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The Silver Heart
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Australia

Freyja

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Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
Go to the Catan: Seafarers page
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
Go to the Evolution page
9
Go to the Evolution page

Evolution

50 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
Players begin with one species with body size and population 1 and no traits.
Every round players are dealt a set of cards. Everyone will discard one card to determine the amount of plant food for this round and then turn by turn players either:
– Play up to 3 trait cards on their species (face down) to determine special abilities, such as getting plant food early, reproducing, defense against predators or becoming a carnivore (explained further on).
– Discard a card to gain a new species
– Discard a card to increase population or body size of your species. Population size determines how much you can eat and body size can be used as a defensive mechanism.

All traits cards are revealed, then starting with the start player, everyone takes it in turns to eat something, repeating this until everybody is full or there is no food left. If someone’s species is a carnivore then instead of eating plant food, they will attack other players’ species in order to gain food and thus reduce the prey’s population by one – attacking and defensive traits as well as body sizes will determine if the carnivore can successfully attack.

Species are full if they have eaten food up to their population size. If they cannot eat food up to the population size then their population reduces to the amount that it can be fed. If a species has no food (or was eaten by carnivore to reduce population to zero) then they will become extinct.

Once extinct a species and its trait cards are removed from the game and the player receives the same number of trait cards in return. If the player has no species then they receive a free new species (at least that is how my gaming group plays it).

Rounds are played until the deck needs to be shuffled signifying one more round. The winner is the player with the most points – one point for every food, 1 point for every population of surviving species and one point per trait card on surviving species.

Who is it for?
Evolution is somewhere slightly above a filler game in that it is pretty casual but has some strategy to be learned in terms of the best card combinations and lasts about 45min to an hour.

Pros
– Easy to learn (it usually takes a second game for players to learn the card combinations but since the game is short this isn’t a problem)
– Suits the theme of evolution very well
– Several different routes for winning
– Gorgeous artwork
– Being able to customise your species and evolving them with different traits is great fun and trying to imagine what they look like and giving them silly names adds to the highly social element of this game

Cons
– I don’t think the balance between carnivore and plant-eaters (who can also scavenge meat) is quite right. Being a carnivore is a harder strategy to win with.
– Replayability is fair to good but new trait cards would need to be introduced to improve the longevity.

Should you own this game?
If you like the sound of the theme, would like a lighter game / a deeper filler game to add to your collection then this is a win. Bear in mind though that you may end up attacking other players so if conflict is not your thing then think carefully. I personally love pulling out this game, it is one of my favourites and have played it successfully with gamers and non-gamers.

9
Go to the Rokoko page

Rokoko

49 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

rok
Gameplay
You are a dressmaker / tailor with the objective to gain the most prestige points by providing dresses and coats to the distinguished guests as well as funding decorations and fireworks for the biggest ball of the season which is in 7 rounds time.

This is a 2-5 player game (which is a good start for me as having the option of more than 4 players on the base game is always a plus). The gameplay involves part deck building and part worker placement. You use 3 employees (cards) each round to do your bidding via worker placement, with the mechanic of requiring you to use the cards you did not use last round, meaning hiring and firing employees is also a big part of the strategy. During a round, each turn (i.e. each card you play) you choose a primary action and each employee has a specific secondary action (although in some cases this is nothing) and there are three levels of mastery (apprentice, journeyman and master) who can perform different actions on the board.

The actions you can carry out on your turn include, buying cloth / resources (to make attire), making attire, funding a decoration, buying / hiring employees, getting start player. As mentioned above there are different levels of cards, for example an apprentice cannot make attire but he can go and get the cloth for you. You exchange money through some of these actions and also gain a salary every round.

There are a lot of other bonuses you can gain throughout the game depending on where you place your creations on the board, what decorations you fund and using employees secondary actions which really adds some depth to the strategy.

The game is easy to learn but there is definitely an advantage for those who have played the game before, so may take a few games to get up to speed.

Who is it for?
This is quite a light euro game but also with a fair amount of strategy and a lot of “oooh…I was going to go there” but in a good way. I would say this is a great family game as well as a good game to play with friends. Don’t be put off if you think the theme is too girly, this really isn’t the case…if you’re worried you could always just make coats and be a tailor!

Pros
-Good selection of different moves without being overcome with too much choice
-Lovely theme and artwork
-Good components (a mix of thick cardboard and wooden pieces)
-Easy to learn and family friendly
-Good length of play of about 1 – 2 hours

Cons
-The number of actions available may be lacking for the more heavy strategy gamer – as opposed to something like Caverna but all the different bonuses mean it isn’t too light in this respect either.
-It is easy to have “your spot” taken before you get there so if you’re not a big fan of this then take heed

Should you own this game?
I really enjoy this game and like the mix of deck building and worker placement so if you are looking for a slightly different take on worker placement which isn’t too heavy, with a great theme then go for it. If you are not a big fan of stepping on each others toes during worker placement then this may not be for you.

