Player Avatar
I play blue
Spread the Word
drag badge here
drag badge here

gamerdad

gamer level 6
11454 xp
followers
18

Use my invite URL to register (this will give me kudos)
https://boardgaming.com/register/?invited_by=gamerdad
profile badges
I Play This One a LOT
Knight-errant
Old Bones
I Got What I Wanted
recent achievements
Novice Advisor
Novice Advisor
Submit 10 game tips, strategies, or house rules and receive a total of 270 positive ratings.
Junior
Junior
Earn Professor XP to level up by completing Professor Quests!
Inspector
Inspector
Follow a total of 30 games
Old Bones
Old Bones
Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Go to the Bohnanza page
Go to the 7 Wonders page
Go to the The Resistance: 3rd Edition page
Go to the Star Realms page
Go to the 7 Wonders: Duel page
9
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

47 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

For me, this game is wondrous. I can’t stop playing it, nor can my wife – my mom even loves it! This game has a really intriguing balance of simplicity and strategic depth. It’s a game where people can sit around the table and talk and have fun, yet it can also be very deep and calculated. For these reasons, I think this is a game that could be enjoyed by gamers of all types.

7 Wonders is a game for 2-7 players, although it is best for 3-7. The two player variant isn’t much fun in my opinion. Anyway, each player receives a wonder to play, which is represented on its respective wonder board. (If you want to randomize it, there are wonder cards which can be passed out.) Each player starts out with 3 coins and a resource that their city produces.

The object of the game is to score the most victory points, and there are many ways to do that. There are three stages to this game – Age I, II, and III. Each age gets progressively more complex, but not more difficult. At the start of each age, each player is dealt 7 cards (more on what the cards do in a minute). The player must determine what will benefit him/her the most, but choose wisely! Once everyone selects a card to play, the cards you had in your hand will now get passed to your neighbor, and you will receive a new set of cards (now 6 cards, because everyone passes). After each age, resolve military conflicts (explained soon) and pass out cards for the next age. Like I said before, they get more complex as you progress because, theoretically, you will have more resources to build things, and building things gives you points.

Now, a short description of the various cards. There are 6 different types of cards, and they are conveniently color coordinated – Resource cards (brown or gray), Military cards (red), Civilian cards (blue), Commerce cards (yellow), Science cards (green) and Guild cards (purple).

To quickly explain, resource cards are needed to build things. On many cards there is a cost which is represented by different icons on the top-left side of each card. You must have those resources to play the card. If you don’t, you can always purchase them from your neighbors sitting directly beside you for two coins per resource. So, you’ll need resources.

Commerce cards help you get resources from your neighbors for less money, or provide you resources no one else can purchase. On some occasions, they can also give you money and victory points.

Military cards put you at odds with your neighbors. At the end of each age, count up your military icons, and determine who wins. You get points for winning (1,3,5 points for Age 1,2,3 respectively). You get -1 point for each military loss. So, if you beat your neighbors every age, you could rack up 18 victory points while giving each neighbor -3 victory points.

Civilian cards are just straight victory points. The highest scoring card in the game is a civilian card, worth 8 points, and it costs one of every resource.

Science cards, in my opinion, are the trickiest piece of the game, but when played correctly, they can really boost your score. Each science card will have one of three icons on it – a compass, a tablet, or a wheel. You get points for getting a set of each icon – 7 points per set. In addition to that, you also get the number of a particular icon squared. Sounds tricky, right? Don’t worry, it’s hard to visualize, but the rulebook does a good job of explaining. Say you have 3 cards that have the compass icon. That would give you 9 points, since 3 squared is 9. Ok, I’ll move on so your brain doesn’t explode…just rest assured that you’ll get it quickly.

Guild cards are only available in the third age, and they often cost a good amount of resources, but yield a good amount of points, depending on what you and your neighbors have constructed over the course of the game. They can be the difference between winning and losing.

