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My First Game Tip
Go to the Azul page
7 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
Squirrel {Avid Gamer} Jun 24th, 2018
“Gorgeous Game Solid Play”

So Azul is an abstract strategy where you’re placing tiles to complete rows on your personal player board in order to move it to your finished wall and score points. You score points by counting orthogonal connections to the tile you just place. The game play is simple, you take a color (all of that color) from any factory you choose (these are small circular coasters) and the remainder of the tiles go to the middle of the factory floor (aka your table). Then you place the tiles you just took to your preparation area of your player board. At the end of the round (once all the times available have been taken) you move the right most tile from any completed row in your preparation area to the finished wall on the right side of your player board and score it appropriately.

The rules are simple, the game is beautiful, and the replay is fantastic. The components consist of slick plastic tiles of various decorations, a decent quality player board, a nice bag to draw the tiles from, some card board coasters to represent factories, and some small cubes to track your scoring. All the components are of nice quality and visually add to the overall look of you decorating a wall in the Royal Palace of Evora.

I highly recommend this game, even if you don’t consider yourself an abstract strategy gamer. I also recently played it with a new gamer, when I asked what type games he likes, he said Uno and Checkers. So naturally I picked Azul as something to introduce him to since it’s anabstract strategy like checkers (yeah it was a long shot since they play nothing alike). Anyway, he LOVEDit and we played about 5 plays in 2 days!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
7 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I'm a Real Person
Smash Up Fan
I play yellow
Comic Book Fan
Go to the Vast: The Crystal Caverns page
8 of 8 gamers thought this was helpful
burgerchief {Casual Gamer} May 22nd, 2018
“Not perfect, but can create wonderful gaming experiences ”

Vast is an asymmetric game where 1-5 characters can play. A dragon, knight, goblin horde, thief and cave all try to accomplish their own separate goal. The game has a modular board and numerous mechanics depending on the players. The modular board has “lit” tiles and “dark” tiles. The lit side means the area has been revealed and the dark side means it has not been revealed yet. These tile differences affect movement.

Each character is essentially playing a different game from everyone else and each game has a different objective.

Knight: the knight’s main game is action selection and managing her 3 stats, buffing strength, movement, or perception based on what she is trying to accomplish, defeat, or prepare for that turn. The knight has entered the cave to slay the dragon but initially she is fairly weak. The knight largely explores the cave by revealing dark tiles and then resolving them. They may have treasure, events, goblin ambushes etc. Before she can beat the dragon she must gain treasure, fight goblins, complete quests, survive events and explore the cave in order to gain stat cubes to increase stats and be able to chase down and over power the dragon. Unfortunately for the knight, a horde of goblins are trying to kill her..,

Goblins: you are the leader of the goblin horde and win if you can kill the knight. The goblins are in 3 tribes, each with their own unique abilities. Each tribe has a population. The main goblin game is managing their population, they want a big population in order to attack the knight, but if there are too many goblins then they start infighting and break apart. Goblins play a risk/reward game with appearing on the board out of hiding and populating their tribes. They also gain other cards which allow them to control monsters which aid their fight or cards that give them special abilities. Where the knight explores the dark tiles of the board and makes them lit, goblins have unlimited movement on the connected dark edges of the board but have limited movement in lit areas. Unfortunately for the goblin a hungry dragon lurks in the cave…

Dragon: the dragon starts the game “asleep” under the cave and their goal is to “wake” and exit the cave. This is done by managing a hand of cards which allows for a variety of different actions. Certain actions or events, like eating goblins, revealing certain tiles, and finding treasure, allows the dragon to wake up a little and gain power. This is important for avoiding the knight and eating goblins. At a certain point the goblin awakes and tries to escape. Unfortunately for the dragon, along with the knight there is a pesky thief is there stealing all its gold…

Thief: the thief is cursed to never leave the cave or be able to die unless it can steal a certain amount of treasures (kinda like the movie Groundhog Day). On his turn he allocates action points to different stats which allow him to move, avoid detection, and steal. He can rob other players, take treasure, or break into vaults. After this he has to stash the treasure away. Each stashed treasure gives him stronger abilities or different choices. Unfortunately for everyone, the cave is alive and wants them all dead…

The Cave: You just want the goblins, thief, knight and dragon to leave you alone. You are going to collapse on everyone once and for all. your job is to grow the map until there are no more tiles to place, and then collapse it in a specific way in order to win. You also hand out treasure, decide events, place all tiles, and influence other players. You are also collecting random tiles, which, like the dragon, allow you to take actions like changing the cave, adding walls, moving players, etc

Things I like:
-plays out like a story, this helps to keep players involved and makes it seem less personal.
-First play is fun to see what other characters can do since each person is so different
-In most games I’ve played, end is very exciting
-Balance in game comes from interaction of players
-Each player has a path to victory that is so different from everyone else. In games I’ve played 4 out of the 5 characters has won with the last one a turn from winning 2 times.
-Very tactical game with longer strategies for each player
-Even if a player is not in a good position to win, they can have a tremendous outcome on the game.

