Fluxx: Bow Down To the Cards

If you have a hard time following the rules, you’re not alone. Learning the rules of a card game can be a competition in and of itself, causing you to scratch your head and fight over whether or not you’re allowed to play a Draw 2 on top of another Draw 2. But in the card game Fluxx, learning the rules actually is the point of the game! 

This challenging and wacky card game allows you to change the rules every time you play, constantly switching up the game and morphing it into something entirely new. You’ll have a blast as you lay down card after card, leveling the playing field and knocking the frontrunner off his high horse.

Changing the Rules

Fluxx is a card game with constantly changing rules. The more cards you play, the more the rules change. This makes the game incredibly difficult to plan ahead and manage your hand, as you’re constantly having to shift your strategy along with the rules. New cards will change things like how the cards are drawn, how they’re played, and how many cards you’re allowed to hold onto at one time.

Fluxx begins with some basic rules, with one player shuffling the deck and giving each player three cards. Each player is allowed to draw and play one card per turn, while there is no limit to the cards you’re allowed to hold in your hand. However, as soon as someone plays a card, those simple rules become not so simple. 

For example, a player can play a New Rule card that forces everyone to draw five cards per turn instead of one. Players can also play cards that allow you to play three cards at once, or that limit the number of cards in your hand to only one at a time. If at any point a new rule contradicts an old one, the old rule is discarded in favor of the new.

Keeper, Goal, and Action Cards

The overall goal of Fluxx is to match Keeper cards with Goal cards. The Keeper cards will have certain requirements that the Goal cards have to match. For example, the War Keeper card matches the War = Death Goal card, meaning that if you play both cards on the table, then you win the game.

However, the twist of this card game is that the goals change just like the rules do. You might manage to assemble the right combination of Keeper cards only to find that you’re too late and the goal has changed to something else. You’ll have to stay on top of the ever-changing rules and goals if you want to win the game.

To make things even more complicated, Fluxx also throws in Action cards that allow you to perform random actions. The “Taxation!” card allows you to take cards from the other players, while the “Let’s Do That Again!” card allows you to search through the discard pile and play any Action or New Rule card you choose.

Fluxx Sequels

The joy of Fluxx is that they have released countless sequel card games, promo cards, and themed editions of the original card game. Adventure Time Fluxx has the same rules as the original card game but allows you to play with your favorite characters from the classic Cartoon Network TV show. Join Jake the dog and Finn the human on their adventures in the City of Thieves as you deal with the changing rules!

Doctors and anatomy-lovers will rejoice at Anatomy Fluxx, which allows you to play with cards that correspond with body parts. Play with cards like Blood Vessels and Bones as you fight against the deadly Virus and Mutation. You’ll also have to avoid UnGoals like Cancer that will cause you to instantly lose the game.

Can You Keep Up With All the Changes In Fluxx?

Fluxx is playable by 2-6 players, so it’s a good card game for small parties or families. It’s also suitable for ages 8 and up, making it accessible to both kids and adults alike. Playing time lasts around 5-30 minutes, as it entirely depends on the luck of the draw.

Buy Fluxx today and enjoy the chaos of this random card game!

 

Bananagrams: Quit Monkeying Around!

Bananagrams is one of those classic word games that almost everyone has an edition of sitting around somewhere in their closet. With the trademark little felt banana bag and those user-friendly letter tiles, you can easily mix and match words to create your own crossword and be the first to shout out “Bananagrams!” If you’re a fan of classic word games like Scrabble or Boggle but are looking for something a little more fast-paced, you’ll love Bananagrams.

Arranging the Tiles

Bananagrams is an incredibly simple and fast-paced game that uses small tiles to form words in the shape of a grid. In this sense, it is incredibly similar to Scrabble, although Bananagrams gets rid of the game board and speeds things up by allowing each player to make their own grid. To make their words, players get to use 144 tiles that all come in a cute little bag shaped like a banana.

Bananagrams begins with all of the tiles being flipped and placed in the center of the table. Each player then takes 12 tiles and begins arranging them into words in the form of a grid, similar to the way a crossword is set up. Once a player uses up all of the letters in their bunch, they shout “peel!” and everyone has to take a new tile from the pool in the center.

