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Go to the Takenoko page
Go to the King of Tokyo page
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Go to the Smash Up: Awesome Level 9000 page
Go to the XCOM: The Board Game page
Go to the Sushi Go! (Second Edition) page
Go to the Star Realms page

Star Realms

122 out of 131 gamers thought this was helpful

This little gem was an early Christmas surprise for my husband. He had picked up the iPad app and had been playing it non-stop for the past few days and he had been eying the card deck so rather than risk him getting it for me, I beat him to the punch.

The short of it –
At first glance, it is visually appealing with an inviting science fiction theme. The game is extremely easy to setup and play. Very easy to teach, I would guess that even kids could pick this up fairly easily as well. Inexpensive, its always a huge bonus to find a great game at a fraction of what many others cost. It is small, making this one of the easiest games to transport and take on the go. Only downside is that it is only 2 player when you buy one deck. It can be played with more players once you have additional decks, however I have not tried this yet.

A bit more in depth-
I found it to be a simplified version of Magic, without the neverending cost since it is a set deck that both players draft from. The mechanic for drafting works very well since it allows both teams to build and adapt as they see what they are facing in their opponents deck. The bases are reminiscent of wall cards – some must be destroyed before you can damaged and some you can attack around, similar to walls that can be flown over. Control cards can be found mixed in between the various color themes – discarding, drawing cards, destroying bases, additional authority, all the fun of Black, Blue and White (my favorites) mixed together. Of course, if you are more of a Green or Red player, then the mix of small attack building to a big wipe out of your opponent should leave you fairly satisfied as well.

If you are not a Magic player, don’t be deterred though! Since its not customized decks, the game is more evenly balanced and is more reliant on real time game play and card buying than Magic allows. If you are a super-serious Magic player, you may find this game a bit too light in comparison. Though, I like it because my husband has refused for a couple years to face me in Magic, so this is a bit of a compromise that we can both enjoy.

Overall, try this game and see if its a good fit for you. Its not social so while I wouldn’t describe it as a ‘social’ or ‘family’ game, it is certainly a lot of fun and a light game for strategy players. With the holidays being only a couple days away, maybe even pick this up for a last minute stocking stuffer for your favorite gaming family member – you really can’t go wrong with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Go to the The Resistance: Avalon page
73 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

Strangely I am not fond of this game. All of my friends love it, my husband loves it and I feel like I should enjoy it too… but for reasons I cannot even explain, I just do not enjoy playing it. I actually enjoying watching others play far more than being a part of the game.

This game has many aspects that I love in other games but together they just do not make the game work for me. Hopefully, you will not be me and will be like the majority and enjoy it as much as my friends and husband do!

Theme – this theme is wonderful! I love the characters that add depth to this game, like Merlin and Morgana, and am quite familiar with them all. The mechanic of adding these in for more complexity as you add more players to the game is fantastic and makes for very high replayability.

Bluffing – Bluffing is quite fun, Coup is one of my favorite games to fill time. Here you get to team up with others and be good or evil, what could be more fun?

You get to be King for a day, well just a round but still! Fun, right?

Table talk – you can make up stories and bad mouth opponents (all friendly and in good fun of course), you can’t do this in many games so enjoy it while you can!

Overall, try this game out. Most likely you too will enjoy it… and if you don’t enjoy playing, I can guarantee that you will at least enjoy watching others play this game. ๐Ÿ™‚

Go to the Sushi Go! (Second Edition) page
114 out of 127 gamers thought this was helpful

My husband and I picked up this game about a month ago, I was immediately drawn to the ‘cute’ artwork – I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for cute stuff! We were the first at our game shop to have this game available to try out and we now bring it on a weekly basis due to popular demand. It is played pretty much every week by someone at the shop for a few key points:

1. It is Easy to play. You can teach this to any age group, its mechanics of drafting and passing (like 7 Wonders) are easy to follow and the scoring is very straight forward.

2. It is a Fast game so is great for filling time between longer games. We have a small pile of short fast games that we bring to the game shop but this one is the one typically selected to fill time while they wait for other longer games to finish.

