Player Avatar
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer

Magno

gamer level 6
9177 xp
followers
66

Use my invite URL to register (this will give me kudos)
https://boardgaming.com/register/?invited_by=magno
profile badges
...
I Love Playin' Games
Strategist
Advocate
recent achievements
Watcher
Watcher
Follow a total of 20 other gamers.
Treasure Map
Treasure Map
Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Count / Countess
Count / Countess
Gain 50 total followers
Advanced Reviewer
Advanced Reviewer
Review 13 games and receive a total of 980 positive review ratings.
Go to the 7 Wonders page
Go to the Eclipse page
Go to the Twilight Imperium (3ed) page
Go to the Nightfall page
Go to the BattleCON: War of Indines page
Go to the Elder Sign page
Go to the Android page
9
Go to the Nightfall: The Coldest War page
32 out of 34 gamers thought this was helpful

The 3rd stand alone box of the Nightfall family delivers even more great gameplay, theme and more chaining madness to enjoy.

The Coldest War adds 24 new action card sets of new hunters, Vampires, Lycanthropes, and Ghouls from Eastern Europe and a whole new set of starter cards. Aside from the geographical area and tone of the cards, this set of cards are more focused on the combat phase. Many of the cards in-play and chain affects have something to do with the combat phase and there are even text abilities that allow you to play the card right out of your hand during the combat phase. This new tone adds a distinct new feel to the game, not just recycling abilities with new art. So fans of Nightfall will be happy to play this game stand-alone or mix the cards in to the other sets to afford much more flexible and unique deck combinations, further elevating the deck-builder to be more of construction style card game.

In fact, there are now new optional rules for a construction style format. Although this format isn’t traditional construction style, savy tinkerers will find ways within the constructs of the design to create a true construction or living card game.

In addition to the new cards and format, there are new wound cards abilities that allow you to improve your chaining abilities; “This card can be chained to and from any card.”
This allows players to set-up their chains much better and also allows some of the more difficult cards to set-up become more affective. Example; there are some action cards that have a powerful affect but their placement in the chain can nerf this. With these new chain “links”, those cards can be placed more effectively.

Probably the best addition to Nightfall are the moon phases. There are 6 cards of a new type called “Moon Phases” that act as global buff, de-buffs. Each player at the end of his turn has the ability to change the moon-phase for affects in later turns. This is fabulous new element both in a deck builder and a card game as not many card games have a communal element that players control and change during the game and this only adds to the dynamic and deep tactics of the game.

As a last tid-bit, I’ve come to really enjoy the small bits of fiction added into each of the box sets to the point that I crave more and it really adds to the gameplay as some of your drafting decisions become influenced by the fiction.

Nightfall continues to grow and grow well and this new box-set is a must have for Nightfall.

5
Go to the Arcana Revised Edition page
42 out of 45 gamers thought this was helpful

Arcana is an absolutely beautiful fantasy based card game set in the port city of Cadwallon of the land of Arkalash. A game stemming from the fantastic world shared with the classic miniatures game Confrontation.

In Arcana you take the role of one of several guilds that lurk in large and dangerous city of Cadwallon, vying to become the most influential Guild. Each player starts off with a set of cards and have some slight asymmetric abilities. Players then draw up a hand of cards and use their “influence” to gain new cards from 5 seperate stacks in the center area. These stacks are locations in the city. The stacks are arranged so that two stacks are close to each player, one in the middle and two stacks far from each player. Players then play cards one by one to the locations in turn and after all cards are played, players compare the influence totals of the cards they played to any other cards played against them and the highest influence total wins the card from that location.
Cards come in as either events; actions that happen immediately, items, or personalities. The personality cards have 4 different stats and its these stats that are used as the influence.
Example; to obtain a personality that personality will have a highlighted stat and that is the same stat you most use to obtain the card.
The locations closest to the players, are locations where you may play your cards face down. The middle and further locations, you must play your cards face up.

So the theme of the game is designed to pit players against each other in manner that feels like there is backstabbing, political jockeying and fighting, but the reality is it really all boils down to luck with a minimal amount of tactics or strategy.

The trouble is that players only draw 4 cards and it usually takes a minimum of two cards to win over a card from one of the locations even without having to combat another player. With only four cards, there isn’t many options left to you as your hand will really only be able to go after 1-2 cards in the central area. One round you might be fighting all players, another round you might go unopposed, but everything feels very sensitive to luck of the draw and luck of the other players draw.

The game in my opinion could be very incredible if the cards had pushed their design a little more and offered more. Such as the character cards having actions or text abilities that integrate more activity or options and players drew up hands of more than 4 cards such that tactical options increase. Or if players had a method of choosing which stats to use to try and influence the available characters. But because the cards function very simply in predetermined addition of stats, the game rounds are pretty straightforward and function simply as; I place, you place, maybe one of wins.

The cards are beautiful, the general concept of the game is great, but the execution and design feels limited and simplified, which wouldn’t be bad if the game didn’t take as long as it did.

So this game is not for power gamers or strategy gamers. Maybe for casual or family gamers.

5
Go to the Ascension page

Ascension

53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

Ascension has some good qualities but mostly outweighed by some bad qualities, particularly randomness.

Compared to other deck builders the artwork is a little lacking. It looks like the art from the original Hobbit animation but when presented in a 3d format, it’s flat, the energy of the design is also flat and so it doesn’t feed into a theme or atmosphere.

It’s a deck builder, ok but the major problem with this deck builder is that it has two degrees of randomness; the deck and the common pool. In every other deck builder you can develop a strategy or a plan of how you want to build your deck. In Ascension, the game has the basic elements and card mechanics of dominion (plus a second purchasing power via military) but the available cards to go after are randomized. You can build a deck to go after specific cards, spend your turn taking a card you don’t really want or need, only to be replaced by a card you do and then the next player snipes it from you. So, strategy is marginalized to luck of the draw. There is the 3 common cards that allow you to always get honor, but when that is available to everyone, then the it’s really just a simple clock.

The nice thing about Ascension compared to some other deck builders is the VPs don’t clog up your deck. That is my main complaint with dominion, but I understand it also acts like catch-up mechanics to the other players.

Deck builders are fun because the decision making takes place during the game as opposed to constructed deck where decisions are made primarily pre-game in creating the deck and then you let luck-of-the draw take form for the most part. Ascension is like a blend of pre-game decision making, luck-of-the draw element, and a touch of a real deck-builder but it doesn’t function well. Your decision making is obfuscated when you’re acquiring cards; decide between the few cards available and then employ hope.

If you want more meaningful decision making and more control over a deck builder, pass on Ascension.
If you want a light combination of a CCG and a DBG, Ascension might be ok for you.

8
Go to the Mansions of Madness: Forbidden Alchemy page
38 out of 41 gamers thought this was helpful

Do you enjoy the thematic horror of Lovecraft but need to infuse the setting with the evils of chemistry? Then rejoice, because Forbidden Alchemy is here!