If you’re stuck with a bunch of bum letters that you can’t place, then you can dump one of your tiles and draw three more. While this can help you dig your way out of the hole, beware! You may only find yourself deeper in the pit with more tiles you can’t use. Once the pool in the center of the table is almost empty, then the first person to use all of their tiles shouts out “Bananagrams!” and wins the game.

Variant Rules

Bananagrams is incredibly simple, with hands usually taking as little as 5 minutes. However, there are different variant rules within the game itself that you can use depending on where you are and how complex you want the game to be. The Banana Smoothie of the board game gives everyone their own bunch of tiles right at the start of the game, dividing it equally among everyone. This allows you to plan out your whole crossword right at the beginning.

The Banana Cafe version of Bananagrams is meant to be played in public when waiting for service. Players play with 21 tiles and are allowed to dump tiles and draw more if they need to, but they don’t have to “peel” and force anyone else to draw more tiles. You can also play the Banana Solitaire version of Bananagrams to play the game all on your own, competing against your own best time.

Bananagrams Sequels

There are several sequels to the original Bananagrams board game that allow you to play it with new and complex rules. Bananagrams Duel! turns the board game into a two-player word game that uses both letter cubes and Banana cards. Players use any side of their 12 letter cubes to try to create a crossword grid, competing for Banana cards to see who can win the most rounds.

Bananagrams Party adds 14 more “party power” tiles to the original game. These tiles range from The Re-Gifter to The Thief to Switcheroo, with each giving you a special power to use against your opponents. Bananagrams WildTiles adds 6 wild monkey tiles to the game, each of which can be used as whatever letter you like. This is similar to the wild tiles in Scrabble, which can help you make a new word when you can’t seem to find the letter you need. 

Bananagrams: Wordplay Never Tasted So Sweet

Bananagrams is playable by 1-8 players, so you can easily play it with the whole family or just on your own when you’re killing time. It’s suitable for ages 7 and up, as anyone can grasp the simplicity of the rules. Playing time lasts around 15 minutes, although you’ll definitely be playing best of 5 or best of 10.

Buy Bananagrams and add this classic tile game to your collection of word games!

 

Tak: Born In Fantasy, Built In Reality

If you’ve ever read the fantasy book series The Kingkiller Chronicles, you’ve probably heard about the fantastic abstract board game Tak. While this game was not yet in existence when the author first wrote about it, it has since been turned into a popular and beautifully intricate board game that stands up to its initial conception. Tak uses stunningly carved wooden pieces and a 5×5 grid board to see who can outsmart the other player and be the first to build their road to the other side.

Born From the Kingkiller Chronicles

The concept for Tak was first created by author Pat Rothfuss in his book “The Wise Man’s Fear”, which was the first in The Kingkiller Chronicles series. In the book, the game of Tak is described as being the best sort of board game due to the fact that it’s simple in its rules, but complex in its strategy. This is certainly true in the real-life version of Tak, which was created in 2017 by James Ernest.

Ernest took the game as described in the book and created a beautiful and complex board game with minimal rules and two conditions of victory. Players will lay down pieces on a board in an effort to build a road connecting the two edges of the board. However, if no player successfully builds a road by the time they run out of pieces, then the player who controls the most spaces wins the game.

Building a Road

In order to build your road, you’ll play your pieces into empty spaces or move them around the board. You can place pieces flat to act as a part of your road, or you can place them on their sides to act as a wall. Wall pieces will not count towards your road, but they do allow you to block your opponent from moving their pieces around.

By laying down multiple flat pieces on top of each other, you can create what’s called a stack. Whoever has the piece on top is the person who gets to count that stack towards their road. However, players have the option of placing what’s called a Capstone on top of the stack, which keeps the other player from stacking any more pieces on top of it and claims it for yourself.

Breaking Down a Stack

One powerful move you have in the game is to break a stack down, which allows you to move the pieces across the board and leave them behind one by one. This can help you take control of several spaces at once, foiling your opponent’s plans and moving you one step forward towards building your road.

The Capstone pieces also have another unique ability in that you can use them to flatten a wall. Once you or your opponent have placed a wall on the board, you cannot flatten it without a Capstone. Each player only gets one Capstone in the whole game, so be sure to use it wisely!

