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Anders Nordstrom

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8
Go to the Magnum Opus page

Magnum Opus

17 out of 18 gamers thought this was helpful

I backed Magnum Opus kickstarter campaign and waited eagerly for a year to receive the actual game. The components seemed nice, and the videos explaining the concept seemed nice as well.

Now I’ve finally had the chance to try it out, and I’m not disappointed. The game is a deckbuilder, and for those of youy who may be unfamiliar with the concept you start with a small deck of cards. When it is your turn you draw a hand of cards from that deck, and as the game progresses you try to get your hands on better cards to add to your deck, making it possible to perform cooler actions.

The goal of this game is to create the philosophers stone. First player to do that wins the game, there are no points or scoring tracks. All you have to do is to make a succesful experiment with the three correct ingredients. Unfortunately you do not know which ingredients are the correct ones when the game starts.

The main focus in this game is a matrix of 4 x 4 spots, each matching a specific combination of reagents (four green located on the x-axis and 4 blue on the y-axis). You collect ingredients and when you have one green and one blue they will point to a specific place in the matrix. In that place is a card dictating the effect of your experiment (for instance allowing you to grab special cards or some annoying ones that turn your gold into lead…). Each reagent card have a difficulty number, and by adding your two numbers together you see how hard it is to succeed with the experiment (you must roll at least that number on a 8-sided die).

Before anyone have tried a specific combination for the first time noone knows what will happen (the effect card is face down). The first player to succesfully perform a specific experiment also gain a research card as a bonus. Those are more powerful cards that you want to have in your deck. If you fail your experiment you gain a xp-token that can be spent later to modify a result. It’s a good idea to gather a few of those before trying the final transmutaion of the philosopher’s stone, since it contains three reagents instead of just two it’s more difficult to achieve.

Three of the spots in the matrix also gives you Magnum Opus clues, revealing one of the three ingredients needed to win the game (in secret, only the player succeding such an experiment will get the clue).

So, when it is your turn you first have the chance to play one or two cards to grant you money or draw more cards from the deck. Unlike for instance Dominion this is capped to two actions, and during normal circumstances you will not be able to play more such cards. This is your steady income.

In the next phase you can buy or sell reagents.

Next you can manipulate your working bench where all the experiments take place (the table in front of you). You can store reagents on the table between turns, and this is where you can add, remove or swap reagents to the table.

After this you may perform an action, for instance try to perform the experiment with the cards on your table. If you have enough money you can also pay an assistant to perform an experiment to another place in the matrix allready discovered to benefit from the effect from it.

Finally the rules tells you to pause and consider. 😉

The effects of the experiments are randomized, so the game will offer sligthly different options each game. Each turn goes fast, and obviously luck is a factor, though not as big as in Dominion, since you can save cards on your table to assure that you have the right combination of reagents when needed.

Like almost all deckbuilders the interactions between players are minimal, so if that puts you down you may not like it. I have no problems with that and found this game took a refreshing new angle on the deckbuilding mechanics.

7
Go to the Thurn and Taxis page

Thurn and Taxis

79 out of 86 gamers thought this was helpful

I was immediately hooked the first time I tried this game. It’s a great gateway game to introduce new people to eurogaming, but it works very well for people already in that swamp (like myself).

The headline says ticket to ride inverted, and the reason for this is that you do basicly the same thing as in TtR, namely building routes between cities, but here you do it by getting cards for the cities instead of buidling the distance between two cities. Just as TtR you collect resources (in this case city cards) from an open collection that get replenished when people take cards.

The board is a map of Germany (and Lodz) divided in different colorcoded areas. During your turn you grab cards and add cities to your route. You decide for yourself when the route is finished, there are both pros and cons with waiting or scoring. When you decide to score a route you may either place a station in all cities you pass in a certain area OR place one station in each area (only in cities included in your route of course).

There are several ways to score points, and some of them contradict each other, so you’ll have to decide where your focus should be. The most common way to score is to get one of your station in each city in a certain area, and the scoring tiles goes down in value, meaning that the first player to complete an area will score the most.

There’s also a bonus for being the frist player to have stations in all the areas.

But, to mess up the decission making you also get to upgrade your carriage when scoring a line route enough. This means you also want to score as many routes as possible that get slightly longer each time to be able to upgrade. But on the other hand there are bonuses if you are the first person to score very long routes, so you are torn between what will grant you most victory points in the end.

The game ends when someone mananges to upgrade to the fanciest carriage or when they run out of station markers. The game allows all players the same amount of game turns. Any unplace station marker count as minus points.

That’s it. Clean and simple, very easy to teach, and the different ways to score is logic and simple. Basicly it’s a race to be able to pick earlier tiles (worth more vp) from the different bonus objectives on the board. I don’t think we’ve ever played this with anyone that didn’t like it. The artwork is beautiful and it doesn’t take all night to finish a game. Check it out!

7
Go to the Las Vegas page

Las Vegas

14 out of 16 gamers thought this was helpful

When I saw this game I was not very impressed, and had it not been for the fact that I played it I would probably have stayed away from it. I’m not that keen on dice rolling, and the casino boards are pretty plain in their appearance. However, as soon as I tried it out I was hooked. This is a GREAT little filler game mixing luck and strategy.

In essence it’s an area control game where the game board consist of six famous casinos, each representing the possible results of a die. You roll your dice, group all yor different results together and move all dice of a certain result to the corresponding casino. This goes on until no player have any dice left, and then you see who is dominant in the different casinos. Simple enough, huh?

Well, three things stir things up a bit.

1. REWARD
Before each round you prep the casinos with reward bills (worth 10K – 90K), and you keep adding bills to the casino until it reaches a collected value of at least 50K. So some casinos are worth more than others, and some casinos will have just one bill while others have rewards for more than one player.

2. NO TIES!
Before payout you remove all players that have the SAME number of dice as anyone else. So if there are 3 black dice, 3 red dice and just 1 yellow die, yellow will win. This rule is ALWAYS in effect, even if there are two 40K bills as reward. This also means that sometimes it is BAD for you to add dice to a casino, which adds some interesting choice to the game.

3. COMMUNITY DICE!
The game allows each player to get two dice that actually belongs to the house, and these are placed along with your own dice (if you place all your threes, that means both your own threes as well as any community die you may have rolled with a three). Players can as a collective use this to punish each other.

The game is played over four turns, the player that managed to accumulate the most money being the winner.

Obviously luck is a big factor, but it’s possible to make more clever moves then you may think at first. All in all you can finish a game in under 30 minutes, of course depending on the number of players and how fast each player make up their minds… But give it a try, it’s a great gateway game as well.

