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Old Bones
Knight
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emspace

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Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Explorer - Level 4
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Earn Explorer XP to level up by completing Explorer Quests!
Go to the Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective page
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Go to the Trickerion: Legends of Illusion page
Go to the Scythe page
9
Go to the Charterstone page

Charterstone

4 out of 5 gamers thought this was helpful

Have you seen those make-your-own-succulents-in-a-terrarium kits you can find near a bookstore cash register? Charterstone is a make-your-own-worker-placement-Euro kit. If you’ve never made a boardgame, not to worry: all the parts are provided in the box and it will step you through the process 1 game at a time.

Experience

Charterstone is focused on the game-by-game growth and evolution of the town your play group is developing over a 12-game arc. Each of you will have your own region to build up, though for most games, you’ll be able to place most of your workers in any of the locations on the board.

The main strategy of the game is to build a “mini engine” in your region that you can exploit for points—the mini engine being a cycling of locations that will give you resources that you can use for more cards or more buildings or more workers that will help you get more points.

However, the end of each game unlocks new, modified, or temporarily suspended rules for the next game, which means the strategy you used this game may no longer work in future games.

Adaptation is the key to survival in the evolution of your charter.

If you don’t enjoy surprises and constantly shifting rules and goals, this isn’t the game for you.

The main fun here is in revealing new cards and components in mystery boxes, hearing the on-going story of the Forever King and what he wants from your play group, and getting to name new characters and locations on the board and tracking your progress.

There will be a winner at the end of the 12 games, but if you care about that too much, you’ll not likely enjoy the game as much as those who are playing to be part of the ride.
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Keywords

Campaign: Your progress in building your village is charted over 12 games and cumulative successes are used to determine the Campaign winner.

Legacy: You will be constantly adding to and changing the board, adding cards and other components, writing in names, sometimes destroying cards, leaving you with a unique game at the end that can be played as a stand-alone game.

Worker Placement: Players use a limited number of workers to take actions at locations on the board. When you’ve run out of workers to place, you must use a turn to take them all back, or hope another player bumps you from your spot to free that worker.

Engine Building: To a small degree, players are trying their best to add buildings to their regions that will help them generate points as efficiently as possible.

Story Told: The campaign’s appeal is the overarching story of the Forever King and executing the charter of building the village.
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What Works
• Surprises with opening Crates and rules modifications for next game.
• Campaign mode with slight shifts in ease or anxiety about rule change — every game plays differently and prevents runaway leader if players are forced to change tactics and strategies from game to game.
• Thrill of creating your unique Charter village and characters.
• Components are top notch and aesthetically and graphically beautiful, as one expects from Stonemaier Games.

What Doesn’t Work
• Bad buildings in your Charter makes it difficult to chain an efficient engine, making it difficult to catch up with players with great output of resources and/or other benefits; there’s no recovery from this — luck of getting building cards when they come up is difficult to mitigate if you don’t have things already set up (especially in the way of buildings in your charter) to take advantage of those at any turn.
• Lopsided building of Charters by the end of the game makes the board largely unplayable for stand-alone games.
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Buy If
• You can find 1 to 5 other people to commit to a regular game to play through all 12 episodes of the campaign.
• You want to create a custom worker placement Euro boardgame that you will continue to play after the campaign ends, even if it’s somewhat lopsided.

Play If
• The thrill of exploration and surprises excites you more than other types of game fun (such as exploring strategy, winning).
• You don’t mind playing sub-optimally from time to time and enjoy the challenge of adapting your strategy based on game-to-game rule changes and overall legacy changes.
• Your motto is “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”

Skip If
• You highly desire balance and low luck.
• You abhor runaway leaders or runaway engines.
• You really care about skill-based winning.
• You expect the connecting story to blow you away.

9
Go to the Witness page

Witness

Everything you need to know is in the fantastic summary and review above, so I’ll only add a few points to stress:

1. This game is about short-term memory and ability to take what you heard and make inductions (come to a conclusion based on putting together separate details) to solve the problem. If you can’t remember anything you heard, or are really bad at induction, then being able to creatively abduct (make something up based on almost no clues) is also a hilarious alternative.

If you or someone in your group can’t accept that most of the game is about hilariously passing on misremembered/misheard clues and trying to make the best guess based on probably very faulty information — to the point of not being able to solve the cases — then you’ll probably find this game more frustrating than fun.

2. If your group can play this game with the mindset that it’s a party game and not a serious deduction game, you’ll all have more fun. Solving the case and winning is incidental to the fun of playing telephone with logic puzzle clues and getting most of them wrong.

If this doesn’t sound like fun, don’t play this.

If you’re hoping for a more straight up crime-solving “deduction” (but really induction) game, then look to something else such as Chronicles of Crime, which is also light, also highly participatory, also requires no note-taking, but takes much longer to search for clues and solve the cases.

3
Go to the The 7th Continent page

The 7th Continent

8 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

I was very happy with this game for the first 2 sessions playing the Voracious Goddess curse scenario.

