Forum Overview :: Reviews
Vol. 3 by FABIO 05/09/2005, 11:29pm PDT
New complexity rating!


1 = War, 5 = Risk, 10 = Starfleet battles

Shadowlord by laudablepuss request!

2 or 4 players. Move your starting 3 characters around. Recruit new characters. Some are warriors with high attack, some produce ships that increase your strength and mobility, some are diplomats that can recruit new characters. Interesting twist was that there was a fifth faction of evil entities called shadows that lived intheir fortress in the middle of the board. Some of them would periodically be released and wander around the board attacking everyone. You could storm their fortress and capture the Showdowlord's crystal of power that gave you a large advantage. The longer you waited, the more shadows left the fortress and the easier it was to take, but if you waited too long (5 reshuffles of the deck) then the Shadowlord grew too powerful and everyone lost.

Bought this when I was like 8. I remember thinking it was good, but too complicated for any of us to ever try again. Tried playing it again twelve years later. I remember we ran into a bunch of blind spots in the rules and were stumped on how to resolve them, so we just went back to playing Shogun again. Maybe it'd work if we gave it another shot, which we never did.

Recommendation: Nostaltia says it was good, recent memory says it didn't work.

Availability: Bought it in '88. Most likely long discontinued.

Complexity: If you're eight years old, then an 8. If not, then about a 6.5

Dark Tower by laudablepuss request!

This thing was the shit when I was 5 years old. Totally radical early 80's work of electronic genius. Move around a board, hit the button on the dark tower according to the space you landed. Motors rotated a screen inside and lights lit up the panel with your result. Get money from raiding crypts, use gold to buy more food/warriors/etc. Collect the 4 keys to attack the dark tower itself. Game was mostly random luck on whether or not you won battles, found a lot of gold, etc. No player to player ineraction, just racing each other to beat the dark tower first.

Recommendation: Boring for anyone but little kids who can wow at the sounds and lights.

Availability: Selling for hundreds of dollars on ebay. Definately not worth it.


Complexity: 4, keeping track of all your gold and everything makes it a bit too complicated for the only demograph it would be fun for. I had to get my father's help to play when I was 5.

History of the World

A very decent, simple, not too long game. Sort of like Risk with 5% of the dice rolling and units to keep track of. Basic gameplay is each round is an "epoch" of history. Each epoch has a certain number of civlizations that can sprout up. Each player gets dealt a civilization to play that round, and no one knows who's which until it's played. Start out in a territory with a certain number of armies (usually 2-8, can sometimes go as high as 16) and expand just like Risk. Past epoch pieces remain on the board and never move again, but can be fought and taken over by future epochs. Scores are calculated each round based mostly on how much territory your pieces from all epochs control.

The only problem is that they try to balance the civilizations, but aren't entirely successful. It doesn't ruin the game, but sometimes someone can get an early Indian or Chinese civ and hold that valuable territory unopposed for multiple epochs for a huge advantage. Getting the Romans during their epoch puts you at an ungodly advantage. There was some dumb rule that the person in first place got bonus points every round, which we never used because it just helped cement someone's early lead.

Availability: High (Sold through the new Avalon Hill)

Recommendation: A pretty fun Risk alternative for the non-hardcore crowd, though the hardcore should still have fun with it.

Complexity: 4. People who don't normally play games can pick it up.


Tactical civil war game. Infantry, Cavalry, and cannons move around and fire on a simple hex map. Board is divided into thirds: left, right, and center. Each turn you pick a card that will tell you to move 1 to 3 units on the left, right, or center part of the board (along with a few other special cards). Even though you may be in a good position, you have to hope you get the cards to take advantage of it. Not the largest amount of strategy involved, mostly down to the luck of the cards, but still fun and relatively quick & simple. The biggest problem though is that most of the scenarios heavily favor the Confederacy. The union outnumbers them, but the south always gets more cards to reflect better leadership. Even though the union usually outnumbers them, it doesn't matter for shit because they can't move all of them, and battles end when you simply kill six units, regardless of how large your starting force was. We have yet to play a campaign (playing all the scenarios in order and keeping track of battles won) where the North wins. The only fair way is to switch sides and see how badly each side can win as the confederacy.

Recommendation: Kind of fun, balance tilted to the Confederacy though. It helps that the games are quick.