I didn’t mention earlier, but you also get points for building your wonder. To build a stage of your wonder, simply take a card from your hand and place it under the stage of your wonder board. That is the card you play for your turn, and you cannot play another card that turn. Each city gives a unique ability that will benefit the person using it. What if you can’t play a card in your hand, or what if you need money? Pick a card in your hand and discard from the game for that turn. Discarding a card gives you 3 coins. At the end of the third age, the game is over. Resolve your final military conflicts and total up all of the points you scored, and whoever has the highest score wins.

Enough about what the game is like and how it’s played. Now I get to talk about why I love it. This game is quick and simple. It takes the same amount of time for 2 people as it does for 7 people, because it’s always your turn – everyone plays at the same time. That makes it really easy to play in 30 minutes as long as everyone knows how to play. The artwork is fantastic and beautiful to look at, although when playing, you don’t really think to admire it. The wonder boards are equally spectacular. The components are well made, however I recommend getting sleeves for your cards, because they may start to get worn out edges from being shuffled and passed all the time.

Another strong positive about this game is its replay value. While you will see the same cards each time you play, the game will play out differently because of the way they’re randomized through shuffling and dealing, your wonder, and the wonders of your opponents. I love that you have to play with a new strategy every time. After a while, you will see a few strategies that work for you, and you can adjust and interchange them as you play.

Like I said before, the game is simple – the cards are pretty intuitive and it doesn’t take a whole lot to see what you are able to play and pick a card. For that reason, this is a fun game to play with people and build a civilization. But, you can also really break this game down and consider what to play from many different angles. What will help me the most? What would hurt my neighbors? Should I keep them from getting anything? What is most beneficial to me in the long run? All of these questions make for some fun decision making and risk taking. Look up a statistical analysis of this game, and it will show you how deep and complex it can be. Truly amazing.

Now for some drawbacks to this game. The game is called 7 wonders, but it doesn’t really have the feel of building a powerful ancient civilization. You could keep these same basic concepts and make any theme you want – sci fi, fantasy, you name it – and the game would feel the same. But a weak theme does not take away from the gameplay.

Also, if someone isn’t accustomed to playing games, there may be some confusion. I said earlier that this game is intuitive, and that is assuming that you’ve played games. All of the icons on the cards can be overwhelming. The best way to learn the game is to play it, and to have someone who knows the game well to sit beside you and walk you through it. After the first game I played, I got slaughtered, but I understood why I lost and immediately wanted to play again – and I got much better results.

The rulebook is ok. There is a lot going on, but for the most part, it does a good job of explaining the game. The quick rules sheets that come along with the game are the most helpful to me.

Based on all I’ve written so far, I hope you get a sense of how fun and intriguing and addictive this game is. I recommend that everyone at least try it as I think just about everyone can find something they’d like about it. I haven’t even been tempted to get the expansions to this game because I haven’t tired of this one yet. If you’re still reading, go pick this one up! You’ll love it.

Finally, I want to end this review by thanking my wife for getting this for me as a gift. You know me too well, and I’m glad you enjoy it almost as much as I do!

6
Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

26 out of 27 gamers thought this was helpful

Steve Jackson has a knack for making some really catchy and fun games. I’d include this game in that discussion. The game is simple and easy to learn, and you can play it in about 5-10 minutes.

In this game, you are a zombie hungry for tasty, juicy brains. The dice you roll are people you are chasing. Start the game by grabbing three dice from the cup. Roll them, and if any brain symbols appear, keep them to one side. If there are shotgun symbols, you get shot, and put that to the other side. If there are footprint symbols, keep them in front of you as well. If you want to roll again, that die will be re-rolled along with more dice from the cup (you always roll three dice).

The first person to eat at least 13 brains begins the final round. Everyone else has a chance to surpass the first person to reach 13 brains. The one with the most brains at the end of that round wins!

You can keep rolling dice until you decide to stop, but once you pull more dice from the cup, you have to roll, so be careful! If you decide to stop, count the number of brains you have and add them to your score. If you want to keep going and you total 3 shotgun symbols, your turn is over, and any brains you had collected do not count…bummer!

