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Jen Moore

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Review 8 games and receive a total of 380 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Bang! The Dice Game page
Go to the Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game page
Go to the King of Tokyo page
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
Go to the Super Dungeon Explore page
Go to the Rivet Wars page
Go to the Mice and Mystics page
Go to the Tokaido page
9
Go to the Maharani page

Maharani

13 out of 13 gamers thought this was helpful

If I had a nickle for every board game I misjudged or previously disdained, well, I’d probably have a enough to buy a soda. I have discounted numerous games simply because they didn’t meet my expectations regarding what a fun game should look like or how it should play. When I first saw Maharani, I personally couldn’t work up any interest in the game. I received it free for backing the Kickstarter project, Thebes. Maharani looked attractive enough but the theme seemed boring and I feared the game would be overly complicated. Lay tile, move rondel, place workers and score points – yawn! You’re helping the King to complete the Taj Mahal palace by placing beautiful mosaic tiles – who cares? So the game sat on our shelf for months before we played it. What can I say – I was wrong – really wrong – about Maharani.
Game Basics (highlights from the rulebook)
The players try to place mosaic tiles in each quarter of the palace in order to earn as much gold as possible.They earn gold for each mosaic tile and each worker they place. The player with the most gold at the end wins. At the start of a player’s turn, he/she rotates the rondel so that its arrow points towards his/her position marker. Then the player must take one of two possible actions: 1 Place mosaic tiles and workers 2) Refresh action tiles. The player chooses one of the tiles lying on the rondel and places it either without using an action marker on any free space in the same quarter in which the tile is lying OR with the use of an action marker on any free space in any one of the other 3 quarters.
What I liked
1. Placing beautiful, mosaic tiles: Turns out, this is more fun than it sounds (well, it would just about have to be). The tiles you place have different patterns on them and there is something really compelling about deciding where to place them. I tend to want to have the largest section of one particular design, but there can be strategic advantages to breaking up a pattern. Lining up the tiles, trying to determine the ideal placement is really fun.
2. Simplicity: I was initially intimidated by this game because I thought it was going to be really hard to understand and too complicated to enjoy. While my gaming group initially played the game wrong the first time (there were a couple of fine points that we misinterpreted), we soon discovered our mistake and found that the game is actually pretty straightforward. It is helpful to have someone explain the game and walk you through it (but then again, that is true for any game). It is really straightforward, both adults and children can enjoy.
1. Strategy v Luck : This game has an element of luck in it – you have no control over when or where the different designed tiles will appear (and that can greatly impact a player’s choices and ultimate score). However, the player has a number of options in this game and a solid strategy can win the game. It helps to be able to quickly scan the board, assess the situation, and determine the optimal tile placement in order to score more points. This makes the game very engaging and tends to keep all the players’ focused on what is happening (rather than folks mentally checking out until it is their turn).
What I didn’t like
1. Player limit – This is a game I want to break out every weekend, but it only supports 2-4 players and we often have 6-8 players over. I thing that the game could be reworked to support a larger group.
Final Verdict
I am finding that some of my favorite games are the ones I least expected to like. I am still a bit baffled at times how the games that have become my favorites managed to do so. This game is one that, for whatever reason, I can play again and again. This game has opened my eyes and it makes me want to see what other games I have been wrong about! Maharani is a terrific game, with solid game play. It is simple, satisfying, and stimulating – and surprise, it really is fun!

