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The Big Cheese 2012

D. Hunter Phillips

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The Big Cheese 2012
The Big Cheese 2012
Complete all five Cheese Weasel ConQuest Cards at Gen Con 2012. Learn about ConQuests »
Go to the Conflict at the Carrock Adventure Pack page
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
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8
Go to the The Resistance: 3rd Edition page
29 out of 35 gamers thought this was helpful

Why are there always so many pesky spies in our resistance movement! And why are the numbers always so balanced?

Who cares? He’s the spy, forget about him!

The Resistance pits rebels against a group of spies in their midst. The game plays out in a number of voting and mission rounds where a team is chosen for the mission and then those team members play a pass or fail card. Only spies can play a fail card.

Think of this game like Battle Star Galactica lite, without all the complicated character powers and plastic pieces. It’s just, who the **** is a cylon?

The sweet spot for this game is right around 7 players. Before that many, the game does not have a good social dynamic. After that number, some players may never get involved.

The advanced rules are not too advanced. In fact, I’d say they were pretty much necessary for game balance.

Be sure to pay attention to the fact that on the summary card, an * next to a mission number means that there must be two fail results for the mission to fail.

This is a solid game, overall. People that like simple games that involve a large amount of interaction will find their home here.

If you like my reviews, please check out my facebook fan page. You can also support my theoretical writing career by reading and sharing my stories at http://facebook.com/DavidHunterPhillips

8
Go to the The Dead Marshes Adventure Pack page
26 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

The Hero
Boromir: A Tactics Hero with a threat cost of 11. Will 1 Attack 3 Defense 2 Hit points 5.
This character has a powerful ability that allows him to refresh for the gain of 1 threat. He has a second ability that is more thematic, but really it is only useful in absolute desperation measures. He can sacrifice himself to do 2 damage to each enemy engaged with a player. His ability to attack or defend multiple times should not be downplayed. Often, gaining 1 or 2 threat per turn, in exchange for characters surviving and killing monsters faster… is never a bad thing.
The Player Cards
With this set, the addition of a 1 cost eagle in Vassal of the Windlord really boosts the strength of eagle and tactics decks significantly. The previous Support of the Eagles is much stronger with this cheap ally. The player cards in this set may actually be the strongest in each sphere in a single pack. Fast Hitch increases the power of hobbits significantly and really makes a hobbit focused deck a much more interesting proposition. It gives a hobbit the ability to refresh an extra time per turn. Dunedain Watcher gives leadership some ability to cancel effects that typically it does not have access to. Elfhelm is a powerful spirit ally that can actually fight well and his ability to prevent threat gain makes him a plus in just about any deck.
The Quest
The Dead Marshes as a quest involves finally trying to get your hands on the elusive Gollum! That is what the whole quest line has led to. The quest is exciting and flavorful. The quest is not overly difficult and frustrating. It also offers a change of strategic play that is not so tedious or single-minded as Hills of Emyn-Muil.
Conclusion
This pack comes highly recommended for the quest, the hero, and the player cards. You really can’t lose with buying this pack. The new Escape mechanic is complicated, so you must be sure to keep the insert for the quest. That is probably the only complaint I would have about the quest. After not playing it for a while and revisiting it, the escape mechanic took some getting used to.

8
Go to the Ascension page

Ascension

42 out of 48 gamers thought this was helpful

Hero in a strange realm, I choose you! Now, GO TO MY DISCARD PILE!
The gist of the game:
Do you know Dominion or Thunderstone or Rune Age or… okay this list is really starting to get long. This is yet another entry into the deck building genre.
Replay Value:
Come on, the whole point of deck building games is based upon the idea of replay value. I couldn’t really rate a deck building game above a 3 if it didn’t have replay potential, could you? I think not. 5/5
Components:
3/5 I can’t give a maximum score here because some of the art is a little eh. The art is really unique, though it is a bit nebulous at times. As far as the card quality, I can’t really give extra points simply because I played only with sleeved cards. The one big positive for components, the stones used to track honor! Those things are fun to grab and chuck around.
Easy to Learn:
3/5 This game does not have the complexity of some big box board games, but as far as deck building games go, it is definitely not an entry level help desk position. The poor player that tries to teach this game to deck building newbies will feel like a help desk clerk. Explaining the nuances will take a while and the first couple of games will be maddeningly slow, like dealing with an automated phone system where you have to speak to the computer before an actual operator.
2-4 players All I played was 3 player games. I don’t know if this would be a great 2 player game, but 3 or 4 seem grand. 13+ age Sure, seems straightforward enough. 30+ minutes Don’t sit down to play Ascension</b during your lunch break unless all players involved are good at making quick decisions and have played the game a few times before. 30 minutes? Gimme a break.
Conclusion:
The biggest bonus I could give to this game is when I got home after playing and found myself contemplating strategies and card combinations. That is a good sign.
Secondly, I like the idea of not having to keep the cards as organized as in Dominion. I only own two expansions to that game and it is already a huge pain to keep track of all the cards and cart around the boxes.
The biggest gripe I probably have for this game is that if you choose a focused military strategy, there is a chance you will get screwed. If you choose to go with no military, the same. This mainly comes from the monsters and the purchasable cards coming from the same deck and going into the same pool. A game could be all monsters, or no monsters. That would really mess up certain strategies and there is no way to know that it is going to happen from one game to another.
If you like deck building games, definitely try this one. If you don’t, try it anyway.

7
Go to the The Hills of Emyn Muil Adventure Pack page
32 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

The Hero
Brand Son of Bain: A Tactics Hero with a threat cost of 10. Will 2 Attack 3 Defense 2 Hit points 3.
This character has the Ranged trait, which is probably its only saving grace. Brand is a pretty weak character. The ability never works in solo play and in multiplayer, cooperation in choosing heroes is paramount. If no one chooses a hero like Beravor, then Brand’s ability will trigger too late to be useful. In the future, there could be combos involving his ability, but right now, it is just not as good as what is out there.
The Player Cards
Song of Travel finishes off the basic set of songs that allow players to give any hero any resource in the game. Other than that, there are a couple of cards that could potentially have powerful combos, but otherwise, the cards in this set are almost yawn worthy. Gildor Inglorion and Keen-eyed Took could be combined in a deck to good use, but only if that deck works solely towards the sifting through the deck strategy.
The Quest
This quest has an interesting concept. The constant travelling to locations is easy to imagine. It really feels like a sightseeing tour of the hills. This is about all the quest offers though. The need to travel to gain victory points to win seems like a great concept for future quests, but here it is just boring. There is not enough stress or action. Players will either blow this quest away quickly or lose quickly from not being able to clear locations. This is probably the weakest quest thus far. It still feels more fun than, Hunt for Gollum, but mostly because it is over so quickly.
Conclusion
If you are a completist, this pack is necessary. The quest is not that exciting and the hero is easy to pass up. There might be a couple of player cards that a player will miss, but most of them can be replaced by cards from other packs. If someone wants to run a Rohan deck, Ride to Ruin and The Riddermark’s Finest are staples and make this pack a worthy purchase.

