Unstable Unicorns: Building An Army Of Cuteness

What could be more adorable than a game about unicorns? After all, these magical creatures have always been portrayed as gentle and majestic creatures that wouldn’t hurt a fly. The unicorns in Unstable Unicorns, however, are about as far from this depiction as you can possibly get. In this entertaining and colorful card game, you’ll build an army of vicious and conniving Unicorns through which you can harness their magical powers for your own nefarious means. With creative drawings and unique twists, Unstable Unicorns is a card game with limitless imagination.

Building Your Army Of Magical Unicorns

You begin Unstable Unicorns with a single Baby Unicorn in your stable, which you must then grow into an army of magical Unicorns, each with their own distinct powers. There are 20 different kinds of Unicorn cards that you can collect during the game, and the goal of the game is to be the first player to collect seven different kinds of Unicorns. There are also Basic Unicorn cards, which are hilariously drawn “basic” stereotypes such as modern hipsters or pumpkin spice latte-lovers.

The wacky and imaginative Unicorn cards are one of the biggest highlights of Unstable Unicorns. From the Extremely Destructive Unicorn to the Rainbow Unicorn, each comes with a hilarious drawing and a dynamic set of powers that can help or hinder your efforts to win the game. While cards such as the Extremely Destructive Unicorn can force everyone else to sacrifice one of their own Unicorn cards, the Narwhal Unicorn card has no special powers at all—aside from its own cuteness!

The Righteous Ruler Of All Things Magical

The first player to build a Unicorn army with seven different Unicorn cards is declared the Righteous Ruler of All Things Magical and winner of the game. While it may seem easy to collect seven Unicorn cards, the strategy of the game comes from annihilating your competition’s armies while protecting your own Unicorns from harm.

Each player has five cards in their hand at any time (in addition to the cards in their stable that represent their Unicorn army). These cards can consist of certain types of cards that allow you to better build your army or attack other players. Upgrade cards such as Rainbow Mane allow you to add Basic Unicorns to your stable, while Magic cards such as Good Deal let you draw three cards and discard a single card.

Downgrade cards are used to attack other players or even strategically cull your army, such as the Sadistic Ritual card that allows you to sacrifice one of your Unicorn cards and draw a new one. The Neigh card is one of the most powerful cards in the game, as it allows you to stop a player from playing their card at any time and force them to toss it in the discard pile. Even the smartest strategies can fall apart when hijacked by a powerful “Neigh!”

Unstable Unicorns Expansions

Unstable Unicorns is already an incredibly imaginative and hilarious game, but its expansions make it even more diabolical and entertaining. The Rainbow Apocalypse expansion add double-edged cards that hurt both the player and the recipient of the card, while the Dragons expansion allows for brutal attacks on your opponents that can break up even the closest of friendships.

Find Out Who Your True Friends Are With Unstable Unicorns

Unstable Unicorns is perhaps best for parties or friendly game nights, as it can accommodate anywhere from 2-8 players. You can quickly inject some high stakes fun into a casual gathering among friends thanks to the strategy and double-crossing required by Unstable Unicorns. Playing time lasts around 30-45 minutes, so it’s a game you can easily play a round or two of without anyone losing interest.

Unstable Unicorns is suitable for ages 14+, so it may be better for adults or families with older kids than for younger players. However, the humor and imagination of Unstable Unicorns can be just as enjoyable for kids as it can for older players. If you’re looking for something that fosters friendly (or unfriendly) competition while keeping everyone laughing, Unstable Unicorns is the perfect game to spice things up.

Be careful, your “niegh”bor is out to get you!

Relive The Classics And Remember The House Rules With Monopoly

If you grew up playing board games, chances are you own a copy of Monopoly. The colored money, ruthless landlords, and “Go to Jail” cards are a fixture of almost every household. But Monopoly has proven to be a lasting and wildly popular game for a reason, as it requires a great deal of strategy and negotiation to win the game and run everyone else off the board. Anyone looking to relive the classics will love the nostalgia of Monopoly, as well as the flexibility of its rules.

Rolling the Dice

During each turn of Monopoly, a player will roll two die and then move that number of spaces around the board. Each space either represents a property or forces you to draw a card. These cards can require you to do anything from pay taxes, collect income, or go straight to jail.

If you land on an unowned piece of property, you can either buy it or you can allow the bank to auction it out to the highest bidder. Buying property allows you to charge rent to anyone who lands on that space in the future, supplementing your income and helping you bankrupt the other players.

If you land on a piece of property owned by another player, you have to pay them rent. Once a player has collected all the spaces in a certain color group, they can build houses and hotels to charge players higher rent and bankrupt them even faster.

Going To Jail

Players can be sent to jail for several reasons. One reason is by landing on the “Go to Jail” space. Drawing a “Go to Jail” card is another. When rolling the dice, rolling doubles allows you to roll again immediately after. If you roll doubles three times in a row, however, you get “caught speeding” and are sent to the brig.

