Reviews

These reviews were left by amacleod.

Cortez

No Review Title

by amacleod

A lot of stuff in this game: card hand management, negotiation, abstract combat and a very simple movement system. Everything in the game is visually attractive (although the pawns seem to have been stolen from a chess set!). It also includes a very poorly written rules system that requires many judgement calls on the part of the players. A bit on the long side for this sort of a game, and (as in all card games) a lot depends on the luck of the draw. It is also difficult to recover from a major disaster. Not a bad game, but not one that I'm going to dash out and buy.

11/10/2020

Angola

No Review Title

by amacleod

Very good as a simulation; and, like the actual conflict, after an exciting first several weeks, it bogs down. Like history, the FNLA always gets wiped out. Going guerilla is a way to survive, but it is impossible to do better than a draw this way. Not bad to play once; very little re-play value.

11/10/2020

Booty

No Review Title

by amacleod

This game is an outstanding game of strategy...half the time! When it plays well, it plays very well. But it is so, so easy for a very annoying, boring, unending stalemate to set in if all players are using the right tiles to their best capacity.

11/10/2020

The Great Canadian Pie

No Review Title

by amacleod

The board was extremely cool! I LOVED to separate, regardless of which province I was. There are a few significant decisions to make, but it is mainly a roll-the-die-and-make-money game. As it stands, it is thematically hopelessly dated now.

11/9/2020

by amacleod

A delightful beer-and-pretzels solitaire!Although the game starts kinda slow, it swiftly becomes a very tense historical solitaire on a subject with which even the modern Nubians are probably pretty much in the dark. The historical text on each and every card is extremely informative; and the board (while crowded) is quite beautiful. Replayability is pretty high. Yes, you will always see the same cards come out in every game (if you win), but never in the same order; and thus any particular card will appear in a totally different situation each game. Nubia is indeed overshadowed by the Nubian equivalent of Lady Luck, and she may indeed sink you in the Nile; but you will never win without the ability to think on your feet, recognize what elements need preserving, and know when is the right time to use your very limited DRM's.Plus, it's short!

11/3/2020

by amacleod

An excellent consim which is drowning (albeit happily!) in a deluge of accurate historical detail. It is very much a narrative game, but with some long-term strategy involved (spread the gospel to the farthest corners of the board, get those Bible translations done ASAP, be ready for the Islamic onslaught, etc.).The narrative aspect comes from how different the game feels as it progresses. Early on, your sole focus is peacefully spreading the gospel. Being persecuted? Good! Your witness under suffering brings people to the faith. Then, the Roman Empire goes Christian; and if there’s a heretic on the throne, you’re hamstrung when attempting any bold moves! No benefits at all from a heretic’s persecution of the Church. And then, the previously pacifist player must devote resources to fighting off (or potentially converting) pagan hordes to prevent apostasy. And then Islam arises: my gosh! it feels like you’re fighting against the tide when that happens late-game, and most of your resources end up being spent on building a leaky dike!That’s a very cool thing about The Mission: you know Rome will go Christian, you know Rome will fall, you know Charlemagne will become emperor, you know Islam will mightily arise, etc., all on pre-designated turns. Yet these events are nevertheless a big shock when they happen due to their effects; and the strength and spread of the Church will be different from game to game when those events occur, forcing the player to react differently each time. I usually am not a fan of solitaire games where you’re simply trying to best your previous game’s score; but it works astonishingly well in The Mission, where you’re also experiencing a new narrative in each game. It’s incredible how well Ben Madison has researched and mechanically implemented a wealth of historically accurate detail into this game. Compared to the average North American Christian, I fancy that I’m more knowledgeable than most about the first fifteen-hundred years of Christianity; but the designer’s notes (and the rules themselves!) have taught me a great many things of which I had been hitherto unaware. And I have a Master’s degree from a seminary and another degree in Mediaeval studies! Another thing which makes this game grand is that it simultaneously a) doesn't deny the historical reality of Jesus, the apostles and the peaceful spread of the first few centuries of the Christian Church; and b) doesn't gloss over the politicization and power-politics of the later Mediaeval Church and the sorry schisms with which the Church is wracked to this day. Thus, the game is playable by both the Christian and non-Christian gamer of a historical bent: it is faithful to the historical source material without ever being triumphalist. It's a historical game, rather than a religious one.Negatives? Two significant ones:1) There is a Dark Ages track, which loses you VP as you progress on it. If you are at 7 or higher at the end of a turn, you automatically lose the game. But the only way to do that is deliberately: so why would anyone ever choose to lose through this means? I think it could use a Dark Ages variant rule which would make a premature defeat possible.2) The rulebook. With a very few exceptions, it is well-written and explains how things work to the reader’s satisfaction…..IF the reader can find the rule he or she is looking for!!! There is a teeny tiny table of contents at the beginning, which marginally helps; but most of the time, the reader has to do some guesswork about where such-and-such a rule might be hidden and hope for the best in his or her quest. White Dog clearly needs a knowledgeable, consim-friendly developmental editor.

