Saturday, November 18, 2017

Our Top Ten Small Games

Christmas will be here soon, so we decided now is a good time to post our top ten small games. We love giving games as Christmas gifts and small games make great stocking stuffers. We have broken this list of small games into our top ten small games for kids and then for youth and adults. We hope that you find plenty of good ideas on here for your own gift giving this year.

Kid's Games


Shannon: There's A Moose In The House- This is a simple and cute card game and my kids love putting moose in each other's houses. This game tends to be more luck than skill, but kids find it fun.
Amber: ZoolorettoThis game is a fun dice rolling animal game. You are trying to figure out what animal helps you best or how to not let someone else have a good die. 


Shannon: Sleeping Queens- This game is fun for kids, and I like that it also helps with beginner addition skills. 
Amber: Nerdy InventionsThis is a new game I picked up over the summer that is fun for kids and adults because dice rolling can go any way! I like the plan and using your tools features of this game.


Shannon: Hey, That's My Fish- This is a smaller game that takes a little more strategy, but is still easy enough that kids catch on quickly, and enjoy moving their penguins around to get fish.
Amber: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small: I think this is just a fun game to feel like you are building a farm and is a good intro to worker placements for kids.


Shannon: Martian Dice- This is a dice rolling game that definitely relies on the luck of your rolls, but I have found that kids really love it. There are several similar games to this that have different themes like Zombie Dice and Dino Hunt Dice.
Amber: TimelineThis game is fun because you can learn something as you play. And it can be fun to learn when kids think things happened. :) I can't tell you how many times I have played with a kid and they think something like the invention of the computer was in the early 1900s, or don't have any idea of when WWII was or when Cesar lived...wait I have played with adults that don't know history either. I sometimes don't even have a good guess :D


Shannon: Happy Salmon- This is a fun game for kids, and I like that it makes you active while you play. After sitting and playing other games it's nice to pull this one out and have everyone up and moving for a minute, giving high fives, switching spots, and just having fun.
Amber: Roll for it!- This game is fun because you are playing to the odds of the everyone is on an even playing field. I like the fun of trying to go for more than one smaller card at a time! 


Shannon: Zany Penguins- This card game is a little more complicated than some of my other games on my list. It is not as easy to learn as most of the others either, but once you know what you are doing, it is a really fun little card game.
Amber: Blend Off- I like this game because it is fast paced and is fun to make the smoothies! Plus it is simple enough for all ages, just rolling dice and anyone can play.


Shannon: Qwixx- This is a dice rolling game of rolling dice and filling out a score sheet to try and score more points than your opponent. It's also nice that this game can be played solo, so if you have someone who likes playing games even alone, then it is a great choice.
Amber: Aquarius- I like the fun art of this game. Plus it is a simple game to understand if you are 70 years old or 5 years old, you are just trying to match the cards to try and get 7 of  your goal cards together first!


Shannon: Balloon Pop!- Balloon Pop! is another dice rolling game like Qwixx where you are rolling dice and filling in a score sheet. If you have someone who likes dice rolling games than this is a great choice.
Amber: Happy Salmon- I know Shannon had this on her list too. But it is just hard not to have this one over lap on a GOOD GAME! I like this game for the fact that you can learn to play in like one to two minutes and know exactly what to do, easy peezy! Plus it is a short game so it is no big deal to play multiple rounds real fast!


Shannon: Seven Dragons- This card game is easy to teach, and I love the dragon theme that it has. Everyone gets a goal card and they are trying to get seven dragons of that color to touch to win the game. So it's a card laying/matching game, but you can get cards that move cards, or swap goals during the course of the game.
Amber: Codename Pictures- This is such a fun game with kids (can be with adults too)! But I always enjoy playing with our kids because you get to see how their brain perceives the pictures! Also if they are clue giver it is fun to hear them justify their clues after the game! :)


 Shannon: Sushi Go!- I love this card drafting game. It's easy to teach and the theme is very cute. I love using this game as a great way to teach card drafting, and I have found that even smaller kids can pick up on it and learn to play.
 Amber: Star Realms- I think this is my number one because it played a LOT with my kid. I like the mechanics and art and strategies of this game.

