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6
Platinum Supporter
Thunderstone Fan
I play blue
Go to the Mythic Challenge: The Card Game page
10
Jon {Avid Gamer} Aug 2nd, 2020
“More than Your Traditional Card Game”

I designed this game based on the theme for our new illustrated playing cards. We came up with the idea for a new fantasy world where the characters in that world were fans of games. They would meet together in tournaments to play board games, card games, sparring matches, and mock battles. This is the theme within which Greg illustrated the characters.

Instead of creating a card game that was really only designed to play a single game, we wanted a custom set of playing cards that would add a special layer of fun to the traditional card games that our families enjoy playing together.

This game was play tested by my own family and friends before we even got a prototype set of cards created. Even then, the game was fun, but playing with the actual cards is definitely better.

Some people have found that they prefer just the basic rules. My family prefers including the special rules. We also prefer the team rules over playing individually.

I was inspired by many different games when coming up with this one: War, Loot, Hearts, Spades, Skull King, Magic the Gathering, Team Canasta

Ultimately my thought process was this:
(1) Multiplayer War makes sense for this theme, but I hate the pure randomness of the game War. So, how about applying the mechanic used in the game Loot where you only win the cards if at the start of your turn you have the higher score and like in Loot, you can only stack more cards of the same color (i.e. suit).
(2) Let’s call each round a “Challenge” in keeping with the theme of the tournament. Plus, it would be fun to make up what the challenge actually is.
(3) Having recently played Skull King, I liked the idea of having some special rules beyond a typical trick taking game. So, hope about giving each court card it’s own special ability. It was then just a matter of thinking about the theme to come up with special abilities that might make sense in the context of these characters making challenges to the other contestants.
(4) The Jokers need to be something a little different, but instead of making them all powerful, what if they are only like support units without adding to the challenge score.
(5) I have more than 4 people in my family so there needed to be a way to play this in teams, so we play tested a few times until we figured out a simple way to make it work for teams (team canasta was the inspiration). If only there was a good way to play with 7 people (have not figured that one out yet).

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
1 out of 1 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Go to the Everdell page
 
“Worker Placement at its finest.”

How to Play Everdell:
Everdell is a worker placement game that takes place over 3 seasons. You represent a group of small critters that is expanding the growing city of Everdell with new communities. As you build buildings, hold events, and attract other critters to live in your suburb, you will gain victory points in an attempt to prove that your growing neighborhood is the best! Each turn you may do one of 3 things: place a worker to gain resources of some kind, play a card from your hand or from the meadow (a pool of cards in the center that all players have access to), or call your critters back to prepare for the next season. The game takes just a little to get the hang of, but offers a lot more dynamic fun than you would expect. I have not played the expansions yet, but I hear they are absolutely necessary and worth the money.

Play Count –
I give Everdell the play count bonus because over the course of one weekend I played it about 7 times. Not only did I want to fully understand the game and its intricacies, but I was amped to play it! I played the solo mode 3 times and enjoyed it almost as much as playing with other people! A game that I don’t get burned out on after 7 times (let alone in the same weekend) is worthy of this pip.

The Freshness –
Worker placement games are nothing new, but there is a lot of freshness packed into Everdell. The introduction of the limited space in your city is perfect. Other players may build quickly at the beginning and struggle to find space for things they want to build in the late game, while you may have the opposite problem and are concerned about not filling your city before the onset of winter! I tire of worker placement games and they all feel relatively similar, but there is something in Everdell that feels fresh.

Accessibility –
Everdell offers a lot for a broad variety of gamers. Casual gamers won’t have a problem playing a game or two, and there is enough meat in the game to keep a seasoned gamer coming back for more. On top of this there are several high-quality expansions, but we will talk about that in just a second.

Quality –
Okay, I know it seems like Everdell has a bit of a large price-tag on it, but believe me when I tell you that it is worth it. 4 resources are very different types of plastic that were done perfectly to suit their materials. The soft PVC (i’m assuming) of the berries vs the translucent resin is such a beautiful piece of design. The large Evertree that sits at the top of the board is not only functional but beautiful. Everdell really brought the heat with its design and I have yet to find a bit of artwork that I thought was less than amazing.

