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Power Grid

58 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m sure we all recall the games where a resource monger or the first to play a certain technology decided the game after the first few turns. What makes this game incredibly unique is that it doesn’t encourage a sprint to the finish. The game awards the most efficient purchase of plants and resources, rewards some risk and those who win the most will have timed there expansion properly – not necessarily first! This is one of very few economic games where the game rewards efficiency and timing as opposed to the juggernaut who buys every technology and expands at rapid pace.

Be warned, this game is very tight and has a very menial catch up mechanic. After a few plays this will become more apparent – though you may not even notice this depending on the experience of your opponents.

For additional details, please read Macabees post for game play summary.

If you like games where you’re burning your brain to calculate the best move and enjoy lots of player interaction this game is 10 on the fun factor. You’ll experience some suspense on the final two turns and after a number of plays will have some tension on the bidding and plant drop phases. Overall I score the game a 9 because it’s not fast paced enough to achieve perfection (though this is arguably a necessity for this type of game).

Mechanics: Economic. Auction. Area Control.

Hate It / Like It / Love It
Players will not like this game if they don’t enjoy the tension brought on by lots of player interaction and do not like to calculate math.
Players may not like the game length at 90 minutes (or more) and some minor fidgety bureaucracy in replacing plants, resources and distributing money. Those who hate area control will not feel that deep sink in the stomache when another player out flanks you; you’ll just have to pay for it. All of these seeming setbacks are necessary to make the game what it is.
Players who enjoy any type of economics game will have this on their shelf.

Replayability and theme are the eye of the beholder. I purposefully don’t rate categories. In a world where Uno is replayable and some consider Catan to have a theme; is it worth rating?

Go to the Agents of SMERSH page

Agents of SMERSH

137 out of 144 gamers thought this was helpful

If you enjoy role playing games where adventure is as fun as winning you’ll enjoy “Agents of SMERSH”. This is a co-operative choose your own adventure book played out over the board.

Style: Adventure.
Mechanic: Reading Encounters, Dice Rolling, Choose Your Own Adventure, Area Movement

Components: 9 You’ll get your money’s worth. The customizable d6 and the story book go a long ways. There are so many pieces we initially found it overwhelming – this isn’t bad though as they all play together.
Complexity: EASY But since there is a lot going on and a hefty rule book folks will feel intimidated. This one won’t burn your brain. There are a few decisions to make and how to balance the use of your intel is not intended to measure your IQ. This really is a choose your own adventure.
Victory: 6 Challenging and victory seems to be achievable. Though our play group hasn’t won. Since this is co-operative you’ll be working together. Win as a team, die as a team.
Fun: 9 This game is very fun for those gamers who enjoy story telling or adventuring. There are some great encounters here and the author did well to add some humor too.

As an international agent you’re sent to track down the elusive evil Dr Lobo. By visiting cities across the globe you’ll have interactive encounters with outcomes that change with every decision you make =) Successfully completing encounters using customized d6 =) will help you collect intel, uncover henchmen hideouts and ultimately trace the whereabouts of your nemesis. Throughout your journey you’ll have a chance to customize your spy – do you prefer stealth? weapons expert? disguise? This is an adventure game; one where you’ll be reading through stories to interact with the game and pass skill checks using d6 to receive rewards or penalties. What agent would be complete without increasing skills and collecting powerful gadgets & weapons? Collect these as the game progresses.

In order to win the game, the agents must find Dr Lobo and turn over intel that matches the requirements to defeat Lobo. Finding him is a challenge as you’ll need to find and defeat henchman first. You’ll manage movement and pass skill checks to collect intel which can be traded in to uncover the whereabouts of the henchmen and used at the end of the game to capture Lobo. =)

A smiley face in the text overview indicates a mechanic or unique aspect that separates this game from others. =)
1. Encounters allow you to choose from a list of 7 or more responses. These responses result in a specific action/ skill check appropriate to your decision. In one example I chose “disguise” which allowed me to board a private yacht of a known terrorist, befriend, get close and assassinate him before snatching a briefcase and return it to HQ.
2. The customizable d6 are high quality and not equal in there ratios since one dice may have 3 success and another may only have one. You’ll be drawing from a bag of dice to determine which ones you have available during your skill check. This adds some well needed variety to rolling/chance and builds tension before you even have to roll.
3. The intel matching mechanic is blind draw and the locations where intel is located is constantly moving. You’ll never know the type you’ve collected until the end of the game and only hope that you’ve collected enough matching intel to reach the victory condition. Since the victory conditions change and increase as the game progresses you’ll always be balancing your speed of capture vs collecting more intel.

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