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toddbarker

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10
Go to the Fairy Tale page

Fairy Tale

17 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

Fairy Tale is a card drafting game that plays very quickly and seats 2-5 players. I don’t have a lot of experience with drafting games but out of the ones I have played this is one of my favourites. Fairy Tale has been knocking all our other filler games off the table since we picked it up. What I like best about it compared to other drafting games other than the play / setup time is how the gameplay encourages you to draft to hinder your opponents. Read below for a quick explanation of how to play and my thoughts on how it scales between 2 and 5 players.

To read the entire review, complete with full sized image assisted explanations go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2014/05/fairy-tale.html

Objective / Goal:

The game is played in 4 rounds, at the end of the 4th round each player will have played 12 cards to create their own Fairy Tale. Players then score points depending on what cards each player has in their story

How To Play:

The game is broken into 2 phases, players will go through both phases in all 4 rounds. The first phase is the drafting phase and the later being the activation phase.

Drafting Phase:
In the drafting phase players will start with a hand of 5 cards, select 1 to keep for their hand and then pass the remaining cards to the player on their left. Continue to do this until you are each passed 1 card that you are forced to keep thus completing your hand of 5 drafted cards.

Activation Phase:
Players choose 1 of their 5 cards to play and wait until everyone else has selected their card. Then, at the same time everyone turns over their card revealing what they played.

Depending on the cards played, players may have the opportunity to perform actions that cause their own or their opponents cards to turn over (either face down so they are worth 0 points or face up to restore the loss of a face down card.)

After players have selected cards they both reveal them simultaneously.

Since this is the first card played, and the player has no other leaf cards they must turn the Fairy Ring face down.

Face down cards score 0 points at the end of the game.
During each activation phase players will only get to play 3 of their 5 cards, this is where I say Fairy Tale encourages you to screw with your opponents plans, the extra 2 cards you have should either be situationally better than the 3 cards you are planning on playing or simply taken to stop your opponents from gaining more of a set they are collecting.

Some cards allow you to turn a face down card face up, they have a green flip symbol.

The top row of shadow cards all allow you to turn one of your opponent’s cards face down.

Games End (Scoring):
After everyone has turned over their ninth card and executed any resulting actions, players get to total their points. Only cards remaining face up will count towards a players total points. I found the scoring simple, but a couple people I have shown it to find the scoring a bit confusing and there is definitely 1 icon that adds to the confusion (the ally).

Any card that has a number in the top left corner is worth that many points unless it has conditions that need met on the bottom.

All of these cards have conditions that need met, the leftmost needs you to have the most cards with statues on the top.
The red leaf card requires you to have the Fairy Queen. The leftmost green card requires you to have 2 yellow and 2 red leaf cards. And the rightmost card requires you to have the most Green cards at the end of the game.

Note: For cards that require majority a tie is good enough to score the points.

Any card with a star is worth a variable amount of points depending on the other cards you have face up at the end of the game. There are two types of variable scoring (star) cards.

The first work as multipliers for each other, if you have 1 it is worth 1 point each, if you have 2 they are worth 2 points each and so on. The most I have ever been able to get is 5 of these kind.

The other work with your Ally cards and are worth 3 points for each of the corresponding Ally card you have (who are worth a base 3 points themselves).

At final scoring, assuming this player had or was tied for the most books, they would score 33 points.
Homesteader’s are multipliers of themselves 3×3 = 9 points.
0 Points for the Leaf Fairy Tale Chapter since they did not have at least 2 green cards.
The dwarven warriors give 3x # of bronze dragons (1) = 3 points
And the remaining cards all score their face value = 21

How does it scale between 2 – 5 players?

Two Players: Surprisingly fun, I like drafting with just 2 players because its more of a head game, you have to think of what cards will make it back to you and weigh that as you consider which cards to take yourself and which to make sure your opponent will not get. 2 player Fairy Tale is a tense game but turns still go around quickly and the whole thing can be done in 5-10 minutes, definitely leaves you with a want to play again feel.

Three Players: For a lot of the reasons said above 3 player Fairy Tale is just as good as two player, I like it because each round you will have more options for strategy than in a two player game. The other major difference is there is there will simply be more cards to cycle through meaning the ones you want might turn up more often, still not enough for me to choose the King and Matching story cards as there are only 1 copy of each out of 100 cards. In a three player game 60 cards will be seen.

Four Players: This is where I start to consider using some of the more chancy cards, if you start with the King or Queen and not the story card I will take them every time as they are guaranteed points with a shot at very high points. I like how quickly turns the game plays with 4 players and I like how different your strategy needs to be from a 2 player game. In a four player game 80 cards will be seen.

Five Players: This is my least favourite number of players to play with, that being said I would still rather play fairy tale than a lot of other 5 player games. My reasoning is that turns go around quick but because it is played over 4 rounds and the cards you chose greatly effect the next round, you really feel like you are building towards / creating something. With 5 players I find people tend to focus more on their own Stories than screwing with other peoples because enough grey cards will come up that screwing with other people’s plans just kind of happens. 5 player is fun because you can come up with some really good strategies since the probability of seeing the cards you want / need is much higher than with any other number of players since every card in the deck will be used..

Who Would Enjoy Fairy Tale?

Family Gamers: There is no violence and once you have learned the iconography the game play is surprisingly simple. There is no long setup or explanation needed so you wont lose anyone’s attention. The game is over and done with in less than 15 – 20 minutes and there is no text that you need to read. Fairy Tale is really accessible while still having a cool theme, if fantasy doesn’t appeal to you then this is a game that you can very easily retheme and is worth doing so because it is a lot of fun to play.

Casual Gamers: Quick game play, easy to learn rules, no reading required and no long boring turns make this ideal to play with non gaming friends. That being said there is a lot of meta game involved in Fairy Tale which makes it easy to get into as more than just a filler and will leave your friends / group wanting to play again. Also because its a relatively inexpensive game its easy to justify adding a copy to your collection especially seeing as it is easy to bring with you somewhere.

Gamer Gamers: This is one I would encourage getting to play with your less serious friends. Even with the meta game there just isn’t enough meat for someone wanting to play a serious drafting game or even a game rich in fantasy theme. That being said it is really easy to teach and quick to jump right into and a fun game to bring to your local meetup and definitely satisfies the drafting itch.

 
Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

24 out of 25 gamers thought this was helpful

Smash Up is perhaps one of the most misunderstood board games I have had the opportunity to play lately. I picked it up about a month ago based off a recommendation in /r/boardgames, it was pointed out to me that Smash Up is by the same designer as Guillotine which has become our go to filler for quite some time. Even after doing some research and discovering they had little to nothing in common, I was sold by the artwork/theme and stopped by my flgs to grab a copy of Smash Up the next day.

To read the full review complete with a photo assisted play through, go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2014/04/smash-up.html

Objective:

Your objective is to mass 15 Victory Points primarily from destroying locations but some factions have other options to gain points.

Destroying Locations?

During the game you will place Minions at locations in order to try and have majority control when the location “breaks”. Each location has a break value in the top left corner, once the combined power of every players’ minions reaches the break point, the location awards victory points based on majority control, the player with the most power gets the value on the left, the 2nd highest power total gets the value in the middle and so on.

How to play:

On your turn you will play 1 action and 1 minion in any order, provided that you do not get bonus actions or minions from those cards, you will then draw 2 cards and your turn is over.

Similarly to Guillotine all the important text is on the cards, that means when you first crack it open there is some reading but eventually the pace will pick up, although the same draw your cards at the end of the turn mechanic is present to help offset the text heavy cards.

My Thoughts:

I really like the theory behind Smash Up, bang two premade faction decks together to get some wacky combo and battle to the death for random locations. The artwork on the cards is fantastic, and I really like some of the faction choices although I feel like others are a bit too generic in the base game.

I do not like how unbalanced some of the combos are, Robots win almost every time unless the other person has a good combo to counter them (ninja gnome works great for this) you can offset this by giving Robots to the new player or by not choosing them or even by selecting factions 1 at a time.

I do not like how in a 4 player game there are no factions left over, base games usually support more than what is required to play in games like this and give you some options even at max players. Having at least 1 expansion feels mandatory but I am unsure as of now if the game is good enough to justify buying an expansion.

I also do not enjoy Smash Up because of the extreme variance in playtime. I like being able to judge how long a game is going to last, sometimes we finish a game of Smash Up in 10 minutes and think we have time to play another only for it to go past 45 minutes. This is because there is no rule to end the game if someone else happens other than hitting 15 points, if your deck runs out you simply reshuffle it so you can end up in a stalemate easily especially when all the factions are in play.

That all being said there are things I enjoy about Smash Up, the game is quite fun once everyone playing has had a chance to play 3 or 4 times and knows what to expect from some factions so they don’t have to spend every turn reading text. I do like how Smash Up implements the draw at the end of your turn that way on your turn you aren’t having to read new cards that you draw and can try to come up with a bit of a strategy. But usually by the time its your turn again what you wanted to do before isn’t an option anymore, Smash Up changes often and it is actually pretty easy to catch up and pull a win from behind unless someone is playing robots or another overpowered combination. I like how intense Smash Up feels like all these random factions are just throwing down yet it still maintains some comical theme although I think lots of that is lost in the gameplay especially when you are first being introduced. Like most games Smash Up is a ton more enjoyable if you call things by the right names, don’t just say you are going for this location or that, send your Grave Digger to the Tar Pits to dig up your Supreme Alien Overlord.

Overall I think Smash Up is a misunderstood game, people expect it to be fun, light and easy based on the artwork and theme and then don’t have any fun as they get lost in all the text. It actually doesn’t take long to get the hang of the game and you will know cards by name before long and the terminology all makes sense. Actually in my opinion the learning curve is not as stepe as a lot of people claim simply because each card tells you exactly what it does on it, there aren’t keywords to learn and remember or anything to memorize really. At the same time that does slow things down, so I would say Smash Up takes time to learn and get into but is worth the commitment as long as everyone understands what they are getting into.

How does it scale?

Two Players: I like two player Smash Up, 3 locations feels like the right number to be fighting over, you can plan a few turns ahead, it feels more strategic and is a pretty fun game to play if you want to duke it out with a friend using some funny factions. The game length varies the most in a 2 player game but similar to Guillotine there is a really fun game hidden in the two player game that is heavier in strategy than at first glance.

Three Players: Hands down my favourite way to play, 4 locations is manageable and you can still plan a turn ahead. Our three player games also seem to last roughly the same amount of time each game, the focus seems to be on scoring points rather than prohibiting other players which means that game keeps progressing towards an end. There is just the right balance of tactics, strategy and luck in a 3 player game.

Four Players: This is where the theme fits best, **** is chaotic and things could change in any direction at any given time. People seem to focus on screwing each other over a lot more which means unless someone is sneaking points in the game will drag. I do like how quickly turns move around the table in a 4 player game and I also like seeing more than 1 base score at a time but that can happen just as easily in a 3 player game. I did not like 4 player Smash Up because the turn order seems to have a lot to do with who wins, there are a few things you can do to offset this but only if you have factions that combo well together, which in a 4 player game where they don’t include any extra options and they aren’t all balanced together, this is unlikely to happen.

Who should buy Smash Up?

Casual Gamers: I would only buy Smash Up if your game pool to choose from is small, there is a lot of replay value in Smash Up and you will need to play more than the average game to really get into it. The learning curve is slower than most games I would recommend to a casual gamer, but the rules are not challenging and the theme should appeal to a wide variety of people. The playing time and setup / cleanup time are also very casual friendly and take almost no time.

Gamer Gamers: I think there are a lot of things appealing about Smash Up although I think it may be a little too random for the typical serious gamer. It can also be frustrating to be unable to get your plan / strategy rolling and that happens quite a bit in Smash Up. Keeping that in mind there is a ton of room for backstabbing and elaborate combos / turns, avid gamers will have a much easier time learning how to play and should be able to pick it up after 1 play and Smash Up is a good game to have around if your friends want to start moving into harder games.

9
Go to the Jaipur page

Jaipur

91 out of 100 gamers thought this was helpful

Jaipur
I do a lot of two player gaming and the biggest problem I have is that games get boring. You can help this by getting games that scale well with more than 2 players, my problem is that usually involves a longer setup and cleanup time and honestly games meant for 2 players tend to be better 2 player games. Jaipur doesn’t just back that statement up, it is the reason it exists. If there is a two player game I can’t get bored of it is Jaipur. Below I will cover how to play Jaipur, my thoughts on it and why it is my favourite two player.

To read the full review with a how to play and images go to
http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2014/01/jaipur.html

My Thoughts:

Okay, this might not seem like a masterpiece but you will only discover how great Jaipur is if you try it. Jaipur is not only my favourite 2 player game, but one of my favourite games overall. This is because I love games that take 5 minutes to learn but a lot longer to master, the rules in Jaipur present a pretty straightforward game heavily laced with luck. In fact one of the few criticizes I hear of Jaipur is that it is too luck dependent. Well I call ********, sure there is a lot of luck involved in Jaipur, but really the game is about minimizing the effects luck will have on you through clever timing.

You will do this by keeping a close eye on your opponent, paying as much attention to what cards they are collecting as what cards you are collecting. You will have to perfectly balance scoring points and screwing up your opponent, the only problem is that every decision you make will benefit your opponent or hinder yourself in some way shape or form. This is intensified by the fact that you can only do 1 action on your turn. You have to plan a few turns in advance but by that time so many things could have changed, your opponent could have sold some of that good, there could be better goods for sale, you could have acquired a better product in a move that was too good to pass up. Since each game is technically 2 or 3 plays I have probably played 100ish times and I can say that no more than 5 of those games have been lost outright due to luck. It can happen, but most likely you will lose to being outplayed or making a couple mistakes. Timing is the most important aspect of Jaipur, when you decide to do which action will determine who wins or loses.

Here is what I mean by benefiting your opponent or hindering yourself:

Taking: If you take just 1 card, a better card could be turned up for your opponent, you are also spending your entire turn to take just 1 card, good if its a high value card not so much if its a low value. Taking 1 low value card might be better than taking multiple camels in some cases.

Swapping: If you swap a cheap good such as leather for a better good you are making it easier for your opponent to get a bonus token and you are not gaining new cards this turn but rather upgrading in value or getting your own bonus token, this means that if your opponent spends less total actions swapping, they will have more cards than you.