9
Go to the Mr. Jack Pocket page

Mr. Jack Pocket

19 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

Mr. Jack Pocket is true to its name. The game itself fits inside the square box, roughly 11 cm wide (that’s 4,5″ for you pesky types out there who cannot embrace the world standard called SI units), so it’s easy to bring anywhere. The game itself is an assymetrical 2 player game where one player tries to find the identity of Jack the Ripper and the other player tries to conceal the identity until the time runs out for the good guys.

As you can see from the image presenting the game here the Whitechapel district is made up from 9 square tiles (each with a suspect on top of it) in a 3×3 pattern. Most of them have streets in a T-shape, effectively blocking line of sight to one side of the tile. And the main thing in this game revolve around line of sight, the player controlling the good guys have three persons circling the play area (Holmes, Watson and their loyal dog Toby). Each turn they will peek inside whitechapel, and depending on their positions and how the tiles are turned they will see some of the suspects. The player controlling Jack must then tell if Jack is visible or not, making it possible to cross out a number of suspects (flipping the tiles to the other side where there is no suspect). So, if the good player have his/her way the detectives will observe exactly half of the suspects each turn to be as efficient as possible in eliminating possible culprits.

This is where the real brain burner comes in, before the observation phase each player can do two actions. There are four action tiles that are randomly flipped (they have different actions on each side), and whoever is starting player (switched each turn) will pick the first action, then the other player will pick two out of the remaining three, and the starting player will get the last one. Actions include moving the detectives, rotating tiles or swapping tiles. There’s even an action where either player can grab an alibi for an innocent victim. It turns out that calculating what the other player can do with diferent combinations of actions and what to do to maximize your chances is really hard. I like that aspect greatly, and I found that not being the starying player is often the most interesting role.

One thing that adds a bit of a twist is that even though the good guy have 8 turns to find Jack, some things (like not seing Jack or grabbing alibi cards) will accumulate hour glass tokens. If Jack manage to collect 6 of them he/she wins before the 8 rounds are over. This means that the Jack player prefers if Jack is not seen, and of course that could also be used as a clue by a good detective player. It’s a great little touch that adds more flavour to the game.

While I have not yet played this as much as I would love to I highly recommend it. This game is a gem!

7
Go to the The Phantom Society page
52 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

I had the pleasure of trying this game out last weekend, and will most likely make a purchase, for I enjoyed it greatly.

One player (or team of players) hide ghosts of four different colours UNDER the room tiles of the game board. A ghost may only be hidden under a room of the same colour (eg blue ghost under a blue room). All rooms has a value between 1-6, and the ghosts must together destroy rooms to a total value of 45 or more to win.

The game alters between the ghosts and the ghost hunters, starting with the ghosts. The player/team controling the ghosts flip a tile next to one of the ghosts and score that tile. Then it is the ghost hunters turn to try to guess where the ghost is hidden. Then a ghost of another colour must do the same thing, and this goes on until the ghost hunters have found all four ghosts or they managed to destroy at least 45 points worth of rooms.

The ghost hunters must use deduction and think hard about the history of hauntings in order to make educated guesses of where the ghosts may hide, and it is not an easy job. Finding one of the ghosts early on is a tremendous help, and even in that case it is hard to stop them in time.

Each game only takes about 15-20 minutes, and I think this is a great filler with great suspense. There’s also some extra rules for a bidding auctions between the teams on how many points they think they can get away with destroying as ghosts.

Try it, simple rules, hard deduction!

8
Go to the Carcassonne: River I page
42 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

The river is a new way to start placing your tiles, instead of the regular starting tile you start by building the river. Along the way you find some of the usual objects like roads, and you can place meeples along the way. As the river is finished you have more “loose ends” to build on, and it makes the early game much more interesting if you ask me. Also, the river have som nice impact on the fields where you place farmers.

All in all, I highly recommend it. Nowadays it is usually included in the Carcassonne base set.

8
Go to the Love Letter page

Love Letter

61 out of 68 gamers thought this was helpful

This game was on my to-buy list as soon as I heard about it (I even made a copy myself that I never had the time to try out before I could buy the real game), and I was not disappointed.

The game itself is very simple, only 16 cards, each with a role and value from 1 (guards) to 8 (the princess herself). Each round all players try to deliver their love letter to the princess, but she will only accept one letter, so in the end of the round you must have the most valuable card in your hand. Of course you could also have kicked out all the competition beforehand (in fact, most rounds end that way).

You have one card in your hand and when it’s your turn you take another one. You must now chose which card that will hold on to your letter, and which card to play. You play a card by discarding it in front of you, and each card have a different effect. Priests let you peek on a another players card, the King let you trade hand with another player etc. By studying the actions of the other players it is possible to make decent guesses of what they might have and act accordingly.

Now, quite often luck is the biggest factor. Some rounds you are out before you had the chance to do anything, and sometimes you find yourself with two cards that simply suck. That’s life, fortunately each round is resolved in just a few minutes. Depending on the number of players you need to deliver a number of letters to the princess in order to win the game.

All in all this is a quick and fun game, and most people (excluding my wife…) found it refreshing. I think you should try it out!

And for the record, all my letters to the princess starts with “Come on… you want to, huh?”. Somehow it doesn’t seem to work so well…

8
Go to the River Dragons page

River Dragons

47 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

This game was on my to-have-list for quite a few years, and now that a new version was released I bought it right away. I was very pleased to see that they had pimped many of the components, and the cards artwork is great. The only concern I have is their choice of colours, it’s not hard to confuse the red player with the pink player for instance.

Each player lives on a piece of land next to the border of the gameboard, and the winner is the first to get across the system of islands and make it safely to the other side. Sounds easy? Think again.

Each turn you program your actions (not unlike RoboRally, but here you always have the same 13 different cards to chose from. Some cards allow you to place rocks on the islands, other cards let you place or move bridges between those rocks. Some cards let you walk and one card even let you jump over another player and land on the bridge on the other side. Finally there are dragon cards in all other players colours that you can use to make them skip one of their cards this turn (only one dragon may be played per player each turn).

The board gets crowded pretty quick, and each stone can only hold three bridges (so building additional bridges to hinder opponents can be quite effective). And here comes the chaos! The rules basicly says that as soon as you try to move your pawn and it is not possible to do that you will fall in the water, and have to start over again the next turn on your home island. It’s VERY hard to exercise any real strategy, the randomness of your fellow players actions make sure of that. However, I don’t think that’s a problem, in fact it is part of the charm with this game. This is a fairly short game, and I don’t think tha author meant it to be taken seriously.

I think you should try it out. Really serious gamers may be frustrated over the randomness, but we found it to be appreciated by a wide range of people. And taking a swim is not the end of the world, you just start over again…

8
Go to the High Society page

High Society

27 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

This is the most evil auction game I know, and every decision is painful. And since the designer is Reiner Knizia there’s a twist in the scoring.

