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MrNonRespondo

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Go to the Dominion: Prosperity page
Go to the 7 Wonders page
Go to the Dominion page
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
Go to the Carcassonne page
Go to the SET page
Go to the Carcassonne (iOS) page
7
Go to the Formula D page

Formula D

70 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

First of all, I’d like to thank BoardGaming.com for this game; I was one of July’s contest winners! These guys have done an awesome job with this site and to be giving away games on top of that is almost too awesome.

In this game you control a racecar traveling around a track by rolling dice. By shifting up gears, you can roll larger dice to go faster, however, you must remain slow and cautions near corners to avoid damaging or destroying your car. So the game is a constant balance between speed and control and wild luck.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s essentially 2 (or more) games in one. There are 2 boards, two types of cars, and many optional rules that add complexity and flavor to the game. In fact, the basic game is really just sophisticated dice-rolling while the advanced rules incorporate strategy / role playing elements. This makes it very replayable and fun for a wide audience.

I played this game with a mixed group of 6 people from casual to hardcore. Many of them rolled their eyes as I read the sometimes tedious basic rules, however, we all managed to have a pretty good time. It was a good social experience and even downright exciting at times. Although, at the end of the game, the general consensus was that it might actually be more fun with the added complexity of the advanced rules.

The components were a mixed bag. The gear shift and dice felt really fun to use. Nearly everything is double-sided maximizing the variety you can get out of one set. However, the split board was awkward and didn’t always lay flat. The car pieces were very small making it difficult to remember which car was yours and to place it on the right tile.

10
Go to the SET page

SET

79 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

Simply put, Set is a game of pattern recognition. You are presented with 12 cards laid out on the table with patterns of shapes and colors. The goal is to match up groups of 3 cards that form a set by calling “Set!” and picking up three cards. The rules behind that are difficult to explain without pictures, but I’ll try. Each card has 4 characteristics: shape, color, pattern, and number (e.g. 3 solid green diamonds or 2 shaded purple ovals). A set consists of 3 cards where each of the 4 characteristics irrespective of the others are either all the same on each card or all different on each card. There are visual instructions on their website. At the end of the game, each set is worth a point and the player with the most points wins. Players also lose a set for calling “Set!” and not picking up a valid set.

I love this game. The gameplay ranges from fast and furious to everyone quietly staring and searching for patterns. It can be very easy to teach (or very tough) and has very wide appeal. Great to bring out at family get togethers.

However, there are many people who will find this game to be difficult to grasp regardless of how many times they play. I dare say these are usually the same people who hate math class. This doesn’t mean they’re dumb, it’s just that Set requires you to use your brain in a very specific way. I would compare it to tone-deafness: some people got it, some don’t.

There’s also a daily Set puzzle online.

9
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

85 out of 97 gamers thought this was helpful

In 7 Wonders is a card drafting game where players try to build up their cities and construct one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Card drafting means that players take turns selecting the best option from the remaining set of cards then passing to the next player. Points are added up a number of different ways and it’s possible to win with a range of strategies (like Civilization): economic victory, military, civic, technological, or by building your wonder.

The gameplay is actually fairly simple. However, the language-independent design uses iconography only with virtually no text anywhere. While beautiful, the result is a dizzying smorgasbord of icons that can be intimidating to new players. A lot of time was spent reading the symbol cheat sheet. But after the first game it didn’t seem so daunting and people were even making up funny names for everything (the silk icon was “magic carpet”).

The game goes really fast when people are familiar with it because everyone chooses their cards simultaneously. By the end of the first game we played, all five of us were really enjoying it.

5
Go to the Betrayal at House on the Hill page
55 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

Pros:
– Building out the haunted house with the modular board tiles is fun
– Campy horror role-playing
– Lots of different scenarios are possible

Cons:
– Extremely complicated rules
– Low-quality components
– Lots of fringe-cases and broken mechanics

This game sounded very promising to me. You and your friends are in a haunted house exploring the various booby-trapped rooms and encountering various minor spectres. At some point in the game, a Scooby-Doo style mystery (the haunt) is uncovered (randomly chosen from the “Haunt Book”) at which point one of the players becomes “the traitor” and the rest of the players team up to fight him. The scenarios can involve anything from a Mummy looking for his bride to a giant bird taking off with the house in his talons. There’s a lot of variety in how these stories play out so each game is different.

So what’s the problem? It’s so *ed complicated that you spend all your time trying to figure out how many dice to roll, what items you’re allowed to use, or how many spaces you’re allowed to go which makes it impossible to become immersed in the experience. I played a couple of times with different groups and both sessions ended in utter exhaustion; one group even voted to stop playing when the haunt was revealed!

A few more gripes. The components look great but within an hour of opening the box they had warped to a point where it was hard to work with them. The markers for player’s stats fell off easily. There were literally hundreds of chits for all kinds of things, most of which won’t be used in most games, which made it very difficult to find a particular one, not to mention making it very daunting to behold.

Finally, there were several situations where the game seemed to be totally broken. I got in one situation where I was stuck in a room and had to roll something like five 6’s to leave (odds are 1 in 7776). There was a situation where Bill stole something from Dan then Dan stole it back then Bill stole it back, ad infinatum. Also, the number of room tile effects, random event cards, and items were limited enough to make most games feel pretty much the same (until the Haunt).

I have a lot of bad things to say about this game, however, there were still some genuinely fun times and laughs. I’ve had my fun and I don’t want to play it any more, but I had to give it a 3 for replay value because of all the different Haunt scenarios that were included and the number of characters to chose from. Maybe a more hardcore set of gamers would like it.

