This is a fun one. Good 2 player action with classic cardgame elements. playing with just the main deck offers a good experience. It's a light game, but still the decisions can be painful to make. Eventually you're going to have to cut some of your losses when playing this game. The more you play the better you can set yourself up in anticipation of this. It's a quick 25 minute 2 player game. Fun enough to keep.
Alright, played the tactics cards. Pretty fun, gives you options in tough situations
This is a perfect social game. I've played it with 5 or less people many times. ALWAYS fun. The game is brilliant. It's so satisfying to come up with new trades and bribes and bargaining approaches. It honestly never gets old. Everyone who has played this game loves it. The pattern seems to be: I take it over to a friends to play a round, they end up buying a copy.
There is A LOT of constant player to player interaction, and no down time between turns because you're usually trying to make deals with the active player. No hard feelings in the end, it's always within a few gold of each other, no one feels like a loser. Best with 3 or more. Easy to teach, quick to pick up and learn.
This game on its own is alright. Just alright. Definite potential. But the game REALLY comes to life with the expansion 'Inns and Cathedrals'. As many say, it should have been part of the original game. After adding that expansion and 'Traders and Builders' it feels more rounded and robust in strategies.
Lots of people mention the luck factor in the game, but I think it's all about making the tiles you draw work for you. You have to be flexible and go with the flow in this game. There is limited planning ahead BECAUSE of the luck of the draw, but it doesn't dampen the strategy too much. Even so, you can make a slight rule modification that you can hold 2 or 3 tiles in your hand.
But all in all, I often wonder why this game is always in the top 15. I mean, it's not THAT good. It's an OK time passer, but not something I would consider spectacular enough to be among the top rated and most popular games. And when introducing this game to new players, it's hit or miss. Many don't seem to like it at all. So just keep that in mind.
For trade. In like new condition, also have the expansions Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, and The River II
The decisions in this game are absolutely beautiful, you can get really creative with your moves in this one. There is a fair bit of luck, and at times that may override all of your brilliant moves, but who cares? It's a game about maximizing your position with what you have, and there are plenty of avenues to take in getting this done. I really love the strategy in this one, all I can say is it's beautiful, and coming up with each move to fit the game at play is very rewarding. One of my favorite 3 player games, good with 2 as well. (have not played with 4)
I think of this as the perfect game, as far as abstracts go. It's very draining and I really only play several times a year, but it is always glorious. I've never become disinterested in chess, it always retains it's charm. I love how the game progresses, I love putting people in/being put in predicaments, I love how each move can pry your brain, I love the surprise of a move you hadn't considered. There's nothing like the satisfaction of an brilliant move, nothing like the devastation of being on the other end. Chess is beautiful.
Kind of fun, much too long though. We only ever play to 50 rather than 100. It's a lot like blackjack, you wanna push your luck but if you bust(go over a certain number) you lose. Introduces ways of reversing the bust. Each round reaches an anti-climatic ending where there is no more you can do. The character cards add a bit of bluffing and strategy, but still a very luck based game.
This is the game that got me into gaming. It was so surprisingly unique and different from any game I had played. I asked to play it over and over for a while. The combination of playing it a lot and getting into some more involved games though has kind of made it obsolete to me. This game is a big majority luck. Once the awesome theme and cool cards lose their luster, it becomes just another card game.
If you've played San Juan or Race for the Galaxy, this takes those gameplay mechanics to the next level.
Glory to Rome is a tremendously rewarding game to play, a bit of a learning curve, but everything fits and makes sense. I personally feel like the luck factor is large in this one but there are always options, always something you can do to further your position. Probably my favorite thing about this game is the 'pool'. Each time a round passes everyone's cards go into the pool, which can then be put to use later on. Hard to explain, but just know this game is a real gamer's game, if you're deep into board games this will satisfy that itch for something new.
Ahhhh, Hansa. A good end-of-the-night game. Light but far from boring. Everyone takes turns moving a boat around to set up market booths and acquire goods across the map. Each person shares the one boat to get around the map which opens up a few interesting strategy options each turn. Plays especially well with 3, great with 2, a bit long and drawn out with 4.