3. Even if you don’t like Sushi, you will probably still like this game. It is very light and gives your mind a break from the more complex and time consuming games. With all the cute smiling sushi, you can’t really leave the game unhappy – even if you lose.

And not really why its played at the game shop but another bonus – It is not very expensive so actually this would be a great stocking stuffer for the holiday season!

Personally, I like to play this with 4 or 5 players, it is possible with 2 by dealing a blind hand in but again, it is more fun for me with more players and more hands being passed around the table. I won’t tell you how to play this game but I will put my own personal tips in the Tips section shortly. Definitely watch the Dice Tower video – its only five minutes and covers the cards and pretty much everything you need to know about how to play. This is one of the few games that I honestly would recommend for all types of game players to own. It will not go unused and will not collect dust – something that can be pretty rare when your collection continues to grow and grow.

Go to the Bora Bora page

Bora Bora

128 out of 138 gamers thought this was helpful

Someone in my weekend gaming group happened to ask if anyone wanted to play this and I jumped at the chance. It sounded unique and the board looked colorful and inviting so I thought, why not!

I won’t go deep into the scoring or how to play as the previous reviews do a good job here. To me, this feels like a mashup of Kingsburg and Lords of Waterdeep, but even more complex and with more to remember.

For a first game, it took about two hours so not too bad considering out of the four of us only one had played before. I imagine if we all played again then it would probably be spot on for the estimated hour and a half. Set up is easy but it can take a little bit of time organizing them, with a lot of small pieces needing to be set off to the side, so I would recommend Not playing with young children or pets around that could disrupt.

Pros: Great for the complex thinkers in your gaming group. Someone who is strategic and thinks ahead will probably enjoy it, though may find the randomness of the dice frustrating. A friend, who arrived late, was very interested in this game after seeing how many different mechanics are at play – so I think it is a very appealing game to some. If you have a group of players who are all into these complex style games, then I think they would have an absolute blast together.

Cons: It is a LOT to juggle in the back of your mind, I had a hard time maintaining focus throughout the entire game and probably could have benefited from a coffee break mid way through. Its not ‘hard’ but just a lot of different things to be thinking through at once. I was running a bit slow from being sick earlier in the week so perhaps if I play this again I won’t have the same sluggish feeling by the end, but even my husband who hadn’t been sick felt the same way just to a lesser degree. Because it a lot to process at once, I am not sure it could keep the attention of kids for an entire game so wouldn’t recommend for a family game. If you or your family prefer relaxed games, this is probably not the game for you.

Overall, I think everyone should try this game if they can. Its fun, different, and at the very least a colorful game to spend an afternoon figuring out.

Go to the King of Tokyo: Halloween page
19 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

Daidoji Ryushi covered all the changes very well.

Overall, this is a great addition to add to your standard game. The artwork is awesome for the characters and these are often some of the most sought after characters because of this, even when playing without evolutions.

The costumes are certainly a lot of fun and add a new dimension to the game, I particularly love the cheerleader which makes you actually cheer in game for people to do extra damage. Makes it a bit more active and fun in my opinion.

The expansion cards are very unique and also a huge draw. My husband tries to play Pumpkin Jack as often as possible because he enjoys the unique expansion set for this character so much.

I highly recommend adding this to your collection. We managed to fit this in the original box once we took out the plastic shaped piece, so you won’t even have to carry around an extra box when you take this to your game shop or to a friend’s place. ๐Ÿ™‚

Go to the Pandemic: In the Lab page
106 out of 113 gamers thought this was helpful

Assuming you have played Pandemic before and not somehow skipped playing the original without any expansions, you’ll find this fairly easy to pick up. Also, please note that if you have the original Pandemic this expansion will not work with it. It was revised and this is compatible with only the revised version so double check which version you have before buying. I read that there is a compatibility kit that can be purchased, so if you do have the original version you might be able to find this to avoid having to buy the revised version of the original game. Anyways, there are a few changes that come with this expansion obviously which I will list below:

New Challenge:
Similar to Pandemic you are still trying to cure 4 diseases that are spreading around the world, this time however its more than just ‘treating’ and collecting cards – now its actual science. You will Sequence the Disease by determining the make up of it so that you can collect the color cubes needed to create the treatment. You will then Characterize it to determine which color you will be treating. Then you will Process a Sample and next you will Test the Cure in a city of that disease’s color. Finally, you will cure it by Discovering the Cure. No need to explain in detail in a review though, you can always look up instructions for that. ๐Ÿ™‚

This expansion additionally provides one player mode and team mode however this requires On the Brink which I do not have yet so am only reviewing part of this expansion.

