Ratings: Top 10 Advanced 2-Player Games – with Tom Vasel, Zee Garcia, and Mike DiLisio

Check "Top 10 Advanced 2-Player Games" and find the best price on all items from the top among sellers all over in the Netherlands & Belgium!

#10 (Mike). The Shores of Tripoli

From the end of the American Revolution, commercial vessels of the young United States republic were easy prey for the pirates of the Barbary coast. In 1801, newly inaugurated President Thomas Jefferson was eager to put an end to this threat and sent a "squadron of observation" to the Mediterranean. As the squadron arrived in Gibraltar, they learned that the bashaw of Tripoli had already declared WAR!

The Shores of Tripoli plays out this exciting episode of Early American military history. As the United States, one player will pressure Tripolitania to allow the free movement of American merchant vessels - or face the consequences. As the bashaw of Tripoli, the other player will continue the lucrative piracy of the fearsome corsairs while countering the American threat on land and sea.

Beautiful and informative cards represent historical events and leaders from the First Barbary War. Players can move ships, start battles, go on pirate raids, engage in diplomacy and receive reinforcements. Includes over 80 wooden playing pieces, 24 dice and a premium mounted map.

—description from the publisher

AWARDS

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (New York magazine)

Top 15 Games of 2020 (#7, Paste magazine)

Game of the Year 2020 Nominee (Meeple Mountain)

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (Meeple Mountain)

Top 10 Games of 2020 (#4, Cody Carlson)

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (Rolling Dice & Taking Names)

Wargame of the Year (RMN Gamer)

Top 6 Solitaire Wargames of 2020 (Wayne Hansen)

Top 10 Entry-Level Wargames (#3, Midnight Boardgaming)

Top 3 Solo Wargames to Start (#2, Beyond Solitaire)

The Spiel Foundation "Spiel of Approval"

8.0
1-2 Players
45-60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.1

From the end of the American Revolution, commercial vessels of the young United States republic were easy prey for the pirates of the Barbary coast. In 1801, newly inaugurated President Thomas Jefferson was eager to put an end to this threat and sent a "squadron of observation" to the Mediterranean. As the squadron arrived in Gibraltar, they learned that the bashaw of Tripoli had already declared WAR!

The Shores of Tripoli plays out this exciting episode of Early American military history. As the United States, one player will pressure Tripolitania to allow the free movement of American merchant vessels - or face the consequences. As the bashaw of Tripoli, the other player will continue the lucrative piracy of the fearsome corsairs while countering the American threat on land and sea.

Beautiful and informative cards represent historical events and leaders from the First Barbary War. Players can move ships, start battles, go on pirate raids, engage in diplomacy and receive reinforcements. Includes over 80 wooden playing pieces, 24 dice and a premium mounted map.

—description from the publisher

AWARDS

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (New York magazine)

Top 15 Games of 2020 (#7, Paste magazine)

Game of the Year 2020 Nominee (Meeple Mountain)

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (Meeple Mountain)

Top 10 Games of 2020 (#4, Cody Carlson)

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (Rolling Dice & Taking Names)

Wargame of the Year (RMN Gamer)

Top 6 Solitaire Wargames of 2020 (Wayne Hansen)

Top 10 Entry-Level Wargames (#3, Midnight Boardgaming)

Top 3 Solo Wargames to Start (#2, Beyond Solitaire)

The Spiel Foundation "Spiel of Approval"

8.0
1-2 Players
45-60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.1
Not available
at the moment
#10 (Zee). Lewis & Clark: The Expedition

On November 30, 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from Napoleon. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson decided to send two explorers – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – to discover this huge terra incognita.

Lewis & Clark is a board game in which each player manages an expedition intended to cross the North American continent. Their goal is to be the first to reach the Pacific. Each one has his own Corps of Discovery that will be completed by the Native Americans and the trappers met during the journey. He has to cleverly manage his characters and also the resources he finds along the way. Beware, sometimes frugality is better than abundance.

Lewis & Clark features dual use cards. To be activated, one card must be combined with another one, which becomes unavailable for a while. Thus, players are faced with a constant dilemma: play a card or sacrifice it. During the game, each player acquires character cards that enlarge his hand, building a crew that gives him more options but it needs to be optimized as he will recycle his cards more slowly. This new "handbuilding" mechanism fits strongly with the historical background.

Since the aim of the game is to be the first on the Pacific coast, the timing and the opportunistic use of the other players' positions are crucial.

7.5
1-5 Players
120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 3.3
Language: 1.0

On November 30, 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from Napoleon. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson decided to send two explorers – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – to discover this huge terra incognita.

Lewis & Clark is a board game in which each player manages an expedition intended to cross the North American continent. Their goal is to be the first to reach the Pacific. Each one has his own Corps of Discovery that will be completed by the Native Americans and the trappers met during the journey. He has to cleverly manage his characters and also the resources he finds along the way. Beware, sometimes frugality is better than abundance.

Lewis & Clark features dual use cards. To be activated, one card must be combined with another one, which becomes unavailable for a while. Thus, players are faced with a constant dilemma: play a card or sacrifice it. During the game, each player acquires character cards that enlarge his hand, building a crew that gives him more options but it needs to be optimized as he will recycle his cards more slowly. This new "handbuilding" mechanism fits strongly with the historical background.

Since the aim of the game is to be the first on the Pacific coast, the timing and the opportunistic use of the other players' positions are crucial.

7.5
1-5 Players
120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 3.3
Language: 1.0
Not available
at the moment
#10 (Tom). Mage Wars Arena

What would it be like for Mages of vastly different schools and philosophies of magic to come together in an arena and fight to the death? How would an Illusionist battle a Druid? Or a Warlock fight a Beastmaster? Or a Priestess fare against a Wizard?

Mage Wars — redubbed Mage Wars Arena in 2015 to distinguish it from Mage Wars Academy — pits powerful Mages against each other in deadly arena combat. Each Mage uses his own fully-customizable book of spells to achieve total victory over his opponent. Summon mighty creatures to do battle in your name; cast powerful spells to attack your foe and thwart his every plan and strategy; use hidden enchantments to turn the tables and rule the day; adorn yourself with mighty weapons, armor, and arcane artifacts – all of this and more await you in the arena of Mage Wars!

Mage Wars is a tactical board game, a combination of a card game and miniatures game, combining the best elements from each genre. The game is played on an arena game board divided into square areas called "zones", which regulate movement and the placement of objects. Each Mage (player) starts in a corner of the arena, opposite his enemy.

Each player holds a spellbook, from which spell cards are pulled out as they are cast during the game. This has the feel of being a real Mage, turning the pages of your tome of magic, as you plan your strategy each turn. A point system allows you to choose spells for your spellbook, with more powerful spells and spells outside your schools of training costing more points. You have full access to cast any spell you want each turn, allowing for an unprecedented level of rich strategy and tactics. Many of these spells – such as creatures, equipment, and enchantments – are placed on the board and become objects in the game. Creatures can move around the arena, and attack each other and the enemy Mage. Attacks deal damage, as well as interesting special effects such as Burn, Corrode, Stun, Daze, Push, Cripple, Paralyze, etc. Creatures can be destroyed when they receive too much damage, or can be controlled by powerful curses and enchantments, or contained by walls and other creatures.

Every Mage comes from a different school of magic, each with unique spells and strategies:

The Beastmaster will try to rush and swarm the enemy with his hordes of animals, buffed by his nature enchantments.

The Warlock will go right for the throat, armed with his powerful Lash of Hellfire, Helm of Fear, and Demonhide Armor. Along the way to the enemy Mage, he'll use his curses and fire attacks to contain and destroy enemy creatures.

The Wizard is a trickster, a master of meta-magic: countering, stealing, redirecting, and destroying enemy spells and mana. He's also a master of teleportation and portals/gates.

The Priestess will defend with knights and angels and powerful healing and protection spells. She'll wear down the enemy, then overwhelm them in the end.

The base game comes with all you need to get started: spellbooks, extra spells to customize with the spellbooks, arena game board, dice, markers, etc.

New Mages will be released every few months to add new spells, powers, and variety to the game. The game is NOT collectible, but is fully customizable!

Extra copies of spells available with:

Mage Wars: Core Spell Tome 1

Mage Wars: Core Spell Tome 2

7.6
2-2 Players
90 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.7
Language: 3.5

What would it be like for Mages of vastly different schools and philosophies of magic to come together in an arena and fight to the death? How would an Illusionist battle a Druid? Or a Warlock fight a Beastmaster? Or a Priestess fare against a Wizard?

Mage Wars — redubbed Mage Wars Arena in 2015 to distinguish it from Mage Wars Academy — pits powerful Mages against each other in deadly arena combat. Each Mage uses his own fully-customizable book of spells to achieve total victory over his opponent. Summon mighty creatures to do battle in your name; cast powerful spells to attack your foe and thwart his every plan and strategy; use hidden enchantments to turn the tables and rule the day; adorn yourself with mighty weapons, armor, and arcane artifacts – all of this and more await you in the arena of Mage Wars!

Mage Wars is a tactical board game, a combination of a card game and miniatures game, combining the best elements from each genre. The game is played on an arena game board divided into square areas called "zones", which regulate movement and the placement of objects. Each Mage (player) starts in a corner of the arena, opposite his enemy.

Each player holds a spellbook, from which spell cards are pulled out as they are cast during the game. This has the feel of being a real Mage, turning the pages of your tome of magic, as you plan your strategy each turn. A point system allows you to choose spells for your spellbook, with more powerful spells and spells outside your schools of training costing more points. You have full access to cast any spell you want each turn, allowing for an unprecedented level of rich strategy and tactics. Many of these spells – such as creatures, equipment, and enchantments – are placed on the board and become objects in the game. Creatures can move around the arena, and attack each other and the enemy Mage. Attacks deal damage, as well as interesting special effects such as Burn, Corrode, Stun, Daze, Push, Cripple, Paralyze, etc. Creatures can be destroyed when they receive too much damage, or can be controlled by powerful curses and enchantments, or contained by walls and other creatures.

Every Mage comes from a different school of magic, each with unique spells and strategies:

The Beastmaster will try to rush and swarm the enemy with his hordes of animals, buffed by his nature enchantments.

The Warlock will go right for the throat, armed with his powerful Lash of Hellfire, Helm of Fear, and Demonhide Armor. Along the way to the enemy Mage, he'll use his curses and fire attacks to contain and destroy enemy creatures.

The Wizard is a trickster, a master of meta-magic: countering, stealing, redirecting, and destroying enemy spells and mana. He's also a master of teleportation and portals/gates.

The Priestess will defend with knights and angels and powerful healing and protection spells. She'll wear down the enemy, then overwhelm them in the end.

The base game comes with all you need to get started: spellbooks, extra spells to customize with the spellbooks, arena game board, dice, markers, etc.

New Mages will be released every few months to add new spells, powers, and variety to the game. The game is NOT collectible, but is fully customizable!

Extra copies of spells available with:

Mage Wars: Core Spell Tome 1

Mage Wars: Core Spell Tome 2

7.6
2-2 Players
90 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.7
Language: 3.5
Not available
at the moment
#9 (Mike). Dinosaur Island

In Dinosaur Island, players will have to collect DNA, research the DNA sequences of extinct dinosaur species, and then combine the ancient DNA in the correct sequence to bring these prehistoric creatures back to life. Dino cooking! All players will compete to build the most thrilling park each season, and then work to attract (and keep alive!) the most visitors each season that the park opens.

Do you go big and create a pack of Velociraptors? They'll definitely excite potential visitors, but you'd better make a large enough enclosure for them. And maybe hire some (read: a lot of) security. Or they WILL break out and start eating your visitors, and we all know how that ends. You could play it safe and grow a bunch of herbivores, but then you aren't going to have the most exciting park in the world (sad face). So maybe buy a roller coaster or two to attract visitors to your park the good old-fashioned way?

7.7
1-4 Players
90-120 Min
Age: 8+
Complexity: 3.0

In Dinosaur Island, players will have to collect DNA, research the DNA sequences of extinct dinosaur species, and then combine the ancient DNA in the correct sequence to bring these prehistoric creatures back to life. Dino cooking! All players will compete to build the most thrilling park each season, and then work to attract (and keep alive!) the most visitors each season that the park opens.

Do you go big and create a pack of Velociraptors? They'll definitely excite potential visitors, but you'd better make a large enough enclosure for them. And maybe hire some (read: a lot of) security. Or they WILL break out and start eating your visitors, and we all know how that ends. You could play it safe and grow a bunch of herbivores, but then you aren't going to have the most exciting park in the world (sad face). So maybe buy a roller coaster or two to attract visitors to your park the good old-fashioned way?

7.7
1-4 Players
90-120 Min
Age: 8+
Complexity: 3.0
Not available
at the moment
#9 (Zee). Mr. Jack in New York

Stand alone variant of Mr. Jack. As in Mr. Jack, one player takes the role of Mr. Jack, the other takes a role of a Detective. But there are new possibilities - gaslights and manholes are represented by pawns which can be moved.

The game takes place in Manhattan, and surrounding water is very important for escape of Mr. Jack.

Characters will have new powers and there will be also a police spy, who will be able to get valuable information.

This version of the game is more strategic and complex so it is suitable for more advanced players.

