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B. Chereaux

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Go to the Talisman page
Go to the Carcassonne page
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
Go to the Mage Wars: Core Set page
Go to the Elder Sign page
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
Go to the Star Wars: Imperial Assault page
9
Go to the Star Wars: Imperial Assault page

As of the writing of this review, our group has not tackled a campaign yet. So, this will be about the skirmish options instead. For background, I enjoy Risk, Memoir 44, Mage Wars, MTG, Battle Cry, and a few others.
The skirmish mode in a word: Elegant. The four rule books that come in the base game may appear a bit daunting at first, but underneath is a rich and well balanced world full of all of your favorite characters and a wealth of different objective types and environments to play in. As with any game, there are certain key words to learn, but they are simple enough if you have played any other game with its own language. All of the characters seem well balanced, and the ability to build your own team of characters and command cards makes this a rich world with great replay value.
As expected from fantasy flight, the components are top notch. There are custom dice and highly detailed miniatures. The cards are all of sturdy FF quality. My only gripe is that the black border around the games tiles will wear in time and could detract from the absolutely gorgeous artwork.
The skirmishes are played in a series of rounds with the initiative alternating each round. Line of sight is simple and easy to measure and the attack of each character is fairly well balanced ad personalized (I.E. a small pistol has decent damage but short range, some rifles can have more damage at close range or good accuracy at far range, and melee characters are brutal). Games take an hour or less once you learn the basics of the game, so you have a chance to play with different factions and scenarios.
My only complaint is the organization of the base game box, which is none. Not even Talisman-like attempt by FF to arrange all the components.
Overall, a great experience with a wealth of theme and replay value.

8
Go to the Mage Wars: Core Set page
5 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of my favorite purchases from my FLG. I was very pleasantly surprised by Mage Wars. I had done a little research about it online and had decided to replace my Magic The Gathering time and energy with something a little less draining in the wallet department. This fit the bill perfectly.
I won’t say much about rules and so forth except that they are very similar to MTG, and flow in a common sense kind of way. Line of sight is very simple in this game, allowing you to focus on the powers of your cards instead of mathematical calculations.
The artwork is beautiful and reminiscent of MTG. The components are of good quality and the best part is, everything you need is included in the base set.
The publishers also have a decent walk-through video on their website to help players get started.

9
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
10 out of 11 gamers thought this was helpful

This was my introduction to higher level board gaming, as I’m sure it was for many of you. Since everyone has already covered the mechanics of the game I won’t spend any time there.
Pros:
< It really is easy to learn as there are a limited number of things to do each turn
< The trading aspect between players makes this a highly social game
< There are many expansions that allow for new mechanics, but also scale the game up or down in number of players so that it is easy to fit to whatever group you may have
< The resource gathering mechanic is good for younger players and newer ones, because it keeps them engaged during other peoples turns

Cons:
< I may step on a toe here, but I feel like the components could use an upgrade from 1995
< The initial placement of settlements is more important than it appears, and should be pointed out to newbies.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this game when I first tried it many years ago. However, since then, a member of our regular gaming group brought it back up and it has appeared at about 50% of our game nights since.

9
Go to the Bottom of the 9th page
11 out of 15 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a fun little title from a company I had no previous experience with. I took a chance on it and I am very glad I did.

The components in the box are all good quality. I liked the vintage feel with the colors and all. Someone at Dice Hate Me also plays games, and I enjoyed seeing the boardgame genre well represented well on the baseball player cards.

There is a lot of game for such a small box. In a world filled with cheap filler material and more being pumped out daily on kickstarter, it is nice to see a good quality game.

There is an engaging solo aspect to the game as well. This is nice for scratching the gamer itch when your normal group is unavailable.

During the course of the game, there are multiple mechanics that all seem to flow well together and at times (like with the runner dice roll off) capture the excitement of a real ballpark.

There are some expansions available, but have no experience with them.

My only gripe is that I can see how the batting line up can become a little redundant as the abilities of each batter are generally the same with the exception of their special ability.

