Player Avatar
Canada
Advanced Reviewer
Rosetta Stone
drag badge here

provincialguardian

gamer level 7
22937 xp
followers
47

Use my invite URL to register (this will give me kudos)
http://boardgaming.com/register/?invited_by=provincialguardian
profile badges
...
...
...
...
recent achievements
Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Explorer - Level 5
Explorer - Level 5
Earn Explorer XP to level up by completing Explorer Quests!
Mask of Agamemnon
Mask of Agamemnon
Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Bard
Bard
Find your favorite games and share them with your friends via the social sharing buttons.
Go to the 7 Wonders: Duel page
Go to the Jaipur page
Go to the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game Starter Set page
Go to the Sheriff of Nottingham page
Go to the Android: Netrunner page
Go to the Trains: Rising Sun page
Go to the Machi Koro page
7
Go to the Piñata  page

Piñata

44 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

When I seek out 2 player games I’m trying to find a game that I can get into with my daughters or my wife. That usually means the gameplay must be fast paced, simple to learn, wraps up in 45 min or less, and have a suitable theme. Ideally, the game that I select should also be portable as it will often times be played in restaurants or cafes. Being a fan of some of the previous 2 Player Kosmos line, Pinata seemed like a solid choice.

GAMELPAY

The object of this game is to collect various numbered sets of various candy meeples to gain you the corresponding candy medal cards. Netting 3 of the 5 medal cards is the victory condition of the game. The theme of this game (which is stretched paper thin) is a child’s wild attack swings of a pinata at a party and racing in a candy scramble to grab all the candy they can. While the theme is quite weak, its not completely absent as swings at the pinata are represented by numbered cards; high numbers gain success at the pinatas in the high position; low numbers for pinatas in the low position.

The game is very simple to teach. Gameplay is very simple being that all one can do on a turn is play a single card to one of 4 pinata panels. Despite the fact that gameplay is simple doesn’t always mean that there are easy choices. Players must be continuously monitoring all 4 pinatas as well as candy colour distribution for both players. Simple mistakes can be costly. This gameplay plays rapidly and wraps up in around 35-40 min.

COMPONENTS

The components of Pinata are standard sized cards, candy meeples, a fabric storage bag (for candy meeples), and 4 reversible pinata boards. The artwork contained on the cards and panels is very nice. There is plenty of colour displayed, the information is clearly displayed, and the illustrations are very cute having been appropriately drawn in a cartoonish manner depicting a child striking at a pinata. The candy meeples are a nice touch given that the general standard is painted cubes. Having meeples that are manufactured to look like wrapped candy pieces is a definite bonus. The card stock and cardboard are of quality thickness, while I generally prefer linen finish card stock, these cards are suitable quality. The overall presentation of the game is beautiful and inviting!

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Pinata was a hit in our house. I was a little surprised, but not disappointed, that this game could get a little thinky. There is a deceptive amount of strategy that is packaged up in this little 2 person candy scramble. The game is very replayable and has been a hit with anyone that I have taught it to. Pinata is an enjoyable game and I would recommend it to all but the most intense power gamers.

8
Go to the DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Forever Evil page
53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

To give you some background, I have had a love affair with comics since my childhood. Marvel, DC, Darkhorse, etc. these modern epics have caused much imagination and enjoyment for me. When a game comes along with an IP in the classic comic tradition, I tend to notice them. Forever Evil is no exception. What, a deck builder as well? Based on the pursuit of evil and playing a super villain, you have my full attention.

GAMEPLAY

Forever Evil is a deckbuilding game brought to us by Cryptizoic. The game plays 2-5 people and in a 4 player game plays in about 45-60 min. The deckbuilding is very straight forward in the established format. Power points depicted on the cards enable players to purchase cards in the trade row or conversely, allow players to destroy the current villain in the field.

Game play starts with players selecting a super villain to play ranging from Harley Quinn, Bane, Black Manta, and many others. Each of these possess unique asymetrical powers that afford special abilities to each player on his turn. The starting deck of 10 starter cards is distributed and players start with a Hero in que (which is always The Flash)and a trade row of 5 cards is drawn.

On a players turn, they draw 5 cards from their deck and begin the process of purchasing cards from the trade row that will afford them locations, powers, equipment, recruitment of lesser villains, or destruction of lesser heroes. In some instances, cards in a players deck may also afford an opportunity to attack other players. Once players are able to get enough power points into a drawn hand they are capable of destroying the current Super Hero in que, namely most members of the Justice League as well as Constantine and Swamp Thing. These Super Heroes are then added to their victors discard pile later to be cycled into the deck. These Super Heroes afford the greatest powers to the player that holds them as well as final points at the end of the game.

As Super Heroes are systematically destroyed they are replaced with the next Super Hero in the Hero deck. When this next hero is activated, they commence a one time attack on all players requiring some form of pennance for their evil ways. This usually amounts to discarding or destroying cards at risk of receiving a weakness card, later to plague that player in future rounds or at the end of the game.

End conditions occur when the Hero deck is depleted. Players then tally the value of points represented on their individual cards and victory points then subtract the number of weakness cards from their final total.

COMPONENTS

Since this is a deckbuilder, the majority of components are cards (duh). The cards are standard size 2.5″ x 3.5″ and are printed on quality stock with a semigloss sheen. The colour used is bright and cards have a distinct appearance. The illustrations displayed range from adequate to excellent, but this is a matter of taste.

This is the first expansion in the DC line-up to use victory tokens. The tokens consist of punched out circular card. The card stock is of reasonable quality however, they are bland in appearance. Another quible that I would cite is that the tokens are of 3 different values, 1, 5, and 10. The numbers displayed on the tokens are not very large or obvious; the tokens don’t vary in colour or appearance; and all tokens are the smae size. It can be confusing to determine exactly what token you are picking up and worse, it can be very difficult at a glance to see how many VP’s your opponent has.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

I very much enjoyed this game. It is not the best deck builder that I have played but to me, it is the best deck builder in this genre and series. The game can be some what labourious to start into as some of the card interactions and player powers can be fiddley at times. After repeated gameplays this becomes less of an issue. The introduction of the victory points added something that I now feel was missing from the previous DC Deck Builders. Another element that was an interesting change was the emphasis of card destruction. I love this ability. Deckbuilding, in my opinion, always needs to offer its players to thin out their decks and unclog their machines, Forever Evil does this masterfully.

9
Go to the One Night Ultimate Werewolf page
124 out of 133 gamers thought this was helpful

I love games that can be played in varied groups and settings. Having a quick accessable game to bring to the table to set the tone for a game night is something I’m always looking for. When I watched the various reviews of this game and saw that large groups could play, I thought that this would be a great game for the niche I was looking for.

GAMEPLAY

The premise of the game is that the players are members of a quant village. Someone in their midst has become a werewolf during the night and the people of the village must conduct an investigation to eradicate the suspected werewolf.

Player tiles indicating the individual roles of members of the community are shuffled and each player receives their own role to play during the game. These roles vary from common villager to seer, drunk, troublemaker, insomniac, hunter all the way up to werewolf. Three extra tiles are set facedown into the middle of the table.

