kittens
Weaken opponents with your cuteness, and then take control! Kittens are all about temporarily weakening and then gaining control of other minions. So they can ruin base breaks. Their weakening ability also makes any offensive actions or abilities much more powerful. However, they also have the sometimes helpful ability to destroy one of their own minions to play another minion or draw a card. So take control of another minion then destroy it to your benefit! They are pretty annoying to play against since they can quickly swing power their way. This is a good control/support group.

Fairies
Natural defense against the cyber apes. These fairies can move actions that have been played on minions to other minions. So you can steal good actions like Flying monkey and Uberserum. They are also quite good at defending bases. Something also unique to the fairies are that they give you choice about what you want to do. Do you want to play an extra action or draw a card? Well, you have a choice and this makes them more strategic to play. Good defense/control group.

Princesses
They only have 6 minions but they are all 5 power. Those 5 power minions are all tough cookies. For instance one princess talent is to destroy a minion of power 2 or less. Another princess has the talent to move minions. They deal a lot with movement, getting stuff out of your discard, destroying low power minions, and there are actions that make them stronger. Since there are only 6, it makes where and when you play them very important. Additionally, having fewer minions makes GETTING them important, if they are towards the bottom of your deck, you are in trouble. Pairing them with a good draw deck is helpful. I kind of think of them as generals who can control where other minions go and what they do. Good power/control group.

In Conclusion…
It’s fun to see this game evolve, from the comparatively straight forward base set to the even more strategic and interesting factions in Pretty Pretty Smash Up. The base set and Awesome 9000 are great sets to introduce beginners, and then you can add the other expansions once they have a feel for the game.

One possible gripe is that once you play with some of the more recent factions, some of the originals don’t seem as much fun to play with. For instance the kitties and fairies have many more options and strategies available to them than the tricksters or pirates. However, people always enjoy playing certain factions over others. Even though these are great factions, I love playing with the kitties and fairies, my favorites are still the Mad Scientists, Ants, Shapeshifters and Ghosts (and I used to hate the ghosts!). My group has never really been fond of the zombies, despite their horde creating ability. Different people will gain attachments to different factions based on how the faction plays, what strategies they think are fun, and the silliness of the cards (I have one friend who just loves the bear cavalry for their names and artwork). Also, sometimes old, less fun factions can become powerhouses when paired with a new faction (über serum on a first mate is a lot of fun…also using vampires to kill your own gremlins to draw a card, gain power, and have you opponent discard is pretty great) So while the older factions may not be as flashy they still pair very well with the newer sets and are fun to play with. It’s a great game that continues to build upon itself and evolve with it’s players.

8
Go to the Smash Up: Awesome Level 9000 page
14 out of 16 gamers thought this was helpful

You already Wrote this!
So, I’m actually completely re-writing an old review I had created then just recently deleted. It was well reviewed (14/15 found it helpful), but the changes I had to make made the title misleading. I didn’t think an update would do, so here is a complete re-write. I’m mainly re-writing because of the Ghosts faction. With them, it’s extremely important that you have a good understanding of your opponent’s cards the base effects, and your cards when playing with, or against, the ghosts. I really didn’t care for them at first. Our group was 0 – 8 when playing with them and eventually no one would touch them. That was around when I wrote my first review. But, after a while someone drafted them, and won. And then they won again, and again, and again… So here’s my second review…

Review
The Awesome 9000 expansion is probably the best 1st expansion to buy for the base set. It adds great new combinations, VP tokens, new bases, counters to powerful pairings, the element of discovery, and the “talent” mechanic (which is more of a re-wording). It adds a lot without changing game play or game time.

Here is a look at the factions:

Bear Calvary:
These brutes are all about destroying minions that are moved. They are kind of a power/control group. They move other players minions and destroy minions pretty well. They play slow, so it can take some time to develop strategy, but they will wreak havoc on minions. They don’t have any power 2 minions, instead they have a lot of power 3’s and a power 6 instead of a 5. They can also create a strange situation with the ninjas and pirates called the “Quantum Buccaneer” where the buccaneer is no where and everywhere at once. Read about it on BGG.

Killer Plants:
These guys are all about drawing cards, playing minions, and actions on bases. They grow, and change and expand like plants. I’ve played a few games where they run out of their minions and have none left in their deck, although it’s not very common. These are a great support group for getting minions out but are pretty powerful on their own.

Steampunk:
These tinkerers are all about actions on bases but also move well from base to base. Their actions can create a surprising amount of power, and be very disruptive to opponents. Some of their minions and actions can then get those actions back into their hand. So, they have the potential to become a base breaking juggernaut by recycling the powerful cards. However, a lot of their power relies on 2 cards, so they are very reliant upon drawing them. They are kind of a power/support faction.

Ghosts:
They don’t work like the other groups; their cards are the most useful when you have 2 or fewer in your hand. Many of their cards are either about gaining abilities or power with 2 or fewer cards. To help with this many of their cards also discard. You often have to decide if it is worth it to use the discard. Do you discard some useful cards to gain power? Or get rid of a lot of cards so you can destroy a powerful minion and gain a VP? They are very challenging to play because you have to understand all of the decks in play, and you have to make challenging decisions in regards to discarding. They are hard to play against since the ghosts can be played one of many ways. They’re not quite a support group, not quite a control group, and almost a power group making them sort of a “wild card.”

Well there you have it. My favorite groups of this set are probably the ghosts because of their strategic element. Although the other three are tied for a close second. If you bought the base set, and like the game, then buy this immediately. It makes it a LOT better through the combinations alone.

I really like the ghosts. You may hate them at first, but just keep playing and try to come back to them. They will hopefully surprise you.