The setup is very simple, you all play rich brats with nothing to do in life but to buy status symbols. Whoever have the fanciest collection of bling wins the game. Pretty straightforward huh? Well, think again. Two things makes this really hard.

First of all, all players start with an identical set of money bills in different values, and DURING an auction you may never pick up any money you’ve put on the table. That is, you cannot pick up the $10.000 bill and replace it with a $20.000 bill, only add more money or pass the opportunity to stay in the auction. This means that you have to be careful what money you spend, not to limit future auctions because you’re stuck with the wrong bills.

The second detail is that at the end of the game the player/players that have spent the most money is out of the game (being the poor guy is not ok in these social circles).

So, you must figure out how much to spend and try to figure out how much cash to save for the endgame.

Some of the cards are bad, and in this case all the players pay to avoid the card (for instance thieves that will grab one of your previously purchases), only the player that accept the bad card is free from paying.

Some people hate this kind of game, but I knew I had to own this the first time I played it. It’s fascinating to see the player group as a collective deciding what every card is worth and how that effect the auctions.

I don’t think this game is for everyone, but I think you should try it out before you dismiss it. I consider this along with Modern Art (also by Knizia) to be the Crown jewels of auction games.

10
Go to the Hanabi page

Hanabi

300 out of 324 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a very special game, and let me begin by saying that this is definetely not for everyone. The game is a dry abstract co-op brainburner, and if that does not sound like your cup of tea you might just be right. I love it, and many of my gamer friends really love it too.

The task is simple, the player group must sort cards of different colors in corresponding piles on the table, placing the red 1 on the bottom, red 2 on top of the red 1 and so on until you collected 1-5 in each color.

There are five different “normal” colors (more about the odd one later) and each color suit is made up by

1 1 1
2 2
3 3
4 4
5

That is, two cards of each, except for the 1 and 5. Only five cards should go in each pile, so there are some expendables.

Each player is dealt a hand of 4-5 cards (depending on the number of players) and must take turns in clockwise order. Here comes the little detail about this game, you keep your hand so that you only see the back of your cards, that is you can see what everyone else have but not your own cards. Tricky huh?

On your turn you must do one of three things

– Give a clue to another player, pointing out either all cards of a certain color or all cards of a certain number. This cost a clue token, you start with 8 of them.

– Trash a card from your hand, returning one used clue token to the group. Of course you would not want to trash any 5 (only one of them) or for instance both red threes.

– Play a card (if legal it is added to the correct pile, if it’s not you lose a life, three lost lives and the games is over). If you happen to play a legal 5 you also get a clue token back.

If you played or trashed cards you replenish your hand afterwards with a fresh one from the deck. If the deck runs out you may all make a final action and then the game is over.

The goal of the game is of course to get as many cards on the table as possible.

The real problem with this game is that 8 clue tokens is not really enough, and that means that you must give really good clues that maximize the information to the other players. Look at this game as a collective puzzlebox. When giving a clue you must anticipate how the recipient will interpret the clue. “She said this card was my 3, does that mean I should play it or that I should trash it? Or was it meant to include a subtle hint to my neighbour about her four?” It’s vital that you play with people that use logic in sort of the same way you do and that you trust each other. The best clue will give information to more than one player.

Of course one of the hard things is that you must keep track of all prior clues you’ve been given. When someone point out where your blue cards are, that also says that the rest of the cards are non-blue. But then you play a card or two, and you have different info on different cards, which can be highly frustrating to keep track on.

Included in the game is a sixth “color”, multicolored, and if you find the normal game to easy (yeah right…) you can include that in some different ways, one addon is to use it but only have one card of each number, another one is to add it with all 10 cards and make them trigger to clues (“here are your red cards” would include both red and multicolored cards).

When we play this we all look tormented, it’s one tough decission after the other, but we love it that way. I’ve never seen a mechanic like this before, and it is really fresh.

If you have the chance, try it out. You may not like it, or you may be completely won over to the dark side like me. Only one way to find out! And a game only last 20-30 minutes (well, that of course depends on how long you think each turn…)

8
Go to the Can't Stop page

Can't Stop

80 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve never played this game live, only at boardgamearena, but I fell for it the moment I tried it out. Quite often I wish I hadn’t, because this game is a cruel mistress, just as my headline says. When luck is not your friend you will really be annoyed and frustrated.

For anyone not familiar with the game you have 11 paths, numbered 2-12 (the possible sums of two six sided dice) that needs to be conquered. First player to win three paths win the game. Simple enough.

When it is your turn you have three black temporary progress markers. You roll 4 die that you make it into 2 pair of 2 dice anyway you choose. The result of a pair is the path you may walk (for instance, 2,3,4,5 could be combined to 5 & 9, 6 & 8 or 7 & 7). If you have unused black markers and you can walk the paths of both pairs you have to. After this you must decide if you pass and swap your temporary black markers with your own or if you dare roll again. The trick is you only have three active paths each turn (the black markers, remember?) and if your dice cannot be combined so that at least one active path goes up you lose all progress from this round. When someone have claimed a number that is DEAD, meaning noone can use that result when rolling, so later in the game there will be greater risc of losing your progress.

Of course the most common result of two dice is 7, so all the paths are not of equal length. 2 & 12 are just three steps, with two increased steps for each number closer to the 7.

This game is not all luck, even though it may seem so at first glance. But calculating your riscs make you win more often, and knowing how to “help out” odd numbers. For instance, if you have 2, 7, 8 as your current active paths the 7 & 8 makes it quite probable that you will not bust, but the 2 is just three steps to completion so it’s great to try to get at least two of the steps when you have this opportunity. And of course when you really fight over a path where several players are close to completion is really intense, and if the dice are not with you you may not even have the chance to improve that path.

I cannot let this game go, it calls me back over and over again, even though it can be the most frustrating thing on earth. Luckily a game only last a few minutes. A great filler, try it out.

7
Go to the Dragonheart page

Dragonheart

116 out of 127 gamers thought this was helpful

I tried this little gem online and immediately decided to buy it. Decent two player games are not that common.

The game itself is pretty simple, each player have a identical decks with cards that match different locations on the board. When it’s your turn you MUST play one or more cards on exactly one location. All the cards on the board can be won according to very simple rules, for instance:

Treasure cards are taken by dragons. Dragon cards are taken by the third archer played. All archers go to a pile that are taken by the third ship played, and so on…

If you take a look at the image above you get the idea, just follow the arrows to see what cards are captured by what other cards.

