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Bravemaximus

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Review 8 games and receive a total of 380 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Thunderstone page
Go to the Dominion page
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: 4th Edition page
Go to the Roll Through the Ages page
Go to the A Few Acres of Snow page
Go to the Ticket to Ride: India page
9
Go to the Tsuro page

Tsuro

54 out of 95 gamers thought this was helpful

At the time I’m writing this I’ve only played a few dozen games of Tsuro (because each one only take 15 minutes) but I really enjoy the game. Its short and sweet! My 5 year old son keeps pestering me to play more. The mix of strategy and luck is phenomenal. The game states that it should be for ages 8 and up, but it so simple that my kindergartener had no problem understanding the rules. He still wants to play with the other dragon stones, but he has fun.

The pieces are gorgeous and the whole aesthetic of the game is wonderful. The stones are nicely cut pieces of plastic and the designs on the board are lovely. The tiny piece of rice paper on the top as you open the box is just the perfect touch.

This game is a must-have in my book. Try it today!

10
Go to the Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin page
89 out of 102 gamers thought this was helpful

Thunderstone is probably my favorite game to play right now. I learned to play online at yucata.de and have loved it ever since. This new version of the game is really fantastic. Others have already explained how to play, so I will focus on why this edition is better than the original.

The rule book is much improved. The rules are better explained, and it goes through a game, step by step, and explains things well. I do wish the glossary was longer, discussing each card group in the set, but that is a minor concern.

The new basic deck is a vast improvement. The Regular replaces the Militia and the Thunderstone shard replaces the Iron Ration. These cards are more interesting than their older counterparts and help speed up the game. The old basic deck was filled with things players were just trying to get rid of, but now these cards will stick around to the end.

Familiars and the different Curses are new additions that make the game more interesting (and only a little more complicated).

The board helps organize things better, and has another variant for the dungeon set-up. Its a good way to start playing the game in the new “wilderness” board, rather than the unforgiving “dungeon” board. I like it.

Lastly, the quick start rules help someone just jump right in and play the game. My friends and I used it and really enjoyed being able to get right into the game.

If you have not given Thunderstone a try, and are willing to get into a more complex deck builder, this is the one for you.

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride Pocket page
115 out of 140 gamers thought this was helpful

When Ticket to Ride went digital, they did it right! The controls are easy, it has exactly the same rules as the original game, and lots of digital additions make this a must-buy on any iPod. This version is even more addicting than the original board game. Being able to play against a computer means that I can play TtR without trying to get a group together. The AI is pretty good too. It even offers 4 different AI’s to play against, with different strategies/levels of difficulty. The expansion offers several different ways to play as well, the same ones as the 1910 expansion for the original ticket to ride. It is well worth the extra dollar. I only wish there was an expansion that would allow me to play the Europe, Switzerland, India, Asia, and/or Nordic countries maps. That would be great. I know it possible, because the iPad version does it… Being able to try for the achievements in the game keeps me coming back for more.

If you have an iPod, this is the best app you can get for it. I highly recommend it.

10
Go to the Ticket to Ride: India page
33 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Ticket to Ride is my favorite board game, and this is the best iteration of it yet. I’m not going to go into how you play ticket to ride, but if you don’t know, do yourself a favor and check out the main game.

I love this board! I can’t say enough about it. The colors are more clear, and it is easier to see the difference between the colors. The routes are well balanced, with plenty of long routes, even an 8 train ferry! The tickets are very well balanced as well, with no tickets worth less than 5 points, and none worth more than 16. This helps to keep everyone in the game longer, and keep everything competitive longer. Plus, the new Mandala (circle) mechanic adds a great new way to gain points, by completing a great circle around the board. I really love playing this version. There are no tunnels on this board, but there are plenty of ferries. You’ll have lots of fun playing the game, no matter how you play Ticket to Ride. All aboard the Himalayan Express!

Oh, and as a bonus, the back of the board has the Switzerland board too! It just keeps getting better! Switzerland is a great adaptation of Ticket to Ride, made for 2-3 players. Check out my other reviews on the Ticket to Ride: Switzerland page.

This expansion is by far the best Days of Wonder has made yet. Check it out and have fun playing!

