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TK Shima

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6
Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

18 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

Intro
Smash Up is a contained card game in which 3-5 players each select 2 factions. Possible choices are: Ninjas, Pirates, Aliens, Robots, Dinosaurs, Tricksters, Zombies, and Wizards. The players compete for control of bases, each worth a number of points. The first to score 15 points wins.

Gameplay
The game comes with 9 decks, 8 of which represent one of the factions listed above. Each player shuffles together any 2 of these decks to form the final deck they will be playing. The 9th deck contains base cards. A number of base cards are placed face up on the table equal to the number of players plus one.

Now, each players deck contains 2 kinds of cards: actions and minions. You may play one action and one minion each turn, unless otherwise stated on previously played cards. On each minion card, there is a number which represents the power of the minion. These minions are played on bases. On the upper left corner of each base card, there is a number representing the breaking point of the base. When the total power among all minions on a base exceeds the base’s breaking point, the base is scored. The player with the most power on the base when it’s scored gets the number of points on the left side of the base card, second the middle number, and third the last number. The first player to achieve 15 points wins the game. If 2 or more players get 15 or more at the same time, the game goes the to the player with the most points.

Verdict
I enthusiastically bought this game and had even expected to purchase the expansion because I loved the idea of blending together generic sci-fi and fantasy universes. When I brought it to the table for my play group to try, everyone seemed equally enthusiastic about it. However, after one game everyone was disappointed in how little player interaction was involved in the game. That is, players’ actions during their turn are largely independent of what other players have done in between your turns.

My group tends to enjoy games where you must try to anticipate the actions of other players to achieve victory (i.e. Dixit, Resistance, Magic, and King of Tokyo), and this game does not deliver that level of play. If you and your group have a similar dynamic, I recommend passing over this game.

10
Go to the King of Tokyo: Power Up! page
22 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

Intro
Power Up! is the first expansion to King of Tokyo, and if you are considering buying Power Up, then you already know what King of Tokyo is all about and you’re looking for a second helping.

What’s New?
The big change that comes with Power Up is the addition of evolution cards. Each monster gains a deck of 8 cards with abilities that are specific to that monster. Each time a player rolls 3 hearts, the player draws an evolution card. These cards can be single use or continuous.

A new monster, Pandakai, is included in this expansion. However, the maximum number of players, according to the rulebook, remains six.

Another addition, one that doesn’t effect gameplay at all, is that each monster is now classified as either an alien, mutant, or robot.

Verdict
The evolution cards make this expansion a great buy for King of Tokyo players. It gives each monster its own identity, something that really made an impact for me and my group. Pandakai simply adds another character for even more variety in the game. The monster classes serve no purpose right now, which leads me to believe they will play a part in an upcoming expansion, but until then, it just opens up the game for some house rules.

9
Go to the Dead Panic  page

Dead Panic

24 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

Intro
Dead Panic plays very similar to its older sibling, Castle Panic. It’s a cooperative game in which you and your team defend against hordes of enemies from your base, located in the center of the board. The enemies are drawn and placed on the outermost of concentric rings that surround your base. You then must prevent the enemies from reaching your base or risk losing the walls separating you from them.

So What’s Different?

1. The base in the center is now larger and a cabin rather than a castle. The interior of the cabin is divided into six pie-slice-shaped spaces, much like the rest of the board.

2. Each player plays as a character that moves about inside (and, when you have to, outside) the cabin.

3. Rather than simply using cards that are dealt to you each turn to damage enemies, you must search the cabin for weapons and use them to eliminate the approaching horde.

4. You are limited to 2 actions per turn, which may include moving, repairing cracked walls, using items, and searching for items.

5. When there are no enemies left in the bag, you don’t win. Instead, you place all the defeated enemies back in the bag. You lose when all players die. A player dies when he or she takes 3 wounds from zombies. He/she then turns into a zombie and attempts to infect his/her former allies.

6. You win by collecting all 3 radio pieces to call the van token, and then making it to the van token alive. These radio pieces are carried to the cabin by NPC survivors, which are drawn out of the same deck zombies are drawn. However, if an NPC survivor dies trying to make it to the cabin, he turns into a zombie and the radio piece is placed where he died. One of the players must then venture outside the cabin to retrieve it.

7. You’re not required to keep the cabin standing while fighting the horde, but it is very helpful.

Verdict
Dead Panic is an improvement over its predecessor in that every player has their own entity in the game. In Castle Panic, I always felt the game was playing me because I didn’t have any significant decisions to make; I always played what I had on whatever was closest. Dead panic does away with this mechanical way of play because you are often faced with choices: “Do I help Billy or Sally? Do I fix walls or search for weapons? Who’s going to go get that radio piece outside the cabin?”

Also, Dead Panic adds new elements that makes it possible for only a few of the players may win, giving the game some competitive qualities. This is especially evident when an ally becomes infected and some players are working against others.

Overall, I’d say this game competes with Zombicide as the best zombie game, largely due to the fact it has a faster playthrough time. My only gripe about the game is the character stands don’t stick to the character tokens very well, so when you pick up your dude, the stand often stays behind. I’d strongly recommend this game to Castle Panic fans, fans of zombie games, and people who want to try cooperative games, but don’t like the all or nothing aspect of most coops.

7
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Shattered Timelines page
57 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO
Shattered Timelines is an expansion that features time travel and alternate timelines. It includes 2 new heroes, 4 villains and 2 environments.

The New Decks
Chrono Ranger-My favorite hero so far (simply because he’s a time-traveling Cowboy). He’s an aggressive character because his damage stacks as the game goes on. Part of this is because of his bounty cards, which he can play on a target to get bonuses on that target.

OmnitronX- He’s a more support hero, providing shields for the group. His base ability, which allows for the team to play their top deck, is very useful. He’s kinda a glass canon though, because his equipment is pretty fragile.

The Dreamer- She’s not really a villain, but the scary illusions that surround her are! In order to win, you must defeat the nightmares while not harming the dreamer. This is a super creative villain; the best deck in the expansion.

Kismet- A really annoying villain. She has no minions, and instead relies on ongoing effects to win. Jinx cards curse a player and tempt them to attack their fellow teammates to get rid of the jinx. She manipulates the environment so that it continually works in her favor.

La Capitan- Pretty much a villain with a bunch of villains, putting a lot of HP on the board to deal with.

The Block- An environment in which inmates have escaped and guards are trying to keep control of the vicinity.

Time Cataclysm- A party ball of cards that relate to other environments.

Verdict
There’s nothing in this expansion that jumps out as “WOW! that’s a new level of SotM I’ve never seen before,” with the possible exception of The Dreamer. Then again, I doubt anyone who has purchased this expansion will say: “WOW! What a waste of cash this thing was.” This expansion will probably have a bigger impact on your SotM experience if you get it before the other two expansions.

7
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

75 out of 100 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO:
Pandemic is a cooperative game in which you and your party are a disease control team working against a new contagion that threatens the entire planet. It mutates so quickly that there are four strains of it present and you must wipe it out before it whips out you.

Gameplay
First, set up the board as instructed and hand out role a card to each player. These cards designate which players get what special ability, which is usually taking an extra action of some kind. The first players takes 4 actions which include: moving, building a research station, treating the diseased in your location, trading cards, and finding a cure. The first player then draws 2 player cards. Then the player draws as many “infect city” cards as designated by the outbreak track, which goes up each time a player draws an epidemic card from the player deck. Once the first player finishes the city infection step, the next player takes his/her turn.

