Munchkin: The Card Game for Monster-Killers and Backstabbers

Does the idea of killing monsters and stealing from your friends sound like a good time to you?  If so, you’ll love the hilarious card game Munchkin, a D&D-inspired game that takes the dungeon experience and flips it on its head.  Grab the Horny Helmet and vanquish the Plutonium Dragon to level up in this fantastic card game that will keep you laughing the entire time.

Kicking Down the Door

In Munchkin, each player begins their turn by “kicking down the door”, which involves drawing a Door Card from random.  Door Cards belong to several different categories.  The first are Curse Cards, which give you a certain negative effect.  If you have the bad luck to draw a Curse Card, you may end up having to forfeit your turn or go back a certain number of levels.  These usually come with funny little drawings such as the “Duck of Doom”, which curses you for being silly enough to pick up a duck in a dungeon (what were you thinking?)

Door Cards can also be Item, Race, or Class Cards that you get to add to your hand to be played at a future time.  These can be helpful in attacking opponents during their turns or in giving yourself a valuable boost in fighting monsters.  The last kind of Door Card is a Monster Card, which pits you against a ferocious creature in an opportunity to either level up or suffer the consequences.

Level Up but Don’t Get Killed

Munchkin begins with all players starting at level 1.  Whoever is the first to reach level 10 is declared the winner, but you’ll have to fight off some monsters if you want to level up.  Monster fights will pit your total level against the level of the monster to decide who wins the round.  The real excitement of the game comes from the fact that your fellow players can either choose to help you defeat the monster (in exchange for Treasure Cards) or add another monster to the mix to try and crush you.

If you win the fight and defeat the monster, you can draw a certain amount of Treasure Cards and level up.  If you lose, however, you’ll have to roll the dice to try and get away.  Anything less than a five will force you to deal with the “Bad Stuff” on the monster card, which can result in losing levels or Treasure Cards.  You may even die as a result of losing the battle, which doesn’t disqualify you from the game but does force you to end your turn and draw a new hand for equipment.

Munchkins Sequels and Expansions

Munchkin has spawned countless sequels that can be played on their own or added to the original game for an even wilder good time.  Munchkin Adventure Time is based on everyone’s favorite show on Cartoon Network, incorporating art and characters from the series.  Munchkin Booty sets the game on the high seas, forcing you to battle vividly drawn pirates drawn by Guest Artist Tom Siddell.  Expansions such as Munchkin Apocalypse add natural disasters, zombie takeovers, and alien invasions in addition to new mechanics for more complex gameplay.

Kill, Steal, and Stab: The Munchkin Way

Munchkin is playable by 3-6 players, so it’s definitely well suited for small to medium groups of friends who’ve grown tired of playing the traditional Dungeons and Dragons card game.  Newcomers to card games will also find plenty to love with the simple rules and amazing illustrations done by John Kovalic, which add a unique level of style and fun to the game.

Munchkin is suitable for ages 10 and up, so families can definitely get a kick out of all that it has to offer.  With a playing time of one to two hours, you can make an entire night out of a game without losing interest.  Thanks to its potential for cooperation and ruthless backstabbing, Munchkin is a game that can make or break friendships in an instant.  If you’re looking for a game with humor, strategy, and excellent artwork, Munchkin and any one of its numerous expansions will provide countless hours of fun.

 

Suburbia: Grow Your Town (and Your Reputation)

The suburbs are an idyllic slice of American life. With the charm and the simplicity of the country and the resources and connections of big cities, the suburbs truly are the best of both worlds. But as the city manager of your little suburban town, it’s your job to turn this meager little neighborhood into a sprawling metropolis!

Suburbia is a fun city-building strategy game in which players collect building tiles in an effort to build the most thriving and populated borough. One of the most dynamic features of the game is its inclusion of secret bonus objectives for each player, which change every game and ensure you’ll never play the same game twice. Suburbia is definitely one of those board games that stands up to repeat playing, as you’ll never get bored of its many twists and turns.

Building Income and Reputation

The goal of Suburbia is to plan, build, and develop your small town into a bustling metropolis. Players are given their own playing board that they’ll populate with hex-shaped building tiles. These building tiles represent different residential, commercial, civic, and industrial areas. You can buy generic buildings like factories or suburbs or buy a new building from the market with a special ability that you can take advantage of.