Availability: High (sold through the new Avalon Hill)

Complexity: 5

The American Civil War

Another civil war game, this time on a strategic scale. Plays pretty much like Axis & Allies. Receive production points based on territories owned and build things with them. Battles are sort of interesting. You set your units up on a 3x3 grid representing your left, center, and right flank with the middle row being no man's land. Each unit can move one space or fire in a round. You don't (usually) see your opponent's setup until the battle starts. First person to lose all their units on just one flank loses and must retreat.

Ultimately though, this game just doesn't pass muster. Again, the balance is off. I'm starting to think all these civil war games are made by redneck armchair generals who swear that the south could have won, if only they were in charge. The advanced rules give ridiculous bonuses for cavalry and leadership, which the south has an advantage in. Games play out with historical inaccuracies on par with the Japanese closing in on Moscow through the middle east in Axis & Allies. Southern cavalry runs amoke and captures northern cities like Chicago(!), Philadelphia(!!), and New York(!!!), which is always the Southern player's best bet. The northern player's best bet is to amphibiously land a large force in Florida and move up and capture the southern most Confederate cities. It's a race to see who can bite the other's tail off first, with Confederate leadership and cavalry bonuses dominating battles.

There's also the poor manual, which is a bit confusing and fails to clarify a lot of points, leaving you to guess. Move into an enemy city and their rail network is reduced by one point. Fair enough. But you could just move in and out of a citiy every turn. Do you reduce the network by one everytime, destroying their entire rail system just by sacking one city over and over again? Does each city only count once, even though you can always buy more rail points? Things like this and more are never clarified.

Recommendation: Could have been a fun Civil War version of Axis & Allies, but the balance sucks, the behind the lines city capture raids ridiculously overpowered, and the rules murky. I guess you might have some fun with it for a play or two if you have plenty of freetime, but Battlecry is a more fun, simpler, and quicker civil war game.

Availability: High

Complexity: 7

Awful Green Things from Outerspace

This is supposedly some cult classic. God knows why. It sucks. Premise is a "wacky" version of Alien. A ship's crew starts scattered around the ship, with an adult alien to start (or a few alien eggs, I forget). Aliens can be eggs, babies, or adults. Each turn you can choose to promote one life cycle stage (all eggs hatch to babies, all babies grow to adults, or all adults lay an egg). The crew must kill them all before they are wiped out. You can pick up weapons around the ship, some attack all aliens in a room, others attack only one alien. You don't know what effect each weapon will have until you use it; it's totally random. It could have no effect, stun them, kill them, or cause them to multiply. The entire game boils down to getting lucky and ending up with an area effect weapon that's lethal to the aliens. If you get one, the crew wins. If not, they lose. There's nothing else to this game.

Recommendation: "Zany" until you realize it's all about getting a lucky weapon. Then it's crap.

Availability: Discontinued, yet in high demand for some unknown reason. Not worth it at all.