11/3/2020

Let Them Eat Shrimp

No Review Title

by amacleod

An extremely painful game to play in light of how rapidly undersea real estate gets grabbed up: except for maybe the first round, you're desperately trying to find a way to progress. It's a lot deeper than it first appears.I love the art; but the blue background does make it challenging at times figuring out what exactly you're looking at and where are the lines.

11/3/2020

Downforce

No Review Title

by amacleod

If you've played Snow Tails or Winner's Circle, this game will remind you of those two titles; but Downforce takes what is good in those games and perfects them! And apart from the luck of the draw at the start of the game, there is no luck whatsoever! Compared with Snow Tails, it is mechanically streamlined, and there is no figuring out of the math: "OK, my left dog is going at 4, and my right dog is going at 3, and my brake is at 5, so therefore...where do I end up?" In Downforce, you move the car forward at the speed shown. Simple as that. And unlike Snow Tails, you will normally be moving several cars on your turn rather than your own dog-sled. Likewise when compared with Winner's Circle: you're choosing a card with several cars on it, as opposed to rolling a die and deciding which horse to move.Then there's the betting, which is the heart of Winner's Circle...and there's nothing you can do about your initial bets mid-game in that title. In Downforce, you bet three times over the course of the game and bet based on how the various cars are actually doing, rather than Winner's Circle's sheer speculation before the race starts.Themewise, the auto-racing theme is quite light; so if you're looking for theme, go with the fun luck-fest that is Formula D. But if you're looking for a simple yet strategic filler, Downforce fits the bill. In fact, it's the perfect filler! And the perfect gateway game!The only negatives? 1) Apart from the cool little plastic cars, the art is somewhat drab; 2) the playing cards are not of the highest quality and should be sleeved; and 3) the record sheets could also be of better quality. But none of that lessens the wonderfully addictive quality of Downforce, the best racing game of all time!

11/3/2020

Imperial Struggle

No Review Title

by amacleod

Although not anywhere near as abstracted as Twilight Struggle, it's still rather abstract. It feels kinda like the closest a eurogame can get to being a wargame without crossing the line. But in spite of the abstraction level, Imperial Struggle feels a heck of a lot more historical than its predecessor; and with the four wars in the game, there is much more of a narrative being told, one which can vary wildly from history.I hate fiddly games; and Imperial Struggle raises fiddliness to an art-form. Yet I can't help being madly in love with the extremely challenging and thematic game that is Imperial Struggle!

11/3/2020

Amyitis

No Review Title

by amacleod

"Ask me what the key is to doing well in a game of Amyitis.""OK: what is the key to...""TIMING!"But theriously, folks:Amyitis is not a bad game; just kinda dry.

11/3/2020

Spyrium

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Ten games in, without a victory yet; and I just LOVE this game!!! And I'll probably start a new game of it this evening! An incredibly tense and moderately light-weight con-sim. The art and "themeing" is excellent!

11/3/2020

Den of Thieves

No Review Title

by amacleod

Having read the rules (kindly posted by user levimote), I was not at all impressed with Thieves Den. It seemed like an unoriginal and boring euro. Then I played it.....What an entertaining and imaginative game this is! The basic mechanics you're quite familiar with; but it's the new twists on the old mechanics which make Thieves Den a very enjoyable game, particularly with worker placement. The workers you deploy are no longer necessarily yours: generally, they now go back to the common supply or become the property of one of your opponents to whose locations you had placed them. So the common problem of worker-placement games (not having enough workers) can be much worse in Thieves Den since you have to permanently sacrifice so many, or fret about not having suitable locations for your opponents to want to visit so you can get their thieves to replace your own. It's beautiful! And the plethora of options each turn makes decisions rarely obvious; and waiting for your turn is absolutely painful as you watch opponents snatch up the opportunities you had been working towards.The theme is pasted on with a very thin coating; but at least Denis Martynets' art is very nice.

11/3/2020

Legendary Inventors

No Review Title

by amacleod

Fairly light, fluffy and tactical, with a good dollop of strategy thrown in for good measure.Art's nice; but apart from the dates on the inventions, the themeing is as light as a pasted-on feather. My favourite thematic moment: when Albert Edison finished the work of generations of predecessors...and invented fire!

11/3/2020

by amacleod

The low ratings for Tribes baffle me. A streamlined, very well themed civ game with fantastic art: what's not to like? And with a random set-up each game, replayability is immense.Admittedly, the player interaction is only of the "you took my spot" variety; but it is painfully aggravating, and forces players to keep an eye on what sort of lands their opponents have and how many shells they've acquired. So you cannot play the game on auto-pilot: you must be aware of the competition.The shell game is a great mini-game in and of itself: "Do I spend all those shells now so I can take that action? Then I'll have next to none: what will happen if, shell-less, I'm forced to take that horribly painful event? But will I actually be shell-less? Is Ned going to be forced to take it before me? In a word, arrgghh." Trying to synchronize your actions on the action track is one of the best parts of the game; and it only gets more challenging as the more advanced technologies come out, and the track is clogged with (mainly bad) events. Brilliant!Thematically, this is remarkably faithful to the source material, i.e., the archaeological record of early humanity and the paleontological record of the ice age. I mean, what other game can you think of that has a giant beaver event? I'm a fan of prehistoric games generally, and am always trying to find good civ-building games. On the latter count, this is excellent; and on the former, it could be my favourite prehistoric game yet.

