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Gartic

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7
Go to the Shadowrun: Crossfire page
131 out of 140 gamers thought this was helpful

Fun factor – 7/10
Replay value – 3/10
Components – 6/10
Learning Curve – 7/10

Fun Factor: So to start I am going to say that my group isn’t a storytelling group really at all. We don’t read the fluff blurbs on cards we just add up the math and try to win when playing games. So this game was a fair amount of fun, I am a big shadowrun fan and this felt like shadowrun for the most part. However, because my group doesn’t do the storytelling part I do feel like there is something about this game that we missed out on. My score reflects my personal time with the game but I do think that if your group really gets into explaining how every card matches the last and enjoys role playing your character while in a board game, that this would be even better for you.

My biggest issue with the gameplay for this game is that there is a large luck factor happening when you play. We played a match where we started part 2 of the mission and every single bad guy did 2 damage and had 5+ levels of damage to get through. We quickly found that we were not even going to be able to escape the mission at all and simply had to restart. You may have noticed in my previous reviews that I don’t tend to enjoy large random elements too much. It wasn’t horrible here but it does hurt.

Replay Value: This game has quite a few options for each playthrough of a mission. There are plenty of different cards to choose from for the deck building and many different challenges that can happen during a playthrough. Sadly the game box only comes with 3 missions, I find this to be very lacking personally. I don’t think that in a storytelling sort of game that 3 missions is nearly enough. Saying that I can redo those missions and every time it will play a little different isn’t really enough for me. For me this heavily drops the games value in total.

Components: Everything in this game is well made. The box easily fits everything and while I would love if the game had come with a better way of storing the cards, maybe tuckboxes or some such, the box is at least large enough to support any sort of organizing you may wish to do. The cards look and feel just fine to me. I do need to mention the “legacy” style of this game, there are stickers and they are not removable. These will permanently alter the game as you use them. However, the game comes with some many different “race” cards (these are the ones marked by the stickers) that I do not think it will ever be a problem at all. I actually think it’s quite fun to put a sticker on there and know that you have permanently altered a character.

Learning Curve: This game takes no time at all to learn. Each turn is pretty simple and the things that happen are very clear. I have no complaints here at all.

Verdict: I really enjoyed playing this game, however I simply cannot recommend it at this point. It just does not have enough replay value, going through the game mission over and over in a story driven game is not very fun no matter how many different cards there are. This game needed to at minimum double the amount of mission cards that came with the game. When more missions are available, I would highly recommend playing it.

As a final note: sorry for the delay in getting this out there. Had a busy week with PAX and didn’t have time. I should be back on track now.

5
Go to the Tokaido page

Tokaido

43 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

Fun factor – 6/10
Replay value – 5/10
Components – 8/10
Learning Curve – 8/10

Fun Factor: This game is extremely light, basically you just move up the board and visit places. There is some thought that goes into what location to go to next but its best if you want something you can play with new people or people who like art. The game really just wants to show you how pretty it is and give you the experience of a traveler, which is fine and works well mostly because the game is very nice looking.

Replay Value: The game does change depending on what traveler you end up with by a fair degree but really this game is not the one that you are going to want to play over and over again. I like having it in my collection for the occasional time when I want something light but there isn’t too much to come back to over and over again here.

Components: This is most likely one of the best games for all around visual design. The inside of the box is very minimalist but holds everything nicely, The components are really fantastic looking and the theme of the game comes through amazingly thanks to the art.

Learning Curve: This game will take you no time at all to learn to play, sadly there isn’t really much to master here either. I think this game is good for kids as well because it will hold their attention just long enough while teaching them to play and then the game itself doesn’t go on too long.

4
Go to the Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia page
131 out of 147 gamers thought this was helpful

Fun factor – 4/10
Replay value – 5/10
Components – 9/10
Learning Curve – 4/10

Fun Factor: I have wanted to try this game out for quite a while and finally having gotten to play it I was pretty disappointed in it. There are several systems in this game that could have been great if they would have been further developed into something more. Sadly this game does not deliver any depth of strategy or idea, it’s all on the surface.

