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Go to the Fantastiqa page


167 out of 175 gamers thought this was helpful

Fantastiqa is a game with a wild imagination. Players start with a starting deck of cards that include weapons used for subduing monsters on the board. Weapons include things like toothbrushes, spatulas, cats, and other items you would usually not consider weapons. You also start with a trusty gem sniffing dog and a peaceful dragon (they don’t do much). Players then travel the board (called going adventuring) with the goal being to complete different quests. Players lay cards to subdue monsters (for example, a Toothbrush might subdue the Rabbits of Unusual Size), which then allows the player to put both the card they used to subdue the monster, and the monster itself into the discard pile (this is the deck building part). As you deck gets more powerful, it allows you to complete more quests and eventually win if you reach the quest goal before the other players.

The setup of this game can take a few minutes. The board is laid out on the table and locations are placed randomly on the board (there are 6 locations). Each location then randomly gets a statue. Statues are used as stores where you can visit and buy cards. The various statues are:

Quest Chest:
Allows a user to draw three new quests and keep one or more as personal quest cards.

Beast Bazaar:
Allows a user to draw three beast cards, and buy any number of them they can afford. Each card costs 3 gems.

Artifact Tower:
Allows the user to draw three artifact cards, and buy any number of them they can afford. Each card costs 2 to 4 gems.

You then have to prepare the creature deck. This is the deck that is drawn from for the purposes of replenishing the board with monsters. The deck is designed to be balanced and therefore there are specific cards that start on top, some that start in the middle, and then some that go on the bottom. It takes a few minutes to do this because you have to go through each card and make sure it is in the correct deck. The way we manage this is that we put the game away with the creature deck already setup for next game.

Okay, almost done. Everyone then gets a starting deck that matches their player, along with a Dog and a Peaceful Dragon. Additionally, everyone starts off with a starting Quest and starting Artifact card. These are chosen by each player before the game starts. Each player also gets a player token in which they place on one of the locations on the board.

Gameplay is pretty simple actually. On your turn, you draw cards to get your hand up to 5. You then replenish the board of monsters and shared quests. There are 6 locations on the board, and a trail between each. Each trail between each location gets a creature from the creature deck. Additionally, there are two shared quests on the board. If at any time one has been completed, this is when you would replenish it with a new one from the Quest Chest.

I should mention that Shared Quests are quests that anyone can complete, while personal quests are those that only the person holding can complete. The quests are fairly simple and involve having the correct cards, along with being on the correct location in order to complete. For example, you may need two toothbrush cards and be on the Hills location in order to complete the quest.

Once you have replenished the board, you can now take your turn. On your turn you can take 1 action which includes:

* Go Adventuring
* Visit a Statue
* Complete a Quest

You also can take any number of free actions (e.g. using a magic carpet to fly to where you need to go instead of having to subdue a creature to get there).

To go Adventuring, you simply move from one location to the other, but in order to do so you must subdue the creature that is blocking your path. You can do this as many times as you can with your given hand of cards (so you can move from the hills, to the frozen wastelands, to the wetlands if you can subdue each creature in your path).

You then pick up the creatures you subdued during your turn, put them in your discard pile and your turn is over.

Visiting a statue allows you to draw cards from the Artifact Tower, Quest Chest or Beast Bazaar depending on which statue is on the location you are standing. (For an explanation on these see above).

The other action you can take is completing a quest. When you have the required cards, and are on the location that matches the quest, you can complete that quest. This gives you quest points and usually some number of gems.

The game continues until someone scores enough quest points to match the games goal (which varies depending on how many players are playing).

I first purchased this game almost a year ago and we still bring it out to play as a family. One of the things I love about this game is the pure creativeness of it, without being dark. It makes it a great game for the family to play. It also has a really good balance. My wife and I play teams against my two daughters (11 & 12) and each time we have played, the game has been close. I like that there is enough strategy, but also enough luck to give balanced game play.

The components of this game are also second to none. From the box to the cards, everything is very well produced. Probably some of the best components I have ever seen in a game.

I would recommend Fantastiqa to any family that is looking for something they can play with the kids. The theme of the game is fantastic (no pun intended). The kids love it, my wife likes playing with us and it is fun for me as well. All around, the game really is fantastic.

My score overall would be 9 to 9.5.

