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I play yellow
Treasure Chest
Go to the Ticket to Ride page
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
SP {Avid Gamer} Jul 29th, 2014
“Great for your first adventure in gaming”

This was the first designer board game we ever bought – prior to this we had played Catan a few times, but had mostly played Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit. Ticket to Ride opened our eyes to many new possibilities!

How to play
The rules are quite simple, and you can skip this section if you would rather read the rulebook. You are given 45 trains, and in front of you is a map of the United States with train routes spreading between the cities. Between cities there are 1 to 6 spaces that your trains can fit on. These are either coloured or grey, and indicate what colour cards you will be collecting.

You’re given 3 cards called Destination cards, that tell you which cities you will be trying to connect using your trains. They each have a different point value, and you must keep at least two of them.

You’re also given a few train cards – the ones mentioned above that you will be collecting. There are single coloured cards and wild cards that are rainbow. To claim a route between two cities, you need the same number and colour of cards as there are spaces between the cities.

On your turn you can either a) pick up train cards, from the stack or from the 5 displayed near the board, b) claim a route by playing the same number and colour cards as there are spaces between two adjacent cities, or c) choose more destination cards.

Once someone is down to 2 or fewer trains, the final round is triggered.

Points are scored in 2 ways. The first is when you claim a route – the more trains you need for the route, the more points you get. If you only need one train to join two cities, you get 1 point. However, if you can complete a 6 train section you get 15 points, meaning each train is worth more points in a longer route.

Another way to get points is by completing the routes on your destination cards. If you do not complete these routes the points are subtracted from your final score.

The final way to get points in the base game is by making the longest route, meaning having the most trains in a continuous line across the board.

The plastic trains are detailed, the board has nice art, but the cards are tiny. I would recommend picking up the 1910 Expansion to get the full sized cards as well as more destination cards.

Play with 2
This game scales well from 2 to 5 players. With only 2 there is much less competition for routes than in a 5 player game, but it does still happen on occasion. Some of the sections are doubled for larger player games, so in a 2 player game the doubled routes are ignored. In this case it is less about making sure you can make your routes, and more about racking up as many points as you can.

Ticket to Ride is a great game to introduce modern designer board games to your family and friends. For folks that are used to classic “roll the dice, move your pawn, do what the spot says” game, Ticket to Ride can introduce different turn options, hand management and hidden goals, a few things that show up in designer games from time to time.

Now that we’ve been playing designer games for a few years, this one gets much less play unless we have friends over. It’s still a solid game, but for people who play games frequently I would recommend looking at one of the other Ticket to Ride titles as they add more complexity and strategy to the game.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I'm a Player!
Go to the Arkham Horror page
15 of 15 gamers thought this was helpful
BaldMike70 {Avid Gamer} Jul 28th, 2014
“Easy To Learn, Engrossing, Long Playing Lovecraft Horror Board Game”

I feel almost foolish to be reviewing Arkham Horror. It’s a game that has been a staple of the Board Game world for a long time. It is one of the hallmarks of an in depth, immersive table top game. It’s not just a classic, it’s a benchmark of the industry…

So, why review it at all? Because, you may be like me – someone who had always heard of Arkham Horror but never tried it.

My wife and I were at a convention in Philadelphia and saw it marked down in the one and only game booth. I’d read reviews on it but had never had the chance to try it, but since my wife and I are both H.P. Lovecraft fans, and have been wanting to get more cooperative games we had to own it! (We tend to buy all games with the connection to the Cthulhu mythos. Others to try are Cthulhu Dice, Smash Up’s Obligatory Cthulhu Expansion and Munchkin Cthulhu. )

If you’ve never seen it in person, Arkham is large. The board takes up some ‘real estate’! Then, there are decks of cards for each location, a deck for the Outworld locations, another deck for the Mythos occurrences which occur each round, some small cards for Retainers, Curses/Blessings, Bank Loans, Spells, Common and Unique Items and Allies. After that, the other components include a large number of monsters, 16 Playable Investigators, several Great Old Ones and tokens for Life, Sanity and Money.

(Player Tip: You can reduce table space and perhaps speed up time by downloading one of the Arkham Horror apps. I downloaded one from the Google Play store for free and it has a filter to include either the base game or any of the expansions)

One major aspect that should be noted before diving into Arkham… its long! Really long! As in – set it up in the early evening and play it all night long, long! Now, if that doesn’t bother you, read on. If on the other hand, you have ADHD or your life just doesn’t allow a really long game, then there are other game options that provide much of Arkham Horror’s feel without the time commitment. Eldritch Horror is a similar game that takes less time. Fantasy Flight also has the Elder Sign games which are much faster. Still, Arkham has its own place in the family of Mythos investigative games.