Swapping: If you swap a medium priced good for a better good, you are making a decent option available for your opponent that might not have been before, this can really suck if there are still high value tokens of that good or they already have a couple of that particular good. Just like above, you are losing out on gaining more cards.

Taking Camels: If you take camels you must take them all, taking 1 or 2 camels is not really worth it in terms of getting the camel token or having significant trading power but taking 4 or 5 gives your opponents lots of new card options, keep in mind that they can trade a combination of their goods AND camels in order to get these newly available cards at the market. You are also taking something that is not worth physical points (you cant sell camels)

Using Camels: When you use your camels, you are lowering your chance of getting the camel token, you are giving up some of your ability to adapt and in the long run replenish your hand after you sell most of your cards. Make sure you have a few goods in your hand or you will not be able to take advantage of a fresh market if your opponent takes the camels after you use them.

Selling just 1 card: You are stopping your opponent from getting the higher valued token but giving up the opportunity for a bonus token yourself, you will never score double digit points this way and you are giving your opponent free pick of the market. This can either encourage your opponent to collect a set of that good or ditch any they had making it easier for you to collect a set, this can also force your opponent to take a card or camels leaving the market open for you. This becomes a significantly less “good” option later in the game unless lots of the expensive goods have already been sold.

Selling Multiple Cards: You have probably gained a sizable balance of points and maybe even a bonus token, but how many turns did it take total to gather and collect the store of goods, if you focus one collecting one type at a time you are vulnerable to your opponent sniping the high valued or gaining better cards themselves, they can also score lots of points while you are trying to collect a set, if you focus on two types you could be stuck in a situation where you have to make a set available at the market in order to finish your other set. When and how you decide to collect a set is very important.

Two things to keep in mind, one of them I mentioned before:

You can swap a combination of Camels AND Goods when acquiring new goods from the market.
You MUST swap 2 cards, you cannot swap 1 for 1.

Who would enjoy Jaipur?

Casual Gamers: The rules are simple enough to learn in a couple minutes and you can jump right into playing, because it is played out of 3 rounds it has an addicting feel. Jaipur is not too heavy and not too light and a must have two player, playing doesn’t take long and most importantly Jaipur is fun. You can teach Jaipur to just about anyone and the theme is fun, trading in gold and rubies is far more exciting than what most people do on the average day.

Gamer Gamers: For anyone that does serious two player gaming this is the perfect game for you, every turn matters and you can easily mess with someones plan. Jaipur is a great game if you are the type of person who enjoys keeping a close eye on your opponent and making tactical decisions. After a few plays you will start to really have fun with Jaipur, I am very impressed with the amount of different strategies compared to most other 2 player games.

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
49 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

Trains, some people love them and other people hate them, where do you sit? Personally ever since I played the original Ticket to Ride I have been against train games. A few things changed that, first I picked up Trains from AEG, its a Deck/Route Building Game which let me play a “Train Game” without all the focus being on the trains, and even better they just used cubes instead of plastic trains. Trains as a theme has always been a big turnoff for me and why I have had a hard time getting into train games, but lately I have been asking to play one. Next a friend that I got into board gaming discovered TTR on his own and brought it over, having a new tolerance for trains I could not say no and found myself enjoying Ticket to Ride much more than when I tried it previously. Then I discovered TTR Europe, there are a few differences between Europe and the original Ticket to Ride that make it a much more enjoyable game for me, below I will highlight the basics and then the differences between the Europe and the original game, then I will give my thoughts and explain why why it doesn’t see much table action.

For the entire review complete with full sized images go to: http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/12/ticket-to-ride-europe.html

Objective: In Ticket To Ride Europe your goal is the same as in the original TTR, gather train cards, complete routes between cities corresponding to your Destination Tickets to score points.

Gameplay: On a turn each player will perform one of the following actions:

1. Place Trains: You must complete a route in 1 action (1 turn). In order to complete a route you must play one train card of the corresponding colour for each train you will place on the board.

2. Draw Tickets: You draw 3 destination cards and must keep one of them, you can keep any number of them but keep in mind incomplete tickets count as minus points at the end of the game. Tickets that are not kept are placed on the bottom of the deck.

3. Draw Train Cards: You may take 2 train cards at random or one face up train card of your choice from the 5 face up cards, if you take a face up train card it is immediately replenished.

4. Place Train Station: A train station may be placed in order to use an opponent’s route as your own. The first train station you play will cost 1 train card, the second will cost 2 and your last train station will cost 3 train cards, the train cards used to pay for a train station must be of matching colour.

End of Game: When one player gets down to two trains left every player gets 1 final turn and then scores are calculated.

Scoring: Through the game players are awarded points for each route they finish according to the number of trains in the route. At the end of the game players will score points for any destination tickets they managed to complete, in addition players are awarded 4 points for every Train Station they did not use and the player with the longest route is awarded 10 extra points.

Differences:

A lot of people get the wrong impression that TTR Europe is just a new map, well it is not! In fact I don’t really enjoy the original Ticket to Ride so let me explain the key differences and why I prefer Europe.

Train Stations: For me this is the big one, not because I dislike getting blocked but because I enjoy the added level of strategy, without them there is only so much planning you can do but with Train Stations Ticket to Ride feels like an entirely different game. With 4 players I feel like they add to the urgent/rushed feeling that TTR creates, at the beginning of the game do you take those valuable routes or stash train cards, you will have to make similar decisions with your train stations.

Destination Cards: In TTR Europe you seperate the long routes from the short routes and players are each given only 1 long route at the start of the game, during gameplay you can only draw short routes. This helps make the game more balanced and strategy based instead of luck dependent, however I feel like it is a bit counterintuitive to introduce this mechanic after adding Train Stations to the game (which fix the long vs short route problem for me).

Locomotives: Locomotives serve two purposes, first they are a wild card that allows you to help construct routes easier, secondly they allow you to use ferries. To build a route over water you will need to play a number of Locomotive Cards equal to the number of Locomotive symbols on corresponding on the route. To me adding new water routes and wild cards are great because they help speed up the game as well as give more options.

Tunnels: These are a special route that may require additional train cards. Tunnels are noted by their dark black border on the game board. When a player wishes to claim a tunnel route they first turn over the top 3 train cards from the deck, for each card corresponding with the colour of the route, you must pay 1 additional train card to complete your route. Note that locomotives always count against you. The way tunnels work also seems counterintuitive to me because they slow the game down while Locomotives seem to be put in place to speed the game up, they also make things more random while Locomotives allow for more in depth strategies.

My Thoughts: Although I enjoy Ticket to Ride Europe it does not get played much, mostly because my main group is starting to get into less light games. I think where TTR Europe sits best is as a family game, it is not nearly as frustrating as the original game and has some fantastic mechanics that make it easy for non gamers to really “get into the game”. That being said my personal bias has always been that trains are too boring to hook anyone on our hobby which leaves me with an easy to learn, somewhat addicting, G rated boardgame perfect for families to enjoy together.

Who Would Enjoy Ticket to Ride Europe?

Family Gamers: Ticket to Ride Europe is a great game for families, it has a family friendly theme and the rules are easy to grasp, the box recommends 8 plus. The rules are still deep enough that they allow you to develop a strategy. Also you can learn some geography while playing and playing doesnt take long at all.

Casual Gamers: Ticket to Ride Europe is still every bit as accessible as the original Ticket to Ride and a great way to introduce friends, I like it because it allows room for a bit more long term strategy which is in my opinion a very important aspect when trying to hook new gamers on the hobby. I enjoy TTR as a casual game because of the very fast setup / packup time, and more importantly because turns go around the table at a quick pace.

Gamer Gamers: Although not first choice, many serious gamers I know do enjoy TTR but as a much more cutthroat game where the focus seems to be blocking and keeping hidden the route you are working on is much more important. Although the original Ticket to Ride is better for this, TTR Europe can still be fun and I find makes a much better game to play with your non gamer friends.

10
Go to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords (Base Set) page
48 out of 54 gamers thought this was helpful

To read my entire review complete with full sized images go to
http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/11/pathfinder.html

Unless you are living under a rock you have seen or at least heard of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game by now. This review will help you get a better understanding of just what you’re getting into if you plan on picking up a copy of the Pathfinder ACG. Lets start by answering your first question, what is an Adventure Card Game? Well I am not entirely sure anyone can easily describe that, the description I liked best reading board game geek was a “deck leveling game” that does pretty well, but in my head it reminds me of deck building games where you are free to acquire cards and construct your deck as you please, this is not the case with Pathfinder ACG. Think of it as an Dungeon Crawl in a card game format, sort of a mashup of Descent and Arkham Horror, but borrows a fair amount from the Living Card Games. The essence of the game is that you and your groups’ decks (characters) will level up and get stronger (better / more cards and bonus feats / traits) as you successfully complete scenarios. Your deck will serve as your hit points as well as your means to success. In each Scenario your party’s goal is to defeat a Villain, the trouble is you are not quite sure which Location he is hiding at, and to make things worse he will just run away from a fight as long as he has somewhere (a Location) to escape to. That means it is your job to lock down these Locations so you can corner the Villain, to accomplish this you will need to defeat his Henchmen at each Location and then pass a Check corresponding with said location. But it isn’t that easy, your adventure is only blessed for so long, and after 30 turns (tracked via the Blessings Deck) your party will fail and your adventure will come to an end.

My Thoughts: Well, I will be honest my first couple plays we probably made more than a few errors, and I did not enjoy the game at all. However after reading many great reviews and spending the cash on the game I decided I wanted to give it more of a chance, I am very glad I did. It wasn’t until I tried my 3rd character that I really ‘enjoyed’ the game, before that I felt kind of like a car salesmen trying to hook my friends on it in hopes that the game got better as we learned the rules and more adventure decks are released. I found that I did not enjoy the recommended decks for any of the characters I tried and that was the verdict from the rest of my gaming group, there were some that only needed slight tweaks and then some that felt way off. Since I started playing as Lem I have felt much more involved in the game and that is probably my biggest point to stress about the Pathfinder ACG, the more involved you are the more fun it is. I will delve a bit into my thoughts on each character below. Regardless of who you choose to play as you can easily keep track of your deck and progress through the scenarios by using this excellent spreadsheet found on bgg. http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/94190/pathfinder-acg-character-tracker-spreadsheet Finally I would like to add that I love how well this game scales, probably better than any other game I have played. I enjoyed the solo play a lot more than I thought I would and we have played with every number of players from 2-6, excellent with any number and 1-6 is an odd number for a cooperative game which I think it handles the too easy or too hard problem better than other cooperative games.

Lem: Lem has a lot of options for customization, you can make him very offensive so that he can explore and handle almost any situation on his own, he can help other characters in the same location as him, he can be a very effective healer by using cure and his passive ability of changing cards in his hand with his discard. What I like most about Lem is the speed at which he churns through his deck, recharging cards to assist other players and still having the resources left on your turn to handle an exploration is awesome and can be done almost every turn with Lem.

The cards I used in Lem’s starting deck are a little different than the recommended cards. I used these cards to help with Lem’s weakest checks so he is more effective at solo play and exploring on his turn, while still being able to aid his friends.

Weapon: Sling.
Items: Mattock, Thieves Tools
Spells: Cure x2, Lightning Touch, Invisibility
Allies: Standard Bearer x2, Sage

If anyone is curious the first feats of each type I selected were Another Spell Card, Charisma +1 and +1 to aiding other characters.

Included Adventure Deck: Burnt Offerings

If you are someone who has been on the fence about Pathfinder after trying it, try the first adventure deck. It adds some much needed variety.

I think the ‘weapons’ additions were boring to say the least but the Barriers, Monsters, Villains, and especially Henchmen were all done exceptionally well. The Pit of Malfeshnekor is very cool, it gives you the option to take a free item but at the expense of damage and I was wondering where the Fiery Weapon was in the base set. The new blessing is much needed, it adds bonus to combat checks against monsters. The henchmen have some variety in the adventure pack with most scenarios hosting more than just a generic type of henchmen.

9
Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

45 out of 52 gamers thought this was helpful

King of Tokyo has become one of my go to games lately, not because of how awesome it is, well kinda because of how awesome it is but mostly because of how accessible (awesome) it is. Confused? Thats okay because the rest of the review will be really straightforward, this is a very easy game great for kids to play on their own or with older folks as well. The theme is awesome, giant monsters fighting for ultimate supremacy in Tokyo City and the gameplay is smooth, first I will cover how to play and then my thoughts and who will get the most enjoyment out of King of Toyko.

To read my entire review, complete with full sized images to assist explanation go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/09/king-of-tokyo.html

Goal: Your goal is to mass 20 victory points or be the last monster standing. You are eliminated from the game if your life reaches 0 and the game ends immediately if one monster reaches 20 points.

Setup:
This is one of my favourite parts of the game and the main reason that it hits the table so often. Players simply select a monster, grab its cardboard cutout and black stand, then take the Monster Board, set their hitpoints to 10 on the heart dial and the star dial to 0.

Then shuffle the cards and turn 3 face up to form a “shop” of items available to the monsters.

How to Play:
Playing is simple, first you roll all 6 black dice. Following a press your luck mechanic you are allowed to re roll any number of your dice twice keeping and setting aside any dice you wish each time you roll. Here is an example turn:

After Rolling the 6 dice, Alienoid decides to keep 1 claw, 1 energy and 1 two.

After re rolling the dice two more times Alienoid ended up with 3 2s, 1 claw, 1 energy and a leftover wasted 3.

For being the first player to roll a claw, Alienoid takes control of Tokyo City, he is awarded 1 Victory Point for entering Tokyo City, each consecutive turn he spends inside the city will yield 2 Victory Points, however he may not be healed using hearts on dice.

The energy bolt yields 1 green energy cube, they are saved to purchase special cards, and the 3 twos awards 2 victory points

This brings Alienoid’s victory point total to 3.

Here are what your results could be:

3 of a Kind – Rolling 3 1s, 2s, 3s will yield the corresponding amount of victory points, each additional number (4th 5th or 6th of a kind) will award 1 victory point.

Heart – Each heart will heal your monster 1 point, you cannot go above the starting hit points (10) unless you have a special card that says so.

Energy Bolt – These award you 1 green energy cube, you stockpile these each round and can buy Special Cards when you have enough energy.

Claw – These are your attacks, each one you roll will result in 1 point of damage, who you do that damage to depends on where you are located . If you are inside of Tokyo (City or Bay) You will attack everyone not inside of Tokyo, if you are outside of Tokyo you will attack the Monster(s) inside of Tokyo.

