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Brady Boothe

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Go to the 7 Wonders page
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Go to the Innovation page
Go to the Betrayal at House on the Hill page
Go to the Eldritch Horror page
Go to the Suburbia page
Go to the Fiasco page
Go to the Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island page
Go to the Tiny Epic Kingdoms page

Tiny Epic Kingdoms

21 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

A friend and I were looking for something to wrap up a local game day and, having heard of TEK, I thought we should give it a try. There was a little hesitation as neither of us had played it and we didn’t want to spend the rest of the night learning something new. Our concern was unjustified. After a quick read through the book, we both picked up the game with ease.

TEK is a simplified civ game that takes up a small footprint, but has a fair amount of depth for something so small. Each player has a race card with unique magical abilities. There’s also a small track used for tracking the three resources (food, mana, and ore), each of which has a marker for the track. Each player also has their own kingdom (with a few starting meeples), which is divided up into different regions and each region is a type land (e.g. forest, mountains, plains, etc). Rounding out the play area is the action selection board, the tower board, and a couple of 12-sided dice.

Players switch turns placing shield tokens on the action selection board and performing that action. The other players can then either also do that action or instead gather resources (1 for each territory they control, where the territory type determines the resource (i.e. forest = mana, mountain = ore, plains = food). Once an action is selected, it cannot be selected again until all shield tokens have been used. Actions include moving a meeple within your kingdom, moving a meeple between kingdom cards, converting resources, building on the tower, studying magic, and adding a meeple. Those last three require have a resource cost (ore, mana, food).

Tower: each level costs subsequently more ore, but is worth more victory points.

Magic: each level costs more mana to learn, but then allows your race to do something unique. Each race tends to have a flavor that builds upon itself and can get rather powerful. Also worth points.

The game consists of using these choices and resource balancing to acquire points as well as possibly go to war with others. War is essentially a blind bidding of resources to give yourself a war value which you place on the dice. Everyone pays the resources after the value is revealed. If the winner is the attacker, they remove the opponent’s meeple and thus gain another territory.

Game play continues this way until an end game condition is met and then all possible points are tallied.

PROS: reasonably fast game play for the content, character powers allow different strategies, vast replayability due to the large number of characters and kingdom cards, simple rules

CONS: kingdom cards are cheap cardstock, art is so-so, it is possible to not really war much, even though that’s a selling point of the game (at least in a 2-player), no player aid cards.

I certainly haven’t covered every single rule here, but hope to give an impression of the basics. Overall, I’m very glad I tried this one. It had a lot of fun, fast flavor and was a perfect little game to finish out the night. And yet, despite being easy to pick up and very small in physical size, it provided a very similar feel to some of it’s much larger cousins.

Go to the Suburbia page


139 out of 150 gamers thought this was helpful

Suburbia is one of those rare games that provides a great deal of depth with a fair amount of strategy and yet is still quite easy to learn. I’ve played two games now and, not counting the guy who taught the first, the six individuals (including myself) who played it had a good grasp of the rules by the second or third turn.

The basic concept of the game is that the players are building a borough off of a major city. Their goal is to develop an area that attracts the greatest population (and money never hurts too). This is done through the placement of hex tiles, each of which represent a specific type of structure (e.g. fancy restaurant or municipal airport) and falls within one of four different zones/types (business, residential, industrial, civic). The tiles are built off of your player mat, which also includes a tracker for both Income and Reputation.

The income tracker determines how much money you earn on your turn. However, you only earn money AFTER you build, so be sure to plan accordingly. Reputation determines how many points you get on the Population track later in your turn. The Population track is essentially the scoring track like any other game,.However it contains one little difference: along the Population track are red lines every so many points. Whenever you cross one, you immediately reduce your Income and Reputation markers by one to represent the fact that your borough has grown. Furthermore, the more advanced you get on the track, the closer those lines become. This serves as a really interesting mechanism to help keep explosive growth in check.

Everyone starts off with the same three tiles and builds from there. There are three separate stacks of semi-unique buildings (A,B, and C) which get progressively more expensive (and powerful) throughout the game. There are also some very short stacks of those same three building types that you start with. The A (then B, then C) stacks are used to seed what’s available along the planning track. The first two slots one can buy at face value (every tile has a different cost). However, if you want, you can also buy tiles further up the track by paying their face value + a specified amount on the track. I like to think of this as a “donation” to someone in the planning department for getting your permits approved more quickly.

