If I'm going to have to subject myself to Snakes and Ladders, throwing a little Screwball Scramble in there can't hurt! Probably the best version of this game I've come across, for the toy-factor, at least.
After one play, I found it fun, but a bit more complicated that I thought it would be. Definitely a stretch to call this one a family game. I'm looking forward to playing it more. UPDATE: I'm bumping it down a notch to 7. I like it well enough, but it's kind of stressful to play, to be honest. Maybe it's because I always seem to lose so horribly. UPDATE (Sept. 2011): Back up to an 8! This game shines with 2 players, and since my wife really likes it, that makes for better gaming experiences.
Only one play, and I was starting to come down with a flu at the time. Unfortunately, that unfairly makes me connect this game with a headache, so I'm not willing to give it a rating just yet. UPDATE (Nov. 2011): I FINALLY got this one to the table with a full complement of six players, and I really liked it! I know Gerdt's rondel games get more complex and sophisticated than this, but I really appreciated the straight-forward rules.
Great party game. I originally rated it an 8, but I've kind of overplayed it at the moment. A sure-fire crowd pleaser with non-gamer types. UPDATE (Sept. '09): This has been pretty much entirely eclipsed by Say Anything! for me.
Pretty cool. After one game, I'm not ready to rate it, but I'm pretty sure it'll end up in the 7+ range. UPDATE (Sept. 2011): Can't believe it took me so long to play this again. It's a great, light strategy game with a solid amount of tactics.
Only one play so far, but it was an absolute blast. Needs a whole evening to play, so I don't think I'll pick it up, since I have a couple of friends who own it. Still, I'm looking forward to my next play.
I've had more fun playing this game than any other on the planet. If you're a competitive person, you might not like it very much, as there's no real 'winner'; you just play until the game collapses under the weight of its own rules, which usually involves laughing until you can't breathe anymore.
Excellent game. The time it takes to set up and play has been gradually increasing as I've worked through the scenarios, but it's still engaging throughout.
UPDATE (Oct. 2010): I'm sad to drop this down to an 8, but I just can't seem to get it to the table anymore, and I'm sure could if I really pushed for it. That doesn't mean it's not an awesome game, though.
Easy to teach, with surprisingly deep strategy. A great gateway game for those with a leaning towards abstracts. Plays equally well with 3 and 4 players. (Get Blokus Duo if you want to play with 2, though.)
I've only played the base set so far (Hoax vs. Vulca), But I'm really enjoying it. I'm rating it a 7 for now, but it could easily go up once I've tried out a few other races. UPDATE: I now have a couple more races (Mimix & Khind), and it's just as interesting as ever. UPDATE (Jul. '08): I'm upping this to an 8. I guess that means I should pick up the rest of the decks!
The ships are a neat addition. I need another play or two to decide how much I like it. UPDATE (Mar. '14): It's a bit swingy, depending on if you draw one of the ships early enough, but bringing down a "ship hammer" on your opponent is pretty satisfying.
What can I say? The best game about bean farming ever made! UPDATE: Increasing to a 9. This one has seriously stood the test of time. UPDATE (Oct. 2010): Dropping to an 8. I've finally outplayed this one a bit.
A great filler with lots of atmosphere. I've only played the basic game so far, without the special abilities, but it's still a great time. UPDATE (Sept. '09): The special abilities add even more to an already great game. Upping it to an 8; this game deserves a permanent place in my collection.
With this and Diamant, I think I have pretty much the two ultimate push-your-luck games (at least of the ones I've played thus far). If you want a simple dice game that actually gives you some decisions to make, this is the one to go for.
It's a cool Catan variant, but I'm a bit burnt out on Catan in general. I'm hoping to bring it out as an alternative the next time I'm gaming with some Catan fanatics. UPDATE (Dec. '09): Gave it to some friends who are Catan fanatics.
