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Explore select games by completing a series of exploration actions. learn more »
Go to the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game Starter Set page
Go to the Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game page
Go to the Chaos in the Old World page
Go to the Monsterpocalypse: 2 Player Battle Box page
Go to the King of Tokyo page
Go to the Android: Netrunner page
Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

54 out of 61 gamers thought this was helpful

My love for kaiju movies and the giant monster genre in general can be likened to Godzilla himself – large, menacing and when it decides to surface, it will take the combined force of several other monsters and a few potshots by the Japanese military to bring it down. As such, King of Tokyo was a big hit with me and here’s why…

Components: Despite being a dice game, King of Tokyo has an impressive array of components. The dice themselves are large, solid and just plain fun to roll. They hit the table with a satisfying clatter and have easy to read symbols. It’s hard to explain with mere words just how amazing these cubes are. Each player will also get to choose a monster standee and matching score tracker. These are simple, sturdy cardboard and the artwork is bright and vivid. The cards used for various monster upgrades and special abilities have got some great artwork on them and are printed on good stock with a nice satin finish. I’d recommend sleeving them, but then they won’t fit in the box insert (always a bummer). Finally, the game has a board to denote which monster is in Tokyo (more on that later). It’s small and simple, but is on par with the other components as far as quality.

Gameplay: King of Tokyo is a filler game through and through. It sets up, plays and breaks down very quickly. Players take turns rolling the six base dice and matching up symbols to gain different effects. You can attack other monsters, heal damage that’s been done to you, gather energy (which is used to buy cards) or score victory points. You get three throws of the dice in a turn and can keep whichever dice suit your needs between throws – will you try and wrack up as many victory points as possible or will you pummel the arrogant giant ape that’s currently occupying Tokyo? There is a surprising amount of depth here for so random a game. The different combinations you can get may allow you to go for one big victory point rush in a single turn or give you the opportunity to gain a little energy, heal your monster and do a little damage. Like any dice game, it’s hard to plan your turn in advance, but I’ve yet to feel like I’ve been cheated by the dice.

Rules: King of Tokyo has a simple, full-color rules insert that is mostly easy to understand. The game has a few quirks (mostly concerning the scoring of victory points). Once you’ve got a game under your belt, however, you should be good to go. Pick up the dice, roll them, choose which ones you want to keep, roll the rest and repeat. At the end of your three rolls, you compare your dice results and score victory points, damage opponents and gain energy accordingly. At the end of your turn, you can spend any energy you’ve gained on upgrade cards that will do anything from giving you an extra head (which allows you to add one of the green bonus dice to your rolls) to forcing you to fight the military and sacrifice health for points. Possibly my favorite mechanic is the press-your-luck decision of entering Tokyo. If the Tokyo space on the game board is empty and you roll one of the damage icons, you enter Tokyo. While in the city, you gain extra points at the beginning of each turn and any subsequent damage rolls you make are directed against all of your opponents. The flip side to this is that only one monster can be the King of Tokyo, so any damage rolls your opponents make are directed against you and can not be healed.. If you take damage, you can choose to leave Tokyo, but you then sacrifice the bonus victory points. It can be risky, but so far I have seen many a game won by a lone monster taking on all comers and finishing strong atop the smoking rubble that was once a Japanese metropolis.

Overall: King of Tokyo was a game that I bought based on a brief description and a few promotional shots of the box art. I am a huge Japanese monster movie fan, so this was a no brainer, however unlike some other games, KoT really delivers on solid gameplay and integrates the theme very well. There is currently an expansion out (KoT: Power Up!) to differentiate the monsters and the game delivers on that feeling of giant kaiju clashing in the middle of a city filled with terrified, poorly dubbed humans. What more could you want?

Go to the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game Starter Set page
70 out of 77 gamers thought this was helpful

Buckle up folks, this one’s been a long time coming – it’s X-Wing: The Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games! Now, before you go locking your s-foils in attack position let’s hold our fire and see if there are any life readings on board.

Components: In the past, there have been some mediocre Stars Wars miniatures, but with Fantasy Flight behind the wheel we have some of the best pre-painted miniatures I have ever seen. The detail is very crisp for the scale (which comes in at approximately 1/270th) and the paint jobs are nice and clean. Fantasy Flight is using a harder, lighter plastic than other pre-painted minis games. As a result the ships feel a bit fragile (due to the light weight), but are surprisingly sturdy and don’t suffer from the type of drooping/sagging/bending that plagues other minis. Additionally, the game comes with movements templates, tokens, dice and cards – all of which live up to the Fantasy Flight standard of quality.

