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Sen-Foong Lim

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Go to the Train of Thought page
Go to the Belfort page
Go to the 7 Wonders page
Go to the Tichu page
Go to the BattleLore page
6
Go to the Kingdom Builder page

Kingdom Builder

153 out of 162 gamers thought this was helpful

That’s the Japanese word that couples two seemingly diametrically opposing ideals: simplicity and complexity. And that’s what we have here in this game – a game that you can learn in mere minutes but, due to some smart design, has a depth that is belied by such simple mechanics.

Some have described Kingdom Builder as “Through the Desert Lite”. And, to me, that’d be a compliment. TtD is one of Knizia’s better titles and one of his personal favourites. KB takes the general premise of TtD, simplifies it in some ways, but makes it more compelling in others – the 3 random (and sometimes contradictory!) goals being the main driving force here. The changing goals plus modular board setup makes for excellent replay value. The ease of learning makes the game well-suited for introductory gaming, playing with younger people (my 8-year old son can play well and teach the game to adults), and tournament play (as seen at BGG.con last weekend).

My personal take on this game is that I wouldn’t say no to playing it because it is learned and played so quickly – with almost no down time between players – that it doesn’t matter if I wanted to play something else – KB is not going to eat up too much time on the table. It’s just gravy on top that I can play it with my 8-year old. I’m not going to go out of my way to pick up a copy on my own behalf, but if my son sees it and wants it, it’d be a no-brainer – I’m sure my wife would like it and my younger son is just going to get older 😀

7
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

45 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m going to echo most of the sentiments so far:

a) It is an excellent game to play with new gamers of all ages
b) It is a fun game for the family gaming genre

but

c) It is really not that social

To me, a really good game has a lot more interaction between the players than TtR does. Oh sure, there are some times when you might have built where someone else wanted to build, or taken a card that someone else needed, but other than that…it’s pretty much “oh well, I guess I’ll move on”.

TtR accomplishes a) and b) very admirably. I have busted out the set many a time when my sons want to play something with mommy and daddy or when friends come over who aren’t into painting miniatures or collecting cards in booster packs.

So, as a game, does it fail? Heck no! Mr. Moon made a great game here, for what it is. It’s just not my personal favourite. I would *MUCH* prefer to play his Elfenland – many more critical decisions to make strategically and tactically, all wrapped up in a nice fantasy theme (Come on…ELFENBIKES!! TROLLKARTS!!!)

So, bottomline for me – games are like tools: choose the appropriate ones to play with the appropriate people or at the appropriate time. TtR is one of those games that will appeal to a great many people.

Just not to me, if the choice was mine (but it often isn’t – so it’s in my collection).

8
Go to the Lost Cities: The Card Game page
40 out of 43 gamers thought this was helpful

And I thought my MtG collection was worn out.

For a while, this was *THE* game for my wife and I. We would break it out every night when the baby was asleep and play. Not just once. Not just twice. But several rounds.

It may seem simple at first glance, but there is a lot more depth to the game when you play with people who can count cards (me) or people who have a strategy beyond “let’s just play all the cards I can” (my wife – she actually plans out her attack). You can look at your starting hand and you can play what equates to a game of solitaire, or you can engage with your opponent and bait-and-switch by using your discard power to force his or her hand.

Because the game is so quick to both learn and play, it is also a “gateway” game that I often recommend to couples (along with the excellent Balloon Cup, also by Kosmos).

A great couples game and a solid introduction to games for those who think all hobby gamers need to grow neckbeards and LARP.

Note: I was also addicted to the Facebook version of this game for quite some time 😀

10
Go to the Tichu page

Tichu

56 out of 63 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m going to go against the Master himself here (Mr. Sean “Haggis” Ross) and say that Tichu, as a whole, is easy to learn. Other than the scoring and some of the special cards (“The phoenix is worth what when played alone?”), Tichu plays like many of the games played in high school cafeterias the country over.

What makes it hard to master, and eminently replayable, is the level of thinking required to play it with skill. There’s playing Tichu, and then there’s playing Tichu. Knowing not to Bomb your partner’s Ace is probably a no-brainer, but there are times when you might want to.

And this is what really makes Tichu amongst the royalty of all card games – that all plays are conditional. There is, for the most part, no right or wrong in Tichu – there are only consequences; consequences that are based on the cards in the *other* players’ hands. There is a “best” way to play, but that can all go out the window with a Bomb.

Note: I highly recommend playing this only as a 4-player partner game. All the other variants of the game that come in the ruleset pale in comparison. 6-player Tichu, for example, is too chaotic to feel like you have any control. Bombs are the norm when they should be the rarest of the rare.

Highly recommended. But why are you reading my review when you should be reading Sean’s?

He plays Tichu.

Like a boss.

9
Go to the BattleLore page

BattleLore

63 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

Caveat: I own almost all of the expansions, so I’m basing replayability on that.

I have played this game since it came out and, in fact, own 2 copies to have enough units to field Epic Scale battles. I used to be an avid wargamer (Warhammer 40K, etc.) and wanted my now 7-year old son to play them with me. Battlelore has taken a lot of deep strategy and boiled it down to its quintessential points without making it over-simplistic. Ethan loves the fantasy theme and has enjoyed playing since he was 5-years old. I’ve played it with my nephew since he was 14 and we’ve all been playing it on and off over the past few years with renewed interest whenever an expansion set comes out. We especially like the new creatures and heroes that get added from time to time. They breathe new life into the game.

The new specialist cards and card-based drafting method of creating your own armies make for a fun time that’s faster than those that are point-based.

The miniatures are nicely detailed – though the flag poles are prone to breaking and the flags may come off from time to time. My dice were replaced by DoW when they wore out (and when DoW were the publishers…). Other than that, the game is solid. The rule book is generally excellent.

Battlelore is a game that my family will probably play for a long time to come. I have expansions already wrapped for Ethan’s birthdays for the next few years (don’t tell him, though!).

7
Go to the Nightfall page

Nightfall

68 out of 75 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is one that I want to play more of, just to figure out how all the mechanics of the game work. From Chaining, to getting the Kickers to err…kick in, to Feeding an effect, Nightfall has a lot going for it in terms of game play. The fact that the “clogging” cards (wounds) are actually useful in some way is very interesting from a design standpoint. The direct confrontation aspect will appeal to the MtG vets out there but may alienate some of the more Euro, multi-player solitaire types.

In terms of interface, however, AEG would have been better served by going with a colour / icon combination for the “moons” that tell you what links to what instead of only having colours. I play with people who are colour-blind and they have some difficulty with the cards.

I also do not really love the theme. And I like vampires and werewolves and things that go bump in the night. I’m just not fond of having many of the same-named cards being able to be summoned to fight on opposing forces simultaneously. There’s a bit of a disconnect for me, personally. I would rather be playing the humans, the werewolfs, OR the vampires…not all 3 at the same time. But maybe that’s just me.

P.S. Marshall Law added a lot of interesting things, so if you’re going to try Nightfall, you may wish to invest in Marshall Law instead / as well as it’s a bit of a deeper game from the get go. It’s what’s termed a “Stand Alone Expansion” – a game that can be added to a base game or be played by itself. Great concept.

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