Another interesting twist on playing your cards and trying to avoid points. There seemed to be two powerful strategies, with one being about one point per round better than the other.
That said, what a fun game and one of the better options for 6(+?) players.
Update: I'm not 100% there is much to this game - it's incredibly difficult to separate yourself from other players with each round being about trying to eke out an extra point lead or so. Combined with the luck factor here, this might be a bit of a miss for me.
Disclaimer: I've only played part of a round; we played the family stage but not the following stage.
15 Dias seemed... very random. From a hand of ~5 cards, you play one as a family member and then is gets discarded or swapped before you take a turn. So you play another and it gets discarded again...
It really didn't feel as though there was any space for tactical or even clever play.
There were also some graphic design issues that didn't make the game run as smoothly as it could; the icons looked pretty similar to each other and the colour variations would make it seemingly unplayable for a colour blind player.
Based on a play of the introductory scenario this seems to have promise, though could perhaps be let down by some seemingly apparent main strategies. It's possible that the native's ability to cross water prevents both teams just heading for the bottlenecks on the map, but it didn't seem to massively on a first play. Needs further investigation, but a promising start.
Update: There are some major swings of luck in here; with the card draw, the need to have the Truce cards available (you might not draw the one you have for almost the entire game), the dice have hugely variable outcomes with the differences between flee and kill being entirely decisive and the hugely variable turn order. As such this game really only works when turns are fast and you hammer through the game. This is not a game to ponder over.
I love the back-and-forth, the battle for New York, the vindictive cards and the multiple methods to influence states.
Update: Having just played this again after a while, I love the tense finishes and the tough choices over which cards to bury and which to play (and sometimes block).
Update 2: Playing this with different opponents every time, it is interesting to see people try out different strategies; whether they fight over New York, the issues or move around the board and try to pick up other areas.
The back-and-forth does now seem to be a little zero-sum and you can spend entire turns just undoing what your opponent has just done.
Rating down from 7.9 to 7 as this seems to take just a little longer than it really should.
Ultimately traded for £25 as I just can't see it getting played.
A light dicefest with some interesting decisions and hand management aspects. It offers, perhaps, less control than Pizza Box Football but more decisions. As such, it is probably the more accurate simulation, even though it does seem to feel pretty similar in game play.
Fun enough and if I didn't already own PBF, I'd probably pick this up.
Update: The dice really just make too much of an impact in this game. I can see how it is meant to simulate the variable outcomes in a real game, but it just feels too swingy here. Even the 2-12 variation of the dice in Pizza Box Football isn't so bad as it is here...
Hmm. There are 4 teams in this expansion; 2 are all defence and no offence and the other 2 are all offence and no defence.
Playing the 2 similar teams against each other is not overly exciting; the 2 defensive teams don't make for a great game as you trade field position and the offensive teams march up and down the field unopposed, even when subbing in the improved defensive dice from the other teams.
Playing a shoot-out is relatively interesting, but it almost seems as though you can score without any difficulty. I suspect it might be more interesting when playing one against the other, but suspect it might be hugely favouring toward the offensive team...
An interesting little game of bluff, spatial movement and planning. I don't know how much depth there is and whether I'll still be enjoying this after 30 plays, but at the moment, it provides a quick play with a tense finish.
I had pretty low expectations for this. I'd seen it be played and it looked pretty impossible to actually determine much through anything other than dumb luck and then to improve upon that. Having now played it, I can say that's partially not true. Being able to see whether the 'fun' card is good or bad encourages or discourages outlandish behaviour but the cards are so random, there's basically no information available for you to score well or consistently.
Oddly, two rounds seems too long for the interest to be maintained, but not enough rounds to discern anything.
Hard to rate after one play as I have no idea how many rules we got right/completely wrong, but it seemed to make coherent sense so I'm optimistic.
There are so many possibilities with each card and added to the fact that you have to essentially plan your next turn during this one, it is entirely possible that game could bog down massively with AP players, but with 2 playing pretty quickly, this worked well.
Update: On a second play, we didn't interact at all, just programmed our turns while the other player thought what they were going to do on their turn and waited to be told to start.
Most rules were right, based on a quick re-read of the rules and an intro video on the geek.
A perfect closer to any gaming night. We tend to play one hand and score a number of times over rather than playing to the recommended 66 which can mean that a run of bad cards will kill you, but great fun nonetheless.
Update: I've now played this 75 times and can honestly say that I love it. It's a wonderful joy teaching it to people (once they get the rule about placing lower value cards).
I quite liked the addition of the Tower of Babel - having another thing to do with discarding cards perhaps even reduces the luck in the game as a bad hand of cards can suddenly be useful even if you already have sufficient money. The fact that it also adds interaction in the changing rules and the ability to dick over other players by limiting their synergies or affecting their ability to do what they're trying to do is a nice addition, though it does add to my concerns about people forgetting the changing rules and inadvertently cheating.
Adds a nice little bit of player interactivity especially when playing with Leaders as stage II means all other players lose 2 money. That might be enough to prevent a leader being hired next age and can make a massive difference.
This doesn't seem to add a huge amount to the game, at the expense of a few more icons and one more round. Is this the first mediocre 7 Wonders expansion?
It'll need to be played with the teams option to fully rate it, but so far, it's a tentative 'meh'.
Update: The 8 player team mode makes for an almost entirely different game. It was unlike anything else 7 Wonders, but was fun in and of itself. In fact, I'd go so far as to say Team 7 Wonders is a totally separate, and much heavier, game. And very good it is too.
This card exists for all the right reasons and adds Repos to the list of publishers that I have a soft spot for.
As to the card itself, I can see why it was rejected from the list of original expansion cards. At 5 gold, it is very expensive to recruit and is very situational. Sometimes it is the best card you could hope for, but it seems as though pretty often, it doesn't help at all.
This seemed distinctly more activity than game and I'm really not sure where there is any scope for either good play or bad. There is a tiny dexterity aspect to the crepe making but even that is an optional extra that you don't even have to attempt.
It is, of course, gloriously produced and looks wonderful but there really didn't seem to be anything beyond the wonderful production values.
A kind-of brilliant team game. I feel as though different words could have been used that would feel more 'authentic' but that's a pretty minor quibble. I'm also unsure exactly how long the inflatable clubs will last for...
As it is, it works remarkably well.
Update: Once people have played this once or twice, you start to learn the patterns, if not the actual positions of the pieces, making the game really far too easy and more about speed guessing than communication. It's still an excellent game, we've just played it out.
I had high hopes for this, but it turns out that Hanabi without the clever giving and managing of clues descends into fairly random guesswork (and a lot of counting). The spells didn't seem to be particularly interesting either which was a shame.
Also, I think that the '4' spell might be massively overpowered, but from 1 play I don't have anything conclusive.
Abyss is a charming family game with some gentle set collection and push your luck, undermined by theme which makes it much less playable. The colours of each set are a bit murky and dark and how they relate to the theme makes no sense to me at all - and so collecting the land that scores you for 'political leaders' really could have been any of the colours.
It's beautiful to look at, but I don't think anyone will still be playing this in 3-5 years.
Update: This is very nearly a really good game; I love the idea of most of what you do benefiting other players - exploring makes cards available to other players, taking one costs you pearls, going looking for a specific card fills up the sets for people to swoop in and take, looking at lots of scoring lands makes more available for others, but the game just doesn't quite hold together for me. The lands are swingy and variable, the game is just too fiddly for a family game, and the attack cards are too punishing for a player to be able to make themself immune. A shame as there's a lot of interesting design decisions in here.
A slightly dry, mathy game that everyone should probably try at least once.
It doesn't really compare to many modern games, but wouldn't look massively out of place in a collection.
Update: the game is better than I originally gave it credit for. Cashflow really is king and getting cut out of the first few deals can be devastating. It also has possibly the same problem with T&E in that an unfair number of turns can be significant. You certainly want to be the one to end the game.
A very simple push your luck game, with a little memory aspect added in. It's a decent and pleasant little game, that probably has 5 or so plays in it in total.
It's gloriously overproduced which then unfortunately makes it far too expensive for what it is. This should be meeples and 2D. It'd lose some charm but could then also sell for half the price it does; at which point it'd be worth picking up.