7
Go to the Sushi Go! (Second Edition) page
63 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview
This is a card drafting game such as the likes of 7 Wonders but is much simpler. The theme is solid, you are dining out at a sushi restaurant and are picking dishes off a conveyer belt for 3 courses and desert, the artwork is lovely and is guaranteed to get you craving sushi or at least make you hungry!

Each player gets dealt a hand of cards, they pick one and then pass their hand around the group and repeat for three rounds (aka three courses) adding up scores at the end of each round, with pudding collected during all three courses being scored at the end of the game.

Each card scores differently but this is noted clearly on each card so you don’t need to remember everything at once, hence after one play you should be fluent in sushi go! Some examples include…
Tempura – only scores if you have a pair of them
Dumpling – one dumpling is worth 1 point, two are worth 3 and so on to five dumplings for 15 points
Wasabi – Wasabi can be placed before ‘dipping’ a nigiri card in wasabi to triple the nigiri’s point value
Pudding – Pudding is only scored at the end of all 3 rounds, the person with the most scores 6 points, the person with the least scores -6 points.

This is a small compact, quick game that is ideal for travelling or maybe whilst waiting for food at a restaurant.
I have recently played this with a group of non-gamer friends whilst having a girly weekend away… they all loved it and wanted to play a second game straight away.

I would say this plays best with 4 players, when playing with two the best way is to play with a dummy hand but this isn’t ideal.

Don’t be fooled by thinking this is a kids game, this is great for any age. Sushi Go! does what it sets out to do very well but is lacking in depth.

Who is it for?
This game has luck and light strategy so is more for the casual and family gamer or if you are trying to convert someone new to the hobby.

Pros
-Quick to teach / Easy to learn
-Good for both children and adults (don’t be fooled by the cute artwork)
– Quick filler game
-Lovely artwork
-Great theme
-Small and compact for easy travel

Cons
-Lack of depth, and hence this isn’t something you would play all the time
-Not great for two players

Should you own this game?
This game doesn’t cost much so even if you are buying this thinking you may only play It on one holiday / trip then I would say this is worth it. Definitely a great game for the whole family or just a nice filler game….but beware you may need snacks at the ready to combat the hunger inducing theme!

5
Go to the Star Munchkin page

Star Munchkin

45 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
This is a standalone game in the Munchkin series but follows the same gameplay and so like all others, can be combined with other decks.

I won’t go into the original Munchkin rules in detail here (reach lvl 10, fighting monsters, two decks: door cards and treasure cards, stab your friends in the back) and instead will look at the differences between the original and this version.

Races: Androids, mutants, cat people.

Classes: Gadgeteer, bounty hunter, trader and psychic.

Sidekicks: These are basically hirelings but some have a special ability, for example the whiz kid gives you the ability to use as many complex items (like big items) as you can carry.

-aser weapons: All laser cards can be combined into one to create magnificent weapons like a Raser – Laser or even a Bananafanafofaser – shmaser – Dazer….probably my favourite part of this game!

Who is it for?
For the casual and social gamer; this game isn’t really for the strategist. Similarly to the original Munchkins which requires a knowledge of the rpg world, this pack requires a knowledge of the science fiction world to get most of the jokes (mainly star trek and star wars).

Pros
– The cards are great parodies of sci-fi
– A good social game where you can just have a laugh with friends

Cons
– If you haven’t played before then the rulebook is confusing and I suggest you learn from an experienced player
– Very random and luck driven
– Replayability is low as with the original munchkin the jokes can get old. However, there is a specific star munchkin expansion.
– Not for people who don’t like confrontation.
– Nothing innovative compared to the original Munchkins

Should you own this game?
The pros and cons of this game are pretty much the same as the original; so if you like the original Munchkins and you like sci-fi then get this pack, if not there are many different versions of the game from zombies to princesses, so take your pick! If however you are looking for something a little different from the original Munchkin game then you won’t really find much here.

If you haven’t played Munchkin before then this is a light-hearted game to play with a group of friends but it lacks replayability; if you know someone who has a Munchkin game then give this a go before you buy.

5
Go to the Munchkin page

Munchkin

90 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
You start with a character at level 1 with the aim of being the first to reach level 10, I will give a brief overview of the gameplay. The game has two decks, door cards and treasure cards. On your turn you pick up a door card, if it is a monster you can fight it – winning results in levelling up and receiving treasure, losing results in the ‘bad stuff’ on the card e.g. lose your head gear. If you don’t pick up a monster then you can fight a monster in your hand or get some treasure by looting the room. Other cards you pick up consist of races (e.g. elf) and classes (e.g. thief) for your hero, each with their own special ability; curses; equipable items such as armor and weapons; items that can be thrown into battle to help you or the monster – i.e. to help you win a fight and to make others loose fights and other random cards that mix things up. Players can help each other along the way but allegiances do not last…

Generally everybody is nice to each other until people reach about level 8 and then everything changes and instead everybody will be boosting up the monster you are fighting to make you lose.