Landing in jail moves you to the Jail space and ends your turn. The only way to get out of jail is to pay a fine of $50, use a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, or successfully roll doubles on the dice. While jail isn’t the end of the road, it can be an unwelcome wrench in the works that can derail real estate transactions and push you closer to bankruptcy.

House Rules

Monopoly has been around for so many years and has been played by so many people that players have developed their own house rules to make the game either easier or more complex. The “Free Parking jackpot rule” gives each player the opportunity to win a bundle of cash just for landing on the Free Parking space, which can make the game last even longer. Whether you’re new to Monopoly or you’ve been playing the game since childhood, house rules can keep the game feeling fresh and upend strategies left and right.

Monopoly Expansions

Monopoly has seen several expansions that can either be played as stand-alone games or combined with the base game for additional fun. The Get Out of Jail mini-game gives you an additional way to escape prison by using a spade to flick out colored prisoners. Free Parking is another fun add-on that gives you the optional Taxi Challenge, allowing you to move anywhere you want on the board if you win.

Monopoly: The Landlord’s Game

Monopoly is the ultimate family game, playable by 2-8 players. Whether you’re an only child or you’re playing with extended family, Monopoly can accommodate families of all sizes. It’s also suitable for ages 8 and up, so younger children can easily get involved and keep up with the adults.

Playing time lasts between one to three hours, although certain house rules have been known to keep the game going all night. Monopoly isn’t the kind of game that you can cram a quick round in between the appetizers and the main course. If you’re playing Monopoly, it’s going to be an experience all of its own. The best part of the game is that, with so many different house rules that you can bring to it, you will rarely ever play the same game of Monopoly twice!

Now it’s time to go out and make your fortune!

 

Lords Of Waterdeep

Explore The Forgotten Realm And Rule The City With Lords Of Waterdeep

From the magical world of Dungeons & Dragons comes Lords of Waterdeep, a strategy board game that pits secretive and power-hungry masked rulers against one another in a campaign to grasp control of the city. Lords of Waterdeep combines resource gathering with card playing in an intricate and fantastical experience that will have you backstabbing your closest friends to win some much-needed victory points. The fantasy and political intrigue of Lords of Waterdeep elevate this board game from a forgettable worker placement game into a magical quest.

The Masked Lords Of Waterdeep

In the Forgotten Realms, there lies a most fantastical city named Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. As one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, you’ll secretly recruit adventurers to embark on quests and bring back rewards with which you can grow your political influence. Lords of Waterdeep is all about the secret back-alley dealings and double crosses that determine who holds the true power of the city.

At the beginning of the game, each player will take on the role of one of the five Lords of Waterdeep. The game box comes with five different cardstock player mats with which you’ll conduct your various deeds. It also comes with hundreds of different cards, cubes, meeples, and other little colored trinkets that fill the game with colorful flourishes.

Adventurers, Rewards, And Quests

As one of the Lords of Waterdeep, you’ll control agents who will recruit adventurers to perform certain quests for them and earn rewards. These rewards will sometimes come in the form of victory points, which boost your influence over Waterdeep and get you one step closer to winning the game. Whoever wins the most victory points by the end of the eighth round is declared the winner, so you’ll have to act fast if you don’t want to fall behind.

The adventure resources are represented as purple, orange, black, and white cubes that are based on the four character classes of Dungeons & Dragons. Certain adventurers are better suited for certain quests—will your adventurer succeed in Skullduggery or does their strength lie in Commerce? You’ll need to stay on your toes and strategize if you want to block the other Lords from gaining control.

Scoundrels Of Skullport Expansion

A single expansion was released in 2013 called Scoundrels of Skullport, which adds two expansion modules to the base game of Lords of Waterdeep. Whether you dive into the Undermountain module; explore the Skullport module; or add both expansions to the game, you’ll get a whole host of new game boards, cards, and tokens with which to play.

Undermountain adds an interesting new mechanic that allows you to place resources on the game board spaces while also offering you more expensive but rewarding quests. Skullport adds the corruption mechanic to the game, which includes the new corruption track game board and 25 corruption tokens. These can rob you of crucial victory points and make winning the game that much harder. If you’re a fan of Lords of Waterdeep and are looking to further explore the magical Forgotten Realm, the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion is an excellent addition to the base game.

Take Over The City Of Splendor With Lords Of The Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep is playable by 2-5 players, so it’s perfect for small to medium groups of friends who are looking for a new strategy board game to add to the mix. Dungeons & Dragons lovers will enjoy the familiar fantasy elements, while fantasy lovers in general will marvel at the creative imagination of the game’s designers.

Lords of Waterdeep is a somewhat lengthy game, with a playing time of one to two hours. However, hardcore strategy gamers will find gameplay completely manageable, especially when compared to most D&D quests. Lords of Waterdeep is also suitable for ages 12 and up, so it’s a great game for younger players who are looking to get into more advanced concepts of strategy and fantasy. While there are many tokens and cards to keep track of throughout the game, both beginners and advanced players alike can enjoy the adventure that lies within the Lords of Waterdeep.

