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Sharv

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Go to the Stone Age page
Go to the Thunderstone: Wrath of the Elements page
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Go to the Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game page
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Go to the Alhambra page
Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game - Core Set page
6
Go to the Incan Gold page

Incan Gold

47 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

Incan Gold is a Press-Your-Luck game where you reveal cards from a deck which either have gems on them, Treasures, or hazards. After each card, players secretly decide if they wish to leave or press their luck.

If you leave, you split all the gems currently in the mine with all players leaving that round. If you stay, you get nothing, but you may continue on.

The treasures are worth 5 or 10 gems each, but you can only claim a treasure if you are the only player to leave the mine that turn. They are never split.

There are 5 hazards, and two identical hazards will end the round, with all remaining players receiving nothing. After a hazard causes a round to end, one card of that type is removed from the deck, it is reshuffled, and another is played, for a total of 5 rounds.

It’s a fun little game, very quick to play, and involves a good deal of bluffing your friends and risking your shiny gems.

The components are nice, but I knocked a few points off because they have you bend cards in half to form tents to hide your gems, and the cards get worn and weak from repeated bending fairly quickly.

4
Go to the Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game page
124 out of 142 gamers thought this was helpful

I was really looking forward to this game. I saw it for the first time in the FLGS that hosts my gaming Meetup. I had considered purchasing it both to have the game, and to support the store, but the $90 price tag stayed my hand. Lo and behold, the following week someone else had already purchased it and I jumped in to a game.

We played the Competitive version. (There are also co-operative and mixed versions you can play.) I was a pilot character with the ability to fly around, bonuses to flying challenges, and good Combat and Agility skills. He wasn’t the brightest, though, being low in Cunning and Lore.

The game, in a nutshell, is that everyone rolls one die for initiative, then one die for movement. If you roll a 1 on either of those rolls you get an Event card which can be helpful, or can just be “Enemies appear in some locations.” Starting with the player who rolled highest for initiative, everyone moves, and then everyone has an Encounter phase where you either try to capture one of the treasures lying around the board, or you go to a city to shop and rest, or you have a random encounter if you’re just stuck wandering around with nothing near you.

The Encounters are typically “Danger Cards” with a skill challenge of some sort on them. You roll a number of dice depending on your score in the needed skill, with the target numbers on the card, and need a number of successes also on the card. So you might roll 3 dice and need 1 six, or roll 5 dice but need 5 4+’s. If you get at least ONE of the required numbers, you can re-roll, adding new successes. If you completely wash out the roll, you lose everything and fail the challenge, flipping the card to a “Cliffhanger” to be dealt with next turn.

If you succeed, you can also choose to “Press On” or rest. If you rest, you collect Glory points you can use to purchase allies, equipment, etc.. If you press on, it accumulates, but if you ever wash out that turn you lose everything you would have gained.

The game seems like it would be fun – except that as in my other reviews, I suffered from my typical malady where dice simply hate me. After failing my challenges every single turn, and having treasures stolen out from under me repeatedly, I just couldn’t care enough to protest when someone said “Let’s just call it.”

If you like luck-based dice fests, you may enjoy this game. I just couldn’t, myself.

7
Go to the Defenders of the Realm page
193 out of 200 gamers thought this was helpful

Defenders of the Realm is the sort of game which takes you out back, beats the ever-loving snot out of you, and laughs as you come crawling back for more, over and over. It’s difficult to win, but there’s just something about it that makes it fun to keep trying.

As a pure co-op game, it suffers from the standard co-op problem – the “game” is controlled by drawing random cards which determine where various enemies pop up and move around. If you get an unlucky shuffle, your game can be over in a few turns. In my group’s playthroughs, however, more often than not it seems like we’re always 1-2 turns from actual victory when the wrong card comes up and we’ve lost the Kingdom to the hordes.

