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David McCord

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Go to the Acquire page
Go to the Forbidden Island page
Go to the RoboRally page
Go to the King of Tokyo page
Go to the SET page
Go to the Guillotine page
Go to the Kingdom of Solomon page
Go to the Lanterns: The Harvest Festival page
100 out of 140 gamers thought this was helpful

We played Lanterns with four-players last night, and it’s a winner.
Upon opening the box (the “new” smell was a little over-powering) and punching out components, we were impressed with the quality and artwork. A well-lit room will be helpful, particularly distinguishing the blue and green honor tiles (yellow might have been a better choice there).
The rules are simple and straightforward; the only things we needed to hunt for were the use of the 4-point honor tiles and what happens when a particular card is “out of stock.” But we learned the game comfortably in just a few rounds.
The level of strategic planning, placement, and resource management is just right for a casual-yet-challenging experience. There were laughs and mock-anger moments, and no one felt left behind or unduly threatened. This is an excellent game, in a very nice-sized box, that we’ll definitely be playing again. Highly recommended!

Go to the Five Tribes: The Djinns of Naqala page
79 out of 132 gamers thought this was helpful

Five Tribes got to the table at our game group this week. Eager to give it a try, we had cautious expectations when we sat down. But when the game was over, we were all in agreement: This is a winner!
Colorful and engaging, easy to grasp, there may be an advantage to those with good pattern-recognition skills.
There are just enough choices (“paths to victory”) to keep me coming back. (Next time I will better appreciate the resource-gathering strategy.) Depending on the audience, this could be a good gateway game but it might be a little overwhelming for beginners. I think there’s enough challenge here to keep it coming back.
With four new players, we were up to speed in short order. Only a half-dozen of the Djins came into play, and now that we’ve seen how the meeple distribution interacts with the tiles, the next session will be more intense, I think. (Which is a good thing!)
High marks across the board (components, game play, teachability, replayability), although there were a few moments where we needed to discuss some minor vague points in the rules. A video tutorial will surely clear that up.
Overall: Highly recommended!!!

Go to the High Society page

High Society

8 out of 12 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve heard positive reviews about “High Society” from podcasters and players for some time now. (And it took me ten years to get to it.) It seems to make its way onto a lot of lists, and I managed to ****** a copy recently to give it a try. The art is fairly well executed, there are nice heavy cards and tiles, an unnecessarily heavy rules booklet, all give the game an air of sophistication when the box is first opened.
Reading through the rules and looking at the components, I thought this would a simple bidding game with limited resources, including a few auctions the players strive to avoid as they go ’round. Sounds good – let’s play.
Please forgive me when I say “O.M.G.” The stress level at the table was amazing as each player struggled with their next bid. “If I do this, then he might go for that, but he just did the other thing, so…” And then the negative tiles come out and it’s too late! I’ve already blown my smaller money cards – this is going to cost me!
We played this through with three, then four, and this will surely be coming to Game Night again.
At first, it was a little tough to get our heads around the bidding strategy for the negative tiles, but after a bit it was manageable. We were all impressed with another great Knizia creation. We only had one rules wonderment (“What happens when you’re out of money?”) that wasn’t very clear, but we worked it out.
A definite recommendation for a wide audience.

Go to the Fluxx The Board Game page
63 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

Last night a sub-group of our game-group brought out Fluxx, the Board Game, to start the evening off lightly. And we played it again. And then again. And we give it the highest praise I think a game can get: we had fun!
This little gem is very Fluxx-like in its goals, its ever-changing (yet simple) rules, and its clever visual puns and rebus-like picture collection. It’s a little finicky in set-up, but not bad. Component-wise, the only thing that garnered any criticism was the cards and pegs used to track the rule settings. The pegs popped out a lot, and we agreed there may be a better way to keep track of that without impacting the street price.
One of us was not a Fluxx player, but “got it” within a few turns. To that I would say it’s very “accessible” – but the game still displays the unpredictable nature of Fluxx. If someone is averse to a touch of chaos in their table-top entertainment, you might advise them to look elsewhere.
My conclusion is that this is a winner for just about any crowd. Regardless of the age rating, a patient pre-schooler could play along with great-grandma and have a great time. Then again, a foursome of “alpha gamers” can have a laugh or two as well, making this a great little filler. Two thumbs up!

