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2
Go to the Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island  page
9
6 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
Wanadran {Casual Gamer} Apr 26th, 2015
“Practice Makes Perfect”

I played this game with a group of my friends that enjoy complicated games with lots of strategy. While we didn’t win the first game or even make it to the end of the scenario before losing, there was a very steep learning curve. By the fourth round, everyone had a good idea of how the game mechanics worked and what we should be doing to meet the common goal. One friend said that it reminded them of Camelot, minus the saboteur.

This game does require patience for new players. There are quite a few things going on that can throw a wrench in to a well laid plan. If one player gets too impatient and wants to hunt with a low weapon level or focus only on crafting when their character specializes in exploration, they will more than likely pull down the group as a whole very quickly and make the chances of success very low.

The replay value of the game is very high due to the chance and luck aspect that is given with card draws and dice rolls. What worked one game may not necessarily work out as well the next time. While the components are of good quality and durable, one would expect a box with more organization or bags to handle the numerous pieces so they aren’t all jumbled. If you have a veteran player, the game is easy to learn as they will help guide the group through the different phases of each round. While it is not impossible to learn alone, patience and an open rule book are a definite must to properly learn the mechanics. The game also suggests different house rules if it is deemed too difficult, which can include extra starting items, adjusting what what weather dice and how many are rolled, extra “filler” players such as Friday (a native of the island) or a dog (a possible castaway like yourself).

While this game may not be pulled off the shelf very often, it is still one that can bring a group of people together to attempt to survive an unforgiving island and is a definite buy for people looking to get immersed in a great story telling adventure.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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7
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Military Service
Go to the Shadows over Camelot: The Card Game page
3
5 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
masongamer {Avid Gamer} Apr 26th, 2015
“Something's Rotten in Camelot”

Now I like Shadow’s Over Camelot, but this card game does the game a disservice. In this game you draw cards and remember numbers to get a certain total to successfully complete quests and earn Swords. Seven white swords and you win the game. If you get less than a certain number or have 14 or more points you gain black swords. Seven black swords and you lose.

I found this game to be very uninteresting and dull. If you like counting cards then you may like this game, otherwise; skip it.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
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2
Gamer - Level 2
Go to the Magic: The Gathering page
10
1 of 8 gamers thought this was helpful
YoshVision {Avid Gamer} Apr 26th, 2015
“Amazing”

The progenitor of the modern TCG, one of the deepest, most replay-able, and most engrossing games ever made. I have been playing Magic since i was in grade school, and it holds a huge place in my heart even now as an adult. No game has given me the hours of joy, and also frustration that Magic has. This game is fun to play, relatively easy to learn, but deep enough that it is nigh impossible to master. If you choose to jump in be warned, this game will infest you thoughts and never let go. A true all time great!!!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
1 out of 8 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Go to the Camel Up page
 
2 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
harveythekid Apr 26th, 2015
“Spontaneous, exhilarating and incredibly fun”

Camel Up is a betting party game. Rather than controlling a single camel through a race, players try to earn coins as they bet on different camels throughout the race. The game is played in legs (each leg ending when all camels have progressed via random dice roll) and the placement of each camel can change vastly from leg to leg, each player is kept on their toes and may have to change strategies halfway through a leg. Several rounds can be played easily in one sitting!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
2 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
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4
Tide of Iron fan
Go to the Tide of Iron: Next Wave page
 
9 of 12 gamers thought this was helpful
Capt_Ron {Avid Gamer} Apr 26th, 2015
“Memoir 44 on steroids!”

