Reviews written by bfkiller
It plays like an abstract but is surprisingly thematic. A fun, quick strategic game of card management, playing your hunches, and bluffing your opponent.
I also like the alternate characters available in the deluxe version. Gives the game lots of life.
Power Grid is a great game. The phases cohere together very nicely. It's surprisingly fun for such a methodical system and dry theme. For me, it scratches the same itch as Acquire but I prefer the implementation of economic processes in this one (out-of-control bidding wars; supply-and-demand based resource market).
And the box cover kicks ass. Haters be damned.
If there's a game that betters War of the Ring in terms of delivering a fantastic, nail-biting experience while expertly balancing narrative and strategic gameplay, I haven't tried it. Many strategy games tend to make concessions when it comes to theme to ensure the mechanics are accessible to new players, or the thematic elements are only pin-on dressings with just a tenuous attachment to what the player is actually doing. Not so, here. This game drops the players right in the middle of a warring Middle Earth. The players are first and foremost competing for victory, but every single action taken towards this goal compound to create an exciting and engaging alternate telling of the Lord of the Rings epic. When playing, I keep switching between grinning like a kid because of the cool situations that are unfolding and scratching my head trying to decide what would be the best course of action.
There are some nitpicks about the production quality that can be made (small text on the event cards, awkward board for handling so many pieces, overly esoteric and subtle symbols to differentiate regions and nationalities) but, really, these don't detract from my enjoyment of the game one iota as these problems are greatly outweighed by what this gorgeous production does right.
This is exactly what I wanted when I got into this hobby. Each game has told a different story. Very cinematic. There's such incredible variety (especially with the expansion) that I doubt my enthusiasm for it will ever wane.
Long game, though it doesn't feel like it because I'm invested in it for its duration. Still, it probably won't be played as often as I'd like because of the length. Having said that, I'll probably still want to play it 20 years from now, so I'm sure I'll get my money's worth and more over the years.
It can be easy to get lost in the details and miss some minor actions, but that seems to be less of a problem the more I play it.
Also, the victory conditions are relatively weak in terms of theme.
A vicious dungeon-crawler, this is no walk in the park. There are some really great elements here, notably the incredible presentation and fun, efficient dice combat. The difficulty is maybe a bit too much, but I like the challenge it presents and it's simple enough to use some houserules or allow the GM some flexibility to allow an easier game.
Puerto Rico is a perfect engine. Though it's an impressive system, it's becoming more of a historical artifact as newer games utilize its mechanics in more interesting ways.
I have a fine time when I play it, but is a "fine time" what I'm looking for when I get together with friends to play games? No. I want to have fun. I respect Puerto Rico, but I don't really enjoy it.
It took a long while, but this is finally living up to its potential in my eyes. Firstly, I've picked up a few expansions which have added much needed difficulty to a game that was far too easy without them.
Secondly, I've come to accept the admittedly repetitive draw-a-card and roll-some-dice mechanics. As soon as I switched my focus to diving into the bizarre and often memorable stories created through our actions rather than the method of gameplay, my enjoyment level sky-rocketed. Arkham Horror is a complete success in providing the tools for some great active storytelling. The flavour and presentation are almost without peer.
I still don't think this is all that great of a "game" in that there aren't really any tough strategic decisions to make and the players are required to do too much work for the payoff, but it is a really fun way to spend an evening and I would choose it over most options with tighter gameplay. It's like nothing else I've ever played.
I once played with a girl who became so tense in her role as Dracula that her hands would literally start to shake whenever the hunters started closing in. It's the emotional experiences such as this, which are triggered by the mechanics and atmosphere, that make this the best board game I've ever played.
Two reasons I love this game:
1) Theme integration -- I think voting for which of your friends will be eaten by the zombie horde is a brilliant representation of the social disintegration typical in zombie movies.
2) Top-notch production -- the bloody, dirty details of the cards and board are engaging, memorable, and unique. I just love the look of it.