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Angrod Vardamir

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Go to the Madeira page
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7
Go to the Letter Tycoon page

Letter Tycoon

6 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

I am a fan of Word games though there are not many good word games out there. Scrabble was fun but I found that the tactical placement on the grid really turned me off back in the day. The fun of word game lies in crafting those letters into words. But apparently, too many rules or restrictions put me not really like it. You know the feeling, when you found great word from your letters but apparently you short of 1 square of space or even it touches the side of another letter that really screw your word, it’s maddening. Now Letter Tycoon from Breaking Games, designed by Brad Brooks, is something else entirely. It shares the same game principle with Scrabble, but omit the use of the game board. Instead it uses cards for the letters and players need to assemble those cards into a word.

The goal of the game is to get the most total points from Stocks, Coins and Patents when the game ends. The game ends when one player managed to get a total sum value of letter patents (varied based on number of players). On player’s turn, they play cards from their hand to form a word and they can also use some or all of the three cards available in the middle of the table. The word created will be score based on the amount of letters used for the word. The longer the word is, the bigger the points are (and more stocks). After that, the player may buy one available letter patent that they use to form the word. These patents have different value and represent cost to buy them and points at the end of the game. Some patents have passive abilities that can be used by the owner, but all of the patents give the owner money from the bank each time they’re used by other players to form words.
Before a player’s turn ends, they decide which card they want to discard from their hand and then refill hand back to 7 cards. The cards in the middle of the table are also refilled back to three.

Now, it is possible that words the players make is not really correct words and not exist. To solve this problem, players can challenge the active players once he made a word from the cards. If this happened, they check the word through a dictionary (decide which one they should use to settle the conflict) and if the word did exist, the challenger need to pay 1 coin to the bank. But if it turned out that the word did not exist, the active player must take back the played cards (return the factory card back) and then discard one card from his hand. He end his turn and refill back his hand.

I like how the game really works, the flow is smooth and fast-paced, unless you have trouble to form word from those letters. I love the freedom to create words from the cards in your hand and also from the three cards on the table. It always a fun game for me, though luck also plays a great deal on the game. The letter distribution can be a let down, since the cards are discard and won’t be coming back to the deck before it rans out. So if it obvious what letters are all used up, they won’t be on the deck and you won’t get it soon. I also like how interesting the patent abilities, they’re powerful and it can change how you make your words. Players also choose to buy which patent that will be the most useful to them, letters that frequently used (mostly vowels) and higher card count are usually more expensive. Getting them early in the game could prove to be useful for the players because higher chance for other players to use them more often.

The game can be played with 2 players and up to 5 players, it usually lasts around 30-60 minutes. For me, I can play the game back to back several times. It hits all the sweet spots and turned out it solve the Scrabble issue. Of course one issue left is about the word difficulty. As each letter in scrabble provides value depends on the letter frequency used in words, there are some clever play to use great combination of letters in your words, which making long and hard word really paid off. In Letter Tycoon, there is no such thing, that’s why this game is casual friendly and suitable for family games, children and adults alike. It doesn’t reward players to make difficult words but instead rewards players to play longer words.

The components are nice, simple linen cards though it feels a bit flimsy than average. The coins are wooden and have printed value (nice) with solid color difference between the ‘3’ value (black) and ‘1’ value coins (beige / natural). Stock tiles are made from card board and only used during the final scoring. Basically stocks give you extra point but cannot be used for anything else unlike coins. Players collect stocks when they at least create a 5 letters word or more. There is also a plastic zeppelin marker as the active player marker, though I never used it every time I played the game.

This game is one of five games that won a Mensa Select Award in the year 2015 which also the same year it was released. Mensa Select is an annual award given by American Mensa since 1990 to five board games that are “original, challenging and well designed.”

8
Go to the Super Motherload page

Super Motherload

Super Motherload is an adaptation game from an old classic video game with similar name (Super Motherlode), somehow they made a pun about it in the game title. The game was designed by Gavan Brown and Matt Tollman (the architects behind Roxley Games) and they did a remarkable job.

Super Motherload is a deck-building game with some twists. The game is no longer a pure deck-building, it also has counter-tile laying element that makes the game to be one of a kind out there (maybe one of few. not sure if there are other games with this kind) where you put tiles on top of something on the board to cover it up. What I mean, in most tile-laying game, you place tile to add something to the board, but in here, you place tile to cover up something.

In this game, players take the roles of lead miners from different mining corporations to dig minerals on Mars. At first the game starts with 2 modular depth boards and players will add more board as they go deeper. Each player will have a starting hand of pilot cards (each player will have a unique card that represent their variable player powers. They also have pilot decks separate by type that they can buy along the game to gain more powerful pilots and bonuses.

On a player’s turn, a player can take 2 actions and there are only 3 available actions that they can choose, DRAW, DRILL and BOMB.
DRAW – unlike any other deck-building, in this game player’s hand doesn’t get refilled at the end of each turn. They have to use their actions in order to draw more cards. I founc this to be interesting, since the ebb and flow of deck building game provides streamline and simplicity to the core actions, it provides the opposite of that in this game. Without the limitation of player’s hand, the core action of the game will bring huge impact in crashing the tile laying flow of the game. Covering the board would not feel challenging without timing and tactics. So players need to carefully time their drawing actions.

DRILL – Basically players, play cards to drill the soil part of the board based on the amount of drill icons present on the cards. They can only play one color cards (plus rainbow since it’s considered as wild) and direction of the drilling can only facing straight, they cannot change course to the drilling direction. They will place a black tile to cover up the spaces they had drilled and get rewards from those spaces. The rewards can be minerals (there are several type of minerals which has different value), special effects, bombs and artifacts. When a player receive minerals, they have to immediately assign it to one of the pilot deck. If the amount of minerals on top of the pilot deck is equal to or higher than the top card, that pilot card is bought and placed on the discard. Some spaces cannot be drill in normal way, they’re not soil but steel plates and rocks. Players may only drill steel plates by using the drill pilot of the same color and players cannot drill rocks.

BOMB – Players can only pass rocks by bomb it. Bomb is related to one type of card (Red cards) and only one card can be played to take Bomb action. This action need a bomb token each time it’s used, the token works as a fuse or ignition for the bomb to explode. Each bomb card has a specific pattern that it covers, it’s like area affected by the bomb explosion. They have to be be able to cover all of the area in order for this action to be valid. More expensive cards will have bigger pattern.

When players get artifact rewards, they draw an artifact token. These tokens provide bonuses for the players, that some of them can be used during the game. And when the last artifact on the board is taken, new board will be placed to advance the game.

During their turns players can also claim achievements (limited to one major and one minor achievements per turn) from available ones. Major achievements provide points by collecting a set of advance pilot cards (determined from the setup) and minor achievement also provide (lesser) points by completing various conditions.
The game ends when the last artifact from the last board is taken. Players now tally up their points from pilot cards and achievements as well as Artifact tokens.

I found the game to be very simple, timing is very important and players basically racing to get the best minerals in the board but in the same time, everything they do will open up ways for their opponents. Because of this players sometime hold their drilling in order to get the best ones. The game also prone to AP, the possibility to get the minerals and how they hold themselves will offers them hard and dilemmatic choices. I wouldn’t recommend to play this with 4-players if there were AP players among the group. It’s definitely a good 2-players game. There are some chain combos that players can make by timing their actions right and buying pilot cards. Definitely a good game and my favorite.

8
Go to the The 7th Continent page

The 7th Continent

6 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

The 7th Continent embraces the core mechanic of Choose Your Own Adventure Book and implements it within board game format. In this game, players will work together to lift the curse haunting them. Without the restriction of turn order, players will take actions to explore, craft items, take actions in the unknown island. The island is formed from cards placed on the table, started by one card as the initial card that players begin their adventure. What makes the game unique is that there are surrounding fog around the revealed area, these fog will determine which event or encounter players will face when they explore the area. The map of the island is fixed, but not the environment. It uses the same principles that when you explore an area, you already know the area, but the environment or surroundings might be different from the last time you were there. This element provides unpredictable events that the players will encounter throughout the game. Don’t get me wrong, games like T.I.M.E Stories have their story unplayable once solved, this also similar but of course the second time you play it, it will be a different experience. You know what to do, you know how and where to go in order to lift the curse. But the next time you do that, things will be different, you might encounter something that wasn’t there, new events and others.

The game actions were wrapped in a simple classic draw and push your luck, where players will draw cards from a draw deck to determine whether their actions are a success or not, while maintain the draw deck as their life.

One curse offers you hours and hours of game time, you can save the game, but once you die, you need to restart from the start. The saving system provides players the ability to stop and start the game in different occasions. Not to mention the inventory system has a unique way that players can tinker with. They can combine item cards to be more powerful or diverse in usability. Player’s inventory is limited which also creates challenges for players to decide how they want to build their inventory.

The game is suitably designed for solo mode, but also good for 2-3 players game. The maximum player count (4) will leave the game to be longer than expected and more players would decrease the thematic immersion substantially.

The base game comes with 3 curses, but you can always get more with the expansion packs. The game has great visual tone, dark, serious and grim. Perfect with the theme of ones trying to lift the curse that threatening their lives. The characters are presented in miniatures, but be wary that these miniatures are really complementary components of a story adventure game with cards as its core components, so the miniatures are no the highlight of the components, they’re smaller that the average and lack of detail.

With more than thousand of cards, you will find sleeving this game to be very expensive and my advice, no need to sleeve the cards (especially those that placed on the table).

9
Go to the Spirit Island page

Spirit Island

6 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

I am not a fan of cooperative games, if I like or own them it means those games are really something. Cooperative games tend to end with alpha player problem. One player can run the game by themselves and others would just follow.

At first I wasn’t really into this game due to it’s visual approach and theme, but couple of my friends convinced me to try it after I got disappointed by Black Orchestra.

Given the extensive rules breakdown, I would say that this game has multi-layered game play, required extra efforts to chew them down. But once the game start to run, you will immerse not into the story, but to the gameplay and mechanisms it provides. The game, given its complexity nature required players to solve a series of puzzles that come in waves. There are things that players need to resolve immediately and there are things that will come in the next wave(s), but still required to be consider in the current plant in order to overcome them next. I like how the card system and combo really works, combined with free turn order mechanic which maximize the effectivity of card plays. Basically players will improve their hand of cards with better cards, which mainly have 2 functions, activating the card effect and provide symbols to unlock passive abilities from the spirits player’s have.

The game also offers wide range of difficulty in terms of enemies and levels. You definitely will find challenges in this game. And in addition, the spirits have various level complexities which accommodate new players as well as experienced players.

This is definitely one of the best cooperative games I have ever played since Gloomhaven and Robinson Crusoe in term of game complexity and thematic.

7
Go to the Celestia page

Celestia

I haven’t played Cloud 9, but some people say Celestia’s game play is based on that. Celestia is a game where you literally push your luck trusting your Captain to safely fly the ship over the clouds to farthest place you can be. But beware, your captain is not exactly the best on flying them. He could be a sinister guy, who just love to see you all crash, or he’s a drunkard who cannot ride straight but towards lightning and thick clouds, or maybe he made a shady deal with the sky pirate. Honestly you wouldn’t know this, but hey, let’s just pray that the ship isn’t crashing, or you get out before it’s too late.