Adjust your mask and plot your way to victory!

Llamas Unleashed: Bringing On The Alpacalypse

If you’ve ever played the delightful card game Unstable Unicorns, you’ll love Llamas Unleashed. Llamas Unleashed is a card game released by the same company that made Unstable Unicorns, containing just as many puns and WAY more llamas. Llamas Unleashed is a farm-based strategy game that pits players against each other in a race to be the first to build their herd of llamas, goats, rams, and alpacas. With gorgeously drawn cards and goofy puns, Llamas Unleashed is sure to keep you laughing from start to finis

Gathering Your Herd

The goal of Llamas Unleashed is to be the first person to fill your Field with seven different types of animals. These animals can be anything from an Adorable Alpaca to a Bahama Llama to a Spontaneously Fainting Goat. The pictures on each card are a major part of what makes Llamas Unleashed so much fun, as these creative drawings add a unique whimsical element to the game that keep your interest piqued.

Each animal card is going to be a certain type of llama, alpaca, goat, or ram, and each specific animal comes with its own unique powers. The Magical Ramicorn allows you to bring any Ram card from your hand directly into your field without taking up a turn, while the Bahama Llama allows you to discard a card and force another player to skip their next round.

One of the funniest types of animal cards are the “basic” ones, such as the Basic Llama (who’s just your average annoying tourist) or the Basic Goat (who has an annoying habit of talking on the phone too loudly). While these cards don’t have special powers, their humorous descriptors more than compensate for this.

Special Cards

In addition to the animal cards, Llamas Unleashed comes with several types of cards that you can use to help build your herd and hinder your opponents. Instant cards such as Surprise Emu Attack can destroy another player’s Animal card in the middle of their turn. These cards keep Llamas Unleashed from getting boring, as they can upend winning strategies at any moment.

Downgrade cards such as Berserk Llama Syndrome can be played to force another player to sacrifice one of their animal cards at the beginning of their turn. Upgrade cards give you an extra boost, such as the Venti Alpacchiato, which allows you to draw an extra card. Magic cards are one of the most powerful card types in the game, as cards such as Alpacalypse not only come with a super scary drawing of an alpaca with laser eyes, but also force everyone on the board to sacrifice one of their animal cards.

Herd Bonus

While Llamas Unleashed is based on the same core concepts as Unstable Unicorns, one of the biggest differences is the new mechanic known as the Herd Bonus. A Herd Bonus means that if you get three of the same type of animal in your Field (whether it be an alpaca, llama, goat, or ram), then you get a Field Advantage. This Field Advantage makes coming up with a winning strategy even more complex, as it may be just the boost you need to jump back from the brink of destruction and get crowned the winner.

Llamas, Alpacas, Goats, And Rams, Oh My!

Llamas Unleashed is playable by 2-8 players, so it’s just as perfect for a large party as it is for a one-on-one session. Playing time lasts around 30-45 minutes, which makes it flexible enough to slip in a round whenever you’ve got a bit of downtime without having to dedicate the whole night to playing games. Llamas Unleashed is suitable for ages 14+, mostly due to the humor of the cards. The strategy, however, is something that can be easy enough for younger players to quickly pick up while also remaining complex enough for keep more advanced players engaged.

If you’re tired of games that are all strategy and no imagination, Llamas Unleashed will be the wacky game you need to bring back that playful energy. The combination of intense strategy, hilarious puns and goofy drawings will keep this card game from getting stale no matter how many times you play it.

The most fun you ever “herd” of! Buy it today!

Grandpa Beck’s Golf: The Perfect Card Game For Any Age

While traditional golf may not sound like the kind of game that younger players would enjoy, Grandpa Beck’s Golf is interesting for kids and adults alike. This game takes the classic face card game and adds new cards and rules. Grandpa Beck’s Golf combines luck and strategy to allow for dynamic competition at a nice relaxed pace. Whether you’re looking for a game to play with the kids, or for something grandma and grandpa would enjoy, Grandpa Beck’s Golf is a swing and a hit!

Laying Down The Grid

The game starts with each golfer being dealt 9 cards, which they lay face down in a 3 by 3 grid. Each player then turns over two cards of their choosing, without peeking at the rest of them. The other cards in the deck stay in the middle of the table, with a separate draw pile and discard pile. The game takes place in rounds, with each player taking their turn to draw a card from either their own grid, the draw pile, or the discard pile.

Lowest Score Wins The Game

The fun of the game comes from the strategy in which you draw cards and set up your grid. Because the golfer with the lowest score is the winner in a traditional game of golf, whoever ends up with the lowest score in Grandpa Beck’s Golf wins the game. You can lower your score by collecting negative value red cards, which signify things like a birdie or hole in one and subtract anywhere from 1 to 4 points from your score.