Oddly, the Japanese theme is even weaker than the Risk Express theme was - perhaps because it was more obvious - but AoW is a good and straight forward re-printing of that hard to get game. It's far from life changing, but plays in 20 minutes or so and has some decent moments of mild tension. An easy opener to a game night.
Hmm. So, at the beginning I drew a mission card which said 'if you don't have any arrows pointed at you, score this mission in a faction for 3 points'. Well, early on that won't be the case, so as long as one card is in one of the 2 factions near me, there's 3 points every turn for free. So, opponents, do you have any cards to steal the mission or kill the agent? If not, I'll score 3 points every turn and the only thing you can do is play more cards in to the same faction, giving me either more points or some abilities. Let's draw a second mission: 'if there are 2 dead agents adjacent to each other in one of your factions, score 3 points'. Marvellous, that's easy since everyone has been killing off powerful agents. Now I'm scoring 6 points each turn. Try and stop me.
Hmm. This felt a little underdeveloped. It seems like there is little scope for clever play and a lot of room for lucky card draws. The decisions felt pretty slight and never difficult to decide between. One player said 'it feels like they're trying to be too clever'. I think she may have been right.
Quite an enjoyable game, but I'm not honestly sure how many of the actual rules we played. The stands seem to be pretty essential and anyone that didn't build one couldn't produce enough money. Outside of that, I quite like all of the different ways you can choose to build in.
I think it will take a few plays for the required subtlety of the scapegoat to really come out, but this plays pretty well.
In our first game, within 5 minutes, we had lies and threats and promises of loyalty and then lots of stealing and running away.
This game could be great and I look forward to trying out the 'B' sides of the locations.
Update: The B sides do add a little variety without being game-changing or game-breaking. Mostly, they offer the opportunity to swap items without the use of an AP.
I like the game, but too often there was little to debate or argue about as it was clear who could stop the plan and who couldn't. Random card draws, both in missions and in Scapegoat cards, seem to determine the winner(s) more than I'm happy with. So very nearly a great game, but for me it just lacks that little magic spark.
I had a lousy first play of this, in part from some bad luck in the early mixes I made, but it felt a lot as though it was a mediocre worker placement game with a lousy deduction game bolted on to it.
The random factors also seem to detract from it as does the overwhelming ability to get screwed out of something just 'because'. An example; I was interested in picking up an artifact, but the player going last (I was third in placing) also had enough money to buy it, so I did other things instead. Next turn, that same player has spent his money, didn't seem to want the artifact last turn and is again the only player placing after me, so this time I place a worker to buy the artifact. The player after me places a worker on selling a potion and then places above me to take the artifact, leaving me with nothing.
Too much noise and randomness for me I suspect, where there's little to read other players' actions.
I'll be reading the rulebook shortly and I'll try it again to see if it was just an isolated experience, but this gimmick failed to excite or entertain me.
Xeno Explorations: Use energy (and give it to opponents) to temporarily use one bonus power... Zzzzzz... Nobody used it all game. I'm not a great fan of Alien Frontiers. What it didn't need was the potential for more AP.
An unusual experience - the first scenario was tense, nicely tactical and enjoyed by both of us. The second scenario started promisingly, we then passed a lucky 'conscience check' (IIRC, a 10% chance of success, but we'd have three goes at it) on the first roll which sucked all of the tension out of the game. The third and final scenario (the Powerloader Ripley vs. Alien Queen) is awful and entirely random. A terrible end to an otherwise good, and possibly very good, game. Production quality leaves a lot to be desired though.
There's a decent hand management aspect to the game which allows you to protect yourself from the 'take-that' to some extent. The humour in the game goes some way to paper over the cracks but provided this is played quickly, it's a decent little game.
I'd heard criticisms about this being a fairly blatant rip-off of 7 Wonders. And it is. Unfortunately, they've added nothing that improves the game and instead only worsened it.
The scoreboard is terrible and unclear. Once a few cards are laid out, it's impossible to tell which colour each player is, there is a huge amount of text that you now need to be aware of and the colours are a garish mess.
Add in to the fact that of the 4 alien races dealt out at the start, one was capable of scoring a maximum of 5 points (choose and score an additional hidden scoring card) versus one which gifted a player 10 points and helped him win 2 end game bonuses (your reactor is every colour).
This is a little dry and really doesn't have any pretence of a catch-up mechanism of any sort. It's purely about churning out points marginally more efficiently than your opponents. In a three player game this can result in 2 players getting in each other's way which should result in the third player winning easily. I love the quality of the tiles though and though this isn't a game I'd pick up, I don't think I'd resist too much if someone wanted to play it.
First play: 20 minutes of teaching and then on the first run into R&D, I hit a snare. Lose all my cards; game over.
We pretend that card didn't happen, put it to one side and carry on.
Later, in 2 runs at R&D, I pull 2 agendas back to back, I'm now 5-0 up and the other player basically has no chance at this point. All essentially just luck of the draw.
Essentially, this is another typical FFG game for me: lots of artwork, lots of stupid cards that I need to be able to read upside down from across the table, very few meaningful decisions (hmm, I can run freely at that pile, or try that heavily protected one; let's play this card and see if it's worth it - nope, it's a bluff), every time I play a card in to my display, I then have to check the other 8 cards to see if they do something, oh and lots of jargon that 'adds' theme, but makes it largely incomprehensible.
It's like an A-Z of bad game design. Poor. Even by FFG standards.
Trade information and hope to have the right card in hand at the end. Technically there is information to be gained from what people discard, but since no-one is making a fully informed decision until very late on the value of that information is questionable at best.
Get dealt 2 syringes and you're probably in trouble as you're relying on others to discard X cards before you can do much with them unless you just want to hope for a lucky draw from someone's hand (a bad idea generally, but possibly worthwhile right at the end).
Antidote is not a terrible game, but it's not one I can ever really see me playing again.
The 'board' felt a little crowded with 4, but was good fun with a balance of light-hearted screwage, direct attacks and evasion.
I'd be interested to see how it works with 2, but I suspect 3 might be unbalanced if one player goes on the offensive against another.
Update: On a second play, it's odd how the swings of randomness can absolutely destroy a player. In a 4 player game, I discovered 4 times and found 2 (of the 2) sea spaces. Essentially, a guaranteed loss.
The officer role is an odd one too and it takes one of your two actions, so unless you're using it defensively, you never have enough actions to take advantage of it and it'll likely change before it comes back round to you.
The game is fast enough that it ceases to be a major issue, but it's not one I think I'd find myself recommending/asking to play.
This seemed to end a little too quickly; so that the only viable strategy seemed to be to try and mate as quickly as possible and as many times as possible and hope to grab a quick victory over a weaker opponent. With more turns, other options would perhaps be more viable. The 'roar' tile also seemed to be massively more useful than the others.
I'd like to play again with the advanced combat rules.
An oddly fiddly mechanism for allowing you to choose which tile you pick (though it seemed to actually be pretty easy to manage throughout the game) combined with a push your luck aspect of how high you try and score versus waiting too long to 'crash' them and losing out on points as the scoring spots were already taken made for a mildly diverting, if largely unmemorable game.
Arboretum feels very much like it was designed by a Knizia fan; the scoring is very tight and there are a few clever twists in there. Unfortunately, the optimum way to play seems to be to encourage others to block players whilst completely ignoring that element yourself. If you only hold cards in your hand that allow you to score all of the colours you have played, then that is the perfect hand for you. If you've clogged your hand up with blocking cards it is less efficient. Consequently, this style of play has become dominant in our group in just a small number of plays and so the game now has no tension.
The more I think about this, the less I like it. The action selection is fairly generic but worked well and seemed fresher because of the circular board. The discovery seemed to massively favour those who found stone in the early turns and then those who found tiles that fitted later on.
I really am starting to dislike hidden objectives, especially when scores might be so low that happening to have achieved an extra card was with 1/3 of someone's score.
Oddly though despite all of these issues, I quite enjoyed my first play.
Update: On a second play, the game felt less chaotic and it was largely possible to formulate a plan and stick to it. That said, the traitor card is bloody stupid and so if they are last in turn order the game encourages losing players to abandon the game and let everyone lose as resources are so tight that they have no incentive to spend anything to keep the game going.
