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xelepart

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Go to the Pandemic page
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7
Go to the Dixit page

Dixit

32 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of those rare games where everyone I know actually enjoyed it.

Most games, we have one or two people who are like “Eh, I’d rather not play again.” Then again, most games also have one or two people who are like “YEAH THAT WAS AWESOME!!!” — seriously. They speak three exclamation points. It’s very strange. This game just had a whole lot of people like “Yeah, I had fun, I’d play that again.”

Looking at the scores of reviewers here, I feel like that may be more universal. I see no 10s, and nothing below a 6? I think this game is just a generally well-received game that isn’t amazing but really is good.

A good buy if you like the artwork and interesting social game mechanics.

4
Go to the Cranium page

Cranium

34 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

Cranium is one of the best game ideas I’ve seen. Take all the popular party games and combine them into a random mishmash of awesome.

However, they stuck with some basics that seem old-fashioned in game design, I think to appeal to mass audiences, with the basic Cranium game. Sure, you can get over it, and with the right crowd it doesn’t matter, but whenever I play the original Cranium, I kinda wish they had a more interesting underlying game mechanic or scoring system, and I kinda wish they picked better games to mish-mash… (But again, with the right group… – which brings me to my third note):

I’ve never played this game with a group of people who all love all the Cranium styles. I have friends who go “Charades? Guh.” because they are quiet, shy people who don’t like to get up and dance around like idiots. I, personally, go “Sculptures? Guh.” because I have no ability to make anything that is even remotely identifiable out of clay. Similarly with the other games. Nobody seems to love them all, so you end up with 50-75% fun and 25-50% annoyance while playing the game, which is sad.

All the Cranium games have similar problems for the “Never Perfect” situation (although I can think of solutions, maybe i should apply for a job there!), but some of the others have a more interesting approach to the game itself, which fits better in my mind to modern gaming. My personal favorite is Hoopla, as it is a cooperative instead of competitive game that still incorporates all the fun party-style games.

4
Go to the Apples to Apples page

Apples to Apples

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve been playing (and owned) Apples to Apples since shortly after its initial release.

At first, I absolutely loved the game. It was the best party game I’d ever played. It had none of the trivia and word game problems (smart people — well, sort of. when you have a “Berlin, 1952” and you don’t know what it is, it can be hard to play it well 🙂 ) — and it has none of the “category” problems (“things you hold” … oh man, the arguments!) — but it was still an open-ended, casual, fun game with laughs.

So, on the general assumption that the game is a great party game, here are the downsides I’ve found:

* Playing with the same people game-over-game leads to an incredibly predictable game. For instance, about a quarter of the cards happen to be “favorites” of various people, like Sarah loves puppies, so if I get a “puppies” card, I save it until Sarah’s judge, and I play it, and I always win, regardless of the category. “cute”? Puppies! “evil”? Puppies! “Enormous”? Puppies! Win, win, win. This works to your advantage sometimes, but most of the time it’s just frustrating, because you had a really “good” card (either funny or accurate, whatever your judge calls good 🙂 ), but you lose to a favorite.

* Playing with people you don’t know can lead to…bad situations. As other posters have said, you get some bad-taste jokes in Apples to Apples. Category: Hilarious. Cards played: Comedian, Toilet Paper, The Holocaust. The judge burst out laughing and immediately chose The Holocaust. The person who played Comedian (who I had just met) threw a fit, (“I don’t see what’s so funny about that!”) and to this day, she dislikes me.

So, as far as getting my money’s worth? I’ve had more great hours of fun out of Apples to Apples dollar-for-dollar than any other board game I’ve ever purchased. But if you ask me to play it tonight, I’ll groan. 🙂

Advice: If you’re in a group of friends or family who hasn’t already played Apples to Apples a ton, get it. (Or get Sour Apples to Apples.) — if half your friends have played a lot, skip it. And don’t play it during a first date. 😛

5
Go to the Blokus page

Blokus

65 out of 73 gamers thought this was helpful

Blokus is a game that seems to show up at every board game party I go to. We tend to go for the longer more “intense” games, but it’s always there as a good stand-by, or way to pass 15 minutes while waiting for something.

The thing that makes Blokus interesting to me is that every time I play, I come up with new levels of strategy. I started out, and I learned the placement rules and, being a strategy gamer, I started coming up with ideas for overall plans for the board.

