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Ray Gans

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Go to the Arkham Horror page
Go to the Pandemic page
Go to the Roll Through the Ages page
Go to the Dixit page
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
Go to the Flash Point: Fire Rescue page
Go to the Mage Knight Board Game page
Go to the Innovation page
Go to the Pandemic: On the Brink page
138 out of 145 gamers thought this was helpful

On the Brink is a great expansion for Pandemic. You get new characters, new specials and some wicked variants that you can pick and choose from to make the game more interesting and stressful.

What’s New
1) Three new rules variants (mentioned in the overview above) that add some real challenges to the game,
2) Six new roles that add more characters abilities,
3) Eight more Special Event cards to help ease the pressure a bit,
4) Six nice Petri Dishes to store your components (no more plastic baggies),
5) Rules for a 5th player,
6) Legendary difficulty level — 7 Epidemic cards!

What’s Fun About It

Pandemic is never a walk in the park, but it does get a little repetitive after a while. That’s not to say it isn’t always fun, but this expansion adds some variety and new features to the mix that makes things much more interesting in my opinion. The variants all increase the game’s difficulty and the specials and new roles tend to help the characters keep the world alive longer.

The ominous pressure is still there and the fear of where the next infection card will target still makes one hesitate before turning it. Theme and play balance is preserved (although there seems to be more discussion and analysis going on in my group than in the base game) but a win seems even more satisfying with louder sighs of relief.

If you like to have a live player enemy working against the group, then you have the option of using the Bio-Terrorist variant too!

Bottom Line

If you like Pandemic, this is a must-have expansion. It does add a bit of complexity to the base game, but not enough to turn anyone off. As long as one person understands the new mechanics (i.e., the variant rules) other experienced players should pick it up very quickly.

I wouldn’t use it when introducing new players to the world of Pandemic, but most should be able to graduate to the expansion after playing the base game a couple times or so.

Go to the Arkham Horror: Kingsport Horror page
63 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

Some people dislike this second of the “big box” expansions to Arkham Horror (AH). Probably the largest complaint is that Kingsport Horror (KH) doesn’t seem to fit as well into the flow and balance of previous expansions.

Personally I don’t think this is true, because KH adds dynamics to the game that frustrates the typical “just seal the gates and kill the monsters” (and ignore everything else) strategy of other expansions.

Like Dunwich Horror, KH introduces a new board, but this board has no unstable locations on it, so the investigators don’t have worry about gates opening there. It does, however, generate dimensional Rifts – which are bad gate-like things that move around spewing out monsters and adding tokens to the doom track. Rifts are not difficult to close, but doing so can be very time consuming.

Rift maintenance, that is, making sure they don’t open, is a task that keeps one or more investigators tied up in Kingsport checking out locations to keep the Rifts closed. These investigators appear to be out of the action (while the others are killing monsters and closing gates) and it can seem tedious if their activities aren’t used effectively (e.g., by swapping them out with other investigators as needed).

Investigators relegated to “Kingsport duty” should make the most of it since there are a number of useful location encounters there, plus it’s a (relatively) safe area for weaker/hurt investigators to collect clue tokens. This isn’t to say that the Kingsport board is boring, just that it’s different from the Arkham and Dunwich boards that are always overrun by monsters and gate openings. The threat of a Rift opening should be a very real concern to all investigators and this contributes quite nicely to the feelings of pending doom, helplessness and urgency we love so much about the AH experience.

There are two special locations in Kingsport of interest. The North Point Lighthouse can provide one investigator with captaincy of the White Ship that allows movement into Other Worlds (and between them), and the Kingsport Head (a challenging quest of 3 locations) that can provide one investigator with an unbreakable gate seal and a permanent boost to stamina and sanity.

KH also introduces some really nice new features useful with or without the board:
* Challenging Ancient Ones (like Atlach-Nacha and its auto-gatebursts)
* Heralds & Guardians that hinder or help the investigators
* Useful investigators (like Wendy who never fails street Evade checks)
* Epic Battle cards (in case an awakened Ancient One isn’t tough enough)
* Aquatic movement of monsters between towns
* Plus more monsters, skills, items, spells and other cards

Bottom line:

KH is a must-have for the AH fan. There are just too many good things included in this expansion to pass up. For those who don’t like the new board and the Rift maintenance mechanic, I’m sorry, but like anything, some things don’t appeal to everyone. However, most of the rest (investigators, AO, heralds, cards, etc.) can be added without reservation and with great challenge/enjoyment into other Arkham Horror games.

Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

48 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

There’s something about zombies, brains, shotguns and running away that this game captures. I won’t go into the mechanics of the game — others have done that and it’s fairly trivial. So instead, I’ll tell you how to get maximum enjoyment from it.

1) Beer. That’s right, this isn’t a game where you need your wits about you and you’ll enjoy it much more if you’re in the proper state of, uh, mind. (Note: children can play this game and really enjoy it too, but giving them beer is bad — so don’t do it).

