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Review 5 games and receive a total of 140 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Hansa Teutonica page
Go to the Tulipmania 1637 page
Go to the Glen More page
Go to the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game page
Go to the Troyes page
Go to the Olympos page
Go to the Ascension: Storm of Souls page
Go to the Mascarade Expansion page
41 out of 46 gamers thought this was helpful

The base game of Mascarade is a wonderful stew of player-driven social chaos, and the Mascarade Expansion gives players old and new even more ways to tweak the game to their tastes. Players can either add more chaos (Alchemist, Puppet Master) or less (Princess, Sage) as well as a variety of other money gaining (Gambler, Patron) or role shenanigan (Actress, Usurper, Necromancer) cards.

A welcome addition are two roles that can be played with 6+ players in addition to more 8+ player roles. All too often I’ve had enough players to make Mascarade a good choice, but not enough to add any of the fun 8+ roles. These new roles add some nice, interesting variety that can be used in lower player counts.

Ultimately, if you’re a fan of Mascarade you owe yourself a try of this expansion, as it offers even more variety. It might even change your mind if you weren’t quite a fan to begin with, as it gives even more avenues to tweak the game to your tastes.

Go to the Olympos page


31 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

Olympos sees you as warring Greek tribes looking to control various regions on a map, which in turn control resources that allow you to purchase developments, which give you both victory points and additional bonuses to both gameplay and end scoring. On a player’s turn they can either place and move a unit into a territory, or take a development if they have the required number of resources.

Primary in what makes Olympos stand out is the time track mechanic (which can also be found in Red November and Thebes, and to a certain extent Glen More). Different actions take different amount of time which move you forward on the track: regional movement is only limited by how much time you want to spend zipping around the map, while taking a development costs a base 7 time units less any from previous bonuses. Like Red November, the person who’s farthest behind on the time track is next in line to play, so balancing how much time you take so you don’t get short-shrifted in turn order is paramount.

The reason being there’s a hard limit on how much time you can spend: The game ends once every player reaches the home stretch of the time track (where they can either stop where they are for points or take one last Hail-Mary turn if they’re close to completing something). Unlike Glen More, where there’s a catch-up mechanic in place for those who took less turns, there’s a very real sense that every minute you spend on one task is time you can’t spend elsewhere. And while there are extra time tokens that let you move and spend without advancing your token on the track, being careful about what you pursue will prove beneficial, because you also have to deal with the other players.

This leads to the very interesting battle mechanic, where players can take over regions controlled by others simply by marching in. The aggressor always wins but, depending on how balanced or imbalanced each player’s military strength is, pays a little or a lot of time for their victory. The loser also gets an extra time token as consolation, and can (if they like) turn right around and re-conquer their lost territory the next chance they get.

However, as this is very time consuming in a game where you need all the time you can get (so to speak), such tit-for-tat game play is largely to no-one’s benefit. Balancing the need for certain resources with how scarce they are and who else wants them (they are hard coded to certain regions and can only be controlled by one player at a time) is a large part of game play, along with picking and timing your battles (or avoiding them all together in favor of exploration).

The one problem I have with Olympos is that, with a higher player count, play becomes highly opportunistic and tactical. And in a game where crafting the best set of logistics to get what are already very tight resources, crowding up the board with more players makes for a less fun and more frustrating experience. In this vein, the game plays best with 3-4, where there’s just enough players to get in the way, but not enough such that you can’t attempt a long-term strategy.

Family gamers may be a bit confused with Olympos, not so much for its complexity as it’s wealth of options and moving parts, while Social and casual gamers may find a fun challenge with enough random events to make it enjoyable in a fairly quick package. Avid and Power gamers may be initially put off by the potential chaos of high-player-count games, but may enjoy the crunch that emerges from the time mechanics. In short, Olympos is a neat little light civilization game with some clever mechanisms, and deserves a look.

