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gargirl

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Review 8 games and receive a total of 380 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Firefly: The Game page
Go to the Pandemic page
Go to the Carcassonne page
Go to the Letters from Whitechapel page
Go to the Mansions of Madness (1st ed) page
Go to the Gloom page
Go to the Munchkin Zombies page
9
Go to the Superfight! page

Superfight!

9 out of 11 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is hysterical. Better with more players but can be played with just 3 or 4 and so easy to learn! This is a good one for people who don’t necessarily want to get into complicated or long games and it is spot-on for a friendly bunch of geeks or a geeky family like ours.

Everyone gets dealt a hand and then constructs the best “fighter” they can make with a character card and an attribute card plus a random attribute from the deck. The random card can really add hilarity with things like “jellyfish for hands” or “afraid of water.” That second one really gimped my shark with a chainsaw, I lost the fight instantly. Reading the combinations can be fun but it’s the arguing about who would win in a fight that makes the game so entertaining. We played with our kids over xmas break and were all laughing nearly the whole time. Players face off against each other 2 at a time and lay out their arguments or justifications as to why their fighter would win and then everyone votes to decide the winner… who faces off against the next player and round and round it goes. If there is a tie or deadlock each player draws randomly from the deck in a “fight to the death.” I’m not sure the rules on this point are fleshed out enough so we kind of made up how to do it. Still, entertaining as*.

5
Go to the Miskatonic School for Girls page
52 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

Very cool theme, excellent idea, love anything related to Cthulhu. We tried to play this a few times before giving up on it. Our group consists of experienced board gamers some of whom are great at sorting out rules for those of us, ok ME, who are not great at sorting out rules. We found this game to be borderline unplayable. The rules just didn’t make sense. We kept stopping and trying to figure out what the heck we were supposed to be doing. I’m hoping there has since been some errata posted so others can enjoy the game, we gave up and sold ours. It just wasn’t any fun at all for our group.
That said, the art was cool and the components high quality. I sincerely hope that corrections have been released to make this into the game we had hoped it was going to be. I gave it higher marks than our experience deserved because of my hopes.

8
Go to the Cardline: Animals page
11 out of 14 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is simple to learn and great for adults and kids. It’s recommended for 7 years old and up but certainly kids 5 and up could play, perhaps even younger depending on the child. It is similar to the TImeline games and made by the same game company.

The game consists of a deck of 2 sided, colorful cards in an attractive tin. The tin is sturdy and protects the cards nicely in bag or suitcase making it easy to travel with.

Game play: There are 3 characteristics listed on the back of each animal card; Average Size, Average Weight, and Average Lifespan and the group chooses which of these characteristics to play. One card is placed at random in the center of the table with characteristics showing. Each player is dealt 4 cards and lays them with the characteristic side down in front of them. The first player chooses one of their cards and places it relative to the random card based on the size, weight or lifespan as previously chosen. Say the random card is a cow and size if the factor in question, a tiny shrew would go to the left of the cow and a blue whale would go to the right. The next player must then do the same but now has to place their card in the right spot relative to BOTH of the cards revealed and each player in turn has a trickier and trickier time because they have to find the exact spot or else their card is discarded and they must draw another for their Hand.

Winning: The winner is the player who runs out of cards first.

Replay Value: Because of the 3 characteristics, this game is very re-playable. You can use each in turn, certainly, but one game will not generally mean a run through the entire deck so there will be many animals you won’t have seen yet. We’ve played it repeatedly and you do start to recall certain statistics but it hasn’t taken the fun out of the game yet.

We’ve played this several times with people of many ages and it is relatively quick, about 20-30 minutes depending, easy to learn, and good for non-gamer sorts of folks. We sent this one along when our youngest stayed with his grandmother for a couple of days and she was able to play it and enjoy the experience. She is only interested in classic kinds of games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit, none of which interest our kid, so we were very glad to find something they could both have fun playing.

10
Go to the Letters from Whitechapel page
62 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

Finally got to play this, played 3 times so far, and it is amazing. It seems more complicated than it is but can be awkward the first few rounds because turns are multi-step but once you get into it, it isn’t so tough.

