Sunday, July 27, 2008

War of the Roses, Texas

The Basics
Description: Originally published as Texas by db-Spiele.

The battle between farmers and ranchers is fairly abstract. A single pawn travels on a square grid. Each player has a hand of cards face up. These each have a direction and a distance. The player can either draw a card and add it to his hand, or play a card. If he plays a card, then the pawn moves the appropriate distance to an empty square, and the player places one of his markers. Each player also has judge symbols that can each be used only once. The judge lets you move onto a previously placed opposition marker and reverse it. Players score points for each contiguous region equal to the square of the number of markers. If a player is not careful, such a move may be forced, as there is a maximum number of cards that a player may hold.

Contains rules for playing with 4 (in two partnerships of two players).

Later republished 1999 as Rosenk├Ânig by Kosmos, as part of the two-player game series. The republication also included a re-theming of the game. The setting changed from Texas to England, and the factions changed from farmers and ranchers to the factions of the Plantagenet family from the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) - the Lancaster (red rose) and the York (white rose) factions in a similarly abstracted fashion.

How to Play

Where to Play Online

Cheat Sheets (None Available)

Game Hints (None Available)

Views

  • Opinion: Not at a big fan.
  • Online: Works fine.
  • Work: Very easily played at lunch time.
  • Home: Ok, probably will be taught after a lot of other games.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 2-4 players, best with 2 (never played 4).
  • Gateway Suitability: Very easy to learn, I don't view this a gateway.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy hasn't played it.
  • Re-playability: For me it is low.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes of sorting out pieces.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 45 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/283565

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Torres

The Basics
Description: Torres is an abstract game of resource management and tactical pawn movement. Players are attempting to build up castles and position their knights to score the most points each turn. Players have a limited supply of knights and action cards that allow special actions to be taken. Efficient use of pieces and cards, along with a thoughtful awareness of future possibilities, is the heart of this game.

How to Play

Where to Play Online

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game Hints
Views
  • Opinion: I like this game live, over PC or Online. The pieces, the game play make it fun.
  • Online: Works fine online
  • Work: Will be real tight on playing at lunch time.
  • Home: Might take a few turns, if not a whole game to get the whole family into it.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 2-4 players, best with 4.
  • Gateway Suitability: A little to much for gateway game.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy hasn't played this yet.
  • Re-playability: I would say high, once you understand it.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes, of sorting player pieces.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 60 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/88

Friday, July 25, 2008

No Thanks

The Basics
Description: No Thanks! is a card game designed to be as simple as it is engaging.

The rules are simple. Each turn, players have two options: Play one of their chips to avoid picking up the current face-up card pick up the face-up card (along with any chips that have already been played on that card) and turn over the next card.

However, the choices aren't so easy as players compete to have the lowest score at the end of the game. The deck of cards is numbered from 3 to 35, with each card counting for a number of points equal to its face value. Runs of two or more cards only count as the lowest value in the run - but nine cards are removed from the deck before starting, so be careful looking for connectors. Each chip is worth -1 point, but they can be even more valuable by allowing you to avoid drawing that unwanted card.

How to Play

Where to Play Online

Cheat Sheets (Not really needed for this game)

Game Hints
  • Basic Strategy: Not really needed for this game
  • My Tips: Coming Soon
Views
  • Opinion: Quick game to learn and play.
  • Online: Works fine online, but very, very hard to every find anyone to play.
  • Work: We could play this 2-3 times at lunch time.
  • Home: An ok game to play.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 3-5 players, best with 4.
  • Gateway Suitability: Very easy to learn, maybe to easy.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy has not played the game yet.
  • Re-playability: High replay as a end of night game.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes of shuffling cards and given out pieces.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 20 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/12942

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tally Ho

The Basics
Description: What happens if the hunter becomes the hunted?

One player takes the role of the hunters and the lumberjacks; the other takes the role of the foxes and bears. Both players hunt each other!

At first the forest lies peacefully under the face down tiles. As the players turn the tiles over and move them on the board, the forest awakens and the hunt destroys the serenity of the forest. The lumberjacks cut swaths through the forest to provide hunting fields for the hunters. The bears then use these same aisles to track the hunters and lumberjacks.

The two sides are balanced with luck dominating the early game, but skill taking over at the end. Good hunting!