Some characters seem more powerful than others, in my opinion. Any character with an ability to aid in movement around the board can be extremely powerful. The Wizard, the Elf Lord, the Paladin, all of these are able to get where they need to go fairly quickly, which allows you to spend actions building up cards you need. Others, like the Adventurer, while seemingly having some nice abilities, frequently spend all their actions just trying to reach their quest locations or a certain enemy.

The character abilities feel more appropriate than some of the Pandemic roles, and the Quests give a more flavorful taste to the game than simply eradicating 4 colors from the board. With each of those colors having their own abilities and strengths as well, it really helps the game feel fresh and different.

This is a great co-op game for anyone who enjoys High Fantasy as a theme, and will keep young and old busy for hours trying to eek out a victory. And when you do win, it will feel epic, because that win will be hard-fought and far between.

7
Go to the Dungeon Lords page

Dungeon Lords

109 out of 121 gamers thought this was helpful

Dungeon Lords is a fantastic game thick with theme and some very fun mechanics. As a “misunderstood” Dungeon Lord, you have to breed an army of imps, hire creatures and purchase traps to defend your home from those pesky wandering adventurers.

The game is split into two years, which are played out over four seasons and a series of combat each. Each season you can send your three minions into the nearby village to acquire resources or various defenses for your cozy little home. What order you choose to do things in is important, as your second and third actions will not be available to you in the following season, and order of placement determines costs and availability on a number of options, making a 4-player game extremely cut-throat.

For instance, the first player each season to send a minion out to the farms can buy two food for a gold. The second minion that arrives, however, finds the farmers unwilling to sell any more because they’re now low on supplies, so they have to scare the farmers into releasing their precious wares, resulting in your “Evil Level” going up, which attracts stronger adventurers to your lair. The third minion who arrives now finds the farmers hiding, their shelves bare, and is thus forced to burn the farm down, taking whatever food is left lying around (including, possibly, some of the farmers?) and the gold that the first minion paid.

As the year progresses, the adventurers which will come knocking down your doors are revealed, with the stronger ones lining up outside the home of the most Evil player. Fortunately, you can assign your minions to work PR for you, helping the villagers realize that you’re not really evil, you’re just trying to make a living like they are, and really, what’s a little blood shed between friends?

With dungeon building (laying tiles), worker placement, rounds of combat where you plan what traps to use and monsters to send after the adventurers, gold and food stores to manage, taxes to pay (Yes, even the Evil Overlords, Inc. requires their taxes to be paid on time, in full), and more, there’s a lot going on in this game. It can have a fairly steep learning curve, and it does take a bit of set-up to play.

Once you get it set up, though, and everyone understands how combat will work (seriously, teach this early, as every other action you take in the game will be based on surviving combat each year), it’s a blast to play. (Sometimes literally, with exploding imps.)

9
Go to the Stone Age page

Stone Age

135 out of 154 gamers thought this was helpful

Stone Age works really well for 2, 3 or 4 players. It’s a game that’s easy to explain, easy to set up, and easy to play through. With online play available (yucata.de) it’s even a great game to fill some time with when you’re sitting home alone.

A worker-placement resource-management game with a bit of randomness thrown in, in the form of different huts and cards to purchase, (and the dice rolls, naturally), there are a lot of options available within the seemingly limited board locations. There are a number of different, viable strategies you can use to win, and which you choose will often be influenced by how many players there are, and who you are playing with.

If you play with someone who purchases a ton of cards, you want to sit to their left, for example, since you’ll get second choice any time they purchase the “Everyone gets something for free” cards. If you play with someone who will throw one worker into an area just to block you, you’ll want to grab a lot of resources and use them as efficiently as possible.

With tools to help minimize the luck factor of the dice, extra workers to give you more gathering power every turn, and some fierce competition for powerful cards and valuable huts, the game can get very tense as you wait to see what your opponents choose to do.

Stone Age has been a group favorite in my play group since it was purchased a long while ago. It’s good fun for new and old gamers alike, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes these sort of games.

