This is a very good 2 player game, similar in so many ways to Twilight Struggle. This game certainly is shorter than TS, but the way the cards work with actions and CP is almost identical. I do like this game better than TS I think, since it appears that no single card is TOO powerful. It seemed to me in TS that some of the later events were game-ending. Note for the future: make sure to get endorsements! Letting the other player get all the endorsements makes for a very rough end.
Where to start. The rules suck. Really, really suck. The problem is that they use all these dumb made-up role-playing terms when trying to describe standard mechanics. They don't say MONEY or CURRENCY but rather 3 different weird words that have nothing to do with money or currency.
Cards are also hugely multi-purpose, and have over 59 different icons on them. This makes learning the game very difficult and mentally taxing.
The game itself is actually pretty good I think. It's race-for-the-galaxyish, and I personally enjoyed it more than race for the galaxy. Then again, I've never really understood or appreciated race for the galaxy so this isn't saying much.
Still, the game mostly makes sense while playing it and once you get the basic structure of the game down.
I'll probably play this once more and then then trade it away if we don't find it to be super-fantastic. I can't imagine ever actually teaching this to anyone else though.
Initial rating.... 2 for some strange general design decisions and awful rules, 7 for gameplay. overall 5.
I like it. The rules are clean and simple, the play is fairly quick. It's a nice light game.
I think the hype is a little unusual though, because there really isn't a whole lot to this game. There are limited paths to victory (greens are all or nothing, for example), and games seem to get a little boring. It feels like a game badly in need of expansions.
Appropriately 7 Wonders gets a 7.
Jan 2011: Upped to an 8, after it plays far better than I thought with a larger number of players. Still enjoying it and would like to add this to my collection.
Meh. Not sure I really understand what this adds to the game. Sure, it's an "obvious" expansion (civilization themed games always have "leaders" with special powers), but it all seemed rather bland and mostly useless to me. I do, however, subscribe to the "if it's an expansion, it had better be really good or it's not worth playing with" school of thought though.
The cards are nice, and the concept is pretty good. There are certainly different strategies that can be taken, from trying to stay at almost no cards to saving up victory conditions in your own hand to lay down canasta-style in one big surprise "I win" moment.
Not a bad game really, although I can't picture myself requesting it often. Initial rating 7,
Very easy to teach this one, as the rules are fairly straightforward and intuitive. The gameplay isn't obvious though, which gives the game some depth.
Only complaint is that there really is little player interaction. You can't really target players effectively, take over planets, etc, which would add a whole new level to the game. A little too friendly and solo for my tastes.
Not sure that this is such a good or replayable game, since there seems to be very limited strategy outside of yelling "bomb reload reload" as early as possible. After all, if you're dead they're no use to you. It would normally get a 4 or 5, but the pieces are creative and the theme is relatively funny, so this gets a bonus.
This is actually a pretty compelling card game. It reminded me a lot of "Rollercoaster Tycoon" at first, but much simplified and without all the complicated components.
In the end, it's a series of tradeoffs between taking penalty cards, losing turns, scoring points, and opening up scoring opportunities for your opponent. There are some interesting decisions to be made about when and whether to take cards from/give cards to the other player.
The art is good, the playtime reasonable. Overall this is one of the better 2 player card games that I've played. Initial rating an 8.
Not a bad game, although it did seem to drag on playing multiple rounds. It does have a considerable "take that" element, where it's very easy to collude and beat up on the leader. Although, I think we were playing with open points, which made that more pronounced whereas I think the rules state that points should be hidden.
A game where you turn over tiles an try to find pairs. Interesting memory element, particularly when other players are moving stuff around and generally confusing you even further. A pretty stressful game!
Funny game that simulates tennis fairly well. The monkeys are great, and it's fun for a while. Certainly have no desire to play this more than once every few years, but I do like the fact that this game exists.
Surprisingly entertaining. As you'll discover... in an age. The end sneaks up very quickly, so you've got to be really careful to make sure you're not stuck with a bunch of ships. Still, nice trade off between tying ships up/earning income and sending ships off.
One of my all time favorites, this is a cut throat strategy game where the weak go bankrupt and the strong can run away with the game. Money is tight and you cannot afford to make a mistake. This game just chugs along.
Sheep (Ovis aries) are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries. Numbering a little over one billion, domestic sheep are also the most numerous species of sheep.
