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BuckWilde

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7
Go to the Small World page

Small World

44 out of 50 gamers thought this was helpful

Small World is in every game shop I have been to and it seemed like the “must play” game in recent years, so I just had to try it. It took a lot of reading and a few viewings of Wil Wheaton’s “Tabletop” to get the hang of it, but once I did, I wanted more.

REPLAY VALUE

There are 14 different races and 20 different characteristics resulting in 280 different creature/power combos. This leads to tremendous replay value with any number of people, because this game scales very well from 2-5 players. I could play this game again and again and not get bored.

COMPONENTS

Cardboard. Cardboard everywhere. The two 2-sided boards, each of the races, races banners, and so many other things are printed on nice cardboard. This can be super overwhelming for new or novice players. But once you have a handle on what goes where, things go fairly smoothly from then on.

The case that holds everything, however, is a huge hassle. With so many different pieces, things shift around and go missing. Be careful and think about investing in some plastic bags.

Another small gripe I have with the races tokens is that they are too detailed. That’s right. Too detailed. It is hard to get a quick view of who is where or what is going on. Those with bad eyesight (like me) have to keep their eyes two inches away from the board to figure out who is who. But this is a very small issue.

EASY TO LEARN?

This game has a very large, very detailed rule book. It is recommended that every player has access to it throughout the game, just to double check moves and turn order. There are sheets that are handed to each player, but they are enormous and cumbersome. I had a tough time teaching my family this game, but I am probably just a terrible teacher. But this game is a little more complicated than Candyland, for sure.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

I have really enjoyed my time with Small World. They fantasy elements and special powers are cool and fun to use to destroy your enemies. It does take some time to set up and take down, but it is definitely worth it. It may be a Small World but you will have large amount of pleasure from this game.

6
Go to the Killer Bunnies: Quest - Blue Starter Deck page
70 out of 80 gamers thought this was helpful

Every game store I go into has the Killer Bunny games in every hue imaginable, but you have to start somewhere, right?

This starter deck/booster is the perfect place to begin. If you want to have a good time, but don’t give a hoot who wins in the end, then this is the game for you.

REPLAY VALUE

This game has a TON of cards, around 150. This gives way to massive replay-ability. No two games are the same because strategies may come and go and the heart of the cards might be less caring than usual. But there are so many things going on at once it is just fun to see what will happen next.

One gripe that I do have is if you don’t have a bunny at any point. I must emphasize how boring this game is if you don’t have any bunnies. Trade with people, bargain, or even rig the system so that you always start the game with a bunny. Do everything in your power to get a bunny, especially near the end of the game.

COMPONENTS

I have never seen these kind of cards before, but I sure do like them. The seem durable, perfect for children. The 10-sided dice (die? I never know…) are really pretty and are a cool diversion from your standard 6-sided variety.

The art and descriptions are fun, but sometimes can be vague. Make sure everyone agrees and is aware of the rules.

EASY TO LEARN

That brings me to actually playing the game. There are rules and a lot of them. There’s a lot of generalities and variables that can differ in interpretation. Be careful. If you have questions, check the FAQ on the official website.

But if you aren’t too worried about following all of the rules, you are still going to have a really good time. There are betrayals and alliances and plain ol’ grudge matches. Bunnies will die. Carrots will be bought, but only one will end up being magic.

So just have fun with it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. I do know that you are going to have a serious amount of fun.

8
Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

169 out of 177 gamers thought this was helpful

I rented this game knowing nothing about it except that it was a cooperative game. It has now become one of my favorite games. It is cheap, easy to learn, and has so much replay value, it is insane.

You and your team take on roles as explorers who stumble upon an island that is sinking every second. Your quest is to get all four treasures before you die or the island sinks. You either all win or you all lose together.

COMPONENTS:

This game has some of the funnest pieces I have ever come across. The Crystal of Fire, the Ocean’s Chalice, the Earth Stone, and the Statue of the Wind are really detailed and add a tactile element to the game. It feels so good when you finally collect a treasure and you get to place it in front of you.

The artwork featured on the tiles and the cards is beautiful. You feel like this island has a spirit of its own. Each card is unique and really fits into the theme of an abandoned and doomed island.