The game starts with players closing their eyes and listening to instructions provided by either a narrator or a clever app. This stage represents the night and is the time when the individual characters are prompted to take whatever action their specific roles are required. The werewolves are able to identify other werewolves, the seer can secretly examine player tiles, the drunk switches his role tile with another tile but isn’t permitted to see his new tile, etc. Night phase ends and players open their eyes to indicate the day phase. Day phase has players conduct their investigation by asking players about their roles and activities during the night phase. After a predetermined amount of time, the investigation phase ends and all players make their vote by pointing at who they believe the werewolves are.

The game is entirely about hidden roles and bluffing. The werewolves attempt to introduce confusion and redirect blame so as not to be executed. After the conclusion of the investigation, if the werewolves have survived, they are victorious, if the villagers manage to correctly identify the werewolves, they have won the game.

ARTWORK/COMPONENTS

The only components to speak of are the thick card player tiles. The artwork on the tiles is very simple and drawn in a cartoon/caricature style which is appropriate to the game. The tiles themselves are of very thick and should stand up to wears of gameplay. This game is all about the social interaction which explains its lack of components.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

The game is great for what it is. As a social/party styled game with hidden roles and social deduction this game delivers. Playing time is very short and can range in time from 10 minutes to 25 minutes depending on the number of players. While this game is not deep it is excellent at delivering an enjoyable group event for players to enjoy a few laughs.

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
31 out of 35 gamers thought this was helpful

I will preface this review by stating that I really enjoy the Ticket to Ride series. Ticket to Ride Europe was the first game in the series that we purchased. We had already played the base game and enjoyed it but wanted to try something different in the series. That being said, here is my review:

GAMEPLAY

Ticket to Ride Europe is the second installment in the TtR series. This game is an excellent game to introduce many varied groups into boardgaming and is accessible to ages 10 and up. The premise of the game is to connect cities throughout Europe with the development of train routes. The game involves set collection through train cards and development of the routes through purchasing trains and claiming trackes sections to the coloured routes corresponding to train card colours.

What is new in this series over and above the base game is the implementation of :mountain passes; which utilizes a random draw to determine additional card costs for certain routes, Ferried Routes; requiring the multicoloured wild cards be used to indicate greater engine requirements, and Stations; Stations get placed for free up to a minimal card cost that allow players to connect broken track sections that arwe occupied by other players to assist in achieving routes to cities that were otherwise blocked.

Game length generally sits around 45-60 minutes depending on experience and number of players. This game is simple to teach to players that are new to the series and minimal instruction is required for those already experienced in other TtR variants.

COMPONENTS

This area is always a strong point with Days of Wonder (who have thankfully raised the standard in board game quality and components). The board is a bifold design with nicely attired printing. The graphics on the route markers and corresponding cards is ideal for board gamers that may be colour blind. The train pieces are nicely molded plastics the same size as the route markers and rest evenly on the board. The cards in this version are a nice upgrade in size from the European small sized cards in the original. These cards are very nicely printed on a linen finish. Overall, the game is beautiful and functional.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

This game is a winner. Gameplay is simple but can be strategic. As a personal note, I’d prefer not to have stations as I think that this can detract from some of the strategic aspect of the game. Due to the extended and remote geography of the various cities in Europe, completing multiple routes can be challenging at times and players familiar with the base game are likely to complete less routes. Overall, I feel that the European map provides a nice variance to the original game and is worthwile to have in your collection alongside the original.

10
Go to the Sheriff of Nottingham page

Sheriff of Nottingham

93 out of 104 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m always watching, reading, or listening to new game reviews. I love this hobby, and to that end, am always seeking out games that would be ideal in a family gaming setting. After reading no shortage of exceptional reviews for Sheriff of Nottingham, and learning that Tom Vasel believed that this game should be in the home of every gamer, I decided to find out for myself.

GAMEPLAY

Sheriff has players being local serfs who are trying to get goods to market, both legal legal and contraband. That would be easy enough if there wasn’t a corrupt government official potentially examining your marketable goods and seizing some questionable product.

As serfs, you will be obtaining goods through a draw system. The legal goods are Apples, Bread, Cheese, and Chickens. These items can be displayed at your market and are worth varying points Apples (being the least) up to Chickens (being the most valuable). Contraband that is snuck into the market place is hidden until the end of the game. Through set collecting, players can collect additional points for having the most or second most in each legal commodity. Contraband is worth its face value at games end.

What makes this game unique is the process by which games are brought into the market place. The cards depicting the goods are loaded into a small snap up bag that corresponds to player colour. The min of 1 card and a max of 5 cards. The bag is then snapped up and submitted to Sheriff for possible inspection. The player then may only declare a single legal commodity that is in the bag and the number of goods being transported. It is up to the cunning Sheriff to determine if the player is being honest. If the Sheriff conducts an inspection on a bag in which the contents match the player declaration, it is incumbent on the Sheriff to pay a penalty for the embarrassment of a harassing inspection. However, if there are goods in the bag that are either contraband or simply not declared, the offending player must pay a penalty for all undeclared goods to the Sheriff and they are confiscated back to the game. The role of the Sheriff rotates each round, giving all players the power to exercise authority over each other. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the Sheriff may be influenced to commit crimes of moral turpitude. The Sheriff may be bribed by money or deed (future favour) to over look certain bags.

In a game of 4- 5 players, a game can be expected to last 40-45 min. Players are continuously engaged with each other and down time between turns is minimal.

COMPONENTS

The components amount to cards, player boards, market bags, coins, and a standee of The Sheriff. The cards are quality cardstock. They are simply but nicely illustrated, no issues here. The coins, standee, and market boards are also made of heavy quality cardstock and are nicely printed. The player boards also include a player aid that will help new players understand turn order and scoring. The bags, the main device of this game, are a quality felt bag that closes securely with an attached plastic snap. The bags are in a colour that corresponds with each of the uniquely coloured player boards, used for identifying each player. The bags are a very nice touch. Overall, the component quality is very high in this game. The instructions are easily understood and the playing pieces are clearly illustrated and marked so that no confusion will exist.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

This game is a solid winner and easily lives up to the generous hype that has been heaped upon it. Sheriff can be learned easily and very easily taught to other players including pre-teen children. The artwork/components in this game are very high quality and are marked in a manner that makes their purpose and use clearly understood. This game has become a new favourite in our household. I can see many circumstances in which this game could be enjoyed (family, party, boardgaming event) and its audience can include anyone. This is simply an outstanding game!!!!

8
Go to the San Juan page

San Juan

91 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

My interest in San Juan started when I bought the app for my iPod. I could easily find myself getting lost in time as I built up my tableau of cards representing the buildings in a district of San Juan. I had not played Puerto Rico and therefore had no experience with some of the key mechanics of the game. I loved the variable role selections that were offered and the clever use of the dual purposed cards as both buildings and currency. It was a new experience in hand management and very enjoyable at that.

GAMEPLAY

San Juan is a card driven game where players are building up their own district in San Juan. Players start with a random selection of cards and a basic production building to get their tableau started. At the begining of the turn, the first player is considered the governor for the round (this role rotates clockwise each round) and select one of a number of roles that will give all players an identified action in the round. The player that selects the specific role gains an added benefit for that action. These actions will allow players to build (pay for the construction of buildings that are added to the tableau), produce (allowing their production buildings to produce goods), trade (allowing players to sell their goods), counsellor (permits players to draw a number of cards and select one of these cards), and prospecting (generally only affects the prospecting player allowing them to receive a free draw).

