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El Dorado
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Go to the Ticket to Ride: Europe page
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Go to the Takenoko page
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Go to the Roll Through the Ages page
59 out of 92 gamers thought this was helpful

I’m usually not a huge fan of dice games or press-your-luck style strategy, but I actually had a lot of fun with Roll Through the Ages.
It may be because I was a huge fan of the Civilization video games and this reminds me a lot of that, but on a smaller scale.

I enjoy the elements of the tech tree and I found the game to be easy to learn and pick up. The difficulty comes in trying to figure out which is the right strategy to pursue.
I think the components in this game also are a big plus. For coming in such a compact box, the boards and dice are surprisingly hefty and made of wood (always a good thing!). The only thing I was not a fan of are the little pegs that you need to move through the board to track resources. They are made of plastic and I found the majority of them didn’t really sit right in the holes. I would wish for some wooden pegs that had a better fit with the boards.

Check out this game, even if you’re not a huge fan of dice games. The strategy is surprisingly well done creates some good in-game dilemmas. It’s also deeper game than the size of the box or the playing time suggests. Finally, it plays really well as a quick two-player game.

Go to the Tsuro page


65 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

Tsuro is a great little game that is over in about 5 minutes. No fooling!
I think that’s why I like this game so much. It’s often the first thing we’ll play on a monthly games day. Waiting for people to show up? Are a few guests trickling in? Play a round of Tsuro or two or three…

The mechanics of Tsuro are extremely simple. Choose one of your tiles. Lay it down in front of your dragon token. Have your dragon follow the squiggly line path. If you hit another dragon or ‘fly’ off the board, then you’re out. Last man standing wins.

As you can imagine, most of the strategy in this game involves avoiding other people until the last possible moment. However, the time will eventually come when you are forced too close to other players and there’s no option but to crash.

Like I said, this game plays in about 5 minutes (maybe 10 if you have some super analysis-paralysis players 🙂 ). I love it because it is incredibly simple to teach and is the perfect game to fill those 5 or 10 minutes while you’re waiting on others.

Go to the Trains page


138 out of 162 gamers thought this was helpful

I played this for the first time on TableTopDay 2014. We instantly liked it and have been thinking of getting our own copy. It is a deckbuilder and, yes, it is very similar to Dominion. In fact, throughout the game the players kept making comparisons between Trains cards and Dominion cards. The cards in Trains don’t ever get as complex as some of the cards from Dominion expansions, but they still make for a fun, fast paced deckbuilder. (Also, we didn’t really mind the similarities to Dominion since we love that game so much.)

Why I really liked this game is the fact that it adds a board element. I do love many card games (including Dominion) but there is something to be said for placing pieces on a board and creating a world there. (I am also a sucker for any board that is a map and this one is a great stylized version of Tokyo and its surroundings on one side and Osaka on the flip-side.)

My only real downside to this game is the components. I also own Smash Up and AEG has included the same slick-style cards here which aren’t really my preference. Also, when laying down your ‘train routes’ on the board you are just using tiny colored wooden cubes. This game would benefit greatly from some Ticket to Ride style train pieces. In fact, I was thinking if I get my own copy that I’d order some extra train pieces to substitute for the cubes.

The game is not gonna break your brain with deep strategy, but the gameplay is really quick and easy to learn. Everyone had fun playing. And, the most important part, when it was over we wanted to try it again!

Go to the Takenoko page


67 out of 79 gamers thought this was helpful

Takenoko is my new favorite game. It’s a fun game that feels light and plays quickly, but there is some good strategy involved. Antoine Bauza has done it again. I love this and his other Japanese-themed game Tokaido. My gf is currently obsessed with Hanabi like so many others. (Oddly, my least favorite game of his is 7 Wonders. It just doesn’t do it for me.)

Anyway, back to Takenoko. It’s fairly simple. You have three different objectives.
– Build land by drawing new hexagonal tiles and placing them. (A truly modular board — love it!)
– Grow bamboo by sending the gardener to different colored plots.
– Eat the bamboo by moving the panda there (the cutest part of the game and why I think some people have written it off.)
That’s basically it!