9
Go to the Smash Up: The Big Geeky Box page
27 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

Problem(s):
You have the base set and at least 3 expansions for Smash Up. Now the base set no longer holds all of the cards and counters. So you either have multiple boxes or have somehow Jerry-rigged a set up in the original box.

Also, original design of base set box is not good for travel, the cards fly out of the trays and end up all over the place. Creating the weird circumstance where you need to un-smash your cards before smashing them back together.

Finally, while the cards have symbols to distinguish the factions, they can be hard to identify in the base set box. Especially if the cards are accidentally put away incorrectly.

Solution:
The Big Geeky Box. It solves all of those problems with a very sturdy box that is very well designed to store all of your cards (and more than enough room for future factions) in a secure way that also makes them easier to find. This box also includes a faction with 2 bases…

The Geeks
This group is pretty frustrating to play against, especially in 2 player. Their most powerful cards are designed to block other player’s actions, which can be devastating, since many strategies for decks can rely on specific actions being played or re-used. Aside from Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day their minions are fairly weak, their 2 power minion is designed to be discarded from your hand to draw a new card and their power 3 minion is not affected by other player’s abilities. I didn’t think I would like them, but they are fun.

For some reason, I can’t help but imagine a infomercial for the Big Geeky Box…

Abrupt sound of static followed by a studio audience applauding and cheesy music

Dynamic voice: Does this ever happen to you?

(Cut to: Black and white video of a man trying to open his base set of Smash-Up only to have the box turn into a volcano of cards, knocking the man to the floor in a sobbing heap as his wife runs off with another man.)

Dynamic voice: Or how about this?

(Cut to: A woman, disheveled and drenched in sweat, furiously trying to find a specific Smash-Up faction in her base set as smoke pours out of her oven.)

Dynamic voice: Say goodbye to the card-volcano with the new SMASH UP: BIG GEEKY BOX! The days of messed up cards, and not enough space are over. This box is specifically engineered to hold every current Smash-Up faction and up to 100 more factions! The secret is in how our “Box Scientists” included big FOAM BLOCKS! that help fill any open spaces to ensure a tight and secure fit for your factions.

But wait, there’s more! For $20, most people are more than happy to buy a box with foam blocks But we’ve included THICK, DURABLE DIVIDERS WITH AWESOME ART on each one to make finding your cards and separating them easy and fun! Future factions will be sold with their own dividers so that you can include them in this box.

But wait, there’s more!

Not only did we include the incredible dividers, but for free, we have generously included an extra faction: “The Geeks!” and 2 accompanying base cards which are both based off the Tabletop episode that featured Smash-Up.

Act now! Our operators are standing by!
**Side effects include: insomnia, smiling, chorophobia, and constant organizing**

7
Go to the Friday page

Friday

92 out of 102 gamers thought this was helpful

SHIPWRECKED! Stuck on an island with only his trusty man-servant Friday, and and a lot of hazards, Robinson Crusoe must survive the island and develop into a skilled pirate-fighting machine!

I’ve never really played a fast, solo card game outside of Solitaire so I don’t have much basis for comparison. I would play a fast solo game when I’m waiting, when I’m traveling, or just to kill some time. With these situations in mind, there are certain things that I look for.
1.Easy and fast to play.
2.Some type of strategy, even if light.
3.Ways to change playing experience.
4.Not a lot of space required, and portable.

So, what’s the gameplay like?

GAMEPLAY
I’m not going to go into the game play too much. That’s what the rulebook is for!

The goal of the game is to survive the different stages, and defeat the pirates. You do this by building the best deck you can for Robinson Crusoe.

You set up the hazard cards (two sided cards, you defeat the hazard at the top and you gain a skill on the bottom of the card and add to your deck), RC’s deck, the aging cards, the life tokens, and the 2 pirate ships, randomly drawn.

Essentially you are trying to defeat, or intentionally lose to the hazards in order to gain useful skills and get rid of some of your bad habits. This dynamic stumped me at first, but it makes sense. If you are distracted and get attacked by a wild animal, it’s less likely you will be distracted next time (if you survive…) because of that bad experience. So you learn from mistakes. Over time you age and add an aging card to your deck which makes you weaker. The hazards get harder, until you are paired up against 2 pirates and must defeat them in order to win.

VERDICT
This is a fun game. It’s not a game I bring out a lot, but when I do, it fills it’s purpose:
1.Quick to setup and easy to play.
2.Includes some light strategy.
3.varying difficulty levels changes gaming experience. Also, able to tweak certain rules to change game experience.

My only gripe is that for a fast solo game, it’s a little bigger than I’d prefer and the box isn’t pocket sized. I feel like for most of the situations I play it in, if it was just a little smaller it’d be great. You could play this without the boards, and use paper pencil instead of the tokens, but it’s slightly bigger than I’d like. If this was a “fit in your pocket” game I’d rank it MUCH higher. I think portability is key for fast solo games.

For people who like to really focus on strategy, or want an in-depth experience, this isn’t it. It will be interesting at first, but then fade fast.

So overall, for a quick, fun solo game to kill time while waiting, it’s pretty good. It’s not a game you get super excited for, but it’s fun, and there for you when you need it.

