Reviews

Medici: The Card Game

Knizia’s Medici: The Card Game rides a thin line. Like so many other simple games that rely on a healthy dollop of luck, it’s at

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Reviews

Catch the Moon Review

A version of this review was published on a site, I have discovered, no longer exists. Catch the Moon is delightful, with its tone somewhere

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Reviews

Can’t Stop Review

Sometimes you feel like you’ve arrived late to the party. Everyone’s moved on from a game, but you weren’t there when it was popular so

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Reviews

Anno 1800 Review

Martin Wallace’s Anno 1800 is an odd duck. It shouldn’t work. I’m not yet convinced it does. It’s the sort of thing one would make

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Reviews

Shobu Review

It’s all about the rope.  Shobu looks and plays like a game that’s been around for centuries. The genre trappings—black and white pieces, square grids,

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Reviews

Through the Ages Review

After a recent game of Through the Ages, a friend to whom I had just introduced the game remarked that, “you have to do everything,

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Reviews

Babylonia Review

The first time you play Babylonia you’ll probably play poorly. Fair warning. I’ve taught this game to at least 4 groups of people and no

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Reviews

Pan Am Review

The games made by Prospero Hall/Funko have a distinct visual style. I’m not an expert on art or graphic design, but they look cleaner and

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Reviews

Blackbrim 1876 Review

I enjoy puzzle games but I often feel a bit out of my element when I try to review them. Puzzles are, in some sense,

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Reviews

That Time You Killed Me Review

Spoiler warning: I’ll try to not reveal particulars but this is technically a campaign game with sealed material so fair warning. I want to recommend

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Reviews

Broken; Unbroken

I’ve got a copy of Unbroken and I’m not sure what to do about it. I received it from another game reviewer a while back.

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Reviews

Codenames Duet Review

Codenames Duet is more than simply a 2-player version of the most popular party game of the last few years. It’s transformed, different, and compelling

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Reviews

Letter Jam Review

For those reading this in the distant future: Wordle is all the rage right now. Maybe it’s still the bee’s knees in your time too,

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Reviews

Xenon Profiteer Review

Remember when deckbuilding was new and fresh? In those times of old it seemed like every single new release was messing around with the system.

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Reviews

Q.E. Review

At one of my first gaming conventions I attended a discussion about game design. There, I first heard about the double/halve rule. So many people

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Reviews

Pictomania Review

Sometimes I think if Vlaada Chvatil was a new designer today he would have a terrible time trying to get his games published. The board

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Reviews

Nightlancer Review

I think cyberpunk works so well in the medium of games because it depicts a gamified society. People can cybernetically enhance their skills and abilities.

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Reviews

Dual Powers Review

Imagine an area control game where you and one opponent are fighting over control of one space. On each turn you roll a die and

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Reviews

The Search for Planet X Review

Deduction is rigid, which makes it difficult to incorporate into board games, which thrive best in the rivers of uncertainty and doubt. If a deduction

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Reviews

Oceans Review

Going scuba diving was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. It’s at once impossibly serene, a blanket of subaqueous white noise and

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Reviews

Nidavellir Review

Nidavellir assembles together a number of tried and true mechanisms with such a sure hand that I didn’t realize until my second play how completely

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Reviews

Bat Flip (prototype) Review

Bat Flip will be available on kickstarter on the 18th You’d think there would be more sports board games, with both sports and board games

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Reviews

SpaceCorp 2025-2300AD Review

I can explain a lot of the emotions that board games give me. Tension and release; the satisfaction of solving a difficult puzzle; the greedy

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Reviews

Suburbia Review

Ted Alspach’s Suburbia combines two simple pleasures, drafting and tile-placement, as well as any game ever made. Like an ice cream parlor displaying its sweet

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Reviews

Dinosauria Review

Honestly, I’m split. Now that the paleontological scholarship has shifted towards dinosaurs being feathery and perhaps occasionally brightly colored, I can appreciate the appeal of

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Reviews

Carpe Diem Review

Stefan Feld’s Carpe Diem is so clearly riffing on many of the same ideas in his masterpiece The Castles of Burgundy that I can’t help

