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X-hawk

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Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions ...learn more »
Go to the Pathfinder: Core Rulebook page
Go to the Mage Knight Board Game page
Go to the Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport page
Go to the Shadowrun: Crossfire page
Go to the Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients page
Go to the Mice and Mystics page
Go to the Runewars page
Go to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles (Base Set) page
9
Go to the Mage Knight Board Game: The Lost Legion page
61 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

You’ve played Mage Knight up to 4 player by now – this expansion gives you a 5th player.
I’d recommend less than 5 players (3-4 players) in Mage Knight because this will make your game even slower – 4 other players making you contribute less to the making of the campaign. But if you like more players this is great! In addition you will get a quite different character consept to try out.
Wolfhawk is a solo character that will boost your combat prowess hunting with less npc’s in your entourage and add a quite different playstyle to the game.
As of General Volkare (your enemy in this scenario) you will meet a lot of resistance and interesting takes on the game.
I use the expansion without Volkare but with the other content (Wolfhawk and tiles) and it’s a really good adition and makes the game (both competative and coop) a step futher into the realms of Mage Knight fantasy.

6
Go to the Harbour page

Harbour

83 out of 91 gamers thought this was helpful

I backed this game on Kickstarter and was very excited to add a light weight ‘worker placement’ to my collection. The box almost too small with all the stuff from the campaign.

I played the game a few times solo to get the feel of the game.
The “Training Dummy” (as the 1-player opponent is called) don’t work much more than a way to learn the game by your self. Everyone that has played a ‘worker placement’ solo game know that the goal is to get above a certain score or “win” the game in less than a named couple of rounds etc. That aint my cup of tea to be honest. But a few games to learn the game so you can teach others is ok.

Unfortunately the 2-player version didn’t give me much either. You do one move and your opponent does one. At the start you have 5 starting buildings up, and the variety of what you can do aint that big (the KS version of the game comes with 36 buildings). Even when then game proceedes there are some actions that are so much better than others, so it’s quite obvious what you wanna do and in evry game we’ve ended up jumping back and forth between a few buildings.

Further, when you buy buildings (the first player to 4 buildings win the game) the choices aren’t that many since the math is easy. Since that game is played fast yuou just have tofind the building providing you with the most VP at the best cost you can afford right now. And then the market is turned upside down (the resource the was worth most becomes the resource with the lowest worth).

A third thing that fails with few players is the synergies between the buildings you buy (each building is categorized Coin, Top Hat, Anchor or Warehouse – some have 2). With few buildings in play the exciting synergies that is in this game (‘cuz they have a great potential) almost never get in play. A “quick fix” for this can be to make the game longer than ‘the first player to 4 buildings’, but with 2 players the options are still few.

I haven’t played with 3 or 4 players, but would really like to experience the full game with 4 player to see the full potential. I’ve only got a glimps of it so far (due to few players), and it feels frustrating to see the possibilites without being able to try them all out.

I might change my score of the game later but now it’s 6 – and the reason it gets so high for me is because of the promise of a greater game with 4 players.

9
Go to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles (Base Set) page
122 out of 144 gamers thought this was helpful

In short, this is the deck building game based on the RPG Pathfinder Adventure Path: Skull & Shackles.

Before the game begins, each player chooses the one character you want to play, putting together their deck with weapons, spells, armor, allies, other equipment and blessings (which can be described to be help from the gods). Along the way you will come across new and better cards that you can replace with the one already have.

The game is about completing a series of “scenarios” where the action takes place in the pirate-islands – The Shackles; an archipelago of coastal hazards, enemy ships (pirates) and many treasures.
Each “scenario” consist a description of the mission, 3-8 locations task to be solved, what it takes to win and what you get by winning.

For those familiar with the previous Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Rune Lords, one has an idea of ​​what this game is about. But …..

One change from the first PACG this one introduces a number of new (and in my opinion more interesting and varied) rules. Ships are perhaps the easiest to notice, but there is much else that makes this a much more interesting game than its predecessor.
“Scenarios” are much more varied from the very beginning. Where to its predecessor did exactly the same in almost all the 33 “scenarios”_, developers have in S&S taken the feedback from players seriously and developed larger and more frequent variations of how to win a “scenario”.
The characters you play is new, however, one can recognize some from the previous PACG (these are changed for the better to match Skull & Shackles), and are more balanced. Unlike its predecessor, where you could do fine with specializing you character, you are more compelled to build character width in you character to even be able to solve quests. This can be done by either using the points you get by completing “scenarios” or by adapting your deck.
And as I have already mentioned; S&S has a much greater variety of ways to solve quests making the game much more interesting than its predecessor.

The game is well suited for solo play, even though it would be a more social experience to be more players. I’ve tried both, and when I play alone I control two characters.
PACG: Rise of the Rune Lords is a very well-used game in my collection, and the game I have played most of all the games I own. That I’ve played it over 150 times (scenarios) is probably no exaggeration.
But with the newcomer Skull & Shackles I’m afraid I’m going to equal the number of played “scenarios”!
Skull & Shackles is the game Rise of the Rune Lords should have been, and with all expansions scheduled (class deck, where you get 4 new characters in each of the 7 classes late), this is a game I’m going to enjoy throughout the year and beginning of the next.