Unused titles: “My game Friday”, “It’s Friday, I’m in Love”, “Like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be”

8
Go to the Smash Up: Monster Smash page

Smash Up: Monster Smash

19 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

A Note on the Smash-Up Expansions as a whole…
So far I own the base set, Awesome 9000, and the Science Fiction Double Feature sets. I really enjoy playing Smash Up, so picking up Monster Smash was a no-brainer. I really like how each one of the expansions effectively use the theme of the faction to create unique decks and add new bases. I find each expansion continues the theme of “discovery” with finding new combinations (it’s a temporary thrill, but still is fun). The expansions also change strategy because you will change how you play depending on your opponent’s strategy, the number of opponents, the house rules, the bases, and the factions that are battling. Let’s look to see if this new expansion does the same…

Monster Smash! Power UP!
If you enjoy the other expansions, then you will probably enjoy this expansion as well. While the Awesome 9000 and Sci Fi expansions were a mix of power, defense, and support factions, this one is all about power! Specifically, moving power, being powerful at certain times, and adding more power.

Monster Smash adds the “+1 power counter” which are just the victory point tokens that you use to show added power in specific situations.

The Factions!
Like the other factions, these are unique, use the theme for inspiration, and play differently from other factions.

-Mad Scientists: Mad scientists are a faction that manufactures power and turns power into different actions. They have cards that add power each turn, and minions that add power to other minions when destroyed. They do other things with power tokens, including destroying them to play extra minions, scrapping cards to play tokens, or destroying power tokens to destroy other minions. They can generate power, then use that power for sneaky purposes.

-Werewolves: These guys don’t use power tokens as much as the other factions, but this doesn’t mean they lack power. They gain power at specific times. They have the ability to add power the first time they are played, as a talent temporarily, or as a base breaks. This makes them easier to bring out and good with breaking bases, but some minions are weaker on other player’s turns. Their actions focus on playing temporary power and some attack cards.

– Giant Ants: Get those power tokens ready. Giant Ants have a very low printed power compared with other factions, probably the lowest. They have 4 “workers” who have a printed power of 0, but start with 2 power tokens. These gigantic insects bring out the power tokens quickly, and the lowly worker ant can quickly become a powerhouse. Most of the actions and abilities of the minions are about putting down power tokens, moving power tokens from one minion to another, and increasing the power of those power tokens temporarily.

-Vampires: Possibly the trickiest to play out of the bunch. They gain power from other players minions being destroyed, but most of their attack cards focus on minions of power 2 or less. They have cards that play weaker minions from the discard pile, minions that get stronger if you destroy your own cards, minions that gain power from being weaker than your opponent, and some other ways to add power tokens. They seem to be best with destroying their own minions which, depending on bases and pairings (destroying your own gremlins at the cave of shinies?), could make them powerful and annoying.

All in All
This expansion does what a lot of the other Smash Up expansions did:
1.Adds variety with bases and factions.
2.Adds element of “discovery” to old factions as you find new combos.
3.Creates new, powerful faction combinations and counters to other factions.
This one also…
4.Adds a fun new mechanic (power tokens) that allows for more strategy, or changes old strategies.

I think the Mad Scientists and Giant Ants are 2 of the most fun factions to play out of any set (they’re not the best necessarily, I just enjoy playing them). I like the power tokens, they add new mechanics and strategies to the game without changing game play or game time too much.

I wouldn’t get this as your first expansion. I think Awesome 9000 is more of a natural extension of the base set and a better first expansion. If you have one or two other expansions and like them, then you should get this expansion as well. If you tried Smash Up with expansions and still don’t like it, this expansion probably won’t change your opinion.

Is this my favorite set? No, I like Science Fiction Double Feature more as a whole. However, if you own other expansions, I highly recommend this set.

7
Go to the Archaeology - The Card Game page
12 out of 13 gamers thought this was helpful

Introduction
This card game has nothing to do with Indiana Jones, except for the fact that you play as an archaeologist in Egypt. However, I keep on imagining myself as Indy when I play this. (Cue Indiana Jones Theme Music)

What a surprisingly fun card game! It reminds me of the old card game Rummy, where players try to make certain combinations in order to score points.

Gameplay:
The game is simple, you are trying to gather sets of ancient artifacts and then sell them to the museum for points. The more of one type of artifact you have, the more points you get. The person with the most points wins at the end.

Players start their turn by “digging up” an artifact from the desert (drawing a card). If it is a thief card they may use it to steal a card from an opponent. A Sandstorm card causes everyone to lose half of their cards in hand. Otherwise it is a map or treasure card that goes into their hand.

Next, players can exchange cards in hand for those at the marketplace at a value equal or less than the amount at the top of the card. You can exchange multiple cards for one card, or one card for multiple cards. If the player has a map card (or a certain number of them), they can explore the pyramid for treasure, which can be great or a bust.

Finally, they can sell their items to a museum for points. The more of one type of item you have, the more points you get, so you generally don’t want to just sell individual cards. After that, it’s the next player’s turn. The player with the most points at the end of the game, wins!

Pros:
-Quick set up and learning time.
-Portable.
-Not much reading or math involved.
-Fast!
-Good for families.
-Some light strategy/planning but very much reliant on luck.
-If you enjoyed the card game Rummy, then I think you will enjoy this.
-Nice theme and simple rule book.

Cons:
-Basically an improved Rummy.
-Maybe too reliant on luck with card drawing, map cards, and random sandstorms.
-Not a lot of strategy/planning.
-Certain cards are much better to go after, if you can.

Overall
This is a fun, light, portable game that you can play a game or two of with almost anyone. Games take 20-30 mins after the first play through. While there is some stealing from others involved, the game is so light and there is very little interaction between players that this isn’t a “gotcha!” game and feelings aren’t really hurt. Additionally, with very few words and just a little math for scoring, this is a good family game. I’ve only played it with 4 players, but it seems like it would scale down nicely. All in all, for the low price, I would definitely recommend picking this up. However, this isn’t a game you are going to bring out and play constantly. I suggest packing it for visiting family or trips, and playing it between games.