Youth and Adult Games


Amber: Can't Stop Express- This is a newer game in my collection, but I like it because it works on your easy math skills and weighing the odds of dice rolling.
Shannon: Friday- Friday is a very challenging solo game. You are on a deserted island trying to survive three rounds in this little card game. This is one of the hardest solo games that I have ever played, super challenging, but lots of fun. 


Amber: 7 Wonders Duel- I wasn't sure this was really a "small game" because it probably will not fit into a stocking, but it is small enough that we sometimes take it to a coffee shop to play. So I like this game because I like 7 Wonders and this game makes it possible for just 2 players!
Shannon: Fluxx- Fluxx is a fun card game where the goal constantly changes over the course of the game, but the basic point is to have a couple of cards that match the current goal laid down in front of you. It's fun, and there are so many different themes for this game that everyone should be able to find a theme that they love. 


Amber: Welcome to the Dungeon- This game I think is a fun game for all ages because who doesn't want to try and make it through the dungeon? I like that the game has different characters and you can choose who to play with from round to round. I like the press your luck feel too.
Shannon: Hero Realms- This card game is made by the same company that put out Star Realms. Both games are great games where you build your deck and attack your opponents and try to get their health down to zero. I like this theme a little better than the space theme, and I like that there is an expansion that will turn this into a cooperative game. 


Amber: Love Letter- This is a great small game, even for non-gamers. The rounds are short and the rules are easy! I love that non-gamers can pick it up and play really easily.
Shannon: Parade- When I first bought this game I was not sure how much fun it would be, but I loved the Alice in Wonderland theme, so I picked it up. It was really easy to learn how to play, and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. 


Amber: Hanabi- This game is fun 2-4 players, with a firework show feel. I like the simple art and how you have to play the game with some but not exact information to get a perfect score. This game requires little information, a good memory, and lots of trust.
Shannon: Bang! The Dice Game- This is a party game, that people who are big fans of secret rolls and dice rolling will love. It's fun and even if you are taken out early in the game, the game usually doesn't last too long and it's still a lot of fun to watch everyone play.  


Amber: Japuir- This is a fun 2 player game that has a good trading goods and materials feel. I like that it is over 3 rounds so if one round cards don't come out good for you, there are 2 more rounds to come. Plus the hidden panda on one of the camels is a fun little Easter egg.
Shannon: Onirim- This is a simple card game that can be played as a solo game or as a cooperative two player game. I like that this is a solo game that is also small so it's easy to take with you if you need a game to play by yourself while on the go. 


Amber: One Night Ultimate Werewolf- This is a GREAT and fast group game. It is very similar to Mafia or a who done it game, but with a werewolf theme. The character cards have great art on them too. 
Shannon: One Deck Dungeon- This is a dungeon crawl type card/dice game. You can play it solo, or as a cooperative two player game. As you go through the dungeon, you are rolling dice and using them to try and defeat the monsters you come across in the dungeon. 


Amber: Tides of Madness- This is a good 2 player drafting game that has been a hit at my house since it was bought. I like the art on the cards. I also like the way the cards play off of each other. *Just watch out for the madness :)
Shannon: Nevermore- This box is a little bigger than some of the others that I have mentioned, but it is still a lot of fun. I love the Edgar Allan Poe theme, and I like that it is card drafting. There's also a take that element to the game. It makes me think of a combination of Sushi Go and King of Tokyo. 