Players build their respective tableaus by paying for and placing the buildings in their player area. The buildings themselves also afford special player powers and sometimes have cumulitive effects that are triggered by the various role selections. Buildings are divided into 2 categories: Production and Civic. The production buildings range from low value product such as Indigo up to the Silver Smelting which has the highest trade value. The Civic buildings afford players their various ability modifiers. These buildings range in effectiveness and usefulness, and like the production buildings, vary in cost that reflects the usefullness to the player.

The end game is triggered when the first player fills up their tableau with 12 cards. In the round when this occurs, the round is completed and players tally their scores as reflected on the building cards. There is more to this game that I ahve not explained such as the use of the unplayed building cards as currency and the variable trading chart that reflects trade values. However, the basic fundamentals have been described.

The game plays with 2-4 players but shines when played with 4 players. Gameplay with experiened players is generally around 35-45 min but much longer with inexperienced players as their is a steep learning curve to players that are not familiar with this style of play.

COMPONENTS

The components of this game consist of the cards and role selection tiles. The copy that I have is the 2nd edition. The cards in this edition are a Eurpoean sized card and one that I find to be a little small, my preference for a game that consists entirely of cards is the American sizing. The artwork on the cards is simple and not very exciting, the description of the building modifiers can sometimes leave inexperienced players scratching their heads as they try to determine their meaning.

Another issue is the confusing colour schemes with production buildings vs. the civic buildings. In the first edition, all civic buildings had a violet background and each production building had its own specific colour. This was a very simple yet effective manner to differentiate buildings. However in this edition, all the colours have been muted and the civic buildings now have an aged parchment colour that blends into the colour of the production buildings. I have found this to be barrier to new players as they attempt to learn this game.

The cards of reasonable quality but I would have prefered a card with linen finish and more defined graphics and colour.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Despite some of the production woes of this game, I have found that it provides some very strategic, and at times, challenging gameplay. Players are always in a position to decide between saving their cards to build higher point valued and effective buildings vs. completing their tableau quickly so as not to be too far behind the other players. There can be a noticible learning curve to this game if no one at the table has any experience with San Juan and players are being guided by the rule book alone. However, once players become experienced in this game, it can be a very rewarding play time with a very dynamic challenge. I love this game but realize that it will not be for everyone.

7
Go to the Age of War page

Age of War

126 out of 133 gamers thought this was helpful

I will preface this review by advising of my general lack of interest of Reiner Knizia games. While I appreciate that he is a very intelligent man and an accomplished game designer, I generally find his games lack theme and feel like an IQ quiz in boardgame format. That being said, this game sparked my interest in part because of its low cost and also for its large player count accommodation. Given that I’m also a sucker for Fuedel Japan, I thought that this would be a low risk game investment.

GAMEPLAY

The story behind this game is that each player represents a Fuedel Lord that seeks to overcome other clans and their respective castles. This is accomplished through players rolling 7 dice that have been designed with graphics to represent Infantry, Cavalry, Archers, and a Daimyo (sp?). Through rolling the dice (and susequent rerolls) players amass the military units required to conquer a chosen castle based on the military requirements listed on the card. A sinmple but effective mechanic in this game has players reducing the number of dice they roll based on achieveing the miliatry requirements for each castle. You are either able to conquer a single castle in a single turn or you aren’t, its that simple.

Each clan has a number of castles ranging from 1-5. Each castle is assigned a numeric point value based on the difficulty to conquer the castle. If a player is successful at conquering all of a clans castles, the clan is deemed to be conquered and is free from being attacked (or stolen) by other players. However, if you do not hold all of a clans castles, you may find yourself subject to attack and lose ownership to a rival player. Once all castles have been conquered from the common playing area, the game ends and players tally their castle points.

Gameplay is very simple and games can range from 10 min to about 25 min (in a 6 player game).

COMPONENTS

As is in the case of any other Fantasy Flight game that I own, I have found that the components are of the highest quality. In this case, thats not saying a whole lot given that the components boil down to 7 dice and (I believe) 14 cards. The dice themselves are some of the nicest dice I have ever used. Whatever polymer they used almost has a bone texture and appearance. The embossings are clear and the coloration of the markings is uniform and distinct. The dice have rounded corners and roll beautifully.

The clan/castle cards are 2 sided with the backs indicating the clan symbol/colour and one of the cards in the clan set also indicates the total value of castles and bonus for collecting all the cards in the clan set. The face of the card depicts individual castles, the military requirements to conquer the castle, depicted by symbols that are represented on the dice, the clan colour and castle point value. The artwork is simple and pleasant. The graphics are clear and therefore avoids confusion. Colour used in the printing is rich leaving the cards nicely attired.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

The theming of this game is almost irrelevant. While I do appreciate what the symbols represent regarding military requirements to conquer the various castles, I doubt that many people will appreciate this or even care. I do however enjoy this game. When played in the context of a light easily accessible filler game, it succeeds. There is some player interaction but that too can be avoided and can feel a little like a dice rolling competition at times.

Overall, I do enjoy this game when played as a filler or introduction game before more substantial games can be tabled. I would recommend this game to parents of preteen children or for gamers that can enjoy very light dice games.

8
Go to the Pandemic: On the Brink page

Pandemic: On the Brink

55 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

Pandemic, the base game, sees much play time in our gaming groups. The base game is almost without fault, however, after repeated plays the game can feel overly familiar. This is where the On the Brink Expansion enters. Unlike the In the Lab Expansion, On the Brink does not fundamentally alter the game play but rather introduces 3 modules that serve to enhance this already great game system.

GAMEPLAY

As I have indicated above, the core aspect of the game is largely unaltered. Gameplay is still cooperative but introduces a number of additional roles that serve to refresh the proven gameplay of Pandemic. The introduction of the Containment Specialist, Generalist, Epidemiologist, and Contingency Planner (I may have missed a couple) are a great asset at different times in the gameplay. As well, new emergency assistance cards are added to compliment the cards in the base set.

The introduction of resistant strains that make one of the virus strains more difficult to treat also creates interesting challenges without making the difficulty level unmanageable. In addition to the resistant strain, an addition strain can be introduced when players are ready to tackle a new strain caused by mutation.

I would have to say, the most interesting addition that this expansion brings is the addition of the Bio Terrorist Role. I love that not only does this game more interesting, it also adds an element of investigation and in my experience changes the inter player dynamics in that they are not just playing against the infections brought on by the game itself but that the cooperative team is also pitted against another player. I love it.

I have observed that the addition of these modules does not prolong the play time of this game. Games using this expansion are generally wrapped up in just under an hour, perhaps and hour and a quarter with the addition of the bio terrorist.