Shut up about the sheep.
Tell me about the game.
This game gets a 9 because it is well themed, reasonably well paced with little downtime, and the expansions are fantastic. For once, a game that has a ton of variability and replayability due to the cards. I wish other game makers (ex: Phoenecia) would learn from Agricola and add a ton more variation. Sure, it's a lot more work in game balance, but it's well worth it. Only complaint is that a few occupation/upgrades do seem to be considerably under or overpowered. I suspect more tweaking should be done in this regard, and would be welcome in a 2nd edition (with even more expansion cards of course!) The expansions ensure that the seeds for an entertaining game are sown.
2015: upped to a 10. Simply one of the few games that I'd be willing to play anytime. I do like that we are now so familiar with this game that we can knock it out in about 40 minutes.
I'm not a fan of co-ops in general, and this one isn't a whole lot different. The mechanics of targeting other players is kinda fun because it at least keeps people on their toes, but in the end this game is largely an exercise in collecting items from rooms. Not really all that compelling.
Far too subtle for my tastes and completely lacks any sort of tension. It's almost like a chess game where you take and lose pieces but can never checkmate the opponent. In other words, this game is missing an ingredient or two.
This is a combination of many different games, but is still an ok game. Good trade off decisions between getting first in an area vs getting in lots of areas vs running out of time because another player runs out of dice. Still, it lacks creativity and originality. Would not miss it.
Ugh. This game just wasn't fun. It was a series of uninteresting dice placement decisions that were largely repeated over and over again. The game was too long for what it was. Also, the penalties for getting attacked by other players were too severe, so that there were often times when you'd intentionally hold back on progressing just so your stuff wouldn't get stolen. Lame. Huge kingmaking issues at the end of the game too.
More surprisingly, I completely lost interest soon after the game began.
Overall, an uninspired and mechanical affair. Initial rating 4. No interest in playing this game again.
Amazed that this game is so hyped. This is probably the most overhyped game out there besides Small World.
The board itself is quite attractive, but I find this game to be a little tight on the money. Also, a lot of it comes down to how lucky you are with the order that symbols turn up in the deck. If what you're collecting comes out late, then yay for you. Otherwise, sucks to be you. Finally, the scoring is such that it's very difficult to get ahead of anyone else. All of the scores in our first game were effectively tied. Shrug.
Could never get into this one. It seems to be a little too random, and the bonus cards are extremely powerful. Lucky card draws can easily push a player ahead regardless of how well other players are playing. Design seems to be a bit sloppy and in the end this game lacks creativity.
2013: Third play and this is starting to grow on me a bit. Raising rating from 4 to a 6.
This is a funny one. There are so many concepts thrown into the game that it's completely overwhelming when you first set up and learn the rules. There's just so much STUFF. There are coins, victory points, plants, plant upgrades, the obligatory CAMELS, temple markers, worker markers, coin cards, camel cards, starting player rules, last player messing with the temple rules, victory point bonus cards, hanging garden tiles, resource cards, irrigation spots, irrigation cards, temple cards, ending conditions, a board that a camel runs around.... AHHH MAKE IT STOP! It's pretty ridiculous. However, the game itself isn't too bad. It does seem very difficult to get an edge on the other players, and the resources were a little too tight for my liking, limiting your options significantly... so, mixed feelings on this one. Could be talked into playing it again, but not sure I could be talked into listening to all of the rules again.
One of the more luck-intensive space themed games. I say go for Red Planet over this anyday. Andromeda's not a star.
Jan 2011: Upgraded to a 7 from a 5. Although there is still more frustration and luck than ever, at least I KNOW what to expect when we play now. I'm starting to actually come around to liking this game and its cosmic ashtray.
Tries to be something like medici but doesn't quite get there. Not sure why entirely, but I don't find this game very engaging. You really don't have many choices to make, and with all of the monkey cards it can really become a game where you have almost no control over your final score.
Very enjoyable game. This is very much like Fast Food with a bit of a twist.
Really like some of the cascading situations that come into play, and the wild cards add a little more complexity. It's remarkable how hard it is to name something simple when you've only for a couple of seconds to do so.
Like the original except a ton more cards. The thing I love about this game is how simple it is to introduce and teach to new players. You can be up playing it within 30 seconds, and it's nearly universally enjoyed.
Pirate games continue to disappoint me. I can't actually think of one that has been both fun and non-fiddly.