The more buildings you add to your board, the more income you’ll take in. This is the amount of money you receive each turn, which allows you to then buy even more buildings from the market. The longer a building is on the market, the cheaper it will be, so you may want to wait for the price to drop. Just make sure someone else doesn’t steal it out from underneath you first!

You’ll also build your reputation whenever you buy buildings, which earns you a certain number of victory points each turn. These victory points move you along the victory track and develop your community. However, you’ll encounter certain speedbumps on the victory track, which can negatively affect your stats and reduce your reputation and income.

Bonus Objectives

Suburbia has both public and secret bonus objectives that you’re trying to reach in order to earn points. Bonus objectives usually require you to have either the most or the least of a certain kind of building, which forces you to closely watch your opponents in order to see what they’re building. This makes the board game much more competitive and ensures the players are interacting a bit more.

In addition to adding building hexes to your board, you can also add lake hexes. These will earn you cash based on how close they are to other pieces on the board. Lastly, you can use investment markers to repurchase buildings you already have in order to reuse their special ability. You’ll have to navigate between buying building hexes, lake hexes, and investment markers if you want to win the game.

Suburbia Expansions

Suburbia comes with several expansions that move you out of the suburbs and into uncharted territory. Suburbia Inc allows you to define your borders in a new way, earning you additional benefits that can help you jettison ahead in the development of your metropolis. The expansion also comes with over a dozen additional buildings that you can buy as well as new Bonuses and Challenges to boost your income and reputation.

Suburbia 5 Stars turns your bustling town into a tourist destination, allowing you to build landmarks, monuments, and tourist traps in your city. These 50 new building tiles can all increase your reputation and income, while having an additional resource to manage can make the game more complex. This expansion to the original board game also allows an additional fifth player to take part in the fun.

Suburbia

Suburbia is playable by 1-4 players, which is perfect for either small families and friend groups or single-player fun. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, so younger players can learn more about resource management and set collection with this fun board game. Playing time lasts around 90 minutes, so it’s definitely the kind of game you’ll want to make the centerpiece of any game night.

Buy Suburbia today and enjoy the power and fun of city management!

 

Cosmic Encounter:Alien Politics of Outer Space

Intergalactic warfare is as much a game of politics as it is an epic battle among the stars. In the card game Cosmic Encounter, you’ll form shifting alliances with other alien races in an attempt to spread your colonies to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and win the game. If you’re a fan of fantasy card games that offer plenty of opportunities for strategy and backstabbing, you’ll love Cosmic Encounter.

Offense vs..Defense

Cosmic Encounter assigns each player the role of leader of their very own alien race. On every turn, a different player becomes the offense and must try to establish colonies in the planetary systems of the other players. The offense will draw cards from the destiny deck, which contain either a color that aligns with certain planets in other player’s systems, a special condition for selecting another player, or a wild card that lets you choose who to attack.

Once the card is drawn, the offense will shoot through the hyperspace gate and head to the planet that matches their card. The other players are not left defenseless, however. They can engage their ships to try and keep the offense out of their system, resulting in a battle between the ships of the two opposing players.

In Cosmic Encounter, both the offense and the defense are allowed to invite any of the other players to ally with their side. Players who are given an invitation can either accept or refuse. If they accept, they can add their own ships to the cause and potentially win rewards.

Attack or Negotiate?

To successfully build a colony on another planet, you need to win one of these offensive encounters. The way these battles work is by drawing Encounter cards, which will decide whether or not the players attack, negotiate, or a mixture of the two. If both players play Attack cards, then they add the values of the cards to their ships, leaving the player with the higher score the winner.

If both players play Negotiate cards, then the allies disperse and the offense and defense must agree to a deal within one minute. This can be anything from swapping cards to allowing one of the defensive player’s colonies to be established on the offensive player’s planet. If they don’t reach an agreement, then both players lose three of their ships. 

In encounters in which the offense wins, the defense (and any allies on their side) lose all of the ships they played, while the offense and their allies get to establish colonies on the defending planet. If the defense wins, then the offense and their allies lose their ships, while the defense gets to keep their colony on their planet. Defensive allies then get to collect Defender Rewards, which are either cards, discarded ships, or both.