Further update: The more I think about this, the more convinced I am that this game is broken as it comes. In my most recent play of it, I offered the player who was able to avert the crisis that killed us enough resources to effect a four point swing in his favour. This would have taken him from last to joint second. This is before he collected stone which was being offered by another player and was a known VP condition. However, because the resources I was offering were hidden, neither he nor I knew their true value. How can you negotiate with resources when their relative values are unknown and largely unknowable? To fix this game, you probably need to start with more money, have all objective cards face up and completely change/abandon the turn order bidding. Of course, you'd still have a lot of useless, overpriced cards in the game.
Rating down from 6.4 to 4.8, but this could easily be my first one rating. I think, in most circumstances, it is broken.
I dislike deck-builders. We should probably start with that point.
It seems to address if not quite solve some of the issues I have with other deck-builders, namely that I can basically ignore the other players (because of the the skirmish) that we look at the cards available at the start and devise a plan and then see whose was better an hour later (because of the digging and contested stacks of cards).
That's not to say that there are clearly some massive luck factors in the game. Can you ever afford to pass up contesting a 5 person Tribe Family? It's too many VPs to give up for free, but you really want to see that card going in to the last skirmish and not the first.
All in all, it's a decent game, but not one I'd ever consider owning.
A pretty fast dice game. It is very attack orientated, but the attacks are so numerous that cards don't stay with you very long so you don't have time to get upset about it.
It needs more plays to see how well balanced it is between luck and skill, but it warrants the extra plays...
Update: After quite a few more plays, it seems that many of my gaming partners are not keen on A:R2. Which is a shame as it's a lot of fun and plays in next to no time. The game is obviously better when it doesn't bog down and last more than 45 minutes, but I don't actually recall the last time that happened.
A very pleasant little tile-laying game where you control a mini-stock market type mechanism to try and sell your coloured seals at a premium. Possibly relies too much on people taking sub-optimal decisions to block other players, but quite good fun and relatively fast to play.
As described by Greg Pettit (Gregarious) whom I have never met, but stole my thoughts when he described the game thusly;
You mean we've spent all this time wandering around this asylum fighting random monsters, gathering tools, and losing our sanity waiting for this thing, and now it's just a die roll? Why the hell didn't we just wake up Cthulu three friggin' hours ago?
Traded for (signed, Essen edition) Galaxy Trucker.
I've almost no concept of how to do well at this game. It seemed like it was very difficult to screw others over without messing with your own score. I suspect there was more to the game than came across in the first play, but I don't know when I'll see it hit a table again to find out.
There are some good things here, and a couple of great things but it doesn't quite work for me.
The negotiations are too heavily guided by the random tile draws and I can't quite see a solution to fix this. If you end up with your -4 tile being your secret agenda, you end up losing out either way. If only there was a fairer/better way of determining short-term goals, this could be really good.
A relatively fun little game, though there are some horrible party game imbalances (the 'control' zones simply give better players more turns and the orange and red areas should only be available to teams that are behind), but the game itself is quite fun. Easy to descend into arguments though, as our play and anecdotal evidence would suggest.
Dexterity games just don't do it for me (Animal Upon Animal isn't dexterity; it's a game of your ability to deal with stress) and the mixture of tech trees and flicking are two of my least favourite mechanisms.
That said, it's a well designed version of the two, it's just not my bag, baby.
Just another deck building game. Lacks the theme or excitement of Nightfall and the central stack of cards is not really any different to Thunderstone's cave. Essentially; either pick all runes or all power and go all in, or hedge your bets and split between the both (probably the best strategy for winning percentages).
Surprisingly fun and, what seemed to be, pretty balanced.
Odd that the Rebels should be able to win by killing everything in a scenario that's about them hanging on long enough to escape, but perhaps that was a consequence of sub-par playing on the Empire's part.
As much as I've grown to hate Star Wars, and all things SW related, this game does a decent job of capturing the feel of the movie scene(s) and was good to play. I can see this being reprinted as it has aged really well.
Disclaimer: You absolutely have to be okay with throwing tons of dice.
This felt a little like Knizia might have phoned this design in somewhat.
Perhaps there is scope for interesting play here, but I don't really care for it enough to find out.
It's exceptionally short playing time is probably the only reason I'd every sit down to play this again. I'm usually willing to invest 3 minutes in most things (except new-age anything or alternative medicine).
Very pretty little tiles but the chance for AP (since you can't really plan anything until your turn) and the seeming randomness (since tiles covered by others can be anywhere between 1 and 7 points) put me off quite a bit.
As it is; a fun little game, but not one I'd ever rush to play.
A tense little 2 player game that is nicely vindictive and plays in very little time.
Update: Played again after a gap of about 16 months. What a good game this is. Yes, it's a little dependant on the draw of cards, but it's so fast and so much fun, I don't care. The tiles and characters themselves are also really nicely drawn; the box art (which bizarely convinced a friend to buy it) is totally misleading as to the type of game it is and puts most people off.
An interesting game that starts as a race game and the key to winning is realising when winning the race (by connecting temples) is no longer possible and knowing when to make the game an efficiency game.
You can attack other people's efficiency engines by playing tiles to block where they can build for free, you can time when to add new terrain tiles to allow you to time when to make a mad rush for connecting temples and there are many other strategies and options in play.
A really wonderfully produced and engaging push your luck/betting game. The theme just about makes sense and holds everything together and the very blatant catch-up mechanism means everyone should be pretty much still involved right up until the end.
It's probably a little expensive for me to consider picking it up, but it's a game I'd certainly be happy to play any time.
Described as bingo in Rome. And it really is. The only choices are:
1) Where to allocate your soldiers (obvious) 2) Whether to take a scoring token (obvious) 3) Which mission to take next (requires mild thought) 4) Whether to use any of your abilities (almost always obvious)
And yet, somehow, this was quite fun... There is no element of skill and I suspect my dog would beat me twice in every five plays, but it was oddly playable. I am currently unsure exactly why.
Play the old version; less cards make it a tougher race, more choke points make it more ruthless, more tracks make it more versatile.
That said, the new version is still pretty good fun!
Update: The problem with Ave Caesar, like too many racing games is that once you're out in front, it's very difficult for you to lose. In the same vein, it's all but impossible for the person in last to recover.
The game doesn't have enough pieces for you to set it up (as per the set up instructions) and you have to sub-in coins, that doesn't bode well at all...
Having now played it... it is okay. It's too long, the Americans really have very little to do for three hours, the winner is basically determined in the first few rounds and there isn't really any replayability as it is basically scripted (Germany: take Russia or lose). Not one to seek out.
A not particularly interesting game where there is a small element of bluffing and guesswork, though if you've paid any attention you saw the three cards chosen and so should have a pretty good idea of what your options are.
Even for such a quick game, there were too many instances where players were doing nothing.
I *love* the theme of this, but the game drags on much longer than needed. If you have 2 people with the same (or very similar) winning conditions playing in a 3 player game it is massively unbalanced. There are too many cards that randomise things too much.
Basically, the timeline is a nice mechanic but all the other cards (i.e. the ones you draw) seem poorly thought out and basically unplaytested.
This could just have easily have been a co-op game with all players being characters from the alternative timelines, trying to prevent themselves being erased... from existence. A decent game first time around, but a massive let down by play 2.
I finally got around to playing this game and I have to say, it's actually pretty decent. Just enough strategy in the game to make it playable but I suspect that most games will work out being similar to each other.
With all of the Basari, Edel Stein & Reich games, it does feel that they're all very similar and often whichever one you played first is your favourite. For me, the card game version adds portability at the cost of increased randomness in the travelling option (we've always used the variant movement between turns in Basari). It's a good game, but I never need to play it again as I own Basari which for me is the better game.
If nothing else, having more gems makes for more opportunities to make interesting offers to players.
I still have no idea, after 2 full plays, whether there is anything to this game. I'm sure that if I tracked what cards people were buying and retiring (sending to the minors) then I'd be better, but with 3+ players, that is almost impossible. Intentionally so, seemingly. And yet I'm still happy to play it each time. I'm unsure why that is - perhaps it is a combination of the company I play it with and the opinions of those I trust who rave about the game, but I'm not sure I see the magic that they do in this design.
