Fantasy-themed co-op. The game is very pretty. We played with the castle variant, which seemed to make the difficulty level somewhat reasonable; without them, I think it would be much too easy. Thanks to some lucky card pulls, I was able to pull of some cool turns, so that was fun, but it's a forgettable game overall. (1 play)
Very pretty; the art is great and the pearls are awesome (although I'm constantly in danger of dropping them on the floor as I spin them around in the container). The game? It's very light and the cards can be really swingy, but it's a family game and the luck aspect isn't really surprising. (1 play)
I was really excited to hear about a streamlined, expandable version of Brass. However, I didn't really get what I wanted from it.
First, don't expect too much from the streamlining; it's still a very complex and rather fiddly game and it's still easy to lose rules.
Second, I found that I missed the canal age, or rather, I missed the chance to start over halfway through the game. Since the board never clears off, I think that the game is now too long. Toward the end, players' options suddenly disappear because there is no room left on the board and it feels as if the game is already over.
Third, I wasn't a big fan of the way that loans work. Since you can take as many loans as you want whenever you like, cautiousness is quite severely punished and making money matters little; the point is to take out lots of loans and build the big things immediately. This loses the feeling of building up your economy until you can do something really cool, which is kind of the fun part of economic games for me.
That said, it is quite a bit like Brass, and I DO like Brass. But it's a weaker game. (1 play)
This adds a lot of complexity and several new things to think about. It foils typical strategies but I'm not convinced that it creates new ones. Worth a try, especially if you are tired of vanilla Alhambra, but on the whole I am not that impressed. I like the vizier, not so sure about the huts. (2 plays)
This is another game of city building by tile-laying with text on the tiles. It reminded me strongly of City Tycoon but is also reminiscent of Infinite City. The biggest difference is that each player has his or her own individual city instead of having to build next to other players. That isn't really an improvement. (1 play)
Took most of the first play to figure out what I was supposed to be doing here. Farmers are essential, perhaps a little too important. There are several different things you can work on but they all require good use of farmers, and somehow I wished there were one more. Would be interested in playing again if only to upgrade this comment to something more coherent. (1 play)
This is a rather bizarre Settlers variant, rather reminiscent of Starfarers on a smaller scale. I think I prefer it to Starfarers if only because random geography is less significant and it's much shorter, but sometimes I wish Teuber would just make a new game. (1 play)
It's really hard to evaluate this game. I am left with the feeling of having grappled with something huge and not having really ever gotten a good grasp of it. It certainly feels really long, not because I get bored of what I am doing--quite the contrary--but there is a certain amount of stamina required and unlike most games it actually becomes more overwhelming as it develops.
It's really interesting and I think I'd like to try it again, but, um, not soon. (1 play)
Okay, so it's only good when you are tired and in a properly silly mood, and with the right group. But it is a party game, after all. And when you get right down to it, I love hearing people's explanations for their choices, and I get way more enjoyment than I should from putting down cards that I KNOW won't win.
There are a few twists, but it is so similar to Zooloretto that I would be surprised to hear that anyone has very different opinions of the two. I still prefer Coloretto; Schacht is, in my view, best at his simplest. (2 plays)
This reminded me of Dungeon Lords--similar to that game, there are worker-placement actions with multiple options, depending on when you go there. Only, it's somehow even MORE chaotic than Dungeon Lords, despite not having the simultaneous action selection aspect. Abilities allow workers to be removed from spaces, and manipulate things in strange ways. There are goals that players don't know about unless they spend actions to look at them. There are spells to buy that interact oddly.
It's all a bit much. Neat idea though, and I love the theme. (1 play)
I expected this to be more fun than it was. It's really all about knowing when to score and there is definitely some fun back-and-forth interaction, but I don't see it becoming something I'm interested in playing on a regular basis. (1 play)
A pleasant little game with beautiful art, Asara is about building towers. Players can buy towers from different areas on the board and compete to have the most sections of each color. On the whole, it is a little light for my taste, but it's a very good example of what it is. (1 play)
While I enjoyed this more than other Dominion knock-offs (that means YOU, Thunderstone!), there isn't much to it. It's hard to plan card combos ahead of time, since the cards come out randomly over the course of the game. This is somewhat ameliorated by the fact that there aren't as many different cards, but that lowers the depth and the replay value. The game was mildly entertaining, but felt somewhat mindless, and I'm not sure I'd want to play it very often. (1 play)
I was excited to try this old pick-up-and-deliver game, but I was disappointed in it. Players have to bid on the contracts in a weird, constrained way, and ultimately, they're not usually worth what you pay for them. There wasn't much variety in the game; you might find yourself working on the same delivery for a long time, but all the deliveries are kind of the same. There was a lot of randomness, though. I liked the idea that different loads are of different sizes, but in the context of this game it wasn't really worth it. (1 play)
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)
A fairly random little filler. There are certainly some differences from Bingo--there are different odds, and players are pursuing goals that come from completing cards. It also includes some take-that cards which could be quite nasty and felt a little out of place in this style of game. (1 play)
For me, this game just isn't very much fun. There are reasons for this: the theme doesn't engage me at all and I hate taking risks based on limited information, so I'm probably not the target audience here. Much as I enjoy heavy economic games, Automobile for me is more stressful than fun. More detailed reflections below.