8
Go to the City of Iron page

City of Iron

70 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

This game has me torn!
On the one hand I really thought this was a well made game, but then the type of strategy required to play isn’t one that I’m great with. But it’s also a deck builder! I love deck builders! Let’s take a look at the setting and game play to help me focus my thoughts..

Setting:
You play as a fantasy race in a steam punk inspired world that is trying to develop your small nation into the most powerful nation. In order to do this, you need to manage money, resources, land/towns, and a military.

If this is your first time playing, the rule book is confusing, so tack on an extra 30 minutes at least of playing time, maybe even an hour. This is a game you just kind of need to start playing and go back to the rule book as necessary. On each turn you have a lot of options that you can take. However, once you do a turn or two, it all is pretty intuitive, you just need to remember your options!

Gameplay:

I tried writing down a detailed look at the game play and gave up after the fourth try! I understand why the rule book is so confusing. So, what follows is a super simplified version.

The object of the game is to have the most victory points at the end of the last age. You get victory points by having more of one type of resource than the other players. There are also certain cards that give you victory points.

Each race has a special ability and a special citizen card, the rest of the citizen/military cards are the same. You can play with or without the special abilities and special cards. You start the game with 2 citizen cards, your special card, and a military card. Citizen cards help with getting money, knowledge, extra actions, etc. Military cards help with taking over towns and exploring new territories. At the end of your turn you can buy more cards to put into your hand. You get money through purchasing resources (which are randomly drawn and placed in a row each turn) and certain citizen cards. You need to expand your territories so that you can build special resources and have more room for your buildings.

Pros:
-Very unique blend of resource, land, and money management, but also building a deck.
-The game builds on itself with the ages. Everyone starts out small, and needs to grow and develop in a balanced way to keep up.
-Lots of strategy. You need to balance resources, money, knowledge, citizen and military cards WHILE planning for future growth. There is a lot going on. There are just so many options here.
-While there is some military in the game, it’s not THE main part of it. This isn’t a “I gotcha!” game necessarily.
-The game looks fantastic.

Cons:
-All strategy! (A negative for some gamers)
-Very confusing at first, rule book is also confusing.
-The first few times, almost too many possibilities. You may forget about certain options and then run into roadblocks because of poorly planned growth.
-Possibly could be a runaway if you don’t plan growth well and others do.
-Takes a while to play, and requires quite a bit of space.

All in all-
Sometimes I like to think I’m a strategy gamer or an avid gamer, but games like this remind me that I’m only a casual gamer. I like strategy, but I like focusing and planning just a few things. I like working with limitations. This game requires you to plan and think about numerous aspects simultaneously. With games like this this, I start out strong and then I lose focus.
The type of strategy and planning required isn’t something that I really want to put that much time and effort into, so at a certain point I don’t. I think about my turns a little, then I chat up other people, and enjoy the friendly company. As a result, I am bad at this game. That being said, I still like it because I have an effect on the outcome by competing for resources and cards, raiding other towns, and blocking certain territories. So while this game isn’t necessarily a great game for ME, I can recognize this is a great game and would recommend it to most people.

5
Go to the Splendor page

Splendor

62 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay:
I had never heard about this game before I played it a few months ago. It sounded like a really cool concept: You are a jeweler trying to buy gem mines, trade routes and stores in order to increase your prestige and wealth.

On your turn you can collect gems (3 different types, or 2 of one type), buy a card with your gems, or reserve a card. You win when you have 15 prestige which you get mostly by acquiring cards. Cards give you a constant production of gems so that you don’t have to rely on getting gem tokens. Certain cards are harder to get but give you more prestige and more gems, and other cards are cheaper and make it easier for you to buy more expensive cards, but don’t give you much, or any prestige. Also there are a limited number of gem tokens so depending on the game and the cards that are on the table, certain gems may turn out to be more valuable. If you get enough cards of specific gems, then you can attract a noble who gives you more prestige. It’s good for 2 -4 players, I played it with 4.

Pros:
-I really liked that there is no text in this game. I had been playing a lot of games that were text heavy and this made it super easy to understand and start playing.
-I really liked the gem tokens which were pretty hefty and made you feel like you were collecting something valuable.
-Also, the turns could be pretty quick so the game kept moving.
-It’s a pretty solid light game that is good between or before other games.
-Kid friendly because there is no reading involved, just some light math.
-Changing gem scarcity depending on cards, nobles, and strategy is a nice addition.

Cons:
-You don’t really get to do much each turn (only one action), so I felt like even though the turns moved relatively fast, at the same time there was a lot of waiting around. Also, only having 1 action makes strategies develop slowly.
-There are certain cards that are just better to go after, I didn’t think the cards and the strategy of going after lower cards VS. waiting and going after bigger cards (or a combination of both) was well balanced. It could have been done better.
-Also, there was not enough social interaction for me. Everyone has to think about their turns and so for the most part people just kind of sat quietly while this game was going on. Very much like everyone was playing their own personal game.
-This may seem nit-picky, but the “mine”, “trade route”, and “Store” cards seemed like they could have been better thought out. Wouldn’t a jeweler need access to 1 of each of these? There should be some kind of bonus if you complete some sort of mine, trade, store combination or something. It seemed like something was missing from this part to tie it together.

Overall:
I understand why so many people like this game, and I would recommend it to others, but it isn’t very fun for me. I understand that I’m in the minority with this opinion. There is a lot that I like about the game and I thought I would really enjoy it. I generally like working with simple strategy, and ones with limitation on what you can do. Surprisingly, it just didn’t do it for me in the end.