So, what about complexity? I’ve found that learning Arkham Horror isn’t terribly difficult at all. Sure, there are specific things which happen each round, but they are easy to follow. This is a Cooperative game so the pressure to defend yourself from other players doesn’t exist…which is a good thing as any number of nasty’s are waiting to kill you! In one game, Characters were cut off from each other by Maniacs wielding axes, a vampire (NOT the modern, cute, sparkly type or the ones that show up on teen dramas), two Gaunts trying to overwhelm and Shogoth! NASTY!

But, is it fun? Yes! Provided you don’t mind the length of game play, this is a game full of Mythos feel. Each turn, either another portal opens sending more and more monsters out into the town or, if a portal tries to open at a location already containing a portal a particularly nasty event occurs – A Monster Purge occurs, sending a large number of baddies out from all available portals! Another way to infuse Mythos feel into the game is by reading the location event and Other World Event cards aloud. The flavor text is particularly Cthulhu –esque.

Personally, my wife and I really like Arkham Horror. We don’t play it as often as we’d like due to the length, but I’ve found it to be a wonderful solo play when I have extra time.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
15 out of 15 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I play yellow
Gamer - Level 4
Go to the Mystery of the Abbey page
12 of 12 gamers thought this was helpful
Fleahost {Avid Gamer} Jul 27th, 2014
“Name of the Rose meets a meatier Clue”

This game has fired Clue for me. Like Clue, Mystery of the Abbey (MOTA) has players trying to find out ‘Who done it?’ One of the monks of the abbey has been found dead, and all signs point to foul play. There are 24 suspects (none of which are the players themselves)and are each represented by monk cards. One of these is randomly selected and placed under the board as the culprit. These potential murders have traits which include their Order (Franciscan, Benedictine or Tempar, fat/thin, beared/clean-shaven, hooded/bare-headed, and rank (Father, Brother & Novice).
Unlike Clue there is no roll and move mechanic. Players all move one or two spaces and the abbey can be traveled from one end to the other in three rounds. The different rooms have special abilities. Players gather information through these rooms, asking other players questions and by passing cards during Mass (which takes place at the end of each game turn-4 player rounds).
When a player ends their movement in the same space as another they MUST ask a question of that player. The game gives rules on what can be asked and what can’t and players cannot lie in their answers. The player being asked can place their finger over their lips and take a Vow of Silence (refusing to answer the question). If they do answer it they may then ask the first player a question which MUST be answered. All these questions are alound and public.
After 4 player turns all players are called to Mass in the cathedral. An Event card is played and one or more monk cards are passed to the player to your left.
Players can make revelations and accusations. These work in a similar fashion to the suggestions and accusations in Clue but are not game enders. In Clue you make a suggestion, which forces a pawn to be moved to the room and players are required to show a card from their hand-what do you mean I have to go to the lounge? I just spent 10 minutes moving to the ballroom! While there is a room in MOTA that simulates this, MOTA has revelations. Players make a positive statement like, “The culprit is a Templar”. This revelation that proves correct yields +2 points. Each false one -1 point. Accusations name the murderer. If no player can sho that named monk card the player gets +4 points. If that card is shown -2 points. Thus it is possible to win the game even if you aren’t the one to properly accuse the correct monk!

Replay Value: More than Clue for sure. The Event cards shake up the game and you’ll see different ones each time you play. There are also many variants you can use. Included are several blam\nk cards you can customize!

Components: Days of Wonder-should be enough said but here goes:
I think are fantastic. The board is a good size but not enormous. Players are given a colored page with a picture of all of the monks and a player guide to conceal it. The player tokens are resin and the dice are wooden. The cards are of good stock and stay true to the theme. A small metal bell is used to mark the turns of the game.

Ease of Learning: The basic rules are not that hard. The player guides help you remember what room does what special action. The trick is learning what questions you can ask to garner the most information, but keep in mind this is public knowledge.

I love the theme (I love The Name of the Rose). I like the idea that none of the players are the killer. It bugged me that in Clue I could be Prof. Plum AND be the killer but not know it. If the game seems slow at first don’t worry, it picks up as it goes! Again this has murdered Clue for me.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
12 out of 12 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I play green
Go to the Castellan  page
12 of 12 gamers thought this was helpful
AndreaC {Power Gamer} Jul 27th, 2014
“Light, fun and surprisingly strategic”

The real beauty in this game is that it can be played happily by a 10 year old, and it gave my gaming friends a stretch in plotting a strategy to obtain the best possible point score.