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

12 out of 12 gamers thought this was helpful

Ah, how I wish I could go back and talk to my younger self – the one who scoffed at games simply because a theme wasn’t particularly attractive. Was I really so shallow? Thankfully, I’ve grown over the last year since my husband and I started hosting a weekly game night. I’ve come to see that there’s more to a game than its components and theme. I’ve learned that eurogames can be fun and that a game about laying down train routes can be addictive! My initial impression of Ticket to Ride was that it would be boring and dull. I was wrong, and I can’t put my finger on why I like this game so much.
What I liked
1. Components: The components are nice. The tickets look like tickets, and the little plastic trains are well made. (Granted, the train cards could be larger, but they are well made.)
2. Simplicity: The game is easy to learn and easy to play. It is so straightforward, this is one that both adults and children can enjoy and get into. It is simple and fun
2. Scale-able goals: You don’t have any control over the routes you draw, but you are able to choose which ones you wish to pursue. So you can set out to really challenge yourself, so just take a few easy routes. Depending upon how the other players do, your selections may or may not be sufficient to gain enough points. Likewise, taking too many routes may mean that you have bitten off more than you can chew and your final score will suffer.
What I didn’t like
1. Replay Value – This is a game I can play time and again because it is fun; however, at a certain point, it can get a bit samey. There are only so many routes to choose and so many ways to get there. Multiple games can start to feel repetitive (though I understand the 1910 expansion helps mitigate this).
2. Outcome Apparent – I haven’t found it always to be the case, but sometimes it becomes obvious who is going to win a game and who doesn’t stand a chance. And a player who realizes victory is lost may lose interest in the game as it goes on (i.e., why bother anymore now that my route from LA to Miami is completely blocked off or requires more train cars than I have remaining).
Final Verdict
I love this game, it is well worth the price – and train placing is weirdly fun..

8
Go to the Bang! The Dice Game page
10 out of 10 gamers thought this was helpful

While this isn’t my favorite board game, it is the game that has landed on our game table more than any other. This game scratches an itch with my gaming group and no matter what game we play as our main event, Bang inevitably ends the evening. This is a game that can be set up quickly, and the game itself goes pretty fast.

What I liked

1. Dice chucking fun: I never played the card version of this game, so I can’t compare it, but the act of rolling dice, Yatzee-style is great fun. The dice are good quality and the images are easily discernible. With this game, my group has taken to trying to change up their dice rolling styles in the hopes of impressing the dice gods of luck.

2. Interaction between players: I like the game where everyone is engaged – even when it isn’t their turn. You never know what will happen with the dice roll, and everyone is waiting to see if they will be hit – or maybe helped. Even when a player has been eliminated, they tend to stick around to see the results – and cheer or jeer those still in the game.

3. Special character abilities: With this game, you get a character who has a special ability. Some of these abilities are very powerful and others are kind of pathetic, but I find that by taking on a character with a unique ability, everyone seems to get into the game a bit more and each person’s roll varies – even if everyone were to get the same results.

What I didn’t like

1. Are you feeling lucky? – Dice rolls can go poorly for a particular player who may lose interest in the game as it goes on. In our gaming group, there is a guy who is always killed first – and sometimes by the second round. So, if you tend to roll cursed dice, you could easily (and understandably) grow to hate this game.

2. To blave means to bluff – Don’t get me wrong, bluffing games are a staple in gaming – and my group loves them. And I enjoy them too, but… I am just really bad at bluffing. Any traitor game or bluffing game there is – I will hope and cross my fingers that I score a loyalist card. In this game, I want to be the Sheriff or at least the Deputy. If that doesn’t happen, I’ve got to try to pretend to be a good guy and I keep shooting the sheriff by mistake – a deception my group will quickly see through. So this isn’t a problem with the game, but my own inability to keep a poker face.

Final Verdict

I love this game when I am the sheriff, when the dice are in my favor, and when my special ability is on par with a super power. When the dice keep blowing me up, my special ability isn’t so special, and when I’m an outlaw trying to convince everyone I”m the deputy, well, I’m still having a pretty good time and looking forward to playing it again next week!

10
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
10 out of 10 gamers thought this was helpful