Many here have gone into describing a blow-by-blow of the turns and mechanics so I am not going to repeat what others have said better than I would. Let me just say that this game is engaging and a ton of fun. Playing as one or more of the police officers hunting Jack and coordinating with the other officers leads to all sorts of banter and laughing as you all try to close the net and find the killer. I found a lot of camaraderie amongst the players as they tried to figure out where Jack was and how best to trap him for an arrest. Playing on the side of the police, I felt the pressure of wanting to stop this killer before he could harm another woman. It was a blow when he made it to his hide-out.

Playing Jack is nerve wracking in the best possible way. The tension as the police first move in toward the original crime scene and you try to slip the net surprised me. As they pick up your trail and try to figure out where your hide-out is… nails were nibbled. So far we have not managed to have Jack make more that 2 kills before being caught or conceding but I expect some of us will figure out how to better evade law enforcement as time goes on.

Fun to play as either police or Jack, worth the fairly high price tag and definitely going in the permanent collection. Recommended for mid-teens and older who don’t mind dark subject matter.

8
Go to the We Didn't Playtest This At All page
50 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

The makers appear to be telling the truth about not play-testing this. It feels very thrown together on a whim and loosely structured.

Components are simply cards. They are good quality, easy to read and understand and usually amusing. Included in the set is an optional “Chaos Deck” and several blank cards. One or two Chaos Cards can be included per game to liven things up, not that the game needs to livelier, and blank cards are included so that you may make your own goofy cards.

Game play is simple; each player is dealt 2 cards. On their turn each player draws one car and plays one card, all instructions on on the cards a little like Fluxx except that it’s much more random that Fluxx. The cards are very silly doing things like banning words or pointing, instructing players to play Rock-Paper-Scissors or declaring to a card holder “You Win!” as long as you match the condition on the card.

This game is silly, fast-paced and lots of fun. It plays very quickly, sometimes a little too quickly. My family played this it last night and we had a blast, we laughed and argued about the cards and laughed some more. We all enjoyed it; ages 11, 17, 20 and us “adults.” At about $15, with good replay-ability, it is worth the price tag.

10
Go to the Run for Your Life, Candyman! page
118 out of 138 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is awesome. I found it years ago and the copy on the back really grabbed me, especially; “But Not You, You’re not going out that way!” In the context of it’s silly subject matter.

The game is played like Candy Land with added cartoony, candy violence. There are cute gingerbread man playing pieces, a winding track of colorful candy traverses the board. there are special spaces marking locations that one can suddenly be transported to and wonderful, goofy artwork. Movement is controlled, much as in Candy Land, with cards decorated with one or two candies. The added fun comes from the Gingerbread Status Sheets and the Candy Cage Match! spaces on the board.

The status sheets have a diagram of a gingerbread man, each limb, the head and the torso correspond to a candy type and each of these areas contains 6 little boxes. When one player passes another player on the board they can, if they choose, attack the player they are passing by drawing a card which determines the hit location. Damage is marked by X-ing off one or two boxes in the indicated area. There are also Special Treat cards which depict special weapons and can extend the range of an attack etc. Such as; Licorice Whip, Popped Rocks etc.

If a Candy Cage Match! card is drawn instead of a regular candy movement card, the player who drew the card drags a player of their choice to the nearest candy cage match space. (there are 3) Players then bash on each other until a special card is drawn… a card that also controls when Special Treat cards are drawn and is determined at random at the start of play.

The last dash of the game subjects players to multiple, multiple attacks by two candy crazed children. If a player survive this multi-turn gauntlet, with so much as one body part remaining, they win the game.

Play is well-paced and exciting and funny. The artwork is very colorful and appealing and the fights are goofy-cut-throat fun. Our whole family loves this game and it is dragged out to play as frequently as possible. The one and only negative thing I can say is that the playing pieces are folded cardboard that insert into plastic bases and with all the use this game sees our cardboard gingerbread men are showing some wear and the one or 2 of the plastic bases are a little loose but that is a minor point about one of the most fun board game experiences I have ever had.

9
Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

69 out of 95 gamers thought this was helpful

Forbidden Island was one of the first cooperative games I ever played and it hooked me co-op games for life.

It is easy to learn, kid-friendly, engaging and fast-paced. Each player has a special role, like Pilot or Engineer, with their own special skills described on their player card. The Island is a series of tiles laid out in a cross pattern any number of which can begin to sink each turn. Players are all treasure hunters, working together to snag the islands 4 valuable treasures but the island doesn’t want to give up its treasures. The island is basically sinking itself to protect it’s secrets as players scramble to grab the loot and get to the helipad to get off the island before it sinks.

