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The Gold Heart

WooSH

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Rate 25 games you have played.
Go to the Archipelago page
Go to the Carcassonne: Traders and Builders page
Go to the Alien Frontiers page
Go to the Village page
Go to the Magic: The Gathering page
Go to the Android: Netrunner page
Go to the Pandemic page
8
Go to the Carcassonne: Traders and Builders page
111 out of 118 gamers thought this was helpful

Dear Carcafriend, if you are here to decide which expansion to buy, please read! Some of the reviews here may get you confused about this expansion in particular, but let me tell you what I think about it, okay?

FIRST THINGS FIRST
First of all, let me clarify some of the arguments I’ve seen around regarding Traders and Builders (T&B).

“The goods feel a bit random”
Well, it is Carcassonne after all. This is a game based on luck, no expansion can change that. But when playing B&T, drawing a tile with a given resource doesn’t mean you got lucky. Only the person who completes the city, even if he/she doesn’t own it, is going to get the corresponding resources. So there’s always this strategies to be made:
“If I add this cloth tile to my city, then maybe people will finish it for me”.
Or maybe the opposite thought:
“If I put one more cloth tile to my city, the person who finishes it is going to score a lot of points. I better put it somewhere else.”
Bottom line is, Resource Tiles can add SO MUCH depth to Carcassonne that even if you got bored with the base game, you will feel thrilled again! Randomness is part of Carcassonne nature, but the goods actually adds a bit of strategy to the game! Excellent addition!

“No aspect of trading added to the game”
I’m sorry to disagree, but when I played B&T, I actually found myself in this situation:
“Dude, if you finish my city, you get the resources and we both score! What do you say?”
This expansion gave Carcassonne a slight aspect of negotiations. Subtle, but real.

NOW THE OTHER STUFF
Although Resource Tiles added A LOT of tension to the game, Builders and Pigs are a much more controlled feature.

Pigs may be placed into a field/farm you own, increasing thus the value of each city in that field/farm.

Builders may be placed into a city or road you own. Now everytime you add a tile to that city or road, you may draw another tile and put it anywhere you want. This is a GREAT addition that helps you finishing those gigantic cities or stubborn roads. Really simple and fun.

I must mention that this expansion comes with a bag, so you can put all the tiles inside and draw directly from the bag. WOW SUCH USEFUL! VERY BAG!

CONCLUSION
This is a great and fun expansion. Gives Carcassonne depth but keeping it simple. Although I don’t think it is a necessary expansion to the game (specially for noobs), it is a good expansion for experienced players who needs a bit more of a challenge.

7
Go to the Love Letter page

Love Letter

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Love Letters was one of the most “successful” games of 2013. But that may work in its favor and also against it. Where does all this hype come from? And how much of it is actually real? Cards on the table, we’re about to find out!

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
First of all, I need to highlight the simplicity of Love Letters (LL). We are talking about a deck of 16 cards AND THAT’S ALL! This simplicity is the key of the game, LL can be learned in 5 minutes and played in 15 or less. It doesn’t require too much thinking and it’s mostly about luck. But the game itself is pretty fun and frustration-proof.

The objective of each round is to “kill” all your opponents or be the one with the most valuable card at the end of the round. You get a point for each round you win and the person who scores 3/5/7 whatever points wins the game.

You will always have one card in your hand, and to use it, you must first draw a new card and then discard one of your choice. That way, in order to kill someone, you need to use your card’s special ability by discarding it. For example if you discard a Guard card, you may try to guess someone else’s card, if you manage to do it that person is dead. Other cards may let you look at a opponent’s hand, or force someone to discard his card and draw a new one, or trade hands, and many more. Card’s values goes from 1 to 8, and the cards with higher value don’t have as much utility as the ones with lower value.

THEME
The theme in LL is quite useless. This whole thing of you sending love letters to a princess has absolutely no connection with the mechanics of the game. EVERYONE I played this game with asked at some point “what all of this have to do with the theme?”. So don’t pick this game for its theme, it’s just a cute make-up for a card game.

CONCLUSION
I can assure you that LL is a fun-luck-bluff-quick-easy-light game. But it’s not innovative and it doesn’t have great replay value. In fact, usually when people finish a game of LL, they instantly start looking for some other game.