This game does an absolutely excellent job at inspiring a feeling of dread, if not outright terror. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is the scariest game I have ever played. Arkham Horror has nothing on this. I guess this aspect of it is thematic...
It is very likely that, whatever you do, bad things will happen to your fledgling automobile company. Your competitors will cause the customers to laugh at your cars. You'll produce too many and find yourself deep in debt, or too few and fail to make any money. It is emphatically a game all about risk management, and as a rather risk averse person, I found it very stressful. But it is a very clever game with a system that kept me thinking about our session for days, and I'll likely come back to it. On the other hand, it is also a good explanation of why I would never, ever, ever want to be an entrepreneur in real life. (3 plays)
Enjoyable little speed-based word game, with the potential to be an addictive filler. I'm not very good at it, because I have a lot of trouble giving up a word that I've already formed (and I'm not that fast). (2 plays)
Quite Euro for a licensed game. I really liked the concept--players are villains fighting with each other for control of Gotham. Sometimes Batman shows up and smacks you around a little bit, but most of the time he sulks in the Bat Cave, which I found quite amusing. You are trying to accumulate various things which allow you to level up, so it's kind of like a series of quests. Cards add variety. Not bad. (2 plays)
Superior to Shadows over Camelot because everyone is working on the same thing at the same time, so there is less chance of being sent on some interminable task for the rest of the game. Card mechanic is quite clever. It does seem like the metagame could have some disadvantages if you always play with the same people--you'd have to play the same way whether you are a Cylon or not. (2 plays)
The bidding reminded me of Taj Mahal, but instead of getting a lesser reward (or no reward), the game actively punishes you for losing auctions, and the players are constantly competing over the same symbols. It's easy to get caught in a negative feedback loop that sucks a lot of fun out of the game. The random element of the risks is also pretty huge. The game was also longer than my interest in it and moving along the path somehow failed to generate much excitement. On the other hand, the bidding was interesting in a Taj Mahal kind of way.
And I seldom say things like this, but come on, for a Beowulf game this needs to be a lot more violent. (1 play)
I like trivia, and I enjoyed the rules of this trivia game--random categories, the possibility of switching, stealing questions and so forth. However, the difficulty level of the questions varied wildly; most of them were either everyone-knows-it easy or too difficult for us. I also think it would be nice if, as a party game, it could go above four players without requiring teams. (1 play)
A light card game in which you'd like to predict the future but have limited information. You must choose which cards you keep, which go to your opponents, and which will be auctioned off later. A decent filler, but there are a lot of games in this space. (2 plays)
It can be very difficult to get the pairs into your hand, but there are plenty of support cards dealing with that problem. I'd say this makes the game a little luckier, but it seemed manageable. Thus far I prefer the Hoax, but there's some fun stuff here. (1 play)
Unlike most people, I actually didn't grow up with Boggle and I've only played it a couple of times. I'm surprisingly bad at it; I guess it's a little difficult to read in several different directions at once and that is, after all, the basis of the game. I like the brilliantly simple scoring system that rewards unusual words and, you know, word games are always fun. (2 plays)
Please note that this rating is based on a play with a serious rules error.
I had fairly high expectations for this, because I am a fan of area control and it had elements that reminded me of games I like (El Grande in particular) with a fun theme plastered on top of it. But I found that it kind of dragged on for longer than I wanted it to, and it felt a little clunky in ways I hope I'll be able to better articulate after playing it again.
Playing with the correct rules may help too. (1 play)
In the seemingly endless parade of Settlers variants, this is one. It has a bit of a quest fulfillment element, which adds some interest. To promote simplicity, it reduces variety, which results in the game feeling longer than I'd like it to be. (1 play)
Well, this was very strange. It's very difficult to make any money... at best you can make $1-$2 dollars at a time. Most transactions, you end up breaking even. This makes it a little frustrating and it's hard to figure out exactly what you should be paying attention to. All these small pieces don't seem to add up to much of an empire and eventually everyone is everywhere anyway. I don't know, it just wasn't my cup of tea.
To be perfectly fair, we only played the first two rounds, and with some very strange rules in Lisboa that I am not convinced were correct. (1 play)
This is a pretty goofy sci-fi cooperative game. The theme is a lot like Space Cadets and the mechanisms are nothing special, but it works together well and makes all kinds of references that fans will get. (1 play)
Feels sort of "generic Euro"-y to me. There's a bit of simultaneous action selection, a bit of predicting what the end of the game will look like, some rather abstracted building and the ability to gather materials. The rule about building with at least three different material types is interesting, but not much else is new or exciting here. (1 play)
Conflict heavy game with a theme for very specific tastes, yet with a lot of elements that strike me as very Euro. There's a lot going on here and it can be frustrating trying to balance the various things you can do in a general Euro way while someone across the table has the opportunity to come in and destroy it all. I don't know; this may be a good game, but I didn't have a great experience. Maybe I'll play it again, but I'm not excited about it. (1 play)
The components are GORGEOUS, about as cute as they could possibly be. The game is pretty simple; on the first play it seemed too easy and the memory element was more or less unnecessary. The second play was a little more challenging but on the whole it seemed like if you pay attention you'd either win, or else spend all your time thwarting everyone else. Decent 10-15 minute pastime. (2 plays)
There are plenty of light, quick card games out there. This is one.