Amber: Patchwork- This is another that probably won't fit in a socking. But is super fun for all ages because it is like tetris trying to get your pieces to fit together.
Shannon: Love Letter- I can't recommend this card game enough. It's simple to teach and play, and easy to carry around with you to play whenever you have the chance. I love this card game, and this is another one where there are several different themes to chose from. (Batman, Adventure Time, The Hobbit, and more)


Amber: Lost Cities- EASILY one of my favorite small 2 player games. I like the different adventure cards and how anyone, gamer or not, can pick up and play this game. The rules are simple and straight forward.
Shannon: Fairy Tale- This is currently my favorite card drafting game. I don't hear a lot of people talking about this one, but I love it. The theme is fairies, but they are more darker looking fairies than cute fairies.
To learn more about any of the games that we talk about, click their names and it will take you to their BoardGameGeek page. Hope you have enjoyed this list of our favorite small games! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Flash Point: Fire Rescue Review

*Ages 10+
*1-6 Players
*About 45 Minutes
*Kevin Lanzing

Flash Point Fire Rescue is a cooperative game where players are firefighters working together to put out fires in a burning building and save the people inside. Everyone picks out a character to play. (Each character has it's own special ability written on the bottom of the card and it's own number of actions.) The start player takes the number of actions indicated on their card. Those actions can include moving, turning fire to smoke, getting ride of smoke, opening doors, chopping through walls, carrying out people or hazmats, moving trucks, or using the fire truck. (Unused actions can be saved for you next turn, but you can never have more than eight actions.) After a player has take their turn, they then roll two dice to see where they will either add smoke or spread the fire, then the player on their left takes their turn. The game continues until the players save seven people by placing them in the ambulance, or until they trigger one of the losing conditions. (Run out of black cubes that means the building has collapsed, or they have lost enough people to the fire that they can no longer rescue seven people.)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I enjoy this one with 2-4 players. It plays differently with 2 players than it does when you have 4, and I like that.

Favorite Character And Why: I have several characters that I enjoy playing. Usually I like playing the Hazmat Technician, so I can get the Hazmat off the bored quickly or the Generalist so I can have more actions.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Probably the Paramedic, because I don't wan't to pay double actions to extinguish smoke and fire.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I really enjoy the whole aspect of going in the building and fighting the fires and saving people. Sometimes though, like with all dice rolling, you just roll so badly when having to place smoke/fires that you just have no way to catch up and win.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I love that they have unique artwork on all the people you save and they are not all the same.

Strategies: Honestly, my strategy always changes depending on what board we are using, and how all the fires, hazmats, and people get placed at the beginning of the game.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoy this game. And even though it can be a little frustrating when you spend all that time playing and you lose, it doesn't keep me from enjoying the game and makes me just want to keep playing until we win.

8 out of 10 Stars

Amber's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I like this game as a 2 or 4 player, we play it more as a 2 player game.

Favorite Character And Why: Probably either fire captain of Hazmat. Fire Captain is powerful because you can move another player 2 spaces.And Hazmat because you can stop some major explosions from happening.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Rescue Specialist because I just don't like that she chops walls, and we tend to die from a collapsed building.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I like the variety of boards, of having an up stairs, office building, and apartments; which incorporates an elevator, stairs, and ladders.  

Favorite Art On Pieces: I like the simplicity of the art on the boards and the tokens.

Strategies: Divide and Conquer, have 1 person go after smoke and fire and someone else go for saving people. And when needed switch who is saving and fighting, and their may be times where everyone needs to fight smoke and fire! 

Final Thoughts: I really like this game, my husband isn't a huge fan so it doesn't get picked to be 4 players very often. I like the challenge and fun of trying to get everyone saved from the house/building. I also feel like I am channeling my dad, who is a volunteer firefighter.

7 out of 10 Stars 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Themed Games

Halloween is here and we decided to list a few of our favorite games that would be great to play on Halloween and we hope we get to play some of them today ourselves. Games that we play with our children are marked with an * so you can look into playing some of them. Click the name of any game to go learn more about it on the BoardGameGeek website.

Monsters Theme:

Blood Bound- Blood Bound is party/deduction game where everyone is dealt a card in secret telling you which of the two rival vampire clans you are in. Every player has a special ability and one clan wins when they eliminate the leader of the other clan. 