COMPONENTS

The version that I purchased had the same styled painetd wooden pawns as the original game. The new infection cubes are purple but are a match in size and composition as the original strains. I have viewed newer editions that replace the wooden pawns for plastic, I have found this to be largely irrelevant. The cards that are included (roles, epidemic cards, and the new emergency assistance cards) are the same size and quality cardstock as the 2nd generation Pandemic. The artwork is nice and in keeping with the base set. I will note that the aspect that impressed me the most was the inclusion of the petri dishes that the infection cubes can be stored in and the plastic insert that houses them. I have found this be a very thematic and practical asset to storage of the base game. Overall I was impressed in this category and would recommend this expansion if for no other reason than the petri dishes and box insert.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

As you can see from my comments above, I am very impressed with this expansion. I am so satisfied with On the Brink, that our group no longer plays Pandemic without this expansion. Any expansion that does not alter the fundamental charecteristics of a game and does not substantially increase the playing time of a game is a winner in my books. When I recommend Pandemic to new players I always advise that they also pick up a copy of On the Brink as well as it completes this already great game for me.

9
Go to the Sushi Go! (Second Edition) page

Sushi Go! (Second Edition)

117 out of 126 gamers thought this was helpful

I still remember times as a child sitting around the kitchen table playing classic games like Monopoly or Clue with my family. I loved those days. While Monopoly and Clue were fine games, I felt that there were faster more enjoyable games that I could introduce to my children. To that end, I’m always watching out for fast, enjoyable, family friendly games to experience with my family. In walks Sushi-Go. After reading a plethora of great reviews and viewing a number of videos I was convinced this may be a game that I was searching for:

GAMEPLAY

Sushi-Go is a simple and fast card drafting and set collection game. All players start by receiving a hand of cards (dependant on the number of players) for which they draft/play various food related items in a sushi bar by which they score points. Players act in a simultaneous play mechanic that goes as follows: 1.Draft/Play card from their hand to their tableau. 2. All players pass their hand of cards to either their left or right and receive a new hand of cards from their neighbour. Play continues until all cards are depleted.

Gameplay is fast and efficient and is comprised of 3 rounds. A game typically lasts 15-20 minutes. Players score points by either collecting card type sets or card combinations. The scoring mechanism is very simple and reflected on each card.

COMPONENTS

Sushi-Go is a card game, the only components to speak of are the cards. The cards are a Mini-Euro sized card. While I’m not normally a fan of this size of card as I find them to be too narrow, I would agree with the publishers choice as this game is primarily a family game and smaller cards fit well into smaller child sized hands. The cards are reasonable quality and are nicely adorned with simple but cute artwork depicting various food items that have been personified. The rule book is very easy to follow and nicely describes gameplay and scoring conditions. Another highlight of this game is its packaging. Sishi-Go comes not in a cardboard box but rather a sturdy tin case that is beautifully illustrated and inked. The tin was a nice touch.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Sushi-Go is a winner. Everyone in my family is eager to play this great little game. Gameplay is intuitive, fast, and enjoyable. I suspect over time, Sushi-Go may even receive wide distribution and go down in the hallows of a great family card game the likes of Dutch Blitz or Uno. If you are a parent seeking a great family level card game for children with shorter attention spans, I can’t recommend this game enough. This game is incredible!

8
Go to the Agent Hunter page

Agent Hunter

20 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m always looking out for games that can be played by my family and are simple to learn/teach. I love the idea of a spy themed game and since this game was listed as having an average playtime of 15 minutes, I figured it should fit the bill for our household.

GAMEPLAY

The beauty of this game is its simplicity. It is a 2 player game in which each player receives 2 teams of spies consisting of player decks numbered 0 – 9 (and a picture of the spy corresponding to its number for thematic purposes)and 5 chits per player that are used for changing spies out of their safe house and back into player hands. Each player lays 3 of their spies face down, representing 3 safehouses in the field. The other player presents a spy from their hand or safe house in an attempt to match the number of their spy to that of their opponent. If the challenge is successful and there is a match, the player who had been guessed looses a safe house. Play continues until all 3 safe houses are revealed. This is essentially the game (obviously there are more rules but this lays out general gameplay).

COMPONENTS

This is a microgame put out by the king of microgames, AEG. The game consists of 22 cards, 10 cardboard chits, a box, and a rule sheet. The cards themselves form the majority of the components for this game. They are beautifully illustrated and are quality cardstock in standard 2.5 x 3.5. The chits are coloured to match player decks (Blue and Red) and are decorated to look like the rear reticle of a scope trained on an enemy agent. The instructions are clear and concise .

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

This game is excellent for what it is intended to be, a quick filler, or a light family game. Don’t make the mistake of picking up this game while looking for an indepth whodunnit style game, it simply isn’t here. The game is simple and light enough for children to play together, or adults to play with their children. I would recommend this alongside other games like Love Letter or Lost Legacy. Nice little filler game to play while you wait for your waiter to bring your dinner.

6
Go to the Tortuga page

Tortuga

17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

Tortuga was my first forray into Kickstarter. When I saw that a reputable company like Queen Games had kickstarted a project that involved a pirate themed dice game shot at the family level I was very excited. What followed didn’t meet expectations:

GAMEPLAY

Tortuga, as the box cover and title implies is a pirate themed game that uses a quasi yathzee styled dice mechanism for taking actions. Thje point of the game is to be the first to collect 6 treasures at the Island of Tortuga and hopefully, amass the greatest number of victory points in doing so.

Players are given 5 unique dice that each possess graphics relevant to an aspect of managing a pirate crew and ship. These symbols include a ship (ship maintenance), a pirate (crew size), treasure chest (treasure hunting), cannon (boarding action), and a cutlas sword (pirate raiding action). Each die also contains a jolly roger symbol that is used as a wild (and can be used for assigning any symbol to the die). Above each symbol on the die is a number that denotes the strength of that action.

Players simultaneously roll their 5 dice and get a single reroll action then assign their dice to the corresponding area on their tableaus. Once all rolling is completed, the action phase of the round pits the different pirates against each other based on the combined numeric strength of each die action to determine the first and second place players with the greatest totals. Each area of 5 areas of the tableaus is scored in turn and the end of the round sees players moving their treasures along a track of the bottom of their tableaus from the pirate island, crew area, cargo hold, and eventually to Tortuga.

There are a few other items that occur within each round but the dice assignment represents the nuts and bolts of the player mechanic.

COMPONENTS

As has been my experience with all Queen games that I have played, the component quality is very good. The dice are rounded wooden dice that are coloured to match the colour assigned to each player. The graphics on the dice appear to have been painted on, not embossed. However, they are decent enough. All the marking indicators and treasure chests are painted wood and are consitent in high quality. The other remaining pieces are the centre isle, tableaus, screens, and money tokens are nicely adorned and are of quality thick card. This game is visually appealing.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Aside from the fact that Queen has proven that they have difficulty in sticking to projected timelines and customer service, the game did arrive and the component quality was high. Despite the component quality, the game is not very engaging, I like that players are pitted against each other at times but the fiddley nature of the game cancels much of the enjoyment that players can have. The 1st and 2nd position mechanic seemed to be at times disconnected form gameplay especially when used in the boarding/raiding actions. The scoring mechanism was not very intuitive and involved a low level complicated task in calculating the costs of different colour treasures and their combinations that left players scratching their heads at the end of the game.