This game is non-fiddly but not fun. Since almost every card has a treasure on it, there is no sense of exploration or excitement when you turn over a card. Also, the combat elements are so important in a 2 player game (and probably 3) that you almost have to go cannon heavy and try to take out your opponents.
The card-switching idea is somewhat interesting and makes it difficult to plan head, keeping this out of the "abstract" category.
Overall, just not interested in this one. Initial rating 5.
As a fan of rondel gamnes, I thought this one was quite well done. I guess my biggest concern is that the game feels a little flat, in that it's difficult to catch up to other players if you fall behind.
Also, the theme is incredibly bland. YARG (yet another Rome game). Initial rating 7, but room for improvement.
This is probably the best civilization building game that I have played to date. It is less fiddly than roads and boats, but still provides a lot of variety. I'm not sure how balanced the victory conditions are, but I suppose good players could make any of them work. I'd almost rate this a 9 given how difficult it must be to pull off a successful game of this scope.
Mar 2010: Upped to a 9. Fun game, would like a copy!
I kind of like this one. It's your typical "add something to the pile and try not to knock anything off" game, and it does the job fairly well.
The tricky part is setting up the base appropriately so that the game is neither too easy nor too hard. We failed in both our attempts (one game was way too easy and the other one resulted in the tree falling over entirely).
Initial rating a 6. Probably fun to bring out every now and then.
I'm pretty sure we played with some rules wrong, because the game didn't quite feel right. I spent most of it sitting inside portals that I had never actually attempted to enter (I was sucked in?), and so I had an incredibly linear game that allowed for very few decisions. I like the idea of this game, but the execution seems to be... unwieldy. I felt like I was watching other people sort-of playing a game rather than playing it myself.
Although there is certainly a lot of chaos in this one, I do think that strategy does play at least a small role. In the end it comes down to taking calculated risks, and making the best of scoring cards, even if it means locking in small losses.
Probably wouldn't play this often, and certainly wouldn't buy it, but it's a reasonably entertaining game.
I suspect it may be my Dominion Snobbiness, but I just don't like this game. The theme seems uninspiring and the dominion copycatness just doesn't feel right. I'd play again, but this isn't going to become a favorite.
An okay game. I found parts of it a little frustrating, such as having very little control over feeding your people. Also, there appears to be a design hole where 2 wild cards are considered to be the best possible hand you can get, which is baloney... afterall, this means you can only feed 2 people. If you're forced to take these, you not only get shafted that round, but also go last in turn order for the next turn too. Yuck.
Apart from that, it plays fine... trade offs between permanent settlements and scoring points gradually.
Really enjoyable game, and it can be quite tricky with all of the moving asteroids. I suspect that over time we'd get better and it would become more of an optimization problem rather than a game of survival.
After three plays I've decided to give it a rating.
A solid game, yet it seems to suffer from a lack of replayability. It seems to me that there is very little variability from game to game due to the way the scoring track is laid out and the way that the small number of cards allows. Maybe I'm just spoiled because of the variability of Agricola, but this game just doesn't capture my interest.
This turned out to be a much better 2 player game than I had thought. The trade off between winning by points vs winning by end condition is an interesting one, and adds some tension to the game. Do you try to put your opponent away with the chance that you won't succeed, or do you slowly but surely score points?
The random cards, while critical to keeping the game interesting, do present a bit of a problem if one player gets a string of low numbers early. It seems to me that havign an early lead is pretty important, as it is harder to remove tiles than it is to add them, and initial tile placement is probably a big advantage.
One of the best 2-3 player games. Nice length, not too complicated, easy to set up. This is how games should be designed. Only problem I see is that it's not ADDICTIVE. I rarely want to play it, but always enjoy it when I do.
2010 update: downgraded to an 8 as Im getting bored of this one. Still a good game, but needs an expansion or something to keep interest!
Pleasantly surprised by this trick taking game. My initial reaction of this game after hearing the rules was "you dont know whether you want to win or lose tricks? What a stupid game!"
In practice though, it's pretty clever. That's sort of the point... because you dont know you need to play in a certain sort of way, leaving your options open. So, I actually ended up really enjoying this game.
Initial rating a 7, and I'd certainly play this again.
This is a remarkably good 2 player game. I really like the planning aspect of this game... you need to work your way around the country in a way that optimizes the placement of the ranger guys. It's a very tricky problem.