One Night Ultimate Werewolf- One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a party game where each player is given a secret role and performs the action of that role over the course of the game and you are trying to figure out who everyone is, human or werewolf!

King of Tokyo and King Of New York*- In King of New York and King of Tokyo, you are monsters trying to take over the city and defeat the other monsters who are also trying to take over the city. This is a great game for Halloween and one that is really good with kids.

Tides Of Madness- Tides of Madness is a two player card game where you are drafting monster cards to build a kingdom and trying and gain the most points.

Welcome To The Dungeon*- In Welcome to the Dungeon you are picking a hero to go through a dungeon of monsters that you and the other players decide to take out or leave in. It is a push your luck game where the last person standing has to try and survive going through the dungeon.

Eldritch Horror- In this cooperative game, you are trying to defeat an ancient evil that is spreading across the world. You will solve mysteries and fight monsters. This game fits well with the spookiness of Halloween.

Zombie Theme:
Dead of Winter- Dead of Winter is a cooperative game that takes place during a zombie apocalypse and you are controlling survivors to survive different scenarios. With this game, you can also have secret objectives to complete and when you do, there then becomes the possibility that someone in your group is a betrayer. This game has a spookier theme for Halloween.

Zombicide: Black Plague- Zombicide: Black Plague is another cooperative game where you are surviving a zombie apocalypse and trying to complete different missions. This one also has a spookier theme for Halloween.

Ghost Theme:
Ghost Stories- Ghost Stories is a cooperative game where you are fighting ghosts as they come out. This game is tough and fits in well with the Halloween theme.

Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters*- Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters is a cooperative game for kids where you are going into a haunted house and trying to get out with 8 different treasures before the house becomes too haunted.

Witches/Wizards Theme:
Big Book Of Madness- Big Book of Madness is a cooperative game where you are students at a magic school and you are trying to build spells to defeat monsters.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle- Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is another cooperative game where you are going through and defeating different bad guys from each of the seven Harry Potter books.

Potion Explosion- In Potion Explosion you are pulling out marbles to try and fill up your potion beaker to try and get three matching or five different beakers.

Murder Theme:

Murder Mystery Mansion*- Murder Mystery Mansion is a deduction game where you are trying to figure out who did it, where, with what, and what was the motive. A good, not too spooky, themed game for Halloween.

Mysterium- Mysterium is another cooperative game where one person plays a ghost trying to tell the other players, who are physics, who killed them, where, and with what. This is another game where the theme fits Halloween but is not overly spooky.

Clue*- Clue is a social deduction game where you are in a mansion and a murder has been committed and you are trying to figure out who did it, with what, and where, by visiting rooms in the mansion and asking questions to other players. This classic game has a great theme spooky enough, but not too spooky.

Other Themes:

Nevermore- Nevermore is a card drafting with the theme of Edgar Allen Poe's writings. The base game itself is not too heavy on the spooky theme, but when you add in the Specters of Nevermore expansion, it adds a layer of creepiness to the game.

Onirim- Onirim is a simple card game where you are trying to escape a labyrinth in the dream world by finding doors and avoiding nightmares. The nightmare theme fits into Halloween, but this is one where the spooky theme is only slight.

Candy Chaser*- Candy Chaser is a fun game for kids on Halloween, because you are playing kids who are trying to smuggle candy and bluff your way to winning!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tokaido Review