While I will play this game again, I’m reluctant to recommend it to other players. My intention is go go through this game and further streamline the rules so that they will be more accessible and intuitive for all players. While this game is alright, the gameplay certainly doesn’t match the eye candy that is presented.

8
Go to the Pandemic: The Cure page

Pandemic: The Cure

133 out of 143 gamers thought this was helpful

In our gaming group we see frequent play of Pandemic and the expansion On the Brink. So when we heard that a streamlined dice based version of one of our favourite games was released, we were understandably excited. We got this game home, cracked open the box and ripped through a few games. So what was our experience of this game like?

GAMEPLAY

Anyone who is familiar with the Pandemic game system will find this game to play out intuitively. Many of the same actions that could be exercised by players in the original are present here with the odd exception which accounts for the dice nature of the gameplay. The Cure is a cooperative game with the same theme as its older brother. Four diseases are ravaging the world and its your job as CDC agents to stop it. No new roles have been introduced in this game and it retains only the most common/effective roles of the original. Where this game departs from the original is length of game time (about 30 min now), decreased complexity, and the process by which diseases are handled/cured.

The game is engaging to a lesser degree than its older brother, which is often the case in dice variant games. The game comes without a board and instead uses numbered coasters to represent the different geographic districts of the world (I’ll get to this later while discussing components). While it takes very little room to play, I felt that the transition away from the board strongly effected player engagement and gave it much less of a global feel that the original game possessed. The yahtzee style/push your luck mechanism by which players execute their turns contributes to faster gameplay than the cards of the original (albeit more restrictive).

COMPONENTS

This game consists of numerous quantities of 4 coloured dice that represent the diseases,individual player sets of 5 – 7 dice that players use to determine their actions during the round, cards to denote player identity and CDC assistance cards, a plastic ring that represents the treatment area and infection/outbreak scoring track, a cloth bag to house the infection dice, and numbered coasters to represent 6 different geographic zones of the world.

The components in this game are of very good quality, the dice are deeply embossed, the plastics used for the board are heavy and nicely painted. and the cardstock is of good quality including the role identifiers that are made to have the appearance of security ID tags. I can’t complain about the quality of the components. However, because the game is arranged in a manner that has a single ring in the centre of the table with a concentric ring of sequentialed numbered coasters surrounding it, it has definitely become nebulous in its appearance. The original game for me benefited form the fact that the world was clearly represented with game board. It was engaging and had the feeling that you were overseeing a global operation, this game simply does not have that feeling and to that extent feels much less engaging.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

While this game is a pale comparison to the original, I still found it to be enjoyable. Games play out much faster, and with greater simplicity. We have 2 children under 12 and were able to teach this game to them quickly and observed that they were able to grasp all aspects of play within this game, definitely not something I can say of the original. While the fact that this game is not supplied with a board (which was a major detractor for me), it is portable and small enough that it can be played on much smaller surfaces. The Cure has managed to stay faithful in its game play to the original while simplifying and increasing accessibility to new younger players. I wouldn’t recommend this game as replacing the original but have found that it makes for a nice alternative filler game.

9
Go to the Bang! The Dice Game page

Bang! The Dice Game

61 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m always on the lookout for games that can be enjoyed by gamers and nongamers alike. While I do love games with more strategic depth, there is something to be said for a game that can be taught in less than 5 minutes, requires almost no set-up, and can be enjoyed by nearly everyone. After watching some very positive reviews on Bang the Dice Game, I decided that the small investment on this game would be worth a try. What did I find out?

GAMEPLAY

Anyone who has played the original card game from which this game is derived can speak to the fun of reliving gunbattles of the wild west, facing attacks from angry indians, and risking the explosion of dynamite while trying to accomplish their objective. While the original card game can be fun, it can also be encumbered by the many cards introduced by the expansions causing the game to drag out into a lengthy playing session. Fortunately, Bang the Dice game has corrected this potetntial problem.

Players are assigned roles like in the original including the Sheriff, his Deputy, the Outlaws, and the nefarious Renegade. In addition to this, aysemtrical character cards are assigned that afford special unique abilities to each player. Replacing the cards is a set of 5 dice that take care of the players actions. Players role the dice in turn utilizing a Yahtzee style mechanic, 2 rerolls are permitted and players resolve the actions indicated on the dice. These actions include shooting 2 ranges of other players, arrows (representing indian attacks), beer (for replenishing wounds), and the problematic dynamite.

Gameplay is very fast and engaging, players are never left in a situation of AP, and the game flows very smoothly. Even 8 player games can be wrapped up in under 15 minutes.

COMPONENTS

The game comes complete with role cards, character cards, life markers (represented by bullets), arrow tokens, and 5 dice. The artwork on the cards is simple but attractive. The card stock chits are nicely prineted on quality thich card stock. Best of all are the integral part of the game, the dice. The dice are large, deeply embossed, and silk screened/painted with bright colour. The graphics on the dice can be easily seen by anyone at the table thanks to the wonderful size of the graphics and dice. They are substantially weighted as far as dice are concerned and roll beautifully. For the relatively low cost of this game, the component quality is very good.

The instructions that are included in the game are clearly articulated on a single sheet of paper and also include more detailed instructions of character roles, an alternative 3 player set-up , and character ability distinction.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Bang the Dice Game should be an obvious choice as a party or family game. As indicated above, the game plays very quickly and players are continuously engaged thanks to the very short player turns. Gameplay is very interactive as players try and flush out hidden roles and attack other players. I would recommend this game to anyone and would chose this game over the original Bang everytime.

8
Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

97 out of 104 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO

Given the many reviews I’ve read here on this game, it’s difficult to identify anything that hasn’t already been said. However, given that this review process is subjective and individual in nature, I’ll provide the experience I’ve had as it relates to family gaming. For those who have already played and enjoyed pandemic, you’ll find this game mechanic to have a similar feel (same designer). This games sets an intrepid group of treasure hunters out on a fly in quest to loot 4 temples on a sinking island. Players will have to work together using their specialized skills to grab the 4 treasures and get back to the helicopter for lift off before the island sinks. Given that this game is very simple to teach and is cooperative, it lends itself nicely to family game nights with children 10 and up.

GAMEPLAY

As I’ve indicated above, learning/teaching the game is very simple as it is not bogged down with extraneous or complicated rules. The instructions are very clear about set up and game play. Turn sequences are shirt which keeps the game flowing smoothly for all players. As in all cooperative games, Alpha gamers can Sometimes squash quieter if less assertive players. Communications between players becomes essential and in my experience is great for connecting families together in a positive experience.
After a few initial plays, games tend to last 20-30 minutes.

COMPONENTS

The components amount to a couple of decks of cards, island cards and player cards, as well as individual tiles that represent specific locations on the island. While this game probably won’t win any awards for its artwork, the component quality is good and the artwork is sufficient.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

The strength of this game is its simplicity, while Forbidden Island may not see much table time at a gaming club for this reason it is exceptional at introducing non gamers and older children to cooperative gaming. I have been using this game as a gateway to new players and enjoy playing this game with my wife and young daughters. The game is both challenging, engaging, and enjoyable.