Overall, I would say that it is a great experience that even my wife (not a gamer) enjoys.

7
Go to the Memoir '44 page

Memoir '44

11 out of 12 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of the best light wargames built on a classic hex grid system. For me, it brought back memories of playing command and conquer. I like the way the game really tries to stay true to history. All of the scenarios set up in the book are as close to the actual circumstances of history as possible.
I think the components are top notch, as to be expected with Days of Wonder.
The rule book was simple to understand and has plenty of timely examples to help.
Play is quick and very balanced. Since players switch sides after each battle, the game plays like history, but each player has an opportunity to play both sides of a battle, hence a good chance to win whether starting out on the strong side or not.
There are numerous expansions as the base game only as American and German armies in it, and each new expansion adds a book of scenarios and 1 additional faction.
The game also enjoys a large fan following, and from that online community, there are hundreds of fan written scenarios that can be downloaded and played.
The only think I dislike about this game is that outside of a four player, two board format; there is no way to play with more than two players. I would like to see some lopsided two against one battles in future expansions, but I think I would have better luck finding something like that in the online community.

8
Go to the Elder Sign page

Elder Sign

12 out of 17 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of the great dice rollers of our time ladies and gentlemen. That being said, if you are into games that require a great deal of tactics and strategy, you should probably look elsewhere.
Theme is everywhere in this game. The box is practically oozing it before you even get the packaging off. The tarot sized cards have been a gripe for some people, but I thought they kind of fit the theme, and also help display the amazing artwork.
The components are top notch, the only complaint I have is that the dice come in bright primary colors. It’s a little thing, but the dice in ancient terrible things (a game with very similar gameplay) have more subdued colors and a swirly metallic look that adds to the theme in my humble opinion.
There are a few expansions for this game that add new content and a few new mechanics if you are interested, and they are all readily available at this time.

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

12 out of 13 gamers thought this was helpful

This is supposed to be a gateway game, but I keep coming back over and over again. The game while incredibly simple, offers a decent amount of strategic opportunity and a wealth of expansions to broaden your horizons at will.
I’m sure that basic gameplay has already been covered to death, so I would like to focus on what this game has to offer that makes it stand out in my collection, and why it should be added to yours as soon as possible.
The simplicity of the games’ mechanics are where Ticket to Ride really shines. my 8 year old nephew could pick it up and be competitive on his first game. However, there is also enough depth to the strategy that my eurogaming friends request this game as well.
The pieces are of the highest quality, as to be expected with DOW. However, the thing that sets companies like DOW and Fantasy Flight apart from everyone else is the quality in the base game continues in the expansions.
The expansions themselves are a great selling point. All of them are wonderful, but NONE of them are required to get a lot of enjoyment out of this game. I believe that is the mark of a good gaming line. The expansions add some interesting and new mechanics, but are not a must have to get high replay value from the game.
All in all, it is so much more than just a “gateway game”. With all the ways offered to the player for a unique experience, coupled with the smoothness of gameplay, this one is sure to leave the shelf at least once a month.

8
Go to the Love Letter page

Love Letter

44 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a great party game to help non-gamers have a fun night. A simple deduction and luck game, its’ simplistic rules and fast rounds will have everyone at the table enjoying the night.

Pros:
the components are few and durable
the gameplay is very fast
players have options, but nothing that would induce a bad case of analysis paralysis

Cons:
it doesn’t play well with 2 people (the luck factor is increased with each lower number of players)
the wooden cubes that count affection are very small

Overall this is a light game that almost everyone will be able to enjoy

9
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

49 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

Carcassone was a game I stayed away from for a long time for no particular reason. Recently, I was looking for some light strategy for my wife (who loves ticket to ride) and I. After checking out the numerous awards it has won, I finally decided to give it a try and I’m so glad I did.