*Ages 8+
*2-5 Players
*About 45 Minutes
*Antoine Bauza
*App Available

Tokaido is a game where you are journeying through Japan. Along the way, you can stop at villages, temples, farms, hot springs, have encounters with people, paint panoramas, and spend 3 nights at an inn. The person farthest back goes next until someone else is behind them. At each place you stop, you get to do an activity. At the village you get to look at 3 items to buy and choose which, if any, you want to buy and then your score victory points for them immediately. At a temple you give 1-3 coins to the temple and score 1 point immediately for the number of coins you give. At the farms you gain 3 coins from the reserve. At the hot springs you draw a card and score either 2 or 3 victory points immediately. When you have an encounter with someone on the journey you draw a card and get whatever it shows; ie 3 coins, the next section of a certain panorama, the top village card, 3 victory points, or a donation of 1 coin to the temple. You can paint a panorama on which ever color you land by taking the next section of the painting and immediately score the victory points. And lastly you end the round at 1 of 4 inns, where you draw cards equal to the number of players plus 1 and starting with the first person at the inn, everyone chooses a meal paying it's cost and scoring 6 victory points immediately if you bought food. Then the next round starts with the player last to enter the inn and play continues this way until the end of your journey. At the last inn, you score the bonus for who completed each panorama first, who spent the most money on food, who had the most encounters, hot springs, and village cards. Also you score who gave the most to the temple. The player with the most points wins.

Shannon's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I really like this as a 3 player game best. You have enough people that you don't have to have a neutral player, and there are less people on the board, so you get to go to more places on the board.

Favorite Character And Why: Satsuki, who lets you eat at the inn for free, so I don't have to worry about saving up money for food and can use it for other things. Chuubei, who give you an encounter card before you eat at the inn, or Hiroshige, who gives you a piece to one of the paintings.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Kinko, who lets you buy food at the inn for one less coin.

 Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I enjoy that there are so many choices that you have to make in this game. Do you go to every available space, or do you skip a couple of spaces to make sure you get that one space you really want? Those decisions that you make are always important, because it either leaves spaces open to your opponents to use, or you risk them taking spaces you really want.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: The characters cards! They are each so unique!

Strategies: I try to plan my strategy around the character that I get. If it's one that's good with encounters, then I try to get to as many encounters as I can. If it's one that's good with shopping, then that is what I try to get the most points in.

Final Thoughts: This is a really fun game, and it's easy enough to teach and understand for people who haven't played it before.

6 out of 10 Stars

Amber's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: 2 or 4 players I think works best because when competing for spaces it works better.

Favorite Character And Why: Hiroshige the artist because I think it is powerful that you can 3 free pieces of art even if you don't eat, which could be 3-11 points, and no one can block you from getting your special. Also in turn, this in someone else's hands this is my least favorite. 

Least Favorite Character And Why: Multiple of them have specials for when you land on a certain space (villiage, temple, hot spring, and encounters) and many times if people realize you have to land on the space to use your character's special they will block you.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I like that different spots do different things. Like at the hot springs you are always hoping for monkeys because that means more victory points or that on encounters you could get victory points, money, a village card, a section of panorama, or money that goes to the temple. I dislike that their aren't a few added spots for a 3 player game, like that they could have stair stepped the spots for 2, 3, 4, and 5 players. 

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I like all the food cards, I think Asian food always looks more appetizing and artsy than American food.

Strategies: Don't skip spots, unless you have already completed that panorama or you really need money at the bank. Try and complete as many panorama's as you can and be the first to get the bonus! Pay attention to the symbols on your village cards you buy to maximize your victory points.

Final Thoughts: I like that they do try to balance character's specials with the amount of money they start the game with. I like that you have to weigh your options and plan out your activities like "ok the farm isn't available so I need to decided if I go to this village how much can I spend and still get to eat at the next inn?!"

6 out of 10 Stars 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Games Weekend #3

We wanted to do another New Games Weekend, this time though, we had to spread it out over a few extra days instead of sticking to just the weekend, but decided to keep the name the same. This time we decided to learn some of the games we have sitting on our shelves that we still have yet to play. We also had a friend who asked if we wanted to learn a couple of the games from their collection that we have never played. The two of us have been enjoying spending whole weekends learning lots of new games, and look forward to continuing to have New Games Weekends as often as we can.