Hmmm... not so sure about this one. It's great that it can play up to ten. But if there's any real strategy to it, I'm not sure I see it. I'd rather play Coloretto if I want something with similar mechanics. UPDATE (Jul. '08): Now that more people have been showing up for games at lunch, this one has been coming in handy.
I guess this is my first "proper" consim. It took a little while for my non-wargamer brain to wrap itself around the rules, but the game played surprisingly smoothly once that happened. If I end up buying a "real" wargame any time soon, it'll probably be one in this series.
Great game! I've only played it with three players, and I can only image it gets better with more players. UPDATE (May '09): After playing with 5, I'd say it's even more deserving of an 8. UPDATE (Apr '12): I've been getting this to the table more often lately, and the more I play it the more I like it. Having at least one expansion to bring it up to 6 players is a must. It's a solid 9 now, and could foreseeably enter the exclusive realm of the 10s at this rate. UPDATE (Jul '12): Yup. After yet another epically chaotic game, this guy moves up to a 10.
I've played my fair share of Cribbage over the years, mostly with my cousin while we were growing up. For some reason, even though the game is so random, I could rarely manage to beat him. We still had a lot of fun, though. It's been superseded for me by a lot of other card games, but I still play it a fair bit on my Palm. It saves dealing with the finicky scoring. My Palm tends to beat me as well. I guess I just suck at this game. Oh, and '29' boards are the coolest way to play.
My first play was a total blast. There are quite a few rules ambiguities, but we had fun anyway. UPDATE (May '09): It's a long game, and there seem to be rules issues every time we play, but it's still a great time.
Great party game! It requires a unique combination of visual and verbal understanding to play well, but it's accessible that pretty much anyone can play it. Every group I've introduced it to has loved it.
Very cool game. I've only played the introductory card mix so far, but it has a lot of promise. UPDATE (Jan. '10): Now that I've had a chance to play through all the cards, I'm going to say that this game lives up to the hype. It doesn't beat Race for the Galaxy, but it's much easier to teach to new gamers.
(Aug. 2011): I like! I have to say I'm getting a little worn out on Dominion at the moment, though. So I'm taking a bit of a break from it. I'm not entirely sure how this one stacks up to the other expansions.
It took me a while to figure out the rules, especially with all the icons on the cards that are hardly even used during gameplay. Once you get past the rules, this is a quick and fun card game with some refreshing mechanics.
Neat little game. The illustrations are a hit with the lady-types. Fairly chaotic, so don't expect any deep strategy here. The psychological aspect keeps things interesting, with a bit of Texas Hold'em decision-making going on. UPDATE (Sept. '08): The shine's kind of wearing off of this one. There's just not that much there. Dropping it to a 6. I'll keep it though, because my wife likes it so much!
I like it! Definitely has the Carcassonne crossed with the end-game of Go feel, but since I love both those games, that's definitely not a problem. UPDATE (Oct. 2010): There's other quick two-player games I'd rather play, in general. Dropping to a 7.
Only one aborted play under my belt, but the experience was really fascinating. I can't wait to play it through properly. UPDATE (Jul. '13): Six years later, and I finally get this big guy to the table. We played it for 5+ hours, and didn't manage to finish it. Still, it was super fun, and I'd like to give it a try again soon.
Just because I rate this a 10, doesn't mean I'm any good at it. When I play this game, I admit to being absolutely overwhelmed, but also completely fascinated. The idea of emergent complexity captivates me; it's like playing a fractal!
Actually a pretty great first abstract game. Less simplistic than tic-tac-toe, but easy to understand. The memory factor is cool, and gives you a chance to "throw the game" in favour of the little one without making it too obvious.
Intriguing. I've marked up an old deck of cards to try it out. If my wife likes it, I think I'll pick up a copy! UPDATE (May '10): My wife likes it! But the first printing is sold out, so I'm crossing my fingers for the 2nd printing... UPDATE (Mar. '11): I have the second printing, which is beautiful. If you classic card games and want one that plays great with 2, then you NEED to pick this one up.