In Celestia, players will take turns to be the ship’s captain and commandeering the ship with all you’ve got. Other players, must decide whether they trust the captain ability to fly it out safely for bigger loot, or do not believe the captain and just be contented with lower loot instead bigger ones. The game comes with a card board ship that will start in the starting island and to take journey to other islands in front of it. Farther island provides bigger treasure.

In their turn, the captain will roll a number of dice to determine the challenge for the ship in the journey. After the dice are rolled, each player starting from the left of the Captain, must determine if they want in or out of the ship. If they want out, they must remove their marker off the ship into the current island, and get one treasure card from that island. If they decide to be still onboard, they cannot change this decision later on. Once everyone decide, players may play special card (if the condition is met). After that the captain will play cards to overcome the challenge presented by the dice. If the captain have the card required, they must play it. If they don’t have, the ship is crashed and it’s returned back to starting island. All players (including the ones who have left off the ship) will be back on the ship and draw one card from the deck. The next captain will start to fly the ship again.
Remember, players only get treasure if they get off the ship.

The game ends when a player declare that he already owns at least 50 points worth of treasure at the start of a journey. Players reveal all their treasure and player with the highest point wins the game.

Celestia is a push your luck game, where it is riskier to get big treasure. It also a bluffing game for the captain and wagering for the others. Players should guess correctly whether the captain is capable to overcome the challenge or not, if not they better off the ship and get the treasure, better than nothing.
But, getting left behind is not really a satisfying thing to feel, so you might want to push your luck and perhaps the ship fly safely to bring you one island closer. It’s a very fun game for all ages, you can have hilarious and crazy moments worth shout at with friends and families. The special cards really give the unforeseeable aspect that could change the tide of things.

It’s a very simple game for all ages, plays relatively quick (30-45 mins) and provides lots of fun. Though of course its simplicity means there are not many replay value stored inside this game, every game would feel the same with random dice roll will steer the way.

7
Go to the Flip Ships page

Flip Ships

6 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

Do you remember your childhood video game where you control a spaceship and shoot enemies that try to destroy your home planets? Yes that’s Space Invaders back in the day, or maybe Galaga. They made the board game version but with a nice add-on, a dexterity element just because it would make the game more appealing.

In Flip Ships (aka Flipships), players will work together to prevent your home planet gets destroyed by Alien ships. You need to destroy all enemies and the mothership before they destroyed your planet. Players will control 2 ships (and eventually more) and will flick them towards the enemies / mothership. Yup, flick them with your finger(s), hence the dexterity element.

The enemies come in the form or cards lined up in several rows (called moon areas), if your ship land on the cards after it’s flicked, then it’s considered to found it’s target. Some enemies though, have to be hit twice to be destroyed, or shielded by another ship. After all players take their turns, the enemies move towards our planet, once they enter the atmosphere zone, they will deal damage to our planet (based on the value on each card) and return back to the deck. Our planet have 20 health points at the start of the game, so better hurry avoid those hits, once it’s zero, the players lose.

When the health point is reduced, players might unlocked new ships (there are three levels of ships) and each player’s ships has different abilities one from another. The mothership is a giant 4 sided cardboard with a huge hole in the center. Players need to flick their ships into that hole to damage the mothership. It’s placed on the most rear position, thus it’s very difficult to hit. Players need to hit the mothership a number of times based on the difficulty level. If there are less than 6 enemy cards, the final assault will be triggered and players need to destroy the mothership in that round. If not, the mothership will deal 20 damage to our planet and it’s instant defeat for players.

The game is pretty simple, straightforward and plays very fast. But it’s hard to master. You need to learn and practice to flick your ship. Aim your flick is not easy, you need a lot of practice and get used to it before you can master it. I found the game to be fun, not amazing but it’s fun to be played with friends and family. I wouldn’t mind a coop game like this. 30 minutes of fun flicking tokens, why not?

Keep in mind, that while you can adjust the difficulty, the game still the same. So it has low replay value. There is a speed variant but I think it’s not the same and not really improving the game. Another thing is that you might want to choose where you play this game. In public places with many people and crowd, not really a good choice because you can flick the tokens around and lost it somewhere in the crowd.

6
Go to the Takenoko page

Takenoko

12 out of 13 gamers thought this was helpful

Okay, my girlfriend (now is my wife) like other girls was drawn into the cute panda and colorful bamboos. She had me to get the game and it’s a bit fun. The game is simple and pretty much straight-forward.

During the game players will roll a die (resolve it) and take 2 actions from the available ones. The goal is to collect the most points by completing goal cards. There are 3 type of goal cards, Panda, Terrain and Farmer cards. Panda cards need you to spend certain number and color of bamboos, while Terrain require you to have irrigated terrain tiles arranged in particular way and Farmer cards need you to grow particular type of bamboos in particular heights and condition.

The actions are simple:
– Draw 3 terrain tiles and choose 1
– Move Panda in straight direction and eat a bamboo
– Move Farmer in straight direction and grow a bamboo
– Draw one goal card
– Take 1 irrigation token

But to make it more interesting there’s a way to manipulate the actions. The weather die is rolled at the start of each player turn (except the firs turn) and the result is resolved. The weather die allows you to get:
– A third different action
– Taking the same action with both of your actions
– Freely move the Panda anywhere and eat a bamboo
– Grow one bamboo shoot in one of the tile
– Getting a special token
– Free to choose one of the above result

I found the game to be simple, easy to play (children definitely can play this game) but also requires some thinking and decisions. What I don’t like about it are the dice roll result, the luck of the draw of goal cards and getting screwed by other players.
Yes, getting a specific side of the weather die is like praying for miracle. If you are bad at rolling (if there’s such thing) then you might hate this game. The side you really want wouldn’t come out and you should forget to get this.
The luck of the draw is really high to get the goal that you really wanted.

Once you played the game several times, you will realize that the game has low replay value. The game will be the same from time to time. Of course there are many things or variants that will help the game to up the challenge but I am not sure it will totally change my review.

9
Go to the Lisboa page

Lisboa

8 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

At this point we all can see the kind of games that Vital Lacerda usually comes up with. Looking up His previous works in Kanban, CO2, Vinhos, The Gallerist and now Lisboa. Its a part of EGG Vital Lacerda KS series (The Gallerist, Vinhos and now Lisboa). The game still follows the same direction in terms of visual and presentation in the hand of Ian O’Toole. I love the artworks, no doubt. It shows a very strong characteristic visual presence of the Lisboa culture with the blue and white decorative patterns. Honestly, this is better than The Gallerist and Vinhos.

The game is about rebuilding the city of Lisboa after the great disaster back in the day. Unlike The Gallerist which has worker placement mechanic, this game has a multi-use cards that combined with Hand management and tableau building to build up your engine. In the game you can do two things (like His other games, start with simple and few choices but branching out from there), either visit the nobles or trade with them (these 2 different actions can be done with a single type of card depends on what you do with it.

If you trade with the nobles, you will use the card to improve your portfolio (place it on your player boards and it will gives you certain benefits (passive and immediate benefits) throughout the game as long as it stays on. Trade with the nobles also allows you to trade with the nobles with your available goods. Each noble (there are three nobles) presents 2 state actions. The builder can give you hire officials and buy blue prints. While the prime minister allows you to buy ships and produce goods. The King allows you to move the Cardinal and take a favor tile. Players may choose to trade two of these actions with goods under restriction one action max per turn. You can also sell goods instead taking all of the actions above. Sell goods require vacant slots on a ship (no matter who owns it). Players gain the money based on the specific value of that commodity at that time plus the modifier presented by the ship. It’s an easy way to get a lot of money.

Another action is to visit the noble, where players must pay influence to play the card into the board and take the corresponding action related to the card. It it’s a character card, you take one state action of that character and take the character action. The builder can build stores, the prime minister can give you decree card for end game scoring, while the King allows you to open public building. Aside from the active player’s action, other players can also follow the action by spending a corresponding favor tile and spend influence to gain one of the three actions related to that character.

Building is an important aspect in the game since the game is about rebuilding the city. Because of the disasters, the city is covered in rubbles (fire, tsunami and earthquake) that players need to remove in order to build the city. Players need to spend money to excavate the rubbles on the building site depending the state of rubble available on that place at that time. Brown rubble cost the most expensive money(3) because thematically speaking, it’s heavy. While Tsunami is the cheapest because it’s water form easy to remove. The more rubble you have on a building require you to pay more. When building you will get bonus from that space and a cube that you can place on your board to complete a rubble set (3 types of rubble) to unlock your warehouse and portfolio limitation. 

Once you set up store, you can produce goods. When you take the produce action, each store you have will produce one goods and then the value of each type of goods that produced will decrease one step, this is the commodity price and it would only decreased during the game and never increased. Thematic speaking, at the start of the game, where stores are destroyed, the commodity value is high, when newly built stores are opened up, the value will slowly decreased. Players also need to build Public Building to gain prestige depending where their stores are located and also rubble cubes on that location. To open a public building players need blueprints and a number of officials in the office. Once built, Public spaces will give points to the store owners that qualify the type of stores that the public building allows. Another thing that players can do is when playing an event card on the board and take the corresponding event bonus, this cannot be followed by other players. 

At the end of the turn, players will take another card from the display to refill their hand back to five. The game is broken down to 2 periods where at the end of the first period, players will get the rewards from the cards they decide to discard and score points for each rubble set they managed to clear. 

The game should be simple but the truth, there are many actions in the game that connected with others which brings very detailed and intricate flow of the game. Complexity is totally high and players must cover all of the details to start the game, they even get player reference in a menu-book like manner that compiles all the action details and descriptions of all the bonuses, effects and others. If you are not used to this kind of games, there will be hard times to adapt with how the game works and a lot of efforts to relate with all of the details. It’s intimidating of course, but once you get your head wrapped around the rules, it would really satisfying. If you are already familiar with His games, then this will be interesting game for you. 

I like how the decree cards will determine the end game scoring for each player differently and the actions they choose over the course of the game. Interactions are high because players compete the best building spots and commodity value. Building portfolios also important cause you will get a lot of benefits from it and clearing rubber set will expand the possibility to improve it. 
And what I like is that the portfolio is your tableau building but it’s not static, players can change their portfolio only by playing a card, so there’s a flexibility to some degree. The game definitely has high replay value.

6
Go to the Oceanos page

Oceanos

Okay, first of all I had high hope for this one. It was released just in time with Dream Home and both were on my wishlist. Got them both and they’re just okay.
Oceanos has bigger game than Dream Home and the fact that it’s designed by Antoine Bauza (the designer of many great games includes 7 Wonders, Terror in Meeple City and more) I was more interested with this. The rules define the game to be a very simple game, suitable for casual gamers and children with cute and colorful illustrations and puzzle like components.