Some will say that the game is expensive when you add up everything you can buy. I do not disagree, but with the number of hours I’ve spent on Rise of the Rune Lords, I conclude that I’ve had a lot of fun and the time/money ratio isn’t that bad at all!

9
Go to the Shadowrun: Crossfire page

Shadowrun: Crossfire

126 out of 136 gamers thought this was helpful

Shadowrun: Crossfire is a cooperative deck-building card game for 2-4 players set in a near-future fictional universe within the genre of cyberpunk and fantasy. Shadowrun, has since the first release in 1989, been one of the most popular RPG on the market, and Shadowrun: Crossfire was released same time as it’s RPGs 5th edition.
In Shadowrun: Crossfire the players take the roles of the Decker (technology/hacking), the Face (charm/lies), the Mage and the Street Samurai; each have their own starting deck (consisting of 7 cards) that during the game will grow as you buy new and better cards.
You will also choose between the 5 races (metatypes), human, elf, ork, dwarf and troll, which all have different starting hand size, hit points and starting nuyen (money).
Before you start you will have to choose between the 3 missions that are included in this base set. Then you will draw an Obstacle card for each of the players (if your mission don’t tell you otherwise), and place them in front of the players.
You are now ready to start!

Each round consists of 3 main steps:
1 – draw a Crossfire Event card and read it aloud. This will stay in play through the whole round thus impact each of the players until the round is over
2 – each player takes a turn
3 – the round is over

“Taking a turn” (step 2):
a-play cards
Play as many cards as you like and apply their effects (if any).
b-apply damage
Apply damage (and other effects) to the obstacles facing you or the other runners.
c-take damage
Take damage from obstacles facing you.
d-draw and buy cards
If you have 3 or less cards in your hand, draw 2 cards and buy as many cards as you like from the Black Market (six face up cards by default) paying their cost.
e-end turn
Solve end turn effects if there are any.

Crossfire Event card:
These cards state an event happening the current round, and can be good, bad or both, but mostly bad; Obstacles deal more damage, one or more players take damage or discard cards, Obstacles heal, etc.
When a round is over, the current Crossfire Event card is discarded to a discard pool if there still are unsolved Obstacles in play. If all Obstacles are defeated, you don’t discard it, but put it on the bottom of the Crossfire Event deck.
Crossfire Event card have a main event and one of more secondary events decided by how many cards in the Crossfire Event discard pool (thresholds).

Obstacle cards:
Divided into 2 difficulties where 1 is the easiest and 2 the harder. Obstacles are encounters with Scrybot Tracers, human bandits, trolls, dwarfs etc. Each Obstacle consists of a damage track, type/color, reward (nuyen), card ability and attack strength.
When you flip the first Obstacle in each scene (a mission often consist of more than one scene), place the Obstacle in front of the player with the corresponding color of the Obstacle. Then continue clockwise. When all Obstacles are dealt, apply any of the Flipped-abilities of the card if any.
Damage track – the order of attack you have to deal to overcome the Obstacle. There are a large variety of these like for example 5->mask(red)->spell(blue)->2->tech(green). In this example you have to deal 5 of any type of damage to overcome the first “level” of the Obstacle. Then a mask (red; tied to the Face role), spell (blue; tied to the Mage role), 2 of any damage and lastly tech (green; tied to the Decker role). Any character can buy and have any one of these damage types in their deck!
When an Obstacle is defeated, you gain the reward (nuyen) as listed on the card. If you don’t manage to defeat an Obstacle on your turn, receive damage as described on the Obstacle card (1 or 2).

Black marked card:
These are the cards you can buy during Draw and buy step. There are 6 cards on the table, but you can modify this as you level up. There are 4 types of cards; one for each of the 4 roles in the game, but you don’t have to buy the one fitting your role. You better get some variety to be able to defeat all Obstacles as quickly as you can.
Some of these cards have certain effects like heal, cancel attack, buy cards outside of the Draw and buy step and move Obstacles from players to other. Pluss most of them deal more than only one damage, which is the case of the basic cards you have in your staring deck. In addition there are cards with support abilities that you can play on other players turns.

Health:
When you lose all hit points you get the Staggered condition. You shuffle all your cards (hand, deck and discard) and draw 1 card. You can still act as normal aside from buying new cards for the Black Market. You can be healed allowing you to draw two cards, and thus buy cards from the Black Market again. If you receive damage in Staggered condition, you become Critical and the mission is failed! But, your immediately begins playing the Abort Run. They have to survive one run and you’ll all get partial reward.

Winning a mission:
If you win a mission you are rewarded Karma (xp). Karma can be used to buy upgrades that will permanently modify your character. There is on upper limit for how many Karma points you can have, but you can only have a total of 4 upgrades. Cost ranges from 5-50 Karma points and can be switched out. Upgrades are stickers that you place on your character.

The components of this game are great. The card board pieces are of high quality, the art makes the theme come out and the mechanics are just awesome! Think of this like a puzzle where you have to work as a team to stand a chance at all; the game is unforgiving!
I’ve only tried this solo (playing 2 characters) to learn the rules. Out of a total of 9 tries (the starter mission only) I have won 2 times!
Solo play this way works ok, but it’s obvious that the game really shines with 4 players!