6
Go to the Zombie Dice page

Zombie Dice

30 out of 35 gamers thought this was helpful

I admit, I’m not a huge zombie fan, or Horror fan in general. I don’t go to see zombie movies, and although I do have a plan written up in the case of an eventual zombie apocalypse, I’m not really hoping I’ll need to use it any time soon.

Apparently, I am in a very small minority, though, because when this was delivered as a part of my latest game order, and I posted a picture of the unboxing to Facebook, I immediately had 10-12 comments asking for close-up shots and explanations, and this was from people like my sister, not normal gamers.

There’s not a whole lot of game here. It’s a risk/reward dice roller, where you roll 3 dice, trying to get Brains, and avoid Shotgun Blasts, while footsteps simply means your victim got away from you. You draw the 3 dice randomly from a pool of 13, and they’re color-coded, so some “victims” will be tougher than others.

After each roll, you can set aside any brains you got and either score, ending your turn, or draw new dice so you have 3 again and roll once more. Repeat ad-nausea until your friends finish the other game they were playing and you can get into a real game again.

For what it’s designed to do, it does it well enough. It’ll never be thought of in the same way that Power Grid or Age of Steam is, but it was never intended to compete in that arena anyway. It was designed to fill a few moments in between games with something other than staring around vacantly wondering what to do next.

And, apparently, to make friends and family on Facebook suddenly take an interest in what you’re doing. Which is something, I have to admit.

7
Go to the Quarriors! page

Quarriors!

58 out of 65 gamers thought this was helpful

I want to preface this by saying that although I love dice, dice do not love me. Dice do not even like me. In fact, dice take an odd, particular sort of pleasure– nay, delight, in destroying my dreams any time I pick them up to roll them. Friends laugh at this when I tell them, until they see it in action. Seven workers on the Gold spot in Stone Age, Sharv? Why would you need to roll so many for one resource? ::Rolls:: 1,1,1,2,1,2,3. “Oh.”

That said, I really enjoy rolling dice. I think most gamers do. It’s strange, how although so many gamers claim dice games and luck games aren’t as good as “pure” strategy games, they still play games with dice, treating it as a shady back-alley deal to be hidden. “Kingsburg? Okay, okay, but don’t tell anyone! Pass the dice.”

In that vein, I ordered a copy of Quarriors for myself before I had actually played it. The next day a friend brought their copy over and I played a 4-player game.

Setting up the game itself is interesting. So many little tiny bags of dice to open up and randomizing the Quarry (selection of cards to be used for the game). Basically you will have a small number of spells and a larger number of creatures available each time you play, with the cards dictating which dice represent which abilities.

Once those are set up, you take a starting pool of dice into your bag. (If you’ve played Thunderstone, think 6 militia and a handful of cheap utilities).. A bunch of Quiddity dice (read: money) and a few utility dice which can either be Quiddity, re-rolls, or very weak creatures. You jumble them up in your bag and you’re ready to start.

During the game you will, each turn, randomly draw 6 dice from your bag and roll them. Then you use Quiddity to either summon creatures, cast spells, or purchase new dice to expand and improve your repertoire. Unlike Thunderstone, where a dagger may be used either for an Attack bonus OR gold, in Quarriors, each die will (generally) only give you one effect, making decision making a bit streamlined.

You may also roll portals, which basically allow you to draw extra dice from your bag and roll those as well, allowing you to afford larger, better things, or creatures, which are the way you win.

The attacking and defending mechanism in Quarriors is one aspect I am not thrilled with. Basically, you summon (a) creature(s) and they attack every other player. If a player has no creatures, nothing happens to them. Your creatures wander up to them, look around, and then go “Oh, sorry. Thought you might have had something over here for me to poke at. I’ll let myself out.” If they DO have any creatures, however, your opponent totals up the attack value of all your creatures and has to assign that as damage to their creatures.

