Well, this is really interesting and I think I'd like to play it some more and see how it really works. First impressions tell me that Kennedy has some really good cards, but it's really easy to be seduced by the cards away from sensible campaigning. What is difficult is managing the rest cubes. They do depend heavily on what cards you draw, but I suppose it ought to balance out with everything else.. with experienced players it probably works out so that the less successful player gets to be luckier. A clever idea.
I love love love the theme (even though it means I failed to stop Nixon from becoming president early!!! ), and I like the twists and turns of the game. It's a satisfying length and an absolutely gorgeous board.
Still, it's hard to love the game when there is such a sense of things I don't understand. I'll probably rate it higher later... (1 play)
This is really weird and I'd like to play it more. It's very much an auction game, with a whole bunch of central auctions; the twist is that everything you auction has lots of implications, positive and negative. Clever and unusual, although I'm not sure the disaster auctions work as well as I'd like. (2 plays)
An interesting CCG-ish with an interesting and appealing theme (postapocalyptic economy-building--or destroying--with several different factions available). The game is quite difficult to comprehend from a quick read of the rules, but seems fairly straightforward afterward. Since most of the cards can be played in several different ways, it offers up a lot of options, which appears to make many different strategies possible. Curiously for the theme, it really seems to be an engine-building game. Enjoyable. (1 play)
High-quality filler with some depth to it and plenty of replayability. This is a quick card-drafting game made engaging by fear of one's neighbors, greed for the best cards, and a certain amount of calculated risk. Somehow I ended up playing this over and over again, without ever really intending to--that's the sort of game this is. (Seventeen already? Sheesh.)
I didn't expect to like this expansion, but I actually think it improves the game. Drafting leaders early requires players to think about the strategy they are interested in pursuing before the game begins, though there is some wiggle room, since you draft four and only play three. I like it.
Note that the scores will obviously go up because there's more money and because there are points for leaders. (1 play)
Okay, so my play was probably pretty atypical, so I am not sure what this game is really like. It seems like the choices may be a little more indicative of what will happen than in Arabian Nights. The theme's less interesting to me, but the game may be better. Recommend against going for broke. (1 play)
This is very strange for an experienced Agricola player. I had expected it to ramp up the difficulty level significantly, but instead it is about as difficult--yet it is a very different game. Things that are normally difficult are much easier, while additions such as the fuel thing are very hard to do. So, the focus is different. I know that if I'd played this first, I'd be really excited about it. As it is, it's hard to judge it accurately. I don't think it is a good as the base game--but at this point, my level of experience is so different from one to the other, how can I judge? Try it. Reserving judgment for now. (1 play)
I'm not a huge fan of Union Pacific (I like it fine, I just don't love it), and the changes to this game don't really change my feelings about it in either direction. The removal of the track cards simplifies things a little, but it's replaced by a weird money mechanism, which makes the game feel a little slower because players need to keep taking time out of their route building in order to finance it. The game's probably a little shorter. I don't think it's especially easier or more difficult to learn. On the whole, it's probably a good substitute for UP, which is out of print and expensive. (1 play)
This is a really cool idea; I'm kind of enchanted by the attempt to integrate deduction into, like, an actual game. However, it's really fiddly (partly because of production issues), and when we played, there was a ton of downtime, perhaps because one player absolutely COULD NOT understand the way the results work. Oh, and the theme is awesome. The bluffing aspect muddies the waters a little. (1 play)
Fun, light drafting game. High luck factor but there are times to seize opportunities and times not to. I really enjoy playing and am very happy that we own this one now. Two-player variant probably deserves a lower rating as we flew through tiles with scoring cards nowhere to be seen.
This is another game in the recent trend of "interesting dice Euros." In this case, the dice can be placed in various parts of the board, not entirely unlike Kingsburg. What makes it more interesting than the latter game is the cards, which grant various abilities to players who use them. It's probably not my favorite of its genre, but I'd like to play it again. The fact that any dice you roll are likely to be good for something is a definite plus. (1 play)
This is more confrontational than most Feld games, because players have to fight for space on a shared board. This could get a little frustrating at times. Still, the idea of taking actions based on the cube tower is very cool. I did wish that more cubes would stay in the tower, so that we wouldn't already know that X action won't happen this round, etc. (1 play)
Yup, it's kinda long. It's mostly about reading text from cards and it's not really a strategy game at all. But, you know, I really like reading text from cards. And like most cooperative games, it's really about counting up the possible things that can happen or need to happen, and I enjoy that process, too. Everyone I play with thinks it's too long, and they're not wrong, but...
I've only played Spinning Jenny (the shorter version), so I don't know the true extent of this game. The version I played is long but not that hard to wrap your head around; it's very much a game about choosing in which areas you want to stay one step ahead of your opponents. Would certainly be interested in playing the more complicated version. (1 play)
A somewhat unusual action selection/stock game. Players enlist the aid of the gods in order to prepare for the final battle. The game isn't actually very complicated, but it's a bit tricky to pick up at first. The way the tokens are used is intriguing. (1 play)
This is a charming game that presents players with lots of things they can do to generate more stuff and a lot of control over their turn. I like that a lot, and the components are absolutely irresistible. However, I must admit that the game has some flaws. The interaction is very low--I'm tempted to just play it in solitaire mode instead--and the downtime is high, but most disappointingly, it's entirely possible for players to win and lose before the end of the game. So the end in particular is kind of a letdown, but the beginning and middle are great.
For what it's worth, later plays were more even among players. Oddly, there is much less downtime for four players than for three. (3 plays)
Little two-player games like this aren't always big favorites with me, and this one didn't seem too promising, especially since the rules were very poorly written and it was entirely unclear how the final two cartouches worked.
However, it turned out to be rather interesting. I tend to like games where players can compete in multiple arenas at the same time, winning some and losing others. Plus, it's one of those strangest of all creatures, a two-player area control game.
There are so many different ways to win that in the first game, my opponent didn't pay attention to all of them and lost because of it--so that felt a little unfair, but unlikely to happen with experienced players. In other situations, it just creates a lot of fires that must be attended to immediately. Kind of like tic-tac-toe in that respect, but, you know, with a game attached to it. (2 plays)
I've disliked many of the other two-player card games which are often mentioned in the same breath with this one, so I was surprised to find that Battle Line was quite enjoyable. It's a clever tug-of-war with several winning conditions, in which you must balance between preventing your opponent from winning and laying your own plans. What makes it interesting is that you have a pretty high degree of control, and choose when you want to draw cards and which type of card to draw. Liked it, would play again. (1 play)
I've seen a few attempts at area control games that take place in an urban setting and make it somewhat difficult to get pieces out on the board. This one is definitely better than some of the others that I've played (Skyline 3000 comes to mind). It has an engaging theme and a certain engine-building ethos with the cards, so that's fun. The game is longer than it should be, though, and there is some weirdness at the end when things begin to run out (the gnomes, in particular). Taxes are pretty harsh, but an experienced player would plan for that. Second play flowed a little better and didn't seem as long. (2 plays)
Great theme, great art, lots of strategy, fun card game. It's actually a race with some area control and the degree to which you can rely upon other players to help you is quite important. It is pretty light and perhaps less deep than it appears, but overall a very good gaming experience.
EDIT: I had a higher opinion of the amount of strategy here before I started winning so much. Don't know why I do.
I liked this a lot better than the people I played with liked it, but then, I'm a bit of a sucker for trick taking games. This is an unusual trick taking game because there aren't exactly suits per se--there are colors that you must follow if possible, but cards of different colors still count as their number if played. This tripped people up a bit (partly my fault) but it also means that there are certain risks to playing certain cards; you might let someone get rid of the 1 and you really don't want to. The bottle is a little punitive, but of course, you're playing several rounds and if you don't suck, you probably won't take it every time. Anyway, I liked this as a trick taking game that makes your mind work in a slightly different way from the usual. (1 play)
This is acutally quite bizarre. In a good way, I think. Despite the grim industrial theme, the gameplay is just quirky--you want people to take your cubes (making it almost an anti-Age of Steam) and connections work in an unusual way. It's hard to wrap my head around but very, very interesting.