Pros:
Great game mechanics
Great art that enhance the theme of the game
Good components
Excellent replayability even with only 3 missions in the base set due to the variety of cards (none of either the Crossfire Events or Obstacles are the same) + mission expansions are coming.

Cons:
I’ve seen it discussed as some don’t like the idea of writing name and Karma points + putting stickers on the character sheets. I don’t see this problem as you can always buy more (the upcoming character expansion consist of more characters (not new ones, but new art) + more stickers) OR use stick notes.

(Shadow-)run and buy!

4
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: 4th Edition page
50 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

As an RPGer for over 15 years, I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons since first edition. When 2nd edtion came out I was getting a more serious player and 3rd and 3.5 edition I’ve played hundres of hours – as a player but also as a GM.

As an avid gamer I wanted to try 4th edition, bought the books and introduced it to my group. I made a few different leveled encounters and we gave it a ago. We started a campaign with me as GM, but after a few sessions we transfered our characters over to the Pathfinder system.

We had a few serious issues with D&D 4th ed:
– First of all the great fantasy setting Forgotten Realms got more or less ruined after the spellplague in our opinion. They made the setting easier to understand for new players by making it simpler (the pantheon etc), but for us this was it’s bane.
– Second. The class system was “improved” to the worse – and a lot worse! Where 1st to 3.5 ed classes had their own feel to it, all classes in 4th edition got stream lined making it feel like a bad video game. This was the main thing that made us change to Pathfinder (which is a lot like 3.5 ed). Spell casters lost their flexibility with less spells gained. The same was for other classes as well.
– Third. Not only did the classes change up, but the powers they implemented instead of spells felt too MMO with “at will”, “encounter”, “utility” and “daily” powers.

This was too much for our group!

Not everything in 4th edition is bad – there are a few glimpses of light in there, and there are two things my gaming group has implemented:
1. Skill challenges – takes time to make but great fun!
2. Minion monsters – those with only 1 hp (canon fodder)

All in all 4th edition was a great disappointment for us. D&D Next (the next edition from the D&D owers) will be released shortly. We’ve grown fond of Pathfinder and it will surprise me if anyone in my group want to give D&D another try…

9
Go to the Storm the Castle! page
36 out of 38 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game that I unfortunately missed on Kickstarter by a week or so and I was really excited when I picked it up last month.
My first try with this game was yesterday (3 players) and it lived up to my high expectations which have been increasing since I first came over it.
Storm the Castle! is a semi-coop game for 1-4 players with a listed playing time of 90 minutes. This is the first game from a new publisher called Giant Goblin Games and they are working on 3 more.
In this game you take the role of one of the 4 dark forces and the goal of the game is to be the first to breach Castle Storm Haven’s defenses and enter its keep. Yes, you heard right! In this game YOU are playing the bad guys!

Components
I was expecting better production quality with this game. My first impression when opening the box was that it was far from good (I bought Rex and Bioshock and unboxed those at the same time as this), but after playing the game I felt it is ok. Everything is card board; from the cash, magic and damaged counters to the Dark Force and the Fantasy Defender units. There are some misprintings on the turn order tokens and some of the tokens are cut wrong. But the worst thing is the cards which stick together and are difficult to shuffle, as they aren’t flat.
That said the artwork is stunning!!
Details on the game board, on the cards, on the different tokens are just great! The same goes with the text and the graphical set-up of the cards!

Game setup
The set-up is quite standard with a board in the middle of the table, a lot of tokens that needs to be within hands reach etc. Each player blindly draws a turn order token and the one with the lowest number (continuing with the next lowest aso)get to choose their Dark Force first:
– The Green Tide: Goblins, orcs, giants. Hard hitting unit with equipment upgrades like dwarven ale and rocket boots
– The Acanists: Spellcasters with powerful cards that may battle outcomes
– The Undead Horde: Walking dead using magic and causing fear
– Dark Elves: Ranged attackers and infiltrators
Each play then takes their dark forces reference card (card board), deck of power cards and all the tokens that comes with, 3 ladders, 5 gold (and 3 magic if playing undeads or arcanists). Lastly the Fantasy Defender reference card (also card board) goes to the player with the lowest turn order token.

On the reference cards of the Dark Forces you see the 5 units you can deploy (1 being your big bad champion) and a description of their powers. The Fantasy Defenders reference card works the same way but there are 6 basic and 3 hero units here.

