Relatively quick and light tile placement game which offers the option of building springs or water for known gains or rolling the die and placing houses for possible immediate reward or future speculation. Ironically for a game about Aquaducts, I suspect this will get a little dry with further play.
Interesting rather abstract tile placement game with many decisions to consider before each play. I have yet to experience the problems with multiplayer games that others have had but I have not played with four players yet.
I am enjoying the specific battle series of A&A games very much. This game has quite a different feel from the A&A Bulge game. There is plenty of opportunity for clever manuever and dramatic swings of fortune. I happen to like the random casualty system provided by the much maligned Battle Box. The fact that units which attack in more than one sphere (land, sea, air) can make multiple attacks per turn seems a little odd but I suppose the units that are capable are also of higher cost. Airfields and carriers really play an important role in this game. Very nice job in creating a simple wargame that is not in any way simplistic!
I enjoy the level of complexity in this game. It hits the sweet spot for me in terms of offering some nice thematic touches to enhance the experience of recreating history while avoiding tons of exceptions and special cases. My biggest problem with the game is the initiative roles for combat as they seem overpowerful and a bad run on those particular rolls will sink your chances of winning (of course rolling poorly in any A&A game is not going to be good but the entire game seems to me to rest on only 7 combat initiative rolls (no role for round 1). My first play saw the battle come down to a struggle for Bastogne and exhibited a bulged front line that rather nicely approximated the historical front.
Intriguing two-player card game. Turns typically offer a number of interesting decisions with a good balance between tactics and the luck of the draw. UPDATE: I only play a modified form of the designer's original version now, forcing one to play all the cards of a color on one's own side of the hop before trying to screw the opponent and without the 3 for one trade rule (which leads to far too many "if I win this trophy, then I lose" scenarios).
This is a very solid hex and counter wargame. I have only played the shorter (tournament) scenario without the optional rules so my experience here is very limited. The game seems to model the Battle of the Bulge nicely with a minimum of complexity. It offers opportunity for creative manuever and rewards solid tactical play. On the negative side, it can run a bit long and it's a bit too tempting to try to "math" your way towards the optimal combat ratios.
Excellent game -- VERY unique wargame that is elegant in both appearance and play. Decisions are tense and the fog of war effect works better even than in the Columbia Games I've played. I've only played as the Austrians so far but I enjoy the asymmetrical forces with different victory conditions. My only (slight) gripe is that the game lacks a certain intangible "fun" factor that is probably a result of the diceless combat.
Cute light bidding game and majority control game. Reminds me of Medici in that you bid your victory points (gold) each round to gain items that might score larger bonuses. Of course the random production element and the take that card play make this game much lighter and less fulfilling.
Very interesting simulation of a fairly large scale American Revolutionary War battle. The conventional wisdom suggests that this game offers more scope for creative manuevering than the other titles in the series. Having only played Guilford and Eutaw Springs before this, I cannot really confirm or deny this but I would tend to believe that it's true as my first play saw fronts opening and closing all over the large map. In enjoy this series although I do find that the tactics chits can slow down the gameplay somewhat.
Interesting, highly abstract game of placement, spawning and hopefully well-timed movement. There is a definite tension to each decision and determining one's opponents' most likely moves is critical. Of course, as with most perfect information multiplayer games I could see the possibility of there being kingmaker and bash-the-leader problems. The end game can also become a rather dry exercise in number crunching
Decent network building game. One must upgrade resources into other more advanced resources in order to buy and produce films, Can be a little bit of a grind but the game basically works. Graphics detract from the whole.
This expansion adds some more interesting strategic decisions (which are, in my opinion, welcome) to the base game. The inns make the road scoring a more significant part of the game and I like the depth added by the giant meeple.
The common criticism that this game is very light and involves a ton of dice rolling is absolutely true. However, it does offer some meaningful decisions (especially when assembling gladiator teams) and remains fun throughout its relatively short playing time.
I used to own this game in my youth. It remember it being quite different from every other game I'e ever played becaused of the way in which it requires you to pay close attention to the events transpiring during the scenes. I haven't seen this in almost 20 years so I don't know what I would think of this today.
Very good game with tense decisions throughout. I especially like the mechanics for planning one's actions during the endeavor phase. There can be problems in the endgame with kingmaking and leader bashing.