London - 19 November 1888

As part of the investigation into the "Jack the Ripper" affair, Francis J. Tumblety, a quack doctor, is arrested and freed on bail. He immediately flees to the United States.

New York - Manhattan Island - January 1889

Alerted by London, the New York police are on the lookout for Tumblety. Certain witnesses confirm his presence in Manhattan and crimes are committed with a modus operandi similar to those in London.

The police call upon some of the city’s most eminent citizens to help them with their investigation.

Is Tumblety really Jack?

If not, who is he pretending to be? These are the stakes in "Mr Jack in New York".

Publisher Blurb:

Suspected of being the terrible Ripper, Francis J. Tumblety, the self-proclaimed doctor, is arrested by the London police service. He then escapes to New-York, where witnesses see him. The local police will not be deceived, as rumors suggest that he is in Manhattan, where the crimes appear strangely like they did in London. The police take no chance and ask the most eminent people of the city to help them in the chase of The Ripper. You will need to Investigate whether Francis J. Tumblety the real Mr. Jack, or if it is someone else.

Mr. Jack in New-York is a complete game all on its own, however it is recommend for a beginner to play Mr. Jack first. The new version is more complex and requires more strategy.

Mr. Jack is exclusively published by Hurrican, all printings of Mr. Jack are from Hurrican and distributed by other companies

7.2
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.5

Stand alone variant of Mr. Jack. As in Mr. Jack, one player takes the role of Mr. Jack, the other takes a role of a Detective. But there are new possibilities - gaslights and manholes are represented by pawns which can be moved.

The game takes place in Manhattan, and surrounding water is very important for escape of Mr. Jack.

Characters will have new powers and there will be also a police spy, who will be able to get valuable information.

This version of the game is more strategic and complex so it is suitable for more advanced players.

London - 19 November 1888

As part of the investigation into the "Jack the Ripper" affair, Francis J. Tumblety, a quack doctor, is arrested and freed on bail. He immediately flees to the United States.

New York - Manhattan Island - January 1889

Alerted by London, the New York police are on the lookout for Tumblety. Certain witnesses confirm his presence in Manhattan and crimes are committed with a modus operandi similar to those in London.

The police call upon some of the city’s most eminent citizens to help them with their investigation.

Is Tumblety really Jack?

If not, who is he pretending to be? These are the stakes in "Mr Jack in New York".

Publisher Blurb:

Suspected of being the terrible Ripper, Francis J. Tumblety, the self-proclaimed doctor, is arrested by the London police service. He then escapes to New-York, where witnesses see him. The local police will not be deceived, as rumors suggest that he is in Manhattan, where the crimes appear strangely like they did in London. The police take no chance and ask the most eminent people of the city to help them in the chase of The Ripper. You will need to Investigate whether Francis J. Tumblety the real Mr. Jack, or if it is someone else.

Mr. Jack in New-York is a complete game all on its own, however it is recommend for a beginner to play Mr. Jack first. The new version is more complex and requires more strategy.

Mr. Jack is exclusively published by Hurrican, all printings of Mr. Jack are from Hurrican and distributed by other companies

7.2
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.5
Not available
at the moment
#9 (Tom). Duel of Ages II Basic Set

Duel of Ages II is a time-scramble board game played between two opposing sides each having 1 to 4 players, with uneven size allowable. Each side controls a selected team of 8-12 characters from different ages of time: Ancient, Colonial, Modern and Future. The goal is to win greater glory in overcoming adventures and in tactical combat than the opposing team.

Although multiple styles of play are available, the standard DoA game-play involves seven phases:

Selection of each side’s team of 8-12 characters (kept secret).

Building of the interlocking puzzle map to best suit your character’s skills.

Selection of a Team White and a Team Black based on character Respect.

Revealing and equipping of characters.

Bringing characters onto the map based on Respect.

A sequence of game rounds where characters maneuver on the map to accomplish adventures, hunt enemy characters and avoid dangerous situations.

Counting of total achievements won. The team with the most achievements wins.

The game can end at a certain time or after a certain number of rounds.

Game play is an unusual mix of tactical wargame-style combat, treasure gathering, and non-combat character teamwork and adventuring, and has no close comparison to other games. Differences between characters are significant, with many having poor fighting skills. Game play and winning is therefore an act of balancing fighting, treasure-gathering and adventuring.

From the game box:

Select a team of characters. Overcome adventures and the enemy team to win favor, achievements, and ultimate victory. And while you are at it, enjoy the stories that your game builds.

Errata (Changes to cards):

An Enemy Turned (Lith Card, Secret): Remove the second paragraph. Enemies cannot be switched if they are imprisoned.

Prince Wallard Blatt (Character): Wallard is killed permanently if he takes damage from anything not caused by a successful Hit. For example, damage from Cube effects or trade damage caused by Hakan. For this purpose, poison damage is caused by a successful Hit.

7.4
2-8 Players
150 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 3.4

Duel of Ages II is a time-scramble board game played between two opposing sides each having 1 to 4 players, with uneven size allowable. Each side controls a selected team of 8-12 characters from different ages of time: Ancient, Colonial, Modern and Future. The goal is to win greater glory in overcoming adventures and in tactical combat than the opposing team.

Although multiple styles of play are available, the standard DoA game-play involves seven phases:

Selection of each side’s team of 8-12 characters (kept secret).

Building of the interlocking puzzle map to best suit your character’s skills.

Selection of a Team White and a Team Black based on character Respect.

Revealing and equipping of characters.

Bringing characters onto the map based on Respect.

A sequence of game rounds where characters maneuver on the map to accomplish adventures, hunt enemy characters and avoid dangerous situations.

Counting of total achievements won. The team with the most achievements wins.

The game can end at a certain time or after a certain number of rounds.

Game play is an unusual mix of tactical wargame-style combat, treasure gathering, and non-combat character teamwork and adventuring, and has no close comparison to other games. Differences between characters are significant, with many having poor fighting skills. Game play and winning is therefore an act of balancing fighting, treasure-gathering and adventuring.

From the game box:

Select a team of characters. Overcome adventures and the enemy team to win favor, achievements, and ultimate victory. And while you are at it, enjoy the stories that your game builds.

Errata (Changes to cards):

An Enemy Turned (Lith Card, Secret): Remove the second paragraph. Enemies cannot be switched if they are imprisoned.

Prince Wallard Blatt (Character): Wallard is killed permanently if he takes damage from anything not caused by a successful Hit. For example, damage from Cube effects or trade damage caused by Hakan. For this purpose, poison damage is caused by a successful Hit.

7.4
2-8 Players
150 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 3.4
Not available
at the moment
#8 (Mike). Shaolia: Warring States Premium Big Box (Dracon Tier) + Promo Pack [KS]

Shaolia is a board game filled with deadly strategy and countless possibilities to build your own kingdom.

Build your very own kingdom with various building & character cards

Utilize creative tactics to take the lead with highly dynamic game play

Dive into the world of Shaolia through fantastic artwork and storylines

There are two ways to win in Shaolia. You can either deal 12 damage to your opponent’s palace and destroy it, or you can achieve 18 culture score.

The game is played through multiple rounds.

A round consists of 3 different phases.

Purchase Phase: Purchase cards and resources.

Building Phase: Build the purchased cards on the territory board.

Action Phase:  Roll the dice and activate cards built on the territory board, using dice.

-description from designer

7.3
2-4 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.4

Shaolia is a board game filled with deadly strategy and countless possibilities to build your own kingdom.

Build your very own kingdom with various building & character cards

Utilize creative tactics to take the lead with highly dynamic game play

Dive into the world of Shaolia through fantastic artwork and storylines

There are two ways to win in Shaolia. You can either deal 12 damage to your opponent’s palace and destroy it, or you can achieve 18 culture score.

The game is played through multiple rounds.

A round consists of 3 different phases.

Purchase Phase: Purchase cards and resources.

Building Phase: Build the purchased cards on the territory board.

Action Phase:  Roll the dice and activate cards built on the territory board, using dice.

-description from designer

7.3
2-4 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.4
Not available
at the moment
#8 (Zee). Summoner Wars Second Edition Master Set

Summoner Wars puts you in the role of a powerful summoner in control of a unique army, dedicated to taking control of the war-torn planet of Itharia. Display your tactical prowess by summoning units to your gates, outmaneuvering your opponent, and cutting down the enemy summoner to claim victory. Be wary though! The enemy will take advantage of every opportunity they find to destroy you and your army.

Countless units, a wide variety of spells and abilities, and the option to build your own decks, all make for a game sure to entertain, play after play.

Summoner Wars (Second Edition) is a fully expandable, tactical dueling card game that features updated versions of beloved factions, along with exciting new factions ready to join the battle. The game — which features new art and a perfected rules system — can be played in-person with physical cards or online with a browser-based app.

8.6
2-2 Players
40-60 Min
Age: 9+
Complexity: 2.6

Summoner Wars puts you in the role of a powerful summoner in control of a unique army, dedicated to taking control of the war-torn planet of Itharia. Display your tactical prowess by summoning units to your gates, outmaneuvering your opponent, and cutting down the enemy summoner to claim victory. Be wary though! The enemy will take advantage of every opportunity they find to destroy you and your army.

Countless units, a wide variety of spells and abilities, and the option to build your own decks, all make for a game sure to entertain, play after play.

Summoner Wars (Second Edition) is a fully expandable, tactical dueling card game that features updated versions of beloved factions, along with exciting new factions ready to join the battle. The game — which features new art and a perfected rules system — can be played in-person with physical cards or online with a browser-based app.

8.6
2-2 Players
40-60 Min
Age: 9+
Complexity: 2.6
Not available
at the moment
#8 (Tom). Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men is a collectible dice-building tabletop game designed by Quarriors! creators Michael Elliott and Eric M. Lang.

In this game, each player fields one of the superhero teams, with each hero — Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and more — being represented by custom-tooled dice; each team must be composed of up to 20 dice, and a player can "purchase" dice only from his team. Each hero also has one or more character reference cards, which show the special abilities for the characters based on the die rolls. Different versions of these cards will be available in booster packs, allowing for more customization of your team. Players use these dice to collect energy, recruit new heroes, and battle head-to-head. In addition, each player brings two basic action cards to the game, which are placed in the center of the table; both players can purchase these cards. A player wins once the opposing player has been reduced to zero life.

The Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men starter set comes with 44 custom dice, 38 cards, two dice bags, and a core rulebook. Booster packs include two dice with two matching character cards.

7.1
2-2 Players
60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
Language: 2.8

Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men is a collectible dice-building tabletop game designed by Quarriors! creators Michael Elliott and Eric M. Lang.

In this game, each player fields one of the superhero teams, with each hero — Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and more — being represented by custom-tooled dice; each team must be composed of up to 20 dice, and a player can "purchase" dice only from his team. Each hero also has one or more character reference cards, which show the special abilities for the characters based on the die rolls. Different versions of these cards will be available in booster packs, allowing for more customization of your team. Players use these dice to collect energy, recruit new heroes, and battle head-to-head. In addition, each player brings two basic action cards to the game, which are placed in the center of the table; both players can purchase these cards. A player wins once the opposing player has been reduced to zero life.

The Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men starter set comes with 44 custom dice, 38 cards, two dice bags, and a core rulebook. Booster packs include two dice with two matching character cards.

7.1
2-2 Players
60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
Language: 2.8
Not available
at the moment
#7 (Zee). Targi

Theme and overview:

Unlike in other cultures, the desert Tuareg men, known as Targi, cover their faces whereas women of the tribe do not wear veils. They run the household and they have the last word at home in the tents. Different families are divided into tribes, headed by the ‘Imascheren’ (or nobles). As leader of a Tuareg tribe, players trade goods from near (such as dates and salt) and far (like pepper), in order to obtain gold and other benefits, and enlarge their family. In each round their new offerings are made. Cards are a means to an end, in order to obtain the popular tribe cards.

Gameplay:

The board consists of a 5x5 grid: a border of 16 squares with printed action symbols and then 9 blank squares in the centre onto which cards are dealt. Meeples are placed one at a time on the spaces at the edges of the board (not including corner squares). You cannot place a meeple on a square the opponent has a meeple on already, nor on a square facing opponent's meeple. Once all meeples are placed, players then execute the actions on the border squares the meeples are on and also take the cards from the centre that match the row and column of the border meeples.

The game is predominantly scored and won by playing tribal cards to your display. These give advantages during the game and victory points at the end. Usually cards are played (or discarded) immediately once drawn. A single card can be kept in hand but then requires a special action to play it (or to discard it to free the hand spot for another card). Each card has a cost in goods to play. Goods are obtained either from border spaces or from goods cards.

The display (for scoring) consists of 3 rows of 4 cards that are filled from left to right and cannot be moved once placed (barring some special cards). There is also a balance to be found between the victory point score on the cards themselves (1-3 VP per tribal card) and in the combinations per row (a full row of 4 identical card types gets you an additional 4 VP, and a full row of 4 distinct card types gets you 2 VP).

The winner at the end of the game is the player with the most victory points.

