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Stone of the Sun
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BosGrono

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Go to the The Resistance: Avalon page
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9
Go to the Telestrations page

Telestrations

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Easily one of the best party games in my collection, Telestrations has the ability to turn the worst artist(s) in any group into the comedic genius of the game. Simply put, Telestrations is a combination of the game telephone and Pictionary combined into one unique, fun experience.

Components:
Though it is true that this game could easily be done with pad and paper, the provided game components are well done and assist in playing the game quickly and easily. Each player is given a dry erase flip-pad with numbered tabs with an accompanying marker and eraser cloth. The game comes with one die and a box of cards. Each card has six random words/phrases. Finally, there is a sand timer provided.

Gameplay:
Each player draws a card and based on the roll of the die writes the corresponding word on their pad. Then, depending on whether there are an even or odd number of players, players either pass just the word or provide their best drawing of the word within the timers allotment and then pass. Turns then oscillate between guessing what was drawn with a word or drawing the word passed to you.

How do I win:
Honestly, I don’t know. I own the game, which comes with a rule book that provides methods for scoring… but I’ve never done so. No one I have ever played with has ever cared about scoring this game (using the term “game” loosely). That’s why I love Telestrations. More than any other party ‘game’ I own, Telestrations is about the experience (Cliché…). When no one cares about scoring, everybody wins (another cliché… knock it off).

But I can’t draw:
EVEN BETTER! If you’ve ever played the classic game telephone, part of the joy was the reveal of how different from the original message the final message became. It was as though the bigger the difference, the more solid the punch line landed. I’ve found the same to be true for Telestrations. The best moments in my game group have come from the “What am I looking at?!” moment when you’re passed a picture. (I will say that I’ve played with an amateur artist before as well – that experience was hilarious as well.) The point is it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw well, this will only lead to a more solid punch line.

Some downsides:
I will admit that Telestrations grows better with a larger group of people. I’ve played with the minimum of four, and the experience fell flat. There just wasn’t enough opportunity for the words/phrases to become distorted. At the other end of the spectrum, the games I’ve played with 12 (I own the 12 player version) were hands down the most fun.
On top of that, the provided pens dried up pretty quick, but it was simple enough to purchase some more, higher-quality dry erase pens from a local craft store.

Conclusion:
Telestrations will remain a treasured favorite in my collection. I recommend this party game to all gamers interested in truly funny moments among friends and family.

8
Go to the Council of Verona page

Council of Verona

20 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

Council of Verona is a fantastic card game that pack a lot of game into a small amount of components. Set in the world of Romeo and Juliet, players take on the challenge of using influence to fulfill agenda that will reward cunning players points. Though a small game, strategy can be quite heady and a lot of fun.

Components:
The game comes with 13 base game character cards, 4 additional cards for a five-player game, two location cards (The Council and Exile), and four influence tokens for each player. Along with this there are 5 player assistance charts showing all of the characters and abilities/agendas. All components are high quality and suite the game well. It is worth calling out the great looking sketch-like character art with unique drawings for each character.

There are two card types in the game – action cards and agenda cards. Action cards have a specific action that may be taken by the player (Move a character from one location to the other, look at influence tokens, swap influence tokens, etc). Agenda cards have an agenda in place of an action and three spaces for influence tokens. If the agenda is fulfilled any influence token on the agenda card is scored. If the agenda is not fulfilled, the influence tokens do not score points for their owner. Agenda examples include Romeo and Juliet are together (meaning in the same location), more Capulets than Montagues on the council, etc.

For a two player game, both players have influence tokens worth 0, 3, 4, and 5 points. For 3+ players the 4 token is removed from the game.

Gameplay:
Depending on the number of players in the game, a certain number of cards are dealt out of the game, a certain number of cards are dealt face down to each player, and a certain number of cards are drafted among players. This set up is great (especially if you are familiar with the game) because you never know what is in the game. Players then take turns playing a card in one of the two game locations, the council or exile, taking the action specified on the card just played (optional), and then placing one of their influence tokens face down on an open influence space.

The influence tokens and the strategy of their placement is what makes Council of Verona so intriguing. There is an element of bluffing that stems from the face that each player has a zero value token. As you watch other players weigh in on which agendas they place tokens on, you have to question if they really think that agenda will be fulfilled, or if they’re bluffing to lure you to place a high value on that agenda card as well.

