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Go to the Core Worlds page

Core Worlds

169 out of 180 gamers thought this was helpful

My thoughts on Dominion
I don’t like Dominion. For me the theme is bland and at the end of the game I’m left feeling underwhelmed. In terms of mechanics, I didn’t like the idea that the point of the game is to collect certain cards which give you victory points but those cards are essentially useless until scoring at the end of the game. Now most fans of Dominion will tell you that’s precisely the point and strategy of the game, but I found it frustrating and have generally stayed away from deck builders since.

My thoughts on Core Worlds
I love Core Worlds! Why? Well, like Dominion the goal of the game is to collect the most victory points, however, in my opinion, how you achieve that goal is much more engaging .

Key gameplay elements
In Core Worlds, the main way to get victory points is by invading planets, however once you’ve invaded a planet it then proceeds to give you more resources to continue in your galactic conquest (instead of gumming up your hand). Yet not all of the worlds are created equal and you often have to make the decision between one that will give you more resources and one that will give you more points at the end of the game.

As far as hand management goes, I like the fact that you get to keep one card in your hand at the end of each round; it adds to the strategy and forward planning which makes this game so much fun. This ties into the ability to deploy your units in advance to conquer worlds in later rounds, which is a mechanic I particularly enjoy. Also, the units are very thematic and the abilities they you give tie in well with the unit description and artwork.

Artwork & Components
On that note, I personally love the artwork. I’m a sci-fi fan and I think the illustrations are exceptionally thematic and engaging. As for the component quality, I really don’t have any complaints. The cards are linen-finished and although they are not made of the thickest card stock, they feel durable. We generally don’t sleeve cards unless absolutely necessary, and I don’t think that it’s necessary for Core Worlds. What was a little perplexing at first though, was the size of the box in comparison to the relatively small quantity of components. I can only assume that this is to accommodate future expansions, but it did initially deflate my unboxing excitement … if only a little 🙂

All in all, Core Worlds succeeds for me where Dominion did not. It combines an immersive theme with interesting mechanics to make this an enjoyable and very replayable deck builder, even for those who might be dubious of deck builders to begin with.

Go to the Dungeon Lords page

Dungeon Lords

91 out of 101 gamers thought this was helpful

I should state at the start that my gaming experience is almost exclusively 2 player. All of the games we cannot play with my boyfriend’s daughter, we play together as we do not belong to a larger gaming group. So bear in mind that I have not played this game with 3+ people.

The next thing to state, is that we are not the biggest fans of worker placement games like Agricola; my boyfriend in particular. So the fact that we enjoy this game so much, is testament to it’s clever mechanics and brilliant theme.

Gameplay for 2
First off, this game is designed as a 4 player game and the 2 player version is essentially a variant which uses dummy boards to simulate the additional players. Each player is responsible for managing one of the dummy boards. Now, most people lose interest at this point, but I think that the variant has been so well thought out that it doesn’t feel like a second prize version of the game and is definitely worth a second look.
The main difference to the main game is how the minion orders are managed. Before the start of each order round, each player randomly draws two order cards for their dummy board. The third order for each dummy board is chosen by each player from the remaining cards. The first two orders of each dummy player are then placed before any of the ‘real’ player orders are revealed. The third and final dummy orders are revealed and assigned before the ‘real’ players reveal their own final orders.
What this essentially means is that there is an additional layer of strategy to the game as you have more information about which order spots will and won’t be available than you would in a 4 player game. You can also partially control the dummy boards to either help yourself or hinder your opponent more directly. For some people, this may detract from the game. However, for us, this is exactly what attracts us to the game and keeps us coming back for more.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the rules are a little complex but once you’ve played through the game, they come together and make sense a lot quicker than you would think. Perhaps the most complex part of this game is the combat and included in the rule book is a set of tutorial scenarios that take you through the more complicated aspects step-by-step. I found this very helpful.
As a non-Euro gamer, what appeals to me about this game is that fact that it’s not worker placement for worker placement sake … there is always the combat round to look forward to which is very much like solving a puzzle. And using your ghosts and trolls to fend off a bunch of pompous adventurers is always a blast! 😀

All in all, my boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoy Dungeon Lords. The theme is fantastic and you really do become quite attached to your dark dungeon tunnels and hardworking little imps. The rules are complex and the variant does take some getting used to, so this may not be the game to spring on someone who is new to boardgames. But if you are are getting into the swing of things and want to try something meatier that still has a fantastic theme with a little more to it than simply collecting victory points, then Dungeon Lords is definitely worth your time.
(Tip: pay your taxes! :D)

Go to the Takenoko page


81 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

Takenoko is one of our favorite games. It’s fast and light, but has enough depth to keep it interesting. In fact, it makes for a very nice introduction into the more Euro-style of game.