When I first got into board games, I had this image in my head of what kind of board games were my kind of board games. I was enamored with games that had fantastic components, beautiful, paint-able miniatures, and a theme I could really enjoy. Games with unexciting themes, simple components, and no miniatures left me feeling unimpressed. And so I came to see Settlers of Catan as the epitome of a game that just wasn’t for me. Luckily, not all of my gaming group was so closed minded about games and one night, Settlers landed on my table. After playing a game, I was hooked. It was a blast and I wanted to play it again – and again. So from a former hater of Settlers of Catan, here’s my review…
What I liked
1. Theme: While the theme is not super exciting or flashy, it holds together very well. It is easy to imagine you are trying to develop your settlements. The robber coming to steal your stuff seems like a legitimate concern or issue settlers would face.
2. Simplicity: The game is easy to learn and easy to play. It is so straightforward, this is one that both adults and children can enjoy and get into.
3. Interaction between players: I really like the fact that you can trade with other players. It keeps the group engaged even when it is someone else’s turn. And there is always the dilemma of “do I or don’t I help my competition.”
What I didn’t like
1. The Robber! – He’s a jerk, and if he pops up a lot in a particular game, it can get old. House rules may go a long way for dealing with him. Besides the robber, dice rolls can go poorly for a particular player who may lose interest in the game as it goes on.
2. The basic components- Don’t get me wrong, everything is quality made in this game – I just like a bit more pizzazz in my gaming. As a result, my husband and I bought the 10 Year Anniversary version of the game, which replaces the wooden representations of towns and cities with upgraded plastic towns and cities. We also found a 3-D printed version of the game board with realistic landscape.
Final Verdict
I love this game. I was so wrong about it and I now see the light. Trading sheep for bricks is the best!

9
Go to the Krosmaster: Arena page

Krosmaster: Arena

98 out of 105 gamers thought this was helpful

I discovered Krosmaster Arena during the Frigost Expansion Kickstarter and had to ask myself how I could have missed the original game. Krosmaster Arena appealed to me with its chibi miniatures and quality artwork. The game looked adorable, and because I’m a sucker for the cute factor, I can be taken in by a pretty exterior only to find the game inside the box is lacking. However, such was not the case with Krosmaster Arena.
Game Basics
Each player controls a team of characters (or Krosmasters) and is battling your opponent’s team of characters (Krosmasters) for the Krosmoz Demon lords entertainment and you are attempting to either knock out your opponent’s team or have them lose all their Gallons of Glory Tokens. You roll dice to do battle with your opponent and your Krosmasters can use special powers (or special assistants), which will be indicated on their character card. You can buy rewards with Kama you acquire, which will help your Krosmaster as well. The board game has obstacles to move around and even climb over, which factors into fighting and moving as well.
What I Liked
1.Miniatures: I really liked how well done the miniatures were for this game. And they all are painted and ready to play right out of the box, so there isn’t any delay to play while you prime and paint your figures. The figures are all very creative looking and in general, there are a number of unique sculpts with very creative looks, although at a certain point, the same figure gets reused and just given different colors to be dubbed a new character. Although for me, this isn’t a problem as the figures all still have very different looks and the quality is very high.
2. Good game: There is a solid game here. I was taken in by the figures and I wouldn’t have expected to like a tactical, fighting board game, but it really works. It is easy to learn with a nice tutorial rulebook, and it is fun to play.
3.Upgrade Components: As I mentioned before, I became aware of this game during the kickstarter of the expansion for the game, and at that time, I became aware of the upgrade components for the game. In place of cardboard tokens, one can purchase resin figures, and metal coins, and colored dice, as Account Deletion mentioned in her review below. I did pick up the resin version of the tokens for Krosmaster Arena, and they are BEAUTIFUL and well made, and I would love to get them for the Frigost expansion too, but they are so expensive, that is unlikely that I will. That brings me to…
What I Didn’t Like
1. Cost for the game can add up very quickly. It is good to get more Krosmasters, so you can add variety to your games. But this can get expensive. You can get a deal if you are patient and are willing to shop around, but even so, if you are wanting to upgrade your game, you can easily drop a good chunk of change into it.
Final Verdict
This is a fun game that looks good on the outside, but has surprising depth inside.

9
Go to the Talisman page

Talisman

18 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

When I was growing up, we played board games in my family; but they were limited to mainly word games and trivia and I'd never heard of Talisman. I hadn’t really been exposed to a wide variety of board games, so when my husband purchased a used copy of an earlier edition of Talisman off of eBay earlier this year, I was excited to check it out.

The black box the game came in with the gold writing was beautiful. We opened the box and found a board with artwork that was breathtaking. The components were nice, the rule book was a bit long, but it was easy enough to read and the game was easy to learn. You roll a die to determine your movement around the board, encountering dangerous foes and claiming powerful rewards, all in preparation for your final climactic test. Once we played the game, I wanted to play another! So here are some things that worked for me, and those that didn’t…

What I liked

1. Theme/Art: The fantastical world of magic and monsters comes alive with the beautiful artwork on the board and on the different cards.