The one thing that bugs me is that the water level ticker does not stand on its own. Very,very,very small annoyance, but a small plastic piece could have fit that perfectly.

GAMEPLAY:

Every game of Forbidden Island is different. Each explorer role has different powers that work with the others and the teams that appear vary in how they play. Some groups are really mobile, but others are really good at shoring up the island. Plus, there are tons of different rules that have been made up by fans of the game. Check the tips for additional rules and various tile placements to shake up the game a little bit.

This game really has a sense of urgency with the water rising and the island slowing sinking into the sea. Working together is essential and it is a great change from competitive interactions with other players.

OVERALL:

This game is a great start into the cooperative board game genre. It is easy to learn, easy to play, and is surprisingly cheap. Please take a trip to the Forbidden Island. You won’t regret it.

7
Go to the Tsuro page

Tsuro

55 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

The dragon and the phoenix guard the paths of life for all who play the game. Will you choose your destiny, or let fate decide if for you?

Tsuro is a very straightforward game that is easy to learn and easy to play, but has a bit under its surface.

COMPONENTS:

Tsuro is a beautiful game. Everything about it, from the board to its pieces, is great to look at. The players’ pieces are some of my favorite that I have encountered in a board game. Coupled with a flaming phoenix on the board, this game has a lot going for it visually.

The path cards look great with unique paths for each card. But because the grid printed on the board is so light, placement can be an issue. A small issue, but still annoying.

GAMEPLAY:

This game is simple, simple, simple. Stay on the board longer than the other people. This is accomplished by laying path cards on the board, and moving your piece to the end of path. If your path leads to the edge or into another player, you are out of the game.

There are a few strategies that can evolve during the game. There are people who try and go around the edge and leave a lot of space for later, and then there are those that are aggressive and try to send other people off of the board. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

CONCLUSION:

Tsuro is a beautiful and relatively cheap filler game that can be played two or three times in a row. You’ll have a lot of fun, but it isn’t a strong game to carry a game night. With the ability to play with 2-8 players, it is very adaptable to different situations. Enjoy your flight!

7
Go to the Power Grid page

Power Grid

82 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

After reading so many glowing reviews about this game, my wife and I decided this would be the first game we would rent from our local game store. Overall it was a good experience, but I do have some warnings and cautions for new players.

COMPONENTS:

There are a lot of pieces and parts. Parents and pet owners, be careful. Even so, the wooden houses, oil drums, garbage cans, coal lumps, and uranium cores are really high quality and look great on the cards and board.

Speaking of the board, wow! The are featured on both sides (yup, there’s two of them!) is gorgeous. Electric pipelines have frayed wires, linking familiar cities together across an industrial landscape. Both the continental U.S. and Germany double the replay value of this game. Game developers, take note.

The cards look amazing and feature some cool looking power plants. Very straightforward and unique in their square shape.

GAMEPLAY:

There are a lot of rules. The booklet is 12-ish pages long and there are different phases and steps that happen throughout the game. If you are all learning for the first time, it is going to be overwhelming if you don’t game that often. Maybe take some time reading it yourself before playing. The best case scenario would be to play with someone who already knows what they are doing.

Regardless, once things get going, it gets really fun fast. I love the auction part of the game. It definitely takes a lot of the luck out of this game. Powering cites and getting money for doing so is really rewarding.

One downside of play is that it takes a while. Nothing like Chess-Risk which takes fifteen hours to play, Power Grid winds down in about 2 hours, basically a night out at the movies. But there is definitely a lot of player interaction and many enemies can be made during this game.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, I really liked this game and I would love to play it again, but I wish I noticed how long it would take. It takes a lot out of you, but when it is all over, you want to play it again. Power up!

6
Go to the Lost Cities: The Card Game page
53 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

My wife and I are always looking for a great two player game. So when my mother-in-law introduced this to us, we played it immediately.

COMPONENTS:

I love the artwork that is featured on the cards and game board. The scenes of jungles, mountains, deserts, submerged civilizations and (my favorite) volcanoes are beautiful and evoke a sense of adventure and wonder. The game board is unnecessary in game play, but is pretty nonetheless.

The cards are the main part and they shine. They are large and in charge. They are easy to shuffle, easy to work with. No complaints there.