One of the best parts of the board game Tak is that you can play it without the board to switch up the gameplay a bit. By drawing your own grid on a sheet of paper, you can play on boards as big as 8×8 or as small as 3×3 to make the game even easier or more complex.

Tak: A Board Game From The Pages of Fantasy

Tak is a 2-person game, so it’s perfect for couples or one-on-one game nights. The board game is suitable for ages 12 and up, as it is very easy to learn and complex enough to entertain adults. Playing time lasts around 20 minutes to an hour, which makes it a good game to play on weeknights or lazy Saturday mornings.

Tak is brought to life with the aesthetics of the beautifully carved pieces and shiny wooden game board. The tactical element of the game is enhanced by the fact that you can actually visualize the road you’re building materialize right in front of you. It’s not quite as complex as abstract strategy games like chess, but it offers enough opportunity for strategy to engage even the most advanced players.

Buy Tak today and enjoy the beautiful simplicity of this cutthroat board game!

Battleship: A Classic Guessing Game for the Ages

Battleship is a board game that goes back almost 100 years, combining the classic strategy of a guessing game with a nautical war theme. Battleship is as simple as a guessing game can get, but the nostalgia of sinking red pegs into little plastic battleships is something that will never get old. If you’re looking for a simple board game to teach kids about strategy, Battleship is a timeless classic.

The History of Battleship

Although you probably grew up playing Battleship with the little red pegs and plastic ships, the game was originally played using pencil and paper. Battleship dates all the way back to World War I, using paper lined with ruled grids to represent the different spaces on the board. Players would shade in the spaces that represented the battleships and mark an X off of every space that their opponent guessed.

The first commercial version of the game was known as Salvo, which was released in 1931. Then, in 1967, Milton Bradley introduced the version of Battleship that we know today that uses plastic boards and pegs. Since then, Battleship has been released in countless forms, online, and even in the form of a feature film.

Hit or Miss

Battleship is a strategic guessing game played on four grids. Each player gets two grids: one to secretly arrange their own battleships on and one to use for guessing where their opponent’s battleships are. There are five ships, each of which takes up a different number of spaces ranging from 2-5. Players will use little red pegs to mark their guesses, inserting them into the holes on the grid that correspond to their guess.

The grid is set up with letters denoting each column and numbers denoting each row. When you make your guess, you’ll call out the number and letter of the location on the grid. For example, A1 is the uppermost left spot on the grid. If you’ve successfully hit your opponent’s battleship, they’ll call out “Hit!”  If you land in the water, however, then they’ll call out “Miss!”

Battleship is a good mix of luck and strategy. In the beginning, you’ll be shooting in the dark. But as it goes on, you’ll start to get a clearer picture of the board. If you suddenly hit a battleship, you have no way of knowing in which direction the rest of the battleship goes. However, once you’ve successfully hit each section of the battleship, your opponent will call out the signature phrase, “You sunk my battleship!”

Salvo Variant

Battleship usually goes back and forth between players, giving each player one guess at a time to sink the other person’s battleship. There is an optional rule called the Salvo variant, which allows players to call multiple shots depending on how many battleships the player has left. 

This means that if you have yet to sink a battleship, you get five guesses, but if your opponent only has one battleship left, then you only get one guess each round. This can make the game go much more quickly while also allowing slower players an opportunity to catch up to their opponents.

Battleship Sequels

There are countless reinventions of the game Battleship that employ different themes and rules to add a spin on the original. Battleship: Pirates of the Caribbean uses characters and ships from the beloved Disney movie to add a fun pirate theme to this old war-time board game. 

Battleship: Star Wars Advance Mission puts a Star Wars twist on this classic board game, shooting you into outer space and offering you special “one-hit” blows that destroy the entire spaceship in one go. There’s even an active version of the board game Battleship called Battleship Shots that requires you to toss balls onto the other person’s side of the divider in order to sink their ships.

You Sunk My Battleship!

Battleship is a two-person game, so it’s perfect for parents to play with their kids. It’s also suitable for ages 8 and up, so siblings can play it with each other as well. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, which is perfect for holding younger players’ attention. Buy Battleship today and enjoy the feeling of triumph that comes with hearing the words, “You sunk my battleship!”