This game includes 13 dice – 6 green, 4 yellow, and 3 red – and a cup to store them. The colors represent the ‘difficulty’ of the die. Green is easy, red is hard. What differentiates the difficulty is that there are more shotgun symbols and less brain symbols on the red dice (3 shotgun, 1 brain) than on the green (3 brain, one shotgun). The yellow dice contain two shotgun symbols and two brain symbols. Every dice contains two footprint symbols.

Component-wise, there isn’t much to it, but the dice are very well made. They feel heavy and sturdy in your hand, and I’d go so far as to say that if you’re making a game with dice, this should be the quality of dice to use. The instructions are short and simple, and everything fits nicely into a cup. My biggest critique is that the cup is a bit small – it’s hard for me to get my hand down in there to fish out some dice. In the tips and strategies page for this game @kegdragon beat me to the punch and recommended using a dice bag instead of this cup, and I totally agree with him. So go on over to that page and give him some love by saying his tip was helpful.

Overall, this is a fun game that requires little to no thought and can be played very quickly. I’m pretty sure I would have thrown less hissy fits at restaurants when I was little if this game was around – it’s a great filler in all sorts of situations. I gave it the rating I did because this is not a go-to game for me. I don’t always think to play it, and it’s the same thing over and over again, and it can get boring after a while. But for what it is, it’s quite enjoyable! May you roll well!

7
Go to the Star Fluxx page

Star Fluxx

99 out of 107 gamers thought this was helpful

For those of you who don’t know what Calvinball is, it is a game Calvin – from the comic strip ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ – made up. And if you don’t know Calvin and Hobbes, you should definitely check it out! There is only one rule to Calvinball, and the one rule is that it cannot be played the same way twice. I haven’t played other Fluxx games, but I know that the basis of the game remains the same and the themes change.

Star Fluxx is a card based game where the players change the rules and objectives required to win. Every game starts out the same – draw one card and play one card. But with cards changing rules and objectives, the game takes different twists and turns. The deck of cards contains rule cards, which change rules, goal cards, which tell you what needs to happen in order for someone to win, action cards, which let you do something, keeper/creeper cards, which you need in order to complete the/a goal, and surprise cards, which can ruin an opponent’s (or your own) plan.

To win the game, you need to have the appropriate keepers (or creepers) in your possession that match the current goal card.

You may already be visualizing how crazy this game can become. Never have I played a game where you can be so close to winning, and in a split second, you’re not even close. A positive about this is that everyone playing has a chance to win, and everyone also has a chance to foil someone else’s plans!

On top of that, add a sci-fi theme to it, and you’re going to get a lot of nerdy jokes mashing up all sorts of well known sci-fi tales, including Star Wars and Star Trek. The more you know sci-fi, the more enjoyable this game will be.

And if you aren’t a sci-fi buff, that’s ok because this game plays well and will make sense to you even if you don’t get some of the references (but if you’ve seen Star Wars, you’ll get a lot of the references).

While I enjoy this game, it is certainly not a ‘go-to’ game for me. It’s easy to teach and learn, but the unpredictability of the game can be frustrating to new players. And the unpredictability leads to erratic game lengths. The game can last 10 minutes, or 45 minutes, depending on what cards are played. On the positive side, the unpredictability increases its replay value.

Component-wise, the cards are ok. The artwork is fun and the cards do a good job of explaining how they work, but the card quality itself is just ok. If you play it a lot, they’ll get dog eared pretty easily. The instruction manual is marginally helpful. If you haven’t played the game before, the manual won’t make much sense. But the instructions DO say that the best way to learn it is to play it, and I totally agree with that. The cards tell you how to play.

Overall, if you are into sci-fi and randomness with a little bit of strategy and a good amount of luck, this is a good game. For the price, it packs a lot of fun. It’s a lighthearted game which creates a friendly atmosphere, so family, casual, social, and even avid gamers would like it. Strategy and power gamers, *uses Jedi mind powers* “this is not the game you’re looking for…now move along.”

8
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

61 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

Several years ago, one of my friends brought over a cooperative game to introduce to me. Intrigued by the idea (because, frankly, this friend and I get a bit too competitive and end up getting mad) of cooperative play, I welcomed this game called Pandemic. I was immediately hooked.