Nerdy Inventions- This was one of Amber's recent acquires for us to learn. She wanted a game that had a similar gameplay as the game Roll For It.
Amber- I had higher hopes for this game. It was different than what I expected, but I thought the game was fun and easy to learn.
Shannon- This game was okay. I'm not always a fan of games that rely heavily on dice rolling, but it was still easy to learn, and you collect cards that can help your dice rolls during the game. 

Kingdomino- This was another game from Amber's collection to learn that she bought during a board game sale without knowing too much about it when she picked it up.
Shannon-  This game was fun and easy to learn. I like that you are building a grid with this game, and it was a game that one of my kids really fell in love with and it is now on their wishlist. I look forward to Queendomino coming out now.

Amber- I really am glad my husband and I bought this game! I had heard great things about it, but was unsure at first because it was so simple. My husband's mom and brother even like it, and since their main games are dice games or Phase10 I feel like that it is a step up and a WIN for me!

Unearth- This is the first game that we borrowed from our friend to learn. There's a lot of dice rolling in this game, but you have cards to play that can help you even if your dice rolls are not what you want them to be, so it helped to balance out the unpredictability of the dice rolls. 
Amber- I REALLY liked this game, I will probably be getting this one soon! :D I liked that even though there is a lot of dice rolling, and I am not always a fan of dice due to the odds. But I like that there is not just 6 sided dice, but also a 4 and 8 sided die. And I like that there is a reward for when you roll a 1, 2, or 3 which is also a nice add to the game.
Shannon- I was pleasantly surprised by this game. With all the dice rolling involved, I wasn't sure if I would like this game, but I really did. And it's a game that I feel my kid's would enjoy playing, so it's going on my wishlist. 

Lost Legacy- This is a game that has been sitting in Shannon's collection for a little less than a year now, so we decided to learn this quick and easy to learn game.
Shannon- I bought this game because it's a lot like Love Letter, and I love playing Love Letter. It definitely has the same feel, but we played it as a two player game, and I just think it would play much better with four people instead of two. I'm excited to try this out with more people to see how it plays. 
Amber- I feel like this game would be good to try as a 4 player game before I judge it very much. As of right now, I like Love Letter better than Lost Legacy.

Treasure Hunter- This is the other game that we borrowed from a friend to learn. We had both heard about this game, but really didn't know anything about it.
Amber- This game was ok. The friend that let us borrow this game said they really liked Rise of Augustus and from that bought Treasure Hunter. But I didn't get the Rise of Augustus feel from the game. I think this is another game I would like to try again with more than 2 players. 
Shannon- I think this game was okay. I always enjoy when a game has card drafting in it. It's another game that I think my kids might enjoy, but not one I'm sure will make it onto our wishlist. There is an app for this game, so I may pick it up as an app to play. 

The Grizzled- This is another game from Shannon's collection that she has had for a little less than a year. We love cooperative games, so learning a new cooperative game, especially one that is in a smaller box and easier to travel with, was appealing to the both of us. 
Shannon-  I did like this cooperative game, but it's another one that I think will play better with more than two people. It was still a good game and decently easy to learn.

Amber- I really liked this game! This was a great pick up by Shannon. I thought it was fun as a 2 player game and I feel like it will be just as good with more players. 

Can't Stop Express-This is a kickstarter game that Amber had ordered because we have played Can't Stop online a lot and she wanted to try out the Express version.
Amber- I really like Can't Stop, so when I saw it on Kickstarter with Can't Stop Express I backed it. I am glad I purchased it. I like the express version, but feel like you should play Can't Stop Original a few times before tackling the express, because I could see how it could get confusing. I look forward to playing again and trying a different strategy.

Shannon- I thought this was a fun little dice rolling game. I would like to play again before I really put too much thought into it. We played with a couple of our kids and they didn't understand the rules very well. It was still a lot of fun, but not as easy for kids to learn.

