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kodama9

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7
Go to the Mesopotamia page

Mesopotamia

18 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview:
Players choose a color (red, yellow, blue, green) and represent an ancient Mesopotamian tribe trying to earn the favor of the deity, Marduk. Players will be erecting huts, building holy places, adding to the temple, collecting resources, exploring new lands, partaking in baby making, and offering goods to Marduk. The first player to get all of their offering tokens to the temple wins.

Game Play:
At the beginning of the game, players set up what the starting board will be, with the temple space, beginning resources, and starting locations for players’ pieces. Each player starts with one hut and three tribe pieces on the board. In each players’ reserve, they will have 5 tribes, 4 huts, 3 holy place markers, and their 4 offering tokens. Players also set their mana scales to their starting positions. During a players turn, they will move their tribe, conduct actions, and gain mana. Each player can move their tribe a total of 5 tiles, dividing these spaces among any number of tribe pieces. The only tiles tribes cannot move onto or through are volcano tiles. As tribes move, they can pick up and carry resources (wood from forest tiles, stone from quarry tiles), steal resources from an opposing tribe, help build the temple by bringing stone to the temple tile, make an offering by bringing an offering token to the temple, and discover new lands. Picking up and stealing resources is simple with you placing the wood or stone on top of your tribe and moving on your way. When you help build the temple you get one mana and the maximum mana you can have goes up by one. When you make an offering, you flip the token over and have to pay the amount of mana shown on it (2, 4, 6, or 7). If you can’t pay the required mana, you don’t make the offering and return their tribe to a tile adjacent to the temple. When your tribe goes to move off of the existing tiles, they discover new lands by flipping over a tile from a face-down stack (much like Wrede’s other game, Carcassonne). After moving, players can conduct one of the following actions; build a hut, erect a holy place, make a baby, or draw one card. Huts can only be built on plains tiles, and require two tribe pieces and a piece of wood to be present on the same tile. After the hut is constructed, the player takes one of their offering tokens at random and places it under the hut to possibly be picked up later by one of their tribe. Holy sites also can only be built on plains tiles. These require stone instead of wood but still need two tribe pieces on the same tile. Once finished, tribe pieces can stop at holy places so that players gain mana. So players have access to more tribe pieces to move around the board and conduct tasks, players can get a couple of existing tribe pieces together at a hut and make a baby. You can even do this with multiple pairs of tribe pieces at a single hut (must be some sort of inn). The new tribe is place on the same tile where its parents conceived and can be used on later turns. The last option of drawing a card is self explanatory. Cards grant players a number of benefits, some of which are having twins when growing their population, taking mana from an opponent, or peeking at and changing new tiles when discovering new lands. Play will continue with players moving their tribes, collecting resources, and conducting necessary actions until one player has delivered all of the offering tokens. The first to deliver all offerings wins the game and the blessing of glorious Marduk.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoy Wrede’s games (especially Carcassonne). The random flipping of face-down tiles from a stack to form the board makes no two games alike. With their being a lot of options and actions that players can take during their turn, players strategies will be different each game and will evolve as gameplay unfolds. The number of things going on is hard to wrap ones head around at first and frequent checks to the rules will be made during your first play through or two but for the most part they are fairly intuitive and logical. I’d never heard about this game until I stumbled upon it, and I am glad that I picked it up when I did.

Pros:
~Large amount of replay since new tiles are drawn at random and the cards you draw during play will affect your decisions.
~The components are great. Real wood and real stones are used for the resources. Nice thick tiles with good art.
~After you remember all of the stuff you can do on your turn, it’s easy to play.

Cons:
~Doesn’t do anything new or original. Uses a combination of mechanics that are, by themselves, done better in other games
~A bit pricey, although the components are great. I luckily picked this up on the cheap at GenCon.

Overall:
I do really like this game. It plays well and has a historic theme I really like. When I opened the box and saw real rocks for the stone resources I was amazed. The rules are not difficult and the gameplay leads itself to many different strategies.

7
Go to the The Magic Labyrinth page
25 out of 27 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview:
You play as a young magician in search of missing magic symbols. Unfortunately they seem to be scattered in a magic maze where you cannot see the walls. Between 2 to 4 players take turns trying to find their way around the labyrinth while trying to be the first magician to find 5 symbols and win the game.