I won this in a contest, but it's actually a pretty neat little game. The mechanics are unlike anything I've come across before. The card play is a bit opaque at first, but it's actually surprisingly thematic once you get into it. UPDATE (July '11): I've played it 4-player partnership, as I believe it was designed to be played, and it definitely was my best experience of the game so far. If you're on the fence about this one, try it this way!
More complex than the theme would imply, it's still not too difficult once you figure out what all the cards mean. Our first play we completely misunderstood how the worms work, but we had a good time anyway. Now that we know the worms rules (kinda like No Thanks!, another great game), it's even better.
A great game to play with kids who are old enough to think that Gulo Gulo is too 'babyish'. Also good for a quick filler whenever you don't feel like thinking too hard. And the game description makes me laugh every time i read it.
Nice little abstract. I like the game, but I mainly picked it up because I won an Ingenious Puzzles prototype autographed by Dr. Knizia himself and I just had to try it out! Update: after a few more plays, it's growing on me. It's still not quite an 8, though. UPDATE: Yeah,I'll give it an 8. It has some really lovely tension in the endgame.
A bit longer than I'd like, and maybe a bit too random (although that could be a result of my inexperience), but nevertheless a really fun little game. UPDATE: it gets quite a bit quicker once you get used to all the cards, which makes the randomness less of an issue. UPDATE: I'm moving this up to an 8. Maybe it's because I keep winning all the time, but that in itself tells me that it's not as random as I first thought. UPDATE (Apr. '09): A welcome discovery! My wife really likes this one. It's definitely staying an 8 for now. UPDATE (Nov. '09): With both expansions, this game has TONS of replayability. This game has solidified its position as an 8.
Kind of a pain to get the wares cards and the other cards in the right ratio, but there's some neat variations that I'm looking forward to trying. UPDATE (Nov. '09): Now that expansion 2 is out, I don't need to worry about the ware/non-ware ratio anymore. Yay! (This rating only when using both expansions.)
(Apr. 2011): It's hard to to know when to pick a leader, but I tried it a couple of times in my last game and I won, so I guess they aren't so bad! UPDATE (Aug. 2011): I don't bring it out when teaching, but whenever all the players have played before, there's no reason not to include it. I tend to buy a couple of leaders per game, and it seems to work out for me.
A fun game, but i can't figure out why some people say it's too easy. Maybe our gaming group is just really unlucky, but we've only managed to beat it once, at the easiest difficulty level. UPDATE (Oct. 2010): It's been pretty much displaced by Pandemic at this point. Dropping to a 7.
Yes! One play of the Mother of All CCGs! It was fun in an overwhelming, brain-melty sort of way. UPDATE: I can see the appeal, But I'm not sure it's for me quite yet. I'll give it a 7 for now. UPDATE (Feb. '09): Actually, a 6 is more accurate to how I feel about it.
Finally got around to playing this. I don't know if it'll reach the heights of Ra and Modern Art, but I can see that there's a lot of depth there. UPDATE (Jan. '11): Traded it away. I have more than enough auction games to keep me happy.
I've played this s few times now, but I'm always introducing it to someone, so I keep on replaying the first scenario. I'm interested to see how the rest play out. UPDATE: it seems to have been pretty much supplanted by BattleLore for me. I'll still bring it out if my opponent prefers the WW2 theme, though. UPDATE: I'm trying it out with my wife. If she likes it a lot, maybe I'll bring out BattleLore and C&C:Ancients.
The cards are pretty neat, but the game itself is so-so. Possibly a good rummy variant for teaching kids, but there are definitely better rummy games out there (the Mystery Rummy series comes to mind).
I played it, but I wasn't that impressed. We had a rule wrong, so I'll give it another chance, but I'm not convinced I'll like it much better. UPDATE: Gave it another chance. Didn't like it much better.