Go to the Level 7 [Omega Protocol] page
25 out of 26 gamers thought this was helpful

Level 7 [Omega Protocol] is a dungeon crawler based game where players take on the role of a commando unit that is infiltrating a US Alien base. One of my favorite things about this game is that there is another player playing on the alien side as the Alien Overseer. This makes the game great to play with friends as it brings a nice level of not only cooperativeness, but also competitiveness.

The components to this game are mostly great. The tiles that make up the map are well detailed, the cards are clear and fairly easy to understand. There are several tokens used in the game that are all quality in construction. The dice are very nicely etched with bullet hole marks to represent hits, and there are lots of them.

The one ding on components in this game is really the miniatures. When they come out of the box, a number of mine were warped or twisted a bit. I was able to fix them pretty easily by setting them in warm water for a while then reshaping them, but would have been nice if they were a little higher grade plastic (for the price of the game I would have expected a little more but it does not take away from the play of the game).

Setup takes some time. There is a mission guide and for each mission there is a map configuration consisting of various different rooms, corridors, doors, investigate tokens, and room cards to place. When playing the game, each room is concealed until the commandos open the door to it, at this point, the room cards are revealed and the room card effects are to be resolved.

Another fun aspect of this game is that the overseer has some freedom as to where the mission objectives and other room cards are placed. So if you want objective 1 to be in the first room the commandos enter, and the second to be on the other side of the map, you have this freedom. This gives the person who plays as the overseer a certain dungeon master feel and as the game plays out it is fun to watch the commandos as the figure it out.

In addition to the map setup, each player chooses a commando (there are 5 different commandos to choose from, each with their own special abilities), as well as kit cards (a.k.a their load out). Again, this is another cool aspect of the game because it gives the commandos a sense of ownership of the commando they are playing as.

Game Play
Game play is pretty simple and has some cool mechanics. The Commandos go first and start by having the team leader assign initiative order (what order each commando will take their turns for this round). Each commando then chooses which stance they will use for the round (more on that in a minute).

The games currency is called adrenaline. Commandos increase their adrenaline to take actions (e.g. move, attack, investigate, open a door, etc…). The amount of adrenaline a commando can use is based on the stance card they choose for the round. For instance, a Cautious Advance stance might allow the commando to use 6 adrenaline for the turn. Each commando takes their turn in the order given to them by the commando team leader. When all commandos have finished, the overseer gets to go.

On the overseer’s turn, he/she also uses adrenaline to perform actions (e.g. spawn aliens, activate aliens to move and/or attack, cause element damage such as cave ins that can damage the commandos, etc…). As you can imagine, the overseer has a little more power than each commando does. The neat thing about the mechanics here are that at the beginning of the commando’s next turn, all the adrenaline they used during their last turn goes to the overseer. So you really have to be careful how much adrenaline you feed the overseer.

As the game progresses, the commandos continue to try and accomplish the objectives (these vary from mission to mission), and the overseer continues to deploy enemies and attack to prevent them from accomplishing their mission. Each mission has different success and failure conditions.

First Play Through
We played the first mission which is for the commandos to find some intel and get out of the facility before 1/2 of the commandos are killed. We had a total of 5 players, 4 commandos and an overseer. I played the overseer roll.

In the beginning of the game, I was feeling like the game was a bit unbalanced. The incoming commandos where just mowing down aliens and it seemed I had no chance of actually downing one of these guys. That changed as the game went on though. Once the crisis point was hit (this occurs at a certain turn number or when both objectives had been found), the overseer gets some bonus’s when attacking and spawning and this turned the tides a bit.

The commandos had found the intel they were looking for and were trying to get out of the building. I was able to spawn enough enemy troops to pin the commandos in a corridor as they were trying to get out and was barely able to take out two of the commandos, resulting in 1/2 of their team being killed and a victory for the overseer.

The whole experience was very fun. I was impressed at how much the commandos had to plan to get as far as they did. they continued to stick together which made it very difficult for me to take them down. Had they split up I think they would have been easy pickins. The team lead position is another neat mechanic that plays well in the game. In our game, the team leader turned out to be the MVP of the commandos as he was healing wounds and providing roll bonus’s to his team throughout the game.

Well, if you have gotten this far in my write up, you probably get the idea that I liked this game a lot. I have heard others complain about the balance of it but I think it just depends on how the game plays out. I initially felt it was unbalanced but as the game went on I realized that you just need to be a little creative sometimes as the overseer. Learn how and when to use the dashboard abilities and you will find that the game is balanced very nicely.