That’s it, you rinse and repeat until there is only 1 monster standing or someone obtains 20 stars.

Special Cards:
These can be game changers, but if you don’t like the selection of cards for sale you can always spend 2 energy cubes to switch them for 3 new cards. As soon as a Special Card is purchased it is replaced with a new card.

Some Examples of Special Cards:

Gotta love the classics like Giant Brain and Extra Head.
Thoughts: I like King of Tokyo, there is enough of a game that you will have to make tough choices and form a strategy but I can set it up in under a minute, this is the key to its success you can grab the box and be playing in 5 minutes, regardless of how many players are new. King of Tokyo has quickly become popular among my regular gaming group, I doubt I will pick up an expansion but I might fool around and make a monster or two myself.

Components:
Although Tokyo could be cooler like a few 3D buildings or something I think the components are part of what makes the game so much fun. The monsters are all done in awesome cardboard cutouts, there was only one I didn’t like. The dice are nice, my only real complaint is selection, why are monster choices limited to the number of players, kinda made me sad.

Who would like King of Tokyo?

Family Gamers: Most families are okay with giant fictional monsters like the ones you see in movies battling each other in a board game, obviously though not everyone has the same point of view. I like King of Tokyo as a family game because: kids can easily play by themselves after being taught, adults won’t be bored while playing with kids, and it is extremely accessible (easily and quickly setup, taught, cleaned up, etc)

Casual Gamers: You and your friends take on the roles of giant monsters, some of them classics like Godzilla and the Kraken and then proceed to fight each other for supreme control of Tokyo City. Its gonna be fun no matter what the rules are, then add in room for up to 6 players, push your luck mechanics and awesome looking components and you have a masterpiece. And as mentioned above, it is very easy to teach, set up and play for pretty much anyone regardless of age.

8
Go to the Lost Cities: The Card Game page
66 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

Occasionally I get asked why I don’t write more negative reviews, I guess the answer I should have been giving was that I hadn’t had a chance to play Lost Cities. Since I do a fair amount of 2 player gaming with the Mrs I figured why not pick up this “classic” renown as a “couples game” or just a generally fantastic game for 2 players I thought what could possibly go wrong. Now don’t get me wrong, this will not be an entirely “negative review” because I do see the attraction, I mean playing the game is pretty fun, you have to make some tough choices and the mechanics are good, even your goal seems feasible, so where does Lost Cities go wrong? I can share the sour taste in my mouth by quoting one sentence from the rule book “Thus, an expedition’s value is between -80 and 156.” In a round, you can have up to 5 expeditions and you must find the total value, rarely do you actually have 5 but you can see how scoring can be a little hard to keep track of. My main issue is that the scoring feels like it is too much work for the actual game you just played, even if you do it quickly with a calculator or pad of paper it is still a chore.

Objective:
To have the highest total expedition value when the draw deck runs out of cards.

Setup:
Shuffle the deck and deal each player 8 cards.

Gameplay:
You have 2 options on your turn, discard or play an expedition card, after either action you must draw a new card.

Playing an Expedition Card:
You simply place an expedition card of a higher value than the current expedition card on your side of the board where the corresponding expedition is located. You may never go back and add a lower value card, and Investment cards must be played before any numerical expedition cards have been placed.

Discarding an Expedition Card:
Each Expedition has it’s own discard pile, when you discard a card simply place it in the matching discard pile on top of any previously discarded cards..

Drawing a Card:
You have two choices, technically 6 choices as to where you can draw your card from. You can draw from the draw deck or the top card of any expedition’s discard pile. Keep in mind that drawing from the draw deck causes the game to move closer to its end.

Game End / Scoring
This is where you need to get some scrap paper, a calculator and a Tylenol or two because ***** about to get intense.
* First you add the numbered cards in an expedition together
* Then subtract 20 from the sum of the expedition
* Multiply the new value of the expedition by (1+# of Investment Cards)

Note: Expeditions that do not have any cards in them at the end of the game count for 0 points, they do not get the -20.

Artwork
I thought it was important to mention that the artwork on the cards is really cool. The numbers show an expedition in sequential order and each of the Investment cards feature the same people in front of a different ma. I felt that the artwork was very connected to the game thought they picked a good set of colours for the cards.

Why Didn’t I enjoy Lost Cities?
As I mentioned above mostly the scoring, I felt that the game played good to okay but it wasn’t “fun” for lack of a better word. I think my problem is it reminds me too much of standard card games, not to say that I don’t enjoy Crazy Eights but when they start to get too serious I would rather play something with a board and bits.

Who Would Enjoy Lost Cities?

Casual Gamers: I do think some casuals will find love in Lost Cities, I think if you enjoy standard playing card games then you will really enjoy Lost Cities, if you do not, and consider yourself a casual gamer I would make sure to physically try this one before buying regardless of how great you think it sounds / looks.

Gamer Gamers: If you are considered an “alpha gamer” or any synonym for the term then I think you will find enjoyment in Lost Cities, unless of course you do not enjoy number crunching. There is lots of deep decision making and lots of replay value. When two people who are experienced with the game play it is totally different and way more intense, a game of wits, these are why I would recommend Lost Cities to a serious gamer.

9
Go to the Rex: Final Days of an Empire page
53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

Do you lust for power? Crave bloodshed and the chance to make your enemies squirm? Do you have a taste for trickery and double speak? If you answered yes to the above questions or if you just want to play a kick *** board game, I implore you to continue reading. Rex: Final Days of an Empire is an area control game with a lot going on, you will have to use battle tactics, politics, hand/resource management, bidding/bluffing and just the right amount of backstabbing to win.

Go to my blog for a full review complete with full sized image ***isted explanation of the gameplay, for now I just included my thoughts http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/08/rex-final-days-of-empire.html

My Thoughts: Everything written above are merely technicalities to give you an idea of how Rex is played, its hard to convey in words the elegance of this game. I good write pages and only scratch the surface, if you enjoy a deep game, Rex is for you. Although I have only had Rex for a week or so I can already tell you my favourite thing about the game, you have to really play your opponents and not just a game. You often hear people saying that board games are great because they encourage people to actually interact with each other rather than just stare at a screen or to actually get together, however you want to put it, some games just don’t give room for that deep of interaction. Because of the mechanics of Rex you don’t have a choice, you will have to interact with your fellow gamers, think like your enemies, backstab your friends, take risks and bide time. We have got 6 or 7 games in now and there really is endless strategy to how you approach each game, I love how the combat is not luck driven and I really like how every race has their strengths and their weaknesses, often you will think you have the win in the bag only to find out due to some loophole someone else win before you.

One of the other enjoyable parts of Rex is the time requirement.

Components: For the most part, the components are awesome. Before buying Rex I had read a lot of complaints about the functionality of the board, the quality of the battle dials and a few other component complaints which I thought was odd for an FFG game. Thankfully the board turned out to be functional and visually attractive, you could hang it as a decoration. The battle dials were a pain in the *** to put together but once they clipped in I haven’t had them ‘fall apart’ like some forum posts lead me to believe. The rulebook was a bit of a struggle though… I will cover some of what I thought were confusing parts of the rulebook below.

Betrayal Cards should not be optional, the game felt lacking something our first play (we did get a couple rules wrong but I dont think that was it) they add so much to the game play with them its only 1 more little rule.

Rules Complaints: So even they know their rulebook is terribly written I found this insert starring at me when I first opened the box.

By far the most confusing part is the influence spawn, there are some wrong player aids on bgg that definitely added to my confusion.
1. You can only get influence from spaces on the map where there physically are influence tokens
2. Influence tokens only appear based on the card revealed every turn.
3. If a ceasefire / sol offensive card is revealed, resolve them and then turn over cards until you reveal one that spawns Influence.

These were very important and combined lead to our first two games being played slightly wrong.

Battles: You have to commit a leader, I mentioned this above but I missed it and a friend caught this one before we played our first game. Also tricky to find in the book is that your leader only dies if a strategy card or traitor card is played.

Also mentioned above, but one cannot simply discard strategy cards at their leisure.

There were a few other small confusions but they were cleared up by this fantastic player aid, it helped me a lot, this is the one I would recommend using out of ones that exist on bgg

Who would enjoy Rex?

Gamer Gamers – With a play time of at least 2 hours, Rex doesn’t leave much room for casual or family play, here are some reasons you should add Rex to your collection if you are a “serious” gamer.

– Very political with tons of player interaction
– Endless number of strategies
– Minimal Luck and no dice combat system
– Many ‘different levels of conflict’ direct combat, blocking, negotiation, economic, betrayal, secret victory conditions
– Infinite replay

Usually when games approach the 3 hour mark they have no chance of seeing my gaming table, however despite Rex not being my group’s “type of game” everyone has been dying to play again and we met up twice extra last week to play.

After finishing my review I decided that really the rules are simple enough that a casual gamer could play and I believe would thoroughly enjoy the mechanics since Rex is an awesome experience that differs from most games. I would recommend having mostly experienced players if you are going to teach a casual friend though.

9
Go to the OddVille page

OddVille

30 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

Never have I ever seen such an odd collection of people in a single game, there are some real characters alright. Oddville to me is a whirlpool of randomness, borrowing mechanics and rules from this game and that combining them into a city building fusion that feels so familiar. This could have been themed as a more serious Euro and it would probably be ranked much higher, instead it is plastered in ridiculousness. Does it work? Flawlessly. Here’s a bit about how to play, how the game did with my gaming group, what I like best about it and who I think would most enjoy Oddville.

Objective:

Your goal is to be the player with the most points when the game ends. The game ends when someone has placed their 6th building inside the city.

Setup:
1. Each player takes the worker meeples and worker cards of his/her colour

2. Shuffle and turn over 6 of the building cards and place them in a single line.

3. Place the village square in the center of the table

How to play:

On your turn you have 2 choices, play a Worker Placement Card or Spend Resources to Develop Oddville.

This is the weakest worker card, your options are
limited but he is still useful despite his sad appearance
Worker Placement Cards:

Each player has the same 4 worker cards and must either play them all before they are returned or pay to have them returned early. Each worker can perform one of three actions.

1. Give you the amount of gold coins listed on the card (Maximum of 5)
2. Allow you to place a worker onto the resource board to pay for the construction of future buildings
3. Let you purchase or take one of the 6 face up building cards depending on its corresponding cost

You are allowed to place a worker on any
resource space with this worker card, however
you must pay all coin costs required by the
corresponding space on the resource board

Resource Board:

The Resource board was a little bit tricky at first, there are unlimited number of spots for each resource, however depending on when you place your worker on a certain space they will either be free, 1 coin or 2 coins.

You always place workers and take them off (spend them) from the lowest value space on the resource board. The first
player to place a worker obtains the resource for free, the next two spaces cost 1 coin and then there are an infinite
number of resources available for two coins.

Buildings for Sale:

There are always 6 buildings face up for sale laid out in a line. When one is purchased slide the remaining cards to the left and add a new building card to the far right hand side of the line of buildings. The cost of the building depends on which Worker Card you are using to buy it, some buildings can be made free by using a more valuable Worker Card but a couple of the rightmost will always cost coins. Once you have purchased a building for coins you do not add it to Oddville but simply place it with your supply of available workers and worker cards until you have the resources and action to construct it.

Recovering Played Worker Cards:

This is a very key mechanic that adds a layer of subtle strategy to Oddville, if at the beginning of your turn you have no available Worker Cards to play you simply pick all 4 back up again and proceed as normal, however if you would like to pick 1 card back up early you must pay 1 coin and can then proceed with your turn. Deciding when to best use your less powerful Worker Cards and when to recover the most powerful can completely change a game around.

Develop Oddville:

At the bottom of each Building Card there are pictures of different resources, in order to place a Building Card from your possession into the city of Oddville you must pay each resource shown. Then based on the symbols in the top right corner you will get a reward that serves as a bonus to help finish more buildings. The symbols shown in the top left corner along with where you construct the building in Oddville depict the amount of points the building is worth at the end of the game. After you have placed a building and are happy with where it is located, place a worker on it, collect the rewards from the newly placed building and all adjacent buildings that are connected via a road, now end your turn.

One of the key rewards are Guild Members who provide you with a bonus as long as you control them and victory points at the end of the game if you managed to hang on to them. If you are required to take a guild member and none are left to take then ALL PLAYERS including yourself must return their members of that guild, shuffle them and then draw 1.

How did I like Oddville?

I rather enjoyed it, it was a very interesting combination of mechanics, It feels something along the levels of Lords of Waterdeep and I can’t quite pin where the city placement mechanic feels borrowed from, but I definitely recognize the style from a different game. I ended up pleasantly surprised with how good of a game Oddville was, the Guild characters look hilarious but I think were a little imbalanced eg: (The one that lets you build every time someone else builds for only 2 coins). Some of the building cards don’t work as well with 2 players, as a 4 player game Oddville is great, takes much less time than games with similar levels of choices, I found the timing with a 3 or 4 player game is just right but with 2 I found it ended too quickly. Oddville may not have any ‘unique’ mechanics but I have never seen a game fuse so many mechanics together, specifically I really like how you score points / construct the city is really awesome with a worker placement game and instead of being able to unlock more workers as you near the climax you will have less to utilize which I found helped to keep scores closer together.

9
Go to the Hive page

Hive

84 out of 91 gamers thought this was helpful

Up until roughly a week ago I had next to zero 2 player only games in my collection. Even though the girlfriend and I play more games just us than with company I don’t like the restriction of not being able to add more players. Between my lacking 2 player collection and not touching a chess piece in over 10 years I would have been the last person to pick up Hive. That was until I asked /r/boardgames for advice on a solid vacation game that was not simply a pocket / travel edition of an already mediocre game, I had seen Hive’s name mentioned dozens of times on various websites but always brushed it off due to the player limitation. Well I bought Hive and I am very disappointed, not at the game though but rather myself for dismissing it some 6 months ago without even giving it a try.

For a full review complete with photo assisted explanations go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/08/hive.html

How do you play?

Learning to play is simple, learning how to win will take practice. In the most simplistic explanation, you and your opponent will take turns placing and/or moving insects around the ‘Hive’ in a fight for dominance, in order to take control of the Hive and win, you must completely surround your opponent’s Bee using a combination of both players’ pieces.

Setup:

The setup occurs during the first 4 turns, these turns follow different rules from the rest of the game.