If one player plays an Attack card and the other plays a Negotiate card, then the attacker automatically wins while the loser receives Compensation by randomly taking cards from the other player’s hand. Once one player manages to establish five colonies outside of their own home system, they win the game!

Cosmic Encounter Later Editions

Cosmic Encounter has a few standalone sequels that flip the script of the original card game and add new mechanics and possibilities to the game. Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition adds a newly discovered alien species while also introducing Cosmic Combo cards that add customizable challenges to the game.

Cosmic Encounter Duel takes the mechanics of the 3-5 player card game and turns it into a one-on-one standoff between two players. This sequel card game adds a new alien species known as the Cheater, which can help you cheat your way ahead as long as your opponent doesn’t catch you.

Conquer the Galaxy with Cosmic Encounter

Cosmic Encounter is a 3-5 player card game that’s usually best for small groups of friends, although families can enjoy it as well. It’s suitable for ages 12 and up, so teenagers in particular will be able to enjoy the thrill of intergalactic warfare. Playing time lasts around one to two hours, which is pretty standard for most fantasy card games.

Buy Cosmic Encounter today and use your alien powers to conquer the universe!

 

Tiny Towns: A Small Den of Paradise

Modern life has become so chaotic. Have you ever wished you could get away to a sleepy little town in the woods, away from the hubbub and the chaos of the city?  In Tiny Towns, your wish becomes reality. This board game makes you the mayor of your own tiny town in the forest. Tiny Towns combines abstract strategy with city building to give you a game that’s both easy to learn and fun to play.

The creatures of the forest have decided to find their own little safe haven hidden away from predators and the woes of civilization. Because the land is so small and resources are few and far between, you’ll need to do the best with what you have to build a town that you can be proud of. Collect resources, construct buildings, and watch as your tiny town becomes its own little civilization.

Creating Buildings Out of Resources

In Tiny Towns, each player is given their own little 4×4 grid that represents their tiny town. Players will collect resource cubes to lay out on the board in order to construct buildings. At the beginning of the game, players get to choose one of two monument cards with which to begin building. Everyone will also be able to share from seven randomly drawn building cards, which are public buildings that any player can build.

The board game is played in turns, with each player beginning their turn by calling out one of five resources for all of the players to collect. If any player has collected the right kind of resources to match a pattern on one of their building cards, then they can choose to construct a building on their grid in the place of one of the resources. However, they must discard all of the used resources from their board.

Earning Victory Points

As the turns roll along and players begin to add new buildings to their grids, tiny towns do indeed begin to form. These buildings are for more than just show, however, as players will earn Victory Points for each building they create. Players will want to try to collect the right kinds of resources in order to construct buildings on their grid without filling it up with needless materials.

Once every player has filled their board with buildings and resources, then the game ends. Players will then tally their scores, adding up their Victory Points and subtracting one Victory Point for every square without a building on it. Whichever player has the most Victory Points wins the game and the title of most prosperous mayor!

Tiny Towns Expansions

Tiny Towns has released a couple of expansion board games that expand the mechanics of the original game and make it even more complex. In Tiny Towns: Fortune, the creatures of the forest who populate your little town have added a new element to the game: money. These shiny bits of metal have the power to radically alter the gameplay, giving you a new way of gaining resources from other players and building your town.

Tiny Towns: Villagers opens the world of Tiny Towns up just a little bit bigger. New and talented creatures have come to your tiny little town in order to earn a place and use their powerful skills. These engineers and merchants can transform buildings, revolutionize the influx of resources, and perform other impressive feats that make the game much more dynamic.

Tiny Towns: One Building at a Time

Tiny Towns is playable by 1-6 players, so it can just as easily fit both small and large groups of friends or family members. You can even enjoy building a tiny town all on your own! This board game is suitable for ages 14 and up, although some kids as young as 10 may be able to pick up the mechanics without difficulty. Playing time lasts around 45 minutes to an hour, so you can easily fit in a game on a weeknight or a Saturday morning.

Tiny Towns is a fun little game that celebrates the simplicity of small-town life without sacrificing any of the fun of big city living. Buy Tiny Towns today and enjoy the simple life!

 

Carcassonne: A Blast From the Medieval Past

You may have heard about Carcassonne, the medieval fortified town in southern France famous for its impressive outer walls.  Every year countless people flock to this historical city to learn about its rich history and explore its many towers.  But you don’t have to fly all the way to France for a blast to the medieval past!  The city of Carcassonne inspired a tile-based board game of the same name that lets you experience the world of knighthood through building landscapes and fortifying your city.