Traded away after a couple more plays. Just doesn't hold my interest enough.
A very enjoyable game... probably my favorite yet of the empire builder series. The board is fairly compact, and you can set up lots of long runs. The event cards are fairly irrelevant, and the Australian Rail twist is pretty insignificant.
Light game with almost no strategy involved. Sort of like watching TV. Nice game to play after something heavy.
Its major problem is that turn order is ridiculously important. In a 6 player game, the end result is largely pre-ordained by start order. It would be nice if there was a way to tweak the game to give players starting last a chance to catch the leaders.
Just not a very compelling game. There's only so much of "draw a circle, draw a square, now put a square in the circle..." I can take. It gets very repetitious very quickly. It doesn't really require any creativity, because what you're allowed to say is very generic (shapes, etc). There are worse games out there, but I'd choose a great deal of other "party games" before this one.
Hard to express how I feel about this one... it's somewhat fun given the race, but the game itself is rather dull. Perhaps it would be more interesting if all words had to be at least 4 letters or something.
A fun little filler that plays fast and has enough decisions to feel like a game. Certainly very luck dependent, but a good time nonetheless. One of my more favored 2 player dice games. Initial rating 8.
Oh my, do I dislike this game. Why is it everyone carries this stupid card game around and then pulls it out in large groups?
It's so boring. It's even more boring when everyone instantly kills you because you bitch about the game and you end up having to watch other people play the stupid game and watch it drag on.
I think that common perception that non-gamers should play this game is false. I think new players should be introduced to the best games, not the most mediocre! Remember, "non-gamers" aren't necessarily idiots requiring simplicity -- they're just inexperienced.
Well strap me to a pig and bash by medula oblongata in with a floppy noodle...
Got this game at a thrift for 99 cents. Tried to read the rules, realized this was the dumbest game ever (draw a card, lay the card, yet the rules are confusing? how is that even possible? Did someone with brain damage write the rules?), and threw it in the trash. Didn't even want my gaming group to have to sit through this.
Love this game. Of course, I'm a BSG fan, but the game itself is fantastic. Love the paranoia and interesting strategies that can be made. As much a game of politicing and twisting other players minds as it is anything else. Few games can invoke the player interaction, frustration, scheming, lynching and accusing that this one can.
I suspect the thing with this game though is it all depends on your group and the personalities involved. It would likely not work well with a bunch of quiet/reserved people or a bunch of people who are afraid or unable to lie and misdirect. Our group seems to be filled with enough liers and backstabbers to work perfectly with this game.
One of my favorite games.
Edit Jan 2011: After a couple of so-so games, enthusiasm is dropping a bit. Down to an 8.
Fantastically crafted pieces, and this game is a lot of fun. I'm not entirely crazy about the "games" they list in the instructions though -- the ones we have tried seem a little clumsy with the bidding for pieces, or rejecting pieces. I recall that it was far more advantageous to just offload difficult pieces off on other people. Rules could use some tweaking.
Nov 2010: played the co-op version where everyone is adding to the same castle. Much more fun IMO than the basic game with the gems.
Fun speed game, but the problem of 2 or more players reaching for the same card and almost destroying it is a problem. That's why games like Fast Food are superior: the buzzer acts as a non-ambiguous tie-breaker. In this game, it comes down to who pulls the card the hardest, which is a very good way of destroying the game.
Big city, medium rating. Interesting city building game.
On further play, upped to an 8. I'm starting to see a few interesting strategies that can be taken. The trade-offs between wasting a turn and stopping another player from setting up something is also interesting.
First game review: This is a tile-drawing/placement game in the spirit of Take it Easy where all players draw the same tiles. This means that games are certainly very fair and even.
I quite like this one, probably more than FITS (which seems to be a Tetris plagiarism to me). At least this game offers some sort of original thought in its design, and I suppose the various different scoring types add some variety to games. While Karen immediately said she wanted to get this game, I'm still on the fence... I would certainly get this over FITS or request it in a math trade, but its rated 7 for now.
I feel like I'm becoming a grumpy old man, but my ratings of new games have been pretty universally poor for a while now. It just seems to me that there's too much emphasis on components and not much on gameplay.
This one is a good example... it LOOKS like a kids game, and mostly plays like one too, but it is certainly too difficult for most children.
Just too long, and not a whole lot of decision making. Just cross your fingers and hope you don't get sunk. Eh.