Fiddliness and constantly shifting rules are finally knocking this down a point. Still a good game though. (4 plays)
A neat little economic game in which players compete to make beer from recipes. There are two action stages, which I found interesting, and the conveyor belt by which the beer is made introduces a timing element to the game that I enjoy. Not sure that all the factory additions are balanced (thinking of the farm in particular). (1 play)
Well, this is pretty brutal with four. Seems like the first player to go north has a very good chance to win. It's so crowded there's lots of riding on other people's rails. I think I like it as a more-intense-than-usual crayon rail experience, but I can't see myself wanting to play it as often as more peaceful ones. (1 play)
I won't claim that it's incredibly balanced because I'm not sure that it is, but I do really like how the cards work in this game--most of them are the same, but they also have special powers. Among the games that use cards in multiple ways, this is one of the better ones. (2 plays)
Typical Schacht-very simple, almost minimalist, with plenty of tension and constant worry about whether you are helping yourself or your opponent. I like it quite a bit. It's tempting to put it in the Zooloretto family of games because of the tile placement rules, but the drafting is quite different and the simplicity is a little greater (and for Schacht games, this is a good thing). Good with two because the relationship between your house and your opponent's is so close. Much less control with more players. (3 plays)
The theme of this game mainly serves to make it pretty--and it is, indeed, very pretty. I enjoy the bidding system in this game; the oneupsmanship and the choice between winning and bidding is an interesting one. Underneath all this, it's a set collection game, and I think a pretty good one. I like it. (1 play)
It's cute. The dice choice mechanic is a little like Factory Manager; you choose what the draft pool will contain, but no guarantee you'll get what you put out. The barbarians mean that it's usually best to spend as much as you can of the resources you have. The good cards can be a little hard to find. Overall, it's a light game but does include fun with card combos and drafting; I liked it more than I expected. The box is TOTALLY RIDICULOUS. (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)
Very nice middle-weight negotiation game. I prefer this to Genoa because it's even more open-ended--more about the negotiation and less about the rules. It's perfectly possible to work out three-way trades, trade strange things and so forth. Of course there is a random element--if I draw the tiles I want, I don't have to trade for them--but other than that, it's all about how well players can negotiate. (1 play)
Well, it's hard to argue with the theme! This is a pretty attractive game, although the cards are a little silly-looking. It's a simple pick up and deliver game; I can't think of another true pick up and deliver game of exactly this weight. The contracts are public, and players must compete to fill them first, which isn't my favorite way to do things, especially when there is a lot of information for players to digest. Still, there is a really good idea behind this game and I'd like to see more filling this gap. (1 play)
Finally got a chance to play this! It's a really big game with a lot going on. I'd love to keep playing to really gauge its depth. I really like pick up and deliver and other kinds of contract fulfillment games; this is a very interesting iteration of the genre in the way that it abstracts distance. Building interaction is fun. The business about what you can do based on which cubes you do/don't produce is a little fiddly. (1 play)
LOVE LOVE LOVE the theme! The fake history and old (and occasionally made-up) words are huge draws for me, and the art is fantastic--faintly humorous and definitely sort of old-looking.
The gameplay is fun too, especially for a reformed CCGer like me.. it's fun to bring out a card with a special power when it's least expected, and I really like the way that cards support those in nearby ditches, but can't be used once you have too many. Good card game, one I would be pretty happy to carry around with me and pull out at random moments.
On further plays I have realized I am confused about the rules. They could probably stand to be better written.
It's pretty funny how the title invites players to look for similarities between this game and others, suggesting even that this is a shameless ripoff of those other games, when in fact, although it may borrow many mechanisms, it plays very differently from any of them. It's hard to point at exactly why, but I guess if I were going to claim that a game can be more than the sum of its parts, this would be an appropriate game to use for that? Heh. It's light, engaging, and makes a good filler for gamers who are familiar with the other games and will be amused by the mechanical references. (1 play)
This is really interesting and carefully put together, but I'm worried that it may be fragile because it relies heavily on players engaging in self-interested collaboration, and if players refuse to do this, then the game can just stall and fall apart. In the game that we played, the endgame seemed to demand this stall even though, if we understood the scoring correctly, the outcome was already decisively determined. So the ending was weird, anticlimactic and frustrating, but I'm not sure that we played it correctly. In fact, the rest of the game is put together so carefully that I'm inclined to think we didn't. The tactical aspects of the game are really interesting and really closely locked together, so I'm hoping there's a saving grace for the end of the game, because I really enjoyed the first 3/4s of it. (1 play)
What can I say, this is a classic. Light, quick and lucky, yes.. but also with a good dose of psyching out your opponent and some decisions to be had. A decent way for two players to spend 30-60 minutes.
Well, this is very Euro. I wouldn't really call it a worker placement game since it doesn't have an action drafting aspect to the game--what people have referred to as worker placement is just a rather specialized way of deciding what you will produce on your (privately owned) land that round.
I enjoy the tension involved in putting things on boats and trying to predict when they will launch. To me, that's the most interesting thing about the game, though I also enjoy the way the harvest works. I'm not especially excited about the goods market or the laws though. I don't know, it seems like I'm anatomizing the game here because I haven't played it enough to think of it as a whole. (3 plays)
Unusual. I like it. A game about movement with a certain amount of resource management thrown in (if points count as resources). From the initial setup, I was expecting it to be more like Cuba..in fact, it's very much like itself rather than anything else I've played. (2 play)
My perspective here: I'm frequently forced to play BSG and I am ALWAYS a Cylon (and sometimes also play Shadows over Camelot and am ALWAYS a traitor). I get really tired of it. SO, I liked Dead of Winter, because although I was obviously dealt a Betrayer card, I had another objective besides bringing down the game and so you can focus on other things. I like the Crossroads and I like the idea that others may have destructive objectives as well. (1 play)
There's fun in this box, but unfortunately somebody has to be the punching bag. I can't imagine I'd want to play it every week but I'm quite pleased that we have it now and think I'll enjoy it when we do play. Is this a function of theme and atmosphere? Maybe. Or maybe I just like gathering stuff and playing around with the minis. Melee seems a bit overpowered, and sometimes the game can take a long time. However, the best way to combat this is with LESS SHOPPING. Tried it with no shopping and it seriously just pushed the game's rating back up to a seven.
Neat little card-combo game. Every time you do an action, you get a little better at it, but there is a limit to how many times you can actually do an action, and then there's the thing about temples, which is also interesting.Lots of different options for how to build up your stuff. So far it seems like I've always been able to build up these exciting and successful moves and then I come in last, so clearly I am missing something (4 plays)
Nice light game with a two-dimensional grid that players use to acquire gems, which can be cashed in for various things that eventually result in points. I enjoyed racing for the various bonuses, but in the end, it seems that the trees are really strong. (1 play)
Yay! More Dominion expansions!... I don't even know if I am being sarcastic there or not, actually. It's an interesting twist on Dominion to have cards that last beyond a turn, but it definitely slows the game down and adds a certain unDominionlike fiddliness. The cards themselves are pretty cool though and they do very useful things. (1 play)
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)
This is a neat little take-that dungeon crawl/ dungeon creator (?) that plays quickly and unpredictably. It's pretty volatile and probably very different every time. Don't look for control or planning here.. but try to take advantage of whatever comes up. Light, fun, engaging. (3 plays)
This is a really pretty game. It's economic in nature with a lot of moving parts and quite a bit of planning as you try to assemble the best group of performers for upcoming cities with different preferences. Ultimately, a lot of the game is about the card combos, too, and I like that sort of game very much. (1 play)
Can't argue with the production quality, and of course the theme is very appealing. This is a programming game, kind of like Shogun, but with a worker-placement cast to it, which in practice means it's pretty easy to think things out carefully and still find yourself thwarted. Once you resign yourself to that, it is pretty fun to build up the various parts of your dungeon and plan out your fights with the adventurers. The fights go on different lengths of time for different players, which can create more downtime.
