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fregrold

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8
Go to the Stone Age page

Stone Age

36 out of 41 gamers thought this was helpful

Michael Tummelhofer’s Stone Age is a great worker placement/resource management game which comes with the twist of historical significance — one can actually learn by playing this game!

I would say this is great for kids. It’s an easy enough game to learn and play (the rule book is only 8 pages with many pictures and examples), plus it’s a good simulation about how peoples from this time period would actually have lived. Also it shows clearly how farming, rather than nomadic living, would have led to creating civilizations.

However, finding the best strategy to winning this game is not always the way to have the most fun with this game. I prefer to try something new every time I play.

For example: while agricultural farming is probably the best way to keep your people from dying, it makes the food tokens in this game virtually worthless, and also tends to make the game less exciting when all of your food needs are met without making an effort every turn.

Unlike many popular cooperative games, there are actually MANY ways to win in this game.

You could go for …

Civilization cards: just make certain that you watch the symbols on the bottom of the card. You should always go for the easily purchased card if you can nab it from the other players. Otherwise, match the cards to whatever end goal your striving for, be it tribesmen, huts, agriculture, etc. OR, attempt to get complete sets of 8 of the different icons (with the green backgrounds).

Tools: These are very helpful to increase the effectiveness of poor dice rolls.

People: If you can, place a couple of tribesmen in a hut. The more mature among us know what happens next (hint: at the end of your turn you’ll need to pay another food — wink wink).

Huts: While this ticks away towards the end (clearing out one of the piles of huts ends the game), this is a major way to add victory points during the game.

Summary: while this game can either be long or short (it’s possible for a single player to actually extend the game as long as they want by placing a worker on the last hut card, and “deciding” NOT to purchase it when resolving their turn, it’s a very easy, breezy quick-moving game that makes you very glad you’re not actually living during the STONE AGE.

10
Go to the Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower page
93 out of 103 gamers thought this was helpful

Please note: Castle Panic is absolutely not worth playing without the Wizard’s tower expansion.

Well that’s not entirely true. If you have the core game only, and that’s all you know, it’s still a fun game. Having acquired this expansion, however, I can’t see EVER going back.

New Challenges

The Wizard’s Tower

The Wizard’s tower gives you access to a new deck of magic cards, which you can keep using until this tower is destroyed. GUARD THIS TOWER WITH YOUR LIFE. Without magic use you will have a very tough winning the game.

Imps

The Wizard’s Tower expansion see the addition of IMPS, which are just annoying 1 point creatures which can spawn in the forest under a number of special conditions. Easy to kill, but they are legion and can overpower the game if you let them.

Fire

There are a number of monsters that can now sprew fireballs at your castle walls. If your structures are hit with flame three times, down they go.

Luckily some of the new Wizard Cards have spells which can inflict the same flamey damage to your foes. A flaming monster will take a point of damage each time it moves.

New Bosses

There are Six New MEGA bosses, some of which move in interesting ways, or do new interesting things. Luckily only three are used in a single game, because things definately get interesting once they show up in the forest.

Basilisk: When this boss appears all players discard down to a hand of two, and while the Basilisk is on the board all players skip phase two (which is the all important Discard and Draw) portion of their turns.

Chimera: comes onto the board breathing fire, and then moves 1 space counter clockwise and one space towards the castle.

DRAGON: Also comes onto the board breathing fire. When moving, roll the die and consult a special movement table. [Is there anything cooler than a table to consult?]

Hydra: A hydra will spawn two of the aforementioned Imps for every point of damage you inflict upon it (except for the killing blow) – so try to get this jerk in one attack if possible.

Necromancer: Very annoying. When he first appears, he pulls two monsters from the discard pile, and puts them back into the draw pile. Happily, if the Necromancer hits a wall (or tower) he’s immediately slain (yippee!) — hold on, for every hit point he has left one monster from the discard is pulled and put back into the draw pile.

Warlock: when appears all players are forced to discard a wizard card. Also, adding insult to injury, the warlock is uneffected by magic cards.

New Cards:

There are also a number of new Castle cards to go along with the new Wizard Cards — including, Berserk, Double Strike, Enchanted, Flaming, Knock Back and the awesome Stand Together (which will let you choose another player who might have a usable card – which would otherwise not be helpful on their own turn).

Separation Anxiety:

Note: if for some reason you ever do want to go back to just playing the original game, (although, the only reason I can think for doing this would be maybe to introducting a newbie into the hobby), all the cards and pieces are marked with a little wizard hat symbol for easily extracting the expansion componants from the game.

10
Go to the Arkham Horror page

Arkham Horror

99 out of 123 gamers thought this was helpful

First of all, do yourself a favor and don’t go around thinking you’re an expert at this game just because you read through the rule book. Certainly this is a feat for the ages, but it’s hardly something to be proud of.

I went into our first family game having done this, finding all of the mechanics very intriguing, and the game itself sounding really really fun, only to be hit with the rude awakening of my complete lack of knowledge of the structure the game.

“What’s the little brain piece for?”
“No idea.”
“Well, how do you fight the monster at the end of the game?”
“Let’s worry about that when we get there.”
“But what about…
Eyes closed and hands over ears. “Enough with all of the questions?!!”

The main thing I learned from this exercise was truly how incompetent I was at explaining a board game to my family.

I fumbled over even the basic concept: “So, you open these portals, see, and these investigators have to close them or the Ancient one will awake and devour you.”

Intriguing stuff to be sure, however, not deep enough to dive into without breaking one’s neck.

Dumb thought #2: The “Let’s just play and see how it goes” rule.

Bad idea.

Turns out I completely came away from the rule book with a bunch of idiotic notions in my head.

Using the power of logic, I first had each player go through all five of the steps in turn: Upkeep, movement, the things you do in the town, otherworlds, mythos… All of it.

Moron.

Also, I had wrongly remembered how portals were opened. I can’t even tell you who many Mythos cards we went through finding no mention of such events in the text.

“Well, this is a little boring,” I said. “Does anything ever happen in this game?”
“Yeah, you idiot,” says the rule book (although not in so many words). “Look at the little picture in the lower left corner, you dolt!”

So, that having been said, what IS the best way, one might wonder, to learn how to play this game — especially if one doesn’t now anyone else who knows how to play this game?

I would suggest playing through in a solo capacity to familiarize yourself with the game, or at the very least have the board and pieces out while reading the book. Or better yet, get your wife to grab the rule book out of your hand and take charge.

Either way, if you have a LOT of time on your hands, and apparently a surface much larger than a normal card table, this is a very fun and involving game.

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