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Review 3 games and receive a total of 40 positive review ratings.
Go to the Agricola page
Go to the Puerto Rico page
Go to the Ticket to Ride page
Go to the Ascension page
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
Go to the Dominion page
Go to the Tichu page
Go to the Dream Factory page

Dream Factory

24 out of 24 gamers thought this was helpful

There was a time when Knizia was churning out auction games, many of which went on to become legendary. Traumfabrik/Hollywood Blockbuster/Dream Factory may not be a top tier Knizia auction game like Ra, Modern Art or Medici, but I still consider it to be a lot of fun, easy to learn, providing a good challenge.

Players are movie moguls, putting together the perfect team of directors, cinematographers, actors, effects and music. In the original edition (which had real names), it was funny to see the improbable conditions that would result. Since the names have been fictionalized, some of that fun is gone, but it remains fairly similar.

The talent is acquired through simple auctions. Since you can see what movies other players are working on, you have plenty of information to go on, and the auctions can be intense. The different awards that are available will reward all types of combinations, even including very poor movies (for which the Reiner Knizia character, offering a negative one star, was very useful). And if you decide to go all in on an auction, you could be out of the running for quite a while, since all the money you spend gets distributed to your opponents.

The movie production theme is fun, and actually seems appropriate, making for one of Knizia’s most thematic works.

Go to the JAB: Real-Time Boxing page
35 out of 38 gamers thought this was helpful

You will often see people comment that JAB does a great job making you feel like you’re actually boxing. Having never boxed, I can’t say whether that is true or not, but the blend of speed and tactics involved in this game makes it really stand out.

Most speed games reward pure speed and recognition, only requiring you to do a simple task once you notice a particular trigger condition (Halli Galli, Jungle Speed, etc.) In JAB, speed definitely does make a difference. If you can play your cards faster than your opponent, you cold potentially reap a great benefit.

However, JAB differs from the rest of the pack by offering some interesting choices. Do you hold back and try to block your opponents blows? Or do you go all out and try to end the round early? Should you concentrate on points/combos or go for a KO? It is not easy to figure out what is best, and what’s more, you need to keep a close eye on what your opponent is doing. It’s much more challenging than it seems, and the inability to manage everything at once really makes the game a lot of fun.

Go to the Train of Thought page

Train of Thought

17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

While I am terrible at this game, I think it is one that is pretty unique as far as word games go. Having only three words to try to lead the other players to a target word, it requires a certain level of creativity that I imagine could be somewhat frustrating for new players. I should know, since I felt pretty frustrated while playing. But I think there’s a lot of room for creative play that can open up with experience. Initially it seems like players will try and get to their target with as few clues as possible. As you play more, it seems to be better to work your way there through successive batches of clues.

It is definitely a game of pure skill, and the more skilled player should definitely win just about all the time.

I think the one thing that will hold it back from true greatness in a competitive group, regardless of my future experience, is the need to police the words used in the three word clues. Whenever you have to bring up the phrase “spirit of the game” you know you’re in trouble when people get competitive. While in a game like Kaleidos or Boggle you can argue about the validity of certain words after the fact – the timer makes it very difficult (and punitive) to challenge what a player is doing during their turn. It is pretty easy to avoid this, however. Just avoid playing with people that take games too seriously.

Go to the Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter page
76 out of 83 gamers thought this was helpful

Not being a huge lover of the base game, I don’t really care about the purity of the game system. So I don’t think that this expansion spoils or cheapens the game, as many have accused. It definitely isn’t meant for casual players like me, but rather for those who have memorized all of the tickets and can predict where their opponents are going. I imagine that this expansion would be most brutal in online play.

Even though I’m not an expert at TtR, I am somewhat tired of the game as a whole, so it’s a nice addition to spice things up. It forces you to play a little differently. Wilds become more important, and you either have to bluff your tickets, or aggressively move the monsters. You have to protect your most valuable investments. Also, the endgame timing becomes even more important, as monster majorities can be stolen, and last minute movements of Alvin and Dexter seem inevitable. So you have to watch how close your opponents are to finishing.

Go to the Ascension page


29 out of 34 gamers thought this was helpful

I approached Ascension from the perspective of a Dominion enthusiast. On my first play I found that the game seemed to lack the choices and strategy that Dominion offers. It also didn’t seem to gather steam as the game progressed, something that I enjoy about our games of Dominion.

However, after trying Ascension on the iPad over a year later, I have played at least 100 times and have discovered that the choices in Ascension are not as obvious as many of the other reviewers have claimed. It is rarely evident which card is the best on display. Due to the luck of the draw, you don’t know if the other cards that you will need to complement your strategy are going to pop up. Maybe I’m just not that good of a player, but even after having played a ton, I cannot consistently beat the AI on the harder level.

I know that many people prefer the fantasy theme of Ascension (and Thunderstone), although honestly this is probably a drawback for me. Theme is not too important for me, and I actually prefer more inert themes like Dominion as opposed to fantasy monster slaying. The physical components are also a little disappointing, as the board doesn’t seem to sit right (at least on my copy) and the cards are very thick and plastic feeling, making them, at least initially, quite difficult to shuffle thoroughly.

But the game play is very compelling, especially at lower player counts. There is no question that Dominion offers a game of higher strategic depth and variability. But for a similar type of game that plays quickly and offers a different type of experience, Ascension is a lot of fun. If you’re on the fence, I would encourage you to check out the iPad app (it’s kind of small on the iPhone) and see if it’s for you. I think you may find yourself spending more time playing Ascension than you might have anticipated.

Go to the Code 777 page

Code 777

16 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

Code 7 is a fun and fairly unique deduction game, guessing which three numbers you are displaying to the other players (which you cannot see). This is done by reading off question cards and listening carefully to the answers you hear. There are bound to be times when the luck of the draw heavily favors a certain person (I’ve seen someone win in as little as three questions read), but in general luck does not play too big of a role.

I tend to only enjoy deduction games like this where the information on hand is not constantly changing (as in Mystery of the Abbey), though, like most other deduction games, any wrong answers given by the players will most likely ruin the game.

The components are nice, though I wish they had integrated the summary card into the back of each of the tray holders.

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