Pros:
The game plays well with many or only two players
The pieces are good quality
The reply value is very high
Rules are simple and easy to teach to new players

Cons:
games are generally quick (20-30min) with two people, so it doesn’t work well as the “main course” for a board game night
There are many expansions (not a bad thing) so that if you play with too many of them at once, scoring can become a bit complicated for non-gamers

9
Go to the Dungeon Roll page

Dungeon Roll

44 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a great game with a standard theme and simple mechanics.

Pros:
The rules are simple to understand and the dice are all color coded to help with that

The game has a few expansions out that don’t really change the fundamentals of the game, but allow for a wide selection of characters

It plays as well with one as multiplayer

components are top notch

Cons:
the tokens are tiny, which can be frustrating at times (losing them, difficult to pick up, etc)

the game needs a player mat to keep dice tidy and add some theme

Overall, it is hard to find things I don’t like about this game, and despite the simplicity, it is a lot of fun every time we break it out.

7
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
52 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game set in one of my all time favorite universes, but it really was a disappointment for me over all. If you are familiar with ccg mechanics (I play MTG) then this is a fairly simple transition to make and is nice to get some co-op play in. The main problem seems to be in the design of the game. The manufacturer can almost be seen, holding out a grubby hand for your money. I know that this is a game that will want you to buy expansions, but it seems like they could have given me a lot more in the base game, especially for the price.
PROS: great theme and artwork
simple mechanics
co-op play
CONS: base game doesn’t allow for full decks of any type
only enough tokens and counters for 2 players

6
Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

58 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

The game is easy to set up and has quality components. The rules are simple and didn’t take a lot of exampling or elaboration. The game could suffer from quarterbacking though if the players lack general experience with board games. The simplicity of the game does make for a good gateway as long as the familiar player can enjoy playing without letting the need to win or coach the other players take over.

8
Go to the Manhattan Project page

Manhattan Project

44 out of 52 gamers thought this was helpful

Although you might think that in a game about nuclear bombs there would be a fair amount of nuking, that is not true in the Manhattan Project. However, the game is far from boring. It is a great example of a worker placement game with more depth to its’ strategy than Lords of Waterdeep. There is more than one path to victory, but not so many that the game becomes inaccessible. It plays well with the full range of players, even just 2. The components are all quality, though I wish there were a few plastic minis (maybe the airplanes) instead of cardboard tokens. Although combat is not the main function of the game, it is possible to attack other players during the game, though it is not necessarily advantageous. The need to quickly amass victory points keeps players who are prone to combat from being able to afford to ruin others games.

9
Go to the Talisman page

Talisman

44 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

Where else can you be a dwarf riding a unicorn with a band of fairies, princes, hags, and donkeys following you as you vanquish dragons with your holy lance? The game mechanics are simple and the expansions really seem endless. It is an easy game to teach to new gamers, and has enough theme and player interaction to keep experienced gamers coming back time and time again. Each expansion (and there are several)adds something unique and have quality components. I get turned off a franchise when the expansions are simply a new skin or a fresh set of monsters, but never fear… in Talisman, the expansions offer new locations to explore and add alternate endings and game mechanics to keep things fresh without leaving the vibrant world they have created. Theme is everything in Talisman. They paint a colorful world full of memorable characters that tie together the fantasy theme well. The freedom to choose where your character goes doesn’t seem rigid even though there is only a dice roll to determine how many “spaces” you can travel. My only gripe with the game is that in a world so beautifully created, the base game box is horribly constructed. It is not anywhere near as useful a storage container as Lords of Waterdeep.

7
Go to the The Village Crone page

The Village Crone

42 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

This is not what I would call a gateway game (Lords of Waterdeep, Carcassone, Ticket to Ride), but it is a very fun middle weight game. The spell casting mechanic allows you to manipulate NPC’s and ruin your opponents well laid plans. The ability of spells to stack effects makes for some great player interaction. The game plays fairly quick turn-to-turn, and plays well even with only two people. The loose structure (not story driven quests) allow for good replay value. The game also included blueprints to 3D print minis for the game. I would have preferred for these to be included, but I admire the effort to give their fans the option at least.

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