11/3/2020

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Santa Maria

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Bunny Kingdom

No Review Title

by amacleod

Great game with great art! It feels like a weird combo of 7 Wonders, Acquire and Rheinlander, all of which are better than Bunny Kingdom. But still, it's harmless, enjoyable fun!

11/3/2020

Moai

No Review Title

by amacleod

This would be a good and thematic game; but its considerable cutthroat element makes plotting a decent strategy a nigh near impossible thing.

11/3/2020

New York 1901

No Review Title

by amacleod

Far more of a puzzle than a game. M. Dutrait's art is gorgeous; but the colour scheme is extremely challenging to figure out what is what. NOT at all recommended for the colour-blind!New York 1901 is often compared with Ticket to Ride as a gateway game. Ticket to Ride is the far better game; and New York 1901 will only work as a gateway if the people you're trying to introduce to games happen to be Tetris fans.

11/3/2020

Galactic Emperor

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Push-your-luck (which I enjoy) at its finest! Multi-player solitaire (which I hate) at its finest! Why, you could easily play this in separate rooms! The art is gorgeous, but the bags could be designed better: it's very easy to get tokens stuck in little pockets.Mechanically, the game is flawless: but I'm afraid it just didn't grab me, probably due to the pasted-on theme and Quacks' multi-player solitaire game-play.

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Apart from how loooonnngg it takes to play, Imperialism is the most enjoyable historically-based civ-building game I have ever played! Utterly nerve-wracking because of the limited number of things you can achieve on a turn! Yet ironically, your choices are never obvious given the many options available to you in terms of what commercial areas to develop, what Territories to snag...even something as basic as what cards to draw, and what to discard! In terms of starting a war, it's even difficult to determine which of your opponents is the best target. About the only choice which is obvious is choosing which franchise of Christianity one will be, given that very distinct prerequisites are required for each.It's also difficult to figure out who is winning: one can appear to have a runaway lead, when all of a sudden, in the latter part of Imperialism, a lagging player suddenly finds himself able to grab the more lucrative Achievement cards which are now coming out. There is randomness in the game in terms of what cards come out when; but you need a sound strategy which will be able to ignore the occasional (not constant) bad turns of fate. As for replayability, given the ten possible nations one can play in a four-player max game, it's a virtual guarantee that no two games of Imperialism will be alike. (A thematic aside: too bad, and unrealistic, that players can't choose to be the Netherlands.)In addition to the game's length, there are only two other negatives of note, the first being the many, many cutthroat Intrigues which can be played against an opponent. Even that, however, is mitigated by the fact the Intrigues tend to be speed-bumps rather than crippling actions.At time of typing, Imperialism is rated a 6.4. Why? Why? WHY? One of the best civ games EVER!....with one of the worst English translations of a rulebook, too (the second negative); although once you've made it past that, the game is not mechanically difficult.PS: The art is GORGEOUS!

11/3/2020

Sylla

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

by amacleod

I'm not a deck-building fan at all; but in Quest for El Dorado, all of my dislikes about deck-building are neutralized...if not transformed into positives! Thematically well done with great art by Michael Menzel. A great (and fast-paced) racing game! El Dorado is the perfect gateway game for deck-building.

11/3/2020

Monikers

No Review Title

by amacleod

One of the worst party games I've EVER played!!! Over-long, and over-boring! People praise Monikers for its silliness, and I tend to like silly games; but Monikers is silly without being funny. It does get credit, however, for making Charades enjoyable by comparison....Never again!

11/3/2020

The King's Guild

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

by amacleod

A good game, designed by a good designer; but the production values are bad enough to lower my rating significantly. And the colours of the meeples: if you get this game, it is highly advisable to repaint them in colours which can actually be distinguished! Otherwise, many of your tactical decisions will be thrown to the wind when you suddenly realize you don't actually have a meeple on that particular boat like you thought you did!I eagerly look forward to the second edition of this game, so it will get the love it deserves!

11/3/2020

by amacleod

It feels like a fun version of the awful Dutch Blitz; AND, at no extra cost, they toss in a really unclear rule-book!

11/3/2020

Valparaíso

No Review Title

by amacleod

A very good game with a variety of paths to victory, primarily focussed on choosing to either mainly trade in the interior or trade overseas. Either focus can lead to victory.I love simultaneous selection games, and Valparaiso is no exception. However, what prevents Valparaiso from being a great game (as opposed to a very good game) is the lack of tension when plotting your actions: it's the tension that makes simultaneous selection my favourite mechanic, and its absence in Valparaiso is sadly noted.But in spite of that, it's still a very good game.