I wish I was more familiar with rummy games. I'm afraid I just don't 'get' this one yet. UPDATE: I think I'm starting to figure it out. Pretty Cool! I'll rate it a 7 for now, but it may go up. UPDATE: I'll bump it up to a 8. Sometimes it's just the perfect thing to play.
One play. It was fun, but not terribly memorable. I want to play it just for the cool geometry of the player boards! UPDATE (Dec. '09): It plays great with two players, which definitely makes it a keeper. I'd probably rate it a 7.5 if I did fractional ratings, which I don't.
(Aug. 2011): Just picked this one up, and I quite like it! Thanks to Jack at Interactivity Games & Stuff in Victoria for the recommendation, and for letting me know that I can play Schotten Totten with the same deck of cards!
Nice little dice game. I haven't played too many, but I like this one quite a bit. Great to play when you have a range of ages at the table, and enough decisions to make to prevent it from being an utter luck-fest.
Only two partial plays. I love the components, but the game seems to be a little long to get to the table very often with my group. UPDATE (Aug. 2011): I'm not sure about this one. I've had it on my shelf for ages, but I never seem to want to get it out an actually play it. I want to give it a chance with more players before I consider trading it away.
A total blast. I've played with as few as 3 and as many as 8 and it's always a good time. I'd like to try the full-sized version, but I'm glad I picked up mini because it's hard enough getting _that_ on the table (with the extension, at least).
Poker's great if I'm playing with friends, for a small, but not TOO small, amount of money, say $5-$10. Above $20, I'm not so interested anymore, and playing with strangers wouldn't be much fun at all for me.
Far easier to learn and more fun than I thought it would be. It works as a great next step after Settlers for those you're trying to indoctrinate into the hobby. UPDATE: Forget it, I'm giving this a 10. If I had an hour or two to spare and a couple of people asked me to play, I can't think of any reason to say no. Am I a sheep, following the crowd? Maybe, but I don't care; I still love this game.
I'm rating this a 7 right now, but it really is a solid little abstract that may go up to an 8 with repeated plays. UPDATE: Yup, this one's an 8 now. One of a very few that I've been able to get my non-gamer parents to play.
Only one play, and I don't think this one has 'clicked' yet. I'll need to try it one or two more times before rating. UPDATE: Another play, and I still feel like I'm sort of floundering when I play this game. I managed to come in dead last with a score of 0, but it didn't feel like there was anything I could do about it. I'll try it a couple more times...
Quite promising after 2 plays. I like it more than San Juan, mostly because the added variety makes me not mind the randomness so much. UPDATE: I've played it 5 times now, and I'm going to raise my rating to a 9. We'll see if it stays there... UPDATE: OK, after 20+ plays, I'm moving this up to a 9.5. I can't quite give a 10 to a game that I've only been playing for a few months, but I image it'll get there eventually. UPDATE: Screw it. 10.
It's hard to know how to rate this one. I'd rate the solo-play at around a 7--it's fun, but not how I'd prefer to play the game. The new cards and homeworld are great-they just add more to a game I already love, so that gets a 10. I haven't tried the goal cards yet, so that may change my final rating, but I think I'll give it a 9 for now.
Severely lacking in strategy and meaningful decisions. I'd much rather play one of the "10 Days" games if I'm looking for something with similar mechanisms. And no, Sam Healey, it's absolutely nothing like Lost Cities, glorified or otherwise.
Perfect example of a "simple" kids' game that fails to be simple while still being boring. I think that if the game were played according to the rules, it would take about 3 hours to complete! Not only that, the poor graphic design meant that it was hard enough for me to see where the next space to move my pawn was, let alone my 5-year-old nephew!
Only a few plays, but I'm really liking this one so far. A nice balance between the simplicity of Through the Desert and the complexity of Tigris & Euphrates. UPDATE (Oct. '07): Continued play, and this one is still holding up strong.