Game Play:
Players begin by constructing the labyrinth by placing wooden wall pieces into the labyrinth grid. When construction is complete, the actual gameboard is placed over the grid so players cannot see the placement of the walls. Players choose which color magician they are going to be (red, yellow, green, or blue) and place it in one of the corners. On the bottom of each magician piece is a magnet that will hold a ball-bearing underneath the gameboard. As players move around the maze and run into walls their ball-bearing will drop and they will have to return to their corner. At the start of gameplay a magic symbol will be pulled from the bag and placed on the corresponding picture found on the gameboard. Players will take turns rolling the die and trying to find their way around the labyrinth. If a player runs into a wall their ball will drop, they will return to their corner, re-magnetize their ball under their magician, and end their turn. If a player moves and doesn’t hit a wall they stay were their movement ended. If a player ends on a magic symbol piece they add it to their collection, pull and place a new magic symbol, and end their turn. If the new magic symbol is place on a spot where another magician is already at that player gets the piece and new one is pulled. Play will continue with players moving around the labyrinth trying to remember where all the hidden walls are so they can collect five magic symbol pieces and win the game.

My Thoughts:
I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I had heard it was tons of fun but didn’t quite expect it to be as fun as it was. It sets up and players very quickly so you can get many games played in a short time period. The components are all very nice; the magician pieces and big, the magnets are quite strong, and the magic symbol pieces have nice artwork. The downside is setting up the labyrinth. Players can do this collectively, one player can set it up, or (as I prefer) a person not playing can set the walls up in secret. I figured much frustration would be had trying to remember where the walls were but this was not true, mostly everyone who played just laughed at watching other players run into the same wall over and over.

Pros:
~Very light, quick, and easy to play (Even my teenage sister enjoyed this game)
~Excellent test of memory and attention
~Components are well made and look great

Cons:
~If one of the players was responsible for creating the maze they have an inherent advantage
~Randomness of token placement can make some games very quick and one-sided

Overall:
The Magic Labyrinth is a very fun, very quick, light game that family, social, and casual gamers would enjoy. Its set up and play are quick and easy making it very accessible. I would recommend this game to just about anyone based on its fun factor alone. Again The Magic
Labyrinth is great fun, has great components, and easy to learn.

7
Go to the Food Fight: Snack Attack page
20 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview:
Food Fight is a take on the classic War card game. However, Food Fight is much more fun, engaging, and strategic. For more information about the base game check out Food Fights page here: http://boardgaming.com/games/card-games/food-fight

Expansion Additions: This 40 card expansion adds some unique and interesting fighters to the base game.

The New Troops:

~Green Beret Granola Bar-Breakfast Troop with 5 Yumminess-Ability= Any troop with 20 or Greater Power is Immediately Discarded. Not that is ability is activated very often but it does prevent your opponent from creating a monster.

~Corporal Cold Pizza-Breakfast Troop with 4 Yumminess-Ability=If there are no other breakfast troops Cold Pizza has +6. Cold Pizza can be discarded as though he were a lunch troop. Very useful in meals outside of breakfast since odds are in your favor for getting the yummy boost. Also even if you don’t serve him he can be very useful in your Corporal Taco or Mean Burrito.

~”Black Jack” Beef Jerky-Lunch Troop with 5 Yumminess-Ability=If the total yumminess of all troops at the serving equals exactly 21 you win the entire meal. With risk and careful planning (well and good math) the reward is worth it. Just as useful as Cereal as long as you can make the ability happen.

~Private Potato Chip-Lunch Troop with 4 Yumminess-Ability=Draw the top card of the battlefield deck and multiply Chips yumminess by the VP value on the battlefield card. More often than not this is very powerful since odds are a two or three shows up, oh and don’t forget to apply your multiplier after all other yummy boosts.

~Captain Canapé- Dinner Troop with 5 Yumminess-Ability=Reveal the Top Two Cards of the Deck. Keep all instants you reveal and discard the rest. For each instant revealed, Captain Canapé gets +5. Unfortunately Canapé is similar to Private Club but he does have the yummy boost.

~Colonel Popcorn-Dinner Troop with 7 Yumminess-Ability=Each Other player replaces their troop from this meal with a troop drawn from the top of the deck. Adds even more randomness to the fight and can throw a wrench into your opponents plan.

New Instants:

~Salsa Bandito-Your troop gets +1 for each different troop type in your army. The boost isn’t always the highest but with careful planning can be very beneficial.

~Cheese Whizzer-Your troop has +1 or +4 if you have no after-meal mints. About as useful as Ketchup Mechanic except for the always available bonus of +1.

New Mascots:

~Lester the Lecherous Leopard-Look at any player’s hand and add a troop from it to you serving. Very cool ability that kills two birds with one stone by adding yumminess to your army and potentially stealing a potential discard to your opponents Corporal Taco or Mean Burrito.