11/3/2020

Sultaniya

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Rockwell

No Review Title

by amacleod

An AP-prone person's dream!A good game, but not a great one, due to a couple of things:-being locked out of the Market can painfully cripple a player-to not be locked out of the Market requires being first (or second) in turn order, which essentially requires you to win the auction....which is so utterly unpredictable! And you may waste resources or money on the auction by overbidding.....resources and money which you needed to use in the market.....-the borders between sections of the mine are hard to distinguish at times

11/3/2020

Counterfeiters

No Review Title

by amacleod

Mechanically, nothing really new here. Decisions are fairly obvious most of the time; and really, you have little control over things: you are largely dependent on what your opponents do. It's just not very entertaining.And the art! My gosh, WHY are animals portrayed as the criminal (and police!) element of Miami?!?

11/3/2020

Chickwood Forest

No Review Title

by amacleod

A deeper and (unnecessarily) more complicated version of games like Coloretto and Zooloretto with a heavy dash of Felicity:The Cat in the Sack and Kaigan thrown in for good measure. Decisions are never easy, given that some of the cards up for grabs are hidden, so you almost never know precisely what you're getting when you're claiming a set. Nevertheless: neglect giving alms to the poor and you're doomed!The themeing (Robin Rooster and his Merry Hens) is nicely done....and hilarious! My only complaints?:-it can be quite the challenge remembering the current turn order, which changes every round-the cubes on the village cards are easily knocked off, and then you have to figure who placed cubes where and when.My rating may go up.......

11/3/2020

Sub Terra

No Review Title

by amacleod

A good and fun co-op; and caving-wise, it's very well done, thematically! The "horrors", though, feel like an afterthought: there's absolutely no indication (I mean, NO indication!) of what they are. They could be anything from horrible viruses, prehistoric cave-bears, zombie Nazis, to aggressive telemarketers! Take your pick!Mechanically, the game certainly works, but is over-long. My biggest complaint, though, is that it's not very tense, at least not until the end-game. There are sooo many other modern co-ops out there that ratchet up the tension from the get-go.So, yes: Sub Terra is a good co-op, but not a great one, mainly due to the lack of a sense of impending doom.

11/3/2020

Silver & Gold

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Feudality

No Review Title

by amacleod

As so many fans of Feudality have said, just play it for laughs, not as a deep strategy game; but the general focus of the game and its mechanics forces one to take it at least somewhat seriously, and that is one of three factors which make Feudality a bad game. The other two:2) Sure, you can play Feudality as a lark; but it's not silly enough to make it all that lark-worthy. So you end up with a not overly funny game in which you're forced to endure huge amounts of luck.3) The game would actually be OK; but the time investment isn't worth it. Cut it down by a third of the time and it would be a not bad game.

11/3/2020

PARKS

No Review Title

by amacleod

Yes, the mechanics in PARKS are nothing you haven't seen before in many other games (indeed, in some ways it even feels like a deeper, steroid-driven Ticket to Ride). But unlike those other games, PARKS doesn't fail on any level, other than one: the end-game bonus cards can be pretty weak and not worth the effort to get them. Other than that, PARKS has pretty much taken those tried and true mechanics and pretty much perfected them!Then there's the absolutely gorgeous art and presentation. In that, PARKS kinda reminds me of Everdell: people will want to play the game simply for the art. And once they're into the game they will encounter a relatively easy rules-set with moderately deep play. A winner in every way!Now: when is the Canadian expansion coming out?

11/3/2020

Medici

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Colonia

No Review Title

by amacleod

A beautiful and surprisingly well-themed euro.....with lots of luck in the mechanics! That isn't as bad as it sounds: the relics (i.e., VP) that you're trying to get don't have a huge difference in value, and so one day's bad luck isn't necessarily going to throw your game, as end-game scores tend to be close. And in spite of the heavy dollop of luck, you still won't win without good, long-term planning.The use of family members as workers (who are temporarily disabled after use) is inspired, and results in painful decisions at the start of each week (turn).Very tense, and an AP fan's dream!

11/3/2020

High Heavens

No Review Title

by amacleod

I'm really impressed with the ease of play and the ridiculously high level of faithfulness to the original myths. It's fun. But...........it can just go on and one. High Heavens overstays its very warm initial welcome. Additionally, it can become obvious fifteen minutes before the end who will win, and nothing can be done to stop it.I think High Heavens could have been a much better game if it had been playtested more.

11/3/2020

Star Fluxx

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Coup d'État

No Review Title

by amacleod

I'm not sure if even trick-taking fans would like this.....

11/3/2020

Word on the Street

No Review Title

by amacleod

Suffers from the alpha-player syndrome big time.Even when you take into consideration my general dislike for word games, Word on the Street still seems to be only a marginally interesting game.

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Games like Bang! and Colt Express (especially Colt Express) do this idea sooooo much better!