Who is it for?
This game is far from serious, I would put it in the category for casual and social gamer but the theme is very much geared towards people who are familiar with the rpg world.

Pros
– The cards are funny and if you like dungeons and dragons then you will have a great time playing this game
– A good social game where you can just have a laugh with friends

Cons
– The rulebook is very confusing, it is best to learn from someone who has played the game before
– Very random and luck driven
– Replayability is low, once you’ve seen the cards then the jokes tend to get old. There are many many expansion packs however.
– Not for people who don’t like confrontation. This game can cause arguments

Should you own this game?
This game is fun to take out every now and again for a light gameplay experience or when drinking with friends but it lacks replayability. This game is not for people who like a deeper strategic game.

10
Go to the Catan: Seafarers page

Catan: Seafarers

67 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
Seafarers adds islands and shipping routes to travel between islands. Shipping routes (which look like ships) can be built with a sheep and a wood, meaning sheep become a lot more valuable and therefore balancing the resource values better. Shipping routes are slightly different to roads as you have both open and closed shipping routes. Shipping routes must start at a settlement on a sea bordering hex, i.e. you cannot have roads turning straight into a shipping route (Catan settlers have not invented the boat cart). A shipping route becomes closed when you have a continuous length of ships from one settlement to another. Whilst a shipping route remains open you can move the boat at the open end (not connected to the settlement), so you can change course if you so desire.

Shipping routes act just like roads to use towards the longest road achievement. There is now a pirate (a black ship) as well as the robber which prevents boats from moving or being placed on the placed hex; when you roll a seven you can choose to move either the robber or the pirate (you still get to steal a card). Gold hexes are added which are a resource of your choice when they are rolled (a wild card).

One of my favourite ways to play with Seafarers is to have a starting island where players place their starting settlements, then have the rest of the tiles hidden, to be flipped over once someone’s ship reaches that hex and then a mystery number is added from a number token pile or bag. There are many ways you can vary this sort of exploration gameplay and the game itself includes exploration scenarios.

Who is it for?
Anyone who enjoys Catan but wants to add more variety to the gameplay and change the map up a bit, allowing for exploration type scenarios.

Pros
– Allows for a lot of variety in terms of board set up and scenarios
– Can be combined with all other expansions
– Gameplay is not fundamentally changed

Cons
– The way you move ships is a little more complicated than the basic settlement and road building
– Not great for teaching to non-experienced Catan players – stick to the base game for new players

Should you own this game?
If you like Catan then yes, yes and yes! The only time I play without seafarers is when I am teaching people who are new to the game and want to teach them the basic mechanics first. The game can be combined with all of the other expansions but you need the base game to play. A 5-6 player expansion is also available for Seafarers. This is a must buy for any Catan fans and in my opinion is the best expansion. You get a lot more gameplay variety for your money and it is well worth a buy!

Tip: With the release of edition 5, make sure you know which edition you are buying.

7
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

79 out of 86 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
There are 4 diseases represented by different coloured cubes which spread their way across a map of the world and your job is to cure all 4 diseases. The basic gameplay consists of:

1) Players taking 4 actions from treating diseases to remove cubes, curing a disease using 5 cards of the corresponding colour, building research stations (used for curing and travelling), moving around the board and sharing knowledge (cards) between players.
2) Players draw 2 cards and resolve any epidemic cards which add more cubes to the board and adds already infected city cards back into the top of the infection deck.
3) At the end of each players’ go they then infect the board with the infection deck and add more cubes to the board.

Each player has an assigned role which has their own unique special abilities. Outbreaks occur if the city limit of 3 cubes of the same colour is broken; cubes of that colour then spread to all connecting cities. Players lose the game if there are no more cards left to draw, 8 outbreaks occur or there are no more disease cubes left when needed to add to the board. The difficulty level of the game can be changed by the number of epidemic cards added to the deck.
Who is it for?
This is essentially a cooperative logic puzzle game. It is about working out the best strategy together, so is good for people who are new to board games or who don’t want to play anything too competitive but is still enjoyable for more avid gamers.

Pros
– Easy to learn
– Different difficulty levels
– Short gameplay of roughly 45 minutes regardless of the number of players
– Great for people new to board gaming because it is easy to learn, quick and isn’t competitive

Cons
– Replayability is low, if you lose then you will want to play over and over and over… but if you win you will probably wait a good while until you want to play this again. Having said that the expansion “On the Brink” is definitely the cure for this ailment (sorry couldn’t help myself!).