There are som special rules, most notable that if you manage to grab a petrified dragon card with a sorceress you also get the dragon token that grant you an extra card in your hand (a huge perk) as well as three extra victory points if you have it at the end of the game.

The game takes around 10-15 minutes to play, and luck is a factor, no doubt about it. However, good players will win more often, because calculated riscs and decent memory of what cards are more likely to come up gives you edge. After you’ve played a few times this becomes apparent.

If I should compare this to something it will be Lost Cities, about the same ratio of luck/skill, the same timespan and weight of the game, and the same feel of never getting the hand you want. This is a great filler, everyone we’ve introduced it to have liked it.

8
Go to the Coloretto page

Coloretto

109 out of 116 gamers thought this was helpful

On the surface this is a quite random card collecting game with the twist that only the three best piles of a certain color you gather are scored positive, all the rest are scored negative. However, after a few rounds you realise there are so much more to this game, and after a few more rounds you see the wolf behind the sheep mask.

This game offers so many more interesting choices than people realise. The rules themselves are very easy (learned in 3 minutes), on the table are one card pile spot for each player, and each round all players must grab one pile. On your turn you can either grab one of the piles containing at least one card or draw a card from the stack and add it to any pile with fewer than three cards (no pile may contain more than 3 cards at any time). Any player that have grabbed a pile are temporarily out while there are unclaimed piles. When all piles have been taken, the one grabbing the last one start a new round, and this goes on until you reach a “last Round” card placed a few cards from the bottom of the deck. Easy huh?

There are two different choices that must be made in the game:

1. Grab a pile or draw a card?
Knowing when to grab a pile instead of drawing is hard. In general you score more points the more cards you get, but obviously you just want to get away from some rounds with as few wounds as you can. Yes, sometimes players lose points after a round if they are unlucky. Also, being able to see what pile you should grab can be a bit tricky, since you don’t want the highest score possible, you want as high score as possible COMPARED to the other players. Sometimes you can grab a pile that give you slightly fewer points but creates a mess for your competitors. And sometimes you simply have to take one for the team since a specific pile is too good for another player and the collective can simply not allow that to happen.

2. When picking a card, knowing where to put it
This is the real engine in the game, observing what piles are of what interest to the other players and increasing your own options at the same time as poisioning their opportunities. Also, realising the consequences of your actions so that you do not end up with a lousy pile yourself is really important.

All in all this is a great game, and everyone we’ve introduced to Coloretto have liked it, both gamers and non-gamers. I highly recommend this for everyone. Don’t let the simple rules fool you, this is a great game with hidden qualities. But yes, luck is a pretty large factor in Coloretto, that cannot be denied. 😉

9
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

82 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

Dominion was the first deck-building game, and when I first tried it I was really fascinated by the innovative way to construct a game. It’s no surprise that so many other games have borrowed the mechanics to lesser or greater extent.

I really like this game and every time I play it I’m thrilled to examine the options and combinations available. There’s quite a few tutorials out there, but in case anyone is new I’ll make a quick summary:

1. The object of the game is to gather cards with assigned victory points (mainly Provinces, Duchies and Estates), but the problem is that the cool cards with lots of vp cost a lot of money.

2. Each game you get a selection of 10 sets of cards available for purchase (there are 25 sets in the base game so the number of combinations makes the replay value very high). There are also certain base cards that are always available (copper, silver and gold and the vp cards)

3. Each turn you get a hand of 5 cards, and you begin the game with a base deck of 3 estates (worth 1 vp each) and 7 coppers (worth 1 money-unit each). You simply cannot afford the cool stuff.

3. When you buy stuff you don’t lose your money, but rather discards it. Therefore, if you use three coppers to buy a silver (worth 2 instead of the 1 a copper is worth), the silver goes in your deck and can be used on later turns when it shows up in your hand to pay for things. Obviously, since a province cost 8 and you only get 5 cards you could never buy that with coppers alone. But, grabbing some silver may allow you to eventually buy gold, and all of a sudden you can afford the cool cards (if you’re lucky enoguh the correct money cards show up in your current hand).

4. The basic rule is that each turn you can do one action (described below) and then buy one new card with the money in your hand.

5. To spice things up you can buy action cards. These allow you to do things like drawing more cards, gain other cards for free or discount the card/s you buy. Some of them even give you more actions, making it possible to play several cards in a row. The goal is to accumulate as much money as possible during your turn to be able to buy more good cards that will improve your hand and your options even more. This is really the core of the game, playing your hand is often quite straight forward, it’s the buying that is the difference between winning and losing. You want to balance money, cards that give you more actions and cards that let you draw more cards (and perhaps even cards that allow you to do sneaky things to your opponents).

6. The game ends when any three card piles are completely sold out or when someone buys the last province. Whoever managed to get the most vp wins!

Now, there are a couple of things that can be said as critisism of this game:

1) The theme is VERY losely draped on top of a beautiful game mechanic. When you play you don’t feel like a monarch expanding your Dominion. You feel like a geek trying to optimize your current hand. For most of the cards there’s no connection whatsoever between the title of the card and what it actually does. I can live with this, but some people get really annoyed with the lack of believable theme.

2) It’s more or less a solitaire. There are some cards that affect other players (stealing cards, making them discard cards from their hand etc.) but for the most part it’s you and your cards. Player interaction is not strong, and it’s more a race to be able to buy the nifty cards before anyone else.

3) Card chains can be silly. Players can keep playing cards that allow them to draw new cards and play even more cards… and before you know it there is 15-20 cards on the table. While some people may think this is one of the charms of the game it’s the one thing that creates downtime.

4) There are other deck building games out there that have developed the mechanic further. This is the first one to my knowledge, so many people find for instance Thunderstone or Nightfall to be more interesting and eveloped. This is not to say that Dominion is a bad game, only that other games may be the first choice if you like the genre.

So, back to good stuff about this game:

1) It plays quite quickly, and even when people play the really long chains of cards you only wait a minute or so.

2) It works EXCELLENT as a two player game, in fact I think I prefer it with fewer players.

3) The game components are really nice, beautiful artwork on the cards, and the box have individual slots for all the cards to make it easy to find the right card sets. There are also randomizer cards that can be used to determine what cards to use.

4) The vp cards themselves tend to balance the game, for they are what you need to win, but at the same time they dilute your deck so that it’s harder to get more cool stuff.

5) The rules are very easy to learn, and although one or two of the cards can be a bit confusing at first, you are up and running in less than 15 minutes even if you’ve never seen the game before.

All in all, this is a great game, and I really really recommend it. It has survived well over time, and I think it gives the offspring games a good run for their money. I own every expansion released of Thunderstone, but I still play Dominion as well.

