Friday, February 24, 2017

Ticket To Ride Review

*Ages 8+
*2-5 Players
*30-60 Minutes
*Alan R. Moon
*Ticket To Ride App Available

Everyone gets dealt 3 route cards and you must keep at least 2. Then once everyone has chosen their routes, you start taking individual turns. On your turn, you can draw more train route cards and keep at least one, draw  two colored train cards (or one wild card), or play colored train cards to place your trains. When playing colored train cards to claim part of your route, you must have the correct number and color matching your route location. When a player has 2 or less trains, that triggers the last round, and everyone, including the person who triggered the end, gets 1 last turn. Then everyone reveals their routes, and you add up the completed routes to their score and subtract any uncompleted routes.

Amber's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: 2-3 so the board doesn't get over run.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I like that even though you can't control everything, you have a lot of choices of what to do. You get to choose your routes and how you get it all to connect. I like the planning and watching my train grow. I like the challenge of, do I take more routes, do I take the wild because I haven't seen the color I need, or do I try and redo my route for the color of cards I have? I like that it is a solid game that is easy for most people over the age of 8 to play. I have moments of dislike because when someone else is continually taking my planned route I get frustrated but that happens to me like 1 in 7 games maybe, and it is when I think, well you've got to claim the 1 and 2 train parts of your route ASAP!

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I like the colors and the details on the route and train cards. 

Strategies: There are a couple of good strategies that I have tried out- playing with longest train, so making all your routes be 1 long continuous train. Another strategy my husband and step daughter like is most routes completed, so grabbing as many short routes as you can.

Final Thoughts: One of my top favorite games! I like watching my train grow longer and longer. Also I like the mental challenge of making all my routes connect into one very long train. I also like how, when playing with my step daughter, you can use the strategy of getting the most routes completed.

9 out of 10 Stars

Shannon's Thoughts:
Favorite Number To Play With: I have enjoyed playing this the most as a two player game on the app best. That's just about the only time I play this game anymore.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: It gets really frustrating when you have your route planned out and other people take the ones you need and you can't do what you need to anymore to connect your cities.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: My favorite color is black, so I enjoy when a game has black pieces that I can use.

 Strategies: Just trying to pick routes that work well together.

Final Thoughts: This game is okay, but it's not one of my favorites. For me, there are just too many other games that I will pick before I choose this one. I feel it's a good game to teach to beginning gamers, a gateway game. I plan on teaching this one to my kids soon though, so maybe I will find a new love of the game after I do.

6 out of 10 Stars


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Our Favorite 2 Player Games

In honor of Valentine's Day, we decided to share with you our favorite 2 player games. Also, if you want to learn more about any of the games we mention, just click their names and check their BoardGameGeek pages out!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Amber: Twilight Struggle: Only played this a few times, because it can take a few hours, so we leave it out on the kitchen table and play over 2-3 days. I like reading the cards and learning about the cold war's history.
Shannon: The Rivals For Catan: This is a newer game to me, but I still enjoyed it enough to put it on my list. Unfortunately, I have four other 2 player games on my shelves to learn, so this one might get pushed off the list soon. 


Amber: Onirim: This is a newer game for me. I like the dreaming/sleepy theme and the art on the cards. But over all, I like that you never know if you will win or lose, but if you do lose it's easy to reset and go again!
Shannon: Mr. Jack Pocket: The card and token manipulation in this game makes it very strategic and very challenging.


Amber: Mancala: This used to be a favorite of mine because I could win pretty easy, but since playing with my 10 year old, she has gotten better and my winning rate is down. Also we end up pulling different games, so it has fallen down on the list.
Shannon: Mr. Jack: Mr. Jack is a fun game. I enjoy the roll of figuring out who Jack is a little better than actually being Jack.


Amber: Dragonheart: I fell in love with this one on on nights Shannon and I would hop on to play if someone was sick or our husbands were playing video games. I like that it is a few steps up from like rock, paper, scissors, because it has more choices. It is also one I like that sometimes you have to make tough decisions of when to play a card like the trolls or archer or a high point card.
Shannon: Jaipur: This game has been in my collection longer than the other games on this list. It was one of my first purely two player games, and it's still one of my favorites.


Amber: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small: I tend to either really like or dislike worker placement games. I like this one because the other person may block you but 80% of the time there is still another good and open place I can go. Though I don't get to play this one much because Shannon's two girls are the only ones that will play with me.
Shannon: Niya: This abstract game makes me think a little of connect four as you are placing your tokens down to make a row of four or a 2x2 square. It's fun and the artwork is beautiful.


Amber: 7 Wonders Duel: My husband loves the original, so having a 2 player version is nice. I like that certain parts, like the science and military, are more balanced too.
Shannon: Star Realms: My favorite deck building two player game. I also love how small the box is, so it's really easy to take with you.


