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Shelexie

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Go to the Pathfinder: Core Rulebook page
Go to the Small World page
Go to the Dominion page
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Go to the Smash Up page
Go to the Gloomhaven page
10
Go to the Gloomhaven page

Gloomhaven

9 out of 9 gamers thought this was helpful

Pros:
Great Components
Amazing story arcs with lots of choices
Interesting ways to upgrade your individual character

Cons:
Takes your shelf space
Organizer is almost a necessity
Steep Learning Curve but very intuitive by the 3rd game

When you open the box, you have access to the starting six characters. They are new and interesting, not the standard fantasy dwarf, elf, wizard, etc. There are an additional ELEVEN characters and their miniatures that are sealed. You must meet certain in game conditions before you can open a new character.

As your party adventures you fight through dungeons, advancing the story and learning more about the setting of Gloomhaven. The game plays well with 2-4 players and scales itself. (Side note, in many games, my wife and I play a third dummy character to make the game flow correctly but this is not necessary with this game!)

As you level up your characters, several things happen. You can choose the next perk you want, allowing you to control if you want to ignore certain negative effects or change the mix of your modifier deck (-1, +0, +1, +1 with an additional target, +0 but also poison the target, etc.) As you level up, you are also able to carry more small items (like healing potions). The town’s property will also improve through game play, granting you access to new items.

Eventually, your character will achieve his or her life goal and retire. This is NOT a bad thing! It will often allow you to open a new character, increase the prosperity of the town, and unlock certain town and road cards. When you choose your new character, they will be able to come in at a higher level and will begin play with a perk already added in. You don’t get to keep money or items but it didn’t seem to slow us down for long. This also means you may have a party with characters at different levels. This is OK! You take the average of the party and play at that level. You will not be underpowered, or at least not for long.

Overall, we love this game! We have played 80+ hours and have completed maybe 1/3rd of the adventures. We have each retired 3+ characters and have taught it to 10+ people. If you like tactical thinking, resource management, good story elements, and lots of pieces… welcome home!

P.S. Be sure to check the game tips as well for some add ons I wish we had known about when we first started playing.

10
Go to the The Captain is Dead page
7 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

Likes –
1) Art is great – The art is clear and fun. The art on the board makes it clear what actions are available at what location.

2) Icons are clear and easy to understand – icons on the cards and the board improve the game. They are color coded for ease of use but also have different symbols for those that are color blind. They also make it clear at a glance what each system costs in terms of actions and resources.

3) Cooperative – While things crash down around you, just like in a sci-fi film, you work together to bring systems online and mitigate the damage.

4) Roles – There are 18 different roles you can play each game. You can choose or randomly select one. The roles are very different and dramatically effect how you contribute to the game.

Room For Improvement –
1) The rules are a little tough to work through the first time. They could use a rewrite. This is mitigated by the link in the rule book to an online tutorial video. I strongly recommend you use the video.

2) The alert deck (the bad things that happen that continually ratchet up the pressure) gets a little repetitive after several play throughs. In a new edition, I would hope to see a few more cards added to the alert deck and randomly remove X number of cards each game setup. That way, you wouldn’t know for sure what cards you would be hit with.

Notes –
*There are two versions of the game out. This review is based on the second version by Alderac Entertainment Group. I personally think the art and iconography was cleaned up in the second version. The first version is by The Game Crafter.

*There are two expansions available at The Game Crafter site but these are not currently available on AEG.

Overall Impression –
I love this game. I am a big fan of Pandemic and there are similarities in some game mechanics. However, I consider The Captain is Dead much more dynamic. Your number of actions can change. Some systems require more than one action to use. There are ALIENS that get in your way. You have don’t receive resources unless you take the actions necessary to gather them.

If you like Pandemic, Science Fiction movies, cooperative games, and laughing even when you’re losing, this may me a game to add to your collection.

9
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
43 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

Game Overview: Lords of Waterdeep is a worker placement game. By randomizing the secret Lord Cards at the beginning of the game, the quests available to choose, the buildings available to build, and the intrigue cards one is able to play, the game is very different each time you play. Please reference the Lords of Waterdeep (board game) for an overview of the game mechanics and others reviews.

Digital Overview:
Makes the game much faster – Typical board game set up is 5 minutes. Digital is 0. In game, the app takes care of moving all adventurer tokens (the colored squares) and you don’t have to worry about counting them. The totals of each color and your money are immediately visible. Also, your opponent totals are visible by tapping on their icon. The game also puts a colored ring around the quests that you have the resources to complete at the end of each turn, reducing the chance you accidently skip completing a quest.

Keeps track of all points – There are several quests that give you bonuses for completing similar quests. Unlike the physical game, the app will not allow you to miss those bonus points. The app takes away all need to watch everyone’s math. You know the computer will be accurate. It also speeds up the end of the game. Typically, adding final points can take 5-10 minutes depending on the number of people playing. The app reduces this to 0.

Undo Button – There is no penalty for using the undo button in your turn. Perhaps you didn’t have the resources you thought you did. You can hit the red arrow on the left of the screen and go back to the beginning of your turn. The exception is if you have seen a new card. If your action revealed a new quest, building or intrigue card, there is no undo. Obviously, it would give you an unfair advantage if you got to peek at the next cards!