I know this is a light, fast, filler game, but it felt like it could have stayed light and just added another element. To me, it seems like there is half of a good game here. In my opinion, a game with a bunch of jewelers all vying for prestige should have a little more interaction between opponents, like deals or trading. On the other end, I understand that I should just ignore the theme and enjoy this little game, but I am unable to do that for whatever reason.

I’m glad that I’ve given it a few tries, and I’d play it if others were really wanting to, but it’s not a game I would ever get excited to play.

9
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse page
85 out of 94 gamers thought this was helpful

I was looking for a game that was cooperative that my wife would be interested in playing but I could also play with friends who are into heavier strategy. I found all of those things in this game. It can be light or heavy and fun either way. One game against Warlord Voss took almost 2 hours (lots of conversation on strategy) and another took about 45 minutes against Baron Blade. One game took 20 minutes, but that’s because we lost really quickly…

Set up
The set up is relatively simple. You and your group select heroes (we like playing with a minimum of 3 heroes or 2 heroes and sidekicks), an environment and a villain. Follow the villain’s set up, draw your starting hand and lay out your character card and then save the universe!

There is a lot to like about this game-
-Lots of variety, with the different environment, heroes, and villains, you can really mix things up. There are also a lot of expansions that add more variety.
-It’s a fixed deck game, but there is a lot of strategy in how to play each hero, how to play against each villain, and how to work with the environment. Also, how those heroes play as a team is equally as important.
-It’s not easy! You will lose a lot of games, especially as you are figuring out the heroes, or if you don’t know the villains yet.
-Very engrossing, my first time playing I didn’t think I’d get that into it, but the game turns into one you WANT to beat. I mean, you can’t let Baron Blade take over the world!
-Short set up, and easy rules helps new players get into it.

There were two things I didn’t like as much-
-The wording on the cards is not always clear. There were a lot of times we had to look up online how to play a card, or noticed contradictions. However the game developers have a fantastic forum for answering these types of questions. What would have been better, was having consistent language and terms in the cards.
-Sometimes a lot of effects can be in play: certain damage is increased, someone is immune to a specific type of damage, someone has armor that decreases damage etc. this can get very confusing. The way you track it is with tokens but this slows the game down a lot. It would have been nice to have an easier way to track it.

All in all
This is a great game, that I recommend. I think I realized this game was great for me and my group when the “Countdown Clock” came out of the environment deck and Grand Warlord Voss was close to having 10 minions out and taking over the world. It was just a super exciting situation. With teamwork and planning, we were able to fend off both threats (barely!) but ultimately lost the game. I look forward to playing this more!
PS Kudos if you got the Megaman reference in the title.

6
Go to the Snake Oil page

Snake Oil

17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay:
This game plays very similar to Apples to Apples. One person is a random customer (this role rotates) and draws a card saying who that person is (a parent, an alien, a cheerleader, etc.). Everyone else is a traveling salesman trying to pitch a product to the customer by combining 2 of their cards then giving a sales pitch. The customer then selects the “best” product/pitch based on their opinion. The salesmen draw new cards and the customer rotates to the next player and they select a different identity.

The good:
This is a silly game. It’s not necessarily the cards you get but how you sell them. Some people would put out some really confusing card combinations and launch into a great and hilarious sales pitch that would win them the sale. Also, since you have no time to really think through the product, you can unintentially create very bizarre products with unintended consequences (kind of like real products sometimes). In our group, the other salespeople would make comments pointing out flaws, or asking probing questions and that made it more fun. Others would have great cards that kind of sell themselves and would win only on the strength of the cards.

The not so good:
A lot of it is random, and you may be stuck with cards that you don’t know how to sell and you spend turns just basically discarding worthless terms. Also, in the first time we played with 5 people, we went through most of the customer deck (customer cards are double sided, but we picked the side we liked more, meaning the other side was less interesting to us), so I can’t really see us playing it more than once or twice a year. Some people are really, really good at selling bizarre products and others do not enjoy it. If the people you play with don’t get into the theme, then it’s just not going to be fun.

All in all, it’s worth a play depending on who is coming over. It’s good as a gift for people who like party games, but it’s not a game I would probably buy for myself.

8
Go to the Wits & Wagers page

Wits & Wagers

14 out of 17 gamers thought this was helpful

So with most of my friends and family when I first introduce the game as “a gambling game mixed with random knowledge” it pretty much sells itself.

With super easy rules, gambling and intriguing and random facts (how tall was the tallest LEGO structure? In what year did a woman trick the medical community into thinking she gave birth to a rabbit?) this is a great party game that has something for most people. This is my go-to party game for people who don’t play games very much, and a good a filler game between other games or as people are coming in. Some people get really into it and try their hardest using different strategies, while others sit back, relax and socialize.

Surprisingly, for such a light game there are different strategies you can implement. Do you know the answer and try to skew the bets to get more money? Do you try to get the exact answer and bet? Or do you just bet on the best odds? Or maybe you just try to follow the player who you suspect knows the answer.

All in all, it’s a great party game that is fun to break out every once in a while.

4
Go to the Ladies & Gentlemen page

Ladies & Gentlemen

20 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

There’s a real interesting game here.I’m not sure how much I like it, but I like the idea of it. However, I don’t think they are able to pull it off in the end and the theme is sort of offensive.

I imagine a lot of people would get turned off by the title and idea of the game: It’s Victorian times and there is a big social event coming up and every lady wants to be the best dressed person there. If you are a lady, you run your clothing store for others to buy from and you buy things from other stores or your own store. If you are a gentleman you are trying to get money so that your lady can buy dresses. The gentleman’s game is a little more luck and speed based, while the ladies game involves more strategy but still some luck.