I think in general the market mechanics are pretty good. Prices increase with purchases and decrease with sales. The "crash" element is also cleverly done... the later the bull market goes, the greater the probability of a crash. Also, the potential for an early game crash stops a player from trying to hold on for the entire game with minimal selling.
The one part that doesn't quite feel right is that gold buying allows you to place a color of your choice into the bag. You would think that such anti-market activity wouldn't support price increases in that manner. Still, that's the rule.
Overall a very good mix between pushing your luck, taking advantage of price increases, and buying gold at the right time. Near the end of the game the market movements became a little too predictable because there were only a tiny number of cubes in the bag.
A good game, rating 8 initially, and certainly one of the better stock market simulation games out there. Far better than the weak Tulipmania.
I really liked this game after 1 play, and now think that it's the best deduction game we have played to date (better than sleuth, mystery train, abbey, clue, etc).
The great part about this game is that there are points where everyone must rush to come to conclusions because it's very possible that the final answer is now workable by more than one player. The flip side is that this also means that players are more prone to error, and error in this game is almost unfixable. A game where you need to be both careful and fast is a well designed game and it allows for some good end-game tension.
Something that none of us did but that we could have done if you thought other players were close would be to take your turn faster, hopefully confusing other players and giving them less time to deduce and letting you catch up. In 8 guesses in 2 games now, 7 of them have been wrong, and all 8 players have messed up. That indicates this is a nicely tricky game. Initial rating a 9.
Not sure why this game is rated so highly initially (play testers?). Our group found this game incredibly tedious, and threads suggesting this game was at all similar to "Brass" are so off the mark that it's not funny.
This is not, in anyone's even wildest imaginations, a euro game or a euro crossover game. Its turns and pacing are like that of a wargame. It is slow, has a lot of downtime, and the decisions aren't incredibly interesting.
The decision to have a player make all of his turns at once (rather than one at a time around the table) is incredibly odd, because it results in players having turns that are 10+ minutes long, and that's not doing much thinking. Since everything changes every time you move, other players CANNOT plan ahead. They must just sit there, and then when it's their turns feel all stressed out about having to try to do things quickly.
The production is also pretty awful. There are typos in big bold text printed on the board ("defense" and "defence" appear right next to each other, for example), and the little flag thingies don't at all fit in the boats, making for aggravation.
Perhaps this game has a very niche audience (history buffs perhaps who are fine with sitting around a table and talking about the civil war for hours, for example).
But avoid if you are a euro gamer with little interest in the history. In fact, even war gamers will likely want to avoid too.
Thoroughly enjoyable abstract game. Would like to play it again. Very interesting how the different phases allow different towers to be taken... it allows for pre-positioning of pieces for future rounds while forcing players to carefully plan the construction of towers too.
Cute marketing exercise, selling the game to a community of people who like the name of it.
Before I rip the game, it's important to note that the graphics and detail on the images is incredible. Someone spent a ridiculous number of hours putting together the artwork for this game. It's really quite impressive.
Unfortunately, they put about 100 times more effort into the artwork than into actually designing and play testing this game.
Players place tiles fairly randomly, roll to determine where they randomly end up, and randomly lose points having to undo those dice rolls if they get shafted.
Don't get me wrong -- I love dice games and games of chance, but this one pretends to be a strategy game, so it's a little deceiving.
The decisions about where to place tiles in a window are entirely pointless, because giving another player +1 or +2 points in a 5 or 6 player game is such a miniscule consideration that it's almost not even worth the brain activity to think about. The "decision" becomes entirely automatic.
The scoring is poorly thought out too -- it comes down to entirely who has the most sets. If you get unlucky enough to get beaten out on a tile, or unlucky enough to be collecting what other players are collecting, you lose.
The algorithm for what to choose can be described by: "Can I easily get a 6 tile? No? Then what am I collecting? 2s? Ok, am I lucky enough that someone has put a 2 out there? No? Then I lose."
So overall, one of the most disappointing new games of last year. No desire to play this ever again.
Clever and creative idea for a game. While I guess there's some minor dexterity/coordination involved, it certainly doesn't appear to require much skill, but perhaps a Boing! expert could prove me wrong. Still, it's fun and colorful and deserves recognition for its uniqueness. Not a very practical game to own though given its size.