(At least it is not a 3 hour tour, more of a 30 minute one)

9
Go to the A Journey to Rhosgobel Adventure Pack page
34 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

The Hero
Prince Imrahil: A Leadership Hero with a threat cost of 11. Will 2 Attack 3 Defense 2 Hit points 4.
This character is a strong and well rounded character similar to Aragorn. His special ability to ready once per turn when a character leaves play can be a strong one in the right type of deck. Unlike some of the other, debatably better abilities, it takes some finessing to get this ability to be useful.
The Player Cards
Escort from Edoras and Ancient Mathom are the better of the player cards added by this expansion. So, if you are looking to expand your spirit decks power, this pack will come in quite handy.
The Quest
The quest involves defending an ally that swaps hands every turn. Then you need to dig through the encounter deck to find objective cards before you get to the end of the last stage of the quest. If you don’t have enough healing or get the right encounter cards before too long, you will fail.
Conclusion
There are some staple player cards in this set. The quest is a mixed bag. You could potentially have a great time with it, but usually it takes a group a few tries to start to understand the strategy of how the quest works.
The mechanics of this quest are a bit wonky, and having a healing deck makes it much much easier

9
Go to the Conflict at the Carrock Adventure Pack page
90 out of 97 gamers thought this was helpful

Let’s try this again. My post text completely disappeared.

First, the player cards: The hero in this pack, (see above), is a game changer! I have spoken of Frodo’s brokenness in strategy posts before.

A lot of the other player cards in this pack are not all that great. There is one card, A Burning Brand that is a huge game changer. I could see that card being a staple of Lore decks for years to come. It already replaces one of the cards from the base set completely (Dark Knowledge).

The quest itself is quite a fun one. A great aspect about it is the length of time to play through it. You will either rush through in a frenzy of blood and victory or be crushed utterly and Roasted Slowly.

Conclusion
I have more pleasant memories and funny stories from this quest than probably all the others combined.

One such memory of victory: We were just about to win the day with only one named troll left. Two Hill Trolls came off of the encounter deck (which are type Troll). So we had to kill all three of them to end the game. We panicked for a minute until we did all the math and realized we could take them all out! It was quite exciting.

A moment of despair: My girlfriend has some funny memories from this one. Boromir valiantly defended against a silly little Marsh Viper on the first round of the game. And, would you believe it? The shadow card was another Marsh Viper. This combination did one damage to him, which killed him from poison! We replayed the quest after losing, and on the first turn of the second play through, it happened again! Just like that. She now laughs early in games when I say I’m going to fight an enemy and block it, “Are you sure you don’t just want me to block with Frodo?”

It is a must play quest, especially if you enjoy combat.

8
Go to the The Hunt for Gollum Adventure Pack page
68 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

The Hunt for Gollum was not the most exciting quest when I first played through it. I played it almost right after it first came out. The other reviews here sort of summed up my feelings on it.

Revisiting the quest recently changed up those results a little bit. I played it with two other groups than from my original play through.

The difficulty was not too far up there. Which, for a first quest in a first quest cycle was wise. The quest is filled with Locations, but it might be the fact that I have gotten more into the lore now that makes me enjoy that aspect of it more.

The fact that during two stages of the quest, there is even more player choice is quite enjoyable. The first player has to look at some cards from the top of the encounter deck and put one into play. This added choice adds another level of strategy and tension to the game. There is nothing like looking at the 3 cards, picking the Clue card and being excited, only to have that card guarded by the Hunters from Mordor.

After playing all the quests in this cycle, I see how this one fits into the story thematically. That is a big plus to story gamers. Not every quest, when played all in a row should just be the same climatic feeling. The whole cycle really nails the feeling of a good yarn.

7
Go to the Attack! page

Attack!

40 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

Attack! Begin the World War II assault!
The gist of the game:
Attack! Is a game in the same type as Axis and Allies. The beauty of Attack! Is that it is so customizable. The negative of it is in the poor production quality. It does sort of have the feel of a cheap game, but if you go in knowing that, you can have a lot of fun with it. You can’t accurately try to portray World War II with this, but that isn’t the point. It is more like Risk with extra rules and unit types. If you like Risk, you will probably find some fun with Attack!
Replay Value:
The replay value is not great. If you could replay a world spanning World War II strategy game over and over then you could play this one over and over. There are so many different strategies to choose from and the non-preset unit setup doesn’t make it the same first moves every time. You aren’t just going to rush your tanks into Russia as Germany.
Components:
The components for this game are probably the worst part of it. To represent 5 of a type of unit, the game includes larger versions of the same game piece. These are often hard to distinguish next to a 1 unit. Chips would be a much better way to represent extra troops of each type.
Easy to Learn:
The basic game is very easy to learn. With the expansion, the advanced game gets a bit more difficult, but you should always at least try the basic game first with new players before jumping in head first.
2-6 players A 2 player game would be pretty boring, especially with the advanced rules. The advanced rules are interesting because of the 3 political factions, and a two player game would lose that. 10+ age The basic game could be for 10+ age group, but the advanced rules might take someone with a bit more maturity under their sleeve. 60+ minutes A 60 minute game of this would be super short and only possible if someone trounces the other players. It plays out more in the standard times of large strategy games like this.
Conclusion:
This is a fun game. It is sort of an Axis and allies clone. What I like about it is that the set up is not pre-determined. Also, the naval superiority rules in the basic game make that part of the game go quickly. The advanced rules to use oil for every action you do during your turn is pretty ingenious. The advanced rules political factions are fun to mess with. If you like whole world strategy games, you should give this game a try.

7
Go to the Puerto Rico page

Puerto Rico

59 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

To me this game maintains an interesting position. The game has excellent strategy and gameplay. There is little to no downtime. There is no randomness, it is all about strategy.

The people that I initially played this game with, explained how some of the buildings were miss-priced for what they do. They explained that in many tournaments, there are changes to a couple of the values. It would be nice to see them fixed in reprints.

This game does have a strong theme, and it can be felt during game play. It’s just hard to get all of my friends and even myself to get excited about the concept. And don’t take this comment too seriuosly, but a friend of mine did bring up a good point. The worker pieces are all brown. We wondered if the developers were doing that because the workers were probably slaves. We laughed, but at the same time (not that racism is funny, it was just an ironic idea) had to stop and think about it. Was that a good move on the designer’s part?

There is something to be said for some randomness. Randomness adds that edge of your seat element. There is always that moment in a game with dice or a card draw where you are crossing your fingers and looking for that last chance at victory. Puerto Rice is really missing that exciting element. It is this fact actually that makes me enjoy a little known game, Constantinopolis (made by FFG) over this one. In that game, you could draw a couple of really good contracts at the end of the game to throw you over the top and send your opponents home tearing out their hair.

It is a good game that deserves accoloades, I just don’t think it lives up to all the hype. I’m still glad that I have had the chance to experience this game. I would play it again.

9
Go to the Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm page
48 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

Great lord Emperor/council/president/General or whoever rules your realm: ready yourself for new ways to race to victory. It really does feel like a race, think about that when you make decisions. There is no time to waste. There is no time for folly.
What you get:
There is a robot AI mode with a separate board and chits.
There are about 2 dozen new cards to add into the deck of cards.
There are 4 more homeworlds that are quite fun to play with.
There are objective cards which give players a new way to score victory points.
Doesn’t sound like much, but it is still totally worth it.