Build Your City with Carcassonne

Carcassonne uses a game board with a medieval landscape that the players will build piece by piece throughout the games.  Turn by turn, each player will draw a new terrain tile as the outer city begins to materialize.  Skill and cunning are required if you’re going to complete your cities, cloisters, and roads that earn you those valuable points.

Tiles can only connect to other like tiles—grass to grass, city to city, road to road.  Certain tiles are a combination of multiple types of areas, which means that no two completed games are going to look identical.  This variety makes Carcassonne feel fresh and new every time you break out the box for a new game.

Score Points From Your Followers

Just because you built a new road or city doesn’t mean it’s yours to keep!  You’ll have to claim your land by placing your little followers on a tile once it’s been placed.  These little followers are also called “meeples”, and add a cute visual element to the game with little bright red or yellow wooden figures.  

Your meeple will differ based on where you place it: knights defend cities, robbers defend the roads, and farmers defend the grass.  Once you’ve placed your meeple on a completed area, they’ll score you points and get you one step closer to winning the game.

Scoring points isn’t always so straightforward, however.  Just as you have to be quick to place followers before someone else steals your land out from under you, you also have an opportunity to steal from your fellow players.  A major part of the fun of Carcassonne is claiming your opponent’s land before they have a chance to.

Carcassonne Expansions and Spinoffs

While Carcassonne was inspired by the medieval French city, the game itself has also inspired a series of expansions and spinoffs.  The first expansion adds inns and cathedrals to the mix, making the game more complex for people who are looking for something a little more challenging.  With The Princess & The Dragon expansion, Carcassonne transforms into a mythical and mystical game that pits benevolent fairies against fire-breathing dragons in a fight to rescue the princess.

If medieval times don’t go back far enough for you, Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers is a spinoff that will take you back to the time when cavemen painted on walls and wooly mammoths roamed the earth.  Or, if you’re looking for something a little out of this world, the Carcassonne: Star Wars spinoff takes you to a land far far away where the evil Empire fights the virtuous Rebel Alliance.  If you’ve grown up playing the basic game of Carcassonne, you’ll love the combined sense of nostalgia and fun that comes from one of these countless spinoffs.

Go Back In Time with Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a board game that’s simple enough for ages 7 and up, so it’s definitely something that the entire family can enjoy.  Gameplay also usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes, so it isn’t something that’s going to take up the entire night, either.  While the basic game isn’t incredibly complex, the spinoffs offer additional elements that will make the game advanced enough for adults to enjoy playing without the kids.

If you’ve ever felt drawn to the era of knights and chivalry, then Carcassonne is the game for you.  The randomness of the tile drawing provides endless possibilities that can take the game in any number of directions.  You’ll love the fast paced turns and heartless double crosses of this high stakes tile-based board game.  Step into the past and build your medieval French city with Carcassonne!

 

Red Dragon Inn: Party Like a Hero

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

Cribbage: The Classic Card Game

Cribbage is a card game that was invented almost four hundred years ago, but its classic wooden cribbage board is still spotted in countless cafés and parks across the world. Part of the charm of Cribbage comes from its quaint vocabulary describing all of the different moves you can make, such as “one for his nobs” and getting “stuck in the stink hole.” You’ll be sure to love watching the little pegs move along the board as you rack up points and get closer and closer to winning the game.

The Crib

Cribbage is played with a deck of standard playing cards as well as what’s called a cribbage board. Each player gets dealt a hand of six cards, two of which they then discard into a pile in the center of the table called a Crib. Players will then cut one card from the draw pile and turn it face up in between them. This card counts both as part of each player’s hand as well as the Crib.

Players will then go back and forth playing cards to try to make sets and sequences and earn points. Because you don’t know what the turn-up card will be until you’ve already discarded two of your cards to the Crib, you may find yourself parting with cards that you wish you’d held onto.Cribbage is very much a game of cat and mouse, as you’ll have to keep an eye on the cards you think your opponent has if you want a chance of setting a trap for them. 

Pegging Points

Players will keep score of their points by moving pegs along tracks on their cribbage board. Each round goes until both players have used their entire hand of cards. At the end of each round, players will pick up their hand and figure out each scoring combination they can use. Whichever player is designated the dealer that round also gets to use the cards in the Crib to help them earn additional points.

