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Go to the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game Starter Set page
Go to the Firefly: The Game page
Go to the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game page
Go to the Alhambra: Big Box page
Go to the Arkham Horror page
Go to the Battle Cry page
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game page
Go to the Legendary: Dark City page
22 out of 23 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a review of a product that has been out since last year so if Legendary has been a favorite game of yours, you probably don’t need to know my opinion. On the other hand, if you still haven’t tried out Marvel’s Deck Builder or maybe tried only the base set, then this review may appeal to you?

In Legendary, the players each draft a deck of Shield Agents and Marvel’s Heroes to combat an assortment of Villains before a Mastermind has the chance to achieve a fiendish Scheme. The assortment of Heroes in the base set ranged from Avengers to X-Men to Spider-Man. This gave a good number of the hottest heroes from the Marvel movies. Missing, however were many of the Near-Street level heroes and villains from Marvel New York.

In Dark City, the Legendary set is expanded to include many fan favorites, including Marvel Knights heroes like Daredevil, Elektra and the Punisher as well as their enemies such as Kingpin. The set also has more X-Men such as Ice Man and Jean Grey as well as X Force heroes like Cable and Domino and their enemies Mister Sinister, Apocalypse and Stryfe. Just in case you want even more for the base heroes to do, the Emissaries of Evil bring a lot of staple Marvel Villains to the game, like Electro.

Game play in the Legendary game has been improved by including hidden Bystanders with good or bad effects. This makes rescuing them a little more uncertain but often times worth it. As another benefit, many of the heroes are cheaper allowing players who only have one measly point of Resource left someone they can still recruit. The base game had plenty of times in which a player would have to waste an unused point of Resource because the heroes in the base game all cost at least 2 points!

The best aspect of the expansion to me, though is simply the widening of the number and kind of heroes available and the increase in Schemes to confront. A few of the Schemes are really tough (maybe too much so) but others are a welcome addition.

Overall, this is a MUST HAVE for any fan or potential fan of Marvel Legendary!

Go to the HeroQuest page


77 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

After running Pen and Paper Role Playing games for a handful of years, my group of players were getting pretty burned out. Together, the group had defended humanity countless times in Marvel Super Heroes (TSR), foiled at least a few dastardly schemes in DC Heroes (May Fair Games) & survived Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium) but after all of this, they needed a change of pace.

Suddenly, seemingly out of thin air, it appeared; a completely modular, easily adaptable board game dungeon crawl suitable for a party of 4 plus a GM! Hero Quest wasn’t just another in a long glut of dungeon crawlers. It was an explosion of gaming in a fantasy setting. The game had tons of 3d furniture bits to arrange wherever you like. There were a horde of miniatures of goblins, orcs, skeletons, mummies, zombies, Chaos warriors (I think they were called cultists in HQ) and a large gargoyle(Bloodthirster)! Since Milton Bradley had commissioned Games Workshop to create the game for a mass market audience, the GW crew used a lot of their Warhammer miniature molds for the HQ figs and it really worked! The minis were really well done.

The game play was pretty basic but functional. The game had custom made dice with skulls and shields on them. These dice where a really big deal back then since most games simply stuck to the traditional d6 and a chart. The HQ dice made the whole production that much better. The game board was clearly marked into corridors and rooms, but there were plenty of ways to change the appearance of rooms and the campaign book changed the entire make up of where the players began a level, which rooms where which, where the monsters began, where the furniture was placed and any secret panels that might be hidden from player’s eyes.

One of the best aspects of the game was the fact that although it could be played in a one-off fashion, it was really intended to be played in a long campaign. Players would get one of the 4 heroes along with basic weapons and some spells for the Wizard and Elf and would then earn items and upgrades during the campaign. Advancement was basically get bigger and better weapons but once a player had found the best of the best weapons, they were really too tough for most of the monsters. (Another board game that suffered from this unbalance as a result of advanced weapons was Mutant Chronicles Siege of the Citadel a few years later.) This unbalancing act could be managed by giving out tough weapons only rarely, giving them a chance of breaking, having them stolen or cursed, etc. but these are only house rules suggestions and not part of the actual rules. Still, the joy of finding a better weapon was part of the fun.

Each session would be a different experience with a clearly marked starting point and a pre-written storyline. The players would typically come from the spiral staircase into a room, then they would decide how best to confront the first closed door. (A lot of quick planning might go into how to best assemble the heroes to just open a door to maximize the party’s chances of confronting anything outside the door!) Then, the group would explore the corridors, rooms and crypts while discovering and having to fight all of the baddies the rooms contained. Along the way, the GM was given the task of setting up the rooms, attacking the heroes with the monsters and generally keeping the game flowing. Since most games were played right out of the campaign book, GMing was simple which was a welcome relief from months of careful story building I’d already been through.

Hero Quest was a magical gem amidst a sea of RPGs. It was really the first board game that I had ever played that captured the sense of wonder and excitement of a fantasy RPG without the complexity of world creation and NPC involvement. Years later, other games would aspire to become the new Hero Quest but HQ was so well done it still has a fond place in our game memories.

If you ever have a chance to play it, HQ delivers. Sure, there may be games with a better advancement system and their own horde of cool minis and furniture and stuff, but isn’t it all just updating this classic?

Go to the Battleball page


18 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

I bought this game from a clearance isle at a local department store a year or two after it was released. I think I paid $5.00 for it and for that little money, it was well worth it.

This game seemed to be like a main stream attempt at a Blood Bowl type game (much like Battle Masters was a main stream, dumbed down version of Warhammer). I like American Football, liked Blood Bowl back in the day and thought a fusion of those themes should lend itself to a game.