2. Components: So I need to stress that I have an earlier edition of the game – not the latest edition (produced by Final Fantasy). So the version I received did not include plastic miniatures, but I believe the latest versions include miniatures. My copy (by Black Industries) included:

1 Game Board

104 Adventure Cards

24 Spell Cards

40 Strength Counters

40 Craft Counters

40 Life Counters

36 Fate Tokens

28 Purchase Cards

4 Talisman Cards

14 Character Cards

14 Die-cut Playing Piece Cards

4 Toad Cards

4 Alignment Cards

30 Gold Coins

6 Six-sided Dice

The components are all well made. The gold coins actually jingle like coins actual coins might! The cards are pretty sturdy . We’ve swapped out our die-cut playing piece cards for miniatures we already had on hand, but folks who buy the revised 4th edition will receive miniatures with the game.

What I didn’t like

1. The Lack of Strategy – This is really the only issue I have with the game. Other reviewers have made several points about this and they are valid. As much as I enjoy the beauty of this game, as much as I am drawn into the world created here, I feel like so much can come down to the roll of the dice. It can get very frustrating and can make the game start to drag on as you loop around again trying to get the right card or the right roll.

Final Verdict

So for me, I really do enjoy playing this game, and I always look forward to playing it. However, I do recognize that it can have a pretty substantial downside to it, so it may be necessary to implement house rules at times to help address some of the randomness. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater as this is a really fun game -one which will delight you when you’ve finally claimed that Crown of Command!

9
Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

68 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

My husband picked up King of Tokyo and its expansions at Christmas and it didn’t take long for this little game to quickly become a favorite of ours. Easy to learn and easy to play, this game makes it into the rotation quite often. So here’s what I loved, and those things that I didn’t…
What I liked
1. Theme: The monsters-attacking-Tokyo theme is pretty fun and enjoyable and it is carried out nicely throughout the game. From the dice (a creature claw for attacking and a heart for healing as possible outcomes) to the monster cardboard cutouts to the Tokyo burning tiny game board, to the awesome powers you can purchase with your (adorable) energy cubes… The theme in King of Tokyo is well executed. Furthermore, the expansions available for the game add subsequent powers and enhance the theme further (but we’ll save that for a future review).
2. Components: This is a game where I feel like I am getting my money’s worth. King of Tokyo includes:
1 tiny Tokyo board
6 monster boards; 6 monster cardboard figures with plastic stands
66 cards
Numerous energy cubes
8 dice (6 black, 2 green)
Rules
Normally, I would be disappointed that the game doesn’t include actual, plastic miniatures that I can paint, but for this game and given its price, I feel like the cardboard figures works well and it appropriate. And I really love the tiny energy cubes (although the dice could stand to be a little smaller, as I find it is hard to fit them all in my hand.)
3. Fun: I really dig the overall approach of the game. There is certainly a Yahtzee quality, where you are rolling dice to get the best results. Multiple numbers will give you victory points, energy will let you collect these uber-tiny green cubes that allow you to buy cards with special abilities, claws allow you to hit the other monsters, and hearts let you heal (as long as you aren’t in Tokyo). The theme of the game makes this more than just a straightforward game of Yahtzee where you are trying to get the best role. This game is easy to play and so much fun that I’m always willing to bring it to the table.
What isn’t the greatest
1. 2-Player Dynamic- This to me is where I feel like the game can get a bit old. I play two player games more often than anything else and with this game, there is a bit of a disadvantage when you don’t have other monsters to direct your attacks to – your opponent never changes. Perhaps managing multiple monsters would improve the game play, but I have yet to try that.
2. The board design – While I like that the board was kept small for this game, it seems odd to me that there isn’t room for the monsters who aren’t in Tokyo to stand. Tokyo Bay, the section outside of Tokyo, is actually only intended to be used when there are 5-6 players, but I think there should really be more of an area on the board for the monsters that haven’t entered the city to be residing.
Final Verdict
We find this game to be very enjoyable and it is now a regular at our table. This is a fun little game that we play whenever we want a monster-beating, city-crushing, energy-absorbing good time!