We played 5 players and I think this might be too many. All but 1 tile was taken and we only got to win approximately 1 auction each. That makes the auctions themselves pointless and basically random if you win an early one (and then have no chance to compete later on).
It looks pretty and I wanted to like it. I didn't.
If Kemble's Cascade is trying to recreate a fast playing video game then it fails badly. It is pretty light and really shouldn't involve AP, but it's far from a brainless, fast twitch game. I really dislike a lot of the production; the ships are cheap and look pretty rubbish, the card trays are functional at best and I personally dislike the 80's style artwork.
The game itself was moderately interesting with a pretty simple progression; get better everything in order to give yourself more option. It all functioned pretty well together, but the rulebook was a bit of a mess and it was never deeply engaging.
BoFA seems very much to be in the mould of; thrown enough stuff in and people will a) like it because of how complex it is and b) if it's broken, it doesn't matter because everyone will have bought it by then anyway.
I don't actually know that it is broken, but how could you possibly balance that many moving parts? There is almost certainly a major issue there somewhere.
Despite those quibbles, and the messy design of dice choosing actions, but each action being three or four different things, I quite enjoyed BoFA. I can't see it being something I'll play frequently, but it was an interesting game in the Stronghold/Seven Sword vein.
Thus far, I've only played scenarios 2 & 3 which don't have any magic and only just had the appearance of 'Goblinoids'. Without the magic and fantasy bolt-ons, this is a very good Memoir adaptation, adding tactical depth and a more interesting theme (the 100 years war) at the expense of cost (no doubt) and not much else. The tactics in the 2 scenarios both seemed to reward aggressive play which bodes pretty well over something like C&C(r):Napoleonics which seemed to favour holding defensive positions, making this play much faster and freer.
Rating could well plummet with the additional scenarios.
Epic certainly seemed to add a decent amount of scale to the battle; we used almost all of the miniatures in the base game.
That said, I think I'd rather like to see a game where you can fight it out to the last man standing rather than playing to a set number of points; it leaves me feeling a little as though there is conflict still to resolve.
I enjoyed my first play of this, in part due to some terrible tactics by my opponent that perhaps made the scenario seem much more balanced than it actually is.
Assuming that the rest of the scenarios are equally balanced (I have no idea if this is true), then this is a promising addition to the Memoir set of games.
It has a far higher toy quality than Commands & Colours, but also seems to offer much more varied strategies than that game. If future plays end up being as promising as the first, I might well end up picking up a copy of this.
Update: The rules overhead is just too much. If this isn't a lifestyle game, then there's a ton of flicking idly through the rulebook each time you want to play. This was most evident having just played BattleLore where DoW cleverly give each player a reference card showing what each unit does, how it moves etc. BoW - nothing.
I still want to love this game, but can't help but feel that The Resistance does all the good things this does and plays in a fraction of the time.
I guess it has a more epic feel than The Resistance, but I have much less desire to play this now than I used to...
Update: the game is, sadly, solvable for the humans which breaks it. It's also so hugely padded out, with 20 minutes of gameplay in three hours of sitting at the table. That's entirely unforgivable. Yes, I've had some epic, memorable plays of this, but it has also delivered some of my least favourite gaming memories.
Rating down from 6 (from a high 7 originally) to 3.
(Note that I've actually played this ≈20 times, but it was pre-game logging)
Take an already overlong game and pad it out even more.
Give a second ship that can take damage for you so that there is one less genuine threat for the humans and add treachery cards that no human in their right mind would ever collect and this expansion does nothing for me other than reinforce the idea that The Resistance is the better game.
Oh, what a crushing disapointment. I'd been looking forward to playing this for years having seen it being built from afar on a number of occasions.
Unfortunately, the bidding mechanic is a little underbaked and the game just doesn't deliver the laughs that Animal upon Animal does.
The first two games (as listed in the rulebook) are also far too long, even with a misplayed rule where the base could only be one piece instead of as many as the player chooses (which would surely only make the game longer).
Is this entirely chaotic, or can you actually start to plan if you card count (even if you only count your own)? Either way, it was an enjoyable 20 minutes and is another really well made Zoch game, even if it is prone to some horrific king-making opportunities.
Another classic Knizia game. Essentially it is a hand management game with a push your luck aspect (as so many of the faster playing Knizia's are). It does what it does very well, has a very pretty board (with a slightly jarring graphic design), decent art on the cards and enough meaningful decisions and hidden information to make the game fun to play. Recommended!
A more complicated Kingdoms, but I'm not sure it is better for the changes. I suppose it offers the game a bit more replayability, but at the expense of the elegance of design...
Update: It really is pretty swingy with the tiles that cancel out others (the mead/drunkeness tiles and the valour ones too) though so long as you're aware of these you can at least choose whether to attempt to score them. The dragon in Kingdoms is here, except now it is also a -6 tile. All in all, too much randomness added to a game that isn't without randomness any way.
Luck in dice rolls (to move) compounded by luck in the form of where the cloud moves, compounded by luck in the values of shares as they appear means this really doesn't seem to have any strategic value at all and provided you don't make a few (pretty obvious) tactical mistakes, the game almost plays itself. It's not *not* fun, but it's not quite fun either...
I've played this twice now and both times it has fallen really flat for me.
Wandering around aimlessly until something (entirely random) happens is not my idea of a fun game. Do I want to stay close to the others in case I turn out to have to kill them all, or should I keep my distance in case they're trying to kill me? Since there is precisely no information to base the decision on, it ceases to be a decision.
An unusual imperfect information card draft, followed by an auction for the 'rejected' cards.
The 2 parts of the game just feel a little too disjointed and unrelated, but I have to say I enjoyed this.
Update: Played again and is much better now we're playing it correctly and I know what I'm doing! Surprising how much the imperfect information comes into effect, even with only 2 players. It is a pretty subtle game and takes a few plays to really wrap your head around how to play well.
Spatial placement with clever hand management, a little take that and general dickery, make this a great little three player game. Playing with 5 was too many (as I think everybody knows by now) but I reconfirmed it just in case.
I love the addition of the City Centre and the decision point that gives.
This looks so promising and the theme is so interesting, but beyond being a fairly complicated teaching tool (complicated for non-gamers) I fail to see the point of this. As a game it seems to fail quite badly. Slightly misjudge when the bubble will burst and you're left with worthless stocks which only continue to decline in value. At that point your options are too hope to ride it out and come last, or sell for next to nothing and come last.
What a spectacularly uninteresting second half of the game as your decisions are basically to see whether you can afford to buy silver or not. A disappointment.
Blokus is just a little too dry and dull for me and it seems a lot as though it is decided pretty early on and then you're simply just going through the motions until we can score. Playing 2 player, with 2 colours each is a mess.
It seems to play slightly mechanically and though it has some interesting options (mostly at the start) it quickly descends into mild tedium.
Also, though I understand that the box is designed for travel, it is woefully unfit for purpose. It's all but impossible to remove the playing pieces from the storage area and then almost entirely impossible to remove them from the play area. We resorted to smashing the board upside down on the table... Not how I usually want to treat my games, but somehow fitting in this instance.
For all the dice rolls going on in this game, it really is a lot of fun.
I played a BB enthusiast (it was my first game) and though I only won 1-0, it was the most one-sided game ever. Essentially, I brought American Football knowledge and tactics to the game, tweaked it to take in to account the difference in rules and proceeded to play him off the pitch.
We're now looking to set up a league which I'm eagerly anticipating.
The randomness of hiring Freebooters and Stars almost breaks this game (and can break some individual plays) but there is enough going on in other aspects to help it retain most of the fun of Blood Bowl, with less tactics and less strategy.
It really doesn't need to be a Blood Bowl game, as it has almost nothing in common outside of theme.
I think I'd always rather play regular Blood Bowl, but this is a decent alternative for 4 people or those who have less than 2 hours.
Update: the more I play this the more apparent it becomes how massively luck heavy this is. A few dice rolls go in your favour at the start of the game and you might get to recruit 3 star players. If your opponent has none, you're then at a massive advantage in round 2. Do well in round 2... snowball effect. Conversely, if you get a couple of useless Freebooters over a Star Player, you're screwed. Some of the power-ups are just better than others. All in all, this is a nice idea, done badly with my pet hate of tiny cards that people need to be aware of across a table.