I'd like to try the advanced game. For me, this is a good once-in-a-while change of pace game. (3 plays)
Tricky, tricky. This is a little more closely related to Zertz than it is to Yinsh or Gipf insofar as the pieces on the board don't *really* belong to you, even if you think that they do. As the stacks become larger, it becomes more difficult to predict what they will do, even though the number of options on the board decreases. As a result, I didn't feel like I had much control, but if I played enough to deeply understand the game, maybe I would.
Rating is more subject to change than usual. This is a really clever game; I enjoy how it manages to link the economic aspects to the combat part of the game. The tech tree is neat too. Since I've only played once, I feel like I'm really just scratching the surface on this, though, and I can't really assess the different strategies, the depth of the game, etc. I do know it was definitely longer than I wanted it to be; I'd hoped to play in about three hours but I guess that is unrealistic. Anyway, I'd be happy to play again. (1 play)
This is really interesting. Heavy but short and very Euro, Everyone mentions that it's a worker placement game that involves only being allowed to place downstream, but I actually think the workers are the most interesting part. They can only be used in very limited ways, because some can be used together and others can't, so the total doesn't matter so much as the size of each individual crew, which can however be increased -- but then you have to feed them. So there's something of a balancing act to be done there and it's difficult. There are actually a couple others in the game, too; it's pretty densely packed with interesting and mildly frustrating things and I'd like to get to know it better. (2 plays)
Okay, so it's got a very simplified resource management game, where gold and cards are the only resources, and the question is how to use them and when to get rid of other people's buildings. So there's a little bit of a tug of war as resource production changes based on that. Seemed more abstract than Settlers and, while clever, kind of weird. (1 play)
I love crayon rails, and as the original crayon rail, Empire Builder deserves some respect. It has a pretty straightforward map without many special complications; I like the North America map better than the old one because choosing whether to go to Mexico or not is one of the major decisions of the game (it's all about the coffee).
Empire Builder doesn't really have big deliveries, so the game doesn't have the same kind of economic turning point that many of the other crayon rails have. Also, it's possible to get screwed pretty badly early on. In my first game on this map, we had to stop the game in the middle because two of the players were unable to continue. So, it's not my favorite crayon rail, but it's still a crayon rail and I'm still happy to play it. (4 plays)
Nice economic game. It's a very solid game that hangs together well. I enjoyed having to balance all the different elements and I liked the twist of being able to choose what options would be available to you in the future. That said, there was nothing about this game that really stood out to me--I'd happily play again, but it's not something I'm going to find myself thinking about days later, either. (1 play)
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)
It took a couple plays for this one to grow on me, but, you know, it's pretty clever. Bidding on the tiles is a really important part of the game. The cards are very situational, but that's okay. It does remind me of Small World; it has a similar conquest mechanic, but it's a richer game overall. (~3 plays)
An animal trivia game based on quantifiable facts about animals such as their weight and the length of their tails, and where they live. The map is a little funny in a German-centric kind of way (did you know Chicago is on the border of Canada and Mississippi?) but it's still a pretty neat little game. The cubes are placed, almost worker-placement style, on your guesses, but getting close counts too, which means that you can base your guesses on what other people think as well. The animals are cute, there's a nice catchup mechanism and the game is a good length, so it's more fun than I expected to have with a trivia game. The metric system increases the level of difficulty for American players.
This is a decently fun co-op. I can't decide whether I find the theme appealing or somewhat gruesome (people might die in a fire due to decisions you make, and you're sometimes choosing which one you want to save, and which to abandon). There's a fair amount going on and while it seems clear that the main thing you have to do is save victims, there's definitely an advantage to some of the other actions. I'm not sure whether I like the way the game forces you to play a certain number of rounds by simply not allowing the victim chips to come onto the board very quickly, but it probably does make the game more interesting. Ultimately, I'd say I enjoyed it, although I'm still not exactly sure what makes me like one co-op more than another. (1 play)
As economic engine-building games go, this card game is a really quick one. Play ships, collect fish, sell them if you can. Simple and quick, but there's enough here to feel like a real game. (2 plays)
This is slightly more complex than Forbidden Island, and I think it's a little more interesting. I like the search for components, which is determined in a two-dimensional way rather than giving them specific locations. The need for water makes this tough. Probably my favorite of the three Leacock co-ops. (1 play)
Racing games are a genre I usually avoid, but I finally got a chance to try this landmark game in the genre and I found that I liked it better than its imitators. It's fairly simple -- the only thing that's difficult to pick up is the different parts of the car. This leaves players free to focus on the decisions of shifting up or down, with full knowledge of the implications of their decisions. Also, it's fairly short, which I appreciated. (1 play)
There's definitely a strong relationship to Egizia--not just the "river" mechanic (you can go forward as far as you want, but never back), but also the rewards for doing many different things, even though it is more efficient to specialize. The turn order works a little like Vasco da Gama--players place numbered discs to determine in what order they will perform various actions. The game is well-balanced and encourages thinking ahead in a way that I enjoy. I wish the graphic design were a little clearer and the box a lot smaller. (1 play)
Oddly, this is much closer to Power Grid than Factory Manager was, because it is really about the market (although supply, rather than demand, is the focus here) and because, with your limited production facilities, you want to make sure that you are doing something that all your opponents are not also doing. These are both aspects of Power Grid that I enjoy, and I liked them here too. I also enjoyed the special powers that the cards gave, and the timing aspect of the game that comes from deciding when to switch from production to the pursuit of victory. There is a definite element of card-counting to the game, which I didn't enjoy as much, and I think it is a shade too long, but on the whole I liked it. (1 play)
Very clever. I'd somehow expected a little more tension in the negotiations, but I guess this is at least partly a side effect of playing with children. Knowing the value of the different buildings is quite difficult--at first, at least, it was very easy for me to be far more focused on what I had in my hand rather than what else I might gain on the board. The "start any space" tokens are extremely valuable. I do like the limiting factor of the tower, and it seems like knowing WHEN to negotiate is also a very important part of the game. Is there any way to influence where the tower goes, when you want the third or fourth thing it might hit?
I was kind of disappointed to find I'd won--it makes me think less of the game because I didn't win too many actions, so perhaps they aren't as valuable as they should be. (1 play)
This is really clever! It's a fairly light tile-laying game in which laying a tile has several implications; it may give you a bonus later, or help you to get a majority in an area, or help you get resources now. There's a balancing act between them, but you get some cards in the beginning to give you a clue which way to go. I liked it quite a bit, but then, I'd like any game in which the victory tokens are gingko leaves... (1 play)
I think I'll appreciate this more if I can figure out how to play it a little better--I only got to play once, and spent my time trying to do sneaky things while not attending to the obvious and straightforward and, well, it wasn't useful. But I think this is a smart, smart game and I would like to get to know it better. (1 play)
Fun card game. This reminds me quite a bit of San Juan, but it's both goofier and more complex. The big difference is that the same power can come up several times in a round. The card powers seem very strong across the board, which definitely adds to the goofiness factor. The cards are played in relation to a player mat that makes the idea of city building somewhat more concrete. Can be frustrating if you can't get the card with the role you need. Patron very strong. (2 play)
In the Golden City, players bid on pairs of cards, then use them to claim spots on the board, leading into the city. There is an area control aspect to the game, and also temporary scoring opportunities that players need to pursue, Terra Mystica-style. I like all these things, and The Golden City distills them down to their most streamlined form. (1 play)
I really wanted to like this much more than I did; I think it was mostly my mood and not the game that was at fault. The cards were used in a way that reminded me of Glory to Rome--they have a different meaning based on how you position them on the board. But it has an interesting resource-management aspect that GtR doesn't have, which involves building up your farm and getting things to work together. (1 play)
More cohesive than Imperial and may I say more fun? Reading the board is much easier and there are plenty of things to do. It is not at all obvious who is winning unless you do the math and your options do not decrease over the course of the game as much as they appear to. (1 play)
Now this is very clever! It's a co-op that plays differently from any other co-op that I have ever played. I'm not as taken with it as some are, but I admire its originality and its accessibility. (3 plays)
Hansa Teutonica is extremely tactical. It feels as if the outcome of the game is determined by a series of many small changes, none of which necessarily has a huge effect. It's very difficult after the game to point at what made you win or lose, at least for me at this point. I'm still an inexperienced player, though, so perhaps I will figure it out.
