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Aaron Bellamy

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Use my invite URL to register (this will give me kudos)
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Go to the KeyForge: Call of the Archons Starter Set page
5 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

The premise of KeyForge promises that every player can buy a unique deck, which will provide a unique play experience for everyone that is fun. KeyForge delivers on that promise.
Part of what I love about KeyForge is the end game goal. Compared to many other similar card games like Magic or Pokemon, the goal of KeyForge is not to kill your opponent, but rather to forge 3 keys by gaining amber the fastest. With that, KeyForge promotes new and interesting mechanics that cannot be found within these games, such as capturing where an opponent can take control of a amber for forging a key with a creature, but the other player can get it back by killing the creature. Furthermore, creatures can reap to gain aember rather than fighting, providing an alternate yet intriguing decision to make every turn.
However, the end game goal does cause one problem, which is that the end game is often anti-climatic. Without at key cheat, an opponent can often see when they are going to lose the game, causing them to not finish the game properly. In the end, the experience getting to the win was still fun.
Keyforge also solves a problem found within many other TCGs, which is the issue of mana or lands to pay for cards. In many other games, the mana system can cause a player to go turns without playing a card, as they either have too much or too little mana. Instead, Keyforge limits the player to playing 1 of 3 houses each turn. Only cards and creatures of the chosen house can be played or used without paying any resources to do so. This means a player can easily have a powerful turn more quickly and mana cards don’t take up space in your hand.
Overall, Keyforge is exciting and promotes a great back in forth between players. I would suggest that people buy the Age of Ascension starter set if they want to play KeyForge.

Go to the Pulsar 2849 page

Pulsar 2849

6 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

Pulsar 2849 is a game both aided and harmed by its core feature, which is the fact that players have lots of different strategies.
What I have loved about playing Pulsar 2849 is there are multiple different ways to win the game from building Pulsars to simply flying your ship around the board. I have won using different strategies too. Out of all the games I have played, Pulsar is the one I have used different strategies from game to game the most. What is great is that while playing there are ways of gaining additional dice or manipulating your dice, so that your plans are not ruined or you can do more than intended. Overall, actually playing the game is typically a great experience, as long as you love dice drafting and lots of options for points.
At the same time, the diverse options in the game make it terrible for teaching. I dread breaking out Pulsar 2849 for new players, as there are so many things to explain from how to build a pulsar to how transmitters work and even the diverse range of technologies. Most of these mechanics need to be taught before the game begins, rather than during the game, which means players will be in for a long teaching session, while the teacher is consistently referencing the rule book to make sure they are teaching the game right. Especially on a first play through.
On top of that, Pulsar’s components aren’t the best. Sure they make due and probably won’t fall apart, but they don’t look elegant on the table either. So if you are look for a game with a beautiful table presence, it probably isn’t Pulsar.
However, despite its flaws Pulsar 2849 still obtains an 8/10 from me, as the mechanics are great and every game has me asking how do I want to win next time?

Go to the Wingspan page


8 out of 9 gamers thought this was helpful

Wingspan provides a delightful experience with a wide range of strategy. One of the major aspects of Wingspan that stand out to me is the inclusion of theme. From every card having unique art to the nest types and egg amounts, Stonemaeir games teaches players about the lifestyle of each bird, while providing quality gameplay at the same time. In several of the games I have played, other players have enjoyed reading the bird facts on the bottom of each card out loud, as if it was an event card in a normal thematic game. Though another theme could have been put on this game, the bird theme fits elegantly in with the mechanics.
The gameplay is wonderful as well. Building up your engine is the best part, as by the end of the game your actions will be powerful. At the beginning of the game, you feel as if your actions are doing little to help you. The difference between beginning and end game is aided by the fact that in the last round all players have less actions in the first round, making the player’s need to take advantage of their engine more omnipresent.
I love Wingspan and most Euros I play, but the major problem I have with it as I do other Euros is that it does not seem to generate a table conversation. Rather, the table is likely to be quite, as people are calculating how to get the best out of their next turn or admiring the beauty of the cards. I’m sure this could change depending on the game group, but a game that encourages conversation is always great.
Overall, Stonemaeir games has produced another hit. The mix of Wingspan theme and mechanics, which are aided by the beautiful components, make for a game that can be considered the best game of the year.

Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

5 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

Ticket to Ride is a fantastic game because it is simple, while requiring meaningful decisions. My favorite part of Ticket to Ride is building up a hand of cards that I can play in succession to build my route. However, what is wonderful about the game is the timing. Players will be faced with difficult, but simple decisions such as when to lay down track or whether to pick random or revealed cards. Sure, one decision may be a safer bet, but what if the other ended up being more rewarding, or what if someone takes your route before you claim it. The timing to these decision adds tension that builds, as when people use their trains they are making the end of the game closer which puts pressure on all the other players to be more efficient.
At the same time, the game makes for an excellent gateway or family experience. Due to players only being required to choose between 3 types of actions, new players are not overwhelmed with choice. Rather, new players will easily catch on in a couple of turns. By the end of the game will likely be ready to play again.
However, the one problem I have with the base game is the size of the cards. Compared to all the expansions and other versions, original Ticket to Ride still comes with extremely small cards. The problem is that these cards are harder to pick up and more easily slide around. Fortunately, the 1910 expansion fixes this major flaw, but this should have never been a problem in the first place.
Overall, Ticket to Ride will make a great addition to any game night, as it is a simple game to start the game for returning gamers and a great introduction game for your family and friends who are not gamers. 10/10

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