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El Dorado
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Go to the Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror page
9
Stargazer1 {Avid Gamer} Jun 19th, 2017
“Innsmouth. The Horror that Excels at Fun!”

INTRODUCTION
Innsmouth Horror (IH) is the second big box expansion for Arkham Horror. This expansion is centered on the small town of Innsmouth and the mysterious happenings of the Deep Ones. The sinister Deep Ones and even the Innsmouth townsfolk work behind the scenes to undermine the efforts of the investigators and help facilitate the arrival of the Great Old One (GOO). The investigators must discover the truth about Innsmouth and put a stop to the Deep Ones meddling if they are to have a chance at defeating the GOO.

COMPONENTS
The quality of the expansion components is on par with the base game and very good. There is a mounted board, thick cardboard playing pieces, cardstock character sheets and fairly durable cards. The artwork on the board, character sheets and cards is very good and further enriches the theme. The rulebook is 11 pages and includes examples of play and makes a few rules clarifications. No complaints about the components.

IH is a big box expansion for Arkham Horror so it contains a lot of goodies. As mentioned above, there is a small game board which depicts the Town of Innsmouth and its many locations for investigators to explore. This expansion includes several new investigators, GOOs, and additional Mythos, Gate, Common item, Unique item and Spell cards to beef up their respective decks. There are also more monsters, some new and more base game monsters and two Heralds.

SET UP
Set-up for Arkham Horror is one or two minutes longer with the inclusion of the IH expansion. The new board is placed adjacent to the base game board. The new Mythos, Gate, Spell and item cards are shuffled into their respective base game deck. The new Innsmouth Look, Personal Stories and IH location decks are shuffled and placed near the game boards. The Deep Ones Track tokens are also placed near the game boards and additional monsters are tossed into the monster cup. The game board is huge and there’s a lot of stuff placed around it so make sure you have a big table!

GAME MECHANICS
I’m going to skip my usual detailed write-up on the game mechanics in favor of focusing on the new mechanics in this expansion has to offer. The IH expansion introduces several new mechanics, some of which significantly change the game. Notable new mechanics include Deep Ones Rising Track, Personal Stories, Aquatic Monster Movement, The Innsmouth Look and Martial Law. Most of the new mechanics make the game slightly more challenging.

The Deep Ones Rising Track is perhaps the only new mechanic in IH which significantly impacts game play. This track represents the behind the scenes scheming of the Deep Ones in Innsmouth. A token is placed on this track any time a gate is prevented from opening or a monster moves into a vortex. If the Track fills up, then the GOO immediately wakes up and the Final Battle begins. The investigators can gather evidence and convince the Feds to help. During the Upkeep Phase, an investigator in Innsmouth may spend 1 or 2 Clue tokens to place them on the Feds Raid Track corresponding to the color of the location the investigator is currently in. If the Feds Raid Track is filled, then the Feds wipe all current tokens off the Deep Ones Rising Track.

During set-up, each investigator receives his/her Personal Story. A Personal Story gives the investigator a personal goal to achieve during the game. Once achieved, the investigator receives a bonus which could be an item, better stats, a new ability or something else useful.

The IH expansion introduces Aquatic monsters to the ever growing monster cup. Several locations in Innsmouth (and Kingsport) are marked as aquatic locations. The expansion includes two tokens to mark The River Docks and The Unvisited Isle on the base game board as aquatic locations. A monster with the aquatic movement ability in an aquatic location will move to another aquatic location if an investigator is present during the monster movement part of the Mythos Phase.

Some people, unbeknownst to them, are descended from the horrible Deep Ones. Some events may trigger these dormant genes to spring forth to life, transforming the person into a Deep One! An encounter may instruct the player to draw one or more Innsmouth Look cards. The cards are resolved one at a time. If one of the cards indicates the investigator has the Innsmouth Look, then the player follows the instructions. Usually the investigator is removed from the game. Otherwise, nothing happens and the cards are shuffled back into the deck.

Up until now, direct minions of the GOO have wreaked havoc on Arkham. However, Innsmouth is different. Ordinary townsfolk are responsible for sinister deeds, giving the GOO control of Innsmouth! Innsmouth is a dangerous place for the investigators to snoop around. When the Doom Track on the GOO reaches the halfway point, Martial Law is declared. Hereafter when an investigator ends his movement in an Innsmouth street or location area he must make an Evade check to avoid being arrested and thrown in jail. Each street or location area applies a modifier, shown on the board, to the Evade check.