So-so stuff:
-plays better with 4 and 5 players
-may not be perfectly balanced
-Players will probably prefer the play style of one character over another
-Possible to get unlucky with card or dice and lose
-some configurations of characters seem much better than others (goblin v knight v dragon is usually better than thief v cave v goblin)
-Some players may get lucky draws/rolls and could potentially be very strong early
-Without cave player there is additional randomness
-Fewer players can mean less balance since the game hinges on interaction between players.

Things that bother me:
-Interactions between players gets confusing
-first few times playing can take a very long time (3+hrs)
-Can have long down time
-Very likely you will play the first few games and find out at the end you played a few rules wrong
-Some final turns can feel like you are king making
-Individual rules sheets for players are great, but some important rules are hard to find and only on specific rules sheets

My Impressions:

This is not my favorite game, but it can be immensely fun. Needs to be played with the right players as well since some will be very frustrated by rule clarity or overwhelmed by choices. However, it can also make for memorable games. One game we played on the last turn the thief was one turn from escaping with his loot, the knight had the weapon to deal the final blow to the dragon, and the dragon was awake and sprinting for the exit, when the cave player suddenly collapsed on everyone, winning the game. This game makes stories, it creates very memorable experiences which is something I love in a game. However, each play of this game could be one of the best gaming experiences or a very mediocre one. This is a game to bring out each week or month with the same players, as teaching the rules can be a challenge. Overall, when I’m in the mood for an epic story and I have the time, I will always suggest this game.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
8 out of 8 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Advanced Grader
Gamer - Level 6
Go to the Clank! page
20 of 22 gamers thought this was helpful
Tiana901 {Family Gamer} May 19th, 2018
“Shh! Don't Wake the Dragon”

In Clank! you are trying to steal the best loot from a dungeon and escape with it to win the game, but so are your fellow thieves. You can explore various areas of the board, picking up valuables along the way, but you need to think about making it back out again. As you steal things, you Clank! and make noise that catches the attention of the dragon, who might do some damage to you. Enough damage and you might not make it out with your loot.

Set up the game
Some board spaces will have two minor secrets, one major secret, or an artifact. Place the items to purchase in the Market. Place the Monkey idol tokens face up in the monkey shrine. The secrets are face down and hidden, but the Artifacts, market items, and monkey idol tokens are face up.

Place the Mastery tokens near the board. Place the dragon token on the rage track in the space matching the number of players.

In the deck of cards, find all the Mercenary, Explore, Secret Tome, and Goblin cards. Make one pile for each type of card, and place face up near the board. Set aside all the cards in the deck with a gray banner. Shuffle the remaining cards into the dungeon deck and place face down. Deal 6 cards face up in a row. If any show the dragon symbol, replace them with another card from the dungeon deck, and then reshuffle the deck. If any cards have ARRIVE text, resolve it now.

The cards with the gray banners make up the players starting decks. Each player starts with 6 Burgle, 2 Stumble, 1 Sidestep, and 1 Scramble card. Players shuffle their own decks and place face down. Take 30 Clank tokens matching the color of your Token. Place the tokens at the entrance. Choose the sneakiest player to go first or choose randomly. The 1st player puts three Clank! tokens on the board on the Clank! banner, player two places two, player three places one, and player four would place none.

Game Play
Players draw 5 cards each round from their individual deck. Cards with a blue diamond have a number which are skill points. You can use your skill points to purchase cards from the dungeon row and reserve decks. The cost to purchase in the lower right corner in a triangle. Skill points do not have to be spent. Once purchased the cards go face up into your discard pile. However, if the card has an ACQUIRE box, that happens immediately and only once. If your deck ever has less than five cards, draw until your draw pile is empty, then shuffle the discard pile, and continue to draw.