8
Go to the Zombies!!! (2ed) page

Zombies!!! (2ed)

19 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

ZOMBIES!!! was the first zombie-themed game I’d ever played and as such, it holds a special place in my heart. While it isn’t my favorite zombie-themed game, it is fun, fairly straightforward, and it is a good value considering all that is included in the box:
30 Map Tiles
50 Card Event Deck
100 Plastic Zombies
6 Plastic Pawns
30 Life Tokens
60 Bullet Tokens
2 Dice
Instructions
ZOMBIES!!! has about a dozen expansions as well as Humans! and Martians! spin-offs. In fact, as of the writing of this review, Twilight Creations has a Kickstarter in the works to produce a new expansion (Zombies!!! 13). We’ve added a number of the available expansions to our collection in the Moore household and use a select subset of the rules and cards.
What I Like
The Event Cards – The artwork on the cards is well done. The cards themselves help keep the game interesting and humor is incorporated on the cards. (The cards also indicate which expansion they come from, which is very handy when you want to mix them together and later be able to separate them back out.)
Hurray for the Helipad!!! – Some zombie-themed games on the market know seem to be a trial to find out who can last the longest. If there is a winner, it was only because they were the last to die. While this can be very intense and dramatic, it is also a bit depressing when there is no getting out alive. I enjoy the fact that the goal of ZOMBIES!!! is to get to the Helipad tile, or safety.
The value of the game is appropriate for the cost. For about 20-30 bucks, you can get a fun game with 106 plastic miniatures. I wouldn’t complain if the cardboard life tokens and bullet tokens were replaced with plastic or resin tokens, or if the map tiles were made out of heavier card stock, but given the price of the game, everything is pretty well fair.
The rulebook is very clear, short, and simple. Just like the game itself, it is pretty straightforward. I didn’t have an appropriate appreciation for this when we first got the game, but after having gone through the Zpocalypse rulebook, I can definitely applaud ZOMBIES!!! for providing such a basic and easily understood rulebook.
What I Don’t Like
The bumpable, shifting, creeping map tiles!!! – The map tiles are fairly thin and end up getting bumped and shifted with the slightest provocation as we play. This is very frustrating. When we play this game, we have a sheet of construction paper with ***** to hold the corners of the cards and thus, the cards, in place. Heavier or interlocking tiles might mitigate this “shifting” problem.
Can be too simplistic – While the event cards are fun and I dig the miniatures, ultimately, the game can get a bit boring. So much of the game is just rolling the dice. Roll the dice to move your pawn. Roll the dice to fight the zombies.
Overall, it is an enjoyable game, but there are better ones out there. However, for the price, it is definitely a worthwhile investment and a game that will make its way out on the table time and time again.

9
33 out of 35 gamers thought this was helpful

My husband turned me on to this site, and from the moment I saw it, I was hooked. I’ll admit it, it was the darling illustrations, the clean design and pleasing color palette, and the intuitive site layout that first appealed to me. I was intrigued by the game-like approach behind the site and as I watched my husband gain experience points and level up – I wanted to play too! As I always have been a bit of an overachiever who thrives on positive reinforcement, I didn’t want to miss out on all these badges and fun! (I once spent a good solid month playing Mafia Wars on Facebook just trying to amass all the different collections – drinks, fish, Matryoshka dolls, etc., so I’m no stranger to becoming obsessed with obtaining something of arbitrary value.)
While it was the beauty of the game and its – dare I say it – gimmicks – that first enraptured me, as I’ve now thoroughly immersed myself into the game, I’ve become engrossed in the site mission and caught up in how much it has done for me. The site has exposed me to new games, I’ve had the opportunity to read reviews, tips, and discussions from the BG community, and I’ve been constantly encouraged to check out another game and explore another favorite. It is hard to believe it has been just over a month ago that I joined this site, because in that short time, the site has become “My new favorite site for taking a break,” and, “a game I can’t stop playing!”

