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Go to the Carcassonne page
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Go to the Carcassonne: South Seas page
 
Go to the Carcassonne: South Seas page
49 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

Over the past few months I have been quite absent from the hobby. Distracted by the real world and the virtual one, but recently I began attending a gaming club formed by a friend and my interest in all things cardboard has been rekindled. Thus, with an approaching birthday, I requested things of a ‘gamey’ nature and I was thankfully provided with much in the way of new cardboard and plastic, and thankfully only a little meat!

Enter stage right: Carcassonne Around the World: South Seas. One of the newer offshoots of the much praised intellectual property, and considering the setting the namesake is merely there to tie in to the cash-cow of its elder bretheren!
The game plays very close to the formulae laid down by the original, draw a tile, place a tile to build, extend or complete a feature, place a meeple and hopefully score ye them points! But this is where the similarity ends. In the South Seas variant the tiles feature sea instead of fields, islands instead of cities and wooden walkways instead of roads.

These all come with symbols of wares on them. Bananas for the islands, Fish for the seas and Oyster/Clam shells for the walkways, because now, instead of just moving your meeple down a scoring track things are done a little differently. At any given time there are four boat tiles, drawn randomly from a pile, with varying ammounts of wares on them and a point value. When you complete a feature you now gain those goods in little wooden form. Tiny wooden bananas, fish and shells, which you then use to buy yourself a ship and rake in the points from said vessel.

A new level of strategy is present also as you only have four meeple Islanders at your disposal to gather your ‘nanas, fish and shells but you can, instead of placing an Islander, take one back on any of your turns, effectively abandoning their unfinished developement. This can be played with great timing to effectively ditch a claim that’s going nowhere and jump on another, more lucrative one, instead of waiting for the duffer to be completed!

Bananas and shells are awarded when the islands and bridges respectively have been completed, the fish however are a tad diferent. If an area of sea with a fisherman islander (laid down like a farmer from vanilla) is entirely encircled by islands and bridges then that islander receives a fish for each icon on the fenced area, However, if a tile is played that features a fishing boat then the present fisherman (men) receive all of the current icons but at the cost of losing one of the higher value icons for future fishing. This means that successive boats could be played on an incomplete fishery and whittle down the fish turn by turn. Good for you if you want to rack up the fish, annoying if someone uses it to crash your perch-party and dangles a line in your pond as you’ll be seeing less of those fish you worked for!
The winner of the game is the one with the most points gained from their boats purchased with the wares and bonus points, one for every three wares they have left over at the end.

Carcassonne Around the World: South Seas really surprised me. I LOVE Carcassonne, it remains to this day one of my most played games as I like the simplicity with which it can be taught, the ease of play and the overall look of the game, but now it has been ousted from my affections by an exotic young upstart! The tactile element of the wooden wares tokens, the Islander meeple in their shorts, the look of the tiles, which look more vibrant and colourful, to the new scoring system removing the scoring track, which was one of the only things I wasn’t keen on from vanills.
Carcassonne Around the world: South Seas is a fantastic game for a varied group and for players of any age, My six year old got it within three or four turns, and I happily recommend it.
9/10.

6
Go to the Gosu page

Gosu

12 out of 14 gamers thought this was helpful

Gosu by Moonster Games

Released in 2010, by French publisher Moonster Games, and designed by Kim Sato, Gosu is a 2-4 player hand management card game where players take part in Great Battles to determine who the greatest Goblin warlord is!

From the first glance I liked this game. Starting with the box and its minimal approach to cover art. Lots of white, blank space here and sometimes this can look lazy or overly pretentious but here it sells the game brilliantly.
The top of the box shows a cadre of different goblins, showing off some of the artwork to be found within. The sides feature just the name on the long side and the publisher logo and age/player info on the short ends. The back is fairly text heavy with a tri-lingual fluff paragraph, contents list and a couple of card images. The minimalist style really helps to make the box pop in a collection and it stands out on the shelf.

The rulebook is really well done with an easy to follow, step by step guide to goblin based warfare. The tokens, 8 activation, 9 victory and 1 advantage token (used mainly for breaking ties and going first in the draw), are printed on some good quality card stock with an ‘okay’ linen finish. The printing and punching are really good. Nice and central and they punched out easily with no mess or tearing.

The 100 goblin cards are the real meat and gravy of this cardboard banquet, and what a tasty bunch they are!
Comparable in quality to almost any card game out at the moment, the card backs have a metallic appearance (although not a metallic finish as many a card gamer will know of the horrendous warping this leads to!) with the logo and a strange goblin faced door knocker thing.
The cards are sorted into five clans. Ancient Goblins (White) Alpha Goblins (green) Dark Goblins (black) Meka Goblins (blue) and Fire Goblins (red) and these clans are further separated into three power levels. Bakuto (Lv.1) Heroes (Lv.2) and Ozekis (Lv.3)
The goblin groups all have a distinctive style and the differing colours between the groups make for an attractive game once on the table. No muted colours here.
The goblins themselves are drawn brilliantly. The art, handled by Bertrand Benoit, Romain Gaschet and Ian Parovel, shows the goblin hordes with unique images, some amusing especially in the case of the cigar chomping, petrol head Fire goblins, to the serene, meditative Ancient Goblins, warlike Alphas, high tech Mekas and the creepy Dark Goblins.
The Bakutos (Lv.1) all have pretty basic names like ‘Dark Goblin Thief’ or ‘Alpha Goblin Shaman’ but the Heroes and Ozekis all have names, and titles in some cases. I really like the fact they went for a completely unique deck with no repetition as that would have been a quick way to bolster the ranks, but the effort in giving us 100 different goblins makes the game all the better for me.

The components in Gosu are great. I think the box could have easily been smaller. I have all of them barring the rule book in an Ultra Pro Deckbox which takes up barely 40% of the available space. Shrink the rules and the box could easily have been made more compact. The fact that I really like the rulebook though renders me a little conflicted in this case! Still all great though.

Gameplay

All 100 cards are shuffled together to form one deck from which all players will draw a hand of seven cards. These are the only free cards you will get!
On a players turn they can take the following actions:
1) Play a Goblin (and use its power if possible)
Each players area is a 5×3 grid in front of them, the first row is for Bakutos, the second for Heroes and the third row (the furthest forward) is for Ozekis. Each player forms their army on this grid.
The first level one goblin you play is free, as are any of the same colour that follow, but for every goblin of a new colour you play you must discard 2 cards from your hand. Heroes and Ozekis require at least one goblin of the same colour be present in the previous layer and as a result they are free to play. Having an assortment of goblins is vital to success so you’ll find yourself discarding quite a lot of cards to build your primary row in the first few turns.

2) Mutate a Goblin
Some goblins have a special icon, coupled with a number, and this indicates that if you discard the indicated number of cards you may mutate it into any other goblin of the same level. This is a nifty way around the limitation of having to have a matching clan colour in the prior level as you can mutate freely.

3) Spend activation tokens for cards
Players can either pay one of their two activation tokens for one card from the deck or both of them for three cards. Aside from a few card effects this is the only way to gain new cards making your choices all the more important with the deliberate choking of resources.

4) Spend an activation token to activate a goblins power
Some goblins have powers on their cards that can only be used by spending a token as opposed to being used when the card is placed. These powers tend to be more powerful or more useful than their free counterparts so you are presented with a choice. New cards? Or kicking some *** with activation powers?

5) Pass
If you choose to pass the round is over for you and you now wait for the other players to finish and pass themselves before moving on to the Great Battle.

‘The Great Battle’
Once all the players have finished forming their forces they face off in the Great Battle. Each player totals the values of their entire force, Bakutos are worth 1 point each, Heroes 2 points and Ozekis 5 points each giving a complete 5×3 army a value of 50 points worth of slobbering gobo fury!
The victor (most points) takes a victory token, any ties go in favour of the owner of the Advantage token. Each player then replenishes their two activation tokens and a new round begins building towards the next Great Battle.
The first player to win three Great Battles wins the war and is declared the greatest goblin warlord.

Gosu is a strange fruit of a game. I love the strategy involved in managing your cards, discards and activation tokens each round and the limitations imposed by the draw mechanic adds another level. At first I wasn’t too sure about the gameplay but it works really well and I soon came to really like it.
I give Gosu 6/10. The game is great as is the artwork but it doesn’t stand up to regular play. A great every now and then title for when you have 15-20 minutes.

4
Go to the The Walking Dead Card Game page
70 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

Walking Dead the Card Game by Cryptozoic Entertainment

As I’m not the greatest fan of the T.V show The Walking Dead I was unaware of this game but on my recent jaunt to town for Free Comic Book Day I spotted this on a shelf, and wanting to buy at least something on my visit, thought I’d give it a whirl.

The box art is what you would expect from a media tie in game, a generic shot of the hero looking, in this case, moody and determined with his revolver while standing in an apparently grey world devoid colour. I know the show isn’t a riotous colour-fest but this game could be easily overlooked with the drab box.
The blurb on the reverse reveals that the game is based on a game called ‘6 nimmt!’ by Wolfgang Kramer, winner of a fistful of awards including the Spiel des jahres (Game of the year), one of the most prestigious accolades in board/card gaming.

The rules are presented simply and are easily understood, the book itself is a simple four page affair explaining the two game modes, Survivor and Hero.

The cards are where this game falls flat on its brain munching face!
They feel good, that’s at least one good point, they shuffle well and feel as though they will stand up to a decent amount of play but that is where the praise ends.
The card art just looks like basic DVD rear cover screen grabs of various zombies. Of the 104 zombie cards, numbered from 1 – 104, there are only five different images. This being a 6 nimmt clone that is understandable as it is one of the game mechanics but the pictures chosen are awful! The one you see the most of (76 of them to be exact) is of a rotting woman’s face and it’s far from the most appealing card considering it is the most common. The other four are of larger groups of shufflers and are equally drab, but not as bad.