Forbidden Alchemy is the first real expansion to Mansions of Madness that includes a few new investigators, 2 new monsters, 3 new very lovely scenarios with new room tiles to turn the original mansion setting into a evil scientists house of doom.

The new scenarios bring with them new challenges and detriments to the investigators and a new type of puzzle; the Alchemy puzzle. Which IMO, is the best puzzle of the bunch.

It’s an 8 sided, color and shape coded puzzle that is needs not be solved to continue with the scenario. That’s right, you don’t need to solve it to continue on your way.
Oh, right, if you fail the secret chemical mixture there is a good chance that you’ll get mutated or suffer from a nasty side affect much like a trauma, without the keeper having to play a trauma card on you.
Muahahahhahaha!

Side affects may or may not last the entire game though, but its a rather nice touch and new element to add into the danger and suspense of the game. Its a worthwhile puzzle also, unlike some of the original puzzles where they feel almost like a nuisance after the first time. The Alchemy puzzle has varying levels of threat to it and feels very thematic to the scenarios’ story and so its actually quite fun to engage the puzzle within the game.

The new Byakee monster has a slight tiwst in that you cannot look at it’s stats, only the keeper knows how much damage and life it has.

There are new combat cards with either/or tests and cards with “Non-attribute” tests where the investigator determines the level of difficulty.

And there are new threat affects for the keeper. Some of the new trauma cards have affects that are triggered when the keeper spends threat on them giving the keeper more options and decisions for his small pool of threat.

All in all, Forbidden Alchemy is a fabulous addition to the base game and the new rules are subtle, thematic and enhance the game.
For the thematically driven gamer, or big fans of H.P., the scenarios are very fun and thematic and the rules are nicely tuned to them.

This is essentially a must by for owners of the base set and Forbidden Alchemy is almost so good that it forces you to buy the base set. 😉

6
Go to the Glory to Rome page

Glory to Rome

178 out of 188 gamers thought this was helpful

Glory to Rome is a pretty satisfying card game despite it having some features that would normally drive you crazy.

In the game you are essentially trying to rebuild Rome after it has burned down (thanks Nero). Players take turns selecting roles while others choose to follow or “think” and then playing cards from their hand that match that role’s color and the object of the game is to collect the most coins by the time the common deck is depleted.

The card’s layout
Each card has a value of 1-3 coins. Coins are used as measure of VPs and also a measure of how many followers you can have and how large your vault can be. Each card has a color associated with it that dictates it’s role;
Yellow = laborer (grab cards from the color locations as building materials)
Blue = Merchant (move cards into your vault)
Purple = Patron (allows you to gain more followers)
Brown = Craftsman (help build locations from cards in hand)
Grey = Architect (help build locations from cards in holding area)
Red = Legionaire (lets you steal cards from neighbors)
Cards also have a special ability on them that are only accessible once you have built that card at a location.

Game play
Players take turns being the leader and select a role (color), while other players follow that role or “think” (drawing cards from the common area)
Typically, you start off playing a brown or a grey card to start a location and then you have to acquire cards of similar color to place under the location until you have enough building materials. Once the location has been completed, you move the building material card to your center area to show how many coins you have which allows you to have more patrons and a larger vault, which lets you place cards into your vault for their coin value also.

Once you’ve played a role card or followed, that card goes to the center color locations and those cards are then available

There is also a black card which acts as a wild card.
“Thinking” allows you to draw cards until you’ve reached a maximum hand size.

So the game demands a hand management, card selection, and role selection mechanics to unfold a strategy that is dependent on other players choices, since most of the cards you need to build locations, attain vault coins, and patrons come from these central piles.

The game has a bit of a lock-step mechanic to it. It’s not a straight forward path to achieve your goals; i.e. you can’t just spam Merchant cards to move coins into your vault, because you’ll need laborers to move those resources into your holding area and you’ll also need to have built up some infrastructure (locations) to support the size of your vault.

The game has a high replay value, because of the many special abilities the completed locations grant you and because of the strategy other players choose will dictate which color cards are available in the central location, plus cards that have game ending affects. No game will be the same and the game’s balance is pretty decent such that players don’t all gun for the same strategy every game (I’m looking at you Dominion). So although, the player interaction may seem light, it is in fact not. You still have to keep track of what other players are doing and min/max your role selections to help yourself and limit other players and either speed up/slow down the game to prevent other players from surpassing you on coinage.

All in all, Glory to Rome is a fun game that plays pretty quickly, has a decent amount of theme with the card special abilities and roles, and is highly variable in game length for that added little suspense.

8
Go to the Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game page
38 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

Warhammer: Invasion is a very satisfying construction deck game.

There are essentially two sides from which to build your deck, where you can specialize down to a total of 6; Humans, Elves, and Dwarves on the light side; Dark Elves, Chaos, and Orks on the dark side.

Players construct a single deck of a minimum of 40 cards from either the light or dark side; typically focusing on one of the three sub factions. Players then start with a home fortress of one of the sub-factions that are identical in function and serve as the objective of the game; destroy 2 of 3 sides of the fortress and win.

The Fortress sides serve different purposes; the side left allows you to run quests (and draw additional cards), the right side is for developments (and provides more spending resources) and the top side of your fortress is your battlefield. Only cards in your battlefield may make offensive maneuvers.

I feel the game is pretty well designed because of the inherent flexibility of the cards. Any card can be used to become a resource of sorts depending on which side of your fortress it is placed. Also, any card can be placed down on the fortress locations to bolster it’s strength, but face down cards do not contribute to that side’s production capability.

This utilization of resource management and decent use of space dependency of the gamespace helps create a more tangible atmosphere that is steeped in player control and decision making rather than randomness of card drawing. The game becomes a little more tactical and less inertia driven by how well you constructed your deck and this to me is what makes the game satisfying.

2
Go to the Dust Tactics page

Dust Tactics

50 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

The disassociation of scale
Its always a challenge to a game designer to create a believable simulated environment when the game is supposed to be scaled. Some games use abstracted scales simply to afford space for the game itself, actual maneuvering in balance to reference the locations and resolution of terrain and event interaction. With such dynamic (non-abstract) figures at 28mm, this game should be played on no less than a 4’x4′ table and only for the purposes of small skirmish style combat. The game contradicts itself right off the bat with the scale of the figures and the actual size of the playing surface and the resolution of the tiles.