Inside, I found a good assortment of well-done miniatures, a nice play field board, a funky dice mini and a rule book.

The Good news: the components are all great and even if you don’t use them for the rules provided should be a good addition to a Blood Bowl type game.

The Bad News: The rules are way too simple to keep gamers entertained. On the other hand, fans have created a rules revision, entitled 2.0 to make the game playable. You can find links to the rules on

Final Thoughts: If you happen to find this game on a store shelf and it’s not too expensive, it can make a nice addition to a sports loving gamer’s collection, even if its only to strip it down for another game.

Go to the Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit page
120 out of 131 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve always been a fan of Star Wars. A child of the 70’s, I waited with my family in long lines to see Star Wars A New Hope. I used all of my allowance to buy the original action figures, the Death Star Space Station play set and Luke Skywalker’s X Wing with battle damage from the Empire Strikes Back. I had the Marvel Comics, the Schoolastic Storybooks, the paperback books… on and on. When it was announced that the prequels were coming out, me and my circle of friends were so excited! We had even played the West End Games Star Wars RPG and the Decipher Games Star Wars CCG, so going to see Phantom Menace was a must. I sat in the theater with some friends and here’s what came of it:

There seem to be 3 types of modern Star Wars fans
* Those who will not allow any modern Star Wars product to be held as fondly as the classics
* Those who may not have liked every single thing about the prequels but who don’t give up on their fandom because of a few little things
* Kids too young to have an obsession with the original saga

I’m of the 2nd category. Jar Jar Binks doesn’t make me want to have a fit. The Star Wars Special Editions didn’t make me scream out at Lucas for making Greedo shoot first instead of Han Solo (though I prefer the more scoundrel image that Han previously had).

I still think of the epic light saber duel between Darth Maul and Obi‑Wan Kenobi and Qui‑Gon Jinn as one of the great events in the history of the SW Universe. It was well staged, told an excellent and thrilling story, and made Darth Maul shine, even though he bought it at the end. (oops… spoilers! LOL)

On the other hand, I think Anakin could have been a little older, a little less cute and a lot less annoying. Jar Jar might have been an attempt to give the kids a marketable image to purchase but he generally irritated most people too much. On the other hand, it wasn’t my story to tell, it was Lucas’ and I appreciate his vision even if I would have done a few things differently.

In this board game depiction of the climactic, multi-layered battle to decide the fate of Naboo, we are once again given the same situation. The system is fluid though not deep. There is the same tendency that other Star Wars games at that time suffered; a fear of complexity.

Anakin performed incredibly in the Pod Race (not in this game) but was like a scene out of a Laurel and Hardy movie once in the cockpit of the Naboo fighter. Thankfully, his participation in this board game is done as a end game timer. No cute comments like “Left is good,”! The ground battle between the Gungan and Battledroid forces is actually done pretty well, despite the really easy system to play it out. The Light Saber Duel is also given fewer rules than it probably should though it seems to keep the whole game balanced and flowing well.

This game is all about balance. Concentrate on any one or two aspects and the other two suffer, with potentially dire consequences. The assault on the Royal Palace is just as important as the Saber Duel. The Ground Battle is just as pivotal as the Anakin race to the finish. In this way, Queen’s Gambit is a fun game with a lot of drama, if played with a fan of the setting or a board game lover who isn’t adverse to easy systems.

I would warn people from inviting someone who hate all things related to the prequels, though. They’ll endlessly pick apart the whole affair which is never fun.

One last note, while the pieces are all well done, there is set up time to consider and the three level palace at the heart of the game can be a little wobbly.

Overall, this is a great game to play once in a while. Its balanced and fun though not terribly deep. The replay value is moderate though due to the fact that the setup is always the same. If you can find this game on sale in some dusty, backwater store shelf or FLGS and its not too expensive, it would be a worthy addition to most any board game collection. Just don’t invite prequel haters!

Go to the Pathfinder: Beginner Box page
63 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

Years ago, I owned two different versions of the D&D game, the 4th edition (1983)and 5th edition (1991). Although I had played AD&D first, I preferred the basic D&D for its simplicity and ease of use. Years went by and I moved to other genres including Superheroes, Horror, Star Wars and Star trek, Cyber Punk and Steampunk but I always had a fondness for the fantasy setting.

A few years ago, wanting to get back into a D&D-like game I saw the Pathfinder books on store shelves but to jump right into a totally new game world with all of the tons of available game books was a bit daunting. Then, my wife surprised me with the Pathfinder Beginner’s Box and the problem was solved!

This set is terrific at introducing gamers to their take on the D&D 3.5 game. The rule books are well designed and laid out to be easily read or used as a reference. The cardboard ‘figures’ for player characters and monsters are a nice way to encourage the players to use the map included and give a visual reference. Many gamers, especially younger ones are highly influenced by visual representation and this set delivers that really well.

If I had to grade this set by comparison to the D&D sets I owned before, I’d have to say the Pathfinder Beginner’s Box is the best. D&D 5th version from 1991 was similar in many ways (it also had two easily read books, a map and cardboard figures) but Pathfinder is even better, IMO. If you play though it with your game group and find out No One wants to progress to the Core Rule book, then you must either be doing something wrong or they just don’t like the D&D 3.5 style play. I can’t really think of a down side unless you don’t like playing low level characters.

Go to the Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game page
126 out of 133 gamers thought this was helpful

I started to write a really detailed examination of the Space Hulk : Death Angel card game from Fantasy Flight, going over each component, the set up rules, the rules of play and my overall view of the game but maybe it’s better to just cut to the chase and explain what the game really is…

Death Angel is a brutal, hard to win and highly re-playable Co-op card game of desperate survival in the face of a relentless horde of alien monsters. The players field a pair of Space Marines which wield a variety of impressive weapons and/or special abilities which, hopefully allow them to survive long enough to make it through the labyrinth of the derelict space craft.