Go to the Can't Stop page

Can't Stop

78 out of 93 gamers thought this was helpful

In Can’t Stop, each player is racing to claim a number of, well, numbers, by rolling dice and advancing their flags up a set of 11 columns. Each column represents a possible sum of a pair of dice, and each turn sees players rolling four of them and assembling two sets of two to (potentially) move their pieces. But beware, you’re only allowed to move 3 markers up at a time, and if you can’t make any viable pairs with one of your rolls, you bust and lose all of your progress for that turn!

This is a classic game by the master designer Sid Sackson. It’s simple enough that the entire family can roll and laugh their way through multiple games, but it also rewards sly consideration of the odds. There’s also a wonderful pacing to the game, as more columns are claimed more and more dice combinations are considered “duds,” which heightens the risk of continued dice rolling and makes for some excellently tense games.

Family and Casual gamers will love the heck out of this game. It’s smart, accessible, and even helps teach basic math and probability! Avid gamers may wish to check it out, and the underlying mechanical structure is incredibly solid, even if the game is somewhat light. Strategic and Power gamers will most likely get bored quickly, but may get a kick out of giving it a try. Highly recommended.

Go to the Glen More page

Glen More

28 out of 29 gamers thought this was helpful

Glen More sees each player as the head of their own Scottish Clan, looking to expand their holdings and earn victory points through various means. Each turn, players pick a tile from the central round track and add it to their own set, activating it and the surrounding tiles (which give you goods, let you trade goods for points, move your clansmen around etc.) Tiles are replenished into the track, and the game ends when there are no more tiles in the reserve. After a final set of scoring, the person with the most victory points is the winner.

The two distinguishing features of Glen More that set it apart from other tile-laying games are the tile-taking mechanic and the tile-placement mechanic. Firstly, each player has a marker on the tile track, making turn order variable: the person who’s farthest behind on the track gets to take the next turn. This introduces the standard Euro risk v. reward question of “do I jump ahead for that really good tile and risk other players getting more turns than me, or do I hang back and take tiles I might not want so I don’t have to wait?”

And secondly, you’re only allowed to place a tile into your set if it’s adjacent to one of your clansmen (meeples that pop up on Village tiles but that can also be moved around on subsequent turns). Managing where your clansmen are and where they might go to keep your options open is a big part of the game, as you can easily lock yourself out of tile placement options if you’re not careful.

Casual gamers may be a bit lost with Glen More: there’s a lot to keep track of and knowledge of the various tiles is helpful in shaping long term strategy. Avid and strategic gamers will be right at home, however, as the resource-engine building and end-game scoring opportunities follow the standard Euro formula. The game also presents enough interesting decisions, multiple paths to victory, and clever mechanisms that it easily is one of the better medium-heavy euro games out there.

If there’s one drawback to Glen More, it’s that the theme is very thin. While most mechanics are thematically justified (turning in sheep to a butcher gives you victory points), the game as a whole is a fairly dry experience. If you demand a higher level of integration of theme and mechanics, Glen More won’t float your boat. But if you like crunchy middle-weight euros, definitely check this game out.

Go to the Mundus Novus page

Mundus Novus

19 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

At heart, Mundus Novus is a simple set collection game that sees the players as traders in the new world, trading goods cards in order to acquire developments (like ships, storehouses, and special-power-granting conquistadors) and earn coin that may eventually win them the game. The winner is either the richest player when someone reaches 75 doubloons (or the development card stack runs out), or the first person to “shoot the moon” and have one card of each good type in their hand.

While these multiple paths to victory (and ability-altering special cards) are suggestive of a viable medium-weight experience, hardcore gamers might be let down by the overall package. While the trading mechanism is clever and the developments allow for various strategies, meaningful tactical choices are somewhat limited. Keeping track of what kinds of goods your fellow players are taking allows you to make smarter choices (and even deny trades to leading players), but these choices rarely have a long lasting impact.

As such, Mundus Novus occupies a middle ground: casual and family gamers may be a bit bewildered by the mechanics at first, but will definitely warm to it as they become familiar with its lightweight interactions. Strategic and avid gamers may be initially interested in the potential for strategy and tactics, but may be turned off by its lack of depth. Mundus Novus is a good game, but it is a light one. Play with 3-4 and you’ll be treated to a good bit of super-filler (5-6 players is doable, but tends to drag).

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