Pandemic is an ‘us-versus-the-disease-ridden-world’ cooperative game for 2-4 people designed to create suspense through the spread of 4 different infections. While there are many moving parts to consider, the basis of the game is quite simple:

You win the game if you find cures to all four diseases – I’ll explain shortly.

You lose the game if you go through the entire player draw pile.

You lose the game if there are 8 outbreaks (more than 3 cubes in a city).

You lose the game if any color of disease cubes are all out on the board (there are 25 of each).

Clearly, this game is designed to be tough to win, and winning is definitely an accomplishment! To start the game, set up the board by infecting 9 cities from the infection deck and place them in the appropriate discard pile. Then, deal out cards to the players from the player draw pile – these cards include cities and special event cards. After that, shuffle in the dreaded epidemic cards (more on that in a bit)!

Also, each player gets a role card, which gives them special abilities. Players must use these abilities and work together to prevent the spread of disease and find cures.

A turn works in this way: You get 4 actions – you can move, treat a disease, find a cure, trade cards, etc. At the end of the action phase, you draw cards from the player draw pile. Most of them are cities and special events, which is good. But sometimes you will draw an Epidemic card. These cards, when drawn, force you to infect a new city, shuffle the discarded infection card pile, and then put it back on the top of the pile…which leads me to the last phase – the infection phase. Draw cards off of the top of the pile to infect cities – and that is why an epidemic is so scary! All of the cities infected will now continue to be infected because you’ll continue to draw them! What are we to do??

Here’s how you find cures – collect 5 cards of the same color and discard them at a research station. Then that disease is cured. However, there are rules on collecting cards. You can only have a certain number of cards in your hand, and trading cards requires you and your teammate to be in the same city of the card being traded. Hopefully someone has the right role to make that easier!

This game is full of discussion with your teammates about how to balance urgent problems while focusing on the cure. That, in my opinion, is the best part about this game. There are lots of decisions to be made, and the longer the game goes, the more intense it becomes – the fate and well being of the world lies in the hands of you and your friends sitting around your coffee table! As you travel across the map to various cities, you’ll often find that there is too much to do and not enough time. Those times usually end with a loss. After a loss, I immediately want to play again – I think the replay value of this game is quite good. And, there is no set formula for winning – each game, with its various roles in play and various cities infected, will play out differently. Sometimes it will be over quickly and you’ll lose. Other times it will take a bit longer, and you’ll have a chance to win! Either way, you’ll enjoy it. Most games last about 45 minutes.

I believe that there are a lot of great things about this game. The components and artwork are great – they have an efficient and urgent feel. The cards are made like they’re meant to be shuffled and traded and handled (I have a gaming pet peeve with card quality). The gameplay, while having many moving parts, can be boiled down simply. And if there are any questions, the rulebook is clear and concise. The game creates an enjoyable tension where the highs are celebrated, and the lows are dreaded…who knew cardboard and wooden cubes could have such influence on our emotions!

Almost all of the people I’ve introduced this game to loved playing, and many of them wanted to play again. I’d recommend it to just about anyone except for social gamers and power gamers. Social gamers probably want to include more people and have something a little less intense, and power gamers probably want to beat people with their perfect strategy – plus Pandemic is a little light to be considered a power game.

Overall, I really enjoy this game. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have fun playing it, and those are the kind of games I want in my collection. I think it would be a great fit for yours too.

7
Go to the Munchkin 2: Unnatural Axe page
18 out of 19 gamers thought this was helpful

I have a rule I give myself – mostly to save money and prevent impulse buys: I do not buy an expansion until I’m bored with the base game. It has worked out pretty well for me. I remember playing the base Munchkin game, which I really enjoyed until I realized I wanted different items and more monsters to fight. This expansion fixes that.

This expansion has to be played with the base game for it to work, as there are not enough race and class cards in it. If you don’t know how to play Munchkin, I would recommend looking at Munchkin’s own page first. The the rules with this expansion are exactly the same, and if you aren’t quite sure what to do, follow the text on the cards and argue with your game members over how to interpret it – that’s part of the fun!