The game is simple you try to explore the underwater with your sub and try to get the most points after 3 rounds. Each round you will choose cards to place in front of you which will be lined up and form an underwater scene start from shallow to depth in 3 rows. The cards are draft in a very unique way, or you may call it different than drafting. The first player will be the captain during the turn and will distribute cards to other players while waiting them to return unchosen cards back to the captain for him to choose. It’s an interesting way of blocking players to get cards. The scoring is simple, based on set collection of animals, upgrade parts of your sub and area enclosure of coral reef.

The game could be fun with the right group since players trying to block others by giving the cards that they don’t need or keeping the cards that they need. After several plays you can see that the game is quite monotone. You will feel the same thing over and over again.

So you know it is best for children because the game offers quite interesting decision of their level. But other than that, you should look into meatier games like Potion Explosion or something.

8
Go to the Near and Far page

Near and Far

9 out of 9 gamers thought this was helpful

When talking about this game, we cannot just exclude Above and Below entirely. Above and Below was the stepping stone for this game for Ryan Laukat, the game designer as well as illustrator. He has unique visual style and universe creation on these games.
Above and Below stay focus on the story telling aspect of the game, where players take turns to go out into some adventures and gain something from it. The adventure is wrapped into a nice short story that players encounter and will determine the outcome by player’s decision out of the story, though in the end final decision lies on the dice rolls.

Near and Far still carry on with the same essence as Above and Below but He takes it deeper, with more contents, more game play and more complexity. You will surely feel the game to be more gamey than Above and Below. Stories are still important but He upped the scale for the game play. Now He provides medium for exploration with map booklet where players can actually move around the board when they go outside.

Now there are many things going on inside and outside, there are several places you can visit inside the town to get stuff, work on the mines, recruit adventurers and so on. Meanwhile, when you go outside, you can move around to fight threats, gain treasures, set trading routes and face encounters and so on.
The game has several different aspects that will determine you decisions as the game progress, whether what you want to get and how you want to get it. The worker placement thing is more similar to The Ancient World where players can visit a location and block that location from other players, but not entirely since visiting player can visit that occupied location and do a duel beforehand. It also uses the set collection element from The Ancient World, where players buy artifacts by spending some resources and so on.

There are many game modes offered by the game, you can play one time session with one of the 11 maps, or you can play a full campaign / character modes clearing 10 maps. Campaign / Character modes provide interesting character progression along the whole session, but unlike other progression character games, this game has very little stats progression aside from the story. Each session will reset the game and characters aside from talent (that player can buy) and keywords that they get.

Also there’s an Arcade more where you can take out the story element and get down to the summary for faster game length. I find the game to be more complex, interesting and appealing for gamers than Above and Below which is more suitable for children.
The game is heavy, its box is fully packed with good quality components, and the adventurers are double sided, which the back side can be used for Above and Below.
My grime with the game is the fact that the campaign progression is very light or you can say thin.

7
Go to the Dice Forge page

Dice Forge

7 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

Dice Forge is definitely an amazing game with innovative dice customization game but plays very simple and fast!
The game is played either 9 or 10 rounds based on number of players (2-4) and takes within 30-60 mins. It has very beautiful illustrations (as expect from French games) and nice big-plastic dice that can be customized as the game progresses. It’s very innovative that the game is about building your dice so you can get the best out of it. At first players have the same dice (with all the same sides) and as the game progressed, they will have the chance to buy die faces and apply them to their dice. This way from round to round, their dice will grow better and stronger to give them resources, golds, points or any other effect.
The game is simple, in a round, player takes turn to be the active player. In each turn all players roll their two dice to receive Divine Blessings, then the active player can activate the cards they have and then take an action. The actions are either buy Die faces or go to buy card. Active player can also get one extra action by paying 2 Sun resources.
Some cards have immediate effect or once per round effect aside from points.

What makes this game interesting is that players keep engaged during anyone’s turn by rolling dice to get divine blessing. Also the action is fast, low downtime. And the dice are so good, chunky plastic dice with removable faces (sadly it’s a bit hard to remove the faces) and the game box comes with a special insert to store all the components easily and compact that you can set the game up in no time. Of course returning the die face back to its starting faces are not an easy feat. You need time for this.

The game comes with 2 different sets of cards that you can play, beginner and advance sets. Both offer different kind of plays. Unfortunately the replay value is not really high even they offer 2 sets of cards, the game play basically stays the same and it involves high chance of dice roll luck, but hey it’s a simple and fast game, just have fun with it!
And *, I love that cover.

9
Go to the The Gallerist (2017 edition) page

In short, this game is a worker placement game. There are only 4 action spaces where players can place their gallerist (worker) but each space has 2 possible actions to choose. Hence 8 actions in total. Still simple, but how the actions work and interconnected to each other will put anyone into deep deep thought.

In overall, you try to be the most success gallerist by having the most money at the end of the game. This is achieved by many different things, like discover an artist (it has its perk) and ask them to make an art for you, promote them, sell the art from your gallery, participate in international auction, hire workers to do things for you, increase your customer base. The way artists work is very interesting, they can increase their popularity from many different things. If someone buying their works their popularity is increased or maybe promote them on media to gain buzz and such. As their popularity increase, your profit will likely follow as you have their works on your gallery. In time you will reap that profit. The game has this sense of semi-cooperative between players in terms of collaboratively increase artists that they share invested on.
Also even the game has a very limited action space, blocking is not an issue since you can always kick someone else from the occupied space. Kicking someone / their assistant gives your opponent some kind of reward, so its a thing to consider, being kicked is always a pleasure.
All in all, the game surely gives you a long deep thought to work on, a great way to spend the time if you like this kind of heavy Euro games. I like it, very much. At first, early in the game there are so few that you can take head on, but as the game progress, there are many things unraveled and you need to realize them to seize it before someone else does.

I find the game components are amazing, top notch. Super thick tokens and nice custom plastic insert. The best thing is the illustrations from Ian O’Toole are also a masterpiece, fit with the theme.

7
Go to the Abraca...what? page

Abraca...what?

7 out of 7 gamers thought this was helpful

One thing that really describes this game might be, “a competitive version of Hanabi”. In this game, each player will receive 5 spell tiles (there are 8 kind of spells in the game and each kind has a number of spells based on the value shown on the spell), that they do not look. So, the spells are facing outward to other players. Just like Hanabi.
The goal is to be the first person to get 8 points. So in their turn, players will try to cast a spell from their tiles, if the spell they’re trying to cast is among their tiles, they successfully cast the spell and the spell effect is resolved. After that, they can decide whether to cast another spell (the catch is the next spell must be equal or higher value than the previous spell) or end their turn. When they end their turn, they refill back up to 5 tiles. If they managed to cast all their spell in a single turn, the round ends and they get 3 pts. If they failed to cast the spell, their turn ends and they lose a life. If they lose all their life tokens (each player starts with 6 life points and trust me, it’s easy to lose all of them in such a short time), the round ends and they don’t get points, other surviving players get a point.
There are 8 kind of spells and each of them has different effect. Mostly revolving taking life points from other players or getting their life points back.
The game relies heavily in the spell deduction element, which is interesting not knowing your own spells but know what others have in front of them. Aside from the other spells in the central or removed or in the secret stone space. The deduction aspect works differently based on number of players since there are different setup from number of players. The game can be played from 2 up to 5 players. In 2-3 players game, there are 6-12 spells removed from the game, this makes the deduction process more difficult, since not all the possible spells are laid out in the table.
I like how the conflict takes place while deduction in progress to get points, so you can do leader bashing with this situation, though the spells mostly targeting the player next to you.
The secret stone also gives extra excitement to the deduction process based on partial information, since not all players can know the information given through the secret stone. So it’s like I know my secret stone value but I don’t know the others and they know theirs but not mine kind of thing.

It’s fun, hilarious and plays very quick. While there’s a small logic thinking in it, the deduction really gives your brain a little exercise, though there’s a small hit of bluff element, but not really essential to the game play.

Love this to play with non-gamers, casual gamers and also family. Interesting enough though the replay value is not particularly high due to it’s game experience tends to be the same after several plays. I think the game is best played with 4 or 5 players. Haven’t try it with 2 players, but in three, the deduction element is not very strong, due to the unused spells. If you like a small game, plays quick. easy to grab and fun with take that element that is not core to it’s gaming experience, this might be perfect for you.
The components are good, above standard with the spell plastic blocks, unique and stand out over the table.

8
Go to the Caverna: The Cave Farmers page
18 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

Farming is a very common Euro theme, or building something.
So in the past there’s Agricola, one of the best Euro out there (acclaimed) and to be honest it is a great game. Though it implements simple and classic worker placement game, it offers great depth because the cards combos and action decisions. Agricola is a gamer’s game, no doubt. It even has a family friendly version which is an attempt to make it available for wider audiences.
And now there’s Caverna: The Cave Farmers. Caverna also implements the same theme and main mechanics exist in Agricola, but it doesn’t use the card components but uses building tiles instead. So all players have access to all the buildings in the game, mitigates luck of the draw from Agricola. And in addition, Caverna also offers more friendly and forgiving game scoring, while in Agricola, the scoring forces players to cover all the scoring elements in order to avoid negative points.
Caverna has very interesting components, there are more contents than Agricola except cards and the quality is top notch. It takes bigger table space to play and the setup and tear down is basically a pain.
The good thing (which also can be a bad thing) is the game play is more relaxed than Agricola. The blocking and opportunities in Agricola are essential to player’s plan, while Caverna is more lenient towards player’s plan and they can recover other players blocking easier.

The downside is that players can easily figure out best strategy in a game since all the components are open information and available for all. The challenge is to figure other player’s plan and block them while making your own moves.

7
Go to the Viceroy page

Viceroy

9 out of 10 gamers thought this was helpful

Viceroy once was a hit game, designed by and published in Russia, the game then had international distribution by Mayday Games, which many people got their hands on this hype game.
Actually based on visual presentation, the game looks very interesting. Placing cards on tableau to form pyramid shape is kinda interesting. In Viceroy, players will bid cards with colorful gems (tokens) and play cards in their tableau. The cards played will grant effect in many different ways, while forming a pyramid from bottom to top.

The mechanics are interesting, fresh and unfamiliar. The cards have different type and also have different colors on it’s corners, when combined these partial circle will form a full circle and give gem bonuses if the circle consists of one color. A nice and simple pattern building which added a bit of depth to the tableau building with the cards’ effect.
You can always place cards above the other cards as long as the card has a foundation (2 cards below) and must follow the pyramid rule (must form a pyramid shape). I personally like these mechanics and very enjoyable, what I don’t like though, is the bidding mechanic. It’s quirky and really steal the fun. Players try to bid cards with gems, which only have 4 colors, the twist is that players must bid a color that’s different from others to get a card they want. If more than one players with the same color, they fail the bid and must bid again if they want (they still lose the gem though, costly). And I must say that losing one chance to get a card is so * crippling. Means you lose one chance to complete your cards and pyramid. It’s catastrophic, the biggest downfall of the game from my point of view. But you can still enjoy it though if you can accept this.

The cards combinations offer a good deal of replay value since not all cards are revealed and players will get different cards combinations in each play.