One of the unfortunate aspects of the game is the set up rules which tend to scare off some of the idle gamers and the rule book which takes several reads to understand what they are trying to convey. The set up takes several minutes but is really straight forward. It involves taking a Void Lock which matches the number of players (1-6) and then following the Void Lock’s Icons for terrain placement, Blip numbers which set the initial number of alien Genestealers, it serves as a guide to create the Location Deck and sets a number of Genestealers to be spawned in the event of a Major or Minor Spawn (dictated each round by drawing an Event Card).

If you get past the setup, the rest of the game is fairly easy to understand although it’s far from easy to succeed. This is a tuff game that you’re likely to lose more often than win.

Each player gets a pair of Space Marines with three seemingly simple commands – Move+Activate, Supply or Attack. To keep them alive better, each pair handles these three commands differently and it is this difference which gives the pairs their identity. For example, the pair of Brother Valencio and Brother Leon can Attack in Full Auto, use their Supply command to go into Overwatch or their Move+Activate card to place an extra Support Token on a Door that they open which can eliminate several Genestealers when travelling from the current location to the next. Carefully coordinating the special abilities and range of the pairs of Space Marines with your fellow players is vital to win.

What really makes this game stand out is the speed with which the heroes can go from easily dispatching random Genestealers to having the monsters amassing in huge hordes that no one could survive! There is a real sense of doom and despair on the part of the heroes. One wrong play, one unlucky die roll can lead to a crushing defeat!

Some players might dislike the randomness of the Attack die but the original Space Hulk was much the same – one bad die roll away from defeat! You can plan and conspire all you want to, in the end its a die roll that decides your fate.

Playing a solo game is also fun though it does take a player that doesn’t mind to play 3 pairs of Space Marines instead of just one. The game doesn’t have different rules for solo play, it just changes the set up of terrain cards and which location cards are used. Regardless of solo or multiplay, deciding what orders to play is a crucial step in order to win. Since you can’t repeat the same order two turns in a row, you have to balance which teams are attacking, which ones can activate doors and move and which ones are going to bravely face death in order to give a fellow Space Marine a Supply token!

Finally, when comparing it to the original, I’d have to say this is pretty good and for the price, it’s even better. All of the components are well thought out with no additional fluff. One minor disappointment is only because of the scope of the small box game. Each game, you get to draw 1 card from between 3 to 4 location decks, each with have 3 cards each. While this gives you several games without repeats, after several plays it all looks and feels pretty much the same. An expansion with several more locations to add to this set would correct this.

Overall, Death Angel is a great game though be prepared to lose. Someone said it has a 44% success rate and while that is unconfirmed I’d imagine that success number may even be exaggerated! If you enjoy the journey more than the destination then you shouldn’t mind the failure rate. If winning is all you care about, this might not be the game for you. There are a couple of expansions available for the game (alternate Space Marines to trade out with those in the base game or Tyranid aliens that replace the Genestealers as well as add a new location type) in case the base game begins to get stale.

Go to the Monty Python Fluxx page

Monty Python Fluxx

105 out of 115 gamers thought this was helpful

This review needs to weigh in on two different aspects of this game: as a variation on the Fluxx game and as an adaptation of the source material, the hilarious Monty Python.

As a game variant to Fluxx, the Monty Python set works really well. It’s crazy and quickly functions like it always should have been part of the regular game. Rarely does an expansion or game variant come along that can say that! It’s not that the main Fluxx game isn’t good, it’s just that with such a wild, ever changing set of rules and goals, MPF delivers!

As for MPF as an adaptation, it works really well in most aspects. The sheer number of memories of the subject material it conjures up is awesome! Fans of Monty Python will have fun quoting their favorite skits again and again. ‘No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! – will surely come out of someone’s memories only to be accompanied by a mention of the Comfy Chair! The game almost falls into a nostalgia trip except that the game rules are still there.

Overall, I really liked this game and my wife and I always enjoy playing it. MPF actually gets played more than the original version simply from the source material. If you are a fan of Monty python, the Fluxx version is a must buy! If you are a fan of Fluxx, it’s a must buy! If you like neither, this isn’t the game or review for you.

Go to the Firefly: The Game page

Firefly: The Game

68 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

As a gamer and a fan of modern pop culture (including comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, CCGs, RPGs, MMOs, board games and action figures), I normally check out all manner of new sci-fi that comes along. Unfortunately, my work schedule back in 2002 and 2003 prevented me from watching Firefly when it was originally on Fox. I heard it was good but I also had heard the scheduling was all messed up, there were barely any commercials for it and it was canceled before I could even hope to see it. Fast forward several years and I finally got to see it on Netflix and I was hooked! No, not just a mild, “Oh, its ok”. I was absolutely taken with the dialog, the way the crew interacted, the structure of the stories and the weird mix of western and space adventure. It made me think about the better parts of the original Battlestar Galactica or the original Star Wars (a New Hope).

I told my wife back then that she should beware of getting into Firefly. It was easily addictive and even after watching the series and then watching the Serenity movie, it’ll leave you wanting more only to be reminded that the series is canceled. She stayed away from it for over a year but then she slipped, watched it and fell in love just as I had. We started getting other Firefly and Serenity stuff. We bought the series and the Movie DVDs, the Serenity table top RPG, the Jane Cobb knitted hat for my wife, t shirts and a decal of the ship for our car. Still, as a gamer, we needed more.