7.6
2-2 Players
60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.4
Language: 2.9

Theme and overview:

Unlike in other cultures, the desert Tuareg men, known as Targi, cover their faces whereas women of the tribe do not wear veils. They run the household and they have the last word at home in the tents. Different families are divided into tribes, headed by the ‘Imascheren’ (or nobles). As leader of a Tuareg tribe, players trade goods from near (such as dates and salt) and far (like pepper), in order to obtain gold and other benefits, and enlarge their family. In each round their new offerings are made. Cards are a means to an end, in order to obtain the popular tribe cards.

Gameplay:

The board consists of a 5x5 grid: a border of 16 squares with printed action symbols and then 9 blank squares in the centre onto which cards are dealt. Meeples are placed one at a time on the spaces at the edges of the board (not including corner squares). You cannot place a meeple on a square the opponent has a meeple on already, nor on a square facing opponent's meeple. Once all meeples are placed, players then execute the actions on the border squares the meeples are on and also take the cards from the centre that match the row and column of the border meeples.

The game is predominantly scored and won by playing tribal cards to your display. These give advantages during the game and victory points at the end. Usually cards are played (or discarded) immediately once drawn. A single card can be kept in hand but then requires a special action to play it (or to discard it to free the hand spot for another card). Each card has a cost in goods to play. Goods are obtained either from border spaces or from goods cards.

The display (for scoring) consists of 3 rows of 4 cards that are filled from left to right and cannot be moved once placed (barring some special cards). There is also a balance to be found between the victory point score on the cards themselves (1-3 VP per tribal card) and in the combinations per row (a full row of 4 identical card types gets you an additional 4 VP, and a full row of 4 distinct card types gets you 2 VP).

The winner at the end of the game is the player with the most victory points.

7.6
2-2 Players
60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.4
Language: 2.9
Not available
at the moment
#7 (Tom). Codex: Base Set

This Starter Set lets you try out the game with the Bashing and Finesse heroes. Once you go beyond the Starter Set, you'll get to play 3 heroes at at time and have access to a lot more cards during the course of a game. That said, the Starter Set helps you learn how the Codex system works with fewer cards that are simpler.

Codex: Card-Time Strategy is a customizable, non-collectable card game set in the Fantasy Strike universe that's inspired by real-time strategy video games such as Starcraft and Warcraft 3.

7.0
2-2 Players
45 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.5

This Starter Set lets you try out the game with the Bashing and Finesse heroes. Once you go beyond the Starter Set, you'll get to play 3 heroes at at time and have access to a lot more cards during the course of a game. That said, the Starter Set helps you learn how the Codex system works with fewer cards that are simpler.

Codex: Card-Time Strategy is a customizable, non-collectable card game set in the Fantasy Strike universe that's inspired by real-time strategy video games such as Starcraft and Warcraft 3.

7.0
2-2 Players
45 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.5
Not available
at the moment
#7 (Mike). Undaunted: North Africa

The Undaunted series continues with this two-player deck-building game of tactical combat, pitting the raiders of Britain's Long Range Desert Group against Italian forces in the North African Theater of World War II.

The North African campaign has begun. Take control of the British Army's Long Range Desert Group and operate behind enemy lines or command the formidable Italian forces opposing them. In "Undaunted: North Africa", a sequel to Undaunted: Normandy, players once again lead their sides through a varied series of missions. As casualties mount, wounded soldiers leave the players' decks, forcing them to adapt in the face of changing tactical circumstances. Use your cards to strengthen your forces, deploy vehicles to advance rapidly across the battlefield, and seize the initiative as you determine the outcome of the North African Theater.

—description from the publisher

8.0
2-2 Players
45-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3

The Undaunted series continues with this two-player deck-building game of tactical combat, pitting the raiders of Britain's Long Range Desert Group against Italian forces in the North African Theater of World War II.

The North African campaign has begun. Take control of the British Army's Long Range Desert Group and operate behind enemy lines or command the formidable Italian forces opposing them. In "Undaunted: North Africa", a sequel to Undaunted: Normandy, players once again lead their sides through a varied series of missions. As casualties mount, wounded soldiers leave the players' decks, forcing them to adapt in the face of changing tactical circumstances. Use your cards to strengthen your forces, deploy vehicles to advance rapidly across the battlefield, and seize the initiative as you determine the outcome of the North African Theater.

—description from the publisher

8.0
2-2 Players
45-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
Not available
at the moment
#6 (Zee). 7 Wonders Duel

In many ways 7 Wonders Duel resembles its parent game 7 Wonders as over three ages players acquire cards that provide resources or advance their military or scientific development in order to develop a civilization and complete wonders.

What's different about 7 Wonders Duel is that, as the title suggests, the game is solely for two players, with the players not drafting cards simultaneously from hands of cards, but from a display of face-down and face-up cards arranged at the start of a round. A player can take a card only if it's not covered by any others, so timing comes into play as well as bonus moves that allow you to take a second card immediately. As in the original game, each card that you acquire can be built, discarded for coins, or used to construct a wonder.

Each player starts with four wonder cards, and the construction of a wonder provides its owner with a special ability. Only seven wonders can be built, though, so one player will end up short.

Players can purchase resources at any time from the bank, or they can gain cards during the game that provide them with resources for future building; as you acquire resources, the cost for those particular resources increases for your opponent, representing your dominance in this area.

A player can win 7 Wonders Duel in one of three ways: each time you acquire a military card, you advance the military marker toward your opponent's capital, giving you a bonus at certain positions; if you reach the opponent's capital, you win the game immediately; similarly, if you acquire any six of seven different scientific symbols, you achieve scientific dominance and win immediately; if none of these situations occurs, then the player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

8.1
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 10+
Complexity: 2.2
Language: 1.1

In many ways 7 Wonders Duel resembles its parent game 7 Wonders as over three ages players acquire cards that provide resources or advance their military or scientific development in order to develop a civilization and complete wonders.

What's different about 7 Wonders Duel is that, as the title suggests, the game is solely for two players, with the players not drafting cards simultaneously from hands of cards, but from a display of face-down and face-up cards arranged at the start of a round. A player can take a card only if it's not covered by any others, so timing comes into play as well as bonus moves that allow you to take a second card immediately. As in the original game, each card that you acquire can be built, discarded for coins, or used to construct a wonder.

Each player starts with four wonder cards, and the construction of a wonder provides its owner with a special ability. Only seven wonders can be built, though, so one player will end up short.

Players can purchase resources at any time from the bank, or they can gain cards during the game that provide them with resources for future building; as you acquire resources, the cost for those particular resources increases for your opponent, representing your dominance in this area.

A player can win 7 Wonders Duel in one of three ways: each time you acquire a military card, you advance the military marker toward your opponent's capital, giving you a bonus at certain positions; if you reach the opponent's capital, you win the game immediately; similarly, if you acquire any six of seven different scientific symbols, you achieve scientific dominance and win immediately; if none of these situations occurs, then the player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

8.1
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 10+
Complexity: 2.2
Language: 1.1
Not available
at the moment
#6 (Tom). War Chest

War Chest is an all-new bag-building war game! At the start of the game, raise your banner call (drafting) several various units into your army, which you then use to capture key points on the board. To succeed in War Chest, you must successfully manage not only your armies on the battlefield, but those that are waiting to be deployed.

Each round you draw three unit coins from your bag, then take turns using them to perform actions. Each coin shows a military unit on one side and can be used for one of several actions. The game ends when one player — or one team in the case of a four-player game — has placed all of their control markers. That player or team wins!

—description from the publisher

8.0
2-4 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3

War Chest is an all-new bag-building war game! At the start of the game, raise your banner call (drafting) several various units into your army, which you then use to capture key points on the board. To succeed in War Chest, you must successfully manage not only your armies on the battlefield, but those that are waiting to be deployed.

Each round you draw three unit coins from your bag, then take turns using them to perform actions. Each coin shows a military unit on one side and can be used for one of several actions. The game ends when one player — or one team in the case of a four-player game — has placed all of their control markers. That player or team wins!

—description from the publisher

8.0
2-4 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
Not available
at the moment
#6 (Mike). Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial

"Passion governs, and she never governs wisely." — Benjamin Franklin, one of America's Founding Fathers.

Ninety years later, the very government that Franklin helped create disregarded his wisdom and trampled the constitutional rights of its own citizens in order to feed what seemed an insatiable hunger for vengeance. Now you, as the prosecution or defense, must convince a nine-panel jury that Mary Surratt, one of eight people put on trial for conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln and other members of his cabinet, is guilty...or innocent.

Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial is a two-player game that takes place during the May 9 - June 28, 1865 trial of the first woman, Mary Surratt, ever to be executed for treason by the United States. The game begins amidst the chaos of Lincoln's assassination as the country struggles to heal over the wreckage of the American Civil War. Each player must persuade the jury to convict or acquit the accused and thereby win the game. To do so, players draft and play cards that help them strengthen their case with the jurors and recruit them to their side, while also finding overwhelming evidence for or against the accused.

In one of the most high-profile trials in U.S. history, will Mary Surratt again face the hangman's noose of American justice — or can you stop the trap door from falling?

7.9
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.6
#6 (Mike). Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial

"Passion governs, and she never governs wisely." — Benjamin Franklin, one of America's Founding Fathers.

Ninety years later, the very government that Franklin helped create disregarded his wisdom and trampled the constitutional rights of its own citizens in order to feed what seemed an insatiable hunger for vengeance. Now you, as the prosecution or defense, must convince a nine-panel jury that Mary Surratt, one of eight people put on trial for conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln and other members of his cabinet, is guilty...or innocent.

Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial is a two-player game that takes place during the May 9 - June 28, 1865 trial of the first woman, Mary Surratt, ever to be executed for treason by the United States. The game begins amidst the chaos of Lincoln's assassination as the country struggles to heal over the wreckage of the American Civil War. Each player must persuade the jury to convict or acquit the accused and thereby win the game. To do so, players draft and play cards that help them strengthen their case with the jurors and recruit them to their side, while also finding overwhelming evidence for or against the accused.

In one of the most high-profile trials in U.S. history, will Mary Surratt again face the hangman's noose of American justice — or can you stop the trap door from falling?

7.9
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.6
Not available
at the moment
#5 (Zee). Marvel Champions: The Card Game

"With great power, there must also come great responsibility."

–Stan Lee, Amazing Fantasy #15

Iron Man and Black Panther team up to stop Rhino from rampaging through the streets of New York. Captain Marvel and Spider-Man battle Ultron as he threatens global annihilation. Do you have what it takes to join the ranks of these legendary heroes and become a champion?

Jump into the Marvel Universe with Marvel Champions: The Card Game, a cooperative Living Card Game for one to four players!

Marvel Champions: The Card Game invites players embody iconic heroes from the Marvel Universe as they battle to stop infamous villains from enacting their devious schemes. As a Living Card Game, Marvel Champions is supported with regular releases of new product, including new heroes and scenarios.

—description from the publisher

8.2
1-4 Players
45-90 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.8

"With great power, there must also come great responsibility."

–Stan Lee, Amazing Fantasy #15

Iron Man and Black Panther team up to stop Rhino from rampaging through the streets of New York. Captain Marvel and Spider-Man battle Ultron as he threatens global annihilation. Do you have what it takes to join the ranks of these legendary heroes and become a champion?

Jump into the Marvel Universe with Marvel Champions: The Card Game, a cooperative Living Card Game for one to four players!

Marvel Champions: The Card Game invites players embody iconic heroes from the Marvel Universe as they battle to stop infamous villains from enacting their devious schemes. As a Living Card Game, Marvel Champions is supported with regular releases of new product, including new heroes and scenarios.

—description from the publisher

8.2
1-4 Players
45-90 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.8
Not available
at the moment
#5 (Tom). Twilight Struggle

"Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle..."

– John F. Kennedy

In 1945, unlikely allies toppled Hitler's war machine, while humanity's most devastating weapons forced the Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, there then stood only two. The world had scant months to sigh its collective relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic struggles of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged not primarily by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors. Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-five year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight to make the world safe for their own ideologies and ways of life. The game begins amidst the ruins of Europe as the two new "superpowers" scramble over the wreckage of the Second World War, and ends in 1989, when only the United States remained standing.

Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card-driven classics We the People and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. As with GMT's other card-driven games, decision-making is a challenge; how to best use one's cards and units given consistently limited resources?

Twilight Struggle's Event cards add detail and flavor to the game. They cover a vast array of historical happenings, from the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967, to Vietnam and the U.S. peace movement, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of game-ending nuclear war.

Components (original edition):

228 full colour counters

22"x34" full colour map

103 event cards

2 six-sided dice

1 24-page rulebook

2 full colour player aid cards

Components (2009 Deluxe edition and after)

260 full colour counters

22"x34" mounted map with revised graphics

110 event cards

2 six-sided dice

1 24-page rulebook

2 full colour player aid cards

TIME SCALE: approx. 3-5 years per turn

MAP SCALE: Point-to-point system

UNIT SCALE: Influence markers

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2

DESIGNER: Ananda Gupta & Jason Matthews

MAP, CARD, & COUNTER ART: Mark Simonitch

A deluxe edition, published in 2009 includes the following changes from the basic game:

Mounted map with revised graphics

Two double-thick counter sheets with 260 counters

Deck of 110 event cards (increased from 103)

Revised rules and player aid cards

Revised at start setup and text change for card #98 Aldrich Ames

Upgrade kit for the owners of the previous version includes the following:

Mounted Map with revised graphics

New card decks

Updated Rules & Charts

8.3
2-2 Players
120-180 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.6
Language: 4.1

"Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle..."