Most tabletop wargames are a bit tight on the scale, but Dust Tactics takes this to an almost comical level. Massive mechanized walker tanks are mere yards away from foot soldiers. In a game that is utilizing the massive theaters and awe inspiring battles of WWII to both lure in gamers via a safe, established genre and to create a similar style of warfare, it sure fails in fidelity to that type of warfare. At least with games like Incursion, its scaled appropriately to commando style missions, but when everything is laid on the table, Dust tactics sure is pretty to look at, but its almost ludicrous to imagine that there is either a small scale front or skirmish taking place. Its essentially, bypassing all events leading up to these small band of forces facing off against each other. It should probably be stated in the rulebook, “Each an every scenario is at the climax of heavy casualty operation, where the opposing forces are now mere yards away from each other and down the last few soldiers.” But further reading of the box material does almost the opposite of this.

The 81 pixel map to the 5 Megapixel stats
I know I’m going overboard here with the salemanship of the word “tactics”, but I just wish to emphazize that this game is far from an engaging, sophisticated, having tactics or even believable as a wargame. Most of this breaks down to the tiles. The tiles are large, mostly identical and have square geometry. So, you possibilities of movement, where to fire are both limited and predictable. Not much resolution and the fact that everything snaps to the center circles and are further constrained by drawing lines from center circles to other circles not crossing corners offers even less resolution to movement and firing. This snapping of locations and LoS is another contradiction to the scale and potential of the game as it doesn’t help justify having a fluid unit of personal and size of a tank that obviously can see each other but because but can’t “see” or shoot each other. Further confounding this is the attempt at realistic stats of the weaponry. “We’re gonna make shooting believable with range and damage modifiers on distance, but make the actual distances abstracted.” The model and weaponry stats themselves are actually really great but feel wasted on how they are utilized in the game.

Did something just happen? Wait, did we just play a game?
I read that so many people love that the game is fast paced. I don’t mind fast paced and simple, but when the salesmanship of the game is centered around something as grand, strategic and tactical as WWII, fast paced isn’t gonna help capture any of that. In fact, this game is blitzschnell. Move, roll dice, pick up models; move, roll dice, pick up models, game over. Excuse me? I didn’t really employ any kind of strategy, didn’t really need to decide on any tactics, and didn’t really execute any difficult decisions. I feel wholly rewarded in my victory via lack of effort.
My options to move are limited and almost forced, there really isn’t any difficulty in what and at what I should be firing and its not like I need to take care how I position or face my troops. Move, roll, pick up.
I’ve played a few games and have watched a few games and nothing ever last longer than 25 minutes. It takes just as long to set up.
“That’s the beautiful part though Guillermo, you can play many games in a short period of time.”
The problem I have with this is that the games aren’t all that different from one another. The largest determining force in this game is the dice. The tiles aren’t that highly different, there isn’t a whole lot of different list constructions, the resolution of the game itself is very broad, and there isn’t a whole lot of skills or abilities aside from moving and shooting. So dice are gonna dictate everything. If I’m gonna play a game like that, I’ll play Zombie Dice.
At least some games that have low resolution of movement and combat have other elements at play, like card decks or items, or even events that occur from the tiles themselves.

Who’s the cutey at the end of the bar?
I can see that the game can transform itself with lots of expansions, new troops, new tiles to choose from and expanding the play surface to better accommodate the scale, but some of the above short comings will still be present and at that point this will be a very expensive, LARGE and underwhelming experience.
I admit that this game had been tugging mischievously at my eyes, but I knew I’d have to wait and see.

So this game is like a knock-out gorgeous babe sitting at the end of the bar that you can’t stop looking at all night. When you finally approach her, she’s sounds like donkey with buck teeth, bad breath and is a blithering ditz.

Identiy crisis
The end affect of having a fully scaled, gorgeously presented set of miniatures and terrain that have high resolution stats, but low resolution terrain, little to no abilities or skills from which to choose from and no third party affects or events with which to respond to has this game straddling both the tabletop miniature world and the simple boardgame wargame genre and it can’t make a decision on what it wants to be so it fails miserably at both.

This game should abandon the tiles it has and either develop a new format of higher resolution tiles or switch entirely to a full-fledged tabletop wargame and take advantage of spectrums rather than snap points.

4
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

88 out of 107 gamers thought this was helpful

This review is gonna be sacrilege. Someone doesn’t like dominion but likes playing deck builders? It’s like standing up to big brother out in the open. Be that as it may, I just don’t enjoy playing Dominion.

It was the first deck builder I ever played and I thought it was novel and a very refreshing alternative to constructed deck games.
It was quick, easy and tons and tons of possible combinations, but ultimately it was a euro style deck builder and I am not a big fan of Euros.

It’s not enjoyable for me to sit down with other players and not really engage with those players. The only purpose the other players served was to limit what was available to me by exhausting decks in the common area and mutually progressing the game clock.

The game is almost euro to the stereotypical core; a puzzle to solve that once solved apply the same solution again and again. There is some variance to this by having all t he different combos, but when playing against an equally skilled opponent, its almost a farce to see both players building the same deck and then letting the randomness of card draws determine who is the victor.

Now, it doesn’t escape me that Donald delivered to the gaming world a ground breaking format that has unleashed an amazing gaming genre, for this the game deserves a 10. But this doesn’t mean that its the best deck builder out there and that it will stand the tests of time. We play 8-bit Nintendo games for nostalgia, but its not necessarily preferred over the latest and the greatest.

Dominion has flaws in it that have been revealed by later designs.
The main issue I have with the game nowadays is that your deck gets “gummed” up with legacy cards like gold and Victory points to the point that you set out to build a well-oiled machine of a deck only to see the rust start to eat at it.

New deck builders have incorporated new degrees of freedom with additional choices to make, not just line up the cards to be the most efficient.

Dominion, I thank you for what you’ve done for the gaming world and your expansions are keeping you somewhat enjoyable and refreshing, but don’t take this the hard way,….so long and thanks for all the fish.

8
Go to the Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror page
55 out of 63 gamers thought this was helpful

Innsmouth Horror is a great example of when expansions are necessary for even a big box game and how they can take a so-so game and make it a great game.

Arkham Horror has enjoyed a lot of popularity and play time over the years and with that probably about as much scrutiny as any game can get. Arham Horror is what it is; themey, social fun at the mercy of randomness. Small expansions add a theme twist or some new cards to refresh things a little.
Combining Innsmouth Horror to AH for me, is where the game truly begins. Innsmouth horror doesn’t necessarily transform AH into a strategic masterpiece. Nor does it elevate AH into an auspicious realm of Boardgaming masterpiece of design that many hardened reviewers insist the game should have for the elevated ratings that the system enjoys.
What Innsmouth Horror does do is enhance the theme and suspense of the game so well that Arkham Horror becomes more of a horror story event and experience its as tangible as a good movie.
The new investigators are very interesting.
The new old ones flavor well in with new obstacles and challenges. The extended map does a good job of stretching the daunting task of saving the world. The heralds and Innsmouth track add a new degree hopelessness to feeling that humans are so small and insignificant to workings of the old ones.
You are given more choices that have new consequences, forcing players to manage new depths of cooperative play that are less subject to “quarterbacking” integrated together well with the base game to complete the Lovecraftian horror elements.