Then play passes around the table until it comes back to you. If any of your creatures have survived the other players’ turns, they score Glory (read: Victory) points for you. Then they go away. Yep, nothing sticks around here (except spells). Everything is a one-turn-wonder. This prevents one player from simply popping out a handful of dragons and nasty things and trouncing everything else anyone tries to do.

The reason I don’t really care for it, is that it feels less interactive than using blockers/defenders/etc.. Once your turn is over, you just listen every turn to see how much damage you have to assign and figure out what dies. The only decisions you have to make is what dies first and if you have any spells prepared.

Spells are the exception to the “nothing sticks around” rule I mentioned earlier. If you roll a spell die and get the spell symbol, you can keep that spell “readied” indefinitely. When something happens that makes it useful, you can cast that spell and then the die goes back into your cycle of rolling. This is handy for two reasons: first it means you don’t have to have the die rolled the specific turn you want to use it, and two it thins your dice bag out while the spell is prepared, giving you better chances to get those big, nasty creatures you want to summon.

You also get to thin your dice out each time you have a creature survive a round and score for you. Generally, you get rid of those basic quiddity-only dice from the start of the game.

The creatures have interesting effects as well, making things cost more for opponents, or making all of your other creatures stronger, or allowing you to swap them for an opponent’s creatures that have already been used. All in all, with the cards changing each turn, it really makes for a nice change in gameplay each time.

I took a few points off on components because some of the dice are just very difficult to read. The portal dice especially – you have a big swirl on it, with a number in the center, but the 1’s and 2’s look very similar and are so tiny it can be difficult to figure out what you rolled.

Pros
Fun, fast gameplay.
Great replayability.
No sense of “picking on” or “being vindictive” to other players.

Cons
Sometimes difficult to read the dice.
Limited interaction between turns.

8
Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game - Core Set page
83 out of 91 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve been a long time CCG player, but haven’t played any in recent years. As a huge fan of the Martin books, though, this drew me in. Especially as an LCG. I picked up two core sets and the expansions listed in my Tip on the other page. Customized each of the six Houses to be balanced and fair. Then got a bunch of friends together and learned a few things.

First off, I wouldn’t play this with more than 4. Four, I think, is the ideal number for me. It makes the game a bit longer, but it’s not bad with down time, and it makes it really feel like a melee between multiple Houses for the throne. Five or six makes the game really drag on.

I love the Fate step each turn. It’s a nice way to decide turn order and throw some special effects in to the game. The attacks being in three types and allowing one of each also makes for more strategy than simply having one attack you can make each turn.

The cards are very nice, and the themes of each deck are very strong. House Stark and their Direwolves, Targaryen with their dragons, Lannister and their political maneuvering (read: treachery), Baratheon and their manipulation and recovery.

Although the game can seem daunting to someone who has never played before, it really isn’t that difficult. Explaining the Titles and the way they interact is one of the most important things to cover, and how to put out characters to defend with in the early game can be huge.

If you can pull 2-3 friends together who are interested in the game and enjoy a bit of making and breaking deals, attacking and trying to out-maneuver one another, this can be a great time for about a two hour period.

Pros:
Good components, nice artwork.
Doesn’t take much to make a full set of decks.
Easily expandable if you want.

Cons:
Play time can get long with too many players.
Can seem difficult to explain at first.

6
Go to the The Hunt for Gollum Adventure Pack page
68 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

Having had the chance to play this today, I was excited to be able to include Bilbo and some new cards into the decks and try some new quests. Unfortunately, it turned out poorly.

The encounter deck seemed to become very unbalanced, with many turns passing with no creatures coming in to play, and then suddenly exploding and having the Riders of Mordor remove players from the game in one turn due to gaining 16 threat in one fell swoop.

Some of the new cards are interesting, and the Songs can make multi-color decks much easier, and more synergistic, but I would recommend players really know what they’re doing before making the leap to these quests, and possibly fine-tuning the encounter deck a bit.