I do find the game intriguing and I enjoy the fact that each turn presents a new decision. I'll have to see how I feel about it after further plays.
A person might be forgiven for considering the game dry, but I find that when games are so described, I usually like them. (1 play)
This is really cute! I like how the buildings themselves become part of the Ora & Labora-style resource wheels; it means that a resource will usually be available in the late game, just not very efficiently. It seems like the deterministic nature of the game may inhibit its replayability, especially with the buildings coming out in the same order every time. (1 play)
My first play of Hawaii was very frustrating, and I suspect that this will often happen to at least one player in a first game, because it's absolutely essential to realize that you must begin building your economy in the first turn, because subsequently, you will not have the resources to do that. My second play was much more enjoyable. Once you realize that it's about, essentially, leaving your parents and receiving fewer and fewer resources, it's a nice light game with a bunch of options to explore. So far I'm kind of stuck on the fruit strategy. (2 plays)
This is like a card game version of Stratego--a game I've heard described but have never actually played. I enjoyed it. I liked the special powers of the cards and their interactions with each other--and the theme actually worked really well. Then again, winning never hurts, either. (1 play)
This is a highly unusual game whose rating could rise. The bidding system is built around a spatial system where you may have some difficulty assuring yourself of anything but can certainly gamble for the big gains (and of course, the value of the resources you are bidding on varies over the course of the game and is different from player to player--a feature I always enjoy). Racing around the board is almost a pick-up-and-deliver game--well, without the picking up, but it retains some of that feel. There is certainly scope for the losing player to come back. There's always a risk in making long term plans, but the short term lasts long enough that your short term planning can be satisfying several times over. Very interesting. (2 plays)
An unpretentious, fun adventure game that I quite enjoy. I like the mechanic of shuffling the old cards in to the later years; it adds flavor and helps you anticipate what is coming next. The map is lovely and (despite some design issues like their thinness and the trademark notices on each name), the cards add a lot to the theme and are varied enough to keep things interesting. The game accelerates as it goes--first year is very long, the fifth very short. The main strategic decision is when to build up stats and when to go for points (as well as when to spend a turn drawing cards). Not especially deep, but plenty of fun.
Full disclosure: I playtested this game a couple times.
An auction game that plays very quickly. There's a lot going on and definitely a potential for AP with all the possibilities of trading goods with the bank, and I'm guessing this is why the trade tokens exist. Although the game is short and compact, it's possible to build up a bit of an engine, and there are a lot of different ways to go with it. I quite like games of this sort. (2 plays)
Cute art and multiple paths to victory. It might be a shade too long, but just a shade. Suitable for both gamers and nongamers (as long as you can explain the iconography). Some people in my group dismiss it as being for children because of the art. This seems entirely unwarranted and makes me rather sad.
There's lots to like here--this is the only rondel game I've played, and it's a fun mechanism. Understanding countries in terms of stocks is something that, as far as I know, is unique to this game and a pretty cool idea. The part that bugs me is that not playing is actually a valid strategy. Also, it feels as if the real game begins about 2/3 of the way in and all the territory grabs of the past 2.5 hours are really just prelude. (2 plays)
This is very Carl Chudyk; there are lots of cards with different powers and they turn up at unexpected times and change the game state dramatically. I like Chudyk's other games, so take that into consideration. Cards you play go into a queue to get used by other players, which is a really clever idea and gives me a lot to think about when choosing my cards. The game has the potential for drawn-out stalemate endings. (1 play)
This was my first crayon rail, and I think it's a great map for learning the game. I found it quite pleasant to look up the places on the map, find the best deal and find my way there. The enjoyment mostly comes from that and it's not a strong "game" feeling, but it is nice. Didn't want to stop when the first player won. (2 plays)
In some ways, it's reminiscent of both Goa and Brass, but it is MUCH MUCH MUCH lighter than either of those games. This game has several elements I've seen before, but I like them--a multi-step building process, close competition for the right to do so, a production process by which resources become available to all players--for a price. In any case, I don't think I've seen them implemented in such a streamlined way before. We didn't finish our game, but I am really curious to see if my strategy--building all the production buildings and making everyone pay me both for resources and in the auction--was a good one. I suspect so. (1 play)
A tile laying game with text. That description should be enough for most to decide whether to try it or not. I think it's fairly well executed. Of course, as a tile laying game, it is easily influenced by lucky tile draws. But that shouldn't surprise anyone. (1 play)
Got this as a two player game, but have only played it with three and four so far. I'm sure it's far more vicious with two.
This game has TONS of non-gamer appeal and can be pretty nasty if people are playing well. It's a decent filler and an easy game to teach. I've played it with my mom, with proto-gamers and with actual gamers and everyone had a good time, and that is really the strength of Ingenious.
This is very chaotic. I appreciate games in which cards have special powers, and this is that above all, and the way that icons are used is pretty unusual (the player who has the most of a certain icon can execute an ability; if a player who doesn't have the most icons attempts to do so, others can execute it first), and of course, "splaying" is pretty fun, though it is difficult to do in the game. But it's awfully difficult to have much control, and when it can pretty easily get to the point where there's no real way to win. (1 play)
Well, this is very strange and I'm still trying to decide exactly what I think about it. It definitely adds another layer of rules on top of the very simple crayon rail system. The ships, the leaders, the underground area--these are all weird and un-crayon-rail-like. Do I *like* them? Hard to say. I do think I prefer other crayon rails, but I do find it intriguing. Naming the cities in a way that helps players find them on the map is a very smart idea. (2 plays)
So you get some cards and you pick one to play in each different phase; depending on the phase you use, it has a different effect. That's a neat idea. The game in which it's put to work in about surrounding spaces on the board and set collection and isn't terribly exciting to me, but it is at least a little cute. (1 play)
Contract-fulfillment game with interesting player interaction. The most efficient way to get resources (cards) is to help other players; obviously, there are some drawbacks and tradeoffs to be made with that. Short and compact. Well-done. (1 play)
The theme of Kaigan is cartography: you are sending out surveyors to make a map of the coast of Japan. This is an absolutely brilliant theme, and though the game is only lightly themed, it's a very clever idea. It's a combination card drafting/ area control game, both mechanics I like. The drafting allows you to either play a card to a row or take a row of cards in a slightly Coloretto-esque fashion, something I haven't seen much in this sort of game, while the area control is almost along the lines of Blue Moon City -- winning is good, but mostly you don't want to be left out. Combine that with some interesting timing issues for players to figure out and a high degree of interaction, and this is quite an interesting game. Fun. (1 play)
Streamlined multiplayer conflict game. What makes this interesting is the cards, which grant special abilities, some of which are manifested in the form of giant monsters which join your forces on the board and look really impressive even if they aren't. I like the conflict system. The game is just about the right length, as many of these games are not. (1 play)
I liked this a lot better than some of the other Key games! It's not about unemployment in quite the same way as something like Keythedral. I enjoyed the checkerboard movement thing, and the contract fulfillment was interesting too. Strong planning elements, especially with the seasons. Getting the right powers early seems important. (1 play)
There's a lot going on here, but somehow, the game doesn't seem overly heavy. The game consists mostly of a unique auction mechanism that reminds me of--something, but I'm not sure what. Basically, you have workers you can use EITHER to bid OR to perform actions, but these are not two different phases. Instead, you have all these options available to you at once. This is already pretty interesting, but when you add in the shortness of the game (only four rounds) and the possibility of retrieving some meeples, not to mention the endgame scoring... it's pretty interesting. I'd have to play again, but I think this one is a winner. (1 play)
This can get very confusing very quickly; it's important to check the entire board for results of moves that players can make and if you mess up a rule, it can be difficult to fix. I love the idea of a time travel game and I like some of the things the designers are working with here, but I'd highly recommend having an experienced player with you when you play it. (1 play)
