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Quentin Bauer

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Go to the Ticket to Ride page
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Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
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9
Go to the Seasons page

Seasons

77 out of 86 gamers thought this was helpful

Seasons is absolutely beautifully crafted. The theme is very cool. And the mechanics are eventually fun, but take about a half hour of play to really understand. It is difficult to review this game, because I’ve played it once, and this is a game that demands many rounds of play before deciding on a final judgment. The good part of this is that the game is robust and has quite a bit of replay value. As beginner mages, we only used a third of the starter deck. There is an advanced deck that we didn’t even open. Of that first small deck in our game, I ended up learning how to use 4-5 cards, and even then I can see that mastery of a card depends on seeing its interaction with the myriad other cards available in the game.

In Seasons you are a wizard that competes against the other players in a three-year competition of magic. As seasons progress in the game, it becomes easier or more difficult to draw seasonally themed “energy” from the environment. You can only summon cards based on your energy reserves. As an example, in winter time, I may have an extreme difficulty drawing fire energy (which is abundant during the summer), and without fire energy there is no way I can summon my Amulet of Fire card. But I may have a ton of air energy in my reserves, but unfortunately didn’t put Amulet of Air in my deck, so I can’t summon anything yet this season. There is a lot of strategy in how you build your deck, and I’m looking forward to playing with this in future games.

The things I like about this game: the replay value. This will get a lot of replay time because it looks like we could play this a hundred times, and without even opening the advance deck, and still be learning how to use the magic combinations (so far I I have learned the strategies of three cards: Figrim the Avaricious, Amulet of Fire and the Grimoire). Secondly, my wife liked this game and its themes. Third: the game is beautiful; I’ve never seen a game so well art directed. Lastly, I really like the mechanics (once I finally got it).

The big problem with the game: I would have tweaked some of the definitions of aspects of the game, and been more clear about the goals in the game. They could have simplified a lot of the rules by just saying that your ultimate goal is to convert magic into crystals (or gems), because the person who has the most crystals by the end of the game wins (after adding in a few modifiers here or there). Phrases like “advancing the summoning track” is used instead of “mana” or “magic pool”, and “advancing on the crystal track” instead of “earning crystals”; many of the ideas could have been rephrased into an easier-to-understand language that didn’t feel like these wizards enjoy speaking in their version of lawyer-speak. If I’m trying to cast magic spells by using the energy in the seasons, and then converting this into gems, then say this. Don’t create a confusing language. Some of the graphic design, as beautiful as it was, could have been clearer. The pips on summoning ability track (your mana pool) and your crystal track (the amount of crystals you earn) looked a lot alike to me, and I got the two confused in the rules. I would have made the pips on the crystal track look like gems (or better yet had a bag of gems that I could throw into a glass jar to get the feel that I was actually earning something tangible, instead of moving a ****** wood block along a meaningless board). These small fixes in the esoteric language of the game and rules would have really made the theme more clear.

I would say that this is nearly a ten for me, but that some confusion in the initial play puts it down a bit until the full verdict is in. Maybe I’ll be back after another fifty plays and give a better more concise review. But for a game that I enjoyed and that my wife enjoyed (a difficult thing to find), I’ll give this one a solid nine.

7
Go to the Catan: Cities & Knights – 5-6 Player Extension page
11 out of 28 gamers thought this was helpful

Usually I love expansions, but I personally feel Catan works best when it’s kept simple. I like the expansion, and think it adds replayability, but the game in and of itself is so much fun and so addicting, that this feels like an expansion for the really avid Catan player that needs an added layer of complexity.

8
Go to the Dominion: Seaside page
51 out of 90 gamers thought this was helpful

Seaside adds new mechanics to the game that increase the complexity of play, and in a good way. Islands are an interesting addition, and the idea of putting cards in play that affect future turns is a really ingenious game mechanic.

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
31 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

This game can be a lot of fun, and is very simple to pick up, but requires a lot of organization. Your strategy can become very confused if you don’t keep everything in order, and early on; as the game picks up and you acquire more and more game goals, your choices grow nearly exponentially. Players that don’t want to keep track of all of this will find the game cumbersome, but for those who enjoy strategizing will probably find the game rewarding, especially when completing destinations and completing goals.