– John F. Kennedy

In 1945, unlikely allies toppled Hitler's war machine, while humanity's most devastating weapons forced the Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, there then stood only two. The world had scant months to sigh its collective relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic struggles of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged not primarily by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors. Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-five year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight to make the world safe for their own ideologies and ways of life. The game begins amidst the ruins of Europe as the two new "superpowers" scramble over the wreckage of the Second World War, and ends in 1989, when only the United States remained standing.

Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card-driven classics We the People and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. As with GMT's other card-driven games, decision-making is a challenge; how to best use one's cards and units given consistently limited resources?

Twilight Struggle's Event cards add detail and flavor to the game. They cover a vast array of historical happenings, from the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967, to Vietnam and the U.S. peace movement, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of game-ending nuclear war.

Components (original edition):

228 full colour counters

22"x34" full colour map

103 event cards

2 six-sided dice

1 24-page rulebook

2 full colour player aid cards

Components (2009 Deluxe edition and after)

260 full colour counters

22"x34" mounted map with revised graphics

110 event cards

2 six-sided dice

1 24-page rulebook

2 full colour player aid cards

TIME SCALE: approx. 3-5 years per turn

MAP SCALE: Point-to-point system

UNIT SCALE: Influence markers

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2

DESIGNER: Ananda Gupta & Jason Matthews

MAP, CARD, & COUNTER ART: Mark Simonitch

A deluxe edition, published in 2009 includes the following changes from the basic game:

Mounted map with revised graphics

Two double-thick counter sheets with 260 counters

Deck of 110 event cards (increased from 103)

Revised rules and player aid cards

Revised at start setup and text change for card #98 Aldrich Ames

Upgrade kit for the owners of the previous version includes the following:

Mounted Map with revised graphics

New card decks

Updated Rules & Charts

8.3
2-2 Players
120-180 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.6
Language: 4.1
Not available
at the moment
#5 (Mike). Cloudspire (2nd Printing)

Cloudspire is 1-4 player strategy game heavily influenced by both tower defense and MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games. Solo and Cooperative play are driven by a scenario book that chronicles the story of the game from the perspective of each individual faction. Players control one of four unique factions in a battle to destroy and steal source energy from their opponents. Send and defend against armies and minions, build towers to protect your base, and explore with your heroes in search of resources and powerful Relics to turn the tide of battle.

Taking place in the floating realm of Ankar, Cloudspire tells the story of a war to acquire a powerful and rare energy known only as "the source." Every race has their own unique units and heroes as well as the ability to bid and draft mercenaries for hire.

Armies are placed either individually or in stacks to conceal powerful units until the last possible moments. Heroes, in the meantime are controlled individually and may join the tide of battle or choose to explore points of interest in search of numerous resources. Meanwhile, the event deck regularly changes the terms of the fight, making every wave exciting and unpredictable.

As armies and minions approach opposing bases, they'll need to contend with Spires - powerful defense towers that can be built around the board. Fight for control of build sites and acquire new spire schematics to build an impenetrable defense and hold off the enemy. Upgrade your home base to unlock new strategies and abilities. Level up your heroes and lead your armies into battle with advanced and upgraded skills!

—description from the publisher

8.3
1-4 Players
90-180 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 4.3

Cloudspire is 1-4 player strategy game heavily influenced by both tower defense and MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games. Solo and Cooperative play are driven by a scenario book that chronicles the story of the game from the perspective of each individual faction. Players control one of four unique factions in a battle to destroy and steal source energy from their opponents. Send and defend against armies and minions, build towers to protect your base, and explore with your heroes in search of resources and powerful Relics to turn the tide of battle.

Taking place in the floating realm of Ankar, Cloudspire tells the story of a war to acquire a powerful and rare energy known only as "the source." Every race has their own unique units and heroes as well as the ability to bid and draft mercenaries for hire.

Armies are placed either individually or in stacks to conceal powerful units until the last possible moments. Heroes, in the meantime are controlled individually and may join the tide of battle or choose to explore points of interest in search of numerous resources. Meanwhile, the event deck regularly changes the terms of the fight, making every wave exciting and unpredictable.

As armies and minions approach opposing bases, they'll need to contend with Spires - powerful defense towers that can be built around the board. Fight for control of build sites and acquire new spire schematics to build an impenetrable defense and hold off the enemy. Upgrade your home base to unlock new strategies and abilities. Level up your heroes and lead your armies into battle with advanced and upgraded skills!

—description from the publisher

8.3
1-4 Players
90-180 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 4.3
Not available
at the moment
#4 (Zee). Everdell

Within the charming valley of Everdell, beneath the boughs of towering trees, among meandering streams and mossy hollows, a civilization of forest critters is thriving and expanding. From Everfrost to Bellsong, many a year have come and gone, but the time has come for new territories to be settled and new cities established. You will be the leader of a group of critters intent on just such a task. There are buildings to construct, lively characters to meet, events to host—you have a busy year ahead of yourself. Will the sun shine brightest on your city before the winter moon rises?

Everdell is a game of dynamic tableau building and worker placement.

On their turn a player can take one of three actions:

a) Place a Worker: Each player has a collection of Worker pieces. These are placed on the board locations, events, and on Destination cards. Workers perform various actions to further the development of a player's tableau: gathering resources, drawing cards, and taking other special actions.

b) Play a Card: Each player is building and populating a city; a tableau of up to 15 Construction and Critter cards. There are five types of cards: Travelers, Production, Destination, Governance, and Prosperity. Cards generate resources (twigs, resin, pebbles, and berries), grant abilities, and ultimately score points. The interactions of the cards reveal numerous strategies and a near infinite variety of working cities.

c) Prepare for the next Season: Workers are returned to the players supply and new workers are added. The game is played from Winter through to the onset of the following winter, at which point the player with the city with the most points wins.

8.1
1-4 Players
40-80 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.8
Language: 3.8

Within the charming valley of Everdell, beneath the boughs of towering trees, among meandering streams and mossy hollows, a civilization of forest critters is thriving and expanding. From Everfrost to Bellsong, many a year have come and gone, but the time has come for new territories to be settled and new cities established. You will be the leader of a group of critters intent on just such a task. There are buildings to construct, lively characters to meet, events to host—you have a busy year ahead of yourself. Will the sun shine brightest on your city before the winter moon rises?

Everdell is a game of dynamic tableau building and worker placement.

On their turn a player can take one of three actions:

a) Place a Worker: Each player has a collection of Worker pieces. These are placed on the board locations, events, and on Destination cards. Workers perform various actions to further the development of a player's tableau: gathering resources, drawing cards, and taking other special actions.

b) Play a Card: Each player is building and populating a city; a tableau of up to 15 Construction and Critter cards. There are five types of cards: Travelers, Production, Destination, Governance, and Prosperity. Cards generate resources (twigs, resin, pebbles, and berries), grant abilities, and ultimately score points. The interactions of the cards reveal numerous strategies and a near infinite variety of working cities.

c) Prepare for the next Season: Workers are returned to the players supply and new workers are added. The game is played from Winter through to the onset of the following winter, at which point the player with the city with the most points wins.

8.1
1-4 Players
40-80 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.8
Language: 3.8
Not available
at the moment
#4 (Tom). Monumental

In Monumental, each player will control a civilization that will evolve through his city: a grid of 3x3 cards (coming out from the player's starting civilization deck) that can each be activated to gather various resources such as Science, Military, Production, Culture, and Gold that will allow them to trigger many actions. But there’s a trick: one cannot activate all their cards at once, which means that tough choices will have to be made each turn in order to select the cards that are the most needed.

The resources gathered from the activated city cards will allow the players to acquire cards from a common pool, allowing them to get improved buildings, technologies, wonders, etc. and therefore to leverage their civilization deck to new heights through more and more efficient card combos. As the common pool of cards progresses (either as players have acquired cards or because they didn't - which leads to one card from the pool to be discarded per turn), the game progresses through eras. Medieval cards are better than classical cards, and industrial cards are even better, but of course those cards are more and more expensive to acquire.

A modular board, at the center of the table, holds each civilization's army. The board is made of Provinces to be conquered. Unoccupied Province's inhabitants are barbarians who will provide resources to the player who defeats them. Holding a conquered province also brings victory points.

The player with the most impressive civilization at the end of the game will be remembered for all time (and they also win the game!).

—description based on the publisher's

7.8
1-4 Players
90-120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.7
#4 (Tom). Monumental

In Monumental, each player will control a civilization that will evolve through his city: a grid of 3x3 cards (coming out from the player's starting civilization deck) that can each be activated to gather various resources such as Science, Military, Production, Culture, and Gold that will allow them to trigger many actions. But there’s a trick: one cannot activate all their cards at once, which means that tough choices will have to be made each turn in order to select the cards that are the most needed.

The resources gathered from the activated city cards will allow the players to acquire cards from a common pool, allowing them to get improved buildings, technologies, wonders, etc. and therefore to leverage their civilization deck to new heights through more and more efficient card combos. As the common pool of cards progresses (either as players have acquired cards or because they didn't - which leads to one card from the pool to be discarded per turn), the game progresses through eras. Medieval cards are better than classical cards, and industrial cards are even better, but of course those cards are more and more expensive to acquire.

A modular board, at the center of the table, holds each civilization's army. The board is made of Provinces to be conquered. Unoccupied Province's inhabitants are barbarians who will provide resources to the player who defeats them. Holding a conquered province also brings victory points.

The player with the most impressive civilization at the end of the game will be remembered for all time (and they also win the game!).

—description based on the publisher's

7.8
1-4 Players
90-120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.7
Not available
at the moment
#4 (Mike). Watergate

In the two-player game Watergate, one player represents the Nixon administration and tries not to resign before the end of the game while the other player represents The Washington Post and tries to show the connections between Nixon and some of his informers.

7.9
2-2 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.3

In the two-player game Watergate, one player represents the Nixon administration and tries not to resign before the end of the game while the other player represents The Washington Post and tries to show the connections between Nixon and some of his informers.

7.9
2-2 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.3
Not available
at the moment
#3 (Zee). Magic: The Gathering

GAME SYSTEM

This entry is to allow for discussion/rating of the game system as a whole. It is not for a specific product or release. Versions will appear on the individual item pages.

From the official website: In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.

This is the grandfather of the collectible card game (or CCG) genre. Cards are categorized as common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare. Players collect cards and build decks out of their collection.

Players build a deck of cards and duel against an opponent's deck. Players are wizards attempting to reduce their opponent's life total to zero. The first player to reduce his opponent's life to zero (or meet another set win condition) wins the game.

An important part of the game is deck construction, which is done prior to the actual game by selecting what cards are included in a particular deck. There are nearly 20,000 different cards from which to build your deck!

Cards can be lands, which usually generate mana of various colors, or spells, which require a certain amount of mana to be used. Some cards (creatures, artifacts, and enchantments) stay on the board and continue to affect the game, while others have a one-time effect.

Players randomly draw spells to see what they get and can play each turn. Although this limits your choices, there is a lot of strategy in how you play those spells. A robust list of game mechanics, including intricate rules for reactive card play called "the stack," provide for rich tactics and tough choices each turn.

Though traditionally a two-player duel, there are several casual and tournament formats to Magic that allow more players to play.

7.5
2-2 Players
20 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.2
Language: 4.6
#3 (Zee). Magic: The Gathering

GAME SYSTEM

This entry is to allow for discussion/rating of the game system as a whole. It is not for a specific product or release. Versions will appear on the individual item pages.

From the official website: In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.

This is the grandfather of the collectible card game (or CCG) genre. Cards are categorized as common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare. Players collect cards and build decks out of their collection.

Players build a deck of cards and duel against an opponent's deck. Players are wizards attempting to reduce their opponent's life total to zero. The first player to reduce his opponent's life to zero (or meet another set win condition) wins the game.

An important part of the game is deck construction, which is done prior to the actual game by selecting what cards are included in a particular deck. There are nearly 20,000 different cards from which to build your deck!

Cards can be lands, which usually generate mana of various colors, or spells, which require a certain amount of mana to be used. Some cards (creatures, artifacts, and enchantments) stay on the board and continue to affect the game, while others have a one-time effect.

Players randomly draw spells to see what they get and can play each turn. Although this limits your choices, there is a lot of strategy in how you play those spells. A robust list of game mechanics, including intricate rules for reactive card play called "the stack," provide for rich tactics and tough choices each turn.

Though traditionally a two-player duel, there are several casual and tournament formats to Magic that allow more players to play.

7.5
2-2 Players
20 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.2
Language: 4.6
Not available
at the moment
#3 (Tom). Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a standalone game that takes place before the events of Gloomhaven. The game includes four new characters — Valrath Red Guard (tank, crowd control), Inox Hatchet (ranged damage), Human Voidwarden (support, mind-control), and Quatryl Demolitionist (melee damage, obstacle manipulation) — that can also be used in the original Gloomhaven game.

The game also includes 16 monster types (including seven new standard monsters and three new bosses) and a new campaign with 25 scenarios that invites the heroes to investigate a case of mysterious disappearances within the city. Is it the work of Vermlings, or is something far more sinister going on?