Very nice looking board with cool bits. Seems to be at least a couple of different strategies that one can take for victory, but I suspect that after a couple of plays it might start to get old. Still, a fun game.
"I'd rather eat a bag of hair than play this game again."
May 2011: There is nothing wrong with randomness. In fact, a little randomness is important in most games IMO.
The problem with Bootleggers is that everything is random -- starting with your dealt mob cards, production rolls, huge negative cards played on you, the "cop" which gives you zero income, etc.
Not only is everything random, but all of the random elements have massive variance. You won't earn 5 or 7 goods based on a die roll... you will earn "2 or 12". Or "25 or 0"
The cards are also ridiculously overpowered, giving "the group" the ability to crush any player they want into submission. The fact that you have to show everyone how much money you have all the time means that there is zero incentive to actually do well in this game.
When I played, I went from last to first, to last in the course of the game, based entirely on getting unlucky, then lucky, then crushed. There is also no rational or strategic defense against any of the luck or player elements.
So, this is not a game I have any desire to play again. It gets an initial rating of 3 -- probably the lowest rating I've given a game in a year.
I'm a little disappointed by this, because this is a game that I had been wanting to play for a while, and I like the freshness of the theme.
This is rail baron with a few minor rule changes. Entertaining as always. The ability to "reuse" routes makes it easier to avoid larger fees. The game comes with a nifty spinner device that you can use to look up destinations, instead of a dice roll. Overall, it's very impressive for a first release of a game. We threw in superchiefs from RB to help speed up the game.
This game is close, but not quite there. I can see the makings of a great game, but the complexity of rules is a little daunting and still not completely clear. Perhaps with further plays it will be better. Wish the "get paid every 2 minutes" mechanic could somehow be streamlined. Update: 2nd play was better... still feel like it's just missing a little something to be considered a great game... perhaps in an expansion!
Sep 2011: Rating of 8 remains fair here. After more plays I'm starting to get more comfortable with some of the general principles of the game, and am starting to appreciate the manipulation of turn order a little more.
Still, there's a lot more to this game, and I'm taking more loans than I think I should be. Probably need to get coal down earlier than I have been, although in the last game played I was handed iron opportunities on silver platters and had to take them.
I actually quite liked this one. It's certainly very dry and an abstract at heart, but I found myself constantly thinking throughout the game, both during my turn and other players turns. Any game that does that is at least a partial winner in my opinion.
It certainly does appear to be a game like chess where a bit of experience could totally dominate other players. I doubt this is one that I'll play very often or convince others to play very often, but I think this would be good for occasional play.
I quite like this "think quickly" game. You have a certain amount of time to come up with an item in a class, and once you run out of items you're in trouble. There are also some pretty funny categories like "things you don't like about people at the table".
Very disappointing 2 player game. We just found it dull. The theme was also pretty yawnarific too... senators... yawn. whatever.
Reminds me a little of Star Wars 4 when they do all of that terrifically boring stuff involving the "galactic senate" (and they ruin whatsyamacalees beautiful hair by making it all big and poofy). Yeah, whatever Lucas. Wake me up when the show's over. Oh and what the hell was with Jar Jar Binks. What a lame piece of crap that was.. AND MEDICHLORINES? Duh..
Oprahpalooza! A fun game. I sort of wish the starting drafting of cards wasn't involved, but I suppose that's part of the game. I guess I just find the whole reading through a deck of cards part boring. Still, a fun game once it's going.
Fairly good two player game that gives you an interesting set of decisions when deciding how to split the cards. It can be problematic if one player happens to get all of the cards of one color. This game is fairly grande.
We played this game as a family for YEARS and it never got old... good challenge for both kids and parents. There was a reprint in the 80s or 90s which dumbed the game down and made it suck. The original version is a fantastic family game. Meet normal requirements. May save or sell.
I really went in with high hopes, as I love the theme and the pieces and board looked great.
However it seemed a little on the long side for what it is. The biggest problem is that there are so many cowboys to place, and a turn order that changes, so you're constantly having to ask "whose turn is it?". That probably annoyed me the most. Perhaps if players switched seats each turn it would go a lot more quickly, particularly later on.
It has potential though... certainly interesting tradeoffs between guns and production. Open to raising this rating with another play...
Light game, you bid, you win fish, you sell them. The game tends to flounder after a while.
Update: upped to an 8. Game is still enjoyable.
