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SockDrawerMonster

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Go to the Among the Stars page
Go to the Manhattan Project page
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
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Go to the The Resistance: 3rd Edition page
Go to the Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game page
Go to the Last Will page
Go to the Yedo page
9
Go to the Last Will page

Last Will

11 out of 11 gamers thought this was helpful

Whom of us has never dreamed of spending money without consequence? Well, that ain’t happening here either. In Last Will you go your way to spend money to get even more money, that is if you can spend it fastest. If you lose you change riches for rags. It’s Brewster’s Millions kind of deal, which means you can’t just squander all of it.

I want the finest golden tea set you have (Summary)
The game is combination of bidding, worker placement and hand management. In fact phases of the turn can be divided in these three main events. First you start bidding for your place in rest of the turn, but it isn’t that simple. Same time you also need to balance with how many cards your draw, amount of the errant boys (workers) and action points you have. Then you place the few errant boys you have in hopes of getting everything you want from the main board, whilst you know that it ain’t happening since you can only place one at the time. Lastly you can play the cards from your hand either on your board as reoccurring benefits or play single use event cards, but you need to be careful here too. You only get to keep two cards in your hand at the end of the turn, unless you have School chump-card which allows additional cards on play.

Lets break the phases to smaller bites.
Bidding phase is fairly straight, but no means easy part of the game. In this phase you really need to sacrifice the most, because pretty much always you need to exchange between your place in turn or amount of cards, workers and action points. For instance if you want the first chance to play you need to pick the first spot, but then you only get one extra card and one action point, which isn’t enough, even if you get two workers. Going as last player to bid is often the best place to be if you really need something from the main board. Still in the end, it’s nothing more than just placing one wooden piece to board. That has far reaching consequences.

In worker placement phase you have 1-2 errant boys to place on the main board. There you can influence real estate prices, choose between cards on board or expand your estate. Choosing cards here has real value, since it won’t be random and the game has four different stacks of cards and one special card stack where you can’t take from during bidding round. You’re pressed on to select most important card on first pick, since you most likely won’t get to pick the other one you want and might be you don’t have the worker for it anyway.

There is certain urgency in this round, when you really need to make it count. If you have difficulties adjusting your plans in worker placement games, this might be issue for you. I don’t know a worker placement game where you have more limited chance to pick.

Lastly comes the card management. You have limited space on your board, which you can expand, but it is out from other actions in worker placement. You’re pressed with amount of actions, that always feel too few, and cards in your hand you want to play. Especially since at the end of turn you only can keep two cards. All cards have some value in way or another. Might be you don’t need some now, but next turn might be a different story. Eventually you run to impasse where you need to play card, but don’t have room for it. Luckily you can remove cards from your board, except estates.

I haven’t talked about estates yet. Basically they’re excellent way to drain money, but you can’t have them if you want to win the game.
In farms you can have horses and dogs, visit them and spend money or even better recruit a estate keeper who does the work for you can cost even more money. Mansions work different way, they’re best bought and left alone in most cases. Their value depreciates if not visited, meaning you can buy house with high price and sell it for pennies. Of course you can host huge party there with right card and hasten the process.

So bottom line through all the phases of the turn is setting your priorities right and adjusting on inevitable changes on your plans.

I bought my horse a golden saddle (Components)
Components are standard quality, nothing to complain here. Money is thick enough for handling and moving around with ease. As always cards love to stick on table and are difficult to get off unless you slide them to edge of table, which is difficult on occasion considering the amount of boards, cards and tokens.

Art is beautiful and has comical feature that this game requires. It jogs your imagination and you start thinking that you take your horse in to the restaurant with your lady friend, even if your logic screams that the horse stays outside. Then again your eccentric new millionaire, so who knows.

So I can’t give it to charity for myself? (Learning curve)
One thing that you have to know about this game is that it pars with 7 Wonders on symbol galore. There are multiple different symbols and many of them are not evident as by themselves and you need to consult the rulebooks back where they’re all listed. You can learn most of them after a game or two, but it should be noted that first games take a bit getting used to on symbols.

Rulebook itself is ok, it has nice pictures to explain and considering how diverse the game is, it isn’t all too difficult to play. Explaining the game is fairly difficult for new players and it definitely ain’t a starter game for completely new board game player.

So I get to keep my debts if I lose? (Conclusion)
Game is arguably difficult to learn, but it’s worth it and mastering it takes even longer. No game is same ever really the same since there is so many paths to victory. If you don’t get something you want it doesn’t end the game for you, just nudge bit to different direction and you’re again on the track to penniless. It’s so unlike many other worker placement games, since you don’t have set recipe for each game. However if you get frustrated easily from being forced to adjust and change your plans, you might want to consider not playing this game.

Once players start to understand how it works, it’s something you keep coming back to for deep strategical factor and humour the game contains. It is simply so fun and making your own quips on situation makes it even more fun.

7
Go to the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game Starter Set page
58 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

Don’t get cocky, pilot! And what ever you do, don’t loose your focus. X-wing is certainly appealing option for flight sim generation players (and others too). I get all those giddy feelings I had when I played Tie Fighter as a kid, but is there more to it than nostalgic feelings? Dive, dive, dive! Scroll your mouse, pilot!

We lost Red 4! Cover your wingmen! (Summary)
Before we get any further, let it be said that this game is very versatile. It supports preplanned missions, as well as basic skirmishes with squadrons built by players. However this isn’t what you get with the base game. You need to expand your squadrons with fairly expensive additional fighters.

With your game set up and browsed through pretty simple rules, you’re ready to start. First players pick individual fighters movement dials and place desired movement. When everybody has picked their movements, you reveal and pilot with lowest skill moves first and picks an action. Actions vary, but base game they’re focus, evade and target lock. Focus lets you use a die with eye symbol for hit or evade depending where you need it. Evade makes one attack miss and target lock is needed for missiles or allows reroll on die.

When everybody has moved and made an action, pilot with highest skill shoots first (Han, that is). Firing range is divided in three, 1st range gives extra attack die, 2nd nothing and 3rd extra evasion die to defender.
After that you check who are still alive and shoot back on the skill order highest to lowest. So in inverted order as movement.

This is basic jist of the game. It doesn’t sound much, but with proper Star Wars music from movies and old games it gets fun, especially if other player gets in to it too. I basically play this game only with my daughter, but as I understand it is very popular game in USA.

Look at those curves on that Tie Interceptor (Components)
What comes to miniatures on this game, there simply can’t be any complains other than X-wings gun mounts are extremely thin and fragile. They’re true to original models and painted with detail.

However some of the cards feel bit under quality for normal FFG standards. Nothing too bad, they’re still good, but feel bit flimsy for what I have grown to expect from them. Cardboard pieces are many and I would have hoped that the movement aids would have been made from plastic. Movement dials also seem to loose color/print notably after handling them just ~15 games. I ain’t pleased with the quality on those, even though the idea on them is good.

Remain in formation or I will have you grounded! (Learning curve)
X-Wing as a base game is really easy to learn and you get feeling that rulebook is unnecessarily long. It comes with quick guide for impatient players, which does it’s trick admirably. There isn’t really much to remember and it’s very simple game for a FFG game, not that I am complaining. It makes it very approachable for young pilots, so no need to join Imperial flight academy.

With expansions this games more complex and it might be too much for the youngest pilots, as they start loose interest when they can’t match up with older pilots anymore.

In the end we all are just space dust (Conclusion)
There are many good things in this game, but my score stands for the base game. Which only leaves you hungry for more and then they reel you in for what possibly might be the most expensive board game ever (not belittling WH here). You get one fighter for hefty price and one isn’t enough, you need to match it on both sides, so watch your money fly from your wallet if you plan to get serious with this. Even Star Wars Armada costs less when you can achieve more with less. I have bought two extra ships and I already feel that it’s expensive as it is now, especially considering what I have got for the money.

Remember what we talked about the nostalgic rush earlier? Well I still get the same rush when I play Freespace 2 or Tie Fighter, but this can’t really match up there. Granted you’re more involved on those and they’re more fast paced than this is. However X-Wing is fun game when you have players that enjoy playing it. If you feel that your companion isn’t quite in it, it just kills the mood for you too.

I enjoy playing against younger players, because they’re think completely different from you and make unexpected maneuvers. Still retaining clear goal in mind and achieving good results, they shouldn’t be underestimated. Game is made in such manner that everybody who grasps the idea in it have a near equal ground to win.

In short order, fun game, but I believe it would have room to improve. However it is expensive as it gets.

9
Go to the Yedo page

Yedo

120 out of 132 gamers thought this was helpful

…At least in this game for here you work from the shadows.
Sengoku Jidai is over, Hidetada has succeeded Iyeasu as Shogun and Japan seems to be finally in peace. You were on the winner side, but you’re not satisfied with your new position, you deserved more! But then again, what you get is never enough, is it? You aren’t the only one who feels this way, other clans are displeased too. Let the race for Shoguns favor begin and should that fail he is replaceable, maybe the new Shogun looks more favorably upon or maybe it will be you?