 

Azul: Channel Your Interior Decorator

If you’re a fan of art or interior design, then Azul is the game for you. Set in the lavish palace of King Manuel I of Portugal, Azul puts your interior decorating skills to the test to see who can build the best pattern for the palace walls. You’ll have a blast with the delicate, intricate little tile pieces as you pick and choose which ones will help you make the best design. An expert combination of aesthetic appeal and complex strategy, Azul is a masterpiece of a game.

The Beauty of Azul

Perhaps the best part of the game of Azul comes from its origin story. Azul is based on azulejos, which were white and blue ceramic tiles introduced to Spain by the Moors. When the Portuguese King Manuel I was on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, he couldn’t help but be captivated by the beauty of these dazzling tiles.

In fact, he was so overcome by the beauty of these azulejos that he instantly ordered for his own palace back home in Portugal to be decorated in the same way. This is where our game begins, as you the player become the tile-laying artist charged with embellishing the king’s royal walls.

Collecting the Tiles

Azul is incredibly simple to learn, setup, and play, so you’ll be able to dive right in. Players start with their own individual boards and scoring markers. A ring of discs sits in the center of the table, each holding four randomly drawn tiles and one white tile for players to choose from. Players will take turns pulling tiles from one of the discs and adding them to their boards.

When you select the tiles, you must choose all of the tiles of that color from the disc to add to your board. You’ll fill in each row of your board with one color at a time. If the row is full by the end of the round, then you can move it onto the patterned scoring wall on your board.

Building Your Pattern

This is where the game gets interesting. You get to choose how you place the tiles to decorate the palace, with certain patterns and sets scoring you extra points. This part of the game allows your inner artist to come out as you try and earn as many points as possible while still building something of beauty.

Beware of taking tiles you cannot use, however, as this will harm your score. If there are no free rows in which to place your tile or you’ve already completed a row with that color title, then you’ll earn negative points. 

The key to the game is to make sure you’re able to fill the rows on your player board while planning out your long term strategy for decorating the palace. The game ends when the first player completes an entire row in their patterned scoring wall.

Azul Spinoffs

Azul has two spinoffs that have similar gameplay but employ different yet equally beautiful components. Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra turns you into a window-builder as you craft an elegant stained glass window of your own design. This game comes with beautiful double-sided window panels that offer an infinite number of potential combinations.

Azul: Summer Pavilion tasks you with decorating the king’s summer pavilion, a task which was never actually completed in real life. This spinoff offers a bit more complexity to the game that can make it a worthy upgrade for fans of the original Azul.

Azul: Embellish To Your Heart’s Content

Azul is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s definitely best for small groups or for one-on-one games. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, mostly because of how simple the game is to play. However, it’s definitely got enough complexity that adults won’t tire of it.

Playing time for Azul lasts 30-45 minutes, which allows you to get a hang of the game in case you’re interested in playing multiple rounds. All in all, Azul is the kind of game you’ll want to play multiple times in order to nail down your winning strategy. Buy Azul today and let your artist be free!

 

Sorry!: It’s Parchisi with a Wicked Twist

Sorry! is one of those board games we all grew up playing as little kids. But like most classic board games, its popularity has endured because of its ability to be played over and over again without losing its shine. Sorry! is a primarily luck-based game that is simple enough for the youngest of kids to understand and enjoy. However, there are several ways to make the game more complex for adults to enjoy it even more with or without the kids.

Following the Path

The goal of the game Sorry! is to move the four pieces of your color from their starting circle to the end of their path along the board. Each player starts with four pieces of a certain color on their starting space. To get one of your tokens out of your home space, you have to draw a card with either a 1 or a 2 on it. Players will go in turns drawing cards and moving their tokens.

One of the twists of Sorry! is that many of these cards allow you to do more than just mindlessly move your token forward. You can often move your piece either forwards or backwards when you pull the “backward 4” card, which gives you greater control over making use of those helpful slides.

Certain areas of the board contain slides, which allow you to skip past many spaces and jettison your token closer to the end. If your token lands on one of these slides at the end of your movement, then you can travel down the slide to the next available spot. You can only travel down slides that aren’t of the same color as your token, however. And if there’s another player sitting on one of those slides when you take your ride, you get to boot them back to the start.