My biggest critique of the base game was that there weren’t enough monsters to fight. I felt like we did too much looting the room and looking for trouble. Now that there are more monsters and items and modifiers, there’s more action, more satire, and more funny stuff. Fighting against monsters like the Grassy Knoll or the Mighty Germ, play monster enhancers like ‘Mommy,’ which has the monster’s mom come and ruin your party. There are also new curses, such as B.O. The Orc race, which is not included in the base game, is really fun to play and gives you a cool ability.

Along the lines of new treasure and items in this expansion, the game gets more silly and fun. Don your Coat of Arms, which gives you extra hands to hold things, or attach your “…of Doom!” card to one of your weapons to give it a bonus. Maybe you’re tired of getting cursed all the time…there’s now a Tinfoil Hat for that.

These are just some of the new cards added to the game, and while they change the gameplay a little bit, it still feels like the original Munchkin, which I like. The artwork is by the same guy, John Kovalic, and I think he does great work. The cards are made the same as the original, so when they’re face down, you can’t tell them apart. An icon on the other side shows whether card belongs to an expansion or not.

Overall, if you like Munchkin, you should definitely check this out. And if you don’t like Munchkin, I don’t know if there’s anything in this game that might get you to fall in love with it – it’s the same silly monster slaying, treasure hoarding craziness. Thankfully, I like that, and I’m really satisfied with the Unnatural Axe expansion. Let the backstabbing begin!

8
Go to the Bohnanza page

Bohnanza

69 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

Let me first say that I am partial to card based games. For some reason I happen to really enjoy games that use cards. I like this game because it’s easy to learn, it plays rather quickly, and the game changes in subtle and refreshing ways depending on how many people are playing.

In Bohnanza (my family affectionately nicknamed this game “Beano.”), you are a bean farmer – and joking about beans is definitely allowed. There are various beans you can plant, and you start the game with two bean fields. You plant beans from your hand, and you get coins (represented on the back of all of the bean cards) for planting a certain number of any particular bean.

The person with the most coins at the end of the game wins.

The game ends when the draw pile has been depleted three times.

Back to the beans…planting beans sounds easy, right? Well, there are a couple rules to follow. First, you can’t rearrange the beans you hold in your hand – you must play them in the order you receive them. That means you may have to trade cards out of your hand to get the beans you want to plant into the front of your hand. Trading is a very necessary and fun part of this game. And here’s the thing about trading – any card involved in a transaction needs to be planted before the turn is over. For you and anyone else that received a card. What if you don’t want it because you’re going for other beans? Unfortunately, you’ll need to harvest one of your bean fields. Or perhaps not! You can also choose to purchase a third bean field for three of your hard earned coins.

Not all beans are created equal. There are some beans that are prevalent, and some that are not. For instance, there are 24 coffee beans, but there are only 8 red beans. How many beans do you need to plant to get coins? Every single card tells you. For example, to get 4 coins in the coffee beans, you need to collect 12 of them. But for the red bean, you only need 5 to get your 4 coins. That is how the game keeps itself balanced. Yes, there are cards in the deck that are less common than others, but you don’t need to collect tons of them to get your coins. The maximum coinage per bean field is 4, no matter what bean you plant, and the general rule of thumb is that collecting half of the amount of a given bean will give you 4 coins, but there are exceptions. And if you don’t want to try to get 4 coins, then you can collect less and get 1, 2 or 3 coins, depending on how many you collected.

Component-wise, I think this game does a great job. The artwork is fun to look at (new players tend to laugh at it) and it gives you the information you need to know very simply. The cards are also very well made. (Side note – and mini rant – anyone who makes card games out of anything less than what’s used to make a standard deck of cards is totally ridiculous – make them sturdy enough to be handled, passed, shuffled and tossed without getting sticky/warped/bent/dog eared. Anything less tells me you’re cutting corners to save money, and that makes me sad…especially when you charge my hard earned money for something done halfheartedly.)

