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Tiana901

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Go to the Clank! page

Clank!

20 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

In Clank! you are trying to steal the best loot from a dungeon and escape with it to win the game, but so are your fellow thieves. You can explore various areas of the board, picking up valuables along the way, but you need to think about making it back out again. As you steal things, you Clank! and make noise that catches the attention of the dragon, who might do some damage to you. Enough damage and you might not make it out with your loot.

Set up the game
Some board spaces will have two minor secrets, one major secret, or an artifact. Place the items to purchase in the Market. Place the Monkey idol tokens face up in the monkey shrine. The secrets are face down and hidden, but the Artifacts, market items, and monkey idol tokens are face up.

Place the Mastery tokens near the board. Place the dragon token on the rage track in the space matching the number of players.

In the deck of cards, find all the Mercenary, Explore, Secret Tome, and Goblin cards. Make one pile for each type of card, and place face up near the board. Set aside all the cards in the deck with a gray banner. Shuffle the remaining cards into the dungeon deck and place face down. Deal 6 cards face up in a row. If any show the dragon symbol, replace them with another card from the dungeon deck, and then reshuffle the deck. If any cards have ARRIVE text, resolve it now.

The cards with the gray banners make up the players starting decks. Each player starts with 6 Burgle, 2 Stumble, 1 Sidestep, and 1 Scramble card. Players shuffle their own decks and place face down. Take 30 Clank tokens matching the color of your Token. Place the tokens at the entrance. Choose the sneakiest player to go first or choose randomly. The 1st player puts three Clank! tokens on the board on the Clank! banner, player two places two, player three places one, and player four would place none.

Game Play
Players draw 5 cards each round from their individual deck. Cards with a blue diamond have a number which are skill points. You can use your skill points to purchase cards from the dungeon row and reserve decks. The cost to purchase in the lower right corner in a triangle. Skill points do not have to be spent. Once purchased the cards go face up into your discard pile. However, if the card has an ACQUIRE box, that happens immediately and only once. If your deck ever has less than five cards, draw until your draw pile is empty, then shuffle the discard pile, and continue to draw.

Some cards in the Dungeon Deck and Reserve Deck are monsters and these cards have swords displayed in the lower right corner. This is the cost to defeat them, so if two swords are displayed on the card, you need two swords to defeat them. Once you defeat the monster, the card will tell you what you have gained. If there is a device in the Dungeon Deck, when you purchase it, the use is shown on the card and you take that immediately. Replace cards in the Dungeon Deck at the end of your turn.

Some cards have a boot symbol which allows you to move on the board.

Swords and skill points can be divided however you want, they do not need to be spent on a single card.

As you move through the board, you will collect loot. Secrets will either be something you can use during the game (extra health, or extra movement) or be worth victory points. If you pick up an artifact, you can only hold one, (unless you bought a backpack at the market). The market also sells keys that allow you to move through locks, and crowns which are worth victory points.

Some cards will show that you have awoken the dragon. Place all the Clank cubes into the dragon bag and pull the correct number of cubes from the bag. Cubes are added to the bag based on cards played. The rage track will tell you how many cubes to draw and some cards can effect that number. Black tokens have no effect and are removed from the bag when drawn. Colored cubes are placed on that players health track. If the health track becomes full the player is considered knocked out and the consequences vary. If you are knocked out and above the grassline (in the castle) and you have an artifact, you will be rescued. You can count your points at the end of the game, but you can no longer take any actions, and the dragon will not effect you. If you are knocked out below the grassline, in the dungeon, or you have no artifact, you will not be rescued and do not score at the end of the game.

Once you have an artifact you can head to the exit and when you exit, you take a mastery token.

Once a player leaves the dungeon, whether they were knocked out or not, they go onto the track near the exit, which triggers the dragon to attack. In addition to the cubes indicated on the rage track, you draw additional cubes according to the plus symbols on that track. If you reach the last space on that track, any players that have not exited are knocked out by the dragon.