Of all the expansions to the Arkham Horror system, Innsmouth Horror should be treated less as an expansion and more as the 2nd half of the base game.

10
Go to the Android page

Android

83 out of 90 gamers thought this was helpful

Android is a board gaming event. One that pays dividends in proportion to the involvement of the other players.
If Android is approached with a casual attitude, even one player can deteriorate the experience.
Does this limit the attraction of the game? Yes.
Does this curtail the overall reception of the game? Yes.
So Android is a game that will have to settle for cult status. Which for myself and many other gamers, is fine.

Android is brimming with theme, atmosphere and functions as a canvas for players to partake in a storytelling adventure that is far richer than the typical storytelling games like Arabian Nights, because the game is not subject to pure randomness. Players are able to develop a strategy based on role playing idea, a will to win and/or even their mode and disposition to how the other players are acting.

With the right set of players the game can feel like you’re playing in a hard boiled detective movie because of the well thought out storie lines that aren’t closed or complete, but open enough for players to fulfill.

Android suffers from complaints that, “There is way too many mini-games”, “It’s too bulky and complex for its own good”.
This is the point and part of the beauty of the game. It affords a tremendous amount of interaction possibilities between the players. Different paths to enjoy the game. Android is not meant to be an Ameritrash style game of chance and theme or a Eurogame of trying to solve the riddle of the game design/mechanics. Android is a game designed to envelope players in a story of their creation utilizing mini-games, puzzles and mechanics to re-create a detective theme.

The implementation of these mini-games and puzzles serves to create such a rich experience that more critical players hold the design and execution of the game to much, much higher standard.
“The game doesn’t replicate solving a case well enough!”

Android does require a little TLC. The game should be organized and packaged for play to be smooth in and out of the box and clearly laid out for use of the game pieces, otherwise it can gum up the experience. The more focused players can be on the story and players actions the more encompassing and enveloping the game will be.

6
Go to the Call of Cthulhu LCG: Core Set page

Call of Cthulhu LCG: Core Set

123 out of 146 gamers thought this was helpful

Call of Cthulhu is a gorgeous card game. It has wonderful elements that helps capture the theme and an extremely interesting engagement of the mechanics, but the game just feels too quick, lopsided, a restrictive on the resource utilization.

I purchased the base game and multiple card packs, gave the game a good 10 tries but still can’t help but feel that the execution of the design is really lackluster.

Issues:
The resources They feel constricted. They build up slowly and even when you do have a decent amount built-up, it feels like you waste so much of it. Especially when cards’ action require that you use resources, you either keep one resource pile down at 2-3, you still only can execute 1 ability at most. The rest of the time you are building up one resource pile to accommodate your 4-6 card costs and then the game suddenly ends. It feels that the size and number of resource piles severely limits the cards’ abilities and the possibilities for more suspenseful engagements.

Game length and suspense Is it just me, or shouldn’t a game based on Lovecraftian horror have a little more suspense. Games are so quick. They typically end in 5-7 turns and it hardly feels like you touch your deck. Most constructed card games have you going through at least half your deck. Giving you time to execute your deck’s design or build up some suspense, but CoC just ends so quickly. A little tinkering is in order and I believe can assuage this issue, but I wonder what the designers were thinking during development/playtesting when games end so abruptly and quickly.

The skills sequence I love the card’s design and use of multiple skills, but I hate how linear and predetermined it all is. I wish that the skills sequence had some kind of control from the players to make it less linear and more of a resource/skill management dilemma or strategy. This would add depth to deck construction and game suspense and decision making to ameliorate the sensitivity to randomness from the few cards you’ll actually see fight over the quests.

Often time quest completion is auto-pilot. If someone has 2-3 clue tokens on them, you rarely are able to fight over that one and use your limited resources to establish presence on another quest, thus quest combat often time is single sided and accelerates the game’s conclusion.

After having reviewed many of the card packs, I’m convinced there is stellar deck construction game within CoC, but it just needs a little coercing.

1
Go to the Warhammer 40,000: Assault on Black Reach page
41 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

40k, the giant mutating beast of a game that consumes all in it’s path. A game that started off as a joke, has had more designers yank and pull on it to become the GURPs of tabletop wargames. A game that holds the strangest of powers over people because it still sells well when almost every facet of it is a death knell for any other game.
But this only shows you the power of brand recognition and ability to prey on gamer’s insecurities.

“Assault on Black Reach” is like a free sample of a drug……that you still have to pay for. A sample that even established customers go to get a piece.

The quality of models are fine if you’re comparing them to average boardgames, but when held up to other miniatures, 40k models are a laughable, preposterous joke. They’re one saving grace is they are easy to convert into different poses. Have fun making a bunch of space faring knights in shining armor with clown sized shoes and shoulder pads that would crush their head the moment they raise their arms.

Normally, I wouldn’t be this critical of the art design of the models and and armies, if the game didn’t take it self too seriously. As it was first designed; a white wash copy of fantasy rules over onto a silly vision of a future sci-fi. But then the revolving door of designers at GW decided that they need to make this game more dark and sinister, more gritty and bad-***. But it’s all superficial and the comical roots are still there which clash with any attempts to “re-imagine” the fluff and design which makes game suffer from an identity crisis. High fantasy, WWI, Terminators, Aliens, Vietnam, Judge Dread, Batman, historical elements are all smashed together under the banner of a “dark future”.

This same thing applies to the rules. They are an identity crisis of multiple designers who have tried to force “updates” onto a skeleton of rules that were broken and outdated to begin with. If you start off the game with this boxset, the rules seem ok for a boardgame. But then when you delve deeper into the rest of the armies and the full rule set, the rules are so unintuitive, illogical, contradicting and bloated. GW has had multiple opportunities to update the rulesets to keep up with the times of tabletop design.

None of this would be too bad if the cost and time investment into playing the game weren’t astronomical. The value of this game is so low, its a wonder it does so well. I can only attribute it to brand recognition and going after a younger and younger market.

3
Go to the Claustrophobia page

Claustrophobia

89 out of 114 gamers thought this was helpful

Claustrophobia is a gorgeous looking game based on the New Jerusalem setting within the*dorado universe. The miniature game is fabulous, so I had great expectations for a dungeon crawler version.

What a let down.

Although the game has a unique ability management system, the game suffers from a gross level of “auto-pilot”.

Typical dungeon crawlers have an element of suspense and danger; “Should we go this way? Where do we find XXX so we can deal with YY obstacle?” The dungeon building portion of the game is almost automatic, so the adventurers simply follow a bread trails laid out for them and the resolution of the tiles and space is too large to help grant the feel that you’re moving through a dungeon. Sure the quality of the tiles do this, but the mechanics and movement don’t so it feels rushed and takes away from the suspense of traversing a dangerous dungeon. “Don’t go in that dark corner. Don’t stand in that area.” You’re in a room and your presence encompasses that entire room.

