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Rosetta Stone
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Go to the Guilds of Cadwallon page
44 out of 47 gamers thought this was helpful

You are trying to Influence the Guilds of Cadwallon with your Agents to gain more power than anyone else. If you control the Guilds, you control Cadwallon.

Gameplay: Each turn is divided into three phases:
Reveal Phase:
Place District cards in a 3×3 pattern, leaving room to place your Agent tokens, as shown in the picture above.
Dispatch Phase:
Place Agents in the “boulevards” between the cards to Influence as many Districts as possible. You may also play Action cards that affect gameplay in some way.
Control Phase:
Determine who has control based on Support from neighboring Districts and other card effects.

Each District card is either a Guild, Militia (who count against you), Personalities (who influence the game in subtle ways) and other Action cards. Most District cards have an Influence number, which is used in the Control Phase, and some have Guild points, which count towards victory.

The key to winning is to understand Control. When you are determining control, you add the Support value of all Districts adjacent to where you placed Agents. In the picture of the game above, the yellow player is unopposed in the lower right District, and will Control it at the end of the Control phase, removing it from the board.

When you can no longer refill all the Districts, the game ends immediately and the winner is determined by most Guild points.

This is a fun game, requiring some strategic thinking. The first few Agents placed each turn take the most time, but after that, things move quickly as each player has fewer options. Once you learn the game and understand the Control phase, this is a game that could easily be added to the rotation of most gaming groups.

It’s quick (20-30 mins) and allows up to 8 people to play, although the base game comes with only enough Agents for 4 players. I sponsored this game on Kickstarter, so I have the extra colored tokens for up to 8 players. But it’d be fairly easy to substitute dice or some other kind of token for Agent colors you don’t own.

Go to the Guillotine page


73 out of 82 gamers thought this was helpful

Official Synopsis
You are trying to bribe or convince the executioner to chop the heads off the people you feel are most deserving, or to save those people you feel shouldn’t be executed.

Unofficial (Family Friendly) Synopsis
You are trying to bribe and convince the King’s Guard to let in the people you feel are most deserving, or to prevent access to those people you feel shouldn’t be allowed to see the King.

Either way, the game is played the same. There are a few cards that might seem strange with the Unofficial theme, but kids are going to see funny cartoon faces, not the gaps in logic.

The game is divided into three days. Each day has a line of 12 Nobles in line, and ends when those Nobles are gone. After the third day, the game ends and you add up the total number of points you got for Nobles you got to the front of the line on your turn.

On each player’s turn, three things can happen (in this order):
1. You MAY play a card from your hand. You don’t have to play a card, but you’re probably going to have a good card to play even if you don’t want to change the order of the line.
2. You MUST take the card at the front of the line. This is mandatory. The executioner takes a head (or the Guard ushers in the next person to see the King) on each player’s turn. You want the most valuable person to be taken on YOUR turn so you can be the most influential advisor to the King.
3. You MUST draw a card. You’ll be craving cards, because the cards are what allow you to make the strategic choices.

This is a great pickup game for when you’re sitting around wondering what to do for 20-30 minutes. It’s also great when you have a mix of gamers and non-gamers. I’ve met very few people who didn’t enjoy playing a game of Guillotine. This isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite game, but I don’t know anybody who “hates” it.

This is one of those games that is always in my bag when I go somewhere else for gaming.

Go to the Fluxx page


44 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

There are three reasons why you might not like this game:

1. If you don’t like rules that change, you won’t like this game. The basic rule is that you “Draw a card, Play a card” but as soon as a “New Rule” is added that might change. Some people really, really (really) hate this type of thing, and will hate the game…because that’s really the core of the game. You’re constantly changing rules, so keep that in mind if that doesn’t appeal to you at all.

2. If you don’t like remembering a lot of rules, you won’t like this game every time. Don’t get me wrong, the game is NOT complicated, but there can be a lot of rules active at the same time. Some people prefer simplicity in games, and while this game can be very simple…it can get complicated fast. It can be a bit overwhelming to have to re-learn the rules every time it’s your turn, so keep that in mind as well.

