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4
Go to the Ilium page

Ilium

35 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

Indiana Jones made archeology cool; digging up dusty artifacts from some ancient kingdom and learning about ancient man. The game of Ilium, named for the true name of ancient Troy, allows 2 to 4 players to enter dig sites, claim artifacts and race to have the greatest collection. Like any Reiner Knizia game, there are some good mathematical mechanics. So, let’s dig right in…

Game play: (Race to the Dig sites!)
The game board depicts 13 dig sites separated by stone pathways. On these dig sites are randomly placed Artifact tokens (10 each of Coins, Horses, Armbands, Bottle and Helmets of varying values from one to five). Collecting these artifacts and scoring them is the goal of the game.

Players start the game with 45 wooden Archeologist tokens, a deck of Assignment Cards and three Supply Cubes. Each turn a player flips the top card of their assignment deck, and places the number of Archeologist tokens depicted on the card on any one space on any one path on the board. Player may also use one of their three Supply Cubes in addition to placing their Archeologists. This helps fill in the path to the dig sites.

When a Stone pathway is filled in and two Dig Sites are connected, the Artifacts can be claimed from either site. The player with the most Archeologists on the path gets to choose first and takes the lowest valued Artifact token from either Dig Site. The players with the second highest total Archeologists (as long as they have at least half the number of Archeologists than the player with the majority), gets to take the lowest valued Artifact from the other connecting Dig Site.

And so it continues until in the musty dusty air of the site of ancient Troy until a player ends the game when either all 4 of the Artifacts with value 4 are collected, or all the Assignment cards are used up. Then scoring occurs.

– Each player who collected the most Artifacts of each type scores 10 points.
– Each player also scores 10 points for each set of 5 Artifact types, (from all collected tiles).

Easy? Well not really. During the game all the players start out building their routes by placing their (workers). Being the first to complete a route is ok, but you have to choose the lowest valued Artifact. So it almost pays to lag behind, watch the other routes and not get to excited (sounds like an Archeologist!). The trouble is, there is a tipping point in the game when suddenly many stone pathways are almost completed and players have to choose which path to complete and which to open up for the other players. Keeping in mind you may be at the mercy of the total Archeologists on your next assignment card. You have to keep track of the Artifact tokens you have as well, so that you can form complete sets, So focus is divided between these two areas, Artifact Tiles left on the board (at which Dig Sites), and the type of Artifacts on these sites to complete your sets.

Style/Components: (Where did you dig these up? )
The components for Ilium are really … not great. The wooden Archeologists are fine, the Illustrations on the Artifact Tokens are a little too small and hard to read. But the game board is the major eye-sore. I think that the actual site of Ancient Troy would be easier to stare at for and hour. The game board graphics are so convoluted that the pathways are not clear and it really makes an easy game, more difficult. Art and graphics should always complement a game and add to its enjoyment, not create a mind numbing distraction.

Value: (Consider donating.)
The original retail on Ilium was $40. Yikes! It goes for around $18 now and that’s about right. If you want some light fun, and the worker placement system and scoring system sounds compelling, please indulge.

Audience: (Ancient Trojans? )
A Family and Casual Gamer may enjoy Ilium for the unique choices in worker placement, but I don’t see many of the other game groups getting anything out of Ilium. It would astound the inhabitants of ancient Troy. But that’s about it.

Instructions (Clear)
The Instruction book is fine. It uses illustrations to show the various game choices and scoring aspects. So it works.

Overall Review: (Meh…)
I like some of Reiner Knizia’s games: Lost Cities, En Garde, Amun-Re…they have a simple basis in math and often times are a challenging puzzle that fits together with the theme of the game just right. He has tons of awards and over 500 games published. I guess Ilium just isn’t one of the best.

It has the feeling of mathematical game matrix, (Knizia style) using some familiar mechanics with a theme draped over it. I could have been anything: bounty hunters collecting bounties… giant pandas collecting bamboo. You know?

If you have read some of my other reviews, you know that I am a gamer that loves immersion, and I never got the feeling with Ilium that I was doing anything other trying to take tricks in the proper order to collect set of the most value. I didn’t feel like an Archeologist, or that I was discovering ancient artifacts. It was just symbols on cards on a very poorly illustrated game board. Maybe this game wasn’t the game for me. But if you feel that it sounds appealing, it is out there for a good price, give it a play. I feel that almost every game will appeal to someone, even this one.

8
Go to the Livingstone page

Livingstone

34 out of 37 gamers thought this was helpful

AFRICA! Untamed, unexplored! Well it was in 1855 anyway. And Dr. David Livingstone, probably bored in Scotland (which WAS tamed and explored) travels at the request of Queen Victoria to explore the continent. Along the way, he discovered all sorts of things: natives, artifacts, flora, fauna and malaria.

This game doesn’t do any of that. (Hey it’s more fun than Malaria!) In Livingstone, players explore Africa along the banks of the Zambezi River. The game board depicts the Zambezi, and the surrounding landscape. Players will travel along in a steamboat for ten turns, (ten spaces from left to right) during which player pitch tents, mine for gems, and make donations to Queen Victoria. After ten turns, when all the players reach Victoria Falls, the player with the most Victory Points wins – with a surprise twist!

Game play: (Choices.. Choices)
Dice dice dice, they are all the rage these days. And Livingstone utilizes them in a unique way. Each turn begins by the first player rolling all of the dice. (two dice are used for each player). The dice are then arranged by numerical value. During their turn, each player chooses only one of the dice and takes an action. The actions are: Take Coins, Dig in the Mine, Draw an Action Card, or Pitch a Tent. The player uses the number on their chosen dice for the action taken.

Let’s use the number 4 for the following choices of player actions:

1. Take Coins – (The Player takes 4 pounds worth of coins.)

2. Dig in the Mine – (The player reaches into a bag and pulls out 4 stones). There are five colors of stones 3 of which are gems! Red, Blue and clear stones are Gems and are worth coins. The black stone is worth nothing, and the white gem makes payer throw all their collected gems back in the bag.

3. Draw a Card – (the die number makes no difference here, the player draws one Action card.) Action cards have all sorts off affects: some good, some not.

4. Place a Tent (The player pays an expedition cost, and a tent in the player’s color is placed on the #4 square directly above the Steamboat.

Of the four actions, placing a tent will give you Victory Points in two ways, as you will see in a moment.

Now, after each of the players has taken one die and one turn, they must then take a second die if they are able. The only stipulation is that it must be higher in value than the first die thy took. This provides some very unique player interactions, taking a die so your opponents don’t get it, and sometimes creating a situation where your opponent will be unable to take another die.

After all players have taken turns based on their chosen dice, points are scored for all the tents placed in the column above the Steamboat. Then the steamboat moves on to the next river space, and the game continues.

When the last space of the river is reached, players again total their points and a final scoring round takes place. Players score points for the tents they placed during the game, but only if they have the most tents in a row of the map. In addition points are scored for Gems that have kept from the mine. Then there’s the twist…

During the game, a player may at anytime during their turn, place coins in a small treasure chest. These donations are hidden from the other players. At the end of the game, after the points are totaled, all players reveal the coins in their treasure chest, and the player who has the least… is out of the game.

This last aspect if the endgame may seem unfair and a little random, and frankly, I don’t love the mechanic. But it does provide a tense, unknown element all during game play. It really works for this game.

Style/Components: (Brilliant!)
The game board illustration is quite striking. The art on the Action cards is also of high quality and give this game a mature, but friendly feel. The dice, stones, wooden tokens, small cardboard treasure chests and coins all work well with the theme of the game and paint a striking tabletop for game night.

Value: (Jolly Good!)
The game goes for around $25 nowadays and is a great deal – mostly because it plays well with many different groups. The game play is unpredictable but also allows for a lot of variance from game to game. You can do a lot worse for $25 bucks

Audience: (All Explorers wanted!)
Family , Strategy, Casual, and Avid players will all enjoy Livingstone for different reasons. It’s a good gateway game for new players, and provides some interesting choices during game play. It’s not specifically a social game, but could be in the right circles. Power gamers beware! The random elements and end-game twist may just feel like a bad case of yellow fever!

Instructions (Pip, pip!)
Well written and with good illustrations. All the action cards’ effects are explained in detail as well.

Overall Review: (I say, Smashing good time!)
When you first look at this game, it doesn’t seem like much. The colored stones and little treasure chests are enough to peak some gamers’ interest. But after playing, what a smashing good time!

Yes, the dice provide a random element, but you get to choose what dice you use to an extent. There are some great blocking strategies that can be employed, when dice are chosen and you must balance each turn with several game play choices. Mine for gems and gain coins, grab a card that gives you special abilities, or pay costs and place tents for points. All the while, Queen Elizabeth is awaiting her donation. The game is filled with decision making that makes a great family friendly experience, but can also challenge other gamer types. The game is great fun…and you don’t need vaccinations.

Finally, judging from the number of Boardgaming.com members who own this game (3) and the number of members who have actually played it (0?), this is an amazing game experience that lies waiting to be discovered! A gem of a game!

7
Go to the Frag Gold Edition page
64 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

Way back in 2001, there was a wonderful new high-tech gaming device in gamers’ homes. No, not the Sega Dreamcast, it was the Sony Playstation 2! Gamers were mind-numbingly getting acquainted with new graphics and first-person shooters like Metal Gear Solid 2, Halo and Max Payne.