But within this there are many ways to play and many different strategies to take. Also, everyone is working semi-cooperatively to create the garden and grow the bamboo. So your opposition could actually end up growing the bamboo you need to get those points!

Also, I can’t end this review without mentioning the components. Everything is wonderfully colorful. The garden tiles are beautifully drawn. The gardener and panda are cartoony but help create an atmosphere that wouldn’t be there with regular meeples. Stacking the bamboo with the interlocking pieces is wonderfully tactile. Overall, the components help push this game over the edge.

Final thought: Takenoko is a really fun game that isn’t void of strategy and is great to play when you feel like something light or don’t have a lot of time.

Go to the Airlines Europe page

Airlines Europe

100 out of 136 gamers thought this was helpful

I really liked this game the first time I played it (that doesn’t happen too often). It was especially notable because I didn’t do that well. But it was one of those games that I wanted to play again soon to improve my performance.

Yes, there could be comparisons to Ticket to Ride (same designer, laying down airline routes instead of trains) and it definitely has the same good quality of components you can expect from Rio Grande. However, this has added economic components like stock options that give it more sophisticated gameplay and a deeper strategy (Not that I’m ragging on TTR! Love that too!)

Overall, if you really like TTR (or any game with a map like I do) then definitely check this one out. It’s like graduating to the next level. I’ve been thinking about getting my own copy for a while and might have to bite the bullet.

Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
35 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

I finally tried this out since the gf and I have been looking for good two-player games to play. I wasn’t totally sure about this one since space and sci-fi isn’t my biggest preference for theme. But I had heard that the mechanics of the game were great and it was worth a shot.
I was also warned that there was a steep learning curve….

Oh, that learning curve! I feel like the entire first game we played was hand-held the entire way by the reference cards (which were extremely helpful) and the rulebook (which I found convoluted — one of those that introduces specific rule details in the ‘overview of the game’ section). Every little thing we did and every new card we discovered had to be double checked against the reference card. Thankfully those were well laid out and helpful for most of the numerous icons that we encountered. (Although there were some icons that were never decoded in either the reference cards or the rule book. We ended up guessing or ignoring them.)
It really felt like we weren’t quite playing the game ourselves, but rather being coached and guided by the rules. More of a tutorial situation than actual gameplay.

Despite this, I could see a very well constructed game underneath it all. And I appreciated the simplicity of the cards (once you finally figure out what everything means — which I assume takes a while). Overall, it wasn’t particularly my cup of tea. But I would definitely be willing to revisit Race for the Galaxy at some point. I feel like that pull (even for a non-sci-fi guy) is what makes it a good game and a standby for most people.

Go to the Ginkgopolis page


17 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

I had seen Ginkgopolis being played quite often. It seems to be the game du jour. I was a little wary of learning the game because it seemed pretty complex and intricate. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The game was explained very easily in 5-10 minutes and after just one or two turns, I absolutely got the game.

After that I had so much fun playing it (the number one bonus with any game for me). I felt like I was really into it with the other plays and I was fully participating. Unlike some other new games I’ve played, this felt like we were actually playing together instead of just next to each other.

The game itself is incredibly well designed as well. Great looking art on the tiles. Wooden pieces (always a plus). Lots of color. Simple design in gameplay by matching colors and numbers.

Towards the end of the game, I finally started to realize what some of my strategy should be to try and win. However, by that point I didn’t care. I was just having fun. I’m sure with future plays I’ll focus on deeper strategy. But that was what I also liked about the game. It was super easy to learn and fun to play, but I could also see a lot of deeper strategy as you get into it.

Overall, this is the first new game that I’ve learned in a while that I can’t wait to try again.

Go to the Agricola page


59 out of 143 gamers thought this was helpful

I finally came to realize what I don’t like about Agricola from other reviews listed here. It never grabbed me and I couldn’t articulate why until now: I just don’t really enjoy my time playing this game. It does give me more analysis paralysis than any other. I always feel like I’m just barely struggling to get food. I never felt like I got a handle on things and was always behind. I mean I don’t want games to be too easy, but I also like to feel I have at least some chance to be doing well during play. On top of this, the length just exaggerates all these problems. Too long.

All of this leads to a stressful experience and the exact opposite of why I play games: to have fun.

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