The winner of Cribbage is whichever player is the first to win 121 points. This can influence your decisions each round as to how long you decide to let the round go on for. For example, if you can tell the other player is racking up some serious points, you may want to play the hand tight in order to keep both of your overall scores low.

The cribbage board is one of the most unique elements of the game, as it adds a fun aesthetic component to it. Sure, you could just as easily score the game with a pencil and a sheet of paper, but a cribbage board imbues the card game with a sense of beauty. Moving the little pegs along the board is incredibly satisfying as you see yourself visually take the lead from your opponent.

Cribbage Spinoffs

There are a couple of spinoffs and expansions of Cribbage that make the card game even more complex. Wild: Cribbage Expansion adds a deck of 31 playing cards to the original game that you set beside the crib board. Whenever a player counts a multiple of five, they then get to draw a wild card and follow its instructions. This can lead you to do things re-cut the deck or land you in the stink hole.

Mastermind Ultimate Cribbage is a card game that adds six new types of cards to the original card deck. The rules are similar to the original card game, but the six special cards add new rules that can help or hinder you. For example, the Super Wild is a wild card that can be played as one face value during pegging and used as a different face value during counting.

Peg Your Points and Don’t Forget the Crib With Cribbage

Cribbage is playable by 2-4 players, although it’s typically best suited as a 2-person game. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, as its mechanics are not too complicated for younger players to learn. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, so it’s the perfect game to play for fun at a coffee shop or in the park.

Dive into the fun of this classic card game and buy Cribbage today!

Root: The Fate of The Forest Lies In Your Hands

War board games often take place over sprawling maps of the Earth, forcing you to deploy troops and battleships in the reenactment of historic wars. Root combines your classic war board game with elements of fantasy, replacing the battlefield with a beautiful woodland forest beset by warring factions. Players will draw cards, maneuver their furry little woodland creature tokens, and fight for the right to call the forest theirs. Will you help decide the fate of the forest in your favor?

The Four Factions

Root takes place in a great and beautiful woodland, over which four separate factions are warring for control. The evil Marquise de Cat has seized the woodland in order to scour it for riches to line her pocketbook. Her efforts have thus created an Alliance of woodland creatures to secretly fight back and subvert her evil rule.

Meanwhile, the Eyrie at the edge of the region has just elected a new commander to lead their faction to victory, restoring their rule over the forest as is their birthright. Lastly, the mysterious raccoon Vagabond is playing all sides of the conflict for his own personal gain. While he can navigate the more dangerous woodland paths, his own mysterious quest is unknown to all except himself.

Exploring the Forest

This board game comes with many different rules regarding each faction, so you’ll need to understand what your opponents are up to if you want any chance of beating them. While the Cats are focused on building workshops, lumber mills, and barracks, the Alliance works in the shadows. Their goal is to recruit more forces to their cause and muster their resources for one final battle at the end of the game.

The Eyrie is trying to take back to Woods with their hawks, so they’ll try to capture as much territory as possible and populate it with their roosts. Lastly, the Vagabond will work with the other players in an effort to collect enough items to power their own actions. Players can also engage in combat with each other, using each battle to further their overarching strategy.

Players will interact with a common deck of cards in order to accomplish their tasks. Each card has its own action text and suit, such as the “Mouse-in-a-sack” which allows you to draw a card and then discard a card. One of the best parts of Root comes from exploring the vast game board, learning all of the different rules for each faction, and playing around with the cute little woodland creature tokens.

Root Expansions

Root comes with several expansions that add new factions and cooperative scenarios.The Riverfolk expansion adds two new factions: the Riverfolk Company and the Lizard Cult. This allows Root to be played with up to six players instead of four. The Underworld expansion adds the Great Underground Duchy faction and the Corvid Conspiracy faction as well as two new maps for players to fight on.

The Clockwork expansion of Root allows you to add automated factions to the game, which can help supplement games when you don’t have enough players. This makes Root playable by only one player, giving you the ability to turn this group game into a solo game.

Stake Your Claim of the Forest with Root

Root is playable by 2-4 players, but you can make it anywhere from 1-6 by adding one of the expansions. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, although younger players may have a harder time keeping all of the rules straight in their heads. Playing time lasts between 60-90 minutes, so it’s perfect for a game night with family or friends.