Replay Value:
After playing the base game through many many plays, this expansion actually takes away all the fatigue and frustration that some strategies had. The solo mode against the robot player is also really fun and it is great for trying out how fast some strategies develop.
Components:
There are not many cards, as have been complained about in many other places. All the chits and the extra player cards are a welcome resource.
Easy to Learn:
Playing against the robot is really the only new challenge to learning. You will have to have the expansion rulebook out for the first few games, but after that, as with the base game, once you learn the iconography you are good to go.
1-5 players There is no sweet spot, this game is good for any number of players. 12+ age As long as the kids can figure out iconography well, this game is very accessible. There really is no added complexity with the expansion. 60+ minutes The game plays in only 30 minutes once all the players really know what they are doing.
Conclusion:
Although there are a lot of complaints about the number of cards this set adds for the money, don’t look at it that way. Look at this expansion as to the re-balancing and fun value for your money. The Alien strategy and the military strategy are now totally viable to actually win the game against skilled players. In fact, I would say that if you have the right card or 2 in your opening hand, Alien strategy is very powerful.
Objectives open up new strategies and the game really feels a lot more like a race than anything in the starting set.
I would recommend this expansion for anyone who is interested in playing Race For the Galaxy for a long time and in detail. The solo mode is also challenging and fun, although Easy is probably as hard as you need to go.

9
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
99 out of 106 gamers thought this was helpful

We’ve got to cross the river! Okay, so far I have experienced the quests in the main game, a little bit of The Hunt For Gollum and the Massing at Osgiliath. Rivers are the bane of all heroes! Water is supposed to be the source of all life and goodness. Well, not in Middle Earth. I digress.
I would hate for the bold statement at the top of the page to make people think that I don’t like this game. That would be so not true that it would be unfair to FFG and Tolkien.

The gist of the game:
Each player has a group of 1-3 heroes (no reason to use less than 3 really). The players work together to go on quests where they must fight enemies, travel to locations in Middle Earth, and quest their way to victory. There is an Encounter Deck that reveals threats for the heroes to face. Each player has their own deck of cards (in a deck that they have pre-constructed). Survive and make your way to victory!
You lose when all your heroes die or your threat goes up to 50. Think of threat as sort of how visible and famous that your party is. The higher the threat, the more the bigger guys are paying attention to what you do.
You must balance your group into characters that will quest, defend your party, and attack. These choices can mean life or death.
Replay Value:
Constructed deck games have massive replay value. I have tried many many different sets of cards and heroes together. The challenge of the quests makes you want to try again and again to beat your last attempt.
Components:
The cards are a little bit flimsy so you will want to invest in at least 50 card sleeves for a tournament worthy deck or even at least 60 for two mono source decks right out of the box. The threat counters are great. The tokens look nice and are rather sturdy. Also, you can play with 4 players out of the box, but you will need some dice or paper to track the 3rd and 4th players threat. The decks will be only 30 cards each, but they work for your first few games.
Easy to Learn:
If someone knows the rules to begin with, the game is much easier for people to learn. The people that I have taught so far have had a strong grasp of the game after getting through half of a quest. The nuances of when to engage optionally and who to send on quests is what takes time to figure out.
1-4 players The game is very difficult, if not impossible with just 1 player. The more players there are, the easier the game seems to be. This is true especially if all the power sources are covered. 13+ age I can’t suggest this game for a younger crowd unless they are sharp as a fresh set of kitchen knives. 30+ minutes It is really hard to say how long the game will take and it almost makes me laugh thinking about the variance in game lengths. You could be done in 5 or less minutes as a loser or you could take 90 minutes when you make it to the end. It doesn’t always take 90 minutes.
Conclusion:
The Lord of the Rings LCG is going to be a game that I will be spending a lot of money and time on. If you like deck construction, this game will give you hours of entertainment. Deck construction is so insanely fun since you can also play the game in solo to try out your decks. I have spent hours and hours doing just this.
If you are a man with a woman who isn’t huge into gaming, this one could bring her in. IF you have a girl that is into Lord of the Rings, that could draw her in. Since it is cooperative that makes it much easier to drag her in. So I wouldn’t say that this is a gateway game by any means, but it is a girlfriend/spouse pleaser to many ladies.
The quests are challenging, but that makes it very exciting when you do beat the quests. You will literally cheer!

7
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Expansion page
45 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

Give me Helen Tigh any day of the week. NO, I didn’t mean in bed, I meant to play at the table. I feel the same way about most of the other aspects of the expansion. Who doesn’t want a powerful but dangerous ship in the Pegasus? Who doesn’t want Plastic Base Stars? Yep, that is a sell right there.

So, without further ado, “Launch Vipers!”
The gist of the game:
You’ve now got the powerful Battlestar Pegasus to add into the ship mix. The contingent of new characters are all exciting to try out with game changing abilities and interesting flaws. Now, the cylons are given objective cards to show them their win conditions. Sometimes they even help the humans in order to win. One of the best elements of the expansion is the way in which the sympathizer card has changed. You get to chuck the old card out the window. There are rules for cylons to infiltrate the fleet now and for cylon leaders to start the game off on the other side. The New Caprica objective is a tough objective to complete, but it feels great as the humans when you succeed. There is a also a new skill deck called Treachery which is almost always negative for the humans and for skill checks.
Replay Value:
This expansion increases the replay value of the original game incredibly. The rules are very modular so you can take what you like and keep out what you don’t like a good host of a party keeping out the creeps and throwing in some babes or booze. There is lots of components to experiment with in various combinations.
Components:
The components are all of the usual quality from Fantasy Flight Games . There is one thing that gives this expansion a 5/5 from me. Plastic 3-D Base Stars! Those things are much more intimidating, better to look at, and easier to pick up off of the board when you narrowly escape or blow one of those suckers out of the sky.
Easy to Learn:
The rules for this expansion are as complicated as the original game, but add more moving parts and stages to the game. The first time that you try to play with New Caprica instead of Kobol, people will be confused, there is no doubt about that. It might be wise to add in all the other components of the expansion first before introducing the New Caprica Objective.
3-6 players This game is more fun the more players you’ve got. If you want a more confrontational game with less intrigue, you could always play 3 players with a Cylon leader. I really haven’t tried it, but it would be a different type of experience. 10+ age I can’t suggest this game for a younger crowd unless they are sharp as a fresh set of kitchen knives. 120+ minutes The full expansion with New Caprica extends the playing time of the game by at least an hour, especially the first one or two play throughs.
Conclusion:
The Pegasus expansion definitely adds some keepers to the game. I wouldn’t say that it is absolutely necessary with the base game. In fact, I had some friends that said they would rather just play with the original. The exception for everyone though, was the new characters. Everyone enjoyed them, except for Duala . She is also less powerful once you add the Exodus Expansion (but that is for another review).
If you are a collector, you should definitely pick this up. If you play BSG a lot, you should pick this up. If you only play a couple times a year or less, this may not be for you. If you don’t get it though, you’ll have cardboard Basestars.

7
Go to the Coloretto page

Coloretto

96 out of 126 gamers thought this was helpful

Since the other reviews here already described the game play, I’m going to skip it.

Here’s what you need to know. The cards are all pretty similar, but they are pretty to look at.

The game has quickness and fun to it. There is a good deal of strategy in trying to get the right set of cards and trying to predict what set of cards an opponent needs. You must spoil their piles as it were!

Learning the game is so fast that a cave man could teach it… or learn it!

The closer to 5 players you can get the better. Age groups do not really matter.

In conclusion: Do yourself a favor and get this for someone as a party favor. After playing, they won’t be let down.