A cute little game that gives me an idea of what a Donald X. game really is. I enjoy the kind of game that seems to place strict constraints on what you can do and encourages you to find clever ways around them, and that's exactly what this is; the game is about manipulating your placement such that you will be able to spread over as much of the board as possible. I also enjoy the game's modularity, with the different cards and abilities. There are two drawbacks; I wish I could play the game with more than four, and I wish that it didn't have so much downtime--sometimes it does take a while to calculate out the possibilities. Yes, I realize these wishes are opposed to each other. (2 plays)
Interesting! I quite enjoyed this one--I may like it either more or less on future plays. It's a pick-up-and-deliver game with AIRSHIPS, so, you know, that's already kind of awesome. In reality, a lot of it is about planning; there is a timing element to the game that requires things to get to the right place at the right time, but at the same time, there's definitely a dearth of available actions, so players have to be very careful. There's a Roborally aspect to it which I'm not sure that I care for--but then, maybe it is pretty interesting, after all. That part is something I could judge better if I knew it better. But the idea of getting something to the right place with a train, so you can pick it up and deliver it with your airship is delightfully absurd as well as a little thinky. I approve. A seven for now, but it's close to an 8 and possibly could be with more plays. (1 play)
Unusual little area control game based on scoring at the best time and using limited actions. Quick to play and exciting to the last minute, given that a big score at the end can really help lagging players come back. (2 plays)
I liked this much more than I expected to! There's a little press your luck, because you have to decide how many dice to commit and how soon, and a little area control. It's a really smooth little filler and I think it works very well for what it wants to do. (1 play)
The best thing to do with this game is sit next to people who are playing it and listen to the ridiculous sentences which it inspires. Actually, I quite enjoyed playing it. I tend to like drafting games, and there's certainly such an aspect in this game. Drawing the disks is interesting because you're good at a different thing each time, although this can become unbalanced if someone ends up drawing a bad disk ever time. (2 plays)
This is a blind bidding game but with special powers. I did enjoy the Cities-esque thing where everyone has the same cards, but those cards vary from one game to another. There are three ages of the game, each with six bidding rounds. Because many of those rounds are as much about avoiding negative points and gaining positive ones, it is very reminiscent of Beowulf: The Legend. (1 play)
This is an interesting game with variable ending conditions. Manipulating the ending condition determines the winner. It's a card-driven area control game, which already sounds like good stuff to me. Because of the variable ending condition, there's a lot of tension in the game, and the historical theme works really well. I also like the temporary nature of the cards, which allows players to switch sides. (1 play)
Nice little party game about horse racing. My first game was really about trying to get a feel for it--it seems to me that the game is about timing (fittingly enough). I think we all spent too much time playing cards and not enough betting on horses. It's easy to do. The ending was unpredictable--I thought I had a pretty good idea what was going to happen, but everything changed at the end. It's short, quick and pretty random--which is just right, for what it is. (1 play)
It's pretty common for people to compare worker-placement games with Caylus, whether this is warranted or not. In this case, the comparison comes from the way that buildings work; it's possible to use other player's buildings, but whoever built it gets a benefit. It's still not "fantasy Caylus," but it is a nice, light worker placement game with some thinking and plenty of tension to it, and it's very pretty. It does seem like some of the quest cards are better than others, adding some randomness to the game. (1 play)
This is really different! There's a little bit of a light pick-up-and-deliver game in here, with recipes (or "monsters") out on the board. There's certainly some trickiness in trying to get the more valuable dudes, because you have to wait for the worse ones to go. I'm not sure how I feel about the endgame scoring--there are three possible categories, with a certain number of players getting eliminated in each category. (1 play)
A very minimalist bluffing game; comparisons have been made to Citadels, but with all the Citadels stuff stripped away. What's left is a very straightforward game of either trying to find out your opponents' identities or trying to hide your own, with one decision to make per turn and very quick rounds. A nice little filler that's nearly perfected its genre. (2 plays)
I had a lot of trouble getting a good grasp of what this game is all about in the first play. The players are presented with a long list of options and all of them are available from the beginning of the game, so it is not at all clear where to start. As it turns out, there are long-term and short-term ways of scoring points and protecting the points you have. The game is quite difficult to describe, but it's highly unusual, and I would be happy to get to know it better. (1 play)
There is a TON going on here--too much, in fact. On my first play, I could only pay attention to some parts of the game because it was too much to take in all at once. I did enjoy the base idea, which is that there is worker placement with an additional action after the initial placement phase, and the way these actions are paired up varies over the course of the game. You can avoid paying for things by taking pirates, which are a penalty at the end of the game if you don't get rid of them; I found that this facilitated a starvation strategy. (1 play)
This is an interesting and complex economic area control game with several twists. Players spend the game attempting to accumulate money by building palaces and also in order to build palaces. Clever twists: Players can change the the order in which cities are evaluated to give themselves an advantage, and each player has a role that confers a special ability--but these roles can also be exchanged among players. And then there's the little matter of extorting money from other players with tollbooths.
There's plenty here to keep me intrigued, and in short, the game is brilliant. (1 play)
This is about what I expected it to be, a rather light, fun game with a very unusual bidding system and plenty of theme for a light Euro. I enjoyed the building and collecting points (even though I evidently hate history way too much for my own good), was baffled as to how I could possibly influence where other players bid to my advantage, and was impressed by the catch-up mechanism. Fun.
The ability of players to put themselves out of the game by using up their high buildings is a problem though.
Also, SHUT UP I LOVE THE BOARD. It's very clear to me where the regions begin and end and what color they are. The colors work well together and the art is both beautiful and thematic. I don't really understand what people are complaining about here. (2 plays)
200 points is definitely too much--the game went on for at least a couple hours. If playing to 100 I'd probably rate it an 8. It's similar to Spades, but with some interesting little twists, particularly in the bidding. I like trick-taking games and I like playing with five, so this game fills a nice niche for me. It's hard to make much progress on the vice team--there is a real risk/reward dynamic with the game and it's difficult for someone as risk-averse as I am. (1 play)
This is weird, in kind of a good way? The board is almost a big rondel crossed with a worker-placement field, where you can move any piece as far as you want as long as you don't pass someone else. I thought that was really cool, although the rest of the game (something about building stuff on islands and secret goals) didn't hang together as well as I wanted it to. (1 play)
A strange and rather vicious area control game. It seems obvious that the museum is key, but it's harder than it seems to remember that during the game. Interesting and perhaps deeper than it appears. Sir Brown is indeed quite powerful.
I hoped this would be a streamlined Through the Ages, and it was indeed very reminiscent of Through the Ages, but it wasn't really shorter when we played and somehow I didn't find it as interesting. Should probably give it another chance. (1 play)
This is a pretty sweet little filler. Unusual idea and great (if somewhat goofy) theme. It's a press your luck game at heart, but one with a minimal amount of luck, substituting simultaneous action selection chaos. Does a good job of keeping everyone in the game, lasts about as long as I want it to, and looks fantastic.
Neat little two-player card game. Plenty of interaction and a fun theme (I love corvids). Each turn gives you a choice between moving your raven forward, setting yourself up for next turn, or going after bonus points. I enjoyed all this stuff, though I am a little concerned about the ability of the game to go on potentially forever. A game I'd probably enjoy playing with a kid. (1 play)
An entertaining trading/set collection game. I like the pirate stack and the way it can work for or against you. In playing cards, the tradeoff is between control and profit in a way I have seldom seen in any other game. Buying cards with points is also an interesting idea. I definitely enjoyed my second play more than my first and would like to play it again.