Now let me be fair here, LL gives you 15 minutes of fun and laughs, we can’t ask 16 cards to be more than that right?

So all the hype is actually real. This game has a good price, it’s portable, it’s fun and anyone can play this! LL deserves to be played by any gamer out there. Just remember that this is only a filler game, we are not talking about something that will change your life.

PROS
– Easy
– Cheap price
– Portable
– Fun
– Quick, no downtime, no analysis paralysis

CONS
– No replay value
– Theme is pretty much useless
– Will never be the main game of the night

9
Go to the Android: Netrunner page

Android: Netrunner

34 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

As a former Magic The Gathering player, I knew I could trust Richard Garfield with his new deck building game, but I wasn’t expecting such phenomenal experience. If you never felt the tension of hacking/being hacked before, Android Netrunner is here to show you that internet is, in fact, serious business.

CONCEPTS AND BASIC MECHANICS
One of the players will be assuming the role of a Runner (a hacker) and the other will be a Corporation (a company that holds important information). There are 3 different decks of runners and 4 of corporations, which gives this game great replay value.

The objective of the game is to achieve and “perform” one specific type of card: the “Agendas”. Agendas are like really important information located in the Corp’s Research and Development Server (aka the corporation’s deck). Following the same concept, the corp. player’s hand is also a server, as well as his discard pile.

The runner must access all these servers by spending one of his actions in order to steal the agenda cards. Each agenda has a specific value, and whoever score 7 Agenda points first wins the game.

Sounds simple right? Well actually the Corporation can create new servers by placing cards faced down on the table, this cards can be agendas or traps, so if the runner try to access these new servers, he may score points or suffer the consequences of encountering a trap. So expect A LOT of bluffing when playing Android Netrunner! Really cool mechanic!

Also, the Corp. may install defenses in its servers, preventing the runner to a gain access of the cards or even tracking him down and punishing him. And the runner of course may install programs, hardware, software and everything he can that may disable the Corp’s defenses.

COMPONENTS
The quality of the components are marvelous! Even the box feels prettier than other games I own! I know this is the quality expected from Fantasy Flight Games, but everything in this game was really well made. Congratulations to everyone involved!

CONCLUSION
Bottom line is… the theme of Android Netrunner is brilliant! It makes you really feel as a hacker or some big fat corporation struggling to keep its servers secured! Every gamer should play this game and feel this experience.

If you are not familiar with deck-building games, don’t worry! All decks in the base game come ready to play! Also, Fantasy Flight Games has an AWESOME tutorial video on its website, teaching every step of the game! The manual itself is pretty good too!

So, the only reason I didn’t give my first 10 grade ever to this game is because it is a 2 player game only, and I wish there was a variant for 4 or more players. That’s the only reason! I loved this game and I thought I wouldn’t play deck building games so soon. But this one is a “must play”.

PROS
– Original mechanics
– Incredible theme
– Challenging
– Good mixture of strategy and bluffing
– Excellent components
– Good replay value

CONS
– It’s a 2 players game only 🙁

9
Go to the Village page

Village

122 out of 133 gamers thought this was helpful

Village is an incredibly thematic game with a complex resource management, the perfect choice for strategic players who usually avoid the “luck factor”. If you think real life decisions were always hard to make, wait until you play this game.

CONCEPT AND BASE MECHANICS
Every player starts with 4 members of their family’s first generation. They all begin the game as farmers in the player’s wheat farm.

Every turn you are supposed to perform a single action somewhere in the main board (the village), it may be crafting, traveling, trading, making babies, producing/selling wheat, going to church, working on politics and many more. The number of times you may use each action is represented by wooden colored cubes (the green cube is charm, pink is knowledge, orange is skill, brown is faith and black is disease), so every time you perform an action, you need first to take one of the cubes designated to that action and put it in your inventory.

The interesting thing about Village is that, to perform some of the actions, you may choose to pay it with cubes or with time, which is controlled in the player’s farm. After a cycle of 9 times, one meeple of your oldest generation MUST die. After dying, he may be forever remembered in the village’s history or buried in a graveyard and forgotten, depending on his life choices (was he a travelling man? a politician? a bishop?).