Some cards in the Dungeon Deck and Reserve Deck are monsters and these cards have swords displayed in the lower right corner. This is the cost to defeat them, so if two swords are displayed on the card, you need two swords to defeat them. Once you defeat the monster, the card will tell you what you have gained. If there is a device in the Dungeon Deck, when you purchase it, the use is shown on the card and you take that immediately. Replace cards in the Dungeon Deck at the end of your turn.

Some cards have a boot symbol which allows you to move on the board.

Swords and skill points can be divided however you want, they do not need to be spent on a single card.

As you move through the board, you will collect loot. Secrets will either be something you can use during the game (extra health, or extra movement) or be worth victory points. If you pick up an artifact, you can only hold one, (unless you bought a backpack at the market). The market also sells keys that allow you to move through locks, and crowns which are worth victory points.

Some cards will show that you have awoken the dragon. Place all the Clank cubes into the dragon bag and pull the correct number of cubes from the bag. Cubes are added to the bag based on cards played. The rage track will tell you how many cubes to draw and some cards can effect that number. Black tokens have no effect and are removed from the bag when drawn. Colored cubes are placed on that players health track. If the health track becomes full the player is considered knocked out and the consequences vary. If you are knocked out and above the grassline (in the castle) and you have an artifact, you will be rescued. You can count your points at the end of the game, but you can no longer take any actions, and the dragon will not effect you. If you are knocked out below the grassline, in the dungeon, or you have no artifact, you will not be rescued and do not score at the end of the game.

Once you have an artifact you can head to the exit and when you exit, you take a mastery token.

Once a player leaves the dungeon, whether they were knocked out or not, they go onto the track near the exit, which triggers the dragon to attack. In addition to the cubes indicated on the rage track, you draw additional cubes according to the plus symbols on that track. If you reach the last space on that track, any players that have not exited are knocked out by the dragon.

We played with three people and the game moved at a good pace. Each turn offered at least a couple options of where to go, what to explore, or what to buy or fight. During our first game there was some lag as players decided what to do, but you can look at the cards in your hand while others take their turns and start to get your plan ready, so I think it will play faster as you get more familiar with it.

For all the actions and variety going on in this game, I did not think it had a sharp learning curve. I felt that the mechanics were fairly easy to grasp.

There isn’t much interaction between the players. Each player decides where they want to go on the board and what they want to do, there is no fighting between players or trading, or buying. You do need to keep an eye on what other players are doing, because you choose how deep in the dungeon you go, and you don’t want to be caught with the dragon when everyone else has left. For me, I still felt there was enough player discussion so I did not feel I was playing a solitaire game with other people, if you know what I mean.

This is another game where I had no real sense of who was winning.

Also, although I felt there was variety, I could see this game getting stale after playing it a lot. The cards I was able to afford to buy didn’t really add a lot of unique actions to my deck, so I was moving, picking up loot and fighting some monsters when they showed up.

This is a fun game that I would play again, but probably not every week.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
20 out of 22 gamers thought this review was helpful
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My First Game Tip
Go to the Spirit Island page
9 of 11 gamers thought this was helpful
Squirrel {Avid Gamer} May 19th, 2018
“An Instant Favorite!”

This is one of those easy to learn but hard to master kind of games. Basically you and the other players are spirits living happily when the “evil” invaders come and try to take over the perfect island. They explore, build towns and cities and create decay all over the pristine land. Your job, as the spirit, is to rid the island of these invaders as quickly and efficiently as possible. This isn’t an easy task though. You’ll use every tool at your disposal (lightning, wind, water attacks, fear, and even the island natives).

The replay value of this game is through the roof with the custom powers, different spirits, varying difficulty levels and scenarios. It is a difficult game to win though, so teamwork is essential.

Good luck on your victory.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
9 out of 11 gamers thought this review was helpful
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My First Game Tip
Go to the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game page
6 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
Squirrel {Avid Gamer} May 19th, 2018
“<b>Wife’s Favorite!</b>”

This is my wife’s favorite game to play when we are relaxing with a game in the evening. We’ve played most of the schemes at this point and it always feels engaging and fun. I’ve only played it with two people at this point.

The cards are good quality, the box comes with dividers to make setup easier, and the variety of villains and schemes keeps the game fresh. There are also many expansions for this that are available but I’ve only bought one so far.

This was one of the first games my wife really got into. It’s also the first deck builder we tried. We’ve since tried other deck builders but this one remains her favorite. Mostly because of the variety of play and the familiarity of the characters.

