Phase 10: Don’t Get Left Behind!

If Rummy and Uno had a baby, it would be Phase 10. This card game uses colorful numbered cards to force you to collect unique sets in a race against your opponents. It’s a fast-paced game that’ll keep you on your toes as you draw and discard cards while pondering your opponents’ next moves. If you’re looking for a fun alternative to Rummy that you can play on the go, then Phase 10 is the perfect card game for you.

Completing the Phases

Phase 10 is played in multiple rounds, with each round forcing you to collect a certain set of cards in order to advance. At the beginning of the first round, all of the players are in Phase 1. This requires you to collect two sets of three identical numbers. Players will go around in a circle drawing and discarding one card at a time. 

Once a player completes the phase and discards their last card, the round ends. All the players who still have cards in their hands will receive a penalty to their score based on the number of cards they have left and their value. When the next round begins, all the players who collected the right cards to complete Phase 1 get to move onto Phase 2. Everyone else is forced to complete Phase 1 again.

Phase 10 continues for multiple rounds until one player manages to be the first to complete all 10 phases. The trick of the game comes from being able to know which cards to discard in order to quickly catch up and beat out the other players. While the rules are pretty simple, there is a little wiggle room for a strategy that can make this card game more complex than meets the eye.

Special Cards

There is another element of Phase 10 that makes it a bit more challenging: the special cards. These cards can really throw a wrench in the works by allowing you to skip over opposing players during their turn. You can also draw wild cards that can have any color or number that you choose, allowing you to complete your set.

One thing that can bog down Phase 10 is the length of the game time. If you play it according to the traditional rules, games can often last upwards of 2 hours. However, there is a common house rule that many people employ to speed things up and make the most use of the points system of the game. 

By allowing everyone to advance to the next phase regardless of whether or not they manage to complete the set, then you can get to the finish line much faster. If you play Phase 10 using this house rule, then the player who has the best score by the end of the game is crowned the winner. This can incentivize you to complete your sets and win as many phases as possible.

Phase 10 Twist

Phase 10 Twist is a sequel to the original card game that adds some interesting twists to the original game. Instead of just using a deck of cards, Phase 10 Twist comes with a board with a phase track. This can be used to move players along and easily score the game without having to count the cards every time.

This sequel card game also includes Twist spots that force players to choose a different phase to complete than the one they originally were assigned. Players can choose from the optional Twist phases that are more difficult than the regular phases but offer more of a reward for completing. This card game also includes three discard piles, giving you an additional strategic element to consider when shedding cards.

Better Keep Up with Phase 10

Phase 10 is playable by 2-6 players, so it’s an easy card game to play on a family camping trip. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, as it’s easy to comprehend and quick to pick up. Playing time lasts around 45 minutes to 2 hours, although it can be much shorter if you use the optional house rule.

Buy Phase 10 today and enjoy the lovechild of Rummy and Uno!

 

Go: A Game As Old As Time

Chances are you’ve seen people playing a game of Go in the park or on TV, maneuvering around little black and white stones on a large wooden board. While Go may be one of the simplest games to learn, it offers countless opportunities for developing strategies and tactics to beat your partner and steal their territory out from underneath them. Go gives you the ability to develop your own unique style, providing you with countless of hours of mindbending fun.

The History of Go

Go is one of the oldest board games in history, but its simple rules belay an endless amount of depth. Go was first mentioned in the Analects of Confucious in around 500 BC, while the earliest physical evidence of the board game was a Go board discovered in 1952 in the tomb of the Han Dynasty, which lasted from 206 BC to 9 AD.

There are many urban legends and scholarly anecdotes about the origins of Go, the most popular of which is that it was invented by either Chinese emperors, court astrologers, or an imperial vassal. Many claim that Go was invented by Emperor Yao to amuse his son, while others claim that Emperor Shun created the game to make his son smarter. No matter who invented Go, its popularity and endurance have certainly been well established.

Learning the Rules

Because Go has been around for so long, there are plenty of different variants of the game that come with all sorts of different rules. However, the standard game is usually the same. It starts with an empty board, which is a 17×17 grid. Each player is given a bunch of stones to use, with one player using black stones and the other using white.

The goal of the game is to use your stones to form territories by blocking off empty spaces on the board. Players will take turns placing one stone at a time on the intersections of the lines. Once you’ve placed a stone, you can’t move it. However, you can surround your opponent’s stones and capture them, which allows you to take them prisoner.

The game ends once the board has been filled or when both players agree to end it. At the end of the game, players will tally up the points by collecting one point for every empty space within their territory and one point for each of their opponent’s stones they’ve captured. Like the game of chess, Go requires you to think many steps ahead to anticipate your opponent’s strategy and thwart their plans before they can succeed.