10
Go to the Ninja Versus Ninja page

Ninja Versus Ninja

70 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

When I discovered that my husband ordered a copy of Ninja Versus Ninja cheap on eBay, I got a chuckle out of it. The game looked adorable, and I’m a sucker for the cute factor. However, I fully expected that when the game arrived in the mail, we’d take the pieces out, giggle gleefully, and then box everything back up and on a shelf to collect dust. Aside from its novelty value, I didn’t exactly expect much from the game and was already anticipating the moment when we would be putting it in a yard sale. Although, when it arrived, I discovered there was more to the game than I had expected.

Game Basics

Each player controls a team of ninjas attempting to secure their dōjō and cross into the opponent’s dōjō to earn points. You can win one of two ways: earn seven points or eliminate all of the opponent’s ninjas. Each player has six ninjas (red or black), a shadow ninja (which tracks progress into the opponent’s dōjō) and a ninja master (which tracks score). Players roll two, four-sided dice and move their ninja in a straight line, L-shaped move, or a reversal (if in the enemy’s dōjō), according to the results of the roll. As its been previously stated, if a ninja’s movement ends on top of an opponent’s ninja, he has eliminated that ninja. Ninjas go on missions venturing into the opponent’s dōjō and must return within three consecutive turns. So be careful about heading too far across the board, because if the ninja cannot make it back to his own dōjō at the end of his third turn, he is eliminated. 🙁

What I Liked

1.Theme: I really liked how well done the theme was for this game. All the little ninjas were very well done – these pieces are very cute and the attention to detail is nice for a game like this – their attire looked like what a ninja would wear, and they went nicely with the ninja masters and shadow ninjas. The board was beautiful with the bamboo squares for the dōjō and the throwing stars marked the shadow track and the scoring track. The name of the game is written on the board in a very ninja-inspired looking font. Even the two, four-sided dice continued the use of the ninja theme as they had swords going through them. It all just looked really sharp and held together well.

2.Game Play: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed playing this game. The games can go very fast and the tide can turn quite quickly, but they are very addictive. “Again, again,” I cry, after a particularly satisfactory victory, and I’m just as quick to demand a rematch after a disappointing defeat. While I expected this to be a kid’s game, I discovered there is a fair amount of strategy involved, which will appeal to adults who might not have expected it from this game. When it seems that the game is lost, sometime placing your ninja in the path of the enemy is the only way to keep the other side from getting that winning score.

3. Overall Quality: The board was well done, the box insert has plenty of room to hold all the pieces comfortably, and the pieces all feel very durable. This is a terrific game for the price.

What I Didn’t Like

Actually, for what the game is, everything really works for me. (I did rate it a 10 after all.) If I had to come up with something, the swords are a bit bendy, but I don’t have any concerns that they will break. Also, the game we picked up was used, and our dice are starting to wear on the edges. Mainly, I don’t like losing a game (I get very attached to my ninjas), but I don’t hold that against Ninja Versus Ninja or Out of the Box Publishing.

Final Verdict

Seriously? Buy it already! You can get the game for about 23.00 bucks (and you may be able to go cheaper if you look for a used one). At that price, it is a steal for something that can provide hours of entertainment. It is super-easy to learn, the games are quick and so much fun, and it is perfect if you ever secretly wanted to be a ninja.

6
Go to the buffalo page

buffalo

96 out of 103 gamers thought this was helpful

So let me start by saying that Buffalo is actually a cute little party game good for a fairly wide audience. It is simple and straightforward, while providing a wonderful opportunity for folks to come together and try to see who can come up the quickest exemplar of a skinny comedian or a grumpy puppet (for instance). (And who hasn’t been looking for such an opportunity?) The game consists of two stacks of cards (over 400 total) and a rulebook. Make that rulepage. The rules are very simple as is the game itself. I can’t overstate this enough: It is a simple and a cute game that can be a lot of fun with the right group. If your group is very diverse, there may not be a lot of familiarity with the references made, which could prove entertaining or informative for players, or it could result in folks just losing interest.

