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The Big Cheese 2012
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Went to Gen Con 2012
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Go to the Cthulhu Dice page

Cthulhu Dice

69 out of 90 gamers thought this was helpful

Beside the taboo associated with cursing people and heeding the call of Cthulhu, this family friendly game is fairly quick and simple. You can smile to yourself for a job well done as you teach your children the proper way to curse others and the consequences they face unless Cthulhu chooses to let them get away with it. Be careful as the student may very well become the master at Cthulhu’s beckoning call. But don’t fret. The dark master may choose to drive everyone insane and take the prize for himself.

On a serious note, this game was very quick. Everyone gets a few sanity counters. Cthulhu sits in the middle of a pile of sanity counters of his own. The goal is to make everyone else lose their sanity. A player chooses who they want to curse, and rolls a big die. That player then gets a chance to roll back in their own defense. Counters get swapped between players and Cthulhu himself.

We had a blast playing. It took a minute or two to educate all the players in how the game was played. We had a table of five people playing. It was fun seeing how a counter would swap between players, and then stolen rite back for the counter curse. I loved the part where players may still play once they lose, and can even get back into the game if Cthulhu grants them some sanity. In one game, one of the players had lost all of her sanity, but came back towards the end of the game and got everyone else to lose their sanity.

Go to the Cosmic Encounter page

Cosmic Encounter

107 out of 116 gamers thought this was helpful

1. A game of conflict. Destiny cards can have people fighting their friends even if they don’t want to. In many cases, you must use the power of persuasion to encourage other players to come to your aid.

2. A game of colonization. Players defend planets and colonize opponents planets. The goal is to populate lots of planets. Allying with offenders will offer the potential to colonize a new planet.

3. A game of roles with special abilities. Players have special abilities that give them a great advantage based on an alien race that they choose. (i.e. – ships never go into the warp area). These abilities can be taken away if they lose some of their home planets. Some cards have additional effects if the player is of a specific alien race. This helps make each play of the game different.

4. Strategic battles. The way that cards and abilities are played, a conflict with an obvious outcome can be turned around before you realize it. In some cases, you want allies to come to your aid to increase the chances of success in battles. In some situations, it will be to your advantage to limit who you ask to assist you, or simply go at it alone.

5. Negotiations. Work out your problems through negotiation. Be careful because if one of the players isn’t expecting to negotiate, then the attacker prevails. Assists can get a bad deal when negotiations come into play.

6. Ouch! Some cards when played are just amazingly awesome if played rite. Players around the table will feel the victims pain and wince when they read some of the cards details, but still be congratulating the person who just played the card – especially if it is to their own advantage.

In general it took us about 5 minutes to setup the table and about 10 minutes for the owner to explain the game to us. The main focus was on how battles work, and the different types of cards. Each alien card that each player had shows the different phases of a turn, which helped us follow along. One thing that you will need is a timer. Any encounter that results in negotiations needs to be 1 minute or less. We used a timer on one of our phones, but a simple hour-glass style timer would probably be simpler to work with. A lot of time was spent trying to count up points on each side of the battle and determining what to play in order to win the battles. One player was always trying to make sure they would lose by 10 points or more if it looked like they would lose based on their races special ability. The end of the game gets pretty interesting because everyone starts trying to make sure the one in the lead can’t get another point. Some players are no longer included in the request for allies. Others start attacking that players outposts if they can, or try to take away their powers. Towards the end, all four of us were one point away from winning. An encounter commenced and the end result was that two players won the game. The game took roughly 2 hours to play.

a. Pieces are different only by color.
b. Alien race cards are gigantic. Hard to shuffle and a bit awkward. Not really a bother during game play.

Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

112 out of 151 gamers thought this was helpful

1. The board game is laid out as square tiles representing an island. They have two sides that indicate if that part of the island is sinking. Easy to setup, flip, and make out what goals the tile represents in completing the game.

2. A trading game. As players find treasure, they can meet up on a part of the island and swap cards. Often players will come to you and offer to give you treasure so that you have enough cards to acquire the token.

3. Up to four people can play. The more the merrier. The game is harder to play with only two people since you have to race against time and run to more places. Splitting all four players among two people may add a challenge to the game, but could also improve chances of winning.

4. Adjusts difficulty based on the number of players. The game is setup so that more flooding occurs with more people playing. Shored parts of the islands can disappear completely between someones turn.

5. Cooperative game allows everyone to win, or lose. There are no singled out players as a winner. This encourages players to work together to accomplish the goal.

6. Hard to win. As the game goes on, the speed of flooding increases (more flood cards are drawn between turns). To make matters worse, the discard pile is often shuffled and used to pull cards from, making it easier for sinking tiles to go under. If one type of unclaimed trophy tile is no longer on the board, or the escape tile is sunk, the game is over. There is a chance that the game can be over after the first player takes their turn.

Go to the Small World page

Small World

82 out of 100 gamers thought this was helpful

Occupy land and get paid. The player with the most money at the end wins. Simple. Or is it?

Conquer races to gain coins. Some race/power combinations get bonuses for winning combat, or occupying certain types of land. Bonuses range from getting extra coins, or earning more fighters that they control.

The die included adds a great mechanic of chance to the game. If you don’t have enough fighters to occupy a land or conquer an opponent, then you can take a risk. The die may add up to 3 additional fighters to overcome the challenge.

