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Review 3 games and receive a total of 40 positive review ratings.
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Go to the XCOM: The Board Game page
Go to the Superfight! page
Go to the City of Horror page
Go to the Shadow Hunters (Second Edition) page
Go to the Carnival Zombie page

Carnival Zombie

46 out of 52 gamers thought this was helpful

In a nutshell: A group of survivors – themed on the Comedia Dell’arte – must work together to survive the zombie apocalypse and flee the city during the Carnival of Venice – the Carnevale di Venezia.

All of the game’s flavor reflects the theme of Carnevale and the Comedia Dell’arte, and particularly the player characters:
– Captain Terror (Il Capitano), aka, The Leader: his abilities generally work to support the group as a whole.
– Lady Columbine (Columbina), aka, The Sniper: she works best at killing single, high-health targets.
– Helequin (Harlequin), aka, The Soldier: great at gunning down masses of zombies.
– Brighell (Brighella), aka, The Muscle: great at holding the line and physically overpowering zombies.
– Pantaleone (Pantalone), aka, The Grenadier: great at making things go boom.
– Doc Pestilence (Il Dottore), aka, The Medic: helps keep everyone alive.

Gameplay occurs in 2 phases, Day and Night.

During the Day, you move on the city map, search for supplies, rest, build barricades, and otherwise try to accomplish the tasks necessary to flee the city. This takes careful planning, because there are several ways to flee the city, and one way to attempt to defeat the Ultimate Evil, and each objective has different requirements and paths. What makes it interesting is that as the game progresses, areas of the city will randomly flood, making passage in that direction impossible, and forcing the group to adjust their plans accordingly.

During the Night, you erect your barricades and fight off the zombie hordes long enough to see daylight again. There are no dice involved here. You see where the zombies are coming from, you know how fast each type of zombie is, and you know how much health each zombie has. So it is crucial that the group properly position their characters (located in the center of the “battle map” behind barricades) to have a firing arc on the right quadrants to effectively fight off the zombies. Each turn, more zombies spawn, based on a card draw, and zombies can vary from slow, weak fodder, to fast zombie dogs, to heavy zombies, to terrifyingly powerful zombie bosses.

And this is where the brilliant Graveyard mechanic comes in. At the end of each Player’s combat turn, they gather up the pile of zombie tokens they just killed, and have to physically DROP THE TOKENS on top of a separate Graveyard board. If the tokens land on the board, they stay dead. IF THE TOKENS FALL OFF THE BOARD, THEY RETURN TO PLAY THE NEXT TURN. Making this even more interesting is that different types of zombies are represented by different shaped tokens. So while fodder-type zombies are simple cubes, tougher zombies are represented by cylinders and cones, making it progressively harder to remove zombies from the fight the more you kill.

This also sometimes forces you to pace the rate at which you kill zombies. It’s easy enough to properly drop 1 or 2 zombies on top of the pile of zombie tokens on the Graveyard, but let’s say you use a grenade, and just wiped out 5 zombies in one shot – that makes it significantly more stressful to dispose of the bodies on the Graveyard pile.

It is this aspect of physical dexterity that really elevates the game and adds a whole other layer of stress to yet another zombie-themed boardgame. Couple that with the excellent theme and many decision points presented by the game, and you have an, excellent, enjoyably stressful zombie boardgame.

Go to the Tragedy Looper page

Tragedy Looper

47 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

Tragedy Looper is essentially Time Looping Detectives versus an Evil Mastermind. I can’t get particularly detailed, because by its nature, anything specific would spoil the game scenarios.

One player is the Mastermind. He chooses the scenario and knows what tragic events he will unfold. The other players are Time Detectives. They don’t know what’s going on, when, why, or how. All they know is one or more tragic events are about to happen, and only they can stop it.

Players – both Detectives and Mastermind – play cards to influence the movement and actions of characters on the board. At the end of each turn, these actions are resolved, and clues may be revealed, characters may die, and tragedies may be enacted or prevented.

So how do the Time Detectives know what to do? Observation, logic, and deduction. Every character move, every death, and every event must be carefully observed. If a key Tragedy occurs, the only signal the Detectives receive will be that Time resets back to the beginning, and the scenario begins anew. It is up to them to figure out what the actual Tragedy was, what triggered it, and how to stop it. But they only have a limited number of Time Loops to get things right, or the Mastermind wins.

What does the Mastermind do? Plan, implement, and misdirect. He must accomplish his objectives, but do so in a way that the Detectives won’t know the exact nature and triggers for the Tragedy. He must use red herrings and coincidences to confound the Detectives, and take advantage of the Time Loops to adjust his moves, just like the Detectives.

Tragedy Looper takes a game or two to grasp, because it can be very opaque at first. New Detectives won’t know why or how they’re losing – or winning – and the Mastermind needs time to properly read and understand their chosen scenario to know what he must accomplish and what events happen at set times. Eventually, though, everything clicks and it becomes an incredibly entertaining cat-and-mouse game of matching time looping wits.

Go to the Exploding Kittens page
71 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

In a nutshell:
A simple, easy-to-learn competitive survival card game with unique art and humor from The Oatmeal. Works better the more players you have involved. Typical game time is about 30 minutes.

Everyone starts with a hand of 5 cards: 1 Defuse card, and 4 randomly shuffled non-Exploding Kitten cards. On their turn, each player plays as many cards as they want from their hand, and then draws a card. If they draw an Exploding Kitten, they have to either play a Defuse card, or they’re dead and out of the game. Play continue clockwise until only 1 player remains.

Aside from the vital Defuse cards and deadly Exploding Kitten cards, other cards in the deck are designed to either minimize your exposure to danger or increase the danger to other players. Certain cards let you see the see upcoming cards in the deck, allowing you to tailor your play to take advantage of the card draws. Other cards let you skip your draw turn, or force the next player to take multiple turns, or steal a card from another player’s hand.

One of the most powerful – and often humorous – cards is the Nope! card, which lets you cancel any non-Defuse, non-Exploding Kitten card action played by someone else. Furthermore, a Nope! card can be played to counter a Nope! card, so at crucial moments in the game, you can have several Nope! cards played in quick succession, forcing everyone to sort out what exactly happened (or didn’t happen). It’s probably the most exciting card play sequence in the game.

Eventually, every player but one will draw an Exploding Kitten with no defense against it, and the last player earns bragging rights as the victor.

A quick, casual card game that’s enjoyable in small doses, and works best as a warm up to more in-depth boardgaming or as a palate-cleanser between other games.

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