The card backs have a cute buffalo on them, and the cards themselves are uncluttered and basic. There’s a buffalo card in the deck as some folks have mentioned, where if he turns up, you can collect all the cards with a match. I don’t know that the buffalo card adds a ton of value, but it can change the tide in a game. There’s no real setup involved and the game can go for as little or as long as the players want! The replay value with this game is huge due to the number of cards and card combinations.

For me though, I’m torn on this game. I really love the idea behind it and the ridiculous amount of cards that are included is fantastic; however, I HATE those, “Be the fastest person in the group to say it,” games. So while I’m sitting there tripping over my tongue, everyone else around me is collecting all the cards. And ultimately, I’m staring at those cards thinking about how they are just nouns and adjectives. Folks are throwing their hard-earned Jacksons down on the counter – for nouns and adjectives on cards. If only I could have invented this game! I mean, do we really even need the cards to play this game? Oh, but without the cards, we wouldn’t get to enjoy the artwork of the cute buffalo. 🙂

All in all, Buffalo undeniably has its charm and is an enjoyable party game; however, for me, some serious house rule modifications will need to be worked in before it is the kind of game I’ll want to bust out on a regular basis.

8
Go to the Zpocalypse page

Zpocalypse

35 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

It was due to our affinity for all things zombie-themed that my husband and I first purchased Zpocalypse. We’d missed out on the Kickstarter, but were delighted when we managed to pick it up on eBay at a reasonable price. Now, my husband is usually the one to read through a game’s instructions and rules and teach me the mechanics later. But this time, I volunteered for the task. This game’s 22-page instruction manual reads more like an encyclopedia than a rule book, so for several days, I poured over the document trying to make sense of it. After one false start in the game, I realized I needed to go back to the rule book once more, because clearly, I must have missed something. Zombie Love gave me the strength I needed to master Zpocalypse – or more specifically – the rulebook. Once we did finally get to play the game, we had a blast – and played another game. So for your benefit, here are some things that worked for me, and those that didn’t…

What I liked

1. Theme: The zombie theme is carried out nicely throughout the game. From the dice (red with bullet holes and blue with bullets) to the zombie miniatures to the victory point tracker board that captures the feel of a destroyed city being ravaged by a zombie outbreak, the theme in Zpocalypse is not simply “pasted on,” rather, it permeates every aspect of the game. Furthermore, the dread that comes with battling against this horde of undead zombies mounts as the game goes on, adding to the tone of the game.

2. Components: What can I say? I love a game where I feel like I am getting a lot of stuff. When the box is overflowing with goodies, I’m like a kid in a candy store as I’m unboxing it. Zpocalypse does not disappoint when it comes to the “what’s in the box” factor:
20 board tiles
80 build tokens
135 standard cards; 27 non-standard goal cards
1 point tracker; 4 colored point tracker tokens
12 dice (8 red, 4 blue)
22 page rule booklet
30 zombie miniatures; 9 hero miniatures
4 squad boards; 4 squad miniatures with unique base colors

3. Originality: I really dig the overall approach of the game. Sure, there are a lot of zombie-themed games on the market (and I own many of them), but Zpocalypse brings something new to the table. Each player is controlling a squad of survivors, rather than just one individual, and there is strength in numbers. The squad statistics are managed with a heavy duty board that has handy dials to make updating those stats a cinch. Also, rather than simply rolling the dice and fighting zombies until the bitter end, this game incorporates other survival aspects, such as scavenging for food and supplies, and building fortifications.

What I didn’t like

1. The Rule book!!! – This to me was almost a deal-breaker, as the rule book was detailed, but very often unclear. Typos present often made the instructions hard to follow (the numbered list starts at 6 and the user is directed to repeat steps 3-7 again, but where are steps 3-5 located?). Words were replaced with tiny icons so that I felt as though I was reading ancient hieroglyphics or a Highlights magazine. Pages were cluttered with examples that were hard to read and complete with images for examples that had unclear descriptions, if any. Ample pages were spent outlining the different elements of the game separately; however, there wasn’t a decent job providing a simple, straightforward turn summary or player reference sheet. Certain actions happen multiple times in the game, and it isn’t clear when exactly the action needs to take place, so having a more holistic narrative would have helped clarify the game play. Minutia was explained thoroughly; however, game basics were glossed over.

