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Go to the 7 Wonders page
 
Go to the Quarriors! page

Quarriors!

64 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

I was fortunate enough to attend a demo of Quarriors on Saturday night. I played the first game and was then asked to “demo” the second game (it was simple enough to grasp as this was an easy game to learn). My son played in the second game (more on the relevance of this later).

An Overview:

Quarriors is a “Dice Building Game”. That is to say that all the players start with a preset number of identical dice and, through game play, acquire (buy) different, better dice for play. The goal of the game is to acquire Glory. When a player has accumulated enough Glory, predetermined by the number of players, they win the game.

Components:

Please note this was a demo copy and perhaps preproduction insofar as color and quality of the components is concerned. There are dice, lots of dice – 130 in the base game. These are six sided dice. The dice are in groups of 5, each representing a different creature, monster or spell. Each group of five is distinctly different in color. Each die has a variety of symbols- Quiddity (represented by a “tear drop” shape with a number inside it) and/or several different symbols representing the creature, monster or spell that is associated with that die. The symbols vary from each die and there are corresponding data cards for each creature, monster or spell with an explanation of the symbols. In fact, there are three cards for each creature, monster or spell (more later). The artwork is described as “anime” style and is therefore light and cute. There is a small rule book as well. In all fairness I didn’t read it as the explanation during the demo was all that was needed. There are also dice bags, one color for each player to hold the dice in and there is a small colored block (in a color matching the dice bag) for tracking glory of each player. There is also a small 8”x 8” scoring board numbers 1-20 for tracking player’s scores. And last but not least is one of the nicest components – there is the box for all of the above. It easily holds everything with room for more. It is made to look like one of the dice and is metal! Yep, the box is tin (or whatever they are making metal boxes out of these days).

Set up:

Each player is given a colored bag, 12 dice – 8 Quiddity dice and 4 Assistants. Quiddity dice are white with light blue ink and assistants are brown with white ink. The assistant dice are basically light weight creatures. The number of players will determine the glory required to win. Each player’s glory total is placed on the scoring board for tracking. The “board” is then set up with 3 starting spells and the rest of the board by randomly distributing 9 cards for the creatures and monsters and spells. Each player also has a “Monster” card and a “Spell” card for placing monster and spell dice as they are acquired.

Game Play:

Game play consists of clockwise rotation of players. The first player randomly selects 6 dice for their dice bag and rolls them. The player then totals the amount of Quiddity. This total is then used to “purchase” other dice that represent the creatures, monsters and spells. As a player purchases these dice, they are added to their collection (in their used pile). You are allowed to make one purchase with your Quiddity. Play then passes to the next player. As the players run out of dice in their dice bag, their used pile is put back into the bag, thus allowing the player to use the creatures and or spells bought in previous rounds. The creature, monster and spell dice all have different symbols on them. The effect of these is described on the appropriate cards for each creature, monster or spell respectively. As play continues, a player will purchase creatures, monsters and spells. As these are rolled, they may show a symbol other then Quiddity (most if not all the dice show Quiddity on one or more of their sides). These other sides represent the creature, monster or a spell effect. To use a creature/spell effect that has been rolled (i.e., has a symbol showing), a player must spend the appropriate amount of Quiddity to purchase the creature/spell. The cost to do so is on the upper left hand corner of the die (usually 1 or 2 Quiddity). Once purchased, the creature or monster is placed on the players Monster card (or a spell would be placed on the players spell card). The player now has a “monster in play”. At the end of a player’s turn, as determined by spending all the availability Quiddity, the active player’s monster(s) then attack the other player’s monsters clockwise and in turn. Starting with the active (attacking) player, if the player on their left has any creatures in play (on their monster card), they are attacked. Attacking is a simple affair – Compare the attack total shown on the attacking players monster dice (upper right hand corner) with the defense numbers shown on the defending players dice (lower right hand corner). If the attacking monster total is greater than the defending monster(s), then one or more of them will be killed. The defending player may determine the order in which his dice are attacked. This is important as the total attacking value will be reduced by the defenders defense. For example, if player one has a attack total of 8 and the defender and two creatures with defense values of 4 and 5, the defender will determine which of his two monsters will be killed. As the remaining amount is less than the remaining defending monsters defense 8 – 5 = 3 only one of the two will perish. After resolution of this battle, the attack moves onto the next player clockwise and so forth. Defenders cannot attack back. They simply defend. Once this is completed, the next players turn will start (with the rolling of six dice ETC). Scoring occurs when, at the beginning of a players turn, they have a monster on their monster card. When a player does have a monster on their monster card, they will score the appropriate amount of Glory as shown on the card for that monster. Spells are handled differently as they are used to alter the outcome of combat or affect die rolls. They have no Glory value themselves. Once the Glory total has been reached by a player, the game ends and they win.

