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Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
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Go to the Forbidden Desert page

Forbidden Desert

56 out of 64 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve never played Forbidden Island. It looked fun, but, frankly, a bit simplistic. I don’t think it would have quite been enough for anybody in my gaming group. We enjoy Pandemic quite a bit, as it has a bit more complexity, but that game is a bit too intimidating to teach people who aren’t familiar with gaming, I’ve found.

So I requested Forbidden Desert, my wife acquiesced, and here we are. Having played a few games now, I’ve come to a few conclusions. First, the game looks pretty simple. You’ve got your desert tiles, you’ve got your sand, you’ve got your pawns. The first few turns go by pretty quick and simple, but then, suddenly, the game takes a turn and the complexity ramps up. This is tied directly to the storm “ramping up”- you flip more cards each turn as the game progresses, the storm moves around a bunch, more sand piles on, etc., etc.

Of course, this is where a lot of the fun comes in. The early game is a bit simple, but it doesn’t last very long, so by the time you have a turn or two under your belt, the game auto-compensates for it. Because of this complexity, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I’ve had an obvious, correct move (except when I’m standing directly on top of a piece needed to win). There is always some thinking required to maximize your moves.

Overall, I like it because of this gradual ramping-up process. I’m a bit worried that the increase in complexity will make it difficult to teach to younger players (That’s one of the reasons I picked this game), but it still manages to engage players that would grow bored fairly quickly if the game stayed the same.

The game has all of the pros and cons of a cooperative game, which might sell you or warn you away from this game, but I’ll leave that to others to discuss.

TL;DR- Starts simple, increases difficulty as game continues, makes for a challenge even for more experienced gamers.

Go to the Magic: The Gathering page
60 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve played casual Magic for a number of years now (almost entirely EDH/Commander now), with a very close-knit group of players. It really is the deepest, most interactive game I’ve ever played, and the depth of gameplay and the delicious, delicious flavor imbued into every aspect of the cards brings me back every time.

But, of course, to come back, one must go away in the first place.

Others have discussed the price issues with this game, and I have to agree that this is a problem. I’ve always played on a budget, and, while I can still make fun and pretty decent decks, my friends who have no spending limits can buy more and better cards, streamline their decks, and routinely stomp me. It’s gotten to the point that I honestly can’t remember the last time I won a game- a couple have been close, but one of them always pulls out a mythic rare card that they bought online that destroys my casually-built deck, and I lose. It is incredibly frustrating.

And yet I keep coming back to it. A few days after my crushing loss, I’ll start thinking about a new deck I can try out, a new combo I just discovered, some story Wizards posted online. Despite whatever problems I have with the game, I’ll be playing this one until the day I die. Or my wife finally forces me to sell my cards, whichever happens first.

TL;DR: Yes, the game swings out of balance when one player sinks more money into it than another, but it is still a great enough game to keep me coming back, time after time.

Go to the Dungeons & Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep page
53 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is old enough that I don’t feel that I should explain the basics- yes, the gameplay is solid; yes, the theme is a bit stapled-on; yes, the insert is sexy but the box-top is wonky. That’s all been said before.

I came into this game knowing I would love it. I’m a huge Forgotten Realms fan, and I have yet to play a Eurogame that I can’t at least enjoy, however thin the theme. No, the real question was whether my wife would appreciate the game. She enjoys gaming but can be put off by too much complexity, especially at first. I was really hoping that Lords of Waterdeep wouldn’t be too scary.

The first few turns were a bit rough. Like most games, once you get the rhythm down, the turns make sense, but at first, it can be difficult to pick a goal and work toward it. Eventually, though, we caught on and the game played at a pretty quick clip. I was always surprised by how quick each round went by. By the end, the only reason we needed any time to think about our placements was if the other player had just blocked a crucial space. The final tallies, while fun, didn’t really reveal anything we hadn’t been able to guess at/track already.

After the two player game, I tried a couple of 3-player sessions. The difference with even one more player is remarkable- I imagine that 4 or 5 players is almost a different game entirely. While the 2-player game had seen maybe three intrigue cards played, they seemed much stronger with 3 players- I’d guess that 4 players is the sweet spot for them, but at 5, you’d possibly be throwing away a vital move (again, rank speculation- I haven’t got 4 others together yet). This game went much slower, but still pretty quick. Here, I thought my hidden points from my Lord would rocket me into the lead, but one of my opponents astounded me with the number of tiny quests that gained her points- a total upset, and completely unlike game one. So…


Fun, pretty fast gameplay. Plays differently for different numbers of players. The hidden points at the end can be just enough to keep it interesting until the very end. Between blocking, buildings, and intrigue cards, there is just enough player interaction for me.


It looks more complex than it really is- Most Euros would probably be abstract and simple enough to make it look easy to learn, but Lords of Waterdeep has just enough theme to distract from the core gameplay.

Overall, I dig it. Getting different numbers of players should keep it fresh for a while- I can’t wait to try with a full 5!

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