The 6 hero cards are, again, effortless screen captures from the show with the exception of Rick, the main protagonist of the show for those not in the know. Ricks card is the laziest piece of **** I have seen in a game for a long while. It features the self same image that is on the box cover, the rule book and the card backs! Yes, the card backs. This means that the card has the same bloody image on both sides! LAZY!
Considering the quality of Cryptozoics other efforts, games the likes of the DC Deck Building game (even though this has been thoroughly outclassed now), Food Fight, the World of Warcraft trading card game and Penny Arcade: Rumble in R’lyeh, this game seems like a poorly put together, phoned in effort. It may be a slightly modified version of an existing game system but they could have put a little more thought into the look of the **** thing! It plays well but the lazy copy and paste approach to the appearance damages it.

Gameplay

In stark contrast to the previously stated ‘Google Image Search’ approach to the art the gameplay is really good! Especially the more players you have!

Hero Mode
Each player has a hand of 15 ‘Walker’ cards and one hero card and the aim of the game is to have the highest value of walker cards when the players are all out of cards.
In the centre of the table four walkers are placed in a vertical row to serve as your starting cards and each turn players play either one or two walker cards onto one of these four rows. The cards played must have a higher numerical value than the card before it in the row unless you do not have a card higher than any on the table, in which case you must play a lower value one onto the current highest value card.
The hero cards are used to allow you to place a card at the beginning of a row once per game instead of the end
Once a row would have the sixth card played onto it, the player takes the five existing cards and puts them to one side (these will be used for scoring at the end of the game) and the sixth card becomes the first in a new, replacement line, so on and so on until all players have no cards left, at which point the players count the bullets on their captured/killed cards and the highest wins! Simple yes?….No! The game has a remarkably simple concept but has a tactical element that will have some thinking multiple moves ahead!
.

Survival mode
This is the closest the game comes to the original 6 nimmt. Each player has a 10 card hand and the cards are played in the same manner as before but his time the aim is to take as few of the cards as possible, or at least the lowest scoring cards possible ad the hero cards are not used.
Once all 10cards have been played by each player the bullets are counted and the fewest wins.

I am aware I may not have explained how well the game plays as it is a very simple game but it is quite enjoyable, just let down brutally by the appallingly lazy aesthetic choices made, hence I’m giving this game 4/10. I would happily give it 6 or even 7 but the appearance is so lame that I can’t even justify a 5. A good example of a lazy tie in, if you see it for a couple of pounds (or currency of your choice!) pick it up but don’t pay full retail value, it just isn’t worth it, buy 6 Nimmt instead, at least that won an award!

9
Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

19 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

Smash Up

Released in 2012 by AEG (Alderac Entertainment Group) Smash up is a 2-4 player ‘Shufflebuilding’ game featuring a host of stereotypically geeky factions from aliens and robots to the often conflicted ninjas and pirates.
The artwork on the box, which itself feels nice and sturdy with a vinyl-esque finish to it, is really good. Featuring an all out brawl between the contained factions and a very comic book styled title banner. This caught my eye the first time I saw it.
The rule book bears the same image as well as the games sub title ‘The Shufflebuilding game of total Awesomeness!’ and the rules are some of the most concise, simple and well written I’ve come across yet! They get the rules across with none of the usual messing around and unnecessary fluff that others are bogged down with. Some games, don’t misunderstand me here, benefit greatly from all of the added blurb that the writers put in but it isn’t always implemented in the best way, and this can make a slightly complex game into a sodding mystery when you have to sift a rule books pages for the one little box of text you need and find it hidden on a page that, at first glance, contains nothing important or related to gameplay. As I said, with Smash Up there is none of this, the rules are straight forward and uncomplicated and most of what you need to know is written on the cards themselves!
Inside the box was a treat too. The inside has a compartmentalized plastic insert, allowing you to keep your different factions separated when not in play and with enough spaces to accommodate future expansions, the first of which is out already.

The cards are very nice. Not the best I’ve held but better than the average for sure. They shuffle very well, in fact out of the box they are probably the best shuffling cards to date (and considering the main theme of the game is ‘shufflebuilding’ this is a good thing!), and the artwork and finish is really good.

The cards are divided up into eight different 20 card faction decks and one 16 card Base deck.
The factions are Pirates, Ninjas, Aliens, Zombies, Wizards, Tricksters, Dinosaurs and Robots. Each one has different strengths and abilities and is divided into Minions and Action cards. Minions are used to score points and the actions are pretty self explanatory really, they let you do stuff!
At the start of a game the players chose two of these faction decks and ‘shuffle’ them together to form one deck, this is the ‘Shufflebuilding’ element. This creates the chances for many combinations and many random conflicts.

Based purely on the look and feel of the contents, and the rule book, I would give Smash Up 9/10 so far. Really well made, good looking and fun, and that’s before the first game!

Gameplay

Awesome Sauce!
This game is so simple to play and so fun! Each turn players get to play one Minion and one Action card, or just one of either. Some cards allow you to play extra minions or actions and even return cards from the discard pile (which for the Zombie faction is one of the main points!) and play said cards onto the base cards, of which there are one per player +1 (so a three player game there are four bases).

Each base card has a ‘threshold number’ printed on it and when the total strength of the minions currently on it exceeds this threshold the base is destroyed and points are awarded to the players in order of their total strength there i.e. the player with the greatest strength will usually get the most points and the second and third less and less. Each base also has an effect which is triggered when destroyed, such as allowing the winner to place one of the minions back into his/her hand instead of the discard pile (as this is what happens to any minions when a base is destroyed) or allowing the runner up to keep a minion there when the next base replaces the defeated one!

The game is a race to 15 points and this relatively low figure makes the game keep a great pace and stops the game from dragging at all! There is a mechanic that whenever one of the players 40 card decks runs out the discard pile is simply shuffled and restarted but in the games we have had so far, the game is usually well over by this point.

Smash Up is a brilliant, frantic, fast and funny game with the right balance of tactics, timing and last minute backstabbing to steal the high points. I stand by the 9/10 and would recommend this as an essential for any gaming group as an ideal quick game for any audience and skill level. Pick it up if you can, you’ll love it!

8
Go to the Relic page

Relic

16 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

Relic – by Fantasy Flight Games

Before I start I should point out that there will be a lot of comparisons between this and Talisman seeing as this game is based on the Talisman game system and there are a lot of elements which haven’t changed much, or at all! A lot of the reviews I’ve read so far have avoided this but I think that a comparison is needed to see where this game came from and where improvement has been made.

When this game was announced in the misty past of last year I was so excited I could have happily skipped to the shops to pre order a copy! Talisman is one of my favourite fantasy board games and although I’m not the biggest fan of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, (I personally prefer a fantasy setting) the prospect of them being put together to form some form of hybrid game was an exciting one.
I decided to wait until the game was released, and I could get a play test of it, before I bought a copy. Coincidentally, not too long after release one of my gaming group picked the game up and brought it round for a game and a thorough rummage through the gubbins! (He even left the tokens unpunched for me to punch out as he knows I derive some form of childish enjoyment from it! Ta muchly Rich!!!).

The box is the same size as that of Talisman, featuring your regular 40k style artwork depicting an Ultramarines Space Marine on the box lid and the back has the usual fare of game and contents guff found on all Fantasy Flight Games.
Inside the box the board the board is very similar in arrangement to the Talisman board but this is to be expected but I have a slight issue with the colours. It’s a little dark! The cards are easily overlooked as the artwork on the board is very ‘busy’. There is a lot going on all over the board, as though the artists were getting paid on commission and wanted a new car. The quality of the work is fantastic, don’t get me wrong here, but they could have reined it in a little. The Talisman board had a good balance of detailed pictures and panoramic views with a great balance of colours, and I know that this is the ‘Dark Future’ but I think the brief was read a little too literally.
Moving on from this, before I lose any more readers, the cards are brilliant. In a different approach than Talisman took each space has one of three coloured icons on it, representing Strength, Willpower and Cunning (Red, blue and yellow respectively). These three different icons have separate decks of encounter cards, making a large improvement on Talismans single enor-frickin’-mous pile of encounter cards which made shuffling a feat of endurance. Each colour has a balanced mix of events, which can have many random effects on the game and players, Places, which stay on the board and offer new ways to progress and move, random pieces of equipment and then enemies which must be defeated to progress further. There are also mission cards which must be taken by the players and completed to gain access to the eponymous relics, artifacts and weapons of a bygone era giving you fantastic power ups and allowing you to progress into the inner region of the board and go for the win. Certain enemies and events will force players to take Corruption cards, which can have positive or negative effects for the player but too many will kill you deader than disco. Equipment cards containing basic weapons and armour to aid you in battle. Finally we have the power cards, these are similar to magic found in Talisman but they have a value as well as an effect and can be used instead of a dice roll, for example if you have to roll a five to win a fight and have a power card with a value of five, you can use that instead. This, in my opinion, is better than the fate system from Talisman as that just gives you re-rolls, leaving the outcome just as random as the initial roll. This allows more control over certain events and gives you more of a chance.

The tokens are good, they have the usual vinyl effect to them so they feel sturdy, there are skulls in each of the four player colours, used for various purposes throughout the game. Charge tokens, for abilities and areas with limited uses and Influence tokens. These are basically your currency and I think they missed a trick here. In Talisman the gold coins are plastic molded coins, which add a really nice tactile element to the game. Here they are just little cardboard triangles bearing the Imperial Aquila. They could easily have done some imperial credits or some other currency unit and made some equally nice pieces but it’s nothing worth marking them down for!