The game ends when either there are no infection cubes of a single color to place on the board, in which case the players lose, or when all strains of the disease are cured and/or eliminated.

VERDICT
If you are familiar with Forbidden Island, this is the same game but a bit more complex for older audiences. Therefore, if you like Forbidden Island, you will surely like Pandemic. As an Arkham Horror Fan, I felt the game was a bit dull in comparison. It also bothered me that the players lose when you run out of cubes for a certain color. That means that you could cure all 3 of the other strains and still lose because East Asia was still having problems. I always thought there should at least be enough cubes to cover most of the board if that was the case.

Overall, it is a solid cooperative game that has a faster playthrough time than most cooperative games that I am familiar with, and I would recommend it if you are in search of such a game.

9
Go to the Zombicide: Toxic City Mall page

Zombicide: Toxic City Mall

94 out of 106 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO:
Unlike Zombicide: Season 2, Toxic City Mall is not a stand-alone sister game of the original Zombicide. Yet this expansion adds nearly as much new material to add to either stand alone Zombicide game you have.

WHAT’S NEW?
1. Four new survivors and zombivor versions of them for a total of 8 miniatures. For more details on zombivor rules, check out my Season 2 review.

2. Six miniatures for zombivor versions of the characters of the original Zombicide. Which is nice, because now all the characters are on equal footing.

3. New equipment and zombie cards. These are simply added to the existing decks.

4. Rubble tokens. These are used to further customize the board by making the spaces they are placed on unpassable to both zombies and survivors.

5. Barricades. You may build barricades that block zombies while also allowing you to shoot over the barricades to eliminate the zombies.

6. Guidelines for scaling the game for when you want to play with seven or more players.

7. Four double-sided map tiles.

8. Ultrared variant. This expansion includes weapons and rules for playing the ultrarared variant. Once you level to the maximum, reset your marker to zero. You keep your skills, but now, as you level up, you can gain the skills you passed up the first time you went through the skill tree. Plus, you gain the ability to wield ultrared weapons once you leveled to red or ultrared level. If you get an ultrared weapon and can’t use it yet, you have the option of discarding it and gaining 5 experience immediately.

9. Toxic Zombies. Toxic City Mall comes with toxic versions of each type of standard zombie. The only difference is that if you kill a toxic zombie while you are standing in the same space as that zombie, it releases toxic spray in your face, resulting in one wound. A toxic abomination turns each standard zombie in the same space into a toxic zombie.

VERDICT:
Although this expansion adds a lot of new things to the game, some of it doesn’t feel like it impacts the game very much, for example the new characters, the new map tiles, and the new equipment. This might be due to the fact that I already had a lot of experience with Season 2 by the time I played with Toxic City Mall, so Zombivors and barricades were nothing new to me and the new cards and tiles felt watered down by the combined cards from the original Zombicide and Season 2. Although it is ice to know how to scale the game for seven or more players, I doubt I will ever be in a situation where I will have to use the new rules, as 4 or 5 player games already take long enough to play through.

The two things that absolutely effect the gameplay are the toxic zombies and ultrared variant. When playing the utrared variant, picking up the extra skills and he ultrared weapons can make a huge impact in the late game. The toxic zombies add an entirely new level of difficulty to the game, especially when combined with Season 2. The reason being that you want to kill toxic zombies from a distance, but the berserker zombies included in Season 2 can only be killed by melee weapons. So, if a group of toxic zombies and a group of berserker zombies begin to travel together in one mob, the berserker zombies will protect the toxic zombies (since you have to kill the zombies in “priority order” instead of any order you wish) leaving the molotov the only effective way of killing that group of zombies.

Overall, this is a great expansion, especially if you are looking to increase the difficulty on your Zombicide experience and, if I had to pick, I would recommend picking up Toxic City Mall before Season 2 because Season 2 felt a little overwhelming and I think Toxic City Mall eases you into the new material a little smoother.

8
Go to the Fiasco page

Fiasco

117 out of 138 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO
When I first saw Fiasco laid out on the table, I was a little skeptical, because there were no pieces, no board, just dice of two different colors. This is because Fiasco is basically a game in which you act out a short, 3 act play. Act 1: make plans, Act 2: execute plans, Act 3: aftermath.

SETUP
Before you begin, you need to select a playlet. A play set determines the setting and other important elements of the play. You may choose one of the prewritten play sets, or you come up with your own. Each player rolls dice to determine their needs, what objects and which locations are important to you, and your relationships with the other players. You do this by simply rolling the dice and then matching the numbers to the corresponding numbers on the sheets that come with the game. Now, these factors are not completely random, as I had first thought. The numbers you roll simply limit the choices you have in choosing these elements of the game, but you still have a selection and a pretty wide selection at that because there are a 16 dice.

GAMEPLAY
Each act is composed of scenes each of which involve two of the players. The player who sets up he scene is always the player whose turn it is (the first player). The other players who are observing the scene either award the first player a white die, which signals that the scene will end well for him/her, or a red die, which signals the scene will end poorly for him/her. So, when you see what color your die is, you need to act out the scene so that you character is either in a better or worse position depending on what color the die is. At the end of the scene, the first player then give the die he received to any of the other players.

Once you’ve gone around the table twice, you do the “tilt.” The tilt table is similar to the setup tables in that you roll the dice and choose an option from the table, except the player with the most red dice has sole control of choosing one tilt element and the player with the most white chooses another. These ail effect how act 2 plays out. Act 2 has as many scenes as it takes to go around the table twice again and the act ends.

Act 3 is determined by rolling all of your collected dice and subtracting the greater color from the lesser color. This determines if you ultimately have a positive or negative outcome and to what degree of a positive/negative outcome it is. Going around the table, you give one detail of your ending for each dice you have. For example, if you have 2 white dice and 2 red dice you will give 2 details that are bad for your character and 2 that are good, but all the while trying to end up as good as what you rolled at the beginning of the act.

If you like to see the game played, youtube “Tabletop: Fiasco with Wil Wheaton.”

VERDICT
Fiasco is a great game if you’re into improv or enjoy watching people improv. I will say that the game works best with creative people who can pull off a character well. It is great for storytellers because you can write your own play set, which is what I really enjoy about it because I like to make play sets that has the potential to be very comical. The game takes take a lot of energy for some reason and so probably won’t see play multiple times in one day, although it does have as much replayability as creativity in the group. Overall, if you love drama, definitely pick it up.

6
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
33 out of 94 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO
The Settlers of Catan set off the modern board game phenomena in 1995. Since then a few expansions have come out for it that try to shake up the gameplay.

GAMEPLAY SUMMARY
The game is played by setting up the board, made up of hexagon tiles, and then placing villages on the intersections of 3 of the tiles. On each tile is placed a number. On each tile is placed a token with a number on it. On each players turn, the dice are rolled and any player with a village on a tile with that number gets a resource of the corresponding type. From there, you trade your resources with the other players and use them to build roads and more villages. The game is won when you reach 10 points, determined by how much you’ve built.

For more details, youtube “Tabletop: Catan with Wil Wheaton.”

VERDICT
Although it is the original and still gets quite a bit of respect, Catan shows it’s age now, outshined by games like Power Grid and more flavorful and complex games like Zombicide, Arkham Horror, or The Resistance. It’s been my experience that the game has relatively little replay value so I don’t recommend buying it unless you can get a deal on it.