Around the same time the first edition of the Frag was released and became a fan favorite and a best seller. So much so, that it spawned (pun intended) five expansions and a set of minis. In 2009, Steve Jackson Games re-released the game in a special Gold Edition with upgraded components in a dandy yellow box. All the other editions are out of print. What gives?

Please press “Start”

Game play: (Run!… Shoot!… Run!… Shoot!)
Before the game begins, players get to create their own Fighter – dividing 7 points between three stats: Health, Speed and Accuracy. This makes each player feel, at least a little bit, that they are a unique player in the game. And you can tailor your fighter for your play style. Shoot a lot and get in close? Assign more points to Health. Run fast and shoot seldom? Give yourself some Speed! You get the idea.

Then the game play for Frag is very streamlined. You roll, you run, grab pick-ups and you fire, in any order you want until you can’t do it anymore. Or, until you are fragged. The game board provides some map features that make things… well…more complicated. Acid pools, teleporters and most useful: walls. You have to have line-of-sight to shoot, and those walls can really save your genetically enhanced exo- skin.

Add in three decks of cards to enhance your ability to wreak havoc: Weapons, Gadgets, and Specials. Weapons are simply that, many different types of hardware that cause different levels of damage and have special effects – there are Assault Rifles, Rocket Launchers, Needlers and a trusty Portable Nuke. Wait, what?
Gadgets are items that you can pick up that help with some of your basic attributes and protect you: Adrenalin Surge, Armor, Medpacks and the like. Specials are cards that you can play that really get things going. Most of them are called Game Hack cards: they give your fighter the ability to do double damage, or a Magic Bullet that allows you to shoot at every other fighter in range all at once. Rule breakers.

You die? You respawn. You kill? You score a Frag. Score three Frags and you win.

Press “Start” to continue…

Style/Components: (Adequate)
All of the game components are of good quality, full color and very intuitive. The graphics on the cards are a little simplistic – a sort of old computer-like art. Compared to some of today’s best game art, it’s just ok, but there are still some cool images. You won’t play the game for the artwork.

Value: (Well.. maybe.)
$40 is a bit pricey for the replay value of this game. You can get a lot more game for your money. But, if the style of this game is appealing to you, you won’t mind. It has a great replay value when you play multiple games and get to level up your fighter.

Audience: (Caution!)
It’s 2012. The game says it’s for players ages 12 and up. But let’s face it – the majority of 10 year olds in the world have played a FPS, and aren’t to bothered by seeing a zombie blow up in front of them. Sad but true. This game has everyone running around shooting each other and the violence is implied and not very graphic. As a Family game, it’s fun, but you may not include it simply because of the theme. Avid, Casual, Strategic and Social Players will find it challenging to stay alive. Power Gamers may find it a bit too simplistic.

Instructions (Understandable)
Nothing fancy here. The instructions are well written and easy to understand; a good logical presentation of the rules.

Overall Review: (You talking to me? )
This game sold well and is a fan favorite because it incorporates a balanced amount of luck and tactical decision making with a theme that is fun to play. It doesn’t “really” feel like you are playing a first person shooter. But the ability to “create” your fighter each game also adds some variation and feeling of control. The mechanics are simple. This sounds like a lot other games, right?

The beauty of Frag is that its game play possibilities don’t grow out the game conditions, they are created by the different sorts of players sitting around the table. What kind of player are you? Cautious? Impatient? Cool and calculating? This game allows you to play out your style with flair and test it directly against others in a fast and furious firefight. It’s an arena game. And only one player will emerge victorious. It’s a great time seeing your friends true personalities come out when toting a grenade launcher. Sounds fun, right? Eat lead!

As the instructions suggest, the game does play best with 4-6 players, and I highly recommend playing “tournament style: playing multiple games in a row. The winning player can add one point to any attribute and play again. Just remember to keep your head down! OOPS.

Game Over

8
Go to the Fluxx page

Fluxx

46 out of 52 gamers thought this was helpful

Looney Labs broke onto the hobby scene with a brilliant strategy: give people light, fun games that can offer variable game experiences, intricate but easy strategies and chaotic game play for young gamers as well as older players that are kids at heart. Fluxx and all of its incarnations – accomplishes them all – with a sense of humor.

Now, that said, there is little to it. Deep tactics? Not there. Random acts of trickery against fellow players? Oodles. Worker placement and technology trees? Nuh uh. Surprise endings? Oh yeah.

So, if you are a hard-core gamer, odds are you won’t like this game. You can skip to the overall review at the end if you wish. But wait! This game does have some amazing strong points and appealing qualities – especially for parents and families. No really…

Gameplay: (All Mathematical and Crazy-like)
The game matrix of Fluxx is innovative and a little nuts. (I meant Looney) To win you simply have to satisfy the Goal. This is a card that is in play that requires you to have (or not have) certain Keepers in front of you. (Keepers are cards that represent ordinary things: Milk, TV, Chocolate, etc.) So if you the goal is “Chocolate Milk,” you have to have both Chocolate and Milk cards in front of you. Easy-peasy. Actions are card that you play that allow you to trade cards, redraw your hand and many other things. Then there are the New Rules cards. This is the heart of the game.

Players can alter the basic game turn of “Draw 1 Card” and “Play 1 Card” by playing New Rules that allow the game turn to be extremely productive or extremely short. There are many New Rule Cards that affect every aspect of the game. Suffice to say they make the game… well… Fluxx-y.

That’s it. It’s the essence of “anything can happen.” But hold on. Let’s lean forward and take a closer look, shall we counselor?

Even in very advanced games, and no matter the player’s age, choosing whether and when to “make a play” (a card, meeple, or any other game aspect) can be the first, most basic player choice to consider. Fluxx’s game matrix typifies this game play aspect in its simplest form. In fact, it’s the only choice a player has on their turn.

So the beauty of the game play – as with most of the best games (easy to learn, difficult to win) – is in its simplicity. Decision-making. That’s the essence of Fluxx.

Style/Components: (Simple)
Cards… uh..with words on them. Oh wait there are pictures too. So cards, with words and pictures…It’s… cards.

Value: (Booya!)
Every game is different for under $20. That’s pretty good!

Audience: (We are Family!)
No matter the gamer you claim to be, try this with a family or your children. Avid, Social and Casual gamers will enjoy it for the simple fun. Strategic and Power Gamers… well … Got a sense of humor? Kids?

Instructions (That’s it? )
Piece o’ cake. Learn the game in minutes.

Overall Review: (Go on… you know you want to..)
Ok, so if you skipped down here then odds are you like a good rousing game of Warhammer 40K or Twilight Imperium. Have you tried Fluxx? I encourage you to give this game a shot, not as a great evening of gaming but as a bridge – from your love of gaming to a younger player or not so strategy hungry family member.

(Up on the soapbox) Young gamers are the future of the hobby, future designers and players. And Fluxx is fun enough, frustrating enough and simple enough for kids to play and feel they are included in the cool games that their parents play. Its a “hobby” thing. (Back down again).

Fundamentally, this game teaches: the basics of decision-making, tracking of cards, patience and good sportsmanship. Play one game and you may feel like Han Solo firing a blaster in the garbage masher. (Duck!) Play more, and some strategies will emerge. They really will.

The mere fact that this game inspires such a disparity of reviews makes it worth a try. Right? And that’s why Fluxx endures in all its forms (Zombie, Pirate, Star, Monty Python), because of its humor and its fundamental matrix based on good decision-making. Odds are, one of its variations will appeal to you. Or at least, the kid inside you.

6
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest – Stainless Steel Booster page
27 out of 28 gamers thought this was helpful

After reviewing KB Quest recently for the site – I realized that the full potential of the Killer Bunnies game isn’t really realized until you add in many of the expansions.

In this review I will cover KB STAINLESS STEEL- the sixth expansion set to KB Quest.

So if you don’t know how to play Killer Bunnies, I wont explain it now. If you are interested, please read more on its page on this website.

What’s New?
Stainless Steel has two new card types and some new Run Cards. Included in this expansion are…

– 5 Super Bunnies
– New Weapons from a Level 13 “Pumpkin Ridge” to a Level 19 “Sharks WFLB” (i.e. With Frikin’ Laser Beams – ala Austin Powers)
– 2 Dated Weapons
– Higher Powered defense cards (Strengths 13-20)
– And new Run, Special and Very special cards like “Happy Scrappy Hero Pup” and “Where No Bunny Has Gone Before.” And many more.

The game also includes 4 new red card stands, used for Roaming Red cards (Cards that make their way around the Bunny Circle wreaking havoc in their wake.)

Gameplay Effects: (Hmm. New cool cards…)
2 New Card types highlight this expansion. But, there are no new major gameplay mechanics.

Super Bunnies are new bunnies that grant a player 3 cool new advantages.
– First, a Super Bunny counts as a Bunny Triplet, allowing the player to play twice per turn.
– When a player places a Super Bunny in the Bunny Circle, all other Bunnies of the same color in the Bunny Circle are killed.
– And – When a player with the Super Bunny is attacked, they can roll the clear d20 instead of the Black d12.

The first ability is common theme, and besides the Triple Special Bunny from the Violet Expansion, these are the Bunny cards that will allow a “Triplet” with only one Bunny.

