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soulyogurt

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Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (1ed) page
Go to the Dominant Species page
Go to the Pandemic page
Go to the Dominion page
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
9
Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (1ed) page
12 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a wonderfully designed game which in higher player numbers (4,5 (6 with the expansion) forces the thematic play of the Houses of Westeros. To advance much, you will need to ally with someone. And to get further, you will have to betray them at some point. An excellent mix of combat, intrigue, and management of limited resources.

6
Go to the Cosmic Encounter page

Cosmic Encounter

25 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

Fun, with random selection of who you are gunning for and touches of negotiation. Great components, tons of special powers to try on, so plenty of replayability. A fun light romp, but requires three or more, so doesn’t see much play here.

9
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
48 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

The iconography is a big barrier. I boggled at the instructions every time I opened the game for a year. I finally watched a video and played through a learning game online, and man, was it worth it. This game has a LOT of fun and fast gameplay packed into a half hour. It always leaves me wanting a little bit more.

In Race for the Galaxy, the players are using the same deck of cards for multiple functions: to play for their face value effects (basic value and card-specific powers), to pay for those played cards, and drawing the same cards face down from the deck as goods produced by the played cards.

In this game you are exploring space (the draw deck) and settling planets (and building technological developments,) then using those planets to produce goods or points. The game ends when a certain number of victory points are earned, or twelve cards are played (settled or developed) by a player. That’s where I always mess up.. I start building an empire, with this great megalithic economic engine.. and lose the game because it is a RACE for those victory points, not a heavy civ building game.
In this game each player starts by selecting a role or action card from a set of possible actions. These are in a small seperate deck, and it contains cards for a couple ways to explore the deck, to settle a planet or build a development, to produce goods on your settled planets, or to turn those goods into more cards or points. Expansions add the possibility of direct military conflict. Everyone selects an action card, and everyone will get to perform that action, but the person or person who chose the card will get a bonus. Only the actions that are chosen are played. This is part of the difference between the apparent difficulty of the game and the actual difficulty. Despite the number of icons and such, and the fact that there are spaces on each card for each phase or action (mostly unused, put still with a marked space for that phase) you are usually only dealing with a couple of symbols on your whole set of played cards at any time. And the icons are pretty logical, once you have the basic vocabulary down, you can decode them visually.

With the expansions, you can play solo, too, which is a big attraction for me. It’s not as satisfying as multiplayer games, but still is more value for your buck.

Anyway, once learned, this game is a fast romp and well worth the difficulty of getting into. Play with someone who has played before, or noodle about with the online implementation, which you will have to search for.

10
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
44 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is bar-none my favorite exploration of the Lord of the Rings universe in game form, even though you are not (yet) directly experiencing the published stories. The quests so far take place in the years between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, similarly to Middle Earth Quest.

Like most coop games, it can be played solo, though it is punishing when played so. Unlike most coops, it seems to avoid the alpha player problem, wherein one player is trying to run the whole game, telling everyone where to go and what to do. In this game, you are able to assist each other from time to time, and you do have to divvy up objectives, but ultimately you are fighting the guys you choose to engage (or who engage you.)
The game structure seems pretty similar to other FFG CCG/LCGs, as far as phases and card types (though the names are different in some cases, no kneeling here.) If you have played A Game of Thrones LCG, you should pick this up quickly. I suspect there similarities to the Cthulu and Warhammer Invasion games as well.

This is a great coop and solo game, with loads of replayability right out of the box, let alone with the upcoming expansion packs.

9
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

28 out of 44 gamers thought this was helpful

This was not my first cooperative game. And I will start with the caveat that unlike some groups, we don’t (often) have an alpha player problem (a common complaint about cooperative games is that one player can try to run the whole game, basically telling everyone what to do, where to go. This game could be prone to that, though if you really play with closed hands (which the rules specify) you have the freedom to be vague about your hand contents, so players CAN mitigate this a bit but being less than completely-forthcoming about their cards.))
This game is a lot of fun, the game play makes sense thematically.
It’s easy to introduce to people, is great fun. You can scale the difficulty readily. We really feel like we are working together to save the world!

Check out the expansion, too.

5
Go to the Troyes page

Troyes

37 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

This is an interesting worker-placement game wherein you roll dice determined by the workers you place. These rolls are mitigated by the ability to buy other’s dice, and pay to reroll certain dice (or otherwise modify a die result.)

I found it challenging and it certainly held my interest, but I was always aware of the myriad bits, moving this there, that there, this again. It always felt fiddly to me. I don’t usually have a problem with that, but for some reason with this game I left the table with that sense each time I played.

This is also one of those games where I think they over-complicated things for the sake of replayability. The event cards that come up across the bottom… I kind of felt that perhaps a set of events could have been built in to the board. I do generally like options that allow for expanding the replayability of a game, but here it contributed to that sense of fiddliness.

That might sound a bit strong… I did enjoy the game. It’s not one I would purchase, I will be happy to play it every few months when it comes up at a group.

If worker placement is a preferred sort of game, this is certainly an interesting exploration. And if you like dice, you are set!

All in all, a solid game, and interesting, but with a bit much going on component-wise for my taste.

8
Go to the Pandemic: On the Brink page
34 out of 44 gamers thought this was helpful

This expansion is worth getting for the petri dishes alone.
The new roles are logical explorations of the theme, and make sense game-play wise and within their roles in the them of the game world.
The new disease livens things up.

I haven’t even got to using the virulent strains and bioterrorist. This was a game that didn’t feel like it needed and expansion, and I’ve only been moving in the expansion options slowly. It’s just that good. We don’t need the extra game options yet, we are thoroughly satisfied with the experience at every stage of the basic game and with the expansions for added variety. I really recommend this to anyone with the base game. Do you need it? Nah! But it’s a great addition.

8
Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game - Core Set page
25 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

Fans of the books might find A Game of Thrones: The Board Game to be a bit more filling, as it really captures the epic feel of the world and the ebb and flow of each House’s fortune and is designed to create the sort of backstabbing and intrigue that is the hallmark of Martin’s universe. But the living card game is a languid swim in the mythos, steeping you in the characters and events of the universe. It took a bit for me to get used to the rules, but the similarities with The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (the phases, token use, etc) helped.
I enjoyed playing with the core set, and didn’t feel obligated to expand the game with chapter packs (though I did.) I’m not a fan of CCGs, so I never tried this in it’s CCG days. I am delighted that I can go get a couple chapter packs and know what I am getting and adding to my collection.
I’m not sure I would play it if I weren’t a fan of the books… I’m a big coop fan and find LotR:TCG to be a better experience. But when I want a conflict heavy LCG experience, this will be my go-to game.
I’m rating it really high on replay value. The nature of these games, even in the limited scope of the core set (or multiple copies of the core) allow you to try lots of different combinations of cards and strategies. As far as components, it’s a card game with a small board and some lovely little figurines and tokens… the components are certainly doing their job. I might’ve preferred more iconic wood pieces, but that’s a personal preference. Ease to Learn – that’s the sticker. It took a while for me to puzzle through the manual and ultimately saought third party examples. But with a game with this many inter-card interactions, it’s bound to be difficult to get into for some folk. But it’s worth it!

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