Here are your choices.
Leader of an Ancient Civilization
Titled Lord/Lady Pope King
Ali Baba/Scheeherazade and Friends
Tales of the Arabian Nights
Federation /Klingon Commander
Star Trek:Fleet Battles
Faceless Corporation/Devious Runner
Emperor Napoleon I
Holy Roman Emperor Francis II
Battle of Austerlitz
Award winning card drafting game where each player takes a role as the leader of a powerful ancient city and attempts to become the preeminent city through improving the city structures including building its wonder, and investing in other areas such as science and military might. The game plays over 3 ages each age providing more powerful cards than the previous one. Each leader starts with seven cards plays one and passes the remainder to the next player. This process is repeated until each player has played 6 cards and the age ends. The same process is repeated in the other Ages. There are a good no of cards in the game many giving you resources others giving you structures to build there are also science cards military cards and guild cards and cards that improve your popularity i.e. give you vps. At the end of the game you count up you score in all the various categories to determine the winner. It plays up to 7 but as any interaction is just with the players either side of you it works best with 4-5 where you still get a sense of the overall position. This is a light but fun card game suitable as a gateway game or as an evening filler. The components and rule book are excellent and there have been a no of expansions that had added additional variety to the game.
Game Time 45-90 minutes depending on nos
Really simple card and dice game which still provides for plenty of interesting strategies and choices for card play and dice allocation.Each player has 7 slots for cards to be played. Each location ties to a value on a die, along with one bribery space. From the very start of the game each player will have either building or character cards to play on those slots. Then every turn the player can add a card from their hand to an empty slot, replace a card that has already been played or not place any cards, keeping them in their hand for upcoming turns. When you play the card you must pay its gold cost. A card is activated by committing one of the 3 dice you roll each turn, matching the value of its slot, to that card. Because you can only activate cards based on the results of your die rolls, this prevents one player from getting a really strong card to the table and playing it over and over again. Of course there are ways to modify the rolls or to eliminate one of the dice from the opponent available pool, but for the most part you only have the 3 dice per turn to try and squeeze out as many actions as you can. There are also slots where you can play dice that don’t ever have cards; money and draw. By placing a die on one of those locations, the player can either take the amount of money that is showing on the die or draw that many cards, only keeping one. This gives the player the feeling that there is always something to do on your turn, even if you end up with really bad die rolls. You can lose cards from slots if they are successfully attacked by your opponent and you lose one VP per empty space at the beginning of your turn. Many of the cards give you ways to earn VPS and the game ends when either all the pool of VPS has been allocated or if one player is reduced to zero VP. The combination of dice and cards works very well as you have to manage your actions based on the die roll although again there are cards that allow re-rolls.
Arena is a light and easy to learn game which still provides a good level of enjoyment. Components are of good quality and the rule book is very clear. Can also be combined with the cards from Roma for a wider choice of turn options
Game time 30/45 minutes
Vlaada Chvatil’s heavyweight Fantasy exploration game (with more than a passing nod to the iconic Magic Realm) where up to 4 Mage Knights roam the evolving landscape seeking glory through exploration slaying monsters and ultimately conquering entire cities. There is an element of deck building in the game as each Knight is given a deck of cards which they use to take actions eg move fight cast spells etc. Each card has a basic ability and a more powerful ability which needs Mana to use. In addition, spells require mana to power them. There is a certain amount of this mana available each turn.
As the Knights explore the land and defeat monsters, come across Mage Towers and other locations they get the opportunity to learn advanced skills and more powerful fighting units and spells which they will need to ultimately conquer cities and fight the most powerful of monsters. They can also acquire powerful artifacts Make no mistake this is a complex brain burner and as such there will be little trash talk around the table as players try to figure out their strategies for each turn. Having said that it can prove very rewarding when a plan comes together. The components are excellent including pre-painted knights and cities. As a consequence the game is costly. The rule book(s) are unfortunately a puzzle in themselves and require a lot of reading to grasp the game. There are plenty of scenarios both cooperative and combative which should keep the game fresh. The game should appeal to experienced gamers who like working out viable strategies from a combination of asset available. It is probably not initially for new recruits to the hobby.
Game Time At least 3 hours and will be more for the longer scenarios
As per the blurb:Fief is a game of strategic conquest and diplomacy that simulates a military, economic, and political fight between several lords in the Middle Ages – with players being those lords and representing noble families that want to have the most powerful kingdom in the land.
Fief is played in a fictional kingdom in the Middle Ages, with the villages connected by roads and each village belonging to both a fief and a bishopric. Each player starts with a lord, a castle and some troops in one of the villages.Players draw cards each round: character cards that can bring new lords into play and event cards such as good harvests, good weather and taxes. They pay the costs to play cards, with some cards being playable at any time to upset current events with a surprise assassination or underground invasion. Players then receive income, with which they can buy troops and buildings, and move lords and troops among villages, with troops never being able to travel without a lord. If troops from more than one player end up in the same village, they battle until one side is eliminated or forced to flee. Calamities also occur including plague which has devastating consequences for the Bishopric affected.
If a player controls all villages in a fief and has at least one castle there, he can purchase the title of the fief and assign it to a lord, with the title being passed to an heir if the lord subsequently dies. Players also try to secure the titles of king and pope, which provide benefits of their own, as well as points. Each title of fief (8 in total), king or pope is worth a point, and the first player to collect three points wins. Two players win if they are allied and have a total of four points. Because of the difficulty of a solo victory alliances are important and are consummated? by the exchange of rings between a lord and a lady from different factions. This aspect adds a great additional fun factor to a very good strategic game as spouses die or disillusioned spouses petition the king for an annulment. The game plays up to 6 the components are excellent but as the rules are a translation from the French they do represent some challenge. This has been a big hit with those who have played it.