Your first piece you play MUST touch your opponent’s piece.
You MUST place your Bee within your first 4 moves.
You can ONLY place pieces and not move any until after you have placed your bee

Playing:

After the “setup” phase you will have to choose between placing a new piece and moving an insect already in play. First I will cover the placement of new pieces.

Placement:

When placing a new piece regardless of which Bug it is, you can ONLY touch your colour piece.

To make things clear / reiterate you cannot place a new tile so that it is touching both colours.

When your Beetle is on top of an opponent’s bug, that tile is considered yours and you can place pieces off of it so long as they do not touch any of your opponent’s pieces.

Moving:

This is where the majority of the strategy comes in, each bug moves along a set path similar to chess piece (although with much more abstract paths) I will now explain how each bug works.

note: At no point in time can you cause a separation that would split the tiles into more than 1 ‘hive’.

Grasshopper: It hops! You can only move your grasshopper if it hops a piece next to it, the Grasshopper MUST move in a straight line, MUST hop over at least 1 piece and MUST fill the first available gap.

Ant: These crawling insects work much like their real life counterparts and can move anywhere as long as they can get to that space by sliding along the table, without pushing other tiles out of its way or having to pick it up to fill a hole.

Beetle: Beetles move only 1 space in any direction, however unlike any other bug they have the ability to move on top of other pieces. A piece with a Beetle on top of it cannot move and is considered to be the colour of the piece on top. Beetles can be stacked up to 4 high.

Bee: Similar to the initial Beetle movement, your Bee can also only move 1 space, however this is all your bee can do, it possesses no special power.

Spider: These 8 legged freaks MUST move in a single direction and MUST move 3 spaces.

Components:

The components are one of the best parts about hive, the tiles are a perfect size and are heavy enough that they don’t push each other away as you move your pieces, the sturdy tiles make Hive perfect for outdoor play and the travel bag it comes with lets you take Hive anywhere.

What makes Hive so enjoyable to me?

My absolute favourite part about Hive is how easy it is to get a game in, our average match lasts 5-15 minutes, combined the setup and cleanup time takes 30 seconds and you can play with pretty much anyone or anywhere. The rest of the appeal:

– Abstract / “Sandbox” style strategy
– Different from games that my group frequently plays
– Great warm up for longer games
– Lots of replay value
– Theme reminds me of an old Warcarft 3 custom game “Bug Evolution” players were split in to teams of 2 and each controlled a different bug type that filled a different roll in the colony, each side expanded and evolved until there was no more room left and only one colony remained, it was awesome. Couldn’t fnid a video of it but here is a link to the download http://www.epicwar.com/maps/84634/

Who would enjoy Hive and why?

Family Gamers:
– Easy to learn rules
– Like Chess, Hive encourages and helps teach strategic thinking
– Quick playtime
– Fun ‘Bug’ theme
– Play inside or outside

Casual Gamers:
– Easy to learn rules
– Quick playtime
– Play inside or outside
– Leaves you wanting to play again
– Great for improving your strategic thinking to help win other games

Gamer Gamers:
– Fantastic quick playing 1v1 strategy game
– No luck involved
– Fairly unique to have in one’s collection

I think that Hive would do great with anyone who would consider playing a board game, obviously the limitation of only being a one on one game will be an impact on all categories, but when there are just two of you, Hive is perfect.

9
Go to the Android: Netrunner page

Android: Netrunner

111 out of 120 gamers thought this was helpful

Is Netrunner all its cracked up to be, I mean how has it locked down the hotness section on Board Game Geek since its release basically never losing a top 3 position? Well I am here to help you make that decision for yourself. First I will give a brief overview of how the game is played, then I will compare it to the other LCGs I have played.

To read the review complete with full sized images go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/06/android-netrunner.html

Gameplay:

Players take on the roll of either a Corporation or a Hacker (Runner) and their goal is to either advance your own goals/agendas (Corporation) or sabotage corporate plans and steal their valuable information (Runners).

Each turn players get a limited amount of “clicks” which serve as your ‘actions’ for the turn. There are predetermined actions you can take or playing cards from your hand (Installing Cards) or activating abilities on cards in play requires ‘clicks’ as well.

The Corporation player must ‘install’ agendas and place enough advancement counters on them to score the agenda points. In order to stop the Runner from stealing their ‘Agendas’ the Corporation player must install ‘Ice’ and ‘Upgrades’ in order to protect their Assets and Agendas.

The Runner must steal agendas from the Corporation player, this is initiated by ‘starting a run’. During a ‘run’ the hacker will need to bypass the corporate security measures using ‘programs’ and ‘hardware’. If the Runner successfully makes it to the agenda and steals it, the Runner instead scores the agenda points.

Corporations will also play ‘Asset’ cards to both help them achieve victory faster and mislead the Runner.

The Corporation player will ‘install’ ice in order to protect their Agendas from being stolen by the Runners.

In order to get past the Corporate defenses and protect themselves the Runners will need to utilize ‘Programs’ and ‘Hardware’.

Program: Icebreaker are the programs Runners will play to combat the Corporation’s defences, each Icebreaker is broken
into a subcategory that specializes in breaking certain types of ice.

Now that you have a basic idea of the types of cards I will demonstrate a hypothetical run.

CLICK THE LINK AT TOP FOR A PICTORIAL RUN EXPLANATION

Here are the different types of servers the Runner can hack:
Central Servers:
R&D – corporation card draw pile
HQ – Corporation Player’s Hand
Archives – Corporation trash / discard pile

The Corporation player may also have multiple ‘Remote Servers’ where cards can be installed.

My favourite thing about Netrunner by far is the huge community behind it, you will have no problems finding someone to play with and there are so many extra materials available online, here are some of the ones I found useful:

Complete Tutorial
Solo Variant
Deck Builder
Full Card List & FAQ
Awesome Looking Player Mats

My Thoughts:

There is a lot of terminology and since both players have different rules the learning curve for Netrunner is quite high. That is not to say that it is higher than other LCGs, if I were to rank it in difficulty out of the LCGs I have played, I would say it is the 2nd hardest to learn.

In terms of the LCG matching its universe/theme, I think that Netrunner does better than all of the other LCGs out there. They did a really good job keep the ambiguity of each faction making sure to emphasize that there is no real ‘hero’, only lesser evils. The Game of Thrones multiplayer does a fantastic job capturing the treachery and backstabbing from the books, but I feel like the 2 player game lacks, so Netrunner has replaced Game of Thrones in this aspect for me.

Until playing Netrunner, the Warhammer Invasion LCG was my go to 2 player competitive game. Although they play totally differently, they both feel very me vs. you and sometimes you need a game like that. Netrunner has replaced Warhammer for me though because the real world is becoming more and more like a science fiction movie each day and if you keep up with the latest technologies and research…cyber crime is already a issue and as someone who is anti corporation in real life, it feels nice to make their plans crumble around them.

Netrunner almost feels like an evolved, better Call of Cthulhu, players compete over the same victory points and try to cripple their opponents enough that scoring the points is easy. I found that CoC had a run away leader problem and Netrunner did not, Netrunner is also just more fun.

Who Would Like Netrunner?

Casual Gamers: I think that LCGs make great games for casual gamers because they leave the option to expand and get more into the game without draining the wallet and more importantly without you burning out from the game itself. The advantage LCGs have with casuals is you can play it right out of the box but you can also make the experience what you want based on who you are playing with. Being able to appeal to different groups and ranges of gamers is important in casual friendly games.

Gamer Gamers: This is where I think Netrunner shines. Because of the deckbuilding component LCGs do really well with Gamer Gamers, there is room to bend the games rules and really make your own strategy. The only thing that hinders Netrunner is its 2 player limit, but tons of choices, additional content, great gameplay, new mechanics and a large following makes Netrunner great for all avid gamers.

9
Go to the Rune Age page

Rune Age

38 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

With the amount of deck builders on the market how do you decide which to buy? Do you go with the flawless gameplay, numerous expansions but rather dry theme, or do you go with a more thematic combat driven fantasy deck builder? My advice, try the later path, you won’t be disappointed.

For a full review, complete with detailed picture aided explanations go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/03/rune-age.html

Rune Age has rules for 4 different ways to play, 100% Cooperative, 100% player vs player, a mix of both and 0 combat.

Unlike other deckbuilders, there are two different types of currency in Rune Age. Gold and Influence. Gold is used to buy new cards from your faction to add to your deck and influence is used to buy neutral cards. Influence can also be used to keep cards in your hand instead of discarding them at the end of your turn, the cost is 1 influence per card kept. Rune Age also gives players 2 card pools to build their deck from, a personal one and a card pool neutral to all players.

Every player is given a Home Realm card based on their faction, this card is used to keep track of the damage done to you. You start with 20 hit points and if you reach zero you lose.

These are examples of units that are available from a faction deck. Their cost is located in the bottom right, and their combat value in the top left. These units are different for every faction, however they are not all useful in every scenario which means your card selection is fairly limited.

Currency

Gold works like other deck builders, it is shuffled into your deck and drawn randomly. You buy gold with Influence and there are three different values available.

Influence works similar to land in Magic the Gathering. You gain influence from cities and instead of discarding a city card after it is used for its influence, it is kept in front of you and turned sideways until the beginning of your next turn. The number inside a circle and surrounded by crystals tells you how much influence each city generates.

Faction City

These cities are found within your faction deck, and although their names are changed, their value and cost is the exact same for all faction. You can either buy one of your faction cities for 4 gold or take it over with a military strength of at least 2.

Neutral Card Pool

Every game there will be neutral cities in addition to your faction’s cities, in order to gain control of a city you must play cards from your hand with an equal or greater strength than the city. The trick to cities is that you can take them off other players, in order to do this you must tie or beat the city’s strength value PLUS any combat cards the defending player chooses to play. Note that some cities also increase your defense value (the number under the influence value) if you are attacked, this is especially important in the Cooperative and Pure Player Combat versions.

These vary depending on the scenario and are range from units to combat enhancements to additional card draw. Neutral cards are purchased with Influence Points but otherwise function the exact same as cards purchased from your faction deck. The symbols in the bottom left match with specific game scenarios and are used for initial setup.

The event deck: This mechanic is not unique to other games but is still nicely executed in Rune Age. There is an event deck and after all players have gone there is an event turn. Some of these cards affect all players while others effect only the leader. The backs of the event deck match specific scenarios, and the coloured circles below the seal show what stage of the event deck the card falls into. The stages are shuffled and stacked so that 1 is on top of 2 etc.

Components:

Although Rune Age is a deckbuilder that doesn’t mean it can’t have outstanding components. I like all the artwork, the coloured seals on the backs of the event decks are a nice way to quickly organize and break out for each specific scenario. The tokens in Rune Age are fairly generic, but did not tear when I punched them out and they are not overly small. The game comes with 1 custom die that is nothing special and hardly worth mentioning.

Who would enjoy playing Rune Age?

Casual Gamers: Because you can easily tailor Rune Age to your specific tastes, it’s essentially 4 games in 1, it has awesome replay value. Pretty much no matter what you’re looking for in a deckbuilder, Rune Age can do it. Deckbuilders are already friendly to casual players, Rune Age is very accessible because of the different ways you can play it and that is the most important part of a ‘casual game’ to me, how often/easily does it make it onto the table. However because of the limited card selection, and limited expansion selection there are nowhere near the amount of combinations that you can find in other deckbuilders, lots of cards work great together, but this still might be a put off for anyone more serious than a casual gamer.

9
Go to the The Resistance: 3rd Edition page
31 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

The Resistance
This is much different from the usual type of game I play. That doesn’t mean it’s any less good, actually The Resistance is awesome and I want to try more games like it.

For a full review, complete with iamges for example purposes go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/02/the-resistance.html

What is The Resistance and why is it so different? Its a social game of manipulation, deduction and deceit for 5-10 players. Since a lot of games are capped at 4 players, The Resistance fills a void for when you want to play with large groups of people.

Objective: To pass or fail missions depending on your role.

Roles: Players will be given one of two roles in The Resistance, you will become either a Spy or a member of The Resistance.

The Resistance: It is your goal to succeed in carrying out ‘Missions’, during the Mission phase you can only play your success card, but if even one fail card is played then the mission is a fail.

The Spies: Your goal is to sabotage the Missions being conducted by The Resistance, it will only take one of you to successively fail the Mission, it is important that the Resistance thinks you are one of them.

Gameplay:

The game is broken into 2 phases with the majority of your time spent in the Team Building phase.

Team Building Phase: Here, the current ‘Leader’ will assign people to go on the Mission based on the mission and the number of players in the game. After the leader has chosen the required amount of players, everyone, including the people not going on the mission, players will discuss why they think certain people should not go on the mission, and why another player would be a better option. After some time the leader will call for a vote, everyone now submits either their approve or reject vote by placing it face down in front of them, once everyone has a vote in front of them, you turn over the tokens so that everyone can see how you voted. Its a majority vote, if there are more approve than fail the Mission Team is approved.

If the Mission Team is approved we enter the Mission Phase: Once a team has been approved its really straightforward, everyone submits their success or fail card based on their role. (spies submit fail and resistance members submit success) If all the votes are in favour of The Resistance then they succeed and place their marker over the corresponding mission space on the layout card.

If the Mission Team is rejected: The leader passes clockwise and a new proposed Mission Team is selected. This continues until a Mission Team is approved, if 5 teams are rejected in a row then the Resistance loses the game.

Plot Card Expansion: In order to spice things up you can add in Plot Cards, at the start of each round the leader draws a plot card, depending on the card, the leader will either play it immediately for its effect and then discard it, save it or place it in play for the remainder of the game. Plot cards are a great addition, but I would recommend playing a few times without them.

Having trouble getting discussion going during the Team Building Phase? Try these questions:

Are you a spy? – Its basic, but effective

Why did you vote to reject the team? – basic also, but good for tripping up spies

If you aren’t a spy, why are you acting like one? – even if they aren’t acting like a spy, its a good question to trip up a spy

Who thinks ______ is a spy? – good to arouse suspicion, but be careful it doesn’t backfire on you

Why are you suggesting we send _______ on the mission? – a lot of our early games the leader avoided suspicion easily, its important that you ask the leader questions too!

Who would enjoy playing The Resistance?