I started out playing Memoir 44 and have written over sixty scenarios for Memoir. But then my wife bought me Tide of Iron for Valentines Day! I really liked the snap together squads and bases, and the mechanics of play is more strategy and less luck induced. I also liked the ability to activate all of your units in a game turn (or round, as it’s called in TOI). The operations cards may modify your units, or terrain, but they don’t have anything to do with which units are activated. The strategy decks give reinforcements, supply, ground support, air support, artillery support, leadership bonuses, or provide morale. Each turn (round) is divided into three parts; the action phase, the command phase, and the status phase. The action phase is where you move and shoot your miniatures. These rules are fairly simple, if you don’t move and shoot, you roll a number of dice equal to your firepower for the unit that is shooting. If you move and shoot, you roll a number of dice equal to half the firepower rounded up. Or you can assault, where you move into an adjacent hex and fire with full firepower, but the defender in this case gets to fire back. Assaulting is like fighting with everything you’ve got (guns, baynets, fists, ect). When squads (infantry) fires, they can fire standard or suppressive fire. Suppressive fire doesn’t remove figures when successful, but can pin, disrupt, or rout the enemy unit(s). If pinned, they cannot move or fire (unless there is an officer in the same hex), if disrupted, they cannot move or fire for two rounds, and if routed, the whole enemy squad is eliminated from the game (only infantry can be attacked with suppressive fire). Once your unit (squad or vehicle) moves or fires its weapon, you place a fatigued marker next to it so that you know it has no more actions this round (although it can still support an assault on an adjacent hex). Your squads may be specialized with a specialization token. Specialization tokens for the base game include engineers, medics, flamethrower units, and anti-tank units. Heavy weapon units include mortar and machine gun units. The heavy figures take two of the four holes in your squad base, which means you can have two heavy weapon figures, or one and two other figures. There are enough different armored units to make a WWII history buff happy.You may also activate a strategy card during action phase. These might be air support, ground support, artillery support, supply, or other action phase activated strategy card. In the Command Phase, you add up the number on the command objective markers you control and receive that many command tokens. To take a command objective marker, you must have either started on it, or have placed a unit on it and kept it there until the command phase. If you have captured victory objective markers, you receive that many victory points. You then spend your command tokens on cards, or on initiative for the next round. The Status Phase is where you remove all of the fatigued and pinned markers, place units on opportunity fire, transfer standard squad members to empty pegs in a squad in the same hex, and advance the round marker. Then the next round begins!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
9 out of 12 gamers thought this review was helpful
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5
Canada
The Gold Heart
Go to the A Few Acres of Snow page
8
16 of 16 gamers thought this was helpful
Cyberman {Avid Gamer} Apr 24th, 2015
“Je me souviens”

Every kid growing up in Canada learns about the Seven Years’ War (or as the Yanks call it, the French and Indian War), which took place between 1754 and 1763 and involved the British colonies and New France.

Many of us even get to visit the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City where the French under Montcalm and the British under Wolfe waged a bloody battle in 1759; consequences of which reverberate through the Canadian and Quebecois psyche today.

I understand that history, never mind Canadian history, can be dull for some. Personally, I love it so much I majored in it, but had I played A Few Acres of Snow as an undergrad, a few dimensions of the Seven Years’ War would have been indelibly imprinted on me.

The first is the map/game board. It’s not lavishly illustrated but it need not be. It’s functional and aesthetically pleasing and not crowded. The extant British territory and French Canadian areas of control are clearly marked allowing you to consider expansion.

And expand your territory you must.

The French are as you would expect in this battle, under-resourced compared to the British. The red coats start out with more money and more territory. But the French need not be so disadvantaged. For example, the coureur de bois and traders allow the French player to trade in beaver pelts for cash and the money comes in handy.

But let’s get to how one expands territory. A Few Acres uses a fascinating, and at first hard to get the hang of, method of settling villages and towns.

The best way to explain is to offer an example. Let’s say you want to establish a French village in Oswego. First, check if you have a card that connects you to that town. Aha! Montreal will get us there and the French start the game with Montreal under its command. You’ll see Oswego listed on the card as a connected town and an icon will be next to that list illustrating how Montreal makes the connection. In this case, we need a bateaux (ie a large wooden boat). Find a card in your hand that bears the icon of the bateaux in the bottom “parchment” area of the card. Play both cards and you can place one of your blue cubes (that is, a village) in Oswego. It’s now yours and you’re a bit closer to the British front. Once you gain a town, look for the card in your location deck, in this case Oswego, and add it to your discard pile.

So why expand and settle?

First, one gains points assuming a point box is next to your conquered town. These points will be tallied up at the end of the game to declare a winner. Second, is that you can set up a front and fortify it (you can purchase a fortify card that boosts the defences of a settlement) and keep your enemy from successfully laying siege to your settlements. You can also prevent raids.

Raids allow your opponents to swipe a village cube if you can’t defend it. Your cube enters their supply and will count as points at the end of the game. You’ve also just lost a town…

You also want to expand because the location cards of settled towns carry effects such as connections to other towns and resources and/or modes of travel in the parchment area.

How one gains cards and uses them is a delightful mechanic. You start with pre-determined deck and hand of five cards. You may take up to two actions per turn. Once your discard deck is depleted, you shuffle it and it becomes your new draw deck. So, those location cards you picked up, or Empire cards you drafted, or neutral cards you scooped, become part of your draw deck.