A pretty little game, fun for 30 minutes. I'm never in a rush to play it, but I always tend to enjoy it.
Tends to be quite a close finish too...
Those dragon scales are more valuable than you realise.
Update: I wonder what the original theme was here, but there's a strong aspect of leeching/working with others and (for the most part for me) finishing their work to either get a small reward for little work or a lot of reward (by doing the 'most' in a location) for a decent amount of work. The game can leave you behind if you end up at the other side of the board from people and if they're not working with you (and stealing the dragons) but this is a nice, slightly vicious, fast game.
I'd been keen to try this for a long time, but it just didn't click with me at all. I don't understand why the beginner decks would contain so many cards that have the promise of interesting combos but not the matching cards required to make those combos work.
As a result, I found the gameplay a little dull and uneventful.
A fun little semi-co-operative brick building game. It falls in to the same game space as something like Uggtect and both games have some replayability issues. I think my main issue with La Boca is that one side of the puzzle often seems to be much easier than the other so with varied abilities in the team, you can get massively swingy results. There also doesn't seem to be much in the way of balance between how easy the 'easy puzzles' are. Some are clearly easier to construct than others.
All of that rather spoils the game as a competitive beast, but played for laughs (as it probably should be) it's pretty fun.
I finally managed to play this - it takes a little too long for what it is and I'd be interested to see just how luck dependent the card draws make the game, but the basic idea of the game is decent. In summary, not one I'd rush to play again and again, but I certainly didn't hate it.
This was described to me as Dungeon Lords without all the complexity and worker placement. Well, it is, but only in theme. It has none of the depth, scope of choices, creative solutions, clever dependencies of chains of actions. It's a simple 'throw cards down' little filler that is pretty heavily dependant on card draw. Oh, and don't accidentally go for the same icons as another player; you'll essentially be guaranteed to lose.
There's really little here of value. I don't really care for the artwork, it was never funny and the random take-that from spells added nothing. Tedious deterministic combat.
Played with the right group, this was a lot of fun. It might well be almost entirely random and with 6 players (which is probably best) it seemed to split into two groups. Group A would collect cards while Group B scored them and then vise-versa but this isn't a game you really play to win so strangely it didn't seem to matter.
With 6 it finished just quickly enough. With fewer players, I'd be tempted to remove some cards to keep the game brief as I think it shines if it's over quickly.
Choose 1 of 2 cards. Each one has a good thing and a bad thing (which sometimes might be good).
Do the good thing (which might be bad) and then the bad thing (which might be good). Potter around on a map which feels like it was meant to be big tiles and miniatures and then got massively scaled back. Each location is essential a 50/50 random draw of potentially good stuff (recruit allies!) or bad stuff (lose health!), though some areas are always bad, but give you stuff you need (so always worth visiting, pretty much?).
You track your life/resources. Buying equipment costs resources and hiring mercenaries does too. Both are useful. But then you have less life. This sounds more interesting than it was.
Anyway, we won in 2 rounds. We could have won on turn 3 if one tile had come out differently. Utter balls. With some nice pictures. Ask me in a week and I might not remember the game already.
Oh, God. The cards. What on earth is this? Is this a seven or is that artwork that mostly obscures a sword mean it's actually a six?
Of course, being a traditional card game it has stupid rules. 3s are now the second highest card, for no apparent reason.
Beyond the stupid exceptions and the horrible artwork, the game is decent. Being 'picked' to be on the winning bidder's team is always a bad thing. You score fewer points then them if they win and do worse than the team if you lose. Oh, and it requires a scoring change to prevent it possibly being never ending.
I love Witches Brew, but it does have a tenancy to drag on a little too long sometimes. Broom Service absolutely addresses that, limiting the game to a number of rounds, but the board is poorly designed and difficult to use (and entirely non-colour blind friendly) and the extra cards added a small amount more to the game. I'd be happy owning either, but with WB in my collection already, I don't need BS.
I've always quite liked the smaller, faster Feld games and Bruges falls into that category. As a result, I quite liked it, but found it a little dull in places, the card draw doesn't really offer any control at all and I'd really struggle to say how it would be any different play to play.
Another one of these Queen games that looks friendly with its cartoony art, but has a reasonable potential for viciousness. There's lots of noise and the game is so fast, it becomes (intentionally, I think) hard to track the tiles.
Ultimately, it makes for a mildly diverting if not really memorable little filler that takes thirty or so minutes to play.
I liked the premise of this one, with having to play cards to make a colour valuable, but wanted to hold on to cards to then be able to score that colour.
Alas, in practice it did very little for me, or for anyone else at the table. Perhaps it just needs an extra something; a different distribution of cards, more cards removed (only 3 with 4 players), I'm not sure.
A super-fast engine building little filler where it can surprisingly bog down in AP. The end game condition, along with the ability to buy extra actions means that you can happily ignore the other players for much of the game, but then suddenly need to really focus on everything for the final few turns.
Perfectly charming - and the production is really good - but I doubt this will stay long in the memory.
Update: This really is far too much heads-down optimisation for my tastes. Rating down from 6.5 to 6.
Another charming entry in the Kramer bullhead series. Bullenparty is probably best with 4 or 5 players, but delivers a clever little bidding/push your luck/set collection game with cards being variably useful at different times of the game.
Note that I've only played with these in Kemet and have not used them in Cyclades.
It's a pretty brilliant marketing idea to say "Hey, grab this and you can expand two games at once!" Of course, it will help sell the 'other' game if people only own one of the two and I suspect that's a big part of the appeal for the company here.
As for the expansion itself; some of the pieces are of very questionable use. The Kraken only affects a few spaces. Does it affect the walled cities nearby? We weren't sure and so decided probably not. But, for the minimal cost (assuming you already own Cyclades) this is a nice little addition to the game. It certainly isn't required and if you're thinking of picking up Cyclades just to use the monsters in Kemet, save your money.
I don't think El Caballero was really designed for 2 players. Everything seemed just a bit too zero sum and the interest petered out fairly quickly. With three or four players this could be an interesting tile laying game and because of the designers I am keen to try it, but it didn't leave me with much of a positive impression first time out.
Slightly chaotic with 6, but with this number it essentially becomes little more than a good filler.
I think it'd be better with fewer players (and probably best with 2-4) but I've only played it with 6.
Update: Played again with 5 - still mildly entertaining but fairly brainless fun. Essentially your choices are 'do I try and score myself or dick someone else over?'. One outcome results in you winning, the other in you having fun.
We also tried the shares option with 4 players. I think the general consensus was that it was more interesting but less fun.
A simple game to pick up with some interesting and mildly challenging decisions. I suspect this requires everybody to play with blocking to prevent a runaway winner, but provided they do, it's a fun little game.
I'm not entirely sold on the artwork; there's a lot of brown in there and the plan itself is not deeply functional nor pretty but this has a very indie feel to it. That charm is enough for me to overlook the slight problems I have with it.
Update: The choices were just too simplistic for anyone in my gaming group (probably me included, even with the best will in the world) and so out it goes!
It's pretty fast and I quite like the card mechanic (dare I say it, more than in Twilight Struggle). I can see this wouldn't have a huge amount of replayability but, based on one play, I quite like this. Perhaps it's currently my favourite of the 3 card based political games.
I do tend to swim against the flow...
Also, the component quality is so much better than the GMT produced TS. That shouldn't matter, but it does. At least a little.
An interesting little idea which seems to sadly take just a little longer than it should. The whole game is push your luck and it's just a shame that this is done better elsewhere (see: everything by Reiner Knizia).
Potentially massively imbalanced and with very little in the way of long term planning this is 2+ hours of tactical reactions to the tiles that come up.
It wasn't unfun and certainly exceeds Suburbia in every way, but I won't be desperately rushing back to play this.
Randomly being screwed out of being able to build purple buildings is somewhat addressed by not having to be alone in having the most of something, but instead only having to tie for most. Oddly, this doesn't occur with all tiles; how am I meant to have the least power if someone else has just spent all of theirs? This unintentional (and basically impossible to predict/combat) blocking sours the taste a little, but there's a decent game here under the morass of icons and ugly board design.
Simple, elegant, pretty easy to teach. You can play this aggressively (stealing cities and roads, battling for farms), or non-aggressively, depending on who you're playing with to tailor the experience accordingly and this is a game I expect to still be playing years from now.