New Roles:
The Pilot which allows you to move your pawn by ‘flying’ within 3 connections of your current position and allows you to take another (player willing) pawn with you. For obvious reasons this can be very helpful. You can move across the board very quickly and since you can take someone with you, the minor restriction of not being able to build research stations isn’t too much of a negative.

The Local Liaison allows you to give a city card of the same color of the city you are in to someone else in a city of the same color. This means you no longer have to carefully coordinate how to both get to the same city nor even worry about the city card matching the city you are meeting in! Additionally, when playing the Lab Challenge, this role has a second ability to Characterize a Disease or Test a Cure when at a research station as a free bonus action. I will explain these below but this is very helpful since its not using up one of your standard 4 actions.

The Virologist upon Discovering the Cure can exchange two city cards of the same color to replace one city card of the cure color. She also has the additional action option to discard a city card to remove one cube of color from any city, returning it to the supply. Personally, I have not used this card or seen it in play but it does not seem as helpful as some of the other roles. Perhaps someone who has used it can elaborate more in another review.

The Field Director can treat a disease not only in the city he is in, but also cities connected to that city. Also, as a free bonus action you can move another pawn that is in the same city as you or a connected city by drive or ferry. Both of these options are very helpful but I have not personally played this role to give a lot of insight on it.

Changes to past roles occurred for the Researcher and the Epidemiologist:

The Researcher now has an additional Lab Challenge option that allows once per turn while at a research station you may Sequence a Disease for a free bonus action. Very helpful change for this challenge and it can really come to your rescue at times.

The Epidemiologist also has an additional Lab Challenge option that allows her to Process a Sample while at a research station as a free bonus action. I am all for free bonus actions and this can be very helpful.

The Scientist card should have been revised however it was not. So if someone selects this card, we simply reduced the final needed number to Discover the Cure by one. This may not be the intended rule, I would have to look into this further to know for sure.

New ‘Lab’ Board and Action Tips:
I originally had several things listed here but will put them in the tips section instead to cut down on excessive text (sorry!). ๐Ÿ™‚

Same rules for winning and losing from the original are still the same, card limits, etc are all the same. There are three new event cards which are all helpful like the original events.

Anyways, wow that was long but I hope this was helpful in understanding the many changes with this expansion. I personally love this and regularly play this expansion over only the base. If you like Pandemic and want to change it up this is certainly a great option. It puts a lot more emphasis on the science and less on the meeting and exchanging cards which is a nice change. ๐Ÿ™‚

Go to the No Thanks! page

No Thanks!

25 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

Overall: I played this last night for the first time at our local game shop. Some friends were playing this when I arrived and I was able to just watch the mechanics so with a short explanation I was able to jump in and play the next game. Its easy to learn once you’ve seen it, I would imagine it’d still be pretty easy to understand teaching someone who hadn’t seen it though. Its a short game so great for filling in time between long games. Overall, a refreshing change and something I would gladly play again.

How to Play:
For 3-5 players. The deck of cards contains the numbers 3 through 35. After shuffling, remove 9 cards from play and place the remaining pile in the middle. Each player is given 11 chips.

The goal is to have the lowest number of points at the end of the game. Your score is the total of cards you have collected which are negative numbers plus the positive number of chips, with consecutive cards only being scored for the lowest number showing. Example 7, 8, 9 and 2 would score for a total of -9 points with 2 chips making it -7. So as the cards are flipped over, you are trying to gather numbers in consecutive order to keep your score low. However, you have to keep in mind that some cards have been removed so you may not be able to collect the cards you are hoping for. Additionally, others may purposely or unintentionally collect cards that affect your collection.