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is aimed at a more casual audience to get people into the gameplay more quickly. All of the hard-to-organize cardboard map tiles have been removed, and instead players will play on the scenario book itself, which features new artwork unique to each scenario. The last barrier to entry — i.e., learning the game — has also been lowered through a simplified rule set and a five-scenario tutorial that will ease new players into the experience.

8.7
1-4 Players
30-120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 3.6

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a standalone game that takes place before the events of Gloomhaven. The game includes four new characters — Valrath Red Guard (tank, crowd control), Inox Hatchet (ranged damage), Human Voidwarden (support, mind-control), and Quatryl Demolitionist (melee damage, obstacle manipulation) — that can also be used in the original Gloomhaven game.

The game also includes 16 monster types (including seven new standard monsters and three new bosses) and a new campaign with 25 scenarios that invites the heroes to investigate a case of mysterious disappearances within the city. Is it the work of Vermlings, or is something far more sinister going on?

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is aimed at a more casual audience to get people into the gameplay more quickly. All of the hard-to-organize cardboard map tiles have been removed, and instead players will play on the scenario book itself, which features new artwork unique to each scenario. The last barrier to entry — i.e., learning the game — has also been lowered through a simplified rule set and a five-scenario tutorial that will ease new players into the experience.

8.7
1-4 Players
30-120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 3.6
Not available
at the moment
#3 (Mike). Skulk Hollow

THE GREAT RETURN

​Over generations and generations the ancient woodland of Børe prospered and grew. The world was bestowed with great spirit, which lifted the animals of the land to new heights. Unfortunately, over the years these clans lost touch with the spirit of the land and faction warring developed. The Foxen Kingdom of Skulk Hollow in the South, The spiritual Red Pandas of Cupboard in the North, the Mischievous Mice of Multon in the West, and the colony of Blackheart Bunnies in the East. As skirmishes started breaking out across the continent, lives lost, there was a monstrous shake and then The Great Return. No one quite knows why, but the Guardians have risen - but not the kind, life-giving Guardians of spiritual legend. Dark, ferocious, versions that are now attacking all the kingdoms of the land.

OBJECTIVE

In Skulk Hollow, two players take the roles of either a towering behemoth of a Guardian trying to eliminate the clans of foxes who have been causing havoc on the countryside, or a band of foxen heroes out to vanquish the evil beast that has been terrorizing the land and reunite the four kingdoms of Børe.

The Guardian wins the game by either eliminating the Foxen King, or by gaining enough Tribute.

The Foxen Heroes wins the game by eliminating the Guardian.

GAMEPLAY

Skulk Hollow is a 2-player, asymmetric, tactical combat game. Player use action cards to move their units, summon, and use special abilities. Taking down a guardian requires the Foxen player to leap onto the Guardian player board and take out different parts of the character.

7.5
2-2 Players
40 Min
Age: 8+
Complexity: 2.2

THE GREAT RETURN

​Over generations and generations the ancient woodland of Børe prospered and grew. The world was bestowed with great spirit, which lifted the animals of the land to new heights. Unfortunately, over the years these clans lost touch with the spirit of the land and faction warring developed. The Foxen Kingdom of Skulk Hollow in the South, The spiritual Red Pandas of Cupboard in the North, the Mischievous Mice of Multon in the West, and the colony of Blackheart Bunnies in the East. As skirmishes started breaking out across the continent, lives lost, there was a monstrous shake and then The Great Return. No one quite knows why, but the Guardians have risen - but not the kind, life-giving Guardians of spiritual legend. Dark, ferocious, versions that are now attacking all the kingdoms of the land.

OBJECTIVE

In Skulk Hollow, two players take the roles of either a towering behemoth of a Guardian trying to eliminate the clans of foxes who have been causing havoc on the countryside, or a band of foxen heroes out to vanquish the evil beast that has been terrorizing the land and reunite the four kingdoms of Børe.

The Guardian wins the game by either eliminating the Foxen King, or by gaining enough Tribute.

The Foxen Heroes wins the game by eliminating the Guardian.

GAMEPLAY

Skulk Hollow is a 2-player, asymmetric, tactical combat game. Player use action cards to move their units, summon, and use special abilities. Taking down a guardian requires the Foxen player to leap onto the Guardian player board and take out different parts of the character.

7.5
2-2 Players
40 Min
Age: 8+
Complexity: 2.2
Not available
at the moment
#2 (Zee). Neuroshima Hex! 3.0

Neuroshima Hex! is a strategy game set in the post-apocalyptic world of Neuroshima, a Polish role-playing game. Each player leads one of four armies: Borgo, Hegemonia (Hegemony), Moloch, and Posterunek (Outpost). Each army deck consists of 34 tiles: soldiers, support tiles, and special actions. You win when all enemy headquarters are destroyed or when your headquarters is the least damaged at the end of the game.

The second edition of Neuroshima Hex!, released at Spiel 2007, had updated graphics and a new, larger board; a special expansion pack sold at the same time included the Neuroshima Hex! Doomsday Machine 1.0, a fifth army that could be used against any of the other ones.

The first French edition of Neuroshima Hex!, released in 2008, included an additional four Mercenary tiles. The first English edition from Z-Man Games that same year includes the Mercenary tiles and the Mad Bomber tile.

Neuroshima Hex! 3.0, released in 2013 from Z-Man Games, includes rule corrections, the Doomsday Machine army (for five armies in the NH base game), a solo variant with 55 puzzle cards that present you with challenging situations, and new three-player variants: Deathmatch; Deathmatch with scores; one player vs. a team; and a team match (with one player playing two armies).

The game is also expanded by Unofficial Neuroshima Hex! expansions, available here on BGG.

Note: All armies in all versions across the years are functionally compatible! The only differences between armies from e.g. 3.0 and 2.5 (or whatever) are art & graphic design.

Note: There is no solitaire bot/AI/system to compete against. The only options for "solo" play are soloing multiple factions yourself, or solving puzzles (like Chess checkmate problems) available in some editions and expansions.

7.4
1-4 Players
30 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.6
Language: 1.1

Neuroshima Hex! is a strategy game set in the post-apocalyptic world of Neuroshima, a Polish role-playing game. Each player leads one of four armies: Borgo, Hegemonia (Hegemony), Moloch, and Posterunek (Outpost). Each army deck consists of 34 tiles: soldiers, support tiles, and special actions. You win when all enemy headquarters are destroyed or when your headquarters is the least damaged at the end of the game.

The second edition of Neuroshima Hex!, released at Spiel 2007, had updated graphics and a new, larger board; a special expansion pack sold at the same time included the Neuroshima Hex! Doomsday Machine 1.0, a fifth army that could be used against any of the other ones.

The first French edition of Neuroshima Hex!, released in 2008, included an additional four Mercenary tiles. The first English edition from Z-Man Games that same year includes the Mercenary tiles and the Mad Bomber tile.

Neuroshima Hex! 3.0, released in 2013 from Z-Man Games, includes rule corrections, the Doomsday Machine army (for five armies in the NH base game), a solo variant with 55 puzzle cards that present you with challenging situations, and new three-player variants: Deathmatch; Deathmatch with scores; one player vs. a team; and a team match (with one player playing two armies).

The game is also expanded by Unofficial Neuroshima Hex! expansions, available here on BGG.

Note: All armies in all versions across the years are functionally compatible! The only differences between armies from e.g. 3.0 and 2.5 (or whatever) are art & graphic design.

Note: There is no solitaire bot/AI/system to compete against. The only options for "solo" play are soloing multiple factions yourself, or solving puzzles (like Chess checkmate problems) available in some editions and expansions.

7.4
1-4 Players
30 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.6
Language: 1.1
Not available
at the moment
#2 (Tom). Le Havre

In Le Havre, a player's turn consists of two parts: First, distribute newly supplied goods onto the offer spaces; then take an action. As an action, players may choose either to take all goods of one type from an offer space or to use one of the available buildings. Building actions allow players to upgrade goods, sell them or use them to build their own buildings and ships. Buildings are both an investment opportunity and a revenue stream, as players must pay an entry fee to use buildings that they do not own. Ships, on the other hand, are primarily used to provide the food that is needed to feed the workers.

After every seven turns, the round ends: players' cattle and grain may multiply through a Harvest, and players must feed their workers. After a fixed number of rounds, each player may carry out one final action, and then the game ends. Players add the value of their buildings and ships to their cash reserves. The player who has amassed the largest fortune is the winner.

7.9
1-5 Players
30-150 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 3.7
Language: 2.9

In Le Havre, a player's turn consists of two parts: First, distribute newly supplied goods onto the offer spaces; then take an action. As an action, players may choose either to take all goods of one type from an offer space or to use one of the available buildings. Building actions allow players to upgrade goods, sell them or use them to build their own buildings and ships. Buildings are both an investment opportunity and a revenue stream, as players must pay an entry fee to use buildings that they do not own. Ships, on the other hand, are primarily used to provide the food that is needed to feed the workers.

After every seven turns, the round ends: players' cattle and grain may multiply through a Harvest, and players must feed their workers. After a fixed number of rounds, each player may carry out one final action, and then the game ends. Players add the value of their buildings and ships to their cash reserves. The player who has amassed the largest fortune is the winner.

7.9
1-5 Players
30-150 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 3.7
Language: 2.9
Not available
at the moment
#2 (Mike). Wildlands

The great evil has fallen, and has taken the capital with it. Where once there was a kingdom, there is now only the Wildlands. In a lawless fantasy world, you must band together for survival, treasure, or maybe even glory. Players control rival factions, each with a unique deck of cards dictating their abilities across the battlefield. Some focus on ranged prowess, some on raw strength, and others on the bond between characters, offering a wide range of playstyles to explore.

Created by award-winning game designer Martin Wallace, this miniatures board game contains everything you need to dive straight into the dynamic fantasy world of Wildlands. Simple enough to pick up and play, but packed with tactical nuances that will keep you coming back for more, it is the perfect approachable skirmish game with endless replayability.

—description from the publisher

7.3
2-4 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.1

The great evil has fallen, and has taken the capital with it. Where once there was a kingdom, there is now only the Wildlands. In a lawless fantasy world, you must band together for survival, treasure, or maybe even glory. Players control rival factions, each with a unique deck of cards dictating their abilities across the battlefield. Some focus on ranged prowess, some on raw strength, and others on the bond between characters, offering a wide range of playstyles to explore.

Created by award-winning game designer Martin Wallace, this miniatures board game contains everything you need to dive straight into the dynamic fantasy world of Wildlands. Simple enough to pick up and play, but packed with tactical nuances that will keep you coming back for more, it is the perfect approachable skirmish game with endless replayability.

—description from the publisher

7.3
2-4 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.1
Not available
at the moment
#1 (Mike). Blue Moon Legends

Game description from the publisher:

The once proud and strong Blue Moon City has been plunged into chaos. The Golden Dragon has fallen, the Holy Crystal of Psi has shattered, and the old King has drawn his last breath. Worse, Blue Moon, the creator of all things, has vanished and Blue Moon City is left without a ruler.

Now the three elemental dragons – the only divine creatures remaining in the world – guard the fragments of the Crystal. The two royal heirs, Prince Roland and Princess Elinor, vie for the crown. The peoples of Blue Moon City may not know whom to follow, but whoever can rally them and claim the throne will gain the power to restore the Holy Crystal of Psi and perhaps convince Blue Moon himself to return.

Prepare to battle for the throne and restore peace to the city in Blue Moon Legends, a collected version of Blue Moon, Reiner Knizia's classic card game for two players! In Blue Moon Legends, you will gather the allegiance of one of the peoples of Blue Moon City, then lead them in a series of fights against another people. By winning these fights, you aim to attract the fickle attentions of the elemental dragons and win your way to the throne of the city.

Players can either play the game straight out of the box with decks or strategically customize the perfect deck to take down their opponent. With hundreds of cards from which to choose, no two games will be the same. Blue Moon Legends contains all cards from award-winning designer Reiner Knizia's Blue Moon card game in a single box.

7.3
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3

Game description from the publisher:

The once proud and strong Blue Moon City has been plunged into chaos. The Golden Dragon has fallen, the Holy Crystal of Psi has shattered, and the old King has drawn his last breath. Worse, Blue Moon, the creator of all things, has vanished and Blue Moon City is left without a ruler.

Now the three elemental dragons – the only divine creatures remaining in the world – guard the fragments of the Crystal. The two royal heirs, Prince Roland and Princess Elinor, vie for the crown. The peoples of Blue Moon City may not know whom to follow, but whoever can rally them and claim the throne will gain the power to restore the Holy Crystal of Psi and perhaps convince Blue Moon himself to return.

Prepare to battle for the throne and restore peace to the city in Blue Moon Legends, a collected version of Blue Moon, Reiner Knizia's classic card game for two players! In Blue Moon Legends, you will gather the allegiance of one of the peoples of Blue Moon City, then lead them in a series of fights against another people. By winning these fights, you aim to attract the fickle attentions of the elemental dragons and win your way to the throne of the city.