Should you own this game?
If you like cooperative games, want to try out a cooperative game or want a game that non-competitive friends will enjoy then I would recommend trying this game. Yes, the replayability is low but the expansion “On the Brink” really does improve on this and I would actually recommend buying this expansion as soon as you know you like the base game. “On the Brink” adds more roles and three different scenarios (including a traitor scenario) which increase the variety and difficulty of gameplay.

7
Go to the Dixit 2 page

Dixit 2

57 out of 66 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview
This expansion just adds more cards and does not change the gameplay of Dixit. The artwork is by the same artist who did the cards in Dixit.

Should you own this expansion?
If you are a fan of Dixit then I believe this expansion is a must as the cards are by the same artist and this improves the replayability of the game which is probably one of the major downfalls of the base Dixit. I would recommend buying this expansion at the same time as the base game (or Dixit Odyssey).

7
Go to the Dixit Daydreams page

Dixit Daydreams

32 out of 37 gamers thought this was helpful

Overview
This expansion just adds more cards and does not change the gameplay of Dixit.

The artwork is different to those in Dixit and Dixit 2 but not so different that you can’t mix them up (as I do). The artwork is as beautiful as ever but I believe Dixit and Dixit 2 cards are more obscure.

Should you own this expansion?
This expansion doesn’t change the gameplay so the only thing to do is to google the pictures, do you like them or do you not? Simple. Personally, I am very happy with this expansion which adds a bit more variety and longevity to the game.

7
Go to the Dixit Odyssey page

Dixit Odyssey

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
In Dixit players have a selection of abstract picture cards and each take the turn of story teller. As storyteller you choose one of your cards putting it face down in the middle and giving a word, phrase or story etc. that you think relates to your image. Other players then give a card from their hand they believe matches your description. Cards are then shuffled and revealed for players to vote on which card they think is the story teller’s card. If all or no players choose the storytellers card they don’t get any points (all the other players do) otherwise they score points. Other players score points when people vote for their card. Odyssey includes more players than the original, a different scoring mechanism where you can vote for more than one card and introduces team play.

Who is it for?
This is a party game through and through. The thing that I think sets this apart from similar party games is that it is a great game even for the introverts who may struggle with games such as charades or making up stories in gloom etc. It is also a game for all ages where adults will not necessarily have an advantage over younger children depending on the dynamic of the group.

Pros
– Beautiful artwork
– Easy to teach
– You can adjust the game length easily by changing the score goal or by just giving everyone a certain number of turns each.

Cons
– If you play this game too regularly you may start thinking up the same things every time you see certain cards. Expansion packs are advised to keep the game fresh.
– In order to score on your round, you only need one person to get your card, this can lead to a lot of in-jokes being used and can be a barrier to people who don’t know the group so well.
– Similar to above, you can experience rounds where you have absolutely no idea what the storyteller’s clue means.
– The only difficulty with playing in large groups is that everyone still needs to be able to see the cards.

Should you own this game?
If you are looking for a party game with beautiful artwork, the option for intellectual gameplay or just fooling around and something you can get some of your shy friends and family into, then I would recommend this game for you. You do not need to own the original Dixit to play this; I own only Dixit Odyseey which allows more players and play styles but also allows you to play in the same way as the base game – I would recommend buying this version over any other. The box contains space for two more expansions and includes lovely little wooden rabbit player markers (Alice in wonderland?) and a scoring bored.

10
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
41 out of 46 gamers thought this was helpful

Gameplay
Players build roads, settlements and cities across a board using resources. Different resources are collected from the hexes you build on depending on a dice roll at the start of each players turn. Players can trade resources with each other. Settlements and cities are worth points; first to 10 points wins.

Who is it for?
Gamers and non-gamers alike will enjoy this game as well as the whole family. Not really enjoying monopoly and scrabble as a child, this is the game that got me into the hobby and it is generally seen as a great gateway game. Catan has strategy but the dice rolls allow for even a first time player to beat a seasoned pro, which is part of why I like this game but may not be for some as the strategy does not run too deep.

Pros
– Everyone is involved every turn with gaining resources and trading.
– Easy to learn.
– Great wooden pieces.
– Great replayability – you can randomise the board, there are good expansions and I’ve been playing this game for years and still want to play it.

Cons
– The hexes can be a little difficult to keep together if they warp (I own the 4th edition of this game).
– The game can be quite long. I usually play this with 6 players and we won’t be playing for less than 2 hours, sometimes more like 3 – 4 hours with expansions, albeit we talk a lot during the game!

Should you own this game?
If you want a fun enjoyable game, with a mix of strategy and luck which you can get even non-gamers to play then this is a must have on your shelf. The 5-6 player expansion also adds more players if required. If however, you prefer strategy games on the heavier side then try before you buy.

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