I've not yet played any expansions and don't feel that they're needed. Maybe one day I'll burn out and feel the need to change it up a little (note: I have the River 1 expansion but rarely use it).
Another 'new Carcassonne' that doesn't compare to the original. As pointed out by Henrik, if a player gets ahead, the bonus scoring tokens just simply help to mean that the other player can't catch up.
Gentle almost to the point of nothingness with 2 players, this game comes alive with three players where you have some control over the cards as you're drawing six instead of four. It really needs to be played a couple of times to really grasp the building/expansion rules and how to benefit from them.
Update: The more I play this, the more fun I'm having with it! It doesn't always go to plan and oftentimes you're simply having to make do with the hand you've been dealt but that's a wonderful challenge in itself.
Further update: Town Cent(re) has pretty much replaced this for me, with Card City mostly now functioning as a way of teaching Town Cent(re). That said, it's still a nice game though I'm a little concerned that it's possible to lose (ie have nothing left to do) if you keep getting residential cards. The limited number of Leisures is also a little frustrating at times as strategies based on them are pretty boom or bust.
Take the Apples to Apples mechanic and swap out a lot of dull cards for horrific, obscene cards. The result is a greatly more entertaining game that possibly has a little less replayability but I don't hold that against it at all.
We played until we ran out of white (answer) cards which took about 3 hours and only had 2 cards that didn't elicit a great response.
Rated: print and play version and the full version
Update: It really doesn't hold up to repeated plays; even though it still raises a few laughs, it just isn't the same level of shock that you get the first time out.
Further update: This has almost no replayability for me. After just five or so plays, this is no almost no fun, even with some expansion cards mixed in.
Rating down from 7.8 to 7.2 then to 5.8, then back up to 6.
CAH needs tons of variety to keep it interesting and they've clearly done a good job of that here, but I still find myself smiling politely rather than really laughing on too many of the cards to have much desire to play CAH again.
Described to me as 'fairly random and it basically comes down to who does best on the last round'. That would seem to largely bear out though with 2 players attacking each other (in a three player game), the outcome was determined even earlier than that.
The hand of cards is so small, that you can't plan ahead and drawing the right few cards goes a long way to determining the winner. Just awful.
I was a little underwhelmed with this. It promised so much and was only ... decent.
Update: It's actually a pretty clever WP game that plays in a sensible amount of time (and seems faster than it is). The downside being that the dueling mechanism which makes the game stand out can also result in players being shut out for a whole round or more which is essentially devastating.
Update 2: I'm seeing rounds where the dice go against a player too often and they end up with nothing from an entire round. That's too punishing for a game with as few rounds as this game has and is a major issue for me.
I have issues with Carson City and this expansion simply exacerbates all those problems. Now, everyone has to have guns, the ranches are devalued because so many more houses get built so the whole board fills up.
Just everything about this turns me off the game more.
I'm unsure what to make of this. It seems to be that the ideal thing to do is hang back until your opponent runs out of cards so that you can play a bunch all in one go. The few cards that allow you to draw cards also seem pretty powerful and drawing one on the last turn seemed to put me at a great disadvantage.
That said, I quite enjoyed playing it and am keen to try it again.
Update: This is a bit samey each play and after 2 plays I feel that I might have seen everything in the game.
There may well be a good game in this box, but we couldn't find it with the rules enclosed. I don't think it was a mistranslation so much as I suspect the original rules didn't have enough information in them to explain the game.
The castles hold together fairly well when under attack, so if anyone can ever figure out the rules, I'd try this again.
As close to a perfect game as I've played so far. I just wish a) I was better at it, and b) that I could convince more people to play it with me!
I love the simultaneous role selection, the balance of having to gain resources and collect money, the trade offs between building for immediate VPs and building for money to score end-game VPs, I love the parasitic point scoring from other people's work and I love that you can set yourself up so that other people have to score you some points if they want to score themselves more.
Rating down from 9.1 to 7.5. I still really like the game, just don't have the same excitement to play it currently.
Having played with these once, they do clearly add a little randomness to the game, but I'm not honestly sure this is what a Castle for all Seasons really needs.
They impacted the game by about 8-10 VPs which (in this case) didn't determine the winner but if you're not in a position to deal with one or two of the events it can put you a long way behind with little chance of recovery (as the game is so balanced).
The idea of having to work co-operatively to protect the castle whilst trying to hold back cards at the right time to ensure you score the most points at the end is a wonderful idea, but I'm not sure it really works here for me.
I think this game might be best as a fully co-operative game for families and youngsters (the variants are all in the rules).
Umm. I'm not sure there are really any meaningful decisions to be made in this game. There's some gentle hand management going on, to try and collect required sets. There's the illusion of a push your luck game, in that if you wait for people to eliminate suspects, you're increasingly likely to be correct if you guess, but really this all just happens and somebody wins.
The rules state that you can play a game in an advert break and that is probably correct. It's probably about the best time for it. I can't see this every making it to a game night.
Update: I still don't think that there is much in the way of 'game' here and the theme is basically non-existent. But, oddly, it is quite fun to play. Perhaps because it is so stupid that you're almost required to add drama to the accusations and suspense to flipping the chips to see if you've won.
I feel a little like this whole game is set up so that you never really have to worry about what numbers you roll. I can see some benefit from that; losing because you didn't roll as 'well' as someone else is frustrating, but why bother having the dice if every combination is good?
This game suffers from the usual Feldian 'everything you can do is worth something' and so each choice feels a little underwhelming; there are 29 things I can do, each is worth approximately 6 points... but as usual, smoothly put together and runs quickly. My favourite of the non-fillers from Mr. Feld.
I'm guilty of many, many rants against Bezier Games, having disliked Ultimate Werewolf, One Night Ultimate Werewolk, Suburbia and even managing to dislike Start Player, so it was with some trepidation that I sat down to play Castles...
We started setting up and I saw many of the same components from Suburbia - that terrible price track that makes the game so random with more than two players, stacks of tiles that didn't look like they were all going to be in the game - all of the issues I'd had with Suburbia were flooding back to me and my heart sank.
And I'm delighted to say that they appear to have been addressed; now, tiles are repositioned on the price track by players meaning no more lucky draws determining games, there is some control over the tiles that come into play, but most imortantly you can't just simply lose because the type of tile you decided to go heavily into just isn't in the game (airports were famously bad for this in Suburbia). All in all, Castles of Mad King Ludwig delivered a really smooth, fun play experience. To the extent that it has now become the first Bezier Game in my collection - and that is quite something coming from me.
Hate, hate, hate. My own personal gateway game that I've since discovered is everything I hate; a total dicefest and if the dice gods are against you, 90 minutes of sitting and watching other people do stuff.
Adding tech trees and *stuff* makes this no longer a gateway game. If I'm not playing it to introduce newbies to gaming, why am I not just playing something more fun?
The barbarian attacks are a nice idea, but it can basically wipe a player out if they can't get a city protected before the first attack (as would have happened in our game if I hadn't gone out of my way to prevent it). Getting wiped out in the first few rounds of Catan is not my idea of fun...
Maybe if we played 2 player and maybe if that person was the fastest player in the world, I could be talked in to trying this again.
It's simply everything I dislike in games; no interaction, tedious chains of resource collection, 400 things to read and look at before you can really do anything, pointless Dwarven fantasy theme, prone to AP and at no point did anyone smile, laugh or even really speak to each other through the 150 minutes we were sat there.
Cavum has a lot of interesting ideas going on in it and there is clearly scope to be rewarded for playing well. The downside is that this comes at the expense of downtime. Even with 4 playing quickly, there was too much time spent watching others staring at the board, planning their turns.
I liked it, but I'm not enthused about the idea of playing it again.
Played both Boneyard and Making Change and neither seemed to really have much to it. We played 2 player which is probably not the ideal way to play, but there really wasn't enough to the game to make me want to try again with more.
A surprisingly decent area control game where the dice don't annoy me as much as I'd expected. I was a little disappointed to see that the Australia strategy from Risk seemed to work when I played, but extra plays will see how often this pans out.
Even with the little cards with tiny text (one of my pet hates) wasn't as annoying as usual as they are placed in the middle of the board.