Expansions –
The final pip I give Everdell is for its expansions. There are 3 large expansions for Everdell and a couple small expansions that you can pick up as well. This is comforting because you know Everdell is a world that is here to stay. There isn’t much worse than investing in a game and finding out that the company has just pulled the plug and you won’t see any more of it. Everdell is a game that you can get now, and as soon as you find the expansions for a good deal or you get a little tired of the base game you can breathe new life into this gem.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
2 out of 2 gamers thought this review was helpful
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1
Go to the Terraforming Mars page
 
“Wow. Just Wow.”

Play Count –
Terraforming Mars qualifies for the Play Count pip in my opinion because of its depth, access to expansions, and the varied ways to win. Maybe this won’t be a game that you want to play all the time, but I think it is one that you will keep on your shelf forever and find something new every time you play it.

The Freshness –
Now this one was interesting for me. As far as mechanics go it is a pretty simple blend of resource management, tile placement, and engine building, however the part that was really fresh was the theme. I can’t say it sounded like the most intriguing topic, but once i got into it I was amazed at the depth surrounding the theme. This is a game that you could seriously play in college to educate people on the theories surrounding how we might actually cultivate life on mars! Commitment to theme on that scale earns it this pip.

Accessibility –
I was unsure whether or not to give this pip for a while, but I decided to go ahead and award it. There are complexities to this game that may drive people insane, however it is really simple once you have a game under your belt. Even if it is your first time playing I think you will be able to compete in a reasonable manner. The rules have an alternate setup for first time players to make it faster and easier to see the end goal which I thought was brilliant.

Theme –
This is one that I touched on a little bit earlier, but I thought it deserved its own point. I don’t think I have ever seen a game commit to a theme as strongly as terraforming mars. At least not one of this play depth.

Depth –
There is a lot of this game to go around. The expansions (though I haven’t played yet) have good reviews and seem to be a real boost to the game’s depth if you want that, and the core game itself just offers a lot of meat to get into. The first game we played we really didn’t see animals and microbes pup up much until the very end (probably by brilliant design) and I can’t wait to try it out again to see the full scope of possibilities.

NOTE: There is one clear reason why I didn’t give this 6 pips. The components felt cheaper than I would have liked. The board felt a little light and a little warped (due to the lighter material) and the artwork when illustrated was beautiful, but there were a lot of cards that just had photography on them. The mixture of these was just a little jarring to me and I wish there was a version that had all unified artwork.

Terraforming Mars was introduced to me through our Best Board Game Still in Print Bracket on Instagram. Feel free to join us on Instagram as we crown more winners in different categories.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
2 out of 2 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Ethnos page
9
6 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
Aaron May 22nd, 2020
“Diverse game with many strategies!”

Ethnos is a great, complex, 6 player party game.
At the start of the game, a random set of creatures is chosen from 12 different
creature types and their varying abilities mean that in each game, different strategies are used.
Unlike most games, the visible selection isn’t replenished when recruiting a creature from it.
Instead, the visible selection is replenished by any un-used creatures whenever you play a band, which results in wanting to use all the creatures.
Playing a band allows you to conquer parts of the board, yielding points based on round and area.
Territory is competed for by players, each vying for the top spot.
After each round, territory increases in value.
Territory is divided into 6 different Kingdoms, each with different point values.
The diversity of Ethnos makes it great to play with friends at a party, since players have multiple ways to gain points.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 7 gamers thought this review was helpful
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8
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
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Go to the Doomtown: Reloaded - Base Set page
10
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
Green Metal Box {Family Gamer} May 14th, 2020
“You Tell 'Em I'm Comin! and Hells' Comin With Me!! ”

WOW!

Let me start by saying that. Just, wow!

Now let’s go back a spell, to when the Doomtown: Deadlands CCG was around… oh, say circa 1998/9… I had instantly fallen in love with the aesthetic. The wild west, the super natural… the world the game was set in completely enraptured me in a way few games ever have. The problem… everyone I knew was monetarily invested in either MTG or SWCCG. So, without anyone to play with, and the internet still in it’s infancy (or terrible twos at best)… I enjoyed the cards from afar.