The player reference material comes in two parts in this game. First you have the character cards which show any special traits they character has, starting strength, willpower, cunning and health values and a character portrait, which are a marked improvement on those found in Talisman, they are really good here.
The second part is a new addition to the system and a bloody good one. It is a level tracker. Each time you trade in 6 points worth of enemies (based on the threat values on the enemy cards) you progress to the next level and gain two bonuses, usually an increase in one of your skills and then your characters bonus which can range from extra influence tokens, power cards extra increases to stats and even completed mission bonuses. The stats are tracked with four dials numbered one to twelve (which gives the skills an upper limit this time) and this makes a great improvement to the countless plastic cones used in Talisman.

Finally we get to the playing pieces themselves, which was one of the main selling points for many people. They are incredibly well sculpted busts of the characters which can be affixed to one of the four coloured player bases. They are fantastic! The level of detail is very high and they fit the theme very well, and on top of that they look great on the table. Some people will hanker for miniatures as opposed to busts but these make a refreshing change to the regular slew of miniatures packaged with games these days, and if you want to have a dabble with some brushy business they look great painted, as a quick Google browse will show.

Gameplay

In terms of gameplay there isn’t much of a difference between this and Talisman, the core mechanic of roll a d6, move and do what the board or cards tell you to do, rinse and repeat remains but the changes make it stand apart. The leveling up adds more control to your progression and getting killed in combat no longer means getting lumbered with a new, weak character, you simply lose some of your gathered gubbins, influence and unspent enemy points etc. and simply move to a safe spot and carry on. The only way to lose a character is to reach your corruption threshold, which for most is 6 corruption cards.
Unlike the vanilla Talisman game, Relic comes with five different scenarios out of the box, making for more play options while waiting for the inevitable expansions and the changes to character progression means that the game runs considerably quicker than its predecessor which in turn means that a game of Relic can be fitted into a standard gaming day instead of being the sole event. This also works well as a two player game as it runs quicker and easier.

After playing Relic and looking back to my review of Talisman in which I gave it 7/10 I would say that Relic deserves 8/10. The improvements and changes to the system all work well and make for a great gaming experience. It would never replace Talisman but it makes for a quicker alternative and a different choice for those with a penchant for some sci-fi or just 40k fans. I’m not so sure that hardcore GW fanboys will take to this as fanboys of any material are hard to please, especially with seeing their favourite material in a new format, but I would implore them to take a chance on this game as all of the lore and feeling of the grim future is present and FFG have done a stellar job.

7
Go to the Giants page

Giants

8 out of 10 gamers thought this was helpful

Published by Asmodee in 2008, and designed by Fabrice Besson, Giants is a Pick up & Deliver/Auction game where you play the role of tribes on Easter Island building the now famous head statues known as Moais and transporting them to the coast and erecting them on their platforms, Ahus.

This is a 3-5 player game but I wouldn’t recommend any less than 4 for reasons I shall get to.

The components are brilliant in Giants and for them alone it is worth the price.
Starting with the box itself, which is a sturdy beast, the art design, by Miguel Coimbra, is beautiful and very thematic. The board is equally gorgeous depicting a top down view if Easter Island and is pretty accurate in depicting the shape (which I would hope it would) and the placement of the Ahus along the coastline for the most part although the scale means they are not 100% accurate, but totally forgiven.

The cutouts for the auction block (Quarry) and headdress spot (clay pit) are a nice touch but could easily have been put in as a space in the board, the hex tiles for the forest, where you harvest logs for transportation, are double sided showing verdant greenery on one side and a stump filled empty space on the other which is a nice way to show which spaces remain for harvesting, and a self constructed storage bin for the tribe markers to be held in before you claim them. The smaller card components comprise of tiles to show which spots on the board you have reserved for your Moais to stop your opponents from claiming the high spots, and Rongo tablets (!) which are bought in halves and a full one can be used to special effect during the game.

On to the plastic! Starting with the dice, which for those of you who have read previous blithering rambles will know are the first thins I look at, they are really nice! Really good quality production and each face shows either a Moais of a different size (1-3) or a broken Moais and when rolled at the beginning of the turn show how many are available to buy, a broken one obviously showing that some cack handed mason has duffed one this time so someone may be going without!

Each tribe comes with three different members, one Chief, one Sorcerer and six workers molded in five colours and each different class is easily distinguishable from the other by sculpt alone but each has a unique base shape too, just to help. The tribes also have six tribe markers each, used for currency, and a score marker.
The Moais statues are brilliant and chunky little buggers which look fantastic once they start hitting the board. The three different sizes are cast in a different shade stone effect plastic so the small difference in size from 1-2 or 2-3 doesn’t cause any difficulty for the player and the starting player marker is an extra Moais with the headdress permanently attached. The headdresses themselves are a terracotta colour and attach (with great sodding difficulty in 50% of the cases) to the heads of the Moais by sitting them on top and ‘twisting them!’ so the indentation in them squeezes the head beneath. I HATE this one thing about the components as I know that with time they will just wear down and fail eventually.
The final components are the wooden logs you harvest from the forest which are literally tiny wooden logs! Tiddy lengths of dark brown dyed dowel which unless you have some little bowl to store them in will make a break for the edge of the table at the first opportunity and then take refuge in the carpet or the dog!

All in all, components alone I love what you get in the box before you start playing and it looks great on the table. The individual pieces all pop and stand out distinctly from one another

Gameplay

The game, as I said before, is a ‘pick up and deliver’ game with an auction mechanic to get your goods.

Phase one and two:
The players start a turn by rolling the quarry die to see how many Moais are produced for auction this turn and then the players secretly decide how much influence they are going to commit to get a Moais and what size they want to buy. The highest amount of Tribe Markers played goes first and the amount of workers they bid show the size of Moais they can take, three workers for instance can take any size of Moais but two caa only take a size 1 or 2. This is where the superiority of a Chief comes into effect for the first time as they count as three workers on their own, saving workers for later if you need them.

Phase three:
Now the players place their tribesmen on the board.
Workers: Any not used in the auction can be placed on the board in order to transport Moais or headdresses later in the turn so they go on the hexes you wish to traverse along with up to two wooden logs to aid in transportation.
Sorcerers: are placed on special hexes to gain special actions…
The Village – Gain one worker fron the resource bin.
The Sorcerers Hut – take a tribe marker from the resource bin.
The Forest – take as many logs as are indicated on the tile you are on.
An Ahu – Reserve the spot with a base from your tribe.
Headdress Quarry – Sculpt a headdress.

Workers, logs and tribe markers are held behing your player screen, hidden from your opponents. Headdresses are kept in front of your screen.

Chief: If you have two half Rongo tablets you can spend then and use the Chief in the same way as a Sorcerer or just place him on a hex to count as three workers for transport if you didn’t use him in the auction.

You can also place an unused tribe marker in fron of your screen to buy a half Rongo Tablet for later use, or pass until each player is done with this phase.

Phase four:
Transportation.
To move a Moai the space needs to contain at least as many workers or logs as the size of the Moai itself , headdresses take only one worker, but logs are removed at the end of the turn so if you are a ruthless sausage you can plot your course where your opponents have used their logs, bearing in mind the limited number there are, and use them while saving your own for later use, you also get bonus points for using other players workers for moving your Moais so planning your route is important.
Once a Moai is at an Ahu spot and you have at least one worker in an adjacent hex you can erect the Moai, with one of your tribe bases beneath it. The further away from the Quarry you place a Moai the more points it is worth at the end of the game and conversely the further the headdresses are moved from the clay pit the more they are worth. In practice though we found that if a player makes a rush for most of the mid range plots they can easily score more than enough to win over someone who goes for high scores, making a battle for the mid range Ahus a regular event.
Headdresses are erected in the same way on top of your Moai.

If you haven’t managed to move a Moai or a headdress to an Ahu by the end of the turn you can use a tribe marker to mark them as yours, if not any other player can do the same and steal them from you.

Phase five:
End of turn/game.
All used workers, Chiefs, sorcerers and tribe markers in front of the player screens are taken back behind them and a new auction begins again.
If at the end of phase four any player has placed a Moai on every one of their tribe bases the game ends and the scores are tallied for the erected Moais and headdresses. A better variant is present in the rulebook however in which the scores are applied as and when Moai are erected, this plays much better in this game for me than the hidden score option.

Final Thoughts
Although my interpretation of the rules/phases may seem a tad complicated (to me it seemed that I made it seem harder than it is) Giants is a great game, and as my first foray into pick up and deliver style games I gather I could have done much worse! The game is simple yet tactical at the same time and looks great when you are playing.
If you don’t want to get bogged down in a heavy game Giants plays in 60 mins once you have a game or two under your belt and is really fun for the price it can be picked up for!

I’ll give Giants a 7/10. While I haven’t said much by way of criticism, save for the headdress issue, there isn’t anything truly amazing in it. A really solid game and worth the time to try for anyone interested.

8
Go to the The Witches: A Discworld Game page
16 out of 17 gamers thought this was helpful

The Witches: A Discworld Game

Designed by Martin Wallace and published by Mayfair Games The Witches is a semi co-operative dice rolling/set collection (it’s not as confusing as it sounds) game in which the players take on the roles of a cadre of Lancre witches as they roam around the region dealing with the usual trials and tribulations of their kind such as sick pigs, deaths and the occasional outbreak of supernatural nastiness!

With the artwork being handled by the Discworld Emporium, home of the official merchandise for Mr. Pratchett’s workings, the look of the game is fantastic. The box art features a group of the Discs wise Lancre ladies and a few of the Nac Mac Feegle hidden thereabouts (small, blue, Scottish pixies who think they are already dead and in heaven for those of you who are not readers of the series)
The board is drawn beautifully and shows a birds eye view of the region of Lancre and all of the locations made famous (or infamous in some cases) in the books, from Lancre Castle and Granny Weatherwax’s Cottage to The Place Wher The Sun Does Not Shine and The Long Man (a rock formation in a VERY suggestive shape…. cue close up!) The board itself is great quality and suffers from no warping, ours has had quite a few games and is still box fresh!