Play
The game consist of 8 turns, and each phase of 6 phases:
1. Collect
Collect gold, magic and draw a power card. No player can hold more than 10 gold or 10 magic at any time!
2. Who’s the Boss?
This is a really interesting thing about this game. As everyone play their Dark Force and are “working together” to breach the castles defenses, every round one of the players becomes ‘the Boss’. To be the boss you vote and the one with the highest bid are the Boss until the same phase the next round. Votes are made by secretly bidding an amount of gold + counting your base votes like ‘how many walls you’ve destroyed’ or if your champion is in play. Being the Boss gives you access to the boss deck which has really powerful cards + some other neat stuff like getting more gold/magic, cannot be attacked aso.
3. Let’s buy and deploy
This is where you look to your reference card checking how much it costs to buy unit, and to your hand to play equipment (if you have that). When all are finished buying, in turn order, you deploy your units and equipment on your (or the other players) battlefield.
4. Reinforcement phase
This is when the Fantasy Defenders act and the controlling player first blindly draw and deploy one regular unit to the Castle, then draws events cards that are resolved before and after players turns. The controlling player then gives the reference card to the next player (you can’t be in control of the Fantasy Defenders and playing your turn at the same time).
An event can be normal or special attacks from the Fantasy Defenders, buffing the Defenders or debuffing the Dark Forces, aso.
5. Players turn
Before the first players turn the first event card is revealed and resolved by the player controlling the Fantasy Defenders. (The next card is resolved after the first players turn, and after all the other player turns. After one card is resolved, the reference card is handed to the next player.)
Now the active player have a few options:
• Move: you can move up to a total of 5 army moves and each unit has a max of 2 move (1 for ‘slow’ units).
• Play cards: if the card doesn’t say when to be played, you can only play it now!
• Attacking: every unit can attack if they are in range of a wall, a Fantasy Defender or another players unit.
Combat is resolved by throwing 1 or more 6-sided die/dice (depending on the units strength). These dice only have ‘hits’ on 2 of the sides. The red die (the one you always throw) has 1 hit and 1 crit. A crit lets you throw the 3 white dice adding them to your first result.
6. Wrap up
Discard down to 3 cards (hand size), unflip Defender units, shuffle the highest “attack” event card back into the Defenders event deck and move the turn tracker.

Winning the game
As I told earlier you win the game by entering the Keep in the middle of the castle. The mechanics of the game make this quite hard as you constantly will meet tuff resistance. In addition your playing mates will do what they can to give you a hard time while making it easier on themselves when the control the Fantasy Defenders.

Final thoughts – pros/cons
There’s a lot more to this game like different battlefield upgrades for each of the Dark Forces, buildings for the Fantasy the Defenders, Battle field locations that will give you bonuses (+2 gold/magic/draw/hand) + the variety of all the units and power cards each Dark Force have.
The rules are quite quick to grasp even with its complexity, but the key to win is in exploiting your Dark Forces’ strengths to your benefit and be smart;)

Pros
Original theme you being the bad guy
Rules that makes sense and makes the game flow smooth
Great artwork!
The Dark Forces are completely different from each other with unique units, power cards and equipment/magic
The Boss – give even more variety to the 4 Dark Forces and can be (was for us) a game breaker
Humor

Cons
Production quality – everything is a token (a token on top of a token on top of a token on top …..). I’d like to see miniatures in later productions. This would also give the game a more 3D feel
The passing of the Fantasy Defender reference card (who controls them) where a bit confusing with 3 players
Works best with 4 players (or 2) as the starting positions where you deploy units are the same for all. This is not the case in a 3-player game

All in all I really enjoyed this game!
There’s a lot of humor, both art-wise and text-wise, and since the strategy is light to medium weight this is a game that can be played at almost any occasions. We are definitely bringing this game to the table again and I will surely introduce it to some of my non-gamer friends.

7
Go to the Legends of Andor page

Legends of Andor

50 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

So what to say about this game.
My feelings at first was a bit mixed. I always play my new games one or two times before introducing them to friends to learn the rules. When playing this game alone I was a bit frustrated at first:

a. the rule book consists of 4 pages and the rest of the rules you are supposed to learn from playing the initial legend. As this is a pedagogical way to do it, I felt a bit back tied at the same time. I need to know what all the components in the box are for, but even after legend 3 you haven’t used em all and therefore don’t know what they do.
This resulted in me doing stuff at times when I wasn’t supposed to, like buying equipment aso.

b. I ended up loosing every legend I was trying; learning the rules AND trying to maneuver 4 different character was a bit too much for me.

Then I first played it with one friend and later that week with two other friends.
My last play through was a really great one and made me see what this game really is.

The under laying goal of the game is to keep monsters from overrunning the castle. But that’s not all. You also get new quests through out the legend you a playing. This can be find the witch, get an item to the king, warn the ranger aso.
Legends of Andor comes with 5 “legends” (scenarios) which make a story line. Each of these legends consist of different cards that gives start conditions, updates in the scenario and end conditions as the game flows. Each card has a letter on the front which indicated when it’s going to be read.
At the right side of the (double sided) board you find the “legend track” which goes from A to N. The legend marker moves one space up when:
1. a day ends
2. you kill a monster (!)

Each day you can do 7 things for “free” and 3 things that cost 2 willpower each (willpower is also your health). One of these “things” can be:
– move from one area to another
– buy something from a merchant
– 1 round of combat

May it isn’t that clear, but the time flies away really fast!
As you progress though out our mission you are constantly trying to balance between offence and evasion, because if you kill everything you come over you will loose!