Pros:
Bilbo and Frodo!
Easier multi-color decks.
Shiny new toys/cards to play with.

Cons:
Can be unbalanced if not careful.

6
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

74 out of 94 gamers thought this was helpful

Dominion is a hugely popular game, and with good reason. It’s simple to learn, quick to set up and play, and offers a lot of options and (with expansions) interaction. What it doesn’t really offer, and why it doesn’t sit in my favorites, is theme or cohesiveness.

I admit it, I prefer Thunderstone, because while the mechanics can be very similar, the game feels like I am truly accomplishing something. Dominion always ends the same way for me – I sit there and everyone totals up victory points, and I either win or lose, and then wonder why. Not why I won or lost, but why I did any of what I did. I mean, I know I bought coins so I could afford to buy more expensive cards so I could get other cards so I could get big, expensive victory point cards. But that’s it, just dry mechanics, not a reason.

Dominion does offer more card combos than Thunderstone, in my opinion. There is a lot of synergy between cards with the right sets. And the cards themselves are beautiful.

Dominion is a good game, and a solid choice for anyone who enjoys deck-building games. If you prefer games with a strong theme, however, I’d recommend one of the others.

9
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
69 out of 76 gamers thought this was helpful

Having played this now as a 2-player and a 4-player, I really enjoy the game. It’s a co-op in which each player really has a distinct role to play which feels entirely different from the others.

We had an experienced player to teach the game to us, and that helped immensely, as we picked it up quickly and did not feel as though it were all that difficult. We had all played other LCG’s such as A Game of Thrones, so perhaps that helped as well.

Essentially, after crafting the decks to be used, each player has three heroes that form their band for the game. Each of those Heroes, while alive, generates a power token each turn which is spent to play cards from your hand, which fall into three categories. Allies, which are other characters designed to help you either attack, defend or which may have some special purpose. (Gandalf falls under this category.) Attachments, which are usually weapons and armor, but can also be magical in nature. And Events, which are generally played as a reaction to certain events and can help you or your fellow players.

There is a stack of quest cards representing what you are attempting to accomplish in the game. Each turn you can send some or all of your Heroes “questing” which exhausts (taps) them, but contributes towards the quest victory. Some decks will be better at questing than others. Legolas and Gimli, for instance, are not often sent questing. They really shine later in the turn, when it is time to kill monsters.

After the questing, there is an encounter phase in which you reveal locations and creatures from a single “evil” deck, representing things you encounter on the quest. Combat will ensue, and Allies, Monsters, and sometimes Heroes will die.

One of the neat mechanics in LotR TCG is the Threat mechanic. Heroes all have a threat value and at the beginning of the game you total the threat for all 3 of your heroes and that is your threat score to start. Each turn you will gain a threat, and failing in quests can also boost your threat total more quickly. Players with a high threat value will be assigned larger, nastier creatures than players Sauron is less concerned about. If any player ever reaches 50 threat, Sauron decides that player is far too uppity for their own good, and smacks them flat, removing them from the game entirely.

Decks fall under 4 types. Tactics, Spirit, Leadership and Lore. In a 4 player game, with one of each, it becomes very obvious the role each is designed to handle. One player will be healing damage dealt to heroes, and using attachments that bolster characters. Another will be playing gleaming weapons and polished armor on their characters, and wading into combat, with cards designed to mow through enemies. A third may be blitzing through quests with a high Willpower, but need to be protected from monsters. The synergy between the decks is well designed and very fun to work with.

All in all this was a very fun game I look forward to playing again soon.

8
Go to the Brass page

Brass

95 out of 103 gamers thought this was helpful

Brass is a great game. It really is. It just takes a while to appreciate that fact. It is not an easy game to pick up. You’ll have to suffer through some confusion and likely losses to finally get that “Aha!” moment.

