January 7th, 2010
Alyssa has wanted this ever since we played it with our friends in CA, the Snells.
The Gist of the Game - Just your regular Munchkin-type game. Players draw a card and try to defeat it if it's an enemy, going up a level if they do. First player to level 10 is the winner.
The Good - One of the better Munchkin variations. The spy theme really fits the gameplay well. Fun to play as a filler.
The Bad - Just another Munchkin game. Highly luck based.
The Verdict - I would rather have this one than Super Munchkin, but it's not at the top of our "Love to Play" list.
I picked up this gem while I was in a science-y phase.
The Gist of the Game - Players take turns placing or moving tiles of different bugs, attempting to surround the other player's Queen Bee. Each type of piece has its own unique movements and abilities.
The Good - This game is a contender for "Most Portable"--the pieces are sturdy and the playing space required is minimal. I really enjoy the theme of this game and each piece's representation matches with its movement (grasshoppers can jump, ants move quickly, etc.) The game is also really easy to learn.
The Bad - It's only two player. Also, once you start to get good, it gets easier to win. You can balancing this by handicapping yourself a couple of pieces though.
The Verdict - Love it. Wish I could play it more often. Great for anyone who likes strategy games like Chess (or bugs).
Got this for a birthday present for my in-laws. Yay!
The Gist of the Game - Players draw domino-like tiles of different colors. Placement on the board will score different points for different colors, but you're final score is based on the amount of points earned for the colors with the fewest points, so you'll need to develop evenly between the colors.
The Good - Quick and easy to learn. Not complicated with extra stuff--a fun abstract.
The Bad - Being an luck-based abstract, there's not a ton to compel me.
The Verdict - I should probably play this more, but it's been overshadowed by other games.
Ticket to Ride - Switzerland Expansion
For shame! We've had this game for forever and we've never played it! I enjoy Ticket to Ride, and this is supposed to be great for two players, so we really should, but we haven't. Consequently, I don't have anything to say about it.
Got this after playing it once with Marin and Ammon.
The Gist of the Game - The submarine is sinking! You need to run around the sub fixing any problems that comes up and survive long enough for rescue. As time passes, more problems come up. Spending more time on a problem increases the chance on fixing it, but the more time you spend, the more problems could come up.
The Good - For some reason I have a fascination with cooperative games, and this one is pretty good. The theme is unique and interesting. It was also pretty inexpensive for a game.
The Bad - Teeny tiny board! Also can suffers the problem of many cooperative games in that bossy players could suggest and direct a milder player into disengagement. Although exciting for the first few times, this game also gets a little old after a few plays as the ideal moves become more obvious.
The first game I bought after moving to Springville. Introduced to me by Anton, a regular attendee of our game nights.
The Gist of the Game - Players try to get 5 tokens in a row by placing and moving rings, which affect the placement of tokens on the board. But the tokens placed can be flipped over to your opponents color if you jump over them with a ring.
The Good - This is one of the best abstract games I've ever played. It's really easy to learn and I've seen beginning players beat seasoned players, which is always nice.
The Bad - Only two players, although Alyssa likes this one more than most other abstract strategy games (mostly because she beats me regularly).
The Verdict - This is part of a set of abstract games called the Gipf project. It's generally regarded as the best of the set, so maybe I'm not missing out on much. Games are quick and I'd happily play this any time.
The clerk at Board Game Revolution talked me into this one when I fully intended to get another game in the Gipf series (see Yinsh above).
The Gist of the Game - Players start with a few coin cards, then use them to buy more cards--more coins, action cards, or victory points. As their deck increases, gameplay gets a little more complicated and interesting. Player with the most victory points at the end wins.
The Good - Easy to learn and pretty fun to play. There are a number of different combinations of action cards that can be played for variation on gameplay.
The Bad - Lots of shuffling as you refresh your draw deck with the discards. Also, there's not a ton of interaction between players, and it can feel a little like 4-person solitaire at times.
The Verdict - Although this has been a really popular game lately, it didn't really grab me the first time I played it. There was hardly any interaction between players and it seemed a little boring. But it's gotten better with more plays and seems to play better with 4 players (Alyssa and I tried it with 2 the first time). It might be more interesting with different action card decks (we used the recommended-for-first-time-players setup). Once you understand the game, it also goes a little faster, which helps. Definitely needs more plays.
Christmas present from my parents. Yay!
The Gist of the Game - Diseases are spreading throughout the globe and the players need to apply the special abilities to control and cure the diseases.
The Good - The best cooperative game I've ever played. Keeps all players engaged by giving them unique roles and the turns move quickly. Also play surprisingly well as a two-player game. Adjustable difficulty level.
The Bad - Only four players. Kind of hard, especially as you increase the difficulty level. I also hear that the game gets a little old after a few plays (although the expansion pack definitely helps, see below).
The Verdict - I had so much fun playing this the first time (and we even lost). The game creates a nice tension. The theme really engages me and I totally feel immersed in the game.
Pandemic: On the Brink
An expansion for Pandemic that I went and got this the day after I played the base game (see above).
The Gist of the Game - Same as pandemic, but it adds new twists like more roles, a mutating virus, a virulent strain, and the possibility for a player to play against everyone else as a bio-terroist.
As a bonus, you got some improvements to the pieces of the original game: small pawns, and improved role, and petri dish containers for the disease cubes.
We haven't really played much with the expansion, so I can't say much, good or bad, about it, but I am looking forward to some of the possibilities.
Jambo: Expansion 2
I hadn't even heard of this until I saw it in the game store, but knew I had to get it.
Jambo is a perennial favorite--probably one of our most commonly played games. This expansion pack balances out the previous one, which allows us to use all the cards (see "The Bad" on my review of the first expansion). It add a few new interesting aspects, such as carpet cards, on which each player controls a side, but that can be rotated to switch the sides. Also new cards, which seem interesting.
For some reason, we didn't play very many games when we lived in Orem. I guess the real reason was that we didn't really have another gaming couple in our ward. So for a good part of the past 7 months since my last entry, we hardly played any board games.
However since we moved to Springville, we've set up a regular gaming group (every other Friday--contact us if you want to come!) and that's increased my exposure to new games--leading me to want to buy them.
I've also started listening to Board Game podcasts. The one I like the best is The Dice Tower. I get the lastest news in board games that way and find out about new and interesting games.
The problem I'm noticing is that I have a ton of games that we hardly play anymore. This list has a lot of games that need more plays, but are getting pushed out by newer games. So I need to play more games, or buy fewer games.