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Go to the Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries page
“Great for 2 players”

This is our favorite Ticket to Ride for 2 players! The map is small enough to still be competitive with only 2 players, which isn’t true for most Ticket to Ride editions.

In fact, Nordic Countries is our second favorite Ticket to Ride overall, it’s just behind UK & Pennsylvania in our ranking. UK & Pennsylvania we like just a little bit better because you can buy shares in companies which significantly depends the game’s strategy in our opinion.

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0 out of 0 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Terraforming Mars page
“Love it - Especially with expansions”

I absolutely love Terraforming Mars. It’s one of those games that gets board games to be more popular.

That being said, I think expansions make the game much better still, especially the Prelude expansion. I wrote a detailed article on why Prelude is the best Terraforming Mars expansion, but to summarize shortly:

In Prelude you get interesting and powerful abilities right at the start of the game. So it’s like getting a beginner’s boost. This is super helpful and it makes the game much better, because it shortens the game. Specifically, it takes out the least epic part of the game (the beginning in which you can’t do a lot yet).

So yeah, that’s my 2 cents on Terraforming Mars and the Prelude expansion!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
0 out of 0 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Catan: Explorers & Pirates page
“2nd best Catan expansion!”

Explorers and Pirates does many great things, but as strategy gamers we’re mostly concerned with how it impacts Catan strategically. And we can say that it affects it very positively! The extra modules really open up new ways to play and to win, which makes this expansion very refreshing.

So we really like the Explorers and Pirates expansion, but it’s not quite our favorite. In our ranking of the Catan expansions we rank it second, just below Cities and Knights. This is because we think Cities and Knights also opens up new win conditions, but does so a bit more elegantly, without having to introduce completely new modules. So it stays truer to the original Catan.

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0 out of 0 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Kill the Unicorns page
Breizhpanda {Strategy Gamer} Sep 15th, 2020
“Great party game”

A game of bluff with some management, very easy to learn, i would recommend playing this with 3 other players, the 2 players version being quite boring.

Games are fun and quick (15-20 minutes) and you will probably want to play and play again, adapting to other players strategy and bluff skills.

+ Great and fun illustrations.
+ simple but very effective concept.
+ Player mats included in the base game are amazing.

– Sleeved cards will not fit in the the box anymore.

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2 out of 2 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Platinum Supporter
Mythic Kingdoms Backer 2020
I play blue
Go to the Mythic Challenge: The Card Game page
6 of 6 gamers thought this was helpful
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).

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6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Everdell page
9 of 9 gamers thought this was helpful
“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.

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9 out of 9 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Go to the Terraforming Mars page
7 of 7 gamers thought this was helpful
“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.

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


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]
7 out of 7 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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