Those plans quickly fell apart due to miscellaneous unforeseen moves on my opponent’s part. So I started revising, and it quickly hit a cycle. I don’t think my opponents were trying to be sneaky, or to beat out my strategies, but I continually see things and go “oh man I had never thought of that” and try to add it to my arsenal for future Blokus games.

Maybe other people wrap their brains around the game more quickly than I do, but I only know one person who actually tends to beat me, even though I learn new ideas from just about everyone I play.

A fine casual, little, quick game that is fun for two games a night if you’re a serious gamer, and probably significantly more if you’re on the really casual side of gaming.

10
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

64 out of 111 gamers thought this was helpful

Everybody I know loves Dominion.

Casual gamers, hard-core gamers, social pals… Everyone.

It’s simple, it’s insanely replayable, it’s easy to come up with little modifications if you’re bored, it’s easy to make it more friendly (no attack cards), or most competitive (all the attack cards), or come up with alternate win conditions or scoring systems if you do manage to get bored of the extremely well balanced, replayable game that it already is.

If nobody you regularly game with owns Dominion, I definitely recommend it as your next purchase.

6
Go to the Magic: The Gathering page
61 out of 84 gamers thought this was helpful

M:tG is a great game. I played it for years, spent thousands on cards, went through hundreds of deck concepts.

Then it started to get stale… expansions were just re-creating the same card concepts with different art, deck design started getting “established,” so if you don’t go online and research “good decks” you just don’t stand a chance…

These days, I feel like there’s other games that can provide a lot of what M:tG has to offer. Dominion comes to mind — it incorporates the whole “get cards and grow an awesome deck” idea right into the game!

If you’ve never played M:tG, there’s lots of other reviews that talk about the gameplay. If you think it seems really interesting, I’d strongly suggest you look for a closed-deck tournament, or a small group of friends who want to have a limited-supply game. It’s just too expensive to play the game the “classic” way, but $30 or so per person can be manageable, and a decent week or two of fun.

7
Go to the Coloretto page

Coloretto

84 out of 155 gamers thought this was helpful

I actually liked this game a lot more than I expected to. It sounds simple and boring, but it turns out to be simple and *not* boring!

If you like to travel with a game that works for a group of people and isn’t just a classic card game, this is a great choice. It’s fun for non-gamers, good enough for gamers, and is something new for card players.

4
Go to the Lost Cities: The Card Game page
8 out of 46 gamers thought this was helpful

I saw this game, and got really excited to have a game I could play with my wife.

Then we played it, and we did not have fun.
Then we played it again, and we did not have fun.
Then we played it again, and I got upset at how severely un-fun it is.

In the first few turns, it feels like there might be some strategy. Then by the end, you realize it’s one or two turns where you make a meaningless decision (akin to “pick a random color”), then you just draw cards and play them mechanically until the game ends.

If you want a decent two player card game, try Balloon Cup.

6
Go to the Pit page

Pit

8 out of 30 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is a trading game. That’s all it is. You yell and scream and try to trade the cards in your hand with the cards in other players’ hands to get the best hand.

It’s not fun. It usually involves a lot of yelling or a lot of quiet repetition. It’s not one of those social trading games, just hectic speed trading.

I wouldn’t buy it, if you’re looking for a good trading game that can be social and fun but still mainly based on your trading success, try Bohnanza.

9
Go to the SET page

SET

76 out of 126 gamers thought this was helpful

It seems odd to me, but Set seems to split up my gaming friends more than any other game.

Half my friends seem to completely hate it, and would rather stare at a wall than play Set. The other half loves it, and will gladly play it any time someone suggests it, even if there’s other good games around.

Set works well with almost any group size — 1 to however many people can get a good view of the game.

You can even make up great ways to play on the bus solo!

6
Go to the Fluxx page

Fluxx

7 out of 42 gamers thought this was helpful

All but one of my gaming friends likes playing Fluxx, but nobody loves it.

It’s a nice middle ground for a relatively quick game that doesn’t require much thinking… just something to do while you chat and be social.

I like that my friends own copies, ’cause I get to play it sometimes, but I wouldn’t purchase it myself.

5
Go to the SKIP-BO page

SKIP-BO

57 out of 85 gamers thought this was helpful

And it was completely forgettable.

Sometimes, I move the box out of the way while trying to get a game I want to play.

3
Go to the UNO page

UNO

6 out of 40 gamers thought this was helpful

Uno is not very exciting.