All in all, this is a solid deck builder and is an easy game to introduce to a new gamer.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the BattleLore Second Edition page
4 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
duadox {Avid Gamer} May 15th, 2018
“Well-balanced and rewarding gameplay.”

This is a great refinement of Richard Borg’s system. I especially enjoy the balance between strategy and uncertainty. Although not having the right cards for troop movement can sometimes get frustrating, there is enough options in the game for changing the tide of battle even when you are behind. The initial setup, where troop deployment cards are placed face-down together with a number of decoy cards, also adds a lot to the replayability of the game. Unfortunately, Fantasy Flight stopped supporting this game about a year after its release, but I am confident that the expansions that they published after initial release are more than enough to keep the game interesting. You can still get them from some online sellers.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Twilight Imperium (4th Ed.) page
5 of 12 gamers thought this was helpful
paelios {Avid Gamer} May 10th, 2018
“Exciting and engrossing game”

This game has been a blast to play. I have enjoyed exploring the different and their unique ways to win. I have only played a few of the 17 races of the game and cannot believe how varied each race approaches the game. The unique way to setup the board can be frustrating and at the same time exhilarating when you overcome a bad setup. I would recommend this game to avid gamers who enjoy a long list a varied styles of play.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 12 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I'm a Real Person
Go to the Clank! page
26 of 27 gamers thought this was helpful
Jobby {Power Gamer} May 7th, 2018
“Deckbuilding driven dungeon delving”

Since Dominion there have been a dearth of deckbuilders. Many have missed what makes Dominion so good – the speed. In Dominion players can play their hand very quickly, draw up a new hand and cycle through their deck very fast. Many of the more modern deckbuilders have switched gears and taken more of a hand management where the players don’t want to lose cards from their hands and where getting through your deck is a bad thing.
Pleasingly, Clank! eschews all of this modern deckbuilding nonsense and goes back to the Dominion feel. Players start with a small deck with some ok and some rubbish cards in. They will buy cards from a row that’s on offer and increase their powers. Those powers will become important in doing a bit of dungeon delving.

The players in Clank! have dared each other to steal the best treaure from the dragon’s dungeon. To win, a player must get into the dungeon, find an artefact and return to the start with it. However, they must also prove themselves to be the best thief so must get as much gold as possible as well. Cards and tokens will also be worth points at the end so gather as many of those as well.

Once one player gets out then it’s a race for the other players as the dragon (who has now been told about the other players and their evil thievery) has awoken and will attack every turn!

Oh, I forgot to mention the dragon attacks! Players should try to be stealthy in Clank! as stumbling around, stealing valuable gems or flipping lucky coins(!) all produce Clank!, i.e. noise. The more noise you make the more likely the dragon will hurt you when it attacks. And dragon attacks are always a surprise (until one person gets out).

It’s a great game with a great sense of humour. The game hits all the fantasy tropes but adds fun to them. Singing sword? Great for fighting monsters but all that noise it’s making is bound to attract the dragon! That pesky Kobold? He’s weak but until someone takes care of him he’s going to keep pointing out your whereabouts to the dragon. And the endless goblins that provide players with an endless supply of coins.

Oh, and enjoy all the bizarre monkey goodness! 🙂

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
26 out of 27 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
AEG fan
Mage Wars fan
Go to the Talisman: The Cataclysm page
10 of 11 gamers thought this was helpful
B. Chereaux {Avid Gamer} Apr 24th, 2018
“The World Is Changing...”

Lord of the Rings said it best, and so the world of Talisman is also changing. This Expansion offers a whole new base board to play on with updated art of familiar places with a very dark twist. Just as The Reaper expansion sought to clean up the boards clutter from time to time with card like Whirlwind and Earthquake, so this expansion offers ways to keep things fresh. The new mechanic is the complete renaming and changing of spaces on the main board, both by implementing the new base board and through cards that change a single space at random times during the game. It also capitalizes on NPC’s through the use of denizen cards, which can help the adventurer along the way.

Components: The new base board is a welcome addition to this series. I enjoyed how the Dragon expansion replaced the center portion of the board, but now they take it way further by giving us all new artwork to admire. It has a very dark feel to it (post-apocalypse high fantasy) that I enjoyed immensely. All of the artwork is Fantasy Flight good with great components. Some new characters offer different ways to play the game than your standard “stat change, new name” characters. The mutating ability of the Mutant is a fun way to gamble, and the Black Knight finally becomes a playable character! Trinkets are still utilized to help players have more objects available (they don’t count against your total items).

