Caverna

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Caverna is a highly replayable competitive resource management for 1-7 players. In Caverna, each player begins with a pair of dwarves who are trying to grow their family and expand their livelihoods. Dwarves tunnel into caves for rubies and ore, which can be traded for goods and forged into weapons. Players don’t combat each other but, with weapons, their dwarves can go on expeditions to retrieve loot like donkeys, wood, or stones. Dwarves also expand outside their mountain, plowing fields of wheat and pumpkins, fencing pastures, and growing their herds of sheep, donkeys, pigs, cows, and sheep.

Caverna, Agricola, and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small are all designed by Uwe Rosenberg, and I’ve enjoyed them all. However, I felt that Caverna’s ‘simple’ setup is better suited to two players and the ‘normal’ setup offered too many options-48 possible rooms to build! It took a bit of getting used to. Caverna does take less time to play than Agricola, only 30 minutes, compared to Agricola‘s 60 for my partner and I. It also doesn’t contain the randomization that Agricola’s Occupation and Minor Improvement cards provide.

Caverna is one of the classic worker placement/resource management games, and belongs on every board game lovers’ shelf. It is also the natural progression for lovers of Agricola, as it continues some of the basic mechanics, making it easy to learn, but introduces enough difference in feel to still excite.

-Natalie

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Forbidden Island

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Do you really like Pandemic but find it’s theme to be a total bummer? I have good news for you! Forbidden Island is a cooperative game for 2-4 players created by Matt Leacock. If you’ve played his other awesome game, Pandemic, in which players take of the role of CDC agents and try to save the world from a plague, then you already have a good idea how Forbidden Island works as the mechanics are very similar but with a few fun tweaks and a way less depressing theme.  

In Forbidden Island players choose one of six fearless adventurers each with their own special ability and must work together and escape with all four of the Island’s mysterious treasures. Sound easy? Well, it is not. The Island hates you and doesn’t want you stealing its shiny treasure so it is sinking back into the ocean trying to take you and the treasure with it!

Working together is key and discussion is totally encouraged to figure out your optimal turn. On your turn you can move around the island, shore up flooded areas, trade a card with another person, and capture a treasure. After that you draw from the treasure card deck which contains helpful treasure and item cards but also the dreaded “Waters Rise” card. Which increases the number of cards you draw from the flood deck and also makes you shuffle the discarded flood card pile and put it on top of the flood deck before drawing from it. It gets pretty intense especially when an important location might sink and cause you to loose the game.

Forbidden Island is a really great time. The artwork is incredibly beautiful and a joy to look at. It can get pretty harrowing and that’s fun! I highly recommend this game! Check it out sometime!

-Mikey

Black Fleet

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I love pirate games! So, when Asmodee announced Black Fleet, I was immediately excited. After further inspection, it seemed to be a stream-lined version of Merchants and Marauders and I was a little skeptical. However, after my first play through, I can definitely see adding it to my collection. It has a relatively low setup and play time, with a ton of fun packed in! (First game was about an hour) The rule book is well written and the components are great. (Coins and plastic ships miniatures) I recommend checking it out!

-Andrew

Kitty Paw

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Get ready call “meow!” because in the game of Kitty Paw, your ability to meow and hi-five is as important as making your kitty-block patterns!

The concept of Kitty Paw is simple. Each player is a kitty (assigned by their paw card), and the goal is to replicate the pattern on your puzzle card using all the little hexagonal kitty tiles, but you have to do it faster than your opponents and, when you think you’re done, shout “meow!” and raise your paw. Your opponents then vie to call meow and high five you; the last to do so loses points equal to the penalty value on the back of their pattern card. But, if you didn’t replicate your pattern correctly, you get penalized too!

Each tile has two adorable sides – awake top-view of a kitty and sleeping belly-view of a kitty – so make sure you have your cats right-side up as you work!

The age recommendation is 8+, but younger children can play as well, and the tiles are durable enough that you don’t need to worry about little kids damaging them (so long as they don’t make their way into a mouth, of course). The general chaos of a turnless game is well suited to smaller competitive groups and works best with 4 players, but you can even play it single player if you just want to practice making patterns.

-Kiara

Maximum Throwdown

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Maximum Throwdown is a competitive card-flicking game, where you toss cards from your deck onto other cards. The symbols the cards land on determines what actions you can take. For example, you could attack another player’s cards by trying to cover up their points with a card toss, or you could steal another player’s card, toss it,  and try to land it upside down such that they lose points.

Personally, I didn’t really care for it, but, then again, I played it as a two-player game. I can see how it could be fun with a larger group, perhaps a party where you don’t want to have to think much or explain many rules. I’ve heard that other dexterity games, such as Cat Tower, are great for drinking parties, and perhaps this one would be enhanced by the presence of libations. I also think the age range (14+) is underestimating the ability of most children, I think 10 or 12 years old would catch on quickly to the basic mechanics. And perhaps it would be great with younger kids too!