Complexity: 3.5
Boardgame roundup: Vol. 1 by FABIO 04/26/2005, 10:56pm PDT
    Re: Boardgame roundup: Vol. 1 by Entropy Stew 04/27/2005, 12:08am PDT
    Volume 2, right now! by FABIO 04/27/2005, 3:30am PDT
        Re: Volume 2, right now! by Choson 04/27/2005, 6:47am PDT
            Re: Volume 2, right now! by theemu 04/27/2005, 11:52am PDT
                Re: Volume 2, right now! by FABIO 04/27/2005, 1:43pm PDT
                    Re: Volume 2, right now! by Choson 04/27/2005, 2:40pm PDT
                        Re: Volume 2, right now! by laudablepuss 04/27/2005, 2:56pm PDT
                            Re: Volume 2, right now! by Choson 04/27/2005, 3:01pm PDT
                            laudablepuss says dice are random NT by binkbot 04/27/2005, 4:57pm PDT
                                Like football! I also said that. Also ballooning. And then I said comma. NT by laudablepuss 04/27/2005, 5:09pm PDT
        Re: Volume 2, right now! by mark 04/27/2005, 12:10pm PDT
        Wow by Arbit 04/28/2005, 12:27am PDT
            ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THAT FABIO NT by the CROWD 04/28/2005, 12:43am PDT
                *shrug* NT by FABIO 04/28/2005, 12:54am PDT
    Re: Boardgame roundup: Vol. 1 by Bill Dungsroman 04/27/2005, 7:54am PDT
        Re: Boardgame roundup: Vol. 1 by FABIO 04/28/2005, 2:44pm PDT
            Fortress America in ACTION! by FABIO 04/29/2005, 1:20pm PDT
    Re: Boardgame roundup: Vol. 1 by mark 04/27/2005, 11:56am PDT
        Re: Boardgame roundup: Vol. 1 by FABIO 04/27/2005, 1:52pm PDT
        Scott Orr disagress with you! by FABIO 05/09/2005, 9:20pm PDT
            Man who made game that sucks, sucks :( NT by mark 05/09/2005, 11:10pm PDT
        Memoir '44 by fabio 01/24/2012, 9:50pm PST
    No Dark Tower? No Stop Thief? by laudablepuss 04/27/2005, 12:31pm PDT
        Re: No Dark Tower? No Stop Thief? by mark 04/27/2005, 1:02pm PDT
            Re: No Dark Tower? No Stop Thief? by FABIO 04/28/2005, 2:45pm PDT
                yes. by mark 04/28/2005, 3:20pm PDT
    Mark's Boardgame Roundup part 1 by mark 04/27/2005, 12:50pm PDT
        For the love of God can no one stop these boardgame roundups??? by Ray of Light 04/27/2005, 1:16pm PDT
        Re: Mark's Boardgame Roundup part 1 by theemu 04/27/2005, 1:22pm PDT
        Mark's Boardgame Roundup part 2 by mark 04/27/2005, 6:11pm PDT
            Settlers counter rebuttal by FABIO 04/27/2005, 6:35pm PDT
                Re: Settlers counter rebuttal by Quentin Beck 04/27/2005, 6:47pm PDT
                    actually that was me (that's the new mysterio name? I thought he was a poster) NT by mark 04/27/2005, 6:47pm PDT
                Re: Settlers counter rebuttal by Choson 04/27/2005, 7:55pm PDT
                    Re: Settlers counter rebuttal by Pre 05/10/2005, 11:14am PDT
            I can't believe I never heard of Arkham Horror before. by Fullofkittens 04/28/2005, 9:28pm PDT
    Re: Boardgame roundup: Vol. 1 by mark 04/28/2005, 12:32am PDT
    Vol. 3 by FABIO 05/09/2005, 11:29pm PDT
        Thanks! by laudablepuss 05/10/2005, 7:21pm PDT
        suggestions by my$terio 05/10/2005, 9:20pm PDT
        Dark Tower sells for hundreds on ebay? by extarbags 05/12/2005, 4:08pm PDT
            I shot mine full of BBs. Along with all my classic GI Joes. :( NT by laudablepuss 05/13/2005, 11:11am PDT
                I demolished my star wars toys in my sand box or fed them to my guniea pig :( NT by Mischief Maker 05/13/2005, 1:58pm PDT
                    "Putting away childish things" turned out to be a really stupid idea. by laudablepuss 05/13/2005, 4:47pm PDT
            Mine sold for $130 by fabio 05/26/2011, 11:14am PDT
    Arkham Horror: Making Pen & Paper games obsolete by FABIO 02/13/2008, 9:51pm PST
        That should read 1d8 people :( by Erratard 02/13/2008, 10:05pm PST
        Wait'll you discover "How to host a murder mystery!" NT by Mischief Maker 02/13/2008, 10:22pm PST
            ^ roleplaying =( NT by FABIO 02/14/2008, 4:20am PST
        My group hit a bunch of obstacles with Arkham Horror. by Last 05/25/2011, 7:14pm PDT
            Re: My group hit a bunch of obstacles with Arkham Horror. by fabio 05/26/2011, 12:06pm PDT
                My group is having fun now with a play-by-email setup in google docs. by Last 07/27/2011, 9:16pm PDT
