Once again, I’ve been playing a ton of board games and not had time to review them in detail, so in place of that, here’s a ton of mini-reviews.
St. Petersburg: A classic card drafting strategy game, players go through multiple rounds purchasing workers, buildings, nobles and special cards to provide them additional points and money. Quite quick to play, it’s definitely stood the test of time and one of my favourites at the moment.
Pirate’s Cove: A light family game, Pirate’s Cove has players deciding to move to one of six islands to ‘raid’ them for their points / treasure chests / doubloons and to upgrade their ships. The powerful NPC pirate makes things difficult to deal with as do the opposing players whom you have to fight. It’s a light, fun game – not one I’d choose to play every time, but one that I can certainly enjoy occasionally.
7 Wonders: I’ve only played this a few times, but so far, this is a must-buy if no more than to fit 7 seven players. One of the few games that makes it easy to run a fast 7 player game, 7 Wonders is a card drafting game where players hand their new ‘hand’ of cards to their opponents each round, choosing what to lay down based on what their opponents on either side has. Fun, easy to teach and learn, it’s major problem has been the low-production levels of the cards.
Heroes of Graxia: Another deck-building game, Heroes of Graxia take on this popular new category has players taking on the role of a specific hero. The major differences between Heroes of Graxia and other deck-builders is the addition of permanent playable heroes that can be equipped / upgraded on the board and the ability to score victory points / end the game by attacking fellow players. Dealing with a common complaint about deck-builders, Heroes of Graxia is currently the most interactive deck-builder on the market.
Claustrophobia: A dungeon-crawler for 2 players, Claustrophobia comes with some cute painted miniatures and a modular gameboard. Claustrophobia uses an interesting movement / activation system – the hero player rolls a set of dice equal to the number of characters he has available, assigning the dice and thus the hero’s stats for the turn. Wounds taken by the heroes remove a line (i.e. a number) from the character sheet, creating an ever dwindling source of strength. A good, fast to learn and play 2 player dungeon crawler, it might be a tad expensive for a pure 2 player game.
Alhambra: Another classic set collection and hand management game. It’s not a bad game, and certainly easy enough to teach for beginners but there’s definitely layers of strategy in the base game. Deciding which groups of buildings to purchase, which to buy to block and making sure to buy with exact change (or not) all make the game move with an interesting flow. However, we’ll have to play it a few more times to see if it has lasting power.
Puerto Rico: Strange that I’ve not reviewed this classic game before, but having played it a few times recently, I have to say I’m coming to like it a little better than my initial impressions. It’s almost a pure information game; so there is a lot of analysis but there’s just enough variations in the plantations to make it random for repeated plays. However, I’m still not that impressed with it as there’s just a little too little randomness for my liking.