THOUGHTS
The Innsmouth Horror expansion is well liked among Arkham Horror players and is my favorite expansion. This expansion packs a lot in the box and adds some new mechanics as well.

I find that the new mechanics are subtle and for the most part well integrated into the game. That said the Deep Ones Rising Track, Martial Law and the Innsmouth Look cards can have a sudden significant impact to game play. I incorporate all these new mechanics whenever playing the IH expansion. I enjoy them and feel as though they don’t increase fiddliness and game time all that much. They are fun, it’s a blast to watch someone try to break out of the Innsmouth jail or awesome when someone completes their Personal Story!

The new mechanics are good but the beauty of the IH expansion lies within the other components. This expansion has some of the best investigators to play and some of the most interesting GOOs to face. The designer also got very creative with the Mythos cards, and encounter decks. There’s always an unexpected surprise or twist waiting for you in the encounters! The new items and spells are handy and fun to use. The Innsmouth board is also very engaging, no quiet board here! Besides the Deep Ones Rising track and Martial Law, gates, monsters and clues will appear on this board. The Innsmouth board will not be ignored!

The Innsmouth Horror big box expansion is a must for Arkham Horror fans! This expansion includes a new board, great new material and introduces some good new mechanics too. I highly recommend the Innsmouth Horror expansion.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 4 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the King of Tokyo page
 
Wooden Shoe Games Jun 13th, 2017
“Wooden Shoe Reviews: King of Tokyo”

To start things off we are taking a look at King of Tokyo, the quick thinking dice game that has risen in popularity around the house. The game is easy enough for the younger members with enough complexity and decision making to keep the adults having fun.

In the game 2-6 players take control of a giant monster in an attempt to destroy the city of Tokyo and be the first to collect 20 victory points or be the last one left alive and be crowned King of the rubble. To do this each player rolls a set of 6 dice and attempts to get a desired combination of Victory Points, health, energy, or attacks on other players.

During play players collect energy tokens by through the dice which they can save up to buy cards granting them special abilities, bonus points, extra dice, etc. This adds an extra element to the game taking it from a basic dice rolling smash-fest and adding a little extra depth and theme. The game is well loved by everyone in the house and hits the table often.

And now the thoughts from our very own review team Wynken and Blynken:

Blynken’s Thoughts:
I like how I get to attack Wynken and not get in trouble and using my special cards to give me an advantage in the game. I enjoy this game a lot its “the best game ever” and I want to play it all the time. The different ways to win make the game more fun because I can still win even if I don’t have many points.

Wynken’s Thoughts:
I liked collecting the energy to buy cards which gave me more options and that it played up to 6 players. I enjoyed getting the chance to attack other players (ie: daddy) and would play this game again

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 4 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Private eye
Go to the Murano page
7
5 of 5 gamers thought this was helpful
CriticalMeeple {Avid Gamer} Jun 9th, 2017
“Round and round also Gondolas suffer traffic jam!”

How to play
You are a glass art merchant and, on a board showing Murano and the other small islands around it, you must move from 1 to 8 gondolas, common pool available for all players, along the border to do actions. The actions available are: get money from bank, build buildings or roads, get character cards, use gondoliers, produce glass or sell it to gain money.
The twist is that each field has only action available and you cannot move the last gondolas over the others or beneath them, but you must move the other gondolas to send one in the field desired; of course, a part from the first gondolas moved, you must pay for moving the other ones.
If some actions give you money other ones give you points, you can also get extra points from character cards, that are activated by gondoliers and assigned to individual islands. The merchant with the highest points score wins the game.

Rules and Rulebook
Rules are well explained and written; it’s a very short rulebook, but take care that the last three pages are the Character Card Index; even if the text on the card is quite understandable, it could be necessary to look at the index.

How it works
The roundel moving common pool worker placement mechanism  is somehow fresh: choose your own actions and at the same time have the other players in view. It’s also fluid because each turn consists only of activating one action; one the other side, in the first plays, it is possible to spend time to decide where and when place buildings: only experience will help to make the better decision.
The interaction is indirect, there is no action or card that let you block other players, and, it is good because there are enough frustration factors during the game. The bar of the game raise from family to gamers especially in the production of glass that costs victory points, a move that requires a little bit of calculation.