5
Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

51 out of 97 gamers thought this was helpful

Uncle Scrooge and the other ducks would be mighty proud of any of the players that head to this Forbidden Island. Oh yeah, scary and dangerous.

I hear the name, I look at the pieces that make up the board, I look at the helicopter to get us out of this place and all I can think is Jurassic Park- minus the dinosaurs. Let’s think about that statement for a moment, Jurassic Park sans Dinosaurs means a hot, rainy place with large piles of poop. Not exactly the setting for the most exciting game.

I will admit that this game does have its place. If I have to play with kids and I don’t have my copy of Ticket To Ride sitting around, I guess I’ll just stay with this one.

Basically, there are 4 treasures that need to be rescued from the island, and you all work as a team to acquire the treasures. During the game, each player gets a number of actions per turn to move, flip over terrain cards so they won’t sink, and do a few other special things (some based on the role the player drew). No one can die, you need 4 treasures, you need to get to the chopper pad and have the card that lets you leave. There are event cards that are flipped which show the parts of the island that are sinking. These cards work very similar to the virus spreading cards in Pandemic.

Conclusion: If you are not a family gamer or a very casual gamer, go play Pandemic instead.

P.s.: When I play a board game with my family, rather than have a great experience with the game, I want to **** off/screw over somebody in my family. I can’t do it in this game! Sometimes you need a non-hostile way to put a family member in their place. You can’t do that here!

3
Go to the Hike page

Hike

86 out of 94 gamers thought this was helpful

Brave the Elements, Blaze the Trail? Really? I love hiking, but not this game.

I love to hike. I was slightly curious to see a game called Hike. I thought to myself that I usually like wargames or deep strategy games, but hey, maybe this will be my light game.

The name of the game really has nothing to do with the game itself. It could really be any theme attached on to this matching game.

I was hoping that this game was going to be one where you create a trail or had to overcome things on the trail. This is not the case.

This is a lot like Uno, no doubt. Having a game of Uno with a neat theme would be great. However, it just gets to me that the cards aren’t all that related. You have terrain cards such as Lake, Tree, Trail and Mountain, but then you also have critters like Bug and Bird. This really bothers me as far as having a theme.

Poop is funny, but I feel like the whole point of this game is just everyone waiting to laugh for the person who is going to play the Poop card.

Conclusion
Do yourself a favor and just play Uno. Family gamers may really enjoy this game, as the previous review shows. As an avid gamer, I wouldn’t even bother with this as a Gateway game. There are better gateway games.

1
Go to the Cthulhu Dice page

Cthulhu Dice

36 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

I normally give fairly long winded and detailed reviews. I just can’t justify writing a review for a game that takes longer to write than the game takes to play.

The Gist: The players take turns rolling 1 12-sided die. Each players turn, they pick a target and roll. Results occur based on the roll. Players are removed from the game when they have lost all their sanity chips based on the dice rolls. That’s pretty much it.

How does the theme play in? Well, it doesn’t. It is just a game where you move some chips around based on die rolls.

Pretty much, trying to explain the rules is far more trouble than it is worth. Play a party game or something that will be far more satisfying to all involved.

Finally, I could see this game being good for maybe one occasion, a camping trip. This holds true especially if you find some way to tell stories along with the die rolling.

3
Go to the Last Night on Earth, The Zombie Game page
54 out of 81 gamers thought this was helpful

“What’ll we do? This place is surrounded by zombies… we’ve got no way out.” “Well, I have always thought you were pretty cute. Why don’t we try to make babies before the zombies get to us?” “Umm… sure…”
The gist of the game:
It’s the end of the world in this small town. The town is overrun with Zombies! One or more players control the zombies and the environmental effects. The other players are each one of the townsfolk.
The game comes with a number of scenarios that are pretty flavorful. Usually they require getting certain equipment cards and then taking them to a location on the board. Some are straight up kill the zombies.
Each of the characters can take up to 3 wounds before they die. When a player loses a character, they simply choose one that was previously not chosen and keep playing as that character. The big problem here is that if your characters dies at any time but the very beginning (which is just depressing), you will potentially be doomed with almost no gear. Role-playing as the characters can be fun and the abilities each character gets are appropriate.
Perhaps the biggest problem with this game is the reliance on randomly drawing cards that your character is specifically good with (chances are about 1:100). This aspect is just frustrating most of the time.
Replay Value:
This game has some limited replay value, but it is not the kind of game that you will want to play again immediately after finishing it. And that is why I don’t think it is a great game, or maybe even a good game. Afterwards, most of the players are just ****** off.
Components:
As in a previous review, I have to agree that all the components are too shiny. For a zombie game, especially one that is B-movie style, I feel like the cards should come pre-frayed and the board should be peeling at the edges when you buy it. The game does come with a silly soundtrack CD that is appropriate with cheesy horror music.
Easy to Learn:
This is one of those games that makes you frustrated by how easy the rules seem, but the rules are actually pretty clunky. The mechanics of the game are not all that interesting. Figuring out when the zombies attack, when players counterattack, and the order of events in a phase are fairly vague.
2-6 players A 2 player game of Las Night on Earth just seems silly. The best part of the game is the character interaction, not just the zombie vs. player aspect. 12+ age There are some cards that will present slightly, shall we say, “mature” moments. A 12 year old would probably not fit in at those moments. 60 minutes The game length listed is about right unless the humans get owned real fast or get ****** off and quit before then.
Conclusion:
My opinion may be slightly skewed on this game. When the game was taught to me, it was by someone who didn’t really read the rules all that thoroughly (not that the rules are all that complicated). I have been presented with the situation of play this game or play no game and I find that I choose the play no game option about 60% of the time. I will do my darnedest to change the game to something else. If you do like zombie stuff a lot, and you like B-movie horror, this game could be for you though. Especially if you get someone that actually knows the rules to teach you the game.

6
Go to the UNO page

UNO

44 out of 47 gamers thought this was helpful

“Engage those enemy fighters!” “Slay that Dragon!” “Sink that enemy ship!” “Find that treasure!” “Become the wealthiest man in town!” “Save the world!” or… play a card with a number or color that matches… hhhmm….
The gist of the game:
Be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your hand. This can be easy or hard depending on the luck of what the other players do to you. Game play goes around the table with a person playing a card to match the number or color of the card previously played. There are also special cards that change the order of play, make people draw cards, or get skipped. And yes… don’t forget to yell “Uno” when you have one card left… or you are CHEATING!
Replay Value:
Replay value here is just about as good as Nirvana’s Nevermind: meaning it is good for nostalgia’s sake or to deal with people who haven’t discovered the wide world of gaming.
Components:
What can be said here? Cards, yup. I give it a lower rating here for the simple fact that there is no pretty art or anything else interesting about the way the game looks.
Easy to Learn:
The rules to Uno are very easy to learn. This is truly a game for all ages. (Yeah I copied this from my Risk review, so sue me)
2-10 players Probably the best thing about this game. How many games out there can support 10 players realistically or by the rules? 7+ Age They nailed the age category pretty well. You could probably even play a slow game with a younger kid to teach them colors and number recognition. 20 minutes Definitely variable based on the number of drinks and the number of players.
Conclusion:
Uno is a fun game. I still give it a lower score in comparison to all the other games out there. I can’t really fault the makers of Uno or people that like to play Uno. As an Avid Gamer though, I can’t really rank it up there with the games I really love.