For whatever reason this rulebook was a real chore to get through. I'd say it was worth it though.
It's a dense game in terms of moves you can make, but still manages to feel relatively light. I've played with 2 and 3 players, and with 3 players it gets to be a bit long. I can't imagine it with 4 or 5, I can't see myself enjoying 3 hours of Hawaii. With that many players you'd be better off playing online, with the convenience of the computer doing the setup every round
The mechanics are plentiful and I like the fact that you can save up your clams for a really good round if you wish. The board changes with each game so replayability is golden. But somehow, with it being jam packed with a dozen-so paths to take, a win doesn't feel like a win, it just feels like you guessed right. And yet I still want to play it more.
Short and sweet game. Love the pieces, every game is different, it's portable, no set-up, rich in strategy. It is quite similar to chess but lighter and fresher. Always down for a quick game or two of hive. Make sure to get the version with the mosquito and ladybug.
UPDATE JULY 2013: Well after playing it over a year or so it's earned a permanent spot in my collection. It really is a great game and a lot of fun but there's a small annoyance. There's no way to challenge other pieces in this game. If there were a way to take pieces off of the board in the game or challenge other pieces to move it would open up a plethora of new strategies and much more depth. I've read about changing the Spider(most useless piece) to have the ability to either eat another bug and take it off the board or trade places with a bug. Sounds like a good idea in theory, I've still yet to try it out.
Both my girlfriend and my favorite game. There's a heck of a lot of cards which give it a lot of variety and replay-ability. It is rich in strategy, each game we play we learn or realize something new. A bit of luck, but TONS of fun, you can get really creative with this one which has helped it get to the table dozens of times for us. We love how when one player wins (gets to 60 gold), the other player gets one more turn to try and beat or at least tie their opponent.
MAKE SURE you READ THE CARDS before you play them. A lot of times this game will end up being very close, within a few gold of each other, so every bit counts. Many cards require you to pay in some way to use them, PAY FIRST and then play.
I've got a lot of love for this one. It really shines with 4 players. This game can be very stressful at turns with grueling decisions that need to be made. The more avenues you have access to the less confidence you seem to have in picking one. As you play more, you get a better sense on how to best set yourself up for the next round, and the fact that it is a tight game with only 4 rounds leaves you with a great deal of long term strategizing capabilities. With the amount of different roads you can take, each of them manage to be impressively balanced, there certainly aren't any useless tiles.
A lot of people mention the coat of arms 'luck' factor that seems to be just thrown in there. I think though it's more a probability thing, if you go MAINLY for coats of arms you still have a fighting chance because of that little scoring rule. I'm sure Dorn knew what he was doing, and you can always ignore that small rule if you don't agree.
To me, it seems the greatest imbalance is in the mission card rewards. Some offer GREAT benefits where your opponents really feel it. Others of the same cost are hardly beneficial.
Playing this one though is just a blast. It's a brain burner, you've got to consider a lot of possibilities with each move. With each game you can pursue a different avenue in attempts to win, but win or lose, it's a real gem in terms of gameplay experience.
This is 3 player gold right here. This is everything you could expect a $10 game with 16 cards to be. It's truly a gem. It plays super fast once everyone is on board, there's constant action. There is a chance you can get eliminated, but you're only out for the round which is 2 minutes tops, and it is just as interesting to watch it play out. REALLY shines with 3, with 4 it's still good/playable. Gets especially bluff-y when playing with more seasoned players. Always begs for another game once you get started. I have no hesitation giving this a perfect 10, and that's something I don't do lightly.
Fun enough logic/deduction game, but more of a puzzle. It lacks choices, there is always one clear choice of what to do on your turn, though you might have to look for a minute before finding it. It's good for something quick and light once in a while, though playing as mr. jack might frustrate some(game is skewed in favor of the detective)
We got a good 20 plays out of this one. Fun little card game with a great theme. Not much longevity though, when there's always other choices this one never makes it to the table anymore. Rulebook was horrendous to get through, especially for such a light card game.
Pretty cool trading game here! Couldn't believe how cheap it was! Similarities to bohnanza, but trading happens less. There's also a board with bonus tokens that gives it a little something interesting.