Positives
We played with three people and the game moved at a good pace. Each turn offered at least a couple options of where to go, what to explore, or what to buy or fight. During our first game there was some lag as players decided what to do, but you can look at the cards in your hand while others take their turns and start to get your plan ready, so I think it will play faster as you get more familiar with it.

For all the actions and variety going on in this game, I did not think it had a sharp learning curve. I felt that the mechanics were fairly easy to grasp.

Negatives
There isn’t much interaction between the players. Each player decides where they want to go on the board and what they want to do, there is no fighting between players or trading, or buying. You do need to keep an eye on what other players are doing, because you choose how deep in the dungeon you go, and you don’t want to be caught with the dragon when everyone else has left. For me, I still felt there was enough player discussion so I did not feel I was playing a solitaire game with other people, if you know what I mean.

This is another game where I had no real sense of who was winning.

Also, although I felt there was variety, I could see this game getting stale after playing it a lot. The cards I was able to afford to buy didn’t really add a lot of unique actions to my deck, so I was moving, picking up loot and fighting some monsters when they showed up.

This is a fun game that I would play again, but probably not every week.

8
Go to the Cross Hares: Testing Ground page
15 out of 15 gamers thought this was helpful

Cross Hares: Testing Ground is for 2-4 players, where players are a rabbit or similar critter trying to be the first to reach the Factory at the end of the board and WIN!

Positives

The game is simple to grasp and has no steep learning curve. Although it is based on a roll and move mechanism, there are elements that make this game much more engaging and fun than some other games with that mechanic. The story of the game, which you learn about through the cards and other in game text, adds a light role-playing quality. Characters can also add items to their inventory, and objects can be used during game play. There are Events that can be good or bad news, and there are Adventures you can go on with positive or negative outcomes.

Because this game is simple to grasp, I have found that non-gamers enjoy it as well as gamers. A lot of our friends with children play this game and the kids and adults seem to enjoy it equally well. I could also see this as a good gateway game for people getting into boardgaming, as well as a lighter boardgame alternative to the mental exhaustion of trying to save the world from disease or zombies, or zombie disease.

The characters have different strengths, which can offer variety when you play. The Events vary as you play, and may not be triggered at all during some games. I have personally found that I enjoy the game more if I remove some event cards from the deck (Bomb Blast and Toxic Pollen).

It has a light Take That element, enough to make it interesting, but not so much that you can’t speak to your spouse after the game because of what they did.

The artwork in the game is beautiful. The game designer also created a graphic novel and you can really see that in the game art.

All in all, there are several things that make this game engaging.

Negatives
For gamers who want high strategy, this game is not for them, although … it could be a way for them to get their spouse or kids to play a game with them.

Cross Hares is a game that I enjoy playing and it is a satisfying game for me, because I feel engaged in the story and the character (player) interactions and invested in the outcome.

In the interest of full disclosure I want to menton that I am related to a member of the publishing team.

5
Go to the Deckscape: The Fate of London page
7 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a ‘pocket’ escape room game from dV Giochi. This escape room game has a deck of cards, hence Deckscape. There are no separate instructions, you just start reading the first card and follow the directions from there. Each card has a number, and you start with card number 1. The cards will explain the story to you as well. London needs your help!

As the puzzles are presented to you, when you believe you have the answer, you flip over that card which will tell you the correct answer. If you got the solution wrong, you mark an X on your score sheet. At the end of your game you will have a score based on the time it took you to solve and the number of X’s.

There are two ‘clue’ cards, which have very simple clues for some other cards. If you still are not sure how to solve the puzzle, then you can take a guess and flip the card over.

You will also find some ‘objects’ as you go through the cards. You hold onto objects and they can be used to solve puzzles.

I was excited to play this game. There was something appealing about the deck of cards to solve puzzles, without any extra pieces, like decoder. It just sounded like the focus would be on puzzle solving, which I enjoy.

I liked the design and the artwork. I enjoyed the variety of puzzles. There were some really inventive ways to solve some of the puzzles, which I also really liked. What I did not like was that there are some puzzles you will come to that require something else like an object or information, and there is nothing on that card to indicate that you need an object or other information to solve it. For the most part, nothing tells you that you need an object to solve a certain puzzle or which object goes with which puzzle. Although some hints do say you need a certain object to solve the puzzle. Most of them I figured out, but there were ones that I didn’t get. One of them I still don’t get after reading the solution.