In short, it mimics how slowly resources made their way to the generals but things improve as you build up your resources. Since it takes time to get the cards you need, you won’t be laying siege to Boston in the first two turns. This mechanic is used in variety of games, including my beloved Marvel Legendary.

There’s not too much more to the gameplay other than going through the variety of actions you can take on your turn. Better you check out the game instructions online than have me go over those here.

Pros:
Immersive theme
Decent components and good artwork without being over-done
Fun card drafting mechanic
Variety of actions
Historically accurate starting imbalance between French and British

Cons:
Niche game that may not float everyone’s bateaux
Can be fairly long (admit, not a con for me)
Pre-determined starting cards means the game always starts with the same positions in play (again, not a big deal for me)

Verdict:
I love Canadian history and I feel this game brings the Seven Years’ War to life. I enjoy the richness the mechanics offer and have to admit, I favour playing the French side. So much gameplay over, what Voltaire said, was “a few acres of snow”.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
16 out of 16 gamers thought this review was helpful
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9
United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Go to the Pandemic: The Cure page
8
13 of 14 gamers thought this was helpful
pookie {Avid Gamer} Apr 24th, 2015
“Pandemic, streamlined and hands on.”

Pandemic: The Cure is not another expansion for the classic co-operative Pandemic, but a standalone game that shares the same theme and objectives, yet introduces a physicality to its mechanics. Pandemic: The Cure is a dice game, continuing the trend of taking well-known board games and re-implementing them as dice games, from the Catan Dice Game to Roll for the Galaxy. In Pandemic: The Cure the diseases have become Infection dice, rolled to randomly determine where they appear. Similarly the players’ actions have become dice, rolled randomly to determine what they can do.

The players now have to undertake two tasks in order to find a cure for each disease—collect samples and then roll to find a cure. A sample is one Infection die that has been treated and collecting a Sample means that a player must sacrifice one of his action dice to store that Sample until the cure can be rolled for.

This rolling of dice has a number of big effects. Obviously, it adds a random element to the Pandemic design, lessening the ability to predict which diseases are going to appear and where, as in the board game, though prediction is still possible—the players can still track the colour of the dice available on the table—but no more than that. Unable to predict what dice will appear and where, the players will find Pandemic: The Cure a more
proactive than reactive game.

Unlike in Pandemic, the diseases cannot be eradicated. They still keep coming back out of the bag to infect Region Tiles anew and can still trigger Outbreaks, though like the boardgame, once a cure has been found, they are easier to Treat. This further forces the players to track the number of Infection dice in play.

Players having their own dice and being able to re-roll undesired results, means that the number of actions they have from one turn to the next can vary wildly. Some turns it might be none, others it might be as many as five. Collecting Samples means temporarily giving up dice—and thus actions.

The game consists of a plastic hoop—the Treatment Centre—with peg holes to track both the Infection Rate and Outbreaks; six numbered disks—the Region Tiles—each one corresponding to a continent, plus another disk representing the CDC headquarters; seven role cards plus corresponding pawns and action dice; a Cured Disease card and ten Event cards; a cloth bag; and forty-eight Infection dice in four colours. At game start, the Region Tiles are laid out in order around the Treatment Centre, everyone receives a Role card and the corresponding dice. Then twelve Infection dice are rolled to determine which Region Tile they are placed on.

The Infection dice are where the game begins to get clever. The opposite sides of normal six-sided dice always add up to seven; not so here. Instead, the numbers are weighted so that they will always land on certain Region Tiles. For example, rolls of five only appear on black or yellow dice and when rolled are placed on the Africa Regional Tile, whereas rolls of one appear on blue or red dice and are placed on the North America Region Tile. Then are the player dice. All have the same symbols—an aeroplane (Fly to any Region), a Ship (Sail to an adjacent Region), Hypodermic Needle (Treat an Infection die and move it to the Treatment Centre), a Bottle (Sample an Infection die in the Treatment Centre and save it for a Cure attempt), First Aid (used to buy Event cards), and lastly, a Biohazard symbol. When rolled, this moves the syringe along on the Infection Track and increases the chance of an epidemic.

Each set of role dice also has its own symbols, representing special actions. For example, the Medic has multiple Hypodermic Needles on some dice which allow him to Treat multiple Infection dice with one action, whilst the Dispatcher has the Helicopter symbol which can be saved to airlift anyone to any Region Tile before the Dispatcher’s next turn.