It’s also not much more interesting than, say, “Crazy 8’s” – and a poker deck costs less and is more versatile.

I usually feel like I wasted an evening when Uno manages to be the game of the night.

1
Go to the Risk page

Risk

38 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

There are very few board games you can’t convince me to play. And Risk is at the top of that list.

It’s too simple, it never engages your thinking side.

It’s too random, you never feel secure or safe.

It’s too predictable (I realize I just said it’s random), you know who’s going to win by turn three.

It’s infuriating, a game does not go by where one person doesn’t throw a fit about the dice.

Basically, the downsides balance out into a game that lets new players compete slightly, doesn’t let any one person guarantee victory too early, but lends itself to all the downsides of the faults it manages to avoid: Everyone feels like they are losing (except *MAYBE* one person), nobody ever feels joyous at an unexpected victory (Sure, it’s kinda funny when I defend with 1 guy against 20 attackers, but I never go “YES I AM SO HAPPY NOW!” afterward. I just laugh ’cause it’s funny, and the other guy is blowing a gasket at how stupid dice and Risk are)…

Basically, Risk feels too much like life. You focus on the downsides constantly while playing, randomness ****** you off, and you never really feel the up sides of it, and it goes on and on with no end in sight.

Worst of all, games where players die suck as social games. If I have three friends over, I don’t want to play Risk with two of them for two hours after we kill off one person. That’s not fun.

Games should provide positive feelings as results of playing. I’d rather have fun losing than hate winning, so I’d rather play just about anything other than Risk.

6
Go to the Scrabble page

Scrabble

63 out of 71 gamers thought this was helpful

I don’t like word games.

I don’t like simple games. I don’t like games that seem too random.

To sum up? I don’t like Scrabble.

But I can’t deny the fact that it’s at least one of the best word game I’ve ever played. I’ve played tons of them, in various styles and approaches. They either lead to situations where you argue over rules, or it’s incredibly hard for someone who doesn’t have that near-instant access to their vocabulary to compete…

Scrabble was decent as a kid, it was simple and I could come up with (or make up!) words most of the time.

Scrabble was awful in my twenties. It was boring, my friends had better vocabularies than me, and we had more interesting and complex strategy games we could play.

In my thirties, I’ve started playing again, and I’m learning that there are actually some interesting strategies to how to play Scrabble. How to choose words to stop your opponent from getting triple word spaces, or how to set up a way to drop an X on a triple letter and get “ox” and “ox” from both directions, to get over fifty points for a single letter, or even just choosing which letters to save for later.

I always thought the game was just about memorizing all the 2 and 3 letter Scrabble words, and words that use Q’s without U’s, which is part of it, but there’s more there than I ever gave it credit for.

However, buying a board game version actually seems silly to me. Just go play Words with Friends on Facebook. It’s asynchronous, so you can play on your own time, you can spend time thinking without ******* off your friends, and you remove the main problem I have with the game in a casual setting: Bad Vocabulary. If I play in real life, I am rushing to play, and I might slip up and think “oz” is a word. Then you have to either play competitively, and the other player challenges, and I don’t even know what the real solution is there. Or you play in a friendly manner, and the other player says “no that’s not a word” and you take back your tiles, but now they know some letters you have and you feel like an idiot. WwF on FB just says “Sorry, oz is not a word,” so casual Scrabblers who don’t memory every 2 letter word can screw around and compete with the more serious veterans of the game.

Something I’d like to see? Randomized boards, so the “how do I build out” can be a developing strategy!
Anyway. Summarized:

There’s more to Scrabble than you might think. Give it another try after playing some real strategy games.

5
Go to the Talisman page

Talisman

25 out of 35 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve had a copy of Talisman since I was a kid, at least fifteen years now.

When I was younger, me and my friends absolutely adored this game. It was like D&D, but without needing a good DM (which we never found), and it was like a computer role playing game, but with a tactile aspect, where you actually move things around. Unlike most board games, your characters got stronger as you played, and the overall feel (especially with expansions) was epic… All in all, we loved it.

However, the last few times we played it, it seemed mundane and straight forward. Compared to World of Warcraft, the game seemed small scale. Compared to modern board games, it seemed simple, random, and poorly balanced… All in all, we grew bored long before the end, and dealing with all the pieces and maps and cards just got old.

Sadly, despite my love of this game (and insistence to my wife that we keep my original copy even though we never play it), I can’t give it a thumbs up as a game to buy. I love fantasy games. I love role playing elements like going up levels. I love Talisman. But I don’t want to play it, and I don’t think you will either.