Players can either play the game straight out of the box with decks or strategically customize the perfect deck to take down their opponent. With hundreds of cards from which to choose, no two games will be the same. Blue Moon Legends contains all cards from award-winning designer Reiner Knizia's Blue Moon card game in a single box.

7.3
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
Not available
at the moment
#1 (Zee). Claustrophobia 1643

Claustrophobia 1643 is a miniatures-based survival game set within the catacombs.

The box contains miniatures which are placed on large tiles showing the dungeon spaces. Also included are character dashboards, counters and markers, and dice.

One player controls a small group of determined humans, while the other plays an almost unending army of demonic creatures. The game is thematic and highly asymmetric: human characters are stronger, but the demon characters are more numerous. Gameplay is very straightforward with a minimum of rules, and each game plays in an hour or less.

In essence dice are allocated after rolling to perform actions, while cards or special abilities are also available. The game is about managing decisions and choosing what to do with the resources that you have, managing difficult events and out-thinking your opponent. Combat is handled by dice.

Complexity is low, with the focus on theme and building towards a tense, climactic ending.

Claustrophobia is played through scenarios of which there are several in the rulebook (20). Generally speaking the human characters are attempting to complete a task (e.g. escape the catacombs, close a portal) while the demons are focused on stopping them. There are varying win conditions depending on the scenario chosen.

—description from the publisher

8.1
2-2 Players
45-90 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.6
#1 (Zee). Claustrophobia 1643

Claustrophobia 1643 is a miniatures-based survival game set within the catacombs.

The box contains miniatures which are placed on large tiles showing the dungeon spaces. Also included are character dashboards, counters and markers, and dice.

One player controls a small group of determined humans, while the other plays an almost unending army of demonic creatures. The game is thematic and highly asymmetric: human characters are stronger, but the demon characters are more numerous. Gameplay is very straightforward with a minimum of rules, and each game plays in an hour or less.

In essence dice are allocated after rolling to perform actions, while cards or special abilities are also available. The game is about managing decisions and choosing what to do with the resources that you have, managing difficult events and out-thinking your opponent. Combat is handled by dice.

Complexity is low, with the focus on theme and building towards a tense, climactic ending.

Claustrophobia is played through scenarios of which there are several in the rulebook (20). Generally speaking the human characters are attempting to complete a task (e.g. escape the catacombs, close a portal) while the demons are focused on stopping them. There are varying win conditions depending on the scenario chosen.

—description from the publisher

8.1
2-2 Players
45-90 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.6
Not available
at the moment
#1 (Tom). Summoner Wars Second Edition Master Set

Summoner Wars puts you in the role of a powerful summoner in control of a unique army, dedicated to taking control of the war-torn planet of Itharia. Display your tactical prowess by summoning units to your gates, outmaneuvering your opponent, and cutting down the enemy summoner to claim victory. Be wary though! The enemy will take advantage of every opportunity they find to destroy you and your army.

Countless units, a wide variety of spells and abilities, and the option to build your own decks, all make for a game sure to entertain, play after play.

Summoner Wars (Second Edition) is a fully expandable, tactical dueling card game that features updated versions of beloved factions, along with exciting new factions ready to join the battle. The game — which features new art and a perfected rules system — can be played in-person with physical cards or online with a browser-based app.

8.6
2-2 Players
40-60 Min
Age: 9+
Complexity: 2.6

Summoner Wars puts you in the role of a powerful summoner in control of a unique army, dedicated to taking control of the war-torn planet of Itharia. Display your tactical prowess by summoning units to your gates, outmaneuvering your opponent, and cutting down the enemy summoner to claim victory. Be wary though! The enemy will take advantage of every opportunity they find to destroy you and your army.

Countless units, a wide variety of spells and abilities, and the option to build your own decks, all make for a game sure to entertain, play after play.

Summoner Wars (Second Edition) is a fully expandable, tactical dueling card game that features updated versions of beloved factions, along with exciting new factions ready to join the battle. The game — which features new art and a perfected rules system — can be played in-person with physical cards or online with a browser-based app.

8.6
2-2 Players
40-60 Min
Age: 9+
Complexity: 2.6
Not available
at the moment

Ratings: Top 10 Advanced 2-Player Games – with Tom Vasel, Zee Garcia, and Mike DiLisio

Check "Top 10 Advanced 2-Player Games" and find the best price on all items from the top among sellers all over in the Netherlands & Belgium!

#10 (Mike). The Shores of Tripoli

From the end of the American Revolution, commercial vessels of the young United States republic were easy prey for the pirates of the Barbary coast. In 1801, newly inaugurated President Thomas Jefferson was eager to put an end to this threat and sent a "squadron of observation" to the Mediterranean. As the squadron arrived in Gibraltar, they learned that the bashaw of Tripoli had already declared WAR!

The Shores of Tripoli plays out this exciting episode of Early American military history. As the United States, one player will pressure Tripolitania to allow the free movement of American merchant vessels - or face the consequences. As the bashaw of Tripoli, the other player will continue the lucrative piracy of the fearsome corsairs while countering the American threat on land and sea.

Beautiful and informative cards represent historical events and leaders from the First Barbary War. Players can move ships, start battles, go on pirate raids, engage in diplomacy and receive reinforcements. Includes over 80 wooden playing pieces, 24 dice and a premium mounted map.

—description from the publisher

AWARDS

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (New York magazine)

Top 15 Games of 2020 (#7, Paste magazine)

Game of the Year 2020 Nominee (Meeple Mountain)

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (Meeple Mountain)

Top 10 Games of 2020 (#4, Cody Carlson)

Best 2-Player Game of 2020 (Rolling Dice & Taking Names)

Wargame of the Year (RMN Gamer)

Top 6 Solitaire Wargames of 2020 (Wayne Hansen)

Top 10 Entry-Level Wargames (#3, Midnight Boardgaming)

Top 3 Solo Wargames to Start (#2, Beyond Solitaire)

The Spiel Foundation "Spiel of Approval"

8.0
1-2 Players
45-60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.1
#10 (Zee). Lewis & Clark: The Expedition

On November 30, 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from Napoleon. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson decided to send two explorers – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – to discover this huge terra incognita.

Lewis & Clark is a board game in which each player manages an expedition intended to cross the North American continent. Their goal is to be the first to reach the Pacific. Each one has his own Corps of Discovery that will be completed by the Native Americans and the trappers met during the journey. He has to cleverly manage his characters and also the resources he finds along the way. Beware, sometimes frugality is better than abundance.

Lewis & Clark features dual use cards. To be activated, one card must be combined with another one, which becomes unavailable for a while. Thus, players are faced with a constant dilemma: play a card or sacrifice it. During the game, each player acquires character cards that enlarge his hand, building a crew that gives him more options but it needs to be optimized as he will recycle his cards more slowly. This new "handbuilding" mechanism fits strongly with the historical background.

Since the aim of the game is to be the first on the Pacific coast, the timing and the opportunistic use of the other players' positions are crucial.

7.5
1-5 Players
120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 3.3
Language: 1.0
#10 (Tom). Mage Wars Arena

What would it be like for Mages of vastly different schools and philosophies of magic to come together in an arena and fight to the death? How would an Illusionist battle a Druid? Or a Warlock fight a Beastmaster? Or a Priestess fare against a Wizard?

Mage Wars — redubbed Mage Wars Arena in 2015 to distinguish it from Mage Wars Academy — pits powerful Mages against each other in deadly arena combat. Each Mage uses his own fully-customizable book of spells to achieve total victory over his opponent. Summon mighty creatures to do battle in your name; cast powerful spells to attack your foe and thwart his every plan and strategy; use hidden enchantments to turn the tables and rule the day; adorn yourself with mighty weapons, armor, and arcane artifacts – all of this and more await you in the arena of Mage Wars!

Mage Wars is a tactical board game, a combination of a card game and miniatures game, combining the best elements from each genre. The game is played on an arena game board divided into square areas called "zones", which regulate movement and the placement of objects. Each Mage (player) starts in a corner of the arena, opposite his enemy.

Each player holds a spellbook, from which spell cards are pulled out as they are cast during the game. This has the feel of being a real Mage, turning the pages of your tome of magic, as you plan your strategy each turn. A point system allows you to choose spells for your spellbook, with more powerful spells and spells outside your schools of training costing more points. You have full access to cast any spell you want each turn, allowing for an unprecedented level of rich strategy and tactics. Many of these spells – such as creatures, equipment, and enchantments – are placed on the board and become objects in the game. Creatures can move around the arena, and attack each other and the enemy Mage. Attacks deal damage, as well as interesting special effects such as Burn, Corrode, Stun, Daze, Push, Cripple, Paralyze, etc. Creatures can be destroyed when they receive too much damage, or can be controlled by powerful curses and enchantments, or contained by walls and other creatures.

Every Mage comes from a different school of magic, each with unique spells and strategies:

The Beastmaster will try to rush and swarm the enemy with his hordes of animals, buffed by his nature enchantments.

The Warlock will go right for the throat, armed with his powerful Lash of Hellfire, Helm of Fear, and Demonhide Armor. Along the way to the enemy Mage, he'll use his curses and fire attacks to contain and destroy enemy creatures.

The Wizard is a trickster, a master of meta-magic: countering, stealing, redirecting, and destroying enemy spells and mana. He's also a master of teleportation and portals/gates.

The Priestess will defend with knights and angels and powerful healing and protection spells. She'll wear down the enemy, then overwhelm them in the end.

The base game comes with all you need to get started: spellbooks, extra spells to customize with the spellbooks, arena game board, dice, markers, etc.

New Mages will be released every few months to add new spells, powers, and variety to the game. The game is NOT collectible, but is fully customizable!

Extra copies of spells available with:

Mage Wars: Core Spell Tome 1

Mage Wars: Core Spell Tome 2

7.6
2-2 Players
90 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.7
Language: 3.5
#9 (Mike). Dinosaur Island

In Dinosaur Island, players will have to collect DNA, research the DNA sequences of extinct dinosaur species, and then combine the ancient DNA in the correct sequence to bring these prehistoric creatures back to life. Dino cooking! All players will compete to build the most thrilling park each season, and then work to attract (and keep alive!) the most visitors each season that the park opens.

Do you go big and create a pack of Velociraptors? They'll definitely excite potential visitors, but you'd better make a large enough enclosure for them. And maybe hire some (read: a lot of) security. Or they WILL break out and start eating your visitors, and we all know how that ends. You could play it safe and grow a bunch of herbivores, but then you aren't going to have the most exciting park in the world (sad face). So maybe buy a roller coaster or two to attract visitors to your park the good old-fashioned way?

7.7
1-4 Players
90-120 Min
Age: 8+
Complexity: 3.0
#9 (Zee). Mr. Jack in New York

Stand alone variant of Mr. Jack. As in Mr. Jack, one player takes the role of Mr. Jack, the other takes a role of a Detective. But there are new possibilities - gaslights and manholes are represented by pawns which can be moved.

The game takes place in Manhattan, and surrounding water is very important for escape of Mr. Jack.

Characters will have new powers and there will be also a police spy, who will be able to get valuable information.

This version of the game is more strategic and complex so it is suitable for more advanced players.

London - 19 November 1888

As part of the investigation into the "Jack the Ripper" affair, Francis J. Tumblety, a quack doctor, is arrested and freed on bail. He immediately flees to the United States.

New York - Manhattan Island - January 1889

Alerted by London, the New York police are on the lookout for Tumblety. Certain witnesses confirm his presence in Manhattan and crimes are committed with a modus operandi similar to those in London.

The police call upon some of the city’s most eminent citizens to help them with their investigation.

Is Tumblety really Jack?

If not, who is he pretending to be? These are the stakes in "Mr Jack in New York".

Publisher Blurb:

Suspected of being the terrible Ripper, Francis J. Tumblety, the self-proclaimed doctor, is arrested by the London police service. He then escapes to New-York, where witnesses see him. The local police will not be deceived, as rumors suggest that he is in Manhattan, where the crimes appear strangely like they did in London. The police take no chance and ask the most eminent people of the city to help them in the chase of The Ripper. You will need to Investigate whether Francis J. Tumblety the real Mr. Jack, or if it is someone else.

Mr. Jack in New-York is a complete game all on its own, however it is recommend for a beginner to play Mr. Jack first. The new version is more complex and requires more strategy.

Mr. Jack is exclusively published by Hurrican, all printings of Mr. Jack are from Hurrican and distributed by other companies

7.2
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.5
#9 (Tom). Duel of Ages II Basic Set

Duel of Ages II is a time-scramble board game played between two opposing sides each having 1 to 4 players, with uneven size allowable. Each side controls a selected team of 8-12 characters from different ages of time: Ancient, Colonial, Modern and Future. The goal is to win greater glory in overcoming adventures and in tactical combat than the opposing team.

Although multiple styles of play are available, the standard DoA game-play involves seven phases:

Selection of each side’s team of 8-12 characters (kept secret).

Building of the interlocking puzzle map to best suit your character’s skills.

Selection of a Team White and a Team Black based on character Respect.

Revealing and equipping of characters.

Bringing characters onto the map based on Respect.

A sequence of game rounds where characters maneuver on the map to accomplish adventures, hunt enemy characters and avoid dangerous situations.

Counting of total achievements won. The team with the most achievements wins.

The game can end at a certain time or after a certain number of rounds.