6
Go to the Munchkin Legends page

Munchkin Legends

20 out of 44 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve tried many versions of Munchkin including Star Munchkin, Munchkin Bites, and Munchkin apocalypse, but Munchkin Legends is the only other version I enjoy as much as the original and the only other version I would play mixed in with the original. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the other versions have different color cards which really bothered me. Munchkin bites has red borders, Munchkin apocalypse has orange, but Munchkin Legends has the same colors as the original so it blends in flawlessly. Plus, the themes of Legends and the original are so similar that you couldn’t really tell which cards came from which version.

Legends adds many cards that reference more fairy tale-ish things, which I love. The card “glass slippers,” for example references Cinderella, which is awesome because I live everything Disney. Not only that, but it adds cards about mythology, which is also a HUGE plus for me.

Overall, this is great if you like Munchkin and a story-time type theme. You can pick it up on amazon for just over $20.

10
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Infernal Relics page
56 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

Infernal Relics is the second expansion to Sentinels and, although the Villains were kind of disappointing, the Heroes included do some cool stuff that makes them stand out from the others.

The villains aren’t any more difficult than what you’ve seen before, they are simply there for variety, and if you already have the base game and Rook City, the you don’t feel the increased variety for the game as a whole. One of my favorite heroes in the base game is Sub-Zero because he does damage to himself sometimes but does more damage to the opponent. The heroes in this expansion do oddball things as well. Argent Adept does a lot of ongoing effects that boost the other heroes and has abilities that boost specific things that you may need for a particular turn, like frost damage, especially useful when teamed up with Sub-Zero.

The other hero in this expansion is Nightmist. She’s cool just in her looks alone, but she also does damage to herself to get cards, and then her cards have the extra expense of some of the remaining cards in her hand, which is awesome. She’s got an awesome amount of control over the field and has replaced Sub-Zero as my favorite.

The environments are okay, but I don’t usually have a preference for which environment is played anyway.

Overall, good expansion, definitely worth it if you are a fan of the game. If you are bored with the base game and are looking to breath new life into it, I don’t think this expansion can do it alone, but with Rook City it’s certainly possible. However, then you run the risk of having bought TWO expansions for a game you found you still don’t really like, so choose wisely.

For more info, check out my reviews on the base game and Rook City on my homepage.

7
Go to the Dixit Odyssey page

Dixit Odyssey

58 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

DIxit Odyssey used to be printed as a stand alone game as well as just an expansion, but as of June 2013, it is only available in an expansion form.

The expansion contains 84 new cards to use with either the base game or it’s stand alone sibling: Dixit Journey. 84 new cards really improves replayability of either game, and so is absolutely worth the $20 it costs to buy it on amazon.

If you happen to find a reasonably priced stand alone version, the only differences between it and the other stand alones is that it accommodates 12 players and comes with a voting board for each player instead of voting tokens. It comes with a board in the style of Dixit Journey, which I really like, and also comes with bunnies for score tracking like the original Dixit, which I also really like. However, the voting board is less appealing to me because you put a peg in a hole in your board corresponding to the number of the card you are voting for. You have to hide your pegged board from everyone until everyone is ready and then you reveal at the same time. This is a bit awkward compared to the voting tokens, because with those, you merely play your vote face down and then flip them all at the same time.

Overall, I recommend this game in it’s expansion form to be added to the original or Journey. If you’d like to know more about Dixit or it’s expansions, visit my home page and check out my reviews.

10
Go to the Zombicide: Season 2 - Prison Outbreak page
38 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

Zombicide: Prison Break is a stand alone cooperative game that is the younger sibling of the original Zombicide. The basic rules of the game ore the same so check out my review on the original Zombicide to see how it’s played.

WHAT’S DIFFERENT?
1) In season 2, instead of exploring city streets for your objectives, the game will take place within a prison. The prison is a much more interactive environment in which to play. This is because it includes things like watchtowers, which you can travel to for a significant advantage against oncoming zombies. Some tiles are able to rotate when a switch is hit, cutting off pursuing threats. Switches may also do things like open cell blocks and such.

2) Season 2 includes a new type of zombie called berserkers. These zombies are covered in bio-plate armor , making them immune to ranged attacks.

3) Zombivors: when your character dies, he/she revives the next turn as a zombivor. You keep you equipment, your XP, but it now takes an additional 5 wounds to eliminate you and you don’t benefit from your +1 action skill.

VERDICT:
The map in Season 2 is much better than the original simply because it’s much more interactive. The berserkers significantly up the difficulty on the game because they protect the standard zombies as well, making it really easy for a hoard to get close to you. For example, if there is a group of zombies with a standard walker, a berserker walker, and a standard fatty, and you fire 3 shots into the group, the standard walker will be taken out, and the berserker zombie will absorb the other two shots, protecting the standard fatty from harm.

This increased difficulty is supposed o be balanced with the addition of zombivors. Although it’s cool to be tougher to kill, it really ruined the theme for me and my group. We came up with a house rule that has a similar effect, but keeps the whole “zombies are mindless corpses that you never want to become” thing going. Check out my home page under the “game tips” tab if you’re interested in reading it.

This game hasn’t quite released yet, so you’re either going to have to pay $140-250 to get it right now, or know a rich/lucky friend who has it in order to play. I recommend waiting for the release, so you can pick it up for $75 or so. The only people I wouldn’t recommend this to are those who feel kinda lukewarm about the game, or those who like the game and feel the difficulty is already hard enough (because the berserkers make the game way harder).

7
Go to the Castle Panic page

Castle Panic

146 out of 181 gamers thought this was helpful

Castle Panic is a cooperative game in which they defend a castle against oncoming monsters using knight, swordsmen, and archer cards.

The gameplay of this particular game is significantly better understood when watched rather than read, so if you’d like a good understanding of how the game is played, youtube: “Tabletop: Castle Panic with Wil Wheaton.”

One thing tha makes this game unique is that each player does not have an entity on the board, meaning they don’t each have a character in play who’s actions they are responsible for. This makes the game rather dull for a college group because the players don’t have much control over the game. However, this is ideal for playing with children who are 5 or 7 years old. Say it is the child’s turn. While she does technically have the final say about what actions she takes, the group has nearly as much influence (if not, more) than the player who’s turn it is.

Overall, this is a game where it is obvious what you should do during your turn. That in addition to the fact you have very little control of what happens each turn results in a game that’s pretty uninteresting for adult gamers, especially priced at $30 (I may have said it was worth picking up if it were less than $15). For those planning to introduce a cooperative game to children, it really doesn’t get much better.

6
Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

31 out of 44 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO:
Zombie dice is a very simple game that can be played very quickly. In this game, you play the role of a zombie out to eat the brains of survivors. There is and expansion to Zombie Dice called Zombie Dice 2, which I will be discussing also in this review.

IN THE BOX:
The box is essentially a cup with some cool zombie artwork on it, and within the cup is 13 dice: 6 green ones, 4 yellow ones, and 3 red ones. You will also find a small pamphlet that explains the rules.

SET UP:
Make sure all 13 dice are in the cup… Seriously. That’s it.

GAMEPLAY:
On each player’s turn, you take 3 dice at random from the cup and roll them. All dice that rolled brains or headshots are set aside. If the player chooses to roll again, they must roll any dice that had rolled feet the previous roll as well as additional dice so that their total dice rolled this turn equal to three. The player repeats this process until he/she quits or rolls a total of 3 headshots. If the players rolls 3 head shots, none of the earned brains count this turn. It then becomes the next player’s turn. The first to earn 13 brains wins.