Played over two Ages, it’s all about managing your income and funds to build structures (tiles) which will provide you with coal, iron, and other means of scoring victory points and raising your income level.

Your stacks of tiles must be kept in a certain order, however, and you are able to spend actions to discard from the tops of them, so that you can reach the deeper, more lucrative ones. You’re also limited in where on the map you can build, because you’ll have a hand of cards which will either match a city, or a type of building. Spots tend to fill quickly, leading to late-game “Stomping”, or building over your opponents tiles to steal those points.

At the end of the first age, the Canal Era, low-point buildings are removed from the board, paving the way for the Railroad Era to begin. This changes the dynamic of the board, opening routes that previously did not exist. It also means you’re faced with the decision of whether to build cheap buildings early on, to boost your income and score a few points, but then lose those buildings at the midway point, or save up, discard some tiles, and build more expensive ones which will stay around for the whole game.

This is definitely a brain-burner. It can tend towards Analysis Paralysis if you’re the type to lean that way. There are a lot of options available to you, and fiddling with your money and loans is a huge part of the game.

That said, if you have the time and interested friends, this is a great afternoon or evening.

Pros:
Very fun game
Nice components, slick cards

Cons:
Brain burning!
Difficult to teach

9
Go to the Alhambra page

Alhambra

90 out of 98 gamers thought this was helpful

Alhambra is one of the first games I ever purchased when I got into the hobby. I still love the game today, despite the new shiny things I’ve collected since.

Alhambra is a fairly simple game, mechanics-wise. On your turn you either take money or purchase tiles. If you purchase via exact change, you get another action, otherwise you end your turn and you never receive change. The trick is that there are 4 tiles available and each requires a different type of money. Managing your hand of money cards is key.

With 3-4 players, the game runs great. Buying and placing your tiles to have the majority in each color and extend your walls is a fun method of scoring. With more players, unfortunately the game suffers severely. You might as well walk away between your turns, because everything out will have changed by the time it gets back around to you, making future planning pointless.

One problem my group tends to have is that they tend to get easily confused by the tile colors and the money colors. Meaning someone will attempt to purchase a blue tile with blue money, and then realize that the blue tile is on the orange space and they don’t have the cash for it after all. It is especially bad in low light situations, like the cafe my Meetup often gets together in.

I docked a point from the components because the insert they put in the box to sort the tiles and keep the tokens held in place is horrible – even with the box rubber banded shut, whenever this game comes out everything is inevitably jumbled up inside. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t a royal pain finding the courtyard tiles in the mess of building tiles.

Some of the expansions make this even more fun, but that’s another topic.

Pros:
Simple to learn
Plays fast (With up to 4)
Tile laying is fun
Minimal luck

Cons
Luck becomes huge with 5+ players
Down time also becomes an issue with 4+

8
Go to the Roll Through the Ages page
85 out of 92 gamers thought this was helpful

Roll through the Ages was one of the games I learned via Yucata.de – and the online play was so fun I bought the game for my gaming group.

The materials are top-notch. Wooden peg boards for record keeping, large wooden dice with a nice heft to them and wood-burned symbols on the sides, and a very thick pad of score sheets to use.

Gameplay is simple – each turn you roll a number of dice equal to the number of cities you own. (You start with three.) Dice will provide food, workers, coins, or goods for you. They can also cause disasters if you’re unlucky.

After you roll, you feed your cities. If you don’t have enough food, you lose a point per city that starves. Then you collect Goods, which can later be sold for coins.

Your workers can then be used to either build more cities, providing you with more dice to roll each turn (and more mouths to feed), or Monuments, which are basically straight up victory points.

Lastly, you can purchase “Developments” which give you both victory points and a special effect. Agriculture, for instance, will give you an extra food every time you roll food on a die, and Medicine will protect you from the “Pestilence” Disaster.

Coins are lost every round, whether you use them or not, but Goods can be saved to purchase larger, more expensive developments, to a point.