-Natalie

Blood Rage

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Blood Rage is a fantasy miniatures game set in a world of Norse mythology. The tagline of Blood Rage is, “Life is Battle; Battle is Glory; Glory is ALL” and that is exactly what the game is all about. It begins with a drafting phase where your goal is to acquire powerful battle cards or ancient monsters to fight at your side. Players then fight over territories and whether they win or lose they are rewarded for their efforts. To the victors go the spoils but there is also no shame in losing for your soldiers are rewarded in Valhalla. One strategy, Loki cards, actually rewards you for losing battles, or punishes the winner. What I like about the game is that there are many different balances so that one strategy does not work every time. Drafting is very important, but so is knowing when to strike and the combinations of the cards that you draft. It plays 2-4 players and lasts about 90 minutes.

-Andrew

Boss Monster

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Have you ever played a role-playing video game, delving into dungeons, dismantling traps, killing monsters and thought “I could build a better dungeon than this?” With the Boss Monster board game from BrotherWise Games, you can!

Boss Monster is a competitive game for 2-4 players, where your goal as the boss monster of a dungeon is to build the most efficient dungeon for hero-killing that you can. You start out simply, with just one room, but as the game progresses you can build new rooms, upgrade your existing rooms and hinder your opponents’ attempts to build their dungeons.

You score by luring unsuspecting heroes into your dungeon with rumors of the types of treasures hiding in your lair – warriors, for example, like enchanted weaponry, while rogues prefer sacks of gold – and killing them before they can reach you, the Boss Monster. If they reach the end of the dungeon and face you, they deal damage. 10 points from defeated heroes will win you the game, and 5 damage from the heroes will make you lose.

Boss Monster can get really cutthroat so don’t go into this game expecting an easy time; your opponents are out to win just like you are so forging alliances can be risky because you never know what other players have in their hands.

In addition to Boss Monster, there is Boss Monster 2, which has different bosses, new heroes with silly flavor text, new room & spell cards, and can be played as an expansion or stand-alone game. Additionally, the recent release of the Boss Monster Collector’s Box makes me think there is more Boss Monster in our future.

-Kiara

My Happy Farm

IMGP9725My Happy Farm is an excellent time management game that adults can enjoy with children. The goal of the game is to be the farmer that has the happiest cow, rabbit, pig, and sheep. To make your animals happy, you buy seeds, grow crops, harvest the crops, and feed them to your animals. You have to time planting and harvesting just right or you might lose your crops!

The rules are very straightforward, at the start of your turn you draw a crop card, then grow the crops you planted in previous turns, and, lastly, you take two actions. The actions you have to choose from are buying seeds, planting seeds, harvesting crops, feeding animals your harvested crops, selling a crop, and taking a coin from the bank. You only get two actions each turn and have to think ahead to get the most out of each turn. At the end of the game, the best fed, happiest animals score points and help you win!

My Happy Farm is for 2-4 players, ages 6+, plays in less than 30 minutes, and costs $29.99.
-Matthew

Cat Tower

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When all your dried fish are too high for your poor kitty self to reach, what do you do? Ask your other cat friends to help of course!

Cat Tower is a dexterity-ish game where your goal is to build a cat tower to reach the fish, and ends when one player has no more cats in hand. A die tells you how to stack your cats, increasing the variance, and the cardboard kitties all have super cute faces!

Whether you are playing with your friends at the bar or your children at home, this is a pretty great little dexterity game for all ages (though it recommends 6+).

My only critique is that because the cards are cardboard, I’m concerned that the constant folding to play and unfolding to put away will eventually render the cards unusable. But for now that is a fun little game, and the 20$ price point is pretty reasonable considering how much play you can get out of it.

-Kiara

Shadows Over Innistrad Coming Soon

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The weather is getting warmer and as spring approaches so does Shadows over Innistrad! Shadows over Innistrad prerelease weekend is Saturday, April 2-Sunday, April 3 and we have lots of events planned all weekend long to make sure that you get a good look at the new set. Our event schedule for the weekend is as follows:

Friday, April 1st:

11:59pm- Sealed ($25 entry, $30 day of)

Saturday, April 2nd:

10:30am- Two-Headed Giant ($50 entry per team, $60 day of)

1:30pm- Sealed ($25 entry, $30 day-of)

7:30pm- Two-Headed Giant ($50 entry per team, $60 day of)

Sunday, April 3rd:

12:00pm- Two-Headed Giant ($50 entry per team, $60 day of)

5:30pm- Sealed ($25 entry, $30 day of)

Players can preregister for the Friday Sealed at the store until 6:00pm that evening and for all other events until the end of the day before the event. Price of entry includes the packs needed to play in the event as well as a promo and prize support.

We are also taking preorders for boxes ($94.99), fat packs ($33.99), deckbuilder’s toolkits ($16.99), gift boxes ($19.99), and singles until April 3rd. Stop by the store to preregister and preorder today!