~Cookie Creature-Steal an after-meal mint from any player at this meal with more VP than you. Can help turn the tide and even the entire score of the game up with one card.

My Thoughts:
After purchasing Food Fight and having a blast playing it with my girlfriend we knew we were hooked. When we found out there was an expansion for $10 we absolutely had to have it. The new Snack Attack cards assimilate very nicely into the base Food Fight game. I even had a hard time figuring out what all of the expansion cards were in order to list them in this review. If you are a fan of Food Fight there really is no reason not to purchase the expansion; it adds great variety and very cool troop with unique abilities.

Pros:
~Inexpensive-I feel for an expansion the price tag is a good deal
~Variety-I can’t figure out how they came up with so many abilities that were so different than the base game troops (well with the exception of Captain Canapé).
~Just makes a very fun game even better, enough said.

Cons:
~While the new troops are great the two new instants don’t do much to improve the quality of instants as a whole.
~This expansion is making me anxious for more expansions which mean spending more money.

Overall:
This is a must buy to add to the base game. The new troops are very fun and interesting and have much cooler abilities than ones found in the base game. Now all we need is a desserts and beverages expansions to continue to improve this very simple, easy to learn, fun game.

9
Go to the Space Alert: The New Frontier page
37 out of 38 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview:
I’m not going to describe what Space Alert is all about since this is just an expansion. If you want to find out about Space Alert I suggest checking the reviews about the core game. This expansion builds on the “story” that the original game describes in both the handbook and rulebook.

Expansion Additions:
~New Threats-Comes with new white and yellow threats as well as very hard red threats
~New Abilities-Phasing allows threats to leave our dimension every other turn. Plasmatic ships can incapacitate your crew in one shot. Carriers send smaller fighters to attack your Sitting Duck. Megashields explain themselves. Polarized threats have stronger defense against laser. Jumping threats change their trajectory on approach. Some threats are so large they span all three trajectories. Other threats can call in additional threats to attack your ship.
~New Action Cards- The new cards have a double action side that allows players to do two things on the same turn.
~Variable Range Interceptors-Now when you play a “C” action in the interceptors you move farther away from the ship
~New Missions-Comes with a CD that has 2 easy missions and 4 standard missions
~Specializations-Included are 10 special jobs, such as Rocketeer, Medic, Pulse Gunner, Medic and Teleporter, that have both basic and advanced action cards that can give you bonuses for certain actions or unique abilities.
~Experience System-easy enough, you gain experience for completing missions, destroying and surviving threats, and completing achievements
~Crew Badges-Each role from the base game now has a special badge to go with it; however these can also be used for whatever you’d like.

My Thoughts:
I am normally hesitant when it comes to expansions of board games and the same can be said for this one. However, after seeing the ratings that New Frontiers was receiving and taking into account that the core game is amazing I decided to picked it up. I have no regrets about this purchase because of the level of depth, replay ability, and customization it creates for the game. The specializations really personalize the experience to level much more advanced than the core game’s roles (Captain, Communication Officer, etc.). With all new missions and threats to add to the mix no two games will ever be the same. The achievements also give players an incentive to change their play style from game to game as well as something to look forward to even in defeat. The experience system has that role playing aspect that sucks players in and makes them feel even closer to the action.

Pros:
~Tons of Replay-With all the new additions and choices available for game play this expansion adds infinite replay potential
~Experience System-This gives the game an RPG feel that will make the game more attractive to a larger audience
~New Missions and Threats- If you’re tired of or have mastered the original you now have new challenges to face.

Cons:
~There are no scenario cards for the new missions. These have to be downloaded from CGE’s website.
~All though I appreciate Vlaada Chvatil’s format for his rulebooks others may see it as unnecessarily long and at times confusing.

Overall:
If you are a fan of Space Alert this is a must have. If you are someone on the fence about Space Alert this is a must have as well. Everything that this expansion adds to the core game increases depth, replay ability, and customization for a countless amount of new experiences.

8
Go to the Egizia page

Egizia

24 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview:
Not a lot of story to this game but the theme is great. You act kind of like an Egyptian pharaoh working to build monuments and increase your points. This game takes place over five rounds and whoever has the most points at the end wins.