This is a great game if you are looking for something to play with a bunch of people that like the idea of a sci-fi dungeon crawler type game. It was a little on the long side. Aside from setup, it took us about 4 hours to play through the entire first mission. That being said, no one ever got tired of the game or lost interest as the battle was intense, right up to the end.

Go to the Smash Up page

Smash Up

20 out of 23 gamers thought this was helpful

Smash Up! is a simple to learn, hard to master card game that brings enough strategy and randomness to make it fun for adults and kids alike. Smash Up! quickly became one of our families favorites. There is all kinds of sabotaging in this game, just when you think you have a good strategy, another player drops a card that messes up all your plans.

The game is easy to learn. In the base game there are 8 factions each with their own deck, along with multiple bases (I think there are 20). On each base card, there is a breaking point number (this is how many points the base can take before it is scored), along with 3 large numbers. The 3 large numbers are the points that 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place receive when the base scores.

In each deck, there are minions and actions. Minions have a number that represent their power and can be played on bases. Each minion that is played on a base counts towards breaking that base. Actions are nifty little cards that typically allow you to alter the game in one way or another (play an extra minion, destroy a minion, etc…)

Setup is a breeze. Everyone chooses two factions (or if you are like our family, we randomly choose two factions), then choose n+1 bases where n = the number of players and put them on the table, face up. Players then shuffle their decks and start playing.

This is a game you just have to play to get an idea of how fun it is. My daughters think it is funny to gang up on me and prevent me from winning. I will say that I am impressed with how much my 11 & 12 year girls get this game. I no longer have to explain how different effects on the cards can chain together to give them a more powerful turn, they get it just fine. For example, my 11 year old loves playing as the Zombies because she can just keep pulling stuff out of her graveyard. She is able to setup her strategy quit nicely (putting cards in her graveyard intentionally because she knows she has cards to pull them out later). As a matter of fact, I think they are going to have to start helping me 🙂

This is a must buy if you like family card games. It is not too expensive and it is great fun. I would also definitely recommend the Awesome Level 9000 expansion pack as it adds 4 new factions and gives the game a bit more variety.

Score for me: 9

Go to the Isla Dorada page

Isla Dorada

16 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

Isla Dorada is very much a board game. The components are beautiful from the board to the Bigfoot & Leviathan pieces. The very interesting aspect of this game is that everyone is moving the same expedition piece around the board. You do this by bidding to move the expedition. Bidding is done with movement cards. For example, if you want to move over mountains, you bid with the Yak cards you have in your hand. Essentially you are trying to get to particular spots on the board where you have treasure cards for this is how you earn points throughout the game. Watch out though, you also may have a curse card or two which gives you negative points if the expedition travels to certain areas on the map. And, to add to the strategy, you also have a destiny card. Destiny cards give players a larger overall goal. For example, you may earn an extra 18 points if the expedition travels to the 5 map locations listed on the destiny card. Seems like a lot is going on but it makes this game really fun and different.

Game Setup
Game setup for Isla Dorada is not too bad. The different decks of cards are well marked and while it seems like you are getting lots of cards (treasure cards, adventure cards, destiny card, curse cards), the game moves along pretty easily once you start.

First Playthrough
The first time playing was with my wife and two daughters (11 & 12). Playing was pretty easy, there was really not much referring back to the rules as everything made sense once we started. It took a little while to understand why you might want to do things like place a Bigfoot on a path to block the expedition from going there but it did not take long. My kids kicked my butt at this game (which made it extra fun for them). It appears to be a bit more luck than strategy with this one as it really depends on the adventure cards that you get but I never felt like I did not have enough control where I could not at least improve my circumstances.

Second Playthrough
Second time playing, things were pretty easy to setup and get going. Once again, I was destroyed by my children but they love the game. It is one of their favorites (mostly I think because I have not won a game yet). Each game usually comes down to the end as well. Destiny cards are not revealed until the end so you are really not sure who is winning throughout the game.

Isla Dorada is a great family game that is a little different than anything we have played before. It has a little of Ticket to Ride, but I feel like it adds a lot more. And the game is simply beautiful. A lot of care was put into the design of this game and it really shows.

Overall, I would give it a 8 to 8.5.