Once you you have a tile, you place it adjacent to another tile in your borough. You then go through a quick determination to see how that tile affects your Income and Reputation. These effects range from one-time effects, to those adjusted by tiles that are adjacent now (and in the future), There may also be effects on tiles based upon what other tiles that are in your borough, though not necessarily adjacent and even some that are adjusted based upon every single player (for example, airports adjust depending on how many are in play).

This may sound like a lot of checking, and there’s a summary card for each player explaining the steps to follow if you’re not sure. However, it actually goes quite quickly. The vast majority are adjustments from single-use and adjacent tiles. I should also point out that not all adjustments are positive. For example, airports give you a negative reputation based upon the number of residential tiles adjacent to them – apparently people don’t like to live near airports. Same goes for the landfill (though it does bring in money). These are just a couple of examples, but I really felt that every single tile was representative of what a real life structure would be like.

One other option for building is that you can turn over any tile you take and “Lake” it. You are converting that land to a lake. Lake’s provide no bonus beyond money based upon adjacent tiles. This can be a quick way to raise some cash. It can also be a nasty “take that” to someone else when you take the tile you know they want, though I wouldn’t normally recommend doing this unless you don’t have a better option or a specific strategy.

A third option is to Invest. This means taking one of your three investment tokens and placing it on one of your established buildings. You pay the cost of the building again, but you reap its adjustments a second time and that doubling stands for the rest of the game. Once you get going, this can be very helpful if properly placed.

Finally, the tiles are adjusted down the track to fill the vacancy and a new tile is drawn and placed at the top. Even if you invest or take one of the three basic tiles, one of those on the planning tracker gets discarded to make sure there’s always a hole to adjust in to.

One last thing to mention in the game are the many goals. These can provide big bonuses at the end of the game if you are the only player to meet that goal (e.g. fewest industrial tiles or most contiguous civic buildings). Everyone starts out with a hidden goal and there are a four public goals.

Game play generally moves quickly. Expect it to take longer for players new to the game as they will have to read each and every hex. There is also the risk for Analysis Paralysis, though I often suffer from that myself and yet I don’t find it to be too problematic in this game except, maybe, for the final turn.

I see this game as having a good amount of replay value. As you learn the tiles, you will like move along faster, but I see that as beneficial as it allows one to plan better since you know what could be coming down the pipe. However, not all tiles from the A, B, and C groups are put in the game, so this also helps with keeping things fresh. And, of course, there are far more goals available than used in any given game.

The quality of the components is good. There’s nothing here beyond typical cardboard and a few wooden bits. I did have a couple of coins that required some careful punching to avoid ripping the paper, but that’s typical for any game. The manual is easy to read with lots of examples that I found easy to follow. There’s also a separate summary sheet for those buildings that are a bit more tricky. We had one come up and the summary was very well written on how to apply the rule and covered all possible circumstances that might come up.

Graphic design of the game is decent. The layout on the hexes follows a specific design to aid the reader in quickly understanding what that tile does. Each of the four zones has a unique color for quick identification. There are a few icons that one needs to learn, but they aren’t terribly difficult to pick up.

In conclusion, i must admit that when I first heard about Suburbia, the concept and the box art didn’t entice me. However, I am so glad that I tried it. I ended up having a great time on my first play and it immediately earned a rare spot on my Actually Going To Spend Some Money And Buy A Game List. As much as I love board games, I just don’t have the time and justification to purchase them often. But from my experience, I’ve seen gamers both heavy and light really take to this one. And that’s a rare combination and worth the investment.

Now, if only I could find some way to get the planning department to let me push forward on a couple of others…

Go to the Myrmes page


31 out of 33 gamers thought this was helpful

FYI – As I stated in the title, this review is based upon a single, first-time play.

Back in November, I was battling an incessant ant population in my kitchen for about the fifth time of the year. Even professional extermination had only held back the tide for a period of time. As I was both cursing and admiring their simplistic complexity, I thought to myself, “This could make an interesting game…” I then began trying to figure out a design that could really make someone feel that they are trying to support an ant colony. Imagine my astonishment when about a month later I heard a description of Myrmes – it was exactly what I was wanting to design. So when the opportunity came up at a local game convention this weekend, I jumped on the chance to see what was in the box.

The components of this game are simply beautiful. The board looks like a forest floor and your player mats definitely give the feel of an ant colony. It reminded me a lot of Dungeon Lords in the layout. The cardboard is of good quality and nothing feels extraneous or left out. And did I mention that you get plastic ants? No dour-faced merchants here.

As for game play, this one definitely takes some getting used to. There’s a lot going on to support your colony and you only have three seasons to do so before winter hits. It’s a careful balancing act and if you don’t plan well, you’ll pay for it quickly.