I am a definite fan of dice as workers and so this game had that as an intriguing idea but sadly it simply went with “higher is better” expect in one exact situation. The idea that you want your people to be smart but not too smart (higher numbered dice are “smarter” workers) was a fun concept that was fumbled here. There is a track at the top and you add your total dice to the number on the track, if too high you lose a worker. But this track has no other reason for existing. I had assumed that you would add the number on the track to your dice making them “smarter” but carrying the risk of losing a worker. This did not happen, it’s just a penalty track. I think this is a good example of the entire game, there are so many systems and chunks of the board dedicated to a single concept when it feels like they should offer and handle more than that.

Replay Value: Not much of replay value here. You get some randomly drawn cards at the beginning of the game and that’s about it for changing this game. Everything else is just going to be “did I roll as good this game as last game”. There aren’t really any different strategies that I saw at play and no real way to build into anything so you just want the highest numbers as often as possible to get the best/most parts.

Components: Here’s the biggest upside for this game, every component is amazing! All the wooden pieces are carved to match what they are representing and its really nice to look at. I am a big fan of the digger meeple, he looks awesome. The box is also large enough to support good organization methods which is a good thing.

Learning Curve: I ended up reading through the rulebook here several times because some things in this game just don’t work the way they look like they would work just looking at the pieces or sections of the board. The above mentioned worker intelligence is a good example of this. We also ended up having to go ask another guy at the store we played at, who had previously played the game, how to do some parts because it just wasn’t clear at all.

Verdict: I really wanted to like this game, I loved the idea that you wanted smart workers but had to balance how smart they were but it just did not pan out. I found that there wasn’t much strategy to be had in this game. By the end it felt like the role of the dice ruled everything. I can’t recommend this one at all. If you are looking for something with these ideas I recommend Castles of Burgundy.

9
Go to the The Castles of Burgundy page
129 out of 137 gamers thought this was helpful

Fun factor – 10/10
Replay value – 9/10
Components – 6/10
Learning Curve – 7/10

Fun Factor: I am going to just start by saying that my group really loves this game. We have a fairly sizable amount of games so repeat plays of games back to back are pretty rare for any game over 30 minutes but this one has gotten such attention a couple different times. It is really fun to roll your dice and try to figure out how you are going to make them work to complete the task you want to do. It is the best use of “dice placement” I have played to date and since playing this one we have tried several, none were as good for us.

I think that my favorite part is that no matter what you roll or if others take something you wanted. There is always something good to take, not just an option but truly something that will always really help you. So while you can make poor choices and lose from that, losing to “bad luck” or someone “stealing” what you really needed to win is going to be extremely rare if it’s even possible at all. I have never experienced it personally in my runs through this one.

Replay Value: The base game comes with so many different maps to play on for each player and with the way the dice work together with the randomly drawn tiles I could see playing a huge number of times before ever getting bored or seeing a repeat play. I am also going to bring up how long it takes to play here and how quickly turns go because I think that this really helps make the game replayable. You can normally finish a playthrough in under an hour and each turn goes in less than 5 minutes which means you are always engaged and that the entire game lasts just long enough to make you feel like you finished but also not too long that you are drained.

Components: This is the part that I am going to bring the biggest complaint against. The parts all feel a little flimsy and thin. The player mats are pretty much just thick paper instead of the normal cardboard, same with many of the other pieces. Every time I play I find myself wishing that the pieces had a little more weight and substance. The parts are all good color and are perfectly functional but when I compare them to other similarly priced games I am a little disappointed. I would have happily paid another 5-10 bucks to get better components.

Learning Curve: The basics of this game are almost entirely easy to learn and are all clearly described through the iconography in the game. At this point I am able to teach most of this game within 10 or so minutes. There is only one thing bringing this part down, the building (light brown) tiles. These are the part of the game that gives everyone the most trouble to grasp how they work. Normally I teach the entire game and then the new player will ask another 3-4 times what buildings do and need explanations again and again. This isn’t horrible and I honestly don’t think there is much that the game could really do to solve the issue but it is a little dent in the otherwise easy to teach game.