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Reviews

Dice Command Review

Dice Command, the small box WWII game debut from Ejected Planet, caused me to reflect on the expression that “war is the continuation of policy

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Reviews

Battle for Biternia Review

Adapting an outside property into board game form is simple. I mean, it’s not. But it also is. Bear with me here. Board games, insofar

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Reviews

Union Station Review

Union Station is on kickstarter now. Travis D. Hill’s Union Station is admirable in its transparency. It doesn’t disguise itself with excess; it’s confident in

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Reviews

The Alpha Review

The Alpha is the kind of game you pull out at the end of the night, when your capability to play something more complex has

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Reviews

My City Review

The legacy game, as a concept, is 10 years old and My City is the first one I’ve seen that’s wholly, unabashedly humble. After Pandemic

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Reviews

Coldwater Crown Review

How did they ever make a board game about fishing? It’s a terrible fit. Fishing is random and fickle and sometimes you spend an entire

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Reviews

Exodus Fleet Review

When you’ve played over a hundred midweight eurogames how do you get excited about them anymore? When you’re faced with a game that once again

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Reviews

Top Pop Review

Top Pop will be on Kickstarter July 13th. Photos are from a pre-production prototype. Art isn’t final, etc. etc. There’s a boundary surrounding every game,

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Preview

First Look at Soul Raiders

The Soul Raiders kickstarter is launching tomorrow. This is a first look based on an incomplete preview prototype of the game. I was able to

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Reviews

Archmage Review

If the problem is board game overproduction here’s Exhibit A. I can’t deny that I fell for its charms. I’d never heard of Archmage before

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Reviews

Battle Line Review

I love the part in war movies where the battle is about to happen. Everyone is ready. Plans are set. Death is coming and everyone

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Reviews

Arraial Review

I’m glad I do written reviews because I have absolutely no clue how to pronounce Arraial. I looked up how to pronounce Arraial and I

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Reviews

Stay Cool Review

A quick description might suffice as a review of Stay Cool. You’re going to know pretty easily if it’s the kind of game you’ll enjoy.

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Reviews

Pocket Paragons Review

I don’t know why Pocket Paragons exists. The two player dueling card game is an exceptionally crowded space, even if you exclude the CCG behemoths.

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Reviews

Exchange Review

This is the first time I’ve seen it. One of the joys of our little hobby is that it’s still small and scrappy; individuals with

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Reviews

7 Wonders Duel Review

The closest thing we’ve got to the endless sequels and spinoffs in the cinematic world here in board gaming are 2-player/dice/card versions of games we

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Reviews

Heaven and Ale Review

We board gamers live in a time of abundance. Everywhere you look there’s a new interesting game to try out and chances are it’s going

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Reviews

Dealt! Review

What’s the value of a game that gives you space to chat with your friends while you play? I pondered this while talking with my

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Reviews

Agropolis Review

There’s something about the color scheme in Agropolis that looks a bit dour. I understand that the folks at Button Shy probably had some trouble

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Reviews

The Crew Review

After playing hundreds of board games I rarely find anything that feels new. There are many good games out there, but they often blend together

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Reviews

10 Great Family Games

Most of what we do here at The Thoughtful Gamer is aimed at people who are already part of the modern board gaming hobby, but

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Reviews

Joraku Review

I’m calling it here: there’s going to be a boom of trick taking games over the next couple of years. The roll and write fad

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Reviews

Curators (prototype) Review

(Art and components shown are not final.) Stop me if you’ve played this game before. There are some actions, but through an arbitrary process, you

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Reviews

Air, Land, and Sea Review

One day, while wading through obstinate, naive political opinions on twitter (are there any other kind?) my eye caught the Good Stuff–a new review from

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Reviews

Modern Art Review

I distinctly remember the first time I saw a Jackson Pollock drip painting. It nearly put me on the floor. I could not believe the

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Reviews

Stephenson’s Rocket Review

The first time I played Stephenson’s Rocket I blundered with my very first turn. This 1999 Knizia classic, given a 21st century facelift from Grail