Observations and thoughts:

If you hate dice games, you will not enjoy this game. Really! It’s all about rolling dice. There is a reroll ability granted by several dice and that should give some of you peace of mind that can roll poorly several times in a row and still suck. For what it’s worth, I believe that the odds of rolling poorly are directly proportional to how funny the result of a poor roll will be.

The quality of the dice is very good. The dice are “engraved” with the images rather than being painted on. This is nice although in some cases you will need to look very closely as some of the numbers are very small (they don’t look exactly like they do on the box). The colors are great and closely match the corresponding data card. They are very different from each other and I think it’s always fun to throw a bunch of different colored dice. I like the “Mighty Ooze” color – Clear Florescent yellow/green. Think antifreeze colored dice.

The dice tin is great. It looks like one of the dice (a Dragon). They choose to print all six sides (inc. the bottom). And during the demo, the active player used the top of the box to roll his or her dice in. Convenient and functional! It’s nice to have something other than a cardboard box to lug a game around in

The box states 30 mins to play and it is right on. We played two, 3 player games and even though we were learning the game, it still about 30 mins or so.

I didn’t like the scoring board. They did the 1-5 and then 10-6, 11-15, 20-16. In other words, the scoring went left to right and then right to left, back and forth in an “S” shape. A minor annoyance, but I guess you would get used to it. But it wasn’t intuitive.

Replay value is HUGE. The set up cards have three different “levels”. When randomly distributed, you have about (inset math here) options. Well a lot of options anyway. Or just choose the dice you want to play with. Either way, you have a random distribution option here for repeated play.

One gross inaccuracy was the suggested age for play- 14+. WHAT! To roll dice? My 9 year old played (against adults) and won. It was speculated that perhaps the dice may be to enticing to younger players due to the tasty colors used. I would think by age 14, one would have outgrown the “looks tasty put in mouth to find out” urge.

I would describe this game as Thunderstone with dice. This is not very helpful if you are not familiar with Thunderstone. And I don’t mean to say it is a knock off of Thunderstone. Rather that the style of play is very similar to Thunderstone. I am a fan of Thunderstone BTW. One thing I do like better about Quarriors is that you are playing against other players and therefore, unlike Thunderstone, you can’t get a bad starting set up with the dungeon. I very much like playing this game. It was a fun, easy and quick. (Did I date someone like that? NM).

In closing, I would recommend this game, even if you hate dice. Why? Well it is just a recommendation after all. It’s not like I can make you go out and buy it. But it is light and fun. A great filler for some, but I think you might find this a great game overall, even for non-gamers. Simple to explain and play and should be enjoyed by one and all.

This evaluation was based on two plays during a demo. There may be inaccuracies. There may be falsehoods. But they are not intentional. Just to be fair, if someone wants to send me a copy for evaluation I will revise my review and be forever thankful.

This review can be found on Boardgamegeek as well.

8
Go to the Ventura page

Ventura

38 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

Ventura is a very refreshing game that has a lot to bring to the table. Easy mechanics with a subtlety that only really starts to come around after playing for a while. Choices early on can have a huge impact in late game and the game flows very nicely.
Components and Shinies

This game has beautiful components. The hexes bring a nice euro feel with the relatively simple symbology and the cards are fairly effective. The quality of the domain markers and company/army tokens are absolutely stunning. Mixing these pieces with Cards and Hex Tiles gives a lot of positive reinforcements with a gamer who likes tabletop War-games, Settlers of Catan, and Magic.