6
Go to the Samurai Sword page

Samurai Sword

18 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

My brother had been at me for a while to pick up a copy of Bang as he had recently learned the fun of the Hidden Role style of game. He wouldn’t stop talking about the great game play of Bang and suggested that I was missing out. Since he lives too far away for me to play regular games of Bang with, I decided to pick up the iOS version. I found that Bang was an excellent game. Considering my enjoyment of Bang, it was a natural choice for me to pick up a copy of Samurai Sword. I have always had a fascination with the Japanese culture and thought that Bang applied to the Japanese Feudel system was just too cool to pass up. What did I discover?

DESCRIPTION

Samuarai Sword is a hidden roles card game that has assymetrical powers afforded by character person. The Shogun is immediately identified at the start of the game, he is leader of the Samurai. Samurai covertly play a support role to the Shogun and serve to protect him from attack by attempting to weed out the enemies of the Shogun who are trying to kill him. Ninjas are the avowed enemies of the Shogun and work towards killing and stripping the honour of the Shogun and possibly his Samurai. The Ronin, also a covert class, initially acts as a Samurai (to attempt to confuse the Shogun) by eliminating the Ninjas, once Ninjas are eliminated, they are free to attempt assination of the Shogun (which is their true mission).

GAMEPLAY

While gameplay is initially very similar to Bang with regards to differring weapons having different ranges and armour to prevent attack that is where the game plays similar to Bang. Players are never truly eliminated, as in Bang, if players are stripped of all their health points, they become harmless until their next turn and must forfeit one of their honour points. Harmless players can not be attacked. Players are also considered harmless if they find themselves to be without cards in their hand. If any player is completely stripped of honour the game ends and all points are tallied to determine the winning team.

Depending on the amount of players, the game can range from 20 minutes to a little over an hour. I found that the game play was unnecessarily bogged down with accounting for armour, initiative, weapon types, and unique player powers. This is the same criticism I have of Bang. However, what I found to be of detriment to the game was the implementation of the honour system and the harmless state in which characters could find themselves. Players are never truly eliminated, which slows down the game and the application of these rules almost suggest a reincarnation of players that were otherwise dead. I always find this to be a flaw in a game.

COMPONENTS/ARTWORK

The cards, honour chits, and health chits are the only components to speak of here. The cards are an American standard size and the card stock is of good quality. The illustrations on the cards are fine but not great, at least to my tastes. The titles of the cards is another point of contention. I have no issue with the titles themselves, what I don’t care for is that this is a Japanese-esque game and the titles are in Italian written in a Japanese styled font. Why do this the game is a distinctly Japanese flavour written in English with Italian card titles, its ridiculous. The chits are a thick quality card and display a heart(health) and Lotus Blossom(honour).

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

I realize that when reskinning a game it is necesary to make essential changes in order to differentiate games, the question becomes if the changes are positive or negative. In this case, I would have to say negative. Gameplay is bogged down with characters not being eliminated, the harmless aspect (characters not being able to be attacked when the are vulnerable), and the honour system that leads to a semi-complicated scoring mechanism to determine the winner. While this game is not horrible, it is also far from great. I’m giving this game a 6 on 10.

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride Pocket page
63 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

This review will be short. Most people that have arrived at this review have likely played Ticket to Ride (the board game) and therefore a review of the board game version is redundant. What I’ll be reviewing here is the presentation and gaming experioence of TtR Pocket.

GAMEPLAY

The version I have is on my iPod. Obviously the game size is limited to the players screen. I found that even on the iPod, the game was presented in a size and format that was easy to view and the cards could be readily observed in the bottom of the screen with a number over each card to indicate how many of each colour was possessed. The music is very pleasant but can become irritating after repetetive play. The artwork is true to the game board and blue tooth linkage is very good for multiplayer mode.

This game plays much faster than the board game it represents as there is no set-up or take down. When playing solo, I can buzz through a game in about 20 minutes. That brings me to the last point. The fact that you can play this solo vs. the Apple device is worth its price alone. I find that this game comes out while at the coffee shop and waiting rooms at the doctors/dentists. Another boon is that my daughters can enjoy a game between devices while on long car trips.

If you have any reservations about making this small purchase for the program, don’t. You will never regret making the plunge into TtR Pocket!

9
Go to the Jaipur page

Jaipur

58 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

When it comes to selecting games, I’m always on the lookout for games that my wife can get into. We enjoy games in our family but trying to get my wife to try something new can sometimes be difficult. If I came home with Twilight Imperium 3, I would be greeted with a look of wistful disdain followed by regret for buying yet another game my wife won’t play.

I recently watched Dan King (The Gameboy Geek) review Jaipur. His great review caused me to consider this game as a light evening alternative to Ticket to Ride for our evenings after the kids go to bed. However, it’s one thing to hope for a game she will enjoy, it can be something entirely different for her to actually enjoy it. What did we find out, did she enjoy the game or is this another dust collecting game? Let us share our experiences:

GAME PLAY
This game is a trading, set collection, hand management game. In this 2 player game, both parties compete to collect resources of varying value at the market place. These resources are purchased using commodities in the players hand and or camels in the players herds. The clever hand management mechanic ensure that players are not hoarding resources as they are restricted to 7 cards. Players are rewarded for being the first to purchase tokens or by purchasing multiple tokens in a single purchase.

The rules are very simple and the instruction book is very clear in its presentation. Learning time is very rapid and players will achieve moderate proficiency in a single round of play. This game can be taught to new players in about 5 minutes. Game play is fast and engaging.

ARTWORK COMPONENTS
Being that this is a card game, there is no board to speak of, components are restricted to cards and chips. The cards are an American Standard 2.5 x 3.5 cards. These cards are very colourful and are beautifully illustrated. I would recommend sleeving these cards as they will be shuffled and handled frequently.

The chips are approximately 1″ in diameter and are cardboard. They have 2 sides, one represents the purchased good, the other indicates it’s monetary value for scoring. The side with the depiction of the goods is very nicely illustrated, the monetary valuation side is very dull in appearance. I find this to be a non-issue as the number is large and clearly displayed.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

We have a winner here. My wife enjoyed this game very much and has been added to the list of games we can enjoy together. Game play is rapid, smooth, and free of conflict. The game sets up quickly and can be played in under 30 minutes. This game is definitely a keeper. Great game for husband and wife.

8
Go to the San Juan page

San Juan

19 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

Shortly after getting my iPod I went on a mission to find games that could be engagaing time killers. I landed on San Juan while searching for the game Puerto Rico. At the low price of $2.99 I figured it was worth the gamble. Here is what I found:

Gameplay
I foolishly tried to jump right into the game without watching the tutrioal. I assumed that a card based game would be intuitive and very simple to pick-up on the fly. I was wrong. Never having played the original San Juan (or Puerto Rico) the tutorial was essential. Once I went through the tutorial, I observed that there was an excellent game here.

The mechanics in this game were new to me. The cards themselves represented different buildings that could be constructed in the city of San Juan of which the player is responsible. These cards also display a number that indicates their building cost and the benefits that a player will glean in the collection of cards. These cards themselves don’t only represent buildings but also are used as the currency to construct the various buildings. There are other aspects to the game with regards role selections that afford different benefits to the players.