What I found most frustrating, was that when I came to a puzzle I could not solve, I couldn’t tell whether I just wasn’t getting it or whether I was missing an object or information. So I couldn’t tell the difference between ‘try harder’ or try something different’ versus, try another puzzle, because you can’t solve this one yet.

Although this game has some puzzles you can solve in parallel, I don’t know how well to would work of more than two people. I think 3 or more people would have trouble seeing the cards at the same time, or there would be some passing cards around, which could slow down the game.

Overall, this game wasn’t a good match for me. It’s also at the same price point as other escape room games but I don’t know that their components have the same value.

7
Go to the Escape The Room: Secret of Dr.Gravely's Retreat page
11 out of 11 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a fun puzzle solving game that emulates an escape room experience and is modeled after the “how to host a murder” style party games. The Thinkfun web site even has text you can use for your invites, and costume and period music suggestions.

The game starts as you arrive at Dr Gravely’s spa retreat. You have won a free trip there, but all is not as it seems. You and your fellow guests start to unravel the mystery so that you can escape the spa.

There are objects to explore in the game, and several items in envelopes that you can open when you are instructed to do so in the game. As you solve some puzzles, it leads to other puzzles and more to solve.

When I selected this game from a game library, at a local convention, I did not realize it was meant to be played at a party. We just had two players, which worked out fine. The game says it is for 3-8 players. I think the game elements are a bit small for up to 8 people to share. I also don’t remember a lot of elements that could be solved in parallel, so I think this game might work best with 3-5 people, but it will depend on your group and how active all the solvers want to be. Even playing with one other person, there were some puzzles, I really wanted to grab and have a try, (although I waited my turn). Most of the puzzles have a visual component, and people will need to look at the elements. There are a few puzzles where you have to manipulate some elements, and only one person can effectively work on the puzzle at a time.

The web site also has game hints that you can use if you get stuck. The hints are tiered, where you can get one hint, or a 2nd hint or the solution, if you need it. I think a good hint system is important with these types of games. In a real escape room you would have someone to watch your progress and give you hints.

The story in this game is well imagined and you feel like you are really in the story as you solve the puzzles. I found the story engaging, but the puzzles were not very challenging. They took time to resove, but mostly because some physical manipulation was involved with the game pieces. A seasoned puzzle solver might not find them challenging enough, and some playersmight be looking for more of a puzzle challenge. Although I only played the game with one other player, I believe that with the strong story element, people looking for more of a party game experience, might enjoy this more than some of the other escape type games.

This is the first game I have played from Thinkfun’s Escape the Room series and I would be interested in playing another one of the games (I think the only one available now is Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor) for the fun experience but not for a big puzzle challenge. However, these would not be my first choice for a game room game, because it’s not exactly what I am looking for. Also, I am not much of a horror lover, and I found the story of Dr Gravely a little sinister and creepy for my tastes, but that could be a plus for some gamers.

The web site also tells you how to reassemble all the pieces so that you can get the game ready for the next group of players.

 
Go to the NMBR 9 page

NMBR 9

10 out of 10 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game for one to four players. The game has 80 number tiles, 0 to 9, with four of each number. There are also 20 number cards, with 2 of each number. Each player builds their own grid of numbers, and scores are determined by the number on the tile and the height (level) of the number. All the numbers placed on the table, are considered level 0 and score 0 points. The next level up is level 1, so all numbers are multiplied by 1 for the score of that tile. I.e., on level one, placing the 8 tile would score 8×1 or 8 points. The next level is level 2, where the tile 8 would score 8×2 or 16 points, etc. Each number tile has a unique shape, and grids printed on the tile. Tiles placed on the same level must line up with at least one of the grids on another tile. When a tile is placed on top of other tiles, there must be another grid underneath each grid of the tile, meaning it can’t hang over any air. Each tile must be on top of at least two other number tiles. So, for example, you can’t just put an 8 tile atop another 8.