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Unlike the actual Wars of the Roses, this is a game of attrition; and an utter luck-fest. BUT, the luck is considerably mitigated...by the game being hopelessly lopsided in favour of York!Give me Hammer of the Scots any day over this.

11/3/2020

Lowlands

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Luxor

No Review Title

by amacleod

Feels like a vastly improved 1970's vintage Milton Bradley game with excellent art. The only real strategy is in determining in what order you will play your cards (right-left-right, left-right-right, etc), cards which have been (most of the time) randomly drawn. Luxor is definitely fun; but strategically and tactically it's as light as an ancient Egyptian ghost. Gateway game Luxor is not: yes, it's that light. This is NOT the game that will get non-gamers interested in designer games: it is merely a much better version of the boardgames of 40 years ago.

11/3/2020

Goldland

No Review Title

by amacleod

A surprisingly thematic exploration game with simple, straight-forward rules, yet exceedingly agonizing decisions! In spite of the tile-laying mechanic, there is actually very little luck.Goldland is most definitely NOT multi-player solitaire: your decisions will be based almost entirely on what opportunities the other players have either created or denied you. Triggering the end is a very strategic affair, since some players will be in need of more time to acquire more treasure; while for others, victory will only happen if the game ends ASAP.Lost Valley is a good game; but it is nevertheless a bloated version of the far superior Goldland.

11/3/2020

Pergamon

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Ophir Board Game

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

San Marco

No Review Title

by amacleod

A good game; but give me El Grande instead of this any day.

11/3/2020

Eketorp

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Carpe Diem

No Review Title

by amacleod

Stefan Feld visits Carcassonne in the company of The Princes of Florence, who whip up a tasty point salad; and the result is a very good game.Typically, I hate Feld games; but Carpe Diem is a delightful exception.

11/3/2020

Warsaw: City of Ruins

No Review Title

by amacleod

A very well-themed city-building game, a sort of combo of Carcassonne:The Castle and 7 Wonders. A good game; but the art on the generic tiles is rather dreary (Warsaw under communism, perhaps?); and the English translation (at least) of the rules has a number of significant ambiguities.Vastly superior to Suburbia!

11/3/2020

Huns

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Tadmor

No Review Title

by amacleod

I find that "history games" done by Italian designers are usually well-themed, and Tadmor is no exception. In fact, it's gorgeously themed. and the designer certainly knows his source material.As a worker-placement/engine building game, Tadmor succeeds admirably, but without major innovations. A major plus in its favour is a fairly low level of luck-of-the-draw; just enough to keep players on their toes. As for strategies? There seems to be no end of them; but you can't stick to your own strategy if someone else is doing better with a different one. In that case, you need to adjust your own in some way to prevent said opponent from raking in even more Prestige Points. Without those adjustments, prepare for the opponent to win BIG, given the huge increases in VP with each new development in any given strategy. PS: the tower strategy is tremendously rewarding, and tremendously easy to sabotage!

11/3/2020

Nagaraja

No Review Title

by amacleod

A very luck-driven and fairly themeless filler. Nothing wrong with it at all, just nothing great about it either. And that even applies to the art: usually, I'm a big fan of M. Dutrait's art, but with most of the cards in the deck, I was looking at them, thinking, "What is this supposed to be?!"

11/3/2020

Petrichor

No Review Title

by amacleod

Very nice-looking game (apart from the ridiculous clouds), but rather dry (honestly no pun intended) and abstract. I am a big fan of area-control games, but this one just seemed kinda dull. Yet to give credit where credit is due, the decisions are challenging; but it still didn't hold my interest much.

11/3/2020

Ventura

No Review Title

by amacleod

Absolutely gorgeous and extremely well-themed game! Nevertheless, the victory conditions are soooo wonky that it's absolutely impossible to have any idea who is going to win....until the game is won! And one can actually win the game because of a sudden change in turn-order!Ventura does work; but it certainly feels like playtesting on it had been somewhat limited. A second edition is very much in order.Nevertheless, I do like Ventura; but if you're going to play it, A) expect the unexpected at game end; and B) play to either capturing a city or 50 VP, definitely NOT 30!

11/3/2020

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Scarabya

No Review Title

by amacleod

Very reminiscent of Karuba, only enjoyable as opposed to the horrible Karuba. Not as good as Blokus, though. Very good as a puzzle; not so good as a game

11/3/2020

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Jorvik

No Review Title

by amacleod

I've played Die Speicherstadt (which I love), but have never played Kaispeicher. Clearly (based on Jorvik), Kaispeicher is vastly superior to the original. Bearing in mind that I'm not a Feld fan, this is is the best Feld game I've ever played!

11/3/2020

Micropolis

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Thankfully, the designer states up front that Crusaders is not meant as any sort of a history lesson about chivalric orders and the Crusades, since the game has as much in common with the subject matter as does The Game of Life.But it is a very enjoyable, thinky, rondel game which does not overstay its welcome, and is very replayable. Yes, it's a multi-player solitaire optimization game.....but of the very best kind!