Initial play involves setting up your colony’s nurses to dictate what gets created that round. And as in so many Euro’s, there’s never enough to do what you want. Do you create larvae? Or perhaps some soldiers? Then again, you need workers. Lots and lots of workers. Of course, you’ll never get as many as you want, but no one said being an ant was easy.

Once your turn is set up, you’ll have various actions you can do with the workers available. Some of those actions will keep the worker in the colony and thus retain them for the next turn. However other actions involve exploration outside of the colony laying pheromone trails (more on that below) in order to gather resources as well as gathering bugs for food. Once a worker leaves the nest, it’s gone and you’ll have fewer to work with the next turn.

Soldiers can be sacrificed to gather the bugs up above for food and victory points or retained to help stave off starvation in the winter (each soldier left in the nest reduces the food cost by 1). And since you can only store a meager four resources total (six with an upgrade), that can be a real life saver.

Lastly, nurses that weren’t used to create larvae, workers, or soldiers can be used to “upgrade”, which can include such things as create more nurses, improve the hill to allow more options, open a new hole in the hill, and various point bonuses.

The pheromone trails are interesting. As your worker moves across the forest floor, it can lay down little puzzle pieces. At first you are limited to smaller “trails”, but as you upgrade the nest, you can lay down larger trails. Larger trails also have some different shapes, so once things get crowded above, you end up trying to make it fit. Larger trails can also earn bonus victory points. When a trail is laid, resources become available matching the type of terrain that they cover. Of course, to make matters more difficult, there are mushrooms all over the place and those terrains yield nothing.

There are other rules covering how to earn bonus victory points, how to clean up pheromones, and what to do if you want to cross another colony’s path and likely a few other points I forget at the moment, but I think you get the basic idea of the game.

Overall, I enjoyed Myrmes, but it’s definitely for those who like to think and plan. Also, it will likely take several plays to really develop a strong feel for all of the rules and ideas for strategy. Expect to put some time in at the table and don’t play when you’re tired. But if this is your bread and butter, put a slice down and watch the ants march home.

Go to the Galaxy Trucker page

Galaxy Trucker

80 out of 87 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve played numerous games of GT and always enjoy the fun time had by everyone. Don’t let the cartoonish style of the components and rulebook fool you though – this game, while simple to pick up, can be vicious.

In the first phase, you’re racing against all the other truckers trying to build your ship with as many engines, lasers, shields, and crew as possible. Oh, and don’t forget the fact that there are different types of connections for each piece and if your connections don’t match up, that tile (and possible other pieces attached to it) fly off in the infinite void. Of course, this costs you money because the corporation is fickle like that.

Once everyone’s ship is built (each turn of the game requires a more complex ship) and all errors are accounted for, then the second phase begins with flying the ship through space to your destination. This is simulated by flipping over cards from a deck and dealing with the various issues that arise. Problems you may encounter range from incoming asteroids (better hope you have lots of lasers and shields), space pirates, salvage, space dust, and open space (fire up the afterburners, baby!).

After everyone arrives, you tally your payload, subtract any lost parts from you income, and start over with a more complicated ship. At the end of three rounds, whomever has the most money wins.

The quality of the components is very good. Even after numerous plays, our game still looks to be in great condition. The cartoonish theme is consistent throughout, and the variety of pieces (such as glass beads for batteries) are a nice touch.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve looked at the rulebook, but I believe that the rules were pretty clear. In fact, the rules are laid out in a way that they want you to learn the rules for building the ship, play that phase, then come back and learn the rules for the space flight before playing that phase. This works out well as it allows everyone to get in to the game quickly before the dreaded Rules Overload and Glazed Eyes kick in.

The game seems mostly fair. It does tend to favor those who can look at tiles and judge quickly whether they will work with the current ship parts and where to ideally place them. This can lead to quite a bit of fun as players become more desperate as those critical pieces get taken. It also leads to some really crazy ship layouts. However, with the chance element when it comes to certain aspects of the space flight, as well as the general luck of finding a specific tile, this skill isn’t overpowering or a guaranteed win by any stretch.

The space flight cards can be tough. In spite of their cartoon look, they can blow you to smithereens in a jiffy. Of course, this all depends on how well your ship is prepared for a given card, but you typically can’t account for everything and there’s some luck involved when it comes to meteors (some of which can’t be blocked), so even the best ships can find themselves owing the insurance company with a bad roll. “What? That was the only link from the body of the ship to the entire wing?!?!”