The second ability sounds very useful, but in our games, there were very few Bunnies of the same color in the Bunny Circle due to the fact that we were using multiple expansions. So this ability would be only truly effective if you played with the Blue Starter and perhaps one expansion in addition to Twilight White.

The final ability is the most useful, and almost a game breaker – again depending on the expansion used. Many weapons from the first several expansions (Blue, Yellow, Red and Violet) are Level 12 and under. Weapons over Level 12 were introduced in KB Orange. So rolling a d20 instead of a d12 makes success for these lower Level weapons – well a long shot (to coin a phrase).

The other new card type (well, variation), are the Dated Weapons. These simply have a Level equal to the day of the month when you are playing the game. A Player rolls the black d12 and the clear d20 and totals them for dated Weapons.

There are also some fun new Run cards that deserve mentioning.
“Duck Tape” allows a player to combine any number of Level 1-9 Weapons in their hand and launch them at a Bunny. “Earth Below Us” allows a player to roll the Zodiac die, if it’s an Earth Symbol: (Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo) that player can take one Down Card from every opponent. “Happy Scrappy Hero Pup” allows a player to go get any Carrot card that was stolen form another player and “Temporal Flux” allows a player to immediately take the next turn, skipping all players’ turns in between.

Value: (Half the value for full price)
Steel, again is priced around the same as all the previous expansions. But half the cards in this set are valuable only if you are playing with expansions.

Overall Review: (Sigh… another expansion? )
As mentioned above, and as you can probably glean from the cards mentioned above, this set really uses a lot of cards that interact with rules and mechanics from other expansions. The “Earth Below Us” card is great – if you are playing with KB Green.. if not. Well it’s a dead card. (Dead cards bad). “Duck Tape is a good card, but only for Weapons of Level 9 and below – so that means if you ARE playing with expansions, its much more useful. Confused? Don’t be its simple math… Half the cards are useable if you are using expansion sets so it feels like you are getting half the cards for the money. The other half don’t really offer up anything unique – steal a bunny, pump up defense, ya da, ya da, ya da. Its just not that well thought out…The Dated Weapon Cards are a cute idea, but there are only 2 of them, mix them in with the 5 previous expansions (200 + cards) and what are the odd you will draw one…

It has the feel of an expansion where developers listened to what players were missing or asked for to balance the game, and then put them into an expansion, without taking into account new players.

Killer Bunnies and its expansions, the thought and tongue-in cheek-humor that go into them are always creative, and never boring. A lot of the art and humor on the cards make you laugh. I have all the expansions and have played with several combinations of each, at this point, as a fan and a devoted player. You just get to expect a bit more versatile, fluid expansion. This one is disjointed. Steel, in my opinion is a little rusty.

5
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Twilight White Booster page
23 out of 25 gamers thought this was helpful

After reviewing KB Quest recently for the site – I realized that the full potential of the Killer Bunnies game isn’t really realized until you add in many of the expansions.

Noticing that some (but not all) of the expansions are presented here, I would like to offer information and review each specific expansion, their components and their affect on adding them to the Blue/Yellow Starter Set – and in chronological order of release.

In this review I will cover KB TWILIGHT WHITE – the fifth expansion set to KB Quest.

So if you don’t know how to play Killer Bunnies, I wont explain it now. If you are interested, please read more on its page on this website.

What’s New?
Twilight White introduces no new major game mechanics to the game but does include some new Run Cards that have some effective powers. Included in this expansion are…

– 5 New “Half Color” Bunnies
– New high powered weapons from a Level 17 “ Plant Spores” to Level 20 “Psychic Waves”
– Two 50/50 Weapon cards
– And new Run, Special and Very special cards like “Cloning” and “Zodiac Thief.”

The game also includes a new White Pawn and a White D12.

Gameplay Effects: (Not much new here)
There are no new major gameplay mechanics in this expansion. There is one new card type and several potent Run cards.

The new card type is a 50/50 Weapon. This is played just like all other weapons except when played the owner rolls two dice and the target player has to guess which dice will have the higher number. An incorrect guess means a dead bunny.

There is also a white Pawn included in the set and works just as other Pawns do (being purchased at Weil’s Pawn Shop) but the player who buys the Pawn may declare its color as soon as it is purchased. This enables a player to have two pawns of the same color. Meaning that P-cards of that color can be played TWO additional times, They act as Two Bunnies of that color for the purposes of determining a Bunny Triplet. And Orange Die rolls aimed at the player can be re-rolled twice.

Some featured cards in the set are the “Calcite Conundrum” which allow a player to play with two sets of Top and Bottom Run cards, effectively gaining that player two turns in a row. The “Weapon Booster” which raises the level of a Weapon card by a number rolled on a black d12. (Potentially guaranteeing a hit.) “Pawn Recall” which returns all Pawns to the Pawn Shop, and a fun Weapon Card “Psychic Waves”: a Level 20 Weapon, that hits the player if they don’t correctly guess (Psychically) one of 6 symbols secretly written down by the player who played the weapon. It then continues around the Bunny Circle 5 more times.

Value: (Completists Only)
This expansion is priced the same as all the other expansions (Around $10) but offers very little in the way of new Bunny coolness.

Overall Review: (Meh.. not bad… but…)
After adding Orange and Green expansions to the mix of gameplay options for my play group – and excited to see what great mechanics would appear in the next expansion, Twilight White left us a bit cold. Sure there are some great new cards, and they do play well with the previously established Pawn and Zodiac mechanics. But there just wasn’t enough new solid gameplay to excite. The White (Wild) pawn is cool, but just detracts from the strategies established in KB ORANGE. Rule breakers…

Another example are the 50/50 Weapons – that only add an additional level of luck to the effectiveness of a newly named weapon. In this case, you get the feeling that this addition wasn’t added for any deep strategic purpose, but to simply offer a not-so-creative variation of the Weapons cards. Adding more randomness to a game that has luck as one of its main components, simply makes the game more weightless, and unchallenging. Too much luck involved in a game makes players disheartened as the game careens out of their control.

So it is with Twilight White. In my opinion it just makes the game more convoluted and doesn’t feed or fix any of the previously established mechanics. Be wary of expansions simply for an expansion’s sake. (Hmm… what color should we do next and what witty puns can we create?) And I am afraid that is what KB White achieves.

Next up… Stainless Steel.

9
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Green Booster page
24 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

After reviewing KB Quest recently for the site – I realized that the full potential of the Killer Bunnies game isn’t really realized until you add in many of the expansions.

In this review I will cover KB GREEN – the fourth expansion set to KB Quest.

So if you don’t know how to play Killer Bunnies, I wont explain it now. If you are interested please read more on its page on this website.

What’s New?
KB Green introduces some amazing new fun to the game, new bunnies, weapons and a new game mechanic – the Zodiac is introduced. New with this expansion…

– 5 Half Color Bunnies that make getting Bunny Triplet easier,
– New weapons from a Level 13 “Snowball” to Level 16 “Leviathan”
– More new Special and Very Special cards
– And the introduction of The Zodiac, small Zodiac cards and the Zodiac die.

Gameplay Effects: (Um.. What just happened? )
KB Quest had gone Green!! Here are the key game additions…

KB Green adds 12 cards that represent each sign of the Zodiac and lists beginning and end dates for that sign. These cards along with the small sized Zodiac cards, add a new end-of-game mechanic that really packs a punch. It also opened up development for new in play cards that keep the turn-to-turn game play fresh and unpredictable. Ready?

Before the game, you shuffle the small Zodiac cards (just like the small Carrot cards) and place them to the side. During the game, when a player draws a Zodiac card they place it in front of them immediately and face up.

At the end of the game, just before the Magic Carrot is revealed, the bottom Zodiac card is revealed, and the player who has that sign has the “winning” Zodiac. Here’s what that player gets to do…

– That player may switch a Bunny from one player to another. (This is huge because it can eliminate a player from winning – (you have to have a Bunny to win with the magic Carrot).

– If that sign is the player’s ACTUAL Zodiac sign, that player can take 3 carrots from the player with the most. This doesn’t assure a victory, but it’s a huge last minute shift of power.

– Finally, if that sign is the player’s ACTUAL sign, and it’s the current sign (Matching the actual date the game is being played) then that player gets to take all but one Carrot from all other players. What???

Ok that last one is pretty broken – but when you play with the Zodiac, you are asking for it. There are also Run Special and Very Special cards that key off the Zodiac, and the Zodiac die acts as a randomizer to initiate these effects and target players that own the specific Zodiac cards.

One incredibly ridiculous example is the card: “Zodiac Terminator.” A Players rolls all the dice and the Zodiac die – if any of the numbered dice show the day of the current month, then the player holding the card matching Zodiac die roll has to discard everything and start the game over.

The game also adds Half Color Bunnies that as their name indicates, are two colors combined – once again (this is a common expansion theme) making it easier for players to play twice in a turn.

Value: (Kaboom! )
KB Green is still around $10, but it is harder to find. If you can get it and the gameplay additions sound like fun, go for it!

Overall Review: (Perfect Mayhem)
Compared to all the expansions I have played with this one really sets things on their ear. But it also marks, in my opinion, a healthy chaotic place for the KB Quest Game. The Green expansion with its Zodiac mechanics fits in well with the previous expansions, but after this, the expansion start to stray a bit but less focused, (with the possible exception “Steel”).