The judgement
Even if it is a medium light game, still the game experience is pleasant; the roundel mechanism is not easy to master but it is challenging and interesting. Be careful if the game experience of the players is different, newbies can lose with no chance to compete.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 5 gamers thought this review was helpful
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4
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Amateur Advisor
Go to the Abraca...what? page
8
5 of 5 gamers thought this was helpful
Angrod Vardamir {Avid Gamer} Jun 8th, 2017
“Not just casting a random spell”

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.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 5 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Go to the Summoner Wars page
10
2 of 5 gamers thought this was helpful
Fopa May 29th, 2017
“Long searched for perfect 2 player game with endless replayability!!”

After more than a 100 games played and owning almost everything there exists for this game I love and crave to play it still! Definitely a gem which will forever be in my collection!

I have searched long for a great portable 2 player game which I can play with my gf on vacations. With Summoner wars we have definitely found it!! Replay-ability is amazing already with 2 decks but with so many it is just unheard of. Even after sooo many games every game is still tense, unique and great fun!!

Note that in 2v2 mode game is much different. I also love it because of new synergies and cooperation but it is much longer and I definitely do not recommend this mode with/for new players!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
2 out of 5 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Go to the Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2ed) page
9
3 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
Fopa May 29th, 2017
“Awesome and addictive dungeon crawl RPG for solo or in group ”

Descent 2nd edition is an awesome game which I love to play either
– competitive as an overlord or hero in 1 vs many mode
– full coop in group or solo with free app

With so many expansions, hero, items, skills, overlord decks, app content, …combinations and replay value is unmatched. I enjoy it a lot and it is definitely a keeper.

I should add it is addictive and consequently costly because it can easily pull you in until you want to get every expansion for it…been there and I do not regret it a bit. 🙂

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Go to the Doodle Quest page
 
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
Braden May 22nd, 2017
“Super fun and clever game of art, memory, and creativity”

Doodle Quest is an insanely clever, creative game that breaks the bounds of the standard feature sets of 80% of kid games out there. It encapsulates a great combination of memory, spacial awareness, and creativity which I love watching my kids develop.  
 
The theme is deep sea exploration. You play through six quest cards with associated missions each game. Each round, you place a quest card in the middle of the table and make sure everyone understands what the mission is. Each player then has a transparent card in front of them used to complete the mission. For example, if you’re supposed to swim through a tight lane of fish, you look at the quest card and draw your way through the lane on your transparent card without crossing the barriers. Then each player overlays his or her card onto the quest card to see how they did! Scoring is based on how well you complete the quest.  
 
Our kids have been obsessed with Doodle Quest! They absolutely light up whenever they get a bonus star fish point. It’s also a challenge for them. They don’t get it perfect every time and need to learn to keep trying and show some grit and tenacity. I love that. Many kids games are barely a challenge and push the “everyone always wins” mantra more than I prefer. This has become a go-to game for the kids to get out when they have friends or cousins over. It’s also a challenge for kids and adults alike as there are more difficult modes of play. Honestly, Doodle Quest would be a fun one for a cheap, at-home date night with your significant other! Challenge each other and have some prize for the winner.  
 
I remember the first time playing Doodle Quest with the kids and how it magnified certain strengths and…not-so-strengths. =-) Our six-year-old boy, who isn’t as careful when it comes to drawing and coloring, was all over the place at first. He tends to be quick to act and not as methodical about things like this. With time and encouragement, he focused and did great. At the same time, our three-year-old girl was so adorably careful with her lines and drawings. It was so fun watching her scrunch her face and bite her tongue while carefully drawing the lines.  
 
Overall, I give Doodle Quest a solid 8 for its cleverness, uniqueness, and how well it hones in and enhances certain skillsets in our kids. 

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6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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4
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Amateur Advisor
Go to the Caverna: The Cave Farmers page
8
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
Angrod Vardamir {Avid Gamer} May 16th, 2017
“If you are looking for a simpler, more relaxed Agricola.”

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.

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6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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4
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Amateur Advisor
Go to the Viceroy page
7
7 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
Angrod Vardamir {Avid Gamer} May 16th, 2017
“Square pyramids”

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.

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7 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Amateur Advisor
Go to the Spyfall page
7
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
Angrod Vardamir {Avid Gamer} May 16th, 2017
“Smooth flow when played with experienced players”

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.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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