Component Quality

Heavy tiles, sturdy cards, and hard plastic tokens and markers. The part that really left me unimpressed here (which isn’t a big deal) is the inlay in the box. The interior of the box could have been made to separate the components better in my opinion. Try flipping the insert upset down and reseating the pieces.

Playability and Re-playability

Given the fact that players have so many options throughout the game, strategies are going to differ vastly from play to play. Ultimately, I believe the game is one that is very easy to get into or learn, but will take a long time to master. If you play in a dedicated group and play this game often you will start to learn what strategies and techniques people like to use. Then you will have to start to diversify your own strategy to win the game.

Overall

This is not your standard run of the mill game. It’s definitely a thinking person’s game. Lots to do and lots to think about during the game make this a sure thing. I feel the game was well thought out and Fantasy Flight Games has a hit on their hands. In the plays that we have seen of this game there has not been any obvious mistakes made in development that break this game. Not only that the door is left open for future expansions that may add new cards or tiles. All in all- a very good 2, 3 or 4 person game.

Larry Fettinger and InD20 Group approve this review with 8 out of 10

7
Go to the Survive: Escape from Atlantis! page

Survive: Escape from Atlantis!

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview and Components

Hello readers and welcome once again to an InD20 Group review. Its time to review yet another game from Stronghold Games line of classic reprints, for those that are unfamiliar with this game, Survive: Escape from Atlantis was published as family games almost 30 years ago and have recently been picked up by Stronghold Games. During the game, players will try to rescue all their islanders or Atlanteans from the sinking island while also controlling the way the island sinks and the dangerous sea creatures in order to stop the other players from escaping.

Lets jump right into the components of the game. Stronghold Games has released this game with the classic euro style pieces. The player pieces, boats, plus the various sea monsters are all represented by bright colored wood figurines.

At the very start of the game, you set up the island in the middle of the board with randomly selected land tiles. The tiles are all cardboard pieces of different thickness, each thickness representing a type of land such as beaches, forests, and mountains. The different thickness levels give a wonderful 3D feel to the game. The way this formation influences the game is amazing and very effective.

During the second setup phase, players take their turns to place their islanders on the island one at a time. Its actually a race to claim the pieces of the island that are most convenient for the purpose of being close to the water, easy to escape, and not susceptible to sinking into the sea immediately. After the final islander is placed, each player has an opportunity to place two boats next to the edge of the island. There will be enough boats around the island that the initial moves will most likely be mad dashes to grab any boat near you, regardless of who placed them.

Each turn is four phases or steps. Choose whether or not to play a tile from your hand, move your islanders and boats, sink one part of the island, and then roll the sea creature dice and move that monster around the board. Some of the land tiles, after being revealed are taken up in your hand and can be played on your turn. These tiles are boat or swimmer bonus tiles and creature teleports.

Each player has three moves to spend each turn. On land each piece can freely move. Boats can move in water, but can only be controlled by a player if they are empty or they have control of it (meaning they have majority of occupants). Hitching a ride in someone else’s boat is always helpful, and boats are shark proof unlike swimming. But be careful of the whales.

Pieces can also end up swimming in the water by having their boat destroyed, the island sinking under them, or by jumping off the island (notice I said jumping not voted…this isn’t survivor its survive). This doesn’t necessarily mean you are screwed, it does increase your chances of being a snack to the sea creatures, and you can only move 1 space per turn towards safety. It’s still possible to be overlooked and swim the long open waters to safety, perhaps that sea monster thought the boat with 3 people would be more appetizing then you….even though you did just eat a peanut butter snickers.

If you can make it to one of the four corner islands, then you can get out of the water or step off that boat to safety. These islanders or Atlanteans are safe until the end of the game and are the only way to score points.

After moving their pieces, players must choose one of the pieces of the island to remove. This can be occupied (in which case any pieces on it are dropped violently into the ocean). The lowest-lying beach tiles must be removed first, followed by forest then mountain, and a tile touching the ocean must be chosen if possible. From this, you can have a pretty good idea of which parts of the island will still be around the longest, and probably also start to develop a phobia of sandy beaches..

Each removed landscape tile has a picture on its back. These come in several forms, good for you, bad, or bad for someone else.

Some tiles are kept until later, some have immediate effect. They’re all quite clearly laid out with easy to read icons as you can see from the picture below.

