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Customer Raves

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Customer Raves
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Basari   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter

There is a lot of game packed in this little box! In particular, this game has a very unique mechanic (well, also in Edel, Stein, & Reich, which is a sibling to this but not available in USA) where two players need to make a deal for which can carry out an action that they both want, and to do so they barter using a very clever bartering system. Still fairly light, with randomness of dice, but great fun for those who don't mind that sort of thing.

Bang! 4th Edition   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
This game shines with 6 or 7 players. But thick skins are needed. It's possible to be eliminated before your first turn! This is a game to play for fun with people who aren't looking for a deep strategy game. Kids especially tend to love it. Serious minded adults should look elsewhere.

Antike   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
The original rondel game. I, like many gamers, had never even heard the word rondel before this game. But it's very clever. It's sort of worker placement, but rather than just choosing where to place workers, you put them on a circular path, and your worker can only go so many spaces down the path, so if you DON'T take a certain action, because you want something else more now, you might not be able to take the action you skipped for a while. Ultimately I think Imperial is a slightly more interesting game, but this is its predecessor, and still a worthy game on its own. It looks like a war game, but the way victory conditions are met, there often isn't much fighting.

Amyitis   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
Some consider this a "kitchen sink" type of game, with lots of different mechanics fitting together, in a way not necessarily evocative of a strong theme. I could see that. But for those more interested in game mechanics than theme, this game delivers. Very strategic.

Amun Re   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
Solid Knizia design. The bidding from this has been borrowed and used in many other games, such as Vegas Showdown. (Ignoring for the moment that this game borrowed it from Evo, but that's no longer in print, so who cares, right?) Lots of ways to score points. A half-time of sorts breaks the game into two. Some players have issues with the bonus cards. Whether that's an issue for you probably depends on your tolerance for luck.

Alhambra - English Edition   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
Just because a game says it will support up to 6 players doesn't mean that it will support them well. Stick with 5 or fewer. Nice gave of set collection mixed with tile laying. But unlike something like Carcassonne, each player gets to build their own little kingdom, so you can do it however you like without anyone messing you up. This can be great for people who prefer less confrontational games. In fact there is virtually nothing that is overtly offensive. If you ever grow tired of the base game and want more, there are loads of expansions to choose from.

Agricola: Farmers Of The Moor Expansion   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
I'm not sure more is always better. I didn't find anything necessarily wrong with this, but there was already enough in Agricola for me. Nor did I play it enough that I feeling like I was wearing it out and it needed juicing up. Friends who have played more Agricola than I have seem to enjoy this tremendously.

Agricola   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
Well, it's rated #1 (or #2, depending on what day you look) on for a reason. It ushered in a new era of boardgame design around "worker placement". On your turn, take one of your workers and choose where he goes to do something. Since many players will likely want the same things, the order you assign your workers is the key. There were other worker placement games before this (notably Caylus), but this seemed to significantly advance the genre. The huge number of cards give near infinite replayability. The balance of cards is somewhat under debate. Using a drafting system once familiar with the cards is preferred by some players over random distribution.

Acquire   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
A timeless classic. This game was way ahead of its time. Games are still stealing from this today. And also the source of one of the oldest debates in boardgaming: should player stock be public or hidden?

10 Days in the USA   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
People often talk about games being useful as educational tools, and this is a prime example. What better way to learn all the states than by playing a game about them?

Wars of the Roses: Lancaster Vs York   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
You might like this if you liked Diplomacy, but didn't like all the backstabbing after negotiating for hours. The is no negotiation allowed in this game (to fit the theme of the time period), but still has the simultaneous programming of actions. Also has a formal notion of permanent alliances, which give players bonuses for collectively controlling more areas than the other side. But still only one player can win, so have to still beat your ally. production quality is amazing. EVery player's screen for hiding their personal programming board is almost as big as a game board from a normal game!

Dominion   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
The game that is taking the world by storm. With expansions coming out at the rate they are, you may never have to play a different game again. And for some people, that might be ok. This is SUPER popular. And for good reason. It's fun. I personally don't need to play it as much as some people, but everyone should at least try it. Probably the biggest new game system in the last few years.

Carcassonne   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
This game has sold how many bazillions of copies, including the countless expansions? A couple of the expansions really do make this better, but the base game is perfectly serviceable. Beware slow players, however. It's a tile placement game, and as the game progresses, each tile can be placed in more and more places, potentially resulting in mental meltdown. Letting people choose their tile at the end of each turn, rather than at the beginning, can help mitigate this somewhat.

Alhambra Big Box   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
When you consider what's actually in the box, this is an incredible bargain. Something like 16 (or 20? I forget) mini expansions, along with the base game. But each of the mini expansions is stand-alone, meaning that you can choose exactly which expansions you want to play with, and mix and match. That's 65,536 ways to combine them. :-) If anyone tries them all, let me know which combination was best.

Small World Board Game   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
This is just a great family/friends game. Probably not the first game to introduce folks to, Ticket To Ride is still best for that. But for people who are ready for something slightly more complex, this fits perfectly. Doesn't hurt that it looks great.

Ticket to Ride   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
This is the go-to game for introducing family and friends to the world of modern boardgaming. Rules are simple, everyone has fun win or lose, and it can't drag on and on. With more advanced players, there is the opportunity to bluff, interfere with other players, etc. But for beginners, they can just worry about completing their routes, without worrying too much about what other players are doing. Groans and laughs are still guananteed to be heard, and routes are claimed which accidentally force someone to reroute their trains elsewhere to connect their cities.

Tower of Babel (Der Turmbau zu Babel)   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
This game feels a little bit awkward, but it's a decent game. Knizia doesn't make many bix box strategy games anymore, and this was one of his last, at least last decent ones. But admittedly it doesn't live up to earlier masterpieces like Ra or Tigris & Euphrates.

World Without End   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
I didn't expect to like this, After all, it's the sequel to Pillars of the Earth, which I didn't like because of the random element. This still has a random element, but the randomness is integrated into the game in a more balanced way, without feeling like anyone is getting screwed. I haven't read the book, but the gameplay is solid.

Shipyard   (View Game)
   Curt Carpenter
Much better than Essen buzz. I guess I shuold have known with Vlaada being involved. Perhaps could have been simplified a bit, but very solid game, for those looking for a meaty game.


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