Say You’re Sorry

The most diabolical part of the game Sorry! is also where it gets its namesake from. While you’re not allowed to block other players’ pieces from passing yours, you are allowed to interfere with them on certain occasions. If you end your turn on the same space as another player, you can say “Sorry!” and send their piece all the way back to the start space.

You can also do the same when you pull the special Sorry! card, which allows you to jump your piece to the spot of one of your opponents and kick them back to the start. This makes the game much more competitive while also giving players who are falling behind the opportunity to get ahead.

Sorry Spinoffs

Sorry! has released many spinoff games throughout the years to make the original game a bit more challenging. Simon Sorry! combines Sorry! with the beloved game Simon Says to create one unique board game. Players will use an electronic game unit that lights up in a specific pattern, which they will then try to repeat. If they get it correct, then the unit will tell them how many spaces they can move across the board.

Sorry! Not Sorry! is an adult party version of the original board game that allows you more opportunity to sabotage your friends. Not only can you steal their pawns, but you can also use the “Not Sorry!” cards to force them to expose their wildest secrets.

Sorry! It’s All In Good Fun

Sorry! is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s definitely better for smaller families. It’s also suitable for ages 6 and up thanks to its simple gameplay and easy setup. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, which is short enough to hold younger players’ attention. Sorry! is the perfect game for introducing young kids to board games.

Sorry! can also be made more complex for older players by adding a bit of strategy to the game. While pulling one card at a time means you’re depending on luck to help you win, pulling five cards at a time gives you more control over fate. Adults who want to make the game a little harder can make this change to incorporate strategy into the game by deciding which card to play.

Buy Sorry! today and you won’t be sorry!

 

Left Center Right: The Ultimate Conversation Starter

Left Center Right is an oldie but a goodie, taking classic dice and poker chips and turning them into a kid-friendly party game. Left Center Right comes with a small tube of chips and dice that you can easily bring with you to the bar or on a camping trip for a fun distraction. Whether you’re looking for a way to teach children about numbers and directions or you’re looking for something to break the ice at a party, Left Center Right is a timeless game that will get the dice rolling.

Rolling The Dice

Left Center Right is incredibly simple both in the rules of the game and in its components. The game comes with three dice, each with the letters L, C, and R printed on each side. The game also comes with a set of poker chips, which each player takes three of to start the game with. The game then proceeds in turns in a clockwise direction, with each player rolling the dice on their turn and distributing their chips according to the results of the dice.

For every “L” that you roll, you give one chip to the player on the left. For every “R”, you give a chip to the player on the right. If you roll a “C”, then you put a chip in the middle of the table, where it’s taken out of the game. In addition to the letters L, C, and R, each dice comes with a single dot on the other three sides. For every time you land on the dot, you do nothing. The game ends whenever one player manages to acquire all of the chips.

It’s Not Over Yet!

Left Center Right is incredibly simple, as the person who ends the game holding all of the chips is the winner. However, just because you lose all of your chips doesn’t mean you’re disqualified! You can still come back from the brink if someone else rolls the dice and gives you a chip. You also roll the same number of dice as the number of chips you have, so whoever’s holding onto most of the chips may change in a second based on an unlucky roll of the dice.

LCR Wild

Left Center Right’s simplicity is both a benefit and a drawback, as the game relies solely on the luck of the dice and does not offer the opportunity for strategy. However, there are a few variations of the game you can play to make things a little more difficult. LCR Wild is the same as the regular game of Left Center Right, only the dice feature an additional “W” on one of the sides. If you roll a “W”, you get to take a chip from any player you want.

If you roll two “W’s”, then you can take two chips from either two different players or from the same player. The ultimate roll is if you manage to get three “W’s”, which means you instantly become the winner! Because LCR comes with such simple game pieces, you can easily use regular dice instead of the LCR dice and use whatever tokens you prefer instead of the poker chips from the game. This makes it handy when playing with large groups of people or adding your own unique rules to the game.