The game can be chaotic as island locations begin sinking and the rate of sinking speeds up as the game continues. Players must work together and support and help each other because it’s truly all or nothing. Everyone wins or loses together.

This is another game that we taught at board game camp to kids ranging from about 6 to about 12 and they all enjoyed it. The younger kids did very well with adult assistance and really latched onto the theme. Highly recommended.

8
Go to the Adventure Time Card Wars: Finn vs. Jake page
76 out of 86 gamers thought this was helpful

We got this for my 11 year old son because he loves the show and was really excited that they made a real card game out of the in-show card game “Card Wars.” As it was a card game based on a cartoon I didn’t have high expectations for this game, but it is surprisingly fun.

The lane combat is instantly graspable; each player gets 4 land tiles and lines them up in a row facing the other player’s land tiles creating 4 lanes. Creature cards from each player’s hand may be played on their land cards during their turns. A creature battles the opposing creature in its lane but if there is no creature in that lane the damage goes through to the controlling player until 25 points of damage has been done to one of the players and victory goes to the other player.

There are also spell cards which can boost damage or defense, which are then discarded, and building cards which serve essentially the same functions but are permanently placed on a particular lane. The cards are brightly colored, high quality and the artwork is engaging.

There are also little damage markers/chits which are made of cardboard and marked 3 on one side and 1 on the other that must be punched out of card board sheets prior to play. These are fine but can tears during punching as occasionally one of them seems not to have been hot quite right by the machine.

Overall a fun game, mechanic similar to Magic the Gathering but simplified with a younger audience in mind. Though designed for kids it is entertaining enough for adults.

8
Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

17 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

A fun, quick little game, great to take along in a purse or backpack to keep kids (and adults!) entertained in waiting rooms or at a restaurant while waiting for food.

The game consists of 13 custom dice, a rules sheet and a cardboard tube which acts as the “box” for the game as well as an implement of dice rolling. The dice are high quality and the tube is holding up well for us so far. (several months)

Zombie Dice is fast-paced and easy to learn, excellent for filling small amounts of otherwise wasted time with it’s 10-20 minute playing time. The only extra things you’ll need is paper and a writing implement to keep track of people’s scores or you could use the notepad feature on a smartphone or some such device.

The object of the game is simple; each player tries to be the first to collect 13 brains. Players collect the brains they roll on the dice each turn but can lose the brains rolled in that turn if they roll 3 shotgun blasts, so it’s risk analysis to see if you want to push it and try for more or play it safe and hope the next player doesn’t win.

9
Go to the Zombies!!! (2ed) page

Zombies!!! (2ed)

18 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

Zombies! is one of my favorite games. What’s to love about it?

1. The expanding tile-based board. I love the way the game evolves as you play adding more zombies, more health tokens and more brain tokens. The final tile is the helicopter pad which players race to in an attempt to be the sole survivor of the game. There is only space for one player so run for your life!

2. Gameplay is brisk. This is very cool because nothing makes a game less enjoyable than bad pacing. There can be a little lag if a player is indecisive about what to go for; should I try to get that health or some weapons on the new tile… or will I take more damage than I can repair facing all those zombies? Some players have trouble with decisions but other than that the game has great pacing.

3. Cool zombie figures that seem to reaching for the players in a creepy and threatening manner. Love this!

4. Easy to learn, hard to master. Chance plays it’s part here in the random appearance and layout of the tiles as well as the dice rolls resolving combats but a player can still get a feel for what works more often than not.

Overall a great game, fun for our gaming group who love this sort of theme and definitely a must-have for fans of zombie games.

8
Go to the Adventure Time Card Wars: BMO vs Lady Rainicorn page
14 out of 15 gamers thought this was helpful

I just played this set for the first time with my 11 year old son. I’d say it’s as good as the Finn vs Jake set, much the same game with some new terrain and new cards to play.

The cards themselves are great, they are colorful and good quality. We had a little trouble separating some of the 1/3 cardboard counters from their frames, a couple of them tore a little but the rest of them were all properly cut. I don’t happen to like the way the box goes together; you load everything into an open top interior box and slide it into the outer box like a drawer. In my experience these types of boxes rarely last long and there is potential for the contents of the inner box to be bent or otherwise damaged.

Gameplay is basically lane combat. Each player has 4 land tiles on which to play creatures, buildings, spells and so forth. Each creature attacks the corresponding creature on the land tile across from it owned by the other player. If there is no creature in that lane, that is the corresponding land tile is vacant of any creature, then any damage done goes through to the player, each player having 25 health points to start with.