4
Go to the Risk page

Risk

40 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ll always fondly remember a game of Risk that I played with my mom back when I was a tween. It will be both the fond memory and the horror story of Risk. There was this game of Risk that we had started one stormy Saturday afternoon. It was just a 2 player game. I was so excited as I didn’t get my parents to play a lot of board games back then. We played for probably 3 or more hours that day. By the end of the day, I controlled nearly the entire world and she controlled Africa. It was an epic adventure. Every time I attacked Africa and take a couple of territories, she would strike back and forestall the end of the game. We moved the game board from the dining room table to a desk to finish the game later. We then played a few turns a day, for days, and days, and days, and days, and… well you get the point. If this had been some epic detailed wargaming masterpiece in which we were replaying the war in the Eastern theatre (there is a game of that and I can’t remember the name), this long playing time would have been exciting and even educating. Instead, it became the most tedious board gaming experience. I still remember it fondly, but this is what risk is. And that is not the game I want to play.
The gist of the game:
Each player is a different colored army. Yadda, yadda, yadda. You try to take over the world. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Is there anyone out there that actually doesn’t know Risk?
Replay Value:
This game has replay value. That is true if you have not explored the world of gaming out there and go mainstream. There are so many better games, but it is just like music, you have to dig to find the real gems. Sure, you can listen to Pearl Jam or Tupac, or you can dig for Saul Williams or VNV Nation. Seriously.
Components:
The components are few in variety but large in number. I have never complained about the pieces in these games. In fact, in my life I have had several editions of Risk. I usually cannibalize the pieces for my own games or to use as counters for other purposes.
Easy to Learn:
The rules to risk are very easy to learn. This is truly a game for all ages.
3-5 players Okay, so I understand what they are trying to do with a new edition of Risk here: To try to get rid of some of the things I am complaining about. Honestly though, if I went to the store and bought this edition and it was not the classic game as I remember it (2-6 players), I would be ******. 12+ age Who are they kidding? This is an all ages game. Okay maybe the age limit is the players have to be old enough not to just want to stick their armies in their mouth. 120+ minutes The + sign here is no joke. Although the new editions objectives might change that a bit, the + sign is still no joke.
Conclusion:
I am bored to tears with Risk. The themed variants of Risk breathe some life into it, but the original is just outdated. There are a hundred games that fulfill the niche of Risk and do it better. If someone asked me to play a game of Risk, I would offer alternatives first, and if they did not accept them, I would still sit down to play.

9
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
105 out of 112 gamers thought this was helpful

Do you love the show? Do you want to inspire your friends to buy into the theme of the show? Do you want to give your friends a reason to watch the show? This game is the answer to your problem. From personal experience, I have gotten almost a half a dozen people to play the game that never had seen the show. I also get at least a half a dozen to watch the entire show based on their experiences with this board game.

So… with that being said… LAUNCH VIPERS!

The gist of the game:
In Battlestar Galactica the board game, the players take on the roles of various characters from the television show. The ultimate goal of the game is for the humans to get to their final destination of Kobol and make one last FTL jump. Can you lead the humans to victory, admiral or president? The twist is that at least one of the players will secretly be an infiltrator sent by the cylons to make your life a living ****. The cylon players have one job and one job only, annihilate the human race. This is done by destroying Galactica, having a boarding part get all the way down the track, or reducing one of the resources of the humans to 0 or below.
Replay Value:
This is one of those games that you just want to start playing again as soon as you finish. It was surprising after playing the game with people who had not even seen the show when they were the most adamant about playing again. There are so many ways to lose as the humans and so many scenarios of how the game plays out. When a human element is added to both sides like this game does, it is almost a different game every time. You will fondly remember stories of times you played this game.
Components:
As per usual with a Fantasy Flight game, the pieces are awesome. Since this is a review for the base set, I’d have to say that the cardboard base stars are a disappointment. There are a lot of moving parts here, and I do just love the spinning wheels on the board for tracking the health of the human side. (fuel, population, morale, food)
Easy to Learn:
This game is challenging to learn. This became apparent when playing at GenCon with a bunch of strangers. Every single person from a different play group had a different way of playing the game. It still worked out in the end, it just took some time to get spooled up. It was almost as if a cylon virus had infected our FTL drive!
2-6 players It takes longer, typically to play the game with more players. It is also far more fun to play with more players! 10+ age This age suggestion really doesn’t match the game. I don’t see a 10 year old finding the game interesting. I also don’t see any younger kids “getting” the game unless they are mature for their age. 120+ minutes I don’t think I have ever played a game that just lasted 2 hours. 2.5 hours maybe, but never 2 or less. I’d label this game 180+ more realistically.
Conclusion:
If you like bluffing, this is your game. If you like BSG, this is your game. If you like feeling like you are flying by the seat of your pants the entire game, this is your game. This game can be stressful. This game can be intimidating. Each decision seems to hinge on ultimate victory or defeat. SAVE THE HUMAN RACE.. OR DESTROY IT!

7
Go to the Memoir '44 page

Memoir '44

66 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

“We have the perfect opportunity to take out this flank, why in the **** doesn’t the general send us orders to press the attack?” The lieutenant asked his sergeant. Sarge quickly responds to his frustrated officer (whom he continues to babysit), “sir, I think he hasn’t thought of it. That and he hasn’t gotten lucky enough to get that order to pass down to us on the right flank. Hopefully the enemy will play a right flank attack that he can use his counter orders on.” “This is the most ridiculous set of constraints any commander has ever put me under. Look at all the fighting they are doing over there on the left flank! Holy ****!”
The gist of the game:
This game is a World War 2 themed, based on an abstract squad or platoon level of fighting. There are two sides that start on opposite halves of the map. Throughout the battle, you advance upon each other positions and attack! The game board is broken up into 3 segments- a center, a left flank, and a right flank. Your troops will be given orders based on cards that you draw. You will be able to move a certain number of units in certain flanks each turn based on the cards that you have played. When you attack an enemy unit, you will roll custom 6-sided dice with unit symbols, a general kill ‘em! Symbol and a flag. If you get a general kill ‘em! symbol or the unit symbol, which represents casualties. The flag forces a unit to retreat one hex back. You trade turns back and forth doing this until someone wins!
Replay Value:
This game is designed for replay value right out. You will want to play a campaign, you will want to do battle after battle. If you don’t, our country will fall. If you won’t command our troops in future battles… who will!?
Components:
As a historical gamer, I am not a huge fan of the pieces. They are finely crafted, they just don’t feel right to my snobbish historical side. The cardboard bits are tough, you could probably run them over with a Sherman… but not a Tiger.
Easy to Learn:
The system is pretty simple. It is light on rules that you have to constantly refer to in the book. Most of the rules make pretty logical sense and so are easy to remember. The attack dice have the symbols of the different units directly on them! It’s so easy to see what you have blown up!
2 players This game can be expanded with further expansions to utilize more players. If you really wanted to, you could put a different player in charge of each zone to have 6 total players, but this makes the game about as exciting as sitting in a foxhole in the Ardennes in 1944… or wait, no, that’s not right at all. 8+ age I can see this game being a way to train your younger soldiers to prepare for battle. Put an M1 Garand into that kids hand instead of an AK-47, it is far more humane. 60 minutes The great thing about this game and the others in this format is the speed of play and resolution. You can finish a game of this in under an hour, faster than the enemy could even launch a retaliatory strike of panzers!.
Conclusion:
If you don’t already have Battlecry or Battlelore (or others I am not aware of that share the system) you should pick this game up. It is a fun game, but it isn’t much different from the other games except in flavor. If you are obsessed with World War II themed games, this is one you can’t pass up. If you are not a fan of dice based games, pass.