3. If you don’t like chaotic or inconsistent games, there will times that this game annoys you. This rule is because of certain situations or cards in the game that reduce the “fun factor” when played. “Hand Limit zero” and “Play All” are good examples, because these two cards reduce the choices you can make.
— When “Play All” is in effect, you have to play every card you draw unless you can remove the rule. The only choice you have is the order in which they are played.
— When “Hand Limit zero” is in effect, all cards you don’t play are discarded every turn. This is very frustrating in a variety of situations.

Like most games, if everyone at the table agrees on the type of game being played, this game is far more enjoyable than normal. If nobody likes a card like Play All, then it’s likely to never get played, and everyone will have a better experience.

Go to the Chainsaw Warrior page

Chainsaw Warrior

37 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

First, I should point out that I had a small crisis of conscience before writing this review. I own this game, and played it many times when I was much younger. But that was before I experienced the sometimes baffling, sometimes evil decisions made by Games Workshop, who published this game. I won’t get into the specifics of my GW disgust here, but in the end I felt that knowledge of my bias against GW might help to illustrate how much I like this game. (This may be the only game I’ll ever review from GW.)

Okay, onto the review.

This is a solo game, and so difficult to win that I would place it against any of today’s modern Co-Op games, in terms of how tough it is to defeat the boss and win the game. The story is that you have an hour to find and destroy the “Darkness” and save the world…armed with only the gear on your back, and what you find as you go.

The game is set on a time track. You draw a card every 30 seconds, and you run out of time in an hour. Time is such a factor in this game that I highly suggest you run the game with a timer, pausing only to handle some minor bookkeeping in order to get you back on track in real-time.

The cards you draw can be an enemy to fight, a trap to endure or overcome, or nothing. The boss card is shuffled into the second of two decks, and so you need to get thru the first deck before you can win.

Resolving the cards typically involves rolling two d6 and comparing your stats (with gear) against the enemy or trap. And that’s about it, as far as how the game plays…but the game is clearly designed to make you lose more times than you can win.

There are a number of common complaints about the game, but simple solutions to avoid them. And all but the most OCD, self-defeating purists would gladly make these changes.

1. The game is very fiddly. In particular, it comes with paper counters for ammo. Obviously, this is ridiculous. Record the ammo you use on a piece of paper, or use some other counters (like dice) to keep track.

2. Game setup takes a while. This is true, but once you have it setup, it takes less time to restart after losing. Also, if you give up on the ammo chits, your life will be much easier.

3. Random gear at the start of the game. Personally, I’ve played by choosing the gear I start with, and random gear. If I can choose the gear I start with then I don’t get any upgrades during the game, and that isn’t as fun. But if I go random and get really bad gear, that’s not fun either because the game is difficult enough. My solution was to mix it up. Get random gear, and then swap out stuff that’s really bad to give myself better chances.

4. There are a few cards that virtually (or literally) guarantee you will lose. And if those cards are in the first deck, or before the boss in the second deck, some people feel that it’s a waste of their time. I disagree, but if you feel that way, remove those cards. There aren’t that many, and depending on when they are found, it might only be a temporary setback.

5. There aren’t many choices. I agree that it seems like it’s just draw a card and roll dice, but there is definitely strategy here. Gear has limited use, and sometimes choosing the right weapon or tool for the job is the key to victory. I have the most fun when I imagine myself with only an hour, have a timer on hand to reinforce the end of the world countdown, and get into the STORY. In other words, allow yourself to feel the theme and you’ll have more fun. But if you need a game where every action requires a meaningful decision, play something else.

Final thoughts: I think this game struggled to find more traction when it was released back in 1987 because it was simply ahead of its time. Back then, the gaming world hadn’t even seen Settlers of Catan. Eurogames (as we know them) didn’t exist. And yet, you can clearly see the influence of Chainsaw Warrior in games like Arkham Horror, Elder Signs, Pandemic and even Zombicide.