8
Go to the Castle Panic page

Castle Panic

46 out of 88 gamers thought this was helpful

A friend of mine owns this game.

Once every couple months, for one reason or another, it lands on the table.

Every time, most of us groan like “oh man there’s no way this will be fun, let’s play something we actually like.”

And every time, without question, we have a blast. We play it one time through, we think “wow that was fun we should play that again” then we forget about it and play more “serious” games.

I don’t know about long term replayability, I have never played with kids, but as a group of social gamers who like coop games in general, this one is (surprisingly) enjoyable.

 
Go to the Zooloretto page

Zooloretto

68 out of 82 gamers thought this was helpful

Pretty straight forward game. Generally speaking, you spend your turn either drawing a random element (good or bad for various people) and adding it to one of the pots, or you take one of the pots as-is. The mechanics of getting points are simple enough to learn, and the game is cute.

Once of the main issues of the game is that you very often draw a tile that can be used to really screw over the other players’ strategies, so things can get a little heated if you’re really trying to win.

I’ve played this game significantly more than I expected to after the first two or three plays. We started feeling like we were done with it, but once a month or so, we look through the games and think “oh, hey, that game’s good for a quick game,” and then we play a hand or two.

Worthwhile if you like a simple, casual game that can be introduced to new gamers easily. Probably not the greatest game if your group of friends doesn’t like cute fluffy animals or can’t handle it when you screw them out of a good round.

6
Go to the Medici page

Medici

3 out of 25 gamers thought this was helpful

This game centers itself almost entirely around the bidding mechanic.

It’s a mechanic used in many other games, but usually as a slightly more minor aspect of the game. Here, it’s 95% of the game.

It’s a fun, quick game to play with gamer friends, but I really don’t know anyone who goes “Oh, man! Medici! Yeah, let’s rock that!”

If I saw it at a yard sale, I’d pick it up, but I wouldn’t choose it as a new game to add to my collection.

7
Go to the RoboRally page

RoboRally

50 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

Every programmer friend I have (including myself) loves RoboRally. Everyone else hates it.

If you want to teach programming concepts, it’s a great game.

If you want to play a really great, fun, competitive, fast-moving game, hectic free for all, and all the people playing are experienced programmers, it’s a great game.

If you’re in a casual group, it’s really not a great fit. One person will keep misunderstanding what ‘turn left’ means, another will just run into pits left and right, and the programmer among you will just race to the flags alone.

I’d definitely buy it if you have a number of programmer board game buddies. Otherwise, I’d look elsewhere.

 
Go to the Forbidden Island page

Forbidden Island

35 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

If you know Pandemic: I find this game to have every strong point Pandemic has, with none of the weak points (lots of pieces, same board every time).

If you don’t know Pandemic: This is a stellar cooperative game that plays quickly, has simple rules, but is fun.

No matter who you are: This is one of my favorite games. I play it with my six year old nephew, I play it with my board game friends, and it’s just an all around great time.

There are relatively few games out there that I’d say are really worth the price. This is definitely one of them.

4
Go to the The Settlers of Catan page
40 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

I believe there are three types of board game players.
People who go “You mean like Monopoly?” when you say you play board games.

People who say “Oh man, I *love* Settlers of Catan!” when you say you play board games.

People who actually play board games.

Settlers is a fine game. It doesn’t take too long, it isn’t too complicated, the strategies aren’t too complex. However, there’s a bit more luck than I like, and the maintenance of the board and pieces and turns is on the high side for the game to really be great. If people want to play Settlers, I always suggest an online version, because the random board is auto-created, the dice are auto-rolled, the resources are auto-distributed, and you get to actually play the game 90% of the time, instead of maintain and manage the game 90% of the time.

There’s really not much you can say bad about Settlers. But there really is a lot better you can say about other board games. It’s good to have around ’cause a lot of people have some weird fascination with it, but if you’re looking for a good new game to play, and somehow aren’t familiar with Settlers, or you’re looking for a good gateway game, I’d vote you look elsewhere: there’s better options that are more interesting and more deserving of the attention.

8
Go to the Carcassonne page

Carcassonne

49 out of 89 gamers thought this was helpful

I don’t know any gamers who actively dislike Carcassonne, but most of the “real” gamers I know consider it more of a neat game to play on the side. The people who really love it seem to be the less hard-core gamer people who happen to fall into our gaming circles.