Root is very fun to play, although it does take a while to learn all of the rules by heart. Luckily it comes with a comprehensive guidebook that you can reference to make sure that the evil Marquise de Cat isn’t about to break up your hidden little Alliance with her dastardly ways. Once you’ve played the game a few times through, Root will be sure to become one of your favorite board games.

Buy Root today and enjoy the strategic depth of this fantasy board game!

 

Scrabble: Word-Lovers Everywhere Unite

Scrabble is one of those board games that you just have to own. Whether you’re an English major who’s about to publish your second novel or you’re someone who hasn’t cracked open a book since high school, you’ll love the classic wordplay that comes with Scrabble. With countless online variations of the game, Scrabble has cemented itself in history as a board game that challenges the mind and will have you reaching for the dictionary.

Collecting the Tiles

Scrabble is played with a checkered game board and little wooden tiles with letters from A – Z. Players draw seven wooden tiles at random from the bag, taking turns by using these tiles to lay down words on the board. In order to determine which player goes first, players will have to each draw a tile at random from the bag. Whoever gets the tile closest to the beginning of the alphabet gets to begin.

In order to earn points in Scrabble, you’ll add up the number of points of each tile you play. Each letter has a certain number of points that you earn when you play it, which usually get higher the more difficult the letter. For example, the ubiquitous E will earn you only one point, while the quixotic Q gets you a whopping 10 points. 

There are also different numbers of each tile in the bag based on how frequently the letter appears in language. You’ll find eight tiles of common vowels such as O, six tiles of consonants like R, but only 1 of the elusive Q. While you may want to collect common letters in order to boost your chances of spelling words with many letters, collecting the more challenging tiles may ultimately earn you a higher score.

Racking Up Points

The key to winning this board game is being able to navigate collecting special bonuses on the board while denying your opponents the opportunity to do the same. The board is set up with individual squares that contain special bonuses such as double word score, triple letter score, and even the rare triple word score. You’ll want to lay down words that make the most of these tiles without setting your opponents up to do the same.

For example, you may find that you can earn a nifty 15 points by spelling out a certain word that uses the double letter space. However, this would leave the next player to then take advantage of the double word space nearby, which would likely blow your score out of the water. Although you can’t see your opponents’ tiles, it pays to keep an eye out on the board to prepare for anything.

Players will pull tiles from the bag to replenish their hand back to seven tiles after each time they play a word. The game ends once all of the tiles have been drawn and the last player plays all seven tiles. Beware of holding on to high-point tiles, however, as any tiles left over in your hand by the end of the game will be deducted from your overall score.

Scrabble Expansions

The basic game of Scrabble is a staple of countless households throughout the world, but there are a few expansions and variations of the board game that switch up the rules. Scrabblers is a board game that comes with double and triple letter tiles that you use to form words. This means that, in addition to single letter tiles, you’ll be using combinations like “BL” or “STE” to make even longer words.

This expansion board game can be used on its own or with the original Scrabble board game. It comes with six different ways to play the game, including a Solitaire mode that can be played alone and a Boardless Crossword mode.

Scrabble: Better Grab the Dictionary!

Scrabble is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s best for small groups or families. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, so kids can definitely join in on the fun. Playing time lasts around 90 minutes, although it can be shorter if you put a time limit on turns.

Buy Scrabble today and enjoy the mind-bending fun of wordplay!

 

Takenoko: It’s Hungry Hungry Pandas

Takenoko is a board game that shines with its cute backstory and beautifully painted game pieces. The pastel-colored pieces of bamboo and the adorable little panda figurine more than set the stage for this fun and strategic board game. 

Players will have to balance growing bamboo and tending to their garden if they want to feed the hungry panda and win the respect of the Japanese Emperor. If you’re looking for a game that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is mentally intriguing, then you’ll love Takenoko.

Growing Your Bamboo Garden

Takenoko has a colorful backstory and setup that paints this board game amongst a beautiful backdrop. Years ago at the Japanese Imperial court, the Chinese Emperor offered the Japanese Emperor a symbol of peace: a giant, cuddly panda bear. The Japanese Emperor has entrusted you, the members of his royal court, with the task of caring for this sacred animal and feeding it from the bamboo garden.