War might be over, but I ain’t done yet (Summary)
Yedo is a worker placement game for up to 5 players. there are many of those out there, so how does it distinct itself from the rest? How about changing mission objectives and feudal Japan theme? That sounds like a blast.

You control one of five clans (which is basically just color) and use your agents (mostly ninjas) to gain better standing in eyes of Shogun, by gaining inside information, kidnapping and making skirmishes against other clans.

Yedo is divided on two main segments, first auctioning for better privileges for basically anything you can find on main board, as well as for additional agents, and then the actual worker placement where you attempt to gain access on locations that help you complete your personal missions. After mission are completed you gain prestige, money and other benefits. To gain more missions you need to use a worker to gain them, intel on possible missions isn’t free. On top of that you can only have four at the time so it requires some effort to juggle with them and knowledge when to give up on mission which you just can’t get done. Mission cards are divided in four categories easy, medium, hard and impossible. One of the impossible cards is “Kill the Shogun”, which ends the game immediately.

Game spans over 11 rounds, which is you can change according how long game you want. One additional thing that brings interesting change on game is the guard, which apprehends any worker in location it is. This alone isn’t much, but you can affect the movement of the guard is something that changes the game. Event cards also make sure that every turn is different from the last one.

Only finest fabric for Geishas (Components)
Art is very thematic and has fitting touch of modern art and time appropriate Japanese art, everything is a pleasure to look. Meeples have “skirt” on them to symbolize Hakama, not that Ninjas used them, but still very samurai theme fitting. Pieces are made either from wood or cardboard, both are sturdy and easy to handle, not quite as easy as in Manhattan Project, but they do the trick.

Biggest complain I have is the size of the main board, it is same size as Francis Drakes one, but it could have been a bit smaller for easier handling. With player boards it gets rather big and does require decent amount of space from your table.

Also the main board is far too crowded with art, it is pretty, but at first glance it’s difficult to find what you need to see. After few turns it gets easy enough, but after a long break it might be a shocker again.

Abide to Bushido or seek forgiveness from Seppuku (Learning curve)
Core of the rules are pretty clear and it takes few turns for people to get gist of the game. Some may argue that rules are hard for worker placement, but I don’t think that they’re hard to memorize. I can think simpler games that I had more issues recalling some of rules. There are some small things you need to check occasionally to be certain.

Player boards come with turn order which makes it easier to follow and same time makes it less likely that you miss something by accident. There is also different difficult settings in the game to make it easier, I suggest going on easier way for first time.

Rulebook is well made, it doesn’t get bogged down explaining things too complicated and is riddled with examples. It doesn’t leave things unclear. On back of the book is quick reference for the locations and buildings. Even though locations are simple and you don’t need to reference it often. Each location also has symbols on them to indicate what you can do there.

Katana should be touched only by silk and blood (Summary)
This game requires some dedication and bravery to tackle on, mostly due to intimidating looking board and complex turn order. However payoff is one of the best worker placement games, which seem to have gone unnoticed for most part. There is always room on board for everybody to get something they need and want because they can have multiple goals at the same time.

Ability to variate length of the game is something that makes it easy to bring this one to table even if for just quick and easy tryout. Every turn changing events bring element of change and guards make bring extra tactics to game when you can use them to sabotage other players.

Some might find this too cutthroat as worker placement, but I found this to be one of most pleasant and replayable worker placement due to variating elements and is up to par with Manhattan Project.

If you get a chance to give this a go, I suggest you don’t pass up and for this sort of game the price isn’t bad at all. Far from it if you compare to Agricola, Caverna or Francis Drake. On top of that I find this superior those games.

7
Go to the Sheriff of Nottingham page
88 out of 96 gamers thought this was helpful

Welcome to Arstotzka, I mean Nottingham, comr… chap/chappette! Got anything in those bags for Sheriff do you? Oh, do I hear clink of coins?
Welcome the new addition to house of bluffing games. Let’s see if this box is full gold or fluff.

See you don’t have the permit. So I’ll take all your stuff (Summary)
Game is pretty simple as it often is this way with bluffing games. Each player gets their avatar and board/summary sheet. Then one player starts as the Sheriff and others draw cards in hopes to get as many matching tradable goods or not, this is where the bluff comes in. Players hand the bags of goods to sheriff in turn and tell/lie what it contains. Everything is open for any claim, except how many goods are in the bag. You can say that you have three breads even though you have bag full of contraband.

It’s up to sheriff whether he/she believes or not. If sheriff is right he gets paid for the contraband and liar loses those goods that were not declared correctly. However if everything is at it should be sheriff has to pay to owner of the goods. Sometimes belief has nothing to do with it since owner of bag can bride the sheriff not to open the bag, but what is even better is that other players can pay to sheriff to open the bag. This brings nice twist to the game and makes it interesting.

After every bag has been cleared or checked another turn starts and next player assumes role of sheriff. This goes until all players has been sheriff twice. Then game ends and winner is declared.

Beauty of lying (Components)
Art is simply beautiful and it is plentiful. It has very interesting division on characters and goods. Goods look like their real image and are very easily distinguished from each others, apples look even edible. Then again characters look more like caricatures and the art still keeps amazing. This game has one of the best art in board games out there, well at least if you look for non-serious art style.
Cardboard used on everything is high quality and box comes with detachable box interior for easier storing during the game. It deserves it own special mentioning, thanks for those!

Remember, pack the heavy stuff to bottom of the bag (Learning curve)
This game is from the easy end of the games and it’s something for whole family, providing you play so that your kids have a chance to win too. It’s one of the games my daughter loves. Fast to teach, doesn’t take long and easy to bring to table. Game is for five players max, which I can understand since otherwise there would be too much downtime for other players for this kind of game. Especially if sheriff likes to think a lot on decisions.

Rulebook was very clear on all the rules and you really don’t need to consult it while playing. Also player aids that come with the game are good quality and remind absent minded players about the turn order. It takes 1-2 sheriff for everybody to learn this game.

Glory to Nottingham! No entry, sorry (Conclusion)
Now before I tackle on this conclusion, this is fun game no doubt. However I can’t help, but feel that it falls short on other bluffing game, such as The Resistance and Ca$h ‘n Guns. It has certain appeal on the idea and art and I love pieces it come with. It has more meat than many of the same category games and is certainly more approachable to children. In other words perfect tool to prepare your kids to young adults or even better your neighbors kids. Also perfect guide how to succeed in job interview.

As I have said before it is great entry level game, but it also acts as great filler and icebreaker. You are certain to get laughter out of this, but is it the king of the hill? No, not even near, but it ain’t fluff either.

On that note, why there isn’t similar board game about Papers, please?

8
Go to the Caverna: The Cave Farmers page

Caverna: The Cave Farmers

104 out of 111 gamers thought this was helpful

Because these dwarfs certainly keep digging too deep, you even get punished if you don’t. In Caverna you control family of dwarfs and you attempt to expand their cave and fields to have thriving homestead. So let’s play drums of Moria, tonight there will be a harvest.

Step aside Agricola and see how it’s done! (Summary)
Caverna is worker placement game. You start with two dwarfs and room for two animals. This doesn’t sound much, but in end of the game you’ll end up with 3+ dwarfs and so many farm animals that it would make old McDonald envious.

Each player has personal board where they (re)place their improvement tiles. There are two sides for each, forest and cave. Forest you can convert to either agriculture or pasture. There you can plant your crops and house your animals. Mining the cave gives you chance to build rooms and make mines. Both are mandatory, since you can’t hope to stand a chance against others, if you ignore either one.

Every turn you place your workers in the common board to collect resources, expand your land, build improvements, plant crops or go to adventure. Game does very good job easing up new things to players every turn. Some are more significant like adventuring or breeding, but everything is useful and will be used. Same cannot be said from start up locations, especially wood places tend to start piling up while people ignore them. Every turn only one worker can be placed per location, with more players there is chance to imitate one location, but it comes with price. So planning the order of placement is preferable if you hope to get what you need since there ain’t that many turns to play and every one of them count.

Some of the turns will have harvest at end of the turn. This means that you need to reap some of your crops, your animals breed if you have room for them and you need to feed your dwarfs. This goes on until end of game and finally you count the points and see who won. However it seems secondary, it is more of an farm building for your own pleasure.

Compogasm! (Components)
I don’t think I have ever seen board game with this many components. They are good quality beyond any doubt. All resources are made from wood, colored and shaped to resemble their real counterpart. Art on cards and boards are very nice bright colors, appealing to kids as well as to adults (and cats).

Most of the components are plentiful, but some tend to run out late game, especially if nobody picks them from the table. So there could have been some more or maybe replacement cards for 5 instead of 10.

How hard can it be to plant pigs? (Learning curve)
Basic mechanics of the game aren’t that hard, but getting the whole picture and plan the actions are kinda difficult. My 8 year old daughter likes to play this game, but she has no hope for competing with adults. So for her it is more mellow farm building than anything else.

Rulebook is mostly helpful, but there are parts that are confusing you more than actually helping. Few rules that are in the game could have been left out completely, they just make game more complex without adding anything to the mix.