Verdict: My group just loves this game, every week this game creeps to the top of the “what to play list” even with brand new games to play. Yea, you should get this one if you don’t already.

Blog post with pic: http://mythosgaming.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/23/

8
Go to the Caverna: The Cave Farmers page
104 out of 112 gamers thought this was helpful

Fun factor – 7/10
Replay value – 10/10
Components – 8/10
Learning Curve – 3/10

Fun Factor: Caverna is quite a game, it is huge in concept and scale and really has lots of stuff going on all of which are fun. I like this game more than almost any of Uwe Rosenberg’s other games personally. I love that food isn’t as big a deal in this one, it’s still required but it’s much easier to get and deal with on the whole. The game is always compared to Agricola and for good reason it’s basically a sequel and it’s much better in every way. The theme is way better, the gameplay is more streamlined, everything.

Now for the problems, first and for most if you find yourself competing for a resource with another player you both lose for it. I really dislike this because it means that me and another player who want to use the same strategy are going to be in a world of hurt while the 3rd player just cruises by. That just rubbed me the wrong way. Felt like a 1v1v1 match of StarCraft or something where 2 players lose and the last just mops up. I also found that adventuring was a little weird because of the “catch up” mechanic in it. I was the first player to get an adventurer and because of this my adventurer was the worst one of them all for the rest of the game. At some point there are enough adventure spots (in 3 player games) to allow everyone to go adventure and “level up” their family member, this makes it difficult to stop players from constantly making their adventurer better. All in all I think this was the feature of the game I was most excited for and it turned out to be my least favorite part of actual gameplay.

Replay Value: Man so many options here. I can’t begin to even imagine how many times I would have to play this game to have a “repeat game” and by that time I wouldn’t mind a repeat game anyway so it’s pretty awesome. This is also one of my favorite ways to have replay value in a game, it’s not from having random cards or random dice rolls or anything random really. It’s purely from having so many different strategy options that you could play 100 times with different strategies and they would all most likely work really well. I have utterly no complaints about the replay value here, some people will not like the lack of 100s of randomly drawn cards or a lack of dice but I love it.

Components: The good side here is going to be quick, all the components in this game are great! It’s just that simple. Sadly, there is a downside, if you plan on organizing this game with anything other than like 2 dozen baggies it just doesn’t fit in the box nicely. I was very sad about this because this box is so large. I had to basically let the box not quite close all the way to make it so that I could keep everything nicely stored and organized in a way that makes playing actually work well. If you put everything in baggies it will all fit but setup and cleanup of the game are going to be*ish. My box it unclosed by just a little bit (1/2 inch maybe) and it works nicely enough but this is the reason that the components aren’t 10/10.

Learning Curve: This game is huge, it has so much to learn and honestly almost memorize. It’s pretty easy to wrap your head around the basic worker placement idea of the game. But if you want to ever win you need to have so much more knowledge of each and every piece of the center board and have a pretty clear strategy right out the gate. After my first play through I made 2nd place thanks to a single wrong placement (costing me a total of 10 points). The time it will take you to get even pretty okay at this game is going to be huge. It’s worth it but it does bring this score down for me some. I like a game to take a bit of effort to master but to be this much just to really be at the ballpark much less playing well hampers this score for me.

Here’s a link to my blog with a pic: http://mythosgaming.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/16/

8
Go to the Russian Railroads page

Russian Railroads

17 out of 17 gamers thought this was helpful

Going to try a new format for my reviews on here and my blog. Let me know if you think it’s better/worse. 🙂

Fun factor – 9/10
Replay value – 7/10
Components – 8/10
Learning Curve – 6/10

This weekend we got two games in so I am putting up two reviews this week. My group has played this game once before and we really liked it the first time we played and have been really excited to get another session in with this one. After finishing Tzul’kin a little early we decided to go for it.