Fighting is pretty straightforward and simple. This kind of bums me out. There isn’t much depth to the miniatures actions so the nice looking miniatures, their movement and presence are more abstract than cinematic.

“It’s a beer and pretzels kind of game.”
Sure, I could get behind this.

To enjoy this game, displace any notions of having a rich or deep dungeon crawler experience and subscribe more to imagery. But without a deeper resolution of actions, movement and presence, the ability to imagine things wears out thin quickly.

1
Go to the Lost Cities: The Card Game page
51 out of 95 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m not a fan of Knizia. I don’t care that he is a mathematician and he’s been designing games since there were few people designing games and he markets a designing ability of applying a more enlightened mathematical approach (be it personally or from the industry that grants him these accolades).
His games are dry, boring and feel like a computer program designed them. Less of a game and more of a simple exercise.

Lost cities is junk. Despite that it plays quickly and is simple and easy to learn, anyone could have designed this so if it’s coming from a PhD mathematician and renowned game designer, I’d expect something a little better. Something with a little more depth or real use of mathematics rather than use of randomness. Using randomness as the primary vehicle for game flow, the game could be based on statistics of some sorts, but its not.

This game could essentially be played with a standard deck of cards. The middle board area is useless (its simply a place holder and has no relevance of how the colored cards are oriented or positioned), and despite the game being a math “puzzle” its based principally on randomness. Sure you can develop a “strategy” of what color chains to play, but you’re still held hostage to randomness and so your strategy is regulated to being opportunistic. That for me is not a good time.

“The game is simple and easy to play”. Great. Fabulous. Then the game could be used as a gateway game for kids.
I couldn’t even use this game as filler. There are plenty of of other games out there that work great as filler with a more rewarding value from time. Or have a better semblance of player interaction. At least “For Sale” has this.

“Daring adventure for two players” Ahahahahahaha! What nonsense and false advertising. How is the game daring? There isn’t a “push your luck” element to this game and what adventure are you undertaking? The theme of this game could be generic, so to state on the box it’s “a daring adventure” is quasi unethical and robbery. Adventure entails that you’ll experience difficult decisions with serious consequences or obtain a reward for a difficult risk taken.
Again, the game boils down to randomness and opportunity. You’ll find yourself think, “****, I should have started building blue.” But this is not a regret of making a bad decision presented with a information to weigh a decision of risk/reward.

7
Go to the Gosu page

Gosu

29 out of 37 gamers thought this was helpful

GOSU, a game of managing a horde of goblins.
But these aren’t simply a hodge podge of loony gobos, this is organized warfare! AHAHAHA!

It’s surprising how fun this game was for how frustrating and simple the rules appear. 5 rounds in a two player game!?! You only draw up to a hand size at the beginning of the game!?! Only two action tokens!?!? Seems like the game is too quick, too simple and too random.

Yet, the game requires a decent amount of planning, a strategy that will only get more satisfying with more familiarity with with cards and as it turns out, a great hand management game that flows pretty well with a good level of player interaction depending on how the cards are played.

All in all, from a deck of about 100 cards, you get some phenomenal artwork and theme and a value of game richness that exceeds the size of the game.

Combat is super simple, you just add up the values of your horde, but this simplicity focuses the game more to the hand management aspect which normally would seem half-baked, but in this game delivers.

If you want a very back and forth competitive slug-fest type of card game, pass on GOSU. If you want a lightish and quick hand management game that looks great, GOSU will have a place in your collection.

9
Go to the Twilight Imperium: Shards of the Throne page
36 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

Twilight Imperium on its own is a great game.
There are camps of people that do not like expansions for one reason or another; they feel that its testament to the original game not being a good design and requires more bulk to make it work or that its simply a money trap. The other camp that loves expansions because it takes the game experience to a deeper level and affords a richer experience.

For epic games like Twilight Imperium, I relish expansions. In my opinion an expansion should be designed to let you customize the game experience at hand or when playing with asymmetric abilities or races, the expansion is the perfect vehicle to make that race or set of abilities more 3 dimensional. Something to let the players step into to become that race and execute a plan or strategy.

The new flagships, Mercenaries, and custom technologies is a great fit to the TI:3 experience.

It adds more flavor, more feel and more dynamism to the race you are playing. The Flagships also are a compliment to the Warsuns. Before, Warsuns had a stigma of something unbeatable or over the top. The flagships are on par with this, but it elevates the space battles to something more epic and befitting of tone and scope of the game. It makes players tinker a little more with the strategy of their fleet development and utilization and makes the battles that much more interesting.

The Mercenaries, which seem expensive, are extremely useful and powerful add more character to the universe, bolstering the fluff and theme and adding further depth to the decisions associated with the placards. Now, races/players that aren’t partial to taking Trade, now have more incentive to do so, spreading out the placard selections such that there may be more variety amongst the players and not necessarily an autopilot mode.

Including a thematic and well designed scenario into the mix is something I look forward to in future expansions.

So, Shards of the Throne is an excellent addition to TI:3.

5
Go to the Ad Astra page

Ad Astra

34 out of 41 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve played Ad Astra 3 times now as its a favorite amongst some of the locals.
I love space games, I love great art and a good looking atmosphere so during the unboxing, I was getting really excited. During the rules explanation, I was still pretty excited.

When the game ended, I felt robbed. Somehow, given the combination of rules, the components and the length of the game, I felt like more should have happened. But nothing was really accomplished. I moved a ship or two, I placed down a few plastic pieces, but I could not get even a smidgeon of appreciation that I had done anything other play a few cards of little relevance.

What I typically expect from a game like this is a feeling that I’ve accomplished something, that I’ve built up a small little empire, or that I’ve overcome a challenge from another race, etc..
****, I get this feeling from Race for the Galaxy, 7 Wonders, and 51st state.
Ad Astra does a really good job of providing you a feeling of how big and empty space is and how insignificant your actions feel in the grand scheme of things. Probably because the game covers a lot of tablespace, but there isn’t a whole lot on the table. This is actually a very cool illusory affect for a good tone, but it also sets me up at least for that empty feeling at the end of the game for having done little.

Normally, I relish games that pit one player against another player in terms of decision making. Ad Astra offers this with the role selection and order, but it still feels all too random.
Why do I care if you say build at the #3 spot or move at #4 spot? I’m not saying that a games design needs to mesh intimately with the theme, but this role selection feels too disjointed from the theme and creates a level of randomness to the game’s outcome that leaves you with little control over your strategy.
Your strategy for this 4x lite game really is to guess correctly.

I think this would be a fine game if it had a little extra depth or played more quickly.

6
Go to the Earth Reborn page

Earth Reborn

96 out of 106 gamers thought this was helpful

Melding a miniature tabletop game into a boardgame is a very tricky thing. Either you end up with a clunky dungeon crawler or a overly simplified abstraction of warfare.