GAME PLAY:

This game is one of the easiest games to learn that I have come across. Each person is working to get the most points on as many expeditions as they can. Investment opportunities come along in the beginning (hopefully) to create great point increases or to lose many, many points.

Larger cards can only be played on smaller cards and gaps cannot be filled in afterwards. During all of this, your opponent is working on the same expeditions as you.

There is a little strategy, like when to draw from the deck or what to discard and this adds a little more excitement to the game, but like others have said, luck plays a hefty role in the quest to find Lost Cities. Better cards may show up right after you need them. Frustration can swell fast, but luckily, this game moves fast. Soon it will be time to start another round.

SUMMARY:

Lost Cities is a fun and quick 2 player experience that is beautiful and easy to learn. It may be too light for a few people. but if you get the chance, definitely take the opportunity to get lost.

8
Go to the Word on the Street page

Word on the Street

18 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

First off, I am not a huge fan of word games. Scrabble and Quiddler require only a knowledge of go-to words that earn you points without having to know the definition. But I am definitely a fan of this game.

COMPONENTS:

The parts that shine in this game are definitely the letter tiles themselves. They are hefty and look amazing, like they were made from gravel from the street outside. The letters that are included are only consonants and even the less popular consonants like Z and Q are removed for ease of play. The board gives plenty of room for the tiles and creates a physical barrier between the two teams. As the game goes on, the barrier becomes a war zone. There are lots of cards, but they are fairly thin. Don’t worry though, they don’t get handled that much.

GAMEPLAY:

The players are divided into 2 teams. Each team is trying to get 8 tiles onto their side. Once a tile is claimed by a team, it cannot be moved again. At the start of a team’s turn, a card is drawn that has a word category on it, like “Celebrity last name” or “Type of cake”. The team then has 30 seconds to decide on a word and spell it together, moving the appropriate tiles as they move. The opposing team can distract and debate the legitimacy of the word. A tile has to move three spots from the middle to be claimed, so you can play defensively and offensively depending on where the tiles lay.

One problem is that you can memorize words that have specific letter counts, but the chance to play those words are few and far between.

Overall, I think Jay Atkinson really nailed my feeling for this game. Great party game, really easy to learn, and it moves quickly. Enjoy!

EDIT:

I just played this game with my family over the Thanksgiving break and it was a NIGHTMARE. Please agree on a source that you can go to to resolve conflicts, or else make sure that everyone agrees to play civilly. Good luck.

5
Go to the Scrabble Slam! Card Game page
23 out of 31 gamers thought this was helpful

My wife loves word games. I mean, LOVES them. But her reaction during this game was a whole-hearted “meh”.

The game is really simple to learn. The game begins with a 4 letter word that all players agree upon, like “HOME” or “GAME”. Then each player tries to modify the word using cards in their hands.

One of the issues of the game is the cards themselves. They are made of sturdy material, but the problem is that there are two letters on each card, one on each side. This can be overwhelming when playing such a fast paced game. Plus, when you are dealing out the cards, everyone knows who has a blank card and who doesn’t.

Play goes really fast and the word makes some interesting modifications, but it is just too easy to repeat words. The speed of Scrabble Slam! does not lend itself to clever words as much as its father game of Scrabble does.

Overall, this game would probably be best played with more than 2 people and with a younger crowd who is learning words for the first time. It is quick and cheap, but you also get what you pay for.

7
Go to the Coloretto page

Coloretto

97 out of 123 gamers thought this was helpful

I picked up this game simply because it was cheap and because it was a Rio Grande game. What a lucky pick.

Coloretto is a fairly no-nonsense game: get lots of cards in 3 colors, but not a lot in others. But as my wife and I have played through this game, we have found there is strategy and fun that comes along with it too.

The game components are really well made. The cards are nice and thicker than a lot of other game cards. The colors and textures on the cards are beautiful, although the chameleon is the same on every card. The box is compact so it a great game to take on trips.

The game plays really fast, so multiple rounds could be played in 30 minutes, in between heavier games. There are also multiple ways to play, referring to the different score sheets that the players decide on using. There are also variations if 2 people are playing.

Overall, this is a nice, cheap, and colorful game that is simple in design, complex in execution. It may get repetitive, but I certainly haven’t gotten to that point yet. Enjoy!

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