How to Play

Where to Play Online (I play on Yucata, but you can play right away on YourTurnMyTurn)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game Hints
  • Basic Strategy: Coming Soon (a link to the Geek)
  • My Tips: Coming Soon
Views
  • Opinion: I didn't enjoy this game until I played it online. Now I like it online or in person.
  • Online: Works great online, highly recommended.
  • Work: We could play 2-3 games at lunch time.
  • Home: Easy to teach and learn for any age group.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: 2 player game.
  • Gateway Suitability: The game is pretty could, and could be used to gateway others into gaming (better options are available).
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy hasn't played it.
  • Re-playability: Very high for me.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes, of placing tiles face down on the board.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 15-20 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/908

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Schotten Totten

The Basics
Description: Nine boundary stones lie between you and your opponent. In front of each, you build poker-like formations of three cards on a side. Whoever plays the higher-ranking formation wins the stone. And in a unique twist, you may use your powers of logic to claim a stone even before your opponent has played all three of his cards, by demonstrating that the stone is impossible for him to win. Successfully claim five stones, or any three adjacent stones, and you win the game.

The original game consists of 54 cards, numbered 1 to 9 in six colors. The 2004 Pro Ludo reprint adds 10 special tactics cards, which can serve as wild cards or allow you to "break the rules" in various ways, and it's this version of the game that was soon rethemed into Battle Line for the American market. Opinions in the gaming community on whether the tactics cards improve or take away from the game seem to be quite evenly divided.

How to Play (This game is easy to learn, basically 3 card poker hands)

Where to Play Online (I play on Yucata, but Flex is good)
  • Yucata (Free - Registration Required)
  • Flex Games (Free - Registration Required)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game Hints
Views
  • Opinion: I enjoyed Battle Line more at first. Since playing online, have gotten to like this version more.
  • Online: Works very well online.
  • Work: We could easily play 3-6 games of this at lunch time.
  • Home: Great game, very easy to teach, theme of Scottish clans is fun and works.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: 2 player game.
  • Gateway Suitability: Very easy to learn. If they like Poker, this could be a great two player filler.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy liked it, very simple and hits the Poker hand enjoyment.
  • Re-playability: So quick and easy, has a high replay value. More so if you sleeve the cards and take the game on a trip (or to work for lunch time play).
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes of shuffling cards and placing markers.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 10-20 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/game/372

Friday, July 18, 2008

Balloon Cup

The Basics
Description: In Balloon Cup, the players compete in several short balloon flights (hops) to collect the colored cubes associated with each hop.

Four landscape cards, two Plains alternating with two Mountains, are laid out and 1, 2, 3 or 4 cubes in assorted colors (gray, blue, green, yellow, red) are added. From a hand of 8 Balloon cards must try to pass each landscape by adding cards matching the colored blocks onto their side of table, although winds (and cunning) may occasionally cause them to play on their opponent’s side - a move that can really ruin the opponent’s plans.

High-valued balloons are played on the Mountains and low-valued balloons on the plains. Whoever is the better balloonist takes the cubes from the card, which is then flipped over and refilled with cubes. Mountains becomes Plains and vice-versa. 5 Trophy cards of value 3 to 7 are placed at the top of the cards. When a player has collected enough cubes of a given color, he earns the Trophy card for that color. Players may even trade 3 otherwise useless cubes for 1 they can use.

The first player to earn 3 trophy cards is the winner!

How to Play (I can teach, or you can read the online rules)

Where to Play Online (I play on Yucata)
  • Yucata (Free - Registration Required)
  • Gravon (Free - Registration Required)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game Hints
  • Basic Strategy: Thread on the Geek
  • My Tips: Remember if you score for someone else you get to go again. Plus remember the card distribution of numbers.
Views
  • Opinion: I enjoy this game, fills a quick filler role for two players.
  • Online: Works fine online, if not better online.
  • Work: We easily could play 2-3 games of this.
  • Home: Easy game to teach to kids, and has enough choices at times to keep parents into it.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: 2 player game.
  • Gateway Suitability: Very easy to learn, solid two player gateway game.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy liked the game.
  • Re-playability: Very high online, and pretty good to high for a two player game.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes of shuffling and dealing cards, and putting cubes on cards and in the bag.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 20 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://boardgamegeek.com/game/5716

Sunday, July 13, 2008

San Juan

The Basics
Description: A card game based on Puerto Rico. The pack of 110 cards consists of production buildings (indigo, sugar, tobacco, coffee, and silver) and "violet" buildings that grant special powers or extra victory points. Cards from the hand can be either built or used as money to build something else. Cards from the deck are used to represent goods produced by the production buildings, in which case they are left face-down. A seven-card hand limit is enforced once per round.

In each round or governorship, each player in turn selects from one of the available roles, triggering an event that usually affects all players, such as producing goods or building. The person who picks the role gets a privilege, such as producing more goods or building more cheaply.