I think there might be a large degree of randomness in this game; one of our players was trying to get eliminated by not drawing additional tiles after her turns. We had to actually pass her one each time.
That player won comfortably.
What does that say about the game? Or perhaps about us?
There may well be a decent game here. It's slightly lost in a bad rules translation, fiddly set up and slightly bland design.
This might be the most opaque game I've played. I have no idea as to whether each decision I made was good or terrible and it seems hard to get feedback on your decisions. That said, it's a very interesting game.
The Narrow Gauge didn't seem to really make sense though I can understand why it exists (I just don't understand why they are trains. Why not little mountains or something?).
Erie was more interesting, though seems to be an all-or-nothing gamble. Others are essentially required to bid you up and then block you off as the company only has one share. I suppose it is a nice change-up to Chicago Express, but I didn't find it anything close to essential.
I'm still not quite sure what to make of China; it's fast playing, pretty tactical, but also fairly chaotic (I've only played with 4 or 5) and so it seems a lot like it just 'happens' and then somebody wins at the end...
How negotiation games should work. Just enough structure to point players in the right direction, but enough freedom to do as they please.
For me, the trading and deal making in this works better than Bohnanza and I'm The Boss, though I'm The Boss is definitely funnier (just not more fun). I'm keen to play this again soon to see if it stands up to repeat plays.
Update: I'm beginning to really love this game, though it's not one I can play frequently because I find it exhausting. Of all my games, it's probably the one I want to win most every time it hits the table. Everything is for sale as a price, everything is negotiable.
I had particular fun in my last game; trading away a spot that was valuable to me to another player to give me leverage against a third player who then gave me enough money to attempt to buy back the original space I'd traded away and still leave me with a healthy profit.
This feels more complicated and involved than I recall Koryo being, but I still enjoyed it. What it does need though is for all players to understand what they're doing and what their cards do.
The iconography is decent, but has that annoying tendency of only making sense once you know the game and so don't really need it...
The decision space of trying to score easy sets which don't score many points, or harder sets which score lots but can more easily be attacked or overtaken is enjoyable as is the choice between playing sets of characters (for majorities), a mix of character and event cards (for activation abilities) or event cards (possibly for a lot of points).
Another trick taking game but with enough wrinkles to keep it interesting. The individual card abilities makes it a little heavy going for a new player and their first turn or two (with 8 or so cards to be aware of), but the game is pretty simple once you pick it up. As with all card games, a good hand helps immensely and a bad hand can probably kill you, but there are enough choices in the game that it doesn't feel like it too much.
Citrus is a pretty simple game; buy tiles from a shared market and add them immediately to the display. You score for how big your plantation is.
What makes it clever are the little wrinkles; limited numbers of workers mean that you have to manage your purchases and your finances. Having to remove your workers means that there is a timing aspect to scoring fincas.
There's a lot to think about here, but all wrapped up in a neat, 70 minute (or so, it felt fast) package that played very nicely and was enjoyed by all.
I'm not entirely convinced that this isn't random. Yes, there's a little engine building, but with 5 players burning through the deck, you really can't guarantee you'll ever get the card(s) you want. It also seemed that some cards are just outright better; one player was earning 16 points per round by turn 4, almost all from one card.
Still, it plays in 10-15 minutes so I can't really complain, but this felt much more pastime than game.
What a shame. I don't recall thinking much of Mall of Horror and so was hoping to see an improvement here. I really don't think the card play added much here other than a layer of randomness and there remains very little space for real negotiation as the points players have, or can score, is open information and so, generally, you just simply kill the person with the most points.
So, I have a longstanding dislike with promos that break the game, are over powered, essential or that change the game away from what it was originally.
The Lawn Mower is guilty of only one of those crimes (it's massively overpowered) but that's still enough.
They've clearly addressed this by making it non-recoverable from the discard pile (it leaves the game when used) but still guarantees the player who has it complete immunity in one space and adds to the already dominating luck of the draw.
We feel like we broke the game twice in the first 2 rounds.
There's so little actual information in the rulebook (though there is space for a 2 page 'story' of the world) that every action becomes a series of rules questions and FAQ checking. After 4 or 5 house rules just to keep the game moving, we abandoned it in favour of something else.
Within 1 turn, if I can find an infinite loop with my deck, you've not play tested this enough (or at all). Looking at the rulebook, the group of playtesters looks a lot like it might have been 2 groups, mostly made up of family members. THAT IS NOT ENOUGH PLAYTESTING. We shouldn't have to house rule your games; you should test and fix them prior to release. Plaid Hat Games, we expect better.
The theme has come in for a lot of stick and I do think some questionable choices have been made. The first time you see some of the tiles you find yourself wondering who this was aimed at, but the blogs on BGG do a good job of actually explaining the reasons for these choices and make them seem altogether more reasonable.
Anyway, frankly, the game is a pure abstract at heart and having played RRR, on which this is based, I can more easily appreciate that.
Clash is a clever, fun, fast game and the stack of additional tiles adds a huge amount of replayability in to the game, something that was sorely lacking in RR and what made RRR so much better. I honestly think this is Senji Kanai's best game.
A tense dungeon crawler that plays quickly? Sign me up.
This is a game that is totally not my thing, but works wonderfully! Asymmetrical, nicely varied and with some decent tactical choices.
Update: After many plays, there really are some shitty scenarios that are massively imbalanced where one player really does require 'perfect' rolls to succeed. These reduce my enjoyment a bit and put it closer to Memoir '44 in my estimations.
Hmm. We ran in to a few problems in the first three scenarios - with unusual tactics seeming to break 2 of the first 3.
The Hellhounds are a nice addition (I've not yet gotten as far as using the Sicarias) and some of the new cards add some interesting wrinkles, but for me it's mostly about the scenarios and so far they seem... flawed at best.
Another beautiful production from DoW. I wonder if the character cards are underpowered, especially since you gain corruption for using them, but this is a nice family game that I'd happily play most of the time.
A very unusual, 3D spatial competitive puzzle game. I'm not sure how much this would stand up to repeat plays, but I'm keen to try it at least a few more times to fully wrap my head around it.
Update: You can't win this game in the first round but you can certainly lose it. If everyone else decides to build/climb together and you end up away from them, you are almost certainly doomed. This game also seems to fall a little flat toward the end with less happening as the game draws to a close.
Coal Baron's main problem is that it's a little unspectacular. It feels a lot like Asara in that it is a light/medium-light Euro where a little efficiency goes a long way, there's no engine building to speak of and what you've achieved is scored each round.
It's a shame that we've seen all of these things, not only before, but from the same design team and as such Coal Baron feels perhaps a little less than the sum of its parts.
That's not to say I don't enjoy it; I do but it feels a little gentle and samey. I don't know that, longterm, I'll have room for both Asara and Coal Baron in my collection.
A surprising entertaining little dexterity game. The monkeys are just inaccurate enough that you can't quite find a perfect range and hit every time, though I'm not honestly sure if that's a good or a bad thing. The scoring (which we managed to mess up!) makes it worthwhile, but I'm not sure where I'd play this - those coconuts are easy to lose so you really want to make sure you have the space to find them if they hit the floor.
I like a lot about this game, but there are one or two 'shows' that can get blocked easily and it is kinda game breaking for me.
This is very nearly a great game, but doesn't quite work for me.
Update: Okay, there's actually a lot here I don't like. Loges seem overpowered to the point whereby not having one makes the game a little pointless. Why not all just start with one and roll two dice? Why give the illusion of variable strategies if the others don't really work?
Ideally, I'd actually remove the dice and the pawns altogether and probably tweak the way money is generated. I'd rather have more money in the beginning so that bidding is more interesting and less at the end so that everyone doesn't just throw all their money at the final auction. I also dislike the way the tiles are so variable that one random draw of tiles can be worth +/- 50 money to a player. It's also a little disappointing when, with half the game to go, players can see they have no chance of winning. I'm sure that with repeat plays/better play that wouldn't happen but it always feels as much like poor design as poor play when it does happen, especially in such a family orientated/DoW game.
Colt Express is a fun idea; you're all running around a train shooting and puching other players, trying to collect loot. The mixture of playing cards face up and face down was an interesting idea, but it never quite lived up to the premise.