From the boardgamers point of view; you don’t want to make the rules too complex, long or that deep and the components and set-up should be pretty fast.
From the miniature wargamer perspective, the game should have enough rules to create a rich and tactical simulator of sorts with tons of character, story, and hopefully balance.

Earth Reborn does a pretty **** good job of meshing the two design forms into one, its difficult to call it either a boardgame or a miniatures game.

The rulebook is chunky for a boardgame, light for a miniatures game but its laid out very well and the examples are pretty stellar. Nonetheless, the rule set (via the drawn action placards) is fairly good at creating the tactical simulator that miniature gamers crave, one that makes a decent amount of sense and surprisingly is a very satisfying at making meaningful decisions. The game is not on autopilot; move-shoot, move-shoot. Many dungeon-crawlers suffer from this auto-pilot mode.

The components for the scenarios and the board area area great, but the table gets to be a little busy with all the little bits and pieces about. I’m grateful that the designers took the game to this level of resolution in terms of the chits and board features, but on a smooth level surface, the miniature gamer in me is screaming to make my own terrain into the 3d environment.

The miniatures are ok. The sculpts are great, the casting and material is pretty bad.

The action tiles are pretty amazing design. It’s a perfect mix of a miniature wargame/boardgame action mechanic.

My only real complaint about the game is that there is a random draw of the action tiles. That’s the miniature gamer in me complaining. The board gamer in me tells him to shut it since you don’t pull them out one-by-one as you use them, but you pull out a lot of the them and then engage in a resource management mode. Very board-gamey.

This game is better approached with some discipline. By this I mean, really take the time to organize, even slightly **** out the box for storage, etc.. This will make for a more streamlined gaming session.

All-in-all, Earth Reborn is a good game. More for the heavy boardgamers, deep enough for miniature wargamers.

4
Go to the Alchemist page

Alchemist

28 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

Alchemist is a light game of making & copying recipes by placing different colored cubes in 10 available cauldrons, whereby players are acting as alchemists in pursuit of becoming the master alchemist by promoting his special ingredient; i.e. cube color. Each player has a secret ingredient, i.e. color.

It’s pretty straight forward. Score points by either creating or copying a recipe. The first to create a recipe locks down that cauldron and places a point value from a limited set of markers. The creating player gets a onetime value that he designates for his recipe. Other players may now copy that recipe as many times as they want for the prescribed point value. The creating player may not copy his own recipe. There is a limited number of cubes and these act as the internal timer of the game.

The end game has a couple of charts to look up final point bonuses for the amount of colored cubes used. Add up totals and viola, winner. The cauldrons have a restricted color combo and quantity, so the recipe combos per color will be symmetric in the game. What a shame. The only real strategy is what point value to give the recipe you are creating and what ingredient to use. Use you ingredient and a high value, then other players get the high copy points, but do you up your color. Go too low and no wants to copy it and so don’t use your color. So, the intent is to kind of bluff or lure other players into using your color, but because of the symmetry and visual knowledge of color quantities, its pretty easy to deduce who is promoting what color. The game is a little on autopilot, but for its weight its ok.

Set-up: A little annoying since you have to pick through a bunch of small cubes depending on the number of players.

Depth of strategy: 3/10
Brain Burner: 2/10
Player Interaction: 2/10
Luck & Randomness: 2/10
Eurostyle: Low
Ameritrash: low
Game length: 15-20 min per player
Power gamer affinity: low
Aid gamer affinity: low
Casual affinity: high
Social affinity: medium
Family affinity: medium

9
Go to the Twilight Imperium (3ed) page
108 out of 121 gamers thought this was helpful

Depth of strategy: 9/10
Brain Burner: 9/10
Player Interaction: 10/10
Luck & Randomness: 6/10
Eurostyle: Low
Ameritrash: Extreme
Game length: 1-2 hours per player (depending on game pimping and organization)
Power gamer affinity: Very High
Aid gamer affinity: medium
Casual affinity: very low
Social affinity: high
Family affinity: traditionally very low

Twilight Imperium is the epitome of the beauty of Ameritrash style games. Not because it has minis and uses dice. Not because it has elements of randomness from card draws. Twilight Imperium is a fabulous game because of the openness of player interaction, the flexibility to customize the game for particular scenarios and the depth of strategy that cannot be distilled down and utilized from game to game.

The bad impressions of the game:

“It takes too long”. This may be true, but one should consider the value of the playing time and there are ways to speed up the game down to 1 hour per player including set-up and pack-up. But more on the value of the time spent playing the game. If your intent is to have a social event under strategy and theme, then this game’s length shouldn’t be an issue. This game doesn’t have tangible down time. You’ll need all the time hashing through strategic reactions and avenues of empire building, which elevates the brain burning potential.

“It’s too Ameritrashy”: if this is your quip, then I respect your preference, but I also feel sorry for you. Twilight Imperium is such a rich tabletop experience with the abilities to custom set the game for player’s preferences and plenty of room for house rulings that the TI:3 is less of a game and more a social event. Eurogames are easily adaptable to digital devices. Games like TI:3 can be adapted, but you would lose so much of interaction and creativity between players.

To me, the beauty of games like TI:3 stem from its dependence in part to the personalities and brains of another human being. TI:3 cannot be played dry. By this I mean, players cannot be quiet and insular. The more creative, social and interactive players choose to be, the more rewarding and rich the game becomes. The other part of TI:3’s beauty is the fluid nature of the strategy and decision making involved in the game which is highly dependent on the other players’ decisions and even mood. One game you feel like being a turtle, the next a wild card. So, you are not simply spending time trying to distill the game’s design down to its effective parts, but you’re also reacting to an element of luck with dice and card pulls, other players’ interactions, decisions, and timing of those decisions. This to me makes for very rich and intricate play experience. Something that many boardgames cannot fully achieve. For this TI:3 ranks as one of the all-time greats.

9
Go to the Nightfall page

Nightfall

78 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is a deck builder that gets right to the point. Most deck builders take a while to get going while you build up the deck, spend time cleaning it up before it gets to a point that it feels like its actually functioning.
This game is also not so much a deck-builder because well, you’re deck reaches a streamlined condition so fast, sometimes it feels like you didn’t really build a deck at at. It just quickly evolved from your starting minions to some more powerful ones.

This game is more of a deck manager. The depth of the this game comes more from understanding and anticipating your opponents rather than unlocking the synergies of the cards.

In traditional deck-builders, there is little player interaction and your decisions are really limited to how well you can break down the effectiveness of the cards you drew. Often times, there isn’t really any decision making just the hope that the right combo of cards were drawn from the decisions you made acquiring the cards.