8
Go to the Dominion: Seaside page

Dominion: Seaside

51 out of 63 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a really interesting set. Many of the cards center around the concept of delaying effects until your following turn, specifically with Action-Duration cards. These cards can greatly influence the choices one makes by causing the player to consider the future consequences of his present actions. It makes Seaside a much more novel expansion than Intrigue or Prosperity. However, I found that keeping up with all the things happening the next turn can be quite a chore. There were several times where we had to resort to taking notes on a piece of paper to remember how many cards, actions, or buys we had in the current and upcoming rounds. This definitely made it feel like more of a chore to play. Still, if you’re interested in expanding the level of strategy in your Dominion games, this is a good set to try.

10
Go to the Dominion: Prosperity page
57 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

I love playing huge chains of cards to build up tons of cash and extra buys! This set is all about that. Big money, big prizes, I love it!

The set adds two new basic cards, the Colony, a victory card worth 10 points, and Platinum, a money card worth 5 that extend the main goal of the game a little farther. In addition, there are a bunch of great kingdom cards that all deal with the theme of opulence.

The only downside: I felt the inclusion of all the mats and coins for use with the Trade Route card to be a little unnecessary and would rather they had spent their resources making more kingdom cards or including the common (money, victory) cards to make it a standalone set.

10
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

87 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

My brother introduced me to this game on a family trip. Unfortunately, we played our first game around midnight the night before I left town so we hardly slept that night 😀 I immediately bought a copy when I got home and spent the next several weeks trying to talk my wife and friends into playing with me. Since then, even the most skeptical friends have gotten the itch to play more and it opened me up to the vast world of board games.

The gameplay is unique in that the strategy is almost never the same between different games. Finding new combinations of cards becomes an important ‘meta-game’. When that gets old, the 5+ excellent expansion sets can add entirely new mechanics to consider. I have even created my own cards and rules to spice things up!

The game is also fairly social. Even though each player’s turn has little direct effect on the other players, most sessions are very chatty. The rules are a little complicated but easy enough for most beginners to learn as they go along.

The game is close to perfect but if I had to list some cons… Sometimes keeping track of all of the effects of the action cards (number of remaining actions) can get complicated if you play big combos. After playing about a dozen times (usually with beginners) I started getting a little burned out and needed a break. And when you really get down to it, you can probably win most games by only buying silver, gold and provinces but that’s not a very interesting way to play.

Expect to see this at the top of the charts for many more years to come.

1
Go to the Apples to Apples page

Apples to Apples

60 out of 87 gamers thought this was helpful

I will admit, when it comes to playing games I can be a total party-pooper sometimes. I like games that have rules, have winners and losers, and are fun for everyone involved. Keeping that in mind, this is one of my least favorite games ever because in my opinion, it has none of these qualities.

It consists of the players each drawing a handful of random word cards. Then one person who is “it” will announce another random word and each player will pick a card that best matches that word and hand it to the leader. Following that, the leader will decide which they think is the best match. The group I played with spent plenty of time cracking jokes about each word to show how clever they are to everyone. So to me, this is less of a game and more of a seed for improvisational comedy. There’s nothing wrong with that really but I don’t think it’s any more game than randomly comparing two words from a dictionary. It’s just people taking turns trying to be funny.

If you’re like me and you enjoy using skill, wit, and maybe a pinch of luck to determine the outcome of a game, stay away from Apples to Apples. However, I think just about every other person I know counts this among their favorites so what do I know.

6
Go to the Ascension page

Ascension

47 out of 54 gamers thought this was helpful

This game involves the mechanic of purchasing cards from a central supply in order to gain points and build a powerful deck. Players of Dominion will be very familiar with this concept. However, there are some key differences between the two and the devil is in the details.

First, I’d like to address components. The cards feature excellent, bizarre artwork reminiscent of MTG cards which I love. The game includes a game board (not necessary, but a nice touch) and colored point gems. The case is very nicely designed to fit all the components perfectly. The only drawback is that the glossy texture of the cards feels cheap and strange and can be a nuisance.

Like Dominion, you use ‘money’ to buy cards from the central supply. Unlike Dominion the cards in the supply are constantly changing rather than being a fixed set. Also unlike Dominion, Ascension includes monsters which can be ‘banished’ using attack points for a point reward. This functions in a similar way to the purchasing but requires a separate set of currency cards. Most of the cards purchased for your deck earn you points at the end of the game and other points can be gained by various actions and are tracked using the gemstones.

Ascension also introduces the concept of constructs, persistent cards that affect the users hand every turn (like MTG’s enchantments or Dominion Seaside’s duration actions). After accruing a few of these cards, you can quickly get to the point where you’re juggling multiple buffs and points each turn.

Between the complicated scoring system, the two types of ‘money’, and the time spent adding up the abilities of the constructs, I found this game to add a lot of complexity without much payoff. The game feels less strategic and more random than either Dominion or MTG and ultimately less fun. While it’s is a nice change of pace for those who might be looking for a change of pace, it lacks some of the balance and polish that makes Dominion such a great game.

4
Go to the Pit page

Pit

24 out of 28 gamers thought this was helpful

I played this game with my family over holiday break. Everyone seemed to jump into the game without a lot of explanation of the rules. Immediately after starting a fantastic din rose up. Players trade cards with each other trying to collect sets of the same “commodity” (such as cattle). After a couple of minutes of yelling and passing cards, a winner emerged. We played several rounds before becoming too exhausted or agitated to continue.

As someone who loves concocting a strategy for playing games, I found the outcome to be too close to random. It seemed that the loudest or most stubborn players did best. It’s definitely a game for extroverts rather than introverts. While I see how this game could shine a light on some interesting aspects of how commodity trading and group dynamics work (Game Theorists may enjoy it), I found it too spastic to truly enjoy. Although, the rest of the group seemed to enjoy it.

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