It's really about trying to predict what the value of the cards is going to be at the end, so it has a strong press-your-luck element which I enjoy. The special cards add a little flavor, but can occasionally become annoying when your opponents steal your cards. Interesting but doesn't stand out.
The information management is the most interesting part of this game. The role selection is fun if you are not under the delusion that you know roles other people will pick. The humor value of the game has dipped somewhat over the years, but it's still a decent filler and a good gateway game (in fact, it was my gateway game!).
Tile-laying, city building game in which players must continually come up with the resources to power their buildings if they want to use their powers. It's interesting, but it's pretty hard work to keep your engine pumping! (1 play)
This was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. There's actually quite a bit of challenge in choosing the right thing to sculpt, conceiving of the most ambiguously effective sculpture, and in asking the best questions. Quite clever. I do get frustrated because I'm bad at both the sculpting (I sculpt either too well, or too poorly) and the guessing (I often find I can't think of anything). It DOES require creativity--more for the guessing than the sculpting.
I played with the Advanced Rules. It is vaguely reminiscent of China, but less interesting.. I can't put my finger on why. I like the idea, but there are enough similar games that I don't feel a strong need to play this one again. (1 play)
The basic rules seem quite simple, but they play out in complicated ways due to the interactions between the different powers. I suspect that worrying about game balance is the wrong way to play the game. It has an engaging take-that feel to it without ever becoming personal (because of the destiny cards) and is basically exactly what it wants to be. (1 play)
It's a little lucky, and it's a little fiddly with the math stuff, especially at the beginning. I wish the game included starting setups instead of asking new players to do all the calculations they'd need to figure out what to initially buy. It's also a little long for what it is. But if it doesn't go as long as our game did (and I've heard it usually doesn't), it's pretty fun for a classic and rather light game. (1 play)
Interesting two-player game that involves laying tiles on the board to form groups of your color, but with cards that change the game. You will end up either spending all your time trying to prevent your opponent from winning or else trying to get in a position where your opponent can't do the same. I often find this sort of position frustrating, and I did in this game, too. (1 play)
Super chaotic. This is a hidden-identity game in which players try to fulfill their objectives without the other players noticing. So it's probably worthwhile to feint and try to make ambiguous moves, but then again, the game isn't too long. Eventually, everyone will run out of cards that stop other players from winning, and someone will win, and you need to know that going in. Still, I enjoyed it. Even without a really deep knowledge of the theme, this is silly fun. (1 play)
More Dixit. A Dixit expert might argue that adding more cards changes the game because the storyteller isn't able to rely on certain other cards coming out, there is no way to establish group specific cues about certain cards, etc, but I am not a Dixit expert. (1 play)
Take-that card game with a Doctor Who theme. The weird thing about this game is that at the end of each turn, you pass your cards to your neighbor, who will assuredly use them against you later on. Very chaotic, very bash the leader. The theme adds a lot here, although I also feel that there is a lot more the game could have done with it. Several of the cards had different art and titles but were identical in function, for instance. It's not a bad game, but Doctor Who deserves a better one. (1 play)
Pretty sure we did not get the rules right on this one. It's a fairly heavy area control game set in AEG's fictional, Venice-esque world. I really liked the theme in this. Each card had a distinctive character and it was easy to imagine a story behind each one, and the way that the different districts of the city interacted was really cool. However, the rules were pretty confusing and we weren't at all sure about how and when their powers could be used. The endgame scoring was really weird, as well; it didn't favor me, but I'm not sure I would have liked it even if it did. In any case, the game was too long and probably a little more convoluted than it needed to be--disappointing, since it showed quite a bit of promise in the first half of the game or so. (1 play)
It's a lot like Descent, and I think I like Descent a little better, both because I prefer the theme and because it's a little more streamlined and doesn't have the vents, which were a real problem in our game and felt a little unfair. (1 play)
Strongly reminiscent of At the Gates of Loyang, though I haven't seen too many people making this comparison. It's about satisfying a contract attached to a notional entity; of course, Dungeon Petz, as a Chvatil game, is much more chaotic and has a very different theme. (1 play)
I'm not really a puzzle game person, and I'm not good at rotating objects in my mind, but this game wasn't too offensive. I like the implicit joke that factories can either feed paint back in a loop or turn it into garbage. It is a little frustrating when you take a machine and can't use it at all, but I guess experience would make a difference here. Choosing machines is not my favorite part, but I do like building my factory. (1 play)
This is a light drafting game, and once you know all the rules (like the one where you get to keep cards from round to round) it makes a lot more sense. I can see the comparison to 7 Wonders, but I think the newer game does a better job, if only for its superior icons and hints as to what you might want to do. (3 plays)
I'm not sure how I feel about the use of famous artwork in this game; it feels like a weird context for them. The game itself is fairly simple, but I'm not sure all the math was done correctly, because it often seems like actions aren't really worth it. (1 play)
A pure blind bidding game where ties go to the second place player. I like the complex, changing conditions. There's more here than the lightness and the very silly theme would suggest--and there is certainly some strategy to knowing what your opponents will bid. Tracking the beads is useful. The fact that the winner can be determined before the game is over keeps this from being a 7 for me. (2 play)
It's a pick-up-and-deliver game with a ton of chaos and a strong storytelling component. Chaos certainly fits in well with the theme, but I usually prefer to have a little more control in a game like this. In particular, the "misbehave" deck is fairly random and can be quite frustrating, because it is difficult if not impossible to move on until you complete a mission, and yet a failed attempt makes it more difficult to complete next time. Still, there are interesting ideas in the game and I like the way it enacts the theme. One would expect this to be targeted at casual gamers who like the show, but it's probably too complicated for that crowd.