7
Go to the Spyfall page

Spyfall

8 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

Spyfall is an interesting social game. In this game, players will be given a card, that will show an illustration about the location that players are in. The twist is that one player will be the spy and his card won’t show the location. When the game begins, starting from the first player, he will ask a question about the location to another player, which that player need to answer in a way that he can convince other players that he’s not the spy but in the same way, doesn’t reveal any clue to the spy about the location itself. Then that questioned player can ask another player with different question.
The twist in the game lies in the deduction process among the players with certain directed questions. Players need to careful structure their question in a way that’s not really exposing but hit the spot to those who know the answer. The down side is that the players sometimes couldn’t come up with good questions, its hard to get the safest but helping question without giving away any clue to the spy. And in addition, for new players they need to consider the available locations provided in the game, so that they can figure out what aspect is relevant to that specific location.
It’s a fun game, though some group might encounter frustrating stages with the questions so that the game could work smoothly.
Meanwhile, experienced players usually take this easier cause they already have experienced in the past about what kind of questions that good or bad, so they can use that element to consider what is the suitable questions and answers. So they need to constantly check the other locations available to give clearer sense about the scope of questions and answers.
For the spy, since it’s a random game, there’s a possibility that he’s the one to go first to ask or answer, this is very dangerous cause he will go without any clue at all. This is critical timing to mark hit or miss game.

The game really shines with more players, since the deduction and discussion could blend in and give a good play rather than a restricted topic and easily tracked discussion among few players.

8
Go to the Automobiles page

Automobiles

40 out of 45 gamers thought this was helpful

At first I wasn’t really sure about the game, based on it’s theme and genre, racing and racing.
Yes, it’s a game about racing cars with a racing mechanism. The first one cross the finish line, won the game. I don’t really like that kind of game (pointing out on Euphoria and Istanbul).
But a friend popped his copy onto the table and I must join in the game (I gave the game the benefit of the doubt). So I played, it’s simple, easy to play and surprisingly fast.
There are many cards for variable setup and that’s a good thing. Each play will be different. Also double-sided game board for two different race tracks. Allocating and drawing cubes are much more fun than in Hyperborea (thank God). The game has quite a balance in it, no big problem for runaway leader, since every player can make a comeback with the right move. From my plays (which not many) I felt the game is very competitive. The last standings were quite close and few have tie breakers to do the job.

So basically over the course of the game you will either purchase cubes (colorful cubes with certain effects or gear cubes to sprint your car in the track) or use the cubes to move your car forward.
There are different color of gear cubes (white, light grey, dark grey and black) which can be used to move your car along the race track. The track consists of different lanes and colors and spaces. Basically in logic sense to explain, white cube is first gear, you start the race in this transmission and then you can go to 2nd (light grey), 3rd (dark grey) and last gear (black). The higher your gear is, the longer the space is. So with high gear your car moves faster. But watch out, high gear has a downside in turns, you need to slow down the speed, which you will then need lower gears.
The game also comes with wear cubes (brown) which is a waste for your car, this happens naturally in the track, but with higher gear you use, more wear cubes you will get. But there are ways to avoid this, by drafting (getting into a position where you directly behind someone else) in which you do not get wear cubes.
There are other color cubes (yellow, blue, green, red and purple) which have certain effects on the game. This depends on the variable setup from the cards at the beginning. The color cubes can be used to help you do many things, such as avoiding wears, getting more cubes from the draw bag, or discarding unused cubes.

Although it sounds very complex with the cubes effect and how to use them in technical way, I think this is a very casual and new entry to the deck building genre and it’s fun and no heavy texts. A small start at the beginning is what it takes for any new players to play it.
Would love to play it again.

7
Go to the Camel Up page

Camel Up

59 out of 66 gamers thought this was helpful

The game has interesting components, yes the main attraction is the dice shaker with pyramid-shaped boards assembled together. So when you displayed your game on the table, many passerby will check that component first.
In the game we, players are in the Camel Race, watching and of course betting which Camel is going to win, or lose.
There are 5 camels (in different colors and each of them has a single die of the same colors). These camels will be on the race and you will bet which camel is going to win and which is going to lose.
A single race consists of one lap (you can set as many laps as you want though) and in it there will be several legs.
One leg is done if all the camels already moved.

So once the race starts, each player from the first player will take turns to take an action. The available actions are roll a die, take a wage, place an oasis or mirage tile, place a bet on the lose and win camel.
If the player take a roll die action, he will take a pyramid tile and shake the pyramid, place it upside down, push the lever and reveal the laid die to determine which color and number the die has. The camel of the same color will move on the track a number of spaces depends on the die value (from 1-3 spaces). If the player take a wage tile, he choose which color he wants to take and take the top tile. Each color has three tiles of different value, from the biggest value of 5, 3 and 2 coins for the first place. So by taking this action, that player place a wage on that camel to win (or at least in second place).
The other action is to place a tile on the track. Each player has a double sided tile, which showing an oasis on one side and a mirage on the other. They can place this tile on an empty space on the track (without camel or tile) with one of the two faces facing up. If it’s an oasis, it will give +1 movement space to any camel stop on top of it (and the owner of the tile will get a coin if that happened). If it’s a mirage, any camel stop on top of it will get a -1 movement space (move backward) and the owner also get a coin.
The last action is playing a card of a specific color (each player has 5 camel cards, each showing a color) to bet on the first and last place when the race ends. They will get huge rewards if they managed to bet on the right camel.

Once a leg finishes, the players check their wage tiles and get rewards or pay the losing bet. And a new leg will then start again if no camel reach the finish line. Once a camel reach the finish line the game immediately ends. Check the wager rewards and the betting for last and first camel on the race.
It’s a fun and light game, party if you need to say, a beer and pretzel game. All you have to do is choose an action each turn, that action can depends on your certain considerations on that time, but seriously, everything is luck fest of the dice roll.
Of course you can make a good move, this means not doing something obviously impossible (for example wagering on a camel that’s impossible t win the leg at that moment). So, let’s take a moment to rest and relax, let your wild side get the best of you and enjoy the race. Winning is exaggerated.
The components are good, but main concern is the rubber band that holds the pyramid lever. The game comes with 3 rubber bands I guess, but when I assembled the pyramid for the first time, the first rubber band was snapped. So I used the second, but recently the second also snapped and right now I am using the last one. So just hope this will last for some time now. Of course you can use any rubber bands to replace this component, but I don’t know how good the common rubber band is compare to the original one.

6
Go to the Star Realms page

Star Realms

50 out of 58 gamers thought this was helpful

Yes as my title says. It’s a deck building game, but surprisingly small.
The game doesn’t come with special setup, arrangement or even specific classes for each player. The cards are all thrown into one deck and each player has access to it though there are different factions on the deck all players are free to get them and build their deck with them regardless of the factions. The factions in a simple way only provides special ability activation when played, a chain combo element in the card play.

But in more complex way, there are more to it than meets the eye. You can combine the factions into you’re deck but these factions also have different specialties, hence different game play approach. This what makes it more interesting, simple but yet has enough meat to explore, to adjust and tinker.

And since it’s small and simple, the length play also fast. Around 15-20 minutes per game, you can play this one back to back or even several plays at once trying out new combos and different approaches.

The game also has a variant for 4 players but I never try it, so no comment here. It requires 2 decks of cards to play with 4 players in case you want to try.

My main issue was the Authority cards, the system is not the best of all, so I changed it with scoring tracks in one card and use a pair of markers to mark the Authority, works quite well.

7
Go to the T.I.M.E Stories page

T.I.M.E Stories

46 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

Please keep in mind that my review is somewhat bias because one perspective in mind. So let’s just enjoy the ride.
The first time I heard this game’s concept, I couldn’t resist to like it. But upon learning how the game really played, a fear grows on me.

The game has a bit of legacy element on it, not entirely similar but the feel. The game offers element of surprise in each case, which in one of the main appeals of the game. Players play as time travel agents, trying to fix a case in the past or more likely to catch a bad guy who escaped to the past. During the game players will solve riddles, puzzles, find clues and complete the mission eventually. These so-called agents will take the roles of the characters living in that present time (past for these agents) and each of them has different stats and abilities, interesting.
They will be given a specific amount of time to complete their mission before they’re back into the future. The game is designed with the idea that by collecting clues and interesting finds, they will do better with these resources in the next try. It’s the main potential with time travelling if you can do something over and over again. Eventually you will reach perfection based on the chances and mistakes you’ve done.

Players will explore different locations, meet different people and get various clues. If they fail, they can attempt to try it again from the start, but the next attempt should be better and more efficient based on information they managed to get from previous attempts.
But once the mission is solved, players are done, they play with another mission. This complete mission will no longer ‘playable’, the term ‘playable’ here is that once it’s completed the mission is no longer serve the same purpose as it’s before. Unless players trying to find out other ways to deal the mission.
So I guess once you complete the mission, you no longer play it again, move on to the next case, which you need to acquire since cases are sold separately. Yes the base game only has one case. This is a problem for me. I don’t really like the idea of getting a game where I can only play it a number of times and then be done with it. So it just stay quietly on my shelf forever (until I forget all of the case and can re-play it again) or sell it. I am more of a person who keeps a game that he likes.
I tried the game once and figured that the game wasn’t worth to be in my collection for this reason.

There you go. Once the game is over, it is over!

10
Go to the Kanban: Automotive Revolution page
42 out of 48 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is so awesome. I immediately bought it once available (though came with a hefty price) but no regrets. I found this game to be a true gem.
This was in fact my first Vital Lacerda’s game, tried CO2 before but not complete so I don’t think that count.

Unique Theme
There are not many games with this theme, players working in a manufacturing car company. Some of the terms are unfamiliar in the game field so far, unlike terms from classic Euros. In this game you will work as employee to design cars, order parts, assemble these parts, test the cars and claim them to your garage. And also train, yes do not forget this, very important thing in your line of work. Of course since this is a company, there will be meetings to attend to, to discuss your performance and other important stuff, trust me they’re important.

There are two important things in the game, which is points and time. Yes, you will use your given time wisely to gain better performance and prestige points, and lets hope you will be chosen as the next employee of the year.
In each turn (I would say working day) you will choose in which department you want to work (now this is freedom), either in design department, warehouse, assembly, test and upgrade and HR department. The cycle in manufacturing cars are like this, first you need a design to make a car, once the design is there you need parts (there are 6 different parts) to assemble the car, after the car is assembled, you need to test it or upgrade it to have better performance.
In some turns you can bank shifts (time) or even spend banked shift to work more in a day. Overwork is important but sometimes you need the payout later. While you working tirelessly there’s also someone who’s gonna monitoring you lazy labors, that’s the factory manager named Sandra (you know what, she’s the designer’s wife, so no cursing at her back, He will know).
I would say Sandra has her time of the month where she can be mean or nice. This is the game variant and I would say it is a brilliant one. Because only changing her mood, the game is completely changed, different in a big way, not the rules, but how players play the game. In nice Sandra, players will get a relaxed play, with lots of options to explore and Sandra will give reward to the player with the best performance, while in mean Sandra, the players will be pushed to perform better, the worst one will get punishment, this changes lots of play behaviors. They will be more focus to priority, each action will be crucial and critical since one mistake could ruin your plan entirely (bye bye promotion!)
The scoring mechanics are amazing, you can get points from many things but the real deals are from meeting and getting max points from upgrade designs at the end of the week. Scoring performance goals from meetings are very interesting, just like meeting players will show performance based on the topics available or presented by one of the players. Also they can only score if they have seats available in the meeting.

