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Go to the Pandemic: On the Brink page
43 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

On the Brink is a necessary expansion for Pandemic. My wife and I beat the base game the first six (6) times we played (with increasing the difficulty level each time) and were about to give up on it when a friend told us to try this expansion first. It was like when your car breaks down and you’ve checked seemingly everything and someone says, “Do you have gas?” and you realize that one thing makes all the difference.

On the Brink adds several modules, each providing another layer of rules and complexity. The most important one being the Virulent Strain. This module replaces the Epidemic cards from the base set with all new ones which have special rules for the Virulent Strain. The Virulent strain is the disease with the most cubes on the board when the first Epidemic card is played. These special rules drastically increase the difficulty factor by often creating ongoing effects that reoccur for the remainder of the game. One even brings the Virulent Strain back after it has been eradicated!

Using the Virulent Strain module our winning percentage is at a solid 50% and we love it. The expansion also contains many more role cards giving players many more possibilities. It upgrades the components by including plastic Petry dishes to hold the disease cubes (Uber-thematic!). There is also a module for one disease to mutate and in effect become a fifth disease to cure.

The only part of the expansion I am not super-positive on is the Bio-terrorist. This is another role a single player may play basically to add the traitor element that is all the rage now. I’m not sure how I feel about that part because we really like the co-op element, but if you like that in such games as Battlestar Gallactica or Dead or Winter, then it’s probably another plus for you.

This expansion took a game that was likely to be shelved and has made it one of our favorites.

Go to the Stone Age page

Stone Age

48 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

Stone Age was the board game that introduced me and my family to worker placement. We love it. The game components are excellent. The rules are simple, yet provide multiple pathways to victory. There are enough random elements to make the game infinitely replayable.

In Stone Age, each player is developing a prehistoric village. It is 10,000 years ago and mankind is just learning the skills of agriculture. In the beginning of the game, much of your clan/tribe must forage or hunt for food, while slowly collecting resources to build up the village. As the game progresses, you can improve your knowledge of agriculture and lessen your dependence on foraging and hunting thus allowing more time on cultural development and resource collection.

Resources in the game are wood, brick, stone and gold. These resources are used to construct new buildings and develop cultural advances such as writing and medicine. Cultural advances score points during the final scoring while each building you construct scores points equal to the resources spent in its construction.

You begin with a clan/tribe of 5 and may increase this population by assigning 2 workers to the “love shack” on your turn. Only one player per turn may do this action or each of the other “village actions” which include increasing your agriculture and gaining tools. The tools are used to modify dice rolls which determine the amount of resources your workers produce.

I would give Stone Age a Moderate rating for complexity, but barely so. There are a lot of choices to be made each turn, but the mechanics are simple making it almost a Light game. One flaw I see is the Agriculture track. While improving your agriculture is an option, doing so is so essential that it becomes the automatic action for the first player. My family refers to it as the “Ag Tax.” It is rare that anyone chooses any other action when they are the first player (which rotates each turn.)

Overall, Stone Age is an awesome game and an excellent way to introduce new gamers to worker placement.

Go to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords (Base Set) page
48 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

PAC has given my wife and I a fun alternative to rpgs. This is mainly due to the fact that Paizo has managed to capture the feel of a Pathfinder rpg adventure in a card game. As a veteran of over 3 decades of roleplaying, I had my doubts but PAC delivered.

Each player has a character complete with starting class, race, powers and abilities that are familiar to any rpg gamer. Spells, weapons, armor and equipment are handled by the game’s deckbuilding component. Each character starts with a beginning deck, but as they complete adventures and challenges, additional card will be added, equipment upgraded, etc.

The element of luck is present in the form of everyone’s favorite polyhedron dice. These dice are rolled when attempting to overcome a challenge (bane) or to claim a new card (a boon.) As in rpg’s the characters’ attributes and skills modify this roll as can equipment, spells, allies, and even the blessing of the gods.

As a cooperative adventuring party, the players send their characters on scenarios along an Adventure path. Each scenario presents a number of location decks according to the number of players. Each location deck is comprised of monsters and barriers as well as cards of the aforementioned types. Each location is unique and has unique properties and decklists. There are five scenarios to an Adventure and six Adventures to the Adventure Path.

There is infinite replayablitity and the ability to design your own adventure paths as well.

Fridays are PAC nights at my house.

Go to the Zombicide page


64 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

Zombicide offers hours of entertainment for a variety of gaming experiences. It can be a casual “beer & pretzel” evening; a tense dramatic against the odds survival challenge; or even an ongoing campaign-style narrative game. With loads of expansions and a literal horde of plastic miniatures, this game has endless possibilities.

The mechanics are simple though situational application questions do occasionally occur. Also, as a cooperative survival game, it should be noted that the game can turn south in an instant and wipe out the players. Not for the feint of heart.

Additionally, this game has an active fan base which provides variations and customizations beyond the official product line.

It’s on our table every week.

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