Fast forward to 2014, I stumble into a Barnes and Noble and see Doomtown on the shelf, but what’s this? It’s a reboot, and now in the “living card game” format popularized by FFG. The ability to finally try this game out, and try games out and little in the way of upfront investment, this was a no brainer, but still I waited.

Then comes 2016 and I finally snag the game on clearance! Time to get slingin’!! Yet there it sat, in the game closet for years, still sealed. Life had a way of telling me “not now” as other priorities took hold.

Fast forward again to 2020, in the midst of this insanity we are all dealing with. The small silver lining being that my children are old enough to play more complex games, and I am now stuck at home with a extensive back log of games just waiting to be played!!

So immediately upon opening the box, I’m blown away by the presentation and components. Let’s start with the box itself… it’s HUGE and pre-designed to hold a plethora of sleeved decks and the counters needed for the game. Excellent forethought went into this box and it’s appreciated. This type of box design seems to be common place now, but in 2014… not so much.

The card board counters are in the shape of small poker chips and coins. standard but of good quality. The cards are packaged in a way that you have two prebuilt, preordered decks designed for you and another player to walk through a script, turn by turn, to get a feel for the game and it’s a big help.

Once you’ve played through the script, pitting the Law Dogs against Sloane’s Gang, you can go through the remaining cards and put together 4 pre-designed decks for each of the factions, or build your own custom decks.

Next, let’s talk about the cards themselves. The art is fantastic and draws you into the world of the wild and strange west! The icons are easy to read, the terminology is very thematic and the suit and value of a poker card in the top left is such a stroke of gameplay genius.

The game sets you up in the California town of Gamora, and it’s up to you to take control of the fledgling town through intimidation, influence, law and order, magic or good old fashion shootouts. You take turns playing cards throughout the course of a day as you build your gang, you need to strategically move your forces around town, blocking control of shoppes and locals, maneuvering to defend or ambush the other gang. Once your posse and the opponents posse and fit to start slinging lead, your shooter calls out the ‘mark’, you set your playing hand aside and draw a poker hand. Best poker hand wins the shootout, with ‘interrupts’ and ‘card abilities’ that can manipulate the poker cards. It’s a truly unique and exciting combat system!

A common mistake for new players, it seems, is to rush headlong into gunslinging two turns into the game, which more than not results in a dramatic and catastrophic loss the likes of the Cowboys at Tombstone. As you play more and get a better feel for the rhythm, you see that a more measured approach, setting up the table is usually a better path to victory.

Unlike a lot of CCGs that pit a player one on one against their opponent lobbing attacks at them, akin to something like “Street Fighter”, (Magic, Pokemon, Raw Deal, Dragon Ball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Vs. System, etc), this one feels very much like Decipher’s Star Wars CCG, with movement and location control being a very key part of the strategy.

I know this game is old now, and as it turns out, has changed hands from the original publisher, AEG, to a new company, Pinebox Entertainment, a group of loyal and devoted fans of the game that formed a company, got the rights and continue to produce expansions for the game to this day. So while the game is old, and was dead… much like the zombies that walk Gamora, this game just keeps coming back and thankfully unlike the zombies, is better than ever! I highly recommend looking online and grabbing yourself a core set and giving it a try. If you’re a fan of strategy, this game is definitely for you!

Stay safe everyone and have fun gaming!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Splendor page
 
3 of 5 gamers thought this was helpful
Aaron May 3rd, 2020
“Simple board game that can be enjoyed while chatting with friends”

Splendor is a reasonably simple board game, which can be enjoyed with a group of friends while chatting.

Each turn you choose which of five different types of gems to collect, which are used as currency to buy cards. The cards range in price, and can be used to buy other cards.

Cards are also worth points, roughly proportional to their cost, and to win the game you need to accumulate fifteen points. Friendly competition arises when multiple players vie for the same card.

People of all ages can enjoy playing this game with their friends.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
3 out of 5 gamers thought this review was helpful
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8
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Subscribed to BG News
Platinum Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
Go to the Marvel Champions: The Card Game page
10
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
Green Metal Box {Family Gamer} Mar 17th, 2020
“Ultron! We Would Have Words with Thee!”