Go to the Firefly: The Game page

Firefly: The Game

65 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

Being a bit of a “Browncoat” I had been looking forward to this one for some time, and beamed like a kid when the box arrived at my doorstep. The local Game Group brought it out last night for a first run – and it was a huge success.
The components are good quality and the rules are OK. We found a few fan-generated “cheat sheets” that were a BIG help. This game takes a lot of room, so be sure you have a good-sized table!
The core of the game is a straightforward pick-up-and-deliver game, but there is so much “color” and “flavor” and THEME knitted into the adventure! Flying through the black, interacting with familiar settings and characters, doing mischief and dodging the Alliance. It was great to feel IN the story.
There were, as usual, a few finer points in the rules and on the cards that we missed until several rounds into the game. All part of the learning curve, but a little more clarification in the rule book would make this less intimidating to the casual gamer.
There was some talk around the table about developing strategies. It was shiny when a key crewmember popped up in the card deck – but now that we know where they are, our strategy is surely changed. Will this take away from some of the “unexpected delight” experienced when you don’t know where those cards are? Probably. The natural answer to this is going to be in EXPANSIONS. More stories, more stuff, more characters, and maybe a supplemental board with more SPACE to exploit.
We didn’t finish our first game, but we all agreed that we’ll come back to the ‘verse as soon as we can to carry on the adventuring. A good solid game, and unbeatable theme, and a few hours of excellent entertainment. Looking forward to our next Firefly session!

Go to the Kingdom of Solomon page

Kingdom of Solomon

34 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a very fine little resource-management game from Minion, set in the ancient Kingdom of Solomon in the middle east. (No Bible stories here – this is an economic game.) Upon reading the rules, I thought “WaterDeep Lite” but it does have some interesting differences, and is a bit simpler. A good solid game with good components – although the packaging could use an upgrade. (Grab your baggies.)
There were some vague aspects to the game play – a few actions not very clear in the rule booklet. Minion offers a revised set of rules (download the PDF) that helps clear those up. They also offer an “upgrade kit” that replaces some of the wee wooden bits with Monopoly-style buildings (a good choice). I might invest in that, because I think this one will get to the table again. Our local game group liked it a lot, and we all give it a green light.
The theme is fairly well integrated – all the effects make sense and resources are limited in such a way that their value seems more realistic.
I recommend this as a “just inside the gateway” game… a bit much for the mass-market crowd to handle, but after a few rounds of King of Tokyo, when the room gets quieter again, this might work.
Green light from Daibhre.

Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

32 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

I’d heard a lot of good stuff from podcasters about this one, so whena few extra bucks found their way into my PayPal account, I grabbed it for our weekly Game Group to try. I knew the idea of playing the classic giant Japanese B-Movie Beasties would appeal to this crowd (all die-hard MST3K fans) – and I was right! There’s just enough game here to keep it interesting for the hobbyist, and we all agreed that it would be an excellent family/party game, too. We played with six, and it worked perfectly. And now my wish-list includes the Power-Up expansion. I have a feeling that this one will make it to the table quite often.

Go to the Cleopatra and the Society of Architects page
13 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

I acquired this game in a group-purchase almost a year ago, and we finally got it to the table last night. Chipboard bits, cards, plastic figures, cardboard pyramids, plastic temple parts, chipboard pentominoes, dice, counters – a bit overwhelming. The packaging is less than great – two layers, with a tray that’s OK, but the other piece that holds the plastic temple parts – not so great, and hard to repackage. Plan on a very large playing space! You need to use the BOX BOTTOM as part of the game, too. (Those plastic template parts made it feel more like a toy than a game.)
The rules booklet had a good inventory of parts, but was a little unclear about set-up. Otherwise, all was well described and easy to find for later reference. As with most games of this complexity, a few rounds and we were running along fairly well. The thing with the ankh dice and the offerings was a little odd. Fit the theme, but didn’t flow so well with the rest of the play. The resource management, construction, characters, and corruption all worked very well. The pentominoes to build the courtyard area also seemed a bit contrived, a separate game idea that was not too well integrated with the rest.
In the end – we had fun with it, and might bring it out again someday, but I don’t see it being high on anyone’s wish list. If the components were less “toy-like” it might help. All those plastic bits seemed to cheapen it for us. It looks more like a mass-market game, but far too much game for a mass market audience. Conclusion: I’d give it another try, but I’d rather play 7 Wonders.

Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
48 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

Yup, it’s a Euro, but I’ve been here before.
Just looking at the box (different, to be sure), we knew we were in for good time. It only took a few rounds to get the turn order figured out (place agents – reap rewards – fulfill quests) and it flowed along very well. And fun, too.
The quality of the cards, boards, and bits is good, and the graphic design is quite clear after just a few rounds. By the end of the first play (about an hour and a half with 5 newbies), we began to appreciate the relative value of buildings and quests and “adventurers.”
On the downside, even at the end we still had trouble calling little orange cubes “fighters” and so on. But despite this thematic weakness it was a really fun game, and we’re looking forward to another session!

Go to the Munchkin page


23 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

Last night our game group brought out the cowboy version of Munchkin. No idea what the real name is, but I really liked this one. I’ve been looking for a Munchkin version that would appeal to some non-gamers and friends who don’t get the RPG / D&D / Fantasy genre — this might be it!
A couple of the five folks we played with last night debated some rules a bit – a discussion of “house rules” for Munchkin ensued, which slowed the game down for the un-experienced. But it did bring out some situations and combinations that call for some “let’s play it this way” because we simply didn’t feel like looking up stuff.
Simple as it may be, a set of turn-order cards would have been helpful for the beginners, too. But overall – a fun experience!

Go to the Infinite City page

Infinite City

8 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

Most every week these days, the game group has something new to try. Last night it was Infinite City, and very enjoyable.
The components are top-notch, the artwork nice, the instructions quite clear and simple. As one plays through it the first time, it doesn’t take long to realize the value of position and placement. Fast, simple, and fun – this looks to me to be a great candidate for a “gateway” game.
Personally, I think it would have been cool to go just a little more towards the Fritz Lang / Metropolis / Gotham look. And I think it would be nice to introduce a little more movement into the game – a bit more “this-will-be-valuable-later” on the tiles.
That said, I’ve no complaints — it’s definitely a game to keep near the front of the shelf and bring it out for the family gatherings.
(Expansions? Seems like a natural.)

Go to the Sky Traders page

Sky Traders

28 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

Played this for the first time last night, and will surely play again.
This quirky sort of steam-punkish fantasy romp is playful on its surface, but quite a challenge if you really want to win it. I say it that way because the game’s theme and setting make for a great adventure, win or lose. There is plenty of opportunity to try different strategies, to play aggressively or passively, to be clever and sly or out-and-out dastardly. And I really like the art style (although the characterizations are a bit over the edge).
Each round is in two phases: move and trade and do stuff in one phase, then negotiate and play the market in the next. After you’ve gone through it once, it falls into place nicely and plays pretty smoothly. (I do think there are a few excess bits that add more complexity than fun – but then, I’ve only played it once.)
A “turn-order sidebar” would be very welcomed on the player boards – we were constantly passing the book around to remember all our options. The colors of some of the goods would be hard to discern in low light – so keep the dimmers on high for this one. Otherwise, the graphic design is excellent IMHO.
Player interaction in this one depends very much on the player attitudes. I could see this played very passively or very aggressively, and I think a lot of that potential will become more obvious with experience. Looking forward to another session, and hope to play better! (I lost miserably the first time.) Recommended if you like lots of bits and lots of decisions.

Go to the Red November page

Red November

47 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

I have read about this one, heard the reviews and a few tales, and really enjoyed the idea of it. Looked forward to it for a long time. So last night the game group got it to the table… with 8 players. One of us had played a few solo rounds – that was about it. And, as noted in my title, I think 8 was way too many people crowded around this game. In fact, there was too much opportunity for distraction and another game broke out at a neighboring table. With 5 or less, this might have been a much better experience.
That said, I will DEFINITELY play this again. The premise is fun, the story is great, the challenge quite daunting. I could complain about the teeny time track – there not even room on it for the counters, so these were set on the table beside the track. Kinda odd. And the “hobbit cards” are a little annoying – I’d rather see full-size cards in any game. I didn’t get the “grog” significance in the game – must have missed something.
Overall, I do recommend Red November – but I suspect it will play WAY better with 5 or less. Good luck – it’s tough!