Some have complained that about this game simply recycles mechanisms from other Euros. There is some truth to the complaint but it does not inhibit my enjoyment of the game at all. The game has set collection, auctions, and resource management aspects that will seem very familiar. It also includes a roll and move element that's not typical of most Euros. The mixture works well for me however and seems to offer tension and opportunity for clever play. The game is over produced and I like the colorful components.
I generally like the rules alterations in this version - the overstacking penalty seems to make more sense and adds a tense choice, the automatic kill possibility lends tension to large fire attacks and I love the recon order. The breaking of weapons mechanic here seems odd honestly.
I owned this as a child and distinctly remember that I did not particularly enjoy it. I might not have been playing with the ideal number of people, however. I would have to play again to give it a completely fair rating.
Interesting hybrid wargame and Euro game with the procedural gameplay elements of a Euro with the flavor and historical detail of a light wargame. The interplay of the four factions is what gives the game its interest. Have played with 2 and four and find it significantly better with the full compliment of players. This is the first COIN system game I have played.
Doom is a fun and relatively light "dungeon" exploration game. The "balance issues" so frequently discussed were not evident in the first game that I played even though we did not employ any of the fixes listed on this site(the marines eventually lost while standing on the threshold of the victory door). The marines lost heavily when I played the scenario again (with me as the Invader this time) and the three players complained of a lack of ammo which they felt gave a serious advantage to the Invader player.
I like the basic mechanics of this game quite a bit. The length is going to prevent it from hitting the table as often as it should. Also the rules are exception-ridden and probably a bit too complicated for my taste. If the basic system itself weren't so elegant I would have a harder time swallowing many of the more fiddly parts.
Interesting race game with a nicely integrated theme. Played quickly it can be a fairly enjoyable, light game with some interesting tactical decisions, but played with careful calculation, it bogs down significantly.
Interesting expansion of the card driven system into the ACW era. I absolutely love the basic engine of the game here but I feel that much of the additional chrome detracts from my enjoyment. River movement/control and the leadership hierarchy in an army/corps are two particularly bloated areas that should be trimmed.
Fortress America was an interesting game back when it was first released. More balanced in my opinion than Axis and Allies but somewhat less enjoyable gameplay. This game is better multiplayer than two player as the gameplay can bog down if the invader player is beset by AP.
Nice entry into the field of modular board tactical sort of games with a dungeon crawl feel like Doom, Descent, Space Hulk. I like the way cover is integrated into the game and the cardplay offers interesting decisions.
Interesting negotiation game that has a unique feel. It's difficult to gauge the relative values of different actions, and it's generally a tense struggle to actualize the plan once you've decided upon a specific course of action that seems tactically beneficial. Like many games with so much player interaction, it can run a bit long.
This game adds a command dimension to the typical Columbia block game system that I have come to know through Hammer of the Scots and Liberty. Since read Killer Angles and visiting the battlefield, Gettysburg is a subject that I enjoy exploring. Melee attacks without outflanking the opponent or softening them up with fire attacks can easily backfire. The command mechanics add an interesting element to the game on one level but they also contribute to the fact that this game just feels much less elegant than the other block games I've played.
This is one of those Avalon Hill titles that reminds me of how far game design has come in the past twenty-five years. There is a good game in here somewhere but the dice rolling and CRT consultation becomes more than a bit tedious. I made the mistake of playing a four person game which resulted in more than a bit of downtime as the various battles were conducted and the endless charts were consulted. I actually like the basic idea behind the movement and combat mechanisms but the structure of one chart sending the players to subsequent charts which might require further dice rolls after that becomes draining.
The fact that this game includes two completely different battles (both of which have shorter "tournament scenarios") makes this a hit for me. The mechanics are relatively streamlined while still allowing for some degree of immersion into the conditions of 18th century warfare. I also appreciate the ability to learn a rules system which is applicable to other titles in Mark Miklos' ARW series.
Interesting CDG on an American war about which I know very little. I like the fact that how many movement points you have left before entering a battle can influence your readiness for the fight. I like the level of chrome here -- not too dry/abstract and not too complex from a rules standpoint.
If you've explored the master set figure options thoroughly, this set offers some new options. The price is a bit high when compared to the price of the master set. As a classicist, my favorite figures are the Romans (although I wish each of the archers was a different sculpt).
Like "The Road to the Forgotten Forest," this expansion adds some needed "coverage" terrain to Heroscape. The Snow tiles are only one color -- perhaps they should have been white on a light blue background. The ice tiles and glaciers are excellent.
