Don't really get this one. Card-driven and chaotic (in that the situation can change radically in a single turn), and too heavy and long for either of those traits to be desirable. To the extent that it's enjoyable, it's largely because of theme.
I like this game, but it's overrated. During the last turn, it frequently occurs that there is no useful placement of a family member, which should never happen in a worker placement game. Moreover, with more than three players it just drags on too much (even three's a bit of a stretch).
My initial reaction was that this is a pale imitation of Zooleretto (without changing enough to make it a genuinely separate game), but I think I may have short-changed it; in particular, I think the enclosure design aspect that the use of workers offers possibilities absent from its parent. Awaits further plays.
I probably only rate it even this high for nostalgia; I frittered away a lot of happy hours at this as a teenager. Still, it's over-long, overly-influenced by dice, and unbalanced, and the game plays out much the same each time.
(This rating refers to the original edition; I haven't tried any subsequent ones.)
As a legal-type, I'm annoyed by the "laws" category, almost all of which are fictitious. When I can't convince my opponents to exclude the category, I tend to use answers like "In Florida, it is illegal to use an elephant to...commit bank fraud."
The acronyms and movie titles add a great deal, though; the "famous" people, somewhat less.
If I have six people who want to play Settlers, I'm going to suggest playing two games of it. This expansion just slows down the game a whole bunch (primarily on account of the interbuild) without adding anything.
This expansion lessens the base game's fatal weakness (that the winner is usually determined with about 60% certainty after the initial setup). It also gives some additional use to wool, hitherto the poor cousin of the resources (and reduces its supply by introducing cloth). It would be nice if the three advancement tracks were better balanced, but I quite like this game.
Probably my favourite of the Carcassonne expansions, and certainly my favourite of the small ones. Very transformative, to the point that you're essentially playing an entirely different game when you incorporate this one.
Good expansion for a good game. The role selection on the extra board adds an element of strategy and interaction, and the new ships and buildings are fine. Eight rounds might be too many for some people, but there's the option of cutting them down.
This is maybe the most underrated game I own. The set collection aspect may not be groundbreaking, but the buying mechanic is terrific (and original and grid-based, which is a bit of a Dorn specialty). I also disagree with people who think that forests are the dominant strategy; in repeated playings, I've yet to find a strategy that doesn't have an effective counter.
A game from Klaus Teuber's "Catan was so successful that I might as well just design it over and over again" phase. Not terrible, but had to imagine a circumstance where I'd rather play it than Settlers.
A handful of plays has persuaded me that there may not be much here. I'm hanging on to it in case I procreate one day - this seems like a good one to introduce younger kids to basic elements of strategy and game theory.
Rated after a single play. This is an innovative game, but it seems to me that that Loch that lets you activate all of your tiles sort of breaks it - could have used more playtesting. Though people who have played it more than I have seem to like it more than I do, which may be telling.
I honestly do not understand why Rudiger Dorn isn't better renowned. His games tend to be excellent and unique; if I have a complaint about this game, it's that the auction mechanism could scale better (the grid seems much larger than necessary for two players).
This rating is for it being played with three players with the drunken bum and waitress removed; with them in (which is essential in a four player game, or you don't have enough cards), it's maybe a five.
Of all the highly-rated Euros I've played, this is the one that I just don't get (Tigris and Euphrates used to rival it, before I discovered how well it plays with two - I still don't get its popularity as a three or four player game). Feels too abstract, somehow, with the cards almost seeming like an artificial add-on. Might need to play this more.
This is my favourite filler game, though it's slightly on the long side to so-qualify. Not terribly skilled, in that you're left to guess at what the other players are doing without enough information to be really analytical about it, but chaos and hilarity tend to ensue. A proud collector exhibiting his collection to a room full of detectives never fails to elicit a laugh.
While it avoids the inherent imbalances of its more popular cousin, the advantage given to the first player to eliminate another one is too great. The buying mechanic is neat, though the limited supply of units, especially gunners, imposes a restriction that feels artificial.