11/3/2020

7 Days of Westerplatte

No Review Title

by amacleod

It's certainly not a simulation of the actual Westerplatte siege, nor was it intended to be; but WOW! What a ridiculously tense cooperative game!It feels very, very similar to Yggdrasil, only with the same mechanics perfected. Rather than simply driving enemies back, it's far more important to eliminate them, which shortens the game: the quicker (in real time) the game is, the greater your chances of winning. Of course, eliminated enemies are replaced, and the onslaught continues afresh; and if they are NOT eliminated, and the attacking tracks can't accomodate more, then your morale plummets with always disastrous results! There's rarely a moment to breathe easy! If you haven't played before, the first day or so will seem absurdly easy, and your buildings seem perfectly defensible...then you will suddenly recognize the mortal peril you are actually in, and fear that you don't have a chance! Easy wins will not occur.My only complaint about the game is the rulebook, or at least the English translation thereof: there is a considerable lack of clarity on a number of points.

11/3/2020

Wingspan

No Review Title

by amacleod

A very, very enjoyable and deep multi-player solitaire engine-building game. However, there's not a lot mechanically new about it; but the stellar themeing makes it feel new! And therein lies the enjoyment.

11/3/2020

by amacleod

A fun game; but it doesn't hold a candle to its daddy.It's weird: there is sooo much luck in the game, yet there is a very high risk of players succumbing to analysis paralysis!I love the box, which is nothing more than a box; but until you actually hold it in your hands, you think the box is actually shaped like a book, the presentation being so successfully deceptive!

11/3/2020

Cuba

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Rise of Tribes

No Review Title

by amacleod

A remarkably well-themed area control game! Due to a decent dose of randomness, victory is rarely a guaranteed thing, no matter by how much a player is leading. My only complaint is the rulebook, which is unclear on a number of things (especially events).

11/3/2020

by amacleod

If you had never played either game before, and you played both Around the World in 80 Days and Ticket to Ride just once, I am convinced you would enjoy Around the World far, far more. It's Ticket to Ride, but with all kinds of interesting twists not present in TtR. BUT: in terms of replayability and strategic options, Ticket to Ride has considerably more staying power. Around the World also has the problem of you possibly sitting around twiddling your thumbs for a while if you get back to London rather early.In other words, Around the World is a very good game to play; but don't ever expect it to be your "go to" family game.But I won't rule out my rating going up, perhaps.....

11/3/2020

Kingdomino

No Review Title

by amacleod

It's a little like Carcassonne, but:-Kingdomino is much, much quicker and with much simpler rules -in spite of that, it is a much deeper game-the themeing and art of Kingdomino makes Carcassonne look like it's dripping with theme!Considerably drier than Carcassone; but for what you get in the game, Kingdomino is probably the best filler out there!

11/3/2020

Comuni

No Review Title

by amacleod

An engine-builder where the more profitable your engine becomes, the more it will hurt you! Thus, I don't think most engine-builder fans will like Comuni. I don't like engine-builders, and that's probably why I like Comuni! Great art and surprisingly well-themed for a cube-pusher. Familiar mechanics employed in a very unfamiliar way!

11/3/2020

Calimala

No Review Title

by amacleod

It feels like the designer came up with some brilliant and innovative new mechanics, and then wondered how they could be put into any old game, rather than designing a game in which the mechanics fit perfectly. Calimala feels like a games mechanics experiment: the mechanics work marvelously well, but now it's time to use them in an interesting game. I very much look forward to the next installment!

11/3/2020

Everdell

No Review Title

by amacleod

Strangely enough, in spite of the theme being mainly represented in the art and bits of the game (where it has been lovingly portrayed), I nevertheless found Everdell to be one of the most thematically immersive games I have ever played! It's like a very, VERY successful combo of Fantastiqa, Lewis & Clark and (in some respects) 7 Wonders, thoroughly immersed in a Redwall type universe. It is also a quite challenging engine-builder, in that the various parts needed for a successful engine are hard to come by; and difficult decisions must be made when those parts unexpectedly become available. I have but a few minor complaints:-I would not want to play the game without the Ever Tree; but it is rather flimsy-while just beautiful, the berries and twigs (especially the twigs!) have a nasty tendency to roll away on the table-if a player leaves the game while his opponents still have resources or animals to spend, it might be a bit of a wait before everyone else has finished; but that hardly ever happens-the game is tragically beyond my price range!And one MAJOR complaint!:-the size of the print on some of the cards is very small; and there are numbers on each card indicating how many of that type of card are in the game. I can now (finally) make out those numbers...which are brown scratch marks on a slightly lighter brown background! A very bad design choice.Without those complaints, my rating for Everdell would be a solid 10!EDIT: And now, over six months later, Everdell has (in spite of those flaws) reached a solid 10!

11/3/2020

Endeavor: Age of Sail

No Review Title

by amacleod

Better than the original, and slightly more themed, but the smell of glue is still present in the latter regard. Could really use some practical player aids.