Amber: The Rivals For Catan: I like watching my city grow. I like the idea of not having to choose a location to start and hoping you get a good placement like in the original. Plus, I lhave the deluxe version so I love the trays and promo cards.
Shannon: Onirim: Onirim is my most recent addition to this list. I've had it on my wishlist forever and finally got it last month. I have already played this one many times and I love it. It's simple to learn, but challenging to play. 


Amber: Star Realms: I love this deck builder! I like the theme of ships and bases. This one gets pulled out more than any of my other 2 player games, about once or twice a month with my brother-in-law, and I win 75% of the time, which is nice. But I like trying different strategies of, do you buy and play just any base, do you buy all you can of 1-2 factions, or buy a little of all 4, do you take out the base even thought it isn't an outpost, should I buy a card that may slow down my deck or waste my money. So many questions and fun strategies.
Shannon: Lost Cities: This one is one of my most played two player games. I love it, and my kids do as well. A great little card game.


Amber: Jaipur: I really like the art and theme of getting jewels and material. This is another game I like the simplicity of it for taking out and about. I like the hard decisions of do you take the camels or not, do you turn in 2 cards, or do you hold off for 3, 4, or 5 so you get a bonus, and should I block you by turning in 1 card to get the highest value before my opponent turns in.  
Shannon: Patchwork: I love using the tetris style pieces to build my quilt. It has enough strategy to make you think, yet it's also a simple game to play.


Amber: Lost Cities: I love the ease of the game. How I can play it against a 6 year old or a 30+ year old, or anywhere in between and the strategy doesn't change much. I like the simplicity of it just being cards and a board so we can take it to a coffee shop or on a trip or wherever, and it doesn't take up much room. I also like that it works with kids on the math of counting, adding, subtracting, and multiplication. Lastly, I like that even if you have one bad round of how cards come out, you don't feel like you are on an up hill battle, but that you could make a come back.
Shannon: Dragonheart: This hand management game is my favorite two player game. I adore the dragon/fantasy theme and it's a lot of fun to play.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Forbidden Island Review

*Ages 10+
*2-4 Players
*About 30 Minutes
*Matt Leacock
*App of Game Available

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game where you collect four of the same treasure cards to get the corresponding figure and get off the island before it sinks. Each person has an adventurer card that has a special ability they can use on their turn. On your turn, you take up to three actions, then you draw two treasure cards, and lastly you draw flood cards equal to the water level. Play then continues with the next player.

Amber's Thoughts:

Favorite Number To Play With: Good with 2-4 players.

Favorite Character And Why: Explorer, because moving or shoring up diagonally is a great saver towards the end of the game.

Least Favorite Character And Why: Diver, because we don't feel like the "special action" is all that useful.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: It is co-op. It flows well because it is simple enough and you aren't sitting waiting on your turn but working as a team

Favorite Art Or Pieces: That when you flip the island tiles they are colored on one side and blue and white on the other if it's sinking.

Strategies: Get your crap and get out! Makes you really try to work as a team.

Final Thoughts: I always feel like in the beginning of the game that there isn't much to flip from sinking, then it never fails after the first couple waters rise cards it changes to crazy, how are we doing all this mode! It is a great starter game for people trying a cooperative board game for the first few times and the game designer also did Forbidden Dessert and Pandemic which are very similar in game mechanics and helps to learn them faster.

8 out of 10 Stars  

Shannon's Thoughts:

Favorite Number To Play With: This is a game that I feel plays well with 2, 3, or 4 players. I have even played it as a solo game before and enjoyed that as well.

Favorite Character And Why: I feel like the Messenger is an important and powerful card. It can really help players collect treasure cards quicker.

Least Favorite Character And Why: For me this has to be the Diver. While it can be useful towards the end of the game, I just feel it's special ability is the least useful.

Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I love that this is a cooperative game that progresses quickly and everyone is working together so you're not just sitting around waiting for your turn.

Favorite Art Or Pieces: I love how well made the treasure figurines are. They are nicely detailed and durable.

Strategies: Listen to your teammates.

Final Thoughts: This is a great game for beginner cooperative players. It's easy to learn, but it's still fun for more experienced players. We recently taught it to our 6 year old daughter and she was able to play without much help. I feel it has great replay value and see it staying on my shelves a long time.

8 out of 10 Stars

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Our Least Favorite Games

If you want to learn more about any of the games we talk about, just click the name of the game, and the link will take you to the BoardGameGeek page for each game.


Amber: Hey, so I am personally trying to keep an open mind about games. I find when asked what my least favorite games are, it is hard to say I HATE that game. For me, it is a lot about who am I playing with, do I really understand the cards/game, what is my mood, how many times have I played the game, what are the mechanics, and so much more! So this is my right off "strategy" game list. I am not saying it will be forever, because I should give some of these another try!  