The player boards each feature a portrait of one of the four Witches you play as and a description of their special ability…
Tiffany Aching can become invisible, passing through otherwise impassable spaces.
Petulia Gristle has the ability to cure one sick pig event free.
Annagramma Hawkins has a free use of magic but starts with a cackle token.
And Dimity Hubbub always goes first.
Each has a coloured border and matches the player pieces which are four coloured wooden witches hats which look really good on the board, I would have preferred some miniatures of the witches themselves to play with but there are companies who make them anyway so they can easily be bought later.

The dice are nice even though they are wooden, I’m not a fan of wooden dice, and have 2-6 as usual but the one spot shows the face of a cackling witch. You do not want to roll this in the game too often.

The problem tiles, in two colours green and purple, are really well printed, have great little images on them and have a great finish to them as do the cackle tokens, showing a laughing hag and the Crisis Counters with worried villagers. The tokens you never want are the Black Aliss tiles as they decrease your end game score if you have any, and you cannot rid yourself of them.

Lastly the cards. They are the best cards in a game that isn’t all card focused I have. They are standard poker sized and finished with a quality coating meaning no sticking and easy shuffling. The pictures on them are of equal quality to the box art and feature many denizens of the region featured in the books as well as one or two specials, like invisibility or Tiffany’s frying pan (useful for dealing with faries apparently)

The components are really good, as I said I would have preferred some mini’s for the player pieces but I’m very happy with the rest of the parts.

Gameplay

During your turn you start with placing a problem tile. You draw the top card from the deck and place the next tile from the holding area (bottom right of the board) in the location shown on the bottom of the card. If there is already a problem there it gains a crisis token, which increases its difficulty by 2, and you draw a new card to try and place it. Continue until it is placed.
Next you move your Witch for the first time. You may move your witch up to two spaces along the paths on the board, or to any space if you use a card with the broomstick image at the top. If you encounter another witch or a problem tile you must stop and take action. If you are on a space with a witch you can stop and ‘Have Tea’ which enables you to discard up to three cackle counters, and your fellow witch(s) up to two. If you are on a problem you have to decide whether to try and deal with it.

To deal with a problem first check the difficulty of the problem shown in the bottom right of the tile, then you roll the first two of the four dice. If you roll a witch icon at any time you gain a cackle token unless you can play a reroll card to negate it. If there are no cackle tokens in the pool to take you take one from the player with the most, and if that’s you you have to take a Black Aliss tile which are worth a permanent -1. If after this first roll you are confident that you can take the problem out you now have the chance to play any modifier cards, either for the effect in the text box or the icon on the top and roll the second set of dice. If you succeed you claim the tile and add it to your player board where every two of each colour provide a bonus (+1 hand size for two green and +1 to rolls for two purple) if you fail you have to retreat to the next space on the path and taking a cackle counter, if the space is not empty you take another cackle counter and continue in this fashion until you are alone on a space.

The purple tiles, which remain face down until encountered, are the hardest problems and feature some of the supernatural elements the witches face and some have extra effects if you fail them such as forcing you to take Black Aliss tiles or even for the game to automatically end and the witches to lose if you have three or more elves face up.
You then refill your hand to the maximum, starting at three cards and then adding one for each green pair you have up to a maximum of seven.

Once all of the problem tiles are out of the holding area the game ends and the scores are counted, shown in the lower left of the tiles you have collected, and the witch with the highest score wins. But there are two ways that the board can win. As mentioned before, if there are three or more elves face up on the board, you lose also if you have to place a crisis counter and there are none to place you lose, meaning taking care of the problems made harder by crisis tiles is important as is not revealing too many hard problems unless you are confident you can defeat them.

The game has a semi co-op play style to it as you need to work together in a sense to stop the board from winning, but you are all competing to be the best witch so you find yourself swooping in and nabbing a couple of the easy tiles your opponents are headed for just to bolster your hand for later.

The game is a brilliant, simple to learn and teach game for most ages, the guideline says 13+ but the only thing I can see that would be unsuitable for younger people is the ‘Long Man’ on the board being a tad suggestive. I will give The Witches 8/10, if there were mini’s I would give it a nine, it is SO close to being my perfect idea of a quick, fun game and I would ask any player to give it some consideration.

5
Go to the Cthulhu Dice page

Cthulhu Dice

86 out of 93 gamers thought this was helpful

Cthulhu Dice

This is a REALLY short game! Consisting of a single oversized D12 featuring Cthulhu Mythos symbols and a handful of glass pebbles you would be easily forgiven for overlooking this game as more a novelty item and les a game.
I would be lying if I said there was anything resembling strategy to this game but the simplicity is half of the fun and it makes a useful five minute filler game whether you are waiting for dinner, for a bus or the men in white coats coming to return you to Arkham!

Gameplay
The rules are straight forward and you only need reference them once or twice until the icons are learned…..
Players begin with three of the glass markers. These are Sanity Tokens.
Each turn you choose a victim from among the other players and roll the die applying the result to their chosen player:
Yellow Sign = Your target loses one sanity to Cthulhu and pushes it to the centre of the table.
Tentacle = The caster takes one sanity from his/her victim unless they are already insane themselves in which case it goes to Cthulhu.
Elder Sign = You gain one sanity from Cthulhu’s pool in the middle of the table.
Cthulhu = EVERYONE loses one sanity.
Eye = Players choice from the above!

Once this is resolved, the victim immediately retaliates by rolling the die and applying the result to their attacker then play moves to the left and the next player chooses a victim, and so on.

One interesting element of play in this game is that if you lose all of your sanity you are NOT out of the game, instead you are merely insane! A gibbering maniacal servant of Cthulhu. When the turn comes back around you may attack anyone as usual, but you may not be attacked in retaliation, nor can anyone choose you as a victim. You may become sane again by rolling an Elder Sign to reclaim some of your marbles from the mighty Cthulhu but with the odds at 1 in 12 this is a slim chance and more often than not the game ends with you, mad as a sack of badgers, causing all kinds of grief for the remaining sane players until only one remains (in this game the Elder Gods seem to follow the Highlander rules!)

The game takes between five and ten minutes for a full group of six players and I would say that you should only play if you have four or five people as it doesn’t play well with less.

For a quick distraction and a mainly thinking free game to kill a few minutes this is worth the £5 price tag. I will give Cthulhu Dice 6/10, It is a really simple little game and there isn’t much to it, but it is still a fun little addition to a collection.

10
Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

35 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Zombie Dice, by Steve Jackson Games, is a push your luck dice rolling game in which the players are zombies attempting to munch down on some delicious, juicy brains! The only issue is that the owners of said brains aren’t too keen on donating to your lunch plans and are busy either running away or bearing shotguns to blow your rotting head from your zombie shoulders! The first player to gather and chew on 13 brains wins, but only if the dice are lucky for you!

The game comes with thirteen dice, six green, four yellow and three red each of which have three icon on them, in varying number.
Brains – Three on the green dice, two on the yellow and one on the red.
Feet – Two on the green dice, Two on the yellow and two on the red.
Gun shots – One on the green dice, two on the yellow and three on the red.

During a players turn you take three dice at random from the tube (or dice bag which we have found better, especially for those such as myself with dinner plate hands and sausage fingers!!!) and roll them. For each brain rolled the player puts those dice aside until the end of the turn, feet are kept and rolled again as the victim has run out of reach….. for now, and shotgun blasts are kept along with the brains. Any runners are gathered up and a new dice are taken to make up a hand of three and rolled again, and so on and so on until either three gunshots are collected whereby your head has been blown clean off and all brains rolled that turn are lost, the player decides to stop rolling and all brains are added to the players total or a player reaches 13 brains and stops thereby winning the game.
This is where the “push your luck” element of the game comes in. When faced with needing only two brains to win, but having two gunshots already, do you take the chance and roll again risking a shot and losing any brains not yet scored or do you take your brains and hope none of the other players get a lucky break?

This is a brilliant filler game and recommended for a cool down period between bigger games on a full gaming day, or simply as a quick gaming burst when time doesn’t allow larger games.
I give Zombie Dice a 10/10. For what it is, a filler game, it delivers gameplay and replay value in spades and anyone can learn it in seconds, so much so that both of my children have played and loved it!

EXPANSION TIME!!!!!
Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature

This small expansion adds three dice to Zombie dice as replacements for the regular dice and come in two different flavours…..

Part 1 – Big Summer Action Movie.
Two new dice are added in place of two of the yellow dice, the Hunk is a new white dice featuring a double brain in place of a single and a double shot in place of a single.
The Hottie is a pink dice which has three feet (in heels) one shot and one brain, making her hard to catch than a regular victim.

The unique rule for these two victims is that if you have caught one of them and the other shoots you they can rescue each other and return to the bag!

Part 2 – Santa meets the Zombies.
Replacing a green dice this part adds a solid red die with new icons.
The dice represents Mr Claus himself and he is just as much a victim as any other person in the game, but he may survive yet as he also brings presents!
Along with a gunshot, feet and a brain (Santa’s own head candy!) we have a double brain as Santa has brought you a yummy double helping, an American football helmet making you a “Tough Zombie” which enables you to withstand an extra gunshot before falling and an energy drink which makes you a “Fast Zombie” and enabling you to convert any running feet into brains as they aren’t quite fast enough to avoid you now.

Out of the two expansions the “Santa meets the Zombies” is the better of the two as it adds more to the game as the hero and the hottie do but all in all they are a fantastic addition to a brilliant game and if you have, you need the other! The beard so declares!!