Jan 2011: Down to a 7. For some reason my group has turned on this one after a couple of so-so experiences. I think the problem was we were playing with too many players. Perhaps this is a game that requires 3 or 4 to shine.
Very enjoyable game. The team concept is interesting, and the subtle ways you can screw with people makes the game very interesting. I almost wish there was no way to simply look at another players allegiance. It could have been a much better (and difficult) game if you had to work that out by inference. Update: down to a 7 after subsequent plays. Unless players actively try to confuse people by bluffing (like I attempted our last play), the game gets pretty stale. Am disappointed because I WANT to like this game more, but it's missing something. I'm pretty sure the concepts here can be expanded a bit to make a great game.
One of my few 9s from 2014. A solid game that's not too complicated, that is thematically interesting (who doesn't want to build a castle?), and that has a nifty auction mechanism. The wife also enjoys this one.
As Castles is a family favorite, we found the expansion somewhat disappointing. The main problem is that the moats just slow the game down too much. It's slow enough as is with the ordering of what to sell and then selection, but then restricting the size and positioning of everything just turns players into sloths.
The swan thing is pretty tacked on and useless too. I suppose having new rooms is just "more of a good thing", but yeah, moats seem to make our games worse, not better.
These add a lot of new options to game play. A few cards are a little too powerful, but overall they are well done. I have since stopped playing this one with my wife (the entire game gets old imo), but it was fun while we were onto it.
I actually quite like the concept of this game, but it is so incredibly poorly paced. The game is far too long, and it just drags on and on at the end. We were playing pretty quickly and it still took a zillion hours. I can't imagine how tedious this would be had people been thinking about their moves.
Oh my god. Shoot me now. The original game has enough downtime. This makes it suicide-inducing.
I NEED THREE WOODS AND A BRICK.. AND TIM NEEDS A WOOD AND A SHEEP AND A GRAIN.. NO TWO GRAINS... OH... AND ANYONE WANT TO TRADE A WOOD FOR A TURD? OH YOU DO JANE? NO, I DONT WANT THREE OF THEM. OH, YOU NEED ONE MORE SHEEP MOE? OKAY. AND JONATHAN NEEDS GRAIN AND BRICK AND BRICK AND AND...... *pow*
Wow... I still haven't mastered Agricola (or come close to being considered a GOOD player), so it's probably a little bit of a folly to take on Caverna.
Still, I really like the huge number of things that can be done, and the way that different aspects of the game interact. It seems to me this game could be played a large number of times and still you'd make discoveries.
Rated 8 initially, with room to grow. Only concern is play time.
I thought that this was a fun game. I tend to like games where each player has unique goals and abilities, and this fit that mold nicely.
It's certainly a game with some replayability because of this, so I look forward to playing it again.
It is dripping with theme, and the little character pieces are quite atmospheric.
Note on 2nd play (and rating dropped to 7 from 8):
I found the game a little frustrating in that it does appear that all players must be extremely aware of what other players are doing relatively early in the game to stop someone from taking a future lead that can become unsurmountable.
If purple or red get 2 rounds where they win dial-majority, the game is effectively over, and even a clever point victory can't win it for you.
I found myself multiple times reminding other players of the condition/strategies of opponents (and getting a little frustrated at their lack of urgency) to attempt to get them to help me stop such a lead, with mixed results.
In any case, I probably came over as being manipulative or pushy when I was just trying to prevent a lead that could not be stopped. I really dislike games where you are forced to campaign against other players. What was pretty obvious to me was not obvious to other players (and in a way was NOT obvious because it dealt with an early advantage turning into a bigger advantage later on), which just made me look like a pushy dick.
In this way, it does appear to be a very fragile game. One mistake by one player at the right time can enable an unstoppable future victory for another player. It is also incredibly easy to king make (either intentionally or not) for almost any player as the game end approaches.
People who play this game often, imo, look stupid. They have all of these really dumb hand expressions planned out... you know what I mean, like the movie one where they make their hand go around and around... as if that's how Steven Spielberg actually films movies.
People who are just playing it by waving their arms around stupidly and not with "official charade signs" are far cooler and far more entertaining to watch.
Enjoyed this game. Like the idea of stock holders having to improve their own routes. In our first game it was a runaway victory so there wasn't much tension, but I suspect it would be better once players were more familiar with the strategy.