For a father that turned 40 with not so much time to play games AFK I can tip you about boardgamearena:

http://en.boardgamearena.com/#!welcome

where you can play the game for free (including the expansion Intrigue). You will quickly see if the game is in your taste and it’s always nice to have another big box in the game collection. I know I have one.

8
Go to the Le Havre page

Le Havre

146 out of 170 gamers thought this was helpful

I was really keen to try this one out, since I loved Agricola. And yes, it really feels like Agricola a few centuries later. The basic concept is the same, that is you pick one of too many options (meaning that you constantly feel you don’t have the time to do all the stuff you want to do), and just as in Agricola the components have mutliple use and can be collected and converted, so there are many roads to success.

Basicly you do the following on your turn:

1. Resupply
On the game board there are a row of “offers”, and on each players turn you resupply some of them (they accumulate just as many of the things in Agricola). That’s what the tiles on the water does that you place your little ship on if you’ve peeked on the images.

2. You pick an action which is basicly:

Grab an offer, that is take all the accumulated goods there

or

Make another action like building some sort of building or a ship. Some buildings are used to refine your goods (like turning hides to leather) others are used to build other stuff (like the wharf that is used to build ships).

Just like Agricola you need to provide food at certain times in the game, and a key to this is to build ships, because they will reduce the needed food.

The game is tight and I guess if all players are good it will be really hard to make the right choices. It also takes some time, and I recommend only playing this with people that stay focused on the game. But if you liked Agricola this has the same “feel”. But I must be clear, this is NOT Agricola, there are many other mechanics and even though both games are about timing this is a different beast. I liked it alot, but I do think this is not for everyone.

7
Go to the Small World page

Small World

71 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

I was a bit hesitant if this was a good game or not before I tried it out the first time. Territorial conquest games are not really my cup of tea, but I was really surprised in a positive way. Not only is the game very simple, they also managed to more or less completely get rid of luck. You have a bunch of tokens, and you use them to grab areas on the map. Some areas cost more people to conquer because there are more enemies, the defenders cover in mountains or something similar. Different players will gain different amount of points for different areas depending on what race/special power they play at the moment (more on that later), so figuring out how to use your forces in the most efficient way is a big part of the game. Quite often the final score can be very even (partly because this is a game that invites bashing the leader) so you really want to maximize everything.

A couple of things make this game highly dynamic and interesting:

1) Races + Special powers
You play a race combined with a specail power. This creates many more or less bizarre combinations (flying hobbits, underworld amazons or diplomatic skeletons just to mention a few odd combos). The race gives you some property (like getting extra points for fields or being really good at attacking from mountains), and the special power gives you another ability. The two also contains a number of units and these numbers added together makes up your total number of trigger happy citizens.

2) Decline
Normally you don’t get any new tokens for your race, so after a few rounds your forces have probably been a bit decimated. At this stage you can decide to abandon your race and let them go in decline. Next turn you simply grab a fresh race (with a new special power). When counting points you add the points from your active race and your old declined race (which simply stay passive on the board as long as noone attacks them). This creates some interesting choices. First of all, the optimal situation is of course to have a vital active race and a decent declined race that adds some points, But at what point do you give up your current race? It’s not fun to let them in decline, but on the other hand you may just be scoring badly and delaying the inevitable anyway. Also, if your declined race is really not helping you out, is it a good idea to let your active race go in decline to get more points? These are hard choices, and each time you let a race go in decline you miss a turn where you could have grabbed some fresh land.

3) Buying new races
The stacks of races and powers are shuffled, and a que is formed with combinations. The first in line is free to grab, but for each step up the chain you must pay one gold (victory points). Anyone grabbing a race with gold on it gets the gold, so you must really think twice if it’s worth the 6 gold to grab a really neat combination higher up the chain. Of course, if you’ve played it a few times you learn what combinations are extra good, but it’s still hard to know the optimal purchase.

The rules are very simple, but the combinations and the players choices makes the game very hard to figure out. I have no clue how the gameboard will look next turn.

I don’t think everyone will enjoy this game, but most people we’ve introduced it to have found it really fun. The artwork is great, different maps make the game scale very good for different numbers of players, and the combinations themselves always makes us laugh. I definetely think you should try it out!

6
Go to the Fluxx page

Fluxx

51 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

Fluxx is a really bizarre little game, the concept being that all rules of the game constantly shift depending on the cards played. You need to know some things of the rules part from what’s on the initial card, but the learning time required is 2 minutes instead of 10 seconds. Still not a big deal.

I find it strangely amusing to play this game, but forget everything concerning strategies, the everchanging rules (and more importantly, goal to win the game) makes any such plans completely void. The only thing you can hope for is to grab a hand with a goal card you can fullfill yourself (perhaps in conjunction with other cards) and then pray that the rules admit you to keep those cards until your next turn.

A game can vary in length very much. Some sessions have ended before two rounds, basicly 3 minutes… Others have kept going for half an hour, the chaos in the game itself makes game time as hard to predict as a vial strategy.

So, it’s a filler. Some hate it, some love it. I recommend that you try it, but don’t expect a “real” game. The rules changing is quite hilarious if you’re in that mood. And if you’re intersted in game mechanics it’s a must, because the rules are very innovative to say the least.

7
Go to the Shadows over Camelot page
65 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

I really enjoy co-op games, and SoC is a great one in my opinion. There’s also a neat mechanic that sets the mood for the game. Before the game starts everyone draws a secret loyalty card to see if they are a traitor or not. The cool thing is that you mix one traitor card in with as many loyal cards as there are players. This means there will be one card left when everyone got one, so noone knows for sure if the traitor is in play or not. The suspicion and monitoring of the other players as well as accusations are really great parts of the experience. All players pick a knight (either randomly or by choice), and each knight carry a special ability.

The rules are simple, the game board consist of several areas, and ecah of them (part from Camelot that acts as a draw card location) contain a quest of some sort. It can be stopping the saxons or the picts from invading or defeating the black knight or retreiving the graal or Excalibur. There are two decks of cards, white (good stuff) and black (bad stuff). Every turn the player can do some good stuff (called theire heroic action) but they must also add a little more evil to the world, most often by playing a black card.

The cards themselves feed the different quests from both ends, some of the black cards will add more invaders, others will pull Excalibur further from the players. The white cards are played by the heroes to complete the different quests, most often by completing different poker hands. This may sound strange, but among the white card you have combat cards numbered 1-5. To beat the black knight you must play a 2 pair (for instance two combat-4 and two combat-3), and if the sum of your cards are greater than the sum of the black cards played on the black knight you win. To stop invaders you must play 1-5 in the correct order, so it may help to be more than one player on those quests.

