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Adam Daulton

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8
Go to the Heroes Wanted page

Heroes Wanted

29 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

In the past week or so I’ve attempted to stop littering, bust bootleg DVDs, and keep all the crazies in the asylum of Zeta City. One of those plays of Heroes Wanted was my 5,500th game played and so my 55th review in this series of reviews.

Game Play
In Heroes Wanted players take on their alter-ego roles of such as Captain Rocket or DJ Volcano and attempt to gain the most fame in four different scenarios. The hero that gets the most fame then gets to join the Zeta City Super Hero Team (think Avengers, just more awkward). Players do this by first choosing their hero, which has top half and a bottom half, and will be unique every game. Then a villain is chosen in a similar way to the heroes, so it’ll be unique all the time and you’ll end up with villains like Baron Von Skunk or Big Bad Beast terrorizing Zeta City. Then you choose your scenario, set it up, and play the game.

Each hero gets 7 cards, with one they can get later on, and each turn they either play a card or rest. If they rest, then they get to pick up all the cards they have played in the previous turns (think Mission Red Planet). Those cards allow the heroes to move around, attack the villain, henchmen, or underlings, maybe even attack other heroes and use your super power to reach the goals of the scenario. Once all heroes have taken their turn the villain attacks, heroes take damage or prevent it by playing more of their cards, and the next round begins.

Components
The action card backs are upside down, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t know that going in. Other than that this game looks fantastic. The art is perfect for bringing out the light and crazy super hero theme. The cards are excellent quality and I really like the board design that explains the scenario in a newspaper format, but at the same time is useful for actually playing the game. The henchmen and underlings are all unique wood shaped pieces. If I had a complaint at all it would be the extremely small threat marker (I replaced mine with a black wooden train). I also like that they fit a ton of stuff (it weighs a lot) in a box smaller than the normal “Ticket to Ride” sized box one usually expects with this level of game.

Strategy & Tactics
There can be strategy in this game, because for the most part the villain moves in a pre-determined format, but overall I think it is more of a tactical game. Assess the board, make your move, knock out a henchman, damage the hero, whatever you can do and try to set yourself up for the next turn. There are headlines in the game (essentially goals) in which not only do you get more points than your opponent if you complete them first, but it also gives you another bonus off your hero card. Timing when you get these headlines and thus the extra bonuses can be extremely important and strategic part of the game.

Overall
I’m really loving this game so far. I’ve yet to play with the quirks, which are basically funny roles the heroes must play, turning the game into an even lighter fare. I want to play with these sometime soon, but have yet to do so. As for the rest of the game, it is my favorite super hero game that I’ve played. I like the tactical play of it and love that I’m a different and odd hero fighting a different and odd villain. I’m also impressed with going the scenario route, instead of a the same city map over and over, it makes the game even more unique. Heroes Wanted is a game that I’m glad I wanted enough to kickstart and now own.

Recommendations
Super Spouse Gamers – This is one to pull out if your spouse is a super gamer. The best part about it is that you can avoid the player vs player attacking that in the game and just play it as a more competitive co-op.

Comic Book Fans – Personally I think this is the best super hero game available right now. I’m not into co-ops like Sentinels of the Multiverse. Legendary is a good game, but not really one that jumps out with the theme, then there is DC Deckbuilder which is a joke as far as the super hero theme goes.

Villain of Strategery – I can see serious strategy gamers being a bit turned off by this one. One of the types of heroes roles dice for their super power, the quirks could really bother such a person (which is one reason I haven’t used them quite yet), and the PVP can throw wrenches in your plans.

8
Go to the Ninjato page

Ninjato

121 out of 128 gamers thought this was helpful

Rules Summary
In Ninjato players are competing Ninjas trying to gain points by infiltrating different clan houses to steal treasures and using those treasures to spread rumors and influence envoys. Players do this by taking 3 turns over 7 rounds with scoring occurring after the 3rd, 5th, and 7th round. Other scoring is dispersed throughout the different turns. On their turn a player can try to steal treasure from a house, influence an envoy by using stolen treasure, learn a new skill to help them in stealing treasure, spread a rumor by spending treasure (these are basically end game bonus points for set collection), or draw additional cards to be used later. Then at the end of the game a final scoring happens and the winner is declared by all other players bowing to him or her!