Poison:
There is a small promotional expansion to Council of Verona called Poison that adds two influence token to each player’s arsenal – a poison token and an antidote poison. If a character card has more poison tokens than antidote tokens at the end of the round, that character dies. I mention the expansion only because is adds another layer to the game that take the level of bluffing to a whole new level. Not only are you worried about the zero token, but if a character dies, its agenda cannot be fulfilled. As an example, Romeo’s card is an agenda card that says “Romeo and Juliet are together” (meaning the same location). If at the end of the game R&J are together, but one of them is poisoned and dies, Romeo’s agenda is nullified because of the death. It’s little twists like this that double the strategy in Council of Verona. Though Poison is a little difficult to get your hands on, I highly recommend it.

Conclusion:
Council of Verona may fall into the category of micro game due to the small amount of components and the short length of time it takes to play. However, compared to other Micro games such as Love Letter or Lost Legacy, I found Council of Verona to have a higher level of strategic thinking and enjoyed the gameplay thoroughly. This gameplay is only enhanced by the small expansion Poison.

8
Go to the DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Heroes Unite page
20 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

DC Comics Deck-building Game: Heroes Unite doesn’t break the mold, or even change a lot from the core game play found in the original DC Deckbuilder, but that might be seen as a good thing to fans of the original. This is not to say there aren’t new and exciting features to the standalone expansion – but merely to point out that fans of the original will feel right at home. I found myself eager to dive into the main deck, revealing new and interesting super powers, heroes and villains and loved to hate the new attacks that the new Super Villains possessed.

Gameplay:
Those familiar with the genre will understand the mechanics right away. Each player starts with identical core decks and gradually adds cards by using the games sole currency – Power – to obtain new, more powerful cards. Along with identical starting decks, each player takes on the identity of a specific hero who has unique abilities. Though slow to start, DC Deckbuilder and its expansion shine in the end game when each player starts to pull of enormous combos. Once the last Super Villain is defeated players total the points of their purchased cards with the highest number being the winner.

Theme:
Some may view the theme as a tack-on and need not even pay attention in order to enjoy the game. However, I found the theme to be appropriate and thought out. I enjoyed obtaining power ring cards that created a force field of protection from attacks or buying a location that appropriately assists villains or heroes in my deck.

Components:
The game contains some 200+ high quality cards. The cards are easy to read and understand. I thought the artwork in Heroes Unite was just as good if not better than the original.

Final Thoughts:
This stand alone expansion does not reinvent the wheel when it comes to deckbuilders – and that’s okay. Erik Larsen and Cryptozoic Entertainment deliver another great game that continues to hit our table. This is an excellent game to introduce deckbuilding to your playgroup as it uses simple, easy to pick up mechanics and has a fun theme – who doesn’t love super heroes?!

8
Go to the Mascarade page

Mascarade

121 out of 130 gamers thought this was helpful

Mascarade thrives in its socially perpetuated chaos. Part social deduction, part memory, part what-the-heck-is-going-on – designer Bruno Faidutti captures the sense of being at an actual Masquerade Ball… if at this particular ball you sometimes lose track of who you are.

Game play is simple and easy to teach. Players are given the option of taking one of three actions on their turn:
1. Swap their face down card with another player’s by taking both cards under the table and returning the cards in secret, leaving all to wonder if they were swapped or not
2. Look at your face down card – a desperate, but sometimes necessary play in the chaos
3. Declare, without revealing, that they are a character

The meat of the game comes from the third action – claiming a power. Powers vary from collecting money from the bank, to viewing and swapping cards, to swapping purses with another player. When a player claims they are a character, all other players have the option to challenge by claiming that they too are that character. All claiming this character then reveal – those wrong pay a penalty to the courthouse while the player who is correct claims the power of the character.

The components are fantastic. Mascarade has some of the best art in my game collection. Small & compact, this game travels well.

What makes Mascarade special is that everyone gets lost – this is by design and creates some of the best game play moments. “Wait, you switch with her, but she switched with him, and I think he had the King… or was it the Judge… Yeah, okay, what the heck, I’ll say I’m the Bishop.”

Players looking for focused social deduction games may have a hard time with Mascarade. This game does not lend itself to the logical deduction you might find in The Resistance or Werewolf. Everyone is swapping, and thinking, and swapping, and finally giving up on trying to track what’s going on.

I’ve played with various group sized ranged from 2 to 12. All had different feels. The sweet spot seems to be 6-8 players.

If you’re willing to give in to the chaotic game play, Mascarade offers a great game.

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