Much more random than Puerto Rico, but fun nonetheless. Manages to get quite a bit of the feel of PR out of a deck of cards. UPDATE: Pretty much entirely supplanted by Race for the Galaxy at this point, but if I ever get tired of Race, I'll pull this out for a change. UPDATE: I still prefer RFTG, but my co-workers were getting a bit tired of it, so we've been pulling out San Juan a bit more often lately.
I've only played this solo so far, just to get used to the rules before teaching it. It looks promising... UPDATE (Mar. '11): I'm not sure about this one. It seems like it's mostly just a bunch of tug-of-wars going on simultaneously. I'm willing to give it a few more plays, but so far, I'm not all that impressed.
Fantastic! Simple and quick to explain and play, but the race/power combos give lots of replayability. I'll definitely bring this out for the Carcassonne/Settlers crowd, to give them a taste of something new.
This game seems to be infinitely expandable! This adds a little more chaos to a game that some might think is too predictable. UPDATE (Apr. 2011): I'm considering adding this in by default. I think it's probably simple enough to introduce to new players.
June 2012: I finally got his one to the table after owning it for five years! I actually liked it quite a bit. Even though the theme isn't even managing to fulfill a basic mnemonic function, it's still a good excuse to have a cup of chai and put on some Bollywood music.
Nice little portable abstract. Great for playing in the pub, as it's beer-proof! It's been pretty much entirely overshadowed by Hive for me in the pub-games category, though. It does have some nice solitaire puzzles you can play with it, so I'll keep it around.
One almost completed play so far. Not enough for a rating. UPDATE (Feb. '14): Another incomplete attempt. I feel like I shouldn't give this a rating until I see how the endgame plays out. Right now I think it's heading towards a 7.
Good, but (pardon the pun) a bit dry. UPDATE (Oct. 2010): I just don't have a strong desire to play this one anymore. Maybe getting it to the table again would change that, but I don't think so. Dropping to a 7.
I got a copy of this for my birthday. It looks like it plays well with 2, so hopefully I'll get a chance to play it with my fiancée some time soon. UPDATE (Jan. '09): It does play quite well with 2. I'll give it a 7 for now.
One play so far, but we're still working our way through the rules. UPDATE (May '09): Played with all the rules now, and it's a very interesting and subtle game. I can see why so many people are crazy about it. UPDATE (April '10): I've joined the Tichu cult. It's going up to a 9. Perhaps my favourite 'classic style' card game.
I know people tend to like this one better than the original, but based on my one play, I like the obscurity of the names in the original. The most fun happens when you have NO IDEA who the card is referring to!
I've played it with 6 and with 2 so far. 6 was a bit too chaotic, and with 2, it took a little too long for much to happen. I'm thinking 4 may be the sweet spot. It's a beautiful little filler that's quite fun, though.
This'll probably get an 8, or maybe even a 9 once I play it a bit more. The forthcoming mounted board will deal with the major shortcoming in this game. UPDATE (Dec. '10): I'll give it an 8 for now. I definitely think that there's something to this game, but it's long enough that I'm not sure how often I'll get to play it.
I'm not super familiar with trick-taking games, but I've had some fun with this one. It's perhaps a bit too long for what it is (I've played it with 3 and 4 players so far), but not a bad way to spend an evening.
Only a couple of plays, but I'm looking forward to playing it more. Trying to take advantage of the caravan more effectively is my next goal. UPDATE: Well, I just got 99 points with the caravan strategy, so I guess it works pretty well!
Yes, I know I could make this out of Treehouse packs, but I'd love to get a boxed version of this. The other Icehouse games don't appeal to me much. UPDATE: Got it! The local games store sold their demo copy! Woot! Oh, and it's fun, too.
I'm a big fan of Coloretto, and this 'sequel' of sorts doesn't disappoint. The money actions add a few extra tactics that make it worth picking up even if you have Coloretto, and the cute-factor can come in handy when trying to convince recalcitrant lady-types to play.