We played with the scenario where players can declare the end as soon as they've reached a certain amount of money.
But the *scoring* is really different from Tetris, you see. I don't know. I really enjoy puzzle games in an electronic format, but don't like them as much in board game form. I guess I like doing them solo. On the other hand, the components for this are pretty sweet. (1 play)
Neat filler. I like this better than Felix. There aren't many auction games you can play in ten minutes; this pulls it off while maintaining, at the very least, some level of suspicion of your neighbors. Level of control is perhaps slightly lower than I would like.
Of all the Flying Frog games, this is the one whose theme is most appealing to me. The game's not bad; it has a certain level of risk assessment and character building which is fun, and the "cliffhanger" idea is kind of clever. It's still a dice fest, of course, and a pretty long one.
So this is basically a way of codifying well-known improv games for non-actor audiences. As such, I think it succeeds. I guess it could be used as a party game, and could be a pretty appealing one if people don't mind being silly. (1 play)
This is easier than I thought it would be, but then again, I was playing with kids. A very unusual game; the thought process of building your spaceship is an altogether different type of analysis than what you find yourself doing in Euros. Quick, light, unpredictable. (1 play)
A strange little stock game with very volatile commodities. You can gather a lot of cubes, but the corresponding civilization might be gone tomorrow. Not good with two as there is little opportunity for multiple competing civilizations to arise. I think I'd like it better if I had a better idea of when it's worth it to spend a cube to make things happen. They seem like valuable commodities, but since they can disappear at any moment, I should probably be more willing to spend them... (3 plays)
Second game much harder. I think it has something to do with playing with the correct rules.
A cooperative game in which the players all have different powers they use to defeat the automatically generated threats. The obvious comparison is to Pandemic, only the results depend on tokens and dice rolls instead of cards. It's really a game about prioritizing and using available resources. Timing is very important because some ghosts affect how others can be fought.
Though I liked the claustrophobic feeling of this, with the ghosts closing in around you, I think I prefer Pandemic for this sort of thing because it's a cleaner, less convoluted design. But then again, this isn't my favorite sort of thing, either. (2 play)
This game seems designed to frustrate those who have optimized other Rosenberg harvest-style games, and it does that by forcing players to play their cards out of order. To me, this plus its short play time makes the game a little lighter than similar Rosenberg games, and on that level, I enjoyed it. Difficult to teach/learn though. (1 play)
Well, this is a lot like Galaxy Trucker. I think I like it a little better, because it has the fight/attack phase during which players interact with each other rather than with a random deck, it eliminates the real-time tile grabbing, and I also think that the hidden goal cards make it an improvement over Galaxy Trucker. Still, it's a very similar game, so... chaotic tile-laying destructiveness. (1 play)
This is a very peculiar little abstract tile-laying game. You influence tiles by placing temple tiles next to them, but the more there are, the more expensive it becomes. And, in typically minimalist Schacht fashion, that is most of the game. It's hard to wrap my head around how what I do will affect everyone else (and myself). It's strange. The main thing is that you have to win all at once, and any setup has to be either unassailable or hard to notice. Not my favorite of his games. (2 plays)
I was a little frustrated with the spatial aspect of this, and also the blocking aspect. It's clever in several ways, for instance, the players' inability to use the same action twice in a row, and I'd certainly be interested in playing it again, but on my first impression, the frustration predominates. (1 play)
I'll be honest: I was mostly interested in playing this because I'd been considering designing a game about fire spreading through a city (I'd been thinking of San Francisco, but London is just as good), and players being able to blow up buildings to prevent the fire from spreading in certain directions. This is much better than the game that I would have designed, so it frees me from that responsibility and I'm very happy about that (this also inspires some respect for the designers).
It combines secret identities with secret goals. I don't usually like secret identities, but in this game they were somehow less obnoxious than usual because they didn't constrain players' options as much as they sometimes do. I was surprised at the end of the game to find that the secret goals are not unique. I'm not sure this is a good thing; if multiple players are protecting the same area that would seem to give them a random advantage. There were also some issues with the colors chosen, which were sometimes difficult to distinguish. (1 play)
This is a very short attempt at a pick up and deliver game. It's very much a card game and a lot depends on what you draw; this can be very frustrating if you need to move and aren't drawing movement cards or if you have a bunch of cubes and can't draw the right cards to deliver them. Cute idea, but I'm not a huge fan of the execution. (1 play)
Oh, Phil Eklund. Turns out Greenland is not a nice place! It's really difficult to do anything in this game, and whatever you do is fraught with peril. Lots of rules for a game that is, in the end, pretty random. Not really worth it. (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)
Silly dexterity game, but a really attractive one. The wheel is fun because it can roll all over the place, but it needs a large table for the same reason. You don't even need my rating, here, really--just look at the picture and it will tell you everything you need to know. (1 play)
A bit like Taluva; players must form sets of at least three to score them, but can't score them again unless they are separated. It's more difficult to separate existing groups than it is in Taluva, and the game is considerably less photogenic and also, I'd argue, less interesting. Still, it's a light and quick set collection game which is easily taught, so there is definitely room for that in the world.
