Reviews written by hotseatgames
This game is a literal dice roll. You might get a great experience. You might get a total flop of a last half. The exploration portion can generally be counted on for fun; we have a house rule that all cards must be read in a spooky voice.
The Haunt itself... sometimes they are great, but my recommendation is that if the haunt is a disaster, just call it and play something else.
I have yet to try the Legacy version; it's supposed to be great.
Michal Oracz is the King of Asymmetry. This game has wildly different factions, deterministic combat, and the only element of luck is what tiles you will draw on your turn. Some people swear by the app since it greatly speeds up combat resolution, but I think a lot is lost in the process. I will say that later expansion armies have poor production quality, often featuring very thin tiles. That is a disappointment. You can also grab the 2018 Monolith Arena, which re-themes this game into a fantasy setting. For more, you can see me rave about this game in the April 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming magazine.
This game is great. This is game is DEEP. I would play it a lot more than I do... but lack the access to willing opponents that this game demands. The game alternates between timed deck building modes in which you will throw around wads of paper cash to buy and sell cards, and then tournament modes in which you will put your best 8 card deck up against the other players.
There is no luck, beyond luck of drawing cards you want to purchase. The game deliberately throws too much information at you, demanding that you focus on what you can, and try not to worry about what you can't. This will drive some people crazy, and I don't recommend playing this with AP prone players. There are simply too many options.
Setup and tear-down can be time consuming, since you combine several boosters and expansions into a giant "shop deck" at the beginning of the game.
If you have the players, and the time, there is nothing like this game out there. This is one of those fabled "we wouldn't have this if it weren't for Kickstarter" games, and I love it.
This is one of the few games that I have completely painted. I haven't played it in years, but it's a good introduction to the zombie game genre. It's pretty light, and my main complaint is that most of the scenarios come down to searching through a deck of cards to find certain items. This can lead to wild swings in difficulty based on whether that one particular card was near the top or the bottom of the search deck. Speaking of those cards, they are some of the nicest cards I have ever seen in any game.
I've had the misfortune of playing this game a few times. It takes way too long, and people can artificially lengthen the game in their bid to actually win. But the true winners are the ones who instead play a better game. Run around the map, send zombies at other players... repeat. Repeat.
Components are nice, and while I see a lot of people mentioning buying the game just to get a pile of zombies, they sell them separately as well... perhaps for less? If you must have a zombie game, get Mantic's Walking Dead All Out War. You're welcome.
Descent was my first hobby board game. I played it non-stop, for a long time. Once the initial shine wears off, it gets very tedious, with the Overlord constantly stuffing choke points with monsters. It can take an hour to traverse a single dungeon chamber. Killing the wizard over and over gets boring as well.
If you must play it, play it with the Road to Legend expansion. This adds bite-sized dungeons, an overland map, and campaign play. It's very cool. These days though... I'd search for something better.
My group loves area control games / DOAMs. Cthulhu Wars is one of my favorites, and has a pretty comfortable spot in my top 5. It's ridiculously expensive if you are a completionist, but the good news is that the base game alone provides the best experience. I have not tried every new map at this time.
Each faction plays differently, with unique spellbooks that must be obtained by completing certain actions in the game. Summon Great Old Ones, take over territory, roll dice... and few games look this good doing it, due to the over-production that Kickstarter affords.
This is a "boat" game... it's better to have a friend that owns it.
When this was announced, I thought it would be the co-op I had been waiting for... but it's repetitive, has no loot, and the tiles are pretty boring. It's a great box of miniatures for use in Frostgrave, so there is that. My biggest issue is the combat... rolling a single D20 is very boring to me. I realize I said that right after mentioning Frostgrave, but that game gives you far more control.
This was a first step in the adventure system series, and I'd like to see the setting revisited in the future in a deeper game.
Wiz-War is divisive. It's a triumph, but if you play with the wrong people, or perhaps with a less than ideal deck configuration, it can stagnate. You also want at least 3 players, ideally 4 or 5. My suggestion is to throw out most of the "counter spell" cards; they are boring and effectively cancel turns and artificially prolong the game.
Wizards stomp around a maze, casting spells... summoning creatures, building walls, laying traps. To what end? Why, to steal your treasure, of course. Or to simply put you in the ground. The variety of spells on hand can lead to some really crazy situations, and while it's true that you can find yourself in some terrible and arguably un-fun situations, by and large you will laugh as an enemy wizard runs screaming while on fire, or another wizard desperately tries to break out of the "prison of walls" you erected around them. Some may suggest trying before you buy, but if the "wizard battle" genre excites you at all, you need this game.
Cosmic Encounter is the greatest game ever made. So much variety, and a rules framework that knows when to get out of the way and encourage above the table treachery. It's also one of those "the more, the merrier" games. I don't even want to play this game with less than 4 people.
If you like a heavy dose of negotiation, backstabbing, unique player powers, and card play, you can't do better. There's a reason that this game is still in the conversation after literal decades.