11/3/2020

Cornwall

No Review Title

by amacleod

Definitely better than Carcassonne, not least of which because of its streamlined rules: no farm scoring to get your head around! The only major negative is the end game, where you have to place a tile, and yet most of the time, you gain no benefit.

11/3/2020

Koi

No Review Title

by amacleod

A beautiful and surprisingly well-themed game.....that could have been a fabulous gateway game! The fatal flaw? One is totally dependent on the luck of the card draw. Yes, you can ditch cards, and draw the same number minus one....but there's nothing stopping you from drawing equally bad cards!I repeat: this easily could have been a great game, if not for the extremely difficult challenge of recovering from bad card draws.

11/3/2020

War Chest

No Review Title

by amacleod

An unsuccessful attempt to combine chess and a deck/bag builder, with the deck building element winning out over abstract strategy. In fact, War Chest is not at all a game of abstract strategy: it's merely cleverly disguised as one, since the game is heavily luck dependent. Yes, some of the pieces have really cool abilities; but it's too bad you can very rarely use them.It is gorgeous looking, however.

11/3/2020

Imaginarium

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

by amacleod

A delightful and remarkably challenging game with rather straightforward rules (apart from how to plot your actions, which isn't very intuitive, and can take a bit of getting used to). Many people here say it is a frightfully mean game: it's not, but can feel that way if you can't do anything during a round. But if you can't do anything, that's almost certainly your fault because you have poorly plotted your actions. Essentially everyone is in the game until the very end, and it's never entirely certain who will win. Vanuatu does run maybe one or two rounds too long; but only slightly, and one never grows bored (especially since everyone's actions have an impact on your own). Beautiful-looking game...maybe too beautiful: it is not a good game for the colour-blind, and the lines on the board indicating where you can place tiles are almost non-existent.

11/3/2020

Sushi Go!

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Codenames: Pictures

No Review Title

by amacleod

See my comments for Codenames. It's more of the same only with Dixit added to the mix.

11/3/2020

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Pandemic: The Cure

No Review Title

by amacleod

Marginally better than the original Pandemic, unless you really hate luck. The theme is lighter, but the game itself is just much more fun! And it's much easier to set up, take down, and is playable in much less time than vanilla Pandemic. The custom dice for each player make the characters considerably more interesting....and more restricted in what they can do!And now a strange comment: the tension level is higher in Pandemic than in The Cure.......but somehow, someway, The Cure is actually less dry! In vanilla Pandemic, you know how bad things are; in The Cure, the dice keep you guessing!

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Apart from the pasted on theme and the terrible art, Year of the Dragon does have one thing going for it: it's quick, so you can move on to something that's actually worth playing afterwards.I love painful games with agonizing decisions: and YoD fits the bill. However, a game where a player can essentially be eliminated in the first third of the game is a broken failure. Mechanically, the game almost works, but then catastrophically fails because of what is effectively a form of player elimination.Hands down the worst Feld game I have ever played!

11/3/2020

Raids

No Review Title

by amacleod

Though not a heavy game by any stretch of the imagination, Raids is deeper than it looks! Focus on the end goal for this turn, or try to build on what you already have? Stick with your strategy, knowing full well that your opponent will scoop up valuable rewards if you do; or simply try to prevent those going next from progressing? Gamble that your opponent will flee if you attack him, or just pass him by? Cram your ship with Victory Point-less vikings, and remain strong; or cram your ship with loot, and guarantee a good VP return on your voyage? Replayability is VERY high with Raids!I love the very simple combat system which is essentially an elegant game of chicken.Theme-ing isn't bad, while certainly not great. The art is just beautiful!......apart from the Viking meeples: with their weird, non-Norse heads, they definitely look like moose armed with battle-axes! In our first game, we ended up playing that way: "How many moose have you got on your long-boat right now?"

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Great new characters, great new locations (especially the potentially game-changing Location Zero)! The double agents are wonderful as well, and NOT overpowered: you just need to learn how to think a little differently about how to play the game now that they're on the scene.So does this expansion make for a better game? Well, no, actually; it just adds more variety to an already stellar game. And while I wouldn't suggest that all City of Spies fans rush out and buy this, I would say that if you have it, there's really no reason why you would ever want to play without it.

11/3/2020

Jaipur

No Review Title

by amacleod

A good two-player game; but there are much better two-player games out there!

11/3/2020

Starship Samurai

No Review Title

by amacleod

There's a lot of good in Starship Samurai; BUT, that goodness is pretty much swamped by the ridiculously overpowered Action Cards. Yes, each player has access to the same fairly balanced set of cards (balanced when each card is compared with any another one); but each card is so ludicrously powerful that it almost makes any sort of strategic planning pointless...in a game, ironically enough, where strategic planning is mandatory! A better title for the game would have been "Battle of the Interstellar Monkey Wrenches", because that's what happens in almost each and every battle.And the themeing? Quite laughable: it's like a deep version of a children's game. On a practical level, the Samurai mechs (which are really funny to look at!) are exceedingly difficult to tell apart. So why haven't I rated Starship Samurai any lower than a 5.5? Because what is mechanically good in the game is very good; but the deck of monkey wrenches spoils an otherwise decent game. I think a new and improved edition might transform this mediocre game into a very good one....but still with a ludicrous theme!