At the end of the game, the player with the most family legacy (victory points) wins the game.

Some of the actions in the game may not be performed by everyone in the same round because of the scarce cubes. So you need to plan your decisions ahead in order to make sure you can perform all the actions you need and also get the right cubes.

CONCLUSION
Village is a game with several resources to be managed: Cubes, Meeples, Time, Wheat, Horses, Oxes, Money and many many more. And the cool thing about it is that you are never quite sure which decision can benefit you the most, is like making a decision in real life.

Should I use my faith cubes to put a family member into the church? Or should I spend charm cubes to make him a politician? Maybe I should just spend time training him to become a craftsman and sell plow at the market next turn.

I mean, this game is so open and deep that you are never sure of who’s actually wining until the end of the game when most of the points are scored, it is really challenging!

PROS
– Very thematic
– Challenging
– Exclusive and original mechanics
– Very open and based on 1% luck
– Great Replay value

CONS
– May suffer from Analysis Paralysis
– Can last 2 or 3 hours (for some people that’s a PRO)
– Takes you at least 30 minutes to explain all the rules

8
Go to the The Resistance: Avalon page
126 out of 136 gamers thought this was helpful

CONCEPT
I’ve always been a fan of games with heavy player interaction. Games which mechanics involve trading, bluffing, making alliances, betraying… well, you get the point right? Now imagine my reaction when a friend of mine presented me to The Resistance, a game in which you must convince your friends that you are someone they will never be sure of. Yeah, I was pretty excited… And this game surely haven’t disappointed me.

The sensation of playing The Resistance for the very first time is quite unique, so I don’t want to cover every gameplay detail. All I must say is that you will be given a card at the start of the game which will tell if you are bad or good. Now, the good guys here are trying to complete 3 missions successfully and win the game.

“But how do they do that?”
It’s simple, every turn some of the players will be elected to vote for a mission to succeed or fail. Votes are secret and it takes only one “Fail” vote for a mission to be unsuccessful. 3 unsuccessful missions give the bad guys victory. If all the votes are “Success”, the mission succeeds and the good guys score 1 point.

“So how can we make sure a mission will be successful?”
Easy, just make sure the elected group is made only of good guys :^)

“But how do I know which one is bad or good?”
Oh… Well, all I can assure you is that I’m one of the good ones, so make sure I’m voting the missions :^)

“Oh, so you are good too?”
Yeah, of course pal :^) I’m good… suuuure… >:^) MWAHUAMUHAMUHAMUHAM (evil laugh)

One important thing is that, at the beginning of the game, the bad guys are given a chance to see each other, so they know exactly who they need to manipulate. So what you’ll see during the game is every single player acting like a good guy, and as the missions succeed/fail, the good guys start to actually tell who is probably bad… or not… I mean, how well can your friends manipulate you? That’s the real question in The Resistance.

ADDITIONAL ROLES
As far as the Avalon Edition is concerned, it basically adds several new roles, leading to a lot of new interactions and possibilities. But I will recommend using the new cards only if you are a very experienced player. Again, I don’t want to cover the details, but Avalon gives The Resistance even more replayability and mind blowing outcomes. Sometimes you will get so confused with all the different interactions and manipulation that your brain will get blue screen and restart itself automatically. Great, great addition if you are starting to feel bored with the basic version of the game.

CONCLUSION
Overall, this is a great and fun game to play with large or small groups of people. Just make sure that, if you are one of the good guys, you can handle being back stabbed by your best friend and your wife. It happened to me and I still feel like a fool. Oh, they feel great about it by the way, greatest pride in their lives.

8
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

93 out of 100 gamers thought this was helpful

Pandemic is a quite challenging cooperative board game, even for advanced players. It has this chaotic mechanic of cities being infected by diseases, so that it can take only two or three turns before taking you from “ok, we got this” to “OH MY GOD WHAT THE **** IS GOING ON?”. That way, even if you lose, the game leaves you with that urge to play it all over again. Very rare in most board games.

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
The concept is that you and your friends are trying to deal with 4 different types of diseases spreading all over the world. The objective is finding a cure for all of them before your time runs out.

