Well, this is a very unusual game. It's really a card game somewhere between poker and Taj Mahal, where cards are so valuable you want to hang on to them, but if you don't spend them, they're worth nothing. Timing is everything. It's really important to get a quick start.
It's hard to really judge the game after one play because it is so different from other games I'd played. More of a card game than a euro, and probably better when you know what you are doing. (1 play)
An area control game with a strong fantasy theme. The idea is a pretty nifty one, with various pieces that do different things--such as the cave troll which drives people out of a room, the treasure, which doubles the value of a room, the barbarian who counts as two people and so forth. In practice, it can be a little frustrating not to draw the tiles that you need, since some remain unplayed at the end of the game, but I still enjoy the game. (1 play)
There is a lot going on here. Superficially: the color scheme is terrible and this does make a difference to game play, the boats are unpleasant to the touch, it is difficult to remember what the scorecards say and some physical reminder of the subsidies is lacking. Gameplay wise: Selling is clearly superior to producing. Knowing what to bid is incredibly difficult; my experience was rather like Goa, in that even if I make what seems to be a very high bid, everyone else will double it. There was a lot of stalling toward the middle and end of the game. It seems that buying machines and warehouses does not really pay off.
I do not understand the game and am not qualified to rate it.
Somewhat grotesque theme that of course provokes perverse giggling. The shuffling seemed to throw off the middle of the game.. I will have to check that I did it correctly. As for the game itself, it has an abstract strategy feel to it. Part I feels like setup, Part II like the actual game. Planning ahead is good. Fair light game, though it is somewhat convoluted for a game fitting this description. (2 plays)
I liked this about as well as I expected. It's a quasi-miniatures game where you go around and kill things and have adventures. The theme is kind of funny, but the map is way too big (at least with four characters) and there's plenty of incentive to avoid the other players as much as possible. Managing the risk is quite difficult to do; most of the time you will simply be roaming around and seeing what happens. (1 play)
Kinda long. This is a fairly clever brain-burner and I am sure that the expansions spice things up. The theme and the mechanics are a rather counterintuitive fit--who makes abstract strategy dungeon crawls?
Almost the same as the board game, only bigger. Yes, I said bigger--spreading the cards out on the table requires more space than the board did. On the plus side, cards eliminate the need for annoying screens. The conflicts happen earlier, since the physical relationships between kingdoms happen on one dimension rather than two, and there are fewer possible external conflicts. Otherwise, it has all the strengths and weaknesses of the original. I considered giving it a lower rating for being completely superfluous, but in the end, it's still a good game that I enjoyed. (1 play)
UPDATE: On a second play, it seems there is a problem with the game; if you lack the right colors for scoring, you can essentially be locked out from earning any more money and thus from doing anything in the game. Possibly this could be fixed by a simple change of strategy, or by the blockade rule, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. It can also be really frustrating trying to get the buyer to where you need it to be.
Nifty! My husband picked this up for free at Origins and we got around to trying it some weeks later. It's sort of an economic game where players are rewarded financially for scoring and there is a constant balance between setup and reward. Very short and things can change quickly with the huge scores that are available with ships. Dynamic and interesting; I look forward to playing again. (3 plays)
Sure, it's clever, the intricate interactions between various commodities is interesting and it's a new twist on simultaneous action selection, but on the whole there's nothing really special about it. (2 plays)
A game about unemployment. Initial placement really matters a lot, and turn order in that initial placement has a lot to do with your future success (or failure). It's pretty easy to knock someone out of it.
Great theme--it feels a lot like working for a pharmaceutical company or something, with the secretive information and the type of competition the game encourages. However, the game can get very frustrating if you happen to get off the schedule; other players will have laid claim to all the inventions without your knowledge and it's really difficult to pick up again.
Just to argue with what other people have been saying, I will remark that it's really an area-majority game, closer to Louis XIV than to worker placement games or to Princes of Florence (with which it is often compared). (2 plays)
Well, this is weird. It's an area-control game, but one in which getting pieces on the board is a strange and rather convoluted process. To some extent, it borrows El Grande's mechanism of moving around a blocking figure, but in a less predictable and controllable way. We didn't get far enough into the game for me to really figure out if I liked it or not, but I was a little frustrated by the number of conditions you need to fulfill before placing someone and the confusing cards signaling the simultaneous action selection choices. (1 partial play)
Quick, abstract area-control game. At first appears quite similar to China, but the cards play quite differently and the cities are in play for longer. There's more to keep track of here than one might initially expect. The rules about taking cards toward the end of the game significantly increase the randomness, though, doing some damage to the planning that is possible earlier. (5 plays)
I really enjoy the resource management aspects of this game. I also think there's some merit to the flexibility of being allowed exactly three actions during your turn, as opposed to the "phase" approach of AoS (which I also enjoy). Deeper than you'd think for the ridiculous components.
On the other hand, the board is so big that I can't always easily see what's going on, and the cards mostly dilute the fun part.
I really enjoyed the first age and to some extent the second age. By the time the third age came around, it had begun to feel a little repetitive and, well, long. I really like area control and I think it is very well implemented here--the tiles allowing it have different capabilities and need to be correctly timed--and I liked the technology tiles, and the use of resources--in fact, nearly every element of the game is very promising. But I wasn't sure that it was enough payoff for the 3 hours+ we spent on it.
I also didn't like the way that options can disappear near the end, so that for instance, a player may be forced to take--and pay for, mind you--an action that s/he is not at all interested in. (In particular, I am thinking of a city in the A phase here.) A future play may well go more smoothly, and I'm willing to give it another chance, but I didn't have a great experience the first time around. (1 play)
I like this quite a bit. Plans can be damaged but not permanently destroyed. The challenge is in remembering to stick with short-term goals and not to be too greedy. The tradeoff between long routes and short routes, and placement on one color or many, is quite interesting.
Comparisons to Sorry are more apt than one might expect. This is a racing game with cool components, though sadly, the gems are of rather low value in the game. Card draws add a pretty high luck factor. It's easy to get distracted with all the cool stuff it is possible to do and forget to win. (2 play)