4
Go to the Fluxx page

Fluxx

61 out of 74 gamers thought this was helpful

Almost like pulling teeth
The gist of the game:
The game starts with one rules card. Draw one and play one. You do just that. The other card types in the game are Goal, New Rule, Action, Keeper, and Creeper cards.
Creeper cards must be put into play and you can not win while they are out, unless they are part of the goal.
Goal cards tell you how to win the game, only one can be out at a time. They pretty much all involve having some combination of Keepers.
Keepers are like your items or minions that you play in front of you. These are the items that will help you win the game.
New Rule cards are how the rules are modified as the game is played.
Action cards perform some task based upon what the card says and are then discarded.
Replay Value:
If everyone masters the game play, the replay value could be high, especially if people can still play while drinking… but that isn’t usually the case.

Components:
There isn’t much in the way of components. The cards are of pretty good quality.

Easy to Learn:
The game can be easy to learn based upon how you explain the rules. Although explaining the rules isn’t done up front, you have to explain as you go, which makes it not as fun for the one who knows how to play.

2-6 players The game is more fun with more players unless the majority of players are not gamers. 8+ age I’d almost say that this game would be better for just kids and not for adults. The age should really be 8-14, not 8+ 5+ minutes is a very deceptive number. Sure, I game could take one turn if you get lucky. The game could also take a marathon of time.

Conclusion:
Stay away from this game unless you are playing with kids or… you are kids. There is no depth to this game and the game can just go on forever. This is not fun for hardcore gamers and those action cards can get to be too complicated for non-avid gamers.
Action cards just often can’t be handled by people that have been drinking unless they are gamers. This limits the utility of this game.

8
Go to the Axis & Allies Battle of The Bulge page
33 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Old school Avalon Hill wargamer’s can find a simplified way to kick their old habit into a more recent decade.
The gist of the game:
This is a non-traditional Axis and Allies game. There is no labor intensive production phase, research phase, or any of that non combat stuff. This game is all about the superior forces of the Germans trying to push their way through the initially weak Allied forces to capture the fuel reserves and win the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans are better in the beginning of the game as they crush through the Allies forces. The game is a lot about force conservation and choosing your battles rather than just fighting everywhere. There are mechanics for capturing fuel reserves, which the Germans must do to keep their juggernaut going. The rules for this are not totally straight forward and easy to understand, and they are a VERY important part of the game. Make sure you do that part right.
Replay Value:
If you have two lovers of history or hardcore wargamers, there is some replayability. It is fun to try to defy history as the Germans or to keep the Allied streak of victories alive. Non-wargamers will probably not enjoy the pre chosen reinforcements and the one objective feel of the game.
Components:
The components are pretty high quality. They have less fiddly bits on the plastic units and they all look pretty cool. Some of the components might seem a little bit large for fitting on to some of the tighter board spaces though.
Easy to Learn:
If you have played old Avalon Hill war games or some Axis and Allies, this will not be difficult to understand. If you don’t have at least a historical understanding of this battle, it will not be the easiest thing to learn.
2 players There isn’t much to say here, but that hopefully the two players are into historical wargaming. 13+ age would only be appropriate again if the teenager(s) were into history or war reenactment. Otherwise, the game might be more suitable for 16+. 180+ minutes could be beaten by two players that know the rules fairly well. If neither player knows the rules going in, the game could take up to 4 hours. And then if you find out 2 hours in that you have messed up 1 or 2 rules, the game will feel frustrating.
Conclusion:
I liked this game, although I feel that the rulebook did not emphasize the most important rules of the game that have huge impacts on the game. If you do not understand the fuel mechanic, the game will be imbalanced and not have the proper feel. That being said, the design of the game really does make it feel like the Battle of the Bulge. If the proper players engage in this Battle it will be fun. If not, I suggest that you stay away.

10
Go to the Dominion: Prosperity page
93 out of 103 gamers thought this was helpful

Who doesn’t want to be the wealthiest guy in town? Who wants to be a destitute noble? Don’t be a loser! Come on, join the ranks of the prosperous. Get Prosperity!
The gist of this expansion:
You’ve probably read it before if you have read anything about Prosperity, it’s all about the big money. You really do need the big money to win with this expansion in play. This set really does invalidate the old big money of just grabbing silvers until you can get gold and then provinces.
Replay Value:
Just like the basic Dominion, replay value is huge. Trying out the massive new combination of cards will take a while. Playing quick matches online is probably the only way to get through any number of the possible iterations.
Components:
Just like all dominion boxes, this one is put together well. I am not a huge fan of all the extra bits other than the cards that you have to use sometimes, but I suppose they have to come up with new little tweaks to keep the game fresh. I do wish that they would make the print on the front of the randomizer cards different than the actual cards somehow. (a border maybe)
Easy to Learn:
Getting through all the numbers of new cards, including cards that utilize extra components will probably take a while. Learning is easy, mastering is difficult. And just like a game such as Magic the Gathering , the validity of certain cards will change with new cards that come out in future sets.
Conclusion:
The big boon of the prosperity set is the large amounts of money allow for more strategies involving a variety of expensive cards as you build up your deck. There was nothing more frustrating in the older game when you had some cool card combos that you wanted to try out, but they were just too slow since the cards were too expensive. You’d have the rounds where you couldn’t even afford a 4 cost card for a nice combo. This set really opens up more strategic possibilities and gives the chance for a longer game with the more expensive Colony cards.

10
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

97 out of 105 gamers thought this was helpful

I sat down to play this game for the first time at SynDCon 2011 (which was a fun up and coming con by the way). I have got to say that Dominion just about single-handedly has gotten me interested in card games (and to some extent) board games again. I used to only play Magic the Gathering (aka Crack), but stopped from fatigue of finances and the power creep of cards.

The gist of the game:
Collect Victory point cards before the game ends by purchasing kingdom cards that help you get enough money to grab the victory cards.

Replay Value:
This game can be fun to play over and over and over again. Games play out so quickly that it feels satisfying right away. The variety of cards that can be used together is effectively limitless. Although, once you have played with the base set a number of times, you may get bored with the basic nature of the cards. Also, there are a few cards (ala Witch, Laboratory, Chapel) that you pretty much have to play with if they are on the board.

Components:
I gave the game a 4/5 because the cards really need protectors to last for a long time. The amount of shuffling really does a number on the cards. The box (with insert) is excellent for keeping the cards organized. Also, the cards are high quality, they just don’t last from the amount you will play it!

Easy to Learn:
With the basic set, this game is very easy to teach. Action, Buy, Clean up. That is a pretty easy turn and the lack of massive text on cards makes it very easy to get into.

2-4 players 2 player games make attack cards much less useful and the game becomes pretty straight forward. 3 players is the sweet spot. 5 players is possible with a few house rules, but the game slows down a lot. 8+ is probably about right. If you play with 8 year olds, it is probably best to put the more verbose cards aside (Library). 30 minutes The game length listed is probably for more experienced players. If you get some new players and some more verbose cards, the game could last as much as 2 hours, which I have witnessed.

