This weekend I got to sit down with a whole bunch of friends and play a massive amount of board and card games. We rarely talk about these brilliant tabletop games on the site and when we do it’s in in-depth reviews. However, I played so many different (and cool) games that I thought it would be better to give you a run down of them all in a mass mini-review gamefest. Without further ado let’s get started…
The first game on my list sounds pretty dull to begin with but stay with me, I promise you’ll have fun. Trains is a deck builder crossed with a board game where you’re playing as different train companies trying to network and take over various areas of Japan. You’ll be taking your basic hand of cards and then buying, building, clearing up waste and erecting housing for extra victory points in really, really quick succession. No word of a lie when you get your head round the rules (which takes about five minutes) you’ll be planning out your turn and executing it so incredibly quickly.
I can hear some people already saying ‘but Ben, it’s still about trains for God’s sake!’ but the actual Trains part of the game is pretty much a secondary aspect to the experience. The real joy of the game is that the mechanics and deck building is so solid. Twin that with the interplay between players cutting each other out of sections of the map and you get a very tactical experience.
Ticket To Ride
Look, we didn’t just play train games I promise. This was funnily enough my first time playing Ticket to Ride and I had a blast. Each player is looking to win their wagers against other gentlemen of the period by completing big routes across North America. You’ll be scoring victory points for each train route you complete and for each of the tickets you manage to finish off by the end of the game.
Ticket to Ride is a perfect gateway game and has a really neat player interaction mechanic (much like Trains) in that you can block routes and such to stop players scoring victory points. Of course that is more of a veteran way of playing the game and at the beginning you just have ridiculous fun planning out awesome routes with your trains.
City of Horror
City of Horror is a very cool and incredibly intense zombie survival game. You’ll be given a clutch of survivors and be faced with a map where locations have limited space. Of course even when those spaces are filled up and you think you’re safe the zombies won’t rest. The main mechanic behind this game is one of voting not only who gets the resources on offer but also who gets chucked out to face the zombie horde and die.
You’ll immediately be trying to wheel and deal your way into an advantageous position but there is nothing to stop your ‘friends’ backstabbing you, voting against you and tossing you to the zombies. It’s a real scrap for syringes full of antidote and you’ll be trying to work out when’s best to play your action cards that can drastically change the situation. Shotguns and Pistols are nice but it’s even cooler to unleash a cat to draw the zombies away…and then the cat comes back and your situation isn’t any better.
Bang! The Dice Game
Bang! The Dice Game was recently mentioned by board gaming legend Tom Vasel and friends on one of their countdown episodes. This of course spurred on my friend to pick it up and I’m very happy he did. Bang! is a hidden (but not so hidden) agenda game where one of you is the Sheriff and the rest of you are Deputies, Outlaws or the all or nothing Renegade.
The Sheriff is looking to survive to the end of the game and the Deputies are trying to make sure that happens. The Outlaws want the Sheriff dead. The Renegade wants everyone dead, all the time. On your turn you’ll be rolling dice that will either allow you to shoot someone, unleash a hail of gatling gun fire or maybe even heal up. Of course the Natives can get involved too and dynamite is involved for a bit more danger.
The game is very fun and while you will more often than not find out who everyone is on their first turn you can have some real reveal moments where you go ‘My God you were the Outlaw all along!’ as you die in the dusty street of some western frontier town. It’s very fun and very quick.
7 Wonders is a glorious card game of empire building through the ages. The game is incredibly popular and sees you building through three ages of a civilisation starting off barely scraping together resources and then unlocking your potential through science and trading and maybe even a little warfare. 7 Wonders plays with a massive number of different players and it’s possibly one of the mechanically sound games out there.
Interestingly much like games like Race for the Galaxy you play mostly for yourself but against the players on either side of you too. Cards are passed around between reveals meaning you have to sometimes plan ahead and make sure another player doesn’t get the card they need. It has a neat meta mechanic that works very well indeed. There is also an awesome team play variant of the game which sees two of you teaming up and then combining your score at the end. This helps with the card passing side of the game and you can get some insanely good engines going. I love money, just saying. The expansions for this game are a MUST.
