Lost Ruins of Arnak

The Details

Players: 1-4
Play Time: 30 min per player
Age Recommendation: 12+

Genre/Mechanics

Worker Placement
Deck Builder

Competitive

Complexity

Difficulty to Learn: 6/10
Mastery Curve: 5/10

Luck Variance: 3/10

Publisher: Czech Games

Price: $$$

Awards & Honors:
n/a


Theme and Overview

Lost Ruins of Arnak blends worker placement and deck-building game mechanics to tell the thrilling story of exploration on the lost island of Arnak. In it, players race to uncover dig sites, combat Guardians, and collect artifacts buried throughout the island to advance progress on their research leading to the discovery of the ancient lost temple.

Continue reading “Lost Ruins of Arnak”

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

The Details

Players: 1-4
Play Time: 60-120 minutes
Age Recommendation: 14+

Genre/Mechanics

Worker Placement
Action Queue

Cooperative

Complexity

Difficulty to Learn: 6.5/10
Mastery Curve: 5/10

Luck Variance: 5/10

Publisher: Portal Games

Price: $$$

Awards & Honors:
Swiss Gamers Award Winner (2013)
Gra Roku Advanced Game of the Year Winner (2013)
Golden Geek Best Thematic Board Game Winner (2013)


Theme and Overview

Robinson Crusoe is a cooperative survival and exploration game in which players control characters with asymmetrical powers in order to complete tasks in one of six different scenarios (included in the base game). These characters are each represented by two color-coded Action pawns that can be assigned to different placement locations around the game board during the Action Phase. Typically, the goal of each scenario is to collect a certain amount of resources (such as wood in “Castaways” to build a large bonfire) while fending off storms, attacks, and feeding your survivors.

Continue reading “Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island”

Our Favorites of 2020 (So Far)

2020 has certainly not been the greatest year. But let’s look on the bright side…there were lots of fantastic games released this year! Admittedly, Nikki and I have not been able to play more than a handful of the new releases (because board games are expensive) so we won’t pretend that we have had nearly enough experience with this year’s releases to do a “Best Of” list, but instead, we’ll take the time to share five 2020 releases that you ought to know about. These are our five favorites (so far)…

Continue reading “Our Favorites of 2020 (So Far)”

Everdell

The Details

Players: 1-4
Play Time: 40-80 minutes
Age Recommendation: 14+

Genre/Mechanics

Worker Placement
Tableau Building

Competitive

Complexity

Difficulty to Learn: 4/10
Mastery Curve: 6/10

Luck Variance: 4/10

Publisher: Starling Games

Price: $$$

Awards & Honors:
Gra Roku Best Artwork Winner (2020)
Cardboard Republic Architect Laurel Winner (2018)


Theme and Overview

Everdell is a beautiful worker placement game set in the valley of Everdell. In it, players work to construct a City represented by a 15-card tableau depicting both Constructions and their charming inhabitants (referred to as Critters in the game rules). To do this, players must first accumulate resources (resin, twigs, pebbles, and berries) by visiting worker placement spaces. These resources, which are represented by colorful, plastic or rubber shaped tokens, are used to pay the cost of each Construction or Critter added to a City. Alternatively, each Critter is associated with a specific Construction (as notated on the card) and can be played for free if that Construction has already been built in your City.

The game is played over the course of four seasons, and at the conclusion of the final season (when all players have completed all possible actions), victory points are totaled up and the player with the highest score wins.

Continue reading “Everdell”

Holidays 2020: Stocking Stuffer Games

Looking for stocking stuffers that will not only fit into your game collection but also not break your holiday gift-giving budget? We’ve put together a list of 8 of our smallest sized games that support two or more players.

Continue reading “Holidays 2020: Stocking Stuffer Games”

Raiders of the North Sea

The Details

Players: 2-4
Play Time: 60 minutes
Age Recommendation: 12+

Genre/Mechanics

Worker Placement
Resource Management

Competitive

Complexity

Difficulty to Learn: 5/10
Mastery Curve: 6/10

Luck Variance: 4/10

Publisher: Renegade Game Studios & Garphill Games

Price: $$

Awards & Honors:
Mensa Select Winner (2018)
Nederlandse Spellenprijs Best Expert Game Winner (2019)
Gouden Ludo Best Family Game Winner (2019)


Theme and Overview

Raiders of the North Sea is a “take one pick one” worker placement game in which players assemble a team of marauding Vikings with a goal of raiding settlements for their supplies.

