Condottiere – War in a Box


They say that the best things come in small packages. Personally, I’m always a little wary of games that come in small boxes. I appreciate travel-friendly games, but I also really like games with lots of components. So when I saw that Condottiere game came in a pretty tiny box with just a stack of cards and a handful of pieces, I wasn’t really sure.

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For Sale: A Fast, Tiny Auction Game


I have to admit that when I first saw the components for For Sale, I was mostly underwhelmed. Nothing jumped out at me. The artwork seemed plain and a little outdated. House cards with numbers on them? Boring!

Boy, was I in for a surprise…

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Camel Up: I’ll Bet You This Will Be a Winner!


Anyone’s who seriously into the hobby knows that winning the Spiel des Jahres (German for Game of the Year) is a big deal for game designers. While researching potential games to play with my younger ESL students, I discovered that Camel Up won the award in 2014. At first look, the theme seemed a little far-fetched. Betting on racing camels? I was unconvinced.

And then I tried it.

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Star Realms: A Fast 2-Player Deck Building Game


Thanks to my experience with Dominion, I was already familiar with the deck-building mechanic before being introduced to Star Realms. I knew there was going to be a lot of card buying and shuffling. What I didn’t know was whether or not I would actually enjoy the game.

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Sushi Go: Pick and Pass


I first came across Sushi Go at an extended family gathering. We had just finished dinner and were transitioning to games when my cousin pulled out this small card game. It looked a little too simple for my liking, so I decided to lead another group in a game of Codenames. But I kept getting distracted by the loud outbursts at the other table. It sounded like they were having a blast. Had I unfairly misjudged Sushi Go?

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Dominion: Let the Deck Building Begin


Dominion was the first card game I learned that wasn’t a “simple” game like Uno, Dutch Blitz, or Hearts. The first time I was introduced to Dominion, the cards weren’t even in the original box! My friend had created his own custom-designed box that held all his Dominion cards, sorted by expansion and in alphabetical order. I was speechless. I didn’t know that people did this with their games. Little did I know what I was about to get into.

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Patchwork: The Perfect 2 Player Game


One of the things I love about being married is being able to play board games with my wife. The only problem is that there aren’t so many games that we enjoy playing together. So when I read the review of Patchwork over at The Game Aisle earlier this summer, I immediately bought it to see if this would finally be the game that both of us would equally enjoy.

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Carcassonne: Here Come the Meeples


My first encounter with Carcassonne was at my sister’s college campus. There were a group of students huddled around what appeared to be some sort of game. What immediately got my attention were the tiny colored mini-people scattered all over the table. And it looked incredibly random. Some were standing up and some were lying down, and there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to their placement. It wasn’t until a couple years later, while visiting with a friend, that I finally got the chance to learn how to play.

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Codenames: The Ultimate Party Game


I first came across Codenames on Watch it Played (I highly recommend this YouTube channel, by the way.) Only a few days later, I discovered a copy of the game at our local library. Thankfully, my family was with me at the time, so I roped them into playing with me for a few rounds. Believe it or not, we managed to complete three games in under 45 minutes. I was thrilled.

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Settlers of Catan: Build, Trade, Repeat

Photo Credit: derekbruff via Compfight cc

I’m pretty sure Settlers of Catan is the main reason why I’m such an avid fan of board games. I first had the opportunity of playing Catan in 2005. It was the first time I had ever played a gateway game (as opposed to popular classics such as Monopoly, Risk, and Scrabble). I don’t remember if I won or lost my first game, but I do remember being hooked from the start.

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