The components in this game are incredible. From the pre-painted miniature panda and gardener, to the wooden bamboo sections, to the insert which fits everything perfectly; every part of this game is top quality.

This game is exceptionally easy to learn and the rulebook is very well laid out … it even has a short comic strip at the beginning to set the scene, which is a nice touch. The goal is to achieve as many victory points as possible, and you do so by growing bamboo using the gardener, getting the panda to eat bamboo or laying out tiles in a specific pattern. You do this according to objective cards which you draw throughout the game. These cards are kept secret, so you’re kept guessing as to what each player is going for and obviously their actions can often thwart your attempts to achieve your own objectives!
You get 2 actions each turn where you can choose to move the gardener, move the panda, draw an irrigation tile, draw a bamboo tile or draw a new objective card. However, at the start of your turn you also roll a weather die which gives an additional bonus to your turn. For example, rain allows you to grow an extra section of bamboo on any tile you choose, and the lightning bolt causes the panda to run away to a different tile and eat some bamboo to calm its shattered nerves! 🙂
The final round is triggered when a player has completed a certain number of objective cards, determined by the number of players. The victory points awarded by each objective vary according to difficulty and the person who has collected the most points wins.

This game has probably seen the most table time out of all of our games so far. I think this is because it is fun and engaging, yet can be played in a relatively short amount of time. So it’s a great option for some mid-week gaming to relax together after work. It is exceptionally repayable, and the beautiful components and engaging artwork make this a great option for all players. A must for anyone who is looking for a light, fun game with enough depth to keep you coming back for more but not too much to make it inaccessible to casual gamers and families.

Go to the Claustrophobia: De Profundis page

Claustrophobia: De Profundis

31 out of 32 gamers thought this was helpful

Claustrophobia is one of my favourite games. We actually bought the expansion with the main game, but only started using the expansion components after we had finished the main game scenarios.

So what’s new?
The*hounds are the newest members of the demon player hordes. They are an excellent addition as they add a but more variety to the demon’s attacking options. When putting a*hound into play, the demon player assigns one of the dice of destiny to the*hound which determines it’s movement, combat and defense values for that turn. These values are assigned in the same way for each subsequent demon turn until the*hound is killed. When used correctly they can be very powerful and I think the addition of the*hounds will satisfy those who found the original demon hordes a bit too one note.

The heroes have not been forgotten and the Sicaria have been added to ramp up the human defenses against the dark hordes. What’s interesting though, is that the Sicaria aren’t actually used in the human team until the about the 6th scenario (of 12 new scenarios), which is a little odd. So we’ve haven’t actually gotten to the point of playing with them yet, as we’ve only played 3 or 4 scenarios so far. However, I can’t wait to get to use them because their ability cards are brutal! These gals are clearly made to kick some serious demon backside 🙂

Other than that, there are a few more subtle additions to the game which, while they may not bring vastly new mechanics or dimensions to the game, do add enough ‘newness’ to make it interesting and exciting to pick up an old favourite again.

Some of the new features:
– new dungeon tiles (including a healing fountain and a large room to fit 5 players from each side)
– cave-in tokens (used to block an entrance/exit of a tile)
– new event cards, gifts and objects
– 12 new scenarios

All in all, there is nothing hugely different or new in this expansion. However, if you are a fan of the first game, I don’t doubt that you will love the expansion. The designer has decided not to reinvent the wheel but rather to give fans of the game more of what made them fall in love with the game in the first place, adding just enough variety to make it exciting to break out the game again and whip some serious hero/demon butt!

(In my opinion, it’s worth it just for the*hounds!) 😀

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