Each player will get a random role at the beginning of the game, which has a different skill (medic can easily remove diseases from a city, scientist can easily research a cure, etc). Since these roles affect a lot your decisions, they give Pandemic a lot of replayability, which is very very nice.

Now, in your turn, you may spend up to 4 actions, like building research centers, traveling, removing diseases, etc. So it becomes really important to discuss with the other players how to optimize your actions, specially because, at the end of your turn, you will be flipping cards from the infection deck, spreading diseases even more.

At the end of turn, you also get to draw cards that may be good (gives you mobility or are used to research a cure) or bad (epidemic cards). When an epidemic occurs, every infection card previously flipped will be shuffled and placed ON TOP of the infection deck. What that means? It means every infected city will be infected AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN, until one of them start an outbreak, which starts a chain reaction that leads to a real pandemic. By far one of the most intelligent mechanics I’ve ever seen in a board game.

After 8 outbreaks, the game ends and everybody loses. Yeah. Everyone.

CONCLUSION
Pandemic is probably the best modern co-op game out there, specially for non-gamers. The infection mechanics are really clever, cause it relies on randomness but allows the players to make strategic decisions based on their odds of succeeding.

The difficulty can be easily changed depending on how experienced the players are, and the role cards give Pandemic even more replay value.

I would never hesitate to recommend this game to a gamer, it’s a “must play”!

PROS
– Easy to learn, hard to master
– Incredibly clever mechanics, tons of emotions
– Good replayability
– Lose or win, there’s no way you’ll play this game only once
– Good components

CONS
– Like every co-op game, alpha gamers may ruin the experience of shy players, so choose well who’s playing with you.

9
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

Carcassonne is a game with a very rare attribute… it pleases everyone I have ever played with. Actually, at first you may find Carcassonne way too simplistic. It comes with some tiles, some meeples and… and yeah… that’s all!

Well, the cool thing is that there are some really deep strategies for such a simplistic game. And that’s in fact my theory of why people like this game so much, cause it brings low expectations and a little tendency of doubt, but it reveals itself as a challenging way to spend your time with friends and/or family.

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
So basically every turn you will draw a tile randomly from a pile. This tile may have a road, a city, a cloister and/or a field (there will always be at least a combination of two of these elements), and you must place it next to a existing tile by matching the same elements (road with road, city with city, just like you do in a puzzle). After placing your tile, you may put a meeple in one of these elements. Everytime you complete a city, a road, etc that has one of your meeples, you get victory points for that. The objective of the game is to be the player with the most VP at the end of the game.

Still sounds simplistic doesn’t it?

Well it is not! Since you have a limited number of meeples and won’t be able to reuse them until you score points (by finishing cities, roads or cloisters), Carcassonne immediately becomes a resource management game based on luck and strategy mechanics! WOW, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY!

CONCLUSION
Carcassonne can be pretty much based on luck, since you draw tiles at random, but it still lets you make several choices during the game. After sometime you actually get to know exactly what kind of risks you are dealing with, which leads to practically no frustration or rage as other luck based games do. That’s what makes it one of the greatest board games out there!

The rules can take some time to learn, mainly when dealing with fields. But if you have at least one experienced player in the group, he can easily makes sure everyone is playing correctly as the game goes along.

Again, great, great game to keep with you during trips whenever you need to spend time with friends or relatives.

PROS
– Easy to learn from an experienced player
– Turns are quick, so no boredom during the game
– Components can fit in a small box or bag, which makes it a perfect game to bring along in trips
– Simplistic yet challenging

CONS
– Can take a while to understand the rules without the help of an experienced player
– The randomness in this game can sometimes lead to frustration

7
Go to the King of Tokyo page

King of Tokyo

37 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

King of Tokyo is the perfect definition of Casual Game. There’s a little bit of luck, a little bit of interaction, a little bit of strategy, a little bit of everything. Even though KOT doesn’t offer innovative mechanics or mind-blowing interactions, it is really hard to not sympathize with the game.

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
King of Tokyo has this awesome theme in which you are a monster trying to rule Tokyo. So people already start having fun during “monster-selection” phase. Each monster has a figure that represents it… and to be honest, these figures are not necessary or relevant to the game, they are just there because they are awesome and everyone loves to play with them.

Like the monster figures, all of KOT’s components are of great quality and beautiful.

