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Darren Wou
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anker is great - love their products!

Review - Puerto Rico (#3, 2-5 Players, Med-Heavy)

When I first got into boardgames around 2010, the three games at the top of the BGG rankings were Agricola, Puerto Rico, and Twilight Struggle. Having already played Agricola and with minimal interest in a two-player Cold War simulation, I decided that my next game would be this “classic” shipping game, considering it was already a few years old.

This is a relatively straightforward role-selection game where you pick a role to do an action with a bonus, and then everyone else gets to perform that action as well, but without the bonus. Then the next player picks from the remaining available roles, and so-on until the round ends. Unpicked roles get a coin added to them as incentive to be picked first the next round and the game continues until the city size is maxed out or the colonist or VP pool is exhausted, at which point the player with the most victory points is the winner.

To get victory points, you want to construct buildings or ship goods. Picking the “Builder” role allows you to construct buildings that build up your production engine and are worth victory points. You will need to pick the “Settler” role to create plantations that, with the correct activated buildings, will allow you to produce goods when the “Craftsman” role is selected. To activate the plantations and buildings, the “Mayor” role will need to be selected to place colonists. Then you can either sell your goods for money, which allows you to buy the buildings, by selecting the “Trader” role or ship your goods for victory points by selecting the “Captain” role. If you are desperate for money, you can select the less than ideal “Prospector” role.

This all comes together in a wonderfully strategic package where the only randomness is in the draw of the plantation tiles. However, as more experienced players will point out, this game depends significantly on player order. When selecting your role, a lot of thought has to be given into what role you think the player after you will be selecting based on your own selection. For example, if you select “Craftsman” you may be giving the player after you a lot of victory points if they are able to select “Captain” after your turn is done. This is where a lot of the strategy bubbles up from and when playing with new players, it is possible for a more experienced player who selects his or her role after a new player to gain a significant advantage due to the lack of familiarity of how the roles interact with each other.

In spite of this recognized issue, the solution is just to play it more! Although far from a gateway game, the ruleset is simple enough that I would teach this to relatively new gamers who want to try their hand at something tipping into the heavier end of the spectrum. Even though experienced players may run away with the score the first couple games, instructing new players to play in such a way to make sure that whatever they do benefits them more than the player after them will help overcome the player order bias.

After all these years, this is still one of my favorite games as it is pretty easy to teach, there is deep strategy, and it plays quickly compared to my other high-ranking games. The Limited Anniversary has definitely given this classic a new coat of paint as well.

Review - Agricola (#2, 1-5 Players, Heavy)

This is the game that began it all. Well, not really, but more on that in another review - let’s just say that this is the game that not only opened my eyes but has stayed near the very top of my favorite games ever played. I purchased it on faith on the recommendation of one of my friends and from that very first playthrough, I knew it was something very special indeed.

The theme of the game is farming, which immediately raises doubts about how fun a game about farming could be. Over 14 rounds, you will use your family members (two to start) to take actions, which range from growing grain and vegetables, raising livestock, and expanding your home and family, which allows you to take even more actions. At the end of the game, you tally up your victory points based on what you have accumulated in your farm. You will be trying to specialize in one area to gain as many points as possible, but you cannot forget about everything else because you will lose victory points if you don’t have certain things.

If this sounds like it will be a relaxing and pleasant game, you are very, very wrong. This game is tough and will likely leave you stressing out partway through that you have barely done anything and in the end wish you had a few more turns. There are six harvest events in the game which occur at the end of certain rounds - spread out at the start of the game and closer together near the end. During the harvest, you can reap the benefits of your planting and breeding, but there is also the dreaded “feeding phase”, where you need to feed each of your family members and suffer severe victory point loss if you cannot. Before the first harvest, you probably will spend most For the first couple harvests, you will probably be spending the majority of your actions collecting scraps of food to just survive and contemplating whether or not growing your family to get more actions is worth the additional food it requires (it is).

As a worker placement game, you will not only be taking actions that benefit you but will be denying those actions to your fellow players. In a game with limited action spaces (though a new one comes out each round), this requires careful planning and back-up plans to your back-up plans as you see the precious actions being taken by others. If you think about it, if you keep to your two family members, you only have 28 actions in the game so you better make sure each one counts.

There are a few other things I haven't mentioned, such as improvements and occupations that keep variability high and help direct your strategy a bit. There's also a simpler family variant if you want to dip your toes before the deep dive, although I would recommend against this as I feel it deviates from the core experience. As it says on the box, it isn't easy to be a farmer. Is the game stressful? Yes, but is it fun? Definitely. Seeing your final farm and the fruits of your labour is a rewarding experience and knowing you had to overcome adversity is a big part of that. It has consistently ranked highly as not many other games have been able to deliver that same, agonizing decision-making in such a complete package.

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it is better - but it would not exist without breaking bad and is so great because of breaking bad

Boardgames I want to play, ranked as of January 2017:

1 Terraforming Mars
2 Feast for Odin
3 Food Chain Magnate
4 Star Wars: Rebellion
5 Viticulture
6 Captain Sonar
7 Terra Mystica
8 Roll for the Galaxy
9 Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
10 Quadropolis
11 Fields of Arle
12 7 Wonders: Duel
13 Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
14 Robinson Crusoe
15 Great Western Trail
16 Zombicide: Black Plague
17 Tiny Epic Galaxies
18 Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
19 Firefly: The Game
20 Battlestar Galactica
21 Here I Stand
22 1960: The Making of the President
23 Keyflower
24 Castles of Burgundy
25 Goa
26 War of the Ring
27 Codename: Pictures
28 Pandemic: The Cure
29 Dead of Winter: The Long Night
30 Bang! The Dice Game
31 Raptor
32 Evolution: Climate
33 The Networks
34 Mech vs. Minions
35 Vast: The Crystal Caverns
36 El Grande
37 Five Tribes
38 Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
39 Trajan
40 Russian Railroads
41 Crokinole
42 Troyes
43 The Gallerist
44 Ticket to Ride: Europe
45 Cosmic Encounter
46 Istanbul
47 The Princes of FLorence
48 Village
49 Tichu
50 Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries

My top 50 boardgames, as of January 2017:

1 Twilight Struggle
2 Agricola
3 Puerto Rico
4 Le Havre
5 Castles of Mad King Ludwig
6 Power Grid
7 Ora et Labora
8 Race for the Galaxy
9 Caverna: The Cave Farmers
10 Twilight Imperium
11 Steam
12 Eclipse
13 Tzolk'in
14 Dead of Winter
15 Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
16 Codenames
17 Patchwork
18 The Resistance: Avalon
19 Dominant Species
20 Suburbia (app only)
21 Scythe
22 Galaxy Trucker
23 Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
24 Small World
25 King of New York
26 Mysterium
27 One Night Ultimate Werewolf
28 Innovation
29 Smash Up
30 Sentinels of the Multiverse
31 Hanabi
32 Splendor
33 Stone Age
34 The Manhattan Project
35 Star Realms
36 Cottage Garden
37 Machi Koro
38 Caylus
39 King of Toyko
40 Camel Up
41 Takenoko
42 Love Letter
43 Ticket to Ride
44 Tigris & Euphrates
45 Sheriff of Nottingham
46 Citadels
47 Forbidden Desert
48 San Juan (app only)
49 Le Havre: The Inland Port (app only)
50 Sushi Go Party!

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these animatronics get crazier and crazier!

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looks amazing. no lines = game changer

+Tony Kuo+Kieren Wou​

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not a fan of this idea, but at least there will be unique ride experiences in different parks? the tokyo one is already different. just never change to orlando one please...

+Tony Kuo+Kieren Wou​
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