So, how can the traitor stay hidden? They solved this by playing all black cards face down (so only play with people you trust will not cheat…). For instance, some black cards tell you to add a saxon, other cards will tell you to add a pict. In those cases you have no choice, but some cards give you the choice to place either a saxon or a pict, and the traitor will of course make the worst choice for the heroes. Since noone knows if the placing was voluntarily or not they cannot know for sure if it was a treacherous move or not. Quite smart mechanic I think.

For each quest completed the players will get some rewards, most importantly white swords to place in Camelot. For each failed quest they will get black swords instead. The basic idea is to get more white swords than black ones at the end of the game, but there are a few other ways to lose as well. For instance, one way to progress the evil is to place catapults in Camelots courtyard, and if the number of catapults reach 12 the game is lost.

When at it’s best the players are torn between different quests that all needs some attention, and timing is really important. You don’t want to stop the invasions until the very last minute or you will loose momentum. The two decks are fairly balanced, so it’s hard to know what to do.

After some play it is possible to accuse people of being the traitor, and they must then show their loyalty card. Beware, if falsely accused you gain black swords. If the traitor is found he/she will flee Camelot and play the rest of the game hidden away but still taking their turn and spreading the evil.

With a cunning traitor it can be really hard to win this game, and some of the special cards in the black deck are really nasty. But it is a fun game, and it also really fun to roleplay. The knights, saxons, picts and catapults are gray plastic pieces, well suited for painting, the gameboard and cards are really nice. As with most games from DoW the finish is great. I really recommend this game, though I think it shouldn’t be played to often.

7
Go to the Pirate's Cove page

Pirate's Cove

34 out of 38 gamers thought this was helpful

Pirate’s Cove is not the most advanced game you ever saw, and it doesn’t pretend it is. It’s a pirate game with simple rules and it’s meant to be fast paced. The sea battles asre not exactly rocket science, rolls some dice and smile when your opponent must lower their ship’s stats or better yet must abandon the battle and paddle back to Pirate’s Cove to patch up their vessel.

Each turn a new card with loot and other perks are flipped for each of the islands on the gameboard. Each pirate secretly chose wgich island to go to, and if more than one picks a certain destination they will fight it out.

The kicker is that all pirate ships have four stats, sails (more sails equals higher initiative, that is shooting first in battles) guns & men (these two decide how many dice you roll in battle) and hull (higher stats means you can fit more treasure on your boat). On four of the islands you can upgrade these different parts of your ship, so chosing a destination must be done not only with the loot in mind but also how to maintain a decent vessel. Besides, if one island contains really good loot it can be wise to avoid the battle there and grab a slightly worse loot for free (this only works as long as the other players don’t get the same idea…).

Every now and then you want to go to the treasure island and bury the loot you collected, becuase that menas exchanging treasure for victory points.

To spice things up there are some random non-player pirates sailing around, and cards with cool extra features (like parrots that grant bonuses or reinforced hull and such).

The game have a few more tactical options than it may seem at first glance, but it’s still a light family game. Try it out, and the game experience will only be better if you force everyone to talk pirate!

7
Go to the Acquire page

Acquire

62 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

Acquire looks really dull when you just look at the gameboard or even watch some people playing. Games about shares and money doesn’t look as fancy as games where you kill trolls or build castles. But make no mistake, this game is REALLY intense, and the gamers that learned to love it will see through the not so fancy interface.

The game itself is really simple, the gameboard consist of rows and columns and each position corresponds to a tile. All tiles are shuffled, some starting tiles are put on the board and each player get some random tiles. During your turn you place one of your tiles on the gameboard, which means building a hotel in that spot. Now, the bizarre and not-so-realistic-but-nice-game-mechanic is that hotels that are geographically linked all belong to the same hotel chain (so as soon as two tiles are back-to-back they form a new hotel chain, and whoever form a new chain get a bonus share in that chain). This means that if you place a tile that joins two existing hotel chains the bigger one will buy the smaller one and grow. This is the key mechanic in the game.

When you’ve placed your tile you may buy 0-3 shares in any hotel chains currently on the board. The price will go up if the chain increase in size, and the worst thing possible in this game is to run out of money, so you want to buy wisely.

How do you get new money? Well, when a hotel chain is bought, the players with the most shares in that chain will get compensated in cash, and after that they can either sell their shares or trade them for new shares in the bigger chain (at a 2-1 ratio). The trick here is that it’s only the two biggest shareholders that get compensated, so you really want to be in lead when a hotel chain merge. You can only buy at the most 3 shares on a turn so you can’t compete everywhere, you must chose which chain/chains to compete over.

The game ends when one chain have grown beyond a certain number or when all hotel chains in play are safe from merges (when they’ve grown enough they cannot be merged and are considered safe). in the end the owners get a final share bonus and end the game by selling of their shares to the bank. Most money wins.

This brings the other really interesting aspect of the game. In the beginning of the game you want to own small chains that is merged with bigger chains, earning you cash to buy more shares. In the end game you want to own shares in the really big chains for big cashout in the end. Whoever can identify when it is time to change the strategy usually wins the game. It’s intense to say the least.

The only real downer with the game (except that my wife refuse to play it) is that quite a lot depends on how lucky you are when you draw your tiles. It’s worth ALOT to have the power to merge two chains or not. It can be really frustrating if your tiles does not give you power to affect the gameboard in a constructive way. With some luck you can start a chain, merge it, start it again and so on.

I don’t think this game is for everyone. It seem to appeal to the more geeky gamers. Try it out, it’s really good, a true classic. But don’t be surprised if it’s not your cup of tea. But it sure is mine!

7
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

65 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game I bought without having played it beforehand. The neat copmponents and the beautiful map sold it,and we played (even two player games) with great joy. The rules are easy enough to learn in just five minutes, and the game itself does not take that long to play. All in all it’s a great light strategy game where you connect routes between cities in USA and try to

A) create the longest route (much like “longest road” in Settlers)
B) connect cities you have on certain destination cards
C) build long routes to score points for simply building

The routes themselves are color coded and match a certain type of train car. These different train cars are cards, and a few cards are available face up. In your turn you can either build a route (marking it on the map with plastic trains in your color) or grab more train cards (that you later on use as payment for your routes). You can also grab more destination cards. The locomotives act as wild cards and the game ends when someone runs out of plastic trains.

The problem with this game is that in this first map there’s a clear strategy that help you win the game, and when you figured that one out it’s not as fun anymore. Since this game was such a huge success they released a number of variants (europe, nordic, märklin) and at least the europe version has been tweaked ruleswise to make that strategy less efficient.