Legendary has been reviewed by me before on the site and you can check it out HERE. This is somewhat of a hard to come by game where you play as a variety of Marvel heroes looking to take on a Mastermind (Loki, Magneto etc) and a Scheme that will be your undoing. The basis behind the game is a deckbuilder and much like with Trains I mentioned first in this article you will be taking turns buying heroes and fighting villains very, very quickly.
Legendary plays best with around three or four people as the time between turns isn’t overly long and you all get to do something more often than not. The game is not without its challenge either. The first starter mission is pretty easy but the other schemes really ramp up the difficulty. Sometimes it can just get impossible.
Inn Fighting is an old Dungeons & Dragons game where, predictably, you fight in a big ol’ bar fight. The game itself isn’t very well known and indeed rather underwhelming in terms of its production value. The game doesn’t come with components for half of the things (which is why I was using gold coins from a different game in the image above) you need but if you can look past that it’s a very neat quick dice game.
Inn Fighting is a fun filler game that I quite enjoy. It’s pretty chaotic and works well if you just imagine the bar fight breaking out and heroes and bystanders sending fists flying all over the place. There are better games out there for filler slot but if you do find a game of it out there it might be worth giving it a go.
Seasons sees you playing as wizards competing to show off their magical abilities. You’ll be given a drafted hand of cards to play with and then throughout the in-game year roll dice for each season. This gifts you with a selection of energy to then play your cards and build up your magical repertoire. I only got to play the basic tutorial version of the game and it was a little hard for me to get my head round it to begin with but it started to sink in towards the end.
The game has three ‘turns’ and you’ll be splitting up your cards into basic resource building cards, semi-powerful abilities and items and then mega game changers towards the end. Most of the game is amongst the dice rolling and energy collection but good planning between turns means you can chain together some incredibly awesome spell chains. You do feel like a very powerful sorcerer when you’re playing the game and artistically the game is sublime.
Ever wanted to be a starship captain or indeed the guy manning the shields in Star Trek? Space Cadets is a big co-operative game where each of you takes on a station aboard the bridge of a starship. Some of you will be firing missiles, some of you will be steering the ship and others will be making sure sensor locks trap those enemy ships down for better damage. The big thing about the game though is that this is all being done within a very strict time limit.
The game is insane, utterly insane, and you’ll find yourself shouting ‘she canne take it captain!’ more than once. Interesting Space Cadets can either be a very fun and funky experience or a terribly annoying one. You need to be in the mood to play this game and the art style and way the rules are lain out does make this feel like a relaxed experience. It really isn’t. You need to take the game pretty seriously at times as one slip up and you can end up blowing the ship sky (or space?) high.
I picked HeroQuest up for £2 in a charity ship and everything was in the box! None of our group had ever played the game before and so we sat down at the end of our marathon session and played two of the quests from the game. The game is very much an archaic experience but it’s a massive nostalgia and retro trip down board game memory lane.
Some of the mechanics are antiquated like rolling for movement (such a sin!) and you can die very quickly if the dice hate you with no chance of coming back into the quest for a long time but it was very fun. We had a lot of laughs and it was cool going through the second quest seeing how it all looked when the terrain had been lain out. It had a bloody amazing production value for a game of the time, so much plastic!
I don’t think Descent: Journey into Darkness is in any danger but it was a very fun dungeon crawling experience.
So, that was just a taster of our board game marathon and I can pretty much recommend all of these games to you guys. If you want to know more about a particular game just ask me in the comments and I’ll see what I can help you with!
Have you played any of these?
"7 Wonders is a glorious card game of empire building through the ages..."
"The game is insane, utterly insane, and you'll find yourself shouting 'she canne take it captain!' more than once..."