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Rated My First Game
Go to the Pandemic page
10
2 of 9 gamers thought this was helpful
Andreas Sep 1st, 2014
“"Quick! We are about to lose Asia!"”

Following my usual routine, I discovered this game after watching it played on “Tabletop” with Wil Wheaton. The game is super easy to explain to people, and the opportunity for tremendous difficulty only adds to the fun of the game! There isn’t a lot of downtime between players (only when you are about to die from card-loss, and the strategy for the next few turns are all that stands between you and victory!), and the many different roles ensures that each player, not only feel important in their own way, but are very important to the success of the game.

My game is almost worn up from all the playing, and everyone i’ve played one session with, have immediately wanted to play it again! It’s my gateway-game to get people into board gaming at the moment :)

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
2 out of 9 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Rated My First Game
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
9
3 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
Andreas Sep 1st, 2014
“Amazing easy-to-learn eurogame!”

Bought this with my roommate, after having seen it played on “tabletop” with Wil Wheaton. Tried it first with just 2 players, but that gets way too competitive with mandatory quests. Tried it with my study group of 5 people, and loved it! I found that 4-5 people are the optimal but 3 are okay as well.

The amount of interplay between players are somewhat limited, including only the “intrigue”-cards, that add something different and unexpected to the game. It gets really hectic toward the end of the game, and the inclusion of the monopoly-esque mechanic of building, and reaping included benefits makes sure that theres a lot of strategy involved in the game!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
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3
Gamer - Level 3
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
8
10 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
MikeP {Avid Gamer} Sep 1st, 2014
“Addictive, Highly-enjoyable Euro Game”

First of all although the Dungeons and Dragons logo is prominent on the outer box of this game, you need not be a fan of the franchise to play this game. There are no mechanics that lend to the D&D dungeon crawl, the association is purely thematic.

Game-play:

This is a worker placement Euro game. You start off by selecting a secret Lord of Waterdeep card which gives you a secret quest to do througout the game. During the game you may place agents on different areas of the city and recruit adventurers, set up quests, carry out intrigue or build buildings. Resources allow you to finish quests and score points, with some quests having long running effects or bonuses, such as an extra agent to play on your turn.

Pros:

- This is a beautifully laid out game. The insert is of very high quality and well thought through. You may think it’s a bit surreal for a review to go on about the box insert but the way it is laid out, with specific push areas to lift cards and round trays to organise adventurers makes the setting up and clean up after the game a breeze.
- The rules are simple. First time players are usually well in grasp of the game by round two. In my group last week, the newbie won the game!
- The game is quick and clever. You can have an easy game where everyone just goes for it trying to accumulate points or you can apply more subterfuge to the game by trying to trip up your opponents.
- The randomness of the Lord of Waterdeep card adds a certain element of uncertainty as you try to figure out what your opponents’ strategy is.

Cons:
- Adventurers; the are just coloured wooden blocks. This doesn’t matter to me, but based on the D&D marketing some gamers may be expecting painting figurines. Be warned.
- The D&D theme is very thin, this could be a bonus it really depends on the player

Who would enjoy this
- Family Gamers
- Avid Gamers
- Casual Gamers
- Strategy Gamers

Enjoy the Game!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
10 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Go to the Freedom: The Underground Railroad page
 
3 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
HighlandSpring {Family Gamer} Sep 1st, 2014
“A fun but tense game ”

I missed the Kickstarter for Freedom but was attracted by its unique theme, quality components and ability to play solo or up to 4 players. I normally play with my wife and you really do feel the moral dilemma associated with the balance between achieving your goals and risking (or deliberately accepting) the ‘deaths’ of the slaves that are in the slave market awaiting delivery to your (full) plantations. On average the game takes about 90 mins to play, and to date with about 10 games under our belt we’ve had a 40% win rate. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who like co-operative games.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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7
Gamer - Level 7
I'm Completely Obsessed
Explorer - Level 4
Go to the Vanuatu page
8
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
inmarg {Avid Gamer} Sep 1st, 2014
“A cruel and great design”

Vanuatu might be another point salad euro game, but it is for sure one of the cruelest and cutthroat euros around. It demands great planning from a player to get the most of your action pawns and sometimes an entire round will be wasted because of gamble. As the game only last 8 rounds this can seem very cruel and not fun for the victim, but this is also why Vanuatu stands out from the crowd.