The Components
The components in Ninjato could not be better. The art evokes the theme very well. The board itself has that wax-like finish that many games have, especially from Z-Man games. I really enjoy this type of finish on a board. It is also very functional for placing pieces on it. The absolute best part about the components though is the very large throwing stars that players use to indicate what action they are taking each turn. These really make the game jump out to passer-bys when playing in a public setting!

The Rest of My Thoughts
These likes and dislikes will of course be from a personal standpoint, but they hopefully will give you some indication of what about the game may make it worth it for you to get.

1. I love the theme! There aren’t enough Ninja themed games out there. Now, you do have to remember that this is a Euro-style game and so the theme isn’t absolutely prevalent in it like it would be in say War of the Ring or Descent, but it fits the mechanics well. That combined with the art, just does it for me.

2. The high/low mechanic used for stealing treasure from clan houses really makes the game. Trying to determine how well your hand is suited to going the stealth or strength route and then using your skills at the appropriate time to try and get the treasures you need. There are plenty several games out there, Aladdin’s Dragons is one, which uses a “guard” to protect something. In those games though, you always have to go over the guards number to beat them. Giving the option to go above or under the guards strength just adds enough tweak to make it more fun.

3. The tightness of the envoy race is also something I like quite a bit. Basically, when it comes to envoys, you are trying to have the most in each of the 3 colors. However, throughout the game, you aren’t getting 10, 15, or 20 of these envoys. Instead you are getting only 1, 2, or maybe 3 of them. So it makes each one you get extremely important. By giving each envoy, an age (tie-breaker), it makes the game much more tense in trying to get that older green colored envoy to win the tie.

4. Comparisons to Stone Age. As soon as this came out, people began comparing it to Stone Age, which I’ve never understood. Sure it has the rumor cards and Stone Age has the huts which score more the more you have. Many games have this end game scoring mechanic though including 7 Wonders, St. Petersburg, and others. Ninjato, to me, has much many more meaningful decisions that Stone Age and also is more fun to play. I like Stone Age just fine, but it isn’t one that has found its way into my collection, where Ninjato did. Simply because Ninjato offers these decisions that I don’t feel Stone Age does.

5. A knock that I can see coming against Ninjato, which for me doesn’t matter as much, is that there is potential to be screwed by the luck of the draw when it comes to getting treasures from the clan houses. For people who want zero luck in your games, then Ninjato probably isn’t for you, but for me there is enough luck in it to make it exciting, but not so much I don’t feel that good players won’t win the vast majority of the time.

Final Thoughts
If you couldn’t tell from reading this far, Ninjato is a game that will remain in my collection. It offers good strategy and fun in a 90 minute time frame. The pieces and board are great, rules are extremely well laid out, and for a gamer’s game here you can’t go wrong. Also, who doesn’t want to play a game that you yell, “bonsai!” throughout the game?

10
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

81 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

It had to happen. Dominion is my most played game by far, so eventually it would end up in the “Every 100 Games” series. Here are some of my thoughts on the game and hopefully some insight as why it is, in my opinion, the best significant other game out there.

I got Dominion as a birthday gift from my friend in April of 2009. I quickly followed it up with purchases of Intrigue & Seaside as soon as they came out. In a little over a year, I have played over 140 games of it, most of them 2-player against my wife. It is, at least for me, quite addicting.
My three main arguments for why it is the best SO game out there is its simplicity, its quick play time, and the variety it provides. All three of these features can be very important when it comes to gaming with your spouse.

Dominion is simple. You can explain it and get playing quickly. On your turn you can play one action card, make one buy, and then you discard everything you touched and draw 5 more cards. That pretty much explains how to play the game. Now of course there is more to it than that, but unless your opponent wants a detailed explanation of how a specific card works and when you would use it, there really isn’t going to be much more explanation.

Dominion plays fast. This was and is important for my wife and I since our daughter is just now 10 months old. We can get in a quick game while she is napping or at least happy playing on the floor with some toys for a bit. According to what cards you have in the game, which is another great thing of picking the cards for the playtime you want, Dominion can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 40 minutes for a two player game. Most games tend to finish around 20-30 minutes. This means if you blow it, you only have 20 minutes of losing and then you can play again. In the case of my wife and I, we often will play the best of 3 games in a single sitting.