Go to the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game page
91 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

Marvel Legendary is a cooperative deck building game where players play cards from their hands to either defeat villains or recruit more hero cards into their deck. Play continue until they can defeat the mastermind villain 4 times. Each time an attack is performed on a mastermind (and sometimes other villains), there is an effect that sometimes makes the game harder, but sometimes give you a bonus. Players loose if they fail to stop the masterminds scheme. There are various different schemes that you can play and combine with different masterminds, villains and henchmen to give the game high replay-ability.

At the end of the game and if the heroes win, you can add up your legendary points (as received when defeating villains or rescuing bystanders) and the one with the most points is most legendary.

Game Setup
I am a family gamer for the most part and was playing this game with my 11 year old daughter (who is an absolute sucker for super heroes, especially Marvel). The initial setup of the game is a little cumbersome due to the sheer number of deck types. There are heroes (of course), villains, henchmen, masterminds, scheme, bystanders, shield agents, and more and during setup you need to choose various decks, some of them are combined and placed out on the board. The cumbersome part is finding all the decks that you need to choose from the box. The deck separators are generic so it is hard to tell which decks are where, plus all decks have the same back. It would have been nice to get deck separators that had icons or images that represent the deck (like Sentinels of the Multiverse). Not the worst thing in the world but it does take a good 10 minutes or so to set the game up.

First Playthrough
Once you get started, things move along pretty quickly. Players take turns by:

1. Drawing a Villain Card and following its directions and placing in the city. You also follow any special rules that may be on the card.
2. Play your hand. This entails playing different cards from your hand and using their recruit points to recruit new heroes into your hand, or using your cards attack values to defeat villains.

The game has nice effects that can sometimes be chained together to give you a really satisfying attack. It is also interesting how decide to build your deck. For example, certain heroes compliment each other so you can choose to only recruit Cyclopes and Wolverine cards to build your deck to be efficient. For me this is great because it is easy enough for kids to play, yet adults appreciate the finer points of building their deck.

Even with the first play through, this game felt easy. Defeating the mastermind 4 times was not very difficult and I never felt like we got hit real hard by anything the villains threw at us. We did play the recommended setup for a first game so hopefully it gets harder…

Second Playthrough
Second play through was much easier to get setup and going. We had a new player and it was fairly easy to explain to them how to play, once everything was setup.

This time around we chose villains/henchmen randomly and ended up fighting Magneto. This time around things were a little bit harder. We did have some villains escape and felt like we got knocked upside the head a couple of times. A few villains were able to escape with some bystanders but we did manage to beat the game again and it was still fun.

We have found Legendary to be a fun game for our family. It has a pretty good balance for kids and enough strategy aspects to keep adults interested. It was not hard to learn (especially after the first play through) and learning how to combine the different hero cards is just plain fun. It could be a little harder at times but I have heard that the Dark City expansion makes the game a bit more difficult so maybe we will pick that up and try to turn up the heat a little.

I will say that compared to Sentinels of the Multiverse, I like Sentinels better. BUT – my kids disagree, they like Legendary better. Overall I would give the game a 7.5 to 8.

Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

46 out of 52 gamers thought this was helpful

It took me a while to pick this game up but I finally bit the bullet and I am glad I did.

Initial Playthrough
The first time I played this game it was just me and my daughter who is 12. It took only a few turns to get the idea of what we were trying to do. You can be King of Tokyo a couple of different ways:

1) Gain enough victory points (20)
2) Kill off the competition

For each turn you:
1) Roll the dice
2) Resolve the dice. Resolving dice can lead to dealing damage, healing, scoring victory points, or earning energy depending on your roll.
3) Spend energy to buy power ups (Extra Head is my favorite so far)

I believe my my daughter beat me with victory points in this initial trial game (but I was going easy on her).

Second Playthrough
Once we had the rules down, it was time to play with the rest of the family. I have another daughter (11) and my wife who entertain my board gaming addiction. I have to say, the game is better with 4 players than 2. I have not yet played with 5 or 6 but imagine it only gets better with players.

In this second game, my 12 year old continued to deal out more damage than any of us could take and to add insult to injury, she took us as pets as each one of us fell. Needless to say King of Tokyo has a family favorite.

The components are fine, nothing too exciting but it gives you a creature to play with and everything is very functional. Would be cooler to see miniatures of the monsters maybe.

Instructions / Learning Curve
The instructions are clear and to the point. It will not take you hours to learn the nuances of this game, which for family gaming is a big plus.