Zombie dice 2 adds 3 new dice: “The Hunk,” which is a white dice, “The Hottie,” a pink dice, and “Santa,” a red&white dice. These are to replace 1 green dice and 2 yellow dice. These dice introduce new possible outcomes: a double headshot counts for 2 headshots toward your headshot count, a double brain counts for 2 brains for your brain count, an energy drink makes all green feet rolled count as a brain until end of turn, and a helmet allows you to take an extra headshot before going down.

Just so you know what kind of survivors you’re dealing with:
Green: 3 brains, 2 headshots, 2 feet
Yellow: 2 brains, 2 headshots, 2 feet
Red: 1 brain, 3 headshots, 2 feet
White (Hunk): 1 double brain, 2 headshots, 1 double headshot, 2 feet
Pink (Hottie): 1 brain, 2 headshots, 2 feet
Red&White (Santa): 1 brain, 1 double brain, 1 headshot, 1 foot, 1 energy drink, 1 helmet.

VERDICT:
First of all, there’s no reason to replace the 2 yellow and one green dice for the expansion. Just use them all. Anyway, when you hear about this game, many describe it as a “beer and pretzels” game, as it is so simple that you need beer to get a good time out of it, and that it is so simple, you can still play when you’re hammered. However, I’ve never had alcohol (and never plan to), and I still enjoy an occasional game of zombie dice.

The game itself is rather dull. The fun of the game is simply the zombie-based conversation that goes around the table during gameplay. I roll with a really great gaming crowd that makes nearly any game enjoyable, and zombie dice is no exception. The expansion really adds a lot to the game, because it adds a kind of: “Oh no! I got the stupid Hottie!” element of the game, after which statement, jokes usually follow.

Overall, you will not want to play this game multiple times in one night, and will not see play every night. But when it does make an appearance, the game is usually enjoyable. Don’t but the game unless you plan on getting zombie dice 2 as well. Zombie dice is $13 and zombie dice 2 is $8 for a total of $21. Honestly, I think those two items together are about $15 worth of fun.

If you want to see the game played in order to decide for yourself if it’s worth $21, youtube “Tabletop: Zombie Dice with Wil Wheaton.”

9
Go to the Dixit 2 page

Dixit 2

59 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

Before I start getting into this expansion, I’d like to make something clear that had me confused when I first found Dixit 2: it’s the same exact product as Dixit Quest. They both have the same exact cards in them, it’s just that Dixit 2 is supposed to be marketed toward Europeans and Dixit Quest for Americans, so purchase whichever you can find cheapest.

Anyway, this expansion is just about as basic as an expansion can be: it adds 84 new cards to the base Dixit. This literally doubles the number of cards that could be played during the game. This makes a huge difference in replay ability as players now have a lot more art to base their clues off of, opening the door for so much more creativity in the group. The cards mix in with the base game flawlessly, as if they were both designed as one product.

Overall, this $23 expansion is certainly worth picking up if you enjoy Dixit. If you’d like to learn more about the base Dixit game and how it plays, youtube: “Tabletop: Dixit with Wil Wheaton,” or check out my review on Dixit on my home page.

9
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Rook City page
62 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

Rook City is the first expansion to Sentinels of the Multiverse. It adds 2 additional heroes and 4 villains to the base game.

The two heroes are The Expatriate, a one-eyed chick version of The Punisher, and Mister Fixer, who is basically Mister Miagi from the Karate Kid. Neither of these heroes are particularly complex compared to what you already have in the base game, but they are just as awesome to play as and simply add more variety to the game.

As for the villains, you have Plague Rat, very similar to Killer Croc from Batman or Lizard from Spiderman. There’s Spite, who doesn’t resemble anyone I am aware of in the DC/Marvel universe, but is a very cool character because he is so original. These two villains aren’t particularly difficult or exciting compared o what comes with the base game either. However, The Chairman and The Matriarch are make this expansion worthwhile in my opinion. They are noticeably more difficult than anything you get in the base game. For me, when it comes to cooperative games, a new level of difficulty is always a welcome challenge.

Overall, this is a great buy for $18 because it definitely makes a difference in the base game.

8
Go to the Zombicide page

Zombicide

84 out of 106 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO:
Zombicide is a cooperative game in which you and your comrades each play as a survivor attempting to achieve an objective before you are overwhelmed by the undead.

IN THE BOX:
The game comes with 6 minis representing the survivors and 65 minis representing zombies. Also in the box are Nine double-sided board tiles, 6 character cards, 6 “wounded” cards, 6 dice, a 42-card zombie deck, a 62-card equipment deck, and several tokens for use during gameplay.

SETUP:
First, you place any number of the 9 tiles in any configuration you wish. Any place on your board where there is a door, you place a closed door token and place any cars anywhere on the street you wish and any objective tokens in any room of a building you wish. You determine the win conditions of the game: collect all the objective tokens, collect any one objective token and escape in a car, etc. Each player chooses a character and takes that character’s character card and places their character’s mini somewhere in the street. Initial equipment is handed out randomly to the players.

GAMEPLAY:
The survivors go first each round and they each get three actions and can activate one skill. The three actions a player can take are: move, search for equipment, open a door and attack. These actions may create noise, in which case noise tokens are placed in the space the action occurred. The zombies then take their turn. First they attack any players in their space. Then, if there are no players in their space, they move toward any players in their line of sight. If there are no players in sight, they move toward where the most noise tokens are (each character mini counts as a noise token). Then, a card from the zombie deck is drawn and followed. The game ends when either the win conditions are met, or the survivors are eliminated.

VERDICT:
One of the best parts of this game is how creative it can be. Sure, the rulebook comes with a few scenarios for you, but there are so many ways you can set up the board and objectives. Plus, you get to make up the backstory for the scenario too, which is a bonus. I love how your character “levels up” for killing zombies and collects more equipment so it feels like you are getting more and more powerful as the game goes on. Of course, this balances out because the difficulty of the zombies scales to the player with the highest level. The way your group collaborates feels like how you would actually handle the situation (you know, without the screaming).

Overall, this is a very cool game. For the price of $80 though, you may want to demo it before you pick it up, because there are several great alternatives for $80.

8
Go to the Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror page
60 out of 74 gamers thought this was helpful

Miskatonic Horror stands out from the other Big Box expansions in that it doesn’t include a new expansion board, which, of course, means no new locations, other worlds, or major new mechanics. Also unlike the other Big Box expansions, this one contains no new investigators or ancient ones.

What Miskotonic Horror does include is 450 cards to add the the decks of Arkham Horror and all its expansions. I had gotten only the other Big Box expansions because the Small Box expansions are a waste of money in my opinion. Because of that decision, 1/3 of the cards in Miskatonic Horror were unusable to me. The expansion also includes 4 reference cards to remind the players how the rules change depending on the number of players and which expansions are being used. The sole new mechanic included in Miskatonic is the 3 institution cards. They give the investigators options like buying agents with clue tokens to help fight monsters.

As for the additional cards, you barely notice the difference because all the decks are already padded with the extra cards from the other expansions. The only exception being the “Innsmouth Look” deck because that deck only had 10 cards to begin with, only one of which said anything but “nothing happens,” so the additional 5 cards really made a difference.

Overall, I liked this expansion. The Innsmouth cards and Institutions are a blast, and the other cards make a little difference when making encounters and getting items. Even so, it’s difficult to justify the $40 purchase, unless you are a very hardcore Arkham Horror fan.