Fast, fun game of psyching people out. I like this better than most simultaneous action selection games I've played, perhaps because of the way you get a better idea of how things are going over time. It's definitely possible to overthink this. It's actually possible to win while NEVER exhibiting.
This is an unusual area control game. It's pretty difficult to get pieces on the board, and it's really important to win the areas that you go after, as coming in second gets you nothing. This makes it a pretty tough game in general, and it's easy to get frustrated. Interesting, however, are the ways in which control can pass from one player to another, and the elections, of which we saw few in our game. I'd like to give this another try. (1 play)
I'm surprised I haven't seen more comparisons between this game and Taluva. Not only do they use very similar components, but many of the rules are also the same--one tile can be laid on top of others, but not directly on top of another, and the height of the pile influences what can be placed there. However, it's a longer game and the scoring is much more complex, adding a stronger element of planning. This is tough for me, because it's ultimately likely that I'll be competing with the other players in multiple places and it gets quite difficult for me to read the board in each of those places and figure out exactly what people can and can't do to undo my moves. So on that level, it gets very frustrating. But it's a very clever game for those who are able to process the board well. (1 play)
A tile placing game that's all about the relationships of the tiles to each other, kind of like Qwirkle. It's different from Qwirkle, though, in that the tiles have different values and abilities that they can use. It's an odd amalgam of things but I'm glad someone tried it. On the other hand, some of the tiles are difficult to use and it's not so easy to manipulate the board to try to make them more useful (what is the Warrior good for, really? And what do you do when there are Ogres all around the perimeter?). So it's a really interesting idea but it gets fairly frustrating, especially since some tiles are clearly more powerful than others.
Graphic design and component quality are not so good.
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.
It looks like a kids' game, and I guess it could be, but it's a perfectly serviceable filler for adults. It's just what you've heard. Players have cards that indicate their secret preferences for which characters they would like to succeed, and get points for getting those characters higher on the ladder. It's pretty fluffy, but not in a bad way.
I liked this more than I expected. It's VERY light, just a little dice game with cool components (and the cards to spice things up a bit). But its purity and its push-your-luck nature make it very good at being what it is. Now, what it is isn't the sort of thing that I reach for very often, but it could make a really nice filler. (2 plays)
First, some love for the components. You play with ACTUAL SHELL pieces that are different from each other, and use the insert to store them during the game. Beautiful and clever (the cards and tiles are quite nice as well). The game itself is a blind bidding/set collection game that reminded me of No Thanks! in that you can bid, or give up and get currency. What you are bidding for, however, is turn order, and it's rather difficult to determine where you'd like to be in the turn order. (1 play)
I'd expected this to be a silly, pointless, dice-rolling zombie game, but it's actually much better than I thought it would be. Actually, it's a light tactical miniatures game with teams, one of which happens to involve zombies. The game's longer than I'd like it to be, and the theme isn't one I care for too much, but it's well put together and I don't blame anyone for liking it. (1 play)
I'm just not a huge fan of the Legendary system. It feels messy to me, and I think the game's longer than it needs to be. This is definitely better than the original Legendary game, though, because the way that the villains work is more interesting. (1 play)
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)
It's more fun (and perhaps less strategic) than Lost Cities because it can be played with more people, and the chips that players can pick up along the way add some variety and interest. Still, it'll never be my favorite. (1 play)
The resource generation works like Settlers; roll a die and see what you get. It's also a little like Dominion because you buy cards and add them to your empire. The decision of when to switch to two dice is an interesting one. I wish the game had more cards instead of using all of the every game. (1 game)
An interesting variant on Dots & Boxes, wherein each player has a number of hidden (and randomly determined) goals. A lot depends on the luck of the draw--I think the cards are much more random than the dice here--and it's very helpful if the other players happen to draw goals that are compatible with yours. A decent filler, but it can be a little frustrating to have so much depend on whether others are willing to help you out.
The board and components are very pretty. (1 play)
It looks very, very euro, but it actually has a fairly strong stock element to the game. This works in an unusual way; when players take action at a location, that affects its stock price. Locations also have the property of demand, which affects what can be delivered there. This is a really interesting idea. There are a bunch of other mechanisms thrown in--nothing new, but they're put together in a way that makes the game a lot less generic than you'd think. It's intriguing and counterintuitive, but ultimately, the length kills it. At half the length, it's a really cool game with awesome components, but at the actual length--it's kind of a mess with a slightly wonky endgame. (1 play)
I was leery of the Fantasy Flight remake of Merchant of Venus, a game of which I'm quite fond. There are certainly improvements to be made, but I was concerned that FFG wouldn't make them, but would focus instead of changing the core of the game into something unrecognizable. As it is--I think it's still Merchant of Venus, kind of, but the original is much the superior game. The flaws in the original were the length, the randomness, and the turns in which one doesn't get to do much due to bad dice rolls/random space obstacles. The new version makes it more difficult to get past the space obstacles, which is irritating, and although the fixed number of turns possibly could have shortened the game, it really doesn't. Meanwhile, they tinkered with demand for no obvious reason, and they added a bunch of other silly things for no obvious reason other than that they are Fantasy Flight.
