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Phlimm

gamer level 6
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I Play This One a LOT
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Rated 100 Games
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Submit 5 game tips, strategies, or house rules and receive a total of 60 positive ratings.
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Review 5 games and receive a total of 140 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Cosmic Encounter page
Go to the Fury of Dracula page
Go to the Talisman page
Go to the Wiz-War page
Go to the The Red Dragon Inn page
Go to the Tsuro page
Go to the DungeonQuest page
7
Go to the Titan page

Titan

18 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

Titan, ahhh yes I remember my youth. When I worked only part time because I didn’t HAVE to work full time. Not a care in the world. Those were the days in which I played Titan. Because I could afford to burn 8 hours on a board game.

Heheh, not to say that this is not a fun game because it is. Drive around picking up various creatures of differing strengths and abilities building stacks of amazing beasts with which to attack and defeat your enemies. What could be better? But…Titan definitely comes with a time commitment that some gamers are simply not willing to make. Many a day when we had to end early because some guy’s wife called wondering where he was or some girl had to go pick her kid up from school or some other silly reason.

But for those of you willing to go the distance, it can be very satisfying. The creatures are very cool, and I found myself always dreaming of getting that awesome Angel or Dragon, but rarely found myself able to reach it. Perhaps it was just plain bad luck, or perhaps it was I played it with a couple of fanatics who were ruthless and would gut me at the earliest chance they got!

Overall, it is a really fun game for the first half and sometimes it can drag on for the second half. It depends on the players and luck. I like the separate combat map, it made battles much more playable than just on a tabletop.

I would definitely place this game in the Power Gamer, Strategy or Avid Gamer slots only. But for those gamer types, it can be a great way to spend an afternoon…and evening…and night.

10
Go to the Diplomacy page

Diplomacy

141 out of 170 gamers thought this was helpful

No randomness at all. No dice, no spinners, no cards. Learn this one and you can run with the big dogs. Heck learn this one well enough and you could probably give the guys down at the Pentagon a run for their money.

Diplomacy is one crazy game. Each turn you will go out and talk to the other players and make deals with them about military movements across the board. If you make the right deals with the right people at the right time, you’ll do well. If not, you’ll get eaten alive.

This is by necessity one of the quietest games you will ever play. Everyone is whispering to each other and making frantic gestures while trying to also eavesdrop on everyone else’s conversations. You can feel the tension in the room rise as the turns go on. It is very very easy to get caught up in this game. And it is one of only a handful I’ve played that have actually come to physical blows. 😀

No two games are ever the same, even with the same players. Everyone is always looking to try out a new strategy they heard about. Don’t turn your back for a second and don’t believe 80% of anything anyone tells you and 50% of what you say. Because in order to get ahead in this game, you will have to learn to lie and lie well.

Not only do you need the gift of gab and the art of the lie, but you also need to keep track of logistics and support. Lose support centers and it’s goodbye to some armies or naval units. Do that a few times and you’ll not likely be able to recover. So you’ll end up as so much chum for the sharks.

One of the timeless granddaddies of them all, Diplomacy will be around being played when today’s Eurotrash games are collecting dust under an old copy of Monopoly.

7
Go to the Sidibaba page

Sidibaba

16 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

Sidibaba is an interesting take on the coop game. In this, there are up to 6 players vs the GM. The players each take the role of a dungeon dweller out to loot the great treasure of Sidibaba. The GM plays the role of the King of Thieves looking to protect his loot.

There are four different mazes offered which really helps with replay value on this one. The 6 players enter as a group and decide in real time which way they will go in the maze. They are carrying with them several oil lamps of which each will light their way for only 3 minutes. After that, the lamp is useless and needs to be replaced immediately. The ultimate goal for the players is to get into the maze, loot the Great Treasure and find an exit all before they run out of lamps.

This is a great concept for a game and for the most part it does work albeit with a few caveats. First off, the 3-D aspect of the game comes with tiles that are shown to the players as they move around the maze. Each tile shows the squares directly ahead of the players. The players then choose a direction to move and then the tile is replaced by the next appropriate one. Keep in mind that all of this has to happen while that 3 minute timer is running. So the GM has to be fast with his hands to get the correct tile shown. After a while, I gave up and just left all the tiles in front of the screen and called out the tile number and let the players find it.

Secondly, it takes a little while to get used to the fact that the tiles show ONLY what is in front of you. So if you see a hallway that you can either go straight at least 2 squares or turn right in 1 square when you take that step forward, you will NOT see that right hand turn on the tile. You have to remember that it was there and rotate to the right in order to take that turn. But once the players figure this out, it is not too hard to keep in mind.