There’s just one problem: the panda is hungry beyond belief! Players will have to work with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain the bamboo garden and grow enough to satiate the panda and win the game. Each player is given their own player board and one of each type of playing card with which to grow bamboo, irrigate, and feed the panda.

On every turn, you’re given the option of choosing two of five available actions as well as rolling a wooden die to determine a random third action. One action is to place a tile in your bamboo garden, which helps make it bigger so that you can grow more bamboo. You can also move your Gardener any distance within a straight line, allowing him to lay down bamboo throughout your garden to grow.

You can also choose to lay down blue irrigation channels along your garden, supplying the bamboo with water to help it grow even further. In order to feed the panda, you can choose the action of moving the panda any distance in a straight line, feeding the panda with the piece of the bamboo on which the panda lands.

Collecting Target Cards

The last action you can choose to take each round is to collect a target card. Players will begin the game with three target cards that assign them various goals for earning victory points. These can be things like arranging tiles of a certain color in a particular way or even growing bamboo of a certain color to particular heights. More difficult goals result in a higher amount of victory points when achieved.

Takenoko ends once one player has successfully completed seven goal cards. Once this has been achieved, that player will lay down the goal card, and the players will continue until the last player has finished their turn. The player with the most points is then crowned the winner of the board game.

Takenoko Expansions

There is an expansion of Takenoko called Takenoko: Chibis that adds a second female panda to the mix. But with more pandas comes more mouths to feed, so you’ll have to contend with not only mama panda but nine different baby pandas as well! 

Takenoko: Chibis comes with a miniature female panda, nine baby panda tiles, as well as new plot tiles, cards, and bamboo pieces. The addition of extra pandas to the game makes this expansion a bit more fun and complex than the original.

Takenoko: You Won’t Like a Panda When He’s Hungry!

Takenoko is playable by 2-4 players, as it only comes with up to four player boards. This board game is well-suited for one on one games as well as small groups, as the turns go relatively fast. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, so younger players should be able to quickly pick up the rules. However, it does come with a cute little comic that describes the backstory of the game as well as provides a refresher on the rules.

Playing time of Takenoko lasts around 45 minutes, so you should get a decent amount of time to dive into its world. Buy Takenoko today and enjoy the cuddly cuteness of this hungry hungry panda!

Dark Souls: An Eternity of Fun

One of the best things about dungeon crawler board games is the way they provide hours of cooperative, world-exploring fun. If you’re a fan of fantasy board games that involve epic battles and tons of opportunity for scoring loot, you’ll love Dark Souls. This exploration board game will force you to work with the other players to clear out the dungeons of creeping dangers and effectively manage your stamina in an effort to take down the monster at the end of each round.

Clearing the Rooms

Dark Souls give each player their own little cardboard playing board, which they’ll use to collect tokens, play cards, and fight bosses. At the beginning of this board game, you will choose one mini-boss and one regular boss to fight. But before you can face off against the Big Bad, you’ll have to set up three or four rooms and clear them of their monsters.

Each room contains a certain number of monsters that you’ll have to fight in order to earn Souls. These Souls can help improve your character stats or earn you new equipment by drawing one equipment card. Be careful not to let any of the players die, however, or else the whole encounter fails. Players are given a limited number of tries (known as Sparks) in order to clear a room.

While the room-clearing aspect of the board game is not quite as fast-paced and exciting as its boss fights, it does give you plenty of time to develop your characters and come up with a strategy to defeat the evil bosses. Dark Souls is similar to the way video games force you to clear the dungeon of evil minions and score loot in order to prepare you for the ultimate fight towards the end.

Fighting the Bosses

Dark Souls has several boss fights that serve as major turning points in the action of the board game. The mechanics of these boss fights force players to create a unique deck of cards at the beginning of the boss fight in order to use against the boss. This combines a bit of luck and strategy in the hopes that you’ll draw the right card at the right time to defeat the Dragon Slayer Ornstein or the evil Executioner Smough.

Whether you beat the boss or not, you’ll be sure to have loads of fun collecting cards and rolling the dice to earn valuable Souls. One of the best aspects of Dark Souls is that it’s incredibly replayable due to the innovative behavior mechanism of the game. No two boss fights are alike, so you’ll never find yourself playing the same game twice.