For adults game is rather easy to grasp and if you can focus enough to plan few turns ahead of time you should have easy time with this game. Just keep backup plan in case someone makes move that forces you to adjust. It’s bit like chess.

Too many sheep… They’re everywhere! (Summary)
This is without a doubt fun game to play, ideal with 3-4 players, maybe more if you have experienced gamers playing it. With higher number of players you can expect long waiting times. However this is a game you play once in a evening, because it really doesn’t offer so much that people would want to have a second go at it at once.

Box is really heavy, so be careful if you order it, there might be some damage on it after you pick it up. Also you can expect high shipping costs. Safest bet is to pick it up personally from local game store.

There are few things in all this, though. Locations are so plentiful that many are left unused when players dash for most valuable ones. There is option for 8 players in the game, but I would never see myself daring that. 6 players was already long and boring game with lots of down time. Last negative thing I have to say on this is that you end up playing the game same way every time. You can’t really win without adventuring, it is so over powered.

Toughest thing in the end is the price tag. Components are high quality and you certainly get stuff for the money, but it still is really expensive. So think carefully if you want and need this.

8
Go to the Pandemic: In the Lab page
104 out of 111 gamers thought this was helpful

Second expansion to Pandemic and first that actually adds something to the game other than scenarios (and better storing system for the cubes). Does it rise to the occasion or do you end up feeling like you just contracted rabies?

To be a scientist or not to be? (Summary)
This expansion adds to existing base game and On the Brink expansion, but to top that it actually adds own board, the Lab challenge. New is the team game mode, but somehow that feels really strange to play, but I’ll return to that.

Virulent strain challenge gets two additional cards to add on existing deck. Mutation challenge also gets two new cards, which replace the original, and 12 cubes are added to Mutation challenge. Rules also change for Mutation. It makes more of an challenge, which is good if you’re into that kind of stuff.
There is also four new roles to ever expanding selection of characters (we just draw them blind always to avoid super squad) and two replacements for existing cards.

Then there is the team mode, which just feels strange on a game that is completely full-on cooperative game. I have played it once and whole gang agreed that it doesn’t feel right at all and haven’t touched it since. Counting points to win on other teams while the goal is still common, we win or lose together, nobody cares about that. There are so many competitive games that this was really unnecessary.

I left last the best part. I’m talking about the Lab challenge which changes the mechanics of the game completely. No more it is about collecting right color city cards and then running to research station. Now to start the cure you only need one card and you can start characterizing the disease. Then it is about collecting right cubes and processing them to fit in cure sequences with variating requirements. You need two matching color city cards to test the cure and lastly three cards to cure it. It is more cards than before, but this time everybody can pitch in as long as they’re in any research station. Arguably better and more thematic than the original.

Don’t touch my microscope! (Components)
Components are as they were in base game. Cubes are still same kind, cards match to the original and so do player markers. Lab board itself is rigid and good quality cardboard, so you can expect it to last multiple playthroughs. Artist is still the same, thus it fits in seamlessly with base game and previous expansion. Component-wise it’s good quality and pleasure to watch and use.

Lab challenge comes with vials for research and cure markers. It is nice touch and more thematic than the old cure markers. They’re easier to check on lab board especially if you sit on far end of it.

I got my diploma from online (Learning curve)
Each play mode has their own small changes on the rules, but nothing really though. You just need to remember with what you’re dealing with and if you need to take a check on the rules, just make sure you look from the right page.

Most complex is the Lab challenge, but that also is manageable and after one cure disease it should be pretty clear to all players how it works. Still first game will need somebody telling what to do to others, otherwise you’ll lose the game.

Don’t tell me you ate the samples… (Conclusion)
First of all let’s chop this in segments:
Lab challenge is good and the real core of the expansion. This is what the original game should have been. It make the game thematic and it help it to stay fresh. I never liked the original cure method. If this is the only reason to get this expansion, it is worth it. Let’s face it, it is the only reason to get this expansion.
Team challenge feels really out of it element here, don’t know anybody who liked this game mode. My suggestion: skip it. If you must try it, but you’ll come to same conclusion as everybody else does.
Mutation challenge makes few small adjustments. It certainly nudges it to better, but I would have been fine with the original one too.
Rest are minor changes and additions. Nothing that was really necessary, but are nonetheless more than welcome addition.

I like this expansion far more than On the Brink, but still I can’t help but feel that this would have been just as good with some of it left out for a better price. It leaves a strange feeling of joy, but same time you feel kinda cheated.

Bottom line is that Lab challenge is the thing that this game has always begged and is enough to justify this expansion alone.

8
Go to the Boss Monster page

Boss Monster

58 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

Imagine time where everything was all about big pixels. Glorious, ain’t it? Except you never got to play as bad guy, always stuck with those do-gooders. This time you get to be bad guy. I bet you did NES see that coming, huh?
So lets see if this deserves the Nintendo seal of quality, or is it doomed to forever wander aimlessly in the local game shop shelfs?

Stop digging your nose and start digging the dungeon! (Summary)
Boss Monster is a card game which doesn’t need anything extra to go (I am looking at you Steve Jackson games, pick a title, I dare you). You pick from different deck of cards and play them. Decks are used constantly and none of them get left over as useless. Deck that gets drawn only once is Monster deck, where you pick your avatar.

Round consists of drawing a room card (and activating possible room effects to get more cards), playing one room and “inviting” heroes in your dungeon. You can have maximum of five rooms plus your boss in play, you can replace old ones by building on top of them or destroying them for benefit.

Once you build a room you activate the effect on it if card demands it otherwise it is time to lure heroes to your dungeon. Now idea is to get them in your dungeon so you can kill them and harvest their soul, which are like victory points. If you fail to kill the hero, it damages your boss. Luring happens by having the right treasure hero in question covets. Whoever has most of them will get that hero, if there is a tie Boss Monster with higher XP gets him/her.

If you feel like not having heroes over or need more power to kill them you have few spell cards just to help you do that. There are three kind of spell cards, building, combat and mixture. This tells when you can play the card, they’re either helping you or are in-your-face kind of cards.

Game goes on until any one of bosses has 10 souls harvested or there is one last boss left alive. If heroes run out before this, one who has most souls win and on stalemate XP decides. While you need 10 souls to win, you only need 5 wounds to lose.

My precioussssh… (Components)
Cards are divided clearly with text on back of them and color coding each deck, which makes easy to divide the decks at setup and easy to pick right card during the game. No room for mistake in there.

Art is exclusively 8-bit style and it really suits this game, its a fun nostalgia trip to simpler childhood times. It is fun to see kids studying the cards with interest even now in age of HD. It is something that makes this game stand out from other board games.

No! The poison blades go there, not in the acid! (Learning curve)
Symbols on card are clear and few to make it easy remember what means what. Game is very kid friendly, but it is more aimed to older player for it requires strategical thinking how to place rooms for proper synergy.
Rulebook is fairly short and on most cases clear and game comes with quick rules for refreshing your memory. As I have said before that kind of cheat sheet should be mandatory with almost every board game.

There are few things that aren’t covered in the rulebook properly, such as destroying rooms leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Had to check it up from net to clarify that rule.

Learning to play Boss Monster is pretty easy task, people get easily in after one round, but they won’t be reaping benefits of synergies to full. This is good though because it adds on replay value of the game and for it being short it is easy to bring always on the table.

It works quite neatly as gateway game for non-gamers.

Good-for-nothing Goblins… (Conclusion)
This is fun game to play, but it isn’t anything astounding, so don’t expect more than 2 rounds in a game session. Being a light and fast game, it makes a good in-between game. Game box is small, which makes it easy to take with you on go and if the box is too big you can just take the cards.

Target audience is rather obvious here, but it doesn’t mean others couldn’t enjoy the game as well. However I believe the right generation will get the biggest blast out of this game.

There is also existing mobile/pc version of the game and last I checked you can get it for free for tablet, so you might want to take a go on the game for checking how it. Even though it can never compare on playing against another human players and to see the look on their face when you defeat them, as is your right as a Boss Monster!

7
Go to the Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition) page

Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition)

93 out of 100 gamers thought this was helpful

I make you an offer you can’t refuse. Give me all the loot or I’ll shoot you. This being the core idea of Ca$h ‘n Guns and rules being simple as it gets. Promising fun and laughter for every member of famiglia. Just don’t Cosa Nostra it, but share or if you will, expand the Family.

For Godfather! I mean “Aim at Godfather!” (Summary)
Each player pick their avatar of cartoony Mafioso, special role card (optional) and foam core gun plus the ammo. Loots are divided in stacks of 8 cards and first 8 are laid on table as loot of the round.

One player is picked as Godfather who leads the game through the round(s). First players pick a bullet which can be either click or bang. Click doesn’t harm others and is purely for bluffing. Bang is opposite, but there is only three of those in your hand. Then comes the Mexican standoff phase, where everybody pull their guns at somebody. This point Godfather can tell one player to change their target, but not at whom. Then he/she counts to three and those who want to chicken drop their gun.

