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Mothballs

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8
Go to the Onirim page

Onirim

7 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

With a world of distractions these days, it is not often that you find a game so simple to pick up that you can do it instead of picking up a cell phone. At the end of a long day or on a rainy afternoon few games short of a standard deck of cards come close to the casual ease of Onirim. While that in itself is refreshing, it is also one of the few games to truly bring a childlike character and charm to each sitting, if you can get into the theme.

The act of escaping from spirits in your dreams is the basis for Onirim, and you are presented with a deck of beautifully illustrated cards in a compact box with which you will begin your quest. Inside the box with my version of the game was a small miniature of an Incubus spirit and 7 expansions which add complexity and replay variety. Whether you play with the expansion cards or not, I found the spirit figure a cute companion and nice touch for a game that will be largely played solo.

Gameplay is simple and straightforward with a set-making mechanic which sees you drawing and discarding to obtain keys and doors to break out of your dream-state labyrinth. Occasionally spirits arise and ruin your plans, and you must sacrifice cards to move past them. This can make it quite a challenging puzzle to discover all of the needed keys to escape, and there is some, though not too much, strategy to go along with the luck.

The Good Stuff
Quick play, planning is necessary to succeed. Fun little box is packaged well. Lots of replay with all of the expansions.

Quibbles
All 7 expansions come in one big deck, and the symbols used on the cards to differentiate them are not so easy to tell apart. Some sleeves or rubber bands are necessary.

Verdict
This is a light and enjoyable game which picks up easily, and I look forward to trying two-player games. I could see this being a very friendly parent-child game. Even though it is not necessarily a ‘kid’ theme, it can be soothing, meditative, and carefree. Whether you find that boring or it temporarily brings you to another place, I’d give Onirim at least one go.

10
Go to the Scythe page

Scythe

12 out of 12 gamers thought this was helpful

At first glance Scythe appears daunting, with its relatively large board and components list (and let’s face it, large price tag)- but underneath the lid is a game which is worthy of the investment. You will sweat during your first setup and recheck the rule book half of the first game, but Scythe carries you along with relatively simple game mechanics, and you will quickly learn enough to appreciate the dizzying layers of strategy at every turn.

Largely a Cold War, players will find themselves initially trapped near their faction’s base, and then slowly expanding outwards into the world. Along the way they must gather resources, upgrade their war machines, and manage their encounters with encroaching opponents. A winner can balance victory in skirmishes with an ever-expanding territory and resource horde. And popularity.

In fact, the surprising lack of focus on combat made the game more enjoyable for players who normally prefer conflict-free games. With only 4-5 basic moves in the game, more time is spent stressing over how these actions domino into subsequent turns, and if achieving your fleeting plan will actually help you accrue the fortune necessary to win the game. The beautiful game cards and nice components also do their best to immerse you in Eastern Europa, though it can be a bit hard to tell the difference between some pieces in the retail game.

The Good Stuff
-The packaging of the box is great, with bags and containers galore included for components.
-Player boards do their best to help guide setup.
-The art. Just look at it. The Encounter cards are particularly breathtaking.

Quibbles
-Not all player boards are the same, and while this adds depth and replay value it is less welcoming to newcomers learning the rules fresh, as moves will have different costs for each player.
-There is an upcoming expansion to add 2 factions to the base game, which arguably should have been included originally as the spaces are already on the main board.

Verdict
Excellent.

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