Nightfall offers you a deeper decision making experience with the chaining mechanism. The first couple of games, you’ll be feeling like it really is nothing more than a matter of timing and card availability. After a few games, you start to appreciate that you need to manage your deck. Just because you can chain your whole hand, or get a particular kicker out, its not always the best move, because the cards in hand can be saved for your next draw. And because your deck streamlines down to decent size, it’s much easier to know what might be coming up and how best to manage future chaining.

What most appeals to me about this game, is how deep and brain burning this game can become. Most deck-builders, you’re really not concerned with what is in another persons deck. In Nightfall, you most certainly care and can strategize accordingly.

If you pay decent attention to what cards people are drafting and what starting minions have been exiled from their deck, you have a decent understanding of what their deck is designed or capable of. You can now make decisions according to this knowledge and for brain burner fans, this is massive treat when playing a deck-builder.

Nightfall offers a new experience and depth to gamers who want a deep interactive game play from a deck builder.

Some folks don’t like the chaining affect, which is fine. I don’t believe Nightfall is for everyone and many deck-builder fans prefer the more traditionaly pure experience of something like Dominion. But for gamers who want to play a deck-builder, with deep player interaction, extended management of their hand beyond just heir turn and a slight politicking aspect of choosing who to attack, then Nightfall deserves a serious try beyond a few games.

7
Go to the RoadZters page

RoadZters

10 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

Pitchcar is always a hoot at conventions, but it’s intrigue has kind of worn off. Roadzters is like the next evolution (dare I say) of dexterity games and has a deeper feel to racing than disks. Because you flick a weighted ball, you can place spin on the ball and get more advanced maneuvers resulting in a game that actually earns the right to be called a “dexterity” game above the current lot.
Also, the ramp and tunnel features only embellish this statement.

6
Go to the The Ares Project page

The Ares Project

32 out of 37 gamers thought this was helpful

There have been a few card based games out there that have tried to be a tactical wargame ala a tabletop wargame. The Ares Project is probably the closet to that endeavor and supersedes even many skirmish ministure games.

The game has its general rules but 4 factions with their own deck of cards and their own abilities that are more asymmetric than you’ll find in most games with factions. These factions supply their own rules.

Players fight for domination of Mars by conquering other player’s “bases” or having the most VPs under the central area of the table by games end.

Players take turns drawing cards and developing their army and/or base in a hidden format until someone attacks, to which the involved players reveal their developments. At this point, players will have differing amounts of resources available and may enlist their units. Then their is combat manuvering, then combat and then resolution. These stages are pretty in depth for the scale and scope of the game and provide a lot of tactical choices. Bonus.

The game actually has more in game strategy than most tabletop games because the strategy is typically determined before the game begins in how you enlist. Players can spy and such to aid in strategic decisions.

The game is a fairly rewarding experience and will require a few plays to get a handle on how deep one commits attacking, defending and holding resources for future actions.

The only quip I have is that there is a snowball affect in play. If you win combat heavily, your opponent is in a crippled state and the game is too sensitive to the randomness of when “attack” cards are drawn. Nonetheless, even if a crippled player can hold out long enough to rebuild, his opponent(s) have had the same amount of time to develop at a similar pace so winning the first combat is crucial unless you can get your opponent to commit to defending to the wrong place.

The asymmetry is a total joy in this game however.

9
Go to the 51st State page

51st State

28 out of 34 gamers thought this was helpful

Reading through the rules of 51st State leaves one with the following impression; “Ok, seems a little complex and convoluted but very interesting.”
The first game you play of 51st State you think, “***? They certainly could have written the rules better. Arrgh, this is confusing. But it seems so interesting.”

Then you get the hang of the game and you think, “Willickers! This is a well designed, thematic game and man did they actually do a good job of writing out these rules. They actually make sense and are clear.”

51st State for being a deck of cards and a bunch of chits is a pretty *ed thematic game, that is well designed and packs a LOT of game into well, a deck of cards and some chits.

Things like the “Pub” card, which lets you and other players draw new cards. I.e., drinking and listening in on the gossip of juicy scavenagle sites are what I talk about when I mean that the game packs a great amount of theme into the gameplay.

The game isn’t extremely interactive (the standalone expansion is though) and so feels similar to RftG in that its a race to a VP level by creating a mini post-apoc empire that functions smoothly and efficiently.
The game packs a decent amount of decision making and strategy. Again, I marvel at the amount your brain sweats in this game and the amount of strategy and planning from a deck of cards and now dice rolling. To me, this tells me that its pretty well designed game, because the layout of the cards and the organization of the gameplay is clean enough that you’re spending your time deciding how you want to accomplish what you want to do as opposed to processing all that is in front of you then making decisions. Its clean decision making and strategizing. I love it.

I really wish the game had a little more interaction, but this is solved in the expansion.

If you liked RftG or are looking for a civ-light style game, this one accomplishes that.

2
Go to the Talisman page

Talisman

36 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

Terrible, just terrible game. I do not subscribe to any of the arguments for why this could be a good game.

“It’s a beer and pretzels game.” –Yeah, after your three sheets to the wind maybe. Beer and Pretzel games should NOT take hours to play with that much table space required.

“It’s a light social game.” — Right, lets spend hours doing the same thing over and over again and then get to Monopoly levels of frustration by attacking each other or being unable to challenge the man who made it to the top.

The game fails to deliver any semblance of an adventure happening. It’s more like a bunch of loons wandering around, happening upon this or that and the universe they live in is subject to the most asinine logical loop-holes. “You were here second, so I attack you first, steal your Talisman at the gate (it’s the last one you say?) leaving your previous 3 hours of meandering pointless.

Decision making? What decision making? About the only decision making in this game is whether to roll or not at the corner locations. Big whoop.
“No, you have to decide how you’re going to level yourself up.”
Really? There really is only two ways to do that and you almost invariably need to upgrade both methods, so really all you’re doing is jumping on the opportunities as they present themselves.

“The real joy of the game is in attacking each other!”
A. Attacking each other early game has little to no consequences because hey, if I die, I just get a new character!
B. Attacking folks later in the game leaves such a sour taste for the looser (who for the most part looses not based on any real decisions, tactics or strategies, just luck), that if you loose at that point, you might as well quit because the game is essentially a race at that point.

Honestly, when we’re in the mood for “light gaming” we sure as **** aren’t going to waste time on this 3 hour turd.

6
Go to the Malifaux page

Malifaux

137 out of 148 gamers thought this was helpful

Since miniature games are different from boardgames: I propose ammended rating criteria.