After shuffling the cards, turn one card over at a time and place the corresponding tile, anywhere you like, as long as you follow the placement rules above.
What I like about the game is that the rules are very easy to grasp, and the game is easy to learn. The shuffling of the cards adds variety to the game and there is some planning to try and earn the most points for your placement. Since there are only two of each number in the deck, during play, you will have an idea of which numbers remain. I also like that there is so little set up, you can really just shuffle the cards and be ready to play in a minute or two. The number tiles are a nice weight and colorful. I enjoyed the puzzle aspect of the game; trying to fit the pieces together in the most efficient way to earn points. Each level becomes more challenging, because it is difficult to build lower levels without any gaps that prevent higher levels.

However, there is very little player interaction, since all players build their own grid. I also kept jostling my numbers on the table and trying to restack them correctly. You may need a play mat to add a little friction.

This could be a nice filler game, it takes about 10-15 minutes to play. If you purchased several sets, more than four players could play at the same time. The solitaire option could interest some players, who might want to see if they can beat their highest score.

9
Go to the Exit the Game: The Secret Lab page
8 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a fun puzzle solving game that emulates an escape room experience. You find yourself in a Secret Lab, and there is a notebook and a disk. The disk is your decoder ring. You need to solve riddles to get out of the room.

The game has an instruction book with an overview of the components and how they are used, as well as how to set them up. The instruction book is not part of the puzzle, so you read it before you begin. The game has three types of cards: Riddle cards, Answer cards, and Help cards. As you investigate, you find riddles to solve. When you solve the riddle, you will be able to enter information into the decoder ring, which will lead you to an Answer card. The right Answer card will lead to more riddles to solve on the Riddle cards. The game also has a way to tell you if your solution was wrong so you can take another look at the clues. If you are having trouble solving the codes you can use the Help cards. Each code has three Help cards. You can read the 1st Help card, and if you need more help, you can read the 2nd help card and the 3rd help card gives you the solution.

There are also two strange items in the Secret Lab and the game will let you know when you ‘find’ them. You can leave them in the box until then.

There is a way you can score the game at the end based on how many Help cards you used and how long it took you to get out of the lab. The instructions say not to count any Help cards that give you information you already had when scoring.

You will also need pencil or pen and paper, and a pair of scissors can be helpful, along with a way to track your time. When you play the game as designed, you will be marking or cutting materials, and it is intended for one play only.

This game is for 1-6 players. We played with two people and it took us about 90 minutes.

I found the game engaging and challenging. This is a good puzzle solving game with a story. I enjoy logic puzzles and I thought that the level of challenge in this game was just right for me, but I don’t know how to quantify that for people who are wondering if this game is right for them.

It’s hard to compare this game to an actual game escape room. I have completed one escape room and I found those puzzles to be very numbers heavy. This game had shapes and colors, and that appealed to me more. I also did not feel any time-pressure with this game compared to the escape room experience.

I like the Help card feature. If you get stuck you can get a clue without revealing too much at first, and if you are really stuck, you can get the answer to the puzzle. In this way, you can adjust the challenge level of the game.

This is the first game I have played from Exit The Game. There are currently three sets available in the US for purchase. The games are selling very well and my local game store has trouble keeping them in stock. Based on how much I enjoyed the game, I purchased the other two games the next day. There are three more games from Exit the Game due out before the end of the year.

8
Go to the Snippets page

Snippets

How to Play
In each round, players select a card from the top of the deck and try to come up with as many words as they can, based on the letter string that is printed on the card, for example ING. Words must include the exact letter string with no other letters in between. Snippets has easy, medium, and hard cards to choose from. After selecting a card, all players have 60 seconds to make as many words as they can using the letter string. Some cards have a bonus for using the letter string in a certain way, for example based on how many words start with the letter string on the card. The way to award bonus points are written on the card.