Roll The Dice And Count Your Chips With Left Center Right

Left Center Right is playable by anywhere from 3 to 12 players, although you can add an infinite number of players if you use substitute tokens in place of poker chips. The playing time lasts around 20 minutes, although the more players you have, the longer the game will be.

Its short playing time and simple rules make Left Center Right the perfect game for a quick icebreaker rather than something that will be the main event of the party. Left Center Right is suitable for ages 5 and up, so don’t be afraid to get the young ones in on the game. If you’re looking for a game that grandpa and grandson can play together, Left Center Right is an excellent way for them to connect!

Get your game on 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

Dominion: The Deck-Building Game of Kings

Dominion begins with a simple premise: you’re a power-hungry monarch looking to turn your small kingdom into a vast dominion you can call your own.  To capture the anarchic lands around your kingdom before your monarch rivals have an opportunity to steal them out from underneath you, you’ll have to build a deck of cards so powerful that no one stands a chance.  https://youtu.be/csQ6Vu-pqpY

Collecting Cards

At the beginning of the game, each player begins with a small deck of identical cards.  During each round, players will have the opportunity to grow their deck from a common pool of cards to help them gain Victory Points and win the game.  There are four different types of cards you can collect in Dominion.  The first type of cards are Victory cards, which are useless except for their Victory Point value. Curse cards are the opposite of Victory cards, taking away Victory Points from your total score.  One of the most useful types of cards is a Treasure card, which gives you Coins for purchasing more cards.  Action cards are also useful, which give you certain effects such as the ability to draw or get rid of cards or even hurt other players.

Action, Buy, and Clean Up Phases

Each turn contains three phases that every player must go through.  The first phase is the Action phase, where a player can play one Action card (unless otherwise specified by the card).  The second phase is the Buy phase, where a player can play their Treasure cards and earn Coins for buying more cards.   After these two phases are done, the player discards their used cards and replaces their deck with 5 new cards.  One of the most interesting parts of Dominion is that you must use your non-Victory cards in the turn after you receive them, otherwise you’ll have to give them up.  This gives everyone an equal opportunity to succeed each round, leveling the playing field and making it that much more difficult to ensure victory.

Winning the Game

Throughout Dominion, each player is trying to amass the greatest number of Victory Points while preventing their competitors from doing the same.  The game will only end when either all of the Province cards have been drawn or when one of the three Supply stacks is empty.   You have to collect Victory cards to succeed, but the more Victory cards you collect, the less room you have in your deck for useful cards that can help you fight the competition.  Success requires you to skillfully balance collecting Victory cards while leaving yourself enough room to maneuver the purchase of powerful Province cards.

Dominion Expansions

Dominion was released in 2008, and since then there have been several standalone expansions as well as some that you can integrate with the original game.  The Intrigue expansion allows you to use powerful Hybrid cards that earn you Victory Points in addition to giving you useful abilities.   Dominion: Seaside adds in Duration cards, which create effects that last far beyond their initial appearance and can throw a game-changing wrench in the works.  No matter which expansion you choose, you can open up the world of Dominion and turn a simple deck-building game into a complex menagerie of cards.

Rule Your Kingdom with Dominion

Dominion serves 2-4 players, which makes it a great card game for small groups of friends.  Because it’s suitable for ages 13 and up, families with teenage kids can enjoy the world of Dominion, although it may be too advanced for younger kids.  Playing time is only 30 minutes, so it doesn’t have the same time commitment as other fantasy games such as Catan or Dungeons & Dragons. Dominion is a simple and fun deck-building game with a delightfully narcissistic premise and intriguing gameplay.  The continued element of luck requires you to be flexible throughout the game in order to win the most Victory Points.  Although Dominion was not inspired by Magic: The Gathering, anyone who loves that game will surely find a home with this game that inspired a whole slew of future deck-building games.  Claim your throne and expand your kingdom with Dominion—it’s your destiny!

 

How to Play Dominion

Hive: It’s Queen Bee vs. Queen Bee

Chess is a time-honored classic that pits two players against each other as they strategically move pieces around a game board in order to capture the other side’s King.  The game of Hive turns chess on its head, getting rid of the game board and replacing the pawns and rooks with spiders and beetles.  Hive lets your build the game board yourself as you deftly place these hexagonally shaped bugs in an attempt to capture the powerful Queen Bee of your rival hive. 