Go to the Pandemic page


50 out of 120 gamers thought this was helpful

With so many games and so little time (heard that before, right?), it’s a joy to bring Pandemic to the table again. Played last night with three – myself (avid), my son-in-law (rabid), and a fairly new gamer (interestid). It was a great session (we won!) and refreshing. Highly recommended intro to modern co-op, and deep enough for the hard-core gamer with under an hour to play.
My son-in-law has the Over The Brink expansion, which includes the Petri Dishes (an awesome thematic addition). The turn-order cards and clear instructions on the board guide players through the game very effectively. The odds are not so intimidating, but tension builds when the epidemics break out on the other side of the planet. (With only three players, it’s hard to cover all those sites. Luckily, one of us was the “Dispatcher.”)
Buy it, borrow it, play it.

Go to the Innovation page


58 out of 160 gamers thought this was helpful

I gotta heck out some tutorials or demos or something. It seemed like I was missing something this first time around. Will reserve judgement until I can play again.

Go to the Sorry Sliders page

Sorry Sliders

4 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Actually MORE favorite is the “Cars”-themed race track version (hard to find), but this is always a fun dexterity choice when the little kids are in the house.

Go to the Hey, That's My Fish! page
17 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

We played a few rounds last week at a Boy Scout game night. Everyone liked it, but the arrangement of the hexes gets shuffled up a lot. We spent a lot of time pushing stuff back into place. But overall – it’s a green light. (Mine is the tiny version – maybe the bigger one doesn’t get pushed out of shape so easily.)

Go to the Guillotine page


54 out of 102 gamers thought this was helpful

“Did you bring Guillotine?” whenever I come by for a visit. What more need I say? Try it – you’ll like it.

Go to the RoboRally page


51 out of 111 gamers thought this was helpful

I have a first edition copy, and it gathered dust for a few years until someone at the local game group brought it up. Best played in a quiet environment (for me anyhow) so the moves can be thought thru carefully. I really like the “registers” and need to look into the future at every TURN – and move, and etc. A favorite, indeed.

Go to the Acquire page


54 out of 128 gamers thought this was helpful

I finally got the game to the table at the game group a few weeks ago. I pulled out my tattered 1978 copy. What can I say – it was a HIT – and we’ve played again and again since then. Hopefully someone in the group will buy a new copy so I won’t wear out my “vintage” copy too much. Just terrific for family fun and serious gamer strategy, too.

Go to the Flash Point: Fire Rescue page
98 out of 161 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a great co-op to play with friends & family – esp. those in the Fire/Rescue field. It only took a couple of rounds to get the hang of it, but we found ourselves looking for a “action point summary” card to remember the basics. After four plays, I still haven’t won the thing – but soon will! On the up-side, the theme is the strongest point, I think. Many non-gamers are completely turned off by the common fantasy/battle/sci-fi themes, and this one gets their attention. Also, because I backed the kickstarter on this one, I got the extra bonus board with two more floorplans. (Thanks, Travis.) On the down-side, the box busted a corner seam already, and the parts just BARELY fit in the trough in the middle. I’ll be re-engineering the contents. Overall, it’s a green light for me.

Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

38 out of 108 gamers thought this was helpful

The family does like it – from the 8s to the 80s – and the tin is hardy enough to take on outings with the Scout Troop (they like it, too) although I’ve tied a string around it to keep it from popping open in the backpack! Nice components, good play time, excellent gateway game, too. (Still need to try it with two-players.)

Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game page
40 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

I find myself wanting to play again, and that’s a good sign. Enjoyed the nostalgia, the co-op, the flow… inshort: it was fun. I seek more variety in expansions – new monsters and challenges.

Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

23 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve only played a few times, but had to buy it. A great intro to newer game mechanisms but easier and “funner” than many other recent releases. I’m very eager to share this with my family over the holiday weekend and see if they all agree. FUN is here!

Go to the Pit page


6 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

The shouting, the frenzy, and the BELL! Always been a favorite in our circle of friends. (and I do mean always!) There are so many versions of this game, the quality and variety of cards and such spans the spectrum. A good 30-year-old “deluxe” edition will do you well. I highly recommend this game. [SEE ALSO: Knezia’s “Wheedle” is very similar, but less hectic.]

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