5
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Blue Starter Deck page
78 out of 108 gamers thought this was helpful

One year after Munchkin was published, Killer Bunnies comes on the scene to compete in the genre of closed, comedic card games:

You play the game by placing cards face down on the table. You may place only one card per turn. Two turns after you place that card, it is revealed and played. The goal of the game is to get golden carrot cards by either buying them or getting them through special abilities of cards. Once the last golden carrot is taken, the game ends. The carrot cards are shuffled together and if one of your carrots is chosen, you win the game. You cannot win if you don’t have at least one bunny on the board. Bunnies give you bonuses for having 3 of the same color or type. You can keep your bunnies alive by buying food cards or you can kill the bunnies of other players by using various brutal cards.

The cards often make humorous references to pop culture like to Dr. Who or The Terminator. They are colorful with pretty simple art and are laminated so they don’t wear as much as cards from other games.

Although the cards are high quality, the game is garbage. Even if you have all but one carrot, you still have a chance at losing the game. Worse than that though, is that you have to wait 2 turns to have your cards played so there is little reaction to the game as it goes on. Also, the theme of killing bunnies is kinda gross, especially for anyone familiar with Watership Down.

Overall, this is just not a very good game for $25. If you’re going to spend $25 on a game of this genre, buy Munchkin, or if you already have Munchkin, Munchkin: Legends.

7
Go to the Dixit Journey page

Dixit Journey

89 out of 110 gamers thought this was helpful

Dixit is a stand alone sequel to the original Dixit and plays exactly the same way. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dixit and how it plays, check out my review of the original Dixit on my home page.

So if Dixit Original and Dixit Journey play exactly the same, why buy this one instead of, or in addition to the original? Well for one thing they each come with a completely different set of cards. Neither one is necessarily better than the other, but when they are mixed together, it adds more variety to the game, which does add replay value.

Unlike Dixit Original, whose board basically is the bottom half of the box, Dixit Journey comes with a folding board separate from the box. The Dixit Journey board is more practical in that it takes less space and features the numbers 1-6 on one side to place the cards in front of so you know which card is which number. The only downside to this board is that instead of being very colorful like the original, it is quite plain looking, featuring only a picture of a Mount-Rushmoor-like painting.

Also unlike the original, Dixit Journey comes with plain plastic pawns for the players instead of the wooden bunnies. This was entirely unacceptable to me and that is why whenever my group and I play with Dixit Journey, we always mix it with the original so the can have the benefits of both the Journey board and the original pawns.

Overall, I don’t believe Dixit Journey is as good of a buy as the original, solely because of the pawns and so I would recommend buying the original first, then Dixit Quest, then Dixit Odyssey, then Dixit Journey.

9
Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse page

Sentinels of the Multiverse

91 out of 112 gamers thought this was helpful

INTRO:
In case you didn’t get the reference, my title is a lyric from Smash Mouth’s Everyday Superhero, a fitting song to listen to while playing this game since it’s a cooperative superhero game for 3-5 players. This review is on the Enhanced Edition, which, by the way, if far better than the original and the same price.

IN THE BOX:
The game is composed of 18 decks. Ten of them are hero decks of 40 cards. Four of them are villain decks of 25 cards, and the other four are 15-card environment decks. There are 14 character cards, one for each hero and villain. There are 120 round counters used for keeping track of life and 42 status tokens you put on character cards as a reminder of an effect that is still in effect for that character. The box also comes with dividers and foam pieces for more convenient storage.

SETUP:
Each player chooses a hero to play as and shuffles their respective decks. Villain and environment decks are then chosen and shuffled. Life tokens are then distributed to the heroes and villains as described on the upper left corner of the character cards. Additional setup is described on the back of the villain character card. Each hero then draws 4 cards and the game begins.

GAMEPLAY:
The villain always begins the round of turns. First, follow the instructions under “gameplay” on the back of the villain’s character card, then a card is drawn from the villain deck and played. Then begins the turn of the first hero. The first player plays a card if he/she chooses, activates a power, then draws a card. The subsequent players follow the same actions. A card from the environment deck is then drawn and played. The game ends either when the villain’s HP reaches zero, or the HP of all the heroes reaches zero.

VERDICT:
I am an Arkham Horror fan, and every time my group finishes a game, this comment is said by someone: “midnight already? Man, I almost wish we could just skip to fighting the ancient one so we can get more games in.” Sentinels is that game that replaces Arkham Horror on those days where you just don’t feel like spending time building up your character for a fight, and just want to skip to the climax. I really like how, even when your life points hit zero, you still get one minor ability to help out so you aren’t just sitting there waiting for the game to end once you’re down. One thing I was worried about before I tried Sentinels was how the game scaled its difficulty. It turns out, each villain has an ongoing “advanced” effect that increases the difficulty when desired and many villain cards use an “H” symbol when doing damage, where H=the number of heroes. These two features ensure that the villain isn’t a pushover every game.

Overall, this is a fantastic game for $30. There are currently 3 expansions and more on the way, so replay shouldn’t be an issue if you enjoy the base game.

6
Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

109 out of 151 gamers thought this was helpful

If you’re looking for a review from the perspective of a parent, I recommend you check out ShimaWorld’s review of this game. As for anyone else, this game might as well be named Pandemic Jr. because the designers of Pandemic simply took the play mechanics of Pandemic and simplified it enough for a 7-year-old to play (my little sister just turned 8).

The game is composed of a bunch of square tiles which you arrange in a diamond shaped pattern on the table. Your goal is to collect the 4 treasures and escape the island before the island sinks. To do this, you have collect 4 copies of each treasure card and trade them in at their respective location tiles and then use the airlift card on the helicopter landing tile to escape.

To view the game and how it is played, youtube: “Tabletop: Forbidden Island with Wil Wheaton.” It’s a lot easier to make an accurate judgement on a game by watching it rather than have someone try to explain it.

When playing this game with my college group (mostly bio and computer science majors in their 2nd or 3rd year) the response was unanimous: “That was okay, I suppose… now let’s do something else.” And it hasn’t seen the table since. Forbidden Island is commonly referred to as a “gateway” game for new people, but 2 of the group were new to tabletop gaming, and even they rejected it. Rather, those two were much more taken with King of Tokyo and even more so with The Resistance.

That being said, I did enjoy playing it with my little sisters, at least, a lot more than any other board game I’ve played with them that they could handle. So overall, if you’re a parent, it’s a $16 game so I’d say it’s worth it. Otherwise, your money will best be spent elsewhere.

9
Go to the Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror page
52 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

If you have read my other Arkham Horror reviews, you should know that I strongly believe that you are not getting the full Arkham Horror experience without at least one Big Box expansion, and there is no better way to get that experience than adding Innsmouth Horror to the base game.

Innsmouth gives you the most for your money compared to Dunwich and Kingsport in that it contains 16 new investigators and 8 new ancient ones, double what the other expansions offer for the same $40.

The board is also the most entertaining of all three of the expansion boards. It comes with an entirely new track called the “Deep Ones” track. Each time a portal is supposed to open, but is prevented because of an elder sign or an ability, the track advances by one. The track also advances when a monster wanders into one of the vortex spaces on the Innsmouth board. If the track fills with 7 deep ones tokens, the ancient one awakens. One way to prevent the track from filling is to spend clue tokens to fill up the same track, but starting from the opposite end. If 7 clue tokens are placed before 7 deep ones tokens are placed, the entire track is wiped clean.

As for the spaces on the board, you move around like normal until the terror track reaches 3, and then Innsmouth enters a state of marshal law in which you constantly have to be making sneak checks to move around Innsmouth, or else you’ll be thrown into Innsmouth’s jail.

Additionally, a new deck for the “Innsmouth Look” is added. Occasionally you will be instructed to draw from this 10 card deck. 9 of them do nothing and 1 of them kills your character and replaces your token with a monster.

