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Jared Blumberg

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Go to the Founding Fathers page
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Go to the Splendor page


61 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

Splendor is a deceptive little beast of a game. The game is as simple as this:

The object is to reach 15 prestige points first. Prestige points are accumulated by purchasing cards from the play field or from those reserved in your hand, using the different color gemstone chips or ‘wild’ gold chips, and by receiving noble tiles by having the corresponding gemstone production shown on them.

On your turn you either take 3 different gemstone chips, take 2 or the same kind of gemstone chip(if there are still four or more in the stack), purchase a card, or reserve a card(face up from the field, or face down from the top of one of the decks if you’re feeling saucy). The cards you purchase produce one of the five colors, making future purchases discounted by one of that color.

And that’s pretty much it. You can learn it in five minutes.

Then you play a game, and something diabolical happens. The strategy reveals itself to you. Do you build towards those high-point cards, or try to steal away all of the noble tiles? Do you reserve those key cards that you want to purchase, or the ones that your opponents have their eyes on? Do you horde important color chips? WHY CAN’T I STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS GAME?! And that’s it. You are now hooked, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. You’ll break Splendor out and teach your friends, just as a quick filler game when time is short. But one game is not enough. One game becomes three. But… They all seemed so drastically different. Huh. Weird. There’s only three small decks of cards, and six stacks of gemstone and gold chips. And those noble tiles. But they’re so PRETTY.

And that is what awaits inside that lovely yellow box. Your sparkling, short-form, seductive doom. But there’s no shame in that. Don’t fight it. You can fit in so many more games if you don’t fight…

Go to the Founding Fathers page

Founding Fathers

11 out of 12 gamers thought this was helpful

Christian Leonhard and Jason Matthews have done something truly exceptional with Founding Fathers, a board game which faithfully recreates the Philadelphia Convention and the events leading up to the presentation and adoption of the Constitution: they designed a game that was mechanically sound and enjoyable when played, but they also made it function as a wonderful learning tool for people of all ages. This alone makes it a worthy addition to anyone’s collection; The quality of the components and the strategic depth and re-playability should sway anyone that sadly has no interest in the rich and fascinating subject matter.

The object of the game is to emerge from the Convention as the delegate who had the most influence on the final document, and this of course is measured in victory points. You earn those points by being on the winning side when an article is voted on in the Assembly Room, by having the largest influence in the Committee Room, by playing events that appear on your Delegate Cards, or at the end of the game by having the most Debate Tokens.

Play revolves around what you choose to do with your Influence Markers and the randomized deck of Delegate Cards that you’ll draw from each turn. Depending on which state your delegates hail from and what political affiliation they belong to, you may want to have them vote yea or nay, override someone else’s vote, debate to earn tokens that will affect end-of-game scoring, or just use the one-shot or ongoing event on their card. The best play on any given turn is very much based on what your opponents are up to, so you’ll need to consider where they have used their own markers and cards, and what cards are in their hands(the state and affiliation is shown on the back of each, and that information is common knowledge throughout the four rounds of play). There is a true feel of political back-and-forth and maneuvering, and that only gets an additional layer added to it once you’ve played it enough(or are just historically knowledgeable enough) to know what the odds are that a particular delegate is in someone’s hand. There are some events that are very powerful and need to be taken into account, such as George Washington’s.

The game’s core is solid and entertaining, but it’s the fluff that makes this such a standout to me. The attention to detail is a history nerd’s delight, from the board design being based on Independence Hall to the little factoids on each card to the insane wealth of background information in the rulebook. Whether you want to or not, you will come away from this Constitutional clash knowing a bit more about America’s most brilliant document and the men who were its authors.

Go to the The Doom That Came To Atlantic City page
65 out of 73 gamers thought this was helpful

You’re not doubt familiar with the cautionary tale regarding Kickstarter and this game, so we’ll skip to the present, where Cryptozoic has swooped in and gotten the finished product to store shelves.

At first glance Doom seems like Cthulhu-flavored Monopoly, which I agree would be lame in the extreme, but it’s thankfully well beyond that. Dare I say it’s actually much more fun to play than Monopoly. In this game you don’t build the properties, you’re an elder god smashing them down. You don’t just get money or get zipped around the board when drawing a card: you get powers and buffs. There’s combat between players to keep things interesting, bonuses and penalties for rolling doubles, and random alternate win conditions beyond the standard one(being the first to open six gates).

There’s lots of goodies included in box, which helps makes the price tag($75) easier to swallow. You get beautifully sculpted pieces of each elder god, houses, cultists, and lots of cards and counters. The artwork only takes a bit of a dive on the Chants and Providence(get it?) cards, which are still cute even though they’re sloppy.

My only real beef with this game is the lack of clarity in the rulebook. Certain things are never addressed at all, sadly, which just reeks of laziness or lack of a proofreader/playtester, but seasoned gamers can fill in the blanks easily enough.

I strongly recommend this one, particularly as a great party game for Lovecraft fans or folks who want to bridge the gap between casual play and something a bit more involved. Hopefully those of you who helped kickstart it have received your copies. In my opinion it is worth the headache and the wait.

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