I think this one is better than The Gallerist in terms of streamlined, straightforward, tight and challenging with two modes of play. Need more planning in the long run, more contained, more controlled. The Gallerist is great, but I must say it’s more fiddly, more complex in the terms of components but more accessible to new players than Kanban (this is the highlight of my observation). While Kanban has higher learning curve, clever plays and interesting decision making that greatly affecting a player’s performance. And also tension, it has tension than The Gallerist.

I love how Naomi Robinson did with the arts, instantly it may looks very busy and hard to see but once you play it, everything will come to sense quickly.

8
Go to the Blood Rage page

Blood Rage

51 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

I almost left out this Kickstarter, luckily there was a late pledge (sounds fishy) which I immediately pledged, didn’t want to lose this out.
There went my money down the sink, but it’s all worth it, every penny.
I love the minis (rockin’ cool, all of them, except the ones with bent parts, oh Chaos in The Old World all over again), the amazing arts by Adrian Smith and of course the Viking theme, splendors, big time!

So for me those all do not suffice to own the game (with this price tag, kinda) so the game play must be good. Is it good? Well, the first time, there’s a buzz that this was a Chaos in The Old World killer. Wow, just Wow… I love Chaos and definitely intrigue to see this one, especially this one is from the same designer, so it’s less biased (isn’t it?). But it turned out to be a different game. Yes, no dice involved, and drafting, but still area control and majority (in a way). Less conflict punishment, but more tight in actions.
In this game, players represent Viking clans (Wolf, Serpent, Bear and Raven) that compete to appease the God with their blood-lust battle rage actions. The game is played over 3 ages, with Ragnarok (doomsday) in the end of each age. Players will draft cards, take actions in turns, complete missions and participate dying in Ragnarok. The map comes as the realm of Asgard, where lies Yggdrasil as the center of it with 8 areas encircling it (4 regions). Drafting phase is very essential, it will determines players’ actions in the next phase. They will draft several kinds of cards, battle cards, quest cards and upgrade cards.
In the action phase players will take actions based on their cards or units withing the board. The actions are Invade, March, Quest, Pillage and Upgrade. These actions are mostly cost Rage points (just like Chaos) and cannot be taken if players have no Rage left even the cost is none, they automatically pass if they ran out of Rage points.
There are different kind of units, warrior, leader and ship, also monster. Leader units have high strength and cost free to invade but only limited to one per player, where warrior units are plenty but only contribute one strength. Ships can only be assigned to Fjord (a sea space between two areas that can support both areas) but cannot be included in March action. Monsters are powerful beasts that have special abilities, so players will get them by playing specific monster upgrade cards.
An area has a various limited number of slots that can be assigned with units, hence getting there first is essential for players, priority is the key.
Players take part in battle by Pillage action, whoever taking the pillage action can decide where the battle takes place (as long as they have a unit there and the areas is still available to pillage). Battle is very simple and quick. Starting from the player to the right of the pillaging player clockwise, each player can move a unit from an adjacent area once as long as there is at least one open slot left in the pillaged area. After that players involved in the battle must play a card from their hand, the cards are revealed simultaneously and the battle is resolved. The winner get glory points where the losers’ unit perished in battle to Valhalla. If the winner is the pillaging player, the area is pillaged and the player gets the pillage token benefit (either rage / horn / axes advance or glory points). If not, the area can be pillage again next turn.
Players can also submit quests which can give them points if it’s fulfilled (this usually based on majority).

Once the age ends, units in area where Ragnarok currently happening were sent to Valhalla and generate points based on the current age.
Oh there are many battles take place, many dead units, many victories, many losses. But the God are demanding nonetheless.
I like how simple the game is, how unique each play is, you can combine some combos from the cards, tactical plays also have critical role. The game seems provide a lot of conflicts (of course, they’re Vikings anyway) but inside the punishment is not that big and dismaying, since there are many ways to gain points aside from winning battles. There are secret agendas, where dying can be better than winning with certain favors. So, surprises are just about anywhere, in the air, in the corner, beneath your very step. The game length is also not that long, you can play back to back just withing one and a half hour with 4 players. But of course for first play, the cards could be overwhelming, since getting to know the cards is essential. With this players can predict, determine and plan their and opponents’ moves.
I think this is more light than Chaos, more simple, more streamlined and straightforward conflict. A bit of take that with the battle cards but still light enough to move on, where Chaos more on the long run side. The complexity of asymmetric elements are not that high as Chaos is, also clever plays are short and instant unlike Chaos which requires long run plan and commitment.

The downsides are storing the game with those fragile (looks like it, more if you pain them all) minis. The game comes with some plastic inserts and for me these are good enough. But getting all of the minis (including the expansions and exclusives) into the core box are impossible, so there you go another thing to solve. The leaders are hard to differentiate against warriors. So even with colored plastic base, it’s not helping players to mistakenly recognize units as leaders and vice versa.
Some combos can be overkill and devastating, which once formed are not easy to counter. But overall having this big bad monster in my collection is heavenly feeling!

6
Go to the Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia page
51 out of 58 gamers thought this was helpful

I really wanted to love this game, the artwork and components are in top quality, the mechanic is somewhat a unique blend from several mechanics. But my first play denied me that chance.
I dislike racing games and this one is a racing game from skin to bone.
The first player who placed all of their stars, win the game (close enough). So whoever get rid of their stars will highly win the game.
In this game you will support some factions and will drive factions toward progresses. You will have workers in the form of dice and can recruit more or even lose some.
During your turn you will assign one of your workers to a location, to gather resources, getting new workers, build markets, dig tunnels and more.
You also have two recruits and a secret agendas. One recruit will be placed face up and active since the start of the game while the other is placed face down, secret from other players. This recruit can only be declared once it’s corresponding faction reach a level where they must be revealed.
These recruits give you certain benefits and also possible Star placement (if the faction reach the highest level in the faction track).
Also players can complete a secret agenda by paying with artifact cards, in which players will need to choose whether they want to place one of their star or get a new recruit card.
Other ways to place stars are with participating in the construction of markets (where having a star there will protect them from a detrimental effect the market triggers when it’s built) or by placing them on artifacts in certain places around the factions. So in short, players will gather resources with workers and spend these resources to get other resources (workers included), cards or place stars.
Players can also lose workers when their dice roll exceeding the allowed knowledge limit which can be adjusted by doing some things. So players need to be cautious to get their hands with more workers than they can chew at a time. There’s a unique mechanic where players, aside from allocate dice, they can also retrieve them back from the allocated spaces (from one die to all) to be able to use them again in subsequent turns. After retrieving the dice, they have to immediately roll them, which will be evaluated whether the total amount exceed the knowledge limit or not. If exceeded, that player needs to lose one or more dice so the amount is equal or lower than the limit. Also there are some locations where players can kick out other player’s die in that location, which can also resulted in losing a die for the owner’s of that kicked-out die, for he must immediately roll the kicked-out die and check the limit.

I found the game very interesting, smooth and very engaging. Though this smoothness somewhat omitted some real and meaningful decision in each player’s action, but it’s very streamline and simple. You can feel that your play is progressing by getting more benefit from factions’ progress but definitively it’s a racing game, which I pretty much dislike. So once the winner is decided, it’s kinda anti-climax or turn off the feel. It’s hard to change the situation (which reminds me of Istanbul) once you’re in, and the game play doesn’t feel rewarding if you lose the game. It’s kinda pointless when you lose, since the process are kinda dull and flat though simple and streamlined, for the sake of your purpose to win the game. So whatever sweet things you get from playing it, the after taste turns all of those to sour.
I don’t say the game is bad, it’s just not working for me. I enjoy the game play, just not the result (unless you’re winning of course).
Let me compare this with Lewis and Clark. It also a racing game and yes the winner often can be decided early on before the game ends (anti-climax) but I don’t feel sour when lose, I feel rewarded by the clever plays during the game, the efforts, the struggle to keep moving forward, the puzzles between the corners of your mind give you all of those sort of accomplishment. So yes, that’s my issue.
Aside from that, the retail copy has good component quality, even better if you have the KS exclusive copy with realistic resource tokens.

8
Go to the The Voyages of Marco Polo page
44 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

Tzolkin is very much different with this one. So the designers basically succeed in making a new game that really different from the previous one, a good one. This game’s essential components are dice, so it’s true nature is a dice game.
The game sets in the Marco Polo exploration period where He venture the East in 13th century. The game board shows a portion of Eastern countries’ map where players will visit during the game.
At the start of the game, players will start at the same location (this shows the beginning location of Marco Polo’s journey). In each round players will roll their dice and use them to do a single action each turn. The actions available require the players to spent some amount of dice in a specific value. Players will fulfill contracts (resource management), setup trading posts (complete objectives) and getting their pawns from one place to another place (networking). Though most of the dice actions are not blocking, but there are some that block actions, because the slots are full or blocking certain dice values.
It’s a fun medium Euro game about dice placement, the players also have variable player power, this makes the game more interesting.

8
Go to the Seasons page

Seasons

48 out of 54 gamers thought this was helpful

Cool artworks, no doubt! But how about the game play?
Well, played this game a lot back on the time it was released. It still reminds me of the feeling right now. If I can make it short in one sentence, the game is “about getting it right in the first place and keeping it right til the end!”

Now to explain that sentence.
This game is abstract, so nothing to explain here. But if you take it as it is, it’s kinda fun and interesting with amazing arts. In the game you will have to transmute energy to gain crystals (points). There are 4 different kind of energy in the game based on the 4 seasons in a year. Players will play 3 years, which means 12 seasons. In each year, players will draft cards and then roll the season dice (each season). Starting from the first players, they will choose a die and gain it’s effect. Then players will play a card from their hands.
Dice give either crystals, energy, cards and transmutation action. Playing cards cost you energies and some of them give you benefit, either instantly, one time, by activation or passive ability that can help players to gain profit or disrupt their opponents. By combining the die, cards, energies they have and even crystals, they will try to get more than they spent.
When the game ends, player with the most crystals wins the game.
The components and the arts are spectacular, amazing visuals and presentations. Wait till you see the season dice with your own eyes and get the feel of them in your own hands, those chunky dice are fun to hold and roll. The game play is really simple but learning and mastering the combos are the real fun this game can offer. The cards have moderate text which for first / new players this would seem overwhelming (but in one play this would change significantly better). After knowing the cards’ abilities and possibilities, you will learn more and more how to play the game.
The draft phase is essential, because this phase practically seals player’s fate during the game (unless mis/fortune interferes). This might take quite some time, but once it’s done, players should already come up with some plans. The rest is how they adapt to the dice roll and players’ actions. So make sure to draft good hands and play them out correctly and efficiently but don’t forget to have a backup plan.