Finally the bullet are checked on those who didn’t chicken out, if somebody gets bang they are out of round and get wound token. Three of these and you’re out of the game. Those who remain share the loot, which varies from money, diamonds, art, medkits and ammo to who is the new Godfather with privileges it comes with.

Game goes on this fashion until all but one is dead or there aren’t any loot left. At end the points are counted and victorious party announced followed either by Marlon Brando or Al Pacino impression.
Games are fast and it is a game that begs another go and another after that.

This be Betty, she be my doll. She likes 9mm hollow-points (Components)
Art on the cards, avatars and tokens are cartoony and paints a picture of something fun and relaxed rather than gruesome that it could be in reality. I think this is great idea for it makes it more easily approachable for players of all ages. I have played this with my kids and it didn’t feel least bit wrong, no more than running around house or yard shouting bang bang.

Guns are sturdy and fun to handle, they’re made out so that its obvious that they aren’t real. It is fun to notice somebody placing the gun in imaginary shoulder holster with dubious look on face, always sparks laughter. Have even seen people doing ankle holster and Die Hard impression, your imagination is the limit on this.

On a last note I really like the wound markers that are two crossed band-aids.

What do we do, Boss? (Learning curve)
There isn’t anything complex in the game. Kids and elderly can learn it and every round player who is the Godfather will lead the game rounds through their respective order. On addition there is the Godfathers desk where is written the round order for a reminder to Godfather. Not that there is much to remember.

I am made man, I brought myself on the top (Conclusion)
It is really fun party game and it certainly makes people laugh. I can understand some having reservations that come to this theme and guns in general. All I can say is that I am sorry you’re missing out on the fun. I doubt that this game ever turned anybody in to a Mafioso or criminal. It is easy going fun for bigger groups and really does need the minimum of 5 players to be good. That and it starting to repeat itself very fast being the only downsides. You get good 2-4 games out on one evening with people enjoying themselves without accusations, like The Resistance does. If you like the idea, but don’t like being accused, this is the replacement for you.

It is great in-between game after heavier games, it unwinds the people and gets them prepped for something bigger again. I find it inferior to The Resistance, but it is still different enough to bring on table in same evening and have fun.

If you like easy going and fast games or need an ice-breaker this your deal right here. I personally recommend it as in-between game.

8
Go to the Space Alert page

Space Alert

112 out of 123 gamers thought this was helpful

Because screensavers weren’t bugging you enough as it was.
Space Alert is unique brand of board games, which of late seem to have found their own genre. It is a time attack style game, where communication is the key while everybody rather would panic.

Academy of Red Shirts (Summary)
This game has quite an amount of rules which I won’t be covering. However it does have excellent tutorial booklet, which teaches you to play in fun and entertaining way. Game takes it easy on you for first few tutorial run and eases you gently on new game mechanics, such as internal threats or screensaver (which causes you to lose a turn if you forget to shake the mouse).

Game is best played with 4-5 players and you really don’t want to go below that, since it becomes extremely difficult to keep all the strings on your hand. First few games will be though for first timers, since they basically have no idea what is going and they will feel lost. Most will be able to bounce to top after few games.

Each game lasts about 10 minutes, divided in three segments, where you play cards to move your piece and do actions to defend your Sitting Duck-class exploration ship. With limited amount of cards available and constant new threats emerging while your ship decides to malfunction on you, you’re sure to feel stress levels rise.

Game comes with “Internal computer” which tells you what happens when and one player has to pay attention to this while conveying the info to others around the table. It is rather ingenuous idea, which is sure to increase stress levels even further, but at least one doesn’t have to be the Gamemaster.

After 10 minutes of panic game ends and you set the game pieces to starting places and start checking what have you done and how you handled the enemies, this determines if you made it to end alive or did you die while trying to fire the gun which didn’t have energy left.

I like the screensaver logo, no don’t take it away! (Components)
This game comes very nice player pieces and everything that is important for handling come as pieces too, instead of cardboard tokens. They are all color coded which makes it easy to spot during haste of the game and makes it easier to manage. Only downside is the energy cylinders used for refilling, which tend to be knocked down and roll around in middle of panic.

Games comes with CD, where you will find the internal computer, which tells you what happens and when. Now you can also get them as separate MP3’s from games homepage or as paper format if you don’t have player available. I personally found it best when you use it from phone, Android devices have own app for this and I would be shocked if Iphones didn’t have one. Additional speakers is a good idea since as standalone it is too faint for all to hear so one has to convey it all.

Art on board and in cards are pretty and thematic. Board is color segmented which makes it easier to tell which direction you want to go, reduces the mistakes which tend to surface in panic. Art on cards maintain seriousness in them, even with space octopus. Art keeps it together and it wont start feeling like Munchkin all of the sudden.

Uhhhh… What did this big red button do? (Learning curve)
Learning curve is rather hard for this, game is confusing in many ways, but normal player just needs to know the basics, like what cards do and how they work, how the power transfer works etc. However later you go in game more specialized tasks are required, so requirements get higher for players. We ended up playing first 3 times the same tutorial missions to get people more acquainted with their roles in game.

I would recommend that those that are in pivotal role should read the rulebook at least and I suggest you find good guide for newbies from BGG, it makes it easier for you to explain the game mechanics and point out the important things. I struggled first times I tried to explain this game, it is just so different from many other games.

Oh, everybody is dead? At least we got the ship back (Conclusion)
This game is full of dark humor from game itself to rulebook, which is great and sets really good atmosphere, you really feel that you’re expendable.

Game is fun to play and really tests your cooperation skill under stress, while giving funny incentives here and there, making it sure you won’t take it too serious. Never had a game where somebody would stand up after the game and start shouting others at their incompetence. Players take it as board game and fun, not as something serious, which is good. Game even goes to lengths to remind players that loosing is a big part of the game.

It is difficult to get a grip of this game, you need time to get your bearings and notable amount of players feel out in this game. I don’t remember a game where there would have been more players who didn’t want to bring it on table second time. When you get in to this and can stand the stress it brings you’re in for a treat, as time attack games go this top of that cast. Each game is short and everything you do has to count, every word you say must have some weight in them. You can’t divide your attention on this one, you simply don’t have the time for it. I think the biggest issue for most players is on this kind of stress game is that they don’t have sufficient amount of time to think their strategy.

The game is really fun if you can handle it, but it is better to make sure you can handle it. So go to youtube and check a playthrough or go to some event and have a go at it before getting it yourself.

10
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
31 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Why aren’t you playing Battlestar Galactica the board game? No excuses! Do you think I’m interested of your opinions? And while you’re at it, throw the Admiral to brig.

Today I’ll be reviewing BSG or story known by other name “How my evil Cylon plans came together and now as I stand above the corpses of my enemies. I feel satisfaction of how I am consumed by my own evil and it feels so good”.

Now before we start, I feel some disclaimer is in order. I love this game and haven’t reviewed it before as I feel that I can’t do justice to it and it could turn out to be slightly biased. That being said, let’s take our Vipers on nose dive and splash some toasters.

Frakking skinjobs! (Summary)
Game starts by everybody picking their favorite (or near favorite) character from selection of 10. They all have their benefits and specialization such as pilots, politics etc. and this part is done with some thought on it. Not everybody can pick the same category, but they have to divide evenly by picking from most plentiful (with exception on engineer). This results that crew of Galactica will be good mix of handy characters and no field is left unattended. Then roles of President and Admiral are divided according line of succession, they as titles already say will have difficult decisions to make and will often be second guessed by rest of players. Then comes the soul of the game, possibly one of finest working traitor system I have come across in board games. Scaling to players there will be 1-3 Cylon traitors amongst the players, their job is to botch every skill check (coming to that later) and sow suspicion on the fleet, until the right time comes and reveal themselves to other players with often devastating consequences. Note it is possible that there isn’t any Cylons at beginning of the game, but they appear later.

When everybody know where they stand and have picked their skill cards from 5 different decks. Game starts by players being surrounded by Cylon fleet and hand full on defending Galactica and civilian ships while managing rising crisis onboard.

Each players turn consists of drawing skill cards according the character sheet, moving to a place (or staying still) and doing one action. This can be using character sheet actions, location action or action described in skill card. When this all is done it is time to pull a crisis card. These are seldom anything good, unless of course you’re a Cylon that is.

Crisis cards vary from skill check, key personnel decision, dice roll to enemy fleet attack. Skill check is the most tense of these, players place skill cards face down on a pile to benefit or trying to make it fail (only if you’re a Cylon) and on addition there will be added 2 destiny cards from a deck which composes 2 cards from each category to help to hide possible infiltrators. After this situation is resolved there might be attack from local Cylon fleet and with luck FTL jump track goes forward.

FTL jump track? Faster than light track which is kept to record when civilians and Galactica are ready to jump away from enemies. Galactica is old behemoth, not a top rate military ship so it takes a while to get there, but not as long as for civilians. Which some might have to be left behind when situation gets too hairy. This isn’t generally a good idea, since when the counter for civilians, fuel, food or morale goes to zero you’ll lose. You’ll need to get certain jump distance traveled to win the game, if any of counters go zero or Galactica gets destroyed humans lose the game and Cylons will be having “Mission Accomplished” banners everywhere.