11/3/2020

by amacleod

Plain and simply, a great and fun game! Perhaps a step up from a gateway game, and a lot deeper than it looks. Sure, there's randomness in the shuffling of the card decks; but it's enough to keep the game interesting, rather than making Coal Baron into a luck-fest or (without the randomness) a tedious and dry engine-builder.I've never played the original boardgame.

11/3/2020

Rurik: Dawn of Kiev

No Review Title

by amacleod

An incredibly gorgeous and well-themed game which very much fails on the mechanics side. Have a strategy? Grand! Watch it fall to pieces as opponent after opponent plays a Scheme card, the most powerful mechanic in the game, which renders your planning pointless. Plus, at a mere four Rounds, the game is way too short to accomplish much of anything useful.Having said all that, I am eagerly looking forward to the second edition, since there is a potentially great game here; but in its present incarnation, Rurik is more than a little weak.

11/3/2020

Pulsar 2849

No Review Title

by amacleod

Apart from Space Alert, I've never really felt "drawn in" to the theme of a sci-fi game. This may be because I generally don't like sci-fi. With Pulsar 2849, however, it's far better themed than the average eurogame...and I was very much drawn into the theme! Now: how about the game itself?:Glorious! Fairly straightforward rules, but deeply complex decisions which need to be made. A multiple-paths-to-victory game of the VP salad variety; but as user nemspy said: "Point salad it may be, but it's the freshest, most delicious point salad I have ever eaten." I wholeheartedly agree!The game is infinitely replayable, what with the random placing of solar systems, technologies and (most importantly) the dice rolling at the start of each turn. This also ensures that you will never have the perfect strategy: you must be ready and able to tinker with your strategy on your feet. And there is certainly no runaway leader problem....unless one has neglected exploration of both pulsars and planets early in the game: available cosmic real-estate sells out surprisingly quickly! Because of (for example) well-focused pulsar-harnessing early on, a seemingly lagging player can make a tremendous and surprising breakthrough in the end game. Then there's the unique "median point" of the dice rolled in a turn: this can make going for higher valued dice (higher than the median point) very painful, and is the most unique mechanical contribution of the game. Negatives? The player aids could be a little more extensive. And while the game is graphically beautiful, some of the component-design choices could have been better: the markers don't stack very well, and it's really awkward flipping a gyrodyne when it's stuck inside a cardboard pulsar-ring.But overall? For a sc-fi game that is very immersive theme-wise while providing great depth of play and a fairly high level of tension, Pulsar 2849 is the best sci-fi game I have ever played! Can't for the life of me figure out the comparisons with the fairly mediocre Grand Austria Hotel..........

11/3/2020

Clans of Caledonia

No Review Title

by amacleod

A somewhat dry but nevertheless good economic game with much, much replay value. It is not a heavy economic sim (like Planet Steam, Terraforming Mars, Automobile or the incomparable Container), but what it does it does well. It feels, at times, like multi-player solitaire; but you MUST keep an eye on what your opponents are doing to succeed!I like Frans Klemens' art; but in Clans of Caledonia, he didn't seem to hit his usual mark. As for the theme: well, it's there...barely...almost to the point of being laughable.

11/3/2020

by amacleod

As a military simulation (wargame), it ain't that great....apart from the luck of the draw and the dice rolls, which do a fine job of simulating the inherent chaos of war. As a Middle Earth simulation, it's amazing what a fine job the designers have done!Contrary to what most have said here, the rules aren't THAT complicated: they're merely long. And so is the game! If it could be played in a much shorter amount of time, my rating would be much higher. I play games which are MUCH longer than War of the Ring; but when the play-value of WotR is compared with the necessary time-commitment, it reduces my rating for the game from (maybe?) an 8.85 down to an 8.War of the Ring is essentially a game of chaos management and a game one plays for the experience, rather than as an opportunity to plot out a grand unchanging strategy: one needs to be ready to roll with the punches with which Lady Luck will inevitably pummel you. If you dislike chaos, avoid this game! But having said all that, you will never win on luck alone....but you might lose on luck alone!

11/3/2020

Lancaster Henry V

No Review Title

by amacleod

Just love the King's Resentment! A very nice thematic addition to an already (for a eurogame) thematic game.There's many things I like about the King's Court, but.......it transforms Lancaster into a very different game: a much deeper game which also forces you down certain paths.As for the new laws....well, they're new laws!

11/3/2020

Templars' Journey

No Review Title

by amacleod

No Review Description

11/3/2020

Patrician

No Review Title

by amacleod

It works, but it's not overly engaging; and the tower tiles look like they were meant to be book tiles in some other game! Very bad graphic choice in having the art on the cards sooooo similar to that of the "cities" on the board!

11/3/2020