Casual Gamers: It depends a lot on the crowd, but The Resistance sits best with casual players, feelings are not likely to get hurt, people are likely to get into the game after the first couple missions, if you are introducing the game its important to encourage starting discussion and being vocal right away so that others follow in your footsteps. Short playing time, little to no setup time, backstab and sabotage your friends, and near infinite replayability, the resistance is great for Casual Gamers and works well at social events.

Gamer Gamers: I think the Resistance would also sit very well among heavy gamers, its easy to get hooked on the deduction part of the gameplay and really get into trying to figure out who is who. Add in the plot cards and maybe add some story instead of just ‘going on the mission’ and you’ve got a really intense game of espionage, mystery and gorilla warfare, who knows what else the possibilities with this game are endless.

9
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

106 out of 113 gamers thought this was helpful

Dominion’s massive success has lead to an explosion of similar games copycatting this ‘deckbuilding’ mechanic. Since Dominion first hit the market there have been countless of these ‘deckbuilders’, many of them also have shared Dominion’s success while others have been complete flops. With Dominion consistently on top of some many game recommendation lists, I’ve decided to give my take on this revolutionary game.

If you want a better laid out review, complete with full sized images go to: http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/02/dominion.html

Objective: To be the player with the most victory points when either 3 stacks of cards have run out or the province cards have all been depleted.

Hold on hold on stacks of cards? Province cards? What does any of this mean? Let me try my best to explain, in order for this review to make sense you must first properly understand what a deckbuilder is. Essentially, you start with a small supply of very limited cards, some of these cards are used as currency to purchase additional cards. The cards you purchase will assist in acquiring more cards, you will need to acquire more valuable currency and other kingdom cards to improve your deck so that you can afford the valuable victory point cards. Perfecting your deck means finding a balance of cards without increasing the physical size of your deck by too much, while making sure that as you add victory point cards you do not cripple the mechanics of your deck.

Lets now talk about the different card types.

Victory Point Cards: These cards are the Province, Estate and Duchy. They will be used in every game of Dominion, the player who has the highest total value of these cards when the game ends will be the winner. The problem with these cards is that they go into your deck like every other card when purchased, but serve no benefit when drawn into your hand.

Treasure Cards: These are Gold, Silver and Copper. They will be used in every game, the point to having higher valued treasure cards is simple, are the game progresses the number of cards you draw is still limited and you do not want to clog up your deck with piles of crumby copper.

Action Cards: You are limited to playing one of these cards a turn…unless that card happens to give you bonus actions in which case you will be able to play additional cards. Kingdom, or Action cards exist to strengthen your turn by providing you with additional spending money, actions, cards and buy actions.

Playing a Turn:

Every turn is broken down into 3 parts.

Part 1: Action Phase – Every turn you are given 1 action, that means you can play 1 Kingdom (Action) Card from your hand. For every + Action on cards you play, you will be able to play more Kingdom cards. The point to playing action cards is to enhance the next phase, or in some (rare) cases to cripple your opponents’ turns.

Part 2: Buy Phase – This is the important part of Dominion, selecting what to buy. On every turn you begin with just 1 buy action, which means that regardless the amount of your treasure, you can still only purchase 1 card. This is where the thought and customization come in, this is where you build your deck, you need to have a plan, you will need to buy cards that complement each other and cards that help you buy more cards and eventually you will need to buy Victory Cards.

Part 3: Discard Phase – During this phase you will discard everything, all cards you played, all cards you bought and all cards you did not use. Then you will draw 5 new cards, it is important that you draw at the end of your turn and not wait to the beginning like you would in most other card games. When you do not have enough cards left in your deck to draw from, you simply reshuffle your discard pile and this becomes your new draw pile.

Components: Even for a game that is entirely card based I’ve always found the components for Dominion to be lacking. There really is no theme and boring art work. At least the game box comes with an awesome way to organize your cards and keep them separated to easily select them when you play a game. In addition to treasure and victory cards the base game also comes with 24 different Kingdom cards. You only use 10 in every game so this leaves room for a fair amount of replay, and of course there are a number of different expansions for Dominion so if you enjoy playing you can always expand your game.

Dominion’s flow is unmatched, the game works in such a beautiful way that it is no wonder the amount of copycat games out there. It is one of those games you have to really try to get, reading about it might interest you, watching a video on it or listening to someone talk about it might make you want to play, but in order to fully understand and appreciate the flawless execution of mechanics and the depth of all the possible combinations and strategies you must play Dominion. It shouldn’t be hard, at least half the people at the games night I go to have a copy, next time you have a chance to play, take it and prepare to be in awe.

The plastic insert is great for organizing your cards, although if you want to store all your games in 1 box you are best making your own box. If you want to see a custom box, or how to make one you can take this link.

Recommended for:

Casual Gamers: Because the mechanics are simple, and you can select cards that are more ‘friendly’ to new players, it is very easy to get into and learn Dominion. Because of the large following it is easy to find someone to walk you through a game, and to try it before you buy it. Quick to play, easy to learn, multiple ways to win, games are different every time, random luck factor, quickish play time. These all help Dominion cater well to casual gamers. Also learning to play Dominion will teach you mechanics that are now used in so many other games, so learning Dominion can bridge you to some theme heavier or more combat driven deckbuilders.

Gamer Gamers: Since every card has multiple uses when combined with other cards, and there are several different effective strategies to constructing your deck, Dominion can be played over and over and almost always leaves you wanting to play again. Multiple ways to win, players can determine when the game ends, deep strategy customizable to your specific playstyle/plans, multiple expansions, lots of replay and a big enough following that you can sit down and play without having to explain the rules to everyone. These all combined with the brilliant game mechanics all add up to make Dominion a great gamer game.

9
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

An epic adventure packed into a worker placement game? Lords of Waterdeep seems too good to be true. Does it match up to the hype? After reading lots of mixed opinions I can honestly say I don’t really get the debate. Lords of Waterdeep is easily one of the best worker placement games out there and worker placement games are abstract, sorry your box didn’t include D&D Minis.

Objective: To be the player with the most points at the end of the 8th round.

Gameplay: The basic gameplay goes like this, players take turns placing an ‘agent’ onto any unoccupied space. When all players have placed their last man, Agents from the ‘Waterdeep Tavern’ are reassigned and then the ’round’ ends. When 8 rounds have been completed the game is over.

Once a white agent symbol has been filled, no one else may place an agent in that building/location this round.

Scoring Points: The goal of the game is to get the most points, so lets talk about how you score these points.

Quests: Completing Quest Cards is the main and most effective way to score points. I tend to think of this as the only way to score points, and all the others are just “bonus points” Each quest card clearly states its requirements and then its rewards, your quest cards are not hidden so it is fairly easy to see what a player is trying to complete. It will become important with more plays and towards the end of the game; you may only complete 1 quest each time you place an agent.

The quest type is located above the quest art, these are important for scoring points with your Lord Card. The red sideways diamond is the amount of victory points the quest is worth.

There are 3 main ways to gain quest cards, you can only complete a quest card if you own it, you either get 2 gold or 1 intrigue card with your quest or you can discard the available quests, flip over 4 new ones and choose one of them.

Lord Cards: This creates a bit of strategy for picking quests, however I have always scored higher ignoring these and just choosing quests that rewards will help to complete other quests. Most Lord Card will have 2 types of quests listed, each completed quest will grant you 4 points at the end of the game.

The Builder’s Hall: Once per round a player may place an agent here, this allows you to place a building on the board with one of your faction’s markers on it. If another player places an agent onto a building you constructed (owner) you will get a bonus reward, sometimes this can be victory points other times it is gold or blocks. The victory points mainly come in because each turn 1VP is added to each building that is available for purchase, and when you construct a building you score points equal to the number of accumulated victory points.

The 3 gems that will be placed every turn are placed underneath the Builder’s Hall and represent the current turn, on turn 5 ALL players receive and additional Agent to keep up with the growing placement options

Intrigue Cards: What would a worker placement game be without good cards that can alter game mechanics. Intrigue cards do that, but put you in an interesting and unique position. In order to play your intrigue card you must place an agent in the Waterdeep Harbor, luckily at the end of the round players will get to replace any agents that went to the Harbor. This is a rather brilliant mechanic since the Intrigue cards are not super game changing and only offer a small advantage. The Waterdeep Harbor concept is an awesome replacement for super powerful cards that cost an entire action to gain.

When you replace your agents from the Waterdeep Harbor you place them in the order that you placed them on the Harbor, this is what the number represents.

Components: This is where the majority of the debate comes in, a LOT of people feel that the coloured cubes take away from the Waterdeep theme. While I will admit that yes, fighters rogues, wizard and cleric minis would improve the game a ton, the extra 10-20$ would not. As far as components go everything is awesome quality, tiles are nice and thick, the board itself is not over the top but wont break or wear down easily. Your meeples are sort of custom, and you get a first player marker which can be useful as you add beer. Personally I feel better Lord Cards would do more for the theme than custom meeples in place of the coloured cubes, they need some cooler artwork and definitely need better back story for those not familiar with Forgotten Realms.

I am not sure where I stand on the gold, it was really annoying to punch out since you had to punch the little whole out of every single one. I also do not understand why these holes exist in the first place.

Lords of Waterdeep has sure sold me, but who else would enjoy playing?

Family Gamers: Lords of Waterdeep is really really easy to teach, there are not a ton of rules and turns fly by. Surprisingly there really isn’t much violent theme, your goal is to gather adventurers and complete quests, adventuring doesn’t always have to be violent. I would recommend this game to family gamers over monopoly any day.

Casual Gamers: Worker placement games seem to do great with most casual gamers. Lords of Waterdeep fits this description better than any worker placement game I know, it plays faster and with more interaction than most worker placements and adds an awesome way to screw over your buddy with mandatory quest cards. The apparent ‘lack of theme’ actually does great here, since you are still pretending your pieces are something else (like in every worker placement game) why not pretend to have a crew of wizards and fighters over primary and secondary colours, over ‘resources’ such as wood and certainly more exciting than pretending to be farmers. If you are going to pretend, why not pretend to be something exciting, Lords of Waterdeep will do best with casual gamers.

Gamer Gamers: For heavy gamers this light worker placement game is not just another worker placement game that ‘lacks theme’. In fact, Lords of Waterdeep leaves you with more choices than most games out there, and does so in a way that isn’t confusing, long winded or boring. Although there are multiple ways to win and multiple options to place your meeples at, some choices are clearly better than others. This is usually something that would make hardcore gamers shy away and something that would make a game not friendly to new players, BUT Lords of Waterdeep has mechanics that work to combat this. Adding new places to send your ‘agents’, and the genius behind the Waterdeep Harbor area do a great job minimizing the poor choices while your Lord Card serves as another way to score points.

8
Go to the Chrononauts page

Chrononauts

30 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

Chrononauts is a quick playing light game. You take the role of time travelers and you win by either changing history to best suit your ‘ID Card’ or travel through time and collect the objects listed on your ‘Mission Card’

For a complete review with full sized images go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/02/chrononauts.html

Chrononauts is an entirely card based game, but before we get into how it plays, I will talk about the different type of cards.

These are the date cards, they are historical events that the game is played around.
These date cards essentially make up your game board. The purple cards are ‘Linchpins’, these are major
points in history altering them will alter (flip) other date cards.
 
Artifacts: These cards are played in front of you, it is possible for these to be stolen or forced to be discarded by opponents. If you collect all the artifacts listed on your ‘Mission Card’ you win the game immediately.

Patches: These are used to ‘fix’ altered date cards, that is turn them back to their original side if someone has reversed it and changed the course of history.

ID Cards: At the start of the game you are given one of these, if you complete your ID Card by successfully changing history you will win the game immediately.

Missions Cards: At the start of the game you are given one of these, if you collect all the ‘Artifacts’ listed you will win the game immediatly.

Inverter: These cards simply take a date card and flip them to their other side. The reverse fate may only turn over a ‘linchpin’, these are date cards that directly affect other date cards. That means that by reversing one card you may reverse a number of other cards at the same time. The prevent assassination card is used for specific historical dates where someone was assassinated and is used to reverse that and return the card to its original side.

Timewarp cards are action cards that can be played at any time, they let you do something specific and often make it very easy to win.

Gadget: These cards stay in front of you when played and allow you to do more than just your basic action of draw 1 card and play one card every turn.

Action: These cards let you perform a single powerful action, after they have been resolved they are discarded.

At the start of the game players draw 5 cards, 1 ID card and 1 Mission Card. Every turn players will draw 1 card and play 1 card, they may only play additional cards or draw additional cards if they play a card that allows them to do so. Players may also discard 2 cards to draw 1 new one every turn. The game ends as soon as a player has either successfully changed history so that it matches his/her ID Card, or collected all of the artifacts listed on their Mission Card.

Who will enjoy Chrononauts?

Casual Gamers: Because of the random luck, very simple mechanics and quick play time, Chrononauts is best served to casual gamers who want to play to unwind and relax, or perhaps before playing an in depth strategy game. All that aside, Chrononauts is a great little game and gets better the more players you add in. I would recommend Chrononauts to a group that has 4-6 people and needs something to play between longer games or just wants a lighter game.

9
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

92 out of 102 gamers thought this was helpful

Carcassonne is a game that helped open the doors for Euro Games for many people, it was one of the first games I started with and in the beginning I made sure to get the latest expansion. However there are so many great games that come out every year and my life got so busy that I forgot all about this wonderful game and my copy ended up…well I actually have no idea where it ended up.

For a full Review complete with full sized images go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/01/carcassonne.html

I borrowed a copy from my local gaming store and showed it to a couple friends last night. Other than scoring details I didn’t have to even look at the rules it all came back to me fairly quickly but much to my surprise I ended up placing last? This is one of the greatest intro games around and this review is going to explain why.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is really very simple, you turn over a tile, place it somewhere so that all of its edges match up (a road cant run right into a field and your castle cannot have a field for a wall, etc) and you then have the option of placing a wooden man on the tile or not. Where you place the man determines how you will score points. Here are the options for placing your workers:

Castle: A completed castle is worth 2 points for every section as well as 2 points for every ‘shield’ or pendent. Only the player with the MOST workers will score points, if there is a tie players will split the points. Completing a castle results in your men inside being returned to you. At the end of the game every incomplete castle tile and pendent is worth 1 point.

Road: Each section of road is worth 1 point to you, if you complete the road your men on it are returned to you. At the end of the game unfinished road sections are worth 1 point each.