Back in the day, I’ve played it quite often and it’s kinda a hit among our groups. I like this better than Lords of Xidit (another game with the same universe and theme, but different genre, programming).

8
Go to the The Castles of Burgundy page
63 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

For new players, getting into board gaming hobby can be a challenged. Taking a great leap of faith from among small, party filler games into more serious and challenging experience is not that easy and a walk in the park. Okay you know Splendor or even Carcassonne but are those enough? Well don’t look the other way, The Castles of Burgundy is the right choice to help you guide into the light.

This game is quite simple to learn and so smooth in game play, but offers enough challenge and interesting plays in the same time. Players will build their own estate with buildings and interesting things that can be found in 15th century castles (pastures, castles, mines, rivers, knowledge and such).
The game consists of 5 rounds with each round has 5 turns where in each turn players will roll 2 dice and use those dice to do actions.
The actions refer to the die result (1 to 6) and can be used in many ways (very innovative dice slash worker placement game). You can use any dice to acquire tiles from the main board (the value of the die decides where you can get the tile from), place it to your estate (same procedure), selling goods, and getting workers for modifiers.

Completing your estate basically giving you points, but the number of points depends on when you complete the region on your estate. Earlier scoring and bigger region will get you higher points.

The game is simple, roll dice, take turns based on turn order to use those dice. But maybe for new players there seems to be a lot to take in, many building types and many scoring possibilities. But once you play it for the first time, everything will make sense in such an enlightening way. I successfully managed to introduce this game to new players several times ( quite often).

The artwork is kinda dull, it’s a classic Euro which explains it. The components are also slightly below par, which I think could be better, such as thicker tiles and player mats.

The last but not the least, the game also comes in different variants in the player mats so this hugely adds the replay value to the game. You can try with different maps.

9
Go to the Above and Below page

Above and Below

62 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

I think this is the best of Ryan Laukat, in terms of game play and illustration. I love the art and how the game plays.
Ryan did a great job to create an original setting of the universe in this game and it is remarkably full of imaginations.
In this game players will lead their villagers to venture deep inside the tunnel into fascinating world of underground in rich story telling aspect that drives the game in such a compelling way to keep players interested, while building their villages into something more advance and getting points to win the game.

The core element of the game is that players will explore new places underground which they will be facing a certain encounter from the book of encounter based on their die rolls. The outcome is countless, many combinations of encounters can be found that lined up as a one big story for a player in a single game.

I love how the story telling really works in this game, it keeps you engaged within the story, the character and the game. It drives you to make an important decision along the way, which everything has consequences while keeping it simple and easy to resolve.

But aside from the story telling, you can still enjoy Euro aspects of the game by building something up and by doing that getting the maximum points you can. I enjoy it very much and this will likely stay in my collection forever.

The good thing is if Ryan want to make expansion, he can easily make a new book of encounter with different plots and stories to be included to make new and fresh things.

If you can get the KS edition, the wooden resource tokens are way much better than the tiles.

9
Go to the Potion Explosion page

Potion Explosion

42 out of 47 gamers thought this was helpful

I bought the game because it has interesting visual presentation. Yes, all of you would agree with me looking at the game essential component, the marbles and the dispenser. When anyone looking at some players playing it, the first thing that they will see is the huge dispenser thing in the center of the table with marbles on it, yes colorful marbles.
The game is simple, on your turn you pick one marble from one of the slide and it will cause chain reaction(s) which makes the marbles explode (yes they explode because of the same color marbles collide with each other. You also take the exploded marbles. You then will assign those marbles to potion tiles you have matching the colors or if no slot available, place the rest to the pool (up to 3 marbles can be placed here). Once a potion is complete (all the slots are filled with marbles) the potion is finish and you can flip the tile and move it from your brewing area. This potion gives you two things, game points and also the potion effect (if you drink it). There are 8 kind of potions (but only 6 will be used in a game) and each has different effect.
If you managed to collect a set of 3 potions of a kind or 5 different potions, you will get a skill token (worth 4 points). The game ends if the countdown stack runs out (the amount is different based on number of players) or the available potions on the supply is runs out. The funny thing about this is, even if you drink the potion for it’s effect the points are still counted toward your points. So no reason to not get drunk with potions.
It’s a fun light game, all you have to do is pick one marble and see how other marbles explode and get those potion effect combos doing your work. This game is pretty much attract any non-gamer or casual gamer.
I found it quite amusing, the marbles and seeing them roll over on the dispenser, its quite nostalgic by the way.
Unfortunately I found the setup to be a pain in the ***. Before playing you need to sort out the potions first, to determine which potions you take out from the game, and then you need to sort the starting potions to be chosen by players and then shuffle the rest to create 5 different piles. It’s fiddly and takes quite a while.
I also found that the dispenser suffers a lot with the surface of the table. It needs to be played in a very flat surface (I mean not only the table) to be really really works. Because if not, the distribution of the marbles when you return them into the dispenser will favor to one side.

In overall, it’s a fun little game with great looking components. Love to have in my collection.

5
Go to the Splendor page

Splendor

71 out of 84 gamers thought this was helpful

Okay, many people would think the opposite. Splendor is awesome and most people love to play this like crazy, no exception to my friends but not me. I tried the game twice and felt flat. The game is not a game. All you need to do is to get the best course of action to collect the thing you need as fast as you can and get to end the game. A racing game of tableau building gems.

Players will collect gems and use these gems to buy more better gems that will eventually give them points. Doesn’t feel thematic for me and doesn’t give me enjoyment feel playing the game. It’s very abstract and once you immerse with the game, it’s no longer important about the gem or theme. It boils down only to the core mechanic.

I, myself call this not a game, maybe a racing system to prove who’s the fastest to accumulate something. But I can realize why most people like it. The game is simple and very easy to teach to casual / non-gamers. You can play with family or even children (this could be a good way to teach them, it provides a good deal of knowledge in it).

6
Go to the The Witches: A Discworld Game page
43 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is so similar with The Witcher Adventure Board Game (yes the game from the video game), but a lot simpler and less gamey.
This game is part of the Discworld series by Martin Wallace and an adaptation of one of it’s novel (focusing on the Witches character and storyline). In the game, players will be playing as witches that will roaming the land from one place to another trying to solve everyday issues, from sick pig or death. By solving problems, they acquire points, player with the highest point at the end wins the game. But, there’s a possibility that the game ends by a specific conditions which all players lose.

The game is simple, each turn a player will have 2 movement action. When they move to a location with a problem they must stop and try to solve it. Or they can grab a tea if they encounter another witch. Each encounter has difficulty number and the player need to roll his dice to at least equal or beat the numbers to successfully solve the problem. Players can also play cards to help with their rolls.

That’s pretty similar like The Witcher, which also moving around places and trying to complete quests (also dice rolling). But The Witcher has boyish heroic adventure theme (which appeals more to boys) and RPG elements with deck of cards and complexity of dice rolling manipulation.

It is simple and very entertaining if you’re into Terry Pratchett’s joke and characters. The game is mainly for children or family, very casual and easy to learn. After a while you can feel it to be quite repetitive.
If you like Discworld and simple game, this could be a good choice.

8
Go to the Luna page

Luna

4 out of 23 gamers thought this was helpful

This one is different from other Feld’s games. Most of his games are pretty much have the same system, which creating engine to generate points. But in Luna, the engine is not that simple, it has different and unusual mechanics which quite abstract to grasp. Most new players not gonna know what actions they should take in the first game. But, nonetheless it’s a good game. Mostly you’ll do repetitive actions with your novices in order to get a result / points.

6
Go to the Oz Fluxx page

Oz Fluxx

13 out of 34 gamers thought this was helpful

As you can see, that there are lots of Fluxx games around with different themes. But as so happened I bought the one with this theme. I was searching for a simple card game for easy getaway and quick play. This one looked like the best one. It fits right into your pocket, easy to play, easy to teach and plays very quickly. It can be played from 2 up to 6 players, very flexible. And the card only component really made it easy to setup.
The thing about the game is, it is very unique with the so called system of “a card game with ever changing rules”. I think Fluxx games are the same in system, the only different is just the theme.
So if you like the game system, you can pick any with your favorite themes.
But keep in mind, after more plays, this could prove to be quite stale and boring. New theme is needed.

8
Go to the Trajan page

Trajan

46 out of 96 gamers thought this was helpful

Well, since I’m a fan of Feld’s games, this review could look like bias toward it favors. But, nevertheless, it’s a great game. If you already played Castles of Burgundy and liked it then there’s a good chance that you like this one better. It’s heavier and meatier than Castles of Burgundy and presents no luck of the dice.
I must admit though, it has more steep learning curve but in the same way, very high replay value. At first you won’t know what hit you, what you’re suppose to go for and how to win this game. But with more and more play, you will get well know enough with the strategy and tactic of your own in given circumstances.
There are many ways that you can choose, but the key point is to focus on several aspects not all of them. Try to focus on 2 or 3 aspects while meeting the people’s demand and you’ll be fine.
There is another unique mechanic in the game, which lies on player’s boards. The ‘mancala’ system that really is the core of your actions. This one really put you on the task of planning and managing your actions based on the action markers placed on your board. It’s a double edge sword, which though it’s brilliant, but in the same time it really pan out the AP prone syndrome for each player.

8
Go to the Rex: Final Days of an Empire page
55 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

FFG done it again. What a remarkable implementation of a great game (Dune). They re-implemented it with style. The Artworks are undoubtedly awesome as usual, same like the components.
Just receive my copy last week, played it once and won the game in alliance at round 3. At first the races were kinda unbalance but after a game, it’s quite balance.
The miniature is eye catching, standing vigilantly in the middle of the board really caught anyone’s attention.
Great game, with powerful conflicts. Can’t wait to play it again.

8
Go to the Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre page
83 out of 138 gamers thought this was helpful

So, I’ve been wanting this game quite some time and owned it just recently. I played it once with 2 players (with my girlfriend) and it’s awesome. It’s a take that card game with unique game play. Players gonna need to mix and match the cards (maximum number of 3 cards) into a powerful spell from their hands to obliterate their enemies.
It is hilarious, the artworks, the spell names and chaotic game play.
But there is a small downside, it has high luck factor (from the dice and cards draw) and some combination spell could be unforgiving.
I like and didn’t regret blind buying this game.

7
Go to the Thunderstone page

Thunderstone

38 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

Ah, it’s about time to write a review for one of my favorites and one of the games i’m proud of, Thunderstone. Do not be deceived by the look of the box / package, it’s a card game, a simple card game though the box really made you think otherwise (like some medium heavy box games which contains lots of components and board, but it’s heavy alright). Published by AEG (Alderac Entertainment Group) in 2009, this game was designed by the designer Mike Eliiot (the man who brought you Earthquake, Battle Spirits, Duel Masters and the soon to be hit dice game, Quarriors).