Anyway, the cards are made to be passed, shuffled, traded, and handled. I’ve played probably 40 games with my own game and they’re still in great shape.

I like this game because it’s lighthearted and a bit silly – once you see the artwork on the cards you’ll know what I mean. The Lightheartedness allows for some interaction between players that is not necessarily related to the game. It allows relationships to grow, if that’s something you want. Personally, that’s why I like to play games. Bohnanza is also nice because it plays well with different groups. When I play it with my family, the trading and bartering sounds more like a game of “Pit.” But when I play with my gamer friends, there is more calculation and counting cards and strategic maneuvering. I like games that allow for that flexibility. And with either group, the game lasts between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on how heated negotiating gets and how much trading there is.

Finally, I would recommend this game to just about anyone, except for power gamers. They will probably find it too simple and silly. For everyone else, give it a shot! While many games cost $50, you can find this one for under $20, and it has good replay value. I think you’ll find it’ll be quite a nice addition to your gaming collection!

8
Go to the Bananagrams page

Bananagrams

56 out of 63 gamers thought this was helpful

For what it is, I give this game an 8/10. It’s fast paced and easy to learn. It’s Scrabble’s cool uncle.

Here’s how it works: everyone starts out with a certain number of letter tiles. You arrange the tiles to make words in a crossword form. Once you use all of your letters, you shout, “Peel!” and everyone has to grab a letter and add it to their crossword by making yet another word. Sometimes you grab a letter and have to rearrange everything you did to make it work. Sometimes you grab an awful letter and you’re stuck with it, unless you say, “Dump!” and put back the letter into the pile and grab three letters. You continue in this fashion until no more letters can be drawn by everyone playing. The one who is the first to use all of their letters is the winner and shouts “Bananagrams!” (HOUSE RULE – we just shout ‘Naners!)

If you’re into word games or games that play fast or games that allow you to chat over friendly competition, I think that this game meets those needs. Asking your neighbors how to spell words or if a certain combination of letters makes a word can lead to some jokes. It’s fun to banter with everyone and complain how bad your letters are, only to pull off a stroke of creative genius by diving deep into your word bank.

For a fast paced game, those who may not be able to work as quickly can still enjoy it, because the point isn’t to make as many words as possible – the point is to use all of your letters to make words. So you could actually not say “peel” the whole game but still use your last letter to make a word that will win the game. Momentum can swing quickly! And if you don’t have good letters, it’ll be over soon. You can play the game in 10 minutes.

I admit that this game does run more quickly when people have a larger vocabulary, but if you can read and spell, you can play this game. And if you don’t think you’re good at that, I think it’s still fun to make fun of all the word nerds as they brag about their words with all of their x’s and z’s. Just give it a shot…

This is a good game for families and casual gamers and for some social gamers. Those who are into heavier games with loads of strategy will be probably be bored with this game. Like I said, for what it is, it’s a very good game…you probably play it 10 times in the amount of time it takes to play a game of Scrabble – and you don’t need to do any math or calculate those triple word/letter scores either. Who wants to do math when you’re spelling?

6
Go to the The Settlers of Catan – 5-6 Player Extension page
19 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

Catan is not one of my favorite games, but it is a good game. My family plays it all the time. And since I have a large family, we have the expansion. This expansion is why I don’t like Catan like I used to. First, the game takes much longer – longer to set up, longer for people to choose their starting positions, longer for your turn to come around, longer to finish the game.

I also do not like the special build rule that allows you to build when it is not your turn. I understand why it’s necessary because there is a lot of time between turns, but it makes the game different. There’s just more to keep track of if you want to play the game well. To me, the expansion game is more frustrating than enjoyable because there’s more happening. A little more luck is involved than in the base game because more people are looking to stop you from scoring points, and lucky rolls of the dice (12’s and 2’s) can be a game changer.

On a more positive note, the components are just as nice as the base game, and it’s a must have if lots of people want to play Settlers at once. The game also plays pretty much the same, so there aren’t a lot of things to learn if you already know how to play.

In my opinion, this game is just better with less than five people.

× Visit Your Profile