Cost of entry: 9/10 (very cheap to get into)
Construction flexibility: 2/10 (how flexible list construction is)
Brutality: 4/10 (how quickly things die)
Speed: 3/10 (how smooth the game plays for its its size)
Strategy: 7/10 (depth of full game decision making)
Tactics: 3/10
Synergy: 9/10 (game is based strongly on combos and other models)
Luck dependance: 7/10
Interactive: 8/10 (highly interactive between players)

The theme, story and atmosphere runs thick in this game.
The miniatures are not of the best quality in the miniature market, but they are addressing more the casual hobbiest who don’t care to spend lots of time prepping their minis.
The card mechanic is definitely very interesting for action resolutions because its part resource management part limited set of probability. You have a hand size from a deck of cards. The cards are randomly drawn, but once the card is used that card’s value and suit are not available till the next round for the most part.

Now, one of the biggest stigmas of this game is that it’s “unbalanced”. The game is exceedingly asymmetric, with that comes imbalance.
The game is subject to being hijacked by the power gamers, for better or worse. But one of the beauties of the game is the scenario and location synergy.
The game has an almost RPG style of setting up scenarios, objectives, locations, etc., which is for the most part very underutilized as a whole but is the true glory of this game IMO. It affords one of the best campaign and story driven potentials for a miniature game out there. A savy gamer can use this to create some fabulous tournament formats, campaigns to address the massive asymmetry and even compliment it to make for a very rewarding game.
Because the game is still handled for the most part in the traditional tabletop sense, it is governed by the power gamer environment.

The other main issue I have with the game, is the pace and time a game takes for its size. It’s slow. The card mechanic is the biggest culprit to this. The “cheating fate” mechanic is fabulous, but it does slow the action resolution down some. Couple this with triggered actions from the game’s asymmetry and a single model’s activation can be very, very, drawn out to a point that it gums up the cinematic aspect of what is occuring on the table.

8
Go to the BattleCON: War of Indines page
16 out of 34 gamers thought this was helpful

Remember the fun you had back in the day with 2D fighters? Well that enjoyment is now analog!

This game is a lovely example of the joy of playing against another player with little to no luck involved. There are a few games out there that try to be a light 2d fighter style game, but they are a bit too light or just plain sorry. (I’m looking at you Yomi).

BattleCon packs a tremendous amount of action into a small box, functions great in team mode, has different levels of difficulties for new and veteran players, and the best part for a brain burner gamer like me, you can never truely master the game because you are playing almost purely against the opposing player. Not simply against their ability to memorize patterns (ala Chess) but against more substantive decision making.

3
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

48 out of 87 gamers thought this was helpful

Why oh why does a game like this get such wonderful reviews? Is it because it’s an already established good seller family game and because folks are not willing to be honest with this game?
Yes, it’s easy to learn.
Yes, it’s a quick introductory game for new board gamers. But how introductory is it really?

With the massive amount of app games, most people with access to the Internet and a smart phone are not new to games, so why do we treat TtR as an introductory game?
It’s randomness on randomness with timing of car placement. That’s really it.
A game like Powergrid at least introduces a supply/demand and market timing element, bidding that can be used to prevent others from surpassing your abilities etc..
Ticket to ride is so light on substantial decision making.

Boardgames for the most part should be more about socialization, interaction or at least competition or collaboration with another human’s mind. Ticket to ride is so light on interaction via the game other than, “Oh, you totally screwed me with that track placement.” and so dependent on luck that I don’t feel it is a good representation of the beauties of “analog” face-to-face gaming.

It may still serve as a decent ligh family game, but honestly, this doesn’t make it one of the better games out there.

8
Go to the Eclipse page

Eclipse

120 out of 134 gamers thought this was helpful

Typically, Sci-Fi, big-box epic games I like. I’m a major fan of Twilight Imperium and the like.

Eclipse turned out to be a fabulous game, but I’m not too certain of it’s replay value.

The good: Managing your empire. Essentially Eclipse takes the resource management system from Through the Ages. Its a fine mechanic and I think more civ-managment games should explore shuch integrated mechanics like this.
Developing the galaxy map. This is a subtle way to interact with the other players. 1 game everyone can turtle up, the next players can force instant action via population pressure.
The tech market: Its always a joy to crunch through possibilities of how to develop a strategy. The tech tree/market is the main way to do this. Even better than TI:3.

Not much in this game is bad. The biggest complain I’ve heard is the battle resolution.
Being an avid tabletop wargamer, I think the battle resolution is actually quite fantastic for this size and depth of game. It could be better, but then you’d be pushing the game into more of a tactical wargame rather than empire expanding boardgame. In the few games we’ve played, the space battles have actually been quite suspenseful. Other games it can be dry and sterile.

The not so-good: the components are not top-tier with the state of the market. But this shouldn’t affect the decision to buy or play the game. Some games rely on its attractive coating, Eclipse doesn’t.

I only wish there were more of a political or diplomatic interaction in the game other than basic negotiation of, “I won’t attack you if you won’t attack me.” Games like this need more than just a ***-for-tat exercise. Its needs something more dramatic than build up a ship and blammo. Its constructing an empire, its managing a large population across multiple planets against multiple borders. Its needs tension from scheming and politicking.

Some folks prefer to play empire building games, but limit it only to warfare. But then its not truly empire building, it’s only empire expansion.

All in all, Eclipse is a good game. Its on the light side of a civ-style game but it does not supplant TI:3 by any means.

9
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

81 out of 90 gamers thought this was helpful

Its time we all admit this. Boardgamers are super cool people and some gateway games are just so out of style, it makes us look bad. 😉
Settlers of Catan and Carascone just don’t cut it anymore.

7 Wonders is now my new gateway game to show new potential boardgame players.

7 Wonders may not be the easiest game to teach to new players, but it has served as a very successful gateway game in addition to remaining one of the standard goto games of veterans alike.

This review comes after logging 30+ games of 7 Wonders half of which have been to new boardgame players, ranging from 70 to 7 year olds.
We’ve all been there, trying our *est to expand the population of board gamers like a zombie plague. 7 Wonders breaks through their geek repellant better than Settles or Carrascone ever could.

Why?
Well, for starters the game is well designed with attractive enough components to communicate to the newbies that this isn’t a simple Milton & Bradley production. The old guard of Euro gateway games are on the very generic side. Face it, you feel the nerd righteousness oozing out of new players eyes when you break out Settlers.

It has ancient Wonders! Its something instantly identifiable and attractive to new players that sparks interest beyond, “We’re gonna collect sheep and wool?” Other gateway games have again generic or mundane activities. 7 wonders offers players a bit more satisfaction of accomplishing something “grand” and its not a race.

True, explaining the rules and the icons to new players can be rough, but most everybody gets the hang of the game by age II. Most always, players want to play a second game because the strategic juices get going. Rarely have I had new players ask to play Settlers a 2nd time.

7 Wonders may not have as much interaction as Settlers, but still more than plenty of other euro-style gateway games. 7 Wonders does however circumvent the randomness of dice rolling for supplies and the negotiation burn that many new players complain about during Settlers.

In short, 7 Wonders offers a much more positive, attractive and satisfactory experience for new gamers over the standard bearer gateway games.

× Visit Your Profile