A great game though. Nobody hates it, everyone’s willing to play it repeatedly, and people who don’t love hardcore games love it. So good to have for mixed parties.

10
Go to the Stone Age page

Stone Age

83 out of 138 gamers thought this was helpful

Stone Age is among the most sought-after games at my board game parties.

The game is incredibly well balanced, almost every strategy I’ve seen or tried has a decent chance of being competitive in the end. (That’s not to say you don’t need strategy — if you don’t think about or plan ahead, you certainly won’t win. But you’ll still have fun!)

It’s fun, it’s a great balance between wanting a game that doesn’t last for hours and wanting a game that is fun and requires thinking, planning, and some real investment.

It’s a great theme, a fun board, and casual enough that you can remain social while having a fun time on a board game.

I’d introduce new board game players to Stone Age. I’d also introduce Stone Age to veteran board game players.

10
Go to the Pandemic page

Pandemic

38 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

Pandemic might be one of my favorite games.

I love non-competitive cooperation. Games where they are coop, but each player gets “points” so you still have a “winner” bug me — sure, it adds a level of complexity, but nobody I know ever cares about points, we usually don’t even tally them at the end of the game, so the time spent trying to balancing points with the actual game is wasted: I’d rather see a more interesting gameplay as a result of that design time.

As such, Pandemic’s great. It’s a lot of fun figuring out the dynamics early on (first 3-10 games), then once you know how to win, it’s fun playing optional rule ideas to keep it interesting.

The only weak point in Pandemic is that it’s a purely social cooperative game: so if one person knows how to play, they just run all the players and a lot of the fun is lost. So learn the game with a group of new players, so everyone can have their ideas seriously considered, and play with optional rules like “the guy who is loudest can’t talk,” and then the game is outstanding.

7
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

26 out of 51 gamers thought this was helpful

Ticket To Ride was a surprisingly large amount of fun.

We’re big Eurorails fans in my gaming circles, but we often don’t have time (or we accidentally invite people who want to be social, or something silly like that) — and Ticket To Ride is a nice, quick substitute when you’re jonesing for Rails games, but can’t find that sweet spot of your life where you can actually play one.

It’s also a game I’d use when introducing people who answer “Do you play board games?” with “Sure, I’ve played Monopolgy a few times!” to what a board game is.

8
Go to the Agricola page

Agricola

32 out of 81 gamers thought this was helpful

I played this game at a board game party.

My memory is that it was a good time, and that I wanted to play it again, but I haven’t seen it since, so I can’t give an in-depth “I’ve played this game a hundred times” review, but I can say it was a good board game party game (probably not for casual gamers), and that it certainly has a “I want to play that again” kind of vibe.

3
Go to the Puerto Rico page

Puerto Rico

30 out of 81 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of those games (along with Settlers of Catan) where every time you meet a new group of people who play board games, they seem to call it out and go “BEST. GAME. EVER.” And you have to kinda wonder if they are just fools, or maybe they want to seem cool, or what.

The game was okay. It’s not pretty, it’s not simple, there are lots of ways to play and be competitive — some straight forward, some quite intricate… but overall, it just feels like you’re in a world of balancing rules and numbers.

I never had that Chess-like “playing against the Person” feeling. I never had that social “chatting about what’s going on” feeling. I never had that Carcassonne “I matter in this world” feeling. I never had that “I’m playing a fun game” feeling…

Really, I only ever had two feelings about this game. “When will it be over?” and “Next time, I’ll try to play a fun strategy instead…”

5
Go to the Brass page

Brass

76 out of 140 gamers thought this was helpful

My experience with Brass goes something like this:

Oh, a new game!

Nice, that was good fun!

Wait. That was not fun. 🙁

— my overall impression was that it was a semi-complex planning game that didn’t have that whatever-it-is that makes you want to play it again. I mean, I could be convinced, if I was at a friend’s house and he was jonesing to play, but I honestly can’t imagine anyone jonesing to play Brass…

7
Go to the Power Grid page

Power Grid

44 out of 100 gamers thought this was helpful

I played this game at one of our pseudo-monthly board game parties.

It was only brought to one or two parties, but seeing the box gives me a distinct “I had a lot of fun with that one, I’d totally play it again!” feeling.

I haven’t played it enough to know about its extended replayability, but it’s definitely enjoyable enough that I want to play it again, so a good option if you do board game parties, at a minimum.

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