Gameplay:

Vanuatu lasts for 8 turns and each turn has 5 phases.
1) Turn setup (Preparing the board for a new turn)
2) Character selection
3) Action Planning
4) Performing Actions
5) Rest tokens (Determining start player)

On your turn you’ll have 10 characters to choose from which will aid in the 9 different actions available to you. The start player will choose character first, but he may only choose from the unselected from the previous round before putting back his previous which player two now may choose in addition to the characters left by the start player and so on until all players have picked a character. 9 of the 10 characters will aid you by making an action cheaper or earning more points/vatus for you while the last will help you get in getting an action done.

Action planning and performing them is where Vanuatu separates itself from the crowd. Each player has 5 action discs and in turn order everyone places 2 of these, then 2 and finally the last. After placing them you get a chance to perform actions but here is the catch. You can only perform an action if you have the majority on that space, in other words you’ll have to have more action discs on a space than any other player with turn order being the tiebreak which is natural you’re placing your discs first. The rather cruel part of this is if you do not have a majority you’ll still have to remove your action disc(s) for a space which in turn may have the change effect of destroying your entire turn which is bound to chase away casual gamers.

Actions:

There are 9 possible actions to choose from on where to place your action discs and you really do not want to compete too much (which of course is inevitable).

Sail: Pay 1-3 vatus to move your boat (where your boat is will det
Build: Pay 3 vatus to build a stall
Explore: Take a treasure tile
Buy: Buy 1 good cube and place on a boat to earn points
Fish: Take a fish tile
Draw: Make a sand drawing to score 3 points
Transport: Ship a tourist to an island and earn vatus
Sell: May sell fish tiles to receive vatus
Rest: May choose from the available rest tokens

Several of the actions are depending on the placing of your boat. For example you may only explore and fish on the tile your boat is on and to perform an island action your boat has to be adjacent to that island.
Another feature of Vanuatu is that you’re never allowed to get rich. Whenever you reach 10 vatus you’ll receive 5 points and are set back to 0 again so it is very important to balance your economy.

Conclusion:

Vanuatu is as mentioned not for the casual gamer and it is not for someone who takes blocking to personal because that will happen. A lot! Instead, those who enjoy a good brainburner and are rewarded for good planning will find a lot of pleasure here, evil pleasure but lots of pleasure.

On a final note, while Vanuatu is a game for 3 to 5 players, it will run mighty different between those numbers. With 3 players you will be able to get a lot more done as you can spread your action discs, while in a 5 player game you’ll have to pick your fights. Don’t forget, missing one action may render the other 2-3 actions you were hoping to get done useless so sometimes you will have to take sub optimal moves and rather wait a turn.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Rated My First Game
Go to the Pandemic page
9
17 of 23 gamers thought this was helpful
Moose {Casual Gamer} Aug 29th, 2014
“Great Co-Op for 2,3,4 Player”

I got my hands on this game about two weeks ago. It has changed board gaming for me. This was my first Co-Op game and it is tremendously challenging and fun! A new personal favorite!

The game is the players (people playing the game) versus the board game itself. It is really fun to play 4,3, and even 2 player. Let me tell you too, two player is just as fun as 3 and 4.

There is a lot of strategy involved and planning within the game. I don’t recommend this game for young children because of this. I play it with college friends and we can’t get enough of it right now. What is also a great thing to note on this game is that you can change the difficulty of the game. We play on moderate (5 Epidemic cards) and enjoy it and will soon be daring enough to do hard (6 Epidemic cards).

The game is super fun and is enjoyable whether you win or lose (and you will lose, I guarantee that). Not super easy to learn quick, you really need to play a game to really get the hang of it.

Go out and buy it! It’s at local game shops and even saw it in Target the other day.

Last bit, we just got in the “On the Brink” expansion. You have got to get this after you play the original Pademic, IT IS AMAZING! It takes Pandemic to the next level.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
17 out of 23 gamers thought this review was helpful
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7
Expert Grader
Paladin
Go to the Forbidden Island page
6
16 of 18 gamers thought this was helpful
Scatheoholic {Avid Gamer} Aug 29th, 2014
“A good intro to co-op gaming, but not the best...”

Video review (with Forbidden Desert): http://ow.ly/AQN8T

Forbidden Island is a co-op game that entices you and three others to visit its shores with the promise of four colourful ancient artifacts. What the brochure doesn’t tell you, is that all it takes is the weight of at least two intrepid explorers to force the entirety of the mainland to slowly sink. Then again, this probably should’ve been apparent when browsing for travel insurance. Nevertheless, the intrepid among you must battle through the islands glorious locales in a bid to collect all of these precious artifacts before they get wet…and dissolve.

