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 is 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

It’s Queen Bee vs. Queen Bee in the Game Of Hive

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

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

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

Connecting The Endpoints

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

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

Winning The Game

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

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

Ticket To Ride Spinoffs

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

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

Get Your Ticket To Ride And Start The Fun

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

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

 

How to Play Ticket to Ride

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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