    Boardgame roundup: Pandemic, Longshot by Last 05/26/2011, 10:33am PDT
        +1 on Pandemic, it's very fun by Fullofkittens 08/07/2011, 6:14pm PDT
            Apparently the expansion is worth it if you like the core game NT by Lizard_King 08/07/2011, 8:29pm PDT
    Battlestar Galactica by Lizard_King 08/03/2011, 9:09pm PDT
        Re: Battlestar Galactica by fabio 08/04/2011, 12:58am PDT
            Re: Battlestar Galactica by Lizard_King 08/04/2011, 5:41am PDT
                Re: Battlestar Galactica by fabio 08/04/2011, 8:31am PDT
                    Re: Battlestar Galactica by Lizard_King 08/05/2011, 4:32pm PDT
        Tried Exodus by fabio 08/25/2011, 11:52am PDT
    Citadels by Lizard_King 08/04/2011, 6:26am PDT
        Needs the expansion by fabio 08/04/2011, 8:40am PDT
            The expansion comes with every version of the game currently available by Lizard_King 08/05/2011, 4:04pm PDT
    Totally worth it by fabio 08/27/2011, 7:44am PDT
    Cosmic Encounter by NDD 08/28/2011, 5:23pm PDT
        Re: Cosmic Encounter by NDD 08/28/2011, 5:31pm PDT
    The best board game review by fabio 01/24/2012, 8:34pm PST
    War of the Ring by fabio 01/24/2012, 10:09pm PST
    Age of Wonders - Positive! by Last 01/31/2012, 10:29am PST
        *80% to 120% NT by Last 01/31/2012, 10:31am PST
        I liked this one by fabio 01/31/2012, 7:30pm PST
    Review request: REX by fabio 02/24/2012, 5:56am PST
        Haven't played it, but I have no faith in FFG NT by mark 03/13/2012, 8:33pm PDT
            Why's that by fabio 03/14/2012, 5:42am PDT
    Going Cardboard by Souffle of Pain 02/24/2012, 7:10am PST
    Ever wish there was a simplified version of Arkham Horror? by fabio 03/23/2012, 12:41pm PDT
    REX, aka Dune 2.0, aka Cosmic Encounter Obsolescence by fabio 04/12/2012, 8:01pm PDT
        UPDATE: default rules broken, needs fixing NT by fabio 08/23/2012, 8:42am PDT
    Ticket to Ride: Steam edition by fabio 08/23/2012, 8:47am PDT
        How is that different from the boardgame version? by Last 08/23/2012, 9:14am PDT
            Never played the boardgame version by fabio 08/23/2012, 10:49am PDT
                Oh, I have the version set in Europe and they fixed that. by Last 08/23/2012, 1:42pm PDT
                    Great, no one ever plays the other maps online =( NT by fabio 08/23/2012, 5:43pm PDT
    Vassal by fabio 05/04/2013, 2:43pm PDT
    Fucking iPads by fabio 06/11/2013, 3:32am PDT
    Did you want to like Arkham Horror but couldnt? by fabio 12/12/2013, 8:02pm PST
        Thanks, I'll get it. NT by Last 12/13/2013, 8:44am PST
    Alhambra - Positive! Guillotine - Positive! by Last 12/13/2013, 9:00am PST
    board game review: Twin Tin Robots by blackwater 12/13/2013, 10:33pm PST
    Board Games? More like...wait for it...WAIT FOR IT...SNORE-d games! by HA HA HA HA HA HA HA 12/19/2013, 9:54pm PST
        In the land of the video gamer, the board gamer is king by motherfuckerfoodeater 12/19/2013, 10:47pm PST
            I'd invite you over but I only have one game port on my soundbalaster :( NT by PC GAMING FUCK YEAH!! 12/20/2013, 12:29am PST
    Review: Incognito (Board Game) by blackwater 03/24/2014, 12:55am PDT
        Shadow Hunters is fun by fabio 03/24/2014, 1:08am PDT
    Review: Libertalia (board game) by blackwater 06/17/2014, 11:52pm PDT
    Gaming with family by skip 08/04/2016, 7:07am PDT
        Re: Gaming with family by laudablepuss 08/04/2016, 8:45am PDT
            Re: Gaming with family by laudablepuss 08/04/2016, 8:47am PDT
        There is no reason to ever play Ticket to Ride or Dixit by fabio 08/04/2016, 3:56pm PDT
            The reason is that they're great family games by skip 08/04/2016, 5:28pm PDT
                The Pink Panther remake is a great family film! NT by fabio 08/04/2016, 9:48pm PDT
                    Fabio has never had to game with relatives and it really shows. NT by skip 08/05/2016, 6:06am PDT
                        What kind of family get togethers mandate boardgames? by fabio 08/13/2016, 6:16pm PDT
                            The kind where we're inside and just need an activity to do? NT by Picionary < Dixit 08/13/2016, 7:54pm PDT
    Hey this game is coming out with an expansion. Look at the scenario writers by skip 08/13/2016, 7:59am PDT
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