The game comes somewhat overpackaged – primarily to pull the buyer into the look and colours in the game. It breaks down very simply into the box which comes inside the packaging – half the size, but which works surprisingly well in keeping all the bits! The pieces are all plastic with grey Walls and Towers for building the castle; along with my favourite colours (green and yellow) for the players’ Keeps. The pieces fit quite neatly together, but while the set is still new, you may need to slot the Towers/Walls together in from underneath rather than on top from time to time.

The green/yellow version arrives with five sets of rules for various languages; while the blue/red version has one simple set in English. The blue/red version is the ‘expansion’ supposedly, but there is really no reason not to purchase that one as your primary set if you prefer the colours.

The game set up is very quick – sort the Keep colours and shuffle the cards of the same colour into their two separate decks. The Castle Walls and Towers can stay in the box until needed. From new; the set up takes no more than about 3 minutes; to pull the packaging apart and tear open the plastic bags. We had a friend to show us how to play and we were underway in under 5 minutes – a super fast time to get playing a new game. The rules are extremely simple though, and even with having to read rules, unpack to first play would be less than 10 minutes – especially if, like me, you are happy to just play the game as it comes, rather than having to have the entire game strategy in mind before you get underway.

So the play of the game is in building the Castle. Starting players have 4 cards each. The cards depict the pieces allowed to be used in making your courtyards. It is enticing to use all your cards at once to build the most impressive first courtyard, but the crunch comes when you realise you are only allowed to draw one additional card at the end of your turn. This makes future builds quite limited. There are three special cards which allow one extra draw, but I often find these in my last round!! >.< The scoring all comes from having the most Towers in your Courtyard, so you do want to make some fancy styles of courtyard. And then you need to decide when to use your one double Keep scoring tile.

The best way to play this game is as a four player version; this adds complexity to the way the castle constructs and how you might be able to fashion your courtyard. The four player game is much more interesting for 'gamers' and was still finished in a leisurely 45 minutes.

I find the two player version quite simplistic after the four player game. It is over quickly and the strategy is far less, as it is much easier to 'set yourself up' for a pre-planned courtyard. With the four player game, this is virtually impossible! :) Of course this makes the two player version just great for young players, a very quick fill-in game or for late night not-too-much-thinking times.

Value for Money? At the price, the game is not too expensive. However I feel that at 'double the price' (needed for the four player), it IS somewhat expensive for a very simple, not too challenging game.

I enjoyed discovering this game and it makes me smile to be writing this review on it. Long term I'm unsure it will stay at the front of the shelf, but I'll be putting it on the table several times before that happens.

And anyway, how would you not want to pay green?? :)

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
12 out of 12 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the King of Tokyo page
7 of 16 gamers thought this was helpful
AstaSyneri {Avid Gamer} Jul 27th, 2014
“Smashing to play with your kids”

King of Tokyo currently is my favorite game to play with my five-year-old son. He immensely enjoys the theme and has the dice mechanic down pat.

The randomly drawn cards add a tactical level to make it interesting to me, so that I look forward to every new game we play.

King of Tokyo is a perfect father-son game and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. I still need to win, btw – my kids (8d, 5s) for some reason always end up killing my monster before I can succeed :D.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
7 out of 16 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Castle Panic page
6 of 16 gamers thought this was helpful
Gunslinger123 {Avid Gamer} Jul 25th, 2014
“fun co op castle defending”

This is a fun solo or co op game. You have a board that in the center, like a dart board, has you castle towers. You the randomly draw orks and monsters to enter each turn. You then draw cards that kill or hurt these monsters that want to destroy the center castles. I also have the expansion with a wizard tower that gives you magic cards that help you kill these monsters. In a but shell that’s it. I like this game and it makes you make choices that use your resources. Use them all up and defend your castles.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 16 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse page
4 of 16 gamers thought this was helpful
Gunslinger123 {Avid Gamer} Jul 25th, 2014
“fight villains, solo, co op, fun”