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Reviews

Brass Lancashire Review

Last week my high school debate students got to experience me trying to explain the fundamentals of microeconomics in 15 minutes. How much they enjoyed

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First Impression

One Deck Dungeon First Impressions

If there’s a primary distinction between tabletop games and video games, besides the technology, it’s that video games usually try to obscure the inner workings

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First Impression

Hierarchy First Impressions

Hierarchy is on Kickstarter through the 18th I was talking to a game designer the other day about microgames, and he commented that often finds

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Reviews

The City Review

One of the best moments in gaming is when, after a heated game, you look around at your friends and catch the thought on their

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Reviews

Reigns: The Council Review

Regins: The Council is on Kickstarter for 10 more days! What kind of bizarre, hilarious thought process resulted in the creation of Reigns? This quirky

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Reviews

Godsforge Review

The best movie fight scenes are rarely about the fighting itself. When I think about the fight scenes most notably implanted in my mind, I

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Reviews

1846 Review

Ever go to a board game con and look in the train room? Ever wonder why they dedicate entire rooms to train games? “What kind

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Reviews

Vinhos Review

Writing’s been tough the past couple of weeks. I’m hesitant to use the word “writer’s block” because that seems like a copout but the words

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Reviews

Tiny Towns Review

Call me the board game Nostradamus. Back in December I got to demo Tiny Towns at PAX Unplugged and I predicted that it would be

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Reviews

Tussie Mussie Review

Tussie Mussie is avialable on Kickstarter until 6/8/19 Full disclosure: Tussie Mussie won a design contest in which I participated. My game was far, far

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Reviews

Crusaders Review

How can I talk about Crusaders without discussing the theme? The Crusades are a deeply uncomfortable part of western history and while I’m fairly ignorant

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Reviews

Innovation Review

I don’t know what Carl Chudyk looks like, but I picture him in mad scientist garb, cackling over card templates as he conjures up his

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Reviews

Big Dig Review

Just look at the box cover of Big Dig and you’ll see why I jumped on a chance to review it. That woman is so

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Reviews

Antinomy Review

Antinomy is on Kickstarter for just a couple more days! It’s fitting that Antinomy grants first player privileges to the person who has most recently

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Reviews

Hanamikoji Review

Look, people. I know I come across as this paragon of Aristotelian temperance, but when three people I trust tell me that a particular game

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Reviews

Fry Thief Review

Fry Thief is on Kickstarter until 2/24. Check it out! I have never seen a game with a more relatable theme. You’re at dinner and your partner has ordered a burger and fries. In

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Reviews

Pioneer Days Review

A version of this review first appeared at Love Thy Nerd. Check it out! The cover of Pioneer Days depicts a colorful cast of eclectic characters smiling in the sun and looking like they’re having a splendid time

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Reviews

Tak Review

As abstract game month here at The Thoughtful Gamer spills into February for a bit, I have to admit that I’ve fallen more and more

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Reviews

Drop It Review

Drop It, the silly abstract dropping-things dexterity game from Kosmos, is part of that eclectic board game sub-genre where the title of the game is

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Reviews

Master of Wills Review

After opening my review of SPQF talking about the slightly strange occurrences when two movies with very similar premises are released at the same time,

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Reviews

Anthelion Review

Anthelion is on Kickstarter until 1/18/19 Some games feel open and comfortable. Whatever system the designer created feels like it could contain endless iteration and

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Reviews

SPQF Review

In film there’s a bizarrely frequent occurrence where two movies with remarkably similar premises or inspirations will release at roughly the same time. Like, remember

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Reviews

Dice Forge Review

So much of the pleasure of board gaming comes from moments of frisson, those exciting moments of suspense and anticipation before pulling a key card,

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Reviews

Nusfjord Review

I suspect I have somewhat of an unusual perspective in the board game world, being a reviewer but still feeling somewhat outside of the board

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Reviews

Telepathy Review

I can distinctly remember the first time I played Mastermind. We were in Canada on vacation. My grandparents had rented a house for the summer,

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Reviews

Eminent Domain Review

More than any game I’ve played in recent memory, Eminent Domain truly feels like a game made for dedicated gamers. It’s not particularly complicated, it

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