Variants of Go

Go has many different variants that differ in areas such as the scoring method and the placement of handicaps. Tibetan Go begins with six stones from both colors placed on the third line within the grid. The Korean form of Go (called Sunjung baduk) begins with eight stones of each color laid out on the grid in a specific pattern, while Capture Go simplifies the game by declaring the first person to capture a stone the winner.

There’s even a variant of Go called Joker Go that uses a special deck of cards to spice things up. Each player is given a deck of 27 cards that show a unique configuration of stones. Players can then either play a stone normally or draw and play a card, which allows them to place the stones as shown on the card. This can throw a wrench in your plans or your opponent’s plans by reshaping the board in a dramatic way.

Ready, Set, Go

Go is the ultimate 2-person game, as it’s very much a one-on-one game of getting into your opponent’s head. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, as it has incredibly simple rules that can be understood by any player regardless of their level of skill. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, although the game has been known to go on for up to three hours depending on the skill of the players.

Go is an excellent abstract strategy game if you’re looking for something to stimulate your mind. Buy Go today and enjoy the limitless fun of this ancient game!

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!

 

Kill The Unicorns: A Fantasy Card Game With A Twist

Unicorns are the mythical creatures we all wish really existed. Beautiful, elegant beasts with horns of ivory and rainbow manes, unicorns are a staple in many fantastical games. But in Kill the Unicorns, these silly creatures are public enemy number one!

Kill the Unicorns is a fast-paced and witty card game that forces you to capture these rapidly-producing magical creatures and kill them before they run out of control. A delightful mix of strategy, fantasy, and downright silliness, Kill the Unicorns is the card game that fantasy lovers will find themselves playing time and time again.

On the Hunt

The game is set up in four rounds, with each player taking a turn drawing and playing their cards to try and trap the unicorns on the table. There are 4 Unicorn Cards on the table each round, and the goal of the game is to win the most points by catching the most unicorns. However, you want to make sure you avoid the pesky Pigicorns or smelly Unicorns, as these can set you back!

The first thing you do on your turn is to draw two cards from the deck. It’s up to you to decide which one to use and which one to discard. Each unicorn has its own number of points, which you’ll want to collect in order to win the game. To win unicorns and earn points, you’ll bet Hunting Cards on the unicorns you want to catch.

Catching the Unicorns

From your hand of 8 cards, you can lay down 1-3 cards per unicorn during each round. Later players will have to match your same number of cards if they want to compete against you in hunting the unicorn. You can also use Trap cards to slip up the other players, forcing whoever catches that unicorn to deal with whatever misfortune you’ve created for them.

Once all of the unicorns have been bid on, the Hunting Cards are revealed. Whichever player has managed to compile the highest point value gets to catch the unicorn. However, they’ll also have to take any of the trap cards that go along with it, which can interfere with your strategy. Some traps can even flip the narrative and make it so that the lowest point value catches the unicorn, so there’s no telling what can happen in the world of Kill the Unicorns.

Going to the Market

One of the most intriguing parts of Kill the Unicorns is the market, where you can purchase accessories for your unicorns with leftover cards at the end of each round. These accessories can be things like wigs, which change the color of your unicorn and allow you to make a collection to earn extra points. You can also use your special Character Power to help you catch the unicorns, but you can only use it once per round, so choose wisely.

Bluff Your Way to the Top with Kill the Unicorns

Kill the Unicorns requires quite a bit of bluffing in order to fool the other players and capture those unicorns. When you lay your cards down on the unicorns, the other players don’t know whether you’re trying to make the most of your bid or whether there’s a deadly trap card hiding underneath. You’ll also have to keep an eye on the other hunters’ unicorns to make sure they don’t make a full set and earn bonus points.

Kill the Unicorns is playable by 3-6 players, so it’s definitely a group effort rather than a game for couples or for playing alone. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, which makes it a fun adventure for adults and kids to play together. It has a playing time of around 30-45 minutes, so you should be able to get a decent amount of fun in before the game comes to a close.

Kill the Unicorns is notable for being silly and irreverent while still enjoying all of the trappings of your typical fantasy game. By taking everyone’s favorite majestic creatures and turning them into prey for the taking, this card game is a delightful twist on classic fantasy. Buy this card game today and enjoy happy hunting!

 

Lords of Waterdeep: Explore a Detailed World

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

The Masked Lords of Waterdeep

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

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

Adventurers, Rewards, and Quests

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

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

Scoundrels of Skullport Expansion

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

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

Take Over the City of Splendor with Lords of the Waterdeep

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

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

Adjust your mask and plot your way to victory!

 

Dominoes: One Set, Countless Games

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

History Of Dominoes

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

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

Crafting The Domino

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

Blocking Games Vs. Scoring Games

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

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

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

Fives Family

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

Laying Down The Line With Dominoes

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

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

Make time for some fun today!

 

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