So I am new to Sentinels of the Multiverse. My first impression was this looks like a cool game. I dove right in and got hooked. I think its awesome how you get to pick who you are as a hero or hero’s. And you get to pick your villain. Also you pick where the match will be held. There is room for a more challenge built into the villains. The visual art is great. I find myself sometimes looking at the rules for something that is not answered. I also like the basic box has a lot of verity. I would recommend this game to anyone.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 16 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Gamer - Level 4
Go to the Firefly: The Game page
31 of 33 gamers thought this was helpful
RevBob {Avid Gamer} Jul 24th, 2014
“Shiny. Let's be bad guys. ”

I was worried when I saw the release Firefly : The Game. I had concerns that it was a Firefly skin over a race game full of bad mechanics, so I waited for reviews and a little fan feedback before taking the plunge. Boy am I glad I got this game.
First set up is a little overwhelming, there are a lot of components including 13 decks of cards! But the components are great quality, with some great art work, and you’ll be amazed how much content they managed to devise from such a short lived series. The initial board set up with decks, bank and tokens will take up quite a bit of space, AND each player has a game board (their ship with cargo space) and will require quite a bit more space for their crew, gear and missions. So clear a big table or 2…
The rule book is not laid out as well as needed for the amount of content – it certainly could’ve broken things down a bot better. With all the fine details the game comes down to this:
1) Buy – stop on a supply planet to acquire gear, ship upgrades, and crew from the appropriate deck. OR take some shore leave.
2) Deal – stop on a planet with a connection and consider new jobs. And if you’re solid with them, sell some cargo/contraband.
3) Work – Stop on job destinations and complete tasks in order, or pickup small cash else where.
4) Fly – make your way to your next destination, either by burning fuel or you can just mosey.
5) Catch up with another player’s ship – if on the same space, trade, make a deal, or make a better offer and steal some crew.
Five of the decks are different locations for gear, crew and ship upgrades. Five of them are your contacts with jobs, both legal and illegal. One Aim to Misbehave deck, for when an illegal job requires a little something extra. The more illegal and dangerous, the bigger the pay off. The last two decks are the Reaver Space and the Alliance Space decks which reveal encounters, move the Reaver or Alliance ships or Keep Flying.
The Objective? It depends on the Story Card. Each story card has a different scenario, with Goals you have to meet, often in a specific order. They vary in difficulty and time, which is a nice feature, and more can be downloaded from various sources. But no matter what the Story is, you always need to build your crew and equip them. You start off with a decent amount of cash, but don’t hold on to it, spend it on your crew. Without a well equipped crew the good jobs are out of reach and the small jobs will take forever.
Anything with any difficulty requires skills or the right gear just to do, many require skill checks. Crew and gear give you bonuses on the three skills used in game : Fight, Tech and Negotiate. Great thing is the Misbehave cards always give you at least 2 options, so if you build a crew around 2 of these skill sets you can’t be totally stone walled.
The game includes some resource management, like fuel and parts, and there’s managing the crew as well – you need to pay them their cut after jobs or they become Disgruntled. A crew member with one Disgruntled token can be bought off by another Captain (player), and one with 2 tokens will jump ship.
Admittedly, a first game is a bit chaotic, and the recommended First Story Card is pretty plain. But after your first game, you really get a feel for it.
I have to say me and my group really like the game. Every player has wanted to play it again, and fans of the show can really get into the cards. Playing with the wife made us want to watch the whole series again, and watching the series made us want to play the game.
1) Its a good scifi game about smuggling, even if you haven’t seen the show.
2) The components are very nicely designed and made.
3) Serenity fans will be thrilled. Characters and gear are write out of the show. All of the Jobs and Misbehave cards remain true to the shows feel.
4) Story Cards, including fan downloads allow you to change things up.
5) You can only take 2 actions on your turn, which is supposed to keep the game moving.
6) Priming the Pumps – all the supply or job decks have a discard pile which is available and you can view at any time. This keeps players from flying blind and allows players to go through decks and plot their next move during opponents turns.
1) Its not hard to teach, but its hard to learn. It really requires a play through before you “get it” and that first game with newbs is always long and slow.
2) Its not for light gamers. The amount of components is overwhelming , and the amount of time required. Average game play is 2-3 hours, with newbs add 45 min to 1 hour.
3) While being a fan is not required, not being a fan means you’re missing the joke. Fans will get excited about things in game that you just won’t understand.
4) It is not a heavy strategy game either. Its all about putting together the best ship/crew/gear combo that works for you and chasing goals – so it does have race game elements rather than depth.
5) Players will slow things down. Even with the action limit and the ability to go through the piles on your off turn, some people can just drag the game in their indecision.
6) You need a big space to play. There’s a lot of game here.
7) Reavers will eat your crew and passengers. (for some this will be a Pro)