Black cards will add points to your score, but if you collect three of the same black cards in a row, then you get to subtract those points from your overall score. You can make rows horizontally or vertically, but sadly not diagonally, so be sure to plan accordingly. You’ll have to strategize carefully in order to arrange the cards in the perfect order to nab the negative bonus before your competition has a chance to act first!

Mulligans And Hazards

There are two more card types that make Grandpa Beck’s Golf more than just a game of numbers. The Mulligan cards are some of the most powerful cards in the game, acting as wild cards to be used in place of a black card of any number. Hazard cards, on the other hand, will add 10 points to your overall score, so make sure to discard these toxic cards as quickly as possible.

The game ends once one of the players flips over the final card in their grid. If this player has the lowest score on the board, they win a bonus of -5 points. If someone else has a lower or identical score, however, then they get a penalty of +10 points. Any player who has cards that haven’t already been flipped over will have these cards added to their overall score, which can be devastating if you end up with a hidden hazard card among your bunch! As the game draws to a close, you’ll have to keep an eye on all of the other players to make sure that you’ll come out ahead by ending the game.

Tee Up With Grandpa Beck’s Golf

The best thing about Grandpa Beck’s Golf is how flexible it can to accommodate all different types of players. It’s playable by 2-5 players, which makes it perfect for families as well as for a one-on-one game between grandpa and grandson. Because it’s suitable for ages 8 and up, it’s a great way to connect different generations by giving them something to play that everyone can enjoy.

Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, but because there is no set amount of rounds in the game, you can pretty much play it as long or as short as you want to. Be sure to specify the number of rounds you want to play before you begin in order to give the game a firm endpoint (and protect you from accusations of quitting too soon!) With simple rules and entertaining game play, Grandpa Beck’s Golf is a family game for all generations.

Tee up some fun today!

Dominoes: One Set, Countless Games

Almost every culture around the world has its own version of dominoes. Whether you’re playing with European-style ivory pieces or a cheap plastic set from the gas station, dominoes is one of the most flexible and popular games of all time. The versatility of these well-known tiles means that you’ll never run out of different variations to try, and they’re small enough to travel with you anywhere in the world.

History Of Dominoes

Dominoes were first mentioned during the Song dynasty in China sometime in the 13th century, although modern dominoes didn’t first appear until the 18th century in Italy. Dominos were most likely named after the black and white hooded costumes worn during the Venetian Carnival, which makes sense due to the black and white coloring of the tiles.

Domino tiles are twice as long as they are wide, usually with a line in the middle dividing them into two. Dominoes are also marked on either side with a certain number of spots, usually anywhere between zero to six. A basic set of dominoes is called a double six set, and comes with 28 tiles, although larger sets are available for more intricate domino games.

Crafting The Domino

The novelty of dominoes comes from the different materials historically used to make the tiles. Dominoes can be made from ivory, stone, metal, or even blown glass or crystal. If you’ve ever picked up a traditional pack of dominoes, however, they’re most likely made of synthetic plastics. For as many different dominoes there are in the world, there are just as many kinds of games that you can play using these versatile tiles.

Blocking Games Vs. Scoring Games

Domino games usually fall into one of two categories: blocking games and scoring games. Blocking games require you to get rid of the tiles in your hand while stopping your opponent from emptying their own hand. Draw dominoes is the most classic blocking game, which involves two players each drawing seven tiles at random to play. Players will then lay their tiles down in a line, matching the number of spots on the ends of tiles with the next tile played.

By the end of the blocking game, the winner is the person who’s gotten rid of all of their tiles. If the game ends with neither player able to get rid of all of their tiles, then the winner is the person with the fewest tiles in their hand.

Scoring games will earn players points for making specific moves, but usually follow some variation of the standard Draw game. While Draw dominoes is the most simple domino game, there are infinitely more variations that make dominoes that much more intricate. Block dominoes allows you to pass your turn if you don’t have a playable tile, which lets you play with up to four players at once in a much more cut-throat game.

Fives Family

The Fives Family is a series of traditional dominoes games that requires you to make the ends of the tiles match up to a multiple of five in order to score. This allows for a much more natural flow, as you can make way more connections and earn points in sneakier ways. Five-up is one of the most popular Fives Family domino games, introducing the concept of “spinners” that split the game board into four different sides.

Laying Down The Line With Dominoes

Dominoes are some of the most versatile playing pieces in the world, allowing you to play countless games that are as simple or as complex as you like. Whether you’re playing a one-on-one draw game or playing Five-up with 10 players, you can easily bust out a set of dominoes for a quick game. Playing time also depends on the type of domino game you play, although it usually lasts around 30 minutes.

Dominoes are also suitable for ages 5 and up, so simple versions of the game can help younger kids adjust to the rules before moving on to more advanced rules. When it comes to dominoes, it doesn’t matter how old you are or where you live—everyone can enjoy the abstract strategy of these chunky little tiles!