Thirdly and most importantly is the fact that the King of Thieves is supposed to be following the party around in the dungeon throwing hazard their way and pilfering useful items and generally being a pain in the hind end. In practice, this is almost impossible for the GM because of the timer. You have to move the party on the hidden maze, show the correct tile AND then move the King of Thieves token in the maze as well. If he reaches the party he gets to do stuff to them. And the GM also is supposed to draw hazard tokens to use on the party when he catches up to them. Keeping track of the King token and the hazards is simply too much to do when actions that you take eat away at time the party has on their lamp timer. You could turn the hourglass on its side when you move, but that would get really tedious really quickly. Couple that with the fact that there is no reference sheet printed on the GM side of the screen and you’ll be referencing the rule book constantly figuring out what the hazard you just drew does…again eating up valuable player time unfairly.

In the end, we just bagged the King of Thieves and the Hazard tokens altogether and made it a game of navigate the maze to try and get the Great Treasure and then the exit. It did not IMO detract too much from the overall theme and feel of the game. The players had a great time trying to figure out if they had been at this intersection before or not.

With a few rules tweaks and a reprint of the GM screen, Sidibaba could easily score a 8 or 9. But as it stands it remains at a 7, but a solid 7 that is.

5
Go to the Panic Station page

Panic Station

29 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

How can you tell when spaghetti is perfectly cooked? Take a couple pieces and throw them at the wall. If they stick for a couple of seconds then fall off, it is done. This seems to be the approach that Stronghold Games apparently took when designing Panic Station.

In yet another in the long line of “let’s (sort of) cooperatively try to get out alive of this insanity inducing, horror laden, alien strewn, randomly appearing landscape” games, Panic Station seems to have tried to succeed by just tossing some rules in a box and hoping that it sticks to the proverbial gamer wall.

Here we are, space-farers all, trying to destroy the hive of some horrible alien species. Each player has a human character and an android character. Each moves independently. And for some reason, whenever either of them finds a physical object, the other one has access to it as well. No matter how far apart they are, if the android finds a knife – the human can stab with it, a data card – now they both can open doors. OK fine, we’ll do what we do at the movies…suspend belief for sake of the fun.

So, we travel thousands of light years to a hostile alien world and the humans bring…unloaded flame throwers. And the ability to use a knife. The androids know how to use guns, but don’t bring any, nor do they bring any ammo. OK…fine. We all start with some cards, so that’s what we were able to grab just before going into the complex. Maybe I’ll have a gun or ammo or a knife in my hand. Fine.

So what are we up against? Well one of our group has been infected with the alien host. We don’t know which one so we have to be careful. ANY time we enter a room with another teammate we have to either…attack them…or trade with them. Okkaaaayyy, fine. What do we have in our defense against this alien infection? Well we have…gasoline. Wait, what? Gasoline. You know, that fossil fuel that was used 200 years ago to power the internal combustion engine? Apparently the aliens are allergic to it or something. So if they trade with you and give you some of their infected blood, just toss a can of gas at them an you’ll be safe. Ummmmmmm…fine. Whatever.

This is all starting to sound really formulaic and a bit…random, but at least there aren’t any leeches or parasites or some other squishy bitey critters running around. Well…actually there are. You see any time you search a room, you generate one of the little beasties. They will probably not bother you though because they move completely at random and will also bite onto the infected person in the group if they encounter him. But yeah, they are soft looking and parasitic and squeamishly good.

So when you trade with a human you can only give them objects you carry, gas is best. As an infected, you need to give out tainted blood. So you start off with three bloods and two items. What happens if you end up with a hand of ONLY your blood and the alien bloods, but are not infected because you traded gas each time. Oh well that is going to RARE TO THE EXTREME. So don’t worry about it. It won’t happen. Except…if you want to avoid generating the parasites by searching too much, and have some gas to defend against infection, it will. So then as a human with only blood in your hand, you look like an infected when you trade with fellow non-infected humans.

So to summarize – a questionable (at best) plot, overly complicated and seemingly broken rules, and a “me too” semi-coop alien horror theme all combine into a game that I will not likely volunteer to play again. I just cannot suspend that much belief for the small amount of fun that it provided. My advice – use the gas to drive to the game shop and buy something else.

8
Go to the Cutthroat Caverns page
142 out of 155 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game that tells the tale about the adventurers that eventually wind up at the Red Dragon Inn. A rag tag team of dungeon dwellers that stumble through hazard after hazard trying to beat the monster…but the guy who does that actual death blow is the only one who gets the prestige points!

So what happens is that your characters will play down attack cards in order of ever changing initiative. As those attacks are played out against the baddies, you’ll find your fellow delvers tripping you, causing critical misses and reducing your attacks by half. All because they want to get that ever popular prestige via the kill shot.

BUT…this is very much a cooperative game as well! Because if one or more of the players get killed, then the rest of the group will have it that much harder when they meet the next monster that crosses their path. So when those really tough enemies show up or one of the players gets low on hit points, it will suddenly go from pulling the rug out from the thief as he plans his next backstab to assisting him so the creature is defeated in 2 rounds or less to avoid them growing even tougher.