On his turn, a player rolls his dice, using them as necessary or re-rolling; travelling to the different Regions, Treating Infection dice, collecting Samples, and so on. Biohazard results cannot be re-rolled. Just like in Pandemic, the players need to Treat the Infections and find a Cure, which is done by Treating Infection dice and moving them to the Treatment Centre, and from there collecting Samples which can be rolled to find a Cure. The latter simply involves rolling the collected Samples and beating the target. At the end of his turn, a player draws more Infection dice from the bag and rolls to see where they appear.

Like Pandemic, there is one way to win—find the four cures, and like Pandemic, there are multiple ways to lose. These are running out of time (the infection rate syringe reaches the end of the Infection Track), too many Outbreaks (eight or more), and too many people infected (not enough Infection dice to be drawn from the bag). Like Pandemic, it is also a co-operative game. The players need to work together and every player’s turn is about discussing the possible optimal actions as well as carrying them out.

Ultimately, the rolling of dice and and the design of the playing area do undermine the game. The problem is that it abstracts the Pandemic concept and hinders a player’s engagement with the game. No longer is he trying to save Istanbul or Shanghai, but rather the world in general. Yet the dice add variability and frustration to the game in equal measure as well as tension—is your next roll going to save humanity or help destroy them? Rolling dice also add a physicality, making the game more hands-on and engaging.

Streamlined and quicker to play, Pandemic: The Cure is Pandemic’s lighter, simpler, and more family friendly brother. Perhaps a little overpriced, Pandemic: The Cure is the slick addition to the Pandemic family.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
13 out of 14 gamers thought this review was helpful
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5
United Kingdom
Reviewed My First Game
Go to the Caverna: The Cave Farmers page
7
11 of 12 gamers thought this was helpful
Pinkthunder {Avid Gamer} Apr 24th, 2015
“good game, just not on my Christmas list.”

So it was table top day and the chance to play some bigger games.
So when Caverna was mentioned my ears pricked up.
This was a game on my list of games to play.
I have become somewhat of a worker placement fan.
Well I don’t really want to go through the rules and set up as this information is readily available.
So I would like to share my experience with the game as a first time player.
I was so eager to play this game, but after 20 minutes of learning how to play the game and set up of the game, I was like a 10 year old on Christmas morning.
So many things, corn, sheep, dogs, donkeys, and even shiny rubies all mine to covet.
We had a 6 player game with 4 never having played before and 1 who had only played it once.
The choices are aplenty; I can furnish my cave, cultivate the earth, farm animals, dig for rubies and go on expeditions with my Dwarf, All the time being mindful of scoring victory points.
Always keeping one eye on food supply, well fed Dwarves are happy dwarves.
After 4 ½ hours, I had more interest in the mighty miniatures of Cthulhu wars on the opposite table.
So is Caverna a bad game, No it isn’t.
But slowly watching the interior and exterior of your cave blossom and your fields becoming overflowing with fluffy white sheep, is somewhat satisfying.
But the interaction with other players around the table is minimal and I found myself placing my dwarf, and then walking around the table to read all the furnishing that I could get for my cave. Then I found myself wandering further and looking at other games on display.
Still get back in time to take my turn.
This game is huge!!
It looks brilliant, but, and this is a huge but for me, I don’t find there was a great deal of social interaction within the game.
Many hours where spent just doing my thing within the game, in the time it took to play Caverna I could have played at least 2 other games.
I had played Cayles and Aquasphere before I sat down with Caverna and both those games were wonderful.
But for me Caverna, was just too long, not enough player interaction and there was no real reason to watch what others were doing, so I could maybe mess with them in anyway when my turn came around.
I could take an option that some else needed, but you could pay a ruby and select the imitation and undertake that task anyway, so no real way of messing with someone’s game plan.
Would I buy this game? The answer to that is no, I don’t have the room for such a large game and I would find it difficult to set aside the time you need to invest in the game.
Would I play the game again? Well having given this some thought, I think I would, yes! But it would only be on special occasions such as International Table top day.
If you are looking for a huge, great looking game which needs time and space committing to the game, you like worker placement and sheep meeples are your thing, this could be the game for you.
I still rate this game high, because it is a good game, just not on my Christmas list.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
11 out of 12 gamers thought this review was helpful
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8
Gamer - Level 8
Explorer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Junior
Go to the Deus page
8
14 of 14 gamers thought this was helpful
inmarg {Avid Gamer} Apr 24th, 2015
“It Deus it well”

Intro:

Deus is quite a weird game as it at first can be very overwhelming and you’ll barely have any idea what to do. After a couple of plays you’ll realize that it is in fact quite easy.