The rulebook for X-Wing is nice, neat and accessible. The core box set has enough components for players to try a few scenarios (also included in the rulebook) and get a good grasp on both the basic and advanced rule sets that are presented. The rules themselves are intuitive to a point, though the interactions between ships while moving and the timing of certain abilities may pose a problem to players on occasion. Fantasy Flight recently released an FAQ/Errata document that clears up most of these issues.

Gameplay: X-Wing is a dogfighting game through and through. Players will build squadrons of fighters by selecting either named pilots (like Wedge Antilles or Howlrunner) or generic ones and equipping them with upgrade and skill cards. Pilots, equipment and skills all cost a certain number of points and the standard game size is 100 points. This allows players to customize their squadron as they see fit and could mean as few as 3 or as many as 8 ships on the table depending on what a player chooses.

The basic mechanic behind ship movement consists of players simultaneously selecting how each of their ships is going to move via a dial unique to that ship. The maneuvers include things like simple forward movement, slight turns, sharp banks and the infamous Koiogran Turn (a 180 degree turn around). Once players have set a dial and secretly placed it next to each corresponding fighter, they are revealed in ascending order based on each pilot’s skill value. Once a ship has moved, it can perform an action. Actions can range from improving your ability to evade, acquiring a target lock or even activating one of your upgrade cards.

After all ships have moved, players will enter the combat phase and attempt to shoot each other down. Simply check to see who is in your firing arc (a 90 degrees wedge in front of every fighter), how far away they are (there are bonuses to attack/defense depending on distance to target) and building their dice pools. Attackers take a number of attack dice equal to their primary weapon value and roll them. After counting up how many hits they’ve scored, the defender will build a pool of green defense dice equal to their evasion and attempt to roll evade icons to cancel hits. There are rules for shields, critical hits and of course character abilities that alter the core mechanics of the game, but these are the basics.

Overall: I’m in love with this game. Like, the scary kind of love that makes me want to tie it to a bed and break it’s legs so it can’t run away from me. Squad building is an exciting challenge and there’s enough variety so far to keep squadrons fresh and games interesting. Both the Rebels and the Imperials seem to be well balanced against one another. Since combat is dice based, there is a fair amount of luck involved and sometimes even your best laid plans can evaporate if you keep rolling blanks, but the game plays relatively quickly and the moments of bad-dice-temper-syndrome are likely to be few and far between.

If I could, I’d go back and change my rating of an 8 to a solid 9 – possibly even a 10. X-Wing definitely delivers your money’s worth and with new expansions coming out early next year, I don’t think I’ll be letting it collect dust any time soon.

Go to the Talisman page


40 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

Last night I sat down to a game of Talisman. This is becoming an annual affair for me – an itch that I feel the need to scratch once every 10-15 months. Often considered to be something a classic, Talisman is a strange mix of mechanics that I have no reason to like, but that I still enjoy every once in a while. But I don’t want to spoil my review, so read on, intrepid adventurer and see if the quest for the Crown of Command is right for you…

EDIT: Upon further consideration (and after another play through), I sincerely wish that I’d given this game a 5-6 rather than a 7. It’s still fun and interesting for all the reasons listed below, but based on how I’ve scored other games, this one just isn’t up to snuff.

Components: There’s not a lot to say about Talisman’s components. It’s Fantasy Flight. The figures are top notch, the cards are sturdy and the board is absolutely gorgeous. I’d like to point out the artwork on the board itself. The board is laid out in fairly standard Ameritrash style (simply square spaces going around the board), but the artwork and layout do wonders in making it feel like a more lush and definitive setting than, say, Monopoloy.

Gameplay: This is where Talisman suffers the most. The gameplay is completely random. Roll based movement means that you can never be sure where you’re going to end up. You do have the ability to move either clockwise or counter-clockwise around the board, but that often ends up just being a choice between landing on a space where something bad will happen or a space where something potentially bad will happen. Much like Settlers of Catan, there is no meaningful strategy that one can apply to playing Talisman. You’re basically spending the whole game reacting to your opponents moves and your own luck with the dice and encounter card deck.

Rules: For what it is, the rules work very well in Talisman and are as balanced as they can be in a game that is based almost exclusively on chance. Characters roll dice, decide which space to move to and then are confronted with challenges that largely consist of a random roll to see if they can reap their space’s rewards while avoiding it’s pitfalls or drawing from the event deck and hoping you pull a shiny new sword instead of a devastating dragon.