In the race to discover four artifacts, players take three actions ranging from moving around the island itself, to shoring up tiles and gifting items to other players. Every turn they’ll pluck up two adventure cards that show a particular artifact. Once someone has gathered four cards that show the same artifact, they can trade them in for a funky little trophy that can be gained at specific locations. Gather four and they can escape the island with grand forms of wealth.

After a player takes a turn, the island starts to grow wise to your antics and has its own turn. Depending on where the marker on the Tidal track is, a number of cards are drawn showing locations on the island. Once one shows up, it floods. If that location is already flooded, it disappears forever. All of a sudden, this horrible tension kicks in, as tiles begin to float off the table and a natural countdown commences. The ocean even infects the usually friendly artifact deck, hiding some ‘Waters Rise’ cards which raise the tidal marker upwards, meaning on the next turn, a larger amount of locations will flood. It’s all very atmospherically *ing.

But…hang on. Those ‘Artifact’ cards…they’re like the ‘Location’ cards in Pandemic. And the artifacts themselves…they’re very much like the cures in Pandemic. Is this beginning to sound a bit familiar? Well…yes, from the outset, it does look like Forbidden Island has earned an adequate GCSE at the Pandemic school of optimal co-op games. Matt Leacock seems to be rather aware that he hit a winning formula with his former co-op title and carried the same principles over here. That’s by no means a bad thing, I mean, the formula works and thankfully Forbidden Island has different ways of ramping up the tension in comparison to its inject-‘em-up sibling.

With only one way to win, there are several ways to lose, all linked to unwelcome flash floods. Should too many waters rise cards crop up, you all die. If one of you is on a tile that sinks and there’s nowhere for them to swim to, they die and you all get so upset that you can’t bear to finish the escape attempt. If the locations you haven’t gathered specific artifacts from sink, you all die of stubbornness.

Forbidden Island can be played on several difficulties, originating the Tidal Track marker on different points, beginning on higher draw numbers for the higher difficulties. However, some of this can be portrayed in the game’s modular fashion. As each location comes on its own individual tile, constructing the island itself tends to show from an early point just how screwed you will be. Such layouts affect where everyone will start, the routes everyone must take could be greeted with a slight approving nod or wild erratic nods that launch your face straight into the table in despair.

No matter what the difficulty, the trend seems to be that you HAVE to work as a strong group. In Pandemic, and often in many other co-ops, team members can often be sent to various parts of the world and entrusted with tasks without a second thought. However, here if you send someone off on their lonesome, with ongoing flooding threatening to make tiny peninsulas, there’s no guarantee they’ll make their way back. Of course if one member is lost, the entire expedition was for nothing, so you’ll find yourself forced to construct lines of humans. It’s all a boost to camaraderie as you hoist a plucky explorer away from the grasps of the ocean at just the right time. At its best, Forbidden Island is pure, unadulterated camaraderie in a box…tin. At its worst, though, it’s a concentrated barrel of woe.

Don’t get me wrong, co-op games are meant to be magnificently challenging. They’re meant to don diamond boots and put pressure on your relationships, slowly straining any form of patience from it as it goes. However, with limited room to move around getting smaller by the minute and a fairly small amount of actions to deal with, many turns simply consist of shoring up flooded locations and praying for the right cards to come up. You see, as each player is given three actions, they don’t really have enough to do exactly what they want to do. That’s fine, it’s a logical staple when balanced correctly. However, it also isn’t really enough actions to actually make yourself feel useful. The most pro-active thing you can do to escape, gather artifacts, is a huge waiting game as you hope the right cards will come up to the right people so that you can at least make some form of trade to speed things up. As you can only give cards to other players and not take them away, it kind of feels like your usefulness can occasionally be put on the backburner, and no matter how many locations you shore up in a game, you’re going to face certain death once the number of cards you have to draw outweighs the land you’ve got to run on. Compare this to Pandemic, where it feels like any player can be launched into a crisis at any time, and you begin to see that the game slowly slots into a panicked pattern.