It’s a pretty fun little game, lively, quick-paced, potentially over and done in less than 20 minutes. I’m terrible at it, having played the Finn vs Jake version a couple of times I can say that with some authority. My 11 year old mopped the floor with me. That said, there is an element of luck in that you are drawing cards off the top of your deck so it is completely possible to get a string of cards that simply do nothing to help you and before you know it, you’re done. There is skill required to manage the cards you do get, to line up fights that you can win and so forth. My son, having won repeatedly, insists it is heavily reliant on skill.

I think the game has decent replay value as our game didn’t even result in using half of our respective decks and there is the possibility of switching things up and having a deck from this set face one from the previous set. I’ve heard there are further customization options but I am not sure what they are exactly, whether there will be booster packs available or if the suggestion is mixing the existing deck with each other. I’ll be interested to see. A decent little game for the price.

8
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
39 out of 47 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game one of my kids is nuts for. We have to get expansions and variations and check them all out. Luckily we are an enthusiastic gamer-family so there’s no trouble getting folks together to play games.

I hadn’t played this one much, we have so many games that it’s inevitable that many will get a little dusty between uses, but when some people came into the game store wanting to learn to play it fell to me to teach them. I am not the greatest at making sense of rules, you have to know that to appreciate how easy it is to learn this game, but still within about 7 turns we had it all sorted out and settled in for a fun time.

It’s a game where acquiring resources to build roads and settlements and eventually cities are the means to earning points to eventually win the game. It’s pretty straightforward but still invigorating. It involves a few randomizing elements that control the distribution of the resources needed to build cities and roads and such, plus there is trading both among players and between a player and the “bank.” A player constantly seeks to gain advantage and pull ahead. It’s easy to grasp the basics yet hard to learn to manage all the resources properly in order to win.

The game bears repeated play as it is never the same game twice. Luck plays a role but so does skill and cleverness. The components of the game are fairly sturdy and have worn well for us so far. I would recommend it as a family game.

9
Go to the Scrabble page

Scrabble

61 out of 73 gamers thought this was helpful

Scrabble is a timeless classic. I’ve been playing since I can remember starting with my family then school friends and on into my adult life. I get to play with my kids now, occasionally, even amidst the amazing variety of games competing for our attention these days.

Play is simple, but challenging, as each player uses the tiles in play and their own limited letter tiles to spell words in a classic crossword format. Points are scored based on letter values and modifiers on certain board squares like: Double Letter or Triple Word. It’s a great game for building vocabulary and spelling skills but it can be frustrating for younger kids.

I love Scrabble but it can run a little long sometimes if players start agonizing over how to score the most points and become a little too competitive about it. It can be played one on one but is better with 3 or 4 players. It is a solid addition to any game collection and even non-gamers can relate to it.

9
Go to the Gloom page

Gloom

40 out of 45 gamers thought this was helpful

Gloom is one of my favorite games but I only get to play it about once a year because our game collection is vast and the tastes of the rest of my household run more to Axis & Allies, King of Tokyo, Munchkin and so forth. I’m not complaining, really, I enjoy playing all sorts of games.

Let’s start off with the games components; the game is nothing more than a large deck of unique, clear cards which, when stacked atop one another, allow certain elements from previously played cards to show through. The artwork on the cards is wonderfully whimsical and slightly creepy. I love the novelty of the see-through cards and the level of strategy added by what gets covered and what shows through. However, this brings us to my one, and only, complaint about the game; the cards can be very hard to read if lighting conditions are not ideal. This game is so much fun that dealing with hard-to-read cards is absolutely worth it.

Onto game play! Each player is assigned a family who’s cards are laid out in a row before them. The object of the came is to make your family members as miserable and unfortunate as possible and then kill them off. The most miserable family wins. There are cards of misfortune where one contacts disease or is left at the altar or drowns in a lake and there are “good” cards with happy events on them. In a complete turnabout on normality a player wants only bad things to happen to their family and will use the more fortunate cards on other player’s families to spoil their gloomy scores.