If I'd played this without playing the original, I suspect I'd think that there are a lot of cool things about this game but that it's kind of a bear to get out. As it is, I find it kind of disappointing and frustrating. At least you can still play an only slightly modified version of the original game with this! But there's no goods cup. Boooo the lack of a goods cup. (1 play)
This game is absolutely beautiful. It's got a great theme and I love the twist where players can behave like merchants, pirates or pirate hunters. It also has cool special powers for both characters and places, and it's about the weight that I'd like it to be. So I was really excited about playing this game.
However, there were definitely some disappointments when I played. For one thing, being a pirate doesn't seem to be a very good strategy; the one pirate in our game was pretty screwed. Secondly, the combat system is pretty clunky. It slows the game down considerably and is also confusing to calculate. So I'd play again, but it's not as good as I'd hoped. (1 play)
This is very much like a streamlined version of Nexus Ops -- smaller board, no cards, no tower -- but with special powers for each of the units that you bring on the board. It's very confrontational and often unpredictable. It requires some calculation to see what all the results of any given combat will be. Enjoyable, but it can be pretty rough. (1 play)
Most plays were in a single session at GenCon--it's just one of those games that tends to be played many times. A very original design that nevertheless feels a lot like a traditional card game. Plenty of drama for only having one mechanic. The essence of the game is understanding the value of the chips.
Kind of a stock speculation game: buy low, sell high, unless you want to turn stuff into points or compete for having the most of the goods. Components are very cute; it's hard not to love little wooden cupcakes and boots. Game is lackluster, or maybe it's just not my kind of game. Not too interesting in any case. (1 play)
This is a really quick and easy to learn little two-player wargame. Luck of the dice seemed to predominate in the one scenario I played, but I am sure that skill becomes more important when the players gain some experience. (1 play)
I guess this is an action drafting game of sorts, where the first player to take something gets a better version of the action and subsequent players may take an inferior version of it. Lots of cards with text spice it up a little. The game is competently designed, but it becomes monotonous after a while, because there are only ten actions and some of them are basically the same, and the cards that players bring out will encourage them to specialize. I didn't find anything really compelling about the game, and besides, I came pretty close to winning in my first play, which is never a good sign... (1 play)
The resemblance to Chicago Express is not only strong but impossible to miss. However, I like CE much more. For one thing, Pampas Railroads is quite a bit longer and has more shares per railroad, which decreases the tension considerably. Second, it allows only the majority shareholder to build on a railroad, eliminating the rogue investor and decreasing the other players' motivation to begin an auction for a share. This means there's a lot more improvement/rail building and less of the interesting jockeying for position in the shares. (1 play)
I don't play that many co-ops, but I do enjoy playing Pandemic from time to time. It's satisfying to see the machine work and to go around playing whack-a-mole; it appeals to my general love of discrete tasks. Turns out not to be all about the whack-a-mole, after all...
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)
Wow, these cards are hard to track. SO MUCH TEXT and not all of it is relevant. The game isn't really as complicated as the cards make it look, but a lot of it is about making sure that it doesn't end each turn in a way that would make someone else win. (1 play)
Fiddly rules, and unpredictable results. There are so many pieces here that it is hard to see how they will all fit together, though the first game at least is something of a discovery. The game becomes much more vicious toward the end, when values are clearer and it is certain that there will be no more rounds. But the political round seems fraught with significance that isn't quite understood, and the combat round.. gives a different picture. Is that a letdown? I'm not sure. Rating could rise. (1 play)
Simultaneous action selection game--with pirates and cannons. Overall, it is pretty random, but like any simultaneous action selection game, it's necessary to think about what your opponents are up to. The game is extremely pretty and building up your ship is fun. Very light. (1 play)
Rating dexterity games is pretty difficult, especially as I've rated so few. This is one I was fascinated with just due to the fact that it was sitting out there with its awesome linen underneath board and the hammers. It seems that the game is less about getting across quickly than just about getting across--it's pretty easy for balls to fly off of the board or to get captured by your opponent.
On the whole, quite an entertaining diversion. (1 play)
A co-op with an unusual theme. Like other co-ops, the trick is that the game gives you one goal but a lot of other distractions so that you don't complete it efficiently. In this case, there's a system in which you don't want to get multiple cards of the same color. It doesn't really stand out that much among all the other co-ops out there, but I did like how each of the characters had two characteristics, some of which were repeated. (1 play)
This is a really heavy one! It's quite a juggling act and a serious economic game. There's more going on here than I think is strictly necessary; you can get a similar experience from Age of Steam without all the rules and cards and bonus rules and things. Still, it's interesting. I'd like to play it again, and suspect I'd have a better handle on it in a second play. (1 play)
So the theme is obviously great, but the game was a little frustrating to me. Players can't predict where they will be going on the next turn, which makes it a little difficult to really plan, and it's very easy to paint one's creatures into a corner. Some of the cards appear powerful but are really underpowered relative to others. The game was also longer than I wanted it to be. Play Evo, it's better. (1 play)
Well, this is a weird one, and of all the GIPF games, it's the hardest for me to read the board. I have a lot of trouble with the things that bend and figuring out where something can go, and even more trouble extrapolating from there what might be done in the future. So the spatial element kind of kills it for me. My least favorite game in the series. (2 plays)
I'm not a huge fan of this kind of game--flying around in ships and fighting with other players--but I also found a combo in the two-player game that seemed really (too) strong. I didn't find it terribly interesting. (1 play)
Has some advantages over Scrabble: the lack of a ridiculous dictionary and the elimination of left-right binding. I think Scrabble is the deeper game, though. The main strategy in Quiddler seems to be going out as soon as possible. Good filler to bust out at random moments.