This was way lighter than I expected. It can be a little rough with the blocking aspects, but there are a lot of ways to get points ad the game is really approachable. I do think we underutilized the tokens in our game, though. (1 play)
This is tricky to rate, because it isn't really, you know, a game in the sense that I usually use. It's a pretty pure storytelling game--come up with outrageous tales that fit with the cards in your hand. We end up not being too competitive when we are playing; we try to play cards but mostly it's about how the game is really funny. Some people get performance anxiety about coming up with stories on the spot, though. (1 play)
I'm strongly tempted to compare it to Carcassone. Lay tiles based on what you draw, place your meeple to score the most points, and repeat. I do think it's a better game because 1) the luck of the draw is mitigated by your having more choice of what to place and where and 2) it's a lot shorter. Knowing when to use the special tiles is key. It's also much easier to follow what's going on. A decent light game.
Pouch-building! I liked this better than the other pouch-building game that I'd played. It's fairly abstract and bare-bones. At first the number of rounds to be played seems like a LOT, but it moves really quickly once all players figure out what they're doing. I like the way that you can send some tokens to score, but then you lose the use of them. Clever all-around. (1 play)
Now that I've played this, it's pretty easy to see why people have tried to make more streamlined versions of it (Scepter of Zavandor, Phoenicia). It's a pure economic engine game in which players build up to more efficient types of money; various factories allow them to draw money cards from different stacks. It has a fun theme, it's exciting, and it makes no apology for the rich-get-richer nature of it--so it can't exactly be called balanced. More importantly, it involves lots and lots of adding numbers together in different combinations to find the best way to pay for something or the most appropriate amount to bid. I think a computer would really help. But it's still a neat system. It's increased my appreciation for Scepter, which I'd like to play again. (1 play)
A WWII-themed card game. Battles are drawn from the deck and players bid cards on either the American or the Japanese side, with the most important player on the winning side divvying up the spoils. There are several interesting characteristics of both the battles and the ships that can be played, building interesting complications on to this very simple structure. Interesting, enjoyable, and I'd like to get to know it better. (1 play)
Much lighter than Caylus, with kind of a St. Pete-like investment mechanism. Yes, it is a game about converting cubes into victory points. But I like converting cubes into victory points. Still, random player order in a worker placement game is probably a bad idea, and it feels a little too abstracted. I guess I'd say it feels a little half-assed and needs another twist or a theme or something. (4 plays)
This expansion adds several options, some new cards and abilities, and the possibility of playing with five or six players. Thus far, I've only tried it with for, and while some of the new stuff is nice, it is mostly very similar to the original. Some exceptions: France is a very cool addition which I like quite a lot, and the black master builder is, hmmm, goofy. (2 plays)
The auctions seem to be about making prices more difficult to predict rather than determining the market value of things. There's a higher luck factor than the game's reputation would leave you to believe, but there are various ways to make up for it and very interesting decisions to be made. (5 plays)
Nifty little tactical auction game with an area control element. Like other Ornella games I've played, you essentially start anew each turn, though this element is slightly weaker in this game as you get to keep your cards and money. Auctioning off unwanted cards is a clever twist and I like the special powers. The components could be a lot better, though--the map is tiny, the players are represented by very small shield chits that are distinguished only with difficulty, and the names of the cities are nearly illegible. (1 play)
A card game about a tech tree. Probably ought to be slightly shorter than it is, but this is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The gin rummy aspect of this is interesting--cards you discard are available to your opponent. (1 play)
Very neat little word game. You can add your own letters; all you need to do is think of a word using as many of the letters on the board if you can, and if it's someone else's turn, you can interrupt with words of your own. Addicting. I like it. (1 play)
Huh. Interesting. It maps pretty closely onto Dominion, but the video game conceit really does change the way that the game works; it's less clear what you are building up to, because what you really want is to attack your opponent. The use of different starting character chips also adds a different kind of variability. I doubt that it has the replayability of Dominion, but we'll see. (2 plays)
Wow, it really does feel like Scrabble. It's all about finding, not the longest row, but the most profitable one, while trying not to set up the person on your left. I wonder if I could get any of the anti-word Scrabble-haters I know to try this one.
For me, it is a little more difficult to process than Scrabble, just because I haven't had as much practice with it. But I like it. (3 plays)
I like playing with five and I really like the new starting worlds. I'm not convinced I like the goal cards, though. They take away some of the spontaneity of the game play and reward strategies that are already good. (2-3 plays)
The map is more balanced than in Railroad Tycoon and so are the cards. The balanced map actually makes things much more difficult because there are plenty of worthwhile things that are quite far away from either of the two red cities. I was reminded of Brass in that the desire to waste time (and save money) on your turn is quite strong, but it is much harder to do here. There are still a few visual board design issues, but these are much better than in the base game.
On the other hand, this is a much more map, so I guess it is a *better* game, but it is also more frustrating and it is less likely that your efforts will be rewarded. (2 plays)
This feels kind of abstract, despite the close link between mechanics and theme. Hard to wrap my brain around, and I wonder if it would be improved by not hiding the information. If people gang up on you, you won't win. There's a huge difference between short games and long ones here (and the long ones are generally more satisfying).
This felt like a return to older Feld; in particular,it was reminiscent of Notre Dame, perhaps because they are both card games with a board. I found this game really tricky and think I'd understand it better on a second play. (1 play)
This took me by surprise. Simple, short card drafting/set collection game for two. Plays quickly and cleanly. The hidden information forces you to hedge your bets, but there is certainly enough open information (at least online) to make for a high degree of skill. I like it. (1 play, online)
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)
You know what? This was fun. It's actually my only exposure to Risk, but I liked the partnership aspect, the variation on goals, and the variety and element of surprise the added by the cards. (1 play)
A nice area control game wherein it is very important to get as many meeples on the board as possible--but it's also important to take them off so that you can play them back again. Players move around the palace gathering resources and getting a bonus for having a majority. The goal of all this is to buy noble tiles which can also give bonuses. It's a clever game, but a bit long for what it is--it can get repetitive and what happens in the beginning is rather important. It's not especially original but it is in general well-executed. (1 play)
San Juan--still good! It's a nice, quick card game that plays well with various numbers of players, satisfies my love of combo games, and maintains a level of simplicity that makes it easier to make plans and understand what everyone else is doing. Definitely prefer it to RftG.
Brilliant and incredibly nasty. You won't win without help; you need to figure out a way to make it worth other players' while to help you win. Great game, but I don't know whether I enjoy it or not. (2 play)
It's not really my genre, but I've quite enjoyed this game the last couple of games that I've played. It seems entirely likely that the loyal knights will lose, regardless of what the traitor does, and just about every action in the game is ambiguous. Which I suppose isn't necessarily what I look for in a game, but it does make it possible to play as the traitor without feeling that you are acting like a jerk, which is nice. Has a length advantage over BSG and I find the theme a little more appealing. (3 plays)
Well, it's really a negotiation game, with all the other stuff working to support that. In the game we played, all the bands managed to get their man, but the process of determining who'd get there was pretty interesting. I played it with people who are big fans of Traders of Genoa, so it ended up being quite an interesting little game. Worth playing as sort of a Genoa-lite. (1 play)
A read of the rules makes this game seem completely random in many different ways, but as you begin playing, the things that seemed so strange sort of fade into the background. It gives a feeling of building up an empire in a way that is reminiscent of a crayon rail, but it's much more complex and you don't spend your time traveling all over the map. A lot of it is about risk insofar as you must decide whether you want to sell now or wait and risk the prices going down, but that's not the most compelling part of the game. The most compelling part is probably staking claims, hoping to see if they will work out and trying to make sure you have enough money to do everything you want to do (the time I played it, I did). The game flows much more smoothly when all players take parts of their turns at once, eliminating downtime. This means you won't be making deals, but we weren't anyway.