Make time for some fun today!

Dive Into the Beauty of the Moors with Azul

Azul is the perfect game for art-lovers and strategists alike.  Set in the royal halls of a Portuguese palace, this game pushes you to embrace the interior decorator inside of you in an effort to please King Manuel I with your tile-laying skills.  With gorgeous tiles and fast-paced gameplay, Azul is a beautiful game that you won’t soon forget.

The Story of Azul

The highlight of Azul comes from its wonderful theme and intriguing backstory.  Azul is named after “azulejos”, the beautiful white and blue ceramic tiles that were first introduced by the Spanish Moors.  When the Portuguese king Manuel I visited the Alhambra palace in southern Spain, he was captivated by these stunning tiles and demanded that they be used to decorate his royal palace back home.  As the player of the game, you’re one of the tile-laying artists tasked with the challenge—are you up for it?

Pieces of the Game

Azul also stands apart from the crowd thanks to its gorgeous playing pieces.  Each player gets their own playing board fitted with a tile wall and score tracker.  The tiles are made from a shiny and attractive resin that makes placing them on your board incredibly satisfying.  The game also comes with several different tile repositories, which are cute little decorated disks that hold the tiles you have to choose from.

All of the components of the game are made from sturdy and attractive materials that make Azul a game of supreme elegance.  Instead of using flimsy cardboard or peeling stickers, Azul really invests in the visual and physical elements of the game.  You’ll remember Azul for years to come thanks to their impressive attention to quality and detail.

Laying the Tiles

The game goes on round by round, with players taking turns collecting the tiles from the repositories and placing them in a row.  Players will take all of the tiles of the same color from a repository, continuing until all of the tiles have been collected.  At the end of each round, players will then be able to take tiles from the row and use them to fill their board and win points.

You can earn points for placing the tiles in specific patterns or completing certain sets on your playing board.  You’ll have to choose your tiles with care, however, as any unused tiles will cause you to lose points and move further away from winning the game.  

Azul Sequels

Azul has come out with several sequel games that expand on the premise of the initial game without losing any of its artistic splendor.  In Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, players lay down windowpanes in a beautiful stained glass window instead of building an intricately tiled wall.  The translucent pieces and double-sided player boards are even more beautiful and fun to play with than the initial game.

Azul: Summer Pavilion is another sequel game inspired by history, although this one is based on a story that never came to be.  After King Manuel I completed his royal palaces, he ordered the construction of a summer pavilion (but died before it began).  In this sequel game, players take on the roles of master artisans who lay tiles, build stars, and earn bonus tiles for special tasks.

Build Your Pattern and Please the King with Azul

Azul is suitable for ages 8 and up, with simple rules that you can explain in a matter of minutes.  It can be played by 2-4 players, which makes it well suited for small groups and families.  Because the game has such a unique aesthetic element to it, it’s the perfect romantic game for a date night or anniversary.

Playing time lasts 30-45 minutes, but it’s fun enough that you could easily play a few games back to back without getting bored.  In a world full of unimaginative and aesthetically lazy games, Azul really stands out for its attention to detail and its unique theme.  Players will have an excellent time stepping into the role of artists and creating their own beautiful picture.  After only one play of this dynamic game, Azul will have you considering a career in interior design!

 

How to Play Azul

Go Where No Man Has Gone Before with Terraforming Mars

Popular board games like Risk and Pandemic deal with the incredibly high stakes of worldwide catastrophe and war.  Terraforming Mars, however, leaves Earth behind completely in an effort to build a sustainable life on our closest neighboring planet.  In the 25th century, giant corporations seek to initiate projects to make Mars hospitable.  As players of the game, you’ll have to work together to achieve these goals while also earning points for your own commendable work.

Playing Cards

Terraforming Mars comes with over 200 different project cards that you can buy and use during each round.  These cards represent different projects that aid in your overall goal of terraforming Mars, including small things like introducing plant life or giant tasks such as mining the moons of planet Jupiter.  Some cards will also give you immediate bonuses or help boost your resource production.

While buying the cards comes with a small cost, the cost of putting them into play depends on the size of the project.  You’ll have to build up enough income to afford some of the costlier projects if you want to beat your fellow competitors and win the most victory points.

Terraforming Rating

Your Terraforming Rating is a special indicator that determines your victory point score, your income, and the amount of resources you produce.  Every time you perform an action that furthers the completion of one of the three main terraforming conditions, you’ll boost your Terraforming Rating and become that much more powerful.

Successfully Terraforming Mars

In each round, players go through three phases.  The first phase is the research phase, where each player is given the opportunity to buy randomly drawn cards.  Then, during the action phase, players can perform 1-2 actions such as playing a card, using the action of a card in play, or small tasks like converting heat into a temperature raise that slowly help to terraform Mars. 