Overall: Despite my harsh breakdown of the gameplay & rules, I still like to play Talisman – just not often. The theme and overarching goal of the game is something you’d expect to see in a strategic, choice-driven fantasy game like Descent or Runebound, but the reality is that need to approach Talisman as a casual, goofy game where you may end up as a toad hopping around avoiding ghosts or a troll decked out in Holy Crosses and Crusading lances with a unicorn mount. This game will often leave you feeling helpless and without any control over your own destiny in the game, but with so many tactical games that hinge upon a player’s actions from turn to turn, Talisman offers the opportunity to just kick back, roll some dice and see what happens.

Go to the Chaos in the Old World page
67 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

Before I begin, an anecdote – Last winter, some friends and I got together to play Chaos in the Old World (CitOW) on a Friday night. We started around 9pm and did not stop until 5am. We played 4-5 consecutive games and would’ve played another had we not been starving. The game hits the table very often in my group and we always have a blast with it.

Components: Normally I’d just say “It’s Fantasy Flight” and be on my merry way to the next segment. CitOW has a fantastic set of components. The cards and tokens are top notch, sturdy stock. The board is a work of art consisting of a large map of the Old World that has been etched onto pieces of skin stitched together (the game is very grimdark) and the innovative dials that track the progress of each of the Chaos Gods. However, there is one black mark against the game in this category and that is the figures – specifically, the cultists. Each of the Ruinous Powers has their own set of figures and the daemon and greater daemon models are very well modeled. The cultists figures, however, are the same sculpt for each faction and have a long banner pole that is topped with a very fragile 8-pointed Star of Chaos. This banner is very thin and fragile and after a few games, you’ll likely notice that many cultists are just carrying a stick rather than a banner. I have still given the game a 5/5 for components because everything else is so good, but those cultists pieces are worth pointing out.

Rules: CitOW stands out as one of the first Fantasy Flight games that has had an easily comprehensible and well laid out rulebook. Of particular note is the incredibly well written section that gives players pointers on how to play each of the Chaos Gods and how to deal with their rivals. The mechanics for this game do an amazing job of creating a setting where dark gods plot and scheme against one another and after a turn or two, everything makes sense. I’ve had a chance to bring this to the table multiple times and not once has anyone I’ve played with before faltered with the rules – it’s like riding a bike.

Gameplay: One of the best features of CitOW is that each of the four Chaos Gods is unique. Though they all follow the same rules, each one has a particular flavor and sphere of influence that they can focus on for victory. After my first play through I got a good feel for how each Ruinous Power played and in subsequent games my group and I were able to leverage our strengths to their fullest. Even with new players, the game never feels like it’s dragging and the unique dual victory conditions of the Chaos dials and the victory track give players strategic options for pursuing domination.

Overall: I really don’t have enough good things to say about CitOW. The game has never let me down and is probably played more than anything else within my circle of friends. Being a fan of Warhammer definitely doesn’t hurt, but unlike other Fantasy Flight/Games Workshop games, CitOW doesn’t suffer from being exclusionary to folks who don’t know their Nurgles from the Tzeentches.

Go to the Red November page

Red November

47 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

Before I even begin, Red November is as frustrating as it is hilarious. I know several people who despise it because it never feels like you’re gaining any ground, but that’s what makes it so much fun for me. When you’ve got a bunch of drunk gnomes trying to keep a submarine together, things are bound to go wrong.

Components: My experience with the game was with the smaller, first edition. It is my understanding that the revised edition has a more streamlined rulebook, a larger board and new item cards. That being said, the first edition was just fine for me and my friends and had components that lived up to the Fantasy Flight Games pedigree.

Rules: Red November’s rules were a little hinky to grasp at first. The revised rulebook is laid out a bit better and streamlines many of the mechanics, but I’d still be aware that your first go through might take a little more time than the recommended 60 minutes play time.

Gameplay: The premise behind Red November is that your crew of gnomish sailors is racing against the clock to keep their sub together while they desperately try and surface so that they can be rescued. In this case, the mechanics fit the theme very well. The Red November is a hunk of junk that makes the Millenium Falcon look like a ship of the line. Using a time track along the perimeter of the board, each play has the option of committing themselves to as many actions as they please. Each action takes you a certain number of steps along the time track – which itself is dotted with various events and mishaps. As you progress along the track, you’ll be forced to decide whether or not you want to keep fixing things and moving around or stop and wait for the events you’ve accumulated so far to resolve. Often times, this leads to getting all the way across the sub to put out a fire only to have the chamber you left start flooding. As more players are added to the chaos, things can go very badly very quickly. Teamwork is key – unless of course one of your mates decides to jump ship and leave the rest to sink to the bottom of the sea…

Overall: It seems like a lot of gamers aren’t too fond of Red November, but as a portable co-op game with a fair amount of depth it truly shines. Even the new revised edition can be thrown in a backpack and set up on the fly and the game is always good for a laugh. Players almost always start panicking after the first turn and the games deft mix of tension and humor is unique for a game of it’s stature.