Half way of the game there will be sleeper phase where remaining loyalty cards will be dealt. Now you might notice that you weren’t a human after all, even though you have worked so hard towards the goal. By this point of the game accusations will start flying even more than before. It’s almost like The Resistance, but with more meat on it and you get more invested with it.

Nice curves, Caprica Six… Nice indeed (Components)
The game is from Fantasy Flight Games, so art looks really nice and tokens are nice to handle (not too thin). There are quality unpainted miniatures for fighters, but I would have liked to have Basestars (enemy capital ships) as miniatures too, instead of cardboard versions. They were replaced in Pegasus expansion. Board sets nice atmosphere and the resource dials are sturdy and handy, better than any slider. Would have liked to have dial for jump track or a proper slider, but at least everybody can see where you stand.

Intelligence. A mind that burns like a fire (Learning curve)
On bottom line this is fairly simple game, but it has many small rules that needs to be taken to account. The good news is that it takes one player to know the rules and explain the core and fill in as game goes on, except the moment new player finds themselves as Cylon. So that part of them game should be made abundantly clear. Either way you can expect first game go for learning the mechanics.

Rulebook is decent and isn’t a long, indexes are big enough to find rules in question quickly and back of rulebook is quick reference for important things. There are a lot of good reference sheets made by fans in BGG (including mine). It should be noted that rulebook tends to go on and on which might make finding small details tough.

After 2-3 games most of players should be able to handle this game, of course you can forget rule here and there. Mostly the game goes by it own weight without suffering on small mistakes.

Anything I have done, I can live with (Conclusion)
This game is my all time favorite and I don’t think I ever stop playing it. It has all that I like, traitors, suspicion, tense moments, panic and despair. You really get involved in the game and it does reflect the series extremely well. There isn’t anything that would be abundant, everything is really scarce and you feel every sacrifice might have been too much. On top of it you can’t trust your fellow players, they seem to help you, but you can’t help but feel that they’re not doing everything they could do to help your cause.

This game is fun to play, it’s difficult cooperative game and same time it isn’t too easy for traitors either. They really need to pick the right time to reveal to reap the benefits and if they become too untrustworthy they end up in brig which makes their game even more harder. Game takes about 2,5-3 hours to play, but it goes really fast as you sink deeper in your character in hopes to survive or see those dastardly plans of yours fulfilled. Also you should watch the re-imagined tv series, it is really good and despair hangs on survivors heavy. Not your average easy going heroes are heroes and villains are villains series, but neither is the board game.

Cylon consensus is; play the game or perish.

7
Go to the Star Realms page

Star Realms

58 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

And I make sure you’ll pay for taking the one I wanted!
Star Realms is well balanced deckbuilding game which takes from Magic the Gathering (last I played Magic was in 2006, so be lenient on this reference), remove its flaws and improves upon. It’s cheap, easy, fast, so perfect filler, but does it rise above that?

Mechanical machinations (Summary)
This game is for 2 players only, of course there is rules for more players (up to 6). That takes a huge bite on claim that this is a cheap game, since you need additional decks to play these. I found that it’s more fun to play several individual 2 player games than Emperor or Hydra mode. Now this is my opinion, but I feel this game is best on 2 player format.

In beginning of game each player starts with set of 10 base cards (2 damage and 8 purchase cards). In middle is 5 common cards and one increased purchase card (value 2 compared on value 1 of base cards) which can be bought from value you have on your hand. Game goes around turn to turn where you try damage your enemy while bolstering your defenses and buying best cards you can. It’s really simple, bring your opponents authority (health) to zero and you win.

Base set has restricted amount of cards from which to choose and you’ll get very familiar with them as you start to expect them in hopes of graping them before your opponent. Card are quite diverse from each others and factions have nice touch on it, since you can combo them very neatly. However sticking with specific faction is tough and benefits on them are extremely similar within the faction which reduces the diversity. You pretty much need to have some Machine Cult (Red faction – not the game from 2001, thank you Volition) cards if you dream to get rid of the starting cards which are dead weight on your deck by halfway of the game. There are other cards like Recycling Station (space station which acts as buffer on your health and has abilities like all the cards do), but these get targeted instantly as they come to game, so benefit is short lived.

Some cards can be discarded from game by activating their special ability, which is good, but on most of them won’t be used unless it gives you that edge to get the last damage to your opponent.
More than often the game can be decided on what initial hand you get on first 3 deck shuffling rounds, especially against experienced players. You’ll notice that on most cases all players go for same cards and some get ignored completely.

Oooh! Pretty ships! (Components)
Not much to say here since it all is in cards. Art is beautiful and very thematic, symbols are few and clear on what they do. Special effects on card are written in plain english, which is good and bad same time. Unlike in 7 Wonders Leaders where you have to look on references what is what, you just read it. However it means that it’s too much for smaller kids, especially for non-native english speakers, which is sad since this is a great game for them.

I do think they could have used better way of tracking authority. This is my only complaint on components. Pen and paper is superior solution on my books.

Don’t fly in the mouth of Blob Carrier (Learning curve)
Name of the game is easy to learn, it won’t take much to teach to new players after you pull this out from your pocket. There are 5 symbols in whole game you need to distinguish from each others.

Mastering the game isn’t all too difficult either, so to get up to par players in short time isn’t hard. However you will be seeing yourself on mirror almost every time you play, since path to victory is often similar.

Within realm of stars (Conclusion)
So let’s take a look on earlier statement:
Cheap – Arguable, single deck yes, multiple ones come rather expensive in end. Has the makings of LCG so prepare to say goodbye to your money.
Easy – Most definitely, one of the easiest games to learn out there.
Fast – Games range from 15 min and up, so yup, you won’t be going Arkham Horror with this one.

This game is great as filler, if you have multiple decks, on game evening or if you need to burn through some waiting time. However I have to say that this has not made it on table with my game evening gang, just as time passer while we wait missing players. There are so many more in depth card games that I find more fun, such as 7 Wonders, Among the Stars, Gloom or Race for the Galaxy. It is better than many other games though and it is fun for certain, just don’t expect to breathe life on it for long with base deck.

I find this game fun to extent, but I have found I play it more often on mobile app than with anybody in person and to pass the time rather than for fun of it. Demo version of the app is free, so I suggest you try it out before buying the game.

9
Go to the Manhattan Project page

Manhattan Project

131 out of 139 gamers thought this was helpful

…They all were digging up some Yellowcake. For all they wanted was a biggest blast of their lives. The End. Not really, I won’t let you off that easy. You’ll get to suffer me for another 10 minutes at least. I promise it will be explosive. Let’s get fulminating!

Here I shall build my fission temple (Summary of gameplay)
Manhattan Project, as name implies, is a worker placement game revolving around nuclear weapon arms race. You lead one (colorful) nation to victory by building best bombs, in other words reach the VP limit first.

Game consists of main board and each players personal board where they can build their own buildings and manage their fighter and bomber forces, which are there so you can be aggressive against other players and hinder their progress or protect yourself against aggressive players.

There are 3 different kind of workers, scientist, engineer and laborer. There are also freelancer versions (grey) of all of them, which are available for all players, some like to call them Mexicans, I explain later why. All of them have their special benefit on the board, so sorting them on proper assignments is important. For instance laborers are excellent way to get Yellowcake so you can free up your scientist to enrich some of it to Uranium, while your engineer trains new workforce. Which is one of the best aspects of this game, you need to think tactically and do the math in your head how to achieve as much as possible you can in one turn.

All players start with set of workers and money, which scales depending on how far you’re down from starting player to level up the playing field. Then you get to place one worker on main board and as many workers of any kind on your personal board as you can, which is difficult at beginning, in middle game it’s rather easy and late game you have to figure out how to max up your efficiency on one turn. After you others place their workers, then you rinse and repeat, until you can’t play anymore on board. When you can’t play workers anymore you have to spend your turn to remove all your workers from board, of course you can choose to do this anytime you wish, but it always ends your turn there. At this point your freelancers or Mexicans are returned to general supply while your personal workers return to your work pool to be used again. So people call them Mexicans because they’re used and then discarded back to their home, fairly fitting description and same time a justified statement on underpaid labor without union rights. In the game they’re a great asset though and they can get you through a tough pinch.

At some point when you have enough Uranium and/or Plutonium you get bomb designs and start building it. There involves some own mechanics, but essentially you score victory points from it. Also as an nice touch you can test your first Plutonium bomb to convert it to few VP’s, but later Plutonium bombs are worth more VP’s.

Let’s get you your suspender-jeans (Components)
Main board looks like a bulleting board from your work place, it’s full of notes and papers that seem completely useless, but in this case they have use. It is innovative and clever way of disguising the board. It has thematic feel to it, same cannot be said from personal player boards which are bland looking.