Generally, when me and my group play a game of Arkham Horror, we only add the Innsmouth board (even though the other 2 boards are available to us), so I would say this is a must have for anyone who enjoys Arkham Horror.

To find out more about Arkham Horror, Dunwich Horror, or Kingsport Horror, check out my reviews on my home page. I’ll also be reviewing Miskatonic Horror soon!

5
Go to the Gloom page

Gloom

54 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a pretty cool card game that can be played fairly quickly. At the beginning of the game, you are dealt 4 cards each representing one of your family members. During your turn, you play a card on either one of your people or on somebody else’s person. Each card represents a life event that makes the characters either happier or more miserable. Your goal is to make your people as miserable as possible and then play the death card on them to score points.

There are 3 expansions for Gloom:

Unfortunate expeditions: this one allows for you to play more cards, play modifiers on dead characters, and draw more cards by playing cards with new rules that benefit you.

Unhappy Homes: basically this one just gives each player a house to mess with as well.

Uninvited guests: may add new characters to your family as you play.

Each of these expansions adds a new family deck so you could potentially play with an additional player for each expansion you have.

Overall, this is an okay game. It’s cheap, quick, and pokes fun on its macabre theme. Although it does have comical text, I can’t get over the macabre theme where you’re killing people and making them miserable and stuff. I find it more depressing than comical. Unhappy homes is a fun addition to the game, but the other two change the rules of the game and I think they take away more than they add to the base game.

To view the game and how it is played, youtube “Tabletop: Gloom with Wil Wheaton.”

9
Go to the Dixit page

Dixit

58 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

Dixit is a social game that plays similarly to Apples to Apples. One of the players is designated the “storyteller” for the turn, selects a card from his/her hand, then gives a clue as to what’s on the card. Then all the other players select a card from their hand that they think match the clue as well. Then the cards are shuffled and revealed and then each player (except the storyteller) votes on which they think is the storyteller’s card. If all votes are correct, the storyteller gets nothing and everyone else gets 2 points. If all votes are wrong, the storyteller gets nothing and everyone else gets 2 points. Any other result gets the storyteller 3 points, the people who guessed correctly get 3 points, and players that played cards that fooled other players into voting for their card get one point per vote. The first person to 20 points wins.

To view the game and how it is played, youtube “Tabletop: Dixit with Wil Wheaton.”

This is a great social game for 4-6 players and it has 2 expansions and a stand alone sibling called Dixit:Journey. Once you add a couple expansions, you don’t come across the same cards too often. The cards have abstract art so it is VERY easy for people to get creative with their clues.

Overall, I really recommend this to social and casual gamers. It completely destroys Apples to Apples in entertainment value and has as much replay ability as your imagination has creative thoughts.

7
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

33 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

I like the Ticket to Ride board game, I just never liked it enough to pay the $40 for it. The xbox version is only $5 and you don’t have to fiddle with putting the tiny plastic trains on the dotted line. The components never wear out or get lost because it’s digital, and you can play it alone against CPUs or online with other people. You can also play it offline with other people by just passing the controller around when it’s your turn.

I feel that very few games are better in digital form because it takes away from the around-the-table camaraderie that’s the true purpose of tabletop gaming. For example, I would not recommend the digital Small World over the physical. But in this case I strongly recommend you save the $35 and spend it on other, more entertaining games like Small World, Dixit, or perhaps The Resistance

7
Go to the Arkham Horror: Kingsport Horror page
61 out of 74 gamers thought this was helpful

It’s no secret I am a big fan of Arkham Horror, but I can understand why even other fans might not want to pick up this expansion.

One of the biggest selling points for these big box expansions (I am no exception) is that they come with a new board to be played along side the original, and the new board usually adds new mechanics for the game. Although the Kingsport board does indeed add new mechanics, it doesn’t give the game an exciting variant, but rather just makes the game very trivial for at least one member of the team.

See, the board has NO unstable locations, meaning no portals open in kingsport at all. Instead, there are 3 rift tracks on the board. Over the course of the game, the rift tracks begin to fill up. For each one that fills up, a rift opens somewhere on the board, and basically acts as a moving portal that cannot be entered. The rifts can be closed or prevented by spending turns on various spaces in Kingsport.

Although the idea of rifts sounds interesting, how it plays out for the group is one member is assigned “Kingsport duty” in which he/she travels to Kingsport and spends the majority of his/her turns on the necessary spaces. This easily keeps the rifts from opening, but results in a rather boring game for one of the members who is stuck in an area full of safe locations.

However, Kingsport isn’t a total loss. The expansion comes with 2 heralds, which act kind of like a permanent environment card that really increases the difficulty level (something I am always wanting to try in Arkham Horror). It also comes with 8 new investigators, 4 new ancient ones, and Epic Battle cards. Epic battle cards basically make each turn of the combat with the ancient one tip in favor of either the ancient one or the investigators. The fight is still mostly balanced, it’s just each turn feels more “epic.”

This is a $40 expansion. Because of the board, I strongly recommend you get the Dunwich and/or Innsmouth expansions before this one. If you can live with the disappointing board, I’d recommend it to strong Arkham Horror fans due to the Investigators, old ones, and heralds.

5
Go to the Fluxx page

Fluxx

23 out of 45 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a card game that’s sort of hard to explain because the rules change as you play. Everyone starts out with three cards and one rule on the tabs: “Draw One, Play One.” In your hand you may have goal cards, keeper cards, single use cards, or new rule cards. Obeying the starting rule, players draw one, then play one.

Players may play new rules, which do things such as allow players to draw 4 cards or play all but one of their cards. They may also play goal cards, which change the winning conditions of the game. Each goal card has pictures that correlate to two keeper cards. Any player that has the two keepers designated by the goal card in front of them wins the game. One time use cards do stuff like switch hands with other players.

There’s very little skill involved with this game, with many games ending with someone winning almost by accident. It’s about as fun as Uno or Phase 10, neither of which I would play several games of in one sitting. Overall, it’s a cheap game with little replay value and I only might recommend it to parents with kids ages 7-10.

9
Go to the Small World: Grand Dames page
60 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

This expansion comes with 3 races and 2 powers. The races are: White Ladies, who, when in decline, make the spaces they occupy invulnerable to attack. Gypsies get a coin for each space they abandon at the beginning of their turn. For each space that contains a Priestess when they go into decline, you put a token in a stack on one of your spaces, then all other priestesses disappear.

The special powers are: Historian, which gives you a coin for each in decline race on the board, and Peace-Loving, which gives you 3 coins each turn you don’t attack.

Overall, even though this expansion is cheap ($13), it’s borderline as far as whether or not to get it. Once you have the Be Not Afraid and Cursed! expansions, it really adds very little to the game

9
Go to the Small World: Cursed! page
55 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

This Small World expansion adds two more races: Goblins and Kobolds. The goblins take out races that are in decline really easily and kobolds can’t occupy spaces with less than two tokens.

It also comes with 5 powers: cursed, hoards of, marauding, were- and ransacking. Cursed races must have 3 coins placed on them to pass on them. Hoards of races get 2 additional tokens that behave just like tokens of that race. Marauding races get 2 conquest phases per turn. Were-races takes spaces for 2 tokens less on even numbered turns, and ransacking races take a coin from the player that occupied the each space you conquer.

Overall, I don’t feel like this expansion added a whole lot of replay value, so if you are torn between this expansion, and a new game, you should probably go for the new game. Otherwise, go ahead and pick it up. Its only about $13 and more races and abilities never hurt a thing.