Game Time 3-4 hours
Board game meets RPG in this lavishly produced game as you become one of the heroes of the story and travel the world seeking to achieve your life goals as set out secretly at the start of the game. During your travels you will encounter imprisoned princesses, powerful 'efreets, evil viziers, and such marvels as the Magnetic Mountain and the fabled Elephant's Graveyard. You will have to use your skills and judgment to decide how best to handle these encounters. The consequence of getting it wrong can be severe - insanity disease or imprisonment to name but a few. Get it right and the rewards can be great improve your wealth gain additional skills and achieve credits towards your goals. This is all about the journey as each person s tale unfolds. There are over 2000 possible encounters so the tale will be different each time. Beautiful components and excellent rule book. Plays up to 6 but possible downtime issues at the higher nos. Will not necessarily be to everyone’s taste but well worth a look if your are up for the journey.
Game time 2hours+
Explore the unknown reaches of the Prime Universe as either the Federation or Klingon faction. At the heart of the games are the 24 (unpainted) miniatures representing the iconic ships from the various Star Trek Eras.Each ship is on a base with a dial and accompanied by a "Ship Card". The Card denotes three different statuses for each ship; normal operating, Yellow Alert, and Red Alert. Each status affects how your dial plays as well as how the game and your opponents interact with you. You can alter the dial in your turn for example by reducing speed to power up the shields.
Each player begins play with a fleet of ships and starts at opposite ends of an unexplored sector of space. This sector of space is represented by hexagonal cards face-down. As each ship progresses through the sector, you turn the tiles face up, revealing what is in that part of the sector (a Class-M planet, a Class-J Nebula, empty space, etc...). This may lead to encounters eg Q. hostile races etc and all with varied outcomes. You may also have the opportunity to colonize certain planets.
Each player also has a command deck of 100 cards divided into 10 subdecks of which he chooses 4 for each game. These cards include crew and other abilities/ enhancements to help you. When conflict inevitably breaks out, you and your opponent(s) will battle it out for sector supremacy. Last fleet standing wins the sector for their respective faction.
The objective is to gain 10 VPS primarily through undertaking various type of missions from the mission deck some of which are kept secret until achieved.
It is primarily a two player game (or 4 in two teams). The components are good except perhaps for the hexagonal locations which are a little flimsy. It has plenty of replayability given the different no of locations, command cards and ships. Given the miniatures it is as you might expect at the higher end of pricing.
Game Time 2hours
Iconic CCG from the 1990’s by Richard Garfield (of Magic the Gathering fame). He has reputedly stated that it was his best designed game though it did not survive the CCG crash at the time. It is a two player game in a Cyber Punk setting where each player plays both The Corp and the Runner. Both players have a Corp and a Runner Deck and a game involves both players using their Runner deck against their opponents Corp deck. The Corp has Agendas which they are trying to complete and the Runner is trying to steal them. To protect the Agendas while “being advanced” the Corp creates Data Forts and protects them primarily with “ICE” (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics) of which there are 3 different types. He also has other tools at his disposal such as Nodes which might damage the Runner or upgrades which enhance the data fort. The Corp must pay for these countermeasures .The runner on the other hand is trying to equip himself to run the data forts and capture the Agendas. He primarily needs to purchase programs to bypass the ICE. The runner’s problem is that until he runs a data fort he does not know what is there including what type of ICE he might encounter as all cards are initially placed face down. There are many other types of cards in both decks that help the players complete or steal the required no of Agendas.
The joy of this game is the asymmetrical nature of both decks and the bluffing that is need to try and complete the Agendas before the runner get his hands on them.
The great news for fans of the game is that Fantasy Flight have just announced they are rereleasing it as Android Netrunner –same game slightly different setting. Very biased opinion I know but this is one of the best two player card games of all time.
GameTime 60-90 minutes
Set of Command and Colors type rules for playing large scale Napoleonic battles using miniatures and hex based movement. Typically each game will have upwards of 20 units per side. Each Commander has 10 command cards and plays 6 each turn. The 4 ununused cards must be part of the command deck for the following turn. Players roll special dice to identify the type of unit that may be ordered by playing the card for example “order 5 units on the left flank” roll special die resulting in 3 infantry 1 cavalry and one unit of any type. There are also three strategic order cards for cavalry infantry and artillery for example order 5 infantry units in one sector. There are a no of different unit types available each with their own movement points and attack strength. Players take alternative actions each turn to move an ordered unit and resolve attacks. This in my opinion is better than the IGO UGO rule sets. Most if not all the rules you would typically find in similar rules sets are provided including forming square ,flank and rear attacks, generals rallying etc. The only major omission is morale which can be easily added if required. The battle depicted is Austerlitz which is still being played and is currently on a knife edge-which brings me nicely to the point as to why I personally rate these as the best hex based miniatures rules by far out there. However it happens each battle I have played seems to ebb and flow and is usually in the balance right to the end which gives a very fulfilling experience win or lose. The game is produced by Gio Games and comes with a map and cardboard units plus 3 scenarios these components are very average. Alternatively you can download the rules and up to 15 scenarios for free from the site and use your own maps and miniatures. The rules are translated from the Italian and a few house rules will be necessary.
Game Time Minimum 4 hours
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