2. The art work- I do think that the art work goes fine with the theme; however, the art itself is a bit messy. It isn’t horrible, but it isn’t consistent throughout. It looks like different artists were used for the board and the cards, and when looking at the board, it is hard to tell what is on there, which leads me to…

3. The board design – While I like that the board segments are sturdy and lock together to keep from shifting, I find the design of the board to be problematic. Everything is a bit too cluttered to be able to tell what you are seeing, where the spaces are, which spaces can be landed on, and other information about the tiles. The confusing jumble of images is overwhelming to take in, and while that may be the affect the designer was attempting to achieve, I found it slightly off-putting and an obstacle to be dealt with.

Final Verdict
To really understand the game, IMO you’ll have to hit YouTube and watch a game play video. That, combined with our first failed attempt to play the game, seemed to work for us. Now, we are able to play the game easily. We find it to be very enjoyable and it is now a regular at our table. In summary, it can be hard to learn, but is well worth it for the new aspects the game incorporates (e.g., searching for resources, building fortifications) as well as the zombie-killing mayhem.

3
Go to the Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead page
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My husband and I love the zombie theme – it is a bit of an obsession in the Moore household. And we both love gaming, so imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this treasure at our FLGS. The game states its objective as, “You have been overrun by multiple outbreaks of Moaning Virus 1 (MV1) and the outlook is bleak. You must retro-fit your largely symbolic military quickly to turn back the tide of rotting corpses. At the same time, you must optimize your quickly dwindling resources to fund crucial medical and scientific breakthroughs to save your civilians…” Woo hoo – I know how I’m spending my afternoon – saving the planet from MV1! As soon as we got home, we opened the box, unpacked all the bits and boards – you do get quite a lot with this game – and after reading over the instructions, we started playing (or attempted to anyway). The sparkle quickly faded from our eyes as we realized this game where zombies are taking over the world just wasn’t going to be as fun as we’d thought it would be.

What I liked

1. You do get a lot in the game – lots of counters, adorable military units (representing tanks), freedom point pawns, technology counters, technology sheets, a leader card, technology sheets, mutation markers, resource cards (food, oil, ore – that sort of thing), resource counters, lots o’ dice, a large game board, and zombie tokens. So you are getting a lot of stuff in the box.

2. It had intentions of being a zombie game, so I do want to give it points for that. I really like the concept of it – the scope of doing a large-scale zombie disaster recovery game. Trying to manage resources and fight against this tide of the dead is such an awesome concept. And the board even makes sense – the way it is set up as a giant map of the Earth, with borders indicated.

3. I agree with the reviewer who said that it allows for strong strategic gameplay and provides the feeling of impending doom – no doubt about that. Though I would suggest that the feeling of impending doom almost overwhelms the desire to play, as it is not a case of who will win, but who will lose last. (As I can see I’m shading into what I didn’t like, I’ll just move on…)

What I didn’t like

1.WHERE ARE THE ZOMBIES? For a zombie-themed game, it seemed like this game could have been about anything else. I tended to forget at times that these were zombies attacking instead of an outbreak of polio or bird flu or giant hamsters attacking and overrunning villages. Yes, there were zombie tokens, but they were tiny, and could have just been guys with some flesh-eating bacteria problem or maybe severe acne. The zombie theme just fell flat as this was ultimately about resource management.

2. The game became very complicated to play. To be fair, I haven’t played similar games before (I saw it compared to Pandemic and Settlers of Catan), so it could be my lack of familiarity with the experience made me predisposed to resist it. Regardless, there were lots of phases to go through, complex rules, different actions on the board, different tiers to go through.

3. For me, I really would have liked the game to have come with miniatures to paint, rather than so many little cardboard tokens. That would have helped with the theme of zombies, and helped enhance the quality of the game. Having the little plastic tanks were nice, so having other resources made out of plastic would have really been an improvement.

4. The movement on the board seemed a bit lacking – it felt like a game of Risk to me, which I’ve never really gotten into.
All-in-all, it felt like work, like a challenge – and without a clear zombie theme it wasn’t worth it. Game after game was played in attempt to love this game – and with each game, it became clear that it just wasn’t for us.

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