My game order just arrived! Feb 2008
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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(My wife and) I limit game orders to around every 6 months. I find this keeps me from going crazy and buying the entire BGG Top 500 with the added benefit that every game I purchase will make it to the table regularly and get a decent number of plays. Researching new games is half the fun, so here's what I ended up deciding on. My order just arrived a week ago, and so far I am very happy with my choices.

This list is just a way for me to keep track of my growing collection over time, but hopefully you'll be able to share in my excitement of having these games arrive on my front steps, cracking the shrink wrap, and setting up the board for that first gameplay!
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1. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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I was most excited about getting this game. The theme was interesting to me, and I love games where I get to manage resources to produce something to get money to buy resources, etc. Upon first unfolding the game board, I was pretty sure I could play "Ticket to Ride" on this thing! The first play was a 3 player affair, and while the phases vs rounds vs steps was initially intimidating to my gaming partners, everything began to flow relatively quickly. There is quite a bit of math, which didn't bother me, but I might have a pad of paper handy next time.

I will admit that of all the games I received, the instruction manual of this one took the most processing time for me. For whatever reason it took me about 3 reads to totally "get it" enough to explain it for our first play.

I can tell this is going to be a favorite. After one play, it is obvious this game is oozing with subtle strategy that is yet to be uncovered. I really hope to play this one again soon.
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2. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:217]
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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This was the last "big box" game that I decided to order. Maybe because it is a little older, but Tikal didn't enter my sights at first. I'm a big fan of high quality components and well-integrated theme, where you actually feel like you're doing what you're supposedly doing, and Tikal seemed to fit this bill.

After receiving my game order and cracking open the box, Tikal quickly became the game I was most eager to play. Just yesterday I had my first crack at it. Man... we had so much fun! For a game with so many decisions and so much strategy, it was surprisingly easy to learn how to play and teach. Unlike Power Grid, I read through the booklet one time and I was ready to play. Not to mention, the INCLUDED player aid cards are fabulous. I was honestly thinking about Tikal that night when I went to bed. I can't wait to play again!
 
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3. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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My most common gaming partner is my wife and more than half the time it is just the two of us, so I'm always on the lookout for two player games that have some depth.

Like many, I was skeptical about the "dummy" third player, and I'm still undecided about this, but our first two player game was definitely fun and definitely the level of strategy/thinking that my wife and I were looking for. It will definitely take us a play or two more to really be able to visualize best wall placement. The tiles and cards are high quality and nice to look at which is a big plus. And like San Juan, this should be a game that is just as great (if not better) with three or four.
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4. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:606] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Like Alhambra, my wife and I have only tried this one out with two players so far. I have no doubt this one will be lots better with three (or more). I like the wooden delivery trucks and the tiles are high quality. This one is definitely a little lighter than the above three, but often we're gaming with friends who prefer lighter fare, and I think Zooloretto will satisfy. The baby animals are cute, but the thing that was most hilarious was that every time my wife would place an animal in an enclosure she would say she was "planting it". For example: "I'm going to plant my zebra here." Too many previous farming games, I guess. We hope to have kids soon, and I could definitely imagine playing Zooloretto with them.
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5. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Took this one to a party over the weekend and it was an instant hit with everyone. I was able to easily explain the rules, and the cards look awesome! I love the illustrations on the properties. After playing one game everyone insisted we play again, even though it was pretty late. I see this one hitting the table quite often.
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6. Board Game: Balloon Cup [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:907]
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Haven't played this one yet. My wife and I like Lost Cities (her more than me), so we thought we'd pick up Balloon Cup. I'll be honest... this was an impulse buy at the last minute... kinda like throwing that pack of gum onto the scanner in the checkout line.
 
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7. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:736]
Joshua Hall
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Durham
North Carolina
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My friends and I play Mafia every so often. I personally prefer the werewolf theme. We always played with regular playing cards that denoted different roles. However, for the price, I think it having the cool Werewolf cards adds just that little something extra to the playing experience. Can't wait to get a big group together to try it out!
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8. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Switzerland [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
 
Joshua Hall
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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My wife and I LOVE Ticket to Ride. I am certain it is her favorite game. We love it with two players all the way up to five. When this expansion, geared for two players, came out, we knew it was a must have. We haven't played it yet... mostly because we have all these other completely new games to explore, but I bet over the next year, this one gets more than it's fair share of plays.
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