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Cao Cao

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Rated 25 Games
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Go to the Dominion: Intrigue page
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7
Go to the River Dragons page

River Dragons

9 out of 9 gamers thought this was helpful

What Is It?

You probably read the summary before you looked at this review. Go look there for better details. In short, you select actions 5 at a time trying to get your villager from his island to the one across from him/her. You have to do things like lay stones, planks, walk, run, leap and summon the river dragon to help your cause.

Why does it work with the kiddies?

The game is a very simple concept, sets up quickly and very colourful. That in itself should draw in the little ones. There are no words so my daughter has been able to play it since she was four. Once they understand what all of the cards mean, they will be a formidable opponent. In my experience, kids will attack adults with River Dragons with EXTREME prejudice!

It is also a very tactile game. Where you lay your stones and planks is an important part of playing. Those little touches help get everyone involved.

But what about me, and the other mature adults in the group?

As mentioned elsewhere, there are definitely elements of Chinese Checkers and Robo Rally. This means that there’s a lot of opportunity for interaction and you’re frequently faced with the choice of playing for your own game, or running interference on someone else.

Since the kids are up to speed, the high interaction should allow for lots of fun re-playability. Your opponents will set the level of strategy, but there’s ample opportunity to mess with each other so it can get quite thinky or nasty. Since actions are revealed simultaneously the wait times are not bad at all.

This sounds too good to be true!

It’s not without it’s faults. It’s sort of cartoony and that may make it a hard sell if you’re pulling it out for adults. The simplicity may mean there’s only so many times that you want to play (at least until you’ve had some respite.) The planks are very fragile and it’s not uncommon for them to get knocked off of the stones throughout the game (especially by little hands.)

All in all though, I’ve really enjoyed pulling this out with the family. It is also a good warm up or gateway game. I recommend it for an fun light experience.

7
Go to the Forbidden Desert page

Forbidden Desert

56 out of 64 gamers thought this was helpful

As mentioned this cooperative game is a great introduction in to the sub genre or even gaming in general. The objective is clear, the gameplay is simple, and there is a lot of interaction that should happen.

The main holdback for this game (and the reason that replay value takes a hit) is that at times the game is beaten rather easily. I have a bit of a hard time pulling it out with my wife because we’ve managed to beat it rather easily together and she views it as boring.

It’s not quite as simple as that though. The longer the game goes for the more difficult it gets. The storm that you’re fighting against only gets stronger as you’re forced to draw more sand storm cards. The difficulty in moving around and the danger of running out of water can be real problems. I have also found that the game is slightly more difficult with multiple players as it’s harder to coordinate and share resources amongst multiple people.

Any review of this game would be incomplete without mentioning the mechanic of the sand storm. As it moves around the very “board” you’re playing on shifts. Your strategy has to be very pliable to keep up with the ever changing circumstances.

The other thing that this game does very well is balance the gear that you can pickup against the dangers you face. The gear can include things like a jet pack, or secret water reserve that all encourage interaction and teamwork. If used effectively you should always feel like you have a chance.

Overall, for it’s simplicity, unique mechanics and ability to inspire that sense of desperation (especially with more players) that co-op games are so good at I’d definitely recommend it.

9
Go to the Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - Deluxe Edition page
111 out of 118 gamers thought this was helpful

There’s lots to like about this game. It can be a very different experience depending on whether you are playing as Mordor or the Fellowship. Let’s break it down by a few categories

Theme
Typical of LOTR games the artwork is fantastic. Either you know if you like a LOTR themed game or not. You don’t need me to tell you whether you’ll like it or not!

Components
Simple board, simple pieces (think Stratego.) Part of the beauty of this game is it’s simplicity though so it shouldn’t held against it.

Flow of Play
In addition to a quick setup, this game moves quickly (like a 2 player game should.) There may be a bit of time used up with analysis paralysis but once players are experienced and have a good handle on the options available to them it should have a quick pace to it.

Strategy
I have found this to be quite diverse. I’ve been able to try a number of different strategies that can be very effective. It’s more dependant on the opponent that you’re playing against, and of course the side that you’re playing with.

Game Play
I found that this fits the theme very effectively. If you are playing as the Fellowship, it very much feels as though you are being evasive and at times very unlikely that Frodo will make his journey all the way to Mordor. The forces of Sauron are naturally more agressive because of their strength. You can go with that agression in your hunt for the ring but it will also work against you sometimes.

The one drawback I’ve found with this game is that the learning curve of knowing what different characters and cards do can lead to a pretty big divide between an experienced player and a new one. The new player may not enjoy himself all that much until they’ve gotten enough games in.

I’ve been enjoying the base game enough that I haven’t even gotten in to the variation offered in the deluxe addition, although it looks to offer some interesting wrinkles. All in all, I very much enjoyed it and recommend it for a quick 2 player strategy game.

7
Go to the Citadels page

Citadels

53 out of 93 gamers thought this was helpful

The mechanics of the game are very tight. The characters, and their qualities lead to difficult choices all game. Anticipating your opponents moves is half the fun. The reveal of who is who are usually the big highlights of a round but often it’s the smaller strategy that will win games. Offers a good choice between how fast you build and how expensive you choose to build. It can get bogged down a bit during character selection, especially with more players. Pulling out the alternate cards can lead to a very different experience as well.

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