If you like modern Co-op Board games, and you can find a copy of Chainsaw Warrior, you are going to be happy you did.

Go to the Power Grid page

Power Grid

69 out of 112 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of those games where the best suggestion I could ever give you is to get 3 friends together and play it. It’s very accessible, and although the rules can be a bit complicated at first, they work so well that it becomes second nature after a short time.

I won’t get into a description of how the game is played because there are lot of those reviews here already.

What I will say is that I’ve had a variety of “favorite games” in my life, from Magic the Gathering, to Age of Renaissance, to World of Warcraft.

The best thing about Power Grid for me is that it’s very replayable, with many different strategies and paths to victory. The same small group of people playing the game won’t feel like they keep rehashing the same game over and over, like it can happen with some other board games.

And if you ever find yourself getting bored, there are more maps, with additional rules and challenges. This is truly a game that feels like it’s adapting to meet the players.

For my money, this is quite simply a pinnacle game. If I had to recommend a balanced, solid game to new gamers who are tired of gateway games, this is hands down what I would suggest. No hestitation.

And you shouldn’t hesitate either. Play this game!

Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

95 out of 102 gamers thought this was helpful

I heard a lot about 7 Wonders before I ever played it, because I don’t get to play board games as much as I’d like. The overwhelming response about the game was how fast it played, and how many different ways there are to win.

There are always gripes with games, but there were very few complaints about 7 Wonders. I believe this is because it minimizes the “downtime” of players as much as can be done in a game. Obviously, if there is a great divide in experience levels of players, or if you have people who just can’t make fast decisions, you’ll spend some time waiting. But that’s true for any game, and 7 Wonders does its best to eliminate that from happening.

You see, everybody acts at the same time. Every player gets a handful of cards from which they must select one to keep (or discard to get money). Once everyone has chosen a card, they’re revealed at the same time and the rest of the cards are passed either left or right, depending on the phase of the game. And once everybody has chosen a set number of cards, you deal out a new hand to everyone and you do it again for the next “Age” of the game.

There are only 3 Ages, so it’s very quick and yet very deep in terms of strategy because you are scored on a variety of different ways at the end of the game.

For example, you’ll be able to choose Military cards and get points on how large is your army in relation to your opponents nearby every Age. And everybody has a score in Military strength, so if you have the smallest army in the game, you might even have a negative Military score.

But don’t think the game is about combat, because that’s just one tiny part of it. You can build up Resources and make Goods. You can specialize in Trade and Commerce or Academic pursuits. There are even great monuments that showcase your accomplishments, or Guilds that gain power from a variety of sources among all players in the game.

The key here is that you are going to get points for ALL of these types of categories. And if you ignore too many of them, you’ll fall behind the other players and your civilization will likely be forgotten at the end.

Grab a few friends and if nobody has played, learn the rules together and you’ll probably find yourself playing 7 Wonders again and again that first day. Not only because it’s fun, but because of how quickly the games can be played.

Honestly, because of the size of the box, speed of the gameplay, and universal appeal of this game, I always pack 7 Wonders when I go somewhere to play games.

Go to the Carcassonne (Android) page
31 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a faithful representation of Carcasonne, and has many features that fans of digital games will love, like Achievements and the ability to play Computer or Human opponents.

Caveat: You play against Human opponents by passing the game to someone in real life. There are no online gaming options. If you had friends over, you’d play the original board game version, but if you’re on a long flight or waiting in line, this is the perfect format.

Computer AI: There are a few different Computer player strategies, and some are easier to beat than others. If you’re good at Carcassonne, it shouldn’t be difficult to out-think the Computer opponents, but just like in the original board game, you still need some luck with tiles.

Cheats: You have the ability during the game to see what tiles are remaining, which is technically cheating in the original game. My suggestion is to either ignore it, or understand that the computer knows what tiles remain also, and play around it.

