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percival

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Go to the Android page
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8
Go to the Catan: Cities & Knights page
96 out of 104 gamers thought this was helpful

You were introduced to the boardgaming hobby with Settlers and you managed to avoid (probably) the 5-6 player expansion. But the gameplay starts getting a little bit repetitive, so you are thinking of reinvigorating the game with Cities & Knights. Should you do it?

The rules: The Cities & Knights expansion adds a lot. A whole lot. Settling Catan successfully was the only target in the base game. In C&K, this is not enough, as you must now also think about city development and defense. Apart from the usual resources of the base game, specific terrains now produce one of three commodities, provided that a city is built next to them. Commodities are the means to inner city development and if the urban infrastructure grows enough, a city becomes a metropolis, which is worth more victory points and is immune to attacks. Moreover, a special event die determines every turn if the barbarian fleet advances one step closer to Catan in order to pillage and destroy. If the players invest in the island defense by recruiting knights, there will be no problem; otherwise, cities may turn to rubble because of those savages.

The opinion: If you are a newcomer, avoid this game for now. Play the base game a lot, enjoy it and understand its mechanics. When you do that, go immediately and buy C&K. The depth that it provides is immense. Everyone I’ve played with admits that C&K is a must-have expansion for Settlers, as it turns a simple game into a challenging experience (but not overwhelming, at least for experienced players) by providing a plethora of choices and almost never making you feel that you are out of the game. The only drawback I can think of is the extra time that it needs to complete, as the game now lasts well over 2,5 hours. But if you enjoy Settlers but you now need a more challenging way to play, C&K is the perfect choice. Added depth, added length

7
Go to the The Settlers of Catan – 5-6 Player Extension page
29 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

It seems that after your initiation with the base game, you have decided to introduce more people to the hobby. It is great, then, that Settlers can be played by up to 6 players with this expansion. Right? Let’s see…

The rules: the rules are the same as the base game. The only addition is a step between turns, during which any player may choose to build. In this way, the downtime until the next turn of a given player comes is a bit shortened, and this is also a means to decrease the risk of losing cards because of the robber.

The opinion: the game with 5 and 6 players definitely takes a lot longer to complete. As a result, it can become quite tedious and boring, especially for someone who is left behind and has no chance of winning. Although my first games of Settlers included this expansion (as my usual gaming group consists of 6 people), I now no longer play with more than 4. If your gaming group is larger than 4, perhaps you should spend the money on a different game and not take this expansion. On the other hand, some people may feel that 5 and 6 player games mean even more negotiation, thereby enhancing the experience. Proceed with care.

7
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
56 out of 64 gamers thought this was helpful

Settlers of Catan is for many the first true boardgame once they set aside Monopoly and is what usually draws them further into the hobby. This review is mainly addressed to the people who did not know that board games can be more than “roll a die and read what happens”.

The rules: The board consists of hexagonal tiles (hexes) depicting different terrain types. The hexes are randomly placed to create to island of Catan, and therefore, every game will have a different layout. The terrain types of the island produce their own resources, which are needed for various constructions. The object of the game is to reach 10 victory points. Players gain victory points by building settlements, cities and roads, and by various accomplishments in the form of development cards. All the above can be constructed or gained by paying a specific combination of resources. But how does a player gain resources? At the start of every round, random terrains on the island produce their resource. If a player’s settlement or city is built next to that terrain, the player gains the resource. Moreover, resources can be gained through trading with other players or with the bank. The first player to reach 10 points is the winner.

The opinion: This game is very easy to learn and does not take long to finish. There is a good amount of strategy in the game, however it may suffer from the random production of resources. Nevertheless, newcomers to the hobby will realise soon that they have various choices to make each round, without feeling overwhelmed, and that thinking and negotiating skills are necessary in their way to succesfully settling the island of Catan!

9
Go to the Android page

Android

73 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

The book “Do Androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. ****, first published in 1968, was the basis for the classic sci-fi movie “Blade Runner”, which in turn inspired Kevin Wilson to design “Android”, the board game. Does this make “Android” a classic? Here are my thoughts.