Tom compared this unfavourably to River Dragons and I think he's absolutely right; River Dragons is prettier, much more fun and allows for much more entertaining dicking over of other players.
I suspect that the 3D train will keep this popular and it'd make a decent gateway game, but there's little to keep me coming back to it.
So, I've played what seems like a lot of the Memoir line now.
Positive aspects of C&C:N - More variety in tactics than in C&C:A where it just seems important to hold formation and flank - Low toy factor (compared to BoW & Memoir)
Negative aspects of C&C:N - The publishers remain unable to spell 'colours' - First scenario seems to be pretty dull for the French - GMT artwork/colour scheme is still hideous! - Text-heavy cards - Even more modifiers! - Terrain tiles are glossy card rather than the beautiful DoW Memoir tiles
Most of the negatives are minor quibbles and, provided the other scenarios are interesting then this could well be one of the most interesting entries in the family.
Update: In 5 plays I've not really found a deeply exciting scenario. Too much seems to depend on holding formations still, with cavalry being almost entirely made redundant by defensive squares. Like, C&C(u):A, this might just not play quickly enough (too many passed turns) to keep my interest.
There is so much game in here! 15 cards make for one of the smartest little bluffing games I've seen. Layers of guessing and double guessing. In what appears to be the year of card games at Essen (Hanabi and Love Letter) this might be my favourite.
Rating up from 8.3 to 9.
The French artwork is a delight and includes the Inquisitor.
Frankly, a little brilliant. I commented at Essen '12 how impressed I was with the amount of gameplay that could be gotten from 15 cards. Well, the addition of as few as 3 more (and up to 20* more if you want to play with everything) has added even more gameplay.
Manipulating factions is a simply brilliant addition to what was already a great game. Beware the position of power (to the right of the rich player)!
*Not with the French edition, I think. I haven't checked yet.
Update: I don't recommend using this with new players (there's already a lot for them to track and follow, especially if others are playing quickly) but with people who know what they're doing, I don't think I'd ever want to play Coup without Reformation now.
Concordia is clearly very nicely put together with lots of integrated little bits moving nicely along. Alas, I don't actually enjoy playing it, in much the same way that I could appreciate Navegador, but never had fun with it.
I dislike the sliding cost of cards, especially with five players as the card that is 'vital' for what you're doing can easily appear and be bought before you have a chance to take a turn. I dislike the way that you can benefit from others but they can simply refuse to co-operate and all that happens is that you lose out (i.e. both having houses in a region and the player with the majority there never Prefects it). I suspect a lot of these concerns are because I'm bad at the game, but I don't care for it enough to keep playing it to dig deeper.
I find it very hard to get excited about Concordia. It's clearly a well put together solid Euro, but beyond the occasional (often incidental) blocking, there is far too much heads-down solitaire play for me.
This map essentially acknowledges that ships are useless so instead allows you to buy them to increase your movement points instead. That and the limes didn't really add a whole lot for me.
How to describe this... It has aspects of area control, bidding... but it is mostly a game of bluffing and reading your opponents. There are times when the game ends too quickly (2 battles or so) but that is mostly due to inexperience on the part of the players.
A great little game that we often play multiple times in a row.
Update: The game can also drag on too long sometimes; over an hour is probably too long for this game and it turns people off.
I can't decide if I really like this or if it's almost broken.
It does seem a lot as though you benefit from using just a few pieces and hoping that they allow you to do what you want.
On our first play, we also made a mistake and so I ended up eliminating a piece, thinking it was the spy. In fact, we'd gone wrong somewhere and of course, being a hidden information game, there's no going back.
So, by now everyone realises this is the dryest economic game around, right? Well, Valley Games made an excellent production decision in adding in some beautiful (if seemingly a little fragile) ships. They're handled frequently and look and feel wonderful. The colour choices are a little more questionable, especially for the goods themselves.
As for the game, it does feel as though it runs a little long and in our play people were entirely unwilling to allow distributors to make more than 1 profit per item so our economy never really took off, with everyone constantly undercutting any attempt at raising prices. It felt a little as though any attempt to vary that would fail - perhaps because of the people at the table - and that was a shame. We also had 1 player who just didn't get in to the game and any imbalances in player skill or interest can tilt the game badly in one direction or another. So, in summary; fragile, a little long but interesting.
Collect cards Pax Po style, to complete contracts that are face up, whilst also trying to score you secret objective, dealt to you at the start of the game.
It's all very gentle and fast (ten minutes tops), but is a very attractive little filler. I doubt it'll get hundreds of plays, but with such a short play time (and really, that was pretty much all the rules) it's easy to use to fill a tiny gap on games day.
A beautiful box, wonderful card art (on the back!), decent card art on the front, no game?
Fairly quickly on, it became apparent that you probably shouldn't play mid-value dudes (threlms?) because if your opponent draws high value ones, they'll steal them from you.
Low value ones only have a purpose if you're trying to fill up your board towards the end.
This seemed to be a lot of drawing cards, trying to find something useful. Towards the end, we were both sat there with 4 cards, drawing one at a time, discarding one (to get back to our hand limit) and then watching the other player do the same.
Agh! Deck buildings games. Let me smoosh my face into the table some more. Tasting the blood and feeling my eyes swell until I can no longer see is the best cure for the overwhelming sense I have that my soul is seeping away.
How much do I dislike deck-builders? On my final three turns this happened: I'm deciding to ready all of the cards in my hand before the final shuffle. I get 2 lousy grunts, the only ones left in my deck after lots of garrisoning. I reshuffle for the final two turns. I'm not planning to invade this turn, but building for the final turn. I have energy to burn (17 total). I draw three tactics cards, leaving me 10 cards remaining in my draw pile. Those are useless to me, so I'll be discarding them. I get my last crummy starter star fighter, my leader (I've not built my deck for him) and the level 2 star fighter. I marshall all of them, thinking that at least all my good cards will be in the next hand. My final hand reveals that, of the three cards still in my draw pile, my 2 'best' cards remain in the pile. The lousy luck costs me a bonus planet in the core, gives me all of my useless cards and none of my good ones. Total points lost because of the order the cards came out: approximately 12.
Also: watching other people count and re-count their strengths, think over which card they want, and ponder over all of the text really doesn't interest me. There just aren't enough agonising decisions for the amount of time I spent watching other people think about what they were going to do.
The Orders boards are a decent idea; every time you play a card with the matching logo, you can play a token on that card. Remove a token at any point during your turn for the stated benefit or score 1VP for each token on each board if you have the most, or 1/2VP if you have the second most.
It also has the odd side effect of making the game much much easier; you can essentially ignore everything and just collect matching icons. The deck you end up with will work for one or two of the Core Worlds and requires almost no thought.
Odd. Clearly well designed, but with some odd side effects.
I enjoyed the Buono Core World card; that made me laugh. Beyond that, this just adds flavour text, right? I guess that's the definition of a good promo; not essential, doesn't change or break the game, so from that regard it's well designed. It is however almost entirely unrequired.
Like many of the Carcassonne expansions, this adds an additional mechanic to regular Carcassonne. In this case, it is almost a bidding mechanic (when used at the end of the game) and is a point-sharing or stealing mechanic when used during the game.
To be honest, it didn't really do it for me. I'm unsure what it adds to the game, except seemingly making the tile draws a bit more random - if you can draw a tile that scores 2 or 4 points for an opponent, do so and add a meeple to the centre village for scoring later. It's too powerful for what it is and doesn't really add anything for me.
The rules say to play to best of 5. I think that's far too long and this game should probably take no more than 2 rounds. I'd probably also tweak the way you score - if you get a spy to the end, you should get a 'point'. If you get 2 there, you score 2 points.
Beyond the game length, there's a lot of clever things going on here, a multi-layered cat-and-mouse/rock-paper-scissors game, taking it in turn to hunt and then escape from the other team as you progress up the board. Everything is magnetic, making this impressively portable.
There is so much game in here! 15 cards make for one of the smartest little bluffing games I've seen. Layers of guessing and double guessing. In what appears to be the year of card games at Essen (Hanabi and Love Letter) this might be my favourite.
Rating up from 8.3 to 9.
Editions I own: English (LaMame edition), Japanese, Russian, American, Spanish, French, German and Polish (mostly because Rikki is amazing).