Mini Board Game Reviews

I realise I haven’t written any game reviews in a while, mostly because while I’ve had a chance to play a ton recently, I haven’t had a chance to play them more than once mostly.  That doesn’t give me a huge amount of confidence in my ability to review the game objectively and well.  So, on that note, I thought I’d do a ton of mini-reviews today.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to doing full reviews soon of these games.  Games listed are in order of my recollection!

Caylus Magna Carta

Having finally had a chance to play the game half-way through, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.   I definitely want to finish a full game, but the little that I played certainly made this resource management / worker placement card game seem a ton of fun.  I like the fact that there’s a bit of interaction via the Provost and the placement / taking of buildings.

Chrononauts

I’ve actually played this game sufficiently that a full review should arrive soon, but overall, I have to say I like Chrononauts for a quick, fun game.  It uses the time mechanic quite well, and the variable winning conditions makes the game a bit of a guessing game on how close each player is to winning.  It’s quick and simple to teach, though the randomness in the cards can be somewhat over-whelming.  Overall, a good filler game.

Power Grid

Having had a chance to play this finally, I must say, I understand why people enjoy this game. While the multiple routes and the knowledge of the upcoming power plant cards give experience players an edge, much of the game is still quite apparent on the board itself.  Of course, that might drive an analysis-paralysis prone individual to distraction and those who don’t like to do maths should consider avoiding this game, but otherwise, the game is a fun auction / route building game.  A definite step-up from Ticket to Ride in my opinion.

Power Grid : Factory Manager

While Factory Manager uses some of the same auction mechanic of Power Grid, it replaces the route building aspect with a factory /space management mechanic.  It plays faster as well,  and the additional strategy of pulling specific machinery down to purchase makes the game quite interesting through all stages.  I actually prefer Factory Manager to Power Grid, though mostly because of the shorter time frame of the game.  It’s certainly a ‘lighter’ game, but not necessarily a gateway game since there’s still a bit of math involved.  I’m certainly a fan and it’s game I’m looking to add to my collection in time.

Before the Wind

An interesting auction / bidding card game.  It’s unusual in that players choose to draw a card, and must then entertain bids from other players.  If they refuse to take the bids from the  other players, they must choose one player to pay off.  It’s an interesting twist on the auction mechanic that takes a few games to get used to definitely, as we had a tendency to over-bid in the first game. Relatively light, and interesting for its mechanic.

Atlantis

Atlantis is an older board game that a friend was bought for Christmas.  We played a quick game a month or so back and I must say, it’s not a bad game.  There’s nothing revolutionary on it, though the movement deck and the way the trail is set-up is quite interesting.  However, there is a lot of luck involved – from the way the trail is laid out to the cards drawn into your hand to which player goes before you – so it won’t be for everyone.  Overall, ot a bad game, just not great.

Twilight Struggle

What an incredible 2 player game.  I never finished our game, but it was a ton of fun and another game that I’d definitely want to play again.  Having seen both the old and new versions, the new Deluxe version is  a huge improvement in looks while the gameplay is rock-solid.  If you’re looking for a longer, tougher 2 player game, this is definitely a game to consider.

Castle Panic

Fun, fun, fun!!!  This is definitely a light co-operative game, with quite a bit of luck involved (at least in the base game) as the monsters arrive based on a die roll.  On the other hand, this game has definite potential as players are both co-operating and competing to win the battles.  I thoroughly enjoyed the 1 game we played, and I’m looking forward to testing this out further with my regular game group.  My only complaint is that it’s only a 4 player.

Lord of the Rings

We tried out this older co-operative game and a lot of the points about the game definitely hold true.  Firstly, it’s a very tough game – we nearly lost and the only reason we didn’t was because we had mistakenly used ‘easier’ rules in the first 1/4 of the game.    Even then, poor Sam went  to the dark side.   Secondly, the game does lack a touch of ‘atmosphere’, since much of it is just playing specific cards to the board.  Thirdly, I can see how it could almost feel formulaic in time as the board itself does not change – just your hand.  There’s obviously an optimum play-style, but there’s going to be a lot of testing before you reach that point.  Overall, this is a good game and one I’d be happy to break out for fans of the book.