Workers are just basic cardboard cutouts, but they have good art on them which sort of remind me of minions from Despicable Me. So my personal army of minions. Minions are from thick cardboard so they’re durable and easy to pick up, which is very good considering you have to move them rather frequently.

Coin art is based on Manhattan Project (the real one) emblem, which is really nice touch. They’re your basic money tokens, not much to say about them, but can’t help but feel that there could have been few more of them in case, not that I ever ran out of them, since you spend them in fast pace. On a last note bomb schematic names are amusing and descriptive.

One wrong move and we’ll blow to kingdom come! So no pressure (Learning curve)
This game is really simple to learn, you can only place workers on your turn or remove them all from board. Symbols are clear and you really don’t need to consult the rulebook. However don’t be fooled by that, this game is difficult if you want to win. You need to be calculative, clever and ruthless to get there.

Learning the basics is easy, but winning and out thinking your opponents takes effort. And rightly so, that makes this a good game.

What a pretty mushroom… (Conclusion)
This is without a doubt my favorite worker placement game thus far. Proper chance to get all mathematical and enjoy the pleasure when I can place all of my workers in a single turn for maximum efficiency.

It is also a good chance to teach your kids some mathematical thinking and history as a side dish. If we forget our past we’re doomed to repeat it. Things in past won’t go away just because they might be a touch subject. Still I can see why some shun this game for the theme on it.

For people who find this topic morally questionable, you never actually use the bomb against anybody. You just build them. And it is really fun game and you get to use that calculative evil mind of your.

I really advice to get this game if you like worker placement games, because this is one from the challenging end of that genre.

9
Go to the Eldritch Horror page

Eldritch Horror

69 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

…Of clichés I’m going to unleash upon you. I try to keep it limited as possible, but can’t promise anything.
Let’s see if FFG has managed to streamline the legendary Arkham Horror without doing so on expense of the tension it predecessor gave.

Entering in the Abyss (Summary)
I usually like to make quick summary on how the game plays, but for this it will be a though one. It is not as uncomprehending as Arkham Horror, on which memorizing the rulebook, you could join in insanity with cultists of Azathoth. Thus I try to bring up things on which Eldritch succeed on comparison of Arkham.

Game map covers the whole world, which gives great feeling that it’s not just some local anomaly, but involves the whole human population. Monsters are spawned on gates, but some of them have pre-set locations where they go automatically and they don’t have complicated movement rules to remember.
There is no need to collect Elder Signs anymore and closing gates are easier, but in no way too easy. Some players find this one to be disappointing, but I feel it doesn’t sacrifice on difficulty of the game.
Assets (equipments) can be acquired from every city and there is no longer need for one player to camp on Curiosity shop to dig better stuff or equipment. Money is gone and method of replacement is dice roll test with influence skill, good replacement and makes acquiring items though.
Reckoning effect that inhabits some cards and monsters give it own feel of impending doom. Omen track gives you a chance to prepare for movement of doom track and is easy to read and keep up with.

Does it feel like it has lost some of Arkhams tension and claustrophobic feeling? Certainly. Is it easier and faster to get in? Most definitely. On positive side story feels more coherent and bound together compared to Arkhams random encounters.

Shards of glass on the floor… (Components)
The subtopic of this part is more true than it begs to be. There is a lot of cards, pieces and tokens, which you can’t help but drop few of them to floor during gameplay. All which are high quality and filled with magnificent illustration, truly a beauty, as to be expected from FFG.
Encounter cards are divided in three segments to reduce amount of decks needed, even though they’re very light decks by themselves and would have deserved additional cards each.
Condition and spell cards have two side, first the explanation side and then the effect side, which is really great touch since no two cards are identical. This keeps you weighing on the possible downsides of the cards before activating them.

…Are there any clues amongst them? (Learning curve)
This game has quite an amount of rules and small intricate details. Keeping tabs on them on first few games will be difficult, especially if there is only one who knows the rules completely. I would suggest getting cheat sheet from BGG or make ones yourself to ease up gameplay. Rules are still by far more clearer and straightforward than Arkhams and it won’t be impossible task to play a game through without making mistakes along the way. Besides main point of the game is to enjoy horror story of Lovecraftian proportions, few mistakes here and there won’t kill the game, especially since it’s usually not in your favor.

Game comes with a rulebook and reference book, which are made in kinda weird way, since you need to read both of them to understand all the rules. You can go through rulebook and think “OK, this ain’t too bad, it’s quite clear”, but when you look at reference book you realize there is a lot of things not even mentioned in rulebook. So read both of them before playing.

Tonight we seal away Shub-Niggurath! (Conclusion)
I feel that Eldritch Horror does stand as great replacement for Arkham Horror for those who want to play more than one game in one evening and is bit easier to grasp than learning completely new language. However it still stands apart well enough from Arkham not to replace it completely. Sure it’s lighter and easier to get on, but it doesn’t quite have the same desperate feeling on it. In Arkham you can feel walls closing on you. In Eldritch you have more space to roam since the monsters don’t move and you can arm yourself for encounters with them easier than in Arkham, thus not having such and looming feel of urgency upon you. This however easily lulls you in false sense of security and then it’s too late to do anything for it.

This game is great fun if you have a right kind of gaming group. Not everyone will like this and some will find this too heavy for them. With proper music playlist (lots of them in youtube) and people who are into story based games this is definite pick.

Just don’t try to teach this to others while you’re drunk, you all end up with headache and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have anything to do with Cthulhu…

8
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

34 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

Wait… Am I reading this upside down? Tear it down and let’s take it from top, figuratively not literally. I could go on with bad jokes for whole night, but I assume you want a review. So lets get on with it, spoilsport.

If you read my review on Among the Stars (shameless self promotion), you know where I’m coming with this review. It’s fun, period, now go to play it! Fine, I’ll elaborate my view.

Delusions of grandeur (Summary of gameplay)
This card game might be the most popular gateway game of 2010 and you could argue it has been that since.
Game runs its course on three era of separate hand of cards, which you rotate to next player after playing one of them, thus keeping hand fresh and interesting. In each era your goal is to advance your civilization by building improvements such as resources, science, military etc. You can also use your improvement cards to build your personal wonder.

All cards give some benefit, all of them important and deceitful, since you might think its good to get some from every set. This won’t serve you, but will serve you on platter to other players. Fairly early on game you need to know on what you want to focus on.

In each era you are handed set of cards from which you pick one to play, then shove it to next player, until last card which you discard. This means while you want to play something of your own, you need to look to next player what he/she might want to have. Every era card passing direction changes, which gives almost equal chance on game for all. Best part on the system is that everybody play same time and there is very little downtime.

When era comes to an end you go to war with your neighbors, your victory depends on numerical size of your military cards. Spoils of war is victory points. Then new cards are dealt and next era begins.
Game ends when 3rd era has ended and military prowess has been checked, then comes the counting of points. Point system is simple and fairly fast, one player can do the adding up while other players clean up the game. This is nice, as it allows another round to be prepared meanwhile or to make room for a different game.

Rectangle stone? It will never replace the round one! (Components)
Core of the game are the playing cards and wonders. Art of these are pleasant to watch and they have proper atmosphere, sadly you rarely you have chance to look them for a long as you stack them so that only the benefit of card is visible. Symbols on the cards are clear and distinguishable from each other without effort.

Game comes with it’s own currency and they look great, they aren’t perfect round, but look like ancient currency. Only thing that could have made them better would have been that they were actual metal instead of cardboard, but I rather save on cost than see such trifles.

So… You really built it upside down. (Learning curve)
Reading the cards is really simple, you learn very fast where everything you need to know is located. Learning how to play the game is rather easy task and everybody will be able form their own vision of victory on second run.

One thing that might be difficult to some players is remembering all benefit symbols on cards. Not so much in base game, but wait ’til Leaders expansion, you’ll be checking the reference booklet all the time (its great expansion though).

Finally! I’ll never build a thing with you guys! (Conclusion)
7 Wonders is simple, fun and fast game that you can play with large number of players (7 players without expansions). It’s excellent gateway game and still holds it’s own after a long time, I really suggest checking out the expansions too. They are great additions to the base game. Also amount of the cards scaled to players is done geniusly and it’s easy to set excess cards aside.

However I find this inferior to Among the Stars, not that it replaces it completely, both are excellent game and deserve their place on my shelf at any rate. In AoS I feel I’m more torn between decision what to play when in 7 Wonders I find it to be most of the time extremely clear what to play when. Also with expansions AoS is better there isn’t benefit symbols, but every card states what it does with text.

In case you’re still actually reading, I return to my 6th sentence on this review: “It’s fun, period, now go to play it!”

7
Go to the Shadows over Camelot page

Shadows over Camelot

50 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

Or was it other way around? But in this game it’s more of kingdom for more cards. This game revolves around getting things done with help of different set of cards, with King Arthur theme. So let’s see if Merlin is really an old coot as everybody claims.

Looking for Excalibur or? (Summary of gameplay)
Camelot is under attack and it’s up to you to save the kingdom. You assume the role of knight of round table, each having their special skill, giving some variation to characters. Alas one of you might be a traitor. As I said, might be, there is no certainty that there is a traitor (one traitor card in deck and rest are loyal).