10
Go to the Small World page

Small World

72 out of 108 gamers thought this was helpful

Small World is the game that first got me into board gaming, so I really recommend it if you’re introducing board games to a person for the first time. The theme and art really drew me in. It’s a territory control game in which you win with victory coins rather than conquering the entire board. The number of victory coins you earn each turn is dependent on your current race and the number of territories you control.

I really believe you can better judge games by watching it be played rather than having all the rules explained at you so for more details about rules and gameplay, youtube “Tabletop: Small World with Wil Wheaton” It’s about a 25 min. video and it’s really entertaining to watch.

One thing that’s really fun about this game is that you often don’t know who’s winning until the very end, so there’s no discouragement among the losing players near the end of the game, unlike risk, where you have to play for an hour even after you have practically lost (I have never finished a game of Risk in my life).

The game has 3 expansions that add new races, 3 expansions that alter (but doesn’t really improve) gameplay, and one standalone game: Underground. I already have reviews on a couple of these and plan on writing reviews for the rest in the future, so check out my home page if you want more info on these.

Overall, this is a fantastic game by itself and has quite a bit in expansions to keep it fresh. I highly recommend the base game to social and casual gamers and somewhat recommend it to strategy gamers.

10
Go to the The Resistance: 3rd Edition page

The Resistance: 3rd Edition

37 out of 46 gamers thought this was helpful

Since I have picked up The Resistance, it has just been a huge it with everybody I’ve introduced it to. It not only has replaced King of Tokyo as the group favorite, but it has replaced Arkham Horror as my personal number 2 tabletop game (behind Magic: The Gathering).

The game is for 5-10 people, so it’s perfect for parties. At the beginning of the game, everyone is dealt a role card identifying them as either a spy or a Resistance member. Everyone is then told to close their eyes. The spies are then instructed to open their eyes and identify each other. Then the spies close their eyes and everybody opens their eyes at the same time. At that point whoever has the leader token chooses the number of people needed for mission 1 (it changes depending on how many people are playing.) Then everyone votes to either approve the mission team or reject it. If it is rejected, the leader rotates and the process starts over. If it passes, each person on the mission is dealt a success and a fail card. All Resistance members must vote success, while spies have the option either way. Once everyone puts in their success or fail card, the cards are shuffled and revealed. If they are all successes, the mission goes to the Resistance if there is one or more fails, it goes to the spies. The first team to 3 missions wins.

To watch this game played, (which is entertaining in itself) youtube “tabletop: The Resistance with Wil Wheaton.”

The one and only negative thing about this game is the components seem to damage quickly. Given, the first group I played with liked to slam their tokens/cards on the table for dramatic effect, but still. The voting tokens and a couple cards were already scratched, and one of the cards had a bent corner. At least this is a cheap game ($17) so its easily replaced.

The Resistance also comes with plot cards that gives each person a power (i.e. forcing a person to show their role card to one other person.) and there is a 2nd version of The Resistance called Avalon that adds more complex roles, but doesn’t come with plot cards. My group loves to play with the Avalon roles the most, although we figured out how to use them in the standard Resistance so we wouldn’t have to buy Avalon (go to my home page and look under “tips” for more details on how to play with Avalon roles).

Overall, this game is a must have for all social gamers, and a strongly recommended for everybody else.

10
Go to the Magic: The Gathering page
60 out of 87 gamers thought this was helpful

Alright, so you can scroll down the review list for Magic and they will all tell you it’s by far the best card game, but its really expensive. They say it’s fun until you realize your deck stinks in comparison with everyone else’s because you will always be outspent on the money cards. But how much does it cost exactly to be into Magic? I mostly play modern format, which means all cards since 2006 are legal. I learned about Magic in 2007 and began building mildly competitive decks in 2010. Each year since 2010, I have spent about 100-200 dollars per year on single cards in comic shops and on online stores. Currently I own 10 decks, 6 of which are typically competitive at weekend tournaments in my local game shop and those tournaments host anywhere from 8-30 people.

Unlike closed card games, Magic is constantly printing new cards, so you’re never running into the same cards over and over again as you play. Also, Magic cards that are 2 years old or more usually retain their value and get a little more valuable the older they get. Closed card games, on the other hand, lose most of their value as soon as you open the box. Most of the fun of the game is going through the cards that are available and choosing cards that make up a deck that’s completely yours. If you get no satisfaction from that, and just want to get into a game and play, then Smash-Up will be enough for you.

Overall, this is the very best card game out there. Its up to you whether its worth the $18 a month or not.

8
Go to the Arkham Horror: The Dunwich Horror page
87 out of 101 gamers thought this was helpful

The Dunwich expansion for Arkham Horror is the first Big Box expansion and is the Big Box expansion that changes the base rules the least. It adds an additional game board that lengthens the Arkham Horror Board by 12 inches. You travel to and from this new game board via the train station at the cost of $1 and a movement point. The monsters that appear in Dunwich don’t count toward the monster limit. Instead, the monsters will wander into vortex spaces. For each monster that does this, the terror level increases and a token is put on the Dunwich Horror track. When 3 tokens are placed on the track the Dunwich Horror awakens. He’s basically a monster that appears in the middle of Dunwich with 5 toughness and instead of moving, you roll a die and you got a 50% chance of adding a doom token on the Doom Track.

The expansion also adds Injury and Madness cards. Players can draw card from these decks when they reach 0 Stamina or 0 Sanity. Instead of losing half your items and clue tokens and only gaining 1 stamina or sanity, you keep all your stuff and regain all of your stamina or sanity. It’s usually worth it because the injuries and madness only add minor handicaps such as -1 hand or -1 will.

The greatest addition to the game the expansion offers is the gateburst mythos cards. These cards add gates on spaces with elder signs. When this happens, all flying monsters move, but no Doom token is added to the Doom Track for that gate opening. This is what really ups the difficulty of the game, which is what I was looking for, since I hadn’t lost a single game of Arkham Horror prior to purchasing Dunwich.

The only negative thing that comes with this expansion is the task and mission cards that can be drawn from the common and special item decks. These give you a reward for spending a turn at 3 or 4 locations in the order they are listed. You sometimes need to sacrifice something at each of the locations as well. I either don’t play with them at all, or give players the option of drawing a new card when they come up if they choose.

Overall, I am very happy with this expansion. If you plan on buying most or all of the Big Box expansions, I recommend you get this one first. If you are only planning on buying one, Innsmouth is the way to go.

9
Go to the Power Grid page

Power Grid

75 out of 111 gamers thought this was helpful

In this game, you bid against other players for factories, which you then purchase resources to power those factories and provide electricity to houses, earning you cash. From experience with introducing this game to new people, I can say it is the mini-market of this game that intrigues people. It moves naturally as it would in real life. When players are using coal to power factories, supply decreases, and cost increases, forcing players to buy oil. I can also say that people aren’t exactly excited about the game when they first sit down and see it, probably because of the seemingly dull theme. But once they begin their power network and they get familiar with the market, they leave pleasantly surprised at the game’s appeal.

Power grid has a two sided board: a Germany map on one side, and a USA map on the other. Chances are, once you’ve played a few games, Germany will be the favorite of the two because of its more balanced and competitive nature.