There are good, bad, and comical moments to these event tiles, so the decision of which part of the island to sink is an interesting one. I absolutely loved it when I sunk a piece of island my wife was on to find out that sharks were waiting right there. (Insert Jaws theme music here)

At the end of each player turn, the creature dice is rolled. It has two faces for each of the sea-creatures. Once a creature is rolled, the player may choose to move one of the creatures of that type that is already on the board. Each creature moves a different amount, whales move 3 spaces and destroy occupied boats, sharks move 2 and eat swimmers, while the Great Purple Sea Monster is slow and only moves 1 space, but both destroys boats and the occupants on them. (yell “Unleash the Kraken” when this happens)
Remember as the game progresses the island gets smaller, causing more and more panic. The game ends immediately when the Volcano tile is drawn, with all people still in boats or the water lost.

I apologize but I gots squids in this picture which is a mini expansion not included

At the end of the game, the players reveal which of their pieces actually made it to safety on the islands. The numbers on the bases report how many points each of them is worth, and the player with the most points wins. During the game, players have to keep in mind where their most valuable tokens are because they remain secret until the end of the game.

In addition to the base rules, the Survive box contains extension pieces to play the variant Escape from Atlantis as well as several other scoring variants which mostly make the game more forgiving or easier.

My Opinion

Overall, this is a huge hit and a great choice of a game for Stronghold Games to re-release. And like I have said before on games that I have reviewed from this company, I believe that Stronghold Games will be a force to be reckoned with if they keep up what they are doing. This game is a great family game, and can be easily enjoyed by every one. When I say everyone, I mean everyone, whether your hardcore and love the competition or you just want something casually fun. Get this game and check it out

Larry Fettinger and InD20 Group approve this review and give it 7.5 out of 10.

8
Go to the Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War page
34 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview and Components

I absolutely fell in love with this game. It is a game of strategic deduction and positioning to accomplish the “W”. You will start off every turn moving a spy to a spot on the board, and your opponent will tell you if that is a legal move for your spy or it is not. You then can mark in your secret spy folder the new information you have been given. You will take the knowledge you have learned from previous turns to capture the briefcase or other spies. But there is a twist, did the opponent lie to you about how your that spy could move? Could that spy just happen to be the double agent? These are just a few of the aspects in this game that I absolutely love. Now lets move onto the components.

This game comes with 26 uniquely-designed, two-piece, Bakelite-style, “Spy” playing pieces and 1 Top Secret Briefcase. The design of the pieces are absolutely genius, the quality is awesome. They didn’t hold back on there components quality which seems to be a trend that Stronghold Games seems to have. Take a look at the “Spy” pieces for yourself.

The last thing I want to say about the Spy pieces is explain what the symbols on the front mean. The first thing you will see is a Letter at the top of the piece to distinguish which piece is which. Then there is some arrows in three different positions on the piece, (top, middle, and bottom) these arrows show the directions this piece can move. Then there is a number, a lock, and/or a crown on the very bottom. In the above picture “Spy” piece A can move diagonally backwords 1 square (black arrows), either direction straight sideways (green arrows), or diagonally forward 1 square (red arrows). The 1 at the bottom shows how many spaces this piece can move. Now not shown on this specific piece is the lock and crown. The lock is used as reference only and just shows that the individual piece may not be able to return to the space it was previously on. The crown is a really cool idea. It gives that spy the ability to be promoted. To be promoted you must take that spy to the opponents back row on his side of the board (think “king me” in checkers). After being promoted the piece can move 2 spaces in any direction.
The next component I want to mention is the Spy Notebook. Having your own personal dry erase spy notebook is key to figuring out your spies talents and movement capabilities.

Having a dry erase marker, these notebooks can be used over and over again and again. I love this concept and it made me happy to not have to use pre-printed pieces of paper like in yahtzee.

The other pieces that should me mentioned is the playing board, 6 action tokens, and rule books. The action tokens are used for a variant of the game mentioned in the rulebook. Here is a picture of the play board.

The last thing I want to mention as far as components is the rule book. Everything is covered clearly and without any “Confusion” which is always a plus.