Farm: A well placed farmer can turn the entire game around. Your farmer is not returned and once you place him you cannot get him back until the end of the game. However at the end of the game every castle inside your farmer’s field will score you 3 points. Fields are separated by roads, other tiles and non existent tiles. You simply trace the field around and any castle inside of it scores you 3 points, I recommend scoring farming last and using your wooden people that you are not using anymore to mark castles so you make sure to score them all and make sure not to double score one.

Monastery: When you place a monastery you are trying to form a ‘cluster’ that is all the areas adjacent to the monastery including diagonals. If you finish your ‘cluster’ your man is returned and you score 9 points. At the end of the game unfinished clusters award 1 point for every adjacent tile and 1 point for the monastery tile itself. It is a good idea to hold 1 worker back in case you draw a monastery tile.

Components: The tiles are solid quality as are the wooden men that have become a staple for euro games. The base game comes with a free ‘river’ expansion. If you want to expand your Carcassonne collection there are mini expansions that include a few tiles and meeples and expansions that include a wheel of fortune, a tower, a catapult. Although the artwork seems a little outdated and does look a little old Carcassonne is more than 10 years old now, its a classic and remains a great starter game.

Who is going to enjoy playing Carcassonne? Simple. Everyone.

Family Gamers: There is no conflict or adult themes in this game, you are simply placing tiles to complete different structures and placing wooden men to claim the structures as your own. The mechanics in the basic game are simple enough that anyone can play so its fun for kids and adults. There is no text involved so simply explain the different ways to score and I can almost guarantee Carcassonne will be a hit!

Casual Gamers: Carcassonne hits a number of points on the head for casual gamers. It is light (there are not a ton of rules) it is fast playing (our game was about 30 minutes with 2 people having never played) but there is still enough to the game that it leaves you wanting to play again. Even with the simple mechanics there are still a ton of choices to be made and different ways to score this gives options and options get people hooked. Carcassonne is a great game on its own and can be used as a great bridge to get into more advanced games.

Gamer Gamers: There are tons of expansions out there for Carcassonne and adding a couple of the right ones can make the game more complex for advanced gamers. Plus for people with strategic minds there is a lot more going on, you can look at the number of tiles left and plan if you should try to finish your castle or bother starting something new, you can use your pieces to block other players and if you play your tiles right you can sneak into a castle that someone spent the last 10 turns building. There are a ton of options and if you add the expansions you can turn Carcassonne from an intro game into something much much more.

8
Go to the Pirate Fluxx page

Pirate Fluxx

23 out of 27 gamers thought this was helpful

Pirate Fluxx is a fast paced light filler game. All of the rules are on the cards and during the game you change, add and remove rules. Pirate Fluxx evolves as you play it, your goal is to play a ‘goal’ card and then obtain the ‘keepers’ that the goal calls for. If at any point a player completes the current ‘goal’ then he/she immediately wins (unless someone plays a card that stops him/her from winning).

For a full review complete with full sized images go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2013/01/pirate-fluxx.html

Game Start:

At the start of the game the ‘basic rules’ are placed on the table and each player is dealt 3 cards. The basic rules force players to draw one card and play one card. You must always draw and play the number of cards determined by the current rules it is not optional. Now you’re ready to begin the evolving game of Pirate Fluxx.

Gameplay:

In a game where the rules and objectives are written right on the cards there is not much that needs explaining so instead I will just go over the different type of cards and what they do.

New Rules: These change the rules for all players they range from a hand limit, play all your cards to drawing extra cards if you can talk in a pirate accent. When you play a card that makes players draw new cards you draw the difference, when you add a new rule that makes you play more cards, playing the rule itself counts as one of your ‘plays’ and when if there is a hand limit rule you discard down to the limit at the end of your turn.

Keepers: These make up the core of the game, you need keepers to win the game but be careful because they can be stolen or destroyed and the goal can change on any player’s turn! When you play your keepers is a very important part of Pirate Fluxx.

Goals: You objective in Pirate Fluxx is always changing, there are many different goals, but all will require you to possess certain ‘keepers’. When any player meets the criteria for the goal they win the game.

Creepers: Creepers work similar to keepers except instead of brining you a step closer to victory they hinder you. You cannot win if you have a creeper (Unless you have a goal that says otherwise) and you have to discard a specific card in order to get rid of the creeper. The worst part about creepers is that as soon as you draw one you MUST play it in front of you and it stays there until you can get rid of it.

Actions: Actions are what make Pirate Fluxx more interesting. They let you steal, discard, draw new cards, trade hands, swap keepers and a ton of other crazy actions. These are what make flux a fun exciting game, you never know what someone has up their sleeve and playing your actions at the right time can steal a victory from someone who did all the work for it.

Surprise: In addition to regular action cards, Pirate Fluxx adds new surprise cards, these can be played on your opponents turn or your own and give a different effect depending on when you play them. They are extra useful to stop a player from winning or for giving yourself the win.

Who would enjoy Pirate Fluxx?

Family Gamers: It really depends on the age group, pirates are a big hit with some kids while other families find them violent and stay away from them. Pirate Fluxx however has no violence and surprisingly no adult themed cards. There is a fair amount of text on the cards so be prepared for some reading, however all the text is there to add / clarify rules and once you’ve explained the card types Pirate Fluxx is a really easy game that almost anyone can learn and enjoy.

Casual Gamers: With playtime averaging around 10-20 minutes you can’t go wrong with this game. Pirate Fluxx is a great filler game you can play while waiting for friends, beer, pizza or a nearby game to finish. It is cheap and most importantly every game is different so as long as you don’t burn out playing too much.

Gamer Gamers: Even though you are at the mercy of random card drawing and there are no serious strategic moves you can still find the most serious gamers enjoying a game of Pirate Fluxx. Why? Because it is a fast paced, light filler game and when you know that going into your game you tend to enjoy it more and relax a little. Fluxx doesn’t try to disguise itself as anything other than a filler game but that’s okay because all types of gamer groups need a few filler games.

9
Go to the Call of Cthulhu LCG: Core Set page

Call of Cthulhu LCG: Core Set

83 out of 91 gamers thought this was helpful

Call of Cthulhu is a fairly fast paced game where your goal is to win three story cards. You win story cards by placing 5 success tokens on them. In order to place success tokens you must commit characters to a specific story. Once both players have committed you go through a series of challenges that will effect the outcome of the story, winning and losing challenges has effects on your characters. Here are the different challenges and what they do to the winning / losing player.

Terror Struggle: The loser of the terror struggle must choose a character and turn that character ‘insane’. An insane character can no longer participate in the story conflict, is returned to its owner’s play area turned face down until the character is cured during a refresh phase.

Combat Struggle: The winner of a combat struggle places a wound token on an opposing character. Most characters can take only 1 wound, the exception is a character with the keyword TOUGHNESS +. The number that follows the + tells you how many additional wounds he can take, a character with toughness+1 can take 2 wounds.

Arcane Struggle The winner of this struggle chooses and refreshes a character committed to the story (this character does not have to have an arcane icon) This allows that character to be committed during his/her opponents turn.

Investigation Struggle: The winner of this challenge places a success icon on the story immediately. If this is the 5th token you claim the story and immediately carry out its text.

How do you figure out who wins each type of struggle It’s easy! You simply count the total number of each icon and the player with the higher amount wins. If there is a tie nothing happens, unless a character has the keyword FAST, then they break ties for the icons that character possesses.

After you have done these 4 challenges in this order you total up the ‘skill’ of both sides and if they ‘active player’ (the attacker) has a higher skill he/she adds a success token. If the “defender” has more then nothing happens.

When a player fills all the success token slots available at a story, he/she gets to take the story card and immediately carry out the action written on it.

Now that you know how to win lets start with how you actually get to that point. Lets go over a player’s turn in order:

> Refresh committed characters, turn 1 insane character back to sane, remove your statues from your domains.
> On a player’s turn they will first draw 2 cards, they can choose to add any 1 card to one of their ‘Domains’ so that it provides additional resources.
> You may now play characters/support and or event cards from your hand by paying the appropriate resource cost.
> You choose which characters you are committing to each story, then the other player gets a chance to commit his characters to “Defend” a story.

Resources:

Most cards have a cost associated with them (in the upper top left corner), in order to play this card you must meet its conditions (characters/support can only be played on your turn, most event cards are self explanatory as to when they should be played) and you must pay the total resource cost. Note in addition to having the required amount of resources to pay for a card, you also need 1 matching faction symbol. To activate a domain to pay for a cost you place your Cthulhu statue on it this signifies that it cannot be used again until your next turn. Note when activating a domain you cannot split its value to pay for multiple cards, nor can you activate multiple domains to pay for a single card.


This is an example of neutral cards with no faction symbol, to play these you can use any type of resources.

Components: The artwork on the cards are superb, even the backs. The tokens are double sided as wound or investigation this stops you from worrying about as many pieces. The board although a little small is very visually appealing. Of course the coolest part about the game are the statues you use to mark your domains as you use them, they are detailed and just plain awesome.

Card Types: All cards have their ‘type’ printed on the bottom left. Story and Conspiracy Cards do not, but their picture is much bigger and they are printed longways instead of like a traditional card.

Support: Once support cards are played they stay in play until destroyed by another card’s effects or if the character they are attached to is destroyed.

Event: An event card is a one time use spell or action, it is played directly from your hand and discarded after its text is resolved. Event cards can be played at any time and lots of them are intended to be played on the opponents turn.

Characters: These are characters from the Lovecraft universe, they make up the core of your deck. Characters are used to win challenges and place success tokens onto story cards as well as destroy other characters and turn them insane.

Story Cards: Story cards represent your goal in Call of Cthulhu, in order to win you must obtain three. Three will be face up at all times (after a player wins a story card a new one takes its place), and each turn players will ‘commit’ their ‘characters’ to engage in four types of struggles and hopefully win success tokens, when a player has 5 success tokens they win the story.

Conspiracy: Conspiricy cards work the same way as story cards except they are played from a player’s hand instead of the story deck. Once won a conspiracy card counts towards the three required to win.

Who will enjoy Call of Cthulhu?

Casual Gamers: Call of C’thulhu is more casual friendly than say Magic the Gathering because it is not a ccg. LCGs are expandable and still release new card packs quite frequently so there is room to get heavily into CoC. However because the cards are not random and you can play a full interesting and fun game with just the core set this is certainly a more casual friendly option versus traditional collectible card games.

Gamer Gamers: Because of the vast amount of lore that goes alongside any game set in the Lovecraft universe there are a lot of expansions for this game. This is a good thing, a game rich in lore and theme is easier to get into, introduce new players and there is always room for the game to expand and grow. A ‘hardcore’ gamer can really get into this because of the amount of cards available and deep strategy involved. You can really customize your deck until it works just how you like or until it’s featuring your favourite characters, card gamers specifically will love this one.

10
Go to the Alien Frontiers page

Alien Frontiers

72 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

Alien Frontiers is one of my favourite worker placement games, I am a fan of dice rolling if it’s done correctly and I tell you Alien Frontiers has a pretty awesome way of integrating dice rolling and worker placement into one game.

For a full review with pictures and additional explanation go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2012/12/alien-frontiers.html

Gameplay:

The goal of the game is to be the person with the most points when one player runs out of his/her colonies. You score points for each colony placed, each territory controlled and for having victory ‘tech’ cards. Ties are broken by the player who owns the most ‘alien tech cards

Your workers (spaceships) are your dice, and at the start of your turn you will roll all your ships. Your ships can go to any location although some require doubles / triples, a certain number or a run. The location determines what action you will carry out, and the number on your ship determines the details of the action. The details would be how much of a resource you collect, the trade value of your resources, if you can launch a colony, and if you can buy an alien tech card.

This game has so many different strategies to it that there is a way to play that suits each player’s personal style. There are 3 different ways to place colonies onto the planet and each of them can be activated by a different combination of dice and resources. In Alien Frontiers you are not ‘screwed’ by your dice rolls instead your dice rolls leave you with strategic choices and a good player can turn the crappiest rolls into a victory!

Each location however can only have a limited number of ships in it. This makes for even more strategic choices especially when you are blocked from the resource or location that you really want.

Getting the Edge:

There are lots of mechanics that allow you to tweak the way you play this game and give you the edge over your opponents. This works great to counter ‘being blocked’ out of a location or resource.

There are two different ways to get the edge over your opponents other than building more ships (dice):

Alien Tech Cards: You can purchase these by docking ships with a value equal or greater than 8 at the alien artifact. You can discard the current cards for sale and get 3 new ones by placing any value ship in the alien artifact. In addition to granting you some powerful abilities Alien Tech Cards can also be worth victory points.

Territory Bonuses: The player with the most colonies on a territory gains its bonus. If there is a tie the player who previously had the bonus must return it to the territory until the tie is broken. In addition to giving a bonus action, dominance over a territory also scores you a victory point.

Components:

Although the colony markets are kind of cheesy they serve their purpose. The tiles awarded to whoever asserts their dominance over a territory are good quality and they have their special ability printed right on them. The cards are fairly standard although they are a pain to pick up I would recommend sleeving them for sure. One thing that sets this game apart from others to me component wise is there is no colour I don’t want to play. The dice / matching colony tokens are all a sort of off colour that I find more attractive than most games.

Alien Frontiers is clearly not for everyone, or is it?

Family Gamers: Although this is not family friendly where anyone can walk up and buy it off a shelf take it home and play with their kids, if your family is experienced with board games this one isn’t too hard. After a couple turns pretty much anyone can get the hang of it and with the right guidance this can be a great game to improve critical thinking skills. The space theme works for some kids / families, for others it doesn’t if your family is experienced with board games and or enjoys the science fiction theme you should check this game out.

Casual Gamers: There is a lot of strategy, planning and thinking in this game so if you plan on playing a game with some dinner guests this is not the one. However if you are trying to lead some casual gamers towards more in depth games this is a great game to use. It is pretty rewarding to see your strategy come together and after a couple turns, tech cards, more ships, and a territory bonus you can see your plan come to life. This is a great part of any game and is what gets people ‘hooked’ and wanting to play more of that game. There is enough customization / personal strategy that there is room for multiple play styles, however because there are a limited number of spots at each location you are sometimes forced into locations and this keeps the vast amount of choices available to you from becoming overwhelming.