Game runs through turn to turn, where you do an evil thing, such as drawing evil (black) card, take damage or place catapult (12 catapults ends the game). Then you get to do your good deed, moving, getting more cards, removing catapults or playing cards.
Mechanics itself are simple, however there are multiple quests ongoing same time and managing them is difficult on lower amount of players. Quests vary to some degree from each others and explaining them might require some time and people will be asking on first gameplays about them frequently.

All quests have fail and success trigger which benefits or harms players in said quest, also on lost quests you tend to get additional catapults in front of Camelot.

As this is a game that has traitor element, many things will be done in secret. You can’t show or tell what cards you have, even though multiple cards are played face up on table you might also do it face down to gain additional ones.

All you need to do is to collect some swords on the round table, how hard it can be?

Walk though the armory (Components)
Art is the usual good quality we expect from Days of Wonder. Art is pretty and has kinda comic feel on them, and I mean it in good way.
One thing stands out above all on components are the high quality player pieces, such as knights, catapults, enemies and quest rewards. Figure painters will be having a blast with these and as plus side weapons that stick out of torso are soft, so they won’t break off that easy.

How do I swing this thing? (Learning curve)
Multiple quests and their individual mechanics might be difficult to some and there are decent amount of things to remember, even though the board does all it can to remind players how things function. Everything should be clear to all players after first game or even by halfway of the first game.
Cards are fairly easy to explain and special cards state what they can do.

Drive them to the sea! (Conclusion)
This game can be really difficult and as the rulebook warns might be that you even play against yourselves. The separate quest mechanic is good and gives freedom of selection (at least in beginning) to players and some of quest rewards are good and helpful for rest of game. It is fun to play and has potential to make you talk with others for common goal, such as Battlestar Galactica or Pandemic.
However I find that this game scales poorly to amount of players, you almost must have the full compliment of players in order to win, otherwise you get swarmed by recurring quests and catapults. Other thing I am not so fond of is the might-be-traitor, it works nicely again on 6-7 player game, but on lower amounts not so well. Generally I find Battlestar Galactica be better game on all parts and more worth of my time (and my player group agrees), still this is a good game and fun to play if you can collect right amount of players around the table. Theme is there and it has good atmosphere, but somehow it feels that they could have gotten more out of it.

Enjoyable game, but the true shadow over Camelot is the one Battlestar Galactica casts.

8
Go to the Elder Sign: Omens page
62 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

Digital version of board game Elder Sign. The game you love for its easy going and fun coop gameplay with dice. Wrong! This time Ancient Ones are back with vengeance to shed pain in your life.

Differences
Since this version was released after the board game, there are bound to be differences. Some things have been streamlined and improved upon, most notable being that its a lot more difficult. Every room/card requires proper thought before entering, because that decision might be the one that kicks your plans out of the window.

Some of changes include:
-No allies (which arguably is most ignored part in board game too).
-Locked die in spell don’t carry over, but are lost at the end of round.
-No penalty upon failure to assisting investigators.
-Some of Ancient Ones have a campaign to go with them, which is nice.
-More challenging (I said this before, but it is so good it deserves another mention).

Gameplay
Game starts by player picking Ancient One to battle with then setting his/hers 4 person investigator dream team together to seal the slumbering god away.

From there-on the game is pretty simply divided on lobby where you can look at general situation with Elder signs and Doom track, your general equipment and locations where you can go.
The other part comes when you choose a room to go, there comes the dice rolling phase where you try to meet the requirements of the tasks. Which ends often on either you going “YES!” and clenching your fist in triumph or the more common one: hanging your head down in defeat whilst you draw an inch closer to your own insanity.

Playing this is pretty much same as in the board game Elder Sign, except almost every time you enter to new room its cold calculation and acceptance on the risk that this can ruin all you have built up until now.

As a personal nemesis of mine, which I believe is directly responsible of my increasingly receding hairline, is double tapping a room in lobby or accidentally pressing on wrong place whilst checking tasks on room in lobby. That however is marked on my own clumsiness.

Visuals
As a first point on this I have give props to UI design. Especially on a cellphone the layout shines. Layout is made in such manner that the important things are visible and clear what is for what. Most of the player inventory cards have small symbols on them to make it easier to tell what they do, which speeds up game nicely. Tasks, penalties and rewards on the room cards are clear and makes it easy to decide where to go. Cards terror and at midnight effects are clearly present on lobby, same goes with monsters and otherworld gates.

Art is beautiful and its evident that FFG has invested proper time to make the game look good. Its not just a cheap rip of the board game. A nice cherry on the top of this all is nice intro movie to get you in proper mood, which unfortunately is same every time with exception on the special campaigns on few of the Ancient Ones.

Conclusion
Solid portable single player version of excellent board game and as hard as it should have been originally. Great way to fill longer or shorter moments, when there is nothing to do than wait. Of course you can play it because its just so fun. Comes with save function for one game (it prompts when you try to start new game in case you want to finish the old one).

Doesn’t need altering of rules to make it more difficult for it is difficult from get-go. Its fun and can be stopped and continued anytime you want.

One word of warning. The phone version comes cheap, but if you want to have a go at more difficult Ancient Ones you need to purchase them separately and along it you get some investigators, so basically they are additional DLCs. PC version comes with everything from first purchase.

8
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

54 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

But worry not, now you can fight against this childhood dread.
Pandemic is a board game about disease control and racing for the cure. If you have ever played mobile/pc game Plague Inc., its similar, but you’re the bad guys… well it kinda, it depends on the point of view.

Get those germs!
Pandemic is cooperative game for 2-4 players (I have played it with 5, can be done on easier difficulty levels. Beware time runs out faster though) where you try to contain 4 diseases simultaneously while looking for a cure for each disease.

You need to run around the world trying to heal cities in verge of outbreak and same time trying to get right amount of same color cards in order to cure the corresponding disease.

Every turn you have 4 actions where you move and do various things in hope of curing or buying more time to cure a disease. After your turn ends you draw 2 player cards which can be city cards with disease color which can be used for cure, travel or building additional research stations. It might also be an epidemic card that causes all **** to break loose and forces you to change strategy.
Lastly you draw from infection pile to determine where additional disease cube appears and if its right after epidemic card you feel the dread in air.

You win if all 4 diseases have a cure (which you can make when you have 4 same color cards) and you lose the game if one of following happens: player cards run out, outbreak counter reaches to 8 or disease cubes run out.

Who let this amateur in here?
Game is not really complex to learn. As it is a cooperative game you can lay down few basic rules and learn by playing, you get the gist of it in few rounds (as long as there is at least one player who knows the rules). Problem isn’t learning the game, but mastering it. This is one difficult game and even on the easiest setting it’s often a close call.

Where’s my petri dish?
Game components are neat. Especially the disease cubes, they are beautiful and nice to handle. They’re even fun to place on the board, which it really shouldn’t be.
Card art is good and very thematic, but the board is where the art shines. However biggest downer is the old time player pieces, but at least they’re color coded for player cards.

We’ve won… for now
This game can be very hectic and there is feel of impending doom lurking above you. Your group needs to work as a team and be in same page in order to win the game. Or you can have one alpha player to tell you what to do and remove all fun from this game.
Often cooperative games have issues with dominant player, but in this it really bleeds through and it’s arguably the weakest link of the game.

If you have a good group of players who can work well together, this game reaches its proper heights. There will be lots of planning in mids of playing and people asking advice from others what they think is best course of action. Some people might find it too much to handle, but most will enjoy this throughly.

This game promises thrill, anticipation and fun. It doesn’t fail to deliver.

9
Go to the The Resistance: 3rd Edition page
28 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

Or are they?
The Resistance is game of trust, especially lack of it. It is simple, fast and great fun. This game is all about human interactions and how well you can read your friends poker face.

In short order
You’re a proud member of the resistance in a dystopian corporate tyranny, but little you know that your resistance is compromised. Or maybe you’re the wolf among the lambs and you’ll do anything that your masters remain in power.

You’ll do everything in your power to bluff and call others bluff in your way to victory. This wont be easy, because almost without fail everybody in this game acts strange and frantic.

How to obtain your freedom?
Game starts with everybody being handed a loyalty card, blue symbol you’re a good guy and red for bad guy. When all have checked their cards, and done best in their power not to twist their faces, comes the part when spies (bad guys) get to know who their pals are.

After this the actual core of game is ready to begin. One person starts as an leader of the resistance and gives mission tokens to persons he/she feels can be trusted, according to limitation of mission parameters (there is always a limit how many players can go). Then everybody votes whether they think the mission can go (5 failed votes in row causes defeat), if consensus cannot be reached, leader changes and new mission crew is chosen by new leader.
After every vote mission leader will change to next player by going clockwise.

When majority of votes pass for mission players are dealt 2 cards, success and fail. Resistance members can only choose success, but spies can choose either (in order to play tactical). Even one fail will cause mission to fail, which means point for spies and huge amount of speculation and accusing on all mission members.