Gameplay is fairly quick, games last an average of 20-30 minutes and never get boring. There are a few different strategies to winning this this game so you have to watch everybody.

We have only played the game about 5 times but it is the goto game for our family right now. The nature of the game is fun (I mean monsters destroying Tokyo and each other, what’s not to love). We joke about who is King based on who won the last game.

Final Thoughts
King of Tokyo is just plain ol’e fun. It is great for a family with kids anywhere from 8 on up. If you are a serious gamer always looking for depth and details, this one is probably not for you but I would recommend to anyone else.

Go to the For Sale page

For Sale

88 out of 138 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a great little card game to play with the family. Very easy to learn, very easy to play and lots of fun. A great game to add to your collection for those times where you do not want to invest a lot of time but want to play a few rounds of something fun.

The game consists of two rounds, in the first round you purchase property, and in the second you sell it. The object of the game is to be the one who can buy property low, and sell it high. The one with the most money at the end of the round wins. It is pretty simple.

It is obviously not great if you are looking for depth or lots of strategy but everyone in my family enjoys this one.

Go to the Small World page

Small World

37 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

It really is a Small World after all. The concept behind this game is that there are various races of characters and each one is fighting for land. As your race thins out due to being defeated and exploring too far, you have to recruit another race of characters to start doing your bidding and taking over land for you.

The trick to this game is that each race is paired with a random ability that gives them special.. abilities. Use these abilities to play to your race’s strengths and overcome more territory than your opponents.

This is a fun game to play with lots detail in the components. If I had a complaint about this game it is the shear number of pieces. There are lots of race piece, and lots of coins. Might be better to just keep score with counters or pen/pencil rather than deal with all the pieces. It is not enough to deter you from playing, but makes pulling it out and putting it away more of a hassle than it needs to.

Go to the The Settlers of Catan page

The Settlers of Catan

35 out of 52 gamers thought this was helpful

A few years ago I wanted to get into board games to have a family friendly connection with my kids who, at the time, were 8 & 9 (both girls). Being the computer geek that I am and having to research everything, I naturally started looking for something with some depth that I could enjoy, as well as the wife and kids. Settlers of Catan was my first purchase in that quest.

I was a little intimidated at first with the rule set and it took me a little while to understand the mechanics. I have to say I was a little nervous to try it out on the kids. It turns out that they loved it! Settlers is now a staple in our ever growing game collection. It is a great game to pull out when friends are over, but is also great to play as a family.

The mechanics of the game are fairly simple once you play a round or two and the strategy becomes apparent after a play through or two.
The goal of the game is to score victory points and you do this by collecting resources (wheat, brick, ore, wood & sheep), then use those resource to build roads/settlements/cities or buy development cards. There is a trading aspect as well which can sometimes get annoying when playing with younger kids.

All in all this is a great game, especially if you are looking for something that adults and children (8 or over) will both enjoy.

Go to the Dixit page


32 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

We bought this game about 6 months ago now and have played it probably 20 times, both with family and with friends. I have to say that the artwork is beautiful, I love the randomness of the pictures and how the game provides so many possibilities with just one little card.

My daughters enjoy trying to come up with the most random sayings, songs or sounds they can possibly think of. There is some repetitiveness once you play through all the cards.For example, when playing with kids they will sometimes repeat sayings for cards that they heard before in previous plays which takes a little out of the experience.

Overall Dixit is a very welcome family game that is easy to learn, easy to play but can be tricky to master.

Go to the Quarriors! page


50 out of 105 gamers thought this was helpful

I bought this game about 3 months ago now and I just played for about the 15th time with my two kids. It is s great game that you can pull out when you don’t have a ton of time (only takes like 20 minutes to play a round). The game is easy to learn, has good mechanics, is lighthearted and each time we play we get a different experience.

I would like to see a little bit more of a variety in the creature cards but all in all it is well worth picking up.

Go to the Mice and Mystics page

Mice and Mystics

85 out of 143 gamers thought this was helpful

Bought this game to play with my two daughters (10 & 12) and they love it. We played for the third time today and finally got through the first chapter (learned some things along the way).

Overall the game provides great mechanics and character features that really make you care about your character. The game pieces are really manufactured well and have great detail. The whole concept of a story driven, co-op board game plays very well. Everyone stays interested and there is a real sense of accomplishment when you complete a chapter.

Would highly recommend to anyone who wants to take their family gaming to the next level.

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