Combining Risk-and-roll mechanics with empire building, with resource management, Roll through the Ages is a quick game with a nice degree of interaction between players, as you compete for Monuments (the first to build each gets more points than anyone else) and can affect one another with disasters.

It has been mentioned already, but the expansion, available on the website at The Roll through the Ages website adds a few very nice new developments and other tricks to the game, and it’s a free download.

Pros:
Nice materials and design.
Quick gameplay.
Fun for 2-5 players.
Online play.
Free expansion.
Portable!

Cons:
Very luck-dependent.

8
Go to the Magic: The Gathering - 2012 Core Set page
59 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

I started playing Magic in 1993, collecting a good amount of the Beta set, and continuing on through Ice Age in 1996. I took a break then during college, and then got back into it somewhat when Magic Online was released in 2002. I never collected as heavily as I did in the early days, but the online draw, that I could find multiplayer opponents at any time of the day or night, made it appealing again.

Magic has obviously been around for quite a long time, and for good reason – it’s a very fun game. That is, if you play a fair match. Because Magic has been around for so long, the sheer amount of cards out there is vast. This leads to problems when two people who aren’t cutting-edge players wish to play, as the power of different sets and cards can vary greatly. Wizards creates “types” to try and combat this, but if you’re not playing “Type 2” chances are you’ll face some sort of imbalance between your deck and your opponent.

For this reason, my favorite way to play Magic is a Booster Draft. Getting everyone involved essentially the same chances at the same cards makes for a fun, fair game with the added bonus of a draft mechanic, which I enjoy by itself. The down side to this is that a Booster Draft costs money each time you wish to play one.

The latest sets and core sets Wizards is releasing has done a good job of getting back to making Magic accessible to everyone. No more trying to remember and look up one of 100+ different keyword abilities a creature may have.

Pros:
Fun and easy to find players for.
Great card art.
Online play.

Cons:
Expensive.
Addictive. (See: Expensive)

5
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
57 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

I loved the Battlestar remake, as well as the classic show. I wanted to love the game as well, but though I can enjoy it once in a while, it is never one of the games on my list to try and get played on a game night.

The game is beautiful. The cards, the bits, the board itself are all really nicely designed and printed. The game doesn’t take that long to set up, despite having quite a few pieces to worry about.

The theme of the game is strong. Anyone who loves Battlestar will get a kick out of choosing a role and being dealt a card to find out if you’re a Cylon or not. Getting extra cards if you’re Boomer or Gaius makes for an ironic smile.

Unfortunately, after the theme wears off, there isn’t really a whole lot of game here. Your action choices on your turn are extremely limited and generally leave me feeling bored after about half the game. Trying to deduce who the Cylon is can be fun, but also frustrating. If you’re the Admiral or the President, you get a few more options to keep it interesting, but those actions can be taken from you as well.

One good thing is that the down time between turns is limited, because you’ll generally have things you have to do on each other player’s turn as well, even if it is only tossing a card or two into a pile.

The game can get tense, which is good. When the humans are one or two jumps from Earth and the Cylons are beating down hatches and resources are running in the red, it can really get intense if you get in to the game. If you’re a huge fan of the show, you’ll likely enjoy it a handful of times. Whether it will keep your interest after that is another question.

Pros:
Great theme.
Beautiful artwork and design.
Has some tense moments.
Low downtime.

Cons:
Limited options
Can get repetitive.

10
Go to the Power Grid page

Power Grid

82 out of 96 gamers thought this was helpful

Power Grid is one of my favorite games, and with good reason. The game plays differently each time, with players taking different paths in their networks and power plant purchases. The expansion maps and new card decks make it even better.

Almost an archetypical euro-game, Power Grid has most of the base mechanics you find in the genre. Auctions, area control, resource and money management, careful manipulation of turn order.. With a built-in mechanic to keep leaders from running away with the game, it tends to keep things close for most of the game as well.

