Tiny Epic Dinosaurs: Get Your Jurassic Park On

Anyone who’s seen Jurassic Park knows that dinosaurs and theme parks do not mix well. However, no one seems to have told the rich bigwigs inside Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, because these greedy bidders are looking for their next big attraction! In the world of Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, modern science has advanced enough to allow us to recreate our prehistoric dino friends. This gives independent ranchers a new role in breeding and wrangling these dangerous reptiles. As a player of the board game, you’ll have to combine dinosaur ranching, resource management, and worker placement if you want to build the best dino farm on the market.

6 Rounds, 6 Phases, Countless Dinosaurs

Tiny Epic Dinosaurs assigns each player their own team of ranchers to control. The goal of the game is to obtain dinosaurs in order to breed and sell them to the highest bidders to use for high thrill theme parks. The game is played over the course of six different rounds, each consisting of six unique phases. The first phase requires you to harvest any resources in your farm that the dinosaurs aren’t already eating.

The second phase is where you really put your ranchers to work, assigning them a multitude of tasks aimed at acquiring and breeding more dinosaurs. You’ll capture and buy new dinosaurs, build up barriers to hold them, research technologies and new breeds of dinosaur, boost your farm’s security or supplies, and more. You’ll have to figure out the best strategy for breeding the most dinosaurs if you want to blow the other ranches out of the water.

In the third phase, your ranchers will return to finish their work at the farm, while the fourth phase has you arrange your ranch however you want. Arranging your ranch is important in order to make sure the dinosaurs are properly placed in the correct barriers to ensure they don’t escape.

Once everything is set, it’s time to feed the dinosaurs. Phase five requires you to feed each and every dinosaur because any dinosaur that doesn’t get fed will escape and threaten the safety of your farm. Dinosaurs are dangerous cattle, and breeding them is not without its risks! Finally, the sixth and final phase of each round has you breed matching dinosaurs. Each pair of matching dinosaurs that is properly enclosed gives you one more baby dino to add to your farm.

Winning the Game

To claim victory in Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, you’ll need to earn the highest number of victory points at the end of six rounds. While breeding new dinosaurs is an excellent way to collect points, you can also earn points through research developments as well as any public or private contracts you acquire. Each player gets a private contract at the beginning and middle of the game with specific rules on completing it. You’ll also need to complete these private contracts at the same time as a public contract. This can make it tricky when you’re racing against someone else trying to complete the same public contract.

The Laboratory Mini Expansion

Tiny Epic Dinosaurs comes with a Laboratory mini expansion that provides each player with an additional board. This board gives you a map connected by blue, green, and red lines that lead to spaces that offer you extra bonuses from dinosaurs to research cards. Players will have to collect matching colored tiles in order to move along the lines. This adds a puzzle-like quality to the game that makes the strategy even more intricate.

Don’t Underestimate Those Tiny Epic Dinosaurs!

Tiny Epic Dinosaurs is playable by 1-4 players, which is definitely a bonus for kids who like single-player board games. It’s also suitable for ages 14 and up, so it’s more appropriate for teenagers and adults than it is for younger kids. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes to an hour. Tiny Epic Dinosaurs has plenty of opportunity for strategy, especially when you add the Laboratory mini expansion to it. You’ll love the cute little dinosaur tokens that come with the game, as they’re each carefully crafted to represent different colored dinosaurs. If you take a walk on the wild side and buy Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, you won’t regret it. Buy a copy or two today!

 

Lords of Waterdeep: Explore a Detailed World

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!

 

Terraforming Mars: Build a New World

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

Small World: Choose Your Magical Race and Conquer

Magical creatures abound in this fantastical strategy board game that’s fun for ages 8+.  Whether you’re looking for a new rotation in family game night or a creative game for you and your friends, Small World is a simple game that can be played time and time again.  From troops of orcs to tribes of wizards, Small World allows anyone to choose their magical niche and conquer the world.

Discovering Small World

If you’re a fan of Philippe Keyaerts’ 1999 game Vinci, you’ll love Small World, his fantastical follow up game that came out in 2009.  Small World not only includes the addition of dice, but also reworks the original strategy board game into a fantastical adventure involving magical races and special powers.  Players are pitted against each other to try to conquer a world that’s only big enough for the strongest.

This board game combines strategy and fantasy, as each player has to decide on the best combination of fantasy races and special powers to expand their empires and conquer the world.  The language of Small World is force—you’ll deploy troops to occupy territory and expand to adjacent lands.  But tough decisions have to be made from within as well, because the path to victory may require you to abandon your own empire in order to build a new one that can succeed.

Races and Special Powers

Small World is populated with 14 different magical races, from fantastical Elves to mythical Giants.  Each race has its own special characteristics and skills that can help you conquer regions and obtain Victory coins.  The colorful race banners and tokens add a visually stunning element to the game as you deploy your races on the different regions of the board.

As if magical creatures weren’t already powerful enough, you can also combine your magical races with one of 20 Special Power Badges.  Not only does this make for some funny combinations (Commando Dwarves and Flying Sorcerers being some of the best), but it also gives you extra abilities that you can use to trick your opponents and attack. 

Certain combinations are more powerful than others, allowing you to build on the race’s innate abilities and deliver a crushing blow to your opponents.  Diplomat Skeletons can keep an opponent from attacking for a turn and then ruthlessly attack the rest of the board, earning some serious tokens and leaping ahead in the gameplay.  Discovering the best combinations is part of what makes Small World so great for repeat playing!

The Decline Of Civilization

While the goal of Small World is to expand your empire and earn as many Victory coins as possible, sometimes your race will become over-extended, requiring you to sacrifice your current empire in order to build a new one.  Not everyone has the stomach to make the hard calls and put their weakened magical race “In Decline”, but this kind of ruthlessness is often required to fight your way to victory.

Putting your weakened race In Decline forces you to get rid of your Special Power and void one of your turns, but your next turn allows you to build a new civilization with a new race and Special Power combination.  It takes a lot of strategy and a bit of luck to maneuver, but it adds a fun and challenging dimension to the game that makes Small World more than just what it seems on the surface.

The Fun Of Small World

Because Philippe Keyaerts designed Small World as a follow up to his game Vinci, players who grew up playing Vinci will recognize many similar elements of gameplay such as conquering territories for points and choosing special abilities.  However, the addition of dice to the game adds an interesting element of luck that can turn strategy on its head.

The magical creatures are creative and zany, and the ability to mix and match magical races with Special Powers means that no two rounds of gameplay will ever be alike.  Although they may not usually like the same games, fans of strategy board games and fans of fantasy will both find plenty to love with Small World!

 

 

How to Play Small World

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