Game play is an unusual mix of tactical wargame-style combat, treasure gathering, and non-combat character teamwork and adventuring, and has no close comparison to other games. Differences between characters are significant, with many having poor fighting skills. Game play and winning is therefore an act of balancing fighting, treasure-gathering and adventuring.

From the game box:

Select a team of characters. Overcome adventures and the enemy team to win favor, achievements, and ultimate victory. And while you are at it, enjoy the stories that your game builds.

Errata (Changes to cards):

An Enemy Turned (Lith Card, Secret): Remove the second paragraph. Enemies cannot be switched if they are imprisoned.

Prince Wallard Blatt (Character): Wallard is killed permanently if he takes damage from anything not caused by a successful Hit. For example, damage from Cube effects or trade damage caused by Hakan. For this purpose, poison damage is caused by a successful Hit.

7.4
2-8 Players
150 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 3.4
#8 (Mike). Shaolia: Warring States Premium Big Box (Dracon Tier) + Promo Pack [KS]

Shaolia is a board game filled with deadly strategy and countless possibilities to build your own kingdom.

Build your very own kingdom with various building & character cards

Utilize creative tactics to take the lead with highly dynamic game play

Dive into the world of Shaolia through fantastic artwork and storylines

There are two ways to win in Shaolia. You can either deal 12 damage to your opponent’s palace and destroy it, or you can achieve 18 culture score.

The game is played through multiple rounds.

A round consists of 3 different phases.

Purchase Phase: Purchase cards and resources.

Building Phase: Build the purchased cards on the territory board.

Action Phase:  Roll the dice and activate cards built on the territory board, using dice.

-description from designer

7.3
2-4 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.4
#8 (Zee). Summoner Wars Second Edition Master Set

Summoner Wars puts you in the role of a powerful summoner in control of a unique army, dedicated to taking control of the war-torn planet of Itharia. Display your tactical prowess by summoning units to your gates, outmaneuvering your opponent, and cutting down the enemy summoner to claim victory. Be wary though! The enemy will take advantage of every opportunity they find to destroy you and your army.

Countless units, a wide variety of spells and abilities, and the option to build your own decks, all make for a game sure to entertain, play after play.

Summoner Wars (Second Edition) is a fully expandable, tactical dueling card game that features updated versions of beloved factions, along with exciting new factions ready to join the battle. The game — which features new art and a perfected rules system — can be played in-person with physical cards or online with a browser-based app.

8.6
2-2 Players
40-60 Min
Age: 9+
Complexity: 2.6
#8 (Tom). Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men is a collectible dice-building tabletop game designed by Quarriors! creators Michael Elliott and Eric M. Lang.

In this game, each player fields one of the superhero teams, with each hero — Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and more — being represented by custom-tooled dice; each team must be composed of up to 20 dice, and a player can "purchase" dice only from his team. Each hero also has one or more character reference cards, which show the special abilities for the characters based on the die rolls. Different versions of these cards will be available in booster packs, allowing for more customization of your team. Players use these dice to collect energy, recruit new heroes, and battle head-to-head. In addition, each player brings two basic action cards to the game, which are placed in the center of the table; both players can purchase these cards. A player wins once the opposing player has been reduced to zero life.

The Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men starter set comes with 44 custom dice, 38 cards, two dice bags, and a core rulebook. Booster packs include two dice with two matching character cards.

7.1
2-2 Players
60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
Language: 2.8
#7 (Zee). Targi

Theme and overview:

Unlike in other cultures, the desert Tuareg men, known as Targi, cover their faces whereas women of the tribe do not wear veils. They run the household and they have the last word at home in the tents. Different families are divided into tribes, headed by the ‘Imascheren’ (or nobles). As leader of a Tuareg tribe, players trade goods from near (such as dates and salt) and far (like pepper), in order to obtain gold and other benefits, and enlarge their family. In each round their new offerings are made. Cards are a means to an end, in order to obtain the popular tribe cards.

Gameplay:

The board consists of a 5x5 grid: a border of 16 squares with printed action symbols and then 9 blank squares in the centre onto which cards are dealt. Meeples are placed one at a time on the spaces at the edges of the board (not including corner squares). You cannot place a meeple on a square the opponent has a meeple on already, nor on a square facing opponent's meeple. Once all meeples are placed, players then execute the actions on the border squares the meeples are on and also take the cards from the centre that match the row and column of the border meeples.

The game is predominantly scored and won by playing tribal cards to your display. These give advantages during the game and victory points at the end. Usually cards are played (or discarded) immediately once drawn. A single card can be kept in hand but then requires a special action to play it (or to discard it to free the hand spot for another card). Each card has a cost in goods to play. Goods are obtained either from border spaces or from goods cards.

The display (for scoring) consists of 3 rows of 4 cards that are filled from left to right and cannot be moved once placed (barring some special cards). There is also a balance to be found between the victory point score on the cards themselves (1-3 VP per tribal card) and in the combinations per row (a full row of 4 identical card types gets you an additional 4 VP, and a full row of 4 distinct card types gets you 2 VP).

The winner at the end of the game is the player with the most victory points.

7.6
2-2 Players
60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.4
Language: 2.9
#7 (Tom). Codex: Base Set

This Starter Set lets you try out the game with the Bashing and Finesse heroes. Once you go beyond the Starter Set, you'll get to play 3 heroes at at time and have access to a lot more cards during the course of a game. That said, the Starter Set helps you learn how the Codex system works with fewer cards that are simpler.

Codex: Card-Time Strategy is a customizable, non-collectable card game set in the Fantasy Strike universe that's inspired by real-time strategy video games such as Starcraft and Warcraft 3.

7.0
2-2 Players
45 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.5
#7 (Mike). Undaunted: North Africa

The Undaunted series continues with this two-player deck-building game of tactical combat, pitting the raiders of Britain's Long Range Desert Group against Italian forces in the North African Theater of World War II.

The North African campaign has begun. Take control of the British Army's Long Range Desert Group and operate behind enemy lines or command the formidable Italian forces opposing them. In "Undaunted: North Africa", a sequel to Undaunted: Normandy, players once again lead their sides through a varied series of missions. As casualties mount, wounded soldiers leave the players' decks, forcing them to adapt in the face of changing tactical circumstances. Use your cards to strengthen your forces, deploy vehicles to advance rapidly across the battlefield, and seize the initiative as you determine the outcome of the North African Theater.

—description from the publisher

8.0
2-2 Players
45-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
#6 (Zee). 7 Wonders Duel

In many ways 7 Wonders Duel resembles its parent game 7 Wonders as over three ages players acquire cards that provide resources or advance their military or scientific development in order to develop a civilization and complete wonders.

What's different about 7 Wonders Duel is that, as the title suggests, the game is solely for two players, with the players not drafting cards simultaneously from hands of cards, but from a display of face-down and face-up cards arranged at the start of a round. A player can take a card only if it's not covered by any others, so timing comes into play as well as bonus moves that allow you to take a second card immediately. As in the original game, each card that you acquire can be built, discarded for coins, or used to construct a wonder.

Each player starts with four wonder cards, and the construction of a wonder provides its owner with a special ability. Only seven wonders can be built, though, so one player will end up short.

Players can purchase resources at any time from the bank, or they can gain cards during the game that provide them with resources for future building; as you acquire resources, the cost for those particular resources increases for your opponent, representing your dominance in this area.

A player can win 7 Wonders Duel in one of three ways: each time you acquire a military card, you advance the military marker toward your opponent's capital, giving you a bonus at certain positions; if you reach the opponent's capital, you win the game immediately; similarly, if you acquire any six of seven different scientific symbols, you achieve scientific dominance and win immediately; if none of these situations occurs, then the player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

8.1
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 10+
Complexity: 2.2
Language: 1.1
#6 (Tom). War Chest

War Chest is an all-new bag-building war game! At the start of the game, raise your banner call (drafting) several various units into your army, which you then use to capture key points on the board. To succeed in War Chest, you must successfully manage not only your armies on the battlefield, but those that are waiting to be deployed.

Each round you draw three unit coins from your bag, then take turns using them to perform actions. Each coin shows a military unit on one side and can be used for one of several actions. The game ends when one player — or one team in the case of a four-player game — has placed all of their control markers. That player or team wins!

—description from the publisher

8.0
2-4 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
#6 (Mike). Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial

"Passion governs, and she never governs wisely." — Benjamin Franklin, one of America's Founding Fathers.

Ninety years later, the very government that Franklin helped create disregarded his wisdom and trampled the constitutional rights of its own citizens in order to feed what seemed an insatiable hunger for vengeance. Now you, as the prosecution or defense, must convince a nine-panel jury that Mary Surratt, one of eight people put on trial for conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln and other members of his cabinet, is guilty...or innocent.

Unforgiven: The Lincoln Assassination Trial is a two-player game that takes place during the May 9 - June 28, 1865 trial of the first woman, Mary Surratt, ever to be executed for treason by the United States. The game begins amidst the chaos of Lincoln's assassination as the country struggles to heal over the wreckage of the American Civil War. Each player must persuade the jury to convict or acquit the accused and thereby win the game. To do so, players draft and play cards that help them strengthen their case with the jurors and recruit them to their side, while also finding overwhelming evidence for or against the accused.

In one of the most high-profile trials in U.S. history, will Mary Surratt again face the hangman's noose of American justice — or can you stop the trap door from falling?

7.9
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.6
#5 (Zee). Marvel Champions: The Card Game

"With great power, there must also come great responsibility."

–Stan Lee, Amazing Fantasy #15

Iron Man and Black Panther team up to stop Rhino from rampaging through the streets of New York. Captain Marvel and Spider-Man battle Ultron as he threatens global annihilation. Do you have what it takes to join the ranks of these legendary heroes and become a champion?

Jump into the Marvel Universe with Marvel Champions: The Card Game, a cooperative Living Card Game for one to four players!

Marvel Champions: The Card Game invites players embody iconic heroes from the Marvel Universe as they battle to stop infamous villains from enacting their devious schemes. As a Living Card Game, Marvel Champions is supported with regular releases of new product, including new heroes and scenarios.

—description from the publisher

8.2
1-4 Players
45-90 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.8
#5 (Tom). Twilight Struggle

"Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle..."

– John F. Kennedy

In 1945, unlikely allies toppled Hitler's war machine, while humanity's most devastating weapons forced the Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, there then stood only two. The world had scant months to sigh its collective relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic struggles of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged not primarily by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors. Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the forty-five year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the Soviet Union and the United States. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight to make the world safe for their own ideologies and ways of life. The game begins amidst the ruins of Europe as the two new "superpowers" scramble over the wreckage of the Second World War, and ends in 1989, when only the United States remained standing.

Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card-driven classics We the People and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower. As with GMT's other card-driven games, decision-making is a challenge; how to best use one's cards and units given consistently limited resources?

Twilight Struggle's Event cards add detail and flavor to the game. They cover a vast array of historical happenings, from the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967, to Vietnam and the U.S. peace movement, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of game-ending nuclear war.

Components (original edition):

228 full colour counters

22"x34" full colour map

103 event cards

2 six-sided dice

1 24-page rulebook

2 full colour player aid cards

Components (2009 Deluxe edition and after)

260 full colour counters

22"x34" mounted map with revised graphics

110 event cards

2 six-sided dice

1 24-page rulebook

2 full colour player aid cards

TIME SCALE: approx. 3-5 years per turn

MAP SCALE: Point-to-point system

UNIT SCALE: Influence markers

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2

DESIGNER: Ananda Gupta & Jason Matthews

MAP, CARD, & COUNTER ART: Mark Simonitch

A deluxe edition, published in 2009 includes the following changes from the basic game:

Mounted map with revised graphics

Two double-thick counter sheets with 260 counters

Deck of 110 event cards (increased from 103)

Revised rules and player aid cards

Revised at start setup and text change for card #98 Aldrich Ames

Upgrade kit for the owners of the previous version includes the following:

Mounted Map with revised graphics

New card decks

Updated Rules & Charts

8.3
2-2 Players
120-180 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.6
Language: 4.1
#5 (Mike). Cloudspire (2nd Printing)

Cloudspire is 1-4 player strategy game heavily influenced by both tower defense and MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games. Solo and Cooperative play are driven by a scenario book that chronicles the story of the game from the perspective of each individual faction. Players control one of four unique factions in a battle to destroy and steal source energy from their opponents. Send and defend against armies and minions, build towers to protect your base, and explore with your heroes in search of resources and powerful Relics to turn the tide of battle.

Taking place in the floating realm of Ankar, Cloudspire tells the story of a war to acquire a powerful and rare energy known only as "the source." Every race has their own unique units and heroes as well as the ability to bid and draft mercenaries for hire.

Armies are placed either individually or in stacks to conceal powerful units until the last possible moments. Heroes, in the meantime are controlled individually and may join the tide of battle or choose to explore points of interest in search of numerous resources. Meanwhile, the event deck regularly changes the terms of the fight, making every wave exciting and unpredictable.

As armies and minions approach opposing bases, they'll need to contend with Spires - powerful defense towers that can be built around the board. Fight for control of build sites and acquire new spire schematics to build an impenetrable defense and hold off the enemy. Upgrade your home base to unlock new strategies and abilities. Level up your heroes and lead your armies into battle with advanced and upgraded skills!