Let’s face it; you are playing Killer Bunnies because you enjoy the mayhem, the random action, the ridiculousness. KB Green gives a player the epitome of that. It adds a fresh new targeting mechanic in the Zodiac and some great new card effects. BUT, there is a certain point when a game looses its consistency and becomes so much a parody of itself that playing is no longer enjoyable, because it has lost the validity. I mean when a game becomes too random, then why play? Lets have everyone just roll a die and the highest roll wins. It saves a couple of hours and saves a lot of shuffling.

KB Green is the expansion that walks on the edge of this precipice WITHOUT going over. It retains what made KB Quest fun in the first place and shakes things up so that you will still be screaming YES! or NO! at the end of the game – but only because your time was still well spent – not because you feel cheated by the myriad of random rules.

Get Green it’s a blast.

Coming up next… KB Twilight White

8
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Orange Booster page
27 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

After reviewing KB Quest recently for the site – I realized that the full potential of the Killer Bunnies game isn’t really realized until you add in many of the expansions.

Noticing that some (but not all) of the expansions are presented here, I would like to offer information and review each specific expansion, their components and their affect on adding them to the Blue/Yellow Starter Set – and in chronological order of release.

In this review I will cover KB ORANGE – the third expansion set to KB Quest.

So if you don’t know how to play Killer Bunnies, I wont explain it now. If you are interested please read more on its page on this website.

What’s New?
Great new cards and options and a new mechanic are introduced for your crazy Killer Bunnies games in the Orange expansion:

– 4 additional Specialty Bunnies that help you to get a Bunny Triplet,
– New weapons from a Level 13 “Boomerang” to Level 20 “Plutonium Radiation.”
– New Special and Very special cards like “Uriels Machine” and “Mothership.”
– The new Random Dolla – it’s worth the roll of a d20!
– And the introduction of Pawns and Weil’s Pawn Shop along with “P-cards” that can be activated by the Pawns.

The game also comes with a clear 6 colored pawns (Violet, Orange, Green, Yellow, Blue and Red) that are used with the new Pawn Shop mechanic.

Gameplay Effects: (New and Effective)
Some great new additions to the KB Quest game with this Orange Expansion. Here are the highlights…

Introducing Weil’s Pawn Shop. It’s a starter card that allows payers to use Dollas to purchase Pawns, and equally cool: Bunnies that are in the discard pile.
The usefulness of this card is obvious when it comes to the Bunnies. Since aggressive Run cards can’t be played unless you have a Bunny in the Bunny circle, now you can buy one (for 10 Dollas). This effectively can save your Bunny butt because often time the best cards for grabbing Carrots (your ultimate goal) can only be played if you have a Bunny. Now you can go get one.

The 6 colored Pawns are a new component and have 3 major uses for payers in the game:

– First, they can allow a player with a pawn of a specific color to re-roll a die of the same color during an action. If you are attacked by a card that uses a blue die and you have the blue pawn, you can re-roll that die!

– Second, a Pawn of a color acts as a Bunny for the purposes of creating a Bunny Triplet (which of course allows you to play twice in a turn.)

– Third, Pawns allow you to play “P-Cards” twice before discarding them. There are 6 P-cards in this set (and more in future sets). Once a P-card is played, a player places the matching colored Pawn on that card to show it can be played again. The P-card can be played immediately or saved to be played on a later turn.

The Pawns create a whole new focus for players and even add (dare I say it?) a bit of strategy. Since the Pawns have multiple uses, and can be saved, your gameplay becomes a little more calculated.

There are some strong Run, Special and Very Special card in this expansion as well. “Pilfer the Pawn” allows you to roll all the die and steal the pawn matching the highest number rolled. Ureil’s Machine allows a player to counteract any Very Special card. And my favorite (with a Trek reference) Bunny on the Edge of Forever – that forces a player to replay their turn. (They put all their cards back to the way they were and actually replay – with possibly different results)

Finally the weapons in this expansion are nothing to wiggle your nose at (get it?) They starts at Level 13 and go up to … Level 20 – in this case players use the clear d20 (from KB Violet). These weapons also have some crazy effects: Like the Boomerang that bounces back and forth between bunnies until one dies.

Value: (Sweet!)
Yup…buy it. Still ten bucks. The Orange expansion add so much more fun and even a bit of strategic planning to the game, that you wont play without it again.

Overall Review: (Must have!)
You know you get to that point when a game, even with expansion starts to get to be… well… stale. Orange – like its color – was a breath of fresh air… like orange juice or sunshine or… ok, you get the idea.

KB Orange adds a lot of great gameplay options to the game – it could have been priced higher. The expansion also sets the stage for more cards that utilize pawns in expansion down the road. Orange has a greater play value than its two previous expansion combined. If you do the Killer Bunnies…do Orange.

Coming up next… KB Green…

7
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Violet Booster page
26 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

After reviewing KB Quest recently for the site – I realized that the full potential of the Killer Bunnies game isn’t really realized until you add in many of the expansions.

Noticing that some (but not all) of the expansions are presented here, I would like to offer information and review each specific expansion, their components and their affect on adding them to the Blue/Yellow Starter Set – and in chronological order of release.

In this review I will cover KB VIOLET – the Second expansion set to KB Quest.

So if you don’t know how to play Killer Bunnies, I wont explain it now. If you are interested please read more on its page on this website.

What’s New?
A few new options for your KB Quest game are included in KB Violet. These include:

– New Specialty Bunnies that help you to get a Bunny Triplet,
– New weapons from a Level 02 “Ear Screws” to Level 12 “Chocolate Covered Anti-Matter Raisins.”
– New Special and Very special cards like “Ancient Star Rod and Bunnies in Black.”
– 4 new carrots (numbered 17-20)
– More Defense cards including a Level 12 Defense

The expansion also comes with a clear d20 for use with some of the new cards in the set.

Gameplay Effects:
KB Violet adds little in the way of major game changes, but the majority of the new cards are very powerful and useful. The Specialty Bunnies are a great addition. Here is how they work:

In the Base KB Quest game, if you form a “Bunny Triplet,” that is get three bunnies in play that share a color or a “kind” (Congenial, Gleeful, Bashful etc.) you get to play twice. This is a big game affect, since you can effectively grab 4 carrots in two turns, or wipe two bunnies off the face of the planet. It’s a big gameplay advantage in the base game – but it has been tough to achieve – especially with Bunnies getting blasted every 5 seconds. Specialty Bunnies count as a multiplier with themselves for accomplishing the Triplet. There is a Single Specialty Bunny, a Double and a Triple that counts as a Triplet itself. When played in combinations – the Triplet is easier to achieve. The addition of these Specialty Bunnies creates a game changer, and in a game where game changers happen every turn – well… more mayhem!

The added Run, Special and Very Special cards also pack some punch – The “Bunnies in Black” protects against Alien Abduction, The “Ancient Star Rod” can redirect any attack back at an opponent, with a lucky roll and “Cool Change” lets a player discard and draw a new hand of 7 cards including his Run Cards – perfect when you are Bunnie-less. Perhaps the most powerful card – “Insight” which allows a player to look at the top 5 cards of the small Carrot Deck. For the first time, a player can see which 5 carrots are NOT the Magic Carrot. This is huge since that’s the goal of the game. This card can be used very effectively with other Carrot trading or grabbing cards. Another game changer.

Value: (Good!)
KB Violet is around $10 and you get some powerful cards in the set. I would be more inclined to pick this expansion up.

Overall Review: (Ok, I better grab this one)
Maybe it is just me, and a bit of good luck, but after adding KB Violet into the mix, I felt a substantial shift in the game – There were a few major turns of events – mainly stemming form the play of the killer run cards in this set. Reversal of Order, and Specialty Bunnies giving players consecutive turns, crazy card exchanges – some powerful defense and Weapon cards and finally a card to stop the Nuclear Warhead: Anti-Missile.

KB Violet has a greater play value than its previous Red expansion, but to use the Defense cards and to balance play with the more powerful cards in this set, you should play with KB Red in the mix. Hey it’s almost like someone planned this.

Coming up next… KB Orange…

6
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Red Booster page
27 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

After reviewing KB Quest recently for the site – I realized that the full potential of the Killer Bunnies game isn’t really realized until you add in many of the expansions. You know how it goes…a designer will create a game, release it and then have 25 brilliant ideas after the fact – these are known as expansions. Ok sometimes they plan them in advance. But Killer Bunnies – as with some other games with expansions: (Dominion, Race for the Galaxy, etc) – really play BETTER with some of the expansions. In any case, it creates a new play experience for a game you already know how to play.

Noticing that some (but not all) of the expansions are presented here, I would like to offer information and review each specific expansion, their components and their affect on adding them to the Blue/Yellow Starter Set – and in chronological order of release.

So if you don’t know how to play Killer Bunnies, I wont explain it now. If you are interested please check out that page here on this site.

What’s New?
As with all the expansions to KB Quest, KB Red offers new cards to mix in with the cards you already have. These include:

– New Red Bunnies with some cool special abilities
– New weapons from a Suction Cup to a Cruise Missile,
– New Special and Very special cards, (Like “Dude , Where’s My Carrot?”)
– 4 new carrots (numbered 13-16)
– A new Market card – Rooney’s Weapons Emporium, which will allow players to buy weapons back that have already been used in the game.
– Defense Cards which allow protect you when attacked

The game also comes with a red d20 for use with some of the new cards in the set.