Now I’ve played 3 different legends that can be described by a few steps;
a. you start of confident with a mission (other than defending the castle)
b. there will spawn loads and loads of enemies and you kill a few – because if you don’t they will overrun the castle and you’ll loose
c. you’ll get a new mission and try to sort out how to do that pluss fending of enemies and the fisrt mission
d. you start to see that you are going to loose and you start holding your breath
e. you’ll see the outlines of a plan that might work
f. you’re testing your plan finding out it’s not going to work

Then repeat d. to f. until you 1. loose or 2. win but a big chuck of your butt is in the monsters mouth…

This might sound boring (that the story repeats it self), but that’s not the truth. This game keeps you tense, focused as you are trying to find that small gap that will make you win the game. And when you do the feeling of conquering is really pleasing!
This is the game that gave all us 3 players the best “win feeling” compared to any other games we’ve played!

We are definitely bring this game back to the table and soon! We’ll try a full setup (4 players) to see how that works. So far I’ll recommend 3 over 2 players for a much better experience.

As of the components there nothing much to say other than this is a FF game (aka great art, great quality components).

5
Go to the Archipelago page

Archipelago

34 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

Archipelago is a semi cooperative game for 2-5 players. You can also buy the solo expansion which comes with 20+ solo scenarios to enjoy alone.

I was really looking forward to trying this game and bought the solo expansion with it. The thing I really liked was that part of the scoring and end condition is known for all, but each player has as set of scoring and end condition they are working towards that’s hidden from the other players.

I played it mostly solo (6-7 times) and a few times with 3 player (2-3 times).

Components:
The components are good, but the different trays in the box doesn’t fit it’s respective resource/coin or token. Ie. the explorer tokens are supposed to be stacked with 8 pcs a stack, but there’s only room for 6 or 7. There’s also no room for the player screens.

Game setup:
Game setup is quite easy; just follow the game rules. This far it looks and feels like any other game.
The game comes with 2 market boards (domestic (I) and export(I)), 1 colony stability board (tracks population and rebels(III)) and surplus worker board(IV). There’s an action wheel where you can place your action discs to do stuff, there’s an evolution track to track play order and cards, and there’s a lot of region hexes.

Round 1:
In a normal game each player start with 3 action discs (AD), 2 citizens, 1 ship, 10 florins (coin), one player order marker and a player screen.

The “open sea” hexagon is placed on the table and each player put his/her ship on it.
Each player draws 3 region hexagons which are 2-sided and in turn order place one adjacent to the “open sea” one and disembark his/her 2 citizens on the land, draws a exploration token, moves the “surplus worker” meeple equal to the number of huts on the regional hex (1-5) and take one of the resources on the tile to him-/herself and puts the other one on the domestic market tiles.

After everyone has done this 5 evolution card are drawn, a trend card is drawn (states end condition and scoring) and is turn face up on the table for all to see and each player draws an objective card(also states end condition and scoring. The objective card is only known to you and can’t under any circumstances be shown to other players.

Then you can star the game.

Phases:
1. Disengagement (skipped during first turn)
All citizens and ships are moved away from the resource icon the was on last turn and “rebel citizens (the ones that lay on the side) are stood up.

2. Order of play
Everyone bid florins(coins) to determine the player order (secretly put florins in your hand before bid). The player that bid most decide play order.

3. Population effects
Adjust surplus workers and rebels according to the boards (I-IV).
If the rebellion marker passed the population marker, everyone loose the game.

4. Balance of the archipelago (skipped during first turn)
The back side of each evolution card is divided in two; a. domestic consumption crisis and b. export consumption crisis. This is done by giving away your resources (from behind your screen) or (only for domestic) discarding from the domestic market. You have to solve both these or the rebellion marker will go up.
You can instead of either of these two, get an event. IF one of the halves of the card is red, do not solve it!

5. Actions
These are the actions; harvest, tax (get coin, but gain rebellion), transaction with the two markets(buy or sell), explore, recruit (cost are given on the surplus worker board), reproduce, migrate (move), construct. Or you can put your AD at your own or another players evolution card to do other stuff.

6. Evolution card purchase
Either buy one of the five evolution cards, or rotate 2 different cards.
All cards can be rotated 4 times and the fourth it is discarded. Every time a card is rotated, it’s price goes either up or down (shon on the card). If a card is discarded, draw a new one. If the backside of the top card in the draw pile is red, resolve that immediately.

Then you repeat until A. the end condition on the trend card is met OR the end condition on any of the players hidden objective card is met (you then have to show the card), of B. the rebellion marker passes the population marker and everyone loses.

My overall impression is that the maker of the game started by making a mechanic and rules that where quite simple, but had to add stuff to make the game interesting and make sense, but unfortunately failed. For me this game feels like a mess!
The only thing i find my self doing is to try to survive the Balance of the Archipelago phase by getting resources. If I try to do stuff that gives me VP at the end of the game, I’m punished when this phase comes, because I can’t pay up. Even when trying to work together (not semi coop, but full coop) the outcome is the same.

In solo it’s even worse as you HAVE to buy 1 card every Evolution card phase or lose! To be able to do this you have to use one of your 3 actions to sell a resource (if you have one – if not you have to use another action to get one) to get enough coin. And then you might not have enough resources to get past the Balance phase….

I have a couple of other resource/settler/worker placement games in my collection. Archipelago is the last I wanna pick up and play.