I read a review that made a statement that I absolutely have to repeat because it is 100% the truth. SuperRad stated and I quote:

Quote:
Stronghold Games continues to be the “Lazarus Pit” of the board gaming world – resurrecting classic, long out-of-print games for a whole new audience, and giving them the dazzling makeovers these games deserve.

My Opinion

Overall, this is a huge hit and a great choice of a game for Stronghold to revamp. There will be a great number of InD20 Group members that pick this game up. I believe that Stronghold Games will be a force to be reckoned with if they keep up what they are doing. I have two more games to review from Stronghold and I cannot wait to bring those to your viewing pleasure.

Larry Fettinger and InD20 Group approve this review and give it 9 out of 10.

6
Go to the Nightfall page

Nightfall

72 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game of drafting and combos that in all honest feels like they served me just potatoes. With the expansion came the meat. If you like a deck building game with great mechanics, then get this and the expansion.

Pros

1: I love the drafting mechanic. I have always been a huge fan of drafting in Magic and I think it is one of my favorite parts of this game.

2: Everyone is involved on each players turn. You don’t have a lot of time where you are just sitting there watching people take their turn.

3: The starting deck exiles itself. This will really help your deck building and drafting skills shine through, without having to worry as much about how am I going to get rid of all this junk!

4: It plays fast! The first game might take a while, but after that the games should be 45 minutes or less. You could even play a 2 player game in 10 minutes.

5: More wounds are not always a bad thing. The wounds you have will help you draw more cards during the clean up phase. As long as you don’t have too many this can be really helpful for setting up your next chain. Overall, it is just a nice way to help out the guy that has been wounded the most.

6: Kickers! It is pretty awesome when you can get 2, 3, or more kickers going off in your part of the chain alone. It is even more awesome when you can get a kicker from the chain that someone else had started leading into yours. It is possible though, that it is better to play without the kicker in certain instances. Just something you will have to watch for and figure out on your own when it happens.

Cons

1: You could do more harm than good if you are not paying close attention to what you are doing. You could easily end up destroying your minions or hurting yourself because of the order chain resolves. This is really just a con for new players. I would expect with practice, this would no longer be a problem.

2: This game won’t be for everyone. If you have people who are prone to whining because you targeted them in a game or that are not into games where you might get ganged up on if you are winning, this won’t be for them. What I would recommend for people like that is always taking the starting player spot when they sit to the right of you in Agricola, take all of their best routes in Ticket To Ride, and buy a power plant you don’t even need in Power Grid and then buy all of the coal(* you Tim).

3: Not enough card choices. This will easily be fixed with expansions. Since there is already one in the making this won’t be a con for long.

4: Two player games are very unforgiving. One big mistake and you probably just lost. Thankfully, the game goes by quick and you get another chance to redeem yourself.

Tips

1: To Chain or not to Chain, that is the question. Try to chain at optimal times whether it is your turn or not on your turn, just pay attention to when it will help you most to jump in.

2: Watch who has the least wounds. This will make it easier to know who is in the lead and who probably needs the next beating. You could just send a big attack to someone while he has no blockers and just take him out of the game right then and there, but that wouldn’t be very nice now would it.

3: Pay attention to the colors each player needs to start their chain. Failure to do this will result in possible surprises when they have more benefit from your turn than you did. Sometimes you can’t stop it from happening, just something good to keep in mind. In Closing Nightfall is a great deck building game that is completely unique from what is currently available. It is very addicting and I expect it to quickly become a staple in our gaming group. I highly recommend Nightfall to all fans of deck building games and beyond.

Larry Fettinger and the Ind20 gaming group approve this message.

9
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

63 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview

7 Wonder was one of those games that honestly everyone was ranting and raving about when it first came out and I absolutely had to find out for myself. And I was not let down about this one at all. If I had to pick a card game to break and play, this would be it hands down. I actually rate it as one of the top 3 games I own and/or have played in the last year. Let’s jump right into this review and see what can of excitement I can stir up.

The Basics

7 Wonders is a pleasant mix between civilization building, card drafting, and simultaneous play. At the beginning of the game each player randomly gets one player board representing that of one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. During the game, they get the opportunity to try and build that wonder, and receive rewards for doing so.