Once the very clever mechanics of the game are understood, this game is an excellent game.

Presentation
Since this is an IOS game, there are no components to speak of. The presentation of the cards and playing screen are simple yet elegant. Gameplay is fast and smooth without any hesitation or lagging in the programming.

Overall Impressions
If players are familiar with the games of San Juan or Puerto Rico, the learning curve would be greatly diminshed. Gameplay is interesting having variable difficulty levels and strategy is at a medium level. Once experienced, players can expect a game to last 10-15 minutes. At the games low cost, it is definitely worth the investment.

8
Go to the Dixit page

Dixit

34 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

While in a gaming group session, it was recommended to me to pick up a copy of Dixit for gaming nights with my wife and daughters. The other players indicated that this game was similar in nature to Apples to Apples. Upon hearing this, I was immediately turned off the game. While my daughters enjoy Apples to Apples, my wife and I found it difficult to bridge the age gap between us and our daughters. After some thought and viewing some excellent demo’s on Youtube, I felt that it was time to explore Dixit, afterall, quality time with my family is the highest on my priority list. This is what we experienced.

Gameplay
This game essentially is a social expression of a Rorschak(?) Test. Players receive pictographic cards that are like stills in an unknown story. The active player (player whose turn it is) selects one of these storyboard cards and gives some sort of hint as to what the pictograph relates to them, and hopefully at least 1 other player. The other players then submit cards from their own hand that they feel best represents the clue given. After this players vote on whose card they feel belongs to the active player.

Gameplay is very simple. Set-up time is also very rapid and the game teaches easily in about 5 minutes. The scoring was interesing and I feel was actually a very strong point of the game. However, what I found to be the strongest point is the level of social engagement that players will make during gameplay.

Artwork/Components
Let me tell you about the artwork. The storyboard cards are absolutely stunning! Sometimes I find myself looking at these cards actually wondering if there was an actual story that they depicted. The playing board, in my case it was a board and not just the box, is also very well illustrated and laid out very simply. I can’t overstate enough how beaultiful the artwork actually is in this game, it almost evokes dreamlike images!

The only quible that I have with any of the components is the bunny player pieces. While they are nice and the colours are distitinct, they are not balanced sufficiently when standing upright and are often prone to falling over if incidental contact is made with the pieces or if the gaming table is bumped. When the pieces fall over it can create confusion as to where on the track the piece was originally located. The bunny pieces are well suited to the game but should have been designed with more practicality in mind. Again this is a minor quip.

Overall Impressions
We are very fond of this game for anumber of reasons as cited above, however, the greatest strength we have experienced in this game is its level of social engagement. At times these cards can become a mini window into your childs soul. The conversations that occur after the round is complete as to why the child chose their clue is what makes this game worth its weight in gold. These moments allow the family to make stronger connections to each other and can provide times of laughter and appreciation for each other. For family game times, I can’t recommend this game enough!

8
Go to the Cargo Noir page

Cargo Noir

69 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

A game of modern black market trading in foreign ports around the world by the seediest groups know to man, sign me up. At least this was my though with game in hand as I walked out the the FLGS with game in hand and smile on my face. Did it live up to my expectations, you’ll see below……

Gameplay
At its heart this is a bidding game with set collections. Players bid at various ports on black market commodities vs. other players. These commodities are collected and traded in for victory points, essentially, that is Cargo Noir. The game is not difficult and is easy to teach, gameplay is right around 1 hour.

Artwork/Components
Well, since this is a DOW game, you can assume that the components will be top shelf, and, they are. The modular boards have great art with heavy card stock, the cards themselves are nicely painted, and the ships and coins are outstanding. Days of Wonder always delivers in this area.

Overall Impressions
This is a game that I was very excited to play due to its exotic theme. Dangerous marketplaces, swarthy mob members, and stolen/black market commodities, who couldn’t love this right? WRONG! The theme in this game was as thin as tissue paper. This game could have easily been rebranded as children bartering for toys at different stations in a Daycare and there would have been no difference in gameplay. I love a game where the theme is so integrated to the gameplay that it becomes an essential component of the game. This is definitely not the case here.

This brings me to the next question. Can a game that has failed so badly at garnering the essential theme be a fun game? In this case I would say YES. Despite the games weak theme, the game is enjoyable to play and often hits our table primarily as a gateway game for friends and relatives. We have never heard any comments that the game was not enjoyable and in fact we have had requests for repeated games.

If you are looking for a gateway game that has strong player interaction and is simple to teach (but are unconcerned with a weak them) this could be your game. Enjoyable game and weak theme is what you’ll get in every box of Cargo Noir.

10
Go to the Love Letter page

Love Letter

77 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

Oh Love Letter, how I hate your name. I had heard for months from a guy that I work with that I needed to pick up this game. When he told me the title and explained the theme, I assumed that he had checked out mentally and wondered what he thought was I was really like. I’m not really the type for games about delivering love letters to a Princess. After months of pestering me, he finally issued a challenge “Buy this game, play it with your family. If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it off you.”

Challenge accepted. Since I have 2 daughters at home, I thought that they may be more in line with this obviously feminine theme, and for $8 I knew I couldn’t lose. Once we got this home and played through a few rounds I realized something that I think will become apparent in the rest of the review…..

Gameplay
This game is VERY simple and can be learned in minutes and taught in seconds. Despite the fact that the game is simple, gameplay is very engaging and player interaction is the heart of this game. Players only possess a single card in their hand until it is their turn. At that time they draw a single card and must play one of these 2 cards and carry out the cards action. Its really that simple.

Artwork/Components
The card art is very nice. The cards themselves are the standard 2.5 x 3.5″ player cards. I highly recommend buying a quality sleeve for these 16 cards as they will be shuffled continuously and will likely show wear in short order. The came came in a plush velvet game with golden lettering and 13 red cubes that are used as counters. While the bag is convenient, it certainly does an outstanding job at convincing male players to “stay out”. I don’t care for wooden cubes and have therefore replaced the cube counters with coins, but thats just a personal preference as the cubes work fine.

Overall Impression
This is a FANTASTIC game. My family loves it, I love it, everyone I introduce this game to loves it! We bring it with us when we go to resteraunts, coffee, or the doctors office. The game plays very quickly and can litteraly be played anywhere. The theme of the game is almost non-existent and I suspect that if this game was released as something skinned as a dungeon crawler or a wargame guys like me would have been onto this game from the start. Excellent game. You will not be disappointed.

10
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Switzerland page
80 out of 91 gamers thought this was helpful

Okay, here we are with another TtR expansion. Sometimes games with multiple expansions can feel tired or contrived leaving the gamer with a feeling that I call “gamer fatigue”. I am pleased to say that this is not the case with TtR Switzerland. This edition has been described as Allan Moon’s favourite expansion and, after playing it, I can see why this is an obvious choice!

Gameplay
Players of the TtR series will experience the same mechanics that has made the series so popular. What is new in this box is the addition of route cards that allow you to connect country to country and city to country. These individual cards (country – country)also allow for multiple options that give more flexibility to play. I have never timed one of our games but am always left with a general impression that this is the fastest game between this and their other 2-3 player expansion Nordic.