The game has teams of 2 (except for the odd man/lady out, but we’ll get to that later). A gentleman and a lady pair up and then the two games begin…
The gentleman play a mini game with resources and goals in an attempt to get money for their ladies.
The lady sets up her clothing shop for others to buy from by choosing which dresses and accessories to display. She chooses which store to visit (including her own) and can buy items from other stores. There is a lot of strategy involved in what to display, which store to visit, and what to buy.
TWIST! the ladies don’t know how much money the gentleman have and the gentleman don’t know the dresses and accessories the women need to purchase and the exact cost. So there has to be a lot of trust and cooperation without much specific communication. The women are trying to assemble a high scoring outfit, but they need to try and guess how much their gentleman can provide through vague explanations (because, it’s impolite to discuss money). My group determined, after playing three times, that it may actually be better to play in separate rooms and either send texts, or notes of paper, to keep the table talk down. However, it was easily played in the same room, but you just need to monitor conversation.

If there is an odd number of players, there is another woman who is added, who we called the mistress. She is also trying to look good for the same event, but is apparently doing the midnight tango with the gentlemen and will humiliate the gentleman who gives her the lowest scoring combination of accessories/dresses, hurting the couple’s score. Basically she can ruin the game for one of the teams if she is not appeased. She can also win, but it is harder for her since the gentleman are trying to keep her happy, but still have their ladies looking better.

After playing three times, once with an odd number of players, the jury is still out. There is so much going on in this game, and it is so different from most other games I have played that it is hard to categorize. Is there strategy? Yes, mostly for the women, and also when you are working with the mistress. Is there luck? Yes, with dress shopping cards and mostly the gentleman’s mini game. Is it fun? Yes, but not always. Some of my friends who have played it more will only play as a lady, and some will only play as a man. Some couples work really well together, others do not. We do have fun playing it, but it isn’t a game that we get excited to play. At around 30-45 minutes of playing time, it is kind of a fun game to start off the night.

Pros:
-Different games for different types of gamers.
-Strategy, luck, and team work, are all involved, although maybe not all for one player.
-Very unusual topic, but it works and even surprises.
-good looking game.
-Could be a good party game, since there is downtime between your turn and your teammate’s turn.
-Adding the mistress makes it more exciting.

Cons:
-Some don’t like that it is two games being played at the same time.
-Some people may not like playing as one (or either) of the genders.
-Not having table talk can make it challenging to develop a strategy the first 1-2 times you play.
-Challenging to win as the mistress.
-Sometimes the game can feel a little too isolating. While one game is being played the other team members have to wait, and not knowing what is happening can be a little boring.
-Games can turn into run-aways, but not often.

7
Go to the Betrayal at House on the Hill page
28 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

All in all this is a fun game, and I would recommend it.

My group played it quite a bit when we first got it, and it has slowly fallen out of rotation. I think it is because of how random it feels. Sometimes it just seems like you are moving from room to room with bad stuff happening to you, which can be frustrating. At times you just don’t want your character to move because you are tired of having randomly terrible things happen to you. I wish there was one more element of the game that the players could control. It’s less like you are playing a game and more like you are experiencing a story. I think if you have this expectation going in, it will be a much better experience.

Pros:
-I love the atmosphere of the game. It feels like you are exploring an old mansion.
-Easy to learn how to play.
-It’s got a good mix of cooperation and independence.
-The part before the haunting is a very different experience from after the haunting so just when one parts seems to be dragging, the next part takes effect and makes the game more fun. (This could be a con for some people, since it feels like 2 games)
-The haunting can be a lot of fun. Figuring out what the opponent is trying to do, working with your teammates to try to create a plan, working with the limitations of your characters, it can be great.
-I love most of the haunting scenarios. You never know when or what will happen in a given haunting, and who will be haunted.

Cons:
-Almost too random. Sometimes the haunting happens too early and the end game for one of the opponents is close to impossible. Once or twice we played it, the haunted character didn’t even have a turn to combat the rest of the group.
-Some hauntings are just better than others, some are a little too straightforward and boring, and others are really crazy and fun.
-My group thought certain characters were way better than others. We maybe should have done a random distribution.
-Character cards and the dials that go along with them don’t fit. But we use some folded up paper behind the clip and they worked fine.

9
Go to the Smash Up: Science Fiction Double Feature page
20 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

So, I owned the base set and Awesome 9000 expansion. And I loved them both. The base set is fun and the expansion built on it by adding some strong factions that helped make other pairings even more powerful. My only gripe was with the limitations of the ghosts. Then I saw the Science Fiction expansion…

I think that the Science Fiction does what Awesome 9000 did, but better. Like all of the others, each faction has a very distinct feel that matches the theme of the faction. Time Travelers get to replay minions as if for the first time, Cyborg Apes get to modify themselves, Spies sabotage player’s decks and can steal bases at the last second, and Shape shifters mimic other cards.

Unlike Awesome 9000, in Sci-Fi each faction is either powerful enough on their own (apes), or pair well with many other factions (all the others). There just isn’t a weak faction among the bunch. The bases are also quite different from the other bases, making it a nice change of pace. If I had to, I would argue that the spies are the weakest, but they also have some really incredible cards with specials that could win the game if played correctly. Here’s a closer look at each faction:

Cyber Apes: These apes are strong but get stronger with their actions that largely play on minions. Their best minion can play actions from the discard pile on himself, and the flying monkey action can be devastating after a base scores. Pretty straightforward power faction.

Shapeshifters: Tricky bunch! They act like minions from other players or your own, and are good at getting minions out of your deck. They can make your opponent think again about which minions they want in play. These can play like a power faction or a support faction.