This is similar to Mallidon's prophecy in that it offers 4 new packs of figures. The price is somewhat high when compared to the terrain expansions and the base set. Try to get a hold of copies at the occasional TRU half price boardgame sales, if possible (that's closer to a fair price). I think the fact that you "have to" buy three packs of the Marro Drones to utilize their special power is absurd. Buy one pack and use their power to move other Marro figures in your army as someone has suggested on this site.
An interesting Heroscape expansion that adds quite a bit of different terrain as well as some new figures for little more than the cost of a new figure pack from one of the four-part figure expansions.
The most fun for me in Heroscape is using the squad figures and this version of course focuses on superheroes. The characters are so powerful that it tends to flatten the strategy a bit in my view. The quicker set-up for a Marvel only battle makes it an easier choice to play with the kids though.
Light, fun, dice-rolling game with very nice miniatures. There are usually some interesting tactical decisions to be made (especially at the beginning of the game when one has a lot of units) and drafting one's army offers some room for strategic analysis of how to diversify one's forces and adapt a group for a certain scenario.
Another very interesting Euro game with a strong element of conflict. Combat is reminiscent of Advanced Civilization in that military aggression hurts both the attacker and defender. Although the game is primarily about economic growth and investment, the threat of combat looms over everything and makes for some tense gameplay. I love how all of your careful planning can be undone by having a rival take control of a country in which you had held the majority.
Very interesting economic development game. The integration between the operating rounds, merger phase and research&development choices each player makes is very well handled and gives the game a rare depth. Enjoyable, satisfying engine building game that does not outstay its 4 hour playtime. Components could be designed more functionally given the amount of fiddling that needs to be done over the course of the game.
Keythedral is a particulary outstanding Euro game. The method of gathering resources from fields by placing cottages on the intersections feels very much like Settlers. The auction for turn order and the use of the cottage/house numbers are an ingenious way of forcing people to plan their strategies carefully and weigh their decisions. The law cards, trading posts and the victory point tiles are all ingeniously and elegantly designed. The game is also beautifully produced with great variety in the artwork on the individual pieces. Although the individual mechanics of this game are not completely original, the game as a whole is unique and well-crafted.
The splitter certainly adds a new level of tactical depth to the game but it can also highlight problems with the beam's inaccuracy after a few bounces. I probably need to play the base game more frequently in order to really appreciate this expansion fully.
Try it for the laser gimmick but play it again because it's an interesting abstract game that forces one to look ahead spatially in an unusual way in order to place mirrors in such a way as to divert the laser beam to one's advantage. I am eager to play this further and will update my rating accordingly.
Interesting game on a conflict that I had never heard about before learning of the controversy surrounding the publication of this game. I enjoy the simplicity of the mechanics and the relatively short playing time. The frustrations involved in trying to mount a successful military campaign under the limitations of the time period were well depicted.
Very light, luck driven "take that" card game with a little hand management involved. I actually like the components (the artwork is pleasantly understated for a game/theme that is not exactly subtle). This can be fun with the right group. My kids enjoy hitting me with huge combinations. (Prize table pick-up)
This is an intriguing political/military game in the vein of Twilight struggle. My limited experience suggests it might not be quite as rich as its illustrious forebear but that's no shame. It has some unique mechanics of its own and it models its own conflict with a nice balance of detail and abstraction.
Very good block game in the tradition of Hammer of the Scots. The naval movement/attacks seem a bit fiddle to me after one play -- I don't quite understand why sea attacks cannot be supplemented by simultaneous land attacks (without resorting to the excuse that it would make the game too easy for the Brits if that rule weren't in effect). After one play, I'd say it's not quite up to the level of Hammer because it's less richly themed but it plays easily and quickly and gives a nice strategic-level overview of the American Revolution. It also suffers somewhat in my opinion by being the second best simple strategic-level ARW game since We the People is a bit better.
Very different, cooperative game. Despite the evocative artwork and apparent attention to theme, the game can feel abstract in execution -- I seldom imagine myself as a hobbit using precious resources to avoid corruption but often find myself calculating the benefits of discarding a certain number of cards to forestall an event tile.
The simultaneous secret action choice is the heart of this game. It gives it a great deal of flavor but also makes it quite chaotic. I enjoy the interactions of the special bonuses of the roles and the decisions about where to invest your resources when considering the upcoming areas to be scored.