Go to the Rune Age page

Rune Age

45 out of 47 gamers thought this was helpful

Components: Being as big a fan of good components as I am, I have to say that Fantasy Flight has never let me down and Rune Age is no exception. Their cards have a nice, sturdy feel to them with a fantastic satin finish. The Runebound universe has always been populated with fantasic art pieces and Rune Age is no exception. Every piece of artwork jumps off the cards and the overall layout of each card is very clear and crisp. Of couse, since this is a FFG release, it comes with a nice set of heavy card stock damage tokens and a proprietary “attrition” die.

Rules: As with all other games in the genre, Rune Age’s primary mechanic revolved around drafting cards using in-game resources in order to create an effective deck. Where this game deviates is in it’s use of faction specific “barracks” (pools of cards for each of the game’s 4 factions) as well as neutral cards (which can be purchased and used by players of any faction). In addition, the game ships with a number of scenarios which will effect how players interact with one another as well as the game itself. Scenarios determine which cards make up the event deck and this in turn provides challenges beyond the other players in the game.

Gameplay: For all it adds/changes/tweaks to what may be considered the “classic” deckbuilding format, Rune Age is very easy to pick up and play. Each faction has it’s own quirks and playstyles which shift between the different scenarios and the event deck adds a nice layer of neutrality during some of the more cutthroat and competitive scenarios. It may take players a few turns, or perhaps even a few games to fully grasp all of their options and understand how both faction and neutral cards can be combined to produce the most advantageous effects, but from my experience, each and every turn spent learning the game is just plain fun.

Overall: Rune Age is a wonderful addition to the burgeoning deckbuilding market and a worthy carrier of the Runebound mantle. FFG did a very good job of creating a game that will be familiar to fans of the genre and fans of the IP without forcing the marriage between the two. Every time this hits the table, I am excited to play it and I sincerely hope that FFG will continue to support the game with future expansions including more units for each faction, more neutral cards and (most of all) more scenarios.

Go to the Pandemic page


51 out of 59 gamers thought this was helpful

Components: Given the scope of Pandemic’s theme (worldwide disease outbreaks), Z-Man has put together some very appealing components. The board (and box) are a hefty, matte cardboard. The cards feel sturdy and can handle being shuffled roughly. The disease markers are simple colored wooden blocks, but they work very well. Visually, the game is simple, yet striking.

Rules: Pandemic’s rulebook is laid out well and easy to follow. Explaining the win conditions, turn order and card mechanics should take a group of 4 who’ve never played before less than 20 minutes. There are also cards listing all the available actions players can take.

Gameplay: As simple as Pandemic’s rules are, the game definitely requires players to strategize. Epidemics, outbreaks and infections happen at random, so you’ll likely find yourself scrambling to get halfway across the globe to administer a cure. Careful planning of your teams actions is crucial, but opens the game up to one player dominating the actions of the others.

Overall: Pandemic is a fantastic co-operative experience with mechanics that fit its theme very well. The game will work with hardcore and casual gamers alike and can be a great gateway to more complex boardgame concepts for the “Monopoly & Battleship” crowd.

Go to the Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game page
181 out of 201 gamers thought this was helpful

Components: Fantasy Flight can always be counted on for solid components and this Silver Line game is no exception. The cards are a nice, sturdy stock, and the art is very crisp and fresh while capturing the grim darkness of the Warhammer 40,000 setting. The rulebook is another story and is definitely a step back for FFG in terms of layout and comprehension

Rules: The poor layout of the rulebook only adds to the confusion of a ruleset that requires at least one step by step turn sequence. After stumbling through a few turns (both solo and with friends) I finally got comfortable with how a turn is supposed to play. Once the ball gets rolling, though, SH:DA does a good job of capturing the feel of an elite team of Space Marines beset on all sides by horrifying alien creatures.

Gameplay: My experience with the game varies. As a solo game (once I got the hang of the rules) it plays quick and easy. With a group, things tend to run a little longer due to the small space the game occupies and the fact that players generally gravitate towards discussing the best courses of action. In both cases, SH:DA succeeds in delivering tense moments where success or failure hinges upon a die roll. The luck factor is mitigated some by the ability to gain re-rolls, but sometimes you’ll lose a team member in the blink of an eye. One huge black mark against the game is the fact that players can be eliminated completely due to bad dice rolls.

Overall: Well worth the price of entry for something to pack up and play either with a few people or by oneself – especially if you’re a 40k fan. However, there are several other games that will scratch the same itch with a less frustration at the rules and without the possibility of player elimination.

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