If you’ve ever read Ultron Unlimited*, there is a scene where the ticked off Avengers, battle damaged and weary, confront Ultron for the last battle and Thor utters those words with a unified Avengers behind him. It’s a great moment in comic book history, and playing this game with 3 friends, you get that same feeling!

First and foremost, let’s talk about the LCG format, most of you are familiar with this concept, but for those that are not Living Card Game is unlike a collectible card game in that cards are released in fixed sets on a set schedule. This is great in that you do not have to rare hunt, pack chase or any of that craziness to play this game in its entirety.

The game is cooperative, having the ability to play it solo or with 2 to 3 friends. Everyone selects a hero identity from the core set which includes Iron Man, Spider-Man, She-Hulk, Black Widow and Captain Marvel. They do battle against the pre-constructed Villain scheme decks consisting of Rhino, Klaw and Ultron with various lesser villains (minions) and nemesis showing up for the fight like Vulture, Sandman, Whiplash, Killmonger, etc and it plays itself against your hero decks. The Villain is scheming to complete some dastardly and diabolical plan and it’s up to you to stop them! Deck building is streamlined to the point it’s not overwhelming, but still customizable enough to add variety. Each Hero gets a set of 15 cards that must be in the deck, you then pick one of 4 aspects, which each have a play style associated with them, Aggression, Protection, Leadership and Justice and then round out your 40-50 card deck with cards from the “Neutral” pool. This finds the balance between trying to build a deck from scratch, staring at a pile of cards to the rigidity of a completely pre-constructed deck. Using this method gives you some nice structure to build around while still having some lateral space to play some different strategies.

Game play is turn based with the heroes getting their chance play upgrades, allies and support cards to attack the villain as Superheroes, or recover from their injuries and thwart the Villain’s scheming while donning their secret identities (called Alter-Ego). If the Villain gets enough threat on their scheme card, they are successful and the heroes lose, if the Heroes knock out the Villain by doing enough damage to them before that time, the Heroes save the day!

Unlike the resource mechanic in Lord of the Rings LCG, in which you need to slowly build your pool one resource per turn, this one gives you access to bigger cards right out of the gate by letting you discard cards to pay for card plays at a 1 card = 1 resource exchange rate. This makes for a much more dynamic and strategic experience. As you now need to weigh the pros and cons of saving cards for long term plans or pitching them to pay for in the moment necessities.

It’s hard to cram all the nuance into a gaming review without it sounded like a text book, and you’re better off just reading the rules for that, but having played the game multiple times now, both with adult gamers and my kids alike, I feel this game has an excellent flow, easy enough to learn, provides plenty of challenge and with the sets releasing gives great customization options. Rhino is more of a training scenario, but when you start fighting Klaw and Ultron, you definitely feel like Thor and the Avengers in that panel… weary, battered and battle damaged… but with good resource management, smart teamwork and a little bit of luck, you’ll be ready for the final battle too! You would do well to add this to your gaming collection! Excelsior!!

*Ed. Note: READ Ultron Unlimited!!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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9
Gamer - Level 9
Lookout
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel
Go to the Azul: Summer Pavillion page
 
5 of 8 gamers thought this was helpful
Marvin K. {Avid Gamer} Mar 3rd, 2020
“Most strategic version”