While each player’s goal is to obtain victory points through buying cards and completing projects, the ultimate goal of Terraforming Mars is to complete the three terraforming conditions that make Mars habitable.  Once the oxygen level and temperature have both been raised to sufficient levels and enough of Mars has been covered by ocean, then the game ends.  Players will then count all of their points based on their Terraforming Rating and achievements, and the player with the highest score wins.

Terraforming Mars Expansions

Terraforming Mars comes with five unique expansions that add cool elements to the game such as the planet Venus or a Martian government.  With the Hellas and Elysium expansion, you’ll play with a new double-sided board that can make gameplay last for hours of fun.  The Venus Next expansion transports the game from Mars to Venus, as mankind’s colonization of the planets knows no bounds.

The Colonies expansion adds different areas around the solar system that players can use to produce resources without needing to play cards.  The Turmoil expansion adds the intriguing element of a Martian government that players can manipulate to achieve their own ends and earn elusive bonuses.  Several more expansions are currently in the works as Terraforming Mars continues to be a popular game for all kinds of players.

Terraforming Mars Is Out Of This World

Terraforming Mars can be played by anywhere from 1-5 players.  The fact that the game is so versatile means that you can enjoy it just as easily playing it on your own as you can with your entire family or friend group.  While there are many interesting elements and complex strategies involved with Terraforming Mars, it’s not too difficult to comprehend, and should be suitable for ages 12 and up. 

Terraforming Mars is a bit of an endeavor, as playing time usually lasts around 2 hours.  If you add one of the optional expansions to the mix, you may be looking at an entire night spent building cities and hurling asteroids.  Still, Terraforming Mars is certainly interesting enough that you won’t become tired of it before the game is over.  With a creative premise and endless potential for strategy, Terraforming Mars is one of the top strategy board games on the market.

 

How to Play Terraforming Mars

Wealth and Prestige Reign Supreme in Splendor

Nobles and merchants abound in Splendor, a chip-collecting card game that requires you to earn wealth and prestige in order to be crowned the victor.  If you’ve ever had a longing for the days of nobility and art, you’ll love the Renaissance theme that brings back memories of a time filled with wealth and luxury.  Splendor is an intriguing wealth-building game that’s simple to learn but full of complex strategy and opportunity.

Tokens, Cards, and Tiles

The goal of Splendor is to buy as many gems and build as many shops as possible to earn prestige points and win the game.  Gems are represented by different poker-style chips called gem tokens, which come in seven colors from shining emerald to captivating onyx.  The combination of cards and chips may make Splendor seem like a game of poker, but there’s a lot more to this imaginative game.

Players will purchase and reserve 90 development cards, which each have their own price tag of a certain number of gems.  These development cards can be purchased to earn prestige points alongside certain special bonuses that may invite a visit from a Noble.  The game comes with 10 noble tiles that get triggered once a player reaches a certain amount of bonuses, gracing them with their presence (and extra prestige points, of course).

Buying and Reserving

Each turn, players are given one of three choices: they can collect gems, buy and build a card, or reserve a card for later.  When collecting gems, players can choose three different kinds or two of the same kind of gem depending on their needs and their long-term strategy.  If players buy and build a card, they have to pay its price in gems before they can add it to their playing area.

Reserving a card for later is one of the sneakiest elements of the game, as this move can either be used to ensure that you get a certain card or be used to prevent another player from getting it.  It pays to be devious, however, as reserving a card also earns you a golden joker chip, which you can use in place of any type of gem.

Prestige Points

Whether you choose to collect gems, buy cards, or reserve cards, you’ll have to come up with your own unique strategy for collecting the most prestige points and winning the game.  The winner of Splendor is whichever player manages to collect 15 prestige points first—if there’s a tie, then the winning spot goes to the person who purchased the fewest development cards.  This can upset your winning strategy at the last second, so it pays to keep in mind alternative routes to earning prestige points.

Splendor Spinoffs and Expansions

Splendor was first published in 2014, with an expansion titled Cities of Splendor released three years later.  This expansion is really four separate expansions that can each revolutionize gameplay in their very own way.  The Cities will replace the noble tiles with city tiles, forcing you to fulfill certain objectives in order to win the game.  The Orient is a particularly fun expansion that adds three decks of cards, giving you special powers that you can tap into to dominate the competition.

Splendor also came out with a Marvel spinoff version that brings together your favorite super heroes in a quest to stop the evil Thanos.  Players will gain Infinity Points instead of prestige points, and they’ll also enjoy a different endgame trigger and victory conditions.  The Splendor spinoff is any Marvel fan’s dream come true!

Splendor: A Renaissance Card Game

Splendor can be played by 2-4 players ages 10 and up, so it’s best suited for small families or groups of friends.  Playing time lasts about 30 minutes, which is enough to allow players to enjoy a quick game or two in a night.  

Splendor is definitely a family-friendly game that’s simple enough for the kids to enjoy, but it also allows for more advanced players to experiment with riskier strategies.  Splendor will have you brimming with anticipation as you pick your cards and amass your wealth.  Who knows, you may even attract the attention of the nobility!