Deus is very much a eurofied-civ-lite game and plays in about an hour. Winner determined by who scores the most points with the majority coming through building temples and attacking barbarian villages.

Setup:

The playing field is setup with a given number of map tiles determined by the number of players in the game. 2,3,4 players, 4,6,7 tiles with each tile containing 7 regions. There are 6 different kind of regions:
1 for production of each type of good (4)
Water
Barbarian village

Each player takes all the pieces of one color, one player board, one good of each type, 5 gold, 5 victory points and 5 cards. 2 buildings of each type is added to the player board while the remaining are placed to the side.

On the map a number of victory points are added to the barbarian villages equal to the number of neighboring regions.

Gameplay:

In short you have only two options each turn:
Construct a building (Standard or Temple)
Make an offering to a Deity

Standard building:

Choose a building in your hand, pay the cost and place it above the appropriate column on your player board. Place a wooden figure on the map, if it is your first build, place it on a region on the edge. Otherwise, place it adjacent to or in a region where you’ve already built with the restriction of only one of each building type pr. region and only maritime buildings (boats) placed in the water regions.

Then you may choose to benefit from all previous buildings placed in that column.

Temples:

Temples have no effects on gameplay but each temple will score you up to 12 points at game end. Each temple costs one of each resource and the first one has no prerequisites. Each following however needs to have a full set of standard buildings before it may be built.

Barbarian villages:

If every region around a barbarian village has been built upon with at least one military building present it is attacked. The player with the most armies around the village takes all victory points left on the village region. If two or more players have the same amount of armies, ties are broken by number of buildings and if still a tie the points are shared, rounding down fractions.

Make an offering:

To make an offering you discard 1 or more cards from your hand showing only the top most. This card determines what favor you’ll get and may be money, resources, points, cards or adding buildings to your player board.

After making an offering you draw up to 5 cards and this is the only time you get to draw cards. You do not draw new cards after building with the exception if you built your last card in hand.

End of game:

The game end is triggered if all temples have been built or all barbarian villages have been attacked. Each player’s points total is the VP earned during the game and temples. In addition there are 2 points for majority for each resource including gold.

Conclusion:

Deus will at first appear overly complicated with lots of different cards, buildings possible actions but a couple of plays in you’ll see it is difficult at all. To me it is a very similar feeling to my first impression of imperial Settlers.

You’ll want a good production line to get resources, but you also want to build in each category to allow Temple building. The cards will very much determine your path and try and make the most of your temples. Two temples scoring 12 points each will likely be more than half of your final total.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
14 out of 14 gamers thought this review was helpful
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2
Go to the Anomia page
9
12 of 12 gamers thought this was helpful
Wanadran {Casual Gamer} Apr 23rd, 2015
“Shouting and Laughter”

Anomia is a card-based game based on words and matching symbols. The deck is shuffled and split in to two piles. Similar to the card game snap, a card is flipped over one at a time by players waiting to see if the symbol in the center of the card matches anyone else’s symbol. If a match exists, you must say an example of the word displayed on the opponent’s card before they do the same with your card. Whoever does this first collects the opponent’s card. If taking that card reveals another pair, this is known as a “cascade” and there is another face-off immediately. This continues until no more pairs are visible, at which point the next player in the rotation would pick a card.

Example:

Player 1 flips over a card with the words “toothpaste brand” and a circle in the middle. Player 2 also has a card showing with a circle in the middle, but the word “Reptile”. Player 1 must say an example of a reptile before Player 2 says a toothpaste brand. Whoever completes this first collects the other player’s card.

To throw a wrench in to the mix, wild cards showing two different symbols are also in the deck. They now mean that those two symbols are a match and will result in face-offs. These cards when drawn are placed in between the two card piles. Any new wild card that is drawn replaces any previously drawn wild card so there is only one extra match possible at a time.

The winner is determined by who has the most claimed cards at the end of the round.

The rules that are provided are to be read out as play happens allowing the players to learn as they go and not stressing too much on being complicated. This style allows almost anyone the ability to quickly grasp game play quickly. The replay value is high since many different words can be given as answers, no two rounds are the same, and there are two different decks provided with different subjects on the cards. The only difficult part can be if the players are unfamiliar with a subject listed, such as “rock operas”.

All in all, this game is about quick symbol matching and quick word recollection. It is always a good time when the family gets together.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
12 out of 12 gamers thought this review was helpful
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