Fun Factor: This game is one of my favorite euros because it’s just purely an engine builder. You start the game getting a very small number of points per turn (5-20ish) and by the last turn of the game get numbers around 150 if you did well. Last night my last two turns were 154 points followed by 167 points. It was awesome, I love this kind of thing in games. That slow build to a grand finale. I also really like that while I have found the strategy I enjoy using to attempt to win there are several other ways to go about getting the points needed to win games. There are 3 different railroads to build up and an engineering track you can build up. Any two of these I feel will work to get you a victory if you are playing smart. There are of course a couple things that I think would make some areas a little more appealing, like the engineering track just never appeals to me while I am playing. It does not seem to offer quite enough bang for my meeple as building up your roads. However, one of the people in my group thinks he can make it work to win so next game he is going to try it out.

Replay Value: This game is like many other euros in that the replay value comes from getting better and better at the game and building a better and better engine with each play through. Every time I finish a game of this I find myself going “man next game I need to try doing X instead of Y and I bet I would do even better”. If that does not appeal to you as replay value than I doubt this game would have much of a score here for you but for me I love it! I would love to see some expansions for the game so that I could get even more out of it but honestly I don’t know how they would do that without just adding little things. Possibly new player boards with new “routes” on them to change up the game would be loads of fun.

Components: Not too much to say here. The parts are great but Z-Man games always does good components. If you have a game from this company on your shelf you know what to expect here. High quality thick game pieces and nothing flimsy. Nothing really extra awesome though either. There are a couple of pieces that have some odd art on the back, namely there is a set of upgrades that you can choose from as you pass certain parts of different rails but the first time we played we thought you had to randomly select them based on the backing that these have. Which is a question mark. Why would you put the question mark there and then make it just something you get to choose. Don’t get me wrong here I really like that you get to choose these things and that its not random but it’s a bit of an odd art choice.

Learning Curve: So this game is definitely a heavy euro game. The game really clicks nicely once you get going but going through the rules for the first time can be time consuming and even after learning the rules I found that we still had the rule book out and in pretty constant use on the second run through of the game. However, compared to some other games in the same “class” as this one it’s rules are pretty good.

All in all I really like this game. It’s easy to keep organized and plays quite well in about 2-3 hours. It’s one of the best games I have played this year and I am excited to play again.

Blog post: http://mythosgaming.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/russian-railroads-review/

6
Go to the Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar page
110 out of 127 gamers thought this was helpful

My group played this game during our last game night and for one member of the group it was a first play through while my wife and I have played a few times in the past. Just enough to know the rules pretty well but not enough at all to really have a grasp on the game. Game ended up with me winning by a large margin namely due to a very poorly understood rule. Though the consensus was that I would have squeaked out a win over the 2nd place player either way.

So lets start with something I like about the game, it’s pretty to look at. Every part of the game really fits with the theme here and the parts are all solid. I love that the game just feels Mayan with every little detail.

Sadly, for me personally that’s where the good times end. Since I was just saying how nice the parts were I am going to talk about why I only gave it 2 stars, it’s the board. I enjoy spinning the wheel but the way you have to put this game back in the box is horrible. The pieces do not fit good in the box at all. With the spinners permanently attached instead of being removable it means that the board takes up a huge amount of space in the box. Also, we found out when playing this time the other evil of having them permanently attached, the board warps under its own folded up weight. In our game in order to not damage the game board (further) we had to prop one corner up with a pencil under it, otherwise you could not spin the gears without it bumping another section of the board. This is just bad, whoever designed how this game would be stored utterly failed at it.

As for the gameplay itself, I find it more frustrating than fun. Everytime I play this game I find myself extremely frustrated at the beginning because I just can not wrap my head around the way that the dial spins and changes what I want my action to be. Please understand that this is not necessarily a failing of the game more of my ability to wrap my head around it. Though my wife also was frustrated with this process throughout the game and we have both played in the past. The new member didn’t seem to be bothered by it. Beyond that the game is okay, I really dislike games with a food requirement personally because it makes me feel very trapped into taking my actions because “**** I MUST get this” instead of “oh man I want/need this for my strategy”. This game really builds on that trapped feeling, I never put a worker down going “this is what I really wanted to do here”, its always “well I guess I have to do this thing because otherwise I am screwed”. It’s not a good feeling for me.

As for replay value and learning curve for me they go hand in hand. I end up feeling like I am relearning the spinning gears every time I play and thus never feel like I am improving at the game. Making me not really want to replay it, which in turn means that we go longer without a replay, which makes it harder to pick up again….it’s a bad cycle.