As a family game this is great, and many have descibed it as a good gateway game to lure innocent people down the swamp of boardgames. I completley agree with that, and almost all people we’ve introduced this game to have liked it. However, if you’re a slightly more experienced gamer I’d recommend the european version instead, and if routebuilding is your cup of tea I would also suggest you have a look at Thurn & Taxis. But this IS a good game, despite its flaws. Try it and make up your own opinion.

9
Go to the Betrayal at House on the Hill page
65 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

I really like this game, I bought the first edition and have played it many times since. I think the author really managed to get a lovely feel in the game, but I also think this game will not suit everyone. Let me elaborate.

I’m sure you’ve allready know the setting, a group of lost people (perhaps the car broke down late at night, who knows?) find an abandonded mansion and the door locks behind them as they enter. As they explore the house (adding new room tiles) they will trigger events and omen cards that will eventually start one of 50 scenarios where one of the players will betray the rest of the group (and noone knows who until the scenario is triggered). After that the pace changes and the heroes and the traitor try to achieve different goals in order to win the game. Many tasks are solved by rolling dice as in any dungeon crawler roleplaying game. Rules and combat are easy and quick.

Now, for people with the attitude that they will experience a cool horror movie in the form of a boardgame this is perfect, and avid roleplayers tend to catch on really quick. the game itself also offers great opportunities to roleplay, and the game is so much more fun when that happens. However, if you play it with hardcore gamers looking for a super balanced boardgame it may collapse. The randomness is so big that the scenario itself can be very easy or almost impossible, because so many factors are involved. How much of the house is explored allready? Quite often the heroes need to find certain rooms. Are there special objects needed and are they known? Who became the traitor? Was it the only one with a decent chance to succeed with the knowledge rolls necessary to complete the mission?

As you see, you cannot look at this as a normal game. Rather it’s a happening, the more or less perfect conversion of a cheesy horror movie into a boardgame. And if you enjoy that this is great entertainment! I love it, but I don’t start a gaming session with the same attitude and mindset as if I were to play chess or Puerto Rico.

On the minus side, the first edition needed an errata for the rules that were almost as long as the rules themselves, but I guess they have fixed all that in the second edition, though I have not examined the 2 edition contents myself.

Try it, and keep an eye on the little girl that look innocent. I’ts surprising how often she turn out to be evil…

7
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
57 out of 64 gamers thought this was helpful

First of all, I don’t think this game will appeal to everybody, and having a relation to the series is a huge advantage. They tried hard to bring you the feel of the tv show, and if you cannot relate to that I think the game will be strange.

Also, like always there’s a great hurdle in the rules themselves, for FFG stays true to their neverending mission of confusing and badly written rules. This makes the learning a bit harder, and to really enjoy the game all players really must know the rules quite well.

That said, quite often the game succeeds very well to mimic the tv series where everything is on the verge of falling apart. Basicly your mission is to survive without running out of fuel, people, morale or food. Each turn a player draw a crisis card, and the card itself will move Galactica closer towards the number of jumps through hyperspace required to win. All that needs attention are those crisis… that often makes the players drain resources if they fail. Most crisis cards are resolved by all players trying to contribute cards to reach a certain sum, but all cards are added face down, and any cylon player (oh, did I not mention there are traitors amongst the players?) can add other cards to spoil the attempt.

Each player have a role, and with the role comes some stats and some special abilities. Players can move around to different locations where different actions are possible, and there are also the special roles of the president and the admiral (that goes to players according to a chain of success in the beginning).

If you manage to get all players to pay attention it can be prettyf fun, but as soon as someone slacks of the game time is increased alot. So be careful who you play with.

On the negative side the gameplay tends to be a bit repetitive, draw a crisis, solve the crisis. Then off to the next player who does the same. But with the expansions it get’s more interesting.

Obviously, if luck sucks there are trouble ahead and the mission is VERY hard to accomplish. Like when startup dictated that both the admiral and the president turned out to be cylons and managed to get the few human players into the brig. But that’s life… =)

So, prepare for a long game where the first session will be spent learning the rules and get a hang of things. Session two and forward may be really enjoyable in the right company.

8
Go to the Alhambra page

Alhambra

86 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of those beautiful eurogames with a simple set of rules that provides hard choices. You buy buildings of different colours (and different value when it comes to victory points) and try to fit them in your city. The problem is that one or more edges of the buildings consist of the city wall, and the building must be added to the existing city so that a wall edge of one tile does not meet a non-wall edge of another tile. To get it even trickier, the walls must not divide the city in two parts where you cannot access all tiles (the walking-around-the-city-rule). It sounds pretty easy, but it’s amazing how hard it can be to plan and fit the tiles in your city.

At some points in the game you score victory points for the different building types, and when that happens you should have the most of that kind (or at least be second best or in the end third best). You also try to get as long city wall as you can for additional points.

To make it even trickier you have to keep track of four different currencies. At all times there is exactly one building available that can be bought by a certain currency. Your choice is mainly to either pick up some more money or to buy a building. An extra twist is that if you can buy a building for exactly the correct amount you get another action. Therefore, just having big bills in your hand is not necessarily a good thing.

We’ve played this with quite a few different people, and hardcore gamers as well as casual social gamers all fell for it. I really recommend it, and although I havn’t tried any of the zillion expansions I think the basic game does great on its own. Try it!

9
Go to the Thunderstone page

Thunderstone

32 out of 37 gamers thought this was helpful

It’s inevitable to not compare this game to Dominion, and I’m not at all surprised to see so many reviews doing it. The two games are like a pair of siblings, and if you like one of them you are quite certain gonna like the other. So, I’d like to stress two fundamental differences between the two:

1. The theme actually makes sense here. In Dominion it was obvious they found a cool mechanic they wanted to explore and just covered it in a medieval theme, but there’s really no connection between the title of the cards and the action associated with them. Thunderstone is much more logical in that respect, start with heroes, equip them with weapons and other stuff and see how cool your current party is compared to the monsters. To me this means it’s much easier to fall in love with Thunderstone, even though I enjoy Dominion a lot.

2. You have what you have. In dominion a large part of the trick is to keep playing cards that allow you to do more actions and draw new cards, and it can de quite silly. That’s basicly non existent in Thunderstone, you have the cards you are dealt, and you will need to see how they can be used. This also means the game turn goes faster.

As in Doninion the greatest flaw is the lack of player interaction, and personally I would also have appreciated if the expansions offered some more variation in the game play. Right now you have the three choices 1) Dungeon (fight) 2) Village (buy cards) 3) Rest (Destroy a card). How about giving more options like certain quests? Or something similar? OK, it’s cool to have more stuff to chose the active cards from, but in essence it’s just the same (but hey, I’m a compulsive collector so I have them all).

Another minor flaw is that the basic randomization can get you really strange combinations were either spells or weapons are completely missing. Fortunately there are a bunch of apps where you can make control the mix of certain items and cards.