There's certainly a level of strategy involved, but when players of roughly equal ability play, it very often comes down to die rolls (and, in particular, to the last roll of the game, which determines who successfully fends off the final invaders). One modification I'll make if I ever get around to it is to replace the coloured dice with coloured chits (48 of each colour, evenly distributed between one through six) that are drawn and not replaced, to normalize the players' rolling a little.
Marginally improves the (much-overrated) base game. Would prefer an expansion that replaced the dice with individualized chits drawn, without replacement, from individualized bags, to normalize the chance a little.
Basically a co-operative TCG (which at least gets rid of the whoever-spends-the-most-money-wins aspect, but is still a turnoff). Complexity for the sake of complexity. Major disappointment.
Update: After a second play, I also see elements of Battlestar Galactica here, in that the game's dressed up in all sorts of complexity, but it really comes down to which cards you draw from the deck at the relevant times. Still not a fan.
Every gamer's allowed a game or two that he ranks rather higher than it merits. This is mine: I played tons of Stratego as a kid, and this recaptures the excitement of that without mimicking its occasional repetitiveness. I do find that some of the alternatives are unbalanced (for example, old Aragorn is superior to new Aragorn, Gimli is superior to Theoden, and the Worg is superior to whatever's on the other side of the Worg), but my roommate and I would make sure all pieces got used by playing different draft variants (sometimes we'd pick our own pieces, sometimes we'd pick our opponent's pieces, and sometimes we'd do a draft variant where we'd take turns picking pieces of either side (e.g. if I was black, on my draft turn I could choose to use the Worg, or I could choose to force my opponent to use Theoden).
Rated after one play. Some really neat elements, but I felt like it was a little linear - I didn't see much possibility for game-changing moves, or strategies that were in any way unconventional. Promising enough that I want to play it more, anyway.
That this is (as of writing) the 161st highest rated game in the world is patently ludicrous: it has the chance common to all dice-driven games, and then exacerbates it by making cards also critical.
That said, I really like this game. I think it takes me back to the Axis & Allies-style games I loved as a teenager, except without the part where it takes eight hours and the Allies always win.* My girlfriend and I are both devoted Eurogamers, but we still get a hankering for some dice-driven lava-leaping rock-striding stupidity every few months.
*I understand that more recent editions have fixed some of the balance issues, but I've never played them.
Huge disappointment. The concept is good, but the execution is boring and the component design actively interferes with gameplay. Can't think of any circumstance in which any sane person would rather play this than Dominion.
A must-have for any serious Catan buff. Includes extra rules that mitigate some of the base game's weaknesses, and provides pretty endless variety (especially when combined with Seafarers). If you hate Catan, this isn't suddenly going to make you like it, but if you're playing it multiple times per week, this will add some nice variety.
I don't usually like frenzied games or co-ops, but Vlaada Chivatil makes them both work here. This is further evidence of his being probably the most innovative designer out there today. Really a lot of fun, though I'm concerned that the two CDs may limit re-play value a little.
Edit: The replay concerns were groundless, as the random selection of threats makes games very different, even when using the same track.
The eternally baffling thing about this game is that it's listed as being for 3-4 players, but is only actually any good with two (any more and the huge changes that can take place between turns make even short-term planning nigh on impossible).
With three or four, it's fast-paced chaos without a great deal of skill. With two, it's a little more strategic, but can sometimes devolve into tit-for-tat, with whoever runs out of cards first losing. Overall, a pretty decent filler.
I'm credited as a playtester for this one, and I'm a little irritated by some of the people fobbing it off with low ratings after a single play (though I'm plenty guilty of this with other games, so I'm not *that* irritated). There's no question that this is light, but it's not a kids' game; it plays in under half an hour, and has more than enough depth to sustain that, even for serious gamers.
As a kid I used to love the epic wargames, but now I'm more into the Euros. This is an epic wargame with some Euro sensibilities; as importantly, it feels like an epic wargame should, even to someone (like me, believe it or not) who's not really into the whole Tolkien thing.