Each player board has a starting resource at the top. Which is a resource that the civilization will produce each round allowing the player to further there civilizations development. These resources can also be purchased from the players to your immediate left and right and are used to play the cards representing the pursuits of your culture.

The game takes place over different ages. In the base game of 7 Wonders you have three ages and in each age the players are dealt seven cards. Then, the players select one of those seven and put it face down on their board. After each player has chosen their card, everyone builds that card. They might play new resources, which allow them to build better items later on, pursue the sciences, build up a marketplace, create infrastructure, or train and build up a massive military.

But, once that card is played, the remaining six cards are passed to the next player. In this way, you’re never sure exactly what will be coming your way and what you may not have access to. Also, it means you’ll have to consider what you’re passing down the line to your opponents.

After each age has concluded each person compares there military and wage war on neighbors. You get a negative penalty if you lose the battle, and a positive 1, 3, or 5 depending on what age you are in if you win.

After the final battle the game ends and you add up your score. If this is your first game you probably feel like I did and cuss and grumble until everyone agrees to play a second time. (I wasn’t prepared for age 3 like I should have been due to lack of knowledge of the cards)

The Fuzzies

Though the game is relatively brief, you get the feeling of a true civilization game. There is plenty of strategic thinking, and quick adjusting of your strategy as the game progresses that it never leaves you with a sense of boredom.

Some have criticized 7 Wonders for a lack of interaction. I am a huge fan of games with social interaction, but I think that the lack of interaction in this game isn’t a flaw. No you don’t have a direct conflict feel in this game, but there is still some screw your neighbor aspects. In between ages, you attack, but only the player to your immediate left and right. That’s about it on the conflict, but you can however keep cards from players by burying them, or using them to build a wonder.

Components

The cards are printed on good card stock and the finish on the cards keep from a huge amount of glare. Another wonderful thing about the game is the size of the cards. I have heard of some people complaining about this fact due to sleeving the cards. I like the oversized cards because it helps the nearby players to easily view your cards and keep the game going. The rulebook is also well thought out and easy to understand. I own the first edition so my money tokens are actually wooden and since have been replaced with cardboard ones.

Mechanics

This is what has sold me on this game. I love the draft mechanic of this game. The other thing that I feel the designer has done well is the number of people this game supports. I don’t know very many games that honestly play up to 7 and can be played in less than 1 hour.

Leaders Expansion

7 Wonders: Leaders! The first expansion for 7 wonders was actually done just like you would expect. How do you expand a card game with a draft mechanic? By adding another round of drafting, which doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. Here is how it works, before starting the first age four white Leader cards are dealt to each player. Each player chooses one, and passes the rest to the player to their right. Then you choose from the three you received, and so on until have four cards in your hand. Then, at the beginning of each Age you can play one of these Leader cards, discarding it to get three coins, using it to build a Wonder Stage, or playing the Leader and placing it in front of you, to get the advantages each card offer.

Some of the Leader effects can modify the strategies you would usually use, so there is now wider range for tactical choices, which is the first thing players asked for in an expansion. 7 Wonders: Leaders also includes a new Wonder. The Rome Coliseum, which makes it easier to play the Leader cards, and also gives you the possibility of playing more Leaders than usual. Another thing included in the expansion is four new Guild cards.

My Opinion

This game is absolutely amazing. Overall, I couldn’t recommend this game enough; it’s truly awesome, easy to teach and great for gamers and non-gamers alike. Definitely becoming one of my favorite games to break out, for both strategy and speed.

Larry Fettinger and InD20 Group approve this review and give it 9.75 out of 10.

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

51 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

Ticket to Ride has seemed to be a game that is reviewed quite a lot. But with it being such a great gateway game, I felt that this one needed my attention.

The Components

Ticket to Ride comes with a box of high-quality components:

• 1 game board
• 240 plastic trains
• 5 wooden scoring markers
• 142 cards
• 1 rulebook
• 1 online access number

The entire map is done in a very attractive colored-pencil period style. Various sketches really help set the time period as the late 1800s, and I find this to work out beautifully for Days of Wonder. The routes are easy to make out. The city names are easy to make out from across the board, though some of the cities are slightly displaced on the map from their real locations to accommodate the route lengths. As a nice touch, there’s also a scoring chart listing route values down in the Gulf of Mexico. The scoring track running along the edges of the board is easy to use because all of the numbers are printed (as opposed to tracks which only print every second, fifth, or even tenth number), but is too short. Inevitably, one or more players will “lap” the scoring track at least once, maybe twice.