After 60 seconds, you compare your word list to the other player’s lists and cross out any duplicates that at least one other player has written down. You also cross off words that other players decide are not valid. Your score for each round is made of several components:
1 point for each word remaining on your list
Creativity: Player with the fewest number of words crossed off gets 3 points, and if that player had no words crossed off they get 5 points
Brainiac: Player who has the word wth the most letters gets 3 points, if that word is 13 or more letters, they get 5 points
If the card had a special bonus, the player that won the special bonus gets 5 points.

In the event of any ties, all tied players get the points for that category.

The player with the most points in the round wins the Snippets Card, and if there is a tie all tied players take a Snippets card.

The rules say you can play until one player wins 3 or 5 Snippets cards, but you could choose any number to fit the time or interest you have.

It’s meant to be a fun, fast game, so there aren’t meant to be a lot of word challenges. When we played, our only challenges were when I made a mistake and added a word that didn’t have the Snippet. If you catch any words on your own list that you want to cross out, as long as you do so before the timer runs out, they do not count against you in scoring.

Although you are still making words in this game, you get points for being able to come up with unique words, and words with the most letters, or if you win the bonus challenge. It adds variety and not simply listing all the words you can think of that contain the Snippet. You can also use all words, including proper nouns, technical terms, and slang. The person with the best vocabulary may not always win.

I think this game puts a fun spin on word games and adds a little variety to the word game category. Although the box says 45 minutes for a game, with a 2 player game, each round we played was less than 5 minutes. Rounds with four players will take longer because you read more word lists, but unless you have incredibly long word lists or lots of challenges, I think even a 4 player game would last about 20-30 minutes.

My favorite games tend to be party\social games and word games, so it’s not surprising I like this game a lot. There aren’t a lot of ‘party’ games that are also fun with two players. Although Snippets is more fun with more players. I think that some of the fun of this game is in the party\social aspect of hearing the other player’s word lists to see what they came up with. This game could also make a fun family game, and since it plays quickly, it could fit into a game night without being the only game you play. I think that you could also add ‘house rules’ if you wanted to add or remove rules so you and your family or friends will enjoy it more.

The game comes with a sand timer but you can also download a free app to use as a timer.

10
Go to the Happy Salmon page

Happy Salmon

8 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

Happy Salmon is a delightfully simple game that is way more fun than you expect it to be. The rules are simple and it has replayability. It is fast paced and players play simultaneously, so there are no turns. Each player has a deck of 12 cards which is their starting hand. The goal is to discard all the cards in your hand. You can discard a card when you match that card with another player. The first player to match all their cards, and discard their hand, wins. There are four types of cards in each player’s deck: “High 5”, “Pound It” (fist bump), “Switcheroo” (trade places), and “Happy Salmon”. You hold your deck face down and turn over one card at a time. How do you find a match? You call out what your card is, looking for another player doing the same. It winds up being like those films of stock traders trying to buy and sell stocks, with everyone calling out and looking for a match. If you can’t find the match to your current card, you can pass that card to the bottom of your deck and try the next card. However, you can only try to match one of your cards at a time. After each round, players can find all their cards again because each deck of 12 cards has a different color on the back and two corners of the front of the card feature that same color. I like that you can find your cards whether they are face up or down.

It’s a tiny bit of chaotic fun that lasts a few minutes, about 5, but it is highly entertaining and oddly satisfying. Plus it’s one of the few card games I know of where you stand up to play. So it’s a little more energetic than other games, and a nice break from sitting. After I play a round or three, I feel better, and happy and more alert. It’s an easy game to grasp, and kids have no trouble understanding the rules. It’s a great first game for a Game Night, or as a game to play in between other longer games. Since the game plays in minutes, you can have a few rounds and players can easily rotate in for a game and rotate out. It is also very compact, so it would be easy to bring on a camping trip. Personally, I don’t think I could play more than 3-5 rounds at a time, so it won’t be the only game you play all night. Plus it comes in it’s own Happy Salmon carrying case.

You need at least three players, the more the better. When someone described this game to me, I thought it sounded ridiculous, and then I watched a game play video and I knew I wanted to play. I bought the game the next day. If you are looking for a quick game for people of all ages, either for your family or for any event where you might play games, I highly recommend this game. I think everyone who has games shoud add this to their library.

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