Insects of the Hive

There are 22 total pieces in the game, so each player gets 11 pieces for their hive.  Each of the pieces contains a colorful insect carved onto a shiny black or white hexagonal tile. Unlike a traditional beehive, both hives in this game are populated with additional insects that defend the Queen Bee and attempt to trap the other player’s Queen Bee.  Each player gets one yellow Queen Bee piece, which can only move one space at a time.

Players also get two brown Spiders pieces and two purple Beetles pieces.  While Beetles can only move one space at a time, they can climb over other pieces and prevent them from moving.  The Spider, on the other hand, can move three spaces around the outside of the layout, which tends to be more useful early on in gameplay rather than later.

The three green Grasshopper pieces can jump over pieces in a straight line, while the three blue soldier ants can move as many pieces as it likes around the edge of the hive.  Each insect must be deployed to either protect the Queen Bee or surround the other player’s Queen Bee.

Capturing the Queen

Players take turns setting down their pieces and forming patterns, allowing them to play their pieces however they see fit.  The Queen Bee piece must be played within the first four turns of the game, which gives each player a limited amount of time to develop their opening strategy.  Every turn after that forces you to decide between putting another piece on the game board or moving one of your current pieces.

The publisher recommends a couple of opening strategies, although potential strategies are limitless.  One recommended strategy is to place a Spider, Bee, and Ant in a V formation, allowing the Ant to protect the Bee while the Bee is free to roam.  Another strategy is to form a V with two Spiders and a Bee, giving you the freedom to move quickly to block your opponent.  Once a Queen Bee has been surrounded on 6 sides by the other player’s pieces, the game is over.

Hive Expansions

Several expansions to Hive have been released that add new pieces with their own unique moves.  The Mosquito piece can be used as a wild card, taking on the movement of whichever piece it currently touches.  The Ladybug expansion released in 2010 and Pillbug expansion in 2013 create additional offensive and defensive opportunities that can allow you to pick up other bugs or rescue your ailing Queen Bee.    Because the original gameplay of Hive is only 20 minutes, these expansions can extend playtime and make Hive last almost as long as a chess game.

Build the Hive and Capture the Queen

If you’re looking for something a little more kid-friendly than chess, Hive is the perfect option.  It’s just simple enough that kids can enjoy it while still allowing for adults to enjoy a more complex game.  The beautiful wooden hexagonal tiles are also one of the biggest standout elements of the game, creating a visually stunning board as the game goes along.

Similarly to chess, Hive is designed for only two players.  While this is not the game for family game nights or group hangouts, it’s an excellent game for couples or lighthearted tournaments.  Hive is suitable for ages 9 and up, so two kids squaring off can have just as much fun as a parent and child can.  The more you play Hive, the more you’ll begin to uncover the numerous strategies and methods you can employ to win the game and avoid the dreaded stalemate.

 

 

How to Play Hive

Ticket To Ride: Hop on Board for the Ride of Your Life

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

Someone Has Died: A Party Game To Stir The Imagination

Will arbitration may not sound like a fun idea for a game, but Someone Has Died has turned what should be a somber affair into a wacky good time. Dust off those improv skills, because this game involves weaving some pretty wacky stories. If you’re looking for a social game where imagination is your greatest weapon, then Someone Has Died is about to become your new favorite game.

How It is Played

Gameplay starts at a will arbitration where each player must convince the keeper of the estate that they’re the most worthy person to receive the inheritance. You’ll pull cards that give you ridiculous backstories, forcing you to wield them against your fellow players in order to gain the riches you so rightly deserve. The fun of the game comes in the myriad of ways that you can win. You’re just as likely to get the riches by telling the funniest story as you are by being the most intimidating storyteller.

If you’re chosen to be the estate keeper, don’t worry—you’ll get to join in on the fun too. Come up with a tale of absurd tragedy as to how the “someone has died”, whether it’s as exotic as being mauled by a lion or as trivial as tripping over your own two feet. This game is perfect for parties, as everyone can join in on the fun and the fantasy. Spin a tale and gain the riches and the glory; the only limit is your own imagination!

Sounds great, right? Buy it right now and make your next family visit something to die for.

 

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