One of my favorite parts of the game is the storytelling. As each new card is played the person playing the card narrates and recaps something like this: “After contracting the plague, being left at the altar and being mauled by badgers the poor fellow found solace in the arms of a New Love….” Then said new love card is played covering up gloomy happenings and destroying the carefully cultivated despair. Also, at the beginning of the game, which player goes first is decided by who has had the most dreadful day. I always go first, not because my life is actually awful, because I can make my day sound terrible. It is much like narrating the cards in game and loads of fun. This game always makes us laugh. Highly recommended!

9
Go to the Firefly: The Game page
85 out of 96 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is loads of fun. As a huge fan of the show it’s possible that I am slightly biased in favor of a game that let’s me captain my very own Firefly class space freighter.

Gameplay; players fly around the Verse carry freight, grabbing salvage and getting paid while dodging the Alliance and avoiding Reavers. We were lucky enough to grab the 5th player extra ship from Game Trade Magazine when it was out so our whole family can play. We’ve played a few times and there is enough variety and randomness that replay was very entertaining. Obviously the game is full of references to the show which will make fans happy. Players can crew their ships with a mix of beloved characters and random folks from around the Verse while shopping for items they will recognize from the show that give bonuses to various activities.

The game has a beautiful board depicting the core worlds and outlying planets, it has several decks of cards; supply cards, contact cards, nav cards and misbehave cards. The smaller cards are somewhat awkward to handle and with all the decks and other game components the game takes up a surprising amount of table space but those are small complaints, really. The only thing I would actually want to change about the game would be to add more of an element of player interaction. The game could be a little more social and interactive if players had more dealings with each other. As it is, players sort of play parallel to each other, racing around chasing their goals.

Gameplay can be a little on the long side. The first time we played it took five hours but some of that was just our lack of familiarity with the rules and such. Subsequent games have run more like 2 1/2-3 hours and were enjoyed by all of us, even the 11 year old.

Overall, a very engaging game full of sweet surprises for fans in each deck and there is already an expansion out, in the form of a deck of dozens of new cards to keep gameplay fresh.

10
Go to the Qwirkle page

Qwirkle

77 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

Qwirkle is an excellent, easy-to-learn game for all ages. They recommend 6+ but even 4 year olds can grasp the rules with a little help. The game plays almost like a simplified, prettier version of Dominoes and appeals to younger kids both because they can grasp the rules and the tiles are so colorful and appealing.

Players lay out tiles in rows that must match in either color or shape but not both. There are no repeats permitted per row and a player successfully finishing a row scores extra points and shouts; “Qwirkle!” I find it a reasonably engaging game for a diversion even as an adult.

Game components are crisply-painted wooden tiles and a sturdy cloth bag for randomly drawing the tiles from. They are very good quality and ours has put up with some abuse with no visible wear and tear. Qwirkle has all the makings of a classic game being comparable, as I mentioned, to Dominoes but having the timeless feel that checkers or cribbage or other classic games have.

Highly recommended for families with younger children who often get left out of more complicated games.

9
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

56 out of 64 gamers thought this was helpful

Carcassonne is an excellent game for family play. It is not cooperative, definitely competitive, but it is non-violent and nicely paced for even smaller children. The game recommendation is for ages 8+ but with adult involvement I think this game is enjoyable from around 5 or 6 years of age.

The components of the game are simple but lovely tiles which players lay out in various ways to earn points by eventually being able to place one of their “meeples” (little wooden people) in an area to claim that area. Points are tracked using one each of the player’s meeples moving along a whimsical, numbered track. Points are earned throughout the game but there is also a time at the end of the game when further points may be awarded that may change the outcome.

I’ve found this game to be relatively calm as opposed to exciting which can be a welcome change of pace in a busy household. It’s the sort of game that can appeal to a wide range of players being captivating and strategic enough for adults while still having enough random elements that younger children can suddenly gain an advantage. It also does not take hours to play unless you pile in lots of expansions. You can, of course, add in expansions to lengthen play-time and add more interest and replay value. I highly recommend it.

10
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

35 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

Pandemic is a wonderful, complex, cooperative game that we have played several times now. Players race the clock while jetting all over the globe seeking to contain the various plagues and find cures before it’s too late. The various specialty cards make cooperation the centerpiece of the game and require players to strategize and work together in meaningful ways lest all humanity be wiped out. A great game to show older kids what “cooperation” means.

I like cooperative games for my family because cooperation is not always my kid’s go-to solution in life . In Pandemic players who have difficulty stepping out of a competitive mode of playing really throw a wrench in the works and make the game much more difficult so it’s learn that lesson or lose the game.

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