Shannon: Say Anything- I have played this party game several times now, and each time I see how easily it can be manipulated so that one person the players choose is the winner.
Amber: Sentinels of the Multiverse- I didn't really like it at first and thought there were better games out there that are superhero themed AND uses a deck to defeat a villain. Like Legendary Marvel! :D  But I will confess, I replayed this one over the weekend and actually enjoyed it because the 2 friends I played with KNEW the game and cards, so I enjoyed it. So this one may be moving off my list soon...


Shannon: Fleet- I've only played this game a few times, but each time I could never get the cards I needed to have a chance to win. 
Amber: Smash Up-  I, in theory, like this game, because I like the idea of combining 2 groups or factions and making 1 deck. But then, when it came to playing it, I didn't like it. It is probably one I should try again because I know a lot of people like it and there are a LOT of expansions. So if I had to guess those 2 things will help. And this is another I replayed over the weekend and liked better than I remembered.  


Shannon: Sentinels of the Multiverse- This one took too much time for every player's turn to happen, and just doesn't compare to other games like it.
Amber: Would You Rather (The Card Game)- I don't like picking the least terrible thing.We, as a family, like to make up would you rather questions in the car to pass time and be creative, it is fine then.


Shannon: Two Rooms and a Boom- I was able to play this party game when it was still a prototype and I didn't enjoy how easy it was to figure out who everyone was. I also didn't enjoy separating our game group into two rooms just to play. I haven't had a chance to play the final version so I hope it fixed some issues I had with this game.
Amber: Life- It is ALL about who has the most money, the LUCK of what you spin on a wheel, and what card you draw. I really want to try "Pursuit of Happiness" to see if the Euro-version game is better, like I have heard it is.


Shannon: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small- This worker placement game just fell flat for me. I find it boring compared to all the other games I can be playing.
Amber: Snake Oil - Only played it a few times, but I just don't like having to "Sell" my thing! Especially in a group where you don't know everyone well. People will buy their friends more often, because they know what to "Sell" them for it to be funny.


Shannon: Le Havre- This game was too long, slow, and just plain boring for me. I have also played this as a solo game, and it just felt pointless to me, not fun at all.
Amber: SET Enterprises Quiddler Card Game- I am not an English person so spelling oriented games don't appeal to me!


Shannon: Taboo- When I play party games, I'm looking for a fun game. This one stresses me out when it's my turn, so I just don't enjoy it.
Amber: Munchkin- I think it is an ok starter game, to get into more Strategy games, but I feel like our group has found games that have more replay and game appeal.


Shannon: Would You Rather- I dislike the whole concept of picking what I feel is the least awful of two awful things. This just isn't my kind of game at all.
Amber: Apples to Apples- This game has made me frustrated over the years. I play a card that I think will be funny and then the person picking takes it as serious so it is offensive. So it goes back to knowing the group you are playing with, and how you can play something as funny or serious and it is all about the person picking. Also if you don't have good cards then you are stuck! :S


Shannon: Hanabi- I love Antoine Bauza games, so I was sad to dislike this game so much. When you can develop a system for discarding and say things with a certain emphasis to get people to do what you want, it just feels too cheaty for me. I just can't enjoy this game no matter how hard I try.
Amber: Small World- IT IS NOT LIKE RISK, which is what people said to get me to try it. I am sure if I hadn't gone in with the RISK comparison then maybe I would have liked it more, but I have tried it a few times, so I don't know.  


Shannon: Snake Oil- First off, the concept of this party game is just too silly for me. Also, I am a shy and quiet person, so this game puts me out of my comfort zone and stresses me out way too much.
Amber: Magic the Gathering- OK I half expect someone to comment or push back on this one! And I totally understand because I will be the FIRST to admit I have only played this once! And I am stubborn so I REFUSE to try again. I blame my husband's brother (we will call J). "J" asks almost weekly if we want to play. So one time around Christmas 2014, after being asked about 20 times in a week to play, I said "it is a Christmas Miracle I will play Magic." So "J" was very excited I had caved. "J" dealt himself, my husband, and I cards and started teaching me the game as we played. I asked a question about my hand, how to play a card, and what was in other peoples decks because I had no clue. My husband said well you could play a certain card, and "J" chimed in that I should listen to my husband. Then my husband said but "J" may have something in his deck that can kill you, so "J" if you do I would not give her that advice and then kill her off, because if you kill her off she will probably not want to play this game with you again, and I said he is right, I will not want to play this again. "J" said ok, then I played my card and "J" killed me off. So now anytime "J" asks to play I say no! You killed me off when I was trying to learn, why would I want to ever play again.  I know LOTS of people love the game. I even know that Richard Garfield created King of Tokyo and King of New York and I REALLY like those games, but I have been burnt by "J" and the game. "J" tends to target me in most games, so I should have seen it coming, but I get him back every chance I can! :D ha-ha I figure I need to retry the game before I really say it is my least favorite, but when you get burned by a person in a game right off it is hard to stay open minded...and when asked what is my least favorite game it is the first that comes to mind!

Amber: We would love for anyone to commit and tell us- What game do you think we should give another try? Or what is your least favorite game?