Conclusion:
It has already been said. This is a great game. I think there are ways it could be made better with house rules. There is a reason why this game has pretty much by itself created a new style of game that every game company is buying into (deck building).

8
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons (4ed): Monster Manual page
67 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

The number of monsters in this book is just astonishing. That is the biggest benefit of the stat block lay out. It is also really nice that all the monsters have an illustration. This is helpful for people with less of an imagination. I am also happy to see that there is not just an “orc” stat block. Instead, there are multiple types of orcs and other creatures. This makes doing an encounter with just one type of creature possible and not boring. The fact that monsters are not built up in the same way as Player characters is useful. It makes creating monsters on the fly take 30 seconds. It makes creating monsters take less than 2 hours of between game time (as in 3.5ed).

The lack of story on all the monsters is a bit annoying. Yes, sure, it is nice to be creative and come up with your own story or description of some of those creatures, but sometimes it is nice to be lazy about it and have an explanation given to you.

I mainly give the book a low components rating because the book is no longer current in any way. With all of the errata, every monster in the book has the wrong stats. The experience of most play groups was that monster defenses and hit points were too high, which was very true from my own play experience. It is nice that the designers agreed and made modifications. Unfortunately, it makes this book completely useless.

Conclusion:
With all that being said, I still actually really like this book. The stats are well laid out and jumping around in the book during encounters was a breeze. Unfortunately, it is outdated. If you don’t care about that or just wing changing the numbers yourself, it is fine.

9
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons (4ed): Player's Handbook page
49 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

I still remember when this book first arrived at my house on release day. I have still never been as excited about a player’s guide for any RPG as for this one.

Though, yes, D&D does have its flaws, I think that this book in particular was a great leap forward.

I must have made a dozen characters before even playing in more than 1 campaign.

The races have a small description of fluff that helps, and the racial abilities are fun. I love even now to create atypical race-class combos, which is not totally harmful to your power level to do.

The classes all have their moments to shine. The balance of them is good, and the fact that they openly explain their roles makes it easy to help a new player make the right character.

The powers section is just fun to read through once you know how the rules work. Powers really make combat fun and not just a “I attack with my sword”, instead you have lots of options. I do wish that they had more non-combat powers, but there is always room to grow.

Paragon and epic destinies are enjoyable to imagine, and it really does help to make a big difference in the feel of the scales between the different tiers of play.

The magic items system is not my favorite, but it is simple enough.

7
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons (4ed): Dungeon Master's Guide page
58 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

At this point, I don’t play a lot of D&D. I have got to say though, after getting over the initial shock, I have seen a large number of haters embrace 4E. For people that are not into RPGs or don’t know if they are, this is a great book to help someone run a game and this is a great system for bringing in new people.

The book introduces a concept known as Skill Challenges, which although they can be very frustrating, take D&D in a new direction from all the previous editions. They are clunky as they are in the book, but it is possible to take the concept and make some amazing encounters out of it.

Building encounters that are well balanced is a fantastic benefit of using the DMG.

A major problem with the DMG is that the Difficulty numbers and some of the other numbers throughout the book have all been errata’d. Be careful of making challenges too difficult by using the numbers in this book.

The other problem that I have with this book is that it doesn’t offer too much in the way of advice for creating stories and the things that make RPGs really come alive. There isn’t much in the way of setting advice or non player character creation.

So although this book does help people make great encounters and it is easy to do so, making something beyond the tactical game portion of D&D using this book does take creativity and work.

6
Go to the Airlines Europe page

Airlines Europe

147 out of 170 gamers thought this was helpful

After finishing a single play through of this game, I found that it wasn’t a bad time, but it wasn’t something I was really interested in trying again. The one thing that I realized after playing through and trying to reflect on what I did not like, is that I almost never looked at the board. I didn’t study it for strategy; I only really looked at it when I went to place a plane. The part of the board that I studied constantly was the track around the outside that tracked the value of investments.

The gist of the game: There are a number of different airlines (based on different colors) based on the number of players. The players represent investors into the airline industry. Throughout the game, players take turns making investments in an airline, acquiring money, and purchasing planes for any of the airlines and placing them on the board. At a few times throughout the game, a scoring phase is initiated. During this time, a player scores a number of victory points based upon how valuable each airline is that they are invested in and how much they have invested in the airline.

Replay Value: some gamers that enjoy this sort of game may find that the interest in playing again is much higher. I do not doubt that this game will be successful, but I am more of a war gamer and role-player. This game allows for neither itch to be satisfied.

Components: The tickets don’t match up very well with some of the airlines that they are supposed to represent. A couple of the plastic airplanes of different airlines are barely a different color. This makes some purchases and investments a bit confusing.

Easy to Learn: There are almost 2 different games going on here, one with placing the airplanes on the board, and the other with the investment cards. The game is not complicated. Figuring out how some of the fiddly bits go together can sometimes get confusing. Also forgetting to move the planes around the scoring board after purchases can just about ruin the game if they are not caught.

2-5 players Playing with 2 players would be a fairly straight forward and boring ordeal. The more players the better for this game. 13+ is probably not totally accurate for age. 10+ might be a better gauge of the game. Though some aspects of the game might be missed on a 10 year old, they would probably still have fun. 75+ minutes is an over exaggeration. Playing this game in an hour seems totally feasible once all the players understand the rules of the game.

Conclusion:
This game would have a place on my shelf if I did not already own Ticket to Ride. I understand that this game does not fulfill quite the same role as Ticket to Ride does, but it is fairly close. Airplanes: Europe will definitely satisfy some gamers. The guys that I played with found it more enjoyable than Acquire and it truly fulfilled that niche. I only wish that the board had meant something more. I came in second place in the play through and hardly had to study it. Moves on the board were about half as important as your investment strategy and what airlines you extended.

It may just be that there were too many spots on the board available and hardly any reason or ability to really block another player’s move. There may be a level of strategy with placing the planes and investing in certain ways that escaped me. I am just not sure if the time invested into this game necessary to discover them would really be rewarded by that much more fun.

8
Go to the Cosmic Encounter page

Cosmic Encounter

85 out of 92 gamers thought this was helpful

The number 1 thing that I would say about this game is that after I had read over the rulebook once, explained the rules to the other players, and gone through 1 round of turns we never had to open the rule book again.

I am the gamer in my group who introduces most of the other gamers to new games. I am also the one that is in charge of learning the rules of games and teaching the other players. This game is one that was very easy to explain and I even feel that the players that I taught could run the game. This is a big boon and a huge positive.

The replay value of this game is definitely huge.

The balance of all of the alien races is not the best, but since this game revolves around alliances and a variance of card values, it is not a ruining factor. Some of the alien races, like my favorite (The Gambler), have abilities that rely on your bluffing skills. This makes the game not just one for people who like card management and strategy, but also for people that like to play mind games.

It was quite fun to role-play the aliens that we each had as we went along.

3-5 players Unlike many of the reviews on here, I would have to say that the game was just fine with 3 players. Larger games were an equal amount of fun. The games with fewer players went very quickly. This meant that if you got beat up early and didn’t do well, you didn’t have to sit by in agony for very long. 12+ seems like a pretty good age range for the game. I could see the amount of reading being intimidating or challenging for a tween or early teenager. 60+ minutes for a single game is very accurate. Some games even take less than 60 minutes. Even our first game only took just shy of 2 hours. Each other game played out in just about 60 minutes. The game length isn’t quite predictable enough to be a lunch break game at work, but it can certainly be played in a evening filled with putting children to bed and cleaning.