I enjoy this unique game which effectively spices up a relatively simple press-your-luck gambling mechanic with an auction and other elements to form a whole that seems greater than the sum of its parts. The components (particularly the wooden boats) are very well done. I especially like how the harbor master can control the starting positions of the boats each round.
Meaty Economic Euro with some interesting ideas implemented. Unfortunately, the economic system is more than a bit fiddly and the way in which the prices for resources and stocks rise and fall is not completely intuitive. Our first game saw everyone pursuing a guild order strategy with less focus on the stock market; the dangers of having your stock price undercut by other sellers makes the market very risky as a longterm strategy in a large mulitplayer game.
The air rules are by no means necessary to enjoying Memoir 44. They are a little extra razzle-dazzle for the Memori fanatic who has everything. I happen to like the way the planes are handled but they do make a VERY simple game somewhat more complex. I am really getting to the point with all of my Memoir stuff where I need some way to keep track of the terrain hexes that is better than having them spread out through 5 different expansion boxes.
The extra terrain tiles are nice but this is a very high priced expansion with little payoff. The inclusion of only a handful of extra scenarios which don't even make full use of all the terrain tiles is particularly disappointing. This is far inferior to the Eastern Front expansion.
An interesting reworking of the Bonaparte at Marengo system into a larger battle. The corps command structure is well handled. The map and pieces are among the best I've ever seen in a wargame. Further play (without botching rules) will be necessary before I can give a truly well-reasoned rating. I must admit that I enjoy the tension of the hidden units but miss that element of chance that dice provide in most wargames.
Interesting, quick-playing game in which players must build palaces. The quest to construct in sequential levels for maximum efficiency reminds me of Lost Cities while the auctions remind me of several of the designer's other games. Despite some people's legitimate complaints about originality, I found the game light, quick, tense and, most importantly, fun.
I have only played the introductory and limited war scenarios so far, so I am not really in a position to give a final judgement on the game. I enjoy the ramp up from mobilization through Limited War into total war. I like the combat system. My major misgivings are some of the chrome rules regarding the Near East map, the entry/exit of US and Russia, and the exceptional rules that differentiate the individual powers and certain specific units. For a strategic overview of the conflict on this level, I would prefer that there were fewer exceptions to the rules (at the price of some of the WWI flavor). A second play has raised my rating somewhat as the basic mechanics give the game a nice flow despite the exceptions.
This was a surprisingly fun game for me. It offers a great deal of meaningful decisions in every stage of the game. There are random elements to add spice but various ways to mitigate their effects or compensate in other areas that you can control. It also plays very well with three which can be a difficult number.
This is a nice dexterity game that my whole family enjoys. Like many dexterity games Pitchcar Mini tempts one to make the "brilliant" shot but seems to reward fairly conservative control shots. This aspect can be a bit frustrating for the kids but they always get a kick when their huge shots pay off.
Interesting, relatively quick dexterity game with a light strategy component. Perhaps more strategic options will emerge as my opponents and I become more adept at the placement of the pieces. Unique if nothing else.
I have only played using the old ruleset. A very basic block game that boils down the block system into its essence of feint and movement. The combat system is quite different from its more complex block game progeny. A quick interesting tactical puzzle.
Decent implementation of a fantasy quest RPG style board game. The main problem is that the endgame simply drags on too long. I could also see replay value being limited. It has some promise however. I would like it more if it really played in and hour and a half. There should perhaps be more opportunities to gain gold.
This is a very unique game that manages to allow for some long term planning while also injecting a large dose of chaos to ruin those finely laid out plans. I am not sufficiently spatially inclined to be successful at this game and it can run a little long for what it is. A very good game that others may well enjoy more than I.
Mildly enjoyable light simulation of the Battle of Saratoga. I like this series because it introduces me to the major tactical problems faced in a number of American Revolutionary Battles. I enjoy how the importance of maintaining room to retreat compels one to use formations that imitate commanders of the time. I also like the relatively low counter density and simple rules. I would enjoy the game more if the CRT led to somewhat more dramatic results. It's tough to eliminate units here -- I understand why it's tough to eliminate units given the nature of the conflict, but I would enjoy this more as a GAME if this aspect were a bit more dynamic.