Gameplay Effects: (Some good, some just ok. )
KB RED adds some powerful cards into the mix, but mainly two new gameplay affects that change things up a bit.

Rooney’s Weapons Emporium is a starter card that is open when play starts. When a weapon card is played it goes to this market instead of the discard pile. Then later, players can use their Dollas to purchase those weapons at a cost equal to their strength.

The Defense cards are small cards (Like the Cabbage and Water Cards) that players can also purchase to protect them when a player is rolling the die while attacking. The number is simply subtracted from the die roll – like the Lucky Clovers except they are used and discarded.

These two main additions are not that crucial to the game. The defense cards are useful but player really are saving money to purchase carrots. The Weapons Emporium also is a good idea –but only the powerful weapons are useful to buy back, and even then, if you have 10 Dollas to spend on a Nuke, you should probably just buy a carrot since that’s how you win the game.

The other cards that have been added very Special and Special cards add the true gameplay differences. Adding 4 new Carrots to the game allows for more players and better distribution of Carrots. And the new Red Bunnies are a good addition as well.

Value: (Sure… why not)
KB Red is around $10 and you get some great gameplay variations for the money. And a nifty new red d20…

Overall Review: (Not necessarily a must have)
This was the first expansion for KB Quest and although there are some great additions to the game, its not a must have.

That said, the great thing about the KB Quest game overall is that you can add in and take out as many expansions and even cards from those expansions as you want. So my advice is… get this expansion (It’s only $10) if only for the new Carrots, the Weapons, Special and Very Special cards, and add what you like.

KB RED is balanced out of the box. If you use all the cards from this expansion, and cycle out another – it works very well. If you choose to add some of the cards, be careful to include the Dollas, Red bunnies and Water and Cabbage to make the deck percentages work out properly.

Coming up next… KB Violet.

7
Go to the IceDice page

IceDice

42 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

Anyone familiar with Looney Labs games knows about their Pyramids, and IceDice is the latest of their Pyramid games. In fact, IceDice includes rules to another pyramid game: Launch Pad 23. So I will briefly review both games in this space.

Before I get to that, for those of you who don’t know about Looney Pyramids, I’ll explain. Looney Pyramids can best be described as multi-functional game pieces and were invented by Andrew Looney. They are 3 dimensional pyramids in 5 different colors, and in 3 different sizes. They can be stacked small to large, forming a “nest” and large to small forming a “tree”. They each have values, (1-3 pips depending on size) and are used for over 100 games designed by Andrew Looney, the company’s owner and many other fans. More on these later, but for now let’s focus on IceDice and LP23.

Style/Components: (Strangely …appealing)
Well, this is the central attraction of Looney Pyramid games! These little pyramids are colorful, and just plain appealing to play with. They look cool and are completely versatile. With IceDice, you get 2 “Rainbow Stashes,” or 2 sets of 5 colors of Pyramids in the three sizes. 2 IceDice dice are also included. They are easy to read and sturdy. The game includes a Launch Pad 23 game card as well, which is simply functional. This all comes in a nifty, pyramid shaped carry bag.

Gameplay: (Quick and quirky)
In IceDice, players roll two dice and place matching pyramids into a central area called the “counter.” When a player chooses to stop rolling, they place those pyramids in their “vault.” If a player rolls the same color as they already have in the counter, they “bust out.” You can steal pieces from your opponent’s vault as well. Capture 3 trios of the same color and you win!

In Launch Pad 23, using the same pieces and the game card, players roll the dice in an attempt to build a 5-stage rocket on their launch pad. In this case the dice results allow you to move pieces around a small factory and land them on your launch pad. Once a player has 5 pyramids, all the same size, each of a different color on their pad, they win.

The gameplay of these two games, and several of the other pyramid games are extremely tight. The mathematics used in constructing the games is obvious, and abstract strategy at its best. But the addition of the random factor of dice makes the games very enjoyable. It’s true, your success on each turn depends on the roll of the dice and feels random, but multiple plays allow you to change your strategy to accommodate for this, and even allowing a player to decide on an overall strategy from the outset and then go for it. As the games progress, your options become fewer and luck plays a more integral role. But you feel great satisfaction in a victory with this blend of tactics and luck.

Value: (Through the roof)
The replay value for these two games is high, thanks to the multiplicity of game outcomes. The pyramids included in the IceDice set can be used in several other of the pyramid games. So, for $20 you essentially get the components to play 5 or 6 pyramid games. And with an inexpensive addition of more Rainbow Stashes, and a few dice, or a game board, many more are accessible.

Audience: (Seekers of fun!)
Pyramid games have a wide appeal. They are very Family friendly, and also provide a fun challenge for Avid and Casual and Social gamers. Strategy gamers will enjoy these games as well, and will appreciate the simple streamlined mechanics, but only if they allow for some luck to be involved. Power gamers may not get the “point,” but Ill bet they are entertained just the same.

Instructions (One page…‘nuff said)
Concise. Simple. The instructions for these game and other pyramid games have a common theme: to get you playing as quickly as possible. You will learn the game in minutes.

Overall Review: (Appealing and Addicting)
You know you are on to something when you invent some game pieces, and it spawns literally hundreds of games and fans. That’s the affect Pyramids has had on the game community for the last 20 years. The games are light on rules and expansive on game play experiences. You can play over and over again and seldom have the same end result. More complicated strategies appear as you play. And this is always the mark of a great game: simple to learn difficult to master.

That said, these games are not for everyone. They usually have a random factor involved, and the abstract strategy of many of the games, including the roll/move/capture mechanics of IceDice and Launch Pad 23 either appeal to you as a player or not. Abstract strategy is what it is.

But those little pyramids are just so darn appealing… Come on… you know. I really recommend you try IceDice, or other Pyramid games. You can find the full compliment of Pyramid games rules on the Looney website. And once you go Looney, you may never want to stop playing.

7
Go to the Dixit Odyssey page

Dixit Odyssey

57 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

Coming from an artistic background, I was prepared to play Dixit and sit back in my chair with a feeling of unbridled pride and smugness. It was more difficult than I suspected – And there were some basic issue with the original game that I wasn’t thrilled about. After Dixit 2 added cards and did not solve some of these issues, I was disappointed. Ah, then came Dixit Odyssey… Dixit Odyssey simple takes what I consider an inimitable original game and makes it better.

Style/Components: (Dazzling)
All the components and artwork are stunning and, as I will mention later, support the game mechanics better than the original. Odyssey does add a more “practical” scoreboard and it is welcomed. Along with some new voting cards, the game is now very functional for more players. The artwork remains vivid, enchanting and haunting.

Gameplay: (Some old, some new)
The gameplay remains unchanged from the original, with some exceptions.
Odyssey adds a new “Dixit Party” rules for 6-12 players as well as rules to play “Team Dixit.”

“Dixit Party” works well (We played with 8 players) as new rules allow the Storyteller to play a more active part and even play spoiler. This is very welcomed since sometimes the scoring for regular gameplay can be a bit lopsided at times – especially with players of varying ages. The Storyteller can also secretly vote (with a red token) on the image that he or she thinks the most players will vote on – effectively wiping out any points scored for that image.
This is a simple change, but worked so well that I that it increased the interactivity in a game and improved it. Point awards are a bit different to accommodate for the number of players – but it works well as there is a foil added to the mix.

The best change I found is one subtle rule: the Storyteller saying something without looking at their cards – then choosing a card that matches the spoken phrase is works great for kids. This change makes the game more inclusive – always a good thing when playing with family members of varying ages.

I was hoping the “Team Dixit” rules would allow for better play with younger players as well. But as it turns out, teammates sit across from each other and can only choose one or the other player to hand an image to the Storyteller. I think this could have been more inclusive to allow combined play, but it really just allows for alternating play between teammates based on whether they think they have the best image to fool the other players. And the teammate that does not choose an image gets to vote, so even your teammate doesn’t know which image you handed in. Again an interesting mechanic, and balanced, but if I am honest, I was hoping for a more cooperative role for teammates.

Value: (Wonderful replay value)
You can get Dixit Odyssey for around $30 and this is a bargain for the game with great replay value and charm. This “expansion” is a game in itself. So you can play with this edition alone.

Audience: (Families and friends)
Dixit has been and will be a great Family game. Avid and Casual players will find it fun as well with the right group. Strategy gamers… look elsewhere. Also, as mentioned, gameplay is now easier for kids with some new rules tweaks.

Instructions (Short and simple)
For the most part the instructions are simple and short. Easy to read, and able to be remembered easily when play starts. There are a few places where sentence construction is a bit confusing and requires a re-read or two. But perhaps this is because there are only slight differences for the original rules and require slightly more attention.

Overall Review: (A great game gets better!)
I may be in the minority, but I didn’t enjoy the original Dixit as much as many others seem to have. It’s a great game, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t as gung-ho as a lot of others. For that reason, I didn’t review the original. As a gamer with children, playing with them was very lopsided, more so than some other party games. Developing, artistic, creative thinking is something that is difficult to teach, I think this type of thinking comes naturally to some children/people or it doesn’t. That is indeed what makes this game challenging.

Odyssey however changes my opinion. The new board is great. (using the old box/board we had rabbits constantly strewn about with the slightest nudge.) Also having a place to put the cards also makes things more organized. The new Voting Cards are welcomed as well – even if the intention was to include them for larger numbers of players. The new rules variations also add another level of interactivity that, personally I found lacking in the original.