Despite minor concerns, the game board is a very attractive and a useful central focus for Ticket to Ride.

Plastic Trains: These are simple plastic train cards molded in the five player colors: red, black, yellow, green, and blue. They’re made out of sturdy, hard plastic, with fairly simple sculpting. Each player gets 45 trains; there are also 3 extra per color which you need to remember to pull out when you play.

Wooden Scoring Markers: These are thick wooden discs painted in the five player colors. They’re used for scoring.

Cards: All of the cards are printed on small, linen-textured cards of medium thickness with rounded corners. The production is quite high-quality.
110 of the cards are Train Cards. Each of these shows a full-color drawing of a type of train car in one of the 8 track colors (purple, white, blue, yellow, brown, dark gray, red, or green). 30 of the cards are Destination Ticket cards. These each show a map of the U.S. with two cities marked and a score for the ticket. These are slightly plain, but utilitarian.
There’s also 1 Summary card, which shows card distributions and route scoring (I wish there was one of these for each player, though by halfway through my first game I knew all the route scores) and 1 Longest Continuous Path bonus card, which is just a reminder of a victory condition.

Box & Tray: Ticket to Ride is packaged in a fairly standard medium square box. The tray inside is very well designed. There are spaces for each component, from the train and cars to the little scoring markers.
Overall Ticket to Ride is beautifully produced with components that are evocative, attractive, and easy to use. It earns a full “5” out of “5” for Style. (I found the other two Days of Wonder big box games a bit more striking, but this still eked in a “5” rating.)

The Game Play

The goal of Ticket to Ride is to build connections between various cities in North America.
The Map: The Ticket to Ride map depicts about 40 cities, mostly in the United States, but a few in southern Canada as well. Each city is connected to 2 to 7 other cities by routes. A route is a set length, between 1 and 6 spaces, and typically is one of eight colors (though approximately a third of the routes are instead gray, which we’ll see is a special, free-building color). There’s typically only one route between any two cities, but many of the more popular paths instead have two routes, which are often different colors. Players will claim these routes throughout the game using Train Cards of the appropriate colors.

Setup: Each player chooses a color at the start to mark his routes and takes the 45 trains in that color. He also receives 4 Train Cards and 3 Destination Cards (of which he may discard one if he wishes).
Further, five Train Cards are flipped face up next to the draw pile.

Train Cards. These 110 cards depict a color of train, related to the colors of the routes on the board. There are 8 total: purple, white, blue, yellow, brown, black, red, and green. There are also 18 “wild cards”–locomotives which may be used as any color.

Destination Cards. These 30 cards list two cities each (e.g., “Denver: Pittsburgh”) and a score (e.g., “11”). Players have to contiguously connect the two cities with their trains in order to score the points, and are penalized if they don’t (hence the opportunity to discard).

Order of Play: Each turn a player takes one of three possible actions:
1. Draw Train Cards.
2. Claim a Route.
3. Draw Destination Cards.

Draw Train Cards. There are always five face-up Train Cards next to a face-down deck of the same. You get to, one at a time; take two cards either from the face-up cards or the draw pile. Whenever you take a face-up card, you replace it from the draw pile. There’s one catch: if you take a face-up engine, which counts as two of your draws. Clearly, you generally want to make draws that help you complete sets to claim routes.

Claim a Route. To claim a route, you must lay down as many cards of the appropriate color as are needed to completely lay out the route (which will be between 1 and 6, depending on what’s depicted on the board). If the route is light gray, you may instead lay down an appropriate number of matching cards of any one color. When you claim a route, you place your trains in the route boxes. This will keep anyone else from claiming that exact same route (though, as noted above, sometimes a pair of cities have two potential routes between them). You also score points: 1 for a length 1 route, 2 for 2, 4 for 3, 7 for 4, 10 for 5, and 15 for 6. Clearly, longer routes are more valuable.
You can only claim one route each turn, no matter how many Train Cards you have.

