7 Wonders

From the box: “You are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World Gather resources, develop commercial routes and affirm your military supremacy 2-7 players 30+ minutes playing time”

Dan Says: “7 Wonders is a card drafting game in which, among other things, you are in charge of building your own ‘Wonder.’  There are 3 ‘stages’ of play, each having a hand where each player picks 1 card to play, then passes the hand to the next player.  Like other card drafting games, there are many ways to earn points, some of which are straight-forward, others are more complex.  Add to that the bonuses some of the cards can give you, along with the “engine building” element where certain cards require you to have to ‘build’ them with previously-played resources, and you achieve a level of complexity that’s more than, say, Sushi Go, but still not difficult to pick up.  It’s one where you’re probably best suited using your first couple of plays focusing on learning how the cards interact as opposed to chasing points.  Overall a fun game.”

Amazon: 7 Wonders

Steam Park

From the box: “As owners of a fantastic steam park, you’re to build gigantic, coal-powered rides to attract as many visitors as you can – but building attractions won’t be enough. You’ll also need to manage your employees, invest in advertising in order to attract and please the different kinds of guests visiting your park, and, above all, keep the dirt that your park produces under strict control! Steam Park is an easy-to-learn game with two difficulty levels: one for the less experienced gamers and a more strategic one for those who want a more exciting challenge. In this management game, you’ll have to build your own amusement park and make it the largest and most profitable in the region. By constructing the three-dimensional, wonderful rides designed by Marie Cardouat, you will see your park grow right before your eyes. Choose your strategy! Build Stands to attract more Visitors, or Toilets to keep the Dirt under control. Whatever decision you take, take it quickly: The less time you spend planning, the more time you’ll have to maintain your park. Thanks to a clever, original action-choosing mechanism, winning in Steam Park is as much a matter of being the best as of being the fastest!”

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Rory’s Story Cubes

Loy says: “Looking for something unique and creative? Boy-howdy, have you found it in Rory’s Story Cubes. The box includes a couple of ways to play, but here’s our go-to: roll the dice and start to tell the story. You can tell the whole thing, or players can grab dice and jump in when they want. Or, you can have each person tell a sentence in a round-robin until the story comes to life. It’s not as easy as it sounds – be the one at the table with the best contribution and exercise your vocabulary, your imagination, and your thinking cap! This is a lot of fun as a game, and also works as an ice-breaker, a teaching manipulative, or a tool for overcoming writer’s block. Get your creative on!”

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Ticket to Ride (North America)

Loy says: “Ticket to Ride is an addictive race to make the most profitable and longest train routes before your opponents do. The rules can be learned in five minutes, but gameplay itself is strategically challenging. Each player has a number of secret routes they are trying to establish, while blocking opponents from doing the same. Trains, cards, and routes have to be collected and set in matching colors, adding to the challenge. This is a family fun game that we love so much, we even play it on our phones.”

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Tokaido

Loy says: “As a graphic designer myself, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a game that satisfies my need for eye candy. Tokaido satisfies and then some. It’s visually stunning and the clear, well-thought design makes learning the game a breeze. Winning it is another matter. As Japanese tourists, players travel the length of the board – in a distinct change of pace, they’re traveling as slowly as possible – and collect tchotchkes, photographs, and fine food along the way. At each stop, players can also choose to donate to temples and visit wild spaces for additional points. The winner is the tourist who has experienced the most that the game has to offer. With lots of combinations, this game is unique each time, and offers an interesting view of Japanese tourism. Our family enjoys the journey.”

 

From the box: “In Tokaido, each player is a traveler crossing the “East sea road”, one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While traveling, players will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas and visit temples and wild places. At the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you’ll have to be the most initiated traveler – which means that you’ll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things.”

Risk

Loy says: “Risk is that classic game of conquest. Strategically build and place your armies for battle, team up with opponents, roll the dice to determine victory, and be the last general standing. This can be a simple game of tactics or a complex game of negotiations and allies; it’s all up to you.”

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FitzIt

From the box: “What comes in a box, fits inside a blender, and is bound to make you laugh? FitzIt – the party game where fun is all in the description! Name an object that fits the attributes on your cards, then play them to the grid. The more cards you play, the faster you score. Use your creativity and you’re fit to win!”

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