Another thing to keep in mind about Dark Souls is the amount of downtime during the game. If you’re not the alpha player of the game, you’ll find yourself waiting and watching while the other players make their moves. However, not to fret! Once you get used to the rules, players can pick up the pace and move the game along quite nicely. Players will also engage in frequent tactical discussions, offering each other advice about what move to make next.

Dark Souls Expansions

Dark Souls comes with quite a few expansions in addition to the base game. Darkroot is an expansion that eliminates the repetitiveness of the board game by adding new and varied items. It also adds ultra bad mega bosses that make the boss fights even more intense.

The Character Expansion goes one step further by adding variety, player choice, and new combinations and classes that make it a worthy expansion for fans of the game. Dark Souls also has a couple of smaller expansions that add mini and mega bosses to the game, such as the Four Kings expansion and the Stray/Asylum Demon expansion.

Explore Away with Dark Souls

Dark Souls is playable by 1-4 players, so single players can enjoy the board game just as much as small groups can. Playing time lasts around 90 minutes to two hours, although it can potentially go on longer depending on how often you win or lose each round. It’s suitable for ages 14 and up, so teenagers will especially enjoy the fantasy world.

Buy Dark Souls today and enjoy the infinite possibilities for fun!

 

Wingspan: The Ultimate Engine Builder for Bird Lovers

Every once in a while you come across a board game that’s so beautifully illustrated you can’t help but pause and revel in it. Wingspan is a board game that not only appeals to bird lovers everywhere but can actually bring in new enthusiasts with its artwork and accurate portrayal of bird habitats. You’ll be sure to enjoy the complexity of the gameplay as you learn more about these beautiful birds and what a bird habitat actually looks like.

Getting To Know the Bird Cards

One of the things that makes Wingspan really special is its beautifully illustrated collection of bird cards. Each bird card includes an intricate piece of artwork illustrating the bird as well as both the common name of the bird and its scientific name. The card will also include certain information about the bird in terms of how it functions in the game, including which habitat it can be played in and the bird’s wingspan.

The cards will also have important information such as the food cost to play the bird, how many points it’s worth, what type of nest it uses, and how many eggs it can store. These are all elements that will influence how you grow your bird habitat and bring other beautiful birds into your haven. Lastly, each bird card contains a color strip that indicates what special power the bird has when it’s activated.

Playing Birds

Wingspan gives each player their own game board to use to represent their special bird habitat. The game board is split up into three habitats: forests, grasslands, and wetlands. You can play up to five birds in each area by placing an action cube above the column where you want to play a bird. You can’t just play birds willy nilly, however, as you’ll have to spend a certain number of eggs and food in order to play each bird.

Certain birds have special effects that make them either more or less difficult to play. For example, you may have a Peregrin that specifically requires fruit in order to be played. Or, you may have a bird with a wild-food symbol that will accept any type of food.

Gain Food, Lay Eggs, Draw Birds

In addition to playing a bird, you have three other actions you can choose to take each turn: gain food, lay eggs, or draw birds. These last three actions are all taken by playing a cube in the leftmost empty space in the row. The more birds you play, the more you can earn by taking these actions.

You’ll have to balance playing birds against performing one of these three actions if you want to collect the most birds and activate certain bird powers. Each player has a certain number of action cubes to play per round until the end of the fourth round. Once you’ve successfully completed all four rounds, it’s time to tally up the points and see what kind of habitat you’ve built for your avian friends!

Wingspan Expansions

Wingspan has released two expansions that add more cards and complexities to the original board game. The Wingspan European expansion adds 81 new bird cards as well as new end of round goals and bonus cards. The Wingspan Oceania expansion includes even more unique bird cards as well as beautiful new player mats. Just as there are countless types of bird species in the world, so there are endless options for the beautifully illustrated birds of Wingspan.

Grow Your Habitat with Wingspan

Wingspan is playable by 1-5 players, which makes it a great board game to play on your own and learn more about the joy of bird habitats. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, so if you’re looking for a bird game to get kids excited about animals, look no further. Wingspan has a playing time of around 40-70 minutes, which is a decent chunk of time to get to know its world.

Wingspan is one of the more interactive board games that leaves you pondering the beauty of the natural world. However, it definitely doesn’t skimp when it comes to the fun and complexity of playing the game. Buy Wingspan today and enjoy the fascinating life of birds!

 

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