Draw Destination Cards. Alternatively, you can draw 3 Destination Cards and return up to 2 of them.
Ending the Game: The game ends when one player finishes a turn with 2 or less trains in his stock. At that point everyone (including the player who’s almost out) gets one last turn. The player with the highest score wins. Ties go to the player who completed the most Destination Cards.

Conclusion

I’ve already reviewed some great games so far, but Ticket to Ride is amongst the top. It’s easy to play, it’s innovative, its strategic, and it’s a great all around family game. Ticket to Ride has my highest recommendation for just about any audience, but it’s particularly great for family, friends, and more casual gamers.

Larry Fettinger and Ind20 Group approve this review with a 9/10

9
Go to the Ascension page

Ascension

36 out of 41 gamers thought this was helpful

It amazes me how game designers come up with their ideas. I once heard someone say; they just drink a lot of beer, take a thesaurus, choose some random entries and hope for the best! I’m not sure exactly how they do it but I am very glad they do. And a prime example of this is Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer.

So, what’s different about Ascension then? Why would we pick this over Nightfall or Thunderstone? Well each game is great but there are some great reasons for each choice. Now for Ascension here is a big reason, it has roots from the father of all deck building games, Magic the Gathering – it was designed by MTG Tour champions Rob Dougherty, Brian Kibler and Justin Gary (who also founded Gary Games). One thing that I found impressive was that even though this is Gary Games first release you can tell that it was well thought out and it was not rushed at all.

Overall Gameplay

So here is the difference between Ascension and most other deck building games. First and foremost is the simplified take on the genre. Ascension has a focus on three major areas – Runes (it’s the money baby!!!), Power (used to kick @*# and take names) and Honor (this is where the win is. Victory points!). The amount of Honor used to start the game is based on the amount of players. When the last honor is taken, the games end is initiated, and whoever started the game don’t get another turn everyone else gets one making everyone’s turns equal.

There’s no limitation as to what you can do here as long as you have the Runes or Power – unlike in Dominion with its one action / one buy mechanic. Like other deck-building games, you start with a weak pile of cards, but your buying options are quite a bit different. You always have the option of buying certain cards suck as Mystics (more Runes) or Heavy Infantry (more Power) cards, or whacking the Cultist for a single Honor point, but there’s also The Central Row. This is six cards that will cost more Runes or Power to acquire or defeat, but will bring greater rewards – getting rid of one of them will see its spot replenished immediately, so making the right decisions can really reap you some good stuff.

Monsters

Monsters, as mentioned, will at least get you some Honor, but could also allow you to banish a card (chucking it into the Void – this game’s discard pile – which means you can whittle out the less important cards from your deck) or you may even have a chance to affect another player. Heroes boost your power, making monsters much easier to dispatch, but there’s also another type of card to consider – the Construct.

Constructs

Constructs are an interesting concept. Where most deck-building games have you discard everything you touch in a turn, the Constructs you manage to get your hands on actually stay in play, often giving you hefty bonuses (especially if you manage to pull a selection together). If you’re native to Magic then you might see these as Artifacts or Enchantments. Other cards in the deck can see Constructs returned back to players’ hands or discard piles, so they won’t always be around – but when they are, you’ll certainly have an advantage.

Play Time and Pretties

Games are quick – even a four player effort can be done in 45 minutes. The artwork is amazing, really showing the differences between the four in-game factions, while the cards and board are great quality – satisfyingly heavy and made to last (although you can get Ascension branded card sleeves if you so desire). Some of the flavour text is a bit cheesey, but hey these guys played MTG.(did you not read the flavour text on Grizzly Bears) Also, while it’s not a bad thing, you can tell that the whole game has been put together with expansion in mind, but what do you expect from a design team with such a huge love for MTG?

Summary

So now to the point of this review. Is this game worth getting, I know deck building games are not for everyone but if you’re a fan of these style of games then I say this is a must have. It hits the table every time our game group gets together because of the amount of time it takes to play. It’s a great game in my opinion, and with the ability to jump in no set up time and go. This is a must buy game. (If you’re a deck building fan)

Larry Fettinger and InD20 Group approve this review.

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