With a lack of variables to affect as the game gets smaller and smaller, you can occasionally hit this ‘Wall of Despair’, where you realise unfittingly far away from the end of the game that there genuinely is no hope. The floods will inevitably catch up and destroy morale, and even destroy tiles on the same turn if you’re unlucky enough. Games like Pandemic have a number of variables not just to mix things up, but to empower your team and make them feel like there’s always something they can do before death creeps in. Here, if things don’t go your way, there’s not a lot you can do but sit and wait for the waves to absorb you and your friends. It’s not a bad game by any means, but after a couple of replays, a few patterns begin to emerge. Maybe Pandemic has spoiled me. Maybe, though, I’m just bitter because there’s another Forbidden place you can visit that may not hold greater treasures, but a much greater experience. Maybe you should head on over to the Forbidden Desert…

TO BE CONTINUED

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
16 out of 18 gamers thought this review was helpful
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2
Gamer - Level 2
Go to the Puerto Rico page
8
5 of 16 gamers thought this was helpful
Antonio {Strategy Gamer} Aug 28th, 2014
“Nice game”

Nice game. Easy to learn and play.It isn’t a beautifull game but it’s a strategic one. It’s fast and everybody can play because it’s a fluid game. It was my first boardgame and I like this world because of it. Now it’s not my favorite boardgame but sometimes I like to play them with my friends and new players. There are ugly components but when you start to think about the possibilities and in the stratgies you forget it.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 16 gamers thought this review was helpful
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4
Noble
Amateur Reviewer
Go to the Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small page
10
15 of 15 gamers thought this was helpful
Silverano {Casual Gamer} Aug 28th, 2014
“Raising sheep and building fences !”

Agricola is an easy-to-learn, two player game designed by Uwe Rosenberg.
You play as a simple farmer (or farmerette) and your goal is to have the most points after 7 rounds.
You can get those points by collecting and raising a variety of animals (sheep, horses,…), building structures or by expanding your farm and make full use of those expansions.

The game is played on 3 boards:
1 main board consisting of resources, fences, cribs, actions, etc.
and 2 small boards, 1 for each player, where they build their farm on.

Like I said before, this game is easy to learn and play but that doesn’t mean you can turn off your “wonder of nature” called a brain. There are different strategies you can and should use, because every “opponent” will play differently and you need to adept to that to be able to get a big farm.
Well, opponent is a harsh word in this case because you don’t really get the feeling you need to beat the person you play against, you just want to build an amazing farm…and sometimes that will mean you are the winner :)

The developer of this game really kept it simple and clean. The animals, cribs, fences,… are represented by small wooden figures and the buildings by tiles. The illustrations and design really gives you a peaceful feeling and his is the main reason why I like this game so much. A lot of 2 player games these days are heavily competitive. Agricola on the other hand is what I call “a friendly competitive game”: If you win, that’s great, if you lose…well there is always a next time and you will look forward to that because it was so much fun ! That’s what everyone wants if they play games, they just want to have a nice time! If you want to have a high strategic face-off, that’s possible to of course, but I have the feeling that you might want to search for another game then because it would be a shame to ruin this lovely and relaxing ambience the game offers you.

Pros
- Easy to learn
- Small box so good for when you are on a trip
- Wooden miniature livestock !
- Lots of fun !

Cons
I really can’t find a negative thing for this game.

Conclusion
This game is very amusing and while it’s good for people who aren’t that into board-games, more experienced players will have a lot of fun to. You can learn it very quickly and you will enjoy it for many hours !

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
15 out of 15 gamers thought this review was helpful
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3
Gamer - Level 3
Go to the Gloom page
8
19 of 20 gamers thought this was helpful
MikeP {Avid Gamer} Aug 28th, 2014
“Mr Giggles Returns!”

Rarely does a game make me laugh so hard that I cannot breathe. This is one of these rare games. Without fail, with Gloom the evening will descend into side splitting laughter as the most awful things happen to your family. With the right crowd you may need oxygen – you have been warned!

First of all the quality of this game is superb with strong well made cards and the process and rules of play are beautifully simple.

You each start off with a family with different family members (Mr Giggles!) and play transparent cards over your or other players’ characters. Each card is transparent with negative (good) or positive (bad) points and a starting sentence such as ‘savaged by poodles’. It is up to the person laying down the card to come up with the narrative, i.e. why Mr Giggles was savaged by poodles, and so each game will vary depending on who you are playing with. My gaming group is dark so I am unable to repeat why Mr Giggles was savaged by poodles….. Playing cards to ruin your opponents score adds to the mirth, the only rule is that the narrative must flow. People who are into role-playing will love this

The game ends when you kill (yes kill) all members of a family, not necessary yours. Killing an opponents family member is a good idea if they have positive points.

All in all this is a fun game which can be awesome with the right group, that is really easy to play and easy to learn. Be warned however, this game can be a bit dry if played with people that are not into storytelling. The game is still playable, just not as fun!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
19 out of 20 gamers thought this review was helpful
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