For pictures and more reviews visit beardplaysgames.blogspot.co.uk

6
Go to the Save Doctor Lucky page

Save Doctor Lucky

17 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

Components.
The box is shiny and makes a funny (in an immature sense) noise when you slide the lid off! Heh! The cover art is similar to that of “Kill Doctor Lucky” but the players characters are showing concern for the doddery old codger instead of malice as shown in the prior title. The back of the box shows the contents held within and has a little blurb about the games theme and play style.
Under the lid we firstly find the rules of play, which are simple to understand and explained in a formulaic way which makes them easy to read.
The board, or boards as the case is, are really nice and well made. Each of the single fold boards represents a different deck of the ship which is slowly sinking around you as you play and each one has a number of rooms which players will move through throughout the course of the game, chasing Dr Lucky in an attempt to save his life. The cards are arranged in equal piles next to the four decks and are drawn from the lowest deck first, when that pile is depleted the deck is removed, being totally submerged and any players on that deck are moved onto the next deck up.
The playing pieces, as in Kill Doctor Lucky, are card standees depicting the fellow passengers you will be playing as and are printed on nice, dense card with plastic “feet” that they slot into. The fit is a little too snug for my liking and one or two of the player pieces received a small amount of damage when trying to gently force them into the bases, but on the other hand, they ain’t going anywhere now!
Lastly we get onto the cards. Quality wise they are excellent, they have a smooth coating on them and feel really nice in the hand and shuffle well once the initial cling has been sorted with the first stiff shuffle that is! They are broken down into three distinct types and are shuffled together, split into four equal piles and placed by each of the four decks, the types are:

Location Cards: These have a room aboard the ship printed on them and can either be used to move immediately to that room or move sequentially through rooms up to the amount shown on the card, either of which can be used in conjunction with the players one space move per turn.

Save Cards: These are used to attempt to save the doctors life and have a save value number printed on them, some of which gain a boost if used in certain rooms.

Fail Cards: Finally these cards are used to scupper the plans of your friends as they attempt to save the eponymous Doctor and each have a fail value which needs to match or exceed the save attempt value. These cards can be played any time a save is attempted and each player can add to the fail value with their own cards as it is in each players best interest to make sure that everyone else fails and they are the ones to save Doctor Luckys life.

The contents are really well made, aside from the tightness of the plastic stands, and I would say a little better than the previous title whose board is not as well made.

Gameplay.
The game plays in almost the opposite to Kill Doctor Lucky in that this time you are attempting to perform a heroic save on him while within line of sight of your fellow passengers, for the glory and all that! This means that a slightly different game of cat and mouse is played, trying to keep out of the others line of sights until you decide the time is right to play a save card and you can move into view. The mechanic of chaining moves makes a return, that being if the doctor moves onto your space at the end of your turn (as he moves sequentially through the rooms at the end of each players turn) you receive another go immediately, meaning that if someone plots their course carefully they can “run the board” and gather a handful of cards and make a save attempt multiple times, for example one player in one of our early games made eleven turns in a row managed three save attempts and made the rest of us exhaust most of our fail cards.

The game is fun for the most part but can become frustrating at times, the game receives a mixed response from my group and we tend to find that five players is the optimum number as with less you have a hard time lining up witnesses for save attempts and with six or seven players the cards deplete rapidly and you run the risk of the boat sinking before any one succeeds.

6/10 the game is fun for an every now and then laugh but it doesn’t suit all gamers. Good family game but not really recommended for gamers who prefer a deeper experience.

10
Go to the Munchkin page

Munchkin

31 out of 36 gamers thought this was helpful

Components. (Based on the colour edition)
The box is a sturdy affair featuring samples of the card art found within and a brief blurb on the reverse about the game theme and contents. One of the most striking pieces of text is found towards the bottom of the blurb which states that the game has sold over a million copies in 15 different languages! This is evidence of the quality of the game, to sell that many copies of a card game speaks of a fantastic product and Steve Jackson delivers quality by the truckload!!!
Inside the box we first happen upon the rules, which in the case of card games are often not presented in the best way. The rules for Munchkin are given on a high quality glossy, three fold A4(ish) sized pamphlet. The breakdown of the rules and play sequences are well spaced and so painfully understood that anyone can pick them up within minutes, the humour of the game itself is evident in the rules also with clever little jokes and puns thrown in that make reading the rules from end to end a laugh and a joy.
Under these rules the box itself is separated into four segments, one of which contains the Munchkin die, used primarily for running away in terror when you face a monster that can make jam out of you! It is a very nice die, it has a good weight to it and is very well made, with the one spot being a silhouette of a munchkin head. This alone is worth a bonus point as too often companies cheap out on the dice provided (I’m looking at you Claustrophobia.) and give you cheap, floaty dice with no weight to them and which feel horrible in the hand, and thats for games where dice are the common mechanic! This game uses it every now and then and it is of excellent quality.

The cards are next and these are separated into two different piles, Doors and treasure. On a players turn they will be turning over door cards, revealing monsters, curses and the occasional bonus in order to gain treasures with which to strengthen their munchkin and progress to level 10 and win the game (more on this in a minute). The cards are really nice, they are well made and feel nice in the hand with a smooth finish and well rounded edges. The art work is brilliant. Drawn by John Kovalic they are comical and are as much a part of the game as any amount of text, they add to the humour with their portrayal of the ridiculous denizens of the dungeon such as the Lame Goblin and the Duck of Doom curse. The box allows ample room to add many more cards to these piles before another storage solution would be required and with literally dozens of expansions this is very welcome.

Gameplay.
Simple, frustrating, hilarious and above all so fun that you’ll come back again and again.
The game begins with each player receiving four cards from each pile, the door and treasure decks. You begin as a “level 1 human with no class (heh, heh.)” (straight from the rule book page 1!) and at the beginning of your turn can play/arrange your cards in any way you see fit, be that equipping new weapons and armour to increase your level, such as the Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment which raises your strength by +3 or by playing cards like the Potion of General Studliness which advances you up a level immediately. You can sell items with a total value of 1.000 gold pieces to buy a level also and trade items with your fellow munchkins. When the cards are satisfactorily sorted you “kick open the door” by drawing the top card from the door pile and turning it face up. If a monster is revealed you may attempt to fight it by comparing your strength to the monsters level and if your strength is greater you defeat it and gain a level and any amount of treasures the monster card says. If the monster has a level equal to or greater than your strength you have the chance to use items to raise your strength, run away by rolling 5 or better on the die or asking for help from your friends. This is where bargaining skills are developed early! You can offer your friends any items you have or the treasures you will gain for aid if they aren’t inclined to offer freely and they can easily still refuse and put you in the unenviable position of attempting to run away. Even if you are stronger than the monster they can still wreck your day by playing cards to strengthen the monster, weaken you or even adding more monsters to the fight! Being a ruthless bugger with no conscience is key in this game, choose well when to help and when to hinder your friends and you will soon be on your way to level 10 and winning the game!

This game is as close to perfect as I have ever seen! I haven’t a single criticism for Munchkin and am happy to give it a perfect 10/10

9
Go to the Gloom page

Gloom

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Components
To say I was expecting a slightly larger package when I ordered Gloom I was pleasantly surprised when the small box plopped onto the mat below my letter box! The packaging itself is very well presented, using a black, white and red colour scheme the mood for the game is set before you even open it up and get into the unique cards within. The blurb on the back sets the scene for the game with a brief gameplay rundown below a banner stating “The sky is gray, The tea is cold, And a new tragedy lies around every corner…”
The rules for the game are printed on a rather flimsy piece of paper but are easily readable and are just as easily understood as the gameplay mechanic is a simple one.
The cards are BEAUTIFUL!!! They are printed on clear plastic and printed on both sides so you can hold them up to the light with little to no distortion from the image on the rear of the card. Each of the family members are accompanied by an amusingly dark piece of text about themselves and a black and white portrait of them on a colour coded background for each family. Each family has five members and the draw deck is comprised of 58 modifier cards, which can be either negative which is good for you or positive which is bad for your opponents, 12 event cards which act as single use effect cards to either give yourself the edge or severely hamper an opponents strategy, and 20 untimely death cards which are the most important cards in the game as you need these to bump off your thoroughly depressed family members in order to score points at the end of the game. The main objective of the game is to make your family as miserable as possible using the modifier cards, with such unfortunate events as being “sickened by salmon” or being “chastised by the church, and all the time attempting to cheer up your competitors families by making them fall in love or becoming popular with parliament! When your family members are suitably depressed you can play an untimely death card and aid them in shuffling off their mortal coil in as unappealing manner as possible.
Once one family is entirely dead the game ends and the player with the unhappiest dead family wins the game, those members still alive do not count.

Gameplay.
The game has a very simple mechanic to follow making it an easy one to pick up for players of any skill level. Each player has a hand of five cards and each turn they may play or discard two cards with the exception that an untimely death card may only be played as the first card, ensuring people don’t depress then immediately kill their characters. After a player has played their cards they draw back up their hand size (some cards increase or reduce the hand size) Some cards have continuous effects as long as they are on your family members but it never gets over complicated and most games are over well within the average 60 minutes given.
One of the greatest elements of this game is the story telling. It’s infectious! We found that even staunch refusers of roleplay were crafting tales of woe for their poor families which branched with each soul crushing event that befell them, and adding to the tales of other families with a delightfully whimsical tone as a wonderful event cheers up an opponents character, with a saccharin sweet smile and evil intentions all the way!

This game is a treat for any table and no matter who plays they will be hooked before the end!
9/10 I would have given this game a 10 if not for the smell of the plastic upon opening dissolving my eyebrows. The new plastic smell dissipated within minutes but the memory of the odourful punch in the nose is one that stayed!!!!!

6
Go to the Bears! page

Bears!