Overall, I think this is a great game. The only thing I can think of to improve it would be a greater variety of cards. Depending on a shuffle, you can easily come up against something you’ve seen before. But this is a minor quibble since the variations in the ships from game to game can greatly change how difficult a given card may be.

Go to the Twilight Struggle page

Twilight Struggle

141 out of 156 gamers thought this was helpful

In the interest of full disclosure – I’ve only played this game once and that was a year and a half ago…

To be honest, when a friend of mine told me he got this game, I thought it sounded rather boring. As much as I enjoy strategy, I’ve never been a true fan of war games. This sounded like Risk…only drier. I was wrong.

First, the quality of the game is very well produced. The board is clear, and the parts seem to be of decent quality. Be sure to have a large play area available, however.

As for the game play, I never once felt bored and was always intrigued by what was going on. There are numerous ways to achieve a victory, which I think really helps you out as a player to follow different strategies.

The various cards and actions in the game are based on real-life events, and the rule book has some history behind those events, which makes for some interesting learning while playing the game.

Twilight Struggle also seems to be evenly balanced. There were several times my opponent and I were each sure that we had the upper hand, only to be foiled by the other person. In fact, it was so well balanced that, had my friend not taken the one course of action he did to win, I would have won on the very next turn.

If you like a good strategy game between two people, Twilight Struggle is definitely one to consider. However, don’t be put off by the box design or the subject matter – it really is more intriguing than it lets on. Now if only we can get my friend’s wife to believe us so that he can take her on.

Go to the Last Night on Earth, The Zombie Game page
53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

LNOE is a great Us vs. Them team game. Depending on the number of players, you always have one team playing the zombies and one team playing the survivors. This makes for a nice balance when you have differing numbers of people in your group.

The survivor player(s) have several characters to choose from – all based on any cliche you can expect from a typical zombie movie. In fact, the game design/production has a strong b-movie flavor (more on that later). Each survivor has their own special ability and sometimes equipment. This adds to the replayability factor.

The zombie player(s) just have several zombies. What they lack in skill, they make up for in quantity.

The game comes with several boards that can be pieced together. There is one main board (with two sides) and several L-shaped minor boards (each with two sides) that wrap around the main board. This greatly adds to the variety of the game. On top of that, there are several scenarios to choose from (or take randomly). And that’s just with the main box. If you add in the expansions (which I have not seen or played), then you truly have a ton of options here for maximum flavor.

I mentioned the B-movie flavor earlier. Depending on your personality, this can really enhance or detract from the game. Personally, I figure that if I’m playing a game where I get to shoot a shotgun at zombies, then it’s all fun anyway.

The production quality of the game is decent, but not the greatest. Everything is very glossy – in fact, this seemed to make the cards (which are thicker than normal) somewhat sticky. It took a lot of shuffling to make them playable, and even still I sometimes toy with the idea of tossing some cornstarch on them to smooth them out a bit. On the plus side, you could probably wipe them with a damp rag if they were to get some food on them.

The character photos (and those in the rulebook) are actual actors. Some people I know hate this, others love it, so your mileage may vary.

Gameplay appears to be balanced. I figure that any game where both sides complain that the other has the advantage means that it’s actually where it’s supposed to be. The players can coordinate (zombies always have to go towards a player if one is nearby), they can get and use items, they have skills, and zombies are somewhat easy to kill. The zombies have the advantage of time (there’s only so many turns in the game), they have the numbers (and keep respawning), and there’s the especially nasty Zombie Deck with which to surprise an unsuspecting meal…er, survivor.

I enjoy this game, think it has great replayability, and is ideal for someone who gets a gleam in their eye when they realize that they have the gas can AND the lighter.

Go to the Dungeon Lords page

Dungeon Lords

91 out of 105 gamers thought this was helpful

My friends and I first played this two years ago at Gamestorm. It definitely has a bit of a learning curve and having someone teach it to you is very beneficial. However, we had so much fun playing it, that my friends bought it only a few days after getting home.

Once you have the basics to the game down, it’s great fun to play. There is a strong balancing act between maintaining the proper resources and being able to wipe out nasty do-gooders. After all, monsters don’t work for free. You have to ensure that you’ve enough resources to build your dungeon, make traps, have monsters to guard the dungeon, and earn some bonus points along the way. However, you also have to be careful not to be too evil, else the paladin comes out…and he’s one tough cookie.

The quality of the game is very good and looks as if it would last for a long time. the board has some great art, the cards are…well, cards. There are also dungeon tiles that are of decent quality and little plastic imps and blood cubes (to record damage).

The flavor of the game is outstanding and the rules are fun to read.