All in all, While this game has a great theme and can have moments where it’s amusing, I just am not a big fan. If my wife wants to pull it out I will play but it’s never going to be my personal choice for a game night.

Also, here is the post on my blog. All of my reviews that end up on here also go on my blog: http://mythosgaming.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/tzolkin-the-mayan-calendar-review/

10
Go to the Splendor page

Splendor

61 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

My wife and I picked up this game on a whim to help get more games during a buy one get one free sale and man was it a good choice. In a nut shell this game is perfect as a night starter or closer. The game takes between 20-40 min to play and about 2 min to teach.

Thanks to its quick play time and ease of setup and tear down this game has been one of our most played games. Every weekend we play this at least once and I have yet to get anything resembling a repeat game. While there is a limited number of cards and a very limited number of nobles there is still plenty of opportunity for replay value here.

One of my favorite parts of this game are the components. Everything in the box is top quality but it’s the poker chips (the gems) that stand out the most. Every time I play the game I just want to constantly fiddle with these. They are real poker chips with weight, not that plastic stuff you get with most poker sets.

I think that the biggest flaw of this game is the theme, it’s just non existent. Technically you are a gem collector or something like that but you also mine the gems? There is just not much here so if you really need theme to enjoy a game I doubt you will like this one.

Here’s a link to my blog with a pic: http://mythosgaming.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/4/

7
Go to the Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island page
108 out of 125 gamers thought this was helpful

My group of 3 dedicated board gamers really enjoyed this game. I play with these same 2 people every single Saturday and most every time we are trying to defeat each other so it was very refreshing to play a fully co-op game that we weren’t entirely bored with after 1/2 a single play through. I have never honestly been challenged by co-op games and thus don’t find much enjoyment out of them.

Robinson Crusoe on the other hand was very fun and refreshing. It was first off a little more challenging than others I have played in the past. While we still won pretty thoroughly we enjoyed the trip the entire way there and didn’t KNOW we had won until the 2nd to last turn. But winning or losing wasn’t really the enjoyment that I think we got out of this one, it took us beyond that, which is rare for a game in my group. I found myself wanting to tell the little story of the island we were on. Reading some of the flavor text and then mangling it into the story of our journey on the island. My group normally is not this way with games, we are very mechanical and tend to save the story telling for our RPG sessions.

I also have to say that almost every component this game has is awesome. With the exception of one (well 3 kinda) set of cubes that were made out of plastic instead of wood for no reason at all that I can think of. Several other sets of cubes are wooden but these were randomly plastic and poorly made plastic at that. The shapes were shifted badly on some of the cubes and they just feel so cheap next to the wooden ones in the same box. I gave this game a 4/5 for components instead of a 5/5 entirely thanks to these pieces. Everything else is very well made.

My biggest complaint about the game is going to be replay. The game comes stocked with 6 missions, each of which I would assume would take about 1.5-2.5 hours. The game clearly seems to think that you will enjoy replaying these missions over and over again but I just don’t see it happening. I suppose that many many things will change between different playthroughs but I really don’t think that any of them will amount to a vastly different experience. One of the key reasons for this is a lack of veriety in other things. There is exactly 1 unused island hex, meaning that if you fully explore the island in your playthrough you will have seen all but a single hex that the game has to offer. I think that my group will really enjoy playing the 6 missions but after that the game will most likely stay on the shelf almost entirely.

I am hopeful that well priced expansions will come out and give me more missions and tiles and stuff but I would not be excited to pay too much for these kinds of expansions.

Lastly, I want to discuss learning the game. My group had a little trouble with this but we had some one who normally doesn’t explain the game doing the explanations for it, which I don’t think went too well. The player who normally does this claims this would have gone better for us if it had been explained better. Hence the 3/5 right down the middle with that one.

Lastly I don’t know if this is allowed (if not let me know and I will happily remove this part) but I have posted this review on my blog and SHOULD have a weekly review of whatever game/s we have played up there:

http://mythosgaming.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/robinson-crusoe-chriss-review/

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