85 out of 93 gamers thought this was helpful

Components
Being a dice game I wasn’t expecting a large box and I wasn’t disappointed , the box is 5 inches tall by just over 3 inches square and the top slides down over the inner section revealing artwork that continues from the outer cover depicting a cartoon image of a rather disgruntled bear looming over a campsite while the occupants run for their lives.
The rules are presented on a small six-fold leaflet and are very simple to follow and are accompanied by some simple diagrams and a few images for added flavour.
Also included are four points reference cards, one for each player, showing the dice combo’s the players are to play for and the scores for each. These being:
Bear/Shotgun = 1 point
Tent/runner = 2 points
Tent/sleeping bag = 5 point unless there are bears remaining in the camp site in which case they are -2 points.

Now we’re past the crust let’s get to the filling, the dice.
The forty die are nicely made and have a good feel to them, the twenty player die are black with two each of three icons on them, a sleeping bag, a shotgun and a running person. The white camp die, which have four tent icons and two bear icons, are equally well made and look great in contrast to the black player die.

Gameplay.
Each player takes five of the black player die and the camp is made up of five camp die per player, the camp dice are rolled in the centre of the group and then the players roll their hands before a free for all ensues as the players match up their dice with a camp dice one at a time until only one kind remains in the camp, at which time the rules compel players to yell “BEARS!” to signal the end of scoring and all remaining camp dice are left. During this free for all, players are permitted to re-roll their hand as often as they wish but this is inadvisable most of the time as the fast paced structure of the game leaves little time for this. One issue is that the camp dice can easily be knocked during the grab for pairs which can alter the roll or just scatter them across the table if someone is particularly ham fisted.

Overall I give this game 6/10, the components are nice but the gameplay is little more than a scramble with no strategy involved, it simply boils down to random chance and who has the quickest hands.

9
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

73 out of 82 gamers thought this was helpful

Components.
Starting with the box, as usual, the quality is fantastic as with most Rio Grande games. The design is very good and suits the game by not being too overstated and very thematic. The four follower types, Knight, Monk, Thief and Farmer are represented on the cover art & the information & images on the back keep with this theme also with a simple piece of text explaining the origin of the French town of Carcassonne which serves as the inspiration and setting for this game, a short description of the gameplay which doesn’t give too much away and a list of the contents along with an image of some of the contents.
Inside the box is just as pleasing to the eye as the outside. The rules are presented on a six sided A4 sized pamphlet but are not too complex, at least half of the space is taken up by examples of tile placement and follower placement and the rules take around ten minutes to read through and grasp the basics. The score tracker is nice and made of the same high quality card stock as the rest of the playing pieces which themselves are very good indeed. The tiles have some really nice images on them and the card quality is among the best I have, popping them out of the templates (which if you’ve read any of my other reviews you’ll know is a sad pleasure of mine!) is seamless and they came out clean and with the merest application of pressure which is, for me, a sign of a quality production. Finally we have the followers, or for almost the entire gaming community the “Meeples”, these little wooden fellows are one of my favourite playing pieces in my entire collection! Presented in five flavours, red, yellow, green, blue and black, they are made equally as well as the rest of the components in the box and round off the contents well.

Gameplay.
The game is a simple one to play, the mechanic of take a tile, place a tile and place a follower if you want is a painfully easy one to follow!, you get a follower back when you score with it by completing the construction they are placed on so managing your placement is key. But the devil, they say, is in the details! The aspect of strategy rapidly shows its head in any game, be it with seasoned Carcassonne players or noobs. Trying to build a large city is usually an early tactic as you score two points for each tile that makes up the city or town, until some ruthless rival caps it off for you and puts the skids on to your campaign of expansion. Placing a follower on a field (the grass areas surrounding the towns and roads) is good for playing the long game as they are only scored at the end of the game and they score three points for each completed city/town they are connected to & this can be a game breaker, unless someone manages to connect their field to yours at which time they will share the points unless you can do the same and outnumber them. Roads are good for quick scores as getting a follower onto a road and extending the heck out of it is rather easy and you get a point for each tile the road is on and finally the cloisters/chapels, these need to be surrounded by other tiles to score and they score nine points when complete. When the final tile has been placed all of the scores are tallied and the remaining, incomplete roads and buildings are counted, incomplete towns scoring half points.
The balance of tile pieces is perfect, the game flows fantastically and never gets bogged down by repetition of pieces & even if it did the sheer amount of options for placement makes each and every game unique and unpredictable.
The scoring tracker is the only thing that I would have any less than a positive word for, as it sometimes gets in the way and can easily be knocked, scattering the meeple score pieces and naffing up the score for the players, a simple tally is an equally effective way of scoring this game as well as various digital score trackers available for tablets and smart phones.

In summation Carcassonne is one of the best euro style games available for all audiences from hardcore gamers to the casual visitor to the table as it is simple to learn and teach, very addictive and for the money one of the best value games at the time and that’s before you even consider the sheer volume of expansions available for it!

9/10 and worth it all!! Would be a straight 10 if not for the score tracker.

9
Go to the Small World page

Small World

47 out of 54 gamers thought this was helpful

Components
Starting with the box alone the visual appeal of this game is evident from the beginning. The artwork on the box has a humorous and cartoon-esque appearance and is very well done, The overview of the game from the back of the box is sufficient to give a good sense of the game without spoiling too much before opening.
Opening the box presents you, firstly, with a couple of leaflets from the lovely Days of Wonder peeps showing some of their other products and then below these we get to the first of the main components, the instructions. They are the perfect length and well presented, only twelve pages, there is no overcomplicating of the rules which are not hard to grasp at all. There are race and power reference pages and even a diagram showing the best way to organise the plethora of tokens which lay below. Here also are five reference sheets which show turn order on one side and race/power effects on the other, my only gripe is that these are HUGE, they are almost the same width as the box itself and if all five players requested to have one, which is unlikely thankfully, then they take up more space than the board itself and my gaming table ain’t that big chaps and chapettes!
Skipping over the tokens, which are next and require popping from their frames, we find the boards. The two and three player double sided board is a single fold affair with fewer spaces for the two player side and the same for the double fold board for four and five player games. The art on them is really nice, colourful and the spaces are clearly different from each other with any icons or markers easily distinguished from one another. Both boards are of a high quality, much better than some I own but I have seen one or two better.
At the bottom of the box is a two part compartmentalised tray for token storage, one part of which is a removable tray which holds the players race tokens for easy access throughout the game without having to have the box at hand.
The trays are a necessity with Smallworld as the token count is among the most impressive I have seen. I am among those sick people who enjoy popping tokens and counters from their frames and this game was guilty of feeding that habit! There are LOADS!!! (that’s right, three exclamation marks, count ‘em) the tokens easily account for more than half the weight of the game and they are gorgeous, the artwork is extremely well done with the same humorous theme held throughout the game and they have a reassuringly sturdy feel to them even down to the noise they emit when dropped on to the board, I know it’s sad but it really is a satisfying noise!

The components alone are begging for a perfect ten and I had to really struggle to find a point to mark it down. In the end I had to settle for one minor gripe in that I would have preferred the reinforcement die to be made of plastic as the wooden one feels a little cheap compared to the beautiful bits it finds itself surrounded by (it must feel a little depressed when it considers this fact!)
9/10

Gameplay
Simplicity thy name is Smallworld!
This game is so easy to learn that my entire gaming circle had it down by the end of turn one, even my eight year old son had it learned after a couple of turns and the boy can barely concentrate on staying upright half the time!
When played with four or five players this game shines in a class all of its own, It has all of the subtle tactics and vicious backstabbing that any gamer could ever want. The joy in seeing someone take a gamble and gain control of several regions only to have the next player ruthlessly annihilate them is a joy not seen in games of a similar nature. It also helps that the random combinations of race and power means that the backstabbing often leads to a revenge play happening sooner rather than later and you never know what combo will be next from the pile. This fact also helps with the replay value. Because the races and powers are drawn from randomised piles each game you will not see the same pair drawn very often and therefore, peoples choices will differ from game to game based on their preference and the choices of other players.

The gameplay is brilliant and I can’t wait to add some of the expansions to it if only for the new races!
9/10

8
Go to the Kill Doctor Lucky page

Kill Doctor Lucky

72 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

Components.
From the outset the art on this game is a big draw. The image on the box lid is fantastic and humorous and a good indication of the rest of the game.
The instructions are simple enough to understand and easy to follow, it took only a couple of turns for everyone to decide that the rules can be put away!
The board isn’t among the best quality boards I own but the art on it is very good, the room images are well presented and a good size.

The pawns are card standees with images of the protagonists on them as well as one featuring the ill fated doctor and his little dog Shamrock, and they feature a cartoony image of each of them brandishing their weapon of choice. The maid wields her broom as if she held a warhammer, the military gentleman hefts his service revolver as if waiting for the hapless pensioner to wander into view. They are made of a nice thick card, the same used for the spite tokens, which themselves hold an image of the good doctor looking rather worried. These standees fit snugly into plastic stands which are a good size, it can be irritating when the stands are so big as to hamper the placing of pieces on the board.

Finally my personal favourite part of the package, the cards. The quality is some of the better I’ve seen even if the static from the wrapping kept the cards clumping together until they had been vigorously shuffled once or twice. The images on the cards are in keeping with the rest of the artwork. The weapon/murder cards feature a simple picture of the weapon at hand and the murder score and any bonuses are clearly printed, as some weapons are better when used in certain rooms. The location cards simply have an image of the room and instructions to move either yourself or doctor Lucky there and the movement cards have the number of spaces it affords you/the doctor printed on them. The best cards are the failure cards, played to prevent the other would-be murderers from offing your target before you. The images are usually of one of the characters looking angry or the doctor looking worried/smug/confused. The humour is in the text. From discovering that your weapon is in fact a useless banana, the doctor disappearing in a cloud of feathers up to a mysterious kung fu master randomly appearing and saving the doctor at the last second. These make for an amusing game of positioning yourself for a good kill while robbing your opponents of victory with a well timed random event.