Overall, I think this is a great addition to my mobile gaming library. It’s not quite as faithful to the original as the iPhone/iPod Touch version (made by another company) but with the addition of Achievements, I think it’s easily one of my favorite digital board games for Android.

Go to the Diplomacy page


163 out of 181 gamers thought this was helpful

I should start by saying this is a great game. My rating was made based on a very limited group of players that makes the game frustrating for me in particular. In addition, I wasn’t aware that game ratings couldn’t be changed.

But there are three things that you might want to know going into this game, to compare against those with whom you’ll be playing this game.

1. This game requires alliances. Teamwork is mandatory for this game, and you can’t get around it. A single player simply cannot win. So playing against a group of people who always team up (excluding you) is likely to make your game very negative.

2. This game requires betrayal. An integral part of the game is betraying someone before they betray you, hopefully to your benefit. If you play with people that hold grudges, or who don’t like this mechanic, you might not have as much fun.

3. This game requires experience. This is less about being an expert as it is about everybody being about the same experience level. If everybody is a novice, or everybody has won Diplomacy tournaments, you’re going to have a great game. But it’s the kind of game where experts tend to have strong opinions about whether an action or move is “right” or “wrong”. Beginners playing with an expert or two that have strong opinions might feel bullied or hampered about the choices they can make.

But after all that is said, you should take an opportunity to play this game, unless you have strong opinions about one or more of the issues I mentioned. Even if you get stuck in a “bad group”, you’ll definitely see whether this type of game is going to be fun for you.

Go to the Munchkin page


29 out of 83 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve been “forced” to play this game several times now, but no more. It’s just not fun to me, and even if it had been fun, I’ve seen all the jokes.

There are so many ways to make this game better, but the truth is that you’ll either like it or not. For every reason I give to fans about why this game is bad, I am told “That’s done on purpose!” or “But that’s what I love about it.”

Bottom line:
If you like silly games, play it. If you don’t, avoid this game at all costs. After you play it once or twice, you’ll probably want to give the game to someone else.

Go to the Eminent Domain page

Eminent Domain

93 out of 128 gamers thought this was helpful

There is some depth here, but only if you don’t race to victory. If you want a casual deck building game with a space theme, and want to explore everything that it offers, you’ll have much more fun.

Briefly, there are 5 different action cards to draw from, and when any of those cards runs out the game is over. I tried a Colonize strategy, and the two others tried Military. Because two people were cycling thru the Military deck every turn, the game ended before anybody bought any of the technology cards.

This isn’t a weakness of Military, because we all tied with 10 points at the end of the game. But most of the variety is in the Technology cards, and we didn’t even see any of them.

So if everyone agrees to not rush to victory, you might experience more of the game. But it seems a bit strange to avoid winning in order to have fun.

Go to the Heap page


32 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

I played a demo game at GENCON, and felt it was a fun, casual game that relied too much on luck. But then we got to the “last turn” mechanics, where the winner was decided…and frustration took away the fun.

You build up 4 vehicles with parts from the Heap (the deck) and you compete (race) to get those parts by attacking and defending one of three colors, with a few exceptions. For example, I play a card that Defends against Green, Yellow or Red and then attacks against one of those colors. The next person either has the right color Defense, or he is out of the race.

That isn’t really the part that bothers me though. The vehicles have a normal side to them, and a Turbo side that might be able to flip to on the last turn. The last turn starts when the first player gets 3 parts on all 4 of his vehicles. You get to flip to the Turbo side if you have been able to attach 3 parts to that vehicle.

Then, you discard all parts on all vehicles and discard your hand! Yep, the whole game up to that point was just practice, apparently. You draw a new starting hand and have one more race, hopefully with 4 Turbo vehicles. But then again, the Turbo side isn’t much better than the normal side. And since you no longer have any gear on your vehicles, it’s much weaker. So not only do you have to start over on the last race, it’s possible that everything you did the whole game is totally wasted.

If you like the theme and the look of the cards, you can play without the last turn, or even without the Turbo cards. But as it was taught to us, it’s an exercise in futility and disappointment.

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