Nice little game with a cute theme. The set collection is similar to Ticket to Ride, but it's a little more random and less predictable because you cannot predict what's coming. I do like the aspect of the game that allows you to choose when you will show your quilt and score points (or not)--this particular aspect of the game kind of reminded me of Princes of Florence. (1 play)
Fun little filler card game of hand management, which feels more like a card game than a deep thematic experience. Still fun, though. Luck-heavy, sure. But each action has multiple repercussions--filling up the various factories and giving you cards--so there are some tense decisions to make. The downside is a possible memory factor in the game. (4 plays)
Fast-paced, San Juan-esque card game. At the moment my rating for this is fluctuating. I like the range of strategies understand why this is addictive. I've found myself playing it much more than expected, and I don't even own it. On the other hand, this game is frustrating when what you have a hand full of things that don't work together or when you can't draw what you want, as the combos are extremely important. This problem is compounded by the shortness of the game--you are sure to draw something worthwhile EVENTUALLY, but it may all be over by then. It is also undeniable that taking away the role selection decreases player interaction.
It can stay a seven for now, since I will usually play it and think it's, yknow, pretty good, but it is in some danger of falling to a six next time I have a game where it seems murky.
EDIT: This seems to be one of those games you just keep playing... not necessarily because it is your favorite, but because it is a card game, it's fast and nobody complains about it too much.
EDIT: Seriously, I've played this game way more than I want to.
I like some of the new cards. Rebel Cantina is lots of fun. I didn't really understand the takeover rules, and I don't think the rest of the group did either, since none happened. Dislike the reliance on military. (1 play)
Days of Wonder-style production value, for sure. The game can be a little frustrating because it's quite difficult to set things up in a way that helps you rather than your opponents. The scarcity of roads and the food mechanism also make things a little difficult. I suspect that once you get good enough at the game to negotiate these problems well, it will cease to be interesting. (1 play)
Can be frustrating if you have trouble rotating objects in space in your head (I do)--but eventually you will learn. The chaos factor and the violence are what make this fun, but only with the right crowd. Option cards seem somewhat unbalanced.
More streamlined than Race for the Galaxy. Everyone around me loves this game and I trust their opinions, so whoever is reading this, you'll probably like it more than I do. I don't really *get* the game and I fear that if I do I'll be disillusioned the way I was with Race. (3 plays)
As Yahtzee games go, this is a decently good one. I think allocating people is probably the most interesting part--get more dice for them now, or put them into monuments to get points at the end of the game? (1 play)
I dunno, man. The ideas are really clever here--the dice as constantly degrading coal is great!-- and I like the buildings and their special abilities. What I don't like is how the game didn't really reward different strategies. Disappointed. (1 play)
Great components, cool theme. There are a few graphic design issues; the cards don't use their space efficiently and it's hard to see what they actually do. I like the color theory aspect of it. Has all the issues that a contract-fulfillment game with open contracts normally has. (1 play)
Okay, seriously, STOP ADDING TERMS TO THE DICTIONARY. No, really. Just stop.
So there are some issues with this game: right-left binding, the need for outside knowledge and certainly some AP issues. But it beats the pants off most mass-market games and calls for a puzzly kind of thinking that I happen to enjoy.
Nice components. I enjoy the way the dice are drafted and used as a resource but aren't actually the central aspect of the game that they appear to be; instead it's a card combo game with lots and lots of cards. I like card combos, and I was intrigued by the need to earn the right to put down a card. However, the game seemed a little too "take that" for my tastes, and it can be difficult to make any real headway with the crystals as they are constantly getting knocked down. (1 play)
Very pretty game, and not completely devoid of substance, though it's kind of fallen into the "meh" range. There's nothing wrong with the game. Turn order manipulation is very important, and the way it's managed with balls on a ramp, while somewhat gimmicky, is fun. The cards require players to make an interesting tradeoff, and you are always wary of whether you are setting up the next person. It's well put together but ended up being kind of unremarkable for me. If you like that sort of thing, try Hansa instead. (1 play)
Lighthearted, short deduction game. Player elimination is present but it is short enough to save that from being a HUGE problem (though it is still, you know,player elimination). Players are on teams and must figure out who is on their side, with a great deal of bluffing and confusion possible--but it always becomes obvious by the end. There seems to be quite a bit of variability and the items you can collect are cool, though it would be nice to have more ways of manipulating the outcomes of combat.
1x10^24 times better than Bang (but not THAT similar).