I recommend this for people who are more mid weight gamers than light, or fans who really want run a crew in the ‘verse. It’s the most thematic game since Battlestar Galactica. We had a lot of fun, and it keeps coming back to the table. The Breakin’ Atmo expansion fixes some complaints on there not being enough cards, and the Bounty Hunters and Pirates expansion fixes any complaints about there not being enough player interaction.
Good luck out in the Black…

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
31 out of 33 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Reviewed My First Game
Go to the Small World page
4 of 13 gamers thought this was helpful
mrfritzjr {Avid Gamer} Jul 24th, 2014
“An Evolution of Risk”

Great game, as opposed to a few others who have rated this, I feel this game has some of the stronger replay value out there. Especially with more people, it makes every game different. It’s a lot like risk, but faster and with some great mechanics. I find myself always up for playing this game. I would even go ahead and say it should be a core game in any avid gamer’s library. I’m actually a big fan of all the games that Days of Wonder has put out, all have great concepts, mechanics, and artwork. Very well done.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
4 out of 13 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Intermediate Reviewer
I play black
Go to the Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower page
10 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
Artem Safarov {Avid Gamer} Jul 24th, 2014
“Increased complexity and challenge breathe new life into Castle Panic”

Castle Panic was a quick, light, easy co-op, ideal for younger gamers. While it offered simple and intuitive gameplay, the lack of complexity or challenge quickly made it lose its charms for more seasoned gamers.
The Wizard’s Tower expansion, released in 2011, aimed to address these shortcomings. The result is a game that is meaner, more involved and ultimately significantly more rewarding than the bland entry-level base offering. Let us take a look at how it goes about achieving this:

Same premise, new components. The basic premise of the game remains the same – defend your castle from monsters swarming out of the forest. Survive the onslaught with at least one tower standing and you win. The only difference is that now one of your towers is replaced with the titular Wizard’s Tower, allowing you to blast enemies with spells.

New Monsters – Gone are the harmless 1-hit goblins. Replacing these in a new fancy black cloth monster bag are a hosts of new creatures. These range from intimidating 4-hit Ogres to speedy Warg Riders to creatures who are immune to attacks at certain ranges. These mix nicely with the base game monsters to provide a rich set of challenges. It takes a higher degree of planning to figure out how to overcome these and the game is not shy about throwing you curveballs as your carefully planned attack falls apart because a new effect or monster just shifted everything on the board.

New Bosses – in addition to a couple new regular “boss monsters”, Wizard’s Tower introduces an entirely new class – Mega Boss Monsters. These are formidable creatures like Chimera or Dragon that have upwards of 5 hit points and move about the board in an unpredictable fashion. While the game comes with 6 of these you will only encounter three during any given game (adding welcome unpredictability). The mega bosses provide great sense of culminating threat that was sorely lacking from the bland base game monsters.

New Abilities – As long as the Wizard’s Tower stands players may use “discard and draw” action to pick up a Spell instead of a usual card. The spells are somewhat more powerful than Castle cards – most of these are extremely effective in specific scenario (e.g. a group of monsters in the same space). Spells range from direct attack to movement to rebuilding your castle to strategic sacrifices for great gains. These bring a lot of new strategies and excitement to the game. The Castle deck also gets several new cards added to it with some interesting additional effects (like changing the range or colour of a hit card or allowing other players to take turns during yours)

New Mechanic – the most significant new rule is ability to set things on Fire. Little tokens can be added to structures and creatures, damaging these over time. Fire is most often produced by either Wizard’s spells or fire-breathing mega boss monsters. It is a neat new mechanic that doesn’t dramatically shift the balance of the game.

Combined, these additions change Castle Panic significantly. It is no longer a cute game about bumbling goblins but a serious challenge requiring all of your cunning that you are most likely going to lose anyways. New abilities granted by the wizard’s tower make players more powerful, but the game’s difficulty increases by a wider margin. This increased complexity and challenge is reflected in the age recommendation as it is bumped from 10+ for base game to 12+ for the expansion.

For serious gamers this expansion is necessary addition. It will breathe new life into your enjoyment of Castle Panic if you played it a couple of times and then lost interest. Combining the appeal and intuitive rules of the original with the challenge and complexity of expansion brings the experience to a whole new level.

May your defences hold strong against the incoming horde!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
10 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
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