We had gotten further and further into tabletop gaming again ( My having been a lifetime table top gamer, back then my wife mostly played standard board games like Clue and Monopoly and every trivia game ever made(!)) we heard that a Firefly board game had been announced. We preordered it and waited months for it to arrive. I’m still glad we made that purchase!

To start off, Firefly is another really big game, like Arkham Horror in its size, number of components and even somewhat in game play. It’s a lengthy game too, taking up hours of play. Although the game has different scenarios which changes the focus of the game and those generally say 2 hours, I have no idea how the game can be played in so short a time! The game has tons of stuff and when laid out, takes up a lot of space on the game table. There are 5 decks of cards for Supply planets (used to purchase Crew, Weapons, Ship upgrades and equipment) and 5 decks of Contacts (who you can get jobs from, each of which need to have a discard pile for players to access). There is a blue deck (for travelling the Alliance sectors and a red deck for travelling the Outer sectors where the Reavers hunt. There is a deck of Misbehaving cards for accomplishing missions. There are also card board chits for Fuel, Parts, Cargo/Contraband, Passengers/Fugitives and for Disgruntled Crew. In addition to that are large cards representing the ships available as well as plastic miniatures of the ships used on the board and paper money in several denominations. A ton of stuff!

If you’ve never seen the game, please don’t let all of that content to dissuade you. It’s all used in an orderly manner and it all makes sense. The difficulty with starting this game isn’t learning the rules so much as learning when to make certain contacts, when to hire crew to perform jobs, what jobs are really not worth it vs which ones are really great to do and when to focus on the mission’s goals and when to keep building a bigger and better ship. This kind of thing you just have to play through a few times and see what play style you prefer. There are a lot of ship captains to choose from, each with their own strengths. (If the game group has only one new player, be kind to them and give them Malcom Reynolds. He’s easily the best captain, having two really useful skills – Pilot and Soldier.)

As for how this plays by players who didn’t watch the Show? I haven’t seen it played by someone who didn’t know the show. It’s a niche game in that it really caters to Firefly fans. On the other hand, I’d imagine it would be easily played by anyone unless they really hate long playing games, games focusing on underhanded smugglers or people who aren’t fans of the source material itself. The makers of the game have to have poured over every episode and tossed in as much of the travelling, smuggling and contract negotiating from the episodes as they could to make such a good simulation.

On the other hand, this is a board game, not a social game so the interactions of the crew members from the show are missing. The crew becomes an upgrade of sorts, allowing your ship to accomplish missions that it otherwise couldn’t. The quirky dialog and funny situations have to be added by the players, but trust me, they will be more than happy to oblige! This is a game for the fan of Firefly and the long play times, dirty deeds of Misbehaving and the desire to just get out there and fly through the Verse is its own reward!

Another odd thing- in order to add play balance, it’s almost impossible to have the crew of the Serenity from the Firefly series in the game. Those characters are spread out across the supply planets, often come with a Warrant on them which makes them a liability when coming across an Alliance cruiser, and at the onset, each ship can only have 6 crew members, not the 9 from the show. The chances of getting an upgrade to allow more crew, recruiting all of those characters before someone else does and then using them without losing to them to The Alliance patrol is nearly impossible! Since you have to pay each crew member a cut of each job, it might not even be feasible to have them all, anyway!

One other limitation to the main game needs to be addressed, before this review is done. In this set, the only times two ships interact is when both ships are in the same place. If one ship has Disgruntled crew, another at the same location can attempt to lure them to their ship. The ships can also trade items. That’s it. The rest of the time, the ships go about performing tasks, recruiting crew, completing or botching jobs all alone. No interaction. This game doesn’t seem to bothered by this, however so as long as direct conflict with other crews isn’t your desire, then Firefly will be a great game for you to try. If not, then maybe the expansions will address this issue?

Finally, to sum it all up, Firefly is the game you need if you love long, detailed space smuggling intermixed with lots of travel, contract work and dice rolls for completing tasks. It’s an immersive game, allowing a certain amount of ‘living’ in the Verse. The game is fun, and that’s about all a fan of this incredible series could ask for.

Go to the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game page
81 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

If you’ve read my recent review of the Star Trek TNG deck building game, you’ll know I mentioned I have the Marvel Legendary deck building game, too. Star Trek is a great game and easily fulfills the deck build niche I was hoping to fill. However, Marvel Legendary comes at the DBG genre from a completely different place…cooperative (mostly).

Marvel puts the players together against a nefarious Master Villain (called the Mastermind) who has hatched a scheme that the heroes will desperately have to thwart! But wait! There’s a little thing to remember… the players don’t play the Marvel heroes. Instead, players will draft cards from 5 different heroes from across the Marvel Universe. These cards aren’t supposed to be the actual character but rather represent what that hero brings to the effort of defeating the villains. This distinction might sound odd or weird but it works. In the base set, Spiderman’s agility and resourcefulness comes into play as his cards allow you to draw more and more low cost cards from your growing deck. Hulk gets stronger and stronger the more Strength cards you use. in this way, the essence of the Heroes is present even if you don’t play a specific card that is supposed to represent the actual Hulk or Spiderman.

Marvel is a deck builder though. You start out with a deck of 12 basic Shield generic heroes, 4 for fighting and 8 for resources. Each round, you get to use the resources you have that turn to purchase Hero cards from the 5 HQ slots or a Shield Officer who gives better resources than the basic ones.

As for fighting villains, each round you draw a new card from the villain deck. If it’s a villain, put him or her in the sewer space, shifting all villains already in the city one space to the left if necessary. If the villains run out of room in the 5 city spaces, the left most villain escapes into the city and there is a cost when that happens, depending on the scheme being played. Another thing to worry about is if the villain escaping has an innocent Bystander with them. The penalty of losing a Bystander is even worse and some games, it’ll cost you the win! If you have enough attack built up that round, you can go against the Mastermind and have to take one of their Tactics cards and follow the instructions.