 

How to Play Splendor

Ascension: Build Your Deck and Claim Your Honor

Ascension is a deck-building game that was designed by champions of the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour.  Acquire and spend Runes to build your deck with powerful cards that help you slay foes and build your honor.  In the fantasy world of Ascension, good and evil are pitted against each other in the ultimate battle: the Chronicle of the Godslayer.  Can you come up with the best strategy to prevail against the monsters?

Building Your Deck

In the deck-building game of Ascension, each player is focused on building their deck and gaining honor through buying cards and slaying monsters.  Each player starts the game off with their own small deck of cards, which they then use to grow their deck with additional and better cards.  Cards come with honor points, so the more cards you purchase, the more honor points you receive.  

Each card will give you a new benefit, whether it’s more money for purchasing cards or more attack power for slaying monsters.  However, some cards give you extra special abilities such as drawing more cards or clearing cards you don’t want.  Your strategy for winning the game may change based on the cards you receive, so you’ll have to stay on your toes if you want to win the most honor points and beat your competitors.

Honor Points

While you can gain honor points from collecting cards, the real fun comes from killing monsters.  Attacking monsters also gains you honor points, and an important part of your strategy may need to focus on battling these nefarious creatures.  Ascension comes with a rotating market of cards you can purchase, and sometimes you may have no choice but to purchase a monster card and engage in battle.  Winning the game requires you to come up with your own strategy but be flexible enough to adapt to whatever the god of the cards chooses to give you.

Factions

Ascension comes with four unique factions that will focus on different strategies.  If you’re keen on avoiding the monsters, the Lifebound faction will give you greater power for purchasing cards and allow you to win honor without having to fight.  If you like cycling through your deck and playing as many cards as possible, the Enlightened faction will help you quickly build up money and attack.  The Mechana and Void factions also contain their own unique rules that can help you find whatever strategy works best for you.

Construct Cards

Construct cards are one of the most interesting elements of the game, allowing you to keep a card around for continued benefit even after you play it.  Depending on what type of construct you play, you might be able to draw more cards, rake in extra dough for purchasing cards, or even collect additional construct cards for further benefit.  Constructs aren’t invulnerable, however, as the death of certain monsters may wipe out most of the construct cards in your hand!

Ascension Expansions

Ascension has come out with multiple expansions that can also function as standalone games of their own.  Ascension: Darkness Unleashed features additional Energize cards and Monster cards, which can become much more powerful than their original forms.  Ascension: Dawn of Champions adds a fun twist to the game by allowing you to play as a faction leader, building your reputation and championing your faction to victory.  Buying one or more of these expansions is a great way to keep the original Ascension game feeling fresh for experienced players.

Ascension: Chronicle Of The Godslayer

One of the things that sets Ascension apart from most deck-building games is its detailed theme and emphasis on strategy.  It’s far from predictable, as the luck of the draw means that your strategy will have to shift with every new round.  Ascension can be played by 1-4 players, which makes it an excellent game for groups or for one’s own entertainment.  

Ascension is also suitable for ages 13 and up, and it’s simple enough to be the perfect introduction to deck-building games.  With a playing time of 30 minutes, Ascension is a quick and fun excursion into the fantasy realm that won’t get you bogged down in the details.

 

How to Play Ascension

Hop On Board for The Ride of Your Life With Ticket To Ride

One of the most annoying parts about playing a new board game is the time it takes to learn the rules.  Some games are so complicated that it feels like you need to sit through an entire course just to understand the basic rules of the game.  With Ticket To Ride, you’ll be off on your adventure in less than 15 minutes.  This game is the perfect mix of simplicity and fun, forcing you to weave and wind as you build your railway routes across North America.

Connecting The Endpoints

When the game starts, each player begins with four train car cards and three Destination Ticket cards.  The game board shows a vast map of the United States and southern Canada, and your Destination Ticket cards show you which two cities on the map you have to connect.  Keep it to yourself, however, as it’s your job to secretly build your route without alerting the other players to your goal.

Every turn you get three options: either you draw two railway car cards, draw three Destination Ticket cards, or play one of your cards to claim a route and earn points.  Claiming routes is a super fun part of the game as you get to victoriously place your colorful little train cars along the route.  As you claim more and more routes, the game board begins to fill up with a bright web of red, yellow, and blue train cards that weave their way across North America.

Winning The Game

In order to win the game, you have to earn the most points by successfully connecting your secret Destination Ticket cities.  You can also earn a magnificent ten-point bonus if you succeed in building the longest continuously connected set of routes.  By building longer routes and connecting cities from across the country, you can earn enough points to blow the competition out of the water.

The fun of the game comes from navigating risk and fear.  Do you add more cards to your hand to give yourself a better shot at winning?  Or do you nab the route you need in order to keep it from falling into the hands of your rival?  Whether you win or lose, you have to marvel at the intricacy of the custom-molded train cars and beautifully illustrated cards.