Time Travelers: This faction is great at replaying minions. This can be devastating since you re-use the action and can also move that minion to a new base. Imagine replaying the Ninja Master to destroy another minion, Mechanic to get an action out of the discard, or zapbot to play another minion. They are also good at getting actions and minions back into your deck. These guys pair really well with the Killer Plants, especially if you have the “Play three extra minions of the same name” card and a bunch of “Jumpers” who always end up back in your hand. This group is a great support group.

Super Spies: This group does deal a lot with deck control, but the real power is what they can do after a base scores. They have a lot of special action cards that can ruin a base break, including the Mole who’s ability is to use an action as a special action, making them a huge roadblock to anyone trying to score on a base. James Bond was always excellent with saving the day at the last second, right? These guys are kind of a “wild card” faction, as they mostly irritate your opponents with the deck control but then could potentially steal the game with their specials.

So, it depends. It depends on the cards you get, who you’re playing, the bases in play, and how you decide to play. The one thing I find consistent about the game of Smash-up is that everyone has a different opinion about who is strong or weak. You will have your own opinions about these decks, and that’s one of the reasons why I love this game.

10
Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

This is the game that led me to boardgaming.com!

As soon as I started playing this game I just wanted to learn more about other people’s experience playing it, and learn more about the game. For me, it was that much fun.

Different factions want to take over the world, but realize they can’t do it alone, so they team up! In order to take over the world they need to take over bases that are worth points. The first team that gets 15 victory points win.

The first time you play it there is a lot of reading and fumbling with the rules. However, the idea is simple. On your turn you can play an action, play a minion, then draw 2 cards. There is some very intentional wording on the cards that affect how the game can be played. After playing it a few times, you start to really understand how each faction plays, and the possibilities. They are well balanced. Some don’t work that well together, but there is a counter faction for just about every pairing. So while some couples seem unstoppable, there is definitely a way to combat them. Here’s a look at the factions in a bit more detail…

Zombies: Oh no! You lost a good minion to your discard pile. Well, with the zombies they keep coming back. Also, they are good at bringing back multiple low level minions. Although they are vulnerable against attacks and don’t really have many controlling cards, all about creating hordes.

Wizard: “Play another action. Draw a card. Play another action.” Wizards excel at playing actions and getting the actions they want. Their minions are pretty weak, but they pair well with certain factions.

Dinosaurs: Roar! Power! Dinos have the strongest minion in the base deck and rely on power. They have some attack cards, but are mostly about breaking bases. They are vulnerable to being moved around.

Ninjas: Attack! Ninjas are great at attacking 1 opponent, and surprise. They can swap out their minion for stronger minions, destroy minions, and the ever dreaded “hidden ninja” card and shinobis always make scoring on bases hard for others.

Robots: They’re good at playing minions. And since they have 18 minion cards in a 20 card deck (the normal is 10 action, 10 minion), that is good! They are pretty good with attacking, and great with scoring on bases but with so many low powered minions, they are also vulnerable to attack and being moved around. Although some of their minions bring out other minions, and some get more power from numbers. So they, too, create hordes.

Pirates: Arrrg! Pirates swing from base to base, and can move other player’s minions as well. They are good at taking out low level minions and have some great cards that can clear a base of opponents, or you can use full sail, and ruin someone’s base scoring.

Tricksters: Gnomes and leprechauns! These little creatures are a pain to play against. They are great at defense, and locking down bases, and just plain old irritating their opponent. With so much defense, they are not destroyed too often (by other players), but with players unable to play on bases, games can take a bit longer.

Aliens: Putting cards back into a player’s hand (including their own, if they want). That’s the main goal of an Alien. Basically undoing turns, and clogging your opponent’s hand. Also with some great cards like Terraforming, and Crop Circles, they can change the game at any moment. They are excellent defense against zombies who love playing from their discard pile.

The luck of drawing cards, the random bases, and your opponent keep the game from being just the same strategy each time. You need to work with what you’ve got, or try to lay the groundwork for something bigger down the line. This, and king making in 3-4 player games, keeps even stronger pairings from being over powered.

What I also like about this game, is that the rules are very malleable. Don’t like 3 bases in a two player game? Make it 2 (or 4). Want to play with more than 2 factions? Do it. 15 victory points too low? Do 25.

And the expansions! If you like the game, the expansions add much more complexity and variety (for a pretty low price).
Anyways, all in all, it’s the go to game (currently) for me and my friends or my wife.

10
Go to the City of Horror page

City of Horror

129 out of 139 gamers thought this was helpful

Setting
Zombbbiiiieeesss! Zombies have taken over your city. You and a strange assortment of survivors need to wait 4 hours before the rescue helicopter arrives. Before you get on the helicopter, you need to vaccinate yourself with the zombie cure, otherwise you are not allowed onto the helicopter. So, in the next 4 hours, you need to cure the members of your group and then hold off the zombies any way you can, sometimes at the cost of others. WILL YOU SURVIVE?

Game play
There are 6 different locations you can be, each location has a maximum number of occupants. The locations are:
An armory where you can get action cards to help defend against zombies, or humans.
A hospital, where you can get vaccines.
A church, where you can rest an exhausted player.
the bank where you can move the zombie wheel to another player. Zombie wheel determines who gets attacked first in the streets.
The streets, where you can pick up food for victory points, but are frequently attacked. If you try to move to a full location, you end up here.
The water tower where you can either look at the next hour card or, change your movement (depending on which side you use).