Unfortunately the 100$ (or so) I used on the base game and the solo expansion was a waste for me….

Summary:
Pros
+ production quality
+ the art is very good
+ good explanation of the rules (rule book)

Cons
– tokens wont fit in the box as supposed to
– game mechanics are a mess
– feels like a struggle and I (at least) haven’t enjoyed playing it – shouldn’t playing games be fun????

7
Go to the Bora Bora page

Bora Bora

127 out of 138 gamers thought this was helpful

Bora Bora is a ‘worker placement’ euro game themed South Sea Islands with resources and gods (not goods).

The game is for 2-4 players and takes 60-120 minutes to play.
The quality of everything is great, from playing cards to the board and all of the cardboard pieces (money (shells), missions, men, women, offerings to the gods, etc.)

Each player is dealt their own game board. Left section of the board consist of a summary of the rules, the middle part is a sacrificial platform with sacrificial tiles, place for treasures and god-tiles, and the right side consists of cabins, room for male / female tiles and missions.
In addition each player get 3 dice, four priests and a few pieces for counting points and status.

The main board is divided into two parts where the left side is a map is the five islands that is Bora Bora and on the right you will find the status track (player order), treasury area (which also serves as the counting of rounds), available missions and men and women tiles.
Around the edge of the main board is the scoring track, here depicted as flowers (!).

In addition Bora Bora comes with 7 ‘action boards’ that determines which activities you can do.

Bora Bora plays over 6 rounds and each round consists of three phases:

A: Action Phase
Each player rolls their 3 dice. In the order of play you place your chosen die on one of the ‘action boards’ to do certain actions; build a hut on the main board to make room for a man / woman of your own game board, place a priest in the temple, build a ceremonial platform, use one-time property of a man or women etc. There are a number of things you can do. But – if you want to use the same action as another player has made, you can only place a die with fewer eyes than one already played on that ‘action board’. This means that you cannot always do what you want and that it pays to be first.
Once all players have placed their 3 dice and made the respective actions, you go to the next phase.

B: Using male / female characteristics (not the once-per-game ones)
In this phase each player get to use 1 man and 1 woman action among the inhabitants you have on your game board. If you don’t have either or any, you won’t be able to do anything in this phase. These actions may be building new cabins on the main board, recruit new men / women, get money, make offerings, draw god cards etc). If you have two or more of the same *** with the same property, you get the double or triple effect (eg one can take 2 or 3 “shells” instead of only one)

C: Final phase
The final phase (in lack of a better word) consists of four steps:
1. Count the points in the status track and score victory points according to the table there. This also determines the order of play
2. The one with the highest number of priests in the temple get the one God-chip (can be used as an optional god cards or points when counting point at game end). In addition, you get victory points based on how many priests you have the temple.
3. In (new) play order, buy 1 any treasure from the current rounds offer (if you have the money for it)
4. Solve a mission and score victory points

Before the new round begins you will have to remove remaining treasure and renew mission and male / female tiles on the main board – rinse and repeat!

This is a little above average complex worker placement game with excellent opportunities for strategy. At the end of the game you can acquire a number of points if you manage to do all possible actions per game round (build sacrificial platform, put out all of 12 huts, purchase treasure, fill up your village with male / female tiles etc).
This mechanism makes Bora Bora a game that you can introduce to new players (though a bit to familiarize themselves) and strategist who will try to exploit their actions to the maximum.

Although the game is partially dice-driven (and thus a bit of luck), Bora Bora comes with 5 different god cards. These can change the effect of your dice but you then have to pay an offering. This makes the game even more interesting.

I bought Bora Bora to have an alternative to Carcassonne when I play with my girlfriend. After playing it I see many layers (strategically) of playing this game and thus won’t think twice about introducing my gaming group to Bora Bora.

9
Go to the Dominare page

Dominare

30 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

Dominare is one of four games, and the most advanced, in the Tempest series from AEG.
The game takes place in the city of Tempest which is in the middle of a crisis without anyone to rule, and each player’s goal is to gain influence in the city so that they can rule.

The game is for 2-6 players, but I recommend a minimum of 3 for a more competitive game play (this is a competitive game after all).

The quality for the game is just great! From the player board, to the cards, the art – everything helps to set the mood of a renaissance city in turmoil. The only drawback is that I’ve been running out of wooden cubes (influence) towards the end of the game. In this case you can use either (coins) underneath a cube or the large round leftover tablets (to count as 5 influence). If you have 5-6 players this will not be a big problem.
The game board is printed on both sides; 2-4 players and 3-6 players, but both sides can be used regardless of how many / few you are. This defines what type of game you want to play (eg 6 players at 2-4-side = very competitive!)

In the role as a puppet master each player send their agents to various parts of the city to acquire influence. If you choose to use well-known figures of the city (and thereby get much exposure), the city will work on towards you. As a ‘scapegoat’ (which means that you have the most exposure in total) are often punished in the event phase, but will start each round.
Each agent has its own characteristics we can use in the action phase of the game. The same applies to districts (athenium, senate, the slums (total 3 slums districts), church, merchant and canals), but you need to dominate one district to use its property. In addition, a number of other actions you can do as recruiting, replacing agents, buy influence and more.