Solo games – Great way to pass the time! You can add up to 4 other app controlled players and each can be given a different difficulty level of easy, medium, or hard. They all play very similarly but on easy, if there is an intrigue card that will give an opponent an extra resource, the player will get it. Also on easy, you will almost never get attacked with a mandatory quest or an intrigue card that takes away a resource. On medium, the player gets a resource about half the time and may get attacked 1 out of 3 times. On hard, it seems that you never get the benefit and will almost always be the focus of the attack cards!

Play with someone next to you – the app offers two ways to play with other friends. First, you can play and pass. You play, then pass the phone or tablet to the next player, then to the next. There might be times for this but I find that people get board when they can’t see what the next person is doing. The game replays the other players moves so you can see what happened but the down time in between is not the best.

Second, you can create an account through the game and play online. This takes a little preparation but once it is set up, I like it a lot. It is a great way to pass the time at a doctor’s office or at an airport! Each person needs to have the app downloaded on their device and setup an account online through the app. This can take a few minutes as it pings your email to make sure you are a real person. Once everyone has an account, you can choose Play Online, Profile +Friends, and Add Friend with either their email address or their user name. Back at the Play Online Menu, Create Game and drag the icon of the friend(s) you want to play over to the right hand active field. Choose how long you want each person to have on their clock. We often set the clock for a day as it counts the time the other person is waiting on you. If the clock runs out, you forfeit. This prevents games that drag on and on. You can choose anything from 30 minutes to 45 days! Finally, choose any extra expansions you want to use and start the game. Note, if you add the use of an expansion, each person has to have that expansion on their device. The app does not allow “families” in Apple to share the expansions. Each account has to buy the expansion separately.

Play with Others – The app has a built in game finder online so you can play with others looking for a game. It also tries to match you up with players similar to your level, based on your past online games. This is not a feature I have used much as I prefer to play people I know.

Trophies – I love trophies. In the apple version with Game Center turned on, you receive trophies for games played, buildings built, wizards collected, etc. It is one of the small benefits I really like.

Expansions – The Skullport Expansion and the Undermountain Expansion are each $2.99 and cannot be shared between each person in a family account (though the main game can). They each add a huge variety to the game, specifically Skullport and I strongly recommend adding them.

The Downside to the Digital Version – It can take away the interaction that a table top game brings out in people. The board version has a place in our regular gaming group. However, the digital is great to have in your back pocket when you find yourself waiting somewhere.

8
Go to the Small World Underground page
16 out of 17 gamers thought this was helpful

Pros
Stand Alone Game – While this fits into the popular world of Small World, new mechanics help it stand out. You do not need to buy into any of the other sets to be able to play this one.

Game Mechanics – During your turn, you move your pieces to try to take over the Underground. Very little dice rolling is involved and a lot more planning ahead. There are multiple maps in the box, based on the number of players, and each one has a River running through world. This makes expansion more expensive but can speed crossing certain areas. There are also special Relics and Places of Power that add another layer of tactical thinking to the game.

Replayablity – The Races and Powers are shuffled each game and you will always come up with a different game. The Relics and Places of Power are shuffled each game and you don’t know which you will get until you conquer the monsters covering them. When playing with different numbers of players, the board changes.

Cons
Some might not like the number of pieces
– However, I do! I love all the little pieces of gold, the race tokes, the silver hammers for the dwarves, all of it! Just be aware that there are a number of pieces. Thankfully, the box is well designed and keeps all the little bits where they go, even when traveling.

The River – In our games, we have found that the river really cuts the board in two. You have to be dedicated to expanding across the river to spend one of your precious race tokens moving across it. It takes a race token to cross the river, you can’t hold the river (without a special ability), but your token comes back to you at the end of the turn. One good point though is that the river sections often boarder a larger number of land spaces, making it easier to cross big expanses of the board more quickly.

Summery
Small World Underground is a great game built on a solid system. The game always changes and can be taught fairly easily. It can drag a bit with larger groups, just like it’s predecessor, but the Relics and Places of Power spice up the play.

Side Note on Expansions
You really can’t talk about Small World or Small World Underground without mentioning the expansions. Most (if not all) of the expansions and two core sets can be mixed together. There are rules for compatibility on the Publisher’s website. I strongly recommend the Realms Expansion as it lets you change the board every game and the Tiles have Small World on one side and Underground on the other. The expansions simply add to the replayability and fun.

9
Go to the Small World Realms  page
16 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

Pros
Massive new options for Small World and Small World Underground – Ever changing board. You can design a new board for each game or use one of the 12 preset scenarios. The 12 scenarios include tile set options for 2-5 players, keeping the board small and the battles intense.

Variant Rules for the preset scenarios – Some are simple rules like the River Rules from Small World Underground. Others rules limit where your race can enter the board or grant bonus coins that drive expansion.

Includes the Tunnels Mini-Expansion – Two of the scenarios use the tunnels with the Realms tiles but they can also be used to connect Small World to Small World Underground if you own both games. Those rules (along with all Small World Rules) can be downloaded from the manufacture’s website.

Cons
Set Up Time
– The tiles offer a lot of options but if you are setting up one of the preset scenarios in the booklet, the setup time can be 5-10 minutes. This is made a little more difficult by the stylized letters on the tiles. If you like puzzles, you may enjoy this process!

Movable Tiles – As in most tile games, the board can shift apart with energetic play. Don’t bump the table!

Summery
Overall, this is a great expansion to both Small World and Small World Underground. It is the logical progression to a game that specializes in replay-ability, allowing a different and customizable board each game. If you like the core game, this is a great expansion.

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