—description from the publisher

8.3
1-4 Players
90-180 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 4.3
#4 (Zee). Everdell

Within the charming valley of Everdell, beneath the boughs of towering trees, among meandering streams and mossy hollows, a civilization of forest critters is thriving and expanding. From Everfrost to Bellsong, many a year have come and gone, but the time has come for new territories to be settled and new cities established. You will be the leader of a group of critters intent on just such a task. There are buildings to construct, lively characters to meet, events to host—you have a busy year ahead of yourself. Will the sun shine brightest on your city before the winter moon rises?

Everdell is a game of dynamic tableau building and worker placement.

On their turn a player can take one of three actions:

a) Place a Worker: Each player has a collection of Worker pieces. These are placed on the board locations, events, and on Destination cards. Workers perform various actions to further the development of a player's tableau: gathering resources, drawing cards, and taking other special actions.

b) Play a Card: Each player is building and populating a city; a tableau of up to 15 Construction and Critter cards. There are five types of cards: Travelers, Production, Destination, Governance, and Prosperity. Cards generate resources (twigs, resin, pebbles, and berries), grant abilities, and ultimately score points. The interactions of the cards reveal numerous strategies and a near infinite variety of working cities.

c) Prepare for the next Season: Workers are returned to the players supply and new workers are added. The game is played from Winter through to the onset of the following winter, at which point the player with the city with the most points wins.

8.1
1-4 Players
40-80 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.8
Language: 3.8
#4 (Tom). Monumental

In Monumental, each player will control a civilization that will evolve through his city: a grid of 3x3 cards (coming out from the player's starting civilization deck) that can each be activated to gather various resources such as Science, Military, Production, Culture, and Gold that will allow them to trigger many actions. But there’s a trick: one cannot activate all their cards at once, which means that tough choices will have to be made each turn in order to select the cards that are the most needed.

The resources gathered from the activated city cards will allow the players to acquire cards from a common pool, allowing them to get improved buildings, technologies, wonders, etc. and therefore to leverage their civilization deck to new heights through more and more efficient card combos. As the common pool of cards progresses (either as players have acquired cards or because they didn't - which leads to one card from the pool to be discarded per turn), the game progresses through eras. Medieval cards are better than classical cards, and industrial cards are even better, but of course those cards are more and more expensive to acquire.

A modular board, at the center of the table, holds each civilization's army. The board is made of Provinces to be conquered. Unoccupied Province's inhabitants are barbarians who will provide resources to the player who defeats them. Holding a conquered province also brings victory points.

The player with the most impressive civilization at the end of the game will be remembered for all time (and they also win the game!).

—description based on the publisher's

7.8
1-4 Players
90-120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.7
#4 (Mike). Watergate

In the two-player game Watergate, one player represents the Nixon administration and tries not to resign before the end of the game while the other player represents The Washington Post and tries to show the connections between Nixon and some of his informers.

7.9
2-2 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 2.3
#3 (Zee). Magic: The Gathering

GAME SYSTEM

This entry is to allow for discussion/rating of the game system as a whole. It is not for a specific product or release. Versions will appear on the individual item pages.

From the official website: In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.

This is the grandfather of the collectible card game (or CCG) genre. Cards are categorized as common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare. Players collect cards and build decks out of their collection.

Players build a deck of cards and duel against an opponent's deck. Players are wizards attempting to reduce their opponent's life total to zero. The first player to reduce his opponent's life to zero (or meet another set win condition) wins the game.

An important part of the game is deck construction, which is done prior to the actual game by selecting what cards are included in a particular deck. There are nearly 20,000 different cards from which to build your deck!

Cards can be lands, which usually generate mana of various colors, or spells, which require a certain amount of mana to be used. Some cards (creatures, artifacts, and enchantments) stay on the board and continue to affect the game, while others have a one-time effect.

Players randomly draw spells to see what they get and can play each turn. Although this limits your choices, there is a lot of strategy in how you play those spells. A robust list of game mechanics, including intricate rules for reactive card play called "the stack," provide for rich tactics and tough choices each turn.

Though traditionally a two-player duel, there are several casual and tournament formats to Magic that allow more players to play.

7.5
2-2 Players
20 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 3.2
Language: 4.6
#3 (Tom). Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a standalone game that takes place before the events of Gloomhaven. The game includes four new characters — Valrath Red Guard (tank, crowd control), Inox Hatchet (ranged damage), Human Voidwarden (support, mind-control), and Quatryl Demolitionist (melee damage, obstacle manipulation) — that can also be used in the original Gloomhaven game.

The game also includes 16 monster types (including seven new standard monsters and three new bosses) and a new campaign with 25 scenarios that invites the heroes to investigate a case of mysterious disappearances within the city. Is it the work of Vermlings, or is something far more sinister going on?

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is aimed at a more casual audience to get people into the gameplay more quickly. All of the hard-to-organize cardboard map tiles have been removed, and instead players will play on the scenario book itself, which features new artwork unique to each scenario. The last barrier to entry — i.e., learning the game — has also been lowered through a simplified rule set and a five-scenario tutorial that will ease new players into the experience.

8.7
1-4 Players
30-120 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 3.6
#3 (Mike). Skulk Hollow

THE GREAT RETURN

​Over generations and generations the ancient woodland of Børe prospered and grew. The world was bestowed with great spirit, which lifted the animals of the land to new heights. Unfortunately, over the years these clans lost touch with the spirit of the land and faction warring developed. The Foxen Kingdom of Skulk Hollow in the South, The spiritual Red Pandas of Cupboard in the North, the Mischievous Mice of Multon in the West, and the colony of Blackheart Bunnies in the East. As skirmishes started breaking out across the continent, lives lost, there was a monstrous shake and then The Great Return. No one quite knows why, but the Guardians have risen - but not the kind, life-giving Guardians of spiritual legend. Dark, ferocious, versions that are now attacking all the kingdoms of the land.

OBJECTIVE

In Skulk Hollow, two players take the roles of either a towering behemoth of a Guardian trying to eliminate the clans of foxes who have been causing havoc on the countryside, or a band of foxen heroes out to vanquish the evil beast that has been terrorizing the land and reunite the four kingdoms of Børe.

The Guardian wins the game by either eliminating the Foxen King, or by gaining enough Tribute.

The Foxen Heroes wins the game by eliminating the Guardian.

GAMEPLAY

Skulk Hollow is a 2-player, asymmetric, tactical combat game. Player use action cards to move their units, summon, and use special abilities. Taking down a guardian requires the Foxen player to leap onto the Guardian player board and take out different parts of the character.

7.5
2-2 Players
40 Min
Age: 8+
Complexity: 2.2
#2 (Zee). Neuroshima Hex! 3.0

Neuroshima Hex! is a strategy game set in the post-apocalyptic world of Neuroshima, a Polish role-playing game. Each player leads one of four armies: Borgo, Hegemonia (Hegemony), Moloch, and Posterunek (Outpost). Each army deck consists of 34 tiles: soldiers, support tiles, and special actions. You win when all enemy headquarters are destroyed or when your headquarters is the least damaged at the end of the game.

The second edition of Neuroshima Hex!, released at Spiel 2007, had updated graphics and a new, larger board; a special expansion pack sold at the same time included the Neuroshima Hex! Doomsday Machine 1.0, a fifth army that could be used against any of the other ones.

The first French edition of Neuroshima Hex!, released in 2008, included an additional four Mercenary tiles. The first English edition from Z-Man Games that same year includes the Mercenary tiles and the Mad Bomber tile.

Neuroshima Hex! 3.0, released in 2013 from Z-Man Games, includes rule corrections, the Doomsday Machine army (for five armies in the NH base game), a solo variant with 55 puzzle cards that present you with challenging situations, and new three-player variants: Deathmatch; Deathmatch with scores; one player vs. a team; and a team match (with one player playing two armies).

The game is also expanded by Unofficial Neuroshima Hex! expansions, available here on BGG.

Note: All armies in all versions across the years are functionally compatible! The only differences between armies from e.g. 3.0 and 2.5 (or whatever) are art & graphic design.

Note: There is no solitaire bot/AI/system to compete against. The only options for "solo" play are soloing multiple factions yourself, or solving puzzles (like Chess checkmate problems) available in some editions and expansions.

7.4
1-4 Players
30 Min
Age: 13+
Complexity: 2.6
Language: 1.1
#2 (Tom). Le Havre

In Le Havre, a player's turn consists of two parts: First, distribute newly supplied goods onto the offer spaces; then take an action. As an action, players may choose either to take all goods of one type from an offer space or to use one of the available buildings. Building actions allow players to upgrade goods, sell them or use them to build their own buildings and ships. Buildings are both an investment opportunity and a revenue stream, as players must pay an entry fee to use buildings that they do not own. Ships, on the other hand, are primarily used to provide the food that is needed to feed the workers.

After every seven turns, the round ends: players' cattle and grain may multiply through a Harvest, and players must feed their workers. After a fixed number of rounds, each player may carry out one final action, and then the game ends. Players add the value of their buildings and ships to their cash reserves. The player who has amassed the largest fortune is the winner.

7.9
1-5 Players
30-150 Min
Age: 12+
Complexity: 3.7
Language: 2.9
#2 (Mike). Wildlands

The great evil has fallen, and has taken the capital with it. Where once there was a kingdom, there is now only the Wildlands. In a lawless fantasy world, you must band together for survival, treasure, or maybe even glory. Players control rival factions, each with a unique deck of cards dictating their abilities across the battlefield. Some focus on ranged prowess, some on raw strength, and others on the bond between characters, offering a wide range of playstyles to explore.

Created by award-winning game designer Martin Wallace, this miniatures board game contains everything you need to dive straight into the dynamic fantasy world of Wildlands. Simple enough to pick up and play, but packed with tactical nuances that will keep you coming back for more, it is the perfect approachable skirmish game with endless replayability.

—description from the publisher

7.3
2-4 Players
30-60 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.1
#1 (Mike). Blue Moon Legends

Game description from the publisher:

The once proud and strong Blue Moon City has been plunged into chaos. The Golden Dragon has fallen, the Holy Crystal of Psi has shattered, and the old King has drawn his last breath. Worse, Blue Moon, the creator of all things, has vanished and Blue Moon City is left without a ruler.

Now the three elemental dragons – the only divine creatures remaining in the world – guard the fragments of the Crystal. The two royal heirs, Prince Roland and Princess Elinor, vie for the crown. The peoples of Blue Moon City may not know whom to follow, but whoever can rally them and claim the throne will gain the power to restore the Holy Crystal of Psi and perhaps convince Blue Moon himself to return.

Prepare to battle for the throne and restore peace to the city in Blue Moon Legends, a collected version of Blue Moon, Reiner Knizia's classic card game for two players! In Blue Moon Legends, you will gather the allegiance of one of the peoples of Blue Moon City, then lead them in a series of fights against another people. By winning these fights, you aim to attract the fickle attentions of the elemental dragons and win your way to the throne of the city.

Players can either play the game straight out of the box with decks or strategically customize the perfect deck to take down their opponent. With hundreds of cards from which to choose, no two games will be the same. Blue Moon Legends contains all cards from award-winning designer Reiner Knizia's Blue Moon card game in a single box.

7.3
2-2 Players
30 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.3
#1 (Zee). Claustrophobia 1643

Claustrophobia 1643 is a miniatures-based survival game set within the catacombs.

The box contains miniatures which are placed on large tiles showing the dungeon spaces. Also included are character dashboards, counters and markers, and dice.

One player controls a small group of determined humans, while the other plays an almost unending army of demonic creatures. The game is thematic and highly asymmetric: human characters are stronger, but the demon characters are more numerous. Gameplay is very straightforward with a minimum of rules, and each game plays in an hour or less.

In essence dice are allocated after rolling to perform actions, while cards or special abilities are also available. The game is about managing decisions and choosing what to do with the resources that you have, managing difficult events and out-thinking your opponent. Combat is handled by dice.

Complexity is low, with the focus on theme and building towards a tense, climactic ending.

Claustrophobia is played through scenarios of which there are several in the rulebook (20). Generally speaking the human characters are attempting to complete a task (e.g. escape the catacombs, close a portal) while the demons are focused on stopping them. There are varying win conditions depending on the scenario chosen.

—description from the publisher

8.1
2-2 Players
45-90 Min
Age: 14+
Complexity: 2.6
#1 (Tom). Summoner Wars Second Edition Master Set

Summoner Wars puts you in the role of a powerful summoner in control of a unique army, dedicated to taking control of the war-torn planet of Itharia. Display your tactical prowess by summoning units to your gates, outmaneuvering your opponent, and cutting down the enemy summoner to claim victory. Be wary though! The enemy will take advantage of every opportunity they find to destroy you and your army.

Countless units, a wide variety of spells and abilities, and the option to build your own decks, all make for a game sure to entertain, play after play.

Summoner Wars (Second Edition) is a fully expandable, tactical dueling card game that features updated versions of beloved factions, along with exciting new factions ready to join the battle. The game — which features new art and a perfected rules system — can be played in-person with physical cards or online with a browser-based app.

8.6
2-2 Players
40-60 Min
Age: 9+
Complexity: 2.6