4
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

63 out of 99 gamers thought this was helpful

I know, I know, I’m going to be run out on a rail for saying this, but I don’t really like Carcassone. Please let me explain….

I’ve been a gamer for a long time. I started with Settlers of Catan: Cities and Knights and Talisman as my first gamer games. I didn’t play Carcassone for a long time. It was not my gateway game. It was not even a game I had seen played very often. I knew what a meeple was, but that’s about where my interest ended. I found the rules somewhat hard to understand (but that might have been my instructor’s fault). I can understand why you would use this game to teach new gamers, because it is not intimidating at the least. But it’s not fun either. Pick up a random tile, place it where ever on the board you want, put down a meeple, and wait for your next turn. That’s it. This does not shout excitement to me. At the end, we use some formula to determine who wins, with no indication of who was really in the lead. Still not thrilled. Where is the excitement? Where is the suspense? I see a little strategy, but you don’t even roll a die in the entire game! Its not consistent enough to be a Euro game, but it is not random enough to be Ameri-trash gaming, so I don’t know where Caracassone is supposed to fall.

Honestly, given the choice between Carcasonne and Ticket to Ride, I’m going to introduce new players withe Ticket to Ride. At least it has little plastic trains…

3
Go to the Catan: Traders & Barbarians page
61 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

I really loved Settlers of Catan. I’ve played hundreds of games with my own set. It was the first gamer-game I ever bought. I then played the heck out of Cities and Knights and Seafarers. I love the game. I stopped playing when I tried Traders and Barbarians. I already owned the “small” expansions like the great river and the fish (i do love the fish, they are a great addition to the game), so those components were not new to me. The other scenarios were junk. I played them each once, put the game away, and went back to my Cities and Knights. I disliked the game so much, that I don’t play it anymore. It may have more to do with my expanding game library, but I don’t play Catan at all. This expansion left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m sorry to leave a poor review of the game (because the site is so positive, and that’s a good thing) but I feel I have to tell people when to avoid wasting their money. Try the game first, and if you like it, then you can tell me how wrong I am later.

7
Go to the Castle Panic page

Castle Panic

55 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

I was surprised by Castle Panic. I originally thought it would be a fluffy, silly, poorly planned co-op. I opened the box, read the rules (which are a little long), and tried a game with my wife. Right off the bat, we were killing monsters, figuring out how to run the castle defenses, and had things well in hand. Then the panic happened. All the monsters started to rush us, we felt like it was not going to end well, our castle was wrecked, and we just barely held it together. by the end, we were smiling, our kids were cheering, and everyone was having a good time. Later, I tried the game with my serious game group (the same guys who have ‘broken’ Pandemic before) and they loved it. Once we tried some of the harder variants, we were hooked. Castle Panic has become our favorite co-op on game nights, and we will be getting the expansion soon as we can. This game is great with a group that wants to be light-hearted and have a silly, monster smashing, boulder rolling time. My kids (who are very, very young) love trying the game, and they are getting a good grasp on the rules. The co-op aspect makes it a great game for siblings to work together and get along. I strongly encourage you to give this game two tries, at least. Try the Overlord variant if you want it to be adversarial, or one of the other variants to make the game more challenging. Its worth your family’s time.

10
Go to the A Few Acres of Snow page
133 out of 165 gamers thought this was helpful

I am continually intrigued by this game. The 7 Years War is a fantastic topic for a game, and one I have not seen before. I especially enjoy it, because the whole map is of my home area. It really seems to represents the unbalanced forces of the British and the French in the war as well. The English have far greater ability to generate money (and then buy troops) but the French have a better ability to spread into new areas of the map. This unbalance makes for difficult strategies and challenging choices. The goal of the game is to achieve overwhelming force in the New World, by either eliminating the opponent’s capital or by having a vast majority of settlements on the board. All of this action is done with a small hand of 5 cards. In order to settle a location, you need at least 2 cards (which both have to have the right symbols on them to work) in your hand at the same time. To attack your opponent’s settlement, you need at least 3 cards at the same time, and then you need to put all your effort into keeping up the siege. The end result is an economy which is extremely tight. This can be both challenging and frustrating at the same time. The real challenge is managing your hand to try and achieve your goals. Without paying special attention to the cards in your hand, and trashing the right cards at the right time, you wind up with the wrong cards all the time. A Few Acres of Snow has taken me a long time to understand, and much longer to really appreciate. If you have not tried this yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a few tries. It may frustrate you at first, but give it a real chance.