To start the game, whoever is randomly selected to go first flips over the card in the middle of the table. If they want it, then they take it and place on the table directly in front of them face up. To not accept a card that is flipped over, they place a chip in the middle on the card basically paying to be skipped and then the next person chooses to take or pay to avoid, and so on. When the card is accepted, that player also takes the chips that others just paid to skip it. Sometimes with the higher cards, it may go a couple times around the table with everyone paying to avoid the card. Eventually someone gives in though, at the very least to save their chips for later. You can possibly run out of chips so plan accordingly.

When a card is accepted, the person after them starts the next turn by flipping the card and accepting or bidding. This dynamic constantly changes who flips the next card and starts the next round. It also means that whoever accepted a card, is the last to have a chance at the next one, obviously this can be helpful or harmful to your strategy but it is all in the luck of the cards. As cards are collected, consecutive cards should be placed overlapping for easier viewing. Stand alone cards should therefore not overlap.

The game continues until all cards have found a home and upon finishing, scores are added up. Remember to only count the bottom number of a consecutive cards, so another example of 2, 7, 8, 9 and 30 with 5 chips would total -34.

Anyways, I hope this review is helpful so that you can try it out! Have fun!

Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912 page
12 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

We recently picked this up and have really enjoyed the new routes. Its livened the game up for us again, since while fun, it had become a little stale seemingly always fighting for the same routes. There is still overlap (the part that makes it fun) but much more variety.

We personally do not use the warehouse part of the game. It did not increase enjoyment in any way so we have opted to leave it out for now. Perhaps if things start getting stale again, we will revisit this option but for now we are happy with adding the new routes.

The tickets however are definitely worthwhile and I would recommend anyone who has this game to get this expansion for the tickets. ๐Ÿ™‚

Go to the Takenoko page


56 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

Takenoko in its simplest description is a fun, beautiful, and an easy to play game. It has a little bit of strategy but much of it comes down to luck on what you roll for weather, what you draw for cards, and what your opponents do in their turn that may help or hurt your chances of completing cards.

If you are a gamer that likes serious strategy then this may not be for you, there is possibly too many random components that can disrupt your plans. However, if you are looking for a lighter game, then you will probably still enjoy this. I, myself, enjoy a wide variety of games and particularly enjoy that it appeals to even my family members who are ‘not into board games’. It is far more fun than opening up the family monopoly game, and the cuteness factor appeals to both guys and girls alike, and even all ages. After I visited family and brought this game along, my parents bought a copy and even played this with my grandparents.

One point that I saw mentioned in a previous review that I will emphasize as well, not the best game for young children that are innocently destructive or grabby. Same for pets, so if Miss Kitty likes to plop herself in the middle of your game, it may be best to play in a location that she doesn’t have access to. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Overall though the game is well made, there are a few bamboo pieces that stick or tilt but not usually much of a problem for regular play.

This game can be learned very quickly and due to the nature of the game is good for replayability.

When you do try to go through the instructions, really emphasize the detail about colors needing to match and showing comparing colors of the tiles. If you have someone who has issues with colors, there can be some issues with some of the yellow tiles (the artwork gives it a pinkish hue sometimes), so it can be good to show them the difference next to one another on tiles and cards next to tiles. I have only had this problem once but once they played the game a couple times, this was no longer a problem.

Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

27 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

When new players show up to game night, this is the game that I frequently suggest to start with. It has fun colorful characters, a simple plot that is easy to follow, but is engaging enough to interest new players. Strategy options are limited (kill monsters or earn points) and are not so complex that they intimidate or overwhelm new players.

For more seasoned game players, this is a short and entertaining way to fill time and convince new players to try more complex games. While fun, it really isn’t the type of game for two people so recommend for at least 3 but preferably more. Also, it is important to have a good mix of players personality wise, if you have a group of all careful no risk players it won’t be as much fun. With at least one or two high risk high reward players in the game though, you’ll find it quite a bit more lively. When you add expansions in, it changes to an even more engaging game. The games run longer and involve more strategy which help in the replayability of the game.

Its monsters destroying the city or each other. Enough said. ๐Ÿ˜‰

For more info about expansions, check out my other reviews.

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