The turns all start by moving your characters to a new location (you must move 1 character a turn, or keep 1 in the streets). Then the hour card is turned, this shows where zombies appear, where zombies move, and where action cards or vaccines are dropped. After that you go through the locations in order (they are numbered 1-6) . First, deciding to use the location’s action. Then checking to see if the zombies trigger an attack. If they do, the people who are there are going to have to either stop the threat of attack, or vote one member out to be killed by the zombies. This is where the game shines. Players can try to gain a majority in one location to decide the vote, or make alliances with others to go against a group. Additionally, if it looks like you are about to die because of a vote, you can make deals with other players to save you in exchange for an item or a favor to be returned later. In the event of a tie, the person with the “leader” token provides the tie breaking vote. Leader does not have to be at the location.

After the zombie attack is resolved, if there are any items, you vote to see who gets which item (players can’t get more than 1 item at a location). This routine of location action, zombie threat, and item claiming happens through each location. When all locations are resolved, then players pick new movement cards, move their player, and the next hour card is turned.

Each character is worth a certain amount of victory points, and has a character action they can use. If a character uses it’s character action, it “exhausts” them, their card is flipped and they are not worth as many victory points at the end of the game. Also an “exhausted” character can no longer use it’s ability. A character can be rested and flipped back. Many characters with excellent abilities are worth less, while characters like the Grandpa (who can’t vote normally, and then votes once as his special ability) is worth a lot of victory points but is at a disadvantage and needs the ability to behave normally.

Pros:
-The randomness of your characters, your starting locations, the location sides, the zombie hordes, your action cards and item drops give this game a high replay value.
-Despite randomness, there is still a lot of strategy in where to move (and when you should move there), when to use an action, and negotiating with your fellow survivors.
-Great balance. This game was really well thought out so that the scales rarely tip too far one way or the other for players. For instance, if someone dies, you are now at a disadvantage in points, but you gain the “Leader” token and are now the person who decides in the event of any tied vote. This allows you to get items from others and even choose who else will die in certain situations.
-Even if you feel like you have no chance of winning the game, you can have a HUGE affect on the outcome by where you move, and what actions you play. So you never truly feel out of the game. Sometimes just trying to get 1 person to live feels like a big achievement! Also, there are chances to come back and win.
-It is a very good social game, since one of the biggest parts is negotiation and collaboration.
-The scarcity of actions, make each turn very important, and adds importance to each move.

Cons:
-Set up can take a little bit of time.
-Rules can be a little confusing at first.
-Game tiles don’t fit very well.
-Some are turned off by zombie theme.
-Randomness of zombie movement may annoy some.
-There is a way to “break” a location with certain characters. On the armory “B” side where you can get actions from the discard by discarding a card, the thief can just keep getting energy drinks and then steal from other opponents. So, changing the rule (once it burns down, the action is no longer available), and just telling the other players this so they can play defense is pretty important.

Overall
I LOVE this game. It is such a great game to play with a group of 4-5 people. It is very engaging and has an excellent blend of luck and strategy involved. The social aspect of bargaining for your character’s lives and making deals feels true to how people could act in such dire situations. You need to rely, and help others, but most importantly you need to make sure your team survives. Most games we have played are low scoring, the winner can have between 8-12 points. This means each person who is saved, each extra victory point is very important and could change the game. It is a challenging game, and if people don’t work together it can quickly turn into a slaughter. I can’t recommend this highly enough if you enjoy negotiation games with strategy and that are heavy in theme. Obviously the content is a little gruesome so I wouldn’t recommend for a family.

8
Go to the Star Realms page

Star Realms

109 out of 118 gamers thought this was helpful

So, one of my friends enjoys this game so much that he has actually bought several copies and is now giving them to all of his friends. Now, if he finds himself at their house he can play. That gives you an idea of how addictive and fun this game can be. It’s easy to learn, involves luck, but also strategy. So, a newcomer has the ability to beat a more experienced player, although the experienced player is much more likely to win.

This game plays similarly to Ascension and Dominion. Your goal is to buy ships and space stations and take your opponent’s authority down to 0. The game starts with both players having 50 authority (essentially, it is health). Each turn you draw 5 cards from your deck, play the cards, then put them into the discard and then redraw to 5 cards. The basic function of ships are that they heal, do damage, or are worth money to buy new ships and space stations. There are always 5 random cards in the “trade row” where you purchase new ships and space stations. These ships and stations can be one of 4 different factions. Each faction has a general theme and the cards become more powerful if 2 of the same faction are in play. The purposeful purchasing of specific cards can create some very powerful combinations.

Pros:
-Very easy to learn, but a lot of strategy is involved so can be tough to master.
-The 4 different factions allow for a lot of different strategy, this combined with the randomness of the trade row force players to work with what they have instead of planning on certain cards.
-Very fast game, can take 20-30 minutes to play. (Sometimes games do take 45 mins if a lot of defensive cards come out and not as much offense, but this is rare.)
-Very portable, you don’t need a ton of space to play and it all fits in a little box.
-Cheap! Also numerous expansions are starting to come out to add more variety.
-GREAT 2 player game, can expand to 4 players if you buy an additional base deck (I’ve never done this).
-Free app gives you a look at the game before purchasing.

Cons:
-Score keeping can be a pain with the cards that are given.
-Could potentially be unlucky an entire game and not get good cards or poor combinations in your hand and that can be very frustrating.

All in all:
It’s a fantastic, 2 player deck building game that has multiple strategies that are all capable of winning. The strategy usually changes, given what cards are available in the trade row, and what your opponent is trying to do. The point of the game isn’t necessarily to only go after only one faction, this sometimes works but not always, it’s to make a better deck than your opponent. Most of the time you end up with a mix, given what is in the trade row and also you need the actions of some different factions. Anyways, for the cost, it’s definitely worth a buy! (Especially if your friend gives it to you for free!)

× Visit Your Profile