Going into decline is a great mechanic where you can choose to stop playing with your current race/power combination and play with a new one on your next turn. You may be doing just fine, but may find an upcoming combination looks more enticing to play.

Some race/power combinations are unbalanced based on the number of players, or what is available early in the game. Wizards are very powerful in a 5 player game, but weak with only 2 players due to how many opponents they can convert on their turn. Getting them with the flying ability early in the game makes them almost unstoppable.

New players are often able to pick up the mechanics pretty quick by watching others and walking them through the first few rounds. The large number of things a race can do takes a bit of explaining and the decline part is tricky until they see someone else go through it, and are explained the advantages of it.

The game does have lots of pieces. It may take a while to sort out the pieces before starting, and after the came has completed. Some race/power combinations can run out of pieces if they are very successful in their campaign to dominate the board.

The included mats explaining all the races and combinations are a bit large and awkward. A small booklet or a card the quarter of the size would have been more convenient.

Go to the Zombie Fluxx page

Zombie Fluxx

50 out of 99 gamers thought this was helpful

Similar to other Fluxx games where you start off with the rules of drawing and playing 1 card. Some of the goals of winning will have you in hysterics. We had one that needed a baseball bat and plenty of zombies to bat. My opponent played a card where the game ended and nobody won. I was confused at first until a read the card. Really? We laughed at that one and agreed that we couldn’t even call it a draw.

The creeper cards are full of Zombies and a few are quite interesting to play, such as moving a zombie to another player if another zombie is slaughtered.

I am not much of a fan of zombies, but the game mechanics and silliness of the cards had me laughing and waiting for my turn to see what I would draw next.

Go to the Oz Fluxx page

Oz Fluxx

13 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

If you have played one of the Fluxx games before, then you’ll already know how to play this one. Fluxx games are quite interesting in how they start. You have no rules other than to pick up a card, and play a card. You can not win. As you go along, rules are added to the table as well as goals to win the game. The game can get chaotic at any time and leave you wishing some of the rules would go away, or for someone to win and get it over with so you can start over clean.

This version with the Oz theme brings back all your favorite characters and scenes from the first Oz book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Artwork appears to originally be done with ink outlines and marker infills. Goals allow players to catch a balloon ride and return home to Kansas, or have both the Wicket Witches of the East & West in order to win the game. Most of the Action, Surprise, and Rule cards are the same as other Fluxx games.

The only main drawback is that most of the action, surprise, and all of the rule cards are not themed. Some actions are Oz themed such as the field of poppies and the cyclone, but the game could use more of the themes in these card types.

Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
36 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

I played this game with three friends. I enjoyed the games concept and the fun in trading. They play of the game seems to hinge on luck, and trying to place your settlements on numbers that come up often, while being Abe to get a large variety of resources.

The tiles are flimsy hexagons within a frame made up of many parts held together like puzzle pieces. Although it looks like it gives a lot of room for customizing different games, our game ended up having a hill in one spot since the pieces could not sit snug against themselves on a flat table.

Although the instructions appear to spell out a few things, they could still use a little improvement. We had questions regarding placement of roads and if you could cross someone else’s road. The person who owned the game didn’t interpret the instructions properly and we were stuck at having to place settlements with at least two vacant spots away from other settlements, rather than one, as he misinterpreted what “3 adjacent spots” meant. Towards the end of the game, the person next to me announced a “double down” phase so you get twice as many cards. It may be house rules, as it seemed unfair when I was the last one in the group to get this advantage to initiate trades. The intent was to make the game go faster.

After the game was over, I took a look at the instructions and was able to help clarify some of the game mechanics with the owner. I am very much considering purchasing the game for myself.

We had a robber, but he quickly got an exploitive nick name once he came into play.

Go to the We Didn't Playtest This At All page
49 out of 73 gamers thought this was helpful

At gen con indy 2012, the sales pitch was only three words to sum up the game. “pure chaos. Fast”. I picked up a pack along with chaos edition. It played in 45 seconds when I got home. Lots of laughs and easy to join in. Better with three or more players. Instructions were very simple explaining that if I win, then I win. If everyone else loses, and I don’t, then I still win! The name of the game says it all as well. Anything that brings up questions on gameplay just falls into house rules.

Go to the Talisman page


10 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

This was a fun game to play. The counters for different attributes stack nicely on top of each other and have larger pieces to represent 5 counters so you are not managing tall towers of counters falling over. The alignment system was a great way to make this game interesting, especially when players used to one alignment are altered. Followers and items are a great asset, especially when you steal them from others! Drawbacks are perhaps the duration of the game especially when you add more players. Gold seemed to stack up without much opportunity to spend it.

Go to the Talisman: The Dungeon page
8 out of 28 gamers thought this was helpful

Although you can end up picking up lots of loot, the end boss is very difficult to challenge. We all ended up backing out of the dungeon to go about our own ways. Interesting twists and the torch card is very beneficial to have. Many of us preferred to stick to the library and kitchen, but monsters were too tough. Don’t go in until your characters have built up both defenses and offenses.

The guard was perhaps the one space that will continue to give you trouble as people keep landing on it.

Artwork is great to look at and expansion lines up nicely with board. We had the unfortunate play where a dungeon entrance card was placed on the dungeon entrance space. Not much benefit to see a second door appear in the same space.

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