The theme: The world changed, as the game box suggests. The Moon and Mars are now colonies. People enhance their abilities by planting chips in their bodies, but at the same time, lose their jobs because of cheaper labor, mainly androids and clones, which are created by two rival companies. As a result, protests against the so-called “golems” are frequent and violence is rising. While all these groups clash together, a murder has left the police standing at a dead end. Up to five detectives, coming from different backgrounds and bearing their own problems, must find the culprit… Or a scapegoat.

The rules: The game has one of the most convoluted sets of rules I have come across. With that said, I will not expand much on the rules, as it would take lots of space. In as few words as possible, players have a number of time units per day (action points per turn) and allocate them in order to advance in the following sectors:
1. the murder: by following leads, the detectives plant evidence to the suspect of their choice. The suspect with the most incriminating evidence at the end is the murderer.
2. the conspiracy: by following leads, the detectives try to unveil the conspiracy behind the murder, by adding pieces to the conspiracy puzzle and linking specific social groups with the murder.
3. the personal story: everyone has their own demons and these detectives have a bunch of them. By spending time to solve their own problems, they may find their inner balance and peace. But at the cost of not being worthy to be a detective.
At the end of the game, players gain victory points based on how well their detectives did in these sectors.

The opinion: If there is theme, I love the game. And this game is dripping with it. It feels like you are actually following this detective’s life, the choices he or she makes and their consequences. I do not think we should treat this as a board game. It is more an interactive movie. As far as I am concerned, one should not try to win at this game, but instead watch how the story unfolds.
Of course, I understand the many problems associated with it. The rules are way too many and you must spent LOTS of time to remember them and even then, you will not remember them all. However, if you commit to this game, you will feel after a while that they simply click into place. But even if you get past this problem, the many hours needed to reach the end do not make it any easier. Three hours is the very minimum to play this game and in a relatively good pace. Unfortunately, the result of this is that most times – if not always – you will not have the stamina to read all the flavor text during the game. What I did was read it at a different time, and it was like reading a book.
So, is this a classic? I can’t really say. It is certainly different. But this makes me wonder: “Android” raised many fiery comments, both positive and negative, and did not sell very well, just like “Blade Runner” did when it was released in theaters. Hmm…

7
Go to the Dixit page

Dixit

42 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

I have played Dixit many times and with different groups of people and it is still very enjoyable for me, even after playing with the same cards over and over again.

The rules: the players are each dealt six beautifully illustrated cards and they take turns in becoming the “narrator”. The narrator picks a card from their hand, places it face down on the table and says a hint that describes the card in some way. The other players then choose a card from their hands that can be described by the narrator’s hint in the best possible way and place them face down as well. The narrator then shuffles all the cards and reveals them. The other players must now secretly vote which card they think belongs to the narrator. If all or none of the players find the narrator’s card, the narrator gets no points. Therefore, the narrator should use hints that do not directly describe the card, but should not be very vague either. The players who found the correct card get points, while extra points are awarded to those whose card was incorrectly voted as the narrator’s card.

The most entertaining moments of the game in my groups are when someone tries to justify how the card they picked has a connection to the narrator’s hint, when there clearly is none. This game needs lots of creativity and the ability to see through the narrator’s hints, so it may not be a good choice for people lacking these skills. Another problem is that the game may become stale and boring after playing many times with the same group. However, this can be solved simply by adding one or more of the expansions, thus increasing the number of cards. Houserules may also extend the game’s life. For example, we used a rule where the hints used must be in some way connected to a movie.

To conclude, I would like to mention something that happened to me recently: I was with a few friends who actually hate playing boardgames and at some point, I mentioned Dixit. Although at first everyone moaned about not wanting to play games, in the end they reluctantly agreed to try it, “maybe for 10 minutes” as someone said. We ended up playing from 9pm to 4am!

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