A season consists of the following phases:
– Conspiracy: Each player plays a new agent. The agent is added in the order corresponding to which of the seven seasons you’re currently in. Exposure is then adjusted and the play order updated. Agents at next to each other with the same profession, gets better – this is called networking.
– Event: “Scapegoat” draws an event card, reads aloud and the incident must be resolved. The incident may apply to only ‘scapegoat’, all players or all except ‘scapegoat. In addition, the ‘scapegoat’ has to align two districts up or down 1 or 2 points (the owner of that district will score these points at the end of the game).
– Canvass: everyone gets cash (coin) according to what their agents generate. In addition, each agent generate influence they will place in their home district (wooden cubes in different colors).
– Action: each season consists of two actions, with the exception of the last season consisting of 3. There are a total of eight types of actions you can do (use an agent’s properties, use a district property, recruit, purchasing influence, white wash (buy down the exposure tracker), get one coin, replacing an agent or flipping back your agents that are face down.

The game consists of seven seasons and a total of 15 actions, so every action should be thought through carefully!

Domiare is probably a game for the more experienced players that are into area control, scheming and ruining your opponents plans and at the same time reveal your clever strategy one small piece at a time. I find this very appealing

After watching a number of walkthroughs of Dominare online, I was not in any doubt that this was a game for me. It’s probably not for everyone, but if you like heavy strategy game where you really have to think + enjoy games with heavy interaction, you should test Dominare!

8
Go to the Le Havre page

Le Havre

118 out of 130 gamers thought this was helpful

I bought this game to see if I wanted to buy the hard copy of it. I want to find a light game that my girl friend and I can play together so we can get a break from Carcassonne.

I started out with the tutorial which in my opinion isn’t very good. You’ll be presented with pop up windows that tells you what to do and what the AI-player does. This got too confusing for me so I ended up with watching a game walkthrough video on youtube instead.

When I first understood the rules and how to play this game it took a while before I found out what I should and should not focus on – and I still don’t know for sure.

As of my understanding of this game so far you can do 2 things on your turn; 1. claim one of the offers (building materials and coin), use a building OR build 1-2 buildings and 2. buy a building.
You wont be able to do both on every turn you have, so the way to success is to plan what offers you should claim or what buildings to use so that you will be able to build and buy buildings and ships as often as possible.
Since your playing with one or more players and buildings can only be used once in a while, your planned strategy will sometimes not work when your fellow player occupies a building you want to use. But that’s the nature of these types of games.

Of a total of 10-12 playthroughs I’ve only managed to win once and I feel that was dependent on quite much luck.

What I like about this game is that (so far) it’s a game you don’t win easily; you really have to take on your “thinking cap” and execute a good strategy to be able to do ok at all. This is a challenging game, but I wont give up until I’ve broken the ‘code’ so that I’ll win more than loose:)

I play Le Havre on my iPhone. For this game I wish that I had an iPad cuz the screen is way too small so I have to zoom in and out a lot to check the details of all the cards.

9
Go to the Mage Knight Board Game page

Mage Knight Board Game

107 out of 114 gamers thought this was helpful

I started to really find interest in board games not long ago. I have played RPGs (pen and paper + on computers) a few decades with Dungeons and Dragons from the first edition until 3.5, d20 modern, Pathfinder and Deadlands.
I love fantasy and badlands settings as you can see from the RPG titles I’ve played.
A lot of the board games I’ve played until recently (mostly social/party games) didn’t give me much because my many years in RPGs, which are quite complex.
Before running to the store and picking a few board games randomly I did some thorough research and was really excited to find Mage Knight; a game with a complexity by my taste.

So far I have only played Mage Knight solo and I’ve played it a lot! There is something with this game that makes me choose this over any computer game or any tv shows, and I’ll try to explain why:

In Mage Knight you play a mage knight (!) sent by the Council of the Void to invade the Atlantean Empire. You start with a deck of 16 cards (1 is specific to your chosen mage knight, 2 if you play with the expansion) which are the different actions you can take – starting hand of 5 that will increase as you gain power. And you start with a few map tiles revealed. By conquering and/or using your influence you gain levels, action cards (advanced actions, spells and artifacts) skills and followers. Al this to make you ready to invade the great cities of the Atlantean Empire.
You explore the lands to find the cities you are going to conquer and new side quests are revealed (ie dungeons, castles, mage towers, rampaging enemies, ancient ruins and so forth).
There are also other scenarios you can play with slightly different goals and rules, but I wont describe them any further here.

What I really like about this game is the mix of game types this game consist of; a bit of exploring, a bit of character building, a bit of recruiting the right followers, a bit of fighting (many of these you will also find in traditional RPGs).
There is also a bit of randomness because you your hand only can consist of 5+ cards during your current turn (1 round equals one day or night and consists of a set of turn until your or other players draw decks are empty).
You therefore have to plan not only your current, but also your next few moves to maximize the gain you’ll get before the time runs out. Most scenarios are played through 3 days and 3 night, so you have to play wisely to get the most out of every turn.