There are quite a few expansions for this game, although I am yet to be convinced that any of them make the gameplay different enough for me to buy them: a France/Italy board, Benelux/Central Europe, China Korea, Japan/Russia, Brazil/Spain, and the Robots. The new maps are just different boards with slight variation on how the market behaves (such as providing more uranium or less coal etc.) and different factory decks. The basic rules are the same for all maps. The robots expansion simply adds NPC to the game. The robots would probably improve gameplay if you have difficulty getting 4 or more people to play. As for the maps, information on them is scarce, but from what I can pick up and from my limited experience with them, the France/Italy one would be the one to buy, mostly because Italy is supposed to force the players to be even more competitive.

Overall, I strongly recommend this game to strategy gamers. I also recommend it to casual and social gamers, although I would first point them to other games such as Small World and King of Tokyo.

You can view the full rules of this game here:
http://riograndegames.com/Game/5-Power-Grid

9
Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

36 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

King of Tokyo is a great party dice game that only takes about 40 minutes to play with 4 players. Each player throws 6 dice that may either give you energy, punches, hearts, or numbers that can be used for purchasing evolution cards, damaging other players, healing, and gaining victory points respectively. After the initial roll, the player chooses which dice to keep and which to reroll, then does so again after the second roll. This process continues around the table until there is only one monster standing or someone reaches 20 victory points.

The most effective way to earn victory points is to take and hold Tokyo. Only one creature can be in Tokyo at a time for a 2-4 player game and 2 creatures for a 5-6 player game. When in Tokyo, you are not able to heal, so each turn you are dealt damage, you must choose whether to yield Tokyo to the attacking opponent, or push your luck and hold Tokyo.

This game is the current party favorite in my group, and really meets its potential with 4 or more players, but suffers significantly when playing with 2. There is player elimination, but usually it’s not a dealbreaker because the games take a relatively short time to complete. Even so, my group has a house rule for playing without elimination, which you may view on my profile page under “tips.”

Overall, a great party game for casual and social gamers. You can pick it up on amazon for about $35 with free shipping.

For more info on how the game plays, visit their official site:
http://www.iellogames.com/KingOfTokyo.html

Or watch this episode of tabletop (Its pretty entertaining):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGaCjM2hal4

10
Go to the Arkham Horror page

Arkham Horror

125 out of 155 gamers thought this was helpful

Arkham Horror is a coop game in which up to 8 players (10 with all big box expansions) work together to prevent the Great Ancient from awakening. This is by far my favorite coop game on the market, although some criticize it due to the players mostly working independently toward a common goal rather than helping each other out.

The game takes 2-3 hours for a 3 player game, but most people I’ve played with say they aren’t just itching for something to happen the whole game. In fact, there is usually much rejoicing when nothing happens, because when things happen, it usually doesn’t end well in this game. Bottom line is, if you’re only into fast paced games such as King of Tokyo, this game isn’t for you. Otherwise, simply plan on putting in a good amount of time into playing.

There are quite a few rules in Arkham horror, but once everyone has set up their characters, it’s fairly easy to catch on because the rest mainly involves drawing cards and rolling dice accordingly.

The base game is surprisingly easy, even when playing with only 2 players. We had to get the Dunwich Horror expansion soon after playing the base game a few times just to up the difficulty to a “horrifying” level (Innsmouth also works well for this purpose). The base game can be bought on amazon for $45 and each big box expansion (Dunwich, Kingsport, Innsmouth, and Miskatonic) for $35. There are also small box expansions, but they are a waste of cash in my opinion, because they pretty much only add new decks that take up space on the table and don’t up the difficulty or change the gameplay in any meaningful way. So plan on spending $70 as I truly believe a big box expansion is needed to get the full experience of the game.

It should be noted that the base game is 2 feet by 3 feet and each player needs a bit of space for his/her cards. So, for a base game of 1-4 players, you’ll probably need a 3 by 4 or 5 table to play comfortably. Each big box expansion adds another foot to the board, so if you plan on using this game to have a 10 person party, a ping pong table works well, or a 4 by 8 conference table.

Overall, this is a great coop game, even for a casual gamer such as myself. Simply familiarize yourself with the rules beforehand, and you’ll have a blast!

6
Go to the Munchkin page

Munchkin

23 out of 48 gamers thought this was helpful

Munchkin is a card game in which the goal is to reach level 10 before all the other players. You do this by defeating monsters that are drawn from the door deck each turn. To defeat the monster, your combat level, which is your level plus bonuses from items, must be higher than the monster’s level. Once you defeat the monster, you level up and draw treasures, which further power up your character. But the real fun is when it’s NOT your turn and you play cards that mess with other players, like pumping up the monster they just drew. That player is then forced to either run away or bribe another player to assist him in his battle.

Munchkin can be kept fresh by periodically adding expansions. Here’s an overview of all of them:

Munchkin 2,3,4,5,&8: These simply add more races, classes, and weapons.

Munchkin 6: This one includes 20 double sided jumbo “portal” cards. These implement rules that effect everyone at the table. This is the only expansion that changes the gameplay of Munchkin.

Munchkin 7: This one is designed to blend together 2 or more kinds of Munchkin. For example, you’d need this if you wanted to mix Cthulhu Munchkin and Munchkin Possible with your base Munchkin cards. DO NOT GET THIS ONE IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO PLAY WITH JUST ONE MUNCHKIN SET.

Overall, Munchkin is a good buy for party gamers that often have 4 or more people at the table.

10
Go to the Small World: Be Not Afraid page
70 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

I own both Small World and Small World: Underground as well as all the Small World Expansions and this is the expansion to get. It does not change the play of the game much but it does add 5 new races and 5 new special abilities that add more variety to the game. It also ensures that there are always 6 races to choose from on the table at any given time, even when you are playing with 5 people and they each have 2 races in play.

The races and abilities in this expansion are the most fun of any expansion, my personal favorites being the homunculi and Pixies. It also comes with a box that can hold the pieces to the Cursed! and Grand Dames expansions in addition to the Be Not Afraid pieces. The races and abilities found in this expansion are compatible with Underground as well as the original Small World.

If you are a have fan of Small World you will enjoy Be Not Afraid and can find it for about $20. If you like Small World but are looking to improve it’s replayablity, this expansion may help with another few games but if you don’t LOVE Small World, expansions won’t make playing it more interesting.

For more information about the races and classes included in this expansion, visit http://www.daysofwonder.com/smallworld/en/content/rules/

8
Go to the Small World Underground page

Small World Underground

32 out of 46 gamers thought this was helpful

Small World Underground is a great stand alone game in the Small World family. If you are not familiar with the original Small World, it is much like Risk in that you are attempting to control the board with an army of tokens. Only the playtime is much shorter and Small World appeals a lot more to casual gamers such as myself. In fact, it’s the original Small World that got me into board games.

The difference between the original and Underground is that there is a river that splits the map in half and you must conquer the river with a token to continue conquering spaces on the other side. However, no one but the Krakens can hold the river and you must redeploy the token at the redeployment phase. There are also chasm spaces which cannot be conquered, but play a part in race abilities such as the Spiderines and the Flames. There are items than can be obtained after defeating a space occupied by lost tribesmen than give you an additional ability for as long as you hold the space with the item.

Although the Small World expansions are designed for the original, all of the races and special abilities found in the Cursed!, Grand Dames, and Be Not Afraid expansions for the original Small World will work with Underground as well. You can mix and match a handful of races and powers between the original Small World and Underground. I myself enjoy taking the Flames, Gnomes, Iron Dwarves, Ogres, and Lizardmen from Underground and using them while playing the original Small World.

Overall, I would take the original Small World over Underground because I prefer the race abilities of the original, but Underground is certainly a refreshing variety of the Small World gameplay.

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