If you haven’t played the original Dixit or Dixit 2, you may want to start with Odyssey to enjoy the full potential of the game. It’s a rare thing to work backwards in a game with expansions, but in this case make the exception.
It’s almost as if the designers listened to the rumblings about a great game, and sought to make it a perfect game. And now, Odyssey makes it very nearly that.

9
Go to the Space Alert page

Space Alert

341 out of 363 gamers thought this was helpful

Truth is, I have wanted to review this game for some time – mainly because I have been wanting to PLAY this game for some time: 10 months to be exact. Why did it take so long? Space Alert anyone?…anyone?…Beuller?

Well, I guess that says something right there. Ok, it’s not a “mainstream” game (No deck-building, no worker placement, resource management, etc.). It IS a “cooperative” game, so what gives? Maybe, I thought, it’s the fear of playing something uncomfortable and not easy to understand. There are many of games that fall into this category. You know the ones… “Yikes! Do I want to risk 4 hours of my life I will never get back?”

Well, to allay any fears, I would like to invite you to play one of the most unique, immersive, and yes, challenging games I have experienced.

Style/Components: (Fully functional)
The overall style of this game is good. It lacks a defining look and feel as some sci-fi genre games do – the development team didn’t create an extensive back-story or setting. There is some particularly gorgeous sci-fi artwork on the Threat cards. For the most part, it’s perfectly functional. This is important…

Gameplay: (Where no one has gone before…)
Game play is the game’s main appeal and challenge. So, let me see if I can demystify it a bit.

The game board is a spaceship (the “Sitting Duck”) and players are its crew.
There are two major phases of the game, the “Action Phase” which happens in “real time,” And the “Resolution Phase” when you see how your choices play out.

First, the “Action Phase.” In a nutshell, players start a CD soundtrack of a 10-minute space flight. The soundtrack plays a sort of ship’s computer voice announcing events: alien threats, chances to draw cards and especially when to start and end phases. During these 10 minutes, players program 12 actions for the entire spaceflight. The cool (and tension filled) part is everything happens simultaneously. As an action, players can, move about the ship and press systems buttons (A, B and C) that activate weapons, shields and power reactors and other cool spaceship stuff. Why are you all doing this? Survival. During this 10-minute soundtrack, alien threats appear very quickly to destroy your ship. If your ship takes too many hits… space dust. Survive and you win. See… easy!

Then the “Resolution Phase.” When the soundtrack ends and all the players have placed 12 action cards on their panels. Then the space flight is played out again, but in a slow, organized order using a Mission Steps Board. Players reveal their actions in player order and see how they resolve.

The mechanics for recreating a dangerous space flight – being forced to make decisions in a split second, then “rewinding and seeing what your actions have wrought ” are ingenious and irresistible.

Value: (Deep immersion for the Dollar)
At $59.99 the game is a great value and if you crave adventure and a unique game experience, you wont be disappointed. It’s out of print right now so copies are a bit pricier. ($90 or so) If you can find it for under $70… purchase it. Otherwise there may be a reprint? (Although there is currently an expansion: Space Alert: The New Frontier).

Audience: (Adventure seekers wanted!)
Avid and Power gamers will enjoy the feeling of being truly tested by a game. Casual players can enjoy it if they have the patience and friends to get through the first two simulations. The game does focus on organized and logical strategy so Strategic players may enjoy it as well. It is a truly challenging game, so those who see failure as a “growth experience” will enjoy this game.

Instructions (Effective and entertaining)
The instructions for Space Alert come in two parts: the rule book and a “How to become a Space Explorer Handbook.” You cannot learn the game from the rulebook. The “handbook” is necessary and if you have a group of players willing to walk through the first few simulations, reading through every page as you go, you will learn the game with ease – and be entertained as you do. The handbook is narrated by a sort of flight instructor who walks you through every step of the game. Again it takes patience – but you must learn this game by playing.

Overall Review: (Frantic, fantastic fun)
I love games that offer deep immersion and something different. This game is a blast, but it does come with challenges.

This game tests ones ability to think quickly and cooperate effectively. Communication is everything. It can bring out the best, and worst in people. If played with a group of players that doesn’t get along, things wont go well. At it’s most basic; it’s a test of logical thinking. The amazing part is, the game asks players to think logically and clearly in a timed situation. The real-time Action round is exhilarating – but some folks just don’t like having their feet in the fire.

In my games, we replayed each simulation – learning from our mistakes and trying to anticipate the dangers and…wait for it…we were overwhelmingly successful.

So, you see? Space flight can be fun! If you find the thought of boarding a space ship and exploring the vast unknown as irresistible as I do, suit up! If you’re like me, you won’t want to disembark.

8
Go to the Wits & Wagers page

Wits & Wagers

45 out of 46 gamers thought this was helpful

Ah Trivia games. What a love/hate relationship. For me, (and I’ll wager and many other gamers), taking out a trivia game is the perfect way to ruin an evening. You either watch helplessly as your self-esteem dissolves into a gelatinous mass or you suddenly feel animosity, perhaps even jealousy for one of your life-long friends. Trivia games suddenly become anything but trivial. But fear not! Along comes a trivia game where you don’t have to answer the question correctly. Wha?

Style/Components: (Just what you need)
Wits and Wagers is a party game, and thus really doesn’t have a theme but its style is just right. Family friendly. As for the components, everything works. The cards are thin, but only 7 are used per game so they will hold up fine. The other items (felt betting mat, chips, pens, dry-erase boards etc.) are sturdy and will last through many games.

Gameplay: (A Gem!)
Every now and again, a game comes along that makes you say: “What a great idea!” The game mechanics are simple but ingenious. There are 7 questions/rounds in the game. All the questions have numerical answers. Each round, a question is asked and players simply have to guess closest to the numerical value without going over (like the Price is Right!). A sand timer is turned over and each player/team writes their guess secretly. The answers are arranged on the betting mat from lowest to highest. The timer is turned again and players then wager on the answer that is closest to the actual answer, (even if its not their own guess). The answer is revealed and players or teams receive payouts for guessing correctly. I mean, you don’t even have to be correct! What kind of trivia game is this? Players can bet as many chips as they have. But as with most wagering games, it depends on how confident you feel about your own answer, or someone else’s. The game is short, smooth and elegant.

Value: (Great fun at a great price)
The game includes 100 trivia cards with 7 questions on them. So you have enough for 100 games. When is the last time you played a party game 100 times? (It’s a rhetorical question). Also, since all the answers are numbers, even if you happen to get a repeat question, are you going to remember that the Mississippi river is 2,302.15 miles long? It’s a lot of fun and replay value for $20-30.

Audience: (Key word: Inclusive!)
Being a party game it is perfect for family, social, casual and even avid gamers. An aspect of the game that I intentionally didn’t include in the gameplay section, although it is an aspect of gameplay, is the ability for the game’s questions to appeal to a wide audience. This game can be played by all ages. Since the answers are guesses, it’s inclusive. Anyone can guess an answer. As opposed to most trivia or party games that are exclusive to adults, since most adults would be more knowledgeable than most children. Or games that cater to folks that are more knowledgeable about certain trivia categories. (Ever play Trivial Pursuit with a sports buff? Spare me…)

Overall Review: (Have a party!)
There are a few key points to this game that make it a gem.

As was already mentioned: anyone can play. You don’t have to be right. the game almost strokes your self-esteem by saying “Hey, no one knows that answer, but you got close!”

Next – the game can be played by 4-20 players – in singles or in teams. So it’s very versatile depending on size of your playgroup, circle of friends, family or Elk lodge.

And less obvious – since the game’s questions are all numerical (but are NOT only about numbers), and hardly anyone would know the exact answer, it promotes logical thinking… even deduction. Think about it. In the example above, if you think that the Mississippi river is around 2,000 miles long, essentially you are in the right ballpark. And in this game, you are rewarded for being in the right ballpark. How your brain gets to that ballpark is the positive, almost educational aspect this game has.

The questions and answers are very unique and adults and children alike will be entertained and challenged without jealousy, or loss of self-esteem.

8
Go to the Formula D page

Formula D

97 out of 103 gamers thought this was helpful

Racing games are ancient: (Pachisi, mancala, backgammon and cribbage are good examples) and all these and their many variations offer the opportunity for gamers to experience a unique sort of play experience – the thrill of the race. It can be invigorating and aggravating. Formula D (and its predecessor Formula De’) offers that same experience with the Formula 1 racing theme. So, Let’s start our engines…

Style/Components: (Sweet ride!)
This game has a distinctive European edge…vibrant. The rulebook is very easy to read with ample illustrations and easy to follow rules. And the sturdy board, the player “dashboards” give the game a great look and feel. The original edition had paper tear-pads for the dashboards and the tiny cars were mono-colored, so these components give you more “bling” for the buck.

Gameplay: (Roll, baby roll!)
Roll and move. That’s it.

The main mechanic, the use of dice to represent gears of a formula 1 racer, is the foundational mechanic. The dice included (d4, d6, d8, d12, d20 and d30) represent 1st gear through 6th respectively and present the players with a movement range. (The d4 only offers 1 or 2, on the d12, you can only roll an 8-12 and so on.) Want to go faster? Roll a higher die. Slower? Down shift and roll a smaller numbered die. It’s easy. There are several other variables, but all of them rely on the player’s ability to choose the right gear/speed for the right stretch of track.

