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Amateur Reviewer
Amateur Reviewer
Review 3 games and receive a total of 40 positive review ratings.
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Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Go to the Takenoko page
Go to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords (Base Set) page
Go to the Rex: Final Days of an Empire page
Go to the Trains page
Go to the Power Grid page
Go to the King of Tokyo page
Go to the Carcassonne page


62 out of 69 gamers thought this was helpful

The Basics: Carcassonne is a simple tile laying, area control game where you will draw a tile on your turn, legally play it on the map, and then play a meeple on it if you wish. When we first started playing this game most people just kept to themselves working on their own cities, roads, etc. But as we played more it turned into a “take that” game where other people are enlarging your city in hopes that you will not close it before the end of the game or sneaking more of their meeples into the city or road to steal the points from you. There is a lot more strategy to this game once you actually get into it and it can cause some “flip the table” moments when someone places a tile to steal your 30+ point city from you!

Replay Value: We couldn’t get enough of this game after someone in our group first bought it. We made sure it hit the table every game night and sometimes multiple times in a night. But now, at least I am sooo tired of the game. There are a ton of expansions which aren’t too pricey (if you can find them separate from the main game) which add a little more variety, but it is still the same thing…pick a tile, hope that it is the one tile you need, be disappointed when it’s not, and then place a meeple.

Components: The components are great. The cardboard land tiles are durable and sturdy plus they all seem to line up well enough. The only thing that irks me a bit is that the back side of the tiles are slightly darker on the expansion pieces leading people to try and grab those ones over the base set sometimes. The meeples (isn’t this the game that created the meeple?) are awesome, made of wood, and mostly the same size.

Ease of Learning: This game is a breeze to teach people…until you get to farms. The farmers confuse so many people the first couple times they play the game that it is almost easier to play a complete game (or have a completed game laid out) and show them how farms score and how farmers are allowed to be played. Other than that, this game is pretty simple and the 3 steps (place tile, place meeple, and score meeples) per turn are easily learned by most people.

Overall Impression: Okay, let me start off by saying that I drank the Kool-Aid and fell in love with this game the first time I played it. Then we introduced it to our group and it instantly became the big game that everyone wanted to always play….ALWAYS. My group fell in love hard with this game. Don’t get me wrong, the game is fantastic and we have probably played it close to 25 times, but that was enough for me. Maybe I am still jaded from playing it so much lately, but this solid game got old quick for me. My wife enjoys it which says a lot since she is a non-gamer and I don’t mind playing it, but it has gotten to the point now that when people ask me to play Carcassonne I first ask what else we have available…

Go to the Takenoko page


97 out of 104 gamers thought this was helpful

The Basics: Takenoko is a basic trick taking game (think Ticket to Ride) where on your turn you roll a die to change the weather (which can give you an extra action, allow you to take the same action twice, move the panda, grow bamboo on a tile, or take a tile modification) and then you take your 2 normal actions that you get every turn. For your actions you can move the panda and have him eat a piece of bamboo, move the farmer to have him grow bamboo, take an irrigation stick, place a new tile, or draw a new card. The goal of the game is to complete a certain amount of tickets (I think it is 7 tickets with 4 players, 8 with 3 players, and 9 with 2 players) which will trigger the end of the game. The tickets include eating certain colored bamboo with the panda, growing bamboo on specific tiles, and having certain color tiles laid in a specific order and irrigated.

Replay Value: It really depends how much you like this type of game. It usually hits the table every other game night and the people in my group are always trying different strategies to win the game, but the game play never really changes dramatically. The replay value really just depends on how much you enjoy the game, if you hate it the first couple times you play it, then you are always going to hate it because nothing really changes…

Components: Most of the components for this game are really well made. The tiles are made of strong cardboard and the bamboo is beautifully painted and most pieces fit together well. And then there is the panda and farmer. The pieces are made of plastic that is a little flimsy, but they are both painted and look gorgeous! The cards are very small (about the same size as the Ticket to Ride cards) and they can be bent pretty easily, but as long as you aren’t playing with people who rage or little children they should be okay. The instruction book is one of the coolest I have ever seen for a game also. It is laid out like a comic telling you the story of why you are growing the bamboo along with all of the games rules. We have never had a question while playing the game that could not be answered by the rule book.

Ease of Learning: This game is decently easy to learn. My wife doesn’t enjoy games where there is a lot going on and she enjoyed this one. Outside of learning what 5 actions you can take on a turn and the dice actions, the hardest thing to understand are the cards and what type of patterns you actually need to make to score them. It is a little more complex than original Ticket to Ride, but I would still qualify it as a family game.

Overall Impression: I absolutely LOVE this game. I would have to rank it as my favorite game that I have ever played which is pretty weird because I usually enjoy heavier games (like Rex or Power Grid). I am not sure what it is about this game, but when I play it I just feel soooo relaxed. Even when losing the game I just enjoy moving the farmer around and growing the different colors of bamboo and completing different card combinations. Some of my gaming friends can’t stand the game while others love it just as much as I do. For me, it is a keeper…I plan to play it with my children when they are older and I plan to keep bringing it to the table at game night as long as it keeps hitting the table.

Go to the Rex: Final Days of an Empire page
56 out of 63 gamers thought this was helpful

The basic concept of this game is that you are deploying units around the map trying to hold 3 specific cities (out of 5) to win the game solo. There are 6 different races and each one has different abilities that change how you will play the game. You can ally with up to 2 other people which makes it easier to win right? Wrong! If you ally with 1 person then you have to hold 4 of the main cities to win and if you have a 3 way alliance then you have to hold all 5 while everyone else is trying to take away everything you own. Also, if you win as a part of an alliance you can still lose the game as there are betrayal cards that your allies can play to claim the victory for themselves. DON’T TRUST ANYONE!!

Replay Value: There are so many different things that could end up happening in this game that I find the replay value to be huge. I couldn’t imagine a game going the same way twice for this same reason.

Components: Mostly Cardboard, but they are all thick and seem like they will last a long time. The box isn’t very well laid out and there are a LOT of pieces so I organized everything using baggies to help keep some order to it.

Ease of Learning: No, this game has a lot of rules. The instructions do a really good job laying out all of the rules, but it is still a lot to learn and our first game took 5 of us a little over 4 hours to play.

Overall Impression: I thoroughly enjoy this game and beg my group to bring it to the table whenever we get together. It is a HEAVY game though and some people don’t like it because of that. Or some people get their feelings hurt due to all of the backstabbing that can take place. I recommend this for a gaming group that meets on a regular basis that is looking for something on the heavy side. It is a game that creates stories and makes people not want to trust you when you play other games.

Go to the Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower page
73 out of 129 gamers thought this was helpful

If you own Castle Panic then you need to own this expansion. It adds a couple of new rules but doesn’t make the game much more complicated. You are still playing cards on your turn to knock away at all of the enemies trying to destroy your beloved castle. It adds so much more depth and a much larger challenge to the game. Castle Panic got old quick with my gaming group, but this brought new life to it again. I highly recommend it as this actually made me start bringing Castle Panic to game night again!

Go to the Gloom page


38 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

This game has a neat concept where you are trying to make your family have a horrible day right before they die. I can handle the theme and it is neat because it is different, but this game will make you hate your friends so much. There are cards that pretty much trump all of your work and after spending 3 turns racking up points to have another player trump it and then kill off your family member so you don’t even have a chance to fix it sends me over edge. It is a fun little game that is decently easy to learn. I would play it again if it comes to the table, but I wouldn’t ask to play it.

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