Mediocre simultaneous action selection game. Could have been a cute filler game but it's just too long and a bit too repetitive for that. Could be a good children's game if shortened but the choice of band names etc. makes that a little problematic.
This is an excellent cooperative game with tense decisions and plenty of opportunity for discussion of options on a given turn. Of course, the possibility of having a traitor in the group adds greatly to the fun. In the usual Days of Wonder fashion, the presentation is wonderful. I would have to admit that there are occasions when one's next few turns are obvious and the downtime can drag.
I have only played the two test run scenarios so far. I will update this rating when I play the full game. Very interesting, unique design that uses time pressure well (much better than Space Dealer for instance). I often find cooperative games to be very deterministic in play after a few games -- hopefully this game will break that trend.
Very nice tactical game with asymetrical sides. I especially enjoy the quick playing time but I'm not too sold on the overproduced components. I would probably prefer chits and a price tag of 1/3 the amount.
Very different story-telling game. Not a lot of strategy here but it can yield and interesting tale. I bought it to play with my daughter who is a big Betrayal on the House of the Hill fan and it shares some RPG-lite and exploration elements with that game.
Very enjoyable wargame which allows for clever tactical play with a highly streamlined ruleset. The short playing time and lack of complexity makes this an ideal introduction to traditional hex and counter wargames. It is one of very few wargames that I can actually get to the table. Thanks, MMP!
I feel that this expansion greatly adds to the main game by making the least chosen turn action siginificantly more attractive. The addition of several bonus cards encourages the drawing of extra tickets -- the aspect of the game that adds the most tension, fun and tactical depth to the gameplay. UPDATE: Further play has shown that the draw of certain expansion tickets may give players too large an advantage -- I will probably use it less frequently.
This is a very difficult game for me to rate as I feel that it is filled with a large number of good ideas but also exhibits major flaws. The space exploration/warfare theme is excellent and the variety of options allows for a truely immersive experience. In terms of game balance, however, it has some major flaws. Early turn order is a massive advantage as the Imperial Strategy is overwhelmingly powerful. The various abilities of the races are, in my opinion, not only asymmetrical but also unequal and some secret objectives are incredibly easier to achieve than others. Further the rewards of combat don't seem to measure up to the risks and perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the game is therefore significantly underutilized. Ultimately, it's too long for a game that involves such serious issues of balance and includes as much chaos as it does.
I've only played the introductory scenario of this game and need to read through additional rules in order to explore the more advanced scenarios but I've been a little underwhelmed by this classic so far. It is an innovative system that gives an interesting abstract perspective on movement, terrain, combat, command problems and fog of war. Ultimately, for the amount of complexity I would prefer to play a traditional wargame.
This is a rich game with a lot of interesting card interactions. The main knock on the game is that the players are often at the mercy of fairly random card draws that can seriously impact their success in the game. I do have to say that my first play did give me that feeling of only having very limited control over my own destiny. Perhaps a bigger knock for me is that there is little to do on other people's turns as the cards available will often shift radically by the time your turn arrives. This leads to a pretty long, random game with a lot of downtime. Perhaps it is a testament to what the game does get right that I still rate it fairly highly.
Interesting civilization expansion game -- much of the strategy involves determining how to maximize your score with limited resources by the end of your turn. The decision of when to go into decline is also always tough.
This is an excellent area control game with some interesting elements that make it difficult to determine the best course of action in a given situation. Each turn offers opportunities to develop one's species, obtain adaption cards that give special bonuses, spread one's influence around the board or hurt one's opponents. Successful players will try to find the moves that accomplish more than one goal at once. The forced auction each turn is a nice mechanic and it serves to spread the food supply around the table while offering people the opportunity to improve their position on others' turns. Timing the scoring rounds is crucial and controlling the major scoring rounds is often of primary importance. The game does suffer a bit from downtime with six.
This rating reflects my first impressions after two plays. I enjoy the ways in which small modifications to the Paths of Glory system have sped up the action and given this game a very different feel despite sharing many mechanics with its WWI predecessor. I enjoy how the Axis begins the game with two major strategic options. As with Paths of Glory, some of the chrome rules are difficult for me to memorize (as I play most games too infrequently to digest rules exceptions thoroughly) and so I rank this below some more streamlined CDGs. I would have preferred some shorter scenario options as well. Our second game also devolved into a in/out of supply seesaw between Germany and Russia that was unsatisfying and felt a bit "gamey" to me.