As the title says is version of Azul has the strongest element of play of all 3 versions of the game. The game is played over 6 rounds. You have 5 to 9 cardboard discs on the table and start by placing 4 tiles blind drawn from a bag on each disc. Each round 1 color of tile is designated as “wild” that is it can count as any other color when played. Each player has a designated score marker that starts on the score track at 5 points. On your turn you draw all of 1 color plus(if there are any) 1 wild tile from any disc or from the center of the game area if there are any there. Then, if you took from a disc place the unchosen tiles from that disc in the center area of play. Place the chosen tiles next to your playmat and the choice moves to the next player’s turn. Continue this process until all tiles have been chosen. The first player to choose from the center will score negative points(move the marker back but it can not go below 0). You then take turns placing 1 tile on your playmat. Each “flower” has 6 petals with a numeric value of 1-6. To place a tile on a matching petal requires that number of tiles 1 of which is placed on the playmat and the rest are discarded into a cardboard tower. You must have at least 1 of the color you want to play the rest of the needed tiles can be that color or the tiles designated wild for that turn. You will immediately score 1 point for the tile played and 1 for each tile that connects adjacent to it. i.e. if you place one on the 3 space it is 1 point. If you then on a future turn placed one on the 2 or 4 space it is 2 points, however if your 2nd placement was on the 6 space it would only score 1 point. If you maintain the adjacency when you place the 6th petal on a flower it would score 6 points. There is a dark blue flower in the center of the playmat which allows you to place 1 of each color tile as a petal. At the end of the round you may save 4 tiles as unplayed for the next round. At the end of the game any unplayed tiles are -1 point each. For final scoring you get points for each completed flower and for having all of the 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s which will be 7 of each. Additionally, there is a bonus tile board which has extra tiles on it. When you have played the 5s and 6s of a flower you will get to choose 3 tiles from the bonus board and those spaces are immediately refilled afterwards with blind draws from the bag. There are 2 other figures on your playmat-statues which are surrounded by a total of 4 petals from 2 flowers and when those petals are filled you get to draw 2 tiles; and circles that are also surrounded by 4 petals from 2 flowers and give you 1 bonus tile from the bonus board, but be careful because you can’t choose to refuse your bonuses you must take them and if you end up with unplayable tiles they will be negative points.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 8 gamers thought this review was helpful
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5
Book Lover
Go to the Fantasy Realms page
9
5 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
kaju {Avid Gamer} Mar 1st, 2020
“Combos combos combos.”

This is a great little game with lot of depth. You’re basically trying to build up combos of cards to get the the most points by end of the game. Plays under 30 minutes and scales well at larger player counts. The 2 player variant is also included in the rules and works well.

The game is essentially 52 cards, a rulebook and a large scroresheet. The box would have been smaller had it not been for the large scoresheet.

Manual scoring can take longer than actual gameplay. The game publisher, WizKids has a companion app (available on both iOS and Android) that lets you quickly do the end game scoring.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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9
Gamer - Level 9
Lookout
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel
Go to the Chimera page
 
8 of 9 gamers thought this was helpful
Marvin K. {Avid Gamer} Feb 26th, 2020
“Rarity-Balanced 3 player game”

This is a rarity. A game designed for 3 players that overcomes one of the main stumbling blocks for 3 player games-one player vs. 2 that leads to 1 being beat up the whole game or running away with the game. The game mechanisms deal with this problem. The game will be played at least 4 hands and usually 6 or 7 or occasionally longer. the play is as follows: Shuffle the deck and 1 of the players who is not the dealer(choose your own method of selection) cuts the deck and then flips the top card from the lower half face up and places it on top of the top 1/2 of the deck and then places bottom half on top 1/2 of deck. Then deal top 3 cards from deck into a pile face down and set them aside. This is the “Chimera’s Nest”. Deal out all remaining cards into 3 piles 1 for each player. After looking at your cards you can bid 20, 30 or 40 or pass. Passing does not eliminate your chance to bid on future rounds. If the bidding passes all players twice the cards are turned in and re-dealt. On this second round of bidding if everyone passes the dealer has to then make a mandatory 20 bid. The bid winner adds the “nest” cards to his hand and plays first. The object of the hand is to be the first person to get rid of all of his cards. If the player who made the bid goes out first he gets double his bid plus points for all 2s and 11s captured as well as certain special bonus points. If he doesn’t go out first he gets negative points for his bid but still gets 2s and 11s. There is a reference card for each player on what are legal plays and you must follow the type of trick played with a higher trick of that type. There are also traps-which are 4 of a kind are playing the 2 special cards in the deck together. The other 2 players win the round if one of them goes out first(doesn’t matter who) and both get 20 points for “setting” the bid winner and points for the 2s and 11s they capture, but none for the traps played.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
8 out of 9 gamers thought this review was helpful
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