2) Brainzzz…. If you’re going to be a zombie go all out. It’s important that you satisfy that insatiable craving with (no, not more beer) BRAINS! Say it with lip smacking joy, say it with that belly bursting hunger you have, and say it with menace for those who are trying to take away what’s rightly yours. Drooling is OK too as long as you wipe up if you’re at a friend’s house.

3) Competition. This is key if you want to have any hope of winning. You need to intimidate your rivals and force them to expose themselves to be blasted by the shotguns by taking foolish risks, or make them wimp out and be too conservative — to be clear, a real zombie is never conservative if the brains are easy pickings.

4) Gloating. Finally, and perhaps most importantly after beer is mocking laughter and demeaning statements about the other players for their choices (-er dumb luck). Depending on your group, this can be difficult because some people may get their little feelings hurt if they’re made to feel like mindless idiots. If so, tell them to lighten up and enjoy themselves!

So yes, it’s a fast light game, incredibly easy to learn and probably only enjoyable if you’re in the right mood — but when you are, it can be loads of fun.

Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
78 out of 86 gamers thought this was helpful

I have a love/hate relationship with this game. I love it because it’s a co-op game, but the secret enemy in our midst, however, makes things unnerving and stressful. But unnerving stress can be fun, right? Well in BSG, it is, so I guess I love it after all!

The base game works with up to 6 players, each with different abilities (the game is best with max players IMHO). It begins with each character getting a secret loyalty card. Most are humans but some may be Cylon saboteurs who secretly work against the rest. The humans are desperately trying to find Kobol before the Cylon fleet locates and destroys them or an essential resource (fuel, morale, food or population) is completely depleted.

People move from room to room aboard the Galactica on their turns solving problems, launching fighters, jumping the fleet to new systems and performing other essential tasks.

All is not good for the humans, however, who are constantly besieged by a new crisis on each character’s turn and players need to work together to counter these threats by each playing skill cards of the proper type to resolve the problem (or bad things happen). All such skills are played in secret which is where the hidden Cylon player(s) do their dastardly sabotage work.

Characters thought to be Cylons can be thrown into the brig or if revealed as Cylons, take up a separate function where they actively oppose the humans, typically by trying to destroy one of the resources.

Not so bad, huh? Well I didn’t tell you that on top of the despicable Cylons, there are sleeper agents as well! Half way through the game some of them “wake up” and turn on the other humans making life really miserable for the good guys.

Can the humans win? Of course, they’re the good guys. Can the Cylons win, well yeah… because life isn’t always fair. But whoever prevails, the game is fun with it’s nice components, excellent theme, decent balance and good replay value.

Go to the Citadels page


63 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

Citadels has lots for everyone with plenty of player interaction, a good building mechanic, little downtime and is easy to learn. Winning takes some strategy, a little luck and is very satisfying. Not bad for a short game!

It’s a card game where players choose different roles at the beginning of each play by selecting one and passing the rest to the player on the left (the last King gets to start the next turn).

Once roles are chosen there is a predefined order of play, i.e., the Assassin goes first then the others in sequence. Actions are taken where wealth is accumulated or districts are drawn from the deck, and lastly new districts are built. Each character role has a power as well which can be used during the player’s turn. Some powers can hurt the goals of others or steal their wealth, so you must be careful to choose wisely — especially if you’re in the lead.

After each round, new roles are chosen and play continues until one player has completed 8 districts whereupon scores are totaled and the player with the top score is declared the winner.

So what’s so fun about it?

Choosing roles is important to maximize the benefits of your districts and stop those who are ahead of you. You’ll often skip an obvious prize if you suspect another player is going to pounce on you first. Or you can choose a role to stop another player from getting it.

Certain districts provide additional play benefits and some give big scoring bonuses too. You can really get caught up in building a powerful empire — just remember that in the end, the winner is the one who has the highest scoring districts.

Another nice thing is that the cards are simple without a lot of icons, numbers or other markings on them. Simple is good and it keeps things moving.

If you haven’t played this game I encourage you to check it out. If you haven’t played it in a while, I suggest you take it out and enjoy it once again!

Go to the Pit page


41 out of 44 gamers thought this was helpful

I have to admit it, I’m a Pit fan. There are few games that can get me yelling and laughing and gloating and whining all at the same time.

If you haven’t played it before, it’s a game of commodity trading where you try to collect all of one kind of commodity and then ring the bell before anyone else does. You can trade cards (facedown) with any other player as long as they are the same time of commodity (corn, oats, wheat, barley, etc.). Trading is done typically by yelling out the number of cards you want to trade (not the commodity name) and then looking for another player who will match your trade.

Commodities have different values, so going for higher priced ones will get you more points (although you may have competition since others are more likely to collect them too). The game ends after a number of raucous hands where one player’s summed point totals reach a predetermined number set before the game begins. That player is declared the winner (often to the dejected moans of the others).