Pros: Plenty of new things to look at and great new mechanics. There is an alternate ending card that turns Talisman into a co-op experience…

Cons: Bigger box than the woodland expansion, but it contains a full size board so…

Overall: This is what a game expansion should be! Tons of wonderful new room to explore and new characters that behave in ways we haven’t seen before. Well implemented new mechanics that have a smooth flow to them but still let you play the game in ways you never have before. A good bargain, and in my opinion the best “big box” expansion for this classic game!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
10 out of 11 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I'm a Real Person
Smash Up Fan
I play yellow
Comic Book Fan
Go to the Fugitive page
4 of 5 gamers thought this was helpful
burgerchief {Casual Gamer} Apr 23rd, 2018
“To catch a fugitive”

Fugitive is a 2 player asymmetric game where the Rook (now referred to as the fugitive) from Burgle Bros has robbed a bank and escaped with the loot. The Marshal is hot on his tail and is trying to catch him before he can make his getaway by plane. The mechanics involved are hand management, hidden movement, and deduction.

The basic game is that the cards are numbered 0 – 42. The cards are split into 3 shuffled decks with cards numbering 4- 16, 17- 28 and 29-41.

The fugitive starts at the 0 and is trying to play the 42 card. Each game they start with the 1,2,3 and 42 cards (plus other random ones). The fugitive moves by playing a card face down. This is called a hideout. Each hideout can be within 3 more of the previously numbered hideout. Example, if the fugitive is on hideout 5, he could play hideout 6, 7, or 8 ( if they have those cards). The fugitive can move more if they play sprint cards which allows 1 or 2 extra movement per card played as a sprint. After each turn the fugitive draws a card from one of the 3 decks.

The marshal is trying to guess ALL hideouts of the fugitive. Once that happens, the game is over. They can guess 1 or more hideouts each turn, but if even 1 hideout is incorrect, then nothing is revealed. A correctly guessed hideout or series of hideout reveals the hideout and any sprint cards used to sprint to that location. The turn consists of drawing a card from one of the 3 decks and making a guess.

This excludes some rules involving event decks and the “manhunt” which is a variant we always play with.

-Quick gameplay, about 15-25 mins a game
-Nice art on cards
-Fugitive usually has tough, meaningful choices
-Asymmetric gameplay, and a good introduction into it
-Event deck can help balance game if players find one role better than the other

-People complain of balancing issues (for both), but seems to depend on strategies and group
-With 2 very different games, people may prefer one role over the other
-Over time, Marshal’s game of deduction turns into simple math
-If fugitive makes mathematical mistake, it can mess up whole game

-Marshal’s turns are initially less interesting
-Some people say the Marshal feels like playing battleship in a bad way
-Bad card draws can ruin the fugitive’s strategy
-takes up a surprising amount of space on table
-Box insert does not fit sleeved cards

Asymmetric games may be my favorite. Anytime you can do something that your opponent cannot is exciting to me, using your unique abilities/mechanics to your favor is something I enjoy even with occasional balance issues. I’m not sure if this this perfectly balanced, our marshal tends to win more, but games often come down to the last turn or two. Some people have the fugitive win more, so that may be a sign of pretty good balancing. The marshal’s game can feel a bit dry, as you draw a card guess a number, then turn over. The fugitive can craft a strategy, decide to just sit and draw a card, sprint, fake a sprint or try to plan for the future. I feel like much of the game depends on the fugitive’s cards and strategies.

The game has a race like feel, and the last few cards played are usually TENSE. As the Marshal knows she is running out of time and frantically searching for the Fugitive. Likewise the fugitive is frantically trying to rush the endgame and make a speedy getaway.

While the fugitive has a lot of its strategy in which cards to play, and how to sprint or fake a sprint, there is additional strategy in which decks to draw from. If you notice the marshal drawing a lot from the last deck, you need to make sure to draw a few cards from there so you don’t run into the dreaded “roadblock”. However, maybe you allow for that and just sprint right over it.

Players on both sides need to be okay with losing to luck, and be willing to play again. This is a game that wants to be played multiple times in a row- the fugitive has many risky strategies to try again, and it often is the case where you switch roles after one game.

I enjoy this game, it’s easy to travel with, kinda easy to teach (as long as new comer plays marshal), thinky, and tense. I’m always surprised at how much fun I have, but too many repeated plays with the same people can make things stale and even great strategies can be ruined by awful card draws, which ruins the game for both players.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 5 gamers thought this review was helpful
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