Though similar in concept to Puerto Rico, the game has many different mechanics. In particular, there are no colonists and no shipping of goods; goods production and trading are normally limited to one card per phase; and trades cannot be blocked.

Victory points are gained exclusively by building, and the game ends as soon as one player has put up 12 buildings.

How to Play

Where to Play Online

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game HintsViews
  • Opinion: I love this game. A great way to spend some time. A must if you love Puerto Rico.
  • Online: Works fine online or as a PC game.
  • Work: Should be fine for lunch time play.
  • Home: Solid card game for families. Card management and role selection aren't hard to pick up.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 2-4 players, best with 3 (but fine with 2 or 4).
  • Gateway Suitability: Fairly easy to learn, might take two games to grasp what to buy and what to discard.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy hasn't played this yet.
  • Re-playability: Very high for gamers.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes of pulling the Indigo card for each player, then shuffle cards and sort out other pieces.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 30-45 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/8217

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yspahan

The Basics
Description: 1598. Yspahan the fair becomes the capital of the Persian empire. Thus, being placed at the center of the world, the city enjoys a period of cultural and economic blossoming. The cities and villages of the region intend to take advantage of this expansion. Caravans loaded with goods and jewels set out for the desert, bearing the promises of a radiant future...

The players embody merchants trading with Yspahan. Meaning to take advantage of the coming of the Shah’s supervisor, they score points by placing their merchandise in the right shops, by sending them to the caravan, and by constructing buildings.

How to Play

Where to Play Online (I like live over PC, but the PC version is good)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game HintsViews
  • Opinion: After Bob showed me how to play, I have enjoyed this game. Easy to play, some so-so choices.
  • Online: Works fine online
  • Work: Could be to long the first time, but should be fine after that for lunch time play.
  • Home: Good family game, but would not be a first choice.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 2-4 players, best with 3 or 4.
  • Gateway Suitability: Not a gateway game, but easy to learn.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy has not played the game yet.
  • Re-playability: Ok replay value, not high for me.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes of sorting pieces and cubes.
  • Real Life Time/Length: Without the expansions 60-75 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/22345

Friday, July 11, 2008

RA

The Basics
Description: Ra is an auction game with an Ancient Egyptian theme. Each turn players are able to purchase three lots of tiles with their bidding tiles. Once a player has purchased his three lots for the round, the other players continue until they do likewise, which may set up a situation with a single uncontested player bidding on tiles before the end of the round occurs. Tension builds because the round may end before all players have had a chance to win their three lots for the epoch. The tiles give either immediate points, prevent negative points for not having certain types at the end of the round (epoch), or give points after the final round. The game lasts for three epochs. The game offers a short learning curve, and experienced players find it both fast-moving and a quick play.

How to Play

  • You Tube (Video)
  • Quick Reference (Downloads a Pdf)
  • Rio Grande Games (Official Rulebook - reprint and link coming soon)

Where to Play Online (I love the real thing more, but the free PC version is fine)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game Hints

Views
  • Opinion: I love this game. Chanting "RA RA RA" is fun stuff.
  • Online: Works fine on BSW, or on the PC
  • Work: Could be to long the first time, but after that should be fine for lunch time play.
  • Home: Great game, great pieces, push your luck always good for families.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 3-5 players, best with 3 or 4.
  • Gateway Suitability: Fairly easy to learn, I would say a small step above gateway, but still easy to push on folks.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy liked the pieces and playing on the PC.
  • Re-playability: A classic in modern board games. Replay value should be high.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes, place all tiles in the bag, and hand out cash tokens.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 45-60 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/12

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Carcassonne: Hunters & Gathers

The Basics
Description: Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers is a game in the Carcassonne series set in the stone age. Players build a prehistoric landscape with tiles depicting forests, rivers, lakes and grasslands. They then send out members of their tribe to hunt, gather, fish and establish fishing camps. It includes many of the familiar mechanics from Carcassonne with a few new options.

How to Play (if you can play Carcassonne, you can play this version as well)

NO VIDEO OR POWER POINT (But you can use the Carcassonne Power Point to play)


Where to Play Online
(I play on Yucata, but the PC version is fine.)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game HintsViews
  • Opinion: I really enjoy this game, more than regular Carcassonne. I can teach it and go over it at lunch time, at the house or online.
  • Online: Works fine online, prefer it online.
  • Work: Table size will be the only thing stopping us from playing anywhere we want at lunch time.
  • Home: Great game for any family, just watch the small pieces.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 2-5 players, best with 2.
  • Gateway Suitability: Very easy to learn, might take two games to grasp the scoring.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy likes the tile placement aspect.
  • Re-playability: This game will see table and online action.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes, just placing tiles in the bag, and handing out pieces.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 45 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4390

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Hacienda

The Basics
Description: Hacienda has players competing for space on the South American pampas, aiming to bring their livestock to the most markets. You get three actions a turn to buy cards which then let you lay tiles to control land and herds, or you may buy extras, such as waterholes or the haciendas of the title to get bonus points.

