Despite that long and potentially overwhelming title, Star Realms is actually a really simple deckbuilding card game. A deckbuilding game is one where you start with a very bare bone set of cards – in this case just 10 – and slowly acquire more and in doing so build up a deck. Star Realms is easily one of the smartest and most addictive short card games I’ve played in a very long time – it is also one of the best.
Who loves making words in Scrabble? It so satisfying to make that massively long word that you have spent ages figuring out. It also, unfortunately, sort of depressing when somebody can score loads more points by using a fraction of the letters on a really boring word. There is a solution. Don’t play Scrabble, play LeCardo.
A pilot, a messenger, a diver, and an engineer land on a deserted island searching for treasure is not the start to a really bad joke, but the set up for an excellent co-op game. Forbidden Island sees 2-4 adventurers searching for treasure on an island. There is just one catch—the island is sinking! You and your team must retrieve four very cool treasures and make it back to the plane before the island finishes its descent into the ocean.
Forbidden Island is a board game that doesn’t actually come with a board. Instead, it comes with a selection of tiles. At the start of any game, you are going to shuffle these up and place them in a cross shape. Each of these beautifully illustrated tiles represents a location on the island, and depending on which character you have chosen, you will start in a different location. And then there is the flood deck. At the end of a player’s turn, they are going to draw a card from the top of this and flip the tile that it matches. This location is now flooded. Uh-oh, right?
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Back in the mid-1800’s America had the gold rush, well here in board game land we have the cheese rush. Many a Machi Koro player has scooped up multiple ranches in the hopes of building themselves a glorious dairy empire. No idea what I am talking about? Well, I’ll do my (e)damn best to get you up to speed.
Terrible cheese puns aside, what is Machi Koro? Remember how horribly long and boring games of Monopoly can be, but how buying property and rolling dice is really fun? Well, Machi Koro is a game dedicated to rolling dice, buying buildings and having fun. You take the role of Mayor for a quaint town in rural Japan and to win the game you need to build 5 specific landmarks.
Sushi Go! is an adorable card drafting game for 2-5 players that is all about, yes you guessed it, sushi. The premise is simple, pick one card from your hand and pass on the rest to your left. Gradually, the cards in front of you will grow and the number of cards in your hand will diminish. Once all the cards have been placed, tot up the score and go at it again 2 more times. What at first might seem like a simplistic and mundane game is, in fact, excellent and brimming with strategy.