Game play:
Players have three worker groups and one supervisor group(acts as a modifier for the other three) that they will use to work on constructing Egyptian monuments (Sphinx, Tombs, Obelisks, Temple, Pyramid). These groups can grow as rounds progress but players have to make sure they are well fed or they end up losing points. Each round you will randomly set out corresponding Nile cards that players can choose as they travel done the river places boats to pick up cards, build, and benefit from round spaces. Nile cards will add to your food and stone production, give players extra powers, add to their work crews, and more. Players earn points during the rounds as they participate in building at each of the three building sites. Building at the Sphinx lets you choose from achievement cards that score points at the end of the game. The Obelisk/Tombs let you move your marker down in the stone or grain market(potentially giving you more stone or making your workers cheaper to feed). Building at the Pyramid/Temple just scores you points with a chance of getting bonus for completing levels of the Pyramid. After 5 rounds of setting up cards, placing boats, and building players then will score end game points based on meeting the objectives of their Sphinx cards and adding up value of their grave tiles.

My Thoughts:
Being a huge fan of everything Egypt since I was young I was excited to find out this game exists. The first time I ever read through the rule book, without setting up the game, was confusing. There seems to be a lot going on but once one play through is done this game is surprisingly pretty simple. That said their are levels of strategy and planning depending on what available resources you have, the Sphinx cards you are trying to accomplish, and what Nile Cards have shown up each round. The end game scoring system means that you won’t know who wins until the very end so players will not feel discouraged even if another player has jump way out ahead early in the game. If I had more favorite slots this game would make it onto that list.

Pros:
~Replay value: the use and random placement of the round cards makes no two games the same
~Quality-The board and cards look great and add to the atmosphere of the game. All components are well made.

Cons:
~Strength of Cards-In a two player games certain cards such as “Draw 2 extra Sphinx cards” are way over powered while others will never be chosen like “You can build at a full build site”
~Rule book- The first time reading through the rules was a bit confusing and it doesn’t help that some of the card pictures are wrong (there’s edited/revised rules available)

Overall: Great Egyptian based game that has good replay value. All of my games have been two player so I still haven’t seen the full potential of the game. Player interaction is indirect through taking or not taking certain spots along the Nile River. If you get the chance I highly recommend checking this game out.

10
Go to the Galaxy Trucker page

Galaxy Trucker

70 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview:
So you work for Corporation Inc. and you are tasked with transporting sewage systems and housing material across the galaxy. To save money you have to build a ship out of the same materials you are supposed to be transporting. As a trucker your personal goal is to make some amount money at the end of three rounds.

Game play:
Over the course of three rounds you are going to build three different ships out of various components trying to have tons of guns, lots of engines, ample crew space, extensive cargo holds, numerous shields, and countless batteries. After you build each ship you will then subject them to any number of potentially devastating events (giant meteors, epidemics, and combat zones) and random attacks from your neighborhood friendly slavers, pirates, and smugglers. Of course you can also get lucky and collect some cargo from planets, abandoned stations and ships for extra pay. As the rounds progress your ships get bigger and the trips get more dangerous. The rules say that each player who has a positive amount of money in the end is a winner. However, we all know how games really end up, whoever has the most money struts away with bragging rights.

My Thoughts:
When I first saw this game on the shelf and saw the title I thought that a game about trucking, even through space, could not be any good. After playing many of Vlaada Chvatil’s other games I started looking into this one. Now it is one of my go to games if I’m looking for both something fun and quick to play. I really like the way that the rule book baby steps you through the game mechanics and play process while slowly cranking up the difficulty as to not overwhelm you during the first play through. All of the components are really nice and well made. The plastic spacemen are unique, the glass batteries fit their purpose perfectly, and the artwork is great. Game play is a blast, suiting both the casual and cutthroat gamer with how the timer system works. There is seldom a clear cut winner until the last adventure card is flipped over. Someone can liftoff with the Cadillac of ships to end up limping home with only a Gremlin. Countless times I’ve thought that another player’s ship was better than mine only to end up outscoring them by a ton in the end. This is a great game for all types of people and gamers, even at its $75 I would highly recommend it for any game collection.

Pros:
~Tons of Replay-No game will ever be exactly the same and as usual Vlaada provides multiple options to add depth to his game. Plus since the rules are not complex it’s easy to teach new players what to do
~Easy Set-up-Quite literally just dump the contents of the box on the table and go
~Quality-All the piece are very well made and it is obvious thought went into making them
~Extremely Fun-enough said
Cons:
~Pricey-The $75 it costs is kind of high since this isn’t a very complex game
~Frustrating-At times a great looking ship can be ripped to pieces and become quite disheartening

Overall:
A unique experience of exhilaration, hard work, and heartbreak. The quick learning curve and set-up make this a great go to game. No two games are ever alike and the outcome of games leaves you at the edge of your seat the entire ride. This is another hit by game maker Vlaada Chvatil

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