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Dr. Dave

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Review 3 games and receive a total of 40 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Castle Panic page
Go to the Arkham Horror page
Go to the 7 Wonders page
Go to the Ticket to Ride page
Go to the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game page
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14 out of 16 gamers thought this was helpful

I don’t know much about the original game…I haven’t seen a tabletop copy of the game. Therefore, I don’t have much go by when it comes to how well this digital version captures the game play of the original. I can say, it took a few tries to get a handle on the rules so that I even had a chance of winning. I realize the game is designed for co-op, but I can’t see this played effectively with other players using a single device (I use an iPad). There isn’t a local game component…nor can this be played with others on the internet. So…this largely plays like a solitaire game.

With that said, this also has the same frustration I have with solitaire…it is really hard to win. I’ve gotten better over time, but I’m still not able to win on regular basis. I imagine that this takes a lot of the tedium out of the the original board game…there are a lot of counters and indicators that need tracking. It plays pretty smoothly in that regard. The bonus cards and expansions are nice, but generally they just make a hard game even harder.

The digital implementation is solid. I’ve never had any hang-ups or crashes on my iPad with it…even after multiple system upgrades.

I suppose I’m a bit more negative about the game than I realized. It’s a frustrating game in some respects. However, I come back to it frequently and enjoy playing it until I remember how much it frustrates me. It’s definitely a challenge…which in the end, I think, is a good thing.

Go to the Legendary: Guardians of the Galaxy page
23 out of 24 gamers thought this was helpful

With the Guardians movie out, I couldn’t resist getting this expansion to play with my kids (who also love the movie). This expansion didn’t disappoint. The artwork was much more derivative of the comic than of the movie (which I suppose is the point of the whole game anyway). The characters are cool…with interesting abilities that the standard didn’t have. Starlord, Groot, Rocket, Drax, and Gamora are all there. I found Starlord and Groot the most useful. That’s not just because I loved those two characters in the movie, but because their cards have the most useful attributes.

The two new Masterminds added, the Kree Mastermind and Thanos are pretty intriguing and tough. I’ve played with the “Forge the Infinity Guantlet” Scheme several times, with Thanos as the Mastermind and I will say…it’s really tough.

A new mechanic is added to the game in “artifacts”. They play like regular hero ability cards, but once they are played the first time they stay on the table and the player gains the benefit of the card for the rest of the game (usually 1 use per turn). The Infinity Gems as a Villain group are interesting because rather than becoming a trophy like a regular villain, they get added to the players draw pile as an artifact…and they have pretty strong abilities that can help a lot. The rub, however, is that when a Twist comes from the villain deck, a player usually winds up having to return the Infinity Gem to the street as an active villain again.

Another new mechanic is “shards”…presumably pieces of the Infinity Gems that have limited and exhaustible power. Through the hero abilities and artifacts, players earn shards which can be traded for a combat bonus against villains or the Mastermind. Returning to Thanos as a Mastermind, it’s nearly impossible to win the game without a big accumulation of shards…which can take quite a while.

When I first played through, I did solo missions so I could get familiar enough with the cards to explain them to my kids. I lost pretty quickly. The power of the Masterminds is intended to be substantially harder than ordinary villains…but I found that they might be a bit too strong. Randomizing heroes to include those that are not from the expansion does make the game even harder. I haven’t played with just the X-men or another group against Thanos, but I can see that without using at least one of the Guardians heroes in the team you won’t have a very good chance of defeating the Mastermind. It was also nice to have more heroes to play with for variety…though the shard mechanic is so tightly connected to the hero abilities that they might not be particularly well suited to be part of random assignment of heroes on a regular basis.

All in all, this was an inexpensive add-on to a game I already like. I’d like to see the artifact mechanic come back in another expansion…that adds a dimension to the game I really liked.

Go to the Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower page
84 out of 92 gamers thought this was helpful

I love Castle Panic to begin with. It was one of the first “non-kids” boardgames I taught my daughter…and at 6, she absolutely loved it! It’s still one of her favorites. Even though I love the game, the basic game did get a bit repetitive, even with the “challenges” provided at the end of the rule book to make it more difficult. The expansion adds a few features that make the game even more interesting and fun…but also give the players much needed assistance to meet the challenges of more difficult monsters.
Rather than describe details of the game…I’ll assume that you’ll look a review of the base game for that…I’ll just point out a few of my favorite features. First, several “big bad” monsters are added into the mix which are randomized at the start of the game. Players don’t know exactly which monsters they’ll be facing (apart from the usual goblins, orcs, and trolls). My kids and I always get a bit nervous drawing the tiles from the “monster bag” as we don’t know which of the creatures will come into play.
A second feature…which is a lot of fun…are the spell cards. As long as the Wizard’s Tower stands, players can draw a card from the spell deck instead of the regular draw pile. The spells are pretty cool and powerful, but not strong enough to unbalance the gameplay.
One of the things I like about the original is that the game is stacked against the players. It’s difficult to win…especially if you have a few bad die rolls and a lousy shuffle of the play cards. I like that this expansion doesn’t change that. In fact, if you are unlucky enough to randomly have the more difficult big bads, the game can be really hard with this expansion.
Surprisingly, once we figured out the mechanics of the new elements, the game didn’t last any longer than one played with the basic set…about an hour. For my kids, that was great…because even though they love the game, my daughter still is pretty young to sit still with the same game for more than an hour. The rules for the expansion weren’t easy enough for my kids to read and follow…but they picked them up easy enough when I explained them to them.
On a purely mechanical side, the quality of the added game elements was strong. The play pieces and additional cards match with the original well…so it seems like one integrated game. I also like that the new pieces were compact enough so that they can fit in the original game box…no need to keep the additional small expansion box (shelf space is precious!).
Overall, I think this is a great expansion to an already great game. The new elements keep the game interesting and fresh…and they extend the replay value of the game quite a bit. Some basic strategies from the original game will still apply, but it will take quite a few play-throughs before the combinations become stale.

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