My girlfriend and I love playing this together. It's usually pretty intense throughout the game, a lot of interaction with each other, very satisfying to win, but still fun if you lose. The game can change in the draw of a card. There have been times when we were in the best possible shape we could be in, and a single card lost us the game. So there is a luck factor, but if you've got solid tactics you'll be able to win often.
EDIT 5/22/12 After playing this a couple dozen times, it has been knocked back to an 8. It's still a great game, but the setting up is so cumbersome. And there's no quick way to do it. This coupled with a luck factor that can kill you off in the first few turns has eaten away at the fun factor of it all. The more we play it the more it starts to feel like a chore, the replay ability only reaches so far.
LUCKILY there is an expansion, so we've got it on our radar, hoping it will breathe some freshness into this once great game
EDIT 6/28/12 We got the 'On the Brink' expansion and love it. Adds lots of variety to the game. Plenty of new roles, new special event cards, even new game modes. We've been back to playing it semi-regularly, the expansion is pretty pricey but adds more fun if you're a fan.
I liked this game, and liked the strategies, but it eventually got to be boring to play. I really love twisting things around in my head and enjoyed this game for many plays, but it has become mundane to me.
Lots of evil little moves you can pull on one another, and though it can be a drag to go back and forth across the board multiple times per game, that's really part of it's charm. It makes it funny. At the time I'm writing this I've played about 10 1 on 1 games. The strategy is actually quite interesting, some backwards thinking involved. I do like it right now, but I think it might get old unless I play in moderation. I'll probably bust it out every once in a while to keep it fresh. Pretty unique idea though, well made, pretty board. EASY EASY to learn with only 2 maybe 3 rules.
I've also played a couple games with 4 players which really added an interesting dynamic. You can work together to stop whoever's in in danger of taking the game, but ultimately you're in it for yourself. It's chaotic and funny.
Roma is awesome. This game has luck, but with it comes a great deal of creativity. Great use of dice in this one, what you roll can be used in different ways. If you're wise with your choices you can greatly skew the game to favor you.
This one begs to be replayed as every game is different. Sometimes you'll have a bad game where it ends before it ever gets started. Most times it's just a tug-of-war of back and forth power changes. This game can be really intense, and the beauty in it lies in the way the tides can turn. It is possible to make huge comebacks in this game, and the satisfaction of coming back from the brink of defeat is fantastic. The more I play the more possibilities I find, this is a great game.
San Juan is a lot of fun. It's light and easy to learn, teach, and play, yet still maintains a good amount of thought and strategy. Each turn is satisfying, there is no downtime because everyone takes their actions at once. The first few times playing through is awesome getting a sense of all the different buildings. It's often hard to choose which to building to lay down, as you have to pay for it with other building cards in your hands(the buildings double as 'gold'). Just plain fun, hard to turn down this one.
Cool little game, but obviously for a younger audience. Adults will probably have fun for about 5 games before they get the picture. Lots of luck, lots of "take that!" gameplay. Fun, but very light. The cards are beautiful, quite different than the artwork on the cover/box.
I have only played this game with 2 players so far. It was fun for a dozen quick games, but really seems like it'll take a few more players to make it fun. Pretty cool though, it's incredibly simple and it can get suspenseful.
Along the lines of set, but more fun in my opinion. I'm usually down for a couple games of swish whenever, it's an easy quick game. You can make it harder though if you add rules like using at least 3 cards. All you're doing is twisting things around in your head, but it's somehow so satisfying when you get a swish.
A rather fiddly game with a few too many rules to remember. Pretty fun nonetheless, a very interesting use of dice, and very tactical overall. Just the right amount of interaction, many avenues available to take. The game has a variety of cards and roles so that it's a little different each time. I also feel like the game doesn't over stay it's welcome(Okay, maybe with 4 players). It does feel a bit like a math problem at times, and with so many avenues it can subject players to analysis paralysis. Some cards are also a bit questionable in terms of their balance, but for such a robust game I think they did a fine job. Just not my cup of tea, I don't have too much fun with it and am trading it away