By the third session, my interest and excitement had worn off completely. Playing the next 7 sessions to finish the scenario was torture, even though we unwittingly cheated for the first 5 games until we realised what we misinterpreted what we were doing to shuffle discards back into the deck.

We also misunderstood a key card, or rather, didn’t realise we’d found an object that would’ve given us more information, so we spent 2 extra sessions wandering around looking for something we already had.

But had we interpreted the rules correctly to begin with, then proceeded towards the finish properly, playing the first scenario would still have been about 5 sessions, or 12 hours, too long.

The exploration is fun the first time through. But having to put everything away and respawn island tiles every session is tedious and the opposite of fun.

The character you start with gets no better with any of his/her available skills than they were to start with. You will pick up more advanced skills as you play, but these are not specific to any character. In fact, the longer you play, the less your character’s unique abilities matter.

There’s no real strategy; you make decisions based on the chances the group will succeed or not based on what skills or objects they’ve got in the moment.

Perhaps with repeat play, knowing where each island tile is and what’s on them, the decisions about building skills for characters could matter more?

I played this game in a group of 4, and perhaps it would play faster and be less tedious as a solo game. But the thought of setting it all up and organising cards on my own…feels more like work than play for me.

There were 3 more curses in the base game, plus we Kickstarted the second edition so we have expansion scenarios being delivered in March.

I never want to play this game again and I’ll consider those hours of my life I get back to be blessed. I would prefer to play Robinson Crusoe, die horribly of bee stings within 2 hours, and get on with my life.

Traded this for Gloomhaven.

WHO THIS GAME IS FOR:
• Solo (or 2) players who want to take their time (days and weeks and months of it) immersed in the story and world, agonising over every card draw.
[EDIT]
• Solo or 2 players who want to play a video adventure exploration game with cardboard and don’t mind having to fiddle with setup and tear down
• People with big tables to play on, perhaps even to leave the game state as is between sessions. This really helps minimize some of the tedium of reopening locations and speeds up the game while making it easier (by not having to turn over explore tiles again for spaces you’ve already seen before).
[/EDIT]

WHO THIS GAME ISN’T FOR:
• Groups of 3 or more who want to make strategic decisions that will matter.
• People who are averse to sorting and filing hundreds of cards over and over and over again.
• People who hope this will be like Myst. (Puzzles include Spot The Difference or Find The Hidden Number. So, really, there are no puzzles.)

8
Go to the Codenames: Pictures page
19 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

The mechanics of Codenames: Picture is the same as in the original Codenames: Two teams appoint one member each to be a “Spymaster” who will give one-word clues to their team to help them identify that team’s codename cards. The first team to identify all of their own cards wins. If a team chooses the card assigned to the assassin, they lose.

It’s a very simple set-up and the rules are easily explained. I’ve found it doesn’t take more than a couple of rounds before everyone gets the idea.

This does not mean the game play is as simple as it sounds.

In the original Codenames, since all the cards were words, the Spymasters were constrained by not being allowed to give clues that included any of the codename words laid out or included parts of any of those words. This added a level of difficulty in choosing the best clue word, and sometimes resulted in forfeiting the turn when a Spymaster accidentally picked a forbidden word.

With Codenames: Pictures there’s no restriction on not using the exact word to describe any element on any picture card in the grid.

A question that comes up with new players is, “so, why can’t the Spymaster just say ‘duck’ to point to a card with a duck on it?” Ah, well she can, but that might only result in that team identifying the single card, while the challenge is to identify as many cards as possible each turn to beat the other team. There’s no joy or tension or creativity with each team picking out only one card each turn.

The fun is also partly in having everyone get a chance to play the Spymaster in order to understand the challenge of coming up with the best clue to uncover the most of their own team’s cards at one time … without giving away any of the opposing team’s cards or, worse, the assassin’s card. Even when Spymasters make mistakes — which is bound to happen — this often ends in hilarity and group in-jokes for years to come.

Great high-five moments come when a Spymaster brilliantly picks a word that helps her team uncover 5 cards that don’t at first glance have any obvious similarity.

Other times, when spy teammates are arguing over which card to pick from the clue, it might come down to ceding to the person who best understands the mind of the Spymaster and what he might be thinking.

YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT LIKE THIS GAME IF:
• you can’t take teasing when you mess up
• you tend to take words or pictures too literally; or you get hung up on only one possible meaning for a word or one possible interpretation of an image
• you find illustrated drawings difficult to interpret
• you don’t like team competitions, even very friendly light-hearted ones

YOU WILL PROBABLY LIKE THIS GAME IF:
• you really enjoy word association games
• you enjoy lateral thinking challenges
• you enjoy games with lots of social interaction and table chatter
• you often get together groups of 4 or more friends or family who might not otherwise play board games
• you enjoy games with minimal set-up and break down and explanation for new players
• you want a game that is playable in any language

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