The game has two card decks, one showing the different land types on the hex map, the other the different animals (pigs, cows, horses and sheep). Some cards are laid face up and you pay 3 pesos to buy the ones you want, or 2 pesos for an unknown card from the draw deck. You spend the cards to put your markers on land and to place your animal tokens on the board. Animals of a type go together to make a herd naturally, and each time a herd touches a market town on the board, you earn money for the size of herd and land attached. With careful hand and herd management, you can make good cash gains and also block your opponents. You need the money to buy more cards of course. 12 pesos also buys waterholes you can place next to your herds, or haciendas to go on your land or herds. If you run short of money, you can call a harvest and get cash off your land.

But the game is not about money. You score victory points halfway through the game and at the end. The more markets you are serving, the more points you get. The herds and the land get you points. The water and haciendas get you bonus points as well, which can be crucial to your success.

It should be noted, the game board has two sides: a symmetrical dog-bone shape of land types (appears in most of the photos), and a "random" more varied pattern of land types.

How to Play

Where to Play Online (I play on Spiel by Web 24x7)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game HintsViews
  • Opinion: Did not care for it until Bob showed me how to play. Now I own it and is one of the games I play every day online. Easy to learn, easy to play, lots of choices.
  • Online: Works very well on Spiel by Web
  • Work: Could be long the first time, but should be fine after that for lunch time play.
  • Home: Great game, small pieces might make it a teenager and older game.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 2-5 players, best with 2-4. I love 2 player versus Bob. 2 player gives you more space.
  • Gateway Suitability: Easy to learn, but not a Gateway game.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy likes the online version more.
  • Re-playability: Online (or Offline) you can play with so many custom boards. If you get into the game, replay value is almost unlimited just on the board options alone.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes of sorting pieces.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 60 minutes (much quicker online).
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/19100

Friday, July 04, 2008

Samurai

The Basics
Description: Part of the Knizia tile-laying trilogy, this game is set in medieval Japan. Players use hexagonal tiles to surround cities, which have one to three different figures: rice paddies, Buddhas, or high hats. The tiles represent influence on particular facets of the cities, and the highest influence on a figure when the city is surrounded takes that figure. The object of the game is to have more of any one else in one category, and then have the most remaining figures.

How to Play (I had Dave show me years ago, but you can use Mr. Bass step by step guide. If we play at lunch I can show you in person.)

Where to Play Online (I play on Mabi Web, but the PC version is good)

Cheat Sheets (from the Geek)

Game Hints
  • Basic Strategy: Thread on the Geek
  • My Tips: I tend to use my boat tiles early, then hold the rest of the special tiles until the end. Mainly for extra screwage.
Views
  • Opinion: I love this game. I play it online everyday.
  • Online: The Mabi Web version, is almost like playing in person.
  • Work: Could be a little long the first time, but should be fine after that for lunch time play.
  • Home: Great game, great pieces. Scales well, and easy to understand for all family members.

Other Info

  • Plays best with: Works fine with 2-4 players, best with 2 to 3 (quicker play).
  • Gateway Suitability: Very easy to learn, might take a few turns to grasp.
  • Spouse Suitability: Chrissy likes the game. Cheat sheets help a lot.
  • Re-playability: This IMHO has high replay value.
  • Real Life Setup: A few minutes, sorting out pieces.
  • Real Life Time/Length: 45 minutes.
  • Geek Link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Plans for July

Weekend: Games getting Blogged
July 4th - 6th, 2008: Samurai, Hacienda, Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers
July 11th - 13th, 2008: Ra, Yspahan, San Juan
July 18th - 20th, 2008: Balloon Cup, Schotten Totten, Tally Ho
July 25th - 27th, 2008: No Thanks, Torres, War of the Roses

If Your New Try: Balloon Cup, Schotten Totten, Tally Ho
If Your a Pro: The first nine blogs of this month are all good.

Other:
July 1st:
Posting of Games Played in June

Info: Kind of breaking form on some blog posts, some of the games will not have audio how to's. Don't worry the online rules are easy to follow, plus I can show you how to play.