All you do basically is roll 5 dices and look for a combination that pleases you the most. You may even keep some of the dices and re-roll the rest twice. The possible combinations are scoring victory points, recovering health, getting energy and attacking. That’s the “a little bit of luck” part I was talking about and it feels pretty balanced. Dices won’t frustrate you unless you start gambling a lot, which is quite fair.

Now, whoever gets 20 victory points is automatically the winner, so scoring is important. But you also need to survive the attacks from other players, so attacking back or recovering health can be one of the strategic decisions a player may adopt. Making mistakes is not a big problem in KOT, which allows new players to make decisions, regret them and keep playing without been punished too much like deep and complex games do.

Also, you can use energy to buy special abilities (cards), which is the part that bothers me the most in this game. Good cards seem to be a little bit expensive to me, while cheap cards are not very appealing. There are only a few cards worth buying so if they are not available for purchase on the table, people don’t usually try to get energy very much, which is a shame.

CONCLUSION
Overall is a fun, quick and “relaxing” game (it can be tense but it definitely doesn’t suffer from analysis paralysis). One of the best gateway-filler games out there!

It won’t blow your mind, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have fun.

PROS
– Easy to learn, easy to teach
– Good balance between randomness and strategy
– Fun theme
– Good player interaction

CONS
– Power cards are not very well balanced
– Replay value can be an issue since monsters are basically all the same

5
Go to the Risk page

Risk

14 out of 14 gamers thought this was helpful

I have to say, it is really hard to review classics such as Risk. Mainly because Risk is more than 50 years old, so I imagine that, by the time this game was released, board gamers weren’t so demanding as they are today. So have that in mind when reading this review!

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
Every round you are supposed to receive a number o armies proportional to the number of countries you control and place them accordingly to your objectives or tactics. And for me that’s the best part of the game… the deep thinking, the decision-making – “Am I going to invade Africa? Or should I protect Europe?”. And after you place those armies, everyone around say “Uuuuuu, someone’s about to be kicked!”.

And that’s it. That’s where fun starts and ends in Risk. At least for me, of course.

After that, the battle phase starts and, honestly, the battle mechanics are really bad implemented. I feel like the creator of this game was either lazy or trying his best to make the game as simple as it could be. Or maybe that was the concept of fun in board games back in the 50’s… I mean, I don’t know. I’m only sure that rolling up to three dices and expecting your opponent to roll lower numbers just kills all the “strategy and tactics” we were talking about last paragraph. In the end, Risk is all about gamble. And when you limit your probabilities to 3 dices, you make so that an army of 6 can defend a country quite well against a army of 60. Or not. Who knows. As I said, it doesn’t matter if you are the one with 6 or 60 armies, it’s all about luck.

CONCLUSION
With that said, I should let you know that this is actually a pretty interesting game. It’s not a classical by coincidence. The concept of you taking over the world by destroying your friends’ army is capable to arouse anyone who’s fond of a little strategy. However, the core mechanic of Risk, which is the battle phase, makes this one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever played. Sad, but true.

A lot of people have this game nowadays, so I would recommend playing with someone that has it instead of expending money with a copy for yourself. You will get bored after a couple of games.

In fact, Risk:Legacy is a modern version of this game that is much superior to the original. So you should try that instead.

PROS
Good for beginners
Easy to learn
Good theme
Helps kids learning geography

CONS
Boring for experienced gamers
Doesn’t have a balance between decisions and randomness
Has a great potential to frustrate you

7
Go to the The Settlers of Catan – 5-6 Player Extension page
11 out of 17 gamers thought this was helpful

Although people keep referring to this game as if it is an “expansion”, the title makes a clear statement that it is actually an “extension”. Due to that misinterpretation, a lot of people have been complaining that this “expansion” makes the game last longer, and I can’t figure why that made them so surprised. Every board game I’ve ever played always lasted longer when played with larger groups, so an 5-6 players “extension” of Catan couldn’t be any different.

There are no relevant changes in rules, no new cards or mechanisms. It’s just Catan for 5 to 6 players with a few balances.

If you have a large group of friends and Catan is always on the table, don’t hesitate to buy it. It won’t change the game at all, but it will make possible so that everyone can play it together.

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