Classic deduction game. Hard to figure out which questions to ask. I like the moment when you figure out you don't have to actually eliminate all possibilities. Would love to play this a lot and get good at it. (2 plays)
Nice light filler that accommodates a large number of players. Low numbers seem good until you start playing; turns out they are actually pretty evil. As with any simultaneous action game, unexpected things will happen; that is kind of the point of the game. More fun with more people. Rules are poor.(3 plays)
This is really clever. It cranks up the time pressure with a clock that moves quite slowly at the beginning but begins to speed up as your options increase. I like how rubble works; it's both a resource and an obstacle. And there's quite a bit of worry about setting someone else up, but even if you do, you are always helping yourself, and there's always something useful to do. Would like to play more. (1 play)
This is really pretty brilliant--the idea is to make a cooperative game where the difficult part is the cooperation itself. It eliminates a lot of problems with cooperative games in general--the one-player issue, the artificiality of the challenges, and the boring repitition of many co-ops. Instead, it's all about cooperative negotiation.
However, the negotiation is pretty chaotic and it can be very frustrating to try to form a plan with four other people at once while they are also working with each other. It's stressful and kind of exhausting. (1 play)
A cooperative game in which every player is engaged in a completely different activity. This is a great idea and makes it already more interesting to me than most co-ops are. The doesn't, however, jettison the idea of players working together; the planning phase is very important and it is more interesting because each player has a different point of view, unlike most co-ops which kind of flatten that out. As for the specific minigames that comprise Space Cadets, I've only played Sensors and Damage & Repair, both of which I found pretty entertaining. I am a little intimidated by some of the other roles, especially since many of them seem to involve some spatial/shape rotating aspect, which is something I do rather poorly. In any case, however, it's the planning phases that make this greater than the sum of its parts. (1 play, Sensors)
Light, but it's awfully tricky. The bidding system is very unusual; you can get in line to bid but must pay more the more people are in line behind you. This makes it quite difficult to predict what will happen, even though it feels as if there should be enough information to do so. (2 plays)
This is one of those expansions that makes the game longer. It's harder for any player to win because you don't cycle through your tiles as quickly. However, it also adds some interesting things--the 1/2/3 paddle is a nice addition, as are the double canoes, not to mention that all-important sixth player.
Ummm.. this is odd. Players bid on stocks every turn; the player who most recently bought stock runs the company. It's hard to know from the beginning whether you want to nourish or sabotage the company you are running. Majority per se is a very small benefit, though of course it carries more money with it at the end. It's hard to tell who's doing well and who isn't. On the whole, the game is a very odd and rather stressful--but short. I don't know. Will have to play again. (1 play)
The luck factor in the cards and huts actually far more effect on the game than do the dice. The cards in particular are VERY important and all players need to realize that. The game becomes much more interesting late, when there is some tension about placing on a card vs. getting more materials or improving the value of cards you already have, but compared to other worker placement games, you have less information about what is good for your opponents and what is good for you, and most of your options are a little easier to get. So, there's less tension, less basis for making decisions, less excitement. (4 plays)
Very similar to Medici, but instead of bidding points, you bid with one of three tiles, each of which has a different power. There are also harder limits on how players are able to redeem their auction winnings. I think it gets overlooked for being too close to Medici, and I'm not going to claim it's anywhere near as deep, but I enjoyed it. (1 play)
Uhh... this is really weird, and has a ton of things crammed into one game. And in a way, that's kind of okay, because with this theme I can even forgive it for saying "well, and there were probably zombies too somewhere because why not." The rules are confusing and you don't really know what's going on, but it's still possible to adopt a course of action which you hope will be effective. Honestly, the jury is still out, but I want to play it again and I'm hoping that I'll find an interesting and rich game in there. Or maybe it's just a fiddly mess, but at least it is somewhat entertaining. (1 play)
This will definitely appeal to people who like shiny, pretty things. It has sparkly jewels and everything. Components aside, it's a tower-building tile game, not that different from Asara, except that the building is wider, so you have the concept of support. I tend to like this sort of game. The individual player goals could be more diversified but still work nicely. (1 play)
This is interesting and unusual and not really my style of game. It's a game in which players pick up tiles which then become tubes they can place on the board in hopes of building a big network, but their actions are constricted by card drafting. If I were a connection game person, I could see myself being more excited about this, but alas. However, I did manage to make a move clever enough to impress Doug, so that always helps. (1 play)
This is really interesting. It's a network building crayon game that presents you with Dots & Boxes-esque decision making, since the valuable buildings you create can be used by anyone but it requires several steps to build them. I like how you can build up your economy, but it can only help you so much because you only have a few actions in which to spend your labor. Our game had a bit of a runaway leader problem. (1 play)
I'd almost describe it as a bluffing game. You really want to give up as soon as possible, but it's rather agonizing trying to figure out when the best time is to make an exception. Very good, tense game with a lot to think about. I don't really *get* it though, in some important way.
In some ways this is everything that is cool about area control games. The number of actions a player has is very limited and it's all about choosing to compete over a valuable space or go somewhere that's less in demand. The part that it took me a turn or two to get my head around is that you are fighting not just over the specific areas but over control of the cubes that happen to be in them.
Meanwhile, the discs that players gain by controlling cubes give them more power in the future. So it's area control with memory, in a way, which is a really neat idea.
It seems like there's potential for a lot of really weird things to happen in this game, and I can see the potential for a player to get cut out of the game in games with more players -- I only played with three -- so I have some reservations about it. But it's a really cool idea. (1 play)
Okay, this is pretty silly. I can certainly see why it was removed from the GIPF project, because it has a very different flavor, less complexity, quicker decisions (and thus more impulse-based). But, see, it's fun. It's about figuring out which spots will be available and which your opponents will block away from you. Probably there's more going on here, but on the first play, at least, what stands out is the slightly frantic nature of the game. (1 play)
Underrated, perhaps because the rulebook is terrible. I discovered this at Gen Con one year and, after managing to wade through the rules, found a nifty little information game hiding in there. If you like information games, give it a try. It's a little long and clumsy, not as streamlined as more recent designs (Gravediggers comes to mind), but has a lot to recommend it-- there is a certain amount of tension and trickery that I very much enjoy.
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.
I actually quite enjoyed this, and I lost interest in Thurn and Taxis quite a while ago. The horses do reduce the risk level, it's true, but they also add another element to juggle in a game that really needed it. The new bonuses are also nice, but what I really like is the map. I like the split region--suddenly, things become much more complicated--and I like the cities that don't count as colors. Definitely more interesting than the original. (1 play)
Potentially, very funny. Communicating with your partner is key, but quite tricky, since it is mostly done by passing cards and calling Tichu. Great late-night or in-between game with a fair amount of depth. Can probably be played more seriously--but that isn't how I want to play it :-) (2 plays)
This is a pretty deep game and there is a real ebb and flow to it as civilizations rise and fall. It's largely about opportunism (leaching points out of other people's civilizations or attacking them at the right moment) but you can gain plenty of points by holing up with your monuments somewhere too. I feel like there are far more layers to this than I will ever get to unravel, but it's certainly interesting. (3 plays)
UPDATE: Playing this a second time, everyone is more experienced and it turns into a more interesting area-control game with plenty of interesting things going on. There are far more points of competition than most area-control game and I think that is pretty cool. Surprisingly light for such a thinky game.
Playing this on SpielbyWeb is pretty easy as far as the calculations go. However, understanding where points come from is really hard. (2 plays)
Unusual! There's a heavy element of chance in the dice and the prospecting, but since the planning is so short range this MOSTLY affects players equally. The exception is bidding on an unclaimed space. There's plenty of tension as to whether your mines will pay off, and I like the drafting aspect of it, especially the way that the actions available increase as the game goes on. It also reminds me pretty strongly of Princes of Florence, with the VP/money split (this, however, is much clearer than PoF) and the auctions. (1 play)
This is a great idea. Unusual gameplay and a very pretty board with fantastic components. There are definitely downtime issues while players attempt to determine first, what cards are legal to play, and then which ones are advantageous--and cards are much more important than moving around.