At the heart of Marvel is the Scheme. These are the plans the Mastermind is trying to complete. Schemes vary wildly from a simple Midtown Bank Robbery (very old school Marvel) to an Attack on the Shield Helicarrier (harkens to the Avengers movie). All of the Schemes have their own terms for winning and losing the game, how many of the Scheme Twists will be in the villain deck, what each Scheme Twist card does when drawn and any other changes to the standard set up and play. Schemes change so many of the parameters that much of the replay value is from trying all of them with different hero combinations. (Will the X Men pull this off better than the Avengers? ) One thing to remember when setting up the game is to match at least some of the heroes to the villains or vice versa. Many of the Villains and Masterminds work best against specific Heroes. A few Villains, like the Blob can only be defeated by X Men Heroes. Of course, you could always mix and match ( Two or Three X Men and the rest random Heroes, for example) and that’s another source of replay value.

Personally, I prefer a mix of choosing and random draw for Schemes, Masterminds, Villains, Henchmen and Heroes. Some combinations just don’t work right. Using the earlier example, if Blob is roughing you up, you better have an X Men in your Hero deck or it’ll be a long game!

To me, Marvel is so much fun, even if I’m not playing a specific character, even if each player has some Spiderman in their deck, I still feel like he’s present in his own way. I recently played a game focusing on really tough Heroes (Thor, Hulk, Colossus, etc.) against Hulk’s Radiation Villains, Thor’s Asgard Villains and others and it was really awesome, though the damage done was incredible!

Go to the Phase 10 page

Phase 10

51 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

When I first joined this site, I spent time looking through all of the wonderful games on the list, some in fond remembrance, others in a hope to purchase, others with firm knowledge of what the game has to offer. To say I was surprised to see Phase 10 on the list goes almost without saying! Phase 10 was one of the bestselling card games in history, right behind Uno. Fundex sold more than 32 million units of it alone! The game is now sold by Mattell who purchased the game from Fundex in 2010 and you can find it in practically every store that has games.

This game should probably be evaluated according to a different set of parameters than most games on the list. It’s not a Gamer type of game. There is no combat. No explosions, implied or otherwise. It’s an old fashioned trick taking game. You could imagine it alongside of Whist or Bridge.

Now, if that didn’t scare you off, the real review can begin! (Lol)

Phase 10 plays in a number of rounds in which, on each round players try to meet the current requirements of the Phase they are on in order to proceed. The beginning of the game, the Phase is really simple – get 2 Sets of 3. A set is any three cards of the same color. So for example, if you have 3 yellow and 3 blue cards, you have the first Phase done. It’s really easy to pass the first few phases, not so much in later phases when you have to get runs (cards of the same color in a series of numbers, for example 2-5 of blue) and sets or a really long run.

The players will soon be on different phases and to add to the fun, you can play cards against another person’s completed phases, adding to the points the opponents have at the end game. The points are only for tie breakers and the fewer points the better.

Phase 10 is based on a rummy variant called Liverpool rummy and has been around since 1982 in its current form. There is also a Phase 10 dice variant with the same system, structure and feel that, if you like this sort of game, you should really check out.

Phase 10 is one of those games I used to play with my parents back 20 years ago. We enjoyed it so much we had both card and dice versions and played it frequently. My wife and I have it now although we admittedly only pull it out once or twice a year. Its surprisingly fun to make phases and ‘hit’ your opponents’ phases. If rummy games are your thing, this is definitely a game you should check out. With that being said, not everyone in this community will appreciate this type of gaming but if you do, Phase 10 is well balanced and a lot of fun!

Go to the Fluxx page


12 out of 15 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve read some of the reviews to this delightful game and while some hit the theme just right, others, I’m afraid seem to miss the point (no offense).

Fluxx isn’t meant to be a grand strategy game for hardcore gamers. It isn’t supposed to be the game you expand and expand and keep expanding. With Fluxx, there are a lot of versions of the game, from Monty Python to Cthulhu, etc. but each starts with the same core and basic structure. The variants aren’t meant to be added to the base game so they can’t be considered expansions.

Fluxx’ game play is as others have stated… draw a card and play a card. New Rules cards can change this to draw more or less cards and/or play more or less cards. The Goal of the game changes according to the Goal Card(s) in play. Playing a Keeper card allows you to meet the Goal card’s requirements. Creepers prevent you from winning, so you have to find a way around that like giving them to someone else or playing a card that allows you to ignore that liability.

When we’ve played, winning or losing comes down to one surprising card play or another. Strategy is there, but it’s a quick fire, rapid response sort of strategy. Luck of the draw and luck of what your opponents play seems to lead to victory more often than anything specific that you can do to help.

Overall, Fluxx is one of those games we go to when we just don’t feel like pulling out a game that takes a while to set up, an hour or more to play and more time to put away. Fluxx is silly and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s as much fun to lose by doing something you didn’t think was a bad idea at the time as it is to win. Fluxx is like a gamer’s junk food! Enjoy it for a quick game or two and then start another game. On the other hand, if you only have a little time or just feel like short games, Fluxx should be at the top of your list…along with such games as Tsuoro, Zombie Dice and Mr Jack Pocket.

Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

21 out of 23 gamers thought this was helpful

Usually, I read the main review and try to put my own spin on it. This time, I’m trying something new… making a totally new review without referencing another person’s review. I haven’t even read another review on this fun game yet, so anything is possible! My apologies if I repeat details, but it IS an experiment! Here goes…

Smash Up!, like Deck Building Games, takes a new approach to the CCG (Collectable Card Game) format. Players will play a deck of cards vs other players’ decks, all trying to achieve 15 Victory Points by Closing Out locations. (Unlike a CCG like Magic the Gathering, you don’t attack another player, though your minions will be waging combat against theirs.)

Unlike other games, Smash Up! has a novel approach to deck building: Each Player chooses two factions from a large variety of them. Each faction comes with 20 cards specific to them (like Pirates, Zombies or Ninjas) and when two factions are put (Smashed) together, you get wild and crazy combinations! Imagine Wizard Robots, Ninja Dinosaurs or Pirate Zombies! A great thing about Smash Up! is that every faction brings something different to the game. Sure, there are a few factions that do some things a little alike (especially when you add in the expansions) but no two factions are exactly alike. This pick two and smash approach without a -buying cards from a common pool- is what makes Smash Up! different from Deck Building Games, even though it does share some of the appeal of a deck builder (i.e., having all of the cards you would Have to have in one box, expansions non withstanding).

Game play works like this: Each round, the first player plays a minion card and an action card, in either order. Make sure to keep in mind the special abilities of every location, and every card already in play and the cards you are playing as special abilities can undo what you just did or about to do. Some minions will let you play other minions to the same or another location. Some actions will add to the minions played or switch minions from one location to another. Follow all of the card instructions and at the end, count up the strength of all minions (yours and your opponents) at the locations, remembering to factor in all of those special abilities, and if the total equals or exceeds the Break Point total of the location (upper left hand of the location card) , the player with the most power at the location gets to claim the location’s VPs in the 1 column. The player with second most power gets the 2 column VPs and the player with the third most power gets the 3 column VPs. Any other players with minions there get nothing and if only one player has minions at the location, then they are the only one to get the victory points. An interesting thing about locations, sometimes the 2nd best power gets the most points which makes for an interesting strategy point, balancing minions and their special abilities.

Here is my only point of criticism for Smash Up! It’s a great game with lots of fun and replay value but sometimes the sheer number of special abilities in play can be a little confusing and hard to follow. You really have to pay attention to every card in play, Locations, Ongoing Actions and Minions alike. Failing to do so can easily give your opponents an upper hand or unravel the events happening. I’ve been in games in which things were noticed several turns later that would have completely changed what had happened. Of course, the only way to get better and play the game the right way is to keep playing it, over and over until you get really comfortable with the all of the factions. This, Smash Up! Has in common with CCGs. Familiarity with the deck leads to better use of your special abilities. My wife finds Smash Up! Confusing and hard to follow for this reason but after I’ve played it many times, I’ve noticed my familiarity has helped clear out the card confusion a lot.

Another thing I like about Smash Up! Is that you can easily set a few house rules (or preferred rules). For example, when choosing factions you could each roll a die, first player gets one faction of their choice, the next goes and so on in descending order. After everyone chooses one faction, the last player to choose gets the first to choose their second faction and then it goes in ascending order. Another way to choose is by taking one card from each faction, shuffling them and having everyone choose two cards. There are other house rules that could make things easier but each game group should experiment and see what works best for them.

Personally, I would have rated Smash Up! Better, but I also have to take into account my wife’s opinions since she is my gaming partner. I don’t mind playing the game solo but multiplayer is way better in this sort of game.

Go to the Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Next Generation page
13 out of 14 gamers thought this was helpful

I know the main review for this game has done a really good job of explaining what the STTNG dbg is, here are my opinions…

At the present time, I’ve only played 4 deck builders – Marvel Legendary, Star Realms, Eminent Domain and this one, STTNG dbg. I played Magic the Gathering and many, many other CCGs years ago, though so I can understand and appreciate a well-balanced card game. Years ago, I played the Doom Trooper CCG and I quickly noticed how anyone with deep enough pockets to buy tons of cards for the game had a clear and distinct advantage over someone with far fewer cards. The current Deck Building Game concept counters that by giving everyone all of the tools they need to have a fun and balanced game.

As far as DBGs go, Star Trek really stands out. Star Trek gives all players an equal chance to customize their deck to their play style. The Starbase gives not only all of the better crew members, set up and maneuver cards you need to enhance your deck, it also gives you additional basic crew members which give more Resources and/or Attack abilities. Sometimes the easiest way to get from the early game to the mid game is to invest in basic crew, especially the officers.

When comparing the few DGBs I’ve played, Star Trek really works, not just for the Star Trek flavor (which it has plenty of) but the depth of play. In the early game, the players will get beat up constantly by even wimpy ships like the Ferengi Shuttle or several of the Mission cards. Later, once the players’ starships get upgraded, the race to win really gets going! Combat with random Starships is usually fast and either end in your starship being beaten badly or with another bunch of Victory points being added to your total. (An easy way to shorten the game is to reduce the Total Victory Points needed to win from the 400 point standard to maybe 300.)

(As others have pointed out, if a player gets a better starship first, they’ll have a distinct advantage over the rest. A couple of suggestions for leveling this have already been proposed but I’ll put forth my own, so check it out next.)

If I had to make one criticism, it would be in the rulebook. I had to go online to see some examples of play to really get all of it. After you get it, you can go back and re-read the rules and they make sense, but you shouldn’t HAVE to go online for a ‘translation’, although their website was the best resource I found for rules and play clarification! However, once you do the rules suddenly work for you. More examples of the different steps would be helpful. (I played it a couple of times solo before I realized when fighting a random starship, you and the attacking ship attack in one large volley (or use diplomacy) and then it’s over. The results will either be the Random Ship is taken over by using diplomacy, is defeated by you and added to your Victory points or it does it’s damage and then flies off (goes to the bottom of the Space Deck)).