Nice artwork and a solid foundation for a game. We haven't played enough to really explore it, but on the surface it seems like a reasonable game. Only complaint is that the end arrived unexpectedly quickly.
April 2011: I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pieces and the appealing artwork. Overall it's a very solid game, and I think the kids will enjoy this a little more as they get a little older. Perhaps this game will help the older one practice focusing a little more on a task.
The game has the obvious flaw in that it's possible that it might never end, as our first game encountered. It's quite possible to go around and around for a very long time without a winner being crowned. Initial rating a 7.
I think this game was probably better back when it was released, but hasn't held up very well with time. The blind bidding makes for a fairly random play, and the decisions, while present, are repetitive and uninteresting.
Surprisingly hard to understand for what one would expect to be such a simple game. I'm not sure if that's because the rules are slightly convoluted or if our group is just mentally challenged. In any case, this does seem to have limited replayability and didn't really hold my interest.
This is a strange one. The first time I played I thought it was a fantastic game. The second time I thought it was dumb. It seems that the fewer players the better.
July 2011: My initial feeling for this game has thankfully been restored. Clearly, I just don't like playing this with lots of players. 2-3 seems perfect. Any more and the amount of control you've got becomes insignificant.
Nothing innovative here -- this is charades in a box.
It's pretty silly how only some rounds are "commotion" rounds. All of them should be, and that's how we played. The dice rolling in general is pretty dumb too. It makes much more sense to just keep score on a piece of paper. One point per victory.
I enjoy charades though, so I liked this game, even though it's nothing but a box of charade suggestion cards. Not sure if I'll ever be able to get other people to play this with, but I actually enjoyed this.
Rating a 7.
Modifications to make this fun:
- Throw away the board and pieces. - Split into two teams. - Cycle through the categories each turn. On each turn, both teams choose a different card and whatever actor gets the item right first wins a point for his/her team. - Repeat until first to 10 points or something.
One of my favorite games of the year. This blends a race element (to be the first to locations) with careful balancing of resources. The deck building element is fresh and fits the game well. Certainly want to play this one more.
Oh, I don't know. I tend not to like 2 player games in general, and this doesn't help the cause. While it's got a clever mechanic in trying to guess pieces, it still doesn't feel like anything new. Maybe after being spoiled by some great games I'm becoming real new game snob.... but this gets a rating of 6.
What a fun game. Completely original game mechanics make for a very interesting game. Probably wouldn't play it too often as it does require a lot of brainpower and concentration, but the great combination of the auctions and cash management make it a good game.
One of the most pleasant surprises in a while. I really liked how streamlined and intuitive this game was. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, no weird rule exceptions. This is how game design should be.
The decisions between laying cards, invading, and taking cards are also very important and interesting decisions.
Initial rating a 9. Want to add to my collection. Looking forward to expansions too.
This doesn't seem to improve the original game much, which to me is hindered by the player elimination element. I guess I'm at a point in gaming now where getting kicked out of a game and having to watch others play just isn't a necessary nor fun mechanic.
This is a clear rip-off of Gifttrap. I don't mind rip offs as long as they are considerably better. In this case, that holds true. Gifttrap is weighted down by a relatively over-engineered scoring system, and this game keeps it simple. Simple games should have very simple scoring.
The variant where you choose 2 gifts (trying for the worst and best gifts) was good. I can't imagine why this isn't the default method of play. Initial rating a 7.
Few games recently have had me wanting to play them again, but this is one of them! Looks like the type of thing where years of hard study is required to become a great player. Might have to pick up a board for play with the family...
Update Jan 2011: have had a board for a few mths now (Mayday games) and it actually works pretty well for its price. Game still fun, although the wife isn't much interested in it.
This is a game (McMulti) that I had wanted to try for a while. I really liked the mechanics, and for such an old game it actually felt pretty solid. Sure, the die rolls add a lot of luck to the game, but then again isn't oil drilling 80% luck at the end of the day?
I thought that the market mechanics combined with the item placement mechanics made this a pretty interesting game. I can see how it certainly wouldn't be for everyone, but for some reason oil games just interest me, and this is certainly a good game.
Not sure if I'll purchase the reprint or not. Probably not, unless things are streamlined and the reviews are good. But, it was fun. Initial rating a 7.
Ok game, although Im not much a fan of how even the game is. It just seems like you have to play a PERFECT game to win. There is no room for error. Would play it again, but not one of the better games imo.