Formula D includes a basic game and an advanced game as well as a street-racing variant. In the basic game all cars have 18 “wear” points that are sort of like car “hit points.” You risk these points when you go too fast, blow through turns, and slam on the brakes. When all these points are used up, boom, out of the game.

In the advanced game, these points are divided between specific areas of your car. (Engine, Brakes, Tires, Body, etc) So you can’t use up any one set of these points, or… boom, out of the game. You also have the choice of using the character cards included in the game that customize the areas of the car even further.

The rules for movement and lane changing are simple – everything you need to know is listed on the game boards. The mechanics are simple and ingenious and do a very good job recreating in game segments what is in real life a continuous event. Not a small task but the mechanics achieve it winningly.

Value: (Not a lemon…)
You get a lot for your money with this game, especially with this new edition. Three levels of play, character abilities and cool dashboards. Ya, it’s worth the $60.

Audience: (Psst…everyone… try it.)
I recommend this game for family play and any avid or casual gamers that enjoy the genre of “race” games. Contrary to some opinions, it’s not as random as some think. You know the odds; you just have to be willing to take the risk. There is a good amount of turn planning and strategy. So, hey, power gamers and strategy gamers…give it a try.

Overall Review: (Smooth shifting joy!)
The game play is smooth and effective – simple. It places each driver in the position of risking their car by moving ahead, or lagging behind to play it safe with their car’s endurance. It’s the mark of a very good game: allowing the mechanics to take a back seat, (get it?) and the player’s decision-making abilities are the main focus. Another great quality of this game – as with most race games – is that all players have the same ability to succeed of fail. No player’s car is faster, or slower, it truly relies on the player to drive his or her car with skill. Luck and some individual abilities can play a role, but it’s balanced. The game is gorgeous; the components/artwork are well made – cool even. It is also notably, one of the very few 10 player games out there. Formula D is just one of those unique gems that after you play makes you want to play again. And with track expansions, the replay value is top gear!

7
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Blue Starter Deck page
74 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

If you enjoy strategic games where every turn you have complete control over the mathematical possibilities for victory based solely on tactical advantage and advanced planning and calculated stratagem… RUN THE OTHER WAY!

Killer Bunnies is a humorous, fast-paced anything can happen card game. With one Starter Set (Blue and Yellow) and ten expansions …(ready? Ahem… Red, Violet, Orange, Green, Twilight White, Stainless Steel, Perfectly Pink, Wacky Khaki, Ominous Onyx and Chocolate) and so many pop culture references you will think you died and gone to TV Land.

The object of the game is deceptive… ok … no its not, it’s called the “Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot” for a reason. Let’s get a bit more specific…

Style/Components: (Goofy, Spoofy and Satirical)
All the artwork and even the instruction book are a special style of cartoon-like characters – ones that should be pretty recognizable to most anyone who has been around gaming for the last 10 years. Most are quite ingenious and fun, and that is just what the design adds to the game: and extra layer of fun.

Game-play: (Fast and “Furry”-us)
In a nutshell, you win the game by capturing the “Magic Carrot,” which is secretly chosen at the beginning of the game out of 12 possible Carrots. Each Carrot card has a “personality” and a name. (There is one that looks like Spock, and another that’s a Terminator look-a-like). Throughout the game you kill bunnies and capture carrots until the last one is captured. If you have a bunny in play and have the Magic Carrot you win. Piece o’ cake. (Carrot cake of course.)

The most effective way to kill a Bunny in this game is through the use of Weapons (of course!) and there are some doosies: from an Ice Pick to a Nuclear Warhead. Each weapon has a probability to hit rolled on the d20 – usually the larger the weapon, the easier to hit.

The card play of KB Quest is unique and can be summed up in 4 words: “Flip – Slide – Draw – Replace.” With a hand of cards, players play two from their hand in line in front of them – one on top of the other. On a turn players FLIP the top card (Playing it), They SLIDE the bottom card up to the top of the line, DRAW a card from the draw pile, then REPLACE the bottom card with one from their hand. So effectively you have to prepare your next turn’s card on your current turn, even if when your turn comes around, you will be unable to play it because your bunny is now a burnt cinder. Que sera sera.

There a few other card types, “Dollas” (the game currency) with which to purchase things (like Carrots) and more powerful effects (“Special” and “Very Special” Cards) that you can save and use to protect you bunnies or kill others – but beyond that, most of the game is reading the cards, applying affects and rolling dice to kill bunnies in many horrific ways.

Value: (Good fun for the price)
One purchase can give you many games of fun, even without the other 10 expansions. But even these are only $10 a pop. The cards are high quality and don’t give out after many plays. Great replay value at a reasonable price.

Overall Review: (This game makes road-kill fun)
KB Quest is a game for casual gamers and families, (especially kids or kids at heart) and even avid gamers who love unpredictable outcomes. Power gamers and strategy gamers steer clear. (I love seeing serious Magic: the Gathering players’ faces after one game!) But seriously it’s about as unserious as a game can get. Random elements abound especially with 6-8 players. But it’s a game you can really get into; so much so I once saw a grown woman leap onto the table and do a screaming victory dance after her first win in 5 games. Really? Yes really.

One gripe with the game, (pet peeve alert) are the extremely poorly written rules. In an attempt to be humorous and fun-loving throughout the rulebook, the designer put so many funny personal comments throughout that it actually makes learning the game from the instructions difficult. Unfocused and wordy. So, have someone teach you, or visit http://www.killerbunnies.com for FAQ and a better understanding of the game.

Other than that, load your flamethrower, grab your magic spatula and get ready to wreak some hare havoc!

9
Go to the Tales of the Arabian Nights page

Tales of the Arabian Nights

75 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

If you are like me, you enjoy all sorts of games – those that employ higher strategy, and those that are pure fun. One of my favorite game experiences involves immersion – that is, playing a game to be immersed in a world or experience different than our own. So, if you are looking for an immersive play experience that lies somewhere between adventure game and role-playing game, with beautifully crafted components and wonderful poetic style – read on.

Style/Components: (Artful and Sophisticated)
When you pick up the weighty game box is as if you are holding a treasure stolen from the forty thieves themselves. The Arabian and Persian themed illustrations; the art on the game board, cards, and tokens is perfect for the theme. If you enjoy tearing the wrapping off a new game, smelling new game smell and looking at the components thinking, “How do I use all this stuff?” then you will love the overall production value of Tales of the Arabian Nights.

Game-play: (Simple and wonderfully unpredictable)
The game play is quite simple for “Tales.” You seek to win by earning Story and Destiny. And you the player get to decide how many you need in any combination adding up to 20. (8 Destiny and 12 Story for example.) You receive these points by completing quests and resolving successful encounters in the world of mythological Arabia – complete with Princes, Magicians, Efreets and Djinn.

Each player portrays a character from this world (Aladdin, Sinbad, etc) and gets to customize their character to a degree – choosing three skills before play begins. These skills help (or hinder) in encounter resolution. Players move about the board, meeting the inhabitants of this ancient world, hoping to achieve their preset goal of Story and Destiny Points. There are “Treasures” that help and also “Conditions” that can affect your character and you can acquire new skills as well! The uniqueness of the game is in how encounters are resolved…

The main component, the Book of Tales has thousands of paragraphs that are matched to every encounter. When you meet a Beggar for example, will you help him or rob him? The reaction matrix cross references your reaction with an adjective describing the beggar, (Poor, imprisoned, etc) and the Beggar’s reaction and what happens next come from that combination. The “tales” in the book are wonderfully written.

In this way the game does have a “choose your own adventure” feel. But so much more is dependant upon the outcome than a simple reaction choice. Skills and Conditions, Treasures and even what sort of land region you are in all affect the outcome. The math is actually staggering.

Value: (Worth its weight…)
The game retails for around $59.99, which is a lot these days for an evening’s entertainment. But Tales of the Arabian Nights offers so much replay value, it’s worth it. If this game sounds like a good one for you or your game group, go ahead and spend the money.

Overall Review: (Unpredictable fun… for the right group.)
“Tales” was originally released in 1985.(During the height of popularity of the “Endless Quests book…) For those of us over a certain age…(ahem) games in the 80’s also employed a certain random generation process as a main mechanic (it was the era of the first computers and folks loved multiplication matrices). Now admittedly, I liked these games. The random results were still at the mercy of probability, but you always came away thinking that anything could happen. So it is with “Tales.”

Avid and casual gamers will enjoy “Tales” for the components; shear adventure, random elements and story telling. But if you are not a fan of letting fate determine your success – stay away. The game is great for families, with some educational qualities and I would even say the age could be lowered to reading age children (8-9 yrs) because this game is all about reading the tales and not as much about strategic planning several turns ahead. The 2 hours playing time is accurate, but plan for more to fully enjoy the “tales.” Sometimes there are a lot of things to keep track of but its hardly a detraction.

Immersion is still the key. If you want to feel immersed in the strange and unpredictable world of mythological Arabia, rub the lamp…

7
Go to the Bang! The Bullet! page
75 out of 82 gamers thought this was helpful

Hold on there pardner! Bang! The Bullet! is actually a collectors set – being comprised of the original Bang! game, the first expansion: Dodge City, the second expansion: High Noon, and the third: A Fistful of Cards. So if you want to try Bang! you dont necessarily have to purchase the Bang! The Bullet! set as it retails for around…$35.00 But you can try the game For around $15-$20. ( or less if you know someone with a copy!) The game is better with expansions however.