Game ends when either side completes 3 missions on their benefit. If spies can keep their calm or shift suspicion to others they usually have slightly easier time to win.

Guns and banners
This game comes with very limited amount of components, because the players are the most important part of the game. Art is pretty and have a proper feel of near future tech on them. Lack of components makes this game very easy to teach and fast to play, also it means this game is fairly cheap to get.

In smoking ruins of dystopia
If you have larger game group (5+) that you can pull together for gaming this is a game that you need to add in your collection. Fast 15-25 minute game filled with friendly accusations and laughter, it will be played more than once, when you bring it to the table.
However this not something that everybody can handle, if you get easily hurt from being blamed to be the bad guy. Don’t get this or toughen up, because this is amazingly fast and fun game and you don’t want to miss up on this.
Game also scales marvelously for the full range of players (5-10 players) and it’s much easier than its sequel The Resistance: Avalon (and I like theme of this better).

When you’re a member of bad guys and you win, you can’t describe the joy when you steal the victory from your friends and family. Don’t forget to laugh like a maniac.

6
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
22 out of 28 gamers thought this was helpful

…I’ll be elsewhere building my armies for invasion.
Settlers of Catan or better known as Holy Grail of Eurogames. This game has it all: new world to settle, building towns and roads, trading and collecting resources with using dice… Wait what was that last one?

Gameplay
Game is extremely simple, you setup your towns and roads and get ready to settle in your newfound lands. Game is nice and fun all around, simple for kids and everything is fun. That is until you stop to think and realize: I haven’t gotten any resources in long long time or the same **** wood again and again. You throw dice to determine what resources you get on every players turn and everybody gets what the dice are showing providing they have town next of the right number. This seems pretty fair and if it wasn’t this way, the game would last for very long time.

However this isn’t fair, this is chance and luck. You can’t affect your situation in anyway (except by trade and that’s expensive) and you miserably watch when other players dance around your grave whilst you dig it. Now if you’re Gladstone Gander good for you, but I am Donald Duck, so QUACK to you!

Components
Game board is modular so it gives great replayability and there is insane amount of expansions and variations for this game. Art is clear and looks interesting like from a kids farm book, which makes it easier when playing with kids. Great way to sucker them in world of serious board gaming, take note parents.

Conclusion
This is simple and fun game, providing you obtain either decent luck or nerves of steel. Honestly I have not seen more infuriating game in my life, I’m sure they exist, but this is a game in which you don’t have even smallest chance to influence how the game moves forward. Often you find yourself watching game from sidelines thinking that you would like to play too.

Don’t take me wrong, I have enjoyed this game many times. I have so many better games in my shelf that this does see the light of day extremely rarely.

10
Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (2ed) page
52 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

…And its me! Off with yer heads.
Game of Thrones: The Board Game was the board game that launched me in world of board gaming. This game is strategy game (3-6 players) with all that comes with the genre, from troop movement to supply management.

Whaddya want?
You assume command of one great Westerosi families (Starks, Lannister, Baratheon, Tyrell and Martell) and one not so great one (Greyjoy) in hopes to place your dynasty on Iron Throne to rule the 7 kingdoms.

Your goal is to capture territory, that is unoccupied or occupied by other player, until you have 7 castles and you win (or as it is more likely time runs out after 10th round). Castles and Strongholds give you more troops, which is what you want and need to win. However its not that simple, you also need supplies to feed your troops and you need influence to get ahead of your peers in court. All this you can find from territories you might have. Controlling your area and occupying more at same time is tricky in this game and it makes it great, you can’t prepare for everything. Great example was when I backstabbed my ally in very final turn so I wouldn’t have to share victory, for I will not share what I can rule alone. This game does bring the world of Westeros as we love it from books and the HBO series.

However please note this is not something for everybody, if your friend/family gets easily angry and hurt… Get this game, but don’t play with them.

Where’s my army?
Gameplay is about expanding your domain by military force, but your armies are limited by amount of supply you have available currently and your plans might go down the drain because somebody gets to play their orders before you. This game is stone foot where phrase “Plan that can’t be adjusted is no plan” stands proudly.

Turns start by pulling up three Westeros cards, which determine events of the land, like recruiting more troops or bidding for your position in court (I come back to different court standings later) or might be Wildlings decide the North is too cold for them and attack the wall.

When Westeros cards have been resolved and limitations brought by them have been acknowledged starts the planning phase. This phase is the core of the game, you place orders for all your armies, troops and navies. Orders follow, marching (or attack), support, defend, raid and consolidate power. Marching and defend are self-explanatory, but other need a bit opening up: support gives troops assigned this order right to join to battle (doesn’t have to be your own battle) as defending or attacking support for main force. Consolidate power gives you extra influence you can use to bid on various different situations or control the land without occupying it with troops. Raiding units can remove adjacent location orders from enemy player (not marching or defending order). All the orders have special versions that require certain standing on the right court track, higher you’re more you can play special orders and these are important.

Orders are placed face down on board where there are troops and turned around all the same time when everybody has placed the orders. Then orders are resolved by doing Raid first and then marching, leaving consolidate power as last.
Fighting in game comes down very simple: amount of the troops and their type (4 kinds: footmen, knights, siege tower and ship), supporting troops and their type, possible modifiers in orders and house card (representing the General his/her abilities), lastly Valyrian steel blade (which you gain by standing top on Fief court track). Then counting the results and as I advice adding for both player the fortunes or war-card to make it more interesting. Lost player retreats and casualties are counted. Simple but its fun. Turn ends and new begins.

Now, occasionally there comes a card that tells you to bid on three court tracks. These represent intrigue in the game and each one gives benefits of different value. First is Iron Throne track which determines turn order of players, this is pivotal for your plans to come together, first player gets to decide stalemates (except in combat). Second if Fiefdom track which determines military prowess and winning order in combat stalemates, first player on this track gains once per turn +1 to combat as Valyrian steel blade. Third is King’s court which determines how many special orders you can play, first on this track gains right to chance one of his orders after revealing orders or look at top of Wildling deck.
Bidding on these three tracks happens in order and every track requires own bid. For bidding influence tokens are used, which is the games currency.

Summary
This game requires some learning, but nothing that you can’t handle. However it requires more so attention to details and ability to keep all the strings firmly in your hand, losing the initiative in this game is devastating. If you like playing Total War style computer games, this is board game for you. GoT board game has potentiality of being every bit cruel as the source it draws its inspiration.

9
Go to the Among the Stars page

Among the Stars

126 out of 134 gamers thought this was helpful

Or maybe it should be: “Is there enough space on your table?”
Among the Stars is similar to the 7 Wonders on basic level, that it is card drafting game and thats about it. However the feel of 7 Wonders is so close that if you liked it you’ll like this one too.

Gameplay
Game is for 2-4 players and with some alterations can be played with 5 players, however game time will be reduced this way (I will post the variant to Tips section).

Every player starts with 6 cards and Main Reactor with two power cubes and 10 credits.
Among the Stars uses card rotating system. You pass cards after your turn to player next of you, direction depends on the year you’re playing (or corresponding galactic time unit of your preference). Game mechanic is pretty simple, you play card, reveal it and pay the cost of it, then pass your cards to next player. Year ends after all 6 cards have been played.
There isn’t other resources than credits and power cubes, and you get more credits at beginning of each year. What makes the game interesting is the cubes. Some locations require them to be built and using the cubes is limited to two adjacent locations away, which forces you to plan how to build your station. You can get more of power stations, but it might mean that you don’t get to build the location you want after all.

Now he said adjacent location. What does that mean?
Remember when I asked is your table big enough? Good, I forgot it too… When you place a new location to your space station, it has to be adjacent to existing location. This mechanic is wonderful and shape of cards compliment this perfectly. However in 4 player game the stations tend to become real behemoths and you find space running out. But hey, there is always the floor.

Learning curve
Among the Stars is pretty easy to learn, even more so than its most obvious competitor. Unlike in 7 Wonders, where there are numerous symbols (especially in the expansions) AoS doesn’t use symbols, but effect is reading on the card whether its the benefits or limitations.
Of course this requires that you’re able to read the text, its not for the youngest players out there (also if you’re from country in which English is not the native language, you’ll need to push the age limit up).

Components
Cards are visually beautiful and you feel like its actually a proper space station with alien influence on it. Cards are clear and easy to read and they have updated the scoreboard to better form compared to original release, making it easy to keep track on. Credits that game comes with are bit boring looking, but they serve their purpose. Besides I rather admire how marvelous my space station is looking than my soddy pile of credits.

Conclusion
This game is sufficiently different from 7 Wonders to own them both, especially if you like space theme. There is no warfare, so nobody is left their feelings hurt (those sore losers). Art is beautiful and game relatively fast. This is a game that is fun for whole family with great replay value since its modular and your station never looks the same. Unlike in 7 Wonders it is not always so clear what you want, usually you’re torn between 2+ choice because you know you won’t get the chance to build the other choice. This is great game that I can suggest to anybody from family to power gamer.

Fun is guaranteed, unless you’re incapable to have fun…

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