A very nice balance between cooperation and competition. There are lots of enemy cards so the replay value is higher than one might expect. About the only thing that I can criticize is that it does not matter which character you choose – they all have the same starting hit points and there are no class based powers. Perhaps this is/will be changed in any expansions, but honestly the game is very solid as it stands.

I easily give it 8/10 stars. And I still say that this needs to show up at a Convention and the same set of players need to go from this directly into Red Dragon Inn!

4
Go to the Level 7 [escape] page

Level 7 [escape]

138 out of 168 gamers thought this was helpful

Take one average sized game box. To it add the following:

8 Measures of Zombie Dice simplicity
47 Measures of Betrayal at the House on the Hill exploration coolness
1 Measure of Arkham Horror…horror
16 Pages of Twilight Imperium complexity
138 Measures of “We better make it original somehow”

Mix well. Add a handful of various chits, punch-outs and plastic feet. Bake in a patented Privateer Press Fun-Remover until ALL the pieces are well blackened. Because, you know, horror. Seal with plastic wrap. Overprice.

Serves 1-4

Seriously, enough with the team effort “trying to get out of yet another randomly appearing insane crazy scary haunted weird place” game. Especially if the things that happen to your characters in game are completely out of your control. All you do is pop into some room that you don’t know what it will be until you draw it. Then you pull cards and roll (zombie) dice to see what happens. Start over when you realize you were not following the rules correctly. Two or three times. Read them again. Scratch your head and just make some judgement call to keep the other players from falling asleep. Rinse. Repeat. Ad infinitum.

Here’s the catch. It is an exploration game. BUT if you actually…explore…and NOT follow each other literally one or two rooms behind the leader, you will lose the game. As soon as one guy finds the exit, Lockdown rules go into effect and unless you happen to be RIGHT BEHIND that guy, it’s game over (literally) for you. If you want to have any chance of all the players winning, this almost immediately turns into a game of “Follow the Leader (the guy who gets to go first) and hope he can roll 4 brains on 5 dice”.

And not to drive the nail into the coffin, but…if you want to make a horror game that is supposed to bring out the atmosphere of scary monsters and such…it might help if the Event cards your players draw have some roleplay text on them. Betrayal at the House on the Hill does this quite well. With Level 7, the only flavor text you get is literally something like “They’re all out to get us.” Whoa. I nearly wet myself there guys. Great way to make a horror game. Not.

Give this one a pass.

8
Go to the DungeonQuest page

DungeonQuest

60 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is as ruthless as the PC game Nethack. It does not give. a. single. flying. flip. if you live or die. Killing monsters yields no reward other than the feeling of relief that you did not get murdered (or perhaps the horror that you did not get murdered). Getting to the Dragon’s Lair only means you might end up with some decent treasure to gaze at when you die! The best feeling you get while playing is when you draw an “Empty Room” card.

Seriously, this game will kill you. In varied and gruesome ways. My particular favorite is stumbling headlong into a rotating room that butts up against the outside wall. Search twice in hopes of that ever elusive secret door. If you fail, well, you starve to death in a round room.

In about 80% of the games that I played, someone died on their very first step into the dungeon. No, I am not kidding. The first step – dead.

The combat system is a bit complicated (unnecessarily so in my opinion), so I suggest going over that in detail before starting if someone in the game has not played before. Other than that, this is a game that is very easy to pick up just by playing it.

This may sound like a negative review, but nothing could be further from the truth. I LOVE this game! None of the hand holding, coddling and monster milquetoasting that is rampant in other games. Random death from every corner for no reason whatsoever awaits you with sharp nasty teeth. I strongly suggest playing it with people who will revel in how the other players get ripped to bits, eaten alive and charred.

In the end you can all compare notes in the Locker Room of the Afterlife. May the richest corpse win! 😀

6
Go to the Bananagrams page

Bananagrams

53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one fast paced word game. Like Scrabble without the board, the extra point spaces and the long pondering. Make words with your chits as fast as possible because your opponents are doing the same against you!

If you are good at word games like Scrabble and Boggle then this one MIGHT be for you. It all depends on how you handle stress. I usually do well at Scrabble but I end up getting my head handed to me when I play Bananagrams every time. I just seem to draw all the useless tiles when I don’t need them, or 5 E’s when I do need the obscure ones.

At any rate it is a fun, fast paced game that can easily be played 5 or 10 times in one sitting. Ideal for family game night or to get some game on in between time slots at conventions. And it is easily one of the most portable games I have seen. The whole thing fits in your pocket, so you can take it anywhere.

The pieces are good quality and will not likely wear out or get broken. The banana bag is also a pretty cool idea that makes for a good conversation starter to playing the game…”Why do you have a zippered banana in your pocket sir?” 😀

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