So let’s talk about the game …

Style/Components: (Simple and appropriate…)
Bang! is a card game – so beyond the artwork on the cards, there is not much to say except that the artwork is gritty, stylized and has a modest “western” feel – reminding one of an old western wanted poster. The “Bullet” that stores the deluxe edition is very cool. I have a hard time fitting it on my game shelf with all the other square games in there – but maybe that’s the point. Anyway, the components are not the main attraction of the game, but its not a detraction either.

Gameplay: (Ok.. this is fun…)

What IS the main attraction of Bang! It’s a game of hidden identities in the old west, but the human element makes this game great. Please read on…

In the game set-up each player gets dealt a secret “role.” The roles are: Sheriff, Deputy, Outlaw and Renegade. Each players objective depends on their role. The Sheriff and Deputy need to “eliminate” the Outlaws and Renegade. The Outlaws want to eliminate the Sheriff and Deputy. The Renegade wants to eliminate everyone else! When the players are dealt roles – only the player with the Sheriff reveals their identity. Everyone else keep theirs secret.

So cool – immediately we have objectives with no clear path to achieving them. Next, each player is dealt (or chooses) a character from a semi-fictional old west. Each has a name and a special ability that they can use during the game. Each also has a number of “bullets.” (Hit points or life total if you will). So thats the setup.. And as the name suggest – the object of the game is to … well.. shoot each other. But who do you shoot – and how do you shoot them without revealing your identity?

A game turn is simple: players draw 2 cards, play a card and just try to survive. Easy to play, difficult to find your targets if your the Sheriff and difficult to keep your identity hidden if you are anyone else.

There are weapons cards to increase your damage, “Beer” cards ( which ironically heal your character) and other fun devices of the time period. The game includes a unique random element as well – Each card has a poker symbol in the lower left corner. Some cards require a “draw” – to check and see if their effect is successful. In this case a player has to draw the top card of the draw pile and match it to the required poker symbol.

One slightly daunting thing about the rules is the use of symbols on the cards. There is a symbol for every unique gameplay action. And the game provides a reference card but it takes a few games to get them down pat. And there are some special cards that have more complicated effects – and you will have to reference these rules as well – but they are worth it.

Value: (Pricey)
I think $20 is high for a card game. The game play is fun enough and replay value is great. But.. there are less expensive game card games. If you are buying the “Bullet” you get so much more for your money. Depends on your budget.

Overall Review: (Unpredictable fun… for the right group.)
I can’t automatically recommend this game as a family game. It depends on the family. I have kids. And we all love to play games together. This game is a tough call – especially nowadays. For some, the blatant title that may be reason enough not to play this game with children. (the game says 10 and up). However, some may see all this bloodshed and violence easily acceptable since it is cloaked in the “old west” theme. I’ll leave this to your personal preferences.

Bang! Is best played with more than 4 people. Maybe that’s why a lot of folks consider it a “party game.” (and as such feel free to wear western hats and have a lot of jerky on hand) But because of the variables during set-up, 4 or less players is still enjoyable, but less so. The card symbols make the game playable by younger kids but again – see the disclaimer above.

Overall the game’s hidden identities mixed with a great variance of character effects and luck make this a very fun game. The last great component of the game is how the players play. Does your pal have a good poker face? Does your brother turn red when lying? Will your girlfriend giggle when shooting the Sheriff? How the players continue to conceal their identities, and strive to reveal the other players’ by targeting them is really the true fun of the game. It’s the human element. So much more than math and luck the game depends on you keeping your cool…

10
Go to the RoboRally page

RoboRally

90 out of 95 gamers thought this was helpful

Having Played RoboRally since its first edition, I can’t recommend a game more. It has all the classic earmarks of a great game – easy to learn, difficult to master, good level of strategy and of course.. the unexpected. Disclaimer: Dont take this game too seriously. It’s fun lies in it’s simplicity. Lets break it down…

Style/Components: (Kind Cartoony…)
The art and theme are not what would be considered “mature.” RoboRally is definitely more youthful in appearance, with comical cartoon robots and and even a game theme that evokes memories of Looney Tunes robots in a Acme meat packing plant. The components are durable and appropriate for gameplay, and the graphic art on the cards and game boards are great. Color addition to the later editions (although the 1st edition pewter robots changed to plastic) made it that much more attractive – but look and feel are a minor attribute for this game.

Gameplay: (Great mechanics means great fun!)
How does it play?
RoboRally set the standard for “programmed move” game-play. And as with all programmed move turns, the fun begins when the moves are revealed and compared to the hidden choices of the other players. Richard Garfield knew that it was all about the multiplicity of mathematics, but created a purely fun experience in the way the little robots move around the game board when trying to achieve the seemingly simple goal of capturing a flag. I said that he gameplay is simple – and it is.. Choose cards, flip them, move your robot. Of course, it gets more complicated as different situations arise (robot damage and especially game board attributes such as smashers and conveyor belts.) But really – that it! The strategic challenge is for a player to plan their move not only based on where they want their robot to go, but where they expect their opponents’ robots to go. The seemingly random interference of other players is your biggest obstacle as a player – not being a rules guru or brilliant strategist. If you love games where anything can happen, and have a good sense of humor – where the game is in control of you, and not the other way around, then RoboRally will delight.

A few tips…
1. Be patient. Planning a move, especially for new players (and those without a swivel chair) can take some time. Don’t use the timer included. (unless your play group is cut-throat) It’s a little hard core. It take the fun out of the game.

2. Because of #1 above, playing multiple flags with more than 3 players can take a while. (a 6 player/3 flag game I played once took over 4 hours) So play with less flags if you have more players. The game can get frustrating if it goes on too long.

3. Using the Option Cards the way the rules instruct (ending on a double wrench space) make them few and far between. Hey, it’s a robot factory! Starting the game with an Option card and handing them out more often makes the game even more fun. Try it!

Value: (Wow! Great play for the price!)
If memory serves, the 1st edition went for around $24 – now its a bit more expensive in the mid 30’s. To add this game to your library, its worth even more. Buy it. Its worth it.

Overall Review: (A Game Shelf Must)
Great replay and always… I’ll say it again.. always fun. Easy to learn, and to play, again great strategy planning for your turn with a good balance of luck and mayhem. Best played casually with friends and families. But hard-core gamers can play with a bit more “zeal” if you will, since it has all the properties of a “kill or be killed” game experience.

Also, I highly recommend this game for families of young gamers… The box says “ages 12 and up” but I disagree. The Program cards are simply directional arrows with a number on top. They may need help moving over some more complicated board features and reading the Option cards, but I have played many times with my 6 year old nephew. (He even won once or twice) The game has a youthful, cartoon-like feel about it and is perfect for a lighthearted evening of fun with anyone who is in touch with their inner child. Just like Richard Garfield must have been when he designed it.

Lastly, the original game had 4 expansions (Armed and Dangerous, Crash and Burn, Radioactive and Grand Prix – all in the late 90’s) Each added new Factory Floors, Robots, Option Cards and much more. A testament to its success, these are very difficult to find. One could only hope that they may be reprinted one day.

6
Go to the Mad Zeppelin page

Mad Zeppelin

24 out of 25 gamers thought this was helpful

Mad Zeppelin offers a reasonable game-play experience for the price. It is not anything groundbreaking, but the style, mechanics and unpredictable game-play make it a a good quick to learn, easy to play game. This is great for beginner gamers and families – not older avid gamers.

Style/Components: (That looks cool!)
It’s the first thing we see when we look at a game, before opening the directions and dive in. The artwork for this game is really appealing (specifically the traitor cards) and this is enough to get you to give the game a second look. The Cargo cards and Journey cards are pretty standard as are the dice.

Gameplay: (Meh… its ok.)
How does it play?
The mechanics are very similar to other games out there and nothing new, but they are streamlined enough and random enough to keep turns interesting. My major observation in this regard is the fact that it is a very poor two-player game. With only two players, the Traitor cards that are most effective become obvious, and with only one other person for the Traitor abilities to affect, the game reaches a point of play imbalance: (That is, if one player get ahead, the other will, most likely lose the game… not cool.) That said, play with 4-6 players is much better and increases the play experience and replay value. Other than that the mechanics as listed above provide a random element that may be a turn off to some who like less “chance” in their games. Let’s face it, if you have dice in a game, chance will be a part of the game elements. So, choose this if you like those game that provide an element of random success… and failure. Also, some of the traitors do have better powers than other, but they are situational. In other words, some abilities work well all the time, others only in specific circumstances.

Value: (Its costs what?!)
Is it worth it? The game is a bit expensive for the experience and the components. So not really. But, if you can find it for a good price, it could easily provide several good evenings entertainment for a family or group of beginning gamers.

Overall Review: (Hmmm… Maybe…)
Easy mechanics and random elements make this a good beginner or family game. It does have the feeling of “game mechanics that have had a theme attached to them.” It wont excite avid or older gamers who have a lot of experience under their belt. The artwork is great. But the price is a bit high for what you get. Definitely play with more than 3 players and try it for a family game night. But if you are an avid gamer like me, it receives a “eh.. it’s just ok.” rating.

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