Continue reading “Raiders of the North Sea”

BGG@Home: New Games We Demoed

To replace the cancelled BGG.Con 2020 this last weekend (Nov. 18-22), Board Game Geek held a virtual convention called BGG@Home 2020. While not getting to go to the convention is a bummer, Corey and Nikki were excited to get a chance to play some newly released (or soon to be released) games even if it was only virtually. After all, we saved quite a bit on flights or hotels this way…more money to spend on more games, right?

Here’s a quick recap of seven upcoming or recently released games that we had the pleasure of demoing at the convention:

Continue reading “BGG@Home: New Games We Demoed”

Azul

The Details

Players: 2-4
Play Time: 30 minutes
Age Recommendation: 8+

Genre/Mechanics

Drafting
Abstract Strategy

Competitive

Complexity

Difficulty to Learn: 4/10
Mastery Curve: 6/10

Luck Variance: 4/10

Publisher: Next Move Games & Plan B Games

Price: $$

Awards & Honors:
Cardboard Republic Architect Laurels Winner (2017)
Golden Geek Best Family Game Winner (2017)
Meeple’s Choice Winner (2017)
Årets Spill Best Family Game Winner (2018)
As d’Or – Jeu de l’Année Winner (2018)
Boardgames Australia Awards Best International Game Winner (2018)
Deutscher Spielepreis Best Family/Adult Game Winner (2018)
Gouden Ludo Best Family Game Winner (2018)
Guldbrikken Best Adult Game Winner (2018)
Juego del Año Winner (2018)
JUGuinho Families Game of the Year Winner (2018)
Mensa Select Winner (2018)
Nederlandse Spellenprijs Best Family Game Winner (2018)
Origins Awards Best Family Game Winner (2018)
Spiel des Jahres Winner (2018)
Tric Trac d’Argent (2018)
Gra Roku Best Artwork Winner(2019)
MinD-Spielepreis Short Game Winner (2019)
UK Games Expo Best Abstract Game Judges Award Winner (2019)
UK Games Expo Best Abstract Game People’s Choice Winner (2019)


Theme and Overview

In Azul, players take turns to draft tiles from a central zone (known as the Factory Display) to be added to their game boards and eventually moved into the corresponding location on their wall pattern based on their color and design. Players compete to score the most points before the end of the game. This is triggered by one of the players completing one full row of tiling on their wall.

Continue reading “Azul”

Five Big Group Games for Under $20

It’s November and many of us are planning for what is likely to be one of the most unusual Thanksgiving celebrations yet. For those of us that are lucky enough to have a large “bubble crew” to spend time with, we’re likely looking for anything to do that doesn’t involve talking about politics or COVID-19. For those of us whose “bubble crew” is our spouse, kids, and cats who we’ve been spending some more time with than usual, we just might be looking for something new to do that doesn’t involve staring at screens. How about a game?

These five games are our picks for the best cheap pick ups (ranging from $10-$19.99) for a larger group (an average of five players). They represent a diversity of different styles of play, themes, and player involvement levels but all have been selected because they are easy to teach, quick to start, and fun as heck to play. If you ask me, those are all qualities of a game that will go over well with a mixed group of family that includes weekly D&D-enthused kids as well as parents who “used to play a lot of Monopoly”.

We typically focus on two-player game experiences, however, we do have a lot of party and group games in our collection. Some of these work with a two-player variant but most do not.

Continue reading “Five Big Group Games for Under $20”

Tsuro

The Details

Players: 2-8
Play Time: 15-20 minutes
Age Recommendation: 8+

Genre/Mechanics

Abstract Strategy
Tile Placement

Competitive

Complexity

Difficulty to Learn: 2/10
Mastery Curve: 2/10

Luck Variance: 6/10

Publisher: Calliope Games

Price: $

Awards & Honors:
2006 Golden Geek Best Light/ Party Game Nominee


Theme and Overview

In Tsuro, players take turns placing path tiles on the board and sliding their marker stones along the path they have created. A deceptively simple strategy game, each player must endeavor to play path tiles that keep their marker stones on the board while leading their opponent’s marker stones off the edge of the board. Victory is achieved when one player’s marker stone is the left on the board.

Continue reading “Tsuro”