Tech Cards
One of the optional rules adds technology cards. In a half a dozen plays of the game, 5 of which used these cards, only one ever got deployed. And it was the cheapest technology in the game. It was game changing, but the tech option seems to be a bit overpriced. These games were not maximum player, so perhaps that explains why.

Conclusion:
This is a very fun game. I will definitely play this one a bunch more. It will probably replace some of my other games that I would throw into this category. (The category of not 2 player games that are a little more advanced than say Ticket to Ride) Strategic gamers may not enjoy this one as much, but avid gamers and gamers just looking to have a laugh and a good time will be right at home. There is just enough of a mix of Euro Game and Ameritrash with your fun little flying saucer ships that the game can suit people of multiple backgrounds of gaming.

10
Go to the Rune Age page

Rune Age

50 out of 54 gamers thought this was helpful

Learning the game is so easy, I can see that mastering it would take at least a few play throughs. Just to show how easy it was to learn, I did a 2 hour event learning how to play it. The next day, I was running to separate groups through playing the game.

There are 2 resources used for buying cards. One is influence, which mostly stays in play, like Magic the gathering lands. One is gold, which is cycled through your deck. I like this mechanic, as your hand does not get overloaded with non-combat cards.

There are 4 factions that are playable in the game. The Elves are probably the hardest to figure out. Once I figured out some strategies with them, I found them to be extremely powerful. The Chaos faction can be powerful, but is a bit temperamental and unpredictable (makes sense right!). The Human faction has some fun mechanics for throwing out a ton of guys in battles. Also, the staple to this game is the Footman unit. Which I found that every single separate group that played the game made jokes involving the Footman. It was actually quite funny how it happened with every group. The final group is an undead faction, which is the only one I did not have the chance to play. But getting creatures back from your discard into play and digging up a bunch of extra guys from your deck is fun times.

2-4 players is what this entry suggests. If you want some solo play when nobody else is available, or you want to practice some strategies, you can definitely give it a shot in several of the scenarios. 12+ age is probably a pretty accurate assessment of the maturity level needed to play the game. 45+ minutes is probably going to be the average game length, and the first couple of games will be 30+ minutes in excess to this. If you have all experienced players that are good at deckbuilding games, this game could take less than 30 minutes.

Conclusion:
I love this game, and that is not understatement. I could have played it all through GenCon, and that might have gotten tiring, I emphasize the “might”.

7
Go to the Apples to Apples page

Apples to Apples

57 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

I can agree with what some of the reviews here are saying. There is something that Apples to Apples shines at. That things is through playing it, (even if you lose) you get to know about how the other people playing think. You also get to learn things about people that you would not have guessed or thought that they liked.

I remember once, playing this game with a few people that I did not know. One of the other guys that was playing struck me as someone that I would not like. Someone that liked music which I did not appreciate. Someone that had no interesting hobbies. I learned throughout a couple plays of the game that he and some of the other people I was playing with were into some very intersting things. After the game we had lots of great conversation topics.

Conclusion:
This game has its place. It isn’t really that much of a game, so I wouldn’t call it a gateway game. However, it is a great thing to do to get to know people. If you want to get people into gaming, try Ticket to Ride or something else that is actually more of a game.

8
Go to the Battle Cry page

Battle Cry

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Note: This Review is for the previous edition of the game. I have not seen the newest edition, so I can not say what has changed, if anything.

This game is so easy that after you learn it for the first time, you will never forget how to play it.

If you are familiar with Memoir ’44 then you will know how to play this game. It is this ease of play that really shows where Battlecry shines. The other great thing about it, is that you could reskin the game for pretty much any genre (as the game producers have done).

The basic mechanic of the game is that the battlefield is broken into 3 fronts, a left flank, the center, and the right flank. There is a deck of orders cards that both players draw from. The number of cards that each side starts with is described in the scenario. Each player takes turns playing one order card and doing what the card says, i.e. move 1 unit on the right flank.

The dice used for the game are used for rolling to attack. There are symbols for each of the 3 types of units and a wild card roll that kills any type of unit. Sometimes the dice are used for other things mentioned on order cards.

The final word:
This game is a fun game for just 2 players. Just 2 players, might be the game’s weakness. It has been my experience that 2 player wargamers are generally the type that want a more complex game. This game has some replay value for casual wargamers, but people that want a game with more crunch will not get it here.

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

55 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

Don’t get me wrong, Ticket to Ride is a great game. It is even a game that has its place. I will tell you what it is, and then what it is not.

What it is:
It is a game that is perfect for people that have been drinking back a few beverages of the variety that inhibit your learning abilities. It is a great gateway game for bringing in people who thought that they did not like board games.

What it is not:
It is not a game for people that like in depth strategy. It is not a game with enough depth for great replayability. That being said, for replaying with casual beer and pretzel moments, it is high on the list.

That one confusing moment:
When people (especially with a few of the aformentioned beverages) start out with this game, they will sometimes get confused by the color of their train cars and the color of the trains on the cards. Make this distinction early.

9
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
56 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Race for the Galaxy is not a brand new game, but I’d still probably say it was the best game that I played at GenCon 2011.
When I kept making comments about wanting to play this game with my convention buddies (cough Mitch cough), I was informed that the game was sort of hard to learn and that the first game was mostly an exercise in frustration.

I was also informed that being taught how to play the game was way WAY easier than sitting down to play after having read the rulebook.

Fortunately, I sat down with someone who had a pretty good understanding of the game. (Oh and by the way, this is where I got my beta key to this site from one of the boardgaming.com crew) He explained the game in about 10 minutes and we all said our peace on whether we understood.

Here is an admirable thing about the game, even though it was my first game and the boardgaming.com (Jim maybe) guy’s game, we were all pretty close in score in the end. Also, the game lasted less than an hour. I usually find that those little time prediction icons on the game box are way off for the first game or two. The fact that it was on for the first game was amazing.

2-4 players seems to play out about the same. 30-60 minutes is perfect for a casual game during lunch at work, or for a nice relaxing time at home. Age 12+ is probably about right as long as people refer to the graphic that explains what all the base icons do.

The one thing I really love about this game is that there are no wasted card spaces just for a money card or for a victory card like in Dominion or some other card games. You pay for things by discarding cards you don’t want, and you make money by getting to draw more cards. There are just so many more options throughout a game!

All in All. I give my fellow players an A+, the learning experience an A+, and the game itself an easy A+.

9
Go to the Dominion: Alchemy page
43 out of 53 gamers thought this was helpful

When it comes to Dominion, this is one of my favorite sets. The ability to cycle through your deck super fast is really exciting, and it doesn’t take that much time since you don’t need a ton of cards to pull it off. I love the mechanic of adding the potion to the treasure options. I have seen games where people forgo the potion and all of the options in that game and do fine. I have also seen it ruin someone’s deck to not get the potion and cards it can buy. There is nothing more exciting than busting out a Golem to throw around some serious action weight. Also, scrying pool and apothecary make cycling through the deck quick, and it feels like you are playing an old school magic the gathering blue deck. My favorite card in probably all of dominion is the Apprentice. What a great way to trash cards! It makes the game so much more fluid since you can have a totally different early game strategy from late game strategy. I don’t think any other card truly gives that option. All and all, this is a totally misunderstood set. It is awesome!

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