7
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons (4ed): Player's Handbook page
49 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

Fourth edition (4e) Dungeons & Dragons is a great tactical game. I’ve been playing D&D since 1989 (when I started with an old 1st edition boxed set) and I really enjoy the new edition. Learning how to run a good, balanced game is easier than ever. If you are new to role playing games, 4e is the way to start. Making a character is easy if you use the online character creator. My biggest complaint with the game is that it seems very, very hard to play without a computer to help with the character creation. If you have online access (which, if you are reading this review, you must) making the characters is quite fun. The game is endlessly entertaining, and makes for a great evening. I highly recommend playing D&D, as often as possible.

8
Go to the Thunderstone page

Thunderstone

18 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

Thunderstone takes Dominion’s deck building mechanics and adds a purpose to buying the cards. The point of using your deck in Thunderstone is to attack monsters in the dungeon, and its these monsters that grant victory points. Buying your weapons and heroes with their special abilities leads to the attack phase, where you can gain victory points (as well as valuable gold and experience). The fact that there is another step in the process, and you can not buy cards on the same turn as you attack monsters adds more complexity and depth to the game. Dominion is great in its simplicity, but Thunderstone is better with its added complexity. Learning Thunderstone has a bit of a curve to it, as there are many different types of cards, different monster abilities, and different times to do certain things. This is the most complicated deck-building game I have come across but is worth the brain-space. Thunderstone is a fantastic game, with great card components and plenty of expansions to keep the game entertaining for a long time to come.

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912 page
31 out of 38 gamers thought this was helpful

First of all, I ALWAYS play my Ticket to Ride: Europe game with the expansion cards. Having more routes makes the game twice as much fun. The Big Cities cards are a blast, and just shuffling all the cards together gives lots of unpredictable options. My family enjoys using alternate rules to the tickets. We start with 3 short routes and 2 long routes, and must keep any 3. Then, we shuffle the remaining routes into a giant pile of draws and play from that. I really adds some fun to the game.
The second part of 1912 is really a let down. The ‘warehouse’ mechanic gives you a chance to earn extra cards at various points in the game by taking them out of your warehouse. Unfortunately, the cards get into the warehouse by drawing one at random and placing it in the warehouse EVERY TIME YOU DRAW CARDS! Which, as you can imagine, gets old very fast. I”ve tried playing with the warehouses a few times, and I just leave them in the box now.
If you enjoy Ticket to Ride: Europe and feel like you want some more out of the game, I highly recommend 1912. I’d almost go as far as to say that the expansion is a must have. Just leave the warehouses in the box.

10
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
43 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

I really like Ticket to Ride. The whole franchise is great. If you want to see what I think about the game play, see my review of Ticket to Ride (US map). I prefer the Europe version because, well, its Europe. I”m a Social Studies teacher, and I feel like EVERYTHING is USA based, so I was glad to see a map of somewhere else. Learning how to pronounce the names is fun, using some geography skills is good to find places, and the 1912 theme is great. The addition of the tunnels makes the game a bit more random and adds moments of tension that I enjoy.

What I like most about the Europe version is that it is not so “square.” See, my only real problem with the original map is that it feels somewhat balanced in its area. The whole map is like one big square, and you could literally build a ring around the map with your trains and do a decent job racking up the points. In Europe, the map seems a little ‘off-kilter’ compared to the US map. Some cities are used a whole lot more often than others, and the map seems to present more of a challenge. Others may disagree, but I find this to be an awesome change of the game. You really have to think of which region of the board you want to build towards, because you can’t build a circle around the map (it really is not possible). I”m having trouble articulating the point, but it has a different feel to it.

Also, you should add the 1912 Expansion to the game (but don’t use the warehouses, they are annoying) and try the Big Cities version of the game. Having more tickets makes the game much more enjoyable.

