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T. C. Petty III

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Review 3 games and receive a total of 40 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

28 out of 38 gamers thought this was helpful

In the long-evolving Steve Jackson tradition of pandering to geekdom’s most base interests, Zombie Dice is the combination of two words that will sell games. 13 custom dice in a cardboard tube. It is a simple, but somewhat confusing to explain, little press-your-luck, dice-rolling game with a pasted-on theme.

You like dice. You like zombies. You like game. And in all honesty, the game doesn’t disappoint a gamer that is looking for a fun way to determine the start player in another game. While not as good as “shock roulette,” trying to eat brains for five minutes is an okay ice-breaker before that big game of Die Macher. There’s a little bit of excitement to be found; some statistical analysis.

So, even though the game is “roll three dice, don’t get three shotgun blasts,” it’s okay enough. One of the downsides is that even though there are 13 dice, you really only roll three at a time. Lame. And the plastic portions of the tube are easily removed, so while it appears portable, without superglue you may find your dice scattered throughout your gym-bag.

Overall, if you bought this game and didn’t expect what you received then you might want to find a new hobby. It’s bland, with some moderate but fleeting tension, but it was specifically designed that way. Marginally better than a rock-paper-scissors tournament to decide start player.

Go to the DVONN page


24 out of 25 gamers thought this was helpful

If the word GIPF means absolutely nothing to you, then ignore the end of my title and simply believe me when I say that DVONN is one of the best abstract strategy games ever created. It is a joy to play, and a game that will still be entertaining one hundred years from now as gaming trends rise and fall over time.

DVONN starts with nothing, then is completely filled with pieces, then works itself back towards nothingness again. Players “build” the board by laying stackable rings onto the spaces provided, taking care to connect themselves to three red “anchor rings”. When all rings are dropped, the game begins and players take turns moving one piece from an outside edge, onto a neighboring piece. This will form a stack. The key is, players can only move pieces or stacks that have their color at the top (this counts as “control”). AND, once a stack has been created, that stack must move an amount of spaces equal to the amount of pieces in the stack.

Because pieces must stack and can never move into an open space, the game becomes very tricky as large stacks are created and suddenly can no longer move. And since all pieces must trace a path to one of the three red rings, a big set of points for game end may suddenly become disconnected and removed from the game. When no players can make a legal move, the game is over. All rings are taken from the board and the controlling players stack all their pieces together. The player with the highest stack wins.

It’s the swings in gameplay and the variety of movements and options that this creates, which lift DVONN out of the dregs of similar abstract strategy games. There’s no fluff or theme here. This is pure strategy with near infinite possible combinations. The only issue with replayability is the static start once the board is filled. Similar to chess and it’s starting formations that become tedious, the layout can make for some shoulder shrugs when the game begins.

Otherwise, this game is extremely solid. It is my 3rd favorite game in the GIPF series (behind YINSH & TZAAR), and easily in my top ten abstract games.

Go to the Fluxx page


43 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

For the same reason that some people love this simple, chaotic, family-friendly game without strategy, I absolutely, totally, in all the senses of the word, “hate” this game.

I don’t rate it a “1” for the fact that it is most definitely playable. In fact, it plays relatively smoothly, and WHEN you actually get a turn, you receive a chance to lay a card or two that will either be negated by the time it’s your turn again, or more likely, have no effect since the game will be over before you get a second turn. My first play ended in two or three turns. My second play allowed me one turn before another player played another crazy card causing the game to end two minutes later.

I’ve heard that sometimes the game can overstay its welcome if players are familiar with the cards and play screw-over tactics. This I find funny, because I never wanted to play again even before I started my second, very short game. The humor of “chaos” is very quickly exhausted. There is no tension, because of the number of card combinations and no real way to gauge if someone is ahead or behind. I’d much rather play Pit! which is very chaotic, but almost always seems tense and close each round.

If random luck and reading card abilities is your thing, or if you like watching the chain reaction of events without being able to interact with them, this is a fun game for you as it gives everyone an equal chance of winning. If you dislike all the things I just mentioned, and gang-up/kingmaker mechanics and chaos, steer clear of this game. I give this game 2 lobotomies out of 10.

Go to the Yspahan page


40 out of 41 gamers thought this was helpful

Yspahan is one of those board games that I saw being played and immediately wrote off as something I would probably hate. Tons of dice to roll, wretched cover art, and a theme that appeared just as uninteresting as the game looked. But, once again I learned that while Euro-game companies have no marketing sense whatsoever, it was the gameplay that overshadowed any other shortcomings.

That’s not to say that the board itself isn’t gorgeous. The forced three-dimensional perspective with cute inconsistencies and the color scheme that clearly delineates playable areas are both eye-catching and functional. And the player boards with universal symbology are simple, but effective.

However, the game gives the starting player the visceral feeling of rolling up to 12 individual dice. And those dice are sorted into six different levels of a small side tower board depending on the amount of pips on the die result. The starting player then has the best opportunity to remove dice from this tableau, can players remove dice levels from the board until all have chosen an action. Not only does this allow for player interaction, it makes a player truly utilize his/her turn as starting player for the best possible benefit.

Sure, because of the dice, there is a bit of luck involved. But, with a mix of strategy and greedy tactics, a player can mitigate that luck tremendously. The designer was careful to include all strategic elements for a reason, so it is very difficult to win the game without having a long-term strategy that mixes area control, caravansery building, and improving a player’s personal board. And it’s this greedy, territorial mix with very little negative player interaction, that makes Yspahan so special.

The game reasonably plays in just over an hour with 3 or 4, which makes it perfect to start the evening, lifts it a step above a filler game, yet is easily played twice or thrice within one sitting. Do not write this one off as I did. It will surprise you. A very worthy game.

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