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Went to GenCon 2011 Beta 1.0 Tester


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Go to the Castle Panic page

Castle Panic

80 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

I am a lifelong gamer. I have a “Gamer Dad” T-shirt. Sadly, the T-shirt is a lie. Oh, I am a Dad –I have 3 kids. I am a gamer. I have hundreds of games and love to play and think about and talk about games. But a “Gamer Dad”? Not so much. For whatever reason my two oldest kids are not gamers. (My youngest is 3 and is showing some promising signs –including a love for “Snail’s Pace Race.” Note to self: “Must. Not. Smother. Her. Interest. In. Games.”)

But… there is some hope. Games like “Castle Panic” do hit the table in our house. My son loves the monster/battle theme and the mechanics of the game are simple and straight forward. Fighting off Orcs and Goblins makes sense. Plus the Co-op aspect works really well for him as he is a hyper-competitive (gets it from me, I suppose) and can’t handle losing (I have no problem losing in games). My whole family enjoys working together to try to hold off the hordes and the theme works well for us.

Bottom line: A great game for families and kids.

For hard-core gamers? No. This is not a game for 18XX fans or even Puerto Rico fans. There are not many serious choices in the games –the strategy is obvious (in most cases). The fun is in working together to win the battle. Its the theme that makes this one work. If you are the type who demands serious tough choices and complicated strategies, stay away from this one. On the other hand, if you like a lighter fare on occasion to offset the serious gaming you do at other times, and you like group co-op games, this one may work for you. Munchkin fans would find much to like about this game in terms of theme and group fun (no inside jokes on the cards though).


Fez says: 8
Hardcore Gamer: 4
Kids who like battles but not games: 10 (my kids)
Families with kids: 9

Go to the Homesteaders page


29 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

Homesteaders is an excellent combination of bidding, resource management, and yes even a bit of civilization building –all wrapped up in an old west theme that works well and doesn’t feel “pasted on.”

The bidding mechanism is much like “Vegas Showdown” — folks bid for one of three types of lots (we are “homesteaders” building up a new town) in order to develop that lot. If you are out bid you may continue to bid on another lot or bid higher. Those who drop out are rewarded with a tech advance which helps with resources.
The resources in the game are fun and challenging –as there are quite a variety and they are represented by a nice, colorful assortment of bits (ranging from cows to apples to money…).

The game moves quickly as players vie for key lots so that they can build what they need and is tense and tight –but not too much. There is a lot of game in this box and everything is done in less than 2 hours. I highly recommend it.

Note on Components:
The first edition had some production issues due to failures by the manufacturer (Tasty Minstrel’s Michael Mindes documents all his frustrations with this process on his blog) but the bits and the cards are great. The board and player screens were subpar. The second edition addresses all this and more and is fantastic. So get the 2nd edition if you care about such things. If you don’t then you are in luck, because lst edition copies are floating around at excellent used prices and the game is great either way.

Go to the UNO page


20 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

Uno is mindless fun. The game is quite simple –get rid of your cards before your opponents can do the same. You must either follow the number played or the color played, and there are other cards (wild, “Draw 2” etc.) that add some complexity to the mix. There are very few difficult decisions and some mild strategy makes this a good kids game.

The problem is that it can get bogged down when everyone “picks on the leader” by playing “skip a turn” and “draw 2” cards on the player who is about to win. The scoring is straight-forward and there are a number of ways to speed up the game, if you feel its necessary.

I’d rather play almost anything else, but it is good with kids or at lunch with co-workers. Play this to enjoy time with friends and family, and if you don’t consider it a serious “game” you can enjoy it.

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