The rulebook the comes with the game describes everything in a good way but its a lot of reading because every thing you interact with, through interaction actions or attack actions, are slightly different from each other. I found some good videos on the Internet after my first play through to see if I had gotten thing the right way. This was really helping me understanding the many options you have.

The quality of the game content are quite good, maybe not the best I’ve seen, but good enough to not over shadow the mechanics of this great game.

It was quite fast clear to me that I wanted to buy the expansion to add some more options and flexibility to the game. I haven’t tried the scenarios from the expansion yet (which I feel is better with more than 1 player), but I’ll surely do that when I have introduced Mage Knight to my player group. And because of the complexity I plan to introduce it to one friend at a time.

If you like fantasy themes and like strategy games, character/deck building and a REAL fight (some of the fight are reeealy hard), I strongly recommend Mage Knight.

This is a quite expensive game, but the re-playability is just great and with all the time I’ve spent in the Atlantean Empire it’s worth every buck!

10
Go to the Pathfinder: Core Rulebook page
60 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

Great RPG with tons of fun.
I’ve followed D&D since 1st edtion, playing 2nd, 3rd and 3.5 most. 4th edition was a mess for me making the game a pen and paper MMO-ish disaster.

This is what WotC should have done for 4th edition instead.

As a fantasy rpg Pathfinder gives you every posibility of playing your chosen (and customized) character exactly the way you want. You have the option for deep roleplaying, heavy tactics on the battlefield, powergaming, character optimization or a mix of all of these – chosen by players or the Game Master.

I’ve only played the Kingmaker campaign so far. We’re into the last book, of a total of 5, and have a party of 4 level 13 adventurers. That said, we have decided to only play with the 3 core books next adventure. Now we’re using core + advanced players guide (APG). Our GM has removed a few quite overpowered feats like Point Blank Master (APG) which alows you to fire bows in melee range.
This to make the game flow easier and make it a bit less complex. There are a lot of additional content which is fun to look into, but in our opinion a little to much to handle for both players and GM.

I love this game and will recommend it to anyone who like roleplaying, character planning and building, tactic and strategic fighting!

9
Go to the Mice and Mystics page

Mice and Mystics

82 out of 136 gamers thought this was helpful

This game went by my focused gaze a few times before it suddenly caught my attention. And for that I’m glad!

This is a quiet expensive game, but it’s worth every buck!
A great dungeon crawler with focus on thought through mechanics, an engaging story (made for kids), beautiful artwork and build quality with elements of role playing (character building).

The thought of playing a story instead of only reading it (for my kid), is a thing I really like with this game. Most kids games is competative where you have to “make yourself dumber” to let the kids win once in a while. but since this is a coop you can focus on playing it just as you would with your friends.

I haven’t yet, but I’m definitely going to introduce this game to my gamer group after we finish our campaign in Descent!

3
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game page
99 out of 132 gamers thought this was helpful

I bought this game as I’m an old D&D’er (pen and paper rpg) and it was either this game og the Dungeon Command series. So I went with this since it had (from looking on reviews); 1. a “know” story, 2. improved mechanics since Castle Ravenloft, 3. more replayability and more interesting mechanics than Dungeon Command(?).
Now, I’ve only read the first 3 books with Drizzt (when he comes out of the underdark) so I’m not familiar with all the characters included in this game, other than that i know them by name.

As I first mentioned I’m an old D&D’er and have spent a lot of time in Faerun (the universe which this game is based on) from 2nd to 3.5 edition. When 4th edition was released I was really disappointed. All the flexibility in the classes was removed to make all classes do basically the same stuff but with different flavor texts. And Legends of Drizzt is basically a simplyfied 4th edition.

I’ll give it plusses for good quality and a game that’s tied to some of the great novels TSR/WotC have published in the last few decades. But that’s about it, unfortunately.

You’ll find that the real threat of the game is the encounter cards and not the monsters you battle. The turn order doesn’t make sense as you’ll be surprised every time you discover a new tile and thereby meet a new enemy which then gets an attack on you before you can do anything. Because of the simle mechanics (move/fight, explore, encountercards/get attacked) this is a very repetative game, and the different stories are not introducing new twist for that specific mission.

I will play this game again to make the game worth it’s money, but I wont play it untill I’ve cooked together some variant rules that actually makes sense, so that I can experience the story of the game rather than focusing on the terrible mechanics.

To summarize:
If you are looking for a game – don’t buy this!
If you are like Drizzt and his adventures – don’t buy this!
If you have played D&D (or Pathfinder) before – don’t buy this!

2
Go to the Elder Sign: Omens page

Elder Sign: Omens

55 out of 91 gamers thought this was helpful

I was looking forward to this game and was going with the randomized team set up the first few times. I wasnt even close to win the game.
Then I tried a put together a team my self. I won a few times and lost a few times, and all this on the easiest level.

Well enough said about that.
My problem with this game is the randomized signs you get when trying to solve quests. You have no security what so ever that you’ll get some of the components to solve your quest. The stuff you have rerolls (which are as much random as the original rolls), transforms (which transforms one component to another – and is likewise random) and you have red and yellow additions (which again is random).

If I’d new about this ahead of buying it, I wouldn’t bother spend the few bucks this game costs.

On the pluss side the graphics are good.

Keep away!

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