Board Games

I LOVE Games.  Below follows a list of some of my favourites and new ones as they are played!

Le Havre
# players: 1-5
Playing time: 120+mins.

First played: 29 October 2011

We've played this game three nights in a row. Firstly the shortened 4 player version which took about 2.5hours. Second and third time round as the full 2 player version which took 1.5hours. I absolutely love it. If you're a fan of Agricola (the same designer created both these and other fantastic games) you are going to love this one too. It was published in 2008 and is one of the highest ranked strategy games.

In a turn a player distributes goods and then can either take the goods supplied or enter a building.  Buildings allow you to build ships (extremely important for gaining food) or take further actions to multiply or convert your goods into more valuable items.  It is quite detailed but again if you have played any high level strategy games it will be a piece of cake to learn and get the hang of.  The player with the highest value of buildings and cash combined is the winner.

It's a great strategy game and there are many different avenues to take to win.  At the same time it could be easy to fall into the trap of constantly only working to gain the necessary food requirement at the end of each round and therefore make no progress.

We thoroughly enjoyed it and it is a touch easier to get ahead than in Agricola.  (In saying this I'll always love Agricola even though I am far from mastering it!) I highly recommend this one if you feel like a solid strategy game with lots of options.

I give it 9 out of 10.


# players: 3-5
Playing time: 60-90mins.

We've played Chinatown a couple of times now in September and October 2011. It was published in 1999 and well regarded and has been nominated for a few gaming awards.

It is a trading and negotiation game - everything is up for negotiation. Players acquire ownership of sections of city blocks then place tiles, representing businesses, onto the block-sections. At the end of each turn, each tile you've laid gives you some sort of payout, but completed businesses (formed of three to six connected tiles of the same type) pay quite a bit better. All these resources are dealt to the players randomly, however, so players must trade to get matching businesses and adjacent locations.  The player who has earned the most $'s at the end of the game is the winner.

This is a very simple game - easy to learn and play. And great fun.  The negotiations can go on for a bit but as far as trading games go this one is great.  Great fun and I'm sure we will be playing it many more times.

I give it 8.5 out of 10.


# players: 2-4
Playing time: 45mins.

Played a few times in September/October 2011.  This one will definitely come out again and again.  Published in 2010 it's a relatively new game from the designers of other great games like El Grande, Tital and The Princes of Florence.

In this game you compete with the other players to collect different sections of towers and build them into the largest, most beautiful and most plentiful towers.  It's an easy and quick game with beautiful components and board.  

I give it 8 out of 10.


# players: 2-4
Playing time: 40-60mins.

We played Pastiche in October 2011. It was published earlier this year and has won one award.

You are "commissioned" to paint European art works.  To complete them you collect and "mix" different colours to gain the right combination for each artwork.  The came makes use of tile placement, set collection and trading.  The person with the most points gained from completed artworks wins!

Our group all felt a bit different about this one.  Some of us think it has potential, others thought it was a bit slow and laborious.  I quite enjoyed it but definitely need to give it another go as I'm sure it will start coming together a bit better.  

I give it 6 out of 10.

Small World - Underground

# players: 2-5
Playing time: 60mins.

Ahhh, Small World.  I'm a huge fan of the first Small World and was given Small World UnderGround earlier this year for my birthday.  It had only been released weeks before in June 2011.

It is more or less exactly like the origninal but with different fantasy themes races and special powers.  The goal is to score as many points as possible at the end of each turn to end up with the most points at the end.  This is achieved by using your race and combined special power to it's maximum advantage by occupying different areas and conquering other players races.  There are one or two extra features such as Places of Power and Relics though they dont alter the game much at all.

I love Small World and though Underground doesn't bring much new to the table it is again well produced, fun to play and provides a different "scene".  Fun and easy.I give it 7 out of 10.


# players: 2-4
Playing time: 90-120 mins.

We played Tikal for the first time on in August 2011. Published in 1999 it's been around for a while and from the designer of other great games like El Grande, Asara and The Princes of Florence.

Set in the Central American jungle, players search for lost temples and treasures with their group of explorers. Each round consists of a player exposing more terrain and then using 10 action points. The person who scores the most by uncovering treasure and temples at the end of the game, wins!

It's a relatively simple game with the right balance of fun, strategy, competition and player interaction.

I give it 8 out of 10.

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