The game structure is well designed and balanced (except for perhaps the already mentioned starship advantage issue). A full game creates its own story to some degree although it certainly isn’t a replay of your favorite STTNG episode, by any means. In fact, the parts of episodes are really only used as elements of game play.

A solo play game is possible although you have to pay close attention. I played the Borg Scenario and it was a blast though I failed miserably! It sort of harkened back to the Space Hulk game in that you start off thinking everything was under control and then in the span of one or two turns, everything comes unraveled!

In the end, playing STTNG dbg is fun and rewarding! I highly recommend this game, especially after watching the online help videos.

Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

15 out of 15 gamers thought this was helpful

Have you ever had 5 minutes of spare time and nothing to do? Of course you have! Now, with the help of these colorful dice, a score pad and pen and a friend (or more), you can become a brain devouring zombie! Let the fun begin!

Zombie Dice comes with a number of black dice with brains, star shaped shotgun bursts and a side showing a foot trail (in three different colors- red (rare), yellow(uncommon) and green(common)) . Each round, players roll three dice to try to get as many brains as possible. Brains are set to the left and shotgun bursts are set to the right. Get three shotgun bursts and your turn is over. The foot trails are humans escaping your Brain-eating wrath! After making your initial roll, provided you don’t roll all shotgun bursts, you get to roll again.

Now, here is the sneaky thing about Zombie dice – the game is basically a game of luck vs greed! Each roll, you get three dice at random from the cup. If you have luck on your side, you can amass a large number of brains quickly. To win the whole game, you only need 13 brains, so the tendency is to roll and keep rolling! Unfortunately, it’s really easy to roll three shotgun bursts! So easy, in fact, that you can have amassed a large number of brains only to have them all taken away by one unlucky roll of the dice!

There is a little bit of strategy here. Will you be slow and cautious, rolling until you have 4 or five brains and stop when it’s safe? Do you try to push the envelope and go for just one more roll? What is great luck one second can be undone a second later!

There are two expansions available for this game and this, the base game cost under $10.00 at my local Wal-Mart. There are also score pads, dice bags and even t-shirts for people who fall in love with the game!

So, how does it stack up to Cthulhu Dice? Personally, although I love Cthulhu games in general, Zombie Dice is faster, easier and better for multiple plays. My wife and I love two player games and although you can play Cthulhu Dice two player, each player has to play 2 hands which my wife doesn’t like. With Zombie Dice, you can easily play Best Out Of 5 games and you don’t feel like its time wasted! Overall, a great game with little time or monetary commitment!

Go to the Arkham Horror page

Arkham Horror

130 out of 137 gamers thought this was helpful

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.

Go to the Tsuro page


55 out of 63 gamers thought this was helpful

I was first turned on to Tsuro on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop series on Geek & Sundry (YouTube) and I immediately knew it Had to be in my collection. An elegant, easy to learn game of sweet sophistication!

And, it really couldn’t be more simple! Each round players play a single tile from their hand of three and then have to move their dragon play piece all along the path that is made. The pathways become twisted and when a new tile links to other paths, you have to continue down these paths until you go off the board (lose), run into another player (lose) or go to an empty space. It kind of reminds you of the Tron race game in which players can try to block each other, forcing them to run off board.

To say it’s an easy game to learn is an understatement! Small children should be able to grasp this game without trouble. On the other hand, the game is simply elegant and a lot of fun to play! Since you only have 3 tiles in hand and never know what tile you will draw in the future, your strategy needs to be as fluid as possible to make up for bad tile draws.

And here is one of the best aspects of the game: Although it’s really easy to lose, it’s even more rewarding to win. Even if you do lose, chances are you’ll want a rematch! And then another one! Then maybe best out of 5, or 7! Before you know it, your players are throwing down all sorts of blocks, avoidance plays or accidental blunders, all of which result in fun, fun and more fun!

Sure, it’s not the kind of game that many hard core gamers would be over eager to play, but when you want a light game of whimsy or have only a limited amount of time to play this is one of the best 15 minute games you’ll find!

Go to the Eminent Domain page

Eminent Domain

47 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

In case you haven’t checked out other reviews of Eminent Domain let me give you the quick and dirty, capsulized version of what it is:

Eminent Domain is…

* A deck building game of space expansion.
* A bright, colorful game that is easy to understand and easy to play (though a few more examples in the rule book would have been nice).
* A rules light DBG that has a lot of room for expansion.
* A well balanced system that favors multiple ways of winning.
* An affordable game that can be picked up for around $20.

So why am I not the biggest fan of this, the base game?

E.D. feels incomplete, like the basic structure and frame work are all present but the direct conflict with other players is missing.

Each round players draw cards and can then develop their planet’s resources, explore new worlds to take over and choose a role to advance in their deck, allowing their deck to be costume tailored to a certain strategy. For example, you can stick with a colonize path which will allow you to colonize new worlds to add them to your empire. Or you could pick up Warfare cards to make your fleet of ships stronger to take new worlds by force. Or, you could develop your technology which reaps faster colonize or warfare down the road.

On the other hand, there is no direct conflict! No taking away or preventing what the other player is doing. No way to block their advances or hinder their progress. The game is a race of development only impeded by random card draws.

Now, to be fair, there is an expansion that is supposed to answer this problem. Costing almost as much as the base game, it sounds to be just what I’d need to make this game a regular hit at my game table. Unfortunately, I don’t own the expansion and until I do, my wife has little interest in playing a game of E.D. I would have rather paid the price to have the base game and the expansion in one package instead of in two separate boxes.