7
Go to the Ascension page

Ascension

41 out of 82 gamers thought this was helpful

Ascension is a really easy deckbuilding game to learn. The rules are short and fairly intuitive. The strategy, however, is harder to understand. I usually play the game on iOS (iPod Touch), so the games go really fast. It is hard to understand why it is so much better to destroy monsters every round, rather than buy the best cards. I like how the cards available rotate all the time. I do wish there was an expansion of some kind, because looking at the same cards every time is getting a little old.

7
Go to the Alhambra page

Alhambra

57 out of 109 gamers thought this was helpful

Alhambra was my second “gamer game” I learned. It is an interesting game, about building your palace in Granada. With 4 different types of currency, it is sometimes hard to build it the way you want to, but the game is lots of fun. There is nothing to do when it is not your turn, but the mechanic of “buy one piece and place it” makes turns go quickly. Alhambra is a simple game to learn, with much more strategy locked into its mechanics than at first glance. My strategy was to always have the longest walls, and it seemed to work out well for me.

One of the best things about Alhambra, is its historical inspiration. I am a history guy by nature, and playing the game has led to looking closely at the history of the Spanish Moors and their exquisite palaces. I think this is a game which is improved by some background knowledge, and it adds an appreciation of what you are doing in the game when you understand you are not just building some random garden. I highly recommend doing some digging into what the Alhambra means and its place in history.

Enjoy the game, it goes by quickly.

9
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

68 out of 109 gamers thought this was helpful

Dominion is one of the original deck building games, one of the fastest growing genres today. It is an excellent game, with lots of replay value (especially when expansions are added). The cards are quality, though the art is horrible. It seems like almost any artist could have made better art on the cards. However, the basic rules are simple and easy to learn, and the game is fun. The basic principle of the game is that you try to purchase cards to add to your deck, from the various stacks available for purchase at the time. The stacks vary from game to game, increasing its replay value. As you buy more cards, the size of your deck increases, meaning that you see each card less frequently. This leads to trying to buy only the optimal group of cards, making sure you have enough money, and even avoiding filling your deck with victory point cards. The one with the most victory cards at the end of the game is the winner, but if you fill your deck with them too fast, others might be able to get more victory points in the end. The balance between victory points, money, and action cards is what makes the game fascinating. I highly recommend this game for everyone. If you have not tried a deck-building game before (like Thunderstone, Ascension, Quarriors, etc.)try Dominion first. Dominion came first, and inspired all the others, so try it first. The simple mechanics will have you hooked. In fact, as I write this, I”m playing a game of Dominion right now (how’s that for my favorite game!)

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

34 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

Ticket to Ride is the game I have waited for since I started the gaming hobby. Its fast, simple to learn, and the theme is (at least mildly) interesting to everyone. While there are better games out there, there are few that non-gamers or social gamers can share as many times with hard-core gamers. The replay value is very high, especially when you consider that the expansions open up many new possibilities in the game. Whenever I am teaching people their first real gamery game, I teach them ticket to ride. Its fun, its easy, readily replayable, and it opens the doors to more complex games.

9
Go to the Roll Through the Ages page
59 out of 95 gamers thought this was helpful

Roll Through the Ages surprised me. I never played Yahtzee as a kid, so the mechanic was sort of new to me, but the game was easy to learn. At first glance, this game looks like a bunch of number crunching (and it is) and some weird dice mechanics (which it is) and seems complex. But after playing it a couple of times, it is oddly addicting. My wife, a non-gamer, played two games, won one of them, and wouldn’t let my gaming group go until we played again. After the first night we were hooked! If you haven’t given Roll Through the Ages a try, you need to as soon as possible.

Its a simple game about building your civilization through the Bronze Age. You roll dice to gain food, money, workers, and trade goods, while trying not to roll disasters. You can use your workers to build more cities (giving you more dice to roll) or build monuments (gaining victory points). With trade goods, you can purchase developments which will improve your civilization, making you more potent in the future.
The game ends when all the wonders have been built or when a player has 6 developments. Last, everyone counts up how many victory points they have earned, and a winner is declared. Its fast, fun, and exciting.

You definitely need to try this game. Three or four times, because it will only take about an hour. Enjoy!

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