To make things more interesting there is a Bull card and Bear card which can be included in any trade. Points are lost if either of these cards is left in your hand at the end of the hand. If you go out with the Bull card, however, you double your score.

Cards are flying around quite a bit during the game and after a few games, it’s likely some may get slightly creased or damaged — especially the Bear card which is often thrown down in disgust at the end of each hand. Not to worry though, things move too fast for people to notice before a trade is agreed.

Is there strategy? Some… hand management and watching for commodities that no one seems to want may be quick way to win. Also holding back single cards can often frustrate others who just need that one card to win the hand.

Some people find the game emotionally exhausting, but that’s what I love about it!

Go to the Pandemic page


78 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

Pandemic is a great co-op game where you and your teammates race around the world trying to stop epidemics and hold off rampant outbreaks of disease. Each player gets a different occupation with various abilities and the the team uses these abilities and special cards they draw to control the spread and find cures.

The main strategy is to cooperatively maximize the application of the tools and abilities you have at your disposal on a turn by turn basis with your eye on the ultimate prize to find cures before time runs out.

Tension is generally fairly high and it’s a great game for a group of problem solvers. Note that it can suffer from bullys who decide all the actions for the group or if new players sit back and let others tell them what to do — in such cases the game can be tedious for those not actively engaged.

Co-op games can also suffer when we’ve figured out the basic strategy and the theme evaporates into the metagame. With some games we’re left feeling that winning is just about luck. But think about it, any co-op game has to have a good deal of luck involved or it would be winnable almost every time. The key for designing a good co-op game is to add enough player options and interaction to at least make it *appear* that the players’ actions and strategies make a big difference.

Pandemic gets this down well. If the cards aren’t with you, you can’t win, but you can try…. stretch yourselves to the limit. You’ll still lose, but the experience can still be a blast!

This isn’t to say one loses at Pandemic often, but like most good co-op games you can adjust the challenge to make it difficult — making a win very satisfying.

Go to the Arkham Horror: The Dunwich Horror page
63 out of 86 gamers thought this was helpful

As others have said, this is probably the best first expansion to get. It adds game dynamics such as Injury and Madness cards that you’ll probably want to use in most games, a new board which tends to split your party to keep an eye on things (letting the Horror free is usually a bad idea, it can be killed, but it’s never easy), and Gate Bursts (when sealed gates reopen) have probably snatched victory away from me in more games than anything else.

The base game is great but as you learn the way things work, it usually becomes quite winnable. Dunwich makes it hard and scary again!

Go to the Arkham Horror: The Lurker at the Threshold page
61 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

The features included with this set add fun twists to the game. I really like the new gate markers and I doubt I’ll use the old ones in the future since they add more strategy and surprises to the game (split gates, devouring gates, etc.) . The relationship cards are fun and actually help the investigators (imagine that!) although one needs to be on top of them because it’s easy to forget to use them.

The Dark Pacts with the Lurker do seem overpowered and can often be used to get one out of a difficult situation with minor risk (note, however, that they do increase the game complexity and counter fiddling somewhat). Still they’re fun to work with.

Definitely this is a must-have for anyone who owns a few of the other expansions.

Go to the Roll Through the Ages page
59 out of 87 gamers thought this was helpful

Roll the dice and choose your strategy. Do you build up your resources, create monuments or buy new abilities? Lots of action and plenty of variance. There is luck (i.e., it is dice), but the game moves along quickly and a good strategy can pay off with a few good rolls. It isn’t a deep thinking game, but it helps to pay close attention to your resources to maximize your buying potential.

Go to the Betrayal at House on the Hill page
39 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

First of all the bad — the tiles used to create the layout all came warped, as well as the event, action and item cards. A little gentle bending helps, but it’s still annoying.

I liked the gameplay. Occasionally there are some balance issues when the scenarios and (random) layouts don’t match up well, but it adds to the fun. Each scenario is very different and it’s always fun to see what the game throws at you.

All players start out as friends until one turns bad on the rest. Do you share items or do you hoard things for yourself? Do you dare to enter a new room, or do you play it safe and buff up your character? It’s all good fun and some nice opportunities to roleplay for laughs if you’re so inclined.

Go to the Dixit page


32 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

This is an Apples to Apples like game but with some very differentiating twists. How well can you give clues that will tip off a few people but not everyone? The cards are beautiful and creepy and outrageous all at once. Each one is a riddle that you need to expose with your own imagination. With the right group of people, this game rocks!

Go to the Dominion page


65 out of 123 gamers thought this was helpful

Dominion is a hard game to stop playing. Each session is short, intense and has little player downtime. Other than constant card shuffling, it’s nearly perfect. Expansions just add to the fun!

Go to the Arkham Horror page

Arkham Horror

39 out of 92 gamers thought this was helpful

What makes AH so much fun is the number of options available to work together to defeat the Ancient One. It takes some time to be comfortable with the mechanics, but the sense of mounting doom is always present no matter how many times you play. The basic game is fairly easy — expansions will dramatically increase the challenge.

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