So, if you like DBG, this is a fine one. I like it a lot, and I seldom turn down a game of Thunderstone. Try it out, I think you’ll like it.

9
Go to the Lost Cities: The Card Game page
30 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of Knizias real masterpieces. I like his game, but sometimes he just misses the target. This is not the case here, in his normal way he’s focused on one simple mechanic and peeled away everything else, only to put a twist on the scoring part.

Lost Cities is so fast it’s a great filler, and almost every game hurts because you are so torn between different actions. Quite often you need to start expeditions you don’t know if you can profit from, and more often than not both players experience they start with really ****** cards. this may sound like a bad game but it’s not. What would a game be without hard choices? Later in the game it transforms into a timing game where it is imperative to have full control over the size of the remaining deck to maximize what you can score and hopefully deny your opponent some vital cards to play.

Everyone I’ve introduced this game to have liked it, casual gamers as well as more hardcore gamers. And not to mention it’s a really good game for two players, those are not exactly common.

7
Go to the San Juan page

San Juan

93 out of 133 gamers thought this was helpful

San Juan would be a much greater game if not Puerto Rico existed. It’s a more lightweight younger sibling to PR, and if you enjoy PR you will probably consider SJ a little sloppy and simple. That does not mean this is a bad game, on the contrary it’s an elegant game with beautiful card work and the same type of choices as Puerto Rico.

One great niche for this game is as a travel game, it does not include all fiddly pieces that PR does, so setup and play is much easier even in more compact spacing.

Using the cards as money is smart and the games does not take as long as PR to play or setup. I guess this could be a great game for someone who consider PR to heavy and hard.

Conclusion, it’s a good game but we never play it if there’s a copy of PR around. But if you like PR and haven’t tried SJ I really think you should give it a shot, it’s still slightly different although you will recognise the feel and touch of PR.

10
Go to the RoboRally page

RoboRally

52 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

Roborally is one of my oldest games (I have the first ed by Wotc) and it will always have a special place in my heart. This is as geeky as it gets, and programming stoopid robots in a dangerous factory can never be wrong, can it? The theme is beautifuly orchestrated and when playing with experienced players every turn doesn’t take that long.

Some people seem to believe that luck is a big factor in this game, but my experience says otherwise. A set of programming cards can often be used in clever ways that a weak player will never see. In our sessions it’s seldom someone else than a really good programmer that will come close to winning. Granted, the option cards increase the luck factor, some of them are MUCH more useful than others, but all in all this is a game of skill, not luck.

There are two main problems with this game, the first one is that it takes some time to get a newbie to understand the rules, even if you pick nice game boards with a limited number of elements. After a few “real” turns this usually sort itself out, but if new people are to play you need to set some time aside to get them going. The other problem is the leader breakaway syndrome, where the leader lose contact with the other robots and therefore have less movement obstruction and that in turn tend to increase the gap. this can be solved by clever placing of the flags so that the robots paths will constantly cross each other.

This is a game quite like no other, and it contained revolutionary game mechanics. A true classic and I recommend it with my whole metal heart. Twonky for president!

8
Go to the Code 777 page

Code 777

20 out of 24 gamers thought this was helpful

I fell instantly for this game when I tried it out, but then again I’m the type of geek who enjoys this type of game. I don’t think it’s for everyone, and I was a bit concerned that my wife would never agree to play and that it would only gather dust in the book shelf. However, she agreed to try it out and afterwards she said it was more fun than she imagined, and she’s been enjoying other session since then (although she’s not as big a fan of the game as I am). Why am I wasting space in this review by writing this? Simply to suggest that this game actually is more fun than one might think before trying it out. Give it a shot even if your gut feeling is that it is as fun as a math lecture.

Every clue makes the player think hard if they can eliminate number candidates or make clever conclusions they can combine to extract more info later. Also, some clues will prove more useful than others, especially to certain players, so luck will stir things up a bit. Not knowing how close your opponents are to guessing their numbers helps with the suspence, and may make some players try an estimated guess before they are certain.

I think this game shouldn’t be played to often or it will become dull, but I cherish it and will gladly play every now and then. Especially when fellow geeks are visitng.

9
Go to the 7 Wonders: Leaders page

7 Wonders: Leaders

19 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

The leaders expansion to 7 Wonders may at a first glance look as just more cards in the same fashion as the original game, and that is true to some extent. No new magic tricks or game changing rules as for instance Cities & Knights changed Settlers into a new game, but it still spice up things enough to be very interesting.

The fact that the leader cards are always payed for in money gives the players one more thing to consider, how to make sure they can afford the planned leader before next epoch. It also makes it possible to plan a long term strategy in a way that was not possible in the basic game, because when you receive your four leaders you can make up a plan to play in a certain way that will fit them, and without having to give it away to the other players.

If you like 7 Wonders you will most likely enjoy this expansion. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just more cards. They add depth to the game.

9
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

57 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

7 Wonders is rare because it takes the same amount of time to play regardless of the number of players. Granted, with more players there’s a greater risc that someone cannot make up his/her mind, but it still scale up in a wonderful way.

Played over three epochs with increasingly expensive/powerful cards you must try to balance cards that give you the opportunity to play other cards (known as resources and commodities) and cards that actually give you victory points. There are several different ways to achieve points, and they seem balanced enough that the path you’ll take in the current game is hard to choose.

Though 7 Wonders is not strong when it comes to player interaction you can trade and compare armies with your neigbours, and I find that enough for me. You can also make more subtle choices if you pay attention and for instance discard or build your wonder with cards the other players desire.

Luck is a great factor in this game, but it’s a quick paced filler that takes approximately 30 minutes to play, so it feels quite alright anyway. The fact that people have won with a variety of strategies also makes me raise the score for this game. I do however think it’s possible to break the fun if you play it to many times in a short time period. Like a good record it should rest now and then to prevent it frpm being spoiled.

I don’t think we’ve played this with anyone that didn’t instantly enjoyed it, regardless of their background, so it works for a wide range of people too. I highly recomend this game (and the expansion too for that matter).

10
Go to the Agricola page

Agricola

36 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

Easy rules, hard choices. That’s as good as it gets when it comes to gaming. The only negative thing you could say is that player interaction is fairly limited, every player makes his/her own choices in their own little world. Personally I’m not that bothered about that, but I know several friends that thinks it’s a great setback in a game. And I don’t think there’s a winning strategy either, just more or less succesful play depending on how well you adapt to what the other players choose to do.

Also, the wooden discs and animal cubes are fairly boring and dull, but pimping the game with replacement tokens made out of clay was great fun. One of my absolute favourite games, and it seems to appeal to many different types of players. Highly recomended!

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