This sort of thinking is something I don't do too easily, but it's a good idea to have a game about it. (2 plays)
I liked this SO much better than its similar-looking cousin. It's a card-combo game, which is the sort of thing I usually enjoy. Each of the three types of cards tends to feed into other cards of the same type, which can lead you to paint yourself into a corner. Still not sure I am a fan of the scoring system. (1 play)
A resource management card game which is mostly about buying the right thing at the right time. There is certainly a fair amount of tension when you are trying to decide whether to buy, or to leave it for someone else. Less important is an unusual (or unusually implemented) timing element wherein holding on to your goods for too long causes them to be lost. At the same time, holding on to them helps you to collect larger sets which are worth more. Specialization is good because of tokens you get from delivering sets.
It's superior to R-Eco (though it has a similar overflow mechanism) but fills a similar niche.
Yes, this game is very similar to Dominion, but there are two important differences that made it feel very different to me: the board, which provides an alternate way to get points and a more direct way of wrangling with one's opponents, and the waste cards, which are deck-cloggers and should therefore be very familiar, but they're different because gaining them is not so much an attack as an inevitable result of playing cards. I really enjoy both those ideas, and the feeling that you are constantly struggling to turn your deck into something workable appeals to me as well. I quite liked it, even if other people think it is too close to Dominion. (1 play)
There's definitely a lot going on here, and the game is pretty abstract, so it's a little difficult to piece it all together. The mancala thing is very interesting, especially since it feels as if it were possible to plan several moves in advance, if only one could conceptualize it properly. I'm not there yet. That isn't the only thing going on in the game; there are several possible ways to specialize and it seems like a lot of the game has to do with choosing one and somehow making it work, with the mancala serving a rondel-like function. Interesting. Must play again (difficult, as nobody seems to have a copy of the game!) (1 play)
Yep, this is pretty much TransAmerica with a European map. Slightly more difficult connections because of more mountains and water. European cities are nice. I like the illustrations on the cards in the Winning Moves edition. (1 play)
This is quick, light, and plenty of fun. It took a few plays for me to see the strategy. It's definitely there, though you shouldn't expect a high degree of control. It's an old standby at this point. Good stuff.
Interesting! Undeniably, this is a worker-placement game, but it feels entirely different from other worker placement games that I have played. Players use their workers to claim cards they can then use to influence various Roman factions and complete a certain number of victory conditions. When described like that, it sounds generic and flat... but in fact, it is tense and fun with lots of surprises, largely because you have a choice in what victory conditions you will fulfill. There is lots of competition for various valuable things and lots of trying to figure out exactly what your opponents want, so that is definitely part of it. I also like the game's versatility-- the victory conditions can be adjusted for difficulty or to make the game longer or shorter. Would love to play again and figure out exactly what is going on here. Turns out it is possible to win without paying undue attention to the factions! I do not however recommend this approach. (5 plays)
This is a pretty weird little stock game, but I like it. It moves quickly and the values of the tulips can be very volatile. There is certainly opportunity for manipulation of the market, but you have to be careful about when and how you do it, because it's very expensive and the tulips are pretty scarce. I'd like to play this more; it's not as easy to find opponents as I'd like. (2 plays)
I enjoyed this. It's different. It's a very chaotic game in which players control the environment in an attempt to make it more hospitable for their preferred creatures--so far, it sounds a lot like Die Macher, except that here your animals attack and kill each other. It is, however, a much lighter game, with less going on than the aforementioned giant, and a shorter play time.
There's certainly a good amount of tension and take-that in the way that the environment changes, and things happen in a narrow enough window, and with enough dice-rolling, that even your weak dinosaur usually has a non-zero chance to succeed. However, the one problem with the game is that it is possible to make your animal so strong that the dice rolling becomes unnecessary and it simply kills everything in its path.
Anyway, a good game, worth trying and very different from anything else I know of. (1 play)
I liked this much better than I expected! A stock game where the investment is in time (that is, turns) rather than money. It's pretty exciting and things can change quickly. It is probably easier than it ought to be to get into a position where you can only help other players instead of yourself. (2 plays)
This is a game about turn order. Yep. Only, turn order is much more granular than it is in some other games, a bit like the resolution phase in Caylus, where things happen in a particular order no matter who is doing them. So that's interesting. And of course, money is tight and it's always fun to try to manipulate it to try to get it to go a little further.
I did find that I wasn't thinking very hard about what things to do in my turn; I always wanted to do about the same things in the same order. But, I think that was just me, since other players did more varied things on their turns. (2 plays)
It's a cute euro. The death thing, is, ah, original, and I quite enjoy the tension of manipulating things to get in the book before the other players. Prior to death, there are a lot of different paths to pursue. I'd love to believe that it's possible to win without focusing on the market, but so far I haven't seen evidence of that. (2 plays)
Yep, there is indeed a lot going on here. You have to worry about the weather, the quality of your wines, the cards you can pick up, and oh yeah, then there are the victory points, once you get to a point where you can think about those.
The weather is very important and can be really rough; bad weather can really hurt a player who has specialized excessively. Another challenge is the way that the actions are laid out in a 9x9 square; since you can only move to adjacent squares (without paying, and money is VERY tight), it's important to know what you want to do next in addition to what you want to do this time. Oh, and did I mention that money is tight?
In short, I like the arc of the game, though it's a bit long, and I like all the things that are there to be figured out, but it's pretty easy for a player who gets a slow start to be pushed out of the running. (1 play)
I really like the idea of splitting the board in half for the different seasons. There's a lot going on here, in a good way--players have a lot of different options and it's always hard to pass. The cards are a little swingy, though. (1 play)
Long, complex, involved -- in a good way. Players need to specialize and to choose the best time to take up a life of monkhood. And it's hard not to like a game about collecting books. Very glad I played it. (1 play)
A nifty and extremely pretty tile game that reminds me of Ticket to Ride, in that the players have secret goals they are trying to complete by drafting tiles and playing them in a certain order on a shared board. I definitely enjoyed it more than TTR, though, because if you happen to get blocked in one place, you can still work on that recipe somewhere else on the board. I also enjoyed the special action cards, which reward you for completing recipes early by giving you special powers when you play them, like playing two tiles or stacking one tile on top of another.
I am a little worried about the level five recipes, because there is only one for each special ingredient and once you memorize them it will likely become very difficult to set them up. But I think this is at least somewhat alleviated with the cards.
And, seriously, theme and components: A++. Beautiful, slightly goofy, and let's face it, sushi is awesome.
Downgrading this a point after a frustrating game in which my recipes didn't match up with anyone else's. There is a luck factor in that, and it's a little tricky to manage the cards, especially if you need to use the same one more than once. But it is at least partly my fault too. (2 plays)
There's a lot of cool stuff going on here! I like the different ships and the variable map and the different ways of getting points and how getting a point can be a big deal. I did think that it accelerated to the end a little too quickly when I played, but I guess there are some options when deciding how long to play. (1 play)
There's a lot of Princes of Florence/Colosseum in this game; you're auctioning from certain sets of items and trying to make a set that fulfills certain requirements. Unlike those games, however, there's a take-that element and a lot more chaos. It's also more complex in ways that I enjoy, but the chaos gets a little frustrating. (1 play)
This is kind of a neat little game. Semi-blind bidding is a very original idea and I always like a lot of moving pieces in a game. Ys has a LOT of them. It tempts you to think that you can figure out what you need to bid or what a gem will be worth, but you really can't. There is too much hidden/contingent information. Something about that didn't exactly catch me, but I do admire the idea and think it probably deserves more love than it gets. (1.5 plays)
I like it. Light, but after a few plays I think it is deeper than it initially seems. There is often some tension in deciding whether to seize opportunities or to go for something you know you'll need, plus the potential for screwage means there are at least two different winning strategies. Turns out camels are really important. (4 plays)
This is just weird. I think a lot of planning can happen when players understand the game well, but that's definitely going to take more plays! There's an interesting trade-off when deciding which column to play cards in and whether to go for the majorities now or wait until the next round. It's one of those games that doesn't quite reveal itself to you in the first play. Hmmm. (1 play)