Gameplay.
In our first game the first couple of turns were a tentative affair of moving around the board, picking up a few more cards and working out how to make your move against the Doctor who wanders around a predictable path through his house. It wasn’t until the first attempt on his life that the game showed its true colours.
If you have a group with an imagination and especially one with a knack for storytelling, then the act of ruining someone’s carefully planned execution with a series of random and ridiculous events becomes a treat for the whole group.
Listening to your friend describe how you discover your gun is actually a banana which you eat and discard the skin, only to slip on said skin and fall down a hidden trapdoor can only bring a chuckle to all and the combinations only get weirder.

Each time you are foiled in your scheme you receive a spite token, which grants +1 to any future attempts. When these build up and you are attacking the doctor with a stronger attempt on his life your fellow murderers have to do their best to stop you and combine their failures and the combinations of events that befall you become nothing but ridiculous!

The game is fun for a good sized group but I can see how a maximum of 5 makes for a better game, having 6 or 7 players would make getting the doc alone and unseen all but impossible and would make the game drag on too long. As it is a 5 person game lasts 45-60 minutes and is very enjoyable.

8/10 and worth every point.

9
Go to the Hey, Thats My Fish! page
25 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

As I said before in my review for the hard copy version of Hey, That’s my fish! The game is simple and complex at the same time! The aim of the game is to move around a hex tile board, one penguin at a time with the aim of taking each tile you stop on away from the board and the number of fish thereon.
In the board game this is simple to do and easily becomes a tactical battle of wills with each player attempting to out manoeuvre each other and cast the other players adrift to be eaten by sharks, which until now have been purely theoretical.
Joy of joys, this is no longer the case! Pure digital toothyness awaits for a fantastically low price.

I downloaded the Android version for £1.95 (apply your own currency conversion if needs be but it’ll still be cheap!) for my Galaxy Note and I was so pleased I drained the battery in one straight sitting!
From the brilliantly cartoony animation, including the killer whales eating stranded penguins, to the whimsical music and sound effects throughout this is a fantastic conversion of a wonderful game. The CPU controlled players (for when real friends just won’t do) have three difficulty levels and go from cheeky to downright evil in no time flat. Add a few friends and a long commute and you have an awesome time killer. The new configurations for the ice flows can be used easily with the physical game so you even get a bonus for real life play thrown in!

A brilliantly simple and devilishly complex game which will lose you countless hours of your life for a small amount. 9/10

I had to nit-pick a lot to find even the smallest issue with this game, the only one I have found would be that if I wasn’t playing on a Galaxy Note, my large sausage fingers would have difficulty in playing as even with my large screen I still have the odd issue with the size of the icons. Best on iPad or tablet as the size only helps, smaller screens just wouldn’t do.

8
Go to the Talisman: The Reaper page
128 out of 137 gamers thought this was helpful

Components.
The Reaper expansion isn’t the largest of add on packs for Talisman but so far it’s one of the better ones! Adding 90 new adventure cards (making the adventure deck ma-hoo-ssive) and 26 new spells to add to the pile as well as 12 Warlock cards, which doubles the amount of quests represented on the board.
The new characters are interesting for the most part, the merchant and the sage both have interesting stats and abilities but the standouts are the knight and the dark cultist. The knight has the staying power and strength to win most if not all fights he has and a very good chance to avoid damage if he doesn’t due to starting with a suit of armour. The Dark Cultist, in my groups experience, has the potential to become insanely powerful rather quickly as whenever she kills or wounds an enemy she gets to roll on her ‘gift from the forces of darkness table’ and get a perk, where she can gain strength, fate, life, craft, spells or gold. Get past your first couple of fights and with a few good rolls, you have a brutal mage class fighter who can storm the crown of command well before anyone else!

Last but certainly not least is the big bad reaper himself! A randomly moving killing machine who has the power to instantly kill a player or improve his stats dependant on a d6 roll if you are unlucky enough to be landed on by him. The reaper only gets to move if a player rolls a 1 for their movement, in which case at the end of their turn they roll for the reapers movement and move him accordingly (to avoid favouritism or victimisation our house rule is that the reaper must move towards the nearest viable player) and should he land on the same space of a player then they roll a d6 and consult the table on the reaper card and see what fate has befallen them.

The components are simple and well thought out and well worth the price tag and the reaper makes an interesting addition to the game. 8/10.

Gameplay.
The new characters play well and are quite balanced with the existing ones although if left unchecked, as I’ve said before, the dark cultist can become awesome in a very short time!

The reaper is a fun and random addition and can lead to some amusing of equally devastating events throughout the course of a game. For example in one of our recent games the reaper landed on our most powerful player and he rolled a 5 on the reaper chart, this is called ‘there has been a mistake’ and the player can then send the reaper to another player of their choice. Vindictive choice made the reaper made for his chosen victim only for her to roll a 5 also! We all had a laugh and continued…… 5 again! This was getting odd!…… another 5 rolled and the reaper made his way, once again, to his first victim who rolled a 6 and got a strength boost! A full tour of the board just to end up rewarding the original victim for sending him on a vacation of sorts!

This is why I like the reaper. Random things like that can happen or he can simply kill the heck out of your hard as nails character and force you to start again while your ‘friends’ laugh away to themselves! Brilliantly random, amusing and devastating in equal measure. 8/10 easily and well worth buying if you enjoy Talisman.

4
Go to the Descent: Journeys in the Dark page
71 out of 97 gamers thought this was helpful

Components.
The contents of this truly enormous box are fantastic, I couldn’t say a bad thing about them really! The board pieces are thick and chunky and fit together securely. The cards are a good size and the artwork on them, and throughout the box, is brilliant and in keeping with the theme of the game.
The playing pieces are well made from the characters to the monsters (LOADS!), the characters are sufficiently different to each other that they can be easily told apart on the board and the monsters are equally well made. The stat cards that go along with them are clear and although a little gaudy, due to the bright yellow border, they fit in well and don’t spoil the overall look.
The rules are not eh easiest to grasp as the rulebook is confused and certain key elements are lost in small boxes to the edge of the page. Once these have been located and read the game isn’t that complicated and easily taught, but that’s probably the quickest part about this game.
Finally the counters, of which there seems to be thousands when you pop them all out! All are nice and chunky with nice art on them but sorting through them can be tedious so some sort of organiser is a must for this game (I found that a multi compartment tackle box is an inexpensive and ideally suited solution)

The components alone make this game a good, solid 9/10 but that’s where the praise all but ends.

Gameplay.
THIS GAME TAKES AAAAAGGGGGEEEEEESSSSSS! I don’t mean that the plot takes ages, or the missions themselves to that matter, the set up alone can take what seems like an eternity!
The game in itself has a good solid base and the combat mechanic is a good one, I personally enjoy the use of the different coloured dice for different forms of combat. What takes the biscuit is that while combat can take a couple of turns for one fight, the overlord player has so many options in his deck for summoning enemies that any game can quickly turn into a quagmire of squishy bad guys, making moving on to another room near **** impossible! So much so that in one game our group had, the overlord kept the heroes from escaping the first two rooms for over an hour! You can guess how quickly the fun went out of that game!

I would only recommend this game for gamers with that much spare time on their hands that they’ve considered taking up knitting top pass the time, and even then to give the knitting another consideration. The components are first class and worth a 9/10, but the tedious slog through an endlessly spawning swamp of mediocre enemies, who multiply quicker than the ants in my back yard force me to knock this down to a 4/10, such is my disdain for the Gameplay. I truly hope that the 2.0 version improves it and makes for a faster game as the premise and theme is my usual style, but until I have a good look at it, my v1.0 is staying in its box, at the bottom of my pile, wishing it got played as much as Talisman!

7
Go to the Talisman page

Talisman

32 out of 34 gamers thought this was helpful

Components.
For a game that was first released in 1983 Fantasy Flight have done a good job of keeping it fresh, and before anyone gets all uppity I know just as much credit for this edition is due to Black Industries so leave the pitchforks alone for now!
The box art is very evocative and suits the game inside perfectly and the box is sturdy and well made, as are most FF games (as I keep saying in my reviews, I may stop one day!). The board is large! That was the first thing I thought when unfolding it, and the spaces on it are clearly marked and decorated with an assortment of well drawn and thematic images. It is divided into three regions, the outer, which is the easy road, the middle region which is slightly harder but offers more chances to either gain strength and skill or die in equal measure. Finally the inner region, which has to be taken one space at a time until you reach the crown of command and make a play for the win.
The rules are well presented and easily understood, so much so that my entire gaming circle had them learned by heart by the end of the premier game. The cards, of which there are many, are well done with art of an equal quality to the rulebook and the rules and events described on them are easily read and follow. My only issue is the size of the cards. Having rather large hands I find the act of shuffling a deck of 100+ half sized adventure cards, with more to add with each expansion, is a taxing affair at the best of times! The spell cards and purchase deck are the same size and equally good and the fate tokens, simply decorated card discs, are thick and sturdy and will stand up to much passing from player to spare pile each game.

After the card board components we get to the plastic components. Starting with the 120 player counters, 40 red for strength bonuses, 40 green for health points and 40 blue for craft (magic!), these small plastic cones stack beside the players’ character card to show current health and any strength or craft bonuses they have earned so far.
The money earned in the game is represented by small plastic coins, which is a nice touch as most would simply opt for punched card coins such as in Descent (I hate that game!)