Click the link of any game to learn more about it on the BoardGameGeek website. As always, we had a lot of fun learning to play new games this weekend and can not wait to do this again soon!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Review

*Ages 11+
*2-4 Players
*About 30-60 Minutes
*Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, & Andrew Wolf

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck building game. You chose one of four characters to play, (Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom) each of which have their one special ability to be used during the game. The game takes place over seven books (or games). In each book you have a stack of villains to defeat before they take over the locations for that book. Each villain has is own negative effect that takes place when it is triggered and before a player's turn, Dark Arts cards are drawn that also have negative effects for the players. After the villain's turn, a hero then gets to take their turn playing Hogwarts cards, which can be used to gain influence to buy new cards, gain attack to use to fight villains, or to gain hearts. Heroes win when all villains for that book have been defeated, but they lose when the villains manage to take over all locations in that book. 

Shannon's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I do enjoy this as a 4 player game. Recently, Amber and I have started playing this together as a 2 player game, yet we have made some house rules to fix some of the problems that we had with the way this game plays, and I am really enjoying it this way.

Favorite Character And Why: Honestly, the character that I thought would be my least favorite is actually my favorite! I love playing Ron in this game. I enjoy buying ally cards and using them with Ron's Bearnie Botts Every Flavor Beans card.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Again, surprisingly I thought I would like Hermione best, but I don't. I'm just not a big fan of her special ability.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I really like the idea of being one of my favorite characters from Hogwarts and buying cards to help me out. But I think I would enjoy this a little more as a campaign where you could keep cards that you bought from one round to the next and build up to an awesome deck. (Which would really help you in the last year!) Also, there are times when there are no cards in the Hogwarts marketplace that anyone wants to buy. I recently read that one of the designers said that it was an issue that they have heard about since the game released and their idea or solution for this is when one hero gains to Hogwarts cards on their turn, they can then move all six of the Hogwarts cards from the marketplace to the bottom of the deck and place out a new set of six cards. I think that is an excellent idea when you need more attack cards and you don't want to junk up your deck with the cards currently out.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I'm going to go with the back of the board for this one, just so I don't give away any spoilers. (My favorite would be a couple of cards that you can buy later on in the game!)

Strategies: We tend to make sure every character can buy to their strengths. Neville, for example, is great for healing and we leave healing cards for whoever is playing Neville to buy.

Final Thoughts: I really like playing this game. I know it's not the best cooperative game out there, and there are a few things that could be changed to really make this game great, but I love Harry Potter and getting to play this game takes me back to reading the books and it's just so much fun!

7 out of 10 Stars

Amber's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: 4 players, but as a 2 player Shannon and I are going through the game working on some house rules to help with the last few games. 

Favorite Character And Why: Neville Longbottom, because we normally get stunned a lot and getting or giving extra hearts is super powerful.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Hermione Granger, she is a favorite of mine in the books, but her special of playing four or more spells and all heroes gaining an influence is not that great in the later games/books.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I dislike your starter deck staying the same through the whole game. Having 6 Alohamora (gain 1 influence) always in your deck and no way to remove them from your deck stinks! Like when you need fight in later games, but all you get are influence cards that you don't need.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I like all of the character cards that change and give new skills. 

Strategies: It depends on what number of game you are on. Over all try to buy lots spells and ally's that let you remove a dark mark token from the location, draw an extra card, or lots of fight power.  

Final Thoughts: I LOVE Harry fireplaces mantel has all the books on display, Funko-Pop figurines, coloring books, wands, Hogwarts wax seals, and more. I love board games (as I think you all know). So I had high hope for this game...  I think the first 2-3 games were very easy and the last 2-3 games were very hard. So Shannon and I are trying to play with some of the mechanics of keeping a few cards between games, and getting rid of some of our starter cards. I think this game had/has great potential, but some of the games are not scaled well for difficulty. Over all I like playing as Harry, Herminoine, Ron, and Neville. I like buying other great characters as allies, buying the spells, and getting different items for my deck.

7 out of 10 Stars