Ticket To Ride Spinoffs

Ticket to Ride was released in 2004, followed shortly after by six spinoff board games as well as a few card and electronic games.  If North America isn’t your jam, you can play Ticket to Ride across a sprawling map of Europe, Germany, Poland, or even the Nordic countries.  Certain expansions even allow you to play with new map collections including The Heart of Africa or the Old West.

While Ticket to Ride comes with a pretty large game board, Ticket To Ride: Rails and Sails ups the ante by including a giant double-sided board that features both land and water routes.  If you’re interested in playing Ticket to Ride with younger players, the First Journey version of the game features a smaller board and shorter game time that’s suitable for ages 6 and up.

Get Your Ticket To Ride And Start The Fun

Ticket to Ride is the perfect game for new players who are looking for something simple and entertaining.  Gameplay is suitable for 2-5 players ages 8 and up, so it’s an excellent board game for family game night or a lazy Sunday morning.  And although its simplicity is one of its greatest features, you’ll find that this board game is plenty interesting enough to keep you engaged throughout the entire 30-60 minutes of game time.

If you’re a locomotive junkie or you’re simply looking for a new board game to add to the mix, you’ll love the imaginative world of Ticket to Ride.  With circuitous routes traversing a beautifully illustrated game board, Ticket to Ride is just as much an adventure for your eyes as it is for your mind.  Hop on board and enjoy the ride with this entertaining and creative board game that will be sure to make “conductor” your newest dream job!

 

How to Play Ticket to Ride

Party Like a Hero with Red Dragon Inn

Sure, everybody knows the story of the heroic adventurers who save the day, slay the evil monsters, and collect their share of the treasure.  But what happens to them after they’ve finished their righteous conquest?  A night of drinking, gambling, and roughhousing of course.  Red Dragon Inn is a comical game with rapscallion characters engaged in a debauched good time.  

Choose Your Adventurer

In Red Dragon Inn, players get to choose between four different heroic adventurers who’ve just come back from a fresh conquest.  Each character comes with their own special deck of cards that provides them with unique abilities during the game.  The first is Deirdre the Priestess, an elf under the protection of a goddess that can get her out of scrapes and help her heal.  

Fiona the Volatile, on the other hand, is a tough female warrior who can cheer on her fellow players to drink more heavily while turning her own drinks into greater strength.  Gerki the Sneak comes with plenty of cheat cards that make him an excellent gambler (as well as a few poisons hidden up his sleeves).  The last is Zot the Wizard, whose half-demonic pet rabbit Pookey aids him in his quest to drain the other players of their gold.

Gambling, Drinking, and Roughhousing

Every player gets their own board where they can store their decks, discards, and drink cards.  Players start out with ten gold coins and seven cards that they can use to gamble, drink, and gain the upper hand against the other players.  Each turn gives you several options: you can discard however many cards you like and redraw, you can play an action card, or you can buy a drink for someone else.

Buying a drink for someone else will add another drink card to their stack, but it also forces you to take a drink yourself by drawing a card from your own stack.  While this may end up raising your alcohol content and getting you one step closer to passing out, you may end up gaining fortitude from the drink.  You can only play one action card per term, and these cards will usually force the other players to either take damage or drink more.  

Hold Onto Your Coins—and Your Sobriety

Some action cards will trigger a round of gambling, which invites each of the players to bet their gold and play their gambling cards.  Some characters are better at gambling than others, so your character’s profile will play heavily into your strategy of whether or not to favor gambling or drinking.

If a player’s alcohol content gets too high, they’ll pass out and lose the game.  However, running out of gold coins from gambling too much will also kick you out of the game.  The winner is whoever manages to be the last person to hold onto their coins and stay conscious.

Red Dragon Inn Sequels

Red Dragon Inn has spawned a handful of standalone sequel games that can also be integrated with the original game.  Red Dragon Inn 2 adds characters such as Dimli the Dwarf, a gold-hoarder who can handle his liquor like nobody’s business.  It also adds Fleck the Bard, a music loving half-elf who steals the hearts of all the girls.

Red Dragon Inn 6: Villains puts a unique twist on the premise of the game by taking on the villain’s perspective.  With this dark and twisted sequel, you can engage in Boss Battle mode that pits all the players against one evil villain.  No matter which Red Dragon Inn sequel you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy fun new characters that can make the original game even more expansive.

Enjoy the Spoils of the Hunt with Red Dragon Inn

Red Dragon Inn is suitable for ages 13 and up, mostly due to its slightly adult themes.  It can serve 2-4 players, but adding expansion can allow for larger groups and parties of up to 8.  Playing time lasts around 45 minutes, which should make for a decent round of debauched fun.  With Red Dragon Inn, you’ll be sure to enjoy its lighthearted nature and clever spin on the classic “hero”.

 

How to Play The Red Dragon Inn

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