Dominion has variety. With now 3 expansions (not including the single card expansions) out for it now, your Dominion games will have lots of different spice. This, for me as a gamer, is the most important part of a SO game. I want to play games with my wife, but I don’t really want to play Lost Cities over and over and over again. Dominion, even though you are playing the same basic mechanics, can be a different game every time. You can customize it to your mood. There are cards with lots of interaction, no interaction, and somewhere in between. Perhaps you want to encourage curses or have a “big money” game or have all the victory point cards in one game. Dominion allows you to do that!

So to conclude, though Dominion isn’t my favorite game of all time, it is one of the 10 best games that I have ever played at this point in my life! It makes for an excellent SO game and also can still be pulled out with the gamers. If you get all the expansions in one box, it is portable enough to go and play at your local Starbucks on a date.

9
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

76 out of 84 gamers thought this was helpful

Since I’ve been logging games, I’ve decided to write a review for every hundredth game played. I’ve begun calling it the Every 100 Games Series and enjoy the mystery of what game I will review next. My 2,100th game played was 7 Wonders.

I think I first heard about 7 Wonders on one of the many Gathering of Friends reports that came out. I put it on my wish list as one to think about for the future. Then on Saturday of GenCon 2010 my wife and I heard a very excited voice yelling out with a French accent, “7 Wonders demo starting now”! I immediately pushed Krista over to the table and we joined the 7 player game. It was great! Three months later, a buddy brought his copy over and we played 3 games in a row. Here is what I like about the game and some potential complaints I could see people having about the game.

Likes
First, I love the quick play time. Whether playing with that game at GenCon with 7 people or the games we played yesterday with 4 and 5 people the game took right around 30 minutes. This is a rare thing in board games. Often it seems, the more players you add, the more time you are adding to your game. 7 Wonders does an excellent job of not doing it.

Second, the simplicity of the game is its biggest plus side. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that I can teach this game to non-gamers and gamers alike. One of the ladies we played with last night has just been getting into games and had absolutely no problem picking up the mechanics and playing competitively. You don’t have to have a huge big plan and over analyze each turn, you just keep one card and move on. This decision gets even easier as the rounds go on, because you have less and less cards to choose from.

Third, the game is just fun. It’s really fun to see your wonder going up, getting that 3rd matching science symbol, or hoping that temple comes back around to you. The military mechanic also makes for some good fun as you keep trying to out build your neighbor. Then there is the hope that your neighbor on your left plays the clay pit, because along with the stone your other neighbor has you can put that important card into play.

Potential Dislikes
First, the price could be a downer for people. Essentially, 7 Wonders is a card game. There are 7 player boards that come with it and some wood coins and a few cardboard military victory points, but it is a card game through and through. $50 MSRP for a card game, especially one that has not an absolute boatload of them is tough to swallow. I say all this though, but I do have it on pre-order, because I think it is that good of a game.

Second, I think people will complain about player interaction in this game, especially when playing with 4+ players. There aren’t any attack cards where you can directly mess with your opponent. Unlike Fairy Tale, where you only play 3 of the 5 cards you draft, in 7 Wonders you play all the cards you keep. This means it is a bigger pill to swallow to just keep a card to stop your opponent from getting it. Also, when playing with 4 or more players, especially 7 players you can’t do much to effect the others. I think the sweet spot for this game might be 3 players, so everyone’s military affects everyone else’s.

Conclusion
As I’ve already said, I have 7 Wonders on pre-order for when the English edition makes it over here to the United States. So, I obviously think it is that good. My suggestion for you though is this. If you enjoy games that are quick, simple, and don’t have player conflict you should pick this game up. If you absolutely have to have that conflict and want to be able to directly attack someone in your card games, then I’d try it before you buy. However, I am someone that likes a bit of meanness in my games, but despite no real meanness in 7 Wonders I love it! It started out as a solid 9 out of 10 for me and I can see it moving up to a 10. I foresee several dozens of plays in my future.

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