For ages the vile Doom Knights have sought to gather the remaining Thunderstones to fulfill a prophecy of corruption over the lands. Now the first Thunderstone has been discovered in the Dungeons of Grimhold and the Doom Knights have sent their minions to claim the relic. The Villagers of Barrowsdale gather brave souls to face the dungeon and keep the Thunderstone out of the hands of the Doom Knights.

1. The Theme
Thunderstone is a fantasy deck-building card game which players take the role of heroes trying to fight the threat of the Evil forces and gain the Thunderstone (Stone of Mystery). As it was written, the Thunderstone is a supernatural stone which need to be collected by the Doom Knight to fulfill an evil prophecy which can bring corruption throughout the lands. Now the first Thunderstone has been discovered in the Grimhold dungeon near the village of Barrowsdale. While the Doom Knights are set to claim the relic in the dungeon, Barrowsdale must gather forces consist of brave souls to face the threat of the Doom Knights and get the stone before the Doom Knights have it. So it’s a fantasy based with dark and grim atmosphere (presented by the image of the monsters and the dungeon exploration itself). So anyone with the feel of adventures are likely gonna love the theme.

2. The Artworks
I would say no doubt that the game artworks are marvelous. Love all the illustrations from Jason Engle (A Game of Thrones, Castle Ravenloft, Magic The Gathering and Legend of The Five Rings). His artworks are simply stunning and it really fits into the theme. I like his illustrations of the Doom Knights and other monsters and also the heroes. If your’re fantasy RPG fan, you’re gonna like his artworks.

3. The Game Components
Well, this one is simple, what else, cards… lot of cards (guess what 530 cards in the box), that explains the card game category right? The 530 cards consist of different categories range from heroes, village, monsters and the randomizer cards (also include the separators). The box is big and heavy (for more than 500 cards, no wonder) and also inside the box there’s a separate containers to categorized each type of cards for easier setup. And cause it’s a card game, sleeve is important accessory, so i spend 530 sleeves just for the base game (pheew….)

4. The Game Play
This 2-5 players card game gives you the opportunity to embark on an adventure in dungeon crawling to colect points and of course the objective of the game, the stone of mystery. First start each player receive 12 cards which formed as their deck (in time this deck will be growing) as 6 militia, 2 iron rations, 2 torches and 2 daggers.Shuffle the deck and draw 6 cards (alway 6 each turn, unless there is special condition stated otherwise). The main deck consist of 2 separate place (village and dungeon) which each place provide an action (go to village or to the dungeon). These places are set with randomizer to balance the game. When players enter village, they can buy items (weapons, spells, foods & lights), heroes (4 different types), upgrade their heroes or play cards in their hand (6 cards in hand) with the village ability. Dungeon hall is filled 3 rank of monster that are drawn from the monster deck (randomly shuffle the monster cards and insert the Thunderstone). Just as the ocean from If Wishes Were Fishes, this hall provide special condition when battling the monsters. Rank 1 monster is the face up monster card that placed in the farthest of the deck, and rank 3 monster is in the nearest from the monster deck. Each rank gives light penalty of 2 (-2 attacks), which mean rank 3 monster card gives the penalty of 6 attacks when engaged. Upon entering the dungeon, player can choose which monster he wants to fight, and reveal all cards in his hand and resolve the fight. Whether he win or lose, the cards in his hand are discarded. The last action available is rest (which sums up the actions available for players to choose, village / dungeon / rest).

Monster cards provide players with coins, xp points, special ability and VP, while the last and highest level of heroes also provide players with some VP (though the range is between 2-3 points). The goal of the game is to collect points, and player with the highest VP when the Thunderstone is claimed win the game. Weapons, items and spells provide modifier for players attack. While character cards in the village provide special action which can be used in the village. Discarded card will be placed on the used card deck and will ba shuffled again to form a newly deck after the deck is empty, while destroyed cards are completely out of the game. Players will take turn to do their action, expand and build their decks to challenge the dungeon.

5. The Replay Value
Honestly, i haven’t play the game often (just about 4-5 plays) and i still find it interesting and always eager to play it again. Well, so far the replay value did meet my criteria. When i analyzed the replay value, it did come to my mind that the game play must getting us bored by the time about such individual interactions between players, since nobody does give a **** about others action and only concern to build their own deck. But somehow it really turned out to be different (well must agree there is aspect that showed the light of this matter), since the competition aspect of the game really well placed, so you must (or were forced) to take account every actions your opponents take. And the situation is more gripping when the Thunderstone card is revealed in the dungeon hall (now we’re talking, this is some intense bull-**** situation which you hope that players before you doesn’t have the right cards in his hand this turn. And also you must pay attention on the card ranks and how the game flow after the Thunderstone is revealed in rank 3 cards. Well, this really gives you something to think about. The randomizer also add replay value of the game since with it there will be different experience each game. And don’t forget all the interesting expansion that AEG has to offer (4 expansions) with new additional heroes, monsters, items and many more and also new game rules and systems.

My Thought of The Game
This game is so outstanding, i love it very much. Well if i would say about the good and the bad, it almost strike 10. The theme, the artworks, the game play, are perfect. The only downside of the game is the setup process and the complicated rules that need lots of clarifications. Whenever i play the game, there always one time like “what’s that supposed to mean?” or “we should ask someone!” or “****…it’s dead end, the rules doesn’t explain it” or else… so yes, the rules did sucks, but the rest are epic!

When you mention this game, it’s always bring the arch-rival into matters, which is Dominion, some said both of the games are resemble each other. Since Dominion was realeased previously, some said that Thunderstone did was made by Dominion’s game system (i wouldn’t disagree on that). But let’s state the fact that Thunderstone is known as the Dominion game with theme (now that’s something i tell you). I haven’t played Dominion yet and really wnat to try it, but if the theme is that makes it different, then i would prefer Thunderstone. The downside of Thunderstone is the game setup (preparation of the deck is taking little bit steep overtime, and so is after the game). I love the game and probably have the plan to get a copy of all the expansions (already got the hold of the ‘For The Dwarf’ Promo Card from Geek Store and the promo card 1 & 2).

8
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

71 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

Here it is, on of the BGG Darling, a card game from Asmodee and Repos Production. Designed by the game designer Antoine Bauza, 7 Wonders was anticipated by most board gamers even before it’s launched. At first i even asked why it’s so popular and the game rank was drastically up when the early time of the launch. So i assume the game is incredibly great, and the artworks also marvelous. So i bought it even a little bit pricey from the normal price. But, you bet i was content.
Okay, maybe it’s time i tell you why this game is so great. Here’s my overview of the game:

1. The Theme
So, what’s interesting about 7 Wonders? Well, the theme is one of the interesting parts. It’s about the seven wonders of the ancient world, The Pyramids at Giza, The Hanging garden of Babylon, Statue of Zeus in Olympia, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Lighthouse in Alexandria, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, & The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. This marvelous human creation are the subject of the game and they will be called Wonders throughout the game. The main storyline is players try to build wonder stages and structures so they can gain most points to win the game after 3 ages (rounds or phases, whatever you call it bro). Interesting right? A fresh touch of the theme brought the game into such a hype in BGG and yes, this game was one of the BGG darlings. Maybe the expansions would have wonders from the modern world? Would Borobudur Temple on Indonesia counted as one of them?

2. The Artworks
Miguel Coimbra (the artist) really did a great work. The game illustrations are marvelous, with stunning graphics, clear & detailed image and contrast colors gives us fresh and strong impression. Almost everyone i knew who play this game agree with me aout this and it’s one of the best artwork i’ve seen in board games. I liked the colors and image of The Hanging Garden, The Lighthouse and Colossus, they look stunning. So, again, a praise for Coimbra.

3. The Game Components
This is one of the simple games i have ever played. When you open the box,you will find spectacular unique boards of the 7 Wonders, punch out card boards which contain coin tokens and VP tokens. The rest if the cards from 3 ages (along with 7 wonders cards and 2 additional cards for 2 players game). Oh yeah, don’t forget the score sheets,rulebook & quick start guide. The boards are great, so unique and the function turned out to be perfect (to facilitate the tokens and the wonder stage cards while at the same time maintain the aesthetic aspect of the illustrations. The tokens are also extraordinary, small little tokens with unusual circular shape of the coins (with 1 and 3 denominations), and shield like shape VP tokens (in 4 different type: 1, 3, 5 VP and -1 VP penalty). The Cards are divided into 3 ages (with 3 different colors in the back of cards), well, i had the copy which all the back cards of age 3 deck were misprinted (this was stated by the publishers and they will do something about it in the near future, and i heard that they will give replacement of the deck for all first copies, what a relief to hear that. But it’s not a major problem, since you still can enjoy the game normally).

4. The Game Play
Okay, here’s the deal, the goal of the game is the highest VP at the end of the game, each player choose his / her wonder by randomly drawn the face down wonder cards. Take the corresponding wonder board that match his wonder cards and pick his active side of the board, A or B (which the sides can also be randomly chosen by the card if preferable). Take 3 coins token for starter.

Sort the cards based on the number of players and shuffle each age. Draw the cards to each player (it’s supposed to be 7 cards for each).The game applies the neighbors system, which a player can interact with his left and right players as his neighbors (military conflict and trade). Now, players choose one card from age 1 cards, give the rest to his left (clockwise) and resolve the card until there are 2 cards left in player hand, he choose one and discard the last. This would be the end of age. After each age is ended, military conflict is brought active after it’s resolved proceed to next age which moves counterclockwise, and the third age back to clockwise direction.

Each card can be resolve as a structure, wonder stage or sold to gain it’s price (3 coins). Each card has different types based on it’s background colors, gray and brown for resources cards, yellow for commerce, red for military, blue for civilian, green for science, purple for guild cards. Each player’s wonder board will have 1 resource type in the beginning (this marked that the player has already 1 type of resource in the beginning of the game. Throughout the game, players will need to build structures (and some of them has building cost, which come to the use of coins and resources). When ones want to build structures, he can use his resources and / or buy from his neighboring players for the price of 2 coins each (if the neighbors has the resources). When structures was build, the benefit / functions is immediately take effect (instant in gold and resources), except VP which will be counted in the end of the game. To build the wonder stage is also the same, the only different is player use any card (ignore the card type and structure, the card is faced down in the wonder stage slot). At the end of the game, players will count all the VP’s they had collected, the player with most VP is the winner.

5. The Replay Value
Have i told you that this game is so great? I did? many times? well, i said it again, that this game is so great! The hype was true after all, it’s living through it’s expectation. A filler game that caught the attention of all board gamers, newbie and hardcore gamers. What’s more to it, yeah this game is amazing, since it’s launching the game is ever growing popular, most wanted in every session by every players. Oh, if i was to count who has a copy in my gaming group, well almost everyone had or ordered it. Okay, let’s talk about the replay value, it’s tremendously high, with every wonders you can play and 2 sides of the board. And also, the neighbors system really work with the replay value, since with different neighbors you have different feel of the game. But, i guess, cause the never ending demand of the plays, there will be a point where people just had enough. And one of my friends has already showed the symptoms, by playing it in our holiday again and again. Oh yeah, how you play it also determine the replay value, since there are multiple paths to victory, by playing through military, civilian, science, wonders and guild cards.

