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RCross

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9
Go to the Takenoko page

Takenoko

54 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ll admit that when I first looked into Takenoko, I wasn’t all that impressed. The game’s lighthearted theme and its cute Panda protagonist (or perhaps antagonist? ;p) did not spark even the tiniest bit of excitement from me. However, that all changed when a friend who had received Takenoko as a birthday gift brought it over one night to play. After running through the game (and winning on my first time!), I can gladly say that I’m on board the Takenoko bandwagon!

First and foremost, for those of you who have not yet seen the game with your own eyes, you’re in for a real treat. The components are absolutely gorgeous!! The Gardener and Panda figures are highly detailed and painted beautifully. The level of detail displayed in the artwork of the cardboard tiles, objective cards, even the player reference cards is nothing short of amazing. Seriously, EVERYTHING that comes inside the box is a delight to behold.

The true magic in Takenoko happens when you are playing the game. As each player finishes their turn, the garden further evolves into a three-dimensional art piece. It’s a lot of fun to see how the Gardener, Panda and the weather die affect the wonderfully colorful landscape. As beautiful as this game is, however, it may not be for all types of gamers, namely hardcore Strategy and Power gamers. There are many variables at play that rely solely on luck, whether it be through the roll of the weather die, or drawing an objective card. Even if you are playing solely to win, the game’s light theme may tend to ease the edge of competitiveness among your fellow players.

Concluding this review, Takenoko is a game that is pure, lighthearted fun. I truly enjoyed watching my friends take their actions and witnessing the garden grow right in front of me. Even if you can’t appreciate the game for it’s fairly simple mechanics, it’s impossible to deny that this title deserves high praise as being a feast for the eyes. For that, this game falls into being one of my favorites!

9
Go to the Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre page
65 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

Epic Spell Wars is as wild and wacky as the “colorful” artwork that is displayed through the entire game. As a Battle Wizard duking it out on the wastelands of Mount Skullzfyre, your objective is to be the last wizard standing after wiping out every one of your opponents with a truly explosive spell!

ESW is a card game where by playing a Source, Quality or Delivery card, or any combination of the three from your hand to create a spell, the damage you deal could end up targeting a single wizard, multiple wizards, or everyone at the table. Strategy is employed based on how many cards you decide to play or by the initiative value found on the Delivery cards if everyone happens to lay down the same amount of cards from their hand. The game is simple to learn and once you cast your first spell, get ready for the fun to begin – the results are simply chaotic, as you blast away at your foes left, right and center. On the flip side you may end up biting the dust before you get to cast your own deadly spell – one moment you may be at a healthy 18 HP, and then the next you’re pushing daisies, as sometimes that’s just the way the game goes.

Hardcore strategy gamers beware! While there can be some LIGHT tactics applied to this game it is mostly overruled by the random nature of the spell targeting mechanics. Even if you were to lay a single card down in order to be the first to play, the chances of you taking anyone down are very slim. However, because of the fast nature of each game, players who are eliminated will not be left out for too long, and they also benefit from gaining Dead Wizard Cards that come into effect during the next round. Good things come to even those who are dead in this game!

Overall, Epic Spell Wars is an light and enjoyable game that is sure to appeal to those looking for something casual to play. It’s fun to see what crazy spell combo every player creates as they announce it in their best wizard’s voice and it’s even more fun to see who ends up claiming the bragging rights of being the Ultimate Battle Wizard!

10
Go to the Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower page
73 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

I have a soft spot for Castle Panic. It was the first cooperative board game that I played and I immediately fell in love with the simple game mechanics and constant pressure of facing wave after wave of monsters in the style of Tower Defense. Admittedly after playing several games, and each time with a different group of friends, it became evident that Castle Panic was a rather easy game to win – almost too easy. It doesn’t detract from my personal fondness for the game, but I can see how the replay value could drop, especially among my friends with a “One and Done” mentality.

Enter The Wizard’s Tower. This expansion is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat, and the threat of actually losing is quite real. Your walls will fall, and your towers WILL get destroyed. Having played twice already, we lost the first round and won the second time with only a single tower remaining. The addition of Mega Boss monsters and creatures with different abilities is welcome, as it brings a greater level of depth to the game which will surely please the more experienced gamers in your group.

Fireside Games did a great job with creating an expansion that revitalizes its most popular game. With another expansion on the horizon set to hit the shelves in early 2015, Castle Panic is sure to be a crowd favorite to play with your gaming group!

7
Go to the Machi Koro page

Machi Koro

50 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

Machi Koro is game that’s easy to learn and quick to play, making it a popular choice for some casual gaming.

The simple mechanics of this card drafting game make it appealing to a wide audience of players. However, I would provide caution to those looking for something that involves more strategy than luck, as this may not be your cup of tea. You are always, ALWAYS, at the mercy of the dice. I can certainly attest to this after having played 3 consecutive games with my partner and not winning even one of those rounds, while being certain that my strategy to victory was secured.

The presentation of the game is great, as the artwork is cheery and colorful. My only critique is that for a game that retails at nearly $30, I would expect the components to be a bit more substantial, especially since there’s not too much that’s supplied in the box. The cards are a thin stock, and the cardboard for the coin tokens is susceptible to ripping if you don’t punch them out carefully.

Overall, Machi Koro is simple and enjoyable fun. Just be prepared to pray very hard to the Dice Gods if you’re aiming to win!

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