Finally we get to the miniatures, which is the biggest update FFG made as the Black Industries version had card standees. These are very good, the scale is such that a full six players can stand on any one space with little to no overlap and are all easily distinguished from one another while playing. The sculpt quality is good considering the scale and the only issue I had was that the plastic is a little soft so thin sections, such as extended swords or staffs, can be bent while packed in the box so a little check is always needed when packing away to check for possible casualties. The character cards that reference the player pieces are clearly printed and easy to reference, the character portraits on them are not as good as the rest of the art in the box however so someone dropped a ball there I think!

Before play I would give the components 8/10, some small issues but nothing to damage a score too much, some parts could be better and the issue with the small cards is purely down to my dinner plate hands so there’s nothing I could do about that one!!!

Gameplay.
Before I go on I need to make one thing abundantly clear.
If you are looking for an RPG style board game with plenty of strategy and decision making, where deals are made and people broken, look elsewhere, this game is not for you and if you still want to read on you’ll see why!

The core game mechanic is simple.
Roll the die
Move that many spaces
Do what the board or cards tell you
Rinse and repeat until you can make a break for the win!!!
The only kind of strategy or decisions you make throughout a game are whether to go left or right and finally, when you thing you are strong enough to handle it, when to make a move into the inner regions of the board and make a break for the crown of command, where you roll a die to see if you cast a spell, the only action you can take there, and if so everybody loses a life. Do this until everyone is dead and you win! Simple!

It’s not big, it’s not clever but it is good. The randomness of the game will turn some players off but for those groups with slightly more casual members this game is a good one as the ease of play suits almost anyone.

After play the score I give is 7/10, the simple roll, move, obey sometimes leaves me wanting a little more but it is still a very enjoyable game and we still play regularly.

9
Go to the Hey, That's My Fish! page
45 out of 48 gamers thought this was helpful

Hey, That’s my fish, Fantasy Flight edition.
Unboxing.
Light, that’s the first word that springs to mind. For a box almost as big as the Talisman box there is a distinct lack of weight! The reason for this shall soon become apparent.
The artwork on the box is well done and in keeping with the humorous nature of the game within and the usual FFG vinyl effect is present too giving the box a good sturdy feel.

When opening the box the reason for the weight issue become apparent, FFG seem to have begun shipping fresh air around in their boxes! The contents would easily fit inside a box half the size, if not smaller, the card insert to hold the components takes up more room than they do! But this is only a minor quibble (if a daft one).
The rules are simple and well presented on a double sided page explaining the simple, but addictive, game format of move, take fish, win game. Bonus points there for not using an unnecessary amount of paper for such a simple concept unlike some games companies.
The ice flow tiles are of the same sturdy vinyl effect card as the box so they will stand up to a lot of play without damage.
The penguins themselves are brilliant! Quite small but well sculpted, molded in an assortment of amusing poses (my favourite being the one raging into the sky!)

Gameplay.
The game is simplicity itself to play and takes seconds to set up, in fact it took me longer to get the box open than it did to set the first game up!
The rules are so simple that a full group of four were taught the rules before turn two of the first game and were penguin strategists extraordinaire by the third!

A fantastic way to spend ten minutes or many hours afloat on the ice and I would recommend this to any and all as a brilliant and inexpensive game for all tastes, from the hardcore to the casual.

9/10 and well deserved.

8
Go to the Claustrophobia page

Claustrophobia

90 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

Unboxing
First impressions are that the box is nicely decorated and sturdy, the vinyl effect to the box is a nice touch. The second impression is the weight! It seems rather weighty for the size and that is a good thing! Just make sure you don’t drop it as you’ll either lose a toe or two or cause a little structural damage!!!

On opening the impression of quality continues starting with the rulebook. This is clearly written and well spaced with plenty of breakdowns and easy reference sections for some of the rules, of which there are not too many! Along with some easily read examples and demos. Then there is the Troglodyte reference chart which is also very easily understood and clearly written, this is too made of a good thick card and treated to the same vinyl effect, which lends to the sturdiness of the whole package. Under these are the tokens (pre punching). Again these are thick and beefy and really well printed. A problem I’ve had before is that some tokens are printed a little off-kilter and being a little OCD about things being even and level this irks me. This is not the case with Claustrophobia, all of the tokens are neat and centrally punched and came away from the frame with no mess or ripping (another problem that sometimes occurs, and that means I’m looking at you Fantasy Flight!)

Under these still we get to the true gribblies of the box (a made up word, feel free to steal and spread it!) The movement tiles are where the weight comes in. They are BEEFY. The art on them is nice and straight forward, no confusing lines or iconography and where icons are used they are clear and easily referenced on the back of the rulebook. The various event/equipment cards are well printed and the art is of a similar quality, leaning slightly more to a comic book style which I like to see every now and then and the character reference boards are well done even if the plastic stands they rest in do come across a little flimsy! And the wound tokens are BRILLIANT! Where most companies would go with plain pegs or even card tokens for wound marking Asmodee have made them small nut+bolt shaped pegs. This doesn’t sound that impressive but its the small things that sometimes please people and make them come back for more.

Finally we get to the miniatures. These are well sculpted and not too delicate which can be a turn off sometimes. The paint job isn’t astounding by any means but not that bad as to warrant a repaint unless I run out of other minis to paint and have a hankerin’ for a brush o’ thon!
Out of the box (before play though) I’d give this an 8/10 just for component quality.

Gameplay
The first couple of games played do nothing to harm the first impression of the game, the rules are that easy to grasp and reference from the boards provided that even the first game plays quickly and effortlessly. The balance between the enemies and the adventurers/warriors is good and it can all hinge on one decision by either party as to the outcome of an encounter, and from experience being killed completely one tile from the exit and a comfortable win is a brutal experience! But one that made me want to immediately try again and try a different tactic. The abilities of the warriors and the equipment loadouts each scenario provide make for many interesting choices too and more are available online for more options.

After playing I stand by my 8/10 score and would recommend this game to most board gamers as a brilliant change, the similarities to GW’s Space Hulk are evident but with a greatly lower price tag (and the gap keeps rising boys n gals! GW’s limited release guaranteed that! Mooks) and pre painted miniatures for those without the inclination for brushy nonsense make this a more affordable tactical corridor combat board game.

6
Go to the Talisman: The Frostmarch page
19 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

Unboxing.
Although most aren’t as bothered with the packaging as I am I feel it always deserves a small shout, the box art is nice and the quality of the box itself is sturdy and well made as usual with most FF products.

The miniatures, four of, are of a slightly better quality than previous releases and are rather nice sculpts, especially the Orc Chieftain who is quite a large mini compared to the others. When looking at the stat cards however two of them seem a little pointless! The Necromancer and the Warlock are too similar to other mage/cleric style characters seen in the previous releases and bring nothing groundbreaking into the mix! The Chieftain is raw power and makes for a good power gamer choice whereas the Leprechaun can generate money so rapidly with the aid of his skills (teleport to any space on a move roll of 6 and claim 3 gold when on any woods space) that when we played the first game our Leprechaun player almost broke the bank!

The new adventure cards are good, nothing too outlandish or pointless so a good mix of new interesting enemies and a couple of nice new pieces of equipment and event cards (I’ve lost count of the amount of time I’ve used the word ‘nice’ so far. I think I’m developing a theme here!). The new warlock quest cards add a little more variety to gaining your Talismans and some of the more difficult quests add a new level of strategy to a sometimes too random game.

Finally I get to the main selling point (apparently!) of Frostmarch, which are the alternative ending cards. These are played instead of the usual ‘get to the crown of command, cast and win’ style of goal, which would be really good for a change were they better! The new Warlock quest (which we played first and decided that we probably wouldn’t play again) gives each player four warlock quests to complete and when done the first player to make it to the crown of command with all four complete wins instantly. this sounded good at first but we soon realised that this dragged the game on for AGES as people spent many turns trying to land on one particular space that they needed to complete a goal.
The crown and scepter offers only a small tweak to the standard goal of the game so is rendered only slightly better than pointless.
The Ice queen card is the only one really worth playing as it adds, what can only be described as, a boss character at the end of the game who must be fought and defeated in order to win. Her strength and craft level, as well as her abilities and actions for if she beats you in combat, make grinding to strengthen yourself a must and makes for a more combat oriented game.

Overall I would only give Frostmarch a 6/10, only half of the new characters are worth playing with and only one of the alternate endings is any good! overall a nice game expansion but I’m glad i didn’t pay full RRP for this one.

8
Go to the Magic: The Gathering page
62 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

Where to begin? Well I began playing MTG in the late nineties but lack of both funds and like minded gamers saw the phase last only six months or so and the cards swapped for some useless, time lost bauble with one of my peers I’ve no doubt forgotten by now!

Fast forward to three years ago and another of my friends asked if I would be interested in a couple of decks he was given as he wasn’t that bothered, so in a reversal of a decade ago away went one of my useless trinkets and*o to the future bane of my bank account.

MTG is such a quick to learn (but difficult to master!) game that within a few weeks of play with my partner and a few friends, who soon became a regular gaming circle, I found myself elbow deep in a few hundred more cards and multiple house decks! such is the pull of MTG.

To be honest i don’t entirely agree with the whole TCG system of emptying your wallet every three months or so when a new expansion comes out but with Magic i don’t seem to mind! (this probably being the inner hypocrite speaking) and this is probably in part down to the beautiful artwork on offer. I have to admit to being easily swayed by pretty pics in a game but the quality of art in MTG is easily some of the best on offer from any TCG out at the moment and in terms of game play and ease of learning, my eight year old son learned how to play in one sitting and beat me in the next! (always a proud and simultaneously emasculating moment for any gaming dad)

The game has stood the test of time, where many such games have fallen by the wayside, and has as many detractors as it does fans but games don’t last this long and make as big of an impact on a genre that MTG has without doing a lot of things right, and i for one hope they continue to do so because if not I’d have to find something else to empty my wallet for!!!

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