Artwork/Components
I will always sing DOW’s praises in this category, they simply create beautiful games with robust components upon which they have built an excellent reputation. This expansion is no exception. While in my opinion this is not the most attractive in the TtR line-up, its also not the worst. The artwork and cards are what you would expect for DOW.

General Impressions
As I’m sure you can figure out based on my information above, I really like this game. The artwork is nice, gameplay is fast, very fast, and the addition of the new variety of route cards is what makes this game outstanding. My wife and I love this game and can rip through a few games in a short amount of time. This is my likely favourite map in the TtR series, you won’t be disappointed.

10
Go to the Police Precinct page

Police Precinct

19 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

Common-Man Games has really hit one out of the park in Police Precinct. Ever since playing Pandemic and Witch of Salem there has been a movement in our house and gaming group towards more co-operative games. I feel that the mark of a good game, and especially a cooperative game is the games ability to evoke a sense of what I call gaming pressure on the players. Players should feel that they are confronted with not quite enough time or options to complete their objectives. Obviously too much pressure and leaving players with a sense of helpless defeat is not good and gameplay that is too simple and players feel that victory is guarunteed is equally bad. There must always be a delicate balance between difficulty vs. simplicity. To this end I feel that this game has succeeded.

Gameplay:
This game leaves players with 1 overarching objective, solving a murder. However, the continuous calls for service keep stacking up and players are forced to eventually deal with these calls or face losing the city to a crime spree. Game play is challenging and gamer interaction is essential. The theme is strongly incorporated into the game causing the players to feel as though they are part of Common Man PD.

Artwork/Components:
I have a 1st gen copy, the artwork in this copy is ok, not exceptional. The cards themselves are fine but the gameboard (which is substantial in size) is less than stellar. Another frustrtaion that I have with this game is the 2 different sized cards. I prefer a standard 2.5″ x 3.5″ card, mini cards just look and feel cheap to my eyes and when you consider the enormous size of the game board the smaller sized cards just look pathetic. I have seen the 2nd gen board and have noticed that the artowrk on this board is much better.

Another frustration that I experienced here was the confusing set of rules that were included with the game. They explained the basic aspects of general gameplay but left more questions than answers when it came to the application of some of the turn cards. I understand that this is a common problem for many Kickstarter games. I would strongly encourage players to persist through their questions until they can learn the game as this is an outstanding game!

Overall Impressions:
The game is a fantastic coop full of interesting dilemas that players are essentially forced to worked together to achieve victory. Gameplay is intense and once players are familiar with PP games will avererage 1.5 hours (although you will feel like it has been much less thanks to the great thematic player tension).

I would rate the player experience at 10 out of 10!

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries page
53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

I love playing board games (obviously why I am here), unfortunately my wife does not share my same level of enthusiasm for the hobby. She does enjoy games on ocassion but is very specific in what she is willing to play. Because of this, finding game that we can enjoy together between only us can be challenging. Fortunately, in TtR Nordic we seem to have landed on a winner.

Gameplay
TtR Nordic plays much like other games in the series, there is nothing new introduced here except for the plaer size and route accessibility. The game plays 2-3 players but I have found that 2 players is ideal. Three player games are fun but could be equated to playing a 4-5 player game in the original version, the game can be played but you are apt to experience a high level of frustration caused by having your routes routinely blocked by players in pursuit of their own routes.

Artwork/Components
Nordic does not disappoint in this department. I find that the artwork in this rendition is actually the best in the whole series. I love the northern feel of the map and cards. The selection of the train colours of Purple, White, and Black are beautifully mached to the map colours. I couldn’t help but get a sense of a Christmas atmosphere given the display of snow and the Nordic man that looked distinctly like an elf to my eyes.

Overall Impressions
Great 2 player game. Excellent artwork with proven gaming mechanics. Works well for husband/wife gaming experiences as most routes can be accessible to both partners without too much required adjustment (and won’t result in the other spouse sleeping on the couch).

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Asia page
59 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

TtR Asia is a welcomed edition to the TtR line. In this expansion players are given more options for game play in two ways: The double sided game board presenting 2 styles of play and other geographic considerations; the introduction of team play.

For players that prefer the standard format of individual play there is the Legendary Asia map. As in the case of most other expansions there is only minor variance in the classic rules (in this the contribution to the state).

For players looking for something more engaging, flip the map over and enjoy team play. This has been a well conceived and implemented rule in the series. Players work on personal objectives having their individual routes while simultaneously contributing to the teams player deck and completing team routes.

As in all Days of Wonder games, the artwork is exceptional. Their development of the map series has been very good in providing more variety in this platform with the double sided game board. It is always appreciated when I receive 2 games for the price of one. It is my hope that DOW will continue to release editions that incorporate team play as it has been so successfully applied here!

9
Go to the Arctic Scavengers page

Arctic Scavengers

74 out of 87 gamers thought this was helpful

I caught on to the buzz surrounding AS after reading some posts on BGG. After watching a number of reviews I was convinced that I needed to pick up a copy of this game.

Gameplay
Typical deck builder mechanism fashioned after Dominion. There are 2 commodities used for the purpose of recruiting members of your tribe, food and medicine. Due to the excellent graphic symbols on the cards, confusion is minimal. The deck building mechanism used here is past proven and functions well in this game which will translate into easy teaching of new players.

Components/Artwork
The art in this game (RGG version) is excellent and in my opinion is what creates the strong thematic element of the game. The card art is outstanding and creates an image of a dystopian post-appocalyptic waste land.

Overall Impression
After numerous game plays, I have found this game to be very replayable. It is essential to play using the included HQ expansion, without the expansion (which is included) the game is somewhat dry and lacks flavour. I did find however that the inclusion of the buildings was of very little significance in most games as the time required to hire an Engineer then get him into your hand before being able to start construction, not to mention the construction time, was too great an often times resulted in buildings being fully constructed just as the game was ending.

This game has some level of player interaction but could feel at times as though you were playing multiple solitaire (skirmish being the only exception). The game is fun and plays quickly and in time could benefit from a well conceived expansion. I have seen the expansion Deception in a rough over view, it did not look good, however that remains to be seen.

10
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

70 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

We have recently picked up Pandemic as well as the expansion On the Brink for gameplay in our group. I had played this game previously in another group and after explaining the cooperative play to our family/friends we decided to take the plunge. We were not disappointed.

This gameplay is very simple in this game, the rules are well explained and refernce to the manual during initial play is minimal (which I consider to be the mark of excellent instructions). The roles are cleary identified with some outsanding asymetrical abilities that lend themselves nicely to cooperative gameplay where the individual players can take distincive actions during their turns.

The components are quite nice even though simple and the cards and board is nicely attired with a very strong feeling of a global mission/WHO/paramilitary feeling.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of this game is its ability to create a strong thematic tension that at times borders on desparation. Can we stamp out these viral outbreaks in time to find cures and hopefully save the world from a global pandemic. We never felt that we had enough actions in the round to complete the tasks that were before us and there was always an impending sense of the doomsday clock ticking.

I can’t recommend this game enough, thematic tension, necessary player interaction, and simple gameplay with difficult decisions ensure that this game will be a timeless classic!

5 Stars all day long!

× Visit Your Profile