Gamer Gamers: This is a great worker placement game, there are lots of different strategies that can be used to obtain victory. One thing Alien Frontiers does better than other worker placement games is it really gives you the ability to ‘screw over’ your opponents. In a family setting this would obviously not be your first choice of action however at the local games night with a group of avid gamers this is what turns this game from your typical worker placement into a game for strategic masterminds looking to find a balance between blocking opponents and scoring points yourself. Dice haters might be turned off but usually if you low roll in a game you are stuck with ****** results and thats why dice haters hate, however rolling low is not always a bad thing and tech cards allow you to add, subtract, flip or move points around your dice and your workers being your dice actually adds a unique element to Alien Frontiers.

9
Go to the Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game page
28 out of 28 gamers thought this was helpful

Warhammer Invasion is a thematic card game for 2 players. It is set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe and includes some of the most classic factions and cards! The goal is to set your opponents capitol on fire until two sections have caught ablaze.

To start each player selects a ‘faction’, takes their deck and capitol card. Shuffle your deck and draw 7 cards.

Lets take a look at the different types of cards that you will find in your deck.

Units: Units are the core of your army, depending on where they are placed in your ‘capitol’ they will either let you attack your opponent, produce additional resources and defending any zone they are in. The red hammers represent a unit’s power.

Support: These are weapons, armour, buildings, locations and more. Some are placed right into a area of your capitol and others are played as attachments to cards already in play.

Tactic: Cards that can be played to alter the outcome of an event. They are played directly from your hand after paying the appropriate cost, then you carry out the text on them and discard them after they have taken effect.

Quest: These are long term goals players can pursue to gain additional benefits. Quest cards are played into a player’s quest zone and after he can place a character directly onto the quest to complete it.
Lets take a look at how it plays.

Turn Breakdown:

Kingdom Phase: The active player returns all his unspent resources from his/her previous turn, then collects 1 resource for each power in his the ‘kingdom’ and gains 3 resources for the capitol.

Quest Phase: The active player gets to draw one card for each ‘power’ he/she has in their quest zone, quests have a power of 1 even without any units attached.

Capitol Phase: The active player is allowed to play quest, support and unit cards into one of his / her capitol zones.Cards costs are paid by cashing in the number of resources equal to the cost on the card. Each matching ‘race’ symbol on the card being played and your cards already in play will reduce its cost by 1. (cost can never be 0). The active player may also play a card face down as a development in any zone. Developments add 1 hitpoint to that ‘zone’ of the capitol in addition many cards increase in power as the zone they are in gains developments.

Questing: Once a quest card is played its owner may send a unit on the quest, to do so simply attach the unit to the quest like you would a support card to a unit. While on the quest that unit is considered to be ‘questing’ it may still defend the zone if attacked and contributes power to the zone it is in but by ‘questing’ the unit allows resources to build on the quest. Once the quest has reached its desired number of resources it is completed and its owner may execute the quest’s effects. Note: The resources added to a quest do not come from the player’s pool gained during the kingdom phase but come from the ‘center of the table’ the neutral pool that both players grab from.

Battlefield Phase: This phase is broken down into 5 steps. In between each step both players have the opportunity to ‘take action’ this allows them to play tactic cards from their hand or use abilities on cards already in play.
1. The active player declares which capitol zone he/she is going to attack.
2. The active player declares who will be attacking that zone. Note: Only units in the ‘battlefield’ zone may attack an opponent.
3. The defender declares which of his/her units IN THE ATTACKED ZONE are going to defend.
4. Damage is assigned, both players total their ‘power icons’. The attacker must do enough damage to destroy ALL ‘defending units’ before he/she can damage the zone they attacked. Both player’s place damage tokens near the cards they wish to place them on but do not put them on the cards yet. After the attacker has assigned damage the defender gets to do the same. Note: Sometimes it is smart to assign more damage than needed to kill a unit in anticipation that its controller will play a card or use an effect.
5. Both players assign damage, any units with wounds equal or greater to their hit points are discarded. If the capitol now has wounds equal or greater than its hit points place a burning token on it. When 2 sections of an opponent’s capitol are burning you win the game. Note: A burning zone functions the exact same as it did before it was set on fire the only difference is you are half way to winning/losing the game.

After damage has been applied play passes to the next player and he/she becomes the ‘active player’. Players alternate who is the ‘active player’ until someone has set two capitol zones on fire.
Components: Although there are no cool Cthulhu statues the art work is simply unreal. The ‘strongholds’ are pretty neat they are a perfect size for the game and have good artwork aswell. The tokens in the game are good too except I feel the blaze tokens should have been a rectangle piece instead of a slightly larger but still small fire token, either that or make them the same size as the wound tokens and use multiple tokens to track each section’s damage.

Warhammer Invasion brings back many fond memories of playing the tabletop Warhammer Fantasy, the fact that Dwarfs are included as a faction in the base game is only a added bonus for me. All that aside I still feel that Warhammer Invasion is a fantastic game that not only captures its theme in a awesome way, but mechanically works and flows very smoothly. Lets talk about who’s going to like this one.

Family Gamers: Although combat and violence are not the most family oriented theme, Warhammer is enjoyed by kids as well as adults. I would recommend this to ‘family gamers’ with some experience under their belt, having played other card games is definitely a plus and will make it easier. I think where this game fits fantastically is if you have a family member who is really into Warhammer, if they take to the game you are going to save a lot of money and hopefully its a good bridge to get someone that enjoys tabletop gaming to expand and try more boardgames.

Casual Gamers: Warhammer Invasion is a two player game, because of this it generally isn’t a great casual game however they do such a great job at capturing the fantasy theme that this game can be appealing to lots of people. Even if a casual gamer isn’t into the Warhammer world as long as they appreciate a good fantasy theme this game is great, orcs, dwarfs, humans and mutated humans and the last one standing is the winner? I think so.

Gamer Gamers: More serious gamers might first overlook Warhammer Invasion because its a card game and even the word “Warhammer” might be a turnoff. I’m telling you there is so much strategy to this game, sure there is the luck of drawing your ‘good’ cards, but you also need to know when to play ‘development cards’ combine that with having to burn down different sections of your opponents capitol and having to place units into different zones of your own capitol leaves you to make some heavy strategic decisions.

9
Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game - Core Set page
73 out of 82 gamers thought this was helpful

In this strategic card game players take on the roll of one of the ‘Houses’ from the Game of Thrones series, the base game features the Starks, Lannisters, Targaryens and the Baratheons. The game is a race to collect 15 power tokens by winning challenges and meeting the conditions on certain cards.

For a full review including full size images go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2012/12/a-game-of-thrones-card-game.html

There are multiple types of cards involved in the game so I will quickly explain each of them and then get into the game play.

Characters: Characters are used to win challenges, there are ways that characters can gain their own ‘power tokens’, these count towards your 15 needed to win, however they are discarded if the character is destroyed. Character cards are the easiest to tell apart because they are the only cards with a strength value, this is located on the bottom left of the cards artwork.

Attachments: These cards are used to enhance cards you already have in play, the majority of attachment cards go on characters however some can be placed on locations. You can tell an attachment card apart because they have a ‘chainmail’ border around their cost and card name.

Locations: Locations are used to provide you with additional abilities, gold income and some lower the cost of playing other cards, basically they are used to make your ‘house’ more powerful. Locations are played in your area and are semi permanent, (they do not get removed unless another card says so) they are easy to tell apart from other cards because of the map border surrounding the cards name and cost.

Events: Event cards are played from your hand to alter or change a situation. After the ‘text’ on the card is resolved it is immediately discarded. You can easily tell them apart by the bird border that runs up the left hand side of the card.

House Card: These simply act as a representation of what house you are playing, you will place power tokens on your house card throughout the game. In addition to these functions your house card will also tell you the turn order.

Plot Card: Plot cards are kept in a separate deck from the rest of your cards. At the start of each round both players will select one of these from the deck and play one simultaneously. You can only have 1 revealed plot card at a time, they provide you with income, initiative and a “claim” value that determines the effects when you win a challenge.

Agendas: These are a modifier to your House Card, you can only have 1 and you must select it before the game starts, once selected it may never be removed during the game. Agendas provide both a benefit and a drawback for the entire game.

Game play Varies Slightly depending on the amount of players you play with, this review will focus on the 2 player game but near the end I will touch on what is different with more players. The game goes something like this:

Plot: Both players select and reveal a plot card from their plot deck, this is placed over top of their previous plot card and if you reveal the last card from your deck all plot cards except the revealed one can be reshuffled.

Draw: during the draw step players draw 2 cards, if their deck is empty you cannot draw cards but nothing else happens.

Marshalling: The marshalling step is completed by one player and then the next until all players have completed the marshalling phase. During this step players determine their gold income by adding their ‘plot card’ to other bonus incomes. Then they place ‘character and support’ cards from their hand by paying the gold cost. Note: If you play a card from a house that is not your own you must pay 2 additional gold.

Challenges: There are three different types of challenges and they each provide the winners with different benefits. Note that if the ‘defender’ wins a challenge no action is taken.

> Military Challenge: The loser must choose and kill the number of characters equal to the attacker’s ‘claim value’. Note: These characters do not have to be characters that were in the challenge.

> Intrigue Challenge: The loser of this challenge must discard at random cards equal to the attacker’s ‘claim value’.

> Power Challenge: The ‘attacker’ takes power tokens equal to his/her claim value from their opponent’s house card.

If a player wins a challenge and the defender’s strength totals 0 then claim an additional power token.

Once the first player has had a chance to initiate challenges it becomes the other player’s turn to do so. Note that once you have ‘attacked’ a challenge your character is considered to be ‘kneeling’ and is spent until your next marshalling phase. To signify this, turn the character sideways, Note: A character that is not ‘kneeling’ is considered to be ‘standing’.

Dominance: During this phase players count the total of all their ‘standing’ characters and add 1 for each gold coin leftover from your marshalling phase. The player with the highest total is awarded 1 additional power token. If there is a tie no power is awarded.

Standing: During this step both players ‘stand’ all their characters, locations and attachments.

Taxation: All players must return any unspent gold to the treasury to stop you from stockpiling.

Once you have gone through these steps, you repeat them and the player who was the ‘active’ or first player last turn now goes last and the player who went last goes first.

Multiplayer Games: In a game with 3 or 4 players there is an additional rule of ‘titles’, players take turns selecting them during the ‘plot’ phase. These titles provide you with a benefit, and force you to support or oppose another title. You cannot start challenges with a title that you support; also you may block or ‘defend’ for the player whose title you support. If you win a challenge against a title that you oppose you gain 1 additional power counter. Titles are returned during the ‘taxation’ step and are chosen again during the plot phase. In a 3 player game the titles are not returned until they have all been chosen, in a 4 player game they are returned right away at the end of the taxation phase.

Components: How great can the components to a card game be? Well when it includes 3d markers to signify your title and the titles are directly related to the games lore or theme the answer is pretty awesome. The artwork on the cards is great, the gold and power tokens are nice and the title markers are awesome.

Who will enjoy a Game of Thrones the card game?

Family Gamers: Unless your kids are older or you’re already experienced with board games and like fantasy themes I would stay away from this one. Violence, double crossing and conquest for power are not traditional family game qualities, there is also a lot of text and rules.

Casual Gamers: A Game of Thrones the card game is set in a universe widely enjoyed by so many people, from books to games and a HBO TV series there are lots of people who at least know what it is. A good theme can make or break a game for casual players even if the game itself is awesome. If you are a casual card gamer, or are in love with the theme then this game is for you.

Gamer Gamers: Especially once you add in the multiplayer components A Game of Thrones becomes a deep strategic card game of treachery, deceit and short term alliances formed for personal gain. Even if you don’t count deck building as part of the strategy this is still a very deep game which is good for gamers who are not ‘card gamers’ and just want to play right out of the box. This game will appeal to ‘serious’ strategy gamers, card gamers and anyone who is familiar with A Game of Thrones setting.

10
Go to the Escape: The Curse of the Temple page
125 out of 132 gamers thought this was helpful

For the Full Review With Pictures go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca/2012/12/escape-curse-of-temple.html

Overview:
My favourite part of this game that makes it pretty unique is the fact that there are no turns. Players will participate in ‘one big turn’ simultaneously and constantly for 10 minutes. Your goal is to escape the cursed temple. To do this you must ALL make your way to the exit tile with all the gems from the “gem depot” placed on their magic altars.

Gameplay:
This is a cooperative game and you either win or fail as a team. Although there are several different strategies to win, it is best and easiest if you stick together and really help each other out. Being a lone wolf is not an option as you will soon find yourself trapped without help and no way back to the safe room when you hear the gong.
The 10 minutes is kept track by a sound track, 2 times during the game a gong will sound, that is your que to get back into the starting ‘safe room’ if you do not make it back by the time the sound of the door slamming shut is played, you will lose a die for the remainder of the game.

Now that those rules are out of the way you’re probably asking ‘how do I play?’ It’s fairly simple; you roll dice. The game comes with some custom dice and each face represents an action you are able to perform or store.

In order to get a magic gem off the depot and onto an altar you must roll the required number of keys or torches. Some rooms have multiple altars with different values, however you may only fill one of them per room. The required number of keys or torches required to unlock the altar is collective, meaning everyone located on that room’s tile can contribute.

In order to place a new tile you must roll 2 green running men.

In order to move into a new room you must roll the matching 2 symbols in that room. For example if the players wanted to move onto the tile before the exit tile it would cost a green running man and a key, if they wanted to move onto the exit tile it would take a running man and a torch.

A black mask represents a cursed die. You leave this die black mask facing up in front of you and cannot roll it again until the curse is lifted. A curse can be lifted by rolling a golden mask or if another player in the same room as you rolls a golden mask. Each gold mask cures TWO black masks, however you CANNOT split the cures between two players.

Now reading the above this may not sound like the most amazing game, sure it’s different but does it really work? Is it really that great? The brilliance comes from two mechanics that are imbedded brilliantly into the game. You can keep or ‘store’ a die if you like / need the symbol on it. Say you are trying to reach a cursed friend a couple rooms away and you are having trouble rolling the correct symbols to get there, you can keep any gold masks you roll for when you finally reach your friend. Say you are a few tiles away from that big 10 key gem altar, any keys/torches you roll on your way over there you can keep and use to unlock the altar. The trouble is finding the balance between how many dice to keep / which ones to keep and how many you want to roll. The other mechanic is the timed pressure. Not only does the game give you a mere 10 minutes to escape, but twice you must make it back to the safe room or you are now rolling 1 less die for the remainder of the 10minutes, between this pressure and the constant 10minutes of game play creates a very intense cooperative game that leave players shouting in pure excitement.
Once the exit tile is drawn you simply have to get all of your gems into a magic altar, then each player must get onto the exit tile. If you all make it before the final sounds of the temple sealing shut play through your speakers you all escape and win, if even one person is left behind you all fail.