My Thought of The Game
Well, here it is, i said it again, so great! I found this game to be satisfying and it’s not a difficult game to learn, even by completely new players. Okay there are lots of symbols to remember and it’s not easy to grasp for first play, but i guarantee, after trying the game once, the second will be lot of easier. Even though i still found out that it’s not easy to understand the big picture of the game, by building resources and the use of the cards. Often new players think that the resources cards they’ve build are discarded after use, they can saving resources for the next turn and so on. So, this game is a must and i am definitely use the game as an opening game for beginners. Not very long game time and no down time since every players simultaneously resolve their actions. There is one thing that really bothered me, the box, or should i say the BIG box. For a card game, it has a big box, and the contents of the box really wasting space. Asmodee or Repos could produce the game with half size of the normal box if they wanted to, and it’s so much easier to carry. I, myself, used storage solution fro the box so i could easily carry it around (even i can’t deny the box artwork is stunning). Oh yeah, one more thing, since it’s a card game, then the use of sleeves for the cards are really useful, to preserve and protect the cards and also make it easier to shuffle.

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Troyes

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Just recently got a hold on a copy of this game, and played it 4 times not within a week. Maybe you never heard this game before, since it’s kinda new game, Published by Pearl Games (French / Euro edition) in 2010, which also republished in the same year by Z-Man Games for the international edition, this game was quickly went up in the Board Game Geek rank and popularity (since then it’s called as one of the BGG darlings). Designed by Sebastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges and Alain Orban, this game apparently offers great things and surprises. Being one of the middle box heavy euro, Troyes is stand still the test of challenges. Well, you could see maybe this game was kinda a blind buy for me, since i was instantly fell in love with it when i saw the game setup board including the dice allocation and all the cards in it. So interesting and mind-pulling for me to know more and want it. So i decided to order this game and from around the other games i ordered, this was the one i anticipated the most. And to be honest, based on my 4 times experience, and the game itself, you can say i am pretty great excited and satisfied, in fact it has gone up to the first rank of my best games collection, uprooted The Pillars of The Earth and Thunderstone. So, you might be curious the kind of games Troyes is? So here is my review, read and weep boys.

In the year 1200, the foundation is laid for the cathedral of Troyes, but it will not be finished until 400 years later, after innumerable incidents. This game invites you to experience four centuries of history by participating in the development of one of the finest medieval cities ever to make its mark on Western culture. The society of that day was organized into three orders: the nobility, the clergy, and the peasants. The nobility constituted the military force devoted to justice and to protecting the lands. The clergy were the spiritual guides of the community, contributing to maintaining and developing knowledge and culture. The peasants and artisans, in turn, were given very little consideration, although their hard work was essential to the daily life of the entire populace.

1. The Theme
Actually for the kind of Euro Games, theme aspect is not really matters or important. But in this case, the theme is kinda really stick. Can’t explain why, but somehow the theme really attach to the game quite nice. The game title ‘Troyes’ was pick from the small city with same name in North-central France. The game story is evolve on the building of it’s Cathedral for nearly 400 years since in the year 1200. Players represents one of the the rich noble families from the Champagne region of France, and using their influence to recruit and supervise individuals from 3 different prominent domain (military, religious and civil).

2. The Artworks
The artist Alexandre Roche had really put a great masterpiece with this game, the feel and the styles of the artworks really represent the game and supporting to build the theme of the game. Actually generally i did not really like this kind of style. It looks outdated, classic and so medieval, but in this case it kinda attractive for the game. So, i like it in overall, though the illustrations kinda lame, especially the characters faces.

3. The Game Components
It really surprised me, when i look at the box, it looked bigger than the picture. Quite a big box but not a square box like 7 Wonders, The Pillars of The Earth or Thunderstone. It’s more rectangular shape in a portrait orientation. Nice art on the box, really shows it’s unique theme and style. Inside the box i found 1 plastic bag of dice (24 dice with 6 dice for each four colors, black / white / red / yellow), which were nicely crafted with great material. Also included single punch board of VP and deniers tiles in each denominations, 56 wooden citizens (in each colors plus gray color), 90 wooden cubes (also include the gray cubes), 8 wooden disc 2 for each colors), 1 beautifully drawn game board, 27 activity cards, 16 event cards, 6 character cards, 6 player aid cards (2 for each language) and 1 first player card. I kinda found it interesting that the available colors for players are not common (they use green and blue, which are commonly used, but the white or beige and orange colors are not commonly used in a 4 players games). The components are in a great shaped and they also provide sealed plastic bag to be used when you ant to separate the components in each colors for easier setup. The only little downer is inside the box with just white carton compartment to store the components and hold the board. Well, they could made it with better quality from this one, which they’re not. But i guess it’s just minor and really did not affect my review of the game.

4. The Game Play
Each player choose their colors and set the board (how many players in the game will determine how many citizens each player will get during the initial placement. For 4 players, each get 4 citizens which they have to spend in the 3 principal buildings on the game board. This placement will determine what dice you will get during the round. Put the rest of the citizens in the general supply along with the VP and deniers tiles. Each player get 5 deniers as starting capital and stock his color cubes in his personal supply. Shuffle and randomly draw the activity cards, 1 for each age (the numerical shown on the back of the cards) and put it face down in the board based on each principal colors. Shuffle the event cards (the red event cards are supposed to be 6 cards, as it will determine the rounds, 6 rounds for 4 players). Shuffle and randomly drawn the character cards to each player, this will be a secret to every player. Put the rest of the cards without looking at them to the box.

Each round consist of phases in there order:
Phase 0 – Reveal the activity cards for each principals (City Hall / yellow, Count’s Palace / red and Bishopric / white) start from the first round (can be identified by it’s number in the back of each card). Start from round 4-6, there will be no activity cards left to revealed, so skip this phase.
Phase 1 – Income and salaries. Each player will get 10 deniers each round for his income and must pay salaries for his citizens in the principal buildings (2 deniers / citizen in Count’s Palace, 1 denier / citizen in Bishopric and free of charge for citizens in City Hall). Players who cannot pay the salary losses 2 VP.
Phase 2 – Assembling the workforce. Workforce are presented by the dice that players roll, based on citizens they hired just before in the principal buildings. After rolling the dice, each player put his dice in the game board which represent his location district marked by his color marker. These dice will represent citizens and workforces each player has and will be used to execute actions.
Phase 3 – Events. For the first round, draw the red event card and resolve it’s effect (starting from the left bottom corner, which usually would require players to draw another event card. Then resolve each effect of the event card with roll black dice be the last effect occurred). Roll the black dice as stated in the active event cards and this will present as military event which need to be countered in the beginning of players action starting from the first player. He must counter at least 1 black die with the highest value (up to 2 black dice), with any of his own dice (based on the number) with red dice are doubled when used to counter black dice. After counter the black dice, each player gain 1 influence for each die. If one players cannot counter the black dice, he losses 2 VP.
Phase 4 – Actions. Beginning from the first player (clockwise) each player can use his dice to do actions. Start by activating the activity cards (by hire citizen and pay the appropriate amount of gold in the card and resolve the dice), allocate his dice to put his citizen in principal buildings, counter event cards, participate in the construction of the Cathedral (3 levels) or use agriculture to gain deniers based on the amount total of his dice result, or pass (which will give him 2 deniers and 1 denier for his next turn that he already passed.
Phase 5 – End of the round. The round end when every player has passed or there are no dice in the districts.

The game ends after the sixth rounds and the player with the highest VP win the game. VP can be collected by activate a card, counter events, construct the Cathedral, and secretly complete character cards prerequisites. Influence can be used to re-roll one of your die (cost 1 influence), hire citizens from general supply (cost 2 influence), flip up to 3 dice of his own (cost 3 influence). Oh yeah it’s rather kinda late in, but better than never, the most interesting part is, you can use someone’s else dice. Oh yeah you can, with the right amount of money you can get everything they said. If you use 1 die for an action by using someone’s else die, you must pay 2 deniers. If you using 2 dice for an action which 1 of it was someone’s else, you must pay him 4 deniers / die you buy. If you use 3 dice for an action which 1 of it was someone’s else, you must pay 6 deniers / die you buy. There can only be 3 dice in one dice group and commonly with the same color (special case if the cards say otherwise).

5. The Replay Value
Now it’s time, when you say about the replay value, I’ve got 2 words which are ‘OPEN POSSIBILITIES’. Yeah after 4 plays, i found the game mechanics has led to an open possibilities for players. For start, the cards that came in the game were not all come into play, this is one element that add variant to the game (event, activity, and character cards are not all played) and also the promo cards also add more variant. And the dice mechanic, wait, hold your thoughts. Dice mechanic? 24 dice? 24 dice are a lot amount of dice i admit it. What would one possibly do with 24 dice? Since dice are often associated with luck factor, and i won’t argue with that. This game has a dice allocation mechanic (remember Kingsburg?), which you maybe already thought that it’s a high roller game. Well, you can say that, but being a high roller is not always present the best result for you, and being the opposite (low roller) won’t kick you out of the game. In Troyes, being high roller put you in a dilemma, if you’re not the first player. The unique of the game or this mechanic is, it brings you more possibilities than any other games. When you look at the board, you’re not only see your dice, but all the dice in the board. Why? As i stated before, the game gives you more possibilities. This is the part where the game become interesting. You can ‘steal’ other player’s dice. What? steal? you mean cheating? Well, actually not stealing (at least indirectly literal), i would prefer the word ‘buy’ rather than ‘steal’ but that’s not gonna make it interesting, is it? When it’s your turn, you can use any dice.. if you can, while your impertinent rivals doing voodoo dance behind your back and hope that you make your mistake. So the game really has great replay value (let aside the cards variants which aren’t too many).

My Thought of The Game
Hmm, what words fit the game perfectly, i vote for none. You can’t describe the game with only words. Well if i have to, it would be MARVELOUS, FANTASTIC, FABULOUS, and AWESOME! The game is classic but has a modern touch in it. When i ordered it, it had been my most anticipated games and when i played it for the first time, it emerged as one of the best i have ever tried. It’s a worker placement and dice rolling game that really served in such an interesting way. There are many ways to win the game, and you can use your dice or someone’s else dice to the very least of options. This is the kind of games that forced players to skulking in their seat with eyes focused on the board, thinking hard while their hands hold their deniers tightly and mumbling some ancient chantings, hoping they eventually have an enlightenment of their best move. Yeah, this game is AP (Analysis Paralysis) potential, even for heavy gamers, so if you’re not a heavy gamer, you’re gonna likely end up in AP state.And i just recently noticed the perfect phrase that fit to this game, which is “A STUPID DICE GAME!” Yeah, one of my friends constantly saying it over and over again. Well in a way yes i couldn’t be more agree with him, this is a stupid dice game, The dice you roll make you look stupid or do stupid reactions. So yes this is a stupid dice game. “A stupid dice game! Let’s play again…and again!”.

The artwork is great and the game play is unique. I would say that the rules is simple once you get the hang of it, the difficult thing is your decision. Troyes is the game that will surely often hit the table if i had the chance, and to be honest it worth every penny.

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