This is a good, solid game without being too much of a brain-burner. It can lead to analysis paralysis for some people, especially when trying to purchase cities in their networks, but fortunately the other phases lend themselves more to quicker decisions.

Luck plays a minor role in the game, but a noticeable one. How many times I’ve bought a power plant only to have a far superior one pop up for the next player, I can’t recall. It can also be very cutthroat as players vie for access to cities for expansion and block one another. The process is not usually vicious, though, merely good play.

With all the different mechanics and aspects this game contains, it always feels fresh and fun, no matter how many times I play. It goes with me everywhere I go, and probably will for a long time.

4
Go to the Arkham Horror page

Arkham Horror

64 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

First, this game requires a massive amount of table space. If you don’t have a large table, you will have trouble finding places to stack all the card stacks and player aids and tokens.

Second, the rules can be confusing. You should read through not only the rulebook, but other tips and FAQs here and on BGG for clarification, as some mis-read rules can make the game completely different, and ruin the game experience.

As a co-op game, this tends to be a long thematic experience, which some will really enjoy. Personally, I don’t. It takes too long and there’s quite a bit of down time between your turns. It also just feels very fiddly, with a large number of options and things to collect.

If you’re a huge fan of the theme, you may get more out of this, but I enjoy Lovecraft and still felt bored every time I played this. It never felt worth the time it took just to set up and put away. It’s a large investment of time to play, and I can fit two or three other games in that time and have more fun with them.

8
Go to the 7 Wonders page

7 Wonders

76 out of 83 gamers thought this was helpful

7 Wonders is a game to play with those you trust. It’s a remarkably easy game to teach, and pick up. It has a good number of different strategies you can follow, making it replayable quite a bit. Not only do the cards you get passed decide your actions, but who you sit next to will influence your choices as well.

Interactivity is limited to purchasing resources from your immediate neighbors and trying to keep up with them militarily. Even that part is optional, though, as you can completely ignore the military aspect of the game and only lose at most a handful of points. That will allow you to focus on one of the other paths as you see fit.

The “chain building” where having a smaller building allows you to build larger ones for free can be extremely helpful if you remember it, but also makes this game extremely difficult to keep track of while playing. My group often simply focuses on their own hand and table, and pays little to no attention to what anyone else is doing, simply trusting that they are paying resources and following chains correctly. The game would grind to a halt if you try to police everything going on every round, especially with 5-7 players.

The only complaint I have with the game is that the cards are easily marked up, with the edges showing wear fairly early on. You’ll want to be a bit careful with them when shuffling.

Overall, a great fun game which plays quickly and can entertain a larger number of players than most euros.

9
Go to the Troyes page

Troyes

59 out of 78 gamers thought this was helpful

Less complicated than a first glance may appear, Troyes shares some similarities with Kingsburg: at the start of each round the players roll dice and then can use those dice to purchase positions on the board which grant victory points and other benefits.

Unlike Kingsburg, however, rolling poorly can actually be a benefit in Troyes, as you can and will use other players’ dice as well as your own, and rolling poorly means your dice are less likely to be grabbed by others.

The board itself can look a bit intimidating, with all the various cards available to be purchased and used. They all fall under the same types, though, and once you grasp those, it’s not difficult to see what’s available at a glance.

Overall this is a very fun game, especially if you enjoy rolling dice, but have horrible luck with them, as I do.

9
Go to the Pandemic: On the Brink page
41 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

On the Brink takes a good game in Pandemic, and makes it great. The components (especially the petri dishes) really make organizing the game much easier. The new varieties of epidemics, mutations and bio-terrorist add a lot of fun and replay value. As a co-op game which you can completely control the difficulty factor for, this is a terrific game to introduce new people to.

It’s rare that I consider expansions better than the original game, but with Pandemic, I believe On The Brink is mandatory. If you enjoy Pandemic, I highly recommend this.

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