Components:
Okkay the adventurers are not that impressive, they are wooden and serve the purpose for the game quite well although they could be a little bigger / easier to grab so you can move quicker. The tiles are great, good quality they don’t tear easy and you can actually shuffle them perfectly or maybe I’ve just got the perfect size hands, but lots of tile games ask you to shuffle and you can’t really or they give you a bag to draw out of and that would only slow you down in a game like this.
The cd the game comes with not only includes the soundtrack for playing the game but it has a track on it that tells you the object / backstory of the game and then explains in full detail how to play. Alternatively if you cannot play the soundtrack the game comes with an hourglass timer.
As if the game isn’t enough fun already they throw in a full expansion that allows for a lot of replay and defiantly makes the game more interesting for more experienced gamers or people that just know how to work well together. I will do a full review of the expansion later.

Let’s talk about who would enjoy this game and why.

Family Gamers: The rules are simple enough that kids can play although if they have never played a cooperative game before this could take some extra explaining. But it is defiantly a game that mom and dad can enjoy while playing with their kids without feeling ‘dumb’ for lack of a better word. This game has no violence or adult theme and if there are any Indiana Jones fans in your family this is sure to be a big hit!

Casual Gamers: Most of my friends would be considered casual gamers, they have only tried a handful of games but do enjoy trying and learning new ones and I can tell you they loved this one. I had them intrigued right from my words “try this game there are no turns and we work as a team”. There is a lot of table talk in this game I think more then I have seen in any other game even other cooperative games. The game lasts only 10 minutes (maybe 15 if you include setup) so if time is an issue for you it won’t be with this game. You win or lose as a team and either way your group will want to play again and because the game has some elements from more complicated games (tile placement, specialty dice, and cooperative game play) it can work as a bridge to other games, perhaps dungeon crawlers and other team games.

Gamer Gamers: Although there are exceptions to every rule or statement I do believe that even most hardcore gamers have not played that many cooperative games. There are less of these games to choose from and they just seem to be catching on. I think that the uniqueness of this game allows it to appeal to gamers, the sheer intensity of the game is eye catching and enough to make even dice haters give this game a try. The ‘sharing’ of dice with players in the same room as you as well as the time limit/pressure of the game does a great job of making people who hate the randomness of rolling dice forget they are rolling dice all together! The game itself is hard enough that without a solid strategy you will fail, and the expansion makes even a solid strategy fall apart! Although the basic game might not keep a ‘gamer’ interested the included expansion sure will.

9
Go to the Kingdom Builder page

Kingdom Builder

91 out of 99 gamers thought this was helpful

Kingdom Builder recently won the Game of the Year award (2012) and was the subject of some pretty heated debate, did it really deserve to win game of the year? My answer is yes, it is a game that can be played over and over and enough will be different every game that keeps it from getting boring or stale. The mechanics are easy enough to learn and teach to someone, but there is still enough room to perfect your strategy and create some in-depth plans.

For a better laid out review complete with picture explanations go to http://toddsboardgames.blogspot.ca

Objective: All points are tallied at the end of the game, the winner will be the player with the most victory points. For details see ‘Scoring’. The game ends when one player runs out of blocks, all the other players finish their last turn then you count score.

Gameplay:

On a players turn you play a card. Then you carry out your ‘basic action’ followed by ALL extra actions. You might be asking what the heck is a basic action or what is and how to I get an extra action? Don’t worry that will all be explained.

Basic Action: Play 3 wooden blocks on the terrain type that matches the card you played. (Place 3 blocks in the desert if you played a desert card.)

Extra Actions: In order to use an extra action you must have the corresponding extra action token. To obtain one of these tokens you simply place a block next to a “Location” where there are available tokens (there is a limited supply at each location). Your extra actions are as follows:

Farm: This extra action allows you to place an extra settlement

block onto a grass lands every turn.

Oasis: This lets you place an extra block on a desert every turn.

Paddock: This allows you to move any existing block two

spaces in a straight line, you can jump over an existing

block but cannot end in the same hex as one.

Tavern: This allows you to place a 4th block on either end

of your three basic blocks IF you build them in a straight line.

Harbor: The Harbor allows you to move any settlement block

to a water space, this is the only way to build on a water hex.

Tower: The Tower allows you to place one additional settlement

block onto a hex on the edge of the game board. Terrain type

does not matter.

Barn: You can move one settlement block to the same

type of hex as the card you played this turn.

Oracle: The Oracle allows you to place an additional settlement

block onto the same terrain type as the card you just placed.

Now all this seems pretty straight forward, how does all this add up to game of the year? There is one major twist/golden rule and that is: If you can place adjacent to one of your pieces already on the board you HAVE to. After you have completed placing all the blocks you can on your turn, you draw a new card.

Scoring: Each time you play Kingdom Builder you will have 3 ‘random’ cards that determine how you will score victory points for the entire game. In addition to these cards you will score 3 points for every ‘City’ you have built at least 1 block adjacent too. The reverse sides of all the board tiles have a scoreboard on them use one of the extra tiles to track score.

Components: The game tiles are good quality, and it’s hard to make a poor wooden block. The cards are all well printed, the game has nice artwork. There are some ‘waste’ pieces that we never end up using they are the First Player Marker, and the slightly bigger tiles that show what each location does. Also the little ‘Location’ tiles that give you your extra actions are a little too small / hard to pick up. Kingdom Builder is fairly quick to set up, I think the best part about the components is how many variations there are. For example there are 10 victory condition cards but you only use 3 per game.

Overall I believe anyone can have a good time playing Kingdom Builder so lets move on to who will enjoy Kingdom Builder and why:

Family Gamers: The game does have some more complicated victory conditions and extra action tokens but instead of randomizing these you could choose the easier ones, for example placing a 4th block instead of moving existing blocks, and victory cards like miners: 1 point for every wooden block built next to a mountain. There is no violence or adult theme to this game its very Euro style and if you start with a easy setup I believe you could then teach this game to just about anyone. Recommended for families with a little gaming experience.

Casual Gamers: Because some of the victory conditions are more complicated than others this is a great bridge game for casual gamers, play with easier conditions at first till they understand the game then swap to the ones that really make you strategize and think to get people hooked on this game! Lots of the mechanics in Kingdom Builder exist in other games and learning them now in a ‘lighter’ game allows someone to get the hang of other games quicker and easier.

Gamer Gamers: Although lots of hardcore gamers despise ‘random elements’ I still think this is one to check out. I am the hugest fan of random elements in games however when a game forces to you make the best moves you can out of a not so good situation that is when it shines for me. This is how you really separate the pros from the amateurs, a good strategist can think on their feet and make a solid plan out of almost any situation. The random setup I think is a huge bonus for avid gamers that way you cannot use the same strategy every game or preplan your strategy depending on who you are playing with, overall I would recommend checking this one out

9
Go to the Fresco page

Fresco

92 out of 100 gamers thought this was helpful

Fresco is one of those games that might seem intimidating at first to someone unfamiliar with euro games however the game play mechanics are not super complex. There is a fair amount of planning and strategy needed, but by the end of the 2nd turn almost everyone had the ‘idea’ of the game down. The objective is to score the most points; you do so by completing sections of the cathedral’s painting.

The game plays out something like this, you pick your wake up time on the first turn this is chosen at random but it is later determined by reverse score order, that is the person in last place chooses when to wake up first. This is a nice element because it stops someone from really taking off, some games I could jump out to an early 20 or 30 point lead but get stuck with the last wake up time and end up with a poor paint selection.

Your wake up time determines everything for the rest of the round, the order in which you will buy paints AND the paints available, the order in which you get to paint the Cathedral, the cost of paints and your moral.

Moral Track: Being in the positive gaines you a worker
being in the negative forces you to give up a worker

Wake Up Times

After you’ve chosen your wake up time you begin to plan the rest of your turn. You place your workers onto a rectangular card that determines how many of each type of action you get. 2 Men on the market means you get to make 2 purchases however you will ever only get to purchase from 1 “Market Stall”. For every man on the Cathedral you get to paint a tile in the center of the board, you can move the “Bishop” one space (diagonals are allowed) but only once regardless of the number of workers painting. The rest of the actions are straight forward, for every worker on portraits you get 3$, for every worker on the Workshop you get to blend TWO paints. And for every worker in the theater you gain 2 moral.

Worker Placement Board
KEEP THIS HIDDEN

You make all these choices behind a privacy screen, however if you have players new to worker placement games or new to gaming in general I would recommend playing the first turn or two without the screen.

All players’ actions take place at one location before moving to the next (everyone buys from the market before moving to painting etc.) The order that actions take place at each location is determined by your wake up time. After you have done the theater action the turn is over and players choose a new wake up time and repeat until there are only 6 tiles remaining in the Cathedral, this marks the next turn as the final turn.

I feel that Fresco is a great game that can and should appeal to all types of gamers and here is why.

Family Gamers should consider Fresco because there is no fighting, no war or ‘adult’ theme. Fresco also helps to teach management and planning skills, because you are planning actions behind a hidden screen and most of the time several turns in advance this game definitely gets a brain thinking.

Casual Gamers should consider Fresco as a bridge to more complicated and “gamer” games. Fresco brings worker placement to a basic level and really gets you planning a few turns ahead however it is short and after everyone knows how to play I found that a game only lasts 30-45 minutes. With the availability of multiple expansions you can think of Fresco as a game similar to Carcassonne, simple enough mechanics with room for complex strategies making a great game to convert casuals to gamers.

Gamer Gamers should definitely add this one to their collection. It’s a strategy worker placement game with hidden planning, and multiple expansions that come with the basic game. There are also 3 more expansions that offer plenty of replay ability.

9
Go to the Safranito page

Safranito

18 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

Safranito is a fantastic unique game that really gets you interacting. There are dexterity, strategy, and bidding components to this game. I first saw Safranito at a games night and was instantly drawn to how much fun it looked, everyone was having a good time throwing chips around and trading money for cards. My first thought was wow I have got to try this out, after getting in the next game it became clear that Safranito does not disappoint!

Objective:
The first player to complete 3 spice recipes is the winner so it is important to not fall behind. A round lasts until a specific number of chips have been thrown (2 players = 4 / 3 players = 4 / 4 players = 3) a game consists of several rounds.

Players select what chip they are going to throw and take turns tossing chips one at a time onto the board. Spice bowls let you buy or sell that type of spice based on the value of your chips and the stock of spices available. The special actions are harder to land on because they are smaller and it’s easier to be knocked out by an opposing players chips but they provide some pretty useful abilities.

The Head Chef, this ability becomes more useful the more games you play after gamers have a chance to learn the rules, it lets you break ties and complete recipes first. The head chef also determines the order that spice bowls / actions circles take place in.

The Extra Recipe, this gives you an additional recipe option that only YOU can complete, a good one to consider if there spices for sale do not match the spices on current recipes or early on in a game to give you more options.

Extra Spice Card, this is by far the most powerful space on the board, if you land a chip in this circle you get to look at the top x amounts of spice cards, keep one and discard the rest. X is the corresponding number on your highest chip in the space.

Extra Throw. This space allows you to throw another chip right away, in any game I played we never could really figure out a use for it other than if you are good at knocking chips to where you want them to go.

In order for a chip to be considered “in” the circle in the middle of the chip must be inside the spice bowl or action circle. Now let’s talk buying and selling.

Selling: One spice at a time players are allowed to sell spices, their value is equal to the TOTAL number of ALL chips in a spice bowl however a player does not have to have a chip in the bowl to sell spices there. After you sell if you had any chips in that bowl you now remove them, this stops you from both buying and selling the same spice in a single round.

Buying: One spice bowl at a time the player with the highest total chip value gets to buy first costing the sum of his/he chips, the player’s highest valuable chip is then removed and the second highest total gets to buy next even if it is the same player. Note that there is a limited supply of each spice and that supply is randomly replenished every round.

At the end of a round once all the chip tossing is done with players get to complete recipes. The head chef gets first pick, as soon as someone gets a third recipe card the game is over and you have your winner. Note that when a recipe is completed a new one is turned face up at the start of the next round.

Before we move on to who will like it and why lets take a minute to stop and take a look at the components, the art work is superb and the gameboard is good quality, the board is easy to setup (2 parts) and has a nice raised border around it to stop the chips from flying off as easy. The chips themselves are a good weight and feel nice in your hands. Nothing in this game is made cheap and that adds to the relaxing feel the gameplay in Safranito brings.

Safranito is certainly a unique game that combines many mechanics I enjoy, but let’s talk about who else would enjoy it and why.

Family Gamers: Safranito should definitely appeal to family gamers for many reasons, it is a relaxing game even with the ‘bumping each other’s chips’ part.Safranito provides a lot of player interaction and table talk. It has simple easy to follow gameplay, each round has 4 steps and the same 4 steps are repeated every round until the game is over.

Casual Gamers: Casual gamers will enjoy Safranito for a lot of the same reasons family gamers should consider it, however because the ‘buy low sell high’ auction mechanic allows for more strategy and options, the recipes to be completed are random and so are the spices availble each time you play, Safranito is a game that can be replayed over and over.

Gamer Gamers: Although this is not going to be the first choice for someone who enjoys in-depth gaming it is a perfect game to play if they are looking for something lighter to play with their friends. The chip throwing provides uniqueness that even a gamer gamer can appreciate and although the gameplay is not overly complex, it is smooth flowing and fun to play. I believe that most gamer gamers would not give Safranito a chance but would actually enjoy it if they did.

9
Go to the Ghost Blitz page

Ghost Blitz

17 out of 25 gamers thought this was helpful

The game instructions are very simple, you look at the cards that are flipped over one at a time and physically grab the game piece as fast as you can. The game piece is either a) The same colour in the picture as the piece is or b) The piece that is not in the picture in anyways (colour or shape)

After learning the instructions I though well this is a pretty easy game how could I lose?

I’m going to go with my brain is too cluttered, my 11 yr old cousin beat me! And not just beat me, more than doubled my score. This is a good fast paced easy to teach game that works great as a filler game or with younger gamers, that being said with a group adults it is almost more fun because you actually stand a chance at winning!

Definatley worth trying out don’t just write it off as a kids game!

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