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rocklobsta

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9
Go to the Sheriff of Nottingham page
90 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

Upfront, Sheriff of Nottingham sounds like a simple and, to the critical gamer, potentially shallow bluffing game. However, after finally playing the game, I can say with certainty that there is a surprising level of depth and deduction here, and I’m very glad I bought this game.

If you’ve read any other review of this game, you’ll know the premise is simple. Draw legitimate and contraband item cards to your hand, place a number of these cards in a pouch, and then attempt to bluff your goods into your shop, trying to convince the Sheriff (a different player each round) that the goods in their pouch as exactly as you claim (you must be honest with the number of cards in your pouch, but you may only name one legitimate item type). If the Sheriff chooses to the let the pouch pass uninspected, all the items in the pouch make it past ‘customs’ and will be placed in the player’s shop, where they will be later scored at the end of the game. If the Sheriff inspects a pouch, and finds items you “failed to mention”, you must pay a fine to the Sheriff, and those items will be discarded, not making it to your shop. If the Sheriff inspects you and finds that you were telling the truth, they must pay you for your inconvenience. To make matters a little more interesting, merchant players are also able to offer bribes to the Sheriff, which can render a pouch unchecked, or further incriminate the player in question. The game dynamic revolves around being able to smuggle in the much more valuable contraband items without being caught, and being able to call the bluffs of other players when its your turn to play as the Sheriff.

As the Sheriff, the depth in this game lies in being able to read what’s currently in your opponents shops to deduce what could potentially be in their pouches. Card counting and being able to keep track of what’s been picked up and discarded will go a long way, for both merchants and the Sheriff. There’s also a phase within the round which allows players to publicly draw cards from a face-up pile, giving them the opportunity to better form their hand, or to fool the Sheriff on their next pouch.

Don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t as mechanical as I’m making it sound – it’s a very loose and social game. Like most bluffing games, body language, interrogation, and surprises are common in any match, and nothing is as satisfying as knowing you’ve successfully smuggled an illegal crossbow among 4 bushels of apples.

With the right group of friends, Sheriff of Nottingham is tense, exciting, and thrilling. Calculated risks are satisfying and rewarding, and when you get caught red handed, everyone has a good laugh. I get the feeling Sheriff of Nottingham will make its way into our party game rotation. This is the best bluffing game I’ve played since Avalon.

5
Go to the Hot Rod Creeps page

Hot Rod Creeps

61 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

When I first read the description of this game, I was very excited to play Hot Rod Creeps. The notion of building my own track, with the ability to customize my hot rod with weapons, wheels, and engine parts sound incredibly enticing. But after a few playthroughs, I doubt I’ll take this game out of the box again.

A high level overview of the game’s mechanics:
– Players build a raceway with track pieces that connect end to end like puzzle pieces.

– These track pieces are subdivided into spaces, and players take turns moving their hot rods around the track by playing cards from their hand that determine how many spaces they must move. This is known as the car’s speed.

– If a car lands on a special Pit Stop space, they have the opportunity to draw and add power ups to their vehicle, which grants it special abilities.

– Sharp and gentle turns on the track have a speed rating, and passing through these turns at a higher speed will damage your vehicle, causing you to lose cards from your hand and power ups from your hot rod.

And while all of this sounds like it could be a board game version of Mario Kart, I feel the game falls short. I think board games are most interesting when they escalate in some way. Unfortunately, the only way the gameplay changes in Hot Rod Creeps is when players add power ups to their cars. This, however, is done arbitrarily by landing on the right space, meaning the player has to play the right speed card. That’s not always within the players control, and for a game with so many modifiers and gameplay components, the lack of control can be frustrating.

There’s a lot of gameplay potential here. Each player gets a unique hot rod and their own set of cards that determine the way the car handles. The power ups applied to the cars are creative and can be combined to change a hot rod’s play style.

But sadly, everything is all too random to be any fun in the long run. This game has loads of replay value, only to be marred by a lack of control and strategy. I’d love to see an update of this game with revised mechanics and rules, but as it stands now, I’m not having as much fun and I hoped I’d have.

8
Go to the Sushi Go! (Second Edition) page
105 out of 124 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a simple card drafting game that is played over 3 rounds. The goal of the game is to construct a hand of cards that produces the highest score each round and, ultimately, at the end of the game.

The game is played by each player starting with a set of cards, selecting and revealing a card from that set, and then passing the remaining cards to their neighbour. Each time a player receives a set of cards, they must choose and reveal one of the cards to contribute to the hand in front of them. Once all the cards have been passed, selected, and revealed, the round is over and each player’s hand is scored. Scoring is calculated based on the various combinations of cards (sushi) that each player has drafted to their hand. The fact that each card is selected and then revealed allows players to strategize for themselves, and against their opponents, which creates a light element of interactivity between players.

Sushi Go retains the core mechanic of Card Drafting, and creates short term and long term goals by having players focus on building their hands each round, but also collecting cards which are scored at the end of the game. The game isn’t deep by any stretch, but because starting hands are always randomized, the replay value of this game is excellent.

This game is a perfect example of card drafting mechanics, and is simple and cute enough to attract casual and less experienced gamers. I’d go as far as to say that this game is a perfect introduction to more complicated card drafters, such as 7 Wonders. Its ruleset is simple and consistent, and players learning this game need only to play through a single round to fully understand the rules of the game. For its size, this game is engaging and fun, and is a great little game to bring on trips to the cottage and camping.

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