The components are really unbeatable--these fantastic (and pretty big!) sheep figurines. This is a multiplayer abstract with a significant random element. It's not for those who want a lot of control, since you have little opportunity to predict what the board will be like when it comes back around to you and everything can go bad rather quickly. But it is a nice little filler for those who like to puzzle out the spatial element, especially if they enjoy screwage. This isn't necessarily my favorite approach to gaming, but it works well for the ~20-30 minutes the game lasts. (1 play)
This focuses on the parts of civ games that I find less interesting (war, exploration) at the expense of the parts I find more interesting (balancing growth with production, building up something cool and big). I'm sure it will have its fans, but I'll stick with Through the Ages. (1 play)
I like area control games, but it's easy for them to get a little too overzealous in throwing obstacles in the way of players who just want to get some pieces down on the board. This is a good example. To put down a building, you have to have the appropriate card for that area, the right kind of building, the proper height of building, which takes several cards to build up, and you have to do it before anyone else can. And in the end, there is a decent chance of getting nothing whatever out of it. (1 play)
The components are, of course, drop-dead gorgeous. The game is a simple dice-rolling game; it's a Yahtzee mechanic, but it's timed in such a way as to determine turn order. I wasn't a huge fan of that--I don't like having to fight other players over components. The balance between money and dirt is an interesting one, but I'd prefer that the way these are distributed didn't depend on the real-time thing. (1 play)
This is more closely related to Take It Easy than it is to Suburbia. The tiles come up in the same order and your job is to put them together in the optimal way. Laid on top of this is a combo-based (and rather unforgiving) scoring system. (1 play)
Everyone calls it the panda game, because it's panda-themed, but it really reminded me of a lighter Louis XIV. You draw contract cards of the type that you choose and try to fulfill them. It's simple and short enough that its swinginess isn't a huge problem. But, it is really swingy. (1 play)
Space exploration/pick up and deliver game. Discovering tiles gives you the power to decide where things are, although there isn't always a legal placement, which is annoying. This means that turn order can matter. Building up my ship is fun, and I like the pick up and deliver, although it is a little minimalist. (1 play)
A fairly ingenious little filler--simple rules, tricky strategy. It's all about knowing what the other players are going to do next and how risky to be and positioning yourself correctly. I can't do any of that stuff, though. (1 play)
Lots of cool ideas in this one. The time track determines when you take your turn, and most of the game is about gathering things that will help you manage the luck of the draw. The luck factor is very thematic but can be frustrating. (1 play)
This is a dice-rolling car combat game that works well as a closer. A closer with *explosions* and a good sense of its own ridiculousness. After all, it's not every game that has a Doom Buggy in it. Easily amused? Why yes, yes I am.
It's a little longer than it needs to be, or at least it was in our session due to some lucky die rolls. (1 play)
On the whole, I think I prefer the US, but not by a lot. Europe is a tougher map, though its ameliorated somewhat by the stations. I have mixed feelings about separating the large from big tickets, especially as it means that a player only has one chance at a big ticket and that at the very beginning of the game.
Well, it's definitely not as scary as some other real-time games (Space Alert, anyone?), but there's at least some franticness here as you try to figure out what everyone else is doing and what you can do yourself. I've still yet to be a fan of a real-time game. (1 play)
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)
Well this is strange! I really like that someone is trying to make full games that are based around trick-taking. This game itself is a little silly and doesn't appear especially balanced; there are random monsters drawn from a deck and some of them are a lot tougher than the others. (1 play)
Troyes is sort of a dice rolling/ almost worker placement game, and it does create some tension, since dice can be purchased by another player, meaning that any move that is available is available to whichever player is on turn. This prevents dice screwage but does make it suck to go last (although there is a balance for that). I think the jury is still out on this one, really. (1 play)
This is a really nasty one, perhaps too nasty. There are only a few actions available,and who gets to do which action is determined by an area-control mechanism. This is clever and interesting, but it also means there's a good chance you may not be able to do anything on your turn. There's also an Age of Steam-esque role selection, which is well conceived, and again, interesting. There's a lot of neat stuff going on here, but ultimately, I think the game is just a little too mean for me. (1 play)
A well-constructed euro in which players have to get the right tokens to the right corner of the board at the right time. There's a certain brinksmanship in deciding what tracks to go for and whether you think you can get there before someone else who is also interested in them, and that's pretty interesting and well done. Ultimately, though, the game isn't really very memorable or exciting, and it's hard to put my finger on why. Hard to believe this is a Dorn game, too; it feels more like Ornella (not an an insult to either designer as I like both of them). (1 play)
LOVE the board with the spinny wheel and the little viking meeples. The game has a St. Pete thing going with the variable costs and the money/VP tradeoff, but less control and less depth than St. Pete (though it is still a drafting game at heart). I would like to play the advanced version. The part where you have to guess which tiles you are likely to get in the future isn't really my forte.
Yes, the theme is indeed completely irrelevant. (2 plays)
Silly arguments! This is fun, although it doesn't work as well with people who don't know who all the people named are, which is too bad, because otherwise kids would be the perfect audience, but it turns out they don't know who all these people are. (1 play)
Well, this is different. A very simple, very light game of running around a maze, fighting other wizards, and trying to steal treasures. What makes the game exciting is the cards that have various spells on them that make goofy, random things happen. Like a giant slime, or a rosebush, or an Ugly spell, or a troll that wanders about punching things, or....
...you get the idea. It's pretty fun. Reminded me a little of Dungeon Twister, but I enjoyed it much more. Probably worth someone reprinting sometime. (1 play)