Finally, there is one more gripe: E.D. comes in a box that is way too big for what little you get. The box is really big by comparison to the components which is fine if you have plenty of shelf space and don’t care about the environment. Unfortunately, my shelf space is at premium considering that I have around 60 board and/or card games with more coming in about once a month. I’d also like to spare a tree now and then so a smaller box might be nice…unless the expansion is a lot bigger than I think it’ll be…

UPDATE – After some consideration and plenty of solo play through I really should amend my earlier criticism. E.D.has a lot going for it when you start experimenting with Technology upgrade cards. These tech cards really give the game its greatest degree of variation. Should I beef my Empire’s colonization skills or expand how well my warships function, for example. Sadly, I donated this game to my library and have regretted it! At some point I’ll buy it again.

Go to the Battle Cry page

Battle Cry

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

This review is focused on the Battle Cry 150th Anniversary Edition although I compare it to the classic edition, too.

Its kind of strange to call a game that came out in 2000 as a classic, but Battle Cry by Richard Borg is just such a game. It took the American Civil War theme out of the often-times overly complex ‘map-with card board chits’ games of Avalon Hill and Victory Games and streamlined them. At the time, some of the hard core ACW gamers cried fowl since Battle Cry is simple, easy to play but lacking in the kind of minute attention to detail that they were used to. On the other hand, Battle Cry could be played by complete novices within minutes and an entire game could be played in 30 minutes. The card based orders were generally easy to grasp and balanced (although a few cards weren’t really). A vast number of scenarios were included in the game which changed the set up, offered specific battle conditions, the layout of terrain and the conditions for victory. If you’ve ever played Battle Lore or Memoire 44 then you’ve already played this system. Its easy and leaves a lot of variety.

So, how does this updated version compare to the classic? It absolutely improves it! The original had a few small but important rules problems. There was a card called All Out Offensive which could completely wipe out your enemy by allowing all of your forces to be activated! It has been replaced by a better card allowing you to activate one unit per the number of cards in your hand. This limits you to maybe 5 or 6 units, not all of them!

The scenarios from the original have all returned as well as a number of scenarios that previously were only available online. You can run a campaign that takes you through every major land engagment of the war. With some creativity you could even put together your own scenarios by using the terrain tiles supplied.

There are a few minor rules changes, some which were only online suggestions from players that while unfortunate, aren’t really missed much. Lastly, the newer edition has better storage for your different units, allowing the set up and put away time to lessen (one of the only drags to the old edition since you had to spend set up time sorting through all of your pieces to assemble the infantry, artillery, calvary and General units).

There are only two relatively minor complaints I have with the update:

1)The updated board is darker in an attempt to look more like an aged battle map. The original game was a brighter yellow map design, which I preferred. My wife, on the other hand prefers the new, darker board. The newer board does have a place for both Union and Confederate players to place their captured flags (used to determine a winner), though.

2)The adhesive on the flags, used to distinguish each unit from another never lasts. I had to superglue every flag and even that isn’t perfect since the surface area on the miniature is so small. Like I said, a minor complaint at best.

If you have even a passing interest in old time Military tactics (American or not), you should try Battle Cry 150th Ann. Edition. I once played Battle Cry with a guy from New Zealand who had little interest in the American Civil War but he liked strategy games and liked the way the game played. Even a lot of those old Military strategy players have adopted this as one of their favorites due to the ease at teaching and how quickly the game is played.

Finally, if you do a Google Search for Best ACW game, Battle Cry is usually at or near the head of everyone’s list! I highly recommend this game!

Go to the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game Starter Set page
81 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

While there are plenty of rabid gamers out there scrambling over each other and camping out at game conventions just to be one of the first to try each and every new game on the market, I prefer another approach.

My wife and I wait for a game to be out a while. I personnaly love to read reviews so that I can get a feel for the public’s reaction. Now, mind you, I don’t always agree with reviews since not everyone agrees with what I like, but a detailed, thoughtful review of a game is enjoyable to read and can give hints as to how playable a game is going to be.

Now, to tell you the truth, I’ve been dupped before. Some games lack a certain quality that draws you in and continues to captivate. Other games shine on the shelf but don’t make you hungry for more. Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game isn’t one of those.

I’ve waited a long time for a Star Wars table-based ship combat strategy game. My wife and I try to get games from a wide variety of styles and themes but up until X-Wing, we didn’t have space dogfighting.

And what a dogfight it is! X-Wing is really easy to learn, with obvious tactics implied in its every rule! Now, mind you, so far we only have the Core Set, the Y-Wing and the Tie Advanced Expansions, but so far all of these ships are distinct and unique. Battle scenarios are easy to create ‘on the fly’ and a whole game can be played in 30 minutes or less. Now my wife wants us to buy the more expensive expansions, namely the ‎YT-1300 light freighter (Millenium Falcon) and the Firespray-31 (Slave 1). This is a good sign since if she didn’t care for the game, it’d be really difficult to justify spending that money on game components for a game she didn’t like. We live on a budget so money spent is a real concern.

My wife also likes the prepainted miniatures. We have had unpainted miniatures plenty of times for other games, and we always hope to get around to painting them but never do. These ships are well done and really attract others to check out this amazing game.

So far there have been 10 expansions, each with various options for ships of different levels of competency based on the ship’s pilot and special abilities. Since each ship has four different pilots, and some have additional crew options and many ships can have upgrades applied to them via upgrade cards (‘bought’ with points), this makes the forces really varied, but not in an unwielding way. The system for making a fleet and conducting battles is really slick and although I haven’t tried it, I’ve read that tournement games for X-Wing are a lot of fun.

All in all, X-Wing satisfies all of my space dogfight desires!

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