I’d recommend this game if you have a small group (limit is 4 players) and you want a game that will require you to actually think, but at the same time enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humor.

Go to the Munchkin page


34 out of 46 gamers thought this was helpful

This game has a HUGE following. Honestly, I don’t know why. The premise is interesting and the humor is fun (if you like puns), but the game tends to be a fair amount of luck, and the mechanic gets old. Not to mention the ENDLESS expansions, which really are just the same game recycled over and over and over.

Almost every time we’ve played, the game has dragged on far too long. And here’s the weird thing – even though people have said they just want the game to end so they can go home or we can play another game, when it comes time for someone to actually be in a place to win, those same people will still play whatever cards they can to prevent the win from occurring. Happens every time.

On the positive side, the game is fantastic at teaching basic arithmetic. And it’s created the word “munchkinly”, which has worked its way in to everyday language.

Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

35 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

First, let me say that I’ve only played this game once. Well, technically twice since we lost miserably the first time around and started again five minutes later.

The atmosphere of the game is interesting and this can easily fit in with a casual family night or with a group of hard-core gamers.

However, having played Pandemic numerous times, we couldn’t help but feel that this was the same game with different art. It’s just as enjoyable, but if you already have Pandemic, I would recommend that you take a second look at whether or not you need Forbidden Island in the library.

Go to the Lost Cities: The Card Game page
35 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

Lost Cities is obviously well-designed as a math game, but don’t let the “archeology theme” fool you. The pictures are fun, but you could play this with a deck of regular Hoyle cards just as easily.

That’s not to say that it’s not enjoyable. My wife and I love to break this out every so often or take it on a trip. The small size and quick play makes it a perfect travel game.

The game is also quick to learn. The only aspect that is even remotely complex is the scoring, and that’s easily summarized in the rules.

I would definitely recommend this game and am glad I received it as a wedding gift (from another gamer who didn’t want to buy a spatula). Just be aware that it’s not a game you can “get lost” in the story.

Go to the RoboRally page


50 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

RoboRally is a good game for a little while, but I imagine that it would drag on if you played too many times in a row. There are many board setups to choose from, so you should have lots of options, but at the same time, the mechanic has the potential to become monotonous.

That being said, however, I do enjoy the game. It gives you a good mental workout for your spacial thinking, with enough added mayhem and chance to make it more fun than taking an IQ test. I especially like the mechanic where, once you start taking too much damage, your cards become locked until you power down.

Two things that I think would really help this game be of higher quality would be:
1) painted miniatures with an obvious “facing” so that you can see which direction you’re pointed from across the board, and;
2) a LOT more cards. There is far too much shuffling needed when playing with four players.

Go to the Betrayal at House on the Hill page
21 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m an owner of the original edition and have to say that the game group always loves this one. The multitude of different scenarios that come up are varied and can really change the play of the game. Of course, the fact that the house is built as you go doesn’t hurt either.

One thing that we’ve found to really help the game be more interesting is to set the mood. See my tip posting for ideas if you’re interested.

Go to the Pandemic page


31 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

My game group loves the mechanic behind this game and the clever way that diseases can break out, just when you thought you had them under control.

It definitely requires a lot of cooperative strategy to truly utilize everyone’s strengths. One downside we’ve found is that some of the characters seem far more useful than others, but that could just be a matter of us needing to figure out the strategy rather than a true fault of the game.

Like many cooperative games, the odds of winning are not in the players’ favor. And due to the random factor, if you have a bad shuffle, the game can be over in as few as three turns. Because of this inherent difficulty, we have had a hard time actually winning regularly on the normal difficulty, so I can’t imagine how someone wins on the expert level.

But even if you don’t win, it makes for a fun and tense evening of play.

Go to the Roll Through the Ages page
59 out of 113 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve only played this one a few times, but each time have found it to be more fun that I would expect. There’s an excellent spread of options that allows each person to try a different path to winning. That, paired with the dice-rolling aspect, makes for some definite replayability. It’s small size and fast play style makes it a good game for those who don’t have or want to spend a lot of time or space playing a game. Although, those same features could potentially be limiting for long term playability over the course of an evening. It also makes a nice game to show your mother-in-law that there are more interesting games than Scrabble.

Go to the 7 Wonders: Leaders page

7 Wonders: Leaders

22 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

7 Wonders is always an enjoyable game to pull out, especially with it’s quick setup and fast play. When they came out with the Leaders expansion, we were a bit skeptical and wondered how adding a few new cards could really affect the game. Happily, we were wrong. Leaders adds an entirely new feel to the game and our game group considers it a worthwhile purchase all around.

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