I started with the Europe version of the game, but would recommend starting with the standard edition (unless you are extremely knowledgeable about European geography). This is not a huge issue, but can slow the game down a bit when players are trying to constantly track down the cities on the board, due to unfamiliarity with the region.

8
Go to the Munchkin page

Munchkin

38 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

I loved this game, because of its satirical homage to classic DND, roleplaying, roleplaying genres, and specifically the motif of min-maxing characters. The game embodies the tropes of roleplaying, by allowing you to level up, buy items, pick classes and races (and in the span of an hour!), but also pokes fun of these conventions by making this process over the top and ridiculous. Add in expansion packs, and the game becomes even more absurd by mixing completely disparate genres.

However, my wife — who does not have the background with DND — was turned off by the mechanics and meta-commentary and in-jokes of the game. I’ve also experienced mixed opinions about the art. I love it and think it serves the game well. If you’ve read Dork Tower (and who hasn’t!), then you’ll be familiar with the art style. I also like that the artist and style has stayed consistent with the game from the original pack, all the way up to the newest expansion, which creates a unified aesthetic. Some friends have been turned off by the style.

9
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

49 out of 125 gamers thought this was helpful

Fun for everyone. Easy to play. Easy to learn. Good gateway game. Good social game.

9
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

23 out of 66 gamers thought this was helpful

I didn’t think I would like this game. But like most games that are simple and elegantly designed, this won me over. Really fun and involving for everyone.

7
Go to the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Starter Set page
122 out of 175 gamers thought this was helpful

How can anyone criticize the classic roleplaying game? Edition 4 has more of a video gamer feel, and may appeal to that crowd. As much as I love the old school feel of Dungeons and Dragons, the game really slows down during fights. This can get tiring real quick, unless you have a dungeon master who is very creative. Ironically, the game feels less fun the more bogged down it gets in fighting (which is really one of the core mechanics of the game). On the flipside, Dungeons and Dragons has always been versatile enough to handle different flavors and genres. I’m still a fan of 3rd edition, but like I said, 4th may appeal to kids used to the way leveling up is handled in video games.

7
Go to the Apples to Apples page

Apples to Apples

57 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

This is good if you have a mixed group of people, some of whom don’t like hardcore gaming. I wouldn’t typically recommend it to the serious gamer.

9
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
24 out of 73 gamers thought this was helpful

The mechanics are elegant and the game is addictive. Great party game, and easy enough for non-gamers. A gateway drug to more complex games.

9
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

64 out of 124 gamers thought this was helpful

Great game. Endlessly customizable. Great mechanic. Easy to learn. Hard to rate because each game is different. But when you have the right deck, this game is fantastic. The art is insufferably retarded, and I mean that in a good way (it’s part of its charm).

8
Go to the RoboRally page

RoboRally

50 out of 81 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is crazy, and by crazy I mean that you should throw strategy out the window when other players and their robots are indecipherable variables on the board. Can be fun or frustrating, depending on your mood. A player can strategize well and have dumb luck with how the plays work themselves out on the board. I still love the game, but this one probably isn’t for the power gamer.

This one does have lots of replay value, however, with all of its boards and fan-made downloadable arenas.

8
Go to the Nuns on the Run page

Nuns on the Run

61 out of 84 gamers thought this was helpful

Seriously, this game was really fun. Fun theme, fun mechanics, and fairly simple. My only caveat is that it’s more fun playing the runners than the nuns (for me, personally), and it is fairly easy to cheat. But really clever game.

6
Go to the Small World page

Small World

28 out of 107 gamers thought this was helpful

I know it’s a big fan favorite, but this game really bored me. Not sure why it is so popular. I can’t invest in the goals or the “story” inherent to